Tag Archives: credit

Starmer’s protest against Universal Credit cut forgets that sick and disabled people have suffered worse

What a pathetic excuse for an Opposition leader Keir Starmer is!

He has (rightly) come out against the removal of the £20 Universal Credit “uplift” that was introduced to protect people from the effects of Covid-19.

But his claim that it is the “biggest overnight cut in the history of the welfare state” is a long way off the mark!

Here’s Sue Jones to explain:

It tells us much about Starmer and his priorities.

Once again under the control of neoliberals, StarmerLabour couldn’t care a fig about people who cannot work because of illness and/or disability.

As Starmer’s Shadow Chancellor once claimed, Labour is once again oriented only towards working people. Anybody else can go hang.

And let’s be honest: even if you’re working, Starmer is only really interested if you can hand him large amounts of cash in donations, to shore up his party’s failing financial position. Everything else – including his stance on Universal Credit – is just a pose.

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Work and Pensions secretary LIED: Universal Credit claimants must work an extra DAY to make up for loss of ‘uplift’ £20

Therese Antoinette: £20 per week means very little to her, because she is a member of Parliament and has been receiving enormous pay rises ever since she was elected there. The situation is very different for the people whose benefits she has been deliberately cutting.

Tory parasite Therese Coffey has been caught in a huge – and hugely significant – lie while trying to justify the cut in Universal Credit.

While trolling through the morning media round yesterday (September 13), she claimed that the loss of the Universal Credit uplift means claimants would have to work only two hours more to make it back, at minimum wage.

It is a particularly nasty double-lie.

Firstly, for many claimants the minimum wage (what the Tories mockingly call the National Living Wage, even though you can’t live on it) is not £10 an hour as she was claiming, but £8 and change.

Secondly, the 63 per cent “taper rate” on Universal Credit means for every hour’s money earned above the basic amount of £293 a month, claimants take home just £3.30.

They would have to work more than six hours – nearly an extra day – simply to make up the £20 loss.

And then they’d have to pay National Insurance – which is increasing, of course, and they would also have to find ways to pay for other goods whose prices are increasing because of Conservative incompetence in government.

Do you think that’s fair?

Here’s Peter Stefanovic to explain the situation on video – and he doesn’t pull his punches!

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which works to solve poverty, has demonstrated that cutting £20 from Universal Credit will make a mockery of Boris Johnson’s claim to be “levelling up” the UK and of his ambition to “build back better”:

Particularly worrying is the fact that none of the TV or radio presenters interviewing Coffey had the presence of mind to point out her error.

Were they not properly briefed – or were they specifically told to ignore any such lie and let the public think the liar was telling the truth?

At least ITV’s Paul Brand managed to make one decent point:

Yes indeed. And carers aren’t the only ones propping up a UK economy that is overbalanced in favour of the rich by working far too hard.

Her excuses

Perhaps the main problem is simply that Coffey does not understand the value of £20, being – as she is – an overprivileged Tory lackwit.

Personally, This Writer is looking forward to seeing a motion in Parliament, tabled by any of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition parties, to establish that Therese Coffey would reasonably have known that she was providing false information and should retract and correct it – publicly, in the same places she told the lies (because that’s what newspapers have to do when they publish false information).

It’s what Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has demanded, after refusing to accept that legislation is required that would impose harsh penalties on any government minister found to be knowingly misleading.

After a few dozen such motions (per week?) he’ll get the message and we might see the change we need.

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Universal Credit cut: did the Tories fail to assess the harm it will do because they already know?


This is fairly straightforward.

First:

But other people have assessed the impact and this is what they say:

Here’s another take on it:

So poverty will rocket and the sick will take the biggest hit.

And the Tories are hoping to avoid criticism by saying they haven’t done an official impact assessment.

It’s like children looking away from a huge mess and telling their parents they don’t see anything wrong.

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Help for benefit claimants as DWP changes tune on hardship payment clawback

Benefit claimants facing poverty because the DWP is threatening to claw back hardship payments they claimed – after being sanctioned – have a ray of hope after a recent court case.

The Department for Work and Pensions has now admitted that any action to take back these payments is discretional and it may waive its right to do so.

The DWP has written an open letter to explaining how Universal Credit (UC) claimants can apply for recoverable hardship payments after a sanction, and the process by which claimants can request that hardship payments are waived.

The change follows a successful judicial review by a client of the Public Law Project (PLP).

The organisation explains the main points of the new process, with important points from DWP’s letter in bold, and PLP’s additions in italics:

  1. When a sanction is imposed the DWP should inform the individual of the details of the sanction(s) in a letter uploaded to the UC journal, along with the option to claim hardship payments. If the individual thinks the sanction is wrong, they can request a mandatory reconsideration from the DWP. If that is unsuccessful, the claimant can appeal the DWP’s sanction decision to the tribunal. There is guidance on challenging a sanction from Citizens Advice and Mental Health & Money Advice
  2. A claimant that receives a sanction can apply for hardship payments by calling the UC helpline. On the call, the DWP official will ask about the individuals’ living costs, so the individual should make a note of these in advance. The individual will need to explain why the sanction has made it hard for them to meet their basic needs (such as food or utilities costs) and what they have done to find other sources of financial support. Citizens Advice have published useful guidance on getting a hardship payment.
  3. Hardship payments are recoverable (meaning the DWP can ask for them to be repaid), and when a claimant applies for a hardship payment the DWP official will ask them to agree a ‘declaration’ that they will repay it once their sanctions are lifted. If  a claimant’s application for hardship payments is refused, this decision can be challenged by making a mandatory reconsideration request to the DWP. 
  4. Once the claimant’s sanction has ended the DWP will take steps to recover the hardship payment by making deductions from the individual’s UC. However, importantly, DWP does have a choice not to recover hardship payments. This choice applies in all cases, including where the individual’s sanction has been subsequently overturned, for example following mandatory reconsideration or a tribunal appeal.
  5. If the claimant cannot afford to repay the hardship payment they can ask DWP for the deductions to be reduced and / or request that the hardship payment be waived in full. This is not affected by the fact that the claimant has agreed a declaration that they will repay the hardship payment.

Getting hardship payment debt waived

PLP has produced a note on how to request a waiver of hardship payment debt and what to do if the DWP refuses.

Source: DWP publishes letter on Universal Credit hardship payments – Public Law Project

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Join the #AudioRiot to stop the cut to Universal Credit

This is brilliant from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC):

Here are the details:

The government isn’t listening to what people are saying when we say Stop The Cuts to Universal Credit and give #20MoreForAll

So we need to start an #AudioRiot to make them hear us.

On
Tuesday 28th September
11:30am
Kings Cross Station
(Courtyard in front of station)
Euston Road
London
N1 9AL

Join our #AudioRiot and make some noise about the devastating changes to benefits which will have a huge impact on millions of peoples lives, including disabled people.

Bring everything you can that makes noise.
DPAC will be providing materials for you to take part too – but don’t let that stop you bringing:

Drums
Whistles
Cymbals
Bells
Klaxons
Loudspeakers

Everything you can!

 

Make some noise about the £20 cut to Universal Credit coming in September.

Make some noise about the reintroduction of sanctions and conditionality returning in October.

Make some noise about the discrimination against those on legacy benefits who never got the £20 to begin with.

Make some noise about the minimum income floor, the local area housing allowance and so much more

Make some noise about the disgraceful state of benefits in the UK overall.

This action will round off a series of events to raise awareness about the coming changes to benefits.

These include

Saturday 25th September 2021

Local Actions Nationwide

We are calling on all DPAC members, local groups & allies to mobilise is their areas to create an #AudioRiot of your own to resist the coming cuts and invite others to join the campaign.

Create your own orchestra with homemade instruments, create your own playlists and play them through phones/speakers, form a samba band – whatever works for you!

Send us details of your planned action, and we will promote it through our website, email network and social media channels.

And

Tuesday 28th September 2021
09:15 – 10:00 am

Vigil in support of those taking a Judicial Review of potential discrimination by DWP towards disabled people on legacy benefits.

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London
WC2A 2LL

NEAREST STEP FREE STATION: Westminster

Online action

Details to follow

DPAC is aware that many of us in our community are still isolated, shielding, or even just protecting themselves and their loved ones; and cautious about taking part in public activism.

This is no barrier to taking part!! There will be online actions you can take

However, as our collective experience through since Covid entered our lives has taught us – disabled people need to have a central role in the discussions about how we build a future for us all that has a place for us all. That begins with defending what we have and building on it.

We have seen under successive governments of all stripes that the only way we can have any chance to secure that central role is to oppose government policies in the streets. We have been demonised, targeted and brutalised by attacks to our rights , services, living standards & working conditions for decades.

It is only by mobilising our community and allies in the face of theses attacks that we have been able to raise awareness and resist them.

And, that will be how we will continue to progress from here. With a view to reshaping the world to meet our aspirations.

In the streets.

 

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.

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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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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Labour’s plan for Universal Credit – and the reason it will CREATE, not cost, money

Someone needs to tell the writers at The Guardian to give their heads a shake. It might put some sense into them.

That organ’s latest piece about Labour Party policy says the plan to change Universal Credit, so people on the benefit who are working take more cash home, would cost “billions of pounds annually”.

It wouldn’t.

Poor people – those on benefits and those on low-income jobs who need to claim benefits to survive (so much for the Tories’ claim that the minimum wage is also a “living” wage!) have to spend the money they earn.

This fact is central to Labour’s message. The plan is to ensure that people have “jobs you can raise a family on” – which implies that current pay rates, combined with UC, aren’t enough for that.

And raising a family costs money; any extra pay UC claimants received would be spent.

It is an acknowledged fact that money spent into the UK economy by the poorest people in the country has the greatest “multiplier” effect – that is to say, it provides the greatest boost to the economy.

This is because it travels the longest distance, and passes through the largest number of hands, before being taxed back out again.

Think about it: a claimant receives Universal Credit plus wages; he spends some on food, heat, rent, other bills, and necessities. The firms receiving that money give some to their own employees in wages and pay some in taxes, and also spend some in investments and in resupplying their stock. The firms receiving that money do the same.

The money going to employees goes straight back to the bottom of the economy and the cycle begins again.

So the “economic multiplier” – the boost to the economy – provided by cutting the taper rate of Universal Credit to let claimants keep and spend more money is enormous.

It would certainly boost the economy by far more than the £350 million that the Graun reckons a one-per-cent change would cost the Treasury.

And it would bring a little equality into pay rates between the richest and the poorest. I mean, why are the UK’s poorest people paying a marginal tax rate of 75 per cent when people earning more than £150,000 a year are paying only 47 per cent? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Some of the Graun‘s other statements are also questionable – although one has to ask whether they originate with Keir Starmer’s right-wing Labour Party itself.

For example: “Labour believes the measure will radically boost the incentive for many people on low incomes to move into work” – as if there’s loads of jobs around for them to move into!

It is a simple fact – apparently unfathomable to right-wing politicians – that people who can get jobs do get jobs; they keep applying until they get one.

The claim that they need an incentive to do so is an insult to everybody who strives at the hard end of the labour market.

And the final suggestion – that Labour has shifted from planning to scrap Universal Credit altogether to simply aiming to make it “more generous and less punitive and bureaucratic” is a disaster in the making.

It means that any Tory government coming in after Labour would simply be able to pervert the benefit back into a penalty system for being poor (which is what it is now).

Better to scrap the lot and bring in Universal Basic Income. Then benefit conditionality, all the bureaucracy that goes with it, and all the prejudice, would be eliminated forever.

Source: Labour to pledge shake-up of universal credit as part of wider ‘new deal’ | Universal credit | The Guardian

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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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This comparison of #UniversalCreditCut with England’s win over Denmark is devastatingly accurate

More UK citizens are to lose a vital benefit uplift worth £1,040 per year than the entire population of Denmark, whose football team were beaten by the UK in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

That’s according to shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds – and he should know.

It says everything about the Tories.

They say they are trying to get the UK back on its feet after Covid.

But their first instinct is to sweep the support out from under a proportion of the population equal to the entire population of a neighbouring country.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Watch this Tory MP defend clawing back £20 Universal Credit from the poorest – it’s 1/255th of his weekly earnings

Snout in the trough (all right – bucket): the Tories reckon public money is better spent filling their overstuffed bank accounts than helping the UK’s poorest to survive.

Andrew Rosindell earns £1,575 a week for turning up to work as a member of Parliament – and last year claimed an average of £3,604 per week on expenses – and he thinks people who are defined by his own government as the UK’s poorest don’t need the £20 uplift on the meagre £76 Universal Credit they receive every week.

He really believes that he deserves 255 times as much as the poorest people in the UK, just for filing through the ‘Aye’ lobby when Boris Johnson wants to victimise the poor.

Watch him trying to justify his attitude on the BBC’s Politics Live yesterday (July 7).

What a grasping, mendacious, wretched little parasite.

(I originally wrote a much longer article about this but WordPress, in its wisdom, managed to erase it when I tried to save it prior to publishing. The perils of being a left-wing social media journalist!)

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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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.

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

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

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

HWG PrintHWG eBook

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

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook