Tag: IDS

Our friends Jayne Linney & Debbie Sayers have appeared in an article on The Mirror website

Our friends Jayne Linney and Debbie Sayers have appeared in an article on The Mirror website entitled: “The number is finally up for ‘cruel and incompetent’ Iain Duncan Smith”. I have personally supported their campaign through this website, on Facebook & Twitter and am delighted to hear they have got some more national press coverage after their extraordinary achievement of reaching over 100,000 signatures on their e-petition to parliament. Debbie Sayers also wrote her own article on this website giving some background on the petition, herself and Jayne and their quest for accountability. (see all articles written by Debbie Sayers)

The Mirror article is well worth a read and will provide you with the latest update on this long running story. It also features a picture of Debbie & Jayne so regular readers can now put faces to names as well. I’m not going to cover the latest instalment in detail as its all in the article but needless to say I am anxious to see IDS in front of a select committee answering questions on the subject. I do feel there is a complete lack of accountability when it comes to our politicians and often the only opportunity the public get to act is in the form of a general election every four years. It is also staggering to think it takes over 100,000 people to hold an MP to account for his misuse of statistics and even then its far from guaranteed.

Links

Jayne Linney: Blog Twitter
Debbie Sayers: Blog Twitter
The article on The Mirror website entitled: “The number is finally up for ‘cruel and incompetent’ Iain Duncan Smith” published 20the November 2013

Background articles about this story on our website

Fighting Iain Duncan Smith and Our Stats Campaign published 27th August 2013
Iain Duncan Smith not appearing before Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points published 27th July 2013
Successful E-Petition on benefits heads to parliament published 19th July 2013


Fighting Iain Duncan Smith and Our Stats Campaign

It seems lately that every day another minister for the DWP has something disastrous to say about claimants. The whole scroungers rhetoric took on a new slant in the beginning months of this year with statistics like, 71% of DLA recipients on life time awards left to languish un checked and 8,000 move in to work because of the benefit cap. These sorts of figures, of which there are numerous, are hard enough to swallow at the best of times, and these are far from the best of times. For disability campaigners it is hard to almost daily, see stats we know cannot be true, banded about like the crock of gold at the end of the welfare reform rainbow.

This is how our campaign started really, we were both on Facebook both bemoaning yet another press release from Esther McVey that announced another appalling stat that both Jayne and I knew to be nonsense; I said “someone should right an open letter to that woman”, Jayne replied “are you up for it” and I think my reply was, “what me!’” and it went from there. We drafted an Open Letter to Esther McVey the Minister for Disabled People and put it up on line asking people to sign it; over the space of a month or so, 866 people signed the letter and left comments, some angry, some supportive of what we where trying to do, and some harrowing stories of Work Capability Assessments and hardship brought about by the so called reforms.

Whilst we were promoting the open letter and collecting signatures Jayne approached change.org about setting up a petition. It had been decided early on to send a copy of the open letter to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, including any comments along with the list of signatories, asking them to investigate the misuse of statistics by the DWP. We sent a copy of the letter and signatures to Dame Anne Begg the chair of the select committee, and continued to update her as the open letter grew. So it made sense to address the petition to the same Work and Pensions Select Committee, given their particular interest in the open letter and pages of comments. They W&PSC are responsible for monitoring how changes in policy and laws, effect people on the ground and can investigate when things go astray; they can also investigate MPs behaviour.

We launched our petition and waited to see what would happen, not really expecting very much and we were pleasantly surprised when it started to climb quite quickly. In the mean time we had closed the open letter and sent both a hard copy (by special delivery) and an email copy to Esther McVey, and several other politicians. We had discovered after launching our letter that many other people were trying to get some action to stop the DWP ministers misusing stats; from other disability groups, through to MPs and even members of the select committee, so it seemed our letter and petition were timely.

We sat back and waited for a reply from Esther McVey…….. None came….. But…. The petition with change.org had succeeded spectacularly; currently standing at 100,593, it has also been mentioned in several national newspapers including the Guardian and the Newstatesman.

After a month or so we decided we needed to nudge the DWP regarding a response to the open letter, and so we wrote a second letter asking for such a reply; this was both emailed and hand delivered to Esther McVey’s office by a fellow campaigner. This time we didn’t wait and we drafted a template letter for supporters to send to their MPs asking them to find out why the open letter had been ignored. This got us an official reply very quickly, but it didn’t answer any of our original points and was very dismissive; we forwarded this to Ann Begg who did not seem amused, nor were we.

A few days later we were contacted by Anne Begg to inform us that…

“we will be questioning the Secretary of State himself on the use of Statistics as part of his evidence session on the Department’s Annual Report which will be at 9.30 am on Wednesday 4th September.”

Unfortunately the wheels of parliament run slowly and a couple of weeks later we received another email…

“Just to let you know that we are having to postpone our evidence session with the Secretary of State as the DWP won’t have published its Annual Report until after the House returns in October. As the Sept session was to include both the finances of the dept as well as its use of statistics, it is better that we have the information from the Annual Report before quizzing IDS.”

I don’t yet have a date for the session but will let you know once I know.’

So this is where we are now; we have in the pipeline another letter to Esther McVey demanding a proper and considered reply from her and not a sectary, and we have October to look forward to. We also hope to be handing our petition in to Liz Kendel MP outside the Houses of Parliament, where she will then submit it to the floor of the House of Commons. We are trying to arrange this as close to the date we get from the W&PSC, for the meeting with Iain Duncan Smith, as possible; adding the voice of over a hundred thousand people to those MPs and campaign groups that have also called for the committee to investigate.

In the mean time we intend to keep collecting signatures and evidence of the misuses of stats by MPs and Ministers and continue to try to get a reply from the disabilities minister.

Jayne and I had met some time before all this, on facebook and twitter and we are mutual members of many FB disability campaign groups; we have both in the last few years become increasingly involved in various campaigns and campaign groups. Jayne describes herself as a fifty(ish), disabled woman (including Fibro) who worked full time for over thirty years as a community activist, adult tutor & counsellor whilst also raising her, now adult children; until her health degenerated to a point her GP compelled her to leave employment 4 years ago. Since then she’s been fighting the system to claim contribution based ESA & DLA she’s had 4 ATOS assessments and has been through 3 reconsiderations, where she had to persuade DWP decision makers, that her Dr & consultants are actually correct and 2 tribunals (both successful). The trauma of these experiences alongside battling with officers at her Local Authority for Housing/Council Tax benefit on each occasion has made her very cynical about the rationale behind all of the ‘Welfare Reform’ cuts. She is also a carer for her partner who also has a chronic long-term condition.

As for myself I am a 48 yr old mum with Fibromyalgia diagnosed 17 yrs ago, I have a six yr old with SPD, and I’m a carer for my partner who has bone cancer and MSSA bone infection.
I get DLA and I have a job. I’m a community education art lecturer, I work with people with mental health problems, and I also have my own business that I’m struggling to keep a float with no help, because I don’t meet the DWP’s minimum income floor for the work programme.

I got involved with the We are Spartacus Network a couple of months after I had my own ESA assessment; which was a month before I was due to go self employed (what a waste of money that was), I was found ‘Fit for Work” no big surprise, even considering I am still ill. I am also a co founder of Disability Matters UK a disabled person led disability organisation.

I have watched my students and sick and disabled friends fall foul of the ESA process; people who ARE genuinely sick and disabled being left with next to nothing to live on and living in fear of the PIP assessments to come. And I have watched these same people as they bang their heads against a wall this government has created, a wall fashioned out of spin and misinformation to discredit all claimants of DLA, so they appear to be fakers, even though the fraud rate of DLA is a tiny 0.5%. The reality of these people’s lives is so much worse than most can imagine.

Iain Duncan Smith in his capacity as Minister for the DWP and the 4 junior ministers under his authority since the coalition was formed, have all persistently misused statistics and rhetoric to justify the changes to Social Security.

We feel it is important that ministers do not misuse statistics to push forward with controversial policies – Ministers have:
A) Duty to Parliament to account, and be held to account, for the policies, decisions and actions of their departments and agencies,
B) N/A
C) It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister,
D) Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest, which should be decided in accordance with the relevant statutes and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Ministerial Code

It is important ministers take responsibility not only themselves but also for their ministerial team’s actions and this is why we wrote the Open Letter to Esther MCVey and started the Petition to ask the Work and Pensions Select committee to investigate.

Since writing this we have had a second hand reply via Michael Meacher MP who received a reply from Ester McVey in reply to his query about us having not had an adequate reply it is long winded and basically doesn’t answer anything … We will be following it up…

Thanks for spending time and spoons to read this I know its long Phew!
Jayne and Debbie

Groups we are involved with…
WOW Petition
Deaep
We Are Spartacus Network
Disability Community UK Facebook Group
Disability Matters UK (Blog)
Disability Matters Facebook Page
UK Fibro Facebook Group
Cornwall Fibro Facebook Group
Talk about Fibro/ CFS/ ME Only Facebook Group
Cancer support for Partners and Carers Facebook Group

Our Blogs
Jayne Linney
Debbie Sayers Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

Background articles about this story on our website

Iain Duncan Smith not appearing before Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points published 27th July 2013
Successful E-Petition on benefits heads to parliament published 19th July 2013


Iain Duncan Smith not appearing before Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points

This is an update to the original story published on 19th July 2013:Successful E-Petition on benefits heads to parliament

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) was supposed to be attending the Work and Pensions Select Committee on 4th September 2013 to answer questions about his use of statistics to make political points. This was the official response to a successful “E-Petition”(over 100,000 signatures) filed by Jayne Linney from Leicester and her friend Debbie Sayers.

However Jayne Linney has posted an update on her website after she received the news he would not be attending to answer questions on 4th September as planned. To explain the latest this is the update from Jayne Linney:

After last week’s post where we confirmed IDS WOULD be attending the W&P Select on Sept 4; we now have yet a further update!!

Sheila Gilmore MP yesterday wrote:

“I am afraid that IDS is now NOT coming to the meeting on September 4. This was always going to be a session on the Department’s annual report as well as the statistics and apparently the Annual Report is not ready. A new date is being sought but this is now unlikely to be before October, which is extremely disappointing”

Clearly this is NOT what we want but there’s nothing we can do except continue with our plans to formally submit our petition to Parliament; actual date to follow; this is disappointing to say the least but it makes our petition all the more relevant as it reads – “Work & Pensions Committee: Hold IDS to account for his use of statistics”.

Entering 100,492+ signatures into the Commons should help the members of the W&P Select ensure that IDS DOES attend in Oct & that he IS held to account. So we ask you all to continue to work with and share, Tweet ,talk about the petition and let’s do everything we can to make sure IDS DOES is made to answer for his Untruths and to remind Parliament WE the People Deserve the TRUTH!

Further Reading

The original “E-Petition” filed by Jayne Linney & Debbie Sayers
Jayne Linney announces her and Debbie Sayers petition has reached 100,000 signatures (12/06/13)
UPDATE – IDS WILL answer for misusing Stats (on Jayne Linney’s website)
Jayne Linney’s website
Debbie Sayers website
Jayne Linney on Twitter
Debbie Sayers on Twitter
HM Government “e-petitions” website


My Twitter Feed

  • Copyright © 2012 My Fibromyalgia All rights reserved