Tag Archives: work capability assessment

Cathy Bakewell: the Government must replace the fit for work test entirely

cathy-bakewell

Cathy Bakewell, our new Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has not been slow in writing about her brief.

The Government is planning to review the Work Capability Assessment, and she agrees that a review is a ‘step in the right direction. But, and there always is a ‘but’ with this Government: 

Posted in News | Also tagged | 12 Comments

A few thoughts after Matt’s brave post – we have to make the system more realistic, fair and compassionate

It’s impossible to read Matt’s brave post on his battles not just with his own severe illnesses, but with the welfare system without feeling deeply moved. I felt upset and angry at the many failures of the state to give him the care and support he needs. I’m not just talking about medical care. It’s about having to fight for the benefits which put food on the table and keep a roof over his head. A liberal society takes care of those who are too ill to make their own living. There can never be a compromise on this. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: 2013’s banana skin?

Banana skin - Some rights reserved by purplemattfishThe LibDem Voice end of year survey gives us, as usual, much food for thought.

Net approval of the coalition’s record is down to 14% from 41% a year before. “Three big hits seem to have been responsible: first, the row over the NHS Bill; secondly, the omnishambolic March budget; and thirdly, the collapse of Lords reform”.

What issues might derail us this year? One is slowly poisoning our society, and with it the claims of the Liberal Democrats to be a party of fairness.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 37 Comments

Some positive news on the Work Capability Assessment

One of the most difficult aspects of the welfare reforms for many Liberal Democrat activists to bear was the removal of Employment and Support Allowance after a year from those placed in the Work Related Activity Group. Our anxiety is compounded by what we see as a deeply flawed assessment system which does not take fluctuating conditions seriously. I wrote a critique of the application form earlier this year which explains some of the problems.

The Work Capability Assessment was introduced by Labour in 2008.  The Coalition has improved it under the guidance of Professor Malcolm Harrington, but not to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Government must not force work activities on Cancer patients

The main form of financial support for the long term sick and disabled is the Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

Once upon a time, cancer patients undergoing radio or chemotherapy intravenously were placed in the support group of ESA where they received unconditional support. However, those receiving radio or chemotherapy orally were placed in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA where they were forced to attend work related interviews and complete other work related activity or face having part or all of their support withdrawn.

My mother died of cancer. A large part of her treatment consisted of oral chemotherapy. Oral because …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 24 Comments

Jenny Willott MP writes: Harrington – better assessments, better outcomes

At our Conference in September, the Liberal Democrats unanimously supported a motion calling for changes to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which accompanies it.

Speaker after speaker stood up to condemn the system left by Labour which subjected sick and disabled people to an ineffective, demeaning assessment process that was not fit for purpose. Many will remember the powerful speech by Shana Pezaro who condemned the WCA process as ‘utterly failing many people’.

The motion welcomed the first annual review of the WCA by Professor Malcolm Harrington, and the progress the Coalition Government has already …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Why you must lobby Parliament over welfare reform

A few weeks ago, our autumn conference passed a motion on the Employment Support Allowance (ESA). This motion was passed near unanimously and party policy is now for us to push for significant changes to the government’s welfare reforms.

The reason behind the new policy is that the government’s changes, as currently formatted, would put two million long term sick and disabled people through a system which treats them like scroungers and cheats rather than vulnerable people in need of support. At present, 11,000 people a day are being put through a deeply flawed assessment process, which gets the decision …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 26 Comments
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