Scotland prepared to rebel over DWP’s child poverty changes

The Scottish government is to withdraw from one of the UK government’s leading welfare initiatives in protest at Iain Duncan Smith’s decision to abandon key targets for measuring child poverty, the Observer has learned.

Scottish ministers have told the work and pensions secretary they plan to leave the social mobility and child poverty commission headed by former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn and want Scotland to be excluded from the legislation on child poverty passed by Westminster in 2010.11709489_985449581488924_1385951511306534685_n

In a revolt that will deepen the political divide between Scotland and the rest of the UK, the Scottish government plans to introduce a distinct strategy on eliminating child poverty, in part by keeping the targets that have been dropped by the Department of Work and Pensions. The DWP is to scrap the child poverty reduction targets for 2020 set by Gordon Brown, by dropping a long-established method of measuring household poverty against 60% of average incomes, and will rename Milburn’s body the social mobility commission.

Alex Neil, the Scottish social justice secretary, wrote to Duncan Smith last week to warn him that he was withdrawing Scotland’s commissioner, Douglas Hamilton, effectively ending the commission’s role in helping develop policy across the different parts of the UK.

And this week the Scottish National party will table amendments to the welfare bill in the Commons seeking to amend the Child Poverty Act 2010 when the bill starts its committee stage on Thursday, to remove all the legislation’s duties on the Scottish government.

Neil told the Observer it was wrong that the DWP had removed the targets for children in working households. “We believe that to take people from working households out of the targets is absurd, especially because 67% of children living in poverty are living in a household where someone is working,” he said.

Scottish ministers plan to use the new, albeit limited, welfare policy making powers being introduced as part of the Scotland bill, which will extend Holyrood’s tax-raising and legal capabilities. as part of the UK government’s response to last year’s independence referendum.

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#child, #iain-duncan-smith, #poverty, #scotish, #scotland

UN set to challenge UK welfare reforms

The UN is set to challenge the UK government over Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) boss Iain Duncan Smith’s controversial welfare reforms to gauge whether they have caused “grave or systematic” violations to the human rights of disabled individuals. Costa Rican human rights lawyer Catalina Devandas Aguilar will visit the UK in the next few months to investigate claims that rights are being violated putting the government on the ropes over new laws including the bedroom tax.

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A UN special investigation on housing has already raised concerns over the welfare reforms and called upon the UK government to scrap the bedroom tax, which financially penalises disabled people for having a “spare” room within their house. Commentators and disabled charities have pointed out that many disabled people need the extra room to store equipment that is essential to their disability.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald Inclusion Scotland, a consortium of disability charities in Scotland, said that it had already been contacted by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons. Director of policy Bill Scott told the paper: “The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate… sometime in the next few months.”

The DWP has fought to keep the numbers of deaths linked to welfare reforms out of the public domain. However, last week it was forced to reveal that 2,380 people had died as a result of the changes in the way the government measures benefits. The number refers to the number of people who had died within six weeks of being declared “fit to work” by the government between 2011 and 2014.

In July this year the much-challenged Welfare Reform and Work Bill passed through the House of Commons on its second reading by 308 votes to 124. Despite 48 out of 216 Labour MPs going against the whip that had been encouraged by the acting leader of the party Harriet Harman and voting against the bill, the majority abstained, letting the bill pass with a large majority. Abstainers included current contenders for the Labour leadership Andy Burnham. Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has criticised the DWP over recent instructions issued to its staff on how to handle suicidal benefits claimants.


The above article is from Yahoo News.


#disability, #disabled, #dwp, #iain-duncan-smith, #unison


The following article is written by Paul Kavangh for The National Scot. Some small edits have been made.


POLITICS is, allegedly, the art of the possible. However, if you look to the oeuvre of such high profile practitioners of the political arts as Iain Duncan Smith or John McTernan, you soon realise that politics isn’t the art of the possible at all. It’s the art of making things up as you go along. It’s the art of self-justification. It’s the art of outright lying. Although to be fair, it’s wrong to accuse John of outright lying, because before you can lie you must be in touch with some sort of semblance of reality to begin with.

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The Department of Work and Pensions is presided over by Iain Duncan Smith who once claimed that he’d studied at the prestigious University of Perugia. In fact, Iain went there on a weekend break, had a nice plate of lying linguine in a sauce of barefaced cheek and went back home to the expensive house his wife’s millionaire family bought. It’s very easy not to have to face the consequences of your actions when you have an extremely wealthy family which will insulate you from your screw-ups. And Iain’s career in politics has been one lying screw up after another.

Back in 2013, the UK Statistics Authority issued a statement condemning Iain’s department for its abuse of statistics after he claimed that 8000 claimants affected by the benefits cap had moved into work. The very statistics Iain’s department had collected showed no such thing. Enraging an accountant takes a special kind of annoying. Iain did the same with his claims of success for the work programme, which was supposed to provide training for the long term unemployed. Iain just makes things up, and by the time the correction makes it way into a small paragraph in the inside pages of a Tory newspaper, his lie has already been plastered all over the front of the Daily Mail as an example of the successes of vicious right wingery. Of course, the only thing that Iain is successful at is telling porkie pies.

Iain’s relationship to truth and veracity is at best tangential, so when faced with mounting criticism of the inhumane regime of capriciously applied benefits sanctions which take from the mouths of the very poorest, Iain was in desperate need of some sanctioned claimants who would say that their sanctions had been a positive experience. Not for any particular reason of improved public image mind, the entire country already thinks he’s a bastard. It was because in keeping with Iain’s benefits regime, cabinet ministers have to produce a certain number of positive media reports, or George Osborne will sanction them. George knows all about painful and humiliating sanctions.

Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t find any people who’ve been starved who think it’s a positive thing, although perhaps if he’d looked amongst people following Michelle the Moan’s diet plan he might have had some success. He’d have had even more success if he’d trawled some of the more recherché nightclubs, because there at least he’d encounter some masochists who really do enjoy being kicked in the nads, reduced to powerless objects who have to beg, and stripped of their human dignity. Rumour has it there are quite a few of them who are Tory MPs.

Confronted with an absolute absence of any real-life positive outcomes from the Department of Work and Pensions sanctions regime, the DWP just took a leaf out of its boss’s book of lies, and made some up. Jennifer was sanctioned by the DWP and it relieved her of the burden of choosing food for her children’s tea, now she saves a fortune by just feeding them what she can find in the bins at the back of Lidl. James was found fit for work after dying of cancer, and now he runs a successful waste consultancy business in Kidderminster with Derek Acorah. Richard was sanctioned for being late for an appointment after his bus was caught in traffic, now he’s learned that money is a symbol of materialism and is a more spiritual person who fasts for weeks at a stretch.

But in one important respect, the invented sanctions stories are absolutely spot on. Just like the real sanctions, they have no grounding whatsoever in any objective reality. Caught out in its lie, the DWP hastily claimed that the stories were merely for illustrative purposes. This is obviously a different interpretation of “illustrative” from that used by the rest of us.

In the DWP “illustrative” clearly means fictitious self-justifying bull. If they’d caught claimants doing the same thing in their CVs the DWP would have sanctioned them more quickly than Iain Duncan Smith could say Perugia University. Because there’s a technical term for what the DWP did, and it’s “lying through your lying teeth”. Otherwise a claimant could write a CV full of what an employer would have said about how good they were at the job they never got and if the employer had liked them. But surely it must be OK if it was only for illustrative purposes. Iain does it, and no one sanctions him.

THERE was a time, aeons ago, that a government minister whose department was caught out telling bare faced lies would have had to resign for it. They’d have been slapped down and forced to make a grovelling apology to the House of Commons. That’s why cabinet ministers are paid so much more, because they are supposed to be responsible and the buck stops with them. They’re supposed to be accountable. But Iain won’t receive any sanctions for an action that would have resulted in a benefits claimant being sanctioned. It’s only the poor and the weak who have to suffer the consequences, not the rich and the powerful. That’s the real lesson of Iain’s sanction regime. We are governed by an unaccountable class which doesn’t need to bother with trivialities like truth, or even basic human decency. Iain’s department is also the department which insists that a raped woman prove that her child is a result of rape or she’ll get her benefits capped. And these are the people whose job is to ensure a basic standard of living for all citizens.

#benefits, #dwp, #iain-duncan-smith, #lies

JSUK Opinion- Iain Duncan Smith and benefit death figures

Do you remember the TV show Looney Tunes? More specifically the road runner ones?

In each episode the coyote would chase down the road runner,  after trying endlessly he  would eventually catch him, then at the last moment the road runner would always get the upper hand.  This is how it feels with Iain Duncan Smith and calls to release the information of benefit claimant death inquiries. People have tried endlessly to get his department to release the figures.

He was challenged on TV on the issue before the election where he claimed the department does not collect such information.

Then, a couple of days ago he contradicted himself and  blamed Labour for not releasing statistics and stated they will eventually release the statistics. ( Don’t hold your breathe.)

There was a TV show last year  that exposed the fact that the reports and investigations into 49 benefit related deaths  do exist, and the DWP have  also previously confirmed it themselves.

People have pitched freedom of information requests only to have them denied.

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I could go on, but ask yourself this.

What do they have to hide?

It takes a special kind of bastard to kill people and lie to cover it up.

He never gets called out on contradicting himself either.

#benefit-deaths, #cuts, #deaths, #iain-duncan-smith

‘Gov’t makes no apology for levels of child poverty’

From RT yesterday.

#child, #children, #iain-duncan-smith, #poverty, #welfare-cuts

IDS gets expenses card confiscated

IDS gets expenses card confiscated- READ MORE

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#expenses, #iai, #iain-duncan-smith

Figures detailing benefit-related deaths to be published, says David Cameron

David Cameron has announced that statistics showing how many people have died after losing their benefits are being prepared for publication, days after work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith denied that such figures existed.
Full article- here.

#deaths, #dwp, #figures, #iain-duncan-smith