Tag Archives: payments

Latest DWP outrage: cold calls with ‘take it or leave it’ offer for reduced benefits

If this is true, it seems there’s no depth to which the Department for Work and Pensions won’t lower itself.

The claims is that DWP representatives are ‘cold calling’ vulnerable people who are appealing against a decision to deny them any benefits.

In the unrecorded calls, they are then offered “take it or leave it” deals paying thousands of pounds less in benefits than they may be entitled to have by law.

In some cases, it is claimed, people were told the offer would be withdrawn within minutes if they did not accept.

The aim: to settle cases before they get to tribunals where the claimant could win significantly higher payments.

The Guardian report seems to indicate that the DWP has admitted the truth of the matter, saying people accepting the offer could still go through with their appeal.

But that fact is no good if the DWP caller doesn’t actually inform the claimant of it.

It is easy to understand the attractiveness of this brutally mean-spirited practice to the penny-pinchers at the DWP.

Appeals against adverse benefit decisions are currently low in number, mostly because the Tory government has made it extremely costly, time-consuming and stressful.

But a huge 70 per cent of appeals end in victory for the claimant, making this course of action more desirable in spite of the pressure it involves.

DWP officials recently had a £1 million bonus payout for their success in depriving vulnerable people of the money that was theirs by right.

If they want to keep their cash rolling in, they have to find ways to deny it to the likes of you and I.

Source: DWP accused of offering disabled people ‘take it or leave it’ benefits | Benefits | The Guardian

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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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Great Labour election promises: they’ll scrap fees for dental check-ups

This is great news, for all the reasons below.

Now, if Labour could make it possible for everybody to have access to a National Health Service dentist, that would be great.

I haven’t been able to see one since June 2018. Fortunately I have good dental hygiene, but I’d still like access to an expert.

Oh, and you know the reason I don’t have an NHS dentist any more? The company providing the service here in Mid Wales is privately-run.

Health service privatisation – it will always leave us short-changed.

Labour will bring back free dental check-ups if they win the election.

The £22.70 fee to see an NHS dentist will be axed and leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday said the ultimate ambition is to scrap ALL dental fees.

The £450 million-a-year plan will free up resources long-term by focusing on prevention. Fees were introduced in 1951 to pay for UK involvement in the Korean War.

But one in five adults puts off seeing a dentist because of the £22.70 charge for a basic visit. Under the first stage of Labour ’s plans, check-ups, oral cancer examinations, X-rays, clinical scaling and polishing and emergency treatment won’t cost a penny.

Worrying numbers [have] turned to internet kits for scaling and makeshift fillings which can cause major problems.

And 515,000 patients a year with toothache go to GPs or A&E – costing the NHS more than £38 million.

More than 100 children a day have rotting teeth removed in hospital and 90 per cent of cases could have been prevented by early treatment. And decay is the leading cause of admissions among kids aged five to nine.

Source: Labour to scrap dental check-ups costs in election policy with some real bite – Mirror Online

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Tories have frittered away half a trillion pounds. Is this good financial management?

This looks like another result of Brexit.

It is balance of payments data – the difference between the amount we pay to foreign countries for goods and services and the amount we receive – that shows the loss.

Also, direct investment in the UK by foreign firms has nose-dived.

It is exactly as This Writer warned, only a few days ago.

The really galling aspect of this is that the minority Conservative government will still claim to be the party of sensible financial management, even though it is its own division over Brexit that has created the uncertainty in which the money has disappeared.

Remember: Brexit is happening because David Cameron thought a referendum on EU membership would unify the Tories. It didn’t.

Remember: The vote to leave the European Union was based very strongly on lies and wild speculation by people who knew better but were trying to trick the public. There was never any chance of the NHS seeing £350 million of investment per week, for example.

Remember: The Conservatives have botched negotiations on the terms of our departure so badly that businesses are fleeing the UK. They can’t get away fast enough.

The longer this farce continues, the worse it will be for the UK as a whole.

And it will be the poor who bear the brunt of the harm.

Global banks and international bond strategists have been left stunned by revised ONS figures showing that Britain is £490bn poorer than had been ­assumed and no longer has any reserve of net foreign assets, depriving the country of its safety margin as Brexit talks reach a crucial juncture.

A massive write-down in the UK balance of payments data shows that Britain’s stock of wealth – the net international investment position – has collapsed from a surplus of £469bn to a net deficit of £22bn. This transforms the outlook for sterling and the gilts markets.

“Half a trillion pounds has gone missing. This is equivalent to 25pc of GDP,” said Mark Capleton, UK rates strategist at Bank of America.

Making matters worse, foreign ­direct investment (FDI) by companies is plummeting. It fell from a £120bn surplus in the first half 2016 to a £25bn deficit over the same period of this year.

Source: Britain’s missing billions: Revised figures reveal UK is £490bn poorer than previously thought


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Brooks and Coulson charged; Cameron remains at large

I asked this before, and I’m still asking now: What have they got to hide, and can it be any worse than what we’re all thinking?

Why is it that Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have both been charged with crimes of corrupt payments to public officials, but their good friend David Cameron – perhaps the most public official in the UK – is able to evade investigation?

If his emails and text messages to Mrs Brooks were innocent, then why have they still not been made available to the public – as they should have been during the Leveson inquiry – and as promised after a Freedom of Information request elsewhere on the Internet?

Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson are among five people facing charges that they made corrupt payments to police and public officials. She is a member of the ‘Chipping Norton set’ and a close friend of Mr Cameron, as we know from the fact that there is a wealth of email and text correspondence between them – all innocent, we are told – that we have been prevented from seeing. He is a former Downing Street communications chief who was previously editor of the News of the World, under Mrs Brooks.

Also facing charges are journalists Clive Goodman – former royal correspondent of the News of the World – and John Kay – formerly chief reporter at The Sun – and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan Barber.

Mr Coulson and Mr Goodman will be charged with two conspiracies, relating to the request and authorisation of alleged payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a royal phone directory known as the ‘Green Book’.

The two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office involve one between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003 and another between 31 January and 3 June 2005.

Ms Barber, Mr Kay and Mrs Brooks face one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012.

None of these charges suggest any wrong-doing by our comedy Prime Minister, I should stress.

But he is a long-term friend of Mrs Brooks and Mr Coulson, and his correspondence has been kept hidden for so long that I’m sure I’m not the only one smelling something rotten here.

The current line from the Conservative Party on this matter is that we all (and especially the Labour Party) need to “change the record”.

That’s a particularly weak defence, isn’t it?

It was made by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, while emphasising the government’s programme on transparency.

Labour’s Chris Bryant asked, if that was the case, when Mr Maude would publish the “large cache” of emails relating to Mr Coulson [and] Mrs Brooks, and that was his answer: “The honourable gentleman needs to change the record.”

He can’t “change the record”. His question relates to a vitally important matter: Is there any evidence to suggest the Prime Minister of the UK may be implicated in alleged criminal actions by his close friends?

The longer we have to wait for an answer, the more suspicious this affair seems.