Category Archives: Children

Gavin Williamson scrapped dozens of protections for children – unlawfully

Williamson the dunce: I know it’s a duff image but it reflects this MP’s abilities so I’ll keep using it as long as he continues to be a dunce.

Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stripped children in care of 65 legal protections illegally, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges said he should have consulted the Children’s Commissioner and other stakeholder organisations before inflicting such a “substantial and wide-ranging” “bonfire of children’s rights”.

The regulations affected included legal timescales for social-worker visits to children in care, six-monthly reviews of children’s welfare, independent scrutiny of children’s homes and senior officer oversight of adoption decision-making for babies and children.

The protections affected also cover disabled children having short breaks and children in care sent many miles away from home.

It seems Williamson did conduct a consultation but was selective about whose opinions he sought – adoption agencies, private providers and local government bodies.

But organisations representing the children and young people who were to be affected by the changes were not consulted and the Children’s Commissioner only found out about the changes after they had been forced through Parliament through the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) regulations in April.

We are told that all of the changes were temporary and have now expired.

We have yet to hear – may never hear – how many children were harmed as a result of them.

Williamson has been told to run proper consultations in future.

But will he? And doesn’t this simply reignite the debate over whether Conservatives should be allowed anywhere near children in care.

Source: Education secretary ‘unlawfully scrapped children’s rights’ – BBC News

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The Tories have used Covid to abandon children with disabilities and their parents

Money, money, money: Boris Johnson’s government says it is spending billions to help children with special educational needs and disabilities weather the Covid crisis – but they aren’t seeing it. So where is it going?

It may be hard to accept, but Boris Johnson and his cronies have been weaponising Covid-19, using the crisis as an excuse to take support away from vulnerable children.

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities have been particularly hard-hit, as Metro‘s report shows:

An Ofsted report into the impact of the first lockdown published this week found that some children lost basic skills and learning as a result of school closures and restrictions on movement.

Turning to SEND children, it found the pandemic has presented ‘serious and far-reaching’ challenges for families, with some feeling ‘isolated’ from existing services.

One parent who spoke to Metro branded the situation a ‘national disgrace’ and said her three-year-old son had received no physio or occupational therapy for nine months.

Another told of a ‘pressure cooker’ environment and the ‘terror’ parents face with no end in sight, as they struggle without services they had previously relied upon in their day-to-day lives.

The response from the Tories’ Department for Education spokesperson gives great emphasis to the amounts of money that have been allocated to help parents and children in this situation.

It mentions “£37million this year to help thousands of low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children with the challenge they face staying at home”, a “£1billion Covid catch-up fund”, and “increasing high needs funding for local authorities by £780 million this year and a further £730 million next year”.

But who actually receives the cash and what does it actually pay for?

This year we have seen the Tories waste no less than £12 billion on a Covid-19 test, track and trace system that not only doesn’t work but is actually a contamination risk.

So quoting amounts of money allocated to particular projects means nothing.

It is clear from the stories here that these parents and children are not receiving the support they need.

And I, for one, would like to know what the Tories are really doing with that cash.

Source: Exhausted parents of disabled children feel ‘abandoned’ in lockdown | Metro News

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‘Starve a kid to save a quid’ Tories face surging campaign of ’empty-plate’ protests

Perhaps they thought we would forget. If so, they thought wrong.

Conservative MPs who voted to starve children whose families have been plunged into poverty as a result of their selfish policies are being made to face the realities of their decisions, with scores of paper plates, empty apart from messages of condemnation, delivered to their constituency offices.

They aren’t likely to make a fuss about it, as they did about social media condemnation, for a simple reason: they can hide the evidence and pretend it hasn’t happened.

So This Site recommends that anybody laying out a plate protest at their Tory’s constituency office take photographs of it and put them on Facebook, Twitter and your favourite other social media.

That’s what people in Brecon and Radnorshire did when they launched a plate protest against local Tory MP Fay Jones, who voted to starve children in England even though those in her own constituency will receive meals over the holidays, courtesy of the Labour-run Welsh Government.

An initial set of plates was put out yesterday morning (October 29) and looked like this:

But when more people arrived to add to the protest later, all of this original set had disappeared – cleared away by Tories who were desperate to pretend there was nothing to see, it seems.

So they put down some more:

This site knows of two protests over the weekend.

One is at Pemberton Conservative Club.

The other is at the Con Club in Leigh.

The explanatory information makes chilling reading:

“In a country that rates 8th in the world for military spending, cutting free school meals during a pandemic impoverishing working class children is totally unacceptable and shows the cruel and callous attitude of the current government towards its own citizens.

“This is a political party which is completely out of touch and has shown nothing but contempt for the electorate that trusted them with power in 2019.

“We will stand in solidarity as a community to oppose this form of state-inflicted cruelty against those who are most vulnerable in society.

“After 10 years of austerity we will not agree that normal people should be the ones to suffer, especially children. We demand this government reverses its decision to end free school meals.”

Plate protests are taking off across the country, as these news reports show:

Plate protest at MP’s office

Empty plate protest outside Wrexham office of Sarah Atherton MP after vote against school meals extension

Paper plate protest at Walsall MP’s office as free school meals row rages on

Paper plates sent to west Dorset MP, Chris Loder, in protest

Empty plate protest over Norwich MP’s vote not to extend free school meals

‘Plate protest’ to be held outside under fire MP Selaine Saxby’s office

Falmouth MP Cherilyn Mackrory empty plate protest at office

Paper plates stuck to Walsall MP’s office in protest over free school meals row

‘Empty plate’ protests held outside Nottingham Conservative Party offices

We aren’t forgetting.

We aren’t going away.

Will you come and use a paper plate to have your say?

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Don’t let them get away with it: next time Tories mention £63m fund to feed kids, remind them it has been SPENT

Money, money, money: and none of it is for hungry children. The £63m fund mentioned so often by Boris Johnson and others was not for that purpose and was all spent before they even started talking it up.

You know that £63 million fund Conservative ministers like Robert Jenrick, Nadhim Zahawi, Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson keep saying is available to feed poor children over school holidays?

It was all spent weeks ago.

It came to only a few hundred thousand pounds per council.

When they Tories provided it in July, it was with a proviso that the money had to be spent within 12 weeks.

And it wasn’t specifically for feeding hungry children anyway.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic:

Don’t let them get away with it.

Next time a Tory minister turns up on the media peddling this lie, complain.

Complain to that minister personally, and also to the media outlet, be it the BBC, Sky News or some local radio station operating out of a Portakabin.

Let’s expose these liars and child-starvers for what they are.

Note: This Site has been reminded that a handful of Conservatives voted in favour of feeding children during the school holidays, in rebellion against their party’s line that called for your kids to starve. Obviously they should not be targeted during protests. The are:

Caroline Ansell( quit Government post)
Robert Halfon
Jason McCartney
Anne Marie Morris
Holly Mumby-Croft

No doubt there are perfectly good reasons to criticise the above-named people as well – they are Tories, after all – but this isn’t one of them.

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Now the #ToryScum are squabbling among themselves about #FreeSchoolMeals

Gavin Williamson: did he really ask Rishi Sunak’s Treasury for £150 million to provide meals for poverty-stricken children during school holidays?

Conservative cabinet ministers have started in-fighting over responsibility for blocking the provision of meals to poverty-stricken children during school holidays.

Somebody, it seems, has claimed that the Treasury blocked a request for £150 million to pay for such a scheme.

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hotly denied this, claiming that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson never asked for the funds.

Treasury sources said there had been no request from the education secretary for the £150m to provide meals for 1.4 million disadvantaged pupils during the holiday.

It seems perfectly reasonable to suppose that Sunak is right, in fact.

The call for the government to fund the meals came originally from footballer Marcus Rashford, and it was Labour who took it to Parliament in an Opposition Day debate last week – when the Tories ensured that it was rejected.

So it seems to me that Williamson would have had no reason to ask for the cash to make it happen.

Boris Johnson has since said that his government will not u-turn on the decision, no matter how hard public opinion turns against it.

His comments, along with the claim that no request has been made for the cash, will make it very hard for him to change his mind (as he often does if the focus groups tell him he needs to).

And he managed to cause trouble for himself by claiming local authorities could draw on a £63 million fund that his government has already created.

Council leaders angrily pointed out that the fund was intended to cover a wide range of hardships created by the Covid-19 crisis and most of it has been used.

Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi told Kay Burley of Sky News that kids were more interested in football than food:

The Tories have argued themselves into a corner and are digging themselves a hole in order to escape.

If I didn’t have some already, I’d be buying popcorn.

Source: Treasury rejects claims it refused extra £150m for free school meals | Education | The Guardian

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#ToryFoodTips: the public response to Johnson’s claim that he won’t let children go hungry

Make no mistake – this is an expression of disbelief in Tory promises by the social media-using public.

Boris Johnson has refused to u-turn on his refusal to provide free school meals for children.

Some of you may consider that to be positive proof that a u-turn is coming, but while we wait, we should consider his words, that the government will “do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry”.

The obvious thing to do would be to spend some money into the economy to ensure that they can enjoy a good nutritious meal – and the easiest way to do that is by funding free school meals!

