Direct Democracy Comment
Cameron's Welfare cuts - a social cleansing programme?
David Cameron's and George Osborne's cuts to welfare benefits seem harsh in any context but, when you consider the effects of the 8 specific policies mentioned below in combination, this then becomes a strategy of social cleansing. A further kick in the face is that at the same time that these policies kick-in, 13000 millionaires [including David Cameron and the 22 multi-millionaires and 11 multi-billionaires who 'work' in David's personally selected cabinet] will get a tax cut.
Furthermore, we believe that these policies will actually lead to a net-financial loss for the country in the long-term - to the extent that they will be recorded in history as the most dangerous and expensive domestic social policies that any UK government ever introduced.
For the first time in our 'developed' history, the UK could soon experience welfare suicides and welfare riots [forecast in May 2010 by the PA] just to save a few quid, while we fund criminal banks and corrupt terrorist-creating wars. Suicide rates are already soaring in the UK and David Cameron's cuts to mental health services and aggressive debt-collecting are cited by experts as major factors.
• UPDATE [4th Feb. 2016]:
Between December 2011 to January 2014, the death toll [via physical deterioration and suicide] of disabled and vulnerable people who were forced to work while being too ill to work was approx 91,000. In comparison, in Germany between October 1939 to June 1941, the death toll of disabled people was approx. 70,000. All were killed by freely-elected politicians and as with Germany before the outbreak of World War Two, David Cameron's voters were just as aware and as willing as German voters were [Adolf Hitler was an elected dictator - just as David Cameron is] regarding doing away with the vulnerable within their own societies.
• Debt ridden student writes suicide note on bank statement
• Cameron covered-up report about 4,000 ill people who died within weeks of being forced to work
• Unqualified and untrained DWP staff given suicide guidance ahead of welfare reforms
• Admission of guilt! DWP refuses to investigate sanctions damaging mental health
In Greece, before the financial crisis began in 2008, Greece had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world [2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants]. According to the Greek Health Ministry, there was a 40% increase in suicides in the first half of 2010 and experts believe that Greece's suicide rate has since doubled to about 5 per 100,000.
In Spain, the unemployment rate for the under 25's is now more than 50%, which explain why this age group has the fastest-growing suicide rate in spain.
In Ireland [in recession since 2009], deliberate self-harm rates have increased by 50%.
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PA direct democracy video: UK Tax Chaos - Gov. raising twice as many taxes as it cuts
We do believe that David Cameron would have been made aware of the impact of these policies when combined but, that he wouldn't have cared to any degree. We say this because of the constant propaganda that Conservatives and the Murdoch media constantly publish so as to alienate the vulnerable by giving the impression to non-benefit claimants that benefit claimants refuse to work. We also say this because it is only the Conservatives who do not respect the welfare system as being a safety net that the British people long-ago decided to fund, and who instead see it as an opportunity to save money [whilst reducing income tax rates for the richest and allowing corporations to legally avoid paying taxes]. The Conservatives did not create either the Welfare State or the NHS and so it is in their nature to treat both with contempt.
On the 31st Aug 2015 and while broadcast by other channels throughout the world, the BBC blacked-out ALL news about the UN investigating the British Government over DOMESTIC human rights abuses caused by David Cameron and Ian Duncan Smith's welfare reforms and, about Atos and G4S [part-owned by David Cameron's friend Bill Gates] taking £2 BN in taxpayer-funded contracts while refusing to pay ANY corporation tax!
The Conservative's anti-benefit propaganda is so successful that the £12.7 BN of means-tested benefits and £5 BN of tax credits unclaimed during 2008/2009, as well as the unclaimed amounts for subsequent years is never considered. If there is so much unclaimed every year, then benefits are hardly a "life-style choice" [as David Cameron, George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith constantly claim] and, administrative errors during this period also meant that more than £2 BN was overpaid and £1.3 BN was underpaid to claimants.
During the financial year 2014/15, £13.23 BN of welfare benefits went unclaimed - yet the UK voted for MORE oppression of welfare claimants!
While David Cameron talks about the legacy of the 2012 Olympics being oriented in the success of our paralympic teams, disabled people across the UK are now saying that they are experiencing the highest level of public alienation and abuse ever and, they actually say that they believe that this propaganda campaign is to blame.
Approx. 500,000 households entitled to Housing Benefit do not claim it, up to 3 M households are not claiming Council Tax Benefit and as many as 1.7 M pensioners are not claiming Pension Credit and while only school-leavers and those leaving further education who claim benefits are generally the only parties to not ever have worked, paid taxes, and funded the Welfare State, the majority of claimants have actually paid-in and so do have the legal and ethical right to claim benefits, yet it is all tax-paying claimants who are judged and condemned by David Cameron's supporters across the country!
With politicians still exploiting expenses schemes, former Prime Ministers claiming full security expenses [despite all being multimillionaires], criminal banks receiving state hand-outs, foreign corporations allowed to avoid paying taxes and with the country's richest receiving a tax cut, who are the real 'state scroungers'? When you factor in that approx. £85 BN of tax payer's money is handed-out every year in corporate welfare while only £5 BN is paid-out in Income-Based Job-Seeker's Allowance, the answer to this question is obvious.
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It is now known that the UK's richest cost the economy more than they pay in and that they do NOT create wealth because as they themselves say; investing in job creation is unviable [confirming yet another of David Cameron's lies].
PA direct democracy video: Cameron - "no frontline cuts"
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A TUC poll reveals how successful the propaganda campaign of alienating the vulnerable has been so far:
• On average, people think that 41% of the entire welfare budget goes on benefits to unemployed people, while the true figure is only 3 per cent.
• On average, people think that 27% of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently, while the government's own figure is only 0.7%.
• On average, people think that almost half the people [48%] who claim Jobseeker's Allowance go on to claim it for more than a year, while the true figure is just under 30%.
• On average, people think that an unemployed couple with two school-age children would get £147 in Jobseeker's Allowance - more than 30% higher than the £111.45 they would actually receive - an over-calculation of £35!
• Only 21% of people think that this family with two school-age children would be better-off if one of the unemployed parents got a 30 hour a week minimum wage job, even though they would actually end up £138 a week better-off. Even those who thought they would be better-off only thought [on average] that they would gain by £59.
The truth that undermines the Tory propaganda
Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance combined costs only 17% of the budget - yet these are the benefits targeted the most by David Cameron and George Osborne's cuts, when a massive 46% is spent on state pensions which in our opinion, could be means-tested along with Winter Fuel Payments and Statutory Maternity Pay.
The poll confirms that hostile attitudes to welfare are widespread - with over 42% thinking that benefits are too generous and nearly 59% thinking that our current welfare system has created a culture of dependency.
When the poll sample is divided into three equal groups based on how accurately they answered the poll questions that tested knowledge of the benefits system, those who know the least about welfare are the most hostile. More than 53% of those in the least accurate group think that benefits are too generous, while less than 31% in the group who gave the most accurate answers agree that they are.
Nearly 71% of the least accurate group think that welfare has created a culture of dependency, which falls to less than 46% among those with the best knowledge.
When asked whether they support the government's proposed 1% cap on benefits, there is an overall clear majority support across everyone questioned [48% to 32%] though those with the best knowledge of the benefits system oppose the government's actions 45% to 41%.
However, a big 3-1 majority of the general sample [64 to 21%] think that the benefit cap will mainly hit the unemployed. When told the cap will affect low-paid workers, majority support for the cap turns into majority opposition [40% to 30%]. There is a sharp fall among those with the least knowledge from 54% backing the cap before being told about low-paid worker's benefits, to 32% afterwards.
The final question in the poll asked people about how benefits should generally change each year. Only 25% said they should go up less than wages or prices, with 63% wanting them linked to wages, prices or both.
[Total sample size 1,805 adults. 11th-12th December 2012]
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said; "It is not surprising that voters want to get tough on welfare. They think the system is much more generous than it is in reality, is riddled with fraud and is heavily skewed towards helping the unemployed, who they think are far more likely to stay on the dole than is actually the case. Indeed if what the average voter thinks was true, I'd want tough action too.
But you should not conduct policy, particularly when it hits some of the most vulnerable people in society, on the basis of prejudice and ignorance. And it is plainly immoral to spread such prejudice purely for party gain, as ministers and their advisors are doing, by deliberately misleading people about the value of benefits and who gets them.
Voters who have a better grasp of how benefits work and what people actually get, oppose the government's plans. When people learn more about benefits, support moves away from coalition policy. Some ministers seem to see the benefit up-rating cap as a party political trap, but to counter that all you need to do is expose what the proposals really mean.
The truth remains that benefits are far from generous, the vast majority of the jobless are desperate for work and most benefit spending goes either on pensions or on benefits for those in jobs or who aren't able to work."
In 1997, the Conservatives left a debt of 42% of GDP to Labour and under Labour, this debt had fallen to 35%. In 1997, the conservatives debt of 42% was not seen as a major problem but, a debt of just 35% has now prompted the Conservatives to implement austerity policies never before seen in the UK!
David Cameron and George Osborne refuse to explain why such austerity is now warranted when UK debt is at 35%, when it was never imposed by either Labour or the Conservatives when it was as high as 42% and, Osborne has been caught-out blatantly lying too many times to even bother going to him for an attempt at an answer.
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Social Cleansing Programme:
1. Housing Benefit
Regardless of having to pay for an additional room in a rented property, Housing Benefit payments will be reduced anyway and so claimant's will have to contribute more simply to make-up for the short-fall between what their council pays and what their land lords demand.
2. Council Tax Benefit
[Welfare Budget spending on Council Tax Benefit = only 3%]
For the first time, People who receive benefits will be expected to contribute towards their Council Tax. Approx. 3 M low-income households will be worse-off with some having to pay up to £600 a year out of their benefits but, the hardest hit will be single parents on minimum wage who currently pay £173 a year and who will now be expected to pay £577!
With regards to this policy, Conservative Brandon Lewis empowers the government's propaganda further by saying that the reforms would cut fraud and get people back into work adding; "We are ending the something-for-nothing culture."
3. Spare Bedroom Penalty
Housing Benefit claimants will now be penalised for having more than 1 bedroom. It will not matter if the room is in use as a shrine, for therapy, for medical use, for children when staying with non-custodial parents or even for a serving soldier - there are few exceptions.
• Heroes hit by bedroom tax: Soldiers away from home for 13 weeks will lose cash
• Put your kids on a sofa bed: Out-of-touch Tory tells separated dad his children don't need own bedroom
• No room for grief: Council charges dead girl's family £672 for 'under-occupied' house
• 'Disgusting': Family's outrage at bedroom tax on severely disabled girl who needs her own room
In addition, the government is aware that there are not enough 1 bedroom properties [in both the private and state sectors combined] for single tenants to re-house themselves in to and, the government is also aware that a 1 bedroom flat in the private sector is often more expensive than a 2/3 bedroom council property in the social housing sector. This means a potential net-loss for the government that could actually be paying-out more in Housing Benefit in the long-term due to this aspect alone and regardless, this policy will tear apart communities with people being forced to move away from family or forced to give up a spare room that may be in use when children came back from university or for grandchildren to stay in.
There is also a danger that a heavy demand for 1 bedroom rentals will lead to an an increase in the number of empty 2 bedroom rentals, in-turn leading to reduced rental prices for 2 bedroom rentals to the point where 2 bedroom rentals become cheaper than 1 bedroom rentals.
Government propaganda says that the motive for this policy is not to save money, but is instead purely to address the issue of families living in over-crowded accommodation but, being that the government has been made aware by housing associations that this will not be achieved, the government's will to continue with its implementation demonstrates that this policy was born ONLY out of a desire to save money and therefore that what the government says is a blatant lie, confirmed repeatedly by David Cameron's own Ministers who say that the 'bedroom tax' will save £6.2 per year by 2015 [25th March 2013] and who constantly reiterate that they are "ending the culture of something for nothing."
The National Housing Federation says that 95,000 will be forced into arrears or into homelessness!
The association in Stockton has 153 families under-occupying 1 bedroom homes but, it does not have any 1 bedroom properties for them to move into and in Chester le Street [25 miles away] there are and 600 people under-occupying and only 41 1 bedroom properties.
According to Riverside Society's surveys [put to the government and ignored], 1/3 of tenants will try and move [mainly to one bedroom properties - far more than the Government is expecting]. However, there is a national shortage of 1 bedroom council and housing association homes and many tenants will have no choice but to move into the more expensive private sector or stay put. The majority will stay put. Surveys show that of those, nearly eight in ten are worried about going into debt and 40% fear they will soon accumulate rent arrears. This will lead to a loss of income for landlords [which means less to spend on new homes and services] and it will also lead to increasing evictions and homelessness.
Incidentally, the issue of homelessness across the US has been solved by an outsider - not by an elected politician! Unfortunately and due to the UK electorate's deeply misguided belief that politicians are problem solvers, the UK electorate effectively voted in 2015 to maintain homelessness in the UK.
• David Cameron mugs the hard-up but gives his rich chums perks
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• 150,000 families will lose up to £1400 under the government’s proposed council house spare bedroom tax
• Bedroom Tax victims speak-out
4. Cuts to disabled children's benefit
For the first time, cuts will be made to the benefits that disabled children receive:
Add to this, that the NSPCC estimates that David Cameron reduced the budget for children's social care by 24% [Apr. 2011] and, that Community Care magazine's own survey concludes that "Social workers are effectively being pressurised to ignore child abuse as a result of budget cuts." then David Cameron himself is also responsible for the proliferation of child abuse. We say this because it is known that direct budget cuts to this particular budget do result in increased and prolonged exposure to abuse and both David Cameron and George Osborne would have been aware of this before making the decision [even if only through advice from policy aids].
5. Atos Incapacity Benefit screening programme
[Welfare Budget spending on Incapacity Benefit = only 4%]
The Coalition's reforms of state benefits services require that all claimants of Incapacity Benefit are re-examined by an external, out-sourced medical assessor. David Cameron's choice is to use private health care provider Atos, whose track records regarding data management and quality of service are highly questionable.
During these assessments, over 90% of claimants are failed by Atos. Upon appeal, 80% of these then go on to succeed in re-claiming the benefit [according to our own DWP sources]. This demonstrates that the remit given to Atos is simply to fail almost everyone, regardless of whether they already legally qualify for this benefit or not.
How is putting sick claimants through further hardship ever going to improve the nations health or the economy?
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6. The targeting of vulnerable claimants [Housing Benefit and JSA]
• [Housing Benefit - Evictions of the mentally unwell via non-direct council payments to landlords]
While not a published policy, it is becoming a fast-growing practice for councils to quietly evict vulnerable Housing Benefit claimants from their homes by revoking their service to make payments directly to landlords on behalf of mentally unwell claimants.
Councils have always restricted the amount of time that they offer to make payments directly to landlords on behalf of Housing Benefit claimants who are unwell but, when mentally ill claimants appeal [even with proof that they will become vulnerable to eviction if direct payments are stopped], councils still decide to stop making direct payments.
We have become aware of an ever-increasing number of mentally ill claimants who fail to maintain payments to landlords due to reasons connected to nothing more than simple personal mismanagement and not through will or intent. Some of these people have become homeless due to simple mistakes not being tolerated by landlords and when the incapacitated are made homeless, they also automatically lose up to around 40% of their benefits - simply for not having a fixed address and - even if the payments are made directly into the claimant's bank account!
As all UK councils eventually insist upon making payments directly to claimants and not directly to landlords, the combined actions of neglectful and unhelpful councils and uncompassionate landlords is throwing already vulnerable people onto the street and slashing their remaining benefit when this happens.
This policy saves councils from having to pay any rent benefit at all [as the tenant is now evicted] and it saves the state from having to pay income support benefits [such as Incapacity Benefit].
Furthermore, the People's Administration believes that this is done in full consciousness simply because most appeal cases fail, and we site Birmingham City Council in the West Midlands as an example of how habitual this practice has become and who at the same time, have repeatedly failed to explain to us why they eventually choose to make the payments to the claimants instead of directly to the landlords when the process and cost is exactly the same for both.
It is known that once someone is living on the street, they have an increased risk of developing mental illness and so what chance does someone who is already mentally unwell have?
• [JSA - Denying payments to vulnerable claimants who are legally entitled]
[Welfare Budget spending on JSA = only 3%]
This was actually a policy but, it was never published outside of Home Office and DWP circles and its implementation was denied by DWP who blatantly lied when questioned by the Guardian newspaper.
A DWP whistle-blower said staff at his job centre were given targets of three people a week to refer for sanctions where benefits are removed for up to six months. He said it was part of a "culture change" that had led to competition between advisors, teams and regional offices.
"Suddenly you're not helping somebody into sustainable employment, which is what you're employed to do." he said. "You're looking for ways to trick your customers into 'not looking for work. You come up with many ways. I've seen dyslexic customers given written job searches, and when they don't produce them – what a surprise – they're sanctioned. The only target that anyone seems to care about is stopping people's money.
If you want someone to diversify – they're an electrician or a plumber, they may not want to go into call centres or something. What you do is keep promoting such and such a job, and you pressure them into taking it off you, the piece of paper. Then in two weeks you look at the system, you ask them if they applied for it … they say no – you stop their money for six months.
'Saving the public purse' is the catchphrase that is used in our office … It is drummed home all the time – you're saving the public purse. Feel good about stopping someone's money, you've just saved your own pocket. Its a joke.
We were told suddenly that [finding someone to sanction] once a week wasn't good enough, we were far behind other offices, and we went to a meeting where they compared us with other offices, and said we now have to do three a week to catch up. Most staff go into work and they're thinking about it from moment one – who am I going to stop this week?"
The DWP's own statistics show that the total number of cases where people have lost their benefits has risen sharply since the beginning of 2010 and, the figures also show that the number of claimants with registered disabilities being cut-off has more than doubled!
This follows a change in the rules where sanctions were extended to claimants who were late for job centre interviews and other less serious offences.
The DWP denied there are specific targets saying; "To say that we are targeting vulnerable people is ridiculous. We only sanction people if they do not adhere to their agreement. We are massively expanding the help and support that job seekers will receive to ensure that they get the right help and support to get into work. If someone is incapable of work, they will continue to receive unconditional support." but, the Guardian newspaper has seen email evidence of referral targets and, the issue of targets has been raised by employees on online forums.
The whistle-blower said that the policy hit the vulnerable instead of hitting hardcore benefit cheats, who were a small group; "The young often fall into it, because they haven't been there long enough, they are generally a major target. The uneducated are another major target. I've seen people with … seriously low educational standards and it's easy to exploit them."
7. Benefits not to rise with inflation
This policy is an inverted method of reducing benefits because by not increasing benefits in line with inflation, the relative cost of essential goods will rise and the increase will have to be funded directly out of the claimant's benefit so, this is an indirect way of reducing the benefit.
8. The amount of money that the government says that claimants need to live on
In expecting benefit claimants to fund the additional short-fall in rent payments, a penalty for a spare bedroom and a portion of their Council Tax, David Cameron is ignoring the governments own figure for what they themselves say that a claimant needs in order to live. Not only is there no explanation for why this figure is being ignored but, this figure is actually a point of law and so in implementing policies that violate this legal finding, David Cameron is actually breaking UK law.
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