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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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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Theresa May prevaricates when asked why the Magic Money Tree bloomed for the DUP’s £1bn but not for nurses’ pay

Have you felt a tiny twang of sympathy for Theresa May recently? Lose it instantly by watching this interview 

Jon Snow asks her why the Magic Money Tree bloomed to fund the £1 billion deal with the DUP to keep the Tories in power, while we’re told nothing can done about the public sector pay cap.

Theresa May speaks on her spending priorities

"You can pluck a billion out and give it to the DUP but you can't do anything with the nurses?" Jon Snow questions Prime Minister Theresa May on her spending priorities; she says the nurses' pay review body will be given flexibility.

Posted by Channel 4 News Democracy on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

“Water privatisation looks little more than an organised rip-off”

Jonathan Ford writes in the Financial Times: “How hard can it be to be the chief executive of a privatised British water company? Your customers are determined by geography, your prices set by a regulator… Pretty much all you have to do is to make sure your sewage plants work and to keep the public waterways clear of human waste.

[Read full article on FT website…] (paywalled, but free registration allows access to one free article per month)

Zero-hours contracts are ‘bad for your health’, says study

From Welfare Weekly: Young people on zero-hours contracts are less likely to be in good health and more likely to suffer from mental health problems, according to the findings of a new study published today.

Researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, based at the University College London, analysed data from more than 7,700 people living in England who were born in 1989-90 as part of its ‘Next Steps‘ study.

Those aged under the age of 25 and in zero-hours employment were less likely to report they were feeling healthy, when compared to those in secure employment.

Zero-hours employment is notoriously insecure and the contracts offer no guarantee of hours, and those on the contracts are often denied the same rights as other workers in more secure employment.

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Journalist Robert Peston on Grenfell Tower: It “shames us all”

ITV journalist Robert Peston writes on Facebook in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy:

“Austerity seems to have become particularly toxic in a system where responsibility for vital safety decisions is so diffuse: we have ministers in charge of regulations, councillors funding an arms length management company, and a management company placing a refurbishment contract with the cheapest bidder.”

robert peston

He continues: “The system… we have [is] designed to drive down costs and save money, not to put the safety of people first.”

Read his full Facebook post below:

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Cladding for Grenfell Tower was cheaper, more flammable option

From The Guardian: Material used in the cladding that covered Grenfell Tower was the cheaper, more flammable version of the two available options, an investigation of the supply chain has confirmed.

Manufacturers Omnis had been asked [by Tory-run Kensington and Chelsea to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower.

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Poorest face ‘double whammy’ if Tories ditch triple lock on pensions

From The Observer: Plans to ditch the triple lock on the basic state pension would represent a “double whammy” for the poorest pensioners, many of whom have already lost out under this month’s new flat-rate pension, according to a leading pension expert.

Pensioners who rely on the state pension for most of their income will be the biggest losers should the Tories drop the element of the triple lock that guarantees annual rises of at least 2.5%.

Chris Noon, a partner at leading pensions consultancy Hymans Robertson, said linking increases to earnings growth or inflation would, over time, erode the value of the pension and push larger numbers of people into poverty on reaching retirement age. He said: “The low paid were the community most negatively affected by the significant changes to the state pension introduced from April 2016. Removing the 2.5% minimum increase … is a double whammy that would again impact this community hardest over the medium to long term.”

The flat-rate state pension, worth £159.55 a week, combines the basic state pension with pension credit and the state second pension, which previously rewarded low-paid workers with generous top-up payments. Estimates put the savings at £8bn by the end of the parliament. Ending the triple lock would come on top of this cut.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

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