Tag Archives: Rishi Sunak

While Sunak offers pointless meal vouchers they can’t use, child malnutrition doubles in six months

The offers in Rishi Sunak’s summer statement were intended to distract you from this.

Of course child malnourishment has doubled in the last six months, because more children are in poverty – and were, even before the Covid-19 crisis hit the UK.

The number of households with hungry children has doubled during lockdown because children reliant on school breakfast clubs and lunches have been deprived of them.

And their parents – already too poor to afford to feed their children in normal circumstances – have been left to support their families on a fraction of their normal pay (if they’re lucky) or on Universal Credit.

But if they’re claiming UC, they’ve had to wait at least five weeks for their first payment – and possibly as long as 11 weeks.

They won’t be able to benefit from the Chancellor’s “meal deal” vouchers because their parents/guardians can’t afford half the price of eating out – which is necessary before the vouchers can be used.

And let’s remember that Boris Johnson wanted to end free school meals for deprived children during the summer holidays, only relenting after a high-profile footballer’s campaign won widespread public support.

The detail that makes this news horrifying, rather than merely appalling, is the fact that fewer than two-thirds of all hospital trusts have provided information.

It means the number of malnourished children in the UK may in fact have tripled – or worse.

What if any – or many – of them die?

Tory voters: did you really want that on your conscience when you voted your beloved Boris Johnson such a huge victory last year?

Almost 2,500 children have been admitted to hospital with malnutrition in the first six months of the year – double the number over the same period last year – prompting fresh concern that families are struggling to afford to feed themselves and that the pandemic has intensified the problem.

Freedom of information responses from almost 50 trusts in England, representing 150 hospitals, show that more than 11,500 children have been admitted to hospital with malnutrition since 2015.

Almost 1,000 under-16s with malnutrition were admitted as inpatients to Cambridge University hospitals NHS foundation trust alone, suggesting the affluent city has wide disparities in wealth.

Collectively the figures reveal 11,515 cases of hospital admissions of under-16s due to malnourishment. Fewer than two-thirds of all trusts responded, suggesting the real total figure is much higher.

Source: Cases of child malnutrition in England double in last six months | Society | The Guardian

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Stamp duty cut is a £1.3bn bung for second home owners and landlords

Robert Jenrick: he has an opportunity to do the right thing for a change. Does anybody honestly think he’ll take it?

This Site said it yesterday and now the Labour Party has confirmed it: Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty cut is a bung for rich second home owners and landlords.

I said the cut might be a good idea if it helps people buy houses and boosts construction – but according to Labour, buyers of buy-to-let properties, holiday homes and other second homes will benefit.

In 2019/20, 34 per cent of homes bought were second properties, meaning this is a bung to second home owners costing taxpayers £1.3 billion.

Labour has called for the government to exclude second properties from this cut – arguing that this could fund a gap in local councils’ finances which the Local Government Association predicts will be £1.2 billion by the end of the year.

It’s just a shame that the government minister responsible is Robert Jenrick, who does not have a reputation for doing the right thing.

Here’s Labour’s Thangam Debonnaire:

“It is unacceptable that the Chancellor tried to sneak out this huge bung to second home owners and landlords while millions of people are desperate for support. He should be targeting support to those who need it, not helping people invest in buy-to-let properties and holiday homes.

“An unnecessary subsidy for second home-owners will only worsen the housing crisis by reducing the supply of homes overall.”

It’s a good point – but will our unaccountable Tory government take it?

Source: Revealed: Sunak’s secret £1bn giveaway to second home owners and landlords – The Labour Party

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Backlash against Sunak’s ‘meal deal’ voucher scheme that ignores people in genuine need

Members of the public are speaking out against Rishi Sunak’s offer of vouchers supporting half the price of eating out – pointing out that people need to be able to afford the other half of the cost before they can use it at all.

