Sep 292013
 

Dear all,

During DPAC’s recent week of action we were supported by Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) who held a solidarity protest outside the British Consulate in Toronto.

We’ve now been approached for help and messages of support for their week of action staring October 14th as the Ontario government is planning to impose cuts to disability benefits similar to the attacks disabled people are facing in the UK.

John from OCAP says “Unlike the UK, where the Liberal Party lost it place in the front ranks sometime after Lloyd George went to his reward, the Liberals in Canada have remained a dominant party all along.  They are hanging on in Ontario as a minority government and would like to be middle of the road but the austerity agenda won’t let them.  They are preparing at attack on disability benefits but are frantic to make it look kinder and gentler. That’s why comparing them to Cameron’s regime is so important and quite valid. That’s why support statements from the UK and people fighting back there are so incredibly helpful to us.”

Please take a few minutes from what I know are busy days for all of you to send a message of support for their fight back to ocap@tao.ca

Many thanks

Linda and DPAC team 

THREAT TO DISABILITY BENEFITS IN ONTARIO POSED BY MERGER OR OW AND ODSP

   Many people living on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) have strong and

well founded concerns about the possibility of regressive ‘reforms’ to that system.  While the Wynne Government has made no official announcements as yet, the warning signs are very clear that disabled people on social assistance are going to be facing an austerity driven challenge to their rights and incomes.

The first thing to note is that an attack on social benefits for disabled people seems to be a strategic priority for the architects of austerity at the present time.  In the US, media and politicians are claiming that federal disability benefit applications are rising due to unemployed people making bogus claims so as to enjoy higher incomes than could be obtained through jobless benefits.  The newly elected right wing Abbott Government in Australia can also be expected to make an attack on disability benefits a major part of its program.

However, at the present time, it is the Cameron Government in the UK that can perhaps be seen as the cutting edge of a socially regressive drive to attack disabled people and their right of access to social benefit systems.  Cameron, through his Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has intensified a previously existing Work Capability Assessment under which people who are sick or disabled are interviewed and graded as to their ‘fitness to work’.  The system has been modified so that private companies handle the actual assessment process.  Most notorious of these is the French company, Atos Healthcare.  The nature of this privatised assessment process is quite appalling.  People with terminal illnesses, serious impairments and progressive conditions have been deemed ‘fit to work’ regardless of medical evidence and common decency.  A hidden camera, taken into an Atos training session, shows a supervisor indicating that the standards for ‘manual dexterity’ will be met if someone can use a computer keyboard with one finger.  So extreme and reckless has this whole process been that a staggering 10,000 a year are dying within six weeks of being declared ‘fit to work’.

The nature of what is occurring in the UK leads us to rethink what is meant by an austerity agenda.  It appears to be moving beyond simply restricting or reducing entitlements and taking the form or outright social abandonment regardless of the human cost.  Given this situation, we must consider the implications for right here in Ontario.

The Hudak Tories are quite open about their intention to eliminate ODSP but we should not disregard the danger posed by the less candid Liberals.  The Wynne Government may have maintained the rhetoric of ‘poverty reduction’ but its orientation and actions to date can leave little room to hope that it intends to break with the pattern of regressive austerity as it fashions a version of ‘social assistance reform’ for this Province.  The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance that the Liberals established, proposes that Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP be merged and delivered at the municipal level.  More than this, however, it seeks to redefine the basic nature of providing income support to disabled people.  Under its model, everything would be defined in terms of employability.  The process of reassessing people would be stepped up and ‘employer’s councils’ work to push disabled people into competing for jobs.

While the report is careful to couch everything in the language of ‘disability rights’, it pays scant attention to the context in which it advocates pushing people into employment.  The low wage sector in Ontario has swollen massively in recent years. The minimum wage has been frozen for three years and most poor people in the Province actually subsist on low wages.  A ‘reform’ model that simply assumes that employed poverty is inherently a better option is massively problematic.  To take a whole new population of people and force them to compete for precarious, low paying jobs can only worsen the situation.  Moreover, the example of what is unfolding in the UK and the situation facing injured workers here leads us to conclude that the likelihood is that many would be declared able to work in disregard of their actual ability to obtain employment.  The WSIB in Ontario is already operating along lines very similar to Cameron’s DWP by way of an assessment process for injured workers that routinely ‘deems’ people capable of performing work they have no realistic chance of obtaining.  There seems little reason to expect that a redesigned system of social assistance for the disabled would chart any very different course.

