Monthly Archives: November 2013

Stop pandering to UKIP


Checkout this  Youtube and make up your own mind up:

I’m astonish by David Blanket MP recent article in regards to race riots over Roma people settling in the UK will set a precedence for either a UKIP or BNP candidate(s) to take seat on the council which I hope it does NOT happen and would rather have a Labour Councillors running council instead

As David Blanket MP knows all too well that immigration has Roma Peoplehelped the UK economy they do contribute by engaging with providing employment into the communities no matter what their backgrounds so many were surprised by the article and would have expected it from UKIP, BNP or Daily Express.

It’s NOT normal practice for me to support Nick Clegg stance when he was quoted that Roma immigrants have to be sensitive to the British way of living. It was right to complain about unacceptable behavior. But the best way to deal with it was through dialog.

I do really hope that both Sheffield MPs can help to keep the peace with all their community leaders and bring about a peaceful solution to all concern. The worse that can happen if both does not keep the eye on the ball will see an increase of BNP and UKIP taking  seats and having an overall majorities on Council which would not be good to both MPs I kid you not.

UK risk being seen as a nasty country thanks to David Cameron’s overreaction against immigration and it’s no surprise the European Union Employment Commissioner has spoken out against the UK government.

Laszlo Andor hit out at the Prime Minister for his hardline attempts to bar new EU arrivals from receiving welfare benefits for three months following scaremongering that UK will be swamped by Romanians and Bulgarians when restrictions are lifted on January 2014.

Intriguingly Andor accused David  Cameron of not representing the full truth about the issue and suggested the reaction on UK was based on hysteria.

I don’t normally read the Financial Times somehow someone brought to my attention there was a column alleging a heated commons debate with Labour ridiculing the proposals to be honest for my sins I have to concur that both the previous and present government are to blame as they knew this was going to cause a string of anti immigration and it’s not good enough for Labour to keep on apologizing and I don’t say this lightly as a son of a immigrant.

Shadow Home secretary Yvette Copper told MPs It is now the end of November and accession for Romania and Bulgaria will in a month’s time. “So can you tell the House which of those measures will be in place by the beginning of January 2014 when the transitional controls for Romania and Bulgaria.

After all this debate in the House surprise,surprise Downing St admitted that David Cameron new plans to try and curb EU migrants are flawed. No10 revealed that the bulk of these ideas would not be in place by 1 January 2014 when restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians wanting to move to the UK are lifted.

It’s hardly surprising that David Cameron is facing a Conservative rebellion over immigration this Christmas so he landed himself in a pickle and decided cobbled this together whilst keeping his eye on UKIP fearing more of his fatcat donors will cross over to UKIP. So in a nutshell DONT PANDER TO RIGHT WING RACISM and FASCISM.

low paid hit hardest over the Christmas and New Years


I would encourage all who is concerned about their fellow human beings to watch this Youtube and lets have a proper debate on how to influence policies at the top:

 

Hey folks a serious question to all of you how many people will be celebrating Christmas, New Years and singing the following song Jingle Bells and White Christmas this year when the coalition only Christmas presents to all us is cuts, cuts in local government services, all Government Departments, price increase from the big energy companies and pay day loans running all the way to the banks rubbing their hands quoting that people must have muggings written on their foreheads, long queues outside foodbanks and mobile companies chasing you up to pay unpaid bills as Christmas and New years is just around the corner.

legalloansharks-627x290Yet Stella Creasy is the Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) has been active in campaigning for increased regulation of payday loans companies. In an article in The Guardian, she stated that six companies controlled lending to 90% of the seven million Britons who lacked a bank account or credit card. She claimed that the average cost of credit to these customers at 272% APR has led to cross-party support for a cap as in the rest of Europe and there has been a fourfold increase in payday loans since the start of the recession. In a debate in Parliament she noted the lack of competition in the market and asked for Government support to cap loans which exploited the poor, and in some cases reached 4000%. APR.

In 2012, a Wonga employee used company equipment to make offensive personal attacks on Creasy. Wonga made an “immediate and unreserved apology” after the attacks, and Creasy also requested that the firm promote a constituency event to help struggling families. According to the Guardian, a Wonga computer was used to edit the company entry using several accounts. Like many of we continue to ask the coalition do they see Stella Creasy as a threat to them as she has been very consistent in raising the issue of pay day loans which must having them on the run in Parliament.

osborne_georgeGeorge Osborne executed a hasty politically driven U-turn, surprising even coalition Liberal Democrat ministers, when he ended years of resistance and announced a legal cap on the overall cost of payday loans.

In a sign of the speed of the Treasury about-face and the secrecy surrounding the chancellor’s move, papers distributed on Friday for Monday’s inter-departmental ministerial meeting on consumer credit contained no reference to the policy shift.

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logoLabour claimed the move showed the success of its cost of living agenda and revealed the Tories’ strategic confusion and weakness, including in Osborne’s own attitude to the role of the state in regulating markets.

Osborne may feel he has shot one of Labour’s foxes and done something to dispel the impression that the Conservatives do not represent the low-paid.

He presented the move as “a logical next step” to regulate a market left unregulated by the previous Labour government, adding that evidence in Australia showed caps on the overall cost of loans could be effective.

The chancellor said that there would be controls on charges, including arrangement and penalty fees, as well as on interest rates. “It will not just be an interest rate cap. You’ve got to cap the overall cost of credit.”

He said the move would “make sure that hardworking people get a fair deal from the financial system, whether it’s the banks or the payday lenders or the internet lenders”.

