Tag Archives: helpline

Universal Credit helpline announcement is another silly Tory trick

David Gauke announcing the u-turn to the Work and Pensions committee.

They must think we are all really stupid.

Here’s David Gauke:

That’s right – the Universal Credit helpline will be a freephone line by the end of the year.

And the reason this is happening is concern that has been raised over the last week. In other words, this is happening because the Tories got caught charging the poor a fortune for help.

Here’s the Mirror:

Tory David Gauke has been forced to make a humiliating u-turn on the Tories’ 55p a minute Universal Credit helpline.

The Work and Pensions secretary bowed to public pressure and revealed this morning that all DWP phone lines will be made free within three months.

It comes a week after Jeremy Corbyn blasted the Prime Minister after it emerged the DWP charged claimants struggling with the bungled rollout of the benefits shake-up up to 55p a minute.

It comes as Theresa May faces a backbench rebellion on the rollout [of Universal Credit], which the Citizens Advice Bureau [has] branded a “disaster waiting to happen.”

Around 25 Tory MPs are understood to be ready to rebel in an opposition vote on Universal Credit later today.

The motion calls for the rollout to be halted until the failings in the system can be ironed out.

While the vote is non-binding, it would be an embarrassing defeat for the government.

Yes indeed – isn’t the timing interesting?

The announcement comes just before Prime Minister’s Questions, pre-empting any further attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to capitalise on the issue.

It also comes right before an Opposition Day debate in which Labour is calling for a halt to the UC rollout, in order to fix the problems.

A significant number of Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against their own government on the issue, and Labour has called on concerned Tories to support the motion, but now – well, look at this:

It would be typical of Heidi Allen if this is what happens. She is a serial complainer who raises serious issues, gets her face in the papers, then votes with her masters like a good little poodle. We can hope this is not the case with Universal Credit, but not with any confidence.

This Writer stated that we could expect an announcement of some kind, but that it would not amount to much. I pointed out: “Any such concessions are likely to be symbolic only, and unlikely to end the agony for people already consigned to the UC scrapheap. “Now we have seen it.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has made it clear that the excruciating at-least-six-week wait before anybody is paid Universal Credit will not be abolishedTories like to make the poor suffer.

But if the Tories thought they would win any brownie points for their u-turn today, they are mistaken. Labour is taking all the credit because Labour revealed the cost of the helpline last week. See:

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Domestic violence helpline could save lives

Anti-violence campaigner Joyce Watson AM has voiced her support for the launch of the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline.

The Helpline provides a 24 hour, bilingual information signposting service, to help and guide people with experience of domestic abuse or sexual violence, who are in need of access to services such as advice, emergency support, safety, and knowledge of their rights and options.

Joyce has campaigned for many years against violence, and set up candlelit services, first in Llandaff Cathedral some years ago, then last November in Brecon Cathedral, to raise awareness of violence against women and children.

The Mid and West Wales Assembly Member said: “This Helpline could be a lifeline to someone facing violence in their own home.

“The promise of 24 hour support, safety, signposting, and sanctuary will make a huge difference in far too many cases.

“In the last ten years there have been 12 homicides in the Dyfed Powys Police area, and seven of these involved domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse is an issue for all of Wales, rural as well as urban. It accounts for a quarter of recorded crime in England and Wales, and in many instances children are witnesses to this abuse.”

The Helpline was first launched in 2004 as the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline and has since taken over 215,000 calls from people in need of help and support.

Mrs Watson, who is a member of the Assembly All Party Group on violence against women and children, added: “Both physical and mental violence can have a devastating effect. If you feel isolated or endangered in your own home and you live in a rural community, help can feel a long way away.”

45 per cent of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Last year police recorded 48,738 incidents across Wales, including 11,759 arrests and five homicides

Dyfed Powys Police recorded 1,943 domestic incidents

1,975 people entered Welsh refuges last year.

Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, said: “Domestic abuse and sexual violence are simply not acceptable.

“I am passionate about this subject, and so I’m pleased that the Welsh Government has consistently maintained the budget dedicated to maintaining services such as the All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline. The Helpline is a key part of our Right to be Safe strategy.

“As the new Helpline launches we will experience an increase in callers. This is not a failure in our efforts to stamp out such issues, it’s a success in that we will actually be reaching more of the victims who desperately need the support of the Helpline. With the launch of the new Helpline I firmly believe we are heading in the right direction.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse contact the All Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline on 0808 80 10 800, or for more information go to www.allwaleshelpline.org.uk

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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