UKIP – Basic Manifesto Promises via BBC Website

Immigration

UKIP: Introduce an Australian-style points policy, used to select migrants with the skills and attributes needed to work in the country – covering people from inside and outside the EU. Bring net immigration down to 50,000 people a year. Priority lanes for UK passport holders. Increase UK border staff by 2,500. Tougher English language tests for migrants seeking permanent residence. Opt out of the Dublin treaty to allow the UK to return asylum seekers to other EU countries without considering their claim.

Tax & Economy

UKIP: Increase the personal allowance to the level of full-time minimum wage earnings, about £13,500, by 2020. Abolish inheritance tax. Introduce a 35% income tax rate between £42,285 and £55,000, at which point the 40% rate becomes payable. Set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax on large businesses. Cut foreign aid budget by £9bn a year. Scrap HS2. Save £8bn a year in membership fees by leaving the EU.

NHS

UKIP: Ensure all migrants and visitors have NHS approved medical insurance as a condition of entry to UK, with £200m of the £2bn saved to be spent on ending hospital parking charges in England. Tougher regulation of NHS managers. Bring back state-enrolled nurses and return powers to matrons. Monitor and Care Quality Commission to be replaced with county health boards. Stop spending £90m a year on gastric band and breast enhancement operations.

Defence

UKIP: Leave the European Union. Remove the passports of any person who has gone to fight for a terrorist organisation and deport anyone who has committed a terrorist act. Cut foreign aid budget by £9bn. Create a Veterans Department to look after the interests of ex-service men and women.

Jobs

UKIP: Allow firms to offer jobs to British workers first “without the fear of being sued for discrimination”.

Education

UKIP: More grammar schools. Scrap sex education for children aged under seven. Scrap tuition fees for students from poorer backgrounds who take degree courses in the sciences, technology, maths or engineering. Greater emphasis on vocational education with new Apprenticeship Qualification Option. School governing boards must be made up of at least 30% parents of children at the school. Allow universities to charge same amount for EU students as non-EU students.

Housing

UKIP: Protect greenbelt land by incentivising the building of affordable homes on brownfield sites. Establish a UK Brownfield Agency to hand out grants, tax breaks and low interest loans. Major planning decisions to be ratified by local referendum.

Law & Order

UKIP: Repeal Human Rights Act and replace it with UK Bill of Rights. Withdraw from European arrest warrant. No votes for prisoners. Those responsible for criminal damage forced to carry out unpaid work in area where it was committed. Those jailed for offences affecting their community should be banned from returning to live in the area, as a condition of their release. “Complete overhaul” of police taking into account “best practice from other countries”.

Benefits & Poverty

UKIP: Only pay child benefit for the first two children for new claimants. Increase the Carers’ Allowance to the same level as Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) and pay a higher rate of JSA if you’ve been in work and already made tax and National Insurance contributions. Prevent anyone taking up permanent residence in Britain unless they’re able to support themselves and any dependents they bring with them for at least five years and stop them receiving benefits. Stop paying child benefit for children who don’t live in Britain. Scrap what UKIP calls the “detested bedroom tax”. Boost “credit unions”.

The other parties manifesto’s can be viewed at
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29642613

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Diabolical situation in Social Housing/Private rental properties

Over the past year or so I have helped a number of families and residents. I will not reveal any details of the people as that is a breach of their confidentiality, so I will give basic details so that I can show how they and countless others no doubt are living in conditions that quite frankly are no better than the old slums of the 1890’s!

Family number One

This family had been on the waiting list for over 8 years. They had a notice to quit their current accommodation yet they were put on the lowest band so no matter how often they bid on homes they liked and would like to live in they were never considered. It was apparent that the band was incorrect and they should be actually in Band 2 rather than Band 6.

With a few e-mails, a few weeks, a bit of investigation and some legalese contained in the letters this family were eventually offered a suitable property and moved in on the day they would have been made homeless.

Family number Two

This family lived in a completely unsuitable property. Due to disabilities and illness the property was simply not fit for purpose. One family member was unable to use climb any stairs at all. They were reduced to descending the out stairwell on their bottom and crawling back up on their hands and knees. This was not only undignified but was also extremely painful. Inside the property the family member could not access the upper floor, they had no option but to sleep on the couch in the living room. They also had to have a commode brought so that they had some sort of toilet facilities, as they couldn’t access their bathroom! It was a very dire state of affairs. Again rules stated were that one had to be a resident of good standing for two years before an application could be made for a property exchange.

I don’t know about you but I knew how different life can change in two years and this seemed like a rather arbitrary period of time. This family had been contacting the relevant people and departments but each time they met the same barriers. After a good few months of trying and getting nowhere they contacted me.

I started the ball rolling, had to get other agencies involved but I am happy to say the family have now got the keys for a disabled adapted property and move in very soon. The family member will now have access to a bed, toilet and washing facilities etc.

UPDATE

This family have now moved into the new property, they are very happy despite a few odd remedial repairs to be undertaken but they have now got access to a bathroom with the adaptions required so things are looking up for them.

Family Number Three

This a particularly harrowing situation for anyone to find themselves in. The family have been in private rented properties for a number of years. Sadly having to move every now and then due to the Landlord’s property being required for use by the owner or in some situations the property being repossessed.

The Landlord of their latest property, despite being aware of the problems and being present at the Pest Control Officers inspection, allowed the family to live in a house that was infested with rats. The family had become severely ill on a number of occasions, they had put it down to various possibilities like a bug picked up from school, work or a dodgy burger/take away the things we would all think of first. None of us would think any different.

The family had been taking medication and doing all they could to keep the infestation under control but it was like trying to turn back the tide (think King Canute) they and their young children were suffering to such a degree that the Landlord should in my humble opinion be prosecuted.

I remained hopeful that this family would be soon found a home, free from non-contributing unwanted guests RATS. They needed a home to start to live normally together and to enjoy a real family life, without moving so often. Alas before the family could think about their future things in the here and now got worse! I had previously suggested that the family contact environmental health and to make an emergency appointment with their GP. I was concerned about health issues, namely Wiels Disease which is a killer.

A member of the Environmental Health team came out and raised worries on a number of issues regarding the property. The rats were one issue but even more worrying was the boiler. Transco were called and within an hour or so the Boiler was condemned. So the family were facing the prospect of not only being infested with rats but also being cold and having no access to hot water to wash in or to clean with.

This was now a matter of life and death there was a boiler that was condemned but due to its position and some faults with its installation it was highly likely the family had been suffering the effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

This did escalate the matter somewhat and the council did get the family booked into a hotel as there was category 1 breach. The council where actually on the ball when it came to ensuring the health and safety of the family. This is one time when I can see that Health and Safety laws really do help.

Update

I have fantastic news, the family have now been successful in the bidding process. They have been to view their new home and they accepted it immediately. The family are ecstatic and are looking forward to a more secure future in to their “forever” home.

It has been a slog but must say the council staff have been very helpful and accommodating. The family now have the keys to their new home and are moving in.

There are so many families on Council Housing waiting lists, some living in conditions such as this family or indeed even worse. Most families are forced into private rented properties because there simply are not enough Social Housing properties available for those who need them. Families are being charged rents by these slum landlords that aren’t cheap by any means. Many rents are more than it would cost per month to pay a repayment mortgage on the property, most places in my local area are at least £475 a month! This is for the cheapest properties in the area, rents on average are around £650 for a 2 bedroom house.

Working families find the rents crippling, they can’t save to get a deposit to buy their own home which would cost less per month than the rent. Obviously things a different in the South or in very sought after areas.

Families like those above and many others who find themselves in this situation must fill out countless forms, they often have made request for help from their Councillors and MP but their pleas did not produce any sort of help or assistance. What are these people doing? They are paid to help, support and take up such issues but all to often I hear that despite contacting the elected officials the help is not forthcoming and I suppose that is why people search me out and ask for my help. I am helping people all over the country not just my local area.

Obviously this is just a snapshot of the issues people are facing and in fairness to those involved I have diluted their stories and given scant information. It would be wholly unfair to them, the council area they live in and a breach of confidence.

What is the solution to the housing shortage and slum landlords?

I firmly believe that on the brown field sites in every town and city it would be the best course of action for councils to build houses and to retain them as a real asset. Ok the initial capital outlay could be high but it will give the council assets that could be mortgaged if need be. It will put more social housing in to the system which will save more families from slum style landlords.

Why should the taxpayer fund the pension plans of Slum Landlords
The people who are the usual inhabitants of the slum properties are those on low incomes and those on housing benefit. Why should they be forced to live in such disgusting properties that are full of mould, damp, rats, faulty boilers etc.

Sadly many of these landlords do not even perform the basic checks undertaken such as gas safety! How can they allow people to live in a home that could be killing them? So many people die in winter due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning, they need to put the heating on more often
in cold weather and the results can be disastrous for the inhabitants and others who are close by. It is criminal that families who aren’t well off must suffer at the hands of unscrupulous, uncaring, money grabbing, slum landlords.

No matter how we may wish for a smaller state there are some things in a civilised society that must be controlled by the state. The rise of slum Landlord’s in the past 20 years or so has been exponential. The councils have sold many properties off to residents or Housing Associations. Instead of replenishing stock the councils didn’t, the Government didn’t push that agenda either, it seems they were more interested in collecting the massive revenues from stamp duty on the ever increasing values of houses.

At least there are now 3 families with a secure and stable home, I wish I could help more people and families but I am just one person. I will continue to help all who ask, sadly I cannot ever guarantee outcomes that would be unfair and wrong.

I will always try my best to help those in need. Maybe one day the families will reveal the full details but that is for them to do!

If you need help please contact me I will try my best to give you the help, support or best agency to assist you.

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How much lower will ATOS go?

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/mentally-ill-woman-sheila-holt-rochdale-6553258

I honestly thought the system in place regarding the Work Capability Assessments undertaken by ATOS could not get any worse. I was wrong! Sadly a mentally ill lady who is in a coma and has suffered a heart attack since her benefits were withdrawn last year.

This lady has a long standing illness, her Bipolar disorder has meant she has been unable to work since leaving school. Her medication will have helped to keep her at a level of equilibrium but it cannot and and would not cure her condition,

Sheila was pushed to the limit by the worry over the changes to the benefit system, she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after her benefits where withdrawn. The worry of her benefits being withdrawn, the impersonal nature of how the assessments are carried out, the dismissive letters that are “standard” are written in DWP Jargon and are quite frankly difficult to understand. I have trouble with them and have to read them a number of times. I admit that I have had to phone up to try to get the letters explained. It’s very frightening, you feel like you have done something wrong, there is no humanity involved. You know to the people in the departments see you only as a number, a file on the computer, a list of DWP regulations and you feel terrible.

Quite honestly you feel like you are on trial. It is such a scary and frightening process, you know yourself that you are too sick to work. You feel that the assessors don’t listen to what you say. They barely look at you as they are too busy typing on the computer.

Sheila was likely asked to fill out her form, it was possibly done by someone in her family and someone who cares for her. They will have answered to questions honestly and to the best of their ability. Before Sheila was pushed over the edge, she possibly could have done the majority of the physical tests. Sheila would likely be able to pick up an empty box, pour herself a drink from a 1 or 2 litre carton, she may also have been able to walk more than 50mts. Sheila was not physically disabled she had longstanding mental health issues.

In October 2013 the DWP were told they must contact all of the people involved with the care of patients with Mental Heath issues so that all of the evidence required to assess the person in relation to their capability for work. Some people with mental health issues can and do work, however there comes a time when all they will sadly have a breakdown and need time off or need to be and in patient.

Mental health issues are just as dibilitating as physical disabilities. Surely the DWP know this, you would expect they would have devised a form that will not be oppressive, will be open questions so people can explain their individual physical and or mental issues, the questions are not helpful and so many appear to be asking the same question just in a slightly different way. The forms are like a mini novel, it can take people a few days to fill in. There really has to be a better way.

Sheila is now in hospital, in a coma and ATOS are demanding that she be available and must attend a further assessment. Sheila is too ill to send a reply, she is too ill to attend any assessment centre. What will the DWP do when they do not hear from her? Will they send a letter saying they are sanctioning her?

I hope that the local JCP will read this and see how Sheila is currently,

1) can she move an empty box? NO.
2) can she feed herself? NO.
3) can she put a pen in her top pocket? NO.
4) can she walk without any help or aids? NO.

Sheila cannot do anything for herself, she needs 24 hour care and why is that DWP/ATOS? It is because you have scared a very vulnerable lady, you made her feel so scared that the fear caused her to have a total breakdown and her Biopolar was not under control. On top of the break down which will also have exacerbated her physical health she suffered a heart attack. she now has little chance of having any form of life, it is highly unlikely she will ever be anywhere near as well as she was before.

Her life is effectively in the balance all due to an uncaring Government who are happy to see the super wealthy avoid tax but if you’re a person who has health problems then you will be vilified, made to feel like you’re a fraud and that you are cheating the system. We can only say well done to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration who have been instrumental in these reforms, maybe their intention was to cut fraud but as only 0.3% of all claims involving sickness or disability then they seek to go after the most vulnerable in order to weed out the scammers.

I hope David Cameron, Nick Clegg and all the ministers in the DWP and their staff, the ATOS assessors read about Sheila and then look in the mirror. Are you proud of this? Are you proud of the numbers of people who are taken off the ESA benefit? How can any compassionate human being see the reports daily where people like Sheila, like you, like me, have become seriously ill or in an increasing number or examples the person has died!

Whilst assessments are a good idea, they need to be conducted in a better, more human way. Full patient history should be examined by a qualified GP or even a specialist in the area the persons illness falls into.

Sorry but for people like Sheila your current system is a disgrace and you should hang your heads I shame. Maybe you should look at the real scammers oh you do they are around you I the Commons! How many of you put paper clips on your expenses, the odd tv, maybe a stereo, a couch, a porn film, stamp duty costs because you decided to cash in on the property boom in London, the tax pays funded that home but did one penny of the profit go back into the coffers……..did it heck as like.

This administration is a much of a joke as its predecessors. Yes everyone the MP’s who are whipped to vote how they are told are no better because they aren’t acting in the best interests of their constituents.

I hope Sheila will come out of the coma, I hope she will get well enough to leave hospital. I hope she never has to undergo an ATOS or Capita assessment ever again.

Get well soon Sheila.

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Big Benefits Row

Ok have just tried to watch the #BigBenefitsRow. I know many others on twitter and other social media have done the same.

I make no secret of my physical ill health and disability nor my mental illness. I refuse to hide it because it’s part of me and I believe in honesty.

I am on benefits, no I don’t like it, yes I’d love to be well enough to get back into work. I do apply for jobs still, I do have a lot to offer but being realistic my health issues make it basically impossible for any employer to give me a chance unless I could do it all from home at times to suit me and my illness/medication.

I like many others want to feel useful and not surplus to societies requirements. I am able and do try to help people via e-mail, telephone, at times to suit me. It pays nothing but i do get that glow of satisfaction that I’ve helped make life a little better for another person or family.

Some people can’t do what I can for many reasons, they do feel down, it can lead to a spiral of depression this is one of the mental issues people want to talk about & get help via sorts of talking therapies such Psychotherapy. Alas access to good mental health help varies throughout the country. With help being so sporadic & ranging from great to being put on a waiting list for years! Surely it is better to treat the person via immediately accessible mental health services then they would be able to get well, have the help and return to some work slowly and eventually they would be able to work full time and not be reliant on benefits. All of these approaches must have a caveat, some people with all the help possible are simply not able to cope in the world of work. So this will work for some but not all.

I am all for working if you are able bodied and not suffering from a severe or mental illness. We have read and seen how people in a coma, in severe kidney failure and on dialysis, people who have had strokes, brain tumours etc who are told they are fit for work because they can lift an empty cardboard box, put a pen in their top pocket and hold a 2litre milk carton. This does not take into account the way the illness/disease actually prevents them from being available to work for certain amounts of time etc.

Yes there are some people who do abuse the system, yes there are some who pretend to be single parents when they have their partner live with them. This is because the rules make it financially beneficial to be “a single parent” rather than valuing marriage, cohabitation etc which is really the best for any kids to live in a two parent family.

Some people are told at the Job Centre they will be worse off by £x.xx if they take this or that job. That is wrong and people should be better off in work than on benefits. However, when we take a view of it like “if I take this job I will lose out on time with my child, most money will go on childcare, the cost of travel to work, and with all taken in to account I will be £3 per week worse or better off”

In the above scenario you will get many people who would rather be in work and will take it because being on benefits and not having a routine, a place to be, a reason to get up and get outside can leave a person really isolated. There are more than just money that is gained when a person takes employment. These other really positive aspects aren’t discussed. I humbly suggest they are.

I think people are brassed off with those people, small minority, who have never worked and seem to have a much nicer lifestyle than the person working on minimum wage. It can get vey upsetting and it can be irksome.

However, those people may have “invisible” health conditions that mean they cannot work, again this aspect is overlooked in any discussions.

I had until I got sick, 5 years or so ago, I had always worked and or been in education. I am only just coming to terms with the steep decline of my health and it’s still no fun and I don’t like being in this position. I’d give anything to be able to control my illness (there is no cure) so that I could maybe work part time. I know lots of others I a very similar situation.

There is no easy answer to this but I do feel that putting pensions into the same calculation does give a very warped view of the money spent on benefits. Maybe it would be helpful if the costs were put into their respective headings. It may help.

We have had a really terrible down turn, recession, double dip recession and during that time many thousands of people have lost their jobs, in some areas they have found it almost impossible to find any other job. Lots of people have moved to find work. Many cannot due to children being in eduction at a critical time such as SATS, GCSE’S or at College undertaking education or training.

Anyway remember 99% of people who are out of work, wish they were in work. We have graduates on the checkout at supermarkets, alas this is a state of the employment market BUT I respect everybody who takes a job they are vastly over qualified for because they would rather have some money coming in rather than being on benefits.

Benefits street as a programme focused on such a tiny microcosm that is it impossible to to actually use that as an example of the norm for all those who are out of work and claiming benefits.

Maybe there should be a programme on showing how hard many people try to get a job, any job. Showing the people who send off vast numbers of applications per day yet don’t even get an email/letter/phone call back to acknowledge their application or to say thanks but no thanks.

Most of all you must for the most part think “There but for the grace of god go I” because sadly illness and injury can change your life over night.

Well that’s my 2p’s worth if it’s worth anything at all?

Benefit Cap – Problems Inherent in the System, part 2

Hello everyone, here the latest instalment of my views regarding Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship benefit changes. The Benefit Cap, as with all the new benefits recently rolled out, was started in April 2013 but only in a handful of Boroughs around London. From DWP Website:

“How much is the benefit cap?

The level of the cap is:
a). £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)

b). £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them

c). £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them”

Any new claimant would be put on the Capped Rate with others being “migrated” over as and when their number is churned out on the DWP Lottery Computer.

On a TV news programme last week, there was a lady who had been receiving £582 per week for her and 8, yes EIGHT, kids.

She is no longer with their father and she is unable to work. “Imagine the child care costs!” It was not discussed whether the father contributes to the children’s upbringing but this is a factor worth looking into.

She was recently migrated over onto the Benefit Cap. If we look at this one family in essence they receive £82 a week less than they did prior to the changeover.

If she wasn’t a single parent and the father of her children was in paid employment, working over 24hrs they would not be, as a family, subject to the benefit cap.

Is this a cunning ploy to encourage the together but apart families, who can get more money under the current system, to become a “legitimate” family? Maybe not, BUT if this is an unintended consequence then the winners will be the children and the taxpayers.

It may be that this family of 9 will be “signposted” (this week’s new buzzword) or told where the foodbank is, given the voucher and sent on their not so merry way.

Clothing can be bought from charity shops, there will no doubt be hand-me-downs and school uniform for the kids in Junior school is quite cheap in the supermarkets these days. There may also be access to what was the “Social Fund”. This is no longer a cash benefit claimed via the DWP, it’s a new benefit given out by local councils. They can give vouchers to purchase food, clothing and necessities in the home such as beds, cookers and bedding.

There are some people and families who will not be subject to the cap. Some of you may remember Heather Frost, the Mother of 12. She has never worked, had her first child aged just 14.

What do these two Mothers have in common and what makes them different?

Well they both have 8 or 9 kids living at home, they do not live with the father(s) of their children. One has to manage on £500 per week but the other one does not because she falls into the category whereby the Cap does not affect her level of benefits.

It is a legitimate reason, for the difference being that one of Ms Frost’s children has a disability. Simply purchasing the most basic equipment to help make the child’s quality of life and possible ways towards some independence is eye wateringly expensive!

For Those Not Affected by the Cap, I’ll quote the DWP Website again:

“You’re not affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

1) Disability Living Allowance
2) Personal Independence Payment
3) Attendance Allowance
4) Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
6) Employment and Support Allowance, if you get the support component
7) War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
8) War pensions
9) Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
10) Armed Forces Independence Payment”

I would keep the cap but would reduce the amounts payable BUT I would not want kids to suffer though. So for children already living I would recommend that the families who would lose most (those with the largest numbers of children) be exempt, implementing the measure with respect to children born after a given date.

Those who have 3 children are likely receiving around £500 so there would be no changes needed. However should a family decide to have a 4th child then they would not receive any more money in benefits.

This is likely to discourage people from having extra-large families in the future, who could once have been “paid” for simply having babies. That “Career Path” would be closed to them!

It’s no fault of the children if their parents decide to have so many of them. I just worry that the kids living in a capped household may suffer and it may limit their life choices in the future.

The Government will not have considered the wider macro repercussions. The impact on the Social Services budget will be phenomenal as it is likely kids who are not in any danger of abuse by their parents could end up being taken into care, simply because they’re hungry.

We are supposedly living in in the 7th Largest Economy in the world yet some of our most vulnerable people are having to go to food-banks so they don’t starve. It is what you’d expect to hear about in a Dickensian novel not in 21st Century Britain.

So as with Universal Credit bomb and The Benefit Cap scud missile about to go boom, I fear the children will be the unintended casualties of this badly drafted piece of legislation!

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State Benefits – Problems Inherent in The System

Blog Number 1 – Universal Credit

I have over the past few months been looking at the system currently meant to be in use throughout the country, after pilot schemes there should have been a national roll out for all new claimants & for those reporting a change in circumstances etc.

What I have seen over the past year is sad, bad, embarrassing, upsetting, degrading, humiliating, heartbreaking, scary, incomprehensible plus many other things including complete and utter incredulity at the sheer lack of common sense and vilification of our most vulnerable citizens.

I’m sure you’ve all been aware of the stories regarding ATOS, Work Capability Assessments (WCA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Job Centre Plus (JCP), Universal Credit (UC), Contribution Based, Income Based, 365 day rule, and those are just off the top of my head without even looking at others!

Oops forgot Working Tax Credit (WTC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), Pension Credit (PC), Housing Benefit (HB), Council Tax Benefit (CTB) and The Removal Of The Spare Room Subsidy (AKA “Bedroom Tax”) ok think that’s them all oh blimey no it’s not last one Benefit Cap (BC)!

I feel like I’m in the No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition sketch of Monty Python Fame! Sadly though there is no comfy chair, soft cushions, cup of tea at 11am with chocolate biscuits nor a nice warm fire to sit beside.

So all these changes have been rushed through. Yes changes can be good but so many, so fast at a time of great upheaval? Well that’s not my place to decide but it could have been a sensible idea to stagger these changes in a more measured way. All of these changes all at once leaves the staff administrating them confused because there is simply too many things. Some people on the old system (which if we are honest not all JCP workers were really, hand on heart, fully knowledgable or expert in; no disrespect but it’s the truth).

Let’s take a look this evening at Universal Credit (UC); I had to start somewhere & this was the lucky topic. hastily adds in the intro *whistles* aha done.

Universal Credit is in theory a good idea. All benefits for which you are eligible are paid in one monthly payment. Bit like a salary, so far so good wake up it’s not that boring I can see you nodding off oops talking to Siri not you.

That seems logical, from this amount you pay your;

1. own rent direct to your landlord,

2. Council Tax
(a percentage depending on your council)

3. Pilot schemes were started in certain areas of the North West on April 15th 2013. The full national roll out was supposed to start in October 2013. It hasn’t!

The problem is that so few new people went to claim this benefit and of those who did found during the mandatory way to claim via computer/online, saw the programme crash!

It couldn’t even cope with a limited number of users in a small area. The JCP staff were then having to write down all of the claimants answers and then input manually after the client had left!

This was supposed to be a benefit scheme to make claims easier & faster.

This has not happened, here we are almost into the festive season and there are some people claiming under Universal Credit but their neighbour is claiming under another system & may be in receipt of a differing amount when the circumstances of these neighbours are virtually identical.

Another possible problem could be the people receiving the rent money in with their benefit instead of it going directly to the landlord. In winter months when it’s cold would the person pay the rent over or would they spend it on heating their home?

This would by no means be every person but if you’re kids are cold & hungry would you put the kids needs first or paying your (possibly very rich) Landlord?

Obviously in comparison to the situation of the claimant & their perception of the Landlord’s situation then it is likely that the claimant would (wrongly in law but rightly in respect of their children) think the Landlord can afford to wait, arrears could mount up quite swiftly!

This is an ethical dilemma in my humble opinion; if the claimant is dealt with under the old system then the rent is paid direct but they are at risk of using loan sharks or payday loan companies in order to feed & keep their children warm in winter.

Conversely the claimant on the new system may see the cash available in their account & rather than resort to loan sharks and payday loan companies they decide to use the rent money & then go into rent arrears.

Being in rent arrears is a less scary option (well it would be to me) because the landlord is unlikely to come round & beak your legs but a loan shark would.

So we have a few thousand on this scheme and very little in the news to tell us how people are legitimately coping with the system. Is it better? Is it a much easier & better system for the claimants? We really need to know about these facts but again the media is silent, the Government are silent.

Is this silence an indication of the fact the system is not working or is it so they can use it as the results as political ammunition as the elections approach?

Ok that was my whistlestop (Yes it was don’t be cranky I’m doing my best) basic explanation of Universal Credit.

What do you think?

Are you on that benefit? If so please let us all know what you think about it & is it working for you & your family?

Ok that’s my first of what could be many blogs on each of these welfare systems.

I’ve said what I think it’s all about if you know more please share & help us understand because I could have interpreted it wrongly. I’m not perfect & by no means do I ever want to be – what fun would I be if I were perfect I think my wheels of steel would rust up in protest lol.

Ok hope to hear your views & experiences.

Happy Thursday 😃⭐️♿️💜

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ESA – jargon explained

I have copied and pasted the reply from the DWP Ministerial team. I thought this would be useful information for those who have been timed out of Contribution ESA whilst in the Work Related Activity Group but who are then successful at an appeal and are put into the support group.

It essentially means that you will be put into the same position you would have been had the Assessors and Decision Makers took into account all of your personal circumstances and care needs.

I know that this may only help a few people but it’s better than none!

Keep up the fight; you’re not chronically sick or disabled for fun & I know more than 99% of those claiming ESA, DLA, PIP etc are doing so because they have absolutely no other choice.

Remember also in the support group you are allowed to undertake permitted work without it affecting your benefit (up to a certain earnings level).

If in the support group & receiving contribution based benefit then the earnings of your spouse/partner are not taken into consideration. This will only become relevant if you have to claim Income based/means tested benefits.

I have put it into words we all understand rather than the DWP Language only understood by the Sir Humphrey types of this world!

**(Watch ‘Yes Minister’ on you tube or on a satellite channel; it is very true to what goes on in the Civil Service etc; a more sedate version of ‘The Thick If It’ – both equally worth watching)**

Let me know if this is useful….. Thanks 🙂
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