Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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Archive for the ‘Conservative Party’ Category

Labour to Pledge to End Universal Credit?

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Image result for labour universal credit

 

Has this been listened to?

The story goes:

Labour will scrap the Government’s universal credit scheme, with plans set to be unveiled next week, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

The Opposition had previously denied that it was scrapping universal credit in July. However, The Telegraph understands that the intricacies of the policy have been discussed by shadow cabinet ministers in recent days, with plans having been discussed in multiple departments.

A senior source said Labour’s plan to scrap the policy was “medium-term” with a series of “short-term fixes” mooted in the meantime.

These short-term fixes are understood to include an end to sanctions, the five-week wait and the three child limit.

A source involved said the fixes were designed to “point in the direction of a bigger change”.

As you can imagine the Tories under Spaffing-Turd  Johnson do not like the idea,

Damian Green, the former welfare secretary, said: “If Labour will put [universal credit] at risk, they will be damaging the opportunities of people to get into work and move up the ladder, and that would be unbelievably stupid.”

Followed by the Hard Right:

Matthew Lesh, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute said: “There is always room for reform, but dismantling universal credit will cost billions, mean higher taxes, and undermine our record low unemployment.”

Looks like the Adam Smith Institute have been sampling the wares at this ‘happening’.

https://twitter.com/ASI/status/1173510794308390912?s=20

Groovy!

The Telegraph story follows this one at the end of August in Teesside Live. 

Labour has pledged to end Universal Credit after a damning report revealed a generation of children were being born into poverty.

New research published this week highlighted a “terrible reality” in which thousands of children are living in converted shipping containers, office blocks and B&Bs.

The Labour Party has pledged an end to Universal Credit.

And with MPs on all sides of the House of Commons heading for a collision course over the handling of Brexit and the Prorogation of Parliament, a General Election is likely in the near future.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned that the Government is “failing a whole generation of children”.

During a visit to a children’s lunch club in Wales, he said his party would take “radical action” to help children from all backgrounds and had a “moral responsibility” to “end the scandal of child poverty and homelessness”.

He also pledged to scrap Universal Credit and – as reported by our sister title Plymouth Live – Mr Corbyn said he wanted to reform the Conservative Government’s flagship benefits reform, which has been hamstrung by complaints and confusion.

He said during a visit in May that, if elected, he would immediately stop the roll-out of Universal Credit and end the hated five-week wait for a payment – which is blamed for putting claimants into debt: “We’d halt the roll-out straight away and end the waiting period for people going onto it.

John MacDonnell last year,

Universal credit has to go, says John McDonnell.

The government’s flagship welfare policy faces being scrapped by Labour because it is “just not sustainable”, the shadow chancellor has said.

John McDonnell said universal credit, which merges six working-age benefits into one payment, “will have to go”.

Labour announced at its party conference last month that it would review the system, which is being rolled out across the UK.

We shall see….

Written by Andrew Coates

September 16, 2019 at 9:09 am

As Country faces Brexit Chaos “Managed Migration” of Claimants into Universal Credit Mayhem continues.

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Image result for universal credit managed migration

Looks Sinister – it is.

The migration of all claimants onto the chaotic and unfair Universal credit system continues.

 

Not that you’d notice that much is happening from Amber Rudd’s latest statements.

 

The social security benefit changes that will force you on to Universal Credit

Birmingham Mail.

Universal Credit edges closer for thousands of people who are unemployed and on low income as managed migration means these existing benefits are phased out.

Key section:

What if you’re receiving one of those old benefits already?

If you’re already on Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or one of the other legacy benefits, then you will eventually end up on Universal Credit.

There are two ways this will happen.

The first way is called natural migration. It means you are moved across to Universal Credit if your circumstances change – such as starting or leaving work, a partner moving in or out of your home after a relationship begins or ends, having a child, or changing address.

When your situation changes, your existing benefits are stopped and you will be put on Universal Credit instead.

The second way is called managed migration. This will switch across the remaining two million people on legacy benefits even though their circumstances have not changed.

It has started to happen with a pilot scheme in Harrogate that began at the end of July 2019. That will see up to 10,000 people – more likely 3,000 to 5,000 people, according to latest estimates – transferred to Universal Credit.

In the case of this managed migration, the DWP is offering transitional protection – this means it will top up the Universal Credit payouts so they aren’t lower than the existing benefits these people already receive.

And this is when the managed migration is expected to be finished – that means everyone on one of the old benefits will instead be receiving Universal Credit by then.

More information:

Benefit Changes Timetable – Benefit Changes Timetable 2019

This guide will provide information on the Benefit Changes Timetable.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 30, 2019 at 10:26 am

Food Banks Face New Challenges under no-Deal Brexit

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Image result for food banks universal credit

Why a no-deal Brexit could be calamitous for food banks

RUAIRI CASEY New Statesman.

As our contributors have been discussing the merits of eating US rat droppings and chlorinated orange juice  this prospect looms.

Bad news seems to be accumulating at a record pace. Thanks to the frequent and stark warnings about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, so are stockpiles of food.

Britons have already spent billions amassing private stores of provisions, while big supermarkets like Tesco and Marks and Spencer’s have been filling their warehouses with non-perishables since just after the Christmas rush.

I know people in real life who are already doing just this…

 The modern cross-border food supply chain is a wonder of efficiency and, presently, a ceaseless whirr of containers passes unencumbered through ports like Folkstone and Dover, speeding Italian tomatoes and Spanish heads of lettuce towards our local supermarket shelves, all in the quick and convenient manner to which we’ve become accustomed.

But if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal on 31 October, gridlock caused by radically different customs arrangements will knock the balance of this finely-calibrated operation sharply out of kilter.

What has been less remarked upon regarding these premonitions of calamity is that the UK is already living through a crisis in food security of its own making, caused by nearly a decade of punitive austerity measures, which will likely be significantly worsened in a no-deal scenario.

The number of Britons relying on food banks to meet their needs has been rapidly increasing since 2010. The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks, gave out 1.6 million emergency food packages in the year ending this March.

It marked a rise of 19 per cent on 2018, driven by benefit sanctions, in-work poverty and delays tied to the roll-out of Universal Credit. Now, no-deal Brexit could be a perfect storm of disaster for the country’s most vulnerable households.

Disruption to food supply chains will mean less food on the supermarket shelves, and stockpiling by households and businesses means much-needed donations towards food banks will probably decline.

This continues, to the real point of the article,

The Trussell Trust does not have the facilities to centrally stockpile food supplies, and so plans to shift supplies around its network of some 1,200 food banks.

“We’re giving Brexit guidance to food banks – but there’s a limit to how much we can prepare for and mitigate its consequences,” said Garry Lemon, the Trussell Trust’s director of policy, external affairs and research.

“The responsibility to prevent more people being pulled into poverty lies with our Government. We cannot rely on support driven by volunteers and food donations to pick up the pieces, particularly in the event of no-deal.”

INnother words it will be Food Banks, not to mention those, like us, who often rely on the cheapest food, who will suffer.

The Benefit Freeze means we are already living close to the edge.

This will get worse.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 20, 2019 at 9:46 am

Universal Credit Claimants punished for not having Mobile Phones.

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Unite day of action against Universal Credit, Thursday 1st August

(Details of Actions, including in Ipswich, on the Saturday, to follow).

In the meantime somebody is happy:

While Amber Rudd basks in her success, and we await copies of the Boris Johnson Guide, Protect and Survive a No-Deal Brexit,  the mess that is Universal Credit continues to pile up.

Our newshounds have often posted about the “all digital” “on-line” problem-creating side of the madcap scheme to make everybody poorer.

Even the Boris Backing Currant Bun has admitted that,

PORTAL PROBLEMS 

Universal Credit’s online system ‘requires huge amounts of mobile data and doesn’t alert claimants’

A proper journalist for Third Force News reported only this year,

The shocking digital divide that punishes Universal Credit claimants

As many as one in three people seeking help with Universal Credit (UC) in Scotland don’t have access to the internet to make their claim.

Research carries out by the country’s network of citizen’s advice bureaux (CABs) point to a shocking digital divide impacting the most vulnerable.

The introduction of UC has caused myriad problems for claimants, plunging many into misery – not least because it is an online only system.

One side of this has just come up, from today’s Daily Record.

People without mobile phones facing delays on lifeline Universal Credit payments

Dedicated staff at Renfrewshire CAB say they are finding some of the most vulnerable people who do not have a phone are at risk of facing delays in their applications.

Having a mobile phone is something most of us take for granted.

But, for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, being without a mobile phone could mean lifeline cash that keeps a roof over their head and food in their fridge, simply slips out of their hands.

Staff at Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau, in Paisley, have laid bare the issues faced by Universal Credit applicants who don’t have access to a mobile phone.

The most pressing concern is that claimants can’t find out how their application is progressing and what steps they need to take next.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) uses a call back system, which means that, without a mobile phone, some people who are in dire need can face their application being delayed as there are no means of contacting them.

Bureau manager Kay Taylor, who has worked at the Renfrewshire branch for eight years, insists the system makes the application process much more difficult for many.

She said: “Some of the clients who come here have complex issues and are dealing with chaotic lifestyles.

“And although, quite rightly, the DWP has this call-back in place, it can be problematic for people with complex issues as they may have no means for the DWP of getting in touch with them and it can stall their claims.

“If they don’t have a mobile phone, they can’t get the notifications about their applications telling them what next steps they need to take.

“They can come here to have the DWP call them back on a landline at a specific time, but sometimes that can be difficult or is not possible.”

Amber is still wafting away in the happy clouds of forgetfulness.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 30, 2019 at 10:36 am

Boris Johnson Plans to Tackle Food Poverty.

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Benefit Poverty to be Solved by Cheap Sugary Drinks.

Benefits have not risen – and have stayed at a declining pittance – for so long that barely a living soul can recall when you could buy a pints of Wallop, a twist of shag, and a mid-day plateful of liver and onions with your dole with enough over for a fish supper.

But while not talking about Universal Credit, or benefits, or unemployment, during his leadership contest Boris Johnson has our feeding and drinking interests at heart.

Tory leadership: Boris Johnson promises review of ‘unhealthy food taxes’

Boris Johnson has said he wants to examine whether levies on foods high in salt, fat and sugar are effective, and has vowed not to introduce any new ones until the review is complete.

The “sugar tax” on drinks came into force in April 2018, and a wider levy on all unhealthy foods is being considered to help tackle obesity.

Mr Johnson says he is concerned they unfairly target the less well-off.

Many a cynic will suggest that his plans include a special Brexit US chlorinated chicken, dunkin’ donuts, and cactus cooler diet as the base for DWP calculation on the food claimants’ need to eat (in the old days they produced a calculation on such things as part of ‘what you need to live on’).

Back in the world of tears we hear today.

Since Universal Credit came in the food bank has been packed: My Wigan Pier Story

Mirror.

As part of our Road to Wigan Pier project, eight decades after the publication of George Orwell’s essay, Coventry Food Bank project manager Hugh McNeill, explains how visitor numbers have soared since the introduction of Universal Credit.

And, also today:

And

 

Not to mention this:

 

Amber is active as well!

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 3, 2019 at 4:21 pm

DWP Sending Universal Credit into Meltdown.

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Image result for universal credit DWP campaign binned

DWP has Money for this….

Didn’t she do well?

Anybody with a sighting of any surviving Tory leadership figure talking about Universal Credit, from Johnson to Hunt, or one of their minions, please write in comments.

So far not a dicky bird….

Yet it continues to make it into the media.

This is a good article.

The DWP’s muddled maths is sending universal credit deeper into meltdown

The Independent.

By the estimable May Bulman Social Affairs Correspondent

It may come as a surprise, then, that nine years on, the government’s spending watchdog has revealed that fraud and error in the welfare bill are at their highest levels since 2006 – with much of the rise down to the introduction of universal credit.

To go into the numbers, the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed on Thursday that benefit claimants and pensioners lost out on £2bn that they were entitled last year to because officials short-changed them. Another £1.1bn was wrongly handed out to claimants because they failed to give the right details about their income – through the complex online portal system – on time.

What appears on the surface like a fairly bland report, filled with numbers and percentages, sheds light on the scale of devastation being inflicted on people across the country. Families are being denied the support they rely on to live on because of careless errors. People are finding their monthly allowance fluctuating from a liveable amount to near to nothing, with no prior notice, as the government tries to claw previous overpayments back.

And the real stories are out there. Last month, a seriously ill father-of-two told me he was living “hand to mouth” because the DWP was withdrawing more than £90 from his allowance each month – half of which was deducted for previous debts and historic overpayments.

A  key feature of the sweeping reform was that payments would taper off as the recipient moved into work, not suddenly stop, thus avoiding a “cliff edge” that was said to “trap” people in unemployment. If jumping from £312 one month to £5.32 the next isn’t a cliff edge, I don’t know what is.

Also at play here is the DWP’s often arbitrarily punitive sanctions regime, which penalises benefit claimants who miss job centre appointments – with often little consideration of the many variables in people’s lives. Charities have told of cases where parents have had hundreds docked after having to miss meetings with job coaches due to childcare issues.

If universal credit was designed to help people manage their own finances and make the benefits system simpler, why are we are seeing vulnerable individuals and families being swung from pillar to post, more at the mercy of the state than ever?

More on the finances:

Record fraud and errors in DWP payments

Dominic Brady Public Finances.

28th of June.

Fraud and errors related to payments made by the Department for Work and Pensions have reached record highs and are set to grow due to universal credit.

Meanwhile….

Written by Andrew Coates

June 28, 2019 at 3:34 pm

UN Report on Poverty in Britain: Welfare to Workhouses.

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Image result for alston report poverty Jaywick

Special UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Philip Alston in Jaywick, Essex.

A couple of days ago I heard a group of lads talking about Universal Credit.

They’d all got caught up in its clutches and they had many a merry tale to tell.

It does not take imagination to see that poverty, they mentioned the waits for money, the on-line gibberish, and Coachy.

The DWP, our Newshawks say, always responds with stout denial to any criticism.

This must have stung sharper than a serpent’s tooth..

The report begins,

The social safety net has been badly damaged by drastic cuts to local authorities’ budgets, which have eliminated many social services, reduced policing services, closed libraries in record numbers, shrunk community and youth centres and sold off public spaces and buildings. The bottom line is that much of the glue that has held British society together since the Second World War has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos. A booming economy, high employment and a budget surplus have not reversed austerity, a policy pursued more as an ideological than an economic agenda.

The Guardian covered the story as following:

UN report compares Tory welfare policies to creation of workhouses

A leading United Nations poverty expert has compared Conservative welfare policies to the creation of 19th-century workhouses and warned that unless austerity is ended, the UK’s poorest people face lives that are “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

Ministers in denial about impact of austerity since 2010, says poverty expert

The far-right Mail publishes the bleats and denials of the DWP and Amber Rudd.

Amber Rudd is to lodge a formal complaint over UN’s ‘barely believable’ poverty report accusing Britain of violating human rights obligations by creating ‘Dickensian’ conditions for the poor

  • UN report claims Britain is returning to ‘Dickensian’ conditions, where citizens lives are, quoting Hobbes, ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’
  • But government points out that UN research published just two months ago ranked Britain as the 15th happiest country to live in
  • DWP says Rapporteur paints ‘completely inaccurate picture’ after his whistle-stop two-week human rights fact-finding visit last November

Poverty in the UK is ‘systematic’ and ‘tragic’, says UN special rapporteur

The UK’s social safety net has been “deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos”, a report commissioned by the UN has said.

Special rapporteur on extreme poverty Philip Alston said “ideological” cuts to public services since 2010 have led to “tragic consequences”.

The report comes after Prof Alston visited UK towns and cities and made preliminary findings last November.

The government said his final report was “barely believable”.

The £95bn spent on welfare and the maintenance of the state pension showed the government took tackling poverty “extremely seriously”, a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.

Prof Alston is an independent expert in human rights law and was appointed to the unpaid role by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2014. He spent nearly two weeks travelling in Britain and Northern Ireland and received more than 300 written submissions for his report.

He went on to observe

Some observers might conclude that the DWP had been tasked with “designing a digital and sanitised version of the 19th Century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens”, he said.

The report cites independent experts saying that 14 million people in the UK – a fifth of the population – live in poverty, according to a new measure that takes into account costs such as housing and childcare.

In 2017, 1.5 million people experienced destitution, meaning they had less than £10 a day after housing costs, or they had to go without at least two essentials such as shelter, food, heat, light, clothing or toiletries during a one-month period.

Despite official denials, Prof Alston said he had heard accounts of people choosing between heating their homes or eating, children turning up to school with empty stomachs, increased homelessness and food bank use, and “story after story” of people who had considered or attempted suicide.

Now I’ve got a bit of respect for Human Rights. One of the greatest British radicals, Tom Paine, wrote the Rights of Man (1791), which was a founding book for our labour movement and left. My dad said they were still reading it in Glasgow in the 1930s.

Comrade Paine wrote this,

In the closing chapters of Rights of Man, Paine addresses the condition of the poor and outlines a detailed social welfare proposal predicated upon the redirection of government expenditure. From the onset, Paine asserts all citizens have an inherent claim to welfare. Paine declares welfare is not charity, but an irrevocable right.

One of the great founders of modern socialism, the Frenchman Jean Jaurès, (1859 – 1914)., did not just stand up for welfare, he defended social and human rights. Jaurès campaigned for the innocence of Dreyfus against the anti-Semites of his day. He mixed together workers’ and welfare right with socialism. He was murdered in 1914 by one of national populists of the Farrage ilk for opposing the start of the First World War.

When I read people disrespecting Professor Alston I think they are insulting our glorious forebears.

Apart from that, the present social security system, Universal Credit and all, stinks to high heaven.

This is the Report’s conclusion:

The philosophy underpinning the British welfare system has changed radically since 2010. The initial rationales for reform were to reduce overall expenditures and to promote employment as the principal “cure” for poverty.

But when large-scale poverty persisted despite a booming economy and very high levels of employment, the Government chose not to adjust course. Instead, it doubled down on a parallel agenda to reduce benefits by every means available, including constant reductions in benefit levels, ever-more-demanding conditions, harsher penalties, depersonalization, stigmatization, and virtually eliminating the option of using the legal system to vindicate rights.

The basic message, delivered in the language of managerial efficiency and automation, is that almost any alternative will be more tolerable than seeking to obtain government benefits.

This is a very far cry from any notion of a social contract, Beveridge model or otherwise, let alone of social human rights. As Thomas Hobbes observed long ago, such an approach condemns the least well off to lives that are “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. As the British social contract slowly evaporates, Hobbes’ prediction risks becoming the new reality.