Taking our cash: Matt Hancock claimed public money to boost his own social media profile.
Death ‘Health’ Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed nearly £1,000 of public money for software from a firm that claims to help boost social media profiles.
It seems he wanted to use the software from Sprout Social to improve his image on the internet (fat chance).
I don’t know about you, but I object to public money being used to “big up” these Tory maniacs. Hancock helped cause more than 150,000 unnecessary deaths (so far) in the Covid pandemic.
A spokesperson for Matt Hancock said: “Mr Hancock needs to communicate with his constituents as effectively as possible, including on social media. All expenditure is within the rules and transparently declared.”
Then why have we not been told which social media accounts have actually benefited (if that’s the word) from this software?
Until we know that, we can only believe that Hancock is using the nation’s cash for his own personal profit. And, last time I checked, that definitely wasn’t “within the rules”.
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.
More respect, please: If company bosses stop trying to wring every last ounce of profit out of workers while paying them a pittance, and start treating them well instead, they’ll be surprised at how well their firm starts to perform, according to a new report.
The nice folk at NIESR have produced a new report that supports something this blog has been saying for many years – that businesses make more profit if they take better care of their workforce.
The report is headed Happier workers, higher profits? and states: “We found those workplaces with rising employee job satisfaction also experienced improvements in workplace performance, while deteriorating employee job satisfaction is detrimental to workplace performance.
“Employee job satisfaction was found to be positively associated with workplace financial performance, labour productivity, the quality of output and service and an additive scale combining all three aspects of performance.
“Workplaces experiencing an improvement in non-pecuniary job satisfaction… also experience an improvement in performance.
“By contrast, there was no robust association between job-related affect (measured in terms of the amount of time feeling tense, depressed, worried, gloomy, uneasy and miserable) and workplace performance, nor pay satisfaction and workplace performance.”
The conclusion is that “these findings are consistent with the proposition that employers who are able to raise employees’ job satisfaction may see improvements in workplace profitability (financial performance), labour productivity and the quality of output or service [bolding mine, for reasons that will become apparent].
“Although we cannot state definitively that the link between increasing job satisfaction and improved workplace performance is causal, the findings are robust to tests for reverse causation and persist within workplaces over time, so that we can discount the possibility that the results are driven by fixed unobservable differences between workplaces.
“There is therefore a prima facie case for employers to consider investing in the wellbeing of their employees on the basis of the likely performance benefits.”
This ties in very closely with Vox Political‘s many comments on the Living Wage. The relationship is obvious: Pay somebody enough that they don’t need to ask for State benefits and their sense of self-worth increases hugely.
Here’s what this blog said on the subject back in April last year: “If a person receives enough, in return for their work, to pay their way in the world without having to take state benefits, several things happen.
“They feel valued in their position, and try harder. The quality of their work improves, along with that of the other workers in the company who also receive the living wage, and as a result, the employer is likely to benefit from improved orders. The company flourishes [increased productivity] and is able to take on more employees.
“As a result of this, the firm and its employees are able to pay more taxes and National Insurance contributions – not as a result of an increase imposed by an oppressive government, but because more people are employed there [and profits are higher]. The government therefore has more cash to fund public services; it has less need to borrow money and will not have to pay as much in social security benefits – in-work benefits will be unnecessary because working people will be receiving enough to put them above the threshold for that support, and fewer people will be claiming out-of-work benefits.
“The government can then pay off its debts and deficit more quickly, after which it can cut tax rates. This means everyone will have more money in their pockets – including employers, who can plough the extra cash back into the firm with infrastructure improvements and more employment.
“You see how this works?
“Contrast this with what happens when you employ somebody on the minimum wage, or abolish it.
“People on the absolute minimum do not feel valued. They consider their employers to be taking more than their fair share of the profits generated by the company where they all work together. They feel undervalued – and demeaned by the fact that they have to claim state benefits in order to survive. Their health may be put at risk, because they may find themselves having to work ridiculously long hours, just to make ends meet. Their work starts to suffer, and they may end up unemployed, either for health reasons or because the company is suffering (as a result of workers turning in substandard work).
“The company makes cutbacks. Its bosses don’t want to take a pay cut so they cut corners elsewhere. The workforce diminishes and the quality of the product suffers. In time, the firm’s contribution to the national economy dwindles – if it doesn’t go to the wall altogether. Its tax and National Insurance contribution plummets.
“The government finds itself paying in-work benefits for increasing numbers of people, and unemployment figures skyrocket. Employers and workers do not provide enough money in taxes and National Insurance to pay the bill for public services, so these are cut back and borrowing increases. The nation goes into a debt spiral.
“That is the current situation.
“Which of the above would you rather have?”
That remains the current situation, no matter what George Osborne may be saying today. The government would not be considering slashing the amount paid to ESA claimants if it didn’t consider the number of people claiming the benefit to be too high. We all know the number of people claiming in-work benefits has rocketed and that Osborne is facing a huge shortfall between the amount of tax he expected to receive this year and the actual amount. What is it – £5 billion? That’s not small change!
There have been huge arguments with right-wingers who have made spurious claims that employers can’t afford to pay more than the minimum wage – or that there is no incentive to do so.
David Cameron can thump the table, stamp his feet and shout all he likes …. he’s been caught out in a lie and now the pigeons have come home to roost!
When you have an (unelected) prime minister and a chancellor of the exchequer (who doesn’t even know his seven times table), who have manipulated and lied about the economy, they shouldn’t be surprised when they are forced to live up to their fiction.
The EU have asked the UK to pay £1.7 billion pounds because… the UK economy has improved.
If the economy HAD improved to the extent that CaMORON says it has, then this payment would not be too much of a problem.
There has indeed been an improvement in the economy, but only because of factors such as the money from activities such as drug use and prostitution being used to bolster the figures.
Prostitution and illegal drugs are contributing around £10 billion a year to the British economy, according to official data released last May (source ONS)
More than half of that – £5.3 billion – is attributable to prostitution*, according to estimated figures from the Office for National Statistics. Illegal drugs are worth £4.4bn.
Britain has to pay. No ifs, no buts. The adjustment is “automatic”.
* Vox Political should make a correction here. Yesterday this blog stated that sex slumps when the Tories are in office. Clearly this should be amended; it is only legal sex that drops off when Tories are in charge. Draw your own conclusions.
Labour is forging forward with new plans to improve work prospects and the skills of those seeking employment, while the Conservatives are plunging backward with proposals to penalise people who lack the ability to speak basic English.
Already right-wingers in the media have been trying to undermine the policies announced by Rachel Reeves in a speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research. They say Labour is planning to strip people of their benefits if they don’t take classes to improve their English and Maths skills, if necessary.
This talk of punishment for people who need help is completely wrong-headed. If someone can’t get a job because they can’t read, write or do their sums, then they should get help. Of course they should.
One has to wonder what has gone wrong in our schools, to lead to this situation. Perhaps Michael Gove would like to take responsibility? No, didn’t think so.
In fact, the plans announced by the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary are perfectly reasonable – especially in contrast with the latest Tory madness, but we’ll come to that soon enough.
We already know that the centrepiece of Labour’s economic plan is a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people and the long-term unemployed.
This means anyone over 25 who has been receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance for two years or more, and anyone under that age who has been receiving the same benefit for one year or more would get a guaranteed job, paying at least the minimum wage, for 25 hours a week – coupled with training for at least a further 10 hours a week.
This is perfectly reasonable. If you have been looking for work for more than a year, and couldn’t get it yourself, then the extra income provided by such a placement (especially coming in line with Labour’s plan to increase wages, in order to really make work pay, rather than depressing benefits and putting everyone in poverty, which is Conservative policy) will be welcome.
It doesn’t mean that people will have to put their own ambitions on hold. The best advice I ever received was to get a paying job during the day, in order to put food on the table and clothes on my back, and work on what I really wanted to do in the evenings. Eventually, with perseverance, it should be possible to replace the day job with what you really want to do.
Most of the jobs are likely to be in small firms where, once a company has invested six months in a new recruit, the chances are they will want to keep them on after the subsidy has ended.
The jobs guarantee would be fully funded by repeating the tax on bankers bonuses – they were in the news recently, when it was announced that these people would be receiving unearned bonuses worth twice as much as their salary so they’ve definitely got the cash to spare – and a restriction on pension tax relief for those on the very highest incomes.
But – of course – putting people into a job isn’t much good if they don’t have the knowledge of English and Maths that most of us use without thinking in our everyday lives.
In her speech, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said: “The shocking levels of English and maths among too many jobseekers are holding them back from getting work, and trapping them in a vicious cycle between low paid work and benefits.
“Nearly one in 10 people claiming JSA don’t have basic English skills, and over one in ten don’t have basic maths. IT skills among jobseekers are even worse; nearly half don’t have the basic email skills which are now essential for almost any job application.
“And we know that this keeps people out of jobs: those out of work are twice as likely than those in work to lack basic English and Maths,” she said, proving that her own lack in that area hasn’t held her back. Twice as likely as those in work, Rachel.
She said research has shown that, when people who lack these skills do get jobs, they too often find themselves in short term or temporary work, with a swift return to benefits. Nearly one in five of those who have made multiple claims for unemployment benefits have problems with reading or numeracy.
The response: “A new requirement [will be] for jobseekers to take training if they do not meet basic standards of maths, English and IT – training they will be required to take up alongside their jobsearch, or lose their benefits.
“[We] will ensure that people’s skills needs are assessed, and basic skills gaps addressed, from the start of a Jobseeker’s Allowance Claim, not after months and years of neglect.”
Contrast this with the Conservative Party’s latest plan to hammer immigrants and people on benefits – announcing a new policy of repression every week ahead of the election in 2015, according to politics.co.uk
It seems right-wing Australian election chief, and tobacco lobbyist, Lynton Crosby thinks this kind of bully-boy behaviour will make the Tories more popular! Don’t laugh.
This comes after satirical radio comedy The Now Show featured a sketch in which people tried to justify xenophobic attitudes without saying the words “I’m not racist, but…”
Let’s try the reverse – putting those words into the new policies announced on politics.co.uk:
“I’m not racist, but we should strip benefits from anyone who can’t speak English!” (Does this include the English people who can’t speak their own language properly, who Labour plan to help?)
“I’m not racist, but we should axe the service telling people about benefits in foreign languages!”
“I’m not racist, but we should end translation services in benefits offices!” (According to politics.co.uk, David Cameron is very keen on that one).
The site said “Iain Duncan Smith is understood to already be working on them”. (He’s not racist, but…)
Tory backbencher and former scandal Liam Fox tried to justify this lunacy by saying: “The ability to speak English is one of the most empowering tools in the labour market and we should be encouraging as many people as possible to learn it.” By cutting off their income? How does that work?
Plans to focus on the government’s increasingly racist tough anti-immigrant message come despite warnings that a reduction in immigration would make it harder for Britain to pay back its national debt.
The site said that, last week, a long-awaited report into benefit tourism had to be shelved in secret, after failing to find any evidence of it.
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