The #ESAendgame online campaign to collect comments and stories concerning people’s experience of Employment and Support Allowance and the qualifying Work Capacity Assessment (WCA), initiated by disability researcher and activist Sue Marsh, has produced around 430 submissions so far (http://t.co/x2oRAeu0Rd).
Yesterday Ekklesia published a large selection of online responses to disability research and activist Sue Marsh's call for people to kickstart the 'ESA End Game' campaign to challenge the iniquities around Employment and Support Allowance (http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/f31.htm).
This is not the first government to be accused of being out of touch, and no doubt it won’t be the last. When the government is comprised largely of millionaires who have led unusually privileged lives, perhaps it is almost too easy an accusation to make. But when a government seems disconnected from the lived reality of its people to an extent that is quite evidently damaging, then the disconnect must be taken seriously.
As part of a new campaign to highlight the highly damaging impact of the government's welfare changes, particularly in relation to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), activist Sue Marsh (http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/) launched #ESAendgame, the first of a range of mobilising activities, on Twitter and on her web page yesterday (6 March 2013).
Channel 4 television's respected 'Dispatches' series will carry a programme on Disability Living Allowance at 8pm tonight (Monday 25 February). It is entitled, perhaps rather sweepingly and unhelpfully, 'Britain on Benefits'. Nonetheless, it will be important viewing.
When did sick and disabled people become 'fair game' for mockery in the UK?
Over the last few years the way certain elements of the media have portrayed these sections of the population as ‘scroungers’ and ‘benefit cheats’ has been depressing, but today the Daily Mail reached a new low. In this article dramatic claims were made about the numbers of new claimants for Disability Living Allowance, describing a rush to claim the benefit before new more stringent rules are introduced.
As elements of the government’s Welfare Reform programme meet growing opposition, the Secretary of State comes under increasing pressure. Defeat in the Court of Appeal over Workfare and increasingly vocal opposition to the bedroom tax has seen Iain Duncan Smith stridently defending his policies.
Should the welfare system be reformed? Is the tax credit system flawed? Is a universal credit a good idea in principle? The answer to all these questions is 'yes'. But if the question is about whether the government is tackling these issues in the correct way, the answer is 'no'. A huge change of direction is required.