Tag Archives: compensation

Tories (allegedly) delay compensating sub-postmasters – for electoral gain?

Sub-postmasters: if Mr Staunton’s claim is correct, then the Tory government has been lying about wanting to do right by them.

The now-former chairman of Post Office Ltd has claimed the government asked him to “stall” payouts to sub-postmasters so they could “limp” into the next general election with “the lowest possible financial liability”.

The Sunday Times seemed to have the story first:

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Here’s a snippet from that story:

This Writer couldn’t find the Sunday Times piece online but this is from the GB News version of the same story:

The former chairman went on to allege that he was instructed by a senior civil servant to stall on compensation payments to the Horizon victims so that the government could “limp into the election” later this year with the lowest possible financial liability.

He told the Times: “Early on, I was told by a fairly senior person to stall on spending on compensation and on the replacement of Horizon, and to limp, in quotation marks — I did a file note on it — limp into the election.

“It was not an anti-postmaster thing, it was just straight financials.

“I didn’t ask, because I said, ‘I’m having no part of it – I’m not here to limp into the election, it’s not the right thing to do by postmasters.’ The word ‘limp’ gives you a snapshot of where they were.”

Badenoch’s department have denied the claims and referred to the conversation as “simply incorrect”.

That’s all very well.

But here’s a little lateral thinking on the subject:

That seems to be the size of it.

But I’m curious as to the meaning of this idea that the Tory government would be going into the next election with the “lowest possible financial liability”.

It isn’t as though the Tories would be paying from party funds, making them less able to campaign.

So what’s the fuss about?


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Fujitsu admits responsibility for #PostOfficeScandal and offers to compensate

The head of Fujitsu, the multinational corporation whose rubbish Horizon software caused the so-called Post Office Scandal that was dramatised as Mr Bates vs The Post Office, has admitted the company’s fault.

He did so at a hearing of the House of Commons’ Business Committee, before Alan Bates, the former sub-postmaster whose efforts to obtain justice were depicted in the TV drama.

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Here’s what happened, according to ITV’s Paul Brand:

So not only did Fujitsu know the Horizon software was faulty; it definitely also had remote access to individual sub-postmasters’ accounts, meaning they could be altered remotely.

Ah, but Fujitsu told Post Office Limited about these things so it was POL’s responsibility to act on that information. That’s debatable – as the software provider, Fujitsu was responsible for providing a working product. If that didn’t happen, wouldn’t Fujitsu be responsible for putting it right?

Fujitsu will definitely provide compensation money, though – but nobody there is saying how much that will be.

As the Post Office has admitted the money wrongly taken from sub-postmasters was probably absorbed into the firm’s profits and used to pay huge bonuses to people like former CEO Paula Vennells, it seems Fujitsu won’t be the only corporation pay back large amounts of money.

These are all, as Mr Brand states, extraordinary admissions.

With culpability and the need for compensation agreed by all sides, a timetable needs to be drawn up for the provision of that money – and that’s where This Writer foresees difficulty.

I reckon they’re all going to argue about how much responsibility they should each take. Such arguments could last years. Who thinks I’m right?


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Government loses infected blood vote | Politics Live

Blood: As many as 30,000 people became severely ill after being given factor VIII blood products contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C imported from the US in the 1970s and 80s. Others were exposed to tainted blood through transfusions or after childbirth. On average one person is dying every four days, with approximately 3,000 haemophiliacs having died to date.

The UK’s Tory government has lost a vote on a plan to set up a compensation scheme for the victims of the NHS infected blood scandal.

The plan was to compensate victims of the scandal – but to wait until an inquiry into the scandal has concluded before doing so.

But in the first loss of a whipped vote for the Tory government since the general election of 2019, rebel Conservatives voted with Labour and the SNP to establish a body to administer the compensation scheme within three months of the Bill passing into law.

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The vote was discussed by Tory Tim Laughton and Labour’s Rupa Huq on the BBC’s Politics Live show.

This Site has discussed the infected blood scandal on multiple occasions over the years – most recently in this article from two and a half years ago.

In it, discussing compensation, I wondered “if any of the victims will see a single brass farthing before they die”.

How said that, so long after those words were written, these people are still waiting.


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Met police apologises, compensates women arrested at Sarah Everard vigil

Orwellian: police at Clapham Common weren’t actually stamping on Patsy Stevenson’s face, but they might as well have been.

It seems Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley wants to draw a line under his service’s shameful treatment of women. It may not be that easy.

But while the Met has issued an apology and “substantial” payouts to Patsy Stevenson and Dania al-Obeid, who were arrested at a vigil for Sarah Everard in 2021, both have said they will continue to “speak up about police abuse”.

Ms Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by then-serving Met Police officer Wayne Couzens, who is now serving a whole-life prison sentence for his crimes.

Ms Stevenson and Ms al-Obeid attended the vigil on Clapham Common while Covid-19 restrictions were in place in March 2021 because they felt women had been “badly let down”, and the Met has now officially admitted that this was “understandable”.

In letters to the two women from Commander Karen Findlay, the Met acknowledged that even during Covid, their “fundamental right to protest remained”, but noted that the pandemic “presented an extremely difficult challenge for policing and the officers present”. It added: “That aside, I appreciate the anger, frustration and alarm your arrest undoubtedly caused you, exacerbated by the subsequent proceedings.”

Ms Stevenson tweeted:

The Guardian reported,

On Wednesday, Stevenson expressed relief that this chapter of the “tiring” fight was over, but said that while the apology was welcome, it was “half-arsed”. She added that the controversial Public Order Act had “further eroded and undermined” citizens’ fundamental right to protest.

“Every step has been a huge hurdle, so I appreciate what they’ve said, but […] even if you go through a [legal battle], they still won’t hold themselves accountable for what they’ve done. But this is a very big win for us, and for everyone who attended the vigil.”

And Ms al-Obeid was reported as receiving the information in the following way:

Al-Obeid, who was handcuffed and arrested at the vigil, discovered that she had been convicted behind closed doors under the Single Justice Procedure (SJP) only after being contacted by media.

She challenged the conviction on the grounds that she had no opportunity to plead not guilty, and the case was then dropped by the CPS and her “crime” removed from the record. She called the apology “empowering”, but said victims of abuse needed more support that could not be provided by the police.

“The police are not the right organisation to be on the frontline for victims of violence. They just end up re-traumatising them,” said Al-Obeid, herself a victim of domestic abuse. “There is a real need for specialised resources to deal with these situations.

“I will continue speaking out about the abuse that goes on in police forces and their lack of support for victims of abuse.”

The covert conviction under the Single Justice Procedure is deeply concerning in itself.

How many other people have been convicted of crimes without even knowing they had been accused?

That in itself suggests that the apology from the Met is hollow.

Also in the news today is this:

Scotland Yard has admitted overusing its power to strip-search children after four of its officers were told they would face disciplinary proceedings over allegations that their search of a 15-year-old black schoolgirl known as Child Q was inappropriate and amounted to discrimination owing to her race and sex.

Remember this story?

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said three of the officers faced accusations of gross misconduct over the search, carried out at a school in Hackney, in east London, in December 2020. A fourth officer faces lesser misconduct action over the absence of an appropriate adult.

It is alleged that the decision to carry out the strip-search, while the girl was having her period, was inappropriate; that Child Q was treated differently because of her race and sex; that there was no appropriate adult present; and that the officers did not get authorisation from a supervisor.

So disciplinary proceedings are to begin, nearly three years after the incident.

This Writer can’t see the result affecting the careers of those involved.

At the rate the case is proceeding, they will all have retired long before any verdict is reached.

Source: Met police pays damages to women arrested at Sarah Everard vigil | Metropolitan police | The Guardian


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Top law firm invites Mel Stride to start pension mediation for 50s women | Westminster Confidential

David Hencke’s ever-informative Westminster Confidential site provides this update on the struggle to get restitution for women who have been harmed by changes to the pension system:

One of London’s top law firms has written to Mel Stride, the work and pensions secretary, inviting him to agree to mediation talks to end the long suffering impasse on awarding compensation to the now 3.5 million 50s born women who had to wait another six years before they got their pension.

[A] report into the issue was published at the end of November and concluded that there was direct discrimination … women who were born from 1950 to 1960 had been singled out to wait for their pension while everyone else was unaffected.

It has also to be taken into account that 9.8m men were given 5 years free auto credits to retire 5 years early, aged 60, whilst the state pension of 3.8m 1950’s women was twice deferred, by stealth, and they were then coerced back to work for up to another 6 years having been denied the promised similar auto credits awarded to men.

The report [was hand-delivered] to Rishi Sunak at Downing Street just before it was published. It was also delivered to Robert Behrens, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, who is currently involved in a long inquiry into how much the women should be compensated after finding partial maladminstration.

It might be instructive to contrast this with another case of discrimination against women, that has been in the news recently; I refer to that of Birmingham City Council, which used a bonus scheme that unfairly benefited men more than women while it was run by a Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition and then was under no overal control, between 2004 and 2010.

After a court battle, the council was ordered to pay £760 million to settle equal pay claims – and attempting to comply has caused the council to declare (effective) bankruptcy. Tory MPs have made a big fuss of the fact that a council that is now run by Labour has been financially embarrassed, even though it was their party that caused the problem.

The UK government cannot go bankrupt; it can always issue currency to cover any spending it has to make (although there should be a balancing tax take, to counter inflation).

But, so far, it has resisted calls to compensate women harmed by the state pension changes, even though those changes were clearly discriminatory against them.

Hypocrisy? What gives the Tory government the right to avoid a responsibility that the law has thrust onto a local authority – with the enthusiastic support of Tory MPs?

Source: Exclusive: Top law firm writes to Mel Stride inviting him to start mediation talks on restitution for 50swomen | Westminster Confidential


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Why are the Windrush generation STILL waiting for compensation?

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it had still been in service in 2017, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

It’s 75 years since the Empire Windrush docked in the UK with cabins full of what political correctness tells us were Afro-Caribbean people who had volunteered to help rebuild the UK after World War II.

In 2017 we discovered that thousands of these people were in danger of being deported by a racist Home Office under the leadership of Theresa “Go Home” May, because they didn’t have paperwork showing that they had a right to stay in the UK indefinitely.

And what was the reason they didn’t have that paperwork? Nobody in the government had bothered to give it to them and Home Office staff had deliberately destroyed their own copies.

These government choices led to detentions and wrongful deportations that would have made any fascist regime proud – until this disgraceful persecution of innocents was exposed and public outrage put an end to it.

The government of the day promised compensation to all those who had been wronged.

That was in 2017. Many of those affected by the Windrush Scandal are still waiting.

And in the meantime, let’s remember, the Tory government merrily pumped £800 billion into the hands of its rich mates and donors, in return for nothing at all worth mentioning.

The matter was supposed to get an airing on the BBC’s Politics Live today (Thursday, June 22, 2023) but the discussion very quickly deviated onto the much less fraught subject of opportunities for people from ethnic minorities in the UK today.

So here’s Jeremy Corbyn:

You’re welcome, Jeremy. As someone who highlighted the Windrush Scandal at the time, I find the praise of the UK’s leading anti-racist MP extremely pleasant.

The issue of reparation for colonial crimes is complicated and may take a long time to untangle.

But Windrush is straightforward. The only reason compensation has been delayed is that the government are racists who don’t like paying money to black people. Or so it seems to me.


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DWP won’t contact over 100,000 ESA claimants owed millions in compensation

This comes courtesy of Benefits and Work; This Site is just passing it on:

The DWP has refused to follow a recommendation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to contact over 100,000 ESA claimants who are owed compensation totalling many millions for DWP errors. However, one claimant has been awarded £7,500 in compensation and we explain below how you can begin a claim if you were affected.

The issue relates to mistakes made by the DWP which began over a decade ago.

In 2011 the DWP began transferring claimants from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA). However, in many thousands of cases the DWP only assessed claimants for contribution based ESA and failed to check whether they should also have been awarded income-based ESA.

Eventually, after many complaints and awards to claimants who had missed out, the DWP reluctantly launched a LEAP exercise to identify claimants who had been victims of their error.

This resulted in 118,000 claimants getting backdated awards of ESA, in many cases amounting to thousands of pounds. Others also got awards outside of the LEAP scheme.

However, these claimants were not told that they might also be entitled to special payments because they had missed out on other benefits or undergone hardship as a result of the DWP’s maladministration.

Indeed, the DWP specifically told claimants that they could not complain to the Independent Case Examiner and did not tell them about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

However, one claimant – known as Ms U – had advice from a welfare rights worker. As a result, she did complain the PHSO after the DWP refused to pay her compensation in addition to £19, 832 in backdated ESA.

The PHSO found that Ms U had suffered considerable hardship and her health had suffered as a result of the DWP’s failures. She had also missed out on free prescriptions, warm home discount payments and other help such as paying for a washing machine.

The PHSO recommended that the DWP pay Ms U £7,500 as compensation and also pay interest on the back payment of ESA.

The DWP paid Ms U, but refused to follow another recommendation of the PHSO.

This was that they contact claimants both within the LEAP exercise and outside it who had been given ESA arrears due to their maladministration, look into their circumstances and award them any appropriate compensation.

Instead the DWP argued that: “should a claimant feel that they should receive compensation due to their individual circumstances, they can contact the Department and set out their reasons. All requests received will be considered on a case by case basis.”

The DWP know very well that almost none of the affected claimants will ever discover that they might be entitled to compensation and thus they will never know to ask for it.

In a recently released letter dated 10 May 2022, the PHSO said that they were “extremely disappointed” with the DWP’s decision not to follow their recommendations.

Unfortunately the PHSO has no power to force the DWP to do so.

We know that only a small proportion of Benefits and Work readers will have been affected by this issue.

But if you are one of them, we have a downloadable letter, complete with instructions, that you can use to begin the process of applying for compensation.

It comes with no guarantees that it will work, but waiting for the DWP to act seems to guarantee that you will not get a penny of what you may be owed.

If you are not personally affected but know someone who may be, please send them a link to this article.

And if you regularly post in a forum or belong to a group that might include affected people, again please give them a link to this page.

Who is affected

Affected claimants are those who were transferred from incapacity benefit to ESA, a process that began as far back as 2011, and who later received a lump sum payment of arrears because the DWP had failed to award you income-based ESA as well as contribution-based ESA.

Many claimants who received such a lump sum will have missed out on passporting to other benefits, such as free prescriptions and warm home discount payments.

What you can do

If you think you were affected you can write to the office which administers, or used to administer, your claim for ESA to ask for compensation.

We have created a simple, downloadable letter which you can use as the basis for your own.

We have kept this letter as simple as possible, with instructions for you in italics. If you know the dates of any award of back-dated ESA or the amounts that you may have missed out on then by all means add them. But, at this point, the most important thing is to begin your claim.

If you don’t receive a reply, do as the letter says and make a formal complaint as well as contacting your MP’s office and asking them to pursue the matter

Download the letter in rich text format

Download the letter as a .pdf

You can read the PHSO’s original findings on the case of Ms U here

You can read the correspondence between the PHSO and the DWP here

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DWP ignores legal ruling to deny compensation to 118,000 benefit claimants

The Department for Work and Pensions has unilaterally decided to ignore a ruling by the Parliamentary Ombudsman that it should pay compensation to 118,000 people who suffered maladministration at its hands.

The decision sets a deeply worrying precedent as it could lead to other people suffering maladministration receiving no rectification or compensation.

Here are the details in a handy YouTube video:

And journalist David Hencke, on his Westminster Confidential site, had this to say:

Since seeing this I have contacted Sir Stephen Timms, Labour chair of the Commons Works and Pensions Committee, to see if, as they promised the Ombudsman, the DWP had alerted him to the decision. Initially he said he could not recall getting this and promised to investigate what has happened.

There is another big issue. This could impact on the Waspi campaign and the all party state pension inequality group of MPs to get compensation for women through a report from the Ombudsman. If after the Ombudsman says compensation is due the DWP follows this practice for the 3.8 million – six people will get compensation and the remaining 3.6 million still alive will have to write individual letters outlining their case to the ministry for any money due which will take even more time to resolve. You have been warned.

Read the full story here: DWP ignores the Parliamentary Ombudsman and refuses to compensate 118,000 disabled people hit by benefit maladministration | Westminster Confidential

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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Tory government slammed for bullying and trying to silence the disabled – Dorset Eye

Well done to Dorset Eye for picking up on this:

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has accused the government of “using its might” to “bully” and “silence” disabled campaigners in the courts.

People allegedly damaged by the drug Primodos are in a high court battle with both the UK government and the German pharmaceutical company Bayer.
Campaigners say that both the company and the UK regulators were aware of the potential risk of the pregnancy test drug to deform babies in the womb.

Mr Burnham is calling on the government to drop the case and “compensate them for the damage they have suffered”.
Primodos has been described as “the forgotten thalidomide”, however manufacturer Schering, now owned by Bayer, has always denied any association between the drug and malformations, saying there is not sufficient scientific evidence to support the claim.

In 2020 an independent government review found that the drug should have been removed from the market in 1967, a decade before it was, and that UK regulators had been repeatedly warned of the risk.

Read the full article here: Tory government slammed for bullying and trying to silence the disabled – Dorset Eye

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No lessons learned – and no compensation for 118,000 benefit claimants who lost out for years

Habitual cruelty: the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions is refusing to pay compensation to sick and disabled benefit claimants who were given the wrong payments after being moved to Employment and Support Allowance.

The injustice affects 118,000 people who should have received payments based on their income but instead received them only based on their National Insurance contributions.

It was revealed in the case of “Mrs U”, whose payments were cut by £80 per week – and stayed that way for five years.

Her payments have since been rectified, and the whole of the underpayment repaid to her – along with £7,500 in compensation ordered by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Now the same ombudsman has protested after the DWP agreed to make back-payments to 118,000 other claimants affected by its error – but not to pay them any compensation.

Ombudsman Rob Behrens said: “We don’t know how many more Ms Us there are out there.

“That is why I urge the DWP to allow people affected to claim for compensation in recognition of its error and the potentially devastating impact it has had on people’s lives.”

The DWP said it will not pay “blanket” compensation to all 118,000 people it wronged.

Instead, it said it will consider claims by people who contact it through various helplines that have been set up – or who go through the department’s labyrinthine complaints process.

It’s not good enough. And This Writer wonders how many people died before they could claim the back-pay or the compensation – or because they did not have this money.

Source: DWP denies compensation to 118,000 benefit claimants who lost out for years – Mirror Online

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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