The councillor at the centre of the row over David Freud’s comments about disabled people and the minimum wage owns a property in Tunbridge Wells, which he rents to people with learning disabilities via a charity. He receives housing benefit payments from the local authority.
At the Conservative party conference, Councillor David Scott told Lord Freud:
“The other area I’m really concerned about is obviously the disabled. I have a number of mentally damaged individuals, who to be quite frank aren’t worth the minimum wage, but want to work. And we have been trying to support them in work, but you can’t find people who are willing to pay the minimum wage.
> You can’t find people who are willing to pay the minimum wage to fully fit workers either – all those employers taking part in Workfare for example – the real something-for-nothing society : cheapskate employers.
“We had a young man who was keen to do gardening; now the only way we managed to get him to work was actually setting up a company for him, because as a director in a company we didn’t have to pay the minimum wage, we could actually give him the earnings from that.”
> In the wake of dubious self-employment schemes, will this be the next scam to reduce the unemployment figures ?
Become the director of your own company ! Earn £2 an hour !
Councillor Scott, along with his partner, is the director of or has an interest in several limited companies. They also own several properties in Tunbridge Wells.
One of these properties is a house in Cadogan Gardens, known as Scott Properties, of which Councillor Scott is both the joint owner and landlord.
According to Zoopla, the average value of a property in Cadogan Gardens is over half a million pounds.
Rooms in the house are ‘Rented to disabled persons directly or through Pepenbury, a registered charity.’
According to their website, Pepenbury:
“. . . provides high quality care and support for adults with a learning disability and complex needs, some of the most vulnerable people in society. We give them choice and control over how they live their lives and believe that every individual has the right to live an independent and rewarding life, whilst feeling safe and supported.”
Councillor Scott told Benefits and Work that the young man he told David Freud about has never lived at Cadogan Gardens, has never worked at any property owned by Councillor Scott and has also not worked at any property connected with Pepenbury.
Councillor Scott has also talked to his local newspaper about the issue, saying:
“If you have got some gardening work to be done you won’t pay someone for four hours when you could pay someone else for half an hour to do it. If you have a lawn in the garden and you employ a person who is doing it with support from somebody else there, you know you can employ them and it could cost you £10 to do it.
“If this person is going to take four hours to do that, would you be willing to pay £40? If you do not give them £40 you are not paying them minimum wage.”
When asked who the ‘we’ referred to in his discussion with Lord Freud was, Councillor Scott told us that it was:
“People working with my daughter when she was alive.”
Benefits and Work also contacted Pepenbury for a statement about whether the young man was one of their service users, but we have not yet received a response.
Source – Benefits & Work, 16 Oct 2014
> In late 2006, Freud was appointed by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to provide a nominally independent review of the British welfare to work system.
Freud acknowledged that he “didn’t know anything about welfare at all”.
Despite the great complexity of the welfare system Freud came up with a draft plan for reform within three weeks of his appointment.
And that, folks, is what happens when you allow talentless, unelected knobheads to get their hands on power.
And also flags up the difference between Labour and Tory when it comes to dealing with those nasty poor people… there isn’t any. Labour allowed this prat to set the ball rolling, Tories have allowed him to continue.
Comedy toff and Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Fraud stopped being funny a long time ago. Of all the blundering fucking idiots in the DWP, this failed banker, who cost investors millions due to a series of bungled deals, has shown the true face of the out of touch gilded elite that dominate all of the main political parties.
This is the man who thinks people queue up in foodbanks just for a laugh and not because they are hungry. The same prick who threatened every Women’s Refuge in the country with closure and wanted to charge the very poorest benefit claimants to have banks manage ther personal finances. The clown who doesn’t even know how much the dole actually pays despite being in charge of reforming it.
His recent comments at the Tory Party Conference, where he agreed…
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Cash-strapped North councils have diverted more than £300,000 of funds to top up Government help for those left reeling by the bedroom tax.
Welfare reforms have seen changes made to benefits which have forced many to seek smaller housing while scores of others struggle to pay their rent.
Thousands applied for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) cash payments to get by, but now many councils have spent over the amount allocated by Government and have had to find extra funds from elsewhere.
Fears are also spreading the situation could get worse as authorities may be even more out-of-pocket next year when the Government will cease to offer DHP funding.
Hartlepool Council had one of the highest deficits – £115,239 – with the total spent on DHP hitting almost half-a-million pounds.
In Gateshead, the overspend was £90,000, after the authority spent £583,000. Chiefs will now bid for extra DHP cash as the council foresees a further shortfall.
Sunderland City Council spent £690,000 and had a shortfall of £32,000. North Tyneside Council reported an underspend while Durham County Council was granted additional DHP funds to cope with demand.
In Middlesbrough the figure was £37,420, Redcar and Cleveland spent £5,000, while Stockton was the lowest over their allocated funds at £932.
Both Hartlepool and Middlesbrough councils said they met the shortfall by using money from the Local Welfare Provision (LWP), which can also be used to help people struggling with welfare reforms.
But the LWP will also be removed by the Government from April 1, 2015.
South Tyneside Council was left with a shortfall of £8,000 after granting £314,000 worth of DHP applications.
Meanwhile Newcastle City Council – which by far paid out the most DHP grants at £1.5m – was granted an additional £861,000 in DHP cash from the Government to cope with almost 3,000 applications.
Coun Dave Budd, Middlesbrough’s Deputy Mayor and executive member for resources, said: “The Coalition Government’s welfare reforms have placed a great many people in real hardship.
“From a very early stage we have been working with many partners – including local housing providers and the Citizens Advice Bureau – to address issues which can have a devastating effect on people’s lives.
“With the removal of the funding for the Local Welfare Provision from April next year, it will become even tougher to help those most in need. However, we will continue to do everything in our power as a local authority to mitigate those impacts.”
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar Anna Turley highlighted the situation, saying: “David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s bedroom tax has been a disaster for the hundreds of thousands of people hit by the cruel levy and it has come at a huge cost for local taxpayers.”
However, the DWP says more than £20m specifically earmarked to help people adapt to welfare reforms was not spent by UK local authorities last year.
Figures show almost two-thirds (63%) of councils paid out less than their total DHP allocation to tenants.
A spokesman for Hartlepool Council said: “The council recognises the significant detrimental impact that the bedroom tax is having on households and as a council we are doing everything possible to ease the pain for residents.
“In 2013/14, the Government’s introduction of the bedroom tax resulted in reduced housing benefit entitlements in Hartlepool of over £1m and affected over 1,400 households.”
Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, said: “We tripled support for vulnerable people to £180m last year to ensure the right help was in place during our far-reaching welfare reforms.
“The figures also show that recent scare stories about councils running out of money were grossly exaggerated.
“Our vital reforms are fixing the broken welfare system by restoring fairness for hardworking people and making sure work always pays, as part of our long-term plan.”
> The long-term plan evidently being to return Britain to being a feudal society…
Source – middlesbrough Evening Chronicle, 31 Aug 2014
The Housing Benefit bill is set to spiral out of control due to low wages and rising rents, official figures suggest.
Between 2010/11 to 2018/19 the amount spent on helping struggling households to keep roofs over their heads is set to rocket to a staggering £12.9 billion, or £488 for every household in the UK.
The figures obtained from the Commons Library also show that Housing Benefit paid to people in work is set to more than double, from £2.4 billion in 2010/11 to £5.5 billion in 2018/19.
Stagnating wages will also have a knock on effect on how much is spent supporting low-income households with tax credits. Currently the UK spends £21.2 billion on tax credits, but this is forecast to rise to £23.7 billion by 2018/19.
Speaking in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, Rachel Reeves is expected to say:
“The number of working people claiming housing benefit is set to double because the Tory Government has failed to tackle low pay, insecure work and the cost-of-living crisis.
“Labour will raise the minimum wage, introduce living wage contracts and get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020 to tackle the bill and ensure working people can make ends meet.”
She will also say that Labour may withdraw its support for Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship Universal Credit scheme, unless “urgent action” is immediately taken to prevent “more money being wasted” on the crisis hit programme.
Ms Reeves will say: “Today I want to make a direct appeal to David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith.
“Labour wants Universal Credit to work. But we won’t accept more taxpayers’ money being wasted. It is in crisis and needs urgent action.”
> Yes, Rachel, but what you need to understand is that the problem with Universal Credit is not just that it’s a money pit. Its also the way in which it makes life so much more difficult for people who already have more than enough problems to be going on with.
Are Labour going to deal with those aspects ? Nothing seen so far suggests that they would anything except continue with more of the same.
Earlier this year, Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud described the write-off of a failed £40 million IT system for Universal Credit as “deeply regrettable”.
He insisted that the programme would be delivered on time and within its £2.5 billion budget and that the scheme would benefit taxpayers to the tune of £35 billion.
Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP, told the Daily Mirror that the government had “inherited an out-of-control housing benefit system from Labour”.
He added that the government were working to “build a welfare system that provides a safety net for those in need, while rewarding the willingness to work”.
Source – Welfare News Service, 05 Aug 2014
Speaking in the House of Lords, Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud described the write-off of a failed £40 million IT system as “deeply regrettable”.
He also insisted that the decision to “reorganise” Universal Credit, which led to the government’s flagship welfare reform being ‘reset’, was taken by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP.
“We all know that, when you have a £2.5 billion programme with a high IT content, there are elements that you write that you do not need.
“In the private sector that can be a third of a programme. Clearly, any write-off is always deeply regrettable, but one has to put those things into a context.
“We remain within our budget of £2.5 billion — not £12 billion — and we are looking at an overall net benefit of £35 billion from this programme. The NAO (National Audit Office) has said that it is taking a regular interest in the programme; we will continue and will see more reports on it from the NAO.
“However, as regards the way in which we are doing it, it is somewhat misleading to think of this as a twin-track system, because we have a single plan for universal credit.
“We are finding what works through the rollout we have; it may be small, but you do not need huge numbers to find out what works. It is important that we do this testing.
“At the heart of the programme is what we call the “test and learn” process, in which we take what is happening and assess and measure it against other things, aiming to find out how it works. That informs what we call the end-state build, which is thoroughly under way and is in agile.
“The first Warrington programme was trying to be agile, which I think is the best way; this end-state solution — the fully digital one, the interactive digital one — is being done on an agile basis.
Lord Freud also commented on Universal Credit being classed as ‘reset’ by the Major Projects Authority:
“What does reset mean? What happened, as noble Lords will remember, is that Ministers, the Secretary of State in particular, took a decision that the programme was not going properly and took a view to stop it and reorganise it — reset it.
“It is not a new category; it is a description of a process. If one is in charge of a programme, rather than blundering on with it regardless, I would hope noble Lords would agree that it is the job of the Ministers in charge to take that kind of decision, work out how to rebase it — reset it — and make sure it is done safely and securely, which is what we are aiming to do. That is everything that we are doing.”
> Yeah, all deeply regretable… but hey, its only public money, and you’ve got to spend big in order to be able to cut benefits, which we cant afford.
What’s that ? Stop wasting money on mad unworkable schemes and we wouldn’t need to cut benefits ?
Ho ho ho, you obviously just don’t understand how politics works… next you’ll be suggesting that IDS and myself should take personal responsibility for failures.
Source – Welfare News Service, 25 June 2014
This year to date, I’ve written two articles questioning the REAL agenda behind the Benefit Fraud Campaigns, the first in January considered how Politicians use psychological coercion to control us, whilst the second in April, introduced the newly formed single fraud investigation service, (SFIS), “a cross Government strategy to reduce fraud and error” apparently costing £140 million. In April I questioned whether the SFIS would prove to be value for money, particularly as according to DWP figures Fraud and Error has cost the Nation approximately £1 Billion for the past Eight Years?
Well it seems my concerns were justifiable, the latest figures in the DWP official Report shows a significant rise in Fraud, although a minor decrease in Error:
This situation is despite the DWP already having spent at least £296,726, just on campaigns to reduce Fraud & Error; when the REAL costs to the DWP, the SFIS, Justice Department & the CPS are…
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