Tag Archives: save

Whoever says scrapping 213 smaller councils could save £3 billion hasn’t been paying attention to Tory spaffing

Rubbish: who does the bins in your council area? A private firm? Expect much more privatisation if smaller councils are scrapped; the £3 billion we’re told would be saved has to be spent somewhere!

It seems some people really do have a blind spot.

Whoever wrote the report that says the following, for example:

Abolishing 213 smaller councils in England and replacing them with 25 new local authorities could save almost £3bn over five years, a report says.

The report for the County Councils Network says one body in each area would reduce complexity and give communities a single unified voice.

However, others argue bigger councils are unwieldy and undemocratic.

It’s a good point that bigger councils may be unwieldy and undemocratic, but the better point is that they won’t save a penny while we have a Tory government.

The money will be spent outsourcing decision-making to private consultants like PwC, Deloitte and McKinsey, and outsourcing work to private firms like Serco – who will probably go bust because they habitually offer to do it for too low a price after the bosses and shareholders have taken their enormous cut of (council taxpayers’) cash.

If this happens, just watch what happens and see if I’m right.

Source: Scrapping 213 local councils could save £3bn says report – BBC News

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Not long now until Brexit – but what are the Tories planning next?

Drug buddies: Will Boris Johnson hand over any cash saved on Brexit to Donald Trump for substandard US medicines?

This short Twitter dialogue says it all.

A hundred years or so ago, back during the EU referendum campaign, Brexiteers tried to fool us into thinking the UK would save £350 million a week – and all of the money could be diverted into funding the National Health Service.

I suppose they thought it was a very funny joke, especially when it fooled so many of us into supporting the ‘Leave’ option.

(Apparently it might have been a different story, had more of our population been better-educated. What does that say about ‘Leave’ voters.)

Now it’s a matter of days until they have to make good on their offer.

Rachael Swindon pointed this out on Twitter – with a sharp observation on the validity of the original promise.

And Karen Owen’s response makes clear where she thinks the cash will go.

https://twitter.com/K4Owen/status/1222123312270249984

Oh, was the referendum campaign only four years ago? Sorry – I guess it just seems like this farce has been going on forever.

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The first baby born within the NHS says the only way to save it is to vote Labour

This tapestry praises the NHS as a “cradle to grave” service – but Boris Johnson wants to send it to a grave of its own. He’ll succeed – unless YOU stop him.

Here’s a lady who knows a few things about the National Health Service – she was the first baby ever to be born under its care.

And Aneira Thomas believes that Boris Johnson will end the NHS as we know it.

She thinks he wants the UK to return to what it was – a nation of privilege in which only the rich can afford medical care.

She cannot stop Mr Johnson and his Tories on her own.

She needs your help.

Or will you throw away your future, and that of your family and friends with it, because a Tory told you to?

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My mistake: Carers facing DWP crackdown don’t just save billions. They save more than £100 BILLION

Remember a few weeks ago, when I reported that the DWP is planning to impoverish carers in a crackdown intended to bring £150 million back to the Treasury?

I stated that this was an attack on people who save the Treasury more than £14 billion in the cost of providing professional care services.

It seems my calculations were a little off.

Here’s Carers UK:

“The 6.8 million people who provide unpaid care for a disabled, seriously-ill or older loved one in the UK save the state £132 billion a year – close to the cost of a second NHS.

“[There has been] a staggering increase in the value of carers’ support since 2001, almost doubling from £68 billion to £132 billion. Researchers attribute this rise to a dramatic increase in the number of hours people are caring for, combined with an increase in the cost of replacement care.

“Carers UK’s Chief Executive Heléna Herklots has warned: ‘If even a small percentage of people were unable to continue caring, the economic impact would be catastrophic. Worryingly, we are edging towards this possibility, as the pressure on families to provide more care with less support is intensifying’.”

£132 billion a year is the cost of a second National Health Service.

