If the words of the Chancellor George Osborne are to be believed then the Tories WILL be cutting pensioner benefits after the next election. There is no doubt about this whatsoever, writes Joe Halewood on SPeye Joe.
1. What has Osborne said?
Osborne alarmed Duncan Smith and angered Clegg when he said on Monday that £25bn in spending reductions, due to be imposed between 2016-17 and 2017-18, would have to include £12bn in welfare cuts.
In order to achieve the £12 billion of stated cuts to the overall welfare benefit bill the Tories will have to make £32 billion of cuts – the stated £12 billion plus the additional minimum cost of £20 billion per year in Universal Credit.
Anyone care to tell me how the Tories will find at least £32 billion of cuts from the £54 billion working-age welfare benefit bill – a mere 60% cut to the current bill?
The Tories will have no alternative but to cut back on pensioner benefits. They will have to cut them.
The full article goes into the kind of detail you need if you’re going to be convinced, so please visit SPeye Joeand be convinced – especially if you are a pensioner who would be said to be under-occupying if the Bedroom Tax was applied to you.
Thanks to glynismillward189 for reposting this important judgement, as reported by Inside Housing:
A mother living in a domestic abuse ‘sanctuary scheme’ has lost her landmark challenge against the bedroom tax, in a blow to similar services across the country.
Claimant ‘A’ – whose identity is protected – lives in a property which has a special ‘panic space’ installed by the council.
The woman had her housing benefit deducted because the council considered her panic room to be a spare bedroom, although she has been receiving discretionary housing payment to cover the shortfall in her benefit.
She started High Court judicial review proceedings against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in May 2013, arguing that the bedroom tax is a discriminatory policy which will have severe consequences for her and her son.
The judge held that although the bedroom tax discriminates disproportionately against women*, the policy has a ‘reasonable foundation’, according to the DWP bulletin summary.
‘Reasonable foundation’ or no, if the policy means this woman and others like her will have nowhere to go when abuse comes calling, the DWP will be just as much to blame for what happens as the abuser.
*A commenter calling himself ‘Luke’ stated in response to the article on the effect of David Cameron’s policies on women that there was no such disproportionate effect and this writer was “someone in a dream world able to imagine anything they like”. One is drawn to question whether this person also applies that opinion to the High Court and its judges.
Up to 100 activists came to the TUC Welfare Conference, held on Friday in Congress House, according to Ipswich Unemployed Action.
As the introductory speakers made plain, the Liberal-Conservative Coalition, assisted by large sections of the media, have launched a frontal assault ion the basic principles of an equitable benefit system. Instead of helping people in need they have attacked the most vulnerable.
Eleanor Firman (Disabled People Against Cuts, DPAC and UNITE) illustrated what this has meant on the ground. As a result of cuts in housing benefit and the bedroom tax their group in Waltham Forest had had to defend those facing eviction.
Read the full article on the Ipswich Unemployed Action blog site.
The UK’s homelessness epidemic is growing worse as statistics show there are more people sleeping on the streets in our city centres than at any point since national records began in 1998, according to The Void.
Rough sleeping has leapt by over 50% across England since the current Government weren’t elected going from 1,768 people in 2010 to an unprecedented 2,744 in 2014. Despite Boris’ claim he would end rough sleeping in the capital by 2012, the number of street homeless people in London has almost doubled from 415 to 742 people between 2010 and 2014.
Nicola Sturgeon – will she be the big winner in Scotland?
Alex Little’s Scottish seat predictions are interesting because he bases them on bets at the bookies’, rather than random surveys. Here’s his current view:
I last looked at this on 1st January, and since then, things have changed quite a lot – in a bad way for Labour and a good way for the SNP. Here then are my latest predictions based on the current odds, against what I predicted previously:
Of course, Alex’s predictions vary greatly from the survey predictions that give the SNP something like 40 seats, and from the recent Survation offering that suggested nationalists would have only nine.
The best bet, it seems, is that nobody knows what will happen.
Here’s a previous example of Ashton Under Lyne Job Centre’s service: Under the mask was a pregnant woman who had been sanctioned by the job centre.
Our demo yesterday was quiet but emotionally exhausting. We are hearing a lot of stories from people who are very obviously chronically ill.
These people … had sick notes from their doctors but the Jobcentre yet again are saying that these sick notes aren’t good enough. They are ignoring a lot of sick notes and in some cases losing them and claiming that they didn’t exist.
One lady who was obviously very ill and disabled has her money stopped for three months all over Christmas. She was freezing cold because she didn’t have the money to put her heating on due to having ‘pay as you go’ metres. She didn’t realise that she could get her housing benefit paid to her on a zero income basis either so she is now in debt to her landlord.
She challenged her non-payment and won but the job centre has refused to pay her the back pay that she deserves and is entitled to. On top of all this the job centre staff phoned her doctor up just to see if she was ill. They were so rude to the doctor that she felt the need to apologise to her doctor on their behalf.
To add insult to injury they have now made her attend the Jobcentre every day to complete a computer course…. Part of her illness is that she has memory problems.
More and more people are facing benefit sanctions. Over two million people have had their money stopped in the past two years, according to Unite.
That’s two million people, many of whom have been plunged into poverty, unable to heat their homes or even eat. How is this meant to help prepare people for work?
Benefit sanctions must be fought against
These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as:
◾Arriving minutes late to a meeting
◾Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
◾Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.
This has to stop
Up and down the country on Thursday 19 March we will be protesting against the cruel use of sanctions.
The internet petitioning organisation, 38 Degrees, is organising a protest in Bristol today against the TTIP and the privatisation of the NHS, writes the Beast.
The TTIP is the proposed international trade agreement, which would give businesses the right to sue national governments if they passed legislation that harmed their profits. It is feared that this will be used to lock in Cameron’s continuing privatisation of the NHS.
This is a real threat, as the Independent revealed last week that one of the big American healthcare giants wanted to expand into the UK. The BBC also received leaked documents showing that the NHS has not been excluded from the TTIP.
38 Degrees are meeting to encourage people to sign a petition requesting that MPs oppose the TTIP.
Ed Miliband has today unveiled Labour’s pledge to cut tuition fees – on the grounds that they are causing rising debts for graduates and the taxpayer.
It is part of Labour’s overarching pledge for young people: tuition fees reduced to £6,000, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for five, six and seven-year olds.
Labour says the Government’s £9,000 tuition fee system is bad for graduates because it loads them up with an average of £44,000 each in debt.
It is also disastrous for the public finances, though – adding £281 billion to the national debt over the next 15 years and with £2 billion in unpayable debts being written off every year by the 2040s.
In response, Labour is planning to introduce reforms of Higher Education earlier than intended so that from September 2016, the next Labour government will have:
Reduced the tuition fee cap from £9,000 to £6,000, and
Increased student maintenance grants by £400 – benefitting half of all students.
The aim is to:
Reduce the national debt by more than £10 billion over the next parliament and £40 billion over the next 15 years.
Ensure our universities remain world-leaders with increases in the teaching grant matching pound-by-pound the reduction in fee income.
The reduction in tuition fees will cost £2.7 billion. It is funded by:
Reducing tax relief for people on very high incomes paying into pension schemes, so it is set at the same rate as for basic rate taxpayers
Capping the total eligible for tax relief in a lifetime at £1 million, and
Limiting the annual sum eligible for tax relief at £30,000, but with greater protection for those in defined benefit schemes.
The increase in maintenance grant is funded by making the system of graduate repayment of loans fairer, with the highest-earning paying slightly more.
Ed Miliband, announcing the planned measures, said: “These are fair choices, fair choices that allow a better future for our young people, a better future for Britain. Britain must not penalise the young, if we’re going to prosper in the future. Our economy and our country can’t afford to waste the talent of any young person.”
He added: “Let me say to Britain’s young people: I made you a promise on tuition fees. I will keep my promise. I don’t simply want to build your faith in Labour, I want to restore your faith that change can be believed. I owe it to you. We owe it to our country.”
And he appealed directly to parents and grandparents to help turn around the prospects for the next generation: “Today is about our responsibilities to the young – and that is the concern of every generation, every parent, every grandparent, every person in our country who cares about the future of our young people.
“Today is the day we say: We will not make the young pay the price of hard times. I am a father of two young boys, and I appeal to every parent and grandparent in Britain, every concerned citizen: Let’s together turn around the prospects of young people; let’s restore the promise of Britain; let’s make ourselves again a country where the next generation does better than the last.”
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls added a few big points, too. He said: “This government’s system is not only bad for students; it’s bad for the public finances too.
“Students are graduating with a bigger burden of debt and our Zero-Based Review has exposed how it is leading to higher national debt too… it’s not sustainable and we need to fix it.
“Unlike the Tories we won’t make promises without saying where the money is coming from – and unlike Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems we will not make promises we cannot keep. We will pay for it in a fair way by limiting the tax breaks which go to the richest in society.”
“Our fully funded plan will cut the debt burden on students – and it will reduce the national debt by £40 billion by 2030.
“It’s the right thing to do – for students, graduates and taxpayers as a whole.”
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.