Tag Archives: cut

Jodey Whiting had an incurable condition. Why did the DWP try to force her into a benefit reassessment?

Death by DWP: Jodey Whiting.

This is a good question – triggered in This Writer’s mind by a reference to a different case.

Please read the following Twitter thread, which was prompted by a tweet referring to the death of DWP benefit claimant Philippa Day:

Yes, why does the DWP force people with incurable or terminal conditions to prove that they still have a lifelong disability or are still dying?

Reading those words, I thought about Jodey Whiting. She had a number of disabilities, including scoliosis which – as far as I can tell – is an incurable condition that requires constant treatment for the length of the sufferer’s life. If untreated, it could be life-threatening.

So it was pointless to demand that she attend a work capability assessment, because it was impossible for her condition to have improved. It could only worsen.

There is an argument that a WCA could take place to ascertain whether a claimant’s payments should increase – but that cannot be used as justification in Ms Whiting’s case because her benefits were stopped.

The DWP’s Green Paper on Disability, released in July this year (2021), acknowledges that it is pointless to keep reassessing people with lifelong and/or terminal conditions and proposes the creation of a Severe Disability Group (SDG). People put in this group would not have to face reassessment.

If the DWP is admitting that it is unreasonable for people with lifelong conditions to face constant reassessment now, then it would also be unreasonable to suggest that they should have faced constant reassessment in February 2017, when Ms Whiting took her own life.

Strangely, this does not seem to have been considered by the High Court when it rejected an appeal for a second inquest into Ms Whiting’s death, last month (October).

I wonder why the court did not consider that the absence of necessity for the assessment that led to Ms Whiting’s benefits being cut was a material consideration in her case.

There’s now a second appeal for another inquest. Perhaps the point could be made this time around?

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Tory corruption news: Rishi Sunak gave Tory donor banker £7.6 million tax cut

Rishi Sunak: “Oh no! The public have seen through my cunning wheeze!” Too right, mate.

Does this require any elaboration at all?

In a week full of Tory corruption, this should come as no surprise.

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Rock Bottomley: MP complains about £82k salary while millions starve after Universal Credit cut

Bottomley: the Father of the House of Commons doesn’t think MPs earn enough and says they should have as much as GPs. In the interests of “levelling up”, perhaps Boris Johnson should consider making their £100k-a-year the National Living Wage?

What an inconsiderate narcissist Peter Bottomley is!

On the day Universal Credit – the main unemployment benefit but also the subsidy paid to working people to make up for the failure of businesses to pay them a living wage – was cut, plunging 4.4 million people into poverty, he complained that his £82,000 MP’s salary isn’t enough.

He thinks he should get around the same amount as GPs – slightly more than £100,000 a year. Average salary – which is skewed upwards by the top 10 per cent of earners – is £31,000.

Strangely, he admitted that he is not suffering financially himself:

Although he said he currently is not struggling financially, he believes the situation is ‘desperately difficult’ for his newer colleagues.

The representative of Worthing West in West Sussex added: ‘I don’t know how they manage. It’s really grim.’

That didn’t stop people like his former colleague Michael Portillo leaping to support him on TV, with what can only be seen as a false argument:

Portillo was saying it must be hard for older MPs to put up with receiving the same amount as their younger colleagues, when Bottomley was saying it must be harder for younger MPs.

They can’t even get their story straight!

And the comparison with GPs doesn’t work, either, because doctors are paid according to the amount of time they work and MPs aren’t:

This Writer doubts it would work if we paid MPs by the hour; it would just give them another opportunity to submit false claims (expenses scandal, anybody?).

Bottomley deserves all the sympathy he received from satirical songwriter Mitch Benn:

It isn’t impossible – at 77, Bottomley is younger than at least one driver the government is desperate to put back in a cab:

For most of the rest of us, £82,000 a year is an impossible dream. That’s why Bottomley has received a huge amount of criticism for his selfish words. Here’s one of the milder rebukes.

Still, Boris Johnson likes to talk about “levelling up” and he’s currently waffling about wages to anybody who can still be bothered to listen.

So, what about it, Boris? The Father of the House thinks wages should rise.

