I AM increasingly horrified by reports of the so-called benefit ‘reforms’ that are making life a misery for thousands of people who suffer long term health problems.
It appears that Mr Cameron’s government is intent upon driving Britain back to the Thatcher era when social inequality and deprivation rose dramatically.
The tabloid media appears oblivious to the fate of so-called ‘welfare scroungers’ and ‘benefit cheats’ – which is something that is encouraged by the pronouncements from government ministers.
The same media outlets are unconcerned by the tax ‘cheats’ in the city of London who are not paying taxes to the tune of £25bn a year.
The select committee on work and pensions has just issued a report that focuses upon the government’s attempt to reassess the 1.5m people who have been on Incapacity Benefit via the so-called work capability assessments. It makes for very sobering reading.
A French company, Atos, has been awarded a £100m contract for carrying out work capability assessments (WCA). The results of this attempt to force vulnerable people off benefits are obvious. Thousands of seriously ill people have been fallaciously deemed ‘fit for work’. Dozens of charities have complained to the government about this. Thousands of people with serious health problems have appealed against being found ‘fit for work’. The rate of successful appeals is running at about 40%. The projected annual cost of appeals has been put as high as £50m – although Atos incurs no penalty for getting things so wrong.
Surely the hallmark of any civilised country is how it treats the most vulnerable people in society?
The Government’s attempt to save money at the expense of seriously ill people is shameful. It is something that should seriously concern us all.
Dr Dylan Murphy