Saturday 14 August 2010

The Report

Radio 4's The Report this Thursday Aug 12th was about ATOS, IB, ESA and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

Something that caught my attention was this at the 9min 40sec mark:

If we roll back 30-odd years the number of people on incapacity-related benefits was quite small, less than three quarters of a million.

And then started banging on about how it was the recessions that drove people onto IB. The presenter never gave the name of the person who said this but in his preamble prior to it he hinted that the next person to speak would be something to do with the government. Genius. We're in a country being run by people who aren't intelligent enough to understand that we've seen major medical advances in the last 30 years so we will have a lot more people unable to work. People are surviving cancers they wouldn't have done 30 years ago, but are left too ill to work. We've got people surviving accidents that couldn't be survived 30 years ago but the survivors are left too impaired to work.

There are chunks of the show that are aware of the reality of the current harsh climate, like when they interview a few severely ill people who were deemed fit to work by the WCA. There are also a few quotes from ATOS employees repeated from the BBC Scotland investigation. But for the most part the programme supports the assumption held by our government and our tabloids that most people on IB are there because they're non-disabled/healthy but they've never worked and they don't know how to work. There's also a chunk explaining that ESA is widely appealed and a significant number of the appeals are successful, but it doesn't explore that these appeals are expensive to the taxpayer and it'd be cheaper overall if the need for so many appeals was cut by making the WCA more realistic. Incredibly disappointing from Radio 4.

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