Welfare assessment petition needs a final push

The e-government petition promoted by WOW (War on Welfare), and backed by Ekklesia and a whole range of advocacy groups and individuals online, is about to reach 75,000 signatories - but needs another push by 12 December 2013 to cross the vital 100,000 threshold.

That is the point at which it becomes possible to trigger a parliamentary debate. The subject is the UK government's welfare changes and the negative impact they are having on many thousands of sick and disabled people.

The WOW petition is calling for an independent cumulative impact assessment of the reforms, a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act, the end of the Work Capability Assessment in its current form (as backed by the British Medical Association, among others), a community-based enquiry into welfare reform, and investigation into the behaviour of DWP and other agencies.

The crucial point is that this is a set of demands created and promoted by disabled and sick people, carers and those at the cutting edge themselves, with solidarity from ourselves and others. It is not an initiative passed down from on high. It is calling for policy-making and parliamentary debate to be accountable to those most effected and with greatest knowledge: those who use and depend upon the welfare system, not politicians and policy wonks pontificating in well-paid isolation.

So it is about changing the way policy is done, as well as the policies themselves. That is precisely the kind of approach Ekklesia is seeking to develop as a radical think tank, and we are delighted to be able to work with WOW and many others towards those ends.

If you have not signed already, please do so, and promote the petition to friends and colleagues.

* WOW petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154

* WOW site: http://wowpetition.com

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