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Archive for the ‘David Gauke’ Category

Ministry Hid Report on Universal Credit Hardship.

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Damming 2017 Report only now Released. 

 

Universal Credit may not get the headlines it deserves these days, something else happening I hear on the wireless, but, while Parliament’s  leaking roof capture’s the world attention there is (finally) this very unleaky report.

Study for DWP reveals 78% of people moved to Universal Credit struggle with bills

Mirror.

The shocking report dated November 2017 was only slipped onto the government’s website today

Joint DWP and HMRC report was released on Thursday but dated November 2017

Ministers sat for nearly a year and a half on research that revealed that tax credit claimants experienced “real financial problems” after they signed on to universal credit, it has emerged.

The joint Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC study, which examined how tax credit claimants coped with the move, found 60% of those who said they struggled to pay bills said their difficulties began when they moved on to the new benefit.

More than half of claimants reported that the routine six-week wait for a first payment took them by surprise, and nearly half of those who were expecting a delay underestimated by a third how long the wait would be.

Strike us feather me down.

The study was slipped out on the DWP and HMRC websites on Thursday morning – even though the report itself is dated November 2017, and the research was carried out between October 2016 and July 2017.

Forgetfulness, understandable perhaps…

More than half of claimants reported that the routine six-week wait for a first payment took them by surprise, and nearly half of those who were expecting a delay underestimated by a third how long the wait would be.

About half of those surveyed did not have sufficient savings to tide them over the six weeks, the study found, and this group struggled especially. A few claimants endured “considerable stress” after payment delays meant they had to wait up to three months to get their money.

Overall, 25% said they were having real financial problems and falling behind with many bills and commitments, 13% said they were falling behind with some commitments, and 13% said they were keeping up but it felt a constant struggle to do so,” the report found

Here is the report: The transition from tax credits to Universal Credit: qualitative and quantitative research with claimants.

More from this:

Making a claim online

The UC system is designed to be administrated predominantly online, including the application process. It is therefore important that individuals can complete the application online on their own: ideally, claimants would not need assistance from DWP. Most survey participants reported that they were able to make their UC claim online (77 per cent). Over half (57 per cent) of all claimants interviewed completed the claim themselves, whilst a one in five (20 per cent) required help from someone else such as their partner, friend or relative. A further 19 per cent reported applying with help from an adviser at the Jobcentre. If it is assumed that the adviser would have assisted with an online claim, then the proportion of those claiming online overall is 96%. Claimants’ main reasons for not completing their application online were a lack of familiarity using computers (21 per cent) and a lack of access to computers or the internet (11 per cent).

Payment Gap.

Universal Credit claimants typically experience a payment gap22 of about six weeks from making their UC claim until their first UC payment is made. Once the UC claim is made, tax credits stop. Less than half (42 per cent) of claimants were aware that there would be a gap in payments. Awareness was particularly low amongst female claimants and claimants with children (57 per cent of female claimants, compared to 43 per cent of male claimants, and 55 per cent of claimants who had children included on their claim compared to 41 per cent who did not, were not aware of the gap). Of those that were aware of the payment gap, just over half found out through Jobcentre Plus (54 per cent).

Service.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of Universal Credit (UC) claimants were satisfied with the service they received during transition to Universal Credit (15 per cent were very satisfied and 30 per cent were fairly satisfied). Similar proportions reported being dissatisfied: 42 per centoverall (13 per cent fairly dissatisfied and 29 per cent very dissatisfied).

Where claimants were dissatisfied with the process, the survey explored why this was. The three main reasons for dissatisfaction were lack of clear information about the process The transition from tax credits to Universal Credit: qualitative and quantitative research with claimants of stopping tax credits and claiming UC (34 per cent), length of the payment gap (29 per cent) and poor organisation (29 per cent) (e.g. a lack of departmental knowledge of the process and timescales or the ability to advise claimants accordingly).

Reactions:

Ironically, Frank Field, chair of the commons work and pensions committee, accused the DWP at the time of “withholding bad news”, claiming that Gauke only gave the go-ahead to universal credit because officials “had withheld the true scale of the problems”.

Margaret Greenwood MP, the shadow work and pensions secretary, asked why the government was only now publishing the findings. She said: “Universal credit should be helping people out of poverty; instead it is pushing many people into debt and towards food banks. The government must take notice of its own research and stop universal credit as a matter of urgency.”

Yet all is not darkness.

The Currant Bun has this Good News!

Amber Rudd plans £2bn Universal Credit spending spree to help out struggling parents

The Work and Pensions Secretary wants to pump more cash into child benefits and housing allowances

AMBER RUDD is preparing a near £2billion spending spree on benefits for low-paid Brits to tackle a shock rise in child poverty.

The Sun can reveal the Work and Pensions Secretary is demanding a small fortune to top up child benefits and housing allowances.

With all this joy being spread it’s no wonder the DWP has the cash for this:

Written by Andrew Coates

April 5, 2019 at 11:58 am

Esther McVey named Work and Pensions Secretary: New Sack Esther McVey Day to be Soon Announced.

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Sack McVey Day (2014) – New Day to be Soon Announced. 

Well, Gauck’s silence is now explained.

He was up for the chop.

“The big winner from the change-up so far is David Lidington who has been given the post of Cabinet Office Minister vacated by the sacking of Damian Green, although he was not made First Secretary of State which made Green the de facto deputy PM.

David Gauke was moved from the Department for Work and Pensions to Justice replacing Lidington leaving a gap at one of the most important and difficult departments.

Last night the big news was the loss of Justine Greening from the government after she refused to be moved to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Instead it is Esther McVey, a former DWP minister who lost her seat in 2015 but was re-elected in June, who takes on the controversial role.

Mirror.

Esther McVey’s new job – “This will put fear into the hearts of the vulnerable”

Liverpool Echo.

Merseyside MPs and members of the public have lined up to blast the controversial appointment.

Esther McVey’s promotion to the role of Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions was met with shock and anger on Merseyside today.

The MP, who is disliked across the region after her controversial stint as Minister for Disabled people, was given the role after it was turned down by former Education Secretary Justine Greening.

 Ms McVey, who was born in Liverpool was the last Tory MP on Merseyside, losing her Wirral West seat in 2015 to Labour’s Margaret Greenwood.

As a deputy to Iain Duncan-Smith, she took the brunt of public anger over the hated “bedroom tax” policy.

Now MP for Tatton, her appointment late last night was met with derision from Merseyside MPs as well as ECHO readers, who all expressed concern for those in need based on her track record in the DWP.

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern said she was “gobsmacked” to hear news of the former GMTV presenter’s return to a cabinet role.

She said: “Like many in Merseyside, I am gobsmacked that anyone would think Esther McVey ought to be appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

“People in Wirral West rejected her in 2015 when she was Minister for Work after her government failed to act on zero hours contracts, made life immeasurably harder for people with disabilities, and set in train cuts to family income that will see child poverty grow by 400,000 over the next few year.

“Her Government also introduced the 2011 changes to women’s pensions that hammered women born in the 1950s.”

 

Vox Political has the background on this individual,

Esther McVey is now Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Expect many, many deaths

As Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for People with Disabilities, she oversaw the dismantling of Remploy as a government-owned employer of disabled people, saying the factories should be “freed from government control” and funding could be better used if spent on helping disabled people into work through individual support. Experience in the years since then has proved this claim to be false. The disability employment gap is widening, with 114 disabled people leaving work for every 100 gaining jobs. And only last month, Chancellor Philip Hammond lied to the nation with a claim that lower productivity in the UK economy was due to disabled people.

In December 2012, Ms McVey boasted that, when Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PiPs), more than 300,000 people would have their benefits cut or removed altogether. She thought it was a good thing.

In January 2013, she did not bother to turn up to a Parliamentary debate on private firm Atos’s handling of the hated Work Capability Assessment of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance, even though she was the minister responsible. She left it to Mark Hoban, then-Minister of State at the DWP, who answered only 10 questions out of dozens that were put to him. In August of that year, she sent Mr Hoban out to lie on her behalf again – on the same subject.

She misled Parliament and the public with regard to Disability Living Allowance, the benefit that was replaced by PIP.

In April 2013, she tried to justify the change from DLA to PIP by saying it was an “outdated benefit” for which “around 50 per cent of decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone – without any additional corroborating medical evidence.” She also said 71 per cent of claimants were awarded the benefit for life, without checks. These were both lies.In fact, just 10 per cent of claims were based on the 40-page-long form. In 40 per cent of claims a GP’s report was required for a successful claim and in a further 45 per cent of cases further evidence was used, such as information from a social worker or healthcare professional.  And six per cent of claimants were called in for a face-to-face assessment. And only 23 per cent of DLA awards were indefinite.

Along with Iain Duncan Smith and the other DWP ministers of the time, she supported the regime of sanctions imposed on those who refused to take part in what was then known as the Work Programme, despite having documentary proof, not only that they don’t work, but that they harm claimants’ families as well as the claimants themselves, and are known to cause suicide. With the others, she supported a change in the law after previous rules were found to be illegal. She procured the suicide of disabled and otherwise disadvantaged benefit claimants.

See the site for more.

There is more, more and more….

There is also this.

“In April 2014, McVey was criticised on social media for attacking the Wirral Labour Group in a tweet published while a memorial service for the Hillsborough disaster was being held at Anfield. Later, in a radio interview with BBC Radio Merseyside, she expressed regret over the mistiming of her communication and also stated that she did not personally send the tweet.[16]

John McDonnell, the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer,[17] in 2014 discussed a “Sack Esther McVey Day” among Labour activists and politicians, saying that “a whole group in the audience” argued ‘Why are we sacking her? Why aren’t we lynching the bastard?'”[18] Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps requested Labour to withdraw the whip following the “sickening demand, in public, for a violent attack on an MP”.[18]McDonnell described McVey as “the stain of inhumanity” in a Commons debate in 2015. “I simply reported what was shouted out at a public meeting”, he said about his earlier comments.[19] The issue reemerged in September 2016 when Labour MP Jess Phillips was interviewed by LBC. While disagreeing with McVey’s politics, she described McDonnell’s comments as “utterly despicable”, and added “I cannot imagine why he refuses to apologise”.[17]

Update:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 9, 2018 at 9:53 am

May Cabinet Reshuffle: No Sanctions – yet – for Gauke’s Universal Credit Failure.

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DWP Minister with Best Friend. 

As today’s Chaotic Cabinet Reshuffle is underway we hear no news –  yet – about David Gauke.

More on the Telegraph. 

No doubt Gauke, who has been observing a Trappist Monk like silence over the last couple of weeks, hopes that his record stands for itself.

Latest today:

Universal Credit leads to council tenants owing almost £120,000 in rent

More than 60 per cent of claimers owe more than four weeks rent

Universal Credit has already left more than 100 council tenants across Nuneaton and Bedworth owing almost £120,000 in rent.

The first snapshot of how the government’s new single benefit payment has impacted the borough has revealed a shocking picture.

According to borough council figures, as of December 14 last year, there were 156 Local Authority (LA) tenants claiming Universal Credit (UC) and, of these, 126 were in arrears with their rent.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 8, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Gauke Gives Up on Twitter after Hectic Christmas.

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David Gauke

David Gauke: still recovering from the effects of too many mince-pies and unable to tweet or reply to queries. 

Last known Tweet from the Gauke, (and this is a miserable re-tweet….)

Roll-out of Universal Credit in two weeks will mean ‘major changes’ for welfare claimants in Derry.

This is the latest

A senior civil servant at the Department for Communities says the roll-out of the controversial new Universal Credit (UC) welfare system in Derry in a fortnight’s time will mean “significant change” for claimants. Under the benefits shake-up new applicants living in the Waterside will be required to claim UC from Wednesday, January 17, while the system goes live on the Cityside three weeks later on February 7. Dr. Denis McMahon, Deputy Secretary of DfC’s Work and Inclusion Group, said: “It is a significant change to the way the benefit system works in Northern Ireland, and we are using a phased roll-out to give the best possible support to claimants as they get used to the new system.” UC replaces Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits. Existing claimants will transfer to Universal Credit between July 2019 and March 2022. Dr. McMahon said: “Instead of individuals having to fill in multiple forms and manage several claims, they can claim the single benefit of Universal Credit online. “This simplifies the process, with digital support available for those who need it. People can claim using a PC, tablet or mobile phone. The local Lisnagelvin and Foyle Jobs & Benefits Offices will have a Digital Zone with PCs and free Wifi which claimants can use to access their online account, with staff available to provide help and support.”

Written by Andrew Coates

January 4, 2018 at 11:51 am

Councils have to step in to Help Universal Credit Claimants, while Gaucke still recovering from too much Turkey Stuffing.

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Gaucke, too busy with the Sherry and Turkey Stuffing to do his Job. 

David Gauke, has taken to retweeting,  like a blogger writing from his basement which smells of hamster wee.

 Eagle-eyed news hounds may have noticed that the last tweet he wrote himself was just before Christmas.

Too much sherry and too much turkey stuffing to intervene since the 22nd.

But lo, this has just happened….

Councils forced to fund emergency help for universal credit claimants

Labour says its findings offer more evidence that the government should pause rollout of new benefit system.

Cash-strapped councils are being forced to set aside extra resources to cushion the blow of switching to universal credit for vulnerable households, according to analysis by Labour.

Responses to a series of freedom of information requests submitted by the party have revealed many local authorities are allocating significant funds to support tenants with rent arrears and provide advice to help them navigate the new system.

Margaret Greenwood, the shadow minister for employment, said: “Universal credit is causing misery and hardship for thousands of families this Christmas and councils are being expected to pick up the pieces. This is yet more evidence that the government should immediately pause the roll out of universal credit so its fundamental flaws can be fixed.”

Written by Andrew Coates

December 29, 2017 at 11:31 am

David Gauke’s On-Line Xmas Panto over Universal Credit.

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It’s Ho Ho Ho! with Gaukey this Christmas!

This show will run and run…

David Gauke Vows Not To Let ‘Hard Left’ Win On ‘Social Media Battlefield’

20.12.17.

The cabinet minister entered into a Twitter spat – with mixed results – after Labour MP and work and pensions select committee chair Frank Field claimed the roll-out of the controversial benefit system had left one woman with no income until after Christmas.

…….

During a briefing on Universal Credit roll-out hosted by the Centre for Social Justice, alongside former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, Gauke told journalists: “I think it’s important that we don’t desert the battlefield. Social media can at the moment feel almost dominated by the hard left, and I think it’s important that we engage and make the points.

“I strongly believe that we have got a really good policy that has positively transformed lives, but – and I am not for a moment suggesting Frank is part of the hard left – there is almost a sort of knee-jerk criticism, and a temptation, I think in particular with Universal Credit, that you can almost say anything critical and it goes without challenge.”

He said reports of problems with the system from Labour MPs had led to claimants becoming anxious about the process, while Duncan Smith blamed “irresponsible”.

 After stout denials by Gaukey and lashings of mince pies, the story developed,

 

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke faces a backlash after issuing a strongly-worded rebuttal to a report of hardship on crisis-hit Universal Credit.But in a further twist on Wednesday, Field claimed Gauke was wrong himself and that the claimant in question had not, in fact, received £688 in an advance payment this week….

But in a further twist on Wednesday, Field claimed Gauke was wrong himself and that the claimant in question had not, in fact, received £688 in an advance payment this week.

“It’s great that you’ve found and helped someone in such desperate need. But the mum to whom I referred still hasn’t had an appointment,” he wrote.

“The public has ensured she has money for food and heating today. She’s still seeking help from DWP and I hope you’ll ensure this happens.”

Gauke’s elves in the Tory Party have been working hard up this very moment.

Field does not look as if he’s backing down (Oh Yes he is! oh No he isn’t!).

Meanwhile other very sociable people have their own views on Santa Gauke’s Universal Credit.

Guardian 21st of December.

Readers respond to secretary of state for work and pensions David Gauke’s letter that universal credit is helping people improve their lives.

David Gauke seems unaware of his own rules (Letters, 21 December). The government’s website states that single parents with a child under five years old should not be transferred to universal credit, but he implies that the mother cited in his letter received her payment through this system. His local officials in Slough were also ignorant of this directive when they did just such a transfer to UC in the case of a single mother with a one-year-old. She was indeed paid a sum to cover Christmas, which amounted to 30p! The transfer to UC has now been cancelled after representations, but no money will be forthcoming till 29 December, if then. This saga has been going on since mid-October and she and her child would have starved without support from friends, local churches and the food bank. This is not scaremongering but hard evidence that the whole system and those administering it are callous or incompetent or both.
John Wilding
Slough, Berkshire

Perhaps Gauke will reply to these letters and to this,

Universal credit ‘will cause evictions’ BBC. Today.

Yesterday: BBC.

Six months after people moved over to universal credit in Torfaen there are tales of difficulties.

Richard Davies, Torfaen council’s head of revenue and benefits, said it was causing impact across the council’s services.

“We’ve seen an immense difference, we’ve seen a significant spike in rent arrears, more vulnerable people being brought into the process.

“It’s put a tremendous strain on the local authority – we’re now having to provide assistance to claimants with online and personal budgetary support.

“I’ve been in public services since 1985 and I have never seen anything like it”.

Day Before Yesterday: BBC.

Universal credit: Minister apologises for payment delays.

Benefit claimants who have suffered problems because of a welfare overhaul have been given an apology by a UK government minister.

Universal credit merges six benefits into one monthly payment but critics said people have had to wait six weeks for their first payment.

Work and Pensions Minister Damian Hinds told BBC Wales the change was helping people back into work as intended despite “mistakes” in its introduction.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm

More and More, “I, Daniel Blake” Comes to Life with Universal Credit.

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Daniel Blake.

David Gauke..

‘Real I, Daniel Blake’ man who can’t work after being stabbed faces Christmas eviction after Universal Credit blunder

“Tony Rice said that trying to work out what’s going on with his Universal Credit situation is like ‘hitting his head against a brick wall’.”

This Blog says the Mirror is to be congratulated for this story, but the man affected, Tony Rice, deserves the support of every rational human being in Britain.

I add, personally, that I know people who cannot use computers – one of the reasons I have not seen the full version of the Ken Loach Film is that an incident involving this has happened to somebody I know.

Fortunately I and others were there to help…

I could go on, but this tale of misery is all too common.

Three years ago, Tony Rice was forced to stop part-time sales work after being stabbed in the thigh and face.

Tony is about to be evicted from his home in North London, and for the first time in his life, has found himself reliant on food banks.

Like so many others, he’s fallen victim to the failed roll-out of Universal Credit.

The 51-year-old, from Waltham Forest, has been deemed unfit to work by his doctor: he suffers from a combination of physical and mental health difficulties, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Tony has lived in a council flat for six years. He moved out of his parents’ old house nearby after they died two years apart (you cannot succeed government-owned property twice).

Computer illiterate Tony, who was previously claiming incapacity benefit in a system that provided him a decent, if modest way of life, was put onto Universal Credit at the end of last year.

But contrary to his GP’s professional view, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) assessed him fit for work. Tony was not informed of sanctions for more than half a year – an oversight that has led to massive debt.

Debt, the word makes you cringe already.

On December 12, his Doughty Street Chambers barrister, Mary-Rachel McCabe, managed to persuade the judge at a county court to give him a little more time before Waltham Forest Council – which on the day wanted to press ahead with a possession order – eventually sends the bailiffs round.

If Tony’s Universal Credit payments aren’t amended by Christmas, in the next few months he’ll be on the streets.

“I got stabbed three years ago,” Tony told Mirror Online. “I used to help another guy out in the area with a few things. I was round his house and we got into an argument. He went for me.

“I’ve been paranoid since that and don’t go out much. It’s dulled my confidence really. I’d not encountered violence like that before.”

Tony said he was told at the start of 2017 that he no longer qualifies for Employment Support Allowance, but was not aware of penalties that have left him in arrears amounting to £10,000.

He said: “I don’t understand Universal Credit at all. I can’t use a computer and I feel like banging my head against a brick wall. It’s such a struggle.

“I’ve appealed and tried to get in touch with someone at the DWP so many times. There’s no line of communication whatsoever and I’m not told anything.

“I’m just not getting enough money to survive. I never thought I’d have to use food banks.”

Read the full story via the link above.

Conclusion,

Mirror Online spoke briefly to the DWP four days ago but has yet to get a statement on Tony’s circumstances. Or Universal Credit in general.

Unfortunate as it is, Tony’s case is all too common. And in Mary-Rachel’s view, only stands to worsen.

The housing law barrister said that in the past that legal aid was available for those in Tony’s situation, so issues would be dealt with earlier and eviction therefore less likely.

Legal aid for those claiming welfare benefits advice was cut in 2013.

Mary-Rachel added: “Universal Credit is not fit for purpose.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 18, 2017 at 4:42 pm