beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The Conservatives are choosing the discourse over benefits, the terms of the debate, and Labour are going along with them. 'Fairness'. It's just a comparison with people in work, and not a very honest one at that. Is it 'fair' that benefits are going up faster than wages? No, wages should be going up to meet the cost of living increases too.

But that's not the way the Conservatives mean it. They're asking if it's fair your baby brother should get help to do his shoes up, or if it's fair he still gets pocket money while you have to do your chores, or if it's fair someone else doesn't have to go without some lunch when you can't afford it. Clearly if their core voters aren't getting an increase, nobody else should.

What this argument needs is the restoration of the primacy of Need. Benefits were calculated based on Need.

Read more... )

The Conservatives look around and see some people getting help when others don't, and they fume about it, because how is that fair?

I look around and I see Need. For workers, for the unemployed, for disabled people, it all comes down to: what do they need in order to survive? Giving that to everyone is the only useful definition of Fair.


Jul. 20th, 2012 11:54 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have been reading about food banks.
I saw a food bank sign up near my house and it made me think.
There's lots of stuff in the Guardian

In theory we have a benefits system that acts as a safety net so people get what they need to survive.
But the practice has always been a bit shakier.
And now it's just had the sticks kicked from under it. No, actually, it's an ongoing process, it has only just begun compared to the plans, the kicking is ongoing. Frankly it scares the hell out of me.

And I don't understand it.
We live among such abundance.
There's a ton of spare food goes in the bins at the end of the day, and there's a lot of hungry people. How does that make sense?

Read more... )

No, I don't have a replacement idea. I can't think of a way to do things that makes everything work. I don't know enough. I don't understand what the problem is. I have no solutions.

So I'm just puzzled and tired and powerless.

It would be nice to be able to vote for someone who knows how to fix it all, but hey, we tried that, and they're great big liars who do this instead.

At this point I'd usually watch superhero movies, but my planned Batman marathon feels a bit off, right now.

News is made of :-(
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It pisses me off that the current discourse focuses on people doing paid work for employers and defines that as 'doing the right thing'. I've seen it repeatedly from Conservatives. They make a dividing line in their speeches between people living off benefits and people 'doing the right thing' and working.

Carers are nowhere in this discourse.
Read more... )

There is this vast and expanding abyss in values revealed here. Somehow, somewhen, the only effort that counts as work is working for money, and the only valuable contribution is monetary value.

Caring is doing the right thing.

If there's enough looking after to go around, even if the money is slim (but can feed you), the world works.
But it doesn't matter how much money you get if you can't get the care you need.

I'd leave it there, that's a strong point and I wish that argument would carry.

But there's one more thing.
Couldn't it also be a right thing to leave more room for other people?
Read more... )

The current arguments about Housing Benefit are in the same pile, where 'doing the right thing' is completely defined by going out to work and saving up money to pay for a house.
(The idea of taking shelter away from everyone who needs benefits under 25... does he not know that's what he's saying? What is wrong with him?)
In this argument, where are the landlords and the banks?
Read more... )

Something went wrong, but it wasn't in the morals or work ethics of your average renter.

Read more... )

Everyone can fit in together, for a long time it seemed like everyone could work together to make sure nobody went completely without, and yet now? Boom, discourse of fairness, discourse where 'do the right thing' means simply and solely go out and earn money for work from some individual (rather than get money for basics from all the country via the government). Discourse where only individual effort matters, and where it somehow makes sense to set private companies the job of getting people jobs, by sending them to compulsory work their employers don't have to pay for, despite the fact that there is no evidence it helps make or get jobs and actual evidence rolling in that it doesn't help. Because at some point they got hung up on making people try, because that's their moral good, that the work is attempted.

I don't know. I don't know how to fix all this. I do know that what gets said in speeches doesn't match my lived experience.
And yet we have such plenty.
Why doesn't it work?


May. 25th, 2012 12:16 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have been thinking about the Queen, because there's all pictures everywhere and all my food got swapped for party food. So I have been being grumpy about the Queen. Because it seems like it's all of a piece, things that we need being displaced by big stupid party for someone we never get to vote for.

My mum likes it that there is a Queen and is quite shocked that I'm not keen on the idea.

I like the bit where there is someone who has always been paying attention and can talk to the people in charge all that time. Continuity is a pretty good thing. As one element of a balanced system I can get behind that.

Read more... )

So I guess I'm all for someone with a long memory and enough respect to have a proper talking to when necessary. Possibly even someone who can remind people of their promises and how well certain plans didn't work last time they were tried. But I'm not very keen on people thinking they're the boss.

Elected people work for us. They're not the boss. They're supposed to be doing like we told them.

I can see how trying to change big politics is like trying to tinker with an engine that is currently working. No poking it, it could be messy. So, okay, leave well enough alone.

But I'm still not impressed with big parties.
Even if parties is big enough everyone gets a piece of party for their own.
There still seems like more necessary things to be doing.


Apr. 23rd, 2012 12:00 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There was a thing in the news today where the prime minister said there won't be a referendum about a thing because all three main political parties agree on it.
There are more than three political parties.
But given that there's pretty much only three with a hope of getting elected, isn't that a reason to have a referendum? I mean, we couldn't have voted for a different opinion. Not and have the vote count for anything. So we couldn't choose someone to represent our opinion if it happened to not agree with those three.
(Which is my persistent problem with politics now certain parties turn out to be lying liars. Nobody left to choose.)
Also, it seems unlikely that the particular issue was top of anyone's mind when they were voting, so perhaps they chose a representative who agreed with them on everything more important to them, but disagreed about this one question.
Referendums only ask the one question, so you find out what people actually think about that one question.
That seems sensible, when we're talking far reaching reforms with big consequences.

Not that I'd much understand said reforms, but I'd like the chance to be puzzled, if I'm going to have to live with the consequences.

On benefits

Feb. 8th, 2012 09:18 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Being political again:
I been reading debates on who deserves help. Not just disability help, all benefits, child benefits and all sorts.
I'm either puzzled or angry about it. I'll decide later.

The way I thought this thing worked, the idea I had in my head about national insurance and social services and what all else, is that everyone pays in if they've got any, and everyone gets stuff out of it.
NHS is for everyone. Schools are for everyone. All these support structures, the safety net and scaffolding of society, are there for everyone.

And it's not just for everyone in the sense that everyone who falls on it needs it. Everyone else needs it too. All the time, government and council and whatever else provide services that make everyone's lives possible.

Read more... )

I don't think it's just about the care of the most vulnerable. I think it goes really wrong when thought of in that way. It's about society.

We all need stuff, things we couldn't individually arrange or keep working.
Some of that stuff the assorted benefits are there to cover.
It might not be the best way for everyone to get the necessary, I don't know, money confuses me, but the needs are there whether or not people 'deserve' stuff, so needs need to be filled.

And it also goes wrong another way, about the way people think. If only rich people pay in and only certain categories of particularly poor people get money out, and that's the way everyone thinks of it, targeting money from the richest towards the most vulnerable, then the whole system becomes either about what gets taken away from you or what you're taking from someone. That pisses people off. Shouty politics time.
Everyone pay in, everyone get out, people have less shouting. ... never going to stop shouting because still people. But then when someone wonders what does all this money do for them, it's obvious, it does this much, tada, all simples.

Read more... )

I guess if I'm puzzled it's because I can't see how people believe any of this all is not to do with them personally. Complex interlocking system, all the parts do stuff to all the people. I do not see that perception reflected in many arguments. Instead there are suggestions that seem to me very greatly like biting one's own tail. So I'm puzzled. And a bit angry.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I am reading more blogging on the welfare reform bill.
They change too many things at once, so is hard to keep up, and then they use all sorts of twisty rules to make it pass. I no like.
I liked when the Lords gave the bill a kicking though. They said plenty good stuff.

I been reading in comments threads that the Lords are undemocratic. Read more... )

I don't know how the Lords works now. I need to do reading. Read more... )

I kind of wish I had done PPE after all. It takes a lot of figuring out, all these rules and the rulemaking. About all the part I grasp is the bit where they're trying to make there be less disabled people by declaring them not disabled, rather than, say, making them more able. I don't see that working at all. I kind of wish I understood the box that keeps churning this stuff out.

Maybe I can have a go at that after I finish this literature degree.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been reading about the disabled people protesting in London today.
I keep wanting to tell campaigns, not is a very weak word.
If you say Becca is not a cow then what image do you have in mind? Becca and cow, right there together. You have linked the very things you are denying.
This lets you manage some very elegantly polite insults - 'the right honorable opponent is not stupid' is a nice starter.
But if you're doing a campaign? Don't shoot yourself in the foot with it.

So: "We're not scroungers or fakers"
true, but it's letting the Tories and the tabloids steer the discourse.
You have still positioned disability, scrounging, and faking, right there next to each other.

Saying what you're not isn't going to work.
Read more... )

Okay, so I can point out the problem but not really formulate a solution.

There's a bit in Highlander when a teacher says "Choose your ground, choose your weapon, and face what is to come."

The way politics chooses its ground is to choose the terms its using, the discourse it will engage in.
Read more... )

And I have absolutely no idea how to choose solid ground of our own.

We need pretty simple things. Being clean, fed, safe. Getting to places and communicating with people.
Already there were tests and definitions. I can't understand how they can tighten them and then look at the people who won't fit the new boxes and actually believe they'll now magically be able to do all the things.

I do know that the arguments from cost and from fairness are absolutely poisonous.
Need remains.


Jan. 23rd, 2012 12:56 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Have been reading more about the benefits cap.

Apparently the 'large families' that will be affected are those with 3 or more children.
Because that is more than average.

Guardian quoting the impact assessment, released today (because clearly half an hour before the debate is plenty of time)

I think some people do not understand averages.
It's like being average height. I'm average height, so half the women in the country are taller than me.
Average (for certain kinds of average anyways) means half are going to be over and half under.

Half is really quite a lot.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am reading about housing benefit, benefit caps, and families on benefit.
Newspaper comments thread people are appalling.
They're talking about only having kids you can afford. Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
To people in newspaper comments saying that people living somewhere that they can't afford under the reformed housing benefits rules should just move:

Try it. Just try it.

Try an entirely hypothetical search for places to move to that will take you on benefits. Because there are absolutely bugger all of them. I haven't found anywhere to even apply to.

And as for the social housing... I have been on the waiting list since March 2010. Every week I apply, and every week there's at least dozens of people ahead of me. Anywhere between 22 and 186, to be precise, with the average somewhere towards 50. Actually I just shoved them through an averages calculator and it says 107 applications, mean 64, median 56, mode 50. Because I like precision in my ranting. ANYway, I have been applying for nearly two years and mostly dozens of people are ahead of me in line. I applied with letters from the police, my social worker, and my doctor, as well as college. They all said I needed somewhere new to live. But I'm still in the 'Low Need' group, that is people who don't particularly need to move. Because I have a house. So I wait in line. A very, very long line.

The hypothetical family that needs a lot of housing benefit? Currently has a house to pay that benefit to. They will be 'Low Need' too. That means until they've had the money run out and been kicked out, they can't bloody well move. And once they have? They're suddenly Emergency, front of the line for you. And meanwhile all the rest of the line that has been waiting years gets to wait even more. Because there are not enough places. Plus, if you want to move far enough away that you won't have the exact same high rent problem, you have to apply to a different area, and there's RULES about that. Primarily, that they don't want you because they've already got enough of their own thanks very much, back of the line for you.

Any place that does have housing doesn't have jobs. There may be exceptions to that but I've never heard of them. And the family with big housing benefit needs might have people working who just can't afford the rent. So their options are move away from their jobs, or, if the benefit is reformed, lose their house and move away from their jobs. Where this goes on the 'scroungers' rhetoric scale I do not know.

And some families, the ones most likely to hit the benefit caps in fact, are so big they have trouble finding any place to live together in the first place. And wherever they find to live is going to be expensive too.

Plus moving people from a place where they're getting by to somewhere they'd have to start over can cost extra anyway. Has anyone done the maths on that?

So they should 'just' move?
Find them the place to move to, and the job to go with it, and the school place, and the childcare network, and everything else that goes with a particular area,
and I'm sure they'd be happy to.

If the house isn't a falling apart piece of shit, which is getting ever more likely in an ever more squeezed housing sector.

Housing is just not as simple as the commentariat seem to think.
And for that matter not as simple as the government seem to think.

The solution can't involve cutting costs when that'll leave people with no roof over their heads, because that ends up more expensive in temporary accommodation anyway. There has to be serious investment and building a ton more housing, so there'll finally be enough to go around, and costs can get less crazy. Plus, lots of builder jobs while it's getting done. Works much better than trying to squeeze individual families out of the safety net.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am reading in the Guardian another thing about the increase in interns and work experience placements.
If I'm reading it right people on jobseekers can be given a choice between doing a work experience placement or not getting benefit.
Jobseekers allowance is meant to be the very minimum they need to live on. Need.
So they do work or have no money.

Read more... )

Sometimes I don't understand what people think government is for. They work for us. Including the workless of us.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Shenanigans is a funny word. Wonder where it comes from? *looks up* "Origin: 1850–55, Americanism; of obscure origin" Huh, so the dictionary doesn't know either. Cool.

... /tangent

Politics: Twisty.
I've been following with some interest and admittedly limited understanding the bits of government stuff that are likely to make my money go away. Things about ESA and DLA and welfare reform and housing benefits and all that all. Basically the government (and not just this one) seems to think that if they rewrite the definition then disability will magically go away and everyone will be okay or even happy lalalala.
... that or they just want to make the money stop and know where that will leave people.

So there's a Welfare Reform Bill in the Lords and they're having big argues about all the parts and pieces. Read more... )

So it's all a big argue and I don't know the rules but that sure does look like a cheat to me. I mean it's one thing to have another argue properly and try and talk people into amending the amendment, it's another to wait until they've gone to sleep and pretend that represents an opinion.

Is it always like this in politics, or did they save it up special for the disability days?

:-p to the lot of them.

I'm going back to bed.
And hoping that this time nobody decides to deliver parcels, use power tools, clang clang in the underneath garage, or have a shout in the main hall about why there's so much safety glass. I don't know why that needed shouting about but I went to look due to worry about volume and emphatic intonation and the topic was what all was repaired how due to who several years ago. They were just loud about it.
I miss quiet.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

The Spartacus Report is a piece of research, released today, entitled “Responsible Reform”. It looks at responses to a government consultation about replacing Disability Living Allowance.

The Responsible Reform report gives the truth of the responses, having obtained copies of the organisations’ responses via a Freedom of Information request.

It shows that
• 92% of respondents opposed the proposal to change from 3 different levels of the Care component, to 2 levels
• 87% of respondents opposed the stopping of automatic entitlement to DLA
• 98% opposed changing the qualifying period from having the disabling condition for 3 months, to having it for 6 months before claiming
• 90% opposed the introduction of new face to face assessments
• 92% opposed change to the review system
• 88% said that aids that a person uses should not be considered when assessing them
• 88% opposed a new change-of-circumstance system involving sanctions
• 94% oppose the introduction of compulsory advice and support
• 64% said that one-off costs should be funded by DLA – it is not clear what this question actually involves
• 100% opposed the removal of DLA mobility component for residents of care homes, and the government have since rescinded this
• 99% oppose the removal or streamlining of passporting (i.e. using DLA as a gateway benefit to other services)
• 54% support the sharing of information between departments

In section after section, the conclusion is “The Government fails to respond to the concerns and suggestions of disabled people”.

The DLA consultation also breached the government's own code of practice. The consultation was two weeks shorter than usual, and the legislation was presented to parliament two days before the consultation closed – making it impossible to take into account. Most importantly, the government response to the consultation was highly misleading, claiming a support for its personal independence payment proposals that simply wasn't expressed.

As evidence of the need for reform, the government has always claimed that DLA figures have risen by 30% in eight years. However, our analysis shows that this too is misleading – in fact the government has admitted that it gives a "distorted view", yet continues to use the figure when pushing for reform.

I usually link this kind of stuff on [ profile] beccaelizabeth, but it's not like anyone actually reads that. This stuff is important. Important enough I can't always deal, so I've turned the comments off. But, links full of information.
beccaelizabeth: Lady Frankenstein plugs her brain in (net access)
I'm a bit fed up with headlines and government rubbish talking about fraud-and-error, and conflating lower rates of disability benefit with being not disabled, and all that balls. They keep making the numbers look big. Want to know the real percentage of fraud? Read more... )

Could the policies just maybe be made so they make sense for the 99% ?
Or, hey, to be fair, the other 90%, when you include error and change in circumstances.

It all makes me so tired.
beccaelizabeth: Lady Frankenstein plugs her brain in (net access)
I have been reading newspaper comments threads again.
I really wish I could quit that.

There is not enough work to go around.
It's not just that there aren't enough jobs, it's that really, there's nothing much needs doing any more.
Read more... )

my point was, we kind of live in Star Trek now, only everyone's expected to work the replicators and find someone to pay them to do it.

It don't really work.
Read more... )

Of course there are no replicators really, and a lot of the work is being done by very poor people in shit conditions far enough away the ones doing all the buying (and throwing away) don't have to think about it. We are the vampires now. But I don't know how to not suck, in a global capitalism way, so *big shrugs*.

Setting up systems like benefits to make it so everyone has to do work doesn't work. Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
So in class at the moment we're studying the Victorian period, and specifically the shift from colonialism to imperialism, from business going out there to get stuff for Britain to Britain going out there and saying it's all ours. Last lesson was about legitimation and the stories the white guys told themselves that made them think it was the right thing to do. Mostly, they reckoned they were the only civilized and rational beings on the planet, so it was their responsibility to go out and educate the rest of the world. Read more... )

So from the not-the-boss point of view you could just keep doing what you were doing, keep trying to ignore boss culture as worthless, get punished and get held up as an example of why people need to be stomped on for their own good; or you could try and copy and know that the boss people would never, ever, ever admit the mimicry was successful, because then the boss justification goes boom.

From the boss point of view, of course everyone is trying to copy the boss, it's the only worthwhile way. They just need instructing on how they're doing it wrong.

Reading about the Occupy protests lately, I've read a lot of people saying they should get organised, get a message, get a leader. Basically saying they should play the game the way everyone already in charge is playing it. Mimic. Read more... )

I've read a few cultural studies types trying to read Occupy, or just read the Guy Fawkes masks, with insufficient context. It's all ink blots. You learn a lot about the writer, maybe nothing about Occupy or Anonymous. I think there's a problem with a discipline that bangs on about the death of the author and how the reader makes the meaning, that makes it irrelevant what the author was trying to do. Sure, applied to books by dead dudes, you can get at some possible reasons why people are still reading them, what people get out of them. But applied to a bunch of people doing politics? Problem. They're busy trying to write themselves, not be read. Can maybe say something about the media writing about the protesters, but is on much shakier ground talking about what the protesters are communicating, let alone what they mean.

... and now I'm one step away from trying to do cultural studies stuff on the cultural studies dudes, and then we have a tail eating competition...

What I mean is though, I don't know what Occupy is doing, I know only that this is the stuff I thought up having read some newspapers, some critics, some blogs, and some postcolonial theorists in lit lessons on Friday. So I write it down and go play computer games.
beccaelizabeth: Lady Frankenstein plugs her brain in (net access)
They're scary in there.
People that refuse to believe Read more... )

Okay, now I've wandered off into thinking about raising an army and fighting vampires because it's less scary than reality.

Story of my life.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There was an interesting thingy linked to in the Guardian which crashed my browser but had a bunch of numbers about how many jobs were advertised and how many JSA claimants there were in a bunch of different areas.
I copy pasted a few of interest to me.
The formatting goes a bit horribly wrong, I never know how to fix that. Ratio is the interesting number, it's the last one.

Claimants to vacancy ratio - April 2011
Read more... )
... yes, some of those are of interest for the job prospects of imaginary people.

In the bestest place in the country, excluding the ridiculous City of London or tiny Isles of Scilly, there are 2.2 people per job. In Suffolk where most of my relatives are there's 3.5 people per job. Norfolk where I am has 4.8 people chasing each job. Brighton that is probably where my brother I don't talk to is has 5.9 per job. Peterborough where the bus goes to from here has 6.5 people per job. And Great Britain, as a whole, has 5.8 people chasing each job.
And that's ignoring the whole issue of what jobs, and if the jobseekers are remotely qualified for those jobs. Just by raw numbers, they can't all get jobs by trying harder. Yet all the punitive measures of JSA seem predicated on the idea that people without jobs are just lazy or actively trying it on.
People on ESA are not included in this ratio. But then there'd be even more of us chasing the same stupid jobs.

Dear Government: Basic maths says you cannot make us all get jobs by shouting at us louder. Please to stop blaming the jobless.

Dear everyone else: If you cannot get a job and are tempted to start asking self what is wrong with self, try rolling a d6, and only getting a job if you roll a 6. All else being equal that's what's happening.
Unless you're in one of the ten worst areas. Then you're on a d20. If you're lucky.
beccaelizabeth: Knight with sword out, defiant; word balloon says NO. (No)
I must not read newspaper comments threads. I know this. But I just encountered a new piece of logic in one of those threads I must not read:

When it was pointed out that the fraud rate is 0.5% (zero point five, half a percent, a tiny tiny fractional amount) according to DWP figures

They replied that's only the ones we catch.

You see, things like evidence can now be completely ignored. Little things like multiple years of studies getting the same numbers are now irrelevant. Because, of course, that's only the ones we catch.

All those invisible fraudsters are the ones we must hunt now!

Ideology is winning.

I don't understand how liars making things up and repeating them loudly beats out science looking at things with care and repeatability. I purely don't. It must hook in to the monkey brain somehow, because the logic brain, you'd think it could see through it.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I only remembered because the bus goes past the polling station but I did voting.

I also participated in lessons, including work-in-groups. I didn't understand the article to summarise it, but I had a go at bits of it. Then I thought of a whole sentence to say about the text we're analysing. Big success!
... is a big class full of many voices, I often don't do speakings.

Successful day.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The BBC has another government manufactured headline about benefits today: Sickness benefit applicants - '75% fit to work'
Department for Work and Pensions figures showed 887,300 of 1,175,700 employment and support allowance (ESA) applicants over a 22-month period failed to qualify for assistance.

Of those 39% were judged fit to work, while 36% abandoned their claim.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the welfare system needed changing.

He said the figures underlined the need to reassess people still on the old incapacity benefit - a process which the government began rolling out last month.

How is this rubbish? Let me count the ways:

One, the headline does not match the first paragraph. 39% were fit to work, Read more... )

Two, they leave out important information - appeals success rate and the many very qualified people who reckon ATOS assessment is not fit for purpose. Read more... )

Three, it is not 'sickness benefit'. It is employment support allowance, which replaces incapacity benefit. Sickness benefit doesn't exist, the closest in name is statutory sick pay. And yes, this matters, because each benefit is for a distinct set of reasons with their own pass/fail qualifications. It is entirely possible to qualify for some disability related benefits but not others. Not jumping the hoops to get ESA does not mean you aren't ill, it means they moved the bloody hoops.

