Conflicting Policies

Just as nature takes millions of years to regain diversity after a mass extinction, so neighbourhoods take years, even decades, to build up informal support networks broken by forced removal. Just as DLA is the means that allows people to work, so informal support is what allows people to work. The government isn’t even identifying … Continue reading Conflicting Policies


Conservatives have ignored their history on disability benefit reform

A new disability benefit should reflect the policy intent that the important factor is not the medical condition but the effect that it has on people's care and mobility needs. The best that an examining medical practitioner can do is to take a snapshot of the person's condition on the day on which he sees … Continue reading Conservatives have ignored their history on disability benefit reform

Bedroom Tax Despair

It’s been a pretty depressing day. Disabled people have fought for change after change to the government’s cuts and austerity measures. We’ve won the support of Lords and Ladies and Labour MPs. We’ve even won the support of some Liberal Democrats too. We’ve presented research and reports, presented data and evidence, campaigned and gone on … Continue reading Bedroom Tax Despair

Beveridge Principles

When Sir William Beveridge wrote his report on social insurance he identified five giant evils: squalor, ignorance,  want, idleness and disease. Squalor, disease and want were all inter-linked. Squalor meant circumstances where disease was rife and often untreated. Want was both created by and a sustainer of disease: want was at times a result of … Continue reading Beveridge Principles

A week of poverty statistics

It seems to be a week of poverty. Median income is below its level in 2009-10. Work isn’t a route out of poverty. Being in full-time work should mean not being in poverty. Yet the majority of those in poverty are in work. This is not relative poverty but absolute poverty - “severe deprivation of … Continue reading A week of poverty statistics

Who pays to employ sick people?

Many people are disabled because they are chronically sick.  These people cannot turn up to work regularly, because any given day they may be too ill.  They might be dosed up on painkillers to control their pain; they might be too weak to get out of bed; they might be too exhausted to concentrate; their … Continue reading Who pays to employ sick people?

The reality of benefit cuts is shocking

When I first started on disability research, I just saw the numbers. I saw that 40% of ESA claimants told they are fit to work then appeal that decision, and most of them win. I saw that nurses under-award points for people with physical health conditions, and physiotherapists under-award points for people with mental health … Continue reading The reality of benefit cuts is shocking

The disappointment of Universal Credit

It’s such a shame. There was a wonderful opportunity to make something that worked. To get rid of what was failing and bring in new things that improved on the original. To end the mess and confusion. To repair the holes. Instead we have more holes. Bigger holes. Holes in places that used to work. … Continue reading The disappointment of Universal Credit

Do people leave sickness benefits ‘rather than’ face an assessment?

I received a request to write about the 878 300 people who drop their ESA claims early.  The government’s line – repeated several times – is that these claims were fraudulent or cheats.  This topic has been covered multiple times by now.  Declan Gaffney produced an excellent report on this, which can be found here: … Continue reading Do people leave sickness benefits ‘rather than’ face an assessment?

Benefit sanctions

Jobcentre staff are being set targets for sanctioning claimants, and are encouraged to employ methods that are more likely to result in sanctionable behaviour.  That’s the news coming out that many who work on behalf of social security recipients will not be surprised to read.  Normally it is pleasing to be confirmed in one’s suspicions … Continue reading Benefit sanctions