Category Archives: Benefits

Disabled care home residents are being evicted because charities can’t afford to subsidise them

Money: the cost-of-living crisis means more cash is needed to cover the care of severely disabled people – but councils don’t have enough.

Here’s a little-known consequence of the cost-of-living crisis: disabled people are being evicted from charity-run care homes because local councils are refusing to pay increased costs.

These are people with severe disabilities whose care can cost anything between £85,000 and £150,000 per year.

The charity Leonard Cheshire said it had served 11 eviction notices on contracts with councils that had been under re-negotiation without agreement since February. Two were rescinded after councils agreed to pay uprated fees.

The fee increases reflect the rising costs of wages, energy and food due to the cost-of-living crisis that has been largely caused by the UK’s Conservative government, due to Brexit and energy privatisation that has led to failures to upgrade to cheap, locally-generated energy.

Leonard Cheshire has spent millions of pounds from its own reserves over the last few years, subsidising care services that councils have failed to fund adequately – but now says it can no longer afford to continue doing so.

Mencap has not evicted anybody because it generally doesn’t own the properties they occupy – but is subsidising one in five of the state-funded care packages it provides to 4,000 people – so that’s 800 of them. The cost to the charity is millions of pounds.

Evicted residents are unlikely to become homeless because their council or NHS funder has a duty to provide alternative care.

But the concern is that moving will disrupt the care that people get, and cheaper alternative arrangements will be of poorer quality or based far away from their family support network.

Ironically, the evictions are prompted by concerns that the level of council funding no longer guarantees basic safety and quality standards.

Inevitably, the government has claimed it provides plenty of money to support adult social care services – with the £7.5 billion available over two years constituting the biggest funding increase in UK history.

Conspicuously missing is any comment on whether this is enough money to cover the increased costs of care.

So you may safely conclude that it isn’t.

Source: Disabled care home residents evicted in charity’s dispute with councils | Social care | The Guardian

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DWP Hide Details Of Forced Transition To Universal Credit Pilot From MPs | The poor side of life

Once again the Department for Work and Pensions has been caught hiding information – this time not just from the public but from MPs as well.

Here’s The Poor Side of Life:

The DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) have once again been found to have covered up data from a forced transition pilot which took place in Harrogate.

Not only have they tried to hide this information from the public they’ve also hidden the details from MPs.

There is evidence of the DWP covering up not only the details of the forced pilot which took place in Harrogate, but also details of their incompetence.

This relates to the forced transition from legacy benefits to UC (Universal Credit). The social security advisory committee (SSAC) has been reported saying to MPs that there is a need for external scrutiny of the worrying process this month.

Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak has disclosed that copies of the Harrogate forced transition pilot report on the Harrogate pilot have been placed in the House of Commons library, after being entirely redacted with the exception of the words ‘Moved to Universal Credit’ and ‘User research’.

The total redaction tells us one thing, the DWP doesn’t want to let MPs know the details of the pilot and what happened. It goes without saying that they don’t want the public to know these details either.

Steve McCabe also gave details concerning a constituent who was left in a very bad both physically and mentally leaving the constituent in distress. The DWP reported that she failed to respond correctly to a migration notice despite already being told that she didn’t have a computer at home.

He went on to say that she attempted to phone the DWP but could’nt find anyone to speak to. She also sent a letter by recorded delivery at her expense which the department ‘thought’ that they didn’t receive it. This left her without any payments for many weeks.

Charlotte Pickles, a member of SSAC (Social Security Advisory Committee), told MPs that the SSAC believed that some kind of external scrutiny of the ‘scary’ migration process is needed which will then supposedly give people forced to transition confidence that the process will be fair.

She went on to say, “We are all very aware that for some groups, in particular, UC is quite a scary proposition. If you are sitting on a legacy benefit or you are a tax credit claimant, you possibly, likely, in certain groups, are very nervous and possibly reluctant to make that move to UC.”

After all who can blame them. The DWP are concealing important details not only from MPs but the public as well. The evidence from the Harrogate trial should be provided in an open and transparent way and any failings dealt with before expanding forced migration to Universal Credit.

Concealing evidence such as this will result in a failure of responsibility from the DWP and will undoubtably result in suffering and distress for those forced to move to Universal Credit.

At the time of writing the DWP are still hiding these details.

Source: DWP Hide Details Of Forced Transition To Universal Credit Pilot From MPs – The poor side of life

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DWP warns households they may not get cost of living payment next week

For once, this is not about the Department for Work and Pensions deliberately making our lives harder.

It seems to be a simple warning that it’s impossible to get the second instalment of the cost of living payment out to all households at the same time.

And, in fairness, while the payment starts to be dished out on Tuesday (November 8), the deadline isn’t until November 23 (November 30 for people on tax credits and legacy benefits).

Here’s the story from My London:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued an urgent warning to households who are expecting the second instalment of the cost of living payment next week. The government department has said that not everyone should expect the payment to arrive on Tuesday, November 8.

Around eight million families are set to receive the payment, which aims to support qualifying low-income households with the rise in the cost of living. The £324 payment is the second lump sum of a £650 payment.

The first payments of £326 were made from July 14 onwards. For the second instalment, the DWP has warned that “a small number” of households will receive payments on November 8, with “numbers increasing significantly” from November 9 onwards, reports Liverpool Echo. The deadline for most payments to be made is November 23.

It is thought that families in receipt of Tax Credits and other eligible legacy benefits will get their money from November 23-30.

Source: DWP’s urgent warning to households expecting cost of living payment next week

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Sunak threatens the pensions triple lock – how can he still say he’s ‘compassionate’?

The triple lock ensuring that pensions rise by the highest of 2.5 per cent, average earnings, or inflation is in danger of being dropped by Rishi Sunak’s new Tory government.

It seems the new prime minister, whose personal wealth is greater than that of the King, is not keen to allow pensioners’ payments to rise in line with the cost of living; inflation currently stands at a 40-year high of 10.1 per cent, due to the failures of previous Tory administrations.

His press secretary has merely claimed that Sunak has a record of being “compassionate for the most vulnerable”. This Writer is not convinced that such a claim holds water.

It seems clear that the pensions triple lock – which was a Tory idea, let’s not forget – was never intended to allow payment increases of the kind being demanded now.

It was a lie intended to dupe senior citizens into thinking the Tories support them and therefore into voting Conservative at elections.

It was dropped during the Covid-19 crisis because wages, having fallen, then rose by eight per cent and Sunak refused to pay. That was a special case, though, because the triple lock did not take account of falls in wages; the rise in fact only returned wages to where they were before.

This is not a special case. The cost of living has increased enormously and richer-than-the-King Sunak is indicating that he wants pensioners to be unable to afford to pay their bills any more.

Oh – and Sunak won’t commit to raising state benefits in line with prices, either.

The decisions on these issues will come on November 17, in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s winter Budget that is replacing a statement that was due on Monday. Hunt has been given more than two weeks’ grace to find a way to make the situation work for pensioners and those on benefits.

Do you honestly think he’ll bother?

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Grandparents: snap up this little-known childcare benefit while you can!

Here’s more useful information from Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert:

So there’s no penalty for the parent if they’re working and earning NI credits from that.

Any good?

Suella Braverman shows her true colours at Tory conference – and they’re not pretty

There’s an interesting tweet going around Twitter at the moment. It runs like this:

Suella Braverman is the new Home Secretary appointed by Liz Truss – and she is already gaining a reputation for being worse even than her forerunner, Priti Patel.

Why? Well, let’s hear what she’s had to say during the Conservative Party conference:

Let’s have some commentary on the way Braverman’s Home Office handles asylum applications; that might provide some information to help us work out whether the European Court was right to overrule the UK’s Supreme Court:

Braverman’s parents came from Kenya, by the way. We have no reason to believe they didn’t arrive legally – but I wonder whether that legal route into the UK is still open, after 12 years of Conservative Party xenophobia.

Twitter has been ablaze with commentary. Here’s a selection:

So that’s your new Home Secretary, folks. Are you happy?

With luck, she’ll be gone before Christmas, like the prime minister who appointed her.

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Now IAIN DUNCAN SMITH is challenging Liz Truss – over BENEFIT CUTS

The Tory who inflicted the most harmful benefit cuts ever to blight the UK has raised his voice to challenge new prime minister Liz Truss – saying her plan to cut benefits in real terms is too harsh.

Wait, what?

Iain Duncan Smith, whose cuts to sickness benefits led to at least 2,400 unexplained deaths between 2011 and 2014, now says benefit cuts are bad?

Well, yes:

It may not be hypocrisy.

He resigned in 2016 over plans to cut disability benefits, saying they were too harsh as well.

And the argument he is using now – that cutting money available to benefit claimants is likely to harm them – is entirely correct. How do I know?

Because I wrote it.

I, along with many other campaigners of the time, made it clear when newspaper stories about people dying for that reason were proliferating.

Suppose a claimant is diabetic. If they can’t afford to power their refrigerator, then they can’t keep their insulin at the right temperature. What happens if they then go into diabetic shock?

Just ask the family of David Clapson.

But This Writer doesn’t recall any remorse from Iain Duncan Smith over the deaths his policies caused while he was Work and Pensions Secretary.

Perhaps a more likely explanation for this is that the policy is likely to be hugely unpopular during a cost-of-living crisis caused by the Tory government.

The thought of people on benefits receiving a help package that is reduced if Truss refuses to authorise an inflation-linked uplift in benefits may be deeply unpopular with voters, so perhaps Iain Duncan Smith is simply trying to cling on to his Parliamentary seat.

His other words are absolutely correct, though: if a government wants to build economic growth, it needs to give money to the poorest in society because they are the ones who will spend it – not the richest.

He is the latest in a lengthening line of senior Tory MPs to challenge the prime minister’s authority.

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Kwarteng is in a hole – and he’s STILL digging out unpopular policies!

Amazing.

Having realised his decision to cut the 45p tax rate was unpopular, Kwasi Kwarteng has reversed it (alongside his prime minister, Liz Truss). He will also bring forward his budget from November 23 to this month, to address concerns that it is unfunded and unviable.

But then he ruined it all by announcing new policies that are going to send voters running to other parties. They include:

£18 billion of cuts to public services – the amount that would be raised by a rise in Corporation Tax – and this is just the start.

A real-terms cut in benefits (yet to be announced but understood to be on the way).

And he’s still:

Removing the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

Cancelling the rise in Corporation Tax.

Here’s more in-depth information:

Bear in mind what Phil Moorhouse says about the reason the Tories shaft poor people: because they don’t vote in great enough numbers to harm Conservative electoral chances. It’s only when their cruelty seems likely to affect middle-class voters (like when many of them claimed Universal Credit during Covid-19 lockdown) that they make political – not economic – decisions that are intended to placate those voters.

This is the reason Tory MPs are developing a social conscience in the face of Truss’s – and Kwarteng’s – policies; they don’t want to upset their voters.

So if you’re a benefit claimant who has been shafted by Kwarteng and his bandits time and again – but you don’t vote – I have to ask: why do you have such a death wish?

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Tories line up to challenge Liz Truss over benefits and inflation

Robert Halfon: He’s supporting benefit uprating in line with inflation.

After Penny Mordaunt told Liz Truss she should honour a promise to uprate social security benefits in line with inflation, other Tories are lining up to support her.

Here’s Robert Halfon, saying Truss should not effectively cut benefits in order to pay for her tax cuts for the very rich:

If you didn’t catch what Mordaunt said, it was in an interview with Times Radio, which you can see here:

This Writer has tweeted on the subject (of course):

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Truss challenged: will she link benefits to inflation or punish the poor?

In the midst of the Conservative Party Conference, new prime minister Liz Truss is facing a hard challenge to her leadership.

Here’s Professor Tim Wilson to explain:

Linking benefits to inflation was a Boris Johnson policy that – like so many others – he never got round to (probably because he was too busy partying, giving away perks to Tory friends and donors, and meeting Russian oligarchs without the benefit of Foreign Office chaperones).

Ms Mordaunt, who is Leader of the House of Commons, is quoted by BBC News as having said,

“We want to make sure that people are looked after and that people can pay their bills. We are not about trying to help people with one hand and take away with another.”

This made Truss look very bad when she responded that the government has to be “fiscally responsible” and bring down the national debt.

She’s saying that cutting the amount of money going into the economy from private sources – which is all the national debt is – is more important than the homes, lives and livelihoods of millions of UK citizens.

And those millions include people in work whose wages have been squeezed so low – by the Tories over the last 12 years – that they have to claim benefits simply to try to make ends meet.

Failing to link payments with inflation will mean that benefits will no longer fulfil that function after Tory policies ensured that inflation skyrocketed.

So Truss’s choice is to honour Johnson’s pledge and find a different way than cutting benefits to reach her own target, or to stab the UK’s most vulnerable people in the back. And that is now public knowledge.

The reason it is now public knowledge is Penny Mordaunt. How long do you think she is going to keep her job?

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