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DWP Press Office Play Fast And Loose With Official Statistics Again

24 Jun

lies, damned lies and coalition lies . . . great stuff from the excellent Johnny Void

the void

dwp-official-statisticsLast night the BBC ran a pitiful report which was little more than an advert for the welfare-to-work sector in which they begged the tax payer for yet more money.

The report was based on information from ERSA, the trade body whose job it is to lie on behalf of private sector poverty pimps like A4e and G4S.  The sector is whinging that they aren’t given enough money to find people jobs through the floundering Work Programme and that only 10% of sick and disabled claimants have found a job via the scheme.  Obviously, the industry claims this isn’t their fault.

Whilst it is shocking that the BBC should effectively provide a free lobbying service for a multi-billion pound industry, of equal concern should be the contempt shown once again for the role of official statistics by the DWP.

The figures used in the news report did not come from…

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The Eton sociopath and the craven coward

21 Jun

NB It is with great sadness that we are taking down the previous post on the hunger striker George Rolph.  We feel we cannot endorse him for many reasons which we cannot get into here, although many of you will have heard about the issues involved.  However, at the end of that post was a long list of atos, government and bbc bod’s addresses which we feel are still useful if you wish to protest or simply to cost atos money.   There was also a guide to answering questions at the WCA which is a useful resource.  We are therefore simply going to retain these elements and you will then be able to find them as our blog post ‘More resources’.  M and L x

Warning:  After innocently opening my Guardian on Saturday to see a two page spread of smirking embodiment of evil David Cameron I was put right off my breakfast.  So I think it only fair to warn you that this piece contains images both of aforementioned persecutor of the poor and his opposite number, the dark prince of the Oxbridge careerists who have hijacked and stolen the Labour party, Ed Miliband.  BUT readers, as always, after this short (I promise!) comment piece, stay tuned and I’ll link you to a really excellent benefits guide.


It is making me very tired to write this.  Tired and sad.  However, we’re here to comment as well as advise and so I’ll try to fully express my feelings of despair, disgust and anger at David Cameron’s most recent antics.

DC claimed at the recent Conservative Party conference in Scotland that the changes to benefits which are devastating millions of lives and ending thousands were both ‘Fair and compassionate’.  I can’t help thinking here of the recent reports of the Eton entrance exam essay question:


David Cameron doesn’t really think the ‘reforms’ are fair and compassionate.  He doesn’t give a shit.  This is simply, as Laurie Penny puts it in this brilliant piece:, simply how the elite are trained to think.  They are experts in double speak.  They can justify anything.  That doesn’t mean it is just.  DC’s line at the conference was that reforms were ‘compassionate’ because they would ‘help people get back on their feet’.  Also that the current system had led to people out of work doing better than those in work (1. simply untrue; 2. even if it was true, the solution is a living wage, not cuts to benefits, because that’s one of the many, many scandals he’s trying to obfuscate; the fact that people working full time still can’t afford the basic necessities).

This is spurious and amoral on so many levels.  The man is a monster.  Yet again, he fudges the issue that the majority of benefits are paid to people IN WORK (hello again, lack of a living wage and a bit of working dignity!).  Yet again, he fudges the fact that there are around 400 000 available jobs to go round MILLIONS of people; yet again, because he conveniently doesn’t mention this, he can lie again and claim our national troubles are all because of poor people and immigrants, rather than telling the truth that the reason there are no jobs is down to HIS people, the banks and corporations for whom profit is the only imperative.  Still worse, he knows full well these reforms do the opposite of ‘getting people back on their feet’.  They kill people.  They terrorise the sick and disabled with a ‘revolving door’ of sham medicals driven by targets rather than the truth followed by appeals followed almost immediately by medicals again (or in some cases, whilst the previous decision is still under appeal).  They force people to work for nothing (thereby taking even more jobs off the market).  They have no problem with welfare for rich people, with companies given fat handouts for denying disability (atos) and offering worthless workfare ‘placements’ (numerous; see for up to date details).  They take all financial support away for up to THREE YEARS if claimants don’t dance to their every tune, including handing over PASSWORDS TO PERSONAL EMAILS (see  My partner’s brother, who lives in Bradford, has been sanctioned 8 times; the latest ‘jobseeker direction’ he faces is travelling to either York or Harrogate, both over 40 miles away, to participate in a full time workfare scheme.  When asked about how he was supposed to afford this, he was told to use his JSA.  When he then correctly pointed out that that would only cover part of his travelling costs (this assuming he used ALL his JSA to pay for travel, and so wouldn’t be able to eat or anything) he was told his mum could help him out.  His mum is disabled and on benefits herself, and that is beside the point anyway; the sheer arrogance of them, assuming that his mother 1. CAN and 2. SHOULD be able to help him financially so he can jump as high as the DWP wants.  He is being asked not just to work for nothing; worse, he’s being asked to PAY to work.  To STARVE to work.  And his mum’s benefits are calculated (and meagrely at that) to meet HER needs, so she can afford to live.  There IS nothing to spare, and every time he is sanctioned the household budgets teeter precariously on the brink of collapse as family who are poor themselves rally round to keep him from going hungry.  Meanwhile, his mum is afraid to even leave the house because there’s a woman down the road whose hobby is phoning the benefits hotline to say people aren’t really disabled.   Divide and rule at its best; and that’s why DC is ‘proud’ of these reforms.  Not because they are ‘fair and compassionate’ – really, how dare he – but because he is a psychopath in a cabinet full of psychopaths with not a shred of guilt or empathy between them, and his true aim of crushing the poor so hard they’ll never be able to get up again looks like it’s succeeding.

I am so sad, and so tired, of reading and writing about all this.  Of hearing the stories of friends and family suffering, and those of the people who write to us at KTA desperate and with nowhere else to reach out to for help.  Of seeing the food bank donation box in the supermarket, and buying food for it out of my own pocket, and crying afterwards, knowing that it’s utterly wrong that hungry people should have to rely on charity, knowing that having enough to eat is a basic human right; but also knowing that there are people out there who are nonetheless going hungry, their children are going hungry, and the government are quite happy to let them starve.  There is no bread?  Let them eat cake!   But can we expect any help from the Red corner (or in fact, as it has been since Tony Blair’s day, the Other Blue Corner)?  What do you think?


Miliband, in his worthless recent speech, simply repeated the same old Tory drivel about ‘ending the something for nothing culture’ (hmm, who first came up with that little gem?  Wasn’t it the hard right winger Peter Lilley?), the same old false dichotomy of ‘scroungers v strivers’ and generally left us in no doubt that he cares not a jot about the social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable, not a jot for the truth (ie the fact that MOST PEOPLE RECEIVING BENEFITS are in work, there ARE no jobs, and the rate of fraud is just 0.5% for disability benefits and that overall, just 2.1 % was overpaid due to fraud and error in the last year [see the DWP’s OWN statistics:; and note that word error, that means through the DWP’s incompetence rather than any dishonesty on the part of the claimant); but that he only cares for his own Oxbridge careerist ambitions.  The party has now moved so far away from the people it originally represented that we may as well be on the moon.  Nye Bevan would be turning in his grave; so would my dad.  In a way this makes me even more sad and tired, because I grew up in a household that was Labour through and through, and the party I believed in so fiercely doesn’t exist any more.

That’s why we have to unite and fight in whatever way we can at the grassroots level.  Because at the party political level, as Orwell wrote:

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike.  No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs.  The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

PIP Guide by B&W I don’t have anything else to say today about these two sorry excuses for men – and writing what I have has left me with tears in my eyes – but here’s a guide to DLA and PIP; it’s apparently the best one there is, and we’ll be referring to it heavily when we write our post on DLA/PIP.

As always, love and solidarity.

Michelle and Laurie.

Let’s make abuse of power a crime and Lord Freud the first to be prosecuted

21 Jun

There’s a facebook meme with a picture of Lord Freud next to the caption ‘the banality of evil’. And he really is. If you can make it to this to lobby him and the private landlords who will cream off the wealth from the bedroom tax (because there are not enough one bedroom social housing properties for people to go to; thanks for nothing Thatcher), please do:
Love and solidarity xxx

Vox Political

Lord David Fraud – sorry, Freud. That was a Freudian slip – the man who said “People who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks; they’ve got least to lose”, has been at it again.

According to Inside Housing this man, whose principles allowed him to take Labour’s money and provide that government with his duff advice before running off to join the Tories as soon as it looked as though they would be in office after the 2010 election, wants to bully councils out of an entirely legal way to help their tenants avoid paying the punitive and unfair bedroom tax.

The tax, as we all should know by now, affects people living in social rented accommodation with more bedrooms – as defined by the rent agreement (if I recall correctly) – than the government last year arbitarily decided they need. The options are to give up…

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Bedroom Tax – This council flake is becoming the crumbliest distaste

21 Jun

Excellent stuff on your rights vis a vis the bedroom tax 🙂

Work Programme providers’ plea is an insult to everyone they have mishandled

20 Jun

Searing critique from the excellent Mike Sivier at Vox Political – do subscribe, we highly recommend – on the despicable triumvirate of government persecution of people TOO ILL TO WORK, corporate welfare recipients managing patently failing and unjust workfare schemes who now want still MORE money, and BBC lies and collusion. Time to chuck out the TV and get your news from bloggers telling the truth about what is happening? Just a thought. As ever, love and solidarity xxx

Vox Political

It isn’t very often one can say a news report was shocking – not because of the subject matter, but because of the way it was reported.

That was the situation tonight with the BBC’s item in which Work Programme providers complained that they need more money to “help” the most challenging jobseekers into work.

This group, of course, being benefit claimants in the work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance.

This group being the most consistently abused and neglected element of the new underclass created by the Conservative-led Coalition government, demonised and hated by the right-wing press, often attacked in the street (to judge from first-hand accounts), many of whom have been driven to suicide or death caused by their conditions, which have been worsened by the unacceptable (and to most people reading this, inconceivable) amount of stress the DWP, Atos (the private company assessing their fitness…

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More Resources

14 Jun

NB It is with great sadness that we announce we here at KTA can no longer endorse the hunger striker George Rolph as an individual, for reasons many of you may be familiar with.  For this reason, we have taken down the previous post; however, we have retained the list of Atos, Government and DWP addresses for purposes of protest/civil disobedience/costing Atos money.  Similarly, we have retained the Fightback information on how to answer questions during the WCA, which can be found further down the post.

Reposted from Atos Miracles.

Do NOT waste your time and effort sending Argos catalogue’s and such vacuous and meaningless object to ATOS.  ATOS will simply hire a huge skip and fill it OR find a way to even make money from recycling the paper.

To STOP ATOS we need to write asking questions. Whether you require an answer to your question is immaterial BUT it is the time and cost of ATOS staff that is key here in the processing of en masse mailings to them. Whether it be by email, letter or telephone.

Did you know it costs ATOS £35 to process one letter?

When ATOS reply to your letter, please write back stating ”I don’t understand your answers, please can you clarify.” That’s another £21,840.00.


And so on and so on. And pass the message to your facebook friends, to twitter, to family and friends. You only need ask one question in your letter/email/phone call. ONE question takes five minutes of your time, if that.

You will find below a comprehensive list of emails, both to ATOS, the DWP plus various other corporations that, if you are sending off an email to ATOS, you can simply copy/paste any number (or ALL) of these into your email CC box.


Wyman Dillon Research
BS35 3YA

ATOS TEL NO: 0800 2888 777
ATOS FAX NO: 0115 975 8386

ATOS Origin UK Chief Executive: Ursula Morgenstern
TEL NO: 0207 7830 4444

DWP LANDLINE NUMBERS: 0191 554 6654 & 01367 730222
(Much cheaper than their 0845 numbers)

M3 3AW
TEL : 0161-923-6200
FAX : 0161-923-6201






Now, here’s the WCA advice.  You can find this and much more on the excellent Facebook page Fightback:  I know it is frightening, believe me – the example of watching Eastenders and this being taken as evidence of being able to follow complex plots in particular is like something out of Orwell or Kafka – and I know it’s screamingly unjust.  Disabled, sick and mentally ill people have good days and bad days but according to the WCA you’re not allowed any good days, if you have any kind of life beyond vegetating alone in bed every day and talking to no one you are fit for work (and yet being in such a state that you are vegetating alone in bed every day is no excuse for not attending your assessment, remember!)  It is a travesty that has killed thousands of people and it makes me sick, but this is the stuff we need to know.  As it says in the document, they will also infer all sorts of things about your mental and physical fitness if you go alone, so if you have no one you can take with you I also highly recommend the Facebook group Disability and Benefits Support: Don’t Go Alone which will try and match people in need up with someone who can accompany them.  The founder’s blog is also very useful:

Here’s the Fightback stuff:

Tips on trick questions you will be asked at the ATOS medical or Tribunal

by Fightback (Notes) on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 at 12:11

Forewarned is forearmed … some tips on questions you will be asked at the ATOS medical or tribunal – the reason behind each question is to establish what you can do, basically the examiner or doctor in the tribunal will make assumptions based on your answers, these are often wrong assumptions, but knowing what you are being asked before hand may help you pass the medical first time, and as the appeal rate is going to be delayed for new claimants shortly it’s best to get it right first time. What I am saying is that you answer truthfully but you ensure you give the WHOLE picture,this example is from a conversation with a client just this week and is the truth, Medical Examiner: “Q your hair looks nice, do you visit the hairdressers regularly? Ans, yes but I have to go home with it wet or with dye still on most times and cannot sit in the chair long enough. Q You said in your questionnaire you like to go to the woods is this correct? A Yes the woods are 50 yards from my house, I struggle to get there but force myself every week to get there, otherwise I would be so depressed staying in the house because of my condition, I sit just at the entrance and rest listening to the birds for a short while then return, the rest of the day I will be shattered because I have over exerted myself but it is worth it to keep me sane. These are the answers that don’t get given as often people are scared, or nervous. We are merely alerting people to the fact that these questions will be asked almost every time in a tribunal or a medical and to think about what they truthfully would answer outside the box, rather just a straight one line answer that will make the judge or examiner come to the assumption that is most often incorrect.  So here are a list of questions they will most likely ask you and why.

Are you going away or have you been away this year, A yes, they will assume you can get about, mobilise, etc, if you have then you need to tell them exactly what you did, ie if you haven’t had a holiday in years and your family went to help out, if you struggled with mobility whilst there, etc etc

Do you have a dog? They will ASSUME that because you have a dog, you can take it for exercise, ie walk, they will assume you can open cans of food, and bend down to feed him, and they will assume that you can get up quite quickly in order to take him out when he wants to go..

Do you have a washing machine? Ans: they ASSUME that having a washing machine means you can follow complicated instructions, and know the chronological order that the washing cycle takes. They will also maybe assume you can remember this.

Do you have a car?  They assume if you drive, even if you do not drive often, that you can follow directions/maps, complicated instructions and sit for long periods of time, whilst multi tasking and going to unfamiliar places. They will also assume that you are safe to go out alone. And get yourself in and out of the car ok, so bang goes the care needs in some cases.

Do you visit the hairdressers?  Yes, they will assume you get a] get there ok, b] sit still long enough to have a perm, colour etc c] socialise with strangers whom you have never met ie customers, d] leave after sitting for so long, and not have any problems with your return journey.

Do you have a mobile phone? They assume the mobile phone user does not have trouble speaking to unfamiliar people or strangers or have trouble communicating. They will assume you can follow complex instructions, and operate it easily, if you cannot do so and it was bought as a gift for relatives to keep a check on you then say so! Do you watch TV?  If yes, they may ask do you like Eastenders etc, Eastenders watchers are ASSUMED to follow complex storylines, without forgetting the order they follow (ie if you have indicated you can’t cook as you forget the order of things, this contradicts this according to ATOS.)

Do you have any pets? If you have other pets ie a lizard or rabbit, cat etc, they need cleaning and looking after so they will ASSUME you can lift, bend, carry, open cans to feed etc and do this depending on the pet on a regular basis despite how you feel. Did you travel by bus? The public transport question shows you are not afraid of going to places where there are crowds, or unfamiliar places, even if you had no choice, it also shows you can relatively high step onto a bus, (if you indicated problems with steps be careful with this question)

Did you come by Taxi, watch for the questions on how you got to the medical, if the taxi driver was unfamiliar, then it contradicts your question on being socially phobic, and shows you can give instructions and communication with strangers. It contradicts anxiety in public as it shows you can get into a stranger’s car ok.  If you had no choice or if you use a regular taxi firm and driver say so to conteract this assumption. Its idiotic I know but these questions will also be used in a tribunal as well.

Did you come here alone?  This is a crucial question, it shows them that you can get to somewhere unfamiliar alone, despite the fact you may have had no choice.  If you came with someone and left them in the waiting room, this shows that you were ok for some of it alone, and have not got the anxiety problems or trouble being left’s catch 22 for many but these questions are designed to trick you and by asking them it gives the questioning body a whole range of answers that can be completely misconceived.  They also watch you in the waiting room in many cases so if you are sat comfortably for 30 mins there and show no signs of anxiety outwardly then they are likely to verify this with one of the questions above.

Does the mental condition preventing you from doing leisure activities you previously enjoyed?

The ‘Doctor’ is trying to trip you up again. If you say you are suffering from depression and yet still follow your local football team then this proves you are not depressed. If you say you sometimes get to the allotment to see to your pigeons, then you are fit enough to travel to work. These questions are geared to prove everything you have entered on your IB50 form is false and can be medically debunked by your own answer.

Has agitation, confusion or forgetfulness resulted in any dangerous incidents in the last few months?

From your answer the ‘Doctor’ will deduce that you have not had any ‘serious’ accidents lately including slips, trips or falls?

You can use a computer?  Deal with your finances, correspondence, can read and write, do your own shopping? They are again assuming you have an excellent memory, your coordination and orientation are normal and you were not confused, agitated or forgetful during the ‘examination’?

Do you frequently feel scared or panicky for no obvious reason?

Unless you actually have a panic attack during your ‘examination’ the examiner is at liberty to assume you do not have panic attacks.  The usual comment is; Does not experience panic attacks,  Appeared relaxed, Not anxious on examination is entered on the medical usually in most cases..

Are you able to cope with changes in daily routine?

This is answered from the questions above.  Had an appropriate level of concern because of coming here today, normal concentration on examination, not anxious on examination, does not suffer panic attacks and oddly, has a mobile phone, which you use for texting, chatting, making arrangements and for emergencies.

Interaction with other people: Can you look after yourself without help from others?

Beware! You have already been asked this question above. From this question your examiner will deduce that you have a mobile phone and use it for texting, chatting, making arrangements and emergencies, can deal with your own finances and correspondence without difficulty, can use a computer and have normal intellectual functioning.

Lots of love.  Till next time, take courage.

Michelle and Laurie.

Cameron repeats his NHS £12.7bn lie in PMQs. Twice. Help shut him down.

13 Jun

Cameron repeats his NHS £12.7bn lie in PMQs. Twice. Help shut him down..