Tag Archives: day

What will the DWP do if a coroner says this mum died because her benefits were cut?

Inquest: did Philippa Day take her own life in despair after benefit assessment provider Capita cut her benefits and demanded that she attend an assessment centre – which was impossible due to her disability?

We’ve been here before, I think. As I recall, coroners tend to back away from criticising the Department for Work and Pensions when disabled benefit claimants die.

But – again, as I recall – questions have been asked about the validity of such inquests after claims were made that some of the relevant evidence was omitted.

This time, it seems very thorough preparations are being made to prevent this from happening; several pre-inquest reviews have been held to discuss the case of Philippa Day.

The mother, from Mapperley, Nottingham, is believed to have taken her own life after a long struggle to have her benefits restored.

When her Disability Living Allowance was converted to the new Personal Independence Payment in January 2019, the government slashed the amount she received from £228 per week to £60.

The most recent pre-inquest hearing centred on discussions between Ms Day, the DWP and private assessment provider company Capita before her death, and the decisions about her benefits that followed.

It seems Capita had demanded that she must attend an assessment centre in person – an impossibility due to her ill-health.

Ms Day was admitted to hospital in August last year – in a coma, according to her family. She never revived and died in October 2019, aged just 27.

The full inquest is due to take place in January.

Let’s hope it makes more sense than some others we have heard recently.

Source: Coroner to examine death of Mapperley mum who died after her benefits were cut – Nottinghamshire Live

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It’s November 5 – and ‘V for Vendetta Day’ has never been more relevant

Talk about life imitating art!

It is November 5, 2020 – and This Writer half expects to hear of a man in a Guy Fawkes mask setting off an explosion that destroys Parliament later this evening.

That is what happens in the movie version of V for Vendetta, Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s seminal graphic novel. And there are more similarities…

In the movie, Britain is under the control of a ruthless fascist dictatorship that offers security but not freedom. Does this seem familiar to you?

This administration has used a viral pandemic to seize power and keep the people of Britain under control. Does this remind you of a situation in the real world?

(Just to hammer the point home, the first dialogue in the first episode of the graphic novel includes these words: “The Brixton and Streatham areas are quarantine zones as of today. It is suggested that these areas be avoided for reasons of health and safety.” The locations may be different but that’s not too far from what’s happening today.)

The country is kept under curfew, enforced by a brutal police force known as “Fingermen”. As England goes into lockdown for a second time, do you remember Boris Johnson’s plan to give special enforcement powers to a select few people, to ensure that we all follow his rules?

It seems plenty of people do:

The situation in the real world – now – demonstrates the point the film – and the original graphic novel that was originally serialised from 1982 onwards – made:

This Writer was among the first people to read V for VendettaI was 12 years old at the time, and an avid consumer of Alan Moore’s stories.

The thought of living in a country like that, frankly, terrified me. But I could see its roots spreading, in the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher and the so-called “surveillance society” she created.

So could Moore. In the introduction to the 1988 serialisation of V, he wrote: “The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top… one can only speculate as to which minority will be the next legislated against.

“Goodnight England. Goodnight Home Service and V for Victory.

“Hello the Voice of Fate and V for Vendetta.”

All very grim.

But the story ends on a hopeful note, and so will this article – because the message that has resonated with the public today is this:

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” I hope Boris Johnson hears those words today.

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Do you believe this ‘four-day working week to create half a million jobs’ bunkum?

Commuters: to many of them, the idea of a four-day working week may seem highly attractive – but not on these ‘castle in the air’ terms.

Someone’s trying to lead us up the garden path:

The public sector should switch to a four-day week to create 500,000 jobs and help ease a predicted spike in unemployment following the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report.

The Autonomy think tank said “the time has come” for a shorter working week as the end of the government’s furlough scheme in October is expected to cause an unemployment crisis.

Research by the thinktank suggests public sector workers could move to a 32-hour week without any loss in wages at a cost of up to £9bn a year.

This figure, according to Autonomy, represents 6 per cent of the public sector salary bill and costs the same amount as the furlough employment scheme brought in to save jobs during the peak of the pandemic.

Who says any government is going to give public sector workers a cut in their working hours while keeping their wages the same (that’s a massive real-terms raise) – especially a Tory government? They imposed a public sector pay freeze for years!

And the claim that it would cost up to £9 billion a year – the same as Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme – is just more evidence that it wouldn’t work. Sunak is scrapping the furlough scheme on grounds that it is too expensive to continue indefinitely.

Not realistic.

Source: Four-day working week in public sector could create 500,000 jobs, says thinktank report | The Independent | Independent

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Take part in the online day of action against Universal Credit sanctions

Today – July 1 – conditionality and sanctions return to the UK’s benefit system.

This means the two million people who signed up for Universal Credit because of the Covid-19 crisis will now be expected to show they are looking for work, and will be sanctioned if they fail to do so.

For the first time, they will experience what – for example – people with disabilities have suffered under the Conservatives for the last 10 years.

Some people are about to be rudely awakened from their previous complacency, I reckon!

Perhaps they would like to take part in this national day of action, organised by one of the larger representative organisations for people with disabilities, DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) under its banner of the Scrap Universal Credit Alliance (SUCA).

Here’s what they’re about and what you can do:

There is now overwhelming evidence of both the serious harm that the sanctions regime inflicts on the most disadvantaged members of society and the fact that sanctions are punitive and counter-productive to the aim of getting people off benefits and into work.

Join the Scrap Universal Credit Alliance in our demands to:

#EndConditionality

#ScrapSanctions

#NoMoreBenefitDeaths

Ways you can get involved:

  • Get active on social media at 12 lunchtime on 1 July using the above hashtags and directed @DWP @justintomlinson @theresecoffey . You can find a list of findings, facts, stats and links for reference here: https://dpac.uk.net/2020/06/sanctions-findings-facts-stats-and-links/
  •  Write to your MP asking them to put pressure on the government not to restart conditionality and sanctions.
  • We encourage people to write to their MPs.
  • Write to your local paper
  • If you think you may be affected by conditionality restarting and putting your safety at risk because you still need to shield, it may be worth gathering what medical evidence you have (for example if you received a letter or correspondence from the NHS telling you to continue shielding until the end of July) and pro-actively sending it in to your job centre/adding it in to your Universal Credit journal. It is difficult to know what to do given the complete absence of information from the government.

Source: National [online] day of action against sanctions – 1st July – DPAC

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Starmer’s bid to engage Armed Forces is a pale shadow of Corbyn’s

Keir Starmer: I adapted this mock-up of him pretending to be a soldier from a right-wing site that was mocking him.

Isn’t it strange how Keir Starmer is attacking the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn in public while failing to offer anything better than watered-down versions of the former Labour leader’s policies?

Today is Armed Forces Day, so Starmer has rolled out a weak-ass offer to the UK’s serving men and women, under the banner of the existing “Friends of the Forces”.

It comes with absolutely no offers at all – just an undertaking to “listen” to the views of forces personnel.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said he wanted to hear the views of service men and women. The party’s current position is that the Tory government should devote a chapter of its upcoming defence and security review to military personnel, overhaul the country’s covenant with serving forces, and champion the armed forces in public.

Compare this with Jeremy Corbyn’s five pledges for the armed forces, as described in Labour’s election manifesto last year that Starmer doesn’t seem to have read:

  1. Fair Pay – scrap the public sector pay cap, which has seen a 5.8% real terms pay cut for the starting salary of an Army Private
  2. Decent housing for forces and their families – end the growing reliance on the private rented sector
  3. A voice for service men and women – consult on creating a representative body, similar to the Police Federation
  4. End privatisation – root and branch review of outsourcing and a clear presumption in favour of public delivery of public contracts
  5. Support for forces children – better access to schools with dedicated local authorities admissions strategy for the particular challenge of frequent school moves

Those were solid promises, not wishy-washy offers to “listen”. Corbyn’s plan would have made a difference.

Starmer’s is just a public relations ploy.

Source: Starmer launches Labour Friends of the Forces engagement programme – LabourList

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DWP abandons legal battle over ‘perverse’ Universal Credit fault

This is a surprise – the Department for Work and Pensions has actually seen the light and done the right thing!

The decision paves the way for 85,000 benefit claimants to demand reimbursement as the fault in Universal Credit means they may have been left £500 per year worse off.

If you’re one of those affected, get your demand in now.

The Department for Work and Pensions has abandoned its lengthy legal battle to avoid fixing a “perverse” design feature in universal credit that has left thousands of working claimants hundreds of pounds a year out of pocket.

The minister for welfare delivery, Will Quince, told MPs he accepted that the DWP must correct the feature, which has resulted in serious budgeting problems for some claimants who are paid at the end of the month.

The issue currently affects claimants whose wages are paid two days earlier than usual when the month ends on a weekend or bank holiday. The system assumes they have been paid twice in a single universal credit assessment period, and none in the next, meaning their benefit payments fluctuate wildly.

Source: DWP abandons legal battle against universal credit claimants | Society | The Guardian

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How many people does the government owe because of Universal Credit payday prejudice?

Let’s answer the question in the headline straight away: it seems 85,000 people may be able to claim compensation because the government deliberately failed to stop people getting less Universal Credit if their payday comes early because of a weekend or bank holiday.

Judges at the Court of Appeal have ruled that it was “irrational” for the Department for Work and Pensions – and the Secretary of State in particular – to ignore the fact that computer systems would assume that claimant had received double the money expected and cancel their payments.

The Conservative government has spent two years fighting this court case – indicating that, despite being well aware of the issue, Tories were determined to continue depriving some of the poorest workers in the UK of vital benefits.

Are they sadists? Or perverts?

Certainly perverts, it seems. In her judgment, Lady Justice Rose described the situation as “perverse”.

But decide for yourself.

The three judges at the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that the Work and Pensions Secretary acted irrationally and unlawfully by making Universal Credit regulations which fail to take into account that the date monthly salaries are paid can vary because of weekends and bank holidays.

The Government had taken the case to the Court of Appeal after single mother Danielle Johnson, along with three other mothers supported by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), won a High Court legal challenge.

They said the Government’s interpretation of regulation 54 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 meant some months she would receive much less in universal credit than in others.

Ms Johnson is paid on the last working day of each month and her benefit assessment period runs from the last day of the month to the penultimate day of the following month. When a weekend is at the end of a month, this means her wages go into her bank account earlier than in other months.

The Universal Credit computer system interpreted this as Ms Johnson having earned twice as much in one month and none in others, so her payment would be calculated accordingly.

It resulted in extreme fluctuations in her income and – in several months – she lost the work allowance part of the UC payment, meaning she was around £500 per year worse off.

If 85,000 people lost the same amount, that means the government was stopping them from receiving £42.5 million a year – not a lot in terms of a national government’s budget.

So why did the Tories create a system that forced this hardship on vulnerable women (among others)?

Why spend more money defending this irrational persecution of vulnerable women?

We can only conclude that this is yet more evidence that the Tories simply enjoy making poor people suffer.

And it worked: Ms Johnson suffered severe cash flow problems and between them, the four mothers fell into rent arrears, defaulted on council tax, incurred bank overdraft charges, borrowed money and even become reliant on food banks to make ends meet.

Lady Justice Rose commented that Ms Johnson “expresses her doubts whether she will ever be able to get back on top of her finances and worries that cash flow problems will mean she is unable to pay her rent, jeopardising her tenancy”.

We should also discuss the Tory government’s defence, which seems to be that changing the system would cost too much. It’s always about money with this mob, isn’t it?

So the court was told that any change to the computer system would cost at least £7.35 million – a fraction of what the government has saved each year by withholding money from 85,000 claimants.

And the Tories said there would need to be a wholesale move away from automation back to manual calculation in order to accommodate the changes demanded by the judges.

This would be an admission that the whole Universal Credit project – that was intended to be “digital by default” – is a failure.

And it’s doubtful that there’s any truth in the claim. Computer programs can be quite adaptable – or at least, they can in the hands of people who don’t have an agenda that involves the persecution of the vulnerable.

Of course the question arising from this is: what happens next?

Will the government automatically calculate the back payments owed to many tens of thousands of UC claimants and pay them?

I think we all know the answer to that!

Will the Tories change the law to ensure that this situation is not allowed to arise in the future?

Or will they try to find another way to contest the ruling? Delay any payments resulting from it? Otherwise try to ignore the decision of the court?

What do you think?

Source: Four Single Mums Win Court Of Appeal Universal Credit Case | Leigh Day

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Theresa May: The female prime minister who set the cause of women back by DECADES

NOT YOU: On International Women’s Day we think of people who have improved the lives of women generally. There are men who have done more for women than Theresa May. There may even be animals who have done more [Feel free to disagree with some of the other choices if you like; I didn’t make this image].

It takes a special kind of ignorance to be Theresa May.

And it takes a worse kind of ignorance to treat it as a cause of celebration, as the Conservatives have.

Tory policies have hit women hardest – politics.co.uk

Don’t confuse the Conservatives’ embrace of female leaders with feminism – The Guardian

Women bearing 86% of austerity burden, Commons figures reveal – The Guardian

Get the message?

Theresa and her Tories don’t.

On International Women’s Day, after she lied to us all about workers’ rights in her speech on Brexit in Grimsby, Theresa May answered only one question from a female member of the press.

ITV’s political correspondent Libby Wiener took issue with her about it as she was leaving the podium. Perhaps her team thought Mrs May’s answer was witty and appropriate; it wasn’t – in fact the only thing that would have been worse than the comment itself would have been publicising it to the world.

Inevitably:

It’s only a few days since a member of the public told me it seems women leave their feminism behind the instant they become prime minister. Now that person is joined by a multitude of others. See for yourself:

https://twitter.com/8inkcartridges/status/1104301578528440320

https://twitter.com/LauraStans/status/1104074205749002240

Perhaps that’s the real answer.

Theresa May knows she has made the lives of women – in general – much worse, but she doesn’t care. So on International Women’s Day, all she can say is, “I’m all right, Jackie*.”

*I know it should be “I’m all right, Libby,” but I’m drawing a comparison with the classic British expression used to describe those who only act in their own best interests, even if helping someone else will cost them a minimal effort – so cut me some slack, please?


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Rileywatch: Now offensive Countdown co-host has tried to smear Owen Jones

Inappropriate: But it sums up Ms Riley’s attitude to anyone who disagrees with her.

Look at the state of this tweet from Countdown co-host Rachel Riley:

She seems to think re-tweeting an image denigrating Owen Jones as “The queen of bellends” is an appropriate way to behave after accusing him of anti-Semitism during Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Jones had been attacked by a Twitter account calling itself Peterrogers. He (Mr Jones) had been attacking the pathetic Brexit-related Liberal Democrat attempt to troll Jeremy Corbyn by claiming his backbone had been found in odd places and this person jumped in to attack him for failing to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day:

(Note that Peterrogers had tagged in Ms Riley, in search of help from her and her supporters.) Trouble is, Owen Jones had put up several posts and links commemorating HMD. Here are a few:

(We should remember that Mr Jones has fallen foul of genuine fascists recently. One wonders how those people would have greeted Ms Riley – and fears that it would be with open arms.)

So it is understandable that Mr Jones responded to Peterrogers with proof that he had, indeed, posted about HMD. But the troll (let’s call him what he is) simply complained that the post he saw wasn’t strong enough (it was about fighting fascism, for crying out loud), as you can see:

So Mr Jones did the obvious and pointed him to other posts. This is very generous as all he had to do was direct that person to his timeline and suggest he see them for himself. By now, other people were commenting on the thread – such as Keith Simmonds, who made the following suggestion:

https://twitter.com/KeithSimmonds7/status/1089530155771576320

Peterrogers seems to think Mr Simmonds is a sockpuppet for Mr Jones, to judge from his follow-up:

https://twitter.com/Peterrogers2011/status/1089535085144100866

This is shockingly poor behaviour. Mr Jones had posted several tweets condemning anti-Semitism; Peterrogers had simply ignored them. And of course Mr Jones is known to have campaigned strongly against anti-Semitism.

Bad faith is what it is: an “intent to deceive”, a “refusal to confront facts”.

By now, Ms Riley had stepped in. Having been tagged in from the start by Peterrogers, she posted:

What a despicable pack of lies and nonsense. Where does Owen Jones suggest he is a victim of the Holocaust? Nowhere. Nor does he pretend that anti-Semitism (referred to as “this” by Ms Riley) does not exist in the Labour Party; we will see that he posted links to some of his previous writings about it. Labour does not foster “Jew-hating rhetoric” either. Ms Riley provided absolutely no evidence to support her claims because they are not true.

As for British Jews seeing Labour as a “direct danger” – that is because people like Ms Riley, who have a political agenda, tell them to see it that way. If they were confronted with the facts, they might feel very differently about it.

She followed it with a smear:

Mr Bastani himself responded to that one:

And so did my old buddy in the battle to save people with long-term illnesses and disabilities from the DWP’s chequebook euthanasia, Sue Marsh:

Mr Jones himself came back with a list of links to his writings about anti-Semitism, and added a further point:

His point was that he has been attacked over anti-Semitism – by individuals claiming to speak for Jews – no matter what he has done. He just can’t do right for doing wrong (any course of action leads to a negative outcome).

Not good enought for Ms Riley, who dug into Mr Jones’s background for her next attack:

The links seem to refer to claims that Mr Jones edited Wikipedia entries about Israel while he was at college, and that he defended Jeremy Corbyn against “guilt by association” claims of anti-Semitism.

By now, Ms Riley’s followers had cottoned on that another dogpile was in the offing, and had started bombarding Mr Jones with their usual torrent of abuse. I had a taste of it over the weekend and you can sample it here.

So it is unsurprising that Mr Jones gave her a taste of it, and put the record straight over her claims:

That was when Ms Riley posted that tweet at the top of this article – the one that resorts to low and vulgar abuse.

You can read another perspective on this story on Zelo Street.

I’d like to address her claim, “This is a dog-whistle . The brigade will hear “political smear by Jew.””

This is exactly the kind of gross generalisation and double-standard that witch-hunters like Ms Riley like to make. They complain that they are victimised for being Jews, but think nothing of claiming that all supporters of Jeremy Corbyn must be anti-Semites.

And the claim is wrong. I certainly don’t see Ms Riley’s actions as being “political smear by Jew”. Ms Riley needs to take responsibility for her own actions.

That’s one of the positive elements that came from my contact with her supporters over the weekend – that I was able to establish that the claim that Ms Riley was being challenged because she was Jewish was a lie. I’ve made a little image to sum up the issue:

Feel free to use it against witch-hunters like Ms Riley for whom the label is appropriate. I do fear it will be abused but that’s the problem when people start witch-hunting – accusing others of anti-Semitism under false pretences; it makes it easier for genuine anti-Semitism to become established. But these frauds need to be singled out somehow.

Extra: Another witch-hunter tactic is a form of psychological projection, in which they claim ownership of some form of discrimination that others say they are receiving. Yesterday the despicable @GnasherJew troll account claimed that @LabLeftVoice had demanded that Ms Riley undergo racial profiling to see if she “is really a Jew”:

In fact, @LabLeftVoice – an account run by a Jew – had finally had enough of Ms Riley’s friends like @GnasherJew denying her own Jewishness and had offered to undergo racial profiling herself in order to provide absolute proof of her own ethnicity.

She told This Site: “I said we’ll bring ours you bring yours.. Gnasher showcased it and put my post tiny and just said look LLV asking Riley and Oberman to be racially profiled.. bcos yet again.. they omitted I’m Jewish to their ‘fans’.

“They are the ones who constantly deny left Jews are Jewish and it’s sick. I’ve had enough of it.. I’m not sure what to call it apart from delegitimising.. dehumanising.. but it is also an antisemitic act to delegitimise Jews with different beliefs.”

https://twitter.com/LabLeftVoice/status/1089665506695630848

Those are the facts. Now visit my Twitter feed (@MidWalesMike) for the dogpile from Ms Riley’s friends.

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December 3 was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. If you didn’t know, that’s half the problem

As Samuel Miller states below, December 3 was a day of mourning in the United Kingdom.

Tory austerity has killed thousands upon thousands of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities – but they have hit on what they think is a brilliant wheeze, making it seem that the deaths are either the logical conclusion of benefit claimants’ physical condition or their own decision in the case of suicide.

They have deliberately plunged millions of sick and disabled people into appalling poverty. Remember the £30 cut in Employment and Support Allowance for people with long-term illnesses? Tip of the iceberg.

And they love it.

So I agree with Samuel here:

And I agree with Tom Clark here:

If you need any further encouragement, consider this:

Hardly convincing, was she?

Consider this, also:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, has changed its policy to support people who have long-term illnesses and disabilities. Consider:

Some of us have been campaigning for these measures for nearly a decade, since the Conservatives slithered back into office in 2010.

Some of us have been campaigning for much longer.

There is a better way for government to treat people with disabilities. It is a way that grants them the dignity they have been denied by the Conservatives, and that offers them a decent standard of living.

With the Tories facing annihilation in Parliament over their arrogant determination to force a duff Brexit deal down our throats, we may soon have an opportunity to take that better choice.

Let’s seize it.

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SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook