Severely disabled forced to work by the Tories ICYMI

It’s not what disabled people can’t do, it is what they can has been the mantra of the Conservatives ever since 2010 along another highly superficial mantra of the best route out of poverty is to work.

Yesterday they announced they are piloting both of these together in a number of local authority areas for those with (a) learning difficulties, (b) autism and (c) severe mental health conditions.  This will soon become the forced work policy of work for your disability benefit!

Big Lottery Fund: Lorraine McIntosh and Bob O'Neill Pic: Peter Devlin

The announcement was buried in the DWP Touchbase magazine which can be seen here and I reproduce below what it said

As part of the Personal Support Package for people with disabilities or health conditions, DWP will work closely with a number of local authorities to deliver local supported employment for those with:

  • learning difficulties
  • autism
  • severe mental health conditions

The following local authorities have been selected to work with DWP:

  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • City of York Council
  • Croydon Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Stockport Council
  • Telford and Wrekin Council

The proof of concept will commence later in the year for approximately 18 months.

The concept the DWP is seeking to prove is that those with learning difficulties, autism and severe mental health conditions (my emphasis) can work if they receive support, which then leads to the political posit that they should work and further to the political posit that if they do not work then all such disabled persons including those with SEVERE mental health conditions are malingerers.

And you thought cutting the £29.05 per week from those who are incapacitated and on ESA was bad!!  You thought the work capability assessments were bad when so many have died within weeks even days of being found ‘fit for work!’

I have seen many pilot studies before and they consist of huge amounts of money being thrown at a small group of areas in order to produce very misleading and Panglossian final reports to say these pilots prove something works.  Note that the local councils in this case have also competed to take part in such a charade and of course when, not if, this is then rolled out as national policy such levels of funding and the support it pays for disappears into a black hole!  Yet politicians then recite the mantra to any challenge to the policy that it does not work and these pilot studies PROVE that it works.

This is a significant ramping up of the Tories ideological premise that disabled people cost too much and are swinging the lead and especially so with any form of mental health condition unlike ‘seen’ physical disabilities for instance. This goes way beyond the offensive notion that the discredited work capability assessments (WCA) are somehow fair and right and quite how anyone with SEVERE mental health conditions could ever be fit for work simply beggars belief.

This is extremely offensive and a political sham that reveals the Tories as the nastiest of nasty parties.




16 thoughts on “Severely disabled forced to work by the Tories ICYMI”

  1. I’m with Phil on this one. The expectation is always that we have all had the support younger generations get and in some cases the younger generation is assumed to have had the support we were given which has since been cut or become much harder to access at a lower level of need. Many of us did not have autism diasgnoses because none existed, some of u8s did not even get diagnosed with cerebral palsy until our bodies began to fail from a lifetime of pushing ourselves, Many of us were shunted onto DLA and SDA on our 16th birthday because it was easier than finding us appropriate employment and still many of us who worked and worked and worked at school too fulfil that promise that “If you work hard enough you can get a proper job” burnt out from a combination of overwork, “minority stress” and the long term mental health affects of abuse.
    My final SEN report at school stated taht without proper mental health support I would develop mental health difficulties and such was the case. Long term emotional and sexual abuse at school was ignored and then exacerbated by an assault by a sexual exploitation ring in my later teens. I had gone to college and university and reciwved excellent grades but I also needed a great deal of one to one support, struggled to keep up and acquired only specific academic skills slowly with my learning difficulties such as dyscalculia making many jobs often taken by students on the same academic level impossible. Both doctors and tutors agreed I hasd burnt out and could not go on but no support was offered and with no prospect of making my family proud ‘despite my disability’ they soon ostracised me and forceed me to get married so that I would not be ‘their problem’ any more.
    Owing to parents who lived in the era when to have an autistic child was heavily stigmatised as ‘bad parenting’ my parents disguised my autism as ‘learning difficulties’ and I grew up being taught that all my cognitive and learning difficulties wererthe result of either my personality or my cerebral palsy,and taht any autistic traits were simply abnormal and a nuisance leading to a lifetime of anxiety and depression. By the age of 18 I had not just adrenal fatigue but a full blown pituitary tumour necessitationg lifelong steroid treatment and monitoring, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from assaults and abuse and Post Impairment Fatigue Syndrome that was misdiagnosed as Depression and ME/CFS for a decade, poorly medicated leaving me housebound for months at a time and reducing many of my hard won physical and cognitive gains to nothing. I was lucky in some respects to be part of the first generation to recieve non segregated schooling but taht also meant I was exposed to everything from teachers who punished me for laziness because they did not realise I had disabilities, the endless anxiety that I must work harder and harder to achieve 100% (I took teachers telling teh whole class we were lazy literally and had reduced the hours of sleep I got down to 4 a night by the time I was 16 in an effort to keep up.
    I was once an energetic, highly skilled individual who had been taught to believe taht those skills would ‘overcome’ (sic) the impairments and taht employers would rush to employ someone of my abilities. Often those prospective employers were the people I had worked with as a student and yet the tune changed when I graduated and everyone thought “somewhere else” would be easier. There WAS and is no suitable disability employment in this area (I have tried many schemes and they are little more tahn a way for private enterprise to gain money and squirrel it away for doing nothing while pretending to support people with disabilities. Nor does suicidal depression, abuse and repeat sexual assault make for a person who can work easily in teh outside world. If they had wanted the person i was when I was 16 they should have protected and supported the many disabled young adults who came forward in the 90s with high hopes instead of making us silent victims of the rapists, paedophiles and addicts who so often attack those who they can see society and families value so little.
    We may start out with one condition or many -and many of us have muskuloskeletal conditions, learning difficulties AND mental health issues to start with but the key point here is not what WE are but what those non disabled people who surround us do in response to us. Recent research has identified something called “minority trauma” and the majority of disabled people probably experience it at some point. Stigma, shame, social attacks and isolation, physical, mental and sexual abuse and violence are our daily reality and its effects are trauma. The DWP is only the next level of institutionalised abuse and a continuation of our traumas and like so many of our previous abusers they know society does not care how they treat us and in many cases with back them up and be their ‘flying monkeys’. They know exactly what they are doing, they get a kick out of it, and most importantly, they know they will escape all retribution because there has never been a time in history when disabled people have been truly valued.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder whether ‘work coaches’and other non medical specialists who the system gives so much subjective powers will see SEVERE mental health conditions as meaning the need for SECONDARY mental health services?

    It is not for you to state this is entirely voluntary and has no links with work and health ‘conversations’ – It is the job of government to make this abundantly and unambiguously clear in the guidance they give and something which they have not done and urgently need to do so assuming this is correct.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Similarly two-thirds of people would say they want a big house or a Ferrari but they never going to get.”
    That is just so dismissive of people’s ambitions and reflects the lack of belief that authorities have when people say they want to work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. By “severe mental health” they mean people who use secondary mental health services. This correlates to the indicator 1F in the health and social care framework. See
    To reiterate, this initiative is totally voluntary and has no links whatsoever to sanctions or work and health conversations. Local employment support for people who have substantial disabilities AND WANT TO WORK has been badly cut by local authorities and health as a result of austerity. This aims to make more local support available to THOSE WHO WANT IT. No compulsion. Maybe you should talk to folk with disabilities who want to work but can’t get support.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This could potentially be very, very serious. Recently there has been more support for young autistic people and so perhaps many will be OK. However for others who are much older, who have suffered terrible bullying, who have had no support, and whose daily energy is very low as a result of burnout this could be a final blow. I can’t tell you how worried I am about this. Great for those who can work but I can no longer be among people after a truly terrible early life.
    I won’t be the only one who won’t be able to go on.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Now, I seem to recall that there used to be an organisation which did exactly that; I also seem to recall that it had its government funding removed, which effectively forced its closure, on the advice of the head of what used to be known as Radar (Royal Association for Disability Rights, now known as Disability Rights UK, I believe…), whose name has temporarily escaped me – Liz…? She advised the DWP that disabled people should be found ‘mainstream’ work which is all well and good, but if businesses aren’t able to adapt, it’s something of a moot point.

    If only the government hadn’t closed Remploy…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If this government is so keen to give people with mental (or physical) issues meaningful employment, why did they have to destroy Remploy? This is just another way of stigmatising certain groups, and saving money into the bargain. Except that most of their money-saving schemes in the past years have proven rather expensive…..

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Remember Remploy, so it all proves the gov do not want supported employment but stocks & shares for them and their mates.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well if they are going ahead with pilots before publishing the consultation (Green Paper) on Work & Health which we were invited to take part in before February this year and which I did and was quite blunt, then be afraid, be very afraid. I want to see the results of the consultation although as I said in it – it would be just a whitewash and paying lipservice. Obviously they had already decided they would do this, no matter how many people opposed it. Just watch the cringing and nasty Reform video by Charlotte Pickles a slip of a thing who knows nothing about real life or long term health conditions or disabilities as long as she gets her salary.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Reblogged this on ARM yourself with Info UK and commented:
    You need to understand that the vile Tories are broke, they have no money left in the tory coffers and are squirreling away money by hitting the most vulnerable [the sick, disabled and poor] They are sorting the “wheat from the chaff”, those that need it [really need it] WILL take it further, first by a mandatory reconsideration and second to Tribunal. If you take your grievances all the way to a Tribunal you will most likely win your case.
    The Govt is broke, this is why they are targetting the vulnerable, fight the assholes all the way, don’t let them put you off by reams of paperwork, fight them and WIN!


  11. Pretty sure that the 2 year issue and sanction is not ‘official’ policy that leads to sanction, though also sure that those on ESA under UC will be assessed ad infinitum

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nothing against supported employment and nothing against those with vulnerabilities receiving support. The detail is not out yet HOWEVER a key point is it targets those with “SEVERE mental health conditions” who by definition should be in ESA Support Group and have no compulsion at all to find work. Hence “SEVERE” is decidedly moot.
    Lets not also forget that ESA is what we used to call INCAPACITY BENEFIT and called that for a good reason.
    Thirdly, employment rates, sometimes truly offensively labelled the disability employment gap compare chalk and cheese and way too vague and too errant for any such comparison. Similarly two-thirds of people would say they want a big house or a Ferrari but they never going to get.
    Fourth, if the government want to put national funding into supported employment then there are many ways to do so and better ways than subjective pilots such as this.
    In summary, there is a very bad smell over these pilots

    Liked by 4 people

  13. The pilots are totally voluntary. Let’s turn it around. If a young person with a learning disability wants to work, where should they turn to for employment support? The main funded programmes haven’t provided suitable support. We know supported employment works, and has done in this country for over 30 years, but has never had national funding. The pilots are testing out national funding for local support. How can that be a bad thing for those who want to work? And you should have read the green paper – it announced the pilots in that. Nobody’s forcing anyone to work but employment rates of 5.8% for people with a learning disability (and going down) are clearly not good enough when two thirds of people say that they want to work. What support do you suggest instead?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This government terrifies me. I have 3 sons with autism, two should work but one would be a danger to himself and a.liability to an employer. Of course, if you’re not on ESA and can’t find a two years of universal credit you get a total sanction, which would mean that son would, if we’ve aged and died, potentially starve. I feel so scared for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Although I understand that if a person can work and wants to, then they deserve all the support they can get, as long as the work is meaningful, is stimulating and actually pays. I myself have Autism and I can and want to work and would like a job where I can use my skills, knowledge and progress like many others. I equally feel frustrated not achieving my full potential.

    However if they can’t work, simply because of many reasons (and not down to motivation). It’s unfair to strip them of benefits and constantly expecting them to jump through loop holes to get support with their current circumstances. It’s seriously unfair and unresponsible.

    Sometimes I feel so frustrated living in a Country that just takes advantage of people with invisible disabilities. Especially the ones who don’t have a voice. It’s disgusting!!

    You want us to be happy, yet you don’t let us. You want us to work, but don’t want to provide the accommodations. You want us to be able to have independence, yet you strip every every bit of money to do so.
    Not all of us want to spend our lives locked away from society just because you don’t understand us.

    Liked by 5 people

  16. I don’t think that the government cares whether pilots work or not. They’ve brought in numerous policies which had huge problems, never addressed, during the pilot. Look at Universal Credit. I think they see a pilot as simply a hoop they have to jump through for bureaucratic reasons.

    Liked by 4 people

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