Archive for June, 2014

DWP And Homelessness Charities Link Up To Bully Homeless Benefit Claimants

June 30, 2014

Johnny Void here points out another serious issue, which would otherwise go unnoticed. Unfortunately, he is right about the terrible conditions in some homeless hostels. The New York municipal shelter system in the 1980s was closed down and effectively privatised because of the violence and drug use amongst some residents. When Bristol Uni’s archaeology department ran a project on the archaeology of homelessness in Bristol, one of the project’s founders stated that one of the city’s hostels was actually so bad that one of the homeless people involved in the project actually moved out rather than stay there. As for altering benefits in order to force residents into such accommodation, you can see why both the DWP and the homeless charities will approve of it. The charities will get more money, while the DWP will use it to take homeless people of the streets. It will make them invisible, and so give the impression that homelessness has been solved. In the meantime, the sanctions system will lead to more people starving to death. It is also likely to lead to a massive increase in violent crime as people with absolutely no alternative source of income are forced to rob and steal simply to survive. Not that this will bother Cameron and Osborne, as they live in the leafy villages far from the urban centres affected by homelessness.
I also wonder whether these policies are deliberately designed to kill the homeless. In the 1990s during the war in Bosnia, extreme Rightists in Latin America took ethnic cleansing and decided to apply it to the social undesirables in their countries. They called it ‘social cleansing’. As an example, one of the British broadcasters showed footage of a tramp in Colombia being murdered by Fascist thugs on the street. Given the way a sizable segment of the present Tory party seems to have had links the Nazi right, would anyone be surprised if the Tories had cheered when the footage of this atrocity was shown, and thought it would be a good idea here in Blighty?

the void

HomelessThe homelessness industry is today welcoming an upcoming change in the law which could see homeless people forced to live in unsuitable or unsafe accommodation or face losing eligibility for benefits.

Homeless Link and St Mungo’s Broadway have published a gushing press release cheering amendments to the rules for Jobseeker’s Allowance set to come into force next month.  The changes mean that newly homeless people may only be considered meeting the criteria for benefits if they take “such steps as are reasonable for him (sic) to take to find living accommodation.”

Homeless people will have an easement of jobseeking requirements if they follow these conditions, but this will usually only last four weeks, despite the average length of hostel stays being significantly longer than that.  The minimum length of stay in one of St Mungo’s Central London hostels is eight weeks, with most residents staying an average of six…

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Cameron is outsourcing British jobs to India, Poland and Morocco – at taxpayers’ expense

June 30, 2014

sadly, I’m not remotely surprised to read this. I think Tom Pride’s already put up something about this on his awesome site before. And it’s been done so much and so consistently by the Tories and Tory Democrats that you can almost come to expect it. As for it being reported in the press – there’s precious little hope of that. Apart from the fact that much of the press share the government’s deep hatred of the organised working class, at least one of the newspapers, as reported by Private Eye years ago, also outsources some of its functions to print services elsewhere in the world. So they’re hardly going to expose the government for doing something they themselves have also been doing for years.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today)

Hang on to your hats – here’s an example of government incompetence and downright corruption that’s so extreme it’s bordering on the surreal.

In 2011, the coalition government asked French firm STERIA to set up a £116m IT programme to help run staffing, procurement and payroll services for 90,000 civil servants.

But now the coalition government has decided to write off £56m of taxpayers’ money after the project was deemed to be late, over budget and obsolete.

Another IT project has been set up in its place outsourced to another private firm called Shared Services Connected Limited.

Which is 75% owned by STERIA.

In other words. The government have written off a failed project run by a private firm (STERIA) and decided to hand it over to another company (STERIA) owned by the same firm (STERIA).

And on top of that – STERIA have decided to outsource British jobs to…

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Party Games

June 30, 2014

Looking at the news today, I have to agree here with Alittleecon and Mike over at Vox Political: it did indeed look very, very much like Cameron was playing to the backbenchers in his own party, rather than trying seriously trying to prevent Jean-Claude Juncker taking power. As for the consequences, it has left Britain isolated in Europe, which might be the way the Tory Eurosceptics and closet UKIP supporters want it, but it does this country no favours at all.
Apart from this, the ‘Yes, Minister’ clips shown here about the Euro assault on the sausage were actually holding up a satirical mirror to a serious issue at the time. In 1984/5, Brussels attacked the British sausage for precisely the reasons Hacker states in the clip below. It contained all sorts of offal, which fell well below what Europe considered decent and wholesome. Also apparently what the scriptwriters felt could be decently put into a BBC sitcom before the watershed. They missed out the bit about testicles, as well as other kinds of gristle, going into the mix, as was reported in the Observer. The result was that there really was a campaign to save the British Banger, fronted by Barbara Windsor. This sported all manner of Carry-On style songs and verses to get its message across, like ‘They gave cippolatas to their inamoratas’. Well, the furore about the British sausage seems to have blown over, but the fundamental issues still remain.

alittleecon

The news over the last few days seems to have been dominated by the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the new president of the European Commission, and David Cameron’s unsuccessful attempt to thwart his appointment. Putting aside the issue of whether Juncker is a suitable person for the role or not, Cameron’s naked politicking brought to mind the Yes Minister Christmas special “Party Games”. Though not exactly the same, there are enough similarities to provide the excuse I need to share some clips.

The episode is set up by Hacker discussing European plans to standardise the sausage:

After convincing the EEC to allow Britain to keep the name “British sausage”, Hacker decides to boost his popularity by first pretending the sausage issue is still live and then giving an impassioned speech railing against European regulations:

What’s this got to do with Cameron? Not a lot, but I do question his sincerity…

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‘Plain vanilla’ couples now allowed onto Universal Credit…

June 30, 2014

brianwernham

 plainVanilla

but only in 5 districts & 26 other hurdles to claiming still remain…

tweetbuttonshareonfacebook1

Here are those ‘plain vanilla’ eligibility criteria.

To be admitted onto the Universal Credit ‘Pathfinder’ scheme:

1.       A claimant has to live in a very limited Pathfinder postcode area and:

2.       Do not own their property

3.       Is not homeless

4.       Do not live in supported accommodation

5.       Update: “Does not live with a partner” removed by regs released on 27th June 2014 (page 15)

6.       Does not have any dependent children

7.       Is not required to pay maintenance for a child by the Child Support Agency

8.       Is a British citizen living in England, Wales or Scotland

9.       Has lived in the UK continuously for the last 2 years

10.     Is aged between 18 and 60 years and 6 months

11.     Has a UK national insurance number

12.     Does not receive and/or receive…

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Right-Wing Clichés (#5): Work is the best route out of poverty

June 30, 2014

The Cat explains how, for most working people, hard work actually won’t lift you out of poverty because you slave all day in low paid jobs simply to make ends meet. He also points out how hypocritical this is coming from Tories like Dave Cameron, who has never, ever, had to work in a low paid job simply to get by.
The cat also points out the logical fallacy in one Tory politico, who argued that at the end of the 19th century, the working class was wealthier than at its beginning. Now I remember when I was at school Channel 4 actually made a programme pointing out that for most people the opposite was actually true. As the Victorian age wore on, the working class were actually poorer, more malnourished and in worse health than they were at the beginning. This was a response by the Channel to Thatcher’s loud espousal of ‘Victorian values’, a notion still trumpeted regularly by the Tories. Remember John Major and his ‘Back to Basics’ campaign?

Guy Debord's Cat

How many times have you heard a government minister say “Work is the best route out of poverty”? How would they know? They have never been impoverished nor have they been forced into a situation where they’ve had to work in a low paid job, struggling to pay bills and rent. David Cameron repeats the line often enough, but even when he was a student at Oxford, he wasn’t living in a cold, damp, miserable student house. He had the best accommodation money could buy. He didn’t have to go to his local Jobcentre and sift through loads of poorly paid, menial jobs that offer no future and, more importantly, the route out of poverty that he claims to speak of with such authority. His daddy had contacts. The Queen’s equerry even phoned Carlton Television and acted as his referee . How many ordinary people does that happen to?

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Hardworking families thank Cameron for help but plead “Please make it stop”

June 30, 2014

Pride's Purge

(satire?)

The hardest working families across the UK are so grateful to David Cameron and the coalition government for the help they’ve had over the past 4 years that they are urging the government to go and help somebody else instead.

Mrs Susan Jones from Nottingham told Pride’s Purge how grateful she is to Mr Cameron for helping her work harder and harder for less and less:

Thanks to Dave I’m working more than ever while my wages have got less, my rent and electricity bills have soared and I if I didn’t have a food bank to go to, my kids would starve. So cheers Dave! But can you go and help someone else now. Please.

Many households in Britain have also praised the way life for hardworking families has improved under the coalition. Bob from Bristol said:

Now my contract’s been changed to zero hours I get to spend a lot more quality time with my kids…

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Cameron congratulates Juncker, covers him in coconut butter and licks him all over

June 30, 2014

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s David Cameron!)

Just days after David Cameron denounced Jean-Claude Juncker’s nomination for the top job in Brussels as a “bad day for Europe”, the UK prime minister has personally called the incoming EU Commission to congratulate him and assure him that he can “can do business with” him:

Cameron junker tweet

Just in case there are any journalists struggling to find words to explain this extraordinary backtracking on Cameron’s part – here’s a little list of nouns and verbs I’ve compiled to help them out:

brownnoser (noun)
sycophant, toady, ass-kisser, backscratcher, backslapper, bootlicker, brownnose, doter, fawner, flunky, kowtower, lackey, minion, yes-man

bootlick (verb)
coax; flatter, beguile, brownnose, butter up, crawl, entice, fawn, grovel, inveigle, kowtow, make up to, oil, rub the right way, soft-soap, stroke, suck up to, sweet-talk, sweeten up, toady, wheedle

.

Hope that helps.

.

Related articles by Tom Pride:

Cameron denies biting Juncker: “I lost my balance and accidentally fell on him”

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The minimum income is 2.5 times what people get on benefits – but still they are labelled scroungers

June 30, 2014

Vox Political

140630minimumincome The numbers speak for themselves: Under ‘Adequacy of safety-net benefits’, EVERY SINGLE INCOME GROUP has lost out. While others have suffered a great percentage drop, single working-age people remain the least able to make ends meet.

“How much money do you need for an adequate standard of living?”

That is the question posed every year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – and every year the organisation calculates how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark.

This year’s research finds:

A lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 per year – up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008. Single working-age people must now earn more…

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Nestle to pay Living Wage to all contractors – but does it work?

June 30, 2014

Vox Political

140630livingwage2

The occasionally-controversial food giant Nestle has become the first major manufacturer to agree to pay the Living Wage to all of its staff, including all contractors.

Apparently it already pays the Living Wage to all 8,000 people who are directly employed by the company; now it is extending the policy to its 800 contractors – to be in place by the end of 2017.

This presents us with an opportunity. The Living Wage is set at £8.80 an hour in London and £7.65 an hour elsewhere in the UK – but does it live up to its label?

Vox Political wants to hear from anybody who receives the Living Wage. If you get it, does it allow you to pay your way without having to claim any state benefits at all, as intended?

Tell us your experiences, using the Comment column below.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join…

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Tory Minister Admits Link Between Welfare Cuts And Food Banks

June 30, 2014

I found this through Untyneweare’s blog. It gives the Scots Nationalist perspective on the frank admission by David Mundell, one of the government apparatchiks responsible for Scotland, that people are being forced to use food banks because of government policies. This is a straight contradiction to the assertions by Couling, McVey and Fraud that there is no connection between the two.

UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR

Scottish National Party (SNP) Press Release:

After months of denial, a UK [Conservative Party] Minister has finally admitted there is a link between Westminster welfare cuts and the increase in food bank use across Scotland.

 Giving evidence to the Welfare Reform Committee in the Scottish Parliament, Under Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell* said there “isn’t any doubt” that some people have been forced to go to food banks “because they have been subject, for example, to sanctions or delays in receiving benefits.

The evidence the committee heard today is in stark contrast to evidence given to the committee by DWP director Neil Couling, who said that growing reliance on food banks was a result of the poorest people in society having to “maximise their economic choices”. This was later backed up by Employment Minister Esther McVey in a letter to…

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