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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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New regulations have been issued to enable registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists to issue fit notes.
This will extend the categories of people that can issue fit notes.
New statutory instrument
The new regulations will commence from 1 July 2022.
These regulations being Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.630/2022) amend the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1976 and the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985.
The new regulations also make amendments to sets of regulations which refer to medical evidence as having been signed by doctors or registered medical practitioners.
The explanatory memorandum to the regulations advises that –
‘Currently only doctors can certify fit notes. This is not reflective of modern ways of multi-disciplinary working in healthcare where alternative healthcare professionals (HCPs) such as nurses often lead a patient’s diagnosis and healthcare management.
Expanding certification to a wider group of HCPs will better enable relevant HCPs to undertake health and work conversations to issue and certify fit notes without having to refer patients to their doctors.’
Commenting on the regulations, DWP Minister Chloe Smith said today –
‘The extension of fit note certification is fantastic news for patients, making it easier for them to get the support and advice they need from the right place, ensuring where possible that they are able to remain in work.’
These latest fit note changes recognise the valuable role other professions play in helping manage people’s health, and I hope this will also help reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for doctors and general practice more widely.’
This is welcome news for people struggling to provide fit notes for the DWP which can be a struggle for many.
SI.No.630/2022 is available from legislation.gov.uk
Thanks to Rightsnet for providing this information.
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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.
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Dear subscribers and guests it’s been a tough year for so many of us, I know it, I feel it.
This year was probably the worst one of my whole life. My son was tragically taken away from me mid pandemic. It hurts more than anything else that I’ve experienced.
Whilst we were abiding to the social distancing rules, the Tory government were busy partying and carrying on as if nothing had happened.
This was a case of we’ll do whatever we want sod the public. They don’t care about us. My son had to have a very reduced socially distanced funeral whilst they were enjoying life.
To be honest this is a perfect example of how they treat us. They never spare a thought for us so don’t expect them to either.
Christmas is a tough time for so many reasons wether it be for financial reasons or bereavement. I’m with you, I feel it.
I haven’t put a Christmas tree up this year. My daughter and I decided that it doesn’t feel right so we put some extra lights on his memorial table.
So much pressure is put on society to have the big tree, the decorations and lots of good food. The truth is that so many of us can’t afford to buy the big tree, pay for the electric to light the Christmas lights and affording a big meal with all the trimmings is near impossible.
Poverty doesn’t end at Christmas, if anything it’s amplified for reasons that I’ve already stated.
You do Christmas how you want to do it. Try and ignore the pressure to comply to what everyone expects. If you want to turn the TV off and read a book instead then do it.
If you want to spend Christmas day doing nothing then do it. Be kind to yourself.
I used to put so much pressure upon myself to get everything right for others to see. Loosing my son has made me realise that none of this really matters.
Like many of you I’m going to find Christmas tough, but I will get through it.
So many families are going to be going without the Christmas that they were used to. The pandemic has caused thousands of people to loose their jobs and it’s also resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
Thousands of families and individuals are newly dependant upon foodbanks to keep them going. It’s not easy asking for help and the food isn’t the best. Hopefully one day it will get better.
How do you explain to your children that Father Christmas can’t come this year? It’s heartbreaking.
What we can do is be there for each other, talk to friends on social media, text or face to face (socially distanced of course).
We will get through this. Lots of love to you all.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a massive difference and it raises so much awareness.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog this year. I really couldn’t do it without you.
I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s tough is an understatement.
For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
Well who’d have guessed that the government would find £2 billion from their magic money pot to inflict even more cruelty to disabled and ill claimants.
Thanks to Benefits And Work who have uncovered the first details of the new assessment contracts for PIP, ESA and UC claimants.
These shiny new contracts will split the UK into five regions which will involve over £2.8 billion being given to the private sector over a period of five years. This is supposedly to allow the DWP to decide how these assessments will take place through telephone or face-to-face assessments.
I add that as usual this will be decided ignoring the actual physical and mental needs a claimant might have.
Under the new claimant Functional Assessment Services (FAS) system as it is titled, the UK will be divided into five regions from 1 August 2023:
Lot 1 – Northern England and Scotland 647,600,000
Lot 2 – Midlands and Wales 473,400,000
Lot 3 – South West England 338,000,000
Lot 4 – London, South East & East Anglia 396,800,000
Lot 5- Northern Ireland 105,100,000
In each region, a single company will be chosen to carry out all the PIP, ESA and UC assessments.
So basically money talks regardless of already vulnerable claimants needs. Whoever puts the best tender in wins the contract.
Call me old fashioned but the wellbeing and needs of individuals should always be put first. Instead they companies with no medical knowledge and experience to assess already vulnerable people.
They will be allowed to decide if a person disabled enough to claim their rightful payments regardless of having no medical knowledge of their needs.
Basically claimants life’s are once again in the hands of these so called assessors.
The total value of the contracts that will be given is £2 billion firstly to rise to £2.8 billion if the DWP chooses to extend the contract for an additional two years.
You can bet that they’ll choose to extend these contracts, afterall it’s beneficial for the government to extend them.
There’s always room for extending cruel systems such as this. What the government won’t tell you is that they want as many people as possible to be declared fit for work. It doesn’t matter of they’re fit or able enough to do so.
The Scottish government will be taking over PIP assessments itself in advance of August 2023.
There will be some claims that are already underway that will still be dealt with by private sector assessors.
The bid winners will be paid first for a ten month ‘implementation phase’. This will ensure they will have fully trained their staff and have acquired suitable premises. It also will give them the chance to implement their IT systems before going live.
As we already know the DWP never make any system uncomplicated though. To prove this the DWP will provide one IT system for PIP claimants and a separate system for ESA and UC claimants.
The DWP have already warned potential providers that changes might take place place throughout the life of the contract.
These changes may include alterations in the ‘channel mix’ as the DWP call it.
An example being “change in proportional requirements relating to virtual assessments and face to face assessments. They could for example change requirements such as 60% face-to-face to 20% assessments.
It is very clear that the DWP and not the assessment providers that will decide which proportion of claimants receive a telephone or face-to-face assessment.
This makes it clear that assessment providers will be working to meet targets for types of assessment. This will completely ignore the fact that some claimants are obliged to have an inappropriate method of assessment.
As you can see none of this will be beneficial for anyone that claims ESA,PIP and UC.
As these systems are target driven the assessors will be more concerned with meeting targets than the wellbeing of anyone being assessed.
I don’t have to tell you how much distress is caused by cruel systems like this especially if they’re target driven. Who remembers Sandra’s Stars?
We must remain vigilant because as we know from past experience the government will try to put in legislation and plans without our knowledge.
You can do this by sharing information online on your preferred social media provider, emailing mine and likewise blogs to people that might need informing
Every share, tweet and conversation about these issues raises awareness which is extremely important.
Massive thanks given to Benefits And Work for making me aware of this happening. They do so much hard work to raise awareness.
Also thanks to a Twitter friend for alerting me to this. Thanks RooneyMusic!
Also if you live in the Greater Manchester area please join Manchester DPAC. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter
Please read, share and tweet my blog. Every share helps so much!
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.
I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do. I’m struggling financially at the moment. As you know my son died and my daughter is struggling to cope with his death as am I.
If you would like to donate my PayPal ad is posted above, below and at the side of this blog post.
Please click on the below link from the Public Law Project.
If you are told to repay back hardship payment debts make sure that you challenge this.
It is your legal right to do so. If needed quote the below article and insist that the DWP use their discretion regarding payment of hardship payment debt.
Insist that these payments are causing distress and suffering, which they do for thousands of people.
This is also essential because the majority of claimants already have monies garnished from their payments for council tax debt and suchlike.
No one should be forced to live in extreme hardship such as this.
I expect that the DWP won’t like this so don’t expect them to suggest it to you.
Please like, share and tweet my blog. It’s very important to get the truth and the reality of our life’s out there.
I don’t get paid for anything that I do but I do want to continue to be able to continue to write my blog and continue with my campaign.
For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that and has supported my blog and campaign. This makes such a big difference.
“Happy International Women’s day!
Today I’m thinking about all the women who are suffering as a result of the government’s austerity measures.
Women unable to leave abusive relationships because there isn’t a women’s refuge that they can escape to.
Remembering all the women that have died as a result of domestic violence and the governments austerity measures, we’ll never forget you.
We love you.
Women struggling to survive the discrimitory universal credit system.
Disabled women who are struggling to survive because their ESA and/ or PIP has been taken away from them.
To all the 1950s women unable to claim their rightful pensions.
Homeless women stuck in flea ridden, unsafe temporary accommodation, one day things will get better for you.
Please have them in your thoughts, the battle for equality is far from over.”
Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a huge difference and it helps to get the truth out there.
I don’t receive any funding for both my campaign and blog. If you would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. It really means the worl to me and your help makes a massive difference.