Thursday, 30 August 2012

The reality of disability - Labour's scheme, Tory's dream

OK, so the Paralympics are on... the politicians (both red and blue) will bask in every gold medal won by the disabled athletes.

But once they're over, consider this.

Politicians, both red and blue, have been looking to stitch up the disabled for a decade and more...

The rot started when Blair employed consultants from Unum Provident to reform the welfare system. Blair is no idiot - he knew Unum was a huge US firm providing health insurance. 

It was involved in scandal... 

Less than a decade ago the company, while it was an advisor to the UK government on welfare reforms, was dragged through the US courts in a massive class action where the California Department of Insurance Commissioner, John Garamendi, stated that, “Unum Provident is an outlaw company. It is a company that has operated in an illegal fashion for years”.  By 2007, the American Association for Justice identified Unum Provident as “the second worst insurance company in the US” and the company was fined over $36 million dollars for this and ordered to pay out $100’s of millions in compensation. They were even, until 2008, banned from carrying out business in over 13 US states, until agreeing to reopen and review over 300,000 claims.

 Despite this appalling track record, Unum was put in charge of changing disability benefits in the UK. As is happening now with ATOS, Unum employees were routinely denying disabled claimants their benefits - without any medical evidence.

 The same is about to hit claimants in the UK. Yes, it's being introduced by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition but the process was started by Blair's Labour government, who employed these schysters in the first place.

 To cap it all, Labour also appointed David Freud (a city banker) to reform disability benefits in 2008. Freud admits he knew nothing about disability but within three weeks had drafted a report advocating that private firms should be incentivised to get the disabled off benefits.

As reported in The Daily Telegraph:

This week, however, Mr Freud was hired by James Purnell, the new Work and Pensions Secretary, as an adviser and asked to help implement nothing less than a revolution in the welfare state.
There has, he believes, been a sea change in Labour's thinking about the benefits system. "Gordon Brown has now said they're going to do it," he says. "Peter Hain [the previous work and pensions secretary] was worried about the Left. Purnell is showing astonishing energy, there is going to be a much more single-minded ferocity."
Mr Freud's big idea is that the private sector be put in charge of the long-term unemployed. Companies taking part would receive a huge fee for getting somebody to stay in a job for more than three years but nothing if they fail.
It's little surprise that the disabled are being shafted when successive UK governments have plotted for so long to take away benefits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ATOS was trending on Twitter all through the opening ceremony last night and lots of people learned about the shameful tests introduced by Labour and taken to the extreme by the Tories and Lib Dems.

The Government's welfare cuts affecting the disabled day to day were also talked about, all in all a good night's work but campaigners need to keep up the pressure.