In my posting on Tuesday 6th October “Vicious cuts” I touched on the Tories and Labour for that matter treatment of Incapacity Benefit. This prompted a couple of comments and discussion by phone etc, So I thought I would put the record straight so to speak in respect to my concerns. I am a socialist by heart and believe in a fair and caring society. We have not been able to achieve this but Labours aims are the closest that I know.
I was extremely annoyed by both the Tory party rhetoric and the way ITV news covered this item. They both suggested that pretty well everyone who was getting this benefit was in some way a skiver. The evening news coverage interviewed a couple of women from what appeared to be a council estate and asked some leading questions to support the case that they must all be skivers. I’m sure there will be a few but to paint the picture in the one sided manner they did is an absolute disgrace.
A friend of mine was a fireman for many years. He was invalided out of the service by what at the time was thought to be arthritis but later turned out to be something much more serious. Here was a man who had worked all his life had never claimed any benefit and had made a significant contribution to his community. Every year he was called in to have a medical assessment until a couple of years before he became pensionable age when it was clear what his condition was and he was eligible for the motability scheme. At times he told me he felt like a criminal having to justify his eligibility. Under the new rules would he be expected to get a job say as a receptionist or stuffing envelopes or perhaps doing a menial part time job if he could get to work?
My point is that checks already exist. I was surprised when labour suggested more checks. The Tories just felt that when labour announced it, it was seen has having support so they just embellished it. I wonder have the costs of carrying out the new checks been factored in and do we have the necessary medics available to do them? I doubt it. What we have here is a situation where we are in danger of throwing out the baby with the bath water.
The “free press” showed their Tory credentials and I’m sure this is going to continue over the coming months.
Labour has three problems as far as I can see 1) the press 2) the Tories and 3) Gordon Brown. Ummmmmmmmm