Tagged: BBC

BBC launches anti-claimant poverty porn ‘Hunger Games’ show

Angry campaigners have accused the BBC of jumping on the poverty porn bandwagon with a new show which has parallels with the Hunger Games.

Britain’s Hardest Grafter’ will pit benefits claimants, migrant workers and people on the minimum wage against each other in a competition to see who can work the hardest. One of the aims of the show is to answer the question: ‘Is the benefits system providing many with a reason not to work’.

flyer for participants for Britain's Hardest Grafter

The BBC is currently seeking participants for the programme and offering a cash prize to the winner of £15,500, equivalent to a year’s income on the minimum wage. The 25 chosen contestants must currently be getting wages or benefits totalling not more than £15,500 a year.

They will then battle against each other in a fake factory built by the BBC with licence payers money. The least productive workers will be expelled in each episode until only one is left standing.

The BBC has denied that this is exploitative entertainment designed to mock the poor and reinforce ugly stereotypes. Instead they claim that:

“The series will tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time: why is British productivity low?

Is the benefits system providing many with a reason not to work or hindering their working opportunity?

Is the hidden truth about immigrants simply that they work harder than Brits – and we need them as much as they need us – or are they simply prepared to work for a lower wage?

And have the young simply not inherited the work ethic of older generations or have working conditions just got too hard? Who in Britain still knows how to graft? It’s time to find out.”

The claim that this is somehow a scientific examination of social issues is a jaw-droppingly cynical piece of marketing.

In reality, ‘Britain’s Hardest Grafter’ is simply an opportunity to steal ratings on the back of stirring up more prejudice against young people, ethnic minorities and anyone struggling to survive in austerity Britain.

A petition against the programme being shown has gathered 13,000 signatures on Change.org.

Meanwhile, Benefits and Work is hoping to see a cast of 25 recently unemployed MPs being chosen to do a hard day’s graft, possibly for the first time in their lives.

Source – Benefits & Work, 29 May 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3101-bbc-launches-anti-claimant-poverty-porn-hunger-games-show

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‘Saint Cameron’ – according to the BBC

Order Of Truth

saintcameronThere are reports and articles in some of the mainstream press that we just pass by as the usual propaganda initiated by the Tory spin machine, and there are others that are truly sickening.

The BBC’s ‘article’ entitled ‘The David Cameron story’ falls into the latter category. In fact, it is beyond sickening, as it clearly displays the sycophantism that is rife throughout the public broadcaster.

In the article, writer Brian Wheeler attempts to put a positive spin on every aspect we have come to despise in Cameron.

Wheeler writes: “Not only was he the first former pupil of Eton to hold office since the early 1960s, he can also trace his ancestry back to William IV, making him a distant relative of the Queen,” in the context that both of these are an attribute – which we consider neither to be.

Having had a privileged and cosseted…

View original post 1,226 more words

Solution To Zero-Hours Contracts Is To Rebrand Them, Says Iain Duncan Smith

Zero-hours contracts should be rebranded as “flexible-hours contracts”, Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative work and pensions secretary, has said.

Duncan Smith said the zero-hours description was inaccurate and added to “scare stories” spread by Labour and the media.

He defended the contracts – which do not guarantee any hours of work for an employee – after the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, criticised the “epidemic” of zero-hours working arrangements in the UK since the Conservatives came to power.

Miliband has repeatedly said it is not right that employees get a text message late the night before to tell them whether they have any work in the morning.

He has pledged to ban “exploitative” zero-hours contracts and make sure people are given more secure contracts if they are working for an employer for three months.

But speaking on Sky News, Duncan Smith said:

“I think, with respect, the media and others have got this completely wrong, the flexible-hours contracts I’m talking about which are named ‘zero-hours contracts’, they are taken by people who want that flexibility. The reality is what we’ve had from Labour is a series of scare stories about these.”

Speaking later on the BBC’s World at One, he said he was “genuinely furious” with the Labour party for trying to whip up opposition to zero-hours contracts.

He also refused to outline where the axe would fall in £12bn of planned benefit cuts. Asked whether he would want to cut child benefit by rolling it into universal credit, the new single welfare payment, he said:

“That’s not on the books now. Of course, a future government may well want to look at that.”

Responding to the comments on zero-hours contracts, the shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, accused Duncan Smith of “trying to dress up insecurity as flexibility” and suggested he was “living in a parallel universe”.

