Polly Toynbee on George Osborne: “This man has done such harm and damage to this country”

Video from BBC Newsnight: Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee tells truths about former Tory Chancellor George Osborne, to his face, on BBC Newsnight.

MUST WATCH – Polly Toynbee attacks former Chancellor George Osborne over his treatment of the poorest people in the country. Full discussion here: https://bbc.in/2Q8Mfho

Posted by BBC Newsnight on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

“I was trained to get Universal Credit claimants off the phone”

From Sky News: Former Universal Credit case manager Bayard Tarpley writes about his experience working in its Grimsby call centre for two years…

Have you ever wondered if the service person on the end of the phone is being deliberately being obstructive?

Well the answer is yes. And I should know – I worked as a Universal Credit case manager where agents were trained to get people off the phone without answering their query.

The answers were from a “deflection script”.

And they were not what you want to hear if you’re a single mother desperate to pay your rent or face being kicked out your home.

[Read full article on Sky News website…]

UK Government told to ‘end age discrimination’ in minimum wage rates

From Welfare Weekly: The SNP has called on the UK government to “end age discrimination” in minimum wage rates at the Budget.

David Linden, one of the youngest MPs at Westminster, has written to the Chancellor demanding the UK government “stop discriminating against young people” and change the law to ensure that all workers are entitled to a real Living Wage – currently £8.75 in Scotland, £10.20 in London.

Under current UK legislation, younger workers can be discriminated against with lower wages, despite doing the same job.

Since 1st April 2018, workers over the age of 25 are entitled to a minimum wage of at least £7.83 an hour, while those aged 21 to 24 are only entitled to £7.38 an hour, those aged 18 to 20 only £5.90 an hour, those under 18 just £4.20 an hour, and apprentices can be paid as little as £3.70 an hour.

The 28-year-old SNP MP for Glasgow East, who left school at the age of 16 to work as an apprentice, said the UK government had “failed younger people” by refusing to change the law – leaving younger workers thousands of pounds a year worse off.

David Linden said: “Millions of families across the UK have suffered from falling wages and squeezed incomes under the past decade of Tory austerity – but younger workers have also faced discriminatory minimum wages rates, meaning they can legally be paid less for doing the same job.”

Free time should be measure of UK’s well-being, say Greens

From BBC News: People’s free time should be recorded as a way to measure the UK’s “well-being”, the Green Party says.

The party is calling for a “Free Time Index” and says that time spent outside work and commuting is a better measure of how well the UK is doing than GDP.

Co-leader Sian Berry told the BBC work-life balance was “in crisis” and more people were working while commuting.

The party also said it wanted paid training leave for all workers to boost skills and reduce staff turnover.

Calling for new free time indicators to be included in the next Budget, Ms Berry told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Work-life balance is an incredibly important indicator of people’s well-being and it is in crisis at the moment.

“People are constantly ‘on’, even when they are commuting. There’s an enormous amount of unpaid caring going on which doesn’t get measured, which doesn’t leave people with very much free time either. We have got a mental health crisis and we think we should be measuring this.”

[Read full article on BBC News website…]

Disabled People Against Cuts take action at Tory conference

From Freedom News: Last Wednesday about 40 activists from Disabled People Against Cuts gathered to protest at the Tory party Conference and bring attention to the continuous attacks they have faced for the last 8 years. The activists came from many parts of the country including Brighton, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Berkshire, London, Manchester, Norfolk, Northampton, Preston Stafford, Warwickshire, Wolverhampton, Castle Bromwich and Birmingham. As part of the protest, the tram tracks on Corporation Street in the city centre were blocked.

“Since our first march against Tory austerity cuts in 2010 thousands of disabled people have been killed by the Tory’s policies and mindless cruelty- the action call out reads– Thousands more have lost vital funding for independent living support and are either trapped in care homes or their own homes. Continent disabled people have been refused the human support they need to go to the toilet and instead been left with packs of incontinence pads. Others are being charged into further poverty as local authorities hike up their charges for social care.”

The Wednesday’s action was largely ignored by the media. It is however important to remember that disabled people have borne the brunt of cuts both to their living standards and to the right to live independently in the community following savage cuts to social care budgets and the closure of the Independent Living Fund.

Read more

Universal Credit ‘makes debt and hardship practically inevitable’, says Archbishop of York

From Welfare Weekly: The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has publicly condemned the Tory Government’s flagship Universal Credit scheme, claiming the widely criticised welfare reform makes falling into debt and hardship “practically inevitable”.

His comments are the latest in a long-line of criticisms and come only a few weeks after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, slammed the new benefit for leaving the UK’s poorest citizens even more “worse off”.

[Read full article on Welfare Weekly website…]

Justice ‘only for the wealthy’: Law Society condemns legal aid cuts

From The Guardian: It is increasingly difficult for defendants and claimants to find solicitors prepared to represent them due to government legal aid cuts, the Law Society has warned.

In a fiercely worded attack on funding restrictions, Christina Blacklaws, the society’s president, said British justice now existed “only for the wealthy, or the small number on very low incomes lucky enough to find a solicitor willing and able to fight a mountain of red tape to secure legal aid.”

Public access to justice and the right to a fair trial has never been so restricted, according to the organisation that represents solicitors across England and Wales.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Corbyn: I’ll create 400,000 green jobs

From BBC News: Jeremy Corbyn will promise to “kickstart a green jobs revolution” if Labour wins power, in his closing speech to his party’s conference.

He will point to Labour’s commitment to reduce the UK’s net carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 – and to zero by 2050.

To achieve that, 400,000 skilled jobs will need to be created, he will tell delegates in Liverpool.

The move will be part of a “radical plan we need to rebuild and transform Britain”, the Labour leader will say.

Much of the money to pay for the policy will come from the public purse – such as the £12.8bn Labour says it will set aside for subsidies to insulate homes in Labour’s first term.

The party says this policy alone will create 160,000 new jobs. There will also be subsidies for offshore and onshore wind and solar energy.

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Britain is on the brink of ‘social collapse,’ Labour council leaders warn

From Morning Star: Britain is on the brink of “social collapse” after “eight years of uninterrupted austerity” caused by brutal Tory spending cuts, Labour council leaders warned today.

Twenty-six leaders of Labour-controlled councils have signed an open letter calling on the government to “recognise the catastrophic impact” that #austerity has had on local authorities across Britain.

The statement, released under the banner of Councils Against Austerity, says budgets have been squeezed by direct government cuts and other pressures.

Pointing out that the shortage of funding has had a “disastrous knock-on effect” on services, the council leaders said that nearly half of all local authorities nationwide have experienced serious setbacks in their daily operations and increasing numbers are cutting all services to a bare minimum.

The leaders warn that many councils will soon be unable to perform the basic level of service expected of them, with street cleaners, park maintenance workers, library staff and other municipal workers facing an uncertain future.

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Kevin Maguire demolishes Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claim he’s a “champion” for less privileged voters

Video via B Heard Media: Jacob Rees-Mogg claims to be a “champion” for voters who don’t share his privileges in life, on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine Show. The Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire sets the record straight deliciously.

WATCH: Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire challenge Jacob Rees-Mogg – who says he's a "champion" of the people – on various #Tory policies, notably bedroom tax."Do you feel guilty you made their lives harsher?"#ToriesMustGo

Posted by B Heard Media on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

“Labour-run areas suffer Tory cuts the most. It’s an ignored national scandal”

Owen Jones writes in the Guardian… According to a report commissioned by the Lloyds Bank Foundation, almost all the reduction in spending on disadvantaged people has been in the most deprived fifth of local authorities in England.

According to Newcastle’s council leader, Nick Forbes, his local authority will lose the equivalent of £268 per household by 2020. In relatively affluent, Tory-held Wokingham, the cut will be just £2. That leaves Newcastle with similar spending power as Wokingham, even though it has four times as many looked-after children and three times as many adults receiving social care. As Forbes puts it to me, if Newcastle wanted to counter the funding collapse by increasing council tax by 1%, it would raise about £1m. The same rise in leafy Surrey might expect to bring in more than £13m.

Take Salford, which is in the top 5% most deprived councils, and where rough sleeping has surged by 600% in the last five years. The causes are clear: cuts to council housing, benefits and council budgets. According to the new report, nearly half of spending on preventing homelessness has gone in favour of a 56% rise in spending on homelessness support.

“Local government is only making ends meet by robbing Peter to pay Paul,” explains the Lloyds Bank Foundation’s policy director, Duncan Shrubsole. “They’re now at a tipping point. If you’re having to cut preventative funding, to stop someone being homeless in the first place, to put more money into crisis – well, you can’t keep doing that.”

[Read full column on Guardian website…]

“The state has abandoned its responsibilities”

Editorial from The Guardian: The true costs of many of the cuts are only now being fully revealed.

Unemployment support and the other payments that make up the UK’s system of social security were the number one target for reductions in spending, with legal aid and grants to local councils not far behind. Figures produced last year by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that the Department for Work and Pensions will have had a real-terms cut in its budget of almost 50% between 2010-11 and 2019-20. And local government leaders warn that they face a financial black hole, with county councils citing a £3.2bn funding gap over the next two years.

Universal credit, the flagship welfare reform of the coalition, is a disaster.

Meanwhile, mounting chaos in the justice system is finally attracting public attention. Last month the government stripped the private contractor G4S of responsibility for Birmingham prison, admitting that officers there had effectively lost control. This followed an announcement that the partial privatisation of probation services has failed and will be reversed. This week MPs debated a review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act amid rising concerns over the impact of legal aid cuts, including the phenomenon of “advice deserts” in parts of the country where services have virtually ceased to exist.

Now council leaders are warning that children’s services face a tipping point, with 90 children entering care every day.

[Read full editorial on Guardian website…]

We were wrong to go along with Tories on immigration – senior Lib Dem

From The Guardian: The Liberal Democrats were wrong to agree harsh immigration measures such as minimum income thresholds for families, one of the party’s former cabinet ministers has admitted, as the party sets out reforms to “detoxify” the debate.

Ed Davey, the party’s home affairs spokesman who was energy secretary during part of the 2010-2015 coalition, said imposing a minimum income level for British citizens to bring spouses or family from non-EU countries had been devastating for many people and had split up families.

Davey said it had been one of the “trade-offs” of coalition which the party would now campaign to reverse.

“It was one of the worst coalition decisions, one of the toughest for me personally and for many Liberal Democrats,” he told the Guardian. “We didn’t want to give in on some issues, like green energy, the pupil premium, income tax thresholds, and they didn’t want to give in on immigration.

“There were things we did have to go along with which I thought were wrong. This was an uncomfortable compromise, absolutely, and it’s one of the reasons why I would love to get rid of this as quickly as possible – it is nasty and unfair.”

Read more

Why austerity doesn’t work – video from the Labour Party

Why austerity doesn’t work, neatly explained in this easy-watch social video from the Labour Party.

Cycle of Austerity

Austerity doesn’t work.

Posted by Jeremy Corbyn on Friday, August 17, 2018

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