Unemployed Man’s Challenge Of Being Denied Budgeting Loan Could Cause UK Reform

An unemployed man from County Tyrone’s challenge to being denied a budgeting loan could result in UK-wide reforms to the benefits, it was claimed recently.

The lawyer for Raymond Archer made the prediction after he was granted leave to seek a judicial review over allegations of suffering discrimination in requests for help financially. The man claims to have been unfairly classed as ineligible for receiving contributions based, rather than income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Budgeting Loan

The refusal to properly look over his Budgeting Loan applications in 2013 and 2014 was unlawful, Raymond’s legal team argued. It was stated by the team that he had contributed to society by paying National Insurance contributions and tax until an accident left him unable to work. Last December, Mr.Archer received a Crisis Loan of which he is still making the repayments as well as receiving £64.50 a week in benefits. He described himself as ‘desperate and in need of the money’.

Following an initial hearing, the court ruled that an arguable case has been established on some grounds of challenge and will be subject to a full judicial review later this year.

Outside court, Mr. Archer’s solicitor said the action could have widespread implications, saying:

[quote] “The overriding objective of a budgeting loan is to provide financial assistance to those who are most in need within our society and in failing to include the applicant and others in his position as entitled applicants under the scheme we state that the State has breached our client’s human rights. This is a judgement which has the potential to reform the benefits system not only in Northern Ireland but also in England and Wales.” [/quote]

The lawyer emphasises the importance of the prohibition of discrimination under the European Convention of Human Rights as his client is being treated differently to other benefit claimants on income-based Employment and Support Allowance.

 

Sentenced Mother Of Two Invented Six Kids To Claim Extra Benefits

childbenefitsA mother of two has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after it was discovered that she had invented six children in order to claim £43,000 in Child Benefits.

Angela Callaghan, 42 and from Liverpool, claimed she was looking after eight children, including two twins of her sister’s and one for her teenage daughter’s. However, six did not exist. She also failed to declare that her daughter had left education. She managed to fool HMRC for three years until being caught.

Callaghan, who was unable to get a job, also helped other mothers in her area to commit the same act and received a cut of around £700 from each. Three other mothers who took part in the fraud — illegally claiming between £2500 and £4000 — were given suspended sentences. Angela Callaghan received 12 months prison time.

Conservative MP Priti Patel said:

[quote]This is an appalling example of flagrant abuse of the benefits system. Hard-pressed taxpayers are sick and tired of hearing of such abuse and this case shows exactly why we need sanctions and tough sentences for individuals who break the system.[/quote]

Priti Patel has, however, been a controversial figure in the party because of her pro-capital punishment stance. Her party has also yet to punish many of the British bankers involved in alleged criminality that caused the financial collapse, which has caused far more impact on the UK economy than benefit fraud which comes to over £500 million a year.

Neighbours of Angela Callaghan, who had already once been given a community sentence for benefit fraud in 2008, said she had spent a lot of money on her home. They said that her property in Bootle had been refurbished with a new patio and iron gates.

Callaghan pleaded not to be imprisoned because she has a four year old son. However, the judge handed her a 12 month sentence regardless. The custody will now pass to her 21 year old daughter.

Kevin Slack, prosecuting, said:

[quote]The process of reporting changes of circumstances is designed to be simple for the customer and the system relies very much on the honesty of the person notifying the change.[/quote]

HM Revenue And Customs claims the case demonstrates the department’s ability to prevent fraud when it occurs. A spokesperson for them said:

[quote]We check all the information provided for a tax credits claim and constantly evolve these checks to ensure they remain effective. As this case shows, we do detect fraud and we do stop it.[/quote]

David Cameron Finds EU Ally In Migrant Child Benefits Battle

EUDavid Cameron may have found an ally in his mission to clamp down on the money that is being sent abroad. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed his proposals to cut the amount of money that migrant workers are sending back to their children abroad.

The British Prime Minister has vowed for some time now to clamp down on the £30 million that is being sent abroad every year. The child benefits raised by migrant workers goes to an estimated 40,000 children across Europe whose parents live in the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister David Cameron has explicitly stated that this would be one of the key demands he makes during the European Union renegotiation should his party win at the next general election.

He has found a strong supporter of this plan in Angela Merkel. Members for her Christian Democratic Union said that it intends to level the playing field in this area. They believe that the level should be set according to the nationality of the child being sent money. For instance, they say it is wrong that Romanian workers could claim £146 per month from Germany when it’s £7 per month in their home country.

A spokesperson with Downing Street said this about the story:

[quote]The Christian Democratic Union’s intervention underlines the growing support in Europe for action to tackle the abuse of free movement by those who move to claim, not to work.[/quote]

Of the 40,000 children that receive money from migrant workers in the United Kingdom, just over 22,000 of them are from Poland. Other countries include France with 1400 children, Spain with 1000 children and Romania with 329 children.

Although Angela Merkel appears to be on David Cameron’s side in this particular fight, she is still very much against the idea of his party choosing to take Britain out of the European Union. In a recent interview, she said that Britain leaving would be a “disaster” for Europe.

David Cameron has been dropping hints about hid desire to leave the EU since he was out-voted by other European Union leaders last week about who should be the president of the European Commission. Other European Union leaders decided to go with Jean Claude Junker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg and a supporter of a federal Europe. David Cameron, an outspoken critic of Jean Claude Junker said that he was an old fashioned Brussels insider who did not represent a willingness for reform.

Liberal Democrats Promise Bonus For Carers

nickcleggClose to one million carers are being promised an annual bonus in proposals set out by the Liberal Democrat party. The party’s leader and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said their manifesto for the next general election will include a promise to increase Carer’s Allowance for each claimant.

It will go up by £125 every year reaching £250 by 2020. The extra money will be paid to carers who have been receiving state support for 12 months. This extends to 85% of claimants.

Nick Clegg praised the ‘superhuman’ work being done by what he called a ‘hidden army’ of carers in the United Kingdom. The leader said:

[quote]Carers are Britain’s unsung heroes – up and down the country behind closed doors, you’ll find a hidden army of carers doing amazing things every day. It is estimated that six in ten of us will at some point in our lives find ourselves caring for someone else – an elderly relative, a sick child, a friend who needs our support. Obviously this makes a massive difference to the people being cared for – but Carers UK calculated that it saves us a whopping £119 billion every year – more than the entire NHS budget[/quote]

However, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have given no indication of how £130 million will be raised in order to support this scheme. Some have feared that it will lead to cuts elsewhere in the welfare budget.

The Liberal Democrats do not have a good record of following through on their word either. Their main campaign pledge to not raise student fees was broken when they joined a coalition with the Conservative party in the last general election. It sparked outrage from those in higher education. The Lib Dems later lost all but one of their MEPs in the European election sinking them to fifth place behind the Green Party with 6.9% of the vote.

Nick Clegg continued:

[quote]These are people who deserve our support even in these straitened times, which is why the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a Carer’s Bonus to give them a little extra help. It is completely up to the carers themselves how they spend it – it is a no strings attached bonus from a party that is grateful for the superhuman work they do.[/quote]

He suggested that the money could be spent not only on those who need care, but treats for the carers themselves who might need a break.

Young Unemployed Must Train Or Lose Benefits, Says Ed Miliband

jobseekers-allowanceYoung people who are looking for work could lose their benefits unless they agree to training courses under a Labour government according to its leader Ed Miliband.

The Labour leader who will be opposing David Cameron in the next general election announced his plans during a speech at the Institute For Public Policy Research. It is part of a series of measures aimed at making work pay; a fight back against criticisms that the Labour Party is too lenient on welfare.

His plans include disallowing 18 to 21 year olds entitlement to adult benefits if they have no qualifications. Instead, they will get a youth allowance if they accept vocational training equivalent to an AS level. Under the current Job Seekers Allowance system, you cannot be in training and claiming for benefits at the same time.

The youth allowance is currently planned to be £57, which is the same that is currently afforded to people who are under 25 on Job Seekers Allowance. It will, however, be means tested so that those with a family earning more than £42,000 per year will not be entitled.

In his speech, Ed Miliband also states his intentions to raise the Job Seekers Allowance from £72 to £100 a week for those who had been in work for five years before being made unemployed.

Ed Miliband said:

[quote]How many times have I heard people say: ‘for years and years, I paid in and then when the time came and I needed help I got nothing out?’ Rewarding contribution was a key principle of the Beveridge Report. And it is a key intuition of the British people. But it is a principle that has been forgotten by governments of both parties.[/quote]

Conservative MPs have hit back against the party’s plans claiming it will just lead to an even greater amount of spending and borrowing at the expense of taxpayers. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said that it’s an expensive commitment.

Britain’s largest trade union and Labour’s biggest financial backer, Unite, has praised the plans. They have, however, criticised the use of threats in Ed Miliband’s speech calling in “Tory rhetoric”.

Steve Turner, the assistant general secretary, said:

[quote]Our young people did not cause the economic crash and shouldn’t be made to pay for it. Any idea that they want a life on benefits is risible when all they want is a decent job and a future.[/quote]