In the runup to the general election civil serva

first_imgIn the run-up to the general election, civil servants sketched out plans to charge claimants a fee if they tried to appeal to a tribunal after being found ineligible for benefits, Disability News Service (DNS) can reveal.The policy proposal was drawn up earlier this year, in case it could be used by the new government.An extract from a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) document, which emerged through a DNS freedom of information request, suggests Tory ministers have not abandoned the idea of charging for benefit appeals, despite the proposal causing controversy when a DWP document was leaked to the Guardian in February 2014, with benefits experts and campaigners labelling the idea a “disgrace”.The latest memo summarises the advantages and risks of introducing the policy, but civil servants insist it is not government policy.A DWP spokesman said the extract was “drafted by staff before the last election in case this issue was raised by a new government”.He said the issue “was not raised by the new government and does not represent government policy”, while the document has not been “shown to, sent to, or seen by ministers” since the new government was elected.But there will still be alarm among disabled campaigners and benefit claimants that such a policy was being discussed within the department just a few months ago, particularly with next week’s spending review set to reveal swingeing new spending cuts across government, including within DWP and the Ministry of Justice, which runs the tribunals service.Anita Bellows, a researcher with Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “Most people going to appeal have already gone through the hoops of mandatory reconsideration, and because of this the number of claimants appealing to tribunals has dropped considerably, and in some cases, such as with ESA appeals, almost disappeared.”She said: “Most if not all claimants going to appeal do so because they lost their benefits, whether through the work capability assessment, being found ineligible for personal independence payment, or being sanctioned.“The notion that people deprived of income could afford tribunal fees is ludicrous and if tribunal fees are introduced they are very likely to be successfully challenged in court.”The extract from the document emerged in response to a request by DNS for any written information relating to discussions about charging for benefit appeals.The heavily-redacted document revealed – under the title “feasibility” – that fees for taking cases to employment tribunals had already been introduced, so charging for social security appeals was “possible”.And it warned that such a policy would incur start-up and running costs, but “could contribute a proportion of the cost of running the tribunal system”.The three other sections of the response – under the headings “legal”, “handling” and “political issues” – were redacted by DWP under section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which exempts departments from releasing information relating to the formulation of government policy.last_img read more

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Sign up to LabourLists morning email for everythi

first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Apparently striving to undermine trust in her word further still, Theresa May has decided not to request a long Article 50 extension from the EU but merely a short one. We don’t yet know the exact wording of her letter to Donald Tusk, but it is expected that she’ll be asking for a few months’ delay at most, allowing the UK to avoid European parliamentary elections – and, more importantly, allowing the Prime Minister to cling on to office just a little longer.“In the absence of a deal, seeking such a short and, critically, one-off extension would be downright reckless and completely at odds with the position this House adopted only last night, making a no-deal scenario far more rather than less likely.” Not the words of Jeremy Corbyn, or any backbencher – this is what de facto deputy PM David Lidington said last week.Keir Starmer has also summed up the situation well: May is “desperate to impose a binary choice between her deal and no deal – despite parliament clearly ruling out both of those options last week”. This is the PM, as usual, prioritising Tory party unity and her staying in post over making actual progress with Brexit.Jeremy Corbyn, on the other hand, is looking to compromise. Over many months, Labour consistently briefed that ‘Norway Plus’ or any model based on single market membership would be pointless and turn the UK into a vassal state. (The key point being freedom of movement – a serious bone of contention between the Labour leadership and the membership that has not been given much attention.) But, as explored in one of these emails a few weeks ago, it looks like the Common Market 2.0 plan developed by Stephen Kinnock and Lucy Powell along with Nick Boles and other Tories is gaining traction.Yesterday, the Labour leader met with the CM2.0 campaigners and had a discussion described as “very positive and constructive” (Powell) and “positive and detailed” (Labour spokesperson). This morning, Kinnock told a press conference that the group hopes “to secure the Labour whip for a backbench-driven” piece of legislation, while Powell estimated – based on talks with MPs across the House – that the arrangement could win a “sizeable parliamentary majority”.Conservative backbenchers who favour a no deal outcome are more positive today: they reckon asking for a short extension makes it easier to force the UK into leaving without an agreement. But it seems as if Corbyn is doing what May refuses to do, by opening up the party to alternatives from the Kyle/Wilson confirmatory ballot idea to Common Market 2.0. Critics might doubt the sincerity of claims that Labour is listening to all options, but only one of the main party leaders is making an effort to actually find a Commons majority amid the Brexit chaos. It may well be thanks to the Labour leader’s moves that ‘no deal’-ers are left sorely disappointed.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Labour /Lucy Powell /Stephen Kinnock /Brexit /Common Market 2.0 /Kyle Wilson /last_img read more

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Pepper Spray Prompts Evacuation in SF Mission

first_imgThe San Francisco Fire Department investigated suspected hazardous materials this morning at a Salvation Army building on Valencia Street between Cesar Chavez and 26th. Some 120 people were evacuated by the fire department from the 1500 Valencia Street building, which is a mixed-use residential and office space housing a rehabilitation center and donation intake.Helicopters circled overhead as the police cordoned off Valencia Street from Cesar Chavez to 26th. A group of 50 evacuees were held at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Guerrero while firefighters inside the building searched for the source of a chemical odor reported by Salvation Army staff.“We think it’s probably pepper spray. Someone opened a box and people got irritated,” said Division Chief Kirk Richardson, adding that crews ruled out any danger early on.”We’ve had our hazmat teams go inside, they haven’t found anything. They’ve ruled out any danger, we’re just waiting to find that box.”Laine Hendricks, a Salvation Army spokesperson, said staff on site reported the chemical emanated from a donated item. Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0%center_img “Someone must have discharged it,” Richardson said.One employee said “It was mace” when asked what had set off the odor, and another said an alarm was activated in the building shortly afterwards.“I just vacated my place when the alarm went off,” she said.Richardson said fire department personnel medically evaluated 14 people after the evacuation but that no one was transported or hospitalized.ABC7 reports firefighters initially responded to the call just after 10 a.m. this morning, and about two hours later the ordeal was over and people were being allowed back into the building.“We’re ventilating the building with fans, and everyone’s going to be allowed back in,” he continued. Large fans were brought in to do the job, and by 12:10 p.m. those evacuated were being returned and traffic had resumed.last_img read more

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SAINTS will be proudly sporting Bone Cancer Resear

first_imgSAINTS will be proudly sporting Bone Cancer Research Trust’s logo ahead of its final two games of the season.They will be wearing the charity’s t-shirts on Friday and next week in memory of Harrison Ledsham, who was a huge supporter of the club.The T-shirts will bear Harrison’s motto “Never Give Up” to inspire others and raise awareness about primary bone cancer in the run-up to the charity’s Awareness Week in October.Harrison was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2014 and died in May this year, aged just 12.His parents Karen and Paul, from Haydock, said it will be a proud moment to see the Saints players wear warm-up tops with Harrison’s name on them.“It’s vital to raise more awareness of primary bone cancer so a cure may one day be found to stop it taking precious children,” said Karen.“Harrison would have been delighted that his name would have been on the tops of his favourite team – he would see it as a good luck charm and hope they win for him.”Although primary bone cancer affects anyone at any age, osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma are more common in people aged 10-24. The main symptoms of swelling or bone pain can often be mistaken for sporting injuries or growing pains, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment.Julie Harrington, BCRT Chief Executive, said: “Working with Saints and Harrison’s family is a fantastic opportunity to educate rugby players, fans and their families about healthy bones and to champion awareness of this disease, which affects 600 people in the UK and Ireland every year.”“Patients know their own bodies better than anyone. If you have any unexplained lumps or pain, don’t hesitate to discuss the possibility of primary bone cancer with your doctor – at least to rule it out.To find out more about the Bone Cancer Research Trust, visit www.bcrt.org.uklast_img read more

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The Saints took the lead with their first possessi

first_imgThe Saints took the lead with their first possession of the game. The Giants had got a fingertip to knock down a Jack Welsby pass on the third tackle but three plays later from the resultant scrum he was at it again.This time his pass found Matty Foster who burst through the gap taking it 20 metres to the full back before feeding, back from injury, the supporting Josh Simm who went the final 30 to the corner.The Giants took the lead on 10 minutes as they took advantage of a ball stealing penalty to score under the posts.However, normal service was resumed five minutes later as Chris Follin scored. The Giants missed touch from a debatable penalty and Callum Hazzard made them pay. He took an inside ball back to the ruck bursting through the lazy defenders to the full back before giving a one-handed round the man pass to Follin who strolled under the black dot.The Giants were no mugs though and on their next set they tested the Saints defensive metal. First Tom Nisbet got under the ball on the second tackle to save a try then on the fifth Follin did the same before the last tackle grubber was diffused as well.As the half went on the Saints superior fitness started to tell and it was Hazzard who took full advantage with a brace of well taken tries.On 25 minutes the Giants put the ball down on the Saints 40. From the scrum the ball was worked left but on the third tackle Welsby went back right passing to Hazzard who stepped inside two would be tacklers then the full back on his way to the posts.His second was a good old-fashioned charge to the posts after the full back had grounded Welsby’s last tackle bomb.The Saints lead was extended to 22 points, and the match effectively put to bed, early in the second period. Jack Welsby put a last tackle grubber through which was deflected back behind the Saints by a Giants foot. Elliott Jenkins reacted the quickest winning the race to regain possession and drove the ball in. From his play the ball Hazzard took the ball on before feeding Jorge Lewtas on the burst down the left for the score.The Giants had been berated at the break for being soft and they came out determined to rectify that fact. The Saints weren’t content to lie down, however, giving like for like but the game suffered a bit as a result turning into a bit of a slug fest.The Saints defensive capabilities were again called upon as poor ball security meant the Giants spent the majority of the final 30 minutes in the Saints half.It’s testament to the voracity of that defensive effort that the line was only broken twice in the final five minutes giving the score a slightly false look.Alex Eckley, Sam Royle, Foster and Follin all toiled hard. Josh Simm was a welcome returnee for his hard running and Welsby and Jenkins controlled the middle well enough. But the stand out player for this week for his elusive hard running and vision is Callum Hazzard.Match Summary:Saints U19s: Tries: Josh Simm (1), Chris Follin (14), Callum Hazzard (25 & 33), Jorge Lewtas (46). Goals: Callum Hazzard 4 from 5.Huddersfield Giants U19s: Tries: Tom Hugill (9), Tyllar Mellor (75), Jack Richardson (78). Goals: Oliver Russell 2 from 3.Half Time: 22-6 Full Time: 28-16Teams:Saints: 1. Tom Nisbet; 5. Sean Croston, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Josh Simm, 2. Luke Ward; 6. Jack Welsby, 7. Elliott Jenkins; 8. Alex Eckley, 9. Jake Wingfield, 10. Callum Hazzard, 11. Matty Foster, 12. Sam Royle, 13. Chris Follin. Subs: 14. Paul Nash, 15. Joe Sharratt 16. Jorge Lewtas, 17. Chris Kellett.Huddersfield: 1. Louis Senior; 5. Dominic Young, 4. Jack Richardson, 3. Jacob Wardle, 2. Tyllar Mellor; 6. Oliver Russell, 7. Josh Pinder; 8. Jon Luke Kirby, 9. Jamie Greenwood, 18. Tom Hugill, 11. Lucas Hallas, 12. Sam Hewitt, 15. Ross Whitmore. Subs: 10. Ben Bamber, 16. Thomas Mayoh, 19. Connor Murphy, 20. Alfie Copley.last_img read more

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You ROCK and Special Olympics NHC will ROLL with extra funds

first_img So what about all those rocks that Mike has collected from people saying “Thank You”?“People kept bringing us rocks,” he said. “Before you knew it, we had a lot and I said, what are we going to do with all these rocks? So (I) came up with the idea to put them up for sale and donate all the proceeds to Special Olympics of New Hanover County.”Mike found a way to turn the rocks that have been given to him into a way to pay it forward. You can help in two ways. Donate a painted rock for the auction or come to the auction and buy one that has been donated. All proceeds go to Special Olympics of NHC.Related Article: Knights of Columbus to host benefit golf tournamentWhat: Painted Rock sale to benefit Special Olympics NHCWhen: December 22nd, 2017 11am-5pmWhere: Mikes Mulch and Stone, 6512 Carolina Beach Rd.(Donate painted rocks ahead of event during normal business hours) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –It’s an inspiring community mission to spread positivity in some of the least expected places and no doubt about it, the whole idea ROCKS!Now there’s a way for you to be a part of it while also helping the Special Olympics of New Hanover County.Mike Tarter of Mikes Mulch and Stone has given discounts to folks in need of rocks to paint and put out in the community. In return, they would give him one they designed.  Leaving painted rocks around the community to put a smile on someone’s face started a while back in the Cape Fear and is growing in popularity.  Facebook groups including 910 Rocks, Wilmington Rocks, Kindness Rocks, and Shallahrocks have played a massive role in making the project a success.Some of the painted rocks up for auction to benefit Special Olympics NHC- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Wilmington man indicted on numerous child pornography charges

first_imgGavel (Photo: MGN Online) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man has been indicted in federal court on several pornography charges.Ricardo Jerome Bennett, Sr., 47, is charged with 10 counts of Receipt of Child Pornography and one count of Possession of Child Pornography.- Advertisement – The indictment alleges that, beginning at a time unknown and ending on December 19, 2014, Bennett received at least 10 images containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.The indictment also alleges that on December 19, 2014, he was found to be in possession of digital media containing images and videos involving minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.If convicted, Bennett would face a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to a lifetime of supervised release following any time in prison.Related Article: NC man allegedly beat puppy to death with shovelThe case is being investigated by the FBI.last_img read more

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One killed in Brunswick County crash

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A 72-year-old man is dead after an early morning crash in Brunswick County Monday.According to Sgt. King with the State Highway Patrol, a trooper responded to a crash on Gilbert Road just before 7 a.m.- Advertisement – After investigating, officials said a GMC Sierra pickup truck was heading east when the driver missed a curve and ran off the road to the right. The truck hit a ditch and flipped over. The driver was trapped inside and died at the scene. He was identified as George Washington Bellamy of Bolivia. No one else was in the truck at the time of the crash.Highway Patrol said no impairment is suspected; however, speed was a factor and Bellamy was not wearing his seatbelt.last_img read more

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Topsail baseball coach fired in wake of ineligible player investigation

first_img Rimer’s firing is the second personnel move since it was discovered the Topsail baseball team used an ineligible player, which cost them a chance to compete for a state championship. Topsail high’s athletic director stepped down in May.An investigation into the school is continuing in Hampstead, Pender County Schools still have not made a final announcement regarding their findings. HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Pender County Schools will not renew Topsail High School baseball coach Aaron Rimer’s contract for the 2018-2019 school year amid an investigation into the school’s administration.The decision came down last week in a letter sent to Coach Rimer. In the letter, the school board informed him that his contract was not going to be renewed and that his request for a discretionary hearing was denied.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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First responders get in place for Hurricane Florence

first_img Chief Ralph Evangelous says they have a plan in place and and he urges any residents left to get out in the next few hours.“We need to take this seriously. This is not a typical hurricane that we’ve all ridden out before,” said Evangelous. “The only reason I’m here is because I’ve got to be here. And if not, I’d be gone with my family too. So please, if you can get out, get out. Minimally, go to a shelter. If you’re in a shelter, get out.”Evangelous says they will do everything in their power to help residents, but he urges them to take no chances. Hurricane Florence as seen from the ISS on Monday morning. (Photo: Ricky Arnold / ISS) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington first responders are geared up and ready for Hurricane Florence.Wilmington Police are planning to be in place for at least seven days straight. They plan to have officers stationed at different buildings and spots throughout the city for the duration of the hurricane.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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