Esther McVey MP
- Minister of State for Employment
Esther McVey IS Member of Parliament for Wirral West and currently serves as Minister of State for Employment.
Esther McVey MP
- Minister of State for Employment
Esther McVey IS Member of Parliament for Wirral West and currently serves as Minister of State for Employment.
Stop denying my mum and 520,000 Brits their full UK Pension!
This is my mother Anne, a 93 year-old WW2 veteran. She is one of 520,000 Britons who are being short-changed by the British government. My mother served her country, then she spent the rest of her working-life paying National Insurance. She expected, like the rest of us, that when it was time to retire she would be able to access the pension she had paid into. But now in her 90s my mum, who does all her own shopping and cleaning, has to think twice about making a trip to the supermarket, or before buying Christmas gifts for her grandchildren. Why? Because at the age of 76 my mother moved to Canada to be close to her family in old age. And currently there is a loophole that means that if a pensioner moves to another country, the Government can stop paying the full pension that is due. If mum had stayed in the UK she would be receiving £125.95 a week. Instead she is punished for leaving with a pension stuck at £72.50 for the rest of her life. This is despite the fact that by living overseas she is saving the British government thousands of pounds each year in medical costs, bus passes, social services and other benefits. Pensions are supposed to increase year on year because over time the value of money and the cost of living changes. However British pensioners in most Commonwealth and many other countries have their pensions “frozen” - meaning their pensions are fixed at the amount they were when they left the UK. There are only a handful of random places (such as Israel, Samoa, Guam, and strangely the USA) where annual increases are paid. Here’s a list of all frozen and unfrozen countries: http://www.britishpensions.org.au/frozenindexed.htm For my Mum a frozen pension means having to choose between a muffin or half a dozen eggs at the checkout, but for others the difference can mean poverty. Many vulnerable overseas pensioners have been forced to return to the UK, leaving their support network and family behind. It’s humiliating. And just plain wrong. They paid in. Now government should pay out. Please sign this petition, for my Mum and for all the other overseas pensioners who are being cheated by the British government. Thank you.
Disabled People Against Cuts demand McVey must go for lies over Universal Credit
Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has lied to Parliament - her false claim that the National Audit Office was concerned about the slow pace of the Universal Credit Universal Credit rollout has been exposed as a fabrication by an open letter from Sir Amyas Morse of the National Audit Office clearly stating that this was “not correct”. McVey’s lie is a deliberate one – intended to distract from the actual content of the National Audit Office’s report of Jun 15 which highlighted the hardship Universal Credit caused to claimants. 1 in 5 are not being payed in full on time, 40% are experiencing financial difficulties and 25% said they couldn't make an online claim. The report also stated that the Universal Credit system was “not value for money now, and that its future value for money is unproven”. This proves what Disabled People Against Cuts have always said – that Universal Credit is an expensive white elephant which undermines provision for disabled people, those without work and the low-paid. McVey has lied to throw dust in the eyes of Parliament and the public because our calls for this damaging policy to be stopped and scrapped are being proved to be well founded. That McVey has given this false information knowingly is without doubt; in his letter to McVey on 27 June Sir Amyas Morse wrote: “Our report was fully agreed with senior officials in your Department. It is based on the most accurate and up-to-date information from your Department. Your Department confirmed this to me in writing on Wednesday June 6 and we then reached final agreement on the report on Friday June 8." The Cabinet office’s own standards state: “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister”. Other ministers who have misled Parliament such as Priti Patel have been expected to resign – there should be no exception made in the case of McVey. It is clear that in her fanatical pursuit of creating a hostile environment for disabled people and other claimants Esther McVey has breached this code, knowingly misleading Parliament over the position of the National Audit Office regarding Universal Credit. We call on Esther McVey to resign now – if she refuses to do the right thing and go we call on The Prime Minister, Theresa May to sack her.
Protect Free School Meals
The Children's Society estimate that 1 million school children – including an estimated 24,000 across Merseyside - will be affected by the government’s plans to change the eligibility criteria for free school meals, meaning that from April any new families on Universal Credit in England who earn more than £7,400 a year will lose out. Most of those affected are in working families. Earn £7,399 and your child gets free meals all year. Earn £7,401 and they get nothing. Once a family with one child passes the £7,400 mark, they would need to earn an extra £1,000 a year, working 2.4 hours more each week at the national living wage, to cover the cost. We are calling on the government to protect the poorest children by ensuring that they aren't going hungry throughout the school day.
DWP PIP assessors assessing those with mental illness MUST be qualified in mental health.
There are currently people with mental illness that have taken their own lives due to the stress of PIP applications, decisions and appeals. Fact. DWP assessors are not properly trained in mental health and so therefore not able to carry out fair assessments for those with mental illness that need to be carried out in a different manner that those with physical disabilities. I am calling for only those trained specifically within mental health to carry out DWP PIP assessments for those with mental illness. In my opinion, the who system needs a reform. I think medical evidence should be enough as it is provided by those specialists who treat and actually see the applicant on an ongoing basis and have knowledge of their specific illness and needs much more than any assessor ever would. However, i am aware that the likelihood of this due to it being an ongoing topic of debate is small and so at the VERY least, if this system is to remain as much as I believe it doesn't work as a whole then mental health claimants MUST be seen by assessors with mental health qualifications. If this cannot happen then in my opinion the whole assessment process needs to to looked at. After the monumental stress of my own dealings with PIP I did some research and it wasn't difficult to find numerous stories, social media posts and even youtube videos from people with mental illnesses in distress at the PIP procedure. I was awarded PIP in 2015 after months and months of stress (and a hospital admission as the stress became to much in the already fragile state) and them losing my original assessment and trying to tell me I needed to go for a second assessment for my own good ( It was later explained by someone from the DWP that this was not true, it was in fact because they had lost my assessment after moving buildings) I was awarded the enhanced care rate for my bipolar disorder until NOV 2018. Eight months early they reassessed me and took away my benefit. Nothing had changed except two further hospital admissions for severe, suicidal depression following manic episodes with psychosis. Even though I got a lawyer and was told I could win the tribunal I had to drop the hearing due to the utter stress and negative impact on my health....The health that they are supposed to support. I now have less personal independence and left without the money that they themselves awarded me. That is a very shortened version of my story as I don't wish to make that the issue of this petition. I am just one of so many. The important point, that could at least start to make a difference if changed is that PIP assessors are not specifically mental health trained. PIP (Personal independence payment) is intended to help those with either personal care or mobility needs. There is one universal application for both mental and physical health conditions which I find difficult to understand to begin with. The forms are very long, very specific and very detailed. They require supporting evidence and then applicants attend a face to face assessment with a DWP assessor. The DWP advise that their assessors are "Medically Trained" DWP assessors are: - Paramedics - Nurses - Physiotherapists - Occupational Therapists They currently have a salary of mostly between £30,000 and £40,000 per annum. After the assessment the information from the assessor goes to the "decision makers who are trained to interpret legislation and to apply it to evidence in an unbiased manner. They do not receive any medical training. They greatly respond to the information provided by the assessor. Therefore the assessors role is a vital part in the application process to see that people are getting the help and support that they need but this system is failing people that need it the most. Those that are most vulnerable and already being put through what is an extremely stressful process, particularly if you already have a chronic mental illness. It seems that not just for myself but for so many applicants the whole process has a negative effect on those with mental health problems and is actually bringing about episodes in those with mental illness. The very first starting point as I see it is to, at the very least, make sure that the assessors have mental health qualifications. Paramedics will have limited training in emergency situations, not relating to those with chronic mental illness and what the effect on day to day life can be and how people can present. Nurses, depending in which area they are trained will have limited mental health training (unless specifically a mental health nurse) those trained in children's, general adult or learning disabilities as their speciality will only have limited mental health training. Physiotherapists are not trained in mental health. Occupational Therapists jobs are varied and so while they may have dealings with with people with mental health issues it is not guaranteed that this is a specialist area that they work within. So, the only likelihood that someone presenting at the DWP offices is going to have of seeing someone that may really understand their illness and therefore its implications are if they by chance and complete luck they get a mental health nurse or an occupational therapist that has a role specifically working with those with mental health. The chances of both slim and left to fate. A GP for example refers to a psychiatrist / mental health team for patients to be assessed for mental illnesses. While they have a general varied knowledge of general health and hold a very important role in people's care they do not have sufficient specialist training in mental health to be able to carry out a full and proper assessment to diagnose mental illness. They do not have specialist training to be able to assess and diagnose according the DSM criteria and go on to treat that persons needs effectively, fairly and within a standard that a psychiatrist and mental health team would be able to. The GP will liaise with the team and be a part of the care of course, but the assessment of needs has to come from the specialists who understand how to assess that patient in the correct manner. The same procedure should stand for DWP PIP assessments. You cannot expect a fair assessment by someone without the correct training and qualifications to be able to conduct and assess someone with mental illness and their needs. It is vital that the right person assesses someone with a mental illness for so many reasons. Not just the obvious reason of knowledge which would be a great starting point but mental illnesses are so complex. They affect people differently, people present differently. For example, an assessor could see one person with chronic depression and they seem to be well groomed, able to hold a conversation but they say at times they are suicidal. To the untrained eye this would be difficult to see compared to the first person that came in who looked unkempt and couldn't look them in the eye while telling them the same thing. A trained eye however may be able to see past this stigma and snap judgement and see that it is so much more complex than that. In fact both people could get to the same level of depression, both affected by their illness for the same period of time over a 12 month period. My PIP was stopped with some reasons being I was "Well groomed, maintained eye contact, went to a mainstream school and passed all of my GCSE's" (I am now 32) They are just some of of the stigmatised reasons that people are having their benefit taken away. I was even asked when I said that I had been suicidal "What stopped me from doing it?" ........ Something that probably would never have been asked to me by a trained mental health professional in that situation. People with mental illness may approach the assessment in different ways. Guarded, anxious, put on a front, eager to please, try not to say the wrong thing, scared of being judged. It is SO important to have the right person asking very personal questions to those with mental illness. To know that person is trained within mental health for the applicant to actually feel comfortable enough to open up to what are very probing questions. It is difficult enough without the retaliation of very misinformed comments by people that just are not trained well enough in this field to be able to conduct fair assessments with the knowledge of how to approach the assessment correctly and get the questions across in a certain manner to ensure that people with mental illness are getting the help that they need without being judged and in many cases highly stigmatised. Using reasons such as "well groomed" , "Passed Gcse's" , " Went to a mainstream school" , " Can follow a TV drama storyline" are offensive, stigmatising and not only that, undoes the very important work of many mental health charities that campaign about mental health stigma. It only takes the tragic suicides of Kate Spade amongst countless others to see that this is not how people with chronic mental illness always portray, It most certainly cannot be judged in a one hour meeting from 365 days of the days of the year with someone with little or no specific mental health training, who because of this approaches the assessment in the incorrect manner meaning that that necessary information is not obtained. All of the occupations listed that are current DWP assessors will have more of a broad general physical health knowledge and how that impacts someones day to day life than they will that of mental health conditions. A high proportion of claimants that score 0 points on their application and 0 points at mandatory consideration go on to win if they go ahead to appeal at a face to face tribunal hearing. However that is just too much and too stressful for many, including myself to deal with - So how many people are left without the PIP benefit that they deserve because they have been wrongly assessed by untrained staff? Rather that having so many appeals, and so many going on to win anyway, causing undue stress and anxiety with an impact on their already vulnerable mind would it not make sense to try and lessen the stress, duration and lack of income that people are getting by just making sure that people with relevant training do the assessments to begin with? By having trained ( not just a weeks training but people that have worked within the mental heath field) mental health assessors it would make claimants more at ease, the assessors would know how to approach the assessment in a better way and how to put forward the questions to get the best response from claimants, therefore making sure that the assessments are completed in the best possible way, with more information extracted. In turn this means that the decision maker, who is not medically trained would have a much more knowledgable assessment to base their decision on, hopefully less need for as many to appeal and go to tribunal and much less stigmatisation going on with the assessment and following correspondence and hopefully above all reduce the amount of negative impact this is having on people's already vulnerable mental health and maybe prevent another life from being taken.
Increase Child Benefit to £40 per child per week
There are over 4.1 Million children in poverty in the UK. And another new 753 children fall in to poverty each day. The best way to tackle it is by increasing child benefits, so this will not prevent people from getting in to work, getting better jobs or better salaries as there is no taper rate for Child Benefits (unlike tax credits, housing benefits and universal credit, that the taper rate is 63p, this means every pound you earn above the work allowance you loose 63p of universal credit).
Make A34 (Melrose way) a well lit dual carriage way
The A34 is a major road which runs from the A33 and M3 at Winchester in Hampshire, to the A6 & A6042 in Salford, Greater Manchester. It forms a large part of the major trunk route from Southampton, via Oxford, to Birmingham, The Potteries and Manchester. The road is in two sections. The northern section runs south through Manchester and Cheadle, and bypasses Handforth, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, before passing through Congleton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, and the southern suburbs of Stoke-on-Trent. It then continues south via Stone, Stafford, Cannock and Walsall, passes through the middle of Birmingham (where it briefly merges with the A41), before meeting the M42 motorway at junction 4 south of Solihull. The southern section begins some 50 miles (80 km) to the south, at junction 9 of the M40 motorway, 10 miles (16 km) north of Oxford. It continues south as the western part of the Oxford Ring Road, crossing the River Thames on the A34 Road Bridge. It then bypasses Abingdon, Didcot, and Newbury before finally finishing just east of Winchester, at junction 9 of the M3 motorway. This part of the A34 is dual carriageway throughout. Together with parts of the M3 and the M40, the southern section of the A34 forms an important route carrying freight from Southampton to the Midlands. Because of the volume of traffic, bypasses were built along this route; at Newbury on the A34, and at Twyford Down near Winchester on the M3, but these were controversial for environmental reasons and were the scene of significant direct action environmental protests in the 1990s. Instead of cutting a short road tunnel through Twyford Down, the entire escarpment was carved-out and the motorway placed through it. Since the opening of this stretch of the A34 there has been multiple accidents - some fatal!! This road has no lighting whatsoever.. by making it well lit and a dual carriage way with central reservations, will hopefully cut down the amount of accidents! we need to take control before anyone else looses family members!!
'Virtual Fences' in the UK to Lessen Roadkill and Road Traffic Accidents
ProblemIn 2016-2017 it was reported that more than 3900 animals were killed on the roads in the United Kingdom (Confused.com, 2018). This is 3900 too many. Even more so when you take into account that this only the animals which are reported as roadkill. Have you ever reported roadkill which you've seen? No. Therefore, this number is likely to be much, much larger. Road signs such as, "Animals Crossing" are not effective- drivers simply ignore them. Speed bumps don't work either as they disrupt traffic and result in NIMBYist feelings. However, there is a solution, and it comes from Tasmania...SolutionIn Tasmania, on one stretch of road, there are 'virtual fences', which detect car movement, and animal movement, and when they correspond to one-another, lets out a high frequency sound and flashing lights- which is completely inaudible, and invisible to the driver. This results in the animal being "spooked", and not crossing the road, or it does cross, just when it is safe to do so.Too many people have crashed, or died, in their cars by trying to avoiding wildlife. This simple tool will help to reduce this. In Tasmania this device reduced roadkill by 50%- so fewer animals died, fewer cars were crashed, and fewer people died- a mutually beneficial device to prevent unnecessary deaths.#DontBeOnTheFence Please Share this petition in whatever way you can: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, word of mouth, so that one day this will become commonplace in the UK. If you want to learn more about the 'virtual fences' information can be found at: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/australia-virtual-fence-roadkill/ or... Fox, et al., (2018), Roadkill mitigation: trialing virtual fence devices on the west coast of Tasmania, Australian Mammalogy, https://doi.org/10.1071/AM18012 Personal storyMy name is Sam, I am 20 years old, and am currently studying Geography at university. I wanted to set up this petition because when I saw this idea I thought that it should be utilised everywhere- not just hidden away in Tasmania. If it can reduce road traffic accidents, or roadkill even slightly then surely it would be a success?
Maternity leave with full pay for the full 12 months
As a first time mum after a c section delivery I found that after 6 weeks I was reduced to surviving on less then £500 a month with a long way to go towards my recovery and still feeding my baby. My husband had to return to work after 2 weeks paternity leave as I was yet unable to work. So I was left alone with a new born while being bed bound due to abdominal surgery and on strong pain medication. We had all the expenses of a new born and no income as a result I want to ensure no mother or father is left in this position again women are able to fully focus on recover and men can be supportive and hands on without the added pressure of finance. We need to do more to support working families to encourage and allow families to thrive and grow.
Self defence is a right!Lets consider it a 'reasonable excuse' to carry a defensive weapon
The world has changed and the types of crime we face has changed with it. Dynamic solutions are required to address these threats. Due to the nature of the threat society must be allowed to do all it can to minimise and mitigate against it. From the news we can see we have a current and viable clear threat to life and an increased risk of crime, as a result society must be allowed to raise its response and pro-actively minimise the risk of harm. “ We have large numbers of apparently volatile individuals in the UK, some of whom become determined to die, The modern threat, more than ever, includes the encouraging of others to commit atrocious acts.” Cressida Dick Met Police Commissioner She has also called for a “step change” in the UK’s counter-terror efforts. Adding that the existing totals of 500 active terror investigations and 3,000 suspects posing the biggest threat were expected to grow. We believe that one 'step change' should be the empowerment of the public. Because in an emergency it is our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who are first on the scene. We have in the UK a right to self defence and there are many non lethal defensive options on the market. Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 prohibits the possession in any public place of an offensive weapon without lawful authority or excuse. We believe that Self Defence should now be considered a good excuse for the possession of any non lethal defensive item and as such should not automatically result in arrest and placement before the courts. The rights of society should reflect the increased danger. Some will naturally run towards danger and those that do should be commended. They should have the tools to defend themselves, their families and the public. Section 1a of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 to unlawfully and intentionally threaten would still apply and those in possession would need to justify that their actions were necessary, reasonable and proportionate. “ My sharpest concern as director-general of MI5 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the growing availability of capabilities to address it.” Andrew Parker – Director General MI5 We therefore ask the government to review this law. We do not believe great legislative change is required, rather just an expansion of the 'lawful authority' and 'reasonable excuse' conditions. By doing so you will help support our nations citizens.
Keep Mobberley's school bus service free!
Mobberley is in danger of losing its free school bus. Concerned residents and parents are urging Cheshire East Council to review their policies and retain this essential service. Our concerns are as follows:- • The length of the walk, a two-hour round trip or 30 miles per week, is unreasonable, particularly during cold, dark, wet, windy or icy weather. It will have a negative impact on concentration levels, ability to learn and attendance, as well as put Mobberley students at a disadvantage to their peers• The youngest and most vulnerable children will have the furthest to walk (an extra 10 minutes), with much of that walk in the dark during winter periods • Children are less likely to engage in valuable extracurricular school-based activities and will have less time and energy to focus on homework • This is likely to have a very detrimental effect on overall academic performance, concerns that are echoed by the school themselves (see attached statement)• Rather than a dedicated school bus, children will be using public transport which represents a safe-guarding issue particularly for the younger children• Many feeder roads to this route have poor, non-existent or inadequate pavements• Part of the route incorporates a 60 m.p.h speed limit road• Part of the route (including the 60 m.p.h speed limit section) is not lit and so is particularly hazardous during the dark winter months• Part of the route is overgrown, leaving footpaths dangerously narrow• Air quality is poor during rush hour and the route is used regularly by HGV's.There will be an increase in traffic and congestion due to parents taking their children by car on an already over-stretched route• The route has been deemed ‘unsafe’ to be used as a cycling route, so the only other option open to many children will be to walk • Cost. The cost of a return ticket is £3 a day or £10 if a weekly bus pass is obtained. This is a considerable sum especially for residents who have more than one child at the school• This means that many pupils will have no choice but to walk, regardless of weather conditions, energy levels and ability The assessment of the route took place during the summer months during good weather, therefore the conditions that our children will face during the dark winter months (including lack of street lighting during rush hour on a 60 m.p.h road), were not experienced by the assessors. In addition, a lengthy report has also been submitted highlighting concerns around Cheshire East Council's failure to follow due process. Residents and parents have not been properly informed about the proposed changes and have therefore not been given adequate time to object. As an MP who promised to take local issues seriously and fight for high standards of education, we are sure that you will agree with us that the removal of this service is a step in the wrong direction. We urge you to carefully consider the negative impact this decision will have on the academic performance and well-being of local children and lend your support to our cause.