Tag Archives: lord freud

How Lord Fraud’s Benefit Rules For Self-Employed Workers Will Mean The End Of Enterprise

lord-fraud-freud1Fuck entrepreneurs.  Seriously.  Fuck them.  Most of them are are chinless jumped up idiots squandering their trust funds and boring everyone shitless with their latest wacky idea for raspberry fucking flavoured baked beans.  Or online spivs like Grant Shapps ripping off the public with fake websites and get rich quick schemes.

If you’re poor then the local entrepreneur is likely to be the person people buy their smack from, or your landlord, or someone you borrow fifty quid off knowing some bastard with a baseball bat will probably turn up if you can’t afford to pay it back on time.

Having said that, millions of people are now scraping an income as self-employed workers.  Whether being shafted by online micro jobs that pay 50p for an hour’s work, or working on building sites and forced to register as self-employed to save their employer money, a casualised, insecure and poverty paid working life is the reality of modern capitalism for many.

In his Autumn statement Geroge Osborne announced that from April this year self-employed people claiming Working Tax Credits will have to prove that their self-employment is genuine and likely to pay them the equivalent of 24 hours a week at the minimum wage.  This is called the Minimum Income Floor and when Universal Credit is introduced (stop laughing) it will increase to 35 hours for those without young children or a significant health condition.  A sinister bunch of ghouls called Concentrix have already been hired by the DWP to hound self-employed people claiming Working Tax Credits.  Thousands of people have received letters demanding they prove their self-employment is genuine or accusing them of fraud and expecting them to prove their innocence.

There is no easily found information on Government websites explaining when and how changes to Working Tax Credits for the self-employed will be introduced.  Not for the first time when it comes to Iain Duncan Smith’s shambolic welfare reforms, nobody, including claimants themselves, has a clue what is going on.

What we do know however is that the changes that are planned under Universal Credit will prove devastating for many self-employed people.

Claimants who want to register as self-employed will first have to pass a DWP Dragon’s Den style test with Jobcentre busy-bodies and persuade them that their self-employment is ‘gainful activity’ and expected to make a profit.  Just think about that for a second.  Imagine trying to explain a business concept like facebook or instagram to a DWP Work Coach who can barely work a smart phone.  The Mark Zuckerberg’s of the future will probably end cleaning the bogs in Poundland on workfare schemes rather than creating innovative online products.  Good.  Fuck entrepreneurs.

But think about people working in the creative sector, freelance journalists, actors or musicians.  Or those in the sex industry, or other fringe sectors which are not easily understood by Jobcentre Work Coaches.  Can we really trust that these groups are likely to be considered gainfully self-employed and granted the 12 month start up period during which claimants are exempt from the Minimum Income Floor?  And this is only the start of the bodged process set to be inflicted on the self-employed.

Once the initial 12 month start up period is over then the DWP wil assume earnings of 35 hours a week at the minimum wage when calculating benefits, including Housing Benefit.  That’s 35 hours every week.  No holidays, or periods of sickness will be considered in calculations.  If you have a bad month then the DWP will make it even worse by not paying you enough Housing Benefit meaning your home will be at risk.  It won’t take much.  An illness, personal crisis, a downturn, some shyster not paying on time, and people could be driven onto the streets.  How many people are likely to take that risk, when they could get more benefit by abandoning self-employment altogether and signing on the dole?

On top of this the amount of red tape is breath-taking.  Self-employed people, desperately trying to meet their Minimum Income Floor, will have to waste time sending the Jobcentre details of their income and expenses every single month.  This is in addition to their tax return.  Expenses or income cannot be carried over, so whilst if someone has a good month their benefits will be reduced, if they have a bad one then they will not be increased.  A single claimant who earns nothing in a month will have to find up to £950 to be able to pay their rent and survive for that period.  Or go on the dole.  That’s assuming the DWP will let them and don’t disallow them from benefits completely for giving up ‘gainful self-employment’.

