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PASC demands that Government stats are presented with "the whole truth"


In a report on Communicating Statistics released today, Wednesday 29 May 2013, entitled “Not Just True, but Also Fair†the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) recommends that departmental press officers and government statistics staff should work together much more closely to ensure that press releases give an accurate and meaningful picture of the truth behind the figures.


Full piece can be read here -




(I hope your paying attention Smithy.......No more manipulating the figures......)

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Why did the DWP push ahead with illegal sanctions, knowing they don’t do any good?


Don’t shrug your shoulders, Smith! It’s time the people of the UK found a way to make him care about the deaths he is causing.



Today’s article on the Skwawkbox blog is extremely interesting, for anyone with an interest in the public services and the welfare state.


It seems the Department for Work and Pensions has pushed ahead with a regime including the Work Programme and the sanctions imposed for those who refuse to take part, and even changed the law to reinforce its position, despite having documentary proof that is two years old, showing that these policies do more harm than good and are not in the national interest.


You can read the article here to get the full picture. The gist is that a DWP report from 2011 advised the secretary of state, Iain Duncan Smith, that these policies were a bad idea – but he went ahead with them anyway.


So the report concludes that the Work Programme, and other training programmes imposed by the DWP, cause harm by preventing people from looking for work and forcing them to attend useless training sessions (as flagged up in this Vox Political article).


It admits the policy harms people who were already involved in training or volunteer work – on their own initiative - because they had to end it to take part in ‘mandated’ training or face sanction if they declined (Cait Reilly, for a much-publicised example).


People who didn’t attend, didn’t complete or rejected a training course because it was unsuitable were still sanctioned (even though the policy states – and the government has adamantly claimed for many months – that this does not happen. Transport difficulties and childcare problems were also flagged up as potentially leading to sanctions, even though they were not the fault of the jobseeker.


The report went on to criticise the sanctions regime – because it is harmful not only to the jobseeker but to members of that person’s family and friends as well. This is because it forces them to rely on family and friends for their survival, if they are lucky enough to have such people around to help; it damages family relationships and harms the well-being of low-income families who have to stretch their resources to help a sanctioned person, including younger brothers or sisters who have to rely on the money earned by their elders for their own sustainance. In other words, not only do sanctions harm individual jobseekers, but they also harm people who have had nothing to do with the benefits being suspended. As Steve Walker writes, that is “about as unjust as you could possibly getâ€.


There’s more, but you should visit the article because I want to ask a few more, searching, questions.


We’ve seen that the DWP was warned against imposing Workfare onto people who were already involved in training or volunteer work that they had initiated themselves. Isn’t that exactly what happened to Cait Reilly?


Then, rather than admit its mistake, pay her back the money she had lost through sanctions and let her go back to the volunteer work that might actually help her get a long-term career, the government forced her to take the matter to a lengthy (and, one expects, expensive) judicial review to prove her case.


When Ms Reilly won at the Court of Appeal (meaning the costs had to be paid by the DWP), it meant that tens – maybe hundreds of thousands of jobseekers who had been wrongly sanctioned could claim their money back. Mr… Smith immediately told the world that he wasn’t putting up with that and, diverging even further from the path of wisdom, tabled a Parliamentary Bill to change the law, in order to keep the money he and his department had stolen – yes, I think ‘stolen’ is the appropriate word – from the many taxpayers they had wronged.


Faced with this evidence, one finds it necessary to ask: In the name of sanity, why?


Why go ahead with a policy that cannot possibly be in the national interest? It stops people getting jobs; it harms jobseekers, their families and friends; it drives them to despair.


It drives them to despair.


Another recent article came our way via Facebook, and relates to the Suicide Act, 1961. It draws attention to the fact that the DWP and the wider UK government has been told, repeatedly and at length, that its policies are leading to suicides. The article itself refers to the many deaths we know take place every week because of the work capability assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, but it is also known that jobseeker suicides rise by around 10 per cent during times of high unemployment and the figures should be available to support a contention that this is taking place now.


The article goes on to say that continuing to authorise procedures that are known to end in suicide – as Iain Duncan Smith and his various lieutenants, Mark Hoban, Esther McVey, Chris Grayling and Maria Miller, have done – may therefore be viewed as procuring suicide from the disabled and otherwise disadvantaged population of the UK.


