Article reposted from AOL Money UK
Good Morning my darlings. I’m feeling a little less emotional about the election result (still angry though) and so I decided to look into what’s to come …
Few people predicted any one party could win outright but now the Conservatives have done just that.
Before today, the party manifestos were seen as starting points for coalition negotiations, but now that the Tories have won a small majority they will be able to implement their pledges.
So what were those pledges and how will they affect you? Let’s take a look…
The Tory manifesto was stuffed full of promises on tax, including raising the personal allowance to £12,500 and increasing the 40% tax threshold to £50,000. The threshold is currently £42,386, which means current higher-rate taxpayers could save a tidy sum.
A key Conservative pledge was on inheritance tax…
View original post 671 more words
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.”
George Orwell, 1984
Well, the Eton mafia will take the election result as permission (if they ever thought they needed permission) to keep on stamping.
Scotland and the North East, almost entirely non-Tory, can expect to be in for an extra-special kicking.
And if you’re one of those toasting the prospect of 5 more years of austerity, just bear in mind that 30+ years of neo-liberal politics means that the family silver is well and truely depleted. Sooner or later, once they’ve sold everything they possibly can, the Tories will come looking for their pound of flesh.
Pensioners should be particularly worried – £12 bn of welfare cuts are proposed. Pensions make around 50% of the welfare bill.
Yes, I know that nice Mr Cameron promised not to touch your pension if you voted for him… but that was before the election.
Sooner or later, they’ll come looking for you.
In the meantime, we start all over again – but not from scratch, because we’ve been slowly building foundations over the last five years. Somehow or other we now have to take things to the next level.
I’m not quite sure exactly how at the moment, or even what the next level is, but if we keep moving onwards and upwards, adapting to situations as they arise and, most importantly, continue to make sure that news of what’s really going on is available around the internet.
Sooner or later, someone is going to grab hold of one of those stamping boots, pull the stamper to the ground and give them a taste of their own medicine…
A group of Hartlepool councillors are calling on the authority to act on zero hours contracts which leave workers open to being exploited.
Hart councillor David Riddle, of the Putting Hartlepool First Party, has submitted a motion to the council for it to lead by example and carry out a review of all staff and contractors who may be employed on the contracts.
Councillor Riddle said:
“The number of people on zero hours contracts has significantly increased in recent years.
“It makes it very difficult for households to plan a budget from month to month or even week to week.
“Families are then faced with impossible choices concerning bills, buying food and just keeping a roof over their heads.”
The union Unite says zero hours contracts are on the rise nationwide having almost doubled in the last five years.
The latest data shows around 1.4 million people are now employed on the contracts, but the union adds the real figure may be up to 2.7 million.
Unite says the contracts mean workers have no guaranteed weekly hours or income, and are only being paid for the hours they do work.
Workers do not get the benefits such as holiday pay, pensions and being free to work for other employers.
Coun Riddle added:
“As a ward councillor, it’s impossible for me to ban zero hour contracts.
“That would be a decision for the Government. However, we in Hartlepool can lead by example and ensure as many people as possible within our town are protected.
“The contracts need to provide more safety and assurance for the employee than is currently the case.”
The motion will be debated by councillors at a Full Council meeting, on Thursday, February 5.
It calls for a review of all Hartlepool council employees, contractors, subcontractors and organisations who have gained council tenders or money who are on zero hours contracts.
The motion also asks the council to implement six key principles within six months.
They include workers not having to be available outside contracted hours, have a right to compensation if shifts are cancelled at short notice and having the right to ask for a minimum amount of work after six months.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 30 Jan 2015
Reposted from Ripped off Britons.com
The Welfare State was hard won by generations of Britons before us. It is as much an inherited right as is the unearned income received by some from their inherited property and financial assets.
Doubtless the Welfare State can be reformed and improved. However, evidence from independent top civil servants shows government reforms of the Welfare State are not driven by well considered improvements, but by a reckless drive to cut the cost. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), speaking about MoJ cuts, admitted “the most critical piece of evidence that was relevant to the decision that was made was the size of the spend.” We will come back to this later.
In the years following the two World Wars the strength of ordinary Britons at the warfront and on the homefront was clearly understood and appreciated. Those years saw pieces of…
View original post 1,988 more words
A UK artist has created an art installation as a memorial to the suicide victims of welfare reform.
Melanie Cutler contacted Vox Political regarding her piece – ‘Stewardship’ – a few weeks ago, asking, “Do you think I’ll be arrested?”
The response was that it should be unlikely if she informed the media. The artworks have been displayed at the Northampton Degree Show and are currently at the Free Range Exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery building in Brick Lane, London, which ends tomorrow (June 30).
Entry is free and the installation will be located in F Block, B5.
“I have become an artist later on in life,” Melanie told Vox Political. “I was a carer for my son and, a few decades later, my father. I have worked most of my life too, raising three children.
“Only recently, while studying fine art at University I found my health…
View original post 397 more words
Around three-quarters of the way through tonight’s Question Time, I was ready to believe the BBC had pulled a fast one on us and we weren’t going to see Iain Duncan Smith get the well-deserved comeuppance that he has managed to avoid for so long in Parliament and media interviews.
There was plausible deniability for the BBC – the Isis crisis that has blown up in Iraq is extremely topical and feeds into nationwide feeling about the possibility of Britain going to war again in the Middle East. The debate on extremism in Birmingham schools is similarly of public interest – to a great degree because it caused an argument between Tory cabinet ministers. Those are big issues at the moment and the BBC…
View original post 807 more words
The Fail has struck again with a comically inaccurate piece about benefit appeal tribunals.
“Benefits claimants cheats (sic) are able to keep money they are not entitled to because government officials fail to turn up to legal hearings,” thundered the piece by MailOnline political editor Matt Chorley, who should know better – both in terms of grammar and logic.
“The Department for Work and Pensions sent lawyers to just four per cent of tribunals held last year to rule on decisions to cut benefits.
“It means that in many cases people are able to successfully argue in favour of keeping their money, because the government has failed to turn up to challenge it.”
No – that’s not what it means.
If the DWP has made a decision not to send lawyers to defend the cancellation of a claimant’s benefit, it means they expect the facts to speak for themselves…
View original post 524 more words
Britain’s richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together, according to the latest official analysis of who owns the nation’s £9.5tn of property, pensions and financial assets.
In figures that also lay bare the extent of inequality across the north-south divide, the Office for National Statistics said household wealth in the south-east had been rising five times as fast as across the whole country.
The average wealth of households in the southeast had surged to £309,000 at the end of 2012, up 30% since the first wealth report published by the ONS covering 2006-8 – while the average rise in England was only 6%.
But wealth in the north-east had fallen, the only region where it did so, to an average of just under £143,000. In Scotland the figure was £165,500.
Northern regions lost out after a dramatic rise in stock market values that was grabbed mostly by households in the south east, the ONS figures show.
The situation is likely to have worsened following an 18% surge in house prices over the past year in the south-east and even higher at the top end of the market.
A rush to save among richer households as the recession deepened boosted the nation’s total wealth and ensured Britain’s long-established financial inequality remained in place, with the top 10% laying claim to 44% of household wealth – while the poorest half of the country had only 9%.
Rachael Orr, Oxfam‘s head of poverty in the UK said the figures were a “shocking chapter in a tale of two Britains“.
The charity recently reported that five billionaire families controlled the same wealth as 20% of the population. “It is further evidence of increasing inequality at a time when five rich families have the same wealth as 12 million people,” she said.
“We need our politicians to grasp the nettle and make the narrowing gap between the richest and poorest a top priority. It cannot be right that in Britain today a small elite are getting richer and richer while millions are struggling to make ends meet.”
Duncan Exley, director of the Equality Trust, said: “The grotesque concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny minority is fracturing our society, weakening our economy and giving disproportionate power to the richest. Unless policymakers adopt a clear goal of reducing the gap between the richest and the rest, they will have to govern an increasingly dysfunctional nation.“
The report comes after French economist Thomas Piketty has ignited international debate about inequality by documenting the rapid accumulation of assets by the top 1% over the four decades since the 1970s.
Britain’s top 1% saw their share of wealth increase slightly in the four years before 2012, grabbing the same share as 54.9% of the population, up from 54.2% in 2008/10.
But the Treasury said the report showed that wealth inequality had remained the same throughout the six years up to 2012 while income inequality had declined to levels last seen in 1986. A spokesperson said the government’s efforts to protect the poorest during the recession had worked.
“The effects of the Great Recession are still being felt which is why we have taken continued action to help hardworking people by cutting income tax and freezing fuel duty.
“And we want to help more people to save for their future or own their own home which is why we are giving people more flexibility over their pensions and introducing Help to Buy. At the same time we have introduced new higher rates of stamp duty on the most expensive homes and done more than any previous government to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance in order to ensure that everyone pays their fair share in tax.”
> If the government executed every poor person in the UK, a government spokesman would then be wheeled out to claim that by killing everyone they had in fact improved the victims lot, since they would no longer have to buy food, heating, housing, etc, thereby making everyone better off.
And dead, of course, but you can’t have everything…
Critics of the wealth report said it failed to capture the huge diversion of wealth to offshore tax havens, which account for trillions of pounds worth of savings.
A series of investigations into offshore tax havens have documented the success of their banks in attracting a steady rise in the savings and financial assets of the richest 1%.
There was also a clear disparity between women and men over who owns the most homes, pensions, cars and stocks and shares. The average value of men’s total pension wealth was nearly twice as high as women’s in 2010/12 – £63,000 compared with £34,800.
The power of the grey pound is highlighted in the report by several measures, including one showing that couples without children, where one person is over and the other under the state pension age, have the highest total wealth at £607,800, up from £452,000 in 2006.
Source – The Guardian, 15 May 2014
An activist from Somerset is raising his own ‘Shoestring Army’ to crowdsource funds and mount a legal challenge against the government’s new Claimant Commitment for jobseekers, after police said they were unable to arrest Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud for breaching the Human Rights Act.
Keith Lindsay-Cameron, of Peasedown St John, near Bath, was advised to obtain the services of a solicitor and raise a legal challenge in the courts after he made his complaint at Bath police station on Friday (May 2).
He said the conditionality regime that is part of the new Claimant Commitment will re-cast the relationship between the citizen and the State – from one centred on ‘entitlement’ to one centred on a contractual concept in which the government provides a range of support only if a claimant meets an explicit set of responsibilities…
View original post 590 more words