1) MPs question Iain Duncan Smith on failing Universal Credit system and cover up of problems
After Labour seized a government auditor report on the Universal Credit system, which showed that the implementation was far behind its target and riddled with problems, Labour demanded that Iain Duncan Smith apologise for mis-leading Parliament and ‘consider his conscience.’
IDS was then made to answer questions from MPs on Thursday morning, regarding the cover up, the problems and the system itself.
IDS blamed the troubles within his £2.4bn reform on IT and his civil servants for not telling him of the problems; “At the end of the day, you are only as good as the information given to you.” Whilst IDS took responsibility for the programme, he did not apologise for the problems within it so far.
Although the evidence clearly showed these issues had thrown the Universal Credit implementation off course, IDS continued to claim that the system would meet its target by the 2015 election.
2) UN send senior official to investigate ‘bedroom tax’
Raquel Rolnik, a senior United Nations official, will be in the UK until September 11th to investigate whether the ‘bedroom tax’ will impact on human rights.
Ms Rolnik has been invited by the UK government, and will meet tenants, landlords, campaigners and academies in numerous cities around the UK including Manchester and Glasgow.
The Special Rapporteur on housing for UN, said that the UK faced a “unique moment” when housing was on the agenda. Ms Rolnik will reveal some of the findings of her investigation next week.
3) A quarter of those becoming homeless are forced out of private rented accommodation
The latest government statistics reveal that a quarter of those becoming homeless have been forced to leave private rented accommodation and have nowhere else to live.
“Between April and June 2013, 3,580 households became homeless in this way, accounting for 27% of instances of accepted homelessness, an increase of 32% on the same period in 2012 (see table 774 here). Go back to 1998 and terminated tenancies accounted for 15% of homelessness; when the Coalition took power in 2010 it stood at 14%; now, latest statistics show, it is at 27% – an all time record level.”
4) DPAC take over BBC HQ building in protest against media
Just in case you may not have heard about this, as ironically, the media were completely silent on the topic, but DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), Black Triangle and the Mental Health Resistance Network took over the BBC last week in a protest against the media treatment of disabled claimants.
Their press release said:
“Disabled activists from grassroots campaigns Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Black Triangle and Mental Health Resistance Network have occupied the BBC building in London to protest against the role the media are playing in worsening attitudes towards disabled people and a complete failure to give space to the realities of what this government are doing to disabled people.”
The protest was part of the DPAC week of action which ended on 4th September with a handing in of their manifesto (‘Reclaiming Our Futures’) to government, on what disabled people want.
Look out for our interview with Paula Peters (she’s in the first part of this video) and Shaun McGovern this week.