Tag Archives: rollout

BBC geography fail puts Bristol and Birmingham in Wales. And if you think THAT’s bad…

What were they thinking: how embarrassing for Mishal Husein.

This is the funniest howler I’ve seen today.

A BBC news bulletin providing details of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in England suffered what I can only describe as a massive geographical cock-up.

I don’t really need to describe the nature of the error because it’s right there on the image at the top of this article.

Further illumination is provided by the following tweets:

(These two actually go together very well.)

Of course, in recent years the BBC has become desperate to entertain all points of view – in politics, at least.

So the corporation has insisted on broadcasting statements that were not true, saying the intention was to provide a “balanced” story.

This leads me to ask:

Does the map in the image represent someone’s genuine belief about the locations of these places – and BBC News broadcast it in the name of balance?

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.

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Horror of living on Universal Credit laid bare as outrage becomes outcry to end it

Driven to tears: Holly Sargent’s story came to light exactly a year ago, when it was revealed she was having to sell all her possessions to survive because the DWP had failed to pay single instalment of Universal Credit, eight months after she first started claiming it.

The Tories’ insistence that Universal Credit is a force for good would be inexplicable by now, if not for the revelation that organisations working with them have been made to sign ‘gagging’ clauses, preventing them from criticising the Department for Work and Pensions and its secretary of state, Esther McVey.

Fortunately the mainstream media are at last waking up to the enormity of the crime that is being committed against some of the UK’s most vulnerable people – and the stories of their suffering are starting to proliferate.

Consider the case of Jimmy Ballentine, who took his own life last year. He had been struggling with depression and anxiety, worsened by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who hounded him incessantly for money they thought he owed them, according to his son Dale.

The younger Mr Ballentine has written to prime minister Theresa May, applauding her appointment of a new minister for suicide prevention but begging her to consider the effect of her benefit system on the suicide rate – and pleading with her to scrap the migration of benefit claimants onto Universal Credit.

Or how about Melanie Goss, from Somerset, who told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show that her experience of Universal Credit had been an “absolute nightmare”?

She told Tory MP Nigel Mills, who sits on the Commons Work and Pensions committee he was “fumbling”, and said: “Pause it. How dare you just lump millions more other people next year on the same problem that everybody else is having.”

“It’s disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Despite these stories, the Conservative government is determined to continue rolling out Universal Credit across the UK – as Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom made clear in a Commons clash with former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams:

It seems the DWP is to be the subject of a Parliamentary debate, covering all eight years of Conservative and Tory-led ‘reforms’ of the benefit system.

But don’t get your hopes up about it. We’ve had such debates before. They tend to be full of terrifying stories covering the agonies suffered by the Tories’ victims – but while the Tories are in charge, they result in no action at all.

The big question is, do enough people in the real world even care? Some believe most people would rather immerse themselves in the make-believe world of, for example, Strictly Come Dancing:

https://twitter.com/JohnnyMabon/status/1050806773165318145

But I hope enough people do care – and they can prove it by signing a petition raised by the Labour Party, demanding that the roll-out of Universal Credit be stopped.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Tweeted: “The Tories’ Universal Credit is pushing families into poverty. They need to halt the roll-out now to stop it causing more suffering.

Sign the petition if you’re with us.

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Voter ID harms democracy so the Conservatives WILL roll it out, never mind the £20 million cost


It doesn’t matter how many organisations make common-sense arguments to stop the roll-out of voter ID checks.

The Conservatives are in trouble at the ballot box; they’re losing votes badly and need to stop Labour voters having a chance to exercise what should be their democratic right.

That is the reason the Tories have been claiming the voter ID pilot tests during the local elections in May were a glorious success, despite the fact that thousands of legitimate voters were denied access to democracy.

At just five constituencies, 3,981 voters were turned away. The total number of allegations of voter fraud in 2017 – out of a total of 45 million votes cast – was just 28.

There is no way of proving that there was anything wrong with the 3,981 voters who were turned away, so we can only accept that 28 possible instances of voter fraud are known to us.

This means that, at £20 million to roll it out across the UK, the cost to the taxpayer is £700,000 per allegation.

Considering the cost, and the effect on democracy, it’s no wonder the details were released right before Parliament went into summer recess, in a (failed, as usual) bid to hide the plan from the general public.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Cat Smith, made the situation perfectly clear: “Wasting tens of millions of pounds on trying to make it harder for people to vote has got to be one of the most stupid ideas ever.”

It is stupid, but only because the Tories have been caught red-handed. But they are unlikely to care because it is unlikely that anybody else will be able to do anything about it.

… I wonder how this would affect the DUP’s vote, if rolled out in Northern Ireland? If it isn’t, of course, the corruption should be obvious to everybody.

Back to Ms Smith: “At a time when our public services are in crisis and thousands of families are having to rely on foodbanks to stave off hunger, it is staggering that the Tories think that they can justify these undemocratic and unaffordable plans,” she added.

