Disabled activists have hailed as a major victory a decision by Scottish GPs to call on the government to abandon its controversial “fitness for work” tests.
Doctors at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual Scottish conference of GPs voted for a motion that called for the “inadequate, computer-based assessments” to be abandoned in favour of a “rigorous and safe” system that does not cause “avoidable harm” to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.
The motion said the work capability assessment (WCA), the test introduced by the Labour government in 2008 to assess people’s eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits, has “little regard to the nature or complexity” of disabled people’s needs. (This is because all it aims to do is to save the British government forking out money to keep sick people alive. It has better things planned for that money. The toilets in the House of Lords need upgrading. Aristocratic bottoms need to park themselves on suitable upholstered pots!)
Key Labour figures have squashed hopes that the party might call for the controversial “fitness for work” test to be scrapped, despite GPs demanding that it “end with immediate effect”.
GPs at a British Medical Association (BMA) conference voted unanimously last week for the work capability assessment (WCA) to be replaced with a “rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm” to their patients.
But senior Labour politicians have this week made it clear that they do not agree with the GPs. (Clearly, of course MPs know far better than GPs how medical assessments should be made.)
The assessment – which tests eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits – was introduced by the Labour government in 2008, and is now a centrepiece of the coalition’s welfare reforms.
A disabled man has described how he was forced to scavenge for food from supermarket bins, as a result of the government’s welfare reforms.
Clive Baulch was one of about 20 disabled people who presented personal evidence about the impact of the government’s austerity programme on their human rights, during a testimony session in London.
A recording of the session – organised by Inclusion London and Disabled People Against Cuts – will be sent to Shuaib Chalklen, the UN’s special rapporteur on disability, whose job is to monitor progress around the world towards equal opportunities.
He had been due to visit England to attend the meeting and the launch of a human rights report but had to postpone the trip at short notice.
Baulch told the meeting how he was made redundant in April 2012, three years after he became disabled through a massive stroke. (You may remember how the Work and Pensions Secretary once took the best part of the year off work, on full pay, because his wife was ill.)
In November 2012 he had his benefits stopped because he was told he hadn’t been “looking for work diligently”, even though he had applied for 600 jobs.
Within days he had run out of money. “I was in pretty dire straits. I tried begging. I also tried three in the morning round the back of the supermarkets looking in skips. I spent a lot of my days ‘striving’.”
He told Disability News Service later that he had taken food from supermarket skips on about five occasions. (This is the same government that hailed its successes in the paralympics in London, and claimed that they were the best games ever. Irony or what?)
(Also taken from Disability News Service.)
Talking about human rights, I see Cameron has said that he has talked to the Chinese about human rights on this visit.
As he has and every Brit has for as long as they have been going there. I wonder what good they think it has done. China's record on human rights remains relatively dismal.
And in the meantime the British government is evicting elderly and disabled people from houses because they cannot afford to pay the bedroom tax and there are no smaller properties available to them to go to.
According the the People's Daily, the state controlled Chinese newspaper, not a lot.
The Independent and Telegraph both report that an editorial, surely approved at the highest level, says that Britain is no longer a power, but a small European state and that it was only good as a destination for education and holidays.
Well, it's good to know that it is useful for something.
Cameron effected indifference, but inside he must surely be seething.
They don't treat the First Minister with that kind of disrespect.