Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pay up or else face evictions over housing benefits


My thoughts on Housing Benefits Changes

After much reflection I came across a slogan:

“Keep Public Service Public Which Side Are You On”

Remember this slogan which was a national campaign from all the major trade unions.

Every incumbent government that has come into office has always taken a swipe at Public Sector not just at their annual conferences but also in PMQs.

Lets take a hard look at some examples:

Conservatives introduced Care In The Community which led to Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Home and hospitals closed for service users to integrate into the community with little support in the community.

Some of the funding went voluntary sector for them to cater the market for people with mental health and learning disabilities which some voluntary sector raked a fortune from Central and Local Government.

Conservative Government introduced Compulsory Competitive Tendering(CCT)  which was supposed to change the way how local government compete with the private sector for services and contracts.

Labour Government introduced Best Vale, Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Foundation, and Trust by using the speech at a conference in regards to the alleging scares of public services. Private sectors were rubbing their hand and lining up to have a piece of the pie. Granted more hospitals are needed to be built Labour Prime Minister ignored the advice from the unions.

“Care in the community.” Those are words to send a shiver up the spine of anyone who remembers the darkest days of Thatcherism.

No policy summed up Margaret Thatcher’s brutal, callous, dogmatic rule better than throwing thousands of mentally ill people out of psychiatric wards into “the community.”

Most were deeply vulnerable. A small minority were dangerous. At best they were left in the care of families who struggled to cope. At worst they ended up on the streets. The legacy of failure persists to this day.

So alarm bells should be ringing after the new NHS head said this is the model he wants to apply to elderly care.

After their vicious attacks on every other vulnerable section of society it would be no surprise to see David Cameron and Nick Clegg leap on Sir David Nicholson’s comments as an excuse to go after OAPs.

We must be ready to stop them. And yet Nicholson’s comments contain an important truth.

Mental health care desperately needed reform. Mentally ill people needed a system which treated them with dignity and helped them to live a full and productive life instead of consigning them to Victorian institutions which were little better than prisons.

But that system could never be created by the likes of the slash-and-burn ideologue Thatcher.

Elderly care now desperately needs reform too. An ageing population and rising life expectancy are putting strain on a system which is struggling to cope.

Local authority care budgets are being slashed. Those lucky enough to have saved for retirement see it drained away by means-testing.

And the elderly face a stark choice. Be effectively institutionalised in a residential home. Or try to live independently with the support of overstretched domestic carers and NHS hospitals which are not set up to offer long-term care.

We must have change – in the shape of an NHS-style national care service that does away with means-testing and is free at the point of need.

A state-run network of care homes would do away with the postcode lottery and the fear of abuse or neglect by undertrained staff.

And properly funded support centres and domestic care would help elderly people to live a dignified and independent life in retirement.

We hope this is what Nicholson has in mind by “care in the community.” But given the Con-Dems‘ record on the NHS so far this is not what he will get.

Housing is the other great crisis of our time alongside elderly care. Rents are rocketing, tenants are stuffed into crumbling, overcrowded buildings owned by unscrupulous landlords, overseas speculators are hoovering up our housing stock and the idea of getting a mortgage is increasingly a pipe dream for ordinary people.

And again we have to utter the name Thatcher, as it was she who gutted council housing, for which we are all paying the price decades later.

Decent housing is a basic right and the only way to ensure it for all – the only way we abolished the slums of the 19th and early 20th centuries – is state provision.

The private sector simply can’t do the job. It can’t build enough homes and it can’t make those homes available at a fair price – a lesson everyone in Britain has learned painfully since Thatcher brought in the “right to buy.”

So I stand 100 per cent behind Ucatt’s call for councils to be given back the right to build thousands of urgently needed homes.

It would make a dent in the growing housing crisis. It would put thousands of builders back to work as we enter a triple-dip recession. And it would again reveal the toxic Tories and their ideology for what they really are.

Mental health should be at the forefront of support for young people in Britain. Instead, its marginalisation has left a generation stranded.

The founding of the NHS was a great national achievement of the last century, yet in the 21st efficient mental health support is a great challenge yet to be realised.

Young people are among those at the greatest risk of developing mental health problems, particularly in a country where economic strain can so easily affect even a stable mind.

Since the start of the recession student suicides have risen dramatically, according to recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Suicides by male students in higher education rose by 36 per cent between 2007 and 2011 from 57 to 78 and female student suicides nearly doubled from 18 to 34.

According to Hannah Patterson, disability spokesperson for the NUS, “finance and debt problems are adding increasing pressures. When you’re paying that much for your education, coming out with a good mark matters even more.”

The burdens on a young person today are manifold. Tuition fees, unemployment, job fears, academic pressures and financial insecurity are all crippling issues – not forgetting the government’s “scrounger” rhetoric that cultivates additional shame.

The case of 23-year-old student Toby Thorn, who wrote his suicide note on the back of an overdraft statement, is a travesty which should alone incite government action. Prioritisation of mental health is essential in order to reduce young deaths due to suicide.

Unfortunately, increases in depression and anxiety have coincided with the cutting of mental health services, a vicious circle which gives an authoritative middle finger to those who need the means to reach out and help.

Due to the financial costs incurred on higher education, universities have been forced to freeze posts that might have previously catered to student welfare. Budget cuts have forced universities to forego employing dedicated support staff because today they’re considered nothing less than a luxury.

It is hard for university counselling services to restructure and address the health pressures on young people with the debilitating short-term demands and remits of their financially struggling institutions.

In 2011 the World Health Organisation published a report on the impact of the economic crisis on mental health. Rather than simply show the predictable trend between impoverishment and suicide rates, the report also suggested that social welfare can offset the most severe mental health effects of economic hardship.

George Osborne cut the welfare bill by almost £4 billion a year by capping benefit increases at 1 per cent, hitting the poorest workers and jobseekers hard. These victims, already struggling to cope with fluctuating food and fuel prices, include many thousands of young people. If inflation rises at a faster rate than predicted their losses will be even higher.

Last year, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb voiced apparently sincere commitments to psychological care in the NHS yet made no mention of the recession and the great numbers of unemployed people who suffer mental stress.

In truth, the government is complicit in ensuring that one of the main causes of depression and anxiety – employment worries – is going nowhere. The Prince’s Trust 2010 Macquarie Youth Index, based on interviews with over 2,000 16 to 25-year-olds, revealed that 48 per cent had said unemployment had caused problems including self-harm and insomnia.

