Category Archives: Tory Scum

The True Horrors Of In-work Benefit Sanctions Have Not Yet Been Understood

sanction-sabsSo called hard-working people will soon be abandoned to unprecedented poverty when payments intended to cover housing costs are sanctioned for the first time under sweeping reforms to in-work benefits.

When Universal Credit is fully introduced (stop laughing) part-time workers on a low income will be expected to constantly look for more, or better paid work as a condition of receiving vital in-work benefits.  Any failure on the part of claimants to prove that they carried out constant job searching in the hours they were not working will mean benefits are sanctioned.

For claimants who are unemployed the sanction system will remain largely unchanged under Universal Credit.  Those without health problems who are sanctioned will lose all of their personal benefits except what is required to pay for housing costs or children.  This will mean a childless claimant will have no money at all once they have paid their rent – although they may be eligible to apply for emergency Hardship Payments of around £40 a week.  It is this nasty regime that has led to the explosion in foodbanks and been linked to a growing number of suicides.

If this same claimant is in part time work then they may not receive any additional benefits other than the housing element of Universal Credit – the replacement for what is now known as Housing Benefit.  And so, for the first time, it is this benefit which will be sanctioned should they fail to carry out Jobcentre demands to look for additional work.

Working claimants who are sanctioned will lose the same amount as those who are unemployed  – the equivalent of a current weekly dole payment of £71.70.  That means if some is working on a low income and claiming help with their housing costs then £71.70 will be deducted from their benefit.  To see the full horror of how this will play out in some people’s lives then you have to do some sums.

Take a single, childless person in Bristol working at the current minimum wage for 20 hours a week and paying £120 a week in rent – the local housing allowace rate in the area for a claimant over 35.  Under Universal Credit this person will have a weekly income of £244 made up of £144 a week in wages and £100 a week in benefits.  Once their rent is paid this will leave them with £124 a week.  If they are sanctioned however they will lose £73.10 leaving them with just £50.90 a week to live on.  That’s over £20 a week less than the current dole and just £10 a week more than Hardship Payments.  Universal Credit will therefore not make work pay for those who have been sanctioned.  It will however make work compulsory.

The claimant will not be able to leave their job without risking a disallowance – meaning no benefits at all.  In the hours they are not working they will still be expected to carry out work related activity to look for a better job, which under current rules, could include some form of workfare.  The meagre income they receive means they will be unlikely to qualify for additional Hardship Payments.  And astonishingly they are also likely to have to pay Council Tax out of that sum.
In Bristol they would be expected to pay around £9 a week in Council Tax assuming they lived in the lowest possible band.  This brings their weekly income down to about £42 a week – and they are working.

A weeky bus pass in Bristol costs £23.80.  Claimants must be prepared to travel at least 90 minutes on public transport to their job so in most cases this will be a necessary expense.  This will mean hard working people surviving on less than £20 a week for food, clothes, basic hygiene costs and bills.  That of course assumes they aren’t subject to the Bedroom Tax in which case they will get no money at all in some cases, just a steadily increasing debt.

The only real option for most will be to dig into money intended to cover rent.  For working claimants a sanction will mean inevitable rent arrears – and as a sanction can last up to three years – for many it will mean homelessness.  And therefore eventual joblessness.  And with no benefits because losing their job will have been deemed to be their own fault.

This system is designed to ‘incentivise’ people to look for more, or better paid work.  So imagine, by some fucking miracle, that an in-work benefit sanction doesn’t destroy someone, it motivates them.  That they pull their socks up and by some other fucking miracle manage to find an additional job which doesn’t clash with their existing hours.  Let’s say they gain an additional 10 hours a week work on the Minimum Wage.  Will it make any difference?  Barely, because the sanction will still apply unless they have been working full time for a period of six months.

Much of their additional wages will be eaten up by housing costs as their already sanctioned claim is reduced the more they earn.  So somebody working 30 hours a week, with a sanction, in the cicrumstances described above, would receive a total of £207.68 a week in wages and no Universal Credit at all.  After rent and Council Tax is paid that will leave them with £77.  Less than a fiver more than the current dole.  For working 30 hours a week.

There is nothing particularly special about this claimant’s circumstances other than that they live in the south of England where rents are higher.  In London and other areas many will fare even worse.  There should be no doubt about what these sanctions are intended to do.  This is the bureacratic annihilation of an individual as a message to everybody else that if you do not comply – that if you do not constantly strive – the government will destroy you.  It is like nothing that has been seen in UK legislation since the horrors of the workhouse.