This is a criminal offence under the Suicide Act, 1961.


So it seems we have a government that has ignored the advice of its own reports in order to pursue a course of criminality that has led (as we all know) to many thousands of deaths.


Does anybody feel like calling the police? :roll: :?:

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tuts only in the British empire.


the last tory government wanted victorian values. this lot have jumped another 500 years back.


Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century.


A freeman became a serf usually through force or necessity. Sometimes freeholders or allodial owners were intimidated into dependency by the greater physical and legal force of a local magnate. Often a few years of crop failure, a war, or brigandage might leave a person unable to make his own way. In such a case a bargain was struck with a lord of a manor. In exchange for protection, service was required, in cash, produce or labour, or a combination of all.

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It seems Argos is pulling out of Workfare as is Homebase.


The link has some pointers to help those who are now slaves, alas, it has only been against the law to own a slave for a couple or three years in UK, yet, folk have to stick with this or suffer financially.




Perhaps Argos were getting to many copies of their own catalogue sent to them, as I had read of a campaign ongoing that involves sending the Customer Service Freepost addresses of companies using Workfare with copies of the Argos catalogue :lol: None the less it is a small step in the right direction that another 2 large companies have stopped using this horrendous scheme, another one of Smithy's ideas that is going to fail :lol:

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Food banks now a lifeline for half a million people in Britain


Massive cuts to social safety nets have led to "destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale" in Britain, with more than half a million people now forced to rely on food banks for sustenance, key poverty charities have warned in a report.


Welfare changes and mistakes by Jobcentre Plus staff are causing delays in benefits and errors or sanctions, which push vulnerable people into precarious situations, the report from Church Action on Poverty and Oxfam warns. The charities want an urgent parliamentary inquiry.


"The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are turning to food aid," said Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive. "Cuts to social safety nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable that this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet."


Full story here -




I have heard that there are a many more food parcels being distributed locally since the start of the year so this is also happening on our own doorstep.


I believe the Salvation Army are helping many people with these food parcels and although I do not know the lady in charge I believe she is a bit of an unsung hero who is doing an absolutely terrific job helping those in need.

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An email sent by Dr Greg Wood (who used to work for Atos but resigned ) to the -




Please investigate whether Atos Healthcare is providing a compassionate service in its handling of the 'Scrutiny' stage of the assessment of disabled people in receipt of Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance. The following points might help you in your investigation:

Atos Healthcare is a healthcare provider. As its name suggests, Atos Healthcare is directly involved with healthcare. One of its areas of clinical activity is Occupational Health. Atos Healthcare carries out disability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and the Veterans Agency.


Atos Healthcare employs a large number of healthcare practitioners. Atos Healthcare employs several thousand nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Atos Healthcare requires all of its doctors to hold a Licence To Practise from the General Medical Council. All the healthcare practitioners are required to show the same level of competency and professional duty towards their patients and clients as their peers working in other healthcare organisations.


Disabled people are currently in the middle of a reassessment process initiated by the Department for Work and Pensions, to see if they still qualify for the same level of financial assistance from the National Insurance scheme. They are required to complete a claim form (the ESA50) describing their care needs as the first step in this process. The ESA50 is then received by Atos Healthcare and is looked at by a registered healthcare practitioner at the Scrutiny stage. She or he reads the information that the disabled person or their carer or support worker has put down in the form, together with the accompanying documents submitted in support of their case. On the basis of the evidence received at this point, the healthcare practitioner is authorised to confirm entitlement to the ESA and to bring the assessment process to a close.


It may be that at this stage there is insufficient evidence to confirm entitlement. In such cases the Atos healthcare practitioner is then supposed to seek further documentary evidence to confirm entitlement. This would normally be a report from the patient's GP but it could be any relevant evidence, including that obtained after a telephone call to a medical attendant or support worker. If this new evidence supports a high level of care needs (using only the 'balance of probabilities' standard of proof) then the healthcare practitioner is required to acknowledge the entitlement to disability benefits. If not, the scrutinising healthcare practitioner then makes arrangements for a face-to-face assessment.

In my experience, based on having carried out many hundreds of the next stage of the assessment process - the face-to-face assessment - any scrutiny of those proceding to face-to-face assessments is almost always cursory. In only about 5% of face-to-face assessments, in my experience, has any additional evidence been obtained at the Scrutiny stage before a decision is made to require the disabled person to undergo a compulsory assessment in person (or risk financial penalties).


Many of the people that I saw in these circumstances were clearly very disabled and need not have come to be assessed. Some had serious progressive neurological conditions which were only going to get worse over time. They almost invariably said that the build up to the assessment had been nerve-racking, with lost sleep and much anxiety. They often said that being called forward had itself made them feel even more ill.

Please investigate my serious concerns.


NB Relevant to this issue is the result of a Judicial Review on 22 May 2013 in which a high court tribunal ruled that this evidence-gathering stage of the ESA assessment process discriminated against, and was unfair to, people with health problems affecting their cognitive abilities.



Dr Greg Wood MB BS

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A ONE-ARMED man trying to claim disability benefits said staff asked if he thought his limb might grow back.


Gary Swift, whose right limb is missing from below the elbow, says he faced the question while being medically assessed.


He had applied for an employment and support allowance — paid to people who can’t work through disability — and went to the meeting with his carer mum Tracey Perkins.


They say the interviewer asked: “Do you expect your condition to improve? Do you expect your arm to grow back within the next two years.â€

Gary, 30, of Chesterfield, Derbys, said: “I replied, ‘Well it’s not grown back in the last 30 years, so I can’t see it happening over the next two’.â€


ATOS Healthcare, who assessed Gary for the Department for Work and Pensions, said last night: “That question would never be asked. Staff carrying out the assessment are trained doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.â€


Gary said he was later sent on a job seekers’ gardening course — and handed a spade.


He said: “If it wasn’t so ridiculous it would be laughable.â€



And these are the "Medically trained" people who are advising on the decisions for their (victims) entitlement to benefits which when wrong has caused many thousands of sick and disabled people serious hardship and ultimately even death :cry:

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And another one has been caught out using misleading figures


Benefits Reform Statistics Used By Grant Shapps Were Inaccurate, Says Official Watchdog


Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps has been caught using false statistics to back up the government's welfare reforms, pointing to the wrong set of numbers to imply there were nearly a million benefit cheats.


In a Sunday Telegraph article from March, Shapps is quoted saying: "nearly 900,000 people who were on incapacity benefit dropped their claim to the payments, rather than undergo a tough medical test."


It continues: "This is a new figure, nearly a million people have come off incapacity benefit... before going for the test. They take themselves off."


However the UK Statistics Authority said the Tory chairman had "conflated" figures to get that total.


The figure of nearly one million Shapps quoted was in fact the number of new applicants to Employment and Support Allowance who had dropped claims between October 2008 and May 2012. They had not been awarded ESA.


The actual number people who were on incapacity benefit who dropped their claim to the payments was 20,000.


full story here -



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Dear ATOS, my 3 year old can push a button, should I be sending him to work?




Dear Atos Healthcare,


I’m writing to you with a concern about a person known to me who is not in work.


I am a journalist for a local newspaper, and on doing some research for an article yesterday, came across a very long list of questions that are asked at Atos ‘Work Capability Assessment’ interviews up and down Britain.


Questions such as:


Can you spell the word ‘world?’


What is 97 minus six?


Can you show me your left hand?


Can you show me your right hand?


Can you touch your nose with your left hand?


Can you touch your nose with your right hand?


Do you live with people or on your own?


Can you wash yourself?


Can you dress yourself?


Can you feed yourself unaided?


As I started to read the questions, a growing sense of doom began to build as I realised that I might know someone who is committing Benefit Fraud.


You see, my son, frequently referred to throughout my blog as Small Boy, can spell the word ‘world’. I don’t want to seem like one of those show- off mothers, but he can also touch his nose with his right and left hand when asked, he can wash his face, he dresses himself in the morning, and he doesn’t live by himself.


My son is three years old, and from my understanding based on my own research, he would pass an Atos Work Capabilty Assessment with flying colours.


So I have a concern.


