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ATOS (one day this could be you)

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


maggiewinchester Report 9 Dec 2012 23:45

Hi Rollo, no time to watch Animal farm, but watched Pete Seeger - I remember the song well.
I'm one of the 'in betweeners' - had a pay cut 3 years ago, and been on a pay 'freeze' (cut really) since. Am now just above minimum wage, and not entitled to any form of benefit.
Am now battling my employer for work related stress - they think they're okay as it doesn't (quite) come under the disability discrimination act - but I wouldn't be ill if they treated me more like a human being and less like a robot, and didn't expect me to do 'extra' work that I did before they moved me sideways and cut my pay - therefore, do work that is 'above my paygrade'.

I wouldn't work for local government again - corrupt and discriminating.


RolloTheRed Report 9 Dec 2012 23:17

"As has been said before, most recently here Welfare Reform is nothing but the destruction of the welfare state"

Exactly. Which is why it is a bit of a waste of time considering disabled benefits and ATOS in isolation. The overall objective is to drive down the overall costs of the state to levels not seen since 1939. All the time without any increase in earnings allowing those in work to finance their own health insurance etc etc.

For those who cannot work or can only work full time the writing is on the wall. An important part of the writing on the wall is to embed the idea that most benefit claimants are scroungers and those claiming disability benefits are the worse of the lot, they could all rise up like Lazurus and get a job if they only wanted to. Choose your wall, there are plenty available.

Lansley and Hunt have been deep in talks with American health providers about them taking on UK contracts. The obvious follow-on is funding health either fully or in part through insurance as in France or the USA. In this scenario spending on the disabled tends to be very low priority. fwiw Milliband, asked about this and ATOS, was very evasive.

"We are all in this together", but some of us are more in than others.

Have you ever noticed that the works of George Orwell and in particular Animal Farm are never found in schools ? Consider the fate of Boxer the horse in the context of ATOS.



JoyBoroAngel Report 9 Dec 2012 22:57

well said rollo the red :-D :-D


RolloTheRed Report 9 Dec 2012 22:52

Nobody in their right minds would want to live solely on benefits in the UK unless they had significant undeclared and untaxed income. For that matter nobody would wish to be lowly paid and get stuck in the tax credit / HB monster.

couple 25-60 out of work
jsa: £ 106
other cash benefits: nil if no children
non-cash benefits: housing allowance, free prescriptions

couple one on min wage 32 hrs week, the other 16 hrs week
48 hours * £ 6.50 = £ 312
tax credit: abt £ 20
other benefits: there may be some HB clawback depending on the total rent & location

Council tax allowance disappears April 2013.

So an average out-of-work couple are very much worse off than a couple in work earning min. wage.

GPs, always a bane of DWP ministers, have tended to help out the low paid by being fairly liberale about approving DLA claims ( soon to be PIP ). DLA often bridges the gap between sinking and getting by. DLA is very much the target of ATOS, primarily for people not working at all but also for people getting working tax credit 'cos of the follow on benefits eg zero car tax.

What has really caused the row about benefits is as follows. It just suits the Daily Mail et al to present a highly colored version.

(1) Local housing benefit. There is no national scale for this, it is based on local rents. That may seem logical, but the actual impact has been perverse. In many cities but especially in London the LHB has had the effect of driving up local rents making buy-2-let for HB claimants very lucrative. This has had a ruinous effect on the DWP HB budget. On top it has driven up rents to the point where working people paying their own rent cannot afford to live in the same area as people on HB ! Even in the provinces a private rent may be set at £ 800 pm where without the HB racket it would be around £ 600.

(2) Some household units are significantly larger than the UK average with up to 6 people of working age and more children than Mondeo man would contemplate taking on. These households come from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds and are a small percentage of the total claiming HB but are very visible and of course take a larger share of the HB cake.

(3) The tax take on people earning from £ 20K to £ 60K a year is nothing short of scandalous. A couple with 2 kids, one earning say £ 40 and the other £ 10 K would find surviving in London next to impossible unless they had bought a house a good while back. It is fairly obvious that this vocal group take a very dim view of people in (2) above.

Given that it is basically impossible to live on the JSA it is possible to surmise that the black economy is somewhat bigger than the IRS believe.

A workable approach would have been not to let HB get out of hand in the first place and to to have created a different set of rules for extended families living under the same roof.

Instead IDS has decided to cut the gordian knot using housing benefit and a total benefits cap for a household. This going to create all sorts of problems which the government intends to dump on other people. One of them is going to be a big shortage of low paid workers as they all get shunted off to Margate and Rotherham.
The buy to let landlords will simply shift to multiple occupancy which councils in such places as diverse as Bournemouth, Luton, Peterborough, Tower Hamlets and Slough simply do not have the resources to control.

Bournemouith for instance has a massive problem with unauth. MO with a spin off being a serious drug problem. This latter is apparently going to be fixed by legalising drugs producing the bizarre prospect of a high being cheaper than a bottle of Vino Tinto. It will also of course leave the plods patrolling in smart beemers nothing much to do. Maybe that is the idea - cut crime by legalising it, then cut the police budget. If that produces anarachy for some those living in gated communities won't give a donald duck.

People who have lived in England born since, say, 1960, have little idea as to how social and private sector housing used to work in the UK before 1964. If they want to find out all they need to do is to google YouTube for the films of Ken Loach and Karel Reisz to see how the UK is heading back to the future. The next three years are unlikely to be a pretty sight or presage a better future. They will give a lot of scope to documentary and film producers though.

Despite all the screaming and yelling even if working age benefits were to be zeroed, back to the dole, basic pension and the relieving officer it would make little difference to the shiboleth of the "deficit" .

The most depressing thing of all is that the electorate may well be gulled into voting for incoherent and dangerous policies either by the blue corner ot the red corner taking on the blues by promising to be even tougher. For those who still think the LibDems have a middle way get hold of a copy of the Orange Book.

An American politician once said that a country where a fireman and a police officer could not live within an hour of their work was in deep trouble ...


TheBlackKnight Report 9 Dec 2012 19:38

All interesting but I thought this thread was about ATOS not tax credit, housing benefit,
wages, state pension, shares, property, Bank of England, or the €uro.

Atos still have another 7 years on contract so won't be going any time soon. It has already been revealed that The Government have admitted that 11,000 people forced on to work-related activity after assessments have died before getting work – Michael Meacher, MP. (Source)
As has been said before, most recently here Welfare Reform is nothing but the destruction of the welfare state, and a state-sanctioned cull of the chronically sick and disabled. 11,000 dead simply confirms that. So how many other deaths have to happen before this ludicrous idea is corrected in a fair & just way


RolloTheRed Report 9 Dec 2012 18:08

Fit and able people on low pay can claim working tax credit. A single person must work > 32 hrs to qualify, this can be spread over more than one job. For a couple one has work > 32 hrs and the other 16 hrs.

In the case of disabled people then the minimum hours are 16 and the couple rule does not apply.

In both of these situations tax credit is likely to be several hundred pounds / month.

Moreover anybody in either of these situations will qualify for for housing benefit if they rent their home and have assets 16 hours. I cannot see anything wrong in this EXCEPT these benefits are in fact a massive subsidy to the likes of Tesco and Starbucks who fail to pay adequate wages. A side effect of this is of course to drag down wages generally. Quite why Osbourne wants to keep a big chunk of Tesco payroll on the state a/c is not obvious. Gordon Brown's reasons of course were all too clear.

By far the greatest part of the expenditure on the "welfare state" is the state pension but right wing newspapers and politicians prefer to ignore this. They also ignore the fact that pensions for police, firemen, teachers, local govt etc etc are included in the overall expenditure for police, education etc. As these pensions are indexed linked the result is never ending pruning of the real, "frontline budget" in order to pay the pensions, which are unfunded.

The dismal fact is that without economic growth > 3% all these pensions and benefits are unaffordable UNLESS you move the goalposts. Obama has already found success with this in the USA and you can expect a lot more here - "quantitative easing" where the govt lends vast sums to itself (and makes a tidy profit in so doing).

The upside to this is that the economy picks up, tax income picks up and the benefits bill goes down. Even better the currency drops against, say the €uro. The downside is that cash assets lose value quite badly including bonds. OTOH shares with low risk and a solid cash flow attached to them (eg utililities) do well as does quality property. Best of all the party espousing easy money gets re-elected.

This is the usual way the British state has been funded since the founding of the Bank of England in 1694 so as to put the costs of wars on the slate without too much tax annoying the population (leading to beheadings in Whitehall).

All this stuff about the deficit is utter hokum, it was always so.

Of course you may say, what about the €uro then ? Sound money if nothing else. Not at all it is a financial rainbow held up by smoke and mirrors. Like all such schemes it will collapse in tears and ruin if we are lucky, war if we are not.

ATOS is an unpleasant exercise in dishonestly solving a non-existent problem. Sooner or later its number will come in, much the same as for a certain security company.


JoyBoroAngel Report 9 Dec 2012 17:13

i dont know any truely sick or disabled that like been on benifits
they would much rather be well enough to work :-( :-(

its a shame some scammers get away with it
and others who are really ill get penalised
for other peoples fiddling the system :-( :-(


Porkie_Pie Report 9 Dec 2012 13:05

I have never been on any type of benefit including unemployment benefit but have not worked for the last 2 years

I had a heat attack in 2004 and for the last 2 years have suffered from angina also a prolapsed disc, First injured my back in the 1970's and have severe sciatic pain and tingling plus numbness in my foot physiotherapy used to work but has become less effective over the years and now i also have COPD

I am having to be assessed by ATOS on Wednesday



ChrisofWessex Report 9 Dec 2012 12:27

An acquaintance of mine has just had his Incapacity Benefit cancelled as he is deemed fit for work. His GP furious - had four like friend in one moring - and he has put him on sickness benefit.

Roughly every two years he has had to make a 40 mile round trip to undergo an examination by a Dr. This time it was a nurse. He is now deemed fit for work!!!! In spite of having spinal arthritis which is worsening and other ailments as well.

He is now awaiting results of Appeal.

He has always wondered how these benefit cheats reported in media got away with it, evidently never having been to Benefit examinations.


TheBlackKnight Report 9 Dec 2012 12:04

John when will you stop adding posts that have little or no fact behind them & just end up getting peoples backs up? If you don't know about the in's & out's of ATOS & the problems it causes you have two options
1. Do a lot of research & make sure you get your facts right first.
2. don't say anything.


JoyBoroAngel Report 9 Dec 2012 10:18

john one day you or i may be disbaled or really sick god forbid
this is not about the lazy people who take money off the state
nor the hard working souls
who fail to get a job through no fault of their own
there just isnt the jobs out there

its about the sick andf disabled people who

sometime would be better off in jail or dead :-( :-(


jax Report 9 Dec 2012 02:25

No John I do not get any help with my £800 a month rent nor my council tax ect...I do get DLA aswell but someone working full time can still get that


JustJohn Report 9 Dec 2012 02:13

Jax. If that £110 is all you get, then the article I read must be wrong. And I will withdraw my posts. Because on minimum wages, a person gets just over £200 per week net, and a little bit more gross..

But they get nothing much else, Jax. Possibly the person on £110 gets help with rent or rates and council tax - which for me is £140 per week.

Or are working poor still better off than those on benefits?


jax Report 9 Dec 2012 02:05

So are the lowest paid council workers on less than £110 a week...I am sure my last job which was minium wage (.even chrismas day)...was about £200 for a 40 hour week 4 years ago


supercrutch Report 9 Dec 2012 01:43

lololol I wouldn't want to see Jax explode :-0

*$parkling $andie*

*$parkling $andie* Report 9 Dec 2012 01:39

Three Cheers for that !


JustJohn Report 9 Dec 2012 00:50

Made my point. Will withdraw as I don't want to get any more flak :-( :-(


supercrutch Report 9 Dec 2012 00:45

Jax you and me both, I have been worrying about it at night!

Perhaps I could remind you John that this is the ATOS thread therefore benefits are for the disabled.

What idle Sid gets I have no clue and care less because it's the disabled that are being targetted for cuts in the first instance.

Maybe better to start your own thread for JSA, Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit, let's see you pontificate on that and see what replies you get.


JustJohn Report 9 Dec 2012 00:39

Sue Am I wrong then to think that people on benefits are now better off than the lowest paid council workers and lowest paid workers? 5 years ago they were on fairly similar amounts, One group has had 20% increase, which was cost of living. Other group has had 10% increase, which has been half the cost of living.


jax Report 9 Dec 2012 00:37

Glad you know what everyone gets in benefits John

Cannot make up my mind what to spend my £1 on...sure I will think of something