Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More on the Welfare Reform Bill

The draft regulations and the Welfare Reform Bill is now being debated by Standing Committee A. It has been adjourned until tomorrow (they stopped at Clause 10 so the vile Clause 17 will be discussed sometime tomorrow). The Disability Benefits Consortium has put together amendments to this bill.

But it does seem likely that claimants will be subjected to the work-related activity undertakings. This means that the DWP - Department of Work and Pensions (a junior civil servant as opposed to say, your GP) will decide what kind of therapeutic regime is suitable and if you disagree you risk benefit sanctions for non-compliance. The conditionality aspect has been shown to be unhelpful in building a constructive relationship with a claimant and that comes from the DWP’s own research.....!!!!!

Sickness rates are down by 64,000, to its lowest over a decade. Therefore, why oh why does New Labour see fit to bring in a nasty draconian piece of legislation which bullies people into finding work? A harsh regime based on conditionality and sanctions. New Labour will save billions and keep the tabloids on board by showing their tough stance on work-shy scroungers.

Billions that can be spent on funding war in Iraq.....

'Nuf said.

NB: There are also proposals for sanctions for Housing Benefit claimants who have been evicted for "anti-social behaviour" and fail to co-operate with the "efforts of local authorities to rehabilitate them". It is proposed that the provisions to be piloted in about 10 local authorities in England for a period of 2 years. Frank Field brought in a private members bill on a similar issue in 2002, which was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, the proposals are back....

As CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group) argue: "These proposals are likely to cause hardship and homelessness and unlikely to have any deterrent effect".

Coalition Against the Welfare Reform Bill (CAWRB)
And these are the members of Standing Committee A. Might include your MP.