Category: Uncategorized

Remembering the Victims of the Government’s Welfare “Reforms”

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“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – Haile Selassie.

Welfare that is not welfare

I believe that welfare provision is NOT a State “handout” or “something for nothing”. It is paid for by us via taxes, and is for us, to provide support at times of need and vulnerability, such as if we are sick or have an accident and become disabled or unemployed (Firstly these are circumstances that may happen to anyone, people may lose their job, perhaps due to recession – some are now calling it a depression – that has been created and perpetuated by a totally ideologically-bound and morally unresponsive Government, for example).

The fact that I felt I had to state that at all indicates plainly just how terribly effective the Government’s anti-welfare propaganda and calumny has been. Huddled in defiant bewilderment, in the face of the finger-pointing, bullying, the mean-spirited, the spiteful, the hideous, dehumanising Tory-led ideological rantings, we – the persecuted, marginalised and disabled – continue to organise and fight. We have to.

Our lives have become political and public property, and we are being subjected to imposing and increasing physical and existential limits constantly. We are no longer a part of a civilised and kindly Society that celebrates the achievements of disabled people. We are marginalised, stigmatised and disavowed, we are scapegoated, dehumanised and reduced to socio-economic refugees. We are transformed by the media into undeserving folk devils and the Government are generating moral outrage regarding how much we are “costing” the State.

It’s a well known bullying tactic to blame the victim. It’s rather like the mugger shouting loudly that he is being mugged, before, after, and whilst he is busy robbing you.

We know the current benefit system is no longer about welfare, and current policies do not have a core principle –  implicitly or explicitly, despite the rhetoric –  of ensuring or promoting the well-being of sick and disabled people, or any other vulnerable person. The welfare “reforms” – and the word “reform” implies some positive change that certainly isn’t evident here  –  are entirely about stripping away our paid for welfare provision – our social security.

Not one single Tory “reform” is about enhancing lives: they are all about taking money and support away, and so stifling our potential for positive experiences. Through a combination of changes to existing benefits and the new Universal Credit, the UK Government aims to cut £18 billion off welfare “spending”. A further £10 billion is to be cut from benefit provision in the near future.

“When we struggle to meet basic physical needs, we cannot transcend our biology and fulfil other human needs. We become bound and captured by the physical.” –  Abraham Maslow

Benefit rates were originally carefully calculated by a body of professionals and officials to meet basic living requirements only, such as food, shelter and fuel costs. Benefit rates have never reflected anything more than a financial amount to meet these fundamental human needs. Our welfare provision has eradicated absolute poverty in Britain, and has been an essential lifeline for many citizens, in times of their need of support. Until now. Benefit rates were set at the amount “the law says you need to live on”. If people cannot meet their basic living requirements, they struggle, suffer and die. It’s a fact.

Furthermore, Maslow tells us that if we are struggling to survive, we cannot possibly fulfil other human needs and motivations.

I know I am not alone in having grave concerns about the fact that the Government have recently introduced harsh sanctions of up to three years without benefits for all benefit claimants, the only ones being exempt from sanctions currently are those placed in the ESA Support Group. This is only a proportionally small number of claimants that will remain unaffected. The Conservatives claim that the sanctions will “help people into work” and are to be applied to those who “fail” to meet certain “conditions” to look for work. We know, however, that sanctions are applied often without any justifiable reasons because the DWP  deliberately set people up to fail, and we also know that the Government sets sanction targets for the DWP.  There cannot be any justification for depriving people of lifeline benefits.

Firstly, only a very cruel and injudicious Government would punish people for being out of work during an economic recession in this way. Secondly, removing people’s means of meeting fundamental survival needs by sanctioning them is most certainly not going to motivate them and “help them into work” as the Government are claiming. Those people will be so entirely pre-occupied with fighting for survival that they won’t be capable of looking for imaginary jobs, and the existing low paid zero hour contracts are not going to provide a route out of poverty. These are the “jobs” that the Government conjure from the aether and transform into dishonest statistics.

“Evidence also suggests that work can have a positive impact on the long term health of people with disabilities and health conditions,” according to the Government, but we have yet to see convincing evidence of this. Those in the ESA Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) are expected, from December 3rd 2012, to undertake unlimited periods of mandatory workfare in order to meet conditions for continued eligibility.

This means that sick and disabled people are at an increased risk of being sanctioned, because the condition of qualifying for this benefit in the first place is that a doctor has provided a statement to say that the person claiming is unfit for work. That would be unfit for ANY work, including unpaid and grossly exploitative workfare programs. There clearly is a monumental problem regarding Government expectations of those in this group. Once again, the sanctions raise some serious concerns regarding the Government’s casual transgression of human rights.

The Minister for Employment at the time that this Government decided to apply sanctions to sick and disabled people, as well to job seekers, for up to three years, was the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP. He made the following official statement regarding the new sanctions regime and Human Rights:

“In my view the provisions of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Sanctions Amendment Regulations 2012  are compatible with the Convention rights.”

Phew! For a moment, we thought that denying people the basic requirements needed for life for up to 3 years, and as a punishment, was a gross breach of Articles 2, 5, 9 and 14 at the VERY least. Glad you cleared that up Mr Grayling…

However, someone really ought to send Chris Grayling, Mark Hoban, Lord Freud and Iain Duncan Smith and the rest of the Tories a copy of Maslow’s Hierarchy. But the chances are that the Tories would simply dismiss it as “anecdotal“.

Not that I believe for one moment that this Government don’t know about Maslow’s Hierarchy, or that they don’t possess the common sense understanding that if you remove the means that sick and disabled people have of fulfilling their basic physical needs, they will most likely die.

Iain Duncan Smith refused to undertake a cumulative impact assessment of the Welfare Reforms. I am certain that is because he KNEW in advance what the impact and consequences of stripping the most basic income from the most vulnerable members of society would be. And after being confronted with evidence of the terrible consequences of the reforms, Duncan Smith has denied there is a “causal link” between the deaths and Tory policies.

A Department for Work and Pensions FOI reveals 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, totaled 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 totaled 10,600. Bearing in mind that those who were successfully migrated to ESA from Incapacity Benefit (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.

Furthermore, there are NO alarming increases in death rates amongst those who are still in receipt of Incapacity Benefit – there were approximately a million and a half claimants, compared to less than a million ESA claimants for this period. Many of those migrated so far have not yet had a Work Capability Assessment, as the Government decided to re-assess those people when their review from the Incapacity Benefit Personal Capability Assessment is due, for practical reasons. The migration process won’t be completed, it is anticipated, until 2014.

David Green from the DWP has urged that “care should therefore be taken when interpreting these figures”. Well I HAVE taken care interpreting this data, Mr Green. My careful interpretation is that the Government are directly responsible for the deaths of a significant proportion of those 10,600 people claiming ESA via its “Reforms”. Incapacity Benefit was fair, and reflected genuine welfare provision. The Reforms, including the new Tory-shaped ESA benefit, by stark contrast, are all about taking support and provision away from the vulnerable.

Indeed, the Tories have been very keen to articulate the welfare “savings” that they anticipated with regard to the disability benefits, including PIP, which is replacing DLA. But of course, these anticipated “savings” reflect a dark truth: the Government are setting targets to remove benefits from people, regardless of the impact of that imposed deprivation (and frank State theft of our tax funded welfare) on their well-being, health and safety.

Those on IB were not required to have continuous assessments, whereas those on ESA are constantly required to have the Work Capability Assessment. Many claimants have described a “revolving door” process of endless assessment, ceased ESA claim, (based on an outcome of almost invariably being wrongly “assessed” as fit for work), appeal, successful appeal outcome, benefit reinstated, only to find just 3 months later another assessment is required. The uncertainty, and loss of even a basic material security that this process creates, leading to a constant fear and anxiety, is having a negative impact on the health and well-being of so many.

A significant proportion of those required to have endless assessments have very obviously serious illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, lung disease, heart disease, severe and life threatening chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, myalgic encephalomyelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, brain tumours, severe heart conditions, and severe mental health illness, for example. To qualify for ESA, the claimant must provide a note from a doctor stating that the person is unfit for work. There can be no justification for subjecting people who are so ill to further endless assessments, and for treating us as if we have done something wrong.

Negative labelling, marginalising and stigmatising the vulnerable via propaganda in the media, using despiteful and malicious terms such as “workshy” and “feckless” is a major part of the Government’s malevolent “justification” to the public for removing the lifeline of support from the sick and disabled. We are climbing Allport’s Ladder. That gives us a clear view of a far-right ideological realm. I have often suspected that Iain Duncan Smith is channeling the spirit of Goebbels.

In addition to 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 of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Atos. Many 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 well-being. 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.

The unforgivable, senseless and massive increase in deaths over this period coincides with the Government’s totalitarian styled rapid- fire legislation of the Reforms, 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.

David Cameron made a Freudian-style slip when he announced to Ed Miliband recently, during Parliamentary debate, that We are raising more money for the rich. Not that we didn’t already know this was so. Many of us – around 73 sick and disabled people every week –  are paying for that wealth increase for the already wealthy with our very lives.

Where is the public outcry?

There are many who have so tragically and needlessly lost their lives because of this malicious Government’s brutal, evil and grossly unjust ideological war on the vulnerable, because of the Tory-led economic ransacking and plundering of our welfare provision, public services and support programs. We have pointed out to the Government that people are dying as a consequence of their “reforms”. The Government have not investigated those deaths and they have persistently refused to acknowledge them. We must therefore assume that they have no intention of changing their policies that are increasingly explicitly informed by a Social Darwinist and eugenicist doctrine.

We must never forget this Government’s culpability. We must fight and we must succeed in ending this systematic abuse of our human rights, and we must also ensure that this evil and abhorrent affront to decent and civilised human beings never happens again.

People are dying because of government policies. I never thought that this could happen here in the UK. But it has. We must face it, and we must fight it together. That is what a civilised society must do.

We must not forget the loss of each of these equally precious lives.


Paul Reekie, 48, left no suicide note but a letter informing him that his welfare benefits were to be stopped were found next to his body.

Richard Sanderson, 44, drew up meticulous suicide plans after learning he could no longer afford the flat he shared with his wife and nine-year-old son after being told their housing benefit would be cut by £30 a month. Richard stabbed himself twice through the heart.

Paul Willcoxson, 33, had mental health problems and was found hanging in Pignals Enclosure, near Hollands Wood campsite. A suicide letter and next of kin note were found in which he expressed concerns about the cuts to his benefits.

Leanne Chambers, 30, her body was found in the river Weir five months after she walked out of her home, she had battled depression for a number of years and had taken a turn for the worse after receiving a letter telling her she had to be assessed by a doctor she did not know, to see if she was fit to return to work.

Elaine Christian, 57, was found in a drain after walking out of her home. A post mortem revealed she had died from drowning, despite having more than ten self-inflicted cuts on her wrists. The inquest in Hull was told Mrs Christian had been deeply worried about a meeting she was due to have to discuss her entitlement to disability benefits.

Terry McGarvey, 48. Dangerously ill from polycytheamia, Terry asked for an ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would be stopped if he did not.
He died the following day.

David Groves, 56, died of a massive heart ­attack the night before his medical assessment, as he sat at his computer and scoured the Internet for ways to raise cash in case he lost his entitlement.

Mark and Helen Mullins were found lying side by side in their home after committing suicide together. They had been left destitute after Helen had her claim for benefit turned down, they had no food, no heating and no electric.

Linda Knott, 46, had worked as a supervisor at the Brierley Community Centre in Little Hulton for 16 years before it fell victim to spending cuts. The news tipped her into depression and she had already taken an overdose of pills eight days before she was found hanging at her home in Walkden.

Jack Shemtob, 53 jumped to his death from his office building after human resources told him he was losing his job as part of the governments cost cutting programme.

Stephen Hill, 53, died of a heart attack a month after having his benefits were stopped, after being told his heart problem were not serious enough to stop him working.

Craig Monk, 43, was found hanging in his home, he had a partial amputation of his leg and was described by his family as “vulnerable” he became depressed that his benefits had been cut.

Mark Wood, 44. Found fit for work by Atos, against his Doctors advice and assertions that he had complex mental health problems. Starved to death after benefits stopped, weighing only 5st 8lb when he died.

Carl Payne, 42. Fears of losing his lifeline benefits due to welfare reform led this Father of two to take his own life.

Tim Salter, 53. Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia. Tim hanged himself after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

Edward Jacques, 47 years old and suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C. Edward had a history of severe depression and self-harm. He took a fatal overdose after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

Linda Wootton, 49 years old. A double heart and lung transplant patient. Died just nine days after the government found her fit for work, their refusal letter arriving as she lay desperately ill in her hospital bed.

Steven Cawthra, 55. His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts, he saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation.

Elenore Tatton, 39 years old. Died just weeks after the government found her fit for work.

John Walker, 57, saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax, John took his own life.

Jacqueline Harris, 53. A former Nurse who could hardly walk was found fit for work by Atos and her benefits withdrawn. in desperation, she took her own life.

David Barr, 28. Suffering from severe mental difficulties. Threw himself from a bridge after being found fit for work by Atos and failing his appeal.

David Groves, 56. Died of a heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed him.

Nicholas Peter Barker, 51. Shot himself after being told his benefits were being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage left him paralysed down one side.

Martin Rust, 36, a schizophrenic had his benefits cut and was ordered back to work. He left a note saying: “To those I love, I’m sorry. Goodbye.” Coroner William Armstrong said the DWP’s decision “caused distress and may well have had an adverse effect”, recording that Mr Rust had committed suicide while suffering from a treatment-resistant mental illness.

Paul Turner, 52 died from ischaemic heart disease, which was caused, his family claim, by the stress of losing his benefits. He was told his heart problems were not serious enough for him not to work, he died 4 weeks later.

Mark Scott, 46, who suffered from anxiety, epilepsy was left penniless when he was declared fit for work and his benefits were stopped. He died six weeks later in the Southport flat where he lived alone.

Elaine Lowe, 53. Suffering from COPD and fearful of losing her benefits. In desperation, Elaine chose to commit suicide.

Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.

Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.

Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.

Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.

Annette Francis, 30. A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness, found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.

Ian Jordan, 60. His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian, a sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work, caused him to run up massive debts in order to survive. Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an overdose.

Janet McCall, 53. Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis and declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos and the DWP, this lady died 5 months after her benefits were stopped.

Stuart Holley, 23. A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.

Graham Shawcross, 63. A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s. Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.

Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.

Chris Smith, 59. Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos as he lay dying of Cancer in his hospital bed.

Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the ­Department for Works and Pensions.

Michael Connolly, 60. A Father of One, increasingly worried about finances after his benefits were cut. Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal dose of prescription medicine on the 30th October – His Birthday.

Jan Mandeville, 52, A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

Trevor Drakard, 50 years old. A shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.
Death of a severely disabled Dorset resident, unnamed, who took her own life while battling the bedroom tax.

Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.

David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.

Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.

Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.

Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.

Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.

Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.

Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.

Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.

Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.

George Scollen, age unknown. Took his own life after the government closed the Remploy factory he had worked in for 40 years.

Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

Karen Sherlock  08.06.2012, died after a long and difficult fight, losing her benefits after being told she was fit for work, and after finally winning her appeal. Karen had diabetes with kidney complications.

Cecilia Burns 31. 8. 2012,  A cancer sufferer, who had her benefits cut by government officials who said she was fit to work, has died. Cecilia was 51, from Strabane, County Tyrone, had started a campaign in February to have the decision overturned. Ms Burns had her benefits cut after she was assessed by government contractor Atos Healthcare. She had her benefits reinstated just a few weeks ago but died on Monday.

Colin Traynor, 29, was passed as being able to work as part of the government’s overhaul of the welfare system. He appealed against the decision but died before finding out the result, which was ultimately successful. His family learned the appeal verdict five weeks after his death in April. Mr Traynor’s father Ray said: “I firmly believe – 100% believe – that the system this government introduced has killed my son.”

Brian McArdle . A three year old’s father collapses & dies the day after his benefits were stopped having been ‘declared fit for work.’

“My father was claiming ESA for his chest pain (which was on the forms as indigestion/acid reflux, but I am sure he was on tablets for Angina) his difficulty walking and his poor eyesight. 4 weeks after he was called by ESA to tell him that he was fit for work (and a couple of days before his rent was due, which because of ESA stopping his benefit, he was short for) he suffered a huge heart attack, and died a few days later in hospital. A week and a half or so ago, I received a letter from ESA telling me that my father was going through the appeal process and asking if I wanted the process to continue.

I wrote back to the explaining what was wrong with him, and telling them how ridiculous that it was that he was declared fit for work, as there is no way on Gods earth that he was. I asked for the appeal process to continue. This morning, I got a letter through from ESA stating that they are standing by the original decision, even after taking the ‘points I raised’, and his paperwork has now been sent off to an independent tribunal who will look at the decision again.

I really feel that ESA have failed my father. (I do believe that they are partly responsible for his death with the stress they caused him) I don’t know who I am supposed to complain to, to make my voice heard. I need to do something to make my complaint heard. To try and get this system changed to help others. Watching Channel 4 news, there is a family who have just gone through the exact same thing and it needs to stop.” and the reply to his letter from Ian Duncan Smith 24 11 2012 13 13 2012*

Chris Cann  22.10.12, A triple amputee who was wrongly declared fit for work died after being deemed ‘fit for work’ despite being an amputee.

George Scollen – died 31.1. 2013.  On the final day for the Remploy workers one of them, Mr George Scollen, who’d worked there for 40 years, since he was 18, couldn’t face going in and tragically took his own life.

Stephanie Bottrill – died 4.5.2013. Stephanie was 53, from Solihull in the West Midlands, she died in the early hours of 4 May after walking onto the M6 and being hit by a lorry, near her home. She left a suicide note which blamed the government for its heartless bedroom tax.

Her family said she had been worried about how she would afford an extra £20 a week as a result of changes to her housing benefit. For people on benefits, £20 can be the difference between starving or being warm in winter.

Iain Duncan Smith has “blood on his hands” says the son of Bedroom Tax suicide victim Stephanie Bottrill – after it emerged she was exempt.

And there were calls last night on the Work and Pensions Secretary to ­apologise personally to her family.

Steven Bottrill, 28, spoke out after it emerged his mum was never liable for the cruel tax in the first place.

A loophole in DWP rules meant Stephanie should not have lost any of her housing benefit because she was exempt under 1996 regulations.

Van driver Steven told the Sunday People exclusively: “The stress was too much for her.

“My mum lived in that house for 18 years and now we find out she didn’t have to pay Bedroom Tax.

“It’s unforgivable”.

David Clapson   David was a poorly diabetic ex-soldier, died starving and destitute because he was penalised by the Job Centre for missing a meeting.

David had his £71.70 weekly allowance stopped, meaning he couldn’t afford food or electricity. He was penniless, starving and alone.

His electricity card was out of credit, meaning the fridge where he should have kept his diabetes insulin chilled was not working.

Three weeks after his benefits were stopped he died from diabetic ketoacidosis – caused by not taking his insulin.

David’s story is awful beyond measure. He had worked for 29 years, including five in the Army and 16 with British Telecom, and been a carer for several years for his sick mother.

When he died he had just £3.44 to his name, six tea bags, a tin of soup and an out-of-date can of sardines. A coroner also found he had no food in his stomach.

Added March 2016

Chae Bennett  aged 21, committed suicide on April 15 this year in woodland near his family home takes his own life, because he was let down by a system already underfunded

Added February 2016

Paul Donnachie who suffered from “severe” mental health issues, had been declared fit to work after he failed to attend a work capability assessment in June was found dead at his home after an error saw his payments stop and he owed more than £3,000 in unpaid rent. Upon realising their mistake, the council sent Mr Donnachie a letter telling him his benefits would be reinstated. But by the time it arrived it was too late – it was found unopened in his flat along with his body.

Added January 2016

Peter Anthony Limacher, who suffered from anxiety and depression as well as substance misuse, had low mood and anxiety, and worries about debt, after he had also lost his disability living allowance. He was described as a “kind hearted and loyal person”, died on May 14 when he was found hanging in his home. North Wales Pioneer News Nov 11 /15

Frances McCormack, aged 53, had been badgered for Bedroom Tax after the death of her 16 year old son Jack Allen in 2013, the coroner heard. A mother threatened with eviction from the house where her son took his own life was found hanged in the same spot, an inquest heard. A handwritten note written 10 days previously was found in her bedroom, part of which was addressed to David Cameron on the hardship the Bedroom Tax was causing.

Added December 2015

Stephen Smith Aged 50 He had a history of anxiety and took his own life after changes to his benefits left him unable to cope.

November 2015

Angela Smith, Her father has stated that her suicide was triggered by fit-for-work tests. In early September Angela took her own life – just as she had told doctors she was going to do

Added in October 2015

Luke Alexander Loy, Aged 42. He had schizophrenia and was found fit for work, then sanctioned by the (DWP) for failing to attend meetings at Jobcentre Plus and not actively looking for work, and fell further and further into debt. He died 29th May 2015

Added September 2015

Ruby Urbacz age 59 She was found dead at her home on the 6th September 2015 as a result of a heart attack. Her benefits were stopped without any investigation as she missed her jsa appointment whilst in hospital, after her discharge she had received no money for five consecutive weeks of the £50 per week she would have normally received she was also paying £20 per week in bedroom tax. On only £30 per week She could not afford to feed herself properly as bills were her main priority,

Sheila Holt aged 48 “She had been in a coma following a heart attack she suffered at a psychiatric unit. She hadn’t worked for 27 years. She was admitted to the unit after being pushed into the Government’s Work Programme – terrified that her benefits would be cut. While Sheila lay unconscious in hospital, she was sent letters from Seetec, the private company providing the Work Programme”

Michael Brendan O’SULLIVAN aged 60: “He was on anti-depressants and having therapy sessions, he met a benefits advisor for an hour and a half to beg for his payments to continue. He was forced to search for work for six months before hanging himself.”

