A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted an “extraordinary” failure over nearly a decade to carry out any detailed calculations on how universal credit will affect different groups of disabled people.DWP has always admitted there would be winners and losers among disabled people as it gradually introduced its delayed and much-criticised new system, while it claims that any savings would be reinvested into supporting those it calls “the most severely disabled”.But it has repeatedly refused to provide clear details of how universal credit (UC) is likely to affect different groups of disabled people, particularly those currently receiving the various disability-related premiums.Disability News Service (DNS) has been trying for nearly 18 months to obtain calculations showing exactly DWP believes different groups of disabled people will be financially affected by the introduction of UC.When DWP failed to provide these figures, following a freedom of information request, DNS lodged a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).Now DWP has been forced to admit to the information commissioner that throughout the nine years since it announced its plans to replace six income-related benefits with the new UC, it has not once carried out and recorded any calculations to show how different groups of disabled people would be affected financially.DWP told ICO: “We do not hold this information because the variables involved are too numerous to enable us to conduct an analysis with case comparisons.“In addition, as the calculations and methodologies are different, no meaningful direct comparisons can be made between Universal Credit awards and awards of benefit from a legacy system.”A spokesperson for the Benefits and Work website, which provides advice and information on benefits, said: “It seems extraordinary that such basic calculations weren’t carried out and shared with representative organisations before such a fundamental change in benefits for disabled people was imposed.”Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said DWP’s failure to make the calculations was either “callous and reckless or negligent”.And Disability Rights UK said it was “disingenuous for the DWP to say that it could not provide case comparisons”.Instead of providing DNS with the examples it requested, DWP sent ICO links to equality impact assessments it carried out in 2011, which include some figures showing the overall, generalised, predicted impact of UC.An equality impact assessment in November 2011 (PDF, page 13) suggested that 27 per cent of “disabled households” would gain by an average of about £33 a week under UC, while 27 per cent would lose by about £37 a week, although it claimed that DWP intended to “reinvest all savings from the disability reforms back into support for the most severely disabled”.Seven years later, in a report from January 2018, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) noted that “there will be winners and losers from changes in the way UC supports disabled people”.OBR also noted (main report, page 135) that the net cost to disabled people on incapacity benefits such as employment and support allowance in the transition to UC would reach £0.8 billion by 2020-21.In its decision notice on the complaint, ICO pointed out that DNS had argued that it would be “logical… that before embarking on such a major change [as the introduction of universal credit], the DWP would wish to have some understanding of how individuals and families might be affected”.DNS had also said it was “implausible that the DWP had not carried out any indicative case studies to see how a ‘typical’ claimant might be affected”, said ICO.DNS first asked DWP for information nearly 18 months ago, after its press office said the government had “simplified and rationalised the various, complex disability premiums that exist in the legacy system”, but was unable to say how this “rationalisation” would work and how disabled people would be impacted financially by the change to UC.DNS asked DWP to describe the exact financial impact universal credit would have on disabled people who would previously have received these premiums.DWP was asked to provide comparisons both for those making a new UC claim and for disabled people transferring across from legacy benefits such as employment and support allowance.But after DNS complained that DWP was refusing to release this information, ICO has now ruled that, “on the balance of probabilities”, DWP “holds no further information within the scope of the request”, although it said it had breached the Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to the DNS request within 20 working days.The information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, added: “It is not the role of the Commissioner to determine what type of information a public authority should (or should not) hold within the scope of an information request – only what information is as a matter of fact, held.“The Commissioner recognises that the DWP has put out, into the public domain, a great deal of information about its methodology for modelling the impacts of UC and that this has been highlighted to the complainant.“Having pressed the DWP on this point, the Commissioner is satisfied that the data being used in the Model is not of the level of granularity that the complainant is seeking.” Bob Ellard, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, said: “Either the DWP did do these calculations and they are hiding it, or they didn’t do them at all.“In the first instance, the results must be bad, or they would have published them.“In which case the DWP have been negligent pressing ahead with a system they know will cause harm to disabled people“In the second instance, pressing ahead without knowing what the effects would be is sheer callous recklessness.“Callous and reckless or negligent. Take your pick. “What is certain is that we need an independent public inquiry into what has been going on at the DWP all the way through welfare reform.“We need people to sign the Justice for Jodey Whiting petition* which asks for that independent inquiry.”The Benefits and Work spokesperson said: “Welfare benefit advisers up and down the country use widely available benefit check software every day to provide ‘better-off’ calculations to clients. “You can input a set of circumstances to model a person’s entitlement to legacy benefits and then hit a single button to do a better-off calculation to look at the effect of universal credit.“The DWP could very easily have done this before universal credit was introduced.“It’s true that UC covers a myriad of individual circumstances too numerous to model in their entirety, but it would have been entirely possible and reasonable for an organisation with the data and resources of the DWP to broadly model some common scenarios using legacy benefits such as income-related ESA as a baseline, and then look at the same situation under UC.”DNS has been reporting concerns about the impact of UC on disabled people for nearly nine years.Inclusion London warned in October 2010 of “considerable concern” that UC would be a “means of reducing the amount people receive in benefits”, and said the following month that it could be used as a cover for cutting disability benefits.DPAC believes UC has now reached a point where it is “unable to adapt to claimants’ complex circumstances, and is forcing people with the least resources into further poverty, homelessness, and hunger”. It has called for UC to be scrapped because it has become a social security system “which not only does not offer security, but actively undermined people’s ability to cope with the hazards of life”.A DPAC report released last month contained “harrowing stories of people forced into debt, rent arrears, homelessness, crime, prostitution, hunger, people unable to afford fares to get to food banks, parents unable to get essentials for their babies, child poverty, worsening mental health, ex-service people considering suicide and even cases of actual suicide”.Disabled activists have repeatedly warned that UC is “toxic” and “rotten to the core”, with “soaring” rates of sanctions and foodbank use in areas where it has been introduced, and repeated warnings about its impact on disabled people.A DWP spokesperson declined to answer a series of questions about its past statements on universal credit because, he said, they “appear to be about clarifying aspects of [the DNS] Freedom of Information request to the Department”.*Sign the Jodey Whiting petition here. If you sign the petition, please note you will need to confirm your signature by clicking on an email you will be sent automatically by the House of Commons petitions committee
A majority of 9,286 LabourList readers and 7,650 Labour members who took part in our latest survey thinks there should be a fresh deputy Labour leadership election this year.Over 61% of LabourList readers and 63% of self-identified members said there should be a new election to choose Labour’s deputy leader.Tom Watson won the last deputy leadership election held in 2015, beating Stella Creasy, Caroline Flint, Angela Eagle and Ben Bradshaw to hold the position. According to the most recent LabourList survey, members want the opportunity to vote again.But asked whether there should be a fresh Labour leadership election in 2019 – which would be desired by critics of Jeremy Corbyn – only 33% of readers said ‘Yes’ and a solid majority of nearly 60% said ‘No’.Similarly, over 63% of members surveyed didn’t want a leadership election to take place this year, while just under 30% did.Should there be a fresh Labour leadership election this year?Click to enlarge.Readers:No – 59.4% (5,517)Yes – 32.9% (3,054)Don’t know – 7.7% (715)Click to enlarge.Members:No – 63.3% (4,840)Yes – 29.5% (2,256)Don’t know – 7.2% (554)Should there be a fresh Labour deputy leadership election this year?Click to enlarge.Readers:Yes – 61.2% (5,684)No – 31.3% (2,907)Don’t know – 7.5% (695)Click to enlarge.Members:Yes – 63.1% (4,824)No – 30.2% (2,307)Don’t know – 6.8% (519)The survey was open from 11am on Sunday 2nd June until 6pm on Monday 3rd June. Thank you to all 9,286 readers who took part. Read the full results here.Tags:Tom Watson /Jeremy Corbyn /
ENGLAND coach Steve McNamara has selected a team rich in experience and quality for Friday night’s CarPlan International Origin Match at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.Led by Jamie Peacock, who wears the captain’s armband for the first time since last year’s mid-season international against France, England will start with a formidable pack against opponents drawn from the best Australian and New Zealand players currently playing in the Engage Super League.Peacock, who missed the 2010 Four Nations after undergoing knee surgery, is joined in the front row by the man who replaced him as captain in Australia and New Zealand, James Graham of St Helens. The back row features a recalled Jon Wilkin alongside Warrington Wolves stalwart Ben Westwood with Wigan Warriors skipper Sean O’Loughlin at loose forward.Luke Robinson, who has been in top form at No.9 for Huddersfield Giants this year, starts at hooker in the absence of the injured James Roby with Michael McIlorum of Wigan named on the bench for his England debut.Sam Tomkins, the Engage Super League young player of the year for 2009 and 2010, starts at full-back behind a three-quarter line packed full of exciting players, including Warrington centre Chris Bridge, who partners Hull FC’s Tom Briscoe on the left.Ryan Hall of Leeds and St Helens centre Michael Shenton occupy the right flank pairing.At half-back, England start with Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield at stand-off, a role he has occupied for the Rhinos for much of 2011, with Warrington’s Richie Myler starting at scrum-half in a deserved return for a player who scored a hat-trick of tries on his full international debut for England against Wales in 2009.A strong bench includes Warrington props Adrian Morley and Garreth Carvell alongside McIlorum and Wigan Warriors second row Joel Tomkins.England:1 Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors and Wigan St Pats)2 Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos and Oulton Raiders)3 Michael Shenton (St Helens and Upton)4 Chris Bridge (Warrington Wolves and Waterhead)5 Tom Briscoe (Hull FC and Featherstone Lions)6 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos and Waterhead)7 Richard Myler (Warrington Wolves and Halton West Bank)8 Jamie Peacock (Leeds Rhinos and Stanningley, capt)9 Luke Robinson (Huddersfield Giants and Siddal)10 James Graham (St Helens and Blackbrook)11 Jon Wilkin (St Helens and East Hull)12 Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves and Normanton Knights)13 Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors and Wigan St Patricks)Interchanges14 Michael McIlorum (Wigan Warriors and Queens)15 Adrian Morley (Warrington Wolves and Eccles)16 Garreth Carvell (Warrington Wolves and Stanningley)17 Joel Tomkins (Wigan Warriors and Wigan St Patricks)Brian McClennan’s Exiles team is:1 Brett Hodgson (Warrington Wolves & Australia)2 Pat Richards (Wigan Warriors & Australia)3 George Carmont (Wigan Warriors & Samoa)4 Matt King (Warrington Wolves & Australia)5 Francis Meli (St Helens & Samoa)6 Rangi Chase (Castleford Tigers & New Zealand)7 Thomas Leuluai (Wigan Warriors & New Zealand)8 Tony Puletua (St Helens & New Zealand)9 Danny Buderus (Captain) (Leeds Rhinos & Australia)10 Mark O’Meley (Hull FC & Australia)11 Iosia Soliola (St Helens & New Zealand)12 Willie Manu (Hull FC & Tonga)13 Craig Fitzgibbon (Hull FC & Australia)Interchanges14 David Faiumu (Huddersfield Giants & New Zealand)15 Kylie Leuluai (Leeds Rhinos & Samoa)16 Louis Anderson (Warrington Wolves & New Zealand)17 David Fa’alogo (Huddersfield Giants & New Zealand)
JOSH Jones scored a superb try as Saints sensationally beat Wigan 18-14 at Langtree Park last night.He leapt like a salmon to catch Jon Wilkin’s high ball ahead of Matty Bowen to snatch it with just moments left.Wigan were 14-6 to the good following a controversial penalty and a great George Williams effort.But Adam Swift continued his fine form with a wonderful score before Jones’ late and timely marker.It was nothing more than the Champions deserved though after some of the most resilient defence ever seen at Langtree Park.James Roby made 62 tackles in a game that was ferocious and physical from the get go.Saints got off to a good start when they won back to back sets on Wigan’s line.Joe Greenwood earned a penalty and then Luke Walsh forced a drop out from Josh Charnley.Nothing came of the attack nor did subsequent sets from both sides.However, an error on nine minutes handed the home side the impetus and Jordan Turner showed great strength to get over.Sadly, it was ruled off for obstruction – even though you could have argued the Warriors were offside.Wigan profited straightaway from that let off as Joel Tomkins was caught on a great line to ghost through the defence in the 11th minute.The visitors then dominated the next ten minutes and put pressure on Saints with three drop outs on the bounce.Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook made a try saving tackle on Matty Smith and then Adam Quinlan stepped up to quell another attack.Wigan were being ultra aggressive in their defence too – something Saints were struggling to match.But a penalty and another Walsh kick the visitors found difficult to handle gave Saints a shot – only for the referee to stop Saints’ attack by penalising Roby who was the ball carrier.Next time the Champions were in the Warriors’ half though, they scored.On the last, Walsh showed fantastic fleet of foot to dance through on the last and get his side on the scoreboard.He then levelled it up with the boot.It was no more than Saints deserved – for their defensive effort at least – and perhaps they should have had more.Indeed, at the end of the first half Wigan were lucky to have 13 on the field as Tony Clubb not only hit Vea high on one set – causing a mini brawl – but then took out Jordan Turner with a loose elbow on the next set.It certainly gave added spice to the second half – and that began with a drop out from Saints.The home side defended that well but then a controversial interference penalty saw Matty Bowen kick through the uprights to make it 8-6 to the Warriors.On 50 minutes Adam Swift chipped over the top to put pressure on Wigan’s line – but Bowen was up to the task.And they turned defence into attack – Wigan going the length on their set and George Williams slicing through the defence.Wigan then had one another chalked off five minutes later for a knock on.Saints needed to score next and when they did it was a cracker.Wilkin’s high ball was caught by Bowen but a wonder tackle by Walsh forced the ball loose.They sent the ball left and a couple of tackles later it came right, through Walsh and then Adam Swift scored a belter.He may have only been 10 yards from the line but he went in and out; bamboozling two defenders and scored in the corner.Walsh slotting the conversion from right off the touchline.Saints defended another controversial penalty on their own line as the game entered its final 10 minutes – one that was doubled for back chat – and then had a try scoring chance harshly called back for a forward pass.Further back to back sets followed for the Warriors – Saints defence holding firmBut cometh the hour, cometh the Champions…Wilkin’s high kick flew up into the air and with Matty Bowen ready to take it Josh Jones flew in, took it out of mid air and put it down to pandaemonium in the stands.Walsh adding the extra two points.With 90 seconds left, Saints needed to defend one set – but Matty Smith didn’t make the 10 with the restart and ultimaley that ended the game.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Walsh, Swift, JonesGoals: Walsh (3 from 3)Warriors:Tries: Tomkins, WilliamsGoals: Bowen (3 from 3)Penalties:Saints: 4Warriors: 7HT: 6-6FT: 18-14REF: Robert HicksATT: 15,808Teams:Saints:37. Adam Quinlan; 2. Tommy Makinson, 17. Mark Percival, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift; 3. Jordan Turner, 7. Luke Walsh; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 25. Andre Savelio, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 21. Joe Greenwood, 12. Jon Wilkin.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 11. Atelea Vea, 15. Mark Flanagan, 19. Greg Richards.Warriors:1. Matty Bowen; 2. Josh Charnley, 14. John Bateman, 34. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess; 6. George Williams, 7. Matty Smith; 8. Dominic Crosby, 9. Michael McIlorum, 10. Ben Flower, 11. Joel Tomkins, 25. Larne Patrick, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.Subs: 3. Anthony Gelling, 16. Sam Powell, 17. Tony Clubb, 23. Lee Mossop.