Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Charities Providing Work and Health Programme Face Gag on Criticising Esther McVey.

with 67 comments

Image result for Esther mcVey cartoon

Esther McVey on a Good Day.

Proof that disreputable Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has a thin skin  comes today from The Disability News Service.

 

Disability charities that sign up to help deliver the government’s new Work and Health Programme must promise to “pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, official documents suggest.

The charities, and other organisations, must also promise never to do anything that harms the public’s confidence in McVey (pictured) or her Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Disability charities like RNIB, the Royal Association for Deaf People and Turning Point have agreed to act as key providers of services under the Work and Health Programme – which focuses on supporting disabled people and other disadvantaged groups into work – and so appear to be caught by the clause in the contract.

At least one of them – RNIB – has also signed contracts with one of the five main WHP contractors that contain a similar clause, which explicitly states that the charity must not “attract adverse publicity” to DWP and McVey.

The £398 million, seven-year Work and Health Programme is replacing the Work Programme and the specialist Work Choice disability employment scheme across England and Wales, with contractors paid mostly by results.

All the disability charities that have so far been contacted by Disability News Service (DNS) insist that the clause – which DWP says it has been using in such contracts since 2015 – will have no impact on their willingness to criticise DWP and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey or campaign on disability employment or benefits issues.

But the existence of the clause, and the first details to emerge of some of the charities that have agreed to work for DWP – which has been repeatedly attacked by disabled activists and academics for harassing and persecuting disabled people, and relying on a discriminatory benefit sanctions regime to try to force them into work – will raise questions about their ability and willingness to do so.

How does this work?

The contracts signed by the five organisations – the disability charity Shaw Trust, the disability employment company Remploy (now mostly owned by the discredited US company Maximus), Pluss, Reed in Partnership and Ingeus UK – all include a clause on “publicity, media and official enquiries”.

Part of that clause states that the contractor “shall pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of DWP and ensure it does nothing to bring it “into disrepute, damages the reputation of the Contracting Body or harms the confidence of the public in the Contracting Body”.

The contract defines the “Contracting Body” as the work and pensions secretary, a position currently occupied by the much-criticised Esther McVey (see separate story).

And it warns that these promises apply whether or not the damaging actions relate to the Work and Health Programme, and it says they also apply to any of the contractor’s “Affiliates”.

This suggests that none of the organisations involved in providing services under the programme – and particularly those carrying out key elements of the contracts – will ever be allowed to criticise, or damage the reputation of, DWP or McVey during the course of the contract in connection with any area of the department’s work.

There is still considerable confusion over exactly how many disability charities will be paid to work for the five main contractors.

More details follow in the article including this:

The contractual documents include the names of scores of organisations, including charities, local authorities, education providers and companies.

But some of the disability charities named – including Mencap and the National Autistic Society – made it clear this week that they have not agreed to carry out services under the Work and Health Programme, despite being named as “stakeholders” in the documents.

Other disability charities, though, have confirmed that they will be providing services under the WHP.

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Written by Andrew Coates

April 20, 2018 at 10:24 am

67 Responses

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  1. So much for the disabiliy charities, but there you go. where money is involved

    whoknew

    April 20, 2018 at 10:42 am

  2. McVey & Co. know full well the reality of what they are doing. Forcing sick and disabled, and terminally-ill people into work. And if they won’t do it, punishing them with sanctions. No wonder the. DWP won’t allow criticism, or anything that might upset their cynical attempts to spin all this as something wonderful.

    Jeff Smith

    April 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

  3. The trail left by any of these previous ventures isn’t good.Remploy has been in the headlines also with the threat of supported employment under threat,this company refused to help despite being in receipt of DLA.

    https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/redundancy-threat-hangs-over-remploy-workers-as-dwp-funding-ends/

    The standing and reputation has been in short supply in any of these previous attemps to gain employment by now past involvement.This later attempt appears to be based on a degree of outside sourcing.

    https://www.shaw-trust.org.uk/ShawTrustMediaLibraries/ShawTrust/ShawTrust/Documents/WORKANDHEALTH_INTROA5LEAFLET-FINAL.pdf

    ken

    April 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

  4. People are already calling for a campaign against them on this issue.

    Andrew Coates

    April 20, 2018 at 11:31 am

    • Godd to know, and on this. the more Campaigners the better against the Tories

      The Tories’ two-child limit on certain benefits has been dealt a small but “important” defeat in the High Court.

      A top judge ruled part of the regime which restricts Tax Credits to a family’s first two children is unlawful.

      Campaigners hailed today’s ruling as an “important” hit to a flagship Tory policy – a year after it took effect.

      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-two-child-benefit-limit-12397090

      whoknew

      April 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    • Typical ‘lefty’: generous to a T with other peoples money….. 😉

      Magic Money Tree

      April 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      • Typical Tory: Give me a tax cut and let poorest children be malnourished.

        Percy S.

        April 21, 2018 at 7:40 am

    • This so-called ‘rape clause’ cobblers that you unwashed lefties keep ranting on about is part and parcel of the benefit cap.

      Talk Sense

      April 20, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      • It is ugly, disgusting and wrong. The two child limit heaps the “sins” of the mother on the innocent child for giving birth to a child: penalising innocent children for anything the mother has done before the child is born is revolting – very Conservative party in fact which might be cutting off its nose to spite its face. If hundreds of thousands of children end up in poverty because of indifferent and cold hearted policies like this the Tories could end up having their reputation damaged fatally and end up out of power for years and years.

        Percy S.

        April 21, 2018 at 7:46 am

      • If you read the comments on the article posted on the previous thread you would get the impression that more people agree with this policy than don’t. Maybe, it depends to a degree on your own personal situation e.g. if you would personally benefit from a lifting of the two-child tax credit limit, if you are working/non-working. But the harsh truth of the matter is that people resent paying for other people’s kids, and more so if they are working and paying for non-workers kids. Assuming you are on some sort of benefits given the nature of this blog would you personally take a cut to your benefits to pay for a scrapping of the two-child tax credit limit? Or would you rather allow innocent children to starve? Thought not. So why on earth do you expect people to go out and work in order to earn money which is then taxed and used to pay for other people’s children. Your woolly thinking is exactly why the Tories are in power and will stay in power if you continue on down this road. It is May, McVey and the Tories who are coming across as reasonable and sensible whilst you loudly bang your tin drum, wave you placard and shout ‘rape clause’.

        Voice of Reason

        April 21, 2018 at 9:18 am

      • Here is the previous comment just in case you can’t be bothered flicking over the page. We all know the Scots are tight, but still you can sense the resentment out there.

        Here is a story doing the rounds. This is the version from our friends oop north. The comments are shall we say… interesting … 😉

        http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/16161449.Family_of_14_living_in_four_bed_house_after_single_mum_s_housing_benefit_is_slashed_to_50P_a_week/

        Late Times

        April 20, 2018 at 6:51 pm

        No sympathy from the hard-hearted Jocks and Jockinas:

        “Another tear jerker from someone whose life style choice is paid for by others i.e. me and thee. What they don’t tell us is how much cash does she actually rake in every week from our largesse? Only giving part of the story is simply bad journalism but then the whole point of the exercise is to demonise the Social and “wicked” policies isn’t it? Everybody has the capacity to make one mistake, after that you learn, she seems not to and has chosen her life path. I don’t want to pay for it.”

        William, this story was widely reported a few days ago in various papers, the weekly capped benefit allowance for someone/couple with children who live outside London is 384.62 pounds per week (no tax or national insurance is levied against this), so when Ms Newman had another child, the benefits associated with this took her over the 384.62 weekly threshold, so the DWP had to reassess her benefit entitlement,, however she will still be getting the maximum which is 384.62 weekly free of tax and national insurance.

        “If she worked a minimum of 16 hours per week, everything would be reinstated. However, the cynic in me thinks that the most telling comment made by Ms Newman, “”I went to a meeting at Cheltenham Borough Council and I was waiting for them to tell me what they could do to help us. I waited weeks and in the end my social worker told me that the council was not going to do anything.” So it’s, “my social worker” and “waiting for the council”, no personal responsibility whatsoever.”

        “Why is this story in the E.T. at all?
        We have our own homeless to show concern for!”

        “I dont think she will get much sympathy – having 6 kids you cant afford and allegedly no fathers for any of the kids apart from the 1st who died. Now if all the kids had been in that situation people would have sympathy for an unfortunate circumstance. But I agree with the other comments . She got pregnant with 5 other kids and she acting like we should all pay for her kids. Wrong attitude and people line her ruin the system for everyone else expecting everything put on a plate with no effort from her.”

        “What a truly worthless individual she is. A lazy waste of space who has spent most of her life pregnant which no doubt has prevented her from ever working. Why should anyone have to massage the rules to suit her? The chickens have come home to roost and she doesn`t like it, too bad. This is the type of case nationalists are usually all over with their share the wealth ideology and always blaming someone else.”

        “Your post doesn`t really make sense however “Spurious, unfounded nationalist claims” Who are you kidding? In Glasgow the nasty parties song of Benefits is what sways many voters and usually sung loudest by the utterly vile Mhairi Black. They oppose the Benefit cap for more than 2 children de blah de blah. If 5 feet of scary had her way, perhaps she would move the family into Bute House temporarily.
        That you condemn this woman` actions, is good for you. A chip off the old block you aint.
        Re “you are both as bad as each other” why, because I am a Unionist who believes we are responsible for our actions? what a bizarre comment and comparison. I don`t have 6 children and bleed the system dry hence I would thank you not to compare me with her in any way.”

        “how more money do they want kid after kid and no one works”

        “Wow , 33 and six children…….bizarre .”

        “Not so bizarre. Back in the day my mother had 6 children by 33. Big difference was, my Faither worked in the shipyards (remember them) and my Maw also did waitressing, cleaning etc. to care for us.”

        “Back in the day, TVs were in short supply and there was probably only 3 channels, but I could hazard a guess that Ms Newman has a 52″ Plasma TV with satellite channels.”

        “I bet your parents both knocked their pans in and still came home with less in their pay packets than these lazy ungrateful ‘entitled’ chancers are given !”

        Late Times

        April 20, 2018 at 6:59 pm

        Voice of Reason

        April 21, 2018 at 9:19 am

      • Just out of interest, Percy, what is your alternative to the so-called ‘rape clause’. Scrapping the policy wholesale. Have as many kids as you feel like and the Government (taxpayer) will pay for them?

        Voice of Reason

        April 21, 2018 at 9:25 am

    • i.e. even if the so-called ‘rape clause’ didn’t exist you would be pushed over the overall benefit cap limit in any case. In other words you are mouthing off a load of old cobblers.

      Talk Sense

      April 20, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      • If you don’t find it cruel and unpleasant for a woman who has been raped and given birth to a child having to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that her child is actually a child of rape in order to get child benefit I pity you. The day of reckoning is coming for the Tories however. As more and more people are penalised and made poorer, working and non-working alike, the astonishing maladroitness, nastiness and failure of the Conservatives will be impossible to ignore and they will be held to account for what they have done.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/12/austerity-cuts-marginalised-services-public

        Percy S.

        April 21, 2018 at 8:05 am

      • With all due respect Percy, you are talking nonsense. The reasoning behind the so-called ‘rape clause’ was explained in the comment over on the other article that you said you couldn’t be bothered reading. So obviously you are not interested in listening to reason or even debating the issue. Instead you resort to using emotive language and words to hide your lack of any valid arguments.

        Voice of Reason

        April 21, 2018 at 9:05 am

      • @ Voice of Reason- “So why on earth do you expect people to go out and work in order to earn money which is then taxed and used to pay for other people’s children?”

        Er, that’s kind of how taxes work, isn’t it? Do you resent paying taxes for public services, the NHS, etc? Do you resent paying taxes that fund Housing Benefit and Working tax credits that are a subsidy to big business and landlords? Do you resent paying for the Royal family? Maybe you do- so is it a problem with taxes in general that you have or just “paying for other people’s children”? And I’ll tell you this- hardly anybody who has children is paying for them themselves. If you have children and they use the NHS or state education, you are being subsidised by the taxpayer. That is without any child benefit or any additional benefits you may claim as a result of having them. Did you use the NHS when you were a child? Did you have state education? Who paid for you? Why did your parents force the taxpayer to pay for you?

        KJ

        April 23, 2018 at 1:45 am

  5. Reblogged this on disabledsingleparent.

    mili68

    April 21, 2018 at 6:16 am

  6. Andrew Coates

    April 21, 2018 at 9:41 am

    • Re the comment: “Also they have a few computers available for the public to use at the job centre (literally 2 or 3 at ours) but there doesn’t appear to be anyone available to help people needing to use them”

      Jobcentre staff don’t show claimants how to use computers. The department does, however, use fellow jobseekers on ‘work experience’ (don’t be fooled by the ‘DWP’ name badges) to show claimants how to use the computers, access the internet, help with their CV etc. We are hamstrung though since it is difficult to find jobseekers with the appropriate skills, ability, temperament, attitude etc. to carry out these task. These ‘volunteers’ are drawn from a very small sub-set of jobseekers.

      Why not just employ someone to do the job you ask? It costs money! Working within the current fiscal constraints the Department simply just can’t afford it. This is the reason why you will see claimants struggling on the jobcentre computers.

      Trusting this serves as an explanation.

      Jobcentre Plus

      April 21, 2018 at 10:04 am

    • Bloody Commie!

      Old Tory

      April 21, 2018 at 10:14 am

  7. McVey is correct is a way though: Life is short. The choices we make have consequences.

    Never Let Me Go

    April 21, 2018 at 10:21 am

  8. This once informative and helpful site is being ruined by silly trolling. This is a shame and perhaps a deliberate attempt to stop people from reading it and being helped by advice appearing on it. Kind of sad really but only to be expect I suppose.

    Ro

    April 21, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    • there just brain washed sheeple that cant stand up for there rights 😉

      superted

      April 21, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      • I think it’s just one solo nutter crapping all over the place.

        Ro

        April 21, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      • Nutter [noun]

        Entomology: Ye Olde English

        A person who disagrees with or expresses an opinion contrary to ‘Ro’.

        Lexicon

        April 24, 2018 at 10:39 am

  9. Dead right. McVey’s decisions look set to make life much harder, more difficult and painful for hundreds of thousands of women, children and babies. It’s like putting Herod in charge of child care.

    Ro

    April 21, 2018 at 2:07 pm

  10. I do not believe that child benefit should be capped and think that the “Rape Clause” is repulsive. I can’t be bothered to read the posts of the person trolling this thread, posting using multiple handles, because there is nothing anybody can say to me that would make me feel different: I am about as likely to approve of cruel and damaging social policy like that as I would be of legalising paedophilia both of which are incredibly injurious to the interests of babies and children.

    The Tories back-tracked on robbing the under-eighteens of Housing Benefit, because of the backlash that thousands of homeless teenagers turfed onto the streets due to the cut would make. Theresa May originally said Universal Credit would stay as it is and has already been force to cut the waiting period by one week, expedite advanced payments and make call to UC call centres free due to increasingly bad publicity the government was receiving: there is so much wrong with Universal Credit that many more changes will be forced on the government even with somebody as emotionally hobbled and non-empathic as Esther McVey at Work and Pensions. (For a while. People in that department usually don’t stay for long.) My bet is that moves will eventually be made, when the harm caused surfaces and gathers hostile publicity, that this awful child benefit cap and hideous “Rape Clause” nonsense will also be changed and mitigated to spare the government scandal.

    But even if it wasn’t I would forever been against it.

    As much as I would be against any kind of child abuse which hurts babies, children, mothers and families.

    I won’t both replying to your posts again, even if you change your moniker, and can easily recognise them by their style and excessive cuts and pastes. If I were Mr Coates I would do an IP lookup and block you, or, if that is impossible, simply delete your asinine comments one after the other until you get board and inflict yourself on some other site until such time as they block you too.

    I’m not going to be too rude to you because I think you are either a very young person or, alternatively, a mentally retarded older person, with no life, who needs to get out more. When I type a period at the end of this sentence I won’t be wasting another consonant or vowel on you.

    Percy S.

    April 21, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    • I don’t think the troll is young because one of the names he used was “The Voice of Reason” which ex-Labour MP turned uber-rightwinger used to write a column in the now defunct “News of the World” called just that. And Wyatt died in 1997! Indicating that the troll is most likely not a youngster but someone much older.

      Ro

      April 21, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    • Child benefit isn’t being capped. Stop spreading misinformation Percy. Child benefit isn’t even counted in the benefit cap calculations. It is a two-child limit on child tax credit that has been introduced. Get your facts right.

      Percy Pigeon

      April 21, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      • For somebody in his fifties you ought to have more sense you sad old bugger.

        Ro

        April 21, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      • I think our little friend is young. His habitual identity hopping and tenor of his posts (lot’s of cutting, pasting and copying indicates that he isn’t a very thoughtful person, mostly reiterating the words and opinions of others piecemeal) don’t look like the work of a grown-up, mature and experienced person to me. Either that or he’s a full blown adult but bit left behind and backward. Hopefully, for his sake, he’s youthful and silly in which case we shouldn’t be too harsh or judgemental.

        Percy S.

        April 22, 2018 at 12:11 pm

  11. Some think he should take heed of this wise advice:

    Andrew Coates

    April 22, 2018 at 12:48 pm

  12. 7 Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):12 steps to take nowV2.0 201705256help you comply with the GDPR’s ‘accountability’ requirements. 7ConsentYou should review how you seek, recordand manage consent and whether you need to make any changes.Refresh existing consents now if they don’t meet the GDPR standard.You should read the detailed guidancethe ICO has published on consent under the GDPR, and use our consent checklist to review your practices. Consent mustbe freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. There must bea positive opt-in –consentcannot be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity. It must also be separate from other terms and conditions, and you will need to have simple ways for people to withdraw consent.Public authorities and employers will need to take particular care. Consent has to be verifiable and individuals generally have more rights where you rely on consent to process their data.You are not required to automatically ‘repaper’ or refresh all existing DPA consents in preparation for the GDPR.But if you rely on individuals’ consent to process theirdata, make sure it will meet the GDPR standardon being specific, granular, clear, prominent, opt-in, properly documented and easily withdrawn. If not, alter your consent mechanisms and seek fresh GDPR-compliant consent, or find an alternative to consent.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/gecdra6q91qgbah/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf?dl=0

    so the dwp can send your data to a provider but they will need your permission to processes it any further and they will need ur sig for that so again mandatory has gone out the window same as ujm.

    some one needs to do some foi requests to see if the dwp can now even send any of ur data to a 3rd party provider with out ur permission under the gdpr.

    superted

    April 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    • Superted

      Its the same exemptions as before so providing the data controller can demonstrate the exemption, im afraid so.

      The biggest problem with this all is actually how your effectively held to ransom over this data. DWP like facebook,etc will refuse use of service if you don’t capitulate. DWP use and interact with tons of third parties yet getting them to outline everyone is like getting blood from a stone which while waiting will see that claimant not only not being able to enter a claim but also ensure the time spent chasing it does not count towards entitlement to benefit time.

      doug

      April 23, 2018 at 8:33 am

    • So ted, if I read this properly. You can deny the whp providers permission to process your personal data in relation to getting esf funding or pimping you out to do work placements, like at a charity shop etc.

      whp refusnik

      April 23, 2018 at 8:46 am

      • the esf need ur sig of free will to gain the funding,dwp rules state you dont have to sign any provider paperwork/ contracts.

        superted

        April 23, 2018 at 11:41 am

      • Excellent, music to my ears. My coach will tell me end of next month whether I have to do whp. The criteria for who has to do it, i.e. mandatory are still being finalised. But I have been out of work for nearly four years so I’ll probably have to do it. But I won’t be signing a damn thing. I don’t really see what they can do for me. I’ve done two skills conditionality courses, which weren’t bad, and I’ve done some group sessions at the Jobcentre. Skills conditionality lasted 5 days each and the sessions at the jc were no more than an hour each, 3 in all. But spending 456 days on the whp is just a bit too rich for me. It’s too long. I mean, wtf are we going to do anyway for 456 days?

        whp refusnik

        April 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      • you still have to say that you are willing to participate mind but dont have to sign any of there paperwork i done the same thing on the first work programme and spent a total of 20mins on it in 2 years.

        they still might try and sanction you mind as they did to me but i won at a tribunal 6 months later but covered my ass with a budgeting loan.

        https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/provider-forms-not-a-mandatory-requirement-for-claimants-to-fill-in-or-sign-any-provider-forms-or-documents-when-participating-in-a-provider-led-mandatory-activity-or-programme-freedom-of-info/

        DSC_0693_01
        DSC_0008

        superted

        April 23, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      • Yeah I followed your postings about the tribunal. They couldn’t even be arsed to turn up. Makes you smile doesn’t it. It’s like they’re bunch of effing wind-up merchants or something. Thanks for the advice mate. Just have to wait and see what happens.

        whp refusnik

        April 23, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      • I wouldn’t worry much about the Work & Health scheme unless you get “allocated” to the “Random Control Group” under control of the Jobcentre. See people can be allocated to a “provider” or the “random control group” at random by a computer tool; basically they are running the programme like a drug trial to see if it’s worth paying private “providers” for their services or whether as good or better results (more people off benefits) can be had by using the Jobcentre. Work Coaches can only roll the dice and cannot influence or alter which group the “client” ends up placed in. Where I live I have read if you go with a “provider” after a few weekly/fortnightly meetings you will only visit them once a month and keep in contact mostly by email and/or phone: I suppose they will be running the usual daft and useless “courses”, e.g., “Polishing your CV” and “Interview Techniques” and whatnot. Work and Health is grossly underfunded and so I don’t reckon “providers” will be able to afford to provide much of a service and the “random control group” is the one to be wary of.

        Ro

        April 23, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      • hey ro. the dwp is gonna fuck you and superted’s sorry ass over pmsl

        sen

        April 24, 2018 at 10:43 am

      • Jobseekers should sign up for the work programme to avoid the ‘random control group’ Seriously?! ffs

        FFS

        April 24, 2018 at 10:47 am

    • Sadly I feel the new legislation still will not protect womens data. We will still be forcibly enrolled on the cervical scraping programme and breast screening programmes withough our prior consent and the likes of serco will still be able to access our medical records

      katrehman

      April 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm

  13. Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

    seachranaidhe1

    April 22, 2018 at 4:08 pm

  14. I see the gag clause echoes the mantra placed in certain lit DWP asks applicants for public service employment with DWP.

    I noticed 2 years back while reading some literature given to DWP applicants that government rather than stating the servant treat the public and government alike with equal reverence that the shift through some clever publication put government and minister of department ahead of the public by dumping such concerns in another section with far less pronouncement.

    Basically they want commander and chiefs concerns,plans,etc to be seen as the main concern and public a distant second.As you can see that’s a deviation from equality.

    For these charities its means they cannot point publicly to problems and instead must follow channels that exclude the public from being aware of such. Dampening coverage that holds gravity. The government know the welfare reform and UC is flawed and are ensuring those closet to criticize cant do so in a manner that forces governments hand.

    doug

    April 23, 2018 at 8:24 am

  15. Great News…the Middleton crow has dropped another brat to join the ranks of the other royal parasites, no doubt many more benefit claimants will be sanctioned to pay for the upkeep of yet another sponger!

    Foxglove

    April 23, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    • Well… loike… now that you can only ‘ave child tax credits for two sprogs… well… that Kate babe won’t be able to have no more will down the road will she? On the downside I bet that Harry boy and Markle babe will be at it like rabbits ’cause her ovaries must be nearly empty at the age of thirty-six! Go on my son! Get your boots full!

      London Geezer

      April 23, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    • Those Royals tend to live for a long time too – unless society decides differently!

      Robespierre

      April 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm

  16. The Finnish government has decided not to expand a limited trial in paying people a basic income, which has drawn much international interest.

    Currently 2,000 unemployed Finns are receiving a flat monthly payment of €560 (£490; $685) as basic income.

    “The eagerness of the government is evaporating. They rejected extra funding [for it],” said Olli Kangas, one of the experiment’s designers.

    Some see basic income as a way to get unemployed people into temporary jobs.

    The argument is that, if paid universally, basic income would provide a guaranteed safety net. That would help to address insecurities associated with the “gig” economy, where workers do not have staff contracts.

    Supporters say basic income would boost mobility in the labour market as people would still have an income between jobs.

    Finland’s two-year pilot scheme started in January 2017, making it the first European country to test an unconditional basic income. The 2,000 participants – all unemployed – were chosen randomly.

    But it will not be extended after this year, as the government is now examining other schemes for reforming the Finnish social security system.

    “I’m a little disappointed that the government decided not to expand it,” said Prof Kangas, a researcher at the Social Insurance Institution (Kela), a Finnish government agency.

    Speaking to the BBC from Turku, he said the government had turned down Kela’s request for €40-70m extra to fund basic income for a group of employed Finns, instead of limiting the experiment to 2,000 unemployed people.

    Another Kela researcher, Miska Simanainen, said “reforming the social security system is on the political agenda, but the politicians are also discussing many other models of social security, rather than just basic income”.

    When Finland launched the experiment its unemployment rate was 9.2% – higher than among its Nordic neighbours.

    That, and the complexity of the Finnish social benefits system, fuelled the calls for ambitious social security reforms, including the basic income pilot.

    The pilot’s full results will not be released until late 2019.

    OECD finds drawbacks

    In February this year the influential OECD think tank said a universal credit system, like that being introduced in the UK, would work better than a basic income in Finland. Universal credit replaces several benefit payments with a single monthly sum.

    The study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said income tax would have to increase by nearly 30% to fund a basic income. It also argued that basic income would increase income inequality and raise Finland’s poverty rate from 11.4% to 14.1%.

    In contrast, the OECD said, universal credit would cut the poverty rate to 9.7%, as well as reduce complexity in the benefits system.

    Another reform option being considered by Finnish politicians is a negative income tax, Prof Kangas said.

    Under that scheme, people whose income fell below a certain threshold would be exempt from income tax and would actually receive payments from the tax office.

    The challenge is to find a cost-effective system that incentivises people to work, but that does not add to income inequality, Tuulia Hakola-Uusitalo of the Finnish Finance Ministry told the BBC.

    What do others say about basic income?

    Some powerful billionaire entrepreneurs are keen on the idea of universal basic income, recognising that job insecurity is inescapable in an age of increasing automation.

    Among them are Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin Group boss Richard Branson.

    US venture capitalist Sam Altman, who runs start-up funder Y Combinator, is organising a basic income experiment.

    Y Combinator will select 3,000 individuals in two US states and randomly assign 1,000 of them to receive $1,000 per month for three to five years. Their use of the unconditional payments will be closely monitored, and their spending compared with those who do not get the basic income.

    In 2016, Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all.

    Supporters of the proposal had suggested a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs (£1,834; $2,558) for adults and also 625 Swiss francs for each child.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43866700

    BBC News

    April 23, 2018 at 7:01 pm

  17. “Food bank use in UK reaches highest rate on record as benefits fail to cover basic costs.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/food-bank-uk-benefits-trussell-trust-cost-of-living-highest-rate-a8317001.html

    Ro

    April 24, 2018 at 6:25 am

    • Oh! And guess what the DWP said about the above:

      ‘A DWP spokesman said: “The reasons why people use food banks are complex, so it’s wrong to link a rise to any one cause.’

      Well. That’s new isn’t it? I wonder how much longer the DWP will keep traipsing out this one?

      Ro

      April 24, 2018 at 6:29 am

    • Yes. With all working-age benefits, for the non-working AND low-paid working frozen for four years, while the cost of living has risen, most notably for rents and utility bills, what else could have happened? And with new claimants being forced to apply for Universal Credit, with its punishing regime of delays and waits coupled with lower payments, everything was bound to get much worse for the least well off in society.

      Here’s a question no Conservative can answer honestly:

      If work is the best way out of poverty, in a country with a slowly growing economy and the lowest level of employment for forty-five years with more people in work than ever before, why are ever larger numbers of men, women and children being referred to food banks rather than fewer? And why is in-work poverty, i.e., poverty amongst low-paid workers in the economy, rising rather than falling if work always pays and work is a way out of poverty as the government claims?

      The reasons behind food bank use and in-work poverty are apparently too “complex” for the DWP to know.

      Blaming complexity and ducking giving an honest answer to questions like those above can’t go on forever.

      Everybody knows that cuts, caps, freezes and delays in the benefit system IS the reason.

      Jim

      April 24, 2018 at 8:31 am

  18. In pictures: Sophie Raworth and the 150-mile desert ultra-marathon

    On Sunday, runners combated temperatures of 24.1C during the London marathon – the hottest on record. But for BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth, the unseasonable heat was nothing in comparison with the Marathon des Sables (MDS), a 150-mile ultra-marathon in the Sahara desert.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-43867390

    Sophie R

    April 24, 2018 at 9:58 am

    • Is she doing it for charity? That’s amazing.

      Jim

      April 24, 2018 at 10:42 am

  19. Benefit levels must keep pace with rising cost of essentials” as record increase in foodbank figures is revealed

    For the first time, new national data highlights the growing proportion of foodbank referrals due to benefit levels not covering the costs of essentials, driving the increase in foodbank use overall.

    https://www.trusselltrust.org/2018/04/24/benefit-levels-must-keep-pace-rising-cost-essentials-record-increase-foodbank-figures-revealed/

    whoknew

    April 24, 2018 at 10:05 am

    • Foodbanks hand out record number of emergency parcels amid fresh warnings over Universal Credit

      The increase has been blamed on delayed welfare payments and problems with the Government’s flagship welfare shake-up

      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/foodbanks-hand-out-record-number-12411968

      whoknew

      April 24, 2018 at 10:16 am

    • The power of intermittent fasting

      Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Michael Mosley discovered.

      Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals.

      One area of current research into diet is Alternate Day fasting (ADF), involving eating what you want one day, then a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories) the next, and most surprisingly, it does not seem to matter that much what you eat on non-fast days.

      I stuck to this diet for 5 weeks, during which time I lost nearly a stone and my blood markers, like IGF-1, glucose and cholesterol, improved. If I can sustain that, it will greatly reduce my risk of contracting age-related diseases like cancer and diabetes.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19112549

      Foodbank

      April 24, 2018 at 10:21 am

      • Is “Foodbank” an alias of Esther McVey, trying to spin the benefit of food poverty, amongst the needy, and big up the government for making the poorest starve to improve their health? Is that you Esther you? I bet it is.

        Jim

        April 24, 2018 at 10:46 am

      • Esther is as thin as a rake.

        Fatima Arbuckle

        April 24, 2018 at 11:12 am

    • Britain’s Fat Fight: Why we’re losing

      Everywhere we go these days, we are urged to buy food and eat it – and it’s never good, not vegetables or fruit or well-balanced meals, but crisps, chocolate, burgers, fizzy drinks and sugary breakfast cereals.

      They’re cleverly designed, tempting and honed by the fierce competition of the food industry. It’s like an arms race for our appetites.

      Unfortunately, we are the losers – because this all makes it incredibly difficult to eat well.

      And it’s causing a health crisis like we’ve never seen before. In the UK, obesity is already the leading cause of premature death after smoking.

      Today, 25% of us are obese. If things don’t change, by 2050 that will be 50%.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43838655

      Foodbank

      April 24, 2018 at 10:23 am

      • That is you isn’t it, Esther? Only somebody with a completely scrambled moral compass could paste shite like this in a comment on a site like this.

        Jim

        April 24, 2018 at 10:48 am

      • Like how the NHS refuses treatment, wouldn’t put it past McVile to start sanctioning disabled people until they lose weight.

        Fatima Arbuckle

        April 24, 2018 at 11:09 am

  20. I think my advisor did the random thingy with me and said base of your answers it was 50/50 whether you will be put onto the work and health programme, computer knows nothing as it not 100% accurate.

    I see my advisor every two weeks, done the interview technique and had two mock intervies, first one was better because as I did it was someone I have not seen, 2nd was with my advisor. I also see someone about my anxiety and health anxiety worries.

    Reed in partnership not to bad, but it like pass the buck with my anxiety

    myfinalusername

    April 26, 2018 at 7:22 am


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