Recent News

Landlord spared jail after carbon monoxide death

A Derbyshire landlord has been handed a suspended prison sentence for failing to maintain a faulty gas boiler that caused the death of a tenant from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dr Victoria Martindale, 39, was sentenced at Derby Crown Court for breaches of gas safety laws after she failed to arrange gas safety checks to be carried out at the property in Stanley Common, near Ilkeston, over a four-year period. 

Labour bedroom tax 'hypocrisy'

LABOUR has been accused of "rank hypocrisy" after 47 of its MPs failed to vote on its key Westminster motion, demanding the so-called bedroom tax be scrapped immediately.

Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister, Anas Sarwar, the deputy Scottish Labour leader, Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, and Jim Murphy, the Shadow International Development Secretary, were among 10 of the party's Scots MPs who did not vote. 

Universal credit and a very public mess

This time last week, there were confident predictions that the catastrophic development of universal credit was about to claim its biggest victim to date. Not Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state, but Robert Devereux, his permanent secretary. Devereux, whose experience of welfare reform goes back to the early days of new Labour, knows the department well, and he's also had the now-obligatory spell outside the department and outside Whitehall.

But the huge process of introducing a live system that folds six different in-work benefits into one that keeps up with a claimant's circumstances week by week has lurched from crisis to crisis. In September, the National Audit Office (again) raised serious concerns. The public accounts committee followed up with evidence sessions with the main players. Its report, it was anticipated, would lead to Devereux's swift departure. 

Bedroom tax begins to bite on council house tenants

Seven months after the introduction of the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ two thirds of council house tenants affected are behind with rent, a Freedom of Information request has found.

Rent arrears have risen by £693,202 to £4,182,026 since the welfare reform’s introduction in April. It cuts housing benefit by an average £14 per week to council and housing association tenants deemed to have ‘spare’ bedrooms.