Monday, April 20, 2015

Open Letter to Ed Miliband - #newapproach

Dear Mr. Miliband,

We never thought we would see a Britain in which terminally ill people rely on foodbanks to eat, or cancer patients miss their treatment because they don’t have the bus fare to get to the hospital. We never thought a bedroom for a severely disabled child would be seen as an undeserved luxury, or sick and disabled people would have their incomes reduced or removed for missing an appointment at the Jobcentre. We never thought people with incurable illnesses like Parkinson’s or Motor Neurone disease would be told by the Department for Work and Pensions that they would get better, and should prepare for work.
But we are seeing all this and more. Quite simply, the sick and disabled people of Britain are facing an unprecedented crisis which we never imagined could happen in the UK. It is a national scandal.

We are all of us caught up in a system worthy of Kafka. We are either awaiting assessments, or reassessments, appeals, or reconsiderations. Others are living in fear of being caught up in that system, and losing the means to survive. For us, there is no longer any ‘social security’, just an ever-present anxiety that at any moment the dreaded brown envelope may arrive on the doormat and put us at the brink of destitution. Some are just too ill to keep fighting, and simply give up.

The Employment and Support Allowance fiasco has now escalated to a DWP case load of over 6 million. Over 4 million Work Capability Assessments have been carried out as part of the relentless programme of assessments triggered by the current government, and it was clear from the outset that Atos were never going to be able to cope. The human suffering caused by this reckless implementation of the over-rigorous & target-based Work Capability Assessment has now become a national scandal which demands immediate action...