The international austerity agenda is targeting disabled people and their social benefits and that approach is looming before us in Ontario.  We need to be aware of this and organize in our communities to build an effective opposition to all such measures.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 17:41
Sep 292013
 

Video from Reel News – they will have a regular film night at The Grosvenor pub in Stockwell on the third Thrusday of every month…this month it’s on October 17th, the evening of the teachers strike, so they’d be doing an anti-cuts special and show films from the various strikes going on and  the DPAC actions – and have a discussion about how we can do more to link struggles together. “Obviously DPAC are at the forefront of all this, so would a few of you fancy coming down to take part? It’s relatively informal, but we usually get at least 20-30 people and often more, and stuff does get sorted out over a pint – it’s also wheelchair accessible.”

(there is a caption and transcript option (next to the clock icon) on the video)

​ATOS Healthcare carries out disability assessments on behalf of the Cameron government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  Currently, ATOS is being investigated by the National Audit Office (NAO) in a in a a major “value for money study”.  Meanwhile, since the inception of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), 10,600 people have died within six weeks of being deemed ‘fit for work’ by ATOS healthcare professionals.

Human Cost documents ‘10,000 Cuts & Counting’, held on the 28th of September, 2013 at Parliament Square,  a ceremony of remembrance and solidarity for those who have had their lives devastated by Cameron’s austerity programmes

​Human Cost – #10kCuts #Atos from You and I Films on Vimeo.

Stay in touch with the campaign at http://www.10kcuts.org

Wow Petition http://wowpetition.com

Follow our work on Twitter @youandifilms

Please help support our work by donating to Our Vimeo Tip Jar.

 

Sep 282013
 

Just less than 3 years ago disabled people marched at the Tory party conference to protest against austerity cuts using the slogan CUTS KILL. Even though it was obvious that the plans outlined by millionaire George Osborne in the June 2010 Spending Review would not be good for disabled people even we did not envisage just how fast our welfare state would be destroyed by the Condems or how many disabled people would be pushed to suicide or death through the malicious Condem cuts.

 

We could not have imagined that 3 years later we’d be getting daily emails from disabled people and pregnant disabled people who were actually starving and being left without food, money or access to any hardship payments. We knew but couldn’t have possibly imagined that disabled people would have their benefits stopped for weeks and in some cases months without any means to support themselves other than possible prostitution, drug dealing or theft. What do you do when you are already living on the breadline with no savings and your only income is taken away? We never imagined we’d read about children, disabled and non-disabled being left without food.

 

It’s hard to believe it’s the UK we’re talking about yet this is what life has become for many in the 21st century in the 7th richest nation in the world. We never imagined that we’d go so far backwards that all of the gains made for disabled people’s rights over the last 30 years would effectively just be swept away as disabled people are vilified as shirkers and scroungers.

 

10,000 Cuts and Counting is a single issue protest against the now discredited computerised Work Capability Assessment executed by ATOS. It has pushed so many disabled people to suicide or death through fear and stress that DWP have now stopped collecting any statistics on the death count but between January 2011 and November 2011, some 10,600 claims ended and a date of death was recorded within six weeks of the claim end. DPAC and other campaigners are proud to have destroyed the ATOS brand name but there is no point in just replacing ATOS with another corporate monster and the WCA must be scrapped in its entirity. Why should any private firm rake in millions and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to provide a totally flawed service which could be provided by civil servants for a fraction of the cost as has been the case until recently? The WCA was put in place to cut the number of claimants by 1 million either through miracle cures or death it seems.

 

One of the next major battles disabled people face is the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance put in place to meet the extra costs of being disabled. This too has been designed with only one aim in mind to cut costs and remove 20% of disabled people from entitlement. Many disabled people rely on this income to enable them to work and will no longer be able to if it is lost to them. Even more will be left trapped in their homes with no means to go out.

 

For anyone who thinks this doesn’t matter to them 6 out of 7 disabled people have an acquired impairment through long term illness or an accident. Most of you will also get older and so how older disabled people are treated should be of great concern to you – it’s your future. Let’s not be polite older disabled people are often treated worse than animals in the UK getting 4 x 15 minutes ‘pop ins’ if they’re lucky and imprisoned in their homes and some left soaking wet the rest of the time.

 

This is the fate now awaiting younger disabled people from 2015 when without any vote in parliament the Independent Living Fund will be closed leaving local councils to try to replace this funding with ever shrinking budgets and different eligibility criteria.

 

At the same time they say they want disabled people to work but without this vital support even if found fit for work they are unable to. The Remploy factories have been decimated in the Condem attacks against disabled people supported by some organisations who purport to campaign for us. At last count only about 3% of those made redundant had secured mainstream employment but given the barriers to gaining and keeping employment that disabled people face this was always likely. To this we need to add the benefit cap which is in effect a futher cut.

 

The Bedroom Tax so loudly condemned by the UN rapporteur Raquel Rolnik existed in the private rented sector since 2008 and Labour who introduced this have singularly forgotten to mention that they originally also planned to roll it out in April 2010 to the social housing sector. None of us should forget that most of these horrors now affecting both disabled and other people were in many cases introduced by Labour and it is time for all of us all to start to tell them what they must do if they want to have a chance of being elected.

 

It is also way past time for the larger unions to stop pussy-footing around, stop unconditionally supporting a neo-liberal Labour party and force them to act as an effective opposition and outline their real policies. The unions and TUC should have already called a general strike but need to do so now urgently. It is time to add industrial power to community activism if any vestiges of our welfare state are to be salvaged for our children.

 

Disabled people and others also face a further raft of cuts and attacks to the NHS and in particular mental health services, to health and safety at work legislation, to Access to Work funding, to secure employment and not zero hours contracts, to accessible transport, to accessible housing, a right to mainstream education, cuts to council tax benefit, all coupled with cuts to CAB services, legal aid cuts and lastly the introduction of the Lobbying Bill which regardless of it’s eventual outcome will not silence us in any way. We are now many thousands and we will be heard.

This piece is also due to be published in the Morning Star

 

 

Sep 272013
 

Below is the full presentation given by Alison Wilde at the Accentuate conference, earlier this year.  It’s about the paralympian legacy, that thing that McVey can’t pass a journalist without cooing about how wonderful everything is now for disabled people. That thing that we might remember as DPAC ‘s Atos games where we shifted the view of Atos and watched  their shares tumble, while the negative media coverage of the damage of the WCA exploded see:http://dpac.uk.net/2013/09/dpac-report-work-capability-assessment/

Maybe this legacy is also about Gideon Osborne being booed by the entire stadium http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqM0Ube0oLs

For us Alison makes some crucial points that set this ‘legacy’ issue in the framework of the real threats and oppression that disabled people face . …

I was delighted when I was invited to take part in today’s event, but have to admit my first thought was to decline the invitation because I know next to nothing about the Paralympics and, if I’m honest, had little interest in the television and media coverage of it, apart from the possibility that we might see new cultural representations of disabled people – something I AM very interested in.

However, my identity as a disabled person makes me very interested in disabled athletes – but I want them all to do well generally, especially as my ideas of belonging are more tied up with disabled people rather than my national identity and team GB. Even so, I have such an aversion to sport that I subconsciously avoided most of the television coverage but it was impossible to escape the news coverage of the event and the lionisation of particular athletes, so I find myself knowing more than I’d like to.

So, unsurprisingly I thought I wasn’t a suitable person to speak today until I got to thinking that my responses to sport were actually central to some of the debates about legacy. Although we use all use the word ‘legacy ’I am sure that we don’t all mean the same thing. Before the games, official statements of legacy promised improvements in sports venues, new homes, transport links and the regeneration of communities. Over time, this seems to have changed somewhat, in line with a more individualistic political focus which emphasises people’s health habits and ways of living.  Beyond this, the word legacy seems to have taken on other meanings.  Having trawled though a number of articles, and putting to one side the idea that discussions of legacy are promoted to provide a justification for massive expenditure on public events when the welfare state is being demolished (another reason I chose to avoid the games), the notion of legacy seems to be interpreted in two main ways, both of which could be seen as positive.

