Tag Archives: wrong

Tory ‘rape clause’ starts to fall apart: how can a woman be denied benefit for being raped in the wrong order?

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“Punish the rapist, not the victim”: Campaigners against the so-called ‘rape clause’ have been trying to overturn the rule for years.

We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.

The experience of the lady involved in this story shows that the Tories are discriminating unfairly between rape victims.

They’re saying that a person can have two children and still receive the child element of Universal Credit for a third born of rape, only if it was the third, and born after April 2017.

This clearly discriminates against mothers who have had first or second children as a result of rape, because they are then forbidden from claiming the child element of UC for a third child that they wanted.

Both situations involve two children not born of rape and one that is, but only one qualifies for the benefit.

That is unfair.

I hope someone takes a case through the courts. Perhaps this is a job for public interest solicitors like Leigh Day, who seem to have done very well with other benefit-related cases recently?

Then, with luck, we’ll be able to force the Tories to u-turn on this despicable rule that humiliates women who have already suffered too much.

Source: DWP denies mum Universal Credit for her child because she was raped in the wrong order – Mirror Online

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Robert Jenrick must think we are as stupid as he is

Robert Jenrick: his attempt at misdirection has been hopelessly inept. What a shame he doesn’t even have the wit to realise he has been caught out.

The latest chapter in the Westferry development corruption saga demonstrates clearly the lack of talent on the Tory benches.

Z-list human being (let alone politician) Robert Jenrick is now saying his decision to grant permission for Richard Desmond’s development adhered to “natural justice”, as it allowed the developer to avoid paying a levy that he thought should not apply.

There’s just one problem with that:

Both the local authority and the Independent Planning Inspectorate had already said the development should be refused – because it did not meet acceptable planning standards.

It didn’t matter at the time that Desmond wanted to avoid the £45 million levy – although he should certainly have been made to pay it if the application had not been rush-approved by Jenrick to beat its imposition.

The point is that Jenrick’s decision to approve it was corrupt because it did not meet the appropriate criteria.

That’s why he should be removed from office.

After last December’s election it should be possible to replace him with any number of similarly talentless backbench drones.

Source: Robert Jenrick admits deliberately helping Tory donor avoid £45m tax bill by rushing through housing development | The Independent

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Lancet editor publishes book on government failures to deal with Covid-19. Here’s what it says

Richard Horton has been criticising Tory government policy on Covid-19 since at least January.

And he’d know his subject, being the editor of that most distinguished of medical journals, The Lancet.

Shall we have a quick shufti at a few of his points? Here:

He lambasts the management of the virus as “the greatest science policy failure for a generation”, attacks the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) for becoming “the public relations wing of a government that had failed its people”, calls out the medical Royal Colleges, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Medical Association (BMA) and Public Health England (PHE) for not reinforcing the World Health Organization’s public health emergency warning back in February, and damns the UK’s response as “slow, complacent and flat-footed”, revealing a “glaringly unprepared” government and a “broken system of obsequious politico-scientific complicity”.

Details:

The series of five academic papers the journal published in late January first describing the novel coronavirus in disturbing detail went unheeded. “In several of the papers they talked about the importance of personal protective equipment and the importance of testing, the importance of avoiding mass gatherings, the importance of considering school closure, the importance of lockdowns. All of the things that have happened in the last three months here, they’re all in those five papers.”

He still can’t understand why the government’s scientific advisers didn’t consult their counterparts in China.

From the published reports of Sage meetings, … scientists were “trying to be as sensitive to economic issues as they were to health issues”. That, he says, “is a dangerous place to be” because it compromises the ability of the advisory group to protect health.

The book, The Covid-19 Catastrophe: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Stop It Happening Again, is only 140 pages long so it came as quite a surprise that even the e-book edition costs £9.99.

You can buy it here.

Source: The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK’s response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Appeal Court rules benefit claimants must not lose financially from wrong DWP decisions

Thousands of people who were knocked off-benefit in error by the Department for Work and Pensions and then put on the lower-paying Universal Credit could claim compensation after a court ruling.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that claimants should not lose out financially if they were forced to switch onto Universal Credit due to an “error of law”.

The case concerned three women who said their benefits were stopped unfairly.

They were subsequently put back on the benefit system, but on Universal Credit, which paid much less than they had previously received, with no transition payments.

They had to apply for UC after the DWP wrongly stopped their benefits in March 2017. Reviewing their cases, the DWP acknowledged the errors made and the decision to stop their benefits was overturned – but they were unable to return to their previous, higher level of welfare support.

They were also not eligible to receive “transitional protection” payments – cash top-ups designed to cover shortfalls for people moving on to UC.

Disabled Patricia Reynolds told the court she lost £180 per month, and a woman known only as TD, together with her severely disabled daughter, lost £140 per month for 18 months.

The three claimants lost their case at the High Court in March last year, but three leading judges overturned that decision at the Court of Appeal.

Lord Justice Singh said: “I have come to the conclusion, that in the present context, the difference in treatment was manifestly disproportionate in its impact on these appellants having regard to the legitimate aim which the DWP sought to achieve.

“It was therefore manifestly without reasonable foundation.”

He added the three women were treated as they were due to “administrative cost and complexity, which have nothing to do with the merits of their cases”.

He went on: “The only reason, in reality, why they moved from legacy benefits to UC was as a result of errors of law by the state itself.”

The judge said it is now for the Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey, to decide how to respond to the declaration granted by the court.

The Child Poverty Action Group, which represented the claimants, said the ruling could affect thousands of people whose claims for legacy benefits were terminated wrongly.

It claimed that the DWP must act swiftly to implement the judgement, so anyone who claims UC after an incorrect decision to end their previous benefits is protected against financial losses.

The DWP, of course, sees it differently – and is saying far fewer people are likely to deserve compensation.

Source: DWP suffers Court of Appeal defeat that ‘could help thousands’ on Universal Credit – Mirror Online

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Official government rough sleeping estimate found to be only a fraction of the real figure

Tory figures on rough sleeping total less than 20 per cent – one fifth – of the actual number, according to research. They have been lying to us.

Even if this is an honest mistake, it shows us that the Conservative government is incompetent.

The Tories have been using a “snapshot” which shows the number of people found to be sleeping rough over a particular night. The latest figure to be reached by this method found 4,677 people, in 2018.

But a Freedom of Information request asking local authorities how many rough sleepers they had on their books found that the total was 28,000 – more than five times as many.

The Tories fix their targets on eliminating rough sleeping – and set their budgets for that purpose – on the basis of the smaller figure.

This means they cannot hope to solve the problem of rough sleeping, using their current methods.

It also means they’ve been selling us a pup – putting forward a falsehood that we are asked to believe in order to feel that genuine progress is being made. It isn’t.

The New Labour government of 1997-2010 actually did cut homelessness, by more than half.

But since David Cameron, Theresa May and now Boris Johnson took over, homelessness has skyrocketed.

And now we know they have been hiding the true extent of it from us.

Amazingly, the Conservatives are sticking by their figures, saying they are “confident our independently verified snapshot provides a good estimate of the numbers of people sleeping rough on a given night”.

Labour has asked the UK Statistics Authority to investigate the accuracy of the Tory statistics.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said, “The Conservatives can’t begin to fix the problem when they won’t admit the scale of it.”

That is the fact of the matter. And how many other statistical lies are the Tories foisting on us?

Source: Official government statistics grossly underestimate England’s rough sleeping crisis, new figures show – Welfare Weekly

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Boris Johnson can’t even get his facts right about porkie pies

Pig-eyed: Is this the expression Boris Johnson pulls when he’s eating porkie pies… or when he’s telling them?

The UK’s prime minister is so inept he cannot even tell the truth about pork pies, it has been revealed.

Boris Johnson, pilloried as a “known liar” last week by Channel 4’s news chief, has been revealed to be unable to get his facts right in a row about the humble Melton Mowbray pork pie.

In a rather desperate bid to encourage Donald Trump into cutting tariffs on UK exports to the United States, BoJob had claimed that pies from the UK town are exported to other countries but not the US.

He was wrong.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said the pork pies are exported to Thailand and Iceland, but not the US.

But the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association said they were not exported to those countries as far as it knew.

Downing Street said pie producer Walker & Sons exported pies to numerous countries – but Walker & Sons told the BBC that was not correct.

The company said it used to export a “tiny amount” of pork pies to Singapore, but had not done so for “at least two years” and is now “entirely focused on the UK market”.

This is a critical time for the United Kingdom. Brexit makes this nation particularly vulnerable.

At such a time, we need a prime minister with a firm grip of the facts.

Instead we have an overgrown, backward schoolboy who thinks bluff and bluster can substitute for accuracy and who will undoubtedly do his country an uncountable amount of harm.

Source: Melton Mowbray pork pie makers and No 10 clash over Johnson claim – BBC News

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Judge rules David Gauke was wrong to push Parole Board chair out of his job

Wrongly forced to quit: Former Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick.

This is further evidence to add to the mountain we already have, demonstrating the corruption inherent in any Conservative government.

The simple fact is that they think they can do anything they like.

A high court judge has ruled it was unacceptable for the justice secretary to pressurise the Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick into resigning, and that the board lacks independence from the government.

Hardwick resigned in March when David Gauke told him that his position was untenable following the Parole Board’s decision to release serial sex offender John Worboys.

The case was brought by Paul Wakenshaw, a British prisoner, who argued that although the Parole Board was a de facto court under both common law and the European convention on human rights, Hardwick’s removal proved it lacked the independence of a true court.

He said it was constitutionally improper for the justice secretary to have requested that the head of a judicial body resign without any procedure being followed to determine whether there were grounds for his removal. Wakenshaw also sought an order postponing the recruitment of a new chair, for which interviews are scheduled to take place this month.

On Tuesday Mr Justice Mostyn granted Wakenshaw permission to judicially review the independence of the board on the grounds there was a lack of security of tenure for Parole Board members (including the chair) – as evidenced by the circumstances in which Hardwick offered his resignation.

The judge also said that if the justice secretary decided to remove a member of the Parole Board, there was no mechanism to ensure it was a fair decision.

Source: Justice secretary wrong to push Parole Board chair to quit, judge rules | Society | The Guardian

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The DWP can’t be trusted to get benefit decisions right – so let’s speed up the appeal process

Department for Work and Pensions: Not to be trusted to judge benefit claims?

There are two sides to this question.

On one, as “some researchers” mentioned in the Disability News Service article – quoted below – make clear, DWP decision-makers are said to be upholding too many of the recommendations by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.

But on the other, we are faced with the possibility of DWP decision-makers deciding cases on a political basis, under orders from the Conservative government – and we know that those orders would be to fail a high percentage of claims.

From This Writer’s point of view, it seems the appeal process is vital; it is its slowness that should be questioned.

Claimants have to go through a process called Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) before they can even start an appeal against a wrong decision, and this can leave them penniless and struggling to survive for months at a time.

This is highly prejudicial against innocent people who have made their benefit claims in good faith, and whose health may suffer in the time they are forced to wait.

I would call for MR to be scrapped and the appeal process to be sped up, for the sake of claimants’ health.

New figures show that Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants are questioning only a tiny proportion of the benefit assessment reports written by discredited government contractors Atos and Capita.

Campaigners have been trying for months to secure evidence that would explain why such a high proportion of personal independence payment (PIP) claims that are taken to appeal are successful.

Figures from social security tribunals show the proportion of claimants who won their PIP appeals rose by seven percentage points in a year, from 64 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 to 71 per cent in the same period of 2017-18.

The new figures, secured by Disability News Service (DNS) through a freedom of information request, may help to explain why so many appeals are successful.

Source: DWP figures provide fresh evidence to explain PIP claim rejections

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We don’t know how many people were wrongly declared ‘fit for work’ – DWP figures are meaningless

Thousands of disabled people were wrongly found fit to work [Image: PA].

Here’s another example of how the Department for Work and Pensions distorts the facts.

This organisation is saying the number of cases brought to appeal was only a small proportion of the overall caseload – but we know that the DWP has measures in place to ensure that many wronged claimants are unable to get as far as making an appeal.

The DWP’s claims – about the number of successful appeals – are meaningless.

Has everybody forgotten about ‘mandatory reconsideration’ – the “delaying tactic” aimed at reducing the number of sick and disabled people claiming benefits?

Since October 2013, claimants of ESA and other benefits who want to dispute a decision made on their claim have had to ask DWP to reconsider the decision – a “mandatory reconsideration” (MR) – before they are allowed to lodge an appeal with the independent benefits tribunal system. Mandatory reconsideration is not restricted to those who are found ‘fit for work’, though, and claimants can use it to request re-classification from the Work-Related Activity Group into the Support Group, for example.

When it was introduced, DWP civil servants were overturning 40 per cent of ESA decisions. Figures published in June this year showed that this had fallen and only 11 per cent of those who appealed through the MR process – 10,000 people per month – were successful.

Campaigners said this showed the MR stage is simply delaying the benefits process, and pushing disabled people already at risk of poverty into greater hardship.

So we simply don’t know how many people were wrongly defined as fit for work by the DWP.

How many people are pushed into such hardship that they have to give up and accept a false decision that they should claim Jobseekers’ Allowance instead, even though they are not fit to work? We don’t know.

But this skews the appeal results, so the DWP’s claim – that the number of cases brought to appeal is just a small proportion of the overall caseload – is meaningless.

It’s just more nonsense doublespeak, like the claim that claimant suicides have nothing to do with the way they are treated by DWP staff.

Here’s how The Independent reported this story:

“Around 2,000 disabled people were wrongly judged to be fit to work by the DWP over the latest three month period, Department for Work and Pensions figures show.

“Most appeals against disability benefit fit-to-work decisions were successful in the period June 2016, where show 58 per cent of appeals were upheld.

“The number of appeals is also rising compared to the previous quarter, up from 3,400 to 3,600 – despite a falling overall caseload from 145,200 to 96,300.

“The DWP said the number of cases brought to appeal was only a small proportion of the overall caseload, while disability charities warned the numbers were a signal that the tests were not working.”

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A doctor writes on Sarah Vine’s decision to take Michael Gove to the wrong NHS facility

Michael Gove leaves hospital on crutches after his wife drove him to the wrong NHS facility.

Michael Gove leaves hospital on crutches after his wife drove him to the wrong NHS facility.

Please enjoy this letter, posted by “emigrated consultant” Tony Cartwright on Facebook.

Ms Vine

I am another UK doctor who is writing a letter to government, if only to satisfy my own anger and frustration. You must all be getting quite tired of this, really.

Ms Vine, you took your husband to a 17 bed community hospital out of hours… and you really expected the full flow of a trauma centre ? This is an unrealistic expectation and will never be the case. We could staff Shepton Mallet Community Hospital with a 24/7 radiology department for the use of ‘people like us,’ as you describe yourself and as you suggest at the end of your missive, however I suspect your husband’s friend, Jeremy, and indeed the PM himself may have something to say about that and the funding and staffing involved. And then what…orthopaedics too and a bit of general surgery…all squeezed into a 17 bed community hospital with no operating theatre. What about the follow up – the nurses / receptionist / plastering tech / porters / radiographers. Really ? And the cost ??

Your nearest emergency department is either in Yeovil or Bath, both a fairly tiresome 40-60 minute drive, and had you gone to either of these hospitals you would have had an X-ray at any time of the day or night and been referred immediately to orthopaedics if required, oh, and been reviewed by a Consultant, for urgent treatment if required and/or some conservative (that word is beginning to stick in my throat) management with advice. That would have resolved your issue later on the Sunday, however I suspect you had many more important things to do than ensure the comfort and health of your husband.

It was your and/or your husband’s choice, for whatever reason, to not take your husband to a doctor in an emergency department in a timely fashion following his injury and, instead, to take him to a unit that was never designed to be equipped to deal with a major fracture (toe, was it ?) out of hours. You see, with repeated changes to funding and allocation of resources within the NHS, the local A&E departments that I remember as a child have been wound down and closed. You and your husband have the freedom to be able to choose to live in a beautiful leafy part of Somerset far from the madding crowds and you therefore have to make a little effort to access those services that larger hospitals provide 24/7/365, and you decided not to make that effort. Surely you could have used a little of your husband’s 10% pay rise to cover the cost of a little petrol/diesel and some hospital parking to get either to Bath or Yeovil, both centres of NHS excellence ? Your decision not to is not our fault. Do not blame us for your lack of effort or forward thinking.

To then level your inappropriate decision making at the NHS doctors and nurses, and gloss this with a fairly healthy dose of ignorance about healthcare provision in the NHS, is absolutely disgraceful, insulting, and only proves further how ignorant politicians, and now apparently, also their wives, are. The comment ‘….he doesn’t have a spare half-day to sit around awaiting the pleasure of the hospital radiographer…’ only further demonstrates the absolute contempt in which politicians hold doctors, nurses and other allied medical professionals. Your attitude is disgraceful.

Yes, I am a UK trained Consultant. However I saw what the likes of Jeremy Hunt and yourself are doing to the NHS through the media and government and I emigrated, like many others have done and are increasingly doing so. This does not, however, attenuate my upset when I see people such as yourself, who are clearly professionally ignorant of Healthcare provision in the UK, being so openly vitriolic towards the phenomenal institution of the NHS and my UK colleagues, who are highly trained, skilled, utterly professional and respected the world over, except, apparently, in the UK. You should respect them and everything they do and not hammer them for what they don’t do, largely due to direction from above, over which they have absolutely no control. The NHS is respected and revered the world over. It is the envy of almost every country in the world and you openly lambast it in your paper ? Just think about that for a moment.

Your expectations of the current NHS are completely unrealistic and your demand for every community hospital and treatment centre to have 24/7 care displays a level of ignorance regarding healthcare provision and financing which, considering you announced this in a national paper, is quite simply astounding. This triad is complete with your vitriol and implied criticism of my highly trained, skilled and professional colleagues which is utterly disgusting.

Yet again, the government is serving its own end and ignoring the populace and the entire Healthcare sector.

This is all a bit of an own goal, really.

Regards

Tony Cartwright

Emigrated Consultant

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