Tag Archives: Free

Tory freeze on tax-free mileage means drivers will have to pay to work. Was this the plan?

Fuel costs are rising but mileage allowances for people who use their own car to work are not. Soon, employees will be paying to work, instead of being paid.

Did the Tories intend to create a system in which drivers would have to pay to go to work, when they froze the tax-free mileage allowance at 45p?

Or is it just their intention totake advantage of it to push you into poverty – or further into it?

Here’s the situation:

Employees who use their own vehicle for work can claim back 45p a mile tax-free from their company for the first 10,000 miles they drive in a year, after which the rate falls to 25p a mile.

Mileage Allowance Payments cover vehicle expenses such as fuel, vehicle maintenance, depreciation, insurance and road tax. But the cost of fueling a car alone now nearly covers the entire mileage rate.

With fuel costs rising and maintenance costs increasing, the Treasury is facing calls to raise the allowance which has not changed since 2010.

From the source article, the government has not commented on the issue. Why not?

Perhaps Tory demands that home working should end after the Covid-19 lockdowns were premature?

Source: Freeze on tax-free mileage means drivers will soon have to pay to work

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Government department cancels P&O contract over mass sackings

Moored: P&O ferries were subjected to safety checks – which many failed – after foreign agency workers on less than the minimum wage were hired to replace illegally-sacked UK staff.

It’s extremely rare that This Site gets to praise the government for doing something right.

So let’s give credit where it’s due to the civil servants at the Home Office and Department of Transport, who have cancelled a contract with P&O Ferries over the company’s decision to sack around 800 UK-based employees and replace them with agency workers from abroad, paid less than the minimum wage.

Border Force has terminated its agreement with P&O to provide contingency travel services to juxtaposed ports – UK border controls set up in Calais, Dunkirk and some railway stations in France and Belgium, where goods and passengers are checked ahead of travel.

The contract was to transport border staff to northern France if there was a problem at the Channel Tunnel and was the DoT’s only deal with P&O.

But the government has also awarded P&O’s owner, DP World, contracts to run two so-called Free Ports. Some of us have been waiting for those contracts to be cancelled ever since the unannounced (and therefore illegal) mass sackings happened in March.

If all contracts with this rogue company and its parent aren’t killed, then the Tories are effectively supporting the illegal removal of UK workers from their jobs.

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US-UK deal hopes dashed because Brexit has killed Britain as an international trader

Out on a limb: Boris Johnson was notably ignored by Joe Biden at the start of a recent Nato defence summit and it seems Biden will ignore him on trade too.

Boris Johnson’s blatherings about Brexit can’t change the fact that the United States couldn’t care less about doing a free trade deal with the UK.

US President Joe Biden is far more interested in trading with the European Union – the very organisation Johnson said we would be better-off without.

Oh yes, the States cut their high tariffs on UK steel and aluminium – but that only indicates that we produce higher-quality steel than they do, and they want to buy it on the cheap.

In all other regards, Biden has adopted a protectionist approach that is anathema to Boris Johnson’s globalist government.

Simply put: Biden wants to build up the United States as an industrial nation, independent of other advanced economies like China, thereby creating high-quality jobs for American citizens.

Johnson, on the other hand, wants to sell everything in the UK to foreign concerns, so he and his Tory cronies can make a quick profit that they can bank in a tax haven. He couldn’t care less about the well-being of UK citizens.

As Dr Peter Holmes, a fellow at the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory, told the Express, “Britain is out on a limb.”

He said Biden agrees with the EU that governments should not subsidise industry – but Johnson’s government believes the exact opposite because it wants to sweeten our assets as prizes for foreign investors.

Look at the £7.1 billion of public money the government gave to the UK’s rail industry, and then look at the prices of tickets on trains that are mainly owned by foreign governments.

And Biden does not subscribe to the UK’s plan to cut carbon emissions; he’s far more in tune with the EU on that, too.

He would be more likely to consider a free trade agreement if the National Health Service was opened up to profit-making US companies, but he would not be interested in full privatisation of the NHS, in trade terms, according to Dr Holmes.

He might also be interested if the UK lowered its food safety standards (remember the fuss over chlorinated chicken?) – but divergence from EU standards would create more problems with imports and exports in Northern Ireland, which the States would want to avoid.

But the Johnson government insists that it remains keen to talk with the States about a free trade deal.

How pointless. Johnson has painted the entire nation into a corner and is trying to avoid responsibility by pretending everything is going according to plan.

Source: Boris Johnson’s hopes of post-Brexit US-UK trade agreement dashed – ‘Biden not interested’

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Things we’re not likely to see: Tories cancelling P&O owners Free Ports contract

Moored: P&O ferries – and contracts offered to the firm’s operator, DP World – should be mothballed until reparations are made to the 800 workers they have wronged.

Remember This Site’s article on March 19, where I stated that any UK business in a position to do so should find a way to penalise P&O ferries’ owner DP World for the sacking without notice of 800 UK-based employees?

I should have included the government, of course – and isn’t it providential that the UK’s Tory government has awarded DP World two contracts to run Free Ports. On that subject, This Writer agrees with David Osland, below:

Any organisation that treats the people of the UK with contempt should not receive financial rewards of any kind from the UK government. That should be among the most basic conditions of forming a government.

Tory-voting ex-employees of P&O may have been surprised to see their struggle being spearheaded, not by Boris Johnson, but by Jeremy Corbyn:

His argument is a good one. So next week we should see the UK’s Tory government cancelling these two contracts – right?

Well, maybe not. This government runs on greed, and we don’t know what, if anything, was offered to ministers in return for these “lucrative” deals.

So: don’t hold your breath waiting.

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Covid isn’t over because Sunak says so; he’s fooling us with his call to end free testing

Rishi Sunak: after he served up this little howler he pushed up Covid-19 infections massively. Now it seems he wants to repeat this feat by cancelling free Covid testing for people with symptoms – and not even replacing it with tests you have to buy.

Take a look at this:

Latest Covid figures show 46,025 new cases and 167 deaths, and the UK is the least-vaccinated country in western Europe.

And those are the conditions in which the Tory government has decided it wants to stop free Covid-19 testing for people with symptoms.

The initiative is spearheaded by the Treasury, not the Department for Health – which indicates to This Writer that Rishi Sunak wants to give the money he’s spending on this to more of his big business friends, so they can hide it in tax havens instead. Am I right?

Public health leaders are said to have been “blindsided” by the surprise announcement of the government’s intention, and have argued strongly against it, as you can see if you read the article linked below.

But the current situation means that, after the end of March, people with Covid aren’t likely to know.

If they don’t know, the authorities will be able to deny it, and official numbers will plummet.

But what will the death statistics do? And who will take the blame?

Source: UK Treasury pushes to end most free Covid testing despite experts’ warnings | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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Freebie-guzzling Tory couple spark fury over poverty wages

Philip Davies and Esther McVey: they’re raving it up on the profits firms have made by paying employees practically nothing.

Tories Philip Davies – the Friday morning filibuster king who takes joy in “talking out” legislation, not because it is bad but because it doesn’t come from the Conservative government – and Esther McVey – whose attacks on benefit claimants are notorious – have come under fire because of the free perks they have taken for themselves.

They have claimed £18,000 worth of VIP goodies on top of their £82,000 salaries (plus expenses).

And they were among 65 Tory MPs who have taken the bulk of freebies available – £160,000 worth between May and July alone.

In contrast, 23 Labour MPs have taken nearly £32,000. That puts Davies and McVey’s greed in context: between them they have claimed more than half as much as all the Labour MPs put together.

Among the gifts are several from gambling firms, coming at a time when the government is reviewing betting laws, provoking speculation on whether they came with strings attached.

Davies should be even more embarrassed because some of these gifts came from Entain, a company for whom he was paid almost £50,000 as an advisor last year, when it was known as GVC Holdings.

Here are the details:

Now you know the story, here comes the fury as people responded to this astonishing display of scrounging by members of the party that accuses people in extreme poverty of scrounging:

How indeed? Davies said his contract with GVC Holdings explicitly stated that he must not lobby on the firm’s behalf while employed by it – but he isn’t employed by it any more. And in any case, RD Hale’s comment shows that others would be imprisoned simply for accepting corporate gifts. Why not Davies and McVey?

Others have focused on McVey’s pronouncements on people who have to claim benefits in order to make ends meet because their wages don’t cover their costs – meaning that the government pays a de facto subsidy to under-paying employers.

Remember:

So the benefits paid to working people in extreme poverty are intended to help business bosses profit – not the struggling workers. Meanwhile MPs’ salaries have nearly doubled in the last 25 years:

So MPs are on an extremely good screw – and those like Davies and McVey are scrounging more freebies out of corporations (that may even be profiting by paying low wages and expecting their employees to claim benefits). Meanwhile the same MPs are happy to demand that benefit claimants must take the worst-paying jobs available, or lose those benefits:

Now, of course, the government is preparing to remove the £20 “uplift” that was provided to UC claimants during the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

Let’s put this in a little more context:

ToryFibs is slightly mistaken; making the £20 uplift permanent would not cost any money because there are hidden costs associated with cutting incomes to a point where people cannot afford the cost of living.

But we can see that the UK’s billionaires are raking in the cash as a result of not having to pay a living wage to employees.

And saying that the “uplift” costs a huge amount of money is a handy propaganda tool – that, it seems, has been used to good effect by certain news reporters…

… who are also doing very well for themselves.

And the assumptions about the amount that people need, in order to meet their living costs, has raised questions about other government payments. So the government’s claim to have legislated to ensure that people receive a “National Living Wage” has come under attack, not just because it isn’t enough, but because it reflects badly on the UK’s woefully low state pension:

So you can understand why people are furious at Davies and McVey.

While most of us struggle to survive in jobs that force us to claim benefits that still won’t cover our living costs after the Tories cut the uplift, in order to subsidise big businesses that are raking in the profits, the same firms are handing out free luxuries to these hugely well-paid Tory MPs. And when we retire we will have to try to survive on even less.

The whole system reeks of corruption and Davies and McVey stink worst of all.

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Tories plan to hit people over 60 with prescription charges

Prescription: if you’re over 60 and you need one of these – especially if it’s on a regular basis – then the price is set to skyrocket under a new Tory plan to make money for private healthcare firms.

Is this some of the government policy Lord Bethell has been discussing on his private email account, to keep it away from pesky Freedom of Information requests?

The Conservatives are planning to raise the age at which people may receive free prescriptions in England from 60 to 66, in line with the state pension age.

That’s the wrong yardstick, of course.

Firstly, prescriptions should be free to everybody because we all pay into the National Health Service via our taxes. If you are in England and you pay for prescriptions, you are literally paying twice for your medicine.

Secondly, if free prescriptions must be rationed, then in a country where many people are extremely poor, it makes sense to provide them to those who are most likely to need them – meaning, if they must be pegged to age, that they should become available at the age when most people start to suffer the illnesses associated with age.

The problem is that this is not a matter of medical need; it is about giving more money to the private companies that the Tory government has allowed to flood into the health service in order to make a profit from your pain.

That’s around £300 million per year, according to Lord Bethell – around £46.75 for an average person without need for regular medication – or £130.90 for people who need more than 12 prescriptions a year. And that’s at current prices which are sure to increase.

It’s a typical Tory back-of-a-fag-packet idea, based on a desire to rake in cash for people who don’t need it, from people who desperately do – but aren’t being given a choice about whether to give it up.

In other words: extortion.

Ministers are consulting on raising the age when people become eligible for free prescriptions in England to 66-years-old – but pharmacists branded the plan ‘unacceptable’

Source: People over 60 could be hit by prescription charges under new Government plans – Mirror Online

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Shameless Tory Children’s Minister tries to steal credit for Marcus Rashford’s school meals campaign

Brazen: Ford’s false claims are disproved by her own voting record.

How brazen can these Tories be?

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford has told Good Morning Britain viewers that she – not Marcus Rashford – was the person who got the government to extend free school meals into the holidays during the Covid-19 crisis, and who created lockdown meal vouchers.

She said she was not influenced by Rashford’s campaign at all.

Her claim has been ridiculed by those of us who can read Hansard, which shows that she voted against demands for such schemes – twice.

See for yourself:

Social media commentators have used the claim to make Ford a target for ridicule – and rightly so:

I want to know what Marcus Rashford – who received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List last year for his  services to vulnerable children in the UK during COVID-19, has to say about Ms Ford’s claims.

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Policeman who attacked terrified woman WHO WAS JUST WALKING HOME is spared jail

Police: even in the illustration it seems the policeman doesn’t want to be anywhere near the police woman.

It’s as though the last two weeks never happened.

The man attacking a woman while she was walking home in this video was a serving police officer – and remains a serving police officer after appearing in court and admitting the offence:

Let’s look a little more closely at that point about the victim facing an uphill battle to get justice:

So the first thing Warwickshire police did on receiving the complaint was ignore it.

Let us be clear: this was an unprovoked and violent attack by a large, drunken man, perpetrated at night against a much smaller woman.

And rather than treat it with the seriousness it deserved – especially as it related to one of their own – our law guardians did nothing.

I understand they would have brushed it under the carpet altogether if the CCTV footage had not been produced.

As it is, we can see that Oliver Banfield, 25, hurled a stream of misogynistic abuse at Emma Holmer, 11 years his senior, as he tried to employ techniques he learned from police training to drag her to the ground and put her in a headlock.

Apparently this has been described as an “unlawful arrest”. I’m sure you can think of a much better description for what is clearly a hate attack against a woman.

And how was she affected?

Miss Homer said the attack had a devastating effect on her.

She has suffered from anxiety, stress, panic attacks and insomnia and is undergoing therapy and counselling.

Miss Homer said being attacked by a police officer had shaken her belief system “to the core”.

“I often ask myself if the impact of the attack would have been so severe if my assailant was not a police officer,” she said.

“During the assault as I struggled to get to safety I was sure this drunk man was fulfilling a violent cop movie fantasy.

“To be verbally abused with misogynistic slang, grabbed by the neck and forced to the floor on a dark road by a drunk man, a foot taller than me, is terrifying.

“But to then find out he was a police officer shook my belief system to its core.

“Immediately after the assault I was in shock. I could not sleep

“I found myself compulsively running through the streets going through the events of the assault.

“What if I hadn’t got away? What if he had attacked another woman drunk?”

What, indeed?

Yet despite the aggravating features of this case – the use of police techniques, the misogynistic hate speech, and the slowness of his colleagues to prosecute Banfield – a judge at a magistrates court let this man – who should be stripped of his police career – walk free.

He was ordered to pay £500 compensation and £180 court costs, and was put under a 14 week curfew that means he may not leave his house between 7pm and 7am – after he cried off community service, his lawyer saying it would be difficult for him to work with criminals.

WITH criminals? Perhaps somebody should point out that this man IS a criminal.

And let’s remind ourselves that Sarah Everard was “just walking home” (the words have been used as a slogan ever since the incident) when she was attacked and murdered – allegedly by another serving policeman.

Two incidents cannot suggest that such behaviour is epidemic in the UK’s police. But they are enough to instil fear in every woman who has to walk home in the dark because they know they cannot automatically rely on the police to keep them safe.

When a trust is betrayed, it can be extremely difficult to win back. Sometimes it is impossible.

It seems clear that the police – and the justice system – isn’t even bothering to try.

Source: Off-duty police officer, 25, who attacked ‘terrified’ woman walking home spared jail – Mirror Online

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Nothing for you if you’re sick, disabled, at school or in care: reaction to the Tory budget

They all do this: but the way Rishi Sunak held the red box indicated there wasn’t much in it. And there wasn’t.

Rishi Sunak’s budget has shown he is a diehard Tory, with concessions for businesses while those of us in need can go whistle.

He has claimed his hands are tied by huge Covid-19-related debts – but we all know that he has already paid them off, by the simple means of creating the money needed to do so.

And his big plans for the future were pathetic: new ‘free ports’ that have always been a bad idea, and an investment bank to replace the one a previous Tory government sold off a few years ago.

We are ruled by intellectual pygmies – and that is being harsh on the pygmies.

I watched the budget speech and commentated on it on Twitter, so I can provide a first-hand account of the announcements – but first, I’d like to go straight to what wasn’t announced, with comments from people who were reading at the time:

So the people who did all the hard work during the Covid-19 crisis will receive no reward for their sacrifices at all – even though many of them sacrificed their lives, contracting the virus and dying because Matt Hancock couldn’t be bothered to supply proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at the right time.

However:

People with disabilities who did not receive the £20 benefit uplift because they are on so-called “legacy” benefits will still receive nothing more, even though the uplift will remain in place until September. After then, it seems people who lost their jobs because of Covid-19 will fall over a so-called “cliff edge”, with the uplift cancelled, forcing them to live on much less.

The Tories have made a major issue of education in the crisis, demanding that our children must go back to school as soon as possible in order to catch up on what they have missed – but Rishi Sunak has provided no extra facilities for this in his budget. It seems it was all talk and – in fact – the plan is to reopen a major vector for transmission of Covid and hope that the increase in infections – and deaths – won’t be noticed amid the falling numbers triggered by the vaccination programme.

And after years of promising to fix problems in the social care system – that became hugely pronounced when 30,000 people died in care homes because of Tory stupidity – Sunak is breaking that promise by offering nothing.

Meanwhile, those who profited hugely from the pandemic – either by being perfectly situated to continue selling goods to people in lockdown or by receiving government Covid-related contracts to provide services at hugely-inflated costs (many of which were not actually provided because the contractors were not qualified to do so) are to get off scot-free because Sunak has backed away from calls to impose a wealth tax.

So, what has he done?

Well, he carped on a lot about borrowing a huge amount of money to pay for Covid-19. That was a stream of lies from start to finish, as I pointed out:

So we were led to expect tax hikes a-go-go. But this didn’t happen:

The refers to income tax, National Insurance and VAT. However – and this is indeed a ‘however’:

This is the amount you earn before you start paying tax, or before you start paying it at a higher rate. Because these thresholds are frozen, it seems more people will pay at a higher rate due to wage inflation, so there will be a de facto increase in taxes. But this depends on people receiving pay rises to cover their costs and Tory policy over the last 11 years has been to discourage that – it’s the reason real take-home pay has fallen by thousands of pounds per year since 2010.

This was the only increase in taxation, and it is only on a tax on profits. So firms that pay corporation tax can avoid it by ensuring that they make no profit from 2023. The best way to do that is to invest in infrastructure and wages (by employing more people, perhaps).

It would be wrong to say that Sunak’s budget does nothing for ordinary people – but it’s all based around existing Covid-related schemes:

Sunak went on to announce plans for government investment. The main points were:

But “free ports” are not new, nor are they likely to help:

Here’s an interesting point:

Mr McDonnell himself promptly answered it:

There was also some muttering about policies that give a nod to the environment but if you blinked, you missed them – and This Writer blinked. They certainly don’t constitute a “Green Industrial Revolution”!

As Tory budgets go, this is not the disaster for working-class people that it could have been – although the main hits have been offset, so it may be a few months or years until we can know the effects for sure.

The lack of any hard taxes or austerity measures suggests a tacit admission that Covid-19 really is bought and paid-for, and there won’t be any real need to pay for it again.

So This Writer is left with a huge sense of anticlimax. I was expecting to be fearful after today; instead I feel let down.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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