Category: Campaign

Freedom of Information tribunal on benefit deaths – April 23

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That we live in times when a government can withhold information about the impact of its policies on sick and disabled people, the poorest and the vulnerable is extraordinary, and certainly reflects the fact that we are no longer a democracy.

We knew in 2012 that an average of 73 sick and disabled people were dying after they had their lifeline benefits withdrawn. But now the government refuses to provide us with information about deaths since then. It’s my own belief that this refusal is because the truth will be horrifying and that even those that supported benefit cuts originally will raise their objections when they learn the truth. We cannot claim to be a civilised society when our government policy is killing some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Well done Mike Sivier, for standing up against an increasingly authoritarian government, and good luck from your fellow campaigners.

From Vox Political: Freedom of Information tribunal on benefit deaths – April 23.

“The only way the public can judge whether this has worked, or whether more must be done to prevent unnecessary deaths, is by examining the mortality statistics, but these have been withheld”. 

Yes, just like the toxic clause 99 – mandatory review – silences those wishing to appeal, also hiding evidence from the public eye. The Tories are showing form here.

 In a so-called democracy, ALL campaigning is both essential and part of an inbuilt safeguard against authoritarianism.

Vox Political: Case proven? Government stays away from benefit deaths tribunal

Related:

The ESA ‘Revolving Door’ Process, and its Correlation with a Significant Increase in Deaths amongst the Disabled.
Briefing on How Cuts Are Targeted – Dr Simon Duffy

How to deal with an Atos mole and cunningly fake, complex Messiahs.

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I’m an ordinary person who happens to be ill, and like many others, I also happen to have a few strong principles, a strong sense of fairness, justice and I am clear on what’s decent, right and wrong. I don’t want to be a leader of any kind, nor do I see myself as an “expert” on disability issues. I don’t believe we should be looking to individuals for answers, to speak for us, or to take responsibility for us. One size does not fit all: our individual challenges vary greatly, and so, therefore, will our individual solutions, and the level of support we may need.

So we need a broad variety of spokespersons to reflect a wide spectrum of needs within our community, and we ought to welcome such a pluralist approach and recognise our diversity as a great strength. Furthermore, much campaigning is about issues around social exclusion, we can only approach this effectively by making sure our own principles are inclusive.

Some campaigners are far from inclusive, however. My own experiences recently of online bullying and trolling have led me to conclude that some of the militant far left and some of the more nihilistic anarchists are as divisive and brutal as the right, and every bit as damaging to our unity, collective sense of purpose, and motivation.

Furthermore, some of these are people claiming to be “real socialists” but I’ve yet to witness any genuine cooperative spirit amongst them. The same group of bullies tried their utmost to have me excluded from campaign groups on Facebook, they gossip-monger with malicious relish, tell whopping lies (apparently I’m a “snout” for the establishment, I work for British Intelligence Services) and troll my own groups, all of this is ultimately because I happen to support the Labour Party.

Two of the groups of people concerned are part of well-known, large campaigning organisations, and these groups claim to support people who are disabled, and speak out for our collective rights. That should never be conditional or contingent on specific political affiliations. One of these groups is simply a front for the Scottish National Party. Their hostility and bullying behaviour towards Labour supporting disabled people has earned them some notoriety.

The group of rather hard line Narxists have no inclusive principles, they aren’t tolerant, nor do they acknowledge diversity; there is no acceptance of alternative views to their own, no open-mindedness, or willingness and capacity for debate, or critical thinking.

And since when was socialism hierarchical? Or about bullying, or being so exclusive? I’m seriously concerned that many people claiming to be “more socialist than you” fail to recognise fundamental socialist principles, such as cooperation, mutual aid, collectivism, tolerance, inclusion and solidarity.  And the absolute importance and necessity of democratic dialogue and exchange.

We ought to be suspicious and wary of those that try to isolate and alienate others. That is very divisive authoritarian behaviour, usually reserved for the far right and has got nothing to do with socialism. We have to BE the change we want to see. Practice what we are preaching, as it were.

Recently, many campaigners supported a man who claimed he was on hunger strike because of his bitter and degrading experience of Atos – one so many of us are all too familiar with. We were to find out over time, however, that he had another agenda, which was more about self-publicity, the promotion of rather unpleasant views founded on misogyny and homophobia (under the guise of “Christianity”) and a variety of other extremely right wing inclinations and views. I witnessed fellow campaigners bullied and abused online by this previously apparently meek and mild character.

Though I had recognised early on that he did not like to acknowledge the work of fellow activists, and he seemed just a tad ego-bound, I said nothing, and watched, bemused, as he was pushed to the forefront of disability campaigning for a while. When people like this let themselves down, they tend to pull a lot of others with them, unfortunately.

A lesson to be learned, perhaps, is that we need to be wary of people that are not inclusive in their approach to campaigning. This man struggled with including a whole social group – women. This character also declared that he hates “lefties”. He ran a bit of an exclusive club for a while.

He also employed very divisive tactics: he exercised some expertise in setting up campaigners to squabble and fight with fellow campaigners. That’s a skill that the Tories have shown excellence in, too. The man’s behaviour online showed early signs that ought to have informed us to proceed with care. Nonetheless he had a huge following for a while. Not that I would ever endorse withdrawing support regarding his experiences with Atos on the grounds of his political inclinations, but we should not tolerate divisive individuals manipulating others for personal gain.

As activists, we can each help inspire others to feel strong, to participate in leading themselves, to become interested and responsible enough to want to join in a community and mutually champion and promote positive changes, based on an outward-looking collectivism. There’s a lot of value in group work, reciprocity, mutual support and the principle of cooperation.

None of us are alone.

It really struck me recently that being disabled doesn’t in itself necessarily engender compassion for others, or empathy: we don’t come especially designed with a philanthropic outlook on life or with a ready-made awareness of the issues others face with their own disabilities. Nor of how to fight for equality, or transcend stigma and prejudice.

We each face a combination of unique challenges and solutions, which are not easily compared and many of our solutions will need to be individually tailored. However, we also face commonly experienced social barriers to equality because of specific legislation (or a lack of it), many of the same prejudices and the same social, economic and political processes.

We currently have very justified anxieties regarding the marked increase in disability hate crime that the Tory-led propaganda campaign has resulted in, many sick and disabled people have also stated that they feel harassed and bullied by the Department for Work and Pensions and Atos. Many in our community talk of the dread they feel when they see the brown Atos envelope containing the ESA50 form arrive through the letter box. The strain of constantly fighting for ESA entitlement and perpetually having to prove that we are a “deserving” and “genuine” sick and disabled person is clearly taking a toll on so many people’s health and wellbeing.

Many families of those who have died have said that the constant strain, anxiety and stress of this revolving door process has contributed significantly to their loved ones’ decline in health and subsequent death. The figures from the DWP, and the marked contrast between the ESA and IB death statistics certainly substantiate these claims. But every medical professional knows that stress exacerbates chronic illness.

FoI request to the Department for Work and Pensions showed that people having their claim for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) stopped, between October 2010 and November 2011, with a recorded date of death within six weeks of that claim ceasing, who were until recently claiming Incapacity Benefit, totalled 310. Between January and November 2011, those having their ESA claim ended, with a recorded date of death within six weeks of that claim ending totalled 10,600. 

Bearing in mind that those who were successfully migrated to ESA from IB were assessed and deemed unfit for work, (under a different assessment process, originally) one would expect that the death rates would be similar to those who have only ever claimed ESA. This is very clearly not the case.

The significant quantifiable increase in deaths over this period coincides with the Government’s almost totalitarian styled rapid-fire austerity legislation aimed at the marginalised groups –  the Welfare “Reforms”, which were hammered through parliament in the face of protest, horror, disbelief, fear and mass opposition. The Tories cited “financial privilege” to trample over opposition, and drown out the voices of protest. Those protesting and challenging this Bill notably included many from the House of Lords.

Few activists would disagree that this sets the stark context of our current struggle. We really don’t need struggles among ourselves as well.

Well, except for one activist, who says:

“I am tired of the way a minor [sic] of extremists who portray themselves as disability activists feel they can make libellous claims against ATOS without taking any accountability for their actions. They claim ATOS kills thousands of disabled people with no evidence, no formal investigation or logic. In fact, their lies are designed to cause panic and distress amongst real disabled people to the point they are pushed towards suicide, so the activists are in reality the killers.” Simon Stevens.

By “extremists”, this person is talking about the likes of me and Atos Miracles, who offer support and share information for sick and disabled people. The evidence of our “claim” comes from the Department for Work and Pensions – their own figures. Furthermore, we have demanded a formal investigation into the deaths, and so far the Government have refused, using arguments to justify that refusal which sound remarkably similar to the ones that this man is trotting out.

We need to ask ourselves why the Government won’t investigate the substantial increase of deaths of sick and disabled people, if this is all about “extremists” like us “scaremongering”. After all, you’d think they would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate any validity of their theory. Instead, the DWP are now refusing to release further information regarding the number of ESA-related deaths. I wonder why, anyone would think there is something to hide.

And “libellous claims”? More than 40 per cent of the reports carried out on disability benefit claimants by the back-to-work assessor Atos are flawed and unacceptable, according to an audit commissioned by the Government. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Atos contract was written by this Government, to include targets that direct the removal of benefit to sick and disable people, however. Atos are something of a facade, and the real problem is this Government’s policy and intention.

Following months of complaints about grossly unfair and nonchalantly slapdash decisions made by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions  audited around 400 of the company’s written reports on disability claimants, grading them A to C. Of these, 41 per cent came back with a C, meaning they were unacceptable and did not meet the required standard. Looks like the Government are buck-passing, to me.

“If I was the government, I would not tolerate these obsessive paranoid fuelled [sic] attacks and simply exclude the abusers from the benefit system, same with those who attack ILF, because why should they tolerate people’s anti-social and destructive behaviour because they are disabled and society fears making them accountable as equal citizens. No other group would be tolerated but disabled extremists are celebrated by the media despite the harm they do to real disabled people.

It is time the government got a backbone and protected real disabled people from the extremists who abuse the system in their name.” Simon Stevens

So, anyone questioning or challenging the Government (and this campaigner, for that matter) isn’t a “real” disabled person, and “paranoid and extremist”? Actually I work with others to support many people who are not activists, but are sick and disabled. Many are suicidal and terrified long before they speak to us. Why do so many people need support in the first place?

Furthermore, it is common knowledge through our shared experiences of assessment, and from information that Atos whistle-blowers have furnished us with that every single question asked by Atos is designed to justify ending our claim for ESA and passing us as “fit for work.” That is what Atos are contracted to do by the Government. This is not a genuine medical assessment, but rather, an opportunity for the DWP to take away the financial support that we are entitled to.

The person I quoted is a self-appointed “disability consultant” and advisor to Atos. However, he has learned that there are consequences for his appalling treatment of other genuine disability campaigners. He will no longer be sponsored by Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) who had selected three disabled campaigners to attend this autumn’s Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative party conferences as part of a new scheme trialled last year by Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD). Many of us wrote to LCD to complain because of this campaigner’s abusive and incredibly far-right comments to other disabled people.

This campaigner, who recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post praising Atos while conveniently forgetting to mention that he worked for them – has been dropped by the charity after we complained he was abusive to people with illness and disabilities. Quite properly so.

This man does not reflect the diverse range of needs within our community, nor was he elected or chosen to represent us. And as a spokesperson for Atos, he has nothing to say about the systematic removal of our lifeline benefits by this Company, or the consequences of that. Those are our very real collective experiences, and this man is trying to invalidate those experiences.

Many of his messages have been aimed at campaigners protesting at the Government’s welfare cuts and “reforms”, particularly those angry at the standard of the work capability assessments (WCAs) carried out by Atos Healthcare.

He told one activist: “Get off your computer, how dare you use a computer and claim [you are] unable to work you fake git”.

And he told another: “I can guess you are either fat, abused alcohol or drugs with your many illnesses”.

And another: “How the fuck can I represent bitter and twisted miserable sub humans like you? Proof you exist”.

He has also asked:

“Why do we bother educating disabled people?  So why do we not go a step further and use ATOS to assess people to see if they were worthy of an education if they will never be able to work? Using this logic, it means fair not to waste money educating people who will not benefit from it!”

He seems wilfully oblivious to the fact that Article 2 of the Protocols of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for the right not to be denied an education, regardless of anyone else’s toxic bigotry and prejudiced opinion on the matter. It’s also worth bearing in mind that equal opportunity principles and the core idea that we each have equal worth, regardless of ability, are fundamental to disability rights campaigning, and that there are laws in place that don’t permit the kind of spite and discrimination that he proposes, thankfully. Yet.

