Monthly Archives: January 2013

Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police, his perjury and Operation Elveden part II

To

DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

(Tel: 0208  )

29 January 2013

CC Gerald Howarth MP

Keir Starmer (DPP)

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

Dear DC Rooke,

As we have not been able speak as yet I will try to expedite matters by ensuring that you have the basic details and by describing what I would like to happen.

The crimes committed

The evidence I have supplied leaves  Piers Morgan and Jeff Edwards  with no wriggle room. There is the letter from  Morgan to the PCC admitting that he received information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal;  Edwards as the writer of the Mirror article must have been the recipient of the information and both Morgan and Edwards objectively committed perjury by denying receiving information from the police illegally whilst under oath before the Leveson Inquiry. Det Supt Curtis is condemned by his wilful refusal to interview Morgan, Edwards or anyone else at the Mirror after my initial complaint.  (I have him on tape promising to interview Morgan et al during my initial meeting with him).

The political dimension

The complaints I have submitted to Elveden are part of a larger scandal which has deep political ramifications. The general scope of these can be seen from  the Early Day Motion put down on my behalf by Sir Richard Body on 10 November 1999:

CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99

Sir Richard Body

That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.

This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record – see  http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702

I bring this to your attention because it was the political dimension which prevented me from  getting any redress for complaints I made to the police  following the publication of the Mirror story. My experience from 1997 to 2007 when Blair retired was of being in  a Kafkaesque world in which,  despite being subjected to harassment which ranged from death threats and an internet campaign which incited violence against me by posting my address on social media sites  to regular interference with my post, I was unable to get the police to investigate meaningfully any of the complaints which arose from the Mirror’s involvement and the  harassment which followed.  You have a classic example in the failure of Jeff Curtis to investigate the Mirror despite having Morgan’s letter admitting to receiving police information.

That my complaints caused  considerable concern to the police because of their political nature can be seen from the number of senior officers who got involved in complaints of crimes,  most of which  would normally be investigated by a Det Sergeant or a Detective Inspector at most.   At various times I dealt with the following:

Det Chief Supt Tony Dawson – The Met’s Internal Investigations Command

Dept Supt Jeff Curtis

Chief Supt John Yates

Chief Supt Eric Brown

Supt Cliff Hughes

Supt Alex Fish

Chief Inspector Julia Wortley

Chief Inspector Ian West

Det Chief Inspector Stephen Kershaw

Despite their involvement no one was ever  charged, unsurprising as no complaint was meaningfully investigated.  I also met with the same obstruction from the CPS.

Documents passed to Holborn police

The documents I  passed to PC G James 423EK and PC L Scully 471EK  from Holborn police station were:

1.Piers Morgan’s Letter to the PCC date 16 October 1997  in which he admits receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.

2. A copy of the Daily Mirror  story about me dated 25 March 1997 which produced the complaint to the PCC  which caused  Morgan to write the letter in which he admitted receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.

3. Copies of the then director of Presswise Mike Jempson’s correspondence on my behalf with the PCC relating to the Mirror story dated 23 December 1997, 9 January 1998, 20 January 1998, 18 February 1998, 2 March 1998.

4. My evidence to the Leveson Inquiry of  Morgan ’s perjury dated 23 December 2011

5. My evidence to  the Leveson Inquiry of Edwards’ perjury dated 25 March 2012

6. My original submission to the Leveson Inquiry dated 25 November  2011

7. Sir Richard Body’s Early Day Motion 10th November 1999 which dealt with the general context of the events surrounding the Mirror story  with the role of the Blairs at its heart.

8. A copy of my Wisden Cricket Article Is it in the Blood? (from the July 1995 edition). It was my gross mistreatment by the mainstream British media after the publication of the article that led me ultimately to write to the Blairs asking for their assistance after all other available avenues of redress had failed me .

9. A copy of my final letter to  Det Supt Curtis dated 2 December 1999, Det Supt A Bamber’s reply to that letter 13 December 1999 and the PCA’s letter dated November 1999  refusing  to investigate further

10. A letter addressed to the new head of Operation Elveden Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh dated 21 January 2013.  A copy of this is below.

I attach copies of 1,4,5,6 and my final letter to Jeff Curtis (see 9)  in digital form.

What I would like to happen

The first step would be for the two of us to have a long talk about this. Because of the political ramifications I would also  like to meet DAC Steve Kavanagh .

