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Welfare reform - Newcastle event - Carers UK Forum

Welfare reform - Newcastle event

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
This just a few Image notes from yesterday……a bit jumbled in places but hopefully will give you an idea of what took place.From the list given which named all the representatives attending I was one of 4-5 carers with a few carer centres also represented.It was a stake holder event .

No one written off - Newcastle closing event 24th Oct 2008 approx 130-150 attended


James Purnell Secretary of State for Works and Pensions

Prof Paul Gregg presents key issues for the Conditionality review

Jacquie Wood DWP Welfare Reform Green Paper team

Martin Swales Strategic Director of development for North Tyneside council

Phil Friend Chair of Radar Comments on the green paper and its implications for disabled people.

Q & A with Mark Fisher Benefit Strategy Director DWP.

The event was opened and then James Purnell spoke for about 20-25 mins….summary of some of the points below…..

Government will be pushing Pathways more

Give more support will change lives for the better

Conditionality - built on high expectations of the individual

Employers - change of culture needed and employers role to be increased for the disabled

Double access to works benefits

See potential rather than disability

More flexible/subsidised employment for the disabled

Changes to be made to the delivery of services

Try free up voluntary sector

Payment by results - incentives to providers

Welfare system as it is is hard for carers to navigate

Paul Gregg working on review of conditions

Not proposing any changes to conditions for carers but creating a simpler system

Reassurance will be no difference in way government treat carers - just a change in benefit

Job search for all unemployed to be increased

Holland / Scandanavia have high level expectation along with high level support.

Questions from the floor to Purnell

1. About managing processes of companies helping ‘clients’ look for work

Disabed access audit needed before provided with a contract

2. ACAS question .. I missed answer

3. If disabled have a right to their identity why not carers.Soc services do not have suitable cover for the hours needed …CA a disgrace for the work involved.

Answer …..

If we take a step back and look at the reasons…..people living longer,more disabled children surviving means cost of service increasing and demand outstripping the budgets given

No easy solution,wait for outcome of the consultation on long term care

Needs a fundamental look at the situation.

4. ( mine ) Transferring carers to JSA is an insult when they work for a minimum of 35 hours per week ,also suitable respite not available and LA’s tightening criteria constantly.If waiting for outcome of care consultation why propose these changes now ahead of their findings.

No 4 was submitted but not answered

5. If a disabled person obtains a job and the carer loses their CA,will this be protected if the job does not work out?

Needs to be looked at

6.. Gentleman from mental health….Will the 2 yr period where benefits are protected for those disabled moving in to work continue…


Other general questions included ..

about the government distancing itself from being accountable

What will happen for those with fluctuating illnesses

How will sanctions be implemented.

Paul Gregg


How it can be developed,devolved and delivered

Move away from a traditional welfare state

Reform necessary

Encourage a progressive,effective system

Design with a safety net

Involving the voice of the individual

Co-herence - elements need to be working in the same direction

Development of support services

A process of contact and a programme designed for support

Case worker to assess any barriers to work

E.S.A. - elements for reform

An individual to test their own needs

Put forward programme of participation - agreed programme - personalised package

He is not part of the DWP but doing a review of points in the Green paper

Personal budgets

Advocacy to access work or co-budgets from different pots

Overhaul all rules and regulations for all benefits

Working towards a SWAB - Single Working Age benefit.

Certain groups will be unable to look for work so a system needed that recognises this

Plans to put flesh on the bones of JSA

Jacqui Woods about purpose of Green Paper

Consultation been going on 13 weeks ending in Newcastle.

Had web chats ,
used YouTube with videos which included BSL
Best website for questions was net.mums.com over 300 questions

Support disabled people into work e.g extra support and training

Opportunities for providers

More details on ‘work for benefit’

Martin Swales

Create employment - provide training for skills

Drive change forward

Employer led leadership

Simplified benefit system and reward for responsibility taken by the individual.

Phil Friend RADAR

Still major problems finding and keeping work

Support for people who become disabled whilst at work to stay in work

Disabled not only want jobs they want careers

Should be no discrimination

Enforcement of DDA

Need incentives to get and keep employment

Built in soc services law regarding those who cannot work

Tackle employment prejudice and fear

Language and rhetoric to be addressed…..government not to talk of ‘work shy’

Using threats would be counter productive as would increase fear

Liberate disabled people from poverty

Risks of greater poverty

Comments from the floor

For some work is not the issue but having enough money from work is.Unemployment is driven by low wages too.

What about 16 hour ruling for those in subsidised housing

Why should people go out to work to be worse off

Transition is needed in most situations not be cut off from benefits right away

Employers are saying the costs of employing a disabled person can be excessive

Break for lunch to be followed by work groups.5 different categories,I had chosen the following….

