Archives For House of Commons

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.

Bedroom Tax Protest Image: birminghamagainstthecuts.co.uk

Bedroom Tax Protest Image: birminghamagainstthecuts.co.uk

Read more about this story here.

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.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

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.”

David Cameron

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.

Image: @labourpress

Image: @labourpress

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.

Image: e-activist

Image: e-activist

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.”

Read more about this story here. 

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.”

Read more about this story here. 

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

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1) UK wage decline one of the worst in Europe

UK hourly wages have fallen 5.5% since 2010, ranking us the fourth worst in Europe, according to figures released and collated by the House of Commons library.

The figures were requested by the Labour party, and shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said:

“Working people are not only worse off under the Tories, we’re also doing much worse than almost all other EU countries.

“Despite out-of-touch claims by ministers, life is getting harder for ordinary families as prices continue rising faster than wages.”

The only EU countries fairing worse than the UK were Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands. France saw a 0.4% increase over the same period, and Germany’s workers have seen a 2.7% increase.

Read more about this story here.

 

2) Bank of England links interest rates with unemployment figures

 

 

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, announced last week that he would not raise interest rates from the current 0.5% until the employment rate reaches below 7%.

The current figure for unemployment is 7.8% in the UK.

Carney told the BBC that such a move was needed “when the recovery is just gathering some steam,” following some positive growth figures in the British economy.

The move has been hailed as revolutionary as it is the first time in the history of the Bank of England that there has been policy linked to targeting employment.

Read more about this story here.

3) Former Sports Direct employee takes company to court over ‘zero hour contract’ controversy

Zahera Gabriel-Abraham, a former employee of Sports Direct – who were found to use zero hour contracts for 90% of its staff, is taking the company to court to challenge the use of the contracts.

The argument against Sports Direct follows that it is the company that have flexibility while staff have none. Also, the case will challenge the absence of sick pay and holiday pay for some contracts.

Gabriel-Abraham is being defended by law firm Leigh Day, and is sourcing her funding for the case through donations in a campaign set up with 38 degrees.

blueboxcfg.com

blueboxcfg.com

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4) Tory Councillor resigns over the “discriminative” bedroom tax

Councillor Barbara Ainge has resigned from the Conservative party over the ‘unfair’ and ‘discriminative’ bedroom tax.

Councillor Ainge, a retired midwife, made the decision after the Council refused to implement a ‘No Evictions’ policy put forward by Labour Councillors.

Talking to the Northamptonshire Telegraph, Cllr Ainge said:

“I can’t accept the Conservative policy on the so-called bedroom tax.

“It’s totally unfair and it discriminates against the vulnerable.

“People’s circumstances are so complicated that it just could not possibly work to the advantage of the community, and when the Labour group put forward a motion to ensure that people wouldn’t be evicted if they got into financial difficulties I didn’t have a second thought not to agree with them.”

Read more about this story here.

Bedroom Tax Protest Image: birminghamagainstthecuts.co.uk

Bedroom Tax Protest Image: birminghamagainstthecuts.co.uk

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

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.

Bedroom Tax Demonstration in Manchester City Centre Image: MEN

Bedroom Tax Demonstration in Manchester City Centre Image: MEN

Read more about this story here.

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.

Read more about this story here.

3) Slump in low wages has helped to hide the true condition of the jobs market. 

Institue for Fiscal Studies Image: libdemvoice.org

Institue for Fiscal Studies Image: libdemvoice.org

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”.

Read more about this story here.

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.

Read more about this story here.

Image: Spurgeons.org

Image: Spurgeons.org

 

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

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