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State Pension Policy for Couples Takes a Bizarre Shift Under DWP



State Pension Policy for Couples Takes a Bizarre Shift Under DWP

Last updated on May 19th, 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) made changes to the policy of providing financial support to couples on retirement. As per the new guidelines, thousands of couple in the country with age gaps have become prone to lose their fortune on pensions from now on.

Britons have been relying on the state pension after they reach the applicable age. However, in the rule changes, the amount that certain couples claim will drop by a year as of today.

The DWP changes state that if someone reaches a state pension age while their partner is at working age, they will not be able to make any claim for pension-age benefits, including pension credits.

Under the new rules that have been enforced on May 15, 2016, Couples with the age gap of five or more years claiming financial support could lose nearly £35,000 during the time their younger partners take to reach state pension age, according to the charity Age UK.

Moreover, one out of three mixed-age couples will become ineligible for the two schemes that were designed to support the poorest pensioners, in order to assist them in staying above the poverty line. These include Pension Credit and pension-age Housing Benefit.

A DWP spokeswoman said, “This change was voted on by Parliament in 2012 and means, for new claims from 15 May, only pensioners can claim Pension Credit. If one partner is of working age we believe it’s fair that the same incentives to work and save for retirement apply as they do for other people of the same age.”

By far, couples in Britain were able to claim pension credits of £255.25 per week, even if one of them had reached the state pension age. However, following the changes, both the partners are required to reach the retirement age to apply for the benefit.

Government figures suggest the average couple affected are expected to lose £7,000 a year under new guidelines. Moreover, with couples with an age gap of 10 years or more, the loss could be as much as £70,000, in case the younger partner is unable to undertake work before they retire.

“We have updated online guidance and written to all eligible mixed age couples to make them aware of the changes, which won’t affect them unless their circumstances change,” DWP spokesman stated.

Age UK believes that the pensioners should not be denied access to pensions after retirement simply on the basis of working partners, because several claimants are vulnerable and rely on this form of income for health issues or caring responsibilities.

While the government has enforced the changed policy, several couples and their lifestyle is expected to get affected. Will people be able to accept the big change?


Jeremy Hunt Asks Boris Johnson for Debate over Deflecting Brexit Opinions



Jeremy Hunt

The race for the Tory Leadership has reached its final stage, yet the two finalists Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson still have a difference of opinion over the future of Brexit and the path leading to it. While the emerging favourite, Boris, is willing to leave the EU without adeal, Hunt believes that the deadline of October 31 could be extended.

During the exchange with the Talk Radio, Johnson continuously asserted that he will make the Brexit happen by Halloween, resorting to any means necessary. He even called his counterpart Hunt to come forward and promise that he can deliver the same.

While the Tory leadership hopeful Johnson said no to debate two weeks ago, he again on Tuesday refused to get involved in a debate with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Hunt reverted to the challenge Johnson made to him, via a tweet, “Hi Boris, it’s good to talk. But no need for snail-mail, why not turn up to Sky tonight and I’ll give you full and frank answers?”

While the Foreign Secretary has not denied no-deal Brexit as a probable outcome, he said that he is willing to try any “chance for a better withdrawal deal” with major focus on the Irish backstop.

Amidst all things going, International Trade Secretary and supporter of Hunt Liam Fox condemned the claims made by Johnson that there are chances for the UK to continue the tariff free trade with the EU, even if no-deal Brexit comes as the outcome.

In his interview with a media analyst, Jeremy Hunt said that even though they both want to change the withdrawal deal which May offered, it is the trust placed on a correct candidate that matters. “The judgement is – who is the person we trust as prime minister to go to Brussels and bring back that deal?”

“If you choose someone where there is no trust, there’s going to be no negotiation, no deal and quite possibly a general election – which can mean we have no Brexit either. We’ve had a lot of discussion about how, but we need to have more of a discussion about who,” Hunt added.

While the date to the “flexible extension” is approaching its end, let’s hope that this difference of opinions does not worsen the Brexit or lead to a no-deal Brexit, which would not be beneficial for either of the parties.

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FCO Minister Mark Field Assaults a Greenpeace Activist, Gets Suspended



Mark Field

The Conservative Party is again in the news and for all the wrong reasons. One of the Tory members Mark Field slammed a woman against a pillar, grabbed her and then pushed her out of the room. The Minister of State at the Foreign Office has been suspended as per the latest news.

The event, which occurred on Thursday evening at the annual Mansion House speech of Philip Hammond, can be considered a result of poor security and impulsive ministers. When Chancellor Hammond was giving the speech about the current condition of the UK economy, climate change protesters barged in the room and impeded the banker’s banquet.

Soon a woman was seen racing past his chair at the banquet and Mark Field leapt to his feet, shoved her against a pillar, grabbed the back of her neck and marched her out of the room. Following the incident, he made a statement to the media explaining his side and apologising to the woman.

“There was no security present and I was for a split-second genuinely worried she might have been armed. As a result I grasped the intruder firmly in order to remove her from the room as swiftly as possible,” Field said.

“I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologize to the lady concerned for grabbing her, but in the current climate I felt the need to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present.”

The woman, who was pushed by the Tory minister, has been identified as 38-year-old Janet Baker living on a 12 acre farm in rural Wales with her husband Peter. She denied filing complaint against Mark Field as he has already been suspended by the Prime Minister who found the footage “very concerning”.

Baker in an interview with the media said, “350 people were there and only one person reacted that way. It’s more the behaviour of that individual. I want him to reflect on what he did and not do it again. Maybe he should go to anger management classes.”

Apart from Baker many other politicians, opposition leaders and Greenpeace activists have condemned the actions of Field.

Dawn Butler, one of the MPs of the Labour Party, posted a message on social media, saying that Mark Field “must be immediately suspended or sacked” as he assaulted a woman who was protesting peacefully.

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Sadiq Khan and Donald Trump Enter the Revenge Arena Yet Again



Sadiq Khan and Donald Trump

Known for his oblivious statements, the United States President Donald Trump was unable to leave hands with his eccentricity, as he launched an inept pugnacity at the London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Over the weekend, the British capital witnessed five violent attacks in less than 24 hours.

The incidents caused deaths of three people, while three other were injured. It raised the total number of homicides in the city for this year to 56. Citing the frequency of the attacks, Trump stamped Khan as a “national disgrace” over Twitter. Moreover, he believes that this is the time when London needs a new mayor.

On Sunday, the US President retweeted a post by right-wing media commentator Katie Hopkins, stating that Labour Party’s Khan “is a disaster – will only get worse!”. Besides, he accused the mayor of “destroying the City of London”.

However, it wasn’t late when similar fingers started pointing Trump and his country’s condition in retaliation. Many highlighted the per capita murder rate of America, which is twice as high in the New York city.

While the US President attempted to showcase bogus sympathy towards London, it was associated to the long-running feud between him and Sadiq Khan. As per the reports, Trump’s antipathy towards Sadiq Khan goes back to 2015, when the two were campaigning for elections.

Back then, Khan had criticised Trump’s presidential campaign pledge as ‘outrageous’, where he had promised to ban Muslims from America. A year later in 2016, the Muslim London Mayor described the US President’s views as “ignorant”, which coerced Trump to challenge him to an IQ test.

The tiff went on for another year following the London Bridge attack, when Trump deliberately highlighted a different context to Khan’s tweet.

The Mayor’s spokesman stated that Khan had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet”.

The spat escalated further, and Trump’s proposed state visit was canceled by the British government, as he titled Khan’s ignorance as a “pathetic excuse”.

“I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,” Sadiq Khan stated on Channel 4 News.

The fire between the two rivals is still burning same. Earlier this month, the American leader reflected some burning ashes of the rage, when he called the mayor a “stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London”.

Khan’s spokesman said that the “childish insults should be beneath the president of the United States”.

The ember has reignited with Trump’s recent Tweet. While he had not left any chance of being humiliating Sadiq Khan, the recent attack is being considered to have crossed every limit. The American ruler, who is known for taking bizarre decisions for his own country and causing internal disputes in his administration, is questioning the leaders of the UK.

While President Trump refuses to keep his hands to himself, his heedless remarks are just pushing Khan in a better light, who on the other hand has been running his political image on the basis of strong opposition to discrimination.

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Julian Assange to Remain in UK Jail Until Next Year



Julian Assange

Last updated on June 17th, 2019

Julian Assange’s fight against the extradition will probably have to wait until next year. On Friday, a British court set the full hearing date on whether the WikiLeaks founder should be sent to the United States. He will have to deal with the multiple charges against him in 2020 during his five days hearing beginning on February 2020.

The court decision comes after the Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed the formal extradition request from the US, backing the Assange’s detention.

The 47-year-old appeared for his hearing through a video link from the Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London. He remained absent in the previous hearing, where his lawyer Jennifer Robinson informed that her client was too ill to appear. The United Nations official, along with the experts, asserted Assange’s condition a symptom of declining physical and mental health.

Several protestors gathered in support of Julian Assange outside the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, demanding his release as they denounced Javid’s decision.

The US’ prosecutors charged him with a single count of computer hacking, and 17 other charges, including violation the Espionage Act. According to the US Justice Department officials, most of the charges were associated with obtaining the secret document records as opposed to publishing them.

Julian Assange was seen wearing glasses and a gray T-shirt in the Friday brief court appearance. Reuters reported that as prosecutors read out the allegations on him, he denied hacking a Pentagon network password.

“It is important that people aren’t fooled into believing that WikiLeaks is anything but a publisher,” Assange told the court. “The U.S. government has tried to mislead the press.”

His lawyer Robinson on Friday said that her client was being held in the held in the hospital’s health care ward and “continues to suffer the permanent and difficult adverse health impacts” of his long-term stay in the Ecuadorean Embassy, and then in prison.

As there are several months before the next hearing, the final judgement is vague. However, the extradition process is expected to be long and complicated, in case the court’s judgement turns in favor of the US.

While Julian Assange is serving his 50-week jail term, the major concern is his health condition. However, with the next hearing set for 2020, the supporters are expecting him to recover better.

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Tory Leadership First Round Winner Boris Johnson Says No to Debate



Boris Johnson

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has emerged as a winner of the first elections within the Tories for the post of the Prime Minister and successor of Theresa May. Johnson, who has been quite vocal about his policies and stance on the Brexit, garnered more votes than the next three candidate in-line combined.

The voting that took place on Thursday saw a total of 10 candidates receiving votes. Following the result of the first round, the bottom three candidates Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther Mcvey were not able to garner the minimum 16 votes to go through the second round – hence, were disqualified.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who stood sixth in the first ballot, backpedalled from the race for the next Tory leader. Hancock, the youngest contender, has not revealed the name of the candidate, whom he would be supporting now.

With Hancock’s exit, only six candidates remain in the race now – Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart.

Out of these six candidates, all excluding Johnson will be taking part in the debate on Sunday. Johnson backed his stance on not taking part in the Sunday’s debate by saying that a debate with these many candidates might become or turn out to be “slightly cacophonous”.

However, he said that he will take part in the second round of the debate, which will be held on Tuesday, once the number of candidates is reduced following the second round of voting on Tuesday.

Johnson has been criticised by many for not taking part in the debates. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the future national leader should not be “hiding away from the media”.

Recently, Boris Johnson got in brawl with French President Emmanuel Macron, following Johnson’s comment on not clearing the £39 billion Brexit divorce bill, unless the EU renegotiated on the withdrawal deal.

During an interview, Johnson answered questions on a no-deal Brexit and a face-off with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. However, he avoided the questions like what his alternative plan would be, if he could not influence the EU officials or the MPs in the House of Commons regarding the Brexit deal.

Considering all the factors, it can be said that former foreign secretary Boris Johnson might become the next Tory leader, if he keeps his cool and does not indulge in controversial comments or speech.

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