Today (19 November 2012) at 12.30pm the latest phase of a big online campaign to raise awareness about the injustices wrought by the flawed Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which is being used to block vitally needed benefits for many sick and disabled people, becomes visible.
After a walk through “the little world of poverty enclosed within the workhouse walls”, Charles Dickens concluded that “We have come to this absurd, this dangerous, this monstrous pass, that the dishonest felon is, in respect of cleanliness, order, diet, and accommodation, better provided for, and taken care of, than the honest pauper.”
This week, when a desperate Spanish woman Amaia Egana committed suicide as her home was about to be repossessed, her outraged neighbours took to the streets, and the Spanish government is now going to change the law to try to prevent a repeat of this tragedy.
The former UK minister for employment Chris Grayling was adamant that he was "unreservedly and implacably opposed to a real world test" when it comes to assessing people with disabilities and serious illnesses in terms of their fitness for work and eligibility for benefits. That position remains unchanged.
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.