MP Calls on Government to Launch Impact Assessment on Welfare Reform

Dame Anne Begg

During a Backbench debate on Welfare Reform, Dame Anne Begg MP called on the government to launch a cumulative impact assessment on their reforms to the welfare system which are unfairly targeting people with disabilities. The Back Bench Committee allocated time for this debate after a WOW petition was signed by over 100,000 people.

As Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Dame Anne has continually called for the government to carry out a full impact assessment of welfare reform to show the effect they are having on people with disabilities.

Dame Anne said

“Although the Government states it isn’t picking on disabled people or people with health problems, their policies are impacting that group the hardest
“When you look at the changes they’ve made to the welfare system – Work Capability Assessments, Employment Support Allowance and the new Personal Independence Payments, you can see who they are aimed…

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Capita Faces Revolt From Disabled Staff Over Discrimination

Same Difference

Anyone who thought things would improve after ATOS, by all reports, seems to have been dreaming, sadly.

The company responsible for carrying out disability benefit assessments across Wales and central England is facing a revolt by disabled staff over allegations of widespread discrimination.


They say that Capita – already under fire over its performance in assessing claimants of personal independence payment, the government’s new disability benefit – appears to have no proper policies in place to manage staff protected under the Equality Act.

The employees all work for Service Birmingham, a joint enterprise that is two-thirds owned by Capita and one-third by Birmingham City Council and aims to “transform” the council’s public services, including its IT services and call centre.

Capita was criticised last autumn after Service Birmingham’s pre-tax profits leapt by more than half to £21 million.

Disability News Service (DNS) has heard from four disabled members…

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ESA, Broken Beyond Repair? A Suggested Framework for a Wholesale Overhaul

The ramblings of a former DWP Civil Servant ...

I think the Labour Party needs to seriously ask itself how a social security reform that attracted widespread support at its inception has reached its current nadir.  My party needs to recognise that the process is broken beyond repair.  And that no tinkering with it will make it function both effectively and humanely.

I am not going to speak about the damage the current process has caused and is still causing.  There are many people better placed than I to describe the emotional and financial distress resulting out of the system as it is today.  My experience of it is, at most second hand.  I do, however, recognise that the system is failing some of the most vulnerable in our society.  It offers them neither hope nor social security.

My background is primarily in the area of support for those seeking work (and seeking to find workers) as well as…

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A Clear Case of Disability Benefit Denial – SCANDELOUS – UPDATE

To follow on from the above link:

Well I have a wee update but I must admit this lack of communication on there part is doing my head in as stress levels are high anyway on Monday 24th March a payment arrived in my wife’s bank account as she manages my money but wait it is nothing to cheer about 😦 it was a maladministration payment of £25 for there failure to not respond to my complaint and Anytime revision request within the time they specify.

The £25 is a menial sum however that is of little interest to me as the letter that should accompany it is of more value going forward in my request to be put in the support group of ESA however today is the 27th March and that has not arrived yet and may not and will no doubt have to do there work and chase it up.

Now on the 24th I also got a letter from HMCTS it was a copy of a directions notice that the DWP had to respond too, but I noticed a couple of errors in it which the judge made but am sure was not done wilfully as he is no doubt just as confused as I am, it referred to a letter I sent on the 4th December 2013 which in fact was the date of an upper tier tribunal court case I am using so emailed the DWP to inform them so there was no further confusion.

HMCTS Directions Letter edited


Now I also got an email that afternoon letting me know that these documents the judge is requesting and which I emailed copies to Complaints Resolution will be forwarded to the Decision Maker but it that email also said I would receive a full reply to my complaint by the 28th March 2014:

Good morning Mr Carter

I confirm receipt of your email of 23 March addressed to Tim Taylor-Blake. I have forwarded a copy of your email with your attachments to Yvonne Moore of our Cosham Benefit Centre Appeals team as requested.   I will be in touch again by 28 March.

Kind regards

Karen Brown 

Complaint Resolution Manager | Department for Work and Pensions | Greater Wessex District | Wynnstay House | 121 High Street | Cosham | PO6 3DR | Tel 023 9230 4895|


I think it is safe to say the DWP under the leadership of IDS is defunct and in chaos.

I will be on the phone tomorrow to try and find out what is going on as I think that £25 payment is now taking the piss.



Early exit of Atos from WCA contract with my response

Written Ministerial Statement

Thursday 27 March 2014
Early exit of Atos from WCA contract

The Minister for Disabled People (Mike Penning MP):The previous Government appointed Atos the sole provider for carrying out Work Capability Assessments in 2008. Since this Government inherited the contract to deliver the Work Capability Assessment, we have been committed to a process of continuous improvement.

Yes the previous Govt did appoint Atos, however you renewed it and turned into nothing like it was and far from improving it you made the lives of many seriously ill and disabled a living hell and that continues with the PIP ASSESSMENT that ATOS lied to get.

When this Government took over responsibility for the Work Capability Assessment we were concerned about the nature of the contract and the process we inherited from the previous Government. We immediately identified the need for considerable improvements and we undertook a series of reviews to improve the balance.

For you it was never about getting the balance right, it was all about welfare reform and slashing just Support from the disabled community that is is clear from the closures of Remploy and the independent living fund which you continue with despite a court judgment saying it was illegal.

When I took over responsibility, I decided to build on the work identified by my predecessors who engaged Professor Harrington, a respected Occupational Physician, to undertake the initial Independent Review. We have taken forward the recommendations from the three Harrington reviews and these have significantly improved the assessment. Today am I pleased to announce we are publishing our response to the first review by his successor Doctor Litchfield.

You were not happy with Professor Harrington’s reports that is why you replaced him with Doctor Litchfield.

Today I am announcing that following detailed negotiations with Atos, the Government has reached a settlement for Atos to exit the contract to deliver Work Capability Assessments before it is due to end in August 2015.

Glad to here it about time as Government has been dragging it’s fet and nothing would have been done how had it not been for the hard work of various campaigners and the few MP’s who did care.

I am pleased to confirm that Atos willnot receive a single penny of compensation from the taxpayer for the early termination of their contract, quite the contrary, I can also confirm that Atos has made a substantial financial settlement to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Will any of those wrongly assessed and who have suffered mentally be compensated out of that pot because at least you could use it to finance the Independent Living Fund.

It is important to outline that we have learnt from the mistakes of the last contract agreed by the previous government. We have negotiated an agreement covering the remaining term that is more robust, with anagreed performance regime that gives us confidence delivery goals will be

achieved. It is that same commercial rigour that will underpin the new procurement for these services that I am announcing today.

My how you love blaming the previous Government for your errors and Maladministration, I trust the new contract will have a fining clause aswell as a means for the public to get redress if the new provider makes the same errors as ATOS as only that can be learning from your mistakes.

To ensure protection for claimants anda smooth transition, I believe the most effective way to stabilise and then increase delivery is to bring in one national provider to deliver the Work Capability Assessment, initially using elements of the Atos infrastructure. In the longer term, I am committed to moving to multiple providers to increase competition. My department is committed tolearning the lessons from these past failures and ensuring they are reflected in the design and management of future contracts, as well as the Department’s own commercial capability.

Anything ATOS has done in the past has to go including the Lima Software used as it is not fit for purpose and is were all the wrong assessments extend from. The next contractor needs to also instil some moral, compassion and understanding.

The plan is for the new contract to be awarded later this year, with a view to the new provider taking responsibility for delivery of Work Capability Assessments by 2015. It is expected that the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment regulations will apply and most of the Atos employees will transfer to the new provider. The new provider should therefore be able to step into the contract without disrupting the

service. My absolute priority for the new provider will be to deliver the best service possible for claimants, increase the volume of assessments carried out and reduce waiting times. In the meantime, we will focus on delivery of assessments for those making new claims and those who have changes in their condition.

This sounds more of the same however I hope these employees who are transferred are also retrained so none of the failures of the past are carried forward.

Atos is announcing today that the company will be withdrawing from delivery of Work Capability Assessments in Great Britain (Atos will continue to deliver these assessments under its separate contract in Northern Ireland). Atos will continue to deliver Personal Independence Payment assessments in two regions of Great Britain.

Why are they allowed to remain in Northern Island? the company is defunct so needs to go in totality and that means for pip contract also as it is noted it is not going well there either.

There is strong evidence that work is good for physical and mental well-being, and that being out of work can contribute to poorer health and other negative outcomes. While we will always support people who genuinely cannot work, this Government is committed to getting as many people as possible into work. Notwithstanding the considerable improvements that we have had to make to the Work Capability Assessment process we inherited, our reforms mean that over 650,000 people are now looking for, or preparing for, work. I am committed to ensuring that the assessments are fair and accurate and, together with robust contract management, the recommendations made by Dr Litchfield in his independent review will help us continue to improve the Work Capability Assessment.

Whilst I agree there are some that can make inroads in to work, there are many who cant and doing so will make there health worse not better indeed there has been many tragic case of people being forced back to work who clearly cannot like cancer patients, those in coma and many others this needs to change and change fast.

The 365 day time limit also needs to change as there are many who need a longer period especially those with mental health problems they also need longer that 30 days to return forms and finally


Labour have stolen my Right to Vote


As anyone who reads my blog will know I’m a lifelong socialist, which so far in my life has meant being a Labour supporter; and like many others over the past decade this has become more difficult.

For me being a socialist means giving a damn about people – especially those that need support; and this was the case long before I became benefit dependent, so yesterday’s Commons voted on a Benefit Cap, was for me the last straw, to use an old adage.

I a LIVID, I feel betrayed and I want Labour to know it; my twitter friend @juxtaposed summed my feelings up beautifully with “Oh Labour” and specifically one line  “What’s the point of you if all you’ve got To offer is that Labour will be tougher?”;  this is exactly what I’ve been asking as many Labour MPs I can, generally to no avail.


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BREAKING: House Passes Trey Gowdy’s Plan to Stop Obama

From the Conservative Tribune

Finally, we’re starting to see Congress get warmed up in enforcing the separation of powers and checks and balances system that our Framers designed.  The House is beginning to push back against Obama’s overreach and refusal to faithfully execute our laws.

Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has been a leader in Congress in going after Obama’s imperial presidency for his unilateral moves and executive tyranny.  He’s sponsored a bill, along with 100+ others, called the ENFORCE the Law Act, which as he explained would authorize Congress to sue Obama over the modification of the laws of Congress and his refusal to enforce those laws which he doesn’t like.

The ENFORCE the Law Act just passed the House of Representatives by a 233 to 81 vote, with 5 Democrats joining Republicans in protesting Obama’s unconstitutional actions.  This is great news.

The Washington Free Beacon writes:

H.R. 4138, sponsored by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), would authorize the House or Senate to sue the executive branch for not enforcing laws and provide an expedited process through federal district courts. The bill is one of several the House GOP is pushing to combat the “imperial presidency.”

Republicans say the legislation is necessary in light of the numerous administrative actions taken by President Barack Obama to change and selectively enforce laws, including immigration, marriage, welfare rules, and his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare.

The administration has unilaterally altered Obamacare at least 20 times. Most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that millions have been exempted from the individual mandate due to a rule change.

The administration also announced last week that individuals would be able to keep their so-called “substandard” health insurance plans that do not comply with Obamacare until October 2017.

Additionally, Obama unilaterally instituted the Dream Act by creating a deferred action program for young illegal immigrants and changed work requirements in welfare.

Click here to watch Trey Gowdy’s floor speech on his bill.

We’ve written extensively documenting Obama’s continued unilateral modification of the laws of Congress.  He thinks that he is above the legislative process and can act on his own whenever he thinks it’s necessary.  As even liberals are now admitting, this is causing a constitutional crisis unlike anything we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes.

This bill is a great first step to fighting Obama, but what really needs to happen is full impeachment.  Let’s see if we can start a movement to impeach Obama by spreading the word about how the House is taking its first major steps towards ending his monarchical presidency.  Help us do so by sharing this article on Facebook and Twitter.


So why is this important to us you may ask, well as you know what goes on in the USA goes on here too so any attack on Obama is good news as it will filter across that big pond to our shores and will weaken Camerons Govt aswell

NAMED: The 177 MPs who voted YES to the Bedroom Tax after claiming up to £25K EACH in accommodation expenses.



177 of the MPs that voted YES to the Bedroom Tax on Tuesday evening, claimed up to £25k EACH in their own “spare bedroom” expenses.

One of the highest claims, Nigel Adams whopping £25k in 2012-13, could pay the Bedroom Tax for up to 30 families in his constituency for a whole year.

Richard Bacon’s constituency is a three hour commute from the House of Commons, yet his accommodation expenses bill averages £450 a week.

Stephen Barclay’s constituency in Cambridgeshire is less than two hours away – and he has the fifth highest claim on the list at over £24,000 last year.


Nigel Adams (CON, Selby and Ainsty). Claimed £25,309 in accommodation expenses. Voted YES to the Bedroom Tax.

Richard Bacon (CON, South Norfolk). Claimed £25,094 in accommodation expenses. Voted FOR the bedroom tax.

Karen Bradley (CON, Staffordshire Moorlands). Claimed £24,849 in accommodation expenses…

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New Childcare Contract for ATOS – WHY


I know from the number of press articles, I’m not the only one astonished that ATOS – the now infamous IT Company with more trading arms than an octopus and renowned for both its part in the disastrous Border Agency computer meltdown in 2012 and its failure to administer the equally beleaguered Work Capability Assessments (WCA) for the DWP, have now been given the contract for delivering the Coalitions Childcare Voucher scheme. What I don’t get is WHY?

Before anyone tells me about the links between ATOS, its parent company UNUM and the extensive range of links – I’ve seen the speculation; but what I don’t understand is, given the recent scathing reports from both the public accounts committee, and the Work and Pensions Select on ATOS; WHY has the Treasury backed NS&I decided that ATOS are a suitable company to deliver anything; unless the caption below is true!


I find…

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Budget 2014: HMRC can now take money directly from your bank account

Buried deep in the Budget document, there’s a pretty significant HMRC power grab.

If officials decide you owe them money, they now have the ability to take it directly out your bank account. No insolvency proceedings, asset freezes or debt collection agencies. Just the government taking out whatever it thinks it’s owed.

There are restrictions. The power can only be used once you’ve received a couple of letter and a phone call from enforcement. It only applies to people who owe over £1,000. HMRC must leave at least £5,000 in your account.

Once they get the money they put it on hold for 14 days and you’ve got a chance to get in touch and set up a payment plan. If you don’t, or you still refuse to pay up, they go ahead and keep it.

All’s fair in tax dodging, you might think – and indeed that will be the sentiment that George Osborne hopes will override concerns about the policy.

But the plot thickens.