Thursday, 25 August 2011

Case #6: I Have Foreseen It

Sometimes when I need cheering up, I'll have a look in the Daily Mail or some similar tabloid. Having direct first-hand knowledge of the research and figures that they cite when they cover the broad topic of welfare means every article on it they print is an invitation to rage at what appears to be persistent and deliberate lying. I still do get angry, but I also have a serene sense of bemused awe at the mental and mathematical gymnastics they need to perform to make the pre-determined story fit the facts. But that's the News.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Case #6: Pass It On...

The figures for all benefits as of February 2011 will become available in the next month or so and the DWP tabulation tool data has kept to a pretty consistent schedule so far. Today it has been reported that twelve doctors working for Atos Healthcare are under investigation by the GMC for conducting Work Capability Assessments in a way that it not in the best interests of people who were for at least one hour- their patients. Because of this I wish to highlight something that came to my attention a while ago but as far as I'm aware has only been talked about on The Files.

As of November 2010, just over half of all Employment Support Allowance claimants were in the Assessment Phase. Breath deep, take that in and seize hold of that slither of doubt in your mind saying there's something not right with that figure. This is not because a large number of claims have suddenly been processed (the influx from the Incapacity Benefit to ESA transfer began in April and solid data won't be available on that until February 2012 at least), because these are claims which are months, some even 2+ years old and they are still labelled as if they haven't yet had an assessment. Bare this in mind the next time a DWP press release and the tabloid cheerleaders say "X number of claimants closed their claim before or during assessment". If large numbers of people are kept perpetually in the Assessment Phase, of course that is going to make that much-hyped 'quit before assessment' figure more inflated and it is used to suggest a large proportion of claims are frivolous or fraudulent.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Case #5: DLA Is Bad News For The Coalition

Now is a good time to bury bad news.

With the rolling news media and print media being saturated by riots, everyone and their mother's theory for why there are riots (all of them are true, but unnecessary), has anyone been looking at what the government has been doing? I mean, apart from the holidays the leadership were very reluctant to leave. There are still ministers and civil servants busy doing their stuff. What have they been getting up to? I can't very well check everything myself, but I can look at what I know and started opening all my bookmarks and closing them rapidly as I glanced through them. Then I saw on the DWP ad hoc analysis page a report published on Monday- "Disability Living Allowance: Growth in the number of claimants 2002/03 to 2010/11". I've had some faux-conspiracy failures on applying Occam's Razor before, but though this came out on Monday the front page of the PDF is dated 'July 2011'. Maybe it means really late July though rather than it simply being the case that the government wanted to delay it while they were trying to hasten the Welfare Reform bill through the House of Lords (which failed and they had to delay it until Parliament opens again for business proper in September). But then I get through the thing and the author signs off the written part with:

This report was written around three months ago, when the Welfare Reform bill was going through it's Second Reading in the House of Commons (EDIT: then delayed again when the attempt to rush it in the Lords failed in July). Why has it taken all this time for it to come out? Maybe because whilst the author takes great care not to draw the ire of ministers in charge of Welfare reform, it mentions something I've talked about on The Files before: 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

There Is No Reason

The reaction from certain folk, let's describe them with the inadequate term 'the Right' puts themselves in a bind. Virtually everyone can see that the rich misbehaved and caused an economic crisis. That consensus lasted about five minutes and with no one actually disproving it, it disappeared; the blame somehow got shifted to 'profligate spending' by government. The solution presented was austerity and the poor were taunted with the empty slogan "We Are All In This Together" sometimes accompanied by "There Is No Alternative". Translations:

We Are All In This Together - "There will be no exceptions, especially since the poorest will pay virtually everything."

There Is No Alternative - "It is not up for discussion. When we ask for your alternative we don't mean it and we're not listening, we're just being rhetorical and no matter how many times you state an alternative it doesn't matter. It just isn't up for discussion".

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Case #3: ....Or Sometimes Just Plain Stupid

I have received a reply from Maria Miller through my MP. Instead of addressing the point on case law history in DLA, she changed the topic to the matter of Blind and Deaf claimants recently being enabled to claim Higher-Rate Mobility and then didn't even answer that quite right. It is as follows, with liberties taken over my real name which is replaced with my many pseudonyms.