Tag Archives: benefit

Freebie-guzzling Tory couple spark fury over poverty wages

Philip Davies and Esther McVey: they’re raving it up on the profits firms have made by paying employees practically nothing.

Tories Philip Davies – the Friday morning filibuster king who takes joy in “talking out” legislation, not because it is bad but because it doesn’t come from the Conservative government – and Esther McVey – whose attacks on benefit claimants are notorious – have come under fire because of the free perks they have taken for themselves.

They have claimed £18,000 worth of VIP goodies on top of their £82,000 salaries (plus expenses).

And they were among 65 Tory MPs who have taken the bulk of freebies available – £160,000 worth between May and July alone.

In contrast, 23 Labour MPs have taken nearly £32,000. That puts Davies and McVey’s greed in context: between them they have claimed more than half as much as all the Labour MPs put together.

Among the gifts are several from gambling firms, coming at a time when the government is reviewing betting laws, provoking speculation on whether they came with strings attached.

Davies should be even more embarrassed because some of these gifts came from Entain, a company for whom he was paid almost £50,000 as an advisor last year, when it was known as GVC Holdings.

Here are the details:

Now you know the story, here comes the fury as people responded to this astonishing display of scrounging by members of the party that accuses people in extreme poverty of scrounging:

How indeed? Davies said his contract with GVC Holdings explicitly stated that he must not lobby on the firm’s behalf while employed by it – but he isn’t employed by it any more. And in any case, RD Hale’s comment shows that others would be imprisoned simply for accepting corporate gifts. Why not Davies and McVey?

Others have focused on McVey’s pronouncements on people who have to claim benefits in order to make ends meet because their wages don’t cover their costs – meaning that the government pays a de facto subsidy to under-paying employers.

Remember:

So the benefits paid to working people in extreme poverty are intended to help business bosses profit – not the struggling workers. Meanwhile MPs’ salaries have nearly doubled in the last 25 years:

So MPs are on an extremely good screw – and those like Davies and McVey are scrounging more freebies out of corporations (that may even be profiting by paying low wages and expecting their employees to claim benefits). Meanwhile the same MPs are happy to demand that benefit claimants must take the worst-paying jobs available, or lose those benefits:

Now, of course, the government is preparing to remove the £20 “uplift” that was provided to UC claimants during the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

Let’s put this in a little more context:

ToryFibs is slightly mistaken; making the £20 uplift permanent would not cost any money because there are hidden costs associated with cutting incomes to a point where people cannot afford the cost of living.

But we can see that the UK’s billionaires are raking in the cash as a result of not having to pay a living wage to employees.

And saying that the “uplift” costs a huge amount of money is a handy propaganda tool – that, it seems, has been used to good effect by certain news reporters…

… who are also doing very well for themselves.

And the assumptions about the amount that people need, in order to meet their living costs, has raised questions about other government payments. So the government’s claim to have legislated to ensure that people receive a “National Living Wage” has come under attack, not just because it isn’t enough, but because it reflects badly on the UK’s woefully low state pension:

So you can understand why people are furious at Davies and McVey.

While most of us struggle to survive in jobs that force us to claim benefits that still won’t cover our living costs after the Tories cut the uplift, in order to subsidise big businesses that are raking in the profits, the same firms are handing out free luxuries to these hugely well-paid Tory MPs. And when we retire we will have to try to survive on even less.

The whole system reeks of corruption and Davies and McVey stink worst of all.

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Boris Johnson’s advice to benefit claimants is insulting. I say: act on it!

Money, money, money: Boris Johnson has made loads of it by scrounging from other people and his advice to low-paid workers is clearly that they should do the same. Start with your Tory MP, if you have one.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has told working people on poverty pay, who have to claim benefits to make ends meet – and are facing a £1,000-per-year cut in those benefits – he’ll do nothing to help them.

He won’t legislate to ensure they are better-paid and he won’t cancel the Universal Benefit cut.

According to the Mirror,

Mr Johnson insisted “most” Brits want to see people’s “wages rise through their efforts” instead of claiming benefits.

Mr Johnson told broadcasters: “My preference, my strong strong preference, and I believe this is the instinct of most people in this country, is for people to see their wages rise through their efforts – rather than from taxation of other people put into their pay packets, rather than welfare.”

Read it for yourself, here:

And here are a couple of other takes on the same story:

As you may have noticed from the above tweets, his words have been met by a certain amount of… resistance.

There’s a good reason for it, as the following examples make clear: Johnson himself is the biggest scrounger in the entire country. He’s just a big, fat hypocrite – and so are his cabinet colleagues who support his policy.

This one from Super Tanskiii is particularly spicy:

Why does Johnson succeed in scrounging all this cash from donors and friends? Well, he might deny it (as suggested by this parody account) but the huge bungs of public money he’s been handing out to his donors in dodgy government contracts might have something to do with it. Do you think?

It’s all very well complaining about it, and it’s all good fun satirising it, but – knowing This Site as you do – you’re probably wondering what’s to be done about it.

My advice: take Johnson at his word and follow his example.

So you write to Tory politicians and businesses – start with those in your own Parliamentary constituency, obviously – and ask them for donations.

Promise them all a huge bung when you’re hugely successful in your chosen career.

I’ll certainly be writing to my own MP, Fay Jones (Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire). It’ll say something like:

“Dear Ms Jones,

“I am writing in accordance with Boris Johnson’s advice to people on low pay – that we should ‘rise through our efforts’. It seems clear to me that he wishes us to follow his example, which is to subsidise his own salary with large donations from other people.

“My house has not been decorated for more than 20 years and is in desperate need of new, gold, wallpaper. The cost should come to around £240,000 and I am sure that – as a responsible constituency MP, you will be delighted to donate towards this good cause. Shall I put you down for £50k?

“From media reports, I understand that I will not be expected to provide large contracts to you or any other funders in return for your donations now, but rest assured that when I am rich and successful, your contribution – whatever it may be – will not be forgotten!”

“I await your cheque eagerly. Or would you like to pay by BACS?”

Do this thing. It may improve your life and if enough of you do it, it will certainly bring home the facts of their actions to Tory MPs.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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DWP tries to blame Royal Mail for PIP delays but do we believe it?

It’s a sad consequence of having to fight a court case that I don’t have as much time for some of the subjects that made This Site’s name – such as the persecution of benefit claimants by the DWP.

This particular issue is one on which I have personal experience, though – as, I dare say, has anybody who has had to deal with DWP letters.

My case differs from that outlined by Disability News Service, though – in that the DWP contacted Mrs Mike to tell her that her PIP review was due, and could she return the form within a month of the date of the letter?

The letter arrived no less than 10 days after the date on it. That left three weeks to get the review done.

It is not enough time. Not only do PIP claimants have to navigate the form, which is worded in an open way but which is marked according to very specific requirements, but they must also seek corroborating evidence from carers, community helpers and healthcare professionals.

All of this takes considerable time.

As her carer, I knew that we needed to seek expert help in writing the form, so I contacted Citizens Advice and was immediately told that I would have an appointment to talk to someone in a few days’ time – and that I should seek an extension on the deadline at once.

I can’t say that conditions are the same across the UK – I live in Wales – but once I managed to get through to DWP (there was an inevitable wait of more than an hour) the department could not have been happier to extend the deadline.

I think I was given a couple of extra weeks.

I therefore advise everybody to do this – especially if receiving a letter with a deadline that appears to have been delayed in the post. It makes the argument between DWP and the Royal Mail irrelevant.

And I needed the extra time. Mrs Mike has a condition that can only get worse, but it wasn’t until I spoke to somebody else about it that I realised the extent to which her condition had degenerated.

Help I had provided as a favour when she was feeling particularly bad had become a habit – meaning that he condition has worsened – and the very shape of our days had changed as these accumulated.

The changes had been so gradual that I had not taken them into account – but they mean a great deal when dealing with the DWP.

I therefore advise everybody going through a benefit review to seek expert help from Citizens Advice or an organisation that is similarly qualified.

Finally there was the question of corroborating evidence. I provided a letter, as Mrs Mike’s carer, describing the obstacles she faces getting through the day, and the ways I have to help her.

We sought letters from community organisations and some professionals but received no interest in return.

And we contacted Mrs Mike’s doctor, too. This seemed likely to be problematic. “Oh, you’ll get no help there,” people said. “Doctors have been discouraged and disincentivised by the DWP! If you do get a letter, they’ll charge you a fat wad of cash!”

Not a bit of it was true.

We received a letter in due course, containing a printout of Mrs Mike’s medical history and a medical opinion that was adamantly in favour of her receiving the highest degree of benefit available to her.

Finally, when it was time to post the completed form, I took it to the post office and paid extra to ensure that the DWP would have to sign for it, to confirm receipt.]

This is very important. I know from personal experience and the experience of others that the DWP finds it easy to claim non-receipt – as it did in the case of the claimant in the DNS story.

This cannot happen if you have evidence that somebody signed for it. It bypasses any concerns about whether delays were caused by the Royal Mail or the DWP because it provides proof of delivery within the time stated.

The decision took about a month to come back. It confirmed Mrs Mike’s benefit would continue at the highest rates possible.

So that is my advice for anybody going through the benefit review process:

  1. Seek expert advice on filling out the form because they must provide specific information that the DWP must see before it awards any points.
  2. Contact the DWP and ask for an extension on the deadline if its letter arrived late.
  3. Seek evidence from anybody who has experience of the claimant’s disability. The worst that can happen is they decline to provide it. Don’t be put off asking your doctor.
  4. When you post the form back, make sure the DWP has to sign for it to confirm that it has been received.

These are measures that work.

They deprive the DWP of any excuse to blame another organisation for delays in processing a claim.

And they ensure that your benefit payments are disrupted by any nonsense if the DWP claims that you haven’t returned your form.

Source: DWP and Royal Mail dispute cause of PIP delays – Disability News Service

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Downing Street spends £100,000 on artwork while Johnson prepares to slash benefits

Money, money, money: and once again, none of it belongs to Boris Johnson. But he and his ministers are likely to be the only ones benefiting from the new works of art his government has just bought instead of doing anything useful with the money.

Tory priorities:

Yes indeed: an organisation called the Government Art Collection fund has spent nearly £100,000 of our money on two sets of artwork, because boosting the amount of valuable art  available for Tory ministers’ enjoyment is more important to them than protecting the people of the UK.

A unnamed painting by Belfast-born artist Cathy Wilkes was purchased for £70,200. The 24×28 inch piece – bought from the Xavier Hufkens gallery in Brussels – is a washy blend of muted pink, turquoise and green “egg tempera on linen”.

Ew. No doubt it’s meant for a ‘select audience’.

A set of four black-and-white photo prints of vegetation and their shadows called ‘Ashen, Restless,’ by photographer Willie Doherty was bought for £18,775 – from the Kerlin Gallery in Dublin – to also go on display at 11 Downing Street.

Apparently some of the money came from “philanthropic donors” – to whom? To the government of the UK – whichever party leads it? Or to the Conservative Party? Who actually gets to possess these artworks?

Meanwhile, Tory prime minister Boris Johnson is getting ready to swipe £20 per week from Universal Credit claimants, while insulting NHS nurses with a derisory three per cent pay increase. The effect is predictable:

Hmm – good point, there. A quick glance at the BBC Politics web page shows a story about David Cameron getting millions of pounds from that company he lobbied the government about, four pieces about climate change, Dido Harding quitting NHS Improvement, and a campaign to save an alpaca.

At least it has been reported by the Independent and the Mirror. I wonder how many other papers have picked up on this, though.

The bottom line is that £100,000 is not a lot of money to split between millions of people who are in need.

But it isn’t the only money the Tories have splashed around on themselves while others go without.

It all reminds me of the situation in France under Louis XVI – justifying the uncomplimentary characterisation of Johnson’s wife as “Carrie Antoinette”.

To paraphrase the historical personality on which it is based, though, how much grass* do we have to eat before the people are pushed to revolution?

*Marie Antoinette was supposed to have said, “Let them eat cake,” in reference to the poor – but in fact she said, “Let them eat grass”. I’m happy to clear that up.

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The DWP carried out dozens of secret reviews into benefit claimant deaths – and deleted them. Why? What did they show?

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

If you’ve got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, right?

In that case, what is the Department of Work and Pensions afraid of?

Since February 2012 (as far as we can be sure), it has been carrying out secret reviews into the reasons benefit claimants died – but has destroyed records of all such reviews carried out before 2016.

Why? What did they find that the DWP needed to hide?

Freedom of Information requests show that 49 reviews took place between February 2012 and autumn 2014 (all records of them have been destroyed) – and nine reviews took place between August 2014 and April 2016 (but these overlap with other periods where we know the numbers).

The reason this is cause for serious concern is that the DWP’s policies and practices have been linked to the deaths of benefit claimants – particularly those claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) who suffered mental distress – ever since the Tories took over control of that department in 2010 (if not before).

At the time of writing it is only a day since This Site published an article highlighting the fact that more than 300 terminally-ill people have been dying every month after being denied fast-track access to benefits by the DWP.

The department has been rejecting around 100 claims per month.

The concern – as I pointed out yesterday – is that the Department for Work and Pensions intentionally harms people claiming benefits by depriving them of their payments in order to hasten their deaths.

Is that what was revealed in the now-destroyed reviews of the reasons claimants died?

Is that why the DWP shredded them?

If so, then it seems this department’s bosses – and their political leaders from 2010 onwards – have good reason to be afraid. But when will they be brought to justice?

Source: DWP admits carrying out more than 175 secret reviews into benefit deaths in nine years – Disability News Service

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More than 300 terminally ill people died PER MONTH after DWP denied them state benefits

[Image: www.disabledgo.com]

Once again the Department for Work and Pensions has been caught lying about the support it provides to people who are terminally ill.

This Site reported, many years ago, on the scandal when it was discovered that – despite having a policy to put people likely to die within six months on a fast track for benefits – many benefit claims were refused, leaving these people to die in appalling conditions.

So then-Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd announced in 2019 that there would be a “fresh and honest” re-evaluation of the way these benefits were awarded.

It is now two years later, and two charities – the Marie Curie Trust and the Motor Neurone Disease Association – have drawn public attention to official data showing that the DWP is rejecting benefit claims by more than 100 terminally-ill people, every month.

Worse still, the official figures also show that an average of 315 people are dying every month*, never having been able to secure the fast-track benefits that are supposed to help them pass away with dignity.

This is damning:

They say there are “serious concerns” over the government’s “six-month rule” – under which people must prove they have six months or less to live to access fast-track benefits support.

They said there were red flags in the DWP’s ability to recognise when a claimant was approaching the end of life.

I think that is very… charitable.. of them.

It is far more likely that the DWP is simply ignoring the facts in order to avoid paying out the benefit money – knowing that these people will soon be dead; they can’t complain or appeal and expect justice before their condition kills them.

This in turn suggests that nothing at all has changed and that Amber Rudd’s “fresh and honest” review was nothing of the sort.

Here’s some evidence in support of that conclusion:

The charities say that the findings of the review are “being withheld”.

So, after 11 years of Tory control (and it wasn’t much better under neoliberal New Labour) we can say with confidence:

The Department for Work and Pensions intentionally harms people claiming benefits by depriving them of their payments in order to hasten their deaths.

No wonder we all hate having anything to do with that vicious, poisonous arm of the Tory government.

No wonder millions of people suffer anxiety attacks whenever they see an envelop marked “DWP” in their letterbox.

No wonder I said, years ago, that the DWP is not fit for purpose and should be scrapped.

But I’ll tell you why it wasn’t:

In killing thousands of people every year, the DWP is doing exactly what Boris Johnson and his Tories want.

*1,860 people over six months.

Source: Over 1,000 terminally ill people rejected for benefits and Universal Credit each year – Mirror Online

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Inquest hears nursing home resident died ‘dehydrated and malnourished’

Inquest: Dorothea Hale.

This not only raises questions about social care in the UK, but also about the deaths of others for whom the authorities have a duty of care.

Dorothea Hale, it is alleged, suffered neglect at a Welsh nursing home where she had been admitted after suffering two strokes that left her entirely paralysed down one side of her body.

In a stay of around four months, she developed dehydration, malnourishment and pressure sores before being transferred to hospital due to fast-declining health, where she died, aged 75.

The inquest is ongoing so we have yet to hear the coroner’s verdict on the cause of her death.

It featured in Operation Jasmine, a police investigation into the neglect of elderly residents at several care homes in south Wales.

That inquiry lasted nearly a decade and cost £11.6 million, with detectives examining 63 deaths potentially caused or abetted by inadequate healthcare treatment.

The suggestion of failures in social care indicate that reform is desperately needed – and has indeed been promised by successive Tory governments for many years, although we have yet to hear a single policy proposal.

Here’s my question:

If 63 deaths in social care can lead to a lengthy – and costly – inquiry, why do 150 deaths in the benefit system not merit the same treatment?

Source: Welsh nursing home resident ‘died after becoming dehydrated and malnourished’ | The Independent

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Deaths and other harms to benefit claimants prompt renewed lawsuits – and calls to investigate DWP

Death by DWP: Philippa Day.

The chickens are coming home to roost at the Department for Work and Pensions.

The families of three benefit claimants – who are said to have died because the DWP deliberately mishandled their claims – are continuing to take the department through the court system in their search for justice.

Publicity around the cases has led to a BBC investigation in which it was found that they are just three out of 150 cases in which the DWP has conducted internal investigations into its own behaviour.

Now the department is facing demands for an independent investigation into its conduct. Long overdue demands, in This Writer’s experienced opinion.

Here‘s the BBC:

Cases where people claiming benefits died or came to serious harm have led to more than 150 government reviews since 2012, a BBC investigation found.

Internal reviews are held by the DWP when it is alleged its actions had a negative impact, or when it is named at an inquest.

Calling for an inquiry, Labour MP Debbie Abrahams said: “It needs to be taken out of the hands of the DWP.”

Ms Abrahams, who previously read out in the Commons the names of 29 people who have died, said: “There needs to be an independent inquiry investigating why these deaths are happening and the scale of the deaths needs to be properly understood.”

The DWP said it had established a new Serious Case Panel in 2019 to consider themes identified from serious cases, which included independent members.

Yeah, right. I opened Gibbons’ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire the other day. That doesn’t mean I read any of it.

Now let’s hear from Leigh Day solicitors, who represent the three families who are pushing their cases through the courts:

The families spoke to the BBC to share their stories and the legal stages of their cases.

Philippa Day who lived with a long standing mental health illness, and was diabetic, died aged 27 in October 2019, two months after she was found collapsed at home in Nottingham.

On 27 January 2021, HM Assistant Coroner for Nottinghamshire, Gordon Clow concluded that the problems Philippa had with her application for disability benefits were “the predominant… and the only acute factor” which led her to take action on 8 August 2019 that ultimately proved fatal.

Following the inquest, a letter of claim has been sent to DWP and Capita which alleges breach of human rights and negligence by the DWP and Capita arising out of the events which led to Philippa’s death and seeks compensation for the wrongs Philippa and her family suffered. DWP and Capita have three months to respond before claims may be pursued in the High Court.

Death by DWP: Jodey Whiting.

Jodey Whiting, aged 42, took her own life on 21 February 2017. She suffered severe mental health problems and had her benefits terminated a fortnight earlier for not attending a Work Capability Assessment, leaving her with no source of income.

The Attorney General granted their consent last year for an application to the High Court for a fresh inquest into her death, which the High Court will hear on 22 June 2021. Jodey’s mother seeks a fresh inquest to ensure the role played by the DWP in her daughter’s death are publicly and fully investigated.

Death by DWP: Errol Graham.

Errol Graham, was found dead aged 57 in June 2018, eight months after his benefits were stopped because of his failure to attend a fit for work assessment. When his body was found, Mr Graham weighed four-and-a-half stone.

An inquest in 2019 found that DWP and NHS staff had missed opportunities to save Graham, and the coroner concluded that “the safety net that should surround vulnerable people like Errol in our society had holes within it”.

Mr Graham’s family have submitted an application to the Court of Appeal after their judicial review challenging the lawfulness of the DWP’s safeguarding policies was unsuccessful. The family argue that the decision in 2017 to terminate his benefits was unlawful and that the DWP’s safeguarding policies and systems need to be overhauled to provide greater protection to vulnerable benefit claimants who, like Errol, suffer from mental health conditions.

The allegations against the DWP are extremely serious.

They indicate that it has been DWP policy to endanger the lives of benefit claimants.

For that reason, it seems clear to This Writer – and I expect to anybody with the slightest common sense – that the DWP should not be judging its own work with regard to these cases.

I say that for the same reason I say Boris Johnson’s Conservatives should not be conducting inquiries into whether contracts were corruptly handed to Tory cronies – or into whether Johnson himself breached the ministerial code by getting donors to pay for his Downing Street flat’s redecoration.

They are liars; they will always whitewash themselves.

We have seen evidence of such behaviour many times over the last 10 years – reported on This Site, among others.

The work of Debbie Abrahams has been exemplary in trying to get an investigation into this scandal by an organisation we can trust.

It’s true that such efforts have achieved very little, so far.

But attitudes are changing.

As more evidence has come to light, public tolerance of the DWP’s entitled attitude has eroded.

Maybe we are finally about to get some factual answers to questions we have been asking for more than a decade.

Source: Investigation reveals 150 DWP reviews into deaths or harm to benefits claimants | Leigh Day

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Treasury turned away disabled people’s pleas because UC ‘uplift is for WORKING people’

As empty as his head: Rishi Sunak’s Budget contained nothing for people with disabilities – possibly because the Treasury had turned away a final attempt to make him see evidence of the way he is persecuting them, only days before.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to accept pleas from people with disabilities to extend his Universal Credit uplift to legacy benefits.

His reason was made clear by Martin Lewis on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (March 7), when he said the Chancellor had told him, “this is targeted at working people, helping working people through the pandemic”.

The implication is clear: people with disabilities who don’t work simply don’t deserve any help to overcome the extra costs piled onto them by the Tory government’s response to Covid-19.

Members of campaign group DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) had tried to apprise Sunak of the costs they face on March 1 – two days before his Budget speech – when they sent nearly 200 envelopes containing testimonies and concerns about the government’s failure to extend the uplift.

Also brought to the Treasury’s door was a wheelchair with items attached that represented essential items that people with disabilities were having to go without.

These included a blanket (heating); an incontinence pad (bathing, laundry and medicines); a face mask (PPE); an empty packet of cuppa soup (nutritious food) and an empty purse (enough money to live on).

All these things – the wheelchair with its attached items and the testimonies – were turned away. Neither Sunak nor anybody else at the Treasury could be bothered to pay attention to the plight of these people.

Similar deliveries were also rejected by 10 Downing Street and the Department for Work and Pensions, although the DWP did accept a letter addressed to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, with a copy of a document published today by DPAC collating testimonies from benefit claimants and key findings from recent reports evidencing the need to retain and extend the uplift.

According to DPAC,

Given the disproportionate mortality rates for disabled people from COVID, many have been shielding for close to a full year now. This has driven their costs up considerably.

The Department for Work and Pensions has said there is no need to apply the uplift to legacy claimants because benefits will be increased by 37p per week in April 2021 and because they have the option of moving over to Universal Credit.

Neither of these options help address the situation.

The 37p increase is designed to reflect higher costs of living due to inflation, not the pandemic. It represents a mere 0.5% increase while state pensions will rise by 2.5%. It isn’t enough even to buy a single protective mask.

As the DWP knows, many disabled people are financially worse off on Universal Credit due to the removal of the Disability Premia which have been the subject of judicial review. They would lose out by a move to UC.

There is also the question of how disabled people without access to the internet or support to navigate the benefit system are supposed to move over to UC with the operations of welfare advice and community support organisations so heavily restricted by the pandemic.

Next time someone like Sunak or Boris Johnson turns up on your TV, telling you they are “protecting the most vulnerable”, remember that you know the truth:

This Johnson government is ignoring the most vulnerable people. Johnson doesn’t want to protect them and neither does Sunak. They want the most vulnerable people to die.

Source: Treasury blanks disabled people – letters to Chancellor telling of financial hardship turned away – DPAC

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Here’s why a DECENT NHS pay rise will help us all

Paying NHS staff more money will improve the UK’s economy massively.

That’s the educated opinion of Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, and who are we to argue with him?

In his latest video clip, Mr Murphy explains that the Tory government’s decision to offer only a derisory one per cent pay increase – less than the rate of inflation – is actually harmful to its own hope of economic recovery.

The Tories have based their offer on a false belief that the NHS does not contribute to the economy. This is easily disproved because a person who is fit and healthy is clearly more able to create profit than somebody who is ill or injured.

The benefit to the economy provided by the NHS has actually been measured and it seems that for every £1 invested in the health service, the economy benefits by between £2 and £4.

That’s a hell of a markup!

Think about it. Most supermarkets operate on the basis of profits between – what – five and 15 per cent, if I recall correctly. This is a profit of up to four HUNDRED per cent.

In a nation that badly needs to re-establish its economy after Covid-19 – not to mention Brexit – that’s not to be sniffed at, but sniffing at it is exactly what Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and the other Tories are doing.

At the moment there are 80,000 staff vacancies in the health service because the wages aren’t enough to compensate for the long hours, stress and heartbreak involved.

This, along with the ongoing effects of Covid-19, means that patients aren’t getting the treatment – even the routine work – they need and there is a knock-on effect for the economy because they are being prevented from getting back into it and producing the content of work they should be able to provide at the standard they are expected to.

“It’s as much as we can give,” said Boris Johnson. But this is sheer short-sightedness. A five per cent pay rise, as suggested by Mr Murphy, would pay for itself as the benefits spread through the economy.

This Writer is left wondering whether Johnson is deliberately sabotaging the health service in order to make privatisation more acceptable; if it can’t recruit staff, then perhaps it should be handed over to private firms.

The trouble with that is, private firms won’t pay any better because they’ll be busily grubbing for profits for their shareholders.

And they won’t provide the service the NHS offers because most people simply won’t be able to afford their prices.

So the economy will suffer a much greater downturn as increasing numbers of people fall into illnesses from which they simply won’t be able to get up.

It is economic idiocy.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Mr Murphy:

One part of the clip that I don’t understand is where he says the NHS is perceived to be free. It isn’t and never has been.

Originally, the cost of the service was said to be paid by National Insurance. Nowadays I think that is not true – or certainly not as true as in the past. Much of the cost is now said to come from general taxation (although we know that tax doesn’t actually work like that; the money taken back by the government is more correctly said to be recycled into use to pay for the NHS).

Either way, the NHS is at least partially supported with payments from the general public. It isn’t free and never has been.

Isn’t it funny how that disappears from the minds of politicians whenever it becomes convenient?

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