Labour argues the number of zero-hours contracts has tripled since 2010 but the Office for National Statistics cautions that this may be because of increased awareness about what they are.

In response, the Conservatives claim zero-hours contracts account for just one in 50 jobs and that only 2.3% of workers are on zero-hours contracts.

Duncan Smith and others in the Conservative party, including the prime minister, have argued that many people are happy on zero-hours contracts.

“We know first of all that people who do them are more satisfied with their work-life balance than those who are on fixed-hours contracts, interestingly enough and the average number of hours they work is not, as some people say, tiny numbers, it’s actually 25 hours work a week. So, a tiny proportion of the population is involved in that but overall more people in work, more people have that satisfaction of security, of a good wage packet that brings them and their families hope for the future.”

Esther McVey, the employment minister, has previously tried to rename zero-hours contracts as “enabling-hours contracts”.

Source – The Guardian,  17 Apr 2015

Vote for your life – “dramatic” cuts are coming

Dramatic” and “life-changing” benefits cuts will be imposed if the Tories are running the country after 7 May, Iain Duncan Smith has warned.

They could include taxing DLA, PIP and AA, axeing contribution-based ESA and JSA, cutting the work-related activity component of ESA to 50p, cutting carers allowance numbers by 40%, and making people pay the first 10% of their housing benefit.

For many, these will be life-threatening cuts, rather than life-changing ones.

But claimants are in a position to prevent them happening.

And it won’t take a miracle.

In fact, just an additional 5% turnout by working age claimants could have a dramatic and life-changing effect on IDS and his plans instead.

But a higher turnout won’t happen by itself. Labour are too frightened of the tabloids to try to rally claimants. Many of the major charities and disability organisations have been scared into silence by the Lobbying Act. And the media has little interest in benefits cuts, other than to applaud them as a good thing.

So it looks like it’s up to ordinary claimants to make sure as many other claimants as possible understand the threat they are facing.

In this newsletter we tell you what’s at stake and how you can make a difference.

Dramatic cuts
IDS told Andrew Marr last week he didn’t become a minister to make “cheese-paring” cuts. Instead he has ‘dramatic’ and ‘life-changing’ plans for claimants.

And the tool for those dramatic changes is £12 billion of cuts to benefits in the space of just two years.

So far, we only know where £2 billion of the cuts will come from – a freeze on working age benefits. But the Conservatives are refusing to say where the other savings will be made.

Hit list
A document leaked to the BBC, however, set out some of the cuts the Conservative party are considering, including:

  • Taxing DLA, PIP and AA.
  • Abolishing contribution based ESA and JSA entirely, so that only claimants who pass a means test can claim these benefits.
  • Cutting the number of people getting carer’s allowance by 40%.
  • Limiting child benefit to the first two children.

There are other proposed cuts too, including replacing industrial injuries benefits with an insurance policy for employers, regional benefit caps and changes to council tax.

Not enough cuts
But all of this will still not be enough.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS):

“If all of these were implemented, the total saving would be likely to fall well short of the missing £10 billion per year that the Conservatives intend to find by 2017–18”

So, what else might be in the firing line?

Housing benefit and ESA cuts
We know that pensioners benefits are protected. And JSA costs such a tiny amount compared to other benefits that further cuts there would make little difference.

Cuts to housing benefit are one possibility that the IFS have highlighted, however, as this makes up a large and growing proportion of the benefits bill.

The IFS have estimated that making everyone pay the first 10% of their housing benefit would save £2.5 billion over two years.

Another extremely strong contender is to cut the work-related activity component (WRAC) of ESA to just 50 pence.

We know that the Conservatives are keen to slash the WRAC, because they’ve considered doing it before.

Cutting the WRAC wouldn’t save huge amounts, probably less than £1 billion a year.

But combined with cuts to housing benefit and all the other cuts listed above, it would probably be enough.

What you can do
Is this all nothing more than unnecessarily distressing speculation? After all, we don’t know what cuts will be made until – and unless – the Tories are elected.

But by then it will be too late. As Andrew Marr said in his interview with IDS, if the Conservatives won’t tell us which benefits will be cut, sick and disabled claimants will have to expect the worst:

“What I’m saying to you is if I was on welfare, if I was on disability benefit and I was told that you were taking £12 billion out of the budget, I would really need to know before I voted was I going to be hit. Or if I didn’t know that, I’d have to be assume that I was going to be hit.”

IDS, Osborne and Cameron have all now said no details of the cuts will be given before the election. So there’s no time to lose.

Clearly, the most important thing is to make sure you are registered to vote and then actually vote for a candidate who can keep the Tories out, if that’s possible, in your constituency.

But there’s more.

Above all, alert other claimants and carers to the dramatic threat they face – because many people still have no idea how huge £12 billion in cuts in two years really is.

And then try to persuade them that voting isn’t a waste of time. Because it is no longer true that all the parties are the same.

Here at Benefits and Work we have no trust for either of the major parties. But Labour, unpleasant as they undoubtedly are, don’t drool at the thought of cutting welfare in the way that the Tories do.

And the £7 billion savings Labour say they plan to make are very much smaller than the Conservative cuts. Even if every single pound Labour saved was from cutting benefits, instead of from other measures such as raising taxes from the wealthy, it would still amount to just over half the benefits cuts the Tories have guaranteed.

Not that it has to be Labour that claimants turn to. There are other parties – most notably the SNP – which have a real chance to win seats in some areas of the UK and who don’t support big cuts to benefits.

Read our suggestions on how to fight back, possibly add your own and then make a start. Talk to people, contact your local paper, tweet, comment and write letters.

You can make a difference
And don’t imagine that your voice can’t make a difference.

This is a very close election so far.

There will be many seats where the winner’s majority is in the low hundreds, some where it will be less than a hundred. Even a 5% additional turnout by working age claimants – amounting to perhaps 400 voters in many constituencies – could make the difference between Labour and the Conservatives being the largest party.

If you can convince a handful of people to vote and to talk to other claimants, you could genuinely help to change the course of this election.

Remember, you’re not trying to persuade hard-faced, right wing tabloid readers that cutting benefits is wrong. That undoubtedly would be a waste of time.

You’re talking to people who already know how painful the Coalition benefits cuts have been – because they’ve been hit by them.

You just have to persuade them that it’s not time to despair.

It’s time to fight back.

It’s time to vote for your life.

Source – Benefits & Work,  07 Apr 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3060-vote-for-your-life-dramatic-cuts-are-coming

Sick and disabled claimants to lose up to £80 per week under leaked Tory plans

Plans leaked to the BBC reveal that the Conservatives are considering cuts of up to £80 a week for sick and disabled claimants if they win the election.

The leaked documents show that the Conservative party commissioned research into how much could be saved by measures including:

Taxing disability living allowance (DLA), personal independence payment (PIP) and attendance allowance (AA), saving a predicted £1.5 billion a year.

Abolishing contribution based ESA and JSA entirely, so that only claimants who pass a means test can claim these benefits. According to the BBC, DWP analysis suggests 30% of claimants, over 300,000 families, would lose about £80 per week, saving a predicted £1.3 billion a year. In fact, some families would lose more than £80 per week if these benefits were abolished.

Cutting the number of people getting carer’s allowance by 40% by only awarding it to those eligible for universal credit (UC), saving a predicted £1 billion.

Limiting child benefit to the first two children, eventually saving £1 billion but very little in the short-term.

Other plans include replacing industrial injuries benefits with an insurance policy for employers, regional benefit caps and changes to council tax.

The Conservatives deny that these proposals are party policy.

A spokesperson for Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC that:

“This is ill informed and inaccurate speculation.

“Officials spend a lot of time generating proposals – many not commissioned by politicians.

“It’s wrong and misleading to suggest that any of this is part of our plan.”

However, the Conservatives still refuse to say what benefits they will cut.

Earlier this week Benefits and Work suggested that working age claimants would lose an average of £19 a week under Conservative plans. We pointed out that some would lose less and some might lose much more – but we hadn’t realised quite how much more.

Would you be affected by these cuts and could you cope financially if they were imposed?

Read the full story on the BBC website

Source – Benefits & Work, 27 Mar 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3055-sick-and-disabled-claimants-to-lose-up-to-80-per-week-under-leaked-tory-plans

“Big cuts to disability benefits” if conservatives win, warns IFS

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is warning that cutting the benefits bill by £12 billion will lead to “radical changes” to housing benefits and “big cuts to disability benefits”, amongst others. They have challenged chancellor George Osborne to explain where the cuts will be made.

In an interview for the BBC today, Paul Johnston of the IFS pointed out that:

“The chancellor has been saying for nearly two years now that he wants to find £12 billion of welfare cuts by 2017.

“He’s told us maybe where he’ll find £2 billion of that £12 billion. If he really wants us to take seriously the idea that other spending will be protected, he needs to tell us something about where the additional £10 billion of welfare cuts will come from.

“They will not be easy to find.”

Johnston explained that a freeze on working age benefits, which would itself cause increasing hardship for working age claimants, would go nowhere near saving enough cash.

“He has told us he wants to freeze working age benefits. That will save up to about £2 billion. That’s something he has told us. It’s the other £10 billion we know nothing about.

“It’s of course possible to cut benefits by £10 billion or £12 billion, if that’s what you really want to do.

“But you need to recognise especially if you’re protecting pensioners which the conservatives have said they want to do, this will involve radical changes to, for example, the housing benefit system, big cuts to child benefit, big cuts to disability benefits.

“These are the big benefits. If you want to save £10 billion you have to find radical things to do to those big parts of the benefits system.”

For claimants, especially those who are sick and disabled, the result of the next election could well have a dramatic effect on the quality of their lives for decades to come.

You can see the full interview on the BBC website.

Source – Benefits & Work, 20 Mar 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3046-big-cuts-to-disability-benefits-if-conservatives-win-warns-ifs

Conservative Health Chair Criticises David Cameron’s Welfare Cuts Plans

David Cameron’s plans to target benefit cuts at the young and vulnerable have come under fire from within his own party.

Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative chair of the health committee, said she did not support scrapping housing benefit for 18-to-21-year-olds, after the prime minister toured the television studios detailing some of the Tories’ proposals to cut another £12bn from the welfare budget.

In a series of interviews, Cameron repeated his pledge to lower the welfare cap from £26,000 to £23,000 per family alongside proposals to stop housing benefit for school-leavers. The cap was about a “basic issue of fairness”, he said.

“I don’t think a family should be able to get more in benefits than someone going out to work, working every day, and trying to do the right thing for them and their family,” he said.

> If anyone ever does get more in benefits than someone working (which I doubt) , perhaps it’d be because the wages they are earning are so poor, or they’re only working 16 hours a week.

But in any case, you can only play the hand you’ve got, so if it did happen that you’d get more on benefits than by working…why not ? Cameron & Co  probably dodge paying more  tax in a year than you’d claim.

“One of the criticisms of the cap set at £26,000, which I have heard all over the country, is that the cap was set too high. We’re responding to that.

“We’re generating these jobs. People listening to this programme don’t pay their taxes to sustain people on welfare who could work.”

> Well actually, yes they do – National Insurance, at least. When working I’ve never grudged paying NI (much) because I paid it in the belief that I could claim some of it back should I become unemployed, and also – and this is an important point –  that it should go towards helping others unemployed even if I wasn’t.

He said the country was no longer willing to tolerate people living on welfare as “a lifestyle choice” and claimed Conservative plans would help “young people move into work more quickly”.

> A lifestyle choice ?  And I thought it was a survival choice….the choice being survive or die.

However, his proposals on scrapping housing benefit for young people came under fire from Wollaston and a number of charities.

Wollaston, the Conservative MP for Totnes, told the BBC’s Daily Politics:

“That is a policy that I don’t actually support. The point is that there is a debate going forward, I would not support personally taking housing benefit from the most vulnerable. I would not personally support taking away housing benefit from the very young. I think because there is an issue here we need to discuss about intergenerational fairness … There are many policies within parties that we have a debate about.”

Tory peer Baroness Wheatcroft later added that the Conservatives need to “get the tone right” to make sure they sound sympathetic towards those who cannot work.

“I firmly believe there is only one nasty party and it’s a very nasty party called Ukip. What the Conservative party needs to do is to be careful that it does not appear to be in the least nasty, but kind and caring and wants people to work because it is the best possible solution to them as well as the country,” she told the World at One.

> HA HA HA HA HA ! Maybe you’d appear kind and caring if you were kind and caring. No-one who has been fucked over by the Tories is going to forget it.

The warnings came the day after academics from the LSE, Manchester and York published a new study showing the coalition’s cuts are disproportionately hitting families with young children.

Among the charities to issue warnings about the proposed benefit cap were the Child Poverty Action Group. Its chief executive, Alison Garnham, said:

“Let’s be absolutely clear – the benefit cap is at least nine times more likely to affect children than adults, and the majority of adults it hits are lone parents, many of whom have children so young even the government recognises they should not be required to work.

> The parent or the children ?  I only ask because the government making small children work just seems so likely…

“On the day that a major programme of research by academics from leading universities shows families with young children have been more impoverished than anyone else in recent years, we have another policy-push that would undercut the most vulnerable.”

Paul Noblet, head of public affairs at youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, weighed in on the issue of housing benefit, saying it would cause further misery for vulnerable young people.

“The 80,000 young people who find themselves homeless will think David Cameron is more focused on May’s elections than the reality that, for the most vulnerable young people in our society, housing benefit is a lifeline, not a lifestyle choice,” he said.

Source –  The Guardian,  27 Jan 2015

HAS INEQUALITY REDUCED SINCE THE CONSERVATIVE-LIBDEM GOVERNMENT OF 2010? YES, AND NO.

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from Ripped off Britons

In a bakery not far away there was a baker, who treated his customers extremely unequally. To some he gave plain buns, others spiced buns with candied fruit, and to others iced buns. He said the bankers worked harder than the nurses, and so deserved the icing. And the accountants were cleverer than the teachers but didn’t work as hard as the bankers, so they deserved the candied fruit buns. Iced buns are much better than plain buns, inequality was very great.

One day the icing machine crashed, due to a leak in the water pipes leading it to flood. With no icing there were no iced buns. The bankers could only get the spiced variety. Now spiced buns are better than plain buns, but less so than iced buns. Inequality was reduced! At least until the icing machine got bailed out.

The Tories are…

View original post 410 more words

Northumbrian Water – your water rates and which fat cats pocket them

The billionaire owner of Northumbrian Water is at the centre of a documentary being aired on North East screens on Monday (12 Jan) night.

The water company, owned by Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing, one of the richest men in the world, has made more than £630m profit in the last two years, according to BBC investigations programme Inside Out.

But the firm pays on average less than 10% tax because of a legal tax loophole, the show will claim.

Northumbrian Water told the BBC that the company always acts transparently and within the letter and spirit of the law, adding that it is not in dispute with HM Revenue and Customs on its tax affairs.

But presenter Chris Jackson will tell viewers:

“Northumbrian Water sounds nice and local but when you pay the bill you may be surprised to learn the profits leach away to the other side of the world.”

Mr Li is the richest man in Asia, and 17th richest in the world, with an estimated wealth of £20bn.

He owns Superdrug and the Three mobile network, invests in Spotify and Facebook and has owned Northumbrian Water, which employs 1,600 staff, since 2011. He also runs a charitable foundation.

In terms of his North East assets he ranks alongside Mike Ashley and the Duke of Northumberland – except nobody here has ever heard of him, says Jackson who asks in the show:

“Of all the things he could have bought in the world, why did he buy a slice of the North East?”

Interviewee Professor David Hall of the University of Greenwich, will tell the documentary:

“The UK government provides a regulatory environment which most people think of as protecting the consumer, but its core objective is to ensure that the companies continue to make enough profits so that they want to carry on investing.”

In the last two years, Northumbrian Water has paid less than 10% tax on £630m profits, compared with the 20% standard corporation tax, because it has borrowed £1bn from Mr Li, Jackson will claim in the documentary.

The government has looked at closing the tax loophole – which is completely legal – but decided against it, prompting Labour MP John McDonnell to attack the situation in the House of Commons last year. He said:

“No wonder he’s the world’s ninth richest person. We’re making him the world’s ninth richest person. I think this is a scandal.”

> Earlier the article named him the 17th richest person. Perhaps he’s lost a bit since last year, poor dear. Down to his last few billion.

Mr McDonnell is calling for an independent public inquiry.

Nobody from the government would be interviewed for the programme, but a statement from the Treasury said recent analysis showed that changing the system used by Northumbrian Water would not save money and would undermine the competitiveness of the British economy.

Most utility companies in the UK now have owners dotted across the world, the programme will say.

> Well of course they are – subsequent governments – of all colours – since Thatcher have been obsessed with selling off the family silver to the highest bidder. A process that continues today with the NHS and DWP.

Barbara Leech, from the Consumer Council for Water which represents customers, will appear in the documentary describing how Northumbrian Water – which provides water supplies to the homes of 2.7m people in the North East – is top of the league in terms of satisfaction with services.

The full story can be seen on Inside Out (North East and Cumbria) on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Monday 12 Jan, in an episode which also features a Tyneside surgeon’s dream of building a hospital in India’s slums and a Teesside woman who helped shape modern Iraq. It will also be available on iplayer for 30 days.

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 12 Jan 2015

Green Party, SNP and Plaid Cymru Unite Against Austerity

The Green Party, Plaid Cymru and SNP have announced their intention to unite against the austerity agenda followed by Westminster’s main political parties.

Callous and vicious austerity measures have impacted heavily upon benefit claimants, low-income families and disabled people.

Policies such as the hated ‘bedroom tax’ and other welfare reforms have led to substantial and significant falls in income for some of Britain’s poorest citizens.

The Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats have all reiterated their pledges to continue spending cuts, of various levels and guises, if they win a majority in the 2015 general election.

Party leaders from the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party say they will “unite whenever possible to battle the Westminster parties’ obsession with austerity”.

Speaking during a meeting at Westminster, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said:

“I am delighted to have the chance to catch up with two other female leaders of anti-austerity parties in the UK. Together, we represent, with the Scottish Green Party, a new way of doing politics, a move away from the business-as-usual model of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems that no longer represents public opinion.

“We are the voice of real change – a voice that must be represented in the leader debates next year.

“The ‘Green surge’ that has seen membership in England and Wales more than double, and Scottish Green Party membership nearly quadruple in 2014 is a sign of the shifting political landscape.

“Collectively the Green parties will be standing in more than 75% of seats in the UK, reflecting the advance of our political philosophy that rejects austerity and believes that everyone should have access to the resources for a decent quality of life, with certainty, without fear, while we all live collectively within the limits of our one planet.

“And in thinking about future financial stability, we have to focus on the reason for our current difficulties, the near-collapse of our fraud-ridden, reckless, over-large financial sector.

“Green MP Caroline Lucas is an outstanding MP as shown by the numerous awards she has received including the prestigious MP of the year for her work with disadvantaged communities. Electing more Greens next year will help to bring about a peaceful revolution in British politics, towards a government that works for the common good, not just for the few.”

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said:

“There is no end in sight to the Westminster cuts that are already hitting Scotland hard – the Autumn Statement earlier this month set out another £15bn of cuts that are coming our way. Not only will these cuts continue to hit hard-working families, women and the vulnerable hardest – they will also put growth and competitiveness at risk.

“But despite the deeply damaging impacts of failed austerity, the Tories and Labour have made crystal clear their determination to carry on regardless.

“And after four years propping up the Tories, the Lib Dems have no credibility. It is time for a new approach to UK politics – and for our parties to use our influence to bring about progressive change at Westminster.

“Following the referendum in Scotland, the political landscape has changed utterly. The SNP is now the third biggest political party in the UK in terms of membership.

“Last month we sent this message to the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 – to exclude the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru from general election TV debates would be to wilfully ignore this new political landscape. Put simply, it is just not on.

“Electing a strong group of SNP MPs will ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster. Along with Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, we will work to do everything possible to tackle inequality and bring about sustainable economic growth.”

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:

“Plaid Cymru and the SNP provide an alternative to Westminster’s promise of austerity and cuts to public services. As the only parties, together with the Greens, to reject the cuts consensus, it is unjustifiable and undemocratic to exclude our three parties from proposed leaders’ debates during the forthcoming UK elections. I reiterate my calls for Plaid Cymru’s inclusion in those debates in order to ensure the people can exercise their right to question and scrutinise all major parties.

“The people of Wales face a real choice at the election. All three Westminster parties are committed to slash and burn economics. That means cuts for the sake of cuts rather than balancing the books by investment and spreading opportunities. It is likely that there will be another hung parliament after the election. In that scenario, Plaid Cymru could hold the balance of power alongside our colleagues in the SNP. Should that happen, Plaid Cymru will seek a rebalancing of power and wealth in the UK: transferring powers away from London to Wales so more of our fate is in our own hands; spreading investment away from the booming City of London to areas in most need of investment.

“If the people of Wales return a strong contingent of Plaid Cymru MPs in May, then Wales will be best placed to secure an outcome to improve the prospects of our people and communities.”

Source –  Welfare Weekly,  15 Dec 2014

http://www.welfareweekly.com/green-party-snp-plaid-cymru-unite-austerity/