Tag: 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.

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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.

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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.

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I couldn’t do it without you.

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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

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

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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.

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Autumn Budget Benefit Increases.

Hunts Budget A Budget For The Rich.

On the day of yet another budget announcement, Hunt has just released the details of the governments latest budget proposals. Here are some of the highlights.

Means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, will rise in line with September’s inflation figure of 10.1% from April 2023.

The National Living Wage will be increased from £9.50 an hour for over-23s to £10.42 from April 2023.

Additional payments of £900 will be paid to those on means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit, £300 will be paid to pensioner households and £150 to people on disability benefits.

Pensions are to go up by 10.1% in line with inflation along with benefit payments.

Rent increases in the social rented sector will be capped at 7% in the next financial year in England.

Energy firms will now pay a windfall tax of 35%, up from the 25%.

The point at which the highest earners start paying the top rate of tax is being lowered from £150,000 to £125,140.

Electric vehicles will no longer be exempt from vehicle excise duty from April 2025.

People claiming legacy benefits won’t fully transfer to Universal `credit until 2028 rather than 2024.

Along with the budget announcements came the Autumn Statement which announced that approximately 600,000 people that claim Universal Credit will effectively be forced to work apparently despite their ability to do so. No mention was given as to how this was going to be done and how they plan to do this.

Considering that the employment rate for people claiming Universal Credit was 41% in June 2022, how are these people going to be able to commit to this?

Are they sick and or disabled?

Do they have caring and childcare commitments?

What real life skills do they have to enable them to find a suitable job?

As of`July 2022, 2.4 million Universal Credit recipients are working.

1.7million are disabled with no work requirements.

1.4 million are searching for work.

400k are preparing for work.

The real problem isn’t unemployment, one of the real problems is instead low wages that don’t pay enough to live off thus the need to be topped up by Universal Credit.

The language that the DWP and government uses towards Universal Credit claimants is also questionable.

The DWP say that ‘Claimants will be asked to attend a meeting with a work Coach’. However they don’t mean ask, they mean must attend despite whatever commitments a person might have and their ability to do so.

As I’ve stated many times in this blog a failure to attend will result in a sanction being given to the claimant which always results in any benefit payments that they receive.

Another reason as to why some people, mostly women can’t find a suitable job is the cost of childcare.

At the time of writing childcare providers are shutting at high levels. Last year a total of 4,000 childcare providers couldn’t afford to keep their doors open and were forced to shut. Undoubtably this will increase in the coming year this will result in fewer available childcare places and increasing costs.
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For two thirds of working parents the cost of childcare outstrips their rent or mortgage payments. Research undertaken by the Women’s Budget Group has found that over the last decade childcare fees have steadily increased at twice the rate of wages.

What is needed is more investment in childcare and childcare providers. This would provide three times as many jobs and if done correctly could potentially boost the economy by £28bn.

Childcare as well as being essential pays for itself It essentially will gain increased tax revenues and reduced benefits expenditure, but still there no mention of this.

Rather expectedly nothing that was announced in Hunts budget will target the richest. Yes freezing thresholds are expected to hit middle income households and cutting spending will hit lower income households the hardest. As they say, it’s expensive being poor.

Where is the increased tax burden on high income households? Why aren’t wealthy households being taxed more?

Why isn’t there an increase to capital gains tax rates, income tax, inheritance tax or stamp duty?

Once again the poorest and most vulnerable will pay the highest price whilst the richest will escape unscathed, ready to profit off the backs of those much worse off.

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New DWP Boss Mel Stride Happy With Universal Credit Sanction Rates.


The new DWP minister Mel Stride recently announced that he is happy with the levels of UC (Universal Credit) sanction rates.

Upon taking his new job as secretary of state for work and pensions (DWP), Mel Stride, quickly proved that he will not be making any changes in any harshness inflicted upon the most vulnerable at the hands of the DWP.



Upon answering MP’s questions on the 31 October 2022, Stride made it very clear that he’s happy hat the level of UC sanctions is now double the rate it was before the pandemic.


Stride went on to say “People are sanctioned only if they fail to attend appointments without good reason, and fail to meet the requirements that they have agreed to meet.”




However stride failed to offer any acknowledgement nevermind explanation as to why claimants are now twice as likely to break claimant commitment agreements than they were two years ago.



Upon questioning Stride ignored yet another request to publish a DWP report on the effectiveness of sanctions.

As previously reported in an earlier blog his predecessor also refused to do so.



Stride also claimed there “is a long tail” of 2.5 million long-term sick claimants who want to return to work and that it will be “a prime focus” for the DWP to “support them back into the workplace.”



It’s no coincidence that this figure is exceedingly similar to the total number of claimants that are long-term sick, the majority of whom are not able to work because their condition makes it impossible.



It appears that like his predecessors Stride is either mistaken or believes that every long-term sick person could be moved into work.



