10 February 2010
A group of 2,000 chief executives of UK charities have joined forces with former investment banker David Freud to help them win cash for cutting sick and disabled claimant numbers.
The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations represents the vast majority of major charities, including many disability charities such as RNIB. Last year it teamed up with the DWP to set up a taskforce to help charities win more of the welfare to work contracts currently going to the private sector. The vice chair of the task force, David Freud, is on record as saying that he believes that only one third of incapacity benefit claimants are genuinely too sick to work.
The report urges the government to set up a ‘social Investment bank’ with capital of at least £250 million using taxpayers money and money in dormant bank accounts. This capital would be used by charities to keep themselves going in the first 12-18 months of welfare to work projects, until the cash for cutting claimants begins to pour in.
Nowhere in the report is a single word of concern voiced for claimants caught up in the increasingly compulsion and cash bounty driven world of welfare to work.
Stephen Bubb, Chief executive of ACEVO, is credited in the report with coming up with the idea for the taskforce. His blog – the self-effacingly entitled Bubb’s Blog – informs readers that he studied at Christ Church Oxford, divides his time between homes in Lambeth and the Cotswolds, is the chair of an orchestra and a member of the Honours Advisory Committee which decides who gets to be made a peer or given a medal in the New Year and Birthday Honours lists.
Bubb’s Blog contains repeated references to cabinet ministers and other senior politicians with whom he seems to be on exceedingly friendly, first-name terms. In this extract, for example, a minister takes a keen interest in Bubb’s neckwear:
“James Purnell is our first lecturer. I'm afraid that when I was choosing ties to wear for the day I managed to go for something a little less than the usual highly stylish . And he notices ; " boring tie" are his first words as I great him in the sumptuous foyer of a great investment institution. It is a great contribution. James now clearly knows his brief. He is a master at the detail when he answers questions from members.”
Sick and disabled claimants depend upon disability charities to lobby for their interests in the face of growing animosity from this government. They must be greatly reassured to know that, at their head, those charities have a man with so many different ties and so many different words of adulation for their chief persecutor, James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Bubb's Blog can be visited from this link.