Usually when a press release is put out in the dead of night, it is probably to catch the newspaper & online media cycle for the morning. If an announcement is made hours before a political party gathering, then it has to be important.
So I was intrigued, not to say surprised, that Damien Green announced overnight( 1 October 2016) that the continual re–testing of disabled people with lifelong chronic conditions is to be axed.
Mr Green was quoted by the BBC as saying a “key part” of making sure those who are unable to work receive “full and proper support” includes “sweeping away any unnecessary stress and bureaucracy”.
“If someone has a disease which can only get worse, then it doesn’t make sense to ask them to turn up for repeated appointments,” he said.
“If their condition is not going to improve, it is not right to ask them to be tested time after time. So we will stop it.”
Mr Green also appeared on the flagship BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Today’ ,and that can be heard here.
If the policy –as reported so far, does in fact do what it says on the tin, then that’s fine. In a sense this policy is not new. I have mentioned this in these blog posts before, where I wrote about my mother in the 1980’s being recalled to a DHSS Board to see if her Polio had been cured.
Is this the start of reversal of the Tory Policy on ESA? Not a chance, as the BBC article author states: “However, ministers remain committed to a cut to be introduced next April in the amount of money that new recipients of one type of ESA will receive”.
As Damien Green states in the radio clip : “We have to be hard –headed not hard -hearted”
In an another overnight development, Theresa May has employed the Former advisor to Tony Blair to “review employment practices”.
I am not a political pundit, but I think I can see that she is grabbing that Centre ground of Right –Wing Labourites, and that of the Left–Wing Tories. That, I presume would isolate Corbyn’s Labour Left, and shift ground away from her rebellious Right–Wing.
These announcements which coincide with the Tory Party Conference, might also be to steal a march on the SNP who probably have announcements of their own to make at their conference.
I think all people with long-term conditions will be happy, as long as the policy continues to ease from the days of IDS, and his Victorian view of disability.