Tag Archives: freeze

Rishi Sunak thinks taking cash from the starving poor is the way to pay for Covid-19

Remember this? It led to a huge rise in Covid-19 infections. Now Sunak is planning to make the poor pay for his mistakes.

The absolute state of this.

The Chancellor who told us to “eat out to help out” – triggering an exponential increase in Covid-19 infections that led to new restrictions – is now trying to work out how the UK will pay for his government’s mistakes.

And of course he isn’t going to ask the filthy-rich corporates who have made a fortune while the crisis has been happening to pay a bit more.

No – he wants to grind you further into the dirt:

Rishi Sunak has looked at a freeze on benefits and public sector pay to fight the spiralling cost of the coronavirus crisis, it is reported today.

Sources failed to rule out the crushing blow to millions of workers and the poorest – just a few years after long austerity freezes finally ended.

The Chancellor is also said to be trying to persuade Boris Johnson to suspend the “triple lock” on pensions, reports the Mail on Sunday – amid fears it will artificially rise due to the economic turmoil.

So he’ll freeze wages and benefits at a time when his boss Boris Johnson’s international law-breaking Brexit is likely to cause massive price increases on basic food items.

And he wants to freeze pensions as well, to put the pensioners who were left after his government’s Covid-19-fuelled cull into the same predicament.

It has all been about protecting the super-rich, of course. The lockdown that was supposed to kill off Covid-19 didn’t, because Sunak, Johnson and their gang wanted to get us all back to the coalface, making money for the big corporate bosses who donate to the Tory party.

Now, despite the fact that this corporates have increased their riches steadily over the course of the pandemic, Sunak still doesn’t dare tap them to help pay for the results of their government lackeys’ efforts to keep them in gravy.

And this creep was supposed to be the great white hope of the Conservative Party?

Source: Rishi Sunak ‘considers freezing benefits and wages’ to pay for Covid crisis – Mirror Online

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Nurses excluded from public sector pay rise – because of impending NHS sell-off?

No pay rise for nurses: by keeping the payroll as low as possible, aren’t the Tories making the NHS more attractive to US corporate buyers?

The Tories have denied nurses a pay rise that they have granted to other public sector workers including teachers and doctors.

It seems that, while these other professions are to get a raise “recognising their efforts on the frontline during the battle against COVID-19”, nurses – after many of their colleagues died on the Covid-19 “frontline” – are to be ignored.

The Tories say nurses are already benefiting from a series of pay hikes imposed in 2017 – but nursing representatives say this is blurring the line between professional progression and a pay rise.

Certainly there is a difference between the Tory claim that the average nurse will “receive an average 4.4 per cent rise this year” and the 1.65 per cent the vast majority of nurses had.

Here’s a thought, though: The Tories just voted en masse to ensure that the NHS is included in any trade deal with the United States.

If they’re about to hand over such a large concern to new, corporate, profit-driven owners, they’ll want to ensure that it has relatively low operating costs – and the best way to do that is to keep payroll costs down, what with wages being the highest cost in most businesses.

Doesn’t that make sense to you?

Source: No new pay rise for nurses, confirms Downing Street | NursingNotes

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Nearly 60,000 dead in UK because of Covid-19 – and Johnson wants to penalise healthcare staff

Read it and weep. First the bad news:

The image above is (according to Chris Giles – economics editor of the Financial Times – on Twitter) a cautious estimate of the number of excess deaths in the UK.

He says the total – as of yesterday – was 59,700. Of these, 51,000 have happened and 8,700 are estimates bringing the official data up to date using evidence from hospitals.

That’s nearly twice as many as the 32,000 or so claimed by your Tory government. And even that figure is appalling because the Tories should have ensured our health service was prepared for it, and didn’t bother.

His report in the FT states:

The official figures from the UK’s statistical agencies are much higher than the daily announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care, which stands at 32,065.

The FT model now estimates that slightly more than 60,000 more people will have died than normal from the start of the outbreak to May 11, based on the excess deaths to date and the latest daily figures from hospital deaths.

At present this is the highest absolute level of excess deaths in Europe, although figures for Italy are not yet comparable because they are only available to the end of March.

Now the ugly news:

Your Tory government is considering freezing the pay of public sector workers – that means doctors and nurses among all the others – in order to pay the £300 billion cost of the coronavirus crisis that its MPs could have prevented if they had made the proper preparations for it over the last few years.

Other proposed measures include tax hikes – so doctors and nurses will be doubly-hit – and a raid on the national pension fund.

Here’s The Independent:

A confidential treasury assessment cited by The Daily Telegraph is reported to say the UK’s deficit could reach heights of £337bn this year due to the government’s attempts to keep the economy afloat during the crisis.

The paper added that the government document said measures including income tax hikes, a public sector pay freeze and the end of the triple lock on pensions may be required to fund the debt.

Proposing to end the triple lock, a guarantee to increase to the state pension every year based on whatever is highest out of inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5 per cent, has proved controversial in the past – with many citing it as a catastrophic moment in the run up to Theresa May’s underwhelming 2017 election performance.

And a freeze to the public sector pay – potentially impacting the healthcare workers who have been on the front lines of the response to the virus – is also likely to cause consternation from the public and across the political spectrum.

How do you feel about this plan by the Tories to make healthcare staff and pensioners pay for the Tories’ mistakes?

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Universal Credit nightmares: Man unable to feed daughter after unwarned benefit freeze

Is this conscious cruelty or accidental agony? And which is worse?

It seems the Department for Work and Pensions decided that Cezar Zanin, of Bristol, had not provided enough information about a childcare provider – so it cut off his Universal Credit without warning.

He was left unable to feed his daughter Laura, and was forced to borrow money from friends.

(Lucky man. If you want to know what happens to people in this situation who don’t have generous friends, it’s obvious: they die.)

Here’s the real issue, though: Mr Zanin wasn’t sanctioned. He wasn’t given any reason for it. The payments simply stopped.

And it took him a while to realise his payments had ended, meaning increased financial difficulty.

One has to ask what these DWP employees were thinking. Mr Zanin works part-time for the NHS, so he’s doing his bit to improve his situation – but he and his daughter are in temporary accommodation. There’s a clear need.

The DWP itself said payments were suspended because Mr Zanin submitted two childcare receipts for the same month and the department had to check that the payments were genuine.

Why couldn’t anybody tell him that?

So we come back to the question at the top:

Is this conscious cruelty or accidental agony? And which is worse?

Source: Dad left unable to feed his daughter after DWP freezes his Universal Credit payments – Mirror Online

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Here are 10 reminders of how the Tories are freezing and starving people. Will you be next?

The Conservative victory in December’s general election has given Boris Johnson free reign to torture the UK’s poorest people.

Amazingly, there are some in the country who either haven’t noticed, or refuse to accept the reality of the harm that is being done.

So this article by Red Revolution is timely. It states:

The Court of Appeal found that the Tory government discriminated against disabled people through the unfair and cruel practices of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The finding confirmed in law what millions have known since 2010, that the Tory government is engaging in nothing less than what can be described as a process of social cleansing through the DWP.

Just last year the United Nations condemned the Tory government, a report comparing British welfare policies to the creation of workhouses. Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, accused the Tories of the “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the British population”.

Such is the level of misery inflicted on the British public that many have suggested that the poor and vulnerable are headed back to Victorian levels of inequality and poverty.

Given that people are literally freezing and starving to death, it’s not hard to see the point.

Bear in mind the fact that the UK, with a $2.83 trillion GDP, is the fifth-largest economy in the world.

The piece goes on to tell the stories of 10 infamous cases, including some that have been covered on This Site: Errol Graham, Mark Wood, Andrew Clarke, David Clapson, Mark Smith, Chris Gold, Danielle White, Elaine Morrall, ‘Alice’ and Stephen Smith.

Read on, here: Arbeit Macht Frei: 10 Cases of Starvation and Freezing Under Universal Credit in “Civilised” UK | Red Revolution Media

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Will Bedroom Tax eviction leave this man threatened with a freezing death on the streets?

This is despicable – and shows the depths to which the Tory government sank when it imposed the Bedroom Tax on unsuspecting tenants.

The Bedroom Tax is not extracted from pensioners and Ken May, 65, is due to retire next month.

He had been living with his mother in his childhood home in Gateshead – but her death three years ago meant he became eligible to pay the tax on “spare” bedrooms until the date of his retirement.

He has struggled to do so, and is now £1,200 in arrears – so landlord Gateshead Housing Company has launched court action to evict him.

Mr May says he believes the company is desperate to shift him out of the property before he retires, as the cancellation of his Bedroom Tax and the arrival of his pension could leave him in the building indefinitely.

The company says it has tried to work with Mr May to resolve the problem (although I note that we are not told what it proposed).

