Tagged: Sky News

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

We’ll Slash Benefits For 100,000 Families And Young People To Fund Apprenticeships, Says Cameron

A future Tory Government would slash benefits for around 100,000 struggling families and young people to fund more low-paid apprenticeships, Prime Minister David Cameron will pledge on Monday.

Cameron will say that he plans to deliver 3 million more apprenticeships by cutting the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000 a year.

The plan would affect 70,000 families in receipt of either in-work or out-of-work benefits and tax credits, saving around £135 million a year. This will include 40,000 households who have so far managed to escape welfare cuts, according to Conservative Party figures released to the Press Association (PA).

Figures released at the end of last year (December 2013) show that for the first time in recorded history more low-paid working households are living on or below the breadline than those who are out-of-work. More cuts to in-work benefits could further exacerbate this issue and cost the Tories votes at the next general election.

The Tories would also remove Housing Benefit entitlement from 18-21 year-olds, affecting 30,000 young people and saving an estimated £120 million a year.

SKY News reports that Mr Cameron has the backing of a number of large firms including Nestle, Airbus, Ford, Balfour Beatty, Fujitsu and the National Grid.

 Cameron said:

“Because of difficult decisions we will make on welfare, we will deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020. This is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.

“It will help give us the skills to compete with the rest of the world. And it will mean more hope, more opportunity, and more security for our young people, helping them get on in life and make something of themselves.

“We have already doubled apprenticeships this Parliament. We will finish the job in the next and end youth unemployment.”

Cameron had previously told the Andrew Marr show:

All the evidence is the cap is too loose, particularly in some parts of the country, so bringing it down saves money, will mean more families getting into work, and what I want to see – the plan we have for Britain – is to spend less money on welfare and more on helping people into work.”

However, the Tories relentless attack against the young and low-paid has come under criticism from their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.

Leader Nick Clegg used his speech at the Liberal Democrats annual conference to attack the Tories for taking an “axe” to the welfare budget, without showing any “regard for the impact on people’s lives”.

His words will anger millions of people affected by welfare cuts his party helped (voted) to introduce – including the cap on benefits.

Currently the minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £2.73 an hour for 16-18 year-olds. The same hourly rate applies to 19 year-olds who are in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Apprentices over the age of 19, or who have completed their first year, are paid at least the national minimum wage for their age group, with some businesses willing to pay more – if you’re lucky.

The national minimum wage rate for 16-18 year-olds currently stands at £3.79 an hour, £1.06 higher than that for apprentices. Those aged 18-20 receive a minimum wage rate of £5.13 an hour, rising to £6.50 for the over 20’s.

Source –  Welfare Weekly,  20 Oct 2014

http://www.welfareweekly.com/well-slash-benefits-100000-families-young-people-fund-apprenticeships-says-cameron/

 

Stockton cameraman hits back at Benefits Street being filmed in Stockton with positive video

A cameraman has hit back at controversial TV show Benefits Street being filmed in the North with his own homage to his beloved hometown.

Crews from Love Productions are filming the second series of the TV show, which follows people living off benefits, on Kingston Road in Stockton for Channel Four.

But Karl Coates, who has worked as a cameraman and producer for Sky News and BBC, said he fears the controversial TV show will only show Stockton in a negative light.

In a rebuttal to the image he expects the programme to portray of his beloved hometown, the cameraman has gone out to film his own short video to show all the great things about the area.

In the short videos  Karl states that Stockton, Teesside and the North East “will yet again be hung out to dry”.

The video has already had more than 8,300 views since being published on YouTube in August and initially shows shots of a street, believed to be the one the crew of Benefits Street are filming on. Karl then changes the tone of the video and words flash across the screen saying:

You will not however see any of these shots. The real Stockton my hometown”.

He then goes on to show landmarks such as the Infinity Bridge, by day and night, as well as the Tees Barrage,the Teesside Princess, the North Shore development, and the £38m regeneration of the high street.

In the video he says some residents are keen to be involved in a film showing Stockton in a positive light and are proud of where they live.

Karl said:

“An entire generation are about to be stigmatised, and that’s online globally through social media and within seconds when these programmes are broadcast to the outside world and for those who don’t know Stockton, its history and proud people, it will be forever associated as the town that’s on benefits.

Not as the home of the world’s first passenger railway or the invention of the friction match that lit up our planet, or indeed the town that’s having a 40 million pound make over that looks absolutely stunning.

“This program will have a direct impact on inward investment, jobs, trade, tourism and self-esteem.”

 

 

Karl added:

“Sometimes in life you have to jump off that fence and stand up for what you believe is right and I could give you a hundred reasons why filming Benefit’s Street in Stockton is simply wrong.

Love Productions say they are giving the minority a voice, well we all have a voice and its up to us to choose whether or not we use it, I’m afraid Love Productions, we have all seen the last series and are simply not stupid.”

Concerns have already been raised by MPs and other residents in the area about the filming of the show in Stockton following the first series which followed residents in an area of Birmingham.

He added:

“There is massive support from people who see the damage this programme will do to our community and I have a camera and all we can do it inform people what is going on and paint Stockton in the most picture perfect light possible. We can show people our Stockton, the real Stockton before the entire nation judges us.”

Source –  Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  12 Oct 2014