Tag Archives: refuse

More than 300 terminally ill people died PER MONTH after DWP denied them state benefits

[Image: www.disabledgo.com]

Once again the Department for Work and Pensions has been caught lying about the support it provides to people who are terminally ill.

This Site reported, many years ago, on the scandal when it was discovered that – despite having a policy to put people likely to die within six months on a fast track for benefits – many benefit claims were refused, leaving these people to die in appalling conditions.

So then-Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd announced in 2019 that there would be a “fresh and honest” re-evaluation of the way these benefits were awarded.

It is now two years later, and two charities – the Marie Curie Trust and the Motor Neurone Disease Association – have drawn public attention to official data showing that the DWP is rejecting benefit claims by more than 100 terminally-ill people, every month.

Worse still, the official figures also show that an average of 315 people are dying every month*, never having been able to secure the fast-track benefits that are supposed to help them pass away with dignity.

This is damning:

They say there are “serious concerns” over the government’s “six-month rule” – under which people must prove they have six months or less to live to access fast-track benefits support.

They said there were red flags in the DWP’s ability to recognise when a claimant was approaching the end of life.

I think that is very… charitable.. of them.

It is far more likely that the DWP is simply ignoring the facts in order to avoid paying out the benefit money – knowing that these people will soon be dead; they can’t complain or appeal and expect justice before their condition kills them.

This in turn suggests that nothing at all has changed and that Amber Rudd’s “fresh and honest” review was nothing of the sort.

Here’s some evidence in support of that conclusion:

The charities say that the findings of the review are “being withheld”.

So, after 11 years of Tory control (and it wasn’t much better under neoliberal New Labour) we can say with confidence:

The Department for Work and Pensions intentionally harms people claiming benefits by depriving them of their payments in order to hasten their deaths.

No wonder we all hate having anything to do with that vicious, poisonous arm of the Tory government.

No wonder millions of people suffer anxiety attacks whenever they see an envelop marked “DWP” in their letterbox.

No wonder I said, years ago, that the DWP is not fit for purpose and should be scrapped.

But I’ll tell you why it wasn’t:

In killing thousands of people every year, the DWP is doing exactly what Boris Johnson and his Tories want.

*1,860 people over six months.

Source: Over 1,000 terminally ill people rejected for benefits and Universal Credit each year – Mirror Online

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Denial of ‘surge’ vaccination suggests Tory Covid-19 response is now politically biased

Mealy-mouthed: Jenrick said he was following scientific advice by denying “surge” vaccinations to Greater Manchester. But isn’t it more accurate to say he is starving a Labour-voting area of the help it needs?

Would they have said “no” if Greater Manchester had a Conservative mayor?

That is the question that should be on everybody’s lips after Tory minister (and he’s as corrupt as they come) Robert Jenrick rejected GM mayor Andy Burnham’s call for “surge” vaccinations in his metropolitan area, where there has been a significant increase in Covid-19 cases.

Jenrick said: “We are going to stick with the advice we have received from the JCVI, our advisers, which say that it is better to continue to work down the age categories on a national basis, rather than adopt a regional or geographical approach.

“Their advice has served us well so far as a country, they have got the big calls right since the start of the vaccine rollout.”

Oh really?

In that case, why are Covid-19 cases on the increase in the UK yet again, boosted by the rise of a variant that probably would not have had nearly as large an effect if vaccination doses had been delivered on the timescale advised by the manufacturers?

For example, The Writer had the first Astrazeneca jab on April 4 and – according to the government – should receive the second dose between eight and 12 weeks later. I’m now in the middle of the 10th week since that injection and haven’t heard a whisper about a second inoculation.

Burnham’s call has won approval from the public:

And Jenrick’s dismissal of Burnham is being treated as political favouritism:

Others have suggested that the Tories simply don’t care about the North (ex-Red Wall Tory voters please take note).

In a rational society, when there is a pandemic infection with a vaccine available, inoculations would be concentrated in areas with increased cases of the disease.

But we don’t live in a rational society. We live in one that is run by Tories.

They do not understand or care about Covid-19 and its effects on the stock (which is what they call you).

