The average homeowner in parts of Teesside has lost £25,000 off the value of their house since the coalition came to power in 2010 – while prices in London have soared.
Exclusive analysis of Land Registry data show the average house price in Redcar and Cleveland has dropped by 21.3% since May 2010, the date of the last election.
The average price is now £92,785 – or £25,134 LESS than it was then.
Only two places in the country – Merthyr Tydfil (down 27.1%) and Blackpool (down 24.9%) – have seen a bigger percentage fall.
In Middlesbrough, prices are down 6.6% since May 2010.
That means the average property is worth £5,904 less now than then.
And Stockton-on-Tees has seen a 2.6% fall, equivalent to £2,944.
Across England and Wales as a whole, house prices have actually gone up by 10.8% since May 2010, with the average property worth £17,595 more than it was then.
Across England and Wales as a whole, house prices have risen by 10.8% since May 2010.
The biggest increases have all been in London – with the 29 top-rising areas all in the capital.
Top of the list is Hackney, where house prices are up 76.3%.
The average house is now worth £634,045 – or £274,491 more than it was five years ago.
In the City of Westminster, meanwhile, the average price is up £464,941 from £610,767 to £1.07m.
When London is taken out of the equation, Tory-run areas seem to have done markedly better than those controlled by other parties.
Ten of the 20 ‘non-London’ areas that have seen the biggest rises are held by the Conservatives, with nine in no overall political control and just one – Slough – held by Labour.
Tory Wokingham (up 25.7%), Hertfordshire (up 24.6%) and Surrey (up 24.6%) have seen the biggest rises outside London.
By contrast 19 of the 20 areas to have seen the biggest falls in house prices are run by Labour.
The only one that isn’t is Lancashire (down 13.6%) – which is in no overall control.
Source – Middlesbrough Gazette, 13 Apr 2015
Darlington: currently held by Jenny Chapman (Lab)
Jenny Chapman (Lab),
Mike Cherrington (Green),
Anne-Marie Curry (LD),
Peter Cuthbertson (Con),
Alan Docherty (TUSC),
David Hodgson (Ukip)
Hartlepool: currently held by Iain Wright (Lab)
Hilary Allen (LD),
Sandra Allison (Save Our Hospital),
Phillip Broughton (Ukip),
John Hobbs (Ind),
Michael Holt (Green),
Stephen Picton (Ind),
Richard Royal (Con),
Iain Wright (Lab).
Middlesbrough: currently held by Andy Mcdonald (Lab)
Craig Baker (Ukip),
Simon Clarke (Con),
Hannah Grahm (Green),
Richard Kilpatrick (LD),
Andy McDonald (Lab).
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland: currently held by Tom Blenkinsop (Lab)
Tom Blenkinsop (Lab),
Martin Brampton (Green),
Ben Gibson (LD),
Will Goodhand (Con),
Steve Turner (Ukip).
Redcar: vacant – Ian Swales (Lib Dem) standing down.
Christopher Gallacher (Ukip),
Philip Lockey (North East Party),
Josh Mason (LD),
Peter Pinkney (Green),
Anna Turley (Lab),
Jacob Young (Con).
Stockton North: currently held by Alex Cunningham (Lab)
Mandy Boylett (Ukip),
Alex Cunningham (Lab),
Christopher Daniels (Con),
Adrian Sycamore (LD),
John Tait (North East Party).
Stockton South: currently held by James Wharton (Con)
Louise Baldock (Lab),
Drew Durning (LD),
Jacqui Lovell (Green),
Ted Strike (Ukip),
Steve Walmlsey (Ind Against Social Injustice),
James Wharton (Con).
The saying goes that you could stick a red rosette on a passing dog in some parts of the North and it would get elected as an MP.
A new analysis of the last six General Elections shows there is at least some truth in that often-heard phrase.
The region is home to the Labour Party’s safest seat in England – County Durham’s Easington – and is second in the UK only to Wales’ Rhondda.
South Tyneside’s Jarrow, which Stephen Hepburn is campaigning to regain, is the party’s 13th safest seat in the entire UK.
Middlesbrough sits at number 20, followed by North West Durham at 23, South Shields at 24, Blaydon 37, Bishop Auckland at 42.
The constituencies all bear the scars of lost mining and steel industry which many believe has led a generation of voters to reject alternatives to Labour, especially the Conservatives.
Grahame Morris is campaigning to be re-elected in Easington and said he sees strong support for Labour.
The average majority of votes for Labour in the constituency over the six elections since 1979 is a commanding 21,119.
“I work very hard inside and outside of Parliament to advocate Labour’s traditional values of fairness and social justice and locally we don’t take anything for granted. It is over 20 years since our last coal mine Easington Colliery closed.
“It is the case that historically the Labour Party and Trade Union movement embody the best values of local people. The origins of the Labour Party were forged in our industrial communities from which we developed progressive policies to meet the needs and aspirations of local people and we continue to this day to fight for a more just, fair and equal society.
The Labour Party belongs to the people of Easington, and it is only through their support that we have been able to realise many of our greatest achievements including the creation of the NHS, decent affordable homes for working people, paid holidays the introduction of the minimum wage, new schools, concessionary travel, the winter fuel allowance and an end to pensioner poverty.
These things did not happen by accident. They were not a gift but were won through our collective struggle and common purpose. Easington’s power was coal but the cement that binds our communities together was laid in times of great adversity and has given East Durham a sense of resilience and identity that makes it such a special and possibly unique place.
“Personally I consider it a privilege to represent Easington and wouldn’t wish to represent any other constituency.”
Among the main challengers to Labour in the region is Ukip and the party’s only MEP for the region Jonathan Arnott is standing in Easington.
His decision to stand is symbolic, he said, adding:
“I’m standing here not only because I live locally in Blackhall Colliery, but because I have a message for Labour: unlike with the Tories and Lib Dems, there’s no such thing as a no-go area for Ukip and we will challenge you here.
“Our message of supporting local businesses, removing income tax from the minimum wage and developing apprenticeships is vital in an area that has suffered so badly from the demise of our mining industry. My father-in-law was a miner, and I know how deeply the pit closures under Wilson and Thatcher affects our communities.
“As the North East Manifesto shows, there’s a real appetite here for Ukip policies – from cutting business rates for local small businesses to a points-based system on immigration. And that’s exactly what I’m seeing on the doorstep.
“Of course, I fight to win in any election campaign – but I have just given myself the most difficult task for any party anywhere in the country!
“But even if I don’t win, it will be good for democracy that there’s some genuine competition at last in Easington.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 04 Apr 2015
UKIP’s deputy leader has confirmed the party is targeting Northumberland’s Blyth Valley seat.
Nigel Farage’s second-in-command, Paul Nuttall MEP, was in the coastal constituency for the second time in a matter of weeks and said the seat – which is widely regarded as safe Labour territory – is a target for Ukip, while neighbouring Wansbeck was also “of great interest”.
Sitting Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell’s majority has dropped to 6,668 in 2010 from 17,736 in 2001.
The 71-year-old – who is for having a referendum on membership of the European Union – said Ukip was running an “ageist” campaign.
He added this election will be the last time he stands but he was nonetheless confident of a Labour victory.
It comes three months after Ukip opened its North East headquarters off Blyth high street, just a stone’s throw away from Mr Campbell’s office.
“Demographically, it is perfect for Ukip if you look at the people who came over to us at the recent election,” said Paul Nuttall, who is an MEP in the North West.
“We are investing in the constituency and building for the future.
“We are going to put in a very good performance – but it isn’t just about the short-term political gain, this is a long-term target seat.
“With Hartlepool, Blyth sticks out and we did very well in the South Shields by-election too, remember.”
Ukip has remained tight-lipped about its target seats but the MEP could not deny Blyth is now ranked among them.
He could not cite any polling data which says Blyth voters are shunning Labour but confirmed the party will be throwing resources at the campaign there.
“The reports that we hear are very positive, as are the ones we get from Wansbeck,” said Mr Nuttall.
“I’m not going to deny that we are parking our tanks on Labour’s lawn in Blyth. Barry Elliott is a great candidate and he has a good team around him.”
“Ukip has nothing to offer Blyth. We do not have a problem with immigration at all.
“Ukip has talked about being a target for a while. In the North East for them, it is Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, South Shields and us.
“I don’t know why they are targeting me. We are canvassing every day, I was out knocking on doors this morning. I hear that they tell people that I’m too old and that I should retire.
“I have a few years left in me yet. People don’t like ageism. Ageism is just as bad as racism.
“If they can manage to turn over my 6,668 majority then I haven’t done my job for the people of Blyth.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 21 Mar 2015
The Government has been accused of attempting to profit from injured people and putting a “tax on justice” after a hike in the cost of issuing some civil court claims came into force.
Anyone attempting to claim more than £10,000 through the civil courts will now have to pay five per cent of the value of the claim, subject to a maximum fee capped at £10,000.
Lawyers opposing the change say it amounts to a 600 % increase on the current charging structure and will deny justice to injury victims and hit small to medium sized businesses who may not be able to afford to recover debts they are owed.
However the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) says it will not affect 90 per cent of cases and waivers will be available for those who cannot afford to pay.
It is intended that it will raise £120m – cash which will go towards and repairing the crumbling infrastructure of many courts.
The Law Society has already begun legal action in an attempt to force a judicial review over the move which it said would affect debts owed to small businesses as well as personal injury and clinical negligence claims.
Anthony McCarthy, a director of Macks Solicitors, in Middlesbrough, said:
“To issue a £190,000 claim last Friday would have cost £1,315.
“To do it today costs £9,500. That is a massive 622 per cent increase.
“This is an attempt by the Government to profit from injured people and those who are recovering business debts in order to fund the infrastructure of the courts.”
Mr McCarthy said debtors would be far less likely to pay up if they thought their creditor could not afford the court fees.
In a House of Lords debate last week justice minister Lord Foulks said litigation was “very much an optional activity“.
“There is no logic or sense in this. It is a terrible decision that has been criticised by litigators across the board.”
Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said it was only fair that those who could afford to pay should contribute more in fees to ease the burden on hardworking taxpayers.
“Court fees are a small fraction of the overall cost of litigation and Britain’s reputation for having the best justice system in the world remains intact.”
Source – Northern Echo, 10 Mar 2015
Austerity will cost the North East £220m this year as vital cuts to services are made for a fifth year in a row.
And within a year council’s could start to struggle to even deliver what they are required to by law.
This stark warning from leader of South Tyneside Council, Iain Malcolm, comes as authorities across the region enter their final week of budget setting, and for the first time in several years many authorities have chosen to grasp at a council tax rise to bring in vital funds.
The Labour leader, whose authority has had to shred 1,500 jobs to cope with reductions in Central Government funding since 2010, said 2016 could be the year some councils start to seriously struggle.
“If the Government is going to cut the way that they are now, councils will not be able to provide statutory services that they are legally required to,” said Coun Malcolm.
“I’m not going to put a timeline on it because I’m not having it as a D-day but some councils across the country will struggle in this financial year, but not necessarily in this region.
“But by 2016-17 if there is no change in Central Government’s attitude then more councils will struggle in 2016 to fulfil their statutory obligations.
“I would say South Tyneside is at the forefront of innovation. I won’t name the councils that will struggle but South Tyneside would struggle to find any more meaningful savings in the 2016-17 financial year.”
Cut backs since the Coalition Government came into power in 2010 are estimated to have cost the North East an enormous £557m in reductions to grants to run services like adult social care, leisure centres and libraries.
It’s also estimated that 14,000 local authority posts have been scrapped around the North East in the last five years.
However the Government maintains that funding settlements since 2010 have been fair.
For the first time in years council tax has been drawn on as a way of bringing in more funds to cash-strapped authorities and bar Redcar and Cleveland, which made a 1% cut to council tax, all councils have either gone for a rise or accepted the Government’s freeze grant.
For Newcastle and Gateshead councils the tax hike was the first in four years.
Coun Malcolm said:
“All councils have tried to do what’s right in their particular areas. We’ve got a strategic partnership with BT to do our back office functions and that’s worked extremely well for us but it’s not been a one size fits all solution.”
He added that despite intense cuts for a fifth year, in which his authority must save £22m in the year 2015-16, satisfaction with local authorities remains extremely high as shown by various survey.
2015/2016 spending power cut
North Tyneside: £14m
South Tyneside: £22m
Redcar and Cleveland: £3m
Darlington: £14m over next two years.
Job losses since 2010:
County Durham: 2000
North Tyneside: Information not available
South Tyneside: 1200
Middlesbrough: 728 with a further 600 by 2020.
Redcar and Cleveland: 750 post reductions.
Stockton: 740 people
Hartlepool: Information not available
Council tax rise
Newcastle: 1.95% (first rise in four years)
Gateshead: 1.95% (first rise in four years)
County Durham: 1.99% (second year of a rise after gap)
North Tyneside: No rise
South Tyneside: 1.95%
Sunderland: No rise.
Redcar and Cleveland: 1% reduction.
Hartlepool: No rise.
Source – Sunday Sun, 08 Mar 2015
The Green Party General Election candidate for Darlington has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover his costs.
Mike Cherrington, who has lived in the town for more than 20 years, hopes to raise £500 to cover the costs of his campaign.
Mr Cherrington said that because he has worked in social care and mental health services for the past 20 years, he has seen the negative impact of cuts to health and social care, and is strongly against the privatisation of the NHS.
He also aims to get young people involved and interested in politics, and hopes to provide support for small businesses in the town, as well as challenging inequality in Darlington so all residents have equal opportunities and are paid the living wage.
Having worked in Middlesbrough with victims of sexual abuse, Mr Cherrington believes victims of crime should be treated with dignity and respect and believes restorative justice should be used to help prevent reoffending.
“I am not a politician and have never been involved in politics before. I feel very passionately about standing and making a change for people,” he said.
“The Green Party is a positive alternative for the community and one that brings hope.”
Former Labour councillors today called on Ed Miliband to investigate after a bitter row in the Redcar party led to the departure of a number of high-profile members.
Former Redcar and Cleveland Council leader George Dunning headed a demonstration in Redcar asking for a full investigation into the party’s “flawed selection process”.
The call came ahead of the Labour leader’s question and answer session at Redcar and Cleveland College.
Mr Dunning’s deselection followed those of Redcar and Cleveland Council cabinet members Steve Goldswain (Eston) and Norman Pickthall (Teesville), the chair of Cleveland Fire Authority, Cllr Brian Briggs (Skelton) and Cllr Olywn Peters (Eston).
The deselections meant Mr Dunning and his colleagues could not stand for Labour in May’s elections and followed claims of bullying and harassment in the local party.
Mr Dunning, who has since quit the party, said:
“I was and still am the longest serving leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council.
“But I was deselected due to the influence of a group within the party who have never been voted for by the public.
“Everybody knows the selection process is flawed from start to finish.
“I’m absolutely appalled by the Labour Party. I’m nearly 65 and this is the first time ever I will not be voting for Labour. It is not a democratic party anymore and it no longer represents the working class.
“I’ve asked the question, will Ed Miliband carry out a full investigation into Labour Party North’s deeply flawed selection process?”
The deselections have seen Labour lose control of Redcar & Cleveland Council.
> Which seems a weird thing to do just before elections….
The upheaval in the Redcar and Cleveland Labour group follows a similar row in the Middlesbrough party last year.
Five councillors were deselected following interviews, and although Cllr Derek Loughborough won an appeal against the decision, he quit the party along with Cllrs Len Junier, Pervaz Khan, Sajaad Khan and John McPartland.
In a statement issued at the time of the deselections, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop and Anna Turley, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Redcar, said it was “time for change”.
“Leader George Dunning and deputy leader Sheelagh Clarke have served Redcar and Cleveland with great commitment and have a lot to be proud of,” the statement said.
“However, local Labour Party members have today voted to replace them with other candidates for the ward of Teesville. We have a wealth of talent in the Labour Party and the bar has been set very high this year.
“The people of Redcar and Cleveland deserve the very best representation that the Labour party has to offer in the local community and members have chosen some fantastic local candidates. It is time for change. We are building a fresh, exciting and committed new team.”
The statement was released in the names of Mr Blenkinsop, Ms Turley and John McCormick, chair of Redcar and Cleveland Local Campaign Forum, Neil Bendelow, chair of the Redcar Constituency Labour Party and Bill Suthers, chair of Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour Party.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 06 Mar 2015
More businesses in the North-East have been ‘named and shamed’ by the Government for not paying the national minimum wage.
The businesses were revealed by Business Minister Jo Swinson and included employers not complying with minimum wage rules and having arrears of more than £100 owing to staff.
Those named and who are based in the region were:
- Mrs Karen Aitken, trading as Angel Hair Design, of Gainford, Darlington, neglecting to pay £703.33 to a worker
- Mrs Deborah Adcock, trading as LJ Beauty and Hair, of Seaham, neglecting to pay £463.60 to a worker
- Inn2inns Ltd, of Hemlington, Middlesbrough, neglecting to pay £323.10 to two workers
- Mr Assad Madani, trading as Dona Papa Pizza, in Chester-le-Street, neglecting to pay £101.64 to a worker
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which published the 70 strong list, said each case had been “thoroughly investigated” by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Ms Swinson said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.
“Naming and shaming gives a clear warning to employers who ignore the rules that they will face reputational consequences as well as financial penalties of up to £20,000 if they don’t pay the minimum wage.”
The GMB union said there were still far too few “wage dodging employers” being brought to justice and “bucket loads of evidence” that big firms in particular could afford to pay more.
The Government said it was increasing HMRC’s enforcement budget by a further £3m a year in a bid to recover hundreds of thousands of pounds owed to workers.
The GMB also said a wage offenders register should be kept by Company House with those on it deemed unfit to hold further directorships.
The current national minimum wage for those aged 21 and over is £6.50 an hour, although the Low Pay Commission yesterday recommended to ministers it increases by 20p to £6.70 an hour.
COMPANIES NATIONALLY PAYING LESS THAN THE MINIMUM WAGE
- East Midlands Crossroads – Caring for Carers, Nottingham, neglected to pay £37,592.56 to 184 workers.
- Delcom Systems Ltd, Salisbury neglected to pay £11,731.52 to a worker.
- S Hanns LLP, Chatham neglected to pay £8,448.84 to a worker.
- The Apostolic Church trading as James Kane Nursery, London, neglected to pay £8,347.71 to 2 workers.
- Young Friends Nursery Ltd, Hove, neglected to pay £6,789.71 to a worker.
- Station Garage (Little Weighton) Ltd, Little Weighton neglected to pay £5,440.77 to 2 workers.
- KRCS (Digital Solutions) Ltd, Nottingham, neglected to pay £5,161.85 to 5 workers.
- Mrs Shirley Elvin trading as Seaton Garage & Engineering Co, Hull, neglected to pay £4,840.31 to a worker.
- Pontcanna Hair Studio Ltd, Cardiff, neglected to pay £4,784.34 to a worker.
- Carol Ann Daker trading as Swan Hill House Residential Home, Shropshire, neglected to pay £4,395.78 to 27 workers.
- Hobby Horse Ltd, Plymouth, neglected to pay £4,049.31 to a worker.
- Fylde Coast Pizza Ltd trading as Papa Johns, Blackpool, neglected to pay £3,949.62 to 14 workers.
- Manleys Ltd, Belfast, neglected to pay £3,797.83 to 3 workers.
- J B Howard and Son Ltd, Leyland, neglected to pay £3,469.96 to 7 workers.
- Mr L Tolman & Mr S Blanchard trading as Mardi Gras Hotel, Blackpool, neglected to pay £3,206.76 to 3 workers.
- Stafforce Personnel Ltd, Rotherham, neglected to pay £3,044.79 to 63 workers.
- Best Start Ltd trading as Tiny Treasures Day Care Nursery, Birmingham, neglected to pay £2,928.95 to two workers.
- Maybury Automotive Ltd, Woking, neglected to pay £2,670.88 to 2 workers.
- C&R Tyres Ltd, Kelso, neglected to pay £2,261.60 to 3 workers.
- SSE PLC, Perth neglected to pay £2,233.95 to 5 workers.
- Encore Envelopes Ltd, Washington, neglected to pay £2,060.09 to a worker.
- SmileyWorld Ltd, London, neglected to pay £1,729.00 to a worker.
- Mancroft Ltd, Leeds, neglected to pay £1,172.97 to 3 workers.
- Kevin & Bernadette Farrell trading as Derrygonnelly Autos, Enniskillen, neglected to pay £1,690.35 to a worker.
- Delves Food & Wine Stop Ltd trading as Loco, Walsall, neglected to pay £1,152.48 to a worker.
- Webe (Chelmsford) Ltd, Chelmsford, neglected to pay £1,521.98 to 4 workers.
- Gregson Lane Garage Ltd, Preston, neglected to pay £1,431.57 to 2 workers.
- Ms Julie Ann Wright trading as The Worx, Portadown, neglected to pay £1,110.60 to a worker.
- Mr S Partridge & Ms M Shead trading as Cobblers Fine Sandwiches & Pastries, Wakefield, neglected to pay £1,003.83 to a worker.
- Mr Phillip Campbell & Mrs Lorraine Campbell trading as Supervalu Kells, Ballymena, neglected to pay £905.86 to 2 workers.
- Mr C Pask trading as Pask Hair & Beauty, Derby, neglected to pay £900.00 to 2 workers.
- J&G Salon Ltd trading as Jealousi & Garlands, Tamworth, neglected to pay £881.28 to a worker.
- Faster Fit Tyres Ltd, Scunthorpe, neglected to pay £719.30 to a worker.
- Mrs Karen Aitken trading as Angel Hair Design, Darlington, neglected to pay £703.33 to a worker.
- Clearshot Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £684.94 to a worker.
- Everest Express Ltd, Lincoln, neglected to pay £657.03 to a worker.
- Leisure Emporium Ltd trading as Brown’s Cafe Bar & Bistro, Nottingham, neglected to pay £643.86 to a worker.
- Mrs S Walker trading as Alleyways Fish & Chips, Scarborough, neglected to pay £601.59 to a worker.
- Gary & Toni Valentine trading as The Harbour Inn, Seaton, neglected to pay £584.42 to a worker.
- Shreeji Barnsley Ltd trading as Coffee Delight, Buxton, neglected to pay £555.70 to a worker.
- Rowe Sparkes Solicitors Ltd, Southsea, neglected to pay £530.96 to a worker.
- Fish Hairdressing Company Ltd, trading as Fish Hairdressing, Maidstone neglected to pay £521.82 to 3 workers.
- Mrs Deborah Adcock trading as LJ Beauty & Hair, Seaham, neglected to pay £463.60 to a worker.
- D&D Dies Ltd, Nottingham, neglected to pay £446.37 to a worker.
- G Joynson, D Joynson and C Joynson trading as Headquarters, Withernsea, neglected to pay £430.07 to a worker.
- Matchesfashion Ltd, London, neglected to pay £375.61 to 2 workers.
- Colin Saich trading as Lindcoly Kennels, Bury St. Edmunds, neglected to pay £338.41 to 9 workers.
- Inn2inns Ltd, Middlesbrough, neglected to pay £323.10 to 2 workers.
- 99p Land Ltd, Swindon, neglected to pay £315.26 to a worker.
- General Tarleton Ltd, Knaresborough, neglected to pay £300.62 to 6 workers.
- Western Computer Group Ltd, Bristol, neglected to pay £287.54 to a worker.
- Matrix Electrical Engineering Ltd, Harlow neglected to pay £286.60 to a worker.
- Honeybees Childcare Ltd, Preston, neglected to pay £276.30 to a worker.
- Mr G J Pearce trading as Sheppards Wood Service Station, Nottingham, neglected to pay £268.56 to a worker.
- The Mirrors Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £262.87 to a worker.
- A1 Techsol Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £233.47 to a worker.
- Mrs J Cole trading as Rayleigh Retreat, Rayleigh £231.73 to a worker.
- Hamlet Homes Properties Ltd, Westcliff-on-Sea neglected to pay £226.40 to a worker.
- Smartmove Property Specialists Ltd, Aldershot, neglected to pay £206.36 to a worker.
- EYFS Ltd trading as Oak Tree Day Nursery, London, neglected to pay £181.41 to a worker.
- Mr & Mrs P Munn trading as Merry Maids of the Weald, Tonbridge, neglected to pay £169.56 to a worker.
- Mr H Singleton trading as Willowbank Builders, Huddersfield, neglected to pay £163.89 to a worker.
- Professional Referral Services Ltd, Wigan, neglected to pay £156.93 to 2 workers.
- Amtec Computer Corporation Ltd, Ferndown, neglected to pay £149.64 to a worker.
- Lychgate Coffee Ltd, Wolverhampton, neglected to pay £124.39 to a worker.
- Finite International Logistics Ltd, Penarth, neglected to pay £119.92 to a worker.
- Drummonds Ltd, Manchester, neglected to pay £113.58 to a worker.
- Grove Mechanical Services Ltd, Magherafelt, neglected to pay £107.00 to 2 workers.
- Lin Chinese Takeaway Ltd, Stoke-on-Trent, neglected to pay £103.00 to a worker.
- Mr Assad Madani trading as Donapapa Pizza, Durham, neglected to pay £101.64 a worker.
The current National Minimum Wage rates are:
Adult rate (21 and over) – £6.50 per hour
18-20 year olds – £5.13 per hour
16-17 year olds – £3.79 per hour
Apprentice rate – £2.73 per hour
The apprentice rate applies to apprentices aged 16-18 and those aged 19 and over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for their age.
Source – Northern Echo, 24 Feb 2014
Tough measures designed to force benefit claimants to find work are instead making them ill, a study by North East academics has warned.
Claimants who have their benefits cut are sometimes left to go without food or the ability to heat their homes, a study found.
And this has an impact on their health – particularly because some of these affected are already ill or disabled.
The study was carried out by researcher Kayleigh Garthwaite and Professor Clare Bambra of Durham University.
Their findings were presented to MPs on the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, which is holding an investigation into “sanctions” which can imposed on people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and some people claiming Employment and Support Allowance, a benefit paid to people who are ill or disabled.
Claimants can have their benefits cuts off, known as a sanction, if officials believe they have failed to prove that they are looking for work.
But critics including a number of North East MPs argue that some claimants have lost benefits for no good reason. In a Commons debate in January, Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman and other Labour MPs said they believed job centre staff were given unofficial targets for the number of sanctions issued.
The study by Dr Garthwaite and Professor Bambra was part of a five year project looking at why some groups of people are healthier than others, which has focused on foodbank users in Stockton on Tees.
In a paper presented to MPs, they said:
“Sanctions led to loss of their only source of income, resulting in sanctioned ESA recipients often going without sufficient food and/or energy required to maintain good health or recover from illness.”
In some cases, benefits were taken from people who did not understand the complex rules, including people mental health conditions, the academics said.
“Sanctions have led to cases of a total loss of income resulting in an inability to eat or heat at the levels required for maintaining good health or recovering from ill health.
“Indeed sanctions have exacerbated ill health. The sanctioning of people with mental health problems is a particular problem – with the stress and anxiety of income loss adding to their underlying condition.”
The academics said sanctions for ESA claimants “should be relaxed or removed – particularly for those with mental health problems”.
Dr Garthwaite also spoke to MPs at Westminster, where she warned that claimants often had no idea that there was an official hardship fund available to help people who had entirely run out of money.
She told them that some food bank users had resorted to eating food they knew would be bad for them because of medical conditions – such as an intolerance for wheat – because they had nothing else.
Defending the policy, Employment Minister Esther McVey told the committee that studies had shown sanctions encouraged people to find work.
“All the international evidence suggests that sanctions do have a positive impact on people getting into work, and there are two parts of that: as a deterrent, it has a positive impact on moving people into work, and there is further research that, should somebody have been sanctioned, it helps them into work afterwards.”
The Government publishes figures showing how many sanctions have been imposed.
In Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Tees Valley, sanctions were imposed 92,326 times since 2012.
The job centre which has cut benefits most often is James Cook House in Middlesbrough, which imposed 7,068 sanctions.
John Street job centre in Sunderland imposed 4,922 sanctions.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 14 Feb 2015