According to the DWP benefit sanctions are only used as a ‘last resort’.  There have been 1.6 million ‘last resorts’ since the system was toughened in 2012.  In work benefit sanctions are already being trialled in some parts of the UK with desperate results.  The extension of this brutal regime will create in-work poverty that has rarely, if ever, been seen before in the UK.  People working for pennies, with no quality of life at all. Those already living in the cheapest possible accommodation that can be found in most of the country facing homelessness.  Some of these people will be ill, wrongly found fit for work by Atos or Maximus.  Some will be left with no money at all depending on if they are subject to the Beneift Cap or Bedroom Tax.  Others will have debts they will never hope to pay back whilst sanctioned and so will just get bigger and bigger.

An in-work benefit sanction for many will be a life sentence, especially for those who are older and carry any debts incurred into retirement.  For others it will be a death sentence as the strain of extreme poverty, hard work and constant Jobcentre harassment pushes some over the edge.  DWP ministers are happy to accept this collateral damage as part of their attempt to dicipline the working class into accepting a life of hard-working drudgery for poverty pay.  The only question that now remains is will the trade unions, charities and others that have cowardly accepted vicious welfare refoms continue their co-operation when it is their own workers and members who are subject to this torment?

You can read the current rules for Universal Credit, and many other benefits at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-decision-making-staff-guide

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Who Will Be Hit By Benefit Cap? People Like Stephen Crabbs’ Own Mother

crabb-cap2

An estimate of Stephen Crabb’s mother’s benefit claim were she raising children today.

New Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb would have faced possible homelessness and desperate poverty as a child if the benefit reforms he is introducing had been in place.

Savage new rules due to come into force in Autumn will slash social security to £20,000 a year for parents unable to work due to unemployment, sickness,  disability* or caring responsibilities.   This will leave many struggling families with just a few pounds a week to feed their children after eye-watering rents have been paid.  According to Crabb the caps on benefits are necessary to avoid ‘sky high’ payments and will incentivise single parents – even those with newly born babies – to get a job.  Yet the people who will suffer most from this cut will be lone parents just like his own mother.

Crabb has been all too happy to drag his family’s traumatic past into the spotlight when it serves his political needs.  He has spoken at length of the poverty his mother suffered when – in his words – she became “welfare dependent”.  In an interview with The Spectator he even admits to truanting from school so he could work on a farm to buy some trainers.  This was around the time his hero Margaret Thatcher claimed that “people who are living in need are fully and properly provided for”.  So fuck knows what he’s complaining about.  Perhaps he thinks children should have to work on farms so they can afford shoes.

Crabb says he was just 8 years old when his mother left a violent relationship with his father and took him and his two brothers to Scotland where they stayed in a spare room in his grandparent’s council property.  Of course this was before the Bedroom Tax intended to stop council tenants from having an extra room that extended families or grandchildren could stay in.  And this is far from the only protection that Crabb’s mother relied on that has been brutally dismantled by the current Tory government.

After returning from Scotland, Crabb’s mother was able to secure a council property in Haverdfordwest, the area of Pembrokeshire they had previously fled from.  Today chronic social housing shortages would leave Crabb’s mother abandoned to the far more expensive and insecure private rented sector – assuming she wasn’t forced into homelessness and sub-standard temporary accommodation.

The Tory government has already slashed housing benefit payments for private sector tenants by introducing  a four year freeze on payments regardless of how much rents rise.  They also introduced new rules to ensure that housing benefits would only cover the cheapest 30% of properties in the local area.  Whilst rents in Haverfordwest are far lower than many parts of the UK, a search of one of the largest property websites reveals there are only two 3 bedroom flats in the area which have rents low enough to be met by the £120.83 a week housing benefit rate for the town.

Her problems would not end there.  According to the government’s recommended benefits calculator an unemployed lone parent with three children would currently be entitled to £413 a week (plus Council Tax Support) in Haverfordwest .  This is too much according to Crabb who seems to be relishing the chance to lower the benefit cap to just £384.55 a week.  That’s nearly £30 quid a week Crabb is taking from people just like his own mother.

This is the reality of the modern Tory Party.  They are only too happy to take when it suits them.  Look at the number of Oxbridge MPs whose elite university education was paid for by the tax payer.  But they don’t want anyone else to have it.  The horrifying truth is that it is people exactly like Crabb’s mother who have been attacked over and over again by vicous social security reforms.  That doesn’t mean life wasn’t bleak in the 1980s for those on benefits.  But the toxic combination of housing shortages, benefit sanctions, workfare and successive cuts, caps and freezes to child benefits mean that many lone parents today face complete destitution.  And it’s about to get much worse.

If even mid size families in low rent South Wales are to be hit by the cap, the situation in many cities will be even more dire.  A family with three kids in Bristol –  assuming they can find a property at the local housing allowance rate – will be left with just over £200 a week.  In Brighton they will have just £154 a week.  In Hackney, in spite of the cap being slightly higher in London, they will be left with £88 – just £2.50 per person per day.  This will be Stephen Crabb’s legacy.  The re-introduction of poverty not seen in generations into the UK.

*The government are claming disabled people are exempt from the cap.  This is a lie, only the most severely disabled people are exempt.  Many claimants, including those with serious conditions such as cancer, MS or Parkinson’s Disease will be affected.

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Vile Tory Who Referred To Scummy Housing Estates To Speak At Workfare Industry’s Annual Meeting

frasernelson

Pub bore rants for hire, Fraser Nelson will speak at the workfare industry’s AGM.

A hard right magazine editor who once referred to ‘scummy’ Scottish social housing estates and cheered unemployed people being forced to sleep under a bridge has been invited to be to keynote speaker at the latest tax-payer funded skive for welfare-to-work bosses.

Fraser Nelson, who oversees the pub bore rants published in The Spectator, will be speak at the annual general meeting of the Employment Related Services Asscoiation (ERSA), the trade body established to lie on behalf of the workfare industry.  Nelson is an avid supporter of coercing people to work without pay and once claimed that those sent to sleep under a bridge before being used as unpaid stewards at the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations were being given an opportunity to show they were ‘dutiful’ workers.  According to Nelson forcing ‘suspected malingerers’ to work in return for benefit payments is ‘tough love’.  So tough, in fact, that it can kill, as the growing number of deaths linked to benefit sanctions and welfare reform reveals.

Nelson has previously faced protests after referring to the Glasgow districts of Castlemilk and Easterhouse as “beautiful names, scummy estates”.  When called on to justify these comments he launched into in a vile tirade about “drug-addled welfare ghettoes” where children play around broken vodka bottles and pubs were boarded up to save them from attack.

Nelson’s invitation to speak at ERSA’s annual meeting is a new low for the welfare-to-work sector that often attempts to hide behind a mask of caring for the poorest whilst demolishing their lives with forced work and benefit sanctions.  But with Iain Duncan Smith’s spending spree coming to an abrupt end the workfare industry will need hacks like Nelson to ramp up the rhetoric to justify ever more government spending to persecute unemployed and disabled people.  He will be happy to oblige.  Despite reams of evidence that unpaid work has little or no value in helping people into sustainable jobs and risks driving people into desperate poverty there are few bigger workfare cheerleaders than Fraser Nelson.

The event is being held this Wednesday at the swanky London offices of top law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, an understandable choice for the fraud ridden welfare-to-work industry. Keep your Tory friends close, but keep the lawyers even closer.

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A New Direction From Crabb And The DWP: Outright Fucking Lies

crabb-resignUnemployment has risen in the last three months but you wouldn’t know that from today’s gushing press release from the Stephen Crabb and the DWP.

There were 21,000 more unemployed people in the latest period and, in further bad news for the government, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose by just under 7000.  Neither of these key facts are mentioned on the DWP websites and it is only by digging into the Labour Market Release produced by the Office for National Statistics that this information is available.

Previously the DWP has sulkily acknowledged any rise in unemployment whilst pointing out how wonderful everything else is.  The truth is that the Labour Market Statistics contain a huge amount of information and normal fluctuations within the figures mean that they can usually be cherry-picked for both good and bad news.  Stephen Crabb does just that today by claiming that a small fall in the number of people who are economically inactive is a huge triumph.  This by the way is always a sign of desperation.  A fall in economic inactivity can mean a massive amount of things, from variations in the number of those who are long term sick to a drop in the number of people taking early retirement.  In the latest figures it largely represents a fall in the number of students and of those taking time from work to look after the family home.

Crabb is also celebrating a tiny rise in the total number of people with jobs with the DWP claiming this is driven by those entering full time work.  But even this is hugely misleading.  Population increases combined with a just about growing economy mean that there are almost always more people in work than ever before.  The question is whether the rise in the number of jobs is keeping pace with growth in the working age population.  This month that didnt happen.  The number of working age people rose by 27,000 in the latest three month period, but the working population grew by just 22,000.  And whilst there was an increase in full time work as Crabb claimed, this was only amongst those who are self-employed.  The number of people working full time for an employer fell by 34,000.

These figures don’t matter much unless we see them repeated over the coming months.  What is critical is the way they were, or in most cases werent announced by the government.  Departmental communications are bound by rules intended to ensure both impartiality and objectivity. Yet today’s press release from the DWP was an attempt to deliberately mislead the public about the true state of the UK’s labour market and that’s called lying.  Even Iain Duncan Smith didn’t try and pull this sort of shit.  Not that often anyway.  Stephen Crabb is moving in a dangerous direction.  Don’t believe a fucking word he says.

Image above from the recent protest in Wales calling on Crabb to resign from his local Mencap branch over supporting cuts to disabled people’s benefits.

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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

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First Demonstration Called Against New DWP Boss Demanding #CrabbMustGo

crabb-resign-stickerIf new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb had any decency at all he would resign from his position as patron of the local branch of Mencap.

Ever since Crabb voted to slash benefits for many disabled people to little over £70 a week the Haverfordwest based charity, who run a once popular community garden, have faced outrage from the public over their relationship with Crabb – and with good reason.  It is beyond belief that a member of a government that has so ruthlessly attacked disabled people has he gall to hide his sins beneath a charitable facade.  And it is beneath contempt that he would rather see this charity destroyed then do the hornourable thing and step away.

This is sadly unsurprising however.  Crabb happily referred to his own mother as welfare dependent when he gave an interview about saving her from a violent attack by his father when he was just eight years old.  He has no shame in dragging his family’s traumatic past out under the public spotlight when he thinks it might win him some sympathy with voters.  Even a recent re-union with his father – which conveniently took place just days after his appointment to Scretary of State – appeared to be little more than stunt to further his political aspirations.  After what must have been a difficult and emotional meeting for both of them, Crabb’s first thought on leaving was to ring the Daily fucking Mail and tell them all about it.

A broad coalition has now emerged in Crabb’s home town demanding that he step down in his role as Mencap patron.  He should step down as Secretary of State as well.  His nasty affiliation with a ‘gay cure’ Christian cult seems to be the only sincere thing about him.  We got rid of the last bastard now let’s get rid of this one.  Join the fine folk of Pembrokeshire for a demonstration against Crabb this Saturday April 2nd from 11am-1pm outside his constituency office, Upper Market St, Haverfordwest, SA61 1QA.

Please share the facebook page for the event and help keep up the pressure on Pembrokeshire Mencap to get behind the people they claim to support and sack Crabb immediately.  And keep up the pressure on all the other charities hiding dirty little Tory secrets as part of Operation #ToryDump

Sign the petition calling for Crabb to step down as a Mencap patron at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stephen-crabb-resign-as-mencap-patron-pembs-immediately-voted-for-disabled-to-lose-ps30-a-week-esa-1

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‘A Failure Regime’, Apprenticeships Slammed By Government Committee

broken-ladderThe government’s flagship Apprenticeship programme has been slammed after a report from the cross-party Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission made wide-ranging criticisms of the scheme.

Just over a week ago Business Secretary Sajid Javid gave a speech praising Apprenticeships and following up David Cameron’s pledge to increase the number of placements available to three million.  According to Javid, Apprenticeships are no longer seen as a second-best option, or a safety net for kids who didn’t make it to A-levels or university, but instead are an “incredible opportunity” to prepare young people for being “the leaders  of tomorrow”.

The reality, as revealed this week’s report, is that many young people are taking a lower level of qualification then would be expected had they stayed in mainstream education..  Over two thirds of Apprenticeship starts for those between 16 and 19 were at GCSE level – the same standard of qualification they may already have gained at school.  As the report notes “It is reasonable to expect that young people should progress in education; that each qualification they take is another rung up the ladder.”  Few on Apprenticeships are being given this opportunity.

The report also finds that the growth of Apprenticeships amongst young people is collapsing, whilst the number who complete the programe has fallen to just over two thirds.  For the highest level Apprenticeships, equivalent to degree level study, the figures are dismal – only 4% of Apprenticeships are at this level and the vast majority are taken up by those over 25.  Just 5,300 under 25s began an higher level Apprenticeship in 2014/15 compared to almost 300,000 taking lower level qualifications.

The vast majority of Apprenticeships are found in sectors identified by the report as low paying and with little chance of progression, such as hair-dressing, childcare, hospitatlity or construction.  Apprenticeships are also reinforcing gender division in the workforce – a shocking 98.4% of construction Apprenticeships and 86.2% of Information Technology placements were taken up by males.  In contrast women made up 85.3% of Health Public Services and Care Apprenticeships.

The report concludes that the Apprenticeship system has a range of problems which “hold back opportunity” and suggests that the scheme could be “perceived as a failure regime by those seeking social mobility.”  Politicians of all parties now consider a young person becoming a hair dresser or builder to be a failure.  Fuck social mobility – we just want the money.

Sajid Javid claims that Apprenticeships are giving “ALL of Britain’s young people the opportunity they need to rise to the top”.  The truth seems to be that the scheme is really ensuring young people get conditioned to a lifetime of low pay and lack of career progression.  Most Apprenticeship pay rates are set at minimum wage except for those under 19 or in their first year who receive a meagre £3.30 an hour.  For all this government’s talk of aspiration, the rise of Apprenticeships seems really intended to teach the young the working class to learn their place.

You can read the report at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeships-young-people-and-social-mobility

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