Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Newham Council: Still no assurance from Newham Benefits Service that our Housing Benefit will not be suspended after HM Revenue and Customs update my address online without my authority (WITH UPDATE 28/7/2017)

Re: Internet cuts since 26 May 2017

From my earlier blog post's Update 28 July (8.37am):

"And it's not just Facebook blocks, blocks on public access to our Church and State website and the daily targeting to fluctuating degrees of category pages throughout the site that Declan and I are dealing with these days. We have also been dealing with Internet cuts since 26 May. See my blog post of 21 June, Internet cuts: We pay £65 per month for BT Infinity but feel we are in a race against time to stay online (WITH UPDATE 28/7/2017 RE: 89th Internet cut since 26 May 2017)."

We had to suspend work on our Church and State website on 15 June after 4 internet cuts in one night. With a then unprecedented 6 internet cuts on 6 July; 5 cuts on 18 July; 6 cuts on 22 July; 3 cuts yesterday; none since midnight today (as of 28 July at 8.37am).

The War on Free Expression

Last Thursday 13 July Newham Council confirmed that our Housing Benefit may be suspended as a result of the unauthorised updating on 11 July of my address online by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC); see my previous blog post of 13 July, HM Revenue and Customs: My Self-Assessment address has been updated by HMRC without my authority and Declan has just been informed by Newham Council that our Housing Benefit may be suspended as a result (WITH DOUBLE UPDATE 14/7/2017). Then last Friday, 14 July, Newham Benefits Service (NBS) told Declan that they had received his email below and that our Housing Benefit "is still open"; there was no assurance, though, that it won't be suspended.

For the attention of Kim Bromley-Derry, Chief Executive, Newham Council

Chris Boylett
Head of Newham Benefits Service
Newham Council

Address removed for email

14 July 2017

Housing Benefit Reference [number removed]

Dear Mr Boylett,

I refer to my wife's email to HMRC CEO Jon Thompson as below.

Please could you provide me with assurance that Newham Benefits Service will not suspend my Housing Benefit as a result of the unauthorised updating of my wife's address by HMRC on 11 July 2017.

I can confirm that my address has not changed. It has been effective from 17 May 2014, not 11 July 2017.

Yours sincerely,

Declan Heavey
Managing Director
Network for Church Monitoring

71 Queens Road West
E13 0PE

Mobile: 0788 043 7681

The last two times Declan has had to update his address with HMRC, Newham Council wrote that they suspended our Housing Benefit because the Department of Work and Pensions notified them that our address had changed. The first time this happened, last October, Declan was summoned to a full-blown investigation by NBS. He produced a bundle of 57 pages with a number of further documents, and was interrogated for over an hour and a half by a Senior Council Tax and Benefits Officer before our Housing Benefit was de-suspended. We have absolutely no idea what we could be looking at this time around. (Declan wrote the pre-action letter below in respect of the second such suspension last February.) Suspensions can also last any period of time and the tenant pursued for rent for the length of the suspension.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

UPDATE 28 July (8.58am): The jury is still out on whether Newham Council will suspend our Housing Benefit. No response from NBS to Declan's email of 14 July above; nor from HMRC to my Tier 1 complaint of 9 July (two days before they went and updated my address without my authority), adding fuel to our narrative going forward that we are being harassed and distressed even by HMRC. We are still in two minds as to whether or not we should complain to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) about serious staff misconduct, on the part of HMRC, involving criminal or near criminal behaviour; see my blog post of 29 November 2016, Will it take the Independent Police Complaints Commission to protect our address with HM Revenue and Customs? (WITH UPDATE 22/12/2016). We are well familiar with the IPCC; for example, in 2012, Declan complained to the IPCC about the police investigation into the removal of our flat door.
Re: Removal of our flat door

Paragraph 23(ii) of Declan's updated complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

On 21 August 2012, Ms McKenzie signed an undertaking to the County Court promising not to harass the Applicant and his wife following her builder’s removal of the door to their flat (see Annex 9, p. 31). The Independent Police Complaints Commission later upheld the Applicant’s appeal against the police investigation of the incident "on information only", stating that "no further action is required by the force in this instance".

From My Picks:

9 June: Ministry of Justice: Complaint to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice against the County Court at Central London, Royal Courts of Justice (WITH UPDATE - Day 13 21/6/2017)

'Let me recommend an important web site Operating out of London this well-designed and exciting web site covers church-state, population, climate change and other issues. Check it out.' - Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty