Tag Archives: divert

Disabled benefit claimants are sidelined* again as DWP assessors diverted to Universal Credit

Once again the Tory government shafts people with disabilities.

More than a quarter of a million people who should be receiving sickness and/or disability benefits are falling into debt because the DWP is forcing them to wait for a decision while it deals with coronavirus-related Universal Credit claims.

Yes – it is important to help the people claiming UC because the government’s lockdown deprived them of their income. We must not hold a grudge against them because they were dumped in a bad situation.

But the Tory government has a responsibility of care – in which it failed by diverting staff to handle UC and cutting PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) claimants adrift.

Why not just divert staff who would have been working in job centres? Why not employ somebody new, on a temporary basis, if necessary?

These are rhetorical questions.

The answer is that no Conservative government will lift a finger to help people with illnesses and disabilities if it can find an excuse not to.

People who are physically or mentally infirm are unable to work for Tory-supporting employers and are therefore of no use to that party.

As Tories consider all working people to be nothing more than “stock”, we may conclude that they consider sick or disabled people to be defective stock, and therefore fit only to be scrapped.

This is the only rational explanation for the way Tories have treated people who deserve as much respect as anybody else.

The worst of it is that these overlooked claimants probably expect to receive attention as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends. This is doubtful; the Tories will find another excuse to make them wait.

Reason: making sick and disabled people wait is a great way of making them die, without any fear of blame.

Figures published by the DWP in response to a parliamentary written question show that as of 27 April there were 166,630 personal independence payment (PIP) claimants with either an assessment scheduled or awaiting scheduling. As of 4 May, 101,910 people were waiting on employment support allowance (ESA) claims.

Charities are also concerned that people who are trying to appeal decisions to reduce their sickness and disability benefits are facing longer than usual delays.

*Feel free to read in a more colourful verb of your choice.

Source: Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants facing delays as DWP staff diverted due to pandemic | The Independent

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That’s right, Nigel – Cameron recalled Parliament to overshadow your conference speech

Not voting UKIP: VP could have run a picture of Farage or Cameron - but this is the message that needs to get through. Now watch the comment column fill up with something that is never seen in the wild - kippers bleating.

Not voting UKIP: VP could have run a picture of Farage or Cameron – but this is the message that needs to get through. Now watch the comment column fill up with something that is never seen in the wild – kippers bleating.

If anyone needed further proof of how badly UKIP has become divorced from reality, they need look no further than the latest bizarre claim from the party’s leader, Nigel Farage.

According to the Daily Mail (not the most reliable of sources, maybe, but closely-enough aligned with UKIP for this to have the ring of truth), Mr Farage and others have said that David Cameron’s recall of Parliament to debate action against Islamic State was a “cynical ploy” to divert attention from his keynote speech at the UKIP conference in Doncaster racecourse.

Speaking on Wednesday, Farage whinged that the timing of the Parliamentary recall was a deliberate attempt to overshadow him: “It is widely believed Prime Minister David Cameron held back on recalling Parliament on an issue of massive national importance so it didn’t affect the Labour Party conference… However, he still thought it best to delay parliamentary recall until Friday, and not do it tomorrow.”

That’s right, Nigel.

He didn’t recall Parliament because Iraq has appealed to the UK for help against IS.

He didn’t do it because IS has killed at least one UK citizen and may kill more.

And he didn’t do it because IS jihadists may try to attack UK citizens on British soil.

He didn’t leave the Labour conference alone because Labour has hundreds of MPs who would have found it difficult to extract themselves from their conference commitments, and he didn’t leave Labour alone because postponing the remainder of the Labour conference would give his strongest opponents more publicity than they were already getting.

Nor did he schedule the recall for Friday because UKIP has no MPs and would, therefore, be unaffected.

The fact that UKIP is fielding 12 (count ’em – 12!) candidates in next year’s general election has Cameron quaking in his boots.

He is terrified that you will wrest the balance of power away from Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrats, meaning he might have to form a government with you if he can’t do it on his own.

And he lives in fear that you will go on to steal all the limelight from him.

As surely as a pig just flew past my first-floor office window – that is exactly how it is.

(Alternatively, you are a deluded egomaniac who badly needs to regain a sense of proportion. People are making life-or-death decisions and you are worried that people won’t see you spitting out your favourite soundbite on the Six O’Clock? Grow up.)

McVey’s latest Psycho-babble project is a Ploy to divert Public money to Private Sector? – Jayne Linney

Esther McVey:

Esther McVey: Has never taken a test to discover if she is “bewildered” – but should.

The articles debunking myths about the Labour Party, published on Friday and yesterday (Saturday), have stirred up the Tory-supporting trolls into a frenzy of misinformation and the Vox Political blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed have all been straining under the weight. For this reason, the blog has not had a chance to address the latest evil plot to scapegoat the unemployed for their own joblessness while funnelling cash to undeserving private firms like there’s no tomorrow.

Fortunately, here’s Jayne Linney with her take on the government’s new psychological test to discover benefit claimants’ resistance to work.

She writes: “Last December Sue Jones and I  wrote an article, The Just World Fallacy, considering the purpose of the Governments Nudge Unit; therein we demonstrated how unemployment is not caused by psychological barriers but by Government’s failure to invest in appropriate growth projects, and how the aforementioned Nudge Unit works to spread the Tory mantra- the fault of worklessness lies firmly with the claimant.

“Yesterday Esther McVey announced the latest ‘ psychological test’ for unemployed people, an attitude profile of their ‘psychological resistance to work’;  an assessment to identify if they are  “determined”, “bewildered” or “despondent” about seeking employment.

“This latest scheme well named the  ‘segmentation programme’, as it will determine the future hoops claimants must jump through to access benefits, is based upon the work of Australian Therese Rein, founder and Managing Director of  Ingeus. Ingeus, in partnership with Deloitte, also happen to be, the “preferred supplier for seven of the DWP ’ 11 Frameworks for the Provision of Employment Related Support Services”  with contracts worth £150m a year , according to the FT.”

So no conflict of interest there, then! </sarcasm>

“Claimants in three unidentified Jobcentres are currently being interviewed to assess their attitudes, norms and self belief regarding work; this along with a  ‘background profile’, reported to determine if they come from a ‘troubled family’, the likely support of any partner in looking for work and their job history; will decide the ‘segment they are directed to.

“Having undertaken the assessment, it appears claimants will directed into one of the WorkFare programmes, or for those being deemed less ‘mentally prepared” for work, they’ll become subject to intensive coaching, most likely to be claimants physically spending 35 hours a week in the Jobcentre learning how to write cover letters and sit interviews!”

For the rest of the article, you’ll have to nip over to Jayne’s own blog, but her conclusion hits the nail right on the head:

“I believe it is Time this Government STOPPED playing games with the public purse, STOPPED developing programmes of no public benefit  and STOPPED LYING to the People – What do you think?”

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Sink, Britain, Sink! – the cost of privatising water management

– This is a song by a local musician, here in Mid Wales, written during the last serious flooding. I make no apologies for opportunistically linking to it as it says a few choice words about the situation and the government.

“And the rains came down, and the floods came up” – The Wise Man and the Foolish Man (Southern Folk Song).

Some of you may have noticed we’ve had a few spots of wet weather recently. This is nothing new to our island nation.

The trouble is, having fallen on us all, the water hasn’t had the decency to clear off and drain away. Instead, it has built up and up and caused a huge amount of flood damage to land and houses that were not built in a safe place, as in the song lyric quoted above, but in flood plains.

This is a result of bad planning – by water and sewerage companies that have failed to implement successful drainage schemes or to divert floodwater from rivers in order to prevent overflow, and by planning authorities that have allowed housing to be built in the wrong place.

What were they thinking?

My guess is that the water companies were thinking about the money, and planning authorities wanted to ease overcrowding.

We live in a country where management of the water supply went into private hands several decades ago. When that happened, it became impossible to have any kind of integrated plan to deal with the supply of water, droughts, floods and storage. Water supply became a commodity to be bought and sold by rich people according to the golden rules of capitalism: Invest the minimum; charge the maximum.

So reservoirs have been sold off to foreign water companies, meaning we have no adequate response to droughts. None have been built, meaning we have no adequate response to floods. Concerns about river flooding have been neglected. There has not been the investment in extraction and storage of floodwater that repeated incidents over the last few years have demanded.

The government is reducing its budget for handling these issues. Not only that, but it is delaying implementation of a new policy on drainage.

This would be regulated by local authorities, who have responsibility for planning approvals. Some might say these authorities should have had a little more forethought before granting applications to build on flood plains, or for adaptations to existing properties that have prevented water from draining into the soil and sent it down drains instead, to overload the sewer system.

Some of these are matters of necessity: Planning officers may have gone to the limit of what is allowed, in order to allow housing developments that relieve the burden of overcrowding; in other matters, they may have been unable to apply any legal restrictions on applications.

In short, there is no joined-up thinking.

There will be no joined-up thinking in the future, either – unless the situation is changed radically.

Meanwhile, the cost racked up by the damage is huge – in ruined farmland, in ruined homes and possessions, and blighted lives. And what about the risk of disease that floodwater brings with it? The NHS in England is ill-equipped to deal with any outbreaks, being seriously weakened by the government-sponsored incursions of private, cheap-and-simple health firms.

Something has to give beneath the weight of all this floodwater. Change is vital – from commercial competition to co-operation and co-ordination.

Privatisation of water has failed. It’s time to bring it back under public control.

Is anyone opposed?

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Social mobility? The Coalition’s flag should be the ‘Old School Tie’

It's not what you know - it's who: This is the only ticket to upward social mobility in David Cameron's Britain - an Eton tie.

It’s not what you know – it’s who: This is the only ticket to upward social mobility in David Cameron’s Britain – an Eton tie.

Congratulations to Alan Milburn for completely destroying the Coalition government’s ‘Making work Pay’ policy.

It was always critically flawed, of course – how could it not be? It was based on the idea of reducing the money available to people on benefits, in order to make the amount taken home by working people seem like more.

Meanwhile, the real winners were company bosses and shareholders for whom the line ‘Making Work Pay’ is a complete misnomer. A shareholder takes home dividends after investing in a company. Such a person doesn’t do any work for that money at all!

Mr Milburn’s study focuses on working parents, according to the BBC’s report. This makes sense because social mobility is historically based on a child managing to achieve more than a parent.

For decades, Britons have been able to say, proudly, that each generation has been better-off than the last; now, the Conservative-led Coalition has reversed that trend. Working parents simply don’t earn enough to escape poverty and two-thirds of poor children are now from families in which at least one adult has a job.

Falling earnings and rising prices mean the situation is likely to worsen – and what the report doesn’t say (but we can infer), is that this is an intended consequence of government policy. David Cameron will not be thanking Mr Milburn for pointing this out.

Mr Milburn has recommended diverting money currently used to provide universal benefits to pensioners, so that the richest senior citizens would lose their free TV licences and winter fuel allowances, in order to relieve the burden on the poorest families.

But Mr Cameron, who knows that pensioners are more likely to vote than younger people (including working parents), won’t accept that. A spokesman told the BBC those benefits will be safeguarded until after the 2015 general election – in order, we can infer, to ensure that pensioners will vote Conservative.

At least this admission makes Cameron’s reasoning clear!

Some have chosen to lay the blame on Education. That’s right – with a capital ‘E’. Apparently, although Tony Blair was right to put the emphasis on education back in 1997, people just haven’t been interested in taking it up, along with the massive opportunities it offers to attain a comfortable life.

That just doesn’t ring true. Look at Yr Obdt Srvt. I left school with nine GCE ‘O’ Levels and three ‘A’ levels, went on to get a degree and then went beyond that to get a post-graduate qualification in Journalism (making me one of the few news reporters, these days, to have one).

I have never received more than poverty wages – even when I was editing a newspaper. But the effect I have on my surroundings is completely disproportionate to the money I have received – I recently wrote that when I left my last full-time newspaper job, that paper lost £300,000 per year as a result (according to my sources). This very site is currently rated 16th most influential political blog in the UK.

Yet I am as poor as a church mouse!

So Education is not the culprit – and putting teachers on performance-related pay is to chase Education up a blind alley. How would Special Needs teachers benefit from such a system? All pupils have a range of abilities and no two are the same, so how can performance-related pay ever be judged fairly? Suppose a teacher correctly realises that some pupils will never achieve academic excellence but that their talents lie in practical pursuits – should that teacher lose pay for trying to get the best result possible for those pupils? Of course not.

Once again we see government policy following the ‘divide and conquer’ pattern. ‘Take from the needy and give to the greedy’, as the slogan states.

And the flag of the conquering elite is the ‘Old School Tie’.

You’re on very shaky ground in Cameron’s Britain – if you weren’t at Eton.