“DWP forced to admit more than 111,000 benefit deaths”

“The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has been forced to release updated Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) mortality statistics, in response to a Freedom of Information request from disability campaigner Gail Ward.

The shocking statistics reveal that 111,450 ESA claims were closed following the death of claimants between March 2014 to February 2017.

However, the DWP stress that “no causal effect between the benefit and the number of people who died should be assumed from these figures”.

This is because the Department “does not hold information on the reason for death”, meaning they cannot be directly linked to any benefit problems faced by those claimants or whether some of these people had died after wrongly being found “fit for work”.

The DWP has since been urged to update these statistics to include individuals who flowed off ESA after being found “fit for work” and who died soon after this time.

The data also shows that more than 8,000 Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disability Allowance claimants died over the same period.

Gail Ward told Welfare Weekly: “The fact the DWP know that disabled people are dying in such large numbers and refuse to adjust policy to reduce the stress on claimants and make sure the right outcome is 100% all the time, and with Universal Credit coming with such strict criteria, doesn’t bode well for the future for the disabled community”.

https://welfareweekly.com/dwp-forced-to-admit-more-than-111000-benefit-deaths/

Two unitary Devon areas – the case against weakens

DCC leader John Hart has gone on record as saying two unitary councils for two different parts of Devon can never happen, since however you split the county there would always be a poorer authority and a richer one.

Owl has challenged this idea citing “Greater Exeter” as a quasi-unitary authority by stealth already.

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/05/18/is-one-devon-unitary-council-being-created-by-stealth/

However, Dorset has just been split in two with two councils with very different profiles: a largely income-rich urban east and a more rural west.

It seems (after the Torbay debacle and continuing austerity cuts) that ALL councils are now poor, so does his argument still hold water – or is it now a leaky bucket?

Would a change result in savings that could go to front-line services? If so, what is the rationale for the status-quo?

Well, of course, it would mean fewer councillors …..!

Will Torbay (and its soon-to-be-unelected Mayor and Tory majority) be next to topple?

During the last few turbulent years Torbay elected a super-Mayor, had a referendum to stop having a super-Mayor, its Tories split, split again, then split again and recently it was suggested by councillors that it should be subsumed back into Devon County Council. Not sure DCC will want to welcome it with open arms …..

Torbay council has called an immediate halt to non-urgent spending and stripped its services back to the statutory minimum because of financial pressures.

The Conservative-run council ordered the freeze after its budget report for the first quarter forecast an overspend of more than £2.8 million by the end of the year, which it attributed to a substantial increase in the number of children being looked after.

Steve Parrock, the chief executive, told councillors: “Even if an activity or contract is budgeted for, the task or expenditure may be postponed or cancelled if the work is deemed not urgent by the chief finance officer or myself.”

He added that the Devonshire council faced “significant financial challenges due to government funding cuts and increasing demands, particularly in social care”.

Labour called it a crisis that had arisen because of cuts to local authority funding. Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities and local government secretary, urged the government to “finally wake up to the consequences of their austerity programme”.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We are providing local authorities with £90.7 billion over the next two years to meet the needs of their residents.

“We are also giving them the power to retain the growth in business rates income and are working with local government to develop a funding system for the future based on the needs of different areas.”

Northamptonshire county council recently approved major cuts to jobs and services to tackle a £70 million shortfall and continues to be supervised by government commissioners.

East Sussex and Somerset county councils have warned that they could run out of money in the next two to three years, and auditors have said that Lancashire county council’s financial position is at a “tipping point”.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/torbay-council-stops-spending-to-tackle-2-8m-shortfall-p660szvvj

Consultation: new case law a game-changer

Owl reported all these cases as the happened but it is useful to see them all in one place.

Consultation is going to have to mean consultation!

Four JR judgments in fifteen days with profound implications for public consultations! Almost every current public consultation – or those under preparation might be affected by one or more of these important judgments.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/appeal-over-criminal-legal-aid-decision-still-on-the-cards/5067256.article

Evo-North: 11 business-led Local Enterprise Partnerships unite to hijack funding formerly controlled by local authorities

Coming soon to a group of Local Enterprise Partnerships on your doorstep.

On 9 July 2018 it was announced that 11 Northern Local Enterprise Partnerships would join together as “Evo-North”:

“Christine Gaskell, chair of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP and vice-chair of NP11, said: “To translate the Northern Powerhouse concept into increasing impact requires new types of conversations across the region and at the heart of this collaboration are common goals which transcend local interests.”

Gaskell noted that the The NP11 will serve as a “strong coherent regional voice” with national government about the potential of an innovation-led economy for the North.”

http://www.publicsectorexecutive.com/Public-Sector-News/council-for-the-north-on-the-way-aimed-at-aligning-businesses-for-northern-powerhouse?dm_i=4WAR,1AG5,WEIUK,3PBB,1

Now we see the full take-over of former local authority funding by this new business-led UNELECTED group as a press release publicising one of its forthcoming events makes clear:

“Following last month’s announcement from Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry that 11 LEPs will form the government-funded body ‘NP11’ to act as a modern-day ‘Council for the North’, last week, a cross-party group of MPs called for £100bn investment to transform the north of England’s transport by 2050 and for the date of Northern Powerhouse Rail to be brought forward to 2032.

This makes EvoNorth the perfect opportunity to put your products and services in front of the budget-holders who are actively seeking them. You get the opportunity to ask questions and network with the people responsible for delivering the Northern Powerhouse by attending this exclusive event. You can benefit from branding and exhibition opportunities by contacting the events team on 0161 833 6320, and you can also submit an enquiry or click here to contact us by email.

EvoNorth is an important event and platform where the Northern Powerhouse is discussed and debated across a wide range of topics including skills, employment & apprenticeships; digital revolution and innovation; health and social care; wellbeing & fulfilment; and infrastructure, business and inward investment.

It stands out from the crowd with its immersive series of lively and engaging Q&As, roundtable discussions, workshops and exhibitions. You can be a part of this exciting opportunity by attending, exhibiting or sponsoring: just contact the events team on 0161 833 6320, submit an enquiry or click here to contact us by email.”

https://cognitivepublishing.co.uk/4WAR-1AG5-B6WEIUK95/cr.aspx

So, very, very soon our district, our county and our region will almost certainly be in the grip of these unelected business people who have already shown their conflicts of interest countless times.

And we can do nothing to stop them …. unless the Conservative government which has enthusiastically x nay zealously – driven this initiative is removed from power.

£ 100m to eradicate homelessness – don’t believe the hype

£50m already allocated in the past
£50m taken from other budgets within the Dept of Housing and Local Government

Thus i5 ever was ….

Add a massive shortage of mental health and addiction practitioners and you get …

not a lot.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/housing-minister-admits-ps100m-fund-to-end-homelessness-is-not-new-money_uk_5b7146bee4b0ae32af997f41

Claire Wright sets up support group for people struggling with Dept of Work and Pensions

What sort of support group might Swire or Parish set up? “Help the Maldives Travel Fund” (Swire) or maybe “Rich farmers who might get slightly poorer” (Parish)? Or possibly: “We both started out as Remainers and are now Brexiteers who have no idea what is going on but desperately trying to look like we know what we are doing” support group?

“Hi, I have set up a support group for people who are struggling with the Department of Work and Pensions, such as those on working tax credits or who are trying to claim PIP or carers allowance, for example.

The first meeting is on Tuesday 21 August at 7pm, in the Institute, Yonder Street, Ottery.

The meeting is primarily for people living in my council ward, however, I won’t turn anyone away.

Please help get the message out there by liking and sharing this post. Many thanks:

Claire Wright
Devon County Councillor
Otter Valley Ward”

http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/support_group_for_people_battling_with_the_department_of_work_and_pensions