Tag: 2021 budget

87 Year Old Woman Dies After Developing Hypothermia

A 87 year old woman died after developing hypothermia at home after expressing concerns that she was worried about paying her energy bills.  

Barbara Bolton, 87, had previously told relatives she had felt cold after they had visited her at her home in Bury to check on her wellbeing. Sadly as a result she was rushed to Fairfield hospital where she was then diagnosed with hypothermia.

However despite the good care given by NHS medical professionals, her condition sadly deteriorated and as a result of her worsening condition she sadly died several weeks later.

Therefore an inquest into her death was opened at Rochdale Coroner’s Court, details can be found here.

Hospital notes given to the inquest indicate that her illness and subsequent death was linked to the fact she couldn’t afford to put her heating on.

Her son, Mark Bolton, 61, said his “proud” mum had refused his offer to help to pay her power bills as reported in the Mirror. She had been heating her home by using a single gas fire in her living room and used portable electric heaters to warm the rest of her two-bedroom house.

Ms Bolton had previously worked as a pharmacy assistant at her local Tesco until the age of 82 and she had lived at her home on Dawson Street in Bury for several decades.

Her son Mark told the inquest that he spoke to his mum every night and that she had told him that she was worried about her heating bills, despite assurances from him that he would cover the costs.

Mark said “She was concerned about all her bills because she was a pensioner. She was careful, she was mindful of the prices and worried about them going up,” he said.

Mark told the coroner that he had always told her to ‘just keep your heating on’ and ‘don’t worry about the bills mum.’ “But she was very stubborn and proud about paying her own way,” he said.

He told the hearing that his mum had ‘felt cold’ when she was found sat at her kitchen table by one of her grandchildren, who had gone round after the family had not been able to contact her.

Police coroner’s officer Jane Scullion told the hearing: “Barbara was admitted to hospital on December 11, 2022, with hypothermia, and a chest infection.

“During that time she continued to deteriorate. After a discussion, she was placed on end of life care and passed away.”

Assistant coroner for Manchester North Julie Mitchel adjourned the inquest and has requested statements from her doctor and asked for a medical cause of death to be provided.

“Her death was particularly accelerated by hypothermia and there is a possibility of self-neglect due to the lack of heating so her death has been referred to the coroner,” she said.

Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures and requires immediate medical intervention. Causes include not wearing warm clothes in winter, falling into cold water and living in a cold house.

Sadly I fear that her death caused by living in a cold house isn’t the first and will certainly not be the last. Thousands if not more people are being forced by an uncaring, cruel government to live in cold and in many cases, damp houses as a result of the ever increasing energy costs.

For those saying that she should have jut accepted the help offered, it isn’t always as easy for various reasons. Admitting that you’re poor and can’t afford to heat your home is a very difficult thing to have to admit, and as a parent this can be even harder.

Society deems that parents should look after their children and not the other way round, and asking your children for help can make a parent feel like an absolute failure, and she wouldn’t have made her decision lightly.

This nightmare isn’t going to end soon, I wish it was.The reality is that thousands, including myself are counting down the days until spring arrives and warmer weather returns, it can’t come a minute too soon.

The government has absolutely no intention of changing things for the better, they prefer to spend their time trying to cover up senior ministers deception and lies rather than help those in need.

It’s one rule for them and one for us and the death of Ms Bolton and others won’t bother them in the slightest.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s a struggle is an understatement..

If you would like to support my work and can afford to there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog page.

I’m struggling to pay my internet bill which is due in a few days and keep myself warm like so many of you are too.

Every penny will be put to good use to enable me to fight the good fight for much longer.

Thank you for your support and a huge thank you to everyone that shares and reads my blog posts

DWP Independent Case Examiner Overwhelmed By Complaints

The DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) Independent Case Examiner also known as ICE has revealed that they are overwhelmed by a huge amount of complaints from claimants.

This was revealed when they responded to an MP’s written question recently in parliament.



