Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

More on Council Tax: 360,000 families afflicted by council tax poverty trap.

with 73 comments

In the Post more and more. 

Following, no doubt, our lead (see previous post)  this is in today’s Observer.

360,000 families afflicted by council tax poverty trap

Previously exempt households in arrears crisis as benefits are cut; while Liverpool city council is owed £10m in council tax.

Hundreds of thousands of the poorest households in England are having their benefits cut every week because they are unable to pay their council tax bill, the Observer can reveal.

Families are stacking up such arrears, spanning years in some cases, that they are having their benefits slashed, which is driving them further into poverty.

Until 2013, those on small or no incomes had some protection from paying the full tax under a national support scheme. Since then, councils in England have had to administer their own, locally devised schemes, with reduced funding from the government.

The result has been mass failure to pay council tax by those who would previously have been exempt, and a surge in cases where benefits are docked to make good on arrears. Data released under the Freedom of Information Act from 133 local authorities reveals that 190,198 households currently hav

Given the number of councils that did not provide figures, it is likely that around 360,000 households could be facing this form of sanction, which requires an order from a magistrate. Many of them would not have had to pay any council tax prior to the government’s reform of the system.

The worst-affected council area in England is Labour-run Liverpool, where 17,582 households claiming council tax support have so-called “attachments” to benefits. Up to £192 can be sliced off a claimant’s benefit each year in order to clear their council tax arrears.

…….

Most English councils have introduced minimum payments for those who were previously exempt, usually 25% to 30% of the tax owed. Such families are required to pay £171 per year.

Only one year’s council tax debt at a time can be repaid by attachments to benefits. If someone has council tax debts spanning multiple years, they end up with a separate attachment for each year, queued up one after the other.

The figures released to the Observer show there are 113,590 so-called “pending attachments” across 117 councils.

Will the Labour Party announce support for the restoration of full Council Tax Benefit?

We notice no policy on benefits, including nothing on sanctions, in Corbyn’s Ten Point pledge. 

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

73 Responses

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  1. Too much is being heaped on the shoulders of benefit claimants. Most now will have to pay some Council Tax out of benefits never designed to meet that expense: many have had their Housing Benefit cut because of the Bedroom Tax and have to make the shortfall up from benefits never designed to meet that expense: unemployed people are now expected to have a telephone, computer and internet access in order to claim and manage their claim for benefits and to look for work, all paid for by benefits never designed to meet these expenses.

    On top of this Osborne, before May put a stake through his heart, froze most working-age benefits until the end of the parliament, meaning that not only did benefit claimants have to pay Council Tax, Bedroom Tax and other expenses related to telephones, computers, internet and so on but had to do so from income that was not increasing with the consumer price index forcing benefit claimants into ever deepening poverty.

    Claimants are now put upon to a level that becomes more and more unsupportable as each day passes.

    The naked unashamed cruelty of Cameron and Osborne never ceases to amaze me.

    Both are gone now: But will things change?

    Betty

    August 7, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    • Exactly.

      I ended by asking if Jeremy Corbyn is promising to remedy this situation: allowing claimants to live normal, basic, lives.

      Any information welcome.

      Andrew Coates

      August 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      • Well Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is going to look into what is going on in Norway.(which jeremy Corbyn also agrees with) to replace the benefits system. with something more welcome that what we have now.

        enigma

        August 7, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      • I personally don’t believe that Labour will win the next election and that the Tories will increase their majority if Jeremy Corbyn remains leader. Labour currently is tanking in every opinion poll and it looks as if whatever Labour policy finally turns out to be won’t matter any more than the policy of any non-Tory party, e.g., Lib Dems, Greens, UKIP etc.

        I doubt if a Basic Income could be introduced any time soon, especially after years and years of remorseless persecution and black propaganda waged against benefit claimants, including parents with young children and the sick and disabled. Great Britain has become almost as anti-welfarist as America, where you get Jeremy Kyle-like shows featuring jobless citizens who, through no fault of their own, have ended up struggling to survive on “welfare” getting booed by the audience and women who have become crack whores rather than claim social security get cheered by the same audience for selling themselves on the streets rather than claiming benefits and becoming “welfare Queens”. A topsy-turvy world to be sure but Britain, with booming food banks and rising homelessness, isn’t far behind the USA as far as awfulness is concerned. Welfare has become almost as despised in this country as in America, where people regularly starve, or freeze to death, or die prematurely because of a lack of nourishment and shelter.

        In a climate like that a Basic Income could never be introduced.

        Progressive countries like Norway and Sweden are only progressive because their populations want that kind of government and currently the British don’t want a better and more enlightened society if they have to pay a bit more for it via their taxes. Same with most other countries: Switzerland, for example, quite recently was offered the chance of a Basic Income by its government, in a referendum, and rejected the idea nearly three to one against it.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36454060

        As things stand, as far as I can see, the Labour party is finished for many years to come if not forever. I do not believe for one moment that Jeremy Corbyn could ever, in a million years, become Prime Minister of this country and so all of Labour’s plans and agendas are pretty meaningless because they will never be implemented. The only thing that can be done really is to expose the injustice and suffering that is going on and increasing because of Conservative intransigence and peacefully protest, trying to enlist the media and journalists into investigating and bringing the cruelty currently going on under a veil into the light of day and shaming the government into doing something to lessen it.

        The Hunchback

        August 8, 2016 at 8:33 am

      • All the more reason for change.

        enigma

        August 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      • Change in the sense of evolution, yes: change in the sense of revolution, not a snowball’s chance in hell.

        Betty

        August 8, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      • “YouGov’s latest voting intention figures in the Times this morning are CON 42%(+2), LAB 28%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 12%(-1), GRN 3%(-1). The changes since last week are not significant in themselves, but push the Conservatives to a fourteen point lead, the largest from YouGov since November 2009.”

        http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

        Corbyn is loved by Labour aficionados but disregarded by the non-affiliated general public.

        I’m afraid the doubting Thomases and Thomasinas have got it right.

        Outside of his large circle of cheering disciples and followers poor old Jezza is “tanking”.

        Can’t win a general election like that.

        Tim

        August 9, 2016 at 10:16 am

      • It is deeply depressing, and as somebody who knows plenty of the ‘general public’ it’s not a surprise.

        A real dilemma.

        Andrew Coates

        August 9, 2016 at 10:38 am

      • Too many people listen to & believe all the propaganda, it’s going to take some time isn’t it.

        enigma

        August 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      • Polish a turd for a million years and you still couldn’t get it to shine. In my very genuine and honest opinion no matter what anybody does, no matter whatever happens, Jeremy Corbyn simply cannot be repurposed as a general election winner. The man patently hasn’t got it in him. And look at some of the people around him. Do any of us really want Dianne Abbot as Secretary of State for Health responsible for running the NHS? I mean really? Honestly? I doubt such appointments would win many plaudits from the overwhelming number of non-Labour party members amongst the general public.

        Tim

        August 11, 2016 at 9:04 am

  2. I have questions for this caring Gov who are here to help the poor:

    – How will Gov be able to blame the claimants when people start dying and the fact the cuts are driving the deaths [be it for starving/sucide/etc] that result? This is the more acceptable face of the caring ConMen is it?
    – Lets not even start on how this will impact people on UC/Tax Credits etc – the overwhelming number are Women with families…. I look forward to the Gov brushing that one under the carpet – isn’t it millions who will be affected?
    – Does the Gov accept that starving adults/children, surge in homelessness amongst same is a accurate indication of being poor or worse?

    Gazza

    August 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    • They don’t give a toss, they want us all dead so they can have the worlds recourses for themselves greedy b*stards,this is a global attack on we the people, they want 90% of us gone by 2030.

      Marie

      August 7, 2016 at 5:42 pm

  3. Its very doubtful if it will change,Cameron/Osbourne/Duncan Smith turned the country into nasty UK,benefits are supposed to be the minimum amount needed to live on,then frozen and council tax reduction introduced.Its one of an avalanche of measures introduced to jobseekers that is causing severe worry and difficulties.

    Council’s have been very evasive on this subject,attending a citizens advice bureau appointment regarding this the adviser turned and said they’ve hung up the phone,the council’s excuse was blame the government.Its all a sorry mess but that is the Cameron and co era.

    ken

    August 7, 2016 at 5:43 pm

  4. UN AGENDA 21 SOCIAL ENGINEERING (Immigration)

    The globalists agenda to destroy nationality and social culture of developed industrial countries in USA,UK and Europe,British Jobs are intentionally being given to foreigners through agencies set up by common purpose in their countries before these jobs are offered to British unemployed…….small British shops and taxi companies are being brought by the government USING TAX PAYERS MONEY then these businesses are given to foreigners subsidised by the tax payer, and accommodation is also offered to make sure brits are homeless and without employment.

    Marie

    August 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

  5. Capita suspends assessor after disablist, racist Facebook posts

    A disability benefits assessor with extreme right-wing sympathies has been suspended by the government contractor Capita after she posted disablist, racist comments about social security claimants on her Facebook page.

    http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/capita-suspends-assessor-after-disablist-racist-facebook-posts/

    ken

    August 7, 2016 at 11:17 pm

  6. OT: DWP WP/MWA dirty tricks as names public

    Over at unemploymentmovement came across the following:

    “…pass off the MWA (WP I suspect also) and voluntary placements as training just (to) put people on them.”

    Beware of this ploy.

    A maybe quick way to put your oar in is to ask innocently:
    “… So this means that the 3rd party organization is not getting paid for this placement?
    Good good, could you please detail that in writing?
    Oh, as you say its training, you must have documentation of this training that is offered as you must have read it to be able to put me forward. Copy Please? [Flyer won’t do as its too general & non-specific]
    As you’re demanding I attend please write out the Mandation and that as you are requiring it it is your duty to reimburse travel costs in full [not sure about this one about costs, but hey, you never know]

    Oh, and someone over there also had their CC vanish from the system, though not everything else about them as has happened to me so make sure you’ve kept your copy.

    Gazza

    August 8, 2016 at 3:21 pm

  7. DID YOU KNOW, A MAGISTRATE JUDGE CAN ONLY ORDER FINES THAT HAVE TO BE PAID IN 28 DAYS ?

    DID YOU KNOW YOU CANT LEGALLY BE FORCED INTO ONE OF THESE ATTACHMENTS ?

    DID YOU KNOW A MAGISTRATE CAN ONLY SENTENCE A PERSON UPTO 6 MONTHS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL CHARGE ?

    DID YOU KNOW THE MOST COUNCIL TAX PRISON TIME YOU CAN GET FOR AN INDIVIDUAL CHARGE IS 90 DAYS ?

    DID YOU KNOW IF YOUR PRISON SENTENCE IS LESS THAN 13 WEEKS (91 DAYS), THAT YOU CAN STILL CLAIM HOUSING BENEFIT WHILE INSIDE ?

    doug

    August 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    • Interesting Doug. no, no, no, no, yes.

      enigma

      August 8, 2016 at 4:14 pm

  8. Riots.

    Troubled Families “deemed “turned around” report ‘suppressed’

    The analysis found that the Troubled Families programme had “no discernible” effect on unemployment, truancy or criminality.

    The “troubled families” programme was aimed at those affected by high unemployment, truancy and anti-social behaviour.

    The scheme was intended to save money and prevent future rioting by reducing the problems of this group of disadvantaged families.

    In December 2011, the then prime minister added: “Some in the press might call them ‘neighbours from hell’. Whatever you call them, we’ve known for years that a relatively small number of families are the source of a large proportion of the problems in society.”

    Speaking in June 2015, Dame Louise Casey, until recently the civil servant in charge of the scheme, said: “It’s fantastic news that the programme has now turned around the lives of so many troubled families. That’s almost 117,000 families where kids are back in school and youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been cut, and in more and more of these homes an adult has now moved off benefits and into work.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37010486

    enigma

    August 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    • enigma

      apologies – didn’t see you post!

      Gazza

      August 8, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    • Interesting:

      Speaking in June 2015, Dame Louise Casey, until recently the civil servant in charge of the scheme, said: “It’s fantastic news that the programme has now turned around the lives of so many troubled families. That’s almost 117,000 families where kids are back in school and youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been cut, and in more and more of these homes an adult has now moved off benefits and into work.”

      As against:

      “The researchers reported some problems with data quality and representativeness. “The sample sizes that the national administrative data provided meant that it was feasible to detect impacts which were relatively small in magnitude,” they wrote.”

      Something about the claim is amiss with the actual results – there’s no way that the Gov could be massaging the figures….

      Gazza

      August 8, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      • it gets better – link in same story:

        https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/sites/crimeandjustice.org.uk/files/The%20Troubled%20Families%20Programme,%20Nov%202015.pdf

        “Summary
        The government’s ‘troubled families’ story is, in short, too
        good to be true. The near perfect symmetry between
        government predictions of numbers of ‘troubled families’
        in each local authority area and the numbers that local
        authorities then found, worked with, and ‘turned around’
        is hard enough to believe. The perfect matching occurred
        in spite of the numbers provided by the government being
        drawn from a small survey that was carried out five years
        previously for completely different purposes, and which
        didn’t include specific details about educational
        attendance or families committing crime or anti-social
        behaviour”

        This is smelling a lot like therubbish done by A Prik famous for the Workless reserach rubbish recently.

