Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Vote With Your Hearts #wrb

Today, at 12.30pm the welfare reform bill will return to the House of Commons.

Let's be very clear - it is a dangerous, incomplete bill based on flawed evidence and unpleasant ideals. It is vast and impenetrable - most of the ministers arguing for it have very little understanding of the detail within it. Yes, that's right, they don't understand the details or effects of their own policies.

The welfare reform bill will affect every one of us, not just the "feckless scroungers" the government have led you to believe. Child benefit will be cut, tax credits for "hard working families" will be cut, tax credits for disabled children, NI credits for disabled children, we will all eventually be transferred onto Universal Credit where both parents will be expected to be in full time work when their children reach the age of 12. Everyone will face sanctions.

Make no mistake - this bill fatally erodes the already inadequate social security provision we have in the UK. For all the big numbers the government like to toss around, we have the lowest levels of benefits and the toughest sanctions of any developed nation. This bill is the tipping point. People are going to die and we've done everything - and more - that we possible could to highlight the most dangerous areas.

The House of Lords is described as:

"A forum of expertise, making laws and providing scrutiny of Government"

And so we've found them to be. The Lords is packed full of ex-CEOs of charities, disabled members and those who have enjoyed full and varied careers before becoming peers. They analysed every line of this bill carefully and thoughtfully. They were concerned by the same areas that concerned campaigners and charities alike - the dangerous parts. In fact, they were concerned by many, many more aspects of this bill and only the most disgusting, pointless, cruel clauses have been overturned. Many amendments were argued for passionately yet withdrawn after reassurances from the minister.

And we are still left with a dangerous bill. It may just be slightly less dangerous than it was.

-What has been amended? Well, if you fall desperately ill, you will now have at least 2 years to recover instead of 1. Frankly, that's pathetic, you are just as likely to be ill with Parkinson's or MS after two years as you are after 1, but it's something. (Time Limiting contributory ESA)

-The most disabled children, who will never work will keep an entitlement to NI credits if the Lords amendments stand. This makes the difference between a degree of independence in adulthood or total dependency for the rest of their lives.

-Tax credits for disabled children would not be halved if the Lords amendments stand.

-Cancer patients would not have to look for work while suffering through chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

-Single parents would not be fined £100 to gain access to the Child Support Agency.

-Child benefit would be excluded from the Universal Credit benefit cap so that children are not penalised for the decisions of their parents.

Do you see how pathetically modest these changes are??? Can you believe we're even arguing about whether to send cancer patients to the jobcentre or not? Does that not tell you everything you need to know about this bill?

If even that doesn't convince you, then remember, the entire disabled community are united against this bill. Not just a few campaigners, but every national charity, every campaign group every church group, every poverty group, everyone who actually knows the details of it. They represent an electorate of millions and every MP going in to vote today will have received thousands of pleas not to overturn these amendments. The Government claim to be working with disabled people. They are not. They are meeting with disabled people, their groups and charities, and then ignoring them. Scope, Mind, Mencap, Macmillan, Sense, Papworth Trust, RNIB, The Disability Alliance, the Disability Benefits Consortium... the list goes on and on and on. No-one with any real knowledge supports this bill.

The crossbenchers in the Lords are not political. They heard the "evidence" presented by the government and they heard our evidence and overwhelmingly, on every issue that was overturned, they voted with us.

So what sickening arrogance is it that says "We don't care and we will do exactly what we like"? What kind of people believe that in a bill of over 175 pages there is no room for improvement at all? Most disgustingly, what kind of people look at the very modest changes above and believe that "We can't afford it" is a valid argument? Seriously? What kind of people? What kind of brains are so weak, so unimaginative, so mis-guided and dull that they cannot think of anywhere but cancer patients and profoundly disabled children to save a few pounds??? Should we not have looked everywhere else first? Should ministers not be refusing their bloody salaries before they take money from disabled children??

Yet today, the DWP expects Conservative and LibDem ministers to saunter into the house of commons, without having heard any of these arguments and vote as they are told to. To vote with a few misguided DWP ministers against the will of the entire sick and disabled community. Against sense, against reason, against safety. The painstaking work of 18 months of reasoned argument all undone in an afternoon - if they're lucky they might even get away for a quick 9 holes before supper!!!

It disgusts me.

This is not democracy, this is utter cowardice. This is not sane it is utter madness. This is not safe.

And so, as you might expect, I implore MPs to vote with their consciences. Not to follow the party whip but to think of loved ones who have suffered terrible illness and ask themselves if that loved one could certainly have returned to work within a year? To ask themselves whether or not they could look for work if they had a child so profoundly disabled that they needed 24 hour care? Do not inflict on us what you would not accept for yourselves or your families, please.

I promise you, now, today, that this bill will be an utter disaster. It is like watching a slow car crash. By the next election, hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people are going to be affected by it and the headlines will be unremitting. At the very least, those of you who vote to keep the Lord's amendments today will have gone some very small way to making it less of a disaster.

And those that don't? Well shame on you.


Ceeej said...

and of course if any of this makes it through, even the 'improvements', then door is open for further changes in a year or so so they can change the 2 year recovery time downwards with little trouble. The top of a slippery slope I think.

Jackart said...

Too many people won't debate you because they're scared of being seen to be a bully. I hope you take this in the spirit of debate and don't get offended, but your emotive language may play well with people who already agree, but they voted for the people who LOST the election, and subsequently chose a moron to lead them. Your language is going to turn off people who've endured a decade of tax-rises, and whose hard work gets them little.

"Everyone will face sanctions..." you say? Good, because the people paying for it have been chafing under the burden for a decade, and are still enduring tax rises to pay for the welfare state.

Tax credits will be cut at the same time as the income tax threshold is raised, which will soften the blow for "hard working families". Tax credits have been a disgusting bureaucratic abortion, and need to be phased out.

"We have the lowest level of benefits and the toughest sanctions of any developed nation" This is simply not true. I think New Zealand, Australia and the USA are "developed" and these aggressively time-limit benefits.

despite the disabled (and others) being excluded from the benefits cap, you still don't support it. Good luck selling benefits to some exceeding a pre-tax salary of £34k. Seriously, good luck.

The (unelected) lords overturning the (elected) commons, then the (elected) commons saying "no, actually this is government policy" is democracy. Just because you don't agree with the Government, doesn't make their decision undemocratic.

you say "By the next election, hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people are going to be affected by it" Unless you can find a definition of "affected" meaning more than "lose a bit of money as the government's ran out" then you will find those of us paying for it less than sympathetic.

Is your postition "no-one should ever lose any benefits they may once have been entitled to, no savings may be made, and no checks on eligability may be made"? Because that appears to be the gist.

Answer me this. Where are the savings to be made in the benefits system? Because the cost is too high at present. Or do you think this area should be protected from cuts?

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Ceeej: I think so too! The 2 year amendment is quite clever as it specifies 'not less than' 7hundred and something if that remains in primary legislation they might have a problem. Don't expect it will remain though ;)

Black Triangle Supporter said...


We suggest that that the monies be found from every one of the rich individuals and corporations that Commissioner Dave Hartnett, the most wined and dined civil 'servant' in history, shook hands with letting them off with at least 25 billion in tax whilst flouting HMRC's own procedures.

Face it Jack - you nationalist troll - you've lost the argument, your cover's been blown and you know it.

You've got some nerve, coming on here, adding insult to injury by having the breathtaking audacity to attempt to lecture and patronise some of the best-informed individuals on welfare in this country!

Why don't you just confine your comments to your own rabble over there at the BNP or EDL bunker you've crawled out of - or your local Tory Party HQ! Swine.

Anonymous said...

Jackart - your comments show you don't understand the situation being proposed. DLA awards are rarely lifelong even if the disability is - many disabled people never get DLA - I know as Im one of them - ESA is reviewed every 6 months so if you lost a leg in January I hope you can walk properly by June cos ESA will pull you back in and tell you your fit for work.
Are you even aware of the applicable amounts benefit give you? As a person with disabilites I don't get DLA so won't get any protection for housing benefit which is causing the inflated benefit bill. I can say this with confidence because I know the applicable amount for a single person is £67.50 a week & if I have a partner its £105.95.
If the government spent more money building affordable housing then they wouldn't have to pay rent rebates to private landlords - I mean £450/week for a rented property thats greed, Even our housing officer said that the council would need to start handing out tents cos the unemployed were not going to get housing benefit.

I suppose you don't want any low paid workers living in London, Edinburgh, Manchester etc so no cleaners, home care workers, shop assistants as many getting housing benefit are in part time work so if they can't stay near their work they will need to leave their job - so that mean claiming JSA - great way to increase productivity

I hope you never get caught in an RTA where you lose your job & end up on benefits cos you'll be shouting at me as a WRO when you shoud be moaning at your MP

hossylass said...

Ewww Jack - you are weird.
Thats fine, but you are also uneducated, which is insulting as I paid for your education.
Personally I want a rebate.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to live in a society which lets the rich off taxes, while crushing, demonising and hounding the poorest and most vulnerable.

Julianj said...

I totally agree with the above

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, tax credits was a mistake and thank God it's been phased out. The is fact a large percentage of tax credit applicants know how to work the system. For example they only work 16 hours when they could work full time hours, but hey why should they when the system makes up the difference for these so called ' hard working families'. The real hard working families are those that work full time and aren't subsidised by these tax credit payments. We live in a very greedy, consumer thirsty nation and as tax payer I'm delighted I won't be paying for yet another x box for a single mothers third child.