The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been forced to apologise, after a bungling Job Centre official ordered a severely disabled man to attend an interview.
Nick Gaskin, 46, from Leicestershire, has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and cannot walk, talk or even feed himself.
Despite needing round the clock care, Mr Gaskin was asked by letter to attend an appointment at the Loughborough Job Centre on 22 July. The letter stated: “You and your personal advisor will discuss the possibility of going into paid work, training for work, or looking for work in the future.”
Nick’s furious wife, Tracy, contacted the Job Centre office to explain that Nick had been in receipt of disability benefits for 16 years, only to be told that he was still required to attend.
Tracy told the Leicester Mercury: “Nick communicates by blinking for yes and no. He has a good life but it is ludicrous to get a letter like this and to have to attend an appointment.
“When I called the number on the letter the person said if we couldn’t get to the centre perhaps there could be a telephone interview.
“Nick can’t speak, the man obviously hadn’t been listening to me.”
She added: “This is a pointless interview and a waste of everyone’s time and resource. There has got to be a better way. Why can’t we produce written evidence?”
A Ukip-branded leaflet has suggested benefit claimants should be banned from driving on UK roads to ease congestion.
The document, which appears to have been sent out by the campaign of Lynton Yates, the Ukip candidate for Charnwood in Leicestershire, asks why claimants “have the privilege to spend the taxpayer’s hard-earned money on a car” and suggests they instead “catch a bus”.
“We could likely remove six million cars from the road if benefit claimants were not driving,” it reads. “Why do they have the privilege to spend the taxpayer’s hard-earned money on a car, when those in work are struggling to keep their own car on the road? These people could really catch a bus!”
> So they no longer buy petrol or oil, pay for repairs, etc – less money into the economy and less tax paid – VAT. We’re all tax payers, whatever our employment status.
And even if you did ban them, what difference would it make to those in work are struggling to keep their own car on the road ? They’ll still be struggling.
UKIP non-thinking at its best !
Ukip confirmed that the leaflet had been sent out by the campaign team of one of its candidates but a spokesman stressed:
“These are not Ukip policies and they will not form part of the Ukip manifesto.”
Yates, a local councillor on Leicester county council’s transport committee, did not respond to a request for comment.
Labour’s shadow health minister Jamie Reed said Ukip was “not so much a political party but a stag night out of control”.
The leaflet, which emerged on the Facebook page of a Charnwood resident, echoes the suggestion of the former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom that benefit claimants should not vote.
In past local and EU elections Ukip has struggled to keep track of racist, homophobic and bizarre statements made by a handful of candidates. It will hope to keep such incidents to a minimum in the runup to the general election as it has brought in much stricter vetting regime for candidates.
> Nevertheless, this is still how these people think, what they believe. Do we want them in any public office (wages paid by the taxpayer, don’t forget).
This article was written by Rowena Mason, political correspondent, for The Guardian on Wednesday 21st January 2015
The British National Party is in legal hot water after failing in a High Court bid to inherit £389,000 left to it by a Northumberland-born expat.
When Ashington-born Joseph Robson died in Alicante, Spain, at the age of 81 in March 2010, he bequeathed his entire estate outside Spain – worth £389,000 – to the BNP, leaving his two sons, Jeremy and Simon, with just £135 between them.
However, a judge has now ruled that Mr Robson’s bequest fell foul of the ban on foreign donations to political parties – and that the BNP broke the law by “receiving” and “accepting” the gift in breach of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Judge Richard Sheldon QC effectively tore up Mr Robson’s will, declared that he died intestate and awarded his fortune to the sons he tried to disinherit.
There was no evidence that Mr Robson had been registered to vote in the UK at any time in the five years before his death – and he was therefore not a “permissible donor” to the far-right BNP or any other registered UK political party, the judge ruled.
Mr Robson had not lived in Britain “at any period after 1992” and exhaustive searches of the electoral rolls had failed to turn up his name.
The possibility that he was registered to vote in England in the five years before he died was “at best, highly unlikely,” the judge said.
BNP chairman Nick Griffin, along with the party’s Treasurer, Clive Jefferson, and leading party member, Adam Walker, a former teacher from County Durham, had taken steps to vary the terms of Mr Robson’s will so that the bequest would be paid into a trust, rather than directly to the party.
But Judge Sheldon said that, by doing that, Mr Robson’s gift had been inadvertantly “accepted” and “received” by the BNP in breach of the prohibition contained within the 2000 Act – which includes “penal provisions”.
Although Mr Robson’s cash had been distributed to no-one, pending the outcome of the case, the judge reached the “inescapable conclusion” that the BNP “had accepted the gift” before attempting to “pass it over” to trustees.
Mr Robson was born in Ashington, Northumberland, in 1928, and lived in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, after divorcing from Jeremy and Simon’s mother in the 1970s.
He moved to Alicante on his retirement in 1992.
He made a will in 1996, leaving the whole of his estate – mostly made up his holdings in an offshore investment fund – to the BNP, apart from the contents of a Spanish bank account, just £135, which he bequeathed to Jeremy.
Patrick Harrington, a close assistant to Nick Griffin although not himself a BNP member, had argued in court that it would be “utterly unjust” for the party to be stripped of Mr Robson’s bequest.
“One son was given nothing and the other was given less than £150. It seems pretty clear that the father didn’t want the bulk of his estate to go to his two sons – he wanted it to go to a political party,” he said.
“Mr Robson had every right to be on the electoral register but, for whatever reason, he was unaware of the provision that he had to be.
“The pathway can never lead to the sons, that can never happen,” he added.
Denying that the BNP were fighting the case because they were badly in need of funds, he told the judge: “The BNP has received sizable legacies as its support base tends to be amongst older people. It is not desperate for money.”
Mr Harrington promised that, were the cash released, “a large pool of voluntary BNP labour” would be “sitting in the British Library going through every electoral roll in the country” to find out if Mr Robson had in fact been registered to vote in any UK constituency in the five years before he died.
> Do they have that many that can read ? 😉
However, the judge ruled that, under the 2000 Act – which was introduced by the last Labour government to curb “foreign donations” to British registered political parties – Mr Robson could not lawfully have made the gift, whether in his will or during his lifetime, and that the BNP was not entitled to accept and receive it.
Neither of Mr Robson’s sons attended the court hearing, and their barrister said he was unable to comment on why their father had decided to effectively write them out of his will.
Source – Newcastle Journal 01 Feb 2014