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:

The Case of the DWP’s Disappearing ESA Sanctions Leaflet

Originally posted on DWPExamination.:


We have all been disappointed over the last few days by the case of the disappearing DWP ESA Sanctions leaflet-first it was there, then it was gone.  The DWP link tells us that the leaflet is coming soon, but what happened to the original?

A few of us had seen the leaflet before it was removed and noted that the DWP were using photos and examples, apparently in an effort to appear humane ( stop laughing).

One of the examples: Sarah’s story, happily tells of her being sanctioned for two weeks because she didn’t see the value of completing her CV as ordered by the DWP Job Centre goons. Sarah is almost in raptures as she recounts how she’s learned her lesson and recognises the error of her wilful ways-she’s grateful for losing 2 weeks of her ESA and for being sanctioned- the moral is: its…

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Bedroom Tax, Council Tax, I’m disabled and just about ready to give up.

This was posted on the facebook page “Moved to get out of bedroom tax but can’t move to get out of council tax”


“I moved 2 yeaŕs this June after I had 56 square ft (too much space in my flat). I lived there 12 yrs. I’ve had bailiffs here since the move as the move put me in debt and now, (I’m 45. Was on DLA now on PIP) I’m just about ready to give up. My eldest left for uni. My youngest is 15 this sat.

I have fought for 2 yrs to get Riverside Housing to bring this house up to standard. Tried Shelter and environmental health but they cant help anyone in a housing association as they have their own policies in place. I’ve been hospitalised this year and brought back from an overdose.

I emailed cameron… got a thank you for contacting us kinda email back but nothing.

I’m pretty much done. I moaned 18 months ago that I got moved by force by the bedroom tax. I still have no carpets or curtains. I had no cooker for months aw man…. its been shit. Isolated shit. 12 years of being included in neighborhood society.

I’m an agoraphobic. I don’t know where the heck a flippin post box is here. Don’t know a neighbor that might pop a letter in a post box for me and…. I owe council tax because they don’t do it like they used to. They used to take you on merit of housing benefit. I tried on line for council tax but they need me to print n post anyway?!!!

Done. I got 2 huuuuge tvs (90.s style) … a contract phone and a barbie cd player ….. come get it bitches its all I have left. 😐

Pregnant women and new mums forced out of their jobs

The Shocking Report the Tories Hoped Working Women Wouldn’t See

David Cameron may have generated a few headlines recently when he argued, in an article in the Times, that for those advocating gender equality “there has been a recent slew of good news”. But the reality is somewhat different. Let’s start with the fact that, in the last ten years, the number of women forced out of their jobs – either when they become pregnant or on their return to work after giving birth – has almost doubled.

That was the upshot of a controversial new report on workplace discrimination published by the Government on Friday. If you missed the news, that was exactly what the Government was hoping. Timing its release for the fag end of the week MPs deserted Westminster for the summer, most in a state of exhaustion, was a cynical attempt by the Tories to bury bad news.

And make no mistake – for working women, this report was very bad news indeed.

Notwithstanding its rather clunky title, “Pregnancy and Maternity-Related Discrimination and Disadvantage“, the paper included some shocking findings. Interviews with more than 3,200 women about their experiences of being pregnant at work, or returning to their jobs after giving birth, found that 11% reported having been dismissed, forced to take redundancy or treated so badly that they felt they had no choice but to resign.

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which co-commissioned the research, assuming that these trends are replicated across the entire workforce means that as many as 54,000 new mothers in the UK may be forced out of their jobs each year.

But what few seemed to notice was that the new figures showed we are moving in the exact opposite direction of progress. Ten years ago, the Equal Opportunities Commission produced a similar report on maternity rights in the workplace, with the much more snappy title of “Greater Expectations”. That report estimated that the number of pregnant women and new mums forced out of their jobs was around 30,000 each year. Ten years on, the number is close to twice that.

Read more here:

New targets for DWP compliance interviews.

Originally posted on The poor side of life:

Sometimes I’m taken by surprise. Mostly I’m not. But this is a new tactic. A new target driven tactic employed by the DWP.

For anyone claiming JSA, ESA Income Support or universal credit you might be familiar with a local service compliance interview. They send these letters out usually on a random basis or sometimes on the say so of a suspected fraud taking place. Now these interviews are compulsory and if you don’t attend then your money will get stopped.

Whilst attending one of these interviews you are normally treated like a criminal, guilty before being proven innocent, most likely innocent of any wrongdoing as you have been randomly picked in the first place. You are taken to a room which looks just like a police interview room. They record everything like the police do, only in this case you are most likely innocent. You are asked to bring…

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Obese people and drug users who refuse treatment could have benefits cut

The government appears to believe that forcing addicts into treatment unwillingly can work. I doubt if there are many therapists that agree with this. However, as yet another mechanism for siphoning our national insurance money into the hands of private outsourcing companies, it makes perfect sense.

David Cameron launches review by Dame Carol Black of welfare for those with drug, alcohol or obesity problems

A full-scale review is to be launched into whether tens of thousands of obese people and those with drug and alcohol problems should be deprived of benefits unless they accept treatment.

A consultation paper launched on Wednesday for a review to be completed before the end of the year by Dame Carol Black admits strong ethical issues are at stake. But it also questions whether such people should continue to receive benefits if they refuse government-provided treatment.

The review, which was limited to obese people when it was first outlined in February, will now be expanded to include the cost of drug dependency and alcoholism to society and taxpayers.

The consultation paper stresses that the purpose of the review is not punitive but to “consider how best to support those suffering from long-term yet treatable conditions back into work or to remain in work”.

The review is designed to “establish the role such treatable conditions play in causing worklessness and estimate the associated cost to the exchequer and the economy”.

It will also consider the groups most at risk of becoming workless through treatable conditions in future and the support available to them, including incentives on employers.

Read the rest of this article here:


A survivor of the system but no thanks to the DWP.

Originally posted on The poor side of life:

Last week I met a lovely man once again. I didn’t recognise him, and I had to look twice. The last time that I saw him he was very thin, he was hungry and very depressed. Why? The Jobcentre kept sanctioning him even though he had fully complied with his job search requirements. It had got that bad that he was very close to loosing his home and he was thinking of taking his own life. The DWP had taken every bit of hope away from him. He had nothing left inside him. Both myself and his girlfriend had given him some advice and he survived.

He sat opposite me, and I told him that I didn’t recognise him, his whole persona had changed. There was a spark in his eyes and he had put a lot of weight on. I asked him what had happened, and he told me…

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The Benefit Cap and the new born suckling baby

Originally posted on Joe Halewood:

The current £500 per week cap typically affects the family with 5 or more children in the regions yet the reduction to £384.62 per week, the £20,000 per year cap, will see a couple with two children receive £88.83 per week in housing benefit and be seriously at risk of homelessness.

The family with 5 children is a large one and a rare one.  The family with 2 children is not a large one and is commonplace and that is why for instance the number of families affected in Liverpool will increase TWENTY ONE FOLD from the current 146 families to 3096 households containing 10,248 children.

The significance of the 23% reduction in the cap limit sees a 2129% increase in the number of families affected and will see on average 7 classrooms of children affected and highly probably made homeless each and every week next year.

These 10,248 children and their 4,119 parents…

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