Tag Archives: Attendance Allowance

Tories plan benefit system massacre



The headline is no joke. Based on the plans revealed by the BBC, if the Conservative Party is re-elected in May, all but the richest of us can look forward to the death of a loved one – perhaps many loved ones.

They’ll have to hang signs over entry points into the UK: “Conservative Britain, 2015-2020: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”. At least now we know why David Cameron was determined not to reveal any details of the proposals to cut £12 billion from the benefits budget.

Chequebook euthanasia play a prominent role, and it is clear that the plan is to push as many benefit claimants into destitution as possible while encouraging suicidal thoughts. It has already worked with many people on Employment and Support Allowance; they want to spread their version of Aktion T4 more widely.

Top of the proposals is the replacement of the Industrial Injuries Compensation Scheme with an insurance policy provided by companies. Any not doing so would become members of a default national industrial injuries scheme, similar to the programme for asbestos sufferers. This is the long-anticipated arrival of private health insurance in the British benefit system; we have been expected this ever since Peter Lilley invited the criminal American firm Unum into the then-Department of Social Security in the 1990s. Vox Political predicts that nobody taking out such insurance will ever receive a payout on it; it will be run by Unum.

The DWP predicts that £1 billion will be cut from the benefits budget. The human cost might be significantly higher, especially when you consider the following:

Carer’s Allowance may be restricted to those caring for somebody eligible for Universal Credit. We know already that Universal Credit has been designed to prevent genuinely sick and disabled people from receiving their benefit, and that Universal Credit doesn’t work; this attack on their carers will tip both deep into poverty. Leaked documents suggest about 40 per cent of carers would lose their payments, despite the fact that they genuinely need the money.

The DWP hopes to cut another £1 billion from its bills with this. As it ties in with current chequebook euthanasia programmes, expect many thousands of deaths.

Employment and Support Allowance and Job Seekers Allowance claimants may be denied the privileges that should be afforded to them by virtue of having paid enough National Insurance contributions; your record will not count if you claim these benefits. The plan here is to cut benefits for more than 300,000 families – by around £80 per week. Those on ESA may have carers who will also lose their benefit, therefore we can conclude that this is another planned area of chequebook euthanasia.

Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance (for over 65s who have personal care needs) would be taxed in order to cut payments by around £1.5 billion a year (based on IFS Green Budget calculation ). Many of those claiming these benefits will also be claiming ESA and will have carers as well, so chequebook euthanasia – again – applies. Who knows how many will live to see the 2020 general election if the Tories gain another term in May?

Council Tax Support may be incorporated into Universal Credit. This blog is prepared to be corrected on this, but wouldn’t that mean the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament (and the Northern Irish Assembly if it runs a relief scheme) would be unable to pay the council tax demanded under the Pickles Poll Tax that came in after Council Tax Benefit was scrapped? This would cut funds to claimants of ESA, JSA, DLA, PIP, AA, carers, and those claiming Housing Benefit and therefore – again – the government is opening itself to accusations of chequebook euthanasia.

Child Benefit may be limited to the first two children in any family. How nice that the Tories may be planning to spring this on families without enough prior warning. This writer would suggest that 18 years’ warning is necessary, to clear the books of people who could reasonably have expected child benefit to be paid as it always has. What about those having triplets? Apparently little would be trimmed from the benefit budget at first, but up to £1 billion might be kept, every year, in the long term.

Regional Benefit Caps – instead of £26,000, the Tories are planning to cut its already-too-low Benefit Cap to £23,000 – and then vary it still further in different parts of the UK. Londoners would receive the top amount due to the higher cost of living; people in rural areas could be forced out of their homes by this.

The leaked documents were prepared by civil servants and commissioned by Conservative Party officials.A spokeswoman for Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of previous state-sponsored pogroms against the poor, sick and disabled, told the BBC: “This is ill informed and inaccurate speculation… Officials spend a lot of time generating proposals – many not commissioned by politicians… It’s wrong and misleading to suggest that any of this is part of our plan.”

In other words, this will definitely happen if the Conservatives are elected in May.

This blog has made much of Labour’s own failure to plan the scrapping of the homicidal Work Capability Assessment if that party is elected into office in May (the other parties’ plans aren’t as important; they won’t be running a government for the next five years). Labour is still wrong to inflict it on people who have illnesses and disabilities through no fault of their own.

However, faced with a choice between the Tories’ certain death and Labour’s possible death, the decision should be obvious.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
warning everybody of the consequences of Tory spending cuts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


Back to the maths class for DWP decision makers

When I was six, I told friends and family I did not want to go out with a girl because "she can't do her maths". What a pity the adults in the Coalition government don't know now what I knew as a child.

When I was six, I told friends and family I did not want to go out with a girl because “she can’t do her maths”. What a pity the adults in the Coalition government don’t know now what I knew as a child.

Iain Duncan Smith was right to weep when he visited Easterhouse, all those years ago – although he would not have known the reason.

It turns out there are probably drug dealers on that estate with a better grasp of mathematics than anybody in his Department for Work and Pensions – or, let’s be honest, the entire Coalition government.

This week it emerged that the National Audit Office has refused to sign off the DWP’s accounts – for the 25th year running. While this indicates that the problem is not limited to the Coalition, it should be noted that David Cameron’s crew has done nothing to rectify it.

The NAO has instead delivered a “qualified” audit opinion, in respect of fraud and error which is considered to be unacceptably high. It seems the department overpaid £3.5 billion or 2.1 per cent of total benefit expenditure due to fraud and error – and also underpaid £1.4 billion to claimants.

Of this, fraud remained static at £1.2 billion (the same as in 2011-12), while underpayments due to official error increased from £400 million to £500 million.

Official error has increased while fraud has not.

An interesting sidebar to this is the fact that fraud has not decreased either, despite all Mr Duncan Smith’s apparent efforts to hammer it. Next year’s accounts – due after April 2014, although your guess on the actual date is as good as anyone’s – should make interesting reading, as they should show the effect of the major regressions (not reforms) he introduced this year.

Further evidence of government incompetence with the figures came in a chart from Conservative Central HQ’s press office, flagged up by Jonathan Portes and the immeasurably cleverer people at NIESR (National Institute of Economic and Social Research).

The chart’s claim was that 28,500 households had been receiving more than £500 per week in benefits, despite containing people who could work but weren’t – until the £26,000 per year Benefit Cap was brought in and reduced it to nothing.

Mr Portes told us the chart was based on DWP statistics published last week that show that 28,500 households have had their benefit capped at £500 per week, “however, the interpretation – and the chart – is utterly wrong in every respect.

“It just is not the case that every one of those 28,500 households contains someone who “can work”.  As the DWP publication clearly states, the cap applies to households in receipt of key out of work benefits – including both those in the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) and those on Income Support (IS).  For people in the WRAG, the position is quite clear. As the DWP itself puts it… they are ‘currently too ill or disabled to work’.

“DWP makes clear that there is no assumption that Income Support claimants ‘can work’, but quite the opposite. As a general rule, most people who ‘can work’ should be on Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), not IS. In practice, most of those on IS are single mothers with young children, who are not expected to work.

“Overall, although we don’t have precise numbers from the DWP statistics, it seems quite likely that in fact less than half of the households affected by the cap contain ‘people who can work but aren’t’.”

Mr Portes went on to analyse the second assumption in the chart – that there are now no households receiving more than £500 per week in benefits that include “people who can work but aren’t” – and found it “just as wrong,” – because DWP guidance exempts households with anyone on DLA, PIP, Attendance Allowance, the support component of ESA or Industrial Injuries Benefits, and those receiving War Disablement Pension and equivalent payments from the Armed Forces Compensation Payments Scheme.

“Of course it’s perfectly possible for such households to contain ‘people who can work but aren’t’ – most obviously households with a child receiving DLA, but there are lots of other possible cases. Moreover, even this excludes couple households where one person is working but the other could work, but is not, who are also exempt. Given enough children and/or high enough housing costs, such households can receive more than £500 per week in benefits,” wrote Mr Portes.

“Again, we don’t know the exact numbers, but we are certainly talking about thousands of households, not zero.”

Only on Monday, Mr Duncan Smith assured the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee that he had warned CCHQ and Tory chairman Grant Shapps against such jiggery-pokery with his departmental stats: “I have had conversations with him and others about being careful to check with the department.”

So did the chart go out with his department’s full endorsement, in which case this is even more proof that the DWP can’t get its facts right – or did CCHQ ignore Mr Duncan Smith’s words and make its own mistake?

For this government, and Mr “In Deep Sh…ambles”, the result is the same.

Vox Political is funded entirely by donations and book sales.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here: