Tag Archives: bedroom tax

Women in black, poppies in red

On Question Time on Thursday night before this remembrance Sunday, Benjamin Zephaniah wore a white poppy, not a red one – and the BBC did their best to angle the cameras so that this would not be visible. I dropped some money in a British Legion collecting box on Friday, but refused the red poppy.

Poppies made by LHPF and displayed by Poppy Scotland
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Filed under Housing, Poverty, War

Help, you’re killing us

https://edinburgheye.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/old-age-and-death-sticker-set.jpgEveryone dies. Nothing’s sure but death and taxes.

In general, over decades of the NHS and welfare support and help for disabled people, people have been living longer. Since the first Coalition government spending review, cuts on spending have targeted the poor and disabled.

The DWP’s own figures say:

The prevalence of disability rises with age. Around 6 per cent of children are disabled, compared to 16 per cent of working age adults* and 45 per cent of adults over State Pension age in Great Britain.

In 2008/09, 16% of pensioner households were living in poverty.

Esther McVey, the minister for disabled people, told the Mail on Sunday in March this year that in her view many of the people receiving disability didn’t really need it:

“Only three per cent of people are born with a disability, the rest acquire it through accident or illness, but people come out of it. Thanks to medical advances, bodies heal.”

Mortality rates have been falling steadily for years. There was a blip upwards in 2003, but it was followed by a blip downwards in 2004 – no overall change in the general trend downwards. Since the beginning of 2012, mortality among older people has been rising steadily, and has continued to rise in 2013.

[Note: The government have since decided to ensure no further evidence is published that could evidence a general trend upward by abolishing the Public Health England reports.]
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Filed under Age, Benefits, Disability, Housing, Poverty, Women

PM works with parody

You couldn’t make it up: on the day the Tory / LibDem coalition are rolling out another round of welfare cuts, David Cameron announces he’s working with someone who doesn’t exist except on the Internet. (No, not Michael Green MP.)

David Cameron's tweet about working with IDS_MP
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Iain Duncan Smith: the quiet man with so much to be quiet about

Iain Duncan SmithA universal welfare state is the essential bedrock of a civilised country. A civilised country ensures that no one goes without healthcare because they can’t afford it, no one is treated as if worthless because they cannot work, and that anyone who loses their job needn’t fear destitution for themselves or for their family if they don’t find another job instantly. A civilised country ensures that no one needs to work when they are too young or too old or too disabled or too ill. This is not a system that can be replaced by random acts of charity: to become civilised, we pay taxes and national insurance and we all benefit.

Iain Duncan Smith became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in May 2010 – a role he has held ever since, despite efforts by David Cameron to unseat him in the 2012 reshuffle. He has virtually no further-education qualifications and spent several months on the dole after leaving the Scots Guards in the recession of 1981. But the next year he married a very wealthy woman, the daughter of a very wealthy man, and he and his wife and four children still live in a house rented from his father-in-law on his wife’s father’s estate: he became an MP in 1992, inheriting Norman Tebbit’s safe constituency of Chingford. Whatever Iain Duncan Smith’s experience of unemployment thirty-two years ago, it’s safe to say that in thirty years he hasn’t had money worries – except when he became Leader of the Opposition and it was discovered he’d given his wife one of those plum “assistant” jobs which used to be a bonus for the spouse or child of an MP.

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These people were living on a shoestring.

Lisa Egan:

I get the care component of DLA for supervision because my bones break so easily. There is no mention of needing constant supervision in the proposed PIP criteria. Because I can feed myself, even though I once broke my arm eating, I will get no recognition for that. Because I can take myself to the toilet, even though I once broke my leg washing my hands after, I will get no recognition for that. Because I can get myself in and out of the shower, even though I once broke… you get the idea. (Huffington Post, 30th January 2012)

Louise Bolotin:

I had a good look at the PIP case studies yesterday, particularly studying the one about a woman with epilepsy. Looking at the points allocation, I’m fairly sure I won’t qualify for PIP even though I have a lifetime award for DLA. I get DLA because preparing and cooking a meal unaided is very risky for me (I once almost burnt down my former partner’s house because of this – it was a miracle the house hadn’t gone up completely in flames by the time he got home), likewise going out unsupervised is also risky because of the possibility of having a seizure while crossing the road. (Where’s the Benefit, 18 January 2012

Sharon Brennan:

I currently qualify for higher rate mobility under DLA but I won’t under PIP. Under the new rules for PIP if a disabled person CANNOT walk more than 50 metres but doesn’t need a wheelchair then they will no longer be entitled to higher rate mobility, which in short means access to a car through the motability scheme.

Please re-read that sentence and then think through the callousness of that statement and what that means to disabled claimants, like me. It means my world would be reduced to my home, and a stumble to the end of my road at best. My world, which has already been turned upside down by my worsening health, would diminish so much I’d have to question whether there is any point fighting to stay off the lung transplant list anymore. (Where’s the Benefit, 18 January 2012

Angela, via @THemingford: Angela has peroneal muscular atrophy and high blood pressure: some complicated medical problems relating to a road traffic accident years ago: anxiety and depression. Until 2009, she was able to work, and paid for adaptations to her home that made it possible for her to continue to live there, worth about £30,000. She used her DLA to pay for a carer to come in some days and help with “washing, laundry, hoovering, dusting, tidying and some aspects of shopping.” She lives alone but needs a second bedroom to store various pieces of essential disability-related equipment, including her wheelchair. “There is nowhere else of this to go or be stored.”

After she was no longer able to work, Housing Benefit paid most of her rent and she used £50 per month from her DLA to top up the remainder. Besides the Housing Benefit she gets Income Support and DLA. Recent Housing Benefit cuts and changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) now partly determined by the number of rooms and people in a property – no exemptions for disabled people – mean that her Housing Benefit is much lower: she has to find £35 more a week, so the amount she now has to pay to top up her Housing Benefit is £190 per month. For want of £190 a month – she has no way to earn it and no other source of income – she will have to move. Wherever she moves to, will have to have £30,000 of adaptations made in order for to her live there.

I got that far with Angela’s story and realised full-on how absurd this kind of “cut” is. Angela paid herself for the adaptions to a home she rents: if she moves out, the adaptations are worthless. To “save” the taxpayer £190 a month, £2280 a year, Angela is being required to dispose of essential assets worth £30,000 to her and worthless to the next tenant. What kind of arithmetic is this?

But wait: There’s worse. Continue reading

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