Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Labour Pledge to Stop ‘Trivial’ Benefit Sanctions.

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Pledge on benefits sanctions ahead of election (22nd April).

LABOUR has pledged to stop people being stripped of benefits for “trivial” reasons, blaming the practice for the surging numbers at food banks.

The Opposition said it would abolish targets allegedly introduced at jobcentres for the number of sanctions – claiming that was leading to unfair punishments.

And it promised clear guidance to ensure vulnerable people – carers, pregnant women, the mentally-ill and people at risk of domestic violence – do not lose benefits.

The latest figures show almost 19,000 sanctions were imposed in Bradford in just two years, since the rules were toughened, normally for four weeks for a first offence.

Ministers say the punishments target people who dodge jobcentre appointments or avoid finding a job, to tackle a “something for nothing” culture.

But MPs have highlighted examples of claimants who have been docked money after missing appointments because they were bereaved, sick, or looking after children.

Interviewed by the Telegraph & Argus, Rachel Reeves, Labour’s work and pensions spokesman, said: “When staff have pressure to sanction people, to reach their numbers, then you end up with sanctions for trivial reasons.

“That’s why we will get rid of targets and we will also give jobcentres guidance about vulnerable people.

“So, if it is a pregnant woman, or a mum with young kids, or someone with mental health problems, those people should not be sanctioned.”

Ministers have denied there are targets for sanctions, but do record the number imposed in each jobcentre district – with a “direction of travel” column, comparing to the previous month.

A Conservative spokesman defended sanctions, arguing the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies had found tighter conditions for benefit claimants had had “some success” in encouraging work.

But the Liberal Democrat manifesto also promises changes, saying: “We will ensure there are no league tables or targets for sanctions issued by jobcentres and introduce a ‘yellow card’ warning, so people are only sanctioned if they deliberately and repeatedly break the rules.”

This does not go far enough.

We need an end to the whole Sanctions Regime.

Stop Workfare!

Get rid of the Unemployment Business!

But it’s a start……

David Ellesmere, Labour Candidate for Ipswich, backing March anti-Sanctions Picket at Ipswich Jobcentre.

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Written by Andrew Coates

April 23, 2015 at 11:26 am

84 Responses

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  1. VOTE FOR PARTIES BANNING SANCTIONS AND WORKFARE

    Labour has already lost.

    The Tories have already won.

    326 MP minimum threshold means neither Labour nor Tories will win.

    Tories are obliged by the rules of UK parliament to remain in power in a caretaker government.

    Labour cannot rule even if they get more MPs than the Tories, as Labour will not reach the minimum threshold to rule the UK parliament either by winning, not just by being already in government by the rules.

    WHO ARE THE PARTIES WHO WILL BAN SANCTIONS AND WORKFARE AND THEREFORE END STARVATION?

    SNP and PLAID CYMRU in Scotland and Wales.

    Mebyon Kernow in Cornwall

    TUSC – a few in South Wales and in Scotland (listed on my website is where they are running but not against the SNP)

    TUSC – 133 MP candidates in England, plus 619 councillor candidates.

    TUSC is 6th biggest party you’ve never heard of,
    suffering a media blackout
    These are the sacked from Labour party for voting against austerity cuts
    and sacked by Maggie Thatcher for defying her cuts and so an entire council’s
    councillors sacked by her.

    SOCIALIST GB – same policies as TUSC

    THE LEFT UNITY PARTY
    Some are shared MP candidates as TUSC

    RESPECT – Mr Galloway

    NORTH EAST PARTY

    CLASS WAR
    Double dole and pension
    Liza McKenzie is running against Iain Duncan Smith
    in Chingford and Wood Green in London

    NATIONAL HEALTH ACTION party
    Running in Stafford, famous for being famous
    And against Prime Minister Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

    RESULT 250 NEW, GUARANTEED ANTI AUSTERITY PARTIES IN UK GOVERNMENT

    A bloc of 250 new MPs, equal in size to around the Tories and Labour.

    This is the sole way to end of the benefit cruelty to all today.

    SEE HOW THE POOR VOTE VASTLY OUTNUMBERS ALL OTHERS TODAY

    http://www.anastasia-england.me.uk

    Chris

    April 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    • We all know the main parties position on benefit sanctions: It was Labour who introduced benefit sanctions under Blair. Voting for Labour is not going to end the cruelty of benefit sanctions any more than the LibDems daft idea of “yellow cards” (which will just be dished out like sweeties). The only slim hope of ending this nightmare is a Labour minority government with as the yet unproven SNP shoring them up. The SNP MPs would be under extreme pressure to move to end benefit sanctions – without exceptions; after all this was an SNP ‘promise’ to the Scottish electorate during to Independence Referendum. Maybe the SNP ‘secretly’ support benefit sanctions (like Labour, though with Labour it is obvious and proven; the SNP have yet to be ‘tested’) and would be reluctant to support their abolition, but nevertheless they still are and will be held accountable to the electorate. But as things stand at the moment it looks like some sort of Con/Dem, Con/UKIP ‘coaltion’ will form the next government but only time will tell.

      End Workfare - End Sanctions

      April 24, 2015 at 7:42 am

  2. A yellow card from the Lib Dems, reminds us of those different colour patches that may be placed on people,. will a yellow card also mean people get “sent off” to workfare.

    meanwhile Labours plan on sanctions as is noted, a start.

    enigma

    April 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    • “It would”, “promise” lets hope so for the millions that would benefit from it.

      enigma

      April 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm

  3. enigma

    April 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    • Ultimately it is possible for a benefit decision to be considered by the
      Supreme Court. However, after the First-tier Tribunal hearing a claimant must
      first appeal to the Upper Tribunal and then the Court of Appeal. There is no
      short cut to the Supreme Court. These options are made known to claimants
      by the respective Tribunals and Court. Information is also available on the
      Gov.Uk website.

      enigma

      April 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    • “Innocent until proven guilty” is a phrase and what it actually refers to is THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE or in layman terms, ” the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies”.

      You see when DWP put through a case to the decision maker, they must make available all the LAWFUL evidence they have to substantiate the charge they are levelling.

      In the case of being late 5 min, the advisor would have to be able to display how this is so like visual evidence from a camera with a time stamp for instance, a register perhaps alongside the assertion. Now I cant speak for every jobcentre but at mine no register is taken on building entry and as im sure with all jobcentres, the claimant is highly unlikely to be seen on time and by the same person every time as even the advisors don’t seem to know who they will be seeing so its not like there standing on foot waiting for you, watch in hand.

      So unless there is some sort of camera evidence or someone who monitors every claimant while keeping a register of at least there names (do remember they would have to interact with you in someway like directly or by way of being passed say your booklet), I fail to see what the nature of this supposed evidence is.

      Now I know from previous dealings that DWP advisors must not only level a charge but also what built up to it and it is this that the accused must scrutinise.

      gaia

      April 24, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      • “In the case of being late 5 min”… you turn your watch back and point-blank say that you are on time 😀 It’s not like the jobcentre houses the official atomic clock 😀

        Atomic Clock

        April 24, 2015 at 1:59 pm

  4. Reblogged this on sdbast.

    sdbast

    April 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm

  5. Cameron, admitted he has no idea what the living wage is.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-gets-angry-teenagers-5567516

    enigma

    April 23, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    • I posted the actual video on Mr Coates yesterday article or should I say the last one if your interested in hearing the full broadcast enigma.

      These teenagers were quite switched on so Cameron couldnt help but end up frustrated along with in an around about way of say, “look you don’t understand, things are more complicated than that”.

      I enjoyed it so I hope you all do.

      gaia

      April 24, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      • Thanks Gaia, I didn’t see your post of it.

        enigma

        April 24, 2015 at 5:07 pm

  6. As you say andy, it’s a start and better than what we have at the moment.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 23, 2015 at 2:21 pm

  7. The official campaign song for Wirral TUC’s Sack Esther McVey campaign.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

  8. “Schools becoming ‘A&E departments of communities”

    Tony Draper, who is head teacher of a primary school in Milton Keynes and is about to take over as president of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said schools had no choice but to get involved when faced with a desperate family.

    The NAHT’s annual conference in Liverpool next week will highlight the growing pressure on schools to act as safety nets for the neighbourhoods they serve.

    The NAHT is expected to report that schools and teachers are helping in a growing number of ways, providing food, clothes, laundry and washing facilities for needy children and their families.

    Draper, who has been head teacher at Water Hall since 2003, said there had been “a big rise” in families requiring intervention from children’s services. The school has also found itself increasingly helping parents who are struggling with financial or housing issues, and some who cannot provide enough food for their families.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/23/schools-becoming-ae-departments-of-communities-says-new-union-leader

    enigma

    April 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    • Yes, Enigma, same goes in school I work in, in a town with some very deprived wards. Children literally come in hungry and with trousers half way to their knees. It breaks my heart.

      kat rehman

      April 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      • Kat, it’s news to me and probably will be for many other people, myself I don’t have kids so don’t go anywhere near schools, I don’t even see any when out and about, but I hear the little monsters! yes it sure is sad that this is what it has came to, in 2015.

        enigma

        April 23, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      • Enigma we have one child who we can’t keep in school at lunch time because of their behaviour and funding isn’t in place for 1 to 1 at lunch time ( probably due to cuts).. they are entitled to free school meals. The kitchen has to provide a special pack lunch for them..this is the child whose trousers are more like shorts. I can only imagine the situation in that house. To be so desperate. For food.. It’s truly awful to think

        kat rehman

        April 23, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      • These so called modern times and progress, I too see hungry people but in the food bank, you can clearly see who hasn’t eaten for a few days, for some it doesn’t hit them until you hand them bags of food, they breakdown in tears.

        enigma

        April 23, 2015 at 10:01 pm

  9. David Ellesmere, the Ipswich Labour candidate, has spoken publicly of his experience of meeting people who’d been sanctioned at the local Food Bank.

    Let’s hope we can elect people into Parliament who are prepared to look at this reality.

    On Newsnight on Wednesday there was a debate on welfare ‘reform’.

    Most of the guests talked about reality, including sanctions.

    A woman from a Food Bank organisation spoke specifically about this and how it’d driven people to ask for their help (charity, though she preferred mini-welfare state, it’s not a right).

    But one well-fed looking Tory (not from the Party, they refused to send a speaker, but a Spectator toff), said that there were bound to be “mistakes” in any reform of the system .

    Some ‘mistakes’.

    Some system.

    Andrew Coates

    April 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    • The nonsense the Tories come out with, because they just don’t care about the reality of life for millions/billions, some people say “they the Tories or other don’t know what is happening to the people affected by the reforms” – they sure do.

      enigma

      April 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    • I’m a single mum myself and did my time on JSA, in the days before the tighter sanctions came in.it was hard. I’m just grateful I always managed to put food on the table and. Ensure my child had clothes that fitted. Then I got work And have stayed off JSA for 4 years. My heart goes out to everyone still stuck in this crappy system. Do they realise in years to come these poor children will be adults, maybe with health problems due to not enough to eat, and full of hatred for society and the system??

      kat rehman

      April 23, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      • Yes, JSA is like a sentence for many. I had no clue of the start of the reform, I was busy with work, never seen a food bank until 2012, (which shouldn’t exist) , have you only the one child? it’s going to be harder for those with more kids.

        enigma

        April 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm

  10. Election 2015: Voters ‘left in the dark’, says IFS

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32424739

    Post-election austerity: parties’ plans compared.

    In this election briefing note we compare and contrast the fiscal plans laid out by the four political parties that are widely predicted to win the most seats in the forthcoming UK general election: the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP). All these parties are proposing reductions in borrowing relative to current levels, though they appear to differ in what they think a suitable medium term level of borrowing is and how quickly they wish to get to that level of borrowing (and, therefore, in how quickly they want debt to fall).

    The parties also differ in the extent to which they think that a borrowing reduction should be achieved through tax rises, cuts to social security spending, or cuts to spending on public services. In this note we compare the composition of the future tightening planned by the parties – to the extent that we know what their plans are. We also draw attention to what has been left unsaid.

    44pages.

    http://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/bns/BN170.pdf

    enigma

    April 23, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    • Yeah I’ve only the one child, which is somewhat easier I guess, not that single parent hood is ever easy. I don’t know how they are expected to cope with increased conditionality and sanctions
      I wonder if the theory is, that it will prevent the supposed feckless from breeding. They don’t think that relationships break down for all sorts of reasons including death of partners. Myself I stayed in my relationship a lot longer than I wanted to precisely because I didn’t want to be a single parent…

      kat rehman

      April 24, 2015 at 10:25 am

      • Yes It’s all about self sufficiency, “If one can’t afford a child, don’t have one”

        enigma

        April 24, 2015 at 10:38 am

  11. Slightly OT, and not Ipswich, but I just had a phone call from Nick Smith, Labour candidate for Blaenau Gwent. Wanted to know which way I planned to vote… I told him I would be voting Plaid Cymru, as I had been disappointed with Labour ever since Blair became PM. I told him that I was fed up with Labour trying to out-Tory the Tories on welfare, and that having been through Labour’s New Deal, Employment Zones and Flexible New Deal, it was highly unlikely that I would ever vote Labour again. Not surprisingly, Nick didn’t have an answer to that – it was very sweet, incredibly satisfying and brightened up a crap day for me no end 🙂

    Dan

    April 23, 2015 at 5:51 pm

  12. This just fucking bullshit as well as being politically correct sexist shite. “Oh look, we would never sanction a pregnant woman, would we but it is OK for a single guy like David Clapson to die a lonely death from starvation in a freezing flat”. The reason Labour are doing this is because it is cases like pregnant woman which jar more with the general public (or so Labour think), who is going to give a flying fig about a single guy (or girl) (or so Labour think). In new Labour’s fluffy pink cloud world you *may* not see pregnant women getting sanctioned by there would still be human beings like David Clapson dying an horrific death – and Rachel Reeves and Labour couldn’t give a flying fuck. Rachel Reeves and Labour can fuck right off. End benefit sanctions – without exception, or fuck off!!

    End Benefit Sanctions - without exception

    April 24, 2015 at 7:17 am

    • Oh but David Clapson missed jobcentre appointment, didn’t he. So in the twisted view of Rachel Reeves he deserved to die. What Labour are proposing is actually *worse* than the present system which is a lot *fairer* in that it is less discriminatory and politically incorrect in who it targets. Toffy-nose Rachel Reeves and Labour can fuck right off!

      End Benefit Sanctions - without exception

      April 24, 2015 at 7:22 am

      • When any Organisation / Authority wants something hidden, there is a nasty phrase that’s used. It is also used in the Independence Day Film…’ Question..’Why was I not told ‘ Answer.. ‘Plausable Deniability’.

        Philip

        April 24, 2015 at 7:38 am

    • Under Labour ‘hardship’ was paid only if you were in a ‘vulnerable’ category’. If you weren’t in a ‘vulnerable’ category you were expected to starve to death. The Social Security Advisory Committee challenged Labour about this discriminatory policy but were summarily brushed aside. It could be argued discriminatory payment of hardship encouraged certain claimants to put themselves in a ‘vulnerable’ position i.e. young girls in particularity having children, so maybe this was part of the Tories rationale for removing the discriminatory element.

      Also it was Labour who spawned the whole welfare-to-work industry – the satanic abomination Working Links were the first to step about the ’employment bizness’ gravy. train.

      All is not rosy with Labour!

      L'est We Forget

      April 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      • Also more jobseekers were working for their benefits under Labour than under the Tories. If anyone thinks Rachel Reeves and Labour are some sort of panacea they are sadly mistaken.

        L'est We Forget

        April 25, 2015 at 8:15 pm

  13. “So, if it is a pregnant woman, or a mum with young kids, or someone with mental health problems, those people should not be sanctioned.” – why should anyone be sanctioned. Nobody, nobody deserves to have their vitals of like withheld. Sorry, I will not be voting for Labour. I will not vote for a party that supports the brutality of sanctions in any way, shape or form. If you are going to be sanctioned, better to be sanctioned by the ‘Real Deal’ – IDS than the phoney Rachel Reeves who just really wants to ‘temper’ sanctions enough to take the heat of them and make them more ‘palatable’ with the general public. Labour are just scum, pure scum, in fact bigger scum than the Tories – at least you know where you are with them. Labour deserves a good kicking!

    Fuck Labour

    April 24, 2015 at 8:03 am

    • * vitals of life

      Fuck Labour

      April 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

    • LIKE WHEN THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT USED TO SAY THAT HANGING WAS A QUICK AND PAINLESS DEATH IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE IT MORE PALATABLE TO THE BRITISH PUBLIC: SANCTIONS ARE A QUICK AND PAINLESS DEATH!

      CAPS LOCKS GEOFF

      April 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

      • * EVEN THOUGH THEY KNEW IT WASN’T

        CAPS LOCKS GEOFF

        April 24, 2015 at 9:21 am

  14. The A4 Folder Method , or The Portable Lawyer

    I thought it might be useful to give an example of the method in action.
    Based on the experiences of a friend of mine at my local Jobcentre.

    It is Monday morning, and my friend has just arrived to sign-on.
    The advisor in question is a fully paid-up member of the awkward squad. Not perhaps one of the very worst, but prone to being deliberately awkward with the claimants when in a bad mood.

    My friend has just offered his fortnightly jobsearch, carefully written out in the traditional manner. He does not allow access to his Universal Jobsmatch Account. Nor does he kneel down near a chopping block when there is an axe handy. He prefers survival to stupidity.

    The Advisor: ‘’Well Mr.Roberts, you’ve been unemployed for some time now. Your jobsearch is good, but it’s not really achieving anything is it ?’’

    ( He draws himself up as if making an important announcement. as per DWP Training Manual: Section 4, Informing the Claimant)

    The Advisor: ‘’ I’m going to send you on 8 weeks Work Experience at SlaveDriver Stores in the High Street.’’

    My friend pauses, he knows SlaveDriver Stores. They are naked profiteers from the misfortune of the unemployed. Their placements consist of long hours standing about selling rubbish in a tatty store. Mindless muzak is played all day. SlaveDriver Stores also insist on evening and weekend work. They have a nasty reputation for sanctioning people for the slightest reason.

    Not suprisingly, my friend doesn’t want to do this scheme. He already volunteers, and continues to make every effort to find genuine sustainable employment that pays a living wage. He has no interest in the world of so-called work that pays even less than his meagre benefits.

    My Friend: ‘’Is this a mandatory scheme…… you know I am already volunteering ?’’

    The Advisor: ‘’ Yes, the Work Experience scheme is mandatory and you will be required to attend for 8 weeks ….But just think of the valuable experience you will gain.’’

    This advisor has sanctioned people who have argued with him directly. For their own good of course, so caution is indicated. But my friend has with him his trusty shield and advisor, his guide and consolation. His A4 Folder.

    My friend knows that the 8 week Work Experience scheme is actually voluntary, and only becomes mandatory if the claimant agrees to sign up to it. But this is almost never mentioned by the jobcentre advisors.

    My friend has a Freedom of Information Request that helpfully points out which of the jobcentre schemes are mandatory, and which only become mandatory when you have signed up to them. A bit like joining the Foreign Legion.

    My friend reaches into his folder and extracts the relevant FOI request, handing this to the advisor.

    My Friend: ‘’ Really ? Have you seen this, the regulations seem to be quite specific. The Work Experience scheme is actually voluntary .’’
    He keeps this low-key, non-confrontational. He just wants to help, rather like the jobcentre itself, if you think about it.

    The Advisor is now somewhat uncertain, for the game is up, and he knows that this claimant knows, that the Work Experience Scheme is voluntary. Moreover the claimant has presented undeniable written proof of this fact. This has defeated his manager’s instructions to him to try and push through as many of these WE placements as possible, by presenting them as mandatory.

    The Advisor: ‘’Well yes Mr.Roberts…it does seem as if the Work Experience Scheme is actually voluntary…..in technical terms at least. What I meant to say is that if you agree to participate in the scheme it would of course be mandatory for you to complete it. ‘’

    My Friend: ‘’I’d rather stay with my volunteering if you don’t mind. As this is very good experience too as you know.’’ ( Careful bit of face-saving for the advisor).

    The Advisor: ‘’ Well that is your decision of course Mr Roberts, if you don’t wish to take up this opportunity with SlaveDriver Stores, then that is entirely up to you. Shall we say 10am in a fortnight for your next appointment ? Good Morning.’’

    Jeff Smith

    April 24, 2015 at 8:10 am

    • Those FOI’s are very handy, important too of course, if only everyone on benefits had access to them.

      enigma

      April 24, 2015 at 8:36 am

      • FOIs are excellent 😀 The “having to give a moby fone number” is another good one to knock a work roach flat on their back 😀

        GuffGuff

        April 24, 2015 at 9:09 am

      • It is not like you even have to present your ‘evidence’ in a confrontational way; after all you are only trying to ‘help and support’ the work roach. For all you know they might not even realise that a scheme isn’t mandatory 😉

        GuffGuff

        April 24, 2015 at 9:12 am

    • I’ve been doing that for well over a year, but be warned, if you’ve got a real bastard adviser, even if you show them these documents they’ll still try and sanction you there and then.
      On a happier note, do miracles occur? Yes, I believe they do. After years and years of being without work I have finally obtained a position with a small expanding company that makes use of my abilities. I only had an informal interview and they actually offered me a job that was different to what they advertised on UJ. It was only the second ever job that I applied to on UJ that I actually got a decent reply to. Ok, so at the moment it’s just NMW, but it gets me out of the clutches of the Jobcentre, hopefully forever, unless I encounter problems with UC. I will continue to visit this website regularly, at least every week, and provide information / advice, etc. if necessary and continue to warn people I meet as I have done in the past about the tricks the Jobcentre get up to. My bastard adviser was off sick for 2 weeks, or so he claims or I would have told him exactly what I thought of him. Keep strong, my fellow sufferers and try not to let the bastards grind you down.

      ben

      April 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm

  15. OT: The first announcments of Fleeing Abroad

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32443930
    HSBC considers moving HQ out of UK

    How long before the other rats follow suit?

    Gazza

    April 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

    • HSBC. It does stand for HONG-KONG and SHANGHAI Bank Corps

      WUN TUN

      April 24, 2015 at 9:35 am

    • This morning HSBC has announced that it is going to look – again – at whether it would be better served by moving its headquarters out of London.

      Regulatory pressure, political attacks following revelations of errant behaviour and hefty new taxes have sparked the decision.

      HSBC has also said that uncertainty over Britain’s future in the European Union is weighing on its future as well as new rules which oblige banks to split their retail and investment banking activities – the ring-fence.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32446342

      enigma

      April 24, 2015 at 10:28 am

      • Yep that last bit the telling bit – they want the public to bail them out in future and they walk away with their fat ill gotton profits.

        Gazza

        April 24, 2015 at 10:41 am

      • Gazza

        Reply from DWP, regarding ” ‘Right to be considered innocent until proven guilty” above, if you didn’t see it.

        enigma

        April 24, 2015 at 10:51 am

      • If HSBC moves out of London that will create a helluva lot of empty office space – you seen the size of the headquarters?

        Real Estate Agent

        April 24, 2015 at 11:02 am

      • Enigma

        Read it still digesting – but methinks that was run by DWP lawyers, it smells of lawyer speak in how it is carefully worded and I would point out that was some fast turn around by DWP in replying.

        I do think on the “Equality of Arms” and “Innocent until Proven Guilty” DWP is vulnerable – just not sure how.

        If DWP is not supplying all the information [i.e. EVERYTHING that is taken into consideration then that is a weakness – I suspect they are not doing that, I wold ask for examples of how decisions are made and the factors taken into account].
        How can you make your argument of your innocence if you do not know what argement to make?

        Also I think the time period is a bit iffy as well. They tell you that you have so long to reply to them, but they then reply in a time period they themselves set? That seems arbitary to me and open to abuse [as if DWP would ever do that]

        And thinking of it – the two week period without even being able to claim hardship payments stinks as well.

        So the question would be if this was put to a normal person
        would they consider this apparautus fair? I suspect not – and that is the test the courts use [or should if it isn’t biased in some way].

        Gazza

        April 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

      • Thinking about it the important thing is the ‘weightings’ given for the ‘crime’ to be punishable. What criteria is used to signify say being late once by 5 minutes – as a reason to inflict a punishment?

        Is the threat of a sanction of say a months benifit proportionate to a person losing a roof over their head, or making them starve?

        Gazza

        April 24, 2015 at 11:41 am

      • Acutally they are very vulnerable on the Health and safety Issue as we have a contract with DWP – they have to make sure they do not breach health and safety in their treatment of us their client – by denying hardship payments [and not even paying an adequate amount in that payment] for two weeks I think they comit a breach if a solicitor can sho it in court.

        Gazza

        April 24, 2015 at 11:46 am

      • It’s the usual, DWP thinking that all benefit claimants are stupid, it tells everyone or at least should that all the DWP’s antics are illegal.

        enigma

        April 24, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      • One last point [my own oppinion of course] I think imposing a onerous contract voids the contract – where legally you go from there I do not know.

        I think more general terms of conditions would be assumed to come into play at that point – notwithstanding the points about presumed innocent/equality of arms arguments.

        A good comparison would be DWPs own procedures for staff – why is it so punitive for the customers but better for its own staff?

        Food for thought.

        I’ll not be making any more comments so as not to clog up the comments thread here.

        Gazza

        April 24, 2015 at 6:36 pm

  16. More info on fuel vouchers.

    Fuel banks pilot scheme aims to address austerity-era dilemma of ‘heat or eat’

    Fuel voucher for families who use prepayment meters will be available to those in crisis referred to food banks by welfare advice agencies, GPs and social workers.

    Families in poverty who are forced to switch off their gas and electricity supply because they are unable afford spiralling energy bills will be offered free charity fuel vouchers under a pilot scheme. The so-called “fuel banks” initiative will provide a £49 credit for struggling families who use prepayment meters in a move designed to address the austerity-era dilemma of “heat or eat”. It is being run by energy firm nPower and poverty charities including the food bank network Trussell trust.

    The vouchers, which will provide enough credit to restore power, and keep lights and heating on for up to two weeks, will be available to people in crisis referred to food banks by welfare advice agencies, GPs and social workers.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/24/fuel-banks-scheme-heat-or-eat-voucher-prepayment-meters-food-banks

    enigma

    April 24, 2015 at 8:53 am

    • And if the customer is not with Npower and does not have a meter ……………………….

      enigma

      April 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

  17. ‘Free’ fees does not help poor attend Scottish universities. helps the rich though.

    The abolition of tuition fees has not encouraged more Scottish children from poor families to go to university, according to an expert report that raised major doubts whether the flagship SNP policy is good value for taxpayers.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/10354393/Free-fees-does-not-help-poor-attend-Scottish-universities.html

    enigma

    April 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    • Exactly, the SNP should scrap fees and give the poor kids a grant to cover the costs of tuition and make the rich kids parents pay a ‘parental contribution’ – this is the way it was pre- MI5-man Jim Murphy and his betrayal of students when as President of the NUS he was instrumental in replacing grants with loans.

      Sttodent

      April 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      • – scrap ‘free’ fees

        Sttodent

        April 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      • “Adult Re-Skilling and Education” -sounds like an A$E course 😀

        a4e r crooks

        April 24, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      • The new Fast Track E-Degree is definitely something worth adding to your CV

        JC Work Roach

        April 24, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    • For starters cash doesn’t qualify entry to university. Theres this thing called UCAS points which if you don’t have the required amount for the course will see you get refused.

      The idea of the points is to ensure those ill equipped to pass such a course don’t waste money trying as believe it or not, university isn’t for everyone.

      As things stand only Btec Diplomas, level 3 NVQs and A levels and degrees count towards this points system. This means that excluding 6th form year and or college, a school leaver will not have the required points to be considered. Now you know WHY Michael Gove introduced the extended period of study (6th form or college) as he knew if left to there own devices, most wouldn’t pursue these points, meaning the policy of raising university costs to promote self sufficiency for the sector wouldn’t be enough to stave the closure of courses or even entire universities in the long run. This effect would have seen universities become private and only affordable for the well off and thus highlighting the public fears of class distinction in both education and work.

      Also and highly important, a government doesn’t want universities propped by the well off as just paying in one go for a course believe it or not ruins this countries GDP. A government no matter the party needs its people in DEBT, so to coin one of there phrases, “putting more in your pocket” is just a rue to say it entitles and enables a person to borrow more on the strength of it.

      gaia

      April 24, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      • Oh if you want to see how our education system will look, just look over the pond to the good old USA where recently a group of teachers were arrested, found guilty and imprisoned on the charge of fraud.

        gaia

        April 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      • University of Bums on Seats (UBS)

        April 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm

  18. Andrew Coates

    April 24, 2015 at 4:22 pm

  19. OT : Labour is the New Tory?

    Uh Uh – Labour to employ Hasletine?

    Now I know Labour is finished.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/24/labour-to-call-on-michael-heseltine-if-it-wins-election

    So get Lord Fraud – disaster that he is from LibDens
    Now getting Haseltine? Brace for much much more of the same as Lord Fraud.

    I will DEFINETLY not be voting Labour if true. I suspect I wil not be alone.

    Gazza

    April 24, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    • I’m stuffed where I live. I’d vote TUSC if we had candidate, which we don’t. We have tory, blue labour, lib dem, ukip. Freedom, an independent and I think green. I’m in unite the union and they’re very pro labour but I’m not sure what I’m gna vote. Any advice??

      kat rehman

      April 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      • Grit your teeth and vote Labour, get the tories out – I’m in Lewisham and the Labour MP here is useless & has a large majority – I know from personal painful experience how useless he is.

        I have a very good mate who knows a few high in the Labour Party. I intend to have words with him about this madness.

        Gazza

        April 24, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      • You tell um Gazza, sort them out 🙂

        enigma

        April 25, 2015 at 10:46 am

  20. Made a typo. Ujm password id NOT case sensitive. Try it

    Northolt

    April 25, 2015 at 8:10 am

  21. NOW IT’S SIGN A CONTRACT FOR 3-YEAR OLDS!!!

    I wonder if Labour will also stop this kind of “trivia”:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3054592/Parents-anger-children-young-THREE-told-sign-contract-promising-not-use-transphobic-language-nursery.html

    Transphobic? What on earth does that mean? The word “homophobic” is bad enough. It is a non-word. I contend there is no such thing as an irrational fear of homosexuality; a heterosexual person, if honest, will be naturally and rationally repelled and entitled to freely say so through the principle of free speech.

    There are more serious issues to consider at the forthcoming General Election than to focus on gender bender minorities. Let’s get a sense of perspective.

    Tobanem

    April 25, 2015 at 8:21 am

    • It’s the loony left of the 1970’s all over again

      Northolt

      April 25, 2015 at 8:33 am

    • I work in a school n I dunno what transphobic means!!

      kat rehman

      April 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

      • Transgender Bullying.

        enigma

        April 25, 2015 at 10:56 am

      • It means that you ”hate” people that are saying that they want an operation to change their birth sex.

        )

        April 25, 2015 at 3:11 pm

  22. Looks like Iain Duncan Smith certainly doesn’t practise what he preaches. He want’s the E.U. to stay out of making law on the British benefits system but must have asked that certain results for his name be removed.

    Here’s a page from the Google search engine where a result has been removed under the Data Protection Act in Europe. (scroll to the bottom of the page)

    https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=iain+duncan+smith&tbm=nws

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    April 25, 2015 at 10:54 am

    • Since this ruling was published on 13 May 2014, we’ve been working around the clock to comply. This is a complicated process because we need to assess each individual request and balance the rights of the individual to control his or her personal data with the public’s right to know and distribute information.

      enigma

      April 25, 2015 at 11:07 am

    • “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe.

      How are you implementing the recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decision on the right to be forgotten?

      The recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union has profound consequences for search engines in Europe. The court found that certain users have the right to ask search engines like Google to remove results for queries that include the person’s name. To qualify, the results shown would need to be inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive.”

      What a fucking two-faced hypocrite!

      Hard Candy

      April 25, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      • Funny how jobseekers are expected to sign away their rights under data protection laws when they are ‘mandated’ to this bastard’s fucking ‘scheme’. And here we have a fucking europhobe using European data protection laws to protect his ‘privacy’; privacy – something which is being increasingly denied to benefit claimants. What a piece of shit this fucker is!

        Hard Candy

        April 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      • PS you DO NOT have to sign away you data protection rights on this c!”£$s ‘schemes’ – DO NOT SIGN!!

        Hard Candy

        April 25, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      • This is as bad as seeing this: “Some Working Links, Ingeus, Seetec, G$S, work programme ‘provider’ results have been removed due to the expectation of privacy and the right to control your personal and private information under the Data Protection Act”

        Hard Candy

        April 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm

  23. By all means stop benefits for people who wont work at all not people seeking a proper job.
    Poverty sucks we all know that being forced into cheap labour exploitation,poor working conditions and zero hrs contract jobs and being ridiculed by a jobcentre advisor who speaks broken english and giberish,and cannot even send you to a proper interview because there are no proper jobs also sucks.Basically the system sucks.

    i also fully endorse being able to resonably refuse a part time low paid job that is not a full time job.

    carlito100@hushmail.com

    April 29, 2015 at 4:00 am


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