Category Archives: Government

Tories announce lavish new support scheme for businesses – after snubbing Manchester with a pittance

Stung: Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new support package for English areas under Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions in a move that seems time to snub Greater Manchester.

The north-west English area had been under Tier 2 restrictions until earlier this week, when Sunak’s government forced it into Tier 3 with a financial support package that has been vilified as punitive and unfair.

Now the BBC is reporting:

Rishi Sunak announced big changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – set to replace furlough in November.

Businesses in tier two areas, particularly in the hospitality sector, had complained that they would be better off if they were under tier three restrictions.

Sunak delivered his announcement in the House of Commons:

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was unimpressed – and even that usually-staunch supporter of the Tories, the BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg, had to agree that he made a fair point:

Burnham expanded on this in a TV interview:

Anthony Browne, the Tory MP appearing on the day’s edition of the BBC’s Politics Live, tried to justify the timing of the announcement:

If it takes time to evolve a policy change like that which Sunak announced in Parliament, then that means it would certainly have been under discussion when the talks with Burnham were taking place.

So it also follows that the Conservatives holding those discussions – like Robert Jenrick, who spewed such a lot of nonsense about it earlier in the week – deliberately failed to mention it to Burnham.

Why?

The only reason that I can see would be to corruptly engineer a financial disadvantage for the Labour-voting people of Greater Manchester.

Once again, it seems, the Conservatives are using the Covid-19 crisis for their own selfish political gain.

How utterly despicable.

I am glad to see that the £2,100 per month grant is retrospective and may be backdated to August 2.

I hope hospitality businesses in Greater Manchester use it to take as much as they can from Sunak and his twisted government.

Source: New government Covid scheme to pay up to half of wages – BBC News

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Conservatives who rejected free school meal plan have done the impossible: they made Nigel Farage look reasonable

No square meals: vulnerable children will be forced to go hungry during the school holidays because the stingy Tory government wants them to starve.

Conservatives in Parliament have rejected a plea by footballer – and anti-poverty campaigner – Marcus Rashford for the government to fund meals for poor children during school holidays.

Despite some unease on the Tory benches, a motion on providing 1.4m disadvantaged children in England with £15-a-week food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021 was voted down.

Conservatives were scathing in their criticism of Rashford, who personally experienced food poverty as a child:

But this attitude is nonsense from a political party that has spent decades depriving working-class parents of the financial ability to feed their children.

The hypocrisy is even stronger during the year of Covid-19 when people are being forced to live on a fraction of their normal wages, or to claim Universal Credit and suffer a five-week delay in payments that pushes them into debt, meaning the amount they receive will never be enough.

Meanwhile, the Tory-funded “gravy train”, pumping money to their chums in business for Covid-19-related measures that don’t work, is chugging along merrily:

Rashford took to Twitter – the social media that was the focus of Brendan Clarke-Smith’s petulance – to spell out his frustration:

But the most biting criticism came from Nigel Farage, the former UKIP and current Brexit Party leader, who said on Twitter that “not being seen to give poor kids lunch in the school holidays looks mean and is wrong”.

The comment went viral, and it isn’t hard to understand the reason:

The strange forces on Twitter that spot anti-Tory tweets and try to mitigate them meant that the very first reply to Farage’s message came from one Helen Thomas, who contradicts herself in her own Twitter bio: “No personal messages, why are the lefties so vile?”

She had to change it from “Why are there so many rude selfish people on Twitter?” – possibly after it was pointed out to her that she is one such person. So we can see where she’s coming from.

Her response was that poor people should forage for food – and it has received short shrift, I’m happy to report:

And it got worse for her after she revealed where she found her apples:

Yes indeed. How devoid of empathy & humanity must you be to make Nigel Farage appear sensible.

But that is exactly what many (although not all) Conservative MPs have done – following their boss Boris Johnson’s lead.

Including your MP, perhaps.