The DWP crackdown on carers is intended to make people unable to continue caring.

It is intended to cause a catastrophic economic impact.

So we need to ask:

What are these Tories playing it, trying to undermine the UK’s economy for the sake of a few farthings?

Source: Unpaid carers save the UK £132 billion a year – the cost of a second NHS – Carers UK

URGENT: Advice to ESA claimants found ‘fit for work’ on getting GP ‘fit notes’


Remember when it was revealed that the Conservative government had told doctors they no longer need to provide “fit notes” to claimants of Employment and Support Allowance who have been told they are “fit for work” after taking one of the Tories’ rigged “work capability assessments”?

This should remind you.

The advice was false, of course. Claimants need “fit notes” when they are contesting the decision, and to make sure Job Centre “advisors” cannot make unreasonable demands of them.

Frank Zola has written an article detailing advice to ESA claimants whose doctors may be inclined to follow the government’s false advice. It is valuable advice – perhaps crucial in a country where the benefit system is weighted in order to bring about the death of sick and disabled claimants by benefit deprivation.

Here’s part of it:

Caution: You may wish to seek independent support from an Advice Agency or Law Centre before acting on any of the consent based suggestions below.

When Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit claimants are required to undertake a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and found fit for work (FFW), their GP or Doctor treating them is usually sent a letter, known as an ESA65B (pdf) [1], informing the GP/Dr that they no longer need to issue ‘fit-notes’ [2] for “ESA purposes”.

Unfortunately receipt of the ESA65B letter often results in GPs refusing to continue issuing ‘fit-notes’ [3], even when they should be issued when the claimant has requested a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) of its FFW decision or appealing to an independent Tribunal against after an MR, or their health condition or disability gets significantly worse or they have a new medical condition. [4] Or when needed to ensure a Jobcentre Work ‘Coach’ cannot impose unreasonable work-related conditions on an ESA[4], Universal Credit (UC) [5] or Jobseekers Allowance (JSAc) (contribution based) [6] claimant.

If your GP/Dr did get an ESA65B letter and you are asking the DWP for a Mandatory Reconsideration or appealing to a Tribunal against the FFW decision, or your health condition or disability gets worse or you have a new medical condition or disability. You could provide a copy of or send your GP or GP practice links to ‘A short guide to the benefit system for general practitioners‘ and this letter of 5 April 2019 as they advise GPs when they should continue issuing ‘fit-notes’.

You can read the rest here. If you are among those affected by this issue, you most certainly should.

It may save your life.


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Singing about it won’t save the NHS


Look at the state of this:

I tweeted her back. One word: “Hypocrite.”

Johnny Vegas had it right:

Yes that’s right. On its 70th anniversary, we all need to fight for the NHS.

But turn on the TV and it seems all you’ll see is people singing about it.

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Nurse given a year to live will use it to stop Tories ‘killing’ the NHS

David Bailey was diagnosed with aggressive oesophageal cancer in October [Image: John Gladwin/Sunday Mirror].

I don’t know David Bailey – but it seems he is well-known to others.

So let’s see what they have to say about this:

This is the kind of man who believes the Conservative Party is determined to destroy the NHS and – even though he may not have long to live – will defend it to his dying breath.

Any questions?

For 35 years, David Bailey has dedicated his life to helping save others – working as a nurse on surgical wards and in an overstretched A&E.

Now he faces his own fight for survival, diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Yet despite undergoing gruelling chemotherapy, David is determined to ‘do his bit’ to stop the Tories “killing” his beloved NHS.

He will take to the streets on Saturday [February 3] with thousands of others in a day of protest against the Government’s destruction of the health service.

He blasted a funding crisis which has cut beds, driven out nurses who have had no pay rise for eight years, and strangled recruitment.

He said many NHS services were becoming unsustainable though lack of qualified nursing staff, with 40,000 vacancies available.

David pointed to a 23 per cent drop in trainee nurses since the Tories’ £9,000-a-year tuition fee.

Source: Nurse given a year left to live says he will use time he has left to stop Tories ‘killing’ our beloved NHS – Mirror Online


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Tories run from welfare debate after Cameron’s Marr Show disaster

Tonight’s edition of the BBC’s Newsnight did not feature Conservative or Labour Parliamentary candidates in a debate on welfare – because the Conservative Party pulled out at the last minute, according to a tweet from Labour’s shadow Work and Pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves.

Fellow tweeter Anita Bellows immediately asked: “What have they got to hide?” including this image as an attachment:

150421clapson

The reference is obvious – David Clapson is the benefit claimant whose case was raised by Andrew Marr in his interview with David Cameron on Sunday.

Cameron’s responses indicate that he seems to think it was right for Mr Clapson to die as punishment for missing a single Job Centre appointment (for reasons that have not been disclosed). He refused to accept that the system should be reviewed.

The interview caused outrage among members of the public and now we can see the Conservatives’ reaction.

Like all bullies, they like to torture the weak. When public opinion rises up against them and they have a choice between “fight” and “flight”, they run like rabbits.

Here’s why:

150421cameronwelfare

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Did David Cameron admit multiple murders to Andrew Marr?

David Cameron tries to defend the indefensible on Andrew Marr's Sunday morning TV show.

David Cameron tries to defend the indefensible on Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning TV show.

Soon-to-be-former Prime Minister David Cameron, the man who once told us a government should be judged on how well it treats the most vulnerable in society, showed us all exactly what he meant in his interview with Andrew Marr.

It means he is quite happy for them to die, as punishment for failing to attend an interview at the Job Centre. Grilled over his attitude, he made it clear that he was perfectly happy to allow the continuation of a system that kills – if it saves money.

Read it for yourself (transcript courtesy of kittysjones’ blog, boldings mine):

AM:. Well you also talked to Evan Davis about the £22 billion of welfare cuts you’ve made so far as if that was easy. Do you accept that has hurt a lot of poor and vulnerable people?

DC: Well it has involved difficult decisions. But of course as we’ve done that we’ve been getting two million people into work, 900,000 people…

AM: Difficult decisions for you; a lot of real pain and suffering for people out there.

DC: Well, we have protected, for instance, the pension, we’ve protected benefits for the lowest paid, we’ve always made sure that we’ve increased spending on disability benefits rather than reduced it. But crucially the 900,000 people we’ve got off welfare and into work – that has actually saved money but it’s also been good for our country and crucially good for them: a job is the best route out of poverty that there is [a lie; more working people are having to claim benefits, because their jobs don’t pay enough, than workless families and pensioners combined].

AM: What about the million people depending on food banks?

DC: Well obviously I want a country where people don’t depend on food banks, we did something-

AM: But why are more people depending on food banks?

DC: One of the things we did was that Labour – because they didn’t like the PR of this – they didn’t advertise or promote the existence of food banks through job centres. We changed that because we thought that was, that was basically sort of selfish and shortminded…

AM: And according to the Trussell Trust, who run these banks, that accounts for just three per cent of people using food banks at the moment so it’s not a significant thing. But can I take you to an individual case, James [he meant David] Clapson.

Clapson, who was a former soldier, worked very hard for a long time then was on benefits, failed to turn up to two job centre interviews, [Mr Clapson only missed one interview] had his benefits removed for a month. He was diabetic, his insulin couldn’t be refrigerated and he died two weeks later.

Now that is the kind of case that is coming up again and again and again and shows that the welfare cuts have been agonisingly painful for real people out there.

DM: Well we have hardship funds and councils have hardship funds for exactly those sorts of tragic cases but if you’re asking me…

AM: It didn’t work.

DC: If you are asking me, is it right that people who are asked to turn up for interviews or asked to fill in a CV or asked to apply for a job should have to do those things before getting benefits then yes – it’s right that we do have that system in place. But we always, as I put it on the steps of…

AM: But the system has been very very aggressive. Another case [is] of a man who had learning difficulties and filled in his form by hand rather than by computer and was refused benefits. There [are] lots of these cases as you won’t have a review. You should have a review of the system surely?

DC: I look at all of those individual cases and all of those cases can be addressed by the hardship funds and by the flexibilities that are there in the system. But we have sanctions for a reason; people watching this programme…

AM: You don’t get the hardship fund for two weeks.

So there you have it. David Clapson was sanctioned off-benefit for no very good reason (as is typical in the Conservative-run system). David Cameron thinks that is okay. He was unable to receive hardship funds for two weeks. David Cameron thinks that is okay.

He died. Because David Cameron thinks the sanctions and the rules for hardship funds are okay, he therefore must be perfectly comfortable with David Clapson’s death.

David Cameron has also refused to review the system, despite being told that Clapson’s is one of many, many cases and despite saying that he personally examines all such cases.

Clearly he is, therefore, perfectly comfortable with the mass deaths of benefit claimants, the sick and the disabled that have taken place under his government’s rules.

This blog has long argued that any deaths of benefit claimants that have taken place because of failings in the system are regrettable but do not, individually, mean that anybody is personally responsible.

However, this blog has also argued – for many years – that this ceases to be the case when the government is made aware of the deaths and either fails – or intentionally ignores – the need to review and change the system.

In such cases, it becomes clear that the intention is to cause those deaths.

If deaths take place due to the gross negligence of a person or people responsible for an organisation such as a government department, that is corporate homicide.

If deaths take place because such a person has been informed of the risk to life and refused to take action, there is a strong argument to state, that is murder.

(The refusal to take action implies an intention for people to lose their lives.)

Therefore there is a strong argument that David Cameron has confessed that his party has participated in the murder of many benefit claimants.

Does he deserve your vote?

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Positive campaign announcement of the day: Labour will save Sure Start centres

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A Labour Government will save Sure Start and double the number of childcare places provided at them to more than 118,000.

Labour will introduce a new statutory obligation on Sure Start to provide access to child care – as well as giving them new powers to open up their doors to charities and local providers so the whole community can use them.

The aim is to make the best use of these public buildings, re-establishing them as family hubs in the community and reaching more families than ever before. Labour says the alternative under a Tory second term – in which they have already signalled that they will cut schools budgets year-on-year – is a recipe for national decline.

The Government has allowed Sure Start centres to close or effectively be mothballed. This is disastrous for local communities at a time when childcare places are falling even though demand is greater than ever. Many providers say lack of space or affordable premises is the reason why they cannot set up or expand in an area.

“Sure Start was one of the greatest achievements of the last Labour government but, under the Tories, there are hundreds fewer while others have reduced services and opening hours,” said Tristram Hunt, Labour’s shadow education secretary.

“It is a scandal that these brilliant community assets are being mothballed or even closed at a time when parents are crying out for decent childcare in their communities.

“We will not succeed as country unless we ensure every child has a decent start in life.

“We will not succeed as a country if parents can’t get to work because they can’t get the childcare they need.

“We will not succeed as a country if we waste resources by allowing Sure Start centres to be idle, empty or even close.

“So we’re going to put the lights back on, get the kids back in and restore the founding purpose of Sure Start.”

He said: “This plan won’t cost money, it is purely a question of political will and leadership. The Government seems content to sit back and let Sure Start wither away. If the Tories win a second term, I fear Sure Start will disappear in many parts of our country and one of the great progressive programmes will be lost to the next generation. Labour created Sure Start. Labour cares about Sure Start. Labour will save Sure Start.”

This blog is no fan of Tristram Hunt – he’s an upper-middle-class oik playing at being a member of the Party of the People – but this pledge to restore Sure Start is a genuinely positive move and he is to be congratulated for it.

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