Tag Archives: benefits

Outcry as Starmer promotes anti-Semite supporter Rachel Reeves into Shadow Cabinet

What a charmer: Rachel Reeves hates people who don’t have a job – and loves a historic anti-Semite.

Keir Starmer seems to be sending mixed messages at the moment.

After practically prostituting himself to the witch-hunters of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Community Security Trust, Jewish Labour Movement and so on – who are keen to see him expel previous leader Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party, he has made Rachel Reeves Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Ms Reeves is currently infamous for praising Nancy Astor who, besides being the first female MP, was a notorious anti-Semite.

Previously, Ms Reeves was unpopular because she said Labour should be “tougher than the Tories” on people claiming social security benefits. How was she going to manage that – by lining them up against a wall and shooting them?

If this is the quality of Starmer’s ShadCab choices, he can take his new New Labour and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

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‘I’m starving’ says man in protest against the benefit system on Job Centre roof

Sometimes people have to stand on rooftops to make a point, it seems.

This Writer can’t approve of the damage to property implied by this particular gentleman’s behaviour, of course.

But I certainly sympathise with the motivation behind it.

He is reported to have said, “I’m starving” at one point.

Standing on the roof and shouting about it suggests this was the only way he expected to get his point across.

I wonder if he had already tried talking to the staff inside Upton Job Centre Plus before he resorted to standing on top of it and shouting.

It’s hard to get through when nobody wants to listen.

And now that they can pin criminal damage on this man, I wonder whether anybody will bother listening to him again.

Perhaps that’s how the Tories get away with victimising these people. What do you think?

Source: Man on roof for hours in job centre standoff with police – Liverpool Echo

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Thinking of voting Liberal Democrat? Think again – for all our sakes

You may be getting tired of this image, but it adequately describes the Liberal Democrat offer to the electorate.

The Liberal Democrats are apparently enjoying a surge in support in marginal London constituencies – why? In office, they were a disaster for the UK.

Do people really have such short memories that they have forgotten the legacy of the Coalition government? Liberal Democrats helped ruin the UK – especially for young voters such as those who are being targeted by the party now.

As Rhiannon Lucy Coslett points out in The Guardian, the very first thing the Liberal Democrats did in government was renege on their election promises.

Where they had promised to abolish tuition fees, they tripled those fees instead. Current Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson gleefully supported this policy.

The Liberal Democrats also supported the Tory imposition of austerity on people whose income fell below a certain level. Young people most of all.

For further details of Ms Swinson’s “record of shame”, see:

Result: “Now, there are homeless people everywhere, food bank use has skyrocketed, the housing crisis has worsened, the right is now the far right, zero-hours contracts are common, and just over half the country [actually just over half those who voted] has voted to take away its citizens’ ability to live and work in 27 European countries.

“Racism has become normalised. An MP has been murdered, many others threatened and harassed. Disabled people, migrants and black British citizens face a hostile environment.”

These are consequences of Liberal Democrats in government, made possible by people voting for the Liberal Democrats.

Now, the Lib Dems are promising to revoke Article 50 and put a stop to Brexit. They know they will never take enough Parliamentary seats to make this possible.

But they also know that it will take votes away from Labour – online tactical voting tools are advising people to vote Lib Dem in marginals where Labour has the only candidate that could beat the Conservative, according to the 2017 results.

This means that, in many constituencies, a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a Conservative government.

And we can see that the Lib Dems would support the Tories more than Labour. Jo Swinson loathes Jeremy Corbyn, even though – as Ms Coslett notes – Labour is offering what the Liberal Democrats said they wanted: a second referendum. She adds:

“Her party is not focused on reversing generational injustice; on the contrary, it has enabled it. The Lib Dems – with Swinson as a coalition government minister – were happy to work with the Conservatives to slash benefits, cut social care and play havoc with the health service. Their political conscience only seemed to return when Brexit threatened their world view and their interests. Ideologically, they largely overlap with the vanishing “moderate” wing of the Tories – whose MPs are now defecting to the Lib Dem party.”

The message is clear: If you vote Liberal Democrat, you will get Tory. For young people, that is tantamount to self-harm.

Also: what’s this about new evidence which confirms that the Liberal Democrats sold voter data to the Remain campaign in 2016 for almost £100,000 being withheld from public scrutiny by the Information Commissioner’s Office?

And what’s this about the Liberal Democrats spamming voters with junk mail?

As I write this, the infamous Liberal Democrat policy – of putting bar charts on election literature claiming that their candidate is the only one who can beat the incumbents – is being ridiculed on the BBC’s Politics Live.

It seems they have been printing bar charts showing them as the biggest party in particular constituencies – by omitting the parties that had a higher vote share than them. The example quoted is notable for failing to show the Labour and Brexit Party vote.

So: take the evidence as a whole, rather than just Lib Dem literature, and the accurate picture of the Liberal Democrats is of a party that will promise anything to get into power and then break all those promises without compunction; a party that will lie to the electorate in order to secure votes; a party that will enable the Conservatives to get back into power, even though the majority of its supporters hate the Tories; and a party that will sell all our young people down the river once again – if it gets the opportunity.

You’d have to be crazy to vote Liberal Democrat.

Spread the word.

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Tory attitude to people in hard times is clear: Candidate says they should be ‘put down’

Francesca O’Brien: “Put down”.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if a new Conservative election candidate thinks people on benefits should be ‘put down’, they all do.

Why else would they have selected Francesca O’Brien to be Tory candidate for the Gower in Wales?

According to The Guardian: “In [Facebook] posts that have since been deleted, she wrote in January 2014: ‘Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!’

“In response to a friend’s comment, she wrote: ‘My blood is boiling, these people need putting down.’

“In further comments under her post, O’Brien apparently endorsed a friend’s suggestion for ‘twat a tramp Tuesday’ to ‘take your batts [sic] to the streets’.”

This is the “caring Conservatism” that David Cameron promoted back in 2010 – the kind that has put hundreds of thousands of people in early graves.

As shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said, ““his is absolutely disgusting and reveals the cruelty at the heart of the Tories’ benefits cuts. Universal credit was deliberately designed to punish people who are out of work.

“Many of us have relied on social security support at some point in our lives and it is nothing to be ashamed of. This person is not fit to be an MP and Boris Johnson should remove her as a candidate.”

No she isn’t – but if she were to go, then the Tories would have to apply the same criteria to their other candidates, and would probably end up with nobody to fight their campaign!

The Guardian article suggested that the comments “are likely to anger the thousands of people in Gower who rely on benefits. They will also strike a blow to the Conservatives’ hopes of winning the seat, with the constituency being a key marginal”.

Ms O’Brien has now apologised for the comments – because they have been brought to public attention? Why did she not apologise before? If she disagrees with them, why did she publish them?

She said, according to the BBC: “These comments were made off the cuff, a number of years ago.

“However, I accept that my use of language was unacceptable and I would like to apologise for any upset I have caused.”

Not exactly oozing with sincerity, was she?

So there you have it, folks.

If you want to sink your local Tory’s chances of re-election, dig up their comments on social media or find another way to reveal their true character. It’s what they say in unguarded moments that reveals what they really are.

Source: Tory candidate wrote people on Benefits Street should be ‘put down’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Lords say pensioners should lose extra benefits because they aren’t in poverty. Really?

According to a House of Lords committee, extra benefits for pensioners are no longer necessary because hardly any pensioners are in poverty any more.

But is that really true?

Poverty is a relative measure. In the UK, the poverty line is set at 60 per cent of average earnings – and average earnings have been plummeting because of Tory policies that funnel money to people who are already very rich.

So, for example, the proposal to remove the triple lock for State Pensions and instead uprate the State Pension in line with average earnings is in fact an attempt to plunge pensioners back into poverty.

And the claim that cash being spent on pensioner benefits would be better-used on helping young people is a false argument. There is plenty of money available to do both; all the government has to do is tax the super-rich a little more.

Pensioner benefits for over-75’s should be cut or axed to help restore fairness in the system between older and younger people, the House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision has said.

The Committee argues that social security payments and passported benefits are no longer required because the issue of pensioner poverty has been all but resolved.

Source: Cut pensioner benefits to improve fairness, says Lords committee


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Tories deny benefits to rape victim – and distract themselves with Christmas inanities

While vulnerable people suffer because of their policies, the Tories are discussing whether mince pies are better than pigs in blankets.

See this?

Perhaps it’s what passes for humour in the Conservative Party, when their government is being caught treating rape victims in an inhuman way.

I refer to the case of a woman who was kidnapped and raped while backpacking in Australia. She was held for two months and her captor was only caught after an incident at a Queensland petrol station when she left without paying. Staff alerted the authorities and he was found in a secret compartment in the boot.

The victim had to stay in Australia for the trial, meaning it was more than a year before she returned to the UK.

When she got back, the Tory government forced her to take a habitual residence test – and failed her, for reasons which have not been divulged.

As a result, the Department for Work and Pensions refused to pay her any benefits and she was left with nothing.

Her case has only come up for reconsideration after Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft raised the matter in Parliament.

Tory minister for women Victoria Atkins said she was very concerned to hear of the case – but the DWP acts according to rules laid down by the Tory government.

And while the investigation continues, according to the Conservative Party’s official Twitter feed, the “all-important” question this Christmas is whether mince pies are better than pigs in blankets.

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Did McVey resign to avoid dealing with UN report on poverty?

Professor Philip Alston: He came to his conclusions by listening to people affected by Conservative policies on the poor, sick and disabled. Tories implemented those policies by ignoring the very same people.

Let’s get this right: UN special rapporteur Professor Philip Alston is set to issue a preliminary statement on the connection between Conservative government policy and the increase in poverty, homelessness and benefit-related suicide, on November 16 – and Esther McVey resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary the day before.

She quit to get out of having to answer his charges, didn’t she?

I mean, it’s more believable than her claim that she couldn’t look her constituents in the eye and defend Theresa May’s Brexit deal, isn’t it?

If you’re wondering why Ms McVey would want to pretend to quit over Brexit, rather than defend her record and that of the other Tory Work and Pensions secretaries since 2010, consider what we know of Professor Alston’s findings:

He berated the Tory government for “outsourcing” the task of keeping people alive to food banks.

He has heard stories of “families facing homelessness, of people too scared to eat, of those on benefits contemplating suicide”.

And he said the effect of Universal Credit – hey, what’s Esther McVey’s position on Universal Credit?

… And he said the effect of Universal Credit on the poverty experienced by disabled people and other groups “would play an important part” in his report.

So what do you think?

Did Esther McVey resign because of Theresa May’s Brexit?

Or did she want to get out of being told off by the man from the UN?

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Esther McVey: Already the lies and cover-ups have started

Esther McVey’s promotion to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has left many without hope [Image: REX/Shutterstock].

Already the arrival of Esther McVey as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has been followed with lies.

Disabilities Minister Sarah Newton misled Parliament – less than 24 hours after Ms McVey’s appointment was announced – with a claim that, although her 2012 decision to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF) was challenged with a judicial review, “throughout the process the DWP won on all points.”

In fact, the Tory-Liberal Democrat Coalition government was forced to reconsider, after a damning verdict from three Court of Appeal judges in November 2013.

John Pring, of Disability News Service, explains:

The three judges unanimously overturned an earlier ruling by the high court and found that her decision to close the fund was unlawful, and that she had breached the Equality Act’s public sector equality duty.

She was heavily criticised by the judges, with one saying there was no evidence that she had “directed her mind to the need to advance equality of opportunity”.

