Friday, 22 April 2011

Round-up, 22 April 2011

There is a group in Edinburgh called the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty which reports victories in what it calls its war against A4e. This is obviously not an impartial account, and I haven't seen any other reporting of it, so I can't vouch for its accuracy. How many people does the group represent, for example? But it's an interesting development.

I was amused by the title of an article in an Australian journal - "Therese Rein the $1.4bn queen of British welfare". Sounds like there's been a coup! Rein is the wife of a former Australian Prime Minister. The article reports that, as owner of Ingeus, she stands to make a great deal of money. The firm won all seven contracts that it bid for, giving it 23% of the market, while A4e only has 13%. Concerns are reported: "Two failed bidders shown details of the winning bids said they believed Ingeus had discounted its prices by up to 50 per cent in some areas. Perhaps the company was banking on the economies of scale that would come from being the largest provider, or maybe even hoping that the government would later be forced to raise the promised payments."

The big story of the last few days has been the announcement, as part of the election campaign, of figures purporting to show that more than 80,000 people are claiming incapacity benefits for being addicts, alcoholics or obese. No mention was made of addicts who are not on IB but on the smaller JSA. And, of course, the reporting played into the hands of the Tories who want to appeal to the Mail and Express readership. Instead of sensible discussion we had the usual chat from experts.

Meanwhile, Emma Harrison has been in discussions at the Swedish Embassy and Mark Lovell has been to a meeting with the Local Government Association about crisis loans, debt and public service reform.


  1. I just read you Round Up article. I've been involved with Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP) since last September but they have been around for about 2 years.

    The story about Peter, the ex-miner is true, I have met him although I wasn't involved in the case. ECAP assists claimants by offering advice and support - the latter takes the form of accompanying claimants to ATOS medicals, interviews at Edinburgh Council, Ingeus and JHP. I once accompanied a claimant, as an observer to a ATOS medical - and sat through the whole thing.

  2. The Easter Bunny24 April 2011 at 15:01

    Happy Easter, Historian!

  3. And Happy Easter to all our followers!


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