Tag Archives: cold

Tory ministers silent as they’re urged to prevent ‘wave of evictions’

Homeless: this man was photographed living on the streets in Birmingham before Covid-19. Who knows how many more will be living there – prey to the virus – after August 23?

The government’s moratorium on evictions ends this week, putting tens of thousands of people in danger of eviction – in the middle of the biggest recession the UK has ever experienced.

The Tories have been urged to safeguard the people under threat – but they are strangely silent. One wonders whether they would be so quiet if their fellow Conservatives were being turfed out of their stately homes for any reason.

So when the ban on evictions in England and Wales ends on August 23, it seems likely to signal a wave of homelessness, with people forced onto the streets to face joblessness (as a result of the Tory recession), illness (because of the Tory failure to fight Covid-19) and the cold (because winter is coming).

Landlords in England have been able to issue notices of eviction three months in advance of taking possession; in Wales, the Labour government has ordered that they cannot take possession before six months have elapsed.

No reason need be given for them to take possession. Boris Johnson has promised to end “no-fault” evictions in a new “Renter’s Reform Bill” – but he has shown no inclination to bring such legislation to Parliament.

Previous prime minister Theresa May had made the same promise, but she never brought such a Bill to Parliament either.

And there really are a lot of private landlords stuffing the Tory benches in the House of Commons.

Of  course, evictions and homelessness will have a knock-on effect on the economy – at a time of recession – as it costs the government and the emergency services more to help homeless people than it does to keep them housed.

The Tories know this because they’ve seen the same evidence I have.

And yet they are silent.

It seems they are more keen to inflict cruelty on others than to do their job – which is to run the country efficiently. Wasn’t that always the way with the toffs?

Source: Ministers have just seven days to prevent a ‘wave of evictions’, MPs and charities warn | The Independent

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It’s freezing out! How long until we hear of the first cold-weather death of a pensioner?

When I woke up this morning (October 30), the temperature outside was -6C and the cat was begging me to let her get into bed with me to get warm.

It seems autumn has been and gone, and we have made the transition from balmy summer into frigid winter with the kind of rapidity that some people find hard to accommodate – especially those who are past retirement age.

It seems it is time for the annual Tory pensioner cull.

The number of deaths due to cold weather has increased rapidly since the Conservative Party took office in 2010, reaching a high of 48,000 (if you can believe the source) between December 1 last year and the end of April, 2018.

This happened at a time when almost a million fewer pensioners qualified for cold weather payments than the previous year (1.7 million, compared with 2.6 million in 2016-17), due to a rise in the state pension age for women, Budget measures since 2011 and changes under the new-style state pension.

This year’s Budget has done nothing to help:

Conservatives think it’s funny.

Do you remember the tweet from the abortive Tory youth organisation Activate, remarking on the cold weather earlier this year?

It stated: “As the cold settles in and the national gas supply is running low we are hearing horrific stories…

“All across the country, Socialists are being forced to put their hands in their own pockets.”

The backlash put them firmly in their place, and may have contributed to the demise of Activate. My personal favourite response was, “I hope your arrogance keeps you warm tonight.”

As I stated in March, This is the Tory attack on the old.

Pensions cost the Department for Work and Pensions more than all its other expenditure combined. Tories hate paying them to people who have actually worked for a living and paid their taxes and National Insurance.

So they are raising the age at which people can claim their pension, and changing the conditions under which it is drawn.

It’s a short-sighted policy, because pensioners are now the Conservative Party’s main constituency.

It may be some small consolation to the families of those whose lives are endangered – or lost – because of these selfish politicians, if they are ousted from power for many years as a result.

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The homeless are dying in the cold again. Tories must be delighted

The man was sleeping outside in temperatures reaching almost -1C [Image: Axiom RM].

What did David Gauke admit to Andrew Marr on Sunday? A 134 per cent rise in rough sleeping since 2010.

And he said the Tories wanted to halve this by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027.

This Writer suggested that this would be done by allowing the homeless to die, rather than by lifting a finger to help.

It seems I was right.

A homeless man has been found dead near a city centre shopping centre after sleeping rough in freezing temperatures.

The man died after bedding down for the night on Saturday outside Wagamama’s near the Bullring in Birmingham.

The rough sleeper had been with a fellow homeless man but had failed to wake up shortly before 9am on Sunday.

Concern has previously been expressed among charity and outreach workers over rough sleepers equipped only with cheap blankets and sleeping bags.

Source: Homeless man found dead near Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre after sleeping rough in freezing temperatures – Mirror Online


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As predicted: Homeless man ‘frozen to death’ on coldest night of the year

The scene of the death at Birmingham City Centre [Image: Birmingham Mail].

The scene of the death at Birmingham City Centre [Image: Birmingham Mail].


If I could predict this, it could have been prevented. It wasn’t.

Less than three days ago, I wrote: “You could lose a close relative or friend in the near future – particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable due to a health condition. In fact, your Conservative Government has done everything it can to arrange it.

“And what about the homeless – 120,000 of whom, this Christmas, will be children?

“Can anybody forget the horrifying fate of the man who was sanctioned, walked out into the street and froze to death?

“Expect more – many more. Maybe not this week, but soon.”

It was this week. Tonight we were told:

Birmingham has been shocked by the tragic death of a homeless man found dead in the city centre on the coldest night of the year.

There was a huge outpouring of emotion after the man’s body was discovered in John Bright Street late on Tuesday night.

He was believed to have been aged just 30.

Source: Updates: Huge reaction as homeless man dies on freezing night in Birmingham – Birmingham Mail

Police are claiming he could have died due to a drug overdose, which seems a flimsy attempt to say he brought it on himself. If he had drugs in his body, they could be a contributing factor, but – let’s be honest – it was sleeping in sub-zero temperatures that killed him.

And why was he out there, trying to kip in an NCP car park alongside two other homeless people?

This Writer would say it was because of Conservative Government policies that have caused homelessness to rise to a point at which the charity Shelter believes at least a quarter of a million people are now without a place to call their own.

The Conservative Government has said it does not recognise the figures. If it doesn’t recognise them, it clearly won’t be doing anything about them – like acknowledging its policies have hugely worsened the problem.

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Britons brace for plummeting temperatures – but will it be enough to prevent Winter deaths?

Ice skaters at the Winter Wonderland experience in London's Hyde Park [Image: Niklas Halle'n/AFP/Getty Images].

Ice skaters at the Winter Wonderland experience in London’s Hyde Park [Image: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images].

You could lose a close relative or friend in the near future – particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable due to a health condition. In fact, your Conservative Government has done everything it can to arrange it.

Senior citizens are probably the least vulnerable group, as Tory right-wingers have – so far – failed to convince their leaders to cut cold weather and winter fuel payments. It’s just a matter of time, though.

Working-age people with health problems are a different matter. The Tories have cut benefits to the bone and these people may find it very difficult to cope with the cost of heating their homes while still putting food on the table.

That applies to unemployed people who are sanctioned by the Job Centre, as well.

And what about the homeless – 120,000 of whom, this Christmas, will be children?

Can anybody forget the horrifying fate of the man who was sanctioned, walked out into the street and froze to death?

Expect more – many more. Maybe not this week, but soon. And you know our NHS hospitals cannot cope because Jeremy Hunt has made sure of it.

Heath officials have reminded the public that cold weather can be fatal – hours before a widespread frost hits Britain.

Temperatures could drop to -6C over the coming nights in places, the lowest of the season so far.

Source: Public health warning as Britons brace for plummeting temperatures

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Place your bets on Osborne’s next excuse for economic failure

This is not a good time to run a retail business - the effect of the Coalition's benefit cuts will trickle up and bite our rich retailers and industrialists hard.

This is not a good time to run a retail business – the effect of the Coalition’s benefit cuts will trickle up and bite our rich retailers and industrialists hard.

According to the BBC website, business activity was hit hard by last month’s exceptionally cold weather, with the number of people visiting shops down by more than five per cent.

For one person, this will have been an extremely pleasant piece of news, because for once he won’t have to explain himself.

That person is, of course, Gideon George Osborne.

For one month, he hasn’t been in the unenviable position of having to root around in the political undergrowth for a reason the economy has tanked – that isn’t related to his own hopelessly inadequate economic policies.

For one month only!

He will not have an excuse when the figures come in for April, worse than for March, as sane economic forecasters should expect.

Instinct says he will tell us the funeral of Margaret Thatcher will have something to do with it. He used the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a shield – what goes for ‘matches’ must surely apply also to ‘dispatches’.

The real reason will be the effect of the huge benefit cuts, that will take £19 billion out of the economy over the next year, if commentators are to be believed.

That’s just in money terms. Add in a conservative estimate of the fiscal multiplier (the effect on the economy) and we’re staring into the black pit of a £30.4 billion loss. That would be £500 for every person in the UK, if we were all affected.

But the richest among us won’t be. It is on the poorest and least able to defend themselves that this hammer blow has fallen. The government has been giving money back to the richest, as we all know.

In fact, this show of support for his cosseted buddies might protect them from the storm that’s coming, and may therefore prove to be a shrewd move – but we must all remember that Osborne is not an intelligent man and good fortune coming to anyone as a result of his policies is pure chance.

Because the rich will be affected by the benefit cuts. Poor people have no choice but to spend the money they receive. They have to buy things they need and pay the bills, so it goes on food, heat, light, water, the rent, repairs and other necessaries. With less money available to them, they will not be spending as much in the shops, and will be more careful about how much gas, electricity and water they use, as well.

Who owns and runs the shops? Who owns the shares in the utility companies (now that the bulk of shares have been bought up from the middle-class speculators who bought them in the 1980s)?

The rich.

After a few months of this, we’ll see what happens to their profit margins. My guess is that a £100,000 tax rebate won’t help very much.

The propaganda machine keeps spewing out nonsense, of course. Only last weekend we heard Francis Maude telling Jonathan Dimbleby and the Any Questions audience in Exeter: “The Coalition government, which is two parties which have come together from a different place, in the national interest, to do something quite big and difficult, which is to address the biggest budget deficit any country in the west had.”

It wasn’t the largest budget deficit of any western country – either by size or percentage of GDP. That was a flat-out lie and I wish Jimbles would pull him up on it.

The deficit in the United States is greater than ours in percentage terms; in money terms, it dwarfs the UK.

Across the whole world, Japan has the biggest deficit.

Strangely, you don’t hear the Japanese making a big fuss about it.

A word to the wise about the weather

vulnerableIt occurred to me today that while we’ve all been having a good debate about the effect of the Work Capability Assessment, as run by Atos for the Department of Work and Pensions to cut thousands of people off from disability benefits every week, we haven’t been thinking about the effect of the current cold weather on those very people.

We have spent a lot of time recently discussing people who have to make a choice between eating and heating when – especially last weekend – cutting out either of those things could have life-threatening consequences.

Now, I’m sure that Vox readers are alert to these issues but, for the sake of thoroughness, if you know anybody who is claiming – or has claimed – sickness or disability benefits near you, and who might have had them cut off lately, or be struggling to cope with what they’re receiving, or simply be vulnerable due to their own mental health or frailty…

Why not knock on their door and make sure they’re all right?

There was a news story in my Mid Wales hometown a couple of weeks ago, in which it was revealed that neighbours saved an elderly lady’s life after realising they hadn’t seen her for a couple of days. They alerted the emergency services, who forced entry to her house and found that she had suffered injury after a fall – and had been stuck in her bedroom for two days. By the time they arrived her condition was life-threatening and she had to be airlifted to hospital.

That story had a happy ending, because the person involved survived to tell the tale.

Without wanting to seem like I’m teaching my grandmother (or grandfather) to suck eggs, let’s make sure we don’t have any sad endings because of the cold weather.

Cheers.