Boris Johnson: He may learn very quickly that he must think before making unsupportable announcements.
All it takes to destroy Boris Johnson’s bluster is a little in-depth questioning – as Emma Barnett proved when she destroyed Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the deputy chair of the Commons public accounts committee on the BBC’s Newsnight yesterday (August 12).
The big question is: Why don’t the mainstream news media do this more often?
The public would be better-informed – so these news outlets would be carrying out their duty.
And, as far as the BBC is concerned, it would look good to Ofcom, which is currently investigating the corporation for breaches of its impartiality rule.
Here’s the video clip; it’s highly enjoyable:
This is all it takes to bust Johnson’s false promises, follow up questions! It really is that easy, not sure why the rest of the BBC, Sky or ITV can’t do this? pic.twitter.com/moIdOHnIW6
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.
People on Carers Allowance save the government more than £14 BILLION every year because they receive a pittance instead of the average wage for their efforts. Now the Tories want to penalise thousands of carers with a spurious claim that they have been overpaid even that tiny amount.
The Conservative Party’s latest attack on the sick and disabled will undermine the people who help them with their daily needs – their carers.
At last count, 826,000 carers provided at least 35 hours of care every week to someone who receives a qualifying disability benefit. Currently they receive £66.15 per week for this service – just £1.89 per hour.
The current minimum wage (or the National Living Wage if you want to use the Tories’ lie) is £8.21 per hour, so carers are clearly being paid well below the minimum wage.
But the average pay for a care worker in the UK is around £12 per hour, or £21,000 per year.
From this we can deduce that, if the government had to employ care workers to do the same work as people on Carers Allowance, the drain on the national purse would be an extra £17,550 per year.
That’s £14,496,300,000 per year!
And the Tory-run DWP is complaining about £150 million – a paltry one ninety-sixth of that staggering total.
That is the amount the hated government department for welfare persecution intends to take back from people it claims have received too much Carers Allowance at any time over the last 10 years.
Only 80,000 carers will be affected, but some will be hit with a bill of more than £20,000 – which will take 34 years to pay off at the current repayment rate.
These carers would not only be paying for their own error in failing to notify the DWP of changes in their earnings at an appropriate time, but also for the DWP’s failure to detect those changes by its own means.
The DWP classifies 89% of the value of overpayments as claimant error or fraud, which will need to be repaid. But fraud accounts for 0.6 per cent of this total.
This means 99.4 per cent of affected carers may be penalised for mistakes by the DWP.
The plan to claw back the overpayments was revealed in a report by the National Audit Office, which warned that the DWP had – as is typical of that department – neglected to consider the impact the imposition of repayments will have on some of the most vulnerable families in the UK.
Frank Field, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions committee, summed it all up:
“Once again, the NAO has devastatingly laid bare the incompetence at DWP, and its stark human cost.
“Not for the first time, we see DWP squeezing those least able to afford it. It will chase down carers who provide such an immense service to our society, potentially cutting their income for decades – when it knows that a large part of the responsibility lies squarely at its own door.
“Worse still, the NAO shows that DWP hasn’t bothered to find out what clawing back these sums will cost carers and the people they care for, in every sense.
“There was already plenty wrong with the way we recognise carers’ invaluable contribution. Rather than making things worse, why doesn’t the Department just spare us all: end this massive scandal, focus on the real fraudsters and write off the overpayments it has allowed to build up unchecked?”
I’ll tell you the reason.
It’s because the Conservatives – through the DWP – want to hurt these most vulnerable members of our society.
Indeed, they hope that sanctioning thousands of pounds from carers – and in effect from the disabled people they support, as many will be caring for family members or loved ones – will make it impossible for them to cope.
They want to push these people into the kind of despair that causes mental imbalance and drives people towards death – either due to physical illnesses caused by the lack of money (consider the case of Stephen Smith) or by suicide (there are too many example of this to count).
Death by benefit deprivation has been the Conservatives’ plan for many years and this is simply the latest stage of that plan.
EXTRA: A commenter on the Vox Political Facebook page has pointed out that I could be neglecting to mention billions of pounds more that the government is saving, by not having to pay for sick and disabled people to live in care homes.
This person wrote: “When you say that the ‘official’ care workers are usually paid £12 per hour, or £21,000 per year, you don’t take into account the fact that many of the carers on £66.15 per week are caring for people who would otherwise be in a care home.
“If the disabled person was in a care home then this would cost the taxpayer considerably more, in some cases over £1,000 per week.”
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:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
The issue of worker exploitation has risen up the political and news agendas over the past year, so the Tories are paying lip-service to the idea of stopping it. They won’t do anything, though. [Image: Kevin Fleming/Getty].
Don’t expect this initiative to do any more than pay lip service to the concept of dealing with this issue.
Tories like exploiting workers. Their entire industrial policy since 1976 has been to weaken working people and make them vulnerable to exploitation.
That’s why they destroyed British industry.
That’s why they weakened the trade unions.
That’s why they privatised public assets and sold them off to foreign, state-owned firms.
It is the only explanation that fits the evidence.
Now, Sir David Metcalf has been asked – not to tackle worker exploitation directly, but to work out a new way for three regulatory organisations to work together.
Nothing in his brief asks him to devise a way to crack down on worker exploitation.
So there will be no crackdown.
This is an empty gesture.
The government has moved to crack down on unscrupulous employers by appointing a new boss to lead the collection of government bodies tasked with stamping out exploitation in the workplace.
Prof Sir David Metcalf, a founding member of the Low Pay Commission and former chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee, was named on Thursday as the first director of Labour Market Enforcement
He will be devising a new strategy on how three bodies – the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) and HM Revenue and Customs’s national minimum wage enforcement team – share information and work together.
To be honest, if the police are keeping criminals away from peaceful protests, this move should be applauded. However, evidence seems to indicate that they would be far better occupied looking among their own ranks if they want to prevent violence and illegal activity at these events.
Police have launched a crackdown on activists previously linked to direct action protests before what is expected to be the largest anti-austerity demonstration of the year.
At least three activists arrested on suspicion of offences at earlier demonstrations have been handed fresh bail conditions forbidding them from attending the protest march on Saturday, sources have told the Guardian.
[Picture: I Am Incorrigible blog – http://imincorrigible.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/evidence-not-ideology-benefit-tourism-the-problem-only-fruitloops-and-tories-can-see/ – which agrees that benefit tourism is a non issue and distraction from the UK’s real problems.]
The UK is to cut the amount of time EU migrants without realistic job prospects can claim benefits from six to three months, according to David Cameron – who seems desperate to take attention away from Andy Burnham’s speech today on the Coalition’s unwanted privatisation of the National Health Service.
According to the BBC, Cameron said the “magnetic pull” of UK benefits needed addressing to attract people for the right reasons.
But the announcement seems to be deliberately confusing.
It seems this restriction will only apply to people born abroad who have had a job in this country and then lost it. They are the only migrant group currently allowed to claim JSA for six months before the benefit is cut off “unless they [have] very clear job prospects”, as Cameron put it in the BBC article.
EU migrants who were claiming benefits in their own countries must fill in an E303 form in order to receive benefits at the destination country – which are issued at the same rates as in their country of origin for a total of three months only. Failure to find employment in that time means the loss of the benefit or a return to the country of origin.
The BBC article is vague about this; it’s as if Auntie – and Cameron – are trying to hoodwink you (shurely shome mishtake? – Ed) into thinking he is restricting benefits for people who come here looking for work, which is something he cannot do.
Perhaps Cameron is trying to avoid the embarrassment created by his last attempt to claim he was doing something about immigration; he announced five proposals, one of which related to all employers (quadrupling fines for those that do not pay the minimum wage), while the other four were already part of the law of this land.
That little Con was exposed very quickly, on this blog and others.
Note also that he is still trying to say people are coming here from abroad in order to claim our benefits.
That is a lie.
From Vox Political‘s article last year: “UK citizens are a greater drain on the state than immigrants from Europe. Between 1995 and 2011 EEA immigrants paid in 4 per cent more than they took out, whereas native-born Brits only paid in 93 per cent of what they received. Between 2001 and 2011 recent EEA immigrants contributed 34 per cent more than they took out, a net contribution of £22bn.”
Considering the timing of this announcement, it seems likely that Cameron wanted something to take attention away from Andy Burnham’s speech on the Coalition’s dirty little backroom deals to privatise more of the NHS, reported on this blog earlier today.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.