1) Thousands with degenerative conditions marked as fit to work in future by DWP
More than a third of people suffering from degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, are being denied full Employment Support Allowance by the DWP. Instead, they are put into the Work Related Activity Group for those deemed likely to be able to work in the future. People in this group also face threat of sanction for not attending sessions and may have these benefits removed after one year as an additional ‘incentive’ to find work. Steve Ford, Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK said:
“These latest figures are an utter disgrace and serve to underline just how little the Government cares for those with progressive conditions like Parkinson’s. To set up a system which tells people who’ve had to give up work because of a debilitating, progressive condition that they’ll recover, is humiliating and nothing short of a farce. “These nonsensical decisions are a prime example of how benefits assessors lack even the most basic levels of understanding of the conditions they are looking at.”
2) Britain’s Big Four Banks to announce £9bn profit for just three months
In direct, stark and disturbing contrast to the previous story, where the treatment of the vulnerable is hardened under the banner of austerity, those who caused the crash and spurred on the government cutbacks are enjoying huge profits.
Britain’s big four banks, Lloyds, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, are set to announce a £9bn profit haul in three months.
While most made between £1.7 – £2bn over the summer, HSBC took the greatest leap with profits estimated at £3.7bn. Meanwhile, wages have dropped for the public for 71 of the last 74 months.
3) People arrested for feeding protestors on Parliament Square
Two people have been arrested for giving water and food to a protestor at the Occupy Democracy camp in Parliament square.
A video emerged of a police officer confirming that anyone aiding a protestor who was sitting on a plinth at the statue of Winston Churchill, would be arrested.
The Occupy Democracy camp which was set to take place over ten days has seen heavy police force, handling and also severe tactics of harassment in the shape of sleep deprivation both through the removal of sleeping equipment and through constant disturbances by police in a bid to wear protestors out.
Police have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest, as was always the aim of the camp. The treatment of protestors here in a relatively small group shows us the kind of democracy we have, or don’t have.
“I attended the TUC (Trades Union Congress) march on Saturday and I took part in UK Uncut’s ‘tax-dodgers bingo’. And I saw how at every Starbucks, Nero’s and Tesco on the march route there were police lining the shop-front. Who were they guarding? Whose freedoms were they protecting?
I saw how some of the protesters had been getting creative, transforming a tarpaulin into a banner that said ‘WE DIDN’T VOTE FOR FRACKING’. And I remembered again the truth: that we didn’t vote for Prime Minister David Cameron’s ever-desperate dash to drag remaining fossil fuels out of the ground in direct contradiction to our emissions reduction targets. That we also didn’t vote for changes to trespass law, or for the criminalization of ‘Occupy-style’ protests. We certainly didn’t vote for TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership set to curtail the rights of individual governments to stand up to transnational corporations). We didn’t vote for student fees, austerity and the cuts either. So, whose rights exactly is this government representing?
Considering all this, occupying a square opposite the seat of power feels entirely appropriate and necessary in response to such an ‘undemocracy’.”
Hannah Martin, New Internationalist
4) George Osbourne didn’t tell Cameron about £1.7bn EU bill
Cameron has been making a show of how shocked and disgusted he is to have been handed a £1.7bn EU bill to pay on December 1st. It made him really very angry.
Interestingly, Cameron found out about this bill on the way to a meeting with EU representatives on Thursday, despite Chancellor George Osbourne knowing about the bill since the beginning of the week.
Despite the PM being unable to contain his anger, he said he didn’t want to focus on the ‘Who Knew What Whens’ – which luckily for the Chancellor means he is entirely off the hook.
Strange, that the PM is so disgusted by a bill which all EU parties had agreed to, and which the Dutch had put money aside for. Stranger still that our PM is disgusted more by this bill than the continued borrowing and failure of the Chancellor to meet any targets in terms of cutting the deficit.
5) Support for staying in the EU surges
An Ipsos Mori report revealed public support for EU membership has surged to a 23 year high despite the rise in UKIP support.
“New polling from Ipsos MORI shows the majority of Britons would vote to stay in the European Union in a referendum, indicating the highest support for British membership since 1991, before the signing of the Maastricht Treaty which officially renamed the ‘European Community’ the ‘European Union’. Some 56% would vote to stay in the European Union, compared with 36% who would vote to get out; eight percent answer that they do not know how they would vote. This translates to 61% support for Britain’s EU membership and 39% opposing after excluding ‘don’t knows’. This is the highest support since December 1991, when 60% said they would vote to stay in the European Community and 29% wanted to get out.”