Postscript: Readers in England may wish to note that the devolved governments in Wales and Scotland have both provided funds to ensure that free school meals are available to children who need them:

Source: Marcus Rashford in ‘despair’ as MPs reject free school meal plan | Education | The Guardian

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If these lies are all Johnson has, Sadiq Khan is on course for a second term as London mayor

Boris Johnson used Prime Minister’s Questions to launch an unwise and unmerited two-pronged attack on London’s Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

First he said that financial problems suffered by Transport for London (TfL) were Khan’s fault.

The Department for Transport is, it seems, refusing to provide £5.65 billion to keep TfL running after it suffered huge losses due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. It is offering a “papering-over-the-cracks” funding package that comes with a demand that Khan accepts measures including higher council tax, a larger congestion charge zone and higher tube and bus fares – including the removal of free travel for children and young people. Otherwise, the threat is that the Westminster government will take over control of TfL from City Hall.

Asked if he was going to inflict a congestion charge on four million Londoners who had already been afflicted with Covid-19 and financial ruin, Johnson said: “The current Mayor of London had effectively bankrupted TfL before coronavirus had even hit and left a massive black hole in its finances… Any expansion of the congestion charge or any other measure taken to improve the finances of TfL are entirely the responsibility of the bankrupt current Labour Mayor of London.”

Responding to a further question from Tory Bob Blackman, Johnson became extremely concerned with self-justification: “The black hole in [the] finances of TfL, the bankruptcy of TfL, which, by the way, was left in robust financial health by the previous Mayor—it certainly was—is entirely the fault of the current Labour Mayor of London, with his grossly irresponsible demagogic fare policies, which, I may say, were never pursued by the previous Mayor of London, and the fault lies entirely with him.”

But Johnson’s claims were put to rest within minutes by the fact-checkers at the BBC’s Politics Live:

Khan himself brought figures directly relating to TfL to TV audiences later:

Not satisfied with one lie, Johnson also used PMQs to claim that Hammersmith Bridge is falling down because of Khan’s “incompetence”: “Hammersmith bridge has been closed thanks entirely to the incompetence of the current Labour Mayor of London, and that Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate, is going to reopen it, which is the best thing possible.”

In fact, the incompetent who failed to repair the bridge at the right time was Boris Johnson himself.

The bridge was built 133 years ago and is structurally unsafe after decades of failure – by successive political authorities – to repair it while traffic for which it was never intended used it.

It was closed in 2014 and repairs could have been authorised in 2016 – but the mayor at the time – Boris Johnson – refused to authorise them.

Instead, Boris Johnson spent around £50 million on consultants working on his vanity ‘Garden Bridge’ project that was ultimately cancelled.

Oh, and didn’t a bomb go off there as well?

The public were having none of Boris Johnson‘s lies:

Shaun Bailey has agreed that he would re-open Hammersmith Bridge if he became London Mayor…

… he just didn’t say he would repair it first. So members of the public have drawn their own conclusions about what he would do:

Yes indeed: “Shaun Bailey will probably suggest a zip wire across the river.”

The issue of the bridge can be summed up in this tweet:

That’s right – Boris Johnson can indeed make it up. And he did.

But we know the facts. All he has done is show the world he’s the stupidest kind of liar – and that his lickspittle Bailey should never be given elected office anywhere.

When Khan became London Mayor, he was voted in with the highest personal mandate of any UK politician in history.

Johnson’s words today may help ensure that he is re-elected with a mandate that is even higher.

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Jenrick’s definition of fair funding: £237/person in his rich constituency – £7.95/person in Manchester

Robert Jenrick: what dictionary did he use when he looked up his definition of fair?

Why was housing secretary Robert Jenrick part of the negotiating team handling support for Greater Manchester while it is in Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions?

Clearly, it can’t be because he can be trusted with money; he corruptly induced a fellow MP to approve a grant for his constituency totalling £237 per person recently – contrast that with the £7.95 per person for Manchester. And Jenrick’s constituency isn’t in Tier 3!

Doesn’t it seem more likely that the opposite is true – that he was certain to deprive Manchester of the cash it needed? The precedent is there in his handling of Richard Desmond’s Tower Hamlet’s planning application, which Jenrick manipulated in order to deny London’s poorest borough £45 million.

He seems to have thought he could get away with this sleight of hand.

He thought wrong.

So after he appeared on TV saying this…

… the public responded with the facts:

And today the Commons will be debating whether children should have free school meals because, after years of Tory deprivation, their parents can no longer afford to feed them. What will Jenrick’s contribution be?

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As Greater Manchester goes into tighter Covid restrictions, why did Matt Hancock break them AGAIN?

Where’s your mask, Hancock? He reckons he had one on for most of the journey and only took it off towards the end; he should have had it on throughout so he should be fined. Right?

Death Secretary Matt Hancock has been caught flaunting Covid-19 restrictions yet again – this time by failing to wear a face mask in a chauffeur-driven car.

This Site now expects to see evidence that Hancock has paid the £200 fine faced by the public if they fail to follow this restriction.

Where is it?

Hancock is, of course, an habitual offender. He has been photographed many times breaking social distancing rules in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has put Greater Manchester under the tightest level of Covid-19-related restrictions in England – Tier 3 – with fines starting at £200 per individual, £1,000 per business – for breaking them.

They will have to pay. Why not Hancock?

Source: Matt Hancock seen in chauffeur-driven car without mask – BBC News

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Johnson forces Greater Manchester into pointless Tier 3 lockdown – penalising people for voting Labour?

 

Businesses in Greater Manchester are to close at huge cost to themselves after Boris Johnson imposed Tier 3 lockdown without offering a reasonable support package.

Tier 3 conditions don’t mean every firm will close – but significant harm will be done. The financial support package Mr Johnson is providing totals £8 per member of the local population.

Not only that: Tier 3 conditions will not stop the spread of Covid-19 (although they may slow it down a little).

So there seems little point to this…

Apart from to harm a Labour-voting area. I think this is party political.

Here in Wales, the Labour-led government is imposing a two-week lockdown in which all businesses apart from suppliers of food/groceries will close and people will be discouraged from leaving their homes.

The support package for this totals £300 million – more than £90 per person for the two-week period.

It’s still not perfect. It’s still controversial. But it’s hugely better than anything Johnson is offering.

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A polite letter to Therese Coffey [TRIGGER WARNING]

Phillip Herron.

[Yes, this article comes with a trigger warning as it discusses matters which some people may find extremely upsetting.]

Dear Ms Coffey,

Please take a good, long look at the image accompanying this. It is the last photograph of Phillip Herron, taken minutes before he took his own life.

Mr Herron died because your employees at the Department for Work and Pensions could not be bothered to take their fingers out of their collective posteriors long enough to pay him the Universal Credit he was owed. He would undoubtedly be alive now if they had.

No doubt the DWP officers concerned would say they did not need to pay Mr Herron as Universal Credit is paid in arrears and his five-week wait had not yet ended. They were “only following orders”, they will say, echoing the so-called Nuremberg Defence that did not protect any German soldiers who were prosecuted for ensuring the deaths of so many people during World War II.

You, together with previous Work and Pensions secretaries, and many other Conservative MPs past and present, justify the wait with the mantra that delaying payment for more than a month prepares claimants for the world of work, but we all know that is not true.

It attacks their mental health. It causes depression and despair, and ultimately can lead to suicidal thoughts. Mr Herron’s death is a matter of Conservative government policy.

When he died, he had just £4.61 in his bank account and debts of more than £20,000 that were escalating due to that five-week wait for Universal Credit.

£20,000 is not a substantial sum of money in this day and age. I know you have said it is in interviews, but just take a look at your own bank balance. You probably consider that to be small change; the kind of pocket money you might spend on a night out.

It is one-sixth of the pay rise you will receive next year, just for being a member of Parliament.

It could have been handled. There are ways to ensure debt can be paid off within a reasonable period of time, no matter what the debtor’s means. But Mr Herron could not see that because your system forced him to concentrate on the negative aspects of his situation.

He saw no way out because you denied it to him. So he took his own life. His blood is on your hands. I understand DWP jargon describes that as a “positive benefit outcome”.

Now his three young children must go through life without a father – because that is what you demanded.

Their upbringing is likely to be a much greater burden on public funds than paying his Universal Credit claim – because that is what you demanded.

And there are countless others in the same predicament right now – because that is what you demand.

Your system does not help anybody. It pressurises them; it brutalises them; it forces them to consider the unthinkable – because that is what you demand.

It does not matter whether you spoke the words. You ordered the death of this man.

Please make a copy of his photograph and put it on your wall. Then, every day, when you come into work, you can spend time looking at it – and try to find a way to justify the fact that you caused him to die.

You can find more information – and more than 18,000 comments from members of the public – in this Facebook post.

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‘Australia deal’ or ‘no deal’? It’s all semantics, says Sharma

Alok Sharma: I’ve cartoonised the pic of him so he doesn’t look too contagious. The alternative would have been an image of a pilchard.

Alok Sharma – what a gift to satire.

Today (October 19) he was on the radio, gifting us with his interpretation of the kind of Brexit trade deal Boris Johnson is likely to hand British businesses:

No deal. But he tried to dress it up by calling it an “Australia-style” deal.

How did he think he’d get away with it?

Nick Ferrari on LBC made him look the fool he is:

“It’s a question of semantics”!

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, semantics is the branch of language and logic concerned with meaning; Sharma was admitting that an “Australia-type” deal and “no deal” are the same.

He was just – desperately – trying to dress it up to pretend that it wasn’t; a last-ditch bid to fool the less attentive or less well-read among the radio audience.

I don’t think it worked:

You’d probably get a better answer from a pilchard.

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This former Commons speaker can still put a prime minister firmly in his place

This clip speaks for itself.

Former Commons Speaker Lady (Betty Boothroyd), speaking in today’s (October 19) Lords debate on how badly Boris Johnson has cocked up the UK’s departure from the European Union, said the following:

“Never in my Parliamentary experience have I witnessed such a collapse in the people’s trust.”

That is a warning.

Johnson will be too stupid – or too selfish – to take it.

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‘WHAT?’ Even Theresa May is shocked by Gove’s flapdoodle about post-Brexit security

Bewilderment: Theresa May actually said, “What?” in the middle of Michael Gove’s answer to her question, it made so little sense.

If you saw Theresa May’s reaction to Michael Gove in Parliament this afternoon (October 19), you might have had a lot of sympathy for her.

The former prime minister spent her entire term in office wrestling with the problems raised by Brexit, so when Gove’s responded to a serious question about security with a mouthful of bafflegab, it’s no wonder she did what she did.

She had asked: “The government appears resigned to the prospect of no deal, yet one area in which they should not be resigned to the prospect of no deal is in security. I note that my Right Honourable friend made no mention of security in his statement this afternoon, and the prime minister made no reference to security in his letter to Parliamentarians on 16th October. So will my Rt Hon friend confirm that if the UK walks away with no deal, then our police and other law enforcement agencies will no longer have the necessary access to databases such as PNR, in order to be able to continue to identify and catch criminals and potential terrorists in order to keep us safe?”

Here’s the response – and her reaction:

Let’s have that reaction again:

Gove had not answered her question so she was right to react in that way – and it’s reasonable for you to sympathise with that reaction…

… as long as you remember everything Owen Jones mentions here:

Some people have taken to criticising him lately but when he’s right, he’s right.

The message is right – shame about the messenger.

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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