Thatcher’s real legacy – today’s welfare benefits ‘reform’

Margaret Thatcher died.

Surely I can’t be the only one who finds it ironic that today is also the day that the new welfare benefits “reforms” start?

Today thousands of disabled people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), like me, are living in fear of losing their access to society and work that DLA affords us.

Having had the misfortune to be born with a congenital problem that has badly affected my knees, I was fortunate to be able to apply for DLA and a “Blue Badge”. DLA is awarded in two parts, mobility and care components.

I had a medical and was awarded the funds for three  years, having to reapply several times before they accepted that my condition would only deteriorate and I was given it for life, on the understanding I could be re-assessed and would need to inform them of any changes to my condition.

DLA facilitates my independence. I am able to work (but only part time) it helps me afford a cheap second hand car and the expensive petrol it runs on. It helps pay for the extra heating I need (many people with disabilities are less mobile and feel cold easily). It is a gateway to accessing DWPs Access ToWork,  a scheme that funds the equipment and travel disabled employees need without it being a burden on employers.

Working for a small charity, this support is crucial.

Today, for those in the North, the DWP will start the process of new applicants being accessed for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) . The scheme will be managed by the much criticised ATOS; the Financial Times have run this today !

It will then be rolled out throughout the UK over the next two years.

I am all in favour of making sure that people who are defrauding the system are stopped, I cringe every time I see the films of people on the news who have been caught out. However DLA is one of the least defrauded payments.According to the Government’s own statistics from 2011 0.5% fraud in DLA (see page 15)

DLA changes are frightening many people. They do not trust ATOS having already been through their system for Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

So Margaret, I do find it ironic that you have died today. You started this process that Iain Duncan Smith will continue; he says today that it was you that inspired him to enter politics.

Maggie Thatcher, your legacy will be felt by so many, sadly, not in a good way.

Kate Conboy-Greenwood

8th April 2013




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6 comments on “Thatcher’s real legacy – today’s welfare benefits ‘reform’”

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  1. Hi, as much as I sympathise and support your position, this isn’t necessarily Thatcher’s legacy – she didn’t make the number of people claiming DLA increase by 28% between 2003 and 2012 – 10% of the working age adults (3,200,000 on DLA with those in work at 29,000,000) probably aren’t disabled…… so it seems likely there is a big issue with this area…… but the way it is being dealt with, ATOS etc, seems ham-fisted to say the least.

    Thatcher probably damaged democracy by opening the door to a post-democratic age where the government only has power to regulate the private industries that profit from the essentials we the people need, such as water, electric, to some extent housing, and the unwise disposal various national monopolies (rail was actually Major I think), she isn;t responsible for everything – the panto villain, as such.

    The effing politicians of all hues have been doing us over in one way or another since then – they are all bad, and none of them have our best interests at heart – some of them just smile to your face and say disingenuous polemics whilst destroying your future.

    • Andy, please can you clarify the statement “probably aren’t disabled”? Can you back this up? Are you aware how difficult it is to be awarded DLA? Do you realise many people aren’t aware that they can apply and may be eligible and go through many years of being disadvantaged before they receive the support they need? Increased take up of DLA is a good thing, not a bad thing, as it is enabling people who were previously isolated to become valuable contributors to society. It is ignorance of what disability is and the multitude ways in which it affects a person that causes disadvantage, and assumptions which can lead to discrimination.

      • Claire – Quite simply 10% of the working age population are not too ill, disabled or anything else to work – The figure is so absurd I would suggest the burden of proof that 10% of working age people should be discounted from working is with you.

        One in every ten people of working age incapable due to disability? You disagree this value is clearly unrealistic? You wouldn’t say maybe two or three in a hundred? Without a breakdown of the causative ailments to understand what these 3,200,000 claimants comprise of, it’s all just hyperbole – disabled people should be offered hope and assistance, as should their families – just there aren’t that many disabled people.

        I fully back aiding people to have productive lives and would support anything genuine – without a breakdown of the causes for one in every ten people of working age to be disqualified by ailment, it’s hard to evaluate other than to know 10% of the working age population aren’t disabled.

        Screaming discrimination is another way of saying don’t ask questions. Is there a good breakdown on claimants by cause available?

  2. The opinions expressed in the above thread do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the other 133 people also called Andy Redman who live in Britain (or Sweden) Just in case anyone assumes that’s me talking!

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