Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit Puts Vulnerable Homeless into Debt.

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DWP News HQ: “claimants are comfortably managing”.

If people scroll through to the end of this article they will see that the Factory for Alternative Facts has been hard at work offering a reply.

How do you get a job with this flourishing branch of the DWP?

Suspension is growing that the work is outsourced to a busy team circling the earth in rebooted Roswell Flying Saucers.

EVERY tenant of homeless accommodation in the Highlands has been plunged into debt by the roll out of a controversial new benefits system.

Reports the excellent Ross-shire Journal.

The “terrifying” situation, which has been blamed on universal credit, means Highland Council is now owed £704,347 from claimants of the new benefit alone. This has increased by 82 per cent from £317,000 since September last year.

More than half of this comes from Inverness, where £473,227 is owed.

The local authority is owed around £1.3 million for all unpaid rent.

Universal credit is a single benefit to replace job seeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit.

It has been widely criticised for leaving people worse off, as well as implementing a benefits freeze of a minimum six weeks while applications are processed.

Any new application or change of circumstances, including a new job, change of address or birth of a baby will result in the freeze, leaving people unable to pay rent.

“Live service” universal credit is applicable all over the Highlands and only applies to new claims but “full service” is currently being trialled in Inverness, where claimants have reported benefits freezes of four months, leaving them penniless and unable to pay rent or buy food.

Council leader Margaret Davidson said the missed payments have a knock on impact on the council’s ability to provide housing and predicts the situation getting worse.

“In Highland all of the people in homeless accommodation are in rent arrears, that is just awful,” she said.

“They don’t get any money for at least six weeks so they are always starting on a negative and a lot of them never get enough to be able to pay it back.

“It is already a major problem and it is going to get worse.

“We have to deal with not getting that rent income and bear that financial burden which then impacts on the rest of our housing stock because we don’t have enough money for repairs and new builds.”

The full service system is due to be rolled out to the rest of the Highlands in the summer but Inverness MP Drew Hendry has called for an immediate halt until the system can be managed more efficiently.

“These benefit cuts are lining the pockets of the UK Treasury while people living in temporary accommodation, along with working families, lone parents, those in receipt of disability benefits and job seekers are left without enough to make ends meet,” he said.

“The Scottish Government is also paying to mitigate bedroom tax in addition to other measures and now, thanks to this shambolic roll out, local authorities have to foot the bill for arrears. It is not on.

“The situation is now at crisis point and I have asked ministers to undertake an immediate consultation of the situation, with a pause on any further roll out in the meantime.”

Mr Hendry also described a constituent, who has been named only as Gavin, who receives just £60 per week for housing benefit on universal credit, despite his homeless accommodation costing £175 per week.

“Even if he gave up food, heat, light and everything else, if he spent every single penny on rent, he would still be short,” said Mr Hendry.

“It is Highland Council left carrying the debt of the money Gavin and others simply don’t have.”

Mr Hendry’s staff have been working with the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and the council’s welfare support team to help people who have been left without money.

He urged anyone who has been affected to contact one of these organisations for help.

But Inverness Ness-side councillor Alasdair Christie, who also manages the Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey CAB, pointed out CAB grants are being slashed at a time when more people than ever before need help.

“More than half of the people who approach CAB do so because they need benefits advice,” he said.

“More and more people are coming to us with issues with universal credit. It is a complex system which is difficult to use and even once they get the money a lot of people are getting far less than before.

“It has been a really rapid increase for us because it is such a challenging system.

“We are seeing more vulnerable people through the door than ever before but at a time when we are facing funding cuts ourselves.”

Cllr Christie added that people often miss appointments or have to hitch hike because they can’t afford the travel cost.

“We have seen people come to us when they have lost money because they haven’t been able to keep job centre appointments because they haven’t even got the bus fare to get there,” he said.

“Others have had to hitch hike from Aviemore, it is a very unsympathetic system.

“It is putting a strain on everything – the council, CAB, local MPs.

“In terms of housing arrears, people get into arrears quickly because they have no income and it fast becomes unmanageable.

“The council then bears that burden and that is not sustainable.”

The Roswell News Satellite responds with some alternative facts.

But a spokesman for the UK Department for Work and Pensions said universal credit claimants are “comfortably managing”.

“The reasons for rent arrears are complex and to link it to welfare reform is misleading,” he said.

“In many cases tenants are already behind with their rent before they move onto universal credit.

“Our research shows that the majority of Universal Credit claimants are comfortable managing their budgets, and that after four months, the proportion of claimants we surveyed, who were in arrears at the start of their claim, fell by a third.”


Written by Andrew Coates

February 4, 2017 at 10:27 am

98 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on sdbast.


    February 4, 2017 at 10:38 am

  2. If you apply for Universal Credit and do not have enough money at your disposal to cover all costs, including your rent, for six weeks or more until your receive your first payment you will fall into debt and/or rent arrears because you will either not pay your bills/rent and so fall into debt, because you haven’t got the means, or you will have to borrow money privately or from the government (by way of a so-called Universal Credit advance, which has to be paid back later) in order to survive.

    Basically: If you are poor, have little or no assets/money at your disposal, and have to apply for Universal Credit you will absolutely fall into rent arrears and /or debt by design. One of the very worst things about Universal Credit is that it hurts and causes the most suffering amongst those least able to bear it. Debt and rent arrears are piling up disastrously among the disadvantaged and needy EVERYWHERE where Universal Credit has been rolled out.

    The idea that all applicants for Universal Credit have the means to support themselves until they get Universal Credit because they are in receipt of four weeks wages just paid to the in arrears, as if every Universal Credit applicant has just be made cleanly redundant from a salaried job, is a lie that should be allowed to stand. Why the media is not exposing this catastrophe, designed so disastrously and justified dishonestly, is anybody’s guess.

    As bad as the government is – and it is – surely something quite this awful cannot go on forever?


    February 4, 2017 at 11:39 am

    • Yep. What kind of social security is that? Where the poorest fall through the safety net by design?


      February 4, 2017 at 11:57 am

      • The safety net is made of barbed wire!

        Barbed Wire

        February 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    • And the joke is Paul, a claimant can claim a short-term advance to tie them over.

      This means if and when they do claim it assuming they say your entitled to, their constantly in arrears until its paid off meaning they didn’t really do any more than just reduce your total universal credit benefit for that period so effectively you bailed yourself out yet their say they supported you, what a crock of crap alternate fact.

      Do read this link people



      February 4, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      • Exactly, doug. The “advance” isn’t anything to do with getting entitlements quicker but a load which has to be paid back later and can be deducted from Universal Credit payments before they are received. Actual Universal Credit payments will still be deferred for weeks or even, in the worst cases, for months before they get paid. It is appalling really since the benefit that is supposed to support people when they have no income is actually responsible for plunging them into debt from which they may never recover.

        You couldn’t make it up in your worst nightmare.

        The whole thing is about making savings in the welfare budget by delaying initial payment so that when anybody leaves Universal Credit they don’t receive anything in arrears, even though Universal Credit is paid in arrears, to them as they would when leaving a job. It must be a bit like leaving a salaried job and discovering that your employer has withheld up to four weeks back money due to you from the previous month. Under Universal Credit anybody leaving Universal Credit will end up worse off than they would have been under Jobseeker’s Allowance because of this purpose built shortfall.

        How can they get away with it?


        February 4, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      • Is uc not paid in arrears up to the point you start claiming. i.e. you start claiming uc on 1st January, you receive one month payment in mid-February to cover January. At the end of February you receive another two weeks payment to cover February fully. At the end of March you receive one months payment for March in arrears. So if you signed off at some point in March you would receive between one and thirty-one days payment. Surely they have to pay you the arrears you are due up to the point you stop claiming?

        Back Payment

        February 4, 2017 at 6:00 pm

  3. “The reasons for rent arrears are complex and to link it to welfare reform is misleading,” he said.

    “In many cases tenants are already behind with their rent before they move onto universal credit”.

    Funny they said that about suicides linked to benefit decisions did they not ?

    There’s nothing complex, the claimant was either in arrears prior or they weren’t. Of those in arrears, has the bedroom tax got anything to do with it and how getting a downsized one bedroom property is like trying to find gold these days. And of those under 35, how about getting this downsized property that government rules say must be shared accommodation. In any case of a person claiming UC housing entitlement what would a means test reveal as in regardless or being in arrears or not, did that person have enough to eat, stay hydrated,clean and warm along with having lit areas so as to reduce risk of injury and the ever increasing burden placed on the NHS.
    Then there’s frozen benefit rates,caps that while remaining static, didn’t stay in line with reductions in the size of food, the ever rising electricity,gas and water costs and of course lets not forget RISING RENTS.

    I think the only thing complex here is that DWP cant explain it away without having to admit it was their very welfare that caused it.

    comfortable is defined as – absence of sources of pain or distress or freedom from worry or stress.

    So in effect DWP are craftily implying when adding managing that claimants are managing the discomfort and stress themselves caused by UC. I suppose DWPs measure of that is they haven’t had to call the police a lot and have such claimants rejected from their offices.


    February 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    • Oh and in that means test, monies in relation to also paying rent and council tax and not as a generic whole but case by case basis.
      DWP like to talk about people already working yet omit talking about people currently on old benefits being transferred. And even when talking about the working becoming unemployed, we cant have this generic attitude government hands out that the assumption is everyone’s paid monthly that somehow despite the average personal debt being £13’500 per person that these persons are not already in debt dew to poor income such as insecure employment, temp,agency work,ZHCs, low hours,weekly fortnight pay methods.

      Why does media consistently allow DWP spokespersons to talk vague crap unchallenged ?


      February 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      • Marie. Maybe we just Might get Universal Income.

        cash in the pocket

        February 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm

  4. Universal Credit has been set up especially to cause homelessness, more than likely to free up housing for the hordes of immigrants flooding into the country.

    Most homeless people are British nationals and only a minute percent are migrants.


    February 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    • If only Joe public knew the real reason behind the hordes of immigrants flooding into this country,in fact western Europe as a whole!


      February 4, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    • Yep! To force the indigenous population from their homes. if you are in social housing there is queue stretching to Timbuktu for your home 😉 Once you are out on the street immigrants… ‘refuges’ will be moving in! It is going to be the indigenous population shivering in shop-doorways huddling under soggy cardboard box. The ‘social landlord’ sharks are circling; they want you out to make way for Syrian ‘doctors’, Iraqi ‘refugees’: make it a priority to hold onto your home.


      February 4, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    • @ foxglove – Pray, do tell!


      February 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      • Genocide of the white race,research it if you want to know more because those behind it are the ones we aren’t supposed to mention!


        February 4, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      • Oh, boy. Give us a break!


        February 5, 2017 at 9:15 am

      • Genocide of the white race? Huh? There are more white people on earth than there ever have been in history. And aren’t white people the ones responsible for almost every genocide and war that killed millions of their own kind in the recent past? Like the eighteen million white Russians who were killed in World War 2? Or the holocaust waged by the Nazis which killed eleven million white Europeans? And the seventeen million white people killed and twenty million wounded during World War 1 which was started by white people and fought by white people?

        You need to stop reading fake news, sport, wake up and smell the coffee. What you have convinced yourself is true isn’t true at all.

        If the film “Denial” is ever shown in a cinema near you I suggest you go and see it.


        February 5, 2017 at 9:50 am

      • Have you looked at European demographics recently? The “ones we aren’t supposed to talk about” are already out-breeding Europeans. Polygamy, I think its called – a sort of migration jihad, I suppose. Some describe it as population swamping.

        Meanwhile, western feminists have contributed to the decline of the family and the birth rate. (Do they have feminists in Iran, for example, vulgarly protesting about sexism, racism and homophobia)?!

        Even Colonel Gaddafi boasted one day Europe will be “something else other than white”!

        You might even want to look up the “Kalergi Project”.


        February 6, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    • No. Universal Credit has been set up to try to save money in the welfare budget, or, at least, to try to stop welfare costs rising as fast year on year, without worrying about the suffering of the poorest when support is withdrawn. It is also supposed to make benefit claimants more “productive” by driving them into some sort of paid job in order to “get some work out of them”. The government won’t change it unless it has to because a lot of its budgeting and spending forecasts are based around savings predicted to be made after Universal Credit has been fully rolled out.


      February 5, 2017 at 9:13 am

      • Billions has been wasted on universal crap, it hasn’t saved a damn penny!


        February 5, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      • Jokey!

        You have got me in stitches here sport,you really are a brainwashed shabby goy!!!


        February 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      • You only have to look at ‘social housing’ to see that when a native household vacates a property they are replaced by an immigrant household. Brick by brick the seascape changes in a barely perceptible manner. A lot of ‘social landlords’ don’t have the patience to wait for the natives to die off/move out. They are trying to forcefully remove the natives by citing made-up breaches of tenancy agreements, allegations of ‘anti-social behaviour… And not all immigrants have readily noticeable darker skin. And why are very young people from an Eastern European countries, one of which begins with a P given social housing so readily? It would take a native a lift-time to obtain ‘social housing’?


        February 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      • Looking at both sides of the argument it seems to me that people here can’t see the wood for the trees.

        Where I live people living in social housing usually stay in it until they die or go into retirement homes. In the last ten years, here about, only 40 council house have been built. I’m not sure how much housing association units have been completed but. based on the fact that I haven’t seen any, reckon that very little social housing has been built where I live at all. This is backed up by a four figure number of people on the waiting list for council properties.

        So as far as I can see it isn’t a question of foreigners being allocated social housing ahead of native British born people that is the problem but the fact that for the last thirty years so little social housing has been built it has led to the rationing of what little there is on a points based system, founded on need, with people competing with each other for social tenancies in respect to their own hardship. I think I’m correct in saying that foreigners, refugees and whatnot can’t get council housing these days due to curbs put in place by Labour under Tony Blair.

        The root cause of so many problems is far too little social housing is available not that allocation of social housing is unfair or biased: If much more social housing had been built rents in the private sector would be much lower and the housing benefit bill much reduced.

        This country desperately needs more purpose built social housing.

        The private housing market has not and never will be able cure housing problems for the poor.


        February 6, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      • Very well put.

        The other problem is that, ridiculous as it may seem, the Government does things like this:

        “Published14th June 2016
        A Government decision to reject a planning application for 94 affordable homes at Ravenswood has been greeted with “astonishment” by Ipswich Borough Council.

        The Council was informed today that the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Greg Clark, has turned down the application despite the recommendation of an independent Planning Inspector that the homes should go ahead.

        The planning application to build 68 houses for affordable rent, 24 homes for shared ownership and two specialist homes for social rent was approved by the Council’s Planning & Development Committee in November 2014 but was called in by the Government the following January.

        Council Leader David Ellesmere said: “After a public inquiry in September 2015, the Planning Inspector recommended approval but, after sitting on the report for more than six months, the Secretary of State has now blocked the application on the grounds that the development should contain more homes for sale.

        “This is an astonishing decision. I cannot think of another case in the country where a planning application has been turned down because the housing wasn’t expensive enough. The length of time it has taken the Government to take this decision is likely to cost the Council millions of pounds in lost rent, grants and increased construction costs. All the while, Ipswich families have been left languishing on the housing waiting list and jobs in the construction industry have gone unfilled.”


        Andrew Coates

        February 6, 2017 at 4:38 pm

  5. DWP apology for error in double amputee’s fit to work assessment



    “Man was told he could go up and down steps despite having had his legs removed just months before and using a wheelchair”

    “A decision letter noted that although he had no legs, it had been found he could go up and down at least two steps unaided”.



    February 4, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    • This would be News Thump if it were not so tragic.

      Andrew Coates

      February 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    • doug

      the reason for the apology is its Direct Disability Discrimination – “Use of rules/regulations in a manner not applicable to another that discriminates”

      a] amputee
      b] told can walk
      c] fit for work as a result

      Ooops. I would have demanded mention as to why the sudden turnaround or the court case would continue as I was the wronged party and wanted it acknowledged and importantly, Why. I hope this person reported the individual to the medical council to strike off.


      February 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm

  6. Surprise Surprise! Cutting disability benefits doesn’t motivate people back to work


    I always said the biggest barrier to work was the employer and low and behold it looks like government is going to offer employers incentives just to they hope remove that barrier.

    Why don’t they try disincentives as they constantly claim they work on claimants ?


    February 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    • The idea that people can choose to work or not work makes me laugh. I suppose it works for the Tories though as a “blame the victim” strategy to try to justify ever rougher and harsher treatment of benefit claimants particularly, most disgracefully, sick and disabled claimants. None of this is about giving people their independence or helping them at all but to spend less money on them. It’s a dirty, dirty business.


      February 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    • Todays market of employment agencies is another reason if there’s problems they are not unlikely to be used again by the company.

      Doubts surfaced at the beginning of the Work Programme when there were signs of problems and low expectations for this group by organisations who thought there was no money to be made. Brought in by A4e and passed over.The DWP instead of intervening sat back under the “black box” and washed its hands of responsibility for two years.Then contracted groups pulled out because it wasn’t viable and A4e were then forced to take over at that point.


      the person and the employment must initially be carefully managed and the work must be suitable for the disabled person, otherwise things could go very wrong.



      February 5, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      • What concerns me Ken is these government contractors of welfare need and want to make a profit which means considering where the money comes from, will need more and more welfare related cases to keep afloat.
        If that was not an obstacle in itself, businesses like serco will throw their hand into any business these and to hell with any history and expertise in the sector, we will just hire those.
        There’s no disagreeing governments or more importantly politicians in the general sense, cant handle difficult things like for instance, how the devil do they set about making what they dreamt up last night and got elected on,WORK.
        Despite where politicians come from, they are nothing more than the lowest tier of philosophers, seldom ever to progress to iconic status like say Plato,Socrates,Pythagoras,Aristotle,etc. Rather than get a Nikola Tesla, we instead get a Thomas Edison and even then i use those two references very loosely to our last centuries political offerings as they cant even stack up against Edison in originality and pure intellectual thought but instead regurgitate others great ideas/works yet attempt to pass them off as their own.

        No these companies require that things remain the same or at least never decreasing to obscurity as one can only diversify into so much. Ultimately the game is to keep creaming off the top of tax payers, always promising change yet other than math magic, never delivering.


        February 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      • if find providers to be like super markets that dont want to sell there stock ie help ppl find work. as if they did what they say like help ppl find work then there stock is going to go down with a ever reduced supply of new stock coming in.

        so it is best practice to keep all the stock in an never ending supply so they can get there fees from the dwp and let the stock go past its sell buy date then can get the stock back renewed from the jcp with another new contract for the same stock that went out of date.

        the new health and work programme will be the same go after the fees and dump every one in the stock room till its time to get renewed and Cary on as b4 with a never ending supply of tax payers money.

        its a fkn racket plane and simple the only help providers give is to them self via tax payers money for there own pocket.

        try ask a provider for a fork lift licence course or a sia badge for a security guard job and you got no chance but plenty of cash from the sfa fund for a natural linguistic programming course over 4 weeks or a course to make bubble bath over 6 weeks to the tune of £1000 for each person on it so they can cash in over and over again its a fkn joke.


        February 6, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      • And if you went into a provider shop to buy some stock there wouldn’t be any out on the shelf: “We keep the stock out back in the car park”. “Well, can’t you bring some in?” “‘Fraid not 😉 , we keep it until it goes past its use by date then send it back to the manufacturer 😉 ”

        It is like the film Trainspotting when they are ‘job-searching’: “You have to try but not too hard, otherwise you might end up getting a job. 😀 ”

        The providers have to keep their stock in a revolving door.

        Revolving Door

        February 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      • The providers also talk about the ‘repeat business’ model 😉

        Revolving Door

        February 6, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      • Edison used to steal ideas from his employees, doug, take credit for them and patent them in his own name including several from former employee Nicola Tesla before he branched out on his own. Edison was a great businessman first and innovator and inventor second while Telsa was a genuine authentic scientific genius complete with all of the lunacy that sometimes accompanies such brilliance. If Tesla had 5% of the business sense Edison had he wouldn’t have died in poverty.




        February 8, 2017 at 9:25 am

      • Rexhip

        That was the whole point of mentioning the Tesla, Edison bit in reference to politicians and the reference to “regurgitate others great ideas/works yet attempt to pass them off as their own”.

        JP Morgan didn’t have half the intelligence of Edison let alone Tesla and why i mentioned “even then i use those two references very loosely to our last centuries political offerings as they cant even stack up against Edison”. Our politicians are the JP Morgan category where they hold money yet lack true ideas.

        Tesla wasn’t a loon, yes clinically you would say hes OCD and few other conditions we like to associate as mental illnesses but schizophrenic, clinically insane he most certainly was not. Brilliance is an understatement of the greatest magnitude as even now we still use his discoveries/inventions and as more of his designs/theory and patterns resurface continue to even further like wireless energy for instance.


        February 8, 2017 at 10:18 am

      • The pilfering of inventions must be happening all the time. Lab technician discovers the cure to the common cold, and casually mentions it to the boss. Boss rushes off and patented it. Even Bill Gates stole all *his* ideas and software, web browsers etc., and now he wants to have us thrown in the slammer for *illegally* downloading his third-rate buggy operating systems.

        Dyson Dolby

        February 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

  7. Disability benefits cuts should be delayed MP’s say, but what are they really going to do about it?

    Meanwhile they want to spend BILLIONS on their Westminster Palace!



    February 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm

  8. If they want disabled people to work, then impose a legal quota on employers to hire them. The same with women, non-whites, ex convicts (with certain sensible restrictions for the ex convicts) and any other group who has trouble getting hired.


    February 5, 2017 at 2:05 am

  9. Hundreds of notices over unpaid council tax have been sent to councillors in the past six years, figures have shown.

    Since 2011, nearly 400 reminders have been sent to councillors in arrears – some by more than £1,000.
    The WLGA has been asked to comment.

    Reasons given for failing to pay included illness, family problems and forgetfulness.

    Flintshire’s chief governance officer Gareth Owens said: “There are many reasons why people, including councillors, fall behind with council tax payments, = “The reasons for council tax arrears are complex.


    news seeker

    February 5, 2017 at 9:23 am

  10. What’s it with Lidl suddenly hiking the prices of an iceberg lettuce from 42 pence to a whopping £1.19! Is this some kind of experiment to see how we react to outrageous price hike? To see how elastic/inelastic the demand for basic vegetables are? Do we keep buying iceberg lettuce at a ridiculous price or do we tell them to shove their over-priced lettuce where the Sun doesn’t shine? No prizes for guessing what we done 🙂 Are they going to try it on with other staples such as carrots and onions? “Oh, look they are have iceberg lettuce, carrots and onions for Sunday dinner. They must be rich!”

    The Price-Sensitve Shoppers

    February 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    • Ask your government although im sure their say the reasons are complex and to link them to bad governance and corporate greed is misleading.


      February 5, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      • Oh i forgot to add, media state sources state the bad harvests are dew to bad weather. Typical these days that our problems extend from sources we cant actually confront like system errors and god.


        February 5, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      • “media state sources”!? Have you been reading Pravda again, doug? 🙂 Talking of Pravda, it was good to read that tractor production is up in Eastern Siberia 😀


        February 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      • In fact it was another record-breaking year for tractor production 😀 like it is EVERY year 😀


        February 5, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      • Sputnik,

        Im afraid your have to take that up with the BBC as to whether or not they got it from as you say Pravda as that’s where i heard it way back in January.


        February 5, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    • Most lettuces, courgettes and broccoli are come from Spain, where they’ve had snow, floods and various kinds of very bad weather which has ruined crops which are grown outside. With a limited supply of produce Spanish farmers have to put up prices, to cover their costs and make a profit, which eventually gets passed on to the end consumer who gets charged more at retail outlets.


      It’s more God’s fault than the government this time.

      Hammer on the Mountain

      February 5, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    • Petition

      Financial speculators could cause food prices to rise and drop drastically, putting millions of people all over the world at risk of hunger and poverty. People who live below the poverty line can spend up to 75% of their income just on making sure they have enough food to eat. MEPs in the European Parliament could put a stop to the unethical profit making from playing with wholesale food prices. MEPs vote for tough restrictions on food speculation.

      The greed of financial speculators helped to have provoke food riots in the past when the basics people need to survive, things like rice, wheat, sugar – became unaffordable. When speculators bet on food, prices are distorted. It is often the poorest who can go hungry and suffer the most.


      news seeker

      February 6, 2017 at 9:48 am

      • You can speculate… er… take a position on just about anything, even livestock – the COW index 😀


        And iceberg lettuce will have its own index no doubt 🙂

        GREED IS GOOD!

        Gordon Gecko

        February 7, 2017 at 10:17 pm

  11. Millions of homes face eye-watering council tax rises in April as the Tories pass the buck for their failure to fund social care properly.

    Research today revealed at least 28 of the biggest councils are planning to raise bills by 4.99% – the maximum possible without putting it to a vote.

    That is set to pile at least £50 onto many household bills in those areas.

    The list includes some of the largest city councils in England – among them Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham, Rotherham and Hull.

    Rural shires taking the hit were said to include Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and South Gloucestershire.


    news seeker

    February 6, 2017 at 5:19 am

  12. Thousands more families who were wrongly stripped of their tax credits by the US contractor Concentrix are to have their cases reviewed.

    A committee of MPs that produced a scathing report on Concentrix said on Monday that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has accepted its recommendations.

    In its report, the committee said that right from the outset claimants found the system was “stacked against them”.

    Mr Field added: “The real answer is of course to root out fraud and error at entry to the system rather than stopping benefits in payment as first resort.”


    news seeker

    February 6, 2017 at 5:31 am

    • A HMRC spokesman said: “It is important to make checks on tax credits payments to ensure the right people are receiving them under the law, and this work will now be done by HMRC.

      “We will not be entering into external contracts for this in future


      news seeker

      February 6, 2017 at 9:07 am


        I have to wonder if government will try and use this new, “lets take a look at the other cases” to their advantage. You see if the further 23’000 all prove perfectly correct, the figure with the 13% that were found to be correct judgements will amount to 27’860 correct judgement. So when re-examined would mean the 87% wrongful decisions made will drop to 53%.
        Now even a failure rate of 53% is not pretty when we talk the business model BUT lets now come away from percentages and switch to money. Now i cant possibly get access to HMRC records but government could claim a saving to the tax payer of upto £83.6 million (even more if you add other elements related to disability, children and or disabled children).
        What important here is to remember concentrix where contracted to try to save the government more than £1bn in incorrect or fraudulent tax credit payments.
        Now its only the discovery of mass errors in judgement that halted this fiasco but looking at the supposed saving, that would imply the government presumed some 1 million people (i suspect more) were claiming incorrectly or fraudulently. That’s around 22% of total credit claims 2015.


        Of these cases held or reversed, how many were single parents, single parents with disabled kid/s and adults with disabilities, disabled parent/s with kid/s, disabled parent with disabled kid/s ?

        I for one would love to know the Tory logic here as in their assertions and math as its possible to be the biggest fraudulent claim of all, one im sure they wouldn’t want to claim the credit for.


        February 6, 2017 at 11:25 am

  13. Top Tip for BIG Savings: Write in very small writing then you will use less ink and your pen will last longer.

    The Money Saving Experts

    February 6, 2017 at 6:36 am

    • Even bigger savings – forget about want, only buy the essentials.

      news seeker

      February 6, 2017 at 9:33 am

  14. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

    — John Lydon (Sex Pistols)

    John Lydon

    February 6, 2017 at 7:02 am

    • Yes, John. Every time I saw you on TV advertising Country Life butter.

      Sid Vicious

      February 6, 2017 at 9:27 am

    • Torpedo hit amidships. Return to port immediately.

      The Captain of the 'Good Ship John Lydon'

      February 6, 2017 at 10:05 am

    • They didn’t call it “The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle” for nuffink 😉

      Malcolm McLaren

      February 6, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      • I once had a threesome with two girls from the Netherlands.

        Double Dutch

        February 8, 2017 at 9:00 am

      • The Malky

        February 10, 2017 at 3:32 pm

  15. What next for libraries as scores are shut and out-sourced. and foir all those who use the computers to search for emplyment?


    news seeker

    February 6, 2017 at 9:17 am


      Now for many reasons libraries are being closed and any notion they have all but disappeared nationally is as yet unfounded. This aside it is quite disconcerting both in government and public, the notion of reading a traditional book has left their hearts. Now i cant state a case for fiction but i can state case for the importance of education in today’s society.
      For starters electronically most internet users these days are mobile phone users, a tool im sad to say not conducive to educating oneself. Even if one does have a PC,laptop or tablet, we all know you cant spend as much time reading from them as you can a book health wise.
      Now society is changing and a place of concern is how the lower skilled labour market is shrinking in favor for technology. This means people if not now will eventually have to reskill but the problem arises when we consider do we have the funds to be it cash in pocket or the risk of further debt by taking certain loans to achieve that desired trade change,
      One way of achieving this transformation whether you have money or not is the good old education books however if libraries are set to diminish over time this will nolonger be an option.

      Now while employers,governments and even teachers and lecturers insist that bit of paper is crucial, it will do little good if the person holding it cant remember half of what they have been taught.

      Now probably the most famous case for argument is one Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of the greatest mathematicians in history. But there are plenty of others that despite flunking at various levels, went on to do amazing things despite not having the education and qualification you would expect them to have.

      The access to free books is important so i hope both government and public alike remember this as being on low or no money regardless of why will prevent the individual from competently and regularly having enough access to the net just to acquire the same material.


      February 6, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      • You don’t retain information read from a screen though; you need a proper, printed book for that…

        Shakespeare's Sister

        February 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    • Well, doug, you’re kind of right but Ramanujan was mostly a number theorist (invited to Cambridge after correcponding with G. H. Hardy) who never produced a single result that had any practical value whatsoever (as far as I know) or of any interest to anybody other than pure mathematicians, which is usually the case with pure mathematics as explained by Hardy himself in his “A Mathematician’s Apology”.

      (Significant prodigies lacking formal higher education most often pop up in music and mathematics oddly.)

      Generally speaking it is only right that people involved in responsible positions which can affect others should be expected to provide evidence in respect to their expertise, experience, competence and intelligence. Personally I wouldn’t want to see an unqualified doctor or have an unqualified nuclear engineer tampering with the water cooled fission reactor a few miles up the road.

      Politics is one of the few professions in which you can rise to the highest level with no qualifications or experience whatever in respect to what you do or ever are charged to do. All you need is to get enough of the public and your own party to vote for you and you’re home and dry and look where hopeless and fallible system has got us!


      February 6, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      • Math is the universal language which without would not allow us to measure our thoughts, thoughts may i add that has enriched the species throughout the centuries and brought us all to what we have now.

        This aside your very correct in your assertion as regards “expertise, experience, competence and intelligence” however all to often people wrongly identify the word qualified and why despite in many skilled positions, the reference competent or competence is actually said, people tie fulfilling that requirement as having a bit of paper. I say this as i cant believe the standard of education these days in how much students/pupils aren’t taught. This pathetic enough to help them pass their exams is scary and already translating into a drop in standards in so many many professions. Now i would be the first to admit it isn’t all on education as equally as important, is the students/pupils willingness to further their chosen subject in their time that alas has followed suit.

        The mind is capable of achieving many things yet we seem to be nurturing a culture of complete separateness and reliance which while quite necessary in some skill sectors as in sums of their parts, still stifles creativity, diversification of progression in self/individual.

        If one mind can solve one problem, imagine what billions of minds on that one problem can possibly achieve.


        February 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      • STOP! dissing math, doug! Math is what all the sciences, life itself, the universe is founded on. If it wasn’t for math you wouldn’t be able to post your stupid comment dissing math. Math is the only pure science, it can’t be fudged, unlike say physics: “Cripes, my universal theory of relativity doesn’t quite fit 😦 , what will I do, I know, I will just tack a “constant” onto the formula, that will take care of it 🙂 ” You don’t see fudging in the Nash Equilibrium or Game Theory, do you? Well, do you? If Einstein had been a mathematician rather than a fudge-it physicist he wouldn’t have made it past first grade in elementary school let alone been awarded the Nobel Prize! As us mathematicians say: ” if it moves, it’s biology; if it stinks, it;s chemistry; it it doesn’t work, it;s physics 😀 “

        John Nash (Mathematician )

        February 6, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      • My exotic spheres are dangling!

        John Milnor

        February 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      • Hmmm, A mathematician that uses the phrase dissing, and talks about game theory rather than economics and marketing.

        Then proceeds to use Magnus Pykes quote and not only precedes to leave out “and if you can’t understand it, it’s mathematics” but also does not realize Pykes biggest criticisms was how societies are lured into conformity by applied sciences or technology, so meaning also game theory,computational science, economics and marketing all for the sake of the mighty buck (pound).

        Old Magnus had other opinions around this center piece worthy of further discussion but i doubt this poster is really concerned with that as it well, basically just trashed their post or should i say logic,especially when you consider no where did i as they put it “diss math”.

        Interestingly also is that the incorrect quote given by the poster is actually used in the handy guide to science which was produced to help the layman understand the different sciences. Seeing how this is so and adding the part missed off the original quote, i highly doubt as the poster put it that mathematicians say such a thing as there hardly layman but who knows if this person is still young and considering today’s education is so very poor, maybe they are.


        February 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      • “I have never done anything ‘useful’. No discovery of mine has
        made, or is likely to make, directly or indirectly, for good or ill,
        the least difference to the amenity of the world. I have helped to
        train other mathematicians, but mathematicians of the same kind
        as myself, and their work has been, so far at any rate as I have
        helped them to it, as useless as my own. Judged by all practical
        standards, the value of my mathematical life is nil; and outside
        mathematics it is trivial anyhow.”

        Godfrey Harold Hardy

        February 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      • You only came forth in the tripos, Godfrey. And, let’s be honest, fancied the pants off Srinivasa but didn’t have the courage to come out of the closet and risk doing a stretch once found guilty of the love that dare not speak its name.

        Alan Turing

        February 6, 2017 at 5:14 pm

  16. More victims killing themselves under draconian Tory regime than ever before.



    February 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

  17. Older people to get “HELP” to downsize and free up family homes.

    Housing rethink to incentivise building of sheltered accommodation to encourage older people to sell large houses.

    A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government insisted it was not about pushing anyone out of their home, but providing more options.


    news seeker

    February 7, 2017 at 5:16 am

    • Another way to free up housing for the hordes that are swamping our nation.


      February 7, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      • If slothful people like you actually got a job and stopped sponging off the rest of us we wouldn’t need to import so much foreign labour to keep the country afloat.

        British Bulldog

        February 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      • Don’t fret Bulldog. Once disengaged from the EU we can start cracking the whip and whip slackers like Marie into shape. Nobody need be unemployed when jobs like stacking shelves, packing biscuits, washing up dishes and digging ditches are available or other to earn a crust. Plans are on the drawing board, old boy. Plans ARE on the drawing board, believe you me.

        Damien Green

        February 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      • 🔻
        Actually bulldog I do have a job, so put that in your pipe and smoke it 😉.


        February 7, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      • Its not just housing either that immigrants are sailing straight into,what about all the shops once run by natives,now run by immigrants who have more than likely been handed them on a plate after the native has been forced out of business!


        February 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      • Foxglove

        Globalization,large corporations and large chains are responsible for forcing the SMEs out of business, not migrants.
        EU migrants come here rather than elsewhere because our government likes to brag about how great we are doing here financially despite the fact no one globally really is. Had it been France say, they would have gone there. Proof of that is Germany who also reported up turns in fortune.
        People no matter where there from don’t just want to get by, don’t want to remain on crap benefits from a crap system, if your currently unemployed then you can understand that surely.

        There’s all this lets blame things on them, again if your unemployed, you would know how it feels. They are no more responsible for 2008 than you are, there just everyday normal people trying to get their head up.

        See through the shop window, look beyond the mannequins as there actually being abused just so you can be later down the road. Businesses are crafty and are using the 2008 crisis in ways i don’t think you see. We all know they have to pay them the NLW, but if you look harder your see, tasks during work that once took 30min to complete have been repackaged to migrants wanting to work as only taking 15min. Businesses are effectively increasing productivity while maintaining the pay rate or if you like, getting one person to do the work of two people while only paying the rate of one. Add the 20 hours work scam and effectively businesses are instead of getting for a 37.5 hour week, one person, are now getting effectively four persons.

        Businesses are playing all us normal public off against each other in the hope when it comes to your turn, they can say the task takes 7mins as so to speak. I have mentioned it before here and i call it the mobile sweat shop dew to the fact businesses cant get away with like they use to for one reason or another using and abusing cheap labour in poor countries so have set their sights inwards. As soon as technology gets where it needs to be, there fuck all of us off regardless of where we come from.

        So don’t play into the divide and conquer strategy like governments ,elites and corporations want us all to and set your sights where they need to be.


        February 7, 2017 at 10:51 pm

  18. Number of workers in insecure jobs soars.

    A new study commissioned by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), from the Learning and Work Institute, shows that many more people are finding themselves driven from traditional industries into precarious jobs.

    The TUC estimates that 10% of the UK workforce now work in insecure jobs, or more than 3million people up and down the country – up from 2.4 million in 2011.

    The number of waiters and care workers alone in insecure work, including zero-hours contracts and temporary agency work, has more than doubled since 2011.


    news seeker

    February 7, 2017 at 9:32 am

  19. OT: Figure for cuts to disability

    “Higher tax rises and deeper cuts as austerity forecast to last a decade”

    Evening Standard – page 6
    Today’s Evening Standard says current £15B figure is 45% over
    What Gov wants it to be.



    February 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    • Gazza

      As it was said wayback. No one political party anywhere on the planet knows how to get out of such a huge financial collapse. Its like i said, they have through various means like bailouts,QE, global borrowing, pass the parcel, austerity, stretched the situation so on the surface it does not go the way of the great depression so it should come as no surprise that we all will still be kicking the bucket down the road for a further 10,13 maybe longer years. Its as yet an unsolvable puzzle that may even get far worse.


      February 7, 2017 at 10:58 pm

  20. The Unknown Knowns The Known Unknowns

    Donald Rumsfield

    February 7, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    • Yep. That’s right! We usually know what we know and sometimes know what we don’t know, although, sometimes, we don’t always know what we know or always don’t know what we definitely do not know.

      Jon Snow

      February 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

  21. Andrew Coates

    February 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    • Andrew

      I am sure that like me you are waiting for the ConMenConservatives/UKIP to explain to the voters how thsi is going to be a good thing.

      The Hordes of people who will suddenly – and it will be sudden once BritExit takes place will find they have a simple choice – accept this new ZH contract or be sacked. Every business will be in a race to save money and the highest cost for a business is pay, so its a no-brainer if it will happen, just how fast… and how devastating.

      There is going to be a lot, and I mean a lot of unhappy people out there and its going to get ugly right quick if the profiteers get their way [and I can see nothing to stop them from ConMenConservatives/UKIP, i am sure everyone remembers the views of them concerning the unemployed during the run up to the vote.].

      [Of Course, under UC if sacked you get a automatic Sanction – nice one!!!]


      February 8, 2017 at 12:24 am

  22. DWP perm sec Robert Devereux defends Jobcentre closure plan: “I’m not intending to lose staff in this process”

    Department for Work and Pensions’ top official tells MPs that his department “can’t sit on an estate that’s too big and not do something about it”


    Charity hits out at DWP over Jobcentre closures



    February 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

  23. There was an item on Channel 4 news last night called “Universal Discredit” outlining the problems people faced du to the waiting period. One lady being transferred from legacy benefits to Universal Credit spoke of her shock at suddenly being left without any support whatsoever, despite having no savings, back pay, or assets, for TWO MONTHS. Staff from the local council also spoke of the problems caused both to social landlord like the council and tenants moving onto Universal Credit.

    The DWP response was : “The best way of enabling people to pay their rents is to get them into work and Universal Credit is getting more people into work and keeping them in work longer than before.”

    As always the DWP didn’t explain how driving the poorest and most vulnerable citizens into debt and rent arrears contributed to this supposed success.

    The truth about Universal Credit is leaking out as the numbers on it and harmed by it increase.

    Jon Snow

    February 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

  24. New series coming to BBC ONE soon SS-GB

    Oskar Schindler

    February 8, 2017 at 9:12 am

    • … and with Keeley Hawes, so it must e good 😉

      Line of Duty

      February 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    • … and with Keeley Hawes, so it must be good… 😉

      Line of Duty

      February 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      • So good in fact you said so twice!

        The Malky

        February 10, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      • It’ll probably turn out to be a cut price rip off of Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle”.


        February 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm

  25. Double Dutch Well Done.


    February 8, 2017 at 9:33 am

  26. Sammy

    February 8, 2017 at 10:35 am



    ““It is a very efficient system to those who really need the money but before it was too complicated for them”.

    Its constantly said how the old system was complex and confusing, how the new system is clearer and simpler. THEN HOW COMES NOT ONLY THE CLAIMANTS BUT ALSO NOW LOCAL COUNCILS, SOCIAL AND PRIVATE HOUSING, CHARITIES,ETC ARE ALL HAVING ISSUES WITH IT ?

    “He said: “I am not excusing this but a little slip is seen by the media as chaos. We set a tight timetable. If you take away the timetable, the attacks on Universal Credit haven’t been there”.

    REALLY, then how about a work programme that was less effective than leaving claimants to their own devices to find work, Wrong and still wrong work capability assessments, fake news that claimants agree and like the sanction regime, Misleading claimants into believing that volunteering is mandatory , need i go on ?


    ““People in the social housing sector find it quite hard to know what their rents are. Getting this data is key. It needs to be three way to get this data between department, landlord and tenant. The department are working on a portal to improve this”.

    REALLY. We all know except this government and agree overwhelmingly that the landlord is the one rent should go to DIRECTLY. Claimants,majority of Councillors, social and private landlords ALL AGREE. Now government claim its to teach claimants to better manage their money and responsibilities but we ALL KNOW its so the DEPARTMENT does not have to face angry landlords and Councillors when the rent does not arrive. This give it to the claimant gives this government and department the opportunity to stack the blame on the claimant hoping the aforementioned and claimant don’t dig further into what we are all discovering now which is a hopeless new system in dire crisis and draconian practices as their only method of supporting people into work.

    ““The figures are not what is appears as you already have 79% in arrears. Probably around a quarter of the arrears are affected by UC”.


    Hes tried to center it around UC BUT, omitted to discussing welfare reform overall like the already introduction of the bedroom tax, lack of correctly bed-roomed properties available, claimants now paying council tax, the cap, frozen benefit rates, harsher taper rates, cost of living, i think you GET THE PICTURE.

    Only recently i mentioned about taking a closer microscopic look at these people in arrears yet still currently DWP or government, even shadow party or UKIP have failed to make any such move.

    I suspect and it could be easily proved, the substantial rise of arrears and cases is squarely on the shoulders NOT OF UC BUT INFACT THE WELFARE REFORM ITSELF with struggling to keep up with ever rising costs.

    Numbers of arrears DIDN’T just appear over night, like the rising tide of people going to foodbanks that this now government heavily relies on yet use to call a myth of sorts, its grown largely dew to conservative made changes to the welfare system.


    February 8, 2017 at 12:41 pm

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