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In 2008, the then Labour government introduced a new out of work sickness benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to replace the old Incapacity Benefit (IB).
In an important new paper from the Centre for Wefare Reform (http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org), leading independent disability campaigner Kaliya Franklin, part of the Spartacus network, carefully analyses how government policy has undermined the objectivity of the medical assessments on sick and disabled people used by the private medical firm ATOS.
When the government speaks of 'recovery' (which may well turn out to be a bubble largely supported by consumer spending, inflated house prices and private credit), it is worth asking, 'what is being recovered by whom?'
On 30 November 2013 government e-petition supported by Ekklesia and established by sick and disabled people passed the 100,000 signature mark. The organisers, most of whom are living with a serious illness or disability, were delighted and very grateful to all who signed.
Welfare changes and cuts are already causing significant harm to disabled and sick people across the UK. Welfare News Service (http://welfarenewsservice.com) is at the forefront of reporting and analysing what is going on.
The e-petition seeking a comprehensive, cumulative impact assessment of the UK government's welfare reforms has now exceeded 82,000 signatories - and has four weeks to reach its target of 100,000.