A letter a day to number 10. No 1,343
Monday 15 February 2016.
Dear Mr Cameron,
I note that some MPs are due a third pay rise on top of the 10% last July and a further 1.3% hike this coming April. Half the eighty MPs who help chair meetings are apparently set to get a £3,700 extra pay rise and the other half a £15,000 pay rise. That ol’ Westminster bubble seems to be keeping you all safe from any concerns about austerity in the privilege and prosperity you are so adept at rewarding yourselves with at our expense.
This is heady stuff for a government that cannot design an IT system that can work out that a man who lost his legs, his spleen and one eye in the 7/7 bombings isn’t going to get better. Dan Biddle had to give up work in 2014, having struggled on working since the bombing, because post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) meant he could not work for long periods of time. Since then he has been in receipt of ESA but has recently received a letter telling him that unless he fills out the ESA50 form, presumably for the second time, he will lose his support. Whilst his PTSD may possibly improve over time, he will be physically disabled for the rest of his life necessitating extra support. Iain Duncan Smith may think work will make him well, but it certainly won’t help him grow new legs, a spleen and an eye. I understand this is challenging for Smith, but then we’ve all been saying the man has no place being in charge of the DWP for years.
In the last report I saw in June last year, Universal Credit, Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship benefit denial system, was over budget by £3 billion putting the lifetime cost at £15.8 billion. This is a system so useless it cannot even work out my age, having called me in for a Work Capability Assessment on two occasions, once two months before I retired and the second two days before I retired. It required 6 separate phone calls to 6 separate DWP internal departments before someone could acknowledge that the system is an ass. This is way beyond benefit denial into towering incompetence or deliberate obfuscation to dismay, bewilder and frustrate beyond reason. My bet is on the latter, because Smith is that kinda guy.
I see that the commons has voted to protect arrested MPs from disclosure to the house of commons and the public. This is an excellent idea, one that I shall be advising all and sundry to adopt. We are, after all, all MPs and equal before the law, not withstanding some being a whole lot more equal than others. As an MP (Member of the Public) I expect the same privileges and protections due any other MPs. I believe a pay rise is due for all MPs outside the Westminster bubble of 10% back dated to July 2015 and a further 1.3% from April.