Guardian Letters, 22nd May 2012
Restricting the disability living allowance (or the personal independence payment) to “those who need it most” must seem to many right now to be entirely reasonable. But this policy accepts that the 500,000 scheduled to be denied help, although not the people who need it “most”, will nevertheless be genuinely “in need”. Another blow for the offensive claim that “we are all in this together”.
Restricting bankers’ bonuses to those “who need it most” might help redress the balance, and give Atos a useful damage-limitation opportunity (Paralympics sponsorship: Controversial Atos deal defended by organisers, 22 May). Bankers in line for bonuses could be subjected to the renowned Atos assessment process that disabled people are undergoing, and required to show that, if they were denied their bonus, the degree of hardship they would suffer would be equivalent to the level disabled people have to show to get financial help.
To ensure equity, those who showed such extreme personal hardship would retain the equivalent of the DLA/PIP but be required to donate the rest of their promised bonus to help fund DLA/PIP for the 500,000 scheduled to get nothing.
• Oh the irony! I read your article on Atos support for the Paralympics while sitting with my client waiting on an employment and support allowance tribunal and thought of comparable sponsorships: crack houses sponsoring drug rehab, Cosa Nostra running a prisoner resettlement scheme, and, of course, payday loan firms facilitating workshops on budget management. The tribunal? Yet another Atos rejection overturned. I won’t tell you how many wins in a row that is, you wouldn’t believe me. This time, not unusually, the client was placed in schedule 3, the higher support group of ESA, acknowledging his high level of need. I won’t say what this guy has suffered, you might be having your breakfast.