European Committee of Social Rights declares levels of benefits in the UK are ‘manifestly inadequate’

January 2014

European Social Charter

European Committee of Social Rights

Conclusions XX

-2 (2013)


17.   Article 12 .Right to social security

Paragraph 1    Existence of a social security system    ……………….

19.     Conclusion

The Committee  concludes that the situation in United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article12§1 of the Charter on the ground that:

the minimum levels of short-term and long-term incapacity benefit is manifestly inadequate;

the minimum level of state pension is manifestly inadequate;

the minimum level of job seeker’s allowance is manifestly inadequate

read the entire report from the European Commission of Social Rights here:

Peter Duut’s Widow Now Left Penniless By DWP- Even Without Dutch Survivor’s Pension.

Originally posted on Same Difference:

Same Difference has been back in touch with LJ Duut, widow of Peter Duut, whose situation, very sadly, apears to be getting worse.

Earlier today, Monday 15 Sept, LJ Duut posted this on Facebook:

OK- as the situation stands- all benefits ceased in the UK and no Survivors benefit paid from the Netherlands. Not too bothered yet although I am not quite sure what time banks close there now? as it is an hour ahead. Well done UK gov yet again! stopping all benefits before waiting to see if I actually received anything?

Then this a couple of hours later:

It is now 18.02hrs in the Netherlands- nothing went into my account today. Therefore I have been honest yet the UK gov has jumped the gun and stopped everything even saying they ‘ want’ anything I receive- before waiting to see if I actually did get anything – therefore the…

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Meet MAXIMUS – the new ATOS (but even worse)

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

Here’s one that got in under the radar.

The coalition government has chosen a VERY controversial US private company to run its new health assessment service to be called the Health and Work Service.

In less than 2 months time any employee who is sick enough to have to claim sick leave from work for more than 4 weeks will be assessed – mostly by phone – by employees of a US firm called MAXIMUS.

Apart from the ludicrous assumption that sick people can be assessed over the telephone, for some reason, when the UK government decided to hand the lucrative contract to run the service over to MAXIMUS, they also decided to ignore the numerous scandals involving the company in the US.

Here are just a few examples:

Lawmakers lash out at Maximus for questionable expenses payments

Medical workers allowed to keep practising despite failing drug…

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212,000 People ‘Beaten Up For Being On Benefits’, Shocking Survey Reveals

Up to 212,000 people have been ‘beaten up for being on benefits’ as a direct result of the despicable ‘scrounger’ rhetoric in the media and ‘poverty porn’ TV programmes, a shocking new survey reveals today.

A survey by YouGov reveals the devastating impact of newspaper benefits propaganda, and ‘poverty porn’ programmes like Channel 4’s Benefits Street, on some of Britain’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

Read the whole of this article here:

Bone marrow transplant patient could lose her Motability car under DWP rules

Originally posted on Ann McGauran:

“Lesley” is petrified. She needs a bone marrow transplant at the end of this month. Trying to deal with Myelodysplasia – a serious blood disorder that causes a drop in the number of healthy blood cells – is tough enough already, and she is very anxious about the transplant. But now she’s worried she’ll lose her Motability vehicle at the very time she needs it most. The decision by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to stop paying the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to the Motability Scheme when people end up in hospital for more than 28 days has added an extra level of concern.

The 47-year-old divorcee depends on the leased car for her 40-mile round trip to the NHS centre of excellence where she’s being treated. She expects to be in hospital for four to six weeks post-transplant…

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Epileptic man hanged himself after his benefits were stopped

Trigger warning. This tragedy should not be repeated. If you dispute a wrong decision you are very likely to get it overturned. I hate having to post articles like this, but the mainstream newspapers don’t do it, and people need to know what this government’s policies are doing to the sick and disabled.

“DEVASTATED that his benefits had been stopped, a man with epilepsy hanged himself.

Trevor Drakard had been deemed fit for employment, after a back-to-work assessment. The 50-year-old, who never married and had few friends, took his own life at his home in Sunderland.

An inquest into his death heard Mr Drakard had been diagnosed with epilepsy from the age of six and was receiving Incapacity Benefit.

Coroner’s officer Neville Dixon told a hearing in Sunderland: “In the past few months he had been deemed fit to work and his benefits were stopped. He had been in the process of appealing with the Citizens Advice Bureau. He had been feeling very down in recent weeks, due to the stress of losing his benefits.”

A “lonely person”, Mr Drakard had also lost two close friends in the last three years. He would meet his parents for dinner three times a week, the hearing was told. They last saw him on July 18, after dropping him off at his home in General Graham Street.

When they were unable to get in touch with him about signing papers relating to his benefits, they called round to the house and found Mr Drakard’s body in his bedroom.

Senior coroner Derek Winter said Mr Drakard would have been unconscious “in a small number of seconds” and died shortly after. Tests showed he had still been taking his epilepsy medication.

Mr Winter said he was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Mr Drakard had been responsible for his own death.

Speaking after the hearing, Sunderland MP Julie Elliot said: “This case is tragic and need not have happened. My thoughts are with Mr Drakards’ family and friends. Sadly, the removal of benefits to genuinely sick people is becoming all too common, having a devastating impact on people’s lives and in this case a tragic outcome. The system is not fit for purpose – the Government needs to act now to stop anymore tragedies occurring and causing unnecessary hardship to people.”

Verdict: Suicide.

ffrom the Sunderland Echo:


Bedroom Tax ‘tormented cancer victim to death’ when she was forced to move home despite illness

Jan Mandeville could not afford the extra rent on the two-bed flat she loved so she had to switch to a smaller property that she hated

News that the end of the despised Bedroom Tax was in sight on Friday came too late for cancer victim Jan Mandeville, reports the Sunday People.

The 52-year-old grandmother’s funeral was on Thursday. And, according to her family, her death was hastened when she was forced to move home despite her fatal illness.

Jan – who also suffered depression and fibromyalgia, making even basic movement painful – could not afford the extra rent on the two-bed flat she loved so she had to switch to a smaller property that she hated.

Her online diary reveals how she was tormented by the Bedroom Tax as well as her anger at the politicians she blamed.  Last year, Jan told how she fell into rent arrears following the housing benefit reforms which forced her to move home that year. She said: “The worry made me so ill that I was in hospital with stress.”

Her distraught daughter Nicola Braithwaite, 28, told the Sunday People: “Her health ­deteriorated after she left where she wanted to be. What she went through breaks my heart. They let her slip through the net. They didn’t consider that not only did she have physical illnesses, she had mental illnesses too. They were heightened ­because of what happened. A lot of it was from that.”

Jan worked as a care ­assistant and in hotels until she quit due to poor health eight years ago. While employed, she paid her taxes and hoped she could rely on the welfare state when she needed help.

But her family say she was failed by the system, repeatedly quizzed about her fitness to work and eventually forced to abandon her home because of the sweeping benefits cuts which kicked in 17 months ago.

Gina is chased for a £732 working tax credit ‘debt': ‘It’s another form of sanction’

Originally posted on Ann McGauran:

Gina Lomax says it is "immoral" that she has been told to pay back £732 in working tax credit.

Gina Loxam says it is “immoral” that she has been told to pay back £732 in working tax credit.

When is a debt not a debt? When it’s £732 that the government says is now owed by Gina Loxam in Working Tax Credit (WTC).

Gina, a single woman of 58 from the north-west of England, had been on WTC – a means tested payment for those in low-paid work – including self-employed people. It’s paid by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Unfortunately Gina, who lost her beloved pet shop business in the recession, became very ill with depression. Following an assessment by ATOS, she was placed on employment and support allowance (ESA) in the work-related activity group. Because she was receiving WTC, this amount was deducted from her ESA to ensure she only got £100 per week.

She did her WTC return only to discover she was no longer entitled to…

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