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A gold medal for hypocrisy

Tory minister who grabbed £100,000 expenses now attacks ‘scroungers’


Disabled people protesting against benefit cuts in Islington last year  (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Disabled people protesting against benefit cuts in Islington last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Chris Grayling, the Tory work and pensions minister, launched fresh attacks on benefit claimants this week, despite his smear that they are fakers being proved wrong.

Grayling says the Tories’ Work Programme has failed to force enough people with long term health problems into work­—because they are “sicker than expected”. This gives the lie to the Tories’ claim that people are feigning illness to avoid work.

But now Grayling, an MP who grabbed thousands in expenses, plans to change the rules. He wants to redesign the scheme so people originally deemed too ill to join it would be forced to do so.

This would hit tens of thousands of disability benefit claimants. Grayling is also set to force unemployed people to work for free for six months—or risk losing their benefits.

He claims this will “help” them. In reality it will help bosses by giving them free labour—and it will particularly help those bosses who happen to be Tory party donors.

John Nash, Ryan Robson and three others set up Sovereign Capital in 2001. It owns the Employment and Skills Group (ESG), which has grabbed £73 million worth of government employment contracts. Nash and his wife Caroline have donated £182,500 to the Tories since 2006. Robson has given them £267,866 since 2003.

Plush

Grayling’s attack is based on the idea that people on benefits are lying “scroungers”. But he’s the real scrounger. Grayling claimed over £100,000 in expenses to renovate a plush Pimlico flat. He says he needed the flat close to parliament to carry out his work—yet he hardly ever uses it.

Grayling’s neighbours certainly don’t seem to see much of him. One said, “There is a light on occasionally, but he is not here very often.” After seeing a picture of the Tory, another said “I have no idea who this man is.”

He’s never there because he has three other flats within the M25. He spread his expense claims over two years to avoid going over the maximum limit. And he used the money to completely refurbish his flat—pushing its value up.

Grayling’s real aim is to throw people off benefits regardless of their circumstances. More evidence of this emerged just last week. The Tories employ private firm Atos to test people with disabilities and get them off benefits.

An investigation revealed that the government have dictated no more than 12 percent should be declared unfit to work.

The Tories want to force people onto lower rates of benefit, or none at all and enrich their mates in the process. They are the real lying scroungers—not people on benefits.


Back story

Chris Grayling’s war on benefit claimants has sparked resistance from the start

  • Several big workfare backers, such as Burger King, dropped out of the scheme after protests

  • Widespread occupations of workfare companies forced Grayling to admit he had lied about benefit sanctions and remove them

  • Protests continue, organised by the Right to Work and Boycott Workfare campaigns


Article information

News
Tue 31 Jul 2012, 16:51 BST
Issue No. 2314
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