It is genuinely astonishing that such a vicious attack on self-employed people is being launched by the party which once claimed to represent entrepreneurs and small businesses – and fuck small businesses as well, bunch of UKIP gobshites who pay their workers less than Tesco.*  These policies can only really be understood once you discover they were largely drafted by comedy toff and Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Fraud.  Out of touch ex-bankers like Fraud don’t really believe working class people can run their own businesses.  They’d far rather we were all working for people like them.  They have no concept of what life is like for low earning self-employed people scrabbling around trying to gain an income wherever they can.  And they don’t care if their welfare changes could leave someone with no money at all, even to pay their rent.  Serves them right for not working hard enough that month they will chuckle to themselves.

Nobody knows how much of the so-called fall is unemployment is down to people registering as self-employed and claiming Working Tax Credits.  What we do know is that some of them will have been bullied into this option by grasping Work Programme companies who can claim a huge job outcome fee everytime someone becomes self-employed.  Hundreds of thousands of people could be hit by these changes and many could be left with barely any money at all to survive on.  They haven’t done anything wrong.  They are both working and claiming a much lower rate of benefit than Jobseeker’s Allowance.  They just aren’t earning enough so the government is intent on making them even poorer.  The less you have the less you get, which just about sums up the last five years of Tory Government.

There’s still more to come on this.  Meanwhile see what will happen to part time workers on Universal Credit: It Had To Happen. Soon You Could Face An In-Work Benefit Sanction … For Going To Work

*Fuck Tescos as well.

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More Sanctions On The Way For Claimants With A Mental Health Condition In Scotland

work-makes-meThe DWP are currently tendering for a pilot scheme in Scotland which will see claimants on both unemployment and sickness benefits forced to attend training and possibly even workfare under the threat of benefits being stopped.

Around 450 claimants in the West of Scotland Jobcentre Plus District are expected to be forced onto the scheme if Jobcentre staff decide they have “low self esteem; and/or limited capability to manage stressful or challenging situations.”

Unlike the Work Programme, this scheme will not be aimed at people who have been on benefits for a long time.  Instead the tender documents state that those referred are likely to be people whose period of unemployment is less than 26 weeks, suggesting people could be sent from the first day of their claim.

The DWP say they expect 20% of participants to enter an “educational training course” including work experience or sector based work academies – both better known as workfare.  It is unclear whether those on the programme will be forced to move into unpaid work, however the tender clearly states that benefit sanctions will be applied in the event of “failure to attend or participate in any meeting or activity, having been notified of the requirement to attend by the Supplier”.

Worryingly this mandatory activity could include referring claimants for specialist support to “manage health conditions” or “advice related to alcohol or substance misuse”.  This could mean Jobcentre busybodies and two bit welfare-to-work companies making decisions on people’s healthcare, not doctors.

One of the key aims of this scheme will be to “promote the positive impact working has on health and well being.”   This is the latest propaganda drive from the DWP, who are also plotting four more pilot schemes around the UK aimed at people with mental health conditions.  Whilst details so far are scant on what these programmes will involve, in the DWP staff newsletter they are being justified by bungling toff Lord Fraud on the grounds that: “Work is good for your mental health”.

According the the Health and Safety Executive the total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2013/14 was 487 000.  Work can make you fucking miserable, as anyone who’s ever had a real job is likely to be all too aware.

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Freud Must Go! Urgent Call Out, Monday Oct 20th Caxton House 12.30pm Or On Twitter #FreudMustGo

lord-fraud-freudAnyone who thinks Lord Fraud ‘mispoke’ or was just ‘thinking outside the box’ when he made the shameful comment that some disabled people are not worth the minimum wage has really not been paying attention.

This is the man that helped devise the despised Atos benefit assessments that have driven disabled people to suicide and ill health in the name of strippping their benefits or forcing them into endless ‘work related activity’.  The same Minister whose department introduced the Work Programme, on which sick and disabled people can be sent on workfare, potentially for months on end.  Lord Fraud was simply saying what he, and his colleagues in the DWP believe, that disabled people lead ‘wasted lives’ and as such do not deserve the same rights as other workers.  That is why this Government has introduced scheme after scheme aimed at coercing – and in some cases forcing – sick and disabled people to work without any pay at all.

There doesn’t need to be a conversation about what Lord Fraud said, as some commentators have suggested.  A conversation that is unlikely to include disabled people or claimants themselves if this week’s news coverage is anything to go by.  The man is a nasty and vindictive piece of shit.  And he needs to go, now.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have called an emergency protest calling for his resignation tomorrow (Monday 20th Oct) at 12.30 pm outside the Department of Work and Pensions in central London.  In the words of DPAC:

“Freud is the architect of the government’s noxious welfare reform programme that is pushing disabled people off benefits and causing untold distress and misery, in too many cases leading to suicides and avoidable deaths.

The policies Freud designed show utter contempt for disabled people. His latest comments made to a Tory councillor at a party conference fringe meeting confirm this …  join us to demand Freud resigns or is sacked. Monday October 20th at DWP head office, Caxton House, Tothill Street, 12.30pm til 2.30″

If you can’t make it to the DWP you can still get involved in online action with the #FreudMustGo twitterstorm, details at: http://dftr.org.uk/Songbird.php?TweetFile=FreudMustGo

Time is short, please share, tweet etc and help get the word out.

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Disabled People Not Worth Minimum Wage Says Lord Fraud, Time For This Nasty Fucking Clown To Go

lord-fraud-freud

“Nearly everything I’ve done has been total chaos.”

Comedy toff and Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Fraud is a joke that stopped being funny a long time ago.  Of all the blundering fucking idiots in the DWP, this failed banker, who cost investors millions due to a series of bungled deals, has shown the true face of the out of touch gilded elite that dominate all of the main political parties.

This is the man who thinks people queue up in foodbanks just for a laugh and not because they are hungry.  The same prick who threatened every Women’s Refuge in the country with closure and wanted to charge the very poorest benefit claimants to have banks manage their personal finances.  The clown who doesn’t even know how much the dole actually pays despite being in charge of reforming it.

His recent comments at the Tory Party Conference, where he agreed that disabled workers are not worth the minimum wage, are a new low  If he stays in his job after this we will know the truth about attitudes towards sickness and disability at the DWP  – as if we didn’t already.  They are not just ignorant about disabled people’s lives, out of touch and incompetant.  They actively believe that disabled people are worth less than non-disabled peopl and so do not deserve the same rights as non-disabled people.  That if you are born or become sick or disabled, then you are a sub-class who should be forced into a lifetime of poverty carrying out below minimum wage work.  Is it any wonder that unpaid work is fast becoming the new segregation for many disabled workers?

Fraud revealed his rancid opinions at a conference fringe meetings when utter cunt, and Tory Councillor, David Scott (@DavidScotttw) said: “I have a number of mentally damaged individuals, who to be quite frank aren’t worth the Minimum Wage.”

Lord Fraud agreed saying: “Now, there is a small… there is a group, and I know exactly who you mean, where actually as you say they’re not worth the full wage and actually I’m going to go and think about that particular issue, whether there is something we can do nationally, and without distorting the whole thing, which actually if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it’s working can we actually…”

The comments came to light after Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron about Lord Fraud’s comments at Prime Minister’s Question Time today.  What Miliband didn’t mention is that this very same bastard was at the heart of Labour’s own Welfare Reforms such as the shambolic and cruel Atos run Work Capability Assessment.

Fraud enjoyed impoverishing sick and disabled people so much that when the Tory Party weren’t elected he crossed the floor and joined them so he could carry on with his sick farce.  He has been ususually frank about his incompetence, once admitting in an interview that: “Nearly everything I’ve done has been total chaos.”  But he is a nasty piece of shit as well.  In a just and moral society, both Lord Fraud and his boss Iain Duncan Smith would be put on trial for the horrific suffering their policies have caused.  In the society we’ve got the best we can hope for is that he’s shuffled off to one of his mansions and kept out of public life permanently.  It can’t fucking happen soon enough.

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DWP Are Trying To Hide The Truth But The Amount Lost To Fraud And Error Is At A Record High

lord-fraud-freudFigures released from the DWP show that benefit over-payments due to fraud and error remained at a record high of £3.3 billion in 2013/14, but you wouldn’t know this from reading the gushing press release that accompanied the statistics.

Instead the DWP boldly claims that Jobseekers Allowance and Income Support over-payments are at their lowest recorded levels.  But these represent just ten percent of the total amount lost through fraud and error.  The amount of Housing Benefit overpaid, for example, has soared to £1.38 billion and is by far the largest source of fraud and error in the system.  No-one seems to be checking how much of this figure ended up in the pockets of landlords.

With Iain Duncan Smith busy bungling the launch of Universal Credit, it was left to the Minister for Welfare Reform, the aptly named Lord Fraud, to defend the figures, which he did by if not lying through his teeth, then deliberately distorting the truth.  According to the minister: “It is encouraging to see that the level of fraud and error is now lower than before the start of the Parliament.”

The rate of over-payments dropped from 2.2% in 2009/10 to 2% in 2010/11 and has stayed there ever since.  According to the DWP themselves this is not statistically significant and could be due to inaccuracies in the data.  The cost of fraud and error however has risen since the start of this Parliament and it is this that the DWP is trying to hide.

On face value it looks like over-payments fell in the last year, from £3.5 billion to £3.3 billion.  But this is because Council Tax Benefit expenditure was not included in the figures after being scrapped in April 2013.  Over-payments in Council Tax support schemes are no longer the DWP’s problem, and so will no longer be included in the statistics.

The table below shows amount lost through fraud and error if Council Tax Benefit is also excluded from the previous year’s figures.  What it shows is that the cost of over-payments rose year on year since the election and then hit £3.3 billion for each of the last two years.  This was not explained in Lord Fraud’s press release and the real numbers can only be found in Annex 6 on the very last page of a 147 page DWP report (pdf).

fraud-errorThe truth about the amount lost to fraud and error in the benefits system is that’s it’s not very much and whilst it has risen slightly it hasn’t really changed significantly since this Government weren’t elected.  This is a huge embarrassment to Iain Duncan Smith who is currently squandering the best part of a billion pounds in an attempt to halve benefit over-payments by next year.  It is unsurprising that the DWP’s fraud and error strategy was this week given a red/amber rating (meaning it’s a fuck up) in the same Government report into major projects that revealed that Universal Credit has been ‘reset’.

The amount of money lost only to fraud in particular is very small – around a billion a year for all benefits, including pensions.  This is less than the amount of benefits which are underpaid, which stands at £1.4 billion.  The report which accompanies the over-payment statistics, contains some interesting details, such as the amount lost to fraud due to people on the dole working on the side being estimated to be as little as £59 million – about a quid a year for every person in the country.  Tax avoidance and evasion was about £35 billion in 2010/11, costing us each nearly £600 a year.  You won’t see that in a DWP press release.  Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

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The Chilling Truth About Universal Credit: Bosses To Be The Gate-Keepers Of Benefits

lord-fraud-freudEmployers failing to provide tax information on time or going out of business could lead to vital in-work benefits going unpaid Lord Fraud confirmed in a speech this week.

When Universal Credit is finally introduced (stop laughing) it will replace almost all current in-work benefits including Child and Working Tax Credits, along with Housing Benefits.

Unlike the current system, benefit rates will be calculated monthly based on tax information sent to the DWP by employers.  This had led to concerns that if employers fail to send in PAYE information on time, or go out of business, then benefits will go unpaid or be paid at the wrong rate.  Lord Fraud confirmed that this would be the case in his speech this week when he said:

“the new PAYE in real time system has been designed to support Universal Credit payments. 99% of employers are now reporting their PAYE in real time every month. Not only does it prevent fraud, it ensures that every person who is in work on Universal Credit has their award automatically adjusted every month, based on these returns. So it’s absolutely crucial that you as employers report this accurately, as this will affect the payments of claimants.”

So should you have a dispute with your employer, or get the sack, then your boss will have the power to fuck up your claim for benefits.  For those with the most unscrupulous employers the implications are terrifying. Join a union, or complain about working conditions, and your employer will soon be able to stop your Housing Benefit and make you homeless.

Not to worry though because Lord Fraud suggested that under Universal Credit people could have multiple zero hours contracts instead of real jobs.  According to the minister these kind of contracts: “support business flexibility, they provide entry to work for young people and give people the flexibility to combine work with other commitments”.

In-work conditionality rules under Universal Credit will mean part-time workers face Jobcentre harassment and benefit sanctions to force them to constantly look for a better paid job or more work elsewhere.  They could even be sent on workfare in the hours they aren’t working.  This would make accepting many zero hours contracts – which require staff to be available for work at any time and at short notice – impossible for claimants.  Lord Fraud’s answer to this particular fuck up – which could see people sanctioned for failing to apply for a zero hours position, and then sanctioned again when they get the job and can no longer meet their claimant commitment – is that people can have more than one zero hours contract.  Which of course doesn’t solve anything, but Lord Fraud is hoping no-one notices.

The real reason for Universal Credit, which is to create a flexible, casualised workforce, was at the heart of Lord Fraud’s speech this week.  The new system will make it “easier to recruit – particularly when it comes to part time positions or for temporary work” and allow employers to find “more people willing to take on irregular work”.

Universal Credit is a blueprint for exploitation, forcing all low paid employees into a desperate competition for worst kind of insecure, casual work.  Step out of line for a second, and you will be sanctioned and face absolute destitution.  Despite the endless propaganda, this is not just an attack on those out of work, it is an attack on everyone’s pay and conditions.  As Lord Fraud’s speech confirmed this week, this is welfare reform designed to help your boss, not you.

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Hostels and Women’s Refuges Still Under Threat As Lord Fraud Dithers

lord-fraud-freudWomen fleeing abusive relationships could be faced with the stark choice of sleeping on the streets or returning to a violent partner due to the benefit cap a leading charity has warned.

Meanwhile Lord Fraud’s dithering means that many women’s refuges and homelessness hostels may be forced to close when the benefit cap is introduced in July.  The cap on benefits, set at £500 a week for families, or £350 for single people, includes housing benefits which in some cases meet the cost of supported accommodation.

Last year Women’s Aid issued a stark warning that this change could potentially close every single one of their refuge’s for those fleeing domestic violence.  Homelessness hostels are also under threat.  Hostels and refuges charge high rents to pay for the cost of support staff, with most supported housing having 24 hour staffing cover and specialist support workers.

Astonishingly neither bungling Lord Fraud or Iain Duncan Smith appeared to know this.  In a panicky response the Government hastily u-turned, saying that the benefit cap would not apply to “supported exempt accommodation”.  Ministers also claimed that when Universal Credit is introduced, the system of Housing Benefits, administered by local authorities, would remain in place for this type of housing.

The problem is that the legal definition for “supported exempt accommodation” is several years old and does not apply to much of the supported housing available today.  This also seemed to come as a shock to Lord Fraud, who was forced to write charities promising not to worry,  he would have it all sorted out soon.

And that appears to be the last anyone has heard from the bungling old toff.  An important piece published on The Guardian website by Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, warns that with just one month to go until the benefit cap is launched nationally, many women’s refuges are still facing closure.

The charity also warns that many women who have already been housed after moving on from a refuge are likely to be affected by the cap and may “face eviction and be left with an impossible dilemma either to sleep rough or return to their violent partner”.

The truth is that the majority of those paying high rents and affected by the benefit cap are not people living it up in Chelsea mansions as the right wing press has attempted to portray.  In many cases they are people whose life has taken a desperate turn and who have been forced to take any housing they could find in an emergency.  Often this housing, despite being expensive, is sub-standard with grasping landlords charging a fortune for properties they couldn’t get away with renting to anyone who had a choice about where they lived.

The benefit cap is a truly nasty policy which punishes tenants for the greed of slum landlords.  A DWP impact assessment suggested almost 200,000 children could be made homeless due to the cap.  It is unlikely to even save any money.  All it will achieve if the expulsion of poor, often genuinely vulnerable families from rich local authorities into areas where councils are already struggling to pay the bills.

The end result will be lower council tax for the rich and cuts to public services for the rest of us.  And this, some would claim, is the Tory’s most popular policy.  If that is true then a lot of people need to have a serious fucking word with themselves.

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