They are simply going through the motions in order to appear to be acting competently.

And if they can use a fatal disease to reduce support for their main political rivals, then they are low enough to do that.

Source: Ministers reject Burnham demand for surge vaccination in Greater Manchester – LabourList

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‘National embarrassment issues’ as Daniel Morgan panel refuses to hand report to Priti Patel

Daniel Morgan: Priti Patel, who is in charge of the police, still wants to interfere with a report into the murder of a man who had been investigating police corruption.

What a principled, positive stand by the panel responsible for the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry.

According to The Guardian,

The independent panel investigating the Daniel Morgan scandal is refusing the home secretary’s demands to hand over its report before it can be published, as senior police sources say nothing in the case affects national security.

Patel cited the need to consider national security and human rights obligations before making the report public.

But one source with close knowledge of the five Metropolitan police inquiries into the case and the documents involved, said: “There are no national security issues involved. There are national embarrassment issues.”

The grounds on which Patel is justifying her demand to review the report are very shaky indeed:

The Home Office pointed to one part of the panel’s terms of reference which, it said, allows it to see the report before agreeing to its publication, and make changes as it sees fit.

The relevant section says: “The independent panel will present its final Report to the home secretary, who will make arrangements for its publication to parliament.”

A government source said: “Before the home secretary lays it before parliament she has to satisfy herself as to her statutory duties.

“Those relate to national security considerations and that it complies with human rights obligations such as the right to life (article 2) and the right to privacy (article 8).”

This is an attempt to shoe-horn new requirements into rules that were written six years before Patel got anywhere near the Home Office. And it shouldn’t work.

There is nothing in that section of the terms of reference that says the Home Secretary may do anything other than arrange for the report to be published.

In fact, it could be argued that the omission specifically prohibits her from trying; if she was to be allowed such leeway, it would have been written into the terms.

I reckon this will go to the High Court.

Source: Daniel Morgan murder: panel refuses to hand over report | Police | The Guardian

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Why are Tories hiding details of £37bn ‘Test and Trace’ boss’s meetings – on grounds of expense?

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding.

The hypocrisy is stunning. It seems clear that Dido Harding has done something embarrassing that Boris Johnson wants to hide.

That’s the only reasonable explanation for the Tory government’s decision not to honour a request for details of meetings she held with other people and organisations since taking on the job of running the ‘Test and Trace’ organisation that has cost £37bn so far.

The Tories are saying honouring the Freedom of Information request by the Good Law Project would cost more than the £600 permitted for such matters, but this is ridiculous; these details have been deliberately omitted from a schedule of all meetings held by Department of Health and Social Care officials, ministers and advisers on a quarterly basis.

We can only conclude that the government does not want us to know who Harding has been meeting, what they discussed, and how much money she spaffed away as a result.

£37 billion is an enormous amount of money. Some commentators have suggested that ‘Test and Trace’ is nothing more than a conduit through which the Tories are corruptly draining the public purse, pumping money into the hands of people who are already extremely rich, in order to make sure poor people who really need help are deprived of it.

This response from the government shows that it really has no answer to that.

One appropriate reaction might have been to refer the matter to the government’s anti-corruption champion – but that would be John Penrose MP, who happens to be her husband. People are having doubts that he’ll do his job properly, for some reason…

And they certainly aren’t accepting the Tory line on this:

Some have even gone for the nuclear option – denouncing Harding for a lack of credibility on a stellar scale:

The simple fact is that the government should have published details of Harding’s meetings and chose not to.

This has focused attention on them. People want to know who she met, what was said, whether any money changed hands (without going through the normal tendering process) and if so, how much.

The longer the Tories drag their heels, the worse it will be.

Perhaps Harding could save everybody the bother by going back through her diary and producing a list? That wouldn’t cost £600 or even 600 pennies.

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Education Secretary denies refusing cheap internet for children, to ensure they couldn’t learn at home

Gavin Williamson: so stupid, he thinks his daft excuse about quality control will hold water. His Tory government doesn’t have any?

It seems Gavin Williamson is making a fuss about this.

According to the Mirror,

Gavin Williamson turned down an offer to get free or cheap broadband for thousands of disadvantaged families, the Mirror has learned.

