1) #FatCatTuesday demonstrates income inequality continues to grow
On Tuesday of last week, most Top CEOs already earned more than the average worker will earn over the whole year in the UK.
The High Pay Centre who coined the phrase #FatCatTuesday, say that figures demonstrate the inadequacy of government to deal with the pay gap and the excesses of the super rich which are ‘unfair, disproportionate’ and don’t make ‘economic sense’:
“FTSE 100 Chief Executives are paid an average £4.72 million. The High Pay Centre found that even if CEOs are assumed to work long hours with very few holidays, this is equivalent to hourly pay of nearly £1,200
“When the High Pay Centre made the same calculation last year, the think-tank estimated that top bosses would have to wait until the first working Wednesday of 2014 to surpass the earnings of the average worker. But while pay realised by FTSE 100 Chief Executives has risen by nearly £500,000 since last year, the annual pay of the average UK worker has increased by just £200, from £27,000 to £27,200.
“The figures will raise doubts about the effectiveness of Government efforts to curb top pay by giving shareholders the power to veto excessive pay packages. The High Pay Centre has argued that further measures are necessary, such as representation for ordinary workers on the company ‘remuneration committees’ that set executive pay and compulsory publication of the pay gap between the highest and lowest earner within a company.”
2) Iain Duncan Smith urged to suspend sanction regime
Minister for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, has been urged to suspend sanctions on benefit claimants until an investigation into their impact has been carried out. Concerns have been raised from many groups, individuals and professionals on their effect, particularly on mental health and the disabled.
“Experts, ranging from academics, food bank administrators, disabled groups and employment service professionals, told MPs on the work and pensions select committee on Wednesday how sanctions were “more likely” to hinder their target’s journey into work, rather than help them.
“A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union told the Huffington Post UK: “There’s no evidence that sanctions spur people into finding sustainable work, All they do is poison the relationship between jobcentre staff and claimants, which makes it much more difficult to build the kind of relationship that is required.
“A jobcentre should be a place that supports people into finding a job, not a place of conflict and suspicion.”
“A DWP-commissioned review, carried out by welfare expert Matthew Oakley, who has worked for the Treasury and the centre-right thinktank Policy Exchange, revealed that the most vulnerable were often left punished by a system that they barely understand.”
3) Hinchingbrooke hospital declared ‘inadequate’ by Care Quality Commission
Hinchingbrooke hospital has had to be put into special measures following a ‘scathing’ report by the Care Quality Commission which revealed serious failings, putting patients in danger.
Circle, a private health firm which has won £1.36bn of NHS contracts, told the London Stock Exchange that the CQC report was one of the reasons they were pulling out of running the hospital.
“The report said some children arriving at the A&E department were left “potentially unsafe” at times because of a lack of specially trained paediatric nurses both there and in some operating theatres.
“Patients told inspectors that the response of nurses to them ringing a bell for assistance was poor, especially at night. Drinks were found to have been left out of reach of patients, even after inspectors had pointed that out.”
The report also noted that the hospital was substantially and frequently short staffed.
This is the first time the watchdog has declared a hospital to be ‘inadequate’ in how it cares for patients.
Allowing private firms, who’s top interest is profit, is a danger to the NHS and the patients it serves. It is not done in the interests of the public but the private interests of a few.
4) ‘Liam Fox wants to kick half a million Indians and Pakistanis off the electoral register’
The Times recently reported that the Conservatives wanted an emergency change to a well-established law allowing those in the UK from the Commonwealth and Ireland to vote in elections. Interestingly, The Times referred to the law as ‘obscure’. The piece read:
“Senior Tories called for an emergency change in the law last night as official figures revealed the scale of foreigners who will be free to cast a vote in May.
“This could result in them being able to decide the outcome of what is set to be the closest and most unpredictable election result in decades. Under an obscure law that has never been reformed, people from Ireland and the Commonwealth who live in the UK are given voting rights. Irish, Indian and Pakistani citizens top the list of those allowed to cast a vote…
“Some Conservatives believe that the number of voters from ethnic minorities included in the list will provide a boost to Labour. The previous election showed that Labour was far more successful in winning the votes of those from ethnic minorities…
“Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, said: “It is ridiculous that the government of a country like ours could be decided by those who are not British citizens. It is high time we brought this law up to date.”
These are desperate lengths to control election results. It is not ‘obscure’ for people who live here to have the right to vote.
Mark Pack, Liberal Democrat commentator added in his post:
“Who would such a change kick off the electoral register?
- 345,000 Irish
- 306,000 Indians
- 180,000 Pakistani
- 73,000 Australians
- 52,000 Zimbabweans
- Other countries in the top ten are Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Canada and Bangladesh.”
“Let’s hope those of minority ethnic backgrounds, living in the UK, get the message:
“Conservatives don’t want your vote.
“Like UKIP, they want to deport you.
“They’ll say it’s “fair” that you don’t get a say in who governs the country where you live.
“In that case, would you say it’s “fair” that you’ve been paying taxes for the last five years of Conservative-led rule?”
5) Shelter is here to help – Pass It On
January is infamous for being a tough money month, and as housing prices and rents continue to rise, if you are struggling, you can seek help from Shelter, who are offering advice and assistance in the Pass It On initiative.
“1 in 5 rent or mortgage payers have borrowed money to cover housing costs and 1 in 4 would feel too ashamed to ask for help if they couldn’t pay the rent or mortgage. If you’re in this situation, make sure you get advice on managing your rent or mortgage worries.
“Getting advice from Shelter could make all the difference.
“Please share our advice and pass it on!”
6) Real Media
Real Media – a coalition of independent bloggers, journalists and media organisations for independent journalism and against mass media misinformation – now has a temporary site so you can find out more and stay ahead of events and announcements ahead of the launch in March.
We have new organisations joining us all the time and so far include Bristol Cable, Bella Caledonia, Salford Star, Transition Free Press, Counterfire, Media Reform Coalition and more.
We also have a gathering in February in Manchester supported by John Pilger, Red Pepper, Open Democracy and more…
Go to http://www.realmedia.press and show your support by joining the below…