Tag Archives: BBC

Theresa May Uturn


Drums will be beating very hard from now to the 8 June as General Elections takes place as voters goes to the polling station until it close at 10pm. 

All the political parties will be stating their case to the nation why they should be voted into office. This will be one of the prediction I said three weeks before David Cameron resigned as Leader of Conservatives and Prime Minister that a snap General Elections will be called the moment that Brexit was announced David Cameron went to the nation. I was laughed at, now I’m having the last laugh and it’s very loud. Theresa May took over the leadership of the Conservatives and  became Prime Ministers. She does not have a mandate by the nation. I was not surprised by the decision by Theresa May to hold snap General Elections to give her a mandate.

It’s been reported that around 50,000 disabled people have had specially adopted cars taken away since changes to disability benefits in 2013. The mobility scheme entitles disabled people to lease a specialty adopted new car, scooter or powered wheelchairs using part of their benefit. It alleged by a charity that around 51,000 people have had their vehicles taken away since the benefits taken away were changed in 2013.

It is alleged that two private firms that access people with claiming disability benefits will receive nearly 200m more than officials had originally expected figures suggest. The government had estimated that Atos and Capita would earn £512m for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) assessments between 2013/2017.

Who would believe that people with learning disabilities are missing out on vital health checks this includes blood pressure, cancer screening, and mental health assessments. Only about half of women with learning disabilities received breast cancer screening last year, compared with about 70% of eligible women overall.

Millions of students and former students in England and Wales will face a sharp increase in interest rates on tuition fees and maintenance loans. The interest rates are linked to inflation and are set to continue to rise by about a third from 4.6% to 6.1% this will be enforced in the autumn alongside an increase in tuition fees to £9,250 for universities in English.

It is purported that Housing problems in England are causing people to suffer anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

Of people who had experienced housing worries within the past five years, 69% said their mental health was affected, suggests research for the charity.

The researchers interviewed 1,050 people from across England who reported poor housing, rent problems or being threatened with eviction.

The polling company ComRes carried out online interviews for the report in February this year with a representative sample of 3,509 adults from across England.

Of these, about 30% or 1,050 people, said they had experienced housing problems within the last five years.

Among this group the most common mental health problems were:

  • stress – 64%
  • anxiety – 60%
  • sleep problems – 55%
  • depression – 48%
  • panic attacks – 30%

About one in 20 had visited their GP because of their mental state and a worrying minority had contemplated suicide.

Shelter says that if these figures were replicated across the whole of England’s population, one million people would have sought medical intervention because of mental health issues brought on by poor housing or worries about eviction or affording rent or mortgage payments over the past five years.

Additionally, one in six said housing worries had also affected their physical health, causing symptoms like hair loss, nausea, exhaustion, dizzy spells and headaches, while damp or mouldy homes can exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma, says the charity. Telephone interviews with 20 inner-city GPs highlighted the extent to which housing has an impact on mental health.

Housing difficulties can be particularly harsh for people “on the line of coping or not coping. Then, they really do tip over the edge”, said one London GP.

A Sheffield GP said parents could become depressed because “they’re unable to provide a nice environment for their children”.

“In the children, they tend to get a little bit, sometimes withdrawn, sometimes a bit anxious and angry.”

London GP Andrew Carr said housing was a major contributing factor to mental illness.

“With evictions on the rise in my area, I’ve seen people with acute anxiety or severe stress because they’re facing the threat of losing their home.”

It is alleged that around four million homeowners in England do not own the freehold to property new government estimates have revealed.

The government promised action, saying it will end leaseholds for new housing developments.

Well there is saying which comes to mind ‘A promise is a comfort to a fool’. This is on the grounds of government makes all sorts of promises in order to gain your votes. In a nutshell they are all talk but no action.

To be frank I would rather believe the Labour Party Shadow Housing Minister John Healey position who said those leaseholders are currently ‘unprotected from rip off raises in ground rents from developers or management companies and under a Labour Government will end this sharp practice.

It is alleged that our dedicated nurses are being protected with affordable pay and their jobs. What a load of hogwash if this was the case why is the government are cutting funding to our NHS and it’s no wonder the Royal College of Nursing are assessing the mood for strike action in protest over pay. The union are asking 270,000 of its members across the U.K. whether they want to strike before deciding issuing a formal ballot on the grounds of pay freezes and caps on pay raise since 2010 have effectively led to a 14% pay cut due to the rising cost of living. This government just don’t get it, claiming that they are investing £1.4billon to ensure all children to get help they need. Children as young as four are suffering from mental health problems such as panic attacks, anxiety, and depression which is being reported by teachers. A survey done by the teaching union NASUWT suggest almost all of the 2,000 who responded say they had come into contact with mentally ill pupils. Members of the teaching union suggest schools are struggling to access enough support to deal with the issue.

When I look at all the u-turns that Theresa May has done such as:

  1. Not wanting to call a snap General Elections, she decided to call one.
  2. EU Citizens Right to remain during her leadership campaign she refuses to guarantee the right of EU nationals living in the UK, now she says they are allowed to stay.  
  3. Jeremy Hunt said that foreign doctors are not allowed to stay she refuse to say three times that they are allowed to stay.  
  4. Foreign Staff list purposed by Amber’s plan to force companies to publish how many foreign staff they employ has been kicked to the wilderness.  

For this reason the Conservatives with all the u turns its no wonder why they are in disarray and they cannot be trusted to run the nation. I would rather have a Labour Government and urge voters to create a political storm by voting Labour on 8 June.

 

 

Satire: The state of our beloved nation


It’s worrying times to know that Queen Theresa May gets her coronation to be leader of Conservatives and Prime Minister of our nation. Let’s look at the wider picture we still have foodbanks, homelessness, big, medium, and small businesses going into administration just before and post brexit UK. Some parts of society will not recognise that Hatecrimes organised by far-right groups by using selective targeting both EU and Muslim disabilities communities in UK, UK football team knocked out of European Match which includes Wales. Intriguingly it’s been purported that some Labour voters have more confidence in Queen Theresa May as prime minister which is dangerous.
Here is something I remember listening to and it really hit some hometruths:

Now that I’ve got the pleasantries out of the way it’s time to be prepare for a snap General Elections after the vote in parliament on the referendum and article 50 see details: http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-European-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html and the clown Boris Johnson should be held to account for his part of the Leave Campaign with some misleading quotes regards to our beloved National Health Service(NHS) and some inflammatory remarks on immigrants.

I do recognize that we have a fix term Parliament which was introduced by the nasty party whilst in a coalition with the Libdems however there has been calls from certain quarters for Queen Theresa May to call for a snap General Election as voters did not voted for her as Prime Minister and she has said she will not call for one that is her right to call the shots on this I won’t be one bit surprised that Tories will be mobilising from behind the scenes preparing for it. This sorts to remind me of one Gordon Brown who backed out from calling a snap General Elections. I’m sure this will be timed when they announce it at a time when they think the oppositions will be off guard which I would not put it pass her to do so.

How can I even forget this another song that hits home again:

Even at this moment it’s still not clear what the timetable of all the cabinet positions at the choosing of Queen Theresa May who will be the brexit cabinet minister he or she will have to produce the results of the will of the nation which is a minefield to for the Conservatives given half the party are very much split between remain and leave somewhat like Labour when it came to campaigning in the referendum. One thing is for sure David Cameron vision and legacy has been very much marred with increased foodbanks, homelessness, people with disabilities having money taken off their benefits, lack of investment in public service which have resulted in cuts and closures of some services. The contracts of junior doctors being ripped up and the possibility of imposition of a new contract this is so much for we are all in it together under conservatism one nation for all of us whilst the poor get poorer and the rich gets greedier with their wealth and very happy to stick two fingers at the establishment by putting it into off shore accounts.

What the nation can concur is that the Conservative have seen two women succeed as Prime Minister one dead(Maggie Thatcher) and the other as we know her as Queen Theresa May whilst in Labour a storm arises with the Parliamentary Labour Party between hurricane Jeremy Corbyn this must be a very bitter pill to swallow when 172 MPs resigns from shadow cabinet and a vote of no confidence. There is a two reasons why there is a vote of no confidence this is on the grounds of that Members of Parliament wants to see a change in the way how the leader operates and wanting to see a change of attitude in the leader or the working relationship is so unbearable.

I’m in the opinion that they wanted a change of direction in the leadership to offer more in policies and leadership. However the vote of no confidence must be used as a last result which seems to fall on deaf ears in some quarters of Labour. Let me make very clear that nobody should have their property damaged or be intimidated and any incidence should be reported to the relevant bodies investigate it instead of alleging which groups or fan club is responsible. Members will have a choice who they want to be the leader of Labour Party there may be a third candidate that has thrown their hat in the ring. I’m sure that Labour Party members have seen many leadership changes in the pass to last a life time and deep down did not want this to happen as we all know that passions are very high and at times get out of hand. Let us all have a comradely debate who will be the best leader to lead the party and unite and heal all the fraction(s) which I take no comfort in saying this publicly as one chapter closes and another one begins whoever wins the leadership I will continue to give my support to no matter during the bad, good, and ugly times of the premiership of Labour. The public does not want to see our party carry on  with the infighting as this will lose public confidence the party. When I receive my secret ballot papers one will accordingly and shall not divulge which way I voted in the coming elections of both leadership and Labour NEC.

 

Satire: Conservatives say “On Yer Bike if you are disabled and homeless”


Here is something we all should not forget in a hurry:

Forgive me for being an old fart and a so-called loony left-wing which so people who may think I am which is very far from the truth.  What annoys me more is that we have all witnessed successful governments come into power all claiming that they will address the root causes of homelessness and they fail to grasp the nettle of how serious the problem is and would rather brush it under the carpet.

Let’s us all go back in time to the year of 4 May 1979 and 28 November 1990, when a woman called Maggie Thatcher who led a Conservative Government came to power she made claims There is no such thing as a society here is the full interview dated on 30 October 1987 with the Women’s Own Magazine:

“I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it.’I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

See link below:

http://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/~alexss/thatcherism.pdf

The reason why I and many others refer to this interview on the grounds it fundamentally changed UK with the housing, NHS policies in regards to the way how they housed people based on their income and not really taking into account people with disabilities which included mental health, alcoholism. Thatcherism basically caused the coal mining, manufacturing, housing, and hospitals to close on a full scale and start to thinking of rebranding the market which left many to be made homeless and jobless to the extent the then conservatives could not give a flying monkeys as long as you are a millionaire then it was a case of welcome to Britain if you have money in your pocket jingling.

Thirty years later we have seen a Labour, Coalition, and Conservative government with a society still being discontent to see increase in foodbanks, soup kitchens, high unemployment, homelessness which is endemic and not withstanding zero hour contracts. All incumbent governments use language to hookwink the so called intellect challenged into believing they will build more house, hospitals, and create more jobs.  Voters and non-voters are seeking answers to where are the new houses and jobs. If they build houses it is not affordable rent and the prices for the new homes are unaffordable to the average Joe Blog unless they have rich parents who will help them on to the ladder to buy their first property.

So it comes as to no surprise when Local authorities are unlawfully resettling homeless families in temporary housing far away from their local area, forcing them to spend hours travelling to schools and health services, a study has found.

The housing charity Shelter says some council are guilty of unsafe practices by pressurising homeless families into accepting unsuitable housing up to 100 miles from where they live, causing them unnecessary hardship.

It is alleged in one case, a woman made homeless in West London who was told relocation to Hastings on the south coast would keep her “close to London”, had to make seven-hour round trips back to the capital to take her ill baby to weekly hospital appointments.

Other cases include relocated families who arranged for their children to stay with grandparents or friends during the week so that they could remain at their old school. Other reported embarking on school runs lasting up to two hours.

Despite official guidance requiring councils to place families where practical in the borough in which they are resident, Shelter says authorities in London are now moving households out of area “as a matter of course”.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Faced with severe budget cuts and overwhelming numbers of homeless families coming to them for help, it’s sadly not surprising that overstretched councils in London are failing to meet their current legal responsibilities.”

Latest official figures show that 17,150 households were temporarily housed out of area in 2015, up from 5,330 in 2010. Over 90% of placements were made by London authorities, who say their hand is forced by high rents, housing benefit caps and affordable housing shortages.

Oh let’s not forget that Homeless disabled people are increasingly being turned away by cash-strapped councils as officials find reasons to avoid treating them as a priority, according to lawyers mounting a potentially landmark legal challenge.

The Supreme Court will consider decisions by local authorities to deny housing to a man with learning difficulties and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), another with mental and physical health problems and a drug addict who has been homeless since 2005.

One activist condemned the current system, saying it allowed councils to abandon people to a life on the streets, where the average life expectancy is just 47.

Housing applicants are considered to have a priority need if they are vulnerable, for example because of old age, a mental health problem or a physical disability. Local authorities test vulnerability by comparing applicants with “an ordinary homeless person” and considering whether they would be less able to fend for themselves.

The three-day Supreme Court hearing, will examine the way this is done and any change could have nationwide implications.

In one case, Southwark Council in south London decided Sifatullah Hotak was not a priority despite his PTSD, learning difficulties and symptoms of depression. They agreed he was vulnerable but said his brother Ezatullah Hotak, also homeless, was able to look after him. Mr Hotak, an Afghan national in the UK legally, relies on his brother to wash and dress him and make sure he goes to medical appointments. Both men live in a hostel but the council decided Ezatullah would be able to cope even if they were on the streets. In 2011, the council said: “On his own and street homeless, Mr Hotak may also be at risk of harm insofar as it may have an impact on his health. However, we are satisfied that his brother is capable of providing continued housing and support if they were street homeless together.”

Mr Hotak’s solicitor Pat Wilkins said her client’s situation was part of an increasing trend.

She said: “It’s getting more difficult for [vulnerable] people to get housed. I think there is a general shortage of housing and therefore local authorities have had to become much tougher about their decisions on how that housing is allocated.

“The most vulnerable people tend to be those who [do not] have the loudest voice, who aren’t able to make the case that others can.”

In a second Southwark case, Patrick Kanu was refused housing despite having a mental health disorder and a number of physical problems. In 2012, the council argued his conditions could be controlled by medication and his wife and grown-up son could help him.

Mr Kanu’s solicitor, Stuart Hearne of Cambridge House Law Centre, echoed Ms Wilkins’s comments. “There has become a noticeable increase in local authorities refusing to accept people with significant mental health problems [as a] priority need,” he said.

In a third case, Solihull council decided that Craig Johnson, who has a history of drug use and has been convicted of 50 offences, mainly petty theft, was not vulnerable enough to receive priority housing even though he has been homeless since 2005.

Jon Sparkes, of homelessness charity Crisis, said the current system was “unfair and wrong” and a “long-standing injustice”, arguing all homeless people were vulnerable.

“The resource level of the local authority shouldn’t be material in the decision about how vulnerable someone is,” he said. “While I can see some logic in there being priority and lower priority, having a system which enables a local authority to turn someone away to a [place] where their life expectancy is 30 years lower than the general population, I can’t see how that person is not a priority.”

Southwark’s housing spokesman, Richard Livingstone, said in both of its cases the Court of Appeal had found that the authority acted correctly.

“If a different view is taken by the Supreme Court, then this will be taken into account,” he said. “This is a much wider issue than decisions made by individual councils and we welcome the focus Crisis and Shelter are bringing to the national legislation and the questions raised.”

Solihull council declined to comment until after the hearing.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “Housing authorities must ensure that suitable accommodation is available for people who have priority need.”

What the then Labour Government want us to believe:

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/labours-legacy/6509704.article

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premiership_of_Tony_Blair

http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/spcc/wp02.pdf

http://www.general-election-2010.co.uk/50-labour-party-achievements.html

What the then Conservatives and Libdem Coalition Government want us all to believe:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-housing-for-older-and-vulnerable-people/2010-to-2015-government-policy-housing-for-older-and-vulnerable-people

Now that we have a Conservative from 2010 –to present they say that they are introducing housing benefit caps and suppose to build more houses:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-rented-housing-sector/2010-to-2015-government-policy-rented-housing-sector

https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto

Is Labour on its way to win or lose the next elections


After doing some serious reflecting on the some of the causes of why Labour lost both 2010 and 2015 I feel that this youtube gives a brief idea some may feel differently. If you listen to it to some it will make sense and to others it may not:   

 

Well folks it been reported in the Guardian, and other newspapers that Labour will face setbacks this coming May Local Elections. There is a saying if you keep on reading the negatives then you begin to be convinced if it continues to be reported. Our task should Labour activists and supporters take on this mission is to prove the press wrong this is a challenge to the Labour Party to get the votes out. See evidence enclosed:

http://labourlist.org/2016/01/read-labours-official-report-into-why-the-2015-election-was-lost/

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jan/14/beckett-report-labour-lost-2015-election-economy-immigrants-benefits

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jan/22/labour-warned-to-expect-losses-in-may-local-elections?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

There is some truth in that Labour Party took Blame and Chinese votes for granted which was published in the Guardian and other newspaper see articles below:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/24/one-million-minority-ethnic-votes-helped-tories-no-10

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/21590ede-c122-11e5-846f-79b0e3d20eaf.html#axzz3yFrLJUY7

http://survation.com/the-conservatives-took-a-third-33-of-ethnic-minority-votes-in-the-general-election-equating-to-1-million-votes/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-35390854

http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/ethnic-minority-votes-up-for-grabs/

For Labour to regain the trust of Black and Ethnic minority votes it will have to show that Labour is a government in waiting to energize our core voters and beyond to reclaim victory this I kid you not.

Winning in Labour safe seats is one thing but to take seats in marginal areas off the Tory, Libdems, Greens, SNP and other nationalist parties is a bonus this includes London Mayoral, and Police Crime Commissioners elections this I kid you not.

Most of all the Tories relay on the press to be bias towards Labour to help them to win. Remember the Conservatives nationally only won a majority of 12 seats to form a government.

If you have been following my blog for some time I’ve always said that polls goes up and down and the pollsters are paid to do a job and they got it wrong. This example reminded me of the Labour years in government the pollsters predicted that labour will lose the elections only for Labour to prove them wrong. No doubt if pundits put a wager on the results they may end up watching their money growing wings all the way to the betting shop bank account.

This is not about having a go at any individual Member of Parliament or activist. It’s the way how our voters see the infighting amongst ourselves on social media and putting our dirty laundry outside the public domain which feeds into the press and the so called insider who may think that they are doing the party a service is actual fact is damaging the party over a few pieces of silver.

Whilst many in Labour Party are having internal debate inwards we must be able to show that Labour can debate outwards to win public support to vote Labour. Let’s not forget that Labour has lost general elections already in 2010 and 2015.

There is a strong argument if we are not careful the party will face another defeat in 2020 which will make it two terms in a row that is put forward from the press. Like it or lump it it’s been alleged that 13,000 members have left the party for one reason or another if the truth is to be known the reasoning is not all that clear. It is those that have left the party that we need to convince to return to the party and encourage them to use their influence to help shape our policies both with old and new to help win elections by encouraging young members involvement in the policy development.

Some in the party will argue that Corbyn is the ultimate professional politician having spent 8 years as a paid Trade Union employee and 33 years as a paid MP from the ingrown Islington set who were the foundation of the Looney Left who destroyed Labour in the 80’s.

It’s been alleged that Corbyn has not left this Party stronger but very much weaker than before he became leader.  He is following the path that Foot trod as leader in 1980 and that will lead to the same results. In many ways he is living in the shadow of Foot, because he does not have the intellect or the formidable oratory of that wonderful man. The 1983 manifesto advocated unilateral nuclear disarmament, higher personal taxation, interventionist policies (nationalisation), Out of the EU, Nationalisation of banks, and a great deal more far left socialist policies leaving Labour isolated from the middle ground of politics and from what the British Electorate wanted. It was rightly dubbed “the longest suicide note in history.” The Labour Party lost in one of its heaviest defeats at the polls. We grow weaker every day at the polls, our defence of the realm seen as laughable, is just one example of how the general population regard Corbyn and the Labour party.

All members of the Labour Party and the PLP should get behind elected leader to fight the Tories and win the election in 2020.

 

Conservatives voted against Labour opposition day motion


Here is dreaded reminder why we should not trust the establishment they give in one hand and suck out the blood out of the other hand.

 

 

 

7 Jan 2016 saw the opposition day motion being voted against in the house the results were as follows:

Ayes: 273

Noes: 308

Motion on universal credit allowance:

Calls on the government to reverse its decision to cut the allowance.

The work allowance is the amount that can be earned before the universal credit benefit is reduced.

Whilst it’s disappointing news that the Conservatives and others voted against the motion there is a sense of urgency to continue our fight to highlight that this Victorian establishment is hell bent on carrying out their agenda to make the poor to suffer unless you are lucky to have a rich relative(s) that you can turn to in your hour of need to help subsidise your lifestyle when they encourage the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) to sanction you whilst you are on benefits.

Us plebs who depend on benefits to survive comes in two folds it’s either that a person who earn a living but have to depend on some benefits to top up your income. Or you lost your job and have to depend on benefits because of unscrupulous companies pays below the national minimum wage or living wage and they refuse to provide payslips so you can make a claim for tax credits and because you complain to the management of the company they decided to let you go. Then there is an untold stories that DWP, and press will not discuss the subject of Mental Health, disability or at worst domestic abuse when the service user(s) who depend on benefits which they seem to brush under the carpet so that they can meet their targets enforced by the Secretary Of DWP (Iain Duncan Smith) which forces service users hands to go to the Foodbanks until their benefits has been sorted out.

However there is a catch by heading to the foodbank you can only claim a food parcel three times. You will have to go to a money adviser, citizens’ advice bureau or your job centre to claim a voucher. After using the foodbank then you are left to fend for yourself to make ends meets this does not take into account that you have to top up your gas, and electric meters and look after your own personal hygiene or take your medication, pay your rent, and Council Tax.

 This what Margret Hodge had to say about Universal Credit:  

 

 

There is no doubt that Labour has campaigned against the establishment which forced them to postpone the unfair tax credits which help low paid workers make ends meet.  The u-turn only offers low paid workers a temporary relief. Be aware of the Greeks bearing gifts they give in the one hand and taking in the other hand by way of this government odious planning to introduce universal credit over this Parliament. This will mean that 2.6 million families are set to lose an average of £1,600 per year under the proposal of the new universal credit.

Be under no illusions this threat is real and low incomes of low paid working people has not disappeared with the hugely proposed cuts from this Tory Government.

Under this so-called proposal it’s alleged that six benefits will be rolled into one benefit. On the face of it, it sounds great but there are loopholes which need to be clampdown preventing fraud for the future for it can be fully implemented.

I don’t think the baby project of Iain Duncan Smith is going very smoothly in the guise of Universal Credit there have been wide criticism from all sections of parliament and I concur with Owen Smith when he said:

Owen Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, commenting on today’s OBR report showing the impact of cuts to Universal Credit, said:

“Labour warned last week that George Osborne’s u-turn on tax credits might not be all it seemed and today’s report from the OBR shows it was a total con job.

“It’s no wonder the government didn’t want to publish these figures last week and decided instead to sneak them out this morning.

“It shows clearly that the Tories are still taking £3 billion out of the pockets of working people, they’re just using Universal Credit instead of tax credits to pick those pockets.

“I’d urge those Conservative MPs who opposed tax credit cuts to look closely at this report and to reach the same conclusion that Labour has already reached – that cuts to Universal Credit are merely a re-branding of tax credit cuts. These cuts will drastically reduce support to working families and they should be opposed outright.”

It is said that Disability benefit assessment have doubled in cost to £579m a year but targets are still being missed the National Audit Office has said.

The spending watchdog found the quality of the tests was also not improving despite significant changes.

Meg Hilliler MP said the cost was “staggering” and sick disabled people needed “a better deal”.

One has to ask yourself this question is whether the changes to our welfare system especially to keep out EU citizens from claiming benefits when they arrive to the UK so it will make it difficult for them and us to claim benefits when we lose our jobs.

Currently wide speculation are coming from various so called sources stipulating that the establishment is trying to introduce the reforms so it is in line with the economy which George Osborne is claiming our country faces a cocktail of serious threats from a slowing global economy as 2016.

This what the Conservatives don’t want you to know, the deputy leader of the Labour party, Tom Watson, has accused the government of hiding essential information before the planned EU referendum by failing to disclose official figures on the number of migrant benefit claimants in Britain.

HM Revenue & Customs is refusing to disclose how many British nationals claiming tax credits are being counted as migrants. The number in question inflates the figure for immigrant families claiming in-work benefits and potentially means any policy aimed at restricting the benefits of EU migrants could hit thousands of Britons.

As the Guardian revealed last October, HMRC defines “non-UK families” as those where at least one adult in the claimant family is a migrant, meaning that mixed families where one partner is a British national are classed as immigrants.

Following that story, a freedom of information request was submitted to HMRCasking how many claimants classed as part of migrant families were British nationals.

Under FoI terms, a response was due by mid-November but the figures have yet to be released.

Although it claims it is dealing with the FoI request, HMRC has refused to say when it intends to respond. The tax office has also failed to explain why it missed the statutory deadline of 13 November or indicate any exemptions it may be considering, which should be communicated in delayed cases.

Watson said: “The fact the government has failed to respond to repeated freedom of information requests to explain how it defines an ‘immigrant family’ suggests it has something to hide. We can’t debate the UK’s place in Europe ahead of an historic EU referendum without accurate statistics on this and other issues.”

“The Freedom of Information Act was introduced by a Labour government because the public has a right to know about the decisions taken in its name.Labour would strengthen the act, but the Tories want to weaken it.”

HMRC’s definition of migrant families not only inflates the figure of 740,000 non-UK families claiming tax credits but also means that any policy aimed at restricting the benefits of migrants could also hit Britons. More than 7% of the UK’s 15.6m couples comprise one UK national and one non-UK national, according to analysis compiled by the Office for National Statistics for the Guardian. But when any such couples claim tax credits, they could be considered migrant families by the British government.

According to HMRC data there were 738,900 non-UK families (which include single people and couples) in receipt of tax credits as of March 2014, the most recent data released by the tax agency that includes a UK/non-UK breakdown. That is 15.9% of the total caseload.

Of the 738,900 non-UK families, 431,500 are couples while the other 307,400 are single claimants.

However, only 401,700 of all the 2.6 million singles (UK and non-UK) claiming tax credits have no children and receive working tax credit only. HMRC has also refused to say if it knows the number of cases where non-UK single claimants are claiming child tax credit and the other parent is a British national.

The vast majority of tax credit expenditure relates to families with children.

HMRC estimates that annual entitlements of families containing a non-UK national were £5.2bn in 2013-14 (17.4% of the total £29.7bn spend for that period). Of the £5.2bn, £1.2bn was paid to out-of-work families on child tax credits, £3.8bn to in-work families with children, and £200m to in-work claimants without children.

Last December, HMRC refused to disclose how many national insurance numbers issued to recent migrants were “active” (ie showed recent payments of tax or benefit claims) following an FoI request; the tax agency claimed releasing the information would be unhelpful to the UK’s EU membership negotiation process.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We take our responsibilities under the FoI Act very seriously, and we make every effort to meet the statutory deadline for all FoI requests. Unfortunately, we are sometimes unable to provide a response by the deadline.”

Don’t believe the hype about the rollout of universal credit and how the Tories are finally “making work pay” – Iain Duncan Smith has presided over perhaps the failure of this parliament. Whenever I talk about the need for better representation of women and minorities in politics, there is a stock response. “Surely we want ministers appointed on merit?” people ask, making a serious face. And I always think, “So how do you explain Iain Duncan Smith, then?”

IDS is one of the great enigmas of modern politics. In person, he appears quiet, self-contained, borderline pious: stick him in a robe and sandals and he’d make a very good abbot. He has devoted allies who believe in him with quasi-religious zeal.

Yet welfare reform is perhaps the failure of this parliament, which has been allowed to go unnoticed because: a) it doesn’t really affect People Like Us and b) it is protected by a tedium shield three miles thick.

These past weeks, the spin doctors tell us, were devoted to trumpeting the Conservatives’ alleged success in saving the taxpayer sackloads of cash by chastising scroungers and layabouts into honest employment. Tory commentators are in ecstasies. “Like an unstoppable cyborg programmed with bourgeois decency – the Suburbinator – IDS has simply refused to give in,” swooned Matthew d’Ancona in the Guardianon 15 February. “His welfare revolution is potentially the most important achievement of the government,” wrote Peter Oborne in the same day’s Telegraph. (If only we could get all jobseekers to work as hard as the word “potentially” does in that sentence. I am potentially the most acclaimed supermodel of the 21st century. Tony Blair is potentially the man who will bring peace to the Middle East. Don’t all rush to Ladbrokes at once.)

Let’s start with Universal Credit, since that has apparently now been recast as a success. It is actually a failure: a good idea in theory that was horrifically bungled in practice. In 2010 the government quite reasonably acknowledged that navigating a maze of more than 30 benefits was causing huge problems for claimants. But ministers seemed less aware that the complexity would not go away under Universal Credit; it would merely be dealt with by a computer system instead.

There is a reason why “government IT project” rivals “rail replacement bus” as the most chilling three-word phrase in our language. This didn’t bother Duncan Smith and his circle at the Department for Work and Pensions, who were infused with a sense of divine purpose. Throughout the process, the department has made avoidable errors by insisting that all naysayers must be enemies rather than critical friends. In September 2013, a National Audit Office report raised alarms about “a ‘fortress’ mentality within the programme team and a ‘good news’ reporting culture”. The public accounts committee, led by the indomitable Margaret Hodge, reported in November that year that the team was “isolated and defensive” and “gave misleading interviews to the press” indicating that all was well. There were also some sharp questions about how well the £425m invested up to that point had been spent.

The problems are not confined to the distant past. In December, the Office for Budget Responsibility delivered an exquisitely crafted blow, saying, in effect, that it didn’t believe the department’s figures any longer. It cited “the recent history of optimism bias in Universal Credit plans and other projects of this sort”.

That optimism bias was still on show on 15 February as IDS announced the roll-out of Universal Credit. It might happen, although Labour says it will “pause” the programme if elected and George Osborne (who seems never to have rated his colleague’s intelligence or ability) may well find a way to kibosh it out of the spotlight of an election campaign. The Treasury has still not approved the business case for Universal Credit and the rollout has a host of exemptions. You cannot claim it if you own your home or are homeless, for example.

Even if it does finally emerge, Universal Credit seems unlikely to deliver the huge savings needed to slash the welfare bill to the levels demanded by Osborne. It might also have unintended consequences that haven’t been sufficiently offset. For instance, the vaunted ambition of “making work pay” – by stopping the steep reduction in benefits for those working just over 16 hours a week – might encourage claimants to take insecure, irregular part-time work and allow employers to get away with offering it.

Universal Credit is not the government’s only troubled welfare reform. The expanded work capability assessment backfired so badly that the outsourced provider ditched the contract. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) system has become incredibly punitive. Declan Gaffney in theNational Insti­tute Economic Review records that JSA sanctions are running at 6 per cent, the highest on record; among Employment and Support Allowance claimants (who are currently not fit for work), sanctions rose from 2,200 in the first quarter of 2012 to 15,900 in the first quarter of 2014. To gain public support for these measures, the government has relied on myths such as “families where no one has worked for three generations” (of which the Joseph Rowntree Foundation failed to find a single example).

The unpalatable truth is that a high benefits bill stems not from a badly structured welfare system but from a badly structured society. Take housing benefit: accounting for inflation, it has risen 150 per cent in the past 21 years. The answer is not to cut housing benefit but to build more homes.

Welfare reform in this parliament has been about running to stand still, huffing and puffing and achieving very little. As Gaffney notes, “Labour’s spending plans for 2014/15 were for £216.8bn, compared with the current forecast of £215bn.” I bet the Quiet Man won’t have much to say about that.

Now this rich coming from George Osborne to allege this year is likely to be one of the toughest since the financial crisis. This smells like the god of fear being branded around to maximum effect to show that the Tories are in charge which is more inline of the thinking of UKIP and their supporters just in case of a referendum is on the horizon.

 

 

Oi you’re too fat lose it, or get your benefits stop


This is so rich coming from David Cameron he wants to carry out a review people who are overweight and drug problems or face losing your benefit. How out of touch he and his party are.

Well the Tories have opened up a can of worms by out doing themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the issues surrounding obesity such as medical conditions which cause a person to gain some weight this incorporates in some form of disability which does affect their social mobility to do very simple tasks.

Nobody likes to be obese and they have done all they can to help combat their obesity like doing light exercise. obesityOh let’s not forget that some people are on the waiting list of the NHS to have an operation to lose weight.  Instead they (Coalition) should continue investigating the root causes of the obesity such as looking into cheap foods which contains fatty ingredients such as sugars, and salts. The last Labour Government did do some programmes to address the concerns during their time in government. How convenient the Tories forgot to mention it’s little wonder they want to stop welfare to the poorest in our society. This nothing short of a political gimmick to gain support to gain votes. This is not the way forward as it rubs people up the wrong way.

I have to concur with the Shadow Disable Minister Kate Green sentiments “David Cameron’s government has strip back funding for drug support programmes their work programme has just helped just 7% of people back to work so it is clear the Tory plan isn’t working. kategreenThe programme does nothing to help people off benefits and into work while the government continues to fail to clampdown on tax avoiders and offshore tax havens”.

There is no easy way to say it David Cameron promotes the “Big Society” and “We’re All In It Together” what he really mean is “We’ve In Our Necks In It Together” and there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. By kicking the poorest who are on various welfare benefits which opens up another Pandora box of the 1980s which drove up unemployment under Thatcher’s watch as she encouraged people to go in the dole as coal mines, industries and manufacturing were closed down by the Conservatives.

