1. Iain Duncan Smith used false statistics to justify benefit cuts
Following a complaint from the charity Parkinson’s UK, the official statistics watchdog has revealed that the DWP repeatedly used false disability statistics to justify welfare changes and cuts.
The DWP and it’s spokespeople repeatedly claimed that the majority of those on DLA (Disability Living Allowance) were give benefits for life without supporting medical evidence. But the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has revealed that only 10% of those passed for life support had no supporting medical evidence.
“The DWP also claimed that “under the current system of DLA, 71% of claimants get indefinite awards without systematic reassessments. However the UKSA found that in the last two years of the DLA, just 23% and 24% of claimants were given indefinite awards.
…..Last year Duncan Smith claimed that 8000 people who had been affected by the benefits cap had moved back into work. The UKSA found that this figure was “unsupported by the official statistics.”
Parkinson’s UK policy advisor Donna O’Brien said:
“The Department of Work and Pensions has a long track record of misusing statistics when it comes to the benefits system, and it’s clear this was a tactic to vindicate further welfare cuts.”
2. Farage’s excruciating LBC interview forces him and the public to face his hypocrisy, finally
Farage faced a difficult interview when he agreed to appear on James O’Brien’s LBC radio show which resulted in UKIP’s communications director intervening to stop the interview.
O’Brien questioned Farage on racism and discrimination, highlighting that Farage’s attitude and comments were discriminatory against his own wife and children who are German.
Well done James O’Brien. Just a shame it took so long for this sort of questioning on UKIP policies and rhetoric to happen.
Watch the full interview here.
3. Universal Credit could lead to increase in error and fraud, warns Work and Pensions Committee
The government has stated that the IT system IRIS (Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service) will be used to perform safeguards against fraud throughout Universal Credit, as it does with housing benefit now. However, there are now problems with how the system will run, and access the necessary data – which could mean the overhaul of the system and a design of a new one which could put the system back, and increase fraud and error in the meantime.
Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, Dame Anne Begg MP, said:
“Through the use of RTI—real-time information on PAYE earnings—Universal Credit has the potential over the longer term to substantially reduce fraud and error in the benefits system. However, this could be seriously undermined because of the uncertainty about how DWP will administer the housing element of Universal Credit without increased risks of fraud and error.”
4. Government quietly announces proposals to privatise child protection services
The Department for Education, under Michael Gove, has a proposal to permit the outsourcing of child protection services to companies like G4S and Serco.
This has alarmed experts, who say “profit-making companies should not be in charge of such sensitive family matters, and warn that the introduction of the profit motive into child protection may distort the decision-making process.”
Professor Ellen Munro, who was commissioned by Gove in 2011 to carry out a review into child protection services, said:
“……establishing a market in child protection would create perverse incentives for private companies to either take more children into care or leave too many languishing with dangerous families.
“It’s a bad idea,” she told the Guardian. “It’s the state’s responsibility to protect people from maltreatment. It should not be delegated to a profit-making organisation.”
by Kam Sandhu – @KamBass