Tag Archives: poverty

Universal Credit cut: did the Tories fail to assess the harm it will do because they already know?


This is fairly straightforward.

First:

But other people have assessed the impact and this is what they say:

Here’s another take on it:

So poverty will rocket and the sick will take the biggest hit.

And the Tories are hoping to avoid criticism by saying they haven’t done an official impact assessment.

It’s like children looking away from a huge mess and telling their parents they don’t see anything wrong.

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Sunak is reported to statistics watchdog for misleading the public about poverty increase

Rishi Sunak: misleading on poverty.

Here’s another lie from the Party of Liars:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been reported to the UK’s statistics watchdog over Labour claims he misled the public by saying the number of people in poverty is falling – at a time when internationally recognised measures show it has risen by 1.5 million under Tory rule.

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson said the “cowardly” chancellor was corroding public trust by trying to cover up the truth on “appalling” inequalities which have seen the numbers of children in poverty rise to 4.2 million.

Boris Johnson has been repeatedly rapped over the knuckles by the watchdog over his claims that poverty has fallen under the Tories, with Office for Statistics Regulation chief Ed Humpherson issuing a formal warning to Downing Street only last month that the prime minister’s cherry-picking of statistical measures was getting in the way of public understanding of the problem.

Sunak will escape without any real punishment, no matter how severe his offence.

The fun is in finding out how ridiculous his excuse will be.

Source: Rishi Sunak facing probe over use of poverty statistics | The Independent

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This comparison of #UniversalCreditCut with England’s win over Denmark is devastatingly accurate

More UK citizens are to lose a vital benefit uplift worth £1,040 per year than the entire population of Denmark, whose football team were beaten by the UK in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

That’s according to shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds – and he should know.

It says everything about the Tories.

They say they are trying to get the UK back on its feet after Covid.

But their first instinct is to sweep the support out from under a proportion of the population equal to the entire population of a neighbouring country.

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The Johnson government’s lies are blatant! Why are ministers getting away with this?

Liar: Rishi Sunak.

Today on BBC Breakfast, Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak lied blatantly that poverty has fallen as a result of government policy.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic to put the record straight:

And the BBC team should have known it.

If they knew Sunak was going to come onto their show and talk about poverty, then they should have done the modicum of basic research required to unearth the figures Peter quoted – and then they should have countered Sunak with the facts.

But they didn’t.

No wonder Peter is so determined to get his other video – you know, the one that shows Boris Johnson lying repeatedly to Parliament; the one that should have had Johnson kicked out of Parliament altogether – shown on BBC Breakfast and the other BBC News outlets:

Meanwhile, Johnson lies and lies again:

And a fat lot of good it will do, appealing to Commons Speaker Lyndsay Hoyle.

Only yesterday, there was an appeal to Hoyle to get Johnson to apologise for misleading MPs – and he just brushed it off.

Here’s Sammy Wilson explaining what happened. Johnson walked out of the Commons while he was speaking:

Hoyle’s response was:

“The Prime Minister and the Minister will have heard the right hon. Gentleman’s comments. If the Prime Minister believes his answer requires a correction, there are processes by which one can make that happen, although he may take a different Toggle showing location of view from the right hon. Member about the facts of the case. In any event, the right hon. Member has put his point on the record, and I am sure he will find other ways of pursuing it. I do not think this is the end of the matter for now, but it is just for this moment.”

In other words: “Shut up.”

That’s Hoyle’s attitude to everything done by Johnson and his government; he bends over and takes it.

And that’s why the rest of us – especially those supine pseudo-journalists at BBC News – need to raise our game and challenge them on their lies wherever and whenever they happen.

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Hardship for one in three people by May as Tory plans to impoverish us grind onwards

Small change: ironically, that’s probably how the Tories think of the 21.7 million people they’ve tipped into poverty.

One in three people will be living in hardship by May, according to a report by the New Economics Foundation.

This means 21.7 million people will still not have a decent standard of living even though the £20 per week Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit uplift has been extended.

Here’s Charlotte Hughes:

The report goes on to say that 12.9 million of the people in financial difficulty will be receiving less than 75% of the Minimum Income Standard which is defined as being £19,200 for a single person and £37,400 for a family of four.

Despite the furlough scheme, unemployment has continued to rise over the last year. According to the latest government data it shows that unemployment has increased by 1.3% points higher than the previous year. It also also shows the largest annual decrease in employment since the aftermath of the financial crisis. This being half a million fewer people employed than there was last year. Redundancy rates have also risen from 8.4 per thousand on the year, to 12.3 per thousand employees.

This leaves millions of people that are now dependant upon our social security system to support incomes, help with housing costs and to feed people.

At the time of writing the latest government data reveals there are 5.9 million people on universal credit with 3 million receiving housing benefit, 2.5 million receiving personal independence payment, 1.9 million receiving employment support allowance, 1.4 million receiving disability living allowance, and 0.3 million receiving jobseeker’s allowance.

We know that the UC/WTC uplift will continue until September but after that, claimants face a “cliff-edge” situation that could tip a further 1.1 million people into poverty.

But, you know what?

None of them will be members of the Tory government or doners to the Conservative Party, so they don’t matter. Do they?

Source: 21.7 million people will be living in hardship by May despite the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit £20 uplift. ‹ The poor side of life ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

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One in six new universal credit claimants forced to skip meals during Covid crisis

It isn’t news that people claiming Universal Credit are forced to starve – especially in the five weeks before they receive any payments at all.

But the Tories have been making a big deal of their generosity in providing the benefit – along with a £20 uplift – to more people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Now we see the facts:

Many people claiming universal credit for the first time during the pandemic were unable to put aside enough cash to save £10 a month, eat healthily or regularly, or pay bills because the benefit payment was inadequate to meet basic living costs, a study has found.

A survey of the experiences of thousands of people who signed on after losing their job under lockdown concludes that even with the temporary £20 a week Covid-19 uplift many struggled to bridge the gap between benefits and living costs without borrowing from family, running up credit card debt, or using food banks.

Two-thirds of all claimants reported suffering financial strain, with one in six new claimants skipping a meal in the previous two weeks, and more than 60% reporting they would be unable to replace or repair electrical goods if they broke, or put aside enough cash to save £10 a month.

The fact is that Universal Credit is a sham that provides only enough in payment for the Tory government to make their claims – when in fact it plunges claimants into debt, and often into mental illness.

There are many reports of suicides among benefit claimants and the information above suggests ample evidence to support their reasons.

Source: One in six new universal credit claimants forced to skip meals | Society | The Guardian

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The ‘shocking’ part of this report is that it was so easy for 1.3m children & babies to fall into poverty

Family poverty skyrocketed under Tory policies of benefit denial and wage depression. Now they can blame Covid-19 for it.

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and baby bank charity Little Village has shown that 1.3 million babies and children aged less than five in the UK are now in poverty.

The report found 34 per cent of families with one child under five live below the poverty line, meaning they survive on less than 60% of the median household income in the UK.

1.3 million of the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK are babies and children under the age of 5.

Two in five of the families of the children in poverty have seen a reduction in their earnings as a result of the ongoing Covid crisis.

Undoubtedly the government will want to blame Covid-19. Measures to control the pandemic have meant lower-level incomes have suffered.

But who imposed those measures? The Tories.

And why were so many families already so close to poverty that it took only a 20 per cent reduction in their incomes (the difference between normal wages and furlough payments) to drop them into it? Because the Tories encouraged wage depression over the 10 years prior to the pandemic.

Finally, let us all remember that the pandemic has been a windfall for the richest people in the country. They have increased their income hugely.

Source: 1.3m babies and kids under 5 live in poverty in Britain, ‘shocking’ new report finds – Mirror Online

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After another SERIES of ‘free school meals’ scandals, Rashford demands overhaul of the whole system

Marcus Rashford: he wins campaigns against Boris Johnson’s government (unlike Keir Starmer’s Labour Party) so it is welcome that he is spearheading this call for an all-encompassing review of government policy on child food poverty.

After the second ‘Free School Meals’ scandal in three days, This Writer feels sure I was among many people who wondered why Marcus Rashford – now generally accepted as the Opposition to the Tory government in such matters – had not spoken up.

Now we know.

Rashford, who was instrumental in forcing the government to provide free school meals during Covid-19 lockdowns and during holidays – including Christmas – when the Tories wanted children to starve, has not confined himself to a single FSM-related issue.

Instead he has joined with celebrity chefs and campaigners to demand a full review of Tory policy on child food poverty which they rightly say is not fit for purpose.

They have written a letter to Boris Johnson and his trained-ape-serving-as-Education-Secretary, Gavin Williamson, here:

It deserves to be reproduced in full:

 We are writing to you to express our concern that the issue of Free School Meals risks once again becoming divisive, and to encourage the Government to undertake an urgent comprehensive review of Free School Meal policy to reform the system for the longer term. We are ready and willing to support your Government in whatever way we can to make this review a reality and to help develop a set of recommendations that everyone can support. It is only by working together that we end child food poverty.

We know that all political parties agree on the outcome that we are aiming for – ensuring that all children have access to enough health, good-quality food to fulfil their potential. Last Autumn, the Government announced several very positive new measures to help combat child hunger, and we strongly welcomed those announcements. This week, we were heartened to see the Department for Education’s swift response to reports of inadequate Free School Meal food parcels being provided by private companies. The robustness of the message from you and the Secretary of State on this issue was very welcome.

I can only assume the last two sentences of this paragraph were included to butter Johnson up, as most of the nation was horrified that Johnson had contracted out responsibility to provide £30 food parcels to private, profit-making firms who did what came naturally – skimmed off five-sixths of the cash in profit and provided £5 worth of food to cover children’s meals for 10 days.

Some Tories even went on the record to say they couldn’t understand the fuss as this was only supposed to provide for a single meal in the day – without realising that their right-wing policies have stamped on families so hard that this may be the only food those children see in a day.

Despite these positive commitments, we strongly feel that now (following the series of problems which have arisen over school food vouchers, holiday provision and food parcels since the start of the pandemic) is the right moment for you to step back and review the policy in more depth. The signatories to this letter urge the Government to conduct an urgent comprehensive review into Free School Meal policy across the UK to provide recommendations for the next Spending Review.

This would allow the Government to provide strong national leadership on children’s food so that our nation’s most disadvantaged children and their families, already disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, don’t continue to bear the brunt. In the first lockdown (March-August), 2.3 million children experienced food insecurity and during the 2020 summer holidays 850,000 children reported that they or their families visited a food bank. Free School Meals are a very important part of the safety net that protects children from impoverished families from hunger and poor nutrition.

We believe the review should be debated in Parliament and published before the 2021 summer holidays. The process will require collaboration from politicians in all the devolved nations with responsibility for school food in their regions, and must involve close consultation with children and young people, as well as teachers, charities, NGOs, frontline catering staff and school meals service providers. It should draw on evidence of food insecurity and health inequalities. We stand ready to provide our full support to the review process.

And experience tells us that the only people Boris Johnson’s government likes to consult are those who are likely to agree with what he wants to do; dissenting voices are ignored. This will make it very difficult for the Tories to devise a strategy that works for any group wider than the Conservative government of Boris Johnson.

We recommend that its scope include:

1. The current eligibility thresholds for Free School Meals. The Government should seek to ensure disadvantaged children are not excluded from Free School Meal eligibility (in line with National Food Strategy recommendations) and to work with the Devolved Administrations to eliminate disparities between the nations. Current estimates show 2 in 5 UK children under the poverty line are missing out. The ongoing eligibility for children from No Recourse to Public Funds should be address explicitly.

2. How funding for Free School Meals can deliver the biggest nutritional and educational impact, supporting children’s learning and well-being throughout the school day and during the school holidays (including breakfast provision and the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme). This should include whether the current allowance for Free School Meals is adequate and whether funding for national breakfasts adequately covers all who would benefit from access to provision.

3. How schools can be supported to deliver the best quality school meals which adhere to school food standards and which ensure the poorest children receive the best possible offer. This should include introducing mandatory monitoring and evaluation on an ongoing basis of Free School Meal take-up, the quality/nutritional adequacy of meals, and examining how the financial transparency of the current system can be improved.

4. What we have learned from Covid-19 and its impact on children in low-income families and the implications of this for school food policy for the next 5 years, as the country recovers.

5. Ensuring that existing school food programmes (such as Free School Meals, holiday provision and breakfast provision) eliminate experiences of stigma for the poorest students. Review the impact that Universal Infant Free School Meals has had on stigma, health, and education.

6. The role of family income (wages and benefits) in enabling families to afford quality food in and outside of school time and during the holidays with choice and dignity.

The Tory response to this should be interesting. Tories habitually say families should be able to provide for their own children, despite the fact that their own policies have squeezed family incomes beyond breaking-point. It’s no good saying people should be able to afford things when you are responsible for ensuring that they can’t!

This review would provide the Government with the opportunity to future-proof its policy on school food, and to carefully consider how best to support low-income children and families in the aftermath of the pandemic. It would also demonstrate the Government’s commitment to tackling child food poverty in the longer term and be a significant step towards a comprehensive long-term plan.

