Bernadette Meaden's blog

Why there's an impact assessment for cigarette packaging, but not cuts hurting disabled

The electorate was sent a message last week: if you want this government to take you seriously you must get rich, cultivate friends in the Conservative Party, and spend a lot of money on covert lobbying. We may be living in a democracy, but it doesn’t feel that way.

Asking the bare minimum: a cumulative impact assessment

When the Welfare reform Bill passed into law in March 2012, Iain Duncan Smith proclaimed, ‘These are the biggest reforms for 60 years. Michael McMahon MSP recently described it as “a tsunami of change engulfing the world of welfare,” and warned that “the biggest waves are yet to come.”

Evolution in reverse?

A recent episode of Horizon on BBC2 asked the fascinating question, ‘What makes us human?’ Professor Alice Roberts considered why human babies are born helpless, whilst other animals have offspring with information hard-wired into their brain, and so are able to fend for themselves very quickly.

Respond to the new consultation on mobility

When Personal Independence Payments (PIP) were proposed, to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claimed it had acted in consultation with disabled people. Thanks to the work of campaigners like Sue Marsh, that consultation was exposed as a sham which completely ignored the overwhelming opposition expressed.

The Conservatives have achieved a great deal, but not great things

When the history of this particular period is written, people will marvel at what the Conservatives have achieved. To lose an election, scramble into office, and then go on to change society so significantly in a few short years shows, it has to be said, quite some chutzpah.

Who needs lobbying?

External lobbying is increasingly an irrelevance. In many major policy areas vested interests are right at the heart of government, in what amounts to a serious subversion of democracy.

No money left, or is it just in the wrong places?

All three main UK political parties now base their economic arguments on a premise which has come to be accepted as truth, but which may be false. The premise is that ‘there is no money left’ and this is used to justify austerity. We don’t want to cut, the argument goes, but there is no money left, so we have to make difficult decisions.

Food banks: A national scandal

‘When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.’

This was said in the 20th century by Helder Camara, a Catholic Archbishop in Brazil living under a brutal right-wing dictatorship.

Work Capability Assessments have failed the test

Last year I wrote about my friend Yvonne, who had undergone an Atos Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and been placed in the Work Related Activity Group, meaning she was expected to attend the Jobcentre and prepare for work.

We need to recognise our common humanity as the welfare changes hit

On the miserable journey that is welfare reform, we have reached a very sad milestone: the first suicide to be attributed to the bedroom tax.