Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Attitude of Conservative British Minister on Disabilities, Ian Duncan Smith Illustrates Conservative Attitudes Towards Those with Disabilities

Too Many People “Festering” in the System too Suit Mr. Smith

[Update:  The British Conservatives plans for reform of disability involves a substantial reduction in aid to the blind.  Even the toadying coalition partners of the Conservatives are upset.

Government plans which could reduce state benefits paid to thousands of blind people have sparked a revolt by Liberal Democrat MPs in the latest sign of tension inside the Coalition over cuts.

The Liberal Democrat rebels are demanding a U-turn after it emerged that many blind or partially-sighted people who currently receive disability living allowance (DLA) of up to £120 a week could lose out when it is replaced by a new personal independence payment (PIP) from next April.]

Although they vociferously deny it, Conservatives as a group really don’t like people who are disabled receiving government benefits.  In their world those who have disabilities probably deserved those disabilities for some reason, and even worse government benefits are just taking working people’s hard earned money and giving it to the disabled who lie around in a life of luxury.

So the recent comments of Conservative British Minister of Work and Pension, Ian Duncan Smith about plans to cut benefits and get 500,000 people entirely off of disability benefits should not come as a surprise.  But the nature of his comments do reveal the contempt and disgust he and his fellow members of Britain's Conservative Party  have for people receiving disability benefits.

Mr. Smith notes the huge increase in Britain by those claiming disability benefits,

“We are creating a new benefit, because the last benefit grew by something like 30 percent in the past few years,” he said. “It’s been rising well ahead of any other gauge you might make about illness, sickness, disability or for that matter, general trends in society.

which is indeed a cause for concern.  But the concern should be over why this is happening, is it that people are not really disabled but are claiming benefits out of economic desperation, or that they are disabled but until the recession the disabled were able to work and support themselves, and now they cannot. (Note:  A similar increase has happened in the U. S.).  But for Conservatives in Britain the problem is not the plight of the disabled, it’s the money.

So Britain will change its system of supporting the disabled

An official impact assessment of the plans, released this month, reveals the scheme will cut benefit payments by £2.24 billion annually – and lead to about 500,000 fewer claimants.

And while no one suggests that eligibility shouldn’t be examined closely, that does not appear to be the attitude Mr. Smith takes.  Here is a statement indicative of his true feelings.

Something like 70 per cent had lifetime awards, (which) meant that once they got it you never looked at them again. They were just allowed to fester.”

Yes, to Conservatives who control Britain’s government people on lifetime disability are just “festering”. 

Of course the idea is that people are better off working than being on disability benefits, which is true and it looks like the government will try to get people on disability back to work.

Mr Duncan Smith is also working on plans to encourage and help more disabled people to return to work. Many people wrongly believe that they will lose their disability benefits if returning to work, but they are not means tested. However, officials believe that other benefit bills may fall if more disabled people return to work once the new system is explained personally to them.

which sounds great except for the fact that the government is actively pursuing a policy of destroying jobs, firing people and creating higher unemployment.  So the Conservative policy is to take away disability benefits, declare people fit to work and then deny them jobs. 

Yep, that does kinda sum up Conservatives doesn’t it. 

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