The Work Capability Assessment is indefensible. It needs to be scrapped. The full extent of the distress and damage it has caused may never be fully known, but all who understand, or who have not got a blindly ideological commitment to it, now say it needs to be stopped.
To understand the thinking behind the reform of disability benefits, we need to look at a Conference held in 2001, called ‘Malingering and illness deception’. The Conference papers were later published as a book, in which ‘the enthusiastic support of Professor Mansel Aylward [then Chief Medical Officer at the DWP] and funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ was acknowledged.
Giles Fraser recently wrote that "assisted dying is the final triumph of market capitalism" and concluded, "When the moral history of the 21st century comes to be written, I predict we will look back with horror at how the word choice became a sort of cuckoo in the nest, driving out all other values…The moral language of the supermarket has become the only moral currency that is accepted."
Today (28 November 2012) MSPs in the Scottish Parliament are debating the Social Care Scotland Bill that will determine the support offered to unpaid carers for those with debilitating illnesses or disabilities.
Since the Work Capability Assessment fit-for-work test (which in large part determines eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance) was introduced in October 2008, more than 400,000 people with serious illnesses and profound disabilities have appealed against the decision to strip them of state support.
Rachel Mann's passionate and thoughtful new book Dazzling Darkness: gender, sexuality and God, published by the Iona Community's Wild Goose imprint, is being launched at Manchester Cathedral, in the Nave, today (6 November 2012) at 7pm. The bookshop will be provided by St Denys' Manchester, and the launch price is £9.50. Ekklesia sends warmest wishes for the launch.