Mo Stewart on her upcoming book Cash Not Care
“Stewart names names. She shows where and how the policies originated. She destroys all claims that they were based on solid research. And she vividly paints a clear picture of how disabled people are the group chosen to pay for bankers’ greed and stupidity in 2008, as government slashes expenditure. ” Sir Bert Massey CBE, DL. Chair, Disability Rights Commission 2000 – 2007.
“ ‘Cash Not Care ’ will make you feel angry, sad and inspired in equal measures. This is a book that needs to be widely read and talked about.” Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite, Research Associate, Centre for Health and Inequalities Research, the University of Durham.
“ ‘Cash Not Care ’ shines a light on the murky world of the private companies and their allies in the civil service. Mo’s account is both harrowing and informative, and it is urgently needed.” Professor Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, the University of Oxford.
“Mo Stewart’s ground-breaking and tenacious research has led the way in exposing the destructive force of the corporate state on the concept of welfare. It has traced the twists and turns of the devious tricks played on the British public. It has exposed the duplicity, harm and abuse these actions have caused to disabled people with the courage of truth. Its value cannot be overestimated and its worth must not be ignored.” Debbie Jolly. Co-founder: Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).
In the forthcoming book, CASH NOT CARE ~ the planned demolition of the UK welfare state, the ‘atrocities’ committed by successive British governments under the guise of ‘welfare reforms’, which were to negatively impact on the most vulnerable people in society, are collated and exposed. The book contains research evidence the Coalition government attempted and failed to supress. Aided and abetted by most of the national press, successive governments have knowingly misled the British public on route to the demolition of the British welfare state, and it all began in earnest with New Labour and Tony Blair, elected in 1997, who continued with the welfare policies of the previous Thatcher Conservative government.
In the United Kingdom (UK) today there are three words that identify the greatest ongoing human suffering since World War II, and they are: Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
Introduced in 2008 by the New Labour government as part of welfare reduction policies, it was declared at the time that there were too many people claiming the income replacement benefit, known as Incapacity Benefit. Apparently, the country couldn’t afford the growing welfare costs and a simple WCA would identify those who, with ‘help and support’, could move from a life of welfare dependency to return to paid employment. It all sounded very reasonable.
Unfortunately, at the time of the introduction of the WCA in October 2008, by Blair’s replacement Gordon Brown, the New Labour government were being influenced by a commissioned report by their official ‘adviser’, former banker David Freud, who was a £millionaire with a less than distinguished reputation1, who had freely admitted that he ‘didn’t know anything about welfare’2. Freud then demonstrated that fact in his 2007 report, which was to impact on the future welfare and survival of the most vulnerable people in society.3
Freud was commissioned in late 2006 to identify the possible costs, and savings, involved in the re-assessment of in excess of 2.5 million people claiming Incapacity Benefit. Produced in just six weeks the report, Reducing dependency, increasing opportunity: options for the future of welfare to work3 sealed the fate of every chronically sick and disabled person in the UK, who were dependent upon income replacement benefits for their financial survival. Following publication, Freud’s report was quickly exposed by Professor Danny Dorling4, who identified the incompetence of Freud who had misinterpreted references used in his own research. However, with this level of incompetence identified in an academic journal that few people would access, no-one knew of the future perils to come when accepting research by a £millionaire, whose goal was a reduction of costs not the welfare of the claimants. New Labour certainly was new, as they demonstrated that they were a party for middle England and not for the working people, for whom the original Labour Party was created.5
The landslide victory for the Labour Party at the May 1997 general election represented a dramatic rebuff of 18 years of Tory policies. From 1979, when Thatcher was first elected, there was a gradual erosion of the welfare state, with council house sell offs and the introduction of the market into the health service and education system. Revulsion against the visible decline of the welfare state was part of the reason why millions voted Labour in May 1997. Yet after two years of New Labour in government there is increasing dissatisfaction with its welfare programme which has continued many of the Tories’ themes. Benefit cuts have been implemented or threatened against lone parents, those on disability allowances and the elderly. Money that has gone into schools and hospitals has been inadequate to meet the needs of these services and has been tied to the implementation of what Blair has termed ‘best business practices’. The problem of underfunding in education is to be ‘solved’ by appointing roving ‘super-teachers’ who will drop into schools and instruct teachers and pupils in ‘appropriate’ teaching methods and discipline codes.
While in the NHS new hospitals being built are to be funded out of the Private Finance Initiative-ensuring that private companies will be guaranteed ‘profits from illness’. Although the national minimum wage was implemented in April 1999 the rate really was minimal – leaving many workers working for poverty pay. The sense of crisis within the welfare system remains significant as more users witness declining services in the face of the privatisation onslaught.
New Labour, new moralism: the welfare policies and ideology of New Labour under Blair. Lavalette and Mooney 5 International Socialism Journal 1999, Issue 85
Of course it was Thatcher back in 1987 who declared that ‘there is no such thing as society’ and, as the first elected ‘neoliberal’ politician that places ‘the market’ at the centre of all economic and social life, the British people continue to live with her legacy, regardless of which government are in No 10. Neoliberal poison has swept the world and, in all things, the only concern is cash, not care, and more and more people are becoming victims of neoliberal politics which translates into ‘greed not need’, with cutbacks regardless of consequences.
The 2007 Freud Report was more ‘policy based research’ used to justify the savage social policy reforms as planned by Blair, and the Freud Report followed on from another discredited research report, again commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which first identified in 2005 the fact that one million people should be removed from Incapacity Benefit. Written by the former DWP Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Mansel Aylward and Gordon Waddell, when sponsored by the corporate giant UnumProvident Insurance via Cardiff University, The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits6 was the blue print for the introduction of the WCA. It claimed that one million people could be removed from Incapacity Benefit, as did the Freud Report in 2007, which quoted another report from the same source: Is work goodfor health and well-being?1, written by Gordon Waddell and Kim Burton.
Happily, distinguished academics not funded by the DWP have recently produced a research paper that supports the evidence of this researcher of the past six years, which is that the WCA is dangerous and uses the totally bogus biopsychosocial model designed by Waddell and Aylward8. In their paper: Blaming the victim all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability9, published in the Critical Social Policy academic journal, Professor Tom Shakespeare of the University of East Anglia, plus colleagues, produced a hard-hitting paper that exposed the Waddell and Aylward BPS model as having ‘no coherent theory or evidence behind the model’9, and that the research of Waddell and Aylward reveals ‘a cavalier approach to scientific evidence’9.
Waddell and Aylward slide between general statements that are scientifically valid, and specific statements that are matters of opinion or political prejudice.
They also tend to cite their own, non-peer reviewed papers extensively. For example, they claim ‘We have the knowledge to reduce sickness absence by 30-50%, and in principle by even more’ (2010, 45). They underpin this claim by reference to one of their earlier publications, Concepts of Rehabilitation for the Management of Common Health Problems (Waddell and Burton 2004). However, there is no evidence cited in this 2004 work to support such a claim, in fact this publication even acknowledges the paucity of evidence in this area (Waddell and Burton 2004, 50).
Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability.9
Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Watson, Ola Abu Alghaib
Critical Social Policy
The welfare policies introduced by New Labour from 1997-2010 were magnified by the 20102015 Coalition Government, and the ‘atrocities’ created by these so-called ‘welfare’ policies have continued unabated by the new 2015 Conservative Government, as claimants die in their thousands following a WCA10. Until recently, Iain Duncan Smith MP was serving as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who spent his time in office misleading (lying to) the British public and to the House of Commons.11 This was demonstrated often, by Debbie Abrahams MP in the House of Commons in particualar11, with the Work and Pensions Select Committee, under the Chairmanship of Dame Anne Begg, publishing an official report in March 2014 exposing the deliberate misuse of figures by DWP Ministers that knowingly misled the public.12 The 2015 Conservative government, and the 2010 Coalition government before them, were drunk on their perceived power and couldn’t hide their arrogance during debates in the House of Commons (HOC) because no amount of evidence, reports or challenges in the HOC could stop them. Significant evidence, regardless of source, was always disregarded.12
The DWP knew that any exaggeration or misuse of figures would be reported by the national press, and so influence the general public. It has worked well as, due I have no doubt to the ongoing press coverage that removed the public confidence in the welfare state, and had most people believing that there really was a raft of fraudulent disability benefit claims, for which there is no evidence, the Conservatives were guaranteed a win at the 2015 general election. Duncan Smith rebuked any forthright MP who exposed the ongoing deaths and despair created by the WCA. He refused to accept that there was any link to an increase in suicides, regardless of the weight of evidence that demonstrated that the WCA, the coercion and intimidation used by the DWP, and the ongoing threat of the possible loss of all income by the use of DWP enforced sanctions, had created a massive increase in suicides and mental health problems.13
Results: Each additional 10,000 people reassessed in each area was associated with an additional 6 suicides (95% Cl2 to 9), 2700 cases of reported mental health problems (95% Cl 584 to 4840), and the prescribing of an additional 7020 antidepressant items (95% Cl 3930 to 10100). The reassessment process was associated with the greatest increases in these adverse mental health outcomes in the most deprived areas of the country, widening health inequalities.
Conclusions: The programme of reassessing people on disability benefits using the Work Capability Assessment was independently associated with an increase in suicides, self-reported mental health problems and antidepressant prescribing.
This policy may have had serious adverse consequences for mental health in England, which could outweigh any benefits that arise from moving people off disability benefits.
‘First do no harm’: Are disability assessments associated with adverse
trends in mental health?13
A longitudinal ecological study.
Ben Barr, David Taylor-Robinson, David Stuckler, Margaret Whitehead
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
David Freud has continued to influence the abuses of chronically sick and disabled people in the UK, in his position as the appointed and unelected Minister for Welfare Reform, in both the 2010 Coalition government and the 2015 Conservative government. Regardless of shameful activities, of which there have been several, Freud is never disciplined, as he’s too important. He’s the former banker who continues to find ways of creating more poverty and despair, as his reports to the DWP recommend more ways to reduce the welfare budget. Claiming in 2014 that disabled workers should only be paid £2 per hour14, for example, would have seen any other Minister removed from office. Not Freud. He always gets away with it.
Incapacity Benefit was stopped in 2008 and replaced by the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which uses the WCA to resist funding welfare benefit to as many people as possible, regardless of diagnosis, prognosis or the extent of disability. Once again, the Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPSC) produced a damning and detailed report, in July 2014. They advised that the damage created by the WCA, as used to access the ESA, was so grave that the WCA needed to be removed and a new assessment model, that was much more accurate and user friendly, should be designed.15 This WPSC report was also disregarded by the DWP.
Of course, sooner or later, the government’s arrogance and confidence will be challenged, hopefully before more needless deaths are created, by the use of a dangerous and bogus assessment model that has some very vulnerable people starving to death in C21st UK.16
There is a vast amount of detailed and distinguished academic research available, via a variety of UK universities who, unlike Waddell and Aylward, have their research ‘peer-reviewed’, which means viewed by other academics to check the validity of the claims whilst the author of the research remains anonymous. This is a requirement before any publication of academic papers in academic journals, and being published in academic journals is how (real) academics grow their reputation. None of them are dependent upon being published by government…
Happily, since this researcher began the research almost seven years ago, I have benefitted from a strong working relationship with many distinguished academics who value the fact that through my work, I am able to alert the public to their research findings and quote from them.
Significant academic papers, which are often the result of years of research, are no longer restricted to academic journals that few people will read. The evidence can be accessed, and the often significant research results can be brought to the attention of the British public, as the research always has implications for them, so academics offer me copies of their papers.
This is the basis of the forthcoming book, CASH NOT CARE: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state. Published by New Generation publishing, the book contains research evidence that the government does not want in the public domain. Described by experts as both ‘harrowing’ and ‘disturbing’, it is time the British public knew their fate.
CASH NOT CARE: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state will be available from September 14th.
- COLLINS C, DICKSON J & COLLINS M (2009): To Banker, From Bankies Incapacity Benefit: Myth and Realities.
- SMITH L (2014): Who is Lord Freud? The Controversial Millionaire Banker who Believes Disabled Workers Should be Paid £2 an Hour. International Business Times. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/who-lord-freud-controversial-millionaire-banker-who- believes-disabled-workers-should-be-paid-2-1470204
- FREUD D (2007): DWP: Reducing dependency, increasing opportunity: options for the future of welfare to work. The Stationary Office. http://www.networkforeurope.eu/files/files/The Freud Report 2007.pdf
- DORLING D (2007): The Real Mental Health Bill. The Journal of Public Mental Health, 6(3), 6-13. May 2007.
- LAVALETTE & MOONEY (1999): New Labour, new moralism: the welfare politics and ideology of New Labour under Blair. http://pubs.socialistreviewindex .org.uk/i sj85/lavalette.htm
- WADDELL G & AYLWARD M (2005): DWP: The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits. The Stationary Office.
- WADDELL G & BURTON AK (2006): DWP: Is work good for health and wellbeing? The Stationary Office.
- STEWART M (2016) Publications via Centre for Disability Studies, Leeds University. http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/library/author/stewart.mo
- SHAKESPEARE T, WATSON N & ABU ALGHAIB O (2016): Blaming the victim all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303558917 Blaming the victim all over again Waddell and Aylwards biopsychosocial BPS model of disability
- BUTLER P (2015) Thousands have died after being found fit for work, DWP figures show. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/thousands-died-after-fit- for-work-assessment-dwp-figures
- ABRAHAMS D (2014): Misuse of Statistics http://www.debbieabrahams.org.uk/2014/dwp-misuse-of-statistics
- WPSC (2014): The Work and Pensions Committee. Monitoring the Performance of the Department for Work and Pensions in 2012-2013. The Stationary Office. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmworpen/1153/1153. pdf
- BARR B, TAYLOR-ROBINSON D, STUCKLER D, LOOPSTR R, REEVES A, and WHITEHEAD M (2015): ‘First do no harm’: are disability assessments associated with adverse trends in mental health? A longitudinal ecological study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Online first doi: 10.1136/jech-2015-206209. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284165503 ‘First do no harm’ Are disabi lity assessments associated with adverse trends in mental health A longitudinal ecological study
- Morris N (2014): Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are ‘not worth’ the minimum wage.
- WPSC (2014 July): Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments.
- Gentleman A (2014) Vulnerable man starved to death after benefits were cut. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/28/man-starved-to-death-after- benefits-cut
Copyright © 2016 Mo Stewart