1) Tories defeated in bedroom tax bill amendment vote
Labour and Lib Dem MPs united to press forward with the Affordable Homes Bill in a vote that went against the Tory agenda on benefits.
The Affordable Homes Bill will amend the bedroom tax policy, making those unable to find a smaller home exempt from the levy.
Within a few months of the bedroom tax coming in, research showed that up to 96% of families hit by the tax had nowhere to move to, with a fall in building rates, social housing and scarcity of 1-2 bedroom housing.
The idiots that came up with this policy also put in a caveat that those affected would be unable to move until arrears are paid. And so a family that can and would move into a smaller house to avoid the charge and do as the government wants, can’t move if they are in arrears from the bedroom tax and so a cycle of debt ensues that benefits no one.
2) JRF call for independent body to hold government to account for record on poverty
A new report released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation entitled ‘A UK without poverty’ recommends that the Office for Budget Responsibility monitors and forecasts poverty rates in the UK.
“The publication says successive government’s attempts to tackle poverty have not been good enough, with overall levels of poverty similar now to what they were 25 years ago.
“This is a waste of human potential, a strain on the public purse, and it means the UK economy does not function as well as it could – child poverty alone costs the country £29 billion a year.”
3) Osborne set to miss deficit reduction target again as UK borrowing rises
An increase in UK borrowing thought to be fuelled by weak tax receipts may see the chancellor bring in even heavier cuts to meet targets before 2015 election.
“Weak tax receipts pushed borrowing to £11.6bn in August excluding bank bailouts, £700m more than a year earlier according to the Office for National Statistics. Borrowing in the fiscal year so far, from April to August, was £45.5bn, £2.6bn higher than the same period last year.
“Economists said the poor start to the year had put at risk the Treasury’s official target of reducing borrowing to £95.5bn in 2014-15 from £105.8bn in 2013-14. Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said Osborne had “a mighty tough job” on his hands to meet the target.”
Somehow we’re not surprised, but this may mean that Osbourne will push deep and quick before the election to implement damaging and destructive cuts to the worst off to pay for his failures.
3) Cameron to cut public funds from Scotland
Promises made to Scottish voters in the final hours before polling stations opened for the referendum on independence, are being hacked away at by Cameron who now says he will cut funding to Scotland.
Cameron claimed he would use the Barnett formula as a way of spreading funding in order to convince Scottish voters to stay in the union. However since then, Tory MPs and backbenchers have voiced their anger with the policy which would grant an extra £1600 per head in Scotland more than England.
4) Focus E15 mothers garner national support
A group of mothers who were threatened with eviction from their hostel without help or promise of a suitable home are due in court this week and asking for help, whilst staging an occupation against their eviction in a campaign for more social housing and suitable, affordable homes.
5) Farage pulls ‘wag tax’ days after announcement
“However, the major event of the conference was the defection to Ukip of Tory rightwinger Mark Reckless, and the main policy announcements appeared to be aimed at the right, including scrapping inheritance tax and lowering income tax rates in a way that would mainly benefit wealthier voters. The £12bn of proposed cuts would be paid for by slashing foreign aid and leaving the European Union.”
6) Harry Leslie Smith brings Labour conference to tears as he recounts life before the NHS
One of the most touching and truthful speeches you will ever see on the reasons why our NHS is so important and needs protecting, from a 91-year old Second World War veteran.