Category: Theresa May

Cost Of Benefit Appeals Quadruples

As reported by Benefits And Work the cost of a single benefit appeal has quadrupled to over £1,000 since 2013. 

However since the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) introduced having to apply for a mandatory reconsideration, appeal rates have fallen from 549,000 in 2013 to now reaching 92,000.

Added to this the cost of benefit appeals has fallen dramatically from £140 million to £101 million a year.

Even though the DWP even losing on average 70% of PIP appeals, this is still saving them money because they don’t pay these costs because the Ministry of Justice does.

The DWP are aware that not every claimant actually takes their case to appeal though. Many give up after going through the stress of applying for a mandatory reconsideration, which have been proven to be traumatic and distressing.

For example if 16,000 claimants fail to get their PIP award of a standard rate daily living component for two years and don’t appeal, then the DWP saves over £100 million which is a massive saving for them. This casts no doubt as to the real reason as to why this system was implemented in the first place.

The government and the DWP will always put saving money before the wellbeing of vulnerable people, this should never be forgotten.

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Ireland 2023 Budget A Budget That Puts Its Citizens First

Imagine a budget that would benefit those that are worse off, a budget that puts both its citizens and the economy first.

Look no more, the Republic of Ireland have done just that.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced the new Republic of Irelands 2023 budget and it’s a joy to see.

Coverage of the budget can be found on RTÉ One, RTÉ Radio One and RTÉ News Now via catch-up.

Social Welfare

Also announced was a payment of child benefit which will be paid before the end of the year.

Carers and people with disabilities are expected to receive a one-off €500 payment.

Other social welfare recipients will receive a double welfare payment in the weeks after this budget has been announced. A Christmas bonus payment will also be paid in December.

Pensioners will be receiving one-off payments of up to €1,100 before the end of the year.

A double payment of the €253 per week state pension will be paid twice, once soon after the Budget announcement and another in December.

Pensioners that are in receipt of the Living Alone allowance will also receive a separate €200 payment. Those claiming a Fuel Allowance are also in line for a single €400 lump sum on top of their usual payments.

Energy crisis

All households in the republic will receive a €600 electricity bill credit, this will be paid in either two or three instalments. Energy bills will not be capped.

The already existing Fuel Allowance scheme will now be extended to up to 80,000 people who currently did not qualify for payments.

This will ensure that approximatley 450,000 people will now be able to claim for the Fuel Allowance over the coming months.

Childcare

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman announced that he has secured significant funding which will provide a State subvention for creche costs. This could save families up to around €170 a month.

Housing

Under the budget changes there will be the re-introduction of a tax credit for citizens that rent their homes. This will bring the total of amounts given to €1,000.

Ministers have are also implementing two credits of €500, one of which will apply this year and the second next year.

Also included are a two year extension of the Help to Buy scheme that gives a tax rebate of €30,000 to first-time buyers.

Health Budget.

Whilst the Republic doesn’t have the NHS, the government does recognise the need for everyone to be able to access their GP

As it stands half of the Republics population will already have access to a free GP visit card or medical card. This has now been expanded by the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Donnelly has successfully secured Budget funding to expand the free GP visit card to an additional 430,000 people.

This will result in around 2.5 million extra citizens, thus enabling the new recipient’s access to free GP services.

Also announced in Tuesday’s Budget are plans to abolish hospital charges for all adults.

Included in the budget also are plans to abolish hospital charges for children under 16 making it a much fairer system and assessable to all.

Tax Changes.

The higher tax rate of 40% will now apply only to earned income of over €40,000. This move will put an estimated €800 into the pocket of a single earner and €1,600 for a couple. Proving to be one of the biggest tax cuts in recent years.

The second USC band will also be increased to €10,908 from €9,283 keeping in mind the increase in the minimum wage for workers.

Meanwhile, personal tax credits for carers will also increase by €100 to €1,700.

Business

Businesses haven’t been forgotten in their budget either.

Some businesses will get up to €10,000 a month paid in their electricity or gas bills as part of the €1bn scheme to be announced in todays Budget.

Small to medium enterprises will have 40% of their energy cost increases in electricity or gas bills and will be paid up to a maximum of €10,000 per month.

The Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) will also be backdated to Septembe and ran until February. This will be administered by Revenue Commissioners.

A separate €200m scheme has also been announced, this scheme will see businesses being able to receive up to €2m in financial aid.

The Enterprise Ireland scheme will be aimed at companies that are involved in exporting and manufacturing.

To receive this help businesses will have to produce a business plan that shows clearly how they will get through the crisis and control their energy costs.

The two new schemes will also be backed up a low-cost loan.

Inheritance tax

No changes will be made to the inheritance tax ceiling.

There will also be no changes to Capital Gains Tax arrangement, rates and rules.

Gardaí

Extra funding will be funding for 1,000 new gardaí to begin training in Templemore next year.

There will also be 400 new Garda staff to be employed which will help free up frontline gardaí for core policing duties. Also included will be an increase in overtime to help gardaí tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

Hospitality

The VAT rate for the hospitality industry will increase from the pandemic reduced rate of 9pc to 13.5pc at the end of February which will be significant blow for pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Students

Students will see their fees cut, they will also see an increase in their grants.

 Third-level fees are to be cut by €1,000 this year, with a once-off double payment of the student grant also included in this Budget.

This will mean that no one will pay more than €2,000 to attend third-level education for the coming term. 

Those studying for PHDs will get a once-off cost-of-living payment before Christmas.

There will also be a new free schoolbook scheme for children in primary school is to be introduced. Student/teacher class ratios will also be reduced.

Irish colleges

An extra €2.5m to support the Irish summer colleges sector.

This will include a 10% increase in the subsidy per child for mná tí, who provide meals and accommodation for Irish students.

Public transport

The 20% reduction in public transport fares will continue until the end of 2023.

Whilst it’s difficult to compare the UK to the Republic of Ireland’s government, it’s clear to see that they have recognised the need for extra financial help for its citizens.

This budget announcement shows that the Republic acknowledges that for a country to grow economically and is going to invest in it’s citizens. Not only are they investing financially, they’re also investing in the well-being of the population.

Although this might not appear a lot to some it will help those worse off financially to access medical help. This can only be a good thing.

A country that fails to invest in its citizens like the UK will ultimately end up failing financially. A good healthy economy is needed to ensure the smooth running of everything, and to do that financial help is needed for those worse off especially during the cost of living crisis and beyond.

The reputation of Brand UK has been permanently tarnished, leaving investors forced to move away and look to countries such as the Republic of Ireland as a safer bet.

The UK deserves better than this.

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NEW BLOG POST 7.45 AM TOMORROW!

NEW BLOG POST 7.45 AM TOMORROW!

British Pound Drops To All Time Low Against The Dollar

Kwartengs Mini Budget Declares Class War Upon The Poorest

The news of todays mini budget and the latest increase in interest rates has left me feeling rather anxious for the well-being of the lesser well off, disabled and elderly.

Introduction

Household budgets for the poorest are already stretched to the point of breaking by the ever increasing cost of living and as usual the poorest are paying the highest cost as a result.

Please note, I’m not just writing about working people as most journalists reporting on this appear to be doing. I’m including everyone that is unable to work for whatever reason that may be albeit disability or commitments and so on.

Everyone matters not just the few.

Bank of England increases interest rates.

Today the Bank of England has increased UK base rates by 0.5% points from 1.75% to 2.25% making it the highest that it’s been since 2008. The effect of this will be felt by everyone that are already struggling financially.

At the same time the government has announced that they’ve removed the cap for bankers bonuses therefore enabling the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

It’s incredulous that despite the amount of proven evidence, the Bank of England is still refusing to believe that those making obscene profits need to be dealt with to bring down inflation.

Those making such profits can very easily afford to do so, but instead the burden of inflation is being put upon the shoulders of those that are already struggling to cope financially.

The Bank of England not only has a duty to sustain and build an economy but this needs to be a priority.

It’s essential to the well-being of the UK to have a healthy economy, an economy that financial investors, businesses and organisations from around the world want to invest in. This is common sense, it keeps things going. Without this it stops, everything stops, leaving the UK a bad place to invest in which is what we are seeing at the moment.

Brand UK is rendered completely toxic leaving it the economic pariah of the western world.

Tackling Increasing Costs.

So far this year an excess of £15 billion in profits has been made by the energy sector alone. This profiteering off the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable needs to stop now. Instead the profits should be used to bring energy prices down and adequate financial help given to everyone struggling with these costs.

