Revised UK welfare sanctions mean more punishment for the poor

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Revised UK welfare sanctions mean more punishment for the poor

By Emily Wilson
13 December 2013

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions are set to put many Britons in “dire financial conditions,” according to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

From October 2012, new revised sanctions were introduced affecting Job Seekers Allowance with fixed period sanctions. These are broken down into three sections; higher level sanctions, intermediate level and lower level. Higher level affects those that leave a job voluntarily. This would mean that a claimant would lose their JSA completely for 13 weeks for what the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) term as “first failure,” 26 weeks for a “second failure,” and 156 weeks for a third and any subsequence failures with a 52 week period.

The intermediate sanction is put in place for claimants who are found to not actively be looking for work or are not available for work. This would mean withdrawal of allowance for 4 weeks for “first failure”, rising to 13 weeks for future failures in a 52 week period.


Finally the lower sanction would affect claimants who fail to turn up to any advisor interviews. This would lead to fixed sanctions in line with the intermediate level.

From December 3, 2012 sanctions were revised and introduced affecting Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).



Firefighters strike for second consecutive evening

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FROM BBC NEWS  Firefighters strike for second consecutive evening

Firefighters in England and Wales will strike for a second consecutive evening in an ongoing dispute over pensions.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members will walk out for four hours at 18:00 GMT and have threatened more strikes early next year.

Ministers plan to raise firefighters’ retirement age from 55 to 60 and increase their pension contributions.

The government has said pensions remain “generous”, but the FBU said it could not let ministers’ “hypocrisy” stand.

Materialism: a system that eats us from the inside out

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LibDem -Conservative Welfare minister urges local councils to invest in food banks

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Lord Freud accused of backing away from principle of welfare

after saying local authorities should ‘ramp up support in kind’

The welfare minister, Lord Freud, has been accused of “rowing away from the principle of welfare” after he urged local authorities to invest money in food banks,

saying that it was “absolutely appropriate” that charities provided free food parcels for people who could not afford groceries.

Freud made his comments at a conference on welfare reform, after being asked by an audience member whether it was sustainable that

working people were increasingly turning to food banks and hardship funds to get by.

He said society had had a “terrible economic thump” and had to find ways of working through it, and food banks, which provide in-kind support

in the form of food parcels, were “actually a very interesting way of doing it”.

Solidarity with the FBU: Support the Fire and Rescue Workers Strike

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Support Industrial Action :

Pensions in the Fire Service

 December 5, 2013



5 December 2013

Dear Brother / Sister


Call for industrial action

Members have been informed of the result of the ballot for industrial action consisting of a strike.

As the person authorised to make the call for industrial action, I now confirm that this discontinuous strike action will commence and terminate at the times and on the dates specified below:

Commencing 13th December 2013 at 18:00hrs until 13th December 2013 at 22:00hrs

Commencing 14th December 2013 at 18:00hrs until 14th December 2013 at 22:00hrs

These are the dates/times which have been determined upon. We hope the matter will then be resolved. If not, further dates in respect of this ongoing strike action will be notified once determined. Members in England and Wales (except control members*) are now called upon to take discontinuous strike action at and not earlier than the dates and times specified above and on any further dates to be so notified.

*NB Control member includes those who have been transferred from control duties but remain eligible for the same pension schemes as control members.

Best wishes.

Yours fraternally

General Secretary

Mandela, Memories and Music

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Mandela, Memories and Music



May we invite you to a meeting of stories, memories from South African activists,

music and images from the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa that Nelson Mandela played a huge part in? 

And we’ll look at what that time was so precious and what it means for today.

We meet on Friday 13th December, 7pm,
at the West Indian Community Centre,
Trinity St, Derby DE1 2RE

The bar will be open and there is plenty of parking space.

We are still compiling the event.

The evening will be compèred by 2 South Africans, Shirley Wessels, whose husband was imprisoned


Peter Robinson, whose parents were political prisoners in South Africa.

Lots of friends have promised to chip in, including Trevor Sibanda (who has strong South African connections) the Mayor of Derby and Devon Daley from Radio Derby.

For more information, phone 07876595993. We are looking for more anti-apartheid. stories, both from South Africa and elsewhere.

Supported by Derby People’s Assembly and Derby 50 K.


Book your FREE ticket online

Tickets available at the door.

There will be a collection and any profits will go to a street children charity in South Africa.

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LibDem- Conservative NHS Cuts bring England’s mental health services to breaking point

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Funds cut for mental health trusts in England

By Michael Buchanan BBC News  12 December 2013

Mental health trusts In England have had their funding cut by more than 2% in real terms over the past two years, figures show.

The BBC received data from 43 out of 51 mental health trusts following a Freedom of Information request.

The coalition has guaranteed the NHS budget will rise by 0.1% in real terms over the course of this parliament.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is warning that mental health services are near breaking point.

Separate data for the same period shows referrals to crisis and community mental health teams have risen by 16%.

Read full report here