INCOMPETENCE PERSONIFIED

15. Feb, 2014

MAKE NO MISTAKE: Iain Duncan Smith wants the end of social security

Illustration by Belle Mellor

Illustration by Belle Mellor


 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Make no mistake: Iain Duncan Smith wants the end of social security” was written by Zoe Williams, for The Guardian on Tuesday 10th December 2013 20.30 Europe/London

“Bruising,” they always say about the kind of week that’s happened to Iain Duncan Smith. As I write, it’s only Tuesday. You’d have to ask, without wishing the minister ill, at what point a bruise turns into an internal haemorrhage.

He started on the Today programme on Monday, maintaining that the problems with universal credit were mere trifles, because look at the shambles that was the working family tax credit. I remember that, but only just – it was a decade ago. Some of the payments were delayed, and a lot of overpayment was clawed back. If I were IDS, I wouldn’t mention it. Not because it looks pathetic, trying to wriggle out of your own catastrophe by pointing to something that happened to someone else 10 years since. But because it recalls a time when this was the worst the Department for Work and Pensions would do to you: delay, overpayment and recovery.

All these things caused hardship and anxiety. Compare them, though, to deliberately withholding benefits on the basis of specious sanctions; mass-scale food-bank usage, as hardship tips into desperation; and a regime in the DWP that is as unlikely to overpay in a rush of generosity to the head as it is to accept opportunity and dignity as government objectives. This comparison serves Duncan Smith ill.

It is a curiosity of the opposition that not only is it silent on matters of policy, but it even waits for a minister to point out that New Labour’s cock-ups were kinder than his, and felt a lot less painful on the ground. Bring back Dawn Primarolo. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)

Anyway, haste him, 2013′s very own Ebenezer, to the work and pensions committee that Monday afternoon, where they wanted to know a little more about this shambles, and more still about his persistent failures of truthfulness. Not so, he insisted. He had only been reprimanded twice by the UK Statistics Authority – which, when you consider how much he says, is brilliant.

He has a point here. As a leader column in the Economist famously pointed out: “Questionable numbers have floated out of [his] office into the public debate like raw sewage.” Only that morning, he had claimed that Labour’s tax credit errors cost “£30bn in fraud”. Nobody knows how he reached this figure. Even if he rolled overpayment together with every other DWP error, together with claimant error, together with claimant fraud, it still wouldn’t add up: not unless you then added in all other benefit error (plus fraud), and calculated it over 10 years. Realistically, how can you expect a statistics authority to keep up with a person like this?

The problem is – as Glenda Jackson demonstrated quite well at the end of the committee hearing in her audible exasperation – he reduces debate to the level of disbelieving outrage, rounding on his opponent with a patrician fury of his own. (My personal favourite was the time he turned on Owen Jones on BBC1′s Question Time and said: “We’ve heard quite a lot from you.” A nation waited, in vain, for the concluding “pleb” or “worm” that would have ended, or at least interrupted, his career. Next time, oppos. There’s always a next time.)

Whenever you think you’ve got him, that’s exactly the point at which he’s slipped away – because, the thing is, he doesn’t care about accuracy. He doesn’t care about being reprimanded; his own reputation for truthfulness is a price he is prepared to pay, to get this untreated sewage floating around the debate. (In truth, he took that hit some time ago.)

He doesn’t care that the money frittered away by this reckless, apparently unstewarded project is more than it will ever save; that IT costs met with a shrug today will reverberate into most unjust parsimony tomorrow.

He doesn’t care about the internal logic of his position, that a man so in thrall to the benefits of wedlock has created a system in which large families will have no choice but to separate into two households. He doesn’t care about the shonky foundations of the welfare cap – that for want of an open debate about statutory rights, it is really just a cap on housing benefit, leaving people to scratch together the shortfall with their other benefits.

None of this bothers him in the slightest; indeed, it actively pleases him to hear it brought up, because the slur to his putative honour will justify the bluster he vents to obscure his real purpose. He wants people to stop being able to rely on social security.

From his perspective, the route is irrelevant; we could get there by a reasoned political process, whereby we agree – or at least our representatives do – that we no longer want a security net, that we no longer consider it our common purpose to look out for each other.

