Mo Stewart

________________________________________________________________________________ Phone: Email: 30th July 2012 Website:

The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP Minister for Employment Department for Work & Pensions Caxton House Tothill Street London SW1H 9DA Dear Minister Re: Work Capability Assessments can't work ...

Private & Confidential

I was interested to learn about your recently expressed concern to make sure that the Work Capability Assessments(WCA), as conducted by the private contractor Atos Healthcare(AH), do actually work. Indeed, the recent invitation by your Department, inviting evidence from the Appeal Tribunals as to why so many WCAs are overturned at appeal, was unexpected as the Department for Work and Pensions(DWP) has already been offered significant evidence over several years. However, if the DWP continues to totally resist all evidence offered, with the exception of that of Professor Harrington, you surely cannot now claim not to know why there are so many appeal successes. This is an interesting development, not least because the President of the Appeal Tribunals provided an annual report until 2008, when the appeals system was changed, and consecutive governments continued to totally disregard the evidence as offered by the President of the Appeal Tribunals that, every year, insisted that the WCA, as provided by AH, were "...totally unrelated to reality": (1) "The test of successful feedback in this context is the extent to which it enables improvements in administrative decision-making to be formulated and implemented. That requires the information relayed to the Secretary of State by way of feedback to be focussed, practical and instrumental. It also requires, if the expense of diverting judicial resources to generating the data used in feedback is to be justified, a readiness on the part of the Secretary of State to respond positively. As will be seen in this Report, there is little evidence of significant change over time in standards of administrative decision-making, as gauged by the cases coming before tribunals." HH Judge Robert Martin
President’s Report - Report by the President of Appeal Tribunals on the standards of decision-making by the Secretary of State 2007–2008 (1)

I respectfully suggest that nothing has changed Minister, and this is why there are a growing number of successful appeals as vulnerable British people STILL live in fear.
(1) HH Judge Robert Martin: President of Appeal Tribunals, Report 2007-08


As a further demonstration of the DWP's total incompetence, please see the enclosed letters, written to the DWP now dealing with my personal case.(2),(3). However, I would stress that this information is offered as a form of evidence only, and I do not invite you to become personally involved in my case under any circumstances. First of all I received six pages of text, inviting me to make myself available for a WCA and claiming that I was in receipt of a possible variety of DWP benefits that I do not receive. Then I received a telecom, on Friday, as a courtesy to advise that the DWP office from where I had been contacted, in July, had actually closed in April(!!) and that I was now required to contact a DWP office in Glasgow. When I invited the caller to explain how I could receive letters in July, from staff in an office that closed in April, there was no reply. If this government genuinely wishes to save taxpayers' money, and dramatically decrease the welfare costs, then I suggest the way to do it is not to terrify every sick and disabled person in the UK when using a 'medical assessment' system that has been identified as being totally bogus and copied from a corrupt corporate US insurance giant.(4) Furthermore, given the numbers of detailed and damning published official reports by the President of the Appeal Tribunals, Macmillan Cancer Care, Citizens Advice Bureau(5), The Spartacus Report plus many, many others, that all identify the gross failings of the WCA as conducted by AH, then perhaps the DWP Ministers should start getting much better informed instead of making spurious attacks against the most vulnerable people in society. Certainly, this government has nothing to be proud about when it comes to welfare reform, and even stooped so low as to dismiss all recommendations to the Welfare Reform Bill as advised by the House of Lords, using an ancient authority. Given that the Minister for Welfare Reform is unelected and has never served a constituency, is making decisions about an area in which he has, by his own admission, no experience whatsoever, and a variety of DWP Ministers continue to contradict each other in the national press, it is surely past time when the DWP changed the script. Minister, please be advised that this medical tyranny against those least able to protest is fooling no-one apart from the able bodied British public. They are prevented from knowing the truth by the national press, who limit all horror stories to blogs instead of the front pages of the press.(6) Sonia Poulton describes the problem admirably, but her comments were not permitted on the pages of the Daily Mail and so are limited to her blog, that will usually only be accessed by disabled people and their carers.(7) The only achievement of these welfare reforms is that the numbers of food banks are increasing dramatically and is surely nothing for this government to be proud about.(8)(9) Indeed, new food banks are opening at a rate of two per week, in 21st Century UK, with a Tory led government. You should hang your head in shame as the UK transforms into another US state with the former Chief Medical Officer, who was known to Unum Insurance since 1994, and became the first Director of the Unum Centre, in Cardiff, initially funded by the most discredited corporate insurance giant in the world.(4)
(2) The Manager, Mansfield Benefit Centre, Nottingham - 20th July 2012 - letter (3) David Reid Jobcentre Plus Glasgow - 26th July 2012 - letter (4) Welfare Reform - Redress for the Disabled: (5) NOT WORKING: CAB evidence on the ESA work capability assessment (6) How the press are reporting disability: (7) British people are choosing suicide to escape poverty. Is this the states final solution? (8) Foodbanks prove that the welfare state is failing: (9) BREADLINE BRITAIN: Food banks: a life on handouts:


The Prime Minister(PM) certainly took his time to make a pivotal speech regarding welfare, and his speech last month at Bluewater, in Kent, certainly was well reported but, as always, was very selective with content as the PM continues to mislead the British people.(10) There is no evidence of mass fraud by the nation's sick and disabled people, nor has there ever been any evidence of the 'scroungers' and 'cheats' on mass, as suggested endlessly by this coalition government. There is a greater level of DWP admin errors than any evidence of fraud, but that isn't a statistic promoted by the DWP.(11) Sadly, the overwhelming evidence is that the totally bogus 'medical assessments' as conducted by AH are failing those in most desperate need, with terminally ill people forced to look for work at the end of their life and profoundly disabled people, often living in constant pain, living under the permanent DWP threat of losing the very funding that permits them to survive.(12)(13) " Citizens Advice Scotland(CAS) is extremely concerned that many clients are being found fit for work in their assessment for ESA despite often having severe illnesses and/or disabilities. This report highlights the cases of many clients with serious health conditions who have been found fit for work, including Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, terminal cancer, Bi-polar disorder, heart failure, strokes, severe depression, and agoraphobia." (13) UNFIT FOR PURPOSE, Citizens Advice Scotland It would have been far better, and much more honourable, to tell the British people the truth, that we are surviving decades longer than when the welfare state was first created, and that there would need to be changes, WITHOUT the need to suggest that anyone whose claiming DWP disability benefits are 'cheats' living well from the State.(14) Yours, most sincerely

Disabled veteran (WRAF) Retired healthcare professional Copied to: The Prime Minister, Bns Jane Campbell, Bns Tanni Grey-Thompson, Lord Low of Dalston - President, Disability Alliance, John Pring - Disability News Service, Mike Hobday - Macmillan Cancer Support, Sue Royston - Citizens Advice, Keith Dryburgh - Citizens Advice Scotland, Henry Rowlands - Royal British Legion, Chris Francis - RAFA, Dr Stephen Hall PhD, Prof Peter Beresford, Prof Paul Gregg, Prof Malcolm Harrington, General Lord Dannatt, Tom Newton Dunn, Sonia Poulton, George Potter - President, Young Liberal Democrats, Dai Harvard MP, Ravi Low-Beer, Solicitor (PLP), Simon Gillespie - MS Society, Bernadette Meaden
(10) Speech by PM David Cameron on welfare reform, at Bluewater, Kent on Monday 25th June, 2012 (11) IT systems contribute to DWP benefit payment errors (12) Welfare Reform - Redress for the Disabled (13) UNFIT FOR PURPOSE: A report on how problems with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are affecting CAB clients. Many people with serious health problems are being found fit for work. (14) CUTS TO DISABILITY BENEFITS WILL COST MORE THAN THEY SAVE

"Never underestimate the power of persistence." Nelson Mandela "Never believe anything until it's officially denied." John Pilger "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke




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