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  #46  
Old 29th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
I agree that that is a disgrace and unforgivable, and of course the buck, quite rightly, stops with the politicians.

But how many of these life-affecting decisions are taken by box ticking jobsworths with a who spend a lifetime filling in forms without even seeing the real person behind the NI number? Is it really government policy to treat people in this way,.......
I have studiously kept out of this debate so far but am moved to echo John's experience, being also in the unfortunate position of having to literally "do battle" with the DWP in respect of dissability benefits. I also have the dubious additional honour of having previously been employed by the same company( and at the same time) as IDS in a related post.

My wife and I have a 35 year old daughter for whom we care full time who has learning dissabilities. My wife worked at least part time up to the time last year when the progressive medical condition she has reached the stage where she could no longer physically get into work or sit without pain for any length of time and she needed to claim for Personal Independance Payment to help with the increased costs associated with care and the loss of mobility. I now am in the position, approaching seventy of being the sole carer for both of them and having worked and paid taxes and NI up to the age of sixty five.

In my recent experience the decisions taken regarding life-affecting decisions are now primarily taken by companies like ATOS who are paid by DWP to "do the dirty work" in limiting the number of successful claims for which they are paid, and therefore make a profit and ,like John I suspect they get a bonus based on their success in this. In my wife's case in order to secure the enhanced rate mobility component she had to show that she could only "stand and walk aided or unaided more than one metre but less than twenty metres (without pain, breathlessness etc. etc.)" At her asessment she parked her mobility scooter just inside the entrance door of the waiting room/reception area.A nurse appeared and asked her to walk "a short way down the corridor" to a consultation room. With the aid of a walking stick and support from me she just made it albeit, as always slowly and painfully. The only question she was asked about her ability to walk was "was the distance you just walked about the limit of what you can manage". The answer of course was "yes". The award when it came was for the lower rate and stated that she could "stand and walk more than twenty metres but less than fifty.
I went back to the assessment centre and measured the distance she had walked which turned out to be only ten metres. When we challenged this by phone DWP first claimed that "the distance from "reception" to the consultation room is twenty five metres". When we pointed out that she didn't walk from the reception desk which is several metres further into the waiting room they tried to fob us off with "oh well we have to take all sorts of things into consideration". We then made a formal written request for a review (called a Mandatory Reconsideration) supported by a letter from her GP and they grudgingly accepted her claim. Not a pleasant experience and only one of several we have been through.



As for IDS, the so called Secretary of State for Work and Pensions of the unholy trinity. The man wouldn't know what work is if it hit him in the face. When we both were employed by GEC-Marconi I was once waiting in reception at the group HQ for a meeting when at around 11.30 he came bounding through with a bunch of his "chums", gave a cheery wave to the receptionist and said loudly for the benefit of the plebs like me " Off to lunch now Flossy, don't expect to finish much before four so we won't bother coming back.Anyone wants me tell them I'm in conference". He was universally regarded as a sick joke by the rest of us in sales and marketing posts.


His CV however seems impressive but see this.

" His claim that he studied at the University of Perugia was later found to be false after an investigation by the BBC.[7] His office subsequently admitted that he attended the Italian Università per Stranieri (founded 1921) in Perugia for a year but he did not obtain any qualifications or finish his exams.[7] In 1975 he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was subsequently commissioned into the Scots Guards.[8] Duncan Smith's biography, on the Conservative Party website, claimed he was "educated at Dunchurch College of Management" but following questioning by the BBC his office confirmed that he did not get any qualifications there either, stating that he completed six separate courses lasting a few days each, adding up to about a month in total.[7] Dunchurch was the former staff college for GEC Marconi, for whom Duncan Smith worked in the 1980s.[7](from Wikipedia for convenience). "

I did the same courses at the Marconi College in Chelmsford, everyone in marketing did.

And this for his views on the disabled.

"Disability benefit reform

In September 2013 leaked documents showed that Duncan Smith was looking at "how to make it harder for sick and disabled people to claim benefits". Duncan Smith was advised that it would be illegal to introduce secondary legislation, which doesn't require parliament's approval, in order to give job centre staff more powers to make those who were sick and claiming Employment and Support Allowance undertake more tests to prove that they were making a serious effort to come off benefits and find a job. The powers being discussed also included "forcing sick and disabled people to take up offers of work." DWP staff would also have the power to strip claimants with serious, but time-limited health conditions, of benefits if they refuse the offer of work.[36]

Duncan Smith's department had previously announced on the 2012 United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities forced work for disabled people who received welfare benefits in order to "Improve disabled peoples chances of getting work by mandatory employment". The founder of the Susan Archibald Centre stated that the mandatory employment of people with disabilities is a breach of article 27/2 of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[52] The Guardian noted that from this United Nations appointed day onwards people with disabilities and illnesses ranging from cancer to paralysis to mental health may be forced by the U.K government to work for free or else they can risk being stripped of up to 70% of their welfare benefits.[53] His department had previously been subject to criticism for trying to force one of the world’s longest surviving kidney dialysis patients with 33 years of renal treatment, four failed transplants and 14 heart attacks back to work.[54] "

These are the sort of people who expect us to vote them into power?

Disgusting.

Sorry for the rant just my experience of a broken system.
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  #47  
Old 29th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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Who knows. I would imagine the criteria used in some of the selection processes for government agencies are stranger than fiction.

I once applied for a job with a government department, and whilst they said I was ideally qualified I was turned down owing to my appalling (yes I admit it) handwriting!

I can type at 60+ WPM, but even in this computerised age they insisted that I apply in handwriting. Presumably they thought I couldn't fill in their forms and tick boxes quickly enough.
Handwriting is a particular issue for me. It was once quite good but has deteriorated significantly since my illness and some days my hand freezes, preventing me from writing at all!
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  #48  
Old 29th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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Handwriting is a particular issue for me. It was once quite good but has deteriorated significantly since my illness and some days my hand freezes, preventing me from writing at all!
I have never had good handwriting - something I inherited from my father!

Oddly enough, I seem to have the 'freezing' problem too, but I blame it on doing everything by computer. I struggle to write a cheque these days - and how often do we need to do that?
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  #49  
Old 29th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

These clever people are going to stop contribution based JSA & ESA but retain means tested benefits this will mean those who worked and paid into the system which supports those on means benefit will not be entitled to benefit after paying into the system and have lost their job or have illness cannot claim ?
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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These clever people are going to stop contribution based JSA & ESA but retain means tested benefits this will mean those who worked and paid into the system which supports those on means benefit will not be entitled to benefit after paying into the system and have lost their job or have illness cannot claim ?
Well, they've got to save another £12 billion from somewhere.

Trouble is, that's £12 billion taken out of the economy, too, making growth more difficult and a return to recession more likely. But then, George never did understand economics. He's like the well-meaning bloke who tried to rescue someone from drowning in a lake. He dragged the unconscious man to the edge and started pumping his chest, causing water to spurt out of his mouth. By then a crowd had gathered and the would-be rescuer shouted "Does anyone know first aid?"

"No," came a voice at the back, "but I know about hydraulics."

The good Samaritan ignored this and continued pumping water out of the victim. As the crowd grew larger he asked again, "Does anyone know first aid?"

"No," came the same voice, "but I know about hydraulics."

Once again the hero ignored him and continued pumping frantically. This scenario was repeated several more times until the exhausted rescuer snapped, "What exactly do you know about hydraulics that could possibly help me right now?"

"I know that if you don't get his bum out of the water you'll pump the lake dry," came the reply.

Osborne thinks he is rescuing the economy but in truth he's using the wrong remedies and its bum is still firmly in the water.
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Last edited by Zuiko; 30th April 2015 at 01:29 AM.
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  #51  
Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

Given some of the problems stated by some posters on disability issues and having been there in a previous life, there was a decision made some years ago that I have never really understood, even to this day. REMPLOY was shut down... WHY? It provided working opportunities to those who had physical disability or blindness issues.

Given some of the above statements I find it surprising and am dismayed that something along simiar lines has not been entertained by this government, especially in light of their plans to get 'people' back into work? To my way of thinking such an omission borders on double standards or, more seriously, discrimination.
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

Remploy still exists but in a wider form.
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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Originally Posted by Wally View Post
Given some of the problems stated by some posters on disability issues and having been there in a previous life, there was a decision made some years ago that I have never really understood, even to this day. REMPLOY was shut down... WHY? It provided working opportunities to those who had physical disability or blindness issues.

Given some of the above statements I find it surprising and am dismayed that something along simiar lines has not been entertained by this government, especially in light of their plans to get 'people' back into work? To my way of thinking such an omission borders on double standards or, more seriously, discrimination.
I quite agree. I believe Remploy was set up by the government to provide work for disabled ex-service personnel after WWII. Then, around ten years ago a committee somewhere decided that it had served its purpose, and that it was better for disabled people to be absorbed into regular workplaces alongside able bodied colleagues. From the comments on this thread it would seem that is not working.

In the light of current disability discrimination legislation I also wonder whether HMG were worried that the very existence of an organisation like Remploy could itself be seen as discriminatory?

However, as I said last night, I believe much of the problem is that we are simply not used to working alongside significant numbers of people with physical disabilities now that diseases such as Polio have been eradicated.
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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Remploy still exists but in a wider form.
You are correct and I stand corrected.

My statement was made when I was incapacitated and the local Remploy was shut down along with many other Remply locations amid a substantial outcry. Two years, 24/7 intensive living in physio was followed by 18 months studying in a Disability Training College. I was one of the lucky ones, in that I was fortunate to gain temporary employment in a Job Centre from where I found 'real work' with a local construction firm in a technical adviser capacity.

It does beg the question as to why many of those being rejected - such as Zuiko - are apparently not receiving guidance that such a route into employment exists?
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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You are correct and I stand corrected.

My statement was made when I was incapacitated and the local Remploy was shut down along with many other Remply locations amid a substantial outcry. Two years, 24/7 intensive living in physio was followed by 18 months studying in a Disability Training College. I was one of the lucky ones, in that I was fortunate to gain temporary employment in a Job Centre from where I found 'real work' with a local construction firm in a technical adviser capacity.

It does beg the question as to why many of those being rejected - such as Zuiko - are apparently not receiving guidance that such a route into employment exists?
Well, I won't receive any guidance now because I am no longer in the system as I haven't received ESA for some time. They lose interest in you very quickly once they stop paying you money! But even when I was in the system and despite me asking I was never told there was any alternative to the Work Program, which was fine but it was firmly focussed on able-bodied jobseekers with no provision of extra support for disabilities.

The provider of the Work Program in my area was Ingeus, a private company for whom I have nothing but praise, unlike ATOS who (mis)handled the "capability assessments." Most of the people on the program seemed to be resentful youths with a certain amount of attitude, but I firmly embraced all that was on offer - vacancy leads, CV and letter writing advice, interview technique workshops, mock interview role play, coaching and assessments, real interview debriefs. I actually enjoyed it and found it very useful, in fact I think I was one of their star pupils. But still no job.

When the DWP stopped my ESA (that's another story) it technically meant the end of the Work Program for me as Ingeus were no longer being paid, but to their credit they did not abandon me and let me continue until the program was completed, at which point the level of support was due to change significantly anyway.

As I say, Ingeus were excellent at what they did, they just had no specific procedures or training for the additional needs of disabled people.
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Old 30th April 2015
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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I live in the north myself, thank you!
Reminds me of a comedy sketch, where a female announcer with a 'cut-glass' accent said:

"We'd like to apologise to our viewers in the North. It must be dreadful for you!"

JIm
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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Reminds me of a comedy sketch, where a female announcer with a 'cut-glass' accent said:

"We'd like to apologise to our viewers in the North. It must be dreadful for you!"

JIm
Wasn't that 'Not the Nine O'clock News'?

I loved the sketch where a senior Army Officer received a telephone call on the front line, and was clearly furious about it. When asked by a Junior Officer what was wrong he replied "damn, damn, damn, damn, damn; the bloody war's over!" Which I think sums it up rather well.
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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It must be dreadful for you!"

JIm

In truth, it is dreadfully confusing up North.

Prior to the 2014 Independence Referendum, Scotland was widely regarded as being something of a financial inconvenience on the coffers of the UK government ... indeed, the popular press and many an MP were keen to see Hadrian's Wall reinstated, Scotland cast out of the UK and the endless flow of money northwards cease.

Then in 2014 Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats were given the opportunity to Annex Scotland. Instead they urged the Scottish electorate that we were all better together and predicted serious doom and gloom should the Scots vote for anything else.

Prior to the Referendum, the Scots were promised "jam tomorrow" if they voted No. The promise being made a by a united coalition of Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats and the jam taking the form of devolved powers and policy changes of a Scottish Parliaments own choosing.

With the promise of jam in mind many did vote No. Firmly believing that such an unprecedented coalition was wonderful and the promise ... was a promise which would be kept.

When the day of the Independence Referendum arrived almost 85% of Scots turned out to vote. The final result being 55% for No and 45% for Yes.

Shortly after the Independence Referendum was settled Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats decided that there would be no jam for Scotland.

Making a promise which some would suggest won 55% of the Referendum vote, and then reneging on that promise, disillusioned quite of few voters. Much Labour support has been lost and some polls would seem to suggest that there will be a landslide win for the SNP.

Putting the current balance of power in the Scottish Parliament into perspective, after the votes were counted in 2011 Scottish Parliamentary Election the seats won were as follows:
SNP - 69 seats (was 47 seats after the previous election)
Labour - 37 seats (was 44 seats after the previous election)
Conservative - 15 seats (was 20 seats after the previous election)
Liberal Democrats - 5 seats (was 17 seats after the previous election)
For a party to have a majority in the Scottish Parliament they are required to have 65 seats. The SNP already have a majority, a majority which is very likely to become much larger.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottis...election,_2011

In summary, you did not want us , then you wanted us , then you denied us jam , and now you want us, but only if we vote for either Labour, the Conservatives, or the Liberal Democrats ... voting for any other party is a waste of a vote


As to the validity of Scottish MP's voting in the UK parliament, sometimes referred to as "the West Lothian question" and unanswered by successive Westminster governments since first asked by Scottish MP Tam Dalyell in 1977 ... some have suggested that there are major political advantages to be gained from Scottish MP's being able to vote in Westminster.


"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but only a fool would deny them the promised jam"
ChrisW, partial Plagiariser and Political Commentator
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  #59  
Old 30th April 2015
Ricoh Ricoh is offline
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

Well, if Sturgeon and Salmond (two savoury bed fellows, I might say) end up running the country with Milliband as a hand puppet, I don't think many will be willing Scotland to stay together at the next referendum.
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Old 30th April 2015
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Re: Question about Question Time (Political)

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two savoury bed fellows
Well that sounds awful
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