1) Young at increased risk of poverty, says report
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has released a report revealing that the young are now at an increased risk of poverty, as unemployment and insecure work continues to blight the jobs market.
The report said:
“Youth unemployment has risen continuously since 2004. By 2011 it was two-thirds higher than 2001. At a record high, it’s three times higher than that of other adults.”
Education and qualifications seem to play a major part in whether a young person is able to remain out of poverty. The less qualified a person is, the more likely they are to be unemployed and living in poverty and after the age of 19, the likelihood of getting qualifications drops significantly.
- “The lower people’s qualifications, the higher their risk of unemployment. This risk has risen over the past decade.”
- “16- to 19-year-olds not in full-time education are at greater risk of poverty than any age group except the youngest.”
Though, gaps in attainment and increased risk of unemployment can be sourced back to early education. The report said:
“An ‘attainment gap‘ emerges before school. It continues through childhood. By 16 and older, it is considerable.
- Tests at age 3 show a significant gap between more affluent children and the poorest fifth
- Lower-achieving but more affluent children overtake the highest low-income achievers by age 7
- Poorer children are half as likely to go to university as their more affluent peers
Across ethnic groups, white young people do less well than their peers from many minorities. But the performance and treatment of black Caribbean and Traveller children raise serious concerns.
For minority ethnic groups poverty is twice as likely, despite improved qualifications.
Poorer higher education students were already more likely to drop out, defer, switch, repeat or restart courses before tuition fees and cuts to Education Maintenance Allowance applied.
But the aspirations of disadvantaged young people are high.”
2) Bill to stop ‘revenge evictions’ talked out
On Monday last week, around 1000 protesters demonstrated outside Parliament in demand for better rights for tenants.
Shelter estimate that some 213,000 people are evicted every year in ‘revenge evictions’ which happen following complaints to landlords over poor housing.
A Bill was put to the House of Commons to end these evictions. It required 100 signatures. Unfortunately, only 60 MPs signed.
Shelter also estimate that 2% of the public are landlords and that private tenancies have seen an increase in poor housing standards. Further, at a time of rocketing rents and stagnant wages, affirming rights for tenants should be a priority for government. Everybody should be able to access safe, secure housing.
Unfortunately, the outcome of this Bill shows priorities are held elsewhere.
Shelter later revealed that 2 MPs ‘filibustered’ the Bill – a tactic of talking out, to delay or ‘talk to death’. They are MPs Philip Davies and Christopher Chope.
Shelter vow to continue the fight until they win.
3) Government accused of ‘numbers game’ in use of apprenticeships
Hundreds of thousands of people aged 25 and over are entering apprenticeships which pay as little as £2.73 an hour.
Apprenticeships have been bandied around by parties of all colours as a solution to youth unemployment but “figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) show that more than 350,000 of the UK’s 851,000 apprentices were over 25, with more than 50,000 aged over 50.”
“The number of UK apprentices has risen from 491,300 in 2009 to 851,500 today – an increase of 73%.
“However, the proportion of those over 25 has more than doubled – it was 19% of all apprentices in 2009/10, but now stands at 42%.”
There is now concern that apprenticeships are being used to subsidise full paid jobs and losing focus on the young whilst also massaging employment figures.
4) Theresa May says ‘Time is right’ for more police powers
Speaking at a counter terrorism event last week, the Home Secretary Theresa May said that the ‘time is right’ to increase police powers to monitor online behaviour in order to combat terrorism and child abuse.
This news snuck out following a general silence since the terror threat was raised to ‘substantial’ earlier this year in the UK.
Considering the ‘loss’ of 114 files on child abuse within government and the Home Secretary’s inability to find someone to lead the child abuse inquiry who had no connection with those involved, we remain unconvinced that these greater powers to probe our online conversations and activity is in our interests or for the protection of potential victims.
May said these powers should be implemented following the General Election.
5) David Cameron attacks migrant workers, but does nothing about exploitative bosses
David Cameron was criticised for attacking migrant workers with further restrictions to benefits, whilst doing nothing to stop exploitative bosses from paying low wages.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Today David Cameron did not act as a prime minister but as a low-grade scrapper, trying to save his political skin by kicking migrant workers.
“He knows he cannot please his big business paymasters who want free access to European workers and the profits that come from their hard work on low wages.
“Instead he inflames a fear of European workers, proposing to cement them as a second-class workforce with no access to the assistance that millions of low paid workers in this country simply need to make ends meet.
“Too many UK employers are addicted to welfare to top up their low waged workforce. It is not migrants that are dragging down pay, but boardrooms that are holding it down.
“Why does he not tackle this by ensuring that collective bargaining can safeguard wages? Look at Germany, which has far greater levels of immigration than the UK but which has laws to protect decent wages.
“What the prime minister did today was to send out a message that the problems in our economy are the fault of workers, wherever they come from. This is a lie. It is not migrant workers who recruit in Poland, or force zero hours work upon people desperate for a job.
“It is not migrant workers who have sold off council homes, cut our Sure Start places, brought ruin to our NHS, or have forced the greatest collapse in living standards in generations.
“It is business behaviour and political decisions that are causing insecurity, not ordinary people trying to make a living.”
6) Government not doing enough to tackle ESA problems
Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manger at Mind, said:
“We welcome the ongoing improvements to the WCA through the independent review process, and particularly the focus on the experience of people with mental health problems. However the narrow scope of these reviews means that wider problems with the system for people with mental health problems have still not been tackled.
“The Work and Pensions Committee report provided a comprehensive evaluation of ESA and the WCA and included strong recommendations. Unfortunately the Government’s response represents a missed opportunity, with little sign that they are willing to make reforms of the scale needed.
“Very few people with mental health problems are being supported into work through ESA, and huge numbers of people are receiving benefit sanctions from a system that does not understand their needs and barriers. As a result, many people are finding that the stress and pressure they are put under is making their health worse, and making them feel less able to work. That’s why we’re calling for everyone with mental health problems claiming ESA to receive personalised, specialist support which acknowledges and addresses the barriers they may face in getting and staying in work.”
7) Pensioners lead protest for energy rights, after ONS reveal 18,200 excess winter deaths last year
Pensioners marched and demonstrated outside the offices of lobbyists Energy UK following the release of the winter death toll from the Office for National Statistics.
8) #Cameronmustgo trends for four days
The hashtag #Cameronmustgo trended for 4 days last week, with an outpouring of hundreds of thousands of messages and reasons to sack the Tory PM. Unfortunately, it got no coverage in the media.
From ‘Bring Back News to the BBC’ – Nov 25 –
“#CameronMustGo is still trending in the UK on Twitter for the fourth day in a row. No sign at all of it on the #bbctrending Twitter feed. I haven’t heard mention of it on any BBC news outlets (do let us know if you see/hear anything like meaningful coverage). Daily, wall to wall coverage of a single tweet by Elizabeth Thornberry on all mainstream media outlets for many days, but 400,000 + tweets largely ignored by all but single articles in the liberal outlets (HuffPo, Guardian, etc), which have all written multiple articles on Thornberry – 2 to 3 a day for 5 days.
“The mainstream media is talking a completely different language and setting a totally different agenda to the people of the country, and it is happy to talk UKIP, immigrants, scroungers, but not austerity, injustice and poverty. That’s why we need to speak up for ourselves.”
9) George Osbourne’s #AusterityFail
Ahead of budget day on 3rd December, the People’s Assembly have put together a video of messages for George Osbourne.