JRF report on bedroom tax – as inept as the policy itself…unfortunately!

10 Apr

Patrick Sudlow:

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) sometimes produces good reports but not every time. I have read reports from the JRF about the regeneration of Hulme in the 1990s. They only turned out to be self-publicity for one of those heavilly involved, with Manchester City Council in the regeneration process. The report did not how local residents were not truly involved in the regeneration process, or the fact that in reality, it has been a failure. This report on the bedroom tax did make some valid points but as Joe Halewood, it does not go far enough, in highlighting the total disregard it has on people’s lifes.

Originally posted on SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites):

The bedroom tax is pernicious and has many victims but I never imagined one of those victims would be the Joseph Rowntree Foundation or JRF.  The report released yesterday was staggering in its ineptitude and this from one of if not the most revered social policy think tank in the UK in the JRF.

To explain I use the ubiquitous follow-up piece that the Guardian always does in giving free rein to in this case JRF to ‘sell’ their research to the public as they do here in a piece by its Policy Director Kathleen Kelly.

I took time contemplating whether to comment on this as JRF has produced consistently excellent research for decades and known for consistently producing excellent research.  Yet they have been so inept in this bedroom tax report and in their recommendations that it has to be said.  So, with some reluctance below is why this…

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Stafford hospital update: insanity reigns

8 Apr

Patrick Sudlow:

Removing locally accessable services, is another attack on the most needy in the community and should be of considerable concern to all

Originally posted on The SKWAWKBOX Blog:

I’ve written at length on this blog about the concerted and sustained hatchet-job that has been done on Stafford hospital (just search ‘Stafford’ and/or ‘Mid Staffs’ and/or ‘HSMR’) as part of the wider strategy by this government and the private health interests that back it.

For a long time, the people of Stafford have fought to keep their local acute services, with tens of thousands taking to the streets to support their hospital and its dedicated staff. Meanwhile, the constant smears by ministers and press continue and honours are awarded to those collaborating in the attack.

Plans to dismantle Stafford’s services and farm them out to a neighbouring NHS trust are utterly and unmistakably flawed, as they will cost more and achieve less than what is already in placeplans supposedly ‘reviewed’ by the same people who made them in the first place. But the fact that such…

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Bedroom tax – a right right to family life as parents and daughter both win appeals

2 Apr

Patrick Sudlow:

Some commonsense advice; Stop moaning about how bad the bedroom tax is, appeal.

Originally posted on SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites):

I have a huge smile to my face as a tenant informs me he has won his appeal just as his daughter did a few weeks earlier.  Yes bedroom tax wins for the parents and for their daughter will sure make this Essex family a happy one!

in both cases there is not a full statement of reasons but in simple terms the daughter won by saying the alleged spare bedroom was a study and so she is taken out of the bedroom tax altogether.

The father saw the bedroom tax reduced from 25% to 14% as one of the alleged bedrooms was not big enough to be a bedroom the Tribunal ruled.

So a room usage win for the daughter and a room size win for mum and dad.

However the key issue here is what the dad said in his email to me about 20 minutes ago: -

Hi Joe

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Germany’s aggressive push for a clean-energy future (+video)

16 Mar

Manchester City’s council leader Richard Leese,  went to Copenhagen in 2009, waving a piece of paper, ‘Manchester – A Certain Future‘.  Supposedly outlining how Manchester would become a green city and reduce its carbon emissions.  It has become a worthless piece of paper, just as Neville Chamberlain’s, ‘Peace in our Time‘, was mocked by Hitler.  All the while, he has ignored good examples of how this can be achieved, such as in Freiburg, Germany.  Who have managed to embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency, without destroying its historic architecture.  Is it because the Greens are the largest party in their town council?  Unlike Leese in Manchester, who has cleared acres of social/council housing and historic buildings, to build his energy inefficient ivory towers.  Woking, Surrey, is about the only UK town or City, that comes anywhere to Freiburg, in renewable energy and efficiencies.  But Richard Leese has delusions of grandeur, which are fuelled by his sycophantic colleagues and business people.  And instead of looking towards best practice, just blames other councils for not get their act together.

Germany’s aggressive push for a clean-energy future (+video).

Most jobseeker agreements ruled unlawful – and the DWP doesn’t care

12 Mar

Patrick Sudlow:

This Conservative Government continues its attack against those in an unfortunate position, even though the courts find they they are acting illegally. Another problem is, where is the condemnation of these practices by the opposition Labour Party.
“Any jobseeker who can demonstrate that s/he has taken 3 steps a week to find work has complied with the law. Any jobseeker’s ‘agreement’ that imposes more than three steps is illegal and legally unenforceable. Any claimant sanctioned for failing to meet such an illegal requirement has a right to have it overturned on appeal.”

Originally posted on The SKWAWKBOX Blog:

A reader of my blog has written to me with an update about a case that I referred to her for her expert help some time ago. The appeal against draconian sanctions that she helped our mutual contact to conduct was successful, with the judge ruling that the ‘conditionality’ imposed on a jobseeker was unreasonable – and that the benefit sanction (immediate stoppage) used to punish the supposed miscreant was therefore unlawful.

But the Tory-led government is so single-minded in its determination to penalise benefit claimants for failing to find jobs that don’t exist that it is knowingly ignoring the judicial ruling and the precedent it sets, in order to continue what can only rightly be called persecution of the disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Here’s what she wrote to me:

I am a keen follower of your blog and thought you may be interested in this story…
I have recently helped…

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Landlords use the bedroom tax to hide their own incompetence

8 Mar

Patrick Sudlow:

An update on the heinous bedroom tax and how the UK tax-payer is bailing out the private rental sector and losing out. The bedroom tax does not treat social tenants the same as private tenants.

Originally posted on SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites):

Is the bedroom tax just a convenient policy which allows social landlords to deflect attention away from their decades of incompetence in social housing?  Yes it is and in allowing the bedroom tax myths to go unchallenged in the public’s mind, of which the bedroom tax is just the latest example, social landlords permit the vilification of social housing and the social tenant to flourish because they are incompetent.

There are so many myths around the bedroom tax  and I don’t just mean the nonsense of social media sites that say Muslims are allowed a spare room as a prayer room or that paedophiles and sex offenders are exempt, both of which are bollocks. I mean real genuine myths used as propaganda for the coalition…and critically myths that social landlords fail to counter as they allow myth to become fact because social landlords as a (purported) sector are bloody incompetent…

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Bedroom tax – how to get rid and yet more successful appeals

6 Mar

Patrick Sudlow:

So far, Manchester City Council and their Arm-Length-Management-Organisations (ALMOs), have continued to support this evil piece of legislation. Why does a Labour council support this attack on some of the most vulnerable in society?

Originally posted on SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites):

A room is what it is used for – no ifs no buts end of!

Every council decided in every bedroom tax decision that if a room could be a bedroom it was a bedroom and the tribunals are not having it as that it is sham.

A room is what it is used for as a matter of fact and as a matter of law.

If the room you are being charged bedroom tax for is used as a storage room, a dining room, a play room, an art room, a study, or a utility room or for any other purpose then it is NOT a bedroom so get appealing your bedroom tax decisions dear reader.  Below are a few examples of why.

Take the case of DS in Wirral reported this week

DS_Wirral_Decision_Notice_28022014_pg_1-page-001       DS_Wirral_Decision_Notice_28022014_pg_2-page-001

As the Wirral DS case above reveals:

  • it is the room usage

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Bedroom Tax – the Court of Appeal loss is useful as it makes you THINK?

23 Feb

Patrick Sudlow:

Far too many tenants have been too timid, in not appealling the application of the bed-room tax. If every tenant affected by the bed-room tax, had appealled, the whole system would of ground to a halt.

Originally posted on SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites):

Be Machiavellian, sod morality, ignore the disability lobby’s and use any lawful means to and end to get rid of the bedroom tax.  Controversial enough for you reader?  Good, and the Court of Appeal ruling this week should make you get out of your moral indignation fugue and start to think!

The purpose of ALL challenges to the bedroom tax is to get rid of it and get rid of it for ALL those affected and that has to be the purpose and that has to be achieved by whatever lawful means it takes.

That should be written in stone yet the judicial review challenges in the High Court and Court of Appeal focus have been proven NOT to be the best way to challenge and get rid of the bedroom tax.  The best way is for all disabled bedroom tax tenants to appeal the bedroom tax through the tribunals.

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A simple template letter to kill the bedroom tax

16 Feb

Patrick Sudlow:

A simple letter, for those affected by the bedroom-tax, can send to their council.

Originally posted on Welfare Writes:

Dear Reader,

I have said before the bedroom tax is dead.

I have added here every bedroom needs to be a double bedroom in terms of size to be hit by the bedroom tax.

The Bolton Upper Tribunal decision means (a) your current 2013/14 bedroom tax decision is legally unreliable and should be appealed; and (b) your council cannot make a legally reliable bedroom tax decision for 2014/15 unless they inspect which they cannot afford to do.

I have also said here that the bedroom tax like its master Iain Duncan Smith is a fetid rotting corpse.

Now I include a basic template letter below which I urge tenants to use to finally kill off the bedroom tax.  It can and should be used for your current bedroom tax decision to ask your council to revise your decision and with a slight modification next years decision should your council…

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The secret ingredient to slow food: Slow cash

14 Feb Featured Image -- 1524

Patrick Sudlow:

The biggest problem is, the carbon instensive, industrial farmers, are subsidised by the tax-payer. Whilst, low carbon, organic and sustainable farming is penalised. It is time Governments realised, their short-term political objectives, are the main cause of climate change and therefore, they must urgently change their mindset. This includes the UK’s Green Party, which still supports a failed economic belief.

Originally posted on Grist:

This is part of a series in which we’re asking what pragmatic steps we can take to make regional food systems more sustainable. We previously spoke with organic farmer Tom Willey, and the people at Veritable Vegetable.

When I spoke with Tim Crosby, director of Slow Money Northwest, he was working on a deal at the Finn River Cidery.

“I’m in my outside office,” he said. “I’m standing here looking out over this: It’s just idyllic, there’s hoop houses, there’s chickens. They make apple cider, there’s an orchard, and a field, and there’s trumpeter swans on the field.”

I’d wanted talk to Crosby because he’s interested in growing regional food systems. In this series, I’m looking for pragmatic steps that can make regional agriculture more sustainable. Crosby does much the same thing: He searches for farmers who could grow or improve their businesses if they just had…

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