DWP again refuses to release data on disability benefits….

From The Independent –   Are the Media finally catching up?

The Department for Work and Pensions has again refused to release data about the impact of changes to the disability benefit system after a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Last week the DWP was forced to reveal how many people had died shortly after being found fit to work by disability tests.

Ministers and officials had resisted the demand for months and only accepted it after a warning from the Information Commissioner and a campaign that went all the way to Parliament.

But on Tuesday DWP officials refused another request for basic information about disability benefits using the same “Section 22” exemption they had tried to use before.

The Department had been asked under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose how many Disability Living Allowance claimants had been made worse off after being moved onto the new Personal Independence Payment benefit.

The Department refused the request, made by a user of the WhatDoTheyKnow website, a tool which helps people scrutinise the Government’s record.

Some claimants have lost out from the move from DLA to PIP. The reason given for rejecting the request is the same as that given in the case of the death statistics – under section 22 of the Act, data which officials say is reserved for future publication can be blocked from release.

The Department also previously stalled on responding to the request based on the fact that the person who made it had initially used a pseudonym.

The civil servant who answered the reply ultimately said that thought there was a public interest in the data being released, they should be allowed to publish it “in a manner of form and at a time of their own choosing”.

“I can confirm that the Department holds the information you are seeking. However, Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts this information from disclosure. This is because the information is intended for publication at a future date,” the Department said in its reply.

“This exemption requires the public interest for and against disclosure to be weighed in the balance. There is a public interest in information being released as soon as possible. However, I am satisfied that there is a strong public interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing.”

Disabled people are being transitioned by the Government from the Disability Living Allowance benefit to its placement, the Personal Independence Payment. Some people lose out from this change because of the new way in which the PIP is calculated.

One person affected by a payment cut, Jane, wrote in her blog about the difficulties the changes had made for her and criticised the DWP’s lack of transparency.

“I have found myself so behind with bill payments, I now am past ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ and am at the bailiffs knocking on the door stage,” she said.

“Once again the DWP hide behind Section 22, but fail to indicate when these figures are to be produced; could this be because the data once revealed, will show another proven case of how the Welfare Reform Act is persistently failing disabled people?”

In the case of the benefit death figures, the Information Commissioner said the Government had no good reason to withhold the stats under Section 22

Mr Duncan Smith at one point caused confusion when he told Labour MP Debbie Abraham in Parliament that the stats did not exist.

“She knows very well that the department does not collate numbers on people in that circumstance,” he told her in Parliament.

The block comes after ministers announced a crackdown on the Freedom of Information Act, which Justice Secretary Michael Gove needed to be “revisited”.

Civil servants have long complained that disclosing information can be time-consuming and costly, and that ministers and officials should be allowed to discuss things in secret without the public knowing.

Campaigns say any attempt to water down the act would make it more difficult to hold the Government to account when things go wrong.

More disability benefit data refused for release by DWP.

Back in January I wrote about how my transition from DLA to PIP lost me £140 per month, and in March I posted about the saga I had with my Mandatory Reconsideration; both of these pieces demonstrated precisely what this loss meant to me in real terms. Since then I have found myself so behind with bill payments, I now am past ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ and am at the bailiffs knocking on the door stage.

The reason for raising this is, today a FOI request asking  ‘The percentage of current DLA claimants, who, on conversion to PiP, were reduced in their claims’…was answered by the DWP. Unsurprisingly their response was “I can confirm that the Department holds the information you are seeking. However, Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts this information from disclosure. This is because the information is intended for publication at a future date.

Once again the DWP hide behind Section 22, but fail to indicate WHEN these figures are to be produced; could this be because the data once revealed, will show another proven case of how the Welfare Reform Act is persistently failing disabled people?

The recent outcome of the 18 month long fight by Mike Sivier confirmed that “10,000 people lost their lives” after being determined they were well enough to be placed in the Work Related Activity Group! Will this latest refusal for information, demonstrate yet a further number of disabled people, who although surviving, being adversely affected by the decisions of civil servants

We were warned back in 2012, by the then Minister for disabled people Esther McVey that, “more than 300,000 disabled people will have their benefits cut” under the transition from DLA to PIP, are the DWP refusing to release this data, because this figure is already much higher?

“How *Dare* ISIL Kill British Citizens! That’s *Our* Job!”

Originally posted on TheCritique Archives:

by Martin Odoni

NOTE: I nearly wrote this article back in June, but in the end I decided to wait until evidence was in the public domain of post-Work-Assessment-Test deaths.

Seifeddine Rezgui is the name of a killer. On the 26th June 2015, armed with a Kalashnikov, he attacked a hotel in Port El Kantaoui, on the north-east coast of Tunisia. His frenzied attack, committed on behalf of the extremist terror group, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), left thirty-eight people dead. Thirty of them were British citizens, whose memory was lovingly saluted three days later, when the House of Commons observed a minute’s silence. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, then ordered that a national minute of silence would be held on the 3rd July, exactly one week after the attacks.

Iain Duncan-Smith is the name of a killer. Since becoming Secretary of State for Work & Pensions in…

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Dear Iain McNicol -Labour Leadership Vote – What a Farce

This is the letter I sent to Iain McNicol this morning as I too have received my email denying me my vote!

Dear Iain McNicol

As a previous Labour Member who didn’t renew my membership due to concerns with actions by my local Labour Party and what I perceived as a lack of opposition from the Parliamentary group, I maintained my belief in Labour’s aims and values.

Given this I willingly paid my £3.00, which I can ill afford as a disabled benefit recipient, to become an Affiliated Supporter and vote for my preferred candidate in the Leadership campaign.Upon receiving my electronic ballot paper I immediately duly voted but today I received an email informing me my vote will not be counted?

The email states “We have reason to believe that you do not support the aims and values of the Labour Party or you are a supporter of an organisation opposed to the Labour Party and therefore we are rejecting your application.” I refute this supposition completely, and as a lifelong Labour supporter ask you give me your “reasons” by return. Given the deadline for voting, this request is of the utmost urgency.

This is addressed to you as the promoter of the Leadership race and request you give this your urgent attention


In anticipation of a speedy response

I had to send this to Liz Kendall as my MP with the request – please forward this to Iain McNicol who has no email

The debate to date:

jaynel62:

From our NEW #DEAEPRadio Please SHARE & RT

Originally posted on Live Discussion:

Do the disabled, unemployed, sick, vulnerable and low waged deserve to be victimised through the Government’s dismantling of the British Welfare System. The changing of the disability assessment procedure and the cancellation of peoples benefit payments really hit home to the extent that in the first year over 10,600 disadvantaged people believed that there was no other option but to take their own lives. R.I.P. brothers, sisters, comrades.

These people have been forced into suicide by a Government Department (DWP), run by a genocidal, egotistical despot who would not of been out of place in a German concentration camp. This so called man, loved every minute of the past 5 years pushing the limits of the benefits system well past an acceptable limit. He introduced the ‘Bedroom Tax’ which was aimed at the general public. Those who have an extra room are told to move to a smaller place or…

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Excuse Us, Mr Osborne; Public Assets are NOT Private Handouts

My last post concerned the rationale for Osborne continuing to slash the Welfare Budget whilst giving £93BILLION in Corporate Handouts; at the same time I also started a new petition on Change.Org  demanding the Chancellor STOP this practice.

Yesterday the man responsible for managing the nations money justified the sale of RBS at an initial loss of a further £1Billion and Today the Independent demonstrates how “Osborne wants to sell more public assets in 12 months than Britain has in last 20 years!

Basically if WE the people continue to do nothing the current Chancellor will make sure every Public asset will soon be in one of his buddies private bank account; Is THIS what YOU want?

If NOT join me in demanding these Private Handouts STOP NOW, and the money reinvested in Public Service

https://www.change.org/p/george-osborne-chancellor-of-the-excequer-stop-using-our-money-to-finance-private-corporations-repay-it-into-public-services-4dd87348-c752-4836-b9a8-8d2ce75fc8a2/u/11648684

Martin Rowson from Guardian 07/08/15

Martin Rowson from Guardian 07/08/15

#PublicAssetsFORPublicServices  #NOtoPrivateWelfare

£20BILLION more Cuts! To fund another £93BILLION in Corporate handouts?

The Mirror today reports that George Osborne is to slash a FURTHER £20 BILLION from almost every Govt. Dept, including of course, the DWP in November’s budget.

The question I believe the Nation ought to be asking is WHY, particularly when in one year he granted Private Corporations  nearly FIVE TIMES this amount in Corporate Welfare? 

In 2013 alone £93 BILLION was given away to Private Companies, including a  £FIVE MILLION government grant to AstraZeneca; supposedly to develop its research and development centre at Alderley Park, Cheshire. In just five months, the same company closed the plant along with 2,100 jobs; I don’t suppose this has anything to do with the project being in Osborne’s constituency?

To this end I’ve stated a petition on Change.org demanded Osborne STOP using OUR money to finance Private Corporations and to REPAY it into Public Services. I have no expectations of this happening but maybe if the people knew precisely where their direct and indirect Taxes were being spent, they might just recognise the only reason for the Tory Austerity budget was to further enrich themselves and their friends?

If you want to read more about how Corporate Welfare works, Aditya Chakrabortty spells it out.

Come on people let’s spread the TRUTH, we might just wake the people up – and What have we left to lose?

#TRUTHSeekers