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Unapologetic Cameron challenged by Andrew Marr over benefits deaths and ILF closure

David Cameron was challenged over the death of diabetic benefits claimant David Clapson and over the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) on Sunday’s Andrew Marr show. Cameron’s unapologetic response was that there are hardship funds available for ‘difficult cases’.

On his programme yesterday Marr asked Cameron if he accepted that the £22 billion of welfare cuts so far ‘has hurt a lot of poor and vulnerable people?’

marr cameron interviewCameron replied that it had involved ‘difficult decisions’ but:

“ . . . we have protected for instance the pension, we’ve protected benefits for the lowest paid, we’ve always made sure that we’ve increased spending on disability benefits rather than reduced it.”

On the subject of why one million people now depend on food banks, Cameron argued that:

“One of the things we did was that Labour, because they didn’t like the PR of this, they didn’t advertise or promote the existence of food banks through job centres. We changed that because we thought that was, that was basically sort of selfish and shortminded…”

And when it came to the subject of David Clapson, a former soldier who failed to turn up for a Jobcentre interview, had his benefits sanctioned and died after being unable to refrigerate his insulin, Cameron was entirely unapologetic. His response was:

“Well we have hardship funds and councils have hardship funds for exactly those sorts of tragic cases but if you’re asking me is it right that people who are asked to turn up for interviews or asked to fill in a CV or asked to apply for a job should have to do those things before getting benefits then yes it’s right that we do have that system in place . . .”

When asked about another case involving a claimant with learning difficulties who had his benefits sanctioned for not using a computer, Cameron again relied on hardship funds and entirely ignored Marr’s suggestion that there should be a review of the system:

“I look at all of those individual cases and all of those cases can be addressed by the hardship funds and by the flexibilities that are there in the system . . . People watching this programme who pay their taxes, who work very hard, they don’t pay their taxes so people can sign on and show no effort at getting a job, as I put it on the steps of Downing Street those who can should; those who can’t we always help”

Cameron was equally dismissive of the abolition of the ILF, due to take place in June:

“Well what we’ve done is we’ve given that responsibility to local councils as the last resort and local councils have that funding available to help.”

When Marr pointed out that the funding is only for one year, Cameron replied simply “they have it for difficult cases” before once again reminding listeners how many more people have moved into work under the Coalition.

Cameron’s lack of compassion, apology or understanding combined with a total refusal to actually look into what is going wrong with the benefits system are a powerful reminder of what another five years of Conservative led government will mean to sick and disabled claimants.

You can watch the Andrew Marr show and you can download a transcript of the interview.

Comments  

#21 bob 2015-04-28 12:35
Well we have hardship funds and councils have hardship funds for exactly those sorts of tragic cases

They have the funds and in many cases they want to keep the funds so they rarely award them, plus the funds are not available weekends and bank holidays, And how much do these funds pay now as its been a long time since I had to go through all the hoops to claim one, due to a mistake by the "department" then I had to repay some back despite at the time being on the minimum amount of money the then Government said was needed to live on...
+2 #20 Jim Allison 2015-04-24 19:47
I spent 8 weeks training with the DWP counter fraud team when I was a DLA Tribunal Member. Fraud Officers told me that the incidence of actual fraud for disability benefits was less than 0.5%.

Members may not be aware that due to the way statistics are collated by the DWP, they cannot really differentiate between actual fraud, DWP errors and failure of some on benefits such as DLA/PIP who inadvertently fail to report a change of circumstances. So there are no real definitive statistics to be able to give numbers or percentages of proven fraud in DLA/PIP.

However, there are a small minority who will lie and give false information to get disability benefits to which they are not entitled but from my experience of sitting on tribunals they are a small minority.

The areas for the vast majority of fraud are Housing Benefit, often claimed by unscrupulous landlords claiming HB for tenants who don't exist. Council Tax Benefit also has a fairly high percentage of fraudulent claims, but again is more based on error rather than actual proven fraud.
+2 #19 EMB 2015-04-23 21:29
Actually, I firmly believe that there is systematic fraud in the benefits system. What more can you call it when people who are eligible for benefits are turned down, almost as a matter of course, and they are forced to jump through hoops to get what they need and deserve. Or, even worse, they take the decision as the correct answer, and decide to try to stumble on with all their problems and pains, and without the money that Parliament has said they should receive.

Before pointing at Claimant "Fraud", how about looking at Departmental Fraud? Oh yes, we won't see any crackdown there, will we? After all, if we all got what we were entitled to first off, it would cost more, not less, so let's keep that fraud quiet. If individuals suffer, it's for the good of the Treasury, so let's not get too upset about it. I Always warn anyone who is claiming for the first time that they Will be turned down, and explain that they may need to go to a tribunal. I recommend that they join B&W, too, so the form is correctly filled in. I have yet to be proven wrong.
+1 #18 Eli48 2015-04-23 15:12
Quoting VOR_Stally:
Quoting bro58:
[quote name="VOR_Stally"]

"Let's not forget that it's not all about 'disability' bashing; it's about balancing the books in a fair an equitable manner. There are an awful lot of scroungers and cheaters who make it hard for all of us."
Comments such as this are not really that helpful, and certainly not what one would expect from a member of a site such as B&W !!