Whatever happens there appears to be no plans to treat claimants better, I suspect it will become worse.

A new DWP minister certainly doesn’t bring any changes for the better and until there’s a change of government I very much doubt that there will be.

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A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog.

I receive no payment for any of the work that I do and every read, share makes a big difference

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

Thank you.

Vodaphone Announce New Social Broadband Tariff And Free Broadband For Small Businesses.

Vodafone Group PLC has announced a new social broadband tariff for households giving them connectivity for £12 a month. They will also give small businesses free broadband for a year as part of their new cost-of-living package.

The new Vodafone Essentials Broadband deal will be available to anyone in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

As part of their new cost of living package they will be also offering small business owners and any new or existing customers that are eligible to upgrade free business broadband for 12 months on a 24-month plan.

Vodafone have based these new packages on research that shows that people are reliant upon connectivity to help them cope better with the cost of living crisis..

These new packages will also enable people to connect to the internet which is essential for people claiming Universal Credit and job searching.

Having access to the internet has become an essential part of daily life and life without internet access can be very difficult.

Vodaphone Chief Executive Ahmed Essam says “The rising cost of living is putting a million families at risk of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide,”

He goes on to say “We must not allow this to happen. So as part of our everyone.connected programme, today we are launching Vodafone Essentials Broadband at just £12 a month, the cheapest on the market, and 12 months free broadband for small businesses.

“Vodafone is the only network provider to offer social tariffs across fixed and mobile, meaning eligible customers can access mobile and broadband connectivity for 72 pence a day.

“These new tariffs complement Voxi for Now and the 750,000 free sims we’ve donated so far as part of our everyone.connected programme.

“We’re on track to meet our commitment to donate a million connections by the end of this year and will continue to put the cause at the heart of our business until the problem no longer exists.”

Original source Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

Vodaphone Announce New Social Broadband Tariff And Free Broadband For Small Businesses.

Vodafone Group PLC has announced a new social broadband tariff for households giving them connectivity for £12 a month. They will also give small businesses free broadband for a year as part of their new cost-of-living package.

The new Vodafone Essentials Broadband deal will be available to anyone in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

As part of their new cost of living package they will be also offering small business owners and any new or existing customers that are eligible to upgrade free business broadband for 12 months on a 24-month plan.

Vodafone have based these new packages on research that shows that people are reliant upon connectivity to help them cope better with the cost of living crisis..

These new packages will also enable people to connect to the internet which is essential for people claiming Universal Credit and job searching.

Having access to the internet has become an essential part of daily life and life without internet access can be very difficult.

Vodaphone Chief Executive Ahmed Essam says “The rising cost of living is putting a million families at risk of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide,”

He goes on to say “We must not allow this to happen. So as part of our everyone.connected programme, today we are launching Vodafone Essentials Broadband at just £12 a month, the cheapest on the market, and 12 months free broadband for small businesses.

“Vodafone is the only network provider to offer social tariffs across fixed and mobile, meaning eligible customers can access mobile and broadband connectivity for 72 pence a day.

“These new tariffs complement Voxi for Now and the 750,000 free sims we’ve donated so far as part of our everyone.connected programme.

“We’re on track to meet our commitment to donate a million connections by the end of this year and will continue to put the cause at the heart of our business until the problem no longer exists.”

Original source Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

Vodaphone Announce New Social Broadband Tariff And Free Broadband For Small Businesses.

Vodafone Group PLC has announced a new social broadband tariff for households giving them connectivity for £12 a month. They will also give small businesses free broadband for a year as part of their new cost-of-living package.

The new Vodafone Essentials Broadband deal will be available to anyone in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

As part of their new cost of living package they will be also offering small business owners and any new or existing customers that are eligible to upgrade free business broadband for 12 months on a 24-month plan.

Vodafone have based these new packages on research that shows that people are reliant upon connectivity to help them cope better with the cost of living crisis..

These new packages will also enable people to connect to the internet which is essential for people claiming Universal Credit and job searching.

Having access to the internet has become an essential part of daily life and life without internet access can be very difficult.

Vodaphone Chief Executive Ahmed Essam says “The rising cost of living is putting a million families at risk of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide,”

He goes on to say “We must not allow this to happen. So as part of our everyone.connected programme, today we are launching Vodafone Essentials Broadband at just £12 a month, the cheapest on the market, and 12 months free broadband for small businesses.

“Vodafone is the only network provider to offer social tariffs across fixed and mobile, meaning eligible customers can access mobile and broadband connectivity for 72 pence a day.

“These new tariffs complement Voxi for Now and the 750,000 free sims we’ve donated so far as part of our everyone.connected programme.

“We’re on track to meet our commitment to donate a million connections by the end of this year and will continue to put the cause at the heart of our business until the problem no longer exists.”

Original source Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent