From Evolve Politics: The Tory majority on Lancashire County Council voted through measures to double bus fares for disabled people from 50p to £1, estimated to save the council £44,000… just minutes after approving the spending of up to £38,000 on state-of-the-9art smartphones for individual use by councillors.
With both measures approved, councillors will now be given the opportunity of handpicking a device for their own individual use, with a top-of-the-range iPhone 7, costing £455 each, being among the choices.
[Read full article on Evolve Politics…]
From Morning Star: Bus passenger numbers have plummeted by millions in northern England and the Midlands as a result of routes being axed because of Tory austerity, Labour has said.
The party revealed its analysis of government figures as shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald and shadow minister for buses Matt Rodda visited Northampton.
Since 2010 bus passenger numbers have fallen by seven million a year in both England’s north-west and in the east Midlands, by five million in Yorkshire & Humber, by four million in the north-east and by three million in the west Midlands.
The figures show that the number of routes is projected to be cut by nearly 5,250 nationally by 2022.
[Read full article on Morning Star website…]
From openDemocracy: Mothers with babies in a Manchester hostel run by Serco have shown their dirty and dangerous living conditions. Carole showed a video on her phone of two mice running around her bed in the middle of the night. I could hear her frustrated voice: “I can’t sleep, I can’t sleep.” The kitchen ceiling showed evidence of water leakage from the flats above — presenting risks of electrocution and fire.
[Read full article on openDemocracy…]
From the New York Times: A walk through this modest town in the northwest of England amounts to a tour of the casualties of Britain’s age of austerity.
The old library building has been sold and refashioned into a glass-fronted luxury home. The leisure center has been razed, eliminating the public swimming pool. The local museum has receded into town history. The police station has been shuttered.
Now, as the local government desperately seeks to turn assets into cash, Browns Field, a lush park in the center of town, may be doomed, too. At a meeting in November, the council included it on a list of 17 parks to sell to developers.
[Read full article on New York Times website…]
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
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.
From The Guardian: When Grace Parkins opened her first statement from the Student Loans Company she wasn’t prepared for what she saw. After four years studying she discovered she was now more than £69,000 in debt.
Parkins was one of the first generation of students to sign up to £9,000 a year tuition fees. Like many recent graduates, she had no idea she was also racking up £8,000 of interest on her student loan while still at university. Students currently pay interest of 4.6% while they study, and this will rise to 6.1% in September. “That should have been made much clearer,” she says. “I didn’t expect that at all. All I really knew was that I wouldn’t be repaying until I earned £21,000 and my outstanding debt would be written off after 30 years.”
Parkins, 25, graduated from the University of Westminster last year and now works for a PR firm in Leeds. She doesn’t yet earn enough to start repaying – it kicks in at 9% of earnings above £21,000. “One of the reasons I am not totally panicking now is that I know I’m never going to repay all of that £69,000,” she says. “The government should do something about the level of debt students take on. It put some of my friends off going to university.”
[Read full article on Guardian website…]