Posts Tagged ‘Equality and Human Rights Commission’

Vox Political on the Government’s Refusal to Perform Assessment on Effect Benefit Cuts

November 3, 2015

Another of Mike’s articles worth reblogging and reading is his lengthy critique of the government’s claim that it is unable to do a cumulative impact assessment on the effect their welfare reforms are having. This is despite the fact that Landman Economics and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research did one about a year ago for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Their report made concrete proposals on how the government could alter its analytical and data gathering tools so that they, too, could make a similar assessment.

The government has not done so. As the title of Mike’s article makes clear, this means that The government is not UNABLE to assess its policies’ impact on the disabled. It is REFUSING to do so.

Mike’s article also critiques the verbiage the Tories have spewed about making the tax and welfare system fairer, and being committed to supporting the poor through ‘targeted’ welfare payments. The article begins.

People who signed a petition calling for the Conservative Government to “assess [the] full impact of all cuts to support and social care for disabled people” have been told that the tools aren’t there to do the job. This is because the Tories have chosen not to use them.

More than 29,000 people have signed the petition, leading to a response from the Department for Work and Pensions. If it tops 100,000 signatures, it may trigger a debate in Parliament. Don’t get your hopes up – the evidence provided in these debates is routinely ignored by the government because it doesn’t want to know.

The DWP screed starts with some waffle about being committed to a “fair tax and welfare system” with the effect of each policy change “carefully considered”, in which “everyone contributes to reducing the deficit” and where “those with the most contribute the most”. Is that in money or percentage terms?

But it continues: “However, it is not possible, using the Government’s existing analytical tools, to produce a cumulative assessment of the impact of policies on disabled people.”

This is why a cumulative impact assessment published by Landman Economics and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, recommended more than a year ago that the DWP should change its tools.

Of course, the simple fact that the report was published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission meant that it was never going to get very far. The Tories have for a very long time hated anything related to gender or racial equality, all the way back to the Commission’s predecessors in the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission. The Daily Heil in particular repeatedly called for the Commission for Racial Equality to be closed down.

Mike’s article can be read at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/10/30/the-government-is-not-unable-to-assess-its-policies-impact-on-the-disabled-it-is-refusing-to-do-so/.

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Private Eye on Osborne’s Cuts to ESA

October 16, 2015

Private Eye in their issue for the 24th July – 6th August published this article in their ‘HP Sauce’ column criticising George Osborne’s decision to make further cuts to benefits for the disabled.

From WRAG to RAGS

Chancellor George Osborne’s justification for yet more deep cuts in financial support for disabled people is that he is merely eliminating “perverse incentives” not to find work. If only that were true.

Until now, those who were found by strict health tests to be too sick or disabled to work but potentially capable in the future qualified for “work-related activity group” (WRAG) employment and support allowance (ESA). So someone requiring lengthy rehabilitation after an accident, for example, or with certain kinds of mental illness, would receive a payment which included an element to cover the extra disability-related living costs they would face, such as travel, care and health visits. It was subject to regular reassessment.

As Osborne well knows, most of those in WRAG are not working because they are simply too ill to do so – or they face fierce discrimination when trying to find work. But as part of the latest round of “austerity” measures, from 2017 new applicants will now receive the same weekly payment as fit unemployed people claiming jobseekers’ allowance. This means disabled people will lose nearly £30 a week, or £1,500 a year.

This is on top of other cuts, including the closure of the Independent Living Fund, further reductions in employment support and disability living allowances and personal independence payments, restrictions to Access to Work, and reductions to social care packages – not to mention the bedroom tax.

No wonder the government continues to ignore calls from its own watchdog, the Social Security Advisory Committee, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission for an “impact assessment” of austerity measures on disabled people. It would confirm that, far from a “fair and efficiently targeted” policy, benefit cuts have hit some of the most vulnerable hardest. After all, the government’s latest figures on low income show that working age families with a disabled member now have higher rates of poverty than pensioners.