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Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Tories are blocking Scotlandís bid to banish the hated bedroom tax
Westminster snubs Holyrood plea to remove cap on housing payments that are used to bail out victims of the shameful social policy.
Tories are blocking Scotland’s bid to banish the bedroom tax.
The Scottish Government have allocated £35million to help victims of the policy by means of discretionary housing payments.
They asked Westminster ministers to remove a cap...
Monday, 10 March 2014
£20billion further cuts expected if Tories win general election as economic growth not expected to last
George Osborne will need to find £20billion more cuts if the Tories win the next election, fresh analysis of the Government’s finances has revealed.
Despite the recovery, government experts believe the prospects for the economy in the long term may actually be worse than expected.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has raised concerns that the recent economic growth might...
Atos, deaths and welfare cuts
Was it public outrage or the impossible task that made Atos want to stop? Adam Forrest investigates.
Some paperwork is almost unbearable. Sitting in the living room of his Essex home, Peter Wootton sifts through his wife Linda’s files with a sigh, pointing out where an Atos assessor judged her fit to work in January 2013.
Linda could lift a mobile phone. Linda could rise. Linda...
Round the clock care
An expert group has been set up to ensure the NHS in Scotland provides round the clock care whenever patients really need it.
The taskforce will meet for the first time in April to drive forward focused improvements in the services available out of hours, particularly at the weekends.
This work is set to transform the availability of healthcare across NHS Scotland seven days a week....
Friday, 7 March 2014
Exclusive: George Osborne's tax and benefits changes have hit women almost four times harder than men
George Osborne’s tax and benefit changes have hit women almost four times as hard as men, according to new research which threatens to compound the Conservative Party’s unpopularity among women.
Analysis by the House of Commons Library shows that the Chancellor’s tax and benefit strategy since 2010 has raised a net £3.047 billion (21 per cent) from men and £11.628...
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Government resumes bid to shut Independent Living Fund in 2015
The government is to press ahead with the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), despite losing a Court of Appeal battle over the plan.
The Department for Work and Pensions originally planned to abolish the fund on 31 March 2015, but was forced to review the move after the Court of Appeal ruled that it had failed to comply with its legal duty to promote equality when making the decision.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Blind man repeatedly had his benefits stopped because DWP failed to send his letters in braille
Rob Powell had to turn to payday loans to survive after blundering pen-pushers continually sent him letters he couldn't read.Robert Powell, a 46-year-old small business adviser from Dagenham, Essex, has been blind since shortly after his birth.
He has worked most of his life, but in September 2011 he was made redundant by a charity and applied for disability benefits. “I wrote on the...
Government fails to empower disabled people
Tressa Burke, chief executive of Glasgow Disability Alliance, explains why her organisation is objecting to the community empowerment bill.
“They want to know what disabled people think about community empowerment but they won’t enable us to read it,” said a Glasgow Disability Alliance member during our recent consultation for disabled people on the proposed community empowerment...
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Charities claim Scotland faces 'humanitarian crisis' caused by povertyA campaign aimed at highlighting the 'humanitarian crisis' caused by poverty in Scotland has been launched by a group of charities.
The Scotland's Outlook campaign claimed hundreds of thousands of people were being 'battered' by welfare reforms, stagnant wages, rising utility bills, higher living costs and job insecurity.
And it said many families were having to use food banks to feed themselves.
Monday, 3 March 2014
DWP: Housing benefit will be sanctionedPart-time workers judged to be doing too little to find full-time work face having their benefit for housing costs sanctioned by the government for the first time under universal credit.
Under the present system housing benefit is paid direct to landlords and sanctions can only be applied to out-of-work benefits, such as jobseeker’s allowance or employment support allowance.
Friday, 28 February 2014
Benefit mismanagement hurting sick and disabled people, watchdog says
Sick and disabled people trying to claim a new benefit introduced by Iain Duncan Smith are facing “distress and financial difficulties” because of mismanagement by civil servants and the outsourcing firms Atos and Capita, a spending watchdog has found.
The National Audit Office discovered that the new personal independence payment, which will replace the disability living allowance,...
Disabled man starved to death after benefits cut when Atos declared him fit for work
Disabled Mark Wood starved to death four months after his benefits were cut, an inquest heard.
The “frail and vulnerable” 44-year-old weighed just 5st 8lbs when he was found.
He had been declared fit to work by Atos, leaving him struggling to survive on just £40 a week, despite numerous health problems.
Mark died at his home in Bampton –...
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Government, not disability, makes us vulnerable. That's why we fight the cuts
We welcome this Commons debate into welfare 'reform'. While our fate, like most aspects of our lives, is in the hands of others, we won't stay silent.
The WOW petition read: 'We call for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reform, and a new deal for sick and disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions.' Some 100,000 signatures later, the government has been forced...
WOW petition motion passed
The motion for the Government to commission a cumulative impact assessment of the impact of changes in the welfare system on sick and disabled people has been passed.
A debate was scheduled today by the Backbench Business Committee following representations from John McDonnell and Grahame M. Morris, concerning the WOW petition, which had reached over 100,000 signatures.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Francesca Martinez: A leading light fighting welfare cuts for disabled people
The comedian, who has cerebral palsy, has secured a landmark parliamentary debate for disabled people. The debate scheduled for 11.15am in Westminster on Thursday represents a significant parliamentary milestone – the first debate secured by disabled people for disabled people.
The motion, set down by the War On Welfare (WOW) campaign group, calls for an assessment...
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Hated Atos fit-for-work tests axed as secret DWP memo tells staff to pay benefits without health checks until French firm are replacedThe hated Atos fit-for-work tests for people claiming disability benefits have been axed.
Claimants will continue to be paid until the under-fire firm have been replaced.
The move was revealed in a memo from the Department for Work and Pensions. Campaigners – led by the Daily Record – were jubilant that Atos would no longer be carrying out the cruel tests.
Labour MP Tom...
Monday, 24 February 2014
British Gas owner Centrica under fire from fuel poverty campaigners
Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has come under fire from fuel poverty campaigners before announcing profits of almost £3bn this week.
The energy group is expected to announce broadly flat group operating profits of £2.8bn for 2013, with the British Gas 'UK downstream' business contributing £1.05bn, down 4% from 2012, City analysts say.
'A slight drop in already...
Man who was too ill to attend fit-for-work interview but terrified of losing benefits dies after Atos test
A seriously ill man died hours after he was hauled into an Atos fit-for-work assessment.
Terry McGarvey knew he wasn’t well enough to attend the hearing. But he was terrified his benefits would be stopped if he didn’t turn up.
He dragged himself to the assessment but had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. Terry, 48, died the next day.
His brother Charlie, 50,...
Councilsí anger over decision to scrap hardship fund set up to help vulnerable
Vulnerable people will face hunger and destitution following a decision by ministers to scrap a £347 million scheme to help individuals who face emergencies or have fallen on hard times, town hall leaders claimed Sunday night.
They have been taken by surprise by the move to axe the Local Welfare Assistance Fund, which pays for food and shelter for people facing short-term crises such...
Friday, 21 February 2014
Five lose housing benefit cut appeal
Five disabled social housing tenants have lost their Court of Appeal bid to have benefit cuts for those with spare bedrooms ruled unlawful.
Judges said the court could not intervene in the government's 'controversial' housing benefit changes - dubbed a 'bedroom tax' by critics.
Lawyers for the group had argued the regulations applying in England, Wales and Scotland failed to reflect...
Benefits testing firm Atos wants to quit £500 million government contract early
Benefits firm Atos wants to end its hated testing regime for the ConDem government - because it says the system 'isn't working'.
A nationwide campaign against the French firm's benefit tests have forced the company to seek an early exit from a £500m government contract.
Atos faced 144 separate protests outside its offices across the UK earlier this week in a day of action against...
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Atos declare seriously ill gran fit to work and axe her benefits just two months before her retirementA seriously ill gran was deemed fit for work by Atos – weeks before she was due to retire.
Christine Traynor, 61, quit her job as a cleaner last year because of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which leaves her struggling to breathe.
Atos assessed her in Glasgow on November 20 and declared her fit for work, and the Department for Work and Pensions then stopped her benefits....
People stripped of benefits could be charged for challenging decision
People who have been stripped of benefits could be charged by the government for trying to appeal against the decision to an independent judge.
Critics said the proposal, contained in an internal Department for Work and Pensions document leaked to the Guardian, would hit some of the poorest people in Britain, who have been left with little or no income.
In the document about the department's...
A Toolkit on Disability