UK policymaking ‘jeopardised by rubbish official statistics’

Mr Tyrie’s call for improvements to the statistics-gathering and publishing process is certainly welcome. Whether his suggested plan to bring this about is equally welcome is debatable. And why restrict this to economic data? What about all statistics relevant to the Department for Work and Pensions – including the number of claimants who die, not just while claiming benefits, but within at least a year of their claim being cut off, if the DWP chose to end it? That would add robustness to the DWP’s protestations of innocence regarding the…

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oUCh! BT accused of ‘shameless profiteering’ over Universal Credit helpline

Fair play to Farron for raising this issue – albeit after the Trussell Trust and the Labour Party had raised the wider issue of DWP helplines generally. It’s just a shame he didn’t lay the blame where it is due – on the Conservative Government that has allowed BT to make such a huge profit from people who are extremely poor. The DWP has put out the same excuse as with other benefit helplines – that people can ask to be called back. This Writer wonders how long the wait…

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Elliott Johnson: police report ‘used to deflect Tory bullying claims’

The father of Elliott Johnson, the Conservative activist believed to have killed himself in September, has said a police report into his son’s death is being used to deflect attention from the bullying he suffered at the hands of Conservative party members. Ray Johnson said he has been left with no choice but to release further extracts from a note left by his son on the day of his death to disprove reports that he and his wife Alison had “rowed” with Elliott about his sexuality. Elliott, 21, was found…

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New challenge to Bedroom Tax at supreme court

Vox Political wishes success to all the challengers – not least Paul Rutherford, who is a commenter on This Blog. The supreme court is to hear a legal challenge against the government’s bedroom tax from five people who argue it discriminates against the weak and vulnerable. The five cases at the centre of the proceedings on Monday relate to people who have so far lost their cases at both the high court and court of appeal. One challenge is that of Charlotte Carmichael, who has spina bifida. She lives with…

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Tories want to quit EU to “scrap workers’ right to paid holiday”

Angela Eagle is absolutely right on this. Workers’ rights are under threat if Britain leaves the European Union, Labour’s shadow Business Secretary has said. Angela Eagle warned that EU-backed principles like paid holidays and equal pay were “on the ballot paper” in the In-Out referendum on 23 June. Ms Eagle warned that many Conservatives who wanted to leave the bloc wanted to scrap the rights and said Labour voters would be key to the Remain vote. “Workers’ rights are on the ballot paper in this referendum – a lot of…

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Tories line up to demand free labour for our multi-millionaire monarch

 Here’s a tip for Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Rory Stewart (who?): If you want people to clean up the UK, in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday, then bloody well pay for it! There are still plenty of people at the Job Centre, and plenty more in part-time work who would be grateful for the chance to earn some extra cash. Living Wage is, what, £8.25 an hour (£9.40 an hour in London).  It is insulting of you to ask – no, expect – the people of this nation…

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Osborne is categorically promising to make us worse off | Tax Research UK

Thanks to a Vox Political commenter for this: The Guardian has reported: George Osborne has warned he may have to impose bigger than expected cuts to public spending towards the end of the current parliament as the “storm clouds” in the global economy hit economic growth. This is utterly bizarre. GDP is, it is pretty universally agreed, made up of four elements: GDP = C + I + G + (X – M) where: C = consumption I = investment G = government X = exports M = imports. What…

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Cuts to elderly and children’s services in Oxfordshire abandoned – because Cameron’s relatives live there?

Congratulations are due to David Cameron’s mother, Mary, and aunt, Clare Currie, for doing what the rest of us could not – and stopping cuts to local authority-run services in their county. The plaudits should, of course, be served up with a fair helping of sarcasm. Can there be any doubt that the only reason Oxfordshire Council has halted its plan for £2 million of cuts to children’s centres and day centres for the elderly is that protests against the moves by Cameron’s relatives have embarrassed the prime minister? This is…

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Tory Bullying – Sick New Smear | Zelo Street

The Daily Mail has added another instalment to the Tory Party’s bullying scandal this week as it has tried its best to smear the memory of Elliott Johnson, and the name of his family. Meanwhile, out there on the right, one of Young Britons’ Foundation head man Donal Blaney’s bosom buddies has used the Mail story to apply a particularly nasty smear to the Johnson family. The dead activist’s friends are not at all happy at this development. “Tatler Tory victim rowed with his parents about being gay: Activist whose…

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Gap-year students are deciding asylum claims

If this is true, is it fair on either the students or the asylum-seekers? This Blog notes also that the amount of training is one week less than is currently given to DWP employees – and we all know how good they are at their jobs, right? Gap-year students are being recruited by the Home Office to make potentially life or death decisions on asylum claims, the Observer has learned. The students receive only five weeks’ training before they begin interviewing asylum seekers and making decisions about whether they can…

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