1) 36 councils call on government to abolish the bedroom tax
36 councillors from around the country gathered at a summit in Manchester to unite and express their concern over the damaging under-occupancy policy.
Councillors said that the tax was counter productive and pushed people into debt cycles, forced them into private sector accommodation, broke down communities and would eventually only increase the benefits bill.
The meeting will result in a detailed report that will be forwarded to government in the coming weeks.
2) Concerns over ATOS broken pledges that helped them secure contract of £184m
ATOS Healthcare has failed to meet the standards of pledges made to the government when gaining their contract to supply fit-to-work testing across the country.
In the agreement, ATOS said they had ‘contractually agreed’ 22 sub-contractors across the country to supply the 750 assessment centres/sites needed. It has since been revealed that they have agreements with only 8 sub-contractors.
This creates problems for those using the sites, who may have to travel further on longer journeys, breaking the maximum 60 minute journey ATOS had promised in negotiations.
ATOS refused to reveal how many of the 750 sites they actually have.
This news comes after the government issued an investigation in October, into misleading information supplied in the ATOS bid about their links with Disabled People’s Organisations.
3) Slump in low wages has helped to hide the true condition of the jobs market.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has revealed that large rises and figures of unemployment have been avoided through pay cuts.
A third of those who had stayed in the same job throughout the recession had either seen a pay freeze or a pay cut.
The IFS discovery revealed this information just as David Cameron praised the work of new policy, in bringing unemployment and benefit support down. However, general secretary of the Trade Unions Congress, Frances O’Grady, said that recovery was only being felt by top bosses, where pay is rising “10 times faster than ordinary workers”.
4) Young carers to get help, as government agrees new rights
10-16 June was also ‘Carers Week’ – represented by a UK-wide awareness campaign to provide support to carers, raise the profile of those caring and in need of help to care, and also celebrate the work of over 6.5 million people in Britain caring for a loved one.
With over 70,000 young carers looking after parents or siblings, the profession has also campaigned heavily to help get more support to those under 18 who previously, could not qualify for help or income support.
However, during a House of Commons debate last Tuesday, children’s minister Edward Timpson, committed to the changes and will be included in the new draft of the Care and Support Bill.
by Kam Sandhu – @KamBass