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LTB (Lying Thieving Bastards) 'Label' Given To Disabled Claimants, BBC's Panorama Reveals

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A company contracted to help the disabled and unemployed get back into work, has come under scrutiny after a former staff told the BBC claimants were called 'LTBs' or 'Lying Thieving Bastards.'

Triage, which operates in the north of England and Scotland, is subcontracted by one of the two companies the government pays to assist those who are out of work to get jobs. Many of the people placed into this programme are disabled.

However, the BBC's Panorama programme found it was simply 'parking' many of the people it was meant to help, claiming money for their supposed services, while abandoning those on its work programme.

Triage has denied the allegations, saying the use of the term LTB was an isolated incident and "it is not a phraseology used or accepted by Triage."

In a statement to the Huffington Post UK, a spokesperson for Triage said: “We find it disgraceful that an isolated and wholly atypical terminology, about which a formal complaint was never raised, has been manipulated by the BBC, who suggest that use of such terminology is endemic in the organisation.

"Triage refutes this entirely."

triage

The company subcontracted to carry out DWP's work programme

Former Triage employee, Miss Linda Smith from Aberdeen, told the BBC that disabled people meant "big bucks" for the company, as they were harder to find employment for. The longer they stayed on the work programme, the more Triage was paid, despite offering minimal assistance to those it was tasked to help find work.

"They would be put on telephone interviews... just to make sure that there was this contact made so they could tick a box to say, 'Yeah, they're still on the Work Programme'," Mrs Smith said.


Scope charity
Ahead of Panorama's expose on the Work Programme tonight, follow to see some of the attitudes faced by disabled people.

More than two million people are currently being assessed as part of a government drive to encourage people off benefits and back to work.

The Work Programme and is currently helping 68,000 disabled people who receive incapacity benefit back into employment, reported the BBC.

Companies such as Triage can receive up to £14,000 for filling one job, but the applicant must stay in the role for at least three months, reported Channel 4.

dwp

Triage carries out the programme for DWP

The company said the "delivery structure of the Work Programme does not allow for 'parking'.

"It is standard practice, particularly for those clients that are sick or who have otherwise been unable to attend, to telephone them to check on their progress and maintain contact.

"The compliance requirements of the programme demand a frequency of contact and this together with our own commitment to excellence and meeting client needs means that 'parking' is not an option."

Figures released in November showed coalition's flagship 'back to work' scheme has helped fewer people find jobs than if the government did nothing at all, despite costing £5bn.

The statistics were released a day after three homeless charities - Crisis, Homeless Link and St Mungo's - pressed for "urgent" reform of the scheme, saying it was failing to help homeless people.

However Number 10 rejected claims that the Work Programme was worse than doing nothing at all. "What is clear is that the Work Programme is being successful in getting people off benefits - 56% of people who entered the Work Programme are now off benefits," the Prime Minister's spokesman said.

The BBC Panorama show also interviewed Tony Wilson, 34, from Middlesbrough, who was referred to the Work Programme through Triage in February 2012. He had been unemployed and receiving incapacity benefit for almost nine years before the referral.

Mr Wilson told the BBC he suffers from depression, anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. He told the programme he hadn't even been asked for a CV by Triage.

The latest allegations are sure to anger anti-cuts and disability campaigners, who claim that inaccurate testing is forcing disabled people to live in poverty and in some cases driving them to take their own life. Many people are referred by the Work Programme after an Atos assessment and join as a WRAG participant, short for 'Work Related Activity Group'.

This group is for claimants who the DWP consider will be capable of work at some time in the future and who are capable of taking steps towards moving into work (work-related activities) immediately.

Ahead of the Panaroma programme, some Twitter users began sharing their own experiences using the hashtag #heardwhilstdisabled. Click the gallery below to see what they were saying.

Also on The Huffington Post

Heard Whilst Disabled
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