Category Archives: Public services

Can we trust Jeremy Hunt to fix the UK economy? [VIDEO]

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said “eye-watering” decisions on tax increases and public service cuts will be made in his Budget on Thursday. But can we trust him to make the right choices?

Labour’s Chris Bryant doesn’t think so. On the BBC’s Politics Live, he pointed out just a few of the financial disasters inflicted on the UK by a Conservative government and raised fears that Hunt will demand more from the people who have the least.

Watch out for the party political nitpicking from Conservative Siobhan Baillie, who doesn’t have a leg to stand on but still tries to undermine the solid points Bryant makes.

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How badly will you be hit if Tory cuts mean councils cancel services?

Liz Truss: her lunatic economic ideas created an economic black hole. Jeremy Hunt’s attempts to fill it are likely to harm us all – including people who say they can’t be bothered with politics.

This is another story about how politics affects you, even if you don’t want anything to do with it.

Councils in England are warning that the cuts Jeremy Hunt is likely to force on them – in a desperate bid to fill the financial black hole that Liz Truss created with her daft neoliberal trickle-down economic plan – will mean the cancellation of everyday services.

They mean services they provide that help you do the things you need to, every day.

The BBC is reporting that a survey of county councils suggests bus services, home care for the elderly and climate change projects are most likely to face the axe.

Other services under threat are leisure centres and parking.

So you will be faced with the added expense of driving to work – and spending a lot of time in traffic jams because many more vehicles will be on the roads.

If you have elderly relatives who need care, then you’ll be the one providing it. While their pensions and possibly other benefits will help financially, your free time will be wiped out.

And obviously any project that actually helps reduce the threat of climate change is vital for our future existence. Who knows what could be cancelled that may otherwise change the world for the better?

You won’t have anywhere to go to relieve the pressure on you because all the leisure centres will be closed.

And you wouldn’t be able to drive there anyway because so would all the car parks.

All because Liz Truss couldn’t do her sums, because 12 years of Tory rule made the UK vulnerable to energy and food price inflation, and because the Tories had spent all that time cutting council funding to the bone, so there is nothing left to tackle emergencies.

Council funding from central government – which makes up the vast majority of the money councils use – has been halved by the Tories since 2010.

And there are more services facing cuts: road maintenance, home-to-school transport, and opening hours of libraries and recycling centres may all be cut. Charges may be introduced to use public toilets and may be increased in car parks. You may be forced to wait longer for your rubbish and recycling to be collected (which may create a problem with vermin).

Apparently the best idea the Tories have is to raise the cap on council tax increases so local authorities can charge already-impoverished residents even more money for the meagre services they continue to offer.

And the Tory government of Rishi Sunak seems to be in denial. A spokesman has said Westminster gave £3.7 billion to councils last year, to shore up services. But that was before inflation went through the roof. How much was actually needed to maintain them at their proper level?

You won’t hear an answer from Downing Street. The press office there is all about damage control, not factual accuracy.

And when I mention damage control, I mean controlling any damage to the reputation of the Tory government – not controlling damage to the fabric of UK society.

Damaging our society has been Tory policy since before they slithered back into government in 2010.

But we still have people who say they’re not interested in politics and they don’t think politics have anything to do with them.

Someone should create a checklist to demonstrate exactly how badly they already have been affected by this country’s political choices – and how much worse it will be in the future.

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A third of public sector workers are set to quit over low pay, says TUC

Pittance: key workers have put up with pathetic pay rises – if their pay can be said to have risen at all – for far too long and are ready to quit because of it.

Around one third of key workers in the public sector (32%) have already taken steps to leave their profession to get a job in another field or are actively considering it, according to new TUC polling published today.

According to TUC analysis, that means around 1.8 million public sector workers are seriously thinking about quitting their jobs for good.

In both education and health and social work, the proportion of key workers who have taken steps to leave or are actively considering it is around the same, at about a third of the workforce (34% in education and 31% in health).

The new TUC polling, conducted by YouGov, comes as the union body warns ministers that public services are facing a “mass exodus” of key workers unless ministers deliver “decent pay rises” for key workers.

The government imposed significant real terms pay cuts on key workers in the public sector earlier this year, sparking a wave of ballots for industrial action across education, health and local government this autumn and winter.

Unison, RCM, NASUWT and NEU started balloting their members this week.

Pushed to the brink by low pay

The government’s decision to hold down pay for key workers in the public sector is worsening the public sector recruitment and retention crisis, according to the TUC – highlighting the new poll findings.

Almost half (45%) of key workers in the public sector say the government approach on pay has made them more likely to leave their job in the next one to three years.

For workers in health and social care, the number rises to 50%.

Of those that say they have taken steps to leave or are considering leaving, around half cite low pay (52%).

Feeling undervalued (47%), a poor work life balance (33%) and excessive workloads (31%) are also major factors.

Latest data shows that NHS England is operating short of almost 130,000 staff due to unfilled vacancies. This represents a vacancy rate of 9.7 per cent.

In the education sector, one in eight newly qualified teachers (NQTs) leave the profession after one year in the job, with almost one-third of NQTs (31%) leaving within their first five years.

The union body says that these unfilled vacancies, on top of a decade of underfunding, has left public services “cut down to the bone” – placing huge amounts of pressure on public sector workers.

Brutal decade of pay cuts

The union body says key workers across the NHS face another year of “pay misery” after more than a decade of having their wages held down by successive Conservative governments.

Recent TUC analysis shows that many frontline staff in the NHS will see their pay packets shrink this year in real terms:

  • Nurses’ real pay will be down by over £1,100 this year
  • Paramedics’ real pay will be down by over £1,500 this year
  • Hospital porters’ real pay will be down by £200 this year
  • Maternity care assistants’ real pay will be down by £600 this year

The TUC says that this year’s pay cuts come on top of a brutal decade of pay cuts for key workers in the public sector.

Recent analysis by the union body shows that in real terms:

  • Nurses’ real pay is still down £4,300 compared to 2010
  • Paramedics’ real pay is still down by £5,600 compared to 2010
  • Porters’ real pay is still down by £1,300 compared to 2010
  • Maternity care assistants’ real pay is still down by £3,200 compared to 2010

In the education sector, teachers have already lost around a fifth of the value of their pay due to government pay cuts between 2010 and 2021, according to the NEU.

The real term pay cuts imposed this year will see the majority of teachers’ pay worth 25% less than it was in 2010, according to NASUWT analysis.

NAHT analysis suggests school leaders’ pay is down 24%’ since 2010.

Support urgently needed for key workers

The TUC is calling on the government to urgently prioritise key worker pay and public services funding in their fiscal event on 17 November.

The union body says ministers must:

  • Give key workers in the public sector cost-of-living proofed pay rises
  • Raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible
  • Invest in public services – reversing the impact of rising inflation and ensuring the spending measures set out in the 2021 comprehensive spending review are not only delivered but improved upon

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Key workers in the public sector helped get the country through the pandemic.

“But many are now at breaking point because of a toxic mix of low pay, unsustainable workloads and a serious lack of recognition.

“After years of brutal pay cuts, nurses, teachers, refuse workers and millions of other public servants have seen their living standards decimated – and now face more pay misery.

“It is little wonder morale is through the floor and many key workers are considering leaving their jobs for good.

On the prospect of industrial action, Frances added:

“If there is large-scale public sector strike action over the months ahead, the government only has itself to blame.

“They have chosen to hold down public servants’ pay while giving bankers unlimited bonuses.

“Ministers must change course. Without decent pay rises for key workers in the public sector, we face a mass exodus of staff.

“And it would be bad for our economy. As the country teeters on the brink of recession, the last thing we need is working people cutting back on spending even more.

“More money in the pockets of working people means more spend on our high streets.

“Enough is enough. It’s time to give our key workers in the public sector the decent pay rise they are owed.”

Source: Around 1 in 3 key workers in the public sector have taken steps to leave their profession or are actively considering it | TUC

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U-turn on public spending is the latest in a long line for Liz Truss

Ditherer: Liz Truss.

Liz Truss’s new Chancellor – old Health Secretary Germy C- er, Jeremy Hunt – announced in his very first media interview that he will be imposing further austerity on the UK in order to balance the books after the unforced errors of Kwasi Kwarteng.

Wow.

More austerity, of course, means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Let’s have some analysis:

We all know this isn’t the first u-turn of the Truss administration.

But do you know the full extent of her dithering?

Here’s a clip that lays out the situation for you:

She has created a huge problem for herself, electorally, with this.

We know that she has thrown away Boris Johnson’s 2019 manifesto; most of the plans in that document won’t materialise now (and that’s a good thing, by and large).

But by announcing policies on the hoof – and then u-turning on them – Truss is leaving the electorate in limbo.

What does she stand for? Does even she know?

Well, if she doesn’t work it out soon, she’ll self-destruct because the public won’t support a politician with no policies.

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Kwarteng is in a hole – and he’s STILL digging out unpopular policies!

Amazing.

Having realised his decision to cut the 45p tax rate was unpopular, Kwasi Kwarteng has reversed it (alongside his prime minister, Liz Truss). He will also bring forward his budget from November 23 to this month, to address concerns that it is unfunded and unviable.

But then he ruined it all by announcing new policies that are going to send voters running to other parties. They include:

£18 billion of cuts to public services – the amount that would be raised by a rise in Corporation Tax – and this is just the start.

A real-terms cut in benefits (yet to be announced but understood to be on the way).

And he’s still:

Removing the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

Cancelling the rise in Corporation Tax.

Here’s more in-depth information:

Bear in mind what Phil Moorhouse says about the reason the Tories shaft poor people: because they don’t vote in great enough numbers to harm Conservative electoral chances. It’s only when their cruelty seems likely to affect middle-class voters (like when many of them claimed Universal Credit during Covid-19 lockdown) that they make political – not economic – decisions that are intended to placate those voters.

This is the reason Tory MPs are developing a social conscience in the face of Truss’s – and Kwarteng’s – policies; they don’t want to upset their voters.

So if you’re a benefit claimant who has been shafted by Kwarteng and his bandits time and again – but you don’t vote – I have to ask: why do you have such a death wish?

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Liz’s legacy: crashing pound and pensions, housing crisis, inflation, unemployment. What’s to be done?

Liz Truss: “Duh… what did I do?”

Economist Richard Murphy has given his verdict on the result of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s new economic direction for the UK – and it is damning.

But he has also done something far more important; he has suggested ways forward for the UK. Principal among those is making sure the Conservative Party is never allowed into power on its own again, so it can never again ruin the finances of millions of people for the benefit of a few spoilt rich kids.

It’s the first positive series of suggestions This Writer has seen.

See what you think – and be sure to send those thoughts in via the comments section:

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The Pound has plummeted; now interest rates will skyrocket. Here’s how it harms YOU

The grinning Kwarteng: do you think he intended to cause the chaos he has inflicted on the United Kingdom, and was actually laughing to himself about it during the Queen’s funeral?

Up close and very personal.

If you’ve got a mortgage, the amount you pay towards it depends on interest rates.

If they are going through the roof, then you may suddenly find that you don’t have enough to pay for your home – and, shortly afterwards, that you don’t have a home to live in.

Remember, the lower Pound means food will cost a lot more than it does already; we import 40 per cent of our food from the EU.

Now watch this:

The keyword from this is: unsustainable.

The answer, if the grinning Kwasi Kwarteng is still determined to avoid a windfall tax on energy firms’ profits, is higher taxes or cuts to public services – and he has cut the 45 per cent tax bracket.

So you can expect the axe to fall on public services – probably before the end of the year. That will mark the end of the UK’s society as you know it. Bye, Britain, it was nice knowing you (back in the 1970s before the Thatcher rot set in)!

Unaffordable food, housing (and energy, let’s not forget); a savage attack on public services to come. Is this what you wanted?

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In crisis-prone Tory UK you can’t even go for a walk in the park

Here’s another shot in the foot for Tory credibility.

Drastic Tory underfunding over the last 12 Tory years is seriously degrading not just the quality and safety of public parks, but also their accessibility – their very public-ness.

Local authorities in England alone are spending £330 million less per year on public parks than before 2010.

And they are fencing them off to gain the income from hosting private festivals, after the Covid-19 crisis proved that our parks are essential – particularly to people with no green spaces of their own.

The Guardian article from which I’m getting this information paraphrases US folk singer Utah Phillips to describe the situation very well:

“Our public realm is not dying, it is being killed – and those who are killing it have names, addresses and lanyards for party conference season.”

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London bus drivers to stage 48 hour strike over cost of living – who can blame them?

Stopped: London’s buses.

Bus drivers in London will be on strike for two days early next week in protest at a pay rise that they’ve pointed out is a real-terms cut.

With inflation climbing to 8.2 per cent, the 1.5 per cent increase Arriva has offered its staff is a 6.7 per cent pay cut – anybody with the slightest understanding of mathematics can work that out.

Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ve started receiving letters from any firm that takes money from you on a regular basis, saying they’re increasing their bills in line with inflation because they want you to pay the increased costs of their heating and energy bills.

Here’s a simple question:

If our pay rises are limited, then why aren’t their bills limited by an equal amount?

That would seem fair to me – how about you?

If it was written into the law, think how fast business attitudes to your pay increases would change.

Source: London bus drivers to stage 48 hour strike on Monday in row over wages

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Join the call to end the ban on public ownership of buses

Award-winning: Reading Buses regularly invests back into its services and have one of the greenest fleets in the UK.

Greater Manchester has won the right to cap bus fares at £2 for adults and £1 for children after a landmark ruling by the High Court.

The ruling allows the metropolitan authority to regulate bus services there in the public interest.

Liverpool, West Yorkshire and Sheffield plan to do the same.

But the victory has opened up the debate on whether local authorities should continue to be banned from running services for people and not profit.

Even the Tory government seems to have shifted its position on this, believing the ban on municipal ownership is now “ripe for review”.

According to We Own It,

Only 9 municipal bus companies around the UK survived Thatcher’s disastrous deregulation. Because these bus companies don’t have to pay dividends to shareholders, they can invest more into improving local services.

This makes them incredibly popular, with Nottingham City Transport, Reading Buses and Lothian buses all regularly winning awards.

Reading Buses invests an additional £3 million a year into its service and has one of the greenest fleets in the UK.

The power of public ownership has led Reading to have the best passenger numbers outside London, with a 40% jump in just 6 yearsTalk about levelling up.

If the Reading model of public ownership was rolled out across the whole of Great Britain, it would save well over £500 million a year.

And in times of crisis, public ownership can also help insulate the public. In Northern Ireland, the operator Translink, owned and operated by local people, has just frozen fares to protect people from hikes in fuel costs.

Sadly the Tories seem to have lost track of this great idea, amidst all the emergencies they have created over the last year, in order to distract us.

We Own It has launched a petition to raise interest and prompt the Tories to remember the statement they made as part of Bus Back Better, their national bus strategy, launched on March 15 last year.

If you agree that it’s time we all had a bus service that served us, rather than profiting the owners, sign here: End the ban on public ownership of buses now! | We Own It

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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