1) MPs vote on bedroom tax
On Tuesday 12th November, MPs gathered to debate and vote on whether the bedroom tax should be abolished. To see what was said click here. Unfortunately, despite evidence that the hated policy was not working due to a lack of smaller housing and options leaving tenants in arrears and poverty cycles, the vote returned a result of 252 voting against abolishment and 226 for.
Following the debate, Labour have been attacked and accused of ‘rank hypocrisy’ after 47 of its MPs failed to show for the key vote which is one of Labour’s own motions, with a promise to abolish the tax should they win the election in 2015.
The Herald were told that 24 Labour MPs were absent due to a pairing with a coalition minister.
21 Lib Dems also did not vote, with some believed to have done so in protest.
2) David Cameron announces we need permanent austerity from a gold lectern
In a speech to the lord mayor’s banquet last week, prime minister David Cameron announced that Britain needed to remain a leaner state, and called for permanent austerity.
The photo that emerged from the banquet shows David Cameron in white regalia, speaking from a gold lectern, next to a gold throne and many reacted to the speech suggesting that this demonstrated how out of touch Cameron is with those at the sharp end of the austerity measures he promotes.
“We are sticking to the task. But that doesn’t just mean making difficult decisions on public spending. It also means something more profound. It means building a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.”
Further, prior to not really winning the election in 2010, Cameron said that he would introduce austerity measures for a short time to get the country back on track. No one signed up for permanent austerity. Yet, Cameron now wants to abandon his election promises and continue with indefinitely with the cuts.
But perhaps Cameron was hoping we wouldn’t remember this or find it out, following another revelation this week, that the conservative party have attempted to wipe all of their speeches from 2000-2010 from the Internet. We can only imagine this is because they want to wipe the evidence of promises the conservative party have broken, including the one for a transparent government.
3) Disabled could lose 50,000 jobs
The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) – an organisation formed of over 50 leading charities, has warned that welfare reforms could see 50,000 disabled people lose their jobs.
The move for disability benefits from the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will see thousands lose out on support due to tougher eligibility criteria. The government’s own projections estimate that 500,000 disabled people will no longer be allowed to claim.
Many disabled people use the support from the DLA to help them get around where they cannot use public transport. Without this extra support many disabled people may not be able to hold on to their jobs.
The PIP will save £145million. But the loss of tax and national insurance payments from the jobs disabled people stand to lost could cost £278million in tax and national insurance and the cost to the taxpayer to pay for unemployment benefit for those that lose their job will amount to £178million.
Steve Winyard, co-chair of the DBC said:
“One in five disabled people use DLA to help them in work. But thousands could be forced out of employment as a result of cuts to mobility help.
DWP has failed to analyse this issue to date. It is vital that cuts don’t force disabled people out of work and cost more to the public purse overall.”
3) Underemployment now worst on record
The Office for National Statistics revealed that 24,000 more part-time workers were looking for full-time work between July and September.
This takes the figure for underemployment to 1.46m – the highest since records began in 1992, under John Major.
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady said the figures show that while the workforce is increasing, people are still becoming poorer;
“We need better jobs and healthier pay rises to tackle to the living standards crisis and ensure that the full benefits of recovery reach working people.”
David Cameron avoided questions and attacks by using the additional 177,000 in employment as “proof our long-term plan for Britain is working.”
by Kam Sandhu – @KamBass