Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left

The most prominent politician to oppose the government welfare reform is - amazingly - Boris Johnson, taking on benefit scrounger myths and arguing against over-testing

Boris - Left Finger Forward

 

On Monday, Responsible Reform will be published, an analysis of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms largely drawn from responses to the Government consulation on the policy, that the Coalition held back from the public gaze until disabled campaigners made Freedom of Information requests.

Most suprisingly, it includes the submission by London Mayor Boris Johnson (pdf), who seems to have put serious clear red water between himself and the Labour leadership – never mind the Coalition – on the issue.

He, for example, directly takes on the ‘benefit scrounger myth’ arguing that ministers should not impose penalties on those who have claimed incorrectly:

“The government proposes imposing penalties if disabled people do not inform the government in changes in their circumstances. However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5.

“For those with fluctuating conditions asking them to report every change to their condition would prove very stressful. Rather than penalties the government should issue very clear guidance about what constitutes change and in relation to which conditions.”

The mayor also worries that moving children from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independent Payment:

Could potentially condemn the parents of disabled children and young people, and the children themselves to a life of financial hardship rather than financial assistance.”

Johnson also argues that:

“The three-month benefit qualification period [for Disability Living Allowance] should be retained, rather than extending this to six months as proposed”

and is:

“concerned about the government suggestion to remove automatic entitlement [to Disability Living Allowance] for certain groups. Claims should be based on the needs and circumstances of the individual applying.”

The mayor refuses to support changing from a three-tier system of benefits to two, saying:

“as those on the lower rate care component may have  additional costs as a result of their impairment but may lose their access to this benefit as part of the proposed removal under the reforms.”

Johnson also objects to the new system of face-to-face assessments with healthcare proffessionals previously unknown to the claimant, writing:

“Face-to-face meetings with a healthcare professional could prove difficult and inappropriate for an individual who may have difficulty with social contacts such as those with autism, or for those with an intellectual or mental health disability.

“Other circumstances where difficulties may arise is if an efficient interpretation service is unavailable for deaf people.”

He even questions the motivation behind the reforms:

“While some reform may be necessary and some proposals are positive in terms of simplifying the benefit and reducing bureaucracy, the Mayor is concerned that if the focus of this reform is solely efficiency driven government, may fail to ensure that the needs of disabled people are adequately met and many will suffer additional hardship and isolation.”

We live in a world where a Labour leader, supposedly from the soft left, seems to think that beating up on benefits claimants offers the road to victory, and a Conservative mayor of London  is the biggest elected defender of the disabled. Strange times indeed.

Find the full submission below:

Mayoral Submission

See also:

• Labour’s untenable position on social security and disability – Declan Gaffney, January 3rd 2012

• Miliband quizzed on disability reforms, apologises for omission from speech – Shamik Das, September 30th 2011

• Miliband must stop spreading myths about benefit claimants – Tim Nichols, September 28th 2011

• How disability reforms were whitewashed from Labour’s conference – Daniel Elton, September 27th 2011

• Shameful incapacity benefit consensus between main parties must stop – Steve Griffiths, January 5th 2011

72 Responses to “Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left”

  1. George Gregg

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/iV52AMYF

  2. Time to step forward on the Spartacus report | Left Foot Forward

    […] we reported on Friday, the Mayor of London’s submission to the consultation agreed with the vast majority of […]

  3. Disability Alliance

    Boris has slams Coalition welfare reforms http://t.co/bF7rhp89

  4. Welfare Advocate

    Boris has slams Coalition welfare reforms http://t.co/bF7rhp89

  5. Mistynow

    Boris has slams Coalition welfare reforms http://t.co/bF7rhp89

  6. Atos Stories

    Boris has slams Coalition welfare reforms http://t.co/bF7rhp89

  7. liane gomersall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/8cX1636U #spartacusreport

  8. pat

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/0dBq4qXD #spartacusreport

  9. Anonymous

    I’d like to point you that in your first quoted paragraph “However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5.”

    There should be a percentage sign on the end there ( even though there’s one in the actual report), otherwise 50% kinda is something to be complaining about 😛

  10. Anonymous

    I’d like to point you that in your first quoted paragraph “However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5.”

    There should be a percentage sign on the end there ( even though there’s one in the actual report), otherwise 50% kinda is something to be complaining about 😛

  11. Cat

    Boris has slams Coalition welfare reforms http://t.co/bF7rhp89

  12. Why Boris is right about this | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] January 10, 2012 at 11:10 am There, I bet you didn’t expect to read that headline! But the revelation that London Mayor Boris Johnson submitted comments to the consultation on Disability Living […]

  13. Children's commissioner slams welfare bill | Left Foot Forward

    […] • Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left – Daniel Elton, January 6th 2012 […]

  14. Ferg Slade

    #HuffPostUK #disagree http://t.co/kpE2WJT3 Even Boris Johnson disagrees! BORIS! http://t.co/6zKxgQ1E

  15. Ferg Slade

    #HuffPostUK #disagree http://t.co/kpE2WJT3 Even Boris Johnson disagrees! BORIS! http://t.co/6zKxgQ1E

  16. Maxine Moore

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/5emludQx RT til your fingers bleed!! #wrb

  17. Maxine Moore

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/5emludQx RT til your fingers bleed!! #wrb

  18. Vanessa

    Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left: http://t.co/qgE5pP3n writes @danielelton

  19. Carole Ford

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/wYbG7kNw

  20. Carole Ford

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/wYbG7kNw

  21. Carole Ford

    @lbc973 @DrEoinClarke
    Boris slammed Coalition welfare reforms – theyshould listen
    http://t.co/wYbG7kNw

  22. Daniel Elton

    . @toadmeister @TimMontgomerie and his stance against the welfare reforms: http://t.co/M9pkbpFr or expressing desire2run London education?

Leave a Reply