Credit where credit is due. When it comes to going through the motions of suggesting that the government are very willing to consult public opinion relating to planned major changes in welfare funding, this Tory government excels.
Yet another call for evidence in response to yet another government Green Paper, whose design is guaranteed to create more preventable harm to those least able to object.
The content of the latest Green Paper: The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper demonstrates that the government has resisted evidence from previous public consultations on welfare, which should alert all concerned that little will change.
This latest ‘consultation’ continues to disregard previous evidence which demonstrated the enormous harm created by the use of the dangerous, discredited and bogus biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability assessment, as used for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to limit access by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
The new Green Paper seemed to offer a little hope, and suggests that the DWP are willing to listen to opinion and to accept detailed evidence. In reality, the Green Paper confirms that the government have no intentions of not using the BPS model of assessment for the WCA.
They have no intention of a return to welfare policy based upon a social model approach, as approved by the disabled community, they have no intentions of reversing the planned savage cut to ESA income and the purchase of Income Protection Insurance for the workplace has been planned for a long time, and was first reported in detailed research in 2013.
There have been many responses to the Green Paper consultation, including from the Spartacus Group, who are ‘the leading research group powered by disabled people’ and by Inclusion London who support London’s deaf and disabled people’s organisations. The responses thinly disguise the total disbelief and the anger generated by the Green Paper’s disturbing propositions.
Smokescreen: Spartacus Response to the Ministerial Foreword in the Green Paper:
‘The Minister speaks of highlighting, confronting, and challenging the attitudes, prejudices and misunderstandings and yet creates a Green Paper that is suggestive, prejudicial and misleading. Indeed there are prejudices in the minds of employers and the welfare state. An employer is quite rightly prejudiced against a person who is too sick to work, and will generate no profits. The welfare state assumes our NHS and GPs are incapable of judging if a person is too ill to work.
The Minister talks of innovative action, asking what will it take to transform employment prospects for disabled people and people with long term health conditions. And yet had the Minister listened he would have heard the very simple message: healthy disabled people need social care packages, access to work packages, training and specialized job brokers. Those with long-term health conditions, whose condition is incompatible with work, should not be forced into further assessments and financial deprivation. These are the people who can’t work and won’t be employed.
Finally to give you a flavour of this report about the UK sickness benefit ‘Employment and Support Allowance’: the report mentions disability 245 times, but never once does it mention chronic illness, nor does it mention that the UK’s current legislation places people judged too sick to work on a subsistence-level income, designed to force people into material deprivation and thus restrict their participation in society’.
There will be many more responses to the Green Paper, written by very experienced people making a strong, credible argument for the government to stop using the totally bogus BPS model but, what no-one appears to accept is that the government won’t stop using the BPS model, as this was a ‘done deal’ with their American corporate ‘welfare claims management’ advisers long ago.
The main architect for the introduction of the BPS model of assessment is the former DWP Chief Medical Officer, Mansel Aylward, who in 2005 co-authored The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits when funded by UnumProvident Insurance. As long ago as 2012, Aylward suddenly claimed that the BPS model was ‘unsatisfactory’ and that it ‘no longer addresses the real needs of disabled people and the exclusion of disabled people from society.’
So, the government’s chief architect of this BPS atrocity apparently changed his mind five years ago. Top academics have been reporting the preventable harm, the deaths and the despair created by the ongoing brutality of the WCA, when using the BPS model to resist funding the ESA, and Aylward’s so called academic research as used to justify the BPS model was exposed by more academic excellence, which concluded that ‘there is no coherent theory or evidence behind this model’ and that Aylward’s research actually ‘revealed a cavalier approach to scientific evidence.’
As long ago as 2010 the report Atos Healthcare or Disability Denial Factories exposed the fact that the WCA, using the BPS model, was a replica from corporate America and was destined to prevent access to welfare benefit as the UK government covertly converted the Welfare State into a replica of an American state for welfare funding.
Regardless of years of detailed evidence exposing the preventable harm created by the BPS model, nothing has changed.
The DWP will go through the motions of ‘consulting’ before they publish their response, which will disregard all opinion that fails to support theirs because they have no intention of returning to a fair model of assessment, which would inevitably cost the DWP more money.