Archive for the ‘welfare’ Category

A Modern Dystopia- A Glimpse Into The Future


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello it a while since I blogged anything deep but as you know I’m not one to shy away from the responsibility of speaking out or the truth.

This has been something I forecast many years ago  to those who follow my blog, I have said some things which labelled me  a scaremonger or others implying I was a dangerous lunatic, yet I have been proven so far to be correct. Insight can be enlightenment and a curse.

So here I go again, jumping into the deep end of the cesspit of politics and the way we are ruled by those who think your life is worthless and of no use, and blaming you the individual rather than the chronic decision making by those in power. Quite some time ago as way back as 2012 I forecast this Tory government would lead us to hell in a handcart and now we are finally seeing their true colour’s as there is nothing to stop them enacting their game plan.

Why…because you let them!

Covid 19 has moved that plan fast forward and they are scurrying about in the corridors of power  trying to plug the holes that have been exposed. I said that they would come after the middle classes through welfare reforms and that Brexit would expose us to hardship never seen in over 100 yrs or more as the economy would take a severe nosedive plunging us all into the darkness of a dystopian world even George Orwell had not envisaged the savagery  about to unfold.

Do you all remember a BBC program called Years on Years and everyone was shocked to the core at the parallels of modern britain , well that is the  reality many now face, it wasn’t meant to become a reality I hear you say  or was it a dry run to test the nation to see how they would cope with what was coming who knows? In the clip below portrayal of  Trump and Vivviene Rook as a female Far Right Politician reminiscent of Farage.  It well worth a watch if you missed it anyway.

 

Covid has now plunged us into a wormhole  where nobody has the resilience to cope with partial lock downs where it highlighted our vulnerabilities  as human beings who have grown accustomed to having what we like when we like, but Brexit is about to bring that reality home  along with huge job losses and a failed  government which really isn’t governing. Many thousands are dying of Covid that’s before the flu season hits us, sounds like a conspiracy theory only it isnt!

All most will look towards is many will be lucky to have a job at all,  more homeless people on our streets,  our food banks over flowing with those who work and unable to keep up with demand, as ‘Charity’ replaces state support while they demolish and state assistance and social care will only lead to further deaths and deprivation most people have never seen in their entire lives and don’t be surprised after Brexit if Ration Books don’t make a return, as many as 5-9 million unemployed is forecast which will take decades to recover from and a rise in civil unrest and the boiling pot spills over onto our streets which will be exploited by the far right if someone doesn’t step up and take charge and automation will replace humans in Jobs.

The government is already looking at alternatives to state support in a post brexit world where food shortages are most likely and most alarmingly millions more people will die from abject poverty and starvation. It is a frightening picture I paint I know will UBI Plus help stem the disaster or will they continue to tread the same path and let eugenic practices like natural selection take place .

 

Its time to wake the hell up and stop and think what we are doing as a human race not just to each other but to the planet we live on which we are also destroying with our consumerism.

‘Its all your Fault’ isn’t just a convenient catchphrase its intentional to ‘blame you’ rather than you’ blame them’ for their incompetence , but there is a grain of truth that it is your fault for allowing it to happen in the first place rather than taking note of the warning signals but allowing your greed to absolve you from responsibility you needed to take. You wont be here , But your kids and grandchildren will be and that’s the legacy you left them. So expect to take the blame if you are able to survive the future as it will come home to roost.

 

 

Independent Disability Studies Researcher Takes Aim At Social Security Commission Led by Experts by Experience


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog by Mo Stewart

Mo Stewart Is the UK lead researcher and project manager  for the Preventable Harm Project which was completed in Nov 2019 following ten years of independent research has challenged the newly set up commission. It is in itself is a good idea, however  Mo  points out that they have missed a few obvious things. Pushing user led disability ideas to the forefront is commendable and long overdue but are they realistically achievable  given so far no party has shown any great interest in the needs of disabled people in practice, just asked for ideas and what needs changing and then consigned it to the shelves of Westminster to gather dust. Leading academics have already demolished the (WCA) assessment process as flawed .

 

Read this Submission Below

To Read More of Mo Stewarts research please go to   https://www.mostewartresearch.co.uk/

https://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/about-us/centre-fellows/mo-stewart.html

Conversation with Opposition Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Minister JP Reynolds


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I saw the new Opposition Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  Jonathan Reynolds MP piece in the ‘House ‘ Magazine I was livid like many others, so I immediately hit the PC and typed a letter to get him to acknowledge how disabled people were offended by the article.

It has been signed by many from all walks of life who think our Social Security System is draconian but should remain Universal and yes it is enroute. You cant really blame us, given disabled people in particular have faced some of the worst cuts in the last decade and many lives have been unnecessarily lost due to DWP administrative errors and a parasitic private contractors who arbitrarily decide your worth,based on their own internal prejudices which society has pushed down the gullets of the taxpayer . A society who objects to paying taxes to help those in need seriously needs to give its head a wobble, as in life we never know what is around the corner and COVID -19 provided that shock for the masses whom no doubt over last decade think or voiced opinions those needing state support are lazy good for nothing scroungers.

Covid -19 and the partial lockdown of the UK to tackle the virus, left many who have had no interaction with social security system the shock of their lives yet many who were furloughed have yet to face the brutal measures metered out by the DWP regarding the claimant commitment which comes back  into play on 30th June 2020 and the Health & Work programme regime. This is going to hit many very hard who are floundering around being given misleading information about Universal Credit , some not meeting the criteria due to having wages so no entitlement to those who are currently easing back to work finding that their tax credits have stopped so need to reclaim them. It will be a shock to the system they never envisaged themselves to be in.

Anyway back to the conversation I had……….

 

Basically a future Labour Government  will scrap Universal Credit! They are committed to ensure those on Legacy Benefits get the £20 top up in line with UC for furloughed workers and are pushing the government hard on this.  They are committed to developing a Social Security System fit for purpose too that’s ‘universal for everyone’.

 

With regards to his comments on contributory benefits which is why I took to twitter asking for a conversation, the pot is getting less and less as the working poor get poorer and contributions are getting less and less and with the  post pandemic and Brexit world ahead and a potentially damaging recession  reportedly worse than the great depression 80 years ago in front of us, they are looking at the ways workers contributions are collected and paid out and how those people are brought into a new system which they hope they will achieve once in power.

I remember Labour releasing the contributory document when the Tories floated the idea of an Income Protection Insurance Scheme to ensure those who paid in, got what they paid out!  This is not the plan for the potential Labour Government should it gain power. GP’s do not wish to be gatekeepers for DWP even though Labour agrees that private contractors are a real issue so how that comes about is another thing but UBI will not be on the table.

To gain public trust they first have to conquer the public’s mindset towards the welfare state which in itself is a big ask after the Tories have poisoned the chalice since Thatcher ‘s ‘No such thing as Society’ rhetoric. we live in a very unequal world where workers are stuck on low pay zero hour contracts needing food banks while working their asses off, to perceiving their neighbours staying at home getting money from the public purse. Hasten to add we have a government who has pushed the Big Flat Screen TV rhetoric to the Free New Mobility Car bullshit which has lead to Disability Hate Crime and a dob thy neighbour culture for fraud when 99% of fraud claims are unfounded and malicious and conducted out of spite. So that is what the minister was referring to, and he agrees that Means Tested benefits are too low for people to survive on given the rising cost so many face.

Why has this happened  I hear many say, well it because the last four decades the Tories and New Labour under Blair  have successfully pitted sections in society against each other is the answer, and you all swallowed their bullshit! Certainly in the last decade this has become blatantly apparent with a Tory Government in power in which the rich have become richer and have more power, while the 99% have become the working poor so Divide and Rule works effectively for the Tories and many have bought into it, turning on each other instead of uniting together to defeat this government and boot them out!  The working class of this country need to unite and help kick this lousy government out of office so we can all live in a fairer society, based on need not greed.

 

Lastly He has promised to engage  further, so putting aside his past under James Purnell during Blair years which didn’t bode well, I felt it was a good conversation and positive. Jonathan does have a child with disabilities so while he in different position to most he is trying to grasp the nettle. I did warn him that disabled people would no longer tolerate being treated by society in such an appalling way as the last decade. These punitive policies have to stop and maybe just maybe, Covid has taught them a lesson too?

 

The Article which prompted to outcry

https://www.politicshome.com/thehouse/article/jonathan-reynolds-interview

The Document Labour released re Contributory Benefits plans by Tories.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QBdAdIfZCAv4uC5L_zK8ozaPE0WCHxQj/view?usp=sharing
 

Transitional Payment -Mobility Loan Sharks


 

 

 

 

 

In 2012  The government announced it was scrapping DLA and replacing it with PIP.  It sent shock waves around disabled peoples movement at yet another change after the move to ESA and all the problems that caused. So the Government and Motability Scheme released a  joint statement, assuring disabled people that nobody would lose out and that a transitional support package would help people if they lost their awards under the introduction of PIP, to remain mobile. The Package had  two options dependent on when you joined the scheme, disabled people would be compensated for the loss of a vehicle so many rely on to live independently in their communities.

 

So when my transfer to this new benefit came and I was invited to apply for PIP in 2018 I went through the motions like so many before me. I Lost my award after 20 yrs so I challenged it firstly via Mandatory Reconsideration and ended up at the appeal stage, which I finally won. During these challenging processes I was contacted by DWP /Motability to say my award was ending. So I rang Motability as I knew I was eligible for one of the two transitional Packages but wanted an explanation in detail to help me choose the right one for me and try to stay mobile and attend my appointments and socialize with friends. I spoke to a very helpful man who advised me that option two would be better support for me while awaiting decision outcome of my challenges as I was concerned about if my challenges failed I would owe them money which I hadn’t got and he said they could extend it to 26 weeks and longer in required. So I told him this is option 2  I would take based on the information he provided as I had recently had eye surgery and was blind temporarily hence my call.

So Today I went to look at returning to the scheme at my preferred dealer to order a new vehicle. going through all usual documentation my application was submitted and rejected. This confused both myself and the agent who has known me since joining the scheme so he said it a glitch I’ll ring them, which he did.  What transpired was a restriction was on my account and he was put through to someone who could explain this. Imagine my horror when it was relayed to me that this restriction was because I owed them £1570.90p which I had not received any correspondence about for more than 12 mths and that DWP had also not advised me that should I get back payments I would have to settle this with Motability. Unless I’m mistaken Option 1  take the money and run and after 6 mth rejoin at no additional cost seems unjust. Now I don’t mind paying what I owe if I know about it!

 

I understood the reduction in the option 2 I had chosen were to cover the monthly payments for the continued use of my vehicle. Guess what it doesn’t! This package in effect is a ‘loan’  until you get award back  and repayable and until this debt is paid you are not able to return to the scheme. Even the agent was shocked as in all his many years he had never come across this with other clients. Imagine I was pretty angry firstly at the misleading advice given I couldn’t read it until my eye had healed, and secondly at DWP for not advising  claimants that if they were on the scheme then some of this back payment would have to settle the repayable debt which I didn’t know of. Both are equally as Guilty as the other. I’m very lucky as a  close friend  remedied the impasse which still leaves me in debt for a long time with them, but enables me to have a vehicle to suit my needs. I went onto the Motability site to hunt down the quotes at the end of this blog and also state it is in the letters sent to the claimant, but given at time I couldn’t read anything seems a bit pointless after the fact. So please be very careful to read the small print as nobody seems to talk to each other and are separate entities, unconnected, when it suits.

 

So I ask other disabled people  who have been affected to please contact DPAC if you have had a similar experience. Email mail@dpac.uk.net

This blogger has emailed the Work & Pensions Committee demanding clarity for claimants and for them to ensure changes are afoot. Yet another example of poor communication and disabled people getting shafted when they have so little in the first place.

I Hope Motabilty Patrons IDS and Theresa May are happy with themselves shafting disabled people day in day out they must piss themselves laughing every night especially the former.

 

See Below Quote from the Motobility website

 

How much financial support can I expect as a car customer?

“If you became a Scheme customer by 31 December 2012 and return the car to the dealership in good condition and within eight weeks of the DLA payments stopping, you will be eligible for a one-off £2,000 transitional support payment. However, to give you more time to consider alternative mobility arrangements you can choose to keep the vehicle for 26 weeks after the DLA payments stop, but if you choose this option your transitional support payment will be reduced to £500.

If you first became a Scheme customer between January and December 2013, or you rejoined the Scheme during this period following at least a one year break, and return the car to the dealership in good condition and within eight weeks of the DLA payments stopping, you will be eligible for a one-off £1,000 transitional support payment. This reduced, yet still significant, amount is because information on the Government’s plans for PIP has been publicly available since this point. Alternatively you can choose to keep the vehicle for 26 weeks but your transition support payment will be reduced to £250.

Please note that there are only two transitional support payment options for returning the car – at eight weeks or at 26 weeks and the relevant transitional support payment will apply regardless of if the car is returned between the eight to 26 week period.

Will I be penalised for ending the leasing agreement early?

No further rental payments or costs will be applied to customers whose leases end early as a result of a PIP reassessment.

If I apply for PIP in the future and am successful, will I need to pay this money back?

This is a one-off support package to help with the transition from the Scheme and we do not expect that you’ll need to pay this back if you are later awarded PIP. However, if you decide to rejoin the Scheme within six months of receiving the transitional support package, you will need to speak to us to discuss your options.

If you are later awarded the Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of PIP you may receive a backdated payment from the DWP covering the period of time from when your allowance stopped. Should this period cover time when you still had a Motability Scheme vehicle, we will ask you to repay this period to us if you wish to re-join or remain on the Scheme.”

If you became a customer from 1 January 2014, or you rejoined the Scheme during this period following at least a one year break, you will be eligible for a £1000 stopped allowance support payment, if you return the car to the dealership in good condition and within eight weeks of the DLA payments stopping.

Please make sure that both the DWP and Motability Operations Ltd have your correct contact details so there is no delay if we need to send you information regarding your support package, where eligible.

 

Update: 25th Feb.   Take the 2k and rejoin scheme after 6 mths you dont pay it back,  Option 2 take £500 pay it back out any back payments, but if you dont rejoin the scheme you pay back sweet FA and if you dont rejoin the scheme you pay nothing back and Motability dont chase the outstanding debt? How much is that costing?  DWP are invoiced weekly by Motability so I was informed today they kindly gave me a list of payments too.

Independent Researcher Blasts Secretary of State Coffey over DWP Indifference to Preventable Harm


 

 

 

 

 

Mo Stewart Author of Cash not Care and Independant Researcher, who has been a continued supporter of disabled people, being a Disabled Veteran and Health Professional herself, has lashed out at the continued injustice metered out to disabled people via  her ‘Preventable Harm Project’ over the last decade.

 

In the evidence recently given to the WPSC, the DWP Permanent Secretary celebrated the success of the roll out of Universal Credit (UC).

Apparently, all is well, ‘customers’ are quite happy with their experience, and the Secretary of State uses her much celebrated PhD in science to analyse various aspects of UC that will help people chose their dream job and improve their ‘careers’…. Oh dear….

https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/d8df2ad7-4c03-45be-a922-b077d4c0e537   (WPSC live evidence session 16th Oct 2019)

Now Therese Coffey’s claiming that ‘Universal Credit is the biggest change programme in Europe, and the UK is seen as a world leader in welfare…’

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wms/?id=2019-10-31.HCWS66.h&s=welfare+reform#gHCWS66.0

 

Time for a reality check, so I dropped the Permanent Secretary a line.

Letter to Peter Schofield

DWP Permanent Secretary

https://www.mostewartresearch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/REDACTED-letter-Peter-Schofield-DWP-Permanent-Secretary-DWP.pdf

To look at her website please click the link: https://www.mostewartresearch.co.uk/

Health Transformation Programme – The Next Step


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reader Trigger Warning for those with sensitive disposition >>>>

Since March 2019 the mutterings of  merging assessments has been muted which sent shivers through people with disabilities as they felt another onslaught was coming and saw this as a negative move. Its linked in part to Health and Work Programme too, which Department of Health combined to help design,  to enable DWP plans to close the disability employment gap and get more people into work. This doesn’t exclude other groups in society as it all part of welfare reforms and part of Universal Credit  and Social Prescribing is likely to be part of this complex joined up thinking by the government.

Contracts were first noticed in 2019 when the then Minister was Amber Rudd made a statement  on Improvements to Universal Credit, so when I went looking and  it’s part of ‘Intergrated Health Assessment Services’ Contract.

I remembered reading about it in the government 2016  ‘Improving Lives’ the work,health and disability Green Paper,which like most things are slipped in under the radar, by the DWP Ninja’s with the date of 2021 start date. I also recall IDS flunky Charlotte Pickles writing about it and Dame Carol Black in think tank reports way back.  This week Theresa Coffey the new minister being grilled about  by the DWP Select Committee about universal failures of Universal Credit, where she lost the plot when Frank Field  challenged the minister ,and she blurted out they were not uncaring they were trying to make things better quoting the previous ministers statement, which jogged my memory. So off I went down the rabbit hole which is my archive documents to search for these mutterings. I recall Alex Tiffin Campaigner also wrote something on it at the time.

OBR & Rudd

“The idea of of this was the cost involved in repeat assessments which were costing the DWP millions when 72% of PIP appeals were overturned according to Rudd and ESA appeals on top were also very successful,which seriously highlighted the administration of this in turn cost the taxpayer a small fortune. Contracted assessors should have been shown the door and financially penalized, but no this government instead extended those contracts to continue carrying out the assessments while they still were getting the majority wrong. The OBR report showed:

The admission, quietly revealed in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) economic outlook report, suggests the DWP never had sufficient staffing levels to carry out the repeat assessments for personal independent payments (PIP) alongside its other workloads.Repeat assessments to check eligibility for PIP, a benefit intended to help pay for extra living costs as a result of having a disability or long term condition, have been labelled “unnecessary and stressful” for claimants.

Those transferring from DLA to PIP were also being failed adding to the pressure in the dept and like it or not Rudd was one of the better ministers to hold this post before quitting over Brexit.”
The issue is as Coffey announced they are looking at more reforms, the new forms designs, the IT structure to enable this project will cost more taxpayers money but also cost disabled people a lot more in terms of stress. Is it for instance one assessment which means you are eligible for both benefits as suggested by many in field, or is it really one assessment lose all scenario as that could potentially mean PIP is going to become means tested which it currently isnt? Lots of disabled people also just get one of these benefits for instance and work already. many severely disabled people with chronic illnesses get both as they are deemed unfit to work, and others can be looking for some limited type of work they could manage. The last ten years have left many traumatised by the DWP and sadly some have taken their lives over DWP tyranny inflicted upon  the disabled community as a whole as fighting for what they are genuinely entitled to.
Many DWP projects are dressed up as the dept being helpful and inclusive with IDS mantra of ‘Work Sets You Free’ ideological warfare, this is unlikely to be a positive experience either.
Only last week they were caught red handed asking people to downplay their illness to make them more employable and use positive statements and avoid using certain words to describe their disability or Illness. What many have failed to spot is the managed migration of those deemed too ill to work date also starts in 2021-23 is the date coincidence, I doubt it!
Rudd stated

“The corporate empire will be able to rake in millions of pounds more from the ‘Work Capability Assessment’ – to pave the way for a massive shake-up in 2021.Benefits outsourcing giant Maximus will have its contract for hated ‘fit-for-work’ tests extended by more than a year, ministers announced today.

The corporate empire’s benefit testing firm will carry out ‘Work Capability Assessments’ for ESA payments for a further 16 months to July 2021.

The extension – the second since the contract began in 2014 – will allow the firm to rake in millions of pounds more taxpayers’ money from the tests.

But ministers insist it is a temporary measure to ensure “stability” ahead of a huge shake-up of disability benefit tests to help claimants.

Two separate tests will be merged into “one unified, integrated service” from 2021, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd announced.

The tests are Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit – run by a subsidiary firm of Maximus called Centre for Health and Disability Assessments Ltd – and separate assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP), run by Capita and an arm of Atos. Today’s extension comes despite more than two-thirds of appeal tribunals (68%) overturning fit-for-work tests last year.

Yet confirming the contract extension, Ms Rudd argued it would pave the way for “a more joined-up claimant experience” in future.She added: “This will allow for a safe and stable service now, and as we transition to the new integrated service.” The announcement came ahead of a wide-ranging speech by Ms Rudd vowing to improve the disability benefit system after years of warnings it is throwing people into destitution.She admitted disabled people feel “put on trial” by the DWP process and “we need to do more” to “close the gap” between intentions and reality. She said the enormous rate of appeals ruling against the government – 72% for PIP last summer – is “of particular concern” and the number is “too high.” according to The Mirror in March this year.”

IDS in 2015 when he launched Universal Credit claimed 

“I have said many times that I believe work is the best route out of poverty.

It provides purpose, responsibility, and role models for children.

As a one nation government, we believe everyone in the country should have the chance to benefit from the security and sense of purpose that comes with being in work.

That is why our guiding principle has been to place work at the heart of everything we do in our reforms.

Getting people into work is more than just earning a salary and certainly more than balancing the public purse.

These matter, of course, but they are not the primary reasons.

For culturally and socially, work is the spine that runs through a stable society.

Let me be clear – a decent society should always recognise that some people are unable to work because of physical or mental ill health – or both.

It is right that we protect these most vulnerable people in our society. And that support is there.

For despite the scaremongering, it is worth reflecting on the fact that we in this country spend more on sick and disabled people than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average.

To put that in perspective – and according to the OECD, the UK spends more on incapacity than France, Germany, or Japan.

However, we are also ensuring that the resources are in place to support people into work.

I’m proud that we are providing significant new funding for additional support to help claimants into work – £60 million in 2017 rising to an additional £100 million a year by 2020.”

This will no doubt strike fear into the heart of the disabled community as it will many other groups who will be targeted on Universal Credit,via its Health & Work Programme and its Social Prescribing of  Intergrated Health Asessment Services. No Guidance is currently available. Its been a very long journey for many of us campaigners ,who are also trying to inform and support many as well as look after their own health and manage their own disabilities, but it appears that this journey still has still a long way to run.
“DWP under the Health Transformation Programme (HTP) are exploring the future delivery of Health Assessments with the objective to transform the health and disability assessment services provided for people with disabilities and health conditions.
The Health Assessments help by providing advice to DWP Decision Makers to determine eligibility for benefits paid to claimants across a range of benefits including Personal Independent Payments (PIP) Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit (UC) and a number of smaller benefits.
Currently the services are delivered through a multi health assessment provider base with varying commercial and delivery operating models. The aim of the transformed service will be a more effective, efficient integrated service for customers.”
Please try to read some of the links provided below as I know this blog has been a long one for those who cannot deal with Info overload.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/work-health-and-disability

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564038/work-and-health-green-paper-improving-lives.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-awarded-to-help-people-with-health-conditions-stay-in-work

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/40-million-personalised-support-package-for-long-term-unemployed-disabled-people-launched

https://inews.co.uk/news/dwp-quietly-admits-never-had-capacity-pip-reviews-pensioners-disabilities-dwp-benefits-505474

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/dwp-extends-maximus-fit-work-14089513

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2019-04-11/HL15269/

http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/gp-topics/legal/government-could-automatically-access-gp-patient-data-for-benefits-assessments/20038333.article

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/dwp-benefit-claims-medical-data-sharing-nhs-healthcare-doctors-charities-a8797991.html

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/02/19/dwp_health_data_tool/

https://www.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk/digital-outcomes-and-specialists/opportunities/8859

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-03-05/HCWS1376

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/dwp-universal-credit-pip-and-welfare-reform-outsourcing-contracts-bill-revealed_uk_5c17a7a9e4b05d7e5d84273e

https://blog.sense.org.uk/2019/03/is-combining-pip-and-esa-assessments-really-a-good-idea/

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/closing-the-gap-between-intention-and-experience

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/08/jobseekers-told-to-call-their-depression-low-mood-on-applications

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/359865b3-b1e1-4071-8bc6-f02067c9f216?p=%40FQxUlRRPT0%3DNjJNT08%3DU&fbclid=IwAR1l0AvqucHKCGYBU-cWx0V-0YwBSP0zV2id_2kh4UhgudPu4K6c7t9u9b4

 

Updated July 2020: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-07-09/HCWS353/?fbclid=IwAR3Q4jLRyQ09LJOgMNb_fs1R1Un5iWuStsgRZgukcAqvbRKO_5a5dMQRfMg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Silencing of Common Sense


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live in interesting times and the Brexit debacle rolls on daily with media only reporting the likes of Trump,Boris,Farage and now Swinson in a identity political world which has no honor amongst thieves. The daily smears on Corbyn continue from the usual sources, while salivating over the UK division, while all the variables of those who shout the loudest start stabbing each other in the back. Politics is a mire of personal attacks and the press are selling their poison to those willing to listen. Boris has become the UK version of Trump  whose self interest and arrogance to sell us off to USA while Farage offers to destroy Labour in a pact with the Tories to leave the EU whilst Blaming the EU for all its ills is astonishing to say the least, while Swinson wants to remain in the EU but sell her party down the river in offering a pact with the Tories.

Leave Campaigners who have duped supporters have all been out for talks with Trump over the last three years so we know who is yanking the chain of the UK politicians prepared to crash the country and sell the family silver . While Tommy and his thugs try to cause discourse and  incite violence amongst the very people who need help, and who for decades have felt left behind and unheard by the Thatcher de-industrialization , by targeting sub groups in society on the shirt tails of the chaos we now find ourselves in.

Yesterday the man  responsible for all this mess states he is sorry, yet who has a book coming out next week! He starts attacking his party and his former colleagues from a safe distance in nothing more than a publicity stunt. A man who promised a vote on a negotiated deal and for a referendum to be held once the deal was sealed, which never happened in reality he just fudged it to save his own ass and Tory party by holding a referendum anyway. That’s what has caused the division and for those who fell for his lies knew it was also to try and run over the Corbyn rebellion,but it backfired.

Earlier in the week we had the revelations of Operation Yellowhammer which will cause considerable harm to the country and its citizens as a base scenario on paperwork while the PM’s cabinet skuttle about in the corridors of power saying it worst case scenario that they are sure wont happen as they are making provision to take care of the people according to Gove the snake oil salesman.

Why in gods name should we trust them to run a bath, let alone the country?

Relatively few stories about genius of Corbyn who has wisely used the chaos to hone his pincer like movement on the Tories with lethal effect inflicting successive defeats on the Tory prime minister never seen in modern politics, trapping Boris et al by working with cross party group to agree to prevent a no deal being inflicted on citizens, that will cause death and destruction to those most in need of help and support not seen since the 1920s. Swinson and few others within the Labour Party go all out to undermine a common sense approach of the cross party crew,while jostling to be top dog.

The Corbyn cross party compromise to both leave and remain factions is a deal already negotiated which will require a vote on a deal with both leave and remain on the ballot paper, while offering to sacrifice himself thereafter in a election process . Some would call it a dangerous but brave move, others may call it stupid and naive. I have no doubt in his sincerity to put the country first even if that means Labour lose an election,which I’m hoping it wont, given the fact that so many citizens are living in life critical situations and millions are dying as a result of incompetent management of the last 9 years. I can see why the Corbyn Machine relies on going out into the community and speaking to the people and using social media platforms for it voice,while rejecting the right wing rags who peddle hate and division while slandering a man who is a threat to the gross wealth of capitalism’s worst excesses of tax avoidance and greed. The cross party solution is a common sense approach and then maybe we can put this Brexit horror to bed for good and many peoples lives can be saved as a result. Meanwhile Climate change threatens us all.

 

Feed the needy not the greedy

For the many not the few

Government Universal Credit Announcement Causes Widespread Panic


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Government and media have announced that due to wrongly removing disability premiums claimants are due to be reimbursed £405 following a high court case that found them discriminatory towards claimants and the DWP lost the case.

This has lead to a lot of panicking of people  of being migrated to Universal Credit because of the way this has been reported or lack of understanding leading to confusion.

When the government produced Managed Migration draft regulations  numerous statutory Instruments (SI)  have happened  which do not require a parliament vote. When Amber Rudd announced that the Managed Migration Pilot in Harrogate various types of claimants (10,000) were to be tested to evaluate the best way to migrate people from their Legacy Benefits. Mrs Rudd has had to make a lot of amendments via SI as the High Court were not happy that these people would be guinea pigs and put into hardship. So to amend these the Government introduced SDP Gateway regulations to prevent those on SDP from transfering to UC until Final Managed Migration in 2020 was passed in Parliament which it is currently tabled for approval.

 

On 16 January 2019, regulations came into force preventing people in receipt of benefits including a Severe Disability Premium from moving onto Universal Credit until the final managed migration stage, when they can receive transitional protection. People who have already moved to UC and lost their SDP are to receive additional payments – both backdated and on an ongoing basis – although these may not fully compensate individuals for the amounts lost. Draft regulations providing for these “SDP transitional payments” are currently before Parliament.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8494?fbclid=IwAR2MHSoeUuuCaQU5gj1_JCm6pV-aRsfju-x3FcgRpKh3xy4LtwAmq0J_lf4

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-benefit-adjudication-circulars-2019/a12019-hb-gateway-severe-disability-premium-and-claimants-with-3-or-more-children?fbclid=IwAR34uJxZrg3p9PVS4NfR3MpwumM3tPlJutfdCxRp4yfORLBgbKwW9qubRe4

SDP Gateway Regs http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/sdp-gateway?fbclid=IwAR1gdlUhPh8vQuQaKlGYL-gwqf02N9WNa8COdnFJ2-cf5EUU3DAgF66bdJE

 

Hopefully this blog will now stop this panic amongst SDP claimants who believed that they would not be migrated to UC till 2020. Please read the above links

 

Will UBI Be The Right Solution?


 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week Labour has been talking about the prospect of UBI if a Labour Government came to power.

A report by Guy Standing for the Progressive Economy Forum UBI Pilots who is deemed the expert in this field published his ideas on how the UK could make this work.  This blog will about that discuss this and the flaws in his argument.

Firstly his claims that other pilots have been successful is a matter of opinion, I cant see how this claim can be made,  given each of the pilots mentioned operated very differently so therefore are not comparable as they would need to be identical in operational terms. Many have been scrapped and reported as failures.This idea has been around since C 1200 yet none of the previous UK governments have implemented it , even though it has been discussed many times. Why because it was deemed it wouldn’t work.  Are Labour digging up a corpse?

The Pilots suggested by Guy Standing are as following:

Five types of basic income pilot that are
recommended:
• Model A. Under this variant, a sample of people – a whole community defined
as a locality – would be provided with basic incomes, with additional separate
benefits for those with special needs. The basic income would be provided
instead of existing means-tested benefits, with the exception of housing
benefit, which should be retained (or be replaced by an equivalent to
compensate for any loss of the housing element of Universal Credit).
Provisionally, it is proposed that every adult in a selected community would be
provided with £100, with £50 for each child, and with additional separate
benefits for those with disabilities. As indicated later, the selection of the
community should be random and be drawn from a group of low-income
communities.
Bearing in mind that existing benefit levels have been allowed to fall in real
terms and that there is nothing optimal about existing tax rates, this model
should be regarded as realistically aspirational, in that it the test would be to
see the impact on the population, recognising that funding such a scheme
nationally would involve a significant cost that would have to be met by tax
increases, diversion of public spending from other uses (such as subsidies and
tax reliefs) or the establishment of a national commons fund as described
earlier. A primary purpose of this Model would be to determine whether the
benefits of such a scheme – such as improved health, reduced stress, more
work and less crime, as found in pilots elsewhere – would merit consideration
of this option in the future.

• Model B. Under this variant, a sample of people – again, preferably all members
of an identifiable locality – would be provided with basic incomes of £70 per
week for working-age adults, and £20 per week for children on top of Child
Benefit. Tax codes for every recipient would become BR, thus imposing the
basic rate of income tax on all earned income below the higher rate tax
threshold. Means-tested benefits would be left in place, and basic incomes
would be added to the means taken into account in their calculation, so each
recipient household’s means-tested benefits would be automatically adjusted
downwards, and their means-tested benefits would also be automatically
adjusted upwards by the changes in net earnings brought about by the tax
code change. Administration of the scheme would be possible if the recipient
community were to be defined by postcode boundaries and the government
was able to instruct HMRC and DWP to make the necessary changes within
the recipient community.

• Model C. Under this variant, a sample of people – again, preferably everybody
in a local community – would be provided with basic income as a supplement
to their existing state benefits. This would be firmly in the spirit of common
dividends, and the per capita amount could be less than in the first case. One
option might be to provide every adult in a community with a tax-free £50 per
week for one year that was not taken into account in determining access to
means-tested benefits. This would strengthen income security and be
progressive, since the amount would represent a larger proportion of the
income of a low-income person than for others.

• Model D. Under this variant, a sample of welfare recipient adults would just
have existing conditions for entitlement to existing means-tested benefits
removed, so as to make the benefits closer to a basic income, notably by
removing forms of behavioural conditionality that permeate Universal Credit
and other benefits at the moment. This type of experiment is close to what is
currently being tested in The Netherlands and Finland, as described in
Appendix A. It would have minimal net cost, and might even save public money.

• Model E. A fifth type of experiment is very different from all the others. This is
sadly relevant to the austerity era, and would be a refinement of an approach
taken in the City of London some years ago. As described in Appendix A, the
gist of the policy was that a group of homeless were given a cash grant instead
of the various measures made available, and it led to most of them obtaining
places to stay, and thus actually saved the council considerable money over
the longer term. Given the horrifying growth of homelessness across the
country, this experiment should be repeated in a few other, randomly chosen
places. It should not be made a national policy, but the results could be taken
into account in formulating and implementing a national basic income system.

To make UBI work in the UK it would take some radical changes not just in thinking ,but with certain groups in society who cannot work such as Disabled People,Carers ,Elderly for a variety of reasons. One annoying trait with all governments is the focus on getting people into jobs, which isn’t a bad idea in itself if they can , but with total disregard to those who cannot, as if it is like some sort of Utopian world view where work is the be all and end all of life. With many on low wage zero hr contracts and not enough FT jobs or skilled workforce to fill current vacancies. Many people are working less than 3 hrs a week but classed as employed by government ,yet complaining about the welfare cost rising and counted as claimants too . Many are grandparents/ parents who are picking up childcare for example or carers which actually saves Governments an absolute fortune in service provision.

For any UBI scheme to work in the UK  these marginalized and demonized groups need to be included and additional bolt ons, like disability premiums,PIP, AA,Carers Premiums,Child Elements,Housing Benefit must be retained and set at a realistic level  and to cope with modern society after Brexit,  if that happens, with rising costs and inflation etc. The figures quoted by Standing are unrealistic in the modern world with AI creeping into the workplace and less than current payments on Universal Credit for some and in Scotland even less money.

A flat rate fits all approach will fail without doubt and plunge many into a worse situation than they are currently facing under Universal Credit. we shouldn’t throw the idea out altogether but if Labour wants this to work, it first needs to Listen to those on the receiving end of the policies put forward not just so called experts. Sanctions and Behavioral Conditionality,  the awful WCA/PIP assessment processes  that currently are costing a fortune both monetarily and with reported deaths of claimants should be abolished as promised and the rapid rise of homelessness. There should be a claw back process for those who gain employment set at a certain threshold ie: 50k.

Disabled people in particular have higher costs (500mth) because of disability and social care needs, we need to make it possible for those who can work to get jobs, keep mobility vehicles to enable them to get to work , eat healthy food, put clothes on their backs and pay their bills  and even a holiday which will all benefit long term costs in other areas as well as make them healthier both mentally and emotionally and  initial costings will in the  long term cut costs in other areas.

Critics on all sides make wild claims for and against this idea but if well thought out , it might just work! Piloting different approaches are not helpful in some ways as they are costly on both sides of the argument, but a well thought out UBI might work for the many and not the few .

I’m still wary of ‘False Prophetic’ claims of a brave new world of welfare state, in fact I may not live to tell the tale, but this has to be done properly for the generations to come who need support of a safety net just because they Can’t!

 

For those wishing to read Standings report: https://www.progressiveeconomyforum.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/PEF_Piloting_Basic_Income_Guy_Standing.pdf

 

Independant Researcher Mo Stewart Challenges DWP Cheif Medical Officer


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independant Researcher Mo Stewart today challenged the Chief Medical Officer at the DWP Prof Dame Sally Davies in a letter  at the research that she and many others have done over many years, regarding the preventable harm committed by the state on disabled people in the UK.

 

The DWP are found wanting on many levels as the truth is becoming more transparent to many people who circumstances means they need state support, under the falsehood of Austerity.  After years of welfare reforms and the terrible consequences of these policies in the media cannot be hidden any longer,although the press have colluded in this failing to report such cases. Disabled people have taken to direct action and doing research which has been presented to the UN who were scathing of the Government reforms and treatment of disabled people In UK, stating ‘Grave and Systemic Violations of disabled people in the UK’.

 

Now Universal Credit the flagship policy  by Iain Duncan Smith is causing widespread criticism and hardship has hardly been out the headlines due to it endemic failures of administration which is cumbersome to say the least, let alone very costly to the public purse and the savings forecast at its launch will be unlikely to emerge  . The Government’s cavalier attitude ‘carrying on regardless’ attitude is a failure of the state to protect the very people they said would be protected and who thus far have born the brunt of savage cuts to welfare spending than any other group in society so far.

 

 

Link : Mo Stewart letter

 

Redacted Letter Prof Dame Sally Davies 3rd MAY 2019 by Gail Ward on Scribd

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