Iain Duncan Smith’s abject failure to keep an iron grip on the benefits system was highlighted again today as the DWP’s latest quarterly statistics were released.
The number of people in receipt of employment and support allowance (ESA) or incapacity benefit (IB) has risen for the second consecutive quarter – with an even bigger rise projected for the next quarter – whilst the increase in the number of universal credit claimants has been tiny.
The latest figures cover the quarter to February 2014 and show that IB/ESA claimant numbers increased from 2,456,000 in November 2013 to 2,459,000 in February 2014.
More damaging still for IDS, the DWP’s early estimate for June 2014 is that the ESA/IB claimant count will have leapt to 2,490,000. This will be the first time in over a decade that the IB/ESA claimant count has risen for three consecutive quarters.
The main cause for the rise is not that Atos or the DWP are being more claimant friendly in the way they assess claimants. It is, in fact, likely to be entirely due to the massive backlog in assessments, meaning that many claimants already on ESA are simply not being reassessed.
Given that IDS is the minister who has repeatedly accused Labour of leaving claimants to languish untested on sickness benefits, the fact that the claimant count is rising for this reason would be a severe embarrassment – if the mainstream press actually covered it.
Meanwhile, the number of claimants on universal credit has risen from 5,180 in February 2014 to just 6,570 in May 2014, an increase of only 1,390 in three months of the flagship project that was supposed to revolutionise welfare benefits in the UK.
The reality is that it is the savage sanctions regime and the myriad cuts in benefits that is changing life for sick and disabled claimants. Universal credit is still just a smokescreen behind which the war against them is being waged.
Source – Benefits & Work, 13 Aug 2014
A UK artist has created an art installation as a memorial to the suicide victims of welfare reform.
Melanie Cutler contacted Vox Political regarding her piece – ‘Stewardship’ – a few weeks ago, asking, “Do you think I’ll be arrested?”
The response was that it should be unlikely if she informed the media. The artworks have been displayed at the Northampton Degree Show and are currently at the Free Range Exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery building in Brick Lane, London, which ends tomorrow (June 30).
Entry is free and the installation will be located in F Block, B5.
“I have become an artist later on in life,” Melanie told Vox Political. “I was a carer for my son and, a few decades later, my father. I have worked most of my life too, raising three children.
“Only recently, while studying fine art at University I found my health…
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When David Cameron stands up in all his hypocrisy and tells you that tearing apart the basic safety net that guaranteed people would not be left in hunger or destitution is part of his “moral mission”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the country has taken a turn for the worse.
When he defends an administration that has become so punitive that applicants who don’t get it right have to wait without food for months at a time, by claiming he is doing “what is right”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the man who claims he is Prime Minister has diverged from reality.
That is precisely what he has done, and you can bet that the Tory diehards will quietly go along with it because they think it is far better for other people to lose their lives than it is for their government to lose face.
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Taking sides: Some of the demonstrators at Newtown, Powys. [Image: Mike Sivier] Were you one of the many, many people – both able-bodied and with disabilities – who gathered outside Atos assessment centres yesterday to demand an end to the system that continues to cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people every day?
I attended one of the 144 locations used by Atos to carry out the discredited work capability assessments – in Newtown, Powys – where I was just another face in the crowd that had gathered to remind the public of the atrocity being carried out with their tax money.
The Newtown campaign was undoubtedly small in comparison to others around the country, with a maximum of 15 protesters at its height, but the public response was excellent. The assessment centre is next to a major traffic junction, meaning there were plenty of opportunities to…
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“In case they’ve grown back” (picture at top of post) may be meant as humour, but something very similar has actually happened with Atos. See – https://unemployedtynewear.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/atos-expecting-miracles/
The government wouldn’t do it – so an influential Parliamentary committee has decided to launch its own inquiry into Employment and Support Allowance and the Work Capability Assessment that determines eligibility for it.
I will be submitting evidence to this inquiry and I strongly suggest that, if you have a story to tell, then you should provide evidence as well.
According to the Parliament.uk website, the decision to undertake an inquiry from today (February 6) was made in light of recent developments including the publication of several reviews of the WCA, expressions of concern from DWP regarding Atos’s performance in delivering the WCA, and the introduction of mandatory reconsideration.
Submissions of no more than 3,000 words are invited from interested organisations and individuals.
The Committee is particularly interested to hear views on:
- Delivery of the WCA by Atos, including steps taken to improve the claimant experience
- The effectiveness of…
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“Manifestly inadequate” are words that should ring in Iain Duncan Smith’s ears for some time to come.
They are the Council of Europe’s verdict on the UK’s social security system of payments for jobseekers, pensioners and recipients of both short- and long-term incapacity benefit.
The Council, an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation, is home to the European Court of Human Rights.
The finding was made in an annual review of the UK’s adherence to the council’s European Social Charter. If the UK’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition government takes no action to rectify the situation, then the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers may address a recommendation to the UK, asking it to change the situation in law or in practice. This is clearly a weak way of handling a situation…
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