Statistics don't tell the story. The figures that you quote for 2013/14 are £1.2billion in fraud and £1.5 billion in 'claimant error'; £0.7 billion was simply ineptitude by the DWP.

Free speech is one of the benefits of a liberal democracy;, balance and tolerance are a sign of education and understanding. I am a member of B&W because it offers the best advice to everyone, regardless of political persuasion or personal circumstance, to help navigate the myriad of forms and hidden clauses in the current claims system.

Although I don't need to prove a point, look here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/decision-makers-guide-staff-guide to find the latest guides and memos in use...


@VOR_Stally



I am not sure what your game is, but you appear hell bent on painting claimants as fraudsters. I am very suspicious of you. I am beginning to wonder if you are a paid shrill for the tory party. More to the point, please stop your game NOW, or I will get after you verbally.
+1 #17 tintack 2015-04-23 12:43
Quoting VOR_Stally:
Only the last 27 years of personal experience dealing with them face to face. I don't really believe anything that I read in the papers: they're there to make money for their shareholders!


If your experience of dealing with "them" were evidence of widespread fraud, you would expect that to be reflected in the figures. It just isn't. You cannot simply assume that your own experience of people you believe (rightly or wrongly) to be fraudsters is representative of claimants as a whole. To do that you need broad-based evidence which looks at the big picture, rather than viewing everything through the prism of subjective experience. There was a lot of evidence submitted to WCA reviews by organisations and individuals who have a great deal of experience with claimants, and as far as I can recall none of them painted your picture of widespread fraud and scrounging.

And you can be sure that if there really were evidence of widespread fraud, the Tories would be shouting it from the rooftops. They're not, because there isn't. That's why only sensationalist cases of fraud are picked out in the Tory press. If people only ever read about such cases they're likely to assume that such cases are typical, even though they're very much the exception.
-2 #16 VOR_Stally 2015-04-23 08:29
Quoting bro58:
[quote name="VOR_Stally"]

"Let's not forget that it's not all about 'disability' bashing; it's about balancing the books in a fair an equitable manner. There are an awful lot of scroungers and cheaters who make it hard for all of us."
Comments such as this are not really that helpful, and certainly not what one would expect from a member of a site such as B&W !!


Statistics don't tell the story. The figures that you quote for 2013/14 are £1.2billion in fraud and £1.5 billion in 'claimant error'; £0.7 billion was simply ineptitude by the DWP.

Free speech is one of the benefits of a liberal democracy;, balance and tolerance are a sign of education and understanding. I am a member of B&W because it offers the best advice to everyone, regardless of political persuasion or personal circumstance, to help navigate the myriad of forms and hidden clauses in the current claims system.

Although I don't need to prove a point, look here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/decision-makers-guide-staff-guide to find the latest guides and memos in use...


@VOR_Stally
-2 #15 VOR_Stally 2015-04-23 08:14
Quote:
Quoting VOR_Stally:
Let's not forget that it's not all about 'disability' bashing; it's about balancing the books in a fair an equitable manner. There are an awful lot of scroungers and cheaters who make it hard for all of us.


Do you have any evidence to back this claim up? I mean solid, reliable evidence, not headlines in the Daily Mail.
Only the last 27 years of personal experience dealing with them face to face. I don't really believe anything that I read in the papers: they're there to make money for their shareholders!
+2 #14 Robert Vickers 2015-04-22 21:05
Cameron, Osborne, and IDS have made it clear that they couldn't care less about the various hardships and far worse that users of this site are undergoing, as long as they continue to get the acclaim of rags like the Sun, which they value above all else. The gutter press has never been worse.

I don't think much of Labour for several reasons, but it's vital to vote for them if you are in a marginal constituency. Despite their PC veneer, the Tories are far more vicious than they were even in Thatcher's day, and I dread to think what will happen if they form the government.
#13 tintack 2015-04-22 18:45
Quoting EMB:
The ones who guestimated the higher levels all refused to believe the 0.7% Government figure


That's the ultimate test of a propaganda campaign: you know it's worked when people refuse to believe the truth because the lie has repeated so often.

Quote:
and said that they knew one or more who were defrauding the system, but when I asked if they had reported this, they had not, and when I asked for details of their cheating, it turned out that one person was severely epileptic, and had an assistance dog, and another had a cardiac problem. They felt that all mental health issues were fraudulent as well.
These people should be employed by the NHS immediately, they'd save it a fortune. Who needs medical expertise or complex procedures and equipment - we have this army of geniuses who can tell that there's nothing wrong with someone just by looking at them!

Of course, if they went to their doctor with, say, a terrible stomach pain, and were told "I know there's nothing wrong with you, because hey, you look fine", they'd be outraged. It might be worth making that point to them.
+1 #12 EMB 2015-04-22 14:10
I have been talking to people who know nothing about benefits, except what they read in the press, or hear on the news. I generally ask what they feel the level of benefits fraud is.

Only one person in about 50 said 1% or less.
About a quarter thought 5-10%, and felt this was a low figure.
Most of the rest felt 10-20%
Two felt 25-30%
One said 50% Or More!

The ones who guestimated the higher levels all refused to believe the 0.7% Government figure, and said that they knew one or more who were defrauding the system, but when I asked if they had reported this, they had not, and when I asked for details of their cheating, it turned out that one person was severely epileptic, and had an assistance dog, and another had a cardiac problem. They felt that all mental health issues were fraudulent as well.

It seems that Government propaganda has had a great success, if even those well disposed to benefits and claimants felt the level of fraud was 10 times the real figure. We really need to get the figures out here, and also try to make people realise that disabilities don't always mean you have to use a wheelchair!
+2 #11 Eli48 2015-04-21 22:24
Quoting bro58:
[quote name="VOR_Stally"]

"Let's not forget that it's not all about 'disability' bashing; it's about balancing the books in a fair an equitable manner. There are an awful lot of scroungers and cheaters who make it hard for all of us."


Trolling or even parroting tory propaganda is not acceptable. There not an awful lot of cheaters and scroungers, unless one is talking about those in Westminster, or you include all the migrants and immigrants who come through 22 safe countries just to get here. What makes it hard for us all is this vile, contemptible government who view all those who are poor, sick, disabled and unemployed as worthless, nothings and nobody because we are not rich like they are. They are not content unless we suffer and they think this is funny. So please do be quiet. I am being polite here, but if I had the choice, I would tell you to shut the f up.
+1 #10 tintack 2015-04-21 13:53
Quoting VOR_Stally:
Let's not forget that it's not all about 'disability' bashing; it's about balancing the books in a fair an equitable manner. There are an awful lot of scroungers and cheaters who make it hard for all of us.


Do you have any evidence to back this claim up? I mean solid, reliable evidence, not headlines in the Daily Mail.
+2 #9 bro58 2015-04-21 13:34
Quoting VOR_Stally:


"Let's not forget that it's not all about 'disability' bashing; it's about balancing the books in a fair an equitable manner. There are an awful lot of scroungers and cheaters who make it hard for all of us."


@VOR_Stally

Comments such as this are not really that helpful, and certainly not what one would expect from a member of a site such as B&W !!

How can you justify making such sweeping remarks ?

The figures for "Benefit Fraud" are circa 0.7% :

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/371459/Statistical_Release.pdf

The exaggeration of these figures has been used as an excuse to enforce even more draconian measures :

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/may/14/disability-living-allowance-reform-analysis

Far more is "lost" due to DWP official error, and this is mainly down to the quality of the poorly trained ill-informed DWP staff that have been placed into positions of authority that they do not have the capability or knowledge to deal with.

e.g. Are you aware that some "Admin Staff" have been "bumped up" to the position of PIP Case Managers ? (DM's)

I will leave it that that !!
+4 #8 Mockingbird 2015-04-21 11:28
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy

And a person incapable of showing empathy is classed as a psychopath, Cameron has many personality traits to indicate this
-6 #7 VOR_Stally 2015-04-21 06:25
Quoting penthesili:
Well, he doesn't want any disabled person voting for him next month. So much for the previous election promise of 'compassionate conservatism'.


Let's not forget that it's not all about 'disability' bashing; it's about balancing the books in a fair an equitable manner. There are an awful lot of scroungers and cheaters who make it hard for all of us.

If a Government had the 'balls' to take on Corporate Tax evasion and the National pass-time of tax avoidance we'd be able to triple the welfare budget without breaking stride.
-6 #6 VOR_Stally 2015-04-21 06:21
Quoting shimtoan:


All a bit 'Emperor's new clothes'; a great example of a low word:value ratio and any necessary clarity!

The only way to be sure that your views will be represented in Parliament is to vote for a 'local' MP campaigning on 'local' issues; after all, has the MP you voted for in the last election ever come back and asked how he should vote in the Commons or is he simply a puppet who follows theParty whip?
+5 #5 tintack 2015-04-20 19:58
Yes Dave, because vulnerable people like those who have died are all aware of the existence of hardship payments, aren't they?

Honestly, the way this man repeats the same old mantras makes him sound like an android. He seems to have all the compassion of a Dalek on a really bad day.
+4 #4 Bill 2015-04-20 19:06
Vote, and please vote Labour.

Not because you like them, not because you have always supported them, not because your family have always been Labour, but because they are the only Party that can guarantee we will not have another 5 years of this vile attitude towards people like us, who are totally reliant on Welfare Benefits.

If they get back in....... you know what to expect don't you!

Bill
+7 #2 naheegan 2015-04-20 14:48
That's a shameful interview, not at all transparent... and I'm mortified at the use of the continually evasive response that Cameron uses regards outlining in detail his plans for budgets and cuts in the next parliament: "Not until after the election."

Who would buy an insurance policy or sign a contract without first being appraised of the terms and conditions?!

I've never trusted people who refuse to answer direct questions; not a time to begin now!

Still, I believe that if everyone who has been affected by welfare reform or cuts, or who will be under another Tory government voted with their (and their family's) best interests at heart, this will be the end of the Tories in No 10.

People have until midnight tonight to register to vote.

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