'Benefits cap does work, Iain Duncan Smith insists'

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Dic Penderyn

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It was the nearest thing you could get to it in those days many people used the workhouse in that way they would enter the workhouse so as not to be a burden in their old age on their families.

The workhouses did have infirmaries

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Virtually all workhouses had a small infirmary room or block for the care of sick inmates. Poor Law unions were also obliged to employ one or more suitably qualified medical officers to minister to the union's sick poor, both inside and outside the workhouse. The post of medical officer was not always a particularly attractive one. Until 1842, posts could be put out to competitive tender, with the appointment usually being made to whoever demanded the lowest salary. This meant that applicants were often the least experienced members of the profession, or ones with private practice where the physician's priorities would invariably lie. Apart from attending patients, medical officers often had to pay for any drugs they prescribed.

Early nursing care in the union workhouse was invariably in the hands of female inmates who would often not be able to read a serious problem when dealing with labels on medicine bottles. Before 1863, not a single trained nurse existed in any workhouse infirmary outside London.

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In 1894, the British Medical Journal set up a "commission" to investigate conditions in provincial workhouses and their infirmaries. Following a visit to Truro, the commissioner's report found much to criticise about the workhouse infirmary. The buidling was said to be very unsuitable for infirmary work, with its small wards, many staircases, and rough walls which were hard to keep clean. There was a lack of bathrooms and no piped hot water the only supply was from a copper in the infirmary laundry, out of which the hot water had to be baled when required. Only one nurse was employed to look after the infirmary's 78 beds, assisted by paupers usually of great age or "bad character". There was no night nurse employed.

Be careful in what you wish for, God has a sense of humour

devine63

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Hi Dic

you reminded me of an infamous report about the workhouse in my home town (which is now a hospital dealing mostly with psychogeriatric long stay cases) and I found it:

"In 1837, the new workhouse became embroiled in a scandal concerning its treatment of three young boys from the neighbouring Droxford union, who were temporarily being housed at Fareham. The three boys, aged from four to six years old, were William Warren, Robert Withers and Jonathan Cooke. Warren had left the Droxford workhouse at Bishop's Waltham in good health on 8th October, 1836, followed by the Withers and Cooke some time later. When they returned to Bishop's Waltham on 10th February, 1837, they were found to be weak and sick, infected with "the itch" (scabies), had marks on their bodies, and had apparently made the seven-mile journey on an open cart without any outdoor clothes. Following a reference to the case in a parliamentary speech by MP John Walter II, proprietor of The Times and a opponent of the New Poor Law, the Poor Law Commissioners launched an inquiry into events at Fareham. The Master of the Fareham workhouse, Thomas Bourne, said that all three children regularly wet or fouled their beds. His usually method for dealing with "dirty children" was to punish them by reducing their food. He also birched small children without recourse to approval from the Board of Guardians. Bourne claimed that, after observing a decline in the health of the boys, he had asked the medical officer to examine them, but that no medicine had been prescribed. The medical officer, John Blatherwick, said he did not recall such examinations having been made and said that the health of the Droxford children was similar to others in the workhouse. The schoolmistress at Fareham, Harriet Crouch, admitted that she might have whipped the children with a birch twig. It was also her custom to punish children by making them wear a dunce's cap bearing the word "Dirty" or by placing them for a period in a set of stocks that she had brought from her previous employment at a private school. At the end of their time at Fareham, the boys were housed for ten days in an outhouse which had a cold stone floor and no fireplace. The boys were only allowed out when their clothes were clean and dry, but were frequently confined to bed while their clothes were being washed. Withers was subsequently diagnosed as having a medical condition knwn as prolapsus ani. At the end of the inquiry, Thomas Bourne and John Blatherwick were both criticised for neglect. Neither was dismissed from his post, however, although Blatherwick subsequently resigned his position."

It sounds like a delightful place, doesn't it?
regards, Deb

Prabhakari

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I strongly suspect that the level of abuse and corruption was great.
Money going into the pockets of those supposedly there to care and cherish.

Pity any poor person who fell into the hands of the local Justice.
I wonder if there was a thriving trade in transporting people to Van Damians Land.
Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall.

devine63

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Hi Prabs

if you want to know more about such transportations try Colleen McCullough's book called "Morgan's Run"

regards, Deb

Dic Penderyn

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There was one Ellen Boyt who traveled to Australia on the ship Sophia in 1850 to work as a servant. That voyage ended up with a four day inquiry into maltreatment of some of the passengers.

More on the benefit cap I have just heard that Osborne is thinking of reducing it even further to 20,000  >angry<
Be careful in what you wish for, God has a sense of humour

bubble

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Aww Debs the workhouse stories above are so sad, how can another humsn being treat someone like that.
I remember my great aunt very upset in hospital she was 90 yrs old and kept saying she was in the workhouse, she didn't have dementia, the hospital was built on the workhouse site. It took mum ages to convince her.

Hurtyback

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Aww Debs the workhouse stories above are so sad, how can another humsn being treat someone like that.
I remember my great aunt very upset in hospital she was 90 yrs old and kept saying she was in the workhouse, she didn't have dementia, the hospital was built on the workhouse site. It took mum ages to convince her.

My local 'geriatric' hospital, in the area where I grew up and trained, was also previously the workhouse and many elderly people remembered it a such. On the same plot of land was also the 'asylum', fever hospital and prison - it was informally known as 'misery square mile'.

DarthVector

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More on the benefit cap I have just heard that Osborne is thinking of reducing it even further to 20,000  >angry<

Can't say I'm surprised - I've been expecting it to happen sooner or later, on the basis that the cap currently reflects gross average wages. As many benefits aren't taxable, someone was bound to argue for lowering the cap to reflect average take-home pay. In the interests of fairness, naturally, nothing to do with an agenda of cuts.

BBC link to the story:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23325667

Monic1511

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The current crop of workers are all going to be very disappointed when they are made redundant and come to claim their weekly entitlement of 350 for singletons and 500 for families or 384 under the new amount.

I've already had a few disgrunted one who are offended when I explain that their 350 is the upper limit and it is made up of JSA 71.70, Council Tax Reduction 20 approx and in my area a housing benefit of 85 a week - the local housing allowance where I stay only pays that for a 1 bed flat & thats all a single person is due - so that makes the singleton's benefits 176.70 or an annual income of 9188.40 for everything.

The most common question from newly redundant benefit claimants is "how am I meant to pay my gas, electricty and does the government pay my debts?"  Workers response "No thats what your 71.70 is for, how much debt do you have as we can help sort that as well. "

Oh yes its a great life on the dole. not >steam<
Monic

starsmurf

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I've been really angry over the last day with the headline article on the BBC website.  They put had the IDS line of what he "believes" and didn't question the figures.  They also had the 500 per week bit without explaining that only 70 or so will actually end up in your pocket.

To make matters worse, they also had a comments section.  When you scroll down to it, it has first five of the "Editor's choice".  All of them were anti-benefits, with comments like "the safety net has become a duvet" and people asking for an extra 11000 because they didn't earn 26000 per year.

Should people put complaints in about the article (link below)?  If they get lots of complaints about something, it can make them think twice before the next article, especially when you put in things like disablist or mention the rise in hate crime against disabled people because of media and government statements.  You can also ask that they balance coverage of benefit destruction reform with proper statistics and giving the views of a representative person on benefits, not someone who fits the stereotype.

The article is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23306092  To complain, copy the article's address in the address bar (they ask for the link but if you lose it, it's not essential) and go to "contact the BBC" at the bottom of the page.  Follow the link to the BBC Complaints website, then click on the "complain online" tab at the top of the page.
Look carefully at the avatar, note what's barely visible in the gap in the rings.  I've highlighted it for you.

sickandtired

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BBC = Publicity Dept of H M Government. Plain and simple.

devine63

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The problem is that everytime the media talk about the benefits cap, people assume that everyone on benefits gets that much.  I think they should be forced to mention that the average benefit payment per week is actually XXX for a single person and YYY for a couple...

regards, Deb

Prabhakari

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I looked at the article.
The top comments are all from people who think that those on benefits will get 500.00 to spend.

The B.B.C. is acting shamefully with its reporting standards. The Daily Mail could not have done better (worse).
Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall.

Fuzzgin

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"I believe that we are already seeing people go back to work, who were not going to go back to work until they were assured of the cap."

'Going back to work'. As if people on benefits were on strike or something, rather than struggling to find work when there are 5 people after every vacancy.

It's been said before, I know, but...Goebbels would have been proud of you, Mr Smith.


"5 people"


We have just advertised for a grade 2 admin / filing clerk, wanted for only a 6 month contract.  we had 37 applicants in 1 day of the add going out, so we had to close the add.

The add would normally be up for 1 week, but our manager decided to close it as all 37 were more than qualified.

We had an ex-nurse, an ex-pilot and even a nun !!!.  All (even the nun) were far over-qualified, so our manager sifted through down to 15 to interview.

Not so many years ago we would have been lucky to get 2 - 3 basic office qualified.

My son went for a job interview (where they wanted 3 staff) and he got one of the jobs out of 1,000 applicants, now that's just madness.  It ended up being a 3 day interview, where they dwindled them down to 300, then 90, then 15 people.

We had a job in our council. temp for one year only for a customer services assistant. I think 58 people applied and we had to whittle them down to 8 for interview. Many were clearly unqualified and I suspect the job centre forced them to apply but many were very qualified and if one hadn't stuck out a mile at interview it would have been difficult to choose between the others.

devine63

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I've asked FullFact to take a look at IDS's allegation that the benefit cap is working,
regards, Deb