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Monday, August 16, 2010

It's not benefits that are outrageous, it's the cuts.

The Guardian reports on attacks on people who have been on disability benefits for 10 years or more.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling described the figures as "outrageous" and promised action to get people off benefits and back into work.
There is a shocking lack of acknowledgement or awareness that if someone has been on disability benefits for 10 years are probably pretty ill, have significant impairments, or face massive barriers.
"Thousands of people who have simply been cast aside by a welfare system that does nothing but put them in a queue for benefits and then forgets about them.

"Well those days are over. We will no longer accept a system which writes people off at a drop of the hat and expects the taxpayer to foot the bill."
With statements like that, they appear to be trying to cloak their attacks in the guise of concern for the benefit recipients, but it is a thinly disguised threat where the biggest concern is clearly the 'taxpayers footing the bill'.

It shows a complete lack of comprehension of the reality of the day to day lives of those who have been on long-term sickness benefits, and of why people are in this situation. There are many things the government could do to improve disabled people's lives and, yes, their chances of eventually getting back to work, but cutting off benefits helps no-one.

To put the £4.2 billion in context, we also know that £16 billion worth of benefits go unclaimed every year.

(Cross-posted at Where's the Benefit?)