What We Learned Last Week (19/05 – 25/05)

kamsandhu —  May 26, 2014 — Leave a comment

1) BBC Bias and the rise of the right

66% of people didn’t vote. European voters were turned away and told to vote in their own country. What did the BBC report on? A continued creaming over UKIP. Time to tune out of mainstream media. Listen to Chunky Mark.


2) Day after elections, Cameron announces plans to frack without permission

Cleverly timed release of this news with minimal coverage and attention, could it have been planned d’you think?

Image: BBC - Gas test Well

Image: BBC – Gas test Well

Cameron has announced proposals for new plans to allow land access to frackers. Following the reactions he has had to fracking, it seems Cameron is attempting to undermine a debate he is losing. Now the Euro/local elections are over, it’s time to take back the debate on this – Click here and like this page for forthcoming Fracking debates, news and campaigns.

“The UK government has proposed new rules regarding rights to access land in a bid to speed up the introduction of fracking.

“It proposes that shale oil and gas companies are granted access to land below 300m from the surface.

“It also suggests firms pay £20,000 per well to those living above the land.”

BBC News

Read more about this story here.

3) £16bn of benefits go unclaimed each year, as charities urge people to claim their entitlement

You read right. £16bn.

In America things like the workfare programme caused people to fall off the books, just so they would not have to face the undignified process of the welfare system. Similar things are happening here. Yet, the coverage you see of welfare remains an over-reporting of fraud and villification of benefit claimants. In the year 2012/3 around 24% of all media coverage of welfare was about fraud despite fraud accounting for less than 1% of welfare spending, and amounting to £1.2bn. The term scrounger has become the icon of one of the most destructive and divisive campaigns our government has ever set upon.

On top of this, there is clear evidence that the welfare system is hard to navigate, there has been removal of support and there is a distinct lack of information about what people are ENTITLED to. All this against a backdrop of rising poverty and food bank usage.


Now, 27 charities including Save The Children, Help The Aged and Citizens Advice have written a letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper, stating that £16bn of benefits go unclaimed and urging the DWP to ensure that money earmarked for children, families and pensioners who need it most is received.

“They said as many as four out of five low-paid workers without children were missing out on tax credits worth at least £38 a week, while half of working households entitled to housing benefit, worth an average of £37.60 a week, do not claim it.

Up to three million households are also thought to be missing out on council tax benefit, while as many as 1.7 million pensioners are thought not to be claiming the pensions credit, which would boost their income by an average of £31 a week.

Take up of housing benefit and council tax benefit have both fallen during the past decade, while take up of child tax credit is lower in London than other parts of the country and is around 10pc lower among people from ethnic minorities.”

The Telegraph

Read more about this story here.

4) ‘NHS will not exist under Tories’

Shadow Chancellor, Oliver Letwin told a private meeting that the NHS would not exist in 5 years under a Conservative election victory.

The remarks have been denied by Letwin since, but confirmed by several audience members and used by Labour to call out Conservative’s real plans for the National Health Service.

“The Shadow Chancellor said that the health service would instead be a “funding stream handing out money to pay people where they want to go for their healthcare”, according to a member of the audience.”

Read more about this story here.

5) PCS call for end to sanctions and workfare

Labour exchange employees have called for an end to sanctions and workfare schemes following a PCS union conference where Jobcentre workers explained the attacks taking place on welfare and how their jobs were making them depressed.

Image: The guardian

Image: The guardian

Jobcentre worker, Martin Humphrey said:

“We have to say to people that they have to live on nothing for two weeks. To make people destitute for two weeks is despicable.”

Many felt that frontline civil servants were used to dole out the attacks on the most vulnerable, whilst also facing the brunt of anger from the disabled, elderly and unemployed.

The PCS have resolved to fight welfare attacks with groups like DPAC and other trade unions.

Read more about this story here.

6) Martin Hadfield, 20, tragically commits suicide because he couldn’t get a job

20 year old Martin Hadfield applied for dozens of jobs, with no success. His self-worth was deeply affected, say his family. And less than 24 hours after meeting with a Jobcentre adviser, Hadfield killed himself.

Image: Mirror

Image: Mirror

This tragic, tragic story speaks of the pressure put on the unemployed as well as being “the inevitable result of a system that tells people their only value is in selling their bodies for money – or ‘employment’.”

Read “The Fetishisation Of Work Must Stop.”

7) JSA Sanctions – A guide

A handy Sanctions document, detailing how to avoid them has been circulating. Read here.

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass





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