Category Archives: DWP

Meet Stephen Crabb, Like Iain Duncan Smith Only Shitter

crabb-brent-guitar

Spot the difference. One is knob. The other is a fictional character.

Jobcentre busy-bodies should be valued as much as firemen and nurses the new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb said in his first speech today.  He has seen, first hand, he claims the life-changing interventions made by Jobcentre staff and now wants them to stalk benefit claimants even once they start work with the sinister announcement they should always be “coaching you….mentoring you….supporting you”.

This is what the introduction of Universal Credit will mean for millions of people.  Endless Jobcentre bullying with no escape.  Benefit sanctions that drive people into desperate poverty that traps them in a twilight world of a daily battle for survival.  Vicious cuts to sickness benefits that disabled people have warned will make them less likely to have the means to look for work.  There will even be benefit sanctions for workers to ‘incentivise’ those who need housing or other in-work benefits to constantly strive to earn more, or find an additional job.

In some tragic cases these life-changing Jobcentre interventions will be fatal as more sanctioned claimants are driven to suicide and ill health.  What Crabb and all the grasping poverty pimps who turned up to see him speak today fail to realise is that it is the so-called help from Jobcentres that is the problem.

Crabb was speaking at the Early Intervention Foundation conference, a vol-au-vent munching skive for charity bosses and think-tank dickheads where they pretend to care about socially excluded kids for the day.  The event was sponsored by Capita whose shocking abuse of disabled benefit claimants was exposed on Channel 4’s Dispatches last night.  Also speaking was Philippa Stroud, the former advisor to Iain Duncan Smith who used to try and cure people of being gay with magic.  Crabb would approve, he himself is an ardent supporter of a Christian cult that has organised conferences on curing gay people.  And this evangelical fervour lies behind everything Crabb says.  His coded reference to the ‘foundational role of the family’ reveals his true agenda.  Crabb voted against gay marriage.  He doesn’t like that kind of family.  He probably thinks they should go to hell.  Unless they can be cured of course.

The sad truth is that Stephen Crabb is like an even shitter version of Iain Duncan Smith – who he today called a great social reformer.  The only difference is that Crabb doesnt have any ideas of his own and so is doggedly sticking to the endless messianic schemes intending to fix poverty by making people poorer that his predecessor introduced.  That’s why there were no policy announcements today beyond an ominous threat to use unpaid workfare schemes more ‘creatively’ and yet more harassment of claimants on sickness and disability benefits.  Instead Crabb went on about his mother, as usual, and tried to convince the assorted delegates what a nice person he was.  He really cares, he’s a bit like Jesus.  So let’s fucking crucify him.

Above pic from: Is the new Work and Pensions Minister the REAL David Brent? #EIFNatCon #TheOrifice

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Astonishing: Working Benefit Claimants To Face Financial Penalties If Their Boss Files Tax Information Late

Real-time-information-boss

OOB refers to the requirement that payroll data is submitted On Or Before the date employees get paid.

Chaos is on the way for the lowest paid workers as new rules come into force which link payment of vital in-work benefits to employer’s compliance with providing tax information on time.

From this month almost all employers will finally be expected to provide payroll data to HMRC every month as part of the Real Time Information (RTI) system. This change has already been introduced for larger employers but businesses with nine or less employees had been given a 12 month ‘easement period’. That ran out on April 6th this year.

For those on low incomes this payroll data will be used to calculate their entitlement to Universal Credit.  If this information is not filed on time then bosses are warned by the DWP that their workers may: “receive too much or too little Universal Credit”.  This means those with irregular hours and earning patterns, such as people on zero hour contracts, could be left up to several hundred pounds short at the end of the month. For workers dependent on benefits to meet rent payments this could prove devastating. Try explaining to your landlord that you can’t pay the rent because your boss didn’t file their tax return on time this month.  Of course some claimants could also end up receiving too much Universal Credit and not know why – or even that they have – calculations are already breath-takingly complicated.  This will lead to involuntary debt and unforeseen repayment demands in the future.

Perhaps the most chilling problem is that many bosses just don’t care about their employee’s in work benefits. Research published by HMRC late last year found a small number of ‘micro’ businesses had no intention of changing their payroll systems to meet the new requirements – as the quote above this post demonstrates. Many more employers were still confused about the changes, or were not even aware that Real Time Information was being introduced. Others said they could’t afford updated IT equipment to run the software required to manage this reporting system. Some claimed that only one person does the payroll returns and if they are off sick then it doesn’t get done.

When it was pointed to these non-compliant businesses that late reporting would affect the payment of in-work benefits to staff the employers fell into two groups according to the researchers. There were those who said they would strive to comply with the new system so as to not affect their employee’s income. And there were those that were ‘unconcerned’.

In a meagre effort to make them more concerned HMRC have introduced a penalty system for employer’s who don’t provide payroll information on time. It is, as you might expect, a bit of a joke. Employers will not be fined if it’s the first time they’ve filed late that year. Even then they will be able to appeal due to ill health or IT difficulties. And the fine is just £100 for the smallest employers and a trivial £400 for those with over 250 employees. This is likely to be considerably less than the financial penalty that workers could face for their employer’s negligence.

Despite several HMRC reports into the introduction of Real Time Information there appears to be little information being published on how many businesses are compliant with the scheme all of the time. If only a tiny percentage of employer’s file information late – because they are careering out of business anyway for example – then this could impact on the impact of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of people. Errors in the system alone are likely to lead to significant suffering and confusion. For anyone who’s ever had a real job or had to deal with inept Jobcentre busy-bodies the end result is easy to imagine. When payments aren’t correct the DWP will blame your boss and your boss will blame the DWP. The worst kind of employers may just sack workers who get too uppity about PAYE information being filed late. And then possibly lie to the Jobcentre about why they left and cause them to lose eligibility to benefits completely. It is an astonishing amount of power for an employer to hold over their workers.

In the mind of bungling toff Lord Fraud, the unelected Minister for Welfare Reform who helped design this new system, bosses are all wonderful people who would never abuse their staff and always pay their taxes on time. Recent revelations about the UK’s own Prime Minister shows what bollocks that is. But so entrenched is the capitalist class’s delusion of their own fucking wonderfulness that they are now designing administrative systems that depend on this honourable behaviour amongst the rich.

You don’t get rich by behaving honourably though. You get rich by using every tool you can find to dominate and exploit those surrounding you. And as more people are slowly transferred onto Universal Credit then they will be more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by their employers than working class people have been in generations. Behind all the lies about making work pay and incentivising hard work, that is the real reason for the Tory government’s welfare reforms.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Rage @mencap_charity Grows As Thousands Demand Crabb Must Go!

mencap-boss

Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles explains the charity’s position.

If you want to know how Tories sleep at night, how they salve their consciences or make peace with their non-existent Gods, then just ask Mencap or one of the other charities happy to accommodate those destroying the lives of disabled people amongst their ranks.

The horrible, homophobic, new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Stephen Crabb is currently a trustee of Pembrokeshire Mencap despite the main UK branch of the charity campaigning against everything he stands for.  The message this sends to Crabb is clear – don’t worry, it’s not that serious, don’t expect any real consequences from Mencap for slashing the already meagre incomes of those the charity claims to support.  Sure Mencap will huff and puff, will write petitions and issue strong statements, but when it comes right down to it, when Mencap are actually tested as an organisation, they will choose sucking up to their local MP over actually fighting for people with learning disabilities.  That is how Stephen Crabb sleeps at night.  After all, if he’s on the board of the local Mencap then how can anyone say he doesn’t care about disabled people.

Of course it is not just Stephen Crabb’s conscience that is cleared.  The PR value to the Conservative Party is plain to see.  Tory MPs on the boards of charities helps maintain the party’s lie that they are not really attacking disabled people, they are just helping them, by making them a bit poorer to encourage them to strive.  From a purely cynical campaigning angle what charities like Mencap are doing is not just helping Tories to get elected, but also to push their vile agenda that insists benefit cuts are good for you.

Over the last week thousands of people have expressed outrage at Mencap’s involvement with Stephen Crabb.  Over 11,000 people have signed a petition demanding he resign from his post.  Mencap’s facebook page has been bombarded by those disgusted at the charity’s behaviour.  The response, as ever from the disability industry has been mealy-mouthed excuses and a refusal to act.  The main branch of Mencap say they are powerless do anything, that this is a local branch of the organisation who they have no influence over. You’d think anyone can set up a branch of Mencap, use their name and logo for fundraising purposes, and that’s just fine.  They must think we’re fucking idiots.  They could have Crabb removed with a phone call.  They don’t want to.

Instead they are calling on people to write to him, to wish him luck in his new job and ask if he would mind awfully being a champion of people with a learning disability.  It’s important that he gets things right say Mencap, despite the fact he has been getting things wrong for the last six years.  Crabb has voted for every cut to disability benefits that has been implemented, including the introduction of Personal Indeendence Payments designed to remove benefits from a fifth of disabled people.   He voted for the Bedroom Tax, and the Benefit Cap, and more recently in favour of cutting the payments to many sick or disabled people by £30 a week.  Give the chap just one more chance Mencap seem to be suggesting when they should be showing him the door.

It is vital to keep up the pressure and make sure that charities who harbour dirty little Tory secrets learn that there will be consequences for their betrayal.  Disabled People Against Cuts have released a guide to which charities have Tory MPs on their boards.  And these consequnces should reach to the very top, like Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles who in 2013 gave a nauseating interview to The Guardian explaining how she’s worth every penny of her whopping £137,442 a year pay-cheque.  If despite all this money she can’t cleanse Mencap of politicians who support policies that have driven disabled people to suicide then she should go herself.

And it is her huge salary that is part of the problem.  Charity bosses like Tregalles are far closer socially, economically and politically to the likes of Stephen Crabb, then they are to those who depend on benefits.  She will never understand the icy terror of seeing a brown enevlope from the DWP drop through her letter-box. Or personally experience the constant insecurity and life-sapping stress of living under a government that is happy to condemn people to economic destruction on little more than a whim.  She’s not on the receiving end of the so-called help currently being inflicted on claimants in the form of endless assessments, benefits sanctions, workfare, forced training and quite possibly soon forced medical interventions.  It is all abstract to her, not something lived directly.  If she is angry at all about the current situation it is because she is being paid to be.

This is the reason for the disconnect that has repeatedly emerged between disability, homelessnes or anti-poverty charities and those they are funded to support.  It is not just that they don’t feel our rage, they consider it their jobs to mitigate it.  To channel it in safe directions, to explain to us how we just need to trust them and see the bigger picture.  The bigger picture being that they are doing very well out of austerity and would really rather the plebs didn’t derail the gravy train.  We should be grateful for all their hard work munching vol-au-vents at glitzy fundraising dinners on our behalf.  Here have a vol-au-vent yourself.  Just kidding.  As if a service user gets to have a vol-au-vent.

Please sign and share the petition calling for Crabb to resign from his local Mencap branch.

Visit Pembrokeshire Mencap’s facebook page and let them know what you think of their trustee Stephen Crabb.

Or contact the national organisation on facebook or twitter @mencap_charity

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

“Fantastic year” Getting To Know Gay Hate Cult Says New DWP Boss Stephen Crabb

crabb-care

New Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb may have air-brushed his relationship with Christian gay hate cult CARE from his website but they didn’t return the favour.  Crabb’s glowing endorsement of the organisation is still proudly featured on their graduates page despite the 2012 scandal when MPs distanced themselves from the group after their involvement in a gay cure conference was revealed.

CARE, or to use their full name Christian Action Research and Education, helped to fund the Sex in the City conference in 2009 along with evangelical group Mainstream Anglican who still offer a run down of conference which included  discussions on “mentoring the sexually broken” and gay cure therapies.

care-conference

This was not the first gay hate event funded by CARE.  They also sponsored a conference in 2007 which asked the question “The Time for Truth, Is Gay Real?”.  Which is a bit rich coming from people who worship an invisible man who lives in the sky.

As well as being a graduate of the CARE internship scheme Crabb also hired a CARE intern himself in 2008.  When he was eventually confronted about his relationship with CARE in 2012 he refused to condemn them.  He cannot say that he is unaware of the beliefs of this group he so avidly supports.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the aim of Care is to “build a new generation of committed Christian politicians.”  Crabb’s devotion to the cause was evident in 2008 when he was one of a handful of MPs who signed an amendment to proposed laws criminalising incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexuality. The amendment said nothing should prohibit or restrict “discussion of, criticism of, or expression of antipathy towards conduct relating to a particular sexual orientation, or urging persons of a particular sexual orientation to refrain from or modify conduct according to that orientation”.

So Crabb does not just have a lifetime relationship with an organisation who believe that LGBT people can, and should be cured.  He does not just give them a glowing endorsement on their website.  He has also acted in his role as an MP to ensure they have the right to continue to spread their gay cure agenda.

To say LGBT people should be cured is to say they shouldn’t exist.  If similiar language were used about any other minority then it would be the end of any MPs career who went near them.  And so it should be the end of Crabbs.

In his role as head of the DWP, Stephen Crabb is now responsible for millions of people, including those going through great difficulties.  Young LGBT people forced to leave the family home for example, or facing discrimination in the workplace.  How can they be expected to trust Crabb when he is so cosy with an organisation that appears to want gay people wiped off the planet?  He may have only been in the job two minutes, but if this government really means what they say about LGBT equality then Crabb must go, now.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

A Bungling Fucking Idiot On A Mission From God, That Was The Real Iain Duncan Smith

IDS-slug

Good riddance, to an absolute tool.

Pass the fucking sick bag.  Iain Duncan Smith’s performance on the Andrew Marr show this morning was one of the most nauseating displays politics has seen in a long, long time – and there’s been stiff competition.  His crass portrayal of himself as a decent man, trying to do the right thing for both the people and his party, is perhaps his greatest self-delusion yet.  Remember one thing from that interview if you were unlucky enough to watch it.  Iain Duncan Smith, quietly amid his bluster, admitted that he agreed with the cuts to disability benefits that he resigned over, but that they should have come as part of a package of wider support.

Every claimant knows what that support would be.  Yet another chance to squander billions pursuing his messianic fantasy of himself as a great welfare reformer with more workfare, more sanctions and more harassment from Jobcentre busy-bodies.  George Osborne said no, cut the fucking crap, we’re supposed to be pretending to save money.  So Iain Duncan Smith did what he always does when he doesn’t get his own way.  He had a tantrum.

This petulant temper is why it has been tactically useful at times to portray him as a conniving and brutal architect of death and hardship. This approach no doubt even contributed to his recent flounce.  The truth though, is that he’s not that clever.  He’s worse than that.  Iain Duncan Smith is a bungling fucking idiot on a mission from God.  And like all zealots before him, so convinced has he been that he is treading the one true path that his eyes, and heart, have remained closed to the consequences of his actions.  Consequences that have been tragic.  Consequences that have included the state’s bureaucracy driving some of the UK’s poorest citizens to their deaths by placing intolerable and unsurvivable pressure on those already living fractured lives.  He has not been called a killer for nothing.