The first understanding of legacy seems to relate to the effects of the Paralympics on public attitudes to disabled people (and disabled people’s belief in themselves).  For example, Lord Coe spoke of the legacy of the Paralympics in terms of ‘a seismic effect in shifting public attitudes’ which would have lasting benefits. The second main way that legacy seems to be interpreted is in discussions of how we can provide better opportunities for disabled people to take up, or become more interested in sport.

Before I go on to talk a little more about legacy I just want to say that I don’t feel qualified to say anything about the gains made for disabled athletes per se and that questions such as this and how we map new territory for potential future athletes and paralympians are best answered by those who are involved, an area which is clearly outside my knowledge.

2. Legacy.

 My own lack of interest in sport of any kind is a position which seems to resonate with one of these central themes; such uninterest or beliefs that we are unsuited for sports, can be closely related to an array of cultural discourses which are persuasive in making people think sport and achievement is ‘not for them’ (from media representations, to PE teachers’ attitudes and public attitudes about the normal or ideal body). If the need to persuade more disabled people to take up sports is the major theme in legacy debates then part of the solution becomes one of how to build people’s ideas of their own personal value and to provide encouragement and facilities to seek higher forms of achievement, through better education leisure services and the media for example.  I am also ambivalent about ideas of achievement which can reinforce prescriptive ideas of social valued roles and lifestyles and am not convinced that disabled people are not inspired and motivated in the first place. In fact, I firmly believe that many disabled and ill people are being forced into such untenable circumstances that getting through the day can and should be seen in itself as an achievement against unsurmountable odds.

Media has a central role to play in this and much of the coverage I saw of the paralympians seemed to shift away from less pity-orientated representations towards images of disabled people as super-human. The Channel 4 campaign was actually named ‘meet the superhumans’,   reinforced by the title of Public Enemy’s song ‘Harder than you think’.  This advertisement, asking us to forget everything we previously thought, was arguably a preferable image to previous coverage of the Paralympics, in that it at least echoed the treatment given to non-disabled Olympic athletes, reflecting similar images of strength and invincibility. Statistics on audiences might indicate that these portrayals worked well with record-breaking audience figures; two thirds of people surveyed in a Channel 4 survey said that the coverage had a good impact on their perceptions of disabled people, and most viewers considered disabled people to be equally talented as non- disabled athletes (Channel 4 survey, BDRC continental and YouGov).

However, as positive as raising people’s aspirations to be superhuman may sound, I think it is crucial to examine how such concepts of achievement are ideologically loaded, how they feed the cult of celebrity culture and serve to maintain, or exacerbate, social hierarchies and cultural stereotypes which reinforce negative public attitudes and legitimate cuts in income and services etc, especially in this climate.

 Despite the dim view I am taking of legacy here, I do think that anyone who has high ambitions should be supported and get opportunities to pursue their goals but I think we should be wary of the way we use portrayals of success and that we should take a critical view of what we mean by legacy, particularly as this often seems to be a deficit-led concept, when used in discussions of the Paralympics and Olympics. I think this can work to distract us away from any real investments in our collective futures (such deficit led images were exemplified in a recent pro-sport advert I saw on the underground which was premised on the idea of channeling young, working class men’s tendencies towards violence into sporting achievements).

So, I believe that even the battle for defining legacy, on our terms, is going to be tough, framed as it is in individualistic terms of our lack, our need for motivation and the huge chasm between portrayals of elite athletes and images of ordinary disabled people, both of which are anchored in the emerging bio-psycho-social model of disability being promoted by the likes of UNUM and Atos (a major Paralympic sponsor). Debbie Jolly and others involved with DPAC have warned us of the dangers of the Americanised ‘can do’ ethos and the ‘new paralympian politics of the welfare state’ (i.e. the manufacturing of scarcity, the psychologising and demonization of disabled people and others amongst the poorest in society). Although I’m guessing that most of us are aware of this increasingly influential model of disability, for anyone who doesn’t, this new model is defined by UNUM in these terms:

‘Illness, Sickness and Incapacity are Psychosocial rather than medical problems. More and better healthcare is not the answer.’

Reflecting Cameron’s statement that the paralympics would ‘teach people what they can do, rather than what they can’t do’ it is obvious that the legacy of the Paralympics will be approached the same way in terms of sports provision; that it is up to us to improve our attitudes and slay all our barriers, that we should buy our opportunities rather than expect better provision for education, sports and cultural facilities.

On a slightly more positive note, in terms of legacy, I do feel that the Paralympics have provided an important site for contesting disabling imagery and attitudes, not least because they received such a wide audience but also because analysis of Paralympics coverage exposes some of the dilemmas of cultural imagery and public attitudes which have proved difficult to resolve. This event is one such opportunity and hopefully this will contribute to further change, especially in highlighting and challenging the dualistic ways in which media tends to work; in this case going from patronising portrayals of us as abject to images of superhumans, doing little to acknowledge the multiple realities of living with disability and impairment.

 

3. Before I finish I want to say something about segregation. There is another important issue I think we must grapple with; the continuing separation of disabled people from non-disabled people in sport (and elsewhere), and of course, the further separation of disabled people into the Paralympics and the Special Olympics.

 

An academic article, ‘Crippling Paralympics?: Media, Disability and Olympism’ (Goggin, Gerard; Newell, Christopher) argues that the paralympics fits well within the established power relations which oppress people with disability in society.

They say:

‘While there have been some changes and improvements, we contend that overwhelmingly, the separation between the Paralympics and Olympics is not questioned and that if the Paralympics are reported at all disabling media representations still very much persist’.

 

I understand that this is not a simple matter and understand some of the complexity for finding solutions to these dilemmas. I also want to mention here that this paralympian category of ‘disabled people’ is not inclusive due to the absence and the exclusion of people with learning difficulties who, as we all know, are further segregated in the special Olympics and importantly here from discussions of legacy.

Concluding comments

As you can see, I believe that the concept of legacy of the Paralympics and Olympics in overwhelmingly a political one. Sadly, it is my belief that any gains which may have been made in terms of the representations of disabled people and challenges towards public attitudes are marginal when considered against the kind of news coverage of disabled people found by Nick Watson’s study[i]. If Lord Coe was right in his analysis of the positive change in public attitudes, it is clear that there is much to be done in building on any gains made, and that we will need to fight to get a real legacy for all of us – starting with key areas such as employment, media representations, hate crimes, welfare which helps us live our lives, education, housing, public building and transport.

The Chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, Tim Hollingsworth said that the paralympics was successful in making people realise that disability is not the issue and that is the ‘quality of the individual’ and ‘their ability to do things that matter.’  Although this is clearly true for competitive sport it cannot be transferred to disabled people as a group without selling out to the bio-psycho-social model which poses a threat to so many of us.

Sep 272013
 

While New Labour are urging the condemns to sack Atos, let’s not lose sight of the real issue-that is that the WCA is not fit for purpose and must be scrapped!

The report contains coverage from the UK media put together in one place. It has hundreds of entries over the years up to Sept 2013

See: http://www.scribd.com/doc/170710160/DPAC-Report-Work-Capability-Assessment-UK-Media-Coverage

To read/download the report- along with other DPAC research reports on ILF, WCA and IDS lies.

Sep 272013
 
 Have you experienced the ‘Welfare to Work’ programme and would like to share your story? To time with reports that 93% of disabled people are being failed by the programme, I plan to write a feature on this issue for New Statesman – and having a few case studies is so important to showing the reality. Contributions can of course be anonymous if needed. I’d really appreciate anyone willing to help with this.
Please get in touch on frances.ryan18@btinternet.com (please don’t use the comment form below as I don’t want to miss you!). Thanks very much.’
@frances__ryan
http://differentprinciples.co.uk/about/

 

 Posted by at 13:02
Sep 212013
 

The Disability Research Consortium (DRC) includes a range of partners from active disability user-led organisations and grass roots groups. They include DPAC, Inclusion London, Equal Lives ( formerly NCODP) and ALLFIE. We are asking disabled people to tell us what key things that need to change? Which barriers need to be broken in the long term? How can we make this happen together?

