Tag Archives: JSA

Labour will hold an inquiry into all the benefit-related deaths overseen by Tories. VOTE LABOUR

Bring out your dead: This is how it has felt under the Conservative (and Liberal Democrat) governments since 2010. The death toll has been colossal. It is long past time the authorities who inflicted an early death on vulnerable, sick and disabled people were brought to justice. Labour has announced an intention to do so.

At least 130,000 people have died as a result of victimisation by the Department for Work and Pensions – on the orders of the Conservative government (helped by the Liberal Democrats during the Coalition).

That is the bare minimum as the Conservatives no longer respond to Freedom of Information requests on the subject and those responses we have are incomplete.

I have been writing about the deaths incurred as a result of Tory/DWP benefit denial, practically since I started This Site nearly eight years ago.

I knew there was never any prospect of an inquiry under a Conservative government – and to be honest, I despaired of seeing Labour promise it until Jeremy Corbyn was installed as leader. Remember when Rachel Reeves was shadow Work and Pensions secretary? Dark days!

It must be obvious that I’m leading up to this:

“A Labour government would set up an independent inquiry into the deaths of disabled benefit claimants linked to the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its private sector contractors.”

The details are on the Disability News Service website and, by all means visit and read them.

But they don’t really matter.

Under Labour, we may finally find out the real death toll – although I warn you now, it will probably be horrifying.

Under Labour, we might just be able to see those responsible for this years-long atrocity brought to justice.

So if you don’t have any other reason to support Labour, do it for this.

The families and friends of the dead need this.

Vote Labour for justice.

Source: Election 2019: Labour pledges inquiry into seven years of DWP benefit deaths – Disability News Service

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Loach heads campaigners calling for benefit assessment ban after job centre death

Pointing the finger: Ken Loach joined the call to end unfair benefit assessment interviews after the death of a man in Llanelli.

A campaign to ban benefit assessment interviews has been launched after a 65-year-old man with diabetes collapsed and died after being found ‘fit for work’.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has called on the DWP to halt assessments for Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance after the man died while waiting for an interview to discuss his future benefit options.

Discussing the death, This Site stated: “He would have been old enough to retire if the Conservatives had not decided to raise the retirement age for both men and women in an attempt to save a few pennies.”

I wrote: “Yes, he was obviously ill. But that doesn’t mean a thing to a Tory government… They call it a ‘positive benefit outcome’.”

Others compared the tragedy to a similar scene in left-wing film-maker Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake.

Now Mr Loach himself has spoken in favour of DPAC’s campaign.

Unconsciously paraphrasing my words, he said (according to the Morning Star): “What has happened really was disgraceful. The man was only 65 — he only had a few more months to go and he would have been retired anyway.

“Such is the brutality of it, but it’s clear that the Tories have no intention of changing their harsh system.”

And he said: “We have to vote them out — we may as well start with Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of this misery, who is as callous as he is sanctimonious.”

That is already well in hand – as you can read here.

Demanding an end to PIP and ESA assessments, DPAC activist Jennifer Jones raised the relevant point – that a man has died in a manner that could have been prevented.

It happened because a benefit assessor “lied about his fitness levels and abilities and he wasn’t given the support that his individual needs deserved”.

She’s right – and it makes a nonsense of repeated attempts by the DWP to claim that it does provide support tailored to the needs of each benefit claimant.

So far – in this case – the DWP’s only comment has been a message of sympathy to the deceased man’s family and friends.

DPAC – and Mr Loach – have demanded an end to benefit assessment interviews, for the obvious reason that they have now been proven to do more harm than good.

But there is no way the DWP – run as it is by a Conservative government – will take such action willingly.

Labour has promised to overhaul the benefit system completely, though.

The only way to be sure this does not happen in the future is to elect a Labour government.

Source: Campaigners call for benefit assessment ban after man dies in jobcentre | Morning Star

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Elderly man – with long-term illness – dies at Job Centre after being found ‘fit for work’

Protest: This is the most appropriate image I have for the story below. It shows a protest by an artist known as VoidOne. More information is available here.

If this does say everything about why we need a change of government, I don’t know what does.

A man collapsed and died while he was waiting for an appointment to claim unemployment benefit at a Job Centre in Llanelli.

We are told he was diabetic, and must have been receiving some form of sickness or disability benefit until recently because his appointment was a consequence of being found “fit for work” after an assessment interview.

We are also told he was 65 years old, which means that he would have been old enough to retire if the Conservatives had not decided to raise the retirement age for both men and women in an attempt to save a few pennies.

Metro quotes a witness who said: “The man next to me told me that the poor guy had diabetes and had been declared fit for work by the job centre earlier in the year but he was obviously ill.”

Yes, he was obviously ill.

But that didn’t mean a thing to a Tory government that would rather see you dead if you can’t be made to work for a pittance to increase the profits of the super-rich.

That’s why so many people are refused sickness and disability benefits, even though they clearly qualify; without the money they need to support them, either their condition will kill them, or stress, or they may take their own life in despair.

It’s all the same to the Tories; they call it a “positive benefit outcome”.

There is only one way to end this barbarity – and that is to vote a Labour government back into office.

Source: Man dies at Llanelli Job Centre while claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance | Metro News

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The brutal difference between what Tories say and what they do

What Tories say:

Today – November 11 – is Remembrance Day. To mark the occasion, the Conservative Party announced a series of policies for ex-servicepeople.

Here’s one of them:

They have also announced extra childcare for military families and a law to protect veterans from “vexatious” legal action connected with their activities in the Armed Forces.

You may think that seems like a nice package.

What they do:

This is David Clapson:

He was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Signals serving in Belfast at the height of the troubles before leaving the army to work for BT. After working for the telecommunications firm for 16 years he became a carer for his elderly mother.

He suffered with Type 1 Diabetes and relied on regular insulin injections to survive.

Ordered to claim Jobseekers’ Allowance by the Tory-run Department for Work and Pensions, his payments were stopped after he missed an appointment and he died three weeks later, of diabetic shock, on July 20, 2013.

He had been unable to pay for the electricity to keep his insulin at the right temperature, meaning it had become unusable.

He had less than £4 to his name, and died with an empty stomach.

The Tories can say what they want and it won’t mean a thing.

This is what the Conservatives do to our ex-servicepeople. 

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How Tories have fun: Trying to starve and evict a disabled man

Christopher Brasil: The Conservative-run Department for Work and Pensions fabricated reasons to cut off his benefits and have him thrown out of his home, it seems.

This story tells you all you need to know about the benefit system under the Conservative government:

Rachael is right. The story of Christopher Brasil illustrates every cruelty that the Conservative government can inflict on you – and I mean you, because it could happen to anybody, given the fact that the trigger was an accident, and we can all be prey to them.

Check out the details, according to iNews:

Mr Brasil was a lorry driver for 30 years, until he fractured his hip after he was hit by bicycle four years ago. The incident left him relying on walking sticks, and diabetes caused his eyesight to deteriorate, so the DVLA revoked his heavy goods vehicle licence and his employers dismissed him on grounds of ill health.

Now, suffering from blurred vision, vertigo, poor hearing and epilepsy, he says he is “unemployable”.

But the Department for Work and Pensions disagreed.

After three years in which he claimed first Disability Living Allowance and then Employment and Support Allowance, the DWP started messing with Mr Brasil.

First, Job Centre advisors lost his sick note and stopped his payments for four weeks. He says he brought it to the office in January, when staff took it off him and said they faxed it to someone else. But then he was told he had not provided it; it was not recorded on their systems. They imposed a four-week sanction.

The lesson for all benefit claimants who need to hand in sick notes to prove benefit entitlement is: Get a receipt for them, signed by the staff member you are booked to see.

One month later, he was made to take a work capability assessment, told he was fit for work and ordered to claim Jobseekers’ Allowance.

He said the assessment report was “blatant lies.” It said he attended the assessment on his own, but he was with a social worker from a charity. In addition, they report said he did not use walking sticks and was fit and capable.

Then he was told Universal Credit was being rolled out in his area and he was switched to it. This meant he was forced to endure the standard five-week wait for the first payment – meaning Mr Brasil was left without payments for a total of two months.

That is when Mr Brasil, who lives alone and has no family, was forced to go to a soup kitchen and food bank. With his gas and electricity cut off, he had taken out a credit card and considered resorting to pay day loans.

Finally, after his Universal Credit claim began in September, Mr Brasil was told he was no longer entitled to housing benefit. He ran up rent arrears and was served with an eviction notice.

Who’s going to tell me all that is purely accidental?

I think this man was targeted. His sick note was deliberately mislaid; his work capability assessment was deliberately rigged.

The intention was to torment him. It didn’t matter whether he became homeless, starved, succumbed to his illnesses or became suicidal and tried (or succeeded) in killing himself as a result (see this article for information on how this can happen).

The comment the DWP provided is formulaic rubbish. I doubt if anybody checked the details of Mr Brasil’s case; they certainly would not have spoken about it or admitted any wrongdoing.

I wonder, though – what was the name of the Job Centre advisor who took Mr Brasil’s sick note in January? What did they do with that sick note? And can either of them be traced?

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Where have all the benefit claimants gone?

The DWP says anyone who thinks they are entitled to out-of-work benefit should contact Jobcentre Plus. But what happens to them then? [Image: Danny Lawson/PA.]

This is a question that deserves an answer – and a properly-researched, evidenced one at that.

For those who find it hard to read images, the text below reads:

“Isn’t it amazing?

“In between November 2013 and October 2017, 6,928,682 claimants took up a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance and 7,649,611 came off Jobseeker’s Allowance – so we have 720,979 fewer jobseekers?

“However, in the same period 569,000 Employment & Support Allowance claimants registered a ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ (MR) dispute. Most would be expected to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance until their dispute resulted in a decision.

“But still this massive reduction in Jobseeker’s Allowance?”

Can anybody explain this apparent miracle?


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Let’s find out the facts about people who have died under benefit sanction

“Dear DWP…

“I am writing to request information regarding people on benefit and under sanction. If the information is available, please indicate where I may find it. If the information is not currently available to the public, please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

“Is it possible to see month-by-month details (from May 2010 onwards, where applicable) of the number of people on Jobseekers’ Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit (until it was discontinued), Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, satisfying the following criteria:

  • The total number of people on the individual benefits in each month?
  • The number who have died during each month?
  • The number under sanction during each month?
  • The number who died while under sanction during each month?

“I shall look forward to your response.”

I sent the above FoI request today (September 10), so we can probably expect the first evasion attempt in early October.

No doubt any answer will be accompanied by a claim that correlation between a sanction and a death does not imply causation.

Perhaps not, but any such correlation does imply that investigation is required to ascertain the exact cause.

So, depending on the reply, you can tell what my next step will be.


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Tory MP’s humiliation over benefit sanctions after parking fine whine is delicious

About the best thing that can be said about Tory backbench-occupier Will Quince is that he once auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent to raise around £1,000 for charity.

One wonders whether the charity concerned carries out any work for people who have been sanctioned off of state benefits, though. It might mitigate the effect of this monumental Twitter blunder:

Owned.

It would be welcome if something good came from this. Perhaps Mr Quince will realise the error of his party’s ways and campaign to end this particular sanction against benefit claimants.

Ha ha! Sorry.

What a ridiculous thing to suggest.


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Heart attack death is another benefit saving from a false finding of ‘fit for work’

Lawrence Bond.


A certain kind of people are going to say that Lawrence Bond died because he was overweight and his heart could not take the strain being placed on it – that his death had nothing to do with the Department for Work and Pensions. Silly, silly people.

Yes, Mr Bond was obese, and needed help to get his weight down. Did he get it? No.

As a jobseeker, he would have had a certain kind of diet forced on him by budget pressures – cheap food with lots of sugars, salts and fats that pile on the pounds – and add stress to the heart.

Theresa May had a chance to put an end to the addition of such ingredients to cheap food, but in one of her first acts as prime minister, she gave in to the demands of profit-driven food companies. This is the result.

And being a jobseeker added to Mr Bond’s mental health problems, the demands made of him increasing the anxiety he suffered, which also added stress to his heart. Was he getting help for his mental condition? No.

Furthermore, he was in the middle of a second appeal against the ruling that he was ‘fit for work’ by the private American contractor, Maximus – meaning more stress.

It is no wonder this man’s heart could not take the strain any more.

But the DWP can absolve itself of any responsibility: “He was overweight”.

He’ll be another benefit saving from a false finding of ‘fit for work’.

Lawrence Bond, 56, suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after leaving Kentish Town Jobcentre on Thursday. His sister, Iris Green, said that he was in obvious “physical distress” when he arrived at the offices in Kentish Town Road.

Mr Bond suffered from prolonged health problems, including difficulty with mobility and breathing, associated with being heavily overweight. But his incapacity benefit, now known as Employment and Support Allowance, was cut following a second “work capability assessment”, which was carried out by American private firm Maximus in July.

A subsequent appeal was turned down and Mr Bond was awaiting the outcome of a second appeal at the time of his death, his sister said.

His sister said: “I think he suffered from anxiety all his life, but held down regular jobs and was never out of work from the age of 16 … but, of course, his diet was shocking so he put on weight.

“He lost his last long-term job two years ago and by then his weight and unfitness made him unemployable.”

Ms Green said his health deteriorated while he was unemployed, adding: “His anxiety was getting worse as he could not pay bills and was afraid to leave home to go to the shops. Two referrals his GP had made for mental health services had been lost and he said he felt annoyed about that.

“The main thing is that they have the means to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We have such a tick-box society. If we can change that, then people can flag things up and really help someone.”

Source: Man dies from heart attack on way home from Jobcentre after being ruled ‘fit to work’ | Camden New Journal

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It’s time to kill this Lib Dem revival – by reminding voters of the facts

Amanda Broom, who defected from the Tories, and Daisy Benson (right) the Lib Dems’ prospective parliamentary candidate for Yeovil, pictured in Chard town centre. Once again the Liberal Democrats are winning votes by making promises they have no intention of keeping [Image: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian].

It has been said that the Liberal Democrats are winning back votes in a big way because they are positioning themselves as the party of ‘Remain’; they want to stand for those who still want the UK to stay in the European Union.

What a bold statement!

As if the Liberal Democrats had any say at all in the matter. And even if they did, there is no guarantee that they would stand by their word.

Doesn’t anybody remember the Liberal Democrat promise not to increase tuition fees?

They had a chance to achieve this aim as part of the Coalition government they formed with the Conservatives – and what did they do instead?

They tripled tuition fees.

That isn’t all they did, either.

They sold off the Royal Mail – on the cheap – to hedge funds, if memory serves.

They supported the Tory austerity agenda to the hilt, no matter who it killed. That’s right – killed. The Liberal Democrats are as responsible for the Bedroom Tax deaths, the ESA deaths, and the jobseeker deaths, as Iain Duncan Smith and all his DWP minions.

Finally, voters need to remember that the current leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has made it absolutely plain that his party would go back into coalition with the Conservatives at the first opportunity to do so.

The Conservatives have positioned themselves as the party of Brexit. They are determined to steer the UK out of the EU, no matter what.

So what do you think the Liberal Democrats will do, if they go into coalition with the Tories?

That’s right, Remainers – you are following a falsehood.

The Liberal Democrats will betray you at their very first opportunity.

So why on Earth are you voting for them?

Lib Dem strategists are pinning their hopes for rebuilding after the dire results in 2015 on a resurgence in the south-west, their former heartland, where the party lost all 10 of its seats in the last election. Since then, the party has been quietly notching up its best council byelection results in 20 years, with a net gain of 28 seats compared with net losses for Labour of four seats, Ukip of three and the Conservatives of 33 seats.

On paper, this part of the country does not look like a happy hunting ground for the fervently pro-remain party, because of the high number of leave voters in the south-west. Yet more than half of those byelections gains were in the West Country, most recently in Taunton and Teignbridge in early December, with the seats all seeing swings upwards of 20%.

Source: ‘Morale is really high’: Lib Dems scent revival in south-west | Politics | The Guardian

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