“The disability benefits system is a result of decades of campaigning by disabled people. Those benefits are under attack as never before as the Government targets them in a quest to reduce the welfare state. The latest is the plan to abolish the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the grounds that this will encourage disabled people to seek work. Motivation is not the problem but the loss of ESA will impose such financial hardship on many that they will be unable to afford to seek work.

Government is entitled to ensure that benefits are given to those with a genuine entitlement and to assess people. But the process must be professional and honest. In this book Mo Stewart peels back the layers of deception, and the confused thinking that underpins the destruction of social support for disabled people. She shows how an American insurance company has contributed to this as it sought to expand its market to the UK. Disabled people are expected to undergo medical assessment to claim benefits, but the people conducting them seem to know little about disabled people or disability in general.

Inept assessments result in loss of benefits with money withdrawn from disabled people. Some of those assessed as fit for work died just afterwards. Others died later and some committed suicide. This callous and cruel policy is fully supported by the UK Government, who argue that they are concentrating resources at those with the greatest need but provide no evidence. Yet in doing so they are condemning disabled people to greater poverty and more limited lives. Stewart names names. She shows where and how the policies originated. She destroys all claims that they were based on solid research. And she vividly paints a clear picture of how disabled people are the group chosen to pay for bankers’ greed and stupidity in 2008, as government slashes expenditure. To understand what is happening and why, this is the book to read and I thank Mo Stewart for writing it”.

Sir Bert Massie CBE, DL, Chair, Disability Rights Commission 2000 - 2007