The new welfare system takes for granted that all claimants are scroungers and cheats who need to be penalised. Political Scrapbook:
The £1.1 billion cost of fraud (a modest 0.7% of the total benefits spend) averages out to £59 across 18.5 million claimants. In contrast, MPs were ordered to pay back £1.2 million in the wake of Thomas Legg’s inquiry into expenses, an average of £1,858 for the 646 members of the Commons.
Especially if the claimant supposedly has a “disability” and yet doesn’t fill in their ESA50 (Limited capability for work questionnaire). The claimant’s wife contacts ATOS and offers as an excuse that the claimant is in a coma, and presents a letter from the hospital where the claimant is staying which confirms that the claimant is in a coma, but really: if you don’t fill in your ESA50 yourself, or at least check and sign it, you are obviously a scrounger and a fraud.
Employment and Support Allowance focuses on the patient’s abilities – on what they can do rather than what they cannot. The overarching principle of Employment and Support Allowance is that everyone should have the opportunity to work and that people with an illness or disability should get the help and support necessary for them to engage in appropriate work, if they are able. It builds on the successful “Pathways to Work” programme, which is now available nationally. We are investing in every region to ensure that a range of services is available for your patients, including condition management programmes specifically designed to help your patients manage their conditions in preparation for a return to work.
Obviously a patient in a coma who is capable of defrauding DWP should have the opportunity to engage in appropriate work. Minister for Employment, maybe?
The point everyone in this house has got to consider is: are we happy to go on paying £30,000, £40,000, £50,000? Are constituents working hard to give benefits so people can live in homes that they can only dream of? I don’t think that is fair.
In May 2009, David Cameron was asked (lead story in the Times Saturday magazine): “So how many properties do you own?” He answered:
“I own a house in North Kensington which you’ve been to and my house in the constituency in Oxfordshire and that is, as far as I know, all I have.” A house in Cornwall? “No, that is, Samantha used to have a timeshare in South Devon but she doesn’t any more.” And there isn’t a fourth? I don’t think so, not that I can think of.” Please don’t say, “Not that I can think of… You might be… Samantha owns a field in Scunthorpe but she doesn’t own a house”
That “field in Scunthorpe” is meiosis:
Though her father [Sir Reginald Sheffield] is nowhere near as wealthy as her stepfather [Viscount Astor], he is by most people’s reckoning a very rich man, richer by far than David Cameron’s multimillionaire dad. When she once described herself as having grown up “near Scunthorpe”, she was referring to the 3,000 acres of arable land in north Lincolnshire that her father inherited, along with Thealby Hall. The main family seat, Normanby Hall, was handed over to Lincolnshire council in lieu of death duties, but there is still Sutton Park, a £5m mansion near York with another 1,000 acres, which her father inherited in 1997.
Her family’s connections have been useful to her husband. When he lost his job in government after the Black Wednesday fiasco in 1992, Lady Astor had a word with her friend Michael Green, chairman of Carlton Television, who hired Cameron as director of corporate affairs, the only job he has ever held outside politics. Her money also helped to buy their first home, in North Kensington, in 1992, for £215,000. It is now valued at £1.5m.
As a director of Smythson, she is likely to be paid more than her husband, whose salary as Leader of the Opposition is £130,000 a year. In one interview, David Cameron also mentioned that his wife “owns a field in Scunthorpe”. That may not sound like much, but her father has been heard to say: “I live off unearned income, garnished by the occasional planning consent.” Were his daughter’s “field” to be similarly garnished, it could be very valuable indeed. Independent, October 2009
David Cameron claims £21,000 a year to pay the mortgage on his Oxfordshire house:
He took out the £350,000 mortgage – close to the maximum amount that can be claimed for – to buy a large house in Oxfordshire in August 2001, two months after winning his Witney seat in the General Election. By nominating it as his second home, he was able to claim for the mortgage interest payments under the now-infamous Commons’ Additional Costs Allowance (ACA).
Just four months after securing the £350,000 mortgage, Mr Cameron paid off the £75,000 loan on his London home, taken out only six years earlier.
There is no suggestion that he broke any rules. But mortgage experts say that if he had kept the loan on his London home and borrowed £75,000 less on the Oxfordshire property, taxpayers could have been saved more than £22,000 between 2002 and 2007. (Daily Mail, May 2009)
Are constituents working hard to keep David Cameron in a house most of them can only dream of?
Why yes, they are.