I foresee difficulties.

Already the Welsh Government – which is run by the Labour Party – has taken to Twitter to let people in Wales know that the problems created by the Tories in England do not affect them:

The Tories are hardly going to want to work with organisations that are merrily scoring points off them.

School food is essential in supporting the health and learning of our most disadvantaged children. Now, at a time when children have missed months of in-school learning and the pandemic has reminded us of the importance of our health, this is a vital next step.

The letter is signed by Rashford, Jamie Oliver, Emma Thompson, Tom Kerridge and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and by representatives of Food Foundation, School Food Matters, Chefs in Schools, the Children Society, Children’s Food Campaign, Children’s First Alliance, Feeding Britain, Soil Association, The Bread and Butter Thing, Mayor’s Fund for London, The School Food People, Meals & More, Poverty and Inequality Commission, Independent Food Aid Network UK, Impact on Urban Health, The Fair Education Alliance, the WI, ASSIST FM, Magic Breakfast, Turn2Us, Buttle UK, Greater Manchester Poverty Action, End Child Poverty Coalition, TACT, Scottish Qut of School Care Network, Khulisa UK, The Mighty Creatives, The Equality Trust, One Parent Families Scotland, End Furniture Poverty, Family Action, USDAW, Child Poverty Action Group, Biteback 2030, Just Fair, Rose Hill & Donnington Advice Centre, Oxford, Co-Op Retail, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, The British Psychological Society, British Association of Social Workers, Association of School and College Leaders, King’s Cross Academy, Academies Enterprise Trust, Cabot Learning Federation, Co-op Academies Trust, The Shared Learning Trust, The Eden Academy Trust, LDBS Academies Trusts, National Governance Association, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education and Teach First.

I include the whole list because I think it is important for us to understand the sheer number of organisations that now exist to address children’s food poverty – or have to address it as part of their wider activities.

This has only become such a major issue because the Conservatives have forced so many families into food poverty.

So it seems worthwhile to raise the issue of whether we should stop allowing Conservative Party members to form governments that inflict such misery, such starvation, on so many millions of us, just so a tiny minority can live in the kind of luxury that most of us cannot even imagine.

There’s only one question left to ask:

Why is Rashford doing the Labour Party’s job? If Jeremy Corbyn was still party leader, Labour would be all over this.

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Carers are being pushed further into exhaustion, poverty and despair by government neglect, survey says

I once stated that we thought this window-writing was by a child in care, but it could also have been drawn by an adult recipient of care – or it might have been by a carer instead.

Government neglect is pushing unpaid family carers into poverty and leaving many exhausted and fearful of the future, according to a survey from the Carers Trust.

The charity found that the majority of unpaid carers feel they are not getting enough support from the social care system, with only 12 per cent saying the support they receive is adequate to meet their needs:

Almost two thirds of unpaid carers taking part in the survey (64%) said they do not receive enough support. A further 24% responded that they weren’t sure whether they got enough support. Only 12% of respondents agreed that they were getting enough support from the social care system.

The survey also points at Government cuts to local authority funding as one of the main reasons as to why unpaid cares aren’t receiving enough help and support. According to the survey, almost two thirds of unpaid carers (64%) are now spending 50 hours or more per week caring for a family relative.

Carers Trust says this suggests that in just nine years the proportion of unpaid carers providing 50 hours’ care or more per week has almost tripled since the 2011 Census (23%).

This Writer was an unpaid carer for years, until This Site started to offer me a better living.

It is work that takes up as much time as a person can devote to it – and is often thankless, as the person who needs the care often has their own pain to accommodate and may be inconsiderate as a result.

This can lead to difficult decisions between earning and caring – and in many cases to mental illness as the pressures affect carers.

How typical of Tories that they are worsening these pressures.

Source: Government ‘neglect’ pushing unpaid carers into poverty, exhaustion and total despair

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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Just desserts as MP who wants to starve children in holidays receives graffiti critique

What did George “Useless” Eustice expect?

After the Tory Environment Secretary defended his government’s determination to starve poverty-stricken children during the school holidays – including Christmas – people in his Cornwall constituency have retaliated with a “Banksy”-style graffiti criticism.

The text reads:

“Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
“Starved the kids and made them cry.
“#endchildfoodpoverty”

The artist even painted it onto a board that was then discovered attached to the front door of his constituency office:

Tories like Eustice thought members of the public have short memories and would forget that the decision to starve children at Christmas had been made by them.

Responses like this make the point clear:

They thought wrong.

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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