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April 2016 – DPAC
Apr 292016
 

SCOPE announces: “We are reinvigorating the disability movement”  SCOPE for Change.

How dare they!

Here’s the problem: SCOPE is not and has never been a part of any so called ‘disability movement’, whatever that is. It’s a multi-million pound disability charity whose existence demands that disabled people are oppressed, vilified and subjugated. Their sales pitch depends on it-why would they change anything?

There’s a difference between organisations ‘of’ disabled people, which is those led and run by disabled people, and those ‘for’ run by non-disabled people. The ‘for’  organisations rarely, if ever,  include disabled people in any positions of power. Yet, they are arrogant enough to speak for us and claim to know what disabled people want and need. Then they rattle their tins for us and we don’t see a penny.

Imagine that process applied to any other equality group: a set of men speaking exclusively for womens’ issues, white people speaking exclusively for people of colour- Each claiming to know better what those groups need, collecting money on that flawed basis –and keeping it!

SCOPE names itself as a disability charity, but its a corporate entity with an income of £101.1 million in 2015. It has senior staff on £150,000 per year. SCOPE is not and has never been part of any ‘disability movement’, like other charities SCOPE is part of the disability business- its just another parasitic corporate entity.

As things get worse for us, money rolls in to SCOPE from those that don’t understand the grassroots politics of disability. A grass root politics that rejects charity, rejects others speaking on our behalf, rejects the colonisation of disabled people as quazi representatives of the charity corporate business brand.

SCOPE like all the other big disability charities make money from disabled people- the worse the crisis gets for us -the better it is for them: donations soar, their overpaid elite get salary increases and disabled people remain in exactly the same place in society.

We don’t need or want disability charities. We need actions, strong voices critical of government, and mediocre organisations withdrawing from government groups. Groups such as Priti Patel’s apparent ‘task force’ set to advise on ‘support’ for those in the ESA WRAG group who’ll lose £30 a week from April 2017.

How could any group, charity or even user-led organisation even agree to this travesty? SCOPE and others may say they’re doing it to ‘help’, but collapsing into little government clichés doesn’t help-refusing to engage and rejecting the very idea that some disabled people will have 30% of their income removed does.

We’ve seen the lengths big Disability charities like MENCAP will go to keep their MP patrons-patrons who voted for the 30 pound cut to ESA are not being sacked-so whose side are they on? It isn’t ours.

Now SCOPE gather some young disabled people and dare to announce they are ‘reinvigorating the disability movement’ what next? And what types of campaign will these people be directed to?

Remember the awful ‘end the awkward campaign’? A patronizing piece of expensive rubbish brilliantly critiqued by Brain Hilton.

Remember the ILF /DPAC campaign against the ILF Closure? When some from the ILF campaign group insisted on writing to SCOPE to ask them what they were going to do, multi-million pound SCOPE told them it wasn’t in their program and to get in touch with DPAC.

When DPAC protested outside SCOPE’s offices in 2013 SCOPE used it as publicity to tweet they’d had a productive meeting with us!

When SCOPE , bizarrely, decided to celebrate 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act in 2015 with an exhibition of ‘the disability movement’ we were confused but saw it as a way for them to avoid challenging the decimation of rights today. A decimation that initiated the UN Inquiry by four people from DPAC not by any multi-million charity, remember.

When SCOPE announced closure of residential homes in a newspaper without bothering to tell the residents, it said they were developing independent living. They were losing loss making inconveniences and selling them off.

When SCOPE was exposed by Boycott Workfare for entering the government market for the punitive workfare regime for disabled people in 2012-they claimed it was an ‘isolated incident’, and amazingly claimed to have no idea of compulsion or sanctions for disabled people.

The slogan ‘Rights not charity’ is a stalwart of the disabled people’s movement for a reason. We want human rights, justice, and equality –not charity models that present us as pitiful, vulnerable creatures to be saved by the collecting tin.

The vicious attacks on disabled people by this government, and attacks by new Labour before them,  has not moved SCOPE to do anything other than produce intermittent bland and meaningless media statements.

But they wouldn’t do anything else would they, because they sit at the governments table, enjoy funds from government departments and are doing very well. They’ve done very well since 1952 when they were set up as the Spastics Society. They had an expensive brand change to SCOPE in 1994 because they thought that the Spastics Society just wasn’t modern enough.

They stole our words, our lives, our campaigning terms and put the social model of disability on their website- a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It didn’t wash then and it certainly doesn’t wash now.

Neither SCOPE nor any other multi million pound big Disability Charity speaks or acts for disabled people-we speak and act for ourselves.

For the young campaigners who have unwittingly joined SCOPEs latest public relations/donations campaign, albeit six years into the biggest assault on disabled people’s lives in recent history. If you want to make a change do it with a user-led disability organisation ‘of’ disabled people or set up something your selves.

Please though, above all, read up on the history of the struggles of disabled people to free ourselves from charities incarcerating us in institutions, speaking on our behalf and making millions on our backs-understand the slogan ‘Rights not charity’!

And for SCOPE forget ‘end the awkward’ #endthebullshit because most of us aren’t fooled.

Note

SCOPE still spends 22.4 million on residential ‘care’ for disabled people

Debbie Jolly

Big thanks to Bob for the title

 

Apr 192016
 

[Reblogged from Victim Support, with thanks]

Text: VS Insight Report - An Easy Target?Research by Victim Support (VS) reveals that people with a limiting disability or illness are almost three and a half times more likely to suffer serious violence.

Detailed VS analysis of the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that, although violent crime has fallen by almost half (48 per cent) for the non-disabled population over the last decade, the proportion of people with a limiting disability or illness who were victims of violence over the same period has increased by 3.7 per cent. 

In stark contrast to the rest of the population, people with a limiting disability or illness are at greater risk of suffering violent crime than they were ten years ago. Indeed, having a limiting disability puts you at statistically greater risk of violence than visiting a nightclub once a week or more.

Lucy Hastings, Director for Victim Support, says:

“These findings are deeply alarming and warrant both further investigation and action.

“We recommend that further research is urgently undertaken, so that we can understand why the risk is so high and increasing, and how best to protect and support people with a limiting disability or illness.

“In the meantime, it is essential that professionals working with the disabled, including those working in health, social care and the justice system, are made aware of the increased risks to this group and know the sources of support and information available to them, should they fall victim to violence.”

The findings are published today in the VS Insight Report: ‘An easy target? : Risk factors affecting victimisation rates for violent crime and theft’.  

The Insight Report also finds that, in addition to the increased risk of suffering violence with injury, people with a limiting disability or illness are twice as likely to suffer violence without injury, 1.6 times more likely to be a victim of personal theft, and 1.4 times more likely to be a victim of household theft than adults without a limiting disability.

The report is the first in a series that will investigate the demographics of victims of crime and the risk factors affecting rates of victimisation across the population.

The reports will highlight that, while the fall in crime over recent decades is hugely welcome, there is a danger of losing sight of the victims of crime and the often devastating impact that crime still has every day in England and Wales. 

Last year (2014/15) there were approximately 1.3 million violent crimes in England and Wales. For each one of these offences there is a victim who, in many cases, is deeply emotionally, psychologically, physically or behaviourally affected – effects that can ripple out to family, friends and the wider community.

Following the publication of these findings, VS has called for further research to be undertaken to increase understanding and awareness of the issue, and protect and support people with a limiting disability or illness. 

If you have a limiting disability or illness and have experienced violent crime, sharing your story could help us to better understand why this is happening and raise awareness of the increased risk. 

If you’ve been affected by crime and need support, call our Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111 or request support online. You can also contact us for support using Next Generation Text 18001 08 08 16 89 111.

Find out more about violent crime, and how Victim Support can help you if you’ve been affected.

Downloads

 Posted by at 17:44
Apr 172016
 
Press Release: British Gas to be told to ‘pay compensation for overcharging’ at AGM
Campaigners will demand an end to ‘break-ins’ to install pre-payment meters
Fuel Poverty Action
fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com
@fuelpovaction
Fuel Poverty Action campaigners will attend the Centrica AGM tomorrow to demand compensation for customers they say have suffered from British Gas extortion and bullying, beginning with people who have been forced onto pre-payment meters and then charged hundreds of pounds more than a fair price. 
Shareholders plan to ask the Board to state British Gas’s share of the £2.5 billion that the Competition and Marketing Authority found energy companies overcharged their customers last year, in particular those on pre-payment meters who are generally the poorest and most vulnerable (1). 
They will also call on the company to end the practice of ‘break-ins’ for the forced installation of pre-payment meters, often against the will of customers as well as Ofgem rules. The practice was recently exposed by the BBC’s Panorama programme (2).
 
Their demands will be backed up by a letter to CEO Iain Conn, who was paid £3 million in 2015, laying out what they call the company’s “predatory practices”, and quoting the first hand experiences of British Gas customers (3). 
 
The AGM will take place at the Queen Elizabeth 2 Conference Centre, Westminster, from 11.00 a.m. on Monday 18 April.
 
One British Gas customer who contacted Fuel Poverty Action described her experience of forced pre-payment meter installation: 
“I was awoken today by two British Gas meter fitters. They had a warrant from the magistrates court to put a gas meter OUTSIDE
my bungalow. They could plainly see I could not walk well and that I had a walker and a crutch and a wheelchair. They started asking the neighbours if I could walk ok and telling them I how much I owed…. They left me screaming and crying and having an asthma attack. When the gas goes I will have no gas at all. I haven’t got a card to get any more and I can’t go outside to put any in or see if I have any credit, I have no idea how it works. Is there anything I can do. They have frauded the court because they never informed the judge that I was disabled and ill.” 
Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action said: 
“After a year that saw record numbers of winter deaths, we have the spectacle of British Gas celebrating their latest bumper profits. British Gas is abusing its power to systematically extort money from a huge swathe of the population, and in particular the most vulnerable. As the litany of abuses uncovered by regulators and investigative journalists continues, we will be challenging British Gas to pay back the money they have taken by their predatory practices, money people need to keep warm and to eat.”
For more information, contact Fuel Poverty Action on  fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com.
 
Notes for journalists
 
1. The CMA’s ‘Energy market investigation’ report in March 2016 found that pre-payment meter users were charged an extra £260-£330 each per year, compared to direct debit customers, well above the estimated £54 cost differential between the two payment methods. See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/506949/Energy_PDR_Summary_March_2016.pdf, paragraph 41.
 
2. ‘Too Poor To Stay Warm’, BBC Panorama, broadcast on Monday 21 March 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0756g0x
 
3. The text of the letter reads:
Dear Iain Conn,
We are writing to ask for compensation, on behalf of the thousands of British Gas customers who have suffered from British Gas extortion and bullying.  Complaints include 
•    forced imposition of prepayment key or card meters even against Ofgem rules
•    price discrimination against prepayment meter customers
•    all customers being  charged what the Competition and Marketing Authority called “excessive prices” 
•    persistent pressure on users of gas and electricity for money that they do not owe.
   
Meanwhile, you have pocketed £3 million last year, profits have risen by nearly 1/3(i)  – and 15,000 people have died because they could not afford heating (ii).   
The Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) found that British Gas and the five major energy suppliers pulled in an average of £1.7 billion per year through “excessive prices” in 2012 – 2015, rising to £2.5 billion in 2015 (iii),  when you failed to pass on anything like the money you saved through the falling price of gas and oil.  
The CMA also found that those who overpaid the most were customers with Prepayment Meters – often imposed against their will when they were not able to pay your exorbitant prices.  Prepayment Meter users – generally the poorest and most vulnerable customers – were robbed of an extra £260 – £330 each, per year. (iv)
Many people were shocked to see on Panorama (v) how companies including British Gas smash into homes to install these meters against people’s will: a violent and traumatic experience.  Moreover, as the case of a British Gas customer shown in the programme makes clear, this is often done when Ofgem rules dictate that meters should not be installed at all — when it would not be safe or practical because of the customer’s age, disability or illness.(vi)
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, British Gas customers are contacting Fuel Poverty Action to complain that they are facing demands for money they do not owe, and that unbearable pressure is put on them for months or even years, only for the company to finally admit their mistake.  Please see a few examples below:
 
•    One disabled and elderly lady says, “I was awoken today by two British Gas meter fitters. They had a warrant from the magistrates court to put a gas meter OUTSIDE my bungalow. They could plainly see I could not walk well and that I had a walker and a crutch and a wheelchair. They started asking the neighbours if I could walk ok and telling them I how much I owed. . . .  they left me screaming and crying and having an asthma attack. When the gas goes I will have no gas at all . I haven’t got a card to get anymore and I can’t go outside to put any in or see if I have any credit I have no idea how it works.
Is there anything I can do. They have frauded the court because they never informed the judge that I was disabled and ill.”  
•    Another lady says, “The Gas was on a quarterly term and was not being used as much as they billed me. However I fought every inch of the way to prove my point and won. I was put into a situation where they wanted hundreds of pounds from me, I knew it wasn’t right and I decided was to fight them through and through.”  
•    Another customer says that a few years ago, she got a bit behind with her bills.  She paid off the debt in 2015 and wants to move to another supplier, but “British Gas are holding my account because they say I owe them money. I don’t. My meters both say £0.00 owed. As far as I’m concerned I don’t owe them a penny and they are just being awkward.”   
•    And a pensioner couple were hounded for years for thousands of pounds that they did not owe.  
•    Another customer paid into a Homecare scheme for years, only to be refused help when her boiler failed.
 
For all these reasons we believe British Gas owes compensation to customers who have been systematically overcharged, beginning with the return of the hundreds of pounds extorted from each prepayment meter customer.  As a first step we request your calculation of British Gas’ share of the millions in overpayments identified by the CMA, and the sums owing as a result of the predatory practices listed above.  
 
We look forward to hearing from you.  
 
Fuel Poverty Action
 Posted by at 13:28
Apr 162016
 

Reblogged from Charlotte’s blog  https://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/universal-credit-adverts/ Twitter: @charlotteh71

Follow the great work Charlotte is doing on The Poor Side of Life https://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/

 

You might have noticed these adverts on telephone boxes and bus stops in your local area. Infact the DWP have made sure that they are placed in as many places as possible. They strategically place them in areas where people on low paid work and unemployed people might be using. It’s no mistake. It’s their unofficial announcement that most people will be changed over to universal credit in the near future.
I’ve wrote before about the evils of universal credit, and if you scroll down you will see my previous posts.
In these adverts they state that whilst on universal credit going back to work “pays”. That is a blatant lie.
On the 1st of April this year the in work credit element of universal credit was taken away, therefore leaving people who are on universal credit in a terrible situation. They just won’t be able to survive without struggling a great deal.
So armed with evidence from the department of fiscal studies, child poverty action and the like, who all have proven that being on universal credit, working or not working does make you worse off, we intend to take a stand against these adverts. This is on the basis that the information given “universal credit… Making work pay” is indeed misleading and untrue.
We intend to try and get these adverts taken down by complaining to the advertising standards commission.
Here is the link, please can I ask as many people to fill the form in because they need as many signatures as possible to enable them to look at it and take notice.
https://www.asa.org.uk/Consumers/How-to-complain.aspx
Also tweet this blog #misleadinguniversalcreditads

Here is one of the offending adverts.
Interesting to note. Creative agency Mullen Lowe got paid £250k to produce these posters. There is an endless trickle of money to lie to and to humiliate the poor.

image

Universal credit does not help you when you are in work.
It’s a fact that your appointed work coach will hound you to the point of exhaustion. They will say that you are under employed, and therefore will still have to undergo a 20-38 hour job search as well as having to work your long hours.

Under universal credit work does not pay!

 Posted by at 13:52
Apr 162016
 

Thanks to Maggie Zolobajluk for allowing us to reblog her article: https://mzolobajluk.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/universal-credit-sanctions-and-the-horror-of-repayable-hardship-payments/   Twitter: @22magoo


It took me a while to get my head around the new policy of Repayable Hardship Payments and how it extends  a four week sanction to seven weeks due to these payments being repayable!

Under the current JSA sanction policy Hardship payments do not have to be repaid, so as soon as the sanction period ends claimants go back to receiving their full benefit.

Under Universal Credit hardship payments MUST BE REPAID once the sanction period has been completed. In effect, the sanction period is extended until the hardship loan has been repaid.

I have calculated the figures below as weekly amounts, as it is easier to explain, although Universal Credit is paid monthly.

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid at a rate of £71.30 for adults over 25.
  • Hardship Payments are paid @ 60% or £42.78
  • Hardship Repayments are repaid at a rate of 40% or £28.52
  • Hardship can be claimed on the 15th day of a sanction if the claimant is not in a vulnerable group
  • The most common benefit sanction is 4 weeks

 

Number of Sanction weeks Hardship payment per week (£) Hardship debt accrued each week (£)
1 0 0
2 0 0
Hardship Payments can be awarded from week 3
3 42.78 42.78
4 42.78 85.56
SANCTION ENDS

 

  • At the end of a 4 week sanction the Repayable Hardship Payment debt is£85.56
  • As stated above Hardship Repayments are repaid at a rate of 40% or £28.52 pw.

 

Number sanction weeks Jobseeker’s Allowance minus hardship repayment (£) Repayment Hardship at £28.52 each week Balance Outstanding
5 42.78 £28.52 57.04
6 42.78 £28.52 28.52
7 42.78 0

 

The debt of £85.56 takes an extra three weeks to repay

so effectively the sanction has been

SEVEN WEEKS!!!!

 

AND

The longer the sanction the longer it takes to repay the debt!

 

Case study: One in-work UC claimant reported being sanctioned for long periods after missing multiple Jobcentre Plus appointments because of unpredictable working hours and variable care demands…

I’m on my court order for the eviction plus because of my arrears… I kept thinking, ‘Why is this happening? Why is this?’… I really was struggling. I fell behind on a lot especially because with the sanctions and then when I got poorly and I wouldn’t work and, because of the sanctions, I still wasn’t getting my main allowance. I was still getting only hardship of £100 odd and I still had to pay the £100, so I was very, very struggling with that… I just asked them, ‘Can you please explain what my money is because I really don’t know? I’ve never had a proper payment and just explain like am I still sanctioned?’ They said, ‘No, your sanctions have now come up’ but now every month I’ve had the hardship, I now have to pay all them back. So, I think it was like £2000 something that they’d actually given me over the year in hardship payments, so I’m still currently paying them off now… You’re in a rut like I’ve been with the bailiffs… I’ve never really been in a debt like that and for it to still carry on now to this day escalating, it’s not nice for people. It doesn’t give you much confidence. It doesn’t really make you want to go into work all happy and carrying on, do you know? It knocks you down and down and it wears you out.

 Read more at Welfare Conditionality

 

It will take 70 weeks to pay back this loan back!

 

How Repayable Hardship Payments effect The Under 25’s

 “If, for example, an individual was in receipt of universal credit at a rate of £249.48 per month (the standard allowance of under 25s), she might receive hardship payments of approximately £149.57 per month during the 13 week sanction period. If s/he then had to repay this at a rate of 40% of the standard allowance rate per month, the period during which her income was reduced by 40% would thus be extended from 13 weeks (the sanction period) to 32 weeks (the sanction period plus the period during which the hardship payment”

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) briefing in advance of the second reading of the Benefit Sanctions Regime (Entitlement to Automatic Hardship Payments) Bill 2015-16

 

I do not think that the consequences of this policy was fully understood when this legislation was passed into law but is an unforeseen consequence, never the less this situation needs to be remedied immediately:

I will be asking my MP to write to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Stephen Crabb MP to ask him to halt the trial of Repayable Hardship Payments that is taking place in Scotland immediately, and to ask him to look at the unintended consequence of this policy and change legislation as necessary.

If you feel as strongly as I do please email and or tweet Your MP

http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

and Stephen Crabb:

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Tel:      020 7219 6518

Email: stephen.crabb.mp@parliament.uk                 Twitter: @scrabbmp

 Posted by at 13:38
Apr 142016
 

[Text by John Clarke of Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and a friend and ally of DPAC, originally published in Socialist Project]

Both the Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa and the Wynne Government at Queen’s Park in Toronto have been making noises of late on the subject of Basic Income. The last Ontario Budget, in fact, declared an intention to carry out a pilot project in a community still to be announced. While no clear details are yet available, it is very likely that we will soon be dealing with a practical initiative that we will have to respond to. We will have to consider how we view the possibility of the Liberals moving in the direction of a Basic Income system.
Let me tell you how Basic Income can achieve savings in other areas, such as healthcare and housing supports.

"Let me tell you how Basic Income can achieve savings in other areas, such as healthcare and housing supports.After decades of intensifying austerity and the erosion of systems of income support, with social assistance in Ontario now providing such wretchedly inadequate benefits that people are unable to feed themselves properly and retain their housing, the notion of a basic level of income that all are entitled to can’t fail to generate a level of interest and raise some hopes. However, I am convinced that a good hard look in the mouth of this particular gift horse is well advised. What are the different notions of how a Basic Income system might work? Why are governments now considering it more seriously? What form would it be likely to take in the present economic and political context?
Looking Deeper Into the Gift Horse

As soon as you start to look into the question of Basic Income or, as it was often called in the past, Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI), you are immediately struck by the ease and enthusiasm with which free market thinkers and warriors of the neoliberal order have embraced the concept. From Milton Friedman to Charles Murray, the idea has found warm support on the political right. There are some clear and obvious reasons why this is so. Firstly, the very idea of a basic level of income is about establishing a floor and right wing proponents are confident they can locate it in the basement. A low and inadequate social minimum seems to them a great way of folding in existing, relatively adequate programs so as to, precisely, drive people into deeper poverty.

Another attraction offered by a low universal payment to those who take the side of the capitalists is the potential role it could play in depressing wages. In a recent contribution to the Union Research blog on the issue of Basic Income, Toby Sanger, draws attention to the Speenhamland System, a wage supplement arrangement put in place under the English Poor Laws between 1795-1834, and the role it played in driving down wages. Low wage paying employers could rely on the tax base to pay their workers wages and employers who had been paying higher wages were under an incentive to lower them in order to obtain the same benefit. In the present context of vastly expanding low wage precarious work, this danger is one that should not be underestimated.

The right wing Basic Income agenda, however, sets its sights on more than cutting benefit levels for people in poverty and depressing the wages of the lowest paid workers. Potentially, it is a means to gut social programs and to decimate the workforce that delivers them. The notion is to use the basic payment to advance the pace of privatization enormously. This kind of payment would replace public services and all who received it would become customers shopping for their social needs in the private market. Not just income support systems, but public housing, healthcare, education and transportation are threatened by the parsimonious universal payment envisaged by free market Basic Income.
A Different Kind of Basic Income?

Of course, the political right’s version of a system of basic social payments is countered by those with more progressive concepts. There is a notion of Basic Income that stresses income adequacy, the need to advance full employment and the importance of preserving and strengthening a range of other elements of the social infrastructure. Without doubting the good intentions of advocates of a progressive Basic Income, it does need to be pointed out that the question of which version is to be adopted will not be decided by an impartial court of the common good but by present day governments. The people running the show on Parliament Hill and at Queen’s Park have some history behind them when it comes to the implementation of measures of austerity and privatization. Their recent experience in bold new social policies that raise the living standards of working class people and increase their share of the social wealth is significantly less.

The austerity agenda, which we can trace back to the 1970s but which has intensified following the international crisis of 2008, has placed a central strategic importance on weakening the adequacy of income support programs. In addition to the massive undermining of federal unemployment insurance, provincial social assistance has been enormously weakened. People on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) have seen the spending power of their income reduced by up to 60 per cent since the infamous Tory cuts of the mid 90s. Not only have income levels been driven down but rules and policies have been adopted that have made programs harder to access and more uncertain for those receiving them. The increased poverty and the climate of desperation that this attack has generated have been of central importance in ensuring an astounding growth of low wage, precarious employment in Ontario.

As the Liberals, political chameleons that they are, posture on the issue of Basic Income, we must avoid the trap of thinking that a rational and socially just approach is going to be won on the strength of good arguments. The idea that Basic Income is so sensible that everyone on both sides of the class divide will want to get behind it and make it work in the best interests of all is profoundly mistaken. If the concept is being advanced in Ontario by the very provincial government that has led the way in program reduction and austerity, it is not because they want to reverse the undermining of income support, the proliferation of precarious employment and the privatizing of public services but for the very opposite reason. They are looking with great interest at the possibility of using Basic Income as a stalking horse for their regressive social agenda and it will be the version that Bay Street has in mind that will win out over notions of progressive redistribution. As the announcement in the Ontario Budget acknowledges:

The pilot would also test whether a basic income would provide a more efficient way of delivering income support, strengthen the attachment to the labour force, and achieve savings in other areas, such as healthcare and housing supports” [page 132].

"This is a particularly bad time for the lamb to accept an invitation from the lion to lie down. ”Social programs that have emerged in capitalist societies, especially those devoted to income support, have always been reluctant concessions. Their design, effectiveness and contradictions have reflected the prevailing economic and political situation and the balance of class forces in society. For decades, we have been fighting a largely defensive struggle to prevent the decimation of systems of social provision. We are not in a period when bold new redistributive programs are on the drawing board. The Liberals will be only too happy if we give up our fight to defend the systems that have been won in previous struggles and join them, as ‘stakeholders’ at the consultative round table. A decade of experience in maintaining an empty discussion of ‘poverty reduction’ has turned them into experts in such diversionary tactics. At the end of the process, however, if we allow them, they will put in place a version of Basic Income that will give Milton Friedman very little reason to turn over in his grave.

We are in a period when capitalism and the governments that represent its interests are increasing the rate of exploitation and reducing the level of social provision. That is not about to change and any redesign of income support systems we confront will be all about furthering, not limiting, levels of social inequality. This is a particularly bad time for the lamb to accept an invitation from the lion to lie down. Basic Income will be no panacea and the fight for income adequacy will continue, of necessity, to take the form of social mobilization against an agenda of austerity and regression. •

John Clarke is an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).

 Posted by at 13:36
Apr 122016
 

There is at this stage no accusation of impropriety or deliberate intent to deceive, but it is obvious that the majority of Tory MPs who voted in favour of the ESA cut and who expressed an opinion about the reasons for doing so were generally uninformed and did not understand what they were voting for. It can’t be expected from MPs to be experts in every single field, but they should be properly briefed, and if they have to rely on template letters to reply to their constituents, or to brief the press, these templates should be accurate and objective, and they should not resort to using selective statistics.  It was a too important vote to play games with people’s lives.

MPs did not know that people in the WRAG have been found unfit for work

What has attracted the most attention is the belief of the new SoS, Stephen Crabb, that people placed in the WRAG are able to work:

There has been a lot of miscommunication about this vote which I want to put right. A decisions was taken by MPs to change the benefit awarded to a specific group of people who receive Employment and Support Allowance.

These people are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and they do have a disability or illness but are able to work

He was not the only one. Another 10-15 MPs made a similar statement, including Andrew Griffith who went as far as saying that ‘”It is only those in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance who will be paid at the new rate, which is the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance.  The people in this group are fit to do some form of work, and are actively looking for suitable work”[1] and Mike Fabricant who responded to his Twitter critics that people in the WRAG were people  who ‘failed the medical test’.

Tweet by Tory MP Michael Fabricant which reads ".@MrMalky Only ones to be affected will be those who fail medical test. But I do NOT agree with PIP changes"

Others were sneering on Twitter against people who opposed the cut, like Guto Bebb dismissing critics and saying that existing claimants in the WRAG will be protected, until it was pointed out to him that this protection is not written in the legislation [2]

Twitter conversation between Guto Bebb MP and Tom Evans, Bebb: "Another one who fails to read the legislation. No ESA Claimant loses a penny. Small but important fact", reply by Evans "It doesn't say so in the legislation,Purely at the SoS's discretion to make provision"

It is unlikely that the SoS would renegade on his commitment to protect existing claimants, but nothing prevents him from adding a time limit, or any other restrictions. Ultimately, this protection was not provided for by the legislation and it seems that few MPs understood this, when they claim that existing claimants will be protected.  How many more like Guto Bebb did not understand what they were voting for?

Use of templates by MPs

But the majority of Tory MPs who did make a contribution to the debate, or responded to their constituents concerns used template letters.  The fact that MPs used templates is demonstrated by the following document, which shows that one MP forgot to fill one of the options in brackets when responding to one of his constituents’ concerns: ‘I hope this has also gone some way to explaining the ways the Government is ensuring the system protects those with the most serious conditions, such as [insert relevant condition], including exempting the Support Group component in ESA and its UC equivalent from the benefits freeze and the Benefit Cap’.[3]

But there are real issues with the information provided in these templates.

Issues around the 1 in 100 of ESA WRAG claimants moving the benefit each month compared to 1 in 5 JSA claimants

Around 20 MPs used the figure of 1 in 100 of ESA WRAG claimants moving off WRAG each month compared to 1 in 5 JSA claimants. This figure or the 1% which was used before by Priti Patel, Justin Tomlinson[4], David Freud [5]and Iain Duncan Smith (The Dear colleagues letter), is wrong.

DWP figures show that the cumulative number of claimants placed in the WRAG is 1,061,600 since 2008, and that in May 2015, the WRAG caseload is 476,500 claimants. Which means that 585,100 claimants moved out of the WRAG during this period, or in other terms, 55% of claimants placed in the WRAG left the ESA benefit.

Let’s also not forget that some people in the WRAG were given a prognosis of “two years or more” and that DWP explained that “a prognosis of two years or more is defined as unlikely in the longer term”[6].  Therefore to make a direct comparison between the number of people leaving the WRAG and the people leaving JSA is highly mendacious. Only the people the most ready to move into work should have been considered for this comparison, not the people that even DWP accepts are unlikely to work again, but have been placed in the WRAG because they did not meet the Support Group criteria.

Issues about automatic entitlement to the SG for people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy

More importantly, over 20 MPs (different from the ones mentioned above) wrote to their constituents or on their website that ‘In January 2013, for example, the ESA rules were changed so those receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy will always be placed in the Support Group and the majority of cases will be assessed on medical evidence rather than a Work Capability Assessment’. That is wrong, and very misleading. The Employment and Support Allowance regulations are very clear.  This applies only if ‘the SoS is satisfied that the claimant should be treated as having limited capability for work related activity’.  By SoS, read DWP Decision Maker[7].  There is no automatic entitlement to be placed in the WRAG or the Support Group for people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  This is implicitly confirmed by IDS, in the letter he sent to all MPs on the 11th of February 2016, to convince them to vote in favour of the £30 ESA cut, saying that ‘It is essential people suffering with cancer get the right support. Indeed, those who are undergoing or recovering from intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy will be automatically put in the Support Group on paper based evidence and will receive the highest rate of benefit’.

Question: What about people with cancer?

  • It’s essential people suffering with cancer get the right support. Indeed, those who are undergoing or recovering from intravenous. intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy will be automatically put in the Support Group on paper based evidence and will receive the highest rate of benefit.
  • A healthcare professional will determine the right support for other people with cancer. This will depend on a claimant’s individual circumstances.
  • Macmillan recognises this, stating in a report that: “Many people who are working when they are diagnosed with cancer would prefer to remain in work, or return to their job, during or after treatment.”
  • Existing claimants will not be affected.

In any case, his intention of protecting some categories of claimants has not been communicated beyond the Tory MPs he wrote to.

Issues about statistics of claimants with progressive illnesses placed in the WRAG

There also seems to have been some confusion about the number of people with progressive illnesses placed in the WRAG. Priti Patel led the charge with this, by responding that the claim that 1/3 of people with Parkinson’s were placed in the WRAG was wrong[8]. And she gave the link to prove it[9] which showed that 2,400 people with Parkinson’s were placed in the Support Group and 200 placed in the WRAG as of February 2015, and this information has been relayed again by a number of MPs responding to concerns of their constituents or on their website, stating that 95% of claimants with progressive illnesses have been placed in the Support Group. Unfortunately, Priti Patel had to answer an MP question on the 24th of March 2016, which shows very clearly that around 1/3 of claimants with progressive illnesses have been placed in the WRAG[10]  since 2008.  Let’s remember that in February 2015, Atos was still in charge of the WCA and trying desperately to clear a 700,000 backlog by prioritising paper based assessments (quicker to do than face to face assessments), which means that the most severely disabled people would have been prioritised, and that would have distorted the figures and inflated the number of claimants placed in the Support Group.  It is never good practice to look at statistics at one point in time, unless there is a reason for doing it

What it also means is even  if 95% of people with progressive illnesses had been  placed in the Support Group (and they were not)  that still  leaves  5% of them being  subjected to sanctions or the threats of sanctions if they cannot do what is expected from them by being in the WRAG.

Issue about 61% of claimants in the WRAG want to work

Another point which keeps coming  back in over 20 statements made by MP to justify voting for the ESA cuts is that 61% of people in the WRAG say they want to work.  This figure is taken from the Impact Assessment[11], which takes this figure from a DWP 2013 survey: A survey of disabled working age benefit claimants, July 2013, DWP[12].

The statement which 61% of people in the WRAG agree with was the following:

I currently want to work

But when the same survey asked whether Having a job would be beneficial for my health, only 25% agree or strongly agree with this statement.

And when asked whether I am currently able to work only 14% of people in the WRAG agree or strongly agree with this statement.

So the use of 61% was highly selective and even deceitful, by equating wanted to work with able to work

Issues about the £50bn spent on disabled people

This argument has been used by all MPs and is used on regular basis by the DWP and DWP’s Ministers. It is therefore very strange that in two separate letters, one by Iain Duncan Smith[13], the ex Secretary of State and one by Priti Patel[14], the Minister for Employment, both Ministers refer to only £21bn spent on disabled people.  The 2 letters are almost identical, and a template has obviously been used, but how to explain the use of £21bn rather than £50bn expenditure on disabled people?  Is it because the £21bn figure is closer to the truth, once adult care and expenditure on people over 65 have been removed? [15]

 

[1] http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/Cuts-allowance-misrepresented-says-MP/story-28906161-detail/story.html#ixzz43dcF6s68

[2] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/7/section/15/enacted

[3] http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/compassion-barnet-tory-style.html

[4] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160127/halltext/160127h0001.htm

[5] http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/151209-0002.htm

[6] http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2014-07-01a.202738.h&s=speaker%3A11626

[7] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111531877/regulation/31

[8] http://www.georgehowarth.org.uk/working_for_you/supporting_docs/parkinsons.pdf

[9] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/459427/esa-claimants-with-progressive-conditions.pdf

[10] http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-03-21.31811.h&s=speaker%3A24778#g31811.r0

[11] http://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA15-006B.pdf

[12] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/224543/ihr_16_v2.pdf

[13] http://www.georgehowarth.org.uk/working_for_you/supporting_docs/welfare_reform_esa_ids.pdf

[14] http://www.georgehowarth.org.uk/working_for_you/supporting_docs/welfare_esa_patel.pdf

[15] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/186956/foi-774-2013.pdf

 

 Posted by at 15:12
Apr 112016
 
We can reveal to you that Stephen Crabb, the replacement for IDS as Work and Pensions Minister was the original inspiration for the David Brent character of the Office.
 
Crabb, who is reportedly passionate about his new mission of bringing a more people-friendly face to DWP atrocities, bears many similarities with Brent, including a pointless scrubby little beard and a tendency to talk total bollocks. He also shares Brent’s homophobia, having had links with an organisation that supports “gay cures”
 
Crabb is expected to say in his first major speech as mid-ranking sales manager Work and Pensions Minister on Tuesday that “We should be in the business of people.”, and has previously made statements of meaningless drivel such as ” we will tackle the root causes of poverty
 
Crabb bears a eerily close resemblance to Brent as played by Ricky Gervais, even employing the same gestures and similar facial expressions.
Stephen CrabbDavid Brent
And even the choice of instrument to pose with is the same:
Crabb posing with GuitarBrent Posing with Guitar

Tomorrow Tuesday 12th April at 12.20pm, at a marketing managers conference the Early Intervention Foundation National Conference, David Brent Stephen Crabb will be making his first sales pitch Speech as East Midlands Region photocopier paper salesperson of the year Work & Pensions Minister.

DPAC and Allies will be holding a twitter reception for him

You can join in the fun on by using the hashtags #EIFNatCon and #TheOrifice (which incidentally is DPAC’s new nickname for Crabb)
Here are some images prepared by the ever-exceptional Brian Hilton, please feel free to download them to tweet and share and there is a tweetlist here with some pre-prepared tweets to use
 
 
 Posted by at 22:00
Apr 102016
 

Operation #ToryDump is working – there are a growing number of Tory MPs, who voted for the ESA Cut who have had to resign from their roles in local and national disability charities.

List of Dumped Tory MPs to date

Also ……

and …….

MP, Link to Charity, and Charity contact information.

 

 Posted by at 15:17
Apr 062016
 

Recovery in the Bin  – FREE 2 day Welfare Rights training on ESA/PIP (how to fill in forms/collect evidence and overview of tribunal process) with Big Benefits Book author Tom Messere (each participant gets a FREE copy)

1st and 2nd June 2016 10am – 4pm

Venue:

Rethink

15th – 17th Floor, 89 Albert Embankment
Vauxhall, London
SE1 7TP

(very close to Vauxhall tube and station just 2 stops from Victoria)

There are 16 places for mental health service users or ex users/discharged users, preferably with experience of claiming benefits.

We are wanting participants to use these skills afterwards to help someone with their forms (or as many people as you feel able to), or, teach these skills to.

The more of us who do this the wider the skills are spread.

If you are interested you can contact Recovery In The Bin on twitter @RITB_

You can read more about the Recovery in the Bin project here http://recoveryinthebin.org/2016/03/23/recovery-in-the-bin-welfare-rights-training-for-esa-pip/

You can donate to the Recovery in the Bin project here https://www.chuffed.org/project/recovery-in-the-bin-welfare-rights-training-for-esa-pip

 Posted by at 22:42
Apr 012016
 

Thanks again to Joe Halewood which published yesterday an article with a new defining judgement of the Upper Tribunal on the bedroom tax. In its judgement, the tribunal has decided what is a bedroom.

What it means practically: Joe estimates that this new decision will concern around 150,000 claimants, about 1/3 of all people affected by the bedroom tax.  But what it also means is that each and every single tenant can and should appeal a bedroom tax decision and get their local council to inspect their property to check whether their spare bedroom(s) conform to  the definition given by the Upper Tribunal of a ‘bedroom’.  The idea is not only to get the local council to revise some bedroom decisions, but also to clog up the system, to make it unmanageable and too expensive.

Joe’s article is here: https://speye.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/bedroom-tax-the-defining-moment-as-ut-decision-makes-it-history/

It contains an explanation of the Upper Tribunal decision plus a template letter for you to use, and send to your local council.  That is the kind of direct action which can help bring down the bedroom tax .

 

This was the original article by Joe Halewoodpublished on the 3rd February 2016.

Many thanks to Joe Halewood (@SpeyeJoe https://speye.wordpress.com/ for another excellent article which is attached below and which he allowed us to republish.What

In a nutshell, the Upper Tribunal has stated that the Housing Benefit Department of your council should have considered all relevant circumstances of any individual case before making a decision. So within one month of receiving your Housing Benefit decision in March 2016, you should send a letter to ask your council to reconsider the decision as you don’t believe all relevant circumstances have been considered in your case. Joe gives you examples in his article of what might not have been considered.  See below.

And if you don’t like the outcome, you can write another letter to your council to say you disagree with their decision and require the matter go to the tribunal.  It is free and it is legal. Follow all the instructions given by Joe Halewood .

Every one has a right of appeal against the decision and they SHOULD use that right.

It does not mean that the decision will be overturned in your case but it is a direct action to get the government to back down from what is an awful and damaging piece of legislation. If everybody or most people affected appeal, the savings brought by the bedroom tax which are already minimal will disappear, and the bedroom tax will become such an expensive policy that it cannot be defended and sustained.

The bedroom tax will eventually go, but we can make happen earlier rather than later.

 

Bedroom Tax – Let’s all cost DWP £1.26 billion per year and get rid if the bedroom tax

 

When 449,151 bedroom tax households get their new bedroom tax decision notices in March this year, which on average cuts their housing benefit by £795.72 per year then ALL 449,151 could appeal this decision which is their right and if they did then each First-tier Tribunal costs central government £2,800.

The bedroom tax cuts saves government £357.4 million [449,151 x £795.72] yet if everyone appealed the decision then 449,151 bedroom tax appeals will cost government £1.26 billion – or 3.5 times what they wish to save from it.

For every £1 allegedly saved, the government would be spending out £3.50 to defend that decision in simple terms.

Every one has a right of appeal against the decision to impose it and they SHOULD use that right.

It costs nothing to appeal and it would severely damage the policy by a form of lawful direct action.

All it takes is a letter with a signature within one month of receiving the HB decision notice and handed in to your local council’s one stop shop or office.

Sample letter to explain the simplicity of this below.

Include the date and your HB reference number and/or NI number and say as an opening paragraph the following.

Dear sirs,

I request that you reconsider your housing benefit decision dated dd/mm/2016 as I maintain you have not considered all relevant circumstances of my individual case which the Upper Tribunal state you must do as the decision maker in paragraph 54 of the three judge panel in [2014] UKUT 0525 (AAC).

Then you need to say (a) why you maintain a room is NOT a bedroom and then (b) sign it and hand it in.

There are many reasons you could give as to why you maintain the room or rooms upon which you have been deducted bedroom tax are not a bedroom and I cover some of these at the end (also in blue.)

The key issue is that you appeal as part of a direct action protest which is lawful and a legitimate form of protest – else you would not have the right to appeal in the first place – and these appeals all going to the tribunal service would cost central government £2,800 each.

All it takes is one letter with a signature.  Your council’s HB department then have to conduct a reconsideration of the decision and say, in writing to you, why they maintain the original decision was correct to impose the bedroom tax.

Then you could email your council’s HB department (this second step does not necessarily need a signature though the first step does, hence a letter) to say you disagree with their decision and require the matter go to the tribunal.

One letter and one email is all it takes.

Is 1 letter and 1 email worth the trouble to potentially save £795.72 per year?  Of course it must be and note many of the 449,151 bedroom tax cases could have very legitimate reasons of appeal.

If EVERYONE appealed which I restate is your absolute right, then this would cause an almighty political stink as well as cost the government much more than they could possibly save.  So what!

The fact such a direct action protest would bring the matter to a head and do to IDS what he is now doing by using taxpayers money to appeal the Court of Appeal decisions which will cost more to appeal than the government gets if it wins – is example the same principle.

Do unto IDS as he is doing unto you!!

____________________

Some valid and arguable reasons why a room is not a bedroom are below and kept deliberately short.

  1. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it does not conform to the minimum size requirements in order to be a functional bedroom in accordance with Tudor Walters issues as stated in paragraph [55] of the above 3JP case
  2. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as of its unusual design and layout 
  3. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as to put a bed in that room would deny access to a built-in cupboard
  4. I maintain 1 room is not a bedroom as it has no window
  5. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is not ventilated in the same way as other bedrooms
  6. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is not heated as other bedrooms
  7. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is needed for therapeutic other uses.
  8. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is not of normal height
  9. I maintain that 1 room has a sloping roof and it not a bedroom

All of the above are very legitimate legal reasons why a room is not a bedroom even if the landlord says it is a bedroom and you only need to add one reason in the original letter and in addition to the opening paragraph as drafted.

There will be and are dozens more reasons that have all been upheld at tribunals or in which the decision has been changed before the matter going to a tribunal.

One such reason which was an example of common sense and good practice was a case where an 8 year old girl and her 5 year old brother were sharing a bedroom which is what the regulations say.  Two children of opposite sexes can share a room if both under 10.

Yet the 8 year old girl started her periods and after discussion and consideration the council bedroom tax decision maker agreed that the girl needed a bedroom of here own which she clearly did.  Note too that the NHS have this on their website:

Most girls start their periods when they’re about 12, but they can start as early as 8, so it’s important to talk to girls from an early age to make sure they’re prepared before the big day.

So we see the NHS admitting that some girls start their period as young as 8 years of age.

Regrettably many councils believe they do not have the discretion to do this and must stick rigidly with 2 children under 10 must share a room for bedroom tax purposes.  However every council decision maker DOES have discretion and they are free to determine in the individual circumstances that the housing need in terms of bedrooms was not 1 for the 8 year old girl and her 5 year old brother, but, as a matter of correctness 2 bedrooms or a bedroom each.

The example above is used because it illustrates what I drafted in the opening paragraph of the letter above in the council decision maker considering all relevant circumstances on a case by case basis which is what paragraph 54 of the legal precedent says.  In discussing what is and is not a bedroom and how decision makers approach that question paragraph [54] says:

We also agree with the Secretary of State that the choice by Parliament of a test using an undefined familiar or ordinary English word supports the view that Parliament intended to allow decision makers to take account of all relevant circumstances on a case by case basis

All relevant circumstances on a case by case basis is discretion for the decision maker and so decision makers – and they are your local councils HB department and no one else – have to consider my points 1 – 9 above and also have to consider the much rarer examples of an 8 year girl starting her periods as I illustrate.

In summary, the most important issue and for me the quickest way to get rid of the bedroom tax is if all 449,151 households who are currently affected write 1 letter and then insist in 1 email their council refers their individual case to tribunal to cost the government £2,800 or so.

 

 

 Posted by at 17:27
Apr 012016
 

On Thursday evening over 100 Lambeth residents piled into the Borough’s Carnegie library to block the councils attempts to close it down.

Lambeth plans to close half the borough’s libraries and turn three of them into Gymnasiums.

Lambeth has some of the most accessible libraries in the country and has won national awards for digital inclusion for Visually Impaired people.

Two mass demonstrations to stop the closures have been supported by Deaf and Disabled residents.

Roger Lewis from DPAC’s steering group has been involved in the campaign throughout.

The council trade union, Unison, has organised and paid for BSL Interpreting at the demonstrations therefore ensuring Deaf people who use the libraries can participate in the campaign.

All Lambeth libraries computers are fully accessible to Visually Impaired people and groups supporting Visually Impaired people and Deaf people to learn and use computers run at several libraries.

With the introduction of Universal Credit’s using a “digital by default” method of claimant access, inclusion is a major issue as all claims and preprocessing will be online only.

The councils own digital support programme is inaccessible yet the council has simply ignored Disabled residents concerns about this.

Library workers have taken over five days of strike action so far and Lambeth UNISON is about to ballot council staff for branch wide strike action to defend the Libraries.

DPAC applauds this occupation, and we invite our supporters to send their own messages of support to the protesters at http://defendthe10-lambeth.org.uk/ or if you use twitter you can send messages to @defendtheten

 Posted by at 15:14
Apr 012016
 

You may be surprised to find DPAC publicly apologising to IDS, after all the lies he told and the harm and distress that he has caused.

We thought about this long and hard, and we came to a conclusion, that we can’t condemn others for publishing miss-information and them fail to live up to the same standard ourselves.

So when we discovered that we falsely accused IDS of telling lies on a certain issue, we decided that we must make an apology. Of course we still condemn IDS for everything else he has done and that has been done in his name, but, on this one point of fact, we got it wrong and we are going to say ‘sorry’ for that.

The point at issue is IDS’s claims over Intergenerational Worklessness. In a report we published in 2013, and in a later blog item based on that report, we said that IDS’s claims about “Intergenerational Worklessness” were lies (Intergenerational worklessness is the term for extended families in which no-one works, instead the entire family’s only source of income is from state handouts).

We said that wasn’t true, it doesn’t happen, but its recently been pointed out to our research team that there are families who live this sort of life. In the interests of truth and accuracy we researched further, and this is what we found, and we are so disgusted by it that we thank Mr Duncan Smith for being brave enough to tell the truth:

We did find a large extended family – living in inner London, in which no one works, and who are funded entirely by the rest of society.

Phil and Lizzie live in a tax-payer funded house on a large estate in central London, although past retirement age now, it makes little difference to their lives since they didn’t work before retirement.

Phil and Lizzie have bred copiously at taxpayer expense, with offspring named Chaz, Annie, Andy and Eddie. Phil is an immigrant from southern Europe, having married into the family and is known to be openly racist.

Although its thought that Andy briefly had a  job in sales, he was sacked for gross misconduct.

Eddie has dabbled in working in the entertainment industry but after that job failed, he has returned to living on benefits.

Of the four offspring, only Eddie has been able to hold down a stable marriage, the rest having been divorced and re-married.

The eldest of the four, Chaz is a bit of a hippie believing in herbal medicine and alternative religion, and his alternative lifestyle does not involve anything so conformist as getting up and going to a proper job.

Chaz has another state paid-for house, close to his parents. He has two sons Billy and Harry, both who again, do not work but prefer to live in state funded luxury, with no aspiration to work and play a proper part in society.

Billy has married and has already fathered two children, neither who is expected to play any useful role in society and are not expected to even attempt to pay their own way in the world.

Harry is the worst delinquent of the the lot, having been caught drug taking, under-age drinking and taking part in racist wild parties.

DPAC Say: when will the government get to grips with these dysfunctional problem families who soak up endless amounts of money provided by hard working families, taxpayers who do the right thing and expect others to do the same.

Its not good enough! We demand something is done, these people cannot continue to have this taxpayer funded lazy lifestyle.

Mr Duncan Smith, we apologise to you for our error.

 Posted by at 00:01