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News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

New welfare boss is either loyal party stooge or genuinely uncaring

David Gauke is the new man in charge of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in the UK. He has been appointed by lame duck prime minister Theresa May.

Gauke

David Gauke MP. (Picture: South West Herts Conservatives Association).

So, as the PM works on a deal with the Democratic Unionists, can we expect more compassion from the DWP? Regretfully, the answer is ‘no’.

Look at the way Gauke has voted on welfare and benefits in the House of Commons to see the truth.

Gauke’s voting record

TheyWorkForYou.com says this is how David Gauke voted:

  • Generally, he voted to reduce housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms. Labour describes this as the “bedroom tax”. 11 votes for, 0 votes against, 6 absences, between 2012 and 2014.
  • He consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices. 0 votes for, 5 votes against, in 2013.
  • Almost always, he voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability. 0 votes for, 13 votes against, 2 absences, between 2011 and 2016.
  • He consistently voted for making local councils responsible for helping those in financial need afford their council tax and reducing the amount spent on such support. 4 votes for, 0 votes against, in 2012.
  • Almost always, he voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits. 45 votes for, 1 vote against, 8 absences, between 2012 and 2016.
  • He consistently voted against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed. 0 votes for, 9 votes against, between 2011 and 2014.

Still no care at top?

That means David Gauke is loyal and votes as he is told by his party. Either that, or he is as genuinely uncaring as his Conservative predecessors.

Whichever is true, his appointment seems likely to prove disappointing for all who receive welfare benfits. And that includes everyone who is elderly, has a disability, has a low income, or is without a job.

Source of voting record: TheyWorkForYou.com. For an explanation of the vote descriptions please see the FAQ entries on vote descriptions and how the voting record is decided.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Government bedroom tax pushes more than 57,000 into rent arrears, admits government report

Ridiculous, cruel and an unprovoked attack on people with disabilities and others who are just as vulnerable, the UK government’s bedroom tax1 has led to more than 57,000 households falling into rent arrears.

Who said so? Why, the government itself. But it tried to conceal the report by burying it as one of 300 documents issued on the day that the House of Commons went into its summer recess.

Protests have opposegd the bedroom tax. (Photo: youtube.com).

Protests have opposegd the bedroom tax. (Photo: youtube.com).

In fact, it’s even worse than that.  Besides the 2014/15 English Housing Survey being part of a mountain of paperwork, the figures themselves were only to be unearthed by digging through the survey. Remember, too, that the figures are a year old and, since then, the situation can only have got worse; what’s more they only relate to England, not the UK as a whole.

The Housing Survey shows the horrific number of people who were hit by then work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s awful policy.

According to the Mirror Online:

When the survey was taken 364,000 households in social housing were in rent arrears. Another 348,000 had been behind on rent in the previous year.

Among those, 22% (153,800 households) blamed problems or cuts in their benefits.

And 37% of that group (57,485 households) said they had benefits cut for ‘under-occupying’ their home – the hated bedroom tax.

Another 24,000 people in social housing fell behind on rent due to new systems like Universal Credit or the benefits cap.

Figures revealed earlier this year showed the Bedroom Tax is now costing each victim £66 a year more than Iain Duncan Smith’s former department first predicted, when he was in office.

The cost to 442,000 home was around £794 a year, compared to £728 in the official impact assessment dated 2013/14.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) blamed the difference on rent rises over the past two years – but Labour said it proved once again why the tax should be scrapped.

Although I don’t receive housing benefit, I can see that the bedroom tax is unfair and unjustified.

 

1 Officially, the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ is the ‘abolition of the spare room subsidy’, a government reform that reduces housing benefit to anyone with a bedroom more than they are said to need.

 

 

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