The Green Party Opposes ‘Availability For Work’ Testing & Current Government Contractors

This Saturday 25 Feb 2012, Green Party Spring Conference 2012 passed a ‘Record of Policy Statements’ [RoPS] motion that proposed clarifying major differences between the stance of the Green Party of England & Wales vs the consensus of the other parties. RoPS  statements work as guidelines for elected Green Party MPs while we do  not have a sufficient majority to implement Green Party policy as government policy.

The synopsis for the ‘Availability for Work’ motion reads:

“Pending the introduction of a Citizens Income*, which will remove the  perceived need by the government for ‘availability for work’ tests, the Green Party believes that such decisions remain within the remit of the NHS.”

Alan Wheatly, who proposed the motion made a quick speech in support which went as follows;

“Friends, elected Greens, grassroots Greens and disability benefit claimants inside the Green Party and beyond, this motion seeks not just to bury the involvement of dodgy unaccountable companies in the lives of vulnerable people.

“It seeks also to make life worth living for those that other parties portray as excessive baggage, for whom the Hippocratic Oath is a luxury. Atos Healthcare tells its trainee
Examining Medical Practitioners: ‘You are treating claimants, not patients.’

“The friendly amendment [changing reference to ‘own GP’ to ‘within a publicly owned NHS’] has my name to it and reflects e-mail and workshop discussion. The private sector despises vulnerable people, and individual GPs are not omniscient, but a publicly owned NHS is wiser and  more all-embracing.”

Happily the Record of Policy Statement motion was passed unanimously and so the following wording will be recorded into RoPs:

“The Green Party has a commitment to the introduction of a Citizens Income which will mean that the need to test ‘avilability for work’ is no longer required. In the  meantime we believe that decisions about whether someone is healthy enough to be required to be ‘available for work’ should be made within a publicly owned NHS.”

In short, as far as the Green Party of England & Wales is concerned, it opposes the Unum/Atos approach that the other major parties either celebrate or tolerate.

* For those who do not know the Citizens Income would replace social security benefits and would be a non-means tested, non-taxable, non-withdrawable income paid to everyone so that no-one goes without. It would be topped up by wages and would allow people greater freedom of choice in their lives. It is written about here and a leaflet on the subject can be downloaded here

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  1. I could not agree more – you can't distil complicated medical issues into a format that an admininistrator can accurately & reliably evaluate. However, an appropriately designed, periodic WCA in the right hands is perfectly reasonable.

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