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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Why is mental health low among UK youth?

Dude Swheatie of Kwug reports:

Labour's former 'happiness guru' Professor Lord Richard Layard told the Independent almost two years ago that money is not the only thing affecting people's happiness.(1) It did not surprise me that he had said that. When I asked him at a Guardian and Trade Union Council conference workshop on economic fairness in 2008 about the link between income and mental health for family-based carers who contributed more to the UK economy than the NHS budget at huge cost to their own well-being, he thought the link was irrelevant.(2)

Nowadays, a much more widespread and headline-grabbing mental health problem is the low mental health of UK youth. The low mental health of UK youth is due to a cocktail of causes, Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty argues in an article headed The canaries on the shelves in Whitehall have stopped singing, but Whitehall ignores the silence.(3) I wonder whether the 'austerity budgets' have led to a 'fire sale' of Whitehall's book shelves?

Re the low job prospects for youth throughout Europe, see statistical geographer Danny Dorling's New Statesman article Generation Jobless: The worst youth unemployment crisis in European history should be blamed on its millionaires.(4)


  1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/richard-layard-money-is-not-the-only-thing-affecting-people-s-happiness-9603424.html
  2. This is a problem that has intensified rather than diminished since I asked panel member Richard Layard that question, and the Guardian Economics Editor who was chairing that session appeared to delight the Labour East Midlands MEP who also seemed to find the question irrelevant or too embarrassing. See, eg, http://www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/press-releases/more-than-half-of-carers-report-bleak-outlook-for-2016-as-new-law-not-yet-delivering-promised-improvements-to-their-lives
  3. http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/canaries-on-the-shelves-in-the-deep-mines-of-whitehall-have-stopped-singing-but-ministers-ignore-the-silence/ 
  4. http://www.newstatesman.com/economics/2013/08/generation-jobless-worst-youth-unemployment-crisis-european-history-should-be-blam

Monday, 30 May 2016

What does Nicky Morgan have in common with the Welfare Reform Minister?

A Children's Social Worker who went under cover for a Channel 4 'Dispatches programme was asked by Community Care magazine why she decided to take part in that programme as a whistle blower.(1) (2)

Social Work Tutor: Aside from what the producers wanted, what was your aim?‘Vicky’: I am sick (as many social workers are) of people like Nicky Morgan, who has no knowledge of social work, no experience of social work, being appointed as secretary of state and then saying [effectively] “I’m going to fix social workers”, “I’m going to fix social work” and then pointing at social workers. We all know that is a false discourse. It is unhelpful, inaccurate and laden in party political bullshit.
SWT: How much do you think the issues you helped showcase are indicative of social work on a national level?‘Vicky’: The doc makers said they want to present a real picture of the difficulties in social work that social workers are having to deal with. I think to a varying degree they are shared across the country. Some local authorities are better resourced with different demographics that enable them to manage better but the story of social work is being starved of resources.
Does not the Children's Social Worker's analysis of Nicky Morgan's competence as Secretary of State for Children and Education sound very similar to the background of an investment banker as, firstly New Labour's 'welfare reform adviser' and then Conservative Welfare Reform Minister?
For in 2008 that 'welfare reform adviser' who is became Baron Freud, Conservative Welfare Reform Minister after defection and promotion to the unelected chamber, said of his appointment by Tony Blair:
"I didn't know anything about welfare at all when I started, but that may have been an advantage. I was genuinely shocked that the analysis was such a blob, nobody had come up with anything clear. In a funny way the solution was obvious [after a miraculous three weeks research and writing]."(3)
The then CEO of the Child Poverty Action Group Kate Green and others were far from favourably impressed with the investment banker's analysis of the situation and his solution. The BBC reported:
Kate Green, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said the most recent official figure for incapacity benefit fraud suggests it is below 0.5% [very different from the more than two thirds cited by Freud].
She said: ""Ministers will surely be alarmed that the man charged with major reform of the welfare system and family security rights gets basic facts wrong about benefits that he could find out in a second with a Google.