It’s an upper-middle-class jolly that won’t help people who rely on food banks, or carers, or beleaguered NHS staff who Sunak’s own government is persecuting, they say – rightly.

And they say the decision to offer meal vouchers was in very poor taste when Boris Johnson was keen to stop providing such vouchers to parents of children who receive free school meals over the summer holidays, even though the Covid-19 crisis has put many of them in extreme need.

Here’s just a selection of the responses. See if you agree with them, rather than Sunak:

(Good point about the self-employed.)

https://twitter.com/CptPicardigan/status/1280947082879254528

Yes, what a world.

To think that we could have had fairness under a Jeremy Corbyn government instead, if only people had engaged their brains before going to the polling booths last year.

Come to that, isn’t it incredible that it is too much to hope for people to engage their brains before voting?

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Pensions set for 18 per cent increase after being omitted from Sunak’s summer statement – or are they?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak dodged a major headache in his summer statement – failing to address a burning issue affecting pensions.

He has a choice between giving senior citizens a massive increase in their pensions next year, or breaking a long-standing promise to them.

Here’s the problem, according to the Mirror:

Current rules mean the Government will need to find enough money to raise the state pension by an estimated 18.3% when we can least afford it.

It’s because of an old promise to make sure pensions rise by at least as much as average earnings each year.

Earnings have collapsed in 2020 thanks to a combination of the furlough scheme, lockdown and pay cuts – and that means next year average wages will look like they’ve rocketed and pensions will have to rise despite never having fallen.

The Government’s needs to choose between breaking a promise to pensioners, or handing them huge increases because working Brits lost money.

Sunak didn’t say a word about pensions in his statement – he ignored the issue completely.

But the problem won’t go away and he will have to decide soon whether to blow a huge hole in the pension fund – or upset a huge swathe of mostly Tory voters.

This Writer is willing to bet he’ll upset the oldies – because there won’t be a general election for four years and he’ll expect them to have forgotten or died by then. That’s the usual rationale.

Source: Three glaring omissions from Rishi Sunak’s mini Budget – young mums, pensions and renters – Mirror Online

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You’d better prepare for a Covid-19 second wave disaster because the Tories aren’t going to

Rishi Sunak: he won’t give the NHS any more cash because the Tory story is that Covid-19 is over.

Is anybody surprised that Rishi Sunak is refusing to give the NHS £10 billion to prepare for an expected new wave of Covid-19 infections?

The Tory narrative is that Covid is over.

Their government is sending people back to work, despite the number of deaths per day still being higher than when lockdown started. Tory donors are tired of going without their huge daily profits so the rest of us are being forced back to work, whether it kills us or not.

The pubs reopening, and the beaches being open before them, are just a means for the Tories to excuse themselves. They’ll say that any deaths arise from people’s leisure experiences, not from being forced back to work too soon.

Of course, putting money towards the treatment of renewed infections runs against this story – so Sunak won’t do it.

It doesn’t matter how many plebs die as a result.

NHS bosses have accused the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, of breaking a pledge to give the health service “whatever it needs” after he refused to provide a £10bn cash injection needed to avoid it being crippled by a second wave of the coronavirus.

They have warned ministers that without the money the NHS will be left perilously unprepared for next winter and the second spike in infections which doctors believe is inevitable. Nor will they be able to restart non-Covid services or treat the growing backlog in patients needing surgery.

The row piles pressure on Sunak to find more money for the NHS ahead of his summer statement on Wednesday.

The NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, has told the Treasury that it needs at least £10bn in extra funding this year to cover the costs of fighting the virus and reopen normal services. The money would mean the NHS could create extra beds in hospitals, keep the Nightingale facilities on standby, send patients to private hospitals for surgery and provide protective equipment for frontline staff.

