Tag Archives: uplift

Will ‘legacy’ benefit claimants get £1,500 in backdated Covid-19 ‘uplift’ after High Court challenge?

The High Court has begun to consider whether it was unlawful of the Conservative government to deny claimants of ‘legacy’ benefits the £20 uplift it gave to people on Universal Credit.

The court granted permission for a judicial review on April 27, but the case has been much-delayed, with the hearing postponed from September to November 17, and then the second day being moved to November 19 – but it is happening.

The case has been brought by two recipients of Employment and Support Allowance who used Legal Aid to instruct law firm Osbornes Law.

A press release from the firm states:

Despite them having an equivalent entitlement to the ‘standard allowance’ of UC, simply because they were in a different part of the system, 1.9 million people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have been without this increase, which many have called a ‘lifeline’.

Claimants of Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance have also been excluded.

Many have argued that this is unfair, including the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee: “It’s simply not right for people to miss out on support just because they happen, through no fault of their own, to be claiming the ‘wrong’ kind of benefit.”

We are pursuing this legal challenge based on the proposition that the pandemic means those dependent upon basic allowances are facing higher basic living costs, and yet despite their very similar circumstances, only some of them receive a Covid-specific uplift to help meet those costs.

This unfairness calls for a properly evidenced justification, particularly as almost 2 million disabled people are disproportionately affected by this decision and the pandemic generally.

Thus far the Government has failed to provide any objectively verifiable reason for the difference in treatment of people in essentially identical circumstances.

If the Department for Work and Pensions loses, the more-than-two-million people affected could each be entitled to up to £1,500 in backdated extra payments.

The start of the case was marked by a huge show of support for the case outside the High Court, by groups including Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Unite Community, the MS Society, SNP MPs Marion Fellows and David Linden, and Labour MPs Debbie Abrahams, Marsha de Cordova and John McDonnell:

The outcome of the case is unlikely to be announced on Friday (November 19).

Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long coming out as the judgement in the libel case between Rachel Riley and former Jeremy Corbyn aide Laura Murray. That was heard in May and the verdict is still unknown, half a year later.

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Labour is so shifty it won’t commit to help anybody

Clueless: when Starmer was talking up Labour’s barely-scraped-together win in the Batley and Spen by-election, who knew that this gesture was his explanation of his policies – a shrug.

Isn’t it the job of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Party to say what it would do if it was running the UK?

Here’s Labour’s Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury – also known as James Murray – taking nearly two minutes to avoid giving a straight answer to a straight question: whether Keir Starmer’s newly right-wing party would reinstate the £20/week Universal Credit uplift:

He said: “I’ve been really clear.. it’s really important to be clear about this.”

Then he said three times that Labour opposed the cut, but he wouldn’t say if the party would reinstate it. That’s shifty, not clear.

His problem is that Labour is now sympathetic to the miserly billionaires who store all their cash in offshore tax havens, and this means it has no tax option to fund the £6 billion/year that would be needed to make it viable.*

For the same reason, Labour can’t commit to a higher-than-inflation public sector pay rise after Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that he was ending the current pay freeze:

Weak.

It makes Labour look like the Tories poorer little sister – unable to offer even a more imaginative alternative to big brother’s failed plans.

*We all know that the UK government can use the Bank of England to create as much money as it needs, but to be responsible it must prevent inflation via tax, right? Labour’s normal policy is to redistribute the nation’s funds (all money belongs to the government via the Bank of England, remember) by taxing the rich to pay for large-scale public services, but Keir Starmer wants to change that to a Conservative approach, and this means no cash for badly-needed social changes.

See:

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Rock Bottomley: MP complains about £82k salary while millions starve after Universal Credit cut

Bottomley: the Father of the House of Commons doesn’t think MPs earn enough and says they should have as much as GPs. In the interests of “levelling up”, perhaps Boris Johnson should consider making their £100k-a-year the National Living Wage?

What an inconsiderate narcissist Peter Bottomley is!

On the day Universal Credit – the main unemployment benefit but also the subsidy paid to working people to make up for the failure of businesses to pay them a living wage – was cut, plunging 4.4 million people into poverty, he complained that his £82,000 MP’s salary isn’t enough.

He thinks he should get around the same amount as GPs – slightly more than £100,000 a year. Average salary – which is skewed upwards by the top 10 per cent of earners – is £31,000.

Strangely, he admitted that he is not suffering financially himself:

Although he said he currently is not struggling financially, he believes the situation is ‘desperately difficult’ for his newer colleagues.

The representative of Worthing West in West Sussex added: ‘I don’t know how they manage. It’s really grim.’

That didn’t stop people like his former colleague Michael Portillo leaping to support him on TV, with what can only be seen as a false argument:

Portillo was saying it must be hard for older MPs to put up with receiving the same amount as their younger colleagues, when Bottomley was saying it must be harder for younger MPs.

They can’t even get their story straight!

And the comparison with GPs doesn’t work, either, because doctors are paid according to the amount of time they work and MPs aren’t:

This Writer doubts it would work if we paid MPs by the hour; it would just give them another opportunity to submit false claims (expenses scandal, anybody?).

Bottomley deserves all the sympathy he received from satirical songwriter Mitch Benn:

It isn’t impossible – at 77, Bottomley is younger than at least one driver the government is desperate to put back in a cab:

For most of the rest of us, £82,000 a year is an impossible dream. That’s why Bottomley has received a huge amount of criticism for his selfish words. Here’s one of the milder rebukes.

Still, Boris Johnson likes to talk about “levelling up” and he’s currently waffling about wages to anybody who can still be bothered to listen.

So, what about it, Boris? The Father of the House thinks wages should rise.

How about accommodating him, and increasing the National Living Wage to £100k all around?

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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.

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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Join the #AudioRiot to stop the cut to Universal Credit

This is brilliant from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC):

Here are the details:

The government isn’t listening to what people are saying when we say Stop The Cuts to Universal Credit and give #20MoreForAll

So we need to start an #AudioRiot to make them hear us.

On
Tuesday 28th September
11:30am
Kings Cross Station
(Courtyard in front of station)
Euston Road
London
N1 9AL

Join our #AudioRiot and make some noise about the devastating changes to benefits which will have a huge impact on millions of peoples lives, including disabled people.

Bring everything you can that makes noise.
DPAC will be providing materials for you to take part too – but don’t let that stop you bringing:

Drums
Whistles
Cymbals
Bells
Klaxons
Loudspeakers

Everything you can!

 

Make some noise about the £20 cut to Universal Credit coming in September.

Make some noise about the reintroduction of sanctions and conditionality returning in October.

Make some noise about the discrimination against those on legacy benefits who never got the £20 to begin with.

Make some noise about the minimum income floor, the local area housing allowance and so much more

Make some noise about the disgraceful state of benefits in the UK overall.

This action will round off a series of events to raise awareness about the coming changes to benefits.

These include

Saturday 25th September 2021

Local Actions Nationwide

We are calling on all DPAC members, local groups & allies to mobilise is their areas to create an #AudioRiot of your own to resist the coming cuts and invite others to join the campaign.

Create your own orchestra with homemade instruments, create your own playlists and play them through phones/speakers, form a samba band – whatever works for you!

Send us details of your planned action, and we will promote it through our website, email network and social media channels.

And

Tuesday 28th September 2021
09:15 – 10:00 am

Vigil in support of those taking a Judicial Review of potential discrimination by DWP towards disabled people on legacy benefits.

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London
WC2A 2LL

NEAREST STEP FREE STATION: Westminster

Online action

Details to follow

DPAC is aware that many of us in our community are still isolated, shielding, or even just protecting themselves and their loved ones; and cautious about taking part in public activism.

This is no barrier to taking part!! There will be online actions you can take

However, as our collective experience through since Covid entered our lives has taught us – disabled people need to have a central role in the discussions about how we build a future for us all that has a place for us all. That begins with defending what we have and building on it.

We have seen under successive governments of all stripes that the only way we can have any chance to secure that central role is to oppose government policies in the streets. We have been demonised, targeted and brutalised by attacks to our rights , services, living standards & working conditions for decades.

It is only by mobilising our community and allies in the face of theses attacks that we have been able to raise awareness and resist them.

And, that will be how we will continue to progress from here. With a view to reshaping the world to meet our aspirations.

In the streets.

 

Freebie-guzzling Tory couple spark fury over poverty wages

Philip Davies and Esther McVey: they’re raving it up on the profits firms have made by paying employees practically nothing.

Tories Philip Davies – the Friday morning filibuster king who takes joy in “talking out” legislation, not because it is bad but because it doesn’t come from the Conservative government – and Esther McVey – whose attacks on benefit claimants are notorious – have come under fire because of the free perks they have taken for themselves.

They have claimed £18,000 worth of VIP goodies on top of their £82,000 salaries (plus expenses).

And they were among 65 Tory MPs who have taken the bulk of freebies available – £160,000 worth between May and July alone.

In contrast, 23 Labour MPs have taken nearly £32,000. That puts Davies and McVey’s greed in context: between them they have claimed more than half as much as all the Labour MPs put together.

Among the gifts are several from gambling firms, coming at a time when the government is reviewing betting laws, provoking speculation on whether they came with strings attached.

Davies should be even more embarrassed because some of these gifts came from Entain, a company for whom he was paid almost £50,000 as an advisor last year, when it was known as GVC Holdings.

Here are the details:

Now you know the story, here comes the fury as people responded to this astonishing display of scrounging by members of the party that accuses people in extreme poverty of scrounging:

How indeed? Davies said his contract with GVC Holdings explicitly stated that he must not lobby on the firm’s behalf while employed by it – but he isn’t employed by it any more. And in any case, RD Hale’s comment shows that others would be imprisoned simply for accepting corporate gifts. Why not Davies and McVey?

Others have focused on McVey’s pronouncements on people who have to claim benefits in order to make ends meet because their wages don’t cover their costs – meaning that the government pays a de facto subsidy to under-paying employers.

Remember:

So the benefits paid to working people in extreme poverty are intended to help business bosses profit – not the struggling workers. Meanwhile MPs’ salaries have nearly doubled in the last 25 years:

So MPs are on an extremely good screw – and those like Davies and McVey are scrounging more freebies out of corporations (that may even be profiting by paying low wages and expecting their employees to claim benefits). Meanwhile the same MPs are happy to demand that benefit claimants must take the worst-paying jobs available, or lose those benefits:

Now, of course, the government is preparing to remove the £20 “uplift” that was provided to UC claimants during the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

Let’s put this in a little more context:

ToryFibs is slightly mistaken; making the £20 uplift permanent would not cost any money because there are hidden costs associated with cutting incomes to a point where people cannot afford the cost of living.

But we can see that the UK’s billionaires are raking in the cash as a result of not having to pay a living wage to employees.

And saying that the “uplift” costs a huge amount of money is a handy propaganda tool – that, it seems, has been used to good effect by certain news reporters…

… who are also doing very well for themselves.

And the assumptions about the amount that people need, in order to meet their living costs, has raised questions about other government payments. So the government’s claim to have legislated to ensure that people receive a “National Living Wage” has come under attack, not just because it isn’t enough, but because it reflects badly on the UK’s woefully low state pension:

So you can understand why people are furious at Davies and McVey.

While most of us struggle to survive in jobs that force us to claim benefits that still won’t cover our living costs after the Tories cut the uplift, in order to subsidise big businesses that are raking in the profits, the same firms are handing out free luxuries to these hugely well-paid Tory MPs. And when we retire we will have to try to survive on even less.

The whole system reeks of corruption and Davies and McVey stink worst of all.

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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Watch this Tory MP defend clawing back £20 Universal Credit from the poorest – it’s 1/255th of his weekly earnings

Snout in the trough (all right – bucket): the Tories reckon public money is better spent filling their overstuffed bank accounts than helping the UK’s poorest to survive.

Andrew Rosindell earns £1,575 a week for turning up to work as a member of Parliament – and last year claimed an average of £3,604 per week on expenses – and he thinks people who are defined by his own government as the UK’s poorest don’t need the £20 uplift on the meagre £76 Universal Credit they receive every week.

He really believes that he deserves 255 times as much as the poorest people in the UK, just for filing through the ‘Aye’ lobby when Boris Johnson wants to victimise the poor.

Watch him trying to justify his attitude on the BBC’s Politics Live yesterday (July 7).

What a grasping, mendacious, wretched little parasite.

(I originally wrote a much longer article about this but WordPress, in its wisdom, managed to erase it when I tried to save it prior to publishing. The perils of being a left-wing social media journalist!)

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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Treasury turned away disabled people’s pleas because UC ‘uplift is for WORKING people’

As empty as his head: Rishi Sunak’s Budget contained nothing for people with disabilities – possibly because the Treasury had turned away a final attempt to make him see evidence of the way he is persecuting them, only days before.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to accept pleas from people with disabilities to extend his Universal Credit uplift to legacy benefits.

His reason was made clear by Martin Lewis on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (March 7), when he said the Chancellor had told him, “this is targeted at working people, helping working people through the pandemic”.

The implication is clear: people with disabilities who don’t work simply don’t deserve any help to overcome the extra costs piled onto them by the Tory government’s response to Covid-19.

Members of campaign group DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) had tried to apprise Sunak of the costs they face on March 1 – two days before his Budget speech – when they sent nearly 200 envelopes containing testimonies and concerns about the government’s failure to extend the uplift.

Also brought to the Treasury’s door was a wheelchair with items attached that represented essential items that people with disabilities were having to go without.

These included a blanket (heating); an incontinence pad (bathing, laundry and medicines); a face mask (PPE); an empty packet of cuppa soup (nutritious food) and an empty purse (enough money to live on).

All these things – the wheelchair with its attached items and the testimonies – were turned away. Neither Sunak nor anybody else at the Treasury could be bothered to pay attention to the plight of these people.

Similar deliveries were also rejected by 10 Downing Street and the Department for Work and Pensions, although the DWP did accept a letter addressed to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, with a copy of a document published today by DPAC collating testimonies from benefit claimants and key findings from recent reports evidencing the need to retain and extend the uplift.

According to DPAC,

Given the disproportionate mortality rates for disabled people from COVID, many have been shielding for close to a full year now. This has driven their costs up considerably.

The Department for Work and Pensions has said there is no need to apply the uplift to legacy claimants because benefits will be increased by 37p per week in April 2021 and because they have the option of moving over to Universal Credit.

Neither of these options help address the situation.

The 37p increase is designed to reflect higher costs of living due to inflation, not the pandemic. It represents a mere 0.5% increase while state pensions will rise by 2.5%. It isn’t enough even to buy a single protective mask.

As the DWP knows, many disabled people are financially worse off on Universal Credit due to the removal of the Disability Premia which have been the subject of judicial review. They would lose out by a move to UC.

There is also the question of how disabled people without access to the internet or support to navigate the benefit system are supposed to move over to UC with the operations of welfare advice and community support organisations so heavily restricted by the pandemic.

Next time someone like Sunak or Boris Johnson turns up on your TV, telling you they are “protecting the most vulnerable”, remember that you know the truth:

This Johnson government is ignoring the most vulnerable people. Johnson doesn’t want to protect them and neither does Sunak. They want the most vulnerable people to die.

Source: Treasury blanks disabled people – letters to Chancellor telling of financial hardship turned away – DPAC

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Boris Johnson SHOULD be blasted for thinking of plunging kids into poverty

Two-fingered salute: Boris Johnson displays his attitude to your starving children.

Bear in mind what we know about money: the government creates it in order to fund its policies, and taxes it back afterwards in order to prevent inflation.

Now read this:

Boris Johnson has been blasted for considering plunging hundreds of thousands of children deeper into poverty by ending the £20-a-week uplift of Universal Credit.

Anne Longfield, the outgoing Children’s Commissioner said the Prime Minister’s claimed commitment to helping youngsters catch up after the pandemic was “not compatible” with cuts to the vital benefit.

And she called on the government to back Joe Biden-style funding boost, aimed at families and children.

In suggesting that he won’t continue the £20/week uplift, Johnson is saying that his government prioritises funnelling millions to fake companies run by rich Conservative cronies over saving innocent youngsters from starvation that he has caused with his other policies.

We know this because the crony contracts keep being signed.

It isn’t a matter of there being not enough money; it’s a matter of priorities.

Now you know that his lie with his fat mates – and not with your starving kids.

Source: Boris Johnson blasted for considering Universal Credit cut that could plunge kids into poverty – 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.

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