Why I should be the Tory poster gal (but I’m not).

Mr Duncan-Smith is positively champing at the bit to get sick and disabled people back into work. He’ll get you back into work even if you’re comatose, his belief in disabled people working is so strong.

Clearly the “people in comas being found fit for work” is a terrible thing, but IDS really makes no secret about how much he wants us to work. Well Mr Duncan-Smith, I’m your gal. I have my own business, I am capable of getting myself enough work to make a full time job, I love my work and it’s even work that helps communities work better together, which is what your Big Society is all about. Mr Duncan-Smith, I am the girl you’ve been looking for. (I swear that line sounded less dodgy in my head).

However. As someone who has taken 6 months out of work due to becoming chronically ill, I do not see people who are trying to get me back into work. I am at the bottom of lists, I am under a pile of paperwork and I am at the end of strict budget cuts. Apart from the fact that I’m working in a line of work that is getting royally shafted from all sides by budget cuts (but that’s another blog entry…) I am waiting for Personal Independence Payments that, despite having applied for them at the beginning of February I’m not expected to hear anything until June. I’m applying for Access to Work which, despite its name, seems to be having smaller and smaller criteria as to what “access” actually means.

I’ll lay my cards on the table right here Mr Duncan-Smith. I’m chronically ill yet desperate to work. I’m a professional in a job that is all about Big Society (despite you sacking us all but y’know, whatever). I have my own business and I can make it full time if I just have the right support. Yet, you’re not willing to give me the right support. So if I can’t work, what’s going to happen to the people who have never worked who are now suddenly being told they have to? What’s going to happen to people who have even more limitations than I do? If I can’t get enough support to work, how the hell are you going to support them?

This is why you need to listen to what the Spartacus Network are saying. Beyond the Barriers was released to the public last Wednesday and lays out a practical way of getting sick and disabled people back into work. It means people who cannot work are not living constantly under the eyes of the DWP. It means those who are able to work get the correct support that is on-going. It means that sick and disabled people are not punished simply for being ill or being disabled.

I miss my job. I am desperate to go back to it and I’d like to believe Irritable Duncan Syndrome when he says he wants sick and disabled people to get into work. But he’s not doing a very good job of showing it.

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