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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 November 2007

New attacks on incapacity benefits

WORKS AND Pensions (DWP) minister Peter Hain has announced new medical 'tests' from next October for people with disabilities to make it harder to qualify for incapacity benefit.

2.7 million people currently claim 7.4 billion a year in incapacity benefit. Many of them are people chucked out of work when the Tories destroyed industrial jobs but whose redundancy pay has gone.

Some have severe work-related illnesses such as emphysema, many are suffering from depression.

People with psychiatric illnesses make up 40% of those on incapacity benefit.

Katrine Williams, who is DWP Wales Secretary of the PCS union, speaking in a personal capacity, told the socialist: "The targets include getting one million people off sickness and disability benefits.

"Most of the onus of the welfare reforms continues to be on the individual claiming benefit and their 'responsibilities' rather than the government taking action to tackle the discrimination that people with disabilities face from employers.

"This government's welfare reforms coincide with savage job cuts and privatisation of essential services like New Deal for Disabled People and Pathways to Work in the DWP. This has a massive impact on the services we provide to the public.

"The DWP as an employer is far from satisfactory. In one year alone over 1,000 staff were sacked for being sick from the DWP.

"Many of our members who currently face the threat of compulsory redundancy are single parents, have a disability or have caring responsibilities and live in areas where it is difficult to find work.

"These are the very people our department with these welfare reforms is supposed to be helping back into work."

A GMB union survey a few years back showed "a direct link between high employment rates and low benefit claimant rates, and vice versa. Where there are jobs, there are low claim rates.

"The task for the government in seeking to reduce the number of claimants is to promote the creation of more jobs."

Instead, they attack their own workforce and bring in new attacks on sick, disabled and vulnerable people. These cuts will be fought.

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In The Socialist 22 November 2007:

Profit system wrecks climate


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Defend Karen Reissman: Defend free speech and trade union rights


Banking Crisis

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International socialist news and analysis

SOLIDARITY APPEAL: Defend Tukwila Teachers Threatened with Termination for Antiwar Student Walkout

France: massive public sector workers' strike


Socialist Party news and analysis

SNP budget will not satisfy expectations

Detention without trial: Defend civil rights

New attacks on incapacity benefits

'Cheap and nasty' Camden council to shut deaf school

News in brief


Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007: Inspired by past victories, preparing for future struggles


Education

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Cardiff schools: Parents march against closure threats


Socialist Party features

Rail transport: Overpriced, overcrowded, underinvested

Train drivers strike in Germany

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International socialist news and analysis

Denmark general election: Socialist People's Party doubles its MPs

2008 US presidential election

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Workplace news and analysis

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Doncaster Hospital workers on strike for 9,000 back pay

National Union of Journalists: Standing up against the robber barons


 

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Related links:

Incapacity:

triangleMy struggle for an income I can live on

triangleESA under the cosh

triangleThe Work Programme isn't working

triangleFrom pillar to post: reassessment for ESA

triangleWelfare Reform Bill:- Lords compromise is no victory

Benefits:

triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

triangleWaltham Forest Universal Credit protest

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

triangleEnd Tory war on poor

DWP:

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triangleSheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

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