Disability cuts are 'nasty and brutal'

20 June 2012

The Guardian newspaper is reporting that work and pensions staff have been warned about the risks sickness benefits cuts could cause to claimants' mental health.

Commenting PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Cuts to disability benefits must rank among the nastiest of this government's brutal, politically-motivated assault on our welfare state, and we're receiving some deeply worrying reports from our members about the effects of removing financial support for those who desperately need it.

"The work capability assessment run by the private company Atos is a naked attempt to reduce payments for people with serious illnesses or disabilities, and has nothing to do with helping people back to work, which is why GPs have called for it to be scrapped.

"With 4,000 jobs cut from jobcentres last year, it means that at a time when there is a greater need for help and advice, there are fewer staff around to provide it."

The Guardian story says an email has been issued by senior managers in the Department for Work and Pensions highlighting the case of an attempted suicide, reportedly linked to the person receiving a letter informing them their sickness benefit would be cut off.

The newspaper has also produced a video on the 'human cost of welfare reform', which includes powerul testimony from claimants and footage and interviews from our recent three-day strike in Merseyside jobcentres.


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