"EDMs are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view. Although there is very little prospect of EDMs being debated, many attract a great deal of public interest and frequently receive media coverage."
John McDonnell, backbencher Labour MP has been the most loyal supporter of the sick and disabled in our campaign to scrap the DWPs Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) that are used to determine "fitness for work." He has tabled this EDM to raise awareness of the problems, consulting widely with disability groups, disabled people and charities. (full text at the end of the post)
Currently, the EDM has received 78 signatures, making it the 9th most signed EDM!! This is completely fantastic and thank you SO much to those MPs who've already signed. It's wonderful to see so many new names strengthening the voices of sick and disabled people and realising that far from being unreasonable, we are urgently concerned that the WCAs are failing so many people with serious illnesses and disabilities.
But I have even better news! Jamie Cartright, disability campaigner and writer (@Epipsychidion86 on twitter) has put together a brilliant, simple website to help people ask more MPs to sign. He had the idea a few days ago and must have spent every hour finding all the information and putting this together.
This link http://edm295.blogspot.co.uk/ will take you to the site and you can see who's signed, who can't sign, who can and use an easy tool to approach any you feel might like to know more about Atos, ESA and WCAs.
Although EDMs are largely symbolic, the more MPs that sign, the more we know support their constituents suffering through wrong decisions, lengthy, stressful appeals and increased poverty.
Please, support Jamie's website http://edm295.blogspot.co.uk/ and help to share it around.
Full Text of EDM 295
"[T]his House deplores that thousands of sick and disabled constituents are experiencing immense hardship after being deprived of benefits following a work capability assessment carried out by Atos Healthcare under a 100 million a year contract; notes that 40 per cent of appeals are successful but people wait up to six months for them to be heard; deplores that last year 1,100 claimants died while under compulsory work-related activity for benefit and that a number of those found fit for work and left without income have committed or attempted suicide; condemns the International Paralympic Committee's promotion of Atos as its top sponsor and the sponsorship of the Olympics by Dow Chemical and other corporations responsible for causing death and disability; welcomes the actions taken by disabled people, carers, bereaved relatives and organisations to end this brutality and uphold entitlement to benefits; and applauds the British Medical Association call for the work capability assessment to end immediately and to be replaced with a system that does not cause harm to some of the most vulnerable people in society."