We believe that disabled people need to lead the change and take our issues forward. The questions here will help towards that process, and towards our fight-back on our lives and independence. Any questions please email: DisabilityRC@gmail.com

 We thank you in advance for taking the time to fill in the survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WYZVQXV

drc logo

 Twitter: @DisabilityDRC

Sep 202013
 

Ed Miliband’s pledge that a future Labour Government will rescind the Bedroom Tax is welcome news to all who have been fighting to Axe the Tax since its introduction in April. The Bedroom Tax is indeed ‘a nasty Tory tax’

Opposition to the Bedroom Tax was already widespread. Last week delegates to the Lib Dem annual conference voted for ‘an immediate review of the impact’ of the Bedroom Tax policy and its ‘affect on vulnerable tenants’. The Chief executive of the National Federation of Housing Associations, David Orr, describes the bedroom tax as the ‘economics of the madhouse’. The UN investigator Raquel Rolnik reported evidence that in the field of housing ‘human right violations’ have occurred, and she recommended the Bedroom Tax be abolished. UNISON leader Dave Prentis has called on Labour Councils to make sure there is no eviction of tenants facing Bedroom Tax rent arrears. Across Scotland militant opposition to the Bedroom Tax has ensured that landlords are adopting No Eviction policies.

Support for the Bedroom Tax is now restricted to a handful of Cabinet ministers. Pressure is now on the Tories to conduct a ‘review,’ and then scrap the Bedroom Tax.

Ellen Clifford  from Disabled People Against Cuts said “This is a welcome move by Labour. Not only is the bedroom tax cruel and unjust, it is also completely unworkable, costing millions more to implement than it could ever save. But people suffering under it need action now, they can’t wait for a general election. Labour councils must now pledge no evictions for anyone in arrears as a result of so-called welfare reform.”

With Labour now committed to Axe the Tax the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation demands that:

1. Labour Councils, and Labour Councillors who sit on the Boards of Social Housing Providers, immediately ensure that there will be no eviction of tenants, and that the threats of eviction end immediately.

2. A future Labour Government must ensure that central government repays all bedroom tax amounts retrospectively to 1st April 2013, and reimburses tenants with all court and bailiff fees incurred as a result of the Bedroom Tax.

3. That revenue to pay for this should be raised by an under occupancy surcharge on owners of two or more mansions. This money should be paid direct to landlords to satisfy arrears and leave neither social landlords nor their tenants burdened with debt.

For more information contact Ellen Clifford on 07505144371, ellenrclifford@btinternet.com.

1) The Anti Bedroom tax and benefit justice federation was launched earlier this year bringing together grassroots campaigns opposed to attacks on social security and housing from across England and Wales including Disabled People Against Cuts, Defend Council Housing and local anti bedroom tax campaigns. www.antibedroomtax.org

2) UN rapporteur Raquel Rolnik met with members of the Federation and DPAC, and heard powerful testimonies from those directly affected by it http://dpac.uk.net/2013/09/un-investigator-recommends-for-bedroom-tax-to-be-scrapped-immediately/

Sep 182013
 

In 2005 I had been a retired philosophy teacher in the Netherlands for several years. Pensioned civil servants were entitled to a rebate on their medical costs. It wasn’t much, but I liked this State-run system, called ZVO. In that year the international consultancy firm KPMG began managing ZVO. It worked well until 1 Jan 2006, when the Dutch healthcare system was almost completely privatized (the first in the EU). ZVO was abolished in order to enact a new health insurance law [1]. KPMG engineered this by paying out less and less each year after that, ‘to ease the pain,’ as we were told. I did not know that ZVO was outsourced to KPMG in 2005.

Privatization gave the insurers near-total control over medical financing. Provisions were dangerously downgraded, to increase profits. In December 2008 a specialist informed me that I had a life-threatening illness. I was 66 and found an age limit of 65 for adequate treatment. I moved to Uppsala Sweden, where specialists saved my life [2]. How could the supposedly humanitarian EU allow such practices (many residents were disadvantaged)? I decided to investigate and stumbled upon Atos, an information technology (IT) company that began by fusing the French IT firm Origin and part of Philips (Dutch) in 1996. It acquired the British and Dutch divisions of KPMG Consultancy in 2002 [3], was named Atos Origin and became Atos after further expansion in 2011[4].

The firm’s Atos Healthcare section (UK) began work for DWP in 1998. It is contracted to them through to 2015 [5]. Its morally and medically questionable disability benefit assessment programme has received a good deal of publicity. The revelations, including claims of at least 10,600 resultant deaths, are forcing a reorganisation of this work [6].

 In 2009 Mark Britnell, a former high NHS civil servant, became ‘Head of Healthcare, Europe and UK’ for KPMG; he is now an advisor to the British government. At an international health conference organised by industry in 2010, he remarked that ‘[T]he NHS will be shown no mercy’ in the coming privatizations, and that it would be ‘a state insurance provider, not a state deliverer’ [7]. In effect, it will take your money and distribute it to many businesses, from groups of GPs upwards. The need for profits in this model will necessarily reduce the quality and quantity of care, since when profits are subtracted from the total insurance input, less cash is available for reinvestment. This is happening in Sweden and the Netherlands now, with variations due to differences in their political systems.

Britnell might well be influencing the privatization of the NHS. Since KPMG’s Dutch branch was part of Atos Origin in 2006, its financial destruction of ZVO helped privatize healthcare in the Netherlands. Atos is not just an IT company: it is a danger to EU public health [8].

                                             

1.     http://vpwnet.wordpress.com/2006/02/02/einde_van_de_zvo_regeling/

2.      I describe this affair in Red Pepper, June/July 2009.

3.      http://atos.net/en-us/home/we-are/news/press-release/2002/pr-2002_06_05_01.html

4.      http://atos.net/en-us/home/we-are/company-profile/company-history.html

5.      http://www.atoshealthcare.com/claimants/in_partnership_with_the_dwp

6.      http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/new-call-to-put-dwpatos-on-trial-for-manslaughter/. Caution is advised here. Although the government released the figure of 10,600 deaths in nine months of 2011, we do not know how many of these are directly attributable to the assessment regime, e.g. from stress, cardiovascular issues, and undiagnosed or untreated illnesses. (Atos does not investigate these. It looks only at basic behavioural and mental capacities, not medical causes of incapacity.)

7.      http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/issues/lobbying/item/5343-%E2%80%9Cthe-nhs-will-be-shown-no-mercy-says-cameron-health-adviser, http://www.powerbase.info/images/f/fe/Apax_Healthcare_conference_2010.pdf.

8.      I am indebted to Andy Cropper for ideas, information and support during the past year or so. He has done us a service by compiling this thread of data about the NHS:

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150607105601288.

    George Berger, Uppsala Sweden, 10 September 2013

With many thanks to George for his permission to repost on DPAC

Originally posted at http://www.dorseteye.com/north/articles/atos-kpmg-and-the-nhs-be-afraid-be-very-afraid

Sep 182013
 

Apply by phone or email

edgeapplication@riseup.net

03001231965/07767126915

We support work that: is run by and for people facing discrimination and injustice who are actively challenging injustice and/or aims to create systemic change by replacing structures and processes that create oppression, inequality and environmental destruction.

We support individuals in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England who are unlikely to be funded elsewhere.

Answer these questions by 5pm on Monday 14th Oct in less than two pages

1. Who are you/your group?

2. How much money do you raise every year to fund your work?

3. What do you do?

4. How do you meet the guidelines above?

5. Briefly how much do you need and what for? (max £5,000)

www.edgefund.org.uk/how- to- apply

 EDGE apps

 

 

 

 

Sep 172013
 

On the 14th October, five ILF users will appeal against the previous court decision that the ILF consultation was carried out fairly at the Royal Courts of Justice. DPAC will be there again and, again have a vigil outside the courts to show support-we will update with further details as they become available.

The initial court case showed that the funds for ILF when transferred to local authorities will cover just one year, something that local authorities did not appear to be made aware of by this Government. A write up from those documents can be found here: http://dpac.uk.net/2013/03/summary-of-secret-correspondence-from-the-dwp-to-mcvey-on-the-ilf-closure/

In the meantime you might like to see some of the stories from those at risk of losing the support to independent living at http://dpac.uk.net/independent-living-fund/