ICE is an organisation used by the DWP to deal with claimant’s complaints against the DWP. This is the next step when a claimant has exhausted the DWP’s internal complaints procedure and is still not satisfied with the response given.

Complaints against the DWP can be for various reasons including and not excluding others;

A failure by the DWP to follow proper procedures

Excessive payment delays for benefits

Sub standard customer service given to claimants.

It’s also noted that there has been a 17% increase in the number of complaints made to ICE in the year 2021to March 2022.

In itself may not be seen as a huge increase, however it is an increase and should be dealt with in the utmost urgency



However the huge increase in complaints arises in the proportion of cases that ICE has agreed to look into. This has increased by an astonishing 68% in the last year.

This therefore means that ICE is receiving a huge increase in complaints where it believes that there is a case to answer than in previous years.


As a result of this increase there are now 1,249 cases waiting for an ICE investigator to be allocated. The average time for a complaint to be dealt with currently takes is 53 weeks,so in total this means that it takes over a year before an investigation begins.

Personally I don’t know any person making a complaint against the DWP that can afford to wait that long albeit for financial and other complaint reasons.

It takes a great deal of courage to make a complaint against the DWP and as a result many don’t make complaints when they should do.

The complaints procedure is complex and very stressful for everyone making a complaint against the DWP and as a result it can impact a person’s health and ability to manage their daily life’s.

It comes as no surprise that legal justice that claimants are entitled to is subject to long indefensible delays without question.

It’s also noted that the DWP can make a decision to apply cruel, harsh and often unwanted sanctions on the most vulnerable and in need of help whilst their real and valid complaints.

Once again it’s one rule for claimants and yet another for their oppressors.

Please read, share and tweet this article doing so makes a huge difference in raising awareness!

A huge thanks to everyone that reads, subscribes, shares and helps to keep my blog and campaign going.

I couldn’t do it without you.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and every penny makes a huge difference.

If you’d like to donate and can afford to do so there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you!

PIP Appeal Rates Rise By 119%

It has recently been revealed by Benefits And Work that PIP (Personal Independence Payments) appeal figures have risen by 119% in 2022, this is compared to the same quarter in 2021.

The rate of UC (Universal Credit) appeals has also risen by 28% the latest official figures show.

The number of cases that were dealt increased by only 18% in the same time period compared to figures from 2021.


Figures show that there were 63,000 outstanding cases by the end of September 2021 which adds to an annual increase of 96%.



The average wait time for an appeal averaged at 31 weeks. This shows that it is 8 weeks down from 2021 figures , but is likely to increase over the coming quarters as the backlog rises inexorably.

The success rate for PIP appeals remains unchanged at 68%. This shows that the vast majority of those who appeal are correct in their decision to appeal however the wait time for appeals to be heard continues to rise.



For UC claimants it is revealed that the appeal success rates are now at 49% which is an increase of 7% on the previous year.

DLA (Disability Living Allowance) success rates are now at 61% which is down 6%.

Meanwhile ESA (Employment and Support Allowance success rates are now 53%, down on the previous year at 1%

Appealing against any DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) decision is always daunting and extremely stressful. Not only is the appeal process hard to navigate, the waiting times for appeals and tribunals to be heard is increasing.

The success rate shows that those making the decision to appeal have made the right decision in doing so.

Sadly many people that are entitled to appeal fail to do so because they can’t afford to wait a long time for their appeal to be heard and also can’t cope with the stress involved, many having no support network to rely upon.

I don’t need to tell you that the downright discrimination and hatred given to disabled and unemployed people is totally unfair and discriminatory.

This cruelty combined with the increasing cost of living and energy prices is making life extremely difficult for those that are most in need of financial help.

In an ideal world this wouldn’t be happening at all but there won’t be any positive changes made to the system whilst there’s a Tory government in power.

The conservative party is doing what they do best, punishing the most vulnerable and poor for their very existence, they need to be stopped and soon before more people suffer and die as a result of their actions.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Please read, share and tweet this article and my others to increase awareness. It makes a massive difference and I can’t thank everyone that does enough.

A huge thanks to all of my subscribers and readers for the help and support that you have given in the previous year. I really couldn’t do this without you.

I don’t get paid for any of the work that I do and it’s a massive struggle.

If you can afford to and would like to donate to keeping this blog and campaign going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you!

Universal Credit Cruelty Highlighted Again

TRIGGER WARNING. Contains mention of suicide and trauma.

A collection of stories that highlight the amount of cruelty that UC (Universal Credit) claimants are forced to endure has been recently published by Disability News Service (DNS). Sadly these stories won’t be a surprise for UC claimants

One such story article describes the death of a disabled woman who was left traumatized by the overbearing daily demands made by the UC system.



Upon applying for UC the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions)were told of the mental distress that the system was causing which in turn led to suicidal thoughts and an overwhelming fear of the DWP and the universal credit system.

Despite their knowledge of this the DWP continued to harass her.

Tragically she took her own life four days after being told she would need to attend a face-to-face meeting with a DWP work coach.

Another example describes how disabled claimant Philip Manion struggled enormously when he saw his UC payments cut from £1,260 to £500 due to a mistake made by the DWP.



Philip tried to attend a meeting to rectify this mistake but instead he was taken out of the Jobcentre by seven security guards. Their reasoning for this was because he found he was unable to log into his online journal from his mobile phone.

To add even more insult to injury he was then recorded as having failed to attend the meeting, despite attending and all of his UC payments were stopped.

Disability News Service went on to describe how former nurse Shirley Rudolph spent 10 years caring for her husband and was placed in the limited capability for work category due to suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.



Rudolph’s husband died in July and she subsequently informed her work coach that she wouldn’t be unable to attend their scheduled meeting because she was making arrangements for her husband’s funeral.



Rather unsurprisingly her work coach wasn’t sympathetic and moved her appointment to the following week. At the same time they sent Rudolph a job application to complete immediately.



As a result of the distress and the pressure Rudolph was forced to undergo she chose to end her universal credit claim and is now surviving on her NHS pension alone forcing her to struggle immensely.



Although horrible this comes as no surprise to many disabled UC claimants that find themselves hounded by the cruel UC system that deliberately targets disabled claimants forcing them to unfairly comply with rules that they are unable to achieve.

It goes without saying that no one should be forced to live like this disabled and non disabled, but sadly I can’t see this stopping for the foreseeable future.

Please read, share and tweet this article, every share makes a massive difference and raises awareness.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and if you can afford to and would like to donate you can find a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Less Than 4 In 10 Claims For PIP Successful

At last the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) have published the statistics for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) for the time period from August 2017 to July 2022.

Revealed in the report is that just 39% of PIP claims in England and Wales have resulted in successfully receiving an award.

Also included are the statistics for all planned award reviews for the same time period.

These figures reveal that the possibility of being awarded a higher amount once it has been reviewed are only 18%, however the chances of being financially worse off are much higher at 32%.

It’s clear to see that for both new claims and reviews all details and evidence should be acted upon accurately taking both into account.

The evidence proves otherwise and often claimants are at the whim of an assessor or reviewer that may not take available evidence and details into account.

Not only is the application process stressful, the appeal process is even more so, taking into account the lengthy time period to take an appeal to tribunal which results in many applicants giving up with their appeal.

However once taken to an appeal tribunal there’s a much higher possibility that it will result in a favourable outcome.

It’s always worth taking a case to appeal and then tribunal, but with the process being stressful and lengthy many don’t do so therefore resulting in the DWP to benefit financially.

A huge thanks to everyone that subscribes, reads, and shares my blog posts. It’s extremely important to raise awareness and it helps so much!

Thanks also to my subscribers!

I don’t receive any payment for my work and as many of you know it’s a struggle.

