Tag Archives: scrap

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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The two faces of the Tories – enscapsulated in two policies today

This is the UK’s Conservative government:

And this is also the UK’s Conservative government:

Huge handouts to rich corporations, while they take away what little the poor receive to help them survive.

It is homicidal.

But millions of poor people insanely voted for rule by these insults to humanity.

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Tory MP husband of Test and Trace chief Dido Harding linked to anti-NHS group

Test and trace: is it failing because it is headed by someone who may not have the best interests of the NHS at heart?

There are many instances of husbands and wives disagreeing on politics, of course.

But can we trust Dido Harding to do a good job leading the “test and trace” team at Public Health England when she comes from a household that wants to dissolve that organisation and scrap the National Health Service?

To This Writer, the very idea seems like madness.

But that’s Boris Johnson for you.

The Tory MP husband of Test and Trace chief Dido Harding has been linked to a right-wing group calling for the NHS to be replaced by an insurance system.

Former minister John Penrose said last month he was “delighted” to join the advisory board of 1828.

One article authored by 1828’s co-founders argued Britain should be “bold and progressive” – scrapping the NHS in favour of a system where people pay for insurance either through private firms or a government scheme.

The group has also published articles calling for the abolition of Public Health England, which has a key role in the Coronavirus Test and Trace system headed by his wife.

Source: Tory MP husband of Test and Trace chief Dido Harding linked to anti-NHS group – Mirror Online

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Tory response to NHS waiting time failure: HIDE THE EVIDENCE

This was a corridor in an English hospital’s Accident & Emergency department in early 2017 – and now the situation is worse.

Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted not only that he can’t fix the NHS waiting time crisis – he won’t even bother to try.

Instead, it seems he’ll get rid of the four-hour target for patients to be seen. In other words, he’ll hide the evidence.

Of course he’ll say it’s only a coincidence that the proportion of patients attending A&E who were seen within the four-hour limit has been falling steadily since the Tories took over government in 2010.

Before then, under Labour, it was well within the target of 95 per cent.

And I’m sure he’ll say it’s also just a coincidence that attendances at A&E last month had increased by 400,000 since 2010.

It’s nothing to do with the return of so-called “Victorian diseases” brought by the Tory “starve the poor” policies of 2010 onwards – obviously. And it’s nothing to do with the increased health problems faced by benefit claimants who the Tories (wrongly) said could live on less.

And if you believe that, you’re stupid and gullible enough to deserve the pathetic service you’re getting.

You probably even believe Hancock when he says the NHS is getting its biggest cash injection ever, when in real terms the £33.9 billion promised is nowhere near the biggest, once inflation has been taken into account.

One person who isn’t going to be gulled is Professor Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, who said last year: “In our expert opinion scrapping the four-hour target will have a near-catastrophic impact on patient safety.”

As a reader of Vox Political, I’m willing to bet that you are neither gullible nor stupid.

So, who do you believe?

Matt Hancock has signalled that four-hour waiting targets for A&E are likely to be scrapped for the NHS in England after the worst figures on record this winter.

The health secretary said it would be better if targets were “clinically appropriate” and the “right targets”, as he defended the NHS’s failure to meet the standard that 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The target was put under review by Theresa May’s government and the NHS unveiled plans last March to pilot changes that would prioritise patients with serious conditions while patients with minor problems could wait longer than four hours.

A decision about the flagship four-hour target is due to be taken by NHS England in the coming months.

Source: Matt Hancock signals A&E waiting targets likely to be scrapped | Society | The Guardian

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Great Labour election promises: they’ll scrap fees for dental check-ups

This is great news, for all the reasons below.

Now, if Labour could make it possible for everybody to have access to a National Health Service dentist, that would be great.

I haven’t been able to see one since June 2018. Fortunately I have good dental hygiene, but I’d still like access to an expert.

Oh, and you know the reason I don’t have an NHS dentist any more? The company providing the service here in Mid Wales is privately-run.

Health service privatisation – it will always leave us short-changed.

Labour will bring back free dental check-ups if they win the election.

The £22.70 fee to see an NHS dentist will be axed and leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday said the ultimate ambition is to scrap ALL dental fees.

The £450 million-a-year plan will free up resources long-term by focusing on prevention. Fees were introduced in 1951 to pay for UK involvement in the Korean War.

But one in five adults puts off seeing a dentist because of the £22.70 charge for a basic visit. Under the first stage of Labour ’s plans, check-ups, oral cancer examinations, X-rays, clinical scaling and polishing and emergency treatment won’t cost a penny.

Worrying numbers [have] turned to internet kits for scaling and makeshift fillings which can cause major problems.

And 515,000 patients a year with toothache go to GPs or A&E – costing the NHS more than £38 million.

More than 100 children a day have rotting teeth removed in hospital and 90 per cent of cases could have been prevented by early treatment. And decay is the leading cause of admissions among kids aged five to nine.

Source: Labour to scrap dental check-ups costs in election policy with some real bite – Mirror Online

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McDonnell says Labour would scrap Universal Credit – and it won’t be a moment too soon

Bravo to John McDonnell for coming out and saying that a Labour government would kill Universal Credit before it could kill any more people than it already has.

The idea of combining the six main state benefits into a single payment may have looked good in theory, but in practice it has been a long, expensive disaster.

The plan to make it entirely computerised had to be shelved after a series of technical problems that pushed the budget through the roof. In the end, the rollout was only achieved by reverting to calculations using pen and paper.

Initial payments were delayed by six weeks for no reason, forcing claimants into starvation and rent arrears. Sensing a scandal, the Tories reluctantly agreed to bring payments forward – by just one week.

And then the Tories cut the budget, making it practically impossible for anybody receiving the benefit to make ends meet.

As it stands, Universal Credit is a deathtrap and Labour is right to call for its end.

The Conservatives have responded by saying that Labour does not have a viable replacement. But they are missing the point, which is this:

Any benefit system that a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell would install will be better than Universal Credit – because it will not be intended to push claimants off a benefit that is starving them into work that is so poorly-paid they may well be worse-off.

The government’s flagship welfare policy faces being scrapped by Labour because it is “just not sustainable”, the shadow chancellor has said.

John McDonnell said universal credit, which merges six working-age benefits into one payment, “will have to go”.

“I think we’re at that stage now that it’s not sustainable any more. It’s not a system that can work.

“It’s not a system that’s providing the safety net that people expect when they need support.

“I think we are moving to a position now where it is just not sustainable.

“It will have to go.

“I think we are moving towards a conclusion now that you can’t save the thing, it’s got to go.”

Source: Universal credit has to go, says John McDonnell – BBC News

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Theresa May helped to scrap anti-sexual harassment law

This is the kind of person we have running the UK – a wretch who was happy to pass laws exposing her fellow women to sexual harassment – as a condition of their employment.

The same law made it possible for employers to prevent women from complaining, as they could impose non-disclosure clauses into employees’ contracts.

Put this together with Mrs May’s record on allegations of sexual misconduct against Tory MPs (her whips’ office appears to have used them to keep potential rebels in line) and her attitude to investigations into historical child sex allegations (she had them suppressed) and we form a picture of a woman of extremely questionable morals.

Yet no doubt this priest’s daughter attends church every Sunday and prays for those less fortunate than herself. Perhaps she thinks God should help them – because she certainly won’t.

Theresa May was responsible for scrapping a law that would have given greater protection to the hostesses who were sexually harassed at the Presidents Club fundraiser.

As home secretary and minister for women and equalities under the coalition government, Mrs May led a consultation that led to an amendment to the 2010 Equality Act, one of the final pieces of legislation under Labour.

In the original version, employers were held responsible if a third party harassed someone in their employment, and if they “failed to take such steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the third party from doing so”.

The relevant clause, in section 40 of the act, was repealed in 2013 as part of the government’s “bonfire of red tape”.

It was described as a “potential regulatory burden on business to no apparent good purpose”.

The consultation document was signed by Mrs May and Lynne Featherstone, who is now a Lib Dem peer.

The Law Society, which was among those which responded to the consultation, advised against scrapping the clause, saying it would be a retrograde step.

Source: Theresa May helped to scrap anti-sexual harassment law


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Call for HS2 to be scrapped amid Carillion collapse

Cheryl Gillan [Image from the Bucks Free Press].

This is worth knowing – it’s looking bad for Transport Secretary Chris Grayling:

A Buckinghamshire MP has called for the controversial HS2 project to be scrapped amid the news that Carillion – which was awarded a major construction contract – has collapsed.

Dame Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, said plans for the £56 billion line – which will cut through The Chilterns – should be cancelled amid the liquidation of the construction giant Carillion.

During a statement by the minister for the cabinet office and fellow Bucks MP, David Lidington, in the House of Commons on Monday, Dame Cheryl said she warned against the risks to the taxpayer from the company back in July 2017.

When HS2 awarded the contract to Carillion last year, she asked that the Secretary of State for Transport confirm that he had “carried out due diligence on those companies, and that the taxpayer is not in reality carrying unacceptable risks on the construction of HS2.”

She said: “On July 17, I brought the Secretary of State for Transport to this House for 10 o’clock at night to answer the questions I raised about HS2 contractors, and the unacceptable risks to the taxpayer that included Carillion. Unfortunately, those words seem to have come true.”

Urging Mr Lidington to reconsider the project, Dame Cheryl requested that, as he was looking into the effects of Carillion’s collapse on those constituencies in which they had contracts to provide other services, “could he also look at the other failures of HS2, and management, and Government, and wouldn’t he, as well as his constituents, as well as my constituents, and maybe, Mr Speaker, some of your constituents, feel that now is the time to cancel this ill-fated, poorly-run project?”

Source: MP Dame Cheryl Gillan calls for HS2 to be scrapped amid Carillion collapse


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Sign the petition to end the hospital car parking tax on the sick

Car park charges at Royal Surrey County Hospital Guildford [Image: North Downs Picture Agency].


This Writer lives in Wales, where the only hospital that charges for car parking is in Cardiff – and has been pilloried for the practice.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have to pay for hospital parking – my nearest hospital is in Hereford (England) and Mrs Mike has treatment at a hospital in Gobowen, near Oswestry (also in England). Both charge a small fortune for parking.

Now we discover – well, see for yourself:

Here’s the information as relayed by the Daily Mirror:

Patients, NHS staff, visitors and politicians from across the divide last night joined forces to demand the end of crippling hospital car parking charges.

The hated fees … last year raked in a record £175million for NHS trusts and private contractors.

The sick, disabled, relatives and workers were being charged £500,000 a day to use hospital car parks at up to £4 an hour. It comes as it was revealed only 0.001% of income from the fees is spent on health.

The Mirror is calling for the charges – described as a “tax on the sick” to be dropped, nationwide. Notably, disabled Tory MP Robert Halfon has joined the call. Labour is, of course, in support of the campaign:

There is a petition, calling for the charges to be cut. This Writer has signed, and I urge you to do the same.

Sign the petition calling for cruel hospital car parking charges to be scrapped.


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The Tory assault on working people’s rights has begun


And they promised they would not use Brexit to water down workers’ rights.

Here’s the story from (forgive me) The Sun:

“Ministers want to scrap EU laws which limit the working week to 48 hours — costing the average family £1,200 in lost pay.

“The move would also be a boost to industry which loses billions of pounds bringing in agency staff to plug the gap.

“Brexiteers have gained widespread Cabinet support to axe the Working Time Directive as a first step when the UK is free from Brussels.

“Brexit-backing ministers will demand an end to the directive when the Brexit “war Cabinet” meets [today, December 18] to decide what to demand when trade talks begin next year.

“They say it will give millions of families the chance to top up their wages and help small firms eager to cash in on the new global trade market.”

More or less every word of the justification for ending the Working Time Directive is inaccurate.

The average family does not lose any pay because of the Working Time Directive. There is an opt-out which means, effectively, that employers can already ask employees to work extra hours – and mostly for no extra pay.

So companies don’t lose billions of pounds bringing in agency staff to replace current workers; as so many of the newly-employed are in part-time or zero-hours contracts, there is plenty of opportunity for firms to increase the hours worked by such employees, within the Working Time Directive. Why would they pay agency workers?

Take a look at this, from James O’Brien:

This is confirmed by the EU Law Analysis website, which states:

“The article claims: “The Tories won an opt-out in 1993 but Labour MEPs voted to end the UK’s right to break the limit in 2003.” The first part of this sentence is accurate: the original Directive (amended to apply to more workers in 2000, then codified in 2003) gives each Member State the option to let workers decide to opt out individually of the usual average limit of 48 working hours a week, on the condition that they are not subject to any ‘detriment’ by the employer if they opt not to do so (see Article 22 of the 2003 version). Indeed, a study by Barnard, Deakin and Hobbs showed that as a result, the Directive had little impact on the UK’s long working hours.

“However, the second part of the sentence is highly misleading. Along with the rest of the article, it gives the reader the impression that each worker’s individual opt out to work over 48 hours a week on average no longer exists. This is not true… The UK is one of six Member States which allow workers in every sector of employment to choose to work extra hours. You can find the option in the UK’s Working Time Regulations, which transpose the Directive into UK law (it’s Regulation 5). In practical terms, a recent TUC analysis estimates that over 3 million UK workers work over the 48-hour average limit.”

The article adds that, contrary to the implied promise of extra pay in the Sun article, many of those additional working hours are unpaid.

In addition, the Working Rights Directive guarantees certain conditions without which employees may not be asked to work the extra hours:

  • Daily working hours are limited to a maximum of 13;
  • There must be a rest break if the working day is longer than 6 hours;
  • Workers must get at least one day off a week;
  • There are guarantees for night workers;
  • And of course the Directive guarantees four weeks’ paid holiday every year, with no opt-outs or exceptions.

So there is absolutely no reason to ditch the directive, unless there is an ulterior motive that has been kept quiet.

As the EU Law Analysis article states: “Put simply, far from increasing workers’ pay, scrapping the working time Directive would reduce that pay for many of them.”

And consider this, from Jo Stevens MP:

The EU Law Analysis article quotes Theresa May’s  Lancaster House speech setting out her Brexit policy:

“Point 7 reads: ‘…a fairer Britain is a country that protects and enhances the rights that people have at work. That is why, as we translate the body of European law into our domestic regulations, we will ensure that workers rights are fully protected and maintained.

“‘Indeed, under my leadership, not only will the Government protect the rights of workers set out in European legislation, we will build on them.’

“If the mooted plans go ahead, this would prove that the Conservative party’s pledge to retain all workers’ rights derived from EU law was worthless.” [Bolding mine.]

Already there is a petition calling on the Tory government to reaffirm its commitment to the rights enshrined in the Working Time Directive.

You can find it – and sign it – here.

If you’re not convinced yet, here are a few comments from Twitter to point you in the right direction:


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