Complaint against Iain Duncan Smith to the UK Statics Authority in regards to The Camden Interview

Today Gill Thompson and I sent this email to the UK Statistics Authority, as we believe that Mr Duncan Smith has once again made statements that are either untrue or without statistical basis:
Email:
Please find attached a complaint against Mr Iain Duncan Smith, for the comments he has made in this video in relation to Benefit Sanctions, that we believe have no statistical basis
We also believe an additional two statement are not true and therefore have no basis in fact.
We would politely ask you to look at the video and address our concerns.
We thank you for your time

Complaint against The Right Honourable Iain Duncan Smith MP,

Minister for The Department of Work and Pensions

We would like you to look into the contents of this video interview, which is included in this complaint. This is a video interview with Mr Duncan Smith, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which was published on 10th March 2016

http://www.camdennewjournal.com/IDS-sanctions

In this interview of 2.21 minutes, we believe that Mr Duncan Smith was less than truthful twice and made six statements that we believe have no statistical basis .

We believe that Mr Duncan Smith was less than truthful when he said:

“We haven’t actually changed the sanction regime”

We have provided this evidence that substantiates our claim here:

condit

“21. Figure 1 provides an outline of how the current system compares with the previous system.”

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/78114.aspx

As can be seen from the table, there has been a marked increase in the severity of sanctions under The Coalition Government of which The Conservatives were the driving force.

Up to 21 October 2012 the maximum length of a JSA sanction was 6 months. Now claimants can be deprived of benefits for up to 3 years for repeat ‘high level’ ‘failures’.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 section 46 sanctions: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/5/section/46/enacted

Ministers claimed that hardly anyone would be subject to the new 3-year sanctions. However, the number of JSA claimants who had received a 3-year sanction rose to 1,229 by 31December 2013. Over half of these (628) are aged 18-24, almost a fifth (219) have a disability, and 37 are lone parents whose youngest child may be as five

http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/CPAG-14-05-Sanctions-Stats Briefing-D-Webster-May-2014.pdf

More here from The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/3-year-benefit-ban-hits-120-disabled-people-under-new-sanctions-regime

 

We also believe that Mr Duncan Smith was less than truthful when he said:

” No one sanctions you if you are not in work” – which is slightly incoherent.

We believe what he meant to say was this: No one sanctions you if you are in work .

Again we have provided information that substantiates our claim:

The in-work regime, which is expected to eventually apply to around one million people, is being trailed as part of Universal Credit, the new type of benefit which is being rolled out across the country.

“Dr Sharon Wright, senior lecturer in public policy in urban studies at Glasgow University, is lead researcher of a team at six universities across the UK which is carrying out a five-year study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council into welfare conditionality.

She said the sanctions system being implemented was “quite shockingly harsh” and pointed to examples of cases of in-work claimants being penalised uncovered during their research.

She said: “We had one interviewee who had an appointment at the Jobcentre, but got called into work. He phoned up the JobCentre to rearrange his appointment, they told him it couldn’t be rearranged and then he was sanctioned because he didn’t go.

“So he was actually working and they took £70 off him because he wasn’t there. The idea behind the system is that it is meant to encourage people to work, but it is actually penalising people who are in work, so it is counter-productive – that is partly because of the rigidity of the system.”

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14242638.Revealed__the_Tories_new_plan_to_squeeze_the_working_poor/

The UC regime has similar lengths of sanction to those of JSA for the various ‘failures’, but there are some critical differences.

“Sanctions are lengthened by being made consecutive, not concurrent.

Under Universal Credit hardship payments become repayable. Given that repayments are made at the rate of 40% of benefit – the same as the amount by which a hardship payment is lower than the benefit – this means that for claimants receiving hardship payments, UC sanctions are in effect 3½ times as long as their nominal length.

All sanctioned UC claimants must also demonstrate ‘compliance’ for 7 days before applying for hardship payments, and must reapply for each 4-week period.

The 80% hardship rate for ‘vulnerable’ claimants is abolished.”

http://www.cpag.org.uk/david-webster (Feb 2016 briefing)

An estimated 55,800 JSA sanctions and 6,800 ESA sanctions were overturned in the 12 months to September 2015 via reviews, reconsiderations or appeals.

This is a total of 62,600 cases where the claimant’s payments will have been stopped for weeks or months only to be refunded later.

This figure peaked at 153,600 in the year to March 2014.

http://www.cpag.org.uk/david-webster February 2016 Briefing

We would ask you to investigate these two claims made by Mr Duncan Smith along with the evidence to the contrary that we have provided and if you agree with our case that these statements are untrue, then we would like you to demand that Mr Duncan Smith publicly retract them.

We believe that there is no data to substantiate these six statements set out below.

  1. “even the people in the Jobcentres say its the right thing to do”

The PCS Union published this article in May 2015 about the “pressure to sanction:

The results of the survey of Jobcentre members in 2014, clearly show that members are put under increasing pressure to make sanctions referrals. Nearly 80% of PCS members reported feeling differently about their job because of the change in conditionality and sanctions policy, and nearly 70% believe that sanctioning does not positively impact on claimants finding employment. In the same survey, 72.8% of members reported an increase in verbal abuse, and 37.9% reported an increase in physical abuse.”

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/pcs_comment.cfm/fight-benefit-sanctions

  1. “Sanctions are the reasons why we have the highest employment levels than ever in the UK, ever.”

Please bare in mind that year on year there should be more people in employment as population numbers are increasing year on year.

  1. “We are actually beginning to run out of people to go back into work – Its been a phenomenal success”
  1. “It really clarifies the mind.”

Last year Psychologist Against Austerity produced this briefing paper on how austerity effects mental health.

They said: “We have identified five ‘Austerity Ailments’, experiences increased by cuts which lead to mental distress:

Increasing fear and mistrust

Increasing humiliation and shame

Increasing Instability and Insecurity

Increasing Isolation and loneliness

Increasing experiences of feeling trapped and powerless.”

https://psychagainstausterity.wordpress.com/psychological-impact-of-austerity-briefing-paper/

  1. IDS ” No one sanctions you on the first time”

If there is data to prove this statement is based in fact then we would like The DWP to provide:

What data does DWP hold on pre sanction warning numbers?

How many warning are given to Claimants before a sanction is issued?

How are warnings pre sanctions recorded?

  1. IDS”75% of those who have been sanctioned all say it suddenly helped them to focus to get on, 75% of those who have been sanction all say it.”

If there is data to prove any of the statements made my Mr Duncan Smith, listed above, are based in fact, then we would like the UK Statistics Authority to confirm that this is the case and/or to ask The Department of Work and Pensions to provide it or retract the statements.

We thank you for you time

Yours sincerely

Maggie Zolobajluk and Gill Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

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That Camden interview – IDS – less than truthful twice and six statements off the top of his head?

We were sent this video interview with Iain Duncan Smith, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which was published on 10th March

http://www.camdennewjournal.com/IDS-sanctions

In this astonishing interview that last only 2.21 minutes, we believe that Duncan Smith was less than truthful twice and made six statements off the top of his head.

This is what he said ….. and, what we believe he really meant.

IDS: “We haven’t actually changed the sanction regime”

We believe what he meant to say was this

x2x4

“21. Figure 1 provides an outline of how the current system compares with the previous system.”

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/78114.aspx

As can be seen from the table, there has been a marked increase in the severity of sanctions under The Coalition Government of which The Conservatives were the driving force.

Up to 21 October 2012 the maximum length of a JSA sanction was 6 months. Now claimants can be deprived of benefits for up to 3 years for repeat ‘high level’ ‘failures’.

Welfare Reform Act 2012 section 46 sanctions: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/5/section/46/enacted

Ministers claimed that hardly anyone would be subject to the new 3-year sanctions. However, the number of JSA claimants who had received a 3-year sanction rose to 1,229by 31December 2013. Over half of these (628) are aged 18-24, almost a fifth (219) have a disability, and 37 are lone parents whose youngest child may be as five

http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/CPAG-14-05-Sanctions-Stats Briefing-D-Webster-May-2014.pdf

More here from The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/3-year-benefit-ban-hits-120-disabled-people-under-new-sanctions-regime

IDS” No one sanctions you if you are not in work” – which is slightly incoherent. We believe what he meant to say was this: No one sanctions you if you are in work but again is this true?….

The in-work regime, which is expected to eventually apply to around one million people, is being trailed as part of Universal Credit, the new type of benefit which is being rolled out across the country.

“Dr Sharon Wright, senior lecturer in public policy in urban studies at Glasgow University, is lead researcher of a team at six universities across the UK which is carrying out a five-year study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council into welfare conditionality.

She said the sanctions system being implemented was “quite shockingly harsh” and pointed to examples of cases of in-work claimants being penalised uncovered during their research.

She said: “We had one interviewee who had an appointment at the Jobcentre, but got called into work. He phoned up the JobCentre to rearrange his appointment, they told him it couldn’t be rearranged and then he was sanctioned because he didn’t go.

“So he was actually working and they took £70 off him because he wasn’t there. The idea behind the system is that it is meant to encourage people to work, but it is actually penalising people who are in work, so it is counter-productive – that is partly because of the rigidity of the system.”

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14242638.Revealed__the_Tories_new_plan_to_squeeze_the_working_poor/

 

The UC regime has similar lengths of sanction to those of JSA for the various ‘failures’, but there are some critical differences.

“Sanctions are lengthened by being made consecutive, not concurrent.

Under Universal Credit hardship payments become repayable. Given that repayments are made at the rate of 40% of benefit – the same as the amount by which a hardship payment is lower than the benefit – this means that for claimants receiving hardship payments, UC sanctions are in effect 3½ times as long as their nominal length.

All sanctioned UC claimants must also demonstrate ‘compliance’ for 7 days before applying for hardship payments, and must reapply for each 4-week period.

The 80% hardship rate for ‘vulnerable’ claimants is abolished.”

http://www.cpag.org.uk/david-webster (Feb 2016 briefing)

An estimated 55,800 JSA sanctions and 6,800 ESA sanctions were overturned in the 12 months to September 2015 via reviews, re-considerations or appeals.

This is a total of 62,600 cases where the claimant’s payments will have been stopped for weeks or months only to be refunded later.

This figure peaked at 153,600 in the year to March 2014.

http://www.cpag.org.uk/david-webster February 2016 Briefing

 

Is there data to substantiate these six statements set out below, or is it a case of

Its off the top of my head Gov?”

This is what Duncan Smith said along with our responses

1. IDS”even the people in the Jobcentres say its the right thing to do”

We say: If there is data to prove this statement is based in fact then we would like the DWP to provide this, and we will be asking them to do so.

We also believe The PCS Union would beg to differ as they said this about the pressure to sanction:

“The results of the survey of Jobcentre members in 2014, clearly show that members are put under increasing pressure to make sanctions referrals. Nearly 80% of PCS members reported feeling differently about their job because of the change in conditionality and sanctions policy, and nearly 70% believe that sanctioning does not positively impact on claimants finding employment. In the same survey, 72.8% of members reported an increase in verbal abuse, and 37.9% reported an increase in physical abuse.”

http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/pcs_comment.cfm/fight-benefit-sanctions

2. IDS”Sanctions are the reasons why we have the highest employment levels than ever in the UK, ever.”

3. IDS”We are actually beginning to run out of people to go back into work – Its been a phenomenal success”

We say: If there is data to prove either of these two statements are factual then we would like The DWP to provide this data, again we will be asking them to do so

Please bare in mind that year on year there should be more people in employment as population numbers are increasing year on year.

4. “It really clarifies the mind.”

If there is data to prove this statements is based in fact then we would like the DWP to provide it and we will be asking them to do so

Last year Psychologist Against Austerity produced this briefing paper on how austerity effects mental health.

They said: “We have identified five ‘Austerity Ailments’, experiences increased by cuts which lead to mental distress:

Increasing fear and mistrust

Increasing humiliation and shame

Increasing Instability and Insecurity

Increasing Isolation and loneliness

Increasing experiences of feeling trapped and powerless.”

https://psychagainstausterity.wordpress.com/psychological-impact-of-austerity-briefing-paper/

5. IDS ” No one sanctions you on the first time”

If there is data to prove this statement is based in fact then we would like The DWP to provide:

What data does DWP hold on pre sanction warning numbers?

How many warning are given to Claimants before a sanction is issued?

How are warning pre sanctioned recorded?

6. IDS”75% of those who have been sanctioned all say it suddenly helped them to focus to get on, 75% of those who have been sanction all say it.”

If there is data to prove this statements is based in fact then we would like the DWP to provide it and we will be asking them to do so

Please leave your polite comments and let us know how sanctions helped you so we can build a dossier to give to Mr Iain Duncan Smith

Finally we will be forwarding article this to Owen Smith, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and we will be making a formal complaint to UK Statistics Authority based on this article.

 

 

 

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Update on GP’s providing sick note data to DWP

Source: Update on GP’s providing sick note data to DWP

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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – The farce of the Reconsideration Process.

When you have been turned down for  Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and disagree with the decision you enter whole new world of stress called Mandatory Reconsideration. This system was specifically bought into law by this government purely to stop people from making an appeal, and it has worked especially for ESA which dropped by 50% after its introduction.

I can across this today dated 25th Jan 2016:

“Today, I had a very interesting conversation with someone from a PIP “Case Management” Team. The client has been turned down at the Mandatory Reconsideration stage and at reconsideration on appeal. I sent a 7-page submission for the appeal, which has had no impact. There are some not especially good medical letters with the claim. For my submission on appeal, I concentrated on the dreadful report of the Atos PIP assessor: I highlighted places where she had jumped to conclusions which were not supported by the evidence (even with her distorted reporting of what the client had supposedly said), and I kept referring to the Upper Tribunal decision CDLA/2235/2009, which said “If… the stated reason is acceptance of a medical opinion which is couched in language reflecting the statutory test, a tribunal will need to be alert to anything which suggests that the medical practitioner may have misinterpreted or misapplied the statutory test. Otherwise the tribunal risks adopting his error of law so that it vitiates their own reasoning.” ie. the DWP decision makers are supposed to know the law and should investigate what the law actually says, rather than just rubber-stamping the assessor’s decision.

25 January 2016:

“Call back today from——- at——Benefits Centre. He was honest and some of what he said was off the record, but he said there are no decision makers for PIP anymore, they are the “Case Management” team. He said that he and his colleagues cannot change any medical advice from Atos – if the assessor says this or that particular descriptor, they cannot disagree, unless Atos agree to change it. This is significant, because in this case as in others, the choices of descriptors are self-evidently wrong based on the law, and yet it is the Atos assessors whose decision prevails, even though they have no training in the law. If we send in new medical evidence, Atos have to say that that means the decision can be changed. If we only write a submission letter (without a new medical letter) in which we cite PIP Reg.s and case law that clearly shows that from the evidence obtained the choice of descriptors is wrong, the decision will never get changed, which means that our submission letters, except as something for a tribunal to see, are useless. I said that the reconsideration process for PIP is a farce and he said – stressing the off-the-record nature of this part of the conversation – that he agrees, it is.””

Beggars Belief

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If Jesse were alive today, would he give Boots the boot?

Telling it as it is – Well done- there’s no wriggle room for these companies. What they are doing is just wrong. No ifs or buts.

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Boots has its roots in the mid-19th century when John Boot, an agricultural worker, moved to Nottingham to start a new business.   He opened a small herbalist store on Goose Gate in 1849, from which he prepared and sold herbal remedies.  His business soon proved popular, especially with the working poor of Nottingham’s new industries, who could not afford the services of a doctor.  After John’s death in 1860, his widow, Mary, continued trading, with the help of her young son, Jesse, who became a full partner when he was 21.  The store continued to flourish, and, in 1877, Jesse took sole control.

Jesse Boot

Jesse Boot

“Health for a shilling”

Jesse’s talent for business was soon evident.  He expanded the range of products he sold to include proprietary medicines and household necessities.  He adopted a strategy of buying stock in bulk and selling his goods much cheaper than his competitors, advertising…

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Tory Housing Transformation Nothing more than another attack on the poorest

Well said Jayne. We will fight back always!!!!

jaynelinney

Sadiq Khan was in yesterday’s Mirror offering his opinion on the Tories “plan to transform sink estates“;  he speaks of how “having a secure and affordable home meant my parents could build a better life for me…”; this was also my experience.

My mum when widowed January 21 1965, was in the process of moving home, with my dad they’d bought a new bungalow  and sold the terraced house they’d lived in for a decade, completing on Saturday 16/01/65. Due to the insurance documents not being signed at the same time, when my dad died of an unknown chronic heart disease on the Thursday, she and I were made homeless.

After two years of ‘making do’ at my grandparents we moved into a maisonette, on a new and at the time, state of the art council estate. Over the past 49 years the same estate has gone from being the flagship for Leicester City…

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Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me! Why transitional protection fools us every time!

Transitional Protection, (TP) –  Its a Mugs Game and we get mugged every time.

The government has used Transitional Protected at least three times since 2011. It is a method of cutting benefit over time and not immediately. Maybe if Mr Osborne had given his Tax Credit cuts transitional protection, he might have got away with it.

The Good.

For once I have to agree with Ian Duncan Smith’s statement on The Andrew Marr’s Show that “Nobody will lose any money on arrival on Universal Credit from tax credits because they’re cash protected, which means there’s transitional protection,”

Yes claimants will get the same amount of Universal Credit when they transfer from Tax Credits to Universal Credit,

But as usual Duncan Smith is only telling us part of the truth!

 The Bad

He also said “There were always points under tax credits that were more generous than universal credit.” Meaning new claimants will get less under Universal Credit than Tax Credits.

Finally he stated   “Nobody loses a penny, unlike they would have done under tax credits. and that is blatantly not true

 The Ugly

Transitional protection. (TP) is sleight of hand that relies on people’s differing reactions to imminent and future cuts to benefits and we fall for it every time!

Transitional Protection will ensure that as IDS says Nobody will lose any money on arrival on Universal Credit from tax credits”, as claimants will receive the same amount of Universal Credit as they did Tax Credits.

BUT

Claimants who receive TP will not get any annual increase when benefit rates increase each April. Whilst on paper their benefit never visibly goes down, equally it will not increase until new claimants, who will receive less, catch up with them. Psychologically this method makes us feel like we never lost anything, where as in fact the eventual loss to those on Universal Credit will be the same as the proposed cuts to Tax Credits.

AND

As the article below states if you have a change in your circumstances then you lose your TP and will see an immediate drop in income especially if you have more than two children.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/iain-duncan-smith-blasted-claiming-6964518

 

Universal Credit

The only benefit that has been cut before claimants even start to receive it!

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