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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Inequality, Health Insurance and ILF (Independent Living Fund)

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club — aka 'Spurs' — has gained some infamy in recent years for links between its stadium expansion plans and the gentrification of Tottenham, as well as providing case study exemplification in how a multi-million pound corporation can screw money out of Council Tax payers. (Council homes in Love Lane were demolished so that Spurs' corporate customers would not have to walk through a council estate!) Yet a story broadcast on the London regional news output of BBC TV and ITV on Monday 16 February gives another prime example regarding social inequality in modern Britain and much more.

ITV reports Spurs found liable for player's brain damage [sic], while the BBC website reports Tottenham Hotspur liable for player brain damage [sic]. (Very much in line with capitalist thinking, the term 'brain damage' suggests, perhaps, that the brain is a piece of merchandise. I would much prefer use of the term 'brain injury', and people with brain injury are all too frequently labelled 'brain damaged' as a derogatory term.) This compensation arises from the apparent negligence of Spurs as an employer to one of their former playing staff members Radwan Hamed who had a heart attack while he was playing in a match for them. (Spurs were held 70% liable and the the Football Association's Regional Cardiologist for South-East England 30% liable.)

Of course, in awarding the compensation which could reach £7m for the injury incurred in a 2006 youth game, loss of potential earnings would be a major factor. Such are footballers' wages and potential wage losses. Sadly however, not all disabled people have such a good starting point in life. The Independent Living Fund has previously provided some finanancial buffering for the most severely disabled people. But the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition has determined to eliminate that while shedding reponsibility for ILF's aftermath onto the councils that the same Government has determined should forever cut expenditure and have fewer resources.

That is the same Government that has maintained that the deaths of disabled people via the Atos inquisition has nothing to do with the actions of this Government. But of course, they have the right wing press and the BBC largely on their side as well as highly paid lawyers paid out of the public purse, and family-based carers are not so fortunate.

This is what comes from successive UK Governments being 'advised' on 'welfare reform' by an American health insurance company called Unum since 1994.

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