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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Brexit as a lever for further Tory attacks on our rights

A KUWG member has asked me to publish the below as a blog post after I had e-mailed it to him as an update on the Green Party's response to Labour's 2008 'welfare reform green paper'.
I suspect that the Tories are seeing Brexit as an opportunity to further attack disabled and other people's rights by rewriting our laws. The EU has a Working Time Directive that limits the hours that Brits have to work, for example. http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/?s=Working+time+directive&x=0&y=0

Remember Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary saying that Britons should learn to work "more like the Chinese"? https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/oct/05/hunt-tax-credit-cuts-make-britons-work-like-chinese-or-americans
The Chinese 'guolaosi' would think differently, no doubt. As Johann Hari reported in the Independent in 2010:
"Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories that they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates that 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us. Li had never experienced any health problems, his family says, until he started this work schedule; Foxconn say he died of asthma and his death had nothing to do with them. The night Li died, yet another Foxconn worker committed suicide – the tenth this year."
Souce: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-and-now-for-some-good-news-2044578.html
There is also this involving the Justice Minister

It fits in with Naomi Klein's concept of 'disaster capitalism' as turning catastrophes into opportunities for more of Milton Friedman's
"holy trinity" -- privatization, deregulation and cuts to social spending -- in which governments dismantle trade barriers, abandon public ownership, reduce taxes, eliminate the minimum wage, cut health and welfare spending, and privatize education. She calls the means of achieving this goal "disaster capitalism" and describes how it has resulted in a worldwide redistribution of income and wealth to the already rich at the expense of economic solvency for the middle and lower classes.
As was merely touched upon in Writing off Workfare by Anne Gray and myself in 2008, UK 'welfare reforms' since the time Peter Lilley was the responsible government minister/secretary of state have been strongly influenced by dodgy American health insurance giant Unum who regard the UK as a 'potential market'. Medically retired RAF veteran and health care professional Mo Stewart has elaborated much of this with documentation.

Fundamental to the way the UN Disability Committee regards disability is the Social Model of Disability. http://www.mdpi.com/2075-471X/5/3/35
The Social Model of Disability focuses on physical, economic and social barriers to the inclusion of people with impairments that makes us disabled. That perspective is fundamental to Green Party of England & Wales policy on disability. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/dy.html

Unum's model is called the 'bio-psychosocial model' and is fundamental to the Health & Work Programme and its 'psycho-coercion'. Useful links on this include:
Unum is not the only global company involved in UK 'welfare reforms'. The principal contractor for the 'Universal Credit' IT deal is Accenture. The subcontractor for the forms used for online application for UC is Atos!

Accenture, incidentally, is now providing much of the reporting for centre-right think tank Reform.uk in its promotion of 'digital jobcentres' and more, much more.
"... The future of public services: digital jobcentres, sets out the opportunity to transform public employment services in the UK. This paper is the fourth in a series, conducted in partnership with Accenture, which looks at the role technology will play in the future delivery of public services. "Jobcentre Plus – the UK’s public employment service – won plaudits for its performance over the financial crisis, but the story may be different if Brexit triggers an economic slowdown. The introduction of in-work services under Universal Credit will increase demand, while the Work and Health Programme will require jobcentres to take a more central role in the delivery of disability employment support services."
Source: http://www.reform.uk/publication/the-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres/

What were the sources of those 'plaudits' that "Jobcentre Plus — the UK's public employment service — won ... for its performance over the financial crisis"? One of those sources, as I recall, was David Cameron and I think the other was the National Audit Office. You can find out for yourself at http://www.reform.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres.pdf
and remember that Reform.uk is a registered charity. See also https://www.google.com/search?q=nao+dwp

Had they spoken to the people that blogger Kate Belgrave talks to in her 'Talking with people dealing with public sector cuts' blog, no doubt they would have got a different story regarding how well the Department for Work & Pensions has performed.  https://www.katebelgrave.com/?s=dwp&submit=Search and https://www.katebelgrave.com/?s=dwp+foi&submit=Search

Alan WheatleyCo-author of 'Writing off Workfare', writing in a personal capacity

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