But to view his actions as the work of a mere power-crazed murderer fails to see the entire horrifying picture.  Which is that amongst think-tanks, charities, self-appointed experts in the welfare-to-work industry and even the Labour Party – perhaps most of all the Labour Party – Iain Duncan Smith’s views are not extreme.  There is a consensus amongst these respectably clad vermin, even if not all would have the stomach to play out their ideological beliefs to their logical conclusion – as Iain Duncan Smith was proud and happy to do.  This consensus believes that poverty is an individual failing not a structural problem.  That it can be cured by fixing poor people, not society.  That all it takes is hard work to prosper under modern capitalism and so it is right, natural and unavoidable that our entire lives should be a competition – we must constantly strive, every day, to reach the next rung on the economic ladder.  That happiness is just around the corner if we work hard and do the right thing – and if we don’t then we must be punished, to help steer us on the path to prosperity.

It is, they imply, a competition everybody can win if we all just pull our socks up and put in the hours.  But competitions don’t work that way, especially when they are rigged by private schools, elite universities, inherited wealth and structural unemployment.  A lottery where everyone wins means sharing the spoils amongst us all.  The capitalist class have no intention of ever doing that.  Their ideology is a sham, a crude self-deception to wash away their guilt and justify their greed.  And they are all fucking in it together.

None of this gets Iain Duncan Smith off the hook.  He is a truly nasty man.  A devious bigot, a liar and a calculating plotter without the intellect to back it up.  A proper fucking wanker who needs kicking round a pub car park – not that it would teach him anything,  it wouldn’t, but it would be nice to see him bleed for a change.

Like most of his fellow Tories, his own privilege shielded him from any understanding of what he was really creating.  He seems to think that a benefit sanction – removing the only means of survival for those without work or savings – is just a mild rebuke, a welcome jolt as he put it to encourage people to try a bit harder.  In the world of Iain Duncan Smith money never runs out, so how could he understand what it really means to have nothing at all.  Why would he understand the devastating and debilitating consequences of extreme poverty.  How anguish, hunger and intolerable stress demolishes people.  That destitution means spending the day thinking about where the next meal is going to come from, not updating your fucking CV.  His reckless reforms have been like a doctor injecting cyanide into the veins of his patients and then being appalled when they die.  Then thinking the dose must be too low, they need more poison, to incentivise them back to health.  To help them learn.

Of course the likes of George Osborne have been only too happy to exploit this moral shield that, until now, had masked the cruelty of his government to the dwindling number of genuine conservatives in his party.  Those who believe in God, and charity, who put a penny in the box for the poor and pat cripples on the head.  The ones who don’t want to upset the vicar and only torture kittens when they are absolutely certain no-one else is watching.   Iain Duncan Smith’s social justice facade was the perfect cover for Osborne’s class war.  Austerity appeared to map perfectly to an insistence that those with nothing can be taught not to be poor anymore by making them poorer.  It worked, for a while.  When Osborne pulled the strings IDS danced.  But the Chancellor under-estimated one thing about Iain Duncan Smith – his incessant need for power and status.

This is a man who truly believes himself to be magnificent despite his meagre talents.  Who will happily tear his own political party in two, for the second time, to place himself as the great man of history in control of dramatic events.  Whether his obsession is Europe or social security reform makes little difference as long as he is at the centre of any chaos he creates.  Vain he may be, but he can take the criticisms, the insults and the fact he can’t hang around in a pub car park for too long these days, as long as he can convince himself that he is important.  Despite his claims to be compassionate he loved the thought of the poor being forced to scurry around like lab rats whilst he prodded and poked to see how much they – we – could take.

His grandiose schemes like the Work Programme and Universal Credit have been the props on which this fragile self-belief depended.  Without them he is just another grubby Tory, cutting disabled people’s benefits and whining about the poor.  That is not enough for Iain Duncan Smith.  That is why he resigned.  If he doesnt get to be the messiah then he doesn’t want to play anymore.  Good.  Bring on the next cunt.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

And This Time It’s Personal Psychocompulsion & Workfare: Watch The Video From @WellRedFilms

A good summary of where social security is heading featuring Boycott Workfare, Mental Health Resistance Network and more.

 

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

‘Just The Start’ Say Claimants And Disabled People As Blockade Brings Traffic Chaos To Central London

Islington Council have called the scheme Jobs on Prescription. This is an example from MHRN of what those prescriptions might look like.

Islington Council have called the scheme Jobs on Prescription. This is an example from MHRN of what those prescriptions might look like.

Disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters brought traffic chaos to Central London yesterday after blockading a major roundabout in protest at Iain Duncan Smith’s attempt to install Jobcentre funded busy-bodies in doctor’s surgeries.

IDS-old-street

Pic from @paulapeters2

Over 100 people gathered for the demonstration which began outside City Road Medical Centre, – one of six surgeries in Islington where so-called Work Coaches are due to be based.  Iain Duncan Smith himself even made an appearance, dressed as a doctor and handing out work cures such as the prescription above.  The protest was good-natured but determined and made a mockery of the health bureacrats who decided the surgery should be closed for the day due to fears over patients safety.  In truth the people really concerned with the welfare of Islington’s poorest residents were out in the street defending them from the latest DWP attack on disabled people and those with health conditions.

After about hour the demonstrators moved off the pavement to march down the busy City Road chanting “We’ve gotta get rid of the rich” and “the NHS makes us well, the Tories make us sick”.  On arriving at Old Street roundabout, a major central London junction, the growing police presence was out-witted and campaigners managed to block traffic moving in all directions.  A banner was unfurled across the road stating that ‘Working isn’t working’ – a reference to the growing insistence from government that low paid insecure jobs are good for our health.

A large crowd of onlookers gathered with many supportive of the action taken to draw attention to the vicious regime being installed for those out of work due to sickness or disability.  A new Health and Work Programme is planned which is likely to include some forms of forced medical treatment for some of those on sickness benefits.  Already tens of thousands of sick and disabled people have had their benefits sanctioned for not meeting the endless petty requirement imposed by Jobcentres.  Others have had benefits stripped away completely after being declared ‘fit for work’ at a Work Capability Assessment in spite of often serious and even life-threatening conditions.

Appallingly the Work Coaches to be stationed in GP Surgeries will come from the same shadowy private company that runs both these assessments and the local workfare scheme in Islington.  The employment advisors, whilst largely funded by the DWP, will be employed by Remploy –  once a provider of employment for disabled people until they were sold off by the government and turned into a welfare-to-work subsidiary of the hated Maximus corporation.

Claimants in Islington could therefore be found Fit For Work by Maximus, then forced to attend the Work Programme with Maximus and now even be coerced into being harassed by a Maximus Work Coach when they go to the fucking doctors.  So claims from council leader Richard Watts, and other DWP apologists in the borough, that this scheme is officially ‘voluntary’ for participants really don’t count for shit.  There have been no public assurances from either Maximus or the DWP that Jobcentres and Work Programme advisors will not force claimants to attend a GP-based work coach under the threat of benefit sanctions.

What is really going on is that this is a pilot scheme intended to provide evidence to justify the upcoming Health and Work Programme.  But just in case the evidence doesn’t show what the DWP want campaigners have been informed that there will be no evaluation of the results of the scheme.  It is little more than a formality in advance of some of the most brutal policies to be inflicted on disabled people that have been seen in generations.  Lefty Islington Council may claim to have had good intentions when they agreed to the pilot, but in reality they have been mugged, by Maximus and the DWP.  Now they know how claimants feel.

The protest was organised by Disabled People Against Cuts, Mental Health Resistance Network and Boycott Workfare.  A range of other groups came out in support including grassroots trade union United Voices of the World, Class War, Winvisible and Kilburn Unemployed Worker’s Group.  Doctors, psychologists and healthcare workers were also present in support.  One message rang out loud and strong.  This is just the start of a disruptive and militant campaign to destroy Iain Duncan Smith’s Health and Work Programme.

Watch a video of the protest on facebook.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid