Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Thérèse Coffey

ID Issues Hit Universal Credit.

Universal Credit Claimants Locked Out Online Due To 'Consistent' Digital  Verification Failings | HuffPost UK

ID seems an obsession with the crew of chancers who lead this government.

Those who follow politics know that the Tories want everybody who wishes to vote to present photo ID for elections. The fact that a few million people do not have Driving Licences or Passports is a bonus for the Conservatives. It will exclude many of the poor and marginalised from the ballot box, and make local councils (a majority in Labour areas) fork out to pay for some special scheme to allow us to have the privilege to vote. Lots of people will not bother and just give up.

It has crept down to the DWP.

There was this in October,

People are being forced to submit photos of themselves holding a local daily paper outside their home in order to claim universal credit.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) verification process contains a detailed list of bizarre requests potential claimants must follow. It also includes requiring people to send in a photo taken by someone else of them holding their street sign in their right hand.

The instructions were posted in at least one person’s universal credit journal – the online platform used to manage benefit claims – by a DWP employee, according to the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC). 

The Mirror reports,

Universal Credit claimants told to pay back thousands in Covid support due to ID issues

Benefit claimants who received Covid support at the height of the pandemic are being told to repay every penny back – with some claimants describing the emergency support as a ‘loan’ not a ‘benefit’.

The Mirror has spoken to dozens of people who have received sudden bills from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the past six months, asking for all the Covid support they received back.

It follows our investigation into dad Gary Blake who had been sent a bill for an overpayment because of missing ID.

In the vast majority of cases we spoke to, claimants were told to submit ID – despite already sharing it, while others were told to repay their Covid benefits because they did not have a tenancy agreement. In many cases, shortly after providing these documents, the claimants were sent a shock bill.

The Mirror continues with first hand stories, beginning with this one:

Mirror reader Sheila Richards said she received an unexpected bill for £6,000 earlier this year after receiving help during the pandemic.

The DWP allegedly told the claimant it was because she had not submitted a photo of herself.

“I had provided photo ID at my local Job Centre Plus on the many occasions that I had been asked to visit, so I didn’t consider it to be that crucial,” Sheila, who is self-employed, told The Mirror.

She is now disputing the charges with the DWP. Sheila wrote to her constituent MP but never heard back.

Still, somebody is happy at the way things are going:

Written by Andrew Coates

November 5, 2021 at 9:03 am

New Threats to Claimants and Public Services.

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The reality of the recent cut to benefits – that is for those who got the Top Up, which did not include Legacy Claimants – is sinking in.

One thing that strikes you, and it is a long time since this writer was under 25, is the pitance single young people have to live on: £321.84 a month. You can easily pay £70 a month in gas and electricity alone (Flat). In fact that’s around what I pay. It’s a hefty chunk of any low income. My Bill, like everybody else’s, is set to rise.

Then here is this:

What is now worrying local councils is this:

Budget 2021: Local services face cuts as Sunak’s Spending Review delivers real-terms fall in council funding.

The ‘I’.

Council services such as social carebin collection, sport centres and road repairs are likely to be cut following real-term reductions in funding to councils in Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) will warn.

Analysis by the IFS shows that despite sharp rises in household council tax bills and £4.8bn of new grant funding for local authorities up until 2025, any additional revenue will be wiped out by rising costs, and councils will be forced to slash at least some essential services.

The IFS found that the expected average rise in council tax bills across all councils equates to 2.8 per cent increase each year until 2025. With the average council tax bill currently about £1,428, three consecutive years of rises would mean the average household would pay £39.92 more from next April, and £123.13 more from April 2024 than they paid this year.

These are the kind of things that do not register with people, until they are affected. Things at risk include very visible services libraries and the Citizen’s Advice bureau (in Suffolk a couple of years ago the Health Trust had to step in when the Tory Council Council halved their funding for them, except that kind of thing to happen again).

For all the claims to back public transport a look at the reality shows the reality:

Councils reacted with anger, warning that unless local authorities increase council tax bills by 3 per cent – thereby forcing a referendum in which local residents will vote on the rise – then services are likely to be cut.

Sam Chapman-Allen, chairman of the District Councils Network and Conservative leader of Breckland District Council in Norfolk said: “The Spending Review does not deliver the firm financial foundation district councils need to continue delivering essential frontline services and supporting local economies to grow. 

“We cannot see how the £4.8bn new grant funding announced by the Chancellor will come close to addressing the financial pressures district councils and the rest of local government are under.   

“Councils face a triple whammy of rising inflation, higher wage costs from the lifting of the public sector pay freeze, and continuing pressures from the impact of Covid. This leaves councils with an unpalatable choice between increasing council tax for hard-pressed local residents or cutting services that every local resident and business relies on.”

Don’t forget that people on benefits will begin again to pay Council Tax Relief/Reduction next year, which in some parts of the country is already unfairly high.

Still somebody’s happy:

Halloween Day FINAL.jpg

Written by Andrew Coates

October 31, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Benefits Shake up proposed: DWP considers ‘new single benefit’ for Ill and Disabled People.

DWP looking at single new benefit to take place of Universal Credit, PIP  and ESA - Birmingham Live

New Shake Up.

Yesterday the story about a new single benefit for sick and disabled people came up.

Trev commented,

The proposed merger between UC and PIP seems to be all about preventing people from getting PIP, I reckon that’s what it’s all about.

The story has now developed.

DWP considers ‘new single benefit’ for sick and disabled people. Welfare Weekly, today).

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is exploring the idea of a single benefit for sick and disabled people, it has been reported.

Some 1.4million claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or its replacement Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – paid to help people with the costs of being disabled. Others claim ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), which UC is replacing.

The DWP says keeping all these different benefits and having just one assessment wouldn’t work. A brand new scheme would be a way to make the whole system simpler, it says.

The proposal is included in the DWP’s recent report ‘Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper.’

NOTE; The Green Paper was published on the 20th of July and the consultation ended on the 11th of October.

As the Mirror points out today, “A little-reported Green Paper over the summer said a ‘new single benefit’ could combine payments – with Tory welfare chief Therese Coffey saying ‘everything is on the table'”

The Welfare Weekly article continues,

“Responding to the proposal of creating a new benefit or merging ESA, DLA & PIP with Universal CreditDisability Rights UK (DRUK) said: “We are very suspicious of the Green Paper suggestion that Ministers could create a “new single benefit” so as to simplify the application and assessment process..

“Given the stress, worry, fear and distrust work capability assessments and PIP assessments cause Disabled people, the prospect of only having one assessment and not two is only superficially attractive at best.

“Given the repeated stress the Green Paper gives to “affordability” we believe the DWP is being disingenuous and the actual reason for the single benefit suggestion is likely to be reducing expenditure.”

Gail Ward, from the Hand2Mouth Project, said: “Those on Legacy Benefits will be Migrated to UC in 2023/24 and the merging of ESA,DLA/PIP will be a disaster for claimants and potentially means that PIP will become means tested.

“The form descriptors while having different criteria are already closely aligned and the DWP were calling PIP ‘a functional benefit’ in an evidence session before the Work and Pensions Committee recently.

……

The warning is very clearly when Therese Coffey suggested that severe disability group could be nudged into some type of work or training programme is a loud and clear message to all claimants that they want to cut overall costs and cut claimant numbers.”

Or as the Mirror notes of the DWP Minister,

Ms Coffey also suggested she was concerned by the number of people claiming PIP for mental health difficulties, saying she wanted to “target that even more so to people who really need that support”.

She added: “PIP has certainly grown in a way that was not anticipated when it was introduced.

“To give you an example, three out of four young people who claim PIP have their primary reason being mental ill health.

“That in itself is 189,000 young people who currently receive benefit focused on that. There may be other benefits they receive as well.

This seems, as our contributors have commented, part of a wider strategy to merge all benefits. The problem is, as Universal Credit has already shown, this can create bureaucratic and information technology nightmares. As well as, as he above comment about ‘affordability’ indicates, being an excuse for cutting benefit levels.

This is the Minister in Charge of the Green Paper:

Written by Andrew Coates

October 19, 2021 at 11:08 am

Thérèse ‘Karaoke’ Coffey Hits the Headlines.

Thérèse Coffey Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions Celebrating a Few Hours After Universal Credit Cut.

In an unusual move the East Anglian Daily Times (a fine local paper but one which will rarely criticise Suffolk MPs) carries this story about the MP for Suffolk Coastal. This Blog could add that while Coffey is known for a love of a good lunch, fine eating and dining, as well as cigars, her dancing and singing act has yet to be seen – correct me if I am wrong – in Suffolk pubs and restaurants.

Therese Coffey criticised for karaoke video after benefits cut

A Suffolk MP has been criticised for singing a karaoke version of (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life as a controversial cut to Universal Credit came into place.

Therese Coffey, the Suffolk Coastal MP and work and pensions secretary, performed a rendition of the power ballad with fellow Tory minister and Colchester MP Will Quince at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has been criticised for singing (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life as she cuts universal credit payments. Ms Coffey belted out a rendition of the power ballad with fellow Tory minister Will Quince at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester in the early hours of Wednesday. Labour called the timing of her karaoke performance of (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, as she removes the £20 uplift to universal credit for millions of people, “an insult and a disgrace

Today the paper has this story, one that our contributors know all too well.

I’m being made to feel like I shouldn’t have had a child’: Suffolk residents share impact of Universal Credit cut.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 7, 2021 at 9:33 am

Parliament Debates Universal Credit Cut: Tories Abstain and Vow to Ignore Defeat.

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The Universal Credit cut has been raised in Parliament today

The debate was not well attended, and only a handful of Tories (seen on BBC Parliament, yup I watched it..) sat in the Chamber.

One who was there.

In the afternoon debate Beth Winter (Labour, Cynon Valley) called not just to cancel the cut but to extend the £20 uplift to those on Legacy Benefits.

Mired in a the scandal over her recent statements, – “removing the £20 uplift would only mean “two hours’ extra work every week” for claimants – Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey, did not have the courage to address the House of Commons.

Minion Will Quince Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions and MP for Colchester (not that far from Coffey’s Felixstowe homeland), said this was not a ‘cut’. It has been a “time-limited measure’ (what time limit?). To maintain the uplift would cosy (plucks figure from air) 6 Billion, if not more. The ‘safety net’ of benefits should not “trap people on welfare”. Now the government was concentrating its efforts on getting people into work.

The Labour motion was carried, 253 to Zero. All the Tories abstained. The resolution has no binding effect at all.

The motion will simply be ignored., Angela Eagle (Labour) called the Conservatives behaviour “despicable”, We ae now waiting for the (Procedurally necessary) government to respond within 12 weeks.

As the Mirror put it earlier today,

A Commons vote on axing the Universal Credit cut for six million Brits looks set to PASS today as Tory MPs are told to sit it out.

Yet Boris Johnson intends to completely ignore the result – because the vote has no legal force.

Downing Street said he will push ahead with the £20-a-week slashing next month anyway – despite today’s vote “calling on the Government to cancel its planned cut to Universal Credit andWorking Tax Credit.”

Today’s decision prompted furious recriminations from Labour, who tabled the desperate plea to stop the cut in a Commons debate and said its wishes should be carried out.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “This is a major cut that will affect millions of families across the country.

“We have given Tory MPs the chance to do the right thing. We would expect them to vote on a motion that will have a major impact on people’s lives.

Some updates from Twitter:

Written by Andrew Coates

September 15, 2021 at 4:08 pm