Tag Archives: re

Locked-down Merseyside pub rebrands as The Three Bellends – after Johnson, Hancock and Cummings

A pub in New Brighton, Merseyside, has re-branded itself after new ‘Tier 3’ rules forced it to close again.

For the time being, the pub formerly known as the James Atherton, after the founder of New Brighton, is now The Three Bellends – after the architects of the area’s misery: Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and Dominic Cummings.

Anyone who is familiar with vulgar slang will understand exactly how appropriate the title is, as attached to those individuals.

According to the Huffington Post,

Daniel Davies, chief executive of pub owners Rockpoint Leisure, said the new name “really reflects the mood of the nation” and was chosen on Tuesday when he was forced to tell his staff the pub would have to close.

“It really tears the heart up,” he told HuffPost UK. “It just really, really infuriated us and made us think: why are they doing this? All the evidence points against shutting down places like public houses.

“They’re bellends because Boris and co said they would invest a lot in the north when he got in – but they’ve done nothing for the north. They’re not being affected by this lockdown.”

The change has been rung in with huge support:

And it has launched a rallying cry for pubs across the country to rebrand in similar ways – as visual demonstrations of their disgust at Johnson, his government, and their daft policies:

Could this be the only successful initiative to result from the Johnson government and its actions?

Source: Pub Renames Itself ‘The Three Bellends’ In Protest Against Liverpool Lockdown | HuffPost UK

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MP criticises benefit system that is not only ‘cruel and unfair’ but based on a broken promise

Emma Hardy MP [Image: Hull Daily Mail].

This Writer is pretty sure epilepsy is one of the long-term illnesses whose sufferers were told they would not face re-assessment by Damien Green last October.

It’s a pity he was lying, really, isn’t it?

I’m also pretty sure Multiple Sclerosis was on the list too.

Admittedly, the exemptions only apply to re-assessments, but I wonder how Emma Hardy will feel when she discovers that many of the people she wishes to represent are victims of a huge, broken Tory promise.

A Hull MP has pledged to help sufferers of epilepsy who are being treated ‘cruelly and unfairly’ by a new benefits system.

Emma Hardy, who was elected as the new MP for Hull West and Hessle in June’s general election, believes that those with disabilities have suffered after the introduction of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in 2013.

The ex-teacher thinks that applications for PIP are being rushed through and often result in the claimant not receiving their full benefit.

Mrs Hardy’s views come after it was revealed that almost one in three people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have had their disability payments downgraded or denied after being reassessed for PIP.

The MS Society found that people with the disease have received at least £6m less since Personal Independence Payment (PIP) started to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013.

She said: “I am going to be submitting questions and I’m trying to arrange at the moment a Westminster Hall debate on the level of epilepsy and PIPs being turned down.”

Source: Hull MP criticises ‘cruel and unfair’ benefits system – Hull Daily Mail


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Tory promise to stop re-assessing benefit claimants with lifelong illnesses was a LIE

Tim Farron with benefit claimant John Heaton and his carer Kath Dunning [Image: Cumbria Crack].

How could we have expected more from the Party of Liars?

Well-deserved congratulations go to former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron for exposing then-Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green as having lied when he said assessors from private companies would no longer re-assess claimants who have long-term illnesses.

At the time, Mr Green said it was “pointless” and “only adds to their anxiety and difficulties”. So why is the minority Conservative government still doing it?

The answer to that, of course, is in the information provided to Mr Farron:

The Tories could never stop re-assessing people with long-term illnesses because the Department for Work and Pensions simply does not make a note of which claimants have them.

Damian Green must have known this when he made his statement last October.

In fact, it confirms what This Writer suspected when I published this article, at the time – and this article, one month later.

So we knew Mr Green was lying at the time; the Conservative government of the day was criticised for it – and did nothing.

Is it time to pressurise the new, minority Tory government to keep its promise – or sling its hook?

Tim Farron has slammed the Government for lying to local people over plans to stop re-testing benefit claimants who have long-term chronic illnesses such as Huntingdon’s, MS, and Parkinson’s.

Back in October last year, the then Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, Damien Green, said that they would no longer reassess benefits for those who have long-term sickness as it is “pointless” and “only adds to their anxiety and difficulties”.

However, a freedom of information request from Tim Farron has revealed that the DWP never intended to carry out this proposal as they do not even record data which would allow them to pull out the group of claimants who have chronic illnesses.

An example of someone who the Government has broken their promise to is John Heaton. John has a degenerative brain disease and severe obstructive pulmonary disease of which he has a sick note to cover him from his doctors. He is also suffering from a hip injury and extreme weight loss for which his dietician nurse makes home visits.

Kath Dunning, who is John’s carer, said: “I received a letter from the DWP saying that John had missed a medical assessment. I rang the relevant authorities to tell them that I hadn’t received a letter about the assessment.

“They told me to put it in writing which I did. They then replied four weeks later after numerous phone calls from myself to say that they were upholding their decision. This meant that I would have to take it to a tribunal and John would have to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance.”

Read more: Farron slams DWP over breaking promise to stop re-testing claimants with lifelong illnesses


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‘Cheques like confetti’ as ‘redundant’ NHS managers are rehired at cost

Bad budgeting: The NHS has spent far more money firing and re-hiring pen-pushers than it is willing to give in increased pay to nurses. In what twisted system is that fair? [Image: BBC]

Bad budgeting: The NHS has spent far more money firing and re-hiring pen-pushers than it is willing to give in increased pay to nurses. In what twisted system is that fair? [Image: BBC]

The Coalition’s ‘reformed’ NHS has been spending a fortune on re-hiring managers it had previously given large redundancy payments – while Jeremy Hunt has been telling us there is no money to give nurses a pay rise.

Tory health minister Dan Poulter (the Health Secretary himself was nowhere to be heard) had to admit that 3,950 staff whose jobs were made redundant after May 2010 have since been hired back, in response to a Parliamentary question from Labour’s Julie Hilling. The figures cover a period up to November last year, so the true number may be even more.

These are managers who received large payoffs as part of the £3-4 billion ‘restructuring’ of the National Health Service that began before Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act was passed by Parliament.

The aim, as revealed in Nicholas Timmins’ Never Again: The Story of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, was defined by Oliver Letwin as “encouraging staff to quit public sector employment while selling their services back through social enterprise”. In other words, after losing their jobs in the ‘old’ NHS – and receiving large redundancy settlements for the inconvenience – managers were to be re-hired at high cost to the ‘new’ NHS.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham had this to say: “It’s clear that people who received payoffs are now coming back to the NHS in ever greater numbers. We need to know whether the Prime Minister has honoured his promise to recover redundancy payments from people who have been re-employed by his new organisations.

“The sickening scale of the waste caused by Cameron’s reorganisation is finally becoming clear. It will infuriate people who can’t get a GP appointment or nurses who are struggling to pay the bills.”

He pointed out: “It will be utterly galling for nurses who’ve just had a pay cut from David Cameron to see he’s been handing out cheques like confetti to people who have now been rehired.

“On his watch, we have seen payoffs for managers and pay cuts for nurses.”

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Let’s make abuse of power a crime and Lord Freud the first to be prosecuted

Face of evil: Because of creatures like Lord Freud, Parliament should legislate against a new crime - abuse of power. (Picture by Black Triangle)

Face of evil: Because of creatures like Lord Freud, Parliament should legislate against a new crime – abuse of power. (Picture by Black Triangle)

Lord David Fraud – sorry, Freud. That was a Freudian slip – the man who said “People who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks; they’ve got least to lose”, has been at it again.

According to Inside Housing this man, whose principles allowed him to take Labour’s money and provide that government with his duff advice before running off to join the Tories as soon as it looked as though they would be in office after the 2010 election, wants to bully councils out of an entirely legal way to help their tenants avoid paying the punitive and unfair bedroom tax.

The tax, as we all should know by now, affects people living in social rented accommodation with more bedrooms – as defined by the rent agreement (if I recall correctly) – than the government last year arbitarily decided they need. The options are to give up 14 per cent of your housing benefit if you have one ‘extra’ bedroom, 25 per cent if you’ve got two – or move to smaller accommodation which does not, in the vast majority of cases, exist.

Out of 600,000 affected families, 582,000 have nowhere else to go. So this is a thinly-veiled robbery, from people who can do nothing to prevent it.

It is a tax that has offended many councillors in local authorities across the UK, and some came up with the novel idea that rooms within the properties they own may be reclassified as offices or ‘non-designated’ rooms, thereby avoiding the need to pay the tax. After all, a room is just an enclosed space within a building, right? If it doesn’t have a bed in it, why should it be classified as a bedroom?

Lord Fraud – sorry! Freud – doesn’t see it that way. He wants that cash and couldn’t care less that people in social housing need it to keep a roof over their heads. He has been spending the last month or so (since the councils started re-classifying) trying to put a stop to it and now, it seems, he thinks he has found a way.

In a letter to council chief executives yesterday (Thursday), he has said redesignating properties without reducing their rent to reflect the loss of a bedroom creates an inconsistency for housing benefit and rent purposes.

“Blanket redesignations without a clear and justifiable reason and without reductions in rent, are inappropriate and do not fall within the spirit of the policy,” his letter states [italics mine].

“If it is shown properties are being redesignated inappropriately this will be viewed very seriously.” Meaning: The DWP will commission an independent audit to “ascertain whether correct and appropriate procedures have been followed”. Redesignation without reducing rent would lead to incorrect housing benefit subsidy claims being submitted to the DWP, he stated, adding, “Where it is found that a local authority has redesignated properties without reasonable grounds and without reducing rents, my department would consider either restricting or not paying their housing benefit subsidy.”

The flaw, of course, is this: The size of these properties will have remained the same, therefore so should the rent. But a room without a bed in it is not a bedroom.

Let’s move on to another tax avoidance issue. Since we’re discussing actions that are “inappropriate and do not fall within the spirit of the policy“, what about tax avoidance schemes that are used by very rich individuals, in order to avoid paying the full amount they owe to the UK Treasury?

This has been going on for more years than any of us can remember and the total currently parked offshore, where the tax inspector can’t get at it, is estimated at £21 trillion (it might actually be dollars, but either way it’s a heckuva lot of money).

If the turncoat Lord Freud’s new Conservative friends had been quick off the mark in dealing with this aspect of tax avoidance, he might have been justified in his own hasty behaviour, but they haven’t. Even now, there is no guarantee that the Treasury will get anything back from the tax havens, despite all its posturing and sabre-rattling. There’s just no interest. And by the time anyone gets around to actually taking action, the offenders will have had plenty of opportunity to move their capital elsewhere.

But the actions of the individual taxpayers who have chosen to put their money out of HMRC’s reach is no closer to the spirit of UK tax policy than the actions of the councils who have chosen to protect their tenants.

The difference is that one set of individuals is acting in selfish self-interest, while the other is taking action to help others.

Freud, by his own actions, has shown us all exactly where his loyalties lie. He’s not against tax avoidance, as long as it’s his kind of people doing it. And he loves to bully the little people. He really gets a kick out of threatening them, and he’s not above bending – or changing – the law to do it.

That’s why I say any new government coming into office after 2015 needs to enact a law that criminalises abuse of power – being any legislation or act by a government member that unfairly punishes any named individual or group within British society.

So for example here, it could be applied because Freud wants to penalise hundreds of thousands of people with a tax they can’t pay, when there is no alternative because they have nowhere else to go (except to be thrown out onto the streets, and then the question to be asked is, who takes over the properties after they have gone?) – and is now threatening to punish any attempt legally to avoid paying that unfair tax with another unfair punishment, because others who also legally avoid paying a – fair – tax are being allowed to do so.

As a criminal offence it should involve the sternest penalties possible – stripping the guilty of any titles and privileges, and all property, alongside a lengthy prison sentence involving the hardest labour to which prisoners may be put. Anyone who is willing to deprive the defenceless of everything they own should be made to lose everything as well.

So Lord Freud, for example, would have to kiss goodbye to his luxury mansion in Kent, and everything in it. When he finally came out of clink, he’d be living in council accommodation – and if nowhere could be found that didn’t have more bedrooms than he needed, he’d have to pay his own bedroom tax which would be poetic justice.

I know. It will never happen. Politicians look after their own.

But it should – and you know it.