#AceUKNews : `UN Housing Report on Social Housing’ Calls for `Suspension of Bedroom Tax’

#AceNewsServices says `UK Ministers Brand UN Report on Social housingMarxist diatribe’

A United Nations report on UK social housing conditions, which called for a suspension of the bedroom tax, has been dismissed by the government as a “misleading Marxist diatribe.”

Poverty and LiesThe report by Raquel Rolnik, UN special rapporteur on housing, who made a research trip to Britain last August and September at the invitation of the UK government, looked at housing provision and was published in full by the UN on Monday.

Rolnik repeated her call, issued at the end of her visit, to scrap the controversial bedroom tax because it negatively “impacts on the right to adequate housing and general wellbeing of many vulnerable individuals and households.” The so-called ‘bedroom tax’ is the part of welfare reform that will cut the amount of benefits that individuals can receive if they are considered to have a spare bedroom.

The study also highlighted a lack of investment in UK housing over many decades. It said that Britain now faces a crisis of housing availability and affordability and that tenants in the rapidly growing private rented sector find themselves with “few rights and little security.”

The report concluded that the structural shape on the housing sector has changed to the detriment of the most vulnerable,” and it called on the government to invest more in social housing. Britain’s previously good record on providing housing was being eroded, the report concluded.

Rolnik, who is a former urban planner from Brazil, visited council estates, food banks, homelessness crisis centers and housing association developments in Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Her research found those low-income households were in “tremendous despair” as tenants “faced hard choices between food, heating or paying the rent. Many felt targeted and forced to give up their neighborhoods, carers and their safety net.”

The report’s publication has resulted in a venomous response from the government.

“This partisan report is completely discredited, and it is disappointing that the United Nations has allowed itself to be associated with a misleading Marxist diatribe,” said Kris Hopkins, the housing minister.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions was also critical of the research carried out on Rolnik’s 12 day trip to the UK.

This report is based on anecdotal evidence and the conclusion was clearly written before any research was actually completed,” said the spokesman.

Professor Aoife Nolan a human rights law expert told the Guardian that the government would not be forced to act on any of the report’s findings but that it would be used as a tool by groups seeking a change in the unpopular policy.

The Special rapporteur is not putting forward an alternative Marxist vision – she is simply highlighting where current government policies are not compliant with the international human rights standards it [the government] voluntarily signed up to,” she told the Guardian.

The shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds promised to scrap the bedroom tax if Labour are elected at the next election.

Stop-The-Bedroom-Tax-2070513Labour has called on David Cameron to reverse his unfair and unworkable bedroom tax because we can see the impact it is having on hard pressed and often vulnerable people, the majority of whom are disabled,” she said.

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#acenewsservices, #britain, #david-cameron, #department-for-work-pensions, #department-for-work-and-pensions, #emma-reynolds, #government-of-the-united-kingdom, #kris-hopkins, #public-housing, #rolnik, #united-nations, #welfare-reform-act-2012

#Public Information: For the Elderly About Cold-Weather Payments During this Winter

New figures show that the government has spent over £706 million since 2010 with 28 million Cold Weather Payments during the winter.

WinterAs the first icy blasts of cold weather set in, new figures reveal that the government has spent over £706 million since 2010 with 28 million Cold Weather Payments helping those most in need keep warm during the depths of winter.

Payments are made automatically to those who qualify when temperatures are forecast to plummet, including poorer pensioners, disabled adults and children, and families with children under 5 who receive an income-related benefit.

Cold Weather Payments are made for each 7-day period of very cold weather – if temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

Department for Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:

We are absolutely committed to helping the poorest pensioners and those most susceptible to the cold. We permanently increased Cold Weather Payments to £25 a week to help them heat their homes when it’s really cold, and have paid out over £706m since 2010 on this support.

People who get Pension Credit are automatically paid Cold Weather Payments, and in the cold winter days ahead it’s even more important that older people check if they are entitled so they don’t miss out on Cold Weather Payments. If anyone thinks a family member, a friend or neighbour might be entitled to Pension Credit, I’d encourage them to ask them to get in touch and find out by calling – 0800 99 1234.

More information

Statistics on Cold Weather Payments since 2010, based on Social Fund Annual Reports, are below.

Scotland Wales England Great Britain
2010/11 Number of payments 3,757,900 754,800 12,719,500 17,232,200
Expenditure (£) £93,947,500 £18,870,000 £317,991,425 £430,808,925
Number of recipients 776,300 182,100 3,110,900 4,069,300
2011/12 Number of payments 72,500 124,100 4,970,300 5,166,900
Expenditure (£) £1,812,500 £3,102,500 £124,257,500 £129,172,500
Number of recipients 49,600 62,400 3,057,400 3,169,400
2012/13 Number of payments 306,600 253,100 5,285,300 5,845,000
Expenditure (£) £7,665,000 £6,327,500 £132,132,500 £146,125,000
Number of recipients 133,600 75,700 3,081,500 3,290,800
£ Totals £103,425,000 £28,300,000 £574,381,425 £706,106,425

Over this period 28,244,100 million payments were made.

The figures for Wales and Scotland only include those from weather stations which cover areas entirely in each of Wales and Scotland ; weather station areas which straddle the Wales/England or Scotland/England borders are included in the figures for England, so it is possible they include some under-reporting in Wales and Scotland border regions, and consequent over-reporting for England.

The number of payments and number of individuals are rounded to the nearest 1,000, expenditure figures are rounded to the nearest £100,000.

Information on payments and expenditure against individual weather stations is published each year in the Social Fund Annual Report.

Over 1 million pensioners may be entitled to Pension Credit worth up to £2.8bn (2009/10) who are not claiming it. People can claim Pension Credit, as well as Housing Benefit, in one free phone call on – 0800 99 1234 without the need to sign a form.

Winter Fuel Payments also provide a valuable contribution to help older people with fuel bills in the colder winter months. Winter Fuel Payments are paid to more than 9 million households. The payment is £200 for households with someone over women’s State Pension age and £300 for those with someone aged 80 and over.

Around 2 million households receive assistance each year through the Warm Home Discount scheme; and well over 1 million of the poorest pensioners will receive a discount of £135 off their energy bill in winter 2013/14.

#cold-weather-payments, #department-for-work-and-pensions, #england, #housing-benefit, #pension-credit, #scotland, #social-fund-annual-report, #steve-webb, #wales, #weather, #weather-station

Universal Credit Simplifying the Welfare System by Making People Pay

Ace News Group For a while l have followed the roll-out  by the UK Government of  their “Universal Credit” scheme, its is billed by politicians as the way to simplify the welfare system ,by guiding people back into work!

Of course as with all “Government Initiatives” there is a person tasked to front this policy in this case it is Iain Duncan Smith and so far he is keeping a lot of people in this country happy with the result! The reason being that the emphasis is for those that work and pay their taxes, whilst the scroungers get it all for free! Now everyone wants a government to spend their taxes wisely, so it is a winner as far as it goes!

So concept good on the face of it, but as my personal investigations have uncovered, behind what looks good for some, hides the real truth for others! In this instance the part in this latest system about “Making Sure Work Pays” well my insider source says it does, for the contracted service companies that get paid for providing a job, any job, as long as you work!  Now the pay can be low, the conditions can be unfair and the consequences can lead to tribunals and even dismissal ,as my source has confirmed. But as long as you do not turn up on the unemployment register as an applicant claiming welfare benefits ,that suits this government just fine!

As a lot of people are aware a number of employers have signed up to this contract and it enables these companies to get cheap labour, on short-term contracts and unburden the register for the unemployed, massaging the figures and making this government, look as if they are looking after the people’s interest.

So it is a real vote winner for the government, welfare system and unemployment!

But these companies do not care about all that, they just want you to work in any job, and of course they get paid for providing such a service, but according to my source their tactics are not very humane, their interview techniques are questionable and their methods would lead one to believe we are back in the 1930’s not living in this day and age. The problem is that my source had to take a job working on a third-party contract for a Property and Maintenance Services company ,providing their services to the NHS and on a 24 hour call-out arrangement, being told  that he would receive a vehicle, mobile phone and only be on call-out every two weeks. Sounds great and so with no choice he took it ,against my best advice as the contract was exceptionally onerous, to say the least!

That was 6 months ago, since that time the mobile phone, has one feature the employer can ring him, no call back or checking procedure, the van never arrived, he now works every weekend using his own vehicle, and never sees his wife ,or his very ill house bound mother! His time at the company has gone from bad to worst as refusal to do these hours, has brought him into conflict and recently before the disciplinary board, and he is now awaiting an appeal!

Now upon reading this you would think that these are all excuses ,he does not want to work! Well l can tell you l have known this person all of my life, and he is nearly 60 years old now! He has worked all his adult life from the age of 16, but has been unlucky like so many to be made redundant 4 times, and he has always done his job to the best of his ability!

So you might say, why is this situation not well-known, well of course these so-called interviews are carried out behind closed doors, so nobody gets to see or hear how they get you to agree to a job! This can include standing you in the middle of a room full of people and publicly humiliating you, saying you are lazy and a burden on the state, so if you do not take the job we offer you, we can make a phone-call and stop your benefits! Of course they couch it in such a manner, saying words like we could, as we have been given the job of getting you off the unemployment register and into work.

What they do not say is that for everyone who takes a job they received a payment, so the incentive to get people a job, any job is paramount as more that stop taking benefits, the more money they make!

Conclusion: 

At present there is an appeal under-way and the story of this tribunal will be written in part two, but suffice to say for now my source has asked me not to share his name ,or the name of the company! Also l will eventually after more investigation name the company tasked by this government to carry-out these recruitment services and where in the country this took place!

Of course for all those that want to look at the government’s way of providing Universal Credit here is a link explaining it all, together with a small  snippet the scheme:

Department of Work and Pensions Introducing Universal Credit:

We are introducing Universal Credit in 2013 for people who are looking for work or on a low-income. Universal Credit brings together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment. It will:

  • encourage people on benefits to start paid work or increase their hours by making sure work pays
  • smooth the transitions into and out of work
  • simplify the system, making it easier for people to understand, and easier and cheaper to administer
  • reduce the number of people who are in work but still living in poverty
  • reduce fraud and error

Read More at: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/simplifying-the-welfare-system-and-making-sure-work-pays

or download this PDF: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/253919/uc-faqs.pdf

#david-freud-baron-freud, #department-for-work-and-pensions, #government, #iain-duncan-smith, #jobseekers-allowance, #labour, #poverty, #self-employment, #social-security, #universal-credit, #welfare, #working-tax-credit