Blue Blog – Reforming the compensation culture

Oh dear, they’re at it again.

With all the problems this country has to face, Jonathan Djanogly feels that it’s wholly appropriate to waste his time on “no-win-no-fee” rules that he says are “fuelling the so called compensation culture”.  Read the entry here where he describes the cost to the NHS and blames how schools are scared to send children on field trips in case there is an accident and they may be sued.

Most people would suggest that the health and safety culture is responsible for the proliferation of unnecessary and vexatious claims for compensation as it is the rules and regulations of this executive agency of the government that has fuelled people to make such claims.

He’s right in some ways of course, a compensation culture has developed in recent years but he’s wrong to blame lawyers for the problem when the situation is no different to that enjoyed by MPs who suck money from the public purse just because they can.  Spurious claims for compensation are of course being made all the time but then so are spurious claims for expenses by the greedy bunch in Parliament.

We’ve posted a reply to the blog entry but typically it won’t see light of day, so for anyone who’s interested, here’s our rant 🙂  Don’t get us wrong, the compensation culture has gotten out of control but we firmly believe that people in glass houses should not throw stones or should that be “gated houses” as Mr Djanogly, a millionaire in his own right, claimed £5,000 from the tax payer for automatic gates to be installed and spent £13,962 on cleaning and £12,951 for gardening at his second home.

He repaid £25,000 though – good for him; bought the house for £440,000, spent £77,000 maintaining the house over four years and it is now apparently worth £750,000 – that’s a profit of £310,000 which isn’t a bad return on tax payers money.

We’re concerned therefore that Mr Djanogly feels it is now appropriate to waste his time on this minor issue when there are more pressing concerns troubling constituents although it is surprising that he finds any time away from his estimated £300million fortune, his £60,000 shareholdings in 18 other business interests, his wife’s mail order business and his legal interests to deal with matters arising from his Parliamentary £65,000 salaried role.

Since when are the government concerned about justice or the cost of delivering justice?  Having removed legal aid for disability issues; removed legal aid for just about everyone else with the income threshold being around £13,000 not even someone on state benefits can qualify for assistance then clearly justice is available only to those who can afford it.

Yet councils spending £427million on worthless training for worthless councillors and fraud running rampant in most government departments and MPs themselves riding a gravy train that drains public funds and Euro MPs using public funds for spa treatments, liposuction, fertility treatments and other health options all funded by the tax payer, why on earth would you choose to focus your attentiion on the “compensation” culture that has arisen as a direct result of the insane health and safety legislation.

Why not deal with bankers compensation culture which has brought this country to its knees and has cost the tax payer more than a trillion pounds. Any fees paid to lawyers as a result of injury compensations is a drop in the ocean compared to that lot.

Watch any commercial TV channel and you’ll be buried beneath an avalance of adverts, one for “buy-now-pay-later”, the next for “get-out-of-debt” and the next for “no-win-no-fee” compensation.

There is more to the culture that what you suggest, there is a fundamental problem with the whole ethos of spending – perhaps directly relating to the attitudes of MPs and the revelations around the John Lewis List – if MPs can have everything their little hearts desire, why then should the average Joe go without?

The Blue Blog – Our welfare reforms will make work pay

We’re challenging entries in the Conservatives “Blue Blog”; a self-congratulatory arena where MPs get to tell us what they’re doing and how wonderfully they are doing it.

Title: Our welfare reforms will make work pay
Link: http://blog.conservatives.com/index.php/2011/02/18/our-welfare-reforms-will-make-work-pay/
Author:
Iain Duncan Smith
Date: Friday, February 18th, 2011

Our Reply:

Hopefully the deafening sound of back-slapping will die down soon and when the dust clears perhaps people will realise exactly what is happening and see through the hype.

Of course, getting people off benefits is the right thing to do and while there is a segment of society that has grown to feel that the benefits system is a career choice rather than a stop gap the vast majority of people on benefits see it as degrading but a necessary evil in order to survive.

In doing the “right thing” the government is taking too many steps to “demonise” those caught up in the process without any regard for the realities of day to day life.

There is no allowance in the system to deal with those who are not career benefit scroungers or cheats – everyone is tarred with the same brush and that is not right.

Your jobcentres work on the assumption that the person opposite them is an undesirable and should be punished in some way. Welfare reform is about changing the system not punishing those who have been caught up in the system; why should an individual (or family) be punished for taking advantage of a system put into place by successive governments; where is the government responsibility for implementing the system in the first place.

We hear about money lost due to benefits cheats and errors and you announce changes that will stop waste (very laudable) but nowhere do we see how the government will stop its own overspending and waste. A computer system that cost the tax payer £730,000,000 that is obsolete upon delivery and never switched on is but one example of this waste.

Anyone on the coal face of society (advocates, advisors and users) will relate their own experiences in dealing with the government and perhaps the DWP in particular where incompetence is rife and what should be a simple task is avoidably delayed due to lack of training or by a “couldn’t care less” attitude that many of us have come to expect when dealing with officials in and around the benefits system.

Of particular concern is the lumping in of the disabled into the process of demonising benefits cheats. While the government is paying £millions to foreign companies with no medical knowledge to carry out medical assessments within the framework of “meeting targets” it is sad that many vulnerable people are being not only left high and dry but also being prosecuted for supposed infractions of rules contained with volumes of rulebooks which you yourself consider onerous.

As long term advocates for disabled people, we see an entirely different picture than that painted by the media and your spin doctors. We see 8 or 10 figure bonuses going to bank employees while young children sleep on the bare springs of a bed because a mother is too poor to provide for the child and tries to hold on to the shred of dignity that remains to her.

The DWP supports Remploy to the tune of £111 million a year yet it loses £2.2million of tax payer’s money every week; has flaunted your request and allocated yet another round of multi-million pound bonuses while at the same time putting disabled people out of work. Charities and non-profit organisations supporting disabled people into work are closing down due to a lack of support so you’ll forgive us for not applauding too loudly.

Welfare reform is necessary and welcome; demonization of the most vulnerable in society is not a necessary or welcome part of that process – please keep this in mind.

You’re quoted as being “brave” on this blog but it will be a real test of your mettle if the moderators actually publish this entry.

The Blue Blog – Crime in your area revealed

We’re challenging entries in the Conservatives “Blue Blog”; a self-congratulatory arena where MPs get to tell us what they’re doing and how wonderfully they are doing it.

Title: Crime in your area revealed
Link: (http://blog.conservatives.com/index.php/2011/02/03/crime-in-your-area-revealed/)
Author: Teresa May
Date: Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Our reply:

Another pointless exercise – get more constables (keepers of the peace) back on the beat, into the community where they belong so that crime can be avoided not counted.

How much does it cost to compile these statistics and get them online in the elaborate and graphical formats, seachable and indexed and maintained?

Use that money to pay for more constables, not administrators.

The Blue Blog – Putting policing at the heart of communities

We’re challenging entries in the Conservatives “Blue Blog”; a self-congratulatory arena where MPs get to tell us what they’re doing and how wonderfully they are doing it.

Title: Putting policing at the heart of communities
Link: (http://blog.conservatives.com/index.php/2010/12/01/putting-policing-back-at-the-heart-of-communities/)
Author: Teresa May
Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Good Points: Elected Police Commissioners; Removing Centrally Imposed Red Tape; Police On The Beat; Remove Points Obsession & Target Chasing
Concerns: More Power to Councils

Our reply:

Good grief!

Please, please, please do NOT put more power into the hands of local councils. Their propensity to act in accordance with their own needs and not that of the communities they are supposed to serve is well documented.

There are far too many administrators, jobs-worth’s and petty dictators in control already and this in itself needs to be addressed.

Leave policing to the police who have, at least, trained and sworn an oath – do not give untrained and unknowing faceless civil servants any more cause to value themselves above the rest of society.