Tag Archives: reassessment

Disability benefits extended by six months if due reassessment within three months

The coronavirus crisis isn’t all bad news, it seems:

The Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP (pictured below), has today confirmed that disability benefit awards have been automatically extended by six months for claimants due to be reassessed within the next three months.

PIP (Personal Independence Payment) reassessments are notoriously harsh on claimants because these are people with serious conditions who find the demands of the assessments extremely difficult.

So this is good – if it’s true.

Tory government promises haven’t been wonderfully reliable so far.

Source: Disability benefits extended by six months if due reassessment within three months – Welfare Weekly

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Coronavirus: DWP announcement on benefit assessments leaves room for persecution

It’s taken the DWP long enough but at last we have some clarity on benefit claims and reassessments.

The message is: don’t come to the Job Centre – stay at home.

That’s in line with the overarching message in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.

So new claimants are asked to make their claims for Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit online or by telephone.

That presents issues in itself because many people are uncomfortable using computers to claim benefits, and telephone claims can involve long waits and are likely to entail unhelpful service.

There will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months – this includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Apparently there’s already been an announcement that all face-to-face assessments have been suspended, in order to safeguard potentially vulnerable claimants.

That will be news to a few claimants I know. Perhaps the government announced it behind a paywall in the Telegraph or The Times.

Assessments that are already ongoing will continue, with claimants contacted to discuss how they will go further.

That could be a problem, knowing how the DWP treats claimants.

Ultimately, the message is mixed – just as it is with all the government’s announcements relating to coronavirus.

There is still plenty of leeway for the “Department of Welfare Persecution” to live down to its nickname.

Source: Benefit assessments suspended for three months while new claimants told to stay away from Jobcentres – Welfare Weekly

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

So much for the Tories’ claim to be ending ‘pointless’ PIP reassessments for pensioners

Ron Stevenson: He has motor neurone disease and, at 69, is a pensioner. So why did he receive a letter demanding that he submit to reassessment for Personal Independence Payment?

If the Tory work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, was serious about ending “pointless” reassessment of pensioners for benefits, why is this happening?

A terminally ill man with just six months to live was ‘devastated’ to be told he’d need to reapply for his benefits.

Ron Stevenson, 69, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease 10 years ago and relies on moderate weekly care payments to supplement his care.

But last month, Ron received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), calling for him to reapply for his benefits because he is up for reassessment.

He says the letter told him if he did not reply his payments would stop on July 29.

Former special needs teacher Ron is almost completely paralysed, leaving him reliant on carers and his wife Gill.

Those in his position can claim up to £150 a week in Personal Independence Payments to ease suffering and care.

Grandfather Ron, of Staplefield, West Sussex, but originally from Lancashire, called the call for reassessment “devastating”.

Mr Stevenson will continue to receive his benefit after he and his family submitted further evidence to show what should be obvious – that his conditions cannot improve and he deserves to continue receiving his benefit.

But here’s the thing: The DWP has said it will stop asking pensioners to reapply for benefits from today (May 31). July 29 is nearly two months after that date, so Mr Stevenson should not have been threatened at all.

Source: Dad with 6 months to live ‘devastated’ after DWP ask him to reapply for benefits – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

POLL: Disability reassessment for pensioners to be phased out – but will all DWP changes be as good?

This is welcome:

People receiving PIP who have reached State Pension age will no longer have their awards regularly reviewed, instead moving to a light touch review at 10 years. Nearly 290,000 people of State Pension age are in receipt of PIP.

From Friday, new claimants to PIP whose review would have been scheduled after they had reached State Pension age will receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at 10 years.

Applying this change to new claimants is the first step and it will be extended to existing PIP claimants above State Pension age in the coming months.

But what about this?

Other improvements include combining the separate assessment processes for PIP, Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit into one integrated service from 2021.

The integrated service will simplify the assessment process for millions of people claiming health related benefits, reducing the need to submit information multiple times and for some people reducing the number of face-to-face assessments.

Simplifying the assessment process, for a Conservative, means making it harder for a UK taxpayer to access a state benefit.

I fear that combining the assessments for PIP, ESA and UC will mean joining the most draconian aspects of each in order to deprive claimants of the benefits they are due.

Time will tell if I’m right – but what do you think?

Source: Unnecessary disability reassessments for disabled pensioners to be phased out – GOV.UK

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Terminally-ill woman called for reassessment by DWP – as she hasn’t died quickly enough?

Krissy Johnson.

The letter Krissy Johnson received from the DWP stated, “One of our health professionals has looked at the information you sent to the DWP.

“After doing this we have decided that we need to see you for a face-to-face consultation to discuss you health condition or disability further.”

Ms Johnson said it was the third time she had been called to attend a review, where she would have to prove her condition was terminal.

There can be only one conclusion: The DWP wants to know why she isn’t dead yet.

What a disgusting, degrading way to treat a person in the last stages of her life, who deserves to pass away with dignity, rather than being plagued with endless nagging from government lackeys who are desperate for a benefit saving.

That’s all they want – an opportunity to cut off this woman’s benefits.

They might even be persuading themselves they’d be doing her a favour if they did, as forcing her into starvation and homelessness will no doubt help her on her way.

Think about the barbarity of the Conservative government’s attitude.

Then consider what you can do to ensure the Tories are removed from office and never again allowed to blight the lives of your loved ones.

John McDonnell once described Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey as a “stain of inhumanity”. That goes for the whole Conservative government.

A woman diagnosed with terminal cancer has been called to a ‘consultation’ to assess her capability to work.

Krissy Johnson from Clitheroe was diagnosed with incurable metastatic Breast Cancer in September 2015.

Nearly three years later, the 48-year-old has been called to a meeting by the Department for Work and Pensions to determine if she is capable of returning to work.

Source: Anger as woman with terminal cancer is called to benefit re-assessment


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The DWP is trapped in an Orwellian nightmare over PIP payments – of its own devising

The Department for Work and Pensions office in London.

James Moore makes excellent points about the predicament in which the Department for Work and Pensions finds itself.

Having been exposed by the courts as “blatantly discriminatory”, the DWP is having to re-examine its assessments of 1.6 million claims for the main disability benefit, Personal Independence Payment.

The number of reassessments is only this low – yes, low! – because the DWP is treating the court ruling as a “test case”, meaning in legal terms that it would only have to pay arrears from the date the judgement was filed, November 2016.

But the decision to review all 1.6 million claims, rather than just those relating to claimants with mental health issues, is to ensure that they are all “goodthinkful”, to quote the Orwellian term.

It seems clear that such a concern would apply to all three million claims since PIP was introduced in 2013, though. Why aren’t they all being checked?

We’re told the current paper-based review will take five years. Adding the remaining claimants could take a decade, going by that yardstick.

It would be a nice little earner for those government-employed private assessors the Tories love so much!

Finally – and This Writer considers this to be the Tories’ main consideration in restricting the number of claims under reassessment – what if a significant number of claimants are found to have died after being unfairly ruled ineligible for PIP?

As an admin exercise it looks like the nightmare Winston Smith faced in George Orwell’s classic 1984 when Oceania suddenly decided it was at War with Eastasia not Eurasia during Hate Week, necessitating the updating of every news report and official document in the fictional totalitarian state.

Some 1.6m Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims are set to be reviewed by Smith’s real life equivalents in the civil service to decide if they are still “goodthinkful” under new criteria.

For once, it’s the Government, rather than Britain’s disabled community, that could find itself in an Orwellian nightmare and there is a certain schadenfreude in seeing the shoe on the other foot for a change.

Source: The DWP are reviewing all PIP payments – we all knew this day would come, so why did it take them so long?


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Tories have been breaking the law by rejecting vulnerable benefit claimants

This could have serious repercussions for the Conservative government.

Suddenly, instead of dismissing appeals for mandatory reconsideration from people who were not able to submit them in time, ministers have been told benefit claimants must have a right to a tribunal.

It’s a game-changer, and it could save lives.

What does that tell us about the Tory policy that refused people this legal recourse?

Senior judges from an Upper Tribunal have ruled that Theresa May’s government has been acting illegally. And once again, those affected by the ruling are some of the most vulnerable people in the country. The judgment means that the government has likely been screwing over thousands of disabled people who will now potentially be affected by the ruling.

The case was brought by two people who failed to appeal the decision to stop their Employment and Support Allowance in time. Current Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rules state that the first stage of appealing a decision – a mandatory reconsideration – needs to be lodged within a month.

These claimants didn’t make the deadline because of their “extenuating circumstances”; both have mental health issues along with other problems. But the DWP initially refused to hear their appeals or allow them to present their arguments to a tribunal. So with the help of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), they took the case further.

The problem with strict time limits for people with health conditions should be obvious. They may have issues that do not always allow them to appeal quickly. And this is something the Upper Tribunal judges thought should be “obvious”.

They ruled that: “We have concluded that as a matter of statutory interpretation a claimant in such circumstances has a statutory right of appeal to the first-tier tribunal.”

Source: Senior judges rule that Theresa May broke the law and probably screwed over thousands of people | The Canary


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The DWP is still preying on the weak and vulnerable, no matter how it is presented

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

Reposted because you need to read it:

The government is acting like an abusive partner with claimants, whom it can beat at will, and claimants are too scared to be able to do anything to escape due to their chronic ill health or disabilities, says Gail Ward.

So the Tories have finally announced the new criteria for employment and support allowance (ESA) reassessments and while it is good news in one way, it has hidden horrors that many people are totally unaware of.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) skulduggery never ceases to amaze me any more, as it lies to the public that it protects “the most vulnerable in society,” claiming it is saving the public purse by scrapping unnecessary assessments — which cause so much stress that people are literally killing themselves — so they can focus on helping people into work.

Work is their primary focus, I hear people say: “Well what is wrong with that?” Well in theory, nothing at all provided the jobs are there.

Many chronically sick people and disabled people are not well enough to do so. In the last eight years this group has faced the worst of the welfare reforms which have lead to disabled people taking to the streets in protest.

Many disabled people’s organisations and charities have called on the government to stop these cuts, and have even taken their fight to the UN in Geneva, which called it a “human catastrophe” and found that they led to grave and systemic violations of the rights of disabled people.

First they had to deal with transitions to ESA, then the abolition of the independent living fund (ILF). Cuts to care packages have left people abandoned, isolated in their homes, then we have had cuts to personal independence payments (PIP), with many losing the cars they rely on to continue employment or to see family and friends, and now we have the debacle of universal credit.

With more cuts to come next year to families and the two-child cap and many other outrages, it is nothing more than conscious cruelty to those who need the most support.

Source: Morning Star :: Preying on the weak and vulnerable | The People’s Daily


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Public money is being thrown away on government-contracted scroungers

workprogramme1

It turns out that some people really do get to lie around all day, doing nothing apart from watching the money rolling in.

Bloody scroungers.

I’m sorry to swear – and you know I’m not usually rude – but these Work Programme provider companies really get my goat.

The revelation that companies such as Ingeus, A4e and Working Links were getting undeserved ‘incentive’ money (see also the BBC’s article), rather than being paid by results as has been claimed loudly and repeatedly by Tory ministers and backbenchers, is nothing new to Vox Politicalwe first pointed out the problem in November 2012, more than 18 months ago.

You see, not only has this been going on ever since the Coalition government established welfare-to-work in its current form –

Not only have government ministers and backbenchers been lying to you about the payouts given to the profit-driven privately-owned provider companies –

Not only have these companies been sucking down on your hard-earned taxpayer cash as though they had done something to earn it –

But the people they were supposed to be helping – people who have been forced into ever-greater poverty by the benefit uprating cap, arbitrary and unfair benefit sanctions, the bedroom tax, the £26,000 cap on benefits for families, the imposition of council tax on even the poorest households (in England at least), the stress of continual reassessment (if they are ESA claimants in the work-related activity group), the humiliation of having to visit food banks and who knows what else…

The people who are desperate to get any kind of paying job, despite the fact that zero-hours contracts could make them worse-off than unemployment, due to the effect on in-work benefits, despite the fact that those in-work benefits are also being squeezed hard, and despite the fact that there are at least five jobseekers for every job that becomes available…

These are the people that government ministers, backbenchers and the right-wing press keep victimising with their endless attacks on “skivers”, “scroungers”, the “feckless”, the “idle” and the “lazy”!

If I was unemployed and my MP had been caught slagging me off while praising these good-for-nothing so-called work programme ‘providers’, I would make it my business to bring them before the public, lock them into some medieval stocks and pelt them with rotten vegetables. Public humiliation is the least they should get for this continual insult to common decency.

But wait! There’s more.

It turns out that, not only are these work programme providers a bunch of lazy good-for-nothing parasites, but many of them are also a bunch of foreigners who’ve come to the UK to take our jobs!

Ingeus is Australian. G4S is part-Danish. Maximus is American.

It seems that all the politically-fuelled and media-driven anger against immigration into the UK from the rest of the European Union and beyond may be designed to distract us all from the fact that foreign firms are immigrating here to take government jobs that should be yours, and to steal your tax money.

Nobody can say they’ve earned it, after all.

But let us not be unfair. It would be wrong to concentrate on welfare-to-work providers when all of government is riddled with foreign interlopers.

Look at the Treasury, where the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms have been re-writing tax law to suit their tax-avoiding corporate clients for the last few years. They are Deloitte (American), PriceWaterhouseCoopers (part-American), Ernst & Young (part-American) and KPMG (Dutch).

And then there is the huge, criminal, foreign firm that has been advising the Department for Work and Pensions on ways to privatise the welfare state since the mid-1990s – a firm so controversial that there is currently a moratorium on the mention of its name in the national mainstream media. It is an American insurance giant called Unum.

The best that can be said of these five corporations is that – at least to the best of our knowledge – they do work for a living.

… In their own interest – not yours.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy Vox Political books!
The second – Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first, Strong Words and Hard Times
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The Coalition is creating serious problems and distracting you with phantoms

140124earnings

According to the beauty industry, women must now start deodorising under their breasts.

I kid you not – it was in The Guardian.

Columnist Jill Filipovic hit the nail on the head when she wrote: “I can already hear your objections: ‘But the area under my boobs doesn’t stink!’ or ‘What kind of marketing genius not only came up with the term “swoob,” but actually thought half the world’s population might be dumb enough to buy into it?’ or simply, ‘This is a dumb product aimed at inventing an insecurity and then claiming to cure it.’

“You would be correct on all three points.

“In fact, inventing problems with women’s bodies and then offering a cure – if you pay up – is the primary purpose of the multi-billion dollar beauty industry.”

The simple fact is that you don’t really need to worry about smells down there – a good old soapy flannel will cure any such problems.

That’s not the point, though. The aim is to get you thinking about it and devoting your energy to it, rather than to other matters.

Now let’s translate that to politics.

We already know that all the scaremongering about Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants storming the country from January 1 was a crock. That bastion of good statistics, The Now Show, told us last week that the total number of Bulgarian immigrants in the last couple of weeks was “around two dozen so far”, according to their ambassador. In the first three months after our borders were opened to Croatians, 174 turned up.

Yet the government wanted you to believe they would flood our immigration service in their millions, “taking benefits and yet simultaneously also taking all the jobs”.

My use of language such as “storming” and “flood” is not accidental. By far the more serious threat to the UK in the early days of 2014 was the weather – and, guess what, not only was the government unprepared for the ferocity of the storms that swept our islands, the Coalition was in fact in the process of cutting funding for flood defence.

This would have gone unnoticed if the weather had behaved itself, because we would all have been distracted by the single Romanian immigrant who was ensnared by Keith Vaz in a ring of TV cameras at Heathrow Airport.

Now the Tories are telling us that our take-home pay is finally on the rise for all but the top 10 per cent of earners, with the rest of us seeing our wages rise by at least 2.5 per cent.

The government made its claims (up) by taking into account only cuts to income tax and national insurance, using data leading up to April last year, according to the BBC News website.

This kind of nonsense is easily overcome – New Statesman published the above chart, showing the real effect of changes to weekly income for people in various income groups, and also provided the reason for the government’s mistake (if that’s what it was).

“The data used … takes no account of the large benefit cuts introduced by the coalition, such as the real-terms cut in child benefit, the uprating of benefits in line with CPI inflation rather than RPI, and the cuts to tax credits,” writes the Statesman‘s George Eaton.”

He also pointed out that other major cuts such as the bedroom tax, the benefit cap, and the 10 per cent cut in council tax support were introduced after April 2013 and were not included in the Coalition figures.

Once all tax and benefit changes are taken into account, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that almost all families are worse off – and the Coalition also appears to have forgotten the five million low-paid workers who don’t earn enough to benefit from the increase in the personal allowance.

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock compounded the mistake in an exchange on Twitter with Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). Asked why his analysis “ignores more than four million people in work (the self-employed)”, Mr Hancock tweeted: “Analysis based on ONS ASHE survey of household earnings data”.

Wrong – as Mr Portes was quick to show: “Don’t you know the difference between household and individual earnings?”

Apparently not. ASHE (Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings) is a survey of employed individuals using their National Insurance numbers – not of households or the self-employed.

So the Coalition – and particularly the Tories – were trying to make us all feel good about the amount we earn.

That’s the distraction. What are we supposed to be ignoring?

Would it be David Cameron’s attempt to bribe councils into allowing shale gas companies to frack their land? Councils that back fracking will get to keep all the business rates collected from the schemes – rather than the usual 50 per cent.

He has also claimed that fracking can boost the economy and encourage businesses into the country, in a further bid to talk down dissent.

Or is it the growing threat of a rise in interest rates, which may be triggered when official unemployment figures – which have been fiddled by increased sanctions on jobseekers, rigged reassessments of benefit claimants, a new scheme to increase the number of people and time spent on Workfare, and the fake economic upturn created by George Osborne’s housing bubble – drop to seven per cent?

It seems possible that the government – especially the Tory part of it – would want to keep people from considering the implications of an interest rate rise that is based on false figures.

As Vox Political commenter Jonathan Wilson wrote yesterday: “If the BOE bases its decisions on incorrect manipulated data that presents a false ‘good news’ analysis then potentially it could do something based on it that would have catastrophic consequences.

“For example if its unemployment rate test is reached, and wages were going up by X per cent against a Y per cent inflation rate which predicted that an interest rate rise of Z per cent would have no general effect and not impact on house prices nor significantly increase repossessions (when X per cent is over-inflated by the top 1 per cent of earners, Y per cent is unrealistically low due to, say, the 50 quid green reduction and/or shops massively discounting to inflate purchases/turnover and not profit) and when it does, instead of tapping on the breaks lightly it slams the gears into reverse while still traveling forward… repossessions go up hugely, house prices suffer a major downward re-evaluation (due to tens of thousands of repossessions hitting the auction rooms) debt rates hit the roof, people stop buying white goods and make do with last year’s iPad/phone/tv/sofa, major retail goes tits up, Amazon goes to the wall, the delivery market and post collapses… etc etc.

“And all because the government fiddled the figures.”

Perhaps Mr Cameron doesn’t want us thinking about that when we could be deodorising our breasts instead.

Show your support for Vox Political!
The site needs YOUR help to continue.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook