Labour accuse No 10 of 'burying bad news' during Lawrence report
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBs8rj
Raft of damaging stories are released as Home Secretary announces major inquiry into Stephen Lawrence and Metropolitan Police corruption:
• 'Unacceptable' failings and overcrowding found in NHS hospitals
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBpTEv
• Report reveals little evidence foreign migrants put British workers out of jobs
Guardian - http://bit.ly/NBqEgF
• Philip Hammond challenged over two year delay in revealing nuclear submarine fault
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBrom5
• 12,000 homeless families housed outside their borough
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBrxpB
• Disability Living Fund closure to go ahead, says minister
BBC News - http://bbc.in/NBsT3H
• Cabinet secretary responds to Labour letter on arrest of Patrick Rock
BBC News - http://bbc.in/NBtRgh
PLEASE SHARE - GET THESE STORIES OUT THERE!
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Monday, 3 March 2014
'A wall chart in a Grantham job centre explicitly sets out the cash savings available to the Department for Work and Pensions through stopping the benefits of claimants, ranging from £227.20 a week for a four-week sanction to £3,728 for a sanction lasting one year.'
'More than one third of councils are subsidising meals at food banks while some families are so short of cash they are returning food which they cannot afford to heat.'
'"If people can't eat at all, what's the point in trying to get them to eat healthily?" said Julie Hirst, Public Health Specialist at Derbyshire County Council.'
• BBC News
'Ministers have denied links between welfare reforms and the170% increase in emergency handouts in 2013. But a study by Policy Exchange, created by Tory ministers Michael Gove and Francis Maude, today says so-called benefit “sanctions” are leaving claimants too poor to buy food.'
'What we thought we were hearing in the "big society" language was an affirmation of our role and an assurance that there was the political will nationally to supply the relatively small amounts of soft money needed to sustain it. In practice, the financial squeeze on local authorities, through whom much of the money was channelled, has decimated or destroyed many services.' Archbishop David Ward
Posted by planetpmc at 03:13
Friday, 21 February 2014
Persistent death threats against staff who decide whether sick and disabled people are eligible for benefits have forced the private company employing them to seek an early exit from a £500m government contract. With opposition Labour MPs also stepping up criticism, Atos Healthcare said the political environment had become untenable and that it was no longer fair to employees to leave them vulnerable to attack. “It is becoming incredibly difficult for our staff; it’s pretty unpleasant,” people close to the company said. About 163 incidents of the public assaulting or abusing staff were recorded each month last year, Atos said.
At protests outside 45 Atos offices this week, names of individual doctors were chanted, while many of the 2,000 staff employed to carry out the work had received threats both in person or on Facebook and Twitter, as well as bullying at the company’s assessment centres.
The French IT company has been in discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions with a view to exiting the deal since October last year, because it views the tests as outdated. “In its current form it is not working for claimants, for DWP or for Atos Healthcare,” Atos said. “For several months now we have been endeavouring to agree an early exit from the contract, which is due to expire in August 2015. Despite these ongoing discussions, we will not walk away from a front-line service. Our total focus remains on delivering the services we are contracted to provide in a professional and compassionate way, until a new service begins.”
Atos has become a lightning rod for discontent over the coalition’s welfare reforms, which aim to shift more people off social security benefits and into work. For the past three years, the company has been under fire for its handling of work capability tests, which assess whether people are well enough to apply for jobs. A third of its decisions were overturned on appeal, amid allegations that people with terminal cancer or other serious illnesses had been denied benefits as a result of its assessments. Last July, the DWP told Atos to improve the quality of written reports provided to the department.
Atos said it had improved processes and that appeal court judges had said its reports were the reason for a successful appeal in fewer than 1 per cent of cases. A National Audit Office report also warned there were “dangers” in viewing high numbers of appeals as a measure of the quality of medical assessment work undertaken by Atos. “An appeal may be successful because the information available to the tribunal was not known at the time of the original assessment,” the NAO said. “In addition, a decision made by the Department on benefit entitlement will draw on other sources of information as well as the medical assessment.”
