Friday, 9 March 2012

Simple or sinister?

Is common sense so obvious that it gets overlooked?
If it looks simple do we have to complicate it because we find it hard to believe just how straight forward it really is?
Or am I simplifying something that is far more sinister?
Let me explain what I mean
The problems with the DLA and ESA ....
They claimed that they needed costly ATOS to verify who was actually sick/disabled and root out the cheats?
Ok, I can agree with that, no one wants fraud in the system.
So they take a system that works ok but is unable to assure the public that it is efficient in its ferocity to check that those who were once entitled are indeed still entitled, but instead of tweaking it in a cost effective way to carry out those checks and satisfy the public that these benefits are not harbouring lazy workshy layabouts they pay an IT company hundreds of thousands of taxpayers money to completely dismantle a system and bring in another. Let's face it this new system has so many holes in it you could drive a tractor through them and the taxpayer is paying over and over for its mistakes.
So what would I suggest?
Medical notes, a patient has medical notes don't they? Notes that are kept about your health by your GP, any consultants etc you may see, kept up to date and relevant to your medical condition.
I am pretty sure if you have a long term health condition, sickness, disability there will be mention of it in your medical notes?
There will surely be a description of what the condition is and how it is affecting you.
If, for instance you went to your GP 3 years ago with a bad back and were treated for it and then there was never any further mention of it again in your notes then we could assume that it was no longer a problem.
If however your notes continued to show referral to consultant, medications prescribed etc etc we could assume the problem was on going.
Yes I agree I am over simplifying it and yes I also agree there may on occasion need to be further investigation as the medical notes may not give full picture etc but why not work on these lines? Cheaper? More effective? Fairer?
I would rather see money going to our GPs to maybe have some kind of system involving them than give it to a French IT company who have no medical knowledge and whose sole purpose appears to be to get as many claimants off benefits as possible.......sinister?
Housing is my next target...
So now if you need housing benefit you are going to be forced to leave your home if you have a spare bedroom, I am not talking about people living it up with 3 or 4 spare rooms, I am talking about 1 room that 'they' deem to be not needed regardless of what your needs may be. Grandparents will no longer be able to have their grandchildren to stay overnight, disabled will not be entitled to a room for carers or medical equipment.
Again this has been brought in with no thought of the consequences. If people are forced out of their homes where are they to go?
Many I suspect will hang on for as long as possible, struggling to find the extra money needed and/or getting into debt before ? Well before what?
Will councils evict for arrears of rent? To what end? If the person/people they evict are considered vulnerable then they will still have a duty to house them unless that law has been changed too since I last worked with housing law. There will not be sufficient smaller properties around so I presume we will be looking at many more in B&Bs, who is this helping?
What an unnecessary spiral of hardship for all concerned.
There is no short term answer to this one, the only answer is investment in more social housing, something that has been sadly lacking for many many years.
Workfare is my last gripe on this blog...
I certainly do not disagree with the idea of offering the long term unemployed the opportunity to sample employment, the very act of getting up and going to work is in itself a boost to anyone's self confidence.
But to force people to do a 30hour week for large companies or for any company for the amount of their benefit is to my mind demeaning them as a person.
What reward are they getting for the effort they are putting in?
What are they learning about working?
What skills are they acquiring?
Take me (my husband wishes someone would lol) I am a Dr of Psychology, I am disabled with a progressive condition and yet according to the government I could be sent on workfare.
What do you think I would gain from doing a night shift stacking shelves at Tesco? What would I gain from working a shift in MacDonalds?
So let's be sensible here, if there were jobs available, if those jobs were able to teach new skills to long term unemployed, if the person was assured of the chance of a job at the end of the training if they proved suitable and finally if the company were giving that person a wage packet to let them feel the benefit of being employed then I would be the first to applaud the scheme but as it stands now all it is doing is causing resentment against the companies seen to be benefitting from this 'free' labour as they take people for a set period, use them and then replace them with the next lot.
Good idea badly executed.....lack of common sense? Trying to work things out too much? Or is it really more sinister?
I am not political and am the first to admit to having virtually no understanding of such things but I do know what affects me and my family and those around me and often wonder why things are done in such a muddled way.....
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


ronniemcdiarmid said...

Well said Penny, the whole thing is demeaning
as you say there are simpler and more cost effective ways of doing everything, the present condom, (sorry hon, I meant con-dem, spelling corrector on iPad, may have got the measure of them) administration is only out for themselves and private sector, their own sort in other words :-( the last con gov sold off all the jewels, the stuff we all owned, to those who could afford it (their own sort)
And when these businesses fail we have to bail them out, whilst the ones at the top are still paying themselves huge salaries and bonuses. (their own sort)
When the cons are in office, we are never far away from Victorian class distinctions and attitudes.
This time they are taking money from our stretched welfare system to give to their own sort. They have nothing else of ours to sell except our dignity, and that's what they are doing
I remember the yts scheme, it was abused so much, just as you have mentioned in your blog
You write so eloquently Penny, a true champion for the cause, keep up the good work :-)
Take care my friend

feline9 said...

It is all too depressing, and I agree with your comments. When I had been unemployed for a few years after major surgery on my spine, I went to a back to work training center and learned to type and word processing, got to take exams too, then was supposed to go on work placement with the only addition to benefits was extra travel expenses up to £10 per week. I was thrown out of the 1st place as they wanted me to go to work in a wee office with 2 middle aged men in the wine import business. They worked from an old house at the end of a long overgrown pathway, next door to one of the worst pubs in Edinburgh. When I went there I was taken in a car, where as I would have been expected to walk(?) there were needles, used condoms etc etc all the way down the side of the path. They expelled me for refusing - there way no way on this earth I was doing that! I was sent to another training center, and after a short time the lady who owned it asked me to work there and she would give me £40 a week in my hand, then properly employed me to the run up to her selling up, so I would have on my CV.

But even then, all those years ago and under a different system, you were lucky if it ended up as a good and worthwhile experience, and they had you by the short and curlies as they could expel and report you and risk losing all your benefit. I think they knew they had no leg to stand on with me as they found me the other placement.