Archive | November, 2012

Reality check on benefits and fraud

3 Nov

Sorry this is a rant brought on by my ever-increasing fury as people ‘buy’ totally a destructive, bitter rhetoric on who is to blame for the state of our economy. So the graph below shows where the welfare spend goes in billions…OMG check it out! A very small proportion goes on unemployment benefits…tiny. So are you going to change your tune to scrounging pensioners? No because a) they vote and b) they, er, paid their taxes.

SO about £8bn was spent per year under the previous government per year on unemployment. £87bn paid to bail out the banks.

And fraud, those ripping the rest of us off? How big a problem is this, according to the Government’s own figures:

The latest National Statistics report, Fraud and Error in the Benefit System: Preliminary 2011/12 Estimates (Revised Edition) was released on 6 June 2012 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. This report is produced by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The latest report estimates fraud and error levels in the benefit system in Great Britain.

  • For 2011/12 (preliminary), it is estimated that 2.0 per cent of total benefit expenditure was overpaid due to fraud and error. This is down from the 2010/11 level of 2.1 per cent.
  • The estimated value of overpayments is £3.2bn, which is the same as the 2010/11 estimated value.
  • For 2011/12 (preliminary), it is estimated that 0.8 per cent of total benefit expenditure was underpaid due to fraud and error, the same as the 2010/11 estimate.
  • The estimated value of underpayments is £1.3bn, which is a rise from the 2010/11 value of £1.2bn.

Oh man, this ruins the whole story – in fact underpayments against overpayments means the total spend there is about £2bn lost this way? Reminder – bank bail outs was £87bn.

 

Cross the finish line

2 Nov

I did it! I did the police shield run, with a little help from Sussex officers and staff. Andrea who lent me kit, Rachel who constantly told me it WAS possible, Supt Taylor and Taff (Public Order Trainer) who ran with me this morning in their own time. Julie from Corporate Communications who helped me with the videos and photos.

Over £600 has been raised for a valuable women’s mental health service in Brighton – BHT Threshold. But you can still donate at my Just Giving page, and I hope that you do. The fact that it has a creche makes all the difference to women who want to continue to be great mothers but tackle their mental ill health-

I have gained much more confidence for coming to the Peer Support Group to be able to share my thoughts in a confidential environment. The counselling service was amazing and has been so helpful with dealing with just every day tasks and especially dealing with my low self esteem. I can now look at relationships and life in a much more positive way. The service is invaluable to me and my family. My son who is 18 months has gained so much from the crèche it’s unbelievable and is such a happy boy. I thank you all at Threshold for putting my life back on track.
NB

It was also a fitting way to end my service as Independent Member of Sussex Police Authority with lead member responsibility for Public Order. I learnt a lot and really came to respect the officers who hold the line for the rest of us when necessary. I see their professionalism, determination, strength, compassion and these are the characteristics I have tried to reflect back in my time at the SPA. I have tried to give support and presence, but also continual challenge.

I am proud of the officers who wear that kit (3 stones worth) for well over 10 hours when necessary, who went up to Croyden to help regain order and safety in that community. 

Having been lead for the introduction of Protest Liaison Officers means that shield run aside I also leave on a positive note. A new approach is being tried and I sincerely hope it works. I hope that Team Sussex remains positive about innovating in public safety but never loses sight of the quality that is required for those nights like we saw one August. The training is something that should never be compromised upon, because if it is, its the officers and ultimately us, in communities, that will pay a price I wouldn’t be prepared to pay.

I would feel that its worth mentioning that when this began, I wanted to inspire women to try out public order training. It is a welcoming environment, and the shield run is no longer a test to pass. Many women reportedly said it was a barrier. I get that, but its achievable. And you do need to be very fit and strong to do the work safely.

Also when this began, two female officers were alive, they lost their lives in service to their community so I would like to end by saying RIP PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone – thank you for serving us, I am grateful.