James is now destitute following a sanction: ‘It’s bully boy tactics’, he says.

Originally posted on Ann McGauran:

James Dearsley, 60, receives a three-month sanction while on the Work Programme

James Dearsley, 60, receives a three-month sanction while on the Work Programme

A vulnerable 60-year-old has been left penniless and dependent on food bank support after his Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was sanctioned at the end of July while on the Work Programme. South-east Londoner James Dearsley received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (below) telling him that he had been sanctioned from July 29 and that his JSA would not be reinstated until October 29. James, who is already in arrears with his council tax, has spent more than three weeks without social security. This withdrawal of money means that he’s already been forced to use Greenwich food bank twice.

He says the local job centre told him he was being sanctioned because on three consecutive occasions he had failed to turn up for his Work Programme appointment with a Seetec job search support club. The letter…

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It’s absolute poverty, not “market competition” that has led to a drop in food sales.

Originally posted on Politics and Insights - kittysjones :

Public spending in food stores fell for the first time on record in July this year, putting the UK recovery in doubt after a very worrying, unprecedented record fall in food sales, with many consumers evidently yet to feel the benefit of the so-called recovery.

The price of food  was 0.2% higher than a year ago. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) started collecting the data in 1989.The volume of food sales was also down last month, by 1.5% on an annualised basis.

There was also a marked fall in petrol consumption, and the only prominent area of growth was in spending that entailed use of mail order catalogues, and at market stalls, as people use credit to buy essential items and shop around for cheap alternatives and bargains.

Food manufacturing is the UK’s single largest manufacturing sector. The food and drink supply chain is a major part of the…

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Sunderland Jobcentre staff stole claimants’ benefits after getting into debt

Originally posted on UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR:

A civil servant siphoned off nearly £2,000 from people’s benefits after struggling to meet the payments of his pay-day loan.

Anthony Osborne was paying £700 from his monthly salary to meet the “exorbitant” interest rates of his loan, Sunderland magistrates were told.

He turned to crime and took £1,932 in just five weeks after realising he could alter bank details on customers’ electronic records.

But he was caught after two claimants complained they had not received their benefits and an internal audit was carried out.

Osborne, 42, was arrested and pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court in June.

At a sentencing hearing this week, Osborne blamed mounting debts and depression for the deception, described in court as being totally out of character for a man who had never been in trouble with the law.

Osborne, who gave his address in court as…

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Busting myths about tax justice

Reposted from Public & Commercial Services website

Prime minister David Cameron has talked tough on tax havens but his government can’t be taken seriously on tax justice. Here are 4 reasons why

The Left Economics Advisory Panel lists these reasons:

  1. Maude wants the UK to be a tax haven

    In 2012, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said it was a“compliment for” for the UK to be described as a tax haven.

  2. George Osborne slashing taxes for big business and the rich

    A hallmark of a tax haven is low or minimal tax rates. Corporation tax has been slashed from 52% in 1979 to 23% now, and chancellor George Osborne aims to lower it to 20% by 2015. 

  3. Many government ministers’ wealth is based on tax avoidance and evasion

    As Guardian investigations have proven in the case of Cameron’s family fortune, and Channel 4’s Dispatches showed in the case of Osborne, Andrew Mitchell, and Phillip Hammond.

  4. You can’t collect taxes without the resources to do it 

    Combined the annual tax gap is estimated at £120 billion. Yet the government is slashing HMRC’s resources.

For a serious look at tax justice, see taxjustice.net

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E-borders fiasco result of cost-cutting obsession

Reposted from Public & Commercial Services website

PCS say this is what happens when you cut back on public sector staff, who have no interest in profit and replacing them with a private company that does!

This happened under Lin Homers watch (quelle surprise) seems everything she touches turns to poo poo.


The latest e-borders fiasco where the taxpayer has been left to foot a £224 million bill is the result of successive governments’ obsession with cost-cutting

The Guardian reported today that the contract to put in place an electronic system to check travellers leaving and entering Britain was ended by the government in July 2010 because the Home Office said it had no confidence in Raytheon, the company that won it in 2007 and which had fallen a year behind schedule on delivery.

However, an arbitration tribunal has now awarded the Massachusetts-based company £49.98m in damages after it found that the processes by which the now-defunct UK Border Agency reached the decision to scrap the agreement were flawed.

The Home Office must also pay Raytheon £9.6m for disputed contract-change notices, £126m for assets acquired through the contract between 2007 and 2010, and £38m in interest.

We are calling on the government to invest in the skills of its workforce to find solutions rather than puts its faith in the private sector. 

Invest in public sector workers

Our general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “When embarkation controls were in place, the department could readily count people coming in and out of the country. These were scrapped as a cost-cutting measure. The costly e-borders programme was introduced to remedy this, but was also designed as a cost-cutting measure. The obsession of successive governments with cost-cutting has led us to this sorry state of affairs.

“Instead of putting its faith in private sector profiteers who will inevitably come back to bite the hand that feeds them, the government should invest in the skills of its workforce to find solutions. Should the government try to find the £0.25bn that it now owes the profiteers by further cutting the jobs of our members, further restraining their pay levels or further privatisation, we will respond robustly.”

We believe this latest fiasco demonstrates why Home Office ministers and senior management, past and present, have become legendary for their incompetence. Instead of promoting those responsible, for example making former UKBA chief Lin Homer chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs, and paying her huge bonuses,

“It’s time to call them to account for their poor performance mismanagement of the public purse,” added Mark. “The wasted £224 million is enough to put £500 in the pay packet of every worker across the whole civil service.”



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Care workers take Hampshire home employers to tribunal over pay and working hours

Reposted from the Guardian

care workers
Workers at Care UK have extended their strike by a further three weeks, meaning they will have sacrificed 70 days’ pay. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Observer

Eleven female carers to the elderly are taking their employers to a tribunal claiming they were only paid by the minutes they spent with clients rather than their rostered working hours.

The staff, who were on zero-hours contracts, allege that, due to the arrangements, they were paid less than the minimum wage of £6.31 an hour. It is understood that some of the employees at Apex Care in Romsey, Hampshire, where the firm was commissioned to provide the home care service by the council, believe their real hourly wage was close to £3.50.

The carers were not paid for time spent travelling between the homes of elderly and disabled clients or if they had to wait on people’s doorsteps, it is claimed. Rostered appointments with clients were generally 15 minutes long. The employees further claim that on some days they were paid just £10 to be ready to work “on call”.

Malcolm Patrick, managing director of Apex Care, said his company “obviously disputes the allegations”, but could not comment further until the case comes to the employment tribunal later this year. The company claims to pay between £7 and £8.15 an hour.

Apex Care stated on its website: “Apex staff are paid for contact time with clients; all other time is allocated as planned rest breaks, which is kept to a minimum. Our co-ordinators ensure that all staff are rota’d to their maximum availability wherever possible. All of our care staff are on zero-hour contracts to assist with their availability and the flexible nature of their duties.”

In March, the National Audit Office reported that an estimated 160,000-220,000 workers in the adult care sector in England alone are paid below the national minimum wage . An investigation by Revenue and Customs of care providers between 2011 and 2013 found 48% were guilty of non-compliance, leading to one home-care provider alone paying £600,000 in penalties to its workers.

Wages in the care sector have been driven down in recent years, largely due to the trend for local authorities to outsource social care to private providers who don’t offer NHS terms and conditions to their staff. The average rate of pay for a worker in an adult residential care home in England is £6.45 an hour, and £7 an hour for a domiciliary care worker.

Last week the Observer highlighted the case of 50 workers for Care UK, who are staging one of the longest strikes in the health service’s history to secure a living wage for staff working in privatised services formerly run by the NHS. Last Monday they voted to extend the strike by another three weeks, taking the time they have sacrificed their wages to nearly 70 days.

Care UK, whose majority shareholder is the private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital, took over services for people with severe learning disabilities in Doncaster, south Yorkshire, this year, cutting the wages of staff who had been on NHS terms by up to 35% while bringing in 100 new workers on £7 an hour.

The strikers are seeking to reverse a national trend for deskilling and the imposition of low wages in social care by securing a living wage of £7.65 for their poorest-paid colleagues.

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Iain Duncan Smith’s fatal flaw

Reposted from Ilegal

To supply thousands of incapacity benefit
claimants with a hopeless CV….

Mr Shameless

Experience: 10 years on the sick. Handling giros, drinking lager, smoking, having children, avoiding all aspects of physical work, applying for local authority mansions and keeping pitbull terriers.  Working on the side, feigning illness & fooling fully qualified doctors.  Am a very proficient sofa tester. 

References: The Secretary of State for Work & Pensions & the Right Wing Tabloids 

What damage does all this propaganda do in terms of
persuading employers to work with
the sick & disabled?

IDS’s war of propaganda against the sick and disabled has caused immense damage….

The vile headlines have effectively black marked the CV of every single sick & disabled benefit claimant before they’ve so much as written one out….

IDS attempts to distance himself from wild media articles which all too often appear in the right wing media and on television programmes such as ‘Benefits Street’, but it’s all too obvious from his many speeches like this one in December 2010 that the propaganda must surely emanate from either him or his ministerial colleagues.

Smith acknowledges the complexity of reforming the welfare state but then applies crude propaganda as a way of gaining popularity with the public.  He continually deceives everyone by a clever and selective use of the statistics which will win the public over in his war against the sick and disabled.  Smith maintains for instance that 2.6 million people are on Incapacity Benefit for temporary conditions, then he tells us how 1.6 million of them have been on it for 5 or more years.  The Daily Express uses startling statistics to show us that of 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit, a total of 1.9 million could work.  Smith has his mugshot all over a highly misleading piece in the Daily Telegraph telling all and sundry how“Nearly 900,000 people who were on incapacity benefit dropped their claim to the payments rather than undergo a tough medical test, latest government figures show” 

Except it was yet another lie, one which we pointed out on this site at the time and one which was subject to a correction after Sheila Gilmore MP wrote to the Telegraph in an effort to get them to quote the correct figure of 19,700 rather than 900,000!  –  The Telegraph then printed the tiniest of corrections to Sheila Gilmore’s rebuttal over the misleading statement which Smith subsequently blamed on his head office:

Never mind the damaging 900,000 headline!

Sheila Gilmore’s rebuttal:

“19,700 makes a far weaker headline than 900,000. Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman was quoted as accusing Labour of using Incapacity Benefit to ‘hide the unemployed’. This leaves out of account the fact that numbers soared under Thatcher, and Labour introduced ESA in an effort to get people back to work.”

Back to the facts

Smith may care to note that the figure for those on long term IB claims was 1,594,83 in November 2010.  As of February 2014 the latest DWP figures show that the long term claimant count still remains high at 1,466,290 (despite over 1 million assessments of older incapacity claims) with a number of unaccounted for assessments in this set.  It would be interesting to see how many claimants have taken up claims to other benefits such as Income Support on the grounds of caring, Pension Credit claims, or who have simply got lost in the black hole associated with IB/ESA conversions. 

What is for sure, is that labelling people as scroungers and fiddling statistics (which later transpired to show 8 to 9 in people out of every 10 claimants having a long term sick claim went straight from the older incapacity benefits on to Employment & Support Allowance) does not help claimants in moving any nearer in to work.

Instead of looking at the evidence, Smith just carries on pumping out the vile rhetoric.  All of which is hardly likely to encourage any employer in giving an incapacitated claimant a chance when it comes to considering them for a job!

For all of Smith’s talk of getting people in to work via his ‘flagship’ schemes, he’d do well to take a reality check and analyse the simply dreadful results achieved for the long term sick via his beloved Work Programme.  

The latest DWP Work Programme figures to March 2014 show that just 980 people ended up with a job outcome.

It’s an utter disgrace and yet do we see any media drawing attention to the shortcomings of the Work Programme?

These dreadful figures follow testing 1,230,700 long term sick claimants for transfer from older Incapacity Benefits on to Employment & Support Allowance, out of which 469,200 ended up in the Work Related Activity Group (up to September 2013).  The Work Programme figures confirm that of the 469,200 only 47,710 were attached to the programme by March 2014; not one single claimant from these figures held down a job for as long as 6 months. 

The cost is beyond belief! 

There is an estimated all in cost close to nearly £900 million pounds on the incapacity benefit to Employment & Support Allowance programme (according to the Major Projects Authority) which must surely make this pathetic handful of jobs the most expensive in the world?

1.2 Million assessments = 980 Job outcomes

Now I know who I’d call
‘shameless’ on his CV!

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