Tag Archives: survive

DWP stops PIP for mum with brain cancer – because she isn’t dying fast enough?

Here’s yet another abuse of the benefit system by the organisation responsible for it.

The Department for Work and Pensions has stopped paying Personal Independence Payments of £140 per week to a mother with terminal brain cancer, because she has managed to survive for longer than expected.

Kathy Hill, of Buxton, was diagnosed as having a Grade Four brain tumour in 2017 and was given between six months and a year to live.

But she defied doctors’ expectations, surviving much longer alongside her son and their dog who, between them, are her stated reasons for continuing to live.

Unfortunately it seems the DWP has decided she has survived too long, and cancelled her PIP payments in August. She has been left to survive on Universal Credit and now says she feels housebound.

The DWP provides PIP to people under special rules if they have a terminal condition and their death can be “reasonably expected” within six months.

In this case, the government department said the award was cancelled because a reassessment showed her prognosis had changed.

But she is still expected to die of the cancer that she has.

It seems that, by cancelling the cash that helps motivate her, the DWP is trying to speed her on her way.

Source: Buxton mum with terminal brain cancer has benefits stopped by DWP – Buxton Advertiser

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More working people than ever are struggling to survive

Sinking, not swimming: Under the Conservatives, more and more people are failing to pay their way.

Terrifying new information from the Trade Union Congress has shown that millions of working people are struggling to survive due to poverty.

The TUC poll suggests 20 per cent of working people – one-fifth of the more-than-30-million-strong working population – skip meals because they can’t afford the food.

One in five workers go without heating during cold weather.

One in 10 fall into rent or mortgage arrears because they can’t pay on time.

And one in five have pawned or sold belongings because they needed the money.

Asked how they would deal with an unexpected £500 bill, 30 per cent said they would be unable to pay – up from 24 per cent in 2017. Of those who said they would pay, 24 per cent said they would have to go into debt or sell something.

A quarter said they were out of cash before the end of most months, and 16 per cent said they had to cut back their spending – or stop it altogether – many times a year.

And 41 per cent said one of their biggest concerns at work was the fact that their pay was not keeping up with the cost of living.

This is damning information that knocks the stuffing out of claims that wage rises are increasing faster than the rate of inflation. Is that still true after the top 10 per cent – or even one per cent – of earners are removed from the figures? For some reason, I couldn’t find that information when I looked for it.

I remember having arguments, years ago, with people who claimed heatedly that business bosses in the UK had to keep wages depressed because otherwise they would be forced to stop trading. I wonder how many of them live in luxury mansions while their employees struggle in bed-sits, converted shipping containers or office blocks, or are forced to sleep on the streets?

None of this will change for the better under a Conservative government – especially not under one run by Boris Johnson.

I wonder how many people realise this as they plough through their daily drudgery, their only source of information coming from BBC-approved propaganda that tells them Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is unelectable?

Do any of them even realise they are being played for fools?

Source: Millions of working people struggle to put food on the table, poll shows

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Dear DWP: Don’t waste police time – they don’t investigate uncommitted crimes

150215sanctioncentreDWP employees at the Killingworth Job Centre in North Tyneside need a reminder in basic law, namely: Police only investigate crimes that have actually been committed.

It’s a fairly obvious legal caveat that seems to have passed over the heads of whoever set the police onto one claimant who warned he might have to resort to shoplifting to survive, after staff at that Job Centre sanctioned him off of Jobseekers’ Allowance.

However, it seems the police there are no better; they paid the claimant concerned a visit at his home in order to ascertain from him that he was not in fact planning to commit a crime. Perhaps a better word would be “intimidate”.

Here’s the full story, courtesy of Unemployed in Tyne and Wear.

Of course, we don’t know what the claimant did wrong – if anything – to be sanctioned off-benefit in the first place, but this kind of heavy-handedness – from the DWP and the police – helps nobody.

In this claimant’s case, it seems he has family who can help him out – but what if he didn’t?

We know about others who, once sanctioned, went to their deaths in one way or another.

Is this story telling us that the police are helping the DWP victimise people fatally?

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Screwing the facts: Tory website bid to manipulate views on welfare

I learned about this trick years ago, when I was working for a broadsheet newspaper.

There had been a great deal of debate over its page size in previous years, but this had been settled by a survey, written by the paper’s bosses (who didn’t want any change).

You’re probably thinking the question was “Should this newspaper continue as a broadsheet or change to tabloid size?” If so, you’re a long way out. The actual question was this:

“Should this newspaper be smaller?”

Of course, the answer was a resounding “No!” People wanted value for money, and didn’t realise that they were being asked about the size of the paper’s pages and not the number of pages in the paper as a whole.

Today I was made aware of another survey that attempts to manipulate the responses it receives by cleverly-worded “leading” questions – except I’m referring to a survey on the Conservative Party website, so neither the questions nor their wording are particularly clever.

You can see it for yourself if you like but I’ll quote it verbatim here anyway.

“We’re interested in your view about the fairness of our benefit reforms” is the overture. I have to admit that, on reading this, I was overjoyed. At last a chance to let the Tories know how wrong-headed their approach has been! That they are hitting the vulnerable in society – and that their policies are in fact leading to the deaths of many of the most vulnerable. Fat chance.

“Conservatives in Government have made a decision that we will support people who work hard and that work will be rewarded.” This was the snap back to reality. Anyone reading this has to see that it’s a propaganda exercise. The only other response is to ask, when is this support going to happen?

“Labour say that benefits should go up by more than average wages – even though it will be the taxes of people in work that pays for this increase.” Whoa, whoa, WHOA, wait. The Conservatives aren’t about to lower the base rate of taxes (only the top rate, for the benefit of their extremely rich friends). Nor are they about to increase taxes. This is disingenous and manipulative. They are trying to say that their decision to depress rises in benefit payments is reasonable because it is in line with employers’ (and let’s remember the government is itself an employer) unreasonable decisions to keep their employees’ pay down (and we’ll get onto their own pay rises in a moment).

“We don’t think this is fair for the following reasons…

“1. A real terms increase would have meant that benefits increased more than the average salary.  Since 2007, benefits have increased by 20% whilst salaries have only increased by 10%. If the Government continued to increase benefits at a higher rate than salaries, this would not be fair on working people. The same working people who pay the taxes which fund the benefits to begin with.” Hogwash. Since 2007, benefits have increased in line with inflation and, as a result, people on benefits have been able to survive. Salaries may well have increased by only 10 per cent. I recall my own pay – before I became self-employed. Month after month, year after year, I saw my disposable income being whittled away in a series of poor pay increases, until I reached the point where continuing to work at the same company would put me into debt. That is the harsh reality of the British workplace in the 21st century, under the Tory-led Coalition.

“2. Working people are having their taxes cut. Changes to the personal allowance mean that working people will pay less tax and will keep more of their earnings. Anyone in work and receiving benefits will gain more from paying less tax, than what they lose from benefits not increasing in real terms.” This is simply untrue. 60 per cent of households attacked by the Tory-led government’s cuts to benefits are working households.

“3. To increase benefits in real terms would have meant borrowing more money. This Government is reducing borrowing and cutting the deficit. Labour would borrow more and add more debt to fund unlimited benefit rises. The Conservatives don’t believe that we should burden future generations with our debts in order to live beyond our means today.” The Conservatives are in fact borrowing more money now than Labour would have, if they had won the 2010 election – £212 billion more than planned, by 2015 alone. Using an expected increase in borrowing as an excuse to deprive the most vulnerable of their ability to survive adequately is plain disgusting.

“Have Your Say on Benefits

“We’re interested in what your think about benefits. That’s why we’re asking you whether or not you support two fundamental principles upon which our welfare policies are founded – many will say they don’t but many will also be in favour. Your responses will tell us what the majority think.

“Please also leave your comments.”

Here’s the first question. Remember what I said at the top, about the way the writers manipulate the wording of these things:

“Should benefits increase more than wages?”

See what I mean? The only possible answer to that is “No” – because they shouldn’t! That doesn’t mean that Tory welfare policy is right, though. It means employers aren’t paying their workers well enough (as proven by my own experience). Next question:

“Do you think it’s fair that people can claim more in benefits that (sic) the average family earns through going to work?” Again, the only reasonable answer is “No” – but again it doesn’t mean Tory welfare policy is right. It means this question – like the first – has been carefully worded to prevent anyone responding from giving an unwanted answer.

Never mind – there’s a box for comments, in which respondents may explain their answers. Here’s what I wrote:

“Your questions are slanted to produce a particular set of answers, I notice. My answer to the first is that they should increase in line with inflation. Wages should do that as well. The simple fact is that the majority of employers in this country seem to see fit to fill their own pockets with cash while depriving their workers. It is THIS imbalance that needs to be redressed. Company bosses have given themselves generous pay rises totalling 700 per cent over the last 20 years, while employees’ wages have risen by an average of just 27 per cent in the same period. That is completely unfair – and the reason it is possible for people on benefits to make more money than the average family earns by going to work.

“You don’t make work pay by cutting benefits to the point where people can’t afford the necessities of life – you do it by actually paying people in work enough money to make doing their job worthwhile.

“I don’t think it’s fair for people in benefits to have more money than the average family earns through work, but the answer is not to cut benefits; you must stop the ruthless exploitation of working people by fatcat business bosses. It isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense.”

I pressed the ‘submit’ button and immediately saw this message, in red:

“How do you think we could make the benefits system fairer? must have at least 0 and no more than 300 characters.”

Apparently they wanted an answer only a little longer than a tweet. In other words, one in which it is impossible to present a reasoned argument.

I tried again:

“Your questions are slanted to produce biased answers. Benefits should increase with inflation. Employers have increased their pay by 700% in the last 20 years; employee pay has increased by 27%. It is THIS imbalance that needs to be redressed. You don’t make work pay by cutting benefits – you do it by paying working people fairly. It isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense.”

It was still a little too long but I managed to shave a few bits off.

Sadly (for the truth), I don’t think it matters. It’s the headline figure – the number of people who answered “No” to the two questions – that will give the Tories what they want.

No doubt they hope to delude huge swathes of the voting population with their results.

That’s why I’m publishing my response – in full – in this article.

Please visit the site and see it for yourselves. Then – if you’re as disgusted as I am – make your opinion as public as you can.

Hunter S Thompson once said of Richard Nixon that he was so twisted he needed help to screw himself into his trousers every morning. That could also be said of the Conservative Party.

Let’s make sure they can’t screw the facts.

These people are an obscenity.