Failing that, what else can the Tories do?

Some commenters on Twitter think they might offer advice on how  to make cheap and easy meals – and have offered suggestions on the form this advice may take, using the hashtag #ToryFoodTips:

You’ll notice that the tone of the advice changes, depending on the kind of person for whom it is intended – which leads me to this:

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No u-turn on free school meals, says Brandon Lewis – kids will have to survive on charity

Brandon Lewis: this is an old image so the facts about his houses may be out of date.

If you think we’ve reached peak Tory cruelty, allow me to point out at the outset that we haven’t.

It may seem that way, with Boris Johnson and his government passing cash hand-over-fist to their Tory chums while ordering that children stricken with a poverty that they have created must starve, but believe me – it is possible for these soulless monsters to do much worse.

On the subject of soulless monsters, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis made an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today to make it clear that, no matter how much abuse they receive, Tory MPs have absolutely no intention of reversing their decision to deny free school meals to kids who need them over the half-term and Christmas holidays.

He claimed that the Tory government has already put huge amounts of money aside for this purpose but the claim does not correspond with reality; he was just plucking numbers from his rear end.

Marr told him businesses were stepping up and Lewis signified his approval. But we have an answer to that :

The Tory response to the charity from local businesses was to claim that these firms clearly do not need government support during the Covid crisis and should not apply for it; a clear indicator that they intend to punish anybody in a position to stop poor children from starving:

The Tory MP highlighted in the article, Selaine Saxby (North Devon), has since claimed that she was misrepresented…

… but it is hard to see how “I am delighted our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking any further government support” can be interpreted any other way.

Ms Saxby was elected last December with a massive majority of 14,813 votes – that’s 14,813 more than her nearest rival, 26.6 per cent of the total. She took 56.5 per cent of the vote altogether.

This means the people of North Devon voted by an overall majority to support a Conservative who endorses policies that put children in poverty, and votes to starve them once they are there.

I know This Site has readers from that constituency who are sickened by their MP’s choices. Public voting habits being what they are, it will be up to these people to force their peers to see what they have supported – possibly by finding local examples of children who are going hungry as a result of this cruel Tory policy? – and make them face their responsibility for it.

Meanwhile the backlash against the Tories continues:

Davies is the MP for Grantham and Stamford. People living there: you know what to do.

If you have made a similar infographic – or have seen one – please send it in so I can publish it here.

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‘Thicky’ Nicky Morgan spells it out: Tories denied poor children free school meals out of spite

‘We starve children’: Rishi Sunak’s slogan was a little different when he published it, but a member of the public has corrected it for him.

There’s a reason we call her “Thicky” Nicky. Tory High Command will be fuming this morning.

The reason? Former education secretary Nicky Morgan admitted on the BBC’s Question Time that she and her Conservative colleagues voted down a motion to give poverty-stricken children free school meals during the holidays – not for any practical reason, but because a Labour MP insulted one of them during the debate.

Angela Rayner has apologised for using that word during a speech by Christopher Clarkson. Considering the content of his speech, one is moved more to sympathy with her point of view than his.

So it is doubly hard to accept “Thicky” Nicky’s excuse as she peddled it out on Question Time – more so because she backpedalled in the face of criticism and tried to say the Labour Party was wrong to introduce the debate as an Opposition Day motion.

And she was still saying the Tories were reacting petulantly to the way the debate was being carried out, rather than to its content – the necessity of helping to feed children in England.

Those children are now set to starve, because Tories like Nicky Morgan made up excuses to be upset.

Here’s her outburst, as televised:

And here’s some of the outrage it sparked:

(There are more than 322 Tories but that’s the number of their MPs who voted down the motion to feed starving children.)

There are now moves to shame all the Tories who voted against this motion online, simply by pointing out what they did to their electorate.

This Writer notes that my own MP – Fay Jones – voted against it. She represents a Welsh constituency – and I don’t think it’s a good look for a Welsh Tory to be voting to starve English children.

Do you?

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#LevellingUp or #ToryCorruption ? Serco-employed test and trace managers take £1.5m per year

Not the NHS: Boris Johnson privatised the Covid-19 test and trace system, believing it would be a great advert for privatisation. Instead, it has become a millstone around his neck – so he refers to it constantly as “NHS test and trace” in the hope that people will blame the nationalised health service that has nothing to do with it.

The Serco Test and Trace scandal gets worse and worse; it has just been revealed that some employees receive £7,360 per day to pretend to find people with Covid-19 and trace their contacts.

That’s the equivalent of £1.5 million a year. These are people from companies with strong connections to the Conservative government, that won their contracts via an emergency system which avoids the normal tendering process.

And it has already been established that most contact tracing personnel spend their time playing computer games because they are not being given work to do.

City AM says,

Sky, citing leaked documents, reported that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has paid BCG around £10m. That was for a team of 40 consultants to work for four months on test and trace.

BCG’s “day rates” for public sector work – which determine the cost of its service – range from £2,400 to £7,360 for its most senior employees.

The report said BCG is giving the government a 10 to 15 per cent discount. Although this would still equate to day rates equivalent to around £1.5m a year.

BCG declined to comment.

Sky also said that 165 more consultants had been hired to work on test and trace. They include 84 from Deloitte, 31 from EY and 50 from KPMG.

So much for Boris Johnson’s claim that he was “levelling up” the UK. Tory friends are being paid millions in public money while those who desperately need it are being starved.

While ministerial salaries are being frozen, all MPs are getting a pay rise of £3,300 per year – equivalent to around two-thirds of the current annual rate of Universal Credit for an adult aged over 25.

The lowest MP salary will be £85,291 per year. Compare that with nurses on £24,000. Who does the more important job?

What about care workers, who receive an excruciatingly-low £18,553 per year. Who does the more important job?

The Durham-based family of Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings have been excused from paying £30,000 in backdated council tax on houses they built without planning permission 18 years ago – while child poverty in the Durham North constituency has rocketed by nine per cent – to total one-third of all children living there – in the last four years… after housing costs were taken into account,

The social media are seething with discontent:

I think the following three tweets put the current situation in a nutshell, using the current northern lockdown as an example of Tory corruption at its worst. First, let’s set the scene:

Now we can go into details with this excellent speech by Labour MP Dan Carden:

Lastly, let’s remember that there was an alternative – but people were steered away from it by liars in the mainstream media who shilled for the corrupt Tories instead. Now what, do you think, encouraged them to do that?

Source: Government paying test and trace consultants equivalent of £1.5m salary : CityAM

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#PoorBoris – UK citizens give what sympathy they can to PM ‘complaining about money’

Don’t cry, Mr Johnson: we all know it’s hard for you to feed yourself, your paramour and four of your six kids on a £150,000+ income, with your accommodation supported by the state. But we’re not sure you or anyone you know should be in charge of the nation’s economy if you can’t. It was Tories like you who said the economy was like a household budget, after all.

If you behave more like a performing monkey than a prime minister, you get what you deserve when you complain.

It seems the UK’s performing monkey – Boris Johnson – is complaining, as his fans in The Times explain:

The headline defies reason! Overburdened, underpaid and ‘misery on his face’!

Overburdened? This is the prime minister who has spent more time on holiday then any of his recent forerunners – possibly than all of them put together, if you average it out for a single year.

Underpaid? Let’s see how that plays out for our £150,000-a-year public servant in some of the comments from those he is supposed to serve:

 

Well…

Here‘s Phil Harrison: “This piece is jaw-droppingly offensive. a) He earns five times the national median wage at a time when millions are losing jobs. b) He’s already minted. c) He only looks after 4 of his 6 kids?! YOU WHAT?? Does he want a medal? He should be in court.”

Indeed. Johnson probably claims Child Benefit for the other two…

Indeed. If Johnson had not wanted to support his children, one wonders how he came to have so many. Lost In The Shire has a thought about that: “I sometimes imagine his supporters think he slipped and accidentally impregnated a host of women and so that’s why he doesn’t need to pay to support or acknowledge all of his own children.”

Still, there’s a lot of good advice for him, such as this, from WeeHalfPint: “If we all clap, that should help him put food on the table, yeah?”

Queen Neferure has more practical help for him: “Hi @BorisJohnson I’m sorry to hear you are struggling on £150k. I get ESA, which for the over 25s is less than £4k per year. If you need any help with budgeting, do not hesitate to contact me or contact your local jobcentre, @CitizensAdvice or @StepChange for help.”

How about this?

Alternatively, perhaps he could try taking advice from a fellow right-winger, as suggested here:

Sara Anzani adds: “He should try living on £5.65 a day, like he and the rest of his government expect asylum seekers to.”

Of course, Johnson isn’t struggling to pay the bills on his own; he has a partner. These Novel Thoughts was prompted to make the following suggestion with this in mind: “Is Carrie working? If so, surely that’s another salary coming in. If not, why do they need a nanny? And given the fact that Johnson only works about a day a week, can’t he do some cleaning?”

As for the misery on his face. Well, The Times stated that being a performing monkey prime minister was his life’s ambition.

Perhaps he has discovered the truism that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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