        What stands out is the following:

        – perfect symmetry between government predictions of numbers of ‘troubled families’ in each local authority area
        – and the numbers that local authorities then found,
        – worked with,
        – and ‘turned around’ is hard enough to believe.

        Time to call Bullshit after the first one let alone anything else.

        Someone was extremely lazy here.
        How can you tell?

        I challenge anyone to produce figures which show the numbers involved in a individual area does not change 1/4 by 1/4 let alone year by year. You know it gets frozen in a timewarp so it perfectly replicates exactly the numbers from 5 years ago.

        Gazza

        August 8, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      • Yes Gazza Dame Louise Casey, another who’s talking nonsense.

        enigma

        August 8, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      • & we all know that this Tory gov “are the source of a large proportion of the problems in society.”

        enigma

        August 8, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    • There’s a lot of obviously shite theories out there, e.g., the idea that the whole course of a human being’s life is set in stone by the age of seven, an nonsense beloved of cod-intellectual but really stupid dicks like Frank Field, and such like, prompting early intervention followed by abandonment of children from an early age onwards. It’s all bollocks. This is what cures social ills: The chance of a decent education and training for all; permanent well paid jobs for those who can secure them; secure affordable housing for everybody without exception; support from the state for all who need it, whatever their circumstances, from the cradle to the grave.

      Living life like a tightrope walker fucks people up.

      Raising the tightrope higher so that the fall is worse, even deadly, doesn’t make things better.

      Getting the precariat off the rope altogether is the solution to the problem.

      Betty

      August 8, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      • You walk out on the high wire
        You’re a dancer on thin ice
        You pay no heed to the danger
        And less to advice

        And it takes love over gold
        Mind over matter
        To do the things that you do that you must

        When the things that you hold
        Can fall and be shattered or run through your fingers like dust 🙂

        Love over Gold

        August 10, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      • Thanks, Mark “Money for Nothing” Knopfler.

        shirleynott

        August 13, 2016 at 4:15 am

      • lol shirleynott… thought at first it was a Jobcentre Plus ‘customer’ relating their experience of the ‘service’ through poetry lol Didn’t realise it was this 🙂 :

        You walk out on the high wire
        you’re a dancer on thin ice
        you pay no heed to the danger
        and less to advice
        your footsteps are forbidden
        but with a knowledge of your sin
        you throw your love to all the strangers
        and caution to the wind

        And you go dancing through doorways
        just to see what you will find
        leaving nothing to interfere
        with the crazy balance of your mind
        and when you finally reappear
        at the place where you came in
        you’ve thrown your love to all the strangers
        and caution to the wind

        It takes love over gold
        and mind over matter
        to do what you do that you must
        when the things that you hold
        can fall and be shattered
        or run through your fingers like dust

        MK

        August 13, 2016 at 8:16 am

      • “And it takes love over gold
        Mind over matter
        To do the things that you do that you must” – sound like universal jobsnatch/ the 35 hour a week work search requirement 😉

        MK

        August 13, 2016 at 8:19 am

      • You are quite the ‘detective’ shirleynott 😉

        Miss Marple

        August 13, 2016 at 8:21 am

      • MK – no detective work required it’s in my record collection … that whole album (whatever it was called?!) is full of lovely tunes & meaningful lyrics – not quite Bob Dylan but dire straits were ‘good in the 80s’ if you had dubious taste in music – like quite a few of us did/do …

        shirleynott

        August 14, 2016 at 7:30 am

      • oh dear … just clicked ‘play’ & it’s not really stood the test of time – very maudlin; guitar still sounds nice?!

        shirleynott

        August 14, 2016 at 7:35 am

      • That mean you must have this hiding in your record collection because it is also on the Lover Over Gold album. Clocking in at at mere 14 minutes and 18 seconds radio stations rarely play it lol Talk about self-indulgent.

        The guitar outro (from 9:33 is good)

        Dire Straits

        August 14, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      • The gee-tar outro on this is good too from 5:57. Mark Knopfler could fair strum out a tune 🙂

        Dire Straits

        August 14, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      • Not only good, they are par excellence Goodness knows why Dire Straits never made the big time! 😀

        Dire Straits

        August 14, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      • aaaaaagh!

        Just woken up & it’s all been a dream …

        shirleynott

        August 14, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      • Just feeling really, really archaic & nostalgic for a time when the threat of imminent nuclear destruction seemed the worst that could happen. We’re right back to the time of people carrying their lives around on their backs in bin bags and backpacks in towns and cities, looking in bins for anything that might be worth risking food poisoning for, spending the night in doorways. It’s okay though, there’s a new J*** L**** (other high-end shops are available) and other emporiums on the way for those have the option to appreciate them; the city’s leaders reckon things are going really, really well …

        shirleynott

        August 14, 2016 at 7:48 pm

  9. OT: Gov Lies on helping “Riots Troubled Famlies…”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37010486

    Troubled Families report ‘suppressed’
    .
    .
    No measurable impact
    This official analysis of data from 56 local authorities covering the first 18 months of the programme states: “The lack of obvious effect from the programme across a range of outcomes indicates that the programme did not have a measurable impact on families within the time-frame over which it was possible to observe its effects.”
    It found “no discernible impact on the percentage of adults claiming out-of-work benefits” and “no obvious impact on the likelihood that adults were employed” 12 or 18 months after starting on the programme.
    The analysis also found it “did not have any discernible impact on adult offending” seven to 18 months after the family was booked into the programme.
    They added: “Whilst it was more difficult to match the treatment and comparison groups when looking at child outcomes, the findings suggested that the programme also had no detectable impact on child offending.”
    Their analysis of truancy got different results depending on how the data was analysed, leading analysts to conclude that “any impact that the programme had on the absence rate was not robust”.
    .
    .
    .

    ME: And in other News Gov Declares its here to help people, Reporters at the scene were then hit by a deluge of flying pigs….
    Elsewhere….

    Gazza

    August 8, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    • Ive attached this here but it does all begin with Enigmas article.

      https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/trouble-troubled-families-programme

      Remember this article in 2013 on the way troubled families programme is surveyed ?

      Apart from the glaring fact councils only have to show a reduction to be classified turned around,

      “However, a family selected for the programme via the fourth, locally defined criterion, is also deemed to have been ‘turned around’ if only one of the three criteria for success (on youth crime, antisocial behaviour and school exculsions) has been met. Alternatively, if only one adult in the family has moved from out-of-work benefits into work, the entire family has been ‘turned around”

      Then theirs the what age group in children of families are councils targeting and on and on the holes manifest.

      doug

      August 9, 2016 at 10:14 am

  10. Many families could not afford a month’s rent if they lost job – Shelter.

    Strong protections” are in place for “those who fall on difficult times,” a government spokesman commented.

    The spokesman said: “We are introducing the National Living Wage, increasing the personal tax allowance and giving the next generation choice and flexibility in their savings, including the Help to Save scheme for people on low incomes.

    “We are continuing to spend around £90bn a year on working age benefits to ensure a strong safety net for the most vulnerable.

    “And for those who do fall on difficult times, there are strong protections in place to guard against the threat of homelessness, and ensure we don’t return to the bad old days when homelessness in England was nearly double what it is today.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37017254

    enigma

    August 9, 2016 at 10:09 am

    • What exactly are these “strong protections”? Shouldn’t they be listed and published so that those who “fall on hard times” have some idea of what help is available and how to access it? Obviously these so-called “protections” are NOT really “strong” enough at present because homelessness is not falling or remaining statically high but increasing isn’t it?

      Tim

      August 9, 2016 at 10:20 am

      • If you noticed with regard to homelessness, the government made comparisons with a time far back and completely ignored the fact of the time line of 2008 to the present where homelessness has and is increasing as is unsecured tenancy which they call emergency housing. The emergency housing however is under question as not only are more and more landlords shying away from people on benefits as tenants but also hangs in the balance is whether or not this type, housing for abused women and such will be exempt from funding caps.

        Its actually kind of interesting how government have managed to evade the question on causality between welfare reforms and landlords stating they don’t want to rent to people on benefits.

        If your a parent you would teach your kids never to borrow what you don’t have but here we have government and local councils constantly pushing unemployed and low earner households into debts they can ill afford when you consider benefits are set at the min required for a human to live on.

        Its kind of magical how it now funds repayments of council tax arrears, hard ship loans and such when we all know the best place to start out from is on a CLEAN SLATE.

        doug

        August 9, 2016 at 11:15 am

    • Don’t they mean protections with strings attached ?

      What this report may not contain and it is important, is how many were in arrears with bills prior to the survey. I mean its all good and well receiving your last wage but what if over the course of said employment, you ran behind like having to juggle heat, light and food as one example to debts amounted prior meaning those wages were owed to others before it was already paid.

      doug

      August 9, 2016 at 10:56 am

    • And the pointing out that the Gov claims of Protections are Bull&^%4 start to emerge

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37020211

      Quote from End of Article which to me is the critical part:

      “It’s a very scary place to be.
      There’s help out there but it’s not easy to find.
      Rents need to be reviewed by the government and as my credit rating is now affected I doubt I would be able to rent another house, even if it’s cheaper, as I wouldn’t pass the credit checks.
      So I have no idea what we are meant to do when we fall on hard times again. It isn’t a short-term issue. It all has lasting effects.”

      ME: Plus, most of the safeguards that I have heard of are decreasing amounts of funding schemes Gov to Councils, which totally run out in months, if not weeks once past April each year. After that there is no so called protections.
      Like I have said before a perfect storm is coming in the form of UC (its crap procedures/the extended wait for payments/Housing Benefit withdrawal if sanctioned)/Tax Credits/Removal of Council Tax Caps if unemployed/UC Conditionality/Sanctions.
      Despite people/families/children being homeless, starving, being pushed into financial black holes, the good news is that Central Gov money will be saved!

      Gazza

      August 9, 2016 at 12:48 pm

  11. The so called benefit cap got people back to work – conclusion

    After much effort, the governments claim while true to get people under a cap, out of it on tax credits in numbers, it does not highlight the individuals we and they speak of.

    What i mean is you CANT disseminate between a claimant who was prior to 2008 (the premise under which it was introduced, THE SKIVER AS LABELLED) coming out of the cap dew to tax credits and those ,

    A: who became unemployed after 2008 as a result of the crash and
    B: those who signed on after its introduction.

    I mention this as its pretty fair to say anyone after 2008 who became under the cap would have already had the common sense to find work because its in their nature to work which could be easily proved by prior employment tax records.

    Added to this the pop on, pop off effect like people moving areas, hours changing, etc, it looks even murkier.

    This of course comes as no surprise when you factor the reforms were introduced purely for the fallout and now will only be tested now numbers have returned to what they were prior 2008, so only now will it test the theory in years to come providing we don’t have another recession/depression/crash.

    doug

    August 9, 2016 at 11:33 am

  12. The amount asking for funds dew to the waiting period of universal credit shows no sign of slowing.

    If their was ever a good advert or proof of doing something wrong, then it would have to be things like how many apply for hardship/crisis type grants, the amount of landlords declaring no interest in social benefit tenants, rent arrears and council tax arrears to name but a few.

    Its im afraid startling to see how despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary that this government still feel a 7 week wait for benefits is acceptable, that a claimant having to make a joint approach with a landlord or housing association to have housing benefit paid directly to the landlord is acceptable.

    You would think with all the tory lambasting of skivers who cant add, cant count, cant speak English that this approach would be the worst option ever but oh no, its a topic our dear media don’t seem to have approached.

    doug

    August 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    • While waiting 6 weeks I didn’t need hardship loans or the likes of, my landlord is an exception to the norm, I volunteer in one of those many numbers of food banks. most people though as we know won’t be as fortunate.

      enigma

      August 9, 2016 at 8:11 pm

  13. Downing Street has dismissed pressure to slow the implementation of the ”national living wage” in the face of lobbying from businesses concerned about rising salary bills.

    The policy, which is expected to raise the minimum wage for the over-25s to approximately £9 an hour by 2020, was the centrepiece of George Osborne’s 2015 budget.

    It emerged on Monday that at least 16 trade bodies have written to the business secretary, Greg Clark, urging him to reconsider the plans in light of the economic slowdown expected after the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

    But Theresa May’s official spokeswoman pointed to her pledge, immediately after she became prime minister last month, to govern in the interests of families struggling to make ends meet.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/08/no-10-resists-pressure-to-hold-off-launching-national-living-wage

    enigma

    August 9, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    • & the employers are still the top barrier to employment.

      enigma

      August 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      • Business owners have families to so tread carefully on what is implied when one says, govern in the interests of families struggling to make ends meet.

        Its true to say business is up in arms over the living wage but and the free market capitalists hate me for saying it but the first one (£7.20 an hour) has already backed them to a wall in terms of staff required to maintain profits. If on the next increase businesses lower more hours or remove staff or even fail to hire, their profits will be directly impacted hence their attempt to slow the onslaught with the logic now brexit changes everything. Forgive me for pointing to the obvious but wasn’t the majority of their employees that voted to leave or do we have a secret population no one knows about or hey, how about its the unemployed’s fault.

        Quite frankly considering the the past rhetoric of both government and especially businesses who claimed many employees cant speak,spell or count, its a wonder these employees managed to vote at all let alone vote against the interests of their employers.

        On the latter point employers should really recognize the fact that it was their employees that voted against them which in sports directs case is irony rapped up in poetic justice don’t you think ?

        doug

        August 9, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      • We know what the best solution is to their problem, which is already happening, by 2020 I can see most if not all their problems with profit being solved.

        enigma

        August 9, 2016 at 3:44 pm

  14. Violet

    August 9, 2016 at 4:54 pm

  15. “Fit for work” tests are “significantly biased” against claimants in poor areas of the country, new research seen exclusively by the Guardian shows.

    Analysis of more than a million incapacity benefit claimants who have been re-assessed for employment and support allowance (ESA), the benefit for people too disabled or ill to work, shows the controversial work capability assessment is disproportionately removing benefits from people in more deprived regions.

    At the same time, it found claimants in wealthier areas are more likely not only to retain their sickness benefits – and avoid being declared fit for work – but to be placed in the support group of ESA, in which claimants are not required to undertake any form of work preparation and receive the highest benefit rate.

    The study analyses government data from over 300 local authorities between 2007 and 2015 and is published next week in the journal Radical Statistics. It further shows that, counterintuitively, healthier areas found claimants fit for work less often, and placed claimants into the support group more frequently, than areas with higher rates of disability and illness.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/09/biased-fit-for-work-tests-poorer-disabled-people

    enigma

    August 9, 2016 at 6:56 pm

  16. I live in the Southwest of the country and heard today about an authority, strapped for cash, was thinking about charging benefit claimants HALF – yes! honestly! 50% – of their council tax bill to try to plug gaps caused by reductions from central government. Sadly I only half heard it and so can’t say if it was Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, or somewhere else planning to do this. My council tax bill is over £1000 per year living in rented social housing. Imagine having to pay £10 per week, or more, out of benefits designed to provide subsistence income, council tax every week. What makes it worse is that the Southwest is riddled with second homes, used for a few weeks a year as holiday homes, by very wealthy people: Instead of stealing from the poor wouldn’t it be better to increase council tax on holiday homes and properties left unoccupied by wealthy owners rather than reduce benefit claimants to destitution? I don’t understand how anybody could consider fleecing £10 per week from people already eking out a living on the margin, some trying to get by on as little as £60 to £70 per week, could ever be justified or thought fair by anyone, even Tory councillors.

    Rose

    August 10, 2016 at 8:40 am

    • It’s Torbay Council planning to soak the poor, i.e., the unemployed and low paid. The bastards want to charge these people 45% of their very expensive council tax charge, Unbelievable. Incredible. Disgraceful.

      Rose

      August 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      • BENEFITS AND PRISON

        The other day i highlighted how a person going to prison for less than 13 weeks as a result of a charge of failure to pay council tax,WELL IT TURNS OUT,

        That if you are imprisoned for failure to pay council tax or none payment of arranged fines that you CANT CLAIM EXEMPTION FROM COUNCIL TAX while inside less than 13 weeks or more.

        Interesting don’t you think ?

        Your inside because you cant pay your council tax, so if you dare to remain housed, we’ll continue to charge you council tax even though you have no way of paying it.

        My question is why bother giving housing benefit for stay less than 13 weeks if your not going to make them exempt from council tax.

        Only in what it costs to house you in a prison for 85 days is around £6’520. The average council tax arrears are around £1’000. Is it any wonder why councils and government are desperate to keep such tax defaulters out of jail. By accepting these attachments, effectively the defaulter is doing the council and government a bigger favour than they are avoiding jail and so basically perpetuate this unchanging cycle.

        As odd as it may sound, if everyone who was in arrears had the court convert it to a sentence or made situations such that a sentence was the only course of action, It wouldn’t be long before they would be forced to rethink it on grounds of cost, especially when media pick up on it in an outcry at what it cost the taxpayer.

        Now in the draft of the reduction scheme regulation, it stated for UC customers that child care costs and housing should be deducted yet in the finished version i don’t to seem to be able to locate it meaning council tax isn’t just based on just unemployment but also your housing benefit and child care costs which is interesting when you look at the schemes calculating feature.

        Basically imagine a person earning £150 a week.

        Now before we begin government states a person needs £100 to live so,

        £150 – £100 = £50
        20% of £50 = £10

        So basically if housing and child care costs were deducted from ones total benefit that the unemployed wouldn’t be paying a penny as their award a £100% reduction which is in the remit of any local council and backed by regulation.

        Let me know how you council tax has been calculated as i would like to see the differences from local council to local councils.

        doug

        August 10, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      • If you could keep your home and get a Council Tax debt written off by a short spell in the clink a good many people where I live would “choose” that option. Trouble is Council Tax debts never get written off do they? So you go to prison and come out still owing what you originally owed plus any extra totted up while you were away based on your tenancy of your property. And then, if you don’t pay, they take it anyway by deductions from wages and/or benefits making you even poorer.

        Rose

        August 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    • W Sussex

      Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2017/18 Consultation

      What is this about?

      Each year the Council has to decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction scheme (CTR) for working age applicants in its area. This year the Council has decided that changes should be made to bring the Council Tax Reduction scheme in line with the changes made by Central Government in Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

      Since 2014/15 support from the government for the scheme has been absorbed into the general grant we get. Therefore any reduction in the grant means there is less money, not only to help towards CTR but also towards the cost of services we deliver. We need to look at ways of increasing our income and making savings. Some savings could be made by reducing the amount of help we provide through CTR.

      enigma

      August 10, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      • Sounds like the Torbay scam I outlined above.

        Rose

        August 10, 2016 at 4:36 pm

  17. Scam Alert

    August 10, 2016 at 8:45 am

    • These sort of scams have been posted on the fake jobs thread many times. Sounds similar to the DFD Logistic that was exposed here. Jobseekers will fall for it and think it is legitimate because they see a website And if they do a bit of digging even the ‘directors’ of the company might check out. And although it doesn’t mention the particular website, obviously the criminal records website the hapless jobseeker is directed to is part of the scam. ‘Warehousing’ is popular because it is the most popular choice of job with jobseekers.

      Scam Advisor

      August 10, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    • Essential reading: https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/universal-jobmatch-list-of-fake-employers-part-1

      These scammers are so low they will even use pictures of dead people on their fake sites!

      And how typical of the police to jack-shit when it is the poor who are the victims of crime. But if this jobseeker had stolen a chocolate bar from a shop the police would have wasted no time in throwing him in the slammer. Just goes to prove that the cops are not their for our benefit… 😉

      Scambuster

      August 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm

  18. Social media use.

    Guidance and moderation information for DWP social media channels, including specific guidance for Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

    “We can’t accept any messages on these channels as notification of any change in circumstances that may impact a benefit claim”.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/social-media-use

    enigma

    August 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

  19. The government is about to resurrect the privatisation of our medical records, but this time without even telling us.

    The government review into the care.data scheme was published earlier this month and it recommended the scheme we fought so hard against be scrapped. This sounds like a victory, but buried in the report is a new worrying scheme to sell our medical records to big corporations.

    https://actions.sumofus.org/a/scrap-the-sale-of-our-medical-records/

    enigma

    August 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    • All the more reason to stand up and be counted so government know the majority still want a opt out clause.

      Its nice to see government see the benefits of such data as i believe a person should be able to copyright their data so as to charge anyone wanting to use it. Businesses make profits based on such data so its only fair the individual receives a payment which would be quite something considering the amount your data is shared everyday. With employers lowering hours as a result of the living wage, this could make up the difference and more.

      doug

      August 10, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    • As I’ve said countless times before women’s records have not been private since 1988 and open Exeter when the details of women were taken to “invite ” them for cancer testing. No one protested and no one asked if we even wanted our details taken. If one gave in to the coercion and screened then they would also be asked about periods safe sex ect and replies would be stored in database and weren’t private! So this really is nothing new

      katrehman

      August 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      • There was some comedian on the other night talking about a “Wellman” check-up “where they go through everything”, “she [the doctor] wouldn’t let go of my balls 😀 “. So it is not just women who have to suffer this intrusive, invasive, Orwellian clap-trap.

        Doctor Who

        August 11, 2016 at 2:05 pm

  20. Off topic but I just saw a news item that said half of all women have experienced sexual harassment in their workplace. Like myself. Thinking that the experience is still affecting me years later. ..depressing

    katrehman

    August 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    • I feel your pain and have been harassed myself by men (and even sometimes by women) from my teenage years onwards. Such is the cross that attractive and desirable women have to bear in patriarchal societies.

      Anne Widdecombe

      August 11, 2016 at 9:15 am

    • So sorry to hear that, kat 😦 That is truly awful 😦 By way of consolation, and to make amends for the trauma you have so clearly suffered… fancy a quick grope 🙂

      Max Clifford

      August 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm


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