Monday, 11 October 2010

North East Scotland target of govt welfare reforms

Talk about using Scotland as a testing ground as happened with the Poll Tax.

Except this is the North East region of Scotland that is the target of the British government which will affect claimants in Aberdeen, Banff, Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

The BBC report is below or click here to read it in full.

Incapacity benefit claimants in north-east Scotland and Burnley in Lancashire are to be the first to be reassessed ahead of UK-wide welfare reform.

Those deemed fit enough to work, using a points-based system, will be moved to the jobseeker's allowance.

Mental health and disability charities have already questioned the effectiveness of the test, claiming that it does not "distinguish accurately" between those able to work and those who cannot

"We believe that this test is fundamentally flawed," Richard Hawkes, chief executive of Scope, said.

"It asks people to do things like pick up a coin off the floor or can they take their pen out of their top pocket. The test does not ask people what previous work they have done, it doesn't ask people what support they might require in the work place."

There are already concerns about the way incapacity benefit tests are being conducted.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has reported a 57% increase in the number of people challenging the outcomes of their tests and mental health charity Mind says that, in 40% of cases, initial verdicts are being overturned at appeal.

"From all the claimants I have met, I believe the vast majority have been genuine," CAB's Paul Hogarth, who has supported 60 people at tribunals in Burnley over the past year and won in 85% of cases, told Today.

"It comes back to the fact 'is the pressure on the medical professionals to fail the vast majority of these claimants or is it going to be a genuine assessment?"

The full extent of the welfare cuts will be announced in the comprehensive spending review later this month.

No comments: