Tag Archives: charity

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Brandon Lewis: this is an old image so the facts about his houses may be out of date.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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Was the scheme to rehouse the homeless during the Covid lockdown another big Tory dud?

Robert Jenrick: when it comes to doing what’s right, it seems he’ll avoid every opportunity that comes his way.

It seems homeless people really are invisible – to the media, at least.

The Tories told us they were putting people who sleep on the streets into temporary accommodation – with a scheme called “Everyone In”.

Except it turns out that everyone wasn’t in.

Even by the Tories’ own estimation they only managed to bring 90 per cent of then-existing homeless people out of the open air and behind closed doors.

And that estimation comes from Robert Jenrick. What are his words worth?

Not a lot, it seems:

In June, the Office for Statistics Regulation criticised ministers for a lack of transparency by quoting figures without publishing supporting data.

Homelessness charity Streetlink is reporting that reports of people living on the streets rocketed by 36 per cent, year on year, for the period between April and June 2020.

Notifications were also higher than the previous quarter – January to March – which is unusual as they usually rise during the winter months.

According to the relevant charities, it seems the Covid crisis – and the Tory government’s lame response – has led to an entirely new cohort of people becoming homeless as the services and facilities on which they relied closed down.

People who did not have access to public funds – and some of us made loud noises about this at the time – were particularly hard-hit, especially people from foreign countries.

So the jingoistic Tories found yet another way to hammer Johnny Foreigner.

The information puts us in a nightmare scenario of escalation, with the Tories silent on calls to extend the ban on evictions, that ends on August 23.

So it seems the plan is to dump half the population in the gutter while we’re all looking the other way.

Source: Reports of rough sleeping in UK rose sharply during lockdown | Society | The Guardian

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Latest phase of Tory ‘hostile environment’ would force charities to help deport people sleeping rough

The Conservative government has been caught trying to persecute foreigners and some of the UK’s most vulnerable people – yet again.

The scandal centres once again on the Home Office, which has been trying to pressgang homelessness charities into becoming border guards.

The plan – euphemistically titled the Rough Sleeper Support Service (RSSS) – is to get charity outreach workers to pass on the personal details of homeless people to the Home Office where, if they were found to be from foreign countries, enforcement officers would deport them.

The scheme deliberately ignores data protection and privacy laws by demanding that personal information be passed to the Home Office regardless of whether the subject gives their consent.

This breach of national and international law was imposed to make it easier to deport people. A Home Office email stated that this would be harder if individuals were allowed to withdraw consent for their information to be used in this way, as would be permitted legally.

There has been pushback from charities who have refused to agree a data-sharing deal – that breaks the law – with the Home Office and local authorities.

This Writer wonders whether charities were also being gagged with non-disclosure agreements foisted on them by the Home Office – a Conservative government trick we have encountered before.

It seems odd that the first time this atrocity came to public attention was after the human rights charity Liberty received answers to a Freedom of Information request.

And Liberty was not pleased. According to the charity’s Gracie Bradley:

“It’s disgraceful that the Home Office, local authorities, and charities are attempting to turn trusted homelessness outreach workers into border guards. Homelessness charities must refuse complicity in the hostile environment.

Bradley said referrals will likely result in immigration enforcement action.

She said ministers should be concentrating on combating the root causes of homelessness rather than targeting rough sleepers. “Consent and data protection should also be at the heart of our interactions with public institutions,” she added.

[A] Public Interest Law Centre spokesman added: “Despite its name, the new RSSS offers no ‘support’ to homeless migrants living in the UK. It is a ‘hostile environment’ measure in all but name.”

Shockingly, the Tories have been unrepentant, now that their plan has been revealed.

A Home Office spokesman actually told the Guardian: “This enables individuals to access support or assists them in leaving the UK where appropriate.”

Assists them? They can only be assisted to leave the UK if they have been asked whether they want to – and it seems perfectly clear that the Home Office does not intend to seek any such permissions.

This is yet another atrocity from the home of the “hostile environment” and Home Secretary Sajid Javid should be hauled before Parliament to explain his department’s flagrant abuse of the law.

If he fails to account for his department’s actions, then we will have yet more proof of the Conservative Party’s prejudice against anybody who isn’t rich and privileged.

Source: Secret plan to use charities to help deport rough sleepers | Politics | The Guardian

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Gagging clauses: Chris Grayling silenced justice charities to stop them revealing what a fool he is

Grayling: What does a fool do to prevent his stupidity becoming public knowledge? He gags everybody in the know.

The Times‘ investigation into the Tory government’s use of non-disclosure agreements (gagging clauses) to prevent outside organisations from saying anything that would damage their reputation continues.

Today the focus is on current Transport Secretary Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling and the disastrous changes to the probation service that he demanded when he was in charge of Justice.

We all know that his ideas were stupid, short-sighted and dangerous because we have seen their result – but it seems we could have found this out much earlier, if he had not silenced every organisation that could have told us at the time.

Here‘s the report:

Chris Grayling’s changes to the probation service were deemed to be a failure, but charities dealing with the fallout were prevented from saying anything that would damage his reputation

After Chris Grayling oversaw a £3 billion overhaul of the probation system in 2015, his reforms were condemned as a failure.

Prison inspectors found that changes introduced when he was justice secretary resulted in criminals being released without anywhere to live and without staff assessing “significant risks” to their partners and children.

Dame Glenys Stacey, chief inspector of probation, said the overhaul meant there was “no real prospect” of preventing prisoners from returning to crime.

The findings prompted criticism from campaigners, politicians and probation staff. Some of the key charities working with former prisoners, however, have appeared to be unconcerned.

The rest is hidden by the paywall but you get the idea.

Labour’s Richard Burgon commented on Twitter…

That’s putting it mildly!

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This charity chief broke the Tory gagging order on the effect of Universal Credit. Her words are heartbreaking – and infuriating

The lady in the video below is Ellie Waugh, chief executive of the charity Humanity Torbay, which aims to help the vulnerable secure homes, jobs and training.

Part of that mission has involved working with the Conservative government – but this has come with strings attached, including a demand not to criticise Tory policies such as Universal Credit on pain of losing grant aid.

Ms Waugh has chosen to speak out despite these threats because she thinks the public needs to know how bad the situation is.

Her statement is clear: “It is absolutely awful out there.”

Anyone who is not heartbroken by her message and infuriated at the Conservative government for making it necessary, and for creating the situation that made it necessary, should seriously consider trying to find their own humanity.

Please share the clip. People need to see it.

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What kind of benefit is Universal Credit, that people need a support group to cope with it?

 

This is Tory Party insanity at its height.

They keep telling us Universal Credit is the best thing that ever happened to the benefit system – yet now people in Portsmouth are being directed to charity support groups, simply in order to survive it.

That’s not social security – it’s a crime against humanity.

No one needs to navigate Universal Credit alone, support groups have said.

Across Portsmouth … a network of organisations … have been working towards the introduction of Universal Credit in partnership with both the council and the Jobcentre.

Source: Support groups set up to tackle Universal Credit in Portsmouth – The News

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Tory social policy at work: Head teachers seek charity help for families sleeping by bins

East London headteacher Lorna Jackson says that by working with the charity SHS her school has helped more than 100 families with basic needs such as food

So much of the Conservative master-plan for the general public is visible here:

They want to disrupt the education of children from poor families, so they have no opportunity to eclipse the academic abilities of the rich (no matter how stupid those rich kids may be – think Boris Johnson).

They want to deprive poor families – even those earning a full-time wage – from the ability to own their own home, or even to rent one if possible.

They want to make sure there is no way for such people to claw their way back out of the hole that has been dug for them by the Tory government.

Result: Families are sleeping on the streets, by dustbins.

And then the Tories have the sheer cheek to lie to us that the number of people sleeping rough is decreasing.

It was a sight Lorna Jackson, a London headteacher, had never expected to see: two pupils at her primary school sleeping behind bins at the station with their parents. “Mum, dad and the two little children were all sleeping on a mattress they’d found. The family had been evicted and the children had very little to eat.”

Jackson’s school, Maryland primary in Stratford, is in a deprived area of east London. As well as suffering homelessness, her pupils are regularly victims of domestic violence. “I realised that my role had changed. Unless I addressed our children’s wellbeing, their education was not going to have impact at all.”

Source: Headteachers turn to charities as families sleep by bins | Education | The Guardian

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Blue Badge changes were forced on Tories by court case – and they lied about it

This is sterling work from John Pring’s indispensible Disability News Service.

It turns out that the government’s much-trumpeted changes to the list of those who qualify for blue disability badges were forced on the Tories by the courts – and they lied about it to cover up the fact.

The changes mean people with invisible impairments should find it much easier to get a blue badge, which gives concessions to disabled people when they have to pay for parking.

They were heralded as the biggest overhaul of the system in 40 years, following a public consultation – but nobody mentioned the fact that this had been ordered by the courts after a judicial review on behalf of an autistic man with learning difficulties.

According to DNS, the man, who has since died, “had had a blue badge for 30 years but was told by his local council that he no longer qualified because of new [Department for Transport] rules.

“His family took legal action against the government and his local council because of new guidance issued by DfT in October 2014, after the government had begun to replace disability living allowance (DLA) with the new personal independence payment (PIP) disability benefit the previous year.

“DfT was forced to settle the judicial review claim in 2016 by agreeing to review the new blue badge guidance.

“It was that review that led to this year’s consultation – which heard from more than 6,000 individuals and more than 230 organisations – and the announcement of changes to the scheme this week.”

The cover-up was aided by disability charities including the National Autistic Society (NAS), which was quoted in the DfT press release expressing its support for the government and saying it was “thrilled” with the move, according to DNS.

“The support of charities like NAS was then reported by mainstream media including the Independent, the Observer/Guardian online and the BBC, most of which repeated the government’s line that the announcement was the biggest overhaul of the system in 40 years,” the news site dedicated to issues facing disabled people stated.

There’s a big push, at the moment, to have social media sites labelled ‘fake news’, so the mainstream media – like the Independent, Observer/Guardian and the BBC can maintain their supremacy as “reliable” news sources. I wonder how many people would have realised these “reliable” news sources were in fact peddling fake news in this case?

DNS is currently struggling to remain financially viable – but without the site’s excellent work, the government would be able to keep hidden the facts about stories like this.

Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS by visiting the source article (link below) and clicking on the ‘Donate’ button at the bottom of the story.

Source: Charities help government with cover-up over blue badge changes

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Lewis Hamilton hammered for making charity appeal while avoiding tax. But is he the worst offender?

Lord Ashcroft hid in a toilet to avoid answering allegations of tax avoidance. How many other shadowy businesspeople are keeping their heads down in similar ways?

Lewis Hamilton should have known: You can’t avoid paying tax on your private plane and expect people to praise you for asking other people to give.

It is therefore no surprise that his support for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal garnered this response:

https://twitter.com/AbiWilks/status/931873303572156418

He has also been supporting other efforts to attack poverty:

https://twitter.com/LewisHamilton/status/931186816010604544

But here’s the thing:

And that’s exactly the point. By avoiding his tax obligation, Mr Hamilton – the UK’s highest-paid sportsman, unless I’ve been misinformed – is depriving the state of the cash necessary to fund schemes that would help lift children out of poverty, in a way that charities simply can’t achieve.

Of course, there are alternatives to harsh criticism:

And of course, Lewis Hamilton isn’t the only tax avoider in the UK.

We know about him because reporters on the BBC’s Panorama knew that he is a big name that would attract interest.

What about the really serious offenders? These are the businesspeople who make a career out of cheating the nation out of their tax obligation.

It might be legal, but it sure isn’t moral.

Lord Ashcroft was the token businessperson mentioned by Panorama, but there are plenty more – and they deprive us of billions.

Who are they?


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Tory voters take note: Sean Hughes has bequeathed one of his houses to a homelessness charity

Generosity: Comedian and actor Sean Hughes died last week after suffering a heart attack.

At a time when Conservative government has seen homelessness soar to 100,000, those who have profited from the last seven years of privilege for the extremely rich should take note of the example given by the late comedian Sean Hughes.

Mr Hughes has bequeathed one of his houses to a charity providing help to the homeless.

Members of the “one per cent” are encouraged to look at their huge property portfolios and consider how history will treat them if they write an article of generosity into their wills – or how they will be regarded if they don’t.


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