Friday, 13 January 2012

Freud And Error

I've begun noticing a rather obvious difference between David Freud's tabled amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill and that of other peers in the House of Lords: Freud's are a lot less clear about what they actually do. Many amendments made by peers you can guess at what their function is and be quite accurate. Not Freud's; almost any amendment he tables, you have to go look at the actual bill, at the actual line being changed and even count how many words like 'is' and 'a' are used before you can guess at what Freud's amendments affect. Unfortunately it now seems that another pattern is emerging after Freud's antics on Wednesday.

Lord McKenzie has tabled an amendment which is as follows:
Page 60, line 23, leave out “meets the condition in subsection (2)” and insert “is an in-patient of a hospital
So in the section on Entitlement and Payability of the Personal Independence Allowance that is set to replace Disability Living Allowance, McKenzie has proposed a change to the Clause 84 which governs 'people receiving certain services' and it involves removing an application of a subsection and replacing it with the rule that they are 'an in-patient of a hospital. You could read subsection 2 of that Clause to find out but I'll just tell you because this is something I've talked about before: recipients of the Mobility component for DLA(and now for PIP) in care homes.

The government announced a while ago that they would not press ahead on plans to take Mobility away from residents on the premise of some mythical 'overlap' in funding and service provision that doesn't really exist but they keep saying it does. Big cheers all-round, except for me because I'm very speffal. It didn't matter if the government said they would not press ahead and people should have been more suspicious that they made a very gradual retreat rather than a decisive U-turn as soon as the criticism gathered any traction. First they said they were taking it away, then they said they would delay taking it away, then they said it would be part of social care reforms instead then they said they wouldn't go through with it. No single event or set of events caused these save for the initial one. The government just kept backpedaling very slowly until the squealing stopped but here at The Files, we never stop squealing: it's a stim.

I warned all with my squealing annoying voice that it didn't matter because care home residents only ever got Mobility payments because of a case law precedent that said labeling them as 'hospitalised' to justify not paying was arbitrary to the point of being unlawfully discriminating. The rule changed but I won't go into that because it's complicated and I can't stop writing long posts. With DLA not being really reformed but replaced with an entirely new benefit, the case law history of two entire decades would effectively be erased and not transferred over to PIP. The government know this and it was plain to see from Clause 84:
The condition is that the person is an in-patient of a hospital or similar
institution, or a resident of
a care home, in circumstances in which any of the
costs of any qualifying services provided for the person are borne out of public
or local funds by virtue of a specified enactment.
The government knew they could class care homes as hospitals or lump them together now the legal precedents were going to be out of the way, that's why they're so important. They represent 20 years of work by Citizens Advice, charities, campaigners and claimants to make the system fair. Hell, subsection 4 even goes ahead and outright specifies what this includes and to me it seems to be even wider than it was when DLA came in:

The following are “qualifying services” for the purposes of subsection (2)—
(a) medical or other treatment which the person is undergoing as an in-
patient
;

(b) accommodation;

(c) board;

(d) personal care;

(e) such other services as may be prescribed.

McKenzie's amendment was to basically stop Mobility recipients having the above subsection applied to them except where they actually were in-patients in hospital, but you can see that even *board and accommodation* are included, which could even mean Housing Benefit or living in support accommodation could get PIP taken away at the Secretary Of State's discretion. Also, when it says "such other services as may be prescribed", that means that when the government come to draft regulations they can include a whole bunch of other stuff with little scrutiny. 

What about Freud? Well first compare his amendment to McKenzie's:
Page 60, line 25, leave out from second “is” to first “a” in line 26

Page 60, line 32, leave out paragraph (a)

Ok, so I just go to Clause 84 on Page 60(or 59 depending on what version) and find line 25(they're numbered every five lines), then I look for the second time 'is' is mentioned then the first time 'a' is mentioned and.... erase what ever text is between them? Amendments are hard enough to understand and research without people deliberately making them a chore. If you go back up you will see that I un-bolded the sections that Freud's amendment will remove: they relate entirely to hospitals.

In essence, what Freud's amendment does is reverse the effect of McKenzie's because McKenzie is going to make sure Mobility recipients are only affected by being hospital in-patients but Freud is going to then remove all mention of hospitals from the text McKenzie wants to change. Freud tried pretending his behaviour on Wednesday was down to confusion and 'procedural muddle' but really, it's deliberate and it appears it still is. Freud then has an amendment right after that which puts hospitals right back in there but he specifically inserts it 'after Clause 84' so McKenzie's amendment isn't going to affect it at all.

Freud is setting up amendments for a repeat of what he did on late Wednesday night. Everyone should be all over him on this. It is deliberate, not a mistake or him being confused. He can't use the same excuse a second time, especially not when he's doing the same thing twice in a row.  

Development and correction: I appear to be right but the amendment interactions are MORE complicated than I initially understood and described. Freud does have amendments which conflict with McKenzie's but I need to establish chronology and what McKenzie intended so I'll be going back to the committee stage transcripts and see what McKenzie says about PIP(Done now). If he doesn't mention any reasons for this amendment, I think there is sufficient evidence to suppose he intended for his amendment to prevent the government widening the 'hospitalisation' rule to care home residents. Someone may even need to ask him directly. I found the 'polite' conversation McKenzie had with Freud during committee: McKenzie DID intend for his amendment to make sure the hospitalisation rule only applied to in-patients at hospital and not be expanded.

17 comments:

  1. He is an odious little shit. I watched him the other night and he uses every means he can to get what he wants by misdirection and obfuscation. A discredit to the house of Lords.

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  2. The government said they would not press ahead with plans to stop care home residents receiving Mobility and on the surface that is what Freud's amendment does. But what he snuck in is that it would reverse the amendment McKenzie is going to table that would have restricted the 'hospitalisation' condition purely to actual hospital in-patient stays.

    I am alleging that Freud does not want that because even if the policy for removing the benefit from residents is taken out of the Welfare Reform Bill, being in a care home will once again count as 'hospitalisation' and residents won't be entitled anyway. McKenzie is trying to stop this and Freud is trying to stop him.

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  3. I think you are on to something. Also since Lord F's is the type of amendment which goes through at the end of a batch (because of the form of wording) he could theoretically slip a vote through after dinner without having to talk to it and say what it's actually about, simply by letting other peers talk for a long time to their amendments first. Using house rules against the house. I guess this might not work so well if a crib sheet/checklist had been circulated to peers in advance which translated the published amendments.

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  4. Such a well formed and lucid piece deserves better than me screaming “Freud, eine große Sheiße!”, but I'm afraid that's all I've got.

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  5. Think his peers in the City , nicknamed him Suicide something or other as he had a habit of pushing share issues for firms that " subsequently " went bust ...though this could always be a coincidence ....many , many times .

    No wonder one of the Tory Peers likened Team Bullingdon to a dodgy insurance firm ...and it's ironic given their use of ATOS Origin & UNUM given their very dubious reputation ....allegedly

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  6. We need to make sure that Peers are ready to call Point of Order immediately he moves them, so as to invoke Standing Order 38 (I think), forbidding contradictory amendments...

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  7. Um, MD, your formatting indicates that Freud's amendment makes it "the person is a care home"... it should be "the person is a resident of a care home"

    Though I'd love it if he'd made that mistake :)

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  8. That is exactly how Freud's amendment would make it: from the second 'is' of that line to the first 'a', all the text in between is deleted. If a person is a care home, they will NOT qualify for PIP.

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  9. Wait, hold on. Had to make a correction. Now I need to check what this affects. Apologies.

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  10. Ok I have it, Freud's lack of clarity is what done it but I really should have been more careful: the wording is that the amendment first references line 25 and we should start from the second 'is' but then finish on line 26 and the first 'A'. Making that correction now then checking what goes.

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  11. Lord Freud: My Lords, I am sorry for the delay. I was trying to work out whether we were sympathetic or very sympathetic to the report from the noble Lord, Lord Low; I think it is somewhere between those two.

    Laugh or cry,cry or laugh?probably a bit of both.

    Good work ***** ******regards

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  12. I for one am totally confused - which is why all politicians in both Houses should behave with integrity. I hope crossbenchers are onto this!!

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  13. I for one am totally confused - which is why all politicians in both Houses should behave with integrity. I hope crossbenchers are onto this!!

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  14. I for one am totally confused - which is why all politicians in both Houses should behave with integrity. I hope crossbenchers are onto this!!

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  15. I for one am totally confused - which is why all politicians in both Houses should behave with integrity. I hope crossbenchers are onto this!!

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  16. Have you unravelled this yet? I've been checking what Lord F wants crossed out and what he would put in its place but I can't get back to it till this evening. I don't understand why the care home thing is still included in what is meant to be the latest amended Bill on the Parliament site.

    The general plan seems to be to take out anything too specific and self-explanatory & instead to introduce powers by bring everything in via regulation by statutory instrument later.

    The best bet for Tuesday is Lib Dems stay away and Crossbenchers come back after dinner.

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  17. McKenzie tabled an amendment to make sure that Care Homes would NOT be considered as hospital in-patient stays, not would that label be expanded beyond hospital in-patient stays. This I surmise to make sure Care Home residents will not have DLA/PIP taken from them as the government will be able to because the case law history is going to be erased by DLA being replaced with a brand new benefit.

    Freud has set up three amendments in total which will completely nullify McKenzie's amendment. This indicates to me that the government knew all along about the case law history issue and have been happy that it hasn't been widely reported, almost nothing beyond this blog. It also indicates that Freud will repeat what he did last Wednesday.

    The correction I had to make didn't change anything except to make Freud's amendment make grammatical sense. I should have noticed it before.

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