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£1500 ESA cuts as quadriplegics fit and able to work say DWP!

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The new Secretary of State for Work & Pensions Stephen Crabb says people with Quadriplegia, Brain Haemorrhage, Brain Tumours, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinsons Disease and scores of other conditions are ‘able to work!’

He said so on his own Facebook page (see here) as he believes those placed in the Employment and Support Allowance Work Related Activities Group, or ESA WRAG are all fit and able for work!

Note well if they were fit for work it would mean they would be unable to claim and receive ESA in the first place!!

full story at:Kingston Labour

 

 

 

Tory cuts leave poverty-stricken children too hungry to learn

Teachers have blasted the Tory Government’s “callous fiscal and social policies”, after a damning survey revealed that an increasing number of poverty-stricken children are arriving at school hungry and unable to concentrate in lessons.

A survey of 3,250 teachers by the NASUWT, the largest teacher’s union in the UK, shows that a growing numbers of teachers and schools are being left to “pick up the pieces” of draconian austerity measures.

Teachers and schools reported having to step in and provide food, equipment and clothing for pupils. While others found themselves having to offer financial advice to parents struggling to cope with Tory cuts.

Almost three-quarters of teachers reported seeing children coming to school hungry, with over a quarter generously giving food to starving pupils. More than half had seen their school do the same.

According to the survey, 41 percent of teachers have given financial advice to parents or have referred them to external advice services.

More than a half said they had seen children whose parents were unable to afford school uniform. 15 percent had even resorted to giving clothing to children, and 59 percent reported seeing their school do the same.

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And almost two-thirds of teachers say they have lent equipment to pupils, while half had seen their school do so.

Teachers say housing is an increasing issue, with over a third saying they have seen pupils who have been living in temporary accommodation.

A quarter say they know of pupils who have lost their homes, and over a third reported seeing pupils forced to leave school mid-term after losing their homes.

Over half of teachers say financial pressures felt by families have led to rising levels of anxiety among pupils. Nearly three-quarters report pupils being absent from school and nearly two-thirds say pupils have exhibited behaviour problems.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “It is clear that teachers and schools are being left to pick up the pieces of callous fiscal and social policies.

“Poverty is not incidental to teachers. It is a key inhibitor to educational progression and schools simply cannot be expected to tackle these issues alone.

“This year’s survey confirms the trend of the previous two years that the position is worsening.

“As the survey shows, poverty and homelessness take an enormous physical and emotional toll on children. They often cannot concentrate when they are in school because they are tired, hungry and anxious.

full article at:Welfare Weekly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘growing issue’ of homeless people sleeping in bins

#DWP ‘Benefit sanctions: Britain’s secret penal system’ by Dr David Webster University of Glasgow

Benefits claimants are subjected to an ‘amateurish, secret penal system which is more severe than the mainstream judicial system’, writes Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow.

DrDavidWebsterFew people know that the number of financial penalties (‘sanctions’) imposed on benefit claimants by the Department of Work and Pensions now exceeds the number of fines imposed by the courts. In Great Britain in 2013, there were1,046,398 sanctions on Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, 32,128 on Employment and Support Allowance claimants, and approximately 44,000 on lone parent recipients of Income Support.

By contrast, Magistrates’ and Sheriff courts imposed a total of only 849,000fines.

Sanctioned benefit claimants are treated much worse than those fined in the courts.

The scale of penalties is more severe (£286.80 – £11,185.20 compared to £200 – £10,000).

Most sanctions are applied to poor people and involve total loss of benefit income.

Although there is a system of discretionary ‘hardship payments’, claimants are often reduced to hunger and destitution by the ban on application for the first two weeks and by lack of information about the payments and the complexity of the application process.

The hardship payment system itself is designed to clean people out of resources; all savings or other sources of assistance must be used up before help is given.

Decisions on guilt are made in secret by officials who have no independent responsibility to act lawfully; since the Social Security Act 1998 they have been mere agents of the Secretary of State.

These officials are currently subject to constant management pressure to maximise penalties, and as in any secret system there is a lot of error, misconduct, dishonesty and abuse.

The claimant is not present when the decision on guilt is made and is not legally represented.

While offenders processed in the court system cannot be punished before a hearing, and if fined are given time to pay, the claimant’s punishment is applied immediately.

Unlike a magistrate or sheriff, the official deciding the case does not vary the penalty in the light of its likely impact on them or their family.

If the claimant gets a hearing (and even before the new system of ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ only 3 per cent of sanctioned claimants were doing so), then it is months later, when the damage has been done.

‘Mandatory reconsideration’, introduced in October 2013, denies access to an independent Tribunal until the claimant has been rung up at home twice and forced to discuss their case with a DWP official in the absence of any adviser – a system which is open to abuse and has caused a collapse in cases going to Tribunal.

Yet the ‘transgressions’ (DWP’s own word) which are punished by this system are almost exclusively very minor matters, such as missing a single interview with a Jobcentre or Work Programme contractor, or not making quite as many token job applications as the Jobcentre adviser demands.

full article at Black Triangle Campaign

“Welfare Weekly”:Minister Refuses To Examine Impact Of Benefit Sanctions On Mental Health

DWP Minister, Priti Patel, refused to examine the devastating impact of benefit sanctions on people with mental health conditions.

he increased use and rising severity of benefit sanctions became an integrated part of welfare “conditionality” in 2012.

Based on the behavioural theory called “loss aversion,” which is borrowed from economics and decision theory, loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses than acquiring ‘gains’.

The idea, therefore is to use sanctions to “nudge”people towards “changing their behaviours,” since the underpinning assumption is that people are unemployed because of personal deficits and making “wrong decisions,” rather than because of socioeconomic conditions and political policy decisions.

full article at Welfare Weekly

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