1) Queen’s Speech confirms move to frack under homes without permission. Greenpeace turn PM’s home into drilling site.
The Queen’s Speech on Wednesday confirmed that government would overhaul trespass laws to allow energy companies to frack under homes without permission.
Greenpeace responded by sending a bunch of activists to the Oxfordshire home of David Cameron, in order to turn his home into a drilling site.
Greenpeace also have a petition to sign to protest against these new laws. Sign the petition here.
Talk Fracking are holding their debates around the country this week too, so don’t forget to get down to one near you.
2) Tories spark outrage in report to UN claiming welfare reforms would help the nation’s poorest children out of poverty
The government was branded “dishonest” following a report given to the UN that claimed welfare reforms and benefit cuts would help the poorest children out of poverty. Reforms are actually pushing more people into poverty with some reports claiming we will have 5 million below the poverty line by 2020, and food bank usage continues to rise.
The Scottish government tried to get the claim removed from the report, but were blocked from doing so.
Children’s Minister, Aileen Campbell commented:
“This report is downright insulting to the thousands of children driven into poverty by the Tories.
“The Scottish Government are straining every sinew to help families hit by welfare cuts but tens of thousands more children are facing poverty in coming years because of the Tories. That is the reality.
“In a country as rich as Scotland, food banks have never been busier. That is a national scandal.
“Instead of telling the truth, the Tories are censoring Scotland’s view and refusing to tell the UN the reality of their cuts. That is simply dishonest.”
3) Mass strike likely for 10 July
Several large unions along with other civil servants are making plans to strike on 10 July against damaging austerity and public sector pay freezes.
It will be the largest co-ordinated action for two years if the strike goes ahead, with over 1 million workers taking part.
Unions involved include Unison, Unite, GMB, PCS and the NUT.
4) Tory donors given £1.5bn in NHS contracts
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has uncovered links between tory party supporters and the companies awarded NHS contracts worth £1.5bn.
Circle Health, the biggest profiters, were given £1.36bn in contracts after several investors donated £1.5m to the Conservatives. Burnham said:
“Nobody gave David Cameron permission to sell the NHS to his friends.
“It’s shocking the same Tory donors who bankrolled the development of their NHS reorganisation policy are now profiting from the sell-off of NHS services.”
Circle’s biggest contract was £1bn to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital. A Tory spokesman responded that the decision to contract out Hinchingbrooke was taken by Andy Burnham.
Still, Circle profits in the time of the coalition government have gone up from £64.6 million in 2010/2011 to £170.4 million in 2011/2012.
5) 25 employers named and shamed after failing to pay minimum wage
The government have released a list of 25 employers who were breaking the law by paying below the minimum wage, following laws that came into effect last October.
Employers were investigated by HMRC after staff called a free helpline to report they were being underpaid.
“They include a school in Edinburgh which underpaid an employee by £3,739 and a garage in Bradford that failed to pay a worker £6,426.”
Employers found to be underpaying staff can face a penalty of up to £20,000. Legislation is underway to change this to a maximum penalty of £20,000 per employee that is underpaid.
6) ‘Studs’ designed to deter rough sleepers from central London flats condemned by public
Anti-homeless metal studs have been installed outside a block of flats in Southwark to deter rough sleepers. Andrew Horton, 33, took a photo of them and posted it on Twitter as he walked to work on Wednesday starting a Twitter condemnation of the tactic.
Other photos were posted of the studs used elsewhere. Homelessness charities say the studs have been used for over a decade.
“Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy and campaigns at Crisis, said: “This is happening in a context where rough sleeping has gone up massively. Over the last three years rough sleeping has risen by 36% nationally and by 75% in London. More than 6,400 people slept rough in London last year.”
“The reason for that increase is the continuing economic downturn, thehousing shortage, and cuts to benefits, particularly housing benefit.”
by Kam Sandhu – @KamBass