Source: NHS chiefs in standoff with Treasury over emergency £10bn | Society | The Guardian

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Digest June 11: It’s still all about race

On Covid-19, the Tory government is still a danger to UK citizens:

As Boris Johnson announces further easing of lockdown restrictions, the negative experiences of other countries showing him wrong are piling up:

… especially as the ongoing lack of PPE (personal protective equipment) is now the basis of a court challenge against the Tories:

Not only that, but Covid is now revealed as a particular danger to BAME citizens – creating double jeopardy for Johnson:

Johnson himself has been condemned as lazy. Tell us something we don’t know…

Dominic Cummings is still in trouble: the house he used in Durham really didn’t have planning permission so enforcement action will be taken:

Is this a good moment to remind everyone that Cummings has set up Brexit to ensure that fabulously rich businesspeople can create conditions for a UK economic crash – and then make a fortune betting that it will happen?

This is the man who Boris Johnson has put in charge of the government, according to a former Tory aide:

Priti Patel is also in trouble. Her harsh immigration bill will needlessly shut out people trying to “contribute to society”, say Catholic leaders in a stinging attack on the plans:

They should excommunicate her. I doubt she’s a Catholic but a good pre-emptive strike won’t do them any harm.

And there’s this:

The Robert Jenrick corruption scandal is rolling on:

And Chancellor Rishi Sunak is being taken to court over his sexist self-employed grant scheme:

Over at Labour, tone-deaf Keir Starmer has unveiled a new ‘race equality’ strategy. Presumably he’s desperate for us to forget his own two-tier attitude to racism in his own party:

He mentioned seven reports on racism in the House of Commons but strangely can’t seem to see the leaked report by his own party that named racists among Labour employees who targeted Diane Abbott (among others) for racist abuse – and won’t take action against them:

Consider Starmer’s shadow work and pensions secretary, who thinks the best way to mark Diane Abbott’s 33rd anniversary as the UK’s first black female MP was to delete his backstabbing tweet attacking her choice of education for her children:

Labour isn’t the only UK organisation that needs to have a serious look at itself with regard to racism:

Thank goodness we have a few people whose attitude to racism is more sincere:

Grenfell Tower campaigners are trying to get the Conservatives to commit to removing flammable cladding from more than 23,000 households that should never have been forced to have it in the first place:

No sooner had he alerted us all to the danger to cancer patients of having to wait longer for treatment, than Dr Karel Sikora ruined his reputation:

Statues are still in danger across the UK as their subjects’ misdeeds are re-examined:

Racism in the United States is still under the spotlight (and rightly so):

Former IS bride Shamima Begum has launched a legal appeal to reclaim her UK citizenship after it was stripped from her by former Home Secretary Sajid Javid:

Oh, and some right-wing nutjob called Nigel Farage is no longer working at LBC radio:

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Sunak wants employers to pay a quarter of furloughed staff wages from August

Rishi Sunak: is he opening the door for employers to exploit their staff?

Funny how this story comes out when everybody’s talking about Dominic Cummings instead, isn’t it?

This Writer has said before that employers won’t pay – most probably because they can’t afford it.

But here’s a thought. Will employees go back to their old jobs, after being callously laid off over coronavirus?

And if they will, will employers try to get them to do it for lower pay?

I think it’s a definite possibility.

Employers will be expected to pay at least a fifth of the wages of furloughed staff from August, it is claimed.

The Treasury is said to be considering asking businesses to cover between 20% and 30% of staff wages.

Companies may also be told to cough up for national insurance contributions, which are approximately 5% of people’s wages, according to The Times.

Source: Employers may have to pay 25% of furloughed staff wages from August | Metro News

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Will employers be able to pay Sunak’s furlough demand?

Rishi Sunak: his plans for his furlough scheme are optimistic, to say the least.

These people are mistaken:

But they’re not very far off the mark!

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak had said that he would make an announcement about the furlough scheme – in which the government pays 80 per cent of employees’ wages while they are unable to work, in exchange for employers agreeing not to end their contracts – today, May 12.

And he had been expected to say that the government could no longer pay that proportion of wages and would be reducing it to 60 per cent.

Something stopped him.

Was it the argument that John McDonnell put forward – that on top of Boris Johnson’s plan to ease the lockdown, announced on Sunday, this would be an obvious attempt to starve employees back into work, even though they would probably catch the coronavirus there?

Was it the point that many employees simply cannot go back, because their jobs are still not considered safe enough – by the government itself?

Was it the suggestion that cutting down the amount furloughed workers are being paid would turn the coronavirus crisis into the UK’s worst disaster in a century – made that way by the Tories and on their watch?

It won’t have been the thought of tipping more people into poverty; Tories have no problem with that at all.

In This Writer’s view, he was probably persuaded by the thought that too many employees would be adversely affected – and would make this clear in no uncertain terms. Tories are constantly concerned about public relations.

So instead, he has extended the 80 per cent wage payment subsidy to August, with a demand that the government contribution will be reduced from that date and employers will pay into it as well.

He has said nothing about how large the employer contribution will be – meaning all he has done is added more uncertainty to the coronavirus crisis.

And where are the employers going to get the money?

Sure, Sunak said employers would be able to bring furloughed workers back part-time by then – but he cannot guarantee that.

Indeed, considering the lunacy that followed Boris Johnson’s announcement that some people should go back to work from yesterday (May 11), it seems likely that the UK will be well into its second wave of coronavirus infections by then.

And employers have been paying the overheads on property, equipment and so on, for months.

It seems Mr Sunak has made a few highly-optimistic assumptions.

Won’t it be humiliating for this Tory Chancellor if he turns out to have got his sums wrong?

  • I’d like to hear from employers: what do you think of Rishi Sunak’s declaration?

Source: UK furlough scheme extended by four months – BBC News

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Coronavirus: Tories threaten tax increase on self-employed after non-offer of help

Rishi Sunak: his promises are worthless – but you can bet he’ll follow through on his threats.

Typical Tories: they make a long list of promises that get broken within a week and then try to charge us a fortune for them.

So, with the self-employed, they’ve offered to pay 80 per cent of normal profits (not wages, as with employees).

But they won’t even start providing this until some time in June.

And self-employed people will be taxed for receiving that money.

And in the meantime, they want any of us whose income stream dries up to claim Universal Credit, joining an online/telephone queue of tens of thousands, as the Department for Work and Pensions is completely unable to cope.

This is the (bad) deal that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has offered – to 85 per cent of self-employed people.

And now, days later, he’s telling us he’ll increase National Insurance paid by all self-employed people because he says this excuse for a bailout makes it impossible to justify them paying less than others.

It’s a con.

Chances are that self-employed people won’t get anything – or will receive next-to-nothing; certainly not enough to cover their outgoings.

And they will be made to pay many times more than they receive in the years to come.

That is what’s “harder to justify”.

We don’t have a government – we have a gang of thieves. And they are using an epidemic to justify their daylight robbery.

Source: Coronavirus: Chancellor warns self-employed they face tax hike after crisis – Mirror Online

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Coronavirus: zero-hours workers sacked en masse despite Tory government promises

Rishi Sunak: his promises to employees are turning out to be worthless.

Another Tory coronavirus promise bites the dust.

Rishi Sunak promised that zero-hours workers would be covered by his promise to pay 80 per cent of employee wages, as long as they were on PAYE.

But his promise depended on employers signing up to the deal, and many haven’t.

Instead, the Department for Work and Pensions has been swamped with new claims for Universal Credit.

The reason?

Rishi Sunak said on Friday that workers on zero-hours contracts would be covered, as long as they were paid through PAYE. But many of these workers have simply been let go en masse in any case. Self-employed workers, who are not on PAYE, are not covered at all and will have to claim benefits if their work dries up and no new government measures are enacted.

There’s no two ways around it. The Tories promised people would be protected; the Tories lied.

Source: Sacked by text message: Zero-hours contract workers laid off because of coronavirus’ impact | The Independent

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