He added: “Nor is there evidence she considered the proposals having due regard to the need to minimise the particular disadvantages from which ILF users and other disabled persons suffer or the need to encourage such persons to live independently and to participate in public life and other activities.”

The judges were also highly critical of DWP officials, with one saying there was a tendency for officials “to tell the Minister what they thought she would want to hear”, although he added that he was convinced that McVey “was sufficiently aware of the very real adverse consequences which closing the fund would have on the lives of many of the more severely disabled”.

A DWP spokeswoman told Disability News Service the minister had not intended to discuss the proceedings in any depth, and: “The preparation for the ILF debate was carried out well before the reshuffle, and the minister had no prior knowledge of its outcome.”

That’s not good enough.

It is dishonest – and that word sums up Ms McVey’s ministerial record very well.

DNS has also reported on the backlash against Ms McVey’s appointment to the Cabinet:

Soon after McVey’s appointment this week as the new work and pensions secretary, a petition calling on the prime minister to sack her was launched by a disabled campaigner on the website 38 Degrees as a way to “give people hope, a visual representation of numbers of support for those of us who’ve woken to this frightening news today”.

One of those who signed the petition said: “This is a terrible insult to every disabled and sick person.

“She didn’t show any understanding of the struggles people endure on a daily basis and I doubt she learned anything from her past experiences.”

Another pointed out that the UN had criticised the government for causing a “human catastrophe” with its disability policies, with the appointment showing Theresa May “returning one of the very ministers who has been at the heart of this ‘conscious cruelty’ meted out by the Tories to society’s disabled, sickest and poorest citizens”.

Disabled researcher and campaigner Catherine Hale said McVey’s appointment had been “a heartsink moment”, and that she felt “anguished on behalf of people on employment and support allowance especially”.

She said: “The appointment of McVey as secretary of state for work and pensions must be the Tories’ darkest hour yet.

“We can’t give her the benefit of the doubt in her intentions towards us, given her record as minister for disabled people.

“She and her morally bankrupt party have to be unseated urgently if disabled people are to survive and thrive.”

Anne McGuire, a former Labour minister for disabled people, said: “This is an unbelievably worrying decision.

“Esther McVey will be treated with justifiable suspicion after her tough, uncompromising and insensitive approach when last a DWP minister.

“Her lack of understanding of the severe problems facing those at the sharp end of benefit cuts means her appointment will fuel the fear that disabled people and other benefit recipients will continue to bear the brunt of government’s austerity policies.”

Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “The appointment of the much-hated Esther McVey as secretary of state for DWP has provoked a massive backlash from disabled people and their organisations against Theresa May and her government.

“People see this as a deliberately provocative appointment which they feel will lead to the further abuse and denial of rights for disabled people.”

She said that neither McVey nor Jeremy Hunt – who was re-appointed as health secretary, with his role renamed as health and social care secretary – were “fit to be MPs, let alone hold any office”.

Disability rights activist Alice Kirby said: “In Esther McVey, the prime minister has selected someone whose actions had already caused considerable harm to disabled people to oversee a department already renowned for abusing our rights.

“In the past she has championed sanctions, the bedroom tax, and reducing the number of people being awarded disability benefits by replacing DLA with PIP.

“She also stated that it was ‘right’ and to be expected that people needed food banks as well. McVey’s record speaks for itself, she is not to be trusted.”

John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said: “The fact that Theresa May has appointed someone with such an infamous reputation for defending policies that the chair of the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD), Theresia Degener, has described as a ‘human catastrophe’ reveals in stark relief the utter contempt with which this government holds the human rights and welfare of disabled people.

“We can now expect an intensification of the government’s campaign of violations against the fundamental human rights of the UK’s disabled population.

“We urge everyone to protest vigorously by signing the petition on 38 Degrees calling for McVey to be sacked and urge a campaign of peaceful direct action against Conservative members of parliament to highlight this grave injustice at local, national and international level.

“Along with other organisations we will be keeping the UNCRPD informed of developments as they occur and will seek by every means at our disposal to hold the government to account in the courts and in the court of public opinion at home and abroad.”

Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said McVey had “a very full in-tray when it comes to disabled people”.

She said: “We hope she’ll work with us to come up with practical responses to some of the critical issues around disabled people’s ability to live as full and equal citizens in the UK.

“High on the list are the assessment process for disability benefits such as employment and support allowance and personal independence payment; these assessments were a growing problem during her earlier tenure as minister for disabled people, and that remains the case.

“The injustices around the bedroom tax and the burgeoning problems with universal credit are also things that disabled people are worried about.

“We want to see concrete proposals to support disabled people coming out of the previously announced industrial strategy, and the health and work discussion paper – that is the only way we might start making progress on the stated aim to get more disabled people into paid work.

“If the new secretary of state really wants to make a difference to disabled people’s lives, she’ll have to do more than promote the Disability Confident initiative and encourage employers to be more disability friendly.

“Actions, not words, need to be the order of the day.”


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Tory rag revives ‘benefit scrounger’ lie to smooth over DWP’s bad publicity

The state of this:

This Writer suspects that the editors of The Sun have run this story because the Department for Work and Pensions has been shown up for denying benefits to people who deserve them, in order to meet a quota.

The policy has caused a huge amount of suffering – both due to deprivation and damage to mental health. So The Sun runs a piece attempting to remind the easily-led that benefit claimants are an underclass in Tory Britain, worthy only to be ‘nudged’ off-benefit and toward death.

“And,” as @TyronWilson puts it, “when you actually read the story it says that she saves her benefits all year and doesn’t spend money on herself so she can do this for her kids.”

And there is always the backstop reason for stories like this:

It’s miserable and mean-spirited – as is anybody who believes and/or supports it.


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Tories deliberately refuse to record the effects of their cruelty to the poor – it is surprising that this still shocks people

Food banks distribute food, sanitary products and other vital day-to-day items [Image: Newfrontiers via photopin cc].

For This Writer, the surprising aspect of this story is not that the DWP isn’t bothering to collect data on food bank use, but that luminaries like Peter Stefanovic, tweeting about it, find it “staggering” that they don’t:

Those of us who have been following the bizarre behaviour of the Department for Work and Pensions over the last seven years and more are now well aware of its self-blinding practices.

Look at the way the DWP refuses to check on the progress – or lack of it – of sickness and/or disability benefit claimants who have been thrown off their benefit, beyond a hugely-restrictive two-week period.

We know that many, many people are pushed into early graves, rather than jobs, by this behaviour – This Site has published story after story covering the fates of such people.

But the DWP, despite being aware of the stories, point-blank refuses to compile official figures on outcomes for people who have been denied state support.

It is therefore to be expected that the DWP will not collect information on the number of people who are forced to rely on foodbanks, either because the amount of money they receive from the state is not enough or because they don’t get any cash at all.

Then again, I heard a line in a film last night that the quality of a good reporter is the ability to be continually shocked at appalling behaviour that they should have come to expect. Clearly I’m not a good reporter any more.

But if I’m not a good reporter, the DWP’s performance – as a provider of help to those who need it – is diabolical.

The Tory government has been “turning a blind-eye” to the scale of foodbank use across the UK, the SNP has said – after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed that it did not collect any data on the number of people using foodbanks.

The staggering admission was revealed in response to an FOI request from the SNP – who have highlighted the oversight as proof of just how cruel and callous the Tory government is.

The Trussell Trust estimates that 1,182,954 people received three-day emergency food supplies in 2016-17, including 436,938 children, up from 40,898 before the Tories came to power in 2010 – an increase of 2792%.

Figures for the first half of this year show areas with full rollout of Universal Credit have seen a 30% increase in foodbank use compared to the previous year.

Source: Tories ‘turning a blind eye’ to rising foodbank use, says SNP


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