"My wife scored zero points ...The test was a total waste of time; it was all physically orientated, nothing about her mental state. They asked things like 'Can you brush your teeth?' How that relates to mental health issues is beyond me. It was overthrown at tribunal. I can only describe it as mental torture; she was a mental wreck after it."Just a few quotes from evidence given to the work and pensions select committee at a public meeting about the new work capability assessment for eligibility for disability benefits. This is just the latest in a long series of media reports about the way the test is failing comprehensively. Here we have a toxic mix of outsourcing, incompetence, lack of expertise, spending cuts and a loaded political agenda about 'ending the sick-note culture' running up against a determination not to lose political face by actually listening to the truth. I can't help feeling that a 'scrounger' driven agenda is little more than institutional cruelty.
"I am waiting for a tribunal, but I'm told that it won't be before June, because there are so many people waiting. I'm stuck on the £65 benefit until then," a woman with ME said, and began to cry.
In the meantime the select committee has come up with a startling new idea:
The chair, Dame Anne Begg (Labour, Aberdeen South), said this was the first time in her nine years on the committee that MPs had ventured out and talked to real people. "We should do this kind of thing more," she said.I always like the notion of "real people". It makes you wonder what the others are. Surreal people probably, after all we currently have government in the style of Dali.