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

———————————————————————————————————

Flag this messageOPERATION ELVEDENMonday, 25 February, 2013 11:10

From: “Paulette.Rooke@met.police.uk” <paulette.rooke@met.police.uk>View contact detailsTo: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Mr Henderson

I write out of courtesy just to let you know that I am still looking into your recent correspondence with this office.

I hope that you will receive a reply in the next couple of weeks.

Yours sincerely

Paulette Rooke

DC PAULETTE ROOKE

JUBILEE HOUSE PUTNEY, 230-232 PUTNEY BRIDGE RD, London SW15 2PD

Internal  58526  External  020 8785 8526

Mobile 07771 553043 (office hours)

————————————————————————————————————————————–

To

DC Paulette Rooke

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

CC

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Gerald Howarth MP

Keir Starmer (DPP)

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

26 February 2013

Dear DC Rooke,

Thank you for your email of 25 February. It is now a month since I passed  my complaints  to Operation Eleveden.  I really do think an early meeting between you,  me and a senior officer from Operation Elveden (preferably Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh)  would be fruitful.

I have provided Operation Eleveden with conclusive evidence of  Piers Morgan and  Jeff Edwards’  receipt of information illegally from the police and of their perjury before Leveson.     Consequently, most of the investigatory work needed to bring charges has been completed.  Apart from the admin involved in  getting the cases to court, all that remains to be done is to interview Morgan and Edwards and to inspect the Mirror’s  records and  Morgan and Edwards’ private papers to see if information relating to payments for the information exist.  I really cannot see what obstacle there is to proceeding with an investigation.

Morgan will not be able to deny the offence because to do so would put him in the absurd position of saying he had not written the letter, that he had no knowledge of it being sent and that the whole thing was done by someone else.  That would be ridiculous if it was just a letter sent without any outside stimulation, but this letter is sent in response to a letter from the PCC.  Morgan would have to argue that a correspondence initiated by  the PCC had proceeded without his knowledge even though the Mirror side was made in his name.

Even without the letter it would be clear that the police had illegally  passed information to the Mirror.  Information in the story could only have come from the police. In addition  Jeff Edwards’ story contains this:   ‘A Scotland Yard  source  said: “By sending letters in a very unpleasant tone the writer has committed an assault. ’ Special Branch, who organise protection for MPs have been informed of the situation”.   Just for the record my letters were deemed entirely legal by the CPS within hours of their receipt.  It was a try-on by the Blairs.

I have spoken to Edwards once. That  was on the morning of the publication of the Mirror story. When he discovered who he was speaking to he panicked immediately.  I think there is a good chance that when confronted with the evidence of Morgan’s letter  he will simply come clean.  I have never spoken to Morgan,  but I would draw your attention to the fact that he has behaved recklessly and dishonestly in the past, most notably in his fabrication of a photos of soldiers  when Mirror editor , something which caused his sacking. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/may/14/pressandpublishing.iraqandthemedia). Reckless people tend to be careless and impulsive. Always a plus when an investigation is under way.

My complaint against Det Supt Jeff Curtis is also straightforward. The fact that he did  not interview anyone at the Mirror despite having Morgan’s letter to the PCC can be verified by checking the Met’s case notes.

If the Mirror received  information from the police illegally in my case, it is not unreasonable to suspect that this was a widespread  practice within the Mirror group. Investigate my complaints and you will almost certainly find evidence of other instances.  There is also the advantage for the Met in investigating the Mirror because it shows they are not merely concentrating on the Murdoch papers.

I would greatly welcome a meeting in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

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Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the police, his perjury and Operation Elveden

Robert Henderson

On Monday 21 January I went to New Scotland Yard (NSY) with the intention of providing evidence to Operation Elveden  of Piers Morgan  and Jeff Edwards’ receipt of information illegally from the police and their perjury before the  Leveson Inquiry when they lied under oath.

I was unable to gain entry. Those on the entrance were insistent  that I would have to make an  appointment.  (I cannot help  but wonder what would have happened if I had turned up without an appointment to give, for example, evidence about a murder or terrorist plot: would it have been  “Sorry sir, we can’t see you without an appointment”?)  I  rang from outside the NSY   to try and arrange an immediate  appointment only to be told by the Met’s central switchboard that  no one was available to make the appointment. I left my details and a civilian worker phoned me later in the day and made an appointment for the local police  to visit me at 11.00 am on 22 January.  He gave me the case  reference CAD 3124/2/Jan.

