Friday, 30 July 2010

5 Days in May 2010 That Changed Britain

The programme '5 Days that Changed Britain' on BBC2 last night (Thursday 29th July 2010) was an eyeopener into the wheeling and dealing that went on behind the scenes after the UK General Election in early May 2010.

The happenings earlier in the year certainly lowered my all ready very low opinion of politicians in general.

There was after all nothing wrong with 2 political parties going into coalition with 1 another.

There is however a major problem with 2 parties which are exact opposites going into coalition with one another.

I would have expected nothing less of the Conservatives since they are not a party based on ideology. I was utterly appalled with the Liberal Democrats who jetisoned virtually everything they stood for, supposedly for the sake of stable Government, but instead I am sure it had more to do with the fact they wanted POWER!

As someone who voted Liberal Democrat for the first time I feel betrayed by what was done. If I had thought in my wildest nightmares that my vote basically counted as 1 for a Conservative Government I would never have done it. I certainly will never vote Liberal Democrat again and I am sure many of their voters will feel likewise.

Even if the Government is ultimately deemed to have been a success I shall still never vote Liberal Democrat again. I won't be able to trust them.

End of 'Working Lunch'

Very sorry to see the end of the 'Working Lunch' programme on BBC2 today (Friday 30th July 2010). It is one of the few shows that went in depth into issues not explored by other programmes on television. Why the BBC cut this and not one of their numerous other shows that are virtually duplicates of one another is beyond me.

RIP Working Lunch, you will be much missed.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Three out of four people applying for sickness benefits are being found fit to work or are abandoning their claims, according to Government figures.

Of the 686,500 applicants assessed for the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) between October 2008 and November 2009, 39% were judged able to work, while 37% stopped their claims before their assessments were completed.

A further 14% were put into a "work-related activity group" to prepare them for future employment.

Only 6% of ESA claimants were exempted from work-related schemes after being judged too sick or disabled to do a job.

From October, the Department for Work and Pensions said it plans to re-test millions of existing claimants to check whether they are fit for work.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said: "The vast majority of people who are applying for these benefits are being found fit for work or have stopped their claim.

"These are people who under the old system would have been abandoned on incapacity benefits. It's a clear indication of why reform is so urgently needed.

This is excellent news (not!!!) given that the trials have resulted in a complete shambles.

What of the woman who was diagnosed as fit for work with 0 points under this new scheme but was dead in 5 months? What of the woman who was signed off as unfit for work by the company who does these 'medicals' one week as she worked for the civil service, and then the exact opposite happened as she got 0 points in her claim for ESA the following week. This was on the BBC last week.

The latter happened to me under the old system of incapacity benefit meaning that...
1. I could not legally work as my GP had signed me off and I therefore would not be covered by an employers insurance.
2. I could not claim JSA or any other benefit as I was not seeking work.
3. I could not claim incapacity benefit as they judged me fit for work.
Therefore I was left without any way of legally having any income whilst still ill!!!! The incapacity benefit 'medicals' were a farce and were nothing to do with whether you were ill or not. The ESA 'medicals' are harder to pass and therefore will only serve to force more ill people to suffer.

As for the ridiculous system of appeals. Having gone through this process when ill and won my appeal (although it took 3 months to occur leaving me with no income for this time) which greatly exacerbated my illness due to the stress and feeling my honesty was on trial, I refused to go through with it the second time since I could not cope with the experience again again leaving me ill without any income.

The benefits system is meant to look after people who were ill. Having paid taxes for years this is what I expected but most definitely did not get. The Government's new system merely makes a bad problem worse.