1) The Tory Party Conference sees tougher pledges on welfare, alienating young people and pushing for more ‘workfare’ programmes.
The Tory Party Conference in Manchester saw the Conservatives pledge strong right wing policies, with tougher crackdowns on welfare claimants. Chancellor George Osborne and PM David Cameron said that under a Tory government in 2015, welfare claimants out of work for over three years would no longer receive ‘something for nothing,’ and under 25s would receive nothing at all.
The long-term unemployed would be required to do some sort of service/work for 35 hours a week whether that was attending a job centre each working day, litter picking, helping the elderly or taking on support for drug, alcohol or mental health issues.
David Cameron also said that housing benefit and jobseekers allowance would be denied to the under 25s, in the hope of preparing them for the tough economic climate.
However, these policies could cause more harm, as the Tories risk alienating young people and leaving them without any help at a time when options for work are scarce. Young people are facing greater barriers to work than years before, particularly after the slowest recovery from recession in a century. The Youth Work programmes have failed at rates of over 90% and now the Tories seem to be turning their back on the young generation altogether.
Further, the Work Programme, costing in excess of £5bn has failed over 80% of those taking part despite using the basic principles of ‘work for the dole’ in its framework. Without creating more jobs, ‘work for the dole’ could erode the value of work, and replace paid jobs with free placements, ultimately harmful for all.
2) Housing boss says bedroom tax will mean more evictions
Mark Rogers, chief executive of the Circle Housing Group, which manages 65,000 homes, has spoken out against the government’s under occupancy policy which he says will force many more to be evicted.
The group say they have seen ‘a new pattern of arrears’ which is likely to be repeated nationally, where 50% of those affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ pay in full, 25% pay in part and 25% don’t pay at all.
Rogers says that there is simply nowhere for residents to go if they wanted to downsize, and added: “We won’t evict someone if we can’t find a solution for them. If they don’t take that solution then we will do, but we see it as our job to make sure we don’t go down that route.”
3) BBC slammed in letters to Lord Patten by disability campaigners
The BBC has been receiving complaints over its coverage of protests, most recently and notably was the 50,000 – 70,000 strong demonstration outside the Tory Party Conference last Sunday – one of the biggest protests outside London in years. The protest saw people from up and down the country join to march against coalition plans and privatisation for the NHS.
Many campaigners have urged the public to complain about the coverage which they say is biased and not in-line with the Public Service Broadcaster vows.
Disability researcher M.A Stewart recently wrote to Lord Patten, the chair of the BBC Trust, asking for an explanation for lack of protest coverage over the last year:
“I note with interest that Andy Burnham MP has written to you to enquire as to why BBC News offered no more than a token gesture to the recent mass public demonstration by an estimated 50,000 people, outside the Conservative Party Conference, in protest at the Government’s planned changes to the NHS and the identified threat that those changes infer to the greatest institution in this country.
“Given that my research exposed the real reasons behind the welfare ‘reforms’, as planned long ago regardless of the banking crisis, and the fact that the national press have confirmed that the Coalition Government have prevented the press from exposing this evidence to the British public, I invite you to now offer a detailed explanation as to why the BBC have tolerated what would appear to be obvious Government interference with BBC News editorial?”
4) Hundred take to the streets to protest against the Daily Mail
Following the Daily Mail’s scathing attack on Ed Miliband’s father – Ralph Miliband, brandishing him as the ‘Man Who Hated Britain,’ a backlash has begun highlighting the connections and subjects of the paper’s own proprietors and editors. On Sunday, hundreds took to the streets in a protest against the hate the Daily Mail seems to have for many sections of society.
The upbeat protest hosted by the People’s Assembly took place at the Daily Mail Offices in Young Street, London.