Persecuting Those in Greatest Need

Toxic welfare policies did not start with the 2010 Coalition Government, many began under New Labour.

The role of New Labour 

Author: Mo Stewart

Following twelve years of Conservative led administration, there are no limits to the demonstrated political resistance to funding for those in greatest need as the politics of fear continues in the UK when masquerading as social policies.

In order to remove the past psychological security provided by the UK welfare state it was necessary to first create a culture of disability denial, with relentless political statements claiming that many disability benefit claimants were guilty of fraud, for which little evidence other than political rhetoric was ever provided. The demonization of disability benefit claimants conducted by the Coalition administration (2010-15) benefitted from relentless national press banner headlines, with accusations against those in greatest need which successfully created a stigma attached to claiming benefits.

The social re-engineering required to eventually demolish the psychological security once provided by the welfare state was begun by the Coalition administration (2010-15), in order to justifiy austerity measures, as the social security safety net was systematically demolished by successive administrations as Thatcher’s ‘dark legacy’ was gradually created by adopting a culture of cruelty.

The future preventable harm of those in greatest need was guaranteed when introduced in 2008, when the Brown New Labour administration (2007-2010) adopted the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as the new long-term sickness and disability benefit. In order to access the benefit, claimants were required to tolerate a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), designed to limit benefit access, with UK social policies influenced by corporate America since 1992.

There is a tendency to overlook the fact that it was the Blair New Labour administration who continued Thatcher’s neoliberal agenda to, eventually, demolish the UK welfare state. It was the Blair administration (1997-2007) who commissioned research in 2005 to justify the adoption of the flawed and totally discredited Waddell-Aylward biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment, as introduced for the WCA whilst totally disregarding clinical need. Exposed as representing ‘policy-based evidence’ and that it ‘does not represent evidence-based policy’, the Waddell-Aylward BPS model of assessment failed all academic scrutiny, yet the DWP use it to continue to justify the WCA.

Death was always a likely consequence for many when clinical need is overlooked in any disability ‘non-medical functional assessment’, as adopted due to political ideology with the introduction of the WCA in 2008, which continued with Blair’s mission to make accessing disability benefit as difficult as possible due to rising welfare costs.

Further restrictions to the ESA were created when the Cameron coalition administration (2010-2015) introduced increased coercion masquerading as austerity measures. Brutal penalties in the form of sanctions were increased, which stopped all income often for months. The excessive use of sanctions for often minor transgressions guaranteed that many of those in greatest need would starve to death when successfully persecuted and, eventually, ‘killed by the state’ - with no-one held to account.

Disturbing suicide numbers directly linked to the WCA were disregarded by successive administrations, as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reject all published evidence which identifies the public health crisis generated since social policies were adopted using a fiscal priority whilst totally disregarding health and wellbeing.

Published figures identified that the numbers of fake disability benefit claims in the DWP’s own published figures were only 0.5% of claimants, which meant that 99.5% of disability benefit claimants were genuine. So, why are disability benefit claimants persecuted by the State apart from political ideology, which is devoted to the removal of the UK welfare state as the DWP continue to create a mental health crisis when demonstrating a catastrophic indifference to human need.

The publisher is Citizen Network Research. Persecuting Those In Greatest Need © Mo Stewart 2023.

Article | 02.03.23

disability, politics, England, Article

Mo Stewart


Independent Disability Studies Researcher

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