Plot by Tory ministers could slash paid holidays for 7 million workers, says TUC

From the TUC: A plot by #Tory ministers to scrap the Working Time Directive in the UK reported today could deny paid holidays to millions of workers, and make long working weeks the norm, the TUC has said.

The Sunday Times and Sun both report plans by ministers – including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – to scrap the Working Time Directive after Brexit.

Losing the protections of the directive means that:

  • 7 million workers could lose rights to paid holidays – 4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts.
  • Even more workers could be forced by bosses to work weeks longer than 48 hours.
  • Workers could lose the right to lunch and rest breaks.
  • Night workers could lose some health and safety protections.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work. Millions could lose their paid holidays, and be forced to work ridiculously long hours.

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Video: Schools washing uniforms, charging phones for families with no electricity at home

This devastating 95-second video shot by ITV News in Morecambe shows primary schools giving out shoes and coats and using washing machines to wash children’s uniforms, teachers charging parents’ phones because they have no electricity at home, GPs treating kids for rickets, and parents passing out in the school hall because they’ve done without meals.

The reality of child poverty

Primary schools using washing machines to wash children's uniforms, teachers charging parents' phones because they have no electricity at home, and GPs treating kids for rickets. This is the poverty we have found in the UK in 2017.Watch more: http://bit.ly/2C6idEi (via Granada Reports)

Posted by ITV News on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tory trade secretary: If UK trade figures are bad, it’s nothing to do with me

The quote used by The House magazine to promote their interview with Tory trade secretary Liam Fox is:

Tory trade secretary #LiamFox: If UK trade figures are bad, it's nothing to do with me.

Posted by Stop the Tories Channel on Saturday, November 25, 2017

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#Budget2017: Stagnant earnings forecast ‘astonishing’

From BBC News: The prediction that average UK earnings in 2022 could still be less than in 2008 is “astonishing”, according to an independent economic think tank.

Paul Johnson, director of the politically independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, added that the economic forecasts published in the Budget made for “pretty grim reading”.

He highlighted that since 2014 growth in earnings has been “choked off”.

“We are in danger of losing not just one but getting on for two decades of earnings growth,” he said.

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#ToryCompetence: UK national debt 1998-2017 infographic

The narrative of the Tory press is that the UK’s debt issues are all Gordon Brown’s doing, and #ToryCompetence (LOL) is saving the day.

This infographic from the Press Association tells an ever-so-slightly different reality.

#UKNationalDebt: The narrative of the Tory press is that the UK's debt issues are all Gordon Brown's doing, and…

Posted by Stop the Tories Channel on Saturday, November 25, 2017

Apprenticeships fall by 59%

From The Guardian: Employers and unions have called for a rethink of the Tory government’s apprenticeship policies after a 59% fall in those taking up trainee posts since a new scheme was launched in April.

Just 48,000 people started an apprenticeship in the final three months of the educational year to July 2017, compared with 117,800 in the same period a year before. The biggest drop came in the lowest level “intermediate” apprenticeships, which dived by 75%, compared with a 48% drop in the most advanced training courses.

Critics of the scheme say the increased costs and complexities are deterring employers from creating apprenticeship posts.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Shame, spin and no substance – visibly angry Corbyn fumes over Tory budget

From RT: Jeremy Corbyn poured his scorn on the May government over announcements that the Tories claim will pull Britons out of poverty and put the young on the property ladder.

Corbyn slammed the government, and mocked them for the policies that he agreed with, stating they had been “lifted” from his own manifesto. “It’s falling pay, slow growth and rising poverty,” he said.

“This is what the chancellor has the cheek to call a strong economy. The poorest tenth of households will lose 10 percent of income by 2022, while the richest will lose just 1 percent. So much for tackling burning injustice. This is a government tossing fuel on the fire,” added the Labour leader.

“8.3 million people are over indebted. If he wants to help people out of debt, back Labour policy for a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020.” Read more

Vince Cable on Budget 2017: Tories’ Brexit position left the chancellor with little room to manoeuvre

Vince Cable, leader of the Lib Dems, writes in The Times: “The Budget contained news that badly damaged the Conservatives’ reputation for economic competence. For a start, it was confirmed that we have slipped from the fifth to the sixth biggest economy in the world, behind France, and worse could follow.”

[Read column on The Times website…] (paywall, but free registration allows access to two free articles per month)

North of England hardest hit by Tory cuts

From BBC News: The north of England has seen the biggest cuts in Tory government spending over the past five years, official figures show.

Spending in the north has fallen by £696m in real terms since 2012, while the south of England has seen an increase of £7bn.

Labour have called on the government to end its austerity programme in the budget on Wednesday.

Government figures show that, when inflation is taken into account, every region in the north of England has seen a fall in spending on services since 2012, while every other English region has seen an increase.
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Video: Thatcher’s privatisation of our water has driven up bills by 40%

Since Margaret Thatcher privatised our water in 1989, our water bills have gone up by 40% in real terms, while our rivers and natural environments have been poisoned with raw sewage again and again. Of course, tax-dodging CEOs get paid millions.

This short video from We Own It discusses publicly owned water companies overseas, and the costs versus benefits of renationalisation, to show that we can make a better choice.

Water should belong to all of us!

Privatised water companies have hiked our bills, polluted rivers, killed fish and dodged tax.Scotland and France show that public ownership works!SHARE if you want to take back our water.

Posted by We Own It on Friday, November 17, 2017

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A mother given 50p a week for housing: the benefit cap one year on

The head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing writes in the Guardian: “A year on from the introduction of the lower benefit cap, its abiding legacy is to push people closer to homelessness.

“The cap, introduced on 7 November 2016, reduced the total amount any family can receive in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital, leaving families with significant shortfalls between the benefits they get and the cost of their housing.

“In our most recent research we spoke to 18 families with capped benefit across the UK and each time we heard a familiar story – one of stress, struggle and a daily fight to remain in their home.

“Half of those families said they had gone without food, fuel or were otherwise in debt as a result of the cut. Among a raft of other hardships a third said they had been forced to use food banks.”

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6-month-old baby died after life-saving operation cancelled 3 times due to lack of beds

From The London Economic: A six-month-old baby girl suffering from a heart defect died after a life-saving operation was cancelled three times due to a lack of beds, an inquest heard.

Iris Ann Day was born with Down Syndrome and an atrio-ventricular septal defect –
– a hole in her heart which causes blood to flow around it.

The condition was discovered when her mother Hannah was 36 weeks pregnant, when doctors said she would need surgery at around three months old.

[Read full article on The London Economic…]

Zoe Williams: It’s true – Conservative governments really do kill people

Zoe Williams writes in the Guardian: “There was a splenetic exchange on BBC Question Time last week, between an audience member and my colleague, Aditya Chakrabortty, who had pointed out that disabled people had died as a result of cuts to social security. You’re like ‘Donald Trump’, said a guy in the audience: the parallel was, Aditya had made a statement that was stirring, powerful, emotive and trenchant – so I guess, if we leave aside the fact that it was also true, it was pretty Trumpian.

“Just as it’s verboten to call someone a liar in parliament, so there is a curious and ancient disapproval around pointing out that a state has been the direct cause of any deaths, whether of its own citizens or abroad. It is taken as hysterical overstatement (something that should only be levelled at an authoritarian regime, which takes its people out and shoots them) and pitiful naivety (a wilful misunderstanding of the business of government, to trace its policies crudely back to the lives of those who are affected by them). Read more

Mentally distressed man declared ‘fit for work’ by DWP found dead on beach days later

From Evolve Politics: A man declared ‘fit for work’ by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), despite suffering with extreme anxiety, stress and panic attacks for nine years, has been found dead on a beach after his sickness benefits were removed.

Following the removal of his benefits, 54-year-old David Metcalf was visited by police and a mental health practitioner after concerns for his wellbeing were raised. Just four days later he was found dead on a Durham beach. Read more

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