Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Message to the Labour Party: We need to Get rid of the Benefits Sanctions Regime. Full Stop.

with 103 comments

Hat-tips: Another Fine Mess and Enigma.

Labour Pledges on Benefits:

A Labour government would tackle the root causes of the increase in the use of food banks across the UK, with the party to pledge that they “can never be allowed to become a permanent feature of British society”. Shadow ministers will promise to solve jobcentre benefit delays, halt the proliferation of benefit sanctions, and address low pay in a five-point plan aimed at reducing the number of people forced to turn to food banks.

They will cite Trussell Trust statistics showing that nearly a million people used food banks in 2013-14, figures that are generally assumed to underestimate the number of people who went hungry as a result of food insecurity over the period.

Labour will promise a cross-government approach to end what it calls the “chaos of food policy” under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, and will say that a Labour administration will make tackling food bank dependency a specific ministerial responsibility.

A target would be set to reduce the number of people who cite delays in benefits being processed as the prime reason for using food banks. Benefits typically take around 16 working days to process, although backlogs mean many disability benefit claimants have waited for several months.

Studies have shown that benefit sanctions – when payments are stopped for alleged rule infringements – are the prime reason for between 10% and 30% of food bank users being referred for food aid.

Labour says it will abolish jobcentre targets for increasing sanctions, and make hardship funds more quickly available for those who are sanctioned. The party has a longstanding commitment to abolish the bedroom tax, which is also driving food bank use in some areas of the UK.

It has also promised to address low pay, by raising the minimum wage to at least £8 an hour before 2020, promoting a Living Wage and ending zero-hours contracts, so that working people do not suffer the humiliation of being referred to food banks to put meals on the table.

Ending ‘targets’ (which the DWP under their Masters’ instructions lie their way away out of existence in any case), and a vague commitment to deal with ‘benefit sanctions’ is not enough.

What is wrong is not just their ‘proliferation’ but the rotten system that has left one in five claimants punished.

Frankly we don’t need reassuring bed-time words that, “Labour will take a strategic and joined-up approach to food policy to ensure that everybody has the chance to eat safe, nutritious and affordable food, now and in the future. Emergency food aid should remain just that – food banks can never be allowed to become a permanent feature of British society.”

What we need: The benefit sanctions regime should be scrapped

(we appreciate that Frances uses Ipswich Unemployed Action’s phrase, benefit sanctions regime)…

I am not sure how we reached the point where we need an inquiry to establish that stopping a person’s benefits to the level that they can’t feed themselves or their children may be wrong. But here we are, it seems. The recent MPs’ inquiry into the coalition’s benefits sanction system released its findings on Tuesday – a catalogue of cruelty with footnotes to add details of the claimants who have been starved.

The report is damning. As it should be. We have watched a system develop in which it is normal for ordinary men and women to be thrown by their own government into financial and psychological crisis. The scale is staggering. More than 1 million jobseekers had their unemployment benefits stopped last year – and, as the report states, the government has failed to prove this is not “purely punitive”.

Who exactly are we punishing? A disabled, single mother described to the committee the day she was sanctioned for missing an appointment because a flare-up of her hip condition meant she was physically unable to walk or drive. Despite explaining this to The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), she was told she’d receive no money for four weeks. The sanction remained in place for almost three months.

Exactly right: we should boil with rage that somebody is left at her wits’ end because of a punishment more that’s more like a court’s fine for criminal activates than the workings of a welfare system.

This is not being done to the middle classes with savings in the bank. Or those with power who are used to navigating a complex system. It is being done to the people who are already struggling – where a hardship fund exists but the application process is designed to be too difficult for vulnerable people to understand. Or, as the report states, making it so “the people potentially most in need of the hardship system were the least likely to be able to access it”.

Doubleplus right: this is being inflicted on people (and most of us know them, or are them) who have no resources. The bastards are making our sisters and brothers suffer to fit in with Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to ‘reduce’ welfare dependency’. They are pawns in his game.

The MPs’ call that an “independent review of benefit sanctions is urgently needed” seems almost polite for what is going on here. People are literally starving and their crime is that they dare to be poor and unemployed.

It is no surprise that the report concludes there is limited evidence that benefit sanctions actually help people find work. A jobseeker system that has sanctions at its centre is founded on the lie that the unemployed are too lazy to look for work unless they are threatened. The DWP acts as if it is training disobedient dogs.

Stopping the money people need in order to eat is not the purpose of government. The benefit sanctions regime should be scrapped – but let’s not stop there. The culture that created them needs shredding to pieces.

This is the kind of ‘equality’ we are now living in: “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” (Anatole France).

To conclude the article of Frances Ryan:

Tripleplus right: Get rid of the regime and bring the authors of this system to justice!




103 Responses

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  1. “Movement to Work Scheme
    20 March 2015
    Members urged to sign petition calling for HMRC to cease involvement in Workfare scheme – Volunteers sought for PCS working group – Branches to monitor and report numbers participating in Movement to Work scheme within the Department

    R&C/BB/018/15 set out the GEC advice to Branches and members on how to frustrate the Department’s use of unpaid benefit claimants in the workfare scheme “Movement to Work”.
    That briefing was relatively well received by branches that had expressed concern about the use of workfare staff in HMRC. I have however received little feedback, in my capacity as the AGS responsible for issuing the briefing, about how strongly its advice has been followed by members.
    Indirect anecdotal evidence indicates that the Department have asserted that they do not need to follow their insubordination procedure where they have issued a “reasonable management instruction”. Given that failing to do so would deny them a paper trail to evidence the reasonable nature of their approach, the Branch reporting this were advised that members should not allow themselves to be brow beaten in this way, and to request this statement in writing. No further problems have been reported.
    Branch Action
    Bootle Taxes Branch have undertaken to organise a petition calling upon Lin Homer to abandon the use of Workfare and to recruit permanent staff, and Branches are asked to circulate the link to the petition (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/lin-homer-end-workfare-in-hmrc) as widely as possible to members and local contacts that may be supportive.

    It is the wish of the GEC and of PCS nationally that everything we can reasonably do to oppose the use of workfare be done, and to that end, the GEC agreed to form a small group to take this work forward, seeking input from Branches. If there is an activist in your Branch (or, indeed, more than one) that would be willing to join this group, please let us know by emailing Drummondpcs@gmail.com
    Additionally, every Branch is requested to collate the following information as best they can and to provide it to the GEC:
    • The support demonstrated by members in following the advice contained in R&C/BB/018/15;
    • The numbers of MTW benefit claimants brought in by HMRC in each location;
    • The number of staff at AA grade that have recently left HMRC in each location MTW benefit claimants have been brought in by HMRC, and;
    • The nature of the work given to them, with particular reference to access to HMRC information on taxpayers
    Once collated, this information should be passed to Helen Meldrum at Helenlmeldrum@gmail.com

    Original: http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/revenue_and_customs_group/latest-news/latest-news.cfm/movement-to-work-scheme-2


    Andrew Coates

    March 26, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    • You’d think this was off some interweb blog, but no it’s HMRC/PCS.
      It’s amazing (NOT) that they’re now saying what most of us have been for 2+1/2 years.

      “Movement to Work (MTW) is a government scheme aimed at 18-24 year olds who are not in education, employment or training. Officially a programme of vocational training and work experience, it actually is the latest incarnation of the government’s ‘workfare’ programme – providing employers free labour by making the unemployed work for their benefits.”

      “Why employ additional staff if you can get the work done for free? Why offer existing staff overtime if you can draft in more claimants to do the job? Why bargain with the workforce through their trade union when it’s so easy to draft in the unemployed at no additional cost? Why take any steps to prevent further job losses or office closures with a reserve army of labour on call?”

      “It must also be said that MTW is exploitation of the placements themselves. They are doing the work of paid staff for no more than their dole, and treated as a disposable resource by an unscrupulous employer who doesn’t want to pay the rate for the job or foot the bill for the actual number of staff needed.”

      Another Fine Mess

      March 26, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    • Could this eventually mean that (if) Mwa were placed in Jobcentre Plus, it c(w)ould {sic} lead to the unemployed sanctioning the unemployed

      Mr Middlesex

      March 27, 2015 at 9:06 am

      • Who knows, but I bet it’s not exactly pleasant being bossed around full-time by people who can take your food and housing away at a moment’s notice.

        Andrew Coates

        March 29, 2015 at 11:37 am

  2. You know a “Regime” is corrupt when the users are classed as in the immortal Words of Lord Fraud “Stock”…. That word alone says it all at how the unemployed are viewed.

    How very apt – now I and many others are viewed and classed as “Stock”. The only reference I have ever seen to Stock is animals being led to the slaughter – as unfortunetly some have been pushed too, to the cost of their lives, and the pain at it felt by those who knew them.

    The fires of hell is too good for these &^%$s


    March 26, 2015 at 6:03 pm

  3. Welfare reform was designed to persuade unemployed people receiving benefit to find jobs and earn a living. This would help them escape the benefit trap and cut the government’s welfare bill. The coalition decided that cutting some benefits was also the quickest way to get more people into work. The benefits bill has risen steeply for a number of reasons: more people are now classed as disabled, rents have soared and, since 2008, more people have been unemployed. A majority of social housing tenants are out of work and receive benefits.

    Sanctions and government reassessments of tenants’ benefits can have devastating consequences, not just for the claimant, but for all family members. Sanctions involving the immediate suspension of benefit payments shift jobseekers’ focus away from work, forcing them to look for alternative ways to make ends meet. Tenants described how sanctions trigger debt and arrears, increasing the chance of eviction and cut-offs of electricity. It becomes far more difficult to focus on getting a job as survival takes over. Other family members who help out are also affected.



    March 26, 2015 at 6:33 pm

  4. I signed on digitally for the first time, two weeks ago. It was just a straight forward declaration stating that I hadn’t done any work during the last two weeks and that my circumstances hadn’t changed at all.

    I signed on again today, digitally. The declaration has changed to the declaration statement on page 24 of the My Work Plan booklet. This now means that signing will take a lot longer because I have to read the statement and compare it with the statement in My Work Plan. What a carry on. I thought digital technology was supposed to make things easier and more efficient

    I don’t use My Work Plan to record my jobsearch, I write it down on two sides of A4. And if you read this FOI request, bizarrely, digital signing isn’t even mandatory. So WTF is going on?


    jj joop

    March 26, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    • Assuming they ever get the things to work, I’ll be refusing their kind offer to sign diggly,

      Another Fine Mess

      March 26, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    • Did you show the adviser that doc JJ.


      March 26, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      • No, I didn’t bother. I don’t actually have a problem with digital signing, as such. But it makes you wonder how much all this is actually costing. It seems like more money being wasted on a less efficient system. What an age we live in.

        To paraphrase Mr Coates: we are in fucking Narnia Wonderland (again).

        jj joop

        March 26, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      • I’ll bring the doc along with me the next time, and gauge the reaction.

        jj joop

        March 26, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      • I take all my doc’s with me every time I go to the JC, always ready for their mandatory nonsense.


        March 26, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      • There’s a lot more to this digital signing (pads) than anyone yet understands or the DWP/JCP is letting on.

        Talk about being conned!


        Obi Wan Kenobi

        March 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    • So WTF is going on?

      Just assume all ‘help’ is actually a trap, and you won’t go to far wrong.

      Another Fine Mess

      March 26, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      • I assumed that a long time ago.

        jj joop

        March 26, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      • Exactly, like ‘casual’ questions: when did you last look at Universal Jobmatch? What’s it like jobsearching in the Library?

        Andrew Coates

        March 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    • Er all I can say about Digital Signing is what I over heard when about to do my first last week on the poor man in front of me which was “Buffer Overflow” Fault… Oh it brings back such wonderful memories of friends, work colleaguse approacging me back in the days of Win95, Win98, WinME, Win… I promptly changed my mind at taking up the offer of this wonderful New technology….


      March 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm

  5. Huge rise in number of families living in temporary accommodation.

    The figures had been falling, dropping to 48,190 and 35,950 respectively in the spring of 2011, but have now returned to the levels seen in early 2009.

    The figures, from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed the number of children in temporary housing increased by almost 10,000 year-on-year to 90,450.

    Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said there were thousands of homeless families “hidden away in emergency B&Bs and hostels, often forced to live in cramped conditions, share bathrooms with strangers, and eat their meals on the floor”.

    “More and more people are struggling to pay their rent in an increasingly insecure private rented sector. We know from our own research that housing benefit cuts are a central driver of this trend, with more than half of councils fearing worse is yet to come in the next two years,” he said



    March 26, 2015 at 8:23 pm

  6. “Get rid of the regime and bring the authors of this system to justice” I like the sound of that, who doesn’t – just a few because that few won’t feel the affects of what they have created.


    March 26, 2015 at 9:15 pm


    As the flat rate state pension hits and leaves the poor with NIL STATE PENSION FOR LIFE, Universal Credit denies Pension Credit as does the more complex conditionality for even current pensioners on Pension Credit already being received.

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


    …Labour says it will abolish jobcentre targets for increasing sanctions, and make hardship funds more quickly available for those who are sanctioned. …

    Here we have Labour saying we will only starve SOME people, not MOST people.


    Neither does Labour commit to revoking Universal Credit.

    UC will PERMANENTLY sanction those in work or unemployed by the Hardship Payments ceasing to be a benefit and becoming a recoverable loan by direct deductions by court action from future benefit or wages.

    Part time workers will be sanctioned under Universal Credit for failing to gain full time hours, when most new jobs since the crisis of 2008 have been low waged part time or low income self employed.

    The cost of sanctions is the cause of the rise in national debt, shown not the least by the DWP staff of sanciton decision makers having trebled since 2006.


    .Labour ..has also promised to address low pay, by raising the minimum wage to at least £8 an hour before 2020, promoting a Living Wage and ending zero-hours contracts, so that working people do not suffer the humiliation of being referred to food banks to put meals on the table.

    The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) follows the TUC suggestion of minimum wage be the living wage of at least £10 per hour.

    Workfare hits the low waged the hardest in loss of jobs, being as so many are below the Lower Earnings Level to get automatic National Insurance credits are out of the welfare state and state pension system already.


    TUSC is the 6th biggest party in this general election, but is being ignored, as are all the parties of the poor (Labour has said they are not the party of those on benefits, many times)

    TUSC should be getting fair media coverage, but is not getting one mention anywhere.

    Neither is Mebyon Kernow in Cornwall or mostly in England, either Class War or Socialist GB.


    Labour cannot achieve a majority government.

    The expert pundits predict a severe hung parliament with neither Tories nor Labour winning.

    Then a second general electon this year, with then a grand coaliton of TORY AND LABOUR in government on the same side.

    The poor, in work, unemployed, poor disabled, poor pensioners and working poor over 60s denied state pension, a great many from 2016 for life, now outnumber all other voters, and all these are lost to Labour.

    The only way to end starvation is a coalition (support and confidence):


    To ensure shutting the Tories out of power.

    The Lib Dems are the gone party.

    The Greens are 1 MP, UKIP merely 2 or 3 MPs at most.

    Links / party logos to recognise where you put your pencil cross where you have a Tory or Lib Dem MP in power / how ensure are registered to vote, at:



    March 26, 2015 at 9:41 pm

  8. 5TH Report- Benefit Sanctions,

    Mitigating the risks of severe financial hardship and associated health impacts.
    Link with food poverty.
    Hardship payments.
    Adequacy of the hardship payment system.
    Adverse health impacts of sanctioning.
    Pre-sanction written warnings and non-financial sanctions.



    March 26, 2015 at 9:41 pm

  9. I’ve been leading a campaign to have the UN open an investigation into Britain’s benefit sanctions regime. This is in addition to what has been widely reported: an unconfirmed, high-level inquiry by a United Nations committee, as a result of “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people.

    My Disability Studies Blackboard: The Jobcentre Sanctions Scandal In Britain: With Limited Access To Food Banks, Destitution Is A High Risk For Hundreds of Thousands http://mydisabilitystudiesblackboard.blogspot.ca/2013/03/the-jobcentre-sanctions-scandal-in.html was one of my earlier posts on this matter to senior UN officials. Seven months ago, I wrote the following letter to then High Commissioner Navi Pillay; it can be viewed here: http://twishort.com/AAigc. I’m presently compiling an ongoing bibliography of news articles and NGO reports pertaining to benefit sanctions in the United Kingdom and will submit it to the UN’s human rights office. That office will shortly be receiving a copy of the Work and Pensions Committee’s report on benefit sanctions policy—and will be awaiting the Government’s response to that Committee’s report.

    Britain’s benefit sanctions regime is one of the harshest of all OECD countries—and possibly its most corrupt—if the allegations of widespread “stitching up” of claimants are proven true. Jobcentres have become sanction factories, and are under enormous pressure to financially penalize jobseekers because the DWP’s primary mission is to save staggering sums of £s in benefits provision.

    In my opinion, Jobcentre staff are knowingly engaging in conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.

    I have very strong views on Britain’s benefit sanctions regime: http://tinyurl.com/o7la4e6. I believe that benefit claimant ‘stitching-up’ needs to recognized as a criminally indictable offense. See also: http://mydisabilitystudiesblackboard.blogspot.ca/2015/03/benefit-sanctions-are-jeopardizing.html.

    Employment minister Esther McVey is blaming front-line Jobcentre staff for unfair benefit sanctioning practices instead of taking responsibility for the culture that she has created. The DWP ministers have the authority to crack down on this type of malfeasance, but have chosen not to do so because it’s being committed at their behest.

    McVey was adamant that there are no sanctions targets, which I firmly believe is a lie, given the preponderance of evidence from whistle-blowers. I was concerned that Tory members on the Work and Pensions Committee would fight any attempt to have its report conclude that there were indeed sanctions targets, lest they expose the Employment Minister as a liar.

    My letter to the Guardian’s Patrick Butler was written prior to the Work and Pensions Committee announcing a second evidence session into benefit sanctions. An independent public inquiry is needed because the DWP cannot be trusted to impartially investigate itself; moreover, the Work and Pensions Committee is prohibited from investigating individual cases, as are all Select Committees in Parliament.

    I urge you to read https://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/disabled-sanctioned-for-3-months-over-christmas-and-forced-to-attend-the-jobcentre-daily/ and other harrowing blog pieces from that site.

    I personally don’t believe in sanctions, preferring the carrot to the stick approach. But at the very least, there should be a moratorium on benefit sanctions in Britain—and they should only resume if there is clear evidence that targets for sanctions have been abolished, along with unjust and fraudulent sanctions. Why should benefit claimants continue to suffer because of malfeasance in the current benefit sanctions regime?

    Business Minister Nick Boles has stated that inhumane and unreasonable benefit sanctions can be only be addressed in the next parliamentary term. That’s blatantly untrue! This problem can be solved in an instant by having either Employment Minister Esther McVey or Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, issue a directive to all senior Jobcentre mangers, instructing them to cease and desist levying unjust and inappropriate sanctions on benefit claimants.

    Full disclosure: Since January 2012, I have been reporting voluntarily to the UN’s human rights office, in Geneva, on the welfare crisis for Britain’s sick and disabled. [Fellow Canadian Leilani Farha (@leilanifarha) is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing; see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/LeilaniFarha.aspx. You can tweet her on UK housing issues or e-mail her at the UN’s human rights office: srhousing@ohchr.org; she does follow my Twitter account.]

    (Montreal, Canada)

  10. Just Changing Email Address Folks

    Mr Middlesex

    March 27, 2015 at 9:13 am

  11. Occupy Yorkshire and Abolish Zero Hours Contracts send their greetings and solidarity to you and appreciate all that you’re doing to fight the battles we are are all facing.

    Louis Kasatkin

    March 27, 2015 at 9:41 am

  12. Ive just got to ask,

    Who here actually believes, welfare will change for the better under any government ?

    Who honestly believes the quality of jobs will improve in a climate getting more and more technology driven and replacing humans everyday ?

    Who believes a government will resort to funding education over schemes claiming to improve CVs, communications and the likes to address severe skill shortages now rather than 10 to 20 years later.

    Lastly who believes in a heavily driven free market capitalism society, that politicians will ever put the public before business ?

    The mantra “we are all in it together”, is a communist/socialist statement and one that cannot now nor ever be shared under the roof of free market capitalism which openly encourages difference at the cost of another.


    March 27, 2015 at 11:35 am

    • Me me me, well on the subject of welfare, if a pre warning of a sanction is brought in – that would be a lot better than what we have today. most people know by now of sanctions so ………….


      March 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      • Problem is that they’d just hand out the pre-warnings or yellow cards like sweets.
        Even though I asked/volunteered to go on the last short course, the paperwork consisted of just one & half lines of description of the course followed by one & half pages of threats.

        Another Fine Mess

        March 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    • severe skill shortages
      I don’t think there are any, name a few.

      Employers are just adding more and more needed skills because of the number and low quality of the applications they’re getting, thanks to UJ, 35 hour jobsearch, etc.

      Only this week I’ve seen part-time leaflet distributor vacancies saying ‘must have previous leaflet distributing experience’, how difficult can it be?. Well, actually I know, but that’s not the point.
      If you look at some of the more hi-tech vacancies, it’s totally impossible to ever train anyone for it, – you have to be already employed at that job now.

      Another Fine Mess

      March 27, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      • Oh good. So when person in current job moves on/retires/ etc how are they going to get a replacement if they put impossible barriers in the way of applicants?

        Good luck to them…


        March 27, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    • There’s over 660 part time and full time leaflet distribution jobs on UJ if anyone wants one.
      Most look OK, NMW or above plus commission plus lift to work – so no travel expenses, Almost too good to be true, and a bit suspicious that 90% of them were posted by the same agency on the same day.

      Another Fine Mess

      March 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm

  13. Lawyers acting on the behalf of two disabled people have lodged a complaint with the United Nations over the Government’s plan to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF).

    The complaint has been brought by Inclusion London, who argue that closing the ILF is in breach of the UK’s obligations to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which was ratified by the UK in 2009.

    Severely disabled people rely on the ILF to ensure they can choose to live within their communities, rather than in residential care.



    March 27, 2015 at 1:54 pm

  14. The seventh in a series of reports monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Scotland since 2002.

    Combining evidence from official statistics with supporting information about a number of anti-poverty actions and initiatives, this report focuses on low income, social security and unemployment, health, education, in-work poverty, low pay, housing and anti-poverty priorities and actions.




    March 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm

  15. Co-pilot of downed alps plane HID DOCTORS NOTE ?


    you’ve GOT TO LAUGH at this as honestly, had he been British, assessed by ATOS, he still would have been flying that day.


    March 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    • I’m surprised that it’s ever allowed for 1 to be locked in the front by themselves, except in an emergency. You never know when multiple things are going to go wrong at the same time, requiring 2 heads. And if things did get very none-level for some reason, it could be impossible for the other one to get back in the front in time to help.
      With all the electronic maps and navigation equipment, I’m surprised the height control even allows it to go below mountain height over a mountain region. I’m surprised it climbed to 38,000ft – right on the limit, for a relatively short flight.
      I’m also surprised that there appears to be no way for the cabin staff to contact the ground from outside the front office.
      Altogether – I’m surprised.

      Another Fine Mess

      March 27, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      • Yeah, for short 20 minute flights, say Stansted to Dublin the aircraft climbs to only 20,000 feet. You need a big longer haul before climbing to 38,000 feet.


        March 31, 2015 at 6:14 am

    • True enough.

      one of the comment’s.

      “Maybe now the NHS and DWP will look at how they treat people with mental health issues”.


      March 27, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    • Don’t stigmatise depression after Germanwings crash, says top doctor

      Professor Simon Wessely, who is president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and an adviser to the British army, urged civil aviation authorities and airlines to avoid repeating the panicked reaction that has often followed similarly shocking cases, such as the crimes of the Manchester GP Dr Harold Shipman.

      Civil Aviation Authority documents seen by this newspaper estimate that around 100 commercial pilots in the UK have some history of depression, with 42 currently on medication.

      What does cause trouble is saying that if you have ever had a history of depression then you should not be allowed to do whatever. That is wrong, as much as saying that people with a history of broken arms shouldn’t be allowed to do something.”



      March 28, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      • This is why people with depression do not go the doctor with depression – you would have to be nuts to do so. Once you have depression on your (medical) record (think criminal record because it can be equally as damaging) you are effectively unemployable – think about it! You never know who will have access to your medical record… employers, insurance companies, police (when they decide to fit you up for a crime). If you are dependent on working for an employer to earn your living or will be at sometime do not check into the doctors with depression. In fact, have as little as possible to do with doctors.

        D Pressive

        March 31, 2015 at 7:20 am

      • Just to hammer home the point it is a documented fact and I could provide many examples of people who have had their employment terminated or being denied employment because they have been naive/stupid enough to go to the doctors with depression. PS Notwithstanding that there is no such thing as ‘patient confidentiality’ you never know when you may have to give ‘consent’/authorise access to your medical records.

        Dee Pressive

        March 31, 2015 at 7:27 am

      • Pilots have a relatively short life expectancy; if they don’t suddenly drop dead in the cockpit before, a commercial pilot can’t expect to reach 62 at the most!

        Boeing 747

        March 31, 2015 at 1:35 pm

  16. Well Truth will out – Benifit Cuts leaked.


    Tax Disability… hhhhmmm
    regional benefits cap…. hhhhmmmmmm
    reducing eligibility for the carers’ allowance…. hhhhhhhmmmmmmmmm
    NI contributins taken away from families …………
    Limit child benifit to 2 children

    List created by Civil Servants on orders of Head Conmen Conservatives HQ.

    Yes, all will be very popular policies with those affected and left picking up the pieces


    March 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    • 26th March.

      ESA.DLA./PIP – CARER. Individual Support.

      We are to inform you that the decision has been made by “Places For People” to cease provision of “home care services, we are working closely with west sussex council for the safe transfer of customers to other providers.

      More detailed information of the arrangements will be communicated to you as soon as possible.


      March 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm

  17. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    March 27, 2015 at 11:47 pm

  18. Broken Britain is due to the Welfare State!

    [welfare] “has restricted economic growth, fuelled mass unemployment, trapped people in poverty and dependency, increased births outside marriage and fostered a culture of crime and corruption”.

    So presumably they’ll fix it by destroying the Welfare State! I see!!



    March 28, 2015 at 9:26 am

    • The idiots are out in force!
      They forgot to mention it’s the main cause of climate change aswell.

      Another Fine Mess

      March 28, 2015 at 11:01 am

    • handouts destroy communities and families

      So does Tory properganda and crap like this. Greed has what taken hold.Switzerland is not in the Eu,but thats what they want.

      Low wages,council sell offs’ create the conditions in which we live today.nasty isnt the word.


      March 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

  19. IMPORTANT! Don’t sign on digitally.

    Does anyone have any idea what an ES42P booklet is? When I signed on digitally this week, it stated on the signing pad screen that claimants should make sure they had read the ES42P booklet before they signed these declarations. When I queried this, the work coach told me that the ES42P booklet had been replaced by the WS1 booklet (My Work Plan) but that the software hadn’t been updated yet. I have since learned that booklet WS1, in fact, replaced the ES40 booklet.

    Any input on this would be appreciated.

    Parker Pyne

    March 28, 2015 at 11:19 am

  20. “Terminally-ill woman was told by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that she risked being charged with an “offence” and would lose part of her benefits if she used an insurance policy windfall to pay for her own funeral.

    DWP bosses told Sue Smith that spending the £3,700 in advance on her funeral would be seen as “deprivation of capital” – deliberately spending her savings in order to maintain entitlement to benefits.

    Smith, from south Devon, had contacted DWP after being told about the £3,700 refund, because she wanted to be sure that she did not fall foul of any regulations if she spent the money on paying in advance for her funeral.

    But when she approached DWP, and made it clear that she was terminally-ill, she was told that she could lose part of her employment and support allowance (ESA) payment – she has estimated that it could have cost her about £15 a week – and could even be seen as committing an “offence”.

    Smith, who uses oxygen 24-hours-a-day, said she felt “threatened, hurt and distressed” by the warning, and was now at her “wit’s end”.

    Full story at the Disability News Service.

    I have no words, except to say that this needs to be shared as widely as possible because people need to know that it appears to be a crime in the eyes of the DWP for benefit claimants to pay for their own funerals.”


    Andrew Coates

    March 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm

  21. So no longer is it £16.000 or £5.


    March 28, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    • ot

      i had my last payment paid in my account as jsa bgc as the last few was eesa does any one know why it has changed to jsa bgc?

      super ted

      March 28, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      • What is bgc super ted


        March 28, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      • Bgc isn’t that bank giro credit??
        Dunno the rest sorry..

        kat rehman

        March 28, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      • Super ted, remember your receiving two payments on ESA a while ago? was it a mistake, or was it meant.


        March 28, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      • BGC. Bank Giro Credit,, Paid By The Bacs System. Shows Up In Detail On Bank Statements


        March 29, 2015 at 9:17 am

  22. from what i can find its bank giro credit, i have had no letters from them just dont know why it has changed in my bank account.

    super ted

    March 28, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    • Have you been for an assessment?


      March 28, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    • Super Ted And Others. Today I Had Too Call The ESA Helpline. 0345 608 8545 Option 3. I Called From My Phone [Mobile] At 08:00AM, The Time The Centre Opens. 1st In The Queue ? NO. I Had Four Minutes Of Recorded Announcements. The A Further 30 Seconds Of All Our Agents Etc. Etc. Cost Me £1.50p @ 25p A Bloody Minute. Used A Friends Land Line. Got Through Straight Away. If You Use A Mobile To Call. It Takes Longer To Get Through Than If You Use A Landline

      Mr Middlesex

      March 30, 2015 at 7:41 am

  23. nope have had nothing only thing is i sent in a sick note last week and had just 1 day till they wanted it so put a first class stamp on it so should have got there.

    illl have to ring them on monday n see whats going on.

    last 1b4 says dwp eesa

    and latest 1 dwp jsa bgc

    super ted

    March 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm

  24. The letters I received when on ESA stated that if you don’t get another sick note in time, (5 or 7 days) then your benefit could be stopped, so who knows why you received JSA.


    March 28, 2015 at 6:43 pm

  25. well ill have to ring them then if even you dont know why its now jsa bgc.

    or do you think ill have an assessment letter on the way? tho i thought they had to see you first b4 you got back on jsa?

    super ted

    March 28, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    • You probably will receive a letter from Atos/Maximus soon as everyone on ESA will, your right super ted, you shouldn’t have been put on JSA when your still unfit for work, (with sick notes stating that) with no assessment either, if they did not receive your sick note in time they still shouldn’t have put you on JSA, unless they are now saying – if we don’t receive a sick note in time then you will be considered fit for work and so put on JSA


      March 28, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      • But then putting someone on another benefit cost them money, stopping benefit (is what is stated on the letters I received as I said) is more to their liking.


        March 28, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      • i did get a atos forms to fill in but that was weeks ago now and cant see how they can put me back on jsa with out seeing me no letters or nothing.

        good job i got net banking or id not have known 😉

        super ted

        March 28, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      • That’s it, if you hadn’t known about it, you wouldn’t be looking or applying for jobs, then they ask you to go to JC, ask for job search evidence. – sanction.

        You know what to do Super ted.


        March 28, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      • i got loads of spare js forms so ill start looking for work n fill some apps in,tho no one will employ me with a broken arm as i cant even move it pmsl.

        super ted

        March 28, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      • I remember that form from Atos, I filled it in and sent it back, but my ESA continued, until I applied for JSA.

        Always be prepared!,


        March 28, 2015 at 8:25 pm

  26. thats what i thought as well ill ring them n keep you posted what there up to 😉

    super ted

    March 28, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    • Ok Super ted. it will be interesting to find out.


      March 28, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    • Super ted could it just be dwp error? Can’t see them paying you any money out th kindness of their heart?? Maybe they meant esa n typed jsa? If they didn’t get sick note in time surely they just not of paid u owt?

      kat rehman

      March 28, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      • could be an error or paid in as the wrong type but never happened b4 but ill ring them on monday in see what’s going on with it.

        super ted

        March 28, 2015 at 11:28 pm

  27. Turned Away.

    The treatment of single homeless people by local authority
    homelessness services in England.

    Homelessness is devastating. Here at Crisis we see the effects every day – problems with mental and physical health, ruined confidence and social isolation. Put simply, the experience shatters lives, and it takes a lot of time and work to put the pieces back together. It would be far better – and more cost-effective for the public purse – if no one ever had to go through it in the first place.

    Yet the shocking truth is that even in the 21st century, in one of the richest countries in the world, homeless people who ask their local authorities for help are being turned away to sleep on the streets – cold, desperate and forgotten. This is nothing short of a scandal.
    Turned Away gets to the very heart of the problem by investigating the help local authorities offer to single homeless people. Mystery shoppers with experience of homelessness visited 16 local authorities across England, each presenting with a typical homeless scenario informed by their past experience.

    The resulting report offers a powerful insight into the problems people face when approaching
    their local authority. It shows that too many homeless people get little or no help because they
    are not deemed to be in ‘priority need’ – meaning the local authority has no legal duty to house them. In many cases even those with learning difficulties or victims of domestic violence are being turned away without help.



    March 28, 2015 at 7:54 pm

  28. POLICE are investigating after graffiti was scrawled across the front of Hoylake Town Hall last night bearing the slogan: “McVey Murderer.”

    With the general election campaign now officially underway, the leader of Wirral Council Conservative group said he was ”shocked and appalled” by the incident and that the “misogynistic bullying” of Esther McVey should be brought to an end.



    March 28, 2015 at 8:46 pm

  29. The new ScotRail franchise will offer free rail travel to interviews for jobseekers, as well as a month’s free travel if they get the job.

    Advance fares between any two Scottish cities from £5 will be introduced, and the ScotRail 55+ concessionary scheme will be extended to those over 50.

    The Dutch operator Abellio will take over the franchise on 1 April.

    ScotRail staff, who will all transfer to the new franchise, and subcontractors have both been guaranteed the living wage.

    Abellio has pledged to create at least 100 apprenticeships, and has committed to having no compulsory redundancies throughout the contract’s period.

    “This means it will play a truly strategic role in the long term development of the nation; providing jobs.



    March 29, 2015 at 10:57 am

  30. Parker Pyne:

    Further to your request about any information regarding ES42P booklet referred to in the electronic signing declaration, I don’t think booklet ES42P actually exists. I have googled it and could find no reference to it.

    jj joop

    March 29, 2015 at 11:07 am

  31. Iain Duncan Smith, one of Mr Cameron’s predecessors as Tory leader, said that Mr Cameron would stand down as Prime Minister before the 2020 election.

    The comments appear to contradict Mr Cameron’s claim last weekend in a BBC interview that he was “putting myself forward for the full five years”.

    Mr Duncan Smith also said the Tories would only set out details of the Conservatives’ plans to cut £12billion from the benefits budget if it was “relevant”.

    He said: “We may, we may not decide that it’s relevant to put something out there about those changes but what I am saying to you is the public cannot doubt for one moment.”

    Mr Duncan Smith confirmed that a leaked list of possible benefits cuts to the BBC on Friday was accurate, blaming a “bitter individual” for leaking a list of ideas from the department.



    March 29, 2015 at 11:12 am

    • Meanwhile

      Tories may not reveal details of £12bn welfare cuts until after election.

      Iain Duncan Smith says Conservatives will talk about where axe should fall when party is ready – as IFS director warns of ‘pretty dramatic’ cuts.

      The welfare secretary said it may not be “relevant” to explain where the rest of the cuts will fall before the election.

      His comments on Sunday came after the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned that the planned cuts will be “really tough” to achieve, involving “pretty dramatic” reductions in areas such as housing and disability benefits over the next three years.



      March 29, 2015 at 12:12 pm

  32. The search for further benefit cuts.

    27 March 2015

    It is not clear whether any of these reforms will become Conservative Party policy. All we know is that ministers have been discussing possible options with civil servants. Given the scale of benefit cuts the Chancellor has said he would aim for – £12 billion a year by 2017–18 – it is hardly surprising that such discussions have been taking place. The specific options reported by the BBC constitute a largely predictable list of the kind of policies that civil servants would be likely to put in front of ministers looking for benefit cuts – indeed many were discussed in a chapter of last month’s IFS Green Budget, which considered the options a future government would have if it wanted to cut benefits further.



    March 29, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      • Limiting child benefit to two children per family –

        £1.0 billion

        Taxing disability living allowance and personal independence payment –

        £0.9 billion

        Taxing attendance allowance –

        £0.6 billion

        Abolishing contributory jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance –

        £1.3 billion

        Abolishing carer’s allowance –

        £1.0 billion

        Replacing the industrial injuries compensation scheme with an employer-funded scheme –

        £1.0 billion

        Introducing regional household benefit caps – Depends on details

        Incorporating council tax support in universal credit –

        Depends on details


        March 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm

  33. Conservatives under pressure to come clean on £12bn benefit cuts.

    The leak of emails outlining further Tory welfare cut options shows just how fragile the party’s popularity is over social security reforms.

    The potential Conservative welfare cuts set out in the leaked Whitehall documents demonstrate the huge risks awaiting any administration that seeks, as the Tories have promised, to cut billions from the social security budget in the next parliament.

    On the whole these cuts – insofar as they are adopted or achievable – will impact on the very groups the coalition has tried so far to protect from its five years of welfare reforms: “hard-working families”, disabled people who cannot work, and carers who spend their lives caring for chronically ill loved ones.

    While some of the work was specifically commissioned by Tory advisers, other cuts were drawn up by Department for Work and Pensions mandarins as part of scoping exercises routinely carried out in advance of a general election



    March 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    • We’re here to help. – you get to work.

      The Health Assessment Advisory Service arranges and carries out assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions.



      March 29, 2015 at 8:57 pm

  34. Maximus

    With the U.K.’s largest team of Consultant OH Physicians, we have built up a reputation for resolving complex long-term sick cases and advising customers on Pension and Appeals work.

    Many of our Consultant OH Physicians have considerable experience acting as medical advisers to some of the largest Pension Schemes in the U.K., including Local Government Pension Scheme, Teachers Pension Agency, NHS Pension Agency and the Civil Service Pension Scheme.

    Each employee, or former employee, is then considered against the scheme eligibility rules in accordance with the procedures that we will agree with your organisation beforehand.

    After the completion of the investigation, the Pension Trustees will be issued with a decision letter from us outlining whether:

    The employee meets the eligibility criteria
    The employee meets the medical criteria
    Further medical evidence is required
    Documentation is complete.



    March 29, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    • This makes me feel so much better lol I just been signed off with back problems..

      kat rehman

      March 30, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      • Kat

        Is your back problems due to your RA?


        March 30, 2015 at 11:01 pm

  35. Even the chief executive of ESRA – the organisation which represents welfare-to-work companies like A4E and G4S – has said benefit sanctions are “bonkers”:



    March 30, 2015 at 8:06 am

  36. There is a segment on Woman’s Hour at the moment about Foodbanks. One of their ‘customers’ who was distracted by her kids when filling out her job-search diary missed out the last three digits of the postcode in one of the entries – she received a 3 month sanction!

    J Murray

    March 30, 2015 at 9:26 am

    • Like I said a thousand times, personal data is the new income producer and has been for a long old while.


      April 2, 2015 at 6:23 am

  37. Children with mental health problems can wait for more than three years to be assessed and up to nearly two years to receive treatment, according to a report.

    Freedom of Information requests submitted by The Times newspaper found that the longest wait from first referral to being formally assessed since 2012 was at the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, where this took three years and 20 weeks in one case.

    The longest wait from being assessed to getting treatment was found at the South London and Maudsley Trust in which a child waited a year and nearly 42 weeks.

    Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the charity Young Minds, said: “Children’s and adolescent mental health services are creaking at the seams as they are being hit with increased referrals at the same time as cutbacks to their services.”



    March 30, 2015 at 10:00 am

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