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

 

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

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

  1. Cosmomontagu

    I wouldn’t say this is necessarily from ‘the left’, most of it is just common sense.

  2. Cosmomontagu

    I wouldn’t say this is necessarily from ‘the left’, most of it is just common sense.

  3. Cosmomontagu

    Although perhaps it should be noted that common sense and Boris are uncommon bed-fellows

  4. Anonymous

    However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5%

    Since Thatcher, the number on ICB/DLA has increased from 1 million to 2.5 million.

    However, the money pumped into the NHS has also increased dramatically.

    The contradiction is that either the money in the NHS has been wasted and people aren’t getting healthier, or there is fraud, or the level of what is disabled, has been dramatically changed.

    There is strong evidence that the health of people hasn’t changed.

    So if you say its not fraud by the individual, what is it?

    It’s fraud by the state. Politicians wanted to hide the unemployment figure, so they moved people from unemployment to ICB. Tories started it, Labour carried on.

    End result is ICB/DLA bill has rocketed, and there isn’t the tax money to pay for it. So its going back to what it should have been. Payments for people’s extra needs, and no payments for those that don’t need it.

    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

    This is wrong. People should get 100% of their additional costs, but that is it. So for someone with ‘stress’, there are no additional costs. For someone who needs round the clock care, there are large additional costs and these should be met in full.

    However, you’re arguing that the person with ‘stress’ or who is morbidly obese gets the same money. That’s wrong.

    However, its back to the basic problem. There isn’t the money from taxation. If you borrow it, it just means larger cuts in the future, and even more damage.

    That’s your legacy.

  5. Me

    Boris for mayor! Send Ed Miliband a message he can’t ignore.

  6. Charlie Covell

    Blagger – those on the lower care rate are usually those in work (on average, 1 in 2 people with a disability work and pay tax) – removal of their money may actually prevent them from getting the help they need to work and contribute to society. These reforms are actually stupid in terms of financial outcome. They will push more people into care (much more expensive per head than providing help/care in someone’s own home) and put even more strain on the NHS.

  7. Charlie Covell

    Blagger – those on the lower care rate are usually those in work (on average, 1 in 2 people with a disability work and pay tax) – removal of their money may actually prevent them from getting the help they need to work and contribute to society. These reforms are actually stupid in terms of financial outcome. They will push more people into care (much more expensive per head than providing help/care in someone’s own home) and put even more strain on the NHS.

  8. Gerwyn

    politicians are judged by whether the economy grows or not.This is measured in terms of GDP

    Government spending makes a large contribution to GDP APART from spending on social security which is classed as transfer payments.If government money is diverted from GDP into private public spending schemes the GDP will grow both in terms od government spending now making a contribution and increasing money being invested into the economy by private capital. Labour need to expose this blatant manipulation

  9. Gerwyn

    sorry I meant diverted from social security payments

  10. Anonymous

    “However, you’re arguing that the person with ‘stress’ or who is morbidly obese gets the same money. That’s wrong. ”

    You assume you know the background for their “stress” as you call it or why they are morbidly obese – many, many illnesses and conditions – and the treatments for them – cause weight gain and obesity. So people have a choice – either live in extreme pain or take the drugs which make you gain weight. How do you know what their costs might be?

    You assume that all illness is ‘visible’. Could you tell that someone had cancer , or MS, or ME or Crohns disease etc etc just by looking at them?

    Oh, of course there’s no money – Olympics approx £9.2billion? For 17 days. Replacing Trident approx £25billion. etc etc But no money to support sick and disabled people?

  11. Arecbalrin

    We’ve heard all these canards before, do you have anything new? Thatcher left office nearly two years before DLA was introduced and should I presume ICB means Incapacity Benefit, which is a completely different thing to DLA? Well Incapacity Benefit was introduced in 1995, to replaced Invalidity Benefit.

    Also, what do the NHS do about conditions like Autism? Never seen an NHS Autism ward in my life. If you want to know what has happened, then look to: 1. an ageing population and 2. residential units being closed down to save money. DLA was made to make sure those ex-residents could live with some degree of independence: it is a cost-saving benefit, unless you think putting people back into residential settings is somehow cheaper.

  12. Arecbalrin

    We’ve heard all these canards before, do you have anything new? Thatcher left office nearly two years before DLA was introduced and should I presume ICB means Incapacity Benefit, which is a completely different thing to DLA? Well Incapacity Benefit was introduced in 1995, to replaced Invalidity Benefit.

    Also, what do the NHS do about conditions like Autism? Never seen an NHS Autism ward in my life. If you want to know what has happened, then look to: 1. an ageing population and 2. residential units being closed down to save money. DLA was made to make sure those ex-residents could live with some degree of independence: it is a cost-saving benefit, unless you think putting people back into residential settings is somehow cheaper.

  13. Arecbalrin

    We’ve heard all these canards before, do you have anything new? Thatcher left office nearly two years before DLA was introduced and should I presume ICB means Incapacity Benefit, which is a completely different thing to DLA? Well Incapacity Benefit was introduced in 1995, to replaced Invalidity Benefit.

    Also, what do the NHS do about conditions like Autism? Never seen an NHS Autism ward in my life. If you want to know what has happened, then look to: 1. an ageing population and 2. residential units being closed down to save money. DLA was made to make sure those ex-residents could live with some degree of independence: it is a cost-saving benefit, unless you think putting people back into residential settings is somehow cheaper.

  14. Crashbee

    Common sense is completely subjective. It’s ‘common sense’ because (I assume) you’re a leftist yourself; if you were right-wing it would be the opposite.

  15. Crashbee

    Common sense is completely subjective. It’s ‘common sense’ because (I assume) you’re a leftist yourself; if you were right-wing it would be the opposite.

