If you recently were made redundant, lost your job, company gone bust or had to relocate through no fault of your own and had to sign at the Job Centre Plus don’t expect any help from them.
They will issue you with a piece of paper and tell you to get on with it. This is what the Job Centre Plus has come to under the Welfare Reform. Some of my friends has experienced this already I kid you not.
They were told as new applicant(s) they will have to go online to fill out their form(s) to get any form of benefits which includes Council Tax and Housing and a telephone number to call. Everything including social funds is included in this piece of paper.
There are 41 telephone numbers not so funny is all of them begins with 0800 or 0845 numbers so if you have a mobile phone it rakes up the bill on your mobile. This is no word of a lie if someone has a pay as you go mobile by the time you are put on hold bobs your uncle your credit has ran out that is before you have spoken to anybody on the other line.
This coalition does not really care about people unless you happen to be a rich donor to the conservatives and in return you will have a dinner party with David Cameron at a location of your choice. Intriguingly there are many people are in fear of the theory of the Jaws of Doom as they fear if the say something that is in support of or against then their employers may get wind of it then ask them to leave. Well it’s not surprise as some of my friends are on a zero contact and they don’t want to rock the boat with their employers as it’s almost like being unemployed.
Here is a article from Sir Albert Bore see link below:
In a political career stretching back 30 years, Sir Albert Bore, 66, can recall Birminghamcity council working happily with successive Tory governments, including the late Margaret Thatcher’s senior ministers. “Look back to the 1980s-90s, and Labour councils – this one certainly – co-operated with a Conservative government,” he says. “It comes down to whether it is advantageous, appropriate.”
Such pragmatism led the veteran councillor to acknowledge this year that some of David Cameron’s ministers had gone further than the last Labour government in devolving more power and funds to cities with a variety of “city deals“.
There is one exception: communities and local government secretary, Eric Pickles. Speaking more in sorrow than anger, Bore acknowledges a “standoff” between big cities and a minister who has lopped £5bn off council budgets in England over the past two years, with potentially worse to come. The trauma from that unprecedented cutback will soon be felt in places, such as Birmingham, where Bore says whole services face the axe.
England’s second city is under the cosh. Multimillion-pound funding to the world famous City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Birmingham Royal Ballet, is not secure beyond this year. Even statutory services, such as children’s and adult care, could be cut to the bone. Where will it end?
A much-publicised graph, the “jaws of doom“, is never far from his desk. It shows the budget pressures facing the city rising remorselessly high on the right of a grid and cuts in grant plunging to the bottom right – income dismally failing to meet expenditure. “I can’t salami-slice any more,” he laments. “Budgets have been pared back. We will have to cease doing certain things. I’m not specifying yet what those will be because I want the public of Birmingham to come to an understanding on what services the city council should provide and at what level.”
Bore, in his second spell as council leader after a break of eight years – when Birmingham was run by a Con-LibDem alliance – will soon launch an extensive consultation across the city of more than a million people, with public meetings, and much else, to illustrate the budgetary dilemma. The only certainty is that the city will never be the same again.
He quickly does the maths in the elegant, classical council house (as the town hall is known), once a powerful statement of municipal power and entrepreneurship that began with the legendary late-19th-century mayor, Joseph Chamberlain. “We’ve now taken up to £400m out over four years and that ‘jaws of doom’ [graph] shows it’s £615m we need to get to by 2016-17,” sighs Bore, anxiously awaiting George Osborne’s next three-year spending review in June and the prospect of worse to come. “We will then have to look again because the austerity measures that government are putting in place will continue beyond 2016 to 2017-18.”
And by then? “That £615m means 50% of the city council’s controlled budget. We have a gross budget of £3.5bn. Once you take out schools, housing etc, it’s down to £1.2bn and then, of course, you’ve got debt repayments. The city council cannot be the vehicle it was five years ago. Quite what vehicle it will be by 2016-17 we don’t yet know.”
Earlier this year, at a “cuts summit” of city council leaders and mayors in Liverpool, Bore pointed to a contradiction at the heart of what passes for urban policy in England. Acknowledging genuine interest in one part of the government to devolve more powers to cities, he cautioned: “The government needs to understand that all that effort will be fatally undermined if the basic services and infrastructure of our cities are not able to function.”
Shortly afterwards, the normally cautious Core Cities Group of the country’s eight largest cities, including Birmingham, warned Pickles of a looming financial crisis in anopen letter, with the prospect of some key services being decommissioned from next year.
In many ways Bore is the ultimate pragmatist. A physicist turned long-serving city politician, he played a big part in Birmingham’s central transformation in the 80s and 90s, and has a long record of deal-making across the political divide stretching back to his days as chair of the city’s economic development committee.
Bore took a cross-party delegation to meet Cameron last year, out of which grew a renewed association with Lord Heseltine, a long-time admirer of Chamberlain’s municipal Liberalism which transformed the city with council-run gas, electricity and water, public health provision, banking, and a progressive education and public health system. Birmingham, England’s largest local authority, can only dream of having such powers today.
Heseltine chose Birmingham to launch his Downing Street-commissioned review in November into improving the country’s economic prospects. Last month, Heseltine completed another report on improving the economic prospects of Birmingham city region. It made a series of recommendations, from creating a city-centre enterprise zone – now becoming a reality – to an accelerated drive to tackle poverty and deprivation. This won’t be made any easier by the government’s welfare reforms, which are set to have a huge impact on the city. Close to 15,000 households in Birmingham will be affected by the “bedroom tax” and more than 20,000 residents are expected to lose an average of £88 due to the benefit cap, according to a report that went to councillors this week.
Asked if Pickles is the most difficult secretary of state he has dealt with, Bore is diplomatic. He says the minister was pleasant enough when they met at a council reception during the last Tory conference in Birmingham. “But he is proving difficult … he won’t sit down with us … to see if there is an agenda where local government could work more closely with him. There is a standoff.”
He adds: “I don’t want to be the leader of a city council talking about the end of local government as we’ve known it, making over £600m in cuts, taking out 50% of the controlled budget – that’s not the agenda I want to play out. I want to address a positive agenda about what local government should be about and what it can do for the population. That should be the agenda I should be addressing with Eric Pickles.”
So no meeting of minds? “That’s the problem, isn’t it? There does seem to be gap between [Pickles’s] perception and reality. And the reality is the one I and other core city leaders have been painting – we will be discontinuing some services.”
Interestingly, Iain Duncan Smith of happy notoriety has told us he could live on £71 jobseeker’s allowance if he had to.
Many people who are on benefits don’t believe that for a second, and he wouldn’t dare trying to do it.
He’s also told us everyone should get a job and stop whingeing. So how would he get a job in Salford, Hull, Rochdale and the Wirral where last month 76 unemployed persons were applying for every vacancy?
It’s easy enough in Cambridge, Guildford, Winchester and Reading since nine out of the 10 easiest areas to find a job are found in southern England.
Perhaps he’s never looked around northern England before he fires his peashooter giving us the benefit of his advice.
The elementary observation which seems to have escaped IDS is that what pushes up unemployment is not shirkers or skivers refusing to take jobs, but the sheer lack of vacancies in areas of low economic activity and poor growth prospects.
Almost half (46 per cent) of all UK job vacancies were in London and south-east England last month.
The comparable figure last month in north-east England was just 3.3 per cent and in Wales 1.7 per cent.
The real fault here lies with the Tories’ crass economic policy squeezing the economy ever harder in the interests of a deficit-reduction programme which isn’t even working.
The fault lies with the abandonment of a full employment policy with all the investment required to launch and maintain it.
And the fault lies too with the exacerbation of the regional divide through cosseting the City of London and neglecting manufacturing.
This policy of punishing people for living in northern England in areas of high unemployment is made even worse by the wicked cruelty of cutting or removing benefits even from severely disabled people who would be hard put to it to get an employer to take them on even in conditions of near-full employment.
Those who were previously on incapacity benefit are now being assessed at the rate of 11,000 a week, often in cursory interviews without consulting the person’s GP, and then declared able to work.
As if that were not enough, an Atos manager-turned-whistleblower has now testified that often when he came up with the “wrong” assessment, he was told to amend his report – ie declare them fit for work.
In other words, severely disabled people who could not possibly get work even at the best of times are being told they’re fit for work in areas where the number of vacancies is pitifully small, where they have several able-bodied competitors and where government policy has overwhelmingly driven jobs south.
Come on, IDS, show us how it’s done by getting on yer bike, riding north, perhaps with a disabling injury incurred on the way, and then try getting a job.
And if you can’t, stop victimising the jobless and disabled – and get a new chancellor who believes in job creation, not job destruction.
They’re all at it. It’s not just Starbucks, Google and Amazon that are running rings round HMRC and the tax laws, it’s virtually all the top UK 250 companies which are deliberately cheating taxpayers of the tax receipts due.
No less than 98 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies have a subsidiary in a tax haven, the only purpose of which is tax evasion or avoidance on an industrial scale.
Yet another massive tax scam was exposed only last week, this time involving Britain’s largest mobile phone network – Everything Everywhere (EE) – which scooped up £3 billion profits for the French and German companies that own it, but paid not a penny in corporation tax in Britain.
Vodafone, O2 and Three are little better.
EE defends itself by saying “its accounts are transparent and it takes a responsible approach” (UMG – the usual meaningless guff).
How do they get away with this? Largely through tax breaks, management fees, royalties and offshoring.
But probably the most important ingredient in all these tax fiddles is opacity which enables their manoeuvres to remain hidden. Yet there are ways to counter all of these dodges.
First, there needs to be a legal requirement that British multinational corporations must publish the accounts of all their subsidiaries on public record, and certainly on their own website.
Second, the most direct way to tackle the opacity in the tax affairs both of large companies and of super-rich individuals in Britain is to require by law that the tax returns of the top 250 in each group should be put on public record, as already happens in Scandinavian countries.
Michael Meacher has accordingly laid before the Commons the UK Corporate and Individual Financial Tax and Financial Transparency Bill, drafted by Richard Murphy, one of Britain’s foremost tax specialists, which will achieve both these objectives.
The Bill is due to receive its second reading on September 6.
HMRC has commented on this that “HMRC officials cannot discuss the details of the tax affairs of identifiable taxpayers – individuals or corporates – except in limited circumstances set out in legislation.
“Our legal advice is that if Parliament requires HMRC to discuss the tax settlements of named companies, a change would be required to the primary legislation governing HMRC.” Quite so. That is the purpose of my Bill.
There are several other needed changes in this Bill. It requires for the first time that the details of beneficial owners be submitted by each company to Companies House.
Because some unscrupulous company executives/owners won’t voluntarily comply with this obligation, the Bill also requires banks to collect under money-laundering obligations the real trading address of a company, who its directors and beneficial owners are and where they are located, and then submit this information to Companies House which would then publish it.
The sanction for failing to comply would be to remove the limited liability of the company and the directors and beneficial owners would then personally become liable for its debts.
The impact of all these measures would utterly transform the sickening scandal of corporation tax today.
In another interesting development Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said the Bank will not consider raising interest rates until the jobless rate has fallen to 7% or below.
Mr Carney said he expected this would require the creation of about 750,000 jobs and could take three years.
The UK unemployment rate currently stands at 7.8%.
The governor told the BBC: “We need to provide as much clarity and as much certainty about the path of monetary policy.”
Speaking to chief economics correspondent Hugh Pym, he said such guidance was needed “so that people… at home, people who are running businesses, across the UK, can make decisions – whether they are investing or spending – with greater certainty about what is going to happen with interest rates”.
He added: “In effect we are saying – ‘we are providing guidance on what could happen with interest rates’.”
The governor told our correspondent that such a move was needed now “when the recovery is just gathering some steam”, and when financial markets might have therefore been expecting an adjustment in interest rates.
Mr Carney said that the 7% unemployment figure was not a target, but a point at which the Bank of England would re-examine interest rates.
The Bank’s guidance is subject to three provisos; breaching any of them would sever the link between interest rates and unemployment levels.
These so-called ‘knock-outs’ are:
- CPI inflation is judged more likely than not to be at or above 2.5% over an 18-month to two-year horizon
- inflation looks like it could get out of control in the medium term
- the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee judges this stance poses a significant threat to financial stability
Mr Carney said that until the unemployment threshold was reached the Bank would not cut back on its £375bn asset purchase programme, known as quantitative easing (QE).
The move sees the Bank of England joining both the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in providing so-called “forward guidance” on interest rate policies.
Recent economic figures and surveys have suggested the recovery in the UK economy is picking up pace.
On Tuesday, official figures showed manufacturing output surged in June, while surveys have also indicated gathering strength in the service sector and housing market.
While upbeat on the prospects for the UK economy, Mr Carney said it had not reached “escape velocity” yet.
“A renewed recovery is now under way in the United Kingdom and it appears to be broadening,” he said.
“While that is certainly welcome, the legacy of the financial crisis means that the recovery remains weak by historical standards and there is still a significant margin of spare capacity in the economy, this is most clearly evident in the high rate of unemployment.”
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the forward guidance would reassure firms.
“This will give businesses a much-needed confidence boost when looking to invest, as they know that any plans will not suddenly be derailed by a hike in interest rates,” he said.
Business lobby group, the CBI, echoed this sentiment, saying greater interest rate certainty and clarity from the Bank should provide a shot in the arm for business and households.
But Alan Clarke, director of fixed income strategy at Scotiabank, said unemployment could drop below 7% – the rate that would trigger a re-evaluation of interest rates – well before the Bank of England expects.
“Our knee-jerk reaction is that 2016 is a rather conservative assumption,” he said. “Our working assumption was that level of the unemployment rate could be reached at least a year earlier.”
The possibility of an earlier-than-expected rise in rates lifted the pound on the currency markets, with sterling rising by more than a cent against the dollar to $1.5458.
There had been widespread expectation that Mr Carney would commit the Bank to the new strategy.
With short-term interest rates already at historic lows, the aim is to reduce longer-term interest rates.
Knowing interest rates could remain low, potentially for years, gives banks and mortgage lenders the ability to “lock-in” customers at lower rates for longer.
Stocks fell after the announcement, with Joshua Mahony, research analyst at trading firm Alpari, saying markets had been underwhelmed by Mr Carney’s announcement.
He added that rules about the circumstances in which the strategy would be terminated had brought a “significant caveat to the table”.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, welcomed the move.
“I agree with you that forward guidance can play a useful role in enhancing the effectiveness of monetary policy and thereby support the recovery,” he said in a letter to the governor.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls also applauded the decision but warned it would be “very important that the MPC [Monetary Policy Committee] stays vigilant to inflationary risks”.
But pressure group Save our Savers expressed “dismay”, saying it would cause further hardship for savers and pensioners, while continuing to favour borrowing at the expense of saving.
Meanwhile, Graeme Leach, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said guidance “doesn’t really take us forward” and called for radical supply side reforms to bring on a surge in productivity.
Supply side reforms include lower tax rates and less regulation.
The Bank of England’s quarterly inflation report was more upbeat about economic growth than it had been in May.
It presents its forecasts as a range of possibilities rather than a specific figure, but predicted accelerating growth for the rest of this year, with its central forecast being for growth of about 2.4% in two years’ time.
It also forecast that the consumer price index (CPI) measure of inflation was likely to be at its target rate of 2.0% during 2015.
The rate of CPI inflation increased to a 14-month high of 2.9% in June, up from 2.7% in May.
At the press conference where the new policy was announced, members of the Bank’s MPC were asked whether they were concerned by claims the government’s Help to Buy scheme was fuelling another housing bubble.
The Help to Buy scheme was launched in April 2013 and allows borrowers to take an equity loan from the government worth up to 20% of the price of newly built homes.
That, in turn, enables homebuyers to put down a deposit of as little as 5%.
From January next year, it will be extended to help buyers of existing housing.
Critics claim the scheme is artificially inflating house prices, leading to future problems when the support is withdrawn.
But Bank of England chief economist, Spencer Dale, said it was important to keep the size of the scheme in perspective.
“The current run rate of [Help to Buy] is something like 3% or 4% of total housing transactions,” he said.
“It’s done its job in terms of encouraging new house building, but the idea that it is somehow fuelling a housing boom doesn’t stack up in terms of the numbers.”