Tag Archives: #BedroomTax

Satire: Has tories fallen on their own sword


Just last night after reaching home from campaign trail I could not get a tune out of my head which I kept sing to myself. With this in mind I decided to share it with everybody as it is still relevant today as it was in yesteryear’s  See the youtube below:

 

Intriguing to put the blame on all immigrants like they take over our:

Public Services

They work on the cheap to undercut us

They claim benefits and they can afford to drive 4×4

They have two or three iPhone

They are at it like rabbits

They are now taxi drivers and fiddling the system

Well I can say without a doubt the majority of immigrants do work and they contribute to our economy.

It has been rumored by some quarters that lessons for Labour to learn from IDS and the Tory fallout-look outwards, not inwards. Factions fall out, and-like family quarrels, the hurt and disappointment lingers and poisons long after the cause of the quarrel is forgotten. Do what Dennis Skinner says find the Labour candidate and rally round them. And find comrades you can work with it does not matter so much if you disagree about some matters. Too many meetings looking inwards are destructive and harm ourselves. Voters do not just look at our policies what we have to offer. They look at how we behave with each other. Well I say that as much as I love Dennis Skinner and he some wonderful catch phase it needs more meat on the bones and remember that policies is one thing but it also the way how the policies are being delivered and the presentation of the package to sell to the voters that we mean business to tackle the Conservatives.

I’m sure most of us was watching Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) defending his position on the Andrew Marr show. He is arguing that the Conservative government has abandoned One-Nation Conservatism and is no longer trying to look after the people who won’t vote Conservative. This is something that Labour has been arguing for a long time. The fact that IDS has now said this clearly needs to be pushed out to the nation again and again and again.

Cameron and Osborne are trying to smear IDS as quitting purely for Brexit reasons. It is important that we don’t let the nation buy into that narrative.

The European Union (EU) Referendum is the actual reason Ian Duncan Smith resigned. His clap trap and that of his allies is pure fiction. All and every nasty policy against the sick and disabled the Government has enacted since 2010 has his name all over it because he set the policy. So let’s not be drawn in with the complete porkies that he resigned because he thought the policies are too cruel. He could not give a flying monkey about the suffering he inflicted for the past 6 years.

The Tory Party the real reason is an obsession and petty hatred of Europe and that was his motivation. He deliberately chose the moment to seek to undermine Cameron and Osborne because of the Referendum vote. Here is the issue, while I and others have no like or support for Cameron and Osborne, I and others will not let a vile man like IDS dictate to his view that we should leave the EU. Why on earth should anyone give time to what he thinks and who was obsessed in bringing fear and suffering to sick and disabled people.

The European Union and Britain being in the EU is important, despite the bogus spin against it the UK gets back almost £10 for every £1 it puts in. The views of IDS and those from the right screaming to leave and stamping their feet are not.

 

I say to all beware of the Conservatives bearing gifts and warned they give in one hand and take with the other hand. I’m not really convinced that we have seen the end of the welfare cuts with the replacement of Iain Duncan Smith. I kid you not as the next person who takes over IDS place is more right-wing conservative(Stephen Crabb) and they will argue that he is from a working class background to make it for Labour difficult to argue. I say what a load of clap-trap once a Troy always a Tory as he or she does not change their colors overnight. Just to be very clear the Tories always gives in the one hand and takes in the other hand with a nasty sting with this in mind don’t be hoodwinked.

The new DWP Secretary Stephen Crabb announced that:

The Government will make no further cuts to the social security budget beyond those already legislated for, ministers have said.

Stephen Crabb confirmed that cuts to the Personal Independence Payment would not go ahead  but also ruled out making any more broader welfare cuts.

The Government pledged to make £12 billion in welfare cuts before the general election as part of its plan to meet a self-imposed spending rule – and has already legislated to bring in significant cuts.

Cuts already legislated for that are yet to come in include £5 savings from less generous Universal Credit payments, cuts to the tax credit income disregard, and cuts to the Employemt and Support Allowance disability benefit.

“I can tell the House that we will not be going ahead with the changes to PIP that were put forward,” Mr Crabb said in a statement to the Hosue of Commons. “I am absolutely clear that a passionate and fair welfare system should not just be about numbers behind every statistic there is a human being and perhaps sometimes in government we forget that.

“I can also confirm that after discussing this issue over the weekend with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor  we have no further plans to make welfare savings beyond the very substantial savings legislated for by parliament two weeks ago which we will not focus on implementing.”

The new Secretary of State, who replaced Iain Duncan Smith, said he believed the Government’s total welfare spending cap was right in “principle” but that it would  be reviewed at the Autumn Statement.

How to people feel that George Osborne has told MPs he was “sorry” Iain Duncan Smith resigned and was “proud” of their work together was being sincere.

Defending his handling of the economy ahead of a vote to approve his Budget, the chancellor said Treasury talks with departments had often been “robust”.

But where mistakes were made he was ready “to listen and learn”, he added.

Labour said Mr Osborne would have to raid the welfare budget further or “ditch” his self-imposed cap on overall benefits spending.

George Osborne’s Commons performance came after Mr Duncan Smith’s post-Budget decision to quit, with a blast at “indefensible” changes to disability benefits.

How many of us really believe that George Osborne confirmed he had dropped planned cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) and said no further welfare savings were anticipated beyond the £12bn already approved by Parliament towards his target of balancing the books by 2020. To be honest I think only a hand full of people do compare to the many just don’t trust him.

However Angela Eagle wound up the opposition response to George Osborne’s shambolic Budget with a stinging assault on George Osborne which I thought good on her for doing so as all I could see that reaction of George Face which was not pleasant and the fact that Angela Eagles did a wonderful job I think made lot of people happy but there some you can’t please all.

Jeremy Corbyn was right to be in full throttle by seeking answers which the reply was half baked answers from the conservatives for this very reason I will never vote for a Tory Government let alone a Tory Council. Like him or loath him there must something about Jeremy Corbyn is attracting new blood back to Labour Party and it is on public record on how I voted during the leadership contest and I still think that for the cynicism in some quarters of the party it’s about time all in concern should unite as we have local govt, Police Crime and Commissioners, London Mayoral, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly Elections to contest and after that in June we also need to be unite over whether we remain in or out Europe.

Remember “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”

So let the Conservatives fall on their sword

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who is having the last laugh now


senior labourI have to declare a very strong case of  interest I have more time for the following Members of Parliament  Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey, and Patricia Hewitt than  the Tories let alone a coalition between LibDems and Labour. Conservatives say they want to be known as the “workers’ party”. Yet for working families across the country this couldn’t be further from the truth. You can’t pose as the “workers’ party” when you’ve made working people £1,600 worse off while cutting taxes for the wealthiest. A re-brand with no substance won’t fool anyone  the reality is that David Cameron’s record speaks for itself:

Working people are on average more than £1,600 a year worse off under David Cameron.

bombshell-2-1GLThe Tory-led Government have cut taxes for people earning more than £150,000 while everyone else is worse off.

The number of young people claiming unemployment benefits for over a year has doubled.

Under David Cameron, for the first time more than half of households in poverty are in work.

More than five million people are paid less than the living wage. With a record like this, how can the Tories claim to be the “workers’ party”? It’s clear that David Cameron has made his choice: standing up for a privileged few, not for working families.

Check out this youtube:

labourlogoIt is the Labour Party that has always been the workers’ party the clue is in the name. That’s why we’ll strengthen the minimum wage, increase free childcare for working parents and introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people unemployed for over a year.

The Tories have never had the interests of working families at heart. Funded by millionaires and then cutting their taxes: with David Cameron’s record as leader they’d be better off renaming themselves the millionaires’ party.

hatedimagesIt’s not surprising that the coalition has purposefully forgotten that our social security system evolved to address poverty and huge social inequality. It was never intended as a punitive, patronising Tory “moral crusade”. The system does not benefit the poor any longer, and we need to look at the fact that the Tories have turned what was meant as a sensible, civilised, well meaning system of support for anyone that may need it into a tool of class warfare, which is no longer fit for its original purpose.

Not only have the Tories perpetuated deception on a rather grand scale, which encourages a deeply patronising attitude to those who live in poverty, and justifies their punishment and persecution of us, they have caused absolute poverty, pain, suffering, loss of dignity and death.

Only Tories could stamp their corrosive brand of elitism on civilised social support mechanisms and turn them into a “survival of the ‘fittest'” game.

I’m sure many will recall the New Deal for Communities was another of the previous Labour government’s flagship policies a national regeneration scheme. It had a “re-democratising democracy” aim built into these policies, and New Deal was closely overlapped with their flagship Every Child Matters, too. Joined up thinking at its very best. It was launched in 1998. The main goal of the programme was to reduce disadvantages in the poorest areas- increase social inclusion, and it placed an emphasis on a commitment to involving local people in a wide range of policy decisions, including regeneration – by focusing on four issues: unemployment, poor health, crime and education. Local participation was a key to achieving positive outcomes in these areas.

Other issues such as improvement to the physical environment were secondary to these main priorities. My own post was on various issues  and about tackling the risk of crime and social exclusion, which meant a lot of inter-agency work, such as in schools, and with the police, and group work with young people, it required acknowledge of the key cause of crime, and building our project provision for young people around that. Just the fact there WAS provision for them in itself made a massive difference to their lives, and significantly reduced crime and “ASB” at a local level. In a way, by focusing on needs in the community, and inclusion, the reduction in offending happened by itself, as a consequence of a broad and participatory approach, in my own and other people’s experience.

Labour’s neighbourhood renewal policies achieved a great deal, and made a big difference to deprived communities and those who were socially excluded under the previous Thatcher and Major governments. They established a better- informed and better co-ordinated approach to tackling both spatial and phenomenological inequalities. Outcomes improved in priority areas that were targeted employment, crime, health, education, housing and physical environments. The trend towards widening neighbourhood disparities was reversed in many areas. In general, evidence strongly suggests the programmes offered outstanding positive social outcomes and excellent value for money.

‘When Labour created the NHS, in the face of austerity and Conservative ­opposition, we placed on the Statute Book a legal duty requiring national government to provide a comprehensive health service free at the point of delivery for all British citizens.

It was a foundation stone of ­political accountability. And it was abolished by the very first line of David Cameron’s Health Act last year.

This duty to provide health services is now left with “local commissioning groups”, organisations of which few people have ever heard and no one can vote out of office.

Instead of having responsibility to provide services, ministers are now expected only to “promote” them. And we’re now beginning to see the consequences – David Cameron and his ministers routinely dodging responsibility for the problems they have created.

The crisis in  A&E? Blame the GPs. Ambulance queues doubled? It must be the fault of the local hospital. Rationing of vital treatments like cataract operations and hip ­replacements? It’s a matter for your local commissioning group.

This is the Government’s ABC of blame anyone but Cameron.

The next Labour government will start to put NHS values, not Tory values, back at the heart of it.

We would repeal David Cameron’s Health Act and reinstate the ­Secretary of State’s duty to provide a comprehensive health service.

We will stop the fragmentation and the privatisation of our NHS so we keep it as a truly national service and begin rebuilding the ethos of our NHS – so that its first 65 years are not the last.’ Ed Miliband.

‘When Labour created the NHS, in the face of austerity and Conservative opposition, we placed on the Statute Book a legal duty requiring national government to provide a comprehensive health service free at the point of delivery for all British citizens.

It was a foundation stone of ­political accountability. And it was abolished by the very first line of David Cameron’s Health Act last year.

This duty to provide health services is now left with “local commissioning groups”, organisations of which few people have ever heard and no one can vote out of office.

Instead of having responsibility to provide services, ministers are now expected only to “promote” them. And we’re now beginning to see the consequences  David Cameron and his ministers routinely dodging responsibility for the problems they have created.

The crisis in A&E blame the GPs. Ambulance queues doubled? It must be the fault of the local hospital. Rationing of vital treatments like cataract operations and hip ­replacements? It’s a matter for your local commissioning group.

This is the Government’s ABC of blame Anyone but Cameron.

The next Labour government will start to put NHS values, not Tory values, back at the heart of it.

We would repeal David Cameron’s Health Act and reinstate the ­Secretary of State’s duty to provide a comprehensive health service.

We will stop the fragmentation and the privatisation of our NHS so we keep it as a truly national service and begin rebuilding the ethos of our NHS – so that its first 65 years are not the last.’ Ed Miliband .

Nick Clegg has been branded “patronising” by one of his own MPs over his support for benefit cuts. Sarah Teather, a former minister, said the system was leaving people “destitute”. Her criticism comes after Clegg accused the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, of exaggerating the effects of the coalition’s welfare reforms. Teather said Clegg’s intervention was not “very helpful” or “well informed” as she backed the Archbishop’s stance.

Oh lets not forget Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has encouraged his followers on Twitter to retweet an image of Ed Miliband in which the Labour leader is mocked for being the “millionaire son of a Marxist academic, whose entire life has been spent in political jobs”.

Given Miliband is indeed the son of Marxist academic Ralph, does live in a multi-million-pound property in north London and did serve as a special adviser to Harriet Harman and Gordon Brown prior to becoming a Labour MP, you could argue that it is a legitimate, even canny, line of attack from the Tories. Especially given how most polls suggest the party is vulnerable to the charge that it is ‘out of touch’ with the concerns of ordinary people.

But did Shapps check with his superiors before tweeting – specifically, the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer?

The Conservative Party leader has had little life experience outside of Conservative Party politics. David Cameron (who is worth almost £4m) landed his first job out of university with the Conservative Research Department (CRD) in 1988 (allegedly with the help of Buckingham Palace).

He went on to work as.. wait for it.. a special adviser (spad) for the then Tory chancellor, Norman Lamont, and was caught on camera standing behind his boss on ‘Black Wednesday’ in 1992. After Lamont lost his job, Cameron became a spad to another Conservative cabinet minister: the then home secretary Michael Howard. The only job the prime minister has had outside party politics is as ‘director of corporate’ affairs for Carlton Communications, between 1994 and 2001 (when he became a member of parliament). That’s real world experience, eh?

Cameron, incidentally, isn’t the son of a Marxist academic – his late father was a stockbroker.

As for George Osborne (who is worth around £4.5m), he had a handful of part-time jobs after graduating from Oxford – including re-folding towels at Selfridge’s – before joining the Conservative Research Department in 1994, later becoming head of its political section. Osborne went on to work as… yes, you guessed it.. a spad for Douglas Hogg, John Major’s agriculture secretary during the BSE crisis. Next, he became a speechwriter and political secretary for then Tory leader William Hague, before quitting to run for parliament in 2001.

Osborne’s dad, incidentally, wasn’t a Marxist academic either – Sir Peter Osborne is the multimillionaire founder of upmarket wallpaper designer Osborne & Little and a baronet, too.

So has the Conservative Party chairman unwittingly legitimised attacks on politicians’ parents, finances and career backgrounds? And do the Tories have more to lose on this than Labour?

A Labour Government would streamline local public services to save money, Chris Leslie, the shadow Chief Treasury Secretary, will pledge today.

Options include “leaner” commissioning deals for health and social care; locating magistrates and county courts on the same site; greater collaboration between the emergency services; merging police forces; scrapping elected police and crime commissioners and councils “sharing” senior staff and services such as street cleaning, recycling and ground maintenance.

“We are looking not only at where efficiencies are achievable, but how services could be reconstituted to release the cashable savings that are now required,” Mr Leslie will tell the Social Market Foundation in his first major speech in his post.

“Reform is worse than pointless if it does not improve the experience of the user and ends up costing money rather than saving money.”

Accusing the Coalition of wasting money on “botched reforms” such as its top-down NHS reorganisation, he will say that the centre-left must embrace the goal of balancing the nation’s books because “the foundation of successful public service provision is the sound stewardship of public finances”.’

“We MUST vote these vile creatures out in 2015” (Conservatives and LibDems) Vote Labour in 2014 in European, and Local Government Elections and 2015 Local Government and General Elections 

Welfare reform backfires on coalition


Just clarify to why I’m continually bashing the Tories that’s exactly what it means. Obviously I’ve discuss things we either agree or disagree with but when the Labour Party gets its policies right I’m sure many party member will praise them but when they get it wrong like many other Labour Marty members we will criticize in any way that the leadership will understand.

On Thursday 27 February, MPs will take part in a debate on a motion relating to the effects of welfare reform on sick and disabled people. This debate was scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee following representations from John McDonnell and Grahame M. Morris.

photo1“That this House calls on the Government to commission an independent cumulative assessment of the impact of changes in the welfare system on sick and disabled people, their families and carers, drawing upon the expertise of the Work and Pensions Select Committee; requests that this impact assessment examine care home admissions, access to day care centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, provision of universal mental health treatments, closures of Remploy factories, the Government’s contract with Atos Healthcare, IT implementation of universal credit, human rights abuses against disabled people, excess deaths of welfare claimants and the disregard of medical evidence in decision-making by Atos, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Tribunals Service; urges the Secretary of State for Health and the Secretary of State for Education jointly to launch a consultation on improving support into work for sick and disabled people; and further calls on the Government to end with immediate effect the work capability assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association, to discontinue forced work under the threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits and to bring forward legislative proposals to allow a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.”

It is purported that Britain is the world’s seventh largest economy and yet people are going hungry.

I bet you all that David Cameron conveniently forgot to mention that  half a million people have visited foodbanks in the UK since last Easter and 5,500 people were admitted to hospital in the UK for malnutrition last year.

One in five mothers report regularly skipping meals to better feed their children, and even more families are just one unexpected bill away from waking up with empty cupboards.

We often hear talk of hard choices. Surely few can be harder than that faced by the tens of thousands of older people who must “heat or eat” each winter, harder than those faced by families whose wages have stayed flat while food prices have gone up 30% in just five years.

Yet beyond even this we must, as a society, face up to the fact that over half of people using foodbanks have been put in that situation by cut backs to and failures in the benefit system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions.

There is an acute moral imperative to act. Hundreds of thousands of people are doing so already, as they set up and support foodbanks across the UK. But this is a national crisis, and one we must rise to.

I’m sure many of us will call on government to do its part: acting to investigate food markets that are failing, to make sure that work pays, and to ensure that the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger.

Here is another example that the coalition forgot to say the future of the Government’s major £2bn welfare reform was thrown into fresh doubt on Wednesday night after it emerged that just a handful of claimants have been enrolled into the new system.

IDSThe Department for Work and Pensions disclosed that only 3,200 people had been signed up to receive Universal Credit – a fraction of the original target – at a cost of nearly £200,000 per person.

The figure emerged amid claims the next government could be forced to pull the plug on Universal Credit, which has already been seriously delayed following IT problems.

The new credit, which combines six working-age benefits and credits into a single payment, has been championed by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, as a way of ensuring the unemployed always have an incentive to find a job.

Under his original timetable, 1 million people would be receiving the payment by April, rising to 1.7 million a year later.

But the DWP admitted that only 3,200 had been enrolled for Universal Credit by the end of November, nearly all of them as part of a pilot scheme in four job centres in the North-West of England. The vast majority are young single jobseekers, the least complicated category of claimant.

As the Government has spent £612m getting the scheme off the ground, the spending so far equates to £191,250 per head. Government sources insisted David Cameron and senior ministers remained committed to Universal Credit. Labour also said it supported its principle, but believed the Coalition’s roll-out was seriously flawed.

However, Whitehall officials were yesterday reported to fear the whole project could be scrapped after the general election, whichever party is victorious in May 2015. According to the Financial Times, officials believe it “must start delivering results by the next election or risk being drastically scaled back or even abandoned”.

Mr Duncan Smith has faced criticism for spending money on an existing computer programme to support the pilot projects at the same time as developing a digital system sophisticated enough to allow Universal Credit to be rolled out nationally.

The latter will be tested in 100 households in November; if it is judged unable to cope with the pressure of handling up to 12 million claims, the welfare reform could be in jeopardy.

A DWP source said the department had “strong, safe and robust plans” for introducing Universal Credit, adding: “It’s on the ground now, people are claiming it, people are moving into work.”

takeaguessIm sure many of will congratulate  Anne Begg, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, said the “jury is out” over its future.  “The big claim for Universal Credit is that it will always make work pay and it will be simple for people to realise that work pays.

“I’m beginning to think it will be equally complicated under Universal Credit to make those kind of judgements when you start to factor in free school meals, child care and housing costs.”

An independent review into Universal Credit is due to report in April.

Many of my friends are convinced that with the revelations coming out of the Phone hacking trials, it’s demonstrating that the only decent politician we have at the top at the present is Ed Milliband. Little wonder he is being attacked by all sides of the gravy train passengers, Tories, Media, British Gas and so on. As we get closer to the Election it is becoming increasingly obvious that he has been calling the shots on what is responsible capitalism and how we can best live with it in this post Thatcher/Reagan age of free market economies.

It may not be perfect but at least he offers a start out of this morass of intrigue and big business interests before those of the countries citizens. There will always be those among us who , for reasons best known to themselves will want him to move more quickly to the left. His Qualifications are impeccable with his upbringing. Can we say that about any other leader in our midst?

timthumbMany will remember the words of  Jack Dromey MP when he said Two thirds of the 660,000 hit by the #bedroomtax are disabled. 60,000 are carers. The most vulnerable are the hardest hit by this cruel tax.

Like her or loath her  Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, responding to David Cameron’s claims that his welfare changes have given people ‘hope’, said:

“David Cameron’s so-called ‘moral crusade’ on welfare has been a disaster.

“There’s nothing moral about working people paying more and disabled people being hit hardest.

“Under David Cameron’s government, for the first time more people in poverty are in work than out of work. More than two thirds of the people hit by the one per cent cap on working age benefits and tax credits have a job. The Bedroom Tax has hit hundreds of thousands of disabled people and their carers, and the number of young people on unemployment benefit for over a year has doubled since 2010. Meanwhile, the Government’s flagship welfare reform, Universal Credit, has cost an astonishing £225,000 per person using it. No wonder David Cameron has presided over a tenfold rise in people relying on food banks.

“This Tory-led Government’s welfare reforms have penalised, rather than helped, those doing the right thing. The idea that disabled people hit by the Bedroom Tax, young people desperate for a job but stuck on benefits, and working families struggling to survive on low pay have been given ‘hope’ by David Cameron is preposterous.

“A Labour government will introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee to ensure those that can work do so, strengthen the minimum wage and scrap the hated Bedroom Tax.”

Ten facts you need to know about David Cameron’s “moral crusade”:

1.   Two thirds of the 660,000 people hit by David Cameron’s hated “bedroom tax” are disabled (1), and 60,000 are carers.

2.    The number of young people left on unemployment benefits for over a year has doubled since the election

3.    The number of adults left on unemployment benefits for over two years has quadrupled since the election.

4.    Millions have been wasted on David Cameron’s flagship welfare reform Universal Credit, with £225,000 spent for every person receiving it at the end of last year.

5.   Child poverty is set to rise by 400,000 under David Cameron’s government, and 900,000 by the end of the decade.

6.   Women have been hit twice as hard as men by changes to benefits and tax credits under David Cameron’s government.

7.   More than 500,000 people were referred to food banks for emergency help between April and December last year – more than ten times as many as in 2009-10 (8). The Trussell Trust have cited benefit delays and measures such as the bedroom tax as key causes, along with rising in-work poverty

8.  For the first time since relevant records began more households living in poverty are in work than out of work . 68 per cent of the people hit by David Cameron’s one per cent cap on working age benefits and tax credits are working

9.  Changes to rules on working tax credits have left some families with children better off out of work and cuts to childcare support mean that families have lost up to £1,500 a year.

10.  The number of people who want to work full time but can only get a part time job has risen by 350,000 under this government (14) and the number of people earning less than a living wage has risen from 3.6 million in 2010 to 4.8 million in 2012 (15) and is now more than 5 million.

No 2 LibDeMs Coalition deal


Please listen to the political song and broadcast below:

Intriguingly I read in the press that Nick Clegg has set out the first demand that the Liberal Democrats would make if they were asked by Ed Miliband to form a coalition government with Labour: “Don’t break the bank.”

NotoLIbLabdealsHis words are likely to annoy the shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, who would challenge any suggestion that government finances would be unsafe in his hands. They will please Labour MPs and many grass-roots Liberal Democrat activists, however, showing that the Deputy Prime Minister is making public overtures to Labour, while accusing the Conservatives of having changed “dramatically” – for the worse.

In an interview to be broadcast on Monday night on BBC Radio 4, Mr Clegg said: “There is just no doubt in my mind that if there were a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition, we the Liberal Democrats would absolutely insist that government would not break the bank.”

He implied that the Labour Party now looks more like a potential party of government than it did three years ago. He said: “I think they’ve changed. I think there’s nothing like the prospect of reality in an election to get politicians to think again and the Labour Party, which is a party unused to sharing power with others is realising that it might have to.”

fuckfacecleggMr Clegg also suggested that the Liberal Democrats are finding the Conservatives increasingly hard to deal with. He claimed: “The Conservative Party has changed quite dramatically since we entered into coalition with them. They’ve become much more ideological, they’ve returned much more to a lot of their familiar theme tunes.

“I think it would be best for everybody if the Conservative Party were to rediscover a talent for actually talking to mainstream voters about mainstream concerns.”

LabourvictoryThe Liberal Democrats have suffered a run of disastrous opinion poll findings, and their candidate in last week’s Wythenshawe by election lost her deposit, which suggests they will lose seats in next year’s general election. But they have a track record of holding on in places where they have a strong presence, as they demonstrated when they won to Eastleigh by-election after Chris Huhne resigned.

Here the famous song that Nick Clegg did which really cuts no ice with anybody:

Here are a few examples of the work practices of the LibDems working in partnership with their bedroom partners Conservatives:

Can somebody remind us who help to push through the dreaded zero hour contacts?

Well if you are not sure then look no further as many can tell you it was the Conservatives bedroom partners:

The government has run out of ideas and failed to tackle the scourge of zero-hours contracts, unions and the Labour Party claimed yesterday.

Tory-Scum1They sounded their warning as Business Secretary Vince Cable prepared to launch a consultation on the controversial contracts but ruled out an outright ban, claiming they offer “welcome flexibility” for some workers.

Mr Cable insisted the contracts had a place in the labour market even though there had been evidence of abuse.

The 12-week consultation will include the possibility of banning “exclusivity contracts” which offer no guarantee of work and stop people working for another employer.

Mr Cable said: “A growing number of employers and individuals today are using zero-hours contracts. While for many people they offer a welcome flexibility to accommodate childcare or top up monthly earnings, for others it is clear that there has been evidence of abuse around this type of employment which can offer limited employment rights and job security.

“We believe they have a place in today’s labour market and are not proposing to ban them outright, but we also want to make sure that people are getting a fair deal.

While business groups welcomed the announcement and the decision against a ban, union leaders said it showed the coalition was “desperately short on solutions.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The growth of zero-hours contracts is one of the reasons why so many hard-working people are fearful for their jobs and struggling to make ends meet, in spite of the recovery.

“But while the government has identified some of the problems faced by those with zero job security it’s desperately short on solutions to curb the use of these contracts.”

GMB national officer Mick Rix added: “This snail’s pace reaction to what is clearly an urgent problem will not bring any Christmas cheer to exploited low-paid workers on zero-hours contracts and similar contracts offering employment insecurity.

“It is regrettable that the government is not outlawing the use of zero-hours contracts even though it admits there is abuse.”

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said: “Ministers have failed to act on this worrying rise in zero-hours contracts.

“Having spent months saying they will investigate, all that has emerged is a consultation on proposals which do not go far enough to tackle exploitation and bad practice.”

Oh dear me another reminder who helped the conservatives to implement the dreaded Bedroom Tax again. If you want further reminder then look no further:

LET’S hear it for David Nuttall, the only Tory MP with the guts and rhinoceros skin to match to attend the debate on Ian Lavery’s bedroom tax Bill and vote against it.
The Bury North MP was the lone voice opposing Lavery’s Housing Benefit and Universal Credit in the Social Housing Sector Bill while 226 voted in favour.

Unfortunately, the Bill has no chance of becoming law because the massed ranks of Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs will be deployed against it.

The conservative coalition that voted as one to cut income tax for the richest 1 per cent will display similar unanimity in supporting the government’s dishonest and brutal tax on some of the poorest people in Britain.

Two-thirds of those affected are disabled, which explains the mass booing of George Osborne last summer when he had the front to turn up to award prizes to Paralympic competitors.

The tax is dishonest because it is based on the false premise that tenants can downsize to smaller properties and refuse to do so.
The National Housing Federation (NHF) reported last year that 180,000 tenants were “underoccupying” two-bedroom homes while only 70,000 one-bedroom flats were available.

In fact, the idea of underoccupation is faulty since it takes no account of the circumstances in which households live, especially when one or more members has a disability.

Had the government been seriously perturbed about a shortage of larger properties being available for families, it would have agreed with housing campaigners that there should be a concerted initiative to build council homes.

The same applies to the very real dearth of one-bedroom accommodation needed by growing numbers of single homeless people as well as those living in homes too big for their needs who would like to downsize.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats have not considered personal circumstances or personal wishes.

They have hunted for ways to dispossess people in social housing and to impose punitive taxes on them as part of an austerity agenda designed to further skew the division of national income towards the rich minority.

The tax has had the effect its opponents forecast before pro-government MPs pushed this measure through Parliament.

It has claimed the lives of tenants driven beyond despair to commit suicide. Others have been plunged into severe depression as the result of escalating debt and the threat of eviction.

According to the NHF, two-thirds of households affected by the tax are now in rent arrears while one in seven have received eviction risk letters.

Labour has pledged to repeal bedroom tax legislation if it wins next year’s general election.

In Holyrood, the Scottish National Party government has said that it will fund the £50 million bedroom tax shortfall, effectively axing the tax in Scotland.

The Department of Work and Pensions admitted last month that a legal loophole meant that social housing tenants who had lived in their homes since January 1 1996 and claimed housing benefit since then would not be subject to the bedroom tax.

It has since announced that this loophole will be closed as of March 3, but the writing is on the wall for this unjust measure.

The bedroom tax has so many similarities to Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax, not least in the nature of its victims and their inability to pay up even if they chose to.

The sooner it is killed off the better.

Here is another Tory policy in partnership with the LibDems voted:

The government’s assault on the poor includes abolishing council tax benefit. This is just as pernicious as the bedroom tax but has received less publicity. It came in on May 1.

Prior to this, council tax benefit was means-tested and administered by local authorities.

If you were on employment and support allowance or jobseeker’s allowance, or your income was at that level, you received 100 per cent council tax benefit, leaving you with nothing to pay.

Slightly higher incomes were means-tested, so that you could still receive some council tax benefit.

In place of council tax benefit, the government introduced a “council tax-reduction scheme.”

The name suggests lower council tax bills. It is nothing of the sort.

It is simply a subsidy from government to local authorities to replace council tax benefit.

But the big difference is that the “council tax-reduction” subsidy is only 80 per cent the amount that a local authority used to receive in council tax benefit.

So claimants who were receiving 100 per cent council tax benefit now only have 80 per cent of their council tax bill reduced, leaving them to pay 20 per cent. Around two million people are affected.

The difference between 100 per cent council tax benefit and 80 per cent council tax reduction is £400 million – that’s the amount cut by the government.

It never ceases to amaze me how this government can believe that someone who receives what the state decides is the bare minimum required to survive – and pay for food, heating, lighting and other essentials – can suddenly be asked to find extra money from that subsistence amount.

Jobseeker’s allowance was not calculated to include a 20 per cent contribution towards council tax, just as it was not calculated to include the bedroom tax.

The government’s intention is to blame local authorities for this cut.

By simply giving local authorities a pot of money equivalent to 80 per cent of the amount that they used to receive in council tax benefit, it can claim that if local authorities pass the 20 per cent shortfall onto each council taxpayer, that is their choice.

The government can say that local authorities could choose to reduce council tax by 100 per cent – on a means-tested basis – but have decided not to.

Of course, it is a fake choice. If a local authority decides to retain 100 per cent reduction of council tax, it will have to find the extra 20 per cent from its budget. So will be looking at making cuts elsewhere.

It falls to local authorities to collect council tax, and so we are suddenly back to the days of the poll tax.

Brent and Southwark councils have each issued thousands of applications for liability orders in the magistrate’s court, predominantly against people who previously received 100 per cent council tax benefit and are now being asked to find £2 to £5 per week towards council tax, even though their other benefits have not increased accordingly.

The method of challenging a council tax bill is immensely complex.

Each local authority has its own “council tax-reduction scheme,” which it should publish on its website.

That scheme sets out how the council tax will be reduced, on the basis of means-testing etc.

If you receive a council tax bill and you want to challenge it, you have to check your circumstances against the scheme published by your council.

If the council has got your details wrong and you should be entitled to a higher reduction, first of all complain to the council.

If the council refuses to change its decision or fails to reply within two months, you appeal to the valuation tribunal.

The appeal can only be on the basis that the council has wrongly applied its own scheme and your circumstances mean that you should be entitled to a greater reduction under the scheme.

The tribunal will not hear appeals arguing you cannot afford to pay the council tax.

Each council must also operate a council tax discretionary relief scheme or council tax hardship scheme and details should be in the published council tax-reduction scheme.

These are little-known provisions which give councils a discretion to reduce council tax liability in particular circumstances, usually applied to war pensioners or the very seriously disabled.

These discretionary relief schemes can help in the short-term to reduce council tax bills for those in real poverty.

If you simply can’t afford to pay your council tax but are not entitled to discretionary relief and you can’t argue that the council misapplied its own scheme, then you will eventually receive a summons to the magistrate’s court so that the council can obtain a liability order.

There are some technical arguments here – is the amount on the summons the correct amount, has the council applied the right time limits?

But, again, if the only reason why you are not paying your council tax is because you can’t afford to, the magistrate’s court has no discretion but to make a liability order. Poverty is not a defence.

In many ways, this is the new poll tax. Its aim is that everyone, even the poorest, should contribute to council tax.

It is implemented by local authorities – which may or may not have agreed with the cut depending on their political composition – and so local authorities take the political blame.

But, unlike the poll tax and much more like the bedroom tax, it is a tax on the poor.

It is a tax on people who were previously assessed as being so poor that they should receive 100 per cent discount on their council tax, through council tax benefit.

Garden Court Chambers, where a colleague work, has launched Legal Action on Council Tax.

The website contains detailed legal information as to how to appeal to a valuation tribunal and what happens when you are summonsed to the magistrate’s court.

No legal aid is available and so applicants have to represent themselves. Our hope is that the dissemination of information will give applicants the tools to make the argument and do just that.

Perhaps the best hope is that, like the poll tax, the collecting authorities and the courts will become so overwhelmed that government has to give in.

I’m sure many will continue to remember that the LibDems continue to vote for cuts to Legal Aid remember:

 

Coalition government stop must scapegoating unemployed people


photo (1)Another home goal for the coalition as they cannot come up with original ideas, if I was a teacher and was going to mark them for originally I would start by marking them out of 10 then I would take 5 points off them for not think though their policy then deduct a further 5 points for taking this idea from Labour who introduced it in the first place, so the total score will be a big fat zero.

This is on the grounds of It is common sense to inform the Job Centre Plus of any change of circumstances which a Marjory of people who will do it automatically. Granted there are very few who do abuse the system but in the long run they get caught out in the end compared to the number of MPs and Lords who abuse their expense system.

photo (2)So the coalition need not give us no lectures in this area of concern already both the coalition and press continues scaremongering tactics to blame it all on migrants their only crime is to look for a better life in other countries to support their families(children) to have a decent education and a better start in life.

No one plans to be on benefits for a life time. What you need to seek from the government is what are they are doing for the future of our children when they leave school, collages, and university to help them full time employment and not using zero hour contracts to employment to their chosen field of work.

photo (3)Then there are the forgotten lot the over 30s who have fallen on hard times and lost only source of income and now have depend on benefits but instead of looking for long term solutions they(coalition) rather concentrate on the short term solutions instead as it is more cheaper to do which equals to zero hour contracts and cheap labor.

I have to say that I will take no lessons from both present and previous governments as each had the opportunity to help stimulate the economy by investing in more jobs from both sectors(public and private). Some may argue that it’s not the government’s job to create jobs but for the private sector to do so. We say it’s the government to help create the jobs to help stimulate the economy.

photo (5)What a cheek Benefit claimants are being warned to disclose changes in circumstances as part of a campaign aimed at cutting the £1.6bn-a-year cost of overpayments.

Hey all its not surprising that some councils are using unemployed people to take up task such as work for your benefits here is an example scores of UK councils have benefited from more than half a million hours of unpaid labour through government back-to-work schemes, a series of freedom of information requests has found.

The FOI requests filed by the group Boycott Workfare, which campaigns against workfare schemes, found 62% of the 271 councils that responded had used unpaid workers on government schemes during the past two years.

photoBoycott Workfare, which says unpaid schemes such as work experience and mandatory work activity (MWA) exploit tens of thousands of unemployed people, found Newport council had used 112 people, mainly in its street cleaning and rubbish collection department for about four weeks at a time.

Scarborough council has used 120 people through the MWA scheme since 2011. Seventy one people completed the placements, all in the parks department.

Bexley borough council in London has taken more than 100 unpaid placements, including 71 through the mayor of London’s unpaid work scheme, which is funded by the European social fund. One person was offered full-time employment and 15 an apprenticeship.

crisis-loans-big-18430-0The council said most of these placements were in library services, where 35 paid jobs were lost after services were merged with neighbouring Bromley in 2012.

Of the reported 1,929 placements, only one in 14 led to jobs according to Boycott Workfare, though this figure did not include apprenticeship placements.

Northumberland county council said it had put 44 people into unpaid work in its council services during the past two years.

LivingWage_CMYK“These work placements are intended to be positive experiences, not punitive and must be of community value and not replace anyone’s job,” the council said.

Boycott Workfare said half of council placements were part of the voluntary work experience scheme. But nearly 300 placements were on MWA, where the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can compel people to work without pay for a month or have their benefit cut for up to three years.

A further 300 people were sent to work for councils through the Work Programme, with placements lasting up to 26 weeks.

Since February 2012 the DWP has resisted a series of rulings from the information commissioner that it should make public the locations of people sent on government employment schemes, saying the data was commercially sensitive and a public outcry could damage the schemes’ operation. A high court hearing on the matter is expected to take place in the spring.

Boycott Workfare said it was “disturbing to find so many councils putting local people at risk of destitution by using schemes that threaten people with up to three years’ benefit stoppages.

“Workfare doesn’t help people find work and councils aren’t offering people jobs at the end of their placement. Instead local authorities are clearly using workfare in an attempt to plug the gaps left by government cuts to public services.”

photo12The group said a six-month employment scheme due to start this year would extend this trend of unpaid work in councils and charities.

“Unless it is stopped, it will mean both more devastating welfare sanctions and fewer paid jobs for everyone,” it said.

A spokesperson for Bexley council denied it was exploiting residents. “The placements were not used to substitute for paid members of staff. There is absolutely no connection between the reduction in posts within the library service,” the council said.

It said the 35 lost jobs were within the “shared back-office service that Bexley operates with Bromley council” and not within “the frontline library service” where the placements took place.

385294_195107567306966_1850351962_nThe DWP said: “Most of these placements are undertaken voluntarily and work experience is successful in helping people off benefits and into work.

“Mandatory placements give jobseekers in need of more help the vital workplace skills and experience – especially if they’ve never worked before – to find work,” the department said.

“Claimants are expected to complete placements which are of benefit to the community, including helping charities. It is only right that people claiming jobseeker’s allowance take part in programmes to improve their skills.”

Claimants in six pilot areas will be warned they could face a fine of up to £2,000 for not disclosing they have found a job or moved in with a partner.

The six-week campaign will use adverts, posters, social media and letters.

Welfare reform minister Lord Freud said the aim was to stop fraud and overpayment “before they even happen”.

He said: “It is only a small minority who commit fraud.

“We are keen to make sure that claimants know that even small overpayments can really add up over time, so they must get in contact with us and let us know about changes in circumstances straightaway.”

At £1.6bn, overpayments of benefits because of an error by claimants was higher last year than the £1.2bn cost of deliberate benefit fraud.

As part of the advertising campaign, posters will be put up asking: “Claiming benefits? Got a new job? Make sure you tell us. We’re checking benefit claims.”

The letters to claimants will also highlight the importance of notifying the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in circumstances – and highlight the risk of a fine or criminal prosecution.

The pilot locations in England are Southwark and Hounslow in London, Blackburn, Blackpool and Epping Forest. The pilot is also going to run in Cardiff.

Sources at the DWP describe the new campaign – which also includes posters encouraging people to report suspected benefit fraud – as a “softer” approach.

The results of the pilot scheme, and the different methods used to promote the need to notify changes in circumstances, will help decide on the form of a national anti-fraud campaign.

Labour said the government must “get a grip of rising levels of fraud and error on their watch”.

“Families facing a cost-of-living crisis will be astonished that levels of benefit fraud and error are going up under Iain Duncan Smith, with £700m overpaid a year due to official error,” said shadow work and pensions spokesman Chris Bryant.

Even a year ago the phrase “working poor” was not widely used. There have always been historically low-paid workers, both employed and self-employed, such as hospital porters, cleaners, sales reps and unskilled factory workers.

While “luxuries” such as home ownership or an annual foreign holiday may have been out of reach for people like this, in was also true that being in work used to pay more than being unemployed.

Work meant bills were paid and there was enough money for the odd meal out, a night in the pub, a basic week’s holiday for the family, household items could be replaced when broken or new items needed and perhaps a few pounds a week could be squirrelled away in a Christmas savings club.

These were the kind of people lauded by John Major and the Tories back in the early 1990s as people doing their best to get by.

Then we were “low-paid workers.” Now we are the army that is rising relentlessly under this coalition – the working poor.

What does it mean to be working poor? Different people will have different views.

For some it will mean that after paying bills there is virtually nothing left over each month any more.

Others will inform you that being working poor means you can no longer afford treats for the children – they can’t have clothes like their classmates or extra-curricular activities like cinema visits.

At the bottom of the scale, some working poor will tell you of their visits to food banks because after they’ve paid their bills there is no money left for food.

This is exacerbated if you have children but do not meet the criteria to receive free school meals.

Being working poor can make people feel resentful of the unemployed. Despite being a socialist, I sometimes feel like this. But I know it is the government tricking me. It’s the old maxim of setting us against each other in our struggles.

Who is more worthy of help? Poor v working poor, old v young, sick v disabled, British-born v immigrant?

We have had this policy of divide and rule rammed down our throats for nearly four years of the coalition.

I admit that when I am frantically trying to pay the rent, utility and transport bills, feed the family and pay for school lunches I have envied the unemployed who have had their rent paid and free school lunches.

But then I immediately think of the bedroom tax on the shoulders of council tenants and the desperation of those who are forced to visit food banks and my politics of envy disintegrates.

We are all equally worthy of government support in austere times. I want to make sure that message is heard loud and clear.

The outlook for 2014 is fearful. People on low pay are already struggling to pay the bills – how long until they cannot cover them at all? Like a gerbil going faster and faster, round and round on its toy wheel, so we, the working poor, are trying harder just to stand still.

The language being spewed from Department of Work and Pensions is that of more sanctions, more hardship, more rules – first for the unemployed and then it will be the turn of the working poor.

While Major and a few back-bench Tories have urged David Cameron to be more humane, Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP seem set on demonising the low-paid.

Under universal credit the mantra seems to be “if you are low paid, you must get a better job or take on a second job.”

If you are self-employed but earn under £11k a year you will be given a few months to increase your earnings.

If you do not, you will be stripped of self-employment, switched to jobseeker’s allowance and forced to seek employment.

Working is not enough. You must gain employment that lifts you entirely out of the tax credit system and thus out of being working poor.

This is the fairyland Duncan Smith exists in. The idea that there are jobs available for all low-paid workers to take them out of being low paid is farcical to anyone who has a brain. Only IDS believes this mantra.

So what can the working poor look forward to in 2014? Relatively little.

Once the DWP under the stewardship of IDS has made the lives of the unemployed unbearable and food bank use the norm for anyone on benefit, it will be our turn next.

The message will be that we should be doing more work for more money.

Ed Miliband has stated that if Labour gains power in 2015 he will set up a board to look in detail at how universal credit is implemented.

We can only hope that demonising the working poor is not on the agenda and that Duncan Smith’s draconian measures will be scrapped.

The low-paid should either continue to be supported in the form of tax credits or, better still, Miliband should bring in a living wage for workers.

This army of working poor is getting bigger daily and is feeling more ostracised than ever before.

I know of Tory-voting low-paid workers who really believed the mantra of “hard-working people doing the right thing.” They believed they were in that club of “strivers.” Now they feel desperate, unable to pay their bills and feed their families. Some have to care for sick or disabled family members on top of their work too.

Thankfully many of them have seen the light and won’t be voting Tory in 2015. But they need to know there is a Labour Party which will protect them.

Let’s have some firm policies on poverty.

I will be telling the Labour Party what I expect from it to gain my vote. My decision will be based on what will they do for the long term unemployment, cost of living standards, economy and housing. My vote is very precious and I WONT be voting for the Conservatives or Libdems. I hope the rest of the working poor army will do the same by voting Labour in all the elections in 2014 for European and Local elections and then in 2015 for local and general elections.