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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

United Nations Report on UK Housing Slammed as Marxist Rubbish - UK Set to Block Scottish Government

British government insults UN body in an outrages attack, the arrogant UK government look set to also block the Scottish Government over the Bedroom Tax

A United Nations report on UK housing conditions calling for the suspension of the bedroom tax has been dismissed by 10 Downing Street as partisan, discredited and a "misleading Marxist diatribe".

The full report by the UN's special investigator Raquel Rolnik can be downloaded here

Full press statement can be read here.

The report on housing by Raquel Rolnik, who made a research trip to Britain last August and September to look at housing provision, was published by the UN on Monday.

In it, Rolnik reiterated her earlier call for the bedroom tax policy to be suspended and reviewed because it negatively "impacts on the right to adequate housing and general wellbeing of many vulnerable individuals and households".

The report said lack of investment in housing over several decades meant Britain now faces a crisis of housing affordability and availability. It called for increased protections for tenants in the rapidly growing private rented sector who find themselves with "very few rights and little security", and called for a series of welfare reforms to be re-assessed to ensure they do not impact disproportionately on the most vulnerable individuals.

Britain's previously good record on housing was being eroded by a failure to provide sufficient quantities of affordable and social housing, the report said, with the result that "the structural shape of the housing sector has changed to the detriment of the most vulnerable". It called on the UK government to invest more in social housing.

The report did not hold back from documenting the combined impact of welfare reform and the housing crisis on vulnerable people, which Rolnik found on her visit had left many low income, disabled and homeless people in "tremendous despair".

Rolnik met dozens of council house tenants during her visit last year, when – at the formal invitation of the
UK government – she travelled to Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London and visited council estates, food banks, homelessness crisis centres, Traveller sites and new housing association developments. She also reviewed hundreds of written testimonies.

Her report described the impact of bedroom tax on low-income tenants who "faced hard choices between food, heating or paying the rent" as they struggled to stay in the house they had lived in all their lives. It said: "Many felt targeted and forced to give up their neighbourhoods, their carers and their safety net."

The report added: "While in principle the bedroom tax policy does not force people to move, the reality of people's experience, many of whom are working people with no income to spare, left no doubt in the special rapporteur's mind that many have no other option, which has left them in tremendous despair."

Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds said: "Labour has called on David Cameron to reverse his unfair and unworkable bedroom tax because we can see the impact it is having on hard-pressed and often vulnerable people, the majority of whom are disabled. If he doesn't repeal the bedroom tax, the next Labour government will."

The UK government & the Department of Work and Pensions are set to block SNP moves to pump in an extra £15 million of emergency funding to effectively neutralise the impact of the bedroom tax in Scotland - source

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded the green light from Westminster to scrap the current limit on assistance and allow the extra cash to provide full cover for the estimated 76,000 families affected by the controversial welfare reform - source

Rolnik has spent much of her five-year tenure as the UN's unpaid special rapporteur on adequate housing looking at human rights violations in countries including Rwanda and Kazakhstan.

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Monday, 3 February 2014

British benefits system is 'unfit for purpose' - future Labour government must hold Public Inquiry

Two out of three people think the current benefits system in Britain is 'unfit for purpose' and should be replaced, a new poll has revealed.

The YouGov poll, commissioned by Channel 5 found 45 per cent of those questioned felt benefit claimants are portrayed unfairly. The poll comes ahead of a live television debate on the issue later this evening.

Titled: 'The Big Benefits Row: Live aims to discuss research which shows huge public concern about the current system. The panel is due to include Benefits Street's White Dee who will give her view of the benefits system and tell her own story, as well as former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and ex-Tory MP Edwina Currie.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants
sets ou
t the following as a program to replace the discredited
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on the  return of a Labour government.

*  A Public Inquiry needs to held within the first year in office regarding the systematic abuse of benefit claimants in regard to workfare, benefit sanctions & sanction targets. The remit of this public inquiry must look into the way disabled benefit claimants have been treated by the state & by the contractor ATOS. This inquiries remit must also look into the benefit rates for claimants - described as '
manifestly inadequate' by the Council of Europe.

The (DWP) is a governmental department that is increasingly and inappropriately following the ideological welfare-cutting politics of secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith. The DWP are suppose to be bound by civil service standards of honesty, integrity and impartiality, but appears to be all to keen to tweet and send out press release from 10 Downing St on the ongoing war on regarding claimants. Meanwhile the department is often being too busy to respond to criticisms or enquiries about the propriety and accuracy of its claims.

The separation between government and civil service is a vital one. Governments come and go, but the civil service is permanent, and only works when it stands apart and acts as a bulwark against the worst excesses of politicians.
A press release by the Department of Work and Pensions exposes the real hidden agenda, a propaganda tool for the government.

Titled ‘Poll shows support for removal of spare room subsidy’ the release publicises the results of an ‘independent’ poll which apparently shows that “there is strong public support for reducing under-occupation and overcrowding in social housing”.

But the content of the release is both partial and misleading, relying on wafer-thin positive margins, picking and choosing only those that support its case and a willful misunderstanding of results. Ipsos MORI conducted the poll of over 2,000 people, and it is true that this is an ‘independent’ organisation as stated.

However, the DWP funded the research and Iain Duncan Smith’s fingerprints are all over it. The introductory questions tell us plenty about the issues of perception that undermine the welfare state in the UK. When asked at the beginning of the survey, 52% of people believe benefits are too generous, but only 36% said they knew a great deal or fair amount about the issue. It is difficult to know how to respond to people who have strong opinions while professing not to know about a subject, but the survey – and DWP – should at least have highlighted this.

We hereby demand that such a 'Public Inquiry' has the remit to look into the 'Incitement of hatred' towards benefit claimants including the responsibility of government, the press & the media as a whole in encouraging & spreading hatred towards claimants.

'Hate the poor!
': the new politics of loathing in vitriolic Britain
Dr Mark Smith explains why problems in the UK are being blamed on the most vulnerable.
"Social Attitudes Survey has confirmed what I've suspected for a number of years, that there is an increasing callous disregard for the poor in the UK which sometimes crosses over into hatred".

Playing the 'race card', sowing the seeds of hatred - Foreign Workers to Blame for UK Unemployment’, says Jobs Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Owen Jones
: 'Hatred of those on benefits is dangerously out of control' -
Taking away support can only be achieved by demonising recipients as scroungers in mansions - source
On Benefits & Proud – was .... misleading, dishonest, misdirecting? Channel 5 weighed in to the welfare debate with the documentary On Benefits & Proud - source .

Iain Duncan Smith uses Channel 4 Benefits Street success to justify failing policies -
Labour MP, Anne Begg, the chairwoman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that viewers were inevitably encouraged to see those on screen as typical of all claimants when they were anything but - source

Government policy, helped out by propaganda in the press, is hardening hearts and fuelling aggression. Over 65,000 hate crimes against disabled people and rising - source

London Remembers over 10,000 dead after Atos Work Capablity Tests

Disabled activists and supporters came to Parliament Square for '10,000 Cuts & Counting', a ceremony of remembrance and solidarity for over 10,000 who died shortly after the degrading Work Capability Assessments run for the government by Atos - source
Labour MP Debbie Abrahams  on the Work and Pensions Committee has called for an independent probe to check that benefits sanctions and conditions are being applied ‘fairly and appropriately’ - source.

Ms Abrahams said: “Thanks to the bravery of our whistleblower we now know that the government are setting Jobcentre Plus staff targets to get as many claimants off benefits as they can just so they can distort the unemployment figures.

“The misery this government is causing to hundreds of thousands of people on benefits in Oldham and across the country is unforgivable. “But, at last, they can no longer ignore the demand that a full and independent review should be carried out.

UnemployedNet and Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants response to the 'Independent Review of Sanctions' - Both organisations issued a call for responses to unemployed users when the Oakley review was announced, and gathered these through Facebook, email and other sources, and the responses form the basis of our document.

ATOS DEMO UK ~ 19 February 2014 - please #share widely -144 national events planned - full details:

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