Tag Archives: retire

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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Thug MP who grabbed woman by the throat is to stand down – over Brexit

Remember this guy?

We have video if you don’t:

His name was Mark Field and he was suspended from his job as Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific as a result of the incident in June. When Boris Johnson became prime minister, he was sacked altogether.

Now he has announced he is to stand down as a member of Parliament – not because he attacked a defenceless woman but – we’re told – because of Brexit.

According to The Independent, he said his views “stand at odds with the current administration’s impatient approach to getting Brexit done”.

He said his desire to stop a no-deal Brexit and revoke Article 50 to restart the two-year clock put him “at odds” with Boris Johnson.

“It is increasingly clear that divisions over Brexit and our future relationship with the EU-27 will dominate and define domestic politics for many years to come,” he said in a statement to constituents in the Cities of London and Westminster.

He added: “So the current speculation that a general election may be imminent has forced me to reach the very difficult decision not to offer myself as your candidate for the next election.”

It’s the right decision – for the wrong reason.

Mr Field had to go – but not to make way for a hard-right Johnson-upholding Brextremist to replace him.

He should have resigned after he grabbed Greenpeace protester Janet Barker by the throat – or at least after Boris Johnson showed his own misogyny by dropping the investigation into the incident after he removed Mr Field from his ministerial role (the decision was unrelated).

But that’s the Johnson government for you: thuggish and misogynist.

At least Mr Field has found a form of protest that is acceptable to him: the kind that won’t solve a problem but may actually make matters worse.

Source: Mark Field: MP who grabbed female protester by neck stands down over Brexit | The Independent

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Commons Speaker announces retirement – depriving Tories of propaganda victory

John Bercow: The Speaker in action.

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has stopped the Conservative government from claiming a propaganda victory it desperately needs by announcing that he is to stand down at the next general election or on October 31 – whichever comes first.

This Site has reported Andrea Leadsom’s announcement that the Conservatives would stand a candidate against Mr Bercow at the next general election, on the grounds that he had undermined democracy by allowing Parliament to discuss – and pass – a backbench Bill ordering the government not to put the UK through a “no deal” Brexit.

Some might say that Mr Bercow’s announcement means the Tories have beaten him – but this is not true.

As he explained in his statement to the Commons, Mr Bercow has long intended to leave at the end of the Parliamentary session which began in 2017.

And by going through with this plan, he has deprived Ms Leadsom and her boss Boris Johnson of the chance to claim that they ousted him.

Here’s his full statement:

Colleagues, I would like to make a personal statement to the house. At the 2017 election I promised my wife and children that it would be my last. This is a pledge that I intend to keep. If the house votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this parliament ends.

If the house does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me stand down at the close of business on Thursday, 31 October. Least disruptive because that date will fall shortly after the votes on the Queen’s speech expected on 21 and 22 October.

The week also after that may be quite lively and it would be best to have an experienced figure in the chair for that short period.

Most democratic because it will mean that a ballot is held when all members have some knowledge of the candidates. This is far preferable to a contest at the beginning of a parliament when new MPs will not be similarly informed and may find themselves vulnerable to undue institutional influence.

We would not want anyone to be whipped senseless, would we? Throughout my time as Speaker I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature for which I will make absolutely no apology to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

To deploy a perhaps dangerous phrase, I have also sought to be the backbencher’s backstop.

I could not do so without the support of a small but superb team in Speaker’s House, the wider house staff, my Buckingham constituents, and above all my wife, Sally, and our three children, Oliver, Freddy and Jemima. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all profusely.

I could also not have served without the repeated support of this house and its members past and present. This is a wonderful place filled overwhelmingly by people who are motivated by their notion of the national interest by their perception of the public good. And by their duty, not as delegates, but as representatives, to do what they believe is right for our country.

We degrade this parliament at our peril. I have served as a member of parliament for 22 years, and for the last 10 as Speaker. This has been, let me put it explicitly, the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life for which I will be eternally grateful.

I wish my successor in the chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of honourable and right honourable members individually and for parliament institutionally as the Speaker of the House of Commons.

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If David Dimbleby is leaving the BBC’s Question Time, what horror will replace him?

Even-handed? David Dimbleby, probably addressing a socialist in the Question Time audience.

Some may think it is a relief to see former Bullingdon boy and sadly biased QT chairman David Dimbleby relinquish the role.

But who will replace Dimbles after his quarter-of-a-century-long stint?

I have a terrible theory about that.

Perhaps science has discovered the secret of human cloning and the BBC has at long last found the perfect person to put forward its pro-Tory propaganda:

Joseph Goebbels.

David Dimbleby is to leave Question Time after 25 years on the BBC’s flagship political programme.

The presenter, who will leave the show at the end of the year, said it was “the right moment to leave”.

Source: David Dimbleby to leave Question Time – BBC News


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Right choice, wrong reason: Andrew Lloyd-Webber resigns as a Tory peer

Andrew Lloyd Webber has not spoken in the House of Lords since January [Image: David Parry/PA].

If only he had announced his retirement from writing musicals as well.

The theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has quit as a Conservative peer, saying his busy schedule is incompatible with the demands of the House of Lords with crucial Brexit legislation ahead.

Lloyd Webber, whose musicals include Cats and Phantom of the Opera, was given a peerage in 1997 but has not spoken in the House of Lords this year and only votes occasionally.

In a letter sent to the Conservative chief whip, Lloyd Webber said he was currently in the busiest period of his career, including long periods in the US, which meant he was unable to commit to attending key votes in the future.

Source: Andrew Lloyd Webber quits as Conservative peer | Culture | The Guardian


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It’s all right for him: DWP chief quits to enjoy early retirement – after delaying it for the rest of us

Sir Robert Devereux announced that he is stepping down as the permanent secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions.


The message is clear: In Tory Britain, there’s one rule for the rank and file and a completely different one for the elite.

Sir Robert Devereux is one of the elite. He’s the civil servant who enacted the most punitive social security “reforms” (a vile euphemism for draconian attacks on the sick, the disabled and the vulnerable) on the working-class people of the United Kingdom.

And he has been well-rewarded for it – as the Daily Mail article quoted below makes clear.

So he’s cutting and running – many years before the retirement age he has forced on the rest of us including, most noticably, the WASPI women.

He can probably feel the way the wind is blowing. Time is running out for the Conservatives and a Labour administration will undoubtedly take great care to examine every act of the DWP throughout the last seven years of its blood-drenched history. Maybe he wants to be safely retired in some warm country where he can’t be caught before that happens.

Meanwhile, the rest of us continue to suffer.

The mandarin who pushed through a rise in the pension age to 68 is to retire – at just 61 years-old.

Sir Robert Devereux announced today that he is stepping down as the permanent secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions.

The senior civil servant has the biggest pension pot in Whitehall and will enjoy a retirement pot worth a staggering £1.8million.

This means the 60-year-old will get £85,000 a year and a lump sum of £245,000 when he leaves his job.

Source: Mandarin who pushed through rises in state pension age calls time on his career at age 61 with retirement pot worth £1.8million


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Theresa May reckons she’ll be PM until September 2019. You have to laugh, don’t you?

Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn: Was this their reaction when they heard Theresa May is planning to retire in 2019? [Image: Justin Tallis via Getty Images.]

How deluded can Theresa May be?

That’s a fine question to ask, I know, of a woman who called a general election in the firm belief that the public would give her 100 extra seats in Parliament, even though she didn’t actually go out and meet any of us.

She seems to have accepted that her miserable performance in the election – losing the Conservatives’ Parliamentary majority and being forced to arrange a deal with the far-right Northern Irish DUP in order to run a minority government – means she’ll have to go before the next one, and she has pencilled in August 30, 2019 as her “quit by” date.

She has been spending the summer wining and dining her backbench MPs in a bid to stave off any rebellions and leadership challenges:

Theresa May has pencilled in Friday, August 30, 2019 as the day she will quit as Prime Minister.

That gives her exactly two years to see Britain through Brexit before handing over to her successor.

Mrs May is on a charm offensive with her MPs – entertaining small groups of 15 plus partners to a day out at her Chequers country retreat.

Each MP is emailed personal invitations until they accept.

One Tory MP who was a guest said: “It’s clear she won’t lead us into another election and will be gone by September 2019. She invited MPs to Chequers to ensure there isn’t a ­leadership contest in the meantime.

“Giving the dogs a stroke is better than giving them a kick, I suppose.”

Doesn’t seem to be going too well, does it?

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has been spending the summer campaigning in Tory marginal constituencies across the UK, and he reckons Mrs May will be out on her ear a lot sooner than she’d like to claim:

Theresa May’s government is doomed to collapse and a fresh election “in the near future” is inevitable, Jeremy Corbyn has told HuffPost UK.

The Labour leader said the Tory minority administration will fail before its five-year fixed term is up and Brits should have a fresh choice on their Prime Minister if the Conservatives switch leader.

Who do YOU think is right?


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Lord Freud resigns as welfare minister after inflicting misery on millions

130620freudSo farewell then, Lord Fraud Freud. You threw thousands – millions? – of people into the threat of debt and destitution by inflicting the bogus Work Capability Assessment on the sick and disabled, and the Bedroom Tax on people who’d had no influence on the accommodation allocated to them by a social housing provider.

He based these policies on nonsense and defended them with nonsense.

And now he is retiring to his eight-bedroom mansion, having inflicted financial misery on the masses for having an extra bedroom.

He will not be missed, but he should be remembered.

A key architect of the Tories’ welfare cuts is retiring after more than six years in the job.

Lord Freud is the only minister who has stayed at the Department for Work and Pensions since David Cameron reached Downing Street.

The privately-educated great grandson of Sigmund Freud, a City investment banker for 20 years, advised Labour on welfare reform before joining the Tories as a peer in 2009.

During his time he defended hated policies including the bedroom tax and £30-a-week cuts to disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Asked if he could relate to people on benefits, he once said: “You don’t have to be the corpse to go to a funeral.”

Source: Tory welfare reform minister retires after more than six years – Mirror Online

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What is the REAL reason more older people are working?

older-workersThe Conservative Government slipped out an insidious little press release over the weekend, claiming the number of people aged 50-65 who have found paid work has hit a record high.

Apparently, more than 8.2 million people in that age group are now in work – almost as many as those aged 25-49. The Tories are keen to claim that this is a good thing, but is it?

How much of this figure is the result of fewer people taking early retirement because they have found they cannot afford it? How much is the result of more people staying on in self-employment because they cannot afford to stop, rather than starting new employment with government help?

The figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (covering the period between April and June this year) don’t tell us much that is helpful.

They say the overall number of people in self-employment has risen by 8,000 in the last three months – but the number of employees has dropped by 54,000.

Looking at the different age groups, the difference between employees and the self-employed is not recorded, but the 50,000 more people working in the 50-64 age group is offset by a drop of 22,000 in the 34-49 age group.

Isn’t it likely that these people have simply passed the age of 50 while keeping the jobs they already had?

No figures are provided for the number of people who retired during these three months.

From what we see, it is entirely possible that the 50,000 ‘extra’ workers are entirely composed of people who have kept their current jobs, people who are self-employed and people who have decided not to retire – in the last two categories, probably because they can’t afford it!

Now look at the Conservative Government’s press release:

“The government is committed to changing perceptions of older workers amongst employers and promoting the business benefits of maintaining an age-diverse workforce.”

That’s changing perceptions of older workers – not actually putting them into work.

“These efforts are part of a wider determination to give working people across the UK the chance to get on at every stage of their life and ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve the dignity of a job, the security of a pay cheque, and a comfortable retirement.”

Oh, the Tories are determined to give older people a chance, are they? That doesn’t mean they’re actually doing anything.

“Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann said: ‘Record numbers of older people are bringing their skills, talents and experience into the UK workplace, which is good news for people’s incomes, their future pensions, and the overall economy.'”

There’s nothing in this to suggest that the Conservative Government had a part in it.

“‘But with 735,000 vacancies in the economy today, businesses are still not making the most of the opportunities that this huge pool of talent has to offer.'”

No indeed – it seems more likely that they are continuing to ignore those opportunities, and the increased in-work figure is due to entirely different reasons.

“‘As part of our one nation approach, this government wants to see employers do even more to eradicate outdated misconceptions and age discrimination, so that employers realise the benefits when they retain, retrain and recruit staff who are over the age of 50.'”

“Wants to see.” That translates as “isn’t actually doing anything”.

The whole story stinks worse than an abandoned fish market.

It reminds This Writer of an article published here in October 2014, based on the findings of our friends at Flip Chart Fairy Tales. The conclusion was: “What we’re seeing, then, is a huge rise in the number of people who find themselves unable to retire because they won’t have enough income to support themselves.”

And the Tory press release?

Part of the philosophy of The Big Lie that the Conservative have taken back from the Nazi Party in Germany during the 1930s and 40s is the principle of staying with the lie so that, if it isn’t believed at first, constant repetition will hammer down the resistance of the masses until they accept what they are fed:

“The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

The man who said those words was Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

They could easily be applied to Baroness Altmann.

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