GOOD NEWS FOR DUNDEE: AND ANOTHER TRAVESTY FROM THE DWP

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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:

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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.

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SCOTLAND’S NEW SOCIAL SECURITY POWERS

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
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GETTING ON WITH THE DAY JOB

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So, what can we look forward to?

Scottish National Investment Bank will be set up.

There will be a public sector rail bid.

There will be an investment in electric cars. This will including looking at getting charging points up and running (and particularly at how to provide them outside blocks of flats) and with a target of 2032 for all new sales to be electric or hybrid.

Good start?

So then, as already announced, the public sector pay cap will go. (I believe Mrs May is doing this in England too).

Free sanitary products will be provided in schools and there will be research into the possibility of making them free for everyone.

Free personal care will be extended to under 65s.

A South of Scotland Enterprise board will be set up and there will be investment in manufacturing and R&D.

Money will be provided for research into providing a universal basic income, currently being trialed in areas of Finland, Canada, and the Netherlands.

The Land Reform Commission will consider a land value tax.

There will be an investment in carbon capture technology.

There should be a presumption against jail sentences of under 12 months. Other punishments will be preferred, leaving prison for more serious offenders.

A fund set up for action on homelessness.

A Local Democracy Bill

Other plans, already announced, include increasing carers allowance in Scotland to the same level as Job Seekers’ Allowance, a funeral grant (means-tested) so that the poorest can afford a decent funeral. The baby box and help for the poorest when their children start school.

anas

And Sarwar, the branch manager elect(?) (Jackie Baillie says the SNP are terrified of him…remember like they said we were of Six-Month Murphy!!!) says it’s the same old tired stuff??

I’m seriously surprised that Labour can suggest that the SNP is doing nothing to mitigate Tory austerity. If you add the above package to the extra help with rent and the abolition of the hated bedroom tax… well, it’s just a lie.

I read somewhere that Willie Rennie had whined that the SNP was still obsessed with the Constitution, although I don’t remember it dominating the FM’s speech today.  (Ironic given that the Constitution is almost the only thing that the British government is occupying itself with. The great repeal bill will take most of parliament’s time in the coming year, even though most of it won’t ever be seen by the Commons or Lords. Ministers will use royal prerogative to make changes they see fit. So much for taking back control, eh?

Come on, let’s have some serious opposition that will help improve the policies of the SNP, not this idiotic carping at everything, no matter how inaccurate it is as long as it criticises the SNP.

https://www.snp.org/the_snp_scottish_government_s_programme_for_government

 

WEDNESDAY IS BRIDGE DAY

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On Munguin’s Republic, we are not of the type that thinks Scotland is perfect. Far from it.

We don’t get teary eyed about hills and glens and the bonnie purple heather. We love it, but there are bonnie hills and glens all over the world and yes, there’s even heather.

 

calluna vulgaris
Calluna Vulgaris grows all over Iceland

 

We don’t take the attitude that Scots are better, or friendlier, nicer, kinder, better looking or anything else, than other folk. We’ve travelled a bit and we know that is just nonsesnse. There are lovely people, and awful ones, the world over. From Albania (we remember the little boy who gave us a hand -painted scene on a piece of wood and refused to take anything for it) to Zambia (we remember the guy who we helped to get into work and who came around after his first pay day with a massive box of biscuits).

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But there’s something comforting in the knowledge that our government is trying to maintain good relations and as close ties as Westminster will let us with the rest of our continent, while the government in Westminster seems determined to pull the UK away into desperate isolation.

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We’re content that while they sell weapons to whatever terrorist government will buy them, apparently no questions asked, and no eyes raised at the number of civilian and child casualties, and they rush to war to prove that they are important and punch above their weight,  we both metaphorically, and literally, build bridges.

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Munguin looks forward to driving over the bridge in the very near future.

SO, HERE’S A POSITIVE ASPECT OF THE THATCHER LEGACY

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Mrs Thatcher once said something to the effect that Tony Blair was the legacy of which she was most proud. In short, she reckoned that she had successfully managed to make Labour look like a down market, pound shop imitation of herself and her Tories.

I suppose it beats her legacy of broken people, broken towns, broken lives, broken dreams… and the whole wealth of the UK being centred on her beloved London. But it was a sad day for the noble Labour movement which had achieved so much for us (especially through the work of the post war government of Clement Atlee, without whom I suspect we would still be living in the 1930s).

anicola

I suspect Mrs Thatcher would have been decidedly less proud to know that she had inspired the political career of Nicola Sturgeon.

So, I guess that would explain why, to me, Nicola is a bit of a hero.

In a way, Nicola’s statement makes it worth the inordinate cost of the state funeral Thatcher got when she finally left us in peace.

If she left us a broken country, at least she inspired someone who can fix it if we’ll let her.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

A1

It’s little wonder that Philip Mountbatten-Windsor-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has had to go on working till he was 96.

Have you seen the state of the British Pension?

Hard enough for Mr Average to manage down the pub on a Saturday evening,  but when you mix in the best of circles, you really can’t do it on £7,500 a year.

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Well, I don’t remember any of that being in the manifesto, do you?

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Then a Scottish MEP, doing his best to get Scottish funding diverted elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Now a member of the aristocracy and a nobleman second-tier minister for Scotland. I imagine that he won’t be fighting hard for the Scottish fishermen in ministerial meetings. Kinda suckered all the fishermen who voted Tory. Still, I’m sure his dithering boss, Fluffy, the tea boy of the cabinet (no sugar, splash of cream, Mundell), will put up a spirited fight for them. After all, who can forget his brave cries of: “I won’t let that happen” when Mrs May paid the DUP a billion plus as a bribe to keep her in a job?

**********amuddle

anic

Or maybe not, Fluffy!!!

According to Wikipedia, Nicola is two places above Muddle in the great scheme of things, which includes royals, dukes, people from the established church, Commonwealth people and some real jokes (Princesses Eugenie and Charlotte anyone?).

The list is worth looking at for comedic value.

 

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Talking about comedic value, Trussy looks nearly as stupid as Govey did when he wore it.

 

None of it comes as any great surprise in Ruritania, except the inclusion at number 11 of the Lord High Chancellor, one Liz Truss, who I thought, was something to do with the English justice system….Justice Minister with a very silly uniform. And she’s above Theresa May…  And all the Scottish ministers. Is that because she has an even more ridiculous outfit than they do?

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eubrder

What was that you people were going on about? Controlling borders? Security?

If you guys think this is bad… you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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From the office of the prime minister of the UNITED kingdom of England and its lesser possessions and territories

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Dear Nikolas,

We were very tolerant towards your lesser self in the early stages of our taking over the top job at the centre of the Empire at No 10 Downing Street, London ENGLAND. We think we may even have done you the honour of visiting you in your bedsit at Bute Cottage in Aberburgh, although, of course, we do not recall.

However, following our tremendous and spectacular General Election victory,  and now that we have grown in stature in our position as triumphant leader of OUR United Kingdom and become close to world statesmen such as Mr Netenyahu and Mr Erdogan, not to mention HRH Excellency Trump and His Majesty King Salman, we feel that further discussion with a junior minister of a mere district would be inappropriate. Besides which, as I am now busily (and successfully) engaged in a red, white and blue Brexit, which means Brexit (including for your district) so that Britain can take back control of everything from the foreigners who are out to get us British people, I’m simply too busy to be bothered with inferiors.

It has been decided, therefore, that if you have anything that you wish to discuss with your superiors here at Empire Central, in our great capital city of London, you should address those matters with the Rt Hon David Mud… Mund… well, you know who I mean, and of course, if you can find her (she seems to have gone walkabout since Ms Arlene and I struck up a friendship) the Rt Hon and Gallant Lady, Colonel Davidson. Alternatively, you may try to approach the Noble Lord Duncan in his Baronial Castle, although I understand that he doesn’t much like commoners. A curtsey is appropriate.

You will not, any longer, be allowed to address yourself directly to us personally, and we intend to instruct the queen that she is no longer to grant you an audience, but must hold herself always in readiness for any occasion on which we wish to have a photo-opportunity with her, or get her to open our parliament.

Do not let any of that make you feel any less important than you already are.

Rule Britannia. God save the Queen and Theresa May

a££

Her Britannic Empr ,  sorry, Prime Ministerialness

Signed per pro

in her absence.

(Note to Cabinet Secretary: Send same sort of thing to that Welsh blokey, and the people in IOM, Channel Islands, and Gibraltar, Falklands and the rest of my empire. DO NOT ON ANY ACCOUNT SEND TO BELFAST on pain of death.)