Tag Archives: secretary

Coffey tells people earning less than minimum wage to take Universal Credit or blow their savings

Therese Coffey: if she’s an example of Tory ‘levelling up’ then we need to get rid of them for the sake of the nation.

If you can’t see what’s wrong with the pictured evoked by the headline, it’s simple: nobody should be earning less than the minimum wage.

There’s a reason it’s called the minimum. It is the legal limit below which no employer should be paying anybody.

But the Johnson government’s Work and Pensions Secretary – who should know this – didn’t.

Therese Coffee really is a waste of a Commons seat.

On Sky News yesterday (October 14), she refused to answer when Kay Burley repeatedly asked her if she could live on £5.84 an hour.

Instead, she said people could claim Universal Credit to have that amount topped up (after the obligatory five-week wait, but she didn’t mention that).

Or those with more than £16,000 in savings – which she described as “substantial” although This Writer is sure she and her fellow Tory ministers would consider it a pittance – could drill into that money until it is gone.

What a charmer. Here she is, avoiding the question:

And here’s the backlash:

(For those who can’t read images, Cleverly tweeted that, at elections, Labour think you’re an adult at 16, but when it comes to bus travel you’re not an adult until 25 – to which The Daily Politik responded that, when it comes to paying taxes, the Tories think you’re an adult at 16, but you don’t qualify for an adult minimum wage until 25.)

Meanwhile, the Tories have used the Covid crisis give huge amounts of cash to firms run by their chums, avoiding the normal tendering process. One such firm is paying people the equivalent of £1.5 million per year – each – to do nothing.

That is what the Conservatives call “levelling up”: they take your cash and use it to further enrich their friends.

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If #JeremyHunt thinks #Covid19 restrictions are #CrushinglyUnfair then why is he writing about it and not getting the Tories to change?

Hypocrite: Jeremy Hunt presided over the long-term dismantling of NHS services which were auctioned off to private companies, who then turned those services into postcode lotteries, provided only where they thought they could make a profit. And now he is complaining about an NHS service becoming a postcode lottery.

Jeremy Hunt seems to be revelling in the fact that he Matt Hancock has replaced him as “Worst-ever Health Secretary”.

After being removed from the government by Boris Johnson, he’s now a backbencher, albeit one who chairs the Commons Health and Social Care committee.

One would have expected him to toe the Johnson line, having been responsible for much of the harm done to NHS healthcare in the last 10 years.

Instead, he seems to be trying to carve out a new careers as a ‘voice of reason’ in the Conservative Party – hence his article in today’s (September 20) Fail on Sunday.

In it, he attacks the current Covid-19-related restrictions on people’s movements. Here’s the line that has created all the reaction, referring to the fact that mothers are being told they must give birth alone:

For families, it simply feels crushingly unfair and illogical that six people can meet in a pub and 30 people can go shooting, yet mothers have to go through one of life’s most harrowing and precious milestones alone.

Apparently he is supporting a Fail campaign to “end lone births”, saying that the rules are being imposed arbitrarily:

A postcode lottery is unacceptable on a matter of this importance.

Wasn’t he the health secretary who turned much of NHS care into a postcode lottery, across England (and in other UK countries whose NHS use English facilities)?

Yes he was.

It seems hypocritical for him to complain, because it is. And the public have seen it:

The public have also noted some “crushingly unfair” aspects of Mr Hunt’s own behaviour:

And they want to know why the limit of Hunt’s opposition is an article in a right-wing rag:

Last word must be the following. At a time when Labour has just unveiled its new slogan, Mr Ball points out that the Tories could roll out a new, accurate slogan of their own:

Source: JEREMY HUNT: It’s crazy that six people can meet in a pub while mums endure lone births  | Daily Mail Online

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Home Office probe into refugee death is welcome – unless the Home SECRETARY is involved

Mercy Baguma: her body was discovered next to her malnourished son after the Home Office rescinded her leave to remain in the UK, meaning she could not earn a living here.

This Writer welcomes the Home Office announcement that it is to investigate the death of Mercy Baguma.

I wrote yesterday that there were unanswered questions and it is to be hoped that this inquiry will provide those answers.

But I hope the Home Secretary can be kept away from it.

Priti Patel, by her actions, has shown herself up, time and time again, to be a racist.

I would not expect any justice for a refugee from Uganda if she involves herself.

And when the Home Office makes its report on this tragedy, I want that report to publish all the evidence it receives – in full – so that we, the public, can form our own conclusions on what happened and whether blame should be applied. Somebody is responsible for this death, and they should face justice.

I don’t want the death of this black woman to be whitewashed.

Source: Home Office to launch probe after mum found dead in Glasgow flat next to malnourished baby – Daily Record

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Court showdown for DWP over Errol Graham – who starved to death after his benefits were axed

Errol Graham: he starved to death after the Department for Work and Pensions cut off his benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will have to answer questions in court about the legality of its safeguarding policies after a family challenged it over the death of a vulnerable man.

The DWP ignored its own safeguarding advice to deprive Errol Graham of his benefits, This Site reported previously.

Left with no income, Mr Graham starved to death.

He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years as a result of enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned.

The DWP stopped Mr Graham’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) entitlement – and backdated that decision to the previous month – after making two unsuccessful visits to his home to ask why he had not attended a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment (WCA) on August 31, 2017.

He had not been asked to fill in an ESA50 questionnaire, though.

The government department managed to stop an ESA payment that had been due to be credited to his bank account on October 17, the same day it made the second unsuccessful safeguarding visit.

Its own rules state that it should have made both safeguarding visits before stopping the benefits of a vulnerable claimant.

Not only that, but the DWP had needed – but failed – to seek further medical evidence from Mr Graham’s GP, in order to make an informed decision about him.

In fact, it seems this would not have made much difference as Mr Graham’s GP had not seen him since 2013, or recalled him for vital blood tests or issued prescriptions since 2015, despite medical conditions including significant, long-term mental distress and hypothyroidism.

Because he had lost his entitlement to ESA, Mr Graham’s housing benefit was also stopped.

When bailiffs knocked down his front door to evict him on June 20, 2018, they found a dead body that weighed just four and a half stone. The only food in the flat was a couple of out-of-date tins of fish.

Mr Graham was 57 years old.

Now, solicitors Leigh Day tell us:

“Mr Graham’s son’s partner, Alison Turner, has been granted permission to a full judicial review challenging the legality of the current safeguarding policies and the failure of the DWP to review and revise those policies as promised at Errol’s inquest.

“Alison will argue that the safeguarding policies are unlawful as they create a significant risk of breaching the human rights of vulnerable individuals like Errol and she will seek a declaration that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, has unlawfully breached her legitimate expectation that a review would be carried out resulting in revised policies.

“Following the Court Order the DWP now has 35 days to serve her Detailed Grounds and Evidence defending the safeguarding policies and explaining why Ms Coffey has not reviewed and amended those policies as promised at Errol’s inquest.”

Yes, there was an inquest – at which the Assistant Coroner decided not to write a “Regulation 28” report demanding changes to DWP safeguarding procedures to “prevent future deaths” because the DWP claimed it was already completing a review of its safeguarding, which was supposed to finish last autumn.

No such review has ever seen the light of day.

The court has ordered that a two-day hearing be listed to consider the case.

Ms Turner said: “Errol had a long history of serious mental illness which left him severely incapacitated. When the circumstances of his death came to light we had hoped – and from what the DWP stated at the inquest, we had expected – that the department would review their safeguarding policies and involve us in that review.

“But, incredibly, that has not happened. We deserve answers and those answers need to be public for the sake of other families and other vulnerable benefits claimants who suffer similar mental health difficulties.

“No one else should be put at risk in the same way Errol was because adequate safeguarding measures are not in place.”

Ms Turner is represented by Tessa Gregory, who said: “Our client believes that the DWP’s current safeguarding policies are not fit for purpose as they expose vulnerable individuals to a significant risk of harm, as was so tragically illustrated by Errol’s death.

“The DWP committed at Errol’s inquest to reviewing the applicable policies but two years after his death and one year after the inquest, nothing has changed.

“Our client therefore feels she has been left with no option but to bring these proceedings to … force the Secretary of State to take steps to ensure that no other families have to suffer in the terrible way her family has.”

Source: Family Of Errol Graham Granted Permission For Judicial Review Against DWP

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Defence secretary phoned Saudi Arabia to apologise for human rights sanctions – claim

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace: he even looks shifty, doesn’t he?

Typical two-faced Tories – they say one thing to us and a completely different thing to their warmongering buddies abroad.

In this case, it seems UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace phoned up a Saudi defence minister to renew the UK’s support for the regime there and its work – which we must take as including its genocidal war against Yemen.

This happened just one day after the UK announced sanctions on individuals from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Here’s The Independent:

The UK government privately showered Saudi Arabia’s government with praise a day after publicly criticising its human rights abuses and targeting it for sanctions.

The government was accused of “calling to apologise” to the regime after some Saudi individuals were included on the foreign secretary’s new “Magnitsky Act” sanctions list on Monday.

Defence minister Ben Wallace is understood to have discreetly telephoned his Saudi counterpart on Wednesday to reiterate the UK’s support for the regime and its work.

The call was not publicised by the British government in the UK, but Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency used the opportunity to boast about it in a press statement issued on Wednesday.

“His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense, received yesterday a phone call from His Excellency British Defence Secretary [sic], Mr Ben Wallace, during which the partnership between the two countries was discussed, especially in the defence field, and the efforts made by the two countries to enhance regional and international security,” according to a statement on the Saudi Press Agency.

Source: UK government accused of phoning Saudi Arabia to apologise after imposing human rights sanctions | The Independent

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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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Westferry development scandal grows as Jenrick admits he knew he was saving tycoon millions

Robert Jenrick: while he was presenting press conferences about Covid-19, he has also been mired in an apparent corruption scandal.

Calls for Robert Jenrick to be removed from his role as a housing minister are escalated after he admitted he knew he was saving tycoon Richard Desmond between £30m and £50m by approving plans for a £1 billion development at Westferry, London – in defiance of planning rules.

Desmond subsequently gave the Conservative Party a £12,000 donation, raising questions about this being a “cash-for-favours” scandal.

According to the Mail:

He insisted ‘all the rules were followed’ over the 1,500-home development in east London.

But he told MPs he knew that the timing of his decision would save the businessman a fortune.

Steve Reed, Labour’s housing spokesman, urged Mr Jenrick to make a full Commons statement, publish all correspondence and ‘disclose all conversations with all Government ministers and officials’.

In response, the Cabinet minister said information relating to the decision has now been passed to Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.

So he knew he was breaking planning regulations – in fact Jenrick had to quash the planning permission he had granted, as a result of the scandal, and he knew that doing this would benefit the developer, who subsequently rewarded the Tories with a donation. And he isn’t publishing anything.

He still says he’s innocent of wrongdoing, but Jenrick must know how suspicious his behaviour looks.

Indeed, anti-corruption expert Elizabeth David-Barrett, a professor of governance and integrity who is also the director of the Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex, has already said he should have resigned:

“In most previous governments, Robert Jenrick would have resigned well before now.

“The questionable conduct that is tolerated and defended in this current government is creating a dangerous new world in which standards in public life are seen as a concept from the past, and personal patronage and loyalty are now prized higher than combatting corruption.

“Although Robert Jenrick eventually reversed the decision on the Westferry scheme, under threat of legal action, this should not be the end of the matter.

“If there is no subsequent investigation into alleged misconduct, then the message that sends is that ministers can do whatever they like and just reverse the decision if their actions are questioned. The system needs to be preventive and act as a deterrent.”

Fat chance of that, under Boris Johnson!

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Housing minister Jenrick faces ‘resign’ demands after approving donor’s £1bn scheme

Robert Jenrick: while he was presenting press conferences about Covid-19, he was also mired in an apparent corruption scandal.

The news seems to be full of stories alleging corruption by Tory minister. Does the Covid crisis mean they have nothing better to do?

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick is facing calls to resign after he admitted “unlawfully” signing off a 1,500-home development that saved a Tory Party donor millions of pounds.

The £1bn project on the former Westferry Printworks site on London’s Isle of Dogs was approved in January by Jenrick – a last-minute reprieve after the council and then the independent Planning Inspectorate both deciding it should be refused. They had said it lacked enough affordable housing and conflicted with local conservation policy.

But the housing secretary’s decision came just a day before Tower Hamlets Council approved a new rate for its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – a move that would have increased the property owner’s financial liability to the local authority by between £30m and £50m.

That money would have been spent mitigating the impact of the development on the local area, and improving local services. Instead, thanks to Jenrick’s timing, it stayed in the pocket of the developer.

So this was a development proposal that did not meet planning conditions.

It did not provide enough affordable housing.

It conflicted with conservation policy.

It should not have been approved.

But Jenrick stepped in to do just that – and on the day before a new rule was imposed that would have compelled the developer to pay between £30-50 million that would have minimised any harmful impact on the Isle of Dogs.

The money would also have improved local services. All lost, due to this Tory minister’s intervention.

We need to ask who benefits from this decision?

The local authority? No.

People who need affordable housing? No.

The public? Certainly not!

The environment? Don’t make me laugh!

But the developer did.

The land is owned by publisher and former Tory donor Richard Desmond.

The local council – Tower Hamlets – began legal action in March, alleging that the timing of the decision appeared to show bias. It asked the High Court to order the government to disclose documents that, it argued, would show Jenrick was influenced by a desire to help Desmond save money by avoiding the charges.

Faced with the prospect of having to publicly release documents relating to the case, Jenrick accepted his decision letter was “unlawful by reason of apparent bias” and confirmed it was deliberately issued before the new CIL policy could be adopted. He agreed planning permission should be quashed and decided by a different minister.

So the minister admitted interfering in the planning process to grant planning permission to a development that should not have been allowed, and to save a developer connected with a Tory donor from paying extra costs.

This is not the standard of service the public should expect from a government minister.

Should he step down? Should he face disciplinary or legal proceedings for corruption?

Source: Robert Jenrick Faces Calls To Resign After ‘Unlawfully’ Approving Tory Donor’s £1bn Housing Project

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Court threat over ‘illegal’ coronavirus-related ‘Do Not Revive’ orders on disabled people

Ventilator: if you’re disabled, and you catch Covid-19, a doctor might deny you access to one of these and let you die. If he does so without asking you, he’s abusing your human rights. Matt Hancock is being told to step in and stop this – or be slapped down by the courts.

Remember when This Site reported that doctors were being ordered to deny coronavirus care to people with disabilities?

It went on for a while.

Eventually it seemed the people at the top of the NHS put a stop to the practice, telling hospitals, GPs and NHS managers not to issue such letters.

So why are we being told that medical professionals are still being told not to revive people with disabilities who are suffering from Covid-19?

The issue is that doctors are being told to issue these letters about disabled people, without consulting those people on whether they agree with the decision. That’s an abuse of human rights.

And now it seems Matt Hancock and the Department of Health and Social Care may face a court order to halt the practice.

The problem is that the government is not directly responsible for the issuing of these letters – doctors are.

But law firm Leigh Day, acting for Kate Masters, whose family has already fought a successful legal action against a DNR order, says the government is failing to provide proper guidance on this issue.

So Hancock is facing an ultimatum. Either he honours the following series of requests:

Masters wants the government to use its emergency coronavirus laws to put several safeguards in place. These state that doctors must not issue DNR notices unless the patient and/or their family/carers are:

  • Told “that it is not appropriate to consider CPR and why”.
  • Provided with “an opportunity to discuss their views and wishes regarding receiving CPR with the healthcare professional making the decision”.
  • Given “clear information as to how the healthcare professional will take into account their views/wishes, the relevance of clinical judgement regarding efficacy of CPR (including being clear consent is not required) and how resource constraints are taken into account”.
  • “Informed of the DNR decision and the reasons why (which must be individual to the patient)”.
  • Advised “they can request a second opinion if they disagree with the decision”.

Or, if he fails to respond by May 7 (tomorrow, at the time of writing), then he’ll be dragged into court to face a judicial review that could force him to treat people with disabilities with the same respect as people with money.

I think he’ll take the court option, even though the request is perfectly reasonable.

Tories want to kill people with disabilities.

They’re a little… Nazi in that respect.

Source: Matt Hancock could face court action over the ‘illegal’ treatment of disabled people during lockdown | The Canary

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Coronavirus: it seems Boris Johnson might have actually infected his whole cabinet

Johnson: He boasted that he had been shaking hands with coronavirus victims, then he came down with it. Who knows how many cabinet members are infected after he failed to observe his own rules on social distancing?

A third cabinet member is self-isolating because he has symptoms of the coronavirus.

Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, is the latest crony of Boris Johnson to fall victim to the contagion.

This is what the Tory government gets for failing to observe its own demands for people to observe “social distancing”!

Who knows who’ll get it next?

Source: Coronavirus: Scottish secretary Alister Jack has Covid-19 symptoms – BBC News

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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