Massive survey majority believes ‘inhuman’ DWP causes and then covers-up claimant deaths

UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR

Please note: there are repeated references to suicide in the final section of this article, headed: “Is there anything else you would like to tell us about issues covered in this survey?

A Benefits and Work survey has revealed an overwhelming distrust of the DWP, with the majority of respondents considering that the department:

  • has negatively affected their own health
  • treats claimants inhumanly
  • causes claimants’ deaths
  • covers up the poverty, suffering and deaths it causes

Benefits and Sanctions deaths survey
In the last Benefits and Work newsletter we published a link to a ‘Benefits sanctions and deaths’ survey.

Two things prompted us to create the survey:

    the preceding week Conservative business minister Nick Boles told charity volunteers that some benefits sanctions were ‘inhuman’ – then changed his mind.
  • Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed that that more than 30 secret reviews carried out following the deaths of benefit claimants called…

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Criticising Government Policy Online Is “Unacceptable Intimidation” According To Treasury

the void

byteback-fb1As pointed out by @refuted, the Treasury’s claim that a recent anti-workfare social media storm was “unacceptable intimidation” comes just days after an Upper Tribunal judge endorsed this kind of criticism as “legitimate political expression”.

The comments came after news broke that Bristol IT company Byteback had pulled out of workfare a week after being visited by George Osborne to sing the praises of the scheme.  Hundreds of people had contacted Byteback on social media expressing dismay at their involvement in forced work after some fierce questioning from @andygale on twitter caused them to refer to their unpaid workers as ’employees of the state’.

Shortly after this bombardment, and in a huge embarrassment for Osborne, Byteback apologised for their involvement in his grubby scheme and promised “no more involvement ever with workfare”.

This prompted a tantrum from the Treasury who took to the national press to complain of…

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Student fees policy likely to cost more than the system it replaced

The proportion of unpaid loans is approaching a critical level as write-offs are on track to pass the gains from tripling of fees

The proportion of graduates failing to pay back student loans is increasing at such a rate that the Treasury is approaching the point at which it will get zero financial reward from the government’s policy of tripling tuition fees to £9,000 a year.

New official forecasts suggest the write-off costs have reached 45% of the £10bn in student loans made each year, all but nullifying any savings to the public purse made following the introduction of the new fee system.

The universities minister, David Willetts, speaking in response to a parliamentary question from the shadow education minister, Liam Byrne, confirmed that the write-off figure – the resource accounting and budgeting (RAB) charge – is rapidly approaching the 48.6% mark. This is the threshold at which experts calculate that the government will lose more money than it would have saved by keeping the old £3,000 tuition fee system.

read the rest of this article by Shiv Malik in the Guardian here: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/mar/21/student-fees-policy-costing-more

Extra 200,000 children in poverty due to benefit cap

The government has admitted its policy of capping increases in benefits will result in around 200,000 more children being in relative income poverty by 2015-16. The information has emerged in a written answer in Parliament from a junior DWP minister.

Following the recent Autumn Statement, the government is planning to limit the increase in most working-age benefits to just 1 per cent in each of the three years, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. This is likely to lead to benefits both being cut in real terms (relative to consumer prices) and falling behind average earnings increases over the period.

The Child Poverty Action Group said the government’s child poverty strategy was in ‘utter disarray’, with its policies overall set to push a million more children into poverty by 2020, and accused ministers of being ‘in denial’. The government said it was ‘not helpful’ to look at relative income in isolation as a way of tracking progress on eradicating child poverty.

Source: Written Answer 15 January 2013, columns 715-717W, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
LinksHansard | CPAG press release | Gingerbread press release | Labour Party press release | Guardian report | Inside Housing report

Thanks to ‘Poverty and Social Exclusion’ for this: http://www.poverty.ac.uk/news-stories-child-poverty-government-cuts/extra-200000-children-poverty-due-benefit-cap

“Affordable Homes Programme”: an offer that should be refused

Swindon Tenants Campaign Group

You can download a PDF of this here ahp2briefing

The government Prospectus for the second round of it’s “affordable homes programme” has recently been published. Councils and Housing Associations will be able to bid for grant from the Homes and Communities Agency in order to build new homes. The first round of grants, for 2011-15, was based on a massive reduction of grant, from £60,000 (in the previous government’s programme) to an expected £20,000 per property built. As a result the providers had to accept that they would have to raise a much greater proportion of the money necessary, in the form of converting ‘social rent’ homes to the “affordable rent model”, up to 80% of private rents  (See “What is the “affordable rent model?[1] and  “More evidence of the need for “affordable rent to be abandoned[2]), and increased borrowing.  The second round…

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No protection from Bedroom Tax for the vulnerable as it would cause ‘political embarrassment’

Vox Political

vulnerable

Vulnerable children and adults with disabilities or high support needs may be forced to pay the Bedroom Tax, despite protestations to the contrary by Lord Freud, after it was revealed that creating more protections would cause ‘political embarrassment’.

Current rules mean some supported housing is protected from the Bedroom Tax, benefit cap and the effects of Universal Credit (if a working version ever arrives) – but this accommodation is not exempted if the landlord is not the care provider or when the landlord is a local authority.

This means that, for example, supported housing provider Habinteg has 1,200 wheelchair-accessible properties for the disabled – but only 516 of them are exempt from the benefit changes.

Lord Freud, who is minister for social security reform, said last April that the DWP was working to ensure all supported accommodation would be protected from what he called the “unintended consequences” of the government’s…

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Inside The Work Programme And Why It Doesn’t Work

My report, although remaining anonymous, will I hope shed some light on the true goal and cost of the government’s Work Programme scheme.

I took on a full-time job as a student in the summer holidays. The interview was fairly standard and the company advertised the role as a customer management assistant that helped people get back into work.

read the rest of this account by someone working for a business administrating the governmnt’s ‘work programme’  here:  http://welfarenewsservice.com/exclusive-inside-work-programme-doesnt-work-2/