Tag Archives: income

Is #BorisJohnson thinking of another #lockdown so people can die – alone and uncounted – at home? Will #KeirStarmer support this?

Johnson v Starmer: in Prime Minister’s Questions they make a show of opposing each other but when it comes to depriving people of vitally-needed funds, it seems they are equally homicidal.

It seems Boris Johnson is considering a new tightening of restrictions on the public, in an effort to turn back what he has now acknowledged as a second wave of Covid-19. But is there an ulterior motive?

The first national lockdown he imposed, back in March, meant many people died alone at home – unnoticed by the authorities who were struggling to cope with hospital admissions or by neighbours, friends and relatives who were under what amounted to house arrest.

Here’s one such example:

Notice that this death was not due to Covid-19 infection. It was due to denial of Universal Credit. The lockdown meant this person was unable to seek or secure any help at all.

Remember that Universal Credit sanctions were suspended after the lockdown started, but there was no amnesty for those who were already under sanction.

How many more deaths were there? I don’t know, but to demonstrate that this wasn’t an isolated incident, here’s another:

Ms Farrell added the following:

Yes – Johnson does have blood on his hands, and will have more to wash off if he imposes any further lockdowns without checks on vulnerable people, including those who are being denied benefits.

But that blood should be shared with all those who rejected the idea of a Universal Basic Income for everybody, at least during the lockdown.

This would have ensured that nobody fell through the cracks in provision – as the examples above show obviously occurred.

Labour leader Keir Starmer was among those who opposed the establishment of a UBI – and may therefore have to join Johnson in the virtual washroom, soaping the blood off himself.

A friend of This Site made the point in a tweet responding to his attempt to publicise his virtual conference, Labour Connected:

He’ll do neither. His inactions so far indicate that this Red Tory leader wants vulnerable people to die, just as much as Johnson does.

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Leaked report warns of Covid-Brexit “horror show” – remember THIS IS WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WANTS

Two-fingered salute: the UK might fall into lawlessness and chaos because of Boris Johnson but he doesn’t care, as long as he gets what he wants.

A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case” report on the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit combining with another wave of Covid-19 has laid out exactly what Boris Johnson wanted for the UK when he became PM.

Johnson, you’ll remember, did not want any trade deals with the European Union after the UK leaves that bloc.

It was widely believed that this is because the hedge fund managers who supported his bid to be Tory leader have bet heavily on the UK going into recession, with many big-name firms going out of business. The claim was that they could make £8 billion out of it.

Of course, none of these multi-billionaires care a fig about the rest of us. If the country falls into chaos they’ll be off to their holiday homes in the sun, with their cash safely stowed in a tax haven.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, you will be left to deal with food, fuel and power shortages, illness and deaths caused by flood, flu and Covid-19, and incursions into the country from outside such as EU boats coming into our fishing waters.

And, as may reasonably be expected from his government’s failures so far on Covid-19 – the school reopening furore, school meals, exam results, care home deaths, PPE procurement, face mask procurement, test and trace, contract nepotism… the list goes on and on – on flooding (remember that?) and on any other subject you care to mention, the Johnson government has not planned any response to this at all.

The article goes on to state:

  • One in 20 Town Halls could go bust in a second Covid wave, sparking social care chaos.
  • The economic impact of the virus and Brexit could cause public disorder, shortages and price hikes.
  • Troops may have to be drafted on to the streets to help the police in the worst-case scenario — 1,500 are already on stand by.
  • Social distancing measures and masks will have to continue until 2021 regardless.
  • Supplies of food and fuel are all under threat this Christmas if Dover becomes blocked.

The planners warned that “pandemic influenza, severe flooding, a Covid second wave and an unruly exit from the EU transition period could cause a systemic economic crisis with major impact on ­disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability.”

It could be combined with likely “coordinated industrial action” as well as shortages risking public disorder and a mental health crisis that will hit the poorest hardest.

Nobody in a Tory government is going to worry about a mental health crisis that harms poor people, of course.

And the attitude by leading Tories to this frankly terrifying report seems to be that if they ignore it, it will go away.

Michael Gove is quoted as babbling: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January.

“A brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”

A government spokesperson did add that this was a “reasonable worst case” scenario.

But on the Johnson ministry’s record so far, it is stretching the facts to breaking point to suggest that the government is “ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.

That simply is not going to happen. On the evidence of the last 12 months, it would be irresponsible to believe anything Johnson, his ministers or his spokespeople say about it.

But there’s one more matter to remember:

If this disaster happens, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than to prepare as well as you can (because the Tories simply won’t).

I anticipate another stockpiling splurge, worse than the rush for toilet roll in March, at the very least.

Obviously the worst-case will be social unrest and violence – and I’m not ruling that out, either.

Whatever happens, if we end up with no deal and any of the feared outcomes are triggered, you must remember (because he’ll lie about it):

It is what Boris Johnson wanted all along.

Source: Leaked document reveals Cabinet’s emergency plans for perfect storm of No Deal Brexit and coronavirus second wave

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Spain approves Universal Basic Income – and it’s more than UK sick and disabled get

Universal Basic Income: the Spaniards are getting it (in Euros, obviously) – why can’t people in the UK have it?

Only a few weeks ago, Tories were delighting in claiming that no other nation had adopted a Universal Basic Income scheme in response to calls for the UK to adopt it during the Covid-19 crisis.

Now they can’t say that any more.

And the amount being provided to Spanish citizens will be more than people on the normal rate of Universal Credit, on Employment and Support Allowance, or on the lowest rate of Personal Independence Payment (if I recall correctly) – around £95 per week.

If anyone is wondering how we reached a point where Spain supports its people better than the UK, just remember we’ve had more than 40 years of right-wing governments and they have laid us low.

Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.

The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.

Source: Spain approves national minimum income scheme | The Independent

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Call for Budget boost to tackle poverty and boost incomes is naive political optimism

Money: Boris Johnson is rolling in it but his policies have starved the UK of the cash that is the lifeblood of the economy.

Give the SNP its due: at least the Scottish nationalists are keeping Tory impoverishment of the public in the national conversation.

On the eve of the Budget 2020 statement, they are calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to boost the incomes of the poorest people.

But it’s never going to happen.

Not under a Tory government, anyway.

Tories like keeping people poor.

They planned a strategy to make us all poor, back in the 1970s – and have been following it faithfully ever since. Did you think the attack on trade unions and the dismantling of our industry was a mistake?

Think again.

We already know the call to abolish the Bedroom Tax will fall on deaf ears; the Tories just announced that they’re not lifting it from people who have suffered discrimination because of it, so they certainly won’t help anyone else.

We know that calls to halt Universal Credit until “fundamental flaws” are fixed – like the five-week wait for initial payments that push people deep into debt – won’t attract attention. Therese Coffey said last week that the five-week wait will remain.

And we know the Tories won’t boost support for pensioners; their contempt for the WASPI women is well-demonstrated.

Instead, we’re likely to see Mr Sunak announcing measures that appear to be generous without actually helping the majority of the people.

He’ll try to boost business – so very rich businesspeople will profit more.

And he’ll probably make good on some of the empty promises that Boris Johnson has already made – the extra NHS funding that the Tories say is the biggest boost in history, but isn’t; the doubling of flood defence funding that they were forced to announce out of embarrassment.

So don’t expect change of any value to you at all.

Just be ready to attack the Tories for their habitual cruelty.

Source: Budget 2020: Tories must reverse benefit cuts to tackle poverty and boost incomes – Welfare Weekly

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Johnson’s Brexit would leave us worse-off than May’s – but that’s ignoring the main point

Brexiteer: Boris Johnson. Behind him is Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, who seems determined to help him achieve Brexit, by refusing to support a Jeremy Corbyn-led interim government.

Research by academic think tank The UK in a Changing Europe shows that Boris Johnson’s current model of Brexit will leave us worse-off than Theresa May’s.

National income would drop by the equivalent of £2,000 per person – 6.4 per cent less than if we stayed in the EU – under Mr Johnson’s offer, the think tank has claimed.

This is a worse outcome than Theresa May’s proposals (remember them?) – that would leave us all only £1,500 worse-off.

A “no deal” Brexit would be worse than both – taking £2,500 from all our incomes.

Am I the only person in the UK who can see the connection between all three proposals – that they all leave us worse-off than staying in the EU?

Why the blazes are we going ahead with this farce?

It is clearly acknowledged that leaving the European Union will damage all of us financially.

(Sure, there are plenty of people who claim this is nonsense but their evidenceless comments lack one important element: authority.)

Boris Johnson is enormously rich, so he can easily bear a loss of £2,500, I’m sure. Some of us are not in such a privileged position.

In fact, most of us would be defined as “impecunious” – having little or no money – by the likes of BoJob.

We can’t endure such a loss to our household finances; not on top of the cuts to wage and/or benefits that have already been inflicted on us by the Conservatives.

One can understand why Tories like Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage want to take that money away from us. They need to rob us of any financial independence so we’ll accept whatever servitude they push onto us.

Why do ordinary people want to be worse-off. Do they have some kind of death wish?

Source: Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan would leave everyone in the UK £2,000 worse off, study finds | The Independent

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Johnson’s Brexit policy means UK will be MUCH better-off under LABOUR

Valueless: Oscar Wilde said a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Boris Johnson doesn’t even know the price of anything. Perhaps that is why he is spaffing your money up the wall like a fool.

Listen to this:

John McDonnell was referring to a report by the respected Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), stating that the UK will be £110 billion better-off under a Labour government than with Tory rule, by 2022.

The IFS stated that the outlook for the public finances has “worsened dramatically” since the spring and will deteriorate further if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.

There can be few clearer statements that Boris Johnson’s leadership is a threat to the United Kingdom and everyone in it.

The report stated that the government’s current spending plans, including a £13.4 billion increase to meet Mr Johnson’s promises on police and schools (but not – notice – the NHS) mean the budget deficit was likely to be £52.3bn in 2020-21, more than double the £21bn forecast by the OBR in March.

But Mr Johnson also promised huge tax giveaways for the rich in his leadership campaign including cuts to Income Tax and National Insurance. If he goes ahead with these, he will harm the national finances even more brutally.

No doubt Mr Johnson – and his chancellor Sajid Javid – will come out with some mealy-mouthed excuse to pacify us all. It will probably involve another claim that the Conservatives are the “party of financial responsibility” and “Labour will bankrupt the country”. But it’s a funny thing – if they think Labour’s fiscal plans are so harmful, why has IFS director Paul Johnson claimed that their own current ideas are almost identical to Labour’s from 2017?

Most tellingly, of course, we know that Boris Johnson is a liar.

You cannot trust him when he says he’ll fund the police. You cannot trust him when he says he’ll fund schools. You cannot trust him when he says he’ll fund our NHS. You cannot trust him when he says he’ll cut tax. And you absolutely cannot trust him when he says the UK will be better-off after his Brexit.

He thinks you’ll vote for him in an election likely to happen before Christmas. Just remember this:

If you vote for a liar, you will only get broken promises.

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Tory crocodile tears: MP who wept at Universal Credit stories helped block publication of reports on its effect

Remember this?

I have already poured doubt on Heidi Allen’s sincerity; her record is against her.

Now it has emerged that she voted against a move to clarify what the Conservative government understood Universal Credit would do, before it was put into operation.

Labour had tabled a motion in Parliament for a “humble Address” to the Queen, directing that any briefing papers or analysis provided to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions since 8 January 2018 on the impact of the roll-out of universal credit on recipients’ and household income and on benefits debts be presented to MPs.

That motion was defeated by a margin of 20 votes – 279 for; 299 against.

Ms Allen voted against it.

So much for her claim that “By God, we’ll work together and make it better.”

Her actions speak for themselves; she likes Universal Credit just the way it is.

Source: Tory MP who CRIED at Universal Credit horror stories votes to BLOCK Universal Credit Impact Assessment publication | Evolve Politics

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How to upset super-rich exploiters: The maximum wage

Small change: That’s all employees can hope to get while company executives retain sole power to determine pay.

It seems to This Writer that Jeremy Corbyn has struck a nerve, here.

All he had to do was mention the possibility that Labour might introduce rules limiting executive pay in relation to that of the lowest-paid employee and a storm of protest arose – from the high-paid, the privileged, and the ‘entitled’.

It is exactly as This Site stated a couple of days ago – and as Shadow Business Secretary Clive Lewis has pointed out in an article in the Mirror.

“It’s a strange country indeed where the fact that top bosses earn more in two and half days than most people earn all year causes less outrage than a proposal to limit pay at the top. I suggest looking more closely at who was causing the uproar,” he wrote, echoing my own words.

He pointed out that claims that everybody benefits when the rich get richer are nonsense: “The wealth isn’t trickling down, it’s flooding up”.

Higher pay rates mean CEO’s are causing instability by leaving after only short tenures: “They are cashing in rather than aiding the long-term growth of the company.”

There is no point in ‘naming and shaming’ companies whose bosses take huge salaries and incentives while employees have to claim in-work benefits to survive, because: “You can’t shame the shameless.”

Publication of Directors’ pay was originally intended to shame companies into restraining pay, but has had the opposite effect, encouraging companies to compete with each other on pay. And those that might want to act find they can’t – because they would be paying less than the going rate, attracting nobody.

So it is the duty of government to act in the name of the majority.

Perhaps the only serious criticism of the plan to limit firstly the pay of private companies carrying out contracted-out work for the government, so that bosses earn a maximum of 20 times their lowest-paid employees, is that the traditional way of rebalancing inequality is via tax.

Why can’t taxation be used to address the issue, as Joseph Harker asked in The Guardian?

The simple answer is that it can – but not on its own.

If rich executives were taxed extra, solely to fund in-work benefits for the poor, they would bitch like hell that their money was being stolen and given away as handouts for the undeserving.

It would be a lie, but it’s one they like to use.

The Tories also like to claim that the higher-paid would simply find ways to avoid paying tax if the rate was higher than it is now – which is why they have been merrily cutting back the amount that they and their rich friends contribute.

No – pay needs to be re-balanced so that working people receive the amount they deserve.

Has anybody ever explained what company executives do that is so deserving of – what is it now? – 180 times as much remuneration as the people who actually generate their firm’s profits? Anyone?

Taxation is appropriate, as Mr Lewis writes – but only in conjunction with fair pay ratios. A higher tax rate for people earning obscene amounts could only be seen as fair if it is combined with tax breaks for firms that offer fair pay. It has been suggested that such businesses could even be rewarded with a British Standards ‘kite mark’.

So the idea of a maximum pay level, set at a certain multiple of minimum pay at any given firm, is sound.

Suspicion should not be heaped on Jeremy Corbyn, Clive Lewis and Labour for suggesting it.

It is not an unrealistic idea, as many have claimed – in fact several other countries have already implemented it, but your bosses probably didn’t want you to know that. Take a look at this Skwawkbox article for details.

Instead, let us place blame for the current situation where it is due – on the corporate mouthpieces who try to suppress any action that may hinder their rampant, naked greed.

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If we examine who is complaining about Corbyn’s maximum wage idea, we’ll know why

Jeremy Corbyn said a maximum wage was needed ‘if we want to live in a more egalitarian society and fund our public services’ [Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA].

Isn’t it interesting how the media have latched onto what is actually a well-known Jeremy Corbyn preference, and tried to make it seem loony?

Mr Corbyn has been saying he wants legislation to describe a maximum wage for the highest earners, at least since he became leader of the Labour Party in 2015.

Suddenly it is big news, and his own earnings of £138,000 a year were plastered all over our TV screens during the morning reports – a lot when compared to yours or mine, perhaps, but a paltry sum next to those of the company execs who earned more than all of us, including Mr Corbyn, by the end of last week.

Some boardroom suits take home around £5 million every year; some take more. Meanwhile they force employees onto starvation wages that mean they have to claim from the benefit system to survive. Do you think that is reasonable? Because I don’t.

Reporters pressed Mr Corbyn to explain what he thought the maximum wage should be – but this is a diversionary tactic to make it seem silly, and completely misses the point.

Why should a maximum wage be a set figure? Surely it should depend on a company’s turnover and the amount the lowest-paid employees receive, shouldn’t it?

And what about those of us who aren’t part of a company but earn every penny we make by our own efforts?

What about movie stars? A particular name on a film poster can make a huge difference to its takings, and that can depend on the pay packet they receive. If everybody involved will get more as a result of their involvement, why not offer them the big bucks?

Other commentators have already suggested a ratio between the lowest-earning members of a business and those at the top. But it would be unfair to pluck arbitrary figures out of the air.

Logically, an organisation would need to be set up, if one did not exist already (the High Pay Centre, anyone?) to arrive at a logical set of terms for maximum pay.

Demanding figures from a politician in the middle of an off-the-cuff interview is unrealistic.

That’s why they do it, of course.

Jeremy Corbyn has called for a maximum wage for the highest earners, saying he fears Brexit will see the UK become a “grossly unequal, bargain basement economy”.

The Labour leader would not give specific figures, but said radical action was needed to address inequality. “I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday.

When asked at what level the cap should be set, he replied: “I can’t put a figure on it and I don’t want to at the moment. The point I’m trying to make is that we have the worst levels of income disparity of most of the OECD countries.

“It is getting worse. And corporate taxation is a part of it. If we want to live in a more egalitarian society, and fund our public services, we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality.”

Corbyn, who earns about £138,000 a year, later told Sky News he anticipated any maximum wage would be “somewhat higher than that”.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn calls for maximum wage law | Politics | The Guardian

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HOW can improved childcare relieve income inequality, exactly?

[Image: Thinkstock.]

[Image: Thinkstock.]

I have doubts about this.

Maybe improved childcare could have a positive effect, many years from now, but I don’t see it helping immediately.

I don’t see how it would close the gap between female and male pay, although reducing worries about the cost of looking after children certainly might help families remain together. What about other reasons for them splitting, though?

There is no possibility of a meaningful rise in the minimum wage (don’t patronise us by calling it a “National Living Wage”, Tories) or a link between benefits and inflation while we have a Conservative government.

Nor will the regions and devolved legislatures receive anything from a Tory central government.

Perhaps the research demonstrates exactly how its suggestions can be implemented but without that piece of the puzzle, this is building castles in the sky.

Improved childcare has been identified as the single policy that could do most to reduce income inequality, in research at Heriot-Watt University.

That could be allied to closing the gap between women’s and men’s pay, and finding ways to help families remain together.

Raising the minimum wage and linking benefits to inflation is seen as effective.

A boost to the regions and nations of Britain would also have an impact.

This would, according to the research, spread prosperity more evenly around the UK.

However, the Edinburgh research found that increases in part-time pay, encouragement to take up unclaimed benefits, and efforts to increase housing supply had less effect on inequality.

Source: Childcare ‘key to reducing inequality’ – BBC News

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