Tag Archives: heating

Tory Britain: we can’t afford to eat every day and we’re setting fire to our homes, trying to keep warm

Secret smile: Boris Johnson probably thinks it is very funny that his policies have made more than two million people unable to afford to eat every day, and that some people have set fire to their homes while trying to heat them by burning timber indoors.

You may wish to bookmark this article so you can send it to anyone who tries to tell you voting Conservative is a good idea.

Because more than 12 years of Conservative government has laid the once-great United Kingdom lower than it has been in decades – possibly more than a century.

More than two million people – one in every seven adults – can no longer afford to eat food every day:

More than 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat

The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January.

And fire brigades are now overworked dealing with blazes in houses where people started burning timber in open fires because they could not afford the cost of central heating any more:

A man in south-west London set fire to his property by burning timber in his living room to keep warm.

The man was trying to avoid putting on the central heating in his home, fire investigators said.

Fuel poverty campaigners said the incident – one of at least 100 involving open fires, log burners and heaters in the capital in the last few months – laid bare “the harsh and dangerous reality of the cost-of-living crisis”.

Some might say that they don’t care; these incidents involve other people. It’s very easy to throw shade on others by saying they are unable to keep their finances in order.

But the Tory cost-of-living crisis affects us all.

Food costs more because of Brexit-related supply issues; housing costs more because the banks have increased interest rates, meaning mortgages and rents are going up; heating costs more because of the shortage of gas created last winter and accelerated by the Russia-Ukraine war; we are paying more tax to the Tory government than any UK population in more than 40 years.

Only people who are extremely rich can afford to blame others for being unable to stay warm or feed themselves in these circumstances. If you’re on a normal wage, you’ll feel the pinch soon enough.

And it’s all due to Conservative economic incompetence – sold to you with a lie that they knew what they were doing.

Or was it a lie? How much worse would you find it if this enforced starvation and these house fires were intended to happen by Boris Johnson and his party?

Source: More than 2m adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day, survey finds | Food poverty | The Guardian

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MPs use taxpayer-funded expenses to pay bills worth thousands. You get a £200 loan

Not strictly a backhander: but why are MPs getting their extra heating bills paid on expenses – along with an increase in their wages?

The following should be self-explanatory:

These are just three examples. Want to know how many MPs are sponging thousands of pounds from you – that’s right, you personally – this way?

340:

Connected to this, here’s a good question:

In fact, the pay rise is supposed to cover extra work that MPs have to do now – and RD Hale’s argument still works.

By the same logic, if MPs deserve £2,212 to cover the value of the extra work they’re having to do, then minimum wage earners deserve £66,770. And their heating costs paid by the government.

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End of benefit freeze won’t end choice between heating and eating because increases will be too low

Citizens Advice has just confirmed what many of us have known for some time – that the end of the Tory benefit freeze won’t help people who are struggling to make ends meet.

The simple fact is that the freeze, alongside inflationary price increases, mean people on benefits simply don’t receive enough to afford the basic human rights.

And any increase approved by the Tories will only continue the hardship.

So, if you’re on benefits – even if you’re working – you still have to decide between buying food or heating your home.

According to Citizens Advice, the number of people who are unable to cover basic living costs has increased since the benefits freeze came into force in 2016.

In the first five months of the current financial year, 40 per cent of the people the charity helped with debt who claim income-related benefits didn’t have enough money to cover their living costs – an increase of 25% since the freeze came into effect.

However, the charity argues that ending the freeze won’t be enough to help people … and are calling for wider reforms to the benefits system to ensure that payments cover day-to-day living costs.

This includes ensuring Universal Credit gives people enough to live on by reviewing areas such as the amount of money retained by working claimants, and deductions for those dealing with debts or repaying advance payments.

Fat chance!

We’ve been down this road enough times already. The Tories won’t budge.

They know it pushes people into hardship; they know it nudges some people to consider – and others, regrettably, to go through with – suicide. And they simply don’t care. It’s time we all understood that.

Source: Ending the benefits freeze is unlikely to help those forced to choose between heating and eating

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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What does McGuinness’s resignation mean for Northern Ireland’s future in the UK?

Martin McGuinness said in his resignation statement that the position of the first minister, Arlene Foster, was untenable [Image: Jeff Spicer/PA].

Could Northern Ireland split from the United Kingdom as a result of Martin McGuinness’s resignation?

The province voted very heavily in favour of Remaining in the European Union in the referendum last June, and the Northern Irish peace process depends on adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights – from which the UK would depart when it leaves the EU.

Put those things together with an opportunity to elect a leadership that supports reintegration with the Republic and suddenly it seems the Union may be in more imminent danger than anybody thought – even with the threat of another Scottish independence referendum over ‘hard’ Brexit.

Then again, a huge majority of the population opposes anything that may bring about a resumption of ‘The Troubles’, as they were known, so that possibility must also be taken into consideration.

Mr McGuinness’s resignation appears to be mostly about the “Cash for Ash” scandal, a failed green energy scheme likely to cost the Northern Irish taxpayer around £400 million.

NI First Minister Arlene Foster has refused to step down, even temporarily, to allow an independent inquiry to take place.

So Mr McGuinness resigned, forcing a new NI Assembly election. This means Ms Foster cannot remain as First Minister.

If the balance of power shifts to give Sinn Fein the upper hand, it seems likely that a long period of negotiation will be necessary before a new government may be announced.

Who knows what the result of those negotiations will be?

Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, has resigned from office in protest over his power-sharing partner’s handling of a bungled green energy scheme.

McGuinness’s resignation means a new Northern Ireland assembly election is inevitable.

Under the complex rules of power-sharing in the region, if either the first minister or the deputy resigns the coalition government between unionists and nationalists falls.

Source: Martin McGuinness resigns as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland | Politics | The Guardian

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The lies that smashed the unions and destroyed our coal industry

So now we know that Margaret Thatcher lied about the scale of her attack on the British mining industry.

She told the country that only 20 pits were to be closed, when in secret she and National Coal Board chief Ian Macgregor had planned to close no less than 75.

The revelation vindicates then-National Union of Mineworkers’ leader Arthur Scargill, who claimed at the time that there was a “secret hit-list” of more than 70 pits marked for closure.

Documents released under what used to be called the Thirty Year Rule show that under the plan, two-thirds of Welsh miners would become redundant, a third of those in Scotland, almost half of those in north east England, half in South Yorkshire and almost half in the South Midlands. The entire Kent coalfield would close.

The workforce was to be cut by about a third, from 202,000 to 138,000.

Thatcher went on to use the lie as an excuse to break the power of the trade unions, setting the scene for the long decline in employees’ rights that has brought us to the current sorry situation in which part-time work, zero-hours contracts and fake ‘self-employed’ status are robbing us of what few entitlements we have left.

She used the police as a political weapon to attack picket lines, sowing seeds of distrust that persist to this day. How many people who saw the scenes of carnage during the miners’ strike can honestly say they trust the police to uphold the law without fear or favour? Is it not more accurate to say they fear the police as agents of a ruling elite?

She destroyed Britain’s ability to provide fuel for our own power stations, leading us into dependence on foreign powers for our energy needs. It is this helplessness – caused by the policies of that Conservative Prime Minister – that has put so many British families into fuel poverty under the current Conservative Prime Minister, forcing them to choose between heating and eating.

In short, Margaret Thatcher owes compensation to a huge number of British people.

Some might consider it a lucky escape for her that she died last year and will avoid our wrath, but then again, considering her state of mind at the end it is unlikely that she would have recognised what it was.

Perhaps it will be possible for some of her victims to claim compensation from her estate; that will be a matter for them.

But other leading Conservatives and civil servants were in on the plot – and they should not be allowed to walk away unpunished. These include:

  • Nigel Lawson (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time).
  • Norman Tebbit (Employment Secretary).
  • Sir Robert Armstrong (now Baron Armstrong of Ilminster, Secretary of the Cabinet in 1983). Armstrong has denied that there was a cover-up – an astonishing claim when documentation shows there was an agreement not to keep records of the secret meetings in which the plans were hatched and developed.
  • Peter Gregson (although he may also be dead; attempts to determine his status have turned up nothing).
  • Michael Scholar.

These are just the names on the document market ‘Secret’ meeting at No 10 on the BBC News report of the revelation.

They all knew about the lie and could all have told the truth but they did not.

They betrayed Britain.

Will they escape justice?

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Age UK predicts 200 pensioner deaths PER DAY this winter. Is Iain Duncan Smith happy now?

The Grimmer Reaper: If pensioners die in their thousands this winter, Iain Duncan Smith stands to profit from it.

The Grimmer Reaper: If pensioners die in their thousands this winter, Iain Duncan Smith stands to profit from it. [Picture: Daily Mirror]

It is hard not to imagine Iain Duncan Smith salivating at the thought that 200 pensioners a day might die of the cold this winter.

Pensions are the most expensive part of the State benefit bill, taking up more than half of his budget. With the state pension at £110.15, he stands to save £137,467,200 per year, without having to lift a finger. The energy companies will get the blame, with soaring bills making it impossible for senior citizens to heat their homes.

This is a much better deal, even than the one he engineered with Employment and Support Allowance, in which at least 73 people have been dying every week because of poverty-related health or mental health problems brought on by DWP decisions, ; people on ESA for longer than 13 weeks get £100.15 per week, meaning a saving of only £380,169.40 per year.

Make no mistake – any pensioners who die will be counted as a “positive benefit outcome” in Smith’s twisted DWP world. The man himself has been described as a social Darwinist, meaning he expects natural selection to decide who lives. Survival of the fittest, the ones who make the smart decisions and do what they must – and the Devil take the hindmost.

The figures on pensioners come from a survey by Age UK that says more than three million older people are worried about winter heating, with nearly six million admitting fears about the rising price of energy.

“Cold temperatures can be very dangerous to older people’s health as they not only increase the likelihood and severity of flu, chest infections and other respiratory problems but they also raise blood pressure which puts people at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes,” the Age UK article states.

“This winter, 24,000 older people may not survive the cold weather – that’s 200 deaths a day that could be prevented. Contrary to public belief, about half (41 per cent) of all excess winter deaths are due to heart attack and strokes.

“Age UK’s new research reveals that whilst many older people are worried about staying warm at home, many are unaware of the severe health implications of being cold.

“Almost a quarter (22 per cent) of older people don’t realise that a number of serious health problems are made worse or brought on by the cold and this rose to 29 per cent amongst people aged 80 and over.”

Does Iain Duncan Smith know that?

“Less than one in 10 people aged 65 and over in the UK are aware that strokes can be brought on by the cold in winter, with only 14 per cent recognising that the cold can impact on heart attacks,” the article continues, so it is doubtful that he does. Iain Duncan Smith is 59.

Does he know that “living room temperatures should ideally be kept at 70F (21C) and above whereas bedroom temperatures should be kept at a minimum of 64F (18C)”? Probably not. He’s probably got someone to work these things out for him.

Besides urging older people and their friends and family to be prepared this winter, Age UK is also calling on MPs of all parties to support investment to boost the energy efficiency of older people’s homes and help them keep warm.

It would be welcome to see Iain Duncan Smith helping out here. It would also be a surprise.

That is why it is hard not to imagine Iain Duncan Smith salivating at the thought that 200 pensioners a day might die of the cold this winter.

A word to the wise about the weather

vulnerableIt occurred to me today that while we’ve all been having a good debate about the effect of the Work Capability Assessment, as run by Atos for the Department of Work and Pensions to cut thousands of people off from disability benefits every week, we haven’t been thinking about the effect of the current cold weather on those very people.

We have spent a lot of time recently discussing people who have to make a choice between eating and heating when – especially last weekend – cutting out either of those things could have life-threatening consequences.

Now, I’m sure that Vox readers are alert to these issues but, for the sake of thoroughness, if you know anybody who is claiming – or has claimed – sickness or disability benefits near you, and who might have had them cut off lately, or be struggling to cope with what they’re receiving, or simply be vulnerable due to their own mental health or frailty…

Why not knock on their door and make sure they’re all right?

There was a news story in my Mid Wales hometown a couple of weeks ago, in which it was revealed that neighbours saved an elderly lady’s life after realising they hadn’t seen her for a couple of days. They alerted the emergency services, who forced entry to her house and found that she had suffered injury after a fall – and had been stuck in her bedroom for two days. By the time they arrived her condition was life-threatening and she had to be airlifted to hospital.

That story had a happy ending, because the person involved survived to tell the tale.

Without wanting to seem like I’m teaching my grandmother (or grandfather) to suck eggs, let’s make sure we don’t have any sad endings because of the cold weather.

Cheers.