Tag Archives: inequality

Leftwingers – Please Don’t Vote for Keir Starmer as Your Constituency MP | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

This Writer has been laid low with Lurgi over the weekend, so I’m looking to others to sustain This Site.

First up is my brother David, who runs Beastrabban\’s Weblog.

He’s not happy with Keir Starmer at all – and has published a 25-minute YouTube video explaining his very good reasons for wanting left-wing voters in Starmer’s Holborn & St Pancras constituency to vote for other left-wing parties, the Monster Raving Loonies or single-issue candidates rather than helping Starmer bring his brand of Conservatism into 10 Downing Street.

That’s right – Starmer is a Conservative and you need to make sure everybody knows it. If anything, he is more right-wing than Rishi Sunak. And that means he’s bad for you.

Here’s the video:

For text supporting the comments in the video, please visit the article: Leftwingers – Please Don’t Vote for Keir Starmer as Your Constituency MP | Beastrabban\’s Weblog


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‘Judge us by our record’, says Tory MP. We did – and the verdict is not good!

Laura Trott: does she spend a lot of time with her foot in her mouth?

Conservative Pensions Minister Laura Trott made a bit of a blunder on the morning media round: she asked the public to judge the Conservative Party on its “track record” since 2010.

Here she is, saying it:

Peter Stefanovic took her at her word, and did just that. Here’s the result:

Social mobility is at its worst in more than 50 years.

Untreated sewage dumped in our rivers.

Crumbling schools and hospitals.

Thousands dying every year on NHS waiting lists.

Let’s add a little more to the list, from an article published earlier today (September 18, 2023):

14 million people in the UK are in poverty – that is a little more than one-fifth of the population.

A million adults can’t afford to eat every day.

Nine million, while eating every day, are skipping meals and cutting back on food. There is a consequent effect on the nation’s health that will impact the NHS, of course – with thousands of people being hospitalised with malnutrition. Then the Tories say they don’t understand why the health service can’t cope after they have put so much (ha ha!) extra funding into it.

A record 2.1 million people are now using food banks. Remember David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ policy? This is its only success – forcing more wealthy people to subsidise those who cannot afford to feed themselves, including lower-paid working people and nurses, let’s not forget, with charity.

The number of children in food poverty has doubled in the last year alone.

Seven million households aren’t being heated properly.

Rishi Sunak has also mentioned inequality, claiming – again, falsely – that this is also lower. In fact:

In 2022, incomes for the poorest 14 million people fell by 7.5 per cent while those for the richest fifth saw a 7.8 per cent increase.

Could that be partly because Sunak has uncapped bankers’ bonuses while imposing real-terms pay cuts on public sector workers?

Sunak reckons 200,000 fewer pensioners are in poverty today – but the number of pensioners in relative poverty has actually increased by more than 200,000. In 2021/22, more than two million pensioners were living in poverty in the UK.

Sunak’s comment about 100,000 new homes needs no response because the House of Lords rightly rejected the arguments in favour of building on land likely to be flooded with water that had been polluted, not only by developers but also by greedy privatised water firms.

Sunak reckons he’s delivered 4,000 prison officers – so why are there fewer now than in 2010? Does it have something to do with the privatisation – and profitisation – of our prisons?

Put it all together and you’d have to be demented to deny the comments in the following ‘X’ post:


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Political lies about poverty and inequality have got to stop

Rishi Sunak: he loves coming out with rousing claims in Prime Minister’s Questions. What a shame so few of them are true.

Rishi Sunak seems to love misleading us all about poverty.

At Prime Minister’s Questions last week, he claimed that 1.7 million fewer people are in poverty now than when the Conservatives came back into power.

But he was almost certainly using the relative definition of poverty – that is, that a person is only define as being in poverty if they receive 60 per cent of the median average income, or less.

He was almost certainly not referring to genuine poverty, in which people cannot afford to eat or buy basic essentials. Peter Stefanovic spells out the distinction here:

14 million people in poverty is a little more than one-fifth of the population.

A million adults can’t afford to eat every day.

Nine million, while eating every day, are skipping meals and cutting back on food. There is a consequent effect on the nation’s health that will impact the NHS, of course – with thousands of people being hospitalised with malnutrition. Then the Tories say they don’t understand why the health service can’t cope after they have put so much (ha ha!) extra funding into it.

A record 2.1 million people are now using food banks. Remember David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ policy? This is its only success – forcing more wealthy people to subsidise those who cannot afford to feed themselves, including lower-paid working people and nurses, let’s not forget, with charity.

The number of children in food poverty has doubled in the last year alone.

Seven million households aren’t being heated properly.

Sunak also mentioned inequality, claiming – again, falsely – that this is also lower. In fact:

In 2022, incomes for the poorest 14 million people fell by 7.5 per cent while those for the richest fifth saw a 7.8 per cent increase.

Could that be partly because Sunak has uncapped bankers’ bonuses while imposing real-terms pay cuts on public sector workers?

Sunak reckons 200,000 fewer pensioners are in poverty today – but the number of pensioners in relative poverty has actually increased by more than 200,000. In 2021/22, more than two million pensioners were living in poverty in the UK.

Sunak’s comment about 100,000 new homes needs no response because the House of Lords rightly rejected the arguments in favour of building on land likely to be flooded with water that had been polluted, not only by developers but also by greedy privatised water firms.

Sunak reckons he’s delivered 4,000 prison officers – so why are there fewer now than in 2010? Does it have something to do with the privatisation – and profitisation – of our prisons?

It would be worth keeping this information handy when PMQs is on over the next few weeks and months.

I’ll try to put out a YouTube clip and a few infographics.


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WASPI women win victory over Ombudsman in pension-age change row

The campaigning group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has won an out-of-court victory in its battle to get compensation for women born in the 1950s whose pension age has been raised by government decision.

WASPI is not arguing that the pension age should not have been raised, stating that this was done by democratic government decision – but that the way the Department for Work and Pensions provided information about it meant that women were unable to make appropriate choices that they would have made if they had known earlier that their State Pension age would increase, and that this has had emotional and financial impacts on their lives.

The group is arguing for fair, fast and straightforward compensation for the emotional and financial losses – both direct losses and lost opportunities – that women have suffered.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has been charged with producing three reports. The first was to establish whether there was maladministration by the DWP in failing to inform affected women that they would not receive their pension when they expected to do so, and that they should make appropriate financial plans.

That report has been published and has stated that there was maladministration.

The second report was to establish whether six sample complainants had suffered any direct financial loss because of DWP maladministration, or any loss of opportunities to make different financial choices.

That report was published and stated that none of them had suffered any such losses.

WASPI argued that the Ombudsman’s reasoning was legally flawed and this would impact on decisions affecting all 1950s born women who were victims of the DWP’s maladministration and said it would bring a judicial review if he would not withdraw the Stage 2 report and think again.

A decision last week means the Ombudsman will indeed withdraw that report.

It is now considered to be legally flawed, and a court will be asked to make a quashing order (because the Ombudsman has no power to withdraw a report that has been sent to complainants and MPs).

The Ombudsman will then reconsider the question of injustice in a re-written second report that must be changed to accommodate the agreement that the original report was flawed.

When a new second report is accepted, the process will move on to a third report which will consider what remedies are necessary for the injustices done to 3.6 million women.

It must also consider whether such remedies should be given to the estates of women who have died in the time since the change to their state pension age was announced.

You can find more complete details here.

This Writer’s view is that this is not a total victory; the Ombudsman may merely seek – and find – another excuse to deny women born in the 1950s any compensation for the injustice they have suffered and campaigners need to be aware of that.

And WASPI accepts that it doesn’t speak for all women who have been disadvantaged by the pension age change. Some are campaigning for full compensation – payment of the amount of pension they would have received if the age change had not happened. WASPI does not think the government will accept such demands.

It is a step forward – but the battle for compensation is a long way from being over.


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Is Gary Stevenson the new hero of British politics?

Gary Stevenson is a former City trader who became a campaigner against economic inequality after making a fortune betting on the economy worsening as a result of government policies.

He appeared on the BBC’s Politics live and spoke more sense than the rest of the panel combined, on subjects including wealth taxes for the rich and new ‘Levelling Up’ funding.

Here’s what he had to say. Judge for yourself.

I’ll see if I can find more from him.

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Women in government pension trap are facing extreme financial hardship

WASPI protesters: it seems the government isn’t even bothering to engage with these ladies.

It must have been bad enough when the UK wasn’t in a Tory-created financial crisis, but now the strain on women who were born in the 1950s must be phenomenal.

These are women who weren’t properly informed that instead of retiring at the age of 60, as they expected, the government was raising the age at which they would receive a state pension to 66.

More than 200,000 women have died without receiving satisfaction from the government.

80 per cent of those affected have suffered financial hardship and 30 per cent are in debt. This could have been avoided if they had been properly informed of what was happening and its implications, according to campaigners.

One shocking aspect of this report is that the government hasn’t bothered to engage with campaigners since 2016.

Since then, the effects of Brexit, Covid-19 and the current inflation crisis have harmed millions of people across the UK – including these already-disadvantaged ladies.

But the Tory response is: can’t be bothered.

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An economist trashes Liz Truss on her policies

Liz Truss and money: she doesn’t understand it and her fiscal policy reflects that.

The Liz Truss Tory administration’s focus on growth is a public relations stunt, it seems, from what an Oxford professor of macroeconomics has to say about it.

Simon Wren-Lewis, who write’s the Mainly Macro blog, has published a harsh critique of Truss’s plan for 2.5 per cent growth.

He says the concentration on building the economy represents a PR departure from previous Tory governments that have let it shrink – but none of her proposed tactics will achieve this strategy goal.

In particular, policies that promote inequality (tax cuts, lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses, refusing to impose a windfall tax on energy producers) may be based on a notion that greater inequality encourages growth – but this is not true; the evidence suggests no such association or the exact opposite.

Higher inequality, in fact, reduces growth. In contrast, there is a wealth of evidence to show that lower inequality might promote it. Furthermore, fiscal measures that favour the rich were tried by George Osborne and did nothing to stop, but may even have assisted, the last 12 years of UK economic decline.

Truss’s other big idea is to cut back on regulation. This is nonsense because of Brexit, which has increased red tape exponentially.

And we have a perfect example of how de-regulation hinders growth in her plan to review (read: scrap) anti-obesity measures. As Professor Wren-Lewis states,

it is clear that more obese people implies a greater burden on the NHS, requiring either higher taxes to fund it or a reduction in social welfare as other care is rationed.

Also the reduction of regulations to keep our beaches clean of sewage means more people taking holidays abroad and fewer overseas tourists coming to the UK.

Even the 2.5 per cent growth target is wrong, according to Prof Wren-Lewis; GDP per head is what assists social welfare, not GDP as a whole, so the target is for the wrong thing. It is an empty gesture – like sacking the Treasury’s permanent secretary for no reason other than to show things have changed.

The verdict is that

this decade or more of economic decline will not end by cutting taxes, deregulation, making exporting harder, and increasing inequality.

Either Truss is lying to us while trying to create an extremely short-term bounce that might win an election for her – or she is monumentally stupid. Which do you think it is?

Source: mainly macro: Going for growth?

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Poor income growth and inequality mean UK families face ‘terminal decline’ in living standards

Champagne for some: rising income inequality and stagnant growth for poor families mean most of the UK is teetering on the brink of financial disaster – and our politicians have been to blame since 1992.

Income growth for poor households has suffered “complete collapse” over the past 20 years.

Income inequality has run rampant under successive governments since 1992, with five of the most unequal years taking place since 2013-14.

Add these together and our failed politicians have left the UK’s families “brutally exposed” to the cost of living crisis.

That is the finding of a new report by the Resolution Foundation:

Real typical household disposable income growth for working age families fell to 0.7% a year in the 15 years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Non-pensioner family earnings rose 2.3% per year, or 25% per decade, between 1961 and 2004-05. Average income growth dropped to 0.7% between 2004-05 and 2019-20.

Too many families today have low discretionary incomes, little or no private savings (one-quarter have less than a month’s buffer), and an inadequate social security safety net (basic unemployment support is now down to just 13 per cent of average pay, its lowest level on record).

The lowest fifth of the population had no greater earnings on the eve of the pandemic than in 2004-05, despite GDP per person expanding by 12% during this period.

On the eve of the pandemic, social and private leased households’ incomes were 37% and 24% below average. Single parents had 35% lower salaries, while children under 5 had 20% lower incomes.

Couples without children (33% higher), mortgagors (27% higher), those 55-60 (19% higher), and those in the South East of England had salaries well above the general median (12 per cent higher).

The research says salary is driving Britain’s falling living standards. Typical salaries remain the same as they were before the financial crisis, reflecting a salary loss of £9,200 per year.

Adam Corlett, Principal Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said a solution needed to be found quickly: “To do that, we must address our failure to raise pay and productivity levels, strengthen our social safety net, reduce housing costs and build on what we’ve done well – such as boosting employment for lower-income households.”

Read more: Poor income growth and inequality has left British families ‘brutally exposed’ to the cost of living crisis

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#BorisJohnson’s lies: he says your income has rocketed, so why can’t you afford to live?

This was perhaps the most offensive lie Boris Johnson told in Prime Minister’s Questions on January 5, 2022.

He said income inequality in the UK has fallen.

In a country where poverty is “steadily increasing”, according to the Office for National Statistics, while billionaires have boosted their own income massively, this is an insult to the millions of us who are struggling to make ends meet.

When one adds in the fact that he lied about child poverty – it is increasing, not decreasing – the insult is overwhelming.

Here’s the video evidence:

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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The Tories are cheating us out of our pensions – and our retirements

Arguments used by the Conservative government to justify increasing the age at which we may draw our pensions are increasingly false, it seems.

Fellow social media journalist David Hencke has all the information on his website.

He says the Tory claim is that as life expectancies continue to rise, it will be impossible for the pension fund to pay out for everybody unless the pensionable age rises too.

There’s just one problem:

Ministers always quote figures up to 2011… [the] last year of any big rise in longevity which had risen for decades.

Since then the rise has flattened – in one year it actually fell – and last year was the first in five years that showed a small rise. Next year the ONS is warning will be the first year they will have figures of the effects of Covid-19 – and the hint is that longevity will fall because of the disproportionate deaths among pensioners.

Worse still:

When you compare the UK to many other developed countries both men and women have lost out big time in the longevity stakes. The countries that make up the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) are all near the bottom of the table.

So while we all are being expected to wait longer for our pension in the UK, our extra weeks of life expectancy fall well below many comparable developed countries. We are being cheated – or at least not given the full facts – by our political leaders. So don’t believe any facile claims we have a world beating system for pensioners. Far from it.

The increased longevity argument was used strongly by the Department for Work and Pensions in its court battle to avoid paying compensation to 3.8 million women whose pension age rose from 60 to 66 – but who were not given enough warning to make proper preparations for it.

But our people aren’t living as much longer as people in other countries. What are those nations doing about pensions? And how are they doing it?

It seems clear that Mr Hencke is right and we are being cheated.

I wonder what we can do about it, if DWP representatives are prepared to perjure themselves in court to preserve a lie.

Source: The chances of living longer are getting shorter – new Office of National Statistics figures show only small rise in longevity | Westminster Confidential

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