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Three-quarters of Cumbrians on sick judged fit to work

Nearly three quarters of north and west Cumbria’s sickness benefit claimants are being judged capable of work, it has been revealed.

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First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
 and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, 
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
 and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of the German public following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
George Santayana (1863 – 1952)

“A nation’s human rights record should not necessarily or exclusively be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, its most privileged citizens, its most powerful citizens. It should
however be judged by how it treats its weakest citizens’. Nelson Mandela. (1918 – )

Posted by Robert Moore on 24 May 2012 at 06:46

@ Nathan. There is nothing worse than listening to people blabber on saying that they can't work because they are disabled.

Yes there is. There is listening to self-appointed arbiters on disability and employment blabber on without joined up thinking in their arguments.

The idea that there is no shortage of jobs is confounded by the fact that there are on average six people for every vacancy in the country. In some areas this is as high as 30 people for every vacancy.

In other words there are nowhere near enough vacancies to enable everyone currently looking for a job to find one.

One of the major reason for the non-participation of disabled people in the workplace society is the negative attitude of employers towards disabled people.

Employers are more unlikely to take on the additional costs associated with adjustments for disabled job applicants.

Disabled People who are made redundant as a result of the cuts will experience discrimination in their attempts to re-enter the employment market.

Now ask yourself Nathan. And be honest in your answer. If you were an employer with six people looking for a job and one of them is disabled who are you going to give the job to?

Posted by Jack Dawes on 21 May 2012 at 08:39

Just a quick point, it is not a case of deciding that you will work even if you are disabled, it is looking at ways at getting those whom are disabled for whatever reason back into work and a job that they can actually do. There is no reason why someone who say, is in a wheel chair, arthiritis and things like that - they get disabled blue badges (and don't bother lecturing me about this...I know all about them), the majority of buses in Carlisle are disabled friendly. Admittedly, not all employment places are disabled friendly, but employers have a legal responisbility to make reasonable adjustmentto employ people.

Yes it is a way of cost cutting, but it is also a way of getting people to not rely on the state and get them back into jobs that they can do. There is nothing worse than listening to people blabber on saying that they can't work because they are disabled - there are jobs out there that suit everybody, it's just a case going out and looking for them.

Posted by Nathan on 15 May 2012 at 10:04

My husband was recently deemed fit for work by atos yet when he signed on for jsa they took 8 wks to tell him that because i was working he was not entitled to any money, how can this be fair it is not as if we live a life of luxury, no car,leather sofas or latest technology,i am against the ones that play on bad backs ect that can get everything, but why should genuine people be made scape goats for the rich?we cannot get help with our rent,council tax nhs prescriptions ect not fair what is the point of working if you are a part of a childless couple already on the bread line before someone from atos who has no idea of your disability can make a judgement on you,and a government that has no idea what its like to live on one wage on nmw.

Posted by hayley duffy on 14 May 2012 at 19:54

@ Peter. Evil Tories?

No I don’t think that the Tories are evil. The Hitler regime that set up a pogrom of euthanasia, i.e. a euphemistic term for a clandestine murder program, which targeted mentally
and physically disabled people for systematic killing in 1930’s Germany as a precursor to the holocaust was evil.

There must be a term though for a Government that talks one way whilst walking the other.

On the one hand the Government says that it is committed to giving disabled people the opportunity to play a full role in their community whilst on the other it describes supporting
disabled people as unsustainable.

It says that its policies will enable disabled people to fulfill their potential when they are actually likely to remove independence and force them into hardship.

The Prime Minister says that he will look after the most vulnerable and needy whilst terminally ill people die after being found fit for work by ATOS.

Maria Miller, Minister for The Disabled preaches that hate crime in all its forms is intolerable as it perpetuates segregation and creates fear whilst her Department briefs favoured
tabloids with a narrative of benefit scroungers or fakers characterised by the constant drip-drip of stories implying vast numbers of disability claimants are bogus. This has the
effect of fuelling resentment and abuse directed at disabled people who are subjected to taunts like spastic, cripple, scum, skiver and scrounger.

The Tories may not be evil but they, and the Liberal Democrats who support them in office, are, at best, grossly irresponsible to collude in this manner to foster a climate
encouraging hatred, hostility and abuse towards people for whom life is already so difficult.

Posted by Jack Dawes on 10 May 2012 at 21:43

Robert I agree with abuse the disabled are now getting. I'm not so sure if it is fresh abuse with misuse of the car badge system obviously ongoing, this being so, for as long as I can remember. I'm not so sure if one can still park a special vehicle at the edge of CUFC's pitch at Brunton Park anymore. Maybe when, or if as planned at proposed new stadium at Kingmoor. The club might be enforced, or feel it a duty to provide such parking bays ? I'll put on longterm order a special windowscreen. In those days they seemed more pubic sympathy for permanent disablement. Indeed I have worked with many in an active busy environment. My younger sister who once loved outdoor walking has been confined to a wheelchair for many years and is unable to work. My neighbour's son who has been ill for some years, has now been at his displeasure, being made disabled and now on benefits. He recently got into a nasty barney with a women in disabled parking bay in a city supermarket who seemingly was able to diagnose that he should not be parking the special bay. I'm aware with such in the family. Some perhaps should be tied to a wheelchair for a week and see what it feels like. It is every disabled person's right to park in such a bay if they qualify. It is however a crazy world when, with my old limbs have to park some distance (sometimes on edge of park!) from a store entrance with parking for family's (facility should be only past per artistic signage) with children with young limbs have to walk a meagre step with parental guidance from the store than I do when in all probability I have already walked around the world in my lifetime. My dogs have walking since birth with one now having arthritis, Their is no official orange/blue paw badge yet as I wheel our bikes out with a trailer. I of course deplore any misuse of systems of benefits. I myself was forced to pay tax on one of my first pay packets (Xmas with bonus's) of a well-thumbed paperboy (papers were heavier then, with new fat Times/Observer mags then) when 11 years old and went on like many to pay insurance and tax since 14... I agree that what you pay into the system, many have, many of my friends have died, one two injured due to accidents.
No one should have to be given the KGB's third degree and now under present HM Government's acts to work without questioning beyond the former official retirement age of 65 if they don't want.

Posted by Roy (63) on 10 May 2012 at 09:31

@peter. An interesting if spurious point. It matters not one jot who introduced the 50 p tax rate or how long it fell under the auspices of any one particular Government.

What matters is the message that cutting the 50p tax rate on the grounds that it encourages tax avoidance sends out to the Electorate at a time of enforced austerity. A point not
lost to voters in the recent local authority elections.

Those who are not at all keen on paying tax at a 50p rate are no more likely to be keen on paying tax at 45p either.

In the meantime we are told that supporting disabled people is unsustainable and the Government rhetoric on alleged fraud and over-claiming to justify cuts in benefits is fuelling
abuse against disabled people.

National Charities claim that some disabled people avoid going out because of the hostile climate, or avoid using facilities such as designated parking bays if they “don’t look
disabled” as increasingly people don’t believe that they are disabled and suddenly feel empowered to abuse them about their entitlement to use the space.

Any gullibility lies with anyone who ever believed the line that we are all in this together.

Posted by Robert Moore on 10 May 2012 at 07:00

@Peter. Thank you for your contribution to the general debate although you appear to presume my political persuasion and where my vote may lie in a secret ballot from my loose reference to tax benefits enjoyed by the wealthiest end of the social spectrum.

I suspect that if a LabLib Coalition had been formed after the last general election I would be making very similar points.

After all the last Labour Government could have done more to address tax dodging and it was Labour who contracted ATOS to undertake Work Capability Assessments and allow a private company to profit from disability and at taxpayers expense.

However, it is the ConLib Coalition that is in government now and the Government certainly doesn’t let the facts confuse the argument in its rhetoric because one good anecdote is worth a thousand hard facts in driving a policy.

The Government benefits from the media narrative around benefits that portrays those who received benefits as workshy scroungers or abusing a system that’s really easy to cheat. This hardens public opinion and makes it easier to implement policies that will remove support from a fifth of disabled people and this will be to our collective shame in the end.

Posted by Jack Dawes on 8 May 2012 at 12:44

Mr Dawes 4th May:
"Still every pound spent on disability is a pound that cannot be given in tax relief for the rich. "

I presume you are referring to the 50 p tax rate reduction to 45p? By the evil tories? The labour government was in power 4745 days. Of those 4745 days the 50p tax rate was in existence for 32 days.

Yes, a big whopping thirty two days. The coalition has been in power for 722 days and it will have be in power for 1070 days before the tax reduction kicks in to 45p.

That 45p tax rate is 5p higher than the one the labour government had for thirteen years.

The higher tax rate was never going to raise any money in the long term, both sides know this (if it did, labour would have done it in its first year, not in its last 28 days). This was left as an elephant trap to catch the tories out, especially amongst gullible people.

Dont let the facts confuse your argument though?

Posted by Peter on 7 May 2012 at 10:34

it hasnt stopped, im on esa benefits i to failed the doctor, i got a letter saying on 30th april my esa benefits will cease. the esa sent me a letter asking for a doctors sick note which my doctor supplied. there told me that my future esa benefits will be lower but infact there going to be higher.

Posted by delboy on 5 May 2012 at 18:09

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