Tag Archives: 5

The ‘shocking’ part of this report is that it was so easy for 1.3m children & babies to fall into poverty

Family poverty skyrocketed under Tory policies of benefit denial and wage depression. Now they can blame Covid-19 for it.

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and baby bank charity Little Village has shown that 1.3 million babies and children aged less than five in the UK are now in poverty.

The report found 34 per cent of families with one child under five live below the poverty line, meaning they survive on less than 60% of the median household income in the UK.

1.3 million of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of 5.

Two in five of the families of the children in poverty have seen a reduction in their earnings as a result of the ongoing Covid crisis.

Undoubtedly the government will want to blame Covid-19. Measures to control the pandemic have meant lower-level incomes have suffered.

But who imposed those measures? The Tories.

And why were so many families already so close to poverty that it took only a 20 per cent reduction in their incomes (the difference between normal wages and furlough payments) to drop them into it? Because the Tories encouraged wage depression over the 10 years prior to the pandemic.

Finally, let us all remember that the pandemic has been a windfall for the richest people in the country. They have increased their income hugely.

Source: 1.3m babies and kids under 5 live in poverty in Britain, ‘shocking’ new report finds – Mirror Online

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#FreeSchoolMeals scandal: ‘£30’ shopping basket provides just ‘£5’ of food because the Tories outsourced provision

Let’s not beat around the bush: your lovable Conservative government led by cuddly Boris Johnson deliberately starved schoolchildren by outsourcing free school meals to a very expensive company – because it was part of the so-called ‘chumocracy’.

The government had promised to provide £30 to feed children for periods lasting 10 days.

But rather than giving vouchers to parents so they could buy the food themselves, or even tasking local authorities to do it, the Department for Education outsourced the job to private, profit-making firms.

One of these firms is called Chartwells. It seems it won the contract as part of the so-called ‘chumocracy’ – it is part of the food service giant Compass Group whose former chairman, Paul Walsh, was once a member of David Cameron’s business advisory group.

Instead of putting all £30 into food hampers for hungry children, it seems Chartwells provided just £5.22 worth of food and kept the remaining £24.78 as profit.

Food parcels have been brought in to replace £30 vouchers given to parents to spend in supermarkets as schools close for remote learning. But one mum valued the contents of her parcel at no more than £5.22, if bought from Asda.

She was given two jacket potatoes, a can of beans, eight single cheese slices, a loaf of bread, two carrots, three apples, two Soreen Malt Lunchbox Loaves, three Frubes, some pasta and one tomato.

Chartwells has protested that it followed Department for Education guidelines – which throws the blame back towards the Tories – but has also admitted that details of the contents of its hampers do not conform with its own specifications.

Whichever way you slice it, someone has been creaming cash from this scheme and allowing children to starve – and the only reason they’ve managed it is because of the Tory obsession with privatisation.

It is a ridiculous state of affairs. Everybody in the Tory government, from Johnson down, knows that giving a contract to a private company means it will keep some of the cash for itself.

So a claim to be providing £30 to feed children is a lie. They were always providing £30 to their friends in food companies.

Sadly, many of the parents whose children are now being forced to starve on pennies-worth of food per day actually voted for this treatment in December 2019.

The question has to be asked: why weren’t vouchers provided to parents?

Was it because another Tory – Ben Bradley – put out a false claim that they would squander the money on “crack dens” and “brothels”, even though the vouchers that existed at the time specifically prohibited their use for such purposes?

It only takes a piece of fake news like this from one influential source to influence large numbers of people into believing the lie, and I wonder whether this was what enabled the Tory government to starve children in the way it has.

Think of it this way: Isn’t it odd that many people get outraged at the (faked) possibility of someone spending a fraction of a food voucher on alcohol (more likely than Bradley’s choices but still impossible) – but don’t bat an eyelid when private firms take 80 per cent of food vouchers for their own profits?

Perhaps the most pertinent comment on this whole shabby affair is the following:

Sadly, it would have been necessary for millions of people to have voted a different way in 2019 for that to have happened. And something stopped them:

Source: Free school meals firm with Tory links shamed over £30 shopping basket | Metro News

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Covid-19: is Johnson about to mess up everybody’s plans YET AGAIN?

 

Boris Johnson seems to have an irrational urge to make life difficult for everybody.

Only yesterday (January 3), he was merrily telling Andrew Marr that schools should stay open outside London and southeast England, and that although stronger Covid-related restrictions were likely, they weren’t coming yet.

Many of us thought that was extremely off-colour, of course – he was condemning people to die because he, personally, didn’t feel like changing the situation so they would be saved.

Now we find he is announcing new national restrictions at 8pm today (January 4).

He’ll say the situation has reached Alert Level 5 – the NHS in danger of being overwhelmed. He will have known this for some time, of course. We could all see this from last Wednesday, or whenever the infection rate hit more than 50,000 per day.

But that is his excuse, it seems.

There’s no need to watch his broadcast, though – Robert Peston has already told us what the announcement will be!

Oh, and Hugh Pym from the BBC has got in on the act, too:

Why does Johnson bother talking to us himself when he leaks all his announcements to his client journalists?

This must be particularly hard for schools:

One thing’s for sure: whatever happens, Keir Starmer will still be the butt of many jokes:

Let’s be clear: This is the right thing to do – but it is happening far too late.

People have died, are dying, and are being crippled – possibly for life – because Johnson is too stupid to know when to stop trying to create a public relations victory and start trying to save lives.

He has not made a good decision about the pandemic since he first heard about it, back in November 2019.

That doesn’t change the facts:

I think James is being far too hopeful.

Johnson always starts lockdown too late and stops it too soon. We’ve seen that twice now.

I saw a great new term for this today: mockdown.

Let’s hope he doesn’t adhere to form and we don’t get another mockdown.

But I fear we will.

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It’s November 5 – and ‘V for Vendetta Day’ has never been more relevant

Talk about life imitating art!

It is November 5, 2020 – and This Writer half expects to hear of a man in a Guy Fawkes mask setting off an explosion that destroys Parliament later this evening.

That is what happens in the movie version of V for Vendetta, Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s seminal graphic novel. And there are more similarities…

In the movie, Britain is under the control of a ruthless fascist dictatorship that offers security but not freedom. Does this seem familiar to you?

This administration has used a viral pandemic to seize power and keep the people of Britain under control. Does this remind you of a situation in the real world?

(Just to hammer the point home, the first dialogue in the first episode of the graphic novel includes these words: “The Brixton and Streatham areas are quarantine zones as of today. It is suggested that these areas be avoided for reasons of health and safety.” The locations may be different but that’s not too far from what’s happening today.)

The country is kept under curfew, enforced by a brutal police force known as “Fingermen”. As England goes into lockdown for a second time, do you remember Boris Johnson’s plan to give special enforcement powers to a select few people, to ensure that we all follow his rules?

It seems plenty of people do:

The situation in the real world – now – demonstrates the point the film – and the original graphic novel that was originally serialised from 1982 onwards – made:

This Writer was among the first people to read V for VendettaI was 12 years old at the time, and an avid consumer of Alan Moore’s stories.

The thought of living in a country like that, frankly, terrified me. But I could see its roots spreading, in the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher and the so-called “surveillance society” she created.

So could Moore. In the introduction to the 1988 serialisation of V, he wrote: “The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top… one can only speculate as to which minority will be the next legislated against.

“Goodnight England. Goodnight Home Service and V for Victory.

“Hello the Voice of Fate and V for Vendetta.”

All very grim.

But the story ends on a hopeful note, and so will this article – because the message that has resonated with the public today is this:

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” I hope Boris Johnson hears those words today.

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Christmas is coming – but DWP delays mean your Universal Credit payment may not be

Thousands of families could be facing debt – and possibly homelessness – this Christmas because of the Conservatives’ hated so-called “benefit”, Universal Credit.

Rules enforced by the Department for Work and Pensions mean people who are ordered to apply for Universal Credit after this week will face a five-week wait for payment.

This would put them in debt ahead of Christmas – December 25.

Take North Wales as an example. Community Housing Cymru (CHC), the membership body for housing associations in Wales, released shocking figures released revealing that 73% per cent of housing association tenants in North Wales claiming UC are in rent arrears.

The average amount owed is a staggering £585.

Data for Wales as a whole shows 84 per cent of housing association tenants claiming UC owe an average of £556 on their rent.

The figure is more than double that owed by tenants receiving Housing Benefit through the old system, according to CHC.

And the Tories tell you they have made improvements to the system.

Food bank use among people claiming Universal Credit has increased over the past six months – so there will be no turkey, mince pies or presents for them!

Many could apply for an advance Universal Credit payment, but this is a loan that will then be deducted from future payments, meaning they’ll lose up to 30 per cent of future UC payments until it is paid off.

The lack of cash may even force some claimants – mostly women – into “survival sex” work, otherwise known as prostitution.

The Tories won’t care. When then-Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey heard about this scandal – years ago – her only comment was that “perhaps there are other jobs on offer”.

She is the Tory candidate for Tatton so I advise anybody who lives there to vote Labour instead.

Labour itself is planning to pilot Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes in which everybody would receive a basic amount to cover their living expenses, with no poverty-inducing wait.

But that won’t happen unless a Labour government is elected.

What are you going to do?

Source: Delays in Universal Credit payments risk leaving families in Christmas debt hell – North Wales Live

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