Tag Archives: freeze

Here’s the first chance Liz Truss has – to disappoint us

Liz Truss with her picture of the place where she works (she did it in crayon) [not really].

Is this wishful thinking?

Apparently Liz Truss is “expected” to freeze energy bills for households and small-to-medium-sized businesses, while bigger companies may be offered tax breaks to help them through the current period of higher prices.

She hasn’t actually confirmed it yet, though.

Here‘s the BBC:

A freeze on energy bills is understood to be one of a number of options being worked on to help struggling households to cope with soaring costs.

It is expected that energy suppliers will be able to take out government-backed loans to subsidise bills.

Energy bosses have been meeting with government officials on the matter.

A £100bn plan to freeze household bills was proposed by energy companies last month.

Under the proposal, bills would be subsidised and the current price cap of £1,971 for a typical family would be maintained for two years.

The BBC understands that a similar scheme will be used to limit the energy price increases being experienced by small and medium-sized businesses.

And bigger companies may be offered tax breaks to help them through the period of high prices.

This Site discussed the loan plan (it was put forward by Ovo Energy) last week.

The question is, will Truss really adopt it? As the slogan runs, will she “freeze prices, not people”?

Or is this her first opportunity to let us all down?

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Is Starmer right with plan to cut energy bills for the rich and poor alike?

Keir Starmer: it seems he actually has a point (for a change).

To answer the question in the title, if you watch this clip of Jeremy Vine attacking Keir Starmer’s plan – to his face – you may think the answer is no:

But if it knocks headline inflation down by four points, it has to be good – right?

And in the meantime – it is to be hoped – Parliament as a whole can work on a multi-headed strategy to bring down the cost of living.

Also – you may not know this, but the Labour plan apparently saves poorer people, who don’t pay by direct debit but by pre-payment, £300 more.

This Writer is no fan of Starmer – but at least he is offering something.

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Cost of living crisis: How will prescription charge freeze help people who need it?

Sajid Javid: the eyes are open but the mind is not.

Sajid Javid’s an ignorant little… banker, isn’t he?

This entitled Tory twit has frozen prescription charges in England, saying keeping the charge at an extortionate £9.35 until next year will “put money back in people’s pockets.”

No, it won’t – certainly not for me. I live in Wales.

And it won’t even do that in England. It just won’t take any more money from people hard-pressed by the cost-of-living crisis.

And, of course, it won’t help everybody – just those who are ill…

… who aren’t among the 90 per cent who already get their prescriptions free of charge.

So that counts those on state benefits, pregnant women and new mothers, people with specified medical conditions or disabilities, the over-60s and under-16s out of having any money put back in their pockets by this change.

And of course people here in Wales, and also in Scotland and Northern Ireland, also have free prescriptions.

“The rise in the cost of living has been unavoidable as we face global challenges and the repercussions of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine,” Javid said. “Whilst we can’t completely prevent these rises, where we can help – we absolutely will.”

But it seems the only people likely to benefit from this help with the cost of living are people who don’t need it. He’s just saving cash for his fellow Tories.

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Local services in Wales will suffer if the Conservatives take over the Senedd

Think before voting: the Conservatives are promising to freeze council taxes in Wales if they take control of the Assembly – but this will benefit the rich far more than working-class people.

The Welsh Conservatives have said they will freeze council tax for at least two years if they take control of the Welsh Assembly after the local elections in May – but this is a threat, not a promise.

The party has said it will fund a council tax freeze, but there is no guarantee that it will follow through on any such pledge. Even if it does, this only means that it will maintain services as they are.

So what happens when events demand spending beyond that level?

Answer: we won’t see it – they’ll say there isn’t enough money (which is a lie).

Also: who benefits most from a council tax freeze? The rich.

Taxation is a way of redistributing wealth, ensuring that poorer people are able to enjoy publicly-funded services for all, rather than those services being restricted only to those who can afford to pay for them out of their own pocket.

It also ensures that funding is available for projects that would not otherwise receive support from private individuals.

By freezing council taxes, then, the Conservatives are pledging to let rich people keep more of their money while depriving the poor of the services they need to get by.

But the Tories don’t tell you that.

Source: Tories pledge to freeze council tax in Wales for at least two years

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Rishi Sunak thinks taking cash from the starving poor is the way to pay for Covid-19

Remember this? It led to a huge rise in Covid-19 infections. Now Sunak is planning to make the poor pay for his mistakes.

The absolute state of this.

The Chancellor who told us to “eat out to help out” – triggering an exponential increase in Covid-19 infections that led to new restrictions – is now trying to work out how the UK will pay for his government’s mistakes.

And of course he isn’t going to ask the filthy-rich corporates who have made a fortune while the crisis has been happening to pay a bit more.

No – he wants to grind you further into the dirt:

Rishi Sunak has looked at a freeze on benefits and public sector pay to fight the spiralling cost of the coronavirus crisis, it is reported today.

Sources failed to rule out the crushing blow to millions of workers and the poorest – just a few years after long austerity freezes finally ended.

The Chancellor is also said to be trying to persuade Boris Johnson to suspend the “triple lock” on pensions, reports the Mail on Sunday – amid fears it will artificially rise due to the economic turmoil.

So he’ll freeze wages and benefits at a time when his boss Boris Johnson’s international law-breaking Brexit is likely to cause massive price increases on basic food items.

And he wants to freeze pensions as well, to put the pensioners who were left after his government’s Covid-19-fuelled cull into the same predicament.

It has all been about protecting the super-rich, of course. The lockdown that was supposed to kill off Covid-19 didn’t, because Sunak, Johnson and their gang wanted to get us all back to the coalface, making money for the big corporate bosses who donate to the Tory party.

Now, despite the fact that this corporates have increased their riches steadily over the course of the pandemic, Sunak still doesn’t dare tap them to help pay for the results of their government lackeys’ efforts to keep them in gravy.

And this creep was supposed to be the great white hope of the Conservative Party?

Source: Rishi Sunak ‘considers freezing benefits and wages’ to pay for Covid crisis – Mirror Online

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Nurses excluded from public sector pay rise – because of impending NHS sell-off?

No pay rise for nurses: by keeping the payroll as low as possible, aren’t the Tories making the NHS more attractive to US corporate buyers?

The Tories have denied nurses a pay rise that they have granted to other public sector workers including teachers and doctors.

It seems that, while these other professions are to get a raise “recognising their efforts on the frontline during the battle against COVID-19”, nurses – after many of their colleagues died on the Covid-19 “frontline” – are to be ignored.

The Tories say nurses are already benefiting from a series of pay hikes imposed in 2017 – but nursing representatives say this is blurring the line between professional progression and a pay rise.

Certainly there is a difference between the Tory claim that the average nurse will “receive an average 4.4 per cent rise this year” and the 1.65 per cent the vast majority of nurses had.

Here’s a thought, though: The Tories just voted en masse to ensure that the NHS is included in any trade deal with the United States.

If they’re about to hand over such a large concern to new, corporate, profit-driven owners, they’ll want to ensure that it has relatively low operating costs – and the best way to do that is to keep payroll costs down, what with wages being the highest cost in most businesses.

Doesn’t that make sense to you?

Source: No new pay rise for nurses, confirms Downing Street | NursingNotes

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Nearly 60,000 dead in UK because of Covid-19 – and Johnson wants to penalise healthcare staff

Read it and weep. First the bad news:

The image above is (according to Chris Giles – economics editor of the Financial Times – on Twitter) a cautious estimate of the number of excess deaths in the UK.

He says the total – as of yesterday – was 59,700. Of these, 51,000 have happened and 8,700 are estimates bringing the official data up to date using evidence from hospitals.

That’s nearly twice as many as the 32,000 or so claimed by your Tory government. And even that figure is appalling because the Tories should have ensured our health service was prepared for it, and didn’t bother.

His report in the FT states:

The official figures from the UK’s statistical agencies are much higher than the daily announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care, which stands at 32,065.

The FT model now estimates that slightly more than 60,000 more people will have died than normal from the start of the outbreak to May 11, based on the excess deaths to date and the latest daily figures from hospital deaths.

At present this is the highest absolute level of excess deaths in Europe, although figures for Italy are not yet comparable because they are only available to the end of March.

Now the ugly news:

Your Tory government is considering freezing the pay of public sector workers – that means doctors and nurses among all the others – in order to pay the £300 billion cost of the coronavirus crisis that its MPs could have prevented if they had made the proper preparations for it over the last few years.

Other proposed measures include tax hikes – so doctors and nurses will be doubly-hit – and a raid on the national pension fund.

Here’s The Independent:

A confidential treasury assessment cited by The Daily Telegraph is reported to say the UK’s deficit could reach heights of £337bn this year due to the government’s attempts to keep the economy afloat during the crisis.

The paper added that the government document said measures including income tax hikes, a public sector pay freeze and the end of the triple lock on pensions may be required to fund the debt.

Proposing to end the triple lock, a guarantee to increase to the state pension every year based on whatever is highest out of inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5 per cent, has proved controversial in the past – with many citing it as a catastrophic moment in the run up to Theresa May’s underwhelming 2017 election performance.

And a freeze to the public sector pay – potentially impacting the healthcare workers who have been on the front lines of the response to the virus – is also likely to cause consternation from the public and across the political spectrum.

How do you feel about this plan by the Tories to make healthcare staff and pensioners pay for the Tories’ mistakes?

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Universal Credit nightmares: Man unable to feed daughter after unwarned benefit freeze

Is this conscious cruelty or accidental agony? And which is worse?

It seems the Department for Work and Pensions decided that Cezar Zanin, of Bristol, had not provided enough information about a childcare provider – so it cut off his Universal Credit without warning.

He was left unable to feed his daughter Laura, and was forced to borrow money from friends.

(Lucky man. If you want to know what happens to people in this situation who don’t have generous friends, it’s obvious: they die.)

Here’s the real issue, though: Mr Zanin wasn’t sanctioned. He wasn’t given any reason for it. The payments simply stopped.

And it took him a while to realise his payments had ended, meaning increased financial difficulty.

One has to ask what these DWP employees were thinking. Mr Zanin works part-time for the NHS, so he’s doing his bit to improve his situation – but he and his daughter are in temporary accommodation. There’s a clear need.

The DWP itself said payments were suspended because Mr Zanin submitted two childcare receipts for the same month and the department had to check that the payments were genuine.

Why couldn’t anybody tell him that?

So we come back to the question at the top:

Is this conscious cruelty or accidental agony? And which is worse?

Source: Dad left unable to feed his daughter after DWP freezes his Universal Credit payments – Mirror Online

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Here are 10 reminders of how the Tories are freezing and starving people. Will you be next?

The Conservative victory in December’s general election has given Boris Johnson free reign to torture the UK’s poorest people.

Amazingly, there are some in the country who either haven’t noticed, or refuse to accept the reality of the harm that is being done.

So this article by Red Revolution is timely. It states:

The Court of Appeal found that the Tory government discriminated against disabled people through the unfair and cruel practices of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The finding confirmed in law what millions have known since 2010, that the Tory government is engaging in nothing less than what can be described as a process of social cleansing through the DWP.

Just last year the United Nations condemned the Tory government, a report comparing British welfare policies to the creation of workhouses. Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, accused the Tories of the “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the British population”.

Such is the level of misery inflicted on the British public that many have suggested that the poor and vulnerable are headed back to Victorian levels of inequality and poverty.

Given that people are literally freezing and starving to death, it’s not hard to see the point.

Bear in mind the fact that the UK, with a $2.83 trillion GDP, is the fifth-largest economy in the world.

The piece goes on to tell the stories of 10 infamous cases, including some that have been covered on This Site: Errol Graham, Mark Wood, Andrew Clarke, David Clapson, Mark Smith, Chris Gold, Danielle White, Elaine Morrall, ‘Alice’ and Stephen Smith.

Read on, here: Arbeit Macht Frei: 10 Cases of Starvation and Freezing Under Universal Credit in “Civilised” UK | Red Revolution Media

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Will Bedroom Tax eviction leave this man threatened with a freezing death on the streets?

This is despicable – and shows the depths to which the Tory government sank when it imposed the Bedroom Tax on unsuspecting tenants.

The Bedroom Tax is not extracted from pensioners and Ken May, 65, is due to retire next month.

He had been living with his mother in his childhood home in Gateshead – but her death three years ago meant he became eligible to pay the tax on “spare” bedrooms until the date of his retirement.

He has struggled to do so, and is now £1,200 in arrears – so landlord Gateshead Housing Company has launched court action to evict him.

Mr May says he believes the company is desperate to shift him out of the property before he retires, as the cancellation of his Bedroom Tax and the arrival of his pension could leave him in the building indefinitely.

The company says it has tried to work with Mr May to resolve the problem (although I note that we are not told what it proposed).

I say this would not have happened if the Tories had not imposed the Bedroom Tax, which removes 14 per cent of tenants’ housing benefit for the first room deemed to be spare, and 25 per cent for two rooms.

Labour is promising to abolish the tax, which is unfair because it is levied on people who have been given no choice about where they live.

But even if Labour is elected into government, will there be a chance to repeal the tax before Mr May is thrown onto the streets?

Freezing weather has already killed one homeless person the winter.

Mr May could still end up being one of the Tories’ last victims.

Source: Man faces losing childhood home after bedroom tax plunges him into rent arrears – Mirror Online

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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook