Skip to main content

Hitting the vulnerable

Tens of thousands of sick and disabled people in Scotland face being forced on to unpaid work programmes under threat of losing their benefits from tomorrow. People with a range of physical or mental health conditions could find themselves stacking shelves in high-street stores such as Tesco and Poundland, or cleaning private homes, under the new proposals. They are to be told that they must take unpaid positions or risk losing up to 70% of their employment support allowance. 

 Across the UK, some 340,000 disabled people have been placed in the work related activity group (WRAG), which means they must undertake a range of activities to help them get back to work, including training, job-hunting – and now mandatory work placements.

 Most disabled people welcome support to get into the labour market, but compulsory placements rarely work, says Richard Hamer, director of external affairs at Capability Scotland. "When disabled people get forced into jobs, they tend to be unsuccessful jobs," Hamer said. "It can be very difficult, not just because of physical difficulties, but also mental impairments – poor mental health for example – for people to adapt to the labour market. If we start simply forcing people into jobs then there's a high likelihood that the employer won't be the best solution for them."

 Susan Archibald, a disability rights campaigner based in Fife, branded the proposed plans "a disgrace" that "will put disabled workers at risk".  Archibald estimates that around 30,000 work-capacity assessments are being carried out each week on disability claimants by Atos.

 Disabled and elderly protestors plan to disrupt the showpiece relay at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, forcing up security costs, if the "fit-for-work" benefits test company Atos is not dropped as a sponsor. Campaigners plan to turn the Queen's Baton Relay, the equivalent of the Olympic Torch relay, into a public-relations disaster if Atos is involved when the Games start, with pensioners and wheelchair-users potentially being arrested for blocking the route.

 Atos Healthcare has a £110m-a-year contract with the Department for Work and Pensions to run Work Capability Assessments to see if sick and disabled people are fit to work. Critics say the tests are flawed, degrading, and meant to cut benefit spending. Next year the firm begins work on a second £400m contract to assess mobility benefits.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What do we mean by no leaders

"Where are the leaders and what are their demands?" will be the question puzzled professional politicians and media pundits will be asking when the Revolution comes. They will find it inconceivable that a socialist movement could survive without an elite at the top. This view will be shared by some at the bottom. Lenin and his Bolshevik cohorts argued that we couldn't expect the masses to become effective revolutionaries spontaneously, all on their own. To achieve liberation they needed the guidance of a "vanguard party" comprised of an expert political leadership with a clear programme. The Trotskyist/Leninist Left may remix the song over and over again all they want but the tune remains the same: leaders and the cadres of the vanguard can find the answer; the mass movements of the people cannot liberate themselves. The case for leadership is simple. Most working-class people are too busy to have opinions or engage in political action. There’s a need for some…

Lenin and the Myth of 1917

A myth pervades that 1917 was a 'socialist' revolution rather it was the continuation of the capitalist one. What justification is there, then, for terming the upheaval in Russia a Socialist Revolution? None whatever beyond the fact that the leaders in the November movement claim to be Marxian Socialists. M. Litvinoff practically admits this when he says:In seizing the reigns of power the Bolsheviks were obviously playing a game with high stake. Petrograd had shown itself entirely on their side. To what extent would the masses of the proletariat and the peasant army in the rest of the country support them?”This is a clear confession that the Bolsheviks themselves did not know the views of the mass when they took control. At a subsequent congress of the soviets the Bolsheviks had 390 out of a total of 676. It is worthy of note that none of the capitalist papers gave any description of the method of electing either the Soviets or the delegates to the Congress. And still more cu…

Things are changing

We want no condescending saviours to rule us from a judgment hall. The Socialist Party is a Marxian party. That is to say, we base our outlook on history and economics on the theoretical researches of Karl Marx. On the basis of Marxian economics, we have pointed out that there is no solution for booms and slumps as long as capitalism lasts. That booms and slumps are inevitable products of capitalism and will always be a part of it. We accept the fact that there is a class struggle in society—but that its solution lies in the hands of the workers to take political action for the establishment of socialism when they understood and want it. Consequently, we have put forward candidates in the parliamentary and local elections for the purpose of taking control out of the hands of our capitalist rulers in order to clear the way for the establishment of socialism. We hold that all people in the world, regardless of colour or nationality, are capable of understanding socialism and its implic…