“I was trained to get Universal Credit claimants off the phone”

From Sky News: Former Universal Credit case manager Bayard Tarpley writes about his experience working in its Grimsby call centre for two years…

Have you ever wondered if the service person on the end of the phone is being deliberately being obstructive?

Well the answer is yes. And I should know – I worked as a Universal Credit case manager where agents were trained to get people off the phone without answering their query.

The answers were from a “deflection script”.

And they were not what you want to hear if you’re a single mother desperate to pay your rent or face being kicked out your home.

[Read full article on Sky News website…]

Met Police chief: It would be “naive” to think police cuts haven’t contributed to rise in violent crime

From The Independent: The head of the Metropolitan Police has said it would be “naive” to think cuts to the number of rank-and-file officers had failed to have an impact on the rising levels of violent crime.

[Read article on Independent website…]

Most DWP frontline staff “say Universal Credit should be scrapped”

From HuffPost UK: Two-thirds of frontline Department for Work and Pensions staff have said the roll-out of crisis-hit Universal Credit should be stopped, a Channel 4 investigation has revealed.

Some 70% of DWP staff say the roll out of Universal Credit should be stopped according to a survey carried out by a trade union.

The Public and Commercial Services Union poll found 79% of respondents felt there was not sufficient staff to meet demand from claimants.

The union, which represents frontline DWP staff, many of whom work in high street job centres, polled 550 of its members for a Dispatches documentary.

A whistleblower who currently works for the #DWP told the programme: “Sometimes we’ll have a couple of people on our team on leave or off sick and then the work really piles up at that point and these claims have not been given the due attention they deserve.

“A lot of [claimants] can miss their payments… It could mean that they won’t be able to eat for another couple of days, it’s very tough on them.”

[Read full article on HuffPost UK…]

Britain’s prison crisis caused by ‘poor political decisions’ by Conservatives and huge cuts, says former head of jails

From The Independent: The former head of the prison service has accused the Tory justice secretary, David Gauke, of attempting to shift blame for violence and disorder in British prisons from his own government to the spread of former legal highs among prisoners.

[Read article on Independent website…]

Charge increase providing cover for NHS cuts, say dentists

Press release from the British Dental Association: The BDA has branded the latest patient charge increases in England as a cover for cuts to state funding for NHS dentistry.

The third year of above inflation increases of around 5% a year will bring charges for a basic check-ups to £21.60, and charges for items like crowns or dentures to £256.50. According to the Government’s own estimates this amounts to patients paying in an additional £72.4 million over the course of the financial year.

Dental charges are increasing as a proportion of the NHS budget, while contributions from general taxation are in long-term decline. The BDA estimates patients will be contributing a full third of England’s NHS dental budget by 2020 – and are on course to exceed government spending by 2032.

Nearly 1 in 5 patients have delayed treatment for reasons of cost according to official statistics.

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Nurse given a year left to live says he will use time he has left to stop Tories ‘killing’ our beloved NHS

From Daily Mirror: Nurse David Bailey faces his own fight for survival, diagnosed with terminal cancer. Yet despite undergoing gruelling chemotherapy, he will take to the streets on Saturday with thousands of others in a day of protest against the Government’s destruction of the health service.

[Read article on Daily Mirror website…]

A mother given 50p a week for housing: the benefit cap one year on

The head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing writes in the Guardian: “A year on from the introduction of the lower benefit cap, its abiding legacy is to push people closer to homelessness.

“The cap, introduced on 7 November 2016, reduced the total amount any family can receive in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital, leaving families with significant shortfalls between the benefits they get and the cost of their housing.

“In our most recent research we spoke to 18 families with capped benefit across the UK and each time we heard a familiar story – one of stress, struggle and a daily fight to remain in their home.

“Half of those families said they had gone without food, fuel or were otherwise in debt as a result of the cut. Among a raft of other hardships a third said they had been forced to use food banks.”

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David Badillo, first firefighter on the Grenfell Tower scene, responds to invite to 10 Downing Street

David Badillo, the first firefighter on the scene of the Grenfell Tower fire, was invited to 10 Downing Street along with 35 of his fire brigade colleagues. This is his public response.

#RealVoicesVsTheTories #PublicDuty #PublicSectorPayCap #ToryAusterity #ToryHealthAndSafety #GrenfellTower #Justice4Grenfell

Posted by Stop the Tories Channel on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

DWP Universal Credit case manager: “What I’ve witnessed is shocking”

A DWP manager writes in the Independent: “Many of my colleagues feel out of their depth with the quantity of claims they manage, resulting in a vast amount of crucial work never being completed until claimants contact us when their payments are inevitably paid incorrectly or not at all.”

[Read full article on the Independent website…]

GP: “Poverty is at the heart of the mental health crisis”

Dr Maureen Tilford and Rev Paul Nicolson write on the Guardian letters page: “There has been a massive increase in calls to the Metropolitan Police involving mental health problems, with as many as one every five minutes.

“Psychiatric conditions not only occur at higher rates in the poorest areas, but also cluster together, usually in disintegrating inner-city communities… Poverty can be both a cause and a consequence of poor mental health.

“Poverty and social inequality have direct and indirect effects on the social, mental and physical wellbeing of an individual. It is clear that poverty and inequality are closely linked and that income inequality produces psychosocial stress.”

[Read full letters on Guardian website…]

A paramedic takes to Facebook to share his experiences of the Tory NHS

As a paramedic I'm really concerned at what I see as a result of the current Conservative Party government. I see more…

Posted by Emergency Action. #GE17 on Thursday, June 1, 2017

NHS workers are rallying against the Tories with the hashtag #publicduty

From indy100: In a campaign by NHS workers against the Conservative government’s reforms to health care, the hashtag #publicduty has been trending. The premise of the hashtag is that NHS workers say “As an [X], it’s my#publicduty to tell you” and then share their view of the state of the NHS after seven years of Conservative rule.

[Read full article on indy100.com…]

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