He starts out pretending that he might actually live up to his surname and feigning concern for his old constituents. In paragraph number 5 he even uses some actual facts:
The problem with DLA isn't that it traps disabled people on benefits – its purpose is to support the care and mobility needs of disabled people, whether they work or not. Nor is the key issue fraud – which is proportionately tiny: a mere 0.5%.
You can tell he's no longer in office, can't you? If a current MP told the truth about benefits so brazenly Cameron would probably have him bent over his lap, bullwhip in hand, faster than one can say "calm down dear".
The article was clearly an attempt at something of a con. Obviously his thought process was "if you start with the facts people will think you're an honest writer. So then when you slip some bullcrap in 2 thirds of the way through, they'll have built the perception that you're an honest kinda guy and won't bother checking any more."
That's when it goes to shit.
But there is a real problem, and that is error. More than 70% of the current DLA caseload has an indefinite award. There is no effective means of ensuring these payments remain correct. Ministers claim there are hundreds of millions of pounds of overpayments.
You know what, I'm gonna take this one sentence at a time.
But there is a real problem, and that is error.
This is actually pretty true. The fraud rate for DLA is, as he has already pointed out, 0.5%. The rate of customer error is 0.6% and the rate of DWP error is 0.8% (see table on page 12 of this DWP report), so it is the DWP doing the bulk of the ballsing up.
More than 70% of the current DLA caseload has an indefinite award.
This could possibly be true too. Haven't got the figures to hand, it's gone midnight and I want to go to bed at some point tonight so I'll just give him the benefit of the doubt. Next!
There is no effective means of ensuring these payments remain correct.
Here's where he tried to resort to a bit of semantic trickery. You see; if an award was made correctly at the time it was awarded, it's not error. If the recipient's circumstances change and they fail to notify the DWP then that's fraud. He is trying to imply that the fraud rate is greater than it is by trying to paint it as appearing in the "error" column.
Ministers claim there are hundreds of millions of pounds of overpayments.
If you go back to the document I linked to already you'll see that, actually, it's 2.2 hundreds of millions of pounds. The DLA spend is £12bn meaning the overall overpayment rate is 1.9%
He claims that regular reviews would stop people from getting overpaid if they get better. Apparently no-one told him that an incurable condition is for life, not just for Christmas. Do you think he knows many people with cerebral palsy who got miraculously cured? I wonder if his social circle is full of war veterans who lost limbs which then grew back? I know he sat on the opposite side of the house to them, but he must have crossed paths with them sometimes: Do you think he asks David Blunkett and Gordon Brown if their eyesight is getting better? And as it's something I have I'd be very curious to meet someone with magically vanishing osteogenesis imperfecta. One can only assume that Goodman believes that Lourdes actually works.
While the absence of regular reviews might result in a few people getting overpaid, it ultimately works out to the benefit of the taxpayer: You see, most people become more impaired over time; rather than less. But where progression is gradual people don't often notice it quite so keenly. And then there are those who did notice they'd gotten worse but are too scared to call the DWP in case an overzealous Atos assessor comes and takes all their DLA despite them being eligible for an even higher rate.
Today @spoonydoc tweeted the following (and she's proper clever, she wrote the Spartacus Report):
DLA fraud:0.5% at £60mill PIP reassessments £300-500mill over 3 yrs. Cost saving or ideology?
So not only would the government find themselves shelling out more on people that had become more impaired but wouldn't have reported it, they'll also be haemorrhaging money to pay for these new reviews. Mr Badman says "but ducking decisions simply because constituents won't like them is scarcely a noble motive." I concur: But I also think that wanting to stump up more money for no other reason than to persecute disabled people is a rather overpriced way of proving that he is an odious little man.