The DWP has now sunk so low it’s in court trying to block human rights laws

DWP and Royal Courts of Justice
Steve Topple

Just when you thought the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) couldn’t sink any lower, it has. Because it is currently in court fighting against a disabled woman and her husband. And the result it’s hoping for is one that would block human rights laws being used against it.

Disabled people set a precedent. And the DWP didn’t like it.

Back in November 2016, Jacqueline and Jayson Carmichael successfully beat the government in court over the so-called Bedroom Tax. They argued the tax was discriminatory under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as Jacqueline cannot share a bedroom with her husband because of her impairments. And the court agreed, setting a precedent for other claimants.

The DWP is not one to concern itself with human rights, judges and the law, though. So like a blocked septic tank, it just kept re-emerging from its rancid cesspit in Westminster trying to fight the original decision in other courts. And it repeatedly lost.

But now, the DWP is back again. And this time, as reported, it is trying to stop tribunal judges using the ECHR to rule in favour of benefit claimants. Essentially, it’s saying that if people claim it’s broken human rights laws, then ‘tough luck – you can’t argue that with us’.

Not on our planet

It is unclear what planet the DWP lives on.

Actually, no, it is clear.

It’s a planet where cruelty, nefarious ideology and wickedness rule supreme. Where zero fucks are given about physical harm to claimants, their mental distress and their lives. But it’s also a planet where the DWP trying to block access to human rights laws should not be unexpected.

In the past 20 months, there have been five international reports accusing the government of breaching various legal agreements on the human rights of sick and disabled people.

One UN committee ruled that successive Conservative-led governments had created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people by meting out “grave and “systematic” violations of their human rights. But one particular report is pertinent in the DWP versus The Last Shred Of Humanity case. And it came from a Council of Europe committee.

As I wearily reported in January, the government was again found to have violated disabled people’s “basic” human rights. But this time under a “counterpart” treaty to the ECHR – the very laws the DWP is trying to stop people using. The report said the government had violated the European Social Charter by making benefit payments “manifestly inadequate”. That is, the DWP was not giving people enough money to live on; leaving them in poverty. It also said that the UK government must “urgently” reform “the benefit sanctions scheme”.

The genocide of disabled people

So, it’s little wonder that the DWP is trying to stop people using the ECHR, when it has breached legislation used alongside it. As I said before, ‘Tory Britain’ staggers me, but it’s a hard contest between that and the DWP for which is the most contemptible. When a government and one of its departments just shrug their shoulders in the face of international condemnation over human rights violations, something is seriously wrong.

But when it then has the outrageous audacity to go to court to try and block people using the same laws it’s violated, that’s something else. The DWP has moved past mere wickedness. It’s now completely out of control in its genocide of sick and disabled people.

Get Involved!

– Support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), fighting for disabled people’s rights.

– Write to your MP, asking them to support the UN and European committees’ findings.

Featured image via UK government/Wikimedia and Dan Perry/Flickr

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