Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Tories to Remove Housing Benefit for 18 to 21 Year olds.

with 71 comments

Young Homelessness: Set to Swell in Number Under a Conservative Government. 

Today’s news:

New welfare crackdown on workshy

Tens of thousands of families where no one works will have their benefits slashed, David Cameron is to pledge today.

The current £26,000 cap would be cut to £23,000 within days of the Tories winning the general election, the Prime Minister will say.

As the campaign enters its final 100 days with two polls showing his party has moved into a narrow lead, Mr Cameron is also promising tax relief for the middle classes.

He is determined to ensure welfare is no longer a ‘lifestyle choice’, while rewarding those who are in work. He will pledge that the Conservatives would reduce the limit on handouts to jobless families within a week of being re-elected.

Housing benefit would be removed from jobless 18 to 21-year-olds, meaning they will have to live with their parents like millions of youngsters starting out in a job.

Daily Mail.

There’s that stupid expression “life-style choice” – as if being on the Dole was like being a Hipster‘Shit, dude, my bad, awks’, ‘ Chillax!’

Very few people get £26,000 a year, per couple, in benefits.

Those that do have to pay massive rents. If they don’t get the benefits they will loses their homes.

So, more homeless.

Young people on Housing benefit have often left home because they cannot live there – for reasons that range from abusive parents, not enough room at home, to a simple wish to be indepdnent.

If their benefits are removed they will find themselves homeless.

The Conservatives, the party of homelessness. 

Note: detailed demolition of Cameron’s claims, David Cameron churns out another Benefit Cap lie  (Vox Political)


71 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on sdbast.


    January 27, 2015 at 4:19 pm

  2. The most despicable part of this latest welfare crackdown is the Tories ploy of promising tax cuts to the middle classes because “high” taxes are being used to fund lavish lifestyles for workshy layabout on benefits – who apparently end up with more than hard working people get!

    No mention of the greedy landlords who used the Housing Benefit system as a blank check to line their own pockets when increasing rents to exorbitant levels.


    January 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    • I saw a homeless person sleeping in a bus shelter in the Ipswich Bus station (Old Cattle Market) this very morning.

      “David Cameron’s plans to target benefit cuts at the young and vulnerable have come under fire from within his own party.

      Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative chair of the health committee, said she did not support scrapping housing benefit for 18-to-21-year-olds, after the prime minister toured the television studios detailing some of the Tories’ proposals to cut another £12bn from the welfare budget.”

      “Wollaston, the Conservative MP for Totnes, told the BBC’s Daily Politics: “That is a policy that I don’t actually support. The point is that there is a debate going forward, I would not support personally taking housing benefit from the most vulnerable. I would not personally support taking away housing benefit from the very young. I think because there is an issue here we need to discuss about intergenerational fairness … There are many policies within parties that we have a debate about.”


      Andrew Coates

      January 27, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      • How the fuck can you support scrapping housing benefit for ANYONE? EVERYONE has a RIGHT to a roof over their head. Shelter is a basic human need right their at the very bottom of Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ along with having a dump!


        January 27, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      • I think the Old Cattle Market bus station would make a very good temporary homeless shelter (with some modifications) especially considering hardly any buses use it anymore.

        On a more serious note the rough sleeping in Ipswich is hitting near-crisis levels, becoming a pandemic. I notice neither Ben Gummer MP or the Labour candidate has addressed or acknowledged the issue. It is a disgrace.

        Universal Jobmatch

        January 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      • All those girls/women/couples who are 18-21, pregnant or already have a child or two, living in an apartment on housing benefit etc, will this mean that there will be hundreds of thousands of empty apartments and houses, will the homeless be offered them.


        January 27, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      • If you are single in private rented housing and under the age of 35, you are normally only entitled to housing benefit at the shared accommodation rate.

        Another Fine Mess

        January 27, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      • Gummer has been told about it – I did when we lobbied him a few months ago.

        He can hardly miss seeing the rough sleepers: they are a couple of minutes from his Constituency Office in Fore Street.

        Andrew Coates

        January 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      • Do you envision a revitalisation in youth hostels ?


        January 30, 2015 at 11:11 am

      • Ever heard of FEMA camps ?


        January 30, 2015 at 11:12 am

  3. Update on these new electronic signing pads at Jobcentres.

    The system experienced chaos earlier on when first tried out. It was supposed to take 6 specimen signatures from each person when registering new clients. In the real world, it was taking around 20 specimen signatures – and then the system crashed!

    I.T. “experts” were then brought in to sort it all out.

    When (or if) the system ever gets off the ground and into everyday use at Jobcentres, you will only get 3 attempts when signing-on. If it doesn’t recognise your stored signature after 3 attempts, you will be locked out!!!!!!

    Boy, can I see chaotic delays in benefit payments!!!!!!

    Another I.T. disaster waiting to happen.


    January 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    • You having a laugh?

      If you are “signing on”, you only need to give a specimen signature and to sign once (per each period)… no chance am I doing my signature 6 (or more) times… after the third signature, it would be all over the place… anyone having a quick scribble will be able to sign on on my behalf… any volunteers? lol

      It needs to be scrapped… the concept of signing the paper is to declare yourself as unemployed and having done no paid or unpaid work in such period of time (except if you declare it), it is NOT to determine (authentication) whether or not you are the person who it relates to… authentication of the person is done verbally by asking for first line of address etc. and the fact of carrying the signing on book (ES40JP or WS1) determines (assumed) if the person is authorised.

      My signature varies a lot, any security system in relation to signatures and detection will look out for people who are effectively trying to reproduce a signature by remembering it visually with their brain – i.e. those trying to sign on someone else’s behalf – therefore I have probably never signed anything where my signature matches any previously signed one with more than 98% accuracy. This means, in short, I am likely to fail to the system on most attempts.

      In short, I will be told to come back tomorrow to sign on, otherwise, I won’t get paid. If I am more successful then, I will get payment delayed. Its a shambles.

      Universal Jobmatch

      January 27, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      • And these systems also goes on the length of time it takes you to sign… with the assumption that anyone who takes half an hour to sign is attempting to reproduce it visually.

        PS I design and implement these systems

        IT Security Expert

        January 28, 2015 at 3:50 am

      • Universal Jobmatch

        No, I’m not having a laugh.

        Read my comments more carefully. The new system is already experiencing difficulty in recognising signatures.

        As I said, assuming the new system manages to register new clients successfully in the first place, if it subsequently doesn’t recognise your stored signature at the first attempt when you go to sign-on, you will only be given two more attempts before it decides you are someone else and then locks you out – with presumable no benefits!

        Perhaps that’s the intention – built-in chaos!

        But at least you said it needs to be scrapped – and yes, that is pretty obvious.


        January 28, 2015 at 11:00 am

      • Why not use a PIN (Personal Identification Number) instead to sign on? Or is that idea too simple!


        January 28, 2015 at 11:06 am

      • Lightbulb, ever heard the phrase just because the lights on, doesn’t mean anyones in?

        Whats to stop me giving you my pin and offering you say a tenner so you can sign on for me while im earning cash in hand ?

        Do remember their looking to completely remove humans from the frontline of handing out welfare eventually.


        January 30, 2015 at 10:53 am

      • The device and software cant be your garden variety tablet as if we use only peoples writing hand for a moment, the software can only look for surface area imperfection.

        To put it another way its like the comparison of effectiveness when we pit reading body language against micro gestures.

        Next theirs no law that constitutes what conforms as a signature meaning if I want to put a cross instead of my signature you cant stop me not to mention theirs no law that states I cant change my signature anytime I want, todate I have changed mine twice in my lifetime. Lastly again no law states I have to use my writing hand.

        If the majority of claimants say did this and im not suggesting they would but the tablet idea would fall flat on its face.

        Think about it ?

        Last but not least even retinal and finger print scanning can be fooled but watch out as certain companies are working on placing chips within the body just as they do animals already.


        January 30, 2015 at 11:10 am

    • No problem, electronic signing is not mandatory.


      January 27, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      • Not yet…

        Universal Jobmatch

        January 27, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      • Yes, there should have neen the word “yet” at the end of the sentence!


        January 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    • It Would Be Too Bloody Simple. A 5 Digit Pin OR your UJM number ?.


      January 30, 2015 at 10:37 am

  4. I just received a call from Seetec Head Office today. I signed off over 6 months ago. I was wise enough not to answer, the number wasn’t withheld, and I recognised the area code, so I was wary. I was left a voicemail message, asking if I could call back to confirm my employment details! Yeah right, I’m going to do that aren’t I!! 😀 Guess they have nothing better to do and are going through their records and disturbing people!


    January 27, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    • You have to respect them for trying.

      A couple of years ago (as an employer) I received a letter from Seetec and calls, and also a letter from Jobcentre Plus regarding whether or not an employee was employed. I never answered the calls.

      I also never bothered responding to the letters, it wasn’t my concern about their commission; I was intending to respond with a template-like letter stating along the lines of not being able to discuss or confirm due to data protection and to blanket ban any claims by suggesting the business of having no employees.

      Of course, I was running a business at the time and the letters got mislaid under a pile of paperwork.

      Universal Jobmatch

      January 27, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      • They do try don’t they! Last year, I received the odd call and an email, but never responded. They called the landline on one occasion and bothered my family, but they didn’t give them any information. I think it’s best just to stay quiet and not to give any information.


        January 27, 2015 at 6:14 pm

  5. Give it 5 years (read: do not) this housing benefit restriction will be increased to 18-24 (under 25s), then eventually increased to under 30s.

    Universal Jobmatch

    January 27, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    • I too think that will happen, their sure aiming for every human being,
      (benefit claimant) to end up homeless and die from starvation.
      (your post -food bank not giving food to those who are sanctioned)



      January 27, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      • Well, the cuts in this parliamentary term is nothing, they need to severely increase the cuts to fix the country in the next 5 years.

        Can you bet your life savings on riots happening?! If that is possible, I might do that. People have been tricked into taking responsibility for their share of the deficit… I don’t think people will take much more of it… I blame the unions for not following-through on the General Strike threats.

        Riots pop up from time to time… (the last one wasn’t so long ago) but there hasn’t been a General Strike for quite a long while! The ConDem Government would have been defeated. Instead we got a pointless million-person march and people just gave up afterwards.

        No need for violence and criminal damage, just a General Strike, even for a couple of days. You have to give credit to Greece sticking two-fingers up at Germany and Co, will be interesting what action will be taken for Greek rebellion and what this means for the eurozone.

        Universal Jobmatch

        January 27, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      • We will have to keep up with what’s going on in Greece, hopefully it was worth their rebellion.


        January 27, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    • Had two calls from Seetec Head Office today, plus the one yesterday, asking me where I am working! Luckily I didn’t tell them where I was working, when I signed off, so they can’t ring the company.


      January 28, 2015 at 4:56 pm

  6. Meanwhile

    Whitehall officials have spent more than £100million on taxis, business class flights and first class rail travel over the past four years, according to official figures.

    Government departments have spent £60million on business class flights, £26million on taxis and £13million on first class rail travel.

    In 2011 George Osborne barred civil servants from using first class rail travel unless there were exceptional circumstances.



    January 28, 2015 at 9:12 am


    Is this the most outrageous IDS illusion yet? IDS has been claiming there are ample smaller houses for people to move to in order to avoid the bedroom tax.

    Unfortunately, most of these houses are already inhabited!!


    It’s almost laughable!


    January 28, 2015 at 10:42 am

    • What he neglects to inform the public is most aren’t DSS welcome and or how an unemployed person affords the deposit.

      About around 2 years ago I looked into the private sector landlords and this is what was said to me. (This is in no order)

      The usual suspect which was they don’t trust claimants to respect the property (damage it) was still very much alive.

      Second they either personally experienced it or knew another who had, which was delayed payments from councils along with the stop start fashion that occurs when a claimant is sanctioned.

      Third was council took no responsibility for damage or debt nor aided the landlord in its recovery.

      Fourth they are opposed to government paying the rent to the claimant.

      This to save you saying so has already been echoed in the media when landlords approached so while not original verifies the discard nationally to not be one of spin.


      January 30, 2015 at 10:46 am

  8. Personally, I’ll be glad when I’m dead.

    Had Enough Of This Shit

    January 28, 2015 at 11:56 am

  9. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Ipswich Unemployed Action give their perspective on David Cameron’s plans to remove housing benefit for 18 to 21 year olds. And they’re absolutely right when they forecast that this will result in homelessness. Private Eye posted a piece many years ago reporting how that was exactly what happened when Major’s government cut benefits to that age group back in the 1990s. However, you won’t see them, as many local authorities, like London, have passed laws against beggars and the homeless in cities. And as homelessness really is a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, the issue will be forgotten, even as it grows.


    January 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm

  10. Universal Credit costs will not be revealed until after general election.

    The government will not reveal the full cost of its troubled Universal Credit system until after the general election in May 2015, Computer Weekly has learned.

    The last time it calculated an official cost estimate for the whole project, in 2012, it was £12.85bn. But while the cost is said to have since burgeoned, with the project now running two years behind its original schedule and with problems having complicated its development, the government has not updated the official estimate for more than two years.

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which leads development of Universal Credit, and the Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for project oversight, have concealed the revised cost estimate since tearing up plans for the computer system in 2013 after two years of development – a process they called a “reset”.

    They kept the number secret even after they finished re-scoping the project in September 2014, excluding it from the latest National Audit Office (NAO) review of Universal Credit in November that year.

    A DWP spokeswoman said the department would publish its whole-life cost estimate for Universal Credit in the next Cabinet Office Major Projects Authority (MPA) annual report in June 2015. She said the DWP was not prepared to release the number sooner.


    So the true cost of UC is well in excess of £12.85 billion pounds of taxpayers money (Fuck Me), Iain Duncan Smith must think he can throw around taxpayers money as he wishes with no accountability.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    • Let’s just for fun put that figure into proper numbers:


      Please bear in mind that the chancellor George Osborne has still not signed off on Universal Credit.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      January 28, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    • “£12.85 billion pounds of taxpayers money” !

      Fuck me is the least you say!

      What a bleeding shambles!

      Andrew Coates

      January 28, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      • £12.85 billion pounds was the cost up to 2012.

        Only the DWP knows what the current 2015 cost is, I think it’s safe to say it’s well in excess of £12.85 billion.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        January 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      • Or better put if we consider figures for 2012,

        Around 11.5% of the total welfare budget for that (do bare in mind that’s bundling the cost into one year).


        January 30, 2015 at 11:19 am

  11. Income tax does not pay benefits and is only 25p in the pound of tax money.

    The people on benefits however young or old as adults, pay the same 75 per cent of tax that comes from stealth taxes and VAT. The poor in or out of work have a 90 per cent tax rate. So it is, in fact a round robin of funding, not a burden on other taxpayers.

    Because of my interest in being denied state pension payout for life, as retirement age pushed beyond the biggest con in UK history of the flat rate pension 2016, I sought a party to vote for in May.

    See under my petition, in my WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT section, why, at:


    The Greens are the sole party left who give millions some or any at all State Pension, when we have no other income in old age, with a Full Citizen State Pension, irregardless of the conditionality of National Insurance history, which is being used to end the state pension for even Tory wives.

    For all adults below retirement age, The Greens end starvation and homelessness by replacing all benefit with an automatic and universal Citizen Income.

    No more freezing homelessness in some dark corner on an icy night, with no food.

    All benefit admin then ceases, and you will be so pleased to see the end of the Jobcentres and their abject cruelty to young and old alike, including one blog witnessing the cruel humiliation of an old man, incontinent and denied going to the toilet (along with all the orhter ages in the group sign on, so not even privacy).

    Why would Jobcentres exist, as there is no conditonality of actively looking for work to get the Citizen Income?

    Ask your local Green candidate to shut them down, if you want.

    And the Greens’ Citizen Income and Citizen State Pensions (bigger than any other party is offering) would pour over £300 billion into the economy, generating youth jobs especially on the high street turning more and more into ghost towns.

    See more on me personal website http://www.anastasia-england.me.uk

    Me, nil benefit, disabled, chronic sick, nil Jobseekers, nil state pension for life despite working all my life, works pensions the Institute of Fiscal Studies call 4 per cent lowest income from the massive austerity job cuts that will reach 2 million Labour or Tory or UKIP.

    The Lib Dems include the Lib Dems Pensions Minister, Mr Steve Webb, who misrepresented the flat rate pension big time. Folk already gaining official forecasts retiring next year as low as £55 per week, instead of the £113.10 per week now plus if paid the additional top up over the decades in full of around £165 per week. But hardly any of us get that now, never mind losing the lot from next year.


    January 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    • The State Pension will feature on the BBC R4 programme “Money Box Live” today (Wednesday 28 January) at 3.00pm.


      January 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    • According to ‘the Void’ paranoid schizophrenics receive £260 a week in benefits (with housing benefit on top) because they are able to claim the top-rate of disability benefits. This is tantamount to the Government admitting that you need at least £260 per week in your pocket to maintain a sound mind and body. Nobody, nobody should have less than £260 a week in their pocket; jobseekers, pensioners, the disabled. Of course £260 is much less than a minimum wage worker ‘takes home’, and then they still have to pay their rent, in-work expenses, travel expenses etc. so the minimum wage need to raised by a substantial amount. Incidentally, and by way of comparison in Luxembourg jobseekers receive €30,000 per year. Time to put and end to the choice of heat or eat!


      January 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      • So that’s £130 each.

        Another Fine Mess

        January 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm

  12. It’s snowing like crazy in Bradford at the moment and it’s building up fast.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 28, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    • So everything is going to come to a stand still people can’t get where they should be and get sanctioned. I know give the unemployed shovels and make them clear the paths. And I aintr joking.

      get them working

      January 30, 2015 at 8:27 am

      • Walk bare foot then as I would like to see Maximus get round that in their fitness for work test.

        Maybe their revise it to can you crawl up a set of stairs.


        January 30, 2015 at 11:25 am

  13. Benefits for working-age people could be cut by almost a quarter if reforms initiated by the coalition Government are carried through over the next five years, an independent economic think-tank has said.

    Forecasts suggest the roll-out of Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship Universal Credit for jobless claimants may still be incomplete by 2020 -10 years after it was first announced – said the IFS in a report.

    In order to meet George Osborne’s plans for overall public spending without accelerating cuts in other public spending , the IFS calculated that the government which emerges from the May 7 general election would have to reduce social security spending by a further £21 billion by 2019/20



    January 28, 2015 at 7:27 pm

  14. Up to 3,000 doctors have been hired from overseas by the NHS in the past year, as the service battles to tackle staff shortages that medical professionals say are serious and growing.

    They came from at least 27 countries, including India, Poland, Australia and Greece – but also even Iraq, Syria and Sudan – according to 32 of the 160 hospital trusts in England who responded to requests from the Guardian for details of their recruitment



    January 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm

  15. EAT THE RICH!!

    Vote CLASS WAR!!

    January 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm

  16. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    January 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm

  17. People on benefits warned to take care when cashing in pension savings or risk losing state support.

    Pension freedom reforms due in April will allow over-55s to unlock their whole retirement pots, however small or large. But those on housing benefit in particular could lose out if they withdraw these savings, even though they won’t really be any richer or poorer than before, according to Old Mutual Wealth.

    The warning came as Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to protect benefits received by all pensioners – winter fuel payments, TV licences and bus passes – as he jostles with political rivals to woo older voters ahead of the May election.

    Pension industry experts have already flagged up a looming threat that unwary retirees will be heavily taxed for withdrawing big sums from their retirements savings from April.

    However, people coming up for retirement will be able to seek help on tax and benefit issues at the Government’s free ‘Pension wise’ guidance sessions, which are being offered over the phone and online by The Pensions Advisory Service and in person by the Citizens Advice Bureau.

    The City watchdog has also ordered pension providers to give stiff warnings to people who want to unlock retirement savings from April about the potential pitfalls.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 29, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    • will those on benefits who can cash in their pension savings be forced to. one of these days.


      January 29, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    • It’s still £16.000 isn’t it.


      January 29, 2015 at 2:13 pm

  18. With a petition calling for a rent cap in London attracting more than 62,000 signatures, critics of rent controls argue that a cap would lead to an exodus of private landlords. As one of London’s 2.2 million private-sector tenants —around a quarter of the capital’s population — I think there’s a more pressing issue. London’s rental market has reached crisis point.



    January 29, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    • Private renters in homeless riseAlmost a fifth of homeless applications now come from the private rented sector, according to Shelter Scotland.

      The charity said this was disproportionate to the sector’s size, which is 13% of housing in Scotland.

      Homeless applications have decreased by a third in the past five years but the Shelter said the statistics did not tell the full story.



      January 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm

  19. A 7-year-old Cambridge boy is battling with a devastating cancer – but his disability benefits have been stopped forcing his mother to go without food.

    And devoted mum Ruth Miller, 39, has faced eviction and struggles to pay for heating as she and her husband Kevin, 42, of Thorpe Way, Abbey, have been battling with the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) since May for disability living allowance for their son Tommi.

    The couple, who have a daughter Kacey, 8, and 16-year-old Kharis, have been forced to give up their jobs to care for Tommi but have been left to struggle without the allowance



    January 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm

  20. The benefits that are being devolved to Scotland are:

    DLA, PIP, AA, Carers Allowance and Industrial Injuries Benefit (and some control over Discretionary Housing Payments and the frequency and receipt of the Housing Benefit/Allowance element of Universal Credit).

    Benefits that are not being devolved include Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

    This means that the Scottish Parliament will have no control, or say, over the Work Capability Assessment regime, Mandatory Reconsiderations, the Conditionality regime or Benefit Sanctions. All rather important to disabled people.



    January 29, 2015 at 7:55 pm

  21. Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith saw the work of the Bradford Bulls Foundation during a trip to Odsal stadium today.


    Damn, they kept IDS’s visit to Bradford quiet, if we had known he was coming, I think we could have given him a reception he would never forget.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

  22. Chris Cook.

    Policy editor, BBC Newsnight.

    Some of the most important government departments are not fulfilling their obligations under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, a Newsnight investigation has shown.

    Ten years on from the Act’s introduction, Whitehall is still resisting the transparency law.

    Newsnight’s Chris Cook introduces his report on the FOI Act

    For Newsnight I conducted a “mystery shopper” exercise, asking for the same, simple information from almost every central government department, posing as an ordinary member of the public.

    The programme’s FOI request asked: “For each foreign trip made by a minister in your department on official business in the past year, please could you tell me the minister’s identity, destination, purpose of visit, the number of civil servants and the number of special advisers based in your department who were present for each trip.”

    Only two of the 13 government departments that were approached answered the question in line with the law. The Act gives people a right to get information from public authorities, so long as the data is easy to find and won’t cause any harm.

    Working with a senior civil servant, I worded the request in a way that was designed to be as simple to answer as possible – and not fall foul of the restrictions in the Act.

    But in the event, the Department for Education and the Department for Transport were the only two ministries to reply in accordance with the law.

    That outcome was concerning.

    Given that departments make open data releases on this topic, and are supposed to routinely collate and publish information on the cost and staffing of trips, I was actually really only asking for two new pieces of information: the number of special advisers and the number of civil servants who were present on each trip.

    I did expect departments to say that some of the information was online, but still provide the remainder.

    I also anticipated that departments might find a reason to use one of the security or data protection exemptions to refuse parts of the request.

    But they did not.

    Six wrong replies,

    What actually happened was I received six replies dismissing the request, saying – wrongly – that all of the data was already available.

    Those came from from the Ministry of Defence, Scotland Office, Wales Office, Cabinet Office, Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions.

    The big picture here is that the way the Act operates is capricious for users, and officials look to brush off requests.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 30, 2015 at 10:56 am

    • That was obvious the day Cameron walked away from making false expenses claims.

      I urge you, try using his excuse when the tax man comes and let me know how you got on.


      January 30, 2015 at 11:28 am

      • Perhaps I should have said how long before IDS claims in the interest of national security as the logic to deny The Work and Pensions Select Committee the data they have requested how long ago.


        January 30, 2015 at 11:32 am

    • Here’s an excellent example of the DWP failing to answer an FOI request form last year:

      DWP sidesteps answer to FOI request about sex workers and Jobcentres and Work Programme.

      The FOI request was: ‘How many people have found work in the adult entertainment industry or sex industry through Jobcentres or the Work Programme in the latest period for which figures are available.’

      The DWP response said that the government took action to ensure jobs in the adult entertainment industry which might exploit jobseekers were not advertised through Jobcentre Plus.

      “The Welfare Reform Act 2012 ensured that vacancies which involve performing sexual activities were banned from being advertised on government websites and a distinction was made in law to differentiate between performers and ancillary workers, those people selling (retailing), manufacturing and distributing of adult entertainment products and ancillary staff eg. cleaners and bar staff.”

      The response continues that the DWP does hold some of the information “falling within the description specified in your request, but this is not held centrally for ancillary workers”.


      Obi Wan Kenobi

      January 31, 2015 at 12:28 pm

  23. Senior Citizens claiming Pension Credit will soon be subject to the same draconian system of monitoring and case reviews as the disabled and jobseekers, when the ‘assessed income period’ system is abolished in April 2016.



    January 30, 2015 at 1:36 pm

  24. What do you do when government policies don’t work at all? The work capability assessment (WCA) is an obvious example. It is part of a system that is meant to help disabled people into work when possible, and support those who can’t work because of illness and disability. Instead, it is a fit-to-work test that doesn’t function properly, because it is badly designed and poorly carried out. Many disabled people find the WCA punitive, humiliating and distressing.



    January 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm

  25. Google users.

    Google has agreed to rewrite its privacy policy after pressure from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.

    The firm must make it easier for users to find out how their data is collected and what it is used for and submit to a two-year review.

    The deal follows an investigation by the regulator. Similar reviews are continuing elsewhere in Europe.

    It is understood that Google will seek to strike a similar deal with other European regulators.

    The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that Google was “too vague when describing how it uses personal data gathered from its web services and products”.



    January 30, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    • Stopped using google years ago myself.

      The best search engines to use currently if you aren’t a tech head is the following,




      Do bare in mind this is but one part of the bigger picture so also consider using a portable browser (ie, runs from your usb memory stick) like Tor


      Plus as you read up on the tor bundle you will encounter Tails. Now despite protests from some as to NSA and GCHQ intrusion, do bare in mind im giving you this advice to protect you from companies and government outside of in the case of the UK GCHQ.

      What I mean by this is as the UK law currently stands, even if DWP did go to GCHQ, unless you have committed a criminal act and or a terrorist, they couldn’t legally use any information against you, period stroke, period.


      January 31, 2015 at 5:57 am



    February 2, 2015 at 5:55 am

    • That’s just what you think.


      February 2, 2015 at 9:39 am

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