GPs consistently come across young people in desperate mind sets, ashamed of going to the job centre in a culture of self-blame inflamed by the ignorant.

But there are active voices tackling mental health. Time To Change is an ambitious programme that aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Its “conversational” approach showcases the real desire to understand mental illness in this country. Its efforts deserve support because dialogue on mental health is important, especially when it is still so commonly misunderstood.

There are a great number of incredible people in the student support sector who similarly help young people transgress the taboo of admitting to mental illness. However they are not serviced by a properly funded umbrella body.

The lack of a national framework for developing mental health strategy seems to be an issue addressed by the Working Group For The Promotion Of Mental Health And Wellbeing In Higher Education. The predominant body for student mental health, it includes all the main membership networks and it aims to “influence policy on issues related to mental well-being in HE.” Yet it receives no funding at all. Good practice in student mental health is incredibly important and the lack of a fully resourced umbrella group is of immediate concern. It’s also a further sign of disinterest on the part of the government.

The protection of young people should be an absolute prerogative and yet, with cuts laying waste to support services, this pledge cannot be made with any hint of sincerity. Many young people suffer from mental health issues, but how easily they can cope depends on whether our politicians take steps to support them.

In a parallell universe, they might even accept some culpability in the process.

Coming back to the above issue of benefits whilst I acknowledge that people should be accountable for their own actions and responsibilities  for paying their own rent and Council Tax somehow from my previous work experience as a Social Policy Adviser I note that not everybody can pay their rent or council tax who have mental health problems, learning disabilities or alcoholics and people with disabilities they depend on their rent and council tax being paid directly to their land lord and council tax office by the Job Centre Plus.

There are those who can budget and able to pay their landlords directly from their benefits. What I’m concern about with the new system being introduced to someone who is on a very low-income lost their job and they have no other means goes to sign on there is a very long-winded process for the claimant they are being informed that they are being informed that they need to go online to fill out their application form for all their benefits.

This coalition doesn’t seem to comprehend that NOT everybody are computer literate and the mention of the word is very off-putting to some. Let us remember that there the are some people are social vulnerabe and this can be led up the garden path by loan sharks, and unscrupulous people who exploits others for their gains.

I enclose the article below:

Changes to housing benefit later this year could lead to a rise in evictions, a key housing body has warned.

From October, the benefit will be paid to the tenant once a month instead of directly to the landlord.

The National Housing Federation said it expected rent arrears to increase by £245m a year as a result.

The government said tenants should have the responsibility for paying their rent, rather than the money going directly to housing providers.

In a survey by the federation, which represents housing associations including some of Britain’s biggest landlords, the majority of tenants said they would struggle to prioritise saving money for rent over food and other day-to-day costs.

The increase in arrears suggested by the research would represent a 51% rise.

‘Roof at risk’

Federation chief executive David Orr said: “Within a few short months, hundreds of thousands of low-income families will see their housing benefit cut as a result of the Welfare Reform Act.

“Many could fall behind on their rents, putting at risk the roof over their heads.

“Housing associations are doing their best in tough circumstances to cushion the blow for their residents. But there is still a lot of uncertainty, including in government, as to the full impact of its reforms.

“We need more time to understand and prepare for the impact of these massive changes to the welfare system.”

The study, involving 232 housing associations in England, found that 15% of these organisations thought their rent arrears could double.

Mike Doran, of the Plus Dane Housing Association in north Liverpool, said: “If our arrears go up that affects the credibility of our business in terms of how we borrow money to build new houses, about how we provide support to vulnerable people, how we repair and maintain our homes.”

Mark Easton of BBC Home editor said government pilots of the changes had found many more social housing tenants falling behind with their payments than before.

However, Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “Where people are in work or renting privately they have to budget out of the money they have coming in to pay their rent.

“We’re extending that principle, treating social tenants the same, so that they learn the same budgeting skills and if they move into work it’s not a great shock.

“We recognise a minority will struggle to budget, and they will need special support, but the norm will be that people have an income coming in and they budget out of it. That will be the normal thing to do.”

Our correspondent said that some vulnerable tenants would be allowed to switch back to the old system.

But many in the housing sector feared that would not be enough and it would see many people losing their home, he added

 

 

Dreaded Benefit Caps will come to bite the Coalition


Quote of the day:

“If you don’t vote you don’t have a say”.

My thoughts of Benefit Caps

 

photoRecently I was put on the scrap heap by a company I was working through no fault of mine as it turned out that the company could not provide a service to their customers and some of the staff had not been paid which many of us was force to sign on until we all could seek full-time employment.

In regards to the Benefit Cap this affects me on how much I get in Housing and Council Benefits. I have worked all my life and paid all my taxes and I find myself in a limbo and I had to down grade to a one bed room flat.

 

downloadMost people who are on low paid salaries will inform you that they will face unnecessary hardship with the recent change in benefits which normally are women who have made their contribution in society.

People with disabilities be it physical, learning disabilities, or mental health are according to this coalition:

“We’re all in it together”

Somehow I don’t think so let’s take a serious look for one moment Mental Health Hospital and Homes are closing owing to budget in crisis of this coalition. There is not enough support in the community since the Community Care Act introduced by the previous Conservative Government. (Oops this must be choking them now)

The constant reminders of the 1970-1980s spin has come back to hunt the coalition now remember the quote I grew up in the ’30s with an unemployed father. He didn’t riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking ’til he found it.

Child poverty campaigners laid the blame for the social cleansing of London’s poor squarely at the door of the Con-Dems‘ austerity policies today.

The coalition’s £500-a-week benefit caps mean London councils face sending thousands of homeless families out of the capital in defiance of official wishes.

They’ve started snapping up properties in the Home Counties and are even eying up others as far afield as Manchester or jobs-strapped Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales.

Former housing minister Grant Shapps demanded that people be rehoused in their local areas following the news that east London‘s Newham council wanted to move 500 families to Stoke last year.

Research from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and lobby group Lasa showed that the government’s own impact assessment predicted 124,480 will be hit by the cap and London councils estimate that 63,000 families will be unable to pay their rent.

Their new report Between a rock and a hard place: the early impacts of welfare reform on London also shows councils fear placing families outside London will leave them open to legal challenge.

The alternative for councils – making up families’ rent shortfalls because of government cuts – would leave them with holes in their own budgets.

“Many families are reluctant to lose local networks and may move into inadequately sized or poor quality accommodation to be able to pay their rent,” the report warned.

“The way to meet these problems is widely thought to be a significant increase in-house building in London, rather than attempts to manage supply and demand through social security reforms.”

CPAG chief executive officer Alison Garnham said: “Families are facing the impossible situation of being told to move to cheaper accommodation that just doesn’t exist with London’s rising rents.

“It’s not right that children are left paying the price for London’s housing crisis, which they did nothing to create.

“There’s still time for government to do the sensible thing and think again when these reforms are debated in Parliament before thousands of London’s families find themselves uprooted, overcrowded and thrown into turmoil.”

Intriguingly Former Lib Dem frontbencher Sarah Teather lashed out at the planned £500-a-week benefits cap as immoral and deeply decisive today.

The onetime coalition minister said MPs were seeking to “gain popularity at the expense of children’s lives” by pushing through a measure they knew was popular but ineffective.

In an interview with The Observer she said the lives of thousands of children will be disrupted as families are uprooted from their homes leading to a “reverse Jarrow march.”

Ms Teather faced calls for her sacking as children and families minister in February after she missed a key vote on the reforms which she had already publicly questioned.

She left the government ranks in September’s reshuffle.

Ms Teather said: “I think deliberately to stoke up envy and division between people in order to gain popularity at the expense of children’s lives is immoral.

“I don’t think it was even remotely conceived as a financial cost-cutting device. I think it was conceived as a political device to demonstrate whose side you are on.”

She added: “My fear is that a lot of people will effectively just disappear from the area in which they were living. I think some very horrible things are going to happen.”

A spokesman for Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said her criticisms “are hugely misinformed and therefore result in needless scaremongering.”

See article below:

Labour MPs have failed to block controversial plans to cap working-age benefit rises at 1% as the proposals passed through the House of Commons.

The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, which will cap the benefit rises until 2016, passed by 305 votes to 246.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said spending had to be brought “back under control” or the “poorest in society will fare the worst”.

Labour’s Liam Byrne said “compassionate Conservatism” was no longer believable.

Monday’s vote means the bill has completed its main Commons stages and the bill now proceeds to the House of Lords where peers will debate and vote on it.

If the Lords makes changes to the bill it will then return to the Commons for MPs to consider any amendments – both the Lords and Commons must agree on the wording of the bill for it to become law.

Benefits have historically risen in line with inflation and, without any change, would have been due to go up by 2.2% in April.

But the government says that with public sector pay rises capped at 1%, a similar limit should apply to working-age benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance and income support as well as elements of working tax credits and child tax credit.

“This is not a decision at any stage that we take lightly,” said Mr Duncan Smith during a brief third reading debate.

“But nonetheless our priority ultimately must be to make sure that we get the legacy left to us, of disaster and spending out of control, back under control.”

Mr Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “I have never seen so much taken from so many, so fast.

“No one will believe there is such a thing as compassionate Conservatism ever again.”

Benefits set to be capped

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Elements of housing benefit
  • Maternity allowance
  • Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Adoption Pay
  • Couple and lone parent elements of working tax credits and the child element of the child tax credit

Tory MP John Redwood, who said he would “trust the judgement” of frontbench colleagues on the wisdom of the cap, added: “Ministers have to watch to make sure it doesn’t become unintentionally more penal.

“What we want to see is much more work on the side of promoting jobs and growth because we come here to eliminate poverty not to make it worse.”

Among a group of Liberal Democrat MPs calling for benefit rises to be linked to average earnings, former party leader Charles Kennedy said: “A tactical judgment I think has been taken by Conservative – not coalition, but Conservative – high command that this can be a very useful dividing stretch of water to place between themselves and in particular the Labour Party with a view to the next election.”

The bill was branded “cruel and callous” by Green MP Caroline Lucas, who said: “What are we meant to make of the long-term policy intentions here?

“Unfortunately, I think it is very clear it is to chip away at the welfare state and to leave people to fend for themselves, with US-style deprivation for the unsuccessful.

“It is a scandal to expose poor people to this kind of risk and insecurity, especially at the same time the most wealthy are set to enjoy a significant tax cut.”

Gallery

Anti Cuts Rally In Liverpool

This gallery contains 3 photos.


  A quote from a general secretary  from my former trade union who was standing for union elections to all his members. ”When this government gets its policies wrong I will criticise them. When they get it right I will praise … Continue reading

Gallery

Proposed Control Immigration

This gallery contains 2 photos.


  I find myself defending the much talked about immigration again. So here I go again in regards to the main political parties if it was not for immigration from Europe and SE Asia, Asia, Africa, Middle East, Caribbean, Jews … Continue reading

Propose Deal of a Lib Dem(Fibdem) and Labour coalition


 

Labour-up-Lib-Dems-downMy thoughts on a much talked about a Lib Dem (Fib Dem) and Labour Coalition:

Whilst I acknowledge that there is coalition governments across Europe for years I am quite open to say to them good luck. If we look back into the history of coalitions in the UK it is noticeable that they break up before their term of office ended. Granted during the Second World War there was a coalition but that in my opinion was still shaky grounds.

There was a brief moment in the 70s there was a coalition look what happen to it. A sharp election was called so forgive me if I’m against coalitions.  Recently I read from a fellow bloggers in a nutshell that there is a sounding of a Fib Dem and Labour coalition. I say to those who thinks that it may happen let me be very clear they are many in Labour Party that are NOT in favour of it.

Yes there will be some in Labour would like to see a Fib Dem pack with Labour but those members are very few and they don’t speak for the majority of Labour members. If many have noticed of lately there has been many ex-members of Fib Dems who has cross over to Labour. Here is the exciting bit some have failed to mention some of them believe it or not were former members of Labour.

When asked the question why they left in the first place the  answer are various form:

1) I wanted to stand as a Councillor, MP, and MEP and my members had a bigger vote if I don’t get any of the above I will join another party and take my members with me.

2) I left because of the war and the person who stood in my ward was from the wrong caste or not from the same village.

Now coming back to the original point as to why I’m against a Fib Dem pack with Labour is because it will not work it’s a waste of pulling resources and time.

For those of us who happen to witness a Conservative and Fib Dem coalition in their own town centre or metropolitan council will hopefully give you a understanding of where I’m coming from. I live in Birmingham (West Midlands not to be confused by Birmingham in Alabama) where many of its citizen saw first-hand the mess they left behind with the budget yet they had the cheek to continue to play the blame game that it was Labour fault and the list goes on.

In short but hash or rude awakening the Fib Dems will go into bed with any party to gain power they will tell you of their grand story they did it because they have a common objective to keep a closer eye on the finance and they are in the ideal place to introduce a Fib Dem agenda yet their membership continue to be divided over their partner in crime the Conservatives.

This how I view a Fib Dem pack with Labour as the Conservative slogan We all in it together comes to mind and that can only mean danger to Labour. I’m sure that our core voter will not forgive us (Labour)

Granted during the 2010 General Elections under Gordon Brown leadership of Labour Party both Labour and Fibdems were in talks over coalition the Fibdems in the end decided to lay in bed with Conservative look what happen to them now.

Let go back in time to get a real understanding of a coalition with Fib Dems and Labour:

Before the Labour Party had been formed, various candidates stood for Parliament with backing of the Liberal Party and the Labour Representation League, including Thomas Burt, Harry Broadhurst and Alexander Macdonald. These MPs were referred to as ‘Lib–Lab’, although there was not a formal ‘pact’.

This agreement eventually fell apart with the formation of the Independent Labour Party and the Labour Representation Committee.

1903

Main article: Gladstone-MacDonald pact

In 1903 an agreement was made between Herbert Gladstone (then Chief Whip of the Liberal Party) and Ramsay MacDonald (Secretary of the Labour Representation Committee) that, in thirty-four constituencies, the Labour Party and the Liberal Party would not stand against each other, and thus risk splitting their vote. As a result of this agreement, in contests against the Conservative party, 29 Labour MPs were returned at the general election of 1906.

1924

In the 1923 general election, both parties campaigned on the issue of free trade. The Conservatives, who had campaigned to introduce protective tariffs, lost their parliamentary majority but remained the largest party. The Liberals agreed to enable the formation of the first Labour government in 1924 under Ramsay MacDonald.

1929

In the 1929 general election, Labour won the greatest number of seats, though not a parliamentary majority. The now much weakened Liberals allowed the formation of the second Labour government by not allying with the Conservatives to defeat the new government.

1977

In March 1977 the Labour Government, left with no overall majority following a by-election defeat, faced a motion of no confidence. In order to remain in office, Prime Minister James Callaghan approached the Liberal Party under the leadership of David Steel. Callaghan had been prime minister for just one year, having succeeded Harold Wilson who had led Labour to a three-seat majority in October 1974.

An agreement was negotiated, under the terms of which the Labour Party accepted a limited number of Liberal Party policy proposals and in exchange, the Liberal Party agreed to vote with the government in any subsequent motion of no confidence. While this ‘pact’ was the only official bi-party agreement since the Second World War (until the Conservative–Lib Dem coalition following the 2010 election), it fell far short of a coalition. The Lib–Lab Pact’s end was confirmed on 7 September 1978,[1] by which time Callaghan was expected to call a general election, but instead he decided to continue as leader of a minority government until May 1979, when after a vote of no confidence it was forced to hold a general election, in which Margaret Thatcher led the Conservatives back into power.

Proposed coalition of 1997

In the lead up to the 1997 general election, a coalition government was discussed by Tony Blair and the Lib Dems, according to Paddy Ashdown‘s The Ashdown Diaries. Ashdown, a strong proponent of a Lib-Lab coalition, said that from Blair’s point of view, in order to get the Conservatives out of power and because he wanted to move his party towards the New Labour ideal, a coalition would strengthen his majority in the likely event of a victory. To get the Liberal Democrats into his Cabinet, he allegedly agreed on their terms of electoral reform. Tony Blair was still considering attempting to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats on the day of the general election, until the full scale of his Labour Party’s majority became clear.[2] It is alleged that Blair still harboured thoughts of getting the Lib Dems into Cabinet, but that John Prescott‘s resignation threat stemmed this.

Proposed coalition of 2010

After the hung parliament in 2010, the Liberal Democrats, as they had indicated they would do so prior to the election,[3] first began negotiations with the Conservatives – as the party which won the most votes and seats – about the possibility of forming a government; but, after talks appeared to have stalled, complementary negotiations were undertaken with Labour.

Labour’s delegation for negotiations included Peter Mandelson, Andrew Adonis, Ed Miliband, and Ed Balls. Press rumours of a possible Lib Dem-Labour deal were publicised, with Gordon Brown alleged to be willing to offer a form of Proportional Representation if an arrangement which would have kept him in government could be agreed.[4]

A Lib-Lab coalition would, however, have been eight seats short of a majority.[5] A coalition of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SDLP, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and the Green Party – a “rainbow” or “traffic light” coalition – would have therefore been needed to give even the smallest possible majority.[5] For this, amongst other reasons, the talks failed. On the collapse of talks with Labour, a deal between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives was reached (subsequently being approved by Liberal Democrats members at a special party conference).

There was a significant level of hostility to such a deal within the Labour party with coalition proposals being opposed by, among others, former cabinet ministers John Reid, Alan Johnson, David Blunkett and former leader Neil Kinnock.[6] John Reid said that such a coalition would be “bad for the country”.[7]

David Laws, chief negotiator for the Liberal Democrats in coalition negotiations, subsequently commented on Labour’s preparation and conduct in negotiations – his main areas of criticism centred on Labour’s lack of contrition about their record over the previous thirteen years, inadequate preparation for discussions, their unwillingness to accommodate Liberal Democrat policy proposals in the potential programme for government, and the arrogant and patronising attitude of specific key Labour figures. Specifically he said that whilst Gordon Brown was quite serious about pursuing talks, he accused former minister Ed Balls of “sabotaging” the talks.[8]

Possible coalition after 2015 general election

The party that wins the most votes but fails to get an absolute majority in the house has the right to attempt to form a government first, either on their own or in a coalition Nick Clegg stated prior to the 2010 election.[9] He has also stated his willingness to work with the Labour party if in the next parliament they win a plurality of the votes.[10] This is however unlikely under the leadership of Nick Clegg as both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls [11] have spoken of unhappiness with Nick Clegg because of his partnership with David Cameron. In a Liberal Democratic member poll in the summer of 2012, 48 percent of polled members said they would be in favour of a partnership with the Labour party if the next election ends in a hung parliament.[12]

Coalition State Pension Reform


 

stevewebb_2000709cMy sincere thoughts on Coalition State Pension Reform:

Whilst im not against pension reforms per say I have to lodge my concerns of what I think may happen for the our children of tomorrow. Like I said from the beginning  I would like to see some reforms to our welfare system which is inclusive  to all and not exclusive to the many but to the few.

Who would have thought  that when our voters could not decide which political party to put into office that we would end up having a Conservative and Lib Dem(Fibdems) Coalition in place and the attacks like our state pension, and welfare which includes our housing, and NHS.

Lets not jest with ourselves and face some home truths for a moment when I look back into our history of the Mix Economy of Welfare in the UK I concluded:

The mixed economy of welfare:

The theme of most welfare histories is ‘the coming of the welfare state’ as though all previous forms of welfare were temporary and incomplete, that it was inevitable Britain’s welfare should be ultimately dominated by state provision, and that, somehow, the journey is now at an end. However, if we step back only 100 years – and use this as a vantage point to look forward – we would have a very different perspective. In the 19th century Britain’s welfare was characterised by voluntary provision, with mutual and friendly societies delivering a whole range of benefits. Local authorities and voluntarily run hospitals, together with a national system of panel doctors were financed from health insurance contributions, which were set by the state and collected through mutually owned societies.

If we move back further still we gain yet another perspective of how welfare was delivered collectively, free of the state. In mediaeval times many hospitals were church run, though the word hospital should not be understood in today’s terms. Back then such places were communities where the elderly and frail in particular were looked after.

Parishes, the first basic administrative units in Britain, also had a responsibility to their poor. The Elizabethan Poor Law enshrined this right with the practice of sturdy and less sturdy beggars being sent back to their parish of origin ostensibly for help. This system, although modified, remained largely intact until the offensive launched by the Utilitarian reformers. For them, no fiddling with the facts was beyond the pale if it could discredit the old regime. The new poor law of 1834 was the result of this campaign, and where the principle of ‘less eligibility’ was enforced – help in the new system would only be offered if a person came into the ‘House’, as the poor law institution was known – a standard of living awaited them which was below that on which the poorest labourer could survive.

Lloyd George did not therefore invent the welfare state. As we have seen it was already very much in existence. But he did, along with a young Winston Churchill, refine the concept and drive it forward into the arms of the state – surprising for a Liberal politician. But we have jumped too far ahead in our story.

The 1906 landslide victory of the Liberal Government was not based on a programme of welfare reform. Indeed, it did its best not to discuss it. But reform came. In order to protect the friendly societies a non-contributory, means-tested old age pension was introduced for those of 70 or more. At the time average life expectancy for men was 48 years!

National health and a more limited coverage, unemployment insurance, were introduced by the 1911 Act. Contribution and benefit levels were laid down by Parliament, but friendly societies and mutually-owned bodies operated the health scheme.

The insurance principle was advanced to finance this new welfare because the Liberal Government was anxious not to raise income tax and alienate the bedrock of its support. It therefore followed Bismarck’s lead. In Germany Bismarck had faced even greater resistance to a tax-based welfare. The German Chancellor did not then have the power to levy taxes on income. The insurance principle, now regarded as a crucial aspect of state welfare, was originally met with considerable hostility. Lloyd George won over the initial opposition with his tripartite financing from worker, employer and taxpayer. Hence his cry to the workers of ‘7d for 3d’.

Neville Chamberlain added to this insurance base with the Widows’, Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act of 1925. Pensions were paid from 65 and widow’s benefit introduced. But these inter-war years were dominated by unemployment. And it was the financial chaos resulting from botched attempts to provide income for the mass unemployed, while maintaining an insurance fund, which helped reposition trade unionists, and others, on the question of state or voluntary based welfare. The use of a household based means-test for unemployment assistance added grist to the mill for this campaign.

Beveridge

An enquiry was established in 1941 to propose how best to tidy up state welfare. Beveridge seized the opportunity, rewrote the script, and then redesigned the contours of British welfare. The publication of his report was fortuitously delayed. When it was produced in November 1942 it followed hard on the heels of the Allies’ first major victory of World War Two. Implementing Beveridge was immediately seen as part of winning the peace.

The prize was security ‘from the cradle to the grave’. Although largely a synthesis of ideas (including Beveridge’s) which had been around for some time, it was the blueprint for conquering Want, one of the five giants Beveridge declared should be slain by way of post-war reconstruction. Each giant was countered by:

  • The 1944 Butler Act which reformed schooling, the commitment to full employment in the same year.
  • The Family Allowance Act of 1945.
  • The 1946 National Insurance Act
  • The 1948 National Health Act, aimed at achieving that very objective, and established for the first time a national minimum.

But, as always, the world did not stand still. Although for sometime in the 1950s and 1960s welfare provision did just that. How to finance the NHS increasingly became a key political issue. Insurance benefits were not paid at a high enough level to prevent many pensioners from becoming poor, and by the 1970s full employment began taking a battering which it has had to endure until recently. The political caravan had once again moved off in search of new ideas.

Thatcherism

There was never a coherent Thatcherite approach to welfare. Following the main haemorrhage of manufacturing jobs in the 1981-82 recession (exacerbated by the inept handling of the exchange rate), the formal abandonment of a full employment goal looked like a mere precaution against future political failure. The NHS budget continued to increase, driven upwards by a growing demand set by a combination of rising expectations, by health consumption becoming a lifestyle-type choice, by advances in medical technology, and by a rapid growth in life expectancy.

Welfare bills were confronted in two ways. Insurance benefits were hacked back with an ever-growing number of individuals pushed on to means-tested support rising from one in six of the population in 1979, to one in three in 1997. But the biggest savings for taxpayers (paid for by less generous pensions) came in 1980 with the switch to increasing the state retirement pension only in line with prices, and not by earnings if these were rising faster – as they invariably did.

By 1979 occupational pensions had grown from the modest initiatives recalled earlier into the great welfare success of this country. Alongside these pensions the Tories planted individually owned schemes, known as personal pensions. The advent of these schemes was their major welfare innovation. This advance, however, has been hampered by miss-selling – i.e. persuading people to leave occupational schemes almost invariably against their best interest – often accompanied by the imposition of very high charges and the absence of an employer’s contribution. Even so, by 1979, Britain had more assets owned by occupational and personal pension schemes than the whole of the asset portfolio owned by other European Community schemes combined.

And yet welfare bills continued to escalate in an apparently unstoppable fashion. Welfare was about to undergo another major rethink.

Welfare and character

When welfare was run by friendly societies and mutually owned organisations few questioned the fact that welfare affected how people behaved. Welfare was not simply strictly policed; the range of benefits full recognised the danger that some people would claim benefit to which they were not entitled if the regime was slack. Welfare was seen not merely as a means of meeting a need, but by its organisation, and the means by its delivery, it was conceived as a tool for building good character.

The biblical view of human nature – its fallen status, yet conceived to be redeemed – was lost sight of in left-wing intellectual circles by the 1960s. Welfare was by them seen primarily as an act of altruism and this paternalistic view was advanced behind the cover of politically correct statements, so much so that even the Right lost the confidence to mouth, let alone act on, the broader, age-old understanding of mankind.

The resulting paralysis of both will and mind resulted in little concern for how different types of welfare (insurance or means-tested) affected behaviour; and to raise the question of fraud was to be automatically deemed politically unbalanced. ‘Thinking the unthinkable’ was the task for Labour’s final years in opposition before 1997, and was part of the strategy of making Labour electable. It was never meant to be an activity undertaken in government.

Thinking the unthinkable in Opposition took place across five inter-related areas.

  • It was not simply a question of the size and the rate of growth of social security expenditure. The key issue was the growth of means-tested welfare and in particular how this form of provision affected the actions of recipients.
  • Welfare was not therefore seen as a neutral agency operating in society. Rather it was one, which, for good or ill, helps determine motivation, shape action and thereby determine character.
  • Welfare had to work with the grain of human nature. Self-interest, one of the most powerful of human instincts, had to be the cornerstone around which welfare reform was built.
  • A clear distinction had to be maintained between the means and the ends of welfare policy. In order to gain adequate universal pension coverage for instance, new partnerships between the private and mutual sector were necessary.
  • Welfare reforms were not merely an add on to the government’s constitutional reform programme. Proposals for building up membership organisations which are separate from the government on the one hand, and privately owned companies on the other, would have a central role in rebuilding civil society which itself was an aim of welfare reform.

The present Government has now embarked on its programme of welfare reform. Time will tell how well it succeeds in implementing the unthinkable. Making reform workable is a more important objective. As I resigned as Welfare Reform Minister I will inevitably be seen as a biased observer. And bias in the welfare debate is something about which readers should continually be on their guard.

One notable academic observed that to study welfare was to highlight the values of the society within which that welfare was provided. I would argue that our values determine to a large extent what we observe. Hence it was observers believing in state collectivist solutions who have generally written up the story of the coming of the welfare state and the final arrival of state provision. Any deviation from this model is seen not just as defeat, but as essentially retrogressive. That view is now under attack.

As one of those who first questioned the inevitability, let alone the desirability of state provision being welfare’s final stop, and who seeks to present welfare developments as a continuous story, I am open to the charge by those who believe in the correctness of state welfare solutions, of being equally biased.

David Cameron insists that the coalition proposals on the state pension are “fair,” but they are a typical “hardship today, jam tomorrow” Tory offering.

Many people anticipating retirement life on the current state pension of £107.45 will look at Cameron’s headline figure of £144 and think they’re in heaven, but, as ever, the devil is in the detail.

Means-tested benefits for pensioners already work out at £142.70 a week, which indicates that the government is not injecting substantial sums into the pension pot.

Most voters has always opposed means-tested benefits and supported demands by the pensioners’ movement and the trade unions for a state pension as of right on which retired people can enjoy a decent standard of life.

The government is flirting with decency by offering a non-means-tested increase in the basic pension, but it is demanding huge increases in employer and employee National Insurance contributions that will affect about six million workers.

It won’t affect government ministers, MPs, company directors and top City businessmen because they already have personal arrangements that render the state pension irrelevant.

What is planned by the Tories and Liberal Democrats is the usual redistribution of poverty within the working class, designed to provoke complaints by those who lose out against those who gain.

Those who lose out will be the majority, as GMB national officer Brian Strutton has made clear, pointing out that, for instance, the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) will be weighed down by the extra demands imposed by government.

Hammering LGPS contributors and the scheme itself with a £6 billion tax burden risks undermining its viability and cutting low-paid workers’ purchasing power.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith wallows in the duplicity that is typical of this government, claiming that concern for women is a major factor in this change.

Taking women for granted as carers or as parents taking career breaks to raise children has scarred the pensions and benefits system for decades.

The scandal could and should have been dealt with long ago but for a lack of political will.

Duncan Smith’s “good news for women” rhetoric is shameful for a politician who knows that gender justice formed no part of the government’s motivation and who cannot be unaware of the scale of hardship that this measure will impose on millions of low-paid workers who depend on the state pension.

In any case, National Pensioners Convention general secretary Dot Gibson points out that five million older women pensioners are likely to miss out on these new arrangements.

Also missing out are 1.8 million current pensioners who would be eligible for means-tested benefits but prefer not to submit themselves to examination.

Gibson sums up the government approach as a “con trick,” explaining that future generations of pensioners will have to pay an extra five years worth of National Insurance contributions, work longer before they can retire and end up with less than they can get today.

It’s difficult to argue with such a summation, which emphasises that state pensioners are being robbed once again by those who have no stake in the state pension system.

All of us pay towards the multimillion-pound pension pots of the City directors, so it’s time that the richest in society paid their fair share in a progressive taxation system so that decent pensions could be provided for all.

See article from Perfessional Pensions below and make up your own minds:

The government will unveil its long-awaited state pension white paper, revealing decisions on the future of contracting out and increasing the state pension age in line with life expectancy.

State pension age

The state pension age is already due to rise to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028 due to changes brought in by the coalition (PP Online 29 November 2011).

However, Chancellor George Osborne has promised to link the state pension age to official life expectancy figures in order to prevent wrangling over the increase every few years.

Towers Watson senior consultant David Robbins said: “When the state pension age reaches 66 (2020) and 67 (2028) average life expectancy at State Pension Age would be c21.4 years for men and 23.9 years for women according to the assumptions used in the ONS’s population projections.

“If the government wanted to keep these numbers more or less steady thereafter, the ONS projections imply that SPA would need to rise to 68 by around 2036; 69 by around 2044; and 70 by around 2053.

“Male and female life expectancy are not projected to increase at identical rates, so it is not possible to keep life expectancy at SPA exactly the same for both.

“However, the government has not said that increasing the state pension age with life expectancy necessarily means keeping the average number of years spent in receipt of state pensions constant.

“It could instead mean keeping the proportion of adult life spent in retirement so that extra years of life are shared between work and retirement constant; an idea that has featured in earlier DWP analysis. In that case, the SPA would rise more slowly.”

Contracting out

Contracting out of the state second pension has been a particular sticking point for the Department for Work and Pensions while working on the reforms, torn between creating a simple system and unfairly cutting the entitlements of people in already suffering defined benefit schemes.

Any changes are likely to mean DB schemes must pay a higher rate of NI for members, adding to their costs.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail said: “For those who contracted out of the second tier pension, anyone who has been contracted out of S2P or SERPS will have a one-off adjustment made to their £144 per week entitlement.

“The details are not yet available; however this deduction is unlikely to reduce the pension entitlement below the current basic state pension of £107.45 per week. This deduction reflects the benefits payable from their contracted out pension plan.

“Anyone who is subsequently then below £144 per week will build further pension entitlement by continuing to pay National Insurance.

“For those who are contracted in to the second tier pension, anyone who retires after 2017 with a combined entitlement of state and second tier pension worth less than £144 per week (under today’s system) will receive £144 per week if they have paid 35 years’ NI contributions.

“Anyone who is below state pension age in 2017 with a combined entitlement of state and second tier pension of more than £144 will keep that level of pension.

“However they will then get split indexation, with the £144 element going up in line with the triple lock and the balance above that going up in line with CPI.

“For those who have had both contracted in and contracted out periods, anyone who has been both contracted in and contracted out of S2P or SERPS between 1987 and 2017 will have a one-off deduction made to their entitlement based on the amount of time they were contracted out. An addition will then be made for the periods they were contracted in up to 2017.”

The end of means testing

An essential part of the coalition’s ideology on the welfare system is the notion that work and saving should be rewarded rather than disincentivised by means testing.

As such, the universal pension has previously been offered up as a way to end means testing by providing everyone with the same level of provision, regardless of any other income they have in retirement, provided they have paid enough NI.

Buck consultants managing director Fraser Smart said: “The new system will provide a simpler state structure and ensures that every single pound going into a top up pension plan will be to your benefit, which is absolutely vital when we are automatically enrolling every single employee into pensions over the next few years.

“It provides a much more reasonable minimum amount for the less well off without a complicated way of collecting it – £144 per week compared with £107 per week today and £142 per week for the means tested guaranteed minimum.”

Women and the self-employed to benefit

There have always been complaints that the current system penalises women and the self-employed. The self-employed can only receive a state pension of £107.45, but will see an increase to the same £144 per week as employed workers, provided they have paid the appropriate NICs.

Meanwhile, with the majority of S2P payers being men, the system is expected to provide more equality between men and women.

 

Ed Miliband on the right track to protect tenants renting from private sectors


 

MilibandMy thoughts on Young Miliband plans to protect tenants from private landlords:

Grahame Morris MP recently highlighted:

“This is the year when Ed Miliband, the Labour Party and the wider labour movement must translate a consistently respectable opinion-poll lead into a solid, unassailable lead – the sort of lead that will drive this Con-Dem coalition into the sea at the general election”.

 

25728-1-Grahame-Morris-MP1On face value Miliband and the Labour Party have everything going for them.

The public are now realising the fact that George Osborne’s voodoo austerity economics has choked off any economic recovery and we now stand on the brink of a triple-dip recession.

They have watched as David Cameron and Nick Clegg have blundered and U-turned on everything from forestry privatisation to same-sex marriage, and they are increasingly disturbed by the coalition’s attacks on the poor, the old, the unemployed, or simply those who have children.

We need to oppose and expose the plans to cap housing benefit at £500, an arbitrary figure that takes no account of where people live. It is high time also that Labour’s front bench recognised that the vicious circle of private landlords increasing rents merely for the taxpayer to pick up the tab needs to be halted.

We need to institute a new policy of rent controls and rent-adjusted areas in expensive cities – just as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, no great left-winger, does in New York City.

Miliband has rightly moved away from some of the top-down authoritarian ways of new Labour.

By the last election we had lost around five million voters who perceived that there was little difference between the main parties. Many also felt Labour had betrayed them over the Iraq war.

Common too was the feeling that the party had strayed too far from its roots and was opening the door to a substantial increase in outsourcing and privatisation.

Those chickens are now coming home to roost, as first Andrew Lansley and now Rupert Murdoch’s little helper Jeremy Hunt attempt to hand over as much of our NHS to private companies such as Virgin Healthcare and Carillion as is possible.

Some £7 billion of our money has now been handed over to these corporate parasites, whose first priority will always be to their shareholders and not their patients.

Young Miliband is correct to highlight this issue in regards to the private housing sector as their recent has increased and their tenants have very little protection unlike if you rent from the council housing where there is some protection.

Let’s not forget the chairman of a private equity firm told councils to scrap building affordable homes in favour of an expansion of the private-rented sector on 22 August 2012.

In a government-commissioned report 3i chairman Adrian Montague said councils should use their powers to waive the requirements to build homes for those on lower incomes to increase the number of properties built to let.

His report said that while the desirability of affordable housing should not be ruled out it should be weighed against the benefits already built into market rent developments.

The review also recommends setting up a task force to encourage build-to-let investment and the release of unused publicly owned land for development.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps (right) said the report offered a “blueprint” to expand the sector.

“In the past it’s often been seen as the Cinderella of the housing market, but when over three million people rely on this sector for their home, this is clearly no longer the case,” he said.

But critics warned the move would boost the number of properties for private rent at the expense of creating “much needed” affordable homes sought by those struggling to get a foothold on the property ladder.

National Housing Federation head David Orr said: “While we agree that there needs to be more private-market rented housing, this should not be at the expense of affordable homes.

Homeless charity Shelter said the report offered “nothing for the millions of people already in the sector, paying sky-high rents and living under constant threat of eviction or further rent rises.”

Local Government Association environment and housing board chairman Mike Jones agreed that “any strategy to boost the number of new rental homes should not come at the expense of new affordable housing”.

I stringly concur with Labour’s shadow housing minister Jack Dromey who said “Huge cuts to government investment in housing, a lack of liquidity in the finance markets, the failure of banks to lend to homebuyers and stagnating demand are the real hurdles to viability – not the cost of providing much-needed affordable housing.”

Working families are struggling to afford rocketing rent as ruthless landlords cash in on the economic crisis, housing charity Shelter said today.

It warned that average private rents are beyond the means of “ordinary” families in 55 per cent of local authorities.

Homes were found in these areas which cost more than 35 per cent of the median local take-home pay – the level considered by Shelter to be unaffordable.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “We have become depressingly familiar with first-time buyers being priced out of the housing market but the impact of unaffordable rents is more dramatic.”

Private rents in 8 per cent of local authorities in England were “extremely unaffordable” – with average rents costing 50 per cent or more of full-time take-home pay.

Just 12 per cent of areas were deemed affordable, with rents sitting below 30 per cent of wages.

Researchers found that it is more affordable to rent in Manchester, Liverpool or Birmingham than in north Devon, north Dorset or Herefordshire.

But cheaper areas such as Blackpool are still classed as “unaffordable” due to the relatively low level of the median income.

London was the most expensive, with the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom home in the capital standing at £1,360 – almost two and a half times the £568 average in the rest of England.

The highest private rent for a two-bedroom home was in Kensington and Chelsea, at £2,714 a month, while the lowest was in Burnley, Lancashire, at £394.

Mr Campbell Robb went on to state  “With no cheaper alternative, ordinary people are forced to cut their spending on essentials like food and heating, or uproot and move away from jobs, schools and families.”

Council housing campaigners said the report showed the need for greater investment in affordable and publicly owned homes.

Defend Council Housing chairwoman Eileen Short said: “Twenty years of underinvestment has meant we now have 2 million less council and housing association properties in Britain.

“Only now the politicians are waking up to what people on the ground are all too aware of – the desperate need for decent really affordable

To top it all off anyone who opposes “bringing competition into schools, health and welfare services” is a “guerilla” who needs to be dealt with by Vietnam-style counterinsurgency methods.

That’s the view of Sean Worth, PM David Cameron‘s special adviser on health until last June, expressed in a recent Telegraph article.

“Hardliners who lost recent battles over social reforms” are now “regrouping for a new wave of local-level disruption,” he warns.

Worth means that teachers, nurses, doctors and parents want to fight Tory privatisation plans.

When he says they “lost” I think he means the Tories succeeded in getting their “reform” Bills through Parliament.

But he’s now clearly worried that these Westminster victories are threatened by national resistance.

“While Michael Gove impressively chalks up the wins in Westminster debates, localised strikes and threats of walkouts by unions are being organised,” he says.

Socialist, “hard left” and trade union activists are “mobilising to infiltrate” to defeat health and education privatisation – though they seem to be “infiltrating” the schools and hospitals in which they work.

Worth concedes that privatisers of all parties should “acknowledge their total failure to connect with ordinary working people” and get them to like privatisation.

This connection is going to have to be made through military counterinsurgency methods.

He advocates “guerilla warfare,” arguing that “the most effective answer to dealing with that was developed by a free-thinking British army officer, Robert Thompson, in the ’60s. Unlike the rest of the top brass of his time, Thompson understood that ultimately the battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary people was far more important than endlessly chasing after the guerillas themselves.”

In fact, Thompson’s “hearts and minds” strategies were vicious systems of control.

Thompson first fought the Malayan insurgency in the 1950s. He then became a US army adviser in the Vietnam war – he ended up as a “pacification” adviser to Richard Nixon.

In Malaya he tried to win “hearts and minds” by forcing people out of their homes into strictly policed “barbed-wire villages.”

In Vietnam he favoured forced resettlement in similar “strategic hamlets.”

His goal was to break the link between guerillas and the population by putting the population into authoritarian settlements run by militias, where food and other necessities were controlled by the authorities. These could be given or withheld in order to win hearts.

Both his Malayan and Vietnamese counterinsurgency strategies were marked by repression, and in fact outright massacres.

This is the approach Worth thinks should be applied to those resisting privatisation. You might think he’s just a crank, but he is influential.

He runs the Better Public Services programme at Cameron’s favourite think tank Policy Exchange.

He’s also a lobbyist for a firm called MHP Communications, which represents privatisation companies like the Priory and Working Links.

His call for a counterinsurgency in our schools shows that the Tories, frustrated by their weakness, are going, well, a bit funny in the head.

I’m not sure how clients of MHP feel about their lobbyist suggesting the government approach teachers and nurses in the way Nixon approached the Viet Cong.

See article below:

Plans to protect tenants renting from private landlords are to be outlined in a speech by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Speaking to the Fabian Society, Mr Miliband will propose a national register of landlords and more powers for councils to tackle rogue ones.

He will also say a confusing system of fees charged by landlords must be made easily understandable.

The speech is intended to flesh out the idea of a one-nation party, which was unveiled at Labour’s conference.

A “national register” of landlords – which already exists in Scotland – was proposed under the last Labour government.

Notice period

The plans were abandoned by the coalition, which said it did not want to impose “burdensome red tape and bureaucracy”.

But Mr Miliband will tell the annual conference of the Fabian Society, a left-wing think-tank: “We cannot have two nations divided between those who own their own homes and those who rent.

“Most people who rent have responsible landlords and rental agencies. But there are too many rogue landlords and agencies either providing accommodation which is unfit or ripping off their tenants.

“And too many families face the doubt of a two-month notice period before being evicted.

“Imagine being a parent with kids settled in a local school and your family settled in your home for two, three, four years, facing that sort of uncertainty.”

He will say the private rented sector is now bigger than the social rented sector for the first time in almost 50 years.

In total, 3.6 million households – including one million which have children – privately rent.

“Often in accommodation deemed below standard,” he will say.

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins says that inside Labour they are hoping that this speech will help them move on from their time in office.

Mr Miliband will say that “One Nation Labour” has “learnt the lessons” of the financial crisis.

“It begins from the truth that New Labour did not do enough to bring about structural change in our economy to make it work for the many, not just the few.

“It did not do enough to change the rules of the game that were holding our economy back.”

He will also say that New Labour was too timid in enforcing rights and responsibilities and too sanguine about the consequences of free markets.

“Learning from our history, One Nation Labour is clear that we need to do more to create a society where everyone genuinely plays their part.”