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Labour manifesto holds little comfort for sick and disabled claimants

As expected, the Labour party manifesto holds little comfort for sick and disabled claimants. There are commitments to abolish the bedroom tax, ‘reform’ the work capability assessment and pause and review universal credit. However, the household benefit cap will stay and there was no mention of ending the current sanctions regime, pausing the roll out of personal independence payment or saving the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

Labour say they will:

  • Reform the WCA, focusing it on the support disabled people need to get into work
  • Abolish the bedroom tax
  • Set up an independent scrutiny group of disabled people to monitor the WCA
  • Set up a specialist support programme to provide tailored help to disabled people who can work.
  • Pause and review the universal credit programme
  • Keep the household benefit cap and investigate whether it should actually be lower in some regions
  • Not cut tax credits
  • Introduce Maths, English and IT skills tests within six weeks of claiming JSA and make training compulsory where it would improve employability
  • Introduce a guaranteed paid job for young people out of work for a year and over 25s out of work for two years
  • Introduce a higher rate of JSA for those who have paid NI contributions for longer, paid for by extending the period you need to have paid contributions before you qualify

Whilst abolishing the bedroom tax remains very welcome, ‘reform’ of the WCA is a virtually meaningless commitment as is the setting up of a ‘scrutiny group’. The lack of any mention of the sanctions regime or the ILF will also disappoint many disabled activists.

A Labour led government still appears to be a considerably better bet for claimants than a Conservative one. But it’s clear that Labour remain only a less awful option, rather than a positively good one.

Comments  

#22 Robertc 2015-05-02 10:48
After what labour did and called sick and disabled people, after the massive stress and cost of getting my WCA and then getting ESA, I simple gave up bothering with labour or the Tories.

I was told I was fit to work by ATOS with a lesion of the spinal cord leading to Paraplegia type 2, the medical report which they sent me a copy gave me 45 points and stated highly unlikely to work again.

I wrote to my labour MP asking for help to be told she could not since it was a labour policy to ensure all those that can work should.

On review i was told it was highly unlikely I would be called for another medical for the next three years, and even then it's possible I would not be asked.

I've a lesion of the L5 leading to paraplegia loss of bowel and bladder function and no sexual function with Chronic pain and loss of leg muscles now up to 45%.

So for me voting for a party that sent me to this mess of a medical appeal and ATOS I will be voting for none of them if I was in Scotland I'd be a member of the SNP.
+1 #21 tinytim 2015-04-22 12:07
I do hope we get a Labour gov but and I say but lets hope its a minority and the other parties the snp,greens , can help to give miliband a kick up the backside and produce a victory for the sick and disabled.
+1 #20 David Jones 2015-04-21 19:13
I think I prefer their manifesto to the Lib Dems, simply because Labour are saying they'll pause and review the UC programme.

This programme greatly worries me, because it will merge housing benefit into other benefit claims (JSA, ESA, etc) so if someone loses or is sanctioned for those benefits, their HB will also stop and they'll be made homeless. At least now we can keep a roof over our heads whilst we appeal or try and survive any sanctions or wrong decisions.

The Lib Dems are saying they'll proceed with UC but review the sanctions regime, which could take years and leave people being made homeless in the meantime.
+2 #19 B H 2015-04-21 13:50
After reading the post above I'm going to prepare for the worse and hope for the best and I'm voting Labour
+3 #18 richj47 2015-04-21 13:22
Tony Benn has said of Thatcher:
"Her whole philosophy was that she measured the price of everything and the value of nothing." the tory party and although the better of the two are very much the same , i have been involved with the cab as a volunteer and completed first tier tribunal ,PIP is far more difficult than DLA. the unemployed are called workless .there is so much benefit pawn on the tv and the Tory press. Everyone on any kind of benefit is demonised , this organisation is brilliant but you still have to be able to communicate and have to be able to use the excellent advice . The cuts to legal aid has affected Cab we are in a position if you can not work can not fill in forms etc no one cares zero HRS. contracts sanctions, The need to reapply to the dwp in the event that you do not score enough points where you are left with no income universal credit , i could go on .
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
end thank you .
+1 #17 Paul Richards 2015-04-16 23:31
Hi all,
I have taken on board all of your various comments - at the end of the day - due to the well and truly 'broken' electoral system and, not least to the well known FPTP (First Past The Post), unfortunately, the 3 MAIN parties - e.g. Labour, Conservatives & Lib Dems are now very much all the same - (no one in Parliament has the power to stand up for the real interests of the poor, the vulnerable, the sick and the disabled of Britain - after all - in their 'ivory tower' outlooks - these 'minors' do not 'contribute' to the overall economy. As far as they are ALL concerned really, they are all TAKERS from the system - they are receiving 'taxpayer' money for not doing anything!
However, the 'Politicians' also do this - for their 'salaries' - they also receive very much more in 'taxpayer' monies for their salaries.
It is a total shame, but all of the 3 main parties seem to be really only interested in supporting 'working' people, - BUT really only the middle and upper classes of Britain - the Executives and the Professionals - as for the lower working classes, the '0 hour contract people, the part-timers and the lowest working poor - as far as they are concerned - well they will have to get on as best they can - save energy costs here, save their food bills there - and for the 'lowest of the low' - well they can go to food banks, or just go to hell and starve or commit suicide.
What a total disgrace - and still no European Courts of Human Rights input or reaction!!
+4 #16 buster 2015-04-15 11:08
As an aside, unbelievably, this morning our postman has just delivered an election flyer with a personalised message addressed to my severely disabled daughter - from our local prospective Conservative candidate; it says "I hope you share my optimistic vision for our country and our great city, if you do, please vote Conservative on May 7th." Lost for words - I am really lost for words (almost). Firstly, if it had been April 1st - it would have been very appropriate - it's a pity really, as it might then have raised a few chuckles in our house - prior to the now much publicised £12 billion worth of Conservative social security cuts that my daughter may well be a likely victim of, if the callous Conservatives are returned to office.

Finally, I can't help but notice, this is a classic example of the Tories now peddling their filth through using Royal Mail - we just don't see any Tories on the ground in our area - getting their vile across by stealth, it would now seem is the way to go. Their activists are probably too scared to face the public out of sheer embarrassment, after all - how can one defend the indefensible?
+6 #15 Drizzle 2015-04-14 18:42
It's also worth reminding people that Labour have committed to accepting all the recommendations in the recent DWP Select Committee Inquiry report into sanctions, which would mean a fairer system.

The Tories will do no such thing, in fact I'd be very surprised if sanctions didn't get even harsher if they win power in May.
+6 #14 Drizzle 2015-04-14 17:04
Quoting buster:
Firstly, of course there is a difference between Labour and the Tories; for example, £30 billion worth of fiscal consolidation - make no mistake about it, in terms of protecting our social security system as we now know it - Labour will clearly be a better option to run the country for the next 5 years - be it as a minority government or as part of a formal coalition, in my opinion.

I understand totally the message that the above article is sending, in fact I agree, there is little comfort for disabled and sick people to be taken from Labour's manifesto; however, I believe Labour are still clearly the lesser of two evils in terms of parties in with a chance of governing. In truth, the stark choice is more of David Cameron and his relentless onslaught against vulnerable groups including benefit claimants - or Ed Miliband - who is promising yes, not a lot, but more than the Tories - and at least Miliband and his party aren't actively using proposed mass benefit cuts as a way of actually winning more votes.

Furthermore, I believe Labour's hands are tied in many ways in terms of protecting social security and welfare benefits; for example, the benefit cap - Labour aren't saying they would lower the cap as the Tories are - they are saying they would look at reducing it in some regions. I think this is about as much as Labour can nowadays get away with saying - if they are to avoid being demonised even more by the right wing mass media, which would further damage their already fragile credibility with voters, thanks to the Conservatives very effective relentless and populist politicisation of everything to do with welfare.


*cheers*

You deserve a round of applause for that post, Buster. :-)
+6 #13 tintack 2015-04-14 14:33
Quoting buster:
I think this is about as much as Labour can nowadays get away with saying - if they are to avoid being demonised even more by the right wing mass media, which would further damage their already fragile credibility with voters, thanks to the Conservatives very effective relentless and populist politicisation of everything to do with welfare.


It's not just welfare - it's pretty much everything. The Tory press is slagging off Labour for a manifesto which is aimed at costing every policy. Yet they're also praising the Tory manifesto to the skies, even though it sprays unfunded spending pledges around like confetti. Can you imagine what they'd have said if Labour had done that?

The credibility question is another textbook example. The global crash was caused by completely inadequate regulation of the banks, yet the Tories were arguing for even less regulation right up until the crash hit. Their argument about Labour's supposedly extravagant spending doesn't add up either: if Labour were spending so irresponsibly, why did the Tories support that spending every step of the way?

And yet the Tory press has brainwashed a great many people into believing that this is the party of economic credibility. It's incredible. I wish the papers had to abide by the same impartiality rules as broadcasters, because what we have now is not a free press, but a press dominated by a small clique of media barons whose papers are just propaganda rags which they use to defend their own vested interests.
+9 #12 buster 2015-04-13 23:52
Firstly, of course there is a difference between Labour and the Tories; for example, £30 billion worth of fiscal consolidation - make no mistake about it, in terms of protecting our social security system as we now know it - Labour will clearly be a better option to run the country for the next 5 years - be it as a minority government or as part of a formal coalition, in my opinion.

I understand totally the message that the above article is sending, in fact I agree, there is little comfort for disabled and sick people to be taken from Labour's manifesto; however, I believe Labour are still clearly the lesser of two evils in terms of parties in with a chance of governing. In truth, the stark choice is more of David Cameron and his relentless onslaught against vulnerable groups including benefit claimants - or Ed Miliband - who is promising yes, not a lot, but more than the Tories - and at least Miliband and his party aren't actively using proposed mass benefit cuts as a way of actually winning more votes.

Furthermore, I believe Labour's hands are tied in many ways in terms of protecting social security and welfare benefits; for example, the benefit cap - Labour aren't saying they would lower the cap as the Tories are - they are saying they would look at reducing it in some regions. I think this is about as much as Labour can nowadays get away with saying - if they are to avoid being demonised even more by the right wing mass media, which would further damage their already fragile credibility with voters, thanks to the Conservatives very effective relentless and populist politicisation of everything to do with welfare.
+10 #11 Drizzle 2015-04-13 21:45
Quoting jace:
Although Labour are not saying what we want to hear, the priority has to be getting the tories out.


Spot on, that should absolutely the number one priority for all benefit claimants.

I despair at the people here saying they won't vote Labour because there's no good news for us in their manifesto. The fact is we have a stark choice between Labour and the Conservatives (or coalitions being led by them) overseeing our benefits system. Who would you prefer, given that the latter have made it quite plain their number one priority is much, much deeper cuts to the benefits bill.

Quite apart from benefits, I'm also extremely worried about what will happen to the NHS and social care under another Tory-led government. :sad:
+2 #10 Karl 2015-04-13 20:43
I am guessing that when Labour say they are going to "Abolish the bedroom tax" They don't mean anybody living in a private rented house do they? Once again private tenants will be left to rot while social housing tenants get all the attention.

Disgusting considering the growing numbers of private tenants in this country. Private tenants have had to pay this bedroom tax for 6 years or more and nobody gives a damn.
-4 #9 Jim Allison 2015-04-13 20:02
Miliband is as bad as Blair in many ways, as Blair was as bad as Thatcher. Twenty years ago, Labour was in opposition and heading for certain victory in the coming election

Its modernising leader had routed the unions, reducing their power and reforming the party. He had won the trust of middle Britain, and had a radical plan for transforming the country. This was a historic moment for the party. Then, suddenly and shockingly, he died. I'm talking about John Smith, Labour's lost leader, the man who made the party electable.

A vote for Labour based on Steve's news item is nearly as bad as a vote for the Tories.

Sadly in my affluent area in the South Lakes, we only have Labour, Conservative & LibDem candidates. So I will be be voting LibDem, but only because my MP, Tim Farron has fought against cuts to hospitals,benef its etc etc. If Nick Clegg was standing, I'm afraid I'd vote ' none of the above' and my vote would be invalid.

Sadly, I predict another coalition, i.e. unelected government : Labour & SNP's. God help us all. :sad:
+1 #8 papasmurf 2015-04-13 19:59
Quoting Steve Donnison:
You can download it from this page

http://www.labour.org.uk/blog/entry/the-labour-party-manifesto-2015


Cheers.
+11 #7 tintack 2015-04-13 19:56
I think the point is that at least Labour don't seem hell-bent on making things even worse, and might well make things better, if only to a limited extent.

The Tories, on the other hand......
+3 #6 pusscatsmum 2015-04-13 19:53
Well at least they have as yet not proposed abolishing CB ESA or the removal of IIB etc in which the Conservatives were beligerently uttering.
If those who have paid in to the system and for quite a while should perhaps get a little more in lieu of what they have paid in.
So those things that have been mentioned are perhaps good in one way however not in another as someone who has been deemed disabled and sick from the beginning should therefore not be penalised.
I would hate to try and sort out and change the system and deal with it fairly.
-1 #5 Jim Allison 2015-04-13 19:38
From www.welfareweeky.com :

Helping people into work
Labour will do more to help unemployed people get the skills they need for work, testing jobseekers’ maths, English and IT skills within six weeks of them claiming benefits.

Social security spending
Labour has pledged to cap structural social security spending as part of each spending review.They will pause and review the Universal Credit programme to ensure it is affordable and fit for purpose.They will keep the Benefit Cap and ask the Social Security Advisory Committee to examine if it should be lower in some areas

Supporting disabled people
Labour has pledged to abolish the ‘cruel and unfair’ Bedroom Tax.
They will reform the Work Capability Assessment and focus it on the support disabled people need to get into work, with an independent scrutiny group of disabled people given a central role in monitoring it.

Protecting pensioners
Labour has promised to keep the triple-lock on the state pension introduced by the Tory-led coalition, so that pensioner incomes increase by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.

Social care
Labour will end time-limited, 15-minute visits, introducing ‘year of care’ budgets to incentivise better care in the home. They will recruit 5,000 new homecare workers to help care for those with the greatest needs at home.

Improving the NHS

Labour will repeal the Health and Social Care Act and stop the drive towards NHS privatisation.. They will recruit 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 more nurses. Labour will guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours, and on the same day for those who need it.

Not good news, so I will not be voting Labour, they are no better than the Tories :sad:
+9 #4 jace 2015-04-13 18:39
Although Labour are not saying what we want to hear, the priority has to be getting the tories out. We should all vote accordingly - for minor parties if they have a chance of winning, for Labour if they're the most likely to defeat the condems. Personally, I can't recommend UKIP - they threaten even more pain, though they might at least be honest and just line us up and shoot us.

A lot of what we hear before an election is aimed at the undecided. Rhetoric around 'driving down the benefits bill' (though the condems have not actually done that, despite all the pain) plays well with a section of that part of the electorate. Think about it.
+7 #3 Drizzle 2015-04-13 18:34
Whilst this article holds little comfort for us, I never expected Labour to make us any big promises. They can't be seen to be generous to benefit claimants or they'd have no chance of beating the Tories in the election.

The important part of this article to me is "a Labour led government still appears to be a considerably better bet for claimants than a Conservative one" and that's what we've got to hold onto, not fantasies of a government who'll reverse the current coalition's welfare cuts. That is NOT going to happen.

Please don't let this article put you off voting for Labour!

If the Lib Dems are much stronger than Labour in your constituency, voting for them would be a lot better than nothing too, as Nick Clegg has today that he would not enter into another coalition with the Conservatives if they insisted on their proposal of £12bn welfare cuts.

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