"His suitability must be under question for the task Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell has set him."(3)

Meanwhile, Hertfordshire Council's Head of Money Advice observed:
The government’s chief welfare to work adviser, David Freud, said recently: “I worked out that it is economically rational to spend up to £62,000 on getting the average person on incapacity benefit into work somebody will see a gap in the market and make their fortune.”....
Using Freud’s calculation that the state could pay £62,000 for each of the two million plus people on incapacity benefit they put into work, it would amount to anything up to £120bn going from public funds and into the private sector in the space of three years.
As incapacity benefit costs the country £12bn a year, and claimants who move into low-paid work may still qualify for working tax credit and housing and council tax benefit, Freud’s sums do not appear to add up. All of which is rather worrying for someone with a background in merchant banking. But it certainly explains why he believes private sector firms can make their fortune from this kind of contract.
Social workers and advisers who are working with claimants going through the Pathways to Work programme need to be aware of the “payment by results” world that their client is entering. Employment is a valuable and viable target for many of the people we work with and of course, genuine help to move people nearer to finding work must be welcomed. But the work has to be suitable for the person and the person has to be suitable for work – in a contract-driven environment, those facts may get overlooked in the drive for results.(4)
Fundamentally, I would argue, the problem of these outsiders transferring into meddling with the lives of vulnerable people is that they lack the core values of the really helping professions.


  1. http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/05/26/dispatches-social-worker-breaks-silence-went-undercover/
  2. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches - available till 25 June
  3. http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2008/03/11/pathways-to-work-to-help-those-unfit-for-work/

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Is the DWP against justice?

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has backed calls for former Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to face criminal charges over the deaths of disability benefit claimants.(1) It seems clear that IDS failed to take on board the findings of a coroner regarding a previous death of a vulnerable person — or should we say, 'DWP customer'?

At the same time, perhaps the DWP should be charged with contempt of court for their meddling with a child abuse enquiry?(2)


  1. http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/shadow-chancellor-backs-calls-to-prosecute-iain-duncan-smith-over-wca-deaths/
  2. http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-puts-child-abuse-trial-at-risk-by-insisting-on-pip-reassessment/

Reassessment harassment by DWP worsens PTSD

People who have undergone the process of serial reassessment by the DWP of their benefit claims can no doubt resonate with David's assertion that the DWP's harassment has made his symptoms worse.

For more details of David's specific case, go to http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-puts-child-abuse-trial-at-risk-by-insisting-on-pip-reassessment/

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Please ask your MP to attend Portcullis House event against forced adoptions on Tues 7th June

A child protection social worker warns us about the government’s latest plans:
The “undeserving poor” have lost their council homes; lost their benefits and lost their community services; why not make it easier to lose their children too?

Read on:

Dear Friends,
Please can you help us by asking your MP to attend the meeting below?
Find your MP here.
Suffer the Little Children
Stopping forced separations
of children from mothers in UK and US
Tuesday, 7 June 2016 6.30 - 8.30pm
Grimond Room, Portcullis House,
Bridge Street, SW1A 2LW
london-underground-logo-london-underground-28512913-2000-1620  Westminster  wheelchair roound  All welcome.(Portcullis House is part of the Houses of Parliament - please allow time to go through security)
Kindly sponsored by Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead & Kilburn
Guest speaker: Richard Wexler, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, USA, and author of Wounded Innocents: The Real Victims of the War Against Child Abuse  
Other speakers
Cristel Amiss
, Black Women’s Rape Action Project 
 Nicola Mann, Women Against Rape 
 Anne Neale, Legal Action for Women 
 Kim Sparrow, Single Mothers’ Self Defence  Mothers fighting for their children
Suffer the Little Children – a Dossier by Legal Action for Women documenting mothers’ struggle in the family courts in England, will be launched at the meeting.
Following the US-model, forced separations of mothers and children have increased massively in the UK in the past 20 years, especially against those of us on low incomes, of colour, immigrant, teenagers, with learning difficulties … Sexism, racism, domestic violence, usually suffered by the mother, poverty, homelessness … all influence decisions to remove children from their mothers. Everyone knows that mothers are children’s first line of protection and defence, but this is increasingly denied.
Early intervention by the state in the name of protecting children has led to cruel and traumatic separation rather than compassionate support. One third of children report being abused while in care. It has spawned an industry which feeds on the attack on parents’ capacity to raise their own children. As“emotional abuse and neglect” have become a more common basis for intervention than physical or sexual abuse, the discretionary powers of social workers have dangerously expanded. In Scotland, the new ‘Named Person’ legislation is being challenged in the Supreme Court as it raises concerns that the state is undermining families by taking parenting powers upon itself.
A child protection social worker warns us about the government’s latest plans:
The “undeserving poor” have lost their council homes; lost their benefits and lost their community services; why not make it easier to lose their children too?
But mothers, grandmothers and other carers in the US and UK are forming self-help groups and fighting back. 

Called by: Legal Action for Women
law@allwomencount.net  020 7482 2496  http://legalactionforwomen.net

Please ask your MP to attend Portcullis House event against forced adoptions on Tues 7th June

The event is actually at Portcullis House, a separate part of the Houses of Parliament from the House of Commons. Go to http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/please-ask-your-mp-to-attend-portcullis-house-event-against-forced-adoptions-on-tues-7th-june.html

Friday, 27 May 2016

Xenophobic newspapers' focus on migrants deflects attention from the theft of London

Today's Guardian (print edition) reports that there has been a nine per cent rise in London properties owned by offshore firms.(1) The Mail, by contrast, seems to think that migrants are the root of all our house and job shortages, and that Prime Minister David Cameron is over-egging the strength of the British economy as the attractant for migrants.(2)

Well, in my experience, migrants give something to UK society and the campaigning of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group while offshore firms make life more difficult for us the ways that they operate to keep surplus profit away from the common good and swallow up homes creating an even greater shortage of housing. Whether it's by way of money that does not go through the UK tax system, or laundered money, London is being increasingly stolen with the aid of stolen money.

Moreover, London is now the global money laundering centre for the drugs trade, reports the Independent.(3) That would seem to suggest a lack of moral strength in the UK economy, many would argue. And while there are those who are motivated by greed to avoid paying tax, there are people motivated by fairness to use non-payment of tax as a weapon in a 'compassionate revolution'.(4) Search the Mailonline website for any reference to such civil disobedience, and I doubt very much that you will ever find any reference to the real problems and the real solutions.(5)

As Taxpayers Against Poverty founder Revd Paul Nicolson argues, More people should understand why there is hunger in the UK: the corrupt buy our land and move the rent overseas.(6) I can pretty well guarantee on the basis of past evidence that such understanding will never come from the Mail group of newspapers and their cronies.(7) My Quaker belief that there is something of God in every person lives in hope, but some people are more reliable than others.

Posted by Dude Swheatie of Kwug, expressing a personal viewpoint.

NB: The Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is non-religious, containing members of various religions and none.


  1. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/may/26/revealed-9-rise-in-london-properties-owned-by-offshore-firms
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3612121/Cameron-admits-migration-running-333-000-year-disappointing-blames-strength-economy.html
  3. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/london-is-now-the-global-money-laundering-centre-for-the-drug-trade-says-crime-expert-10366262.html
  4. http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/civil-disobedience-led-by-dr-gail-bradbrook-richard-wilkinson-kate-pickett-join-the-www-compassionate-revolution-net/
  5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html
  6. http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/more-people-should-undertstand-why-there-is-hunger-in-the-uk-the-corrupt-buy-our-land-and-move-the-rents-overseas/
  7. http://www.communitycare.co.uk/blogs/social-policy-blog/2010/07/asylum-seekers-2m-home-but-who/ Title: Asylum seeker's £2m home: but who's playing the system, by Mike McNabb, 10 July 2010

Neighbours' amicable differences over EU referendum choices

Thanks to Yahoo News for this amusing story. (Follow the link)


'DWP Corporate Abbreviations' last update 2011

People inducted or not into a specialism such as their own benefits casework get sucked into the practice of talking in abbreviations that mean nothing to those outside. There is an actual publicly accessible list of Department for Work & Pensions Corporate Abbreviations available online that comes to 37 pages. That has not been updated since January 2011 however. 

I wonder how much the non-publicly available list has been expanded since the last published one was made available? Looking through the linked document, I notice that some items that caseworkers come across frequently are not listed, such as, "What is an ESA50?"

Regarding what an ESA50 is, you could go to the Benefits & Work Publishing website and/or Benefits & Work Publishing for starters:

www.nawra.org.uk/Documents/Cardiff_Mar_10/Fit for Purpose...
FIT FOR PURPOSE? A GUIDE TO COMPLETING THE ESA 50 This ESA50 form, forms part of the Work Capability Assessment, which assesses whether someone has limited capability ...


benefitsandwork.co.uk/employment-and-support...   Cached
What is the ESA50 limited capability for work questionnaire? What is the ESA50 limited capability for work questionnaire? The ESA50 limited capability for work ...

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Why levels of benefit claimants' spending on rent payments should be shouted from the roof tops

The blog administrator has received the comment below by email and considers it well worth a much wider audience. And the comment's sender agrees.

It pertains to a Taxpayers Against Poverty posting that can be found at

The comment about one-third of local average income being spent on rent is particularly germane to claimants. Prior to the benefits freeze and new allowances cap the local housing allowance, which determined housing benefit, was set at the 30th percentile of market rent. The suspension of these quantative outliers has created yet another arbitrary market. IIRC the dodgy old Austrian who first put it out there said: "Value is what you are prepared to pay". (Hayek).

Yet re the Hayek quotation Margaret Thatcher's favourite economist — while UK public land is sold to private global investers for a pittance, the question should be asked, do the landed sellers have the right to sell? Did the voters knowingly give those sellers the right to sell public land, land that should be held in public trust for people including those who have no voting power? And if 'the voters' did give away that right, which voters? Did all the voters consent to such a sale? See also http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/house-builders-own-600000-plots-of-land-so-barnet-council-sells-them-some-more-for-3-see-bbc-documentary/

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Re DWP accessing claimants UJM accounts

(The final paragraph of this posting has been amended since first publication.)

Privacy conscious Jsa benefit claimants frequently complain that their Jobcentre insists on them giving over their Universal Jobmatch (UJm) password.

Here is a lead in to why it is not a good idea for the claimant to be so obliging on this matter.

Universal Jobmatch: Why does DWP need your permission (consent) to access your account?Posted on 04/06/2015 by The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says the reason why the DWP needs user permission to access their Universal Jobmatch (UJ) account is because it could be used to have an adverse* and unfair effect on their benefit claims, through benefit …Continue reading Posted in ConsentData Protection ActDWPDWP ProvidersJobsearchJobseekers AllowanceJSA,Personal DataSanctionsUniversal JobmatchWork Search

For a Word article by the now closed-due-to-lack-of-government-funding charity Skill (National Bureau for Students with Disabilities in Post-16 Education) go to 

Note too, that when Universal Credit conditionality is enforced for those whose part-time work and/or other circumstances — including excessive rent charges from a greedy market — they will be subjected to jobcentre scrutiny and extra jobsearch. Thus while jobcentre managers and staff currently get away with invasions of claimant privacy that they are not supposed to be doing, the urgency of scrutinising the scrutinisers is more urgent.

Work & Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb's tax avoidance wheeze

John Ward blogs exclusively about new Work & Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb's tax avoidance scheme of declaring oneself with HMRC as a company for tax purposes.(1)

Ward likens Crabb to a pig. I wonder if that is fair? Perhaps pigs can be more affectionate while not being hypocritical either?



Post Script

See also https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/stephen-crabb-update-zoominfo-company-search-entry-vapourises/

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Tuesday 7th June meeting against forced adoptions made more urgent

Tuesday 7th June meeting against forced adoptions made more urgent

(Originally erroneously published as 'Monday 6th June meeting against forced adoptions made more urgent')

The Portcullis House meeting against forced adoptions in the UK and US(1) has been made more urgent by last week's Queen's Speech that sets out Conservative Government agenda for the UK Parliament. 

Community Care magazine reports: "The [Children and Social Work Bill] ... gives prospective adopters whom the child is placed with will be given the same rights as birth parents in care proceedings...."(2) 

More at http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/05/21/social-work-bill-gives-government-power-exempt-childrens-services-legal-duties/ 

More at http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/05/21/social-work-bill-gives-government-power-exempt-childrens-services-legal-duties/ 


  1. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/legal-action-for-women-stop-forced-separation-of-children-from-mothers-in-uk-and-us.html
  2. http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/05/21/social-work-bill-gives-government-power-exempt-childrens-services-legal-duties/

Compass say the time is now for Universal Basic Income

Compass say of themselves:

Compass is a home for those who want to build and be a part of a Good Society; one where equality, sustainability and democracy are not mere aspirations, but a living reality. We are founded on the belief that no single issue, organisation or political party can make a Good Society a reality by themselves so we have to work together to make it happen. Compass is a place where people come together to create the visions, alliances and actions to be the change we wish to see in the world....

More at http://www.compassonline.org.uk/about/

Universal Basic Income – The Time is Now

Monday, 06 June 2016, 7pm
Committee Room 11, House of Commons
Compass are delighted to announce the launch of a huge piece of work on why we need a Universal Basic Income and how it could be introduced.
Come and join the authors Howard Reed and Stewart Lansley, with Ursula Huws and Labour MP Jonnie Reynold to discuss the growing demands for a UBI and how it could be introduced in the UK.  At the launch event we will have free copies of the brilliant report Howard and Stewart have co-authored.
The event is on Monday 6th June, at 7pm, Committee Room 11 of the House of Commons – sign up here to secure your place, as we expect the event will fill up fast.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Ken Loach film about 'fit for work' testing fallout receives award

Yahoo reports: "The awards for this year’s Cannes Film Festival have been announced, with British director Ken Loach walking away with the Palme d’Or for his film ‘I, Daniel Blake’."

More at https://uk.movies.yahoo.com/post/144771007651/ken-loachs-i-daniel-blake-wins-cannes-palme-dor

Dude Swheatie of Kwug wonders, if ownership of Yahoo were taken over by the newspaper group that brings us Daily Mail, Metro and Mail on Sunday newspapers, would they report this story at all?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

DWP 'Peer review of serious customer complaint' — aka 'internal review into 49 claimant deaths'

The following is a transcript of very heavily redacted versions of the 49 peer reviews into claimant deaths conducted by the DWP — referred to at http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/benefits-work-publishing-newsletter-on-claimant-deaths-and-cover-up.html

To: [REDACTED]         From: [REDACTED]

cc: [REDACTED]         Tel: [REDACTED]

        Fax: [REDACTED]

        Date: [REDACTED]

Re: Peer review of serious customer complaint


The review was done by accessing computer records/recordings of telephone conversations and by checking processes.

The report sets out the findings of the review, key events, the handling of the case and lessons that can be learned.

Summary of findings


Additional facts and evidence


I have proposed a number of recommendations based on the findings of the review. Recommendations are attached along with a more detailed timetable of events. Although the timetable is lengthy, its contents do outline the findings and recommendations of the review.


That the guidance for handling vulnerable customers is reviewed and that staff are reminded of the correct process [REDACTED]

That we empower staff to use some discretion in cases involving vulnerable people, instead of doing everything 'by the book'[REDACTED]

That staff on the ESA helpline are provided with refresher training to help them to better understand the claim process, [REDACTED]
Equally, benefit processors need to update system notes promptly so that operators have the most up to date information available.
That the process for sending documentation between Jobcentres and BDCs, particularly by fax, is reviewed. [REDACTED]

That the call back process is reviewed, particularly the need for customers to be with their representative at the call back when they were with them during the initial call.


Report on key events

This shows what happened at various stages of the customer's claim and is based on computer records/recordings of telephone conversations.


Friday, 20 May 2016

Shaping Our Lives May 2016 Newsletter

Shaping Our Lives is a national network of disabled people and service users


  1. To view the newsletter in full at Shaping Our Lives website http://us10.campaign-archive2.com 
  2. 11th Social Work Action Network Conference to be held in London on 4 June 2016 http://www.shapingourlives.org.uk/archives/11-th-annual-social-work-action-network-conference 
  3. Kidz to Adultz South — Visitors Free Entry Ticket http://www.shapingourlives.org.uk/archives/kidz-to-adultz-south-visitors-free-entry-ticket
  4. Opportunity for people in London: Developing guidance to commission better physical support http://www.shapingourlives.org.uk/archives/opportunity-for-people-in-london-developing-guidance-to-commission-better-physical-health-support
  5. Have you experienced abuse, harassment or violence because of your mental health problem? http://www.shapingourlives.org.uk/archives/have-you-experienced-abuse-harassment-or-violence-because-of-your-mental-health-problem
  6. Choice and Control Survey 2016 — Help to make it a success http://www.shapingourlives.org.uk/archives/choice-and-control-survey-2016-help-to-make-it-a-success