Tag Archives: slash

Election 2019 lies: BBC needs to rename ‘Reality Check’ after journalist catches it out

Not my image: Somebody else made this – indicating that concerns over the BBC’s claim to impartiality are well-founded.

The BBC tried to say the Tories haven’t “slashed taxes for the richest”, as claimed by Jeremy Corbyn – and got its corporate rear end handed to it on a plate by someone who is clearly far better-qualifed to carry out a “reality check”.

Auntie’s team laid down the gauntlet with this tweet…

… leading to an article that discusses a few of the tax changes brought in by the Conservatives since 2010 and then claims, “it would be hard to describe those changes as taxes for the richest being slashed.”

But the piece fails to mention several major tax cuts and hides the benefit enjoyed by the richest by including it only in calculations referring to the top 10 per cent of earners.

So Steve Howell has kindly provided some genuine reality. Read it and weep, BBC:

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Standards on environment, safety and human rights to be slashed for a grubby trade deal with Trump

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump: Enemies of the UK?

The Tory minister who once complained that the UK imports too much cheese is set to abolish the UK’s environmental safeguards – to get a food import deal with Donald Trump.

Theresa May promised that the UK would keep within EU rules on the environment, safety standards and human rights after Brexit.

But Boris Johnson will get rid of all these rules – that protect you – so he can sign a grubby deal with Donald Trump, to import genetically modified, inferior US food products at a high cost to the UK.

He describes this a way of gaining “flexibility”.

It seems responsibility for scrapping our protections will fall to cheese-loving international trade secretary Liz Truss.

This will require a huge admission of hypocrisy on her part – the woman who said importing two-thirds of our cheese was a “disgrace” –

– now seems perfectly happy to lower standards across the country in order to import all kinds of junk.

EU officials say that British negotiators are particularly keen to jettison EU restrictions on genetically modified foods – a key demand of American trade negotiators.

One EU official with knowledge of the Brexit talks suggested US trade officials appeared to have been in contact with British negotiators and told them standards would need to be slashed if there was any chance of a US trade deal.

Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, said scrapping the protections was “vital for giving us the freedom and flexibility to strike new trade deals and become more competitive”.

And of course rejecting EU standards means there can be no free trade deal with the bloc after the UK leaves it.

The intention seems to be to put the entire country at Donald Trump’s mercy – and he doesn’t seem to have much of that.

It seems clear that this plan is in the interests of nobody in the UK – apart from, possibly, Boris Johnson.

He certainly seems not to be interested in his duty to act in the interests of the people of this nation.

Of course, none of this can happen while the UK remains in the EU – and without an exit deal that MPs and MEPs can support, the UK will do just that.

Source: Brexit: Boris Johnson moves to scrap environment safeguards to get deal with Trump | The Independent

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Tory councils slash crime prevention budgets. What do they think will happen?


So much for the party of law and order.

The Conservative government has cut the money available to local authorities for crime prevention by more than half since 2010 – £7 billion – and Tory councils have delivered the heaviest cuts to that service.

Oh, by the way, violent crime and sexual offences have increased hugely during that time. Coincidence?

Only a fool would think so.

According to the Office for National Statistics, knife crime and robbery increased by a massive 14 per cent in the 12 months to September 2017, with about 5.3 million crimes recorded.

According to the Mirror: “Between 2009/10 and 2017/18, spending on crime reduction by local authorities has been cut by almost 60%, falling from £363m to £154m.

“Over the same period, the number of council employees working on ‘crime reduction’ has fallen by more than a third, from 120,334 to just 77,720.

“Of the 20 local authorities with the largest cuts to crime reduction expenditure since 2009/10, 15 are Conservative-controlled.”

And if you want to know where the Tories have opened up the greatest opportunities for the criminal, it’s Sevenoaks, in Kent, which has had its entire crime prevention budget eliminated.

Wasn’t there a recent news story about property prices plummeting in Tory-controlled areas of the UK? I wonder if the two phenomena may be linked.

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Sickening: Theresa May slashes benefits for children who have lost a parent and calls it ‘fair’

Do the Tories still think people are stupid enough to believe them when they lie that taking away the tax-funded benefits they need in order to subsidise the rich is “fair”?

Theresa May has used that line several times too often.

But I dare say she will continue to use it until we demonstrate to her what we consider to be fair.

That is, the removal of Mrs May and as many Conservatives as possible from Parliament, never again to blight our country with their deranged concept of ‘fairness’.

Besides…

We all know she’s lying. She doesn’t think it’s fair. She just wants the money for herself and the Tories.

Theresa May has defended the Tories’ latest round of cruel welfare cuts as “fair” to the thousands of families being hit.

Speaking on a trip to the Middle East, Mrs May said it was right to slash payments to bereaved children who have lost a parent.

A raft of welfare cuts are due to come into force this week including swingeing reduction in payments to many disabled people, and an end to extra child benefit payments to families which have a third child.

One of the most controversial cuts will see families lose bereavement payments 18 months after a parent has died.

Previously families would get money to support them until a child turned 18 years old.

Source: Theresa May defends slashing benefits for children who have lost a parent – Mirror Online


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Half of mental health sufferers have had their benefits slashed after switching to PIP

More than half of mental health sufferers have had their disability payments cut or scrapped [Image: Getty].

The statistics are damning. The people who have lost benefits after being forced to claim Personal Independence Payment didn’t do so because they got better.

They lost their benefits because the government wants disabled people to die.

The best way to do that is to ensure that those with only the most serious disabilities receive any benefit at all – and even then on only a reduced rate that is more likely to contribute to their ill-health than help them live a reasonably normal life.

Cutting off those who don’t have the most serious conditions – and consider this: their numbers include a man with life-threatening bulimia, OCD, depression and anxiety – is calculated to increase stress and worsen their ill-health, while also causing their mental health to deteriorate.

So, if their disability doesn’t kill them, they’ll be pushed into suicide.

And your Tory government wants you to believe it is a great success. On whose terms?

More than half of people with mental health problems have had disability payments axed or slashed under the Tory benefits shake-up , new figures reveal.

Nearly 125,000 people with psychological conditions who got Disability Living Allowance have been hit by the switch to ability-assessed Personal Independence Payment, says the charity Mind.

Victim James Downs lost his PIP despite life-threatening bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression and anxiety.

His housing benefit was also reduced and, facing eviction, he considered suicide.

Source: Half of mental health sufferers have had their benefits slashed after PIP switch – Mirror Online


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Taxpayers’ Alliance: ‘Cut pensioner benefits now – they’ll be dead in 2020 anyway’

pensioners-crossing-road-640x426

Following on from the Torygraph‘s revelation that Conservatives believe us all to be selfish, backstabbing and stupid, here’s the Tory-supporting Taxpayers’ Alliance, displaying all three of those qualities at once.

The TPA, if you recall, exists to cut the tax bill (primarily – and selfishly – for the very rich, hence the close connection with the Conservative Party) – and has called for the Conservative Government to cut pensioner benefits right now (backstabbing) on the grounds that either they’ll be dead or won’t remember what happened by the time of the 2020 election (stupid – pensioners have long memories when they’ve been wronged).

Not only is this suggestion selfish, backstabbing and stupid – it is also homicidal. Robbing pensioners of their winter fuel allowance or Christmas bonus could force them into choosing between (and I know it’s a cliché by now) heating and eating.

Unfortunately for pensioners, the idea may turn out to be attractive to the Conservatives, who may see it as a way of conducting a ‘stealth’ cull of the very old, in the same way they have been thinning the number of incapacity benefits claimants by nudging them in the direction of suicide. Any death – despite being caused by the benefit cut – would be blamed on the choices of the individual, rather than the government.

Here’s the introduction to the Torygraph article (it is also in several other papers). Please read it, go on to the original article if you can stomach it, and share with as many people as you can, to ensure that the wider public is made aware of what is being suggested here.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance has been criticised after suggesting the government could cut pensioner benefits now because they might “not be around” at the 2020 general election.

The group, which seeks to cut the bill taxpayers are faced with, also hinted that some pensioners might forget about the cuts when they go to the ballot box in more than four years time.

The comments were made by Alex Wild, the group’s research director, during a fringe meeting at Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

Source: Taxpayers’ Alliance: ‘Cut pensioner benefits now, they will be dead in 2020 anyway’ – Telegraph

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Food bank debate shows yet again the government’s argument has no substance

131219foodbanks

By now, we should all know how these Opposition Day debates go – but Wednesday’s discussion of food banks was one of the best examples I’ve heard.

The form goes like this: The relevant Labour shadow minister launches the debate, quoting the facts that support the argument (in this case, that the rise of food banks is a national disgrace and the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government’s policies have caused it), the government denies the charge – always with the same feeble excuses, backbenchers queue up to tell their own damning stories of what has happened to their constituents… and then the government wins the vote because its members have been whipped to vote against the motion, rather than because they believe it is wrong.

The food bank debate was textbook. Not only did it carry all these features, but:

  • The Secretary of State responsible, Iain Duncan Smith, declined to speak at all, but turned tail and ran after listening to only a small number of speakers.
  • Minister of State Esther McVey, who spoke in his place, delivered what Labour veteran Gerald Kaufman described as “one of the nastiest frontbench speeches I’ve heard in more than 43 years”.
  • As one story of government-created hardship followed another, Conservative MPs laughed. Clearly they are enjoying the suffering they are causing across the UK.

Each of these is a damning indictment of the depths to which the Coalition has driven British politics. But the debate is only half of this matter. Now it is our duty to publicise what happened. Many people may not know about this, or may not understand its significance.

They need to understand that food bank use has risen exponentially under David Cameron’s Conservative-led government, from 41,000 people in 2010 to half a million by April this year, one-third of whom were children. People are resorting to them because the cost of living is rising while wages have stagnated and social security benefit payments have been delayed or slashed. The government promised to publish a study on food banks in the summer of this year, but has delayed publication with no stated reason. The government department responsible – DEFRA – did not even put up a minister to speak in the debate.

Probably the most damning indictment was the vote. The Coalition government defeated a motion to bring forward measures that would reduce dependency on food banks. The obvious conclusion is that this government is happy to be pushing ordinary working and jobless people into crushing poverty – and intends to continue putting more and more people in the same situation for just as long as it possibly can.

We heard that:

  • People in Slough are fighting each other over discount fruit and vegetables in the local Tesco.
  • Food banks are visited by skilled workers who are unable to get jobs because of Coalition government policies.
  • Serious failures including administrative error in the benefit system mean one-fifth of the people visiting food banks are there because the Department for Work and Pensions has been unable to do its job properly.
  • The Bedroom Tax has hugely increased the number of people using food banks.
  • “The working poor are emerging as the Prime Minister’s legacy, as millions of people live in quiet crisis.” (Labour’s Jamie Reed).

In response, the Tories trotted out the old, old arguments, trying yet again to sell us the long-disproved claim that Labour forced the country into poverty by mismanaging the national finances. We heard, again, the turncoat Lord Freud’s claim that people were visiting food banks because the items there were free (ignoring the fact that everyone who visits a food bank is referred by a qualified organisation, and verified as being in crisis). We heard, again, the suggestion from our ignorant Education Secretary Michael Gove, that people are turning to food banks because they cannot manage their own finances (good management makes no difference if costs outweigh income; but then he clearly hasn’t been educated well enough to understand that).

Esther McVey’s speech showed clearly why she should have remained on breakfast television, where comparatively few people had to put up with her. She accused the previous Labour government of a “whirl of living beyond our means” that “had to come to a stop” without ever pausing to admit that it was Tory-voting bankers who had been living beyond their means, who caused the crash, and who are still living beyond their means today, because her corporatist (thank you, Zac Goldsmith) Conservative government has protected them.

She accused Labour of trying to keep food banks as “its little secret”, forcing Labour’s Jim Cunningham to remind us all that food banks were set up by churches to help refugees who were waiting for their asylum status to be confirmed – not as a support system for British citizens, as they have become under the Coalition’s failed regime.

She said the Coalition government was brought in to “solve the mess that Labour got us in”, which is not true – it was born from a backroom deal between two of the most unscrupulous party leaders of recent times, in order to ensure they and their friends could get their noses into the money trough (oh yes, there’s plenty of money around – but this government is keeping it away from you).

She said the Coalition had got more people into work than ever before – without commenting on the fact that the jobs are part-time, zero-hours, self-employed contracts that benefit the employers but exploit the workers and in fact propel them towards poverty.

She lied to Parliament, claiming that children are three times more likely to be in poverty if they are in a workless household. In fact, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in-work poverty has now outstripped that suffered by those in workless and retired households; children are more likely to be in poverty if their parents have jobs.

She attacked Labour for allowing five million people to be on out-of-work benefits, with two million children in workless households – but under her government the number of households suffering in-work poverty has risen to eight million (by 2008 standards), while workless or retired households in poverty have risen to total 6.3 million.

She claimed that 60,000 people were likely to use a food bank this year – but Labour’s Paul Murphy pointed out that 60,000 people will use food banks this year in Wales alone. The actual figure for the whole of the UK is 500,000.

She said the government had brought in Universal Credit to ensure that three million people become better-off. There’s just one problem with that system – it doesn’t work.

She said the Coalition’s tax cuts had given people an extra £700 per year, without recognising that the real-terms drop in wages and rise in the cost of living means people will be £1,600 a year worse-off when the next general election takes place, tax cuts included. She said stopping fuel price increases meant families were £300 better-off, which is nonsense. Families cannot become better off because something has not happened; it’s like saying I’m better off because the roof of my house hasn’t fallen in and squashed me.

Then, on top of all that, she had the nerve to tell the country, “Rewriting history doesn’t work.” If that is the case, then hers was one of the most pointless speeches in the history of Parliament.

Labour’s Jamie Reed had the best comment on the debate. He said: “The final verdict on any Government is based on how they treat the poorest in society during the hardest of times,” after pointing out that “the laughter from some of those on the Government benches … says more than words ever could.”

On a personal note, my own MP, Roger Williams, spoke about the food bank situation in Brecon and Radnorshire. It is gratifying that he is proud of the food bank set up by New Life Church, here in Llandrindod Wells – I well remember the telephone conversation I had with the organisers, in which I encouraged them to set it up. I am glad they took up the baton – and that he has appreciated their work.

Rather more worrying is the suggestion that he considers a possible new food bank in Brecon to be only the second in our constituency. There are food banks in many other towns, including Knighton, Ystradgynlais and Hay-on-Wye – with satellite facilities in smaller towns and villages. It is disturbing that the MP does not seem to know this.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Why the Tory-led debt crisis has worsened

Never mind the playing field sell-offs for a moment; they’re only a small part of the economic mess over which the UK’s Conservative-led government is presiding.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that in July the government borrowed £3.4 billion more than on the same month last year. Net borrowing was £557 million (according to The Guardian), but the government made a surplus this time last year, and the figures were a serious disappointment for economic analysts, who had been predicting another surplus of about £2.5 billion.

So far this year, public sector net borrowing – excluding banking interventions and a one-off boost from a transfer (some say theft) of Royal Mail pension assets to the Treasury – was £47.2 billion, up from £35.6 billion during the same period in 2011.

The Office for National Statistics said net debt was 65.7 per cent of GDP. The BBC said this amounted to £1.032 billion, but I think £1.032 trillion is nearer the mark.

The Treasury says disappointing Corporation Tax receipts are to blame, especially after the closure of the Elgin oil platform.

Some analysts say the government may now overshoot its target for reduced borrowing this year, of £120 billion, possibly by more than £35 billion (excluding the Royal Mail effect)

I say that the Coalition government’s economic mismanagement has reached new heights.

We know what’s happening: This government has left open tax loopholes – such as exempting profits earned in overseas subsidiaries from taxation – that have allowed corporations to sit on hundreds of billions of pounds in retained profits.

It abolished the bankers’ bonus tax, so the financiers who caused the mess are not only still paