aasocial security

Nicola Sturgeon was in Dundee today to announce the siting of the headquarters of the new Scottish Social Security Offices in the city.

At least half the 1,500 jobs expected to be created in these offices will be based here in the City of Discovery (and Munguin). The rest will go to Glasgow.

It has been estimated the new agency will be worth £125m to the local economy and will support another 800 jobs.

So, a good day for Dundee. After the Bank of Scotland news from earlier this year, this is exactly what we needed.

I sincerely hope our new department can avoid failures like this:


Why would someone who is tetraplegic be on a benefit that was reviewable? , s Does the DWP expect that she might be getting better? Could they not have checked this with her consultant?

Does the DWP expect that she might be getting better? Could they not have checked this with her consultant (or indeed anyone with a first aid certificate)?

Given that you seem to have to prove that you still suffer from things that are incurable, if an error was made and she didn’t attend for an interview (something for which she can hardly be held responsible herself), and she was taken off her benefits and told to report to the jobcentre, why, when the situation was explained, wasn’t her benefit immediately reinstated?

I mean, seriously, whoever you are in the UK government that organises these things, have you got jobs up your sleeves for people who, as her husband says, can do nothing for themselves?

This is almost literally diabolical: the work of the devil. It is no wonder that the UK government was denounced by the United Nations for failing to respect the rights of disabled people.

The management of the DWP makes me ashamed to live on the same island as they do.



For your information, through the Scotland Act 2016, the following benefits will be devolved to Scotland:

Group Benefit Main Purpose
For carers, disabled people and those who are ill.   Attendance Allowance To help with personal care for individuals aged 65 or over with a physical or mental disability.
Carer’s Allowance To help an individual look after someone with substantial caring needs. To be eligible the individual must be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or disability for individuals aged 16 to 64.  This is a replacement for DLA for working age individuals.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Help if your disability or health condition means either:

  • You need help looking after yourself
  • You have walking difficulties

DLA is closed to new working age claimants and being replaced by PIP.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit For individuals who are ill or disabled as a direct result of an accident or disease caused by work or while attending an approved employment training scheme or course.
Severe Disablement Allowance Was for working-age individuals who are unable to work due to illness or disability. SDA is closed to new entrants.
Currently part of the Regulated Social Fund Cold Weather Payment A payment for individuals on certain benefits when the temperature is either recorded as, or forecasted to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
Funeral Expenses For individuals on low income and needing help to pay for a funeral they are arranging.
Sure Start Maternity Grant Introducing a new Best Start Grant which will see support for qualifying families increase from the £500 payable only for the first child under the existing UK Government Sure Start Maternity Grant to £1,100 for the first child and £800 for second and subsequent children over  three payments during a child’s early years.
Winter Fuel Payment A tax-free payment to help pay for heating bills if you were born on or before July, 5 1952 (Current State Pension Age for women).
Other Discretionary Housing Payments Additional help for those in receipt of Housing Benefit and having difficulty meeting their rent payments. Paid at the discretion of the Local Authority.
Job Grant A new Job Grant which will be a payment of £100 or £250 for people with children plus a three months bus pass for  16-24 year olds who have been claiming benefit for six months or more and are starting work.

The following benefits will remain reserved to UK Government:

  • Universal Credit
  • Contributory Job Seekers Allowance
  • Contributory Employment Support Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • State Pension
  • Pension Credit


    1. Well, let us hope that the people who lost their jobs at the BofS have the right transferable skills to be considered.

      Builders it seems never seem to come from within the city. I remember the same cries when they built the Overgate.


  1. What a dog’s breakfast.
    We need a completely new approach to social support and no more of Gordon Brown and his fellow chancers who gave with the left and took with the right.
    It is absolutely clear that decisions about who is supported and who isn’t is an entirely poltical choice and nothing to do with “balancing the books” or other such voodoo economic theories.
    If we want to care for our fellow Scots and encourage everyone to be the best they can then we are going to have to crowd fund it aka taxation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I think that’s fair.

      In the civilised countries of the North, taxation is high. No-one is incredibly rich, no one is incredibly poor.

      It’s a different way of looking at things, but it seems to work a lot better than this nonsense we have.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Funny, I thought the severe disablement thingmie was still going – I still can’t get my head around the way they do things. Apart from anything else, since I were a lad, many of the things that used to be compulsory are now either severely discouraged or even just not allowed – I’m thinking about the fact that when you made a claim 40 years ago, you had to show up in person at the Broo at least fortnightly in order to claim in the first place and thereafter to keep getting anything at all, and if you didn’t show up at the right time, you didn’t get your dosh.

        Now they do everything they can to stop you turning up in person for anything except looking at job ads, as far as I can tell – all in all, it makes it rather difficult to take their rules as anything other than completely arbitrary.

        I am glad the new HQ for the devolved benefits is coming to Dundee. I hope it coincides with a sea change in the DWP regime, in favour of treating people decently and making sure they get what they’re entitled to, rather than treating them like criminals and trying to stop them getting anything at all, to the extent of simply making up excuses not to pay out. Come to think of it, DWP behaves exactly like a disreputable insurer refusing to pay out on claims, to the extent of sending round claims adjusters who are given incentives to minimize payouts and save the company money… except DWP is not a private company, and its remit is supposed to be entirely different.

        Rant over.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ed: The DWP fines people if they fail to adhere to their rules but they seem totally unable to follow their own procedure within the prescribed timescales.

          A while back on phoning the DWP regarding yet another failure to contact me within the 10 working days they promised, I suggested to the worker that we should be able to fine them for not meeting their own deadlines. She didn’t see the funny side of it at all.

          I mean fairs, fair. What’s sauce for the goose etc… Trouble is, fairness is no longer an aspect of living in the UK.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. The way I see it … well, assuming my facts are right, every year DWP imposes sanctions on more people and more often than all the courts in the whole UK combined. With a court, fines are a matter of public record: justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done, and we know the names of the officers of the law who are involved.

            At DWP, in contrast, the procedure is totally opaque, and the bureacrats are anonymous.

            If you are fined by a court, the amount of the fine depends on the type of offence, how serious it was, and on your ability to pay. DWP’s criteria do not include any of those factors. Incidentally, the fines I am talking about are for actual criminal cases, and I find it hard to imagine anyone calling it a crime to fail to return a form to DWP in time because you were in hospital having a heart attack.

            If DWP’s decision-making process were transparent, of course, and we could know exactly who decided what and when, even if only in certain well-defined circumstances, the relatives of people who die of starvation or suicide as a result of those decisions would find it easier to sue, and the police to prosecute: negligence can also be a crime, don’t forget!

            Or does the Westminster regime give DWP and its staff immunity? Because we never hear of anyone being punished in any way whatsoever for causing the death and misery we all know they cause. It is generally accepted – even internationally accepted – that the UK’s treatment of the disabled, and of children, is appalling.

            Even if Westminster doesn’t give its minions formal immunity, it is beyond doubt that there is a culture of impunity, certainly at DWP – but, unfortunately, impunity is everywhere in the Westminster regime and administration these days. We do not need to look very far for the reason: impunity for members of the regime and the organs of State that they run is one of the predictable characteristics of neo-fascist States, and that includes the UK. (I use the term “neo-fascist” in the full knowledge of its exact meaning, and after due consideration of the available evidence.)

            I shall now go and defrost my freezer before I depress myself any further.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Sorry, people, you can’t get rid of me that easily – there was something that passed through my mind when I heard that Jacob Rees-Mogg had described food banks as “uplifting”. It’s from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.

              “At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
              “Are there no prisons?”
              “Plenty of prisons…”
              “And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
              “Both very busy, sir…”
              “Those who are badly off must go there.”
              “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Of course people who are so sanctioned don’t have the wherewithal to go to court. Even in the smallest matters there is a court fee of £100.

              Many of them are too sick to contemplate the fight in any case.

              The United Nations has condemned the UK for its treatment of the sick and disabled.

              I’m surprised that anyone even speaks to May at international gatherings. That government makes my flesh creep. I’d rather not be in the same room as any of them, much less speak to them.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. My freezer is now defrosting. I just thought that people would like to know that.

                A propos of, well, something or other, anyway, you may have noticed that I keep banging on about propaganda and about fighting it, challenging it, calling it out to the best of our ability. You may even have noticed me taking the National to task over it: it is simply not good enough, in my view, for them to report, say, Willie Rennie coming out with the tired, toxic old Narrative of Failure tropes, everything in the garden is awful, failing education, failing health care, failing policing – without an antidote. In that story, the SNP spokesman missed his chance – he came out with an ad hominem: basically, “Well, Willie Rennie ought to know all about losing / failing”, when what we needed were some facts, immediately to hand, to disprove the lies.

                You can lambaste me all you like on the subject of journalistic freedom – we are in the middle of a propaganda war. I am not willing for our hands to be tied for the sake of someone’s high-minded by quaint notions about journalistic ethical purity and freedom. Reporting news is one thing – yes please, let that be good and fair and unbiased and comprehensive – but the rules on journalistic insertion, opinion and comment have to change when you have a situation such as the one we have here in Scotland, where there is no real plurality of sources of news and information because, on the Unionist / Britnat side, you have an almost complete monopoly of the airwaves and the printed press. In the printed press, the National (and the Sunday Herald) mean that we 1 and 1/7 titles that are the exception to the rule. And that is all.

                There are more dissident voices on line, of course. However, we have to wonder just how much influence they have, that we have. Sometimes I look at the opposition, the serried ranks of Yoonish hacks, flacks and claques, and despair. I should probably stop soon, or I’ll start depressing myself again.

                Full disclosure: I am a linguist, and one of my languages is Russian. I used to be fluent. I had many friends among the émigré community – those were the Brezhnev years (I could tell you a couple of Soviet-era jokes about him, but life is far too short), there was hoo-hah about Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, to name just a couple, and letting Jews emigrate to Israel was a Big Thing too. Later, quite a lot of people, Jews in particular, transited through Vienna, where I worked as a translator for several years, so I kept up my connection.

                Where was I? Oh yes, Vienna, and Russian – what I’m trying to say is that I learned quite a lot about propaganda and propaganda methods, because my friends were, of course, dissidents, which is why they had been chucked out in the first place. This is also why I place so much emphasis on the psychological aspects of the Cringe, and the messaging that attempts to instil it into our poor wee brains. I do that because my experience with my dissident friends led me to understand just how important the psychological aspect is: if they ever think to challenge it, most people simply bottle out, because it requires a psychological sea-change and it is much, much easier to go with the flow than it is to go out on a limb.

                People do not like to feel isolated, it takes far more effort and even courage to disagree, to say “no”, to say “that isn’t right” and “I don’t believe you”, and it is a challenge to one’s self-confidence. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you must be a dead arrogant sort of bugger to disagree with what “people” think, what “everybody” knows; it is easy to think, “Whoa, we’re into tinfoil hat territory here”, and “Who do I think I am? Galileo?” In a nutshell, you have to have the courage of your convictions.

                It is because of that life experience that I am so worried, because I am seeing spine-chilling echoes of similar types of propaganda in the output of our meeja – it was always pro-Union, but there’s a quantitative and a qualitative difference from before – if you look back at archive copies of the Express, say, from the ’70s, they’re positively anodyne by today’s standards.

                One of the major things about the Soviet propaganda was the way they played fast and loose with the facts. Well, all propaganda does, but I always found the Soviet variety particularly mind-bending. This is why the current situation in America is particularly worrying too – fake news, faux news, Fox news, and the boneheaded, constant insistence in doubting science, refusing to acknowledge reality, God meant marriage to be between Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve; climate change is a hoax by the Chinese, the liberal establishment, the Illuminati or maybe even the Rosicrucians, take your pick.

                Aficionados of crackpottery, Soviet style, may enjoy this little article, entitled “Stalin and his mad scientists” (shortened URL) Lysenko – one of the five mad scientists discussed – was always a particular favourite of mine. I remember being told that one of his more crackpot notions was that seed should be sown in winter so that they would benefit from the maximum growing season when spring and the thaw came. Of course, everybody sane knew exactly what would happen – the birds ate it – but no one dared refuse to do it. People starved as a result. Even much later, one had to be very careful how one spoke about it – you had to describe it as a personal failure by Stalin, and cast no blame on the regime / Soviet Establishment.

                Like the Mango Mussolini’s regime in Washington, the May – or is it Johnson, or Davis, or Fox – regime at Westminster is similarly not particularly fact-based. Impact assessments of their policies? Flapdoodle… why would Iain Duncan Smith, for example, need any such thing? Learned and informed criticism by Nobel-prize-winning economists of their bonkers, voodoo economics? Bosh, poppycock and balderdash! Any public-school boy with a 2:1 in Modern History from Oxford could see through that straight away!

                One ray of hope: my Russian dissident friends always used to say that when They started to believe Their own publicity, it was a sign of weakness, as it meant that instead of being a manipulator of “truth”, they had joined the ranks of those whose “truth” was being manipulated. You may be interested to know that one of the slogans of the dissident movement, if I can call it that, was “One Word of Truth” (with the idea that one word of truth would cause a chain reaction and bring the whole Soviet apparatus crashing down). Yes – and if your views do not jibe with reality, then you get, for example, the regime’s current bonkers approach to the Brexit negotiations, you get POTUS #45 having a willy-waving competition with that other madman in Pyongyang, and you get May thinking she can stop us Scots having an independence referendum Just Because She Says So, no explanation, argument or reason given. This is not to say that there’s any resemblance between an independent Scotland and planet Earth after WWIII.

                Enough already. Maybe I should turn this rant into a piece for the National’s letter page …

                Excuse typos. I’m tired.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Firstly, let me say we are all relieved to hear that your freezer is defrosting in a timeous fashion.

                  That was an interesting post and I’m not sure I could answer it all. Perhaps one day you’d write an article from Munguin about some of that stuff. (I warn you he always says the cheque is in the post, but it never is. Ask Panda Paws).

                  I worry about the state of journalism. Tabloids are tabloids and appeal to a certain group of people who probably don;t want much “news” but are desperately interested in Jordan’s latest breast enlargement/decrease (delete as appropriate), or how Peter André misses his kids from whatever marriage it was, or how much Rooney had to drink when he was caught driving.

                  Newspapers that really carry news, even the so called middle of the road ones, used to do news on news pages and carry the opinions of their proprietors on the leader and features pages.

                  Now (at least in Scotland) they are openly propaganda machines for the British state. A state that in my opinion is getting daily more authoritarian and less democratic.

                  The Daily Telegraph for example, was a good newspaper with an excellent foreign news coverage, although its editorial pages were ludicrously Tory. Now it is tabloid in form, as it competes for the readership of the Daily Mail. I’m expecting that they will soon have naked women on page three. Needless to say its message now covers news pages too.

                  At the lower end of the spectrum the papers plain lie. Wings shows this on an almost daily basis.

                  This is why, in however small a way we do it, we must continue blogging and using Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to get over the truth.

                  One final point: May never has much of an explanation for anything. She works on slogans,nothing more.

                  Brexit means Brexit; Now is not the time;

                  Mrs May makes Gordon Brown look like a towering statesman. She must be the worst prime minister anywhere ever.

                  Seriously, I’d not let her make a pot of coffee.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Yes, Tris, I pretty much agree with you completely there. I don’t know about her being the Worst Prime Minister Ever – there’s a fair amount of competition in the historical record – though she’s definitely in the top 10. Bottom 10. Whatever.

                    I might be persuaded to let her make me a cup of coffee, but I would want to watch very carefully what she puts in it, and be prepared to tip it into the nearest aspidistra. Anyway, I thought Fundily Mundelly did all that sort of thing for her!

                    In the area of press freedom, it’s worth looking at the international rankings. IREX – you’ll see in a minute – runs a thing called the Media Sustainability Index, and there are also outfits such as Reporters Without Borders / Reporters sans frontières that do impressive and valuable work.

                    One thing I would note: the UK’s index doesn’t properly reflect the situation in Scotland, where – just one quick bang on the drum – we are in the middle of a propaganda war. If the Scottish index were compiled separately, we would, I am sure, be significantly lower. The closest parallel I can think of at the moment with our situation here is possibly Ukraine, though of course Putin is a much scarier animal than Ms. Maybot.

                    Shortened URL:
                    In full:

                    Full disclosure – I did a bit of translation for IREX at one point after I’d retired.

                    Here’s something from Reporters Without Borders, a nice colourful map of world press freedom rankings: You will notice, among other things, that the UK (40) has fallen well behind Estonia (12) this year. I expect you remember the Maybot speechifying at the Ruth Davidson Party Conference at the Armadillo last year and saying, among other things, that Scotland’s [primary and secondary] education system had fallen behind – gasp – Poland’s and Estonia’s! Double gasp! That would be in the PISA rankings, which is an exercise of dubious reliability and utility, in my view, but – oh, never mind, let’s not get into that. Ms. May failed to point out, natch, that the English education system was also behind those two… And anyway, good for Poland and Estonia! Congratulations! Mon the former victims of Hitler and Stalin!

                    Yes, please excuse me while I veer back to my point from another tangent altogether: the RSF world press freedom rankings, where the UK (40) has slipped a couple of places since 2016, what with the Snooper’s Charter and suchlike. Poland (54) doesn’t do at all well in that – it used to be much, much higher, quite a long way above the UK – but it’s currently got a reactionary, strongly Catholic government at the moment which has very outdated attitudes on social issues, among other things, and gets all bent out of shape when ordinary Poles – like the women who came out in vast numbers to protest not long ago – don’t treat it as if it were just totes amazeballs, and just don’t give it no respeck, so they took over huge chunks of the meeja so they would pump out only what the Government wanted them to. Plus ça change…

                    Estonia – which decided some time back to become the world’s top e-country, what with beginning with E already, is up at no. 12 in those press freedom rankings. Of course, Ms. Maybot went on at great length about that too in her address at the Armadillo, where of course Scotland was performing dreadfully badly, which she naturally blamed on Nicola Sturgeon.

                    Well no, she didn’t do any of those things, and that last statement of mine was a flat-out, obvious lie. It’s an obvious lie because we all know that Theresa May couldn’t give a damn about press freedom, because she’s a neo-fascist, and in her worldview, which she shares with every dictator on right or left since the year dot, she views the purpose of the meeja as manipulating minds, not telling truth to power, or making sure that we have an informed electorate that can make informed decisions, based on real facts and real information, on the issues facing their society and country. Has anyone around here ever heard Theresa May put in a good word for freedom of the press, in any way, shape or form? No? Thought not.

                    True freedom of the press, of course, does not mean the untrammelled right to speculate and invent lies about celebrities’ love lives and boob jobs, with compromising pictures hacked from their social media and private internet accounts – no, that’s actually an aspect of the propaganda: trivialization. Far better to have the proles thinking about whether this or that supermodel has bulimia or not than interesting themselves in the way the Establishment is running the country entirely for their own benefit, and that of their pals elsewhere.

                    OK, that is more than enough ranting for one day. I apologize for any typos, and for boring the pants off everyone.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. P.S. My experiment above shows that you need to put the http:// in front of URLs to make WordPress aware that it is in fact a URL.
                      P.P.S. I am looking for an audio version of these stories. I remember listening to the BBC radio broadcasts of them, which my father taped, but I can’t find them on line. I think it may have been the author himself reading them, but I don’t know for sure.
                      Shortened URL:
                      Full URL:

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Ed, you never bore the pants off Munguin.. and he’s the only one that counts.

                      I’m amazed that there has been a worse prime minsiter than this fool. I mean I know some of them were pretty awful, but she hasn’t made a right decision yet. Everything she does turns to dust. She’s a lair and a cheat (we know this from her days at the foreign office when she spouted crap about immigrants that was absolutely 100% academically and statistically disproved, and that’s just one example). Added to that she has no personality and no ability to communicate. And yes, that matters in a prime minister. It is not me being gratuitously rude about her. I’ll just add that she dresses inappropriately too for her position. I’m not a great one to make a fuss about what people wear, and in the best of possible worlds I think everyone should be able to wear whatever they want. But that’s not the world we live in, and she sometimes looks as if she’s fallen off a flitting, or is competing for Miss Great Britain showing as much of her cleavage as she can. Not that I have a problem with that per se. It’s just that it’s not acceptable for a PM. I mean we never wanted to see David Cameron’s chest. Why would we want to see Maybots.

                      I’m off to have a look at your stats. Encore merci des liens, Monsieur le Linguiste!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. P.P.P.S. Thank you for your kind words, Tris!
                      P.P.P.P.S. My freezer has defrosted and I have turned it back on again now. I am sure people would like to be reassured about that, and will sympathize when I tell them I had to spend ages swabbing the floor to mop up the pool of meltwater that I failed to make any arrangements for, out of sheer stupidity, and lack of foresight and forward planning. I have yet to see any examples of backward planning, come to think of it, but I’m not all that sure what one would look like, really. There. Anyone not bored yet?

                      Liked by 1 person

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