What We Learned Last Week (11/08 – 18/08)

kamsandhu —  August 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

1) Last day to sign the EU Media Initiative for media plurality

Today is the last day to sign the Initiative fighting conflict of interest, cronyism, and monopoly ownership of our media. To find out more, go to the website www.mediainitiative.eu   (Or search media initiative on RealFare) and make sure you add your name today!

2) Green Party announce Basic Income will form major part of manifesto

The Green Party have said the Universal Basic Income will form a major part of their campaign for the election in 2015. Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett said:

“It’ll be more prominent than it’s ever been before,” she said. “It’s really risen up the public agenda. We’ll be talking about it during the election.”

Bennett said that recently she had been facing extensive questioning over the Basic Income which has gained traction over the last twelve months. The Basic Income has been a part of the Green Party manifesto for a while, but now it’s time has come to take centre stage. If you want to find out more about it, read our piece, 6 Way of Progress: The Universal Basic Income.

Image: Basic Income UK

Image: Basic Income UK

Read more about this story here.

3) NHS Staff up the ante on strike action over pay

Fifty Doncaster carers for the disabled are staging one of the longest strike actions in the history of the service to campaign for a living wage from the now privatised NHS service.

“Care UK, whose former chairman Lord Nash is now a government minister, took over services for people with severe learning disabilities in Doncaster, south Yorkshire, this year, cutting wages of staff who had been on NHS terms by up to 35% while bringing in 100 new workers on £7 an hour.

In an attempt to rewind a national trend for the de-skilling and the imposition of low wages in social care, the strikers, a majority of whom were transferred from the NHS to Care UK, are demanding a living wage of £7.65 for their poorest-paid colleagues.”

The care workers have already faced 7 weeks without pay.

Care UK won the contract to provide care for those with disabilities in the Doncaster area after claiming it could provide the service for £6.7m over three years, despite the wage bill alone costing around £7m.

It has been argued that contracts like these are deliberately taken out of the hands of the NHS (70% of contracts offered have gone to the private sector), with a view to rising prices and profits when the state sector has become smaller.

Read more about this story here.

4) Pressure on interest rate rise increases as housing market grows

The number of mortgages taken out in the month of June increased by 4%, putting pressure on the Bank of England to increase interest rates from the historic low of 0.5%.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has said controls must remain vigilant to keep prices in check, and this is made possible through greater borrowing restrictions such as affordability tests, which check outgoings as well as income before lending. Although, figures show this has only cooled the market for some months and mortgage lending is now increasing again.

The average income of first time buyers increased from £36,500 to £37,000 and the average borrowing amount increased by £2000 to £123,865.

Read more about this story here.

5) Coalition pay-gap scheme sees only a handful of companies publish results

The coalition attempt to tackle the gender pay gap through greater transparency has seen only four companies publish results.

Think, Act, Report was launched three years ago, ‘amid great fanfare’ and hundreds of companies initially signed up.

Gloria De Piero highlighted the failures of the £90,000 scheme in a parliamentary question.

“According to De Piero, the figures show the Lib Dems’ new policy is a desperate attempt to cover up a failed initiative. “This scheme has flopped and has been given no priority by government, which only gives lip service to equal pay. Publishing pay gap figures is crucial if firms are to address pay differentials. Indeed, the CBI is calling on the government to set a target to reduce the pay gap,” she said.”

And this news comes as reports show that the recession has actually widened the gender pay gap even further, according to the Fawcett Society, and it now stands at 19.1%

Read more about this story here.

 

kamsandhu

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kambass@hotmail.co.uk

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