Thursday, April 23, 2015

Basic Income as opposed to benefits

A letter replying to a disabled constituent asking about benefits:

As a GP I have known many people who were clearly unable to work. In my time they were given long term certification, which we renewed every year or so.

Now there is a mindset that anyone in receipt of benefits is a malingerer until proven otherwise. Certification has been taken away from GPs and put in the hands of commercial companies who have targets to fulfil, targets of the percentage of claimants that they judge to be fit to work. This means inevitably that some will be misclassified.  This policy change has been accompanied by a programme of vicious propaganda directed against disabled and ill people by the right wing press (whose readership outnumbers centre-left press by 3:1).

The testing is a stressful event for people who already live under constant stress due to illness and disability. There are many stories of people dying within days and weeks of being judged fit to work by Atos.

"of those who had been put into the 'Work Related Activity Group' (which prepares claimants for future work), 1300 died within 6 weeks"

The Green Party takes the view that all citizens should receive a dividend of the nation's common wealth as a right of citizenship - a Basic Income - irrespective of work status. If they go to work, their BI is unaffected. This system is very simple and straightforward, and saves a vast amount of administrative work. It can be introduced gradually via Green Wage Subsidy.
Sick and disabled people would receive a supplement to their BI to help meed their needs.

If someone can work, by sewing or ironing, say, they can do it. BI is not affected.

That is our approach. Simple, easy, humane, but unfortunately, like many green policies, distorted and misunderstood by a biased media.

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