I really have to wonder on the otherside of the coin the hidden agenda is to gearing up for people onto the universal credit benefits in which I would say that one size does not fit all. What may work for me on universal credit may not work for Job Blog in this sense.  universalcreditThe sad thing about this coalition is they are sounding like a bailiff company who likes to use threatening force to bully those most vulnerable in our society to force them back into employment when there is so few jobs available in the market today.

It’s little wonder that David Cameron sees the wide ranging welfare reforms introduced in this Parliament as part of a “moral mission”.

He also knows taxpayers who fund the welfare state like policies which ensure benefits only go to those who need them.

IMG_2064So despite criticism of what some see as an increasingly punitive benefits regime, the Conservatives are floating a new suggestion possible sanctions for those claimants who refuse help to overcome treatable conditions.

On the same day, during a speech in Wales, Labour’s leader will pledge to continue his attack on tax avoidance.

So David Cameron runs the risk of being seen as someone wanting to crack down on some of society’s most vulnerable, while Ed Miliband targets the wealthiest.

IMG_2063We all moan, we do nothing, we just sit on our sofas instead of doing our civil duty to register to vote but instead we are perfectly happy to see a right-wing party to get in by the backdoor.  Do your civic duty to put an end to this on 7 May by turning up to the polling station and use your vote.
 

Hedge Funder are in the back-pockets of conservatives


Welcome to the Conservatives if you have a substantial donation to give to the party.

I’m sure many will have noticed that in three months’ time we have a General Elections coming and each of the political parties are jockeying for positions to gain our votes. It’s no wonder why the timing of tax avoidance/Hedge Funds is very much in all the press, social media, and in the public interest since Ed Miliband put the questions to David Cameron during Prime Ministers Question Time(PMQs) and all David Cameron can do is to put the blame on Labour then have the bloody cheek to say that Labour are in the pockets of the trade unions and conveniently forgetting thathedgefunds the hedge funders are in the pocket of the conservatives who allows them to be granted peerage in return for their extra-large donations to the Conservative Party.

I must say I was glad when Margaret Hodge MP from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) broke the news followed by Ed Miliband and BBC Panorama in the first instance whilst I’m happy that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) plan to investigate the sandal which will require the former HSBC to provide evidence. On the one hand I’m saying yeah right a conservative peer to give evidence. On the second hand they must think we’ve got muggings written on our forehead, who are you kidding its beggars belief that a Conservative peer will just volunteer the information without any sweetheart deals in the pipeline and how long will this take secondly how much will it cost the public purse strings to carry out this whitewash investigations it’s like adopting a donkey for the sum of £2:00.

Over the past five years the personal wealth of these 1,000 people has almost doubled. In 2009 they possessed “only” £257bn. This poses an obvious question. Over these years the real incomes of wage-earners fell by 9 per cent. How, then, did these very rich people, few of whom work in any conventional sense, manage this amazing feat of wealth accumulation?

Tax-dodging may provide part of the explanation. The practices of the HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary represented only a small part of a very big iceberg. “Wealth management” is one of the main activities of all the big banks. Research conducted for the heedPCS union estimates that tax evasion cost Britain £80bn in 2014 and tax avoidance another £25bn.

On this front it’s one law for the rich and one law for the poor. So-called “benefit fraud” represents just 1 per cent of this total.  While the poorest 25 per cent pay almost 40 per cent of their income in tax, the richest 25 per cent pay only 35 per cent figures which will inevitably exclude undeclared wealth hidden away in Zurich or the Bahamas.

This is why the Labour Party is quite correct to call for Britain’s offshore territories and crown dependencies to establish public registers of the ultimate owners of all companies and accounts based in their jurisdiction. In the wake of the 2008 banking crash the previous IMG_2050Labour government established the Independent Review of Britain’s Offshore Financial Centres. Its purpose was to establish just how much money passed through these centres.

The Bank of International Settlements provided an estimate of the total cash flowing annually into tax havens across the world as $3.6 trillion (£2.4 trn). Of this total, British tax havens accounted for over two-thirds, considerably in excess of the value of Britain’s gross domestic product.

So it’s no surprise predictably Mr Miliband’s call for a register of ultimate ownership has brought cries of outrage. George Osborne dismissed Mr Miliband as “anti-business” and “unfit for office” even though Osborne was quite happy to serve for three years in government beside Lord Green, who presided over HSBC when it was fiddling tax.

IMG_2049Intriguingly HM Revenue in a nutshell has said it was forward a bundle in 2010 from France regarding possible evasion by HSBC clients. They alleged that they were prevented by an international agreement from sharing information about HSBC possible involvement in tax evasion.

My conclusion will be if those in concern paid their fair share of taxes the revenue could be used to fund our public services like   our leisure services, public highways, build more council housing, hospitals, council tax, police, children and adult, disabilities, learning, mental health services.