For the sick and disabled, the lies continue…

“Almost 900,000 people spent a decade or more “on the sick” at a cost of £4.2 billion a year to the taxpayer, the Government has said.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling described the figures as “outrageous” and promised action to get people off benefits and back into work.”

So says the Press Association report in this morning’s Guardian, going on to say:-

“”The sheer amount of people who have been left behind without any help or support to get back into work is outrageous,” Mr Grayling said.

“Thousands of people who have simply been cast aside by a welfare system that does nothing but put them in a queue for benefits and then forgets about them.

“Well those days are over. We will no longer accept a system which writes people off at a drop of the hat and expects the taxpayer to foot the bill.””

All of which makes me wonder at the immorality of Grayling’s assertion that anyone claiming sickness/disability benefits is a skiver (which is what he’s actually saying), because we already know that his claims are no more true now than they were when made by James Purnell and his partner in crime, David Freud (of whom more below).

It is the purest bovine ordure to claim that people are awarded benefits and then simply forgotten about. Many are repearedly hassled, and reassessed. Even though I have a condition which is incurable and can have only one outcome – death (unless I die of something else first) – during my time on Incapacity Benefit I was reassessed twice. OK, that’s not too bad in 23 years, and for other people it happens far more, but while it was utterly pointless, it did demonstrate that people are just not forgotten about.

Grayling clearly believes that anybody on long-term IB (in which I include those who would be on IB but, through circumstances, are on Income Support) – and let’s face it, these people are going to have enough trouble making the switch to ESA,  a benefit specifically designed to make it insanely difficult to claim successfully – is capable of work.

OK, I confess, I was capable of work, seriously Mr. Grayling, for ooh – whole hours in any given week. And sometimes, those hours were actually consecutive – how unutterably selfish of me to use that time for shopping, or cleaning (nowhere near as much as I need, by the way, but I can’t get help), and writing about deluded fuckwits like you.

It’s indicative of  a serious detachment from reality to believe that everyone on long-term disability benefits – not “on the sick” you tosser  (Incapacity, by the way, is defined as inability or incapability, which should give you – if you pay any attention at all – a clue to what’s going on).

Yes, I agree that people who are capable of work should not be on disability benefits (but long-term sickness is as much a disability as a missing limb, eating away at every facet of life – something people like Grayling, with all the compassion of an Easter Island statue, will never understand), but the assumption that everybody on these benefits is capable of doing some work is as far from the truth as a Lib Dem and Conservative election manifesto. Oh, screw the analogies – it’s a lie, folks, pure and simple!

There are certain classes of illness/disability that are open to abuse – the notorious “bad back” for example, but how do you weed out the idler whose back pain cleared up years ago, without making the lives of those who are genuinely suffering excruciating pain absolutely intolerable?

And here’s a question nobody, not James Purnell, Gordon Brown, Grayling or Cameron (we can ignore Clegg – it’s not as if he matters any more), has addressed – why on earth would somebody, who is capable of working, voluntarily consign themselves to decades (according to Grayling), of the poverty that life on benefits represents? True, nobody starves but trust me, life on benefits is so far removed from the norm that nobody who hasn’t experienced it can comprehend it.

Nobody in their right mind would want any part of it if there was an alternative.

Look at the problem from another perspective. Were I suddenly well enough to work (it’s academic, I turned 65 last year, but bear with me), what employer would take on someone who hasn’t been able to work since 1986, and, equally importantly, has lost almost every job he ever had through excessive sick leave?

What skills I had – and they were many – are either seriously eroded or lost completely (though in my nightmares I still know how to compile bills of lading!). I am effectively unemployable. And I’m by no means alone.

The thing is, though, we all know that Grayling has not the slightest interest in trying to get people back into work, because there isn’t any.

We still haven’t fully emerged from the recession, and its associated job losses; the indications are that the budget cuts are likely to tip us back into it – the so-called “double-dip” recession – which will cause more job losses, not to mention the millions of jobs which will be lost as a direct result of the budget cuts.

Whatever vacancies there might be will go to the best-qualified, not to someone who hasn’t worked for decades and has no marketable skills.

All Grayling wants to do is remove people from expensive disability benefits and move them to the very much lower Jobseekers Allowance – a benefit on which, especially if one is chronically sick and disabled, long-term survival is likely to be impossible.

It’s purely a money-saving exercise, at the expense of those who are unable to defend themselves (much easier than taking on the unions, isn’t it Dave?).

Grayling doesn’t believe that people have “been cast aside by a welfare system” – not for one moment. All he cares about is promoting the lie, first promulgated by David Freud, that the vast majority of Incapacity Benefit claimants are perfectly well and capable of work.

It was a lie then, and it’s still a lie now, and dressing it up as if these proposals are for the benefit of the people involved is simply dishonest. He’ll be telling us work makes us free next…

See also ESA application form not fit for purpose.

6 thoughts on “For the sick and disabled, the lies continue…

  1. You have pretty much hit the nail on the head there Ron, i can hardly wait until it is my turn to fall through the cracks and end up languishing on JSA!
    I am only 35 and have been claiming ESA since last December with absolutely no sign of employment on the horizon, all that rubbish about tailor made back to work training is entirely false and after completing my first five Work Focused Interviews i am pretty much on my own.
    You are so right, what employer is going to take a gamble and risk employing someone with gaping holes in their CV and poor attendance record when there are thousands of highly qualified, motivated individuals out there ready to bite their hand off for a chance?
    Never mind, i don’t suppose i will have to put up with it much longer, Chris Grayling says i am perfectly ok and a swift boot up the backside will put me to rights…

    Anyone remember the old Tory mantra “short, sharp, shock”? Assume the position lads here comes Chris Grayling!

    • I have a document in my possession – oh dear, sounds a bit pretentious, but what the hell – that details how ESA fails to comply with the legislation upon which it’s based. I’d publish it, but I can’t recall where I got it from, to ask permission. I really must make an effort to find out.

  2. I agree with everything you have said Ron. The same thoughts went through my mind when I heard about the plans of the government. I’m 35 years old and haven’t worked since I was 28. Something bizarre happened to me when I last re-newed my DLA. They increased it to the higher rate but this had the effect of bringing me to the notice of Income Support who demanded I attend a ‘job focussed interview’! So now that the State has decided I have become more ill it’s time I went out and got a job? Makes no sense. I refused to go and they just ignored me luckily! I think this was through incompetance rather than sanity on their part however.

    • Thing with DLA, Matt, is that it’s basically a mobility payment (the old Mobility Allowance), plus the care component. Now I don’t know about care, but the mobility component is payable whether you can work or not.

      There’ll be a lot more people “invited” for interviews before they’re done.

  3. Strange thing is that it was the care component they increased from low to high. Mobility remained the same. I had already been declared unfit to work via my Incapacity Benefit claim. The more I hear about this government the more confused they sound. I am hoping that they will find the whole endevour to complex for their small minds and abandon their social engineering project. But that is just wishful thinking. I know they couldn’t give a damn about the ill; they just want us on £65 a week instead of £100. They know most of us will never actually be employable. What a very cynical and nasty government we have. I’m just glad I didn’t vote for them or their little yellow friends.

    • One of the few pleasures of turning 65 last year was it got me out of the IB system. That won’t be a good place to be in the next few years.

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