A possible catalyst for Osborne’s move was a renewed push from backbench Lib Dems to impose a cap using an amendment to the banking bill in the Lords this week. Earlier this month the Treasury had been given full ministerial responsibility for consumer credit, taking responsibility from the business department.

In another sign of the haste of the decision, the Treasury has yet to set out its alternative amendment.

Osborne said he would be imposing a legal duty on the Financial Conduct Authority to impose an overall cap on the cost of credit. The FCA already had the power to impose a cap, but now it would be forced to do so. The chancellor said it would be for the FCA to decide the specifics of how the cap would work.

Osborne made his decision even though the Competition Commission had just started an inquiry into the industry.

A Lib Dem source said: “The Lib Dems have been pushing for tougher action on payday lenders for well over a year – at every step of the way this has been met with strong resistance from Conservatives in the Treasury. It seems the Tories read the runes on this one and realised that increasingly the evidence and political tide were against them. Their change of heart is very welcome but none of this positive action would have happened without the Lib Dems in government.”

The Lib Dem backbencher Lord Starkey held discussions about his alternative amendment last week with the Lib Dem consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson and Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander. Starkey was calling for a maximum cap on the size of a loan of £300and admitted that he was astonished by Osborne’s decision.

Australia has an interest rate limit of 4% per month, after a maximum up-front fee of 20%. However, even in Australia, borrowers can still face charges, and penalties for late payment are allowed to be as much as twice the loan amount.

The chancellor praised the shadow consumer affairs minister Stella Creasy for her campaign.

Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, who has campaigned against the payday lending industry’s practices, criticised the government for sending “confusing” signals to the regulator, and said the coalition was “playing catch-up” with Labour, who have said they would bring in a cap if they were handed power in 2015.

In an interview on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Creasy said that introducing a duty to cap at this stage would “leave in tatters the consultation announced a few weeks ago where ministers specifically ruled out the move to introduce a cap”.

Creasy said the regulator had told her it was not using its existing powers to cap interest rates in the sector because there was insufficient political will for it to do so.

Whilst it is alleged that three in four people on low wages in 2002 failed to escape from Britain’s “low pay trap” over the next 10 years, according to a report published today. Coupled by according to Resolution Foundation think-tank, 1.3 million (27 per cent) of the 4.7 million workers on low pay in 2002 remained in the bottom bracket for the next 10 years.

A further 2.2 million (46 per cent) moved in and out of low wages but failed to break free of them for good by the end of the decade.

The findings will fuel the growing concern about the lack of social mobility in the UK and the heated political debate about the “cost of  living crisis”.

In a Commons debate today, Labour will highlight figures showing that average earnings have fallen in real terms in every part of the UK since 2010.

Labour will claim that the Coalition has failed to meet the goals it set itself on living standards, economic growth and the deficit.

Only 800,000 (18 per cent) moved up the earnings ladder for a sustained period without slipping back into low pay.  A further 400,000 (9 per  cent) retired or left the labour market. Low pay was defined as two-thirds of median hourly earnings – £7.32 and £10.98 respectively at today’s prices.

Alex Hurrell, senior analyst at the foundation and author of the report, said: “For many people, low pay is not a first rung on the ladder – it’s a long-term or even permanent reality. Identifying those who are least likely to escape low pay is the first step in targeting policies to help them get on.”

Researchers found women were much more likely to be stuck on low pay than men.

Some 900,000 women (33 per cent) on low wages in 2012 had been there for the previous 10 years, compared to 400,000 men (21 per cent).

The North-east was the region where workers were most likely to be trapped on low earnings. One in three (34 per cent) in this category in 2012 had been there for  a decade.

The East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and Wales (31 per cent) were the next worst affected. London and the South-east were the least affected, although 23 per cent of the low paid in 2012 had been stuck for 10 years.

Half of all the workers trapped for the decade were aged between 41 and 60, which means they spent up to 10 of their “peak earning years” on low pay. Some may remain stuck for their entire careers, the foundation said.

Public-sector workers were more likely to escape low pay than those in the private sector. Women, manual workers, administrators and staff of firms with fewer than 10 staff were least likely to escape.

The sectors where people were most likely to be stuck included retail, hospitality, sales, customer services, manufacturing and care. The foundation said more must be done to help workers progress.

Only one in six women (15 per cent) working in the retail sector in 2002 escaped low pay during the decade.

Gavin Kelly, the think-tank’s chief executive, said: “Living on low pay in 2013 is tough, but being stuck on it for years on end is harder still.

“This report shines a light on the persistent nature of low pay for millions of workers and shows that women, those in regions such as the North-east, the East Midlands and Wales, and people working in sectors like administration are far likelier to be stuck in low pay than others.

“It also highlights the large numbers who cycle in and out of low pay over time.

“Limited earnings mobility is a long-running problem in our economy which spans a number of decades and has occurred under governments of different complexions.”

Chris Leslie, the shadow Chief Treasury Secretary, said: “On every economic test David Cameron and George Osborne set themselves three years ago they have failed.

“Far from delivering rising living standards, working  people are now over £1,600  a year worse off under this Government.”

In the debate today, ministers will point out that the problems of low pay pre-date the Coalition coming to power in 2010 and will accuse the previous Labour government of failing to tackle it.

While in the House of Lords the government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its plans for reforming the banking system.

A Labour amendment to the Financial Services Bill, which would introduce a licensing system for senior bankers, was passed by five votes.

Earlier, ministers agreed to set up a panel of experts to review the effectiveness of regulatory changes.

This will examine whether plans to ring-fence bank retail operations from riskier investment arms are working.

The bill is designed to make a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis less likely by introducing tough internal safeguards to ensure losses in one part of a bank do not spread and threaten its collapse.

Critics say this so-called ring-fencing does not go far enough and want the regulators to have a reserve power to step in to force banks to separate their investment and retail operations.

“We don’t know whether this (ring-fencing) will work,” former Chancellor Lord Lawson said during Tuesday’s debate at report stage in the Lords.

“We don’t know whether there will be cultural contamination across the ring fence because that would be a very serious matter.”

Attempts to get the reserve power introduced into the bill were defeated by nine votes although ministers agreed to set up a body to determine whether the proposed arrangements were working.

But ministers were defeated over calls for a licensing regime specifying “minimum thresholds of competence” for senior bankers and adherence to a recognised code of conduct.

The measure, passed by 222 votes to 217, may be overturned by MPs when the bill returns to the Commons.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who supported the proposal, said it was right that professional standards in banking were on a par with those for the law and medicine.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, told peers it was not always the most senior staff who could inflict the most serious damage.

“The expectations on senior managers must be high,” he said.

“However, it is also right that those who are not part of the senior management of the bank also have high standards.”

He told peers it was not always the most senior staff who could inflict the most serious damage.

“They could be a junior dealer, new in the business, who ignoring his internal limits deals in a way that does great damage both to customers and his employer.”

Government minister Lord Newby said the proposal would add to regulatory burden on banks “without introducing any real improvements in standards in the industry”.

He added: “There will be a regime of regulatory standards for employees encapsulated in enforceable banking standard rules.

“Firms will inevitably have a role in ensuring their staff comply with those standards and taking action if they do not, whilst the regulator will be able to take action if needed.

 

 

 

 

Zero Contracts VS Part and full Time Employment


photo1Recent there has been a sudden flux of zero contracts that has come to the forefront. I have to declare a conflict of interest I have been on one but found it to be very uncomfortable as it does not guarantee full time employment. Most companies’ big, middle and small uses the contract both to recruit unemployed and short term solutions to fill a gap until their companies position improves during the small growth in the economy.

photo 2Some of the worst offenders are recruitment agencies as they do not have to go out of their way to find you employment due to the fact that some of the recruiting agencies are going to administration and they have either one or no client on their books. Funny enough medium and large recruitment agencies say that lots of vacancies when you register with them then you wait and you get fed up and decide to give them a call they say to you we don’t have anything in that field or you don’t meet the client’s criteria when an individual challenge them on what are the criteria there is not a decent reply from the agencies.

fuckoffIntriguingly the coalition says that they don’t create employment but it’s the private sectors that create employment. Hmm am I missing something here, how many of us recall David Cameron traveling to the Middle East with a delegation of arm dealers to sell weapons to their counterparts is he not creating employment on behalf of the UK government. Oh let us not forget the recent trip to China where George Osbourne and Boris Johnson promoted UK business and relaxing the visa to Chinese business people to enter to the UK. It’s about time that the coalition stop using the one size fits all approach.

photoThe coalition continues state that they have created jobs in the private sector somehow many people see those the jobs that the coalition talks about. If this was true then the so-called jobs are based on part time and zero contract. Yet the coalition alleges that unemployment is going down somehow the figures don’t add up as the Job Centre Plus are being pressurized to bring down the figures so what does the Job Centre Plus to address this by sending unemployed to other providers for two years to bring down the numbers on the bases they are paid by results so in a nutshell if you don’t get someone into training or employment the company will not get paid so much for pay by result.

Many of my friends and foes continue to banter they were employed by a conservative or a Labour government but was made redundant, or loss their jobs by the company they worked for under a coalition. There is a common trend or ring to this that both Conservatives and LibDems which includes Labour failed to address so in a nutshell I blame BOTH the present and previous governments which I made no apology for stating an opinion that I strongly believe in.

For another debate on Zero Contract see Youtube:

The contracts do not guarantee work from one week to the next.

But the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said just over half of the 456 zero-hours workers it questioned did not want more hours.

It added, however, there was a need to improve poor practice such as notice periods given when work is cancelled.

Only about a third of the 1,000 employers questioned had a contractual provision or formal policy outlining their approach to arranging and cancelling work for zero-hours workers.

The CIPD added many employers and zero-hours staff were unaware of the employment rights they may be entitled to.

The survey found four out of five respondents on zero-hours contracts said they were never penalised if they were unavailable for work.

But 40% of workers subject to the contracts said they had shifts cancelled without notice and the CIPD is recommending that compensation be paid in such a situation.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “The use of zero-hours contracts in the UK economy has been underestimated, oversimplified and in some cases, unfairly demonised.”

In total, researchers spoke to 2,500 workers on both zero-hours and regular contracts.

The CIPD said zero-hours contracts, which are widely used in fields including catering, leisure, retail and the public sector, provide flexibility for workers and employers.

Some 38% of those on zero-hours contracts wanted more hours but when compared to the average UK employee, they are just as satisfied with their job.

Only 58% of UK employees said there were happy with their work-life balance, compared to 65% of those on zero-hours contracts.

The study confirmed the CIPD’s previous estimate that around a million people are on zero-hours contracts.

Steve Radley, director of policy at manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said: “The debate on zero-hours contracts has become unbalanced and needs greater focus on the benefits it can bring to both workers and employers.

“With skills in scarce supply, zero hours help employers to tap into specialist skills when they are needed and to draw on the experience of older workers.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Whilst not every employee on a zero hours contract is exploited, this survey shows that job insecurity and low pay are concerns for a significant number of workers, including white collar staff.

“The real problems lie with bosses who aren’t interested in good practice and are more concerned with squeezing staff to boost their profit margins.

“That’s why we need legislative action to stamp out the growing abuse of workers on zero hours contracts and other forms of insecure work.”

Shadow trade minister Ian Murray said Labour would outlaw the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts.

He said the research highlighted concerns on bad practice and exploitation.

The government is to launch a consultation on how to tackle abuses in zero hours contracts but the CIPD says efforts should be focused on improving understanding of how the contracts are used within the law rather than trying to restrict their use through regulation.

Let’s revisit the the late 1970s to the present time over the full, part, and temporary employment.

What is the the legacy of Margaret Thatcher

The 1980s is increasingly being seen as deep history – 50% of the Datablog team were born in the late 1980s and were just toddling into school when she resigned in November 1990.

If the past is a foreign country (they do things differently there), there is nowhere more foreign than May 1979, when the Conservatives entered Downing Street. In fact, it’s getting increasingly difficult to tell – many of the datasets we rely on now weren’t compiled until the early 1990s. So what kind of Britain did the country’s first woman prime minister come to rule in 1979 – and how has it changed?

These are some of the datasets which actually go back that far – mostly from the Office for National Statistics, and some from the excellent British Political Facts.

She may or may not have caused it, but Britain under Thatcher saw huge economic, demographic and cultural change. These are just some of the facts

The UK was a smaller country then – 56.2m people lived here, compared to 62.3m people in 2010. That had been pretty stagnant since 1970, actually going down for four years before 1979 as the economy faltered. During the first years of Thatcher’s reign, fewer people came to live in the UK – acceptances for settlement went down from 69,670 in 1979 to 53,200 by the time she resigned in 1990. Since then, the economy has boomed and eastern European countries have joined the EU. In fact, for much of the decade there were more people leaving the UK than coming here. Now it is the reverse. Net migration now is at a record high.

The population has changed too. There are no accurate figures for the UK’s ethnic breakdown before the 1991 census, so we can’t say what Britain’s ethnic mix was. By the 2001 census, four years after the end of the Conservatives in power, the UK’s population was 92.1% white. According to the latest ONS estimates, that figure has gone down now as Britain becomes more diverse; 83.35% of England and Wales is now defined as “white British”.

We’re living longer – life expectancy overall went up from 70.3 for men and 76.4 for women in 1979 by three years for both sexes by 1990. In a developed country, life expectancy should go up as medicine improves and the economy grows. But in 1985 it went down briefly, as it did again in 1993, both after huge recessions.

There are more of the super-old around now. Some 15% of babies born in 1979 would live to reach 100 – that figure is 26% now.

Ironically for a prime minister who focussed so much on family life, the 1980s saw the end of the traditional family unit for many. Divorce rates reached 13.4 per 1,000 married population in 1985, although that wasn’t as high as the peak of 1994 after the recession. They have gone down now. The most recent figures show that 119,589 people got divorced in 2010, roughly half of the number of people who got married the same year.

Of course, fewer people are getting married now – only 231,490 in the latest year, down from 368,853 in 1979, which was the highest figure since the war brides of 1940.

Which also means less babies being born to a traditional family unit too – in 1979, only 12.5% of babies were born outside marriage. By 1991 that had gone up to 29.8%.

As Britain learnt to come to terms with the idea of “no such thing as society”, unemployment shot up under the Conservatives to levels not seen since the Great Depression. The figures show how it lags behind the economy – even after the recession was over, many were unemployed.

Britain got hit by two major recessions under Thatcher, which sandwiched the boom of the 1980s but even that boom never saw GDP grow by more than a couple of percent. Obviously in 2013, George Osborne would kill for growth of 2.2%.

If the deficit is the obsession of this government, in 1979 it was inflation, which had rocketed into the twenties in the 1970s.

The figures show how it went down under the Conservatives – after a struggle as it rose to 21% in the 1980s – decreases which largely continued under Labour and have only just started to reverse.

Perceived wisdom is also that manufacturing disappeared under Thatcher. If so, it was something that had already started. In 1970, manufacturing accounted for 20.57% of UK GDP. By 1979 that was down to 17.62% of GDP. By the time she left office, that decline had continued – albeit at a slightly slower pace, down to 15.18%. Now it is much lower, according to the ONS – down to 9.68% in 2010.

Thatcher never tried the scale of austerity cuts facing the UK coalition government now. In fact if you look at spending as a percentage of GDP it actually rose in her first years of power, going down during the 1980s before rising in the early 1990s under John Major and chancellor Kenneth Clarke. Her reign actually ended with more of the workforce employed in the public sector than now – 23.1% as opposed to around 20% now.

She may have been our first prime minister but men still ended her decade paid a lot more than women – especially if you look at the bald figures below.

However, if you change it and look at women’s full-time pay as a percentage of male full time pay it shows women working full time in 1990 paid 76% male full-time pay – up from 73%. It has improved since then – in 2011 it was 84.8%.

One of the defining features of the 1980s was the rise of the house price economy, especially with the sales of council houses.

At the same time, interest rates rose to record levels of 17% and repossessions rose to match.

In 1991, 75,500 properties were repossesed, the peak, and 186,649 cases reached the courts.

The unions were a major force in 1970s Britain, with around one in four of the UK population a member – 13.2m people. Those numbers went down significantly by 1990 to 9.8m – and in 2008/9 to 7.4m or one in eight of the population.

At the same time days lost to industrial disputes shot down too – from around 900,000 a month when Thatcher became prime minister to 183,000 in November 1990 – albeit with millions of days lost in the miner’s strike.

Poverty went up under Thatcher, according to these figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. In 1979, 13.4% of the population lived below 60% of median incomes before housing costs. By 1990, it had gone up to 22.2%, or 12.2m people, with huge rises in the mid-1980s.

With it came a huge rise in inequality. This shows the gini coefficient, which is the most common method of measuring inequality. Under gini, a score of one would be a completely unequal society; zero would be completely equal. Britain’s gini score went up from 0.253 to 0.339 by the time Thatcher resigned.

Utter Contempt For Coalition as they drive through cuts, cuts


Before I start another mind blowing debate please watch this Youtube:

There will be many people from all walks of life will not have a decent supper tonight as living standards continues on a down turn whilst some people are on zero contracts who are struggling to make ends meet yet we read and hear more political gimmicks coming from the coalition front benches.

Young-person-homeless-hun-007Christmas and New Years is just round the corner will see an further increase in debts just to keep up with the Jones coupled by legal and illegal loan sharks rubbing their hands all the way to the banks so the Moral of this message is don’t suffer in silence see help from Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) if you are facing debts and spend within your means.

In my last article I mentioned about Local Government facing armageddon time by coalition from 2014 onwards many Councillors from all the main political parties will take the opportunity to tell us that they will have to make hard decision to implement deeper cuts imposed by coalition government. Well we all can forget about the Jaws of Doom but instead look at all the departments of local government Armageddon competing to meet the coalition targets for unjustified cuts and when will they learn the lessons that there is not enough one bedroom accommodations which I have to say that both Conservatives and Labour are to blame as each had the opportunity to build but failed to smell the coffee when it accrued on their retrospective watch.

Those who will recall a campaign group called Defend Council Housing was calling on the government at the time to build more affordable housing but was continued to be ignored as the government at the time thought they knew best.

In today’s housing market is currently out of reach to the many, the few that can afford those prices are sitting on their hands waiting for a better deal to arrive and this coalition continue to turn a blind eye to their fatcat friends and continues to penalize the low and middle incomes by informing them about the right to buy scheme reintroduced by the coalition.

QTGLIf anybody had the opportunity to watch Question Time on 21 November 2013 would have realize the most dominated topics where Jobs, Housing, Bus Pass and Pensions which Jeremy Hunt did not have the answers many were surprised to witness that he had no choice but agree with Sadiq Khan solutions.

Sooner or later the price of fish and chips with mushy peas and gravy will be out of the price range to people on very low incomes as the price of food continue to increase which includes gas, electric, petrol, public transport and tuition fees will continue to increase whilst the coalition will say it’s all Labour fault not remembering it’s now happening on their watch now.

dec-5th-draft-b-council-house-gradientThere are many council leaders even from the three main political parties are telling the coalition to change course which are falling on deaf ears yet I have to admire one council leader viz Sir Albert Bore has been very consistent warning to both the previous and present government of Jaws of Doom which the coalition has tried their best to discredit his warnings we will not have a council service that we all will not recognize 10 to 15 years’ time but from the looks of it we may be looking at 5 years if we have a return of a coalition or a conservative government.

Please see the article of Sir Albert Bore defends jaws of doom see 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.”

local government faces Armageddon times from 2014 on-wards by coalition


Please see this youtube below:

How many rivers do we all have to cross each time during our life time each morning many people gets out of bed to read in the press or watch television seeing low and middle income individuals being penalized by this dreaded coalition over a number of reforms which affects our living standards like providing for our families such as increase in our mortgage, rent, coupled by gas, electric, petrol, hitting the ceiling and long queues outside the food banks.

I’m sure by April 2014 will see local government will have no choice but to pass on increase in our Council Tax followed by deeper cuts in our local services that we all have come to enjoyed over the years all because this coalition wants to go further than Thatcher did ever achieved between the 1979s to 1980s.

Some will continue that this is scaremongering tactics well I Kid you not. Look around in your own community you may noticed the decrease of rubbish collections, road sweepers, park, highways maintenance, nursery care, leisure centres and elderly and adult care all because the councils had cut backs on agency staff or most of the councils had to tender out their services to outsourcing companies which they are not providing value for money to councils across UK and to add insult to injury the coalition are in denial that it is currently happening on their watch.

downloadI recently read an article in regards to a think tank viz Centre for Social Justice according to a so called think tank the much more needs to be done to help eliminate debt problem for the poorest families.

The average household has alleged debts of £ 54,000 including mortgage almost twice the level of a decade ago.

It alleges the poorest 10% of households have average debts that are more than four times their income. Those households need affordable credit and free debt advice.

Whilst most many agree with the sentiment that debt needs curbing I would strongly suggest that the coalition take a walk down their council estates to get a reality check and try live on benefits for 52 weeks with no other hidden income to live on.

There is many social factors as to why people goes into debts which sadly not many will acknowledge which includes gambling, peer pressure, children going hungry, rent and council tax arrears, worst still sanctions on their benefits and alcohol decency just to name a few.

Somehow there is a untold story of gambling in all communities have seen an increase in gambling there has been some howling stories which the government will need to address as this is not going away soon it’s a mine field about to explode very soon as this has been a issue which successful governments of both previous and present have fail to address. This is where legal and illegal loan sharks prey on people who are being disadvantaged.

Then the government gives a good talk on austerity and continue to play their sell by date record of blaming Labour. Er excuse me all this problem(s) is under the coalition watch they fail to address properly.

The Bank of England policymakers alleges UK is in sustained recovery and does not face major inflation risks. Minutes from the Monetary Policy Committee‘s November meeting showed the nine members all voted to leave interest rates 0.5%.
Intriguingly why are many people not surprised by this so called committee signalled that it was in no rush to raise interest rates and might not do so immediately even after unemployment had fallen to 7%. Yet just last week the bank said unemployment could fall faster than predicted.

Now we have a dreaded situation of low and middle incomes fighting each other to get on the property ladder which is out of reach to both incomes as there is very little evidence of banks’ lending to purchase affordable housing as the coalition has failed in real terms of encouraging the construction sector to build more affordable housing. Instead we see some multinational companies purchasing accommodations to rent and buy at out if reach prices to make a profit when the market shows any signs of prosperity. As everybody will acknowledges that the coalition is using another political gimmick by using Thatcherism to reinvent themselves with the right to buy scheme as nothing more than a sweeter.

Benefit spending is constantly in the news but how much do we really know about where the benefits money goes in the UK?

Well, we have collected the data as part of our annual analysis of UK public spending. It shows how benefit spending dominates the UK’s budget each year – but it also breaks it down in detail.

What it shows is that the Department for Welfare and Pensions is the biggest spending department in the UK – spending £166.98bn in 2011-12, which is Of that huge sum, £159bn was spent on benefits – an increase of 1.1% on the previous year. That is 23% of all public spending.

lamb-and-webbAsk people where that money goes and the assumptions might be on unemployment or incapacity benefit. In fact, 47% of UK benefit spending goes on state pensions of £74.22bn a year, more than the £48.2bn the UK spends on servicing its debt.

It’s followed by housing benefit of £16.94bn (+5.2%) and Disability living allowance of £12.57bn (+3.3%). Jobseekers’ allowance is actually one of the smaller benefits – £4.91bn in 2011-12, an increase of 7.6% on the previous year.

And that’s just the benefits that the DWP distributes. HM Revenue & Customs is responsible for tax credits and crucially child benefit, which has just been cut. That was worth £12.22bn in 2011-12.

The cuts reflect changing public attitudes on benefits, as shown by the British Social Attitudes Survey. The charts below show how the British public is much less likely to think benefits should be increased than they did a few years ago – especially for those who are unemployed.

I’m very happy that Labour has rejected calls for it to axe most benefits for the under-25s and link others to training if it wins the next general election.

The party has distanced itself from a think tank’s call for out-of-work benefits for 18-24 year olds to be replaced by a single “youth allowance” to stop a “drift into inactivity”.

Rachel-Reeves-2348066Labour’s Rachel Reeves said this “is not and will not be our policy”.

The Conservatives have said they are considering cutting youth benefits.

In the past, Ed Miliband has suggested that future Labour government would remove benefits from under 25s who have been unemployed for more a year and refuse to sign up to state-backed work training schemes.

The Institute for Public Policy Research, which has close links to Labour, has gone further by saying the majority of young people should no longer be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment Support Allowance and Income Support at all.

Instead, it says they should be paid a single youth allowance at the similar rate to JSA – currently £56.80 a week – while they gain new skills and seek work. The financial support would be conditional of them being in “purposeful” training or “intensive” job hunting.

The latest official figures show there are 1.09 million people between the ages of 16 and 24 not in work, education or training.

The number of so-called Neets is much higher in the UK than other European countries, the IPPR argues, as too many young people fail to make “early connections” to the workplace.

It says the £8.5bn spent on benefits for the under-25s is a significant burden on the taxpayer and risks consigning people to a prolonged period of worklessness – with more than half of people claiming ESA having done so for more than a year.

The UK, it argues, should follow the lead of Netherlands and the Denmark – where Neet rates are half of those in the UK – by “closing off routes” to out-of-work benefits and encouraging young people to complete their education before entering the workplace and prioritising vocational training and apprenticeships.

While, under its plan, young people would be guaranteed access to further education or vocational training and given help to find work or an apprenticeship – there would be “no option” for people to refuse and still receive benefits.

“It is impossible to reduce the number of 126-24 year olds who are Neet to zero and a return to sustained economic growth is a precondition for the headline rate of youth unemployment to fall,” said the report’s author Graeme Cooke.

“However, unlike previous reforms, our new proposals directly address the well-known weaknesses in this country by ensuring that young people can complete their initial education and gain workplace experience while not drifting into inactivity.”

It’s alleged Labour has been flirting with ways to reduce the welfare bill for the under-25s and making benefits more conditional on being in training or searching for work.

But the party distanced itself from the IPPR report – which also calls for a shake-up of the government’s work programme and for child benefit to be stopped at the end of the school year after a child turns 18.

“This is not and will not be our policy,” Ms Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary, tweeted during an online discussion.

“It is not our plan. It is totally not my position,” she added.

In a statement, the party said it was committed to its current policy of a jobs guarantee for those out of work for more than two years, backed up by benefit sanctions. This could be extended in time to those out of work for more than a year.

“Ed Miliband has talked about making the welfare system work for young people, with a compulsory jobs guarantee, to sustainably bring down the social security bill,” a party spokesperson said.

“Compare that with David Cameron’s simplistic attempts to take benefits from all young people, which would harm the severely disabled, which were drawn up on back of a fag packet to try and please Tory conference.”

Mr Cameron told Tory activists last month that he wanted a review of policies for 16 to 25-year-olds and promised to “nag and push and guide” young people away from a life on the dole.

NEC Report from Ann Black Labour Party


NEC-Report-AB-e1343650631395Many Thanks to Ann Black who is elected to the NEC of Labour Party and kindly asked me to share this information. 
Hi all
Below and attached is a report on the NEC meeting held on 4/5
November 2013, including key dates in the policy-making process
through to the general election and deadlines for annual conference
2014.
A reminder that consultation on Ray Collins’ ideas for party reform
closes on 24 December, with proposals going to a special
conference on 1 March 2014 in London.  Responses can be e-
mailed to
onenationparty@labour.org.uk
or uploaded to
and please copy me in, as otherwise I may not see them.
image002As usual, questions and comments are welcome, and feel free to
circulate onwards.
With best wishes
Ann
National Executive Committee, 4/5 November 2013
The Chair Angela Eagle welcomed members to the first meeting
after conference, an opportunity to review our aims, objectives and
strategies for the year ahead.  Deputy leader Harriet Harman
stressed that the 2014 local and European elections were important
in their own right.  Looking forward to 2015 she emphasised the key
role of MPs and contrasted the difference in resources between the
north-west, with 14 Westminster target seats and 45 Labour MPs,
and the eastern region, with 13 targets but only two Labour MPs. 
With the Scottish referendum in the autumn she argued that the
NEC needed strong voices from Scotland and Wales.  I reminded
members that the Scottish and Welsh leaders can already attend,
and that the NEC had previously rejected rule changes which would
add Scottish and Welsh constituency representatives.  All we have
to do is change our attitude. 
Harriet Harman also wondered how the women’s conference, which
this year attracted 1,000 women,  could feed into policy-making
structures while keeping the free-flowing vibrancy of an event
without formalities or a conference arrangements committee. 
Appropriate rule changes could perhaps be put to the special
conference on 1 March.  Overall members were in a positive mood
after conference, buoyed by new policies to take out on the
doorstep.  However there was concern about a diversity deficit at
the top of the party, with a five-man general election team, only one
woman among the executive directors, and only one out of 18
shadow cabinet review groups led by a woman (on care policy). 
We were promised that Douglas Alexander, Chair of general
election strategy, and campaigns director Spencer Livermore would
come to the NEC in January. 
Leader’s Q-and-A
Ed Miliband said, to general assent, that the party should continue
the pace and mood of the last six weeks through the next 18
months.  Debate was now taking place on our terms:  the cost of
living, energy prices, a living wage, apprenticeships, banking
reform, the NHS, tackling vested interests and ensuring that
unscrupulous employers did not undercut pay and conditions by
recruiting from certain groups.  Labour would run an economy
which created wealth, but where the proceeds of growth were
shared fairly and did not go only to the rich and powerful.  Voters
must also be warned of the risks of five more Tory years.  He
added that the handling of Ray Collins’ report on party reform
showed our ability to keep focused on the real enemy, and I hope
that this can be maintained through 2014, when the special
conference will give the media reasons to keep running anti-union
and anti-Labour stories. 
NEC members praised his conference speech and drew attention
to Tory attacks on employment rights including access to tribunals,
the paradox under which British railways can be run by states as
long as they are foreign states, the need for good jobs not just any
jobs, further cuts in public service pay, the threat of a new
European / United States trade agreement, excessive warmth
towards free schools, and expansion of food banks and payday
loans into mainstream society.  Members argued that the minimum
wage would only be enforced when unions could take cases on
behalf of members, as individuals who complain can simply be
disappeared.  Ed Miliband suggested that councils could play a part
here. 
Executive Reports
This was followed by presentations on communication, strategy and
planning, elections, governance and party services, and policy and
rebuttal.  Labour was operating effectively in showcasing new
shadow ministers after the reshuffle and in responding to attacks,
including the Daily Mail’s disgraceful slurs on Ed Miliband’s father. 
Every household would receive a freepost mailing for the Euro-
elections, and seven of the 11 regions reported specific Euro-
campaign activities.  Most Westminster target seats had selected
their candidates and voter ID was running well ahead of the last
cycle, with incentives for constituencies which met targets.  Trigger
ballots were underway for MPs seeking to stand again. 
Labour now has lots of policies:  on payday lenders, childcare,
energy bills, housing, fairer taxes, making work pay, whole-person
care.  However I am still concerned by constant banging on about
toughness:  Labour will make tough choices, be tough on welfare,
tough on immigration, and so on.  It distresses our core supporters
and fails to convince floating voters.  Many of the same arguments
could be couched in terms of fairness instead, and used to unite
rather than to divide.  
General secretary Iain McNicol gave a financial update.  The
situation this year was good, with income running ahead of budget
and expenditure controlled.  Future years have become more
unpredictable with possible changes to the system of affiliation. 
However the financial strategy, including paying off outstanding
debts through to 2016, is sacrosanct, even if it means savage cuts
in spending.  On the positive side, membership has increased since
December:  people are more likely to join and less likely to leave if
they are contacted by their local party, so there is a role for every
activist to play. 
The Road to the Manifesto
Angela Eagle and Jon Cruddas outlined the next stages of policy
development.  Key dates are:
February 2014:  final year consultation documents published on the
Your Britain website
February – June 2014: amendments and submissions accepted. 
Jon Cruddas’s policy reviews and shadow cabinet and external
reviews will also be fed through the policy commissions – these may
amount to 60 separate pieces of work, unless I’m double-counting
June 2014:  NPF representatives meet in regional groups to decide
which amendments to take forward
18-20 July 2014:  national policy forum meets to finalise documents
September 2014: annual conference votes on NPF documents
October 2014 – March 2015:  manifesto development based on
policy programme
Spring 2015:  Clause V meeting agrees manifesto
This means that the consultation runs alongside election
campaigning through to 22 May 2014, but perhaps local parties can
organise policy discussions followed by door-knocking sessions. 
Conference Round-Up
This year’s conference was attended by 611 constituency
delegates representing 488 local parties, slightly up on 2012.  All
considered it successful, though there were the usual concerns
about lack of time for ordinary delegates, and the waving of bizarre
objects to attract the Chair’s attention.  I asked, again, for the
timetable and papers to be published on the website, so that
supporters watching at home could follow proceedings.  It was
clarified that motions passed with more than two-thirds support
become part of the policy programme and are considered for, but
not necessarily included in, the manifesto 
Some NEC members suggested that new delegates needed more
briefing from regional officers.  Others, from both unions and
constituencies, reported complaints about too much regional
briefing around elections to the conference arrangements
committee.  Iain McNicol is investigating. 
The 2014 conference will be held from Sunday 21 to Wednesday
24 September in Manchester, preceded by the women’s
conference on Saturday 20 September.  The deadline for
contemporary motions will be noon on Thursday 11 September and
for emergency motions, noon on Friday 19 September.  The six
constituency places on the NEC will be up for election next year,
with nominations closing on 20 June 2014, and it was agreed to
defer elections to the national policy forum until 2015 so that
current members could complete the policy cycle.
Home and Abroad
A report from the European party highlighted engagement on e-
cigarettes, zero-hours contracts, food labelling, flight safety, air
quality and many other areas, with Labour MEPs instrumental in
securing stronger protection from blacklisting.  David Sparks
reported on the desperate situation faced by many councils:  while
Labour fights to minimise the impact on vulnerable people, our
constant message must be that these cuts are Tory government-
imposed, and they are unjustified, unnecessary and unfair.
The NEC also received the minutes of sub-committees.  The
organisation committee had decided that Leeds East should select
from an open list, where I was one of two members voting against,
and launched a review of procedures for suspension and auto-
exclusion.  The equalities committee noted that there would be a
young members’ conference on 21/23 February 2014 in Bradford. 
Other issues included the importance of diversity within black,
Asian and minority ethnic minority representation so that all
communities felt they had a voice, and concerns about the
deselection of councillors.   
The NEC congratulated everyone involved in the Scottish
parliamentary by-election victory in Dunfermline, and noted that
Falkirk would select their Westminster candidate on 8 December.
John Denham MP closed the meeting with a thoughtful
presentation on winning back the south.  Though seen as
prosperous, parts of the south had lower wages but higher living
costs than the national average, and resented being lumped in with
London.  However, many voters shared Labour values, and One
Nation messages, translated into the local context, could appeal
just as strongly as elsewhere.
Questions and comments are welcome, and I am happy for this to
be circulated to members as a personal account, not an official
record.  Reports of meetings from July 2008 onwards are at