  16. Nick Leaton

    There is a far better measure of GDP.

    (Tax receipts / tax rate) * (1 + percentage size of black economy).

    Very difficult to manipulate

  17. Nick Leaton

    There is a far better measure of GDP.

    (Tax receipts / tax rate) * (1 + percentage size of black economy).

    Very difficult to manipulate

  18. ray turner

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

  19. jane owen

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

  20. Arecbalrin

    I’d prefer the term ‘rational’. To my mind, Boris Johnson’s views on DLA reforms are rational for either a fiscal or social conservative. The reforms are a false economy; DLA was there to catch those who were no longer in residential units and psychiatric hospitals; those with learning difficulties, serious mental illnesses or Autistic Spectrum Disorders. It costs more to have someone in care for a day than it does to pay them benefits for the week, maybe even the month. You only need to look at the estimates of how much unpaid carer’s save the government to get an idea of how important the little support they and disabled people do get actually is.

    The government is gambling on a blind idea without checking if it’s true first: they think a substantial number of of claimants do not need DLA so there will be no serious nationwide consequences to pulling the support out. If they are right, those who shouldn’t have been claiming simply arrange their lives to adapt. If they are wrong, those affected do not have that option: where there is service provision for their condition their ceased DLA rather than being saved by the government simply has the balance transferred to that service, except that it will nearly always cost more. For others where the service provision just physically doesn’t exist, there is only destitution, services that can’t help them and possible death.

    Mason Dixon, Autistic.

  21. Arecbalrin

    I’d prefer the term ‘rational’. To my mind, Boris Johnson’s views on DLA reforms are rational for either a fiscal or social conservative. The reforms are a false economy; DLA was there to catch those who were no longer in residential units and psychiatric hospitals; those with learning difficulties, serious mental illnesses or Autistic Spectrum Disorders. It costs more to have someone in care for a day than it does to pay them benefits for the week, maybe even the month. You only need to look at the estimates of how much unpaid carer’s save the government to get an idea of how important the little support they and disabled people do get actually is.

    The government is gambling on a blind idea without checking if it’s true first: they think a substantial number of of claimants do not need DLA so there will be no serious nationwide consequences to pulling the support out. If they are right, those who shouldn’t have been claiming simply arrange their lives to adapt. If they are wrong, those affected do not have that option: where there is service provision for their condition their ceased DLA rather than being saved by the government simply has the balance transferred to that service, except that it will nearly always cost more. For others where the service provision just physically doesn’t exist, there is only destitution, services that can’t help them and possible death.

    Mason Dixon, Autistic.

  22. Anonymous

    um, hello, people seem to be missing the point here and that is that

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

    Why should it come down to people who are ill and disabled having to make freedom of information requests to find out what is really being said in response to government consultations? and if it turns out they really have been keeping things from the public and from the politicians who are making decisions on reforms which will have a huge impact on people’s lives, what will be done about it?

  23. AlmosJustice

    #Boris slams Coalition welfare reforms http://t.co/omMtfu9Q The #poor relying on a #ToryMayor-What a sad state for the #left #occupyLSX

  24. James White

    RT @leftfootfwd Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left: http://t.co/VOOy4c1w writes @danielelton

  25. Tom Staniford

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

  26. Mr. Sensible

    Think there might be a bit of electioneering going on here… Don’t think we can count him as a socialist; remember how he looks after the inerest of the banks…

  27. Dave

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

  28. Mason Dixon Autistic

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

  29. Katie Thole

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

  30. Chris Salter

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/Tg4DcJov #ppnews

  31. Newsbot9

    Because the results didn’t fit the party line, of course, and hence have to be suppressed.

    Please, ask some actually difficult questions…

  32. Newsbot9

    http://masondixonautistic.blogspot.com/2011/05/factual-sodomy-thrusting-truth-where.html

    And no, it SAVES cash. Instead of having people in institutional care, it lets them live at home. You’re bumping up the bill, as usual.

  33. Newsbot9

    Of course not, they’re generally poor and hence non-people to the right.

  34. Valerie Burnett

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

  35. Stefania Rulli-Gibbs

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

  36. 2wolves

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

  37. Jos Bell

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

  38. IronKnee

    Only because he’s up for re-election, if he gets back in he will revert to type.

  39. Anthony Leahy

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

  40. Kasch Wilder

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/K4x0Rlav

  41. Alice in Blunderland

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

  42. Rotherham Politics

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

  43. Andrew Little

    BoJo is attacking key policy. http://t.co/4s73PPTs

  44. Adam Clarke

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left http://t.co/ZKjvVqmR… Nice one Boris… But Ken's better

  45. H. O.

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

  46. Paul Halsall

    I came across two stories related to benefits today.

    The first, from the Sunday Telegraphy,  is about the way Tony Blair has refused to pay his taxeshttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/8999890/Tony-Blair-and-the-8million-tax-mystery.html 
    -The refusal of the rich – now including many ex-Blairites – to pay their taxes is the basic reason for all budgetary problems.  Although the Daily Mail and others try to agitate low level tax-payers against those who depend on benefits (either because of illness or unemployment) it is in fact people like Blair who are the problem.

    The second – from Left Foot Forward  is “Boris has slammed Coalition welfare reforms – from the left”http://www.leftfootforward.org/2012/01/boris-has-slammed-coalition-welfare-reforms-from-the-left/ 
    -Here we have the weird situation in which Boris Johnson seems to be more willing to try to attack the Government’s attacks on DLA than ANY comparable Labour politician.

    Strange days when Boris is to the left of much of the Labour commentariat such as Jim Murphy, Liam Byrne, or Paul Richards.

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