Broadband giant BT offered to supply families basic connections to allow children to access online learning with schools closed for months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the firm’s Chief Executive revealed they had given free wifi vouchers to the Government in June but the Department for Education ‘struggled to distribute them effectively’ and returned them.

Williamson tells a different story:

A spokesman for the education department said a pilot of the scheme had not provided “reliable and consistent” internet connection.

Who do you believe?

Well, BT is an Internet Service Provider of very long standing, with experience in providing a reliable service to many thousands – if not millions – of homes.

And the Conservative Government of which Williamson is a member has also displayed consistency – in wasting public money on services offered by cowboy companies cobbled together by Tory donors or spoilt friends of Cabinet members.

It looks like another ideologically-motivated attack on the poor; pretend the offer doesn’t meet what passes for Conservative government quality control and reject it – to ensure that poor kids miss out on the education that might otherwise give them an advantage over rich kids who tend not to have two brain cells to rub together.

How does it look to you?

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Jeremy Corbyn won’t have seen This Writer’s tweets so please tell him it’s time to take this to court

The Royal Courts of Justice in London: if Keir Starmer insists on discriminating against Jeremy Corbyn, this is where they should thrash out the matter.

It seems This Writer published too soon when I said Jeremy Corbyn had been readmitted to the Labour Party but Keir Starmer would still face accusations of corruption.

Starmer has found a direct way to show us that he is corrupt instead.

After a panel of Labour NEC members – these are people from the committee that runs the party; its most powerful authority – voted* to restore Jeremy Corbyn to full Labour Party membership, Starmer has said he will not allow Corbyn back into the Parliamentary Labour Party.

To the best of This Writer’s knowledge, there is no precedent for such behaviour. If you’re a Labour Party member who has been elected to Parliament, you sit as a Labour MP. Starmer’s announcement that he is withholding the party whip from Corbyn is a nonsense; an insult.

It is another attempt to humiliate Corbyn.

Will it work? Fat chance!

But Corbyn should respond, and I said as much on Twitter:

I went on to discuss Starmer’s pose that he was standing up for the UK’s Jewish people who have been “hurt deeply”(or some such series of words) by the controversy in the Labour Party.

It is a pose, by the way. If certain people in the party – including, regrettably, Starmer himself – had not stirred this particular teacup into such a storm, it might not have caused quite the hurt, quite as deeply, as Starmer then found himself able to say. So:

My viewpoint saw some support:

I added:

Sadly, I think my last statement on the matter (for the day, at least) is most likely to prove accurate:

Perhaps supporters of Mr Corbyn would consider passing on the message to him, if you agree with it?

Perhaps, if any of his personal friends reads this, they might pass it on?

The facts are clear now: this is not going to go away.

The Starmers of this world are not going to stop persecuting the Corbyns until they are made to.

And Corbyn is perfectly capable of making them stop. It is long past time he did.

*Unanimously, we are led to believe.

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‘Thicky’ Nicky Morgan spells it out: Tories denied poor children free school meals out of spite

‘We starve children’: Rishi Sunak’s slogan was a little different when he published it, but a member of the public has corrected it for him.

There’s a reason we call her “Thicky” Nicky. Tory High Command will be fuming this morning.

The reason? Former education secretary Nicky Morgan admitted on the BBC’s Question Time that she and her Conservative colleagues voted down a motion to give poverty-stricken children free school meals during the holidays – not for any practical reason, but because a Labour MP insulted one of them during the debate.

Angela Rayner has apologised for using that word during a speech by Christopher Clarkson. Considering the content of his speech, one is moved more to sympathy with her point of view than his.

So it is doubly hard to accept “Thicky” Nicky’s excuse as she peddled it out on Question Time – more so because she backpedalled in the face of criticism and tried to say the Labour Party was wrong to introduce the debate as an Opposition Day motion.

And she was still saying the Tories were reacting petulantly to the way the debate was being carried out, rather than to its content – the necessity of helping to feed children in England.

Those children are now set to starve, because Tories like Nicky Morgan made up excuses to be upset.

Here’s her outburst, as televised:

And here’s some of the outrage it sparked:

(There are more than 322 Tories but that’s the number of their MPs who voted down the motion to feed starving children.)

There are now moves to shame all the Tories who voted against this motion online, simply by pointing out what they did to their electorate.

This Writer notes that my own MP – Fay Jones – voted against it. She represents a Welsh constituency – and I don’t think it’s a good look for a Welsh Tory to be voting to starve English children.

Do you?

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DWP crashes to another court defeat over sickness benefits

The High Court – also known as the Royal Courts of Justice – in London.

The High Court has just ruled that a rule allowing the Department for Work and Pensions to force some benefit claimants to wait – unpaid – for a mandatory reconsideration before they can appeal against refusal is unlawful.

The system previously demanded that, if a claim for income-related Employment and Support Allowance was refused, claimants would have to wait for a “mandatory reconsideration” of their case to take place before they could appeal.

This could take weeks, and has often taken months, in which the claimant – who is claiming because of serious illness, remember – has no income on which to survive.

Mr Justice Swift ruled that the demand that a mandatory reconsideration must take place before a claimant can appeal is a “disproportionate interference with the right of access to court” – in some cases.

This case was brought by law graduate Michael Conner, with crowdfunded aid from the website Benefits and Work – and represents a considerable victory for the claimant, the website, and crowdfunded legal proceedings in general.

Mr Connor had been forced to wait 18 weeks while the DWP carried out a mandatory reconsideration of his ESA decision. During this time he had no right to claim ESA.

If he had been able to lodge an appeal, he would have been paid ESA on a probationary rate, dependent on the provision of medical evidence by his doctor.

The judge said that after his benefit was cancelled on October 18, 2018, Mr Connor applied for a mandatory reconsideration.

But, in an “error” of the kind that benefit claimants have come to expect from the DWP, he said “no action was taken in response… The request for revision was incorrectly entered onto the Secretary of State’s electronic document management system.

“The document was not recognised or recorded as a request for reconsideration, and instead was classified as ‘unstructured whitemail'” and “it was not until 6 March 2019 – 4 months after Mr Connor’s request had been received – that it was identified as a request for revision.”

Mr Connor had managed to claim Income Support and Carer’s Allowance in the meantime, so he decided not to appeal the decision. Instead, he informed the DWP that he intended to challenge the legality of the rule making him unable to appeal until a mandatory reconsideration had happened.

He pointed out that:

  • The rule creates an open-ended deferral of the right to appeal that could leave claimants without income for an unlimited period – as evidenced by his own case.
  • Its effect is anomalous as ESA is payable before a decision is made and while an appeal is taking place, but not while the DWP is going through the mandatory reconsideration process [or, more likely, forgetting about it – in the opinion of This Writer].
  • If an appeal is started, there is no provision for back payment of ESA to cover the period of the revision decision while an appeal is ongoing.
  • So the interference is disproportionate because “it places benefits claimants, such as him, who are vulnerable, in a position of ‘legal and financial limbo, distress and destitution’ for the duration of the revision process that must be pursued before an appeal can be commenced” – and there is “no limit on the time permitted to the Secretary of State to determine an application for revision.”

In his ruling, Mr Justice Swift said: “It is anomalous that the payment pending appeal arrangements for ESA … do not extend to ESA claimants who are required … to request the Secretary of State to revise a decision and await her decision on that request before initiating an appeal.

“At the hearing of this case I gave the Secretary of State the opportunity to … explain why no provision exists to pay ESA to claimants… None of this further information provides the answer.

“My conclusion is that [the regulation in question] is a disproportionate interference with the right of access to court, so far as it applies to claimants to ESA who, once an appeal is initiated, meet the conditions for payment pending appeal.

“The advantage permitted to the Secretary of State by [the] regulation … comes at a cost to ESA claimants. There is no explanation for that.

“There is no evidence to support a conclusion that the objective pursued by [the] regulation … would to any extent be compromised if payments like the payments pending appeal made to ESA claimants who are pursuing appeals to the Tribunal, were made to them while they waited on the Secretary of State’s revision decision.

“In the absence of payment equivalent to payment pending appeal, the application of [the] regulation … to ESA claimants does not strike the required fair balance, and for that reason is an unjustified impediment to the right of access to court guaranteed by ECHR Article 6.”

Benefits and Work has stated: “Sadly, the ruling does not apply to other benefits such as PIP or DLA.

Nonetheless, it is an important victory and it means that ESA claimants, who are often faced with the prospect of many weeks without funds if they wish to appeal, are now in a much better position when challenging a decision.”

It will be interesting to see what will happen now.

The ruling is that the current situation is unlawful but no further remedy has been put in place beyond a statement to that effect.

What will happen to ESA claimants who must go through the mandatory reconsideration process now? Will they be paid while their case is reviewed?

That seems the logical course.

But I fear the DWP may find a way to duck out of it.

Source: Connor, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2020] EWHC 1999 (Admin) (24 July 2020)

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Coffey shows ‘active contempt’ for rights over Disability Confident snub – Disability News Service

She’ll never support it: Therese Coffey’s record suggests she is not sympathetic to disabled benefit claimants – so why would she take on disabled workers?

Work and pensions secretary Dr Therese Coffey has shown “active contempt for disability rights” by refusing to sign up to her own flagship disability employment scheme, information released by the government has confirmed.

Here’s Disability News Service:

A freedom of information (FoI) response from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that Coffey is refusing to join Disability Confident.

DNS asked the department in the FoI request whether Coffey and 11 other current and former ministers were members of the scheme.

In its FoI response on Friday (3 July), DWP said it did not need to provide the information because it was easily available online.

It pointed to its own website, and a list of Disability Confident members, which had been updated the same day.

That list showed that all four of the MPs who serve as ministers alongside Coffey – Justin Tomlinson, Mims Davies, Will Quince and Guy Opperman – have signed up, although Quince had only done so since DNS first raised concerns in March about current and former ministers turning their back on the scheme.

But Coffey, who has been work and pensions secretary since last September and has been an MP since 2010, is not on the list, even though – like all MPs – she employs staff to assist with her parliamentary duties.

A DWP spokesperson this week refused to comment when asked why Dr Coffey had not signed up to Disability Confident, and whether it showed that she did not value the scheme, and that she did not view the employment of disabled people as important.

I think this silence speaks volumes. Don’t you?

Source: Coffey shows ‘active contempt’ for rights over Disability Confident snub – Disability News Service

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You’d better prepare for a Covid-19 second wave disaster because the Tories aren’t going to

Rishi Sunak: he won’t give the NHS any more cash because the Tory story is that Covid-19 is over.

Is anybody surprised that Rishi Sunak is refusing to give the NHS £10 billion to prepare for an expected new wave of Covid-19 infections?

The Tory narrative is that Covid is over.

Their government is sending people back to work, despite the number of deaths per day still being higher than when lockdown started. Tory donors are tired of going without their huge daily profits so the rest of us are being forced back to work, whether it kills us or not.

The pubs reopening, and the beaches being open before them, are just a means for the Tories to excuse themselves. They’ll say that any deaths arise from people’s leisure experiences, not from being forced back to work too soon.

Of course, putting money towards the treatment of renewed infections runs against this story – so Sunak won’t do it.

It doesn’t matter how many plebs die as a result.

NHS bosses have accused the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, of breaking a pledge to give the health service “whatever it needs” after he refused to provide a £10bn cash injection needed to avoid it being crippled by a second wave of the coronavirus.

They have warned ministers that without the money the NHS will be left perilously unprepared for next winter and the second spike in infections which doctors believe is inevitable. Nor will they be able to restart non-Covid services or treat the growing backlog in patients needing surgery.

The row piles pressure on Sunak to find more money for the NHS ahead of his summer statement on Wednesday.

The NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, has told the Treasury that it needs at least £10bn in extra funding this year to cover the costs of fighting the virus and reopen normal services. The money would mean the NHS could create extra beds in hospitals, keep the Nightingale facilities on standby, send patients to private hospitals for surgery and provide protective equipment for frontline staff.

Source: NHS chiefs in standoff with Treasury over emergency £10bn | Society | The Guardian

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