Saturday, February 02, 2008

Freud the Fraud

If you want an example of how politicians are fascinated by even the most gormless and ignorant of businessmen, check out today's interview with investment banker and government adviser Sir David Freud.

Freud was hired by Tony Blair as an adviser on welfare refom, by his own admission, 'I knew nothing about welfare when I started'. He spent a total of three weeks researching and writing his report.

He estimates that 5-7% of people who are on incapacity benefit are also working, and that 1.4 million should not be on incapacity benefit. There is no published research or evidence which supports this. He believes 'we are due a recession, and should have one every six or seven years', and yet the reforms he proposes to get people into work require steady economic growth and don't work in times of recession.

His big solution to get people into work is to get private companies to replace Job Centre Plus in being responsible for people who are out of work. He believes that companies should be paid up to £60,000 per person that gets a job and keeps it for three years.

This will mean that private companies will decide who to support and who to leave on benefit based on how cheaply they can get their 'customers' a job. So people who are desperate to work, but who need a lot of help to do so will not be able to, because private companies won't make enough of a profit. This isn't leftie scaremongering, this is what Freud himself says - "The private sector will have to start making assessments about who they can get back into work at what cost.

If somebody is really clinically depressed, for example, [the company] might say, 'I'm not going to get this guy to hold down a job for three years because he's not up to it so I'm not going to expend my efforts on him at the moment'?."

The Tories and the Lib Dems are right behind Freud's proposals, and now it seems that Gordon Brown has reversed his position and is going along with this nonsense as well. Freud's proposals are an absolutely criminal fraud of public money which means handing over billions of pounds to private companies to pick and choose who should get a job and who shouldn't based on a report by a man who doesn't know what he is talkign about, with the ultimate aim of taking money away from sick and disabled people and giving it to private shareholders.


At 6:36 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

My favourite bit of the interview is where he claims the number of people who should receive IB is the same as it was in the 1970s, without telling us why. So hours worked, stress levels, inequality, numbers of people in debt etc apparently have no effect on illness.

That's only explicable as an astonishingly stupid belief that all disabilities/illnesses are genetic and that genetics decide what happens to us regardless of circumstance.

If private/not for profit companies can help people back to work, okay. But the whole point should be that they're only used in extremely difficult cases where state support isn't adequate. Certainly the Tory proposal is to get the state paying private companies to get people work who statistics suggest would find work themselves anyway. I hope we don't move down that route and only use private companies where the individual isn't going to find work themselves and their case has moved beyond the state's capacity. (Of course, that capacity could be higher if we wanted it to be and funded additional capacity.)


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