Monthly Archives: November 2012

The reality of austerity Disability Roulette

I am re-posting this from a blog by Sue Marsh as I feel it deserves the widest possible audience.

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Read her blog on the link below

Disability Roulette

 Imagine you work for a big national company. They don’t pay very much and you struggle to make ends meet.
One day, the manager comes into the office and announces that the company needs to save money and with immediate effect, they will no longer be paying 20% of their staff.
He says that unfortunately, you are one of the people who will no longer work for money.
Certain that your boss has gone quite mad, you ask -with justifiable outrage  what on earth you will do?? How will you buy food or pay the rent??
He says it’s OK. The company have been very careful to only select workers who have a husband or wife with a job. You shout that your wife only earns £8,000 a year working part time as a cashier! He says that will be enough.
Angrily, you tell him he can stuff the job right up his arse, you’re leaving! No-one can work for free! What he is doing is against the law. In fact it breaks more laws than Jeremy Hunt at a Murdoch garden party. You will take him to court.
He explains that the government changed the law at midnight. From now on, anyone migrated” onto Nominal salary contract cannot ever leave their jobs. You must stay with the company, working for free, until you retire in 38 years  (An aide whispers something in your boss) No, wait, scrap that bit, you must stay with the company until you die says your boss carelessly, as though he just told you the stationary cupboard needs re-stocking.
As though stumbling through a terrible nightmare, you realise theres nothing for it, you will have to get a second job. Your boss points out clause 8, subsection C :
No employee on a nominal salary contract (NSC) can attempt any other work for any other company or do any kind of paid work beyond the contractual obligations of the NSC  at all. Any money earned by employees on an NSC will be confiscated and donated to the Treasury in the national interest.
As you stumble blindly away from him, your boss adds a bizarrely random parting shot Oh, and weâre confiscating your car and you can never have a bath or shower again.
Suddenly it feels like you’ve been plunged into a Hollywood movie. The script is so unbelievable, so surreal that youre sure once people hear whats going on, they wont allow it. There will  be an outcry. Maybe you’re actually dreaming. You phone journalists, MPs, lawyers, you desperately beg your friends to help you, but as though they all been brainwashed overnight, no-one but you and the other people who must work for free see anything wrong with it at all. Or perhaps they do and they’re just glad it isnt them¦.
As the months go by you plead for help. Once a week, you must beg for free food in a long dispirited queue, but when you try to tell people, they say youre just being dramatic. You beg someone to help you to keep your home, but they assure you people arent losing their homes at all. You smell because you cant have a bath and you cant get to work without your car.
Now imagine your “job” is cancer.
A Dr has just told you that you have terminal cancer. It won’t kill you immediately, but you probably only have 5 years or so and there’s nothing you can do. As the tumour grows inside your skull, you will slowly lose your memory, your speech, your ability to move or swallow until you are fed through a tube, breathing through a ventilator and shitting into a bag.
Suddenly you “work” at staying alive -taking endless medications, keeping appointments with doctors and surgeons and radiologists.
But randomly, this government have announced that 25% of people with a serious long term illness or disability – including terminal cancer, heart failure and transplant patients –  will lose their incomes. All of it. Just like that, overnight.  If they have a partner who earns just £7,500 or more a year, they will lose everything, becoming totally dependent on someone else’s goodwill to survive.
I’m talking about people who can genuinely never work again, and I’m not talking about a few understandable mistakes here and there, I’m talking about a thousand people every WEEK who are being wrongly stripped of their entire incomes in exactly the way the employee in my little story above was, only to have them re-instated after a year, even 18 months of fighting and appeals. Some have died before the appeals could be heard. In fact 72 people a WEEK are dying having been found fit for work by this government.
They can’t get another job so they must accept whatever the government decide to do with their lives. Their totally trapped.
Next year, half a million MORE seriously ill or disabled people will lose their DLA. Again, almost entirely randomly; again, purely to save money – the government admit this quite freely. This benefit was awarded whether you worked or not and was designed to help disabled people with the extra costs of transport and getting washed and dressed. Many disabled people won’t be able to get to work any more and the government have changed the criteria to define “bathing” as washing above the waist with a flannel. (I am not a joking.) If your disability means that you can’t get out of the house or maintain a basic level of personal hygiene you are very unlikely to keep a job or find a new one anyway.
Even if someone who suffers from Parkinson’s, or motor neurone disease or is paralysed tries to earn anything, they simply get it taxed or taken off any replacement benefits at levels close to 100%
And just like the Hollywood movie, no-one wants to listen. It’s so farfetched, so horrible, that you all think it can’t possibly be happening.
“Not here in the UK. Not right in front of our noses. We don’t let our cancer patients and paraplegics die in poverty, here, thank you very much. I mean I know Cameron’s bad, but even he wouldn’t take every penny from people who were actually really disabled. Not 4,000 of them every month? Don’t be silly! ”
So I’ll leave you with a quote from Joseph Goebbels :
“When one lies, one should lie big and stick to it. People will eventually come to believe it.”
And one from David Cameron :
“We will always protect the most vulnerable”