For example, back in June Rishi Sunak announced that households on Universal Credit will be given £1,200 a year extra to cover the increasing fuel bills and increasing cost of living. Whilst he failed to tell the public that he’d already stripped £1,000 a year away from them.

Benefits increased for some by 3.1% but at the same time inflation had already risen by 10% so this was of no real benefit for those in desperate need. It’s the same old Tory tactic of giving in one hand whilst taking with the other at the same time.

Sunack might have fooled some and I bet he felt very pleased about this, however it hasn’t been ignored by financial campaigners, the public and opposition MPs and politicians.

Fuel Bills

The government announced that there will be freeze in the cost of energy bills, trying to paint themselves as the good Samaritans, that they’re doing their best to help the public.

They deliberately omitted to announce that the average person will become £1,450 a year worse off unable to keep up with the increased costs. This will come as a shock when people see the reality that instead of a freeze or rollback they will be faced with a 25% rise in energy costs in October.

At the same time the help so far offered by the government won’t even come close or anywhere near to help tackle this, it’s an insult. The low paid will get £550 in financial help from the government, despite facing a £1,300 rise in fuel bills and increasing cost of living expenses.

Disabled people will suffer the most and yet the help offered to them is of no consequence and won’t make a difference.

Children, adults, disabled people and the elderly will be faced with spending the winter unable to heat their homes and feed themselves. This will undoubtably result in illness and even death, thus increasing the burden upon our NHS.

Stamp Duty

Whilst lower paid workers struggle to buy a house and pay their mortgages the government announced today that they’re getting rid of stamp duty on homes worth £250,000 and more. This will have no benefit whatsoever for the public except the rich.

Wealth doesn’t trickle down, it stays at the top leaving only the wealthiest to profit.

Mortgages

Fixed rate mortgages will remain the same until the fixed rate changes.

Variable mortgages will increase by £25 per month per £100,000 of the mortgage.

These changes will be implemented in the near future.

Kwartengs mini budget is a budget created for only the top 1% of this county, it’s cruel beyond belief and it’s abhorrent that they’re implementing this at the time of a national cost of living crisis.

The UK is broken, toxic to most of the western world.

The poorest are getting poorer, poverty levels are increasing at astonishing levels, charities and organisations left to pick up the pieces whilst at the same time struggling to survive.

This is a direct announcement of class war at a scale that hasn’t been seen before in modern times.

Instead of blaming the poorest, all blame needs to be directed at the government. It’s essential that we all join together working and not working and declare that enough is enough.

The UK is broken and we need to get it back.

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Thanks Mike for being the inspiration for this blog post x.

Many thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog posts, every share makes a massive difference!

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and it’s a huge struggle.

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Thank you!

Rule Changes For Working Universal Credit Claimants To Start Next Week

***Mention Of Suicide***

As from next week the DWP are set to make changes for working Universal Credit claimants These rules if applicable could well see already working claimants being forced to undergo more job searching commitments and to look for a better paid job.

From the 26th September 2022 onwards there will be an increase in the Administration Earnings Threshold (AET). This threshold ultimately decides which work search group people that claim Universal Credit are placed in. This then results in decisions being made as to how many hours they are required to look for work whilst already working. This also applies to job seekers not working but placed in the intensive work search group.

It is estimated that around 114,000 people will be moved from the ‘light touch’ work search group to the ‘intensive work search’ group. From September 26, the earnings rate is being increased from £355 to £494 per month and from £567 to £782 per month for joint claimants

If their working income total is above these rates the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) will move working claimants into the ‘light touch’ work search group.

If a claimants working income total falls below these thresholds, they will be placed into the ‘intensive work search’ group. Whilst in the intensive work group they will undoubtably be put under more pressure to find more work and ask for more hours, if they don’t do as is asked of them this can result in their Universal Credit payments being sanctioned.

Each person that is moved into the intensive work group will then be informed about the amount of hours they will be expected to search for more work and they will also be asked to show evidence of their job searching and what is expected of them

Then Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said the new approach will “help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs”.

Unbelievably Coffey makes the above statement ignoring the fact that these working Universal credit recipients are already working extremely hard, often with more than one job. They don’t need introducing to the ‘world of work’ they’re already aware, they’re in it.

Coffey went on to say “Helping people get any job now, means they can get a better job and progress into a career. Way to Work is a step change in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our Jobcentre network and excellent work coaches can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.”

Her statement proves that she has absolutely no idea of what the ‘world of work’ is really like. Employees can’t ask for more hours and receive them easily like she says.

Most low paid work is now part time, full time work is very hard to find. This inevitably results in people forced to work two or even three jobs to get more hours to reach the targets expected by the DWP. Coffey also omits to say that many employers also can’t afford to increase wages and employees work hours.

Universal Credit claimants are paid poverty wages hence why they have to apply for Universal Credit to top their wages up in the first place, they do essential jobs that the rich wouldn’t do and are often overlooked. Most are already working the maximum amount of hours that they already can work and to expect them to find more work immediately is completely unreasonable and is unrealistic.

Universal Credit recipients can’t drop prior commitments whenever the DWP requests them to find more work, it’s an impossibility for them to do so. Commitments are largely based around care for children or a loved one and the physical ability to be able to work, they’re already doing as much as they can physically do for very little, if any financial reward.

Whilst typing this I’m reminded of a conversation that I had a few years ago with a man that was told to search for more work and to commit to the job search rules. He was working difficult shifts, both night and day shifts and was exhausted.

Sadly he fell asleep whilst sat looking for work on his computer and his work coach sanctioned him for being a hour short of his job search commitments. This resulted in him loosing everything and eventually his life.

I don’t need to tell you that this shouldn’t be happening. I fear that this is yet another tactic employed by the government to unfairly push people away from claiming social security, to punish them for being poor. After all they don’t have any regard for their wellbeing this has been proven time and time again.

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DWP Refusing To Follow Recommendations During Cost Of Living Crisis

Under the cover of Queen Elizabeths death the DWP (Department of work and Pensions) have been busy inflicting cruelty upon claimants. They never miss a chance to show their hatred of social security recipients, especially when they think it’ll be overlooked.

Once again the government and the DWP have refused to listen to and consider any recommendations that would help claimants financially during the cost of living crisis. Apparently even ignoring the fact that the said recommendations were made by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee.


Details included in the recommendations made by MPs are that there be a pause in the way that the DWP take deductions from social security payments, for example when a claimant owes the DWP money for loans or overpayments and suchlike.

As reported by Benefits and Work the DWP’s excuse for ignoring this request is that it is apparently ‘not in the claimant’s best interest’ to do so, stating that if the debt recovery system would be to reintroduced after next April’s benefits uprating, claimants ‘may feel no better off as a result’.

The mind boggles, they aren’t even trying to come up with half decent excuses are they.


The truth is that it’s in the DWPs best interest to make claimants repay debts at a time that they cannot reasonably afford to do so, and it comes as no surprise that they will refuse to do do until their social security have been increased thus resulting in claimants no better off financially.

Debt repayments either made by the DWP or other organisations are unfair. They take monies away from claimants payments leaving them unable to pay for even the most basic things. The repayment rates are decided with absolutely no communication with the claimant, even if they appeal the repayment amount they are likely to be ignored.

The cruelty of this decision cannot be ignored. At a time when thousands of claimants working and not working are dependant upon food banks and unable to pay the cost of heating their homes, it is vital that this help is given now.

Thousands of claimants are facing a long, cold winter which will undoubtably result in illness or even death and still the government are refusing to acknowledge their suffering, after all it won’t affect them so it simply doesn’t matter.



With Liz Truss at the helm of the government we are facing a more extreme right wing government that seeks to punish claimants even more than they do already. It’s a scary thought and one we can’t ignore.

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My apologies for the lack of blog update last week. with the news of Queen Elizabeths death it would have got buried underneath all of the other news leaving it likely to be ignored.

Thanks to Benefits and Work for bringing this to my attention. Keep up the good work!

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares my blog updates, and also everyone that has helped me to keep this blog and campaign going. I don’t receive any payments for any of the work that I do and to say it’s a massive struggle is an understatement.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.

Good Law Project To Sue Ofgem

I’m a bit late publishing this my apologies.

I wish the Good Law Project every success. Ofgem have acted terribly and have failed in their duty to protect the consumer and to file important reports that should have been submitted before their announcement last week.