Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Oct 19, 2014 17:08:23 GMT
Freud's two quid insult to disabled workers is unforgivable
He must go
Frankly, I don't how anyone can defend exceptionally wealthy Lord Freud on his outrageous statement that employers should be able to get away with paying disabled workers the princely sum of just £2 per hour.
Why should any employer pay as little as £2?
It's the biggest insult ever to disabled people
Why should lucrative private companies benefit from government subsidies?
And get a wage subsidy of £166.50 per week?
The current National Minimum Wage is £6.50 per hour for a person 21 or over. Knock off the two pounds per hour which Freud deems disabled people to be worth and you are left with £4.50 per hour which will need to be subsidised by a Government subsidy. Assuming a disabled person works 37 hours per week, it seems Freud is suggesting that a sum of (£.4.50 X 37) £166.50 per week is paid out in some kind of government wage top up. Employers and society simply cannot be allowed to get away with paying the absurd sum of just £2 an hour. The government 'top up' does nothing to make Freud's appalling remark acceptable.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Oct 19, 2014 16:23:47 GMT
The Social Housing sell off
Right to buys soar
As the Daily Mail once promoted it.....
"David Cameron has given his backing to contentious plans to encourage the sale of expensive council houses. Local authorities have been urged to rid themselves of homes in high-value postcodes by the Prime Minister’s favourite think-tank, the Policy Exchange.
Around £4.5billion a year could be raised if councils sold costly homes when tenants moved out. This could then be invested in extra housing stock in cheaper areas, the think-tank said.
It could also be used to build new homes, stimulating the economy and generating jobs.
Critics say the idea would create ghettos – but Downing Street gave the idea its firm backing"
Call me sceptical, but isn't this what the dreaded 'Bedroom Tax' is all about? Turfing people out of their homes so that more 'working people' are left to snap up low priced social pricing promoted by a decrease in the threshold at which tenants can exercise the right to buy?
Social Housing was once for those most in need, now it seems we are destined to return to the days of Thatcher and her aspirations to enable everyone to own their own home. A policy continued by Labour; the net result being a distinct lack of affordable homes for rent in the social sector. Government's policies continue to recklessly disregard the fact that there are many who for what ever reason will never be able to own their own home.
The problem here is whether Councils will in fact use the cash to generate extra and more affordable homes? How many of those brought up by tenants will end up being sold on to private landlords who later buy them up as tenants find the mortgages become unaffordable in a few years time?
Against these 'sell offs' are a much lower number of 'Right To Buy Starts on Site' which it is noted are 'probably caused by Right to Buy Replacement'. The number of new starts for 2012/13 is 844, increasing to 2,115 in 2013/13. The first quarter of 2014/15 looks more encouraging at 675 but this should perhaps be measured against the 2,845 RTB sales in the same quarter.
Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions has been severely criticised by the Whitehall spending watchdog for failing to curb the "escalating" losses due to fraud and error in the housing benefit system.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said the DWP should have acted sooner to deal with the problem as benefit overpayments ballooned from £980 million in 2010-11 to an estimated £1.4 billion in 2013-14. Around 60% of the losses are never recovered.
While a review of the problem carried out last year resulted in a series of new initiatives to staunch the losses, the NAO warned that the "impact and timing of these changes on levels of fraud error remains uncertain".
Margaret Hodge, chair of the influential Commons public accounts committee which oversees the work of the NAO, described the scale of losses as "staggering", accusing the DWP of a "hands-off approach" to the problem.
The NAO found that while the level of fraud had stabilised, overpayments due to errors by claimants were rising accounting for around two thirds - £900 million - of benefits wrongly paid out last year.
The main source of error was the failure of claimants to report changes in their level of earnings.
While the number of people claiming housing benefit has risen by 5% since 2010-11, the NAO said that the funding provided by DWP to local authorities to administer the system had been cut by 17% over the same period.
By last year, councils were employing 19% fewer fraud investigators compared to 2009, while the number of cases referred for fraud investigations was down by 25%.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Oct 19, 2014 15:36:33 GMT
Company fined millions for fraud in US tipped to take over hated fit-for-work tests
GLOBAL firm Maximus are in pole position for the £500million UK Government contract, despite a history of allegations of corruption, incompetence and discrimination.
By Annie Brown 18th October 2014
A COMPANY fined millions for fraud in the US are tipped to take over the hated fit-for-work tests.
Global firm Maximus are in pole position for the £500million UK Government contract, despite a history of allegations of corruption, incompetence and discrimination.
The successful bidder will be announced next week.
French firm Atos walked away from the contract earlier this year amid a storm of criticism over the tests for the Department for Work and Pensions.
And whoever takes over will have to navigate a massive backlog of claims.
Maximus were founded in 1997 in the US to provide government services in health and welfare.
In 2007, they were fined £20million over allegations they cheated Medicaid, the US equivalent of the NHS, by making tens of thousands of false claims. While paying the penalty, they did not accept liability.
In 2010 they paid out £1.3million in a lawsuit brought by the state of Connecticut for the “abject failure” of their computer system, which was supposed to run a police database.
The state’s attorney-general Richard Blumenthal said: “Maximus minimised quality – squandering millions of taxpayer dollars and shortchanging law enforcement agencies.”
MP Tom Greatrex, who has campaigned on the DWP tests, said: “If Maximus are to take on the tests contract, that will be a chilling prospect for anybody aware of their track record in the US.”
Dame Anne Begg MP, chair of the Commons work and pensions select committee, said: “The Government need to do a complete redesign of the whole process. Just changing the company doesn’t make it better for individuals.”
Last night, a spokesman for Maximus said they had no comment on either the DWP contract or their track record in the United States.
A spokesman for the DWP said that the competition was still open and no decision had been made on the preferred bidder.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Oct 18, 2014 21:32:20 GMT
IDS's downright lies exposed
Contrary to all his 'scrounger' talk, IDS is way off target at proving sick people are 'faking it' - numbers are on the rise!
Contrary to all the nonsense which IDS spouts about getting people 'parked on the sick' off benefits and in to work, revealing new figures shows that IDS is way off track in his projections to reduce the claimant count. The irrefutable fact is the figures are on the rise and predicted to increase even further.....
Projected number of Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Income Support claimed for incapacity and Employment & Support Allowance claimants.
Number of claimants
Note quite the ridiculous whittling down to 600,000 promised by the Daily Mail in one of their authoritive write - ups of Iain Duncan's Disastrous welfare reforms but none the less a sizeable reduction of 350,000 by 2017; no doubt all of them 'fit for work' following a miraculous Atos assessment.
So what of more recent projections beyond the one dated July 2012 which I've quoted above?
Check out how things have changed.....
Quarter / month
Hmm, seems like the Parliamentary projections to reduce the claimant count to 2,315,000 by the end of March 2014 are a good few thousand off the figure of 2,470,000 shown above - out by some 155,000 in fact. The projections are in fact set (using the DWP latest forecast) to increase by 5,000 claimants a month; or 60,000 annually if this continues. You don't need a degree in maths to work out that the earlier prediction of 2,150,000 claimants by 2017 is highly likely to prove to be yet another duff claim by the DWP and their government ministers.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Oct 18, 2014 19:57:24 GMT
Disability Benefits reach record high under Coalition
Iain Duncan Smith is bound to face further embarrassment as claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) & Personal Independence Payment (PIP) soar to a record high. Latest DWP figures show 3.25 million claimants on Disability Living Allowance with a further 300,000 having claimed Personal Independence Payments since April last year - totalling just short of 3.6 million claimants. Figures show claims under Coalition are far higher than under any previous government.
Why doesn't Iain Duncan Smith just admit people really are ill? - his welfare reforms seem to be making people even sicker!
Disability Living Allowance claims under Coalition up by 91,890
Personal Independence Payment 309,500 claims made over 11 months
For all of Duncan - Smith's talk about getting people off benefits, the irrefutable evidence is that as of February 2014 at total of 3,276,940 claimants were on Disability Living Allowance with a cumulative total of 309,500 claims made for Personal Independence Payments making an overall total of 3,586,440 disability related claims. By comparison under Labour the total was 3,164,920 in February 2010.
IDS loves his statistics, here's one he won't like to hear....
