Month: July 2019

Opposition MPs have failed in their latest attempt

first_imgOpposition MPs have failed in their latest attempt to defeat government plans to cut out-of-work disability benefits.The government is using its welfare reform and work bill to reduce support for new claimants placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) of employment and support allowance (ESA) by nearly £30 a week from April 2017.But Labour and SNP attempts to introduce a string of changes to the bill including scrapping the WRAG cut, were defeated by Conservative MPs.Their failed attempt came after members of the House of Lords succeeded in delaying government plans to cut tax credits.Among the changes suggested by Labour and SNP MPs was a measure that would have forced the government to ensure an independent review of the benefits sanctions regime.Debbie Abrahams (pictured), Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, speaking in the main chamber for the first time in that role, said the welfare reform and work bill was “wicked” and the proposed cut to WRAG payments was “a disgrace”.And she questioned why the government had not yet carried out a cumulative impact assessment of the changes in the bill on disabled people, as it should have done under the Equality Act.She said: “There is no analysis of the impact that this will have on the disabled people who will be pushed into poverty.“Half a million disabled people will be affected and lose £30 a week – nearly a third of their weekly income.”Abrahams pointed to the government’s refusal to publish 49 internal reviews of benefit-related deaths – whose existence was first revealed by Disability News Service – and said the government’s failure to order an independent review of its sanctions regime was “a slap in the face of everyone affected by sanctions, including family members of those who have died”.And she said it had been estimated that further planned reductions in the benefit cap “risk pushing tens of thousands of children, families and disabled people into poverty”.She said: “We are the sixth wealthiest country in the world. It is not right that the government are seeking to secure the recovery on the backs of the working poor, their children and disabled people.”Natalie McGarry, the SNP’s shadow disability spokeswoman, said: “We already know that the UK government’s austerity programme is impacting disproportionately on those living with disabilities and sicknesses and that it impairs their ability to work.“We also know that there is absolutely no evidence that these policies of cuts will have a positive impact on moving those in the WRAG group into work.“There is no evidence from the government, despite repeated requests for it to be produced.“It is therefore absolutely shameful that, without any evidence, the Conservatives should have disabled people in their sights yet again, promising to cut nearly a third of ESA support for new claimants in the work-related activity group.”But Priti Patel, the employment minister, said: “In 2008, when the then Labour government introduced ESA as a ‘radical reform package’, the work-related activity component was originally intended to act as an incentive to help people into work and to return quickly to work.“However, the original estimates were incorrect and only one per cent of people in the work-related activity group left the benefit each month.“It is clear, therefore, that the existing policy is not working and that it is failing claimants.”She said that £100 million a year (by 2020) of the £640 million annual savings from the WRAG cut would be spent on helping “claimants with limited work capability but who have potential, because they want to move into work, to get closer to the labour market”.Patel said the government kept the operation of its sanctions regime “under constant review”.Opposition attempts to amend the bill, including the withdrawal of the WRAG cut, were defeated, and the bill was passed at both the report stage and third reading, and will now be debated by the House of Lords.last_img read more

SAINTS produced a superb performance to beat auld

first_imgSAINTS produced a superb performance to beat auld enemy at the DW Stadium on Friday.Mark Percival bagged a try and landed five goals in the blistering 23-4 win that was built on tenacious and swamping defence.Heroes abounded with Keiron Cunningham paying particular attention to James Roby, Joe Greenwood and Jack Owens’ efforts in the red vee.But this was a team effort, from 1-17; a performance that was united, ruthless and honest.They led 16-4 at the break and kept the Warriors scoreless in the second before Luke Walsh dropped a one pointer.Roby then finished off the hosts at the death with a try right out off the top drawer.This was a feisty and committed derby that Saints got the best of in the opening stages.Mark Percival slotted over a penalty on five minutes after Matty Fleming was felled high by Sam Tomkins following a free flowing move.Saints weathered two sets on their own line but after they were forced to drop out on 11 minutes, Lewis Tierney collected a kick along the ground in the corner.Matty Smith missing the conversion.Undeterred by the blow, the visitors continued to press and ask questions of the defence.They were also forcing errors from the Warriors too who were surprisingly struggling to deal with the conditions and Saints aggressive defence.Both sides exchanged drop outs on the 20 minute mark but once Jordan Turner was unceremoniously upended in front of the sticks, Mark Percival levelled the game up with the resultant penalty.Two penalties for the home side followed but Saints produced two superb defensive sets to quell the danger.Turning defence into attack has been a feat of Saints’ four game run and on the half hour mark, when Wigan lost the ball, they did it again.A penalty drove them further into Warriors’ territory and following a couple of strong runs, Lomax hit Percival on a beautiful line to put them ahead.And shortly afterwards, it got better. Another penalty gave Saints great field position and on the last Turner slid a kick through, Tomkins made a hash of it and Morgan Knowles was there to pounce on the loose ball.Percival making it 16-4 at half time.Saints spent most of the opening stages of the second half on the back foot as the Warriors came out with a rocket.Three times they were pegged back on their own line within the opening five minutes and then two penalties in a row had them scrambling once again.Sam Tomkins was denied by the video referee on 48 minutes – the full back failing to ground the ball – and then Saints weathered another two sets before their hosts popped up with an error.It was a monumental effort.On 57 minutes, Tomkins knocked on a high kick from Walsh and Saints resultantly peppered the line.Lomax went close but the last tackle option saw the ball go dead.Saints got the ball back from another Warriors error shortly afterwards and then Alex Walmsley chased down Tomkins following Wilkin’s kick, for a drop out.Cunningham’s men couldn’t force the issue though and they lad to rely on the defence once more.Entering the final 15 minutes, Matty Fleming spied a gap and chipped through on the far side – Tomkins defending it well – before Saints had to once again defend a number of sets on their own line.And, like before, they did the business – the superb Owens producing a wonder tackle on Tierney to bundle him into touch in the far corner.Saints then killed off the game.Solid drives up the middle got them to within 35 metres and cool hand Luke Walsh popped over a one pointer.Wigan won the ball back from the restart but nothing was going to spoil Saints night.FPN took exception to LMS in the final stages – resulting in an all in brawl – and both saw yellow for their troubles.The away fans, who were superb throughout, sang louder and Saints responded with an equally superb try.Led by Walsh, it went through several pairs of hands before James Roby scooted under the sticks.The players piled in to celebrate, the fans did the same, and the derby was won.Match Summary:Warriors:Tries: TierneyGoals: Smith (0 from 1)Saints:Tries: Percival, Knowles, RobyGoals: Percival (5 from 5)Drop: WalshPenalties:Warriors: 10Saints: 7HT: 16-4FT: 23-4REF: P BenthamATT: 20,049Teams:Warriors:1. Sam Tomkins; 22. Lewis Tierney, 4. Dan Sarginson, 20. Oliver Gildart, 5. Dominic Manfredi; 6. George Williams, 7. Matty Smith; 21. Ryan Sutton, 16. Sam Powell, 10. Ben Flower, 25. Willie Isa, 14. John Bateman, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.Subs: 8. Dominic Crosby, 17. Lee Mossop, 24. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 28. Jake Shorrocks. Saints:1. Jonny Lomax; 22. Jack Owens, 24. Matty Fleming, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift; 3. Jordan Turner, 7. Luke Walsh; 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 15. Greg Richards, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 20. Joe Greenwood, 12. Jon Wilkin.Subs: 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 17. Luke Thompson, 28. Morgan Knowles.last_img read more