Here We Go Again – DWP to Repeat the ATOS Disaster ?

I’m sure I’m not alone in being totally unsurprised, albeit sick to my stomach at the latest revelation to be leaked from Tory proposals for Benefits, the drastic cutting of  ESA; it appears that new claimants placed in  WRAG will only receive 50 pence a week more than JSA. This has led me to wonder if this extreme reduction has anything to do with the increase in the number of people claiming out of work sickness or disability benefits?

The fact the cut was ‘leaked’ on the same day, and to the same source as the claim, Maximus will be the company taking over the contract from ATOS, also leaves me unsurprised. I can imagine the key players from DWP and Maximus sitting around the table and plotting this decimation of ESA as a part of the contract. The key aim of Welfare Reform has always been to slash Benefits, irrespective of need, and now seemingly wants to privatise all out of work benefits; therefore given Maximus’ existing  involvement in running the Work Programme, and the new Health and Work programme  this pairing seems a perfect match.

However when John Pring initially suggested, Maximus was the preferred bidder to replace ATOS, he also revealed the company’s “chilling” record of incompetence, discrimination and alleged fraud“. Thinking back to when ATOS was initially awarded the contract for WCAs, there were similar concerns around the unsuitability of ATOS, and we all know the outcome of that appointment.

It appears the DWP have completely failed to learn from the ATOS debacle and is planning to enter into another disastrous contract with a seemingly corrupt company, all for Corporate Greed.  Further the DWP seems to be continuing the rhetoric of  blaming us being ill; refusing to acknowledge their attacks on poorest and most vulnerable people through both the continuing  scapegoating and their discriminatory Policies, are in any way responsible.

The ‘leaking’ of these two announcements today suggest the DWP are maintaining their insidious behaviour, softly ensuring their plans emerge into the public psyche in an attempt to build public support:

‘the poorest people are choosing the higher paying benefit to avoid looking for work, because  they are lazy, the DWP are doing the majority a favour by stopping these idlers take the easy option, and are bringing in a company who will stamp this out’

What can we can fight back against this? Johnny Void suggests we gather the information necessary to take Maximus out of the picture and I agree; but I also believe we need to demonstrate WHY sick and disable people need the extra money to survive, lets collect your stories that demonstrates precisely what we do with the difference between JSA and ESA, because if we don’t – We Will Lose it!

 

ESA Backlogg Causes Disruption and Fear to Vulnerable Lives.

Debbie Sayers posts another example of the dire situation many chronically sick and disabled people battle with daily.

People’s lives are at severe risk whist IDS & Co continue to tinker with the Social Security budget saving Nothing and causing Death – Time for it to STOP? Join the TRUTH Campaign

#ImpeachDWP #NOWPetition

Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

A few nights ago after six pm, I received an urgent cry for help and advice from a lady I know, who has herself faced major health issues with her son and is disabled herself. When completely out of the blue her brother who is also a vulnerable adult with health problems received a accelerated eviction notice from his landlord stating he had to leave the property the next day.

She desperately needed advice on whether the landlord could do this. Having had issues with private renting, I advised her about his rights re his section 21notice and googled some info on accelerated evictions, as well as who else might be able to advice such as Shelter and her local councils housing department. As well as advising that she spoke to a solicitor first thing in the morning…

This has seriously stressed two vulnerable disabled adults trying to sort this…

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The Government Denies DWP Lies…YET…here are MORE “Lies and Damn Lies”

The Government has responded to the W&P Select Committee’s investigation of performance of the Department for Work and Pensions in 2012-13 – and as we expected the Government’s response is full of rhetoric of how well the DWP is doing and focus on the range of processes to ensure their Statistics are always good.

These include

Select Recommendation –  needs to exercise care in the language used in accompanying press releases and ministerial comments in the media. 2013 saw heightened and quite widespread concern—including from the UK Statistics Authority and organisations representing disabled people—about the DWP commentary accompanying releases of benefits statistics

Response – DWP is : is very careful about the language used when referring to benefit claimants, making clear that it is the system itself that has for too long trapped people into a life of welfare dependency. That is why this Government is making such a radical overhaul of the benefits system, to restore integrity and ensure that everyone who needs help and support receives it….statistical releases are produced and published separately to and independently from other Departmental comment or publications. Great care is taken by our statisticians to ensure the statistical releases are easy to read and understand, and are balanced and impartial….Training courses have also been run for Press Office staff, together with guidance having been issued on the use of statistics… ensure ministerial and official public statements are accompanied, whenever possible, by the released data and/or a link to the statistical release to which the press release refers. These statements are cleared with the relevant analysts for their statistical integrity.

And on it goes, defended the DWP and denying its ministers ever use inaccurate or false statistics.

The day after despite all the hype we learnt IDS & McVey are staying in control of the DWP, we witness another set of “Lies, damn lies and failing DWP bedroom tax report“.  Joe Halewood  in this excellent post, which I strongly suggest you read points out “On the same day as the cabinet reshuffle the DWP released a 163-page interim report into the bedroom tax.  Unfortunately this deliberate burial of a report is the best that can be said for it as it really is that bad“. He continues to identify major errors both in the writing of the report and a number of lies contained within it

For me this situation demonstrates precisely WHY we must continue to demand this Government deal with this situation, as despite the official response to the Select…the position remains the same. People from minority and oppressed communities are increasingly being blamed for the state of the nation; whilst Government continues to not only perpetuate this with their Lies but also through denying any responsibility or fault.

For thiese reasons, please keep sharing the #NOWPetition and show the Government WE the People WILL scrutinise them and we WILL Demand our RIGHTS to the TRUTH

Thanks all

 TRUTHCampaign #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

Another Government ‘Fag packet’ proposal for Benefit Sanctions & Cuts ?

Rarely do I come across a Tory Policy proposal that makes me both Smile (albeit at the irony) and Shudder (with fear); but today’s report in the Telegraph does exactly this; “Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants face being stripped of their state allowances if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression“, this worries me on several levels.

The article quotes their source as saying “We know that depression and anxiety are treatable conditions. Cognitive behavioural therapies work and they get people stable again but you can’t mandate people to take that treatment“; I totally agree with the closing proviso but the apparent claim CBT works for depression and anxiety is False.

Firstly Depression is not a ‘one size fits all’ disorder, there are different types of this debilitating illness, and a notion it can be conveniently summed up to enforce potentially damaging treatment is downright dangerous as well as being futile.  This position applies equally to Anxiety, again there are different types of Anxiety disorders which require different specialist treatments; therefore this all embracing decision, being discussed by Politicians based upon saving money is, to me, terrifying.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works to enable people understand the relationships between their feelings, thinking, behaviours and environment, and to identify ways in which these can become problems; ergo CBT only works when depression and, or anxiety arises from internal conflict. Personally I have found CBT to be of little or no use when clinical issues, i.e. schizophrenia, is  the primary causes of the disorder; further where external factors are reinforcing the disorders, I personally have found CBT only has limited benefits.  I am not purporting CBT has no use in supporting depressive or anxiety sufferers, but it is not the only form of treatment necessary for enabling improved mental health. Given the mandate for this scheme is the ” loads of people who claim ESA (for Depression and Anxiety) who undergo no treatment whatsoever“, it is difficult to understand how the Government is to utilise fully trained CBT workers anyway?

Minsters are already piloting different ways of implementing this scheme, four JobCentres are currently “combining “talking therapies” with employment support“; soon we will witness  “group work” to help build the “resilience” of individuals who are out of work and suffering with poor mental health” the “hiring specialist private organisations outside the NHS and welfare system to take control of providing a combination of psychological and employment support to claimants” and finally “online tests and therapies at improving individuals’ health and job prospects“. These four trials will then be assessed, presumably with cost effectiveness, being the primary focus’ so no prizes for guessing which ‘approach’ the Government will adopt – more work for the nudge unit coming up?

These trials are a joint effort between the DWP & Dept of Health, and emerge from the report Talking Therapies: a four year plan of action  and initially was targeted at people 18-65  as an “economic case on which it was based showed that providing therapy could benefit not only the individual but also the nation, by helping people come off sick pay and benefits and stay in or return to work“. There we have it another quick fix based on Finance First and presumably will form the basis of yet another area of Cuts in Welfare; but once again aimed at sick and disabled people

As I acknowledge at the beginning of this post, the Government Ministers making these decisions about how mental health sufferers should be treated, deny participation in these trials will be mandatory, seeming to recognise willingness to participate is central any talking treatment working. However the Telegraph states “Conservatives could include the proposal for mandatory treatments in the party manifesto next year as part of the next phase of reforms to the welfare state” and I can’t help but think they are probably accurate in this.

Will this turn out to be yet another example of how the Government says one thing and then does another? If you agree with me in this Join the TRUTH campaign

#NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

Reducing Unemployment To Zero Neither Feasible Nor Desirable Says Iain Duncan Smith’s Think Tank

“Whilst reducing unemployment to zero is neither feasible nor desirable” – This astonishing admission from IDS’s ‘Experts’ is maybe the Greatest Reason to Join the TRUTH Campaign. – http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/david-cameron-lies-damn-lies-ids-and-the-dwp-stop-spinning-statistics-impeachdwp-nowpetition

The Lies fed to us by Government and in particular from IDS & the DWP, are precisely those used to justify the horrors of Welfare Reform

#ImpeachDWP #NOWPetition

the void

CSJThe think tank founded by Iain Duncan Smith has let the cat out of the bag and admitted that reducing unemployment to zero is neither feasible or desirable.

The comments come in the latest report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), the madcap Christian dominated think tank that came up with Universal Credit. The CSJ praises George Osborne’s drive for full employment (stop laughing) but points out that this does not mean everyone should have a job, but that employment levels remain at a level which does not cause inflation.

The problem for the CSJ, and George Osborne, is that if work was in plentiful supply then the bastards would have to pay us properly.  That is why real full employment is neither feasible nor desirable to the people who profit from our work.  Capitalism cannot function without unemployment but still unemployed people are not just blamed for…

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A Return to the Workhouse?

Almost a year ago I wrote about a report on residential training provision, and remarked that the proposals therein, called to mind a Dickensian view of the Workhouse.

Today I read two articles discussing changes to Jobseekers Allowance, due to come into force next month for Homeless people; according to Inside HousingUnder the new rules, Job Centre Plus advisors will be given the discretionary power to exempt rough sleepers and those in supported accommodation from looking for work“, this will however be subject to “claimants will have to prove they are taking reasonable action to find accommodation“.  The writer appears to view these new amendments as a positive move, offering quotes from Homeless Link and St Mungo’s Broadway, both announcing these changes as, the Government recognising the extra barriers Homeless people experience when seeking work and acting upon them.

The second post from Johnny Void was far less supportive, challenging the exemptions as, only lasting four weeks “despite the average length of hostel stays being significantly longer than that“; he justifies this by pointing out, “the minimum length of stay in one of St Mungo’s Central London hostels is eight weeks, with most residents staying an average of six to nine months”. He also notes “The so-called easement period will be granted only at the discretion of Jobcentre busy-bodies and will not apply to people who have been homeless for a long time“.

Both posts refer to a Report from Homeless Links which found “nearly one in three (31 per cent) homeless people on jobseeker’s allowance have faced penalties, compared with just 3 per cent of typical claimants” continuing with “Eighty-seven per cent of of the services report homeless people are experiencing food poverty, with one in six turning to crime“.

These amendments come at a time when Homelessness is rising exponentially, affecting “an estimated 185,000 people a year“, these figures are from a report by Joseph Rowntree Foundation & Crisis, who define homelessness as “people sleeping rough, single people living in temporary accommodation, statutorily homeless households who are currently or imminently without accommodation and “hidden homeless” households, such as those living in severely overcrowded conditions, squatters or “sofa-surfers”; ergo  many of those affected here will not benefit from Government changes.

The same report does identify the number of rough sleepers as being, up “by 6% in England and 13% in London…(and noting) This pushes the two-year increase in the capital to over 60%” and these are the people these amendments will affect.

It appears accepted by a majority of researchers who have studied the impacts of Welfare Reform , the Act is implicated in the rise  of people without a home; CASE, a research group of nine major housing associations providing affordable homes in the South East of England, asserted in their 2012 report The impact of welfare reform on housing, ‘the combination of the Bedroom tax, Direct Payments and the Benefits Cap would result in people losing their homes’. Further a recent report by Grant Thornton UK  First impressions of the impact of welfare reform, found “worrying signs are emerging, including rising rental arrears, homelessness and reliance on food banks, which may be linked to the reforms“.

Given the above I’m left wondering why Government is tweaking with JSA regulations, when the reasons behind the rise in Homelessness and Poverty, including those which appear as consequence of Welfare Reform, are being overlooked? It is accepted there are many causes for Homelessness, and whilst Government can have little control on personal grounds for this experience; they have almost absolute power over Structural reasons, and it on this basis I challenge the effectiveness of the regulation changes. I fail to understand how the potential for a civil servant not to sanction a homeless person for four weeks, will have an positive impact on their lives.

It is recognised the UK is experiencing an increasing dearth of social housing, as even where genuinely affordable housing did exist, it is being bought and the rents immediately hiked often above the Benefit Cap, forcing  Housing Benefits claimants into rent arrears/eviction. A recent example of this is Government MP Richard Benyon, purchasing the New Era Estate in London; this is particularly disconcerting from man who reportedly blasts the ‘something for nothing’ welfare state, whilst receiving £625K a year in Housing Benefit. For Government to have a productive impact on Homelessness it needs to address the shortage in Homes that are affordable for all; particularly those earning than the living wage and people in receipt of Housing Benefit, all of us without the means or desire to access a mortgage.

This still leaves the question of who will benefit from the regulation changes: a search on Homeless UK shows 1579 projects, offering supported housing and hostels for Rough sleepers, all of whom will profit via receipt of Housing Benefit for those exempt; could this be the reason the Housing charities are so supportive of these changes? Johnny Void  sums this up as “they will still be technically homeless but at least the charity gets a huge Housing Benefit cheque every week“.

If there is any reality in the above intimations, then will be witness a growth in the hostels and associated accommodation, self justified by the rise in Homeless people, and will they become the Workhouse of the 22nd Century?

Surely its time for the Government to fulfil Cameron’s promise for Greater transparency and tell the public the TRUTH behind the rationale of Welfare and other Reforms .

 

Angry? Sign the Petition –  Stage in the TRUTHcampaign

Tweet – #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

 

 

 

 

Fight For TRUTH – STOP the TORY LIES

A Quick update on the petition  – THANK YOU – we’ve now passed 2,500 signatures and some very kind person had paid to promote the petition (a SPECIAL Thanks to you xx), Now WE NEED to SHARE this as much as possible

If you need any more evidence Joe Halewood of the excellent SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites) informs us in June 24 Lord Freud deliberately mislead the House of Lords over bedroom tax; by quoting figures easily proved to be bogus, he stated ” There are some 200,000 smaller premises in the social rented sector available through each year” ! But the actual and universally accepted figure is 68,000 not 200,000 and so we see Lord Freud tripling the amount of the real figure as is his want. Freud also said “The process of which I am aware is when people appeal to the tribunal; there have been more than 100 such cases,” However Joe claims “Having personal knowledge of over 80 bedroom tax appeals myself just from one small part of Merseyside alone and further knowledge, some first-hand and some second-hand of a further few hundred bedroom tax appeals in Merseyside and hundreds more across the UK we again see Lord Freud knowingly misleading the House of Lords yet again.”

Further, as Bernadette Meaden yesterday wrote in Disabled people demand truth in politics. “Statistics should give us a true picture of what is happening: if the government misuses them it distorts the public debate, and leads people to judge policies on an inaccurate basis. It undermines democracy”. We know this to be true  and this is why the TRUTH Campaign formed a part of this article in Ekklesia.

If Debbie & I have learnt anything over the past 4 years it is – If WE don’t scrutinise and Challenge Government – No One Will!

So if you believe Government Budgets, Polices and Programmes should be based on FACTS and not skewed statistics; PLEASE continue to push this.

Join out Thunderclap and help us get the SOCIAL REACH of 69,038 to sign our Petition

Tweet – #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

As Robert Livingstone shows in his latest piece

SelfServatives

Government Policies are Bad for our Health – Time for Challenge #NowPetition

The latest group to be hard hit by Government Policies are women employees, Female workers hit hardest by Austerity Agenda & associated Cuts, this won’t be a surprise to anyone not fortunate to earn enough; but for most of us, this is another example of how Government Policies are penalising the majority of people – simply because they are not rich.

The past four years are strewn with evidence demonstrating precisely how, outcomes of Government Reforms have been detrimental to the general public; Welfare Reform has brought about WorkfareBenefit CapBedroom TaxPIP, and  changes to ESA, JSA sanctions  & Tax Credits, to cite a few of the programmes. All of the above, have been criticised by numerous independent groups, charities, think tanks and across social media, as not only being prejudicial but as being incongruous. Similar criticism applies to Policies in Justice Reform, the Home Office, the Health ServiceTax & Revenue etc. Further we’ve been subjected to a series of inconsistencies from various Minsters & MPs across Parliament, from expense claims to downright untruths; and this behaviour in the main goes unchallenged, or worse is defended.

These Policies and Programmes have had a negative effect on  disabled people, older people, black & minority ethnic people, low paid people, jobless people, children and women, and  the articles used in the above links, are merely examples of the plethora of  evidence available. This leads me to one conclusion; current Government Policies, particularly when based upon such questionable, data are damaging the health and well-being of the majority of people in the UK.

It is for this reason we are challenging Parliament to STOP the SPIN, we want Government to ensure  their Laws and Policies, are fair and based upon Fact; further we are  dissatisfied with Political attempts at psychological coercion, with MPs persistently misusing statistics to justify prejudicial Polices.

For these reasons we believe the TRUTH Campaign will positively challenge Government; and as people afflicted by the current raft of unjust Policies, we demand change.

If you, your family, friends, colleagues etc are negatively affected by any Government Policies – Join the TRUTH Campaign – sign our petition, join our Time For Truth Thunderclap, tweet #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP, share on Social Media; and Spread the word Government Policies are Bad for our Health

 

Recover or DIE – Time to Fight Back #NowPetition #ImpeachDWP

I find it intriguing to read that ACPO (The Association of Chief Police Officers) argued, in their case for purchasing water cannons, “it would be fair to assume that the ongoing and potential future austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest. Experiences in Millbank in 2010 demonstrate how quickly protest can turn to serious violent disorder. In addition, the social and economic factors that are currently being experienced have the potential, when combined with a significant (and often spontaneous) “trigger” event, to lead to the outbreak of significant disturbances“. So the Police understand that the Governments austerity measures result in protest;  further Richard Seymour also acknowledges the reason for the Mayor of London spending £218,000 on such weaponry is about, “policing austerity“.

This purchase suggests Government is fully aware that its Polices such as  Welfare Reform, Civil Justice Reform, Media Reform, Tax cuts for the Highest Earners etc; result in the majority of people experiencing (often severe) economic distress, and concern for their Rights; and yet, Government perseveres with its agenda

Sue Marsh today asks, “What do you call a government who….”, in this she lays out a wide range of the actions taken by Government to date; in response to Sue rather than state what I call the Government I elect to examine the rationale for such behaviour. Having analysed the paradoxical manner Government acts and speaks, albeit focussing on Welfare Reform, in many occasions;  I can determine Government’s primary purpose to be the subjugation of the majority of the people

For me, Steve Bell’s cartoon in the Guardian today sums it up nicely –

 

Steve Bell 12.06.14

 

Now the question is – Are you going to let then get way with it?

 

Fight Back – join the Truth Campaign –  Make them Admit the Real Purpose for Hiding behind things, be they Water Canons or Dodgy Statistics SIGN & SHARE; We’ve done it before We CAN Do It Again

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