Boris Johnson

Many sick and disabled people are very fearfull of the proposed 'Welfare Reform Bill' felling that it is unfair to punish the weakest in society for a situation brought about largely by the greed of rich bankers.

Of course, benefit fraud should be stamped out - but govenment figures suggest that disability benefits have the lowest fraud rate of all (less than 05% for the old 'Invalidity Benefit', even before the more stringent ESA rules). There is a real risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

It seems that Boris Johnson has now spoken out against the proposed reform of DLA (disability living allowance, an 'in work' benefit paid to help with the extra costs associated with diability).

It is easy to think that this will never affect us - I thought so myself until it actually happened...


  • Just as a matter of interest, why is BJ making any statement at all on this?

    I thought he was mayor of London? Or does that post mean he can speak on anything from the EU through to defence policy? Can we expect similar statements from the mayors of Salford, Leeds and Basildon?

    The cynic in me says it's just him positioning himself for another climb up the greasy pole when he finally gets kicked out of the Mayor's job. If i was Cammo I'd tell him to shut his gob.

  • I was stunned last week when there was a proposed change in people earning a 6figure salary having council houses....

    ... Seems the whole benefit scam needs revision

  • Everyone is entitled to an opinion, including BJ.  It's the media that lap it up though.  If they didn't give him (or other people) air time then he wouldn't feel the need to make these statements.

    I doubt anyone would be interested if I spoke up for or against it.

  • Hmm sub-letting council accommodation isn't against the law? Bit of a loophole there as well.

    I don't disagree with the Blond Buffoon's sentiments but it all comes down to what you consider his role and responsibilities are. I don't happen to think they should involve spouting off about any and all political issues as a way of positioning himself in the public consciousness or being a thorn in the govt's side.

    See also Red Ken.

  • Major of London is the biggest job in British politics outside of the Cabinet.  He represents 7.5 million Londoners - 13.5% of the population of England and Wales.  Of course he should speak up for those who are effected by government reforms.

    I've no doubt it is a bit of positioning, but at least he's appearing to be doing his job and speaking up for this group.  I wonder if the individual MPs are doing the same or just towing party lines.

  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭
    Johnny Blaze wrote (see)

    Just as a matter of interest, why is BJ making any statement at all on this?

    I think there is an election coming up?

    Call me cynical.....

  • Wilkie..... You're cynical
  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭
    Yeah, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong! image
  • SlugstaSlugsta ✭✭✭

    BJ was one of many parties asked to respond to the consultation document. I don't know whether it was his decision to go public - there are other interested parties trying to get something done to stop the implementation of PIP.

  • Exactly Slugsta, the Mayor's office prepared a submission to the Government consultation last year. The Govt didn't want to release the responses and I don't think there's been a peep from the Mayor publicly. But a disability group FOI'd all the responses and found the mayor's among them - obviously they realised there was mileage in press releasing it. 

    The GLA frequently respond to Government consultations when they're going to have an effect on Londoners, it's perfectly within his remit. 

  • SlugstaSlugsta ✭✭✭
    Weeble, I believe that the proverbial might be going to hit the fan tomorrow...
  • Well, of course, speaking for London is paramount... the "leaders" of the other 86.5% of the population presumably aren't worth consulting.

  • Do we know that they weren't consulted, JB?  Or is it that the media are less interested in the other 86.5% of the country?
  • I guess we don't - and of course if he is asked to respond then he has every right to.

    Whether being Mayor of London means you should automatically get consulted on these measures is the interesting question to me.

  • SlugstaSlugsta ✭✭✭

    The full report has been released today. It seems that BJ was just one of many people who responded and was not in favour of the specifics of the change from DLA to a new benefit called 'PIP'. In fact, the overwhelming majority of reposnses were against this.

    Doesn't seem much point in carrying out a consultation exercise if the replies are going to be ignored!

  • Against the whole proposal Slugsta, or against specific aspects of it?  The purpose of consultation is not to ask whether people agree with the need to change, but to discuss whether the new system is workable.  Usually the proposal will go ahead but with minor changes or clarification based on the feedback from the consultees.  Byt the time a proposal gets to the outside consultation stage it has pretty much agreed that it will be accepted in some form.

    Not saying that I am for PIP.  I don't know enough about this specific proposal to be able to comment, although there does seem to be a lot of bad feeling towards it.

  • SlugstaSlugsta ✭✭✭

    Caz, many people accept that there is a need for some sort of change but feel that could be achieved more fairly - and cheaply -  by tweaking the current system rather than implementing this new one. For instance, simply reviewing the people who have not seen in the past few years (eg those given lifelong awards in the past) could help. However, continually retesting people with chronic, or even degenerative, conditions is a waste of time and momeny.

    Irrespective of whether there is a duty to consult, once the consultation process has started there are certain rules which should be kept - the government actually broke several of these rules and then pressed ahead with change before the end of the consultation period. It seems clear that the wish to cut the bill by 20% (bearing in mind that government figures estimate at 0.5% fraud rate) was the driving force behind this idea which was going to be pushed through, no matter what anyone else thought.

  • Nope - it's not a waste of time and money re-testing people Slugsta; the private company who have got the contract for testing people (Atos Healthcare) make a shed full of money - even though they get a large proportion of their assessments wrong. Over 70% of refusals who get representation are overturned on appeal.

    But if you try and find out how much this procedure costs the taxpayer you're given very short shrift... they won't tell you... but there are plenty of people who have estimated that they are working at a loss for the taxpayer and trousering huge profits.

    There are four facts that we do know about Atos though.

    Fact 1 - They are very prolific lobbyists and have made donations to two different political parties

    Fact 2 - They got the contract for this work without an official tender - EG they were just 'given it'... wonder why?

    Fact 3. They have a very interesting board comprised of ex British politicians and ex NHS high fliers.

    Fact 4. You may have been deemed 'unfit for work' by half a dozen highly trained consultants, specialised in their fields - but a semi-trained minion with a first aid certificate can overturn that decision if you get a couple of questions wrong on their rigged multiple choice screening test...

    But it's easy money for Atos - and it's us the taxpayer who foots the bill
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