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WASPI unaffected by appeal’s failure

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A CAMPAIGN group for women born in the 1950s, whose state pension age has increased from 60-65, lost an appeal against a decision to deny them compensation for lost pension income.
Backto60 brought two test cases to the High Court last year when those cases were lost the group appealed. The Court of Appeal released its judgement rejecting the appeal on Monday, September 14.
The group’s campaign calls for a reinstatement of the age of 60 for women’s state pensions and compensation of the pension women have missed out on.
The Court found making the state pension age the same for men and women did not constitute unlawful discrimination.

WASPI CAMPAIGN UNCHANGED

The case’s failure will not affect the far better known and more widely-supported Women Against State Pensions Injustice (WASPI) campaign.
WASPI has long campaigned on the issues regarding the increase in the state pension age for women. They argue that setting aside any claim of discrimination, the UK Government failed in its duty to inform affected women adequately of the changes to the state pension age and the effect those changes would have on their pensions.
A statement issued by WASPI after the Backto60 legal challenge failed said: “Many women will be disappointed today at the judgement from the High Court.
“Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) will continue to campaign for what we believe is achievable and affordable. Compensation for women who have been unfairly disadvantaged with a rapid increase to their State Pension age (SPa).
WASPI is not opposed to the equalisation of the SPa with men but it was done without adequate notice, leaving no time to make alternative arrangements. Women were informed directly some 14 years after the SPa was first changed, many only given 18 months’ notice, of up to a six-year increase, many others were not informed at all. This left their retirement plans shattered.
“The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is currently considering six sample cases of maladministration out of the thousands of complaints made to the DWP by WASPI women.”
Former Conservative Pensions Minister, Baroness Roz Altmann, said: “When Pensions Minister, I saw copies of letters written by the Government to millions of these women in 2003 and 2004 about their State Pension, which failed to highlight that their pension would not be paid at age 60. These official letters failed to highlight that these women’s pension would not start being paid at age 60. It merely informed them what State Pension they might receive when they reached State Pension Age, but they did not tell them what that age would be!
“Receiving a letter from the Pensions Department about their State Pension, which did not urge them to check what their State Pension Age would be, may have lulled them into a false sense of security that they would receive it from age 60.
“This looks like maladministration.”
During the election campaign last year, Boris Johnson pledged to place ‘fresh eyes’ on the issue and said he felt sympathetic to the WASPI campaigners. Asked on Tuesday about the progress of those promised considerations, he failed to answer.

THE APPEAL ISSUE

The main issue in the appeal was whether the changes to the state pension age brought in by Parliament from 1995 onwards, unlawfully discriminated against women. Backto60 argued, amongst other things, women born in the 1950s were less likely to have contributed to the state pension scheme or were disproportionately in lower-paid jobs than men.
The Pensions Act 1995 provided that a woman born before 6 April 1950 would still receive her state pension at age 60 but a woman born after that date would receive her pension on a specified date when she was aged between 60 and 65, depending on her date of birth. The Pensions Acts 2007, 2011 and 2014 then accelerated the move to age 65 as the state pension age for women and raised the state pension age for some men and women to 66, 67 or 68 depending on their date of birth.
Successive UK Governments made changes to address the massively-rising cost of state pensions.
When the state pension age was originally set, both pension ages were fixed at 65. When revised in 1940, women’s pension age was dropped to 60. At the time those ages were fixed, life expectancy meant the state pension was likely to be paid out for only a few years after retirement age. The lower age was fixed at 60 for women to reflect their then-dependence on a single male breadwinner in the family and the prevailing age difference between married couples.
In the post-war period, life expectancy increased, first gradually and then with increasing speed.
The boom in average life expectancy means the state pension is the largest single drain on the welfare budget – taking £111bn of it in the year 2018-19 (DWP figures). In comparison, payments for unemployment benefits totalled £2bn.
The UK Defence budget is around £28bn
In normal circumstances, the claims brought to the Court would have been barred due to the delay in bringing them. Time was extended to bring the claims. The question of the delay was, however, relevant only to the discretion whether to grant relief if unlawful discrimination was proved.
The long delay in bringing the claims made it impossible to fashion any practical remedy. The Court noted unchallenged expert evidence that the cost of reinstating pensions would exceed £200bn – more than seven times the total defence budget and around the same as the whole of the health and education budgets combined (Figures Office of Budget Responsibility).

Crime

Letterston woman found guilty of possession of heroin

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A HEROIN supplier from Letterston has been found guilty of possessing heroin with intent to supply at Swansea Crown Court this week. 

Sarah Jane Elyse Badrock, 36, admitted to being a heroin addict and claimed she bought the Class A drug in an attempt to prevent the pain from her injured ankle she acquired following a sprained ankle whilst working as a carer in 2020. 

She also claimed that it was easier to buy the drug than source painkillers via the NHS. 

Badrock appeared in Swansea Crown Court to deny possession of 24.09g of diamorphine heroin with intent to supply, as well as a further charge of being concerned in the supply of Class A diamorphine. 

Badrock made 13 journeys from her home in Jubilee Close, Letterston to Nelson, near Merthyr Tydfil, between October 22 and December 21, 2020. 

On each journey, Badrock bought a 3.5g measure of heroin which she claimed was for her own controlled personal use. 

She said she travelled 200 miles each time as she wanted to keep her controlled addiction a secret. 

Her barrister, counsel Jon Tarrant, said: “It has brought her shame and embarrassment,

“It [heroin] only revealed itself in the confines of her bedroom and it was a private, dark secret which, if it was to be leaked, was going to be life changing.”

Prosecution Counsel, Mr Ian Wright, responded: “Why did she make 13 round trips to the Rhymney Valley that would cost a considerable amount of money in petrol when she claims her heroin addiction was controlled?

“She’s pulling wool over our eyes.”

Badrock was apprehended by police on the A40 near St Clears in the early hours of December 20, 2020. She pulled a condom from inside her bra, which contained a large quantity of heroin which had a street value of £3,000. 

Badrock insisted it was for her personal use and that the Class A drug would help her pain over the 2020 Christmas Covid lockdown. 

Ian Wright asked the jury: “You must bring to this trial your own common sense,

“She claims she bought the heroin because she couldn’t get prescribed medication for her ankle pain.

“Really? We’re all struggling to get appointments with our GPs but do we take the leap to buy heroin?

“This is the real world, so what does your common sense tell you about that explanation? It’s nonsense.”

He also questioned the large amount of heroin that was found in Badrock’s possession when she was apprehended by the police.

“If you’re using a heavily addictive drug such as heroin and you have a large quantity in front of you, can you ration your use and regulate it, or do you just use as much as you can, as often as you can? 

“This is why heroin users only buy small amounts on a daily basis. But the defendant was found in possession of a very substantial amount.

“We’ve heard the defendant say that she has had a difficult life where she was deceiving people about her use of heroin because she was ashamed of what she was doing but this is precisely what she’s doing here today. She’s deceiving you.”

After a three and a half hour deliberation, the jury found Badrock guilty of both counts.

Badrock was remanded in custody to await her sentence which will be delivered on October 14 following a full probation report.

Judge Wayne Beard commented: “This is going to be an inevitable custodial sentence which should begin as soon as possible,

“There is no advantage to be gained by not placing you in custody immediately.”

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Hywel Dda encourages vaccination as flu expected to be a major public health issue this winter

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HYWEL DDA University Health Board is urging anyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccine to take up the offer.

It comes as Public Health experts have warned that they are expecting a significant flu season this winter for the first time since the pandemic.

There are concerns that it may start earlier this year and affect more people.

In addition, the Covid-19 autumn booster programme is now live and many people including everyone over 50 years old, and those at risk of severe disease are among those being offered a Covid-19 booster to reduce their chances of getting seriously ill with Covid-19.

If you are eligible for an autumn COVID-19 booster, please wait to be invited by either your GP or the health board. Everyone eligible will be offered an appointment by November.

GP practices are also preparing to invite eligible patients for their seasonal flu vaccine and aim to offer an appointment to everyone eligible by December. Again, please do not contact your GP practice at this time, you will be invited when it is your turn.

Cases of flu (also known as influenza) are already being detected in Wales. Public health scientists say that the flu season could be as severe as the 2017/18 flu outbreak, where 16.5 thousand people in Wales were diagnosed with flu by their GP, and 2,500 people were hospitalised. There was also a high level of seasonal excess deaths that year – the worst for around 20 years.

Since March 2020, the Covid-19 lockdowns and international travel restrictions have disrupted the amount of respiratory viruses in circulation, but as our lives are going back to normal, viruses are returning in higher numbers. This year, Australia experienced a flu season which was earlier than usual and saw the highest case levels in five years. It is possible that the UK – and Wales – will experience similar flu activity.

With Covid-19 also in circulation, and added winter pressures on the NHS, it is more important than ever that those who are eligible for a free flu or Covid-19 vaccine get vaccinated to help prevent them becoming seriously unwell and protect the NHS this winter.

Dr Joanne McCarthy, Deputy Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Flu is caused by the influenza virus. It can be a very unpleasant illness and also lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

“The pandemic has made us much more aware that vaccination saves lives and reduces hospitalisations. Vaccination may not stop you from catching flu or COVID-19, but it makes it far less likely that you will be severely ill or need hospitalisation.”

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We are encouraging everyone to get both their jabs this winter, when flu and COVID will be at their peak, to protect themselves, those around them and the NHS during what will be a busy time for healthcare in Wales.”

To promote the vaccinations, Public Health Wales has launched a campaign encouraging those eligible to ‘power up’ their protection against serious illness this winter by getting the flu and Covid-19 vaccines. The campaign launches on 27 September with digital and social content as well as stakeholder outreach and radio adverts.

Vaccination is particularly important for those who are older, pregnant, or have a health condition and are more vulnerable to complications as a result of the infections. It is also very important that frontline healthcare workers and those who work in care homes or providing care in peoples own homes get their vaccines to help reduce spread.

To help stop flu and other viruses spreading, remember to ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.’

For more information about how to get the vaccines, please visit https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/immunisation-and-vaccines/flu-vaccine-and-covid-19-autumn-booster/.

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Everyone is welcome to the latest Community Open Day at Milford Haven mosque

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FOLLOWING the wonderful success of the open days at Milford Haven mosque on September 10 and 11, Milford Haven’s Islamic community has decided to open the doors once again to those who missed the event due to the death of The Queen, and of course to everyone who came last time who would like to pop in again.

Everyone is welcome from all over Pembrokeshire and beyond – this is not only a Milford Haven event – The Herald has been told.

The Mosque said it understands that some people stayed at home following the loss of The Sovereign, and others may have thought that the event had been cancelled, as many events across the UK had been cancelled during that weekend.

The poster for the event

The next open day will take place on Sunday October 2 and the venue will be open between 12pm to 5pm.

During the Open Day there will be an exhibition of Islam, and food will be provided for guests.

There is no need to book if you would like to attend, and women are respectfully requested to consider their dress is appropriate when attending the mosque.

View inside: Mosque in Milford Haven was recently rennovated

DEFINITION OF ISLAM

A way of life that leads to peace by keeping the commandments to attain submission to the one and only God.

In Islam belief in the one and only God is fundamental. Associating anyone or anything else with God is a mortal sin.

THE DEFINITION OF A MUSLIM

A Muslim is a person who believes in the religion of his father Abraham, believing in the one and only God and in all the prophets and messengers. A Muslim is one who submits his will to the will of God.

WHO IS ALLAH

It is the proper name for God in Arabic.

Christians whose mother tongue is Arabic refer to God as Allah.

WHAT MUSLIMS BELIEVE 

Muslims believe in all the Prophets from Adam through to Moses and Jesus; they believe Muhammad is the last Prophet sent by God to mankind.

WHO IS MUHAMMAD

He is the descendant of Ishmael son of Abraham.

Prophesised by:

-Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord thy God will raise up on to thee a prophet from the midst of thee of thy brethren like unto me unto him ye shall harken”.

-Jesus in the Gospel of John 14:15-16 “if you love me keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father and he shall give you another comforter”.

WHO GAVE THE MESSAGE TO MUHAMMAD.

Angel Gabriel visited Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years revealing the Quran in stages.

The same Angel Gabriel who announced to Mary that she was to have a holy son named Jesus.

THE MESSAGE OF GOD THROUGH MUHAMMAD IS THE QURAN

The Quranic message is the same as the message of all the prophets sent by God.

That message is to believe in the one and only God and his prophets or Messengers.

For example,

– Deuteronomy; the message of Moses in 6:4 “Hear O’Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is one”.

-The Gospel of Mark; we find the message of Jesus, “Hear O’Israel the Lord your God is one God”.

-The Quran chapter 112 “Say He Allah,  Allah the Eternal, Absolute’.

WHO DOES THE QURAN ADDRESS

The Quran addresses:

-Mankind, stating that the Quran is a mercy to all mankind.

The Quran also states that Muhammad is a mercy to all mankind.

Most of mankind have not read the Quran, yet God addresses them directly and indirectly.

-The scientific community to include embryologists, oceanologists, astrologers and others.

-People of different beliefs:

Addressing the Jews, as “Children of Israel” and the Christians as “people of the Gospel” and others.

THE MUSLIM RELIGION

When addressing Muslims in Chapter twenty-two, the Quran informs the Muslims that their religion is the religion of their father Abraham who did not join gods with God.

Abraham’s religion was belief in one God.

In Chapter three the Quran informs mankind that Abraham was not a Jew nor a Christian, for neither Moses nor Christ had appeared.

The Quran informs us that Abraham was a man true in faith and submitted his will to the will of God.

THE STORY OF ABRAHAM BEING ASKED TO SACRIFICE HIS SON

The Bible and the Quran tell the story of how Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son.

Abraham submitted to the one and only God and God replaced his son with a lamb.

ABIDING BY THE COMMANDMENTS

Abiding by the commandments is submission.

The Quran instructs Muslims to obey Allah and obey his messenger.

This is the same as The Old Testament at Genesis 26:5 “Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus informs his followers at 14: 15 “If you love me keep my commands”.

Matthew 5:17 “do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them”.

Quran 5:46 “and in their footsteps (that is the footsteps of earlier prophets) we sent Jesus the son of Mary confirming the law that came before him, We sent him the Gospel; therein was guidance and a light and a confirmation of the law that had come before him; a guidance and an admonition for those who guard against evil”.

PEACE/SALAM

The word Islam comes from the same root letters as the word peace. Thus, submission to the will of Allah brings about a state of peace by way of submission.

CONCLUSION

Muslims believe in:

-God.

-the same God who Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus believed in.

-that Muhammad is the last and final prophet.

-the commandments of all the prophets from Adam to Muhammad.

-the day of Judgement.

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