Tag Archives: Therese

Secret DWP benefits survey cherry-picks respondents – so it can lay blame on claimants?

Too much Coffey: the Work and Pensions Secretary (right) seems to have commissioned a survey of benefit claimants in order to say their failure to budget properly has put them into hardship – not her insistence on providing starvation-level payments and using the slightest excuse to cut them off. Meanwhile, she parties.

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a secret survey – sent only to specially cherry-picked claimants.

The reason seems to be to blame benefit recipients for any hardship they suffer, claiming that poor budgeting skills are the root of the problem rather than the political decision to fix payments at starvation levels – and then to use the flimsiest excuses to stop them.

The survey asks about debts claimants may have, what effect the debts have had on them and what support they need. It is the last question that has raised concerns, as Benefits and Work, which hoisted the red flag on this apparent scam, pointed out:

The full question and list of options is as follows:

What types of help or support, if any, would be most useful in helping you manage your finances?

  • Help with working out what money I have left to spend each/day/week/month.
  • Advice on how to spread my spending so I don’t run out of money
  • Advice on how to reduce my spending
  • Advice on how to reduce my debt
  • Advice on how to increase my income
  • Help with setting up a direct debit/standing order
  • Help with opening a bank account
  • Other (specify)

In this context, advice to increase my income is most likely to relate to those in employment.  In general claimants cannot increase their income unless there is a benefit they could be claiming that they are not aware of.

What is entirely missing from these options are the ones that would actually make a difference to claimants, such as:

  • Pay benefits at a rate that is enough to live on
  • Remove the 5 week waiting time for UC
  • End the long delays for PIP assessments and WCAs

Because there are no such options, this survey will produce results that say that, of claimants who are in debt:

X% say they need advice on working out what money they have left to spend

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their spending

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their debt

Whilst some people may indeed say in the ‘Other’ box that the help they need is a higher rate of benefits, this will not be listed as a percentage in outcomes as everyone’s answers will be worded differently.

In other words, all the support needs will be around claimants not understanding how to manage their money, rather than it being impossible to manage on the money they receive.

See how it works?

Benefits and Work has made Freedom of Information requests to ask how the claimants taking part in this survey are selected, how many are taking part and whether the results of the report are going to be published.

The logical conclusion to be drawn is that the DWP has been stung by having to reveal the findings of its secret report on how people on sickness and disability benefits are struggling with unmet needs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey had repeatedly refused to publish the DWP-commissioned report on disabled people’s experiences of the benefit system – so the Commons Work and Pensions Committee ordered its authors to provide a copy to Parliament. It has now been published.

The report, received by the government in September 2020, stated that many people are using disability benefits such as PIP, which is intended to meet the additional costs of disability, for very basic needs such as food, rent and paying debts:

“The participant had kidney failure, arthritis in his back, legs and arms, depression and bulimia which caused chronic stomach pains. He lived alone in a flat rented from a Housing Association, using Housing Benefit. He was in the ESA Support Group and received PIP. He made monthly repayments for utility bill arrears and had a £5,000 bank loan which he could not afford to repay. His debt repayments meant he could not afford essential day-to-day living needs and used a foodbank. He found it difficult to wash independently due to his arthritis and needed a walk-in shower but could not afford one and seemed unaware that he may be eligible for support through the local authority. He also needed support with cooking and cleaning and received help from a cousin. His cousin would like to claim Carer’s Allowance but neither of them knew how to make an application. He had no other support networks close by.”

It said claimants with invisible disabilities such as mental health conditions often struggle even more than those with physical conditions to meet their basic needs:

“Participants with mental health conditions tended to report a wide variety of basic needs, health and care needs and social needs that were unmet. In comparison, those with profound learning disabilities and severe physical disabilities were typically in the group that identified having fewer unmet needs. While the latter group experienced a high level of need across a range of areas, these were usually being met through a combination of local authority support and informal support networks, usually parents who provided a high level of care.”

And the wellbeing of disabled claimants often depends primarily on being in a household in which another member has a well-paid job:

“The participant has recently moved in with her mother and sister, she had previously lived alone in a council-rented flat but had begun to feel isolated and found paying the rent and bills difficult so decided to move in with her mother. She has a range of health conditions and disabilities including Asperger syndrome, anxiety, ADHD, joint stiffness and IBS. She works 28 hours a week and receives PIP. Before moving to live with her mother she was concerned about how her income would cover essential day-to-day living costs. She also struggled with maintaining her personal hygiene and found it difficult to leave the house as she did not like going out alone. Moving in with her mother has helped her to meet all of her health-related needs.”

The reason Coffey and the DWP kept the report secret seems clear when one notes that last October – more than a year after receiving it – the Work and Pensions Secretary was lying to the public about the system it damns.

As Benefits and Work (again) details:

Coffey was telling the Conservative party conference that:

“PIP has certainly grown in a way that was not anticipated when it was introduced.

“To give you an example, three out of four young people who claim PIP have their primary reason being mental ill health.

“That in itself is 189,000 young people who currently receive benefit focused on that. There may be other benefits they receive as well.

“. . . people can think the benefit system is fair.

“And I think by being able to target that even more so to people who really need that support, may improve that prospect of public perception.”

Having been forced to release a report that shows – even in its watered-down form – that the benefit system is forcing hardship and related physical and psychological torture on claimants, including those who already have significant mental health problems (leading to a threat to life itself?), it seems Coffey has commissioned this new survey in order to manufacture a false justification for herself.

I think I’ll write her a letter. Let’s see how she justifies this web of deceit.

Source: DWP secret survey set to blame claimants for going cold and hungry

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Work and Pensions Secretary DEMOLISHED in TV interview on her work and Johnson’s lies

Time of her life: Therese Coffey danced (badly) and sang (off-key) as her government removed the Universal Credit uplift that has been a lifeline for millions of people.

Bizarrely, Therese Coffey probably thought that she did well in her interview with Kay Burley on Sky News today (January 27).

For the rest of us, the message was very different: stonewalling doesn’t work when the evidence is on a screen behind you.

On Boris Johnson’s party lies, the woman who raved it up (legally, but in extremely poor taste) as her policy to remove the Universal Credit uplift was inflicted on millions of people said she was not aware of any parties happening in Downing Street.

On his admission that if he had broken the Ministerial Code he should resign, she evaded.

On the evidence that he had lied about authorising the transport of an animal charity from Afghanistan instead of people, she denied the evidence on the screen behind her.

On the UK’s abandonment of that country, with people being forced to sell their kidneys in order to eat, she displayed indifference; she couldn’t have cared less.

On child poverty in the UK, she showed similar indifference while claiming to be working to ease deprivation.

And when she was challenged on her plan to cut people’s benefits to force them into jobs, she showed no concern at all.

The performance was an indictment against a government that allows people like Coffey to be elected into Parliament, let alone high office.

And Burley may have felt that Coffey’s answers were like spitting in her face; Sky took her off-air for an extended period after she was found to have held a birthday party during lockdown, and she said she works in a food bank on Fridays where she sees the results of Coffey’s impoverishment strategy for working people.

But this is where we are. The people of the UK elected this creature into government in 2019 and should not be surprised that she behaves according to her vile nature.

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MPs bypass #DWP to publish controversial report on claimants’ experience of #benefits

Boris Johnson isn’t the only Tory minister facing serious consequences for their actions this week. It’s looking bad for Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey too.

Coffey has repeatedly refused to publish a DWP-commissioned report on disabled people’s experiences of the benefit system – so the Commons Work and Pensions Committee has given orders for its authors to provide a copy to Parliament, which will then be published.

The report, The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits was received by the Government in September 2020. The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) had interviewed disabled people about their experiences of receiving PIP, ESA and Universal Credit.

The committee last month gave the Secretary of State one final chance to publish the report, which she herself admitted fell within the Government’s own protocol for publication.

But Coffey said she would not be reconsidering her decision.

Why not? It seems likely that researchers at NatCen, who wrote the report, found that people on disability and other health-related benefits were overwhelmingly negative about their experience of the system under Tories including Coffey and her forerunners, going right back to Iain Duncan Smith.

NatCen has been ordered to provide a copy of its report by January 27.

“After repeated obstruction from the Secretary of State to keep from public view a piece of work that falls within the Government’s own protocol for publication, we have reached the end of the road,” said Work and Pensions Committee chairman Stephen Timms.

“We would have much rather the DWP had done the right thing and published the report itself, so it is with regret that we must now take the highly unusual step of using our parliamentary powers to obtain a copy from NatCen and publish it ourselves.

“We have been forced to do this to ensure that the reality of disabled people’s experiences of the benefits system can see the light of day.”

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Secret #disability #benefits report WILL be published whether #ThereseCoffey likes it or not

Therese Coffey: it seems she’s been too busy having a good time (in line with many of her Cabinet colleagues, we’ve learned) to publish a report on the quality of her work as it relates to people with disabilities who claim benefits.

Tough luck, Therese!

The Tory Work and Pensions Secretary has been sitting on a report on how claimants are affected by the way she runs disability benefits – presumably because it is damning, even though (allegedly) watered-down.

The benefits concerned are those received by people with long-term illnesses and disabilities: Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC).

Well, she won’t be able to warm her backside on it for very much longer because the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, sick of waiting for her to pull her finger out, has given her an ultimatum.

It is: publish the report by January 11 or we will publish it in spite of you.

The report falls within the government’s protocol for publication so there really is no legitimate reason for any delay.

Committee chairman Stephen Timms (Labour) said:

The Secretary of State has consistently failed to give the Committee a good reason why this piece of research should not be made public. She even admits that it falls within the Government’s own protocol for publication.

The continued refusal to publish the results of the research, as promised to the participants who gave up their time, will do further damage to disabled people’s trust in the Department—which is already in short supply.

The Secretary of State now has a final opportunity to think again and publish the research. If not, the Committee is firmly agreed that we will be left with no choice but to publish the report ourselves.

Source: Coffey ordered to publish secret disability benefits report or MPs will do it for her

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#DWP staff partied hard when they should have been observing #Covid19 #lockdown

Time of her life: Therese Coffey danced (badly) and sang (off-key) as her government removed the Universal Credit uplift that has been a lifeline for millions of people. Then she went back to work after the Tory conference and carried right on partying, according to the Mirror.

We all knew Therese Coffey likes to party hard…

… but it turns out that she doesn’t confine these activities to the Conservative Party conference.

While the rest of us were in Covid-19 lockdown, and hospitality and office parties were banned, she and political staff at the Department for Work and Pensions in Caxton House, London, were raving it up into the early hours of the morning.

And yes – this does include an event last Christmas, according to the Mirror:

The Mirror has been told ‘gatherings’ in Ms Coffey’s office throughout the pandemic were an open secret, with one source saying “even during lockdown, there were parties all the time.”

Bottles of wine and beer were routinely found between staff members’ salads and sandwiches in fridges at the department, to be drunk at the informal, late-night soirees.

A DWP insider said: “There is a constant flow of booze in the office.”

At one such occasion during last year’s festive season, Ms Coffey handed out Christmas presents to her team.

Challenged about these events a DWP spokesperson didn’t deny them. Instead, it was insisted that “DWP officials followed government guidance” while it was also admitted that a core team “regularly worked late into the evening and on a number of occasions they ate takeaway food and drank some alcohol”.

You’ll like the next bit: “No karaoke took place.”

Maybe not, but an occasion in which staff stayed late into the night drinking alcohol and the Secretary of State handed out presents to them is clearly a social event that was clearly banned, according to government guidance.

Unless the government had different guidance for itself than for the rest of us?

The DWP’s constant bingeing can be added to an ever-growing list which includes Downing Street events on November 13 and possibly 20, December 15 and 18, plus one at the Department for Education while Tier 2 rules were in place, and a “boozy celebration” in November 2020 to mark Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review.

Sunak, Johnson, Gavin Williamson and now Therese Coffey: these Tory ministers are turning into a regular Rogues’ Gallery.

Source: DWP staff ‘drank into the night’ in Therese Coffey’s private office during lockdown – Mirror Online

Therese Coffey had ‘Time of Her Life’ cutting Universal Credit and wrecking the economy

Time of her life: Therese Coffey danced (badly) and sang (off-key) as her government removed the Universal Credit uplift that has been a lifeline for millions of people.

This was more ‘dirty dealing’ than Dirty Dancing:

Yes, it’s true:

Here’s a longer clip, if your ears can stand it:

The move not only shows astonishing hypocrisy on the part of the Work and Pensions Secretary…

… it was also utterly illiterate in economic terms:

On a national level, the cut tells us much about the Conservative government’s priorities…

… but it is on a personal level that the cut will hit home – and this is what the Tories are hoping because it means those who won’t lose cash because of it won’t be bothered by it, and they probably won’t associate it with harm to the economy that will attack them too.

Spokespeople from the Labour Party have spoken up against it…

… too late to make any difference…

… and in any case, Labour leader ‘Little Keir’ Starmer has apparently said he would not restore the uplift if elected into government:

Meanwhile the Tories and their allies in the media are building a false impression that the cut is a good thing…

… even though the experts tell a different story:

Some Tories are saying other systems are in place to take the bite off the cut. Nadhim Zahawi has pointed to a £500 million fund available to local authorities…

… but councils are facing an economic squeeze of their own; the Tories aren’t giving them enough to run their services properly. In any case, the UC uplift cost around £4.5 billion per year – nine times as much as is on offer in the scheme Zahawi mentioned.

In the iNews article (link above), Tory backbencher Steve Baker says it would cost £10 billion to sort out all the problems created by his own government’s mishandling of UC.

And what of the prime minister?

Boris Johnson once described the quarter of a million pounds he received alongside his salary as an MP, writing a column for a Sunday newspaper, as “chicken feed”. Is that why he doesn’t seem to think the UC cut matters?

The facts – for those of us who have to work in Johnson’s post-Brexit, passed-out Britain – are enormously different from his distorted viewpoint:

He has certainly said he wants wages to rise. He just hasn’t said how he proposes to do it.

And there is a much easier way to raise the kind of cash needed to set UC at a rate that won’t plunge millions of people into poverty:

Johnson won’t do it.

His entire plan – if he can be said to have had a plan at all – appears to be to bleed every last penny out of the UK’s working people and give it to the idle rich, who squirrel it away in offshore tax havens (see the Pandora Papers for details).

It seems the aim is to turn the nation into a zombie economy where working – and working-class – people are worked like slaves to service an ever-increasing national debt, while the super-rich members of his own class live it up on the profits and put nothing back.

Does it seem that way to you?

Work and Pensions secretary LIED: Universal Credit claimants must work an extra DAY to make up for loss of ‘uplift’ £20

Therese Antoinette: £20 per week means very little to her, because she is a member of Parliament and has been receiving enormous pay rises ever since she was elected there. The situation is very different for the people whose benefits she has been deliberately cutting.

Tory parasite Therese Coffey has been caught in a huge – and hugely significant – lie while trying to justify the cut in Universal Credit.

While trolling through the morning media round yesterday (September 13), she claimed that the loss of the Universal Credit uplift means claimants would have to work only two hours more to make it back, at minimum wage.

It is a particularly nasty double-lie.

Firstly, for many claimants the minimum wage (what the Tories mockingly call the National Living Wage, even though you can’t live on it) is not £10 an hour as she was claiming, but £8 and change.

Secondly, the 63 per cent “taper rate” on Universal Credit means for every hour’s money earned above the basic amount of £293 a month, claimants take home just £3.30.

They would have to work more than six hours – nearly an extra day – simply to make up the £20 loss.

And then they’d have to pay National Insurance – which is increasing, of course, and they would also have to find ways to pay for other goods whose prices are increasing because of Conservative incompetence in government.

Do you think that’s fair?

Here’s Peter Stefanovic to explain the situation on video – and he doesn’t pull his punches!

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which works to solve poverty, has demonstrated that cutting £20 from Universal Credit will make a mockery of Boris Johnson’s claim to be “levelling up” the UK and of his ambition to “build back better”:

Particularly worrying is the fact that none of the TV or radio presenters interviewing Coffey had the presence of mind to point out her error.

Were they not properly briefed – or were they specifically told to ignore any such lie and let the public think the liar was telling the truth?

At least ITV’s Paul Brand managed to make one decent point:

Yes indeed. And carers aren’t the only ones propping up a UK economy that is overbalanced in favour of the rich by working far too hard.

Her excuses

Perhaps the main problem is simply that Coffey does not understand the value of £20, being – as she is – an overprivileged Tory lackwit.

Personally, This Writer is looking forward to seeing a motion in Parliament, tabled by any of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition parties, to establish that Therese Coffey would reasonably have known that she was providing false information and should retract and correct it – publicly, in the same places she told the lies (because that’s what newspapers have to do when they publish false information).

It’s what Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has demanded, after refusing to accept that legislation is required that would impose harsh penalties on any government minister found to be knowingly misleading.

After a few dozen such motions (per week?) he’ll get the message and we might see the change we need.

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Pension triple lock scrapped for a year. But will the Tories stop there?

This Site predicted the suspension of the pensions triple lock, so it’s no surprise here.

The problem with the commitment to increase pensions every year by the highest of pensions, earnings or 2.5 per cent is that it did not anticipate a huge fall in earnings like that caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by a similarly whopping rise when everybody went back to work and pay packets re-balanced.

It meant the highest of the three benchmarks – this year – is a massive eight per cent increase. And the Tories don’t want to pay it.

Back in July, I suggested the Tories were making a big fuss about nothing because they could impose a stop-gap increase that reflects the increase in the cost of living (which is what the triple lock is supposed to do).

It turns out that the Tories are doing something similar. Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said that – for this year only – pensions would rise by inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever is higher. The earnings increase will be restored to the calculation next year.

The decision has caused bitter resentment in some quarters, because people are upset that the Tories have broken a manifesto promise.

But this misses the point completely.

The point is that the UK state pension is one of the worst pension deals in the whole world.

On retirement, our pensioners will receive, on average, 29 per cent of their former earnings. This compares with an increase of 0.6 per cent in the Netherlands, more than 90 per cent of former earnings in Portugal, Italy and Austria, and an OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) nations’ average of nearly 63 per cent.

In fact, the UK’s pensions deal comes in at slightly worse than that provided in… Mexico.

This was a chance to level up the UK pension with some of our closest neighbours – but the Tories didn’t want to. That’s why people should be angry.

Of course, with the national insurance increase that the Tories say will pay for social care (eventually), pensioners will be worse off than ever – because pensioners who are still earning an income will pay towards it.

And there’s another aspect to this.

It is the rivalry between the old and the young over state benefits, the perception that pensioners get more than their fair share, and that they should lose some in order to correct a perceived imbalance.

This is utter piffle.

As Craig Berry states in The Guardian,

We can and should spend more on social security for young and old people alike.

To believe that a Conservative government would invest what it saves by removing the triple lock on today’s young people requires some magical thinking.

In practice, by reducing the state pension accrual rate (the entitlements we build up in return for paying national insurance), scrapping the triple lock would effectively amount to a significant tax hike on young people.

That’s because the tax they pay now would entitle them to a lower income in retirement than previously anticipated.

So it is ridiculous to suggest that we need to cut pension increases in order to help the young. It simply won’t happen.

Let’s face it – it simply hasn’t happened.

The (alleged) social care-related increase to National Insurance will affect young people and pensioners alike.

Because that’s what Tories are like.

They don’t take away from one group that needs help, in order to give to another.

They take from both, in order to give to themselves – as you can see with Boris Johnson’s National Insurance hike.

My only question is, do we believe them when they say they’re going to bring the triple lock back?

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Work and Pensions Secretary says she’s proud that LIAR Johnson is her prime minister

Therese Coffey: she’s sneering at you. She can’t deny that her prime minister, Boris Johnson, is a liar but she doesn’t care because she reckons we’re so stupid that we’ll accept it, possibly for the rest of our lives.

The minister responsible for cutting Universal Credit by £20 per week, just when its claimants will really need it, has spoken out to say how proud she is to have the notorious liar Boris Johnson as her prime minister.

Therese Coffey could not deny the allegations against Johnson when they were put to her by Sky News host Kay Burley. She simply refused to admit them either.

And she also made a mean-spirited attack on Peter Stefanovic, whose video compilation of Johnson’s lies to Parliament (fact-checked and approved by Full Fact, let’s not forget) is now heading for the 30 million views milestone. She said “this is done to drive small clips on social media”.

It’s done to put the facts in front of the electorate, Therese!

She’ll undoubtedly be delighted to see that she is now the subject of such a clip. Here it is:

And it’s by Peter Stefanovic! (Nice one, Peter!)

Sadly, Coffey can say this because she believes her government is impervious to criticism.

As I type this, Mrs Mike is raging bitterly that Coffey, Johnson and the Tories should not be able to get away with these lies because there are rules about it.

But we know by Dawn Butler’s ejection from Parliament that the rules have been perverted to support the liars. Don’t we?

Is this really the kind of government you want?

Do you really want to be told what to do – and if you think you aren’t, look at Michael Gove’s demand that unvaccinated people get the Covid-19 jab or else – by people who do what they like, lie about it, and shrug it off when they’re found out?

I don’t. I really don’t.

And I get angry when – because of the so-called “democracy” we have in the UK – I get dragged into suffering it because 13 million tribal dimwits (they’re Tories) vote the way a Tory liar tells them to.

I know it’s the summer and they’re all on their break, but that doesn’t mean we have to let them off the hook.

It’s the perfect time to educate everybody we know. Show them the video clips. Explain to them that they have been deceived. Tell them that the Tories used Covid-19 as an excuse to give public money – their money – equivalent to half the world’s GDP to Tory cronies in return for nothing while more than 150,000 people died because of government incompetence.

And if our friends, neighbours and work colleagues try to justify it, just tell them there is no justification.

Oh, you don’t want to? You feel uncomfortable because it might create an awkward situation between you and these other people?

Well then you’d better get used to people like Therese Coffey sneering at you while they grind their boots into your face – metaphorically, if not actually physically.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Trickster Coffey: she says disabled people should switch to Universal Credit – where they’ll be worse-off

Therese Coffey: you wouldn’t think she was trying to get her jollies by encouraging people to quit legacy benefits for Universal Credit with a false claim that they’ll be better-off, would you?

Did Therese Coffey get her doctorate in lying to people?

Having refused calls to extend the £20-per-week Universal Credit uplift to so-called “legacy benefits” that sick and disabled people receive – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and others – she has suggested that they should claim UC instead.

People on Severe Disablement Premium (SDP) were unable to make that move until Wednesday (January 27) – when the Tories removed that barrier.

But charities have warned that this is a trap.

People with long-term illnesses and disabilities are more likely to lose money if they switch to UC and, once they have made the move, there is no going back.

It’s just another example of Tory discrimination against people with disabilities, that has reached new heights in the Covid-19 crisis, which they have used as an excuse for persecution.

People who’ve been on SDPs can get £120, £285 or £405 per month in transition payments – depending on their circumstances. But DWP officials have confirmed these payments “will be subject to erosion and cessation” over time.

And the Disability Rights UK group has claimed that, “after transitional help is eroded after time”, Universal Credit will be “significantly less generous” than legacy benefits for disabled people.

So the two-tier discrimination against people with disabilities in fact continues, no matter whether they are on “legacy benefits” or Universal Credit.

This Writer’s advice is clear: stay where you are. Don’t give Trickster Coffey the giggle she wants to get from hurting you.

Source: Fears as DWP chief urges disabled people to switch to Universal Credit from Wednesday – Mirror Online

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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