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James O'Brien rebukes 'disgusting' article on sickness benefits claimants
6 September 2023, 12:54
James O'Brien responds to 'disgusting' Daily Mail report on disability benefit claimants policy
As the government sets out new welfare reforms to help people rejoin the workforce, James O'Brien reacts to a right-wing paper's characterisation of those on sickness and disability benefits.
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This monologue came as the government launched a consultation on changes to the Work Capability Assessment to reflect "the rise of flexible and home working and better employer support for disabled people and people with health conditions".
James O'Brien read out a Daily Mail headline, stating that one million people on sickness benefits could be forced to start looking for jobs.
"I hate the celebratory tone", he said, adding that it gave the impression that readers will "take a day from slagging off foreigners and slag off sick people instead, because they are all lazy...feckless workshy layabouts".
He continued reading: "An estimated 2.5 million incapacity claimants are deemed unable to work and languish on handouts."
"Why do they use the word languish...and not for example the word survive?" James asked.
James O'Brien blames the right-wing media for ‘attacks' on the disabled
"Why do you think this language is deployed in this way by these people?" he continued.
"Up to a million sickness and disability benefit claimants are to be ordered to seek work - not helped, not encouraged, ordered, because they must be faking it right?
"If they weren't faking it, you couldn't order them to seek work, because they wouldn't be capable of doing the work that you're ordering them to seek."
"It's actually disgusting, it is fascistic", he added.
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride MP said: "Health assessments haven’t been reviewed in more than a decade and don’t reflect the realities of the world of work today. That’s why we’re consulting on reforms which will mean that many of those currently excluded from the labour market can realise their ambition of working."