Nic Dakin MP

Standing up for Local People

Young People

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The government has announced a U-turn on the proposed cuts to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in the 2016 budget. In the budget set forth by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, cuts of £4.4 billion to PIP would have been made by 2020. This follows Ian Duncan Smiths resignation from the Cabinet regarding the cuts. Duncan-Smith stated that this budget is “deeply unfair” and “drifting”.

Personal Independence Payment works on a point based system as to how much an individual is entitled too. The amounts available vary from approximately £21.80 to £139.75 a week depending on the individual’s circumstances and the amount of points scored on assessment. What Osbourne intended to do was to cut the amount of points someone would gain from events such as not being able to dress themselves which would mean people fall under the needed points to be entitled to PIP. Or in other cases those who are seriously disabled and fall under the higher band of PIP may be dropped down to drastically lower amounts. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that over 370,000 disabled and sick people would lose an average of £3,500 a year.

However this budget has faced immense backlash from MP’s of all parties alongside various disability charities such as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts). When the government attempted to justify the cuts, the report used was based on evidence which is anecdotal and untested.

Osbourne, pressed by both Labour and SNP MP’s, still refuses to apologise for these events. Instead he simply acknowledges he made a mistake. Surely the government, most notably Osbourne, should issue an apology for the distress caused to many disabled and sick people across the country?   

With the events of this U-turn alongside both the resignation of Ian Duncan Smith from the Cabinet due to these events, and the divide in the Conservatives due to the EU, it is not a good time for the Conservatives.

Yet we are left with the question of what will happen with the £4.4 billion black hole that this U-turn has left in Osbourne’s 2016 budget.

Jessica's Blog on the Governments Assault on Disability

The government has announced a U-turn on the proposed cuts to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in the 2016 budget. In the budget set forth by Chancellor of the Exchequer George...

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Devolution - changes for Lincolnshire are approaching. In the 2016 budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that plans for a Greater Lincolnshire will be going ahead. The bid is supported by ten local authorities listed below alongside other public bodies such as Lincolnshire Police and the Local Enterprise Partnership. This means that a paid Mayor will be elected in 2017 for Greater Lincolnshire. Essentially, Greater Lincolnshire will be given £15 million a year for the next thirty years for projects such as infrastructure, managing flood risks, roads etc. However this money may not go far for example by making the A15 safer for drivers, could easily eat away the full budget for the year. The elected Mayor will oversee a cabinet consisting of one representative from each authority. The local authorities involved are shown in the image above.

Jessica's Blog on Greater Lincolnshire

Devolution - changes for Lincolnshire are approaching. In the 2016 budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that plans for a Greater Lincolnshire will be going ahead. The bid is supported by...

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My name is Jessica and I am currently on my second week of work experience working in Nic Dakin’s office. Today I decided to write regarding the strikes about funding to sixth forms.

On the 15th of March, over 3,800 teachers from 93 sixth form colleges across the United Kingdom are expected to be striking regarding the reduced funding to colleges. The decision comes from the National Union of Teaching (NUT) proceeding a vote of 86% yes to striking on the high turnout of 44%.

During the coalition government, sixth form colleges faced real term funding cuts of 14% and are now facing further cuts of 8%. This is on top of sixth form colleges being unable to claim back VAT, a decision which costs colleges over £335,000 a year- however sixth forms in school are able to do this. The reason given by the government as to why a sixth form college cannot claim back their VAT is that they are not part of the local government and nor are they an academy.

Figures from August 2015 state that since the 2011 funding cuts, 72% of colleges across the United Kingdom have had to drop courses and a further 81% have had to increase the sizes of their classes. Surely one of the major aspects of attending a sixth form college is the smaller classes and wider ranges of courses, that a sixth form school simply cannot offer. Yet these cuts are leading to courses being dropped and classes increasing in size.

Sixth form colleges receive funding from the pupils that they have, as do sixth form schools. However it is the sixth form colleges being targeted by the funding cuts. If you apply the common formula for funding, in 2013/2014, a sixth form college received £4560 per pupil, in comparison to £5013 for a sixth form school. This isn’t acceptable.  Why have such a drastic difference between the two forms of 16-19 education? This comes alongside the fact that sixth form schools also do not have to pay for VAT as this is reimbursed from the government.

In the Scunthorpe constituency, sixth form colleges are the only option unless you are willing to travel out of constituency. Scunthorpe has John Leggott College, North Lindsey College and Humber University Technical College (UTC). Both John Leggott and North Lindsay face further cuts of 8% to their funding, alongside the 14% from the coalition government. This isn’t acceptable. Surely the government should be investing instead of removing funding.

I fully support this decision of the NUT and their members. Surely one day of striking is worth the potential impacts of this strike. Not only will partaking union members be striking in their own areas, but a vast turnout is expected to the London based rally which will end outside Parliament. 

Sixth Form College Funding

My name is Jessica and I am currently on my second week of work experience working in Nic Dakin’s office. Today I decided to write regarding the strikes about funding...

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My name is Jessica. I'm currently studying at John Leggott College, doing the subjects of Law, Politics, Critical Thinking and Creative Writing. I aspire to study and work in the field of politics in the future, I decided to take on a work placement in the Scunthorpe office for Nic Dakin. 

I feel this experience will assist me for both university applications for taking a politics degree as well as giving me valuable experience in how an MP’s office actually works so that I could decide which field and area of politics to go into.

As there are vast amounts of areas, I feel this could assist me in deciding if I wish to work in an MP’s office, go into being an MP or to work in the civil service. This would let me experience being in an MP’s office so will vastly help in my decisions for my future. I also feel this experience can really help with my own studies in politics at college. 

Jessica

My name is Jessica. I'm currently studying at John Leggott College, doing the subjects of Law, Politics, Critical Thinking and Creative Writing. I aspire to study and work in the...

Naomi_1.jpgMy name is Naomi and I am a Volunteer working at the Office of Nic Dakin MP for a couple of days. I am doing this in partnership with MenCap with the aim for paid work in the future. So far I am enjoying my short time here.

One of the first things I have been asked to do is to write an article for Nic’s website on something that interests me.

Some of my concerns on Personal Independence Allowance (PIP)

As someone who will be eventually applying for a transfer from ‘DLA’ to ‘PIP’ I naturally have concerns about it. As with many claimants I do not feel confident or comfortable with this new system. Because I have these feelings I decided to do some research into it, as all I have heard about it has been from the media. The media can be biased and selective in what information or stories they wish to publish which can encourage and re-enforce these feelings. When I started on my research I quickly realised one of the problems is the GOV.UK website for PIP is that it is not the easiest of websites to look through. What I mean by this is the language can be too complex for some to be able to understand and also the website is simple black on white, which may look professional, but it is a challenge to read if a visitor has any difficulties in reading such as dyslexia or impaired vision. Another problem is the information is very basic with the usual Overview, What you’ll get, Eligibility, How to claim and Appeals. But nothing on what the scoring system is nor how it works. Which means some of my questions and concerns where answers yet more were created.

I have however had the opportunity while being a part of Nic’s office to read through a booklet with more in depth information about PIP which has explained what the scoring system is and the categories each score. Some are surprising and personally I think are quite wrong. An example is when moving around, the less you can walk the high you score regardless whether it is aided or unaided. So if an applicant can walk 50 metres aided (such as a walking stick or a crutch) but 20 metres unaided they are penalised and put down are able to walk 50 metres. Such aids are however are not a ‘cure’ for mobility problems as the pain is easily redistributed to the arm/s instead due to having to support body weight that the legs would normally do.

The PIP system also generalises applicants where they would have to fit into set criteria rather than read through individual cases and conditions as the Employability Support Allowance (ESA) does.This can have the effect that the applicant feel that they are a statistic and not a person.

Overall my knowledge on PIP is a lot better than before yet I do wonder why the DLA system could not have remained and just have had the current beneficiaries reviewed. Surely this would have be cheaper and not given as such stress to all beneficiaries affected.

Naomi

My name is Naomi and I am a Volunteer working at the Office of Nic Dakin MP for a couple of days. I am doing this in partnership with MenCap...

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