Category Archives: Tory Sleaze

Flagship Troubled Families Scheme Slammed As A Fraudulent Scam By Social Worker

Royal family at Buckingham Palace

Everybody’s knows them. The parasitic families plaguing the lives of ordinary decent people. Parents on benefits, kids running rampant, a sense of entitlement passed down through generations. The kind of people who expect everyone else to clean up after them. But enough about her Majesty.

A front-line social care worker has accused the government’s flagship Troubled Families programme of being a ‘fraudulent scam’ that is subjecting families to ‘coercion and harassment’ and wasting public funds.

The comments have been published by respected research body the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies who last year also produced a report on the Troubled Families scheme.  This, and today’s front-line testimony, reveal a very different side of the programme that David Cameron recently announced will soon be extended to 400,000 more families.

Officially Troubled Families has been a huge success.  A dubiously huge success.  According to the government’s figures, of the 120,000 families referred to the scheme, 99% have had their lives ‘turned around’.  It is almost a fucking miracle. Despite claims these families were the so-called hardest to help, facing ‘multi-generational worklessness’ and causing a blight on communities, all it took was someone clipboard clutching bureacrat hassling them to get a job every other Thursday and poverty, crime and social exclusion have been almost brought to an end in the UK.  And all this has been achieved despite vicious cuts to social services departments, policing budgets and state benefits.  You almost wouldn’t believe it.  Don’t believe it.

What has actually taken place is a mass cooking of the books by local authorities that would have made even the fraud ridden welfare-to-work sector blush.

According to the social worker who spoke out today, many families were identified as ‘troubled’ based on out of date information and so had already been ‘turned around’ by the time the scheme began.  They were still recorded as positive outcomes however, as were families who had been helped by pre-existing multi-agency partnerships.  Some families were coerced into joining the scheme with ‘creative’ tactics to get the numbers up, whilst according to last year’s report many families would not even have been aware they had been designated ‘troubled’.

The Crime and Justice report suggests that instead of these families being genuinely helped what has often taken place is a data matching excercise.  In other words local authorities look at the families they have on their books and, as an example, if they notice someone got a job recently they sign them up as Troubled Family and claim a successful outcome.  Or they find a kid who had previously been truanting and has now stopped and so stick them on the Troubled Families programme so they can claim the credit for that.  Just like the Work Programme and other payment by results schemes, the Troubled Families programme assumes that nobody ever turns themselves around.  So when people do it must be the result of an ‘intervention’ even if no intervention ever actually took place.

Despite the inventive accounting, the real results for Troubled Families range from dismal to suspicious.  Just 10% of families entered work due to the scheme and most of the positive outcomes were due to a reduction in crime or educational related measures.  Yet according to the Crime and Justice report many of these families do not seem to have been particularly troubled.  Only 3% of families studied in an evaluation of the scheme had kids who had committed more than one criminal offence in the previous six months.  So a teenager nicks a chocolate bar, then doesn’t do it again – there’s an outcome.  If they keep on nicking however they are likely to removed from the Troubled Families programme because they are making the numbers look bad.

This is how your money is being spent.  Manufacturing evidence to make politicians look good with no thought at all for the real needs of families who are genuinely in trouble.  Who by the way mostly just need more money,

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Michael Green Lives! Grant Shapps’ Former Website Still Registered To His Fake ID

whois-shappsTory chairperson Grant Shapps has claimed that he got his dates mixed up after a recording of him pretending to be Michael Green in 2006 was uncovered by The Guardian.

Shapps had claimed he left the internet con-man business behind when he was elected as an MP in 2005.  The recording clearly proves this was a lie.  In fact his trafficpaymaster website is still registered in the US to Michael Green.  This is a breach of contract with ICANN who oversee internet domains in the US.  Were the website to have been used for any dubious purposes –  such as encouraging people to rip off the small businesses using google ads by flooding the net with fake websites – then this false registration would be an aggravating factor which could lead to an additional seven years in jail.

All of Michael Green’s websites have vanished and even been blocked from the internet archive project.  So there is no way of knowing for sure whether the Conservative Party were telling the truth when they said yesterday that: “his full name and biographical details were permanently published on the company’s main website”.  It seems strange to go to the trouble of using a fake name to register the website if this was the case.  There is no mention of Grant Shapps on any of the screenshots that scores of people managed to take of the sites before they disappeared.

Michael Green was also a regular contributor to the Warrior internet forums, alongside Sebastian Fox, another pseudonym used by his former company  howtocorp.com.  Most of these posts have been deleted as well, although a few still remain in which both of these non-existent people appear together.  Grant Shapps never mentioned his real identity there either.

Another website which has gone missing is trafficpaymaster.wordpress.com.  This site was removed from wordpress for violating their terms and conditions.  It only contained one post, made in July 2011 by someone calling themselves John Hilton, a ‘self-proclaimed’ internet marketing expert.  This post gave a suspiciously glowing review of the software that Grant Shapps’ company sold alongside handy details of where to purchase it.  The only links on the site point to the websites that Shapps used to run and the previously mentioned Warrior internet forums.  Because it was hosted on wordpress.com it cannot be hidden from the internet archive.  Fake reviews are likely to be illegal under consumer protection laws.  Whether John Hilton is also Grant Shapps, or his wife who he claimed took over the company, remains yet another mystery in the murky former world of the Conservative Party Chairman.

Shapps has repeatedly claimed he is the victim of political smears.  Judge for yourself.

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MP’s Scrounging Is Out Of Control: Cap Esther McVey’s Housing Benefit

generation-rentMPs are being handed huge subsidies to rent second homes in London whilst thousands of the capital’s poorest residents are being socially cleansed due to slashed benefits and soaring rents.

Unemployment Minister Esther McVey claimed a whopping £17,227 last year to rent a swanky central London pad whilst invisible Housing Minster Kris Hopkins trousered £18,045.

The total bill for MPs languishing in luxury properties at our expense came to over £5 million says pressure group Generation Rent who compiled the figures.

The maximum Housing Benefit available in London is just over £250 a week for a single person, around £100 a week less than McVey scrounges.  This benefit goes to people in and out of work alike and was capped shortly after the current government weren’t elected.  Soaring rents in London have meant that many new housing benefit claimants are working full time but still cannot afford the eye-watering cost of living in the capital.

Previously ministers, including Iain Duncan Smith, have claimed that there are plenty of properties still available in London to those affected by the cap.  So why can’t McVey live in one of those instead of living on hand outs?

McVey earns far too much already to be eligible for housing benefit and in any case it is not payable for second homes, even if you claim you need them for work.  She can easily afford to pay her own rent and if not then any state support she receives should be capped at the same level she expects everyone else to survive on.  It’s about making the system fair after all, and it might even incentivise McVey to get a real job for once in her miserable life.

Above graph taken from an infographic produced by Generation Rent, for the full image visit their website

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Keeping It In The Family: DWP Give Michael Gove’s Wife Free Advertising

gettheglossThe new DWP twitter feed, recently announced on twitter by the Prime Minister, has been providing free advertising for Michael Gove’s wife’s new online business.

Two tweets earlier today plugged Get The Gloss, an ‘award winning website’ according to the department.  Meanwhile on the DWP’s facebook page Get The Gloss Production Editor Judy Johnson was given a post with a link back to the the fashion and beauty website advising claimants on how they should dress at job interviews.

Now it has emerged that Get The Gloss is a new online venture started by Sarah Vine, wife of odious Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Most online businesses would do almost anything to get this kind of free publicity from a government department, although even the most ambitious would probably draw the line at marrying Michael Gove. 

To let the DWP know what you think of them giving tax payer funded free adverts to their partners contact them on twitter @DWPgovuk

The DWP are currently using the hashtag #job2014 on twitter, occupy it!

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Grant Shapps Hides The Evidence – See For Yourself Whether Fraud Allegations Are ‘Political Smears’

Grant ShappsInternet con-man and Tory Party Chairman Grant Shapps has closed down his spam website company following a police investigation which acknowledged that he ‘may’ have committed an act of fraud.

All mention of the Trafficpaymaster software which led to the investigation has been removed from the internet, whilst Shapps’ two alter-egos, Michael Green and Sebastian Fox, have deleted all posts advertising the product on the Warrior Internet Forums.

According to The Guardian any allegation of criminal behaviour has been strongly denied with a spokesperson for Shapps saying: “Any suggestion of illegality would be completely improper and malicious and would be treated as such.”

Shapps’ company sold software with the express intention of it being used to breach google’s terms and conditions to generate income from google ads.  The software did this by ‘scraping’ (stealing) content from other people’s websites, spinning it – which means changing a few words round so it looks original  – and then using that content to auto-generate websites. Google’s Adsense package could then be added to the websites to make money from advertising.

This would mean that small businesses buying advertising through the Google Adsense network – who believed those ads would appear on genuine websites – would be fleeced of their cash.  This could be what the police were referring to when they said an act of fraud may have been committed. The screenshot below shows that the company explicitly advertised their software as a way to ‘build an Adsense empire’.

shapps-adsenseQuestions have also been raised about Shapps’ use of pseudonyms and the accuracy of testimonials on his website.  After all, if people were recommending this product, and those people didn’t actually exist, then that would be false advertising.  Shapps has said his use of the name Michael Green was ‘a joke’.  He has not commented on his other alter ego Sebastian Fox.  Yet here they both are, plugging his dodgy product, in what seems to be a deliberate attempt to mislead potential customers by having them appear as two different people.

shapps-foxIn what could be seen as a further attempt to deceive potential buyers, Shapps’ company strongly denied that using this software would lead to websites being blacklisted from the google network – a devastating and quite often fatal consequence for a small online business.

shapps-googleGoogle confirmed in Autumn last year that websites using Shapps’ software would be blocked.

Shapps claimed in the Sunday Times that he created Michael Green as a ‘brand name, a bit like Colonel Sanders with his chicken.’  It is unlikely however that KFC’s website is registered under the name Colonel Sanders, unlike Shapps’ company who used the name Michael Green to register trafficpaymaster.com, in direct contravention of US internet rules.

shapps-regWhilst this in itself is not a crime, it can be an aggravating factor if a website registered under a false name is used for criminal activity, such as copyright violation.  Whether spinning content in the UK would be classed as copyright violation is so far untested by the courts.  In the US, where Shapps’ website was registered, this would be considered a violation of copyright which could lead to serious criminal charges.  And were Shapps ever found guilty of this then he could have seven years added to his sentence for registering the site under a false name.

Shapps has done everything he can to hide all traces of his former online activities which also included flogging get rich quick schemes of dubious legality.  Unfortunately for him a number of posts made by Sebastian Fox are still available on the Internet Archive and provide more details of exactly what Shapps’ company was up to and how they set out to breach copyright and scam the Google Adsense network.  Read though them and see for yourself whether allegations of fraud are ‘political smears’ as Shapps recently claimed to Channel 4.

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