Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives

Iain Duncan Smith: “I was a Cruel and Heartless Bastard as Work and Pensions Minister.”

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Iain Duncan Smith 

Iain Duncan Smith: Covering Himself Against Regime Collapse.

This caught my eye, and doubtless plenty of others, this morning when I bought my copy of the claimants’ favourite daily, The ‘I’.

After a recent  flop as a Radio 2 Presenter Iain Duncan Smith is flaying around looking for a new role and purpose in life.

Iain Duncan Smith says work capability assessments don’t work and are ‘too harsh’

Former minister for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith has admitted that work capability assessments given to sick people are “too harsh” and offer a “cliff edge” choice between work and no work.

He added that this “cliff edge” view of work and illness adds stress to the process and encourages people to misrepresent their conditions to assessors.

Speaking at an event held by the Spectator magazine and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on The Conservative Route to Fighting Poverty, Duncan Smith said that these issues prompted the DWP to review the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) system of assessments a total of five times.

It was quite obvious to us that the system was far too narrow, was acting in a far too harsh manner and was making judgements about people,” he said. He added that despite these reviews, which helped “soften” these effects slightly, the system remains flawed: “The whole process of having a benefit that says you are either too sick to work or you can work, actually works against the nature of how people think of themselves,” he said.

Mr Duncan Smith, like Secret Police Chief  Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, after the death of Stalin, now claims that he was secretly planning to change the whole system all along:

Towards the end of his time as minister, before his departure from the department in May 2016, Duncan Smith had started to formulate plans to totally reshape the way these assessments were done.

“I came to the conclusion that it was time to review the whole way we do this and remove the cliff edge,” he said. “The cliff edge tempts people to make wrong declarations. And it means that whatever assessment you’re making becomes very critical, which adds extra stress.” He argued a system where someone could be deemed fit for some work, or a certain number of hours a week, would remove much of this strain. The current system, he added, works “directly against” getting people into work: “If you’re in work you’re likely to be healthier. Given all of that, the benefit we have works directly against that. It forces people out of the work environment rather than keeping them in.”

On a roll ‘Beria’ Duncan Smith is now going all out for radical reform in a last-ditch bid to save the ‘system’.

Speaking to a newspaper close to the crumbling ruling regime, The Sun, he said yesterday:

BAN THE BLOCKS

Iain Duncan Smith calls for an end to tower blocks in Britain and demands higher taxes on empty luxury homes

The ex-minister said that tower blocks should be replaced by ‘low-rise buildings’ in the wake of Grenfell Tower disaster

Written by Andrew Coates

June 30, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Budget’s Expected Impact on Welfare.

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Image result for budget box

 

Budget 2017 for benefits: what welfare changes is Philip Hammond planning? Everything we know so far about the Chancellor’s plans for the benefits system. ANOOSH CHAKELIAN New Statesman.

This timely article outline some very bad news:

The Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce changes to welfare when he delivers his Budget. What do we know?

How has Theresa May’s government approached welfare so far?

Outside No 10 on 13 July 2016, Theresa May put equality at the heart of her first statement as Prime Minister. She claimed that she would put herself, “squarely at the service of ordinary working-class people”. She dedicated her speech to those who, “can just about manage but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school”, telling the nation: “If you’re just managing, I want to address you directly.”

This meant that progressives looked to the first Autumn Statement from her Chancellor Philip Hammond last year to see if she would turn her rhetoric into action.

There wasn’t much, however, for the “just about managing” (nicknamed “Jams”) when the new government announced its first plan for Britain’s finances. The Chancellor eased the planned cuts to Universal Credit slightly, by slowing the pace at which your benefits are reduced the higher above the allowance you earn. He said the welfare cap would remain, but promised there would be no more welfare cuts this parliament.

A four-year freeze on tax credits and benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and income support has been in place since April 2016 last year, and £12bn worth of cuts to the welfare budget were planned for this parliament in the 2015 Tory manifesto pledge. The government wants to stick to making these savings. A £3bn-a-year reduction in the work allowance – the amount benefit claimants can earn before their benefits start being withdrawn – has only really been reduced by about £700m by Hammond.

Hammond inherited harsh welfare policies from George Osborne’s regime, whose austerity programme hit low-income households the hardest – cutting working-age benefits to add to the burden of wage stagnation and rising living costs. He’s not done much so far to ease this pain.

So what are they planning for the Budget?

We can’t expect a huge amount of easing up on benefit freezes in the coming Budget. Here’s what we’re likely to see:

Jobseeker’s Allowance freeze

This is an Osborne legacy, but the unemployment benefit will continue to be frozen at £57.90 a week for under-25s, and £73.10 for those who are 25 and older. Since April 2013, this went up 1 per cent a year. The freeze was announced in the 2015 budget, and came into force last year. Remember, the rate of inflation is increasing, so this could be a big squeeze in the next year.

(Note: This is beginning to really bite.)

No automatic entitlement to housing benefit

The government recently announced its plan to remove the entitlement to housing benefit for some 18-21 year olds. Centrepoint warns that this could lead to 9,000 young people being unable to access accommodation and at risk of homelessness. The Guardian suggests Hammond might u-turn on this.

(Note: Mean-spirited is the least of it. Expect more rough sleepers everywhere)

Child benefit freeze

Another continued freeze, at the existing rate of £20.70 a week for the first child and £13.70 for ensuing children. Again, inflation going up means this will feel increasingly tighter. Another part of the Osborne plan.

(Note: the plan to hit ordinary people.)

Child tax credit limited to two children

If you want to claim child tax credits for children born on or after 6 April 2017, you can only do so for two children. If you already claim them, your claims won’t be affected. You also won’t receive what’s known as the “family element” (around £40.40 a month) if your children are born after that date. This is another Osborne policy, announced in 2015 to start this year.

Universal Credit freeze

Universal Credit rates will be frozen for 2017-18. The Osborne plan was the cut the work allowance by £3bn each year – a plan Hammond slightly softened by reducing the taper rate in the Autumn Statement.

(Note: another kick in the face for the less well off, in work.)

So that’s a huge squeeze on living standards for May’s beloved “ordinary, working-class people” then?

As we already notice in our bills and shopping, this will hit us hard.

Hard up working families face a “double whammy” of benefits freezes and rising inflation to the tune of billions of pounds, a new study has warned. 

Analysis from thinktank the Resolution Foundation found that a total of £3.6bn will be taken from the worst off households by 2020 thanks to the freeze in tax credit and working age benefits.

Their calculations suggest a single earner family with two children could lose £680 a year once inflation is factored in.

The Foundation’s director, Torsten Bell, warned the Office for Budget Responsibility could revise up its inflation forecast to 2.6% for both this year and 2018.

That would see real pay falling by the end of this year as prices start to outstrip only modest wage growth.

“The effect of a renewed pay squeeze would be broadly felt across the population,” Mr Bell told the Guardian.

“But in many ways the worst affected group might be those ‘ordinary working families’ on lower incomes who will face a double whammy of lower pay growth and benefit cuts.”

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 7, 2017 at 11:11 am

Coming soon: criminal sentences for the long-term unemployed?

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To start our coverage of the Tory Conference and the latest madcap antics of Iain Duncan Smith, this takes some beating. We shall naturally be giving more detailed reports. Tommorow in Ipswich will be helping at a Welfare Rights stall by Giles Corner, promoting the Welfare Charter (see previous posts). All welcome, from 11.00 am to 13.00.

Vox Political

Jobless criminal: Proposals by the Tory Free Enterprise group would put the clock back to the 16th century, when joblessness was a criminal offence.

According to the Telegraph, that outstanding group of backwards-thinking Tories, the Free Enterprise group, has come up with a new way of turning back time to the Middle Ages.

The group, some of whose luminaries were responsible for the stain on literature known as Britannia Unchained, believe those out of work for more than a year should have their benefits docked by 20 per cent.

Anyone unemployed for more than six months should do 30 hours’ community service and lose 10 per cent of their benefits, they reckon.

Britannia Unchained, you will recall, wrongly suggests that workers in the UK are among the laziest in the world.

Magistrates regularly dish out community service orders to people who have been convicted of criminal offences…

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Written by Andrew Coates

October 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Ben Gummer, Ipswich Tory Candidate, Backs Sanctions Regime for Claimants.

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Gummer LetterGum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Gummer Raises a Pint to Punishing the Poor.

 

Gummer Backs Sanctions Regime.

In reply to a recent letter (23rd of March – above) protesting at the sanctions regime for Benefit claimants Mr Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP and now parliamentary candidate for Ipswich (Conservative) says this:

“I must be honest with you from the outset, however, I support the changes the current government has made to welfare, including sanctioning those who break the conditions for Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA).”

Gummer talks of how the “sanctions regime has been made as fair as possible.” He asserts that, “it is not designed to catch people out or to make life unreasonably difficult.” It will, apparently, “ encourage behaviour that is ultimately in the claimant’s interest”. Why? It “will help the get a job – by discouraging behaviour unhelpful to their prospects”.

There is, he continues, an equitable punishment system in place. People get one level of reprimand for being late for an appointment, another for not turning up the Mandatory Activity Scheme.

Gummer sugars the pill: “small mistakes are therefore relatively lightly dealt with”, and that “all decisions are based on impartial facts”, by a decision-makers high above the Work Coaches.

DWP judges, no doubt schooled in the tradition of King Solomon, and Tribonian (I add the latter as Gummer is both a gentleman and a classical scholar), are in charge of the process.

There is an “appeals” system to boot. The fact that “about 40% “ of the sanctions decision are “revoked” demonstrates how fair the initial decision-making process is.

Gummer believes that the sanctions regime’s aim is to “get people into work by encouraging the kind of behaviour that will make an employer wants them”. He asks, “Why should working people in Ipswich keep funding someone who has the chance to get a job but who simply decides not to work?”

Indeed: not only are the DWP the wisest of lords of the law, but they also have the ability to see that when somebody turns up late for an appointment it’s because they have decided “not to work”. Perhaps they look a certain way, shifty, out to get funding from ‘hard working families’.

Punishment works. Honestly. Among with other (unspecified) “measures” “are succeeding in getting people into employment”. They save people from a “life of unemployment” and let them “fulfil their potential”.

Ipswich Food Banks are full of people fulfilling their potential…..

Ben Gummer’s Direct Link to the DWP:

Iron Man Challenge with Iain Duncan Smith.

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Tories auction off an Iron Man challenge with Iain Duncan Smith (10th February).

Super-rich guests at the event in London last night were invited to bid on lots including an Iron Man challenge with Iain Duncan Smith, an early morning jog with Nicky Morgan, shoe shopping with Theresa May and a roast chicken dinner at home with Michael Gove.

Hedge-fund kings, City tycoons and captains of industry were among the 1,100 guests paying between £500 and £1,500 a ticket for the bash at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Mail.

The eagle-eyed newshounds of the Ilford Recorder give more details,

The secretary of state for work and pensions offered the opportunity for the lucky winner to join him for an “action-packed” race at the gala evening at the five-star Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair last night (Monday).

Guests paid up to £15,000 for a table at the event, with the party auctioning off items including a shoe-shopping trip with home secretary Theresa May, budget papers signed by chancellor George Osborne and a bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher.

A description of the Redbridge MP’s entry read: “Feeling adventurous? Join Iain Duncan Smith in this mini Iron Man style ‘Endeavour’.

“This 10km course will be action-packed, suitable for endurance race veterans or competitors who are looking for a challenge.

“You will encounter hills, woods, streams, hedges and hay bales as you seek the finish line in a bid to beat your team mate.”

I was just at the Dentist.

Reading Town and Country I learn that in the posher parts of London it’s £7,000 per square foot for flats and homes.

I might get me a half a foot out of a year’s JSA.

For reasons that are hard to explain Ipswich Unemployed Action was not invited to the  Grosvenor House Hotel.

But in Town and Country I notice this this delightful Valentine’s gift.

I shall send it to Iain Duncan Smith in appreciation for all his hard work.

 

Tories to Remove Housing Benefit for 18 to 21 Year olds.

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Young Homelessness: Set to Swell in Number Under a Conservative Government. 

Today’s news:

New welfare crackdown on workshy

Tens of thousands of families where no one works will have their benefits slashed, David Cameron is to pledge today.

The current £26,000 cap would be cut to £23,000 within days of the Tories winning the general election, the Prime Minister will say.

As the campaign enters its final 100 days with two polls showing his party has moved into a narrow lead, Mr Cameron is also promising tax relief for the middle classes.

He is determined to ensure welfare is no longer a ‘lifestyle choice’, while rewarding those who are in work. He will pledge that the Conservatives would reduce the limit on handouts to jobless families within a week of being re-elected.

Housing benefit would be removed from jobless 18 to 21-year-olds, meaning they will have to live with their parents like millions of youngsters starting out in a job.

Daily Mail.

There’s that stupid expression “life-style choice” – as if being on the Dole was like being a Hipster‘Shit, dude, my bad, awks’, ‘ Chillax!’

Very few people get £26,000 a year, per couple, in benefits.

Those that do have to pay massive rents. If they don’t get the benefits they will loses their homes.

So, more homeless.

Young people on Housing benefit have often left home because they cannot live there – for reasons that range from abusive parents, not enough room at home, to a simple wish to be indepdnent.

If their benefits are removed they will find themselves homeless.

The Conservatives, the party of homelessness. 

Note: detailed demolition of Cameron’s claims, David Cameron churns out another Benefit Cap lie  (Vox Political)

Universal Credit – Benefits to Loans

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Word has reached Ipswich Unemployed Action from The Void that Iain Duncan Smith plans to convert 40% of benefit claims into loans as a result from increasing draconian benefit sanctions. Benefit Claimants will be divided into The Deserving Poor and The Undeserving Poor – most of this will be delegated to the private sector to decide within their remit who should be able to claim benefits and who should be forced into a hardship payment loan of up to £6000 or more.

The Deserving Poor

If you are deemed worthy of benefits – perhaps newly unemployed from redundancy or never had a benefit claim before; you will still have to meet an almost endless (and continuously growing) list of conditions, but you will be able to claim benefits.

The Undeserving Poor

If you are deemed to be, lets say “undeserving” of benefits at the DWP or private providers’ (such as on the Work Programme) discretion, by not meeting the list of conditions, then you will be sanctioned up to 3 years. Hardship payments will be replaced with loans – we assume they will be interest free, but we await details – thus converting welfare into loans.

The likelihood of rolling sanctions is rife – 3 year sanctions (paid as a loan) and  recouped in the following 3 years from benefits to pay the outstanding debt.

Some readers might be thinking “6 years?! Who is going to be unemployed that long?” – financial hardship wont force someone into securing work, it alienates people from society, and if it doesn’t kill someone through suicide, its certainly not going to get someone a job.

Welfare to Loans

Ipswich Unemployed Action believes up to 40% of claimants might be subject to these (repayable, obviously) loans at some stage. These will be targeted on long-term (6 months+) unemployed persons especially, but new claimants wont be immune.

We feel that any higher percentage couldn’t be sustained as this is unlawful.

Its probable that longer term the loans could be delegated to Tory banking chums in the latter years of the next parliamentary term if the Tories win the next General Election.

Hardship Payments Welfare Reform

This news reached us from The Void, originally by refuted. Both are heavyweights in championing welfare rights.