Category Archives: Wages

Priti Patel is refusing to pay police enough to do their job & then demanding power to criticise them for it

Here’s the contradictory nature of Tory policy exposed in all its grubby grimness:

Priti Patel has been challenged to explain whether she could “survive” on the salaries she pays to local police officers – and ran away from answering.

Meanwhile, she is demanding the right to interfere in local policing matters – possibly criticising officers for failing to do work she does not pay them enough to manage.

According to Nation.Cymru,

Detective Constable Vicky Knight, a single mother who had worked in policing for more than two decades, asked Priti Patel if she would be able to “survive” on £1,200 or £1,400 a month.

Describing how she is paid “a couple of hundred pounds a month more than the workers in McDonald’s flipping burgers” and less than her “local manager at Lidl”, Ms Knight told how ahead of her most recent pay day she had to borrow £40 from her mother so she could put fuel in her car and buy food for her son’s school lunches “because I had no money left at the end of the month”.

“I went to see an accountant and the advice was leave the police, work for 22 hours a week and claim benefits and you will be better off. How can that be right?”

Patel did not answer the question; we don’t know whether she thinks she could survive on the pay she tells police officers to accept.

But we do know delegates at the annual conference of the Police Federation of England and Wales groaned when she whined that their organisation had not been “at the table” for pay negotiations; it is currently in dispute with her because she has imposed a pay freeze for officers and there were, therefore, no negotiations to be done.

While she is depriving police of the salaries they need in order to be able to do their jobs, it seems Patel is demanding the right to criticise them for any failures.

In a row with Police and Crime Commissioners, she is planning a unilateral revision of rules that define where policing responsibilities lie, in order to grant herself more power to interfere in local services.

She wants to take back power to demand answers from chief constables on local policing matters – and ability that was given to commissioners a decade ago when their role was created.

Obviously the ability to demand answers also provides an implied ability to criticise police services for failings – even though any failures may be because she has not provided the resources to do the job.

According to The Guardian,

The proposed protocol says: “We propose to lower the threshold for home secretary intervention in appropriate circumstances. This would equip the home secretary to intervene earlier as required, thus reducing the risk of failing to deliver effective policing.”

Apparently this is a reflection of a policy adopted by Patel since she became Home Secretary, called “lean in”. Perhaps it would more accurately be phrased as “lean on“.

Another example of this policy would appear to be her demand that chief constables act “in a politically neutral manner”, which has been added to the previous stricture that they must be impartial.

This would restrict them from commenting on public policy that they believe may affect crime fighting – such as the effects of austerity. Nor would they be allowed to speak out publicly on issues of political dispute like tougher sentences or opposing the decriminalisation of cannabis, which is supported by some frontline politicians.

In their response to Patel’s proposals, commissioners said she would need to seek an Act of Parliament to impose them as they are beyond her statutory powers at the moment – “ultra vires”:

“Creation of new powers of strategic oversight can only be achieved through primary legislation and must be subject to the full scrutiny that is required of primary legislation.”

So we see a hardline Home Secretary, attempting to dictate the behaviour of local police forces while denying them the resources to their job.

How ironic that she is currently being restricted with rules imposed by her own Tory forerunners.

Source: Home Secretary confronted by ‘desperately struggling’ North Wales Constable over low pay

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With more job vacancies than seekers: if employers can’t pay, TAKE YOURSELF AWAY!

What you’re worth: with more jobs available than workers, you’re doing employers a favour if you decide to work for them. MAKE SURE THEY PAY YOU PROPERLY FOR IT.

Official figures are telling us there are more job vacancies than people looking for work – for the first time since records began.

So why aren’t employers paying enough for their staff to survive?

This Writer remembers a moment, back when I was looking for my first newspaper job. I called up for an interview and the guy on the phone asked me if I could make the following Monday (or whenever).

“Oh,” said I. “I’ve got another interview then. How about another time?”

“Too bad!” said he, and rang off – because so many people were looking for work then that employers could afford to treat people like dirt.

(I got the other job, though – and it was better-paid.)

Now the tables are turned. Jobseekers can afford to treat poor-paying bosses like dirt for a change.

So, work out how much you need to earn in order to live comfortably, and when you go to that job interview, make sure they pay it to you.

Because if they can’t (or, more probably, won’t), then they’ll have to do without your expertise.

And their company will probably collapse due to the lack of it…

… like the newspaper whose editor couldn’t be bothered to give me a mutually-convenient interview!

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As NI rise bites your wages, have you realised yet the Tory plan was always to impoverish you?

Money: Boris Johnson and the super-rich have it because they took it from you. It was their plan from the start – even before the financial crash of 2008. And they tricked you with lies into voting to impoverish yourself.

Somebody’s bound to call it a perfect storm; it is perfect as far as the Conservatives are concerned.

Let’s see if we can get our ducks in the right line…

First we had the financial crisis, caused by bankers who have since become Conservative MPs. The Conservative-led Coalition government that slithered into office by blaming this mess on Labour (despite the fact that Tory bankers caused it) then claimed austerity was the solution.

And what did austerity do? It squeezed money out of the poor and gave it to the rich.

A knock-on effect of the financial crash was that banks were told to cut interest rates, almost to nothing. This meant there was no point in saving money because the only people who could benefit from the interest on their savings were the super-rich.

Then the Tories foisted Brexit on us. People like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg said leaving the EU would bring billions of pounds back into the UK, to be used on things the population really want, like investing in the National Health Service.

In fact, Brexit has cost the UK £800 million per week – and rising. It has tied the UK’s businesses up in red tape, despite that Tories having claimed that they were getting rid of burdensome bureaucracy.

And Brexit is a major contributor to the cost of living crisis. It has created huge pressures on the food supply chain (for example) due to high bureaucracy and a shortage of lorry drivers to bring goods into the country (this being worsened by the Tories’ hatred of foreign-born workers).

Food prices have, unsurprisingly, rocketed. Energy prices are also rocketing because of a shortage of supply. Both have been worsened by the war between Russia and Ukraine and decisions by western nations to boycott Russian gas and goods.

The Tories’ response to these pressures on ordinary families has been to cut wages wherever they can and to raise tax by increasing National Insurance. They have offered nothing to people on benefits or to pensioners, meaning the UK is facing the biggest cut in living standards since records began,

Their justification for the NI rise is that it will subsidise investment in the NHS and Social Care – a slap in the face for everybody who thought money saved by leaving the EU would do that. And the claim is a myth anyway:

And more of us are paying more tax already – because the Tories have frozen the thresholds at which people pay different rates of tax. Even though pay is rising below inflation, increases will push incomes above the levels at which they pay different tax rates, meaning the government will take more of your money in tax, just when you need to keep more in your pocket:

They say they’re going to introduce measures to ease the burden of the tax rises in July. Why not immediately?

And they say they’re going to cut Income Tax by one penny (to 19p in the pound) in time for the next general election. But is that really going to help people? How much money will it put backin the pockets of the poorly-paid when they’re already losing so much to inflated prices and higher taxes?

Put it all together and you can see that this was the plan all along: to multiply the incomes of the already-wealthy while restricting those of the working majority, then to increase prices and taxes to levels that won’t affect the rich but will plunge the vast majority into poverty.

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Civil servants are upset that their pay is being cut like everyone else’s

Poor babies: civil servants have implemented government policies that have caused the cost-of-living crisis and a dramatic fall in UK living standards. Did they really think they were not going to be hit as badly as the rest of us?

Members of the organisation that implements government policy are reportedly up in arms after finding out that the policies they are implementing also affect them.

With inflation surging to seven or eight per cent, Cabinet Office minister Heather Wheeler has informed public sector employers that they may award pay rises up to just two per cent, plus up to an extra percentage point in some cases, to be “targeted at specific priorities in their workforce and pay strategies”.

It’s a massive pay cut, the same as the rest of us are facing.

The Guardian article I’m using as a source suggests that average rises are 4.8 per cent but I’ve yet to hear of anybody receiving that much. What happens to that average if it’s applied only to the bottom 90 per cent of earners?

Meanwhile, MPs are getting a huge pay rise that will cover increased costs – even though most of them will claim those costs on expenses in any case.

Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union did his duty by pointing out that the government is cutting pay in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis:

“The failure of the government to recognise the cost-of-living crisis is a disgrace and shows utter contempt to our members, who have worked themselves to the bone during the pandemic … PCS will now be discussing an industrial response to this outrage.”

But didn’t the rest of us work just as hard to keep the UK going during the pandemic? This Writer didn’t stop working for a single day but my income has fallen hugely.

And the civil service has been happy to implement the decisions that are impoverishing the rest of us.

It would be easy to say that these people should have had a backbone and refused to inflict misery on millions of their fellow citizens.

But that would be unrealistic. They are servants – it’s in their job title. Their purpose is to do what the government demands, no matter how destructive or deranged.

So it’s better to say:

If the civil service will force the rest of us to suffer this government-inflicted persecution, it should be prepared to join us in it, rather than taking industrial action out of self-interest.

Source: Fury after civil service pay rises capped at 3% amid surging inflation

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Tories u-turn on limits to MPs’ second jobs – so their gravy train doesn’t stop?

Master and servant: Owen Paterson with his former boss, Peter Fitzgerald of Randox. They parted company shortly after Paterson stopped being an MP, which suggests that – rather than working for the people of North Shropshire – Paterson was really Randox’s inside man in Parliament.

Here’s an example of Tory greed at its worst.

Last year, after Owen Paterson ended up resigning as an MP because he had been found to have lobbied hard for at least one of several other employers, Boris Johnson promised curbs on the kind of secondary employment MPs could take.

But that was last year.

It seems he thinks we’ve all forgotten and he can signal the all-clear for his MP buddies (not all of them Tories!) to “Carry On Lobbying”.

Here are the details from the BBC News website:

Limiting the amount of time MPs spend on second jobs would be “impractical”, the government has said.

Boris Johnson called for a review of MPs’ outside work last year after a number of high-profile controversies.

At the time, the prime minister backed proposals to place “reasonable limits” on hours spent on other jobs.

MPs later backed government plans to prevent them taking on certain jobs, with No 10 saying any outside role, paid or unpaid, should be “within reasonable limits” and not stop MPs fully serving their constituents.

A definition of what that meant was not given, but International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan suggested 15 hours a week as a reasonable limit.

But Cabinet Office Minister Steve Barclay has now said the measure would not work and also cast doubt on a proposed cap on outside earnings.

“The imposition of time limits would not necessarily serve to address recent concerns over paid advocacy and the primary duty of MPs to serve their constituents.”

When it came to a cap on earnings, Mr Barclay also had his doubts, writing that such a rule “could serve to prohibit activities which do not bring undue influence to bear on the political system”, such as writing books.

He said a long-serving MP “could inadvertently reach the ‘ceiling’ through earnings accrued over time”, and he questioned “whether it would be fair to subject that member to a standards investigation”.

He added: “To avoid this issue would require a substantive earning threshold to be set such that it would not serve to prevent MPs from taking on outside work for which they were properly remunerated in line with salaries in that sector.

“The introduction of such an arbitrary cap therefore may not have the intended effect of ensuring that members prioritise their parliamentary duties and the needs of their constituents.”

Why not just combine time limits with a ban on lobbying for firms that employ them, then?

(I’ll tell you why: no firm would then wish to employ them. Randox and Owen Paterson parted company as soon as he left Parliament.)

The u-turn provoked a sharp reaction from the pundits on the BBC’s Politics Live

Making an announcement in the middle of a war keeps it off the front pages, said Ed Vaizey.

He – a Tory – admitted it should be possible to limit the number of hours an MP works for other employers, and it should be possible to limit earnings.

And Stella Creasy said it isn’t hard to work out what is fair: if someone is a doctor it is fair to expect them to do a bit of practice to keep their skills up. “But you don’t need to practise to make a million pounds sitting in the British Virgin Islands [as former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox did] … it looks bad for all of us.”

She continued: “The public are looking at us with horror. The question isn’t how many hours – it’s ‘where do you find the time?’ There is quite a lot on, right now!”

Even Torygraph columnist Madeline Grant said: “Boris Johnson is very good at promising things in the short term to get out of trouble and then reverse-ferreting.”

She added: “They should have been looking at probity and conflict of interest, which is why the Owen Paterson scandal was so appalling.”

“I think they just bottled it,” said Miatta Fahnbulleh of the New Economics Foundation. “This might come back to bite them because it leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.

“Being an MP is really hard; it is a full-time, pretty intense, full-on job, and for constituents [the question is] is your attention, is your priority, is your care divided? If you’re earning 200-300 grand in that other job you’d be right to feel that’s more of a priority.”

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MPs use taxpayer-funded expenses to pay bills worth thousands. You get a £200 loan

Not strictly a backhander: but why are MPs getting their extra heating bills paid on expenses – along with an increase in their wages?

The following should be self-explanatory:

These are just three examples. Want to know how many MPs are sponging thousands of pounds from you – that’s right, you personally – this way?

340:

Connected to this, here’s a good question:

In fact, the pay rise is supposed to cover extra work that MPs have to do now – and RD Hale’s argument still works.

By the same logic, if MPs deserve £2,212 to cover the value of the extra work they’re having to do, then minimum wage earners deserve £66,770. And their heating costs paid by the government.

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Can you swallow this pathetic excuse for the latest enormous MP pay rise?

Rolling in it: MP pay has increased by nearly one-third since 2010, while the rest of us have become thousands of pounds worse-off, in real terms, because of austerity restrictions imposed by Boris Johnson and Tory prime ministers before him.

We’ve had some daft excuses for MPs’ pay rises before now but this one takes the biscuit: they’ll have £2,212 extra from the beginning of April because their responsibilities are said to have “dramatically increased”!

What utter dribble.

MPs’ pay will increase to £84,144 (for backbenchers) – a rise of almost £20,000 from the £65,738 they were getting when the Tories slithered into office by the back door in 2010.

The rise is being represented by the so-called Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which was established in 2009 after that year’s infamous scandal over the expenses claimed by MPs.

In 2015, IPSA recommended a massive 10.9 per cent salary hike for MPs – to £74,000, justifying it by saying it would be offset by new tougher rules on parliamentary expenses, higher pensions contributions and the end of pay-offs to MPs who retire or voluntarily step down.

David Cameron was prime minister at the time. He said it was “simply unacceptable” – right up until his backbenchers decided they wanted to grab as much cash as they possibly could and threatened to rebel.

Amid public outcry, 69 MPs later said they would give the amount of their pay rise to charity – but research by The Sun (of all places) subsequently revealed that only 26 actually did so. The other two-thirds, it seems, only paid lip-service to the idea.

In April 2016 IPSA lined up a 1.3 per cent pay rise for MPs – more than three times the national average – to £74,962.

The following year saw an increase of 1.4 per cent to £76,011. The reason in both cases was said to be the annual change in average weekly earnings across the public sector.

How odd, when most public sector workers had been subjected to austerity restrictions since 2010 and hadn’t had a pay increase at all!

And, of course, the comparison would have required parity between MPs’ working conditions and those of public sector workers, meaning nurses, teachers and so on could enjoy the same rules on working hours, the same workers’ rights and make the same kind of expenses claims.

They don’t, so the claim is impossible to justify. But MPs had their £1000+ pay rise all the same.

In 2018, the pay rise had increased to 1.8 per cent, meaning MP salaries rose by £1,368 to £77,369. Again, there was no parity with the pay and conditions of other public sector workers, despite the rise being linked to any rise in their earnings.

By 2020, MPs’ pay was being increased by an inflation-busting 3.8 per cent to £81,932. I commented at the time that this was after the Tory government had created a massive increase in in-work poverty for the rest of us; eight million working-age people, 60 per cent of whom had jobs.

Oh, and MPs were also awarded increased expenses, to rub our noses in it still further.

Now IPSA has announced that MPs are to receive £2,212 extra in the financial year starting in April. And, like all the other excuses, the current claim isn’t being swallowed by the general public:

Yes indeed, especially as MP pay has been linked with theirs so often!

Some have made light of it with humour…

… but it is time to accept that IPSA doesn’t work.

MPs can’t go back to proposing – and voting on – their own pay rises because there simply wouldn’t be enough money to keep the current crop of greedy money-grubbers in cocaine (or whatever else they may choose to buy with it).

Personally, This Writer thinks MPs should be given a very massive pay cut.

The average salary in January this year was £29,600.

If the rest of us have to cope on that (and many of us have to manage on much less) then there’s no reason MPs can’t – and we all have to deal with increased pressures that the Tories in government have heaped on us.

Maybe the Tories would think differently about heaping extra costs like the 10+ per cent rise in National Insurance contributions and massively increased energy bills if they themselves have to cope with them in the same way we do.

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Embattled Tories kick down hard – they want to make benefit claimants suffer

Sanction centre: the Tories are giving unemployed Universal Credit claimants just four months to get a job in the sector they want before demanding that they take what they’re offered or face sanctions. But who will profit? The jobseeker – or the employer?

This Writer has never understood why working-class people vote for the Conservatives when the Tories always attack them.

This is especially true when the Tories are themselves under attack, so it should be no surprise to anybody that they are victimising benefit claimants again.

This time it is unemployed people on Universal Credit who are taking the brunt of the pain:

Unemployed workers will be forced to take up a job in any sector or face swift financial sanctions under a crackdown designed to fill hundreds of thousands of vacancies.

Claimants will be given just four weeks – down from three months – to find a job within their preferred sector. After that point, if they fail to make “reasonable efforts” to secure a job or turn down any offer, they will have part of their universal credit payment withdrawn.

The move, which is part of an initiative to get 500,000 people into work by June and fill 1.2m job vacancies nationally, comes as Boris Johnson seeks to reassert control over the political agenda amid the “partygate” crisis.

See? It’s a distraction tactic.

The important question is: how much do these jobs pay?

Unemployed people aren’t likely to care if they take a job in their preferred sector; the priority for anybody at times of hardship is to get one that pays the bills.

And this is the problem.

The Conservatives have spent nearly 12 years, since they slithered back into office in 2010, pushing wages down – so the average is now thousands of pounds less than it used to be (in real terms).

And people are struggling.

Do these 1.2 million new jobs pay a living wage?

Or will anybody taking them still be claiming Universal Credit, simply to survive?

That’s a government subsidy for employers, of course – not a benefit for the employee.

It’s not acceptable and, as the government, the Tories should be ensuring that it doesn’t happen.

But they won’t, because they haven’t bothered at any other time since May 2010.

The remarkable thing is that, knowing the Tories are victimising the electorate, voters still send them back to Parliament. In the name of all that’s sane, why?

Do middle-class voters really think that these punitive moves against vulnerable people are saving the rest of us from supporting scroungers, benefit cheats, and people who are just too lazy to work?

Do working-class voters – the ones this police attacks – really think a Tory government provides an opportunity for them to become billionaires, by hard work and struggle? Has it not occurred to them that they work much harder than those people and still get nowhere because the system is stacked against them?

People need to think about what Tory policies actually do – and ignore the propaganda. Then they need to vote accordingly.

Source: Universal credit claimants face tough sanctions in UK job crackdown | Benefits | The Guardian

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Labour is so shifty it won’t commit to help anybody

Clueless: when Starmer was talking up Labour’s barely-scraped-together win in the Batley and Spen by-election, who knew that this gesture was his explanation of his policies – a shrug.

Isn’t it the job of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Party to say what it would do if it was running the UK?

Here’s Labour’s Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury – also known as James Murray – taking nearly two minutes to avoid giving a straight answer to a straight question: whether Keir Starmer’s newly right-wing party would reinstate the £20/week Universal Credit uplift:

He said: “I’ve been really clear.. it’s really important to be clear about this.”

Then he said three times that Labour opposed the cut, but he wouldn’t say if the party would reinstate it. That’s shifty, not clear.

His problem is that Labour is now sympathetic to the miserly billionaires who store all their cash in offshore tax havens, and this means it has no tax option to fund the £6 billion/year that would be needed to make it viable.*

For the same reason, Labour can’t commit to a higher-than-inflation public sector pay rise after Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that he was ending the current pay freeze:

Weak.

It makes Labour look like the Tories poorer little sister – unable to offer even a more imaginative alternative to big brother’s failed plans.

*We all know that the UK government can use the Bank of England to create as much money as it needs, but to be responsible it must prevent inflation via tax, right? Labour’s normal policy is to redistribute the nation’s funds (all money belongs to the government via the Bank of England, remember) by taxing the rich to pay for large-scale public services, but Keir Starmer wants to change that to a Conservative approach, and this means no cash for badly-needed social changes.

See:

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Care workers are treated like dirt by the Tories. No wonder they’re quitting

We thought this window-writing was by a child in care. It seems it might have been by a carer instead.

Here‘s another crisis the Conservative government has created for itself:

Desperately needed social care staff are quitting their jobs to work in the tourism and hospitality sector because they are ‘burnt out’, the sector has warned.

Exhausted staff are leaving the key worker roles to fill shortages in other sectors, as pubs and restaurants struggle to find enough staff.

Urgent action is needed to stop a “tsunami of unmet need” rippling across essential services this winter, the care regulator has warned.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says health and care staff are “exhausted and depleted” and working under intense levels of pressure.

The vacancy rate in care homes has steadily grown to reach 10.2% as of September – meaning in a year’s time one in 10 care home staff will not be in that job, the CQC said.

And what’s the Conservative government’s response? Make those who are left work harder.

It’s shocking – and ridiculous at the same time. Watch Peter Stefanovic’s video to grasp the full meaning of what Tory minister Gillian Keegan was backed into saying:

For fairness, here’s more of that interview, without interruptions:

I wouldn’t be surprised if every care worker who saw those clips – or the full interview when it was screened – quit their job at once.

It is clear that they aren’t valued and will simply be worked until they drop – and then blamed for the holes in the care system they leave behind.

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