Addressing the Conservative Party’s annual conference, Tory leader David Cameron pledged that if he became prime minister, he would make people on long-term incapacity benefit find work – even if doctors have judged that they are too ill to work!
Cameron said that his promised tax cuts “would be funded in part by removing incapacity benefit from those refusing an offer of a job“. This is patently absurd: to qualify for incapacity benefit, a claimant must be declared incapapable of working due to illness by the claimant’s personal physician and by a doctor working for the Department of Work and Pensions. So, Cameron is basically saying that doctors are not able to make competent diagnoses!
The Labour Party began the assault on the long-term ill when they introduced “advisors” to “help incapacity benefit claimants to find work if they wanted it”. But at least Labour had not made any of this compulsary – they recognize that people claiming incapacity benefit are doing so bacause they can’t work, not because they won’t. But the Conservatives have taken that final, horrid step. They are calling chronically sick people benefit scroungers – just as they did in the early 1980s when, under Margaret Thatcher, they took away unemployment benefit from people who were unemployed because they couldn’t find work in an era of economic depression and widescale industrial closure.
In the past, the Tories financed their tax cuts partially by creating the myth of “dole scroungers” and at a stroke making legitimately unemployed workers no longer entitled to welfare. And now, they want to do the same – except this time their victims will be even more vulnerable and defenseless. Let’s face it, if a doctor in the pay of the DWP says that you’re too sick to work, you must be pretty damn ill. DWP medical examinations have justly gained a reputation for being harsh and unfair. But the Tories are now saying: “Tough shit! If you can’t work, you and your children must starve!”
David Cameron pretends that the Conservatives are now “compassionate”. If that’s compassion, I’d hate to see their cruelty!