Work shop 1 much more informal approx 22-25 people,easier to get questions asked

Benefit reform and Simplification 3 reps from DWP
This workshop will address:

Stakeholder issues on the abolition of Income Support
Carers concerns for JSA and transference
Potential single benefits
Over 1300 responses been received re Green paper.

This was where the issues for carers really came out in the open…

Utter disgrace way carers are treat
Carers already do an incredibly undervalued job
Appalling to even think of making carers lives more difficult
Insulting to carers expecting them to be classed as unemployed
Lack of available/suitable respite
No thought gone in to these proposals

Replies from DWP fellas

Only those carers in receipt of IS will be affected
JSA will be modified so no extra requirements
Carers can volunteer for back to work support
Rates will be same - no one will be worse off
They realise from the many responses already received being critical about this proposal that there is a lot of anger and worry
No one will be forced to look for work if a carer

More comments from the group….

Emphasising how carers are not unemployed and therein cannot be moved to an unemployment benefit
If JSA to be same amounts,no extra conditions,why the hell propose to move them at all.
Its not just a case of asking for support/training to get a job but accessing cover for care from Local Authorites which is just not there.
This government says the words to recognise carers but their actions show otherwise.

Move on to next work shop and for me this was….

Personalisation and Conditionality
This work shop will address:
Identification of Stake holder needs
What we mean by passive to active
Reassurance on why we are changing
Disability focus : reasonable adjustment

Again about 20-24 people,a few different faces from the 1st work shop I did.

Comments from DWP reps

Income Support in time will be abolished and so those in receipt of CA and IS proposed move to JSA
Those in receipt of Incapacity Benefit and IS to move to ESA which starts Monday 27th October 2008
Further in the future ideas to introduce a single income replacement benefit for people of working age with necessary top ups when needed
Also look at Industrial Injuries Disablement / Bereavement benefits
What is passive to active?
Paid work is the route to Independence,health and well being for most people

Comments from the group :

How will new claims for CA be identified if DWP are setting up a One point entry for all benefits.
In many cases DWP take wrong information,this would have a negative affect for carers if placed in wrong group of claimants
Computer systems are not modified yet to recognise carers
Carers are not passive ,they already work
Carers need kept separate within the benefit system
If DWP are working towards a SWAB, where does that leave carers now and in the future.
Carers are unique and deserve payment to recognise that

It was pretty heated at this point but civil if that makes sense.I know for a fact I got up the nose of one of the DWP fellas but tough.A few more exchanges took place and then there was a beauty comment….

Maybe carers should change their mindset,after all its only a name on the tin( JSA ) and the importance lay in what was delivered.

More comments were threw back at him and then it was asked how would carers feel about moving to ESA if that came up as a proposal.At this point a gen
so it looks like it is going to be rammed down our throats, fir for purpose or not Image
rosemary thank you for attending this event, and allowing us to
read all the information.

I am very anxious about who will make the decision that we are Carers. Will it be local DWP people, and what if they say that our individual cases are not justified?How do we get by financially while we appeal?

And what about people with mental illness who may be forced into work?We have spent several hundred pounds on our credit card this week, and our Argos card, helping our son with depression move into a flat, as Social Services have said he is unwilling to accept help.He was left to move into a flat with a cold floor, no electric, no furniture, no way of cooking(and he is a diabetic), and he is 10 miles away from us, across a toll bridge. He was not allowed to turn the flat down, as the council say they have fulfilled their obligations.

How do people like this manage, who don't have anyone to look after them? We are digging ourselves more into debt through this week, but he would have been dead by now due to the diabetes, if we hadn't helped him, due to no food and no cooking facilities, also no heating or electricity. Image
Rosemary, I forgot to write thank you, on the above posting.
errrrmmmmm, so did I Image
thank you Rosemary Image

Click for full article....

Purnell's welfare reform proposal with its threat of workfare – effectively forced labour – threatens a welfare crunch. The DWP's own research shows that punitive style workfare isn't an effective way of reducing unemployment. It creates a revolving door of claimants who are forced into inappropriate jobs without adequate support. They drop out and end up back on welfare, or eventually fall into destitution. If the proposals in the green paper become law they will mark the destruction of the principle that those in need should be helped by the wider community.
Thank you Rosemary. Can I copy and put on Chill?
all best
I take it that your lack of response means NO then??
all best
Since I have been ill for a few days now, I have only been glimpsing at the board and contributing a little. I had missed this.Everyone knows I have no problems with anything I post being copied and pasted to any board.You should know better than to insinuate otherwise Wendy.