Education is not simply a vocational issue, either. There is no rule that says it has to be so.

This “campaigner” has been busy today emailing fellow campaigners who have challenged him and shamefully threatening them, he has claimed that when people are assessed by Atos he will ensure that their benefits are taken from them. This man is a deplorable bully.

I don’t think I have ever seen such an unlikely and dangerous “disability consultant”, or such a shamefully prejudiced mole …self-appointed “spokesperson” for disabled people. I don’t think this man represented any of the wide array of needs and interests of the disabled community whatsoever, nor did he understand the experiences of other ill and disabled people, clearly. He displayed a remarkable lack of empathy and compassion for others. In fact he is downright callous.

And there’s a thought: we have no way of knowing how many other people within our community are plants, shills, moles, agents provocateurs and so forth. That there ARE such damaging tactics to disrupt campaigns and fragment our movement is well-established.

Remember how Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet were desperate for victory against the miners? And prepared to go to any lengths. For the first time in a post-war national strike the police were openly used as a political weapon. Agents provocateurs and spies were deployed and the state benefits system used to try and starve the miners back.

Former Tory chancellor Nigel Lawson subsequently admitted that preparations for the strike were, “just like re-arming to face the threat of Hitler in the 1930s”. Evidence emerged – after the event – about the role of MI5, MI6, the CIA and ultra-right wingers like David Hart and Tim Bell, who advised Thatcher during the dispute.

The Tories used agents provocateurs following the Six Gagging Acts 1819, when “every meeting for radical reform is an overt act of treasonable conspiracy against the King and his Government”. They do have a lot of previous form.

The Act restricted the freedom of the legitimate press. Radical publications simply went “underground”.

The Tories historically fight dirty and have a history of devious tactics such as infiltrating the far left, to provoke and manufacture toxic divisions to fragment us and recently we have been witnessing such fragmentation within our community.

Anne Rae, chair of Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, said that the campaigners challenging Government policies had become “pretty fragmented”, so there was a need for a national organisation with the “confidence and credibility to speak for disabled people with a strong voice”.

Rae is a former member of the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS), which is often credited with giving birth to the social model of disability in the 1970s.

She said:

“There has got to be discussions about how we can form a national network, if not a national organisation, which has the confidence and credibility to speak for disabled people with a strong voice, because at the moment the voices against the Government are pretty fragmented. We need to have a recognisable voice.”

She also said that disabled people attacking the Government had to understand the need for a well-argued case against the oppression they were fighting against.

She said: “People will respect you if you have a reasoned, structured argument for what you are asking for.”

Rae said the disabled people’s movement had been weakened by funding cuts by local authorities, with the lack of “core funding” for disabled people’s organisations – rather than just project funding –  a “big problem”.

But she said she also believed that the Government had “head-hunted” people from the movement, who had then been forced to “water down their radical views”.

“My view is everybody who is funded by the Government is going to protect their continuity and you cannot bite the hand that feeds you.”

She said that no organisation would “stand by their radical principles” in such a situation, because they knew their funding would stop.

Rae was speaking to Disability News Service at an event held to debate the future of the social model, organised as part of Reclaiming Our Futures, a week of action led by Disabled People Against Cuts.

She also said she was “very suspicious” of the Government’s Office for Disability Issues, which she said was “giving the impression of supporting disabled people”  but was actually destroying people’s “radical mindset” and turning them into “effective speakers but empty speakers full of empty rhetoric”. (With thanks to John Pring, who spoke with Anna Rae.)

We do need to take care here, however, because not all campaigners can be described as “radical”, but that doesn’t make them “wrong” in any way. There’s a whole debate to be had, anyway, about the merits of amelioration versus revolution, about what is feasible, and about precisely how we may proceed with our attempts in making essential positive changes. We do have a political system and parliamentary processes that are simply not amenable to radicalism. Furthermore, we also have an authoritarian Government that does not tolerate even healthy debate and criticism, let alone revolutionary ideas.

There is certainly a need for some strategic thinking here to circumvent the Tory barriers to genuine political dialogue. Perhaps, therefore, one option we have when directly facing Government Ministers is to prioritise and take care assessing what is most likely to be a realistically achievable outcome. That approach doesn’t make a person unsympathetic to more radical aims at all, and the reality is that we need both approaches to fulfil what are essentially commonly shared ideals, aims and goals. We can endorse the credibility and value of both approaches within our community, because both are necessary, both have merit and ultimately share the same aim. We must do what we can do.

Again this is also about valuing inclusivity, pooling our resources and skills, valuing diversity, and about recognising the worth of every effort whilst being mindful of the Tories penchant for dirty tricks and manipulation.

These are extraordinary times. It’s truly incredible how circumstances may transform us. Three years ago the only articles I wrote were about philosophy, sociology, psychology and my various other interests. My own struggles were mostly about how to work, be there for my boys, care for my terminally poorly father, spend some quality time with him, and manage my illness, though I wasn’t as ill back then.

My father was a strong trade unionist, and staunch Labour supporter with an incredibly strong sense of social justice and fairness. In a way, I am glad he cannot see what is happening now to all of the civilised policies and supportive social structures people of his generation, and before him, fought so hard to establish, it would break his heart. He always did loathe the Tories, did my dad.

I used to use Facebook to talk psychology, philosophy, art, poetry and science, and to simply chat. Now it’s all about awareness-raising and sharing information about our dire situation here in the UK. We have an extremely corrupt and authoritarian Government, many are suffering extreme hardship, and many have died because of the imposed ideologically – driven austerity measures here in the UK.

I know I am not alone in that all of this has deeply affected me. Were I not sick and disabled, this would STILL affect me, because it is offensive to my own sense of decency, fairness and social justice. And I know that if one social group is persecuted, and is denied their rights, this affects US ALL. I am reminded once again of “First they came ”  by Martin Niemöller.

I’ve met some extraordinary people through our mutual struggle, though. Some bright beacons of strength and courage, both in real life, and on Facebook. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I have learned that resilience comes from finding the strength to face the despair of our circumstances.

My best satirical one-liners come from bitter responses, not that I’m particularly gifted that way, as others here are. The writing that I do springs from shock, indignation, anger, sorrow and pain – because of what is being done to my friends, to our people and OUR Country. I’m not a professional writer, (though I have had work published before,) but I do bear witness as best I can. As do so many others.

There are many of us doing what we can, when we can, in our own way. I respect and admire every one of you, and acknowledge your personal struggles in a bigger battle here.

Each contribution is equally valuable, precious, and I want to see people uniting more, supporting each other, and recognising the worth of each and every effort. That means putting aside those issues that have led to divisions amongst us, and weakened us in our opposition to this tyrannical Government of Bullingdon brats. Now is the time to be standing together, strong, not one for petty squabbles, interpersonal politics, or allowing others to create divisions.

So stop it.

Upwards and onwards. In unity, mutual respect, love and solidarity!

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Many thanks to our Robert Livingstone for his outstanding memes and art contributions

 


 

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What the Labour Party achieved, lest we forget

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1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
2. Low mortgage rates.
3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52 per hour.
4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.
9. Employment is at its highest level ever.
10. 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools; including new and improved classrooms, laboratories and kitchens. 
11. 85,000 more nurses.
12. 32,000 more doctors.
13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.
16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.
17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.
19. Restored city-wide government to London.
20. Record number of students in higher education.
21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.
22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.
23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.
25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.
27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.
28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.
29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.
30. The Child Poverty Act – 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.
33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997: the shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
35. Banned fox hunting.
36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
37. Free TV licences for over-75s.
38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.
39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.
40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s and disabled people.
41. New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
42. Over 3 million child trust funds started.
43. Free eye test for over 60s.
44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.
45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.
46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.
47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.
48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.
49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.
50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school. 
51. Gender Recognition Act 2004/5
52. Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
53. Walk-in Health Centres and GP out of hours Service.
54. Digital hearing aids, through the NHS.
55. Children’s Act 2004, 2008 – Every Child Matters.
56. Introduced Smoke–Free legislation, 2007 – child health improving continually since.
57. Retail Distribution Review – ending commission for financial advisers
58. Introduced legislation to make company ‘blacklisting’ unlawful.
59. The Equality Act.
60. Established the Disability Rights Commission in 1999.
61. The Human Rights Act.
62. Signed the European Social Chapter.
63. Launched £1.5 billion Housing Pledge of new affordable housing.
64. The Autism Act 2009.
65. New Deal for Communities Regeneration Programme.
66. All prescriptions free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer.
67. Introduced vaccination to be offered to teenage girls to protect against cervical cancer.
68. Rough sleeping dropped by two thirds and homelessness at its lowest level since the early 1980s
69. 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act.
70. Increased Britain’s offshore wind capacity than any country in the world, to provide enough electricity to power 2 million homes.
71. Led the campaign to win the 2012 Olympics for London.
72. Introduced the first ever British Armed Forces and Veterans Day to honour past and present achievements of our armed forces.
73. Created a new right of pedestrian access, so that every family has equal opportunity to access the national coastline.
74. Led the campaign to agree a new international convention banning all cluster munitions.
75. Launched the Swimming Challenge Fund to support free swimming for over 60s and under 16s.
76. Sustainable Communities Actcreated community safety partnerships.
77. Set up a dedicated Department for International Development.
78. Cancelled approximately 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries.
79. Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year, globally.
80. Helped to get 40 million more children into school, globally.
81. Worked to ensure polio is on the verge of being eradicated, globally.
82. Ensured 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
83. Improved water/sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.
84. Launched a Governance and Transparency Fund to improve governance and increase accountability in poor countries.
85. The Neighbourhood Renewal programme – introduced funding for neighbourhood improvements.
86. The Extending Schools Program – included Breakfast and Homework clubs to improved levels of educational achievement and the longer term life chances of disadvantaged children.
87. Launched the Connexions  Service – provided valuable careers advice and support to young people seeking employment.
88. Introduced Working Family Tax credits to support low paid parents in work and to pay for childcare.
89. Introduced the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
90. Established The Future Jobs Fund to provide all young people access to a job, training or education.
91. Introduced Warm Front –  helped 2.3 million vulnerable households, those in fuel poverty, with energy efficiency improvements.
92. Guaranteed paid holidays – introduced a law to ensure that everyone who works is entitled to a minimum paid holiday of 5.6 weeks,
93. Introduced the right to request flexible working.
94. Introduced improved work hours – introduced a law so employers cannot force employees to work more than 48 hours a week.
95. Protection against unfair dismissal – introduced protections for workers and increased the maximum compensation from £12,000 to around £63,000.
96. Introduced Rights for Part-time workers – the right to equal pay rates, pension rights, pro-rata holidays and sick pay.
97. Introduced the Right to breaks at work
98. Introduced the Right to representation  – every worker can be a member of a trade union and be represented in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
99. Rights for parents and carers – introduced the right to time off to deal with unexpected problems for their dependants, such as illness.
100. Introduced literacy and numeracy hours in schools and extended diversity to the curriculum.
101. Reduced class sizes to 30 for 5-7 year old children.
102. Introduced a public interest test, allowing governments to block international business takeovers on three specific grounds: media plurality, national security or financial stability.
103. Introduced the (anti-)Bribery Act 2010
104. Established the Standards Board for England under Labour’s Local Government Act 2000 for promoting and ensuring high ethical standards and code of conduct in local government.

105. Introduced the first ever Climate Change Act 2008.

544807_370332463014480_1710535589_nThanks to Rory Doona for this excellent graphic.


 This list was condensed from: Political Parties – NOT all as bad as each other

Some more sources here.

1- 50 were originally listed in the Telegraph. However, I recognised that some of Labour’s best achievements were not included, so I gathered the rest together over couple of years for this compilation. 

Where Labour policies are cited, I have researched and verified them to ensure that the list accurate. You can find them listed on 

See also: Labour’s animal welfare policies

Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his valuable additions and for his brilliant pictures.

The UK Government have got it wrong about our Human Rights.

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The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights has conducted an inquiry into the UK Government’s implementation of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) – the right to live independently and to be included in the community. The inquiry which began in 2011 has received evidence from over 300 witnesses.

The inquiry has highlighted just how little awareness, understanding and employment of the Convention there is by the Tory-led Government.  Very few of the witnesses made specific reference to the Convention in their presented evidence, despite the inquiry being conducted by the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, with the terms of reference clearly framing the inquiry as being about Article 19 of the UNCRPD.

“This finding is of international importance”, said Oliver Lewis, MDAC Executive Director, “Our experience is that many Governments are of the view that the CRPD is nothing more than a policy nicety, rather than a treaty which sets out legal obligations which governments must fulfil.”

The report is particularly critical of the Minister for Disabled People (Maria Miller, at the time) who told the Committee that the CRPD was “soft law”. The Committee criticised this as “indicative of an approach to the treaty which regards the rights it protects as being of less normative force than those contained in other human rights instruments.” (See para. 23 in the report, the link is at the foot of this article.) The Committee’s view is that the CRPD is hard law, not soft law.

Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “We are concerned to learn that the right of disabled people to independent living may be at risk through the cumulative impact of current reforms. Even though the UK ratified the UNCPRD in 2009 with cross-party support, the Government is unable to demonstrate that sufficient regard has been paid to the Convention in the development of policy with direct relevance to the lives of disabled people. The right to independent living in UK law may need to be strengthened further, and we call on the Government and other interested organisations to consider the need for a free-standing right to independent living in UK law.”

“The Government is meant to include disabled people in making sure people have their human rights upheld. We are concerned that a part of the Law on treating people equally and fairly (Equality Act section 149) does not say any more that disabled people should be involved. This is a step backwards.”

In other words, the Tory-led Coalition has quietly removed this part of the Equality Act.

The budget of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which was established by the Labour Party when they were drafting this flagship policy, is being reduced by over 60%, its staffing cut by 72%, and its powers restricted by the Coalition. Provisions that are being repealed by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Bill include the duty on public authorities to have due regard to the need to reduce socio-economic inequalities.

Savage Legal Aid cuts from April 2013 have also contributed significantly to creating further barriers to ensuring Equal Rights law protect us, and the Tory-driven Legal Aid Bill also contravenes our right to a fair trial under Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is not a coincidental multiple policy timeline, but rather a very coordinated political attack on potential legal challenges at a time when Tory-led severe and devastating multiple welfare and provision cuts have affected disabled people so disproportionately. The changes, which came into effect in April, will hit the same group of disabled people over and over again”.

The threats to the legal infrastructure make it all the more important to mobilise all disadvantaged groups around equality as a fundamental human right.

The Report draws attention to several significant Human Rights issues, including:

  • the need for freestanding legislation to protect the right to independent living in UK law,
  • the effect of current reforms to benefits and services on the ability of disabled people to enjoy independent living,
  • the role played by the UNCRPD in policy development and decision-making at all levels of government,
  • the need for the use of equality impact assessments,
  • the effects of devolution on implementation of the UNCRPD, and
  • hate crime

The right to independent living does not exist as a free-standing right in UK law. Although it is protected and promoted to some extent by a matrix of rights, the Committee believes that this is not enough. It argues that the Government and other interested parties should immediately assess the need for, and feasibility of, legislation to establish independent living as a free-standing right. In addition, the Committee concludes that the UNCRPD is “hard law” and that the Government should fulfil their obligations under the Convention on that basis.

The Committee finds that:

  • reforms to benefits and services (let’s be frank here, they are not welfare “reforms”, they are cuts) risk leaving disabled people without the support they need to live independently;
  • restrictions in local authority eligibility criteria for social care support, the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and changes to housing benefit risk interacting in a particularly harmful way for disabled people;
  • people fear that the cumulative impact of these changes will force them out of their homes and local communities and into residential care.

It also finds that:

  • the Government has not conducted an Equality impact assessment of the cumulative impact of current “reforms” on disabled people. The Report urges them do so, and to report on the extent to which these “reforms “are enabling them and local authorities to comply with their obligations under the UNCRPD.
  • The Committee states that the Government should make a commitment to Parliament that they will give due consideration to the articles of the Convention when making legislation. The UNCRPD did not have a significant role in the development of policy and legislation, as is required by the Convention.

Furthermore, the Committee criticises changes to the duties of public authorities in England under the Equality Act 2010, which no longer require the production of equality impact assessments of changes in policy, nor the involvement of disabled people in developing policies which will affect them.

The Committee also expresses a major concern over a growing incidence of hate crime against disabled people and urges the Government take action to foster respect for the rights and dignity of disabled people.

Article 19 states that the Government must always ensure it “stops things getting worse.” This has NOT happened. The quality of so many sick and disabled people’s lives in this Country has been radically, significantly and DELIBERATELY reduced since the Tory-led Coalition took Office in 2010. This needs to change as a matter of urgency.

The Government’s “reforms” have led to a terrible increase in deaths amongst sick and disabled people, and we have already seen a significant rise in suicides that are directly linked with the Tory-driven austerity measures.

When we genuinely seek to improve the situation of the poorest and vulnerable, first of all we will need to spend time studying the privileged elite and their lifestyle choices of tax avoidance, their own economic lasciviousness and lack of capacity for personal and social responsibility.

We need to pay attention to Government handouts (of our money) to banks, private businesses and the wealthy: we need to appraise the dependency and culture of entitlement that these sponsored acts have fostered, and of course special focus should be on the amoral decisions and anti-social actions of the feckless, scrounging wealthy, and with particularly careful, critical scrutiny of the Government responsible for policies that re-distribute and concentrate our wealth and their advantage and power, therefore creating social divisions, inequality and poverty, perpetuating and extending it.

The Tory-led Coalition prefers to take money from the vulnerable, the sick and disabled, and hand it out to millionaires.

We need to ask why our Government refuses to instigate or agree an inquiry into the substantial rise in deaths amongst sick and disabled people, as these deaths are so clearly a direct consequence of this Government’s policies. What kind of Government uses the media to scape-goat and stigmatise sick and disabled people, by lying and inventing statistics to “justify” the persecution of some of our most vulnerable citizens, and the withdrawal of their crucial lifelines and support?

One that does not value those lives, or regard them as having an equal worth with others.

We are raising more money for the rich” – David Cameron, 12th December 2012


Further reading:

Archbishop Tartaglia adds to protest against Atos assessments which ‘trample on human dignity’

The European courts have their priorities wrong. Why aren’t they stopping the disability deaths? – Mike Sivier, Vox Political

Did They Hope We Wouldn’t Notice? Under The Smokescreen – John D Clare

The Coming Tyranny and The Legal Aid Bill – KittySJones

CRPD IS “HARD LAW” – UK PARLIAMENT

The Summary of the Report on Implementation of the Right of Disabled People to Independent Living: easy read version  and the full length report

644117_408620012540866_785481358_nMany thanks to Robert Livingstone for his outstanding art work.

Essential information for ESA claims, assessments and appeals

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Essential Information for claims, assessments and appeals. 

There are three essential ideas to keep in mind when claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) because of the nature of the ESA50 form, and the fact that Atos are seeking to deny benefits, and NOT assess disability: this will not be a fair investigation of your health issues.

This information needs to be shared widely so people are made aware of them, and can use them when claiming ESA or appealing.

These very helpful ideas are:

  •  Reliably, repeatedly and safely
  •  Exceptional circumstances – Regulations 25 and 31, 29 and 35
  •  Atos assessments and pitfalls – how they try to deceive you

1. Reliably, repeatedly and safely. 

‘Lord’ Fraud made this statement in the House of Lords:

“It must be possible for all the descriptors to be completed reliably, repeatedly and safely, otherwise the individual is considered unable to complete the activity.”

You might be able to go up three steps once – but if cannot do it “reliably, repeatedly and safely”, in Freud’s own words you CAN NOT do it at all.

Apply the phrase “reliably, repeatedly and safely” all through your ESA50 or appeal form, use it on each of the descriptors. Make sure you state clearly which activities you can not do reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely manner, because Atos will otherwise assume you are consistently capable of them all.

2. Exceptional Circumstances – Regulations 25 and 31 for Universal Credit and Regulations 29 and 35 for current and ongoing ESA claims and Contribution-based ESA.

Regulations 25 and 31 will replace the old Special Regulations 29 and 35 from April 2013 for Universal Credit. This is in preparation for the abolishment of income-related ESA only, and not contribution-based ESA.

However, the old Regulations 29 and 35 still apply to ongoing cases that are not yet affected by Universal Credit, and will remain in place indefinitely for all Contribution-based ESA. So there are two sets of Regulations in place for Exceptional Circumstances.

Income-based ESA will be replaced by Universal Credit, as (or if) it is rolled out, but there will be the same additional financial components added as we currently have for ESA – you will be able to claim either the work-related activity or the support component.

The contents of both sets of Regulations are essentially the same. They are applied in the same way. 25 and 29 are for those who are not capable of work, and would usually be placed in the Work-Related Activity Group, and 31 and 35 apply to those not capable of work-related activity, and would normally be placed in the Support Group.

Because of the tick-box nature of the ESA50 form, it is likely that people will fall below the number of points required to be declared incapable of work – it doesn’t take into account variable illnesses, mental illness, or the effects of having more than one illness.

However, the Exceptional Circumstances Regulations may cover us – they both state that the claimant should be found incapable of work (Regulation 29 for ongoing ESA claims, 29 for Universal Credit) or work-related activity (Regulation 35 for ongoing ESA claims, 31 for Universal Credit) if:

  • they have an uncontrolled or uncontrollable illness, or “the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and
  • by reason of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work/work-related activity”.

If you feel this reflects your circumstances, then we suggest adding something like this, where you put “other information” on the ESA50:

“If the scoring from my answers above is insufficient, then I believe applying the Exceptional Circumstances Regulations would be appropriate due to the severity and interaction of my conditions, and my inability to reliably, repeatedly and safely encounter work-related situations and/or safely perform work-related tasks.

I am taking all available and appropriate medication as prescribed by my doctor(s), and there are no reasonable adjustments to a workplace which would mitigate my medical condition(s).

Therefore I believe being placed in the Support Group would be appropriate, because there would be a serious substantial risk to mental and/or physical health if I were placed into a workplace environment or in the work-related activity group.”

You can word it yourself, of course. Please change the wording to fit your situation, delete “mental” or “physical” if appropriate, leave both in if necessary. If your illness cannot be controlled at all, or medication can’t be used to control it, add that instead.

Regulations 29 (for ESA) and 25 (for Universal Credit) cover people who might be put in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), which has work-focused activities, sometimes it has workfare placements, and sanctions may apply, while Regulations 35 (for ESA) and 31 (for Universal Credit) cover people who are not well enough for any kind of work activity. This is for people who might be placed in the Support Group. There are no conditions placed on you for getting your ESA, such as workfare, if you have limited capability for work-related activity.

You can ask your doctor to support you with this claim, as it is stated in the regulations:

“(b) evidence (if any) from any health care professional or a hospital or similar institution, or such part of such evidence as constitutes the most reliable evidence available in the circumstances” may be presented to support your case. 

You can ask for copies of any communication from your consultant to your GP. You can also ask to be copied into any further correspondence between your doctors. 

Here are some links so you can download and print off documents to give to your GP to support your claim or appeal. You ought to submit copies of these to the DWP as soon as you can. (Make sure that you keep a copy).

In some cases, this may mean that your case will be reconsidered in your favour without having to wait for a tribunal hearing.

These templates are for ongoing ESA claims and Contribution-based ESA:

(CLICK)   Cover letter for your GP

(CLICK)   ESA Appeals Letter for your GP

(CLICK)   Legal Advice of Counsel for GPs: Prevention of Avoidable Harm Interpretation and Application of ‘Substantial Risk’ ESA Regulations 29 & 35

With many thanks to the Black Triangle Campaign for these extremely helpful links and templates.

Please remember: Regulations 29 and 35 still apply to all ongoing ESA claims, and will remain in use for contribution-based ESA claims.

Regulations 25 and 31 apply to Universal credit when that is rolled out. If you are one of the few currently claiming Universal Credit in one of the pilot areas, and if you are not eligible for contribution-based ESA, Regulations 25 and 31 apply now. You may amend the print off documents for your GP, as they cite the Regulations most likely to be applicable at the moment.

The full text of the legislation appears at the end of this article (Appendix A).

3. The Atos assessment and what you need to know.

You have a right to ask for your assessment to be recorded. You will need to request this in advance, but it’s worth making sure you use this opportunity to gather evidence on record because in doing so, you make it much more difficult for the Health Care Professional (HCP) to disregard what you tell them and write “inaccuracies” in their assessment report. We would strongly recommend you exercise this right.

It’s also worth knowing that Atos don’t conduct “medical” assessments,  they conduct “disability analysis“. You are not a patient to Atos, you are a “claimant”.

Bear in mind throughout the assessment that your answers to any apparently innocent questions, such as:

  • Do you watch television
  • Do you read
  • Do you use the internet 

These may be translated into phrases for the assessment report such as:

  • Can sit unaided and unsupported for at least half an hour. 
  • Has no problems with concentration and focus
  • Has no visual problems

Assessment starts on the day of your appointment with the HCP reading the form you completed when you applied for benefit. Remember that every single question you are asked is designed to justify ending your claim for ESA and passing you as “fit for work.” That is what Atos are contracted to do by the Government. This is not a genuine medical assessment, but rather, an opportunity for the DWP to take away the financial support that you are entitled to.

Things that are noted from your form:

  • Did you complete the form yourself
  • Is the handwriting legible
  • Are the contents coherent

These observations are already used in assessing your hand function, your cognitive state and concentration.

Further observations made:

  • Do the things you have written add up, is there consistency
  • Does your medication support your diagnosis
  • What tests have you had to confirm diagnosis. For example a diagnosis of sciatica is not accepted unless diagnosed by MRI scan
  • Do you have supporting medical evidence from your GP or consultants. If you do, it shows that you are able to organise getting this information

When the HCP has read your form they input some data into the computer system. The assessment properly begins when they call your name in the waiting room.

At this point the HCP assesses:

  • Did you hear your name being called
  • Did you rise from your chair unaided, did the chair have support arms or not
  • Were you accompanied – assessing your ability to go out alone
  • Were you reading a paper while waiting – assessing your concentration
  • Did you walk to the assessment room unaided, did you use aids correctly. Did you navigate any obstacles safely – assessing sight

The HCP will shake your hand on introduction – assessing your handshake, noting if are you trembling, sweating – signs of anxiety. Note that you are under constant scrutiny. The HCP will often ask on the way to the assessment room:

  • How long you’ve been waiting – assessing your ability to physically sit, and appraising your mental state
  • How did you get here today – assessing your ability to drive or use public transport

Formal assessment begins by listing medical conditions/complaints. For each complaint you will be asked:

  • How long have you had it, have you seen a specialist
  • Have you had any tests, what treatments have you had
  • What’s your current treatment. Have you had any other specialist input e.g. physiotherapy, CPN

The HCP will use a lack of specialist input/ hospital admissions to justify assessing your condition as less severe. Medications will be listed and it will be noted if they are prescribed or bought. Dates will be checked on boxes to assess compliance with dosage and treatment regime. Any allergies or side-effects should be noted.

  • A brief note is made of how you feel each condition affects your life
  • A brief social history will be taken – who you live with, if have you stairs in your house or steps outside your house
  • An employment history taken – when you last worked, what you work entailed, reason for leaving employment

Your typical day – this is the part of the assessment where how you function on a day to day basis is used to justify the HCP decisions. Anything you say here is most often used to justify the HCP “failing” you and assessing you as “fit for work”. The HCP records their observations.

Starting with your sleep pattern, questions are asked about your ability to function. This will include:

  • Lower limb problems – ability to mobilise to shop, around the house, drive, use public transport, dress, shower
  • Upper limb – ability to wash, dress, cook, shop, complete the ESA form
  • Vision – did you manage to navigate safely to the assessment room
  • Hearing – did you hear your name being called in the waiting room
  • Speech – could the HCP understand you at assessment
  • Continence – do you describe incontinence NOT CONTROLLED by pads, medication. Do you mention its effects on your life when describing your typical day
  • Consciousness – do you suffer seizures – with loss of continence, possible injury, witnessed, or uncontrolled diabetes
  • The HCP observations include noting how far you walked to the examination room, watching to see if you removed your coat independently, did you handle medications without difficulty, did you bend to pick up your handbag

Formal examination consists of simple movements to assess limited function. Things the HCP also looks at:

  • Are you well-presented, hair done, wearing make-up, eyebrows waxed
  • Do you have any pets – this can be linked with ability to bend to feed and walk
  • Do you look after someone else – as a parent or carer – if you do, this will be taken as evidence of functioning
  • Are you doing any training, voluntary work, do you socialise – this will be used as evidence of functioning

This is not a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of how seemingly innocent questions are used to justify HCP decisions to pass you as “fit for work.”

Mental Health:

  • Learning tasks – can you use a phone, computer, washing machine
  • Hazards – can you safely make tea, if you claim you have accidents, there must be emergency services involvement, e.g. fire service. Near miss accidents do not count

Personal Actions:

  • Can you wash, dress, gather evidence for assessment
  • Do you manage bills

Other observations made by the HCP – appearance and presentation:

  • Coping with assessment interview – any abnormal thoughts, hallucinations, confusion, suicidal thoughts
  • Coping with change – ability to attend assessment, attend GP or hospital appointments, shopping and socialising

More HCP observations include:

  • Appearance, eye contact, rapport, any signs/symptoms that are abnormal mood/thoughts/perceptions. Any suicidal thoughts
  • How you cope with social engagement- appropriateness of behaviour – any inappropriate behaviour must have involved police to be considered significant
  • Your capacity to cope with the assessment, overall responses and level of engagement with the assessor

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, merely some examples.

Additional information:

Special cases: exemptions from assessment include – terminal illness, intravenous chemotherapy treatment and regular weekly treatment of haemodialysis for chronic renal failure; treatment by way of plasmapheresis; regular weekly treatment by way of total parenteral nutrition for gross impairment of enteric function.

At present to qualify for ESA you need to score 15 points. This can be a combination of scores from physical and mental health descriptors.To qualify for the support group you must score 15 points in one section. As long as you are claiming income-based ESA then your award can be renewed at each assessment, if you gain 15 points.

Remember that you may also qualify without meeting the 15 points criterion, even if you don’t score any points, because of Exceptional Circumstances (Regulations 25, 29 and 31, 35) if there would be a substantial risk to your mental or physical health if you were found not to have limited capability for work and/or work-related activity respectively.

Contribution-based ESA lasts for 1 year only, unless you are in the Support Group. After 1 year, in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), you may only get income-based ESA if your household income is below a certain threshold. It makes no difference how long you have previously paid National Insurance. 

Further information:

Lord Freud – “Reliably, repeatedly and safely”  – Source: Hansard, column 326, paragraph 4.

*There are Judges who interpret the law and where applicable, set precedent. There are Ministers who set policy. With specific reference to the use of repeatedly, reliably, safely, and in a timely manner, this is the result of Upper Tribunal judges interpreting the law and setting precedent through case law.*

Exceptional Circumstances: Employment and Support Allowance Regulation 25
Exceptional Circumstances: Employment and Support Regulation 31
Employment and Support Allowance: 2013 Regulations in full
Explanatory memorandum to all benefits 2013: Full legislation document
Recommended – Implications of the changes and advice: Employment Support Allowance claim update: Exceptional Circumstances – Regulations 25 and 31 and Universal Credit
Recommended – The Black Triangle Campaign: How to Gain Exemption from DWP/Atos ‘Fit for Work’ & WRAG decisions by Applying ESA Regulations 29 and 35 (see note for 25 and 31)
The new Work Capability Assessment 2013: DWP Guide
The Employment and  Support Allowance Regulations 2008 (as amended) – judiciary.gov.uk

Appendix A: 

Regulation 25

25.—(1) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work as determined in accordance with the limited capability for work assessment is to be treated as having limited capability for work if paragraph (2) applies to the claimant.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), this paragraph applies if—

(a) the claimant is suffering from a life-threatening disease in relation to which—

(i) there is medical evidence that the disease is uncontrollable, or uncontrolled, by a recognised therapeutic procedure; and

(ii) in the case of a disease that is uncontrolled, there is a reasonable cause for it not to be controlled by a recognised therapeutic procedure; or

(b) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reason of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work.

(3) Paragraph (2)(b) does not apply where the risk could be reduced by a significant amount by—

(a) reasonable adjustments being made in the claimant’s workplace; or

(b) the claimant taking medication to manage the claimant’s condition where such medication has been prescribed for the claimant by a registered medical practitioner treating the claimant.

(4) In this regulation “medical evidence” means—

(a) evidence from a health care professional approved by the Secretary of State; and

(b) evidence (if any) from any health care professional or a hospital or similar institution,

or such part of such evidence as constitutes the most reliable evidence available in the circumstances.

*Regulation 25 outlines exceptional circumstances in which a person will be treated as having limited capability for work, but may be capable of work-related activities. People in these circumstances are placed in the ESA work-related activity group (WRAG)

However, there are further exceptional circumstances in which a person  will be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity in addition, and will therefore be placed in the ESA support group. These are outlined by Regulation 31.

Regulation 31 

31.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant is terminally ill;

(b) the claimant is—

(i) receiving treatment for cancer by way of chemotherapy or radiotherapy;

(ii) likely to receive such treatment within six months after the date of the determination of capability for work-related activity; or

(iii) recovering from such treatment,

and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant should be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity;

(c) in the case of a woman, she is pregnant and there is a serious risk of damage to her health or to the health of her unborn child if she does not refrain from work-related activity; or

(d) the claimant is entitled to universal credit and it has previously been determined that the claimant has limited capability for work and work-related activity on the basis of an assessment under Part 5 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013.

(2) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work-related activity as determined in accordance with regulation 30(1) is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement; and

(b) by reason of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.

For all ongoing cases where Universal Credit does NOT apply, and for ALL Contributions-based ESA claims:

Regulation 29

29.—(1) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work as determined in accordance with

the limited capability for work assessment is to be treated as having limited capability for work if:

paragraph (2) applies to the claimant.

(2) This paragraph applies if—

(a) the claimant is suffering from a life threatening disease in relation to which—

(i) there is medical evidence that the disease is uncontrollable, or uncontrolled, by a recognised therapeutic procedure; and

15(ii) in the case of a disease that is uncontrolled, there is a reasonable cause for it not to be controlled by

a recognised therapeutic procedure; or

(b) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reasons of

such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work.

Regulation 35

35.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant is terminally ill;(b) the claimant is—

21(i) receiving treatment by way of intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy; or

(ii) recovering from that treatment and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant should be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity; or

(c) in the case of a woman, she is pregnant and there is a serious risk of damage to her health or to the health of her unborn child if she does not refrain from work-related activity.

(2) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work-related activity as determined in accordance with regulation 34(1) is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—

(a) the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement; and

(b) by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.

Appendix B

Most Atos HCPs are not doctors, they are usually nurses or occupational therapists. You can demand that a qualified doctor or specialist conducts your assessment under some circumstances. I’ve gathered the following list from various Freedom of Information responses from the Department for Work and Pensions.

List of conditions judged suitable for assessment by neuro – trained nurses/any health care profession, so make sure that you are seen by a qualified HCP: 

Prolapsed intervertebral disc
Lumbar nerve root compression
Sciatica
Slipped disc
Lumbar spondylosis
Lumbar spondylolisthesis
Lumbar spondylolysis
Cauda equina syndrome
Spinal stenosis
Peripheral neuropathy
Neuropathy
Drop foot
Meralgia paraesthetica
Cervical spondylosis
Cervical nerve root compression
Cervicalgia
Nerve entrapment syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Trapped nerve
Paraesthesia
Tingling
Numbness
Brachial plexus injury
Polyneuropathy
Dizziness
Vertigo
Essential Tremor
VWF
Alzheimer’s

List of conditions judged by the DWP and Atos Healthcare as suitable only for assessment by doctors:

Stroke
Head injury with neuro sequelae
Brain haemorrhage
Sub Arachnoid Haemorrhage
Brain tumour
Acoustic Neuroma
Multiple Sclerosis
Motor Neurone Disease
Parkinson’s disease
TIAs
Bulbar Palsy
Myasthenia Gravis
Muscular Dystrophy
Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Syringomyelia
Neurofibromatosis
Spina bifida
Polio
Fits (secondary to brain tumour)
Learning difficulties (with physical problems)
Nystagmus
Myelitis
Bells Palsy
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Paraplegia
Quadriplegia
Huntington’s Chorea
Huntington’s Disease

Further reading:

More on questions you may be asked at assessment: dwpexamination forum 
How to deal with Benefits medical examinations: A Useful Guide to Benefit Claimants when up against ATOS Doctors
More support and advice here: How to deal with Benefits medical examinations
Step by step guide to appealing a ESA decision: Good Advice Matters

Important update

Clause 99, Catch 22 – The ESA Mandatory Second Revision and Appeals

Additional support:

The LawWorks Clinics Network is a nationwide network of free legal advice sessions which LawWorks supports.Clinics provide free initial advice to individuals on various areas of law including social welfare issues, employment law, housing matters and consumer disputes – List of LawWorks  clinics

V-STARTU

Thanks to Robert Livingstone for his valuable contributions.

With many thanks to Joyce Drummond for contributing such valuable information about the Work Capability Assessment.

With many thanks to The Black Triangle Campaign for sharing their work on the GP support letter template, and covering legal and explanatory documents


I don’t make any money from my work. But you can help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others by making a donation. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.

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