I received the following response to my Where’s The Benefit Blog “#HardestHit Jedi Mind Tricks” guest post featured in The Guardian’s Society Daily on 13 December. Someone named “Hayley”, apparently representing the government-funded disability charities, commented:
Hi Lisa – the phrase ‘for those who’ve paid into the system’ in the card is only referring specifically to our opposition to the Government’s (frankly awful) policy to cut contributory ESA for claimants after just a year on the benefit (they’re not cutting the benefit for people who qualify on the basis of their low income).
But just because this particular part of the campaign is trying to focus on this particularly cruel policy (see this great blog: http://gu.com/p/33pab/tw for more info), it of course doesn’t mean that the ‘big charities’ aren’t fighting really hard to protect benefits for everyone with a disability or long-term condition – quite the contrary!
I hope this helps to ease your mind – please don’t lose faith in the campaign, we all need to pull together if we want to challenge the Government’s unfair cuts!
Dear #HardestHit Charities:
When petitioning against government reforms that impact the disabled community, it’s best to not use the same divisive tabloid-friendly language that government uses. It doesn’t allay my fears that people who deem to speak for me fail to understand the importance of not sounding like they are on the “deserving”, “hard working”, “tax paying”, “paying into the system” gravy train the main three parties favour, Lord Freud in particular (as he constantly reminds us with almost every appearance).
I don’t doubt that the big charities provide some useful services to the disabled community. However, it’s incredibly hypocritical, not to mention patronising, to spin the “we’re all in this together” rhetoric as you profit from the insidious Workfare programmes of successive governments. Surely you are aware that Benefits are well below the minimum wage for DWP “Customers” forced into Workfare slave labour with no guarantee of a permanent job. This is completely unlike the very fortunate individuals who are in a position to be considered for an Executive fundraising and marketing role paying a minimum of £50,000 per annum working for you directly.
Given the irony of handsomely rewarded charity staff and potential of workfare placements in organisations behind #HardestHit, I stand by my assessment of the situation as stated.