DWP, ATOS, MAXIMUS AND CAPITA: TORY STATE ASSASSINS
THERE IS NO GREATER SCRUTINY BY A VICOUS AND FASCIST UK (tory) GOVERNMENT THAN WHEN YOU BECOME RELIANT ON WELFARE HAND OUTS.
YOU WILL BE SPIED ON AND EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION SCRUTINIZIED TO GIVE THEM THE EXCUSE TO REMOVE THE PITTANCE THEY GIVE YOU
AFTER MAYBE DECADES OF GRAFT EXPECTING SOME SUPPORT WHEN YOU BECOME ILL OR DISABLED.
The callous and ruthless treatment of Britain's terminally ill patients to be reviewed
(Under a vile tory austerity boot the weekest and most vulnerable have paid a heavy price)
Man facing life in wheelchair waits 15 months for tribunal after benefits refused
(Tory state assassins the DWP getting away with murder)
Tory state assassins the DWP: Advertising watchdog launches investigation into Universal Credit adverts
Tory state assassins the DWP face calls for full benefit deaths inquiry after review missed key documents
How Britain's welfare state has been taken over by shadowy tech consultants
(That puts an automatic block on recipients who end up suicidal or who die on the streets)
Man with incurable cancer has benefits stopped after an assessor deemed him "fully capable to do everything"
(The tory state assassins the DWP at the mass murdering again)
Crippled: Austerity and the Demonization of Disabled People
(An evil tory government targeting the sick and disabled like a page from the Nazi's final solution)
Poverty in the UK is 'systematic' and 'tragic', says UN special rapporteur
(Some observers might conclude that the DWP had been tasked with "designing a digital and sanitised
version of the 19th Century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens"
with "story after story" of people who had considered or attempted suicide)
State assassins the DWP "Department for Workhouses and Poverty" have another death on their hands after stopping an elderly womans pension
Tory state assassins the DWP will end financial sanctions longer than six months for benefit claimants
(But will still apply them short term despite many deaths with an admission sanctions may have damaged the Tory brand.
Rudd defied Labour's calls to scrap sanctions altogether - claiming the cruel penalties still "play a role")
Tory massive austerity boot continues to impoverish the poorest in ruthless cuts
(Meanwhile the country distracted by her Brexshit)
Tory scum and their gang of twisted supporters turn Britain into a cold ruthless murderous regime where a
Down's syndrome man dies in hospital because he 'wasn't fed for 19 days'
Mother of man who can't walk or talk says DWP is making him prove he's disabled
(Britain now living under a ruthless mindless murderous tory boot while the sheeple are distracted with Brexshit)
DWP minister admits government has no idea how many food banks are in the UK
Tory state assassins the DWP and their culture of contempt towards disabled people
Disabled mum's heartbreaking last words before taking own life as DWP stop benefits
(Tory assassins add another name to the long trail of the dead)
Millions dependent on a ruthless state machine to survive
(Failure to comply with a long list of twisted demands will leave many with absolutely nothing
to survive on like something out of Orwell's 1984)
Mentally ill will be fast-tracked back to work
(Nothing better for lifting depression than being put back on the enslavement conveyor belt)
Tory state assassins the DWP have one more death on their hands to add to the thousands who would rather commit suicide than
tolerate the financial and psychological torture being used as a fascist boot against benefit claimants
A mother whose disabled daughter killed herself after her benefit payments
were stopped has called for officials to be prosecuted over their failings
(She suffered multiple physical and mental health
issues including curvature of the spine and a brain cyst, and took 23 tablets each day.
She was suffering from pneumonia when she missed her assessment but was then ruled fit
to work and had her Employment and Support Allowance halted)
8,000 people die months after being rejected for disability benefit, Tories admit
(Murderous tory regime STILL getting away with murder. How many have to die before the peasants
rise up and how many fucking scumbags vote for these murderous thugs to run the country in fascist Britain?)
Severely ill father found hanged by his own daughter just days before Christmas after DWP assessors ruled he was fit to work... despite doctor saying he wasn't
Sick dad kills himself days before Christmas after being found fit for work
Should DWP staff be held accountable for their RUTHLESS decisions behind the deaths of many of their victims?(VIDEO)
The DWP's new whipping boys Capita's despicable treatment of one of the most disabled people in Northern Ireland
One in three Universal Credit applicants have their claims rejected
(400,000 claims for the new benefit have been knocked back in the past year)
Universal Credit agents 'encouraged' to get claimants off phone
(How tory thugs crush welfare victims under their fascist boot)
Sick and disabled people who were underpaid in a major TORY welfare blunder were pushed into rent arrears, debt and destitution
(and in many extreme cases homelessness and suicide)
Thousands of benefits claimants were underpaid by thousands
(Tory scum caught stealing off the poorest again. Many left in DIRE straits due to the shortfall some went on to
commit suicide or die on the streets)
Under normal circumstances, the news 180,000 disabled, sick and terminally ill people had lost an average of £5000 each would be astonishing.
With this sorry excuse of a government, it barely raises a surprised eyebrow
Dead homeless man's sister is 'left with only his cup of change and yoga mat found beside his body'
(How many men have to DIE on the streets of Britain before there is genuine outrage instead of acceptance?)
Tories are deluded if they think Universal Credit will bring fairness to system
Universal Credit Tory minister compared to Grinch that 'stole Glasgow’s Christmas'
449 homeless people died over the last year but no official figures have been kept until now
Tory cuts to lifeline benefits blasted as '36 sick Scots a month DIE after being ordered to work'
(The same EVIL bastards claiming Russians are poisoning spies in Britain yet they themselves have a long trail of the dead)
Grieving family say stress of DWP benefits bungle caused great-gran's death
(How tory government henchmen the DWP use psychological and financial torture to seriously affect the physical and mental
health of already vulnerable claimants)
‘Pensionless Pensioner’ Brands UK Government Most Brutal ‘Regime’ In Living Memory
(From 2016 and a rough explanation of the psychological torture anyone seeking government help goes through that drives many to depression and suicide)
Dad who had benefits cut ‘because he could make tea’ dies of cancer with £8 in the bank
(The cruelty metted out to heterosexual men in a country run by murdering scum)
Homeless man found dead in Paisley town centre in broad daylight
(Death by a thousand tory cuts)
End Hunger UK says DELIBERATE payment delays and errors are pushing vulnerable people into destitution, hunger and debt
(Suicide is a handy way for a mass murdering government to save millions in welfare payments using their ruthless anonymous assassins the DWP)
Universal Credit: An evil tory agenda of deliberate mass enforced deprivation of Britain's vulnerable citizens
The ongoing terrorization of the disabled by tory assassins the DWP
(How a country treats the most vulnerable shows a vicious and vindictive attack on
victims who can't fight back against a brutal and ruthless tory regime)
The Financial Conduct Authority prosecuted eight cases of insider trading in the past five years and secured 12 convictions.
By comparison, the Department for Work and Pensions prosecuted or penalised more than 10,000 benefit fraudsters last year
(There lies the heart of inequality where rich toffs are getting away with murder while the poor are hammered)
Attempted suicides by disability benefit claimants more than double after introduction of fit-to-work assessment
A ‘shocking’ report on suicide attempts among benefit claimants has surfaced. But the media is silent
Crocodile tears from a tory who hears the desperation and suicide attempts of those harshly treated by
the UK's tory driven draconian welfare system?
Tory scum accused of “economic murder” after researchers linked hundreds of thousands of deaths to cuts to public services that began seven years ago
Disability welfare cuts driving people to 'thoughts of suicide' claims charity
Tory scum's assassins the DWP are causing fear and terror(from 3.14)(VIDEO)
Tory rebellion throws Universal Credit reforms into chaos
(How tory scum inflict more punishment on the vulnerable)
Woman who cannot use her legs and left arm was told to ‘find work’ and had her benefits stopped
Benefits assessor sanctioned for mocking disabled claimant
(The utter scum employed to fleece the disabled)
UN slams the UK Government saying welfare cuts have created a 'human catastrophe' for disabled people
Disability assessors 'lack right skills'(Appalling mistreatment of the disabled
by a vile tory government)
Cruel Tory disability benefit changes strip £6million a year from people with multiple sclerosis
DWP withhold one of their former employees benefit money
Suing The DWP
More than 5,000 sick and disabled benefit claimants have been sanctioned for 6 MONTHS
People who have had cancer, breathing difficulties, a kidney removed and a stroke are told to dust themselves down and get to work.
Even dogs in the street know welfare system is broken as more and more get sick of callous Tories
DWP forced disabled women to crawl up stairs for interview for fear of being sanctioned
Disabled mother took fatal overdose hours after her benefits appeal rejected
(Evil tory policies killing British citizens yet a whole swathe of the country want to vote them
back in. What does that say about a country that allows this to continue unabated?)
Shock rise of people given ZERO points in the Tories' cruel disability benefit tests
Alice Kirby accuses the tory assassins the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of "institutional abuse"
Tory scum's endless merry go round of disabled reassessments is an excuse to cut welfare
(The lying thieving bastards claim "reviews could see their payments rise" finding such a claimant is like looking for a Dodo)
More people come forward in the DWP ‘Kill Yourself’ scandal
A letter to fellow benefit claimants who feel suicidal
Tory assassins Maximus ‘have falsified results of fitness for work tests’, says MP
PIP investigation: Welfare expert says two-thirds of appeals involve lying assessors
(The extreme measures taken by a ruthless tory government against the weakest and most vulnerable
Woman with no hands had her benefits stopped because she couldn’t open a letter (VIDEO)
Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy
Ken Loach: Tory government 'callous, brutal and disgraceful' and 'must be removed'
DWP scum try to suggest Ken Loach film of the vile treatment of the most vulnerable is not representative
(We can say with absolute certainty Loach, if anything, understated the appalling treatment of victims at
the hands of the murderous DWP, ATOS and Maximus. Cancer patients with life threatening conditions are forced out of their beds to
be paraded at DWP offices and stamped fit for work. The Nazi mindset is alive and well in every DWP office the length
and breadth of Britain and why so many of their lackeys remain ANONYMOUS when speaking on their behalf.
The vulnerable and poor now face, like divorcing men, the most appalling psychological persecution that leads many to suicide)
Royal Mail staff given access to confidential medical details
Woman housebound with incurable flesh-eating disease for 15 years has benefits axed and told 'go back to work'
Sick man ruled 'fit to work' at Jobcentre collapses and dies in street minutes later
(Tory assassins Maximus and the DWP still at the mass murder of the vulnerable)
NATIONAL SHAME: Every week 800 disabled Brits' benefits slashed after assessment by French data firm ATOS
(and that from a right wing rag owned by Richard Desmond)
The tory's assassins the DWP interfered with a sick man's doctors reports that led to his death
Tories still punishing the sick by reducing payments despite May's assurances that things will change
Tory assassin Iain Duncan Smith refuses to accept Ken Loach's portrayal of his draconian punishment meted
out to the most vulnerable
Ken Loach: life in austerity Britain is 'consciously cruel' (VIDEO)
Disability benefits appeals WILL become less fair
Virtual abolition of PIP, DLA and ESA appeal tribunals as we know them
(Lawyers NOT doctors left to assess medical conditions)
Scores of disabled protesters shutdown Westminster Bridge with chilling banners showing all those 'killed by cuts'
The scum and filth employed to steal money from the disabled
Partially paralysed man missing half his head 'declared fit for work by the twisted bastards at the DWP'
These are all the MPs who voted to force through the ESA disability benefit cut
Tory's murderous rottweiller IDS finally quits over vile welfare cuts to the most vulnerable (but only after thousands
of innocents have died from them)
Tory henchman Iain Duncan Smith was the chief architect of toxic tory ideology with measures that drove the poor and disabled to despair and mass suicide
Tory assassins Atos face contracts probe after MPs vent their fury at fit-for-work giant
(Paid to kill off the 'useless eaters' for a murderous tory regime)
The Sanctioned Jobseeker
THE TORY CUTS ARE KILLING (VIDEO)
Disabled People Against Cut
Life when the Jobcentre says you broke the rules
Private sector medical staff assessing benefit claimants told to sign Official Secrets Act
Claimants 'tricked' out of benefits, says Jobcentre whistleblower(VIDEO)
American firm doing Tories’ dirty work on benefits is hit by whistleblower’s shocking allegations
'Murderer!' - Iain Duncan Smith confronted by furious protest as he visits Job Centre
Cancer patients could be left HOMELESS because of brutal Tory benefit cuts
Iain Duncan Smith 'should be sanctioned' for refusing to speak in welfare cuts debate
Top Tory says welfare cuts won't hurt poor because they save £10 filling their CARS
Tory's vile murderous henchman Iain Duncan Smith says disabled should ‘work their way out of poverty’
Family of a severely disabled young man (Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, autism) forced to prove he is unfit for work under the ruthless Tory welfare cuts
Stripped of benefits and forced to live on £87 a month ... the latest victim of the DWP
Whistleblower former Atos doctor talks to BBC News (May 2013)(VIDEO)
An ex Atos Healthcare nurse tells her story (VIDEO)
Tory gangsters and the trail of the dead
Tory assassins the DWP admits using 'fake' claimants in benefit sanctions leaflet(VIDEO)
Disability benefits firm Atos backtrack on pledge to reveal how much they get for doing Tories' dirty work
There's no excuse for tory assassins Atos change of heart over disability checks
Tory assassins the DWP deliberately and illegally held up disability payments to cause extreme distress
to applicants with severe physical and mental health difficulties
7 reasons to cringe that the tory's evil bastard Iain Duncan Smith has been reappointed
'Harmful' ESA benefit sanctions double in one year - who's at risk and why
Government in High Court over benefit payment delays (Tory scum use DWP as assassins for a vile regime)(VIDEO)
Evil ConDem sanction regime murdering the vulnerable by withdrawing support
Secret DWP reviews called for improvements after benefit deaths
Doctors’ union facing fresh criticism after snubbing the government’s “fitness for work” test meeting
Disabled activist felt ‘violated’ after judge used Google to compile dossier on her
Humiliation greets Maximus in first week of the government’s “fitness for work” delivery
Maximus (The new ATOS) will face nationwide protests on first day as ‘fitness for work’ provider
DWP dismisses concerns about the troubled history of Maximus – which has a lengthy record of discrimination, incompetence and alleged fraud in the USA
Two disabled people who spent months waiting to be assessed for the new disability benefit have secured the chance to take legal action against the government over the delays they and thousands of others have faced
Ministers have admitted releasing yet more inaccurate information about their secret inquiries into the deaths of benefit claimants
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (on the PCS union website)
Incapacity Benefit test 'leaves people suicidal' (VIDEO)
Another murder by tory assassins ATOS and the DWP (Today the tory scum are in parliament talking up their 5 years in power
as if they have created a miracle ignoring the thousands who have died under their vile murderous regime)
Ex-DWP employees expose the DWP sanctions regime(VIDEO)
Gutter press barons malicious and deliberate demonization of the poorest peasants
Disabled People Against Cuts
Tory cuts leave disabled gran living off just 1p a week - driving her to brink of suicide
Boycott Maximus (The new tory assassins that replaced mass murdering ATOS)
After hated mass murdering Atos quits, will Maximus make work assessments less arduous?
American firm Maximus 'awarded contract to assess fitness-to-work'
Universal credit 'a nightmare', says claimant who advertised welfare reform
Grandad passed fit to work by Atos - despite brain damage, depression, diabetes and stroke
(Tory scum's assassins ATOS and DWP still getting away with MURDER)
ESA appeal's are endless - Employment and Support Allowance (VIDEO)
Labour axes would-be MP who claimed Tories want to 'kill the sick and starve the disabled'(Daily Rat agrees with Labour hierarchy
over sacking of candidate who speaks the truth about ConDem agenda)
The Elephant in the Studio was the number of people who have died due to the Incapacity Benefit/ESA sanctions regime imposed by Iain Duncan Smith
Tories discuss stripping benefits claimants who refuse enforced treatment for depression (Taking another idea out of the gestapo book
on how to mistreat the mentally ill gas ovens coming soon)
The Staggering Cost Of One Man’s Delusions: £25 Billion Squandered On Bungled Welfare Reforms
Any future Conservative or Conservative led Coalition Government will continue to kill many more innocent victims in this State sanctioned slaughter
(LETTER TO THE ICC AT THE HAGUE RE: MISTREATMENT OF UK SICK AND/OR DISABLED PEOPLE)
Tory assassins ATOS exposed by former nurse
Tory assassins the DWP and ATOS trigger coma in mentally ill woman
32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit
Atos: Government funded murder (VIDEO)
Fury as benefits bullies DWP force 50,000 disabled Scots to go back to work
Tory assassins ATOS killed my sick dad, says devastated Kieran, 13 (Genocide on a grand scale being carried out throughout the UK)
Expert in charge of controversial ‘back to work’ tests quits after warning the system needs to ‘fair and humane’
New Labour and the end of welfare
Benefits assessment firm causing 'fear and loathing' among claimants, says MP
Tory government (thanks to far right wing extremist Carol Black) want doctors removed from medical assessments (sounds like the Nazi's when will the gas ovens be moving in?)
Carol Black : GMC investigates alleged abuse of power (from 2008)
Deaths following Atos rulings of "fit for work"
Work Capability Assessment motion (VIDEO)
Survivors Resistance Network demands an end to Work Capability Assessment (WCA)
House of Lords motion to annul Work Capability Assessment regulations, 16 March 2011
Hundreds of Scots DEAD as FOI reveals thousands die in UK as a result of Tory-Libdem benefits ‘tests’ by ATOS
DWP AND ATOS THE SUICIDE TRIGGERERS
|Brutal mistreatment of men under a draconian tory boot
|UK deluded chancellor rejects claims 'millions live in dire poverty' VIDEO
|'Deflection script' used to get Universal Credit claimants off the phone VIDEO
|Universal Credit dad-of-three tried to kill himself while on phone to DWP
|Britain's enemy is not Russia but its own ruling class, UN report confirms
FULL ARTICLE HERE
As the UK political establishment rips itself to pieces over Brexit, a far greater crisis continues to afflict millions of victims of Tory austerity.
A devastating UN report into poverty in the UK provides incontrovertible evidence that the enemy of the British people is the very ruling class that has gone out of its way these past few years to convince them it is Russia.
Professor Philip Alston, in his capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, spent two weeks touring the United Kingdom. He did so investigating the impact of eight years of one of the most extreme austerity programs among advanced G20 economies in response to the 2008 financial crash and subsequent global recession.
What he found was evidence of a systematic, wilful, concerted and brutal economic war unleashed by the country's right-wing Tory establishment against the poorest and most vulnerable section of British society – upending the lives of millions of people who were not responsible for the aforementioned financial crash and recession but who have been forced to pay the price.
From the report's introduction:
"It…seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty. This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in foodbanks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the Government to appoint a Minister for Suicide Prevention and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation."
Though as a citizen of the UK I respectfully beg to differ with the professor's claim that such social and economic carnage seems "contrary to British values,"(on the contrary it is entirely in keeping with the values of the country's Tory establishment, an establishment for whom the dehumanization of the poor and working class is central to its ideology), the point he makes about it being "obvious to anyone who opens their eyes," is well made.
For it is now the case that in every town and city centre in Britain, it is impossible to walk in any direction for more than a minute before coming across homeless people begging in the street. And the fact that some 13,000 of them are former soldiers, casualties of the country's various military adventures in recent years, undertaken in service to Washington, exposes the pious platitudes peddled by politicians and the government as reverence for the troops and their 'sacrifice,' as insincere garbage.
Overall, 14 million people in the UK are now living in poverty, a figure which translates into an entire fifth of the population. Four million of them are children, while, according to Professor Alston, 1.5 million people are destitute – that is, unable to afford the basic necessities of life.
And this is what the ruling class of the fifth largest economy in the world, a country that parades itself on the world stage as a pillar of democracy and human rights, considers progress.
The values responsible for creating such a grim social landscape are compatible with the 18th not 21st century. They are proof positive that the network of elite private schools – Eton, Harrow, Fettes College et al. – where those responsible for this human carnage are inculcated with the sense of entitlement and born to rule ethos that defines them, are Britain's hotbeds of extremism.
"British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach apparently designed to instill discipline where it is least useful, to impose a rigid order on the lives of those least capable of coping with today's world, and elevating the goal of enforcing blind compliance over a genuine concern to improve the well-being of those at the lowest levels of British society."
Here, set out above in bold relief, is the barbarism that walks hand in hand with free market capitalism. It is the same barbarism that was responsible for pushing post-Soviet Russia into a decade-long economic and social abyss in the 1990s, and the values that have pushed 14 million people in the UK into the same economic and social abyss in our time.
Austerity, it bears emphasizing, is not and never has been a viable economic response to recession in a given economy.
Instead, it is an ideological club, wielded on behalf of the rich and big business to ensure that the price paid for said economic recession is borne exclusively by those least able to bear it – namely, the poor and working people. It is class war by any other name, packaged and presented as legitimate government policy.
However, in Britain’s case in 2018, this is a war like no other because, as Professor Philip Alston’s report lays bare, only one side in this war has been throwing all the punches and only one side has been taking them.
With Christmas season upon us, the scale of human suffering across the UK ensures that the elaborate ad campaigns inviting us to shop and indulge to our heart’s content – ads depicting the middle class dream of affluence and material comfort – take on the character of a provocation. In fact, they call to mind the truism that wars take place when the government tells you who the enemy is, while revolutions take place when you work it out for yourself.
In austerity Britain, who the enemy is has never been more clear.
|Even UN admit misery inflicted on British population
The deliberate targeting of the poorest and most vulnerable
sections of society by the tory scum and filth
|UN envoy blasts UK government for 'great misery' of austerity
In damning report, UN envoy accuses UK government of 'denial' over widespread social implications of fiscal programme.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
UN poverty envoy condemns need for devolved nations to mitigate UK policy
(The Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights has released a report following his recent tour of Britain,
accusing ministers of being “in a state of denial” over the extent of poverty in the Britain)
UN envoy Philip Alston’s report which says austerity has inflicted misery on UK citizens
Successive UK governments over the past decade have inflicted "great misery" on millions of Britons with "punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous" austerity policies, according to the United Nations' poverty envoy.
The critical remarks on Friday came amid deep political turmoil in the UK over its looming departure from the European Union - or Brexit, as it is widely known - and growing economic worries over the prospect of a disorderly exit from the bloc.
In a damning report, Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, lambasted poverty rates in Britain's age of austerity as a "social calamity and an economic disaster".
"Fourteen million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50 percent below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials," Alston said, citing figures from the UK-based Social Metrics Commission and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity.
"The experience of the United Kingdom, especially since 2010, underscores the conclusion that poverty is a political choice. Austerity could easily have spared the poor, if the political will had existed to do so," he added.
Over the past eight years, consecutive governments led by the country's Conservative party have enforced widespread austerity measures as part of efforts to reduce Britain's national debt levels in the wake of the the financial sector's implosion in 2008.
The protracted British strategy of budget cutting - although not as draconian as in other EU countries, such as crisis-hit Greece - has seen funding for local authorities and public services slashed and welfare provisions dramatically cut back. According to the Local Government Association, between 2010 and 2020, local councils in the country will have lost 60p ($0.77) out of every £1 ($1.28) the government had provided for services.
"Libraries have closed in record numbers, community and youth centers have been shrunk and underfunded, public spaces and buildings including parks and recreation centers have been sold off," Alston said in his 24-page report.
But in recent months, the government has been cautiously signalling a "light at the end of the tunnel" for the country's public finances, pointing to declining debt levels and the continuous drop of the budget deficit - from almost 9.9 percent in 2009-2010 to 1.9 percent this year - amid the increased focus on spending cuts.
In late October, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said in his annual budget speech - his last before Brexit - that "the era of austerity is finally coming to an end".
Hammond's October 29 announcement came three weeks after earlier claims by Prime Minister Theresa May that austerity was "over" and "better days" were ahead for the world's fifth largest economy.
But critics have pointed to the shutting down of public institutions, soaring homelessness rates, rising food bank use and projected rises in poverty rates as evidence of the austerity programmes devastating social implications.
In his report, Alston accused authorities of remaining "determinedly in a state of denial" over the impact of their fiscal approach.
"The costs of austerity have fallen disproportionately upon the poor, women(Yet most of Britain's homeless are MEN????), racial and ethnic minorities, children, single parents, and people with disabilities," he said.
"In the area of poverty-related policy, the evidence points to the conclusion that the driving force has not been economic but rather a commitment to achieving radical social re-engineering," he added.
In response to a request for comment on Alston's report, the UK's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) quoted an unnamed government spokesperson as saying that it "completely" disagreed with the envoy's analysis.
"With this government's changes, household incomes have never been higher, income inequality has fallen, the number of children living in workless households is at a record low and there are now one million fewer people living in absolute poverty compared with 2010," the spokesperson cited by DWP on Friday said.
"We are absolutely committed to helping people improve their lives while providing the right support for those who need it," the spokesperson added.
Also on Friday, May, who has come under intense public scrutiny and parliamentary pressure over her draft Brexit deal, announced the appointment of a new government minister to head the negotiations with Brussels. Stephen Barclay was named Brexit secretary, replacing Dominic Raab who was one of the several ministers to quit on Thursday over the proposed withdrawal agreement.
The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, nearly three years after 52 percent of Britons voted in favour of ending the country's 43-year membership of the 28-member bloc during a deeply divisive referendum.
Kartik Raj, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, called on the UK's leaders to heed the UN envoy's report despite the ongoing political unrest.
"Professor Alston's excoriating analysis of the UK government's failures to tackle poverty makes for devastating reading," Raj said.
"The government needs to sit up and pay attention to what he has said at this crucial time, not hope that his recommendations get buried in the nonstop rolling news coverage of Brexit," he added.
|Universal Credit agents 'encouraged' to get claimants off phone VIDEO
How tory thugs crush welfare victims under their fascist boot
|Universal Credit: An evil tory agenda of deliberate mass enforced deprivation of Britain's vulnerable citizens
|DWP spies strip multiple sclerosis sufferer of £20,000
|FCA prosecuted eight cases compared to the DWP's 10,000 cases
|Tory scum's assassins the DWP are causing fear and terror(from 3.14) VIDEO
|Tory filth slammed by UN for vile mistreatment of Britain's disabled
|Tory sanctions driving victims to destitution and suicide
|Figures show link between benefit re-assessments and suicides
Government figures suggest a link between welfare re-assessments and suicides, an MP said today.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has carried out investigations into 60 cases where benefit claimants are said to have taken their own lives.
Labour's Diana Johnson said the figures cast doubt on claims that there is no link between suicide and welfare re-assessments, with DWP carrying out the internal reviews in the last five years.
The number of investigations has been falling each year, with ministers insisting the matter was taken extremely seriously.
But the figures have reignited the debate on how DWP treats vulnerable benefit claimants.
Ms Johnson said: "Ministers have repeatedly claimed there to be no link between suicide and welfare re-assessment whenever figures have come to light.
"This parliamentary answer to me blows this claim out of the water.
"If there was no link, there wouldn't have been 60 reviews of suicides in the past five years.
"I am appalled that these figures have remained unpublished for so long."
A written parliamentary question from the Hull North MP has revealed that DWP carried out 15 internal reviews into suicides or alleged suicides of so-called DWP "clients" in 2012/13.
Fourteen reviews were carried out in each of the following two years, with 11 reviews in 2015/16.
This then fell to six last year.
"Families who've been left in the dark need to know everything the DWP knows about these cases," Ms Johnson said.
"Most importantly, we need a welfare system that supports, rather than victimises, the poorest and most vulnerable in our society."
In his answer to Ms Johnson, work and pensions minister Damian Hinds said the internal reviews were carried out in relation to suicides or alleged suicides.
He had previously told Labour MP Luciana Berger: "Suicide is a tragic and complex issue which we take extremely seriously.
"If information is received that a DWP client has attempted or completed suicide and it is alleged that DWP activity may have contributed to this, we carry out an internal review to establish whether anything should have been done differently."
Assessment for benefits has been an ongoing controversy for DWP, particularly the effects they can have on those with mental health issues.
Samantha Nicklin, head of campaigns at charity Rethink Mental Illness, said there was never a simple explanation for why people decide to take their own life.
She added: "What we do know is that people with mental illness consistently find the welfare benefits system - the interview, the sanctions, the number of assessments - stressful and harmful to their health.
"Currently the system is fundamentally unsuited to supporting people living with mental illness.
"We hope that the next government will use this opportunity to conduct an overhaul of the system, including the nature of the assessments, to ensure that people are not needlessly penalised and everyone can get the support they need."
Last year campaigners led by the Disability News Service successfully appealed to a tribunal that these internal reviews should be made public.
Recommendations from these reviews showed that DWP staff repeatedly failed to follow strict guidelines on how to support benefit claimants who had expressed thoughts of self-harm or threatened to take their own lives, which were introduced in 2009.
|More people come forward in the DWP ‘Kill Yourself’ scandal
On 28 February, The Canary reported the case of a woman who claimed an assessor working on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) asked her why she hadn’t killed herself yet.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
A letter to fellow benefit claimants who feel suicidal
Since we published that report, several people have approached us claiming the same thing happened to them. In this follow-up, we are publishing several of their testimonies. We have also spoken to Atos, the company which carries out assessments for the DWP. And in a separate report, we have discussed these claims with the President of the British Psychological Society, Peter Kinderman.
Several people contacted us with similar stories to Alice Kirby’s. Most have asked that we do not mention them by name. The majority of them said they feared it could affect their claims.
I was asked by a woman at the Atos PIP interview: ‘Why haven’t you killed yourself yet?’ I remember it very clearly. I left the room in tears and had my PIP cut. I was too afraid to complain in case they took all the money off me.
I got asked why I hadn’t successfully committed suicide yet. Was it because I was trying to con benefits? Then when I was sanctioned from ESA, the woman who phoned me to tell me said that if I had been more suicidal I would have had more hospital visits for injuries sustained. Because I didn’t have (how many?) hospital stays because of suicide attempts, they judged I wasn’t sufficiently suicidal to warrant sick benefits and she ruled I was fit for work.
I have on-going physical conditions that resulted in me having to give up most of my work due to illness. The depression and severe anxiety developed due to on-going work capability assessments and constant threat of suspension of benefit.
I then had to go to the job centre. That is a whole other story of horrific humiliating degrading bullying. Deliberately designed to guide you to suicide
I was asked if I’d thought about killing myself and then asked how I would do it. That was PIP. Have brain injury, constant anxiety attacks, and my meds for depression were increased today by doc. Didn’t score a single point. Nothing awarded. Have an ESA one to get through one week today. Absolutely dreading it.
The assessor asked about my depression and I said that most days it’s like a darkness over me, my mind races along and I just couldn’t focus on one thing, other days I feel so lost and useless, with worry about coping with daily things and life in general and with all my different illnesses. She asked have I ever tried to take my life? I said yes, on several times. She said what stopped me? I said what. She said why didn’t I just get it over with? I just couldn’t cope with her asking me stuff like that. I just couldn’t stop crying, and she ended the assessment, and reported lies to DWP, that I didn’t want to carry on and she felt I was managing OK. She left me in pieces. Now I have to appeal the decision to not give me the full disability.
Having recently had my WCA, I can confirm these questions are being asked. In my case, I was asked “Have you ever attempted suicide?”, then ” When?”, followed by “What did you do?”. The next question was “What is stopping you trying again?”. I also had this at my previous WCA. If you give a reason why you haven’t tried again, they decide you’re fit enough to go back to work. You then have a choice of signing on as available for work, or fighting them. If you choose to fight, you can’t sign on as available for work, because it will go against you. So your only option is to go back on assessment rate of £57 per week, quite difficult.
First stage of fighting is asking for a mandatory reconsideration, which you only have one month to do. If this fails, you can then apply for an appeal. Only if the Courts and Tribunal Service agree you have grounds will you then be allowed to appeal. It took nearly twelve months between submitting my appeal and getting a decision, just twelve months ago.
Here I am again, going through the WCA, and awaiting their decision, even though the tribunal judge, a proper high court judge, told them not to assess me again for a minimum of two years.
I was at my ESA assessment in Poole, Dorset, summer 2016. I was suffering from suicidal depression and cluster headache (aka suicide headache). The interview was on the third floor. I opened the window to alleviate headache symptoms and he started making jump jokes and asking why I didn’t? IN FRONT OF MY SUPPORT WORKER!!!
She wanted me to make a complaint but my mental health couldn’t take more conflict. I had gassed myself in a tent only 8 weeks previously.
I’ve just read your article on ESA and Atos. I went for a medical assessment on the 21/2 2017 and I was also asked why I hadn’t taken my own life yet. I have never felt so belittled. I wasn’t examined either, just asked questions.
The Canary asked Atos whether asking people why they hadn’t killed themselves yet was a standard question:
This is not a standard question, however it is important to note our health professionals should be assessing this particular risk of all claimants who present with mental health conditions.
Our trained and qualified health professionals have a duty of care to all claimants and so should this topic arise in an unprompted way during wider assessment discussions, our staff are trained to sensitively ascertain the nature of a person’s mental wellbeing.
If a level of risk is identified we would then be required to share this with an independent medical health specialist.
The Canary asked the DWP three questions about our previous report. The DWP also told us that the healthcare professionals who carry out the assessments are supported by ‘mental health champions’ who have relevant mental health work experience.
1) Will the DWP look into these claims?
We are not aware of any complaints made to either DWP or our contractors on this issue, but would investigate any allegations thoroughly.
2) Is the DWP happy with Atos assessors asking questions that psychologists claim these assessors are insufficiently experienced to be asking?
All PIP assessment providers receive training on mental health conditions, including suicidal issues.
3) Was the DWP already aware that Atos staff were asking people why they hadn’t killed themselves yet?
Healthcare Professionals receive training in order to conduct functional assessments on behalf of the DWP and their training includes conducting a mental health assessment which may, if appropriate, include questions about suicide or self-harm.
The DWP has made it clear that there has been no complaint so far. Atos said the same thing in reply to our original report. But fear of sanctions meant that most people who approached The Canary requested anonymity. And this same fear may be preventing people from making formal complaints.
The testimonies suggest that inadequately trained staff are asking inappropriate questions of people with disabilities. These questions are disturbing people so much that it’s affecting their ability to deal with the assessment properly; and making them afraid to speak out.
As such, it may be time for the DWP to stop waiting for a complaint and look into the matter itself.
– If you are having a mental health crisis or are feeling suicidal, contact The Samaritans.
– Write to your MP to voice your concerns about the way the DWP and Atos handle these assessments.
– Support Disabled People Against Cuts.
|PIP investigation: Welfare expert says two-thirds of appeals involve lying assessors
Graeme Ellis exposes the lengths the tory mafia will go to cause untold harm to
the sick and vulnerable
FULL ARTICLE HERE
Welfare rights experts have produced evidence that backs up the findings of a Disability News Service (DNS) investigation into the lies told by healthcare professionals in their disability benefit assessment reports.
Last week, the two-month investigation revealed how assessors working for the outsourcing companies Capita and Atos – most of them nurses – had repeatedly lied, ignored written evidence and dishonestly reported the results of physical examinations.
The investigation suggested a serious, institutional problem that stretched across the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its contractors, whose staff carry out face-to-face assessments of eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP).
Now two separate welfare rights advice organisations say they have their own evidence that confirms many of the DNS findings.
Graeme Ellis , who founded the Lancaster-based social enterprise Here2Support, said he and his colleagues are currently lodging up to 30 PIP appeals a week on behalf of claimants, and “20 to 25” of them involve assessors who have told lies in their reports.
Here2Support has now started requesting some tribunals to call the Atos assessors to give evidence at appeals so they can be questioned about the honesty of their reports.
But on the three occasions they have tried this so far, all have resulted in a DWP decision-maker reversing their decision and finding in favour of the claimant, despite the mandatory reconsideration – the internal DWP appeal – having already taken place.
He said this shows that DWP “know damn well that the assessors are not reporting accurately”.
Ellis said that he has been to many assessments in which the subsequent reports bore no relation to what the assessors were told by the claimant.
He said: “You read the report and your first thought is, ‘It’s somebody entirely different.’ And most of these cases are successful at appeal.”
Ellis and his colleagues do not have the resources to attend many face-to-face assessments themselves, but he has still witnessed this happening himself about eight times in the last three months.
Among the tricks played by Atos, he said, is to force PIP claimants to walk down a long corridor to get from the waiting area to the assessment room.
Even if they are able to make it – and he has seen claimants in such discomfort that they fall against the corridor wall – this does not mean that the claimant can do so “safely, reliably and repeatedly”, which assessors should take into account, he said.
He has also read reports in which the assessor said the claimant walked to the assessment room, even though they arrived in a wheelchair.
Another frequent comment is to say the claimant showed no signs of breathlessness or anxiety, even though they had been in tears during the assessment, he said.
Ellis points out that he has had some cases in which the assessor has produced an honest and accurate report, only for the DWP decision-maker to ignore what had been written.
Asked why there were so many dishonest reports, he said: “There have got to be some [assessors]doing it for kicks, but I think it is the pressure on the employer on how many people they let through.
“DWP deny it, but there is pressure from DWP on Atos and Capita to meet targets.”
And he believes that many of the problems with dishonest reports are the result of last year’s post-budget chaos, in which the government had to perform a u-turn over plans to tighten eligibility for PIP, following the resignation of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
This left a hole in DWP’s spending plans, Ellis believes, that it has filled by somehow increasing pressure on the assessment regime.
He said: “Because they were unsuccessful in the budget last year with the plans for PIP, I think this is the aftermath.”
It was Ellis who, last spring, embarrassed the Tory party by resigning in disgust at George Osborne’s budget, after voting Conservative for nearly 50 years.
He had been managing the Conservative Disability Group’s website, and left a message on the site, stating: “This website is temporarily closed owing to Disability Cuts.”
Asked whether it was happy for PIP assessors to be questioned by tribunal appeal panels, a DWP spokeswoman said in a statement, released less than an hour before today’s final DNS deadline: “As you’ve not provided the details of these cases, we are unable to look into them.
“However, assessment providers work on behalf of DWP and it is DWP who have overall responsibility for making decisions.
“Therefore, it wouldn’t be appropriate for an assessor to attend a tribunal.
“In many cases, appeals are granted because further medical evidence is provided.”
Evidence of concerns about PIP assessors has also come this week from Southampton Advice and Representation Centre (SARC).
Just before Christmas, SARC published research analysing the results of 100 appeal tribunals in which it supported claimants between August 2015 and December 2016.
SARC’s analysis found that it had been successful in 78 of those cases – although it only takes on cases where it has a reasonable chance of overturning the DWP decision – the highest success rate it has had for any benefit since it was founded 35 years ago.
It has also had three cases in which an initial Atos assessment report led a DWP decision-maker to award the claimant zero points for both daily living and mobility – they need eight points for the standard rate and 12 for the enhanced rate – only for the tribunal to award the claimant the enhanced rate for both elements.
The most outrageous example was that of a claimant who had been awarded zero points after the Atos assessment, only for the tribunal to award them 50 points for daily living and 22 for mobility, while another claimant was awarded 35 points for daily living and 18 for mobility.
Gary Edwards, SARC’s manager, said: “Repeatedly clients tell us and indeed the tribunal panel, that the written records of the assessment do not accurately reflect what they actually recall saying to the assessor.”
He said earlier: “The results we have found raise serious questions about the ability of Atos and point to a wider system failure.
“We have real concern about the suitability in terms of professional experience of their assessors: can a physiotherapist or paramedic seriously understand complex mental health issues? Our research suggests this is improbable.”
| Woman with no hands had her benefits stopped because she couldn’t open a letter VIDEO
|Ken Loach: Tory government 'callous, brutal and disgraceful' and 'must be removed'
Accepting the award for best British film at the Bafta awards in London, the veteran director says politicians speak for corporations – and film-makers must stand with the poor and vulnerable
FULL ARTICLE HERE
Ken Loach has launched an uncompromising attack on the UK government at the 70th British Academy Film Awards.
Speaking as he picked up his award for outstanding British film for I, Daniel Blake, which is conceived as a critique of the current state of the benefits system, Loach touched on accusations by some that his film failed to reflect reality.
Loach thanked his cast and crew, the people of Newcastle and the academy for “endorsing the truth of what this film says, which is that hundreds of thousands of people – the vulnerable and the poorest people – are treated by the this government with a callousness and brutality that is disgraceful.”
Loach continued by making reference to the Tory government’s apparent U-turn on its promise to accept thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing danger in Syria and elsewhere.
“It’s a brutality,” he said, “that extends to keeping out refugee children we promised to help.”
“In the real world,” added Loach, “it’s getting darker. And in the struggle that’s coming between the rich and the powerful, the corporations and the politicians that speak for them, and the rest of us on the other side, the film-makers know which side they’re on.”
Speaking at the press conference afterwards, Loach went further, saying that the government “have to be removed”. He hoped that voters would see his film, but there was little point politicians doing so as “the people actually implementing these decisions know what they’re doing. It’s conscious.”
Their welfare policies, he said, harked back to the Victorian workhouse ethos of telling people that poverty was their fault. “They know what they’re doing. We have to change them; they have to be removed.”
His words were echoed by screenwriter Paul Laverty, who sought to draw attention to the UN’s ruling on the UK’s treatment of the disabled. “They found systematic and gross violations,” he said, before saying the Tories had “denied, spun and tried to discredit” the findings.
“They don’t give a toss,” said Laverty, that “scurvy and rickets” had returned to the country, or that “16,000 people were admitted to hospital last year with malnutrition. We have a moral obligation to do one thing, and that’s get rid of them.”
Meanwhile producer Rebecca O’Brien spoke up for those employees of the Ritzy cinema not being paid the living wage. “We think that’s completely wrong in this day and age.”
Dave Johns, who stars in the film, added he felt I, Daniel Blake “gives the working class a voice back. People haven’t listened to them for 40 years.”
|The tory's murderous trail of the dead goes on and on
|Maximus had cut off ill man's welfare payments before his death
FULL ARTICLE HERE
Sick man ruled 'fit to work' at Jobcentre collapses and dies in street minutes later
Horrendous catalogue of mass murder by the tory assassins the DWP, ATOS and MAXIMUS
Tory assassins Maximus and the DWP still at the mass murder of the vulnerable
Long term sick man, 56, collapses and dies just MINUTES after being ruled 'fit to work' by Jobcentre officials
(and this from the very RAG controlled by Harmsworth that was smearing the vulnerable as scroungers)
A man died of a heart attack as he left a Jobcentre where he'd been forced to sign on after being ruled fit to work.
Lawrence Bond was looking for a job after his Employment and Support Allowance was stopped last July, despite his ongoing health problems.
The 56-year-old suffered a fatal heart attack on January 12 after leaving the Kentish Town Jobcentre - and his grief-stricken family claim the stress of being forced to work led to his death.
Mr Bond's Employment and Support Allowance was cut following a second work capability assessment, set by the Department for Work and Pensions and carried out by private American firm Maximus in July.
He was awaiting the outcome of a second appeal at the time of his death.
His family said he suffered from difficulty breathing and walking, as a result of weight problems, as well as lifelong anxiety.
Mr Bond's sister Iris Green said her brother also had an underlying heart condition.
She also said he held down regular jobs and had been working since the age of 16 when he trained as a car mechanic.
Mr Bond did computer studies and went to companies fixing computers, photocopiers and cash tills but lost his long-term job two years ago after his weight and unfitness made him unemployable.
His family claim he 'turned up at the Jobcentre in a state of distress and anxiety, was again told that he was 'fit to work' and died of a heart attack just after he left'.
Ms Green told the Camden New Journal newspaper: 'I realise that the reception staff have no clinical knowledge or responsibility for doing it, but the rules need to be changed so that they have the right and discretion when they see a human being turning up in physical distress to flag the situation up and ask for urgent re-assessment.'
A spokeswoman for the London Ambulance Service said an ambulance crew, three single responders in cars and an advanced paramedic were sent to the scene in under seven minutes.
'Sadly, despite the best efforts of our crews, a patient died at the scene,' the service added.
An 'ANONYMOUS' spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: 'The local Jobcentre had been supporting Mr Bond and our sympathies are with his family at this difficult time.
'ESA decisions are made following a thorough assessment and after considering all of the evidence, including that provided by a claimant's doctor or other medical professionals.
'Anyone who disagrees with a decision can ask for it to be reconsidered, and if they still disagree they can appeal.'
|The tory's assassins the DWP interfered with a sick man's doctors reports that led to his death
Dad DIES 10 months after Job Centre bosses told his doctor not to write any more sick notes.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
The DWP wrote to James Harrison's doctor behind his back and declared him fit for work 10 months before he died
A seriously ill dad died just 10 months after Department for Work and Pensions bosses advised his GP not to write any more sick notes for him.
James Harrison had been declared “fit for work” and should not get medical certificates, the letter said.
But 10 months after the DWP contacted his doctor without telling him, James was dead at 55, the Daily Record reported.
His daughter Abbie, 23, said: “It’s a disgrace that managers at the Job Centre, who know nothing about medicine, should interfere in any way in the relationship between a doctor and a patient.
“They have no place at all telling a doctor what they should or shouldn’t give a patient. It has nothing to do with them.
“When the Job Centre starts to get involved in telling doctors about the health of their patients, that’s a really slippery slope.”
Abbie said James had worked since leaving school at a community centre near his home. But his already poor health went downhill after the centre was shut down by austerity cuts.
He had a serious lung condition and a hernia before the centre closed, and developed depression and anxiety afterwards.
Abbie said: “He’d worked all his life. He wasn’t the kind of guy who knew anything about benefits.
“But as his health deteriorated, there wasn’t any chance he could do a job. He applied for employment and support allowance.”
James got ESA but only at the low rate of £70 a week, the same as jobseekers’ allowance. He was then sent for one of the DWP’s hated “Work Capability Assessments” – and declared fit for work.
Despite that decision, Abbie said James remained in constant need of medical help and had to go to his doctor regularly.
But the GP repeatedly refused to give him a sick note, and James began to suspect the Jobcentre were to blame.
Abbie said: “He really needed a note. He was too ill to go to the constant appointments at the Jobcentre and he didn’t want to be sanctioned.
“He became convinced the DWP had been talking to his doctor behind his back.”
Abbie didn’t believe James’s theory at the time and thought he was just confused.
But when she asked to see her dad’s medical records, she found a letter in his file from Julia Savage (A RARE occasion when one of these gangsters is identified), a manager at Birkenhead Benefit Centre in James’s home city of Liverpool.
The letter was addressed to James’s GP. It said: “We have decided your patient is capable of work from and including January 10, 2016.
"This means you do not have to give your patient more medical certificates for employment and support allowance purposes unless they appeal against this decision.
“You may need to again if their condition worsens significantly, or they have a new medical condition.”
PhD student Abbie is furious that James had to waste time at his short doctor’s appointments pleading for a sick line he wasn’t going to get.
And she is sickened by the way the system treated her father at every turn.
She said: “I’d love to interrogate these DWP people the way they interrogated dad – ask them to explain the things they put him through.
“Dad wasn’t well. Who knows, maybe he could have improved if he’d been given some support, rather than subjected to suspicion and scepticism at every turn.”
Asked about the letter, a DWP spokeswoman said: “The GP would have been notified so they know the outcome of the assessment.
“And as the letter says, there’s no longer any requirement to provide a fit note unless the claimant appeals the decision, or their medical condition worsens or they have a new medical condition.”
| What the evils of sanctioning has on Britain's vulnerable VIDEO
|Ken Loach: life in austerity Britain is 'consciously cruel' VIDEO
Unbelievable that the tory version of Mugabe Kwasi Kwarteng attacks Ken Loach
who exposes the scum and filth attacks on the poorest and most vulnerable sections
of British society. More on this tory bum
|Hundreds of Brits dying from malnutrition or hunger VIDEO
|Disability campaigner and Conservative MP discuss cuts VIDEO
| Tory henchwoman Nicky Morgan tries to justify attacks on the poorest VIDEO
| Tory's murderous rottweiller IDS finally quits over vile welfare cuts to the most vulnerable
|Tory scum aim to extend murderous sanction system to those who are working
ATOS, Maximus and the DWP are state sponsored assassins for an evil tory regime using a psychological
sanctioning system that triggers suicide in those who lose their only source of income.
FULL ARTICLE HERE
THE TORY government been attacked over plans to extend controversial benefit sanctions to claimants with jobs, with critics warning introducing the "shockingly harsh" penalties risks plunging workers into poverty.
A number of pilot schemes are currently being carried out in the UK – including in Inverness – to assess a new scheme which the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) says is aimed at helping workers on low earnings take on more hours and increase their income.
Benefits can be stopped if claimants fail to meet requirements outlined by the DWP – such as missing Jobcentre appointments or failing to show evidence of looking for more work for a certain number of hours a week, on top of their usual job.
The in-work regime, which is expected to eventually apply to around one million people, is being trialled as part of Universal Credit, the new type of benefit which is being rolled out across the country.
The DWP says its aim is “redefining the contract between claimants and the welfare state” and helping work to pay. The radical scheme - one of the first of its kind in the world - means for the first time those in part-time employment will have to meet certain conditions or risk losing support from the state.
But in a series of submissions to the House of Commons Select Committee on Work and Pensions, which is carrying out an inquiry into the "in-work progression" scheme, charities, researchers and campaigners have warned the use of harsh punitive measures risks plunging workers into financial difficulties.
Researchers have uncovered worrying examples of in-work claimants being sanctioned include a man who was 'fined' £70 after missing a JobCentre appointment because he had been called into work by his employer.
Another case involved a woman who was struggling with debt after being given multiple sanctions as she tried to juggle Jobcentre appointments with working part-time and caring responsibilities. She ended up being threatened with eviction from her home.
Dr Sharon Wright, senior lecturer in public policy in urban studies at Glasgow University, is lead researcher of a team at six universities across the UK which is carrying out a five-year study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council into welfare conditionality.
She said the sanctions system being implemented was “quite shockingly harsh” and pointed to examples of cases of in-work claimants being penalised uncovered during their research.
She said: “We had one interviewee who had an appointment at the Jobcentre, but got called into work. He phoned up the JobCentre to rearrange his appointment, they told him it couldn’t be rearranged and then he was sanctioned because he didn’t go.
“So he was actually working and they took £70 off him because he wasn’t there. The idea behind the system is that it is meant to encourage people to work, but it is actually penalising people who are in work, so it is counter-productive – that is partly because of the rigidity of the system.”
Wright pointed out it was also now common for workers to have variable hours, or zero hour contracts that were unpredictable – yet people were being issued with “inflexible” appointments by the JobCentre.
“We interviewed another woman who had been given multiple sanctions – in her case she had caring responsibilities which were unpredictable and she had work that had variable hours,” she said.
“She ended up missing appointments because she was either caring or working and because the sanctions ramp up, she ended up in arrears with her rent and having bailiffs coming to the door and being threatened with eviction.
“That is someone who from her point of view is trying to do all the right things – she is trying to meet her family obligations by doing informal care, she is trying to meet work obligations by going out to work and yet she is finding this rigid system is not taking that into account.”
Wright acknowledged one beneficial aspect of the new system was that workers on lower hours would now be entitled to claim support, which they could not do under the new system - but questioned whether enough was in place to help support claimants to find more hours or better paid jobs.
“There is no system to help people gain confidence or train them or improve their situation in terms of pay or in terms of career progression,” she said. “What is means is heavy pressure on relatively powerless workers – who are part-time workers or low paid workers – to find more work.”
John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, said parents on low incomes would usually take on extra hours whenever they could.
He said: "All the evidence is that given the opportunity and when parents can juggle childcare they take on extra hours, they want to increase their hours at work.
"But there are real structural barriers in terms of the nature of the kinds of jobs that people are in - which mean limited opportunities to increase hours and increase earnings in work - as well as real issues that families face still both with the costs and availability of childcare."
Dickie said there was plenty of evidence of the "devastating" impact sanctions could have on out-of-work benefit claimants, including reducing their chances of getting back into work by removing vital financial support and forcing families to turn to food banks.
He added: "The evidence would suggest [sanctions for in-work claimants] would be completely counter-productive, and there is a very real risk that families – including families with children – will be pushed into even greater financial hardship than they already are."
Other submissions to the Work and Pension Select Committee inquiry include a response from Oxfam, which said financial sanctions should not be included as it was "too blunt an instrument" for dealing with hugely differing circumstances.
Boycott Workfare, which campaigns against sanctions, said extending sanctions to those who are in work will "punish people on the receiving end of the UK's low-pay, no-pay precarious labour market".
Rob Gowans, policy officer at Citizens Advice Scotland, also raised concerns around the use of sanctions, saying many out-of-work benefit claimants had experienced problems as a result of the impact of sanctions.
He said: “We are concerned that introducing this for people who are in work, or in part-time work, won’t really help them find a job and just push them further into hardship.
“We would like to see a full independent fundamental review of the current sanctions regime to see what effect it has and whether it is fulfilling its purpose."
A response submitted by University of Glasgow’s Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, also noted that details of the trials being carried out by the DWP "remain scarce".
Dr Marcia Gibson, research associate at the Unit, said it was standard practice to publish protocols for trials ahead of them taking place.
She said: “If this is not done there is a risk of cherry picking - you are supposed to specify in advance which groups you are going to be interested in and which analyses you are going to run.
“Otherwise you could run many analyses after the fact and pick the findings which suited your particular take.
“If any researcher only publishes the trial findings after the fact and don’t publish their methodology in full, there is no way of knowing if they stuck to their plans or how they recruited people, for example – all kinds of really important aspects of trial design that can influence the findings need to be known in advance.”
did not respond to questions from the Sunday Herald asking how long the pilots would last or if the evaluation of the scheme would be made public.
In a statement, it said workers taking on more hours is being made possible by more generous childcare support under Universal Credit and that certain groups, such as the long-term disabled or recent victims of domestic violence, were being excluded from the trial.
The DWP also said it would support 'hardworking families' but benefit claimants working part-time who could work more have a “responsibility to themselves and the state to take on more hours.”
A spokesman for the DWP (The murderers are never quoted by name and remain anonymous for the crimes against their victims) said: “We make no apology for helping people to progress in their jobs and earn more money.
“This is something the benefits system has never done before, and this kind of criticism completely misses the point of Universal Credit.”
TIME TO END THE ANONYMITY THE STATE MASS MURDERERS ARE GETTING WHO NEED TO BE OUTED FOR THEIR CRIMES