Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 July 2006

Welfare Reform Bill scapegoats disabled people!

THE BLAIR government has brought out a new Welfare Reform Bill that aims to 'save' billions in incapacity and other benefits by forcing disabled people (among others) into poverty. MIKE HIGGINS (Sheffield Socialist Party) wrote this leaflet for a local demonstration against the bill.

THE DEPARTMENT for Work and Pensions have poorly thought-out plans to get one million people off Incapacity Benefit. The government are trying to divide disabled people into the worthy and unworthy poor.

They talk about work for those who can and help for those who can't. The reality is that New Labour plans to bully disabled people off benefits into low-paid, slave labour jobs, which are both exploitative and unsuitable. This isn't only an attack on disabled people but on the wages and conditions of all organised workers. Disabled people who refuse such slave-labour employment will have their benefits cut.

The problem isn't in our attitude towards working, it lies in employers' reluctance to offer us jobs. If New Labour were really serious about 'helping disabled people into work' it would do more to tackle the widespread discrimination against us amongst most big employers.

Where are these jobs going to come from? Will the government put money into the Access To Work Scheme (set up to provide equipment, etc to disabled people in employment) so as to ensure that any necessary adjustments are made to workplaces? If the government won't find the resources needed, the scheme won't work!

Why are we on Incapacity Benefit in the first place? Why did many of us lose our jobs when we became disabled people? Why do employers prefer to train someone new, rather than enable someone who knows the job to carry on working?

Why is the media now full of Incapacity Benefit fraud stories? We are the new scapegoats. First it was unmarried mums, next came asylum seekers/refugees. Now add disabled people to that list.

Why does New Labour assume it is full-time, long-term work that we want, are capable of doing and is available? Many disabled people have fluctuating conditions. Some of us have regular medical appointments. Some of us need adjustments in the workplace and/or support from work colleagues. If we work, our work patterns need to take these issues into account.

The Disabled People's Movement agrees meaningful jobs are a key to disabled people escaping out of poverty. But we say NO to being forced off benefits into low-paid work. NO to coercion and punitive cutting of benefits. NO to care charges. NO to their hands in our pockets.

We say YES to a flexible and realistic approach to all the issues of work and benefits. YES to disabled people's freedom to choose work. And YES to ending discrimination against disabled people!

More on the implications of the Welfare Reform Bill in future issues.

Stop privatising Jobcentre Plus

ON 4 JULY, the day the Welfare Reform Bill was published, Jobcentre Plus announced the privatisation of 'Pathways To Work' work in 60% of its districts during 2007 and 2008.

This includes plans to privatise areas of work for the Employment Support Allowance - the proposed new benefit replacing Incapacity Benefit. Areas to be privatised are 'back-to-work' support, some decision-making on sanctions and safeguards and, 'perhaps' work-focused interviews relating to benefit claims.

When Jobcentre Plus first said that 'Pathways To Work' would be privatised they said it was because Jobcentre Plus no longer had the people or the expertise to carry out the work because of the 17,000 job cuts and the 13,000 more to go by 2008.

They also said the Treasury had told them they couldn't have any new jobs for this work. Management had to admit that the private sector doesn't have the expertise either and would need time to acquire it!

The only place the private sector can get this expertise is from existing workers in Jobcentre Plus. This will mean further job losses and privatisation.

These proposals come hard on the heels of swingeing attacks on working conditions in a so-called 'modernisation' of human resources (personnel) policies. We must step up the fight against job cuts, worsening conditions and privatisation in Jobcentre Plus to stop further attacks.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 13 July 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Uniting to fight the cuts

Hewitt hides from health protesters

Save our hospital

TUC lobby

Youth and Education

Low Pay,No Way!

Parents win High Court victory

Socialist Party campaigns

Welfare Reform Bill scapegoats disabled people!

Fighting the far-right BNP

Wales launches Campaign for New Workers' Party

International socialist news and analysis

Israeli regime’s air invasion of Lebanon threatens regional war

Another stolen presidency in Mexico?

Netherlands: Coalition government falls apart

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

RMT conference: Striking back against privatisation

"Join the union to change the union"

Socialist Party feature

How the farmworkers got organised

National Blood Service: Fighting job cuts

Socialist Party review

'Storming heaven': Battle for Spain - The Spanish Civil War

Socialist Party National committee report

Build the Socialist Party


Home   |   The Socialist 13 July 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleCapitalism discriminates against us - Disabled people fighting for our rights

triangleNews in brief

triangleTV review: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain

triangleCripTales: A painful reflection of a system that pits us against each other

triangleDisabled students let down by "rotten education system"


trianglePoverty increasing. Welfare state in crisis. Do we need a new Beveridge Report?

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleWelfare after Covid-19

triangleEven social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far


triangleKeep the Universal Credit uplift

triangleTories threaten to axe free prescriptions for older workers

triangleLong Covid: Fight for jobs, benefits and services


triangleTower Hamlets Labour backs Tory cuts

triangleTories and Labour fail on child poverty


triangleMy struggle for an income I can live on

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Further education set for industrial action over pay



Thousands march to Reclaim Pride


Youth Fight for Jobs

Jobs and homes for all



Sheffield Uni UCU fights archaeological dept closure



Fight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights


East London

East London resident fighting eviction again



Barnsley 'Big Green Space' protest



Youth Fight for Jobs is officially relaunched



Selling the Socialist



Scottish socialist breaks running record



Flood devastation in Europe


Bin workers

Bexley bin workers strike for better pay



New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now



Public sector pay - Prepare for action!



Government departments move to impose pay cuts

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021