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).
- Revised UK welfare sanctions mean more punishment for the poor (rinf.com)
- Tougher rules mean more than 18,000 people have had their benefits cut (walesonline.co.uk)
- WARNING For Anyone Threatened With Being Sanctioned On ESA (samedifference1.com)
- Sanctions against benefits claimants soar (theguardian.com)
- Charities: Most vulnerable bear brunt of welfare reforms (itv.com)
- Collection: Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance Sanctions (gov.uk)
- New sanctions see benefits suspended (bbc.co.uk)
- Call an inquiry into benefit sanctions | @guardianletters (theguardian.com)
- Green Party calls for urgent assessment on impact of Welfare Reform (economicvoice.com)
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.
- Fire crews in second evening strike (bbc.co.uk)
- Firefighters in new pensions strike (bbc.co.uk)
- Breaking News: Firefighters walk out on strike (crosbyherald.co.uk)
- Firefighters’ strikes need to ‘escalate to win’ on pensions (socialistworker.co.uk)
- Firefighters strike in pensions row (standard.co.uk)
- Firefighters on strike over pensions (itv.com)
- Firefighters to go on strike again (bbc.co.uk)
- Firefighters to stage fresh strikes (standard.co.uk)
- Buying more stuff is associated with depression, anxiety and broken relationships. It is socially destructive and self-destructive
- George Monbiot The Guardian, Monday 9 December 2013 20.30 GMT
- That they are crass, brash and trashy goes without saying. But there is something in the pictures posted on Rich Kids of Instagram (and highlighted by the Guardian last week) that inspires more than the usual revulsion towards crude displays of opulence. There is a shadow in these photos – photos of a young man wearing all four of his Rolex watches, a youth posing in front of his helicopter, endless pictures of cars, yachts, shoes, mansions, swimming pools and spoilt white boys throwing gangster poses in private jets – of something worse: something that, after you have seen a few dozen, becomes disorienting, even distressing.The pictures are, of course, intended to incite envy. They reek instead of desperation. The young men and women seem lost in their designer clothes, dwarfed and dehumanised by their possessions, as if ownership has gone into reverse. A girl’s head barely emerges from the haul of Chanel, Dior and Hermes shopping bags she has piled on her vast bed. It’s captioned “shoppy shoppy” and “#goldrush”, but a photograph whose purpose is to illustrate plenty seems instead to depict a void. She’s alone with her bags and her image in the mirror, in a scene that seems saturated with despair.
- FULL ARTICLE HERE
- Recommended Link: One Rolex Short of Contentment (phulme.wordpress.com)
- Want to Avoid Depression, Anxiety and Broken Relationships? Don’t Go on Shopping Sprees (alternet.org)
- Consumerism, endless growth brings unhappiness (nuclear-news.net)
- Fron The Guardian: The lies behind this transatlantic trade deal (derbypa.wordpress.com)
Lord Freud accused of backing away from principle of welfare
after saying local authorities should ‘ramp up support in kind’
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”.
- Welfare minister urges local councils to invest in food banks (theguardian.com)
- food banks (snookcocker.wordpress.com)
- Food bank use surges as hunger spreads across Britain (rinf.com)
- Council suppresses report linking welfare reform to homelessness and food bank use (downnotoutleicester.wordpress.com)
- Rosamund Urwin: Food banks show we have failed the poor (standard.co.uk)
- Food banks: where is the ‘suppressed’ government report on UK food poverty? (theguardian.com)
- Suppressed report: welfare reform link to homelessness and food bank use (theguardian.com)
- Lord Freud: Benefit cap ‘helping people into work’ (24dash.com)
Support Industrial Action :
Pensions in the Fire Service
TO: ALL MEMBERS IN ENGLAND AND WALES (EXCEPT CONTROL MEMBERS*)
5 December 2013
Dear Brother / Sister
INDUSTRIAL ACTION : PENSIONS IN THE FIRE SERVICE
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.
- Firefighters to go on strike again (bbc.co.uk)
- Dorset firefighters urging extra caution during strike action on Friday and Saturday (bournemouthecho.co.uk)
- Safety first plea as West Yorkshire Fire Service strikes loom (examiner.co.uk)
- Firefighters stage two-hour strike (bbc.co.uk)
- Firefighters prepare to strike again (dailyecho.co.uk)
POSTED ON DECEMBER 12 2013
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.
- Mandela, Memories and Music: Friday 13th December, 7pm, West Indian Community Centre, De(derbypa.wordpress.com)
- Obama heads to South Africa for Mandela memorial (kfwbam.com)
- Obama, Raul Castro To Speak At Nelson Mandela Memorial (swampland.time.com)
- Mandela has been sanitised by hypocrites and apologists (ambulivictor.wordpress.com)
- The Secret History of How Cuba Helped End Apartheid in South Africa (democracynow.org)
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%.
- Mental health trusts face funding cut (bbc.co.uk)
- Mental health trust spends more than £13m on sending patients outside of Norfolk and Suffolk (edp24.co.uk)
- Norfolk and Suffolk mental health service ‘crisis’ row (nhsreality.wordpress.com)
- Europe’s Health Cuts Leave Mentally Ill Struggling – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)