Two uniformed PCs turned up from Holborn police station (I gave them the  details, but as they admitted themselves, the case was more than a little out of their normal range of work.   (That was precisely why I had gone directly to the NSY rather than ringing to make an appointment. I knew if I tried to make an appointment I would in all probability be  directed  to my local police station.  Some people may think it is a very curious thing that Operation Elveden does not have a direct phone line or public email address for those wishing to give information to use ).  In the circumstances I could do no more than run through the details  and pass on to the two PCs  the following documents:

1.Piers Morgan’s Letter to the PCC date 16 October 1997  in which he admits receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/piers-morgan-lied-to-the-leveson-inquiry/)

2. A copy of the Daily Mirror  story about me dated 25 March 1997 which produced the complaint to the PCC  which caused  Morgan to write the letter in which he admitted receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/the-failure-to-charge-piers-morgan-with-illicitly-receiving-information-from-the-police/)

3. Copies of the then director of Presswise Mike Jempson’s correspondence on my behalf with the PCC relating to the Mirror story dated 23 December 1997, 9 January 1998, 20 January 1998, 18 February 1998, 2 March 1998.

4. My evidence to the Leveson Inquiry of  Morgan ’s perjury dated 23 December 2011 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/referral-of-piers-morgans-perjury-to-the-leveson-inquiry/).

5. My evidence to  the Leveson Inquiry of Edwards’ perjury dated 25 March 2012 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/leveson-inquiry-jeff-edwards-and-another-prima-facie-case-of-perjury/).

6. My original submission to the Leveson Inquiry dated 25 November  2011 (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/the-leveson-inquiry-the-blairs-the-mirror-the-police-and-me/)

7. Sir Richard Body’s Early Day Motion 10th November 1999 which dealt with the general context of the events surrounding the Mirror story  with the role of the Blairs at its heart. (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/)

8. A copy of my Wisden Cricket Article Is it in the Blood? (from the July 1995 edition). It was my gross mistreatment by the mainstream British media after the publication of the article that led me ultimately to write to the Blairs asking for their assistance after all other available avenues of redress had failed me (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/is-it-in-the-blood-and-the-hypocrisy-of-the-media/).

9. A letter addressed to the new head of Operation Elveden Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh dated 21 January 2013.  A copy of this is below.

On the 23 January 2013 I received an email advising me that the information I had given had been forwarded to Operation Elveden and a message was left on my answerphone   asking me to contact Operation Elveden on Friday 25 January.

That the two PCs found the matter somewhat daunting is  unsurprising as  it has a very heavy political loading  because of the involvement  Tony and Cherie Blair who had attempted to have me prosecuted during the first week of the 1997 General Election campaign under the Malicious Communications Act. So weak was this complaint that,  despite the Blairs’ celebrity and Labour’s  almost certain  win in the election which would make Blair Prime Minister, the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaint with a  firm NO CRIME on the same day it was submitted to them by the police for guidance.

I have restricted my complaints to Operation Elveden strictly to that which is within their remit.  However, these examples of criminality and misbehaviour by those with power or influence are only a small part of the overall story of the Blair Scandal.   My experience from 1997 to 2007 when Blair retired was of being in  a Kafkaesque world in which,  despite being subjected to harassment which ranged from death threats and an internet campaign which attempted incite violence against me to regular interference with my post, the police did not solve any of the crimes which I referred to them. This was scarcely surprising as they ignored the evidence I provided, no matter how strong it was.  The most blatant example of this behaviour was the failure of Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  to question Piers Morgan and Jeff Edwards of the Mirror about receiving information illegally from the police even though they had the  letter from Morgan admitting he had received information from the police.  The Crown Prosecution Service and the Police Complaints Authority  backed up the failure of the police to investigate meaningfully or sufficiently by refusing any complaints of police inactivity which I referred to them.

The complicity of the elite went  far beyond crime. The mainstream media engaged in a conspiracy of silence after the publication of the Mirror story, neither allowing me a public voice nor even following up the Mirror story ;  The PCC repeatedly failed me; my MP Frank Dobson refused to help in any way, as did  institutions such as  Liberty  and the Index on Censorship. If I went to lawyers they would blanche as soon as they found the Blairs were involved and refused to act for me.

If I manage to get Operation Elveden to prosecute Blair and Edwards, it may be possible to bring the larger story to the mainstream media.    Let us hope so because one thing I can vouch for from long personal experience is that where people  with power and influence are involved the laws which govern us fall rapidly into abeyance.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

To

Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

(Tel: 0207 230 1212)

21 January 2013

CC Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

Dear Mr Kavanagh,

I submit conclusive evidence that (1) the editor of a national newspaper  received information from the  police illicitly and (2) when questioned under oath at the Leveson Inquiry committed perjury by denying that he had ever received information illicitly from the police .

Piers Morgan

The editor in question is Piers Morgan when he edited the Daily Mirror.  The evidence of his receipt of information is beautifully simple: he admitted this in a letter to the PCC dated  16 October 1997 in which  he wrote “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”.  If the information had been given legitimately there would be no reason for protecting the source.   Nor, because no charges were laid or investigation made, could there have been a legitimate reason  for releasing  the  information. A copy  of the letter is enclosed.

The  letter was sent to me after I complained to the PCC about a dramatically libellous article Morgan published about me on 25 March 1997  (copy enclosed).  The illicit information related to complaints made about me by Tony and Cherie Blair to Belgravia Police  in March 1997. I had written to them seeking their help and,  when they refused, I circulated copies of my letters and  the replies I received to the mainstream media at the beginning of the 1997 election campaign. The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent the letters, only after I circulated them to the media.  The  complaints  had so little substance  that they were dismissed by the CPS with the ruling “NO CRIME” within a few hours of them  being submitted to them for guidance by Belgravia Police.

The odds must be heavily on the  Mirror having paid for the information because it is difficult to see what other motive  a police officer would have for  releasing such information.  However, by accepting information illicitly from the police, whether or not money was paid, offences relating to Misconduct in a Public Office and  the Official  Secrets Act were committed, both by the police officer and Mirror employees including Morgan.  If money was paid by the Mirror to the police officer,  further offences arise under  the laws relating to corruption.

The evidence of Morgan’s  perjury before the Leveson Inquiry is contained in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated 22 December 2011 which I enclose.

I ask you to investigate both Morgan’s receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

Jeff Edwards

In addition to Morgan’s perjury, the Mirror reporter who wrote the story about me, their then  Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards, also committed perjury before the Leveson Inquiry by denying ever receiving information illicitly from the police.   The details are included in the copy of my submission to the Inquiry informing them of the perjury dated  25 March 2012 which  I enclose .

As Edwards was the reporter who wrote the story to which Morgan referred in his letter to the PCC, he must have been the person to whom the police officer referred to in Morgan’s letter gave the illicit information. .

I ask you to investigate Edwards for his receipt of illicit information from the police and his perjury before Leveson.

The original police failure to meaningfully  investigate my complaint

In 1997 I made a complaint about the illicit supply of information about me by the police to the Mirror. The case was handled by Detective Superintendent Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard .  No meaningful investigation was undertaken because, as Det Supt Curtis eventually admitted to me during a phone call, the  “investigation” was ended without anyone at the Mirror being  interviewed; not Morgan, Edwards or anyone else.   I enclose my final letter to  Det Supt Curtis dated 2 December 1999, Det Supt A Bamber’s reply to that letter 13 December 1999 and the PCA’s letter dated November 1999  refusing  to investigate further. This again is self-evidently absurd because of the  failure to question Morgan and Edwards.

I ask you to investigate Ian Curtis for perverting the course of justice by failing to investigate conclusive and incontrovertible evidence of  a serious crime.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Wages and welfare benefits are not comparable

Robert Henderson

The Coalition’s line on benefits will not hold water.   The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith claims it is unreasonable for benefits to rise in line with inflation when wages are not doing so (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9787094/Iain-Duncan-Smith-raising-benefits-with-inflation-would-be-absurd.html). This ignores two things: what it costs to live even at a subsistence level and the effects of those in work drawing benefits, especially working tax credits.

To compare benefits with wages is nonsensical. Wages may be at any level from the plutocratic to that which is insufficient to fund  even a basic standard of living.  Benefits are fixed and are far from generous.  The real question to ask when considering the uprating of benefits is not whether they are too generous but whether they are sufficient to allow someone to live at the subsistence level.  To do this the distribution of expenditure at  different levels of income must be taken into account. The poorer a person is the more of their money will go on essential such as housing, food, clothing travel and energy.  These are items which apart from clothing have been rising rapidly over the past year or two. It could reasonably be argued that those on benefits (whether in work or not) require an increase much larger than the average wage rise.

The idea that people can live the life of Riley on benefits  does not hold water. For those who have signed on as unemployed the Jobseekers Allowance is £56.25 (single person under 25), £71 (single person over 25)  and £111.45   (couple both aged over 18),    £71  (Lone parent 18 or over) £56.25  (Lone parent under 18) https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/what-youll-get .  If you are single without children or a childless couple,   living on benefits is self-evidently not going to be a great deal of fun. (The figures and qualifications for benefits I shall give are those under the  present circumstances. These will change when the Universal Benefit goes live in April this year).

What pushes benefits payments up to the high figures often cited by the media are child related benefits and above all housing-related benefits to pay   mortgage interest or  rent and Council Tax. But to bring in the money for  children you need quite a few.    Child Benefit is £20 for the first child and £13.40 for each subsequent child.  If a family has ten children this would mean they received £140.60. Useful, but not a vast amount when applied to the costs of raising ten children.  The benefit goes in full  to anyone with children whether working or not, provided their income does not reach £50,000 and in part for anyone earning between £50,000 and  £60,000.  (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/payments-entitlements/payments/rates.htm#1).  In addition, both the unemployed and employed can draw Child Tax Credit for dependent children (under the age of 18) , which can be up to £2,690 for an able bodied child and up to  £4,140 for the most disabled children (https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit).   Those figures are of course dependent on the family’s total earned income where the claimants are in work and the amount of savings whether in work or unemployed.  Someone claiming Job Seekers Allowance or Income Support  and not breaching the maximum savings  before benefit starts to be withdrawn  (currently £6,000),  the parent (or other responsible adult) will receive  £64.99 per week for each child (http://tinyurl.com/anpea3u).  The notional family with ten children would get £650 a week in addition to the £140 child benefit, but of course  such a family  would be very much the exception.  The average family with two children wholly dependent on benefits would (excluding mortgage interest or rent and council tax benefit) have £274.85 (£111.45 for the couple; 2 x £64.99 for the JSA/Income support payments for the children  and £33.40 child benefit).

The real poison in the benefits system is the cost of Housing Benefit.   Those who are unemployed or on low incomes are likely to be living in rented accommodation. Rents have gone through the roof in the past few years as mortgages become hard to get and new build housing has slowed to a trickle. (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/families-facing-squeeze-as-rents-rise-fastest-in-the-suburbs-8442313.html). To get private rented accommodation in London suitable for a family of four  ( a minimum of a three bedroom flat) would cost between £1-2,000 per month even in the cheaper areas.  A rental of £1,500 per month is £18,000 per year which takes around 70% of the new proposed cap of £26,000 for total benefits paid to any family.  Outside of London rents are not so high,  but in many places , especially the South East, they have risen substantially.  Here is an example from Croydon in Surrey:

“Henrietta Bergman-Janes lives with her husband Michael and their daughter Adelaide, three, in a privately rented two-bedroom flat in south Croydon.

The family survives on an income of about £19,000 from his job in a bank and £400-a-month housing benefit. The rent of £825 a month leaves just enough to live on — but nothing more. They hardly ever go out, cannot afford holidays and saving for a deposit is out of the question.

Mrs Bergman-Janes, 24, said: “We would love to buy our own place and stop being at the mercy of the whims of a landlord, but we can’t even stay out of our overdrafts or pay off our credit cards, how are we supposed to magic up a £25,000 deposit?”

She said rents in Croydon were rising steadily. When the couple were first looking in 2008 small flats were about £600 to £650 a month. “But before we moved into this place we were going to estate agents and said £800 was the most we could afford. They just started laughing at us saying ‘you can’t get anything for that price’.” (Ibid)

An added complication is that millions of those who work also draw various working tax credits or income support (paid to those working less than 16 hours a week – https://www.gov.uk/income-support/overview) which raise incomes to subsistence level. In addition, many of the employed also draw housing  (vide the £400 per month claimed in the example above) and council tax benefit.  If all benefits are claimed, no individual or couple without children  should  probably be no worse off than those under state retirement age who are unemployed because in work benefits are on a sliding scale. A  family with children  or a single parent could be worse off  if they have to pay a professional child minder, although even there the state provides subsidy through Childcare tax credits  with up to 70% of the costs up to a maximum of  £175 per week for a single child and £300 for two or more children. (https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/childcare-tax-credits) .  However, those in work will often be no better off than someone  who is unemployed.

The Working Tax Credits for the low paid are substantial.  For example, a couple with three children  with an annual income of £10,000 would qualify for tax credits of £11,815 (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/people-advise-others/entitlement-tables/work-and-child/work-no-childcosts.htm ). Working Tax Credit can be paid if a claimant is off sick (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/keep-up-to-date/changes-affect/work-changes/no-work-illness.htm).

There is the intriguing possibility  that a single parent in work  or a  couple  in work on a low income  with  two or more children might  receive more in overall benefits through Childcare  Tax Credit, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit than the £26,000 cap for the unemployed coming in with the proposed Universal Benefit in  April 2013.

There are pernicious effects of working tax credits.  These have the effect of a very substantial subsidy to employers who can keep their wages below subsistence level in the knowledge that the taxpayer will make up the difference between what they pay and what is needed to live.  Even if a worker is in full time employment,  this is highly unsatisfactory because it distorts the labour market and places an ever growing burden on the taxpayer.  It also provides encouragement to the immigrant  to work in Britain over and above the great incentive of earning even the minimum wage in the UK which allows them to save a few thousand a year, savings which are worth multiples in terms of purchasing power in their homelands of their purchasing power in this country.

But working tax credit are not restricted to full-time workers. At present the  rules for those under 60 who are able bodied are:

What hours do you need to work?

You don’t have children

If you’re not responsible for children, you need to work the following hours to get Working Tax Credit:

if you’re aged 25 or over, you need to do paid work of at least 30 hours a week

if you have a disability and are aged 16 or over, you need to do paid work of at least 16 hours a week

if you’re aged 60 or over, you need to do paid work of at least 16 hours a week

How to work out usual working hours for your tax credits claim

You have children

If you’re responsible for children you need to be aged at least 16, and work the following hours to get Working Tax Credit:

if you’re single, you need to do paid work of at least 16 hours a week

if you’re in a couple, your joint paid working hours need to be at least 24 a week, with one of you working at least 16 hours a week

So if you’re a couple and only one of you is working, that person will need to work at least 24 hours a week.( http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/start/who-qualifies/workingtaxcredit/work.htm#1)

These rules provide strong incentives for people to do just the minimum hours needed to qualify for the tax credit.  Imagine the temptation for a single parent who only needed to work for 16 hours a week  or a couple with one working who was only required to work  24 hours a week to prefer to do only the hours needed rather than a full week’s work.  If it is a mundane low paid job,   which almost certainly it will be,  in either case the pay for the hours worked plus working tax credit would probably be the same as if the person worked a 40-hour  week.

The rules also  provides an incentive to employers to offer  minimum wage part-time jobs with the minimum qualifying hours, which should also allow the employer to avoid both the employers’ and employees’  national insurance (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/rates-thresholds.htm#1).

The reality is that no firm line can be drawn between the working and the unemployed. The attempt at resurrecting  the Victorian idea of the deserving and undeserving poor, a part from being obnoxious,  is a non-starter when so many want a job or are forced  to work part-time or take jobs which do not pay a living wage.

Britain’s low wage economy

The problem is really Britain’s low wage economy.  This is a consequence of mass immigration , which has risen to alarming heights in the past ten years  and has resulted in both a reduction in wage levels and increased competitions for jobs,  the offshoring of huge numbers of jobs, the contraction of  public sector employment since the crash following Lehmann Bros failure in 2008 and the reckless inflation of the cost of housing, both purchased and rented, resulting from massive immigration, the loose monetary policy of the Blair and Brown governments and the failure of all governments since Thatcher to build sufficient social housing.

To remedy these ills Britain must regain control over its borders by leaving the EU and repudiating any other treaties which give foreigners the right to settle here; engage in a programme of social housing building on the scale of the 1950s;  reserve social housing for those born British citizens;  penalise private developers who  hoard land by placing a tax on the land while it remains unbuilt on ; subsidise public transport more heavily and engage in judicious protectionism to preserve necessary commerce and  industry.

The  new social housing and  further subsidy for public transport can be easily funded by reducing current public spending massively by  ending foreign  Aid (saves £11 billion); reducing the per capita Treasury payment to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by reducing it to the English figure   (saves £16 billion)  and leaving the EU (saves £11 billion  on the difference between what the UK pays in and what it gets out  http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/336667/Now-our-payments-to-the-EU-hit-53m-each-day) . That releases  £38 billion for the Government to spend.

These steps will have the effect of reducing the price of housing and raising pay both in real terms and because much less of a wage or salary will have to be spent on housing and travel costs.  That will gradually reduce the dependence on Working Tax Credits which ideally should be abolished because of their pernicious effects.  Higher wages  and reduced housing and travel costs will also mean  less pressure for women to go out to work when they have pre-school age children. That will reduce the need for highly paid childcare.   The long-term aim should be to reach a situation where it is  the norm for  a single wage to be  enough on which to raise a family.

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