Tag Archives: families

Why does the LABOUR Party want to put families – children – into poverty?

Child poverty: both the Tories and Labour want to put families with three or more children into poverty, so what could possibly make you think voting for them is a good idea?

It seems some of you are still clinging to the belief that the Labour Party is the answer to the Tory insanity that has been running the United Kingdom into the ground since 2010.

Let’s put everybody straight about that – starting with Labour’s clearly-expressed intention to put families with at least three children into poverty and keep them there.

Here’s the Resolution Foundation:

As Gavin Kelly posted on ‘X’: “A decade ago 1 in 3 children in large families (3+ children) were in poverty. Now it’s more than 4 in 10, heading to more than 1 in 2 (51%) by 2028-29.

“Completely policy-driven. Fixable.”

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Tom Pollard posted – also on ‘X’, “The two-child limit will condemn an increasing number of children to grow up in poverty – permanently scarring them, reducing their life chances & costing us all in the long term.”

Here’s Jonathan Bradshaw, Professor Emeritus of Social Policy at the University of York:

He’s saying that the economic benefits of lifting the two-child limit far outweigh the annual cost to the public purse – words echoed by Dr Katy Jones, Associate Professor in Employment at Manchester Metropolitan University:

The benefits of lifting children out of poverty would be huge, but obviously the Conservatives won’t do it because it’s their policy and they want to make you poor.

And Labour won’t do it either because Keir Starmer clearly wants you to be poor too.

He and his party would rather give huge bungs to fat bankers, as we can see from Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds’s squirming response when challenged on both subjects by Kay Burley on Sky News:

Labour is now the party of the bankers, not the workers. And if Starmer is happy to screw over families with more than two children, he’ll merrily do worse to you.

So you simply cannot vote tribally – for the party you think represents you (none of them do; they’re all about enriching their MPs and nothing else) – at the next general election.

Instead – and I cannot stress this strongly enough – if you want your vote to mean anything, you have to actually find out what the candidates in your constituency are planning to do, if they are lucky enough to be elected.

That is what party manifestos are for. Independent candidates also have policy documents and they will all be online for you to find and read.

You need to find and read these policy documents, and then you need to make a dispassionate choice, based on what you have read.

Which of the candidates offers the most policies that fit what you need? And, by that, I mean: who will improve your own life the most?

Do not consider how other people will vote, either in your constituency or the other 649 around the UK. That is not your concern.

It is not for you to worry about which party will get enough votes to actually enact its policies. This will lead you down the usual garden path to voting in a government that won’t do anything at all for the good of the country, like the one we’ve had since 2010.

BE SELFISH. Bizarrely, it might be the only way to get the kind of government that all of us need.


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Israel/Gaza: Forgotten festival families organise to demand investigation into deaths

Families of the Israelis who died at the Nova Music Festival on October 7 have formed an organisation to demand an official state ‘Commission of Inquiry’ into what happened.

This Writer’s big question is: why has this hardly been reported?

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Here’s a post on ‘X’ that I happened to find by luck:

And here‘s a partial translation of an article on Israeli media:

The families of those killed in the “Nova” and “Psydak” nature parties gathered yesterday (Monday) for the first time to establish a headquarters that will be called “The Flowers of the Parties”.

The families explained that the background for establishing the headquarters is the state’s ignoring them and seeing them as “transparent”.

Erez Sarfati, the father of the late Ron Sarfati, who was murdered at the Nova party, told the participants: “On the seventh of October, over 350 party goers who went to celebrate life were murdered, since then no official has contacted us.

“It is clear to us that the country is in an ongoing war, we are clear that the abductees need to be taken care of and everyone returned now, but we are not ready to be transparent in the eyes of the state’s captains.

“We all watch every night and are shocked by the headlines of the leaders, what kind of victory is this? We all lost and no one looks us in the eye and apologizes for this abominable failure.

“We will not allow the continuation of the cover-up of what happened to our dear ones.”

The implication is that Israeli military personnel did indeed fire at festival attendees, and did indeed kill some of them – a claim that has been hotly contested by the Israeli government and its military ever since.

I wonder whether the international media are ignoring this story in the hope that it will go away.

Then they’ll be able to carry on spouting the official line from liars like Eylon Levy.


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Where is Boris Johnson’s apology to families who lost loved ones while he partied?

Boris Johnson: he’d rather sulk in public than do the one decent thing left to him.

Have we all forgotten the scandal underlying the Partygate scandal?

The reason the Downing Street parties were such a bad thing, and the reason it is so shameful that Boris Johnson lied to us all, is that thousands of people were dying while these parties were taking place.

The families of the deceased – including the then-Queen – were forced to observe social distancing rules laid down by Boris Johnson – rules which he and others were merrily breaking with after-the-event justifications that “imperfect” social distancing was perfectly acceptable rather than cancelling a gathering or holding it online (Partygate Report page 6).

The Commons’ Privileges Committee has rightly stated in its report that such justifications are unacceptable. There is no way to make it look reasonable or acceptable that these parties happened in the way they did, and that Johnson then lied about them, when families across the UK were suffering because of the rules the yobs in Downing Street were vomiting on.

Johnson has, of course, refused to accept the report and its conclusions. Instead, he has run away from Parliament, trailing a string of recriminations behind him. This is because he, too, is a yob.

If he had even a shred of decency, he would have made a full, frank and abject apology to everybody who lost loved ones and were prevented from mourning them properly by the rules he decided didn’t apply to him.

You see, he is presenting an appearance of being affronted by what has happened – but it happened because of what he chose to do. The bereaved families are actually aggrieved because of restrictions that he forced on them. That’s the difference.

As one of the bereaved has said, now is the time for contrition.

Instead, Boris Johnson has shown that he is so full of his own windy self-importance that he has not even spared a single thought for the consequences of his behaviour – its meaning for the millions of people who were struggling to cope with this, and all the other stupid, self-serving decisions Johnson made when he should have been governing in the national interest.

When the Tories slithered back into Downing Street in the first place, back in 2010, they did so with a lie that “we’re all in it together”. Remember?

If any of them has proved that the Tories aren’t “together” with the rest of us in any way at all, it is Boris Johnson. We must remember that.

And where’s his apology?


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What will be mentioned in the Covid inquiry… and what won’t?

Baroness Heather Hallett: she has made good decisions so far – but can anybody understand her apparent bias against bereaved families?

We all know that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been making a fuss over whether they will have to give evidence to the Covid inquiry and what it will be.

But what do you make of this?

The article states:

Not a single witness offered up by the UK’s largest group for families bereaved by Covid has been called to speak at the official inquiry, openDemocracy can reveal.

Those representing the voices of the bereaved say they are being “marginalised by the process” just days before the inquiry is set to begin. It follows a scandal sparked by openDemocracy’s revelation that Tory-linked PR firms had been hired to manage the voices of the bereaved.

The inquiry rejected all 20 witnesses volunteered by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, but has asked the group’s co-founder Matt Fowler to speak. He will now be attempting to represent thousands of members who won’t be able to give evidence to the inquiry’s first module, which focuses on the UK’s preparedness for a pandemic.

What’s the story there? Does inquiry chair Baroness Hallett think they’ll all say the same thing? Does she think there won’t be time to hear all their different stories? Or is she simply not interested in what happened to the little people like you and me?

Here’s something else that might not be mentioned:

And what about this?

So private schools that were formerly attended by government ministers received millions of pounds of Covid support loans, while state schools were left to face bankruptcy. And the ministers were responsible for supporting the state schools, not their alma maters.

Will that get a mention? It should.

Meanwhile, the government’s decision to take court action against its own inquiry is still kicking up a huge smokescreen around the whole affair.

Is that a side-issue? Or was it the point?

Whichever, what do you think of this MP’s point?

Sir Robert Buckland, who served as justice secretary and Lord Chancellor from 2019 to 2021, said that the move by the government was “unnecessary”, telling Sky News: “it would have been far better to negotiate and deal with this in a way that would have respected the discretion of the chair”.

Well,

Sir Robert suggested he has been told that the High Court could hear the government’s challenge to the Covid inquiry “as early as next week”.

so at least if it is a waste of time, it will be out of the way very soon.

But what will the decision be? Will it be better than that of the inquiry on representatives of bereaved families?


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How do ‘community cooking events’ help us cope with rising energy bills?

It’s being reported that the government is putting £842 million more pounds into the Household Support Fund, which is said to help struggling families deal with the cost of living including food and energy costs.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be dividing the money among English councils, which must use it to help people pay for energy bills or groceries.

The funding is said to be targeted at areas of the country “with the most vulnerable households” and it is being left up to the councils to decide how to spend it.

What I want to know is…

How is a ‘community cooking event’ or an ‘energy cafe’ – both ideas used by English councils – the best way to divide up this cash? Even voucher schemes and ‘energy saving packs’ spend money redundantly.

Wouldn’t it be better simply to provide the cash to those who need it most, and let them decide how to spend it?

The way this scheme is being (mis)managed, it seems to be an attempt to keep cash away from vulnerable families, rather than helping them.

Source: DWP issues update on new cash for hundreds of thousands to help with rising energy bills


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Devastated parents of disabled kids were abandoned by Tories during Covid

Did you think you were hard-hit by the pandemic? Unless you’re a parent of a disabled child, think again!

Families with disabled children suffered astonishing levels of deprivation during the Covid-19 crisis (so far) as the Conservative government abandoned them to whatever fate befell them.

Read this information from a survey by Contact, the charity for families with disabled children – and weep. It found that, among almost 3,000 families:

  • Nearly two-thirds (61%) say that caring responsibilities mean they or their partner has given up paid work, on average losing £21,270 from their family income.
  • In the last 12 months, almost a third of parent carers have gone without heating (30%) and food for themselves (37%). Half have gone without toys, presents and computer equipment for their children.
  • 55% of respondents were shielding during lockdown. As a consequence of shielding, 30% report they got into debt or borrowed money, 15% got behind with mortgage payments, 10% used a foodbank for the first time and 7% lost their job.
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents claim Universal Credit and 40% of those said they are worse off since claiming, despite assurances from government that no one would be worse off.
  • 92% of parent carers say going without affects their own health and a third (34%) saying it affects the health of their child.
  • Almost one in five say they have increased care commitments due to the pandemic that will impact their ability to earn money in the future.

So it seems the Tories have used the pandemic to hammer the people who needed help the most – while pretending they were ensuring that everybody would be helped.

Some might describe such behaviour as lower than verminous.

Sadly, it is on the very same verminous government that these families must rely for help now.

Contact is running a campaign for action, with steps including:

• An increase in Carer’s Allowance and child disability payments under Universal Credit.
• Energy companies to introduce a special tariff for households with sick and disabled children due to the rising bills facing families this winter.
• The government to invest in specialist independent advice services, to help families with disabled children claim what they are entitled to.

The first act you can take in the campaign is simple: write to your MP. Contact has set up a template email to make speaking out quick and easy.

You can find it here: Families with disabled children left financially devastated by pandemic, new study reveals | Contact

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Police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’. What about the Tories – and Murdoch?

The disgrace – no, the word ‘disgrace’ isn’t strong enough: this is the Sun story that mentally scarred survivors of the Hillsborough disaster and the families of those who died. It wasn’t ‘The Truth’ at all; it was a pack of lies.

More than five years after a jury ruled that 96 people were killed unlawfully in the Hillsborough disaster – and that their behaviour did not contribute to the situation – police forces have agreed to pay compensation to more than 600 people for mental distress caused by the attempted cover-up.

I have two questions.

Firstly: why did it take so long for South Yorkshire and West Midlands police to agree to pay up?

Secondly: Why aren’t the Conservative Party and Rupert Murdoch’s News International paying compensation, too?

Let’s go into the circumstances:

We all know that the Hillsborough Disaster was a fatal human crush at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, hosted at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989.

It happened due to gross negligence by match commander David Duckenfield of South Yorkshire Police.

The police service then attempted to hide the fact that its failures caused 96 deaths and 766 injuries – the worst disaster in UK sporting history – by trying to blame it on the fans who were injured and died, saying those people caused the tragedy by being drunk and misbehaving.

West Midlands was the force appointed to investigate the disaster, but has since been accused of malpractices and failures that have been subject to a long-running investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Not only that, though: the prime minister of the day, the Conservative Margaret Thatcher, refused to release information that made the police look bad.

And The Sun, a newspaper published by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, published a story headlined The Truth that was nothing but a pack of lies, supporting the fantasy created by the police.

This Writer believes a strong argument could be made that the newspaper story – which led to The Sun being boycotted in Liverpool ever since – caused more distress, more anguish, to survivors, and to relatives and friends of the deceased, than the police cover-up on which it was based (although I know it could not have been written if the police and the Tory prime minister had not lied in the first place).

Civil claims for compensation due to malfeasance in public office by the two police forces were submitted in 2015, during inquests into the reasons the 96 died.

The claimants said the lies had caused them to suffer trauma and psychiatric damage, and the compensation is to cover not only those injuries but also the cost of treatment and counselling.

Those claims were made nearly six years ago and the payments haven’t been made yet (at the time of writing). So I repeat: why not?

And how much are these people getting, to make one of the claimants describe the payout as “insulting” in The Guardian‘s news article about it?

The behaviour of the police was shocking, and undermines public faith in the reliability of our law enforcement officers across the UK – not just in the forces concerned.

But – as mentioned above – they weren’t the only organisations caught lying; they weren’t the only people who deliberately caused further distress over Hillsborough.

Margaret Thatcher withheld information – which was as bad as lying because it presented a false impression that the police were blameless.

She was able to do so because she was prime minister at the time – and she was prime minister because she was leader of the Conservative Party that had formed the then-current government.

She died in 2013 but it seems perfectly reasonable to hold the Tories responsible for putting her in a position where she could distort the facts.  Why has the Conservative Party avoided compensating these people?

And that Sun headline has gone down in the history of journalistic infamy. The disgust of the city of Liverpool – in perpetuity – is not enough. Why has News International not offered compensation as well?

All three of these organisations should have offered payouts voluntarily, considering the enormity of the harm they have done, but they didn’t.

The police are only paying up because they were forced to.

Perhaps that aspect of this tragedy is the most damning of all.

Source: South Yorkshire and West Midlands police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’ | Hillsborough disaster | The Guardian

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U-turn and u-turn again as Boris Johnson first agrees, then refuses to meet bereaved Covid campaigners

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions. Now he is resorting to flat-out lies.

How galling for the 14 million who voted for him to realise that Boris Johnson is such a craven coward.

He can’t even bear to meet people who have lost family members due to his mistakes – so he has made up a succession of reasons not to.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK may not have a snappy name but they do have a good reason for existence – they want an inquiry into the Johnson government’s decisions on the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

The organisation wisely distrusts Johnson’s claim that he will hold an inquiry “at the appropriate time” and has already issued a “letter before action”, warning that the group is considering litigation to secure an inquiry.

But a letter before action is not itself litigation.

So when Boris Johnson said, “It turns out that this particular group are currently in litigation with the government. I will certainly meet them once that litigation is concluded,” he was lying.

He had previously promised to meet them.

Perhaps he was hoping that most people would not know enough about court action to tell that he was telling a falsehood in order to run away from the potentially disastrous publicity a meeting would create.

It’s also possible that he was hoping his u-turn would not come to public attention.

This Writer is already on the record as saying it is unlikely an inquiry will take place. Politicians like Johnson say there will be one “at the appropriate time” when a crisis is ongoing and people are demanding it but, the instant the trouble is over, they insist that it would be better to put the matter behind us.

Let’s face it: Johnson is notoriously bad – embarrassing, in fact – when he doesn’t have a script to read out. He may be afraid he’ll say something that may be used against him later.

So he’s running away from a meeting he promised to attend.

And that, dear reader, is the act of a coward.

Source: Coronavirus: Campaigners reject PM’s ‘poor excuse’ for not meeting them – BBC News

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Former Work & Pensions Secretary wants Universal Credit raise for families? Tough.

Did Stephen Crabb not read the memos when he was running the department responsible for benefits?

The Tories aren’t interested in keeping families out of poverty! They’re all about putting families in poverty – so they spend the rest of their lives working their fingers to the bone to get back out again (something they’ll never do, because they are more profitable for employers if they’re in debt).

A Conservative MP has called on the UK government to increase benefits for families for a year.

Stephen Crabb said increasing the child element of universal credit would help families at risk of poverty from the coronavirus crisis.

The former Work and Pensions Secretary said many families faced losing their jobs and a “big drop” in income.

The UK government said it was committed to supporting the lowest-paid families and had taken “significant steps”.

Crabb’s old minister – the DWP – soon put him straight:

The Department for Work and Pensions said: “The UK government is committed to supporting the lowest-paid families and has already taken significant steps including ending the benefit freeze and increasing work incentives.

“We understand the current challenges many are facing which is why we injected £6.5bn into the welfare system, including increasing universal credit and working tax credit by up to £1,040 a year, as well as rolling out income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.”

Translation: “We made a show of putting money in. We know it isn’t enough. Tough.”

Source: Tory MP Stephen Crabb calls for universal credit increase for families – BBC News

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Huge surge in poverty – and that’s BEFORE the Tory coronavirus response kicks us when we’re down

 

A few coppers and some silver coins: all the Tories think you’re worth.

The Conservatives have put another 100,000 children into poverty – meaning 4.2 million are now living under the breadline.

That’s a surge of 600,000 since the Tories came back into office in 2010. Now almost one-third of UK children are living in poverty due to Tory starvation-austerity policies.

And the affected children are among a staggering 14.5 million UK citizens found to be in poverty in 2018-19 – the highest total since the statistics were first collected in 2002 and an increase of half a million in a single year.

Bear in mind also that poverty is a relative measure, being calculated on an individual’s, or a family’s, income as a percentage of the national average.

The national average income has been depressed by Conservative policies over the last 10 years, meaning fewer people are said to be in poverty now than would have been in the past – but they are still suffering from Tory starvation policies.

Worse is to come:

The coronavirus crisis is likely to cause a huge increase in poverty as families face job losses and falling earnings.

The Tory government simply hasn’t done enough to secure people’s income as the pandemic bites.

Income guarantees for employees depend on their employers signing up to them – and many have simply decided to lay off their workers instead, forcing them to claim Universal Credit.

Workers on zero-hours contracts and people who are self-employed have also been told to claim Universal Credit – creating a bottleneck of claimants queuing for attention online or on the phone.

Self-employed people have been offered the possibility of an income guarantee similar to that offered to employees (whose employers took up the offer) – in June, when they are likely to have fallen into serious debt.

All of this – and the huge level of poverty that they have already caused – could be prevented, simply by providing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for everyone.

It’s simpler than the hugely-complicated systems the Tories are bringing in, and it also happens to be cheaper.

In fact, the only reason – that makes sense – for the Tories not to introduce UBI is that they enjoy forcing poverty on people, and they are taking the opportunity afforded by coronavirus to inflict as much of it on us as possible.

Source: Number of children living in poverty rises by 100,000 in a year, ‘shocking’ figures reveal | The Independent

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