Despite the furore, Atos was awarded a fresh deal last year to carry out tests for the new personal independence payment (Pip), with the aim of reducing the projected cost of the benefit by 20 per cent by 2015-16. It replaces the disability living allowance and determines whether people are entitled to extra money to help cope with disability – such as cars, equipment or nursing. Atos’s £400m Pip contracts over five years cover the south-east and north of the country, accounting for about 75 per cent of disability living allowance claimants. Capita, a rival outsourcing company, has the remainder.
Private providers likely to be in the frame for the next work capability contract include G4S, Serco, A4E and Capita. According to an NAO report on the government’s four biggest suppliers, Atos earned £700m in revenues from the public sector in the UK in 2012, of £7.2bn sales worldwide. The company made an average net profit margin of about 2 per cent over the past decade, rising to 3 per cent in 2012.
Gill Plimmer, Financial Times
BBC News 21/2/14
Derry Journal 20/2/14
Atos protests: Epileptic, diabetic and asthmatic man has benefits reinstated during country-wide demonstrations
Daily Mirror 20/2/14
Lancashire Evening Post 20/2/14
Camden New Journal 20/2/14
Sunderland Echo 20/2/14
Brighton Argus 19/2/14
Derby Telegraph 20/2/14
Stoke Sentinel 20/2/14
Chester First 20/2/14
The Linc 20/2/14
Bolton News 20/2/14
Leicester Mercury 19/2/14
Morning Star 20/2/14
York Press 19/2/14
Posted by planetpmc at 13:41
Saturday, 15 February 2014
Listings for the Atos National Demo, updated 15 February
Atos HQ Triton Square:https://www.facebook.com/events/274151616075668/?fref=ts
NUS supporting the National Day of Action against ATOS:
Atos National Demo Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ATOSNationalDemo
Atos National Demo website: http://ukrebellion.com/atosdemo/
Posted by planetpmc at 12:28
Thursday, 16 January 2014
Cameron lies again: government forced to reveal that spending on flood protection was NOT protected from cuts
Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Maria Eagle MP, responds to Defra’s correction to official figures on government funding for flood protection:
“It is humiliating for David Cameron and Owen Paterson that they have finally been forced to reveal that spending on flood protection was not protected when cuts to the Environment Department’s budget were made. The Prime Minister must now stop repeating his misleading claim that more is being spent in the current four year period than in the previous four years when these new figures reveal that is simply not true. The Government should also stop including money that they hope to attract from external contributions but have so far failed to secure.
“Instead of spending time spinning away their failure to prioritise flood protection, David Cameron and Owen Paterson should focus on completing the review that they have been forced to undertake under pressure from Ed Miliband.”
Posted by planetpmc at 16:22
Thursday, 19 December 2013
“In the UK it is right that more people are ... going to food banks because, as times are tough, we are all having to pay back this £1.5 trillion debt personally which spiralled under Labour. We are all trying to live within our means, change the gear and make sure that we pay back all our debt which happened under them.”
Posted by planetpmc at 04:23
Thursday, 5 December 2013
'More than a year has passed since the UK Border Agency awarded a four-year, £30m contract to a private firm, Capita, to track down immigrants who have overstayed their visas in the UK. Hiring a private firm for a task that is normally the responsibility of the state did not escape criticism. “We are appalled the Government has offered a contract of this size to a private company,” Ruth Grove-White, policy director at the Migrants Rights Network, told The Independent.
The Border Agency calculated at the time that there were 174,000 immigrants who had overstayed. If Capita could find them, it would be a solid sign of the Government being tough on illegal immigration. Capita tried hard. It sent 39,100 text messages telling recipients that they had to leave as they no longer have the right to remain. The texts set off an avalanche of complaints, including those from people who had lived in the UK legally for years.
So how successful has Capita been, overall? Yesterday, while minds were focused on the Autumn Statement, the Home Office posted online the reply to a Freedom of Information request, which revealed that, after 14 months, the Capita contract had caused 4,160 people to depart these shores. So only about another 170,000 to go.
The good news is that the contract specified that Capita will be paid by results, which must have saved a pile of money.'
Posted by planetpmc at 23:31