I currently claim £20.30 a week in Child Benefit for this small being that is, by your own definitions, more than capable of taking a full time job. I’m worried, Atos, because as the genuinely sick are denied benefits because your own assessors cannot use common sense and judgement to decide whether they are actually fit to work, not whether they can spell single syllable words and dress themselves unaided, how long is it before you come for the children?


I mean, if you assess people based on their ability to push a single button, well, he’s been able to do that for quite some time.


In short – my toddler could pass an Atos test- IT DOESN’T MEAN HE CAN GO TO WORK.


As your chief exec issues half arsed pithy apologies ‘if they have done anything wrong’ on Radio 4 last month, I ask her, with the blood of Linda Wootton on her hands, who died NINE DAYS after her benefits were stopped by your unfeeling omnipotent test of nothingness, how do you sleep at night?


With reports of just one weeks training, with terminally ill people being asked to prove they are genuinely ill, how do you sleep at night?


Aneurin Bevan, the Labour MP and founder of the NHS, once said:


“Not even the apparently enlightened principle of the greatest good for the greatest number can excuse indifference to individual suffering. There is no test for progress other than its impact on the individual.â€


But that NHS is being dismantled too. In fact everything that is genuinely useful and necessary to us ‘ordinary folk’ is being ripped out from the hearts of our society by the Thatcher-inspired self-appointed elite. There are many of us that can’t AFFORD private health care, dental plans, fancy insurance policies. We depend on the things that are available for everybody.


Iain Duncan Smith said when he launched his ‘tough’ welfare reforms, that “a life on benefits is no longer an optionâ€. But surely LIFE itself is an option?


When did the decision to live or die, depend on your birthright, your inheritance, a family business passed down or a postcode lottery? When did the right to live become a desperate wish not to die?


When the Government decided to chop up the National Health Service, while giving tax cuts to their millionaire friends.


When you took a 5 year, £400million contract to bully dying people into court and tribunals.


I may be mistaken, but I thought I happily paid my taxes so that people like Linda Wootton, who did not ask for the hand she was dealt, who returned to work after a double transplant, who spent her last few months in misery, scared that people thought she was a scrounger – I thought my taxes contributed to a SOCIETY, but no society I can think of, would treat its members this way.


So first you came for the disabled, and they spoke out, they protested, but nothing changes.


Then you came for the terminally ill, the cancer sufferers, and they spoke out, they protested, but nothing changes.


Then you came for the sick, the elderly, the wounded, the injured, the dying.


Who is left? Who is next? As you ship people from the Work Capability Assessments to the dole queue knowing full well that there aren’t enough jobs out there for the unemployed let alone add to their number, I ask you – what is your plan? When your five years are up, where will you go? How many people will have died at the hands of untrained ‘health’ ‘care’ ‘professionals’ before you accept the blood on your hands?


But I have a son. He is three years old. He could pass your Work Capability Assessment, and THAT SAYS IT ALL.


Jack Monroe

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Just to let everyone know, I will be talking to a tabloid newspaper regarding Atos. My experience working for them will be a honest account, in the hope that other's will come forward. My decision to remain anonymous is a personal one, due to family circumstances, not because I sm concerned what Atos will do. Yes, they will deny everything, but how can they refute the claims from myself, Joyce Drummond & Dr Wood? - we have never met and are based in different parts of the UK


Taken from a Facebook page so no real way of authenticating the piece but hopefully it is genuine, and another Ex Atos employee who is going to speak out against them.

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Anger as record number of maimed troops are denied disability benefit in Government's controversial assessments

Hundreds of injured ex-soldiers declared fit for work by Atos Healthcare


Royal British Legion announce rise in soldiers having claims rejected


Soldiers forced to undergo demeaning physical tests by firm


A record number of wounded war veterans have been denied disability benefits in the past year after undergoing tests carried out by the Government’s controversial assessment company.

Hundreds of injured ex-soldiers are being declared fit for work by Atos Healthcare in spite of physical and mental injuries they suffered in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last night, the Royal British Legion (RBL) announced a 72 per cent annual rise in former soldiers having their applications to receive Employment Support Allowance (ESA) turned down. Several hundred wounded personnel were denied the benefit on the basis of physical examinations conducted by Atos, according to the RBL.

The company is contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to assess benefits claimants’ capability to work.


Full story here -



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