BBC News: “New benefit system labelled unfit”; Benefits and Work: Daily Mail and Carer Watch
There was a 18-minute item about the Coalition Government’s Welfare Reforms programme on the BBC2 ‘Newsnight’ programme last night (27 May 2010) – a film package with Peter Marshall reporting from Coventry and studio discussion chaired by Gavin Esler. The government spokesman who faced three benefits claimants in the studio was Steve Webb (Lib Dem), the new Minister for Pensions.
To watch this item on BBCi Player, click on the following link and then move the cursor on the time bar to 13:58.
Newsnight programme (27 May 2010)
BBC Scotland Investigates – 2010 – 6. Who’s Cheating Who?
Mark Daly investigates new government plans to end the UK’s sicknote culture by getting a million people off benefits and back to work. We reveal how, in Britain’s modern welfare state, private companies are paid billions to carry out medical assessments on claimants to determine if they are fit for work, and ask if they are putting profits before welfare. The film hears claims that patients across Scotland with severe mental illness and cancer are being denied benefits and told they must find a job.
BBC One, 10:45pm Wednesday 26th May 2010
Duration: 30 minutes
Available until: 11:14pm Wednesday 2nd June 2010
Categories: News, Scotland
BBC News: “New benefit system labelled unfit”
A new benefits system promising to end the UK’s sicknote culture has been condemned as unfit for purpose.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was introduced 18 months ago to replace incapacity benefit.
But its new medical assessment has led to allegations by Citizens Advice Scotland that it targets the most vulnerable.
However, the Department for Work and Pensions believes ESA is the best way to ensure people get back to work.
A BBC Scotland investigation found that under ESA, more than two thirds of claimants are being found fit to work, almost 20% more than the government had planned.
Full article on BBC Scotland here
From Steve Donnison Benefits and Work
Atos medicals on TV [26 may] plus more secret recording
26 May 2010
In this issue we have what we regard as an absolutely brilliant letter by a member who decided that he was going to record his medical secretly, but informed Atos in writing in advance that he was going to do so. It worked for him and you may well want to give it a try yourself: Recording medicals – excellent strategy from a member (This article is members only)
Atos won’t be happy about this and they probably aren’t very pleased about featuring in a TV programme tonight, Wednesday 26th May. Who’s Cheating Who?, which questions whether employment and support allowance is fit for purpose and whether profits are being put before welfare, is on at 10.45pm on BBC1 Scotland. (Even if you don’t live in Scotland, you should be able to watch if you have freeview, Sky or cable TV). We know that many Benefits and Work members provided information to the makers of this programme and we’d be very interested to have your comments after you’ve watched. More details and your opportunity to comment: Who’s Cheating Who?
Another group of people who aren’t feeling too happy at the moment are MP’s There’s outrage at Westminster over the impression that Ipsa, the new expenses authority, is treating our honourable members as if they were – in the words of one ex-minister ‘benefits claimants’: Shed real tears as you read about the tribulations of our honourable members: Outrage as MPs treated like claimants
Sadly, there are clouds on the horizon for claimants too, as the Queen’s Speech includes a welfare reform bill intended to simplify the benefits system and, somewhat miraculously, move 5 million claimants currently ‘languishing’ on benefits into work as a result: Major changes to benefits ahead
There’s more cheering news from north of the border, though. A member of the Scottish parliament has tabled a motion asking for an urgent review of employment and support allowance on the grounds that it’s unit for purpose. Whilst the motion won’t have any practical effect, we think that supporting an elected representative anywhere in the UK who has the courage to speak out in favour of sick and disabled claimants is worthwhile. Find out more and send Hugh O’Donnell a message of support here: Scottish motion against ESA
Finally, there’s no shortage of sad, angry and desperate tales in the forum at the moment, but we’ve managed to find a few happy ones to keep the mostly positive tone of this newsletter going right through to the end.
(c) 2010 Steve Donnison. You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your website or blog, provided you do so in full.
Daily Mail | 26 May 2010
New disability benefit system is flawed and could cost taxpayer MORE, says one of its architects
One of the architects of a new benefit system for disabled people urged the Government to delay rolling it out today after evidence that medical tests are wrongly finding thousands of people fit for work…
Carer Watch | 30 April 2010
A campaign group for carers across the UK run by independent, unpaid carers
Silence from Leaders re Carers Benefits is deafening
We thought this may be of interest to you ( and your members). As much as social care has been given such a high profile, we feel once again family carers have been overlooked.Comments can be added to the blog post.