Unemployment figures are a sanction-based stitch-up, research shows

The Coalition government will be crowing about the latest drop in unemployment today – according to official statistics. What a shame it’s all a load of bunk. New research by Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has shown that only around one-fifth (20 per cent) of people who have been sanctioned off of Jobseekers’ Allowance have actually found work, leaving 1.6 million in limbo; they’re off the benefits system but researchers can only surmise that they are relying on food banks. (Isn’t the Coalition government…

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Economy slowing as growth is revised down: So what?

The BBC is reporting that the UK economy has grown by 2.6 per cent in the last year – less than the 3 per cent originally thought. In the third quarter of 2014 the increase was 0.6 per cent. “So what?” you’re probably asking. “Isn’t 2.6 per cent enough?” Well, it’s certainly much better than the limbo days of 2011-13 when the economy was in and out of the red and Ed Balls’ claim that it had “flatlined” was literally true. The lower growth has been attributed to smaller government…

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Tories miscalculate welfare savings. No rich people affected

Public spending on benefits has fallen by just £2.5 billion, despite cuts aimed at saving nearly eight times as much (£19bn) – because the silly unqualified Conservative career politicians who dreamed them up had no idea of the knock-on effects of their plans. The miscalculations have not affected any Tory donors or rich people likely to vote Conservative, so it seems unlikely the government will care. The BBC reported that the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said the reasons for the increased spending included a rise in the cost of…

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The minimum income is 2.5 times what people get on benefits – but still they are labelled scroungers

“How much money do you need for an adequate standard of living?” That is the question posed every year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – and every year the organisation calculates how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark. This year’s research finds: A lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 per year – up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple…

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The Coalition is creating serious problems and distracting you with phantoms

According to the beauty industry, women must now start deodorising under their breasts. I kid you not – it was in The Guardian. Columnist Jill Filipovic hit the nail on the head when she wrote: “I can already hear your objections: ‘But the area under my boobs doesn’t stink!’ or ‘What kind of marketing genius not only came up with the term “swoob,” but actually thought half the world’s population might be dumb enough to buy into it?’ or simply, ‘This is a dumb product aimed at inventing an insecurity…

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The great pensions rip-off

We all know that pensioners have a charmed life under the current government – right? Pensions take up around half the £160 billion social security budget and there are other perks like the cold weather payment during the winter months, free bus passes and free TV licences – right? They get a triple-lock inflation guarantee, under which the state pension rises according to the highest of CPI inflation, the rise in earnings or 2.5 per cent. They get Pension Credit (otherwise known as the Minimum Income Guarantee) to ensure they…

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How can unemployment be dropping at the same time as claims for joblessness are rising?

Today, the government was very pleased to announce, on the BBC and in all the usual right-wing rags, that the number of people out of work in the UK has fallen to its lowest total for more than a year – 2.51 million or 7.8 per cent of the working-age population. But the claimant count – which tracks the number of people receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance and is the most timely measure of employment – rose by 10,100 last month, the largest increase since September 2011, as reported by the BBC…

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Inflation rise will increase the agony for those on benefits

How many different ways can the Coalition find to shoot itself in the foot? Today, inflation is the cause of the embarrassment. Just one month after it dropped to its lowest level in three years, the pace of price rises leapt up by half a percentage point, which is well above expectations. And what’s the reason for this unexpected turnaround? Why, it’s because of the sharp rise in university tuition fees! They rose by 19.1 per cent after the cap on charges was lifted by the government to £9,000 from…

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Get your votes out, lads and lasses!

Is the government is right to maintain benefits to older people, whatever their financial situation, while cutting benefits to more vulnerable people? This was the popular issue on BBC radio’s Any Questions/Any Answers this week – popular because it highlighted the contrast between pensioners, who influence governments, and youngsters, who don’t. The simple fact – nailed by a tweeter – is that old people vote more than young people. Therefore, it is the choice they make that can decide who forms the next government. Therefore any party (or parties) in…

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