Court Cases, Chaos and Soaring Debt As Council Tax Reform Unravels

cant-pay wont payThe shambolic postcode lottery which has emerged after reforms to Council Tax Benefit is creating chaos for Local Authorities and driving some people into desperate poverty.

Prior to the non-election of this government most people on out of work benefits were not required to pay council tax.  This was because they didn’t have any money.  This system functioned reasonably well and ensured that sick, disabled or unemployed people were not simply paying back half of their meagre benefits to local government.

Despite this the Tories decided to tear up the rulebook and hand over the powers for helping the poorest pay their council tax to local authorities giving them free reign to charge whatever they chose.  And to ensure maximum carnage, the amount of money made available for the new Council Tax Suppot scheme was cut by 10%.

Sadly many councils approached this chance to attack their most marginalised residents with barely disguised glee.  Some, like Tendring Borough Council, launched a ludicrous local people only scheme, with those new to the area facing full council tax bills even if they didn’t have a penny to their name.  Others, like Leeds City Council, are flirting with the idea of some form of forced workfare or jobsearch sessions for people struggling to pay their council tax.  This would presumably be in addition to the 35 hours a week mandated ‘work related activity’ that unemployed people must now carry out as a condition of their main benefits.

Elsewhere local councils dithered, often with such badly explained changes that many people only found out they were now eligible to pay some of their Council Tax when a court summons arrived.  Ths has led to mass court hearings with hundreds of people in some areas facing costly legal action often over just a couple of pounds a week.  Citizens Advice reported in May this year that council tax arrears are now the most common debt problem reported to them.  Unsuprisingly the cost of taking all these people to court has soared with the latest statistics showing a record £233 million was spent chasing council tax debt in 2013/14 – a rise of over £20 million in just one year.

These have not been the only court casess that some local authorities have found themselves emroiled in.  An important court judgement against Sandwell Council earlier in the year ruled that their policy that people should have lived in the area for two years before receiving a council tax reduction was illegal on six seperate grounds.  This has forced the previously mentioned Tendring Council to also change their local people only rule – and already they are attempting to shift the cost onto their poorest residents by slashing Council Tax Support even further.

Last month Haringey Council were also hit with a court ruling that they had failed to consult properly on reforms to Council Tax Benefit.  The council were found to have misled residents by claiming that they had no choice but to force people on beneifts to pay some council tax.   They weren’t the only ones who attempted this devious approach either.  Many more local authorities could now find that their Council Tax Support policies are unlawful due to bungled, or more correctly biased consultations.

Like so many of this Government’s policies, changes to council tax benefit have only hit the poorest and most voiceless people in the country.  If this was being happening to the latte-slurping middle classes we would never fucking hear about anything else.  Millionaire comedians would be crying in the newspapers about how hard done by they are.  Yet whilst the well off are promised income tax cuts, people living on just a few pounds a week are being plunged into council tax debt.  Arrears have risen by 20% since the reforms were introduced.  The massive growth in benefit sanctions have meant that many unemployed people now have no income at all – but they are still eligible to pay council tax.  Nobody even really knows how many thousands of people are currently being dragged through the courts for non-payment and who could even face prison as a punishment for their poverty.

It is not just those on out of work benefits who have been hit hard by the changes.  Many of the lowest paid are now also eligible to pay some, or more council tax than they were previously.  The poorer you are, the more of your money this Government wants.  And they do not care how much chaos they inflict to get it.

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80 responses to “Court Cases, Chaos and Soaring Debt As Council Tax Reform Unravels

  1. i buy whiskey with my giro

    the department for deceit and sanctions giving extra money away not taking it back surely not ?

  2. Eating cake as instructed

    This area has been issuing summonses at 80.00 a time over amounts below a pound owed by folk with less than 20.00 a week to survive on. Best of it is it’s a magistrates court summonse yet they’ve only hired a room and one bloke demanded to see a magistrate as they’d been persecuting him for two years claiming non payment yet he proved he had overpaid by 70.00. Civil war will result in this country before long.

    • “Civil war will result in this country before long.” ………….or more like an insurrection after Christmas when winter really strikes people weakened from malnutrition. UK constabularies have been issued some 5,000 machine guns, or according to another source semi-automatics, between themselves. Makes little difference to those on the receiving end of a police bullet.

      • Extra Police Officers have just been drafted into Bradford to tackle rising crime.

      • I’d be very interested to know the source of the information that UK police forces have been issued with 5,000 machine guns – not that I doubt it for a minute, (after all, it’s what’s happening on an epic scale in the USA), just that I’d like to be able to quote a reference when producing anti-regime propaganda.

  3. Landless Peasant

    In Bradford the unemployed have to pay £17 per month Council Tax, which on the face of it doesn’t sound like much but is another monthly bill to meet nonetheless. In effect it simply means I have £17 per month less to spend in the shops, on food etc. If you multiply that by a full year, then by several thousand other people, that is a lot of money now missing from the local economy. But hey, ho, what do I know? The Politicians obviously know best…

    • Landless Peasant

      p.s.

      You can get away with paying it permanently one month and one week in arrears, as I always do. i.e. I wait until the end of the month comes, by when it is due, then wait one week after that before paying. If they also have send a warning letter out then all the better as that costs them more in administration and makes it more unfeasible for them to make this charge.

    • Used this council tax and HB calculator to work out the amount I should pay if not exempt: £2.90 per week if I were on income-related ESA, if I were on JSA also £2.90. That’s two meals I can cook using fresh ingredients.
      http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/benefits-check

  4. I should be angry, worried, annoyed – yet all I feel is despair at the way the people of this country have just sat back and let everything get this far.

    • Landless Peasant

      Me too, total despair and despondency, no help from anywhere, no one cares, life is terrible and I’ll be quite glad when I finally die.

      • Landless Peasant

        I just get bloody fed up some times. The cumulative effects of long-term poverty are very debilitating, and bad enough to live with without the added stress of other concerns resting on my mind.

  5. Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    I should be angry, worried, annoyed – yet all I feel is despair at the way the people of this country have just sat back and let everything get this far.

  6. Landless Peasant

    And I’ve now had a change of mind about voting Green too. Doubt if I’ll bother to vote for anyone in future, if this the best the wankers can say then fuck ’em. I’ll just deface my ballot instead.

    http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/11607292.Tip_off_leads_police_to___500_000_cannabis_farm_in_Shipley/

    ” Councillor Kevin Warnes (Green, Shipley) …. said: “Hats off to them it was a job well done. They acted brilliantly on information from the community and it shows it pays dividends.”

    • Eating cake as instructed

      Chin up landless peasant. It will end as did poll tax we must stay strong against the evil nob jockeys. Their meetings are fully fettle hot buffets while fleecing us no fkg Nescafé and packet of digestives. The key is challenging them at every turn. Where are the human rights lawyers?

    • Yeah. The Green’s have absolutely lost “it”. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    • Shipley’s a not very big place … would be difficult to hide anything there I should think??

  7. the human rights act is gathering dust on a shelf it would be more use to wipe your arse with it,,,

  8. the kids are two stoned on skunk weed to riot which is good as i don’t condone it. the parasites like Ian Duncan smith get richer while us lot suffer! vote greens get Torie or labor it’s got to be ukip or be fucked for another 5 years

  9. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

  10. Skunk weed – a self inflicted chemical cosh, inertia is not pacifism it is conformity.

    • Landless Peasant

      or a useful medication for some, and an helpful relief to others. In the case of the afore mentioned Councillor Warnes, he perhaps ought to be more aware of his own Party’s official drug policy, which calls for an end to prohibition and for decriminalization, regulation and education, as well as a more open and enlightened public debate about drugs.

      http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/du.html

      • I’m a Green and support their policy on cannabis:
        “Cannabis would be removed from the 1971 Misuse of drugs act. The possession, trade and cultivation of cannabis would be immediately decriminalised, roughly following the Dutch model. The trade in Cannabis would be the subject of a Royal Commission (see below), with a view to establishing a fully legalised, controlled and regulated trade. Small-scale possession of drugs for personal use would be decriminalised. The starting point would be advice to policing authorities to caution rather than prosecute for offences of drug possession for personal use and to refer offenders to the health-care services”
        I don’t have an axe to grind because a.) I don’t use cannabis, because b.) I’m one of those who can’t actually metabolise cannabinoids. I was a teen through the Sixties so draw your own conclusions.
        That councillor might be a Green, but above all petty politicians like him like to be in the limelight with his mug splashed all over the local press.

    • or one (wo)man’s poison is another’s meat; & getting out of bed each day flies in the face of all logic at times, but mainly we continue. & survival can be a really strong instinct, but human beings are fallible and … human – not automaton. They’re illogical (captain), & act based on emotional reactions and impulse or intuition/the need for gratification/relaxation at least some of the time, not to mention the need to escape from (too much) reality.

      & yet alcohol is very much a tolerated stimulant which can – often does, heighten aggression when taken to extremes. In spite of the harm it (can) do to health, widely available in supermarkets great & small, at knock-down prices – with no presumption that people should be ‘protected from themselves’.

      • Just think …they have to drink that s..t to chill out. Screw that. Had a bit of brandy last night nearly did me in. If they legalised cannabis there would be no poor or unemployed. Everyone would be very very busy. Thousands who would very happily live and work to provide it. Apart from them fuckers with their pharma suit ical shite. Most wouldn’t need their chemicals. The tables would well and truly turn. Starting to realise actually why they topped Bob Marley.
        The elite have made a shit load by ripping cannabis out of society. Now it should be our turn. Everyone should throw out their tv sets and get growing lol. How could they arrest everyone? Aha.

  11. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST from the DWP & ATOS NOV’ 2014 – Published on 16 Nov 2014

  12. TAKE ME TO COURT THEN DWP – SCARED OF THE MEDIA !!!

  13. COMPLY TO ME DWP DWP FRAUD LOOP HOLES !!

  14. Reblogged this on L8in.

  15. Date: 17 November 2014
    Authors: Andrew Hood
    Publisher: Institute for Fiscal Studies

    What is happening to spending on social security?

    Over the course of this parliament, the government have made changes to benefits and tax credits that, at the time they were announced, were expected to reduce spending in 2014–15 by £19 billion relative to a world of no policy change. In fact, real spending (after adjusting for CPI inflation) will be only £2.5 billion lower in 2014–15 than it was in 2010–11. This observation explains why.

    If we adjust for prices using the CPI, the move from RPI to CPI for uprating benefits (expected to save over £4 billion in 2014–15) did not bring about a cut in spending over time – rather it meant benefits were no longer expected to increase in real terms. So we’re left with around £15 billion of cuts to explain, compared to an actual fall in real terms spending of around £2.5 billion.

    Over a third of the remaining £12.5 billion gap is down to higher spending on pensioner benefits. Combined spending on state pensions, pension credit, and universal pensioner benefits such as the winter fuel payment will be £5 billion higher in 2014–15 than in 2010–11. All of that increase is explained by the rising cost of state pensions. To some extent this reflects an ageing population, with the number getting the state pension up 400,000 over the period. But it is mostly the result of higher spending per pensioner, with each recipient getting nearly £500 a year more on average. This was, for the most part, planned – as each new cohort of pensioners retire, they benefit from past decisions giving them more generous entitlements than previous generations.

    Once we strip out pensioner benefits, we’re left with around £7.5 billion of extra spending to explain. In order to help with that task, Table 1 shows real terms spending on major working-age benefits in 2010–11 and 2014–15, alongside announced cuts (excluding the move from RPI to CPI indexation).

    In Full:-
    http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7447

    Note: The DWP benefit expenditure tables adjust spending figures for economy-wide inflation (as measured by the GDP deflator) – in those terms spending is expected to be £5 billion higher in 2014–15 than 2010–11.

  16. “IF PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE DUE TO DWP WELFARE CUTS, WOULD THEY PLEASE WRITE A SUICIDE NOTE BLAMING THE AFOREMENTIONED DEPARTMENT BEFORE THEY DIE”

    This will help to aid the DWP in identifying that the cause of death was wholly attributable to themselves and not down to a spike in inclement weather conditions.

    It would seem that the 60 suicide cases that they have examined had no bearing on welfare cuts whatsoever…………………….

    “The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has carried out 60 secret reviews into benefit-related deaths in less than three years, Disability News Service (DNS) can reveal.”

    • ……….strangely;

      But DWP has consistently denied any connection between the coalition’s welfare reforms and cuts and the deaths of benefit claimants.

      • This reveals that the role of a review is to “determine whether local and national standards have been followed or need to be revised/improved”, while a review must be carried out in every case where “suicide is associated with DWP activity”.

        It also says that peer reviews might also be considered in cases involving “customers with additional needs/vulnerable customers”.

        …………………….THIS IS JARGON FOR:

        “WE REALISE THAT WE HAVE KILLED THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT POOR AND DISABLED PEOPLE USING SANCTIONS AND BENEFIT CUTS, BUT RATHER THAN ADMIT IT, WE ARE PREPARED TO DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM OUR ACTIONS AND WATCH MORE PEOPLE DIE”

  17. *Thrifty Money-Saving Tips*

    Ensure your Council Tax can be paid by buying and eating less food, eating cheaper out-of-date food, eat one meal per day, or skip a day.

    Spend longer in bed to keep warm and so spend less on fuel bills.

    Use a washable cloth instead of wasting money on toilet roll.

    Avoid buying a TV Licence.

    Do not waste money on making charitable donations.

    Cut your own hair rather than paying a Barber/Hairdresser.

    Brush your teeth with water to save money on Toothpaste.

    Re-use tea bags.

    Pay your other bills later than normal.

    Don’t buy any new clothes, only second hand.

  18. yesterday i came across a youtube series of videos titled “cameron the epitome of evil” i just couldnt join the dots get the whole evil things into a timeline perspective but today i can,i watched all 4 hours,today the world is much darker but i now “get it” if you have the stomach for it i strongly suggest you watch i guarantee that by the end you truly will “get it”

  19. When we were out of work up until a year ago I remember struggling for every penny. Despite us living in one of the cheapest houses in the area, HB was almost £90pm short of our rent forcing us to top it up out of our meagre JSA. Twice we successfully claimed a discretionary payment because the council staff went through out expenses with us and found we were paying well below their recommended minimums in almost every expense we could, and that we had basically no optional bills like mobile phone or the like. But then the other 4 times they rejected our claim simply because they’d already hit their limit that period on the number of people they would pay it to or something.

    When Tesco raising the price of their stripe label bread by 10p causes you to panic and have to rebudget, small amounts of money end up making a huge difference. When the council tax changes came in and we were notified we had to pay £20 a month I burst into tears because I COULD NOT cut back on our budget any more than I already had. In the end with my mental health issues I coped by literally hiding the letters under the sofa and pretending things were okay, until one of us got a job.

    It didn’t make us look for work any harder or faster, or take it more seriously. If anything, it made the search more difficult because things started to feel hopeless.

    • And when u get work not much changes, I don’t know why they pay me tax credits, half goes straight back in my share of.rent& council tax….

    • The removal of the council tax subsidy, for me, felt equivalent to someone come along and saying, “You will now have 3.40 less to buy food for your dependent child each week – the fortnight’s money will run out half a day sooner and you will be moving a little bit closer to a foodbank parcel”.

      It’s harder to concentrate on fulfiling (ridiculously restrictive and relentless) jobcentreminus criteria when in a state of barely controlled panic/vigilant all of the time.

      • THIS OMG.

        Do they have no idea how hard it is to come across well in an interview when you’re desperate to grab the interviewer around the knee and beg them to “just let me do anything, please!”?

        • It gets hard(er) to come across well in an interview the longer you have lived hand to mouth with insufficient to cover the basics week-on-week.

          This is why all the talk of “moving people closer to the job market” & “those hardest to help being given the most support” is more galling (even) than it would otherwise be, as the “support”, in reality, consists of punishment(s)/obstacles being placed systematically in people’s way: increased conditionality.

          The huge effort being put into pretending to be ‘caring and compassionate’ (!) would be funny if it weren’t for the dire effects it has had and is having on so many people’s lives. Long-lasting effects and in some cases, fatal.

          – The ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’; removal of council tax benefit; freezing of JSA payments and fixing them so far below what anyone can (realistically) be meant to try to survive on as a main source of income (for whatever length of time). Rationally, the amount paid should increase the longer it is needed, as anyone who wants to can see – even if they’ve never been there themselves – if they wanted to see – that the cumulative effects (of having a very low income) affect every area of living – things wear out/break and need to be repaired/replaced; children tend to grow bigger, hungrier; clothes/shoes cost more, not less over time. It isn’t rocked science, so the refusal to acknowledge and worse than that, the pretence that “what’s best” is being done for the overall/individual good” in the name of “fairness” can only be deliberate and a pretence.

          Any MPs who do not see themselves in this vein, but continue to support government policies – like the DWP employees who have not felt able to leave and so continue to enforce the IDS model of “suppport” – are either deluding themselves, wilfully ignorant or a mixture of both (?)

          What’s being done to individuals under the guise of ‘fixing the economy’, increasing stability etc. is no more (and no less) than a callous and cynical in the extreme – physical, and emotional/mental – assault, hit-and-run, smash-and-grab attack on the right to a decent life:- T’was ever thus, but levels of vindictiveness being described, week on week, as some kind of ‘gold-standard’, whilst high-level mistreatment of those who cannot easily mitigate against the consequences, and the ill-effects visited on society more widely, by those in power is … insert own adjective here.

  20. Pingback: Battle | Hello from Raging Crip

  21. “WE, THE UNDERMENTIONED, WOULD LIKE TO CLARIFY THAT THE DWP WAS THE REASON WE MET OUR UNTIMELY DEATHS”

    …………….many more will follow.

    Terry McGarvey, 48. Dangerously ill from polycytheamia, Terry asked for an ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would be stopped if he did not. He died the following day.

    Elaine Lowe, 53. Suffering from COPD and fearful of losing her benefits. In desperation, Elaine chose to commit suicide.

    Mark Wood, 44. Found fit for work by Atos, against his Doctors advice and assertions that he had complex mental health problems. Starved to death after benefits stopped, weighing only 5st 8lb when he died.

    Paul Reekie, 48, the Leith based Poet and Author. Suffered from severe depression. Committed suicide after DWP stopped his benefits due to an Atos ‘fit for work’ decision.

    Leanne Chambers, 30. Suffered depression for many years which took a turn for the worst when she was called in for a WCA. Leanne committed suicide soon after.

    Karen Sherlock, 44. Multiple health issues. Found fit for work by Atos and denied benefits. Fought a long battle to get placed into the support group of ESA. Karen died the following month of a heart attack.

    Carl Payne, 42. Fears of losing his lifeline benefits due to welfare reform led this Father of two to take his own life.

    Tim Salter, 53. Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia. Tim hanged himself after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

    Edward Jacques, 47 years old and suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C. Edward had a history of severe depression and self-harm. He took a fatal overdose after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

    Linda Wootton, 49 years old. A double heart and lung transplant patient. Died just nine days after the government found her fit for work, their refusal letter arriving as she lay desperately ill in her hospital bed.

    Steven Cawthra, 55. His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts, he saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation.

    Elenore Tatton, 39 years old. Died just weeks after the government found her fit for work.

    John Walker, 57, saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax, John took his own life.

    Brian McArdle, 57 years old. Suffered a fatal heart attack the day after his disability benefits were stopped.

    Stephen Hill, 53. Died of a heart attack one month after being found fit for work, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.

    Jacqueline Harris, 53. A former Nurse who could hardly walk was found fit for work by Atos and her benefits withdrawn. in desperation, she took her own life.

    David Barr, 28. Suffering from severe mental difficulties. Threw himself from a bridge after being found fit for work by Atos and failing his appeal.

    David Groves, 56. Died of a heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed him.

    Nicholas Peter Barker, 51. Shot himself after being told his benefits were being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage left him paralysed down one side.

    Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old. Forced to live on £57.50 a week and make 12 mile trips each week to get free vegetables to make soup. Mark and Helen both committed suicide.

    Richard Sanderson, 44. Unable to find a job and with his housing benefit cut forcing him to move, but with nowhere to go. Richard committed suicide.

    Martin Rust, 36 years old. A schizophrenic man who killed himself two months after the government found him fit to work.

    Craig Monk, 43. A vulnerable gentleman and a partial amputee who slipped so far into poverty that he hanged himself.

    Colin Traynor, 29, and suffering from epilepsy was stripped of his benefits. He appealed. Five weeks after his death his family found he had won his appeal.

    Elaine Christian, 57 years old. Worried about her work capability assessment, she was subsequently found at Holderness drain, drowned and with ten self inflicted wrist wounds.

    Christelle and Kayjah Pardoe, 32 years and 5 month old. Pregnant, her benefits stopped, Christelle, clutching her baby son jumped from a third floor balcony.

    Mark Scott, 46. His DLA and housing benefit stopped and sinking into deep depression, Mark died six weeks later.

    Cecilia Burns, 51. Found fit for work while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She died just a few weeks after she won her appeal against the Atos decision.

    Chris Cann, 57 years old. Found dead in his home just months after being told he had to undergo a medical assessment to prove he could not work.

    Peter Hodgson, 49. Called to JCP to see if he was suitable for volunteer work. Peter had suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage and had a fused leg. His appointment letter arrived a few days after he took his own life.

    Paul Willcoxsin, 33 years old. Suffered with mental health problems and worried about government cuts. Paul committed suicide by hanging himself.

    Stephanie Bottrill, 53. After paying £80 a month for bedroom tax, Stephanie could not afford heating in the winter, and lived on tinned custard. In desperation, she chose to walk in front of a lorry.

    Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.

    Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

    Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.

    Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

    Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.

    David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.

    Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.

    Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.

    Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.

    Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.

    Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.

    Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

    Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

    David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

    Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.

    Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.

    Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.

    Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope anymore.

    Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.

    George Scollen, age unknown. Took his own life after the government closed the Remploy factory he had worked in for 40 years.

    Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

    Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.

    Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.

    Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.

    Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.

    Annette Francis, 30. A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness, found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.

    Ian Jordan, 60. His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian, a sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work, caused him to run up massive debts in order to survive. Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an overdose.

    Janet McCall, 53. Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis and declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos and the DWP, this lady died 5 months after her benefits were stopped.

    Stuart Holley, 23. A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.

    Graham Shawcross, 63. A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s. Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.

    David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.

    Chris Smith, 59. Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos as he lay dying of Cancer in his hospital bed.

    Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the ­Department for Works and Pensions.

    Michael Connolly, 60. A Father of One, increasingly worried about finances after his benefits were cut. Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal dose of prescription medicine on the 30th October – His Birthday.

    Jan Mandeville, 52, A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

    Trevor Drakard, 50 years old. A shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.

    Death of a severely disabled Dorset resident, unnamed, who took her own life while battling the bedroom tax.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    “THE UNITED KINGDOM DEPARTMENT FOR WORKS AND PENSIONS, A STATE ASSISTED KILLING MACHINE”

  22. This Outrage of Nastiness shows the Need For a Better Government
    than the Tories and how Thick as Two Short Planks People that Voted Tory were and Are Shame on Them

    The Tories do Not have a Majority by Themselves and Shame on the
    Liberal Democrats For Supporting the Tories

    What the Tories have Done to Public Services whilst too Many have
    been Oblivious is an Outrage that Needs to be Reversed

    Tax the Rich Hands Off the Poor

    Restore Full Council Tax Benefit

    Socialism Not Slavery

  23. Pingback: Dark Knight Rises - Brain Cell - Unseen World

  24. ……………….everyone in the disabled community is asking the same question:

    “WHY WAS MAXIMUS SELECTED AS THE CHOSEN COMPANY TO DELIVER WCA ASSESSMENTS, GIVEN THAT THEIR TRACK RECORD IS ABSOLUTELY LITTERED WITH DISABILITY DENIAL, CORRUPTION AND SUSPENDED GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS?”

    ………..more to the point, “HOW MANY MORE WILL DIE AS A RESULT OF THE BOTCHED SELECTION PROCESS?”

    • ………….”WHO SAT ON THE COMMITTEE THAT MADE THE DECISION TO CHOOSE MAXIMUS AND WHY WASN’T A CONFLICT OF INTEREST REGISTERED BY THOSE WHO VOTED?”

    • overburdenddonkey

      1 labour mp costs over 3 more in expenses (accommodation and travel) than the entire scottish (SNP) gov..

  25. “The new contract is part of a concerted drive to ensure that people who need an assessment get the best possible service.”

    …………THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED BECAUSE IT WAS £50 MILLION CHEAPER ON THE TENDER…………………

    • ………extract from the GOV.UK website;

      To make sure that there is a seamless transfer from Atos to MAXIMUS most of the Atos assessor healthcare professionals will transfer to MAXIMUS, which will also use the existing Atos infrastructure.

      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

      ……………..an exercise in rebranding the theft of disability benefits.

      “SAME ATOS HCP’s”

      “SAME LIMA BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL TICK BOX SOFTWARE”

      “SAME MOTIVES, TO STEAL DISABILITY BENEFITS FROM BONAFIDE CLAIMANTS”

      • Avatar
        Tia Junior • 17 days ago

        The process for discriminating between those who are fit for work and those who are not will never be perfect, so the issue becomes what level of error is tolerable. This tolerance need not be the same for the two types of error involved: the consequences of declaring a person as unfit for work wrongly are nowhere near as severe as declaring a person fit for work wrongly and the politicians should come clean and say what error rates they regard as acceptable as it is this that will determine how rigorous the process need be.
        GPs recognised this but were criticised as being too “soft” when they were only complying with the Hippocratic Oath which means placing the persons well-being above all else. DWP has no such ethical standard to which it must comply and no real accountability for its mistakes, regardless of how serious the repercussion become. Add to this the fact that their errors become someone else’s problem (and went through someone else’s budget) and you have the perfect formula for a slap-dash approach, which has been driven by the intention to cut costs with a belief that the end justifies the means and the amount of collateral damage is irrelevant.
        It would make a big difference if DWP defined what it means by “work”, which clearly has to incorporate the principle of what is available and the reliability on which employers depend. This is not hard to do – it just needs a list of the RELEVANT capabilities needed (e.g. getting to work at the right time every day), but it better suits to keep the definition vague and open to a number of alternative interpretation.
        The Government’s stated aims are (as here) perfectly laudable but not at ANY cost and the evidence clearly indicates that its real objectives are somewhat different.

  26. Just returned from signing-on at my local Jobbycentre, first got sent upstairs and told to sign on second floor, then after 15 mins. waiting was told I should be downstairs signing on ground floor. Adviser who signed me told me I must check the box to provide DWP access to my UJM account, but I corrected her and said it was not a requirement, which she then acknowledged but advised me to do so nonetheless. She then told me I was using the new booklet incorrectly, and that it is not meant to be used for purposes of recording my job-search/application details. Then wtf is it for? What a load of bollocks.

    • i print out my jobsearch then provide it verbally to the adviser who if they can be bothered writes it on a “verbal jobsearch” form, i then get them to sign, date and photocopy it for me. more often than not they let me sign without providing any jobsearch cos it takes them fucking ages!!!!🙂

      • The Adviser didn’t seem too well tbh, shaking like a leaf and seemed really edgy. I think she”s on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Probably the pressure.

  27. Dead Man Walking

    How the fuck is anyone meant to live on £68 per week?

  28. Horsemen of The Apocalypse

    Those of you who resist the Famine and do not starve,and who survive the Class War, will meet Death by Pestilence – Bird Flu or Ebola.

  29. It is Flipping Well Disgusting how Spineless and Selfish Millions of
    Scum out There have been the Oblivious Boneheads

    Littering Playing Loud Music Rubbish Lacking Care and Compassion
    Believing the Rubbish from the Tabloids about ” Scroungers ” when
    the Real Scroungers have been too Many Politicians

    Socialism Not Slavery Socialism Not Selfishness

  30. West somerset district council £4.95 a week on zero income….sanction after sanction…some hardship payments during a whole year. County court summons and notice of seeking possession. They say the government wants EVERY young person TO KNOW they have to contribute. Sick parents will lose their homes and added court costs due to non dependants deductions!…….their little brothers and sisters affected too.
    Free college education……….THEN……….ABUSED by minehead jobcentre plus by sanctioning!

  31. Pingback: Fucking Up | Hello from Raging Crip

  32. Pingback: Project Cameron | Gabriel Vents

  33. Pingback: Welfare Reforms, Council Tax set Precedent for More Postcode Lottery Benefits to come. | Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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