‘Star’ in BENEFITS STREET – You won’t get paid!

The makers of  BENEFITS STREET racked up a £5.5million profit last year – and didn’t give a penny to it’s stars.

The production company is set to rake in even more when a second series of the poverty porn show goes out on Channel 4 latert his year.

But Barry Tomes, agent to series one star Deidre Kelly, said: “The company has made an obscene amount of money out of Benefits Street but not shared a single penny with the residents.

Benefits Street“They were nominated for an award and didn’t even tell the residents. They could have asked them to come to the ceremony and laid on a meal as a thank you.

“They just don’t care about the people involved once they have filmed their programme.”

Love Productions turned over £15million in 2014, with a £2million increase in profits on the year before. Producers werer slammed for cashing in on struggling occupants like young parents Mark Thomas and Becky Howe of James Turner Street, Birmingham, for entertainment value.

One commentator described it as “medieval stocks updated for the modern format” but that hasn’t stopped Channel 4 commissioning a second series set in Stockton-on-Tees in North East England.

Labour MP Austin Mitchell said: “There’s money in it. Love productions made big profits last year.

“That’s easily done by demonising the poor to stir the anger of an audience which sees them enjoying beer, drugs and huge flat-screen tellies, all, they feel, at their expense.”

Mr Mitchell accused Channnel 4 of abandoning its reputation for innovative shows. He said: “This is a nasty reversal of the channels previously progressive and stimulating role.”

Richard McKerrow and wife Anne Beattle run Love Productions, whose portfolio includes such documentaies as Make Bradford British and Underage And Having Sex.

The company also produces The Great British Bake Off.

Last night a spokesman said: “We’re very proud of our documentary series such as Benefits Street, though in reality they represent only a small part of our output.

Payne. W 2015 The Sun 19th March 2015 P.31

“We should thank Channel 4 for showing documentaries which highlight concerns regarding the wellbeing of our society. That being said, was a better deal appropriate for the ‘stars’ of Benefits Street?”

Benefits to be Slashed by £12billion – Tory Election Pledge

 The Daily Mail headlines today with the expected news that £12billion will be slashed from the nation’s bloated benefits bill and will be at the heart of the Tory pitch for a second term in office.

George Osborne’s pre-election budget next week will be a ‘steady as you go’ exercise with the emphasis on sustaining growth and reducing the deficit.

Tory sources say other measures that appear ‘nailed on’ for their election manifesto include;

  • Restricting child benefit to three children for new claimants and extending a freeze on benefit increases;
  • Cutting the overall cap on welfare claims to £23,000 per household from £26,000 now;
  • Under-25s to lose their right to housing benefit and jobless payouts if they refuse offers of work, training or education.

The measures would help Mr Osborne find the £30billion he needs to erase the budget deficit by the end of the next Parliament in 2019.

Treasury officials believe £5billion can be raised from a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion on top of the £12billion annual welfare saving. The proposals undermine Labour’s claim that the Conservatives will balance the books through apocalyptic Whitehall cuts.

george-osborneThe Tories say they will raise the point at which people pay higher rate income tax to £50,000 by the end of the next Parliament – lifting hundred of thousands of middle class professionals out of the 40p band.

Another objective is to increase the personal allowance to £12,500 a year.

The Chancellor is also thought to be considering granting pensioners the right to take money out of their retirement funds.

The move would be a radical extension of his decision last year to free retirees from having to buy what are often poor-value annuities with their pension savings.

Although public borrowing for 2014-15 is expected to come at below the £91billion projected in the Autumn statement last December, the Chancellor will have little wriggle room for electoral giveaways.

His Liberal Democrat coalition partners are reluctant to allow him to use the Budget as a launch-pad for the Tory election campaign.

However, another tax break for millions of workers is expected with a hike in the personal tax allowance, which is already due to rise to £10,000 next month.

Money ImageIt is expected that the Chancellor will take the opportunity to announce a full review of the business rates system.

Retailers have long been pushing for reform of taxes. – which have existed in various forms since Tudor times – to ease the pressure on the high street.

Sources suggest that moving away from a charged based on the rateable value of a commercial property to a modern alternative – such as a sales tax – is one option.

Critics of the existing system say that it is absurd in the internet age to base company taxes on the physical space they occupy.

There is speculation that the Chancellor will use his budget to unveil populist measures such as cut in the duty on beer and wine.

Key tax avoidance and evasion measures to be announced by the Chancellor will include an end to ‘umbrella’ arrangements. One scheme – used by collapsed delivery firm City Link – allows companies to escape corporate and national insurance tax by employing their workforce as sub-contractors.

Mr Osborne is planning heavy penalties on tax advisers, including the big accounting firms, banks and others that set up and promote tax avoidance scams.

Changes in the tax regime will make it unlawful for individuals or companies to raise new debts solely for the purpose of writing off the interest payments on that debt against tax. This technique is widely used by private equity firms.

The budget will herald the final closure of the loopholes that allow companies and individuals to hide their tax affairs in secretive overseas jurisdictions.

So far more than 90 countries – including Switzerland, Luxembourg and the British crown territories such as the Caymans – have signed up to a convention that requires them to be fully transparent and hand over details of tax residents to HMRC.

Mr Osborne plans full implementation of the so-called ‘Google’ tax. The HMRC will assess the British turnover of low tax paying companies such as Starbucks and Amazon and tax them proportionally on the earnings in the UK.

Chapman. J  Brummer. A 2015  Daily Mail 12/03/2015 P. 1

“The details of how Mr Osborne will slash the benefits bill have not been extracted from him, and he’s been asked many times. It’s most probably to horrific to hear. One thing is sure, the tax evasion and other measures mentioned won’t stop a future of worsening misery for millions of Britons – SHAMEFUL.”

Benefits Charade – Linking Welfare Cuts to Apprenticeships!

The Guardian writes that one of the most insidious myths about “welfare” – an Americanism that has come to supplant the more descriptive “social security” – is that it is a lifestyle choice.

It is a politically useful myth , too, because it implies that every individual and family in the country has the choice of relying on benefits or getting a job. And if that is the case, then no one can ever get hurt because of cuts to benefits just because they can always get a job instead. Even now, with record numbers of jobs being created, it is not the case in all parts of the country all the time.

During the recession, Britain’s unemployment soared and benefit payments went up not because everyone suddenly got lazy or because the handouts were so much more generous (quite the reverse), but because the economy went into reverse. People who lost their jobs did not make a lifestyle choice to hang around at home all day watching television, and it is an insult to suggest it.


Shamefully, then, the Prime Minister has done his bit to perpetuate the myth of welfare scroungers with his latest policy announcement – a new, lower cap on benefits, £23,000 a year rather than the current £26,000. He has linked this, craftily enough, with increased funding for apprenticeships, which are one of politics “good things”, that no one disagrees with. The erroneous impression is that they are linked in some way, a ludicrous notion. Besides, these families concerned never see the £23,000 in cash – the great majority of it goes in rent, and the reason rents are so high is because of the housing shortage, again a direct result of chronic under-investment in social housing.

Every element of Mr Cameron’s latest wheeze is cynical. He also wants to take housing benefit from 18 to 21-year-olds. Even for an election campaign this is crude stuff. When he became leader of the Tories, Mr Cameron pledged to help rather than hurt the poor. The latest measure suggest he thinks the poor don’t decide elections. The pity is, he may be right.

“Our Government IS a charade – pandering the “alright jack’s, cowing to to the EU,  and literally knocking years off the lives of disabled and poor people through monetary worry.”

1m On Benefit Found Fit for Work in Crackdown

We just keep hearing from ‘boys club’ government ministers and civil servants etc, that their reason for getting disabled people back into work is for them to be endowed with a more rewarding and fruitful existence – “rubbish”. To anyone with a modicum of logic and insight, their reason is and always has been, lets try and save some money with a bulldozer attitude, get the unemployment figures looking better, look as though were achieving and totally ignore the plight of those underfoot.

More than one million disability benefit applicants have been found to be fit to work after the introduction of face-to-face assessments.

Since 2008, 1.06 million new claimants for Employment and Support Allowance were deemed able to undertake employment, figures released by the Department of Work and Pensions revealed.

This has helped see the total number of on sickness itself drop by 165,360 since 2010.

Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper said: “This shows how we are helping those with illnesses or disabilities to fulfill their aspirations to provide for themselves and their families.

“As part of the Government’s long-term economic plan, we are looking at what people can do – with the right support – rather than simply writing off those on long-term sickness benefit as has happened in the past.

“There are now 1.8 million more people in work than 2010 and our welfare reforms will ensure that disability benefit support is better targeted at those who need it most.”

The figures also show the number on sickness benefits in Britain who are looking for work has now risen to 730,000 for the first time.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has spearheaded benefit reforms. Earlier this year he said  ending “cycles of worklessness and dependency” had been his “one aim” (admiral Iain, admiral).

ESA claimants can receive up to £108.15 a week from the Government after a 13-week period.

The process has drawn criticism from disability support groups, with claims those carrying out the assessment were under-qualified or overly harsh with their decisions.

There were also claims that appeals against decisions were taking so long, many people were simply reapplying.

One firm providing assessments – Atos – reached an agreement with the Government in March to leave its contract early.

Liz Sayce of the Disability Rights UK charity, was damning in her criticism, and said its “work programme is a massively failing disabled people”

She added: “The problem is being found fit for work is not the same as getting any support for work or getting into work”. The Government need to seriously invest in support for both disabled people and employers so that more disabled people are taken into the workplace.”

There is and will be many supporters of the Government’s flawed approach – mostly those “I’m alright jack’s” and those who would have the Oxford English Dictionary enter “a scrounger” under the entry “disabled”.


New Curb on Benefits for Home loans

Sarah O’grady of the Daily Express has revealed jobless homeowners would have to hand over a share of of the value of their property in return for taxpayers help to pay their mortgage under new government plans.

The move changes the Support for Mortgages Interest scheme from a benefit to a loan

People would get help with payments indefinitely but the state  would recoup some of the money when the property was sold.

The Department of Work and Pensions confirmed on Monday 4th November there are plans to claw back the money.

A source said”We give money to people with large assets which are inherited by their children. Better to say,’We will help you stay in your home but the money must be returned.”

It would save millions on the welfare bill but would be controversial.

Opponents fear ministers would use the equity in people’s homes to fund other areas of the welfare state.

It will be seized upon by the left as further evidence of the heartless Tory policies. In return for paying towards the  mortgages of unemployed homeowners the state would recoup some of the money when the claimant died or sold the property.

Other opinion is that it is not as draconian as it first sounds. Surely it is better to help people remain in their own homes when they are in difficulty than face the trauma of mortgage default and repossession?

Turning a benefit into a loan is in line with the government’s attitude to welfare reform, which has personal responsibility rather than dependence on the state at its very hear.

It seems there won’t be anything the welfare reforms won’t leave alone!!!.

£500 benefits cap will apply to parents of disabled children reaching adulthood

Surprise, surprise after repeated denials that disabled people will be exempt from the £500-a-week benefit cap that is due to come into force in April, there has come to light a mistruth . It applies to carers looking after their disabled children when they reach adulthood.

Last week in the Commons pensions minister Esther McVey said: “In practice most carers will be exempt from the cap because their partner or child is in receipt of disability living allowance “. When pressurised by  Labour MP Andrew Gwynne to look at the rules again Ester McVey then admitted: “Should there be another adult in the house, that is then a separate household, so both have to be assessed separately.”

Ministers have now accepted that if a parent is still looking after a disabled child after they reach adulthood, even if the child’s mental age is as low as eight, the parent and the child will be treated separately, and the parent will be subject to the benefits cap.

This now makes it possible that some parents may have to move out of their home or put their child into care. Letters are already being sent to carers with offspring aged over 20 confirming the change in the rules.

Discretionary payments are claimed to be available to prevent hardship in government documentation with regard to welfare payments changes. The introduction of Personal Independence Payment (replacing DLA) and Universal Credit coming in to force in stages from April 2013 hopefully provides this safeguard.

Anxiety has now been thrust upon some parents/carers who thought they would not be affected by this cap as another welfare reform nightmare sufaces.

It is quite possible that lives will be shortened and even ended by a simple and silent killer  – STRESS – because some of the most vulnerable in our society are being scared to death. The reason for wefare reforms may have be unavoidable (the nations skint) but it’s been sickening hearing the goverments justification for changes supposedly fairer, more empathetic and simplified as they are clearly not going to be. Everybody’s personal circumstances define how they will cope with these changes – lets hope most do!.

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