Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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Archive for the ‘Suffolk’ Category

Universal Credit Raises Demand for Help, While Tories Cut, and Will Continue to Cut, Advice Funding.

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Universal credit

System that Tories Will Continue Doubles Demand for Advice and Help.

One of the ways the Tories have been running down this country is through cutting back on the money available for essential local services.

Citizens Advice (CAB)  is the last port of call for many people.

With Universal Credit, on-line only, you see libraries being used as, unfunded, a a source of help for people who need to apply through the net.

But anybody with more needs usually goes to the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, other advice services having been run by local government and other cuts in funding over the years.

A couple of years ago the Guardian published this,

More people are turning to Citizens Advice but there are fewer and fewer places I can refer them to and crisis grants from local authorities are disappearing

This year we saw this in Suffolk, a last minute rescue after the rural bigwigs who run Suffolk County Council cut the CAB funding.

Citizens Advice services in Suffolk thrown lifeline after Clinical Commissioning Groups step up to fill funding gap

Citizens Advice services in Suffolk have been thrown a lifeline after two clinical commissioning groups stepped up to pay the £187,000 that was due to be cut from their funding this year.

Suffolk County Council has proposed the 50 per cent cut to Citizens Advice funding in 2019/20, with a view to cutting it completely next year.

But the joint agreement between the county council, NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and NHS West Suffolk CCG means that funding to the service for the coming year will total £374,000 – the same as last year.

The cuts are part of Suffolk County Council’s plans to save more than £11 million, with the 2019/20 budget due to be discussed at a full meeting on Thursday.

October saw this,

Colchester Citizens Advice centre has funds cut

AN advice centre says it is business as usual despite council funding cuts.

There are fears Citizens Advice Colchester could be forced to reduce services after cuts in Colchester Council’s Voluntary Welfare Grant funding.

The council announced its grant to the advice bureau year will be £25,000 – half of which has already been received.

Since then trustees have met to discuss future arrangements with volunteers.

However, Jo Blyth, operations manager at Citizens Advice Colchester, said nothing is changing yet.

This is happening across the country.

Yet….

Today the BBC reports that the need for CABs continues to grow.

Advice issued on universal credit more than doubled in Scotland in the last year, according to new data.

Citizens Advice Scotland gave guidance 40,000 times in 2018/19, its state of the nation report shows.

It comes as the charity demands the next government helps with the cost of living, especially for low-income households.

Chief executive Derek Mitchell said people were also struggling with debt, social security and energy.

The report also showed the charity gave more than 100,000 pieces of advice issued in relation to debt.

Meanwhile our one time boss is having a merry time:

Written by Andrew Coates

December 3, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Why isn’t this a Universal Credit Election?

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There are over 2,300,000 (latest figures, July 2019) people on Universal Credit.

There were 20 million people claiming DWP benefits at August 2018 alone (most recent full figures).

Benefits and Universal Credit should be key election issues.

To take two examples:

Housing benefit no longer enough for struggling families to afford any Ipswich rental properties

Ipswich Star, today,

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism could not find a single two bed property in Ipswich that was affordable on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) during a recent snapshot search.

The TBIJ research found that only one in 20 of the two-bed properties advertised for rent nationally were affordable on LHA. Across most Suffolk and Essex just a fraction of the properties advertised for rent would be affordable on LHA.

It means many families are having to make tough decisions to cope.

LHA is supposed to cover the cheapest 30% of properties in that area. But it was frozen in 2016 as a cost-cutting measure, intended to save £1.3 billion a year, rising to about £1.7 billion by 2020-21.

Although the number of affordable rent homes created in Suffolk has risen over recent years – reaching 500 for the first time in 2017/18 – councils still rely on private landlords to provide much of the housing for benefit recipients.

The article goes into the problems of renting and Local Housing Allowance  – which affects the whole country – in depth.

Read it.

Then there is, something that’s hardly a secret.

Why isn’t this the food bank election?

In the world’s sixth richest country, a record number of people will be starving at Christmas.

A record number of people will use food banks this Christmas. The busiest month for food banks last year was December, and there has been a general rise in food bank use since then (April to September this year saw a 23 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2018). We’re heading for a record high this winter, according to the Trussell Trust food bank charity.

There will also be people who go without income over the Christmas period. Universal Credit, the new welfare system, has a five-week waiting time for the first payment. This delay has not been reduced by the government, despite it driving up food bank use. People applying for Universal Credit now will go without money over the Christmas period, unless they meet tight criteria for an emergency loan.

Chakelian says that this issue – we could add Benefits as such – have not been talked about in the election.

Why?

Perhaps it’s because the Labour party, which is more sympathetic to these things and has tried to come up with answers, is distracted. Perhaps it’s because the Conservatives don’t accept their manifesto is forecasted to bring about record child poverty, or don’t believe they play a part at all. Perhaps it’s because charities that usually campaign on these things have to submit to extra-strict impartiality rules around election time. Perhaps it’s because media outlets decided this would be the “Brexit election”, once and for all.

Perhaps it’s also because many people, that is many amongst those who vote, are not going to be swayed by talking about the real world of Universal Credit, benefits, and poverty.

Let’s follow this example and bring these unwelcome, difficult, subjects, into the election.

Our contributors have plenty of ideas!

A photo highlighting the huge imbalance between Britain’s richest and poorest people has gone viral on Facebook – and generated awareness of homelessness at Christmas.

Posted in the Facebook group ‘Sh*t London’, Cliff Judson’s breathtaking snapshot shows the plush and extravagant display outside House of Fraser’s flagship store on London’s Oxford Street – while homelessness in is on the increase.

The 43-year-old Londoner was aiming to highlight poverty at Christmas time, when there are more visible signs of inequality.

Universal Credit Lies Slammed But DWP Misinformation Continues.

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Resting Place for DWP Fake Information Campaign on Universal Credit.

The Ministry  of Truth still says,

It’s come to a sorry pass when even Bunga Bunga Boris’s daily points to the reality behind this porky,

Universal Credit claimants keep less of their pay than millionaires

The Sun.

Those on million pound salaries get to keep 54p from every £1- but if you’re on Universal Credit you are just 37p better off.

That’s because of the way the benefit works. If you’re on Universal Credit you have 53p from every £1 you earn – known as the taper rate – over the work allowance deduced from your benefits payment.

The work allowance you get is based on if you have children, are in a couple or get help with housing costs.

It means that hard-working people on Universal Credit have their payments slashed, effectively paying a tax on earnings, as we’ve highlighted in our Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

We want the government to increase the work allowance and lower the taper rate.

The benefit is leaving hard-working Brits penniless, like Roxy Thobald, who despite working 20 hours a week, fed her seven-year-old daughter Bella leftover party food because she had no cash due to Universal Credit’s harsh taper rate.

Or single mum Gemma Hickman who is studying to be a physiologist and works 20 hours a week but can’t afford present for her kids this Christmas.

Sara Willcocks, from poverty charity Turn2us, said: “Universal credit just isn’t working for low income families. How can it be when people earning low wages have more deducted from their incomes than millionaires?

The same story appears in the Mirror, suggesting that the Currant Bun has not gone further than a keyboard and the net to write their article.

Universal Credit claimants keep less of their pay than millionaires

People with jobs but still claiming Universal Credit see a bigger chunk of their incomes vanish than those on seven-figure salaries thanks to the way the benefit works.

The merry tale about the fake Universal Credit ads (Universal credit adverts banned as ‘misleading’) continues,

Hotspur has already noticed these letters in the Guardian.

Aditya Chakrabortty’s article (The government uses your money to gaslight poor people, 6 November) revealed the depth that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will go to defend its failing flagship universal credit programme, which has pushed thousands of people into poverty. It is important people are able to make decisions that impact on their finances based on factual information.

The anti-poverty charity Z2K (Zacchaeus 2000 Trust) that I lead was the first to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about this series of ads, and we are named in the ASA’s final ruling. We were compelled to make this complaint because we simply could not understand why the DWP would make assertions without clear evidence to back up their claims.

We were really pleased to see such wide coverage of the ASA ruling, and to know that thousands of Guardian readers share our concerns. We are, however, very disappointed that the DWP is neither able to satisfactorily explain its actions or apologise for the harm they will have caused to the people who may have moved on to universal credit as a result.

The ruling comes too late as the now discredited campaign has already ended. That’s why Z2K has launched a public campaign calling for an apology from the DWP and an independent investigation into how and why these adverts came to be authorised. It is vital that we the public can trust government departments to be telling us the truth, particularly in being clear about their strategies to ensure that the social security system works as a safety net to reduce the numbers of people now living in poverty in the UK. Instead of using taxpayers’ money on a failed PR campaign, the DWP must now start engaging meaningfully with the widespread evidence of the impact of welfare reform on pushing people into poverty. Join our campaign to tell the DWP to #StopMisleading today.
Raji Hunjan
CEO, Z2K (Zacchaeus 2000 Trust)

The ASA found that government claim “people move into work faster” under universal credit breached the advertising code under the rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.11 (Exaggeration). That exact phrase has been used by government MPs 67 times in parliament to defend universal credit, as well as in countless media interviews. It is the key plank of the government’s claim that universal credit is making lives better – yet it fails to meet the basic standards of truthfulness and honesty that we demand of soap powder commercials. It is time that it is removed from the mouths of government ministers.
Paul Morrison
London

 Huge credit to Aditya Chakrabortty. Credit also to cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill, for ruling that the government cannot publish a Treasury analysis of Labour’s spending plans. While both developments are clearly embarrassing to the Conservatives, I think they also reveal a worrying failure by the civil service to adhere to its “core values” of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality.

Specifically, officials in the DWP and Treasury seem to have been willing participants in attempts by the government to manipulate the evidence in order to support a predetermined policy (universal credit), rather than providing an objective analysis of its impact; and to devote resources to rubbishing opposition spending plans for party political purposes, while apparently not having sufficient resources to analyse the impact of the government’s Brexit deal.

I worked for 38 years as a government analyst and I know that the UK civil service, in particular its analytical professions, has a deserved reputation for observing high standards of professionalism and propriety. It saddens me to see this now under serious threat from the actions of current government ministers, combined with the pressures from austerity and the demands of Brexit. It will be important for the next government, and civil servants themselves, to take steps to restore this reputation before it is too late.
Alan Spence
Southport, Merseyside

Meanwhile Therese Coffey is preparing for the Great Flood that will hit Suffolk Coasts

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 9, 2019 at 11:29 am

New Help for Vulnerable People for Universal Credit “as a route into work”?

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Image result for therese coffey church

Thérèse Anne Coffey out on Election Trail.

Electric Shock Dog Collar Coffey has made this announcement, wholly unconnected to the General Election.

DWP announce £10million fund to help vulnerable people claim Universal Credit

Secretary of State Therese Coffey has today (1 November 2019) announced a £10 million Universal Credit Transition Fund for outreach programmes to help vulnerable people make Universal Credit claims.

The fund will be available to partner organisations across the UK, including charities, from April 2020.

It will aim to help vulnerable people, including disabled people, care leavers and those with mental health issues, claim Universal Credit as a route into work.

It will support innovative ideas for engaging with vulnerable people early, helping them to make timely claims to the new benefit.

Figures show that a fifth of claimants delayed making a claim for Universal Credit, largely because they didn’t know how to make a claim or because they thought they would find a job quickly.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Dr Therese Coffey MP said: “I am delighted to announce a £10 million challenge fund to support the most vulnerable in society with their Universal Credit claims.

It’s hard to know where to begin with this statement.

“Route to work”?

What about this case?

And this.

What about help to avoid this?

Perhaps the dosh will go to this:

And so it goes.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 2, 2019 at 11:14 am

Amber Rudd Bows Out.

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The chief whip's missive provoked a furious Twitter response from Ms Rudd

The former DWP Minister Amber Rudd is bowing out.

The BBC reports,

Former Home Secretary(NO mention of her DWP role!!!)  Amber Rudd has announced she will not be standing at the general election in December.

The Hastings and Rye MP said she was “not finished with politics” but would not be defending her seat.

Ms Rudd, who had a majority of 346 at the last election, resigned from the cabinet and surrendered the Tory whip over Brexit in September.

She was not among those Tories who had the party whip restored by the prime minister on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Evening Standard earlier, Ms Rudd said: “I will be leaving the House of Commons on perfectly good terms with the prime minister and I want him to succeed.

“I’m happy to leave the House of Commons as a Conservative MP.” Government Chief Whip Mark Spencer she would not be having the Tory whip restored.

Asked about her actions during the party row over Brexit, Ms Rudd said: “I felt I made the right steps at those critical points and I am pleased that the prime minister has now restored the whip to some of those colleagues.”

She did not rule out a return to Westminster in the future, but said there were “many other things I want to do”.

Ms Rudd is the latest high-ranking Conservative to announce they will not be standing at the general election.

This is when our paths, fleetingly, crossed,

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

On  16 November 2018, Rudd returned to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions following the resignation of Esther McVey over opposition to Theresa May’s Draft Withdrawal Agreement and the Brexit negotiations. As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rudd had to take on Sarah Newton‘s responsibilities as Minister for Disabled People following her resignation.

Amber will be remembered on this Blog by our contributors as somebody who implemented, if briefly,  the cruel and hated Universal Credit scheme, dreamt up by arch-villain Iain Duncan Smith and administered at present – for how long? –  by “electronic shock Dog Collar” Thérèse Coffey.

The new Minister is said to spend weekends in a hairshirt praying at the Atomic Weapons Research centre on Havergate Island, Orford Ness.

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How cruel her Amber’s friends have been!

Boris Johnson takes revenge on Amber Rudd by SNUBBING her plea to be let back into Tory fold amid fury at her Brexit disloyalty – but she claims he BEGGED her to stand again in Xmas election.

Daily Mail.

  • Former Cabinet minister Amber Rudd has announced she is quitting Commons
  • The Hastings & Rye MP will not be standing in the looming snap general election
  • Ms Rudd expected to be brought back into the Conservative fold this afternoon
  • But Tory chief whip Mark Spencer has dismissed her request in a brutal letter
  • Ms Rudd retorted that refusal was ‘funny’ as PM begged her to stand at election

In a moving tribute a contributor writes,

” Her honey-coloured hair fell in heavy waves below her shoulders and as she stared up at him her eyes, clear, speckled amber, seemed to tilt at the corners; her brows were black and swept up in arcs, and she had thick black lashes. There was about her a kind of warm luxuriance, something immediately suggestive to the men of pleasurable fulfillment- something for which she was not responsible but of which she was acutely conscious.”
― Kathleen Winsor, Forever Amber

Her legacy shall not be forgotten:

DWP: Just one scammer prosecuted so far for snaring people in Universal Credit fraud

EXCLUSIVE: 28 cases are being prepared directly against benefit claimants, but only one third-party scammer has been convicted so far

Just one scammer has been successfully prosecuted so far for ensnaring Universal Credit claimants in an “industrial-scale fraud”.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) chiefs confirm there has been “one successful third-party prosecution” since the con emerged earlier this year.

A second case against a suspected third-party scammer is due in court next month.

It comes despite the DWP assigning an army of 145 staff to comb through 85,000 suspected cases of advance payment fraud totalling £1.8m so far.

The BBC revealed in July how fraudsters had conned struggling families into applying for Universal Credit in order to get cash from the DWP.

Claimants split the money with con artists, only to find out it was an “advance payment” loan – which has to be paid back to the DWP in full over 12 months.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 30, 2019 at 4:37 pm

DWP MInister Thérèse Coffey on her “Dream Job” and Universal Credit.

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Thérèse Supporting People into Work (Falcon Inn in #Felixstowe).

DWP Secretary attacks Labour’s plan to scrap Universal Credit

DWP Secretary Therese Coffey’s speech at the Conservative Party.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, the new Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: “Conference I’m delighted to be here in Manchester for my first speech as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

“Let me tell you that there are a lot of unexpected things that have happened to me very late on a Saturday evening. But taking a phone call from the Prime Minister to become a cabinet minister was certainly a new one.

Electric Shock Dog Collar finally got to Universal Credit,

“Universal Credit provides a safeguard for the most vulnerable in our society. It supports strivers, who are not content living a life on welfare.

“We know that work is the best route out of poverty. But Jeremy Corbyn would scrap our benefits system that makes work pay. With no alternative – from the Party that only knows how to trap people on benefits.

“And just like last time – it’s working people who would end up paying the price for Labour’s incompetence. Instead, our party, the Conservatives, want to increase the incomes of the lowest paid.

“And since last year working people have benefited from a £1,000 increase in work allowances in Universal Credit providing those in work with a much needed financial boost.

“And workers across the country are receiving a well-earned pay rise – now at 4 per cent – the highest in over a decade – alongside 18 months of real pay growth.

“Conference, we are not blind to the challenges that face some families. That for some the money coming in does not stretch to cover the costs at the end of the month.

“And so let me say to you: we are on your side. We will work for you. Because this is a compassionate Conservative government.

“So my priorities for my Department are simple…

  1. To continue to improve Universal Credit to ensure people get the money they need in a timely manner, are helped into work, and onto an escalator up to better work.
  2. To help with the cost of living across the country to ensure     that people feel secure in their homes and can support themselves financially.
  3. To support everyone in society – especially disabled people –     so we all can share in the success and prosperity of this county.

“Which is I have today announced a further £4 million package to support people to find not just any job, but that dream job.

Not everybody wishes the pious Minister well.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 2, 2019 at 9:33 am

Thérèse Coffey, a Right-winger in Charge of the DWP and Universal Credit.

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Our New Boss with ‘Mate’ Liz Truss.

Coffrey is an ardent Catholic Traditionalist, which, informed sources tell this Blog, helped get her a shore-in by the former MP for Suffolk Coastal Mr John Gummer.

 

For those not familiar with Suffolk Coastal – this writer’s parents were involved in the Labour Party there after retiring and moving from North London – the constituency is ‘solidly conservative” both big and small C, with some pockets of resistance in places like Leiston and a few wards in, say, Felixstowe.

Gummer used to do very little locally, except from a tour around his fief at election times, looking like a character out of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, gracefully blessing the people.

“God bless the Squire and this Relations, and Keep us in our Proper Stations.”

This has not changed.

These are the new MInister’s most relevant views reported in the local press, the East  Anglian Daily Times,

Following Mrs May’s resignation, Dr Coffey backed Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership bid, saying he had “the mojo to make Brexit happen and he can reach out to many parts of the country to deliver a better, brighter Britain”.

Here are some of the features of Coffey’s manor. Like many parts of the country, lost a lot of its council housing years ago. While there are now plans to build actual council houses, much is in the charge of these chancers, Flagship Housing. In what is now East Suffolk Council they are the main people offering places to live for “social housing” “affordable housing”.

This business, claiming the status of a social enterprise, engaged in empire-building across the East of England, is loathed by many of its tenants.

Its main concern is making money out of poor people.

We’re Flagship Group. We provide homes for affordable and market rent, and for sale across the East of England. We maintain our own housing stock and support the communities they’re part of. We do this through our housing arm of the business Flagship Homes, our repairs and maintenance specialists RFT Services, and our gas and boiler specialists Gasway.

This is their latest scandal (August 2019)

‘Callous’ care cuts blamed after bodies left rotting in retirement properties for month

Neighbours have urged Suffolk County Council to reinstate funding for wardens and sheltered accommodation following the tragedies at Mussidan Place in Woodbridge, which is owned by Flagship Housing.

The latest body was found on August 8 after a neighbour noticed the man’s kitchen was infested with flies. Residents believe he had lain there since June, when they first complained about a bad smell. They said they were shocked by the death – but it was not the first to go unnoticed.

Another body was found in February. Neighbours said the dead man’s relative told them it had been there since November last year. They said the bodies would have been found sooner if not for budget cuts stripping away wardens who used to check up on residents.

Valerie Kersey, 74, said: “There’s been a lot of reaction since the latest death. You feel guilty, thinking you should have noticed, and you feel angry. It shouldn’t happen. We’ve been through it twice now.”

But I digress….

 

Just before Parliament was suspended, Boris Johnson appointed one of the most hard-line and divisive women to replace Amber Rudd as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Her voting record reveals a tranche of reactionary views, likely to be offensive to the gay community, women, pensioners and non-smokers. She would also like millions of Europeans who live in the UK to have no right to stay here.

Cigar-smoking Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, would like to lift the ban on smoking in public places, bring back limitless betting odds on addictive gambling machines, and is an opponent of gay marriage.

As a former member of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee, in the past she has defended Rupert Murdoch over the phone hacking inquiry and was a staunch supporter of Rebekah Brooks, the former News of the World editor and the current CEO of News UK, who she claimed was a victim of “a witch hunt”.

Further extracts:

Coffey opposed gay marriage in Britain in 2013, following up this year by voting against a Commons measure to extend the right of gay marriage to Northern Ireland. She also supports parents who want to withdraw their children from sex education in schools.

On human rights, she voted both to repeal the EU Fundamental Charter of Rights and the Human Rights Act. She is in favour of allowing discrimination against Indians of lower caste and also wants the human rights watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, to lose some of its powers.

On Europe, although she voted Remain, she has since been hostile to Europeans from both the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) living here after a ‘no deal’ Brexit. She voted against giving them and their families residential rights, but made an exception for the Irish.

On benefits and pensions, she is a firm supporter of the so-called bedroom tax, under which disabled people have to fund for themselves any extra bedroom for a carer. She does not believe that people who are long-term disabled need higher benefits, wants pensioners in work to pay National Insurance, and supports cutting the welfare bill.

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 11, 2019 at 11:56 am