Four, and this is huge and obvious and why are they getting away with it, what the HELL does success rate of initial applications have to do with how many of those who do qualify for the benefit would still qualify if retested? Read more... )

So then you have a box full of people who qualify for a specific benefit.

What is retesting them supposed to do?

100% of that box is people receiving benefit. 100% of that box is people who qualified to receive benefit. That's so obvious it shouldn't need pointing out, so how is this other figure being hooked up to them?

Read more... )

What is the actual error rate for people on incapacity benefit?
Around 3.4 per cent, or £220m, of Incapacity Benefit expenditure is estimated to have been overpaid.

Read more... )

So why people not getting benefits when they're reassessed? Simples, the government moved the goalposts, they redefined what 'ill' is. Or, actually, what capacity for work is. Read more... )

I would look you up the figures for how many are reassessed and fail. But it is 'a process which the government began rolling out last month.' Hardly anyone has the letters yet, let alone has gone through all the stages and appeals and that. Those numbers can't exist yet.

Which is why they are using numbers that have nothing at all to do with it.

[ETA: By five in the morning the BBC had changed the headline. It then read: Benefit applicants - '75% fit to work or drop claims'. This is more accurate, but the changing it without leaving a record happens a lot and messes up people trying to respond to it. /ETA]
beccaelizabeth: Knight with sword out, defiant; word balloon says NO. (No)
BBC headline is "Thousands claim incapacity benefit for addictions" and the first sentences is "More than 80,000 people are claiming incapacity benefits because they are addicted to alcohol and drugs or are obese, according to government figures."

Which of these things is not like the others?!

Obesity is not an addiction. Obesity is not necessarily a cause of ill health. Obesity can in fact be what you're stuck with after you get mobility problems and can no longer move around enough to lose weight. It is possible to have such restricted activity that a diet can't have enough healthy necessary stuff and let you lose weight. Not to mention the biochemical stuff that can go wonky and whoosh your weight up no matter how careful you eat. But does that ever get mentioned? Does it buggery. Obesity is demonised as a health wrecking personal choice, and there's so many axes of wrong going on there.

"As of last August, there were 42,360 claimants with alcohol addiction, 37,480 with drug dependency and 1,800 battling obesity, officials said."
"The DWP figures indicate that 12,800 alcoholics and 9,200 drug addicts have been claiming the benefit for more than a decade, as well as about 600 people considered obese."

So, in the first sentence the three get equal weighting, in the actual details we're talking less than 2/80. For goodness sake, on numbers alone it don't belong on any big panic list.

And then there's a quote from Employment minister Chris Grayling: "Far from being the safety net it should be, the benefits system has trapped thousands of people in a cycle of addiction and welfare dependency with no prospect of getting back to work."

This, right here, is why they release these numbers: so they can put addiction-and-welfare-dependency in the same sentence, get them linked in people's minds, as if there's an equivalence between chemical addiction and welfare. As if claiming benefits is an unhealthy personal choice.

There's also a level of singling out the kinds of ill that are most likely to be seen as a choice and least likely to get any sympathy. Then the government can talk about withdrawing their benefits and get readers to file them all in the skivers and scroungers folder. Never mind that there's a fairly obvious correlation between alcoholism, and inability to do a job, unless you think drunk and good work are mixy. ... I have difficulty being polite about alcoholism because of history. Lots of people have similar bad associations about drunk people. But you know what? Even drunk people need to eat. To do that they need income; they either need a job or, if they can't work, need benefits. No amount of government finger pointing is going to change that basic need. So what is the government solution?

"We have already started reassessing everyone on incapacity benefit and will support people with addictions to help them back to work."

... you notice the ongoing lack of the bit of the sentence that says "make them well"? That bit isn't anywhere in the government version. So they won't make them well, they'll just help them get work. With those magic jobs that you can do whilst stoned. Like writing government press releases.

... bitter and snarky isn't helping. okays, breathe, let it go...

I'm all for initiatives that help people get well. All these things that put people on incapacity benefit, is good to make them well and help them. May all beings be well.

Telling them to get to work does not in fact make them well.

There's a bit in the article where someone from an alcoholism charity expresses roughly that only less snarky and more formal type words. Also pointing out that taking the safety net away does not in fact stop people from falling.

The last word from the shadow work and pensions secretary sounds like sense. "With five people now chasing every job, what we need to get people off benefits and paying tax is more jobs." But if it's a response to this bit about incapacity benefit it is in fact more non sense, because the thing with benefits for people that cannot do work is even if there's a whole heap of jobs they still can't do them.

Why is it that doesn't seem to compute for some people?

*sends well at all living beings*

ETA: google news also found basically the same story from the end of March. About three weeks to be a new headline? But last time it was a different benefit, disability instead of incapacity.

google news also reminded me of a last year proposed policy about compulsory treatment that was declared unworkable because there aren't enough treatment places to go around.

Same problem, different day. Extra dollop of blame.

ETA2 1730: I had a snooze and the BBC rewrote the whole article, with video and a bar chart and an extra quote from the Prime Minister.
"We are finding a large number of people who are on incapacity benefit because of drink problems, alcohol problems or problems with weight and diet.

"And I think a lot of people who pay their taxes and work hard will think: 'That's not what I pay my taxes for. I pay my taxes for people who are incapacitated through no fault of their own.'"

*steam ears*

The Prime Minister is proposing that benefits are for people who are incapacitated through no fault of their own.

That's the subtext in listing addiction, alcoholism, and the stupid stereotypes of obesity, but having it said plain is chilling.

Because that graphic on the BBC now lists everything from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, back pain... seriously, look at that graphic and wonder why they're all there. Right next to rhetoric that introduces the concept of 'fault' into disability benefits.

*swears a lot*

Fault is a very, very dangerous idea in disability benefits. Will they blame someone for life for one moment of inattention? Will they stop paying benefits to people injured in extreme sports? Where is the line?

I personally hate alcoholism, but alcohol is legal, drinking it is legal, and finding you are ill with it doesn't stop you needing basic necessities. So if he's saying 'fault' about that incapacity, where does it end?

As for putting obesity on the list, I think I covered that earlier, but FFS I wish they'd learn something about the medicine before they stomp on ill people.

and I added this earlier in a DW comment:

has a more detailed article I'll need to read at more length, but it turns out they're doing payment by results for treating addicts, with the evidence being that they get the addict a job.

bloke has been doing radio interviews, a bunch of seperate ones. I missed all them. says the payment-by-results for treatment is about finding out which treatments work. I thought the way we found out what treatments work is double blind scientific studies, but what do I know? Apparently evidence is as nothing compared to economics.

Honestly, it's scary sometimes being able to see this coming, reading the first less detailed article and seeing the rhetoric they're going to push.

I am emphatically for getting ill people to be well again, addicts and alcoholics very much on the list. They need treatment. They need help.

Calling it their own fault and telling them to get back to work they're incapable of doing is entirely different. And both useless and an erosion of the better qualities of living beings. Try some kindness.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Recently, a number of ministers, including the welfare minister Lord Freud and chancellor George Osborne, have been caught out after claiming that £5.2bn is lost each year in benefit fraud. In fact, this is the figure for total benefit overpayments, more than 70% of which is down to mistakes and under a third to fraud. This means that around £3.8bn was lost in 2009-10 through errors, compared with roughly £1.5bn through fraud. And while both these figures may sound large, total overpayments account for less than 3% of benefit expenditure, and losses through fraud alone make up less than 1% of the benefits bill.

[It goes into more detail. The amount lost keeps getting smaller as the details are added.]
beccaelizabeth: lion Prince John sucks his thumb as his crown falls down (thumb)
I keep reading about benefit reforms
and I keep reading the same lies about scroungers and benefit fraud Read more... )

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beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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