Another tory BIG FAT LIE!

Reposted from Tax Research UK – by Richard Murphy

£3,028 tax claim does not add up

According to the FT:

Mr Cameron will use his Downing Street press conference to claim that Labour would put up taxes by £3,028 for every working household — a calculation based on a 50:50 split between higher taxes and spending cuts to eliminate a £30bn structural deficit in the next parliament.

I admit I cannot see any logic to this claim.

There are about 65 million people in the UK and about 31 million income tax payers. The average household has, according to the ONS, 2.3 members. So there are about 28.3 million households.

Between them these households have to pay in tax £15 billion extra according to the Conservatives. That is, if that need is correctly stated (which I dispute), £530 a household.

Even over five years it does not come to £3,028 a household.

This claim looks to be very straightforwardly wrong.

Posted in tory lies | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Massive survey majority believes ‘inhuman’ DWP causes and then covers-up claimant deaths


Every tory MP should read this and hang their bloody heads in shame … lets get them OUT in May 2015!

Originally posted on UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR:

Please note: there are repeated references to suicide in the final section of this article, headed: “Is there anything else you would like to tell us about issues covered in this survey?

A Benefits and Work survey has revealed an overwhelming distrust of the DWP, with the majority of respondents considering that the department:

  • has negatively affected their own health
  • treats claimants inhumanly
  • causes claimants’ deaths
  • covers up the poverty, suffering and deaths it causes

Benefits and Sanctions deaths survey
In the last Benefits and Work newsletter we published a link to a ‘Benefits sanctions and deaths’ survey.

Two things prompted us to create the survey:

    the preceding week Conservative business minister Nick Boles told charity volunteers that some benefits sanctions were ‘inhuman’ – then changed his mind.
  • Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed that that more than 30 secret reviews carried out following the deaths of benefit claimants called…

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Tories won’t reveal #welfare cuts until after the election. No surprise. (#UK #Politics #bedroomtax)

Originally posted on Order Of Truth:

toricutwePrize government idiot, Duncan Smith, revealed that the Tories will not reveal the extent of government welfare cuts or where the cuts will be made until after the election.

On the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Duncan Smith refused to comment on a document leaked to the BBC last Friday which suggested that welfare cuts would include industrial injuries compensation, child benefit, carer’s allowance, and disability benefits.

Duncan Smith said that the Tories had already announced that around 25% of the proposed cuts will come from working age benefits by extending the freeze currently in place for a further two years.

Using a convenient get-out, Duncan Smith told Marr that it may not be ‘relevant’ to detail where the proposed cuts will be made until after the election.

We would interpret that statement as meaning the Tories will not release details because of the opposition they would face through targeting the…

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Universal Chaos – bonfire of the vanity project

Reposted from Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union people magazine

Making work or claimants pay?

Iain Duncan Smith claims that Universal Credit (UC), the governments new single benefit, is being rolled out successfully under budget. The reality, according to PCS members charged with its implementation and delivery, is that UC is in disarray, mired by a lack of staff, poor training and inadequate IT, which has wasted millions of tax payers money. 

  1. 1 Million people were intended to be on UC by April 2014. By November, just 40,000 were in receipt of it, demonstrating the scale of  the job involved in implementation. The Joseph Rowntree Trust warned “getting this kind of change wrong can result in hardship that can last for many years”
  2. 4 in 5 of PCS members working on UCsay that the training they have received to prepare them for the job has been less than adequete, according to a member survey.
  3. More than £300 million has been spent on IT systems that offer limited functionality and DO NOT support national roll out of UC, resulting in £34 million being written off, along with delay in implementation.
  4. 75% of functions currently requiring a human intervention will be digitalised by the new IT system, which the DWP designed at breakneck speed using off shored IT companies. PCS warns that not only could this lead to job losses but could also compromise claimant data.
  5. 90% of PCS members working on UC who responded to the survey, said the IT system used to deliver UC is less than adequate.
  6. 70% of those member believed that the staffing levels for UC delivery are less than adequete
  7. 2/3rds of PCS members working on UC are frequently asked to work overtime in order to implement the project
  8. More than 50% of PCS members said that they did not think UC was an improvement for claimants
  9. 40% of DWP staff administrating UC will be claimants themselves and will also be subject to the regime of conditionality and sanctions. This exposes the shockingly low pay of DWP staff, with 82% of them earning between £15,000 to £20,000 a year – but also reflects how employers (including government ones) have used tax credits to subsidise low rates of pay.
  10. 1st time claimants in work and receiving UC will be subject to an extended regime of conditions and sanctions, including being required to increase their hours and income until they are no longer eligible for the benefit.
  11. 1 payment a month, rather than weekly or fortnightly as most current benefits are paid, means that claimants will struggle to budget on low incomes, increasing the risk of hardship for many.
Posted in Universal Credit | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

MaximARSE complaints procedure

Most people (apart from the tories of course) know that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) as carried out by Atos was simply not fit for purpose.

Now, the shiny and new MaximARSE us has taken over the WCA.  It’s a case of same circus, different clowns.

The assessment is supposed to be a thorough report of the claimant’s capabilities, sufficient for the DWP to make an accurate decision. All too often it’s cursory, the assessor fails (or refuses) to consider and note additional evidence and judgements are frequently based solely on the claimant’s performance during a (brief) interview, without considering day-to-day situations.

The complaints procedure has been underused, and  both Atos and Maximus have been given an easy ride in this respect. It should be stressed that the complaints procedure is not about challenging the actual decision, and therefore is not a substitute for the appeal process – rather it’s an additional channel people can use to express their dissatisfaction.

I would urge everyone with a complaint to use the procedure. (see customer relations leaflet below for details)

The more people who complain, the better the chance of finally tackling this apparently random method of assessment. 

Customer Relations leaflet

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DWP ‘threatened to dock terminally-ill woman’s benefits’ if she paid for her own funeral

Reposted from Disability News Service – John Pring

A terminally-ill woman was told by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that she risked being charged with an “offence” and would lose part of her benefits if she used an insurance policy windfall to pay for her own funeral.

Entrance to DWP's Caxton House HQ

DWP bosses told Sue Smith that spending the £3,700 in advance on her funeral would be seen as “deprivation of capital” – deliberately spending her savings in order to maintain entitlement to benefits.

Smith, from south Devon, had contacted DWP after being told about the £3,700 refund, because she wanted to be sure that she did not fall foul of any regulations if she spent the money on paying in advance for her funeral.

But when she approached DWP, and made it clear that she was terminally-ill, she was told that she could lose part of her employment and support allowance (ESA) payment – she has estimated that it could have cost her about £15 a week – and could even be seen as committing an “offence”.

Smith, who uses oxygen 24-hours-a-day, said she felt “threatened, hurt and distressed” by the warning, and was now at her “wit’s end”.

Smith said: “I expected them to agree that it was a good use of my own money.

“I could understand it if someone was given £100,000 from a lottery win or inheritance, blew it on a Ferrari, and then went back to DWP and said, ‘Sorry, I’m skint now, I want my benefits.’

“But this is not the case with me. Surely they need to rewrite the rules so there is clear provision to allow someone to pay to bury themselves once they are terminally-ill.”

Smith was told in May 2014 that she had between 12 and 18 months left to live, as a result of emphysema and other health conditions, and had an end-of-life care plan put in place by her local hospice, which involved making her will and funeral arrangements, and tidying her financial affairs.

She spent nine years with the Royal Navy, and then ran her own successful business for 15 years.

She became ill in 2001 after becoming injured in a chemical incident, but carried on working for another seven years.

Smith said: “If you can’t spend your own capital on your own burial, there is something seriously wrong with the regulations.

“I intend to fight on as best I can, but any little thing that causes anxiety and stress affects my breathing and tires me out more.”

After Disability News Service approached the department about her case, a DWP manager phoned Smith and told her that she could cash the cheque and spend it on her funeral.

Smith said she now wanted this position to be written into ESA regulations so that if someone is terminally-ill, they have “the automatic right to spend a lump sum within reason on their funeral”.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “Income-related ESA takes into account all of a claimant’s available capital, including any policies or assets that can be cashed in.

“This is to ensure that there is provision for those with limited funds of their own.

“A decision-maker looks at each case on its own merits to decide whether any capital asset should be taken into account. These decisions carry a right of appeal.”

She added later that Smith had been advised “in general terms” that if she went ahead with her plans “without seeking advice from DWP it may have an impact on her ESA claim”, and that paying for her funeral “could be considered deprivation of capital”.

She said that Smith was “given general advice and then provided with specific guidance on her individual circumstances”.

But when asked to clarify whether Smith was or was not originally told definitively that she could not use the money to pay for her funeral, and that to do so might be considered an offence, she declined to comment further.

Posted in DWP | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

He wouldn’t (couldn’t) answer …

From Jon Ashworth Labour General Election Campaign Deputy

Did you see David Cameron last night? He was in the same studio with Ed Miliband, at the same time, with the same audience — but he wouldn’t debate him head-to-head.

We soon found out why. He wouldn’t answer for his failed record. On zero-hours contracts (he couldn’t live on one), on foodbanks (apparently use is soaring because of better advertising) and on the NHS (where he was taken apart by an audience member), the Prime Minister couldn’t answer for his failures.

Just watch this — and see who you think did a better job, Ed or David Cameron:

After last night, the Tories know they have a battle on their hands. Everyone that watched saw a Prime Minister arguing that this is as good as it gets, and a Leader of the Opposition who is hungry for the change that everyone (except millionaires, obviously) want to see.

Now it’s down to us to back Ed Miliband up.

Posted in General Election 2015 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments