Monday, 25 August 2014

The Importance Of Being Earnest,, or Sammy, Sue, Steve, John, Jules,Or Bob..

Will you sign ALL 17 petitions on this link? Thats up to you. I cant tell you to. I'd like it if you did. BUT. Virtual Gherkin has ALWAYS been about individual voices, and making as many voices heard as possible, and enabling everyone to HAVE a voice, and if you have the energy write or email your MP about any of these issues raised in this link. And , If you can, do face to face and TALK about these issues. Which ever way you use your voice, I encourage that. Jules . Heres the link

17 petitions in one link

I have always said Voice is important.

So if you COULD do more than sign, your voice MATTERS .

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

So another Arrow to Opposition's Quiver?

So - seeing latest sanctions figures, I wrote again, to my MP...

Many thanks for your correspondence of the 12th August. 

I have just read with dismay that sanctions on sick and disabled people - removing money they are entitled to for erroneous and sometimes ludicrous reasons- has increased unacceptedly.

Sanctions for disabled and sick on ESA have risen by 346% (compared to the same quarter last year), new DWP figures have shown. 

Mr Iain Duncan Smith says this is returning fairness. 

In all fairness, it appears to be abhorrent. 

I do note that the coalition appear to have accepted albeit in intent, the Wednesbury Principle - I think this negates their holding any acceptance of this principle. 

Now is this a DWP questions item to raise? Or a Prime Ministers Question Time issue to be raised? Or both? 

It is in the nations interest that the current government is called on its appalling treatment of vulnerable citizens as often and as strongly as possible.

I hope you will ad this to the considerable quiver of arrows existing, and ask when are the archers of truth, such as yourself, going to release their bowstrings and let fly? 

Car Insurance in Blue Badge Parking

Myself and Adam Lotun were both researching this .

From our findings:

Greater Manchester Police said : Unauthorised Blue Badge Parking users were still insured, but breaking traffic regulations.

More interestingly Adam had response that indicated   If you use a blue badge bay unintitled your insurance wont pay for any third party damage to your car you have to seek it from the third party it seems..which was the direction of both of our enquiries... but....

"Answer: If the car was damaged by a Third Party when parked in a disabled parking bay, with or without displaying a blue badge, then the responsibility and liability still remains with the Third Party. The parking issue would be a matter for the local council."

So there is no difference in insurance with or without badge.

Thanks to Fish Insurance, GMP (via twitter) , and

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Where I Write to my MP about Parliament Bar Subsidies

email to my MP 11th August.

Hello , etc, etc

Today it is revealed the subsidy to parliament bars costs £6million.

In times of austerity, which to be frank I think is pure ideology, however thats another issue entirely, in times of austerity a subsidy of this nature and at such a cost seems diametrically opposed to the message being sent to the public of "all in it together" .

Will you agree this point at least? And at best put to the House that this figure is disgracefully distanced from sharing any burden the nation faces... and there must be better use of six million pounds? I'm sure you can find examples of better use of such a significant sum.

It should be stopped. 

Thank you etc etc .

He repled 12th August, salient extract...

"With regard to bars in the Houses of Parliament, I have never used them, This is not because I am a teetotaller, but because I have enough to do with work when I am in the House of Commons. I do not believe that this subsidy is necessary or, indeed, desirable"

I wish there were more Sir Geralds. 

Why is DWP CHAOS so under-reported?

Via DWP CHAOS unreported. WHY?

Well over one million people await 
correct benefit payments

Chaotic Department for Work & Pensions fails to process people's claims, leaving tens of thousands of claimants destitute & impoverished for months on end.....

This is an unreported national scandal....

It is only the mainstream media's failure to bring this state of chaos to the public's attention which prevents it from being plastered all over the front page of every single national newspaper.

If this was people stuck in NHS waiting lists, awaiting their passports, unable to travel by train, stranded abroad, struggling to get money out of cash points, marooned in the channel tunnel, affected by adverse weather conditions or by striking public service workers the national newspapers would ensure it was in print for all to see. 

Yet here in the UK we have a crisis of unprecedented proportions as thousands upon thousands wait month upon month to get the benefits to which they are entitled to and hardly a word appears in any of the big hitting papers. The British public are being deceived into believing that government's welfare reforms are achieving the desired results with no unnecessary human suffering.

The mainstream media has a duty to report the mayhem which exists within the chaotic Department for Work & Pensions and must expose this mass maladministration of thousand of benefit claims. What makes this all the more deplorable is the victims are by and large thousands of sick and disabled people who desperately need the right amount of cash to live on. 

On the 23rd June 2014, the then disability minister Mike Penning admitted in Parliament that the number of claimants awaiting an assessment for Employment & Support Allowance had stood at a staggering 766,000.

On the 5th June 2014 the DWP quietly produced statistics relating to the government's new Personal Independence Payment statistics which showed that from April 2013 to March 2014 out of 349,000 new claims made, just 83,900 had reached the stage where a formal decision had been made on the applicant's claim - a backlog of 265,100 claims where the claimant hasn't received one single penny of the benefit for which they have applied. 

Between the two benefits, Employment & Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments, an eye watering 1,031,100 claimants have yet to receive the legal decision which determines their claim. It leaves claimants in absolute turmoil and completely unable to access the help they need.

Problems aren't limited to ESA & PIP assessment chaos

This one million claimants does not include those who have had a decision, but are in embroiled in thousands of disputes with the DWP & Local Authorities over long drawn out battles which need independent determination by one of Her Majesties' Courts & Service's Tribunals. 

Since April 2010 no less than 1,698,321 benefit appeals have been lodged with Tribunals, of which 939,100
relate to the Employment & Support Allowance. Nearly 1.7 million benefit appeals is just part of this much bigger chaos. 

In March 2014, 78,347 benefit appeal cases remained outstanding. In 2012/13 the number of benefit appeals received by formal tribunals was 507,131 against 465,497 cases which had been dealt with. By 2013/14, whilst the number of appeals had fallen to 401,197 against 545,843 disposals, the fact remains that thousands are still trapped in a chronic backlog of appeal cases which saw 77,931 adjournments and a further 44,021 postponements, collectively accounting for some 22% of all benefit cases. It's mayhem on a scale which has spiralled out of control. The DWP's answer is to implement restrictive measures to access Tribunals with the introduction of its new 'mandatory internal review' procedure; a procedure which has come under fire for causing even further delays with thousands in limbo awaiting decisions. 

One MP in particular stands out, Sheila Gilmore is to be commended for her non stop persistence in calling for government to publish the figures relating to thousands of disputed decisions which are subject to the DWP's internal review procedure. Sheila Gilmore MP (with a little help from ilegal) has pressed this issue time and time again. Following several complaints to the UK Statistics Authority and calling the government to account at several debates which she has called, she got the then disability minister to admit how he would "love the data to be published now, but it is not ready. As soon as it is ready, I will publish it." - seemingly we will need to wait until the end of the year to see whether Government keeps its word.

Meanwhile, thousands of sick and disabled people await the right decision for months on end, often having to rely on food banks to survive.

On top of the one million awaiting assessments, who knows how many more thousands are stuck in a cruel and heartless system, having to wait week after week for the DWP to resolve their disputes? - my guess is many thousands await decisions; it's in the nature of the chaotic epidemic which has broken out in the DWP. 

The chronically stretched Department is quite obviously under resourced to deal with reforms of this magnitude. The Public and Commercial Services Union are saying, in the wake of staffing cuts within the Department, that the DWP "needs more staff, not less." 

On top of all this, the DWP have been applying sanctions on a level never seen before. As refute report: "Under the new sanctions regime, introduced on the 22nd October 2012, a total of 1.35 million sanction decisions have been made up to June 2013, of which, 580,000 were adverse decisions".

Local Councils in meltdown 

What few people outside of the benefits system appreciate is how all of these delayed assessments, appeals and sanctions impact upon cash starved Local Authorities. Councils such as Birmingham are struggling, to put it mildly, to see how they can come up with a budget plan when they know they are expected to make of 28% cuts from central government funding by 2015. 

