The civil servant who leads the government’s work and health unit has sparked fresh concerns that the new disability employment strategy could be heavily influenced by the discredited “biopsychosocial” (BPS) model of disability.Tabitha Jay told a meeting of the all-party parliamentary group for disability (APPGD) yesterday (Wednesday) that the social model of disability underpinned the strategy, which has an aim of seeing one million more disabled people in work over the next 10 years.But she also appeared to suggest that the BPS model was “running in parallel” to the social model within the strategy.The BPS model places blame for being unemployed on the individual disabled person and their supposed negative attitudes towards working, whereas the social model explains that it is the barriers in society – and not people’s impairments – which disabled people.Jay was only speaking at the event because the minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, had withdrawn at short notice after originally promising to answer questions about the strategy.Ellen Clifford, campaigns and policy manager for Inclusion London, had asked the civil servants about the disparity between the government’s claims that it believed in the social model and the new strategy, which appeared to be underpinned by the BPS model.Clifford (pictured, right, at another event) told Jay and Karen Jochelson, who heads the Office for Disability Issues, that the question of which model underpinned the strategy was “fundamental to its impact and effectiveness”.She pointed out that the UK government had told the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities in July that it “embraces the social model of disability”, while the former minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt, had assured her that the strategy would be consistent with the social model.But Clifford said the strategy, published in November after Newton’s appointment, was in practice underpinned by the BPS model, which was “very dangerous and very harmful” and accounts for “a lot of the damaging impact” of the work capability assessment and other welfare reforms.She said: “That fundamental underpinning is what is at the heart of a lot of things that haven’t been working with welfare reform, and it’s also unethical.”Clifford said these concerns had been picked up by many psychologists, highlighting government reforms such as efforts to integrate health and work, and placing therapists in job centres.The disabled crossbench peer the Countess of Mar agreed with Clifford’s concerns and said that people with ME were being “forced to take exercise regimes which are making them sicker, defeating the objective of getting them back to work”.Responding to Clifford’s question, Jay claimed that the social model “is the government’s model of disability”.But she added: “The one million target is about both people with disabilities and people with health conditions, some of which may be very temporary.“There are all kinds of different people within the one million and some of them might benefit from a health approach, so there are different things running in parallel.”Karen Jochelson, who heads the Office for Disability Issues, added: “We do think the social model underlies a range of government policy.“Any good policy-maker needs to think of a range of factors that may affect the potential users of services or policies, so that would incline one to think about the social model.”Clifford said after the meeting that the comments appeared to show that Jay did not understand the social model.She said: “What we have been told is that the social model doesn’t apply to people with long-term health conditions.”She said she was concerned that Esther McVey, the newly-appointed work and pensions secretary, had previously highlighted her support for the principles of the BPS model when she was employment minister.In a foreword to a 2013 discussion document on the government’s disability and health employment strategy, McVey wrote: “A person’s belief about what they can do can be as important as other factors, including their health condition, in determining how likely they are to find a job.”Jay told Disability News Service after the meeting: “Access to relevant health services at the right time can be a barrier for disabled people in employment, I think. That is our position.“We are committed to the social model. The whole philosophy of the government’s approach is the social model.”But when asked whether the government was also committed to the BPS model, she said that that question would need to be answered by the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) press office.DWP’s press office had not clarified that point by noon today (Thursday).Campaigners and researchers have pointed out that the BPS model underpins employment and support allowance (ESA) and the work capability assessment, and has played a significant role in the tightening of eligibility criteria for ESA and other disability benefits by the coalition and Tory governments.Research published last year, led by Professor Tom Shakespeare and Professor Nicholas Watson, argued that the BPS model was riddled with inconsistencies, misleading statements and “unevidenced” claims.The BPS model was developed by Dr Gordon Waddell, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, who was DWP’s chief medical officer from 1995 to 2005.Key to the BPS model, said Shakespeare and Watson, is the idea that “it is the negative attitudes of many ESA recipients that prevent them from working, rather than their impairment or health condition”, essentially branding many benefit claimants “scroungers”.This allows supporters of BPS – including a string of New Labour and Tory government ministers – to draw a distinction “between ‘real’ incapacity benefit claimants, with long-term and incurable health conditions, and ‘fake’ benefit claimants, with short-term illness”, with the model responsible for a “barely concealed” element of “victim-blaming”.
Labour plans to install solar panels on nearly two million homes as part of an effort to reduce energy bills, Jeremy Corbyn and Rebecca Long-Bailey will announce on Thursday.During a visit to Yorkshire, the Labour leader and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will set out further details of the party’s ‘green industrial revolution’ aim.One goal is fit solar panels on one and three quarter million homes, which would save households an estimated average of £117 a year on bills – addressing fuel poverty while promoting an environmentally healthy and sustainable solution.Social housing and low-income households make up one million of the homes that would benefit from the scheme. The other 750,000 homes would have solar panels installed “through a programme of interest free loans, grants and changes to regulations”.As well as creating 16,900 jobs and saving 7.1 million tonnes of CO2 according to Labour, the policy forms part of the broader idea that the party would ensure a ‘just transition’ from the current economy to a low-carbon economy.This type of ‘transition’ would ensure that the burden of change is not placed disproportionately on less wealthy people, who may find it more difficult to adapt, but will be socially just, and even reap financial rewards.Unveiling the new policy, Jeremy Corbyn said: “In this country, too often people are made to feel like the cost of saving the planet falls on them. Too many think of green measures as just another way for companies or the government to get money out of them, while the rich fly about in private jets and heat their empty mansions.“Labour’s approach is different. Our green industrial revolution will benefit working class people with cheaper energy bills, more rewarding well-paid jobs, and new industries to revive the parts of our country that have been held back for far too long.“By focusing on low income households we will reduce fuel poverty and increase support for renewable energy. Social justice and climate justice as one. Environmental destruction and inequality not only can, but must be tackled at the same time.”Labour for a Green New Deal, a recently set-up campaign group on the left of the party, welcomed the policy announcement. The ‘green industrial revolution’ planned by Labour “doesn’t need to happen in a way which makes life more difficult for people”, co-founder Chris Saltmarsh commented.Labour will also reveal on Thursday that it would bring the national grid into public ownership in a bid to tackle climate change while making heat and electricity a “human right”.Rebecca Long-Bailey is expected to explain that the move will allow profits from the grid to fund further green infrastructure rather than be “pocketed” by shareholders of network companies.The frontbencher said: “It’s an insult and an injustice to our people and our planet for companies operating the grid to rip customers off, line the pockets of the rich and not invest properly in renewable energy.“Only by taking the grid into public ownership can we decarbonise the economy at the pace needed to secure the planet for our children and grandchildren while ending the rip off, creating good jobs in local communities and making heating and electricity a human right.”The solar panel and publicly-owned national grid policies will add to other Labour plans focussed on the environment, including the development of offshore wind, the introduction of a new Clean Air Act and a tree-planting programme.Tags:Jeremy Corbyn /Rebecca Long-Bailey /Labour for a Green New Deal /Green industrial revolution /
<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>Mark Percival and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook missed out on the win over Hull FC after picking up injuries in the derby win, whilst Luke Thompson left the field mid-way through the first half with an ankle injury.And Holbrook has revealed that all three players will be out for a sustained period.“Percy and Louie will be about for around the six week mark and Thomo [Thompson] we are not sure yet. He is getting some scans this afternoon so we are not sure yet, but it will obviously be at least a couple of weeks and we will see what comes back. It is an ankle injury where he will have his foot in a boot for a few weeks and we will know a bit more later on, but those boys will be out for at least a few weeks.”Tommy Makinson also departed the field on Easter Monday and Holbrook revealed he picked up a back-spasm and is a doubt for the clash with Catalans on Sunday.“He has a back spasm and it tightened up at half-time [against Hull] so I am not sure on Sunday yet, continued Holbrook.“We have got to look at a number of players ahead of Sunday. I said at the start of the season, I won’t rest people for no reason, but we have a reason to look at a few players closely this week. We have played two games in extreme hot conditions so I will work with our medical and performance team to pick a side for Sunday.“Having said that the young lads who came in for Monday’s game were tremendous and whoever we have on Sunday will be good enough.”Theo Fages was forced off injured in the win over Hull KR a few weeks back and was named in the squad for the Good Friday clash with Wigan, but did not recover in time for the derby win.And Holbrook gave an update on the Frenchman who he hopes will feature.“Hopefully Theo is right to go Sunday. He obviously wasn’t right to play the last couple of games, but hopefully we can get him back in the mix for Sunday.”Holbrook also paid credit to Matty Lees, Adam Swift as well as debutant Joe Batchelor and young Jack Welsby after impressive performances against Hull on Monday before looking ahead to the threat of Catalans on Sunday.“We were disappointed we didn’t win over there [in France], but we didn’t play poorly. It was just our kick defence that let us down. There wasn’t much in the game in tough conditions but we would like to beat them this Sunday. They are definitely a top five side and they just struggle with consistency, but they are coming off a few good wins and they are capable of playing well on their day so it is up to us to play better on Sunday.”Holbrook concluded by issuing a rallying call to Saints fans to come down and support all three teams as the Saints Academy, Women’s team and First team are all in action.“We don’t get to play many Sunday games so the fact we have our Academy side, Women’s and First team all playing, it’s the perfect day for families and kids and there is no better place to come than the Totally Wicked Stadium to support our team. We are in your town and you don’t have to travel to come and watch us play so come down on Sunday and enjoy a good afternoon!”