Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness

Police in north London have seized blankets, sleeping bags and food donations from rough sleepers in a crackdown on homelessness.

A local paper reported that the belongings, mostly donated by sympathetic members of the community, were snatched by police from a group of homeless people as they sheltered in an abandoned pubic baths for the night.

The nine people, including a man in his sixties, were seeking cover from a cold night in Redbridge and were left stunned when their worldly possessions disappeared into the back of a police car.

One of the men targeted in the action, Adam Jaskowiak, pleaded with officers to be allowed to keep his possessions for warmth. The  34-year-old said: “They [the police officers] were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it, and the food, but they said ‘No’.

“I just grabbed as many of my things as possible and put them into a bag and ran.”

Police later confirmed that the shocking intervention was part of a co-ordinated effort to “reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers”.

Chief Inspector John Fish told the Ilford Recorder: “The public rely on the police to reduce the negative impact; this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of tents and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”


from the Independend; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-seize-possessions-of-rough-sleepers-in-crackdown-on-homelessness-8631665.html

ESA appeals more than double – and decisions in the claimant’s favour are increasing

Mike Sivier's blog

The number of appeals against decisions made after Atos work capability assessments has rocketed, with an increase in tribunal decisions in favour of the claimant – according to official government figures.

The government’s Tribunals Statistics Quarterly for January 1 to March 31 this year records a 33 per cent increase in the number of appeals (“receipts” in the language of the document), compared with the same period in 2012 – that’s a rise of almost one-third to 255,084.

It states: “The increase in the overall number of receipts was mainly due to the 37 per cent increase in the number of appeals received in social security (note: not “welfare”) and child support in 2012/13, compared to the same period in 2011/12.

“This was driven by appeals in relation to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which more than doubled over between Q4 2011/12 and Q4 2012/13 and accounted for 70 per cent of…

View original post 400 more words

Bedroom tax help is too difficult, claimant says

A FUND to help those affected by the “bedroom tax” is too complicated and will put off people from applying, according to one mother.

Nichola Murphy, aged 35, says the forms for the Discretionary Housing Payment are too detailed and stopped her from continuing with the application.

Bury Council has been granted a budget of £324,003 to cover applications from exempt social housing tenants, people who are disabled, fosterers or parents of armed forces personnel.

Miss Murphy, of Polefield Circle, Prestwich, has been declared unfit to work and is medically retired, after suffering from diabetes and osteoporosis, and using a wheelchair after suffering several falls, recently breaking her wrist.

She said: “It asks for everything. It might as well as ask me when I last coloured my hair. You only get it for a few months, and I just thought what is the point?”

Cllr Rishi Shori, cabinet member for adult care, health and housing, later admitted there was an issue and said he would arrange for help to be offered to Miss Murphy in completing the documents.

He said: “We don’t want a situation where people who are entitled to the fund are not applying. We want to ensure people get the help that they need.”


By Andrew Bardsley in the  ‘Bury Times’ 28th June 2013: http://www.burytimes.co.uk/news/10511774._Bedroom_tax__help_is_too_difficult__claimant_says/

GPs should provide information for every fitness for work assessment, urges BMA

GPs should be asked to provide factual information for every Work Capability Assessment to enable ‘better-informed decisions’ to be made about their patient’s eligibility for benefits, says the BMA.

In a letter to the Government sent this month, BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said the current process is ‘insufficiently rigorous and consistent’ and causes ‘avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.’

The news comes as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is planning to pilot a new approach to collecting information from claimants’ GPs, though a spokesperson could not confirm any details about the pilots as ‘options are still being considered’.

Dr Porter expressed disappointment at the lack of progress in implementing the recommendations of a review in 2010 into the DWP scheme to assess claimant’s fitness for work, run by private company Atos.

The review – by House of Lords and House of Commons select committees advisor Professor Malcolm Harrington, recommended further documentary evidence was obtained for every Work Capability Assessment before making a final decision on whether they could seek Employment and Support Allowance. Currently 40% of decisions are overturned at the appeal stage.

Dr Porter said the BMA had ‘continuing concerns’ about the programme and expressed his concern that the recommendations from Professor Harrington had not been implemented.

The letter said: ‘If the recommendation is implemented appropriately, with GPs providing factual information, it should result in better-informed decisions being made about eligibility for ESA by DWP decision makers, earlier in the process.’

This would lead to better-informed decisions, and would save GPs time, he said.

He added: ‘As well as making the system fairer for claimants, this should also significantly reduce the administrative cost of dealing with so many appeals.’

Dr Porter also called for an urgent update on the pilots proposed by the DWP to look into new approaches of collecting evidence to support claims.


from ‘Pulse TODAY’, a magazine for GPs, Read more here: http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/finance-and-practice-life-news/gps-should-provide-information-for-every-fitness-for-work-assessment-urges-bma/20003444.article#.Uc3TC5zI6RE

Dead Darlington woman asked why she has not attended DWP appointments

UNWANTED MAIL: Malcolm Pearse

THE partner of a woman who died in April has slammed officials for repeatedly asking to explain why she has not shown up for appointments with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Darlington woman Patricia Howe, 48, died after suffering a massive brain haemorrhage in April.

Despite her partner immediately informing them of her death, the DWP continued to send Ms Howe letters.

Since her death, Ms Howe has been invited to attend appointments to discuss her claim for Employment and Support Allowance.

When she failed to attend, she received more letters demanding to know why she had not been present.

Malcolm Pearse, her partner of 14 years, slammed the actions of the DWP and said he had been left devastated by their incompetence

He said: “I told them the day after she died and they stopped her money straight away but they are still sending letters.

“I’ve told them, if they need Trish to attend, they need to stop sending letters and get in touch with a psychic. They are total idiots and it is like banging my head against a brick wall.

“Their paperwork must be all over the place. When they want money off you, they are quick enough to act.

“I got up on Friday and was going to do all sorts of things but got their latest letter and it knocked me right back. You think you are just starting to get somewhere and then it comes up again and again. It is hard enough as it is.

“They are a law unto themselves. I just want them to leave me to grieve but there’s more chance of Paul Gascoigne getting fog on the Tyne than getting them to sort anything out.”

A spokeswoman from the Department of Work and Pensions said: “This was an unfortunate administrative error which we are very sorry about.  We will be writing to Mr Pearse to apologise for any distress caused”


Forced to stay in 3 bed house and pay the bedroom tax

The Councils are changing the goal posts for anyone wanting to down-size, in effect being ‘bullied to pay the bedroom tax’….
Our Housing are a Joke to down size you have to register on housing list then bid for a property well today I got a letter telling me the common Allocations Policy has changed I can no longer go on the register as I do not have a Priority? So How can I downsize when the Rules have now changed so looks like I am being forced to stay in a 3 bedroom home & pay the Bedroom Tax ? it says the revised policy restricts access and moves away from allowing anyone to register … I don’t mind you posting this please keep my name off thanks

From the Facebook page ‘ATOS miracles 27/6/2013

DWP refuses to provide information on ESA/IB deaths. What is it hiding?

Mike Sivier's blog

Once bitten, twice shy – the DWP has refused to release an update to its figures on the deaths of people in receipt of incapacity benefits (including Employment and Support Allowance).

Long-term readers may recall there was quite a stir last year when these figures were released, showing that around 73 people were dying every week after having been denied ESA or put in the work-related activity group.

This was more than twice as many as the previously-accepted figure of 32 people every week (which was still scandalous).

I received word of the cover-up last night, from Samuel Miller, the long-time friend of Vox Political who has been liaising with the United Nations about the Coalition government’s record on disability and incapacity benefits and the possibility that the Coalition is committing crimes against humanity.

“Just received word from the DWP that they will NOT release an update to

View original post 438 more words