"Never before has the overall total of disability related claims totalled nearly 3.6 million claimants"
Don't let the hopeless welfare minister get away with what he did when conflating the incapacity benefit and Employment & Support Allowance figures. Of the 309,500 claimants who have claimed Personal Independence, the vast majority haven't yet been assessed. Now we know why, it's more avoidance tactics by IDS & the Department of Wicked People stalling bad results until the fast looming election. What IDS cannot hide is the fact that disability related claims rise under any government, he's relying on harsher tests to bring the numbers down but it won't deter people from claiming - as clearly shown by these figures.
Figures from the DWP show that when it comes to DLA, the introduction of PIP has lowered the number of shorter term claims for DLA (as more new claims will be made for PIP introduced in April 2013) but the number of longer term claims has risen. In May 2010 the number of people claiming DLA for five or more years was 2,243,910 whereas in February 2014 the number had increased to 2,504,010 - an increase of 260,100.
Smith has consistently failed to come clean over the 'age' effect of DLA when it is first paid to a person under the age of 65. Although DLA is in the main aimed at children and those of working age, when a claimant is entitled to DLA before the age of 65, they can carry on receiving it beyond the age of 65 providing they continue to meet the conditions. In May 2010 the number of people in receipt of DLA aged 60 or over was 1,051,910 which by February 2014 had increased to 1,177,590 - an increase of 125,680. The older age claimant number contribute significantly to the overall increase.
What's the reckoning that Smith underestimated the number of people still able to carry on claiming DLA in addition to a large number of PIP claimants. Delayed assessments enable Smith to keep the number of 'qualifying' claimants down (after assessment) and means he can put off balancing the books until another day by keeping people in limbo until he sees how the DLA budget 'settles'.
And things are no better in the world of Incapacity Benefits and Employment & Support Allowance, claims are on the rise in these sets too.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Oct 18, 2014 18:31:07 GMT
By Emily Corfe 13th October 2013
Charities must record when employees use Twitter to campaign, Electoral Commission says
The Electoral Commission has said charities must record every time an employee is encouraged to tweet or post to Facebook about a potentially political issue, to check whether they should register under the Lobbying Act.
The Commission said it will monitor charities’ social media activity, including employees using personal accounts, in order to check whether those charities are compliant with the Act.
Speaking at the annual Charity Law Association conference last week, Kate Engles, head of policy at the Electoral Commission, spoke of a “two-pronged gateway test” that charity campaigners should examine to determine whether a campaign can be classed as party political. She said campaigns that meet both a “purpose test” and a “public test” will meet regulation requirements under the new rules. “An organisation that regularly communicates by more informal means like Twitter, Facebook or commercial mailing lists would still be seen as part of the public. And this is quite an important thing for campaigners to think about when they are planning their activities,” she said. According to Engles, a charity campaign may meet regulation requirements even if it doesn’t mention political parties or candidates. “The law says that you can be covered by the rules even if the activity is intended to achieve another purpose as well,” she said. “The activity and spending can be covered if it doesn’t specifically mention parties or groups of candidates. That’s to cover where people are trying to get around the rules and say they are doing something else.” Guidance on social media use on the Electoral Commission’s website, says that the cost of a tweet is negligible but that charity campaigners need to consider the wider costs of using social media such as staff costs, design costs and the costs of images that are posted.
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission told Civil Society News: “We monitor social media, we monitor advertising and will we monitor what people are saying.
“If an organisation has ten members of staff and asks them to all post a tweet on their own profile, you would add up how much time that takes for someone to post a tweet. That would account towards their overall cost. They can spend a certain amount before they need to register with the Commission.
"What you would do is just keep a record of how much it costs ten members of staff to post a tweet and how much time that takes.
"If the organisation is encouraging its staff to do that then they need to keep a record of the fact that they have told their staff on X number of occasions that we would like you to post a tweet about the charity’s campaign.
“Some charities will be tweeting or Facebooking about something that’s not related to a general election campaign and obviously that doesn’t count.”
According to the Lobbying Act legislation, charities spending more than £20,000 per annum in England or £10,000 in the rest of the UK, are required to register with the Electoral Commission.
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