No internet access ‘leading to sanctions’

FINANCIAL advisers warned yesterday that limited internet access is leading to vulnerable people being sanctioned, as the Tory government seeks to move more jobs and benefit applications online.

A report found that a third of people using Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) services said they never or “very rarely” used the internet, and more than half of those surveyed said they cannot apply for benefits or jobs without help.

The survey found that both trends were highest in deprived areas.

CAS said these difficulties were leading to vulnerable people being sanctioned, citing the example of a man who had his benefits stopped because he didn’t own a computer and the library he used to look for work was shut over the Christmas holidays.

Despite these problems, the Tory government plans to move 80 per cent of benefit claims online by 2017 and is forcing people to apply for jobs online or risk sanctions.

CAS policy officer Patrick Hogan said: “Vulnerable people should not have their benefits withheld or their jobseekers’ allowance sanctioned because they are unable to use a technology that is unfamiliar to them.”

http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b237-No-internet-access-leading-to-sanctions

Number of people sleeping rough on London night buses rises by 20 per cent

Rough sleeping on London’s night buses has soared by more than 20 per cent over the past four years, according to an internal report from Transport for London.

The report has exposed the shocking extent of the problem in the capital, with the number of people sleeping on buses during the bitter months of November to January alone rising by a staggering 121 per cent between 2012/2013 and last winter.

Overall, there had been an increase of 22 per cent in reports of rough sleepers throughout the whole of last year compared to the average number of reports over the past four years.

In 2015 a total of 213 incidents were reported, compared to an average 174.3 over the preceeding four years.

The boroughs where the most incidents were reported were Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, Redbridge, Southwark and Waltham Forest – with Westminster having more than three times the number of reports as the next highest boroughs.

It was suggested that this was due to the large number of bus routes passing through the borough, as well as the vibrant night time economy in the area.

The report has exposed the shocking extent of the problem in the capital, with the number of people sleeping on buses during the bitter months of November to January alone rising by a staggering 121 per cent between 2012/2013 and last winter.

Overall, there had been an increase of 22 per cent in reports of rough sleepers throughout the whole of last year compared to the average number of reports over the past four years.

In 2015 a total of 213 incidents were reported, compared to an average 174.3 over the preceeding four years.

The boroughs where the most incidents were reported were Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, Redbridge, Southwark and Waltham Forest – with Westminster having more than three times the number of reports as the next highest boroughs.

It was suggested that this was due to the large number of bus routes passing through the borough, as well as the vibrant night time economy in the area.

Read more here: http://streetskitchen.co.uk/number-of-people-sleeping-rough-on-london-night-buses-rises-by-20-per-cent/

DWP ‘puts child abuse trial at risk’ by insisting on PIP reassessment

A traumatised child abuse victim has branded the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “shameful” for trying to force him to attend a benefits reassessment, when he is waiting to give evidence at an institutional abuse trial.

David* has severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), caused by the horrific child abuse he suffered as a child, and which has led to several suicide attempts.

He is a key witness in a trial that he hopes will bring the perpetrators of that abuse to justice, but he says that the “abhorrent” actions of DWP and its contractor Atos are putting that at risk.

He has been told that he cannot discuss the abuse with anyone or allow DWP or Atos access to his medical records because the court proceedings are now live and the case is sub judice.

Read more here: http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2016/05/26/dwp-puts-child-abuse-trial-at-risk-by-insisting-on-pip-reassessment/

‘Benefit reforms hit disabled drivers’

People with a disability are finding it increasingly difficult to get behind the wheel because of government reforms, according to two charities.

Mobility Choice and the Disabled Motoring Federation say that changes to the benefit system mean that those with severe disabilities are struggling to access the new technology on the market.

Nikki Fox reports. See the BBC video here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36386324

Disabled homelessness rises in Tory Britain

DISABLED people are being made homeless in their thousands due to welfare cuts and a housing crisis spiralling out of control, official figures revealed yesterday.

According to the government’s own statistics, the number of people with disabilities becoming homeless has risen by 39 per cent since the Tories took power in 2010. And across Britain, the number of households officially accepted as homeless was even more “worrying,” with over 17,000 more families left with nowhere to live over the last five years.

Shadow housing minister John Healey said it was another blow to the credibility of David Cameron’s claim to lead a “compassionate” Conservative government following chaos over last week’s Budget.

“No one-nation government would accept rapidly rising homelessness and still stick with the policies causing the problem,” he said. “The Chancellor has backed down on some new disability benefit cuts but these figures expose the harsh impact on disabled people of the cuts he’s already made.”

He added that the scale of homelessness in Britain “shamed us all.”

read more: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2f2b-Disabled-Homelessness-Risis-in-Tory-Britain#.V0X2TfkrK1t

Labour Blast Tories ‘Abject Failure To Support Disabled People Into Work’

Official figures reveal a sharp decline in the number of disabled people supported into work through the Work Choice programme.

The Labour Party has blasted what it describes as the government’s “abject failure to support disabled people into work”, after official figures revealed a sharp decline in the number of people with disabilities moving into work through the Work Choice programme.

Work Choice is a voluntary government employment programme, designed to help disabled people with complex issues to find work or stay in a job.

According to the government’s website, providers work with businesses and offer support packages “which aim to develop the skills and abilities of a disabled person who needs specialist support”.

Official Work Choice statistics show 7.900 job outcomes for 7,710 individuals for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016, compared 12,020 job outcomes for 11,450 individuals during the same period the previous year.

There has also been a notable drop in the number of disabled people referred to Work Choice. 20,870 people were referred for employment support between 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015, falling to 15,330 during the same period a year later.

Figures also show fewer ‘starts’ on the programme. The government recorded 16,070 starts between 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2015, compared to 11,340 for the same period in 2015-16 – a fall of 4,730.

Both the Work Programme and Work Choice is to be replaced with a new ‘Work and Health Programme’, which will see funding of around £130 million a year – around 20% of the funding for the Work Programme and Work Choice, or an 80% cut.

read more: http://www.welfareweekly.com/labour-blast-tories-abject-failure-to-support-disabled-people-into-work/