Fatcats Vs Scroungers,Skivvy Who Benefits

article_update_4f300fc2ba94508d_1354816185_9j-4aaqskYesterday(08 January 13) I attended Birmingham City Full Council meeting NOT as a councillor but as a member of public listening to the leader speaking about the cuts that the previous administration(Birmingham Coalition Fibdems and Conservative) had created  and the mess they left behind.

In May 2012 Birmingham Labour returned to manage the council after the hard work our Labour campaigners. Intriguingly under a Labour ran council they had put a pot of money aside for single status and equal pay for low paid council workers and still had enough money set aside this where it became even more interesting the Birmingham Coalition spent the money on grand projects in areas like Sutton Coldfield instead of reinvesting it into our Public Services they left Birmingham in-debt. Yesterday the leader of  Birmingham Conservatives  and Lib Dems(Fibdems) both accuse the Labour Leader of mismanagement of the finance for the city.

Under the Central Government rule councils are not allowed to increase Council Tax which will increase the revenue and the proposals that Central Government came up with is well short of the proposals they want income increased by. Instead there is a saying goes damn if you do damn if you don’t. The former Birmingham coalition leaders in a nutshell in what I interpret as “We are all it together” does this have a familiar ring to this when they voted against the Labour motion.

This why I say that we cannot wait for a return of a Labour Government our campaign for Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds must start now for their fair share of  funding lets face it even the three big unions are on board with our campaign in most regions that is run by a Labour Council which has been hit the hardest by Eric Fickles(Pickles) Local Government Minister.


After short visit to the first full council 2013  I had a train to catch to Westminster Village to catch up with the debate on benefits.

intriguingly a friends of mine once said to me whislt a New year Eve Party celebrations:

Whenever capitalist politicians assure you that their sole concern is the national interest, check your wallet or purse to see whose grubby fingers are in it.

This is particularly true at present when Tory and Liberal Democrat leaders are draped around each other reaffirming the vows of their marriage of inconvenience.

Despite publication of another worthless document, The Coalition – Together In The National Interest, there was little point in David Cameron and Nick Clegg appearing together in a facade of bonhomie.

There is little to divide the two well-heeled, privately educated beneficiaries of inherited wealth on policy grounds, but both men know that there are grumblings within their parties that could bring down the coalition before another election is due in May 2015.

Many Tory MPs still cannot understand that their party did not win the last general election, even though it was regarded as a shoo-in for a couple of years beforehand.

They complain about the Liberal Democrat leader having too much influence over government policy, which equates really to Cameron’s failure to promise to take Britain out of the European Union.

As for Liberal Democrat members, they are fully aware that their leaders haven’t entered a coalition as equals but as bought-and-sold lobby fodder to assist the Tories in their crusade to destroy the gains of the 1945 Labour government – the NHS and the welfare state – in a single five-year term.

Those prepared to hold their noses while backing the coalition imagined that they would get House of Lords reform and changes in the electoral system, but these hopes were dashed when Cameron cynically gave the go-ahead to his backbenchers to rip away Clegg’s derisory fig leaf.

Clegg stands exposed now to his MPs and, more importantly, to the electorate as an unprincipled, posturing incompetent whose only concern is hanging on to his Cabinet seat as long as possible.

The decision of former minister Sarah Teather, who was dumped in the September reshuffle that brought back expenses cheat David Laws, to vote against the government over imposing a real-terms cut on welfare benefits may be partly due to sour grapes.

However, it is an issue that chimes with many Liberal Democrats, especially since it contradicts Clegg’s claptrap about building “a stronger economy in a fairer society.”

Teather must know that, if inflation increases over the next three years, the 1 per cent annual benefits “rise” will guarantee greater hardships for the working poor and those existing on benefits, so she should spare us the “very heavy heart” rhetoric about opposing the government.

The richest 1 per cent of the population will profit from a cut in the top rate of income tax from 50 to 45 per cent in April, so where does this leave fairness?

Nowhere is the answer because when the neoliberal zealots prattle on about fairness, they mean equally vicious reductions in the living standards of working-class families, whether in private-sector jobs, the public services or looking for any kind of work.

There is nothing to be gained from polite requests that this government should change its ways or from waiting stoically until Cameron calls a general election.

The organised labour movement has to take the lead in mobilising workplaces and communities to build resistance to the bankers’ agenda and force the early resignation of this misbegotten coalition.

I managed to witness both David Miliband and Karen Buck in action speaking in top form in regards to Labour amendment to the Welfare Bill debate

After heated exchanges during a Commons debate, politicians voted in favour of the legislation at a second reading by 324 to 268 – a majority of 56.

The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill limits rises in most working-age benefits to 1% in 2014/15 and 2015/2016 instead of linking them to inflation. Similar measures for 2013/14 will be introduced separately.

The plan is aimed at slashing £5bn from the welfare bill over the next five years.

Ministers say the cap is needed because it is unfair that state handouts have been rising twice as fast as wages during recent years of austerity.

Labour voted against the move to end inflation-linked rises and branded it a “strivers’ tax” as 68% of households caught by the below inflation rise in benefits were in work.

But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused Labour of tying working families into the benefits system and “buying votes” by increasing handouts.

He claimed the previous government had created a system in which nine out of 10 families with children could claim tax credits, including those on £70,000-a-year.

He said: “They (Labour) think that helping people is about trapping more and more people in benefits. What is really interesting is that under the tax credit system, nine out of ten families with children were eligible for tax credits.

“This went in some cases up to over £70,000 in earnings. What a ridiculous nonsense they have created.”

Former Liberal Democrat minister Sarah Teather rebelled and warned attacks on the poor could lead to the “fragmentation” of society.

Other Lib Dem rebels were David Ward (Bradford East), Julian Huppert (Cambridge) and John Leech (Manchester Withington).

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has estimated seven million working families will be £165 worse off a year, compared to £215 for the 2.5 million workless households.

Mr Duncan Smith says the £165 figure only reflects the benefits cap and claims working families will actually be £125 better off each year due to the rise in the income tax threshold.

He said that since the beginning of the recession incomes for those in work have risen by about 10%, while for those on benefits they have risen by about 20%.

He said: “What we are trying to do over the next few years is get that back to a fair settlement and then eventually it will go back on to inflation.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne claimed the Bill was a “hit and run on working families” who were paying the price for the Chancellor’s economic failure.

A Labour bid to block the Bill and insist on a “compulsory jobs guarantee” was defeated by 328 votes to 262, a majority of 66.

Rhetoric about benefit “scroungers” and “skivers” used by the Conservatives will be toned down after a backlash from their own ministers and MPs, who fear the attacks could revive the Tories’ image as “the nasty party”.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has joined the criticism of the language used by Conservative Campaign HQ and the Chancellor George Osborne. Mr Duncan Smith was appalled by a Tory online advert last month showing a man on a sofa, asking whether the Government should support “hard-working families or people who won’t work”.

Lynton Crosby, the Australian political strategist who starts work this month as the Tories’ election campaign chief, joined Mr Duncan Smith in warning the party not to repeat the ad. Today the Tories ran a different ad, attacking Labour and saying they were “standing up for hard-working people”.

One Tory minister told informed the media “We’ve not got the language right at Conservative HQ and the Treasury. Some people who lose their jobs and many people on tax credits, are strivers not scroungers. Young people looking hard for their first job are not skivers; there is a danger we may make them feel like parasites, and that we look like the nasty party. The message should be that we are making work pay.”

Martin Vickers, Tory MP for Cleethorpes, where 500 jobs will be lost when the Kimberly-Clark nappy firm closes a plant, said: “I support the Bill but we must not tar everyone with the same brush. Some people in my constituency who will be on benefits for a few months; in no sense will they be scroungers.” Sarah Wollaston, Tory MP for Totnes, said: “We have to be very careful about the language that we use … I don’t feel it’s right to use words like skivers. It might rhyme with strivers but it doesn’t mean that it’s the right word to use for people on benefits.”

Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Business Secretary, said: “I’m very uncomfortable with some of the language being used by our coalition partners, attacking people out of work… That … is completely unacceptable.”

Labour adopted the high-risk strategy of opposing the measure but claims public opinion is shifting its way because two-thirds of those affected by the below-inflation rises are low-paid people in work.

Liam Byrne, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “They know this is a strivers’ tax pure and simple and they’re now desperate to hide it.”

*l David Cameron and Nick Clegg are set to publish a dossier detailing progress on 480 pledges made by the coalition Government, which will acknowledge that some more than 70 targets have been missed, according to reports. The Daily Telegraph reported that the document will confirm that the coalition has failed to meet pledges in areas ranging from pensions and road-building to criminal justice, and said its publication appeared to have been delayed amid fears that it would overshadow any favourable coverage of the coalition’s mid-term review.

Cameron loses second minister in two days

David Cameron’s attempt to start the new year on a positive footing suffered another setback tonight when a second minister resigned from his Government.

Lord Marland of Odstock, a junior trade minister at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, is the second Conservative minister to leave the Government in as many days. It follows the surprise resignation on Monday of Lord Strathclyde as Leader of the House of Lords, which marred a relaunch of the Coalition.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “Lord Marland will be stepping down as a minister in order to focus on his role in trade promotion.” The former Conservative Party treasurer will continue to act as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy, and will lead delegations of businessmen on foreign trips.

It is for this reason myself and fellow brummies will be fighting for a fair deal for Birmingham join our campaign http://birmingham-labour.org.uk



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