Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.


with 5 comments

This is cross-posted from Tony Greenstein’s Blog.

Tony is in contact with Ipswich Unemployed Action. One of his complaints (see below) is the lack of serious opposition to Welfare Reform. Here he gives further details of the threat this poses and what should be done.

There are already serious cases in Ipswich of people having their money cut. The DWP runs examinations popularly known as the Lourdes cure: the halt and the lame emerge in full health (er…). Some of the most serious examples involve people with ‘invisible’ disabilities – that is those suffering from mental troubles.


Tony Greenstein Having already abolished Incapacity Benefit, New Labour has now made it clear that it wants to scrap ALL disability benefits. On July 14th New Labour published a Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care. Reading through the spin, the message is clear. DLA is ‘inefficient’ ‘poorly targeted’ [because it’s not means tested!] and therefore has to go towards paying for a new national care service. DLA is the best benefit there is. If your needs are great enough, if you cannot care and need help with bodily functions for part or all of the day (and night) you are eligible for DLA. There are 3 bands – lower, middle and higher. Receipt of DLA does not overlap with other benefits and is not counted as taxable income. The result is that people who are the most vulnerable and sick in this society see a small increase in their standard of living. This is what New Labour hate most of all. The proposal is to use the money for ‘individual budgets’ run by private companies, whereby the disabled, in agreement with the local authority, can spend the money on care. Of course they’ll never actually see the money!! The whole system will be discretionary and, of course, liable to cuts. Anyone with any experience of the existing system of individual budgets knows what a nightmare the whole system is.

The Green Paper talks about abolishing Attendance Allowance which is paid to those 65 and over (AA is the equivalent of the care component of DLA). Instead they intend to force the elderly to pay £20,000 to insure themselves!! The Green Paper talks about replacing not just Attendance Allowance but ‘disability benefits’ – a clear sign that it is not just AA which is in their sights. And the Green Paper dresses up its purpose with the usual New Labour waffle such as proclaiming that “our aspiration (is) to build a stronger, fairer Britain.” The Attlee Government of 1945-51, which was a right-wing cold war Labour government, introduced the building blocs of the welfare state which New Labour is intent on dismantling. They introduced the 1948 National Assistance Act intended to act as a safety net for those who fell below a certain level of income.

Successive Labour and Tory Governments built on Attlee’s measures. E.g. DLA was introduced by the Major Government in 1992 New Labour has abolished Incapacity Benefit and all but scrapped Income Support. Those who propagate the idea that New Labour is ‘better’ than the Tories and base their strategy on that are deceiving themselves and others.. New Labour prefers a welfare state for bankers in distress, and their ‘benefits’ are paid via stuffing their mouths with gold, whilst expecting the poorest and most deprived sections of the community to pay for it. Meanwhile the leadership of the Trade Unions, like the three wise monkeys, hear nothing, see nothing and say nothing. And more to the point – do nothing. DLA is used to pay for the extra costs that result from being disabled. For example my own son is autistic.

One of the consequences of this is that he is always breaking things, including windows! DLA pays for this. It also enables him to be taken out by his parents, to enjoy videos and DVDs and live as near as possible a normal life including holidays. This is the kind of thing that New Labour is determined to prevent and in its place will be a free-market, semi-privatised, bureaucratically driven National Care Agency which will determine what the needs of the disabled are. Disabled Charities Collaborate with Government The disabled charity sector – Disability Alliance, Mencap and all the other charities who make a good living off the back of the disabled – are the Government’s first port of call.

These so-called ‘representatives’ of the disabled, although no one has ever elected these middle-class worthies, most of whom are not disabled, to this role, are now rolling over to accept New Labour’s latest spin. Their idea of a ‘campaign’ is to get people to take part in the Government’s ‘consultation exercise’. Now no one is suggesting that people boycott the consultation, but to make that the only part of your ‘campaign’ is to fool people into believing that any New Labour ‘consultation’ is actually a genuine exercise, rather than an attempt to convince those they are targetting that New Labour’s medicine will be good for them. On 1st September Michelle Holland of the Disability Alliance wrote to me saying it was untrue that they supported the abolition of DLA and AA. She suggested writing to one’s MP and take part in the government consultation. Ms Holland boasted that ‘We are members of the Disability Benefit Consortium… We meet regularly with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs on a range of benefits related issues.’

Err quite and look where it’s got you. On October 16th Ms Holland followed this up with another letter urging that I contact my MP and assuring me that ‘We are building as robust a defence of DLA and Attendance Allowance as possible and will be trying to demonstrate that.’ Which entirely misses the point that the government’s exercise is not conducted in good faith. The proposals for a national care system are designed to hide the fact that their main goal is the abolition of a benefit that costs over £10 billion a year. When you’ve got hungry bankers to feed, then it is clear what your priorities are.

I therefore wrote back to Ms Holland about her ‘campaign’ asking: ‘Where are the thousands of posters, the meetings, the town hall rallies, the leaflets to MPs securing firm commitments in the run-up to the General Election? Instead you prefer quiet words behind doors with those seeking to find the money to fund the public borrowing deficit incurred as a result of a welfare state that primarily caters today for Bankers and other parasites. To be blunt your role is an absolute disgrace and since you intend to do nothing it’s about time that the spotlight was turned on people like you who purport to represent the disabled when in actual fact you do nothing but sell them out.’ In fact I had already written to my MP, and the Minister for Disabled, Jonathan Shaw wrote back thus in a letter of 12 October: ‘’Many people and charities, such as Disability Alliance, Mencap, Age Concern and Help the Aged have told us they welcome the chance to discuss and engage [i.e collaborate] with us on these important issues.’

The Fight is on to Save ALL Disability Benefits including Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance (for the 65s and over).


Written by Andrew Coates

October 24, 2009 at 8:16 am

5 Responses

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  1. Does Tony want me to add this to my blog too?

    Flexible New Deal

    October 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    • I have been reading a lot about this all Polish tribunal, and of course you have to be careful about how you know they were polish, I know the requirement for being on a tribunal anyone can put his or her name forward. But all from Poland I doubt that very much.

      But again why did the tribunal cut his DLA, the tribunal is only after you have been to the medical PCA or the get them back to work medical.

      from what I can make out the tribunal is held only if you ask and they are the same as the DLA in which the biggest part are getting told they have won.


      December 23, 2009 at 9:36 pm

  2. I had a friend on DLA who was uncerimoniously hauled in front of one of these panels who were busy doing there “Jesus of Nazereth” act (raising the dead)the panel were all Polish and he had great difficuly understanding them anyway the “Polish Pop Panel” voted him A1 and stopped his DLA. I recently heard of a campaign launched by the son of a man who was killed by gross misspractice by a new German doctor covering for the first time for a GP, the son is in fact a british doctor and was appalled that these EEC doctors do not face any medical or language tests to practice hear unlike non EEC doctors who come from say Banglerdesh.
    On The subject of mans inhumanity to man A great Pillar of the peoples republic of Lowestoft found on attending his jobcentre signing he had his claim closed “for not attending an adviser interview and failing to inform them he couldn’t attend”. A frank exchange of views then followed (though Mr. swearey did not show his face)In which our hero pointed out that he had rung his adviser in the morning in question as he couldn’t attend due to having flu, his adviser was also away ill and had left a message with the person at her desk to pass on to the person covering and spelling out his name as it was all written down, unfortunatly it all seems to have gone astay leading to our hero having his money stopped with no pria notification and having to make a rapid reclaim and a sudden need to make an application for a crises loan for food till new payement arrives.Our Scouts report that despite stopping our mans money through no fault of his own the Jobcentre staff were pretty helpull over things as I fear this is probably a common occurance as there is nothing to stop this dissasterous chain of events happening as its a system fault. Does anyone have any experiance and advice about putting in an appeal or any advice on how MrX can proove his innocence and reclaim any money deducted?

    Lowestoft's (Not So)Finest

    October 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm

  3. Flexy – Tony wants as much publicity as possible. He was up for picketing the recent ‘Povertism’ (I did not make this name up) conference that involved the groups he criticises. I was unable to do this – it costs too much to visit London for just an hour giving out leaflets.

    Andrew Coates

    October 25, 2009 at 10:28 am

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