A few simple ideas to save the UK economy (Part One)

It seems I have been challenged. Commenting on my post ‘Iain Duncan Smith – what went wrong?’, a correspondent calling himself ‘Brian’ suggested I should use “a little grey matter and suggest where to cut instead”. This is a question that has exercised my intelligence for much of the last two years, ever since it dawned on me that the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition was not going to do anything at all to help the UK economy in real terms. In fact we have seen them try to make it…

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The great Leveson whitewash

Oh, all right – greywash. Please note: This is an initial reaction to the Leveson report, based on Lord Justice Leveson’s speech today (November 29). The report itself is 2,000 pages long and may contain much more that is of interest to us. But that will have to wait for another day. Lord Justice Leveson has come out with his report which, in effect, advocates as little change to current press regulation as he thought he could get away with. Jeremy Hunt, the Murdochs, George Osborne and David Cameron can…

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Iain Duncan Smith – what went wrong?

On the face of it, he looked so promising, didn’t he? When Iain Duncan Smith took up his position as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2010, it was as one of the architects of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, a project that was the first to be announced by David Cameron after he became Tory leader in 2005. The new minister had been involved with social issues ever since the theme of the Conservative Party spring conference in 2002 struck a chord with him – it was ‘Helping the…

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The work programme – a £527 million failure

The government’s flagship work programme stood revealed as an abject failure today, when the Department for Work and Pensions admitted only around three per cent of jobseekers have found “sustainable” work. Of the 878,000 people who joined the programme, only 31,000 found a job for six months or more. The figures mean as many unemployed people are finding sustainable jobs on their own – and are staying in employment six months after joining the work programme – than if the scheme had never existed. There was “no direct evidence of…

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Iain Duncan Smith’s Question Time lies exposed

I bet Iain Duncan Smith was praying nobody would produce any statistics disproving his rant at Owen Jones during the BBC’s Question Time last week. Some of us were praying for the opposite, and it turns out that our God is quicker than his. I know the new report released today (Monday) by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, showing that more working people are living in poverty, will be just another document that the UK government will blithely ignore. But some of its findings bite deeply into Department for Work and Pensions policy,…

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IDS off the hook with ICC – so evidence needed of Atos deaths

People whose family members have died while going through the DWP/Atos work capability assessment are being urged to contact a disability specialist – who has been seeking international legal action against the austerity-enforced injustice. Vox Political reported back in September that Samuel Miller had contacted the International Criminal Court in The Hague, intending to file a complaint against Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Maria Miller, the ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions, considered most responsible for “draconian welfare reforms and the resultant deaths of their society’s most vulnerable”.…

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Tax and tax avoidance: Osborne’s attack on small businesses

It seems George Osborne wants to focus his next attack on the small businesses of the UK – the firms that form the vast majority of the nation’s business base. Lunacy, you might say. Craziness. You may ask why he would want to do such a thing, and what evidence I have to suggest it. Well, let’s start with the letters going out to 1,500 people suspected of taking part in a tax avoidance scheme – which is currently legal, although the BBC report suggests its legality will be challenged.…

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Smith v Jones over benefits, the disabled and the truth about homelessness

Iain Duncan Smith probably went home last night feeling satisfied that he had done his job well, putting forward his case for benefit cuts that will push thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands – of people out of their homes, on the BBC’s Question Time. After all, he had the last word, didn’t he? Perhaps he didn’t count on the absolute twatting he received from the inhabitants of the social media. Those who had seen the show wasted no time in putting forward their opinions about the clash between Smith…

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Parliamentary committee says Universal Credit is an attack on the most vulnerable

We all know the Department for Work and Pensions is fond of claiming disabled people are “fit for work” when they aren’t. Another thing that isn’t fit for work is its flagship Universal Credit system. The new system will start to come into effect with pilot schemes in the northwest of England in April 2013, and full national roll-out is due to start in October 2013. But a report from the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee says it should not progress before it addresses serious issues. We know this won’t…

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Universal Jobmatch or Jobseekers’ Home-grab?

“An administration united behind three key principles: freedom, fairness and responsibility.” – David Cameron, first Coalition press conference, May 2010. The government’s new online tool, which it claims is intended to make searching for a job easier, came into service on Monday. You might think that’s a good thing. Think again! It seems the appropriate term for the new system is “Orwellian”, as it tries to funnel jobseekers into any work that is available – no matter how inappropriate – and monitors responses in order to apply sanctions for any misplaced…

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