Sunday, December 6, 2015

Meteorologist Piers Corbyn (brother to Jeremy), says religion of climate change is a con




Piers Corbyn, a meteorologist (and brother to Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn), says the religion of climate change is a con, much of it being pushed by big money, and politicians that are twisting science for their tax and payola agenda for their mates in industry.

https://youtu.be/Z_Ae4DES9z8

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Workfare Abandoned! Mandatory Work Activity and Community Work Placements Both To Be Scrapped


workfare-party

In a major victory for campaigners, two of the main workfare programmes are to be abandoned the DWP has quietly announced today.  Private sector contracts to run Community Work Placements and Mandatory Work Activity will not be renewed says the department in their response to George Osborne’s spending review.

Community Work Placements involve six month’s forced full time work for the long term unemployed, whilst Mandatory Work Activity is a four week short sharp shock of workfare used to punish claimants who were judged not to have the right attitude by Jobcentre busy-bodies.

Hundreds of charities have pulled out of both schemes or boycotted them completely after furious campaigning from Boycott Workfare, Keep Volunteering Voluntary and claimants across the UK.  Recent performance figures showed that only half of those referred to forced community work actually started a placement.  Eighteen months after Community Work Placements began the DWP is still avoiding telling us whether anyone has actually found a real job through the scheme.  The department is claiming the programmes will not be renewed to save money.

This is not the complete end of workfare, with some claimants still facing forced work on the Work Programme, at least for now.

Read more...

‘Fit for work’ tests have normalised the suffering of sick and disabled people




Halfway into a decade of austerity, the biggest threat posed by the Conservatives’ cuts may not be the suffering they are causing mentally ill, sick or disabled people but something altogether more lasting: that their suffering is becoming normalised.

I can think of no other reason why the work capability assessment – the now notorious test used by the Department for Work and Pensions to determine who is eligible for out-of-work sickness benefits and who should be classed as “fit for work” – remains in place.

This is a benefit assessment that has been proven to make people’s conditions worse, and that time after time has been linked to the suicides of people who were declared “fit for work” and had their sickness benefits removed.

It has now been more than 18 months since the mainstream media – including this paper – reported the death of Mark Wood. Despite struggling with multiple mental health problems, the 44-year-old was found “fit for work” in 2013 (Wood’s doctor described him as “extremely unwell and absolutely unfit for any work whatsoever”). Four months later, he was found dead in his home weighing 5st 8lb.

Any social security system requires a process that can accurately – and humanely – determine who needs out-of-work sickness benefits (and who is physically and mentally fit to be on jobseeker’s allowance, looking for work). This can’t be a test based on suspicion but one that values the opinion of the disabled person and their own doctor, rather than a stranger hired by an outsourced private company. Instead of a crude box-ticking judgment of impairment, any assessment needs to appreciate how someone’s health actually affects their ability to get and keep a job.

What exactly is the DWP waiting for?

Read more...

Terrorism or austerity - a death is a death



Why is the government so determined to protect British people from dying at the hands of terrorists, but completely unconcerned about British people dying as a result of its own policies? Why are some deaths to be prevented at all costs, whilst others appear to be simply viewed as the collateral damage of a political ideology?

After six years of being told that it was absolutely essential to slash public spending, with all the harm that has caused to the most disadvantaged people in society, it was remarkable to see David Cameron deliver a defence review in which money seemed to be no object, and in which an unforeseen extra £6 billion for Trident was a minor detail.

On the other hand, we have sections of the population, particularly the poor and disabled, living in fear and actually dying due to those 'essential' spending cuts, and the government policy of making the weakest bear the greatest burden.

No doubt some will say that this is an extreme statement of the situation. But we have just had a report linking the government's Work Capability Assessment to an extra 590 suicides. We have had coroners attributing deaths to that same policy. We have a list compiled by Black Triangle of deaths they associate with welfare reform. We have a prediction that the figures on 'excess winter deaths', to be released tomorrow, will be the highest for fifteen years. We can argue about the exact figures, but it now seems undeniable that significant numbers of people have died, and will continue to die, due to austerity and welfare reform.

So we have to ask ourselves, why are these deaths so much less important or newsworthy than deaths brought about by terrorism? Why does the fear engendered by terrorism command so much in terms of resources and media attention, whilst the fear and death brought about by callous government policy is almost totally disregarded?

Read more...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fit-For-Work Tests May Have Taken Serious Toll On Mental Health – Study

Research links additional 590 suicides and 725,000 antidepressant prescriptions over three years to impact of work capability assessment.

More deprived areas such as Liverpool showed the greatest increase in mental health problems
More deprived areas such as Liverpool showed the greatest increase in mental health problems


Tougher “fit for work” tests to assess eligibility for disability benefit may have taken a serious toll on mental health in England, according to a study that linked the tests to 590 extra suicides and hundreds of thousands of additional antidepressant prescriptions.

In what is believed to be the first research of its kind to examine the mental health impact of the work capability assessment (WCA) in England, experts said there could be “serious consequences” of the policy to move people off benefits, which they said had been introduced without any evidence of its potential impact.

Published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the analysis follows research published last week which found that debt, austerity and unemployment were significant factors in the rising number of British men who have killed themselves since the tests were introduced in 2008.

Disability rights campaigners and mental health charities have long called for an overhaul of the assessment scheme, following anecdotal evidence of adverse effects on mental health.

One million recipients of disability benefit had their eligibility reassessed under the WCA tests in England between 2010 and 2013, according to researchers from the University of Liverpool.
The researchers calculated that these assessments were linked to an additional 590 suicides, 279,000 extra cases of self-reported mental health problems and the prescribing of an additional 725,000 antidepressants between 2010-13.


This is equivalent to a 5% rise in total suicides, 11% increase of self-referred mental health problems, and 0.5% more antidepressant prescriptions.

The researchers believe they have ruled out the impact of deprivation, economic trends and long-term trends in mental health, but the methodology can only identify correlations between WCA and the increase in mental health problems. It cannot say definitively that WCA is the cause.

Benjamin Barr, from the public health department at Liverpool University, who is the report’s principle author, said: “The pattern of increase in mental health problems closely matches the increase in assessment of the work capability assessment.”

Read more...





Tuesday, September 29, 2015

This ignorant Tory councillor had better try justifying the deaths his party has caused



Too much for you? Too bad.

An ignorant Conservative councillor has attacked an opponent in the Labour Party for tweeting an entirely appropriate comparison between Iain Duncan Smith and Adolf Hitler.

Yes, Cllr Ashley Dearnley, leader of the Conservative group in Rochdale – it was perfectly appropriate for North Middleton Cllr Chris Furlong to tweet a picture of Hitler above one of Iain Duncan Smith and imply that the Conservatives may be responsible for the deaths of more disabled people than the Nazi leader – that is what the figures suggest.

Remember, the reference to the killing of 70,000 disabled people by Nazis is compared with only 81,040 people who died in only just over two years under Duncan Smith’s Conservative policies. We don’t have the full figures yet.

Mr Dearnley can’t say that Conservative Government policy has not led to any deaths because we have the case of Michael O’Sullivan to prove that it has.

Not only that, but north London coroner Mary Hassall’s report, blaming Tory policy for Mr O’Sullivan’s suicide, was filed in January 2014, meaning that the Tory Government’s protestations, throughout the summer, that there is no causal link between Mr Duncan Smith’s policies and the deaths of claimants, is proved to be a lie

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

‘Clumpensation’



Clumpensation

Noun

1: Grouping, categorising and then implying that all victims of child sexual abuse- regardless of whether their allegations are proven, genuine, or false – are just out to make money. Examples of clumpensation are almost always followed by denials of clumpensation, qualifications or disingenuous caveats. Example

2: A tactic used by some to try and dissuade victims of child sexual abuse from coming forward by suggesting that their motive is financial and thus making them feel guilty.

See also

Clumpensation Culture

1: The general trend in the media, most notably in newspapers to clumpensate.

2: Also used by lawyers defending alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse and those representing institutions, including local councils, that might face liability.

Visit Site

Monday, August 31, 2015

UK Citizens more likely to be killed by DWP than a murderer



 

Read more...


DPAC triggers UN inquiry into grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights




The UN Inquiry and UN visit to UK to examine the grave and systematic violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was initiated by DPAC.

This inquiry is the first of its kind-it has great historic importance. It means the UN will examine the vicious and punitive attacks on disabled people’s independent living as well as the cuts which have seen so many placed in inhuman circumstances and has led to unnecessary deaths.

In May 2013, after 3 years of onslaught against disabled people by the Condem government, DPAC made a formal submission under the CRPD Optional Protocol which establishes an individual complaints mechanism for the Convention.

There was less information and statistics than now on the impact of the Welfare Reform and loss of a right to independent living on disabled people. However the evidence DPAC presented to the CRPD Committee was extremely strong

DPAC’s evidence presented the regression of disabled people’s convention rights and the grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights under the UNCRPD. It was accepted by the UNCRPD Committee.

After an initial response from the government responding point by point to the DPAC submission, DPAC made a second submission, supported by further evidence of the disproportionate impact of all cuts on disabled people.

This submission, as the first one, included,
  • the failings of the Work Capability Assessment,
  • the bedroom tax,
  • the closure of the Independent Living Fund
  • the unwillingness of the government to make an assessment of the cumulative impact of the Welfare Reform on disabled people
  • its reluctance to monitor what was happening to disabled people who were found fit for work after an assessment and who lost their only means of support (see complete list)i,.
This submission was partly based on firmly sourced statistical and other factual evidence, and also on the hundreds of personal testimonies that DPAC has received from individuals who have been affected adversely by the governments’ welfare reforms.

The UK government sent a second response to the UN about DPAC’s submission but by then the CRPD Committee had decided that there was enough evidence to open an inquiry into the violations of disabled people’s rights by the UK government.

The Committee also told DPAC that the inquiry was totally confidential and could be jeopardised and called off if any news of an UN inquiry was leaked.

It was the indiscretion of an ex-member of the CRPD Committee which brought the inquiry into the open, but DPAC kept its side of the non-disclosure agreement. The further leak in newspapers on Sunday 30th August convinced us that disabled people needed to know the full extent of the process

This inquiry is an unprecedented move and unchartered territory for the UNCRPD Committee.

It is also another route of hope for disabled people who have been abused by the UK government, ignored by most of the opposition and betrayed by the big Disability Charities.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms



‘The UN is to visit the UK to investigate whether Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms have caused “grave or systematic violations” of disabled peoples’ human rights, it has been reported.

A leading disability charity says that they have been contacted by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an investigation into human rights abuses against disabled people in the UK.

Inclusion Scotland, a consortium of disability organisations in Scotland, says the UN committee has advised them that they will be sending a Special Rapporteur to the UK in the “near future” as part of their probe.’

Read more...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

Death Has Become Part Of Britain’s Benefits System

More than 80 people a month are now dying after being declared ‘fit for work’. The safety net that used to be there for the most vulnerable is being torn to shreds.





Go to your local benefits office and desperation can be boiled down to a six-point plan, mounted on pink laminated card. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has assembled written guidance on suicide for its “frontline staff” – a euphemism for workers hired to call people and break it to them that they’ve been rejected for benefits. One section of the guidance – that is to be reported to managers to alert them of “a suicidal intention” – instructs jobcentre staff to find out what the person plans, when it is planned for, and whether “the customer has the means to hand”.

I don’t know at what point social security and a risk of suicide became inevitable partners. Or when government “supporting people” – as the DWP described the guidance this week – began to mean, not helping people build their lives, but checking that they do not want to die.

Death has become a part of Britain’s benefits system. That is not hyperbole but the reality that the stress caused by austerity has led us to. Shredding the safety net – a mix of sanctions, defective “fit for work” tests, and outright cuts to multiple services – has meant that benefit claimants are dying; through suicide, starvation, and even being crushed by a refuse lorry when a 17-week benefit sanction forced a man to scavenge in a bin for food.

How can a government have such disregard for death? It is worth looking at how it expects some of us to live...

This morning, the government released mortality statistics – or rather, was forced to after several freedom of information requests – that show more than 80 people a month are dying after being declared “fit for work”. These are complex figures but early analysis points to two notable facts. First that 2,380 people died between December 2011 and February 2014 shortly after being judged “fit for work” and rejected for the sickness and disability benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). We also now know that 7,200 claimants died after being awarded ESA and being placed in the work-related activity group – by definition, people whom the government had judged were able to “prepare” to get back to work.

Notably how or why each of these people died was not recorded – meaning it’s impossible to say whether a death was linked to an incorrect assessment. But for the government, distortion is key and it is not restricted to faked benefit sanction leaflets. If we needed a sign of the DWP’s intentions, as it prepared to release today’s mortality statistics it was seemingly hedging its bets by finalising the details for a tribunal where it had planned to try to repress some of them.

How can a government have such disregard for death? It is worth looking at how it expects some of us to live. Until a few months ago in Bootle, Merseyside, a 48-year-old severely disabled man was being washed in a paddling pool in his front room. Rob Tomlinson, who has cerebral palsy, had used a purpose-built walk-in shower in the specially converted four-bed council house he shared with his carers, his brother and sister-in law. The bedroom tax saw the family evicted and until a new property was found a year later, Rob lived with only a child’s pool and hose to stay clean.


There is a reason, in the age of austerity, that politicians and much of the media has stopped using the term social security and replaced it with “welfare”. It sets expectations much lower. A sense of security for members of society in need bumped down to mere subsistence.

Today’s mortality statistics do not simply point to the death of disabled, poor, and ill people but of the system that was meant to protect them. Before our eyes the principle of a benefit system is being reduced from opportunity, respect, and solidarity to destitution, degradation and isolation.

Six-point plans to avoid people on benefits killing themselves do not exist in a society that has hope for their lives. The welfare state was built on the idea of “the cradle to the grave”. Now for thousands, all they receive is help to that grave.

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fake benefits claimant 'Zac' quoted in other DWP documents

Non-existent benefits claimant featured in second Department for Work and Pensions leaflet describing how his jobseeker’s allowance was cut


DWP Leaflet - with fake quotes and pix


A non-existent benefits claimant invented by the government to talk in glowing terms about its welfare system has been quoted in other documents published by the Department for Work and Pensions, it has emerged.

“Zac”, who appeared in the DWP leaflet withdrawn on Tuesday amid a storm of criticism, features in a second document describing how his jobseeker’s allowance was cut.

Read more...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Labour MPs Call For ESA Death Statistics To Be Published



A small group of Labour MPS, including leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, yesterday lodged an early day motion calling on the government to publish the employment and support allowance (ESA) death statistics.

The statistics detail how many claimants have died within six weeks of, for example, being placed in the work-related activity group of ESA.

The information commissioner has ordered the DWP to release the figures.

In addition, a petition on the change.org website calling for the publication of the figures has received over a quarter of a million signatures.

There are fears that the DWP now plan to release Age Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR) figures that would not allow a direct comparison of deaths over time.

The early day motion cannot compel the government to do anything, but it does continue to keep the pressure on them...

Read more...

How the election was won – fraud and corruption


If any media had reported the situation of Cameron covering up the “worst and largest single case of banking fraud to have ever emerged in this country” (Nafeez Ahmed) in order to get the ex-chair of the bank, and a current director, into government, he would have had to resign. Instead he has been re-elected to Prime Minister for another 5 years.
Apart from the FCA the fraud has also been covered up by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Ministry of Justice, the Legal Services Board, the Office of Fair Trading, the Financial Services Authority, various MPs and Lords; and the police refuse to taken action. All details are on this site

Read more...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Starvation in the UK




"We’ve watched our town centres deteriorate.

"We’re watched our communities decline...

"One in five children in my constituency go to bed hungry every night."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fuck Sotheby’s, Fuck The Rich, Let’s Take The Class War To Their Front Doors



Walking through Mayfair you would not believe that this could be a country where the poorest are abandoned to survive on just a few pounds a day.  Mayfair screams money, and there the rich play openly, driving their sports cars, holidaying in luxury hotels and sitting outside expensive restaurants whilst a few hundred yards away people bed down in shop doorways.


Of course the people working in those restuarants and hotels do not share in this vast wealth – most are working for a minimum wage that will not even pay for the basic necessities of life.  These people do some of the hardest work in society, working long hours for fuck all, cleaning up the shit and detrius of the rich.  And after Wednesday’s budget they will be made even poorer to pay for a huge inheritence tax cut for the children of millionaires.

At Sotheby’s auction house in the heart of Mayfair, billionaires bid for scrappy pieces of art, spending more on trinkets than most families will ever earn in their entire lifetimes.  Yet the cleaners and porters who work there do not even get decent sick pay, and four of them were just sacked for complaining about it.  The rich, and the lackies like Sotheby’s that serve them, treat the poor with utter contempt, as if the only purpose of these living, breathing human beings is to generate them ever more wealth that all, ultimately, comes from the work we do.

In the past during periods of such grotesque inequality the rich lived in terror, hidden away behind locked doors, praying that their guards and servants did not slit their throats as they sleep.  Yet now they flaunt their fortunes for all to see, laughing and braying in the London sun as they boast about their property portfolios and bark orders at those they consider beneath them.  There is no indignity too great that it cannot be inflicted on the plebs, the chavs, or whatever they are fucking calling us this week.

The class war is real, it is destroying our lives and they will take everything unless we start to fight back.  There should be no comfort for millionaires whilst  children go hungry –  the rich should not be permitted to eat and sleep and enjoy their pampered lives as if everything is as it should be.  This has gone on for far too long, and it could be stopped in a heartbeat if we re-learn to act collectively on the scale that is required.

So fuck elections and get out on the streets.  Advance to fucking Mayfair, starting this Wednesday, and support the sacked cleaners who lost their jobs for daring to raise their voices.  Join Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) earlier in the day and say Balls to the Budget.  Come to the Fuck Parade in Camden on Saturday and fight back against rampant gentrification.  Wherever there is trouble run towards it, because it is time to rediscover our pride and show our strength and our rage.  There is fucking more of us than them.  Let’s start to make sure they know that.


Disabled People Against Cuts are gathering outside Downing Street at 10.30am on Wednesday July 8th, full details at:
http://dpac.uk.net/2015/06/wednesday-8th-june-at-westminster-and-online-balls-to-the-budget/

The protest demanding the re-instatement of the sacked Sotheby’s workers is on the same day, meet outside the United Colours of Benetton, at Oxford Cicus from 5.30pm or head to Sotheby’s at 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA, more info at:
http://www.uvwunion.org.uk/upcoming-events/2015/7/8/shame-on-sothebys-reinstate-the-sothebys-4

In the meantime everyone is piling on Sotheby’s on twitter @Sothebys and their facebook page.

Class War’s anti-gentrification Fuck Parade is meeting outside Camden Tube at 7pm on Saturday 11th July, info at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1476014982689696/

If you are outside London or can’t make these protests please help by sharing, tweeting and blogging about them...

Read more...

Greece: "You cannot impose economics on such a politicised people."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Unite union backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leadership



Unite, the UK's largest trade union, has backed left-wing firebrand Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership.

The union decided to support Corbyn at a private executive board meeting today, and will advise members to vote for Andy Burnham as their second preference.

No official nomination was made for deputy leader, but the Union gave their support to Tom Watson and Angela Eagle for the role.

Read more...

Greek Voters deliver emphatic NO to austerity

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
No vote: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech at an anti-austerity rally in Syntagma Square in Athens 

Brave Greek voters delivered an emphatic ‘No’ to austerity and plunged Europe into fresh crisis.

As counting on the nation’s crunch referendum continues it is clear Greeks had voted overwhelmingly against the EU’s harsh bail-out terms.

“There is a new popular mandate,” beamed Greece’s EU negotiator Euclid Tsakaloto.

The landslide 60%-40% margin sent shock waves across Europe and moved Greece a major step closer to a Euro exit...

Read more...

Friday, July 3, 2015

An Open Letter from Catholics to Iain Duncan Smith




Dear Mr Duncan Smith,

We are fellow Catholics and people who were brought up in the Catholic faith. We are writing to express our concern at the impact on our communities of your welfare reform policies. We understand that your Catholic faith is important to you, and your approach is driven by a desire to improve the quality of individual lives. However, we believe that they are in fact doing the reverse. We would urge you to rethink and to abandon further cuts which are likely to cause more damage.

Of particular concern are benefit sanctions. We were shocked to learn that your Department recognises sanctions can lead to a deterioration in the health of a claimant. Yet sanctions continued to be imposed. This, as a punishment for what may be a clerical or timekeeping error, seems excessive. We would not expect prisoners in our jails to be punished in this way, and would be grateful if you would consider whether it is an appropriate way to treat people who are unemployed, sick, or disabled.

We are also very concerned at the way the Work Capability Assessment is currently managed and the change from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments. Both these systems are causing great harm to sick and disabled people as are the enormous delays in administering disability and sickness benefits. To become seriously ill or disabled is bad enough. To then have to wait months for help whilst unpaid bills mount up, perhaps fearing eviction or needing to use a foodbank, is distressing and damaging. The recent suggestion to reduce Employment Support Allowance – currently funded at a level that recognises the additional costs of illness or disability – to the rate of Jobseeker's Allowance will cause further hardship

We appreciate that you believe the benefits cap encourages people to take control of their lives and find work. However the evidence suggests that it is in fact driving families into poverty and homelessness.The main reason families exceed the benefit cap is that they require high levels of Housing Benefit in order to pay excessive rents. As a result, thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes, which is disruptive to families and damaging to local communities.

We know you place great faith in Universal Credit to restore fairness to the system, but would ask you to reconsider many aspects of it, including the halving of the disabled child’s allowance. Disabled people, and families with disabled children, are already more likely to be living in poverty – it does not seem fair that they should lose more.

We are aware of your wish to promote personal responsibility and self-reliance, and we too believe these qualities are to be encouraged. However, we feel that for large numbers of people, policies aimed at promoting these qualities are having the opposite effect, pushing them further into poverty, and worse.

We would ask you to consider these words from Quadragesimo Anno, the Papal Encyclical written in 1931, as the world dealt with the Great Recession:

To each, therefore, must be given his own share of goods; and the distribution of created goods, which, as every discerning person knows, is labouring today under the gravest evils due to the huge disparity between the few exceedingly rich and the unnumbered propertyless, must be effectively called back to and brought into conformity with the norms of the common good, that is, social justice. (para 57/58)

The Encyclical went on to stress that this entitlement to a share of the wealth of the community was not dependent on work. In other words, when people are unable to work through ill health or disability, or unable to find a job, it is our duty to make sure that they receive the basic requirements of a dignified life; adequate food, shelter, warmth and security.

We believe that a supportive welfare state is an expression of Christian justice and compassion. When this support is removed, we may think we are saving money, but the consequential problems, like poorer mental and physical health, and educational underachievement, all bear a human and financial cost, and will have to be paid for in some way.

We accept that your reforms have been undertaken in accordance with your conscience, but we would ask you to accept in return that our concerns are genuine, and our experiences of increasing social distress are real. Our consciences, informed by our faith and experience in our communities, leave us with no alternative but to speak out when we see some of the most disadvantaged people in society being harmed.

We would like to enter into a dialogue with you, to explore how as citizens we can best support and enable our less fortunate neighbours, whilst treating them with dignity and respect. We have constructive proposals on how to make our welfare system work better, and in a way that is more compatible with Catholic and Christian values. We would not wish to find ourselves reliant on charity to survive, and are saddened that so many of our neighbours have become so in recent years. As Saint Augustine said, ‘Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.’

We would like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

We remain your sisters and brothers in Christ,

Read more...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Government Stripping UK Children Of Rights, Says Report To UN




The Conservative government’s policies risk systematically stripping children of their rights, a report for the United Nations has found.

Anassessment by the four children’s commissioners of the UK, the first full-scale review for seven years, called on the government to reconsider its deep welfare cuts, voiced “serious concerns” about children being denied access to justice in the courts, and called on ministers to rethink plans to repeal the Human Rights Act.

The commissioners, representing each of the constituent nations of the UK, conducted their review of the state of children’s policies as part of evidence they will present on Wednesday to the UN revealing how much progress has been made under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Many of the government’s decisions are questioned by the report as being in breach of the convention, which has been ratified by the UK. England’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, said: “We are finding and highlighting that much of the country’s laws and policies defaults away from the view of the child. That’s in breach of the treaty. What we found again and again was that the best interest of the child is not taken into account.”

Read more...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

60,000 Sign Petition Calling On The Government To Publish Benefit Death Statistics



More than 60,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to publish statistics into the number of benefit claimants who have died after benefits were removed.

The number of signatories is growing fast and could force the government to come clean about the impact of welfare reforms on vulnerable people.

A number of attempts by journalists and campaigners, using the Freedom of Information Act, to force the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to publish the statistics have been rebuffed.

The government argues that drawing a direct link between the deaths of seriously ill people and the removal of benefits would be irresponsible.

Welfare Weekly reported last month that the DWP had been ordered by the Information Commissioner to disclose details into deaths related to welfare reforms, following a complaint by political blogger Mike Sivier. It is our understanding that this is currently being appealed by the DWP.

The petition, on the change.org website, claims that this appeal is a direct attempt by the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to block publication of benefit-related death statistics.


Maggie Zolobajluk, who started the petition, calls on “the Courts and Tribunal Service to dismiss this appeal and so prevent any further delay by the DWP in publishing these figures”.

It continues: “For years there have been reports of people committing suicide or dying from ill-health soon after their benefits are stopped...


Read more...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Stop Forced Treatments 26th June 1.30 Streatham



Campaign against introduction of psychological therapies into Job Centres


MARCH ON STREATHAM JOB CENTRE – FRIDAY 26TH JUNE, 1.30 pm

MEETING POINT: STREATHAM MEMORIAL GARDENS, STREATHAM HIGH ROAD/ STREATHAM COMMON NORTH, LONDON SW16
STREATHAM JOB CENTRE PLUS: CROWN HOUSE, STATION APPROACH, LONDON SW16  6HW

* A pilot project to bring CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) into Job Centres starts at Streatham Job Centre Plus in June 2015.

* In the same month, Lambeth “Living Well Hub” for Community Mental Health Services is due to open in the same building.

*Mental Health Resistance Network is unhappy with these developments which are part of the government’s brutal “back to work” agenda.

*Mental Health Resistance Network has called a demonstration which will march on Streatham Job Centre on Friday 26th June.

*Mental Health Resistance Network is circulating an open letter to relevant individuals, charities and professional organisations stating our position and asking them to join us in our condemnation for these developments.

The text of the open letter is as follows:

Mental Health Resistance Network is organising a demonstration to take place at Streatham Job Centre Plus on Friday 26th June 2015, protesting against the opening there of Lambeth’s principal community mental  health centre  (“Living Well Network Hub”) the following Monday.

Streatham Job Centre also, from June 2015, hosts the first pilot of the DWP’s scheme to provide psychological therapies – specifically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – at Job Centres for people suspected of having mental health problems. This is the first of ten pilot schemes in advance of a national project planned to begin in January 2016.

We are calling on you/ your organisation to state your position on these issues, and we hope join us in our condemnation of these developments.

As mental health service users, we are extremely unhappy with these developments. We deplore the government’s brutal “back to work” agenda, which is a front for cutting disabled welfare benefits for the most vulnerable. Mental health service users are understandably terrified of Job Centres and the threat of losing their benefits through Sanctions, or degrading and unfit-for-purpose Work Capability Assessments. With the main point of access to Community Mental Health services in Lambeth on the 3rd floor of a Job Centre, many of us will feel too frightened to ask for the help and services we need, and lose contact with services altogether.

Mental health service users are already reporting higher levels of fear, anxiety and anguish as a result of the increasingly difficult welfare benefits system, which is linked to an increasing rate of suicides. This situation will be exacerbated by the new developments.

We should not be put under pressure to look for work unless we feel capable. The competitive, profit-driven and exploitative nature of the modern workplace is not suitable for people whose mental health is fragile. But the location of the Network Hub at Streatham Job Centre put us under such pressure if we try to use mental health services.

Experts agree that CBT does not work for everyone; that psychological therapies are ineffective if they are forced on people; and that they need to take place in safe, unthreatening environments. We do not think making people have CBT at Job Centres will make anyone magically “fit for work.” We are concerned that people will be Sanctioned (i.e. have their benefits stopped) if they do not co-operate with this “therapy” either out of principle or because they are not well enough. “BACK TO WORK THERAPY” IS NO THERAPY AT ALL!

Additionally, we are concerned that this amounts to an extension of the coercive powers of the 1983 Mental Health Act amended 2007. Whereas at present people can only be forced into “treatment” under in-patient Sections of this Act or by Community Treatment Orders, making welfare benefits and by extension housing conditional on agreeing to psychological treatment broadens the principle of compulsion.

We condemn the involvement of  IAPTS in this attempt to make people undergo “therapy” at Job Centres, which we believe goes against professional ethics. We are also unhappy that psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers and other mental health professionals are also expected to work at Streatham Job Centre, again compromising their professional ethics, and we call on individual staff and collective agencies representing them to publicly oppose this development.

For more information contact:
mentalhealthresistancenetwork@gmail.com

DPAC

Gov't treating unemployment as mental problem




‘Unemployment is being “rebranded” by the government as a psychological disorder, a new study claims.
Those that do not exhibit a “positive” outlook must undergo “reprogramming” or face having their benefits cut, says the Wellcome Trust-backed report.

This can be “humiliating” for job seekers and does not help them find suitable work, the researchers say.
But the Department for Work and Pensions said there was no evidence to back up the “highly misleading” claims.’

Red more: Ministers treating unemployment as mental problem – report

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mother of five killed by austerity cuts

While this death is quite different from the austerity-suicides seen in recent months, it is nonetheless the direct result of the disastrous budget cuts the British government has been making.



A local council in Wiltshire, England made the decision in 2011, coincidentally a year after the austerity-driven British coalition government came into power, to turn off the street lights on a road between midnight and 5:30am saving £300,000 ($465,000) annually. The same road also lacks a path for pedestrians.

While one councillor reportedly called this decision ‘foolhardy‘, their efforts alone were not enough to prevent the implementation of this austerity driven decision – a decision that would prove fatal for 31 year old, mother of five Cheryl Richards.

The Independent reports that she was ‘walking home along Wiltshire’s A361 at approximately 2am on 27 September last year when she was struck by an Audi A3 driven by 23-year-old Lee Sullivan’.

Cheryl died after suffering immense head trauma. While the driver did have alcohol in his system, the coroner ruled that Cheryl had been walking in the middle of the road ‘due to a lack of street lights‘, which made it impossible for the driver to miss her.

Independent councillor Ernie Clarke said ‘one death is one death too many’.



Work Programme Providers Have Been Putting ESA Claimants’ Lives At Risk



Work programme providers have been putting lives at risk by failing to carry out costly home visits before referring vulnerable employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants for sanctions. The situation has got so bad that the DWP have written an entire new chapter on the subject in the guidance to providers and warned them they will not be paid if they do not follow it.

Vulnerable claimants

Under the rules, no claimant who has been identified as vulnerable should ever be referred for a sanction unless they have had a face-to-face meeting with work programme staff. The meeting is to ensure that they understood what it was they were obliged to do and also understood that failure could lead to their benefit being sanctioned.

This particularly applies to claimants with mental health conditions or learning difficulties, but vulnerable claimants may also include people who have conditions which affect their communication or cognition. So, for example, a claimant with severe fatigue might have difficulty taking in information and remembering it afterwards.

Where there has been no face-to-face interview the provider should never refer the claimant to the DWP for a decision on whether they should be sanctioned.

However, a face-to-face meeting may involve the provider making a time consuming and costly visit to the claimant’s home, if the claimant fails to attend appointments at their office. It could mean a member of staff, or possibly even two if there are health and safety concerns, being out of the office and not earning fees for the company for half a day or more.

Unfair sanctions
It is now clear that sanctions have been routinely imposed on vulnerable claimants without this meeting happening. However, the DWP claim that rather than cost considerations, this is because guidance was unclear, leading to “an inconsistent approach to the safeguarding these participants”.

New guidance now sets out exactly what steps providers must take to ascertain whether a claimant is vulnerable and how to attempt a face-to-face meeting prior to referring them for a sanction.

Sadly, more than half of all ESA sanctions have already been imposed on claimants with mental health conditions, many of whom will not have been subject to proper ‘safeguarding’ checks. We know that for some claimants, unfair sanctions have caused a dramatic deterioration in their health and sometimes even resulted in their death. We also know that in many cases claimants had no idea they were going to be sanctioned until their payments were cut.

For them, it is now much too late to begin applying the rules correctly.

You can download a copy of the new guidance from this link.

Read more...


Downing Street Rejects Iain Duncan Smith Plan For New Limit On Child Benefit



Downing Street has rejected a renewed move by Iain Duncan Smith to cut child benefit from parents with more than two children as a way of helping to achieve the £12bn in welfare cuts proposed by George Osborne.

No 10 made a point on Monday of distributing remarks made by David Cameron on the eve of the general election in which the prime minister confirmed that child benefit would be retained in its current form for the next five years.

The intervention by Downing Street suggests that Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is heading for a showdown with George Osborne over his planned welfare cuts before next month’s budget.

Duncan Smith believes it is possible to achieve £12bn in welfare cuts, which amounts to 10% of the non-pensioner elements of welfare spending, but believes it will have to involve behavioural change by claimants rather than “cheese paring”.

Bizarre spectacle of Queen’s speech reflects broken system & out of touch government


Britain's Queen Elizabeth delivers her speech to the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, during the State Opening of Parliament, in London, Britain, May 27, 2015. (Reuters/Alastair Grant)

So, last week the Conservative government’s plans were officially rolled out, rubber stamped, by way of the Queen’s customary speech, following the formation of David Cameron’s government.

Thousands of people are expected to attend numerous protests in the capital on Saturday to demonstrate against further planned cuts to welfare and the scrapping of the Human Rights Act.

The sobering reality of David Cameron’s plan only feels compounded, like a slap in the face, by the surreal and insane spectacle, of watching the actual head of state (the Queen), articulate the other so-called head of state’s (the prime minister) pre-election promises, which are to be continued for another five years. Five more years of cuts and slashes to public services that is, with ever increasing powers of surveillance for the state and its agencies. Great news!

A relatively low number of the UK electorate turned out at the general election a few weeks back, still securing the Conservatives a majority. Low voter turnout, producing the first Conservative led majority for some 20 odd years – no wonder the Conservatives do not want electoral reform – and this is the backdrop the Queen’s latest address.

The Queen’s speech, the policies evoked in it, and all the hype surrounding the lead up to it, absolutely reflect the distance between the ruling elite and ordinary people.

The Queen sitting amid jewels and relics, stolen and pillaged from civilisations and lands far from our shores, outlining the government’s plan to further marginalize the poor and clamp down on freedom, is a bitter pill to swallow. It’s a bizarre and cruel twist, however, to see the symbolic head of an empire, historically and to the present day, carrying out the same function as ever, manufacturing consent for the sake of control. It’s almost as if after all these years, the silly ceremonies and pomp are still all that’s needed to keep the masses in their place before an advancing police state with more and more powers. The ones subjected to the function of the monarchy (fittingly called subjects) often seem the least aware of its function, believing they are being patriotic and loyal to their country by worshipping the royal family when in reality they are simply consenting to be ruled, consenting to be governed.

People submit to the already existing order, whipped up and fuelled by a toxic brand of nationalism, convinced of an ever present existential enemy, the source of all the problems in society-the ‘others’syndrome. Blame foreigners, blame Muslims, benefit fraudsters, the ‘urban’ underclass, for society’s ills- anyone in fact, except those doing the looting at the top, a narrative to which the MSM at least, wilfully complies.

Rather than observing royal ceremonies as part of the problem, an archaic hangover to a nonetheless very real empire, people swear allegiance to a power structure that is indifferent to their own lives in Britain, and which continues to leave a trail of destruction around the world.

When we think about the legacy of the British Empire and the role of the monarchy, perhaps Thomas Jefferson was right: “Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.”

Read more...

How the wheels are coming off the Tory bandwagon

David Cameron PM

We can now confidently conclude that the Conservative manifesto was written in the expectation that David Cameron would have it watered down by a coalition, or some other loose arrangement with the Liberal Democrats.

Because now the Tories are governing alone, it is startling just how quickly the wheels are coming off on a number of flagship policies.

Here are some of the difficulties they’ve run into so far:

Human Rights Act
“The next Conservative government will scrap the Human Rights Act, and introduce a British Bill of Rights. This will break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights, and make our own Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK.”
That was the confident assertion made on page 60 of the party’s manifesto. In the Queen’s Speech last week it was watered down so that ministers now plan merely to ‘bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights’...

Read more...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Take action against Tories by hitting them in the wallet

westminsterfromwater
People across the country will be taking part in a different kind of protest – on the day of the state opening of Parliament.

May 27 will be the first National Switch Off Day, when thousands of people have already pledged to stop using gas and electricity, and stop shopping in non-local shops for 24 hours.

Organised by a varied group of campaigners, this will be the first in a series of multi-issue actions that will take place once a month. Reasons for taking part range from keeping the NHS public and tackling issues like overpriced parking in hospitals, to stopping benefit cuts, to issues affecting vulnerable people and their carers such as the cold weather benefits to the elderly, to keeping the Human Rights Act, to stopping fracking – and mostly that all members of the general public get a voice in matters that concern them.’

Read more...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

National Demonstration Against Austerity - Saturday 20th June 2015


demojun20

A national demonstration against austerity has been organised by ‘The People’s Assembly Against Austerity’ to take place on Saturday 20th June in London.

End Austerity Now National Demonstration


Assemble 12pm outside the Bank of England (Queen Victoria Street, City of London.
Nearest tube station: Bank

7 reasons to demonstrate on the 20th June (from The People’s Assembly):



Reason 1 – The government plans £12 billion in welfare cuts targeting the poorest in society.

Take Action:

Organise a coach or transport to come to the demo on Saturday 20 June or join one already organised. Call the office for advise (hundreds of transport details are yet to be added to our list – please send us in the details asap so we can update). Contact details below.

Reason 2 – The new Tory disabilities minister opposed protecting benefits for disabled children and cancer patients

Take Action:

Organise a People’s Assembly meeting in your area to help build the national demonstration & organise activity locally. Contact the office and we’ll send a speaker.

Reason 3 – Michael Gove has been appointed justice secretary. In 1999, when he worked for the Times, he called for hanging to be brought back as a punishment. He’s also attempting to scrap the Human Rights Act.

Take Action:

Invite all your friends to the demonstration event page on facebook – over 53,000 people have already pledged to attend.

Reason 4 – Cameron is announcing new plans to target ‘extremists’ giving the government powers to target anyone they think is undermining ‘democracy’. This policy will be used to attack the Muslim community, and how long will it be before anti-austerity protesters get targeted too?

Take Action:

Set up leafleting or a stall on the weekends running up to the demo on your high street. Local People’s Assembly groups will be organising these across the country. If you can help let us know and we’ll put you in touch with people in your area. Order publicity here

Reason 5 – The new equalities secretary voted against gay marriage

Take Action:

Put up a poster advertising the demo in your window & put stickers in prominent places. Let make sure people can’t go anywhere without seeing the demonstration publicity! Order publicity here

Reason 6 – The new business secretary wants to make it harder for trade unions to take strike action.

Take Action:

Are you in a trade union? Get your branch to pass this motion of support and ask the union to send details to all members. Trade Unions are organising blocs for their members to march together on the day.

Reason 7 – The government plans to end social housing as we know it.

Take Action:

Volunteer! We need hundreds of people to help out in the next few weeks. If you can spare a few hours to help out in the office please get in touch.

Urgent appeal

This demonstration is more important than ever. It needs to be massive. We urgently need to raise funds to make sure we can reach as many people as possible.

We have launched an urgent appeal to all our supporters to make a donation. The more money we raise, the more coaches we can put on, meetings we can organise, leaflets we can print, and more people we can put on the streets.

No amount is too big or too small! Click here to donate

For more information and latest developments visit The People’s Assembly website or Facebook page. You can follow them on twitter here.

The ‘lost’ votes in the 2015 General Election

lostvotes

Hundreds of thousands of British citizens were left unable to vote around the world and across the UK after registering to vote by post.

Ex-pats from all over the world have complained that they did not receive their ballot papers in time to vote in the general election.

Speaking in the Independent, Brian Cave, 82, an expat in south-eastern France, has been compiling a dossier of evidence of the problem which he plans to send to the Electoral Commission. He said reports have come in that standard UK postage was used on ballot papers that arrived too late to be sent back by the close of voting at 10pm last night.

“I have received complaints from people about the non-reception of voting papers from as far apart as California, Massachusetts, Norway, France and Spain,” said Mr Cave, who runs a blog supporting the rights of Britons overseas.

He said: “If the numbers of voters who complain that they were unable to vote because of this management error exceed the margin by which the supposed ‘winner’ gained the seat, then the election should be declared void and rerun.”

Anne Casey, a Labour voter who lives in Saint Même les Carrières, Charente, France, belongs to a web forum of English-speaking women there. She said that around half of the 200 members she spoke to reported that they did not receive any papers despite being successfully registered.

“That means that 50 per cent of us who have bothered to do our civic duty have been denied our voice and our vote. Emmeline Pankhurst must be spinning in her grave,” she said. “I’m very angry.”

Read more...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Was the UK Election Rigged? 200,000 postal ballot forms went missing in South East

200,000 + Voting papers were reported missing from a van that was stolen in London bound for Hastings/Eastbourne, East Sussex, Then the Tories gain seats and the number of votes total the same amount of missing votes in 30+ of those seats, giving them the majority rule, it was rigged.



The election was rigged, as expected, claims this lady.  They used the postal vote system to rig the required seats.  She’s not that great on the details, but she sums up the notion pretty well.

More here...

Postal voting is ‘wide open to fraud’ and should be scrapped in its current form, a top judge warned last night.

Judge Richard Mawrey, who sits in judgment on election fraud cases, said ballot-rigging was now a ‘probability’ in some parts of Britain due to the extension of postal voting.

Mr Mawrey, a deputy high court judge, said the introduction of ‘on demand’ postal voting had failed to boost turnout. But he warned it had made Britain’s electoral system vulnerable to fraud on ‘an industrial scale’.

He told Radio 4’s File on 4 programme that in one case last year he had come across 14 different ways in which postal votes can be manipulated.

‘Postal voting on demand, however many safeguards you build into it, is wide open to fraud,’ he said.
‘It’s open to fraud on a scale that will make election rigging a possibility and indeed in some areas a probability.’

Mr Mawrey presided over a notorious 2004 ballot-rigging case in Birmingham which uncovered evidence of abuse he said would ‘disgrace a banana republic’.

Yesterday he added: ‘What has worried me about this for some time is the ease with which is it possible to commit postal vote fraud and the scale on which it can be committed.

‘In the past when you had personal voting, that is to say voting at polling stations, there was fraud but, frankly, it was minuscule. Postal voting on demand has enabled fraud to be carried out on what, in one case, I described as an industrial scale.

Read more...



http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/election-201...

More reports of wrong doing;http://nyenquirer.uk/thirsk-malton-ba...

Judge warns of Postal ballot fraud.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/lo...

http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/c...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-20...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expa... Thousands of ex pats did not vote due to missing papers.

Nine polling stations in Kinson South and Kinson North had printing errors that meant people could not vote for the local seat. http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news...

Postal vote fraud in Pendle.http://www.pendletoday.co.uk/news/loc...

British Polling Council (BPC) launched an inquiry into the pollsters' accuracy http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk...

As many as 3,000 people have been affected by a delay in sending out their postal votes, many of whom may have lost out on their chance to vote.

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/news/voting_i...
Copyright © LONDON24

In Stoke on Trent, ballot boxes containing thousands of votes were found downstairs, specifically marked Stoke-on-Trent North but they were, in fact, from Hanford and Trentham, and the New Florence Estate. Postal votes had a number of discrepancies. http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Genera...

Postal votes in Tower Hamlets sent to derelict building.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/polit...

Call for reform of voting system here,https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uk_electo...

Thirsk and Malton Ballot Box Infractions.http://nyenquirer.uk/thirsk-malton-ba...

The arguments against the Human Rights Act are coming. They will be false

As Michael Gove prepares his attempt to repeal this fundamental act, here’s some myth-busting about what it is, and how it works



In the aftermath of the second world war, nations came together to say “never again”. They established the United Nations and agreed a simple set of universal standards of decency for mankind to cling to: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These standards were intended to protect the individual from the state, to uphold the rights of minorities and to provide support for the vulnerable.

The idea was simple; these standards would first be enshrined in regional treaties such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and then be given legal effect in every country. In the UK this was achieved when Labour enacted the Human Rights Act (HRA) in 1998.

The incoming Tory government now intends to strip our people of these universal rights by repealing the HRA. Michael Gove has been appointed as the new justice secretary to lead the assault. In a week when we celebrate VE Day, the irony should not be lost. British politicians, many of them Tory, participated in the drafting of the ECHR in Whitehall because they believed that they were drafting an instrument to reflect the values that we in this country took for granted and which, they thought, vindicated our military triumph.

No doubt Gove will peddle the usual myth that the HRA is nothing more than a villains’ charter. But the evidence is against him on that. There has been no fundamental shift in defendants’ rights under the HRA, mainly because legislation passed by the Margaret Thatcher government in 1984 set out clear rights for suspects that have been successfully embedded in our law for many years.

By stark contrast, the HRA has heralded a new approach to the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, including child victims of trafficking, women subject to domestic and sexual violence, those with disabilities and victims of crime. After many years of struggling to be heard, these individuals now have not only a voice, but a right to be protected. The Tory plans to repeal the HRA, together with the restricted access to our courts already brought about by the restriction on judicial review introduced by Gove’s predecessor, Chris Grayling, will silence the vulnerable and leave great swaths of executive action unchecked and unaccountable...

Read more...