How about accommodating him, and increasing the National Living Wage to £100k all around?

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Therese Coffey had ‘Time of Her Life’ cutting Universal Credit and wrecking the economy

Time of her life: Therese Coffey danced (badly) and sang (off-key) as her government removed the Universal Credit uplift that has been a lifeline for millions of people.

This was more ‘dirty dealing’ than Dirty Dancing:

Yes, it’s true:

Here’s a longer clip, if your ears can stand it:

The move not only shows astonishing hypocrisy on the part of the Work and Pensions Secretary…

… it was also utterly illiterate in economic terms:

On a national level, the cut tells us much about the Conservative government’s priorities…

… but it is on a personal level that the cut will hit home – and this is what the Tories are hoping because it means those who won’t lose cash because of it won’t be bothered by it, and they probably won’t associate it with harm to the economy that will attack them too.

Spokespeople from the Labour Party have spoken up against it…

… too late to make any difference…

… and in any case, Labour leader ‘Little Keir’ Starmer has apparently said he would not restore the uplift if elected into government:

Meanwhile the Tories and their allies in the media are building a false impression that the cut is a good thing…

… even though the experts tell a different story:

Some Tories are saying other systems are in place to take the bite off the cut. Nadhim Zahawi has pointed to a £500 million fund available to local authorities…

… but councils are facing an economic squeeze of their own; the Tories aren’t giving them enough to run their services properly. In any case, the UC uplift cost around £4.5 billion per year – nine times as much as is on offer in the scheme Zahawi mentioned.

In the iNews article (link above), Tory backbencher Steve Baker says it would cost £10 billion to sort out all the problems created by his own government’s mishandling of UC.

And what of the prime minister?

Boris Johnson once described the quarter of a million pounds he received alongside his salary as an MP, writing a column for a Sunday newspaper, as “chicken feed”. Is that why he doesn’t seem to think the UC cut matters?

The facts – for those of us who have to work in Johnson’s post-Brexit, passed-out Britain – are enormously different from his distorted viewpoint:

He has certainly said he wants wages to rise. He just hasn’t said how he proposes to do it.

And there is a much easier way to raise the kind of cash needed to set UC at a rate that won’t plunge millions of people into poverty:

Johnson won’t do it.

His entire plan – if he can be said to have had a plan at all – appears to be to bleed every last penny out of the UK’s working people and give it to the idle rich, who squirrel it away in offshore tax havens (see the Pandora Papers for details).

It seems the aim is to turn the nation into a zombie economy where working – and working-class – people are worked like slaves to service an ever-increasing national debt, while the super-rich members of his own class live it up on the profits and put nothing back.

Does it seem that way to you?

Footballers are now the opposition to the Tories: Gary Neville destroys Edwina Currie on TV

Notably absent from this year’s Conservative conference has been any opposition to it from the Labour Party. Keir Starmer has abdicated his responsibility.

Into the breach steps former footballer Gary Neville. He – along with others of his profession like Marcus Rashford – has become the de facto opposition to Tory tyranny, in the absence of Starmer and his cronies.

It was Neville who responded to the cancellation of the £20 Universal Credit “uplift”, plunging millions of people into poverty and insecurity at a time of hugely-rising costs.

Tory grandee and food poisoning expert (ha ha!) Edwina Currie told ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

“What we have to realise is that we have got something like a million vacancies advertised in this country. We have record numbers of vacancies. We have whole industries desperate for people to come in from catering, to the care industry. Businesses are desperate and pushing up wages so it doesn’t make any sense to pay people to stay home.”

When presenter Susanna Reid pointed out that 40% on Universal Credit are already in work, the former health minister said: “We are taking about very large numbers of people not in a job.

“We need to train people to make better choices about how they live and how they spend their money. There are 30 million people out there who I would tell ‘the best benefit is a job’.

“It is wrong for us to pay people to stay at home when the economy needs people to get into work and we need to get people into better jobs and we need to push employers to pay their workforce better.”

Here’s Neville’s response:

He’s absolutely right. But he should not have had to say it.

Source: Gary Neville destroys Edwina Currie and Tory policy on Good Morning Britain – Wales Online

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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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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.

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


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