Or, failing that, we could simply make the system so incompetent and faceless that charities have to step in.

Or he could spread so much misinformation that we all lose faith in a government’s ability to plan or distribute.

Or he could demonise recipients so much that mainstream debate no longer felt able to distinguish between a fraudster and a claimant.

What he’s doing is pursuing all of the above, pell mell, in any order, and hoping for the best. Facts will never silence this tragically mis-named Quiet Man of Politics. We need to call his grand project what it is: not an accidental shambles but deliberate vandalism.

25. Jan, 2014

BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – IDS THICKER SKINNED THAN A RHINO

No wonder ID Smith was the ideal man for the DWP job ,he is either lacking mental ability or his skin is as thick as a Rhino’s or both .The vote of no confidence against him he tried to brush aside .

Under leadership vote of confidence rules, 15% of Conservative MPs (at this point twenty-five MPs) had to write to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee demanding the vote. On 26 October, amid mounting claims that the threshold of 25 was about to be reached, Duncan Smith made an appearance on television daring his opponents to show their hand by the evening of 29 October or to withdraw their challenge. He also stated that he would not step down if a vote was called. Duncan Smith's demand that 25 MPs write to the chairman by 29 October had no bearing on party regulations. Had the votes not been delivered until later, the vote of no confidence would still have gone ahead. Nevertheless, by 28 October, 25 Conservative MPs had indeed signed on to demand a vote.

After the vote was announced, Duncan Smith made an appearance in front of Conservative Party headquarters in Smith Square, where he stated that he was "absolutely" going to contest the vote, which was held on 29 October. He lost by 90 votes to 75. He stepped down as leader eight days later when Michael Howard was confirmed as his successor (Howard was unopposed for the role and so no election was required).

25. Jan, 2014

 

 

The Cost of IDS:100 ways Iain Duncan Smith’s Department have made life worst for the sick, poor & disabled, by Dr Clarke  PHD .Heres the first twenty . (1- 20)

Money Wasted

  1 .Despite all the rhetoric about cutting welfare spending, it has actually increased by £24  billion this parliament (evidence & evidence)  2. Iain Duncan Smith’s Departmental Spend on Private Consultants has jumped 59% in just 1 year (evidence)  3 In Duncan Smith’s Departmental Spend on temporary staff has jumped 91% in just 1 year (evidence)  4 £150million+ of taxp ayers’ money has already been spent on court fees related to successful appeals against unfair WCA assessments (evidence)  5. The DWP have written off £140million in overpaid Housing Benefit paid in error since October 2010 (evidence)  6.£241m of taxpayers’ money is set to be wasted in IT overspend, including £34m write offs, for Iain Duncan- Smith’s Universal Credit says the National Audit Office (evidence)

7. DWP Audited Accounts show that at least £90 million of IT spend on Universal Credit will have to be written off, a near trebling in the 3 months after the mentioned NAO report (above) (evidence)  8. Iain Duncan Smith’s Department handed a £60million contract to a firm to carry out the Work Programme without putting the proper checks in place to detect fraud or irregularity says the NAO (evidence)  9. Despite all of the tough talk on clamping down on benefit fraud it has remained the same over the last three years (2010-11) (2011-12) (2012-13)

Targeting the Disabled

10. 3 judges found that the government’s Work capability Assessment discriminated against the mentally ill (evidence)  11. 475,000 Disabled People have been made to work unpaid on the Tory Work Programme (evidence)  12. The number of disabled & sick people to suffer an ESA sanction has jumped by a third since 2009-10 (evidence)  13. 38% of those who appeal ESA sanctions have won their cases & have been found to be wrongly punished (evidence & evidence)  14. Iain Duncan Smith withdrew funding for Remploy Factories that resulted in 34 of them closing (evidence)  15. 20,000 Medical Assessments, a year, of the sick & disabled for benefit eligibility are carried out in unprofessional circumstances (evidence)  16. Since 2008 (so including the last years of New Labour), new benefit claimants have suffered, on average, 24 days of delays before receiving the Work Capability Assessment (evidence)

17. The Supreme Court threw out Iain Duncan Smith’s appeal that the Work Programme was legally flawed after an aspiring curator took a case against the DWP for forcing her to work unpaid (evidence & evidence)  18. The Tories have put in place a system where disabled 1.4 million people are sent on the Work Programme to work unpaid for firms including many multi-national corporations who avoid tax in the UK. The corporation is then paid a bonus payment for accepting the free labour (evidence). This is despite the Tory Minister saying that no big firm would benefit from cheap labour. 19. Of the 1.4million to be placed on the Tory Work Programme, just 10% achieved a job outcome (evidence, evidence & evidence)

20. At present, the Work Programme is on course to cost taxpayers £15,000 for every job it creates which may lead some to conclude that doing nothing would be more successful than the Work Programme .

20. At present, the Work Programme is on course to cost taxpayers £15,000 for every job it creates which may lead some to conclude that doing nothing would be more successful than the Work Programme . The whole exercise was full scale war on the Electorate not a cost cutting measure .

Another twenty ID Smith Failures by Dr Clarke PHD con’t  (21-41)                                                                                                                                                                                                       21.  The Tory Back to Work Scheme for Troubled Families wastes £200 million on helping just 3% of the families’ targeted (evidence) 22.  The amount of disabled people helped through Access to Work has fallen by 18% since the Tories came to power (evidence)

FAILING OUR YOUTH

23.  Youth Unemployment is up 5% since May 2010(evidence)

24.  Out of 200 leading businesses not a single 1 says it has employed a single person under the Youth Contract (evidence)

25.  The government’s Youth Contract scheme has been a monumental failure with just over 4,000 payments being made – a figure much lower than the 160,000 the government’s £457m scheme had planned (evidence)

26.  The Tories scrapped Labour’s Future Jobs Fund even though it has proved more than 5 times more successful than the Youth Contract (evidence, evidence & evidence)

HUNGER

27.  There are now 707 Food Banks operating in the UK, a growth of 613% since David Cameron became Prime Minister (evidence)

28.  The number of people using Trussell Trust Food Banks has grown from 40,000 in the last year under Labour to 500,000 in the 9 months from April-December 2013 (evidence)

29.  David Cameron turned down EU Cash for Food Banks says the European Parliament (evidence)

30.  The government halted the collection of Food Bank statistics to cover up an explosion in the number of people using them (evidence)

31.  As the nation debated hunger and the growth of food banks, the Minister responsible snuck out of the meeting (evidence)

32.  Iain Duncan Smith has treated the leading Food Bank charity Trussell Trust appallingly, first refusing to meet them and then accusing them of scaremongering (evidence)

BEDROOM TAX

33.  250 Government MPs voted to inflict the Bedroom Tax on 660,000 Britons even though there were no homes available for 95% of those affected to actually move into (evidence)

34.  415,800 of those hit with the Bedroom Tax are disabled says Iain Duncan Smith’s team (evidence)

35.  1 in 5 of those hit with the Bedroom Tax are lone parents admits Iain Duncan Smith (evidence)

36.  The government introduced a Bedroom Tax of 14% on Homes deemed to be under-occupying 1 bedroom and a 25% charge on those deemed to be under-occupying 2 Bedrooms (Page 64)

37.  The government bungled the Bedroom Tax legislation allowing a loophole that exempted up to 40,000 to exist. One of those exempt took her own life before the loophole became known (evidence)

38.  David Cameron misled the House of Commons when he claimed that disabled people who needed a spare room were exempt from the Bedroom Tax (evidence). This could not be further from the truth.

39.  The governments expected savings from the Bedroom Tax were based on lazy calculations that will not be achieved says housing report (evidence)

40.  IDS wasted £75,000 of taxpayers’ cash on a Bedroom Tax poll (evidence)

41.  The United Nations judged that the UK was failing in its duty to provide adequate housing to its citizens, a breach of article 25 of the declaration of Human rights (evidence)

Another twenty ID Smith Failures by Dr  Clarke PHD con’t (42- 56)

STIMATISATION

42.  This brilliant DPAC report highlights how Iain Duncan Smith has presided over 3 years of obfuscation and dishonesty in the Department of Work & Pensions (evidence)

43.  Hate Crime against disabled person jumped by a third in the first two years of a Tory government (evidence)

44.  Iain Duncan Smith said 100,000 are on benefits primarily due to drink and drugs but his own department show the figure is one fifth of that as 99%+ of those on sickness benefits are so for reasons other than drink or drugs. The Disabilities Minister also claimed more people were on the highest rate of DLA for drink & drunks than actually disabilities (evidence & evidence & evidence)

45.  Iain Duncan-Smith stigmatised benefit claimants as fraudsters despite the fact that just 0.7% of benefits was is overpaid in Fraud in 2012-13 (evidence & evidence)

46.  A growing percentage, 47%, of unemployed persons no longer claim Unemployment Benefit as the impact of government stigmatisation takes hold (evidence)

47.  In an attempt to shift blame to the unemployed, for being unemployed, IDS claimed there were ½ a million new jobs available every week. The truth is ten times smaller than that figure (evidence)

48.  In an attempt to blame worklessness as a cultural thing handed down from the generations IDS had this to say (evidence). This JRF report showed that the actual truth was that intergenerational worklessness was extremely rare (evidence)

49.  Iain Duncan Smith & his Department stated that there were families living in large houses claiming £100,000 a year in benefits, but the data shows that there are just 59 families in the UK claiming £48k+ in benefits a 00.00001% of the number of people on benefits (evidence)

         Premature Death -50.  The number of Suicides has climbed 8% in 1 year (evidence)

51.  7 people are known to have committed or attempted to commit suicide, in part, due to the       Bedroom Tax (evidence)

52.  1,100 persons died in the period after a Work Capability Assessment ruled that they would be fit to work at some point in the future and that they should begin to ready themselves for work (Work Related Activity Group) (evidence)

50.  The number of Suicides has climbed 8% in 1 year (evidence)

51.  7 people are known to have committed or attempted to commit suicide, in part, due to the       Bedroom Tax (evidence)

52.  1,100 persons died in the period after a Work Capability Assessment ruled that they would be fit to work at some point in the future and that they should begin to ready themselves for work (Work Related Activity Group) (evidence)

56.  As gas prices rise 30% under the Tories, the number of excess Winter Deaths has jumped 29% in just 1 year (evidence)                    

Another twenty ID Smith Failures by Dr Clarke PHD con’t  (57 – 78)

Poverty

57.  The number of Working Poor has overtaken the number of out of work poor under the Tories say the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (evidence)

58.  The number of in-work households now relying on Housing Benefits has doubled to over 1 million under the Tories says Iain Duncan Smith’s Department (evidence)

59.  The number of Children in Child Poverty is up 300,000 (13%) under the Tories after having fell 50% under Labour say the Office for National Statistics (evidence)

60.  The number of UK people At Risk of Poverty or Social Exclusion has grown by 1,689,000 since 31 December 2009 says European Statistics Agency (evidence)

61.  2.2 million people classed as being in poverty in 2008 are no longer classed as poor even though their incomes have fallen since then .

 Housing

62.  According to the UK Statistics Authority, Iain Duncan Smith’s Department lied about the success of the Benefit Cap (evidence)

63.  Homelessness has increased by at least 26% under the Tories (evidence)

64.  Rough Sleeping in London has grown 85% since Boris Johnson became Mayor (evidence)

65.  The replacement of Council Tax Benefit with Council Tax Support meant that 2.4 million of the poorest households from April 2013 were left paying more (evidence)

66.  Despite nearly half of homes being deemed Sub-Standard, Iain Duncan-Smith’s Universal Credit Bill forces the poor to move into the lowest 33% of accommodation

Children

67.  The government cut the Child Maintenance Enforcement budget by £116m & charged parents to apply for Child Enforcement Assistance (evidence)

68.  George Osborne cut Child Tax Credits for middle-income households earning collectively £40,000-£50,000 a year (evidence)

69.  In June 2010 the Tories froze Child Benefit Payments for 3 years, axed Sure Start Maternity Grants and abolished Child Trust Fund payments (Page 48)

70.  From January 2013, the Tories axed Child Benefit for middle income households with a pre-tax income of £50,000 (Page 64)

71.  In 2011-12 the government cut the funding for Childcare by 10% (amounting to a £4bn cut over 5 years)

Cuts

72.  DWP, the department that is supposed to boost employment has axed 16,580 of its own staff in just two years (evidence)

73.  The last publicly available data showed that the Tories had closed, or were in the process of closing 44 Jobcentres (evidence)

74.  Jobcentre Plus Staff have been cut by a fifth at a time when they are needed more than ever, including nearly 1,000 axed in the first year (evidence & evidence)

75.  The Jobcentre Plus budget was cut by £160 million in the first year of a Tory government (evidence)

76.  The Institute of Fiscal Studies say benefits for the sick & disabled have been cut by 1.7% in real terms in just 1 year (evidence)

77.  In 2011, the Tories froze the basic element of Working Tax Credits for 3 years (Page 44)

78.  The government have frozen benefits for 3 years at below the rate of inflation amount to real terms cut of £1,000 per person affected (evidence)

Another twenty ID Smith Failures by Dr Clarke PHD con’t (79 – 100)

Unequal treatment of mothers

79.  From 2015, Lone Parents (90% of whom are women) will be required to prepare for work once a child turns 3 (evidence)

80.  A real terms cut of 1-2% per year Statutory Maternity Pay is being implemented over three years, in a policy opponents have dubbed the “Mummy Tax” (evidence)

81.  The majority of the people hit by Iain Duncan Smith’s Benefit Cap are lone parents (evidence)

82.  Female Unemployment is up 5% since May 2010(evidence)

83.  Long Term Female Unemployment up 80% since May 2010(evidence)

84.  The Institute of Fiscal Studies show that the vast majority of married couples will not even be eligible for the Married Tax Allowance, a policy that is rooted in ideology not economics (evidence)

Underemployment

85.  Temporary Workers seeking Full Time Work is up 8% since May 2010(evidence) 

86.  Part Timers seeking Full Time work is up 36% since May 2010(evidence)

87.  Tory claims about employment/unemployment mask the truth. Unemployment is down just0.08m since May 2010, and the number of private sector jobs really created by the Tories is at about 300,000k less than they claim(evidence, evidence & evidence)

Workers’ Rights

88.  The government made it easier to fire people by halving the amount of redundancy notice required (evidence)

89.  Through the introduction of the Shares for Rights scheme that critics argue opens up a £1 billion tax loophole & rob workers of their statutory rights (evidence)

90.  Breaches of the National Minimum Wage have climbed nearly a third under Iain Duncan Smith as he dithers on giving Councils the right to investigate breaches (evidence)

91.  Unpaid Employment is up 26% since May 2010(evidence)

Anti-Immigration Rhetoric

92.  The UK Statistics Authority wrote to Iain Duncan Smith to publicly disown statistics that emanated from the DWP Office on the Nationality of Benefit Claimants (evidence).

93.  DWP continue to stigmatise migrants despite the fact that a European wide report into the prevalence of EU Migrants claiming benefits found they were 150% less likely to claim benefits than a UK born citizen (evidence & evidence)

94.  Iain Duncan Smith’s Department stoked fears about waves of immigrants coming from Romania & Bulgaria to claim benefits when all evidence indicates that these fears were ill founded (evidence) Universal Credit

95.  The government admits it will fail to miss its own deadline for the roll out of Universal Credit by up to 2 years (evidence)

  This is only the beginning

98.  Post 2015, Iain Duncan Smith is strongly considering abolishing ESA for those categorised at WRAG (evidence)

99.  From 2015, the Tories have said they will ban under-25 year olds from claiming Housing Benefit (evidence)

100     George Osborne has announced £25bn of more cuts, mostly on welfare, to pay for his failure to achieve economic growth (evidence)

 

 

                                                                                                                                     

 

 

24. Jan, 2014

GEOFF REYNOLDS commented on MAKE NO MISTAKE: Iain Duncan Smith wants the end of social security.

in response to blacktriangle1:

Don’t let the bluster, incompetence and misinformation obscure the Quiet Man’s true, Tory purpose: destroying the welfare safety net

“SANCTIONS”

ACCORDING TO THE LAWS SET DOWN IN THE GENEVA CONVENTION, THE USE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE IS BANNED, YET THE DWP BREACH THESE LAWS, EACH AND EVERY DAY…………

THE DWP UTILISE A UNIT, APTLY CALLED THE “NUDGE UNIT”, THIS UNIT IS MORE APPROPRIATELY CALLED, A PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING UNIT.

PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING UNITS ARE USED TO GENERATE POLICIES AND ACTIONS THAT CAN BE USED TO BREAK DOWN THE RESOLVE OF CLAIMANTS USING BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE TECHNIQUES.

INDEED, RECENTLY, THE NUDGE UNIT WAS BROUGHT INTO LINE FOR USING PSYCHOMETRIC QUESTIONNAIRES ON CLAIMANTS THAT HAD NOT BEEN RATIFIED AND WERE CONDEMNED BY EXPERTS IN THE FIELD.

The ‘test’ that the DWP ‘borrowed’, and is forcing unemployed people to take on pain of losing their benefits, was devised by a US psychologist alleged to have devised psychological-torture interrogation programmes for the US military and the CIA.

The questions the DWP has ‘borrowed’ come from the ‘Values in Action Inventory of Strengths’ test devised by Christopher Peterson and Martin ‘Marty’ Seligman. In 2001, Marty Seligman allegedly convened a ‘counter-terrorism and psychology’ meeting at his home, attended by, among others, the alleged creator of the CIA torture program, Dr. James Mitchell, and CIA Director of Behavioral Sciences Research, Kirk M. Hubbard.
But that the DWP and its contractors are using a test devised by a man who appears to be closely-associated with actual psychological torture by military and intelligence organisations makes the whole matter even more damning – and one that should be occupying the attention of Parliament and the media.

UK CLAIMANTS ARE BEING USED IN AN EXPERIMENT, THEY ARE BEEN BROKEN DOWN, MADE TO FEEL WORTHLESS, UNCOMFORTABLE AND SADLY, SUICIDAL……………

THE LEVELS OF STRESS THAT THIS ACT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DEBILITATION HOLDS, HAS NO BOUNDARY, AS EACH PERSON HAS A DIFFERING THRESHOLD TO THE AMOUNT OF PAIN IT CAN SUPPORT.

WARPED THINKING BY THE DWP HAS SEEN THE DEATH LEVELS OF INNOCENT CLAIMANTS ROCKET.

OUR GOVERNMENT IS COLLECTIVELY SUPPRESSING DEATH REPORTS ON THIS ISSUE, AFRAID OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE FIGURES COMING TO LIGHT.
YET INSTEAD OF STOPPING AND ANALYSING THE EXTENT OF THEIR MISGUIDED EXPERIMENT, THEY PLOUGH ON, AFRAID TO CONFRONT THE DEMON THAT THEY HAVE CREATED………..

SANCTIONING SOMEONE IS NOT ONLY A THREAT OR DETERRENT, IT IS ALSO A MEANS TO AN END, THE ABILITY TO SURVIVE OR DIE.

WHAT YOU ARE WITNESSING IS A TWISTED DERANGED POLICY THAT KILLS…………

THERE ARE REASONS WHY OUR GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO USE SANCTIONS AS A FORM OF TORTURE, THE MAIN ONE BEING, IT LEAVES NO REAL VISIBLE SIGNS OF EVIDENCE……

BEFORE THE USE OF SANCTIONS WERE INITIATED, OUR GOVERNMENT FAILED TO DO ANY PROPER CUMULATIVE IMPACT ASSESSMENT ON THEIR USE.

STRANGELY, I HAVE INTERVIEWED ONLY SIXTEEN PEOPLE FROM MY VARYING DISTRICTS OF MY TOWN WHO HAVE HAD SANCTIONS APPLIED AGAINST THEM, FIVE WERE DISABLED, THE OTHERS UNEMPLOYED…………….

“EVERY ONE OF THEM HAD SUCCUMBED TO SUICIDAL THOUGHTS”

I AM NOT A DOCTOR, NOR AN EXPERT, BUT I AM WITNESSING A CULL OF HUMAN BEINGS NEVER SEEN ON OUR SHORES BEFORE.

…………A MURDER OF INDUSTRIAL PROPORTIONS.

24. Jan, 2014
12/18/2013 03:44 PM GMT

The transcript of the Committee's meeting with Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on Monday 9 December is now available on the Committee's website.  

The following link will allow you to view a copy of the updated information.

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