“Local authority election teams are already facing huge financial pressures after eight years of extreme Tory cuts and the government has no plans to address these concerns.”

All true.

Back in May, when I wrote about this following the local elections, I stated: “If the Conservatives go ahead with this, based on the evidence we’ve seen, we’ll know they are trying to nobble democracy.”

And we do know, don’t we?

Ministers are facing calls to ditch plans for nationwide voter ID checks as it emerged introducing them at a general election could cost up to £20m – even though there were only 28 cases of polling station impersonations alleged in 2017.

The government has been urged to abandon the contentious proposals, with the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) pointing out that at this rate, the cost could equate to £700,000 per fraud allegation.

Labour has claimed the moves are in danger of locking people out of the democratic process, and critics fear it could disproportionately affect ethnic minorities and the poorest.

It comes after ministers vowed to press ahead with plans to extend trials of the scheme, despite hundreds of people being turned away from the ballot box during tests in several locations during May’s local elections.

Details of the potential cost, which includes the price of hiring and training extra staff to carry out the identification checks, were set out with little fanfare in a Cabinet Office paper released ahead of the summer recess.

Source: Ministers urged to abandon Voter ID as rollout at general election estimated to cost up to £20m | The Independent

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These stupid Tories thought we wouldn’t know they’ve fiddled the Universal Credit rollout to help their electoral chances

David Gauke [Image: Daily Mirror].

Another Tory lie: They told us they wouldn’t pause the rollout of Universal Credit until it was fixed but in fact they have – in their own constituencies.

It seems the rest of the country can suffer, but people living in areas that voted for Theresa May, David Gauke and Iain Duncan Smith are to be cushioned from the worst effects of the Tory persecution of the poor.

This is attempted election-rigging, of course.

By giving preferential treatment to people in their own constituencies, Theresa May, David Gauke, Iain Duncan Smith and others are hoping to improve their chances in future elections.

There should be a law against it.

What they’re actually doing, though, is showing the whole of the UK that Tories look after their own and throw everybody else to the dogs; primarily Labour-voting areas next-door to the Tory constituencies have to put up with “unreformed” Universal Credit and the longer wait for payment.

And they thought they’d get away with it.

It seems Theresa May is so stupid, she doesn’t understand that we check every announcement, every change, her government makes – because we know they try to fiddle the system to their own advantage, hiding their dodges from the public by simply not mentioning them.

We catch them every time.

The Tories are secretly pausing­ the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit in Theresa May’s constituency.

They are also delaying the benefits shake-up in the constituencies of a string of top Tories, including that of Work and Pensions Secretary­ David Gauke , under fire First Secretary of State Damian Green and UC’s architect Iain Duncan Smith .

The announcement was slipped out the day after Chancellor­ Philip Hammond refused to pause the programme in the rest of the country.

The document titled “Universal Credit Transition Rollout Schedule” was published on the DWP website the day after the budget, replacing a previous version.

It lists the point at which UC will be rolled out in each JobCentre.

However, an analysis of the new timetable, comparing it to the previous rollout schedule, showed that Maidenhead, Ashford, Hemel Hempstead, Walthamstow and Redbridge Job Centres Plus will all now delay the roll out by three months.

These cover the bulk of the constituencies of Maidenhead, Ashford, South West Hertfordshire and Chingford and Woodford Green.

The move means that all three Work and Pensions Secretaries who designed and implemented the Universal Credit across much of the country will all see it delayed for their own seats – until the reduced waiting time and other reforms are in place.

Only South Oxhey, a small, working class and generally Labour-voting area of David Gauke’s constituency will continue to have Universal Credit imposed on time.

The other Job Centre Plus in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which serves Labour seats rather than Iain Duncan Smith’s seat, will implement UC earlier.

Last week the Government caved in to pressure to cut the waiting time for first payments from six to five weeks.

But it will be too late for struggling families at Christmas as the change will not come in until February.

Source: Calamitous roll out of Universal Credit is being secretly delayed in Theresa May’s backyard – Mirror Online


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Universal Credit helpline announcement is another silly Tory trick

David Gauke announcing the u-turn to the Work and Pensions committee.

They must think we are all really stupid.

Here’s David Gauke:

That’s right – the Universal Credit helpline will be a freephone line by the end of the year.

And the reason this is happening is concern that has been raised over the last week. In other words, this is happening because the Tories got caught charging the poor a fortune for help.

Here’s the Mirror:

Tory David Gauke has been forced to make a humiliating u-turn on the Tories’ 55p a minute Universal Credit helpline.

The Work and Pensions secretary bowed to public pressure and revealed this morning that all DWP phone lines will be made free within three months.

It comes a week after Jeremy Corbyn blasted the Prime Minister after it emerged the DWP charged claimants struggling with the bungled rollout of the benefits shake-up up to 55p a minute.

It comes as Theresa May faces a backbench rebellion on the rollout [of Universal Credit], which the Citizens Advice Bureau [has] branded a “disaster waiting to happen.”

Around 25 Tory MPs are understood to be ready to rebel in an opposition vote on Universal Credit later today.

The motion calls for the rollout to be halted until the failings in the system can be ironed out.

While the vote is non-binding, it would be an embarrassing defeat for the government.

Yes indeed – isn’t the timing interesting?

The announcement comes just before Prime Minister’s Questions, pre-empting any further attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to capitalise on the issue.

It also comes right before an Opposition Day debate in which Labour is calling for a halt to the UC rollout, in order to fix the problems.

A significant number of Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against their own government on the issue, and Labour has called on concerned Tories to support the motion, but now – well, look at this:

It would be typical of Heidi Allen if this is what happens. She is a serial complainer who raises serious issues, gets her face in the papers, then votes with her masters like a good little poodle. We can hope this is not the case with Universal Credit, but not with any confidence.

This Writer stated that we could expect an announcement of some kind, but that it would not amount to much. I pointed out: “Any such concessions are likely to be symbolic only, and unlikely to end the agony for people already consigned to the UC scrapheap. “Now we have seen it.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has made it clear that the excruciating at-least-six-week wait before anybody is paid Universal Credit will not be abolishedTories like to make the poor suffer.

But if the Tories thought they would win any brownie points for their u-turn today, they are mistaken. Labour is taking all the credit because Labour revealed the cost of the helpline last week. See:


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Here’s why the Trussell Trust and Citizens Advice’s demands on Universal Credit don’t go far enough

Theresa May is coming under pressure over the rollout of Universal Credit [Image: REX].

The problem with Universal Credit won’t be solved by “pausing” its rollout.

The system is inherently flawed, in that it allows Conservatives to harm benefit claimants by – for example – delaying their payments or inflicting unreasonable conditions on them.

It is inherently flawed because in households with more than one earner, the taper rate – the amount of Universal Credit withdrawn as earnings increase – is greater than under the current system of tax credits.

And of course, it is inherently flawed in that it was originally intended to be entirely computerised and in that sense it simply doesn’t work at all.

Put those issues together and the reputational damage to UC – and to the Department for Work and Pensions that spawned it – is too great.

Both should be scrapped.

Britain’s biggest foodbank charity has demanded a temporary halt to a benefits shake-up that’s leaving people stranded without cash for months.

The Trussell Trust said problems with Universal Credit had forced demand on one of its centres up by 67%.

The mammoth all-in-one system is slowly replacing six benefits including jobseekers’ allowance and Tax Credits.

But not only has it been delayed seven times, it’s sparked fury by delaying initial payments [to claimants] who transfer onto the benefit.

MPs have repeatedly heard of people waiting three months for payments to come through.

The Trussell Trust gave out nearly 1.2million emergency food parcels last year, its highest number ever and up from 61,000 in 2010/11.

Chief executive Mark Ward said: “Foodbanks tell us that Universal Credit is inadvertently leaving people without any money for six or more weeks, leading to debt, rental arrears, and poor mental health.

“We are concerned this will only get worse as winter approaches and more pressure will be put on stretched voluntary groups left to step in and help in the absence of other practical support.”

The Trust has joined a call already made by Citizens Advice for the roll-out to be halted “until appropriate emergency financial support is available and accessible to all people left with no income or food in the cupboard.”

Read more: Britain’s biggest foodbank charity demands halt to benefit shake-up that’s leaving people with no cash for months


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The great Universal Credit rip-off: Tories are using it to impoverish WORKERS

David Gauke: He wants to push working families further into poverty.

What was that about the Tories being the “Party of the Workers” again?

They have set the regulations for Universal Credit to ensure that if a household has two people at work, the taper rate – the amount of Universal Credit withdrawn as earnings increase – is greater than under the current system of tax credits.

It means the minority Conservative government is intentionally making sure that working families take home less money under the new system.

“Party of the Workers”? Party of screwing the workers, more like!

And guess what? Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke is so pleased with the wholesale harm his system is dishing out to working people, he wants to ramp up the speed at which it is rolled out – from five Job Centres a month to 50.

So much for the Tories’ claim that “Work is the best route out of poverty”.

But then, it is typical of Tories to say one thing and do another. What else can you expect from the Party of Liars?

Universal Credit was branded a “disaster” yesterday after it emerged the new benefits system could leave working families £50 a week worse off.

New research shows the welfare reforms will penalise second earners [a second person in a household, usually a spouse, who also earns a salary] if they take on more hours.

House of Commons Library figures commissioned by Labour MP Frank Field found the taper rate – the amount of Universal Credit withdrawn as earnings increase – is greater than under the current tax credits system.

At the moment second earners lose 41p for each £1 they earn but with the Universal Credit this increases to 63p for every £1.

This means that someone earning £5,000 a year would see their income fall from £2,950 under tax credits to £1,850 under the Universal Credit.

Read more: Working families to be worse off under “disastrous” Universal Credit


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