If you can afford to and would like to donate to keep this blog and campaign going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

The fees to keep this website going are approaching quickly and I’ve no idea how I’m going to pay them. Every penny will help me to continue to blog and help people.

I really don’t want to leave this blog platform as it does everything that I need and is easy for me to use.

Thank you!

It’s also my 8 year anniversary for this blog, time has passed far too quickly!

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Energy Price Increases- How Are Pre-Payment Customers Going To Pay?

Annual energy bills are predicted to increase more £4,200 from January 2023. This will undoubtably cause extreme hardship on an enormous scale.

So far without a fully functioning government, Johnson, his ministers and prospective prime minister candidates are refusing to meet to discuss and implement a strategy and further government financial without government intervention.

No further government assistance offered.

Instead of meeting to discuss further plans and financial help conservative ministers are on holiday blissful in their knowledge that without intervention their actions will cause unseen suffering and worse.

Further price increases.

The consultancy Cornwall Insight have already predicted that energy price caps are expected to reach £4,266 a year for the first three months of 2023.

They also predict that energy bills could rise to £4,426 in April before eventually easing.

Also predicted a week ago by the consultancy the energy price cap was expected to rise to £3,600 a year from January 2023.

It is now predicted that the energy cap will increase to £3,582 from October, an increase of £200 on its last forecast. It expects bills to begin easing next summer, to £3,810 in the third quarter and then £3,781 in the final three months of next year.

Compared to the price cap in October 2021 which was£1,400 a year, these price increases are obscene and totally avoidable.

People can’t afford to pay.

The reality is that there are already thousands of people that were already unable to meet every day household expenses, many of which are living in substandard housing, are homeless and living in temporary accommodation or renting a room or property at already extortionate prices.

There’s absolutely no way that anyone living in this situation will be able to cut costs anywhere to be able to pay for energy on top of food costs.

Whilst the idea of the don’t pay campaigns that have been created is on paper a good idea in real life it’s more complicated than that.

The problem with pre-payment meters.

Most people forced to live on extremely low incomes are already tied into pre-payment meters provided by the energy companies.

As well as having to automatically pay a daily standing charge they don’t have the option not to pay or to default on payments.

To put it simply if they don’t pay their energy supplies are cut off leaving them unable to heat and light their homes and to have any quality of life at all.

For those that pay their bills by direct debit, defaulting on their payments could affect their credit rating even if they pay a reduced amount.

Energy companies could also class them as bad payers and this could result in obtaining credit extremely hard.

It’s going to be a cold winter.

What on earth are people reliant upon pre payment meters going to do? They can’t magic money out of nowhere like the government does when they want to give tax breaks to their pals.

Their only option will be to use coats, bedding and just about anything they can find to keep warm whilst putting their health at risk.

Not forgetting that most people claiming social security will already be receiving a reduced amount due to various debts being garnished from their payments and benefit sanctions.

The poorest cannot be ignored anymore.

Alongside other campaigns the plight of the poorest and most vulnerable needs to be prioritized and help needs to be offered to everyone that require assistance.

Warm banks aren’t the answer nor is finding a warm spot to sit all day. It’s totally unrealistic to believe that this is the answer. At the very best they’re a sticking plaster that keeps falling off.

Government payments.

Everyone dependent on a low income is already well aware that the payments promised by the government offer little help when compared to the actual increase in energy and cost of living increases.

For these payments to realistically help they now need to increase dramatically for it to even start to chip away at the damage caused by the ever increasing energy costs.

The poorest are already suffering.

Food Banks are already experiencing a downturn in donations, some of them having no food and unable to offer any help to people dependant upon them.

There is also an ever increasing amount of people unable to afford to travel to food banks. For various reasons including and exceeding disability, illness and public transport costs they’re unable to collect desperately needed food. At the same time charities and organisations are unable to offer any kind of delivery service.

Their plight will be ignored

I suspect that the plight of the poorest will be ignored by those in power. After all their more concerned with punishing the poor than helping everyone that needs their assistance and correcting their mistakes.

The UK is a broken country, a ticking time bomb ready to explode. The only thing we do know is that the government won’t be there to pick up the pieces.

They don’t care they never have.

We must continue to press the government to reduce the obscene energy increases.

Instead of settling for ideas such as warm banks we need to make our voices heard.

It’s totally unacceptable that people are going to be forced into such extreme poverty that many may not survive the cold, harsh winter.

It really doesn’t have to be this way.

Please share my blog it really helps to raise awareness and shows solidarity to those suffering at the hands of this cruel government.

I receive no payment for any of the work that I do and for my campaign.

If you can afford to and would like to donate to keep both going there’s a donation link at the top and side of this blog post.

Every penny helps me to continue with both.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my campaign and blog. I really appreciate it and I couldn’t do it without you.

Coffey Refuses To Disclose Nine Secret DWP Reports.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey has once again remained silent about nine Department of Work and Pension (DWP) reports during a grilling by the Work and Pensions Committee..

Not only did she remain silent she added another report that she failed to disclose along with the previous nine.

This is despite the Work and Pensions Committee requesting that the information in the reports should have been posted as far back as 2017.

The reports contain information concerning DWP sanctions, claimant deaths and how people are coping with being transferred to Universal Credit (UC)



The committee did however state that they would like to discuss the matter further at another meeting on Wednesday 29 June.

They however made the huge error of giving Coffey until the 15 July to reply to their request.


Instead of answering the committee’s questions Coffey refused to do so in person saying that she would respond to the questions in her response to their letter by letter.


However during the meeting Coffey declared that the DWP have also got a secret plan to help claimants who fail to complete the managed migration process within the time limit given.


Coffey went on to say “I have added a policy that I would rather talk to you privately about, because I do not want to deter people from responding to our requests to migrate.”

As we already know her words are useless until any information about the supposed policy unless it is in public knowledge and is being acted upon.

Secret polices could well include ignoring a claimants legal rights and how would they be able to appeal decisions if the policy is indeed secret?

This could give way to yet more DWP cruelty met upon vulnerable claimants that are already struggling financially.

Only time will tell as to what will happen. The committee needs to request the publishing of the reports as a matter of great urgency and not rely upon Coffey being honest and open about the information that she has.

I do know one thing though. The reports could contain some very damaging information about the suffering and deaths of vulnerable claimants.

This could be the reason why she’s continuing to hold back the information.



Please read and share this blog post. It’s incredibly important that we continue to get important information such as this out there.

I receive no payment for the work that I do and I would like to be able to continue writing and campaigning.

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Every penny and share makes a massive difference.

A huge thanks to everyone that has and does support my work either through sharing or donating. I really appreciate it and I can’t continue without your help.

First Cost Of Living Payments To Be Paid From 14th July


The DWP have recently announced that the first cost of living payment will be paid in July 2022.

This will be the first payment of £326 will be paid automatically from the 14th July 2022.

Please note that this will be paid from the 14th July and I expect that they’ll probably make these payments in batches.

Don’t worry if you don’t receive your payment on the 14th July because it will be sent to you.

The second instalment of £324 will be paid in the Autumn, bringing the total to £650 for eligible claimants.

As of publishing this the government has no plans to expand these payments in the cold winter months.

Photo by Ahsanjaya on Pexels.com

Please read, share and tweet. Every share raises awareness massively and is essential especially in tough times such as now.

I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do. To say it’s a struggle is a massive understatement.

If you can afford to and would like to donate to keep both my blog and campaign going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

If youre using a phone to read this you have to click on the menu button to get to the donation link.

A huge thank you to everyone that has supported my blog and campaign in the past. I really couldn’t have got through the past two years without you.

DWP Wrongly Forces Universal Credit Claimants To Repay Entire Payments


According to a recent report from Child Poverty Action Group CPAG) claimants are being forced to repay their full Universal Credit (UC) award despite being entitled to it.

Why Are The DWP doing this?

During the pandemic the DWP temporarily changed some of the evidence rules to complete UC claims.

As detailed in the report by CPAG in January 2021 the DWP started to look into the claims that were made during the pandemic.

Whilst doing this the DWP have been changing the entitlement decisions given to claimants declaring that many claims have been wrongfully awarded.

Why This Shouldn’t Be Happening

CPAG have expressed their concerns that the process of retrospectively deciding claimants were not entitled to UC and beginning recovery is unlawful.



In addition, the DWP is asking for evidence of entitlement via the online journal, even from claimants that are no longer getting UC and would have no reason to check their journal.



Some claimants only find out about the alleged overpayment when they receive a letter from DWP Debt Management.

They therefore miss the one month deadline for challenging a decision and often don’t know that they could make a late challenge if they have good cause.


Shockingly, this process is set to be ramped up dramatically.

The DWPs Reaction

The DWP are employing a team of 2,000 staff to look again at 2 million claims over the next five years including, but not limited to, claims made during the pandemic.



The thought that a government department that tramples on claimants’ rights in this way is to be given powers of search, seizure and arrest, as revealed in our last newsletter, is truly frightening.


Conclusion.

It’s very concerning that the government gives the DWP the authority to stamp on a person’s legal rights in this manner.

Not only are they able to stop a claimants payments without any notice they are also set to be given powers of search, seizure and arrest, as detailed in an earlier blog post.

DWP decisions such as these are life changing and literally leave people without the ability to eat, pay their rent and to keep warm.

Combined with this is the mental toll that this puts upon claimants leaving them in a state of distress not knowing where to get help.

Claimants deserve to be treated with respect and should be given the right to reply before any permanent decisions are made by the DWP.

Not only is it morally wrong to change decisions retrospectively, moving the goalposts when it suits the DWP is despicable and should be challenged at all times.

You can find the full copy of the report here https://cpag.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/briefing/demands-repay-impact-and-legality-dwp-reverification-uc-claims

Please read, share and tweet this article. Doing so raises awareness of the real issues that affect the working class of this country.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s a struggle is an understatement. I’d really like to be able to continue writing and campaigning.

If you are able to and would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes a massive difference.

Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog. I really appreciate it and I couldn’t have got through the last two years without you.

EHRC Breaks Promise To Investigate DWP Role In Deaths



As reported by Benefits And Work the EHRC (Equality And Human Rights Commission) has broken its promise to investigate the role that the DWP (Department of Work And Pensions)have played in the deaths of vulnerable claimants. This has left the DWP not needing to answer any questions as to the role that they played in their deaths

Instead the EHRC are now asking the DWP to create new policies in relation to claimants with mental health issues and learning difficulties. This will replace the promised investigation.

This is despite promises made by the EHRC in 2019 that they would start an   investigation into the deaths of vulnerable claimants.

The EHRC used the pandemic as an excuse to not start the investigation.



The Commission has now declared that it  only intends to enter into a Section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2006. This will oblige the DWP “to commit to an action plan to meet the needs of customers with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.”

Keep in mind that the DWP are a much larger organisation that receive more funding  than the EHRC. 
This will no doubt result in the DWP will dragging their heels in creating so called policies that will be nothing more than good intentions that probably won’t be actioned upon.

Whilst I don’t have any details as to why the EHRC have changed their minds I can say that at best they’re very niave putting far too much trust in the DWP to do the right thing.

The DWP has an appalling track record of discrimination against vulnerable claimants, ignoring their basic human rights and making life extremely hard for them.

Despite my disappointment with the EHRC’s decision I’m not surprised. The DWP will do anything to avoid any actions taken against them making promises that they’ve got no intention of keeping whilst doing the bare minimum to comply.

Once again thanks go to Benefits And Work for their hard work and inspiring this article.

A huge thanks to everyone that likes, shares, reads and supports both my blog and campaign.

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

If you can afford to and would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you!