Tag Archives: family

Cummings council tax: a form letter for your local authority

Where he belongs: but Dominic Cummings (and his family) seem able to get away with anything because of his connection with Boris Johnson.

The family of Dominic Cummings has been allowed to avoid paying historical council tax on several properties built on their land without planning permission, it has been revealed.

What a great opportunity for the rest of us!

It seems clear that every other council taxpayer in the UK should write to their local authority’s council tax department, demanding appropriately similar treatment. The text could run something like this:

To whom it may concern,

I read with pleasure that a family in Durham has received an effective Council Tax rebate of £30,000. What a boost for them in these Covid-19-blighted times – and on properties without planning permission, too!

write to request delivery of my own council tax rebate. While I accept that this may be adjusted down according to the council tax band in which my dwelling falls, I expect I must be due a considerable amount more than the family in Durham – because my dwelling does have planning permission.

It has occurred to me that the rebate may not be applied to my area, but only to families in Durham – but that would make no sense, would it? Why would one area receive preferential treatment? We’re all in this together, after all – or at least, that’s what we’re told!

I look forward to your reply by return of post, stating the amount of rebate to which I am due for my property, along with notification of the transfer to my bank.

Alternatively, you’d better be able to explain why a wealthy family of lawbreakers is being rewarded, rather than punished, for breaking planning laws and hiding the fact for 18 years, when the rest of us have to pay.

With regards,

(And so on.)

The injustice is clear – just think about Melanie Woolcock, the single mother who defaulted on her council tax because she wasn’t well enough to work and the Tory benefit system paid so little that she could not afford to pay the amount outstanding and buy food.

She was arrested for non-payment of £4,742 in council tax – less than one-sixth of what Cummings’s family is said to have owed – and forced to serve an 81-day prison sentence.

Between her and the Cummings family, who do you think deserves leniency?

It’s not even up for question, is it? Yet in Boris Johnson’s Britain, his adviser’s rich family walk free while the sick woman went to jail for the crime of being poor.

This latest scandal has sparked a wave of outrage – and a few alternative proposals:

Source: Dominic Cummings allowed to avoid backdated council tax on second home | Politics | The Guardian

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MPs launch inquiry into Tory government handling of Covid-19 crisis

On the same day families of those who died (needlessly?) of Covid-19 told Boris Johnson he could not hide from them, MPs said they were starting to take evidence in their own Coronavirus inquiry.

I would be leaping to sing their praises, but – unlike the Graun – I’m not convinced an inquiry by MPs is entirely independent, and I’ll be keen to find out if anybody offering evidence is turned away.

Johnson is under pressure to order an independent inquiry after 153,000 people signed an online petition.

Obviously these are people with reason to believe the Tory response fell short of the mark (as we all should, in This Writer’s opinion).

Organisers’ complaints can be read in this Metro article, and I would certainly hope that some of them will be asked to submit evidence to the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Coronavirus.

Families of those who have died will be able to give submissions in writing, via video call, or in person – if they are invited.

It isn’t a judge-led inquiry and its findings won’t have the weight of one; it’s clear from the comments in the Guardian article that some of the APPG members have already made up their minds.

But it’s a start.

Frontline workers and relatives of people who have died are invited to visit the March for Change website where they may make submissions via a dedicated portal, anonymously if they wish.

Professionals and trade bodies can submit evidence via email.

I reckon it’s worth a shot.

Source: Cross-party group of MPs to lead first UK coronavirus inquiry | Politics | The Guardian

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Coronavirus: Wales starts easing the lockdown – one rule at a time

The Welsh government has announced that it is easing lockdown restrictions – but only one part of them, and for a very good reason.

From Monday, people from two different households in the same local area will be able to meet up outdoors. They must continue to maintain social distancing and strict hand hygiene.

As a general rule, people will not be allowed to travel more than five miles for these meetings – which comes hard for those of us in rural areas who have friends more than five miles away that we haven’t seen in nearly three months.

There will be exceptions including travelling to work, shopping for essentials that aren’t available locally, and to seek care.

That last exception seems to be an attempt to legitimise behaviour like Dominic Cummings’s trip from London to Durham, which caused a hugely embarrassing scandal that the Tory government has been trying to silence for the last week.

The reason for lifting just one rule at a time is simple, as First Minister Mark Drakeford was told:

“Making more than one significant relaxation was too dangerous because if the infection rate went up, it would not be clear what had caused it.”

Contrast that with Boris Johnson’s idiotic rush to get everybody back to work as soon as possible, and damn the consequences!

Is it any wonder that this decision has been followed by another one – to stop showing the daily number of Covid-19-related deaths?

Source: Why the Welsh Government is only making one major lockdown change | Wales – ITV 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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SICKENING bullying of innocents shows Riley won’t stop until she is made to

Take a look at this:

The “friend to Holocaust deniers” is, according to Ms Riley, the film director Ken Loach. But he is nothing of the sort and there is no evidence showing otherwise.

You’re probably familiar with the story. Mr Loach, along with Jewish poet Michael Rosen, was chosen to judge a children’s competition run by the anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card.

Ms Riley tweeted, and then deleted, this criticism, calling both “deniers/proponents of anti-Jewish racism”:

Note that no evidence was put forward in support of these wild claims.

SRTRC initially refused to change its decision, but the announcement trumpeted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, suggested a u-turn.

All was not as it seemed, though.

In fact, as SRTRC has now stated, the decision for Mr Loach to withdraw was mutual – and based on the fact that he and his family had been subjected to appalling abuse – both online and in person – by people who had swallowed the Riley/BoD narrative, or had a similarly hate-filled agenda of their own.

See for yourself:

“A significant factor in Ken Loach’s decision is the abuse online and in person that he and his family have received. It is profoundly distressing, and he is very concerned to protect those closest to him.”

It seems the claim against Mr Loach was that he had mistakenly emailed in support of a person accused of anti-Semitism. He had immediately withdrawn that support after the facts were put before him.

That’s not enough for the hate-mongers, though. I have experience of this myself; having been contacted by a person who said she had been falsely accused, I discovered that the accusations were accurate and cut ties with her. It was enough for the haters and they still use the incident as an excuse to tar me with false accusations.

I cannot prove that Ms Riley’s tweet prompted others to abuse Mr Loach and his family (although it is certainly an example of such abuse itself). But how many other people broadcast the false claims? And on whose information were those claims based?

The latest tweet makes one thing perfectly clear:

Rachel Riley isn’t going to stop.

She will continue with her campaign of online abuse and bullying – against innocent people – until she is made to stop by the power of the law.

So it’s hand that there is a case currently in motion that could achieve just that end.

Ms Riley has accused me of libelling her, issuing court proceedings against me. I believe she has done this in the knowledge that libel cases are horrifyingly expensive; she thought I would not have the funds and would have to give in – essentially, she thought she could use her vast wealth to buy justice.

So far, I have been able to crowdfund the money needed to mount a defence – but the case is going to court and I will need much more in order to succeed.

If you think Ms Riley’s abuse of innocent people is as despicable as I do, please help me fight her. Here’s how:

Donate to my CrowdJustice campaign.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Mr Loach is innocent of wrong-doing, his family certainly are, and so am I. So, I suspect, are many more of Ms Riley’s victims.

Please help stop this vile victimisation and bullying.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Johnson’s comments on Harry Dunn-related extradition show he’s making another foreign policy blunder

No justice: Harry Dunn.

Boris Johnson has let his country down again, proving that he’s a worse wimp on the international stage than Theresa May.

We already know he has worsened the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other UK citizens imprisoned in Iran.

Now we see once again that he couldn’t give a damn about justice if it means upsetting bigger boys like Donald Trump.

Read it and weep:

The family of Harry Dunn are “absolutely distraught” over comments made by the prime minister, said family spokesman Radd Seiger.

Mr Dunn, 19, died after being hit by a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas, who left the country for the US claiming diplomatic immunity.

Boris Johnson told the BBC that he believed the chances of Mrs Sacoolas being extradited were “very low”.

The comments came on Harry’s mother’s birthday and left her “bitterly upset”.

Mr Seiger told the BBC: “The Dunn family are absolutely on their knees and I am still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor.

“It’s an outrageous set of comments to make from the leader of this country, whose job it is to represent the people.”

That’s right – Boris Johnson’s job is to represent the people – not himself.

But he has a personal stake in getting a (terrible) trade deal with Donald Trump that will end with him trying to force us to eat chlorine-washed chicken that were sick before they died.

This Writer doubts that anybody reading this voted for Johnson. But if you know anybody who did, and they’re as disgusted with this behaviour as the rest of us, just remind them:

You voted for this.

Source: Harry Dunn: Family ‘devastated’ by Boris Johnson’s extradition comments – BBC News

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Harry and Meghan step down as senior Royals – because of bad press?

Bye bye: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan wave farewell to the corporate mass media hacks who they have accused of “misreporting” and spreading “false impressions”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – that’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (still) to most of us – have announced their intention to step back as senior members of the UK Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while still fully supporting the Queen.

It seems they are unhappy with certain aspects of the job – one of which appears to be the way their activities are reported in the press.

In that respect, This Writer thinks they’re right up with the rest of us.

Complaints and criticism of the way the general election has been reported are rife. And it seems these Royals are equally unhappy with the way they have been treated by the Fourth Estate.

In a statement on the Sussex Instagram page, they ripped into the Royal correspondents working for the UK’s mass media organisations [boldings mine]:

“Britain’s Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of the Royal Family as well as of their private lives. This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting.

“Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by Royal Correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.”

The statement also announced a new publicity plan that takes them off the Royal Rota system, in which only a limited number of mainstream media organisations are allowed to attend Royal engagements – so they are obliged to share material that they gather there.

Instead, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work:

“This updated approach aims to:

“Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists;

“Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage;

“Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events.”

They will continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communication channels.

This could really shake up the way Royal events are covered in the news.

Being somewhat long-in-the-tooth, This Writer doesn’t expect to benefit from the engagement with young, up-and-coming journalists – but I look forward to find out who these may be, and what grassroots organisations they Sussexes choose to carry their stories.

The idea of “widening the spectrum” of those who cover Royal news could really shake up a stagnant system, and if it jolts some of our more complacent reporters and corporations out of their smug security, I’m all for it.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the Sussexes want to go to the grassroots because they think less-established media organisations may be easier to manipulate.

I’ll be watching for that, too.

But at a time when the so-called media Establishment may have thought they had news coverage sewn up as propaganda for their chosen (right-wing, let’s face it) causes, this should come as a body blow.

Members of the UK’s fundamental institution don’t trust the Tory media – and they’re telling us not to trust them either.

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Council’s ‘rape clause’ blunder leaves family with disabled child homeless

This is what happens when you give too little cash to the poor – and too much power to bureaucrats.

A single-parent family were thrown out of their home after the London Borough of Haringey wrongly told their private landlord they owed more than £8,000 in overpaid housing benefits.

The council had failed to properly apply the rules which limit benefits to a family’s first two children (two-child limit).

The so-called “rape clause” demands that a family can only claim benefits for more than two children if the mother can prove the additional child or children were the result of non-consensual sex.

It has been attacked as an extra humiliation for women who would already have suffered enough.

And in this case, it was irrelevant: the mother should have always had the allowance for her third child because her youngest son was born before April 2017.

Worse still, the council failed to handle the families homelessness applicatoin properly, failing to refer the case to the appeal tribunal – as it was obliged to do by law.

Why so many errors?

Well, we may find out. The council has agreed to investigate why it made calculation errors, audit cases where it calculated overpayments applying the two-child restriction and, if necessary, consider how to detect and remedy any systemic problems.

This Writer’s guess is that we’ll find the mistake happened because the Tory government has piled too many overlapping penalties on the poor, overcomplicating the system and creating injustice.

Source: Young family with disabled child left homeless after benefits blunder

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Immigration and drug addiction caused huge rise in homelessness, according to Tory minister’s LIES

Is James Brokenshire an imbecile, or does he think we are?

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said the increase in homelessness since the Conservatives slithered into office in 2010 is not the result of government policy but is being driven by factors including the spread of psychoactive drugs such as spice, growth in non-UK nationals on the streets and family breakdown.

Oh, really?

Personally, I would have said it was due to income changes that made it impossible for renters to pay their landlords or for homeowners to keep up with their mortgage repayments and I would have said this was the result of policies including, but not limited to:

The Tory Bedroom Tax.

The Tory Universal Credit.

The Tory freeze (late a one per cent limit) on annual public sector pay increases.

The Tory squeeze on wages that forced them to plummet during the first half of the current decade.

Tory support for landlords that means they can force people to pay huge rents for accommodation that is unfit for human habitation.

And the electorate knows this.

Look at the responses to his claim:

Oh, and the Tory plan to eliminate homelessness by 2027? It requires the death of anybody who is homeless.

Labour’s John Healey puts the real reasons for the rise in homelessness in a nutshell in the following clip:

And Labour has a plan to help victims of Tory policies who end up sleeping rough:

“Oh, but we can’t support that, can we? It comes from that Jeremy Corbyn person and he’s a horrible Communist! All the newspapers and TV channels say it so it must be true, right?”

There’s a simple answer to the kind of person who says that – or anything similar to it.

Just point out that many of the people who are now sleeping rough were also persuaded to vote Conservative, in order to avoid the Labour policies that would have helped them avoid their current predicament.

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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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