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Ask Chris Grayling - Thursday 10 February sees your chance to grill a Government Minister about welfare reform


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I think this could be fun!!

 

From:

http://yesministerltd.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/rethinks-opportunity-to-speak-with-chris-grayling/

 

Thursday 10 February sees your chance to grill a Government Minister about welfare reform

 

Many people affected by mental health issues are worried about the Government’s proposed changes to the welfare system. The benefits that millions currently receive are to be radically overhauled over the next few years.

 

But thanks to the amazing work of Rethink campaigners, anyone concerned about these changes now has the chance to hold Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to account.

 

On 10 February at approximately 11.30am, Rethink will be hosting a live web chat with the Minister, and anyone can join in. This is your chance to ask the question that you feel hasn’t been answered.

 

Post your question in advance, right now, by visiting the Rethink website at http://www.rethink.org/talk/topic/1444-ask-the-minister/

I'm not a qualified welfare rights adviser, but I'm planning on becoming one. I'm no substitute for more competent advice from trained CAB and welfare rights workers - [URL="http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/127741-benefits-advice.html"]see this post[/URL] by Joa, great advice and links! I've been running a Crisis Loan campaign and help since Jan 2007 . See my annotations c/o "theyworkforyou". I'm also currently interested by the recent DWP Medical Services reform and the effect this is having on valid claims, seriously - someone needs to be keeping a suicide count.

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Thanks LR - I'll be at work so won't be able to take part and would dearly love to on behalf of my son and all those who are already stuffed by the system and about to be buried by it.

 

I'll be getting my question up on the forum and hope it gets addressed.

 

BTW - seeing your sig, I wish you all the best on your plans and hope you can achieve what you want before too long.

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hopefully people will back him into a corner so he has to give answers
I expect that he'll do the typical politician obfuscation thing + ignoring the toughest questions + repeating from the DWP doublespeak hymn sheet (the one wherein sanctions are called "support" and workfare is called "back-to-work help").

For what it's worth, I've added my questions and added my 2 cents worth, I expect I'll be ignored but I can still send it to him at Parliament and subsequently complain to No. 10 if I don't get a reply. After that lot fails I can try getting the Green Party M.P. to ask him my question in Parliament, and failing that I'll explore complaining to the European Court of Human Rights that our government is inciting anti-disabled prejudice.

 

Here's what I posted:

Mr. Grayling,

every three months there is a DWP Press Release announcing the latest released WCA statistics in which each time (since July 2010) you and the DWP (acting under your guidance) have been making statements which create a narrative maligning 75% of ESA and IB claimants including the long-term ill and disabled as malingerers. By lumping in "Claims closed before assessment complete" with "Fit for Work" [1] [2] [3] these press releases are selectively using statistics in a misleading way and encouraging anti-disabled prejudice and scapegoat making tabloid bile [4 (i-iii)] which causes us distress, and even greater suffering to those of us with mental health disorders.

Furthermore, the fact that the press releases omit to clarify the full meaning of "Claim closed before assessment complete" leaves an open door for more scurrilous reporting (e.g. Macer Hall in the Daily Express 26/01/2011 [4 (i)] - "...36 per cent simply abandoned their claims as soon as they were told to undergo new work capability assessments introduced to weed out scroungers") [5]

 

Please could you answer the following questions without using the frequently trotted out "help" and "support" monologues, they have no relevance to my questions.

Neither do I wish to hear, "take it to the Press Complaints Commission", I've done it before and it's a waste of time - self regulatory bodies are self-serving and the PCC ranks among the worst of them.

 

Question 1.

Would you agree with me that conjoining the "Claims closed before assessment complete" cohort with the "Fit for Work" cohort within the same sentence (by using the word "or" in the examples [1] to [3] provided) is misleading and should cease, i.e. clearly separate sentences or paragraphs will be used in future DWP ESA stats announcement press releases.

Question 2.

Would you agree with me that a footnote should be added to future DWP ESA stats announcement press releases. (See example below [5])

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Footnotes:

[1] http://www.dwp.gov.u...http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2010/july-2010/dwp095-10-270710.shtml

Quote

The latest statistics for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) applications show that three-quarters of applicants are being found fit for work or are stopping their claim before their assessment period has been completed.

 

Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling said:

 

"The vast majority of people who are applying for these benefits are being found fit for work or have stopped their claim. These are people who under the old system would have been abandoned on incapacity benefits. It's a clear indication of why reform is so urgently needed.

 

"This is exactly why we are going to reassess everyone claiming incapacity benefits for their ability to work, from this October. They will now be given the support they need to get back to work and will be expected to look for work if they are able to do so."

 

 

 

[2] http://www.dwp.gov.u...http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2010/oct-2010/dwp141-10-261010.shtml

Quote

26 October 2010 – Grayling: latest figures show the vast majority of people being found fit for work

 

Three-quarters of people applying for the new Employment and Support Allowance programme (ESA) are being found fit for work after undergoing the Work Capability Assessment or stop their claim before they complete their medical assessment, according to official statistics published today.

 

 

 

[3] http://www.dwp.gov.u...http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2011/jan-2011/dwp008-11.shtml

Quote

25 January 2011 – Majority of people found fit for work as Government presses ahead with reforms

 

The vast majority of people who apply for Employment and Support Allowance are either being found fit for work after undergoing a Work Capability Assessment or stop their claim before they complete their medical assessment.

 

The official statistics, published today, demonstrate why Ministers are determined to reform the welfare system and press ahead with the reassessment of those on the old style incapacity benefit (IB), which began in Burnley and Aberdeen last year and will roll out across the country later this year.

 

Employment Minister Chris Grayling:

 

"It’s unacceptable that so many people have been written off to a lifetime on benefits and these figures show just how vital it is that everyone who has the potential to work receives the right help and support.

 

"We are determined to get the medical assessment right and provide the necessary help for those that need it, however these figures show just how many people are found to be fit for work and not entitled to ESA.

 

 

 

[4] (i) http://www.dailyexpr...http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/225311

Headline: "75% ON SICK ARE SKIVING" (Wednesday January 26,2011 By Macer Hall)

Quote

"Officials who carried out fitness tests on people claiming incapacity-related benefits found that 39 per cent were well enough to get a job.

 

And a further 36 per cent simply abandoned their claims as soon as they were told to undergo new work capability assessments introduced to weed out scroungers."

 

 

(ii) http://www.dailymail...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324035/75-incapacity-claimants-fit-work-Benefits-test-weeds-workshy.html (27th October 2010)

Quote

"Three-quarters of people who applied for new benefits for the long-term sick failed tests to prove they were too ill to work."

 

 

(iii) http://www.dailymail...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1298192/76-say-theyre-sick-work.html (28th July 2010)

Quote

"Three-quarters of those claiming to be too sick to work are fit and able to look for a job, figures reveal."

 

 

 

[5] (My example of an additional explanatory footnote for future ESA stats press releases)

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) does not take place before the 13th week of the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claim, by which time claimants with shorter duration health conditions will have recovered and returned to either employment or Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) voluntarily. A significant proportion of claimants with shorter duration health conditions may never need to attend a WCA, for example:

1. JSA claimants, they are required to transfer their claim from JSA to ESA after their second week of (un)"well notes" from their Doctor.

2. The self-employed, they can claim ESA immediately after a few 'waiting days' it they provide (un)"well notes" from their Doctor .

3. Employees whose employers don't administer Statutory Sick Pay, they too can claim ESA immediately after a few 'waiting days' it they provide (un)"well notes" from their Doctor.

If someone in one of these groups (above) gets ill or is injured (e.g pneumonia or a fracture etc.) and subsequently recovers before 13 weeks (which typically they will), and then returns to work or JSA of their own accord before the WCA is due, they are recorded by the DWP as having stopped their claim before they complete their medical assessment. This does not mean that they have "abandoned their claims as soon as they were told to undergo new work capability assessments introduced to weed out scroungers", and newspapers should avoid making statements to this effect.

I'm not a qualified welfare rights adviser, but I'm planning on becoming one. I'm no substitute for more competent advice from trained CAB and welfare rights workers - [URL="http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/127741-benefits-advice.html"]see this post[/URL] by Joa, great advice and links! I've been running a Crisis Loan campaign and help since Jan 2007 . See my annotations c/o "theyworkforyou". I'm also currently interested by the recent DWP Medical Services reform and the effect this is having on valid claims, seriously - someone needs to be keeping a suicide count.

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Old news but thanks anyway, I have no illusions regarding this unapologetic expenses scrounging Tory attack dog's complete lack of integrity. I know he's lower than a snake's belly, nonetheless I couldn't let slip the chance to see him wriggle and slither like a specimen of the suborder of reptile he epitomises.

He (when he was Shadow Home Secretary) already had some "form" when it comes to misusing inapplicable statistics to mislead the public and was publicly rebuked by Sir Michael Scholar, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority. If it hadn't been for the 'rethink' forum guidelines (re. courtesy) I would have added the quip, "Mr. Grayling needs to relearn a scholarly lesson". Chris Grayling use of crime statistics 'mislead' public

Edited by loan_ranger
"New improved formula" with added contempt.

I'm not a qualified welfare rights adviser, but I'm planning on becoming one. I'm no substitute for more competent advice from trained CAB and welfare rights workers - [URL="http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/127741-benefits-advice.html"]see this post[/URL] by Joa, great advice and links! I've been running a Crisis Loan campaign and help since Jan 2007 . See my annotations c/o "theyworkforyou". I'm also currently interested by the recent DWP Medical Services reform and the effect this is having on valid claims, seriously - someone needs to be keeping a suicide count.

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