I say this would not have happened if the Tories had not imposed the Bedroom Tax, which removes 14 per cent of tenants’ housing benefit for the first room deemed to be spare, and 25 per cent for two rooms.

Labour is promising to abolish the tax, which is unfair because it is levied on people who have been given no choice about where they live.

But even if Labour is elected into government, will there be a chance to repeal the tax before Mr May is thrown onto the streets?

Freezing weather has already killed one homeless person the winter.

Mr May could still end up being one of the Tories’ last victims.

Source: Man faces losing childhood home after bedroom tax plunges him into rent arrears – Mirror Online

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Don’t believe Boris Johnson on benefits – he is only offering more poverty, misery and death

Boris Johnson: He can clap his hand over his mouth but he won’t stop the cruelty. That can only come with a government headed by somebody else.

Boris Johnson has finally published the Conservative manifesto amid a stink of embarrassment – and, for benefit claimants, a hard slap of insult.

Mr Johnson offers just one promise to benefit claimants – to reduce the frequency of Personal Independence Payment reassessments –  and I don’t believe it.

If Tories target a disabled person to lose their benefit, they will find an excuse to do so. Scheduled reassessments may be cut – but Mrs Mike has been threatened with random reassessments on many occasions, triggered by any reason the DWP could cook up.

The end to the freeze on working-age benefits is not a new policy; it has been set to happen in 2020 since it was introduced.

Universal Credit goes untouched, despite being possibly the biggest catastrophe to hit vulnerable people in the UK since the welfare state was introduced in the 1940s.

Mr Johnson has promised to continue impoverishing people from the moment they are forced to claim the benefit, with a five-week wait that we know pushes people towards starvation and homelessness as they struggle to pay the bills and stay out of the food bank.

(Tories think food banks are fantastic, by the way – except when they want to pretend Labour is responsible for their proliferation.)

Beyond that, the Tory manifesto offers nothing else but a vague promise to “do more to make sure” UC works.

Hang on! I’ve heard that before, somewhere! Isn’t it what the DWP says, every time the news reports a Universal Credit-related death?

Bang! Someone dies. The Tory-run DWP says, “We promise to learn the lesson.”

Boom! Another one bites the dust. The Tory-run DWP says, “We will do more to make sure UC works.”

There is only one conclusion to be had:

Universal Credit will never work for its claimants.

And as far as the Conservatives are concerned, it works best when it is killing people.

But what of other aspects of the benefit system? Here’s a quick rundown:

The Conservatives with NOT end the cruelty of the Bedroom Tax, nor do they have any intention of increasing the Local Housing Allowance to protect people against the threat of eviction.

The Conservatives will NOT end the so-called “digital barrier” that obstructs people who have trouble coping with computers and the internet from claiming benefits. They like putting obstacles before the poor.

The Conservatives will NOT end the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments.

The Conservatives will NOT end Work Capability Assessments, or PIP assessments.

The Conservatives will NOT end their cruel sanction regime.

The Conservatives will NOT scrap the benefit cap.

The Conservatives will NOT end the two-child limit on benefits and scrap the so-called ‘rape clause’. They like humiliating women who have already been violated.

The Conservatives will NOT try to ensure that women are no longer forced to stay in abusive relationships by the system by paying the child element of benefits to the primary carer.

Still, the Liberal Democrat offer is little better.

Jo Swinson is quite happy to keep Universal Credit. She thinks reducing the wait from five weeks to five days might help – apart from that, she offers nothing to anybody apart from the self-employed, to whom a Lib Dem government (that will not happen, of course) would be “more supportive” – whatever that means.

Other Liberal Democrat offers are just plain vague. What do they mean when they say they’ll abolish Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) and replace them with “a new system that is run by local authorities and based on real-world tests”? Does anybody know?

How will Ms Swinson “enshrine in law the government’s responsibility to ensure that existing and new public policy is audited for its impact on food security”?

These are brutal times. People need hard promises, not meaningless mummery.

In fairness, the Liberal Democrats do make a few good, hard promises. But another party has made the same promises and does have a realistic chance of forming a government and making them real: Labour.

Yes, it’s great that the Lib Dems would like to end the two-child limit on benefits, end the benefit cap, abolish the Bedroom Tax and increase local housing allowance, reverse cuts to Employment and Support Allowance for people in the Work-Related Activity Group, and reinstate the Independent Living Fund.

But you can be sure that the only way the Liberal Democrats will get into government in December is in coalition with another party; having already ruled out allying with Labour, that means Ms Swinson’s only option is the Conservatives, and the Tories will never allow any measures to relieve the pressure on the poor.

A Labour government would actually do those things.

And Labour would cancel Universal Credit and replace it with a system that is a genuine benefit for people claiming it.

Labour would dissolve the DWP and replace it with a revamped Department for Social Security, ending the environment of suspicion and persecution that was instilled by Iain Duncan Smith and replacing it with support for those in need.

(This Writer worked in the old DSS, before it was rolled into the DWP. The automatic assumption there was that claimants were telling the truth about their situation, about their disabilities, and about their needs – not that they are lying, as is the claim now. It was a better place to work, and it was better for the claimants too.)

But you know Labour’s offer – it’s all right here.

Boris Johnson’s manifesto shows an intention to continue the cruel Conservatism we’ve endured for nearly 10 years.

Let’s take this opportunity to tell him where he can stuff it.

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How do you remove disabled people’s legitimacy as citizens? Remove their access to politics

Disabled former Labour election candidate Emily Brothers has launched a judicial review against the Conservative government’s decision to freeze the Access to Elected Office fund to create a ‘level playing field’ between able-bodied and non-able-bodied candidates.

Ms Brothers was the 2015 general election Labour candidate for Sutton and Cheam and for the Greater London Assembly in 2016. She serves on the Executive of the Fabian Society, Disability Labour and LGBT Labour.

This Writer has long believed that the Conservatives not only don’t want the non-able-bodied to take part in politics; they want to eliminate people with disabilities from society altogether.

The fact that this fund has been in limbo since 2015 tends to support my claim, wouldn’t you agree?

Here’s what Ms Brothers has to say:

It isn’t our impairments that disable us, but how society fails to include us.

That’s evidentially true in education, employment, transport and so on. Politics is no different from other spheres of life, as the system places barriers that disable us.

That’s why I have commenced judicial review proceedings against the Government.

Working across parties with the More United campaign, we placed this legal challenge to address the Government’s failure to evaluate and restore the Access to Elected Office Fund. The purpose of the £2.6 million Fund was to create a ‘level playing field’ between able-bodied and non-able-bodied candidates. It ran from 2012 to 2015, but was frozen and put under ‘review’.

The scheme provided funding to disabled people like myself, to meet the extra costs incurred by disability. It enabled us to contest selections and elections more fairly. The cost of standing for election is prohibitive for many, but for disabled people standing for election can be significantly higher.

The representation of disabled people in public and political life is woeful. Just five members of parliament openly identify as a disabled person. This falls well short of a representative proportion of the population which would look closer to 120 seats in the House of Commons.

Together with Liberal Democrat claimant, David Buxton, and Green claimant, Simeon Hart, I am calling on the Government to complete and publish the review of the Fund and re-open it without further delay.

Source: The government is removing disabled people’s access to politics by stealth | Left Foot Forward


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The homeless are dying in the cold again. Tories must be delighted

The man was sleeping outside in temperatures reaching almost -1C [Image: Axiom RM].

What did David Gauke admit to Andrew Marr on Sunday? A 134 per cent rise in rough sleeping since 2010.

And he said the Tories wanted to halve this by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027.

This Writer suggested that this would be done by allowing the homeless to die, rather than by lifting a finger to help.

It seems I was right.

A homeless man has been found dead near a city centre shopping centre after sleeping rough in freezing temperatures.

The man died after bedding down for the night on Saturday outside Wagamama’s near the Bullring in Birmingham.

The rough sleeper had been with a fellow homeless man but had failed to wake up shortly before 9am on Sunday.

Concern has previously been expressed among charity and outreach workers over rough sleepers equipped only with cheap blankets and sleeping bags.

Source: Homeless man found dead near Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre after sleeping rough in freezing temperatures – Mirror Online


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Tories sneak out continued benefit freeze behind announcement of royal engagement

It’s all right for some: The Tories chose the day Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement to reveal that benefit claimants won’t receive a penny more next year.

Oh, joyous day! (That’s unless you receive Universal Credit, Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, or have the amount of your payments limited under the Benefit Cap, of course.)

As the Royal Family announced the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, the Department for Work and Pensions decided it would be a good day to release some bad news – so ministers quietly published their proposed benefit rates for 2018-19.

As you can see, in the cases of the above-named benefits, there is no change.

So people on zero-hours contracts, in part-time work or low-paid full-time employment, and the long-term sick or disabled will find it even harder to make ends meet next year – let alone celebrate the nuptials of a man whose own state benefits are far better-paying than theirs.


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