Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Suicides, Sanctions, the True Cost of Welfare ‘Reform’.

with 109 comments


The admirable Black Triangle campaigners signaled this, beginning in 2015,

The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits

Thank to Maggie Zolobajluk @22magoo for her support in this extremely sad task.

14 Sep 2015 — The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) published guidance to Jobcentre officials who decide whether claimants should have their payments stopped.

The guidance says: “It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health if they were without:
1. essential items such as food, clothing, heating and accommodation, or
2. sufficient money to buy essential items for a period of two weeks.”

“The Decision Maker must decided if the health of the person with the medical condition would decline more than a normal healthy adult.”

I have compiled a list of the deceased and those who have been adversely affected using the information from these sites  http://twishort.com/0x9gchttp://blacktrianglecampaign.org/…/uk-welfare-reform…/https://welfaretales.wordpress.com/…/death-after-fit…/https://welfaretales.wordpress.com/…/list-of-welfare…/.

The group added more sad deaths up to March 2016.

They have just published this from the Guardian:

Suicides of benefit claimants reveal DWP flaws, says inquiry.

By Patrick Butler and John Pring

‘Peer reviews’ challenge claims by ministers that there is no connection between welfare reform policies and deaths of vulnerable claimants

A series of secret internal inquiries into the deaths of people claiming social security reveal that ministers were repeatedly warned of shortcomings in the treatment of vulnerable claimants facing potentially traumatic cuts to their benefits entitlements.

The conclusions are contained in 49 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) inquiry reports finally released to campaigners on Friday after a two-year Freedom of Information (FOI) battle. Some 40 of the reports followed a suicide. In 10 cases, the claimant had had their benefits sanctioned.

Although the heavily redacted reports do not draw a direct link between the death of a claimant and problems caused by their dealings with the benefits system, they highlight widespread flaws in the handling by DWP officials of claims by people with mental illness or learning difficulty.

The reports, called “peer reviews,” appear to challenge blanket claims by ministers that there is no connection between government welfare reform policies and the deaths of vulnerable claimants.

Many of them centre on the much-criticised Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the test used to assess whether claimants are fit for work. Campaigners argue the tests are flawed and linked to health relapses, depression, self-harm, and suicides.

Activists have linked the WCA to a string of tragic deaths – including poet Paul Reekie, former sheep farmer Nick Barker and ex-security guard Brian McArdle – all of whom died after being found “fit for work” and told by DWP that they would lose their out-of-work disability benefits.

Peer reviews are triggered when a claimant death is “associated with a DWP activity”. The reports released on Friday were drawn up between February 2012 and August 2014, when an FOI request was originally submitted.

One report warns that vulnerable claimants risked being overlooked by DWP officials, with potentially harmful consequences, because staff resources were stretched by a ministerial decision to push ahead with the speedy re-assessment of hundreds of thousands of incapacity benefit claimants.

It says: “The risk associated with disregarding the possibility that some of these claimants need more support or a different form of engagement is that we fail to recognise more cases like [name redacted] with consequent potential impact on the claimant.”

The rest of the article can be read on the Guardian site with other relevant links,

The Guardian has also reported this:

Research says the extension of benefit sanctions is leading to increased debt and eviction threats and causing ill health.

Benefit sanctions are leaving people almost destitute, with some individuals being pushed toward “survival crime” in order to eat and children missing school because parents can’t pay the bus fare. These are the preliminary findings of a major study into increased restrictions on receiving benefits in the UK welfare system, published in full on Thursday.

The research, led by the University of York, also shows the controversial extension of benefit sanctions to working people on universal credit (UC) can produce disincentives to work.

More via link above.


Written by Andrew Coates

May 14, 2016 at 10:51 am

109 Responses

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  1. I suggested before that Herr George Nasty Smith of the ConMen Nazi Party resigned because of the UN investigation… I might have been a teeny winnie bit hasty.

    I wonder if he is getting the feeling his ‘collar might be felt by the law in the near future – vis a vis the Scotish Police looking into this same matter.

    As for CrabbFace, one has to wonder how long he will hold the party line if Herr George Nasty Smith [also Priti (ugly) Patel, Lord Fraud, and McVile with him, unfortuntely I cannot see GidIdiot being fingered – more’s the shame] is ‘collared, especially as he is at the helm of SS DWP Titanic and is carrying out the self same policies full steam ahead onto the rocks…..


    May 14, 2016 at 12:10 pm

  2. Suicides of benefit claimants reveal DWP flaws, says inquiry

    ‘Peer reviews’ challenge claims by ministers that there is no connection between welfare reform policies and deaths of vulnerable claimants

    Patrick Butler and John Pring
    Guardian – 13th May 2016

    A series of secret internal inquiries into the deaths of people claiming social security reveal that ministers were repeatedly warned of shortcomings in the treatment of vulnerable claimants facing potentially traumatic cuts to their benefits entitlements.

    The conclusions are contained in 49 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) inquiry reports https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-foi-releases-for-may-2016 finally released to campaigners on Friday after a two-year Freedom of Information (FOI) battle. Some 40 of the reports followed a suicide. In 10 cases, the claimant had had their benefits sanctioned.

    Read More:

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm

  3. Work and Pensions Committee

    Disability employment gap inquiry

    Inquiry status: open – accepting written submissions

    Accepting written submissions; the deadline is Monday 9 May 2016.

    Scope of the inquiry

    The Committee invites written submissions addressing the following points:
    To what extent are the current range of proposed measures likely to achieve the Government’s ambition of closing the disability employment gap?

    How effective is the Disability Confident campaign in reducing barriers to employment and educating employers?

    What should support for people with health conditions and disabilities in the proposed Work and Health programme look like?

    What are the likely impacts on disability employment of the abolition of the Employment and Support Allowance Work Related Activity component?

    13 page PDF


    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm

  4. Reblogged this on sdbast.


    May 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm

  5. There is enough material for a comprehensive report damming the whole Tory Welfare policy, from Universal Credit onwards.

    Andrew Coates

    May 14, 2016 at 3:31 pm

  6. Am I missing summat?? Ot, but news is saying if we leave EU that’s it back to recession. Aren’t we in it already??


    May 14, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    • katrehman

      I would class what is going on as a slowdown [another quarter and then I’d call it a recession], if things go south if we BritExit – this will all seem like a gentle breeze in comparison to the Tornado that’ll hit


      May 14, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      • katrehman

        the other thing which the ConMen fear is the fact they are prominent n the BritExit crowd, if things go bad on the economics side the ConMen will quite rightly get the blame at the next election. That is what Cameron & co fear.


        May 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    • recession – chaos

      It was perhaps the biggest lie of all. This week, David Cameron provoked universal derision by claiming that Europe risks sliding back into war and genocide if Britain votes to leave the EU.

      He argued that it was only because of the EU that peace had been maintained on the continent over the past 70 years.

      He couldn’t have been more wrong: for the fact is that Europe is now riven by more hatreds, divisions and conflicts than at any time since 1945 — and they are threatening to tear the continent apart.



      May 14, 2016 at 9:42 pm

  7. Fire Brigades Union conference says, ‘Stay in Europe to change Europe’.

    May 2016.

    National conference agrees to support campaign for Britain to remain a member of the European Union. But brilliant speech from General Secretary Matt Wrack rejects status quo Europe and calls for alternative

    Delegates at FBU conference debated EU membership at length both in a fringe meeting on Wednesday and in a plenary debate today, but ultimately decided by some margin to remain and campaign for change with trade unionists across Europe.

    Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, gave a fiery speech, critical of the current EU but strongly in favour of staying in to defend workers’ rights and change the union from within.

    In particular, Wrack passionately defended the free movement of workers, saying that problems such as unemployment and housing crisis were caused by banks and the failure of markets, and not by migrants.

    Kieron Merrett, trade union officer for Another Europe Is Possible , who spoke at a conference fringe meeting the evening before the vote, said:

    “It’s terrific to see one of Britain’s best organised trade unions back the workers’ case for ‘In’ with an explicit ‘stay in Europe to change Europe’ line. It was an excellent debate that we were delighted to participate in. But the message must now go out, not only to every firefighter, but also every trade unionist in the UK. There is only one way to vote in this referendum to defend the vital interests of working people. That’s to vote to remain inside the European Union.”


    Andrew Coates

    May 15, 2016 at 10:03 am

    • Many things sure needs changing in the EU and in many other countries, it’s high time,


      May 15, 2016 at 10:52 am

  8. Loach film on shame of poverty in Britain moves Cannes to tears.

    Director Ken Loach denounced the British government’s “conscious cruelty” towards the poor Friday after his film about the poverty and humiliation inflicted upon them by welfare cuts had critics at the Cannes film festival in tears.

    The left-wing director, who turns 80 this year and is known for shining a light on the downtrodden, also got lengthy applause and shouts of “Bravo!” at a press conference after “I, Daniel Blake” was screened.



    May 15, 2016 at 10:04 am

    • According to IMDB this is a UK/France production! And the BBC is a co-producer. How long before we can watch this, and why do the knobheads at Cannes get to see this first!?

      D Blake

      May 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

  9. Ken Loach’s New Film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ Reduced Cannes Film Festival Critics To Tears
    ‘The most vulnerable people are told their poverty is their own fault’.

    Ken Loach‘s new film that takes an uncompromising look at the UK’s welfare system reduced critics at the Cannes Film Festival to tears.

    Set in Newcastle (and shown at the event with subtitles in case people couldn’t understand the Geordie accent), ‘I, Daniel Blake’ tells the fictional story of carpenter Daniel Blake’s who suffers a heart attack and is told by doctors he can no longer work.

    An assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) goes against medical advice and rules him too healthy to receive benefits.


    Ken Loach: I’m pro-EU, but it’s ‘not doing us any favours at the moment’

    “On the one hand, the European Union is a neo-liberal project,” he said. “It’s a drive towards privatisation and a drive towards de-regulation. The safeguards that are there for workers and for the environment are constantly under attack so it’s not doing us any favours at the moment. On the other hand, if we leave, we know the individual governments will be moving as far to the right as possible.”

    Loach believes the solution is ultimately voting to stay and thinks we need to “make alliances with other European left movements”.


    Andrew Coates

    May 15, 2016 at 10:04 am


      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      May 15, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      • Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        May 15, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      • It is utterly outrageous for a claimant to have to explain a predicament to two G4S half-wits.

        What’s it got to do with G4S? What criminality is the claimant involved in here? I did not like the hand contact the G4S oaf made with the female claimant.


        May 16, 2016 at 9:59 am

      • The procedure is IF a claimant cannot supply a valid reason then an advisor must put forward the proposal of a sanction for DM to consider. This implies does it not a system whereby the logic can be applied early so as not to waste time and money on staff.


        May 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    • Ken Loach’s ‘I, Daniel Blake,’ about an ailing carpenter who fights to stay on welfare, is a film of moving relevance

      The British director Ken Loach will be 80 years old in June, and he has worked in film and television for more than 50 of those years, but with his bone-deep empathy for the desperate and the downtrodden, you may feel that he was almost put on earth to make a dramatic feature about the current economic moment. “I, Daniel Blake” is one of Loach’s finest films, a drama of tender devastation that tells its story with an unblinking neorealist simplicity that goes right back to the plainspoken purity of Vittorio De Sica. The tale of Daniel Blake (Dave Johns), a 59-year-old carpenter from Newcastle, who is fighting to hold on to his welfare benefits, even though his heart condition forbids him from working, is one that’s sure to resonate across national borders, because it’s about something so much larger than bureaucratic cruelty (although it is very much about that). It captures a world — our world — in which the opportunity to thrive, or even just survive, is shrinking by the minute. With the right handling, the movie has a chance to connect with audiences as few Loach films ever have. It’s a work of scalding and moving relevance.

      Daniel, whose grizzled pate and washed-out pallor make him look much older than he is, has a way of barking at folks he doesn’t like, but really, he’s the soul of crusty friendliness. A widower with no children, he has recently suffered a heart attack and receives an Employment and Support Allowance from the British state. But then, for no good reason, his benefits are denied; the state wants him to go back to work — even though his physician is on record as saying he can’t. The movie takes us through the agony of the appeals process, which is a much bigger nightmare than it sounds like, because all Daniel is trying to win is the right to an appeal. He’s forced to jump through hoop after hoop, to hurry up and wait, and some of the demands are so unreasonable (he mustn’t just spend 35 hours a week applying for jobs he couldn’t take anyway; he must prove that he did) that the inescapable conclusion is that the system, as rejiggered by conservative government forces, has been engineered to toss people off the welfare rolls. It’s designed, in no small part, not to work.

      The battle to keep those benefits, without which he’ll literally be out on the street, may be even more Sisyphean in Daniel’s case, because as an old-school carpenter with almost no formal education, he’s a lost relic in the digital age. “I’ve never been near a computer,” he says, and while such confessions bring nothing but scolding contempt from the clerks in the welfare office, the audience looks at Daniel and, indeed, sees a man — you may have at least one relative like him — who lacks the consciousness to evolve with technology. Daniel is forced to take a class in how to draw up a CV, but even then, he writes it out in longhand – which inspires the film’s most cutting welfare official, who’s like a Kafkaesque version of Jane Lynch, to look at that piece of paper as if it were a scroll of shame. The main thing Daniel learns in the class is that there are dozens of people applying for every low-wage job. In other words: Why even bother?

      In the welfare office, Daniel spots a woman in a similar predicament, and being the Samaritan he is, he tries to help Katie (Hayley Squires) and her two kids get set up in their new flat. They’ve been squeezed out of the newly gentrified London, with no money and no prospects, and the four begin to hang out, because they have nothing much else to do. Yet in their way, they form a ragtag surrogate family. Squires has a dark-eyed beauty, yet her performance is so emotionally addled with dissolute worry that when we look at her, all we see is her stressed-out sadness. She’s a woman who has stopped being; she is merely existing. She literally cuts down on what she eats to have the money to feed her kids, and when she’s shopping at the government food bank and compulsively tears the top off a can of beans, dripping the syrup into her mouth, it’s a tearful epiphany — a fusion of hunger and degradation. It’s literally what she’s been driven to.

      If “I, Daniel Blake” had been made 20 or 30 years ago, the personalities of those in the welfare office might have been more colorfully villainized. But the film’s despair arises out of its perception that it’s the whole impersonal system that’s to blame. The layers of bureaucracy, which have only been added to with the Internet, are designed to wear people down. Johns, in a powerful performance, gives Daniel a plucky decency but a lonely anger underneath that simmers until it needs to explode. Daniel works to give the system every benefit of the doubt, until it insults his very being, at which point he has an impromptu “Attica!” moment. But it’s only a moment. The quiet beauty of “I, Daniel Blake” — the reason it’s the rare political drama that touches the soul — is that we believe, completely, in these people standing in front of us, as Ken Loach and the actors have imagined them. And when the movie ends, we feel like we won’t forget them.

      Film Buff

      May 16, 2016 at 1:55 pm

  10. Andrew Coates

    May 15, 2016 at 11:12 am

  11. And yet amazingly, the Tory tank still keeps driving forward, crushing all opposition in its path.
    Deaths and misery, vindictive ruthless policies of the worst and most divisive kind.
    Yet where is the public outcry ? Or come to that, the Labour Party, in all this ?

    Jeff Smith

    May 15, 2016 at 1:48 pm

  12. A plan to place job advisers in food banks has been quietly dropped by the Government, despite Welfare Secretary Stephen Crabb praising the plan just last week.

    Just last week Mr Crabb told the Work and Pensions select Committee the trial had been helpful.
    He said: “One of the things that we have observed is that it is good for the food bank, because there are people with expertise on hand who can provide help navigating the benefits system for somebody using the food bank, but actually, our work coaches have also been learning a tremendous amount about the lives of these people as well.”

    But in a written answer in the House of Commons, Welfare minister Priti Patel suggested the formal plan was being quietly shelved, and would only happen at “local discretion”.



    May 15, 2016 at 8:56 pm

  13. No wonder their in tears in Cannes,they probably fear for everyone here.

    Partially paralysed man missing half his head ‘declared fit for work by DWP’



    May 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm

  14. DWP repeatedly warned of failures to protect vulnerable benefit claimants, internal documents reveal

    Inquiries into the deaths of benefit claimants have revealed the government was repeatedly warned that vulnerable people were struggling to cope with benefit cuts, it has been reported.



    May 15, 2016 at 11:04 pm

  15. The BBC and Wellcome Trust announce major citizen science project, The Big Food Survey.

    When The Big Food Survey takes place later this year, year eight students across the UK will be able share their behaviours and opinions on food, using the BBC micro:bit to capture data and their responses. It gives students the chance to have their say on one of today’s most pressing topics, and will reveal what the UK’s 12 to 13 year-olds are eating and drinking, and how their schools, homes, parents, carers and friends affect their nutrition and health.



    May 16, 2016 at 9:40 am

  16. Iain Duncan Smith’s been a busy boy:

    “Iain Duncan Smith says workers’ rights should be ‘flexible’ after Brexit in epic on air tantrum.”


    Andrew Coates

    May 16, 2016 at 10:21 am

    • For the record the working time directive is already flexible for employees who have to sign a legal document to opt out. Its a simple process often offered by employers during the contract phase of new employment. The only one who does not get flexibility is employers but all that means is they cannot make an employee do overtime if they chose not to which is the way it should be.

      So IDS is talking crap again.

      All IDS is doing is promising employers more flexibility and not employees, what a smokescreen and to think hes accusing others of a conspiracy, that’s rich coming from him.


      May 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      • IDS also said, ” but you make sure that the competition that they face in terms of their jobs is actually fair competition and not unfair competition”.

        Why should anyone in this day and age have any form of competition for their job. We know just looking at the wealth’s wealth that theirs quite enough money to go around and would quite easily be a better step up than the crumbs already on offer that still even now make far to many people still state dependent if they have such a system in place in their country.


        May 16, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    • If your always looking for profit, how can you not end up with cheap labour, inferior materials ?

      When we pass on our industries and shop steel in China, clothes in India,etc because its cheaper, is it any wonder with an expiry date fast approaching how damaging this was going to be. Its easy to give India a sweatshop, harder to return it from whence it came or to put it another way,

      If you took a trade from a country that paid a citizen one meal a day abroad where a India citizen say who currently gets a quarter cup of rice a day and lured this citizen to work for half a cup of rice a day, it stands to reason if prices and profits are to remain the same that you couldn’t offer anything more and in all likelihood would attempt to offer less.


      May 16, 2016 at 1:46 pm

  17. OT: JSA & UC Doubt Evidence – Nothing has changed in meeting Jobsearch Requirements

    h/t unemploymentmovement


    “Universal Credit: Corroboration of work search evidence 14 May 2016 16:55 #20475

    For avoidance of any doubt, nothing has changed!”


    ME: i.e. none of the Jobsearch requirements has changed between JSA to UC
    The link is the directions to DMs


    May 16, 2016 at 11:31 am

  18. OT: Email from Jobroach threatening sanction if do not apply for job – Illegal

    h/t unemploymentmovement


    “The quick answer is no. Unsolicited email that contains any sort of threat (and that includes the threat of a sanction if you don’t comply) is against the law (Malicious Communications Act). ”

    ME: Nice to know and adding to armory


    May 16, 2016 at 11:39 am

    • Just adding to the link of yours Gazza, that you can actually know if an email has been received or not. Basically in minutes if not seconds the sender will receive a failed delivery notice.


      May 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

  19. Andrew Coates

    May 16, 2016 at 11:40 am

  20. OT: “Potential ‘Collar being felt Storm Clouds gathering over George ‘Ordinary Smith & DWP, ATOS etc


    “For the attention of PC Nick Porter, Police Scotland
    Mandate for Solicitor Advocate Mr. Aamer Anwar
    Monday 16th May 2016
    Allegation of Breach of Duty in Public Office by Mssrs. Iain Duncan Smith MP and Chris Grayling MP – Incident/Crime number 2143 – 23/3/16”


    May 16, 2016 at 11:48 am

    • Excellent post “Gazza”.

      It’s been quite a while since this case was brought to the attention of Police Scotland. Of course, nothing moves fast in the legal world, but I was wondering if the police themselves could be held to be “derelict of their duty” if they don’t take decisive action?

      The legal quote mentioned in your link says it is [still] a crime…even where no question of danger to the public or to any person is involved. So there can be no doubt about a crime being committed when someone actually dies – and tens of thousands of benefit claimants have already died prematurely as a result of these savage cuts, as you know.


      May 16, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      • If theirs hope for this then maybe theirs hope Blair,Bush and others are put on trial for crimes against humanity.


        May 16, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    • The following is a list of policies and damning court decisions and findings undertaken under the watch of Iain Duncan Smith (emphasis on those affecting disabled people):



      May 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    • Update: hat tip to JohnnyVoid


      I especially found interesting:

      – 9 further reviews since 2014 (in addition to the initial 49 undertaken here), ME: so the DWP Suicide chamber treatment is continuing… as we all knew it would – DWP battling to keep secret

      – Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is in THESE reports the main cause … ME: we all know it is no limited to just this area

      – Another Report: “This case may highlight a dislocation between policy intent and what actually happens to claimants who are vulnerable.”

      – practice guidelines were not followed, and that benefits staff often rigidly adhered to the rulebook rather than using “common sense” in their dealings with claimants.

      – In two instances, investigators reported that it was difficult to carry out a proper inquiry because DWP records had been purged, or not kept properly. ME: Ah, the deliberate destruction of evidence ploy

      – In one local office staff failed to provide adequate support for vulnerable claimants, according to a report. It says: “It is clear that we had several opportunities to identify and address the errors made over the duration of this claim, but we neglected to do so”. ME: Ah, corporate Manslaughter, but as it is deliberate I’d class as another more heinous crime…


      May 17, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    • OT: DWP & Benefit deaths – linkage admitted?

      h/t to refuted


      ME: important part below –

      “To show this was no accident, the same comment appeared in an article in The Independent the following day: “Any suicide is a tragedy and the reasons for them are complex, however it would be inaccurate and misleading to link it solely to a person’s benefit claim.”

      The use of the word “solely” means that ministers have now accepted that the actions of their department can be partly responsible for benefit claimants taking their own lives, and for other benefit-related deaths.”

      Oh oh dearie me…

      I wonder if George Idiot Smith is feeling the hint of the cold wind of justice on his collar yet – it grinds slowly [look up Prenda Law for a laugh – especially the latest antics of Hansmeier] but it grinds along


      May 19, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    • Well now…


      “Friday 20th May 2016

      Addressing the TUC Disabled Worker’s Conference at Transport House in London today Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell MP said:

      “We must not be silent on the deaths of disabled people.I want to see Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling stand trial and face criminal charges for the deaths of Disabled People””

      Well now…


      May 20, 2016 at 4:23 pm

  21. Disabled multiple sclerosis sufferer who can’t walk without crutches told he is ‘fit enough to get bus’


    How many will it take before the penny drops, that such a test is to heavily flawed, that it simply cannot determine with any meaningful success who and who is fit for work.


    May 16, 2016 at 1:07 pm

  22. OT: UJM Replacement Alert

    h/t: unemploymentmovement


    “adviser confirmed to me its getting replaced by a newer UC system.. same as UJM same idea, it will have a journal etc.. and ill get a letter about it soon… so we wont even be using UJM much longer.”


    May 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm

  23. How many people on jobseekers allowance have died after being found fit for work?


    May 16, 2016 at 2:06 pm

  24. The overlooked over-75s: Poverty among the ‘Silent Generation’ who lived through the Second World War.

    Older pensioners’ incomes are on average £59 a week lower than younger pensioners, and £112 a week lower than working age adults – this equates to an annual income almost £6,000 lower than a working age adult.

    A fifth of older people aged 75 and over are living below the poverty line – this includes a quarter of all single women aged 75 and over.

    Older people aged 75 and over are twice as likely as younger groups to have lived in poverty for the past four years.

    Findings – Who is at increased risk of living on a low income?;

    Among older people aged 75 and over the following groups are more likely to be overstretched financially:

    Single people

    Life on a low income for older people can bring with it significant challenges. For example, paying for transport due to limited mobility, house maintenance, keeping your house warm and meeting additional health costs.



    May 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    • Damning report finds A THIRD of Brits have suffered poverty under David Cameron.

      Almost a third of Brits were plunged into poverty between 2011 and 2014, damning new figures revealed today.

      The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found a staggering 32.5% of the population experienced poverty at some point in the three years after David Cameron ‘s election in 2010.

      Labour ‘s shadow treasury minister Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “These figures should shame David Cameron.

      “The fact one in three people in our country were pushed into poverty in the last Parliament destroys the Tory myth that we are all in it together.”

      Today the ONS warned Britain has the 12th-highest poverty rate of the 28 countries in the EU – despite being the second-richest country after Germany.

      And by 2014 almost four million Brits were trapped in ‘persistent poverty’, meaning they struggled through at least two of the previous three years.

      The ONS said this rate of ‘persistent poverty’ was 1.5% higher among women than men.



      May 16, 2016 at 8:52 pm

  25. A crackdown by the Department for Work and Pensions against its own employees’ trade unions has been declared unlawful by the High Court.



    May 16, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    • I especially like :

      “The Department consulted with trade unions and gave notice of the intention to remove this facility.”

      Yeah the consultation went like this :-

      “Union? We want a free hand with the staff, a la what George Useless Smith is saying on being outside the EU. We know we’re jumping the gun, but scrapping your members subscription is a good start. Go. Away.”


      May 16, 2016 at 10:11 pm

  26. G4S and Remploy join forces on employment drive

    The new agreement is specific to G4S’s work with Land Securities Trillium (Trillium), and will open up opportunities to people with disabilities and health conditions to work at more than 1,000 sites operated by Trillium and provided with security services by G4S.



    May 17, 2016 at 12:03 am

  27. New Zealand housing crisis forces hundreds to live in tents and garages


    The real housing crisis facing Australia isn’t the real estate bubble – it’s homelessness


    Every Single County in America Is Facing an Affordable Housing Crisis


    Want to know how a housing crisis can effect you, how even having a property now may not mean your have one later ?


    May 17, 2016 at 6:08 am

    • Cheap nasty failed Tory Britain who then take it out on everyone.

      Vote to stay in the EU they should be doing the voting to kick the UK out!


      May 17, 2016 at 7:58 am

    • It is only a matter of time for many. many people haven’t got a clue what is going on.


      May 17, 2016 at 11:24 am

  28. doug

    May 17, 2016 at 6:18 am

  29. Benefit sanctions against people with mental health problems up by 600 per cent.

    The number of benefit sanctions imposed on people with mental health problems has increased by over 600 per cent over the last four years, Department for Work and Pensions statistics show.

    A joint analysis of the figures by the Independent and the mental health charity Mind found that 19,259 people with such conditions had their benefits stopped under sanction in 2014-15 compared to just 2,507 in 2011-12 – a 668 per cent rise.

    The finding comes weeks after ministers rejected a call to investigate whether such sanctions – which involve stopping a person’s disability benefit income for weeks at a time to enforce compliance – are damaging to mental health.



    May 17, 2016 at 10:47 am

    • What makes me laugh is how ministers such as priti get away with rhetoric stating their not the causality but the real questions is does sanctioning a mental health patient make it worse, does it contribute and the answer is yes it does.

      As for this only as a last resort, are DWP saying 19’259 is just an isolated figure ?

      Isolated suggests no uniform, no pattern so can DWP demonstrate this is as they claim the case and if so, why haven’t they. Is this another case where like with the claim they made about people getting into work because of the cap. Where once confronted at the department of works and pensions select committee, both a top brass civil servant and Ester McVey had to admit they couldn’t produce any such proof for this, any sanctioned that signed off or even those that generally sign off for various reasons.


      May 17, 2016 at 11:37 am

      • & The cost of mental illness.

        With mental illness costing the UK economy £100bn a year, councils need to ensure mental health receives the same priority and funding as physical health

        Mental illness is estimated to cost the UK economy as much as £100bn a year in terms of healthcare, lost jobs, unemployment benefits, homelessness support, police time and prisoner places.

        Councils have a vital role in tackling the contributory factors to poor mental health, such as poverty, isolation and stigma, and in improving treatment through early intervention and peer support. Since 2012, local authorities have hosted health and wellbeing boards to coordinate NHS and council services. Their potential to help is huge but their effectiveness has been called into question.



        May 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      • The influential King’s Fund health thinktank..

        Doctors should prescribe gardening for patients more often, says report

        Those suffering from cancer, dementia and mental health problems can benefit from gardening, according to health thinktank

        Jane Ellison, the public health minister, backed the plan, which could see GPs in particular advising patients to spend more time outside as a way of alleviating their symptoms. “[Gardening] is profoundly good for you … [it] is a great way of keeping people active, of keeping them outside and keeping their sense of wellbeing very high,” she said. “There are things we can do around physical activity in particular that bring immediate payback … I’m trying to put this right across the agenda of dementia and cancer.”

        Parts of the country are already investing in this more social approach to health at primary care level and in some places, such as the Bromley by Bow Centre in London, GPs are already prescribing gardening. Such schemes have been proven to reduce patients’ need to see a GP or attend A&E



        May 17, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      • Coming from a centenarian; if you want to stay alive – keep moving. The WORST thing you can do for your health is SIT. So many, especially older people, will sit in a chair all day long. You visit them in the evening and ask, how long have you been sitting there: “Since 8 o’clock this morning”. Keep your mind stimulated and your body moving.

        Gerry Attric

        May 18, 2016 at 4:55 am

      • Actually gardening is very good for the mind, its hard to explain but it takes a person away from the world for a while. I do it myself and highly recommend it in the case of certain mental health issues.


        May 18, 2016 at 8:10 am

      • Gardening IS good for you. Along with a host of other outdoor activities. “Enigma” has posted this up with an air of disdain almost what is suggested by the ‘think tank’ is some kind of whacky crackpot idea. Au contraire , it is all this ‘vegetating’ 😀 that is bad for people’s physical, emotional and mental health.

        Percy Thrower

        May 18, 2016 at 10:20 am

      • Gardening also happens to be one of the middle-classes favorite hobbies; ‘Gardener’s World’, anyone?

        Percy Thrower

        May 18, 2016 at 10:22 am

      • “its hard to explain but it takes a person away from the world for a while” – it ‘gets you out of it’… same with running, cycling, swimming…. it has de-stressing effect on the mind. Keep physically and mentally active. Nothing worse than sitting alone at home in a chair fretting about the jobcentre or whatever. You will only drive yourself to an early grave.


        May 18, 2016 at 10:27 am

      • We need to get out of the knee-jerk habit of dismissing and ridiculing anything a ‘think tank’ suggests otherwise we are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If Iain Duncan Smith, during his time in office, had suggested that benefit claimants take up gardening Johnny Void would have rushed to press immediately with an article headlined: “Iain Duncan Smith finally loses the plot: In an astonishing policy decision the DWP suggests gardening to improve benefit claimants well-being”. Then we would have had ‘Lucy’, ‘Stepping’, GEOFF whining on about their ‘depression’ and what a crazy idea this was and would solve nothing.

        There was a TV programme on with a 100-year-old woman doing some gardening and when asked what was the secret to a long life she said: “keep moving” 🙂 For all we know even the Queen probably does a spot of gardening; don’t think she sits on here royal arse in a chair all day watching TV. Even just wandering around a park, visiting a botanic gardens is good for your health.

        Even the owner of this blog, Mr Coates, has an allotment.

        The Gardeners

        May 18, 2016 at 10:57 am

      • * don’t think she sits on here royal arse in a THRONE all day watching TV. 😀

        The Gardeners

        May 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

    • One of the vilest aspects of this is the effect the sanctions will have on people who already have massive problems.

      Andrew Coates

      May 17, 2016 at 4:01 pm

  30. enigma

    May 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm

  31. French protest unpopular reform

    French President Francois Hollande says the battle is not won against unemployment, and driving through labor reforms aimed at delivering jobs is more important than presidential popularity. And as Laura Frykberg reports, protests against the reforms are not letting up.



    May 17, 2016 at 4:42 pm

  32. DWP to change Universal Credit procedures

    The government has pledged to improve Universal Credit procedures this summer, following concerns from social landlords that they are frequently not informed that their tenants are claiming the benefit.

    including letters arriving late or going missing in the post….Sounds familiar.



    May 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm

  33. DWP disabled benefits hotline crashes all day affecting ‘thousands’ of calls


    Still having I.T problems i see.


    May 18, 2016 at 8:14 am

  34. doug

    May 18, 2016 at 9:51 am

  35. Queen’s Speech: New prison governor powers expected



    Government is attempting to turn prisons into revenue streams. I can foresee governors of prisons withholding visits from prisoners and such as a means to force them into labour that makes what the youth get outside per hour pale in comparison. Prisons will become the UK version of sweat shops and will without doubt effect the labour market in terms of vacancies in things like manufacturing and production.

    This is why the Tories have done precisely nothing about prison overcrowding as many hands make many things.

    I hope the prisoners resist and the public cry out as this will impact the job market.

    Despite the backlash the Tories aim to continue their reign of terror by still pushing ahead with the UK version of the HRA, to force schools into becoming academies, unmanned drones only government can allow i suspect, extremism and others.

    Here the bell people, putting military on the streets, removing the human rights act, un-manned drone and internet surveillance, how many chimes do you need to know the Tories are setting about putting the UK under authoritarian rule.


    May 18, 2016 at 10:27 am

    • Life Chances & the Bill of rights, no details yet.


      May 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

    • Iraq shuts down the internet to stop pupils cheating in exams.

      The Iraqi government cuts off fixed-line and mobile broadband services to discourage children from smuggling mobile phones into state tests.

      But Iraq is by no means alone in its government’s ability to shut down a country’s internet at short notice, with Egypt implementing similar techniques during the Arab spring protests in 2011 and Uganda blocking access to social media during elections in February 2016. Other countries including Iran and China have implemented strong censorship, while the UK and other countries block access to certain sites linked to piracy at the ISP level.



      May 18, 2016 at 12:08 pm

  36. Protestors against austerity and globalization continue protests across France, the discontent voiced by the french public cant be quietened yet the BBC does not report on it, i wonder why ?


    The protest against a labour reforms introduced by government without parliamentary approval.

    Its trending on twitter as various trades such as trains,buses, ports and airports prepare to carry out strikes.


    May 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

    • Just like the verizon workers strike in the states, french people are angered at governments movements to give businesses powers to extend working hours at no extra pay for the employee and cut holiday pay.

      Why should employers anywhere have the right to assert workers work for longer and for free or face being sacked, why should employers dictate whether or not employees can have holidays and holiday pay.

      France has a min wage like the UK so this ruling effectively abolishes the min wage, will effectively cause stagnation in the employment market and effect the public’s living standards.


      May 18, 2016 at 12:44 pm

  37. Merkel stood with other western ministers in the face of the Paris attacks to fight for the freedom of expression yet today sort to sensor a German poets poem.


    Basically she used a 19th century law to get around the freedom of expression and now has caused Germans to feel their right to express is under attack and take to the streets and internet.


    May 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm

  38. Brazil citizens on mass demand president out.


    Country after country, the growing displeasure at current governance is growing. It makes one wonder if our government are rushing through certain things like replacing the HRA, snooper charter, etc for fear its only a matter of time before people call for Cameron’s head.


    May 18, 2016 at 12:31 pm

  39. Overheard in the jobcentre:

    Distressed claimant in tears on the ‘phone to a ‘decision maker’: “What am I supposed to live on?”

    I, Daniel Blake

    May 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    • – In one local office staff failed to provide adequate support for vulnerable claimants, according to a report. It says: “It is clear that we had several opportunities to identify and address the errors made over the duration of this claim, but we neglected to do so”.

      Its going on up and down the country,they coudn’t care less. Again its someones honesty against their dishonesty except with tragic circumstances some cases.

      These people are the type to put their first aid attendance certificate in a frame on a wall behind their desk the vanity is all but to be heard and the attitude matches this characteristic profile.


      May 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      • Like it, “These people are the type to put their first aid attendance certificate in a frame on a wall behind their desk”.

        Shame, as when they put it next to their work coach diploma, their still be unable to tell you what the regulations actually are. I say this as our advisors cant possibly be liars right ?


        May 18, 2016 at 3:45 pm

  40. DWP disabled benefits hotline crashes all day affecting ‘thousands’ of calls

    A source told us more than 6,000 calls, some of them the same people ringing back, were affected by the outage last Wednesday.

    The source said some people were told to ring back “in an hour”, only to be told again they could not be helped.



    May 18, 2016 at 5:28 pm

  41. Corbyn says Government does not understand ‘cuts have their consequences’

    Jeremy Corbyn has warned the Government has yet to understand “cuts have their consequences” as he claimed it is continuing to fail Britain.

    The Labour leader said the Conservatives have developed new policies in the Queen’s Speech which prevent the creation of a more equal society and opportunity for all.

    He added it continues the failings of previous years as he also criticised the Government’s inability to meet its economic targets.

    Replying to the Queen’s Speech, Mr Corbyn said the Opposition will judge the Government’s proposals against three tests – including whether it delivers a more equal society, an economy working for everyone and a society offering opportunity for all.

    He said: “Sadly it appears that many of the proposals in the Queen’s Speech militate against those aims, as have the proposals in previous years.



    May 18, 2016 at 6:50 pm

  42. Disabled Workers Paid Up To £75 A Week Less Than Non-Disabled People, Study Shows

    TUC study also shows that the government is “years behind schedule” in its commitment to halve the disability employment gap.



    May 18, 2016 at 9:32 pm

  43. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been allocated £22m of public money to hire new “presenting officers” to “support” it at disability benefit tribunals. Disability campaigners warn that these 180 presenting officers, rather than helping judges to make fair decisions about whether to overturn the DWP’s rejection of someone’s claim for benefits, will inevitably argue as forcibly as possible in the government’s favour.



    May 18, 2016 at 9:34 pm

  44. OT: Tribunal Service – IMPORTANT CHANGE vis a vis Caseworker can make supervised decisions/directions

    h/t : rightsnet


    Practice Statement:

    Delegation of functions to tribunal caseworkers
    1. The Senior President of Tribunals hereby approves that an appropriately trained member of staff appointed under section 40(1) of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and designated as a ‘Tribunal Caseworker’ by the Chamber President, may carry out the functions of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008 set out in paragraph 3 below.
    2. A Tribunal Caseworker must have been authorised by the Chamber President to exercise those functions. All functions must be exercised under the supervision of a judge and in accordance with guidance issued by the Chamber President.
    3. A Tribunal Caseworker may make all decisions that a judge assigned to the Social Security and Child Support /Criminal Injuries Compensation jurisdiction may make under the Tribunal Procedure (First Tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008 save those which are substantive final decisions.
    4. In accordance with rule 4(3) of the Tribunal Procedure (First Tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008, within 14 days after the date that the Tribunal sends notice of a decision made by a Tribunal Caseworker pursuant to an approval under paragraph 1 above that party may apply in writing to the Tribunal for the decision to be considered afresh by a judge.
    5. This practice statement is issued for a period of six months, extendable to twelve months following a review. If it is extended, a further review will take place at the end of the twelve month period.
    The Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Ryder
    Senior President of Tribunals
    20 April 2016


    May 19, 2016 at 11:49 am

    • it was only a matter of time as you’ll know Gazza, & what of the upcoming Bill of Rights, of course there will be millions of people ready to fight it.


      May 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      • as the Mirror said yesterday about the Bill of Rights withdrawal will still mean covered by European Courts of Justice in Strasburg – just much much more expensive and drawn out to get there but very possible. Plus is UK going to withdraw from UN? And the conventions there?
        The ConMen do not understand the ant hill they’ve kicked over.
        as for EHRC by all accounts the CnMen have put own a IOU, but their own peers are in opposition to Goverments/May’s plans.
        one big mess


        May 19, 2016 at 4:07 pm

  45. The above table speaks for itself. Needless to say, benefits have been frozen!

    Balancing Act

    May 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

  46. enigma@gsi.gov.uk

    May 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm

  47. OT: MR Appeals new underhand tactics

    h/t rightsnet



    It appears DWP in certain circumstances is rolling out a new ploy concerning MR [mandatory review (appeals)], phone up and ‘negotiate for a lower amount, ignoring the larger sum under review. Record, Record, Record – request explanation in writing, once have that agreement state at end will be lodging complaint as you consider it illegal. Immeadietly write a appeal based on conversation, and ask where officials allowed to act this way in contravention to their devolved powers. Oh, and doing this is a ploy by DWP to lapse the MR…

    Now we know what the extra staff costing 22Million is going to be spent on…


    May 19, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    • There is a lot of tactics going on in there at the moment.Theres another push to gain access to Universal Jobmatch accounts to “demonstrate” features beneficial to the jobseeker but this can only be done if you give us access.

      The Government Is Skewing Benefits Appeals Against Disabled People

      A new army of ‘presenting officers’ is to help the Department of Work and Pensions at benefit tribunals, while the disabled person making the appeal is left to struggle alone.



      May 19, 2016 at 9:01 pm

  48. Insults fly from the jobcentre as my health gets worse

    62-year-old Jimmy Stirling is left furious after being told in a meeting at the jobcentre that he just isn’t trying hard enough



    May 19, 2016 at 9:02 pm

  49. A Tory phoned the police on a woman for bashing Cameron, what happens next is brilliant!



    May 19, 2016 at 10:04 pm

  50. Ministers have refused to say if they implemented 10 measures – recommended by their own civil servants – that would have made it less likely that “vulnerable” benefit claimants would lose their lives.

    The 10 recommendations were taken from some of the 49 heavily-redacted, secret “peer reviews” that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) finally published this week after losing a 21-month legal battle with Disability News Service (DNS).

    Although key parts of the peer reviews are missing, DNS has found 10 key recommendations for national action to improve the way the department treats vulnerable benefit claimants, many of whom will have mental health conditions or learning difficulties.



    May 19, 2016 at 10:09 pm

  51. Downing Street has headed off a revolt over the Queen’s Speech by saying it will accept a move to exclude the NHS from a controversial EU-US trade deal.

    Tory rebels were threatening to join Labour and the SNP to back an amendment “regretting” the lack of a bill to protect the NHS from the TTIP deal.

    But Downing Street has denied them the chance by saying they will back it.

    One of the MPs tabling the amendment, Labour’s Paula Sherriff, described it as a “humiliating climbdown” by the PM.

    “They will now be the first government in history to officially ‘regret’ their own programme within days of announcing it, just months after doing the same on their Budget,” she said.



    May 19, 2016 at 10:25 pm

  52. Demonstration held outside Bath’s Jobcentre Plus against ‘terrible’ sanctions

    Campaigners in Bath have raised the issue of benefit sanctions, saying they are “pushing people into destitution”.

    Members of the group Bath Against Cuts gave advice to benefit claimants on how they can appeal if they are ever sanctioned.




    May 19, 2016 at 11:44 pm

  53. REVEALED: Crackdown on staggering £3.1bn benefit fraud could CLEAR NHS debt




    Not a single mention of tax, nope just lets kick it to the poor again. They talk of benefit fraud using figures but what are these figures and how are they gained. For instance if its taken from courtrooms, how many were cases that went back years as all the articles Ive read this last year have been exactly that.

    (ITS ACTUALLY 1.3Bn in actual benefit fraud and not 3.1Bn)

    If we were to indulge this fantasy that they only took place last year then the amounts from fraud would be little what with not having enough time to convict someone for around a year or a little bit less meaning they were caught early.


    May 20, 2016 at 8:12 am

    • The majority of benefit fraud is either committed by someone working or someone claiming living with a partner who is working.



      May 20, 2016 at 8:16 am

    • “Leave those of us who get away with tax fraud out of it, the poor can pay for it, & suffer while doing it”

      That’s basically it isn’t it Doug.


      May 20, 2016 at 10:56 am

      • You would think so enigma but theirs the causality of why these people do it in the first place.

        To exist these days economists worked out a person in the UK needs to make around £31’500 a year. So coupled with a min wage job that makes just shy of £13’000 a year even including working an extra day a week (£2’475), so £15’475 in total, its not hard to see why some have taken up the practice not that I’m justifying it.

        To put some perspective here, the individual could work twice the hours weekly (74 hours) and still not make more than £26’000.

        Average UK rent is £650 PCM so £7’800 a year. After tax and NI the yearly page for a 37 hour week min wage is £11’331 so deducting rent leaves £3’531 for the year. Translated weekly that’s £67.79 to put on everything else. Even doing 74 hours weekly still only sees £135 weekly to put on everything else.

        168 hours a week, 42 hours sleep, 7 hours to wash and get ready, 14 hours travel to work, 7 hours to prepare food. So through in a fulltime job (37) and a person has 61 hours (just under 9 hours daily) to themselves. A person who does 74 hours weekly has 24 hours (3 and half hours daily) to themselves.

        Now through in dependents, people who cant afford a private pension and have incomplete national insurance payments and it all makes sense. Societal cost of living, inequality in mind, not just pocket.


        May 21, 2016 at 8:18 am

    • Article here claims tax-avoidance cannot be counteracted if we remain in the EU:



      May 20, 2016 at 5:28 pm

  54. Number 10 downplays EU migrant figures


    What would be interesting is how many of these workers came off of drawing benefits into work and how many just came straight over and started work.

    If the percentage that gained work after signing off benefits is significant to UK unemployed people doing likewise then their would be a direct collation.


    May 20, 2016 at 8:23 am

  55. UC

    “We are living in a high-cost, low-wage society. It is an experiment and like all experiments there are unknowns but one of the most definite outcomes is that the poor and most vulnerable in our society will become poorer and more vulnerable. It is an experiment in cruelty.”



    May 20, 2016 at 10:21 am

  56. Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 20, 2016 at 6:28 pm

  57. Talking at an LSE event, Jeremy Corbyn set out his views on how the Labour Party can rebuild the politics of hope. By explaining how faith in politics was lost, he explained how that faith can be restored, how it also requires economic justice and credibility, and how Labour can promote the core idea behind socialism: that everyone should care for everyone else.

    To me, the starting point of socialism is not economic structures. It derives from a philosophy that everyone should care for everyone else. That is not exclusive to socialism, it is the philosophy at the heart of all of the world’s major religions. Socialism is about delivering the political programme to put that into practice: to create a society in which socially, and economically, we can ensure everyone is protected and cared for.



    May 21, 2016 at 8:12 am

  58. US-style problem-solving courts planned for England and Wales.

    Convicted criminals will appear regularly before judges for assessment under pilot scheme aimed at keeping people out of jail.



    May 21, 2016 at 8:59 am

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