1) IDS outlines plans for benefit pre-payment cards
Pre-paid benefit cards form the latest assault on benefit claimant freedoms as plans for cards loaded with benefit allowances, but with restrictions on alcohol, cigarettes and gambling are released.
Benefit claimants have not committed a crime, yet these cards seem to propagate the idea that claimants must not access the same things as other citizens. This is following cuts and increases in bureaucracy facing claimants.
“Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said it would help those “on the margins break the cycle of poverty”.”
The greatest thing to ‘break the cycle of poverty’ is to not cut allowances to rates way below poverty. To not create an environment of insecure, low and temporary work, to better supply a system that transfers claimants from welfare to work that does not punish them in the short term. To support claimants if they are unwell so that they are able to return to health and find work, rather than create further barriers and suspicion. Indeed, it is IDS’ policies that trap people in poverty, yet the Minister for Work and Pensions remains committed to the undoing of those who have the least.
We do support a pre-paid card for MPs expenses however, as they have demonstrated their inability to handle taxpayer’s money correctly.
2) Tory plans to scrap human rights greeted by tabloids
The Express and the Daily Mail (ever the protectors of public interest with stories of scandal and tit-bit gossip often overriding social issues) welcomed Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Bill, with the Express’ front page decrying “Human Rights Madness To End.”
For those that would entertain the idea that the party whom reneged on almost every election promise, have failed to meet their deficit reduction targets and sold £1.5m NHS worth of contracts to acquaintances, should be the ones to preside over the recreation of our basic human rights, we suggest you read the stories linked to below.
“Cameron does not care that a hard-fought and hard-won campaign to keep Scotland in the union finished only last month. The Human Rights Act is written into the Scottish devolution settlement. Mess with it and nationalists would have every right to reopen the argument for independence, just as they would if the Conservatives take us out of the European Union. It is also written into the Good Friday agreement, which ended 30 years of war in Northern Ireland. This is not a document that any person with an understanding of modern history would think of changing for a moment. Cameron is happy to meddle.”
Further, Cameron’s comments that anyone who questions 9/11 or 7/7 or indeed any terrorist attack is a terrorist themselves is the perfect demonstration of the kind of Orwellian control the party are aiming for. Thankfully, several people have taken it upon themselves to demonstrate the absurdity of these comments by handing themselves in to local police, only to be turned away.
Still, this is an important note to remember as Teresa May announces new vetting systems supposedly aimed at ‘extremists’ granting new powers of surveillance on and offline “if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy” – if the questioning of events such as 9/11 brand you a terrorist in the eyes of Cameron, how easy can it be to grant the surveillance and interception of all our communications. This is an assault on our freedoms under the veil of fear and terrorism.
To be honest, the fact that we even have to have a conversation about what Human Rights have done for us, demonstrates the success of the destructions of freedoms thus far. We need to change the direction of this issue. Now.
3) Tory party conference
Cassette boy summed it up for us:
4) Midwives to strike after Hunt blocks 1% pay rise
MIdwives will strike following blocks to a 1% pay rise by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Royal College of Midwives will strike for the first time in it’s 133 year history, with a four hour walkout on 13th October between 7am and 11am, supported by union members representing other NHS staff.
The strike was voted in by a count of four to one.
“This is a resounding yes from our members. It could not send a clearer signal about the level of discontent on this issue to those denying them a very modest 1% pay increase,” said the RCM chief executive, Cathy Warwick.”
The RCM maintains that mothers should not be worried as they will be looked after throughout the strike.
5) Wonga to strike off £220m debt
Pay day lender Wonga will write off £220m in loans following the introduction of new affordability checks.
Wonga has come under fire for practices and lending and will now write off loans that would not have been made under new rules.
A further 45,000 people will not have to pay interest on loans made by Wonga.
6) Employers unable to understand qualifications
Four out of ten employers say they have thrown away CVs because they do not understand qualifications, new research has revealed.
Acronyms and ‘flowery language’ is putting off potential employers. Many cannot tell which qualifications are higher or lower, and some believe that qualifications do not ready candidates for work.
“More than half (57 per cent) of employers questioned by City & Guilds said they found acronyms on CVs confusing, and almost two-thirds said they had to look them up on the internet, while the same percentage said they believed candidates who use jargon on their CVs do it to cover up a lack of skills or qualifications.”
7) Workfare Week of Action gets underway
The Workfare Week of Action is underway. Click here to see what actions you can join – the government is fearing it’s collapse, so let’s make it happen. And if you were confused as to what the action is against, this letter sums it up.