How many more disabled people will die frightened that their benefits will be taken away?

Iain Duncan Smiths’ deplorable bully’s response to Owen Jones raising concerns regarding the Work Capability Assessment related deaths on  Question Time. 

It’s a call for an  immediate end to the Work Capability Assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association.

Consultation between the Departments of Health & Education to improve support into work for sick & disabled people, and an end to forced work under threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits.

An Independent, Committee-Based Inquiry into Welfare Reform, covering but not limited to: (1) Care home admission rises, daycare centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, universal mental health treatments, Remploy closures; (2) DWP media links, the ATOS contract, IT implementation of Universal Credit; (3) Human rights abuses against disabled people, excess claimant deaths & the disregard of medical evidence in decision making by ATOS, DWP & the Tribunal Service.


Thanks to Robert Livingstone

Socialism: Old Debates and New Demands.


1. The Current Context

I can’t help but wonder what kind of future the Coalition is planning for us, without our most fundamental and basic human rights. Owen Jones refers to this systematic stripping away of our rights, that have been hard earned over many decades, and the loss of a sense of well-being, as “the great reverse”.

In just two years, the Coalition have destroyed many of those social programmes and support provisions that made this country decent and civilised – the institutions and established practices of our post-war settlement are under serious threat. Our welfare provision has been stripped down to bare bones, our national health service has been packaged, branded and sold off to government donors, sponsors and companies in which many in the current Government have financial interests.

Our child protection and welfare services have been ravaged and many more crucial services and provisions, that many of us have had only a tacit knowledge of, have also disappeared. In short, our capacity as a civilised society for caring for our most vulnerable citizens has been deliberately undermined as part the tories’ ideological quest for a night watchman state.

There is a clearly punitive approach being leveled at marginalised social groups, and a systematic theft of tax payers money which has been “justified” by the most hateful propaganda campaign, headed by Iain Duncan Smith, Mark Hoban, Chris Grayling and David Cameron, amongst others, with the support of the press. Lies and stigmatising language are used to demonise the poor and vulnerable. Words like “feckless” “idle” “workshy”, “scroungers”, and not ever the truthful descriptions –  “protected group” , “marginalised” , “vulnerable” – are written over and over again in the mainstream press, echoing conservative rhetoric, with the sole intention of creating folk devils and generating public moral outrage, social divisions and hatred.

Hate crime directed at those with disabilities or illness has risen steeply as a direct consequence of this hate-inciting, tory-driven media portrayal of the “fraudulent” sick and disabled person, who is somehow miraculously better off that anyone else, at the expense of the hard-working tax payer. Sick and disabled people are no longer allowed a social life, a decent standard of living, a car, a holiday or anything else that “normal” people enjoy because they have been described over and over as a “burden on the State.” That many of us have also paid tax and national insurance is forgotten the moment we become ill, disabled, or unemployed.

Being sick or disabled, of course, entails the humiliating ritual of proving we are “genuine” and “deserving.” But being “genuine” is conditional upon our very lives becoming public property and being open to a barrage of endless, hateful restrictions and sanctions from members of the public, from the government and media. We were once a society that celebrated the freedoms earned by disabled people, now we are a society that spitefully celebrates taking away those freedoms. Disabled people are dehumanised, and reduced to public and political objects of endless, hateful scrutiny and prejudice. We need to ask ourselves what kind of Government would employ such deplorable and inhumane tactics to justify their deplorable and inhumane actions.

The Government have refused to carry out a cumulative impact assessment regarding the effects of the welfare “reforms,” particularly on policies affecting sick and disabled people. Labour had demanded that they do so. Today we learn that impact assessments are simply considered to be an inconvenience to David Cameron, along with consultations. They are to be scrapped. This is a formal goodbye to human rights safeguards and we witness more of our now fragile democratic process being dismantled further. And the fundamental human right to a fair trial is seen as another “obstacle” by David Cameron. The reduction or end of judiciary review has some terrifying implications. We must ask what kind of Government would want to remove such fundamental, and very hard-earned rights.

So we face further policy-directed blows, very evident in the proposal to severely limit judiciary review. And yesterday, John McDonnell was urging us to fight for our welfare provision, because he fears that there won’t be any provision remaining by 2015. He is right: the welfare “reforms” marked the beginning of the end of welfare. That’s welfare, not a “hand out”, or “something for nothing” but provision paid for by us and for us, when we are vulnerable, when we experience hard times, such as when we are old and frail, ill, or are unfortunate enough to become disabled, young and at risk, or if lose our jobs because of a Government-induced economic depression by a group of purely ideologically-driven, unresponsive, unremorseful, none-empathic, inhumane, greedy and despicable men and women.

There is also a clear exclusion of dissent and criticism, evident in the media, as well as in political debate. This gives a very frightening impression of consensus, with many wondering why nobody seems to be challenging the Government’s harsh and inhumane policies. But they are. This Government showed their true colours when they used “financial privilege” to hammer home what they KNEW to be a grossly unfair and cruel, and much opposed “reform”. Let’s not forget that the House of Lords did not sanction or endorse the welfare “reforms.” The time has come to recognise an increasingly authoritarian Government.

The Tory-led Coalition have basically failed to observe the most fundamental human rights, and do not reflect the needs of the population, nor do they respond to those needs. The refusal to undertake equality impact assessments is an example of this. The Coalition have dismantled basic democratic process – the persistent, blatant ignoring of existing consultations, and proposing to scrap them altogether in the future are prime examples of this. These are strange and very scary times. It is understandable that people are now looking more closely at political philosophies, past and present, and wondering where meaningful answers to our current situation lie, and no other orthodoxy is currently being scrutinised and debated as much as socialism.

2. History

As a political movement, socialism includes a diverse array of political philosophies, ranging from a reformism approach to revolutionary socialism. Those advocating state socialism basically propose the nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange as a strategy for implementing socialism. In contrast, libertarian socialism is a proposition that the traditional view of direct worker’s control of the means of production and opposes the use of state power to achieve such an arrangement, opposing both parliamentary politics and state ownership over the means of production. There is also a democratic form of socialism, which is about establishing socialism through democratic processes and propagating its’ ideals within the context of a democratic system. Modern socialism, of course, has its’ roots in an 18th-century intellectual and working class political movement, that criticised the effects of industrialisation and private property on society.

In the early 19th-century, “socialism” simply referred to any concern for the social problems of capitalism regardless of the solutions to those problems. However, by the late 19th-century, “socialism” had come to signify any opposition to capitalism and advocacy, and stand for an alternative system based on some form of social ownership. Orthodox Marxists later considered “scientific” methodology, and assessment and democratic planning to be critical elements of socialism.

3. Analysis

More recently, the term “socialist” has also been used by Blair’s Third Way social democrats to refer to an ethical political doctrine focusing on a common set of values which emphasise social cooperation, universal welfare, and equality. Anthony Giddens, (a sociologist) was the leading advocate of the Third Way, and he rejects conventional (material) definitions and implementations of socialism, and this was formulated into doctrine by Blair. Anthony Gidden’s brand of sociology is about linking micro-level experience with the macro-level narrative, but without the traditional material elements of socialism. In short, it is an ethical socialism that also embraces neoliberalism.

It was seen as a responsive compromise at the time. Giddens advocated a methodological pluralism to reconcile “State” with “individual” and as an approach, this does have some merit, as well as drawbacks, but it does also bridge a traditional and theoretically problematic gap in sociopolitical philosophies.

One of the biggest criticisms of Marxism is the emphasis on structural determinism. There is little scope for incorporating an element of (even limited degrees of) human free-will. There is little scope for qualitative analysis of small scale meaningful  human interaction and experience, and human diversity is subsequently unrecognised from a traditional perspective. These are issues that both Giddens and Blair tried to address. Despite the fact that many see the accomodation of neoliberalism as a betrayal, some of Blair’s social policies were excellent – the Equality Act, Human Rights Act, Every Child Matters, Good Friday Agreement, various animal welfare policies and so on. It wouldn’t do to lose sight of his successes because of his failures.

The world has moved on since Marx was writing. We have an entirely different historical, global, social and economic context. Socialism needs to be adaptive and responsive to that. We are living in extraordinary times, with an increasingly authoritarian Government in power. We need to be united in fighting that, but I am seeing a fragmentation of efforts and little solidarity because of in-fighting about orthodoxies.

I’m further left than the Labour Party currently are. I don’t think, however, that this will always be the case. I feel that over the next couple of years, the Labour Party will respond to the further right drift of the Tories by moving further left. I hope so. I can’t support any form of neoliberalism. I have never forgiven Thatcher for introducing an economic form of organisation that requires authoritarianism to implement, ultimately. Pinochet’s neoliberal experiment resulted in the very worst forms of social oppression and crass inequality. Thatcher and Reagan were monsters for implementing that failed experiment in the UK and US,

Socialism has never been about division and exclusion, yet there are some that have rigid ideas about who and what can properly be labelled “socialist.” I call this elitist, purist perspective “Narxism,” as protagonists from this camp tend to grumble and nark a lot, they don’t like to be inclusive, they tend to see socialism as some kind of exclusive, highly idealised, olden days “working class” club with a membership of people that use a distinctive and adapted language, incorporating heavily utilised, and negative terms such “blue labour,” “red tories,” “new labour,” “tory lites,”  and they have a penchant for endless unforgiving discussion of both “Clause 4” and “Tony Blair” (Blair blah blah.) It’s something of an irony to hear that Labour are “no longer the party of the working class”, when you consider that Marx, who is quoted often by such ideological purists, wasn’t remotely working class, nor was Engels, for that matter.

Narxists claim to be “real socialists.” Yet in their quest for orthodoxy, the claim to being “principled” does not generally include those foundational socialist values of collectivism, cooperation, organisation and unity. Instead we see a perfectionist brand of  individualism that simply divides the Left into competitive factions that serve only to disempower us, ultimately.

Narxists seem to have no awareness that the world is populated by others, and really has moved on. Nor do they seem to pay heed to the more pressing circumstances we currently face. Sick and disabled people are being persecuted by our current Tory-led Government, and many have died, many are suffering as a consequence of this Government’s welfare “reforms.” Remarkably, narxists prefer to endlessly criticise Tony Blair, who left the building some years back. We have an authoritarian Government that are unravelling the very fabric of our once civilised society, dismantling democratic process, abusing human rights and destroying lives. The typified, dogmatic response from Narxists everywhere? “Yeah, yeah, BUT that Tony Blair is a tory lite….”

We need to be responsive to our current situation – in the here and now, and clinging to tired and past-their-usefulness doctrines isn’t going to achieve that. Let’s try for some genuine solidarity, let’s unite in our common aims, let’s recognise our basic similarities as fellow humans with the same fundamental basic needs, and fight the real enemy, instead of bickering about what socialism is or ought to be about, and what our only current hope – the Labour party – ought to adopt as its brand and mantle. Besides, socialism isn’t about what you think and say: it’s about what you DO.

We are in a crisis. Catastrophically, sick and disabled people are dying as a direct consequence of the welfare “reforms.” Many more will die once the full extent of the cuts are realised early next year. We cannot countenance another five years of the Tories. Because people are suffering and dying whilst others prioritise their striving for ideological purism. We need to invest our energy in the Party, lobby, push for progressive change – push left.

The Blair era is over. We need to acknowledge the positives from that as well as the failings in order to learn, grow and progress as a party. So those fostering division from the centre of the party also need to take stock and look at the enormous failings of neoliberalism. Blair’s project was always dommed to fail, it isn’t possible to compromise our civilised and civilising social provision with such a damaging mode of economic organisation, which results in privatisation – placing profit over human needs – and antiwelfarism, deregualtion – which also places profit over human needs, since regulations serve as a social protection, fiscal austerity and the dismantling of rights and public services, ultimately. That is the neoliberal blueprint, which is incompatible with the post-war rights-based society we knew.

Labour have to RESPOND to, and reflect the needs of a population in the current context. That is what a democracy is, after all. We need a party that has pioneered and championed our human rights, recognised and celebrated diversity and equality and one that will continue to do so, with even more urgency in the context of our current crisis. Labour have shown historically that they do reflect the needs of the majority, and respond appropriately.

Every child used to matter: a summary of “Remembering when Every Child Mattered”

The Coalition: from all that mattered to the secretive dismantling of State support

Michael Gove certainly put the “Tory” in “peremptory”. When he took office in Sanctuary Buildings, it was as the secretary of state for education, not children. He gave Every Child Matters (ECM) a swift name change, and a radical shift in focus, the very day after the Coalition came into office. Authoritarians plan well in advance, it seems, and set their designs in motion very swiftly. The new Government placed a ban on the phrase “Every Child Matters” as part of a widespread change in terminology within Whitehall departments. Effectively, the ECM policy was scrapped.

Details of the changes are revealed in an internal Department for Education (DfE) memo, split into two columns for words used before 11th May and those which should be replaced. The phrase “Every Child Matters” was immediately replaced with the phrase “helping children achieve more”. Achievement was only one of the original five ECM outcomes, and the other four have now been dropped. Family intervention projects – another ECM policy development, have been disbanded, and that phrase is also banned from use within Gove’s despotic and linguistically pauperised Department.

One of the first things Gove did was to rename the original and expansive Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) as a considerably reduced Department for Education (DfE). The Every Child Matters webpages are still linked to this site, but with the warning (a Tory- led Government health warning…) that:

“A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result, the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy.

All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless otherwise indicated.”

Gove also recommended that Contactpoint is scrapped, with a focus on a “signposting system” (usually a direct referral) focusing on “genuinely vulnerable children”. This ridiculous statement implies that some children have been somehow fraudulently obtaining child protection and welfare services and support. And that professionals are not capable of recognising “genuinely vulnerable” from not vulnerable. What this attempted “targeting services” rhetoric translates as is “we are going to cut funding”.

The original Department’s rainbow motif, complete with brightly coloured cartoon children – derisively referred to as “munchkins” by Conservative advisers – was ditched in favour of stark, austere, dark Conservative blue lettering. The Coalition have quietly pushed a shift from the Labour recognition of children’s potential, promoting their well-being and safety to a flat uni-dimensional standards linked achievement.

Schools no longer have a statutory duty to promote children’s spiritual, social and emotional well-being, and the Labour idea of a self- aware and responsible Citizenship based element to education was also removed from the curriculum. (Though the Conservatives have changed the definition and terms of “responsible citizenship” since, it’s now used as a form of state coercion to justify withdrawal of tax funded support provision). Ofsted no longer grade schools on this: Tory ministers seem to regard the ECM initiative’s goals as distractions from schools’ core purpose. No longer do children need to “enjoy and achieve” – just achieve. Local cutbacks are making it harder for schools to bring in specialised support. Once again. Same old Tories. Same old essential support provision being stripped away.

What was a “Children’s Plan” under the Labour Government is now a “free market education plan” marking Goves shift from free schools to “for profit” schools. This, of course, is certain to cause institutional confusion, with each school having individual freedom, self publicity and marketing responsibility and with no universal statutory protection policy in place. The whole-child approach has been abandoned in favour of a narrow focus on educational standards.

Michael Gove described the “Every Child Matters agenda” as “meddlesome”, but what he really meant is that this Government are not prepared to fund the health, safety, protection and well-being of every child that needs support. Labour ministers wanted to do more than just protect children, they wanted to “ensure that every child has the chance to fulfil their potential”. This Government are not interested in the welfare or the potential of our children.

It’s common sense that if you are really focused on improving attainment and helping children to achieve educationally, as Gove is claiming, that attainment is inextricably linked to their overall well-being. The dismantling of ECM has some very far reaching and negative consequences, for child protection and welfare, equal opportunities, acknowledging diversity, family support, respite care, education provision (especially for those pupils that don’t have mainstream needs) are but a few that come to mind.

Every Child Matters was a Labour policy, which was joined up thinking at its very best. The policy is the best in terms of child protection and welfare that we have ever seen. In addition to a robust and crucially effective and preventative approach to child protection (overdue since the beginning of social care, as previously the emphasis had simply been on “crisis intervention”), Labour’s ambition is to improve these outcomes for all children and to narrow the gap in outcomes between those who do well and those who do not.

In January 2001, the health secretary, Alan Milburn, ordered a statutory public inquiry into Victoria Climbie’s horrific death, which was headed by former chief inspector of social services, Lord Herbert Laming. The Labour Government drove a moral impetus, in addition to implementing Lord Laming’s recommendations within a coherent and comprehensive policy framework, legislating to address the significant gaps in child welfare provision, more broadly.

Child protection became EVERYONE’S responsibility and concern. Compassion, equality, holism, and the cooperative principle lay behind   the far-reaching Labour reforms that followed. Every Child Matters is the overarching title for the significant, positive, comprehensive flagship policy, which required all public sector organisations working with children to come together to prevent any more tragedies.

Enshrined at the heart of Every Child Matters was the Paramountcy Principle: this states that the welfare of children is at all times paramount and overrides all other considerations. This reflects a “whole child” approach to welfare and protection, as well as a holistic inter-agency approach to achieving that.

Using the Common Assessment Framework (CAF),  professionals could identify the additional, complex and unique individual needs of the child. CAFs  facilitated the identifying of needs, and the allocation of a lead professional to co-ordinate the provision that was developed quite often by co-opting appropriate agencies and professionals, and by drawing together those professionals already involved in provision for the child/young person, who then worked together co-operatively, as a specialist “team around the child”.

The CAF also facilitated goal-orientated practice and positive outcome-based, tailored provision. The work was planned monitored and evaluated throughout the process. Indeed monitoring and evaluation were built into the process, and CAF paperwork and the database prompted continual scrutiny and accountability throughout.

This was an outstanding comprehensive, coherent, robust child protection and welfare policy, formulated to prevent any more tragedies like the horrific abuse, torture and death of Victoria Climbie. Clearly, Gove doesn’t have the same priorities as the rest of us. The progress that ECM reflects in social work theory and practice, and other professions that involve work with children, was phenomenal. Now that progress has been undone by a Tory-led Government, whose primary concerns include how to make money from selling off our childrens’ school playing fields, and “for profit” schools, with the dismantling of Childrens’ Services, it is very clear that the current Government have no intention whatsoever of protecting our children and ensuring their well-being.

With the very challenging cuts that local authorities face, many have had to severely reduce their children’s social care budget by up to a fifth – forcing them to focus purely on their statutory responsibilities, and barely, at times. Labour’s development of the effective, comprehensive and crucial preventative support services has been totally demolished by the Coalition. Apparently, Gove thinks that children and young people’s safety and well-being is optional.

68 per cent of our front line children’s services have had cuts to their budgets in 2011 alone. Bearing in mind these are also providing statutory services and also considering that many local authorities are pessimistic about the future of these services, and with most charities previously funded to undertake ECM outcome based work –  work with families in which children are struggling at school because of problems at home including poverty, adult mental health problems, domestic violence, substance abuse truancy  and poor housing – being also fearful for the future of the most vulnerable members of society. In some areas, support for vulnerable children of school age has just been cut from the budget completely. And as we know, the worst of the cuts is yet to come.

When the full extent of the welfare reforms is realised next year – the benefit cap, the bedroom tax, and the poll tax style council tax via the Localism Bill, which are still yet to come, the numbers of children and young people facing substantially increased deprivation and poverty will rise steeply, with problems such as increased risk of neglect, risk of emotional and physical abuse – the resilience of parents is more likely to be affected by poverty, (the NSPPC (2008) Inform study recognises this link) mental health problems, lack of educational attainment and fewer life chances (further compounded by other punitive Coalition policies, that have significantly reduced equal opportunities) amongst other significant complex, interconnected problems becoming much more commonplace.

Poor and vulnerable children will need extensive support from both statutory frontline services and range of other support services that are no longer in place. The impact of Coalition cuts on the lives of so many vulnerable children and adults, together with the dismantling of essential welfare, support and protection services, will be catastrophic, and very likely, an irreversible horror that we – as a so called civilised society – will have to face.

“Each child’s story is worthy of telling. There should not be a sliding scale of death. The weight of it is crushing.” – Anderson Cooper

The original full length article is here

Political parties – there are very BIG differences in their policies.


What LABOUR Achieved whilst in Government:

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. 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.
41. New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
42. Over 3 million child trust funds have been 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. That ended 30 years of the troubles in which 3000 people were killed.
53. Flagship walk- in Health Centres and GP out of hours Service.
54. Campaigned tirelessly for, and then brought about  the universal provision of digital hearing aids, through the NHS.
55. Children’s Act 2004, 2008 – Every Child Matters. Flagship policy aimed at effectively safeguarding all children and young people, and meeting their needs, regardless of background.
56. Introduced Smoke – Free legislation, 2007, which led to a significant decrease in hospital admissions for children with asthma. The decrease in childhood asthma symptoms happened immediately that the smoking ban was introduced, and have continued to decrease since.
57. Introduced the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) which is aimed at improving the quality of advice provided to customers and the transparency around the charges for that advice. Ended commission for advisers to address the imbalance of interest between customers and companies selling financial products.
58. Introduced legislation to make blacklisting unlawful in 2009 – 2010.
59. The Equality Act.
60. Established the Disability Rights Commission.
61. The Human Rights Act.
62  Signed the European Social Chapter, introduced measures including: a right to parental leave; extended maternity leave; a new right to request flexible working; and the same protection for part-time workers as full time workers.
63. Launched £1.5 billion Housing Pledge of new affordable housing, largest program of council house building for twenty years.
64. The Autism Act 2009, which was the first ever disability-specific law in England.
65. New Deal for Communities regeneration programme, which successfully addressed deprivation and social exclusion.
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
69. Homelessness at its lowest level since the early 1980s.
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. Created 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 some 40 million more children into school, through  Labour’s campaign for international development.
81. Polio is on the verge of being eradicated globally.
82. 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
83. Improved water or sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.
84. Launched a Governance and Transparency Fund, providing resources to local civil society groups to improve governance and increase accountability in poor countries – for example, by helping citizens, media and parliaments hold governments to account.
85. The Neighbourhood Renewal programme – introduced funding for neighbourhood improvements.
86. The Extending Schools Program – included Breakfast & 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. Working Family Tax credits to support low paid parents in work and to pay for childcare.
89. 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. The right to request flexible working.
94. 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 Bribery criminal Act
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. Climate Change Act 2008.

1-50 taken from here.

Some more sources here

Where Labour policies are cited, I have researched and verified them, to ensure that the list is accurate.

Labour’s animal welfare policies


What the TORIES/LIBERAL DEMOCRATS have “Achieved” whilst in Government:

1. Introduced unpaid, unlimited workfare for those deemed too sick or disabled to work by their doctor.
2. Scrapped crisis loans and community care grants for the most vulnerable.
3. Severely reduced Legal Aid so that equal, fair access to justice is no longer preserved.
4. Increased VAT ensuring the poorest pay proportionately more in tax. Cut top tax rate to 45% giving millionaires a £40000 pa tax windfall.
5. Legalised state surveillance of all personal internet traffic.
6. Planning to curtail human rights, guaranteed by membership of the EU. That is written in their Program for Government, and has been planned from the very start.
7. Introduced charges for Child Support Agency, so that vulnerable single parents have to pay to get maintanance from absent fathers, for their children.
8. Introduced the Council Tax Bill, with the same unfair principles as the Poll tax Bill, sneaked in via the Localism Bill. The poorest will pay the most.
9. Sold off the publicly owned and publicly funded NHS to their sponsors and donors, and to Companies that many of them have financial interests in. Despite promises not to.
10. Sold off most of the Council housing stock. The numbers of homes built under the Tories are at levels lower than any time since the Second World War.
11. Rationed access to Health Services, to the detriment of patients, Closed A and E’s and the out of hours and walk in surgeries set up by Labour.
12. Halved Support for disabled children
Scrapped the “Youth Premium” for the most profoundly disabled children
13. Closed 250 Sure start centres, 124 of those closed in the first year of the Coalition.
14. Cut housing support for disabled people
15. Reduced contributions based ESA eligibility to just one year. This means many people living in households with other income lose their benefit
16. Cut Council budgets so they can no longer provide social care for some of the most vulnerable people
17. Introduced PIP to replace DLA, with the aim of cutting 500,000 vulnerable people from the figures before any assessments have happened.
18. Removed basic rate ESA for sick and disabled people for those wishing to appeal their ESA decisions from October 2013, whilst they await a mandatory review. From April 2013 for JSA.
19. Persistently lied to the public about Work Capability Assessments and failed to address the fact they are unfit for purpose while disabled people suffer and die.
20. Introduced targets – 7 out of 8 ESA claimants to lose their ESA, regardless of their significant illness and disabilities, which has meant even cancer patients have had to go to the job centre to look for work
21. Encouraged hate crime by using the “scrounger” and Nazi “burden on the State” style propaganda in speeches and in the media about the sick and disabled, and the unemployed, fed politicised press releases to the Media. Yet £66 billion goes unclaimed every Parliament in benefits.
22. Introduced authoritarian “monitoring” of the BBC, and other media , for “left wing bias”
23. Lied about benefit fraud rates, and failed to apologise when they were rumbled.
24. Closing Remploy factories, throwing over 1500 working disabled people on the scrapheap
25. Fostering a divisive nation by using ideology of hate – low paid workers are set against benefit claimants, for example, in the speech about “making work pay”, which was simply a front for cutting welfare provision.
26. Cut respite care.
27. Suggesting in the PIP regulations that a sick or disabled person can “bathe” if they can wash above the waist only.
28. Re-classified paraplegics as “fully mobile” if they use their wheelchairs too well.
29. Lying about Workfare repeatedly to the press. The Tory Work Programme has delivered less than a 2% success rate, after they ignored NAO warnings it was a waste of money.
30. Falsifying internet documents and issuing press releases to make workfare look successful when it’s a corrupt sham.
31. Reduced employment, workers pay, and workers rights.
32. Fostered a Nation that prioritises profits over basic human needs
33. Generated more wealth for the very wealthy, and forced many others into destitution, bleak poverty and 60% of those using food banks are in work.
34. Given away a billion pounds of our assets in the form of schools, gifted to private corporations, in the name of academies, with the associated half a billion in legal costs paid out of our taxes. Sold off school playing fields.
35. Deliberately sabotaged the economy to profit a few, whilst inflicting austerity, misery and poverty on many, many others, because of a Tory ideological drive to dismantle welfare, and any other form of State support. And to support only the wealthy
36. Gap between wealthy and poor has widened, and many now living in absolute poverty as a result of policies that cut social security to below subsistence levels (JRF)
37. Are responsible for an average of  73 deaths per week  of sick and disabled people as a consequence of “reform”, despite denial that is so, the Government have nonetheless refused to monitor and account for the deaths of those Atos has declared for to work, and those awaiting appeal.
38. Introduced the grossly unfair Bedroom Tax.
39. Made squatting illegal, and at a time when their own policies have led to a rise in homelessness.
40. Significantly reduced access to the provision of digital hearing aids through the NHS (again, the same  rationing happened under the Thatcher Government).
41. Local Authority budgets reduced, and Every Child Matters  – Labour’s comprehensive child protection and welfare policy  – demolished the day after the Coalition got in office. Preventative social work is no longer  funded effectively, only “crisis management” possible, and even that provision is now being rationed.
42. Introduced targets and financial incentives for euthanasia in hospitals, to “save health care costs”. This involves withdrawing food and fluids from “frail” patients, including sick babies.
43. Quietly removed key sections of the Equality Bill (Labour flagship policy) , rendering it much less protective of basic human rights.
44. Capped housing benefit, whilst private landlords are recouping a record amount of over £42 billion a year from tenants, rather than capping private rents.
45. Lost the Moody’s Investors Service triple A grade, despite pledges to keep it secure. Moody’s credit ratings represent a rank-ordering of creditworthiness, or expected loss.
46. Fitch credit rating downgraded due to increased borrowing.
47. Rail fare increased 20%
48. Public sector pensions decreased but contributions increased.
49. Reduced the consultation period for redundancies from 90 to 45 days
50. Removed the Severe Disability Premium from Income Support
51.  Scrapped  the Agricultural Wages Board. It was set up in 1948 to provide a fair wage and skills structure for agricultural workers
52. Tripled student fees, making higher education inaccessible to many
53. Set DWP targets to sanction benefit claimants unfairly, depriving them of a means of meeting their basic living needs.
54. Scrapped the Independent Living Fund.
55. Introduced Personal Independence Payments to replace Disability Living Allowance, with the aim of cutting benefit for more than 300,000 disabled people. Although Esther Mcvey said the Government has built 
‘robust expectations of performance’ into PIP contracts with Atos Origin and Capita’, we know from that comment that this means inbuilt targets to reduce eligibility, since the anticipated saving was announced by Government PRIOR to any assessment.
56.There are now 600,000 less public sector workers than there were when the Tories came to Office.
57. The Universal Benefit Payment has forced families to move into squalid housing, typically defined as the lowest 33% of houses by rental value in an area. Given that 46% of private rental homes are deemed sub-standard, (ONS).
58. The UK Statistics Authority has rebuked David Cameron, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith for their consistent misuse of government statistics. More than once
59. Failed to make permanent the Bankers’ Bonus Tax and profiteers in the City of London are still being rewarded, disproportionately, for taking unnecessary risks and they have also refused to cap bankers bonuses.
60. Refused to regulate the Fast Food industry. Instead, they asked their nudge unit to consider “fat taxes” on the poor. They even stopped obese people having access to some NHS operations. Unashamed of their deeds, one Tory MP said NHS Patients should pay for their medicines if they contract illnesses through “Lifestyle Choice”.
61. Guilty of blatantly sexist policies, the Tories have Tax Credits which impacts on women with children in particular that want to work,  and accused  feminists of holding back men.
62. The Tories have wasted more than £90 billion of taxpayers’ cash, on policy schemes that are doomed to failure.
63. The Tories have increasingly refused Freedom of Information Requests, and have changed the rules to make it easier for an FOI request to be refused.
64. The Tories have axed 5,000 Fire men & Fire women.
65. The Tories have axed 28,000 staff in Police Forces throughout the country.
66. The Tories have accepted £20 million of donations from people who have directly benefitted from their policies. The blame lies not with the donors, but the Tories for creating unnecessary conflicts of interest by accepting the cash.
67. The Tories scrapped the 50p rate of Tax, and in doing so have given a tax cut to millionaires.
68. Increased borrowing – admit they will now have to borrow well over a £150 billion extra this parliament because of their failed growth.
69. The numbers of workers  paid  LESS than the National Minimum Wage has grown under this government, with women being the worst affected.
70. The number of working households now relying on Housing Benefit to make their rent payments has doubled.
71. Deliberately underfunding and sabotaging the NHS, at the expense of patient welfare to justify full privatisation. Lying about funding.
71. Suicide rates have risen substantially, with links to austerity measures and government policy between 2010 and 2012 (Samaritans)
72. Cost of living has risen by 25% (a quarter) but benefits and wages have been frozen
73.  When Labour left office NHS Patient Satisfaction was the highest it had ever been (73%). It has since taken a record slump to (58%). Just over half of people are now happy with what the NHS has to offer.
74. Post code health care lottery – children’s access to expensive cancer drugs now vary from trust to trust.
75. NHS Treatments such as for cataracts, hip replacements, and physiotherapy are no longer available free of charge on the NHS in some parts of England for some patients. In total, 22 treatments are now restricted.
76. 8,000 Nurses have been axed under the Tories and thousands more have received redundancy notices.
77. Michael Gove scrapped EMA that the Institute of Fiscal Studies called Value for Money. His decision was not based upon the deficit since he first sought to scrap it in 2004.
78. Michael Gove has closed more than 200 schools at a time when class sizes are rising.
79. Michael Gove halved the funding on school meals  decreasing the quality & nutrition and affecting childrens’ health. Increase in scurvy in children
80.  Cancelled Labour’s plan to roll out free school meals for middle-class families at a time when evidence shows more families are in desperate need of the meals.
81. Infant mortality rates have started to rise again after a long period of them failing.
82. Ian Duncan Smith is forcing public sector workers to accept a 3% tax hike in their pension contributions against their will or any consultation.
83. Half of England’s Ambulance Stations are being shut down and sold off. In total, 591 hectares of NHS land is up for sale.
84. Gove refused to discuss Ofqual’s letter of concerns about the E-Bacc in front of the Select Committee. The one-off 3 hour replacement of GCSE English has been labelled dangerous, unequal, unaccountable and unprecedented.
85. George Osborne signed a record number of PFI deals in his first year in power that will cost the Tax Payer £33bn.
86. George Osborne raised an extra £41bn in taxes in 2011 at a time when the economy was struggling but cut taxes for the rich.
87. Gas Prices are up 31% under the Tories & 40% of families are on the brink of fuel poverty.
88. Food Banks have grown every yearof this government and child poverty has also increased. The Tories have responded in various ways from trying to claim this as a success of the Big Society, saying that food bans provide “freebies” to denying poverty even exists in the UK
89.Female rates of redundancy are climbing at a faster rate than men. More than 80%+ of workers losing their job in the NHS are women. Huge wage differentials  exist between men and women.
90. Despite violence against women climbing, and domestic abuse jumping 20%, one Tory MP drew parallels between the allegations of sex crimes, and smoking a joint.
91.  Halved redunsancy notice from 90 to 45 days, the Tories persisted with blaming workers for their declining rights. One Tory MP cruelly judged that British Workers were among the ‘Worst idlers’ in the World.
92. David Cameron has now abolished Equality Impact Assessments meaning that we now have less equal services for disabled, elderly, LGBT citizens.
93. Michael Gove cancelled a plan to rebuild 715 crumbling schools thereby ensuring that all Labour’s great advancements in updating our school infrastructure were put on hold.
94. At least 570,000 more households (1.2 million people) were forced into fuel poverty in one single day when energy companies announced a massive price hike in the winter of 2012.
95. Andrew Lansley & David Cameron ignored a Tribunal Ruling to publish Risk Register.This Risk Register if published could have saved lives as it would have led to an improved mitigation response to the Tories new NHS impositions. It has yet to be published
96. The security arrangements for the Olympics, arranged by the Tories wasted taxpayers’ money, and payed a company £80 million+ for failure, a Tory MP had the audacity to mock the Olympic Ceremony as “Leftie Multi-Cultural Crap”. It has also come to light that the same security company G4 has been robbing the tax payer blind in what is now a police investigation.
97. 74% of GPs say that there has been a reduced entitlement on the NHS this year.
98. 600,000 people will go bankrupt under this government.
99. 2012 saw record high Clinical Negligence payouts totalling more than £1.2 billion. This is a £500 million increase than payouts under Labour. Each claim takes on average 1.3 years, so the 2012 payouts were for errors in 2010-11.
100. 25,000 businesses have already gone bust under this government.
101. 11,000 Hospital Beds have been axed in 2 years. We now have the lowest number of hospital beds in our NHS in living memory.
102. 10,000 students GCSE English Results were debated in a High Court as Michael Gove oversaw a belated altering of the grade boundaries that unduly punished some students by as much as 2 grades.
103. A benefit cap was brought in that will save just a 110 million a year while the Tory party still ignore the loss of 25 billion in tax avoidance.
104. Iain Duncan Smiths universal credit scheme has turned into a multi billion pound disaster with the software unable to cope on a national roll out.
105. The bedroom tax has not saved a penny and is now costing much more money, as those who are affected are now claiming for private rents, that is, if they are not homeless or living in caves around Stockport.
106. Introduced the Gagging Bill
107. Their policies have made the UK the first country to be investigated by the UN for serious breaches to the human rights of disabled people
108. The Coalition have breached the human rights of women and children.
109. Have borrowed more money in just 3 years than Labour, who were faced with the global banker’s crisis, did in 13.
110. Scrapped the Standards Board for England for promoting and ensuring high ethical standards and code of conduct in local government.
111. Have raised concerns regarding government corruption and lack of accountability at an international level (see the Transparency International report)
112. Have been officially rebuked on numerous occasions by the ONS and OBR for persistent lying and false presentation of statistics.


Further reading:

Tom Pride – 14 quotes that prove the nasty party is still just as nasty as ever

Guardian (Polly Toynbee) – Labour’s spending worked


Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his valuable additions to the Labour list of achievements and for his outstanding art work.