DWP abandons legal battle over ‘perverse’ Universal Credit fault

This is a surprise – the Department for Work and Pensions has actually seen the light and done the right thing! The decision paves the way for 85,000 benefit claimants to demand reimbursement as the fault in Universal Credit means they may have been left £500 per year worse off. If you’re one of those affected, get your demand in now. The Department for Work and Pensions has abandoned its lengthy legal battle to avoid fixing a “perverse” design feature in universal credit that has left thousands of working claimants…

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How many people does the government owe because of Universal Credit payday prejudice?

Let’s answer the question in the headline straight away: it seems 85,000 people may be able to claim compensation because the government deliberately failed to stop people getting less Universal Credit if their payday comes early because of a weekend or bank holiday. Judges at the Court of Appeal have ruled that it was “irrational” for the Department for Work and Pensions – and the Secretary of State in particular – to ignore the fact that computer systems would assume that claimant had received double the money expected and cancel…

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Jeremy Hunt has talked himself into a hole – and is digging for all he’s worth

Everybody reading this will be familiar with the expression, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” If only Jeremy Hunt would take that advice! In the latest round of his ongoing dispute with Professor Stephen Hawking, Mr Hunt has tried to defend his claims about NHS spending – and failed. He has also tried to defend his claims about falling numbers of people taking out private medical insurance – and failed. Worst of all, he has tried to say he has not cherry-picked evidence in order to make…

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After Hunt attacked over NHS privatisation, we all knew Hawking wouldn’t let it lie

Picture the scene if you can: Professor Stephen Hawking reading Jeremy Hunt’s smear piece against his concerns about the NHS and then, in calm, voice-synthesized tones, uttering: “So he wants to play hardball, does he? Fine.” Professor Hawking has written a response in The Guardian, expanding on his original points: That Mr Hunt misrepresented scientific research in order to claim that poorer hospital care and staffing at weekends cause excess deaths. That Mr Hunt’s claim of record NHS funding is a distraction as it does not show that funding is adequate.…

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Jeremy Hunt challenged to take part in TV debate with Stephen Hawking over the NHS

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been challenged to appear in a televised debate on NHS statistics and the future of the service. He would be opposed by Professor Stephen Hawking, whose claims about the Conservative minority government’s plans for the NHS were attacked by Mr Hunt on Twitter over the weekend. Here’s the challenge: Dear media, The public of country kindly request that you invite Jeremy Hunt on national tv to debate NHS statistics with Stephen Hawking. pic.twitter.com/KAWHlaBoeQ — Dr Lauren Gavaghan (@DancingTheMind) August 19, 2017 This Writer is particularly…

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Hunt v Hawking on the future of the NHS: Who do you believe?

You’ve got to believe Jeremy Hunt, right? He is the Health Secretary, after all. He’s the man responsible for planning the future of the National Health Service. He should know whether the NHS is being run down to make way for a US-style health insurance system. And we all know he takes his responsibility as a Conservative cabinet minister extremely seriously and would never lie to the public – right? So when he says more money is being spent on the NHS than ever before, we believe him – right? When…

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Latest attack on NHS weekend care is shot down by British Medical Journal

Were you worried by the revelations in the mainstream media that babies born on weekends are more likely to die? Don’t be. It’s another dumb trick. The Daily Mail published the revelations about weekend care in the NHS – in an article that seems to have gone missing from the World Wide Web. How curious! Anyway, here’s the British Medical Journal on the many ways the article was wrong: Notice the first point about causation. This Writer saw that and thought, “Sauce for the goose.” It’s exactly what the Conservative…

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National Park pay cut highlights the need to strengthen trade unions

The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of work for 19 of its staff, removing enhanced rates of pay for weekend work. The organisation’s bosses reckon they do not have the cash to continue with a pay condition that used to be mandatory across the United Kingdom; if you worked Saturdays, you got time-and-a-half, and on Sundays, double-time. What was their pay cut, then? The article in this week’s Brecon and Radnor Express doesn’t mention one. It states: “Following a consultation with staff, the…

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Day of action planned against UKIP hate-mongering

A weekend of action against alleged UKIP hate-mongering is to take place later this month. In the immediate aftermath of the appalling terrorist attacks in Paris, UKIP leader Nigel Farage took to the airwaves to blame immigration and multiculturalism and claimed that there was a “fifth column” operating in this country, according to Hope Not Hate. “We’ve got people living in these countries, holding our passports, who hate us,” the organisation quoted him as saying. He went on to claim that most French cities had “no-go” areas for non-Muslims. “Sadly, he is…

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