Tagged: welfare

The minimum income is 2.5 times what people get on benefits – but still they are labelled scroungers

Vox Political

140630minimumincome The numbers speak for themselves: Under ‘Adequacy of safety-net benefits’, EVERY SINGLE INCOME GROUP has lost out. While others have suffered a great percentage drop, single working-age people remain the least able to make ends meet.

“How much money do you need for an adequate standard of living?”

That is the question posed every year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – and every year the organisation calculates how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark.

This year’s research finds:

A lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 per year – up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008. Single working-age people must now earn more…

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Art attack on Coalition policies that drive people to their deaths

Vox Political

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A UK artist has created an art installation as a memorial to the suicide victims of welfare reform.

Melanie Cutler contacted Vox Political regarding her piece – ‘Stewardship’ – a few weeks ago, asking, “Do you think I’ll be arrested?”

The response was that it should be unlikely if she informed the media. The artworks have been displayed at the Northampton Degree Show and are currently at the Free Range Exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery building in Brick Lane, London, which ends tomorrow (June 30).

Entry is free and the installation will be located in F Block, B5.

“I have become an artist later on in life,” Melanie told Vox Political. “I was a carer for my son and, a few decades later, my father. I have worked most of my life too, raising three children.

“Only recently, while studying fine art at University I found my health…

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Work Programme ‘Failing Those Most In Need And Should Be Broken Up’

This article was written by Patrick Wintour, political editor, for The Guardian on Sunday 15th June 2014

 The £1.2bn Work Programme, the government’s flagship welfare to work scheme, needs to be broken up in the face of figures showing that as little as 5% of unemployed people on the main disability benefit are finding a job through it, a thinktank will propose this week.

The proposal is one of a series from the Institute for Public Policy Research in its Condition of Britain report, to be published on Thursday, including a proposal for a “daddy month” – four weeks’ paternity leave on the minimum wage, a plan that would cost the taxpayer £150m. More than 400,000 working fathers a year would benefit.

The thinktank’s report, the product of two years’ research, is due to be launched by Ed Miliband. It will look at the social and economic problems facing the country and cover areas such as welfare, housing, childcare and improvements to social care, as well as handing more power to local councils.

The current legal entitlement for working fathers is paid at a flat rate of £138.18 a week – equivalent to just £3.45 an hour for a 40-hour working week, little more than half the minimum wage. The IPPR proposes that the statutory paternity leave entitlement should not only be extended but should be paid at least the national minimum wage, with employers also encouraged to bridge the gap between the statutory rate and the father’s actual pay.

Only 55% of fathers take the full two weeks off work when their child is born and a third do not take any of their statutory leave. Most say this is because they cannot afford to.

On the Work Programme, the report concludes that the scheme is especially failing mentally ill people, and the task of helping those on employment support allowance – the main disability benefit – to find work should be devolved to local authorities, with councils recouping some of the possible savings from the Department for Work and Pensions.

However, the report says private contractors should be left to find jobs for the mainstream long-term unemployed using a modified version of the current system of payments by results.

> So… get rid of the Work Programme, and replace it with something like the Work Programme ? And we all know how good private companies are at milking the system despite poor results… which brings us back to the Work Programme !

It says: “The Work Programme, while delivering acceptable results for the mainstream job seekers, is letting down those furthest from the labour market. Whilst one in five mainstream job seekers will find work through the Work Programme as few as one in 20 of those furthest from the labour market will.”

> 20% is delivering acceptable results  ?

It also says those in areas of highest unemployment are receiving the least effective help.

It adds the “DWP has carved up the country between providers without any accountability to citizens or regard to local labour market conditions. Therefore for those out of work the system represents a postcode lottery in which success is determined not by individual effort but by geography.”

The report also says the government should offer a guaranteed six month minimum job paid at the minimum wage or above to anyone who has been unemployed and claiming job seekers allowance for more than 12 consecutive months.

> Or another work scheme, in other words. And after 6 months ?

The report will also set out plans to freeze child benefit to help fund a new network of children’s centres and extra free childcare, although it is understood that Miliband will reject this proposal.

Source –  Welfare News Service,  15 June 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/work-programme-failing-need-broken/

Panellists hijack Question Time to attack Iain Duncan Smith

Vox Political

Finger-jabbing protest: Iain Duncan Smith talked over Owen Jones in his last Question Time appearance; this time the other panellists didn't give him the chance. Finger-jabbing protest: Iain Duncan Smith talked over Owen Jones in his last Question Time appearance; this time the other panellists didn’t give him the chance.

Around three-quarters of the way through tonight’s Question Time, I was ready to believe the BBC had pulled a fast one on us and we weren’t going to see Iain Duncan Smith get the well-deserved comeuppance that he has managed to avoid for so long in Parliament and media interviews.

There was plausible deniability for the BBC – the Isis crisis that has blown up in Iraq is extremely topical and feeds into nationwide feeling about the possibility of Britain going to war again in the Middle East. The debate on extremism in Birmingham schools is similarly of public interest – to a great degree because it caused an argument between Tory cabinet ministers. Those are big issues at the moment and the BBC…

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If DWP lawyers don’t attend tribunals it means benefit claimants AREN’T cheating, Daily Mail!

Vox Political

Daily Fail Logo

The Fail has struck again with a comically inaccurate piece about benefit appeal tribunals.

“Benefits claimants cheats (sic) are able to keep money they are not entitled to because government officials fail to turn up to legal hearings,” thundered the piece by MailOnline political editor Matt Chorley, who should know better – both in terms of grammar and logic.

“The Department for Work and Pensions sent lawyers to just four per cent of tribunals held last year to rule on decisions to cut benefits.

“It means that in many cases people are able to successfully argue in favour of keeping their money, because the government has failed to turn up to challenge it.”

No – that’s not what it means.

If the DWP has made a decision not to send lawyers to defend the cancellation of a claimant’s benefit, it means they expect the facts to speak for themselves…

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Tax credit debt collection is a double-edged attack on the poor

Vox Political

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There’s more than a little of the piscine about the fact that our Conservative-led has set debt collection agencies onto poor families who have been overpaid tax credit due to errors made by HM Revenue and Customs.

Firstly, the move undermines the principle behind the tax credit system – that it is there to ensure that poorly-paid families may still enjoy a reasonable living standard. Tax credits are paid on an estimate of a person’s – or family’s – income over a tax year and the last Labour government, knowing that small variances could cause problems for Britain’s poorest, set a wide buffer of £25,000 before households had to pay anything back.

By cutting this buffer back to £5,000, the Conservatives have turned this safety net into a trap. Suddenly the tiniest overpayment can push households into a debt spiral, because their low incomes mean it is impossible to pay…

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Steph Pike – Welfare to Workfare

 

Posted by : LiteratureNorthwest

Poet Steph Pike performs her poem ‘Welfare to Workfare‘ at the Manchester Book Market 2011. Her collection ‘Full of the Deep Bits’ is published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press. http://www.knivesforksandspoonspress….

‘Shoestring Army’ to battle government-imposed ‘slavery’ in the courts

Vox Political

Energising: Keith Lindsay-Cameron prepares to take his case to the police. Energising: Keith Lindsay-Cameron prepares to take his case to the police.

An activist from Somerset is raising his own ‘Shoestring Army’ to crowdsource funds and mount a legal challenge against the government’s new Claimant Commitment for jobseekers, after police said they were unable to arrest Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud for breaching the Human Rights Act.

Keith Lindsay-Cameron, of Peasedown St John, near Bath, was advised to obtain the services of a solicitor and raise a legal challenge in the courts after he made his complaint at Bath police station on Friday (May 2).

He said the conditionality regime that is part of the new Claimant Commitment will re-cast the relationship between the citizen and the State – from one centred on ‘entitlement’ to one centred on a contractual concept in which the government provides a range of support only if a claimant meets an explicit set of responsibilities…

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Sanction figures: Shurely shome mishtake?

Vox Political

There’s something not quite right about the DWP’s latest statistics covering benefit sanctions.

I’d go into it in detail but, in the spirit of the saying that a picture can tell a story better than a thousand words, let’s just have a look at this graph instead (courtesy of @UKJCP on Twitter).

140417sanctions

By my reckoning, somebody’s calculations started to go seriously amiss in November 2012.

What do you think has happened?

And who do you think is to blame?

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Inflation drop doesn’t mean wages will rise

Vox Political

'For the privileged few': If you're earning the average wage of £26,500 per year, or less, then nothing George Osborne says will be relevant to you. ‘For the privileged few’: If you’re earning the average wage of £26,500 per year, or less, then nothing George Osborne says will be relevant to you.

Why are the mainstream media so keen to make you think falling inflation means your wages will rise?

There is absolutely no indication that this will happen.

If you are lucky, and the drop in inflation (to 1.7 per cent) affects things that make a difference to the pound in your pocket, like fuel prices, groceries and utility bills, then their prices are now outstripping your ability to pay for them at a slightly slower rate. Big deal.

The reports all say that private sector wages are on the way up – but this includes the salaries of fatcat company bosses along with the lowest-paid office cleaners.

FTSE-100 bosses all received more pay by January 8 than average workers earn in a year. Their…

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