1 million delayed assessments, 1.7 million appeals and nearly 600,000 adverse sanctions all have a knock on effect as local councils grapple with revised Housing Benefit awards, Council Tax Support and decide how best to administer limited Discretionary Housing Payment awards. Every delayed assessment can affects other benefits, sometimes tax credits and the worst nightmare begins when an appeal leads to everything being retrospectively awarded. It means going through umpteen awards and re - revising them to reflect the new entitlement. There is also the knock on effect of the bedroom tax, localism of Council Tax support as well as the social fund now being dealt with at Local Authority level. 

Few Council's will speak out for fear of having their funding cut further or being labelled as 'inefficient' when compared against authorities in more prosperous areas where deprivation is less of a problem. 

A national scandal 

The mainstream media is doing no one any favours by glossing over the worsening chaos within the DWP and Local Authorities. Failing to print a the real story as to the true extent of this crisis doesn't make the crisis go away, the media owes a duty to the wider public to give way to propaganda and needs to out this scandal for what it is. 

1 million delayed assessments/decisions, 1.7 million appeals & 1.3 million put through the sanction regime is a collective 4 million exposed to some degree of benefit decision related chaos. How can 4 million people locked in government backed chaos not be a national chaos? 

Government's answer is something it has the raw nerve to call 'Universal' Credit. By April 2014, the Secretary of State had promised that 1 million claimants would be on the new 'single streamlined benefit' system. He has consistently misled his fellow Parliamentarians and the British public in to believing his flagship benefit system is 'on track' to transform the lives of 8 million households. The reality is that the latest DWP figures confirm how between May 2013 and April 2014 6,960 claimants have made a new Universal Credit claim with 5,880 remaining on benefit - an overall reduction of just 1,080. As always with the DWP, there's no indication as to how many of them found work. 

What should worry us all is how the mainstream media, particularly the right wing tabloids, continue to pretend this crisis doesn't exist. 

Burying this outrageous crisis behind good news is no answer, the media has a duty to tell the truth. They should do so without any sense of allegiance to those who have got these welfare reforms so horribly wrong. 

Urgent regarding DLA tp PIP transferences

URGENT for ALL DLA recipients awaiting PIP

URGENT Information to ALL DLA recipients awaiting PIP

Back in March I received a notice from DWP, informing me of two thing:
  • I needed to claim PIP
  • My DLA award (ending this month) would continue until PIP assessment was complete
I duly completed and returned my PIP form; today I phoned DWP DLA section, requesting how to  manage the imminent renewal of blue badge/bus pass & car tax given the above; further I received a letter yesterday from the DWP office dealing with my Carer’s allowance informing this award was also ending at the end of August.
I was pleasantly surprised to be informed that due to the delays with PIP my DLA had automatically been extended for a YEAR – to Aug 2015 (subject of course to a possible PIP assessment in this time).
This is great news, but here is further evidence the DWP is not only failing claimants, but is in fact creating further chaos, with one section making decisions and failing to inform colleagues!  If I hadn’t have phoned I would not have known of this decision which, could have left me housebound and destitute;
They are now sending a letter with this decision not only allowing me to renew my mobility support with their supposed partners, but will also demonstrate to other DWP employees, I’m still entitled to Carers.
strongly urge anyone in a similar situation to call DWP today and GOOD LUCK;

Friday, 1 August 2014

Horace is dead

So wednesday I got Horace ( a chair to help me get out) as With a no weight broken ankle/ broken foot injury , crutches over distance are impossible.

I was so pleased to get out, cos the injury was on 6th of the month. Id only been on hospital transport in that time (theres a whole story with that side of things too) - here he was whilst i took a picture...

But Horace popped a clip, and started a breakdown, I think he wasnt very well when he arrived with me. 

He was unusable and so taxi and all sorts of yuk getting back as i didnt have crutches with me. 

Today Horace was taken back by a courier , bless him. I think he signed donors card though.

Horace is dead. Another one will arrive tuesday or wednesday. ... Horace 2? 

Anyway , I was helped greatly on this by a very great genuine person, and I havent named them at all, because I dont think thats what they want.