 See Youtube to give you a idea of where is coming from:

Hold our Government to account where is the movement for change


rosette_1628747cThe question I’m posing is, is the government corrupt or is it the people who elected them help to give our government a bad name.

There is a wide perception from the press and people continue to use words like “They all in it together to milk the system. Or they are there to line their pockets”

To be honest most elected members come with good intentions to help build a society and in some cases they see bad practice and think that is the norm. When people reads media reports about MP expenses being abused it’s no wonder why some people are put off from politics and to make matters worse people don’t vote as some feel that their voice are not heard or they feel that it’s way over their heads as they are no different from other political parties and they take your votes for granted no matter what their background, race, creed or sexuality.

It’s no surprise that the turn outs in some cases are as low as 15% this can be seen as a trend or pattern recurring over the years. The way forward is a Movement for Change for local people and politicians to engage with each other sure the public can turn up at their MP or Local Councillors surgery but is this really good enough is my feeling.

Some will argue that the only time you see or hear from your politician is nearing a elections this may be in some case but not in all cases I have campaign with all my local Councillors and MP during and after election times and can say that they all care about the community they represent nor are they interested if you are from a working or middle class background they do the job that they have been elected to do by their ward and constituency they can be contacted all year round no matter what the climate be whether it is rain or shine.

Yes they turn up to all the residents association, attend ward, constituency meetings and do street visits in the ward and likewise the MP the question I will pose again if many of you are honest with yourselves how many of you are at home when they knock on your door with questionnaires and how many of you spend time to speak to them about your concerns which affects you that’s if you speak to any of them or are you one of them that is quick enough to slam the door in their faces and tell them to go where the sun don’t shine.

Communication is two way street like it or lump it if you don’t communicate with your local Councillors and MP how do you expect anything to be done about the concerns you have after all politicians are not mind readers and one size does not fit all. Most of the prospective candidates I have mentored have a set task to do and in some cases have provided fruits from the results they have achieved by asking the right questions from residents. I’m sure some folks will dismiss this but may I remind folks to pick sense out of nonsense as knowledge is power which I make no apologies for saying so.

So when people say to politicians they are not interested in politics let me and others remind you all everything you do involves in politics like the air you breath, the church that you attend, the gardening the water you use to wash, drink the pint, the coffee, tea, food, the car that you drive and the house you buy or rent all involves politics there is no escape from it no ifs or buts to put it harshly.

If parents can’t be bothered to come out to vote how you expect your children of voting age don’t vote it’s no surprise that any government can get away with blue murder for not holding them to account as Russell Brand puts it in a nutshell. He is in a position where he can exercise his right to vote but he alleges he does not use his vote. Funny enough he makes millions of us which he does not tell you about.

There have been two world wars which our fore parents fought to ensure we have a vote which includes the suffragettes all have done to get the vote out.  then there is the cost of living and this coalition does not make it any better see youtube below:

http://youtu.be/eK5r5boUsO0

The moral of this story is if you don’t vote you don’t have a say!