"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" - James Baldwin
Saturday 28 December 2019
Rise (up against) Sir Iain
a result of Iain Duncan-Smith’s time as Secretary of State for Work
and Pensions the UK became the first country to face a United Nations
enquiry into human rights abuses against disabled people – with our
government found guilty of “grave and systemic violations of the
rights of disabled people”.
Duncan-Smith's introduction of the Work Capability Assessments required
those with chronic disability to continuously prove they are
deserving of their welfare payments or be stripped of their
entitlements. This has been directly linked to relapses of depression
and anxiety and even to deaths through suicide.
Mona Kamal Ahmed writes: “As a NHS psychiatrist I have sat in A&E
departments with people diagnosed with chronic mental illness who
have been driven to panic attacks, acute relapses of their depressive
illness and suicidal ideation as a result of the anxiety caused by
these tests and over the prospect of losing the welfare payments they
rely on. This has only intensified with the chaos and uncertainty of
Universal Credit, a system known to be causing hardship to millions
and for which Iain Duncan-Smith is wholly culpable … There is no
place for these cruel dehumanising measures in any civilised
compassionate society, and the fact that Iain Duncan-Smith, the
individual responsible and the architect of such misery, is to
receive the honour of a knighthood is an insult to the hundreds of
thousands of vulnerable individuals across this country who are
suffering as a result of his policies and to those who have
tragically lost loved ones as a direct result.”
the father of someone dependent on disability allowances I write this
bitter hatred for Duncan-Smith.
46, my son has been disabled since he was six months old after a
vaccination precipitated Salaam epilepsy. In hospital, he contracted
meningitis and started a life of physical and, more recently courtesy
of the DWP, mental hardship.
eyesight is poor and the right side of his body has atrophied and
shortened. When walking he has to use a stick.
a scan on his right ankle which was causing him discomfort, he
was given anti-inflammatories and painkillers.
20 years, he received a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) of £80 per
week and £108 per week working tax credits, a weekly income of £188.
Because his mobility was worsening, he contacted the DWP to request
assistance with his housework. He could only stand for a short time
response was to tell me that my benefits had been assessed and that I
would lose them,” says
crazy because I have to take five tablets twice a day as I’m in
constant pain. As
a result, my weekly income fell from £188 to £67. They said I could
apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which had replaced DLA.
I did so, but my application was rejected. It was a massive blow and
left me with a huge shortfall.”
appealed their decision and the DWP then carried out an ‘assessment’
on Ben’s condition which concluded that their original decision to
cut his benefits was the correct one.
assessment was carried out by a private firm, Atos, one of two
companies (the other is Capita) who between them earn more than £125
million a year from the taxpayers. This doesn’t actually involve
any face-to-face assessments and I have been unable to find out
whether they even employ any medically-trained staff.
resilient enough to continue with their lives and, as with my son, lucky
enough to have strong family and friendship support, have been
pressing their cases on to a final court-based Tribunal appeal.
to Ben’s lawyer cousin his Tribunal hearing was successful. What
of those who don’t have this support and never reach a tribunal?
Kamal Ahmed has started a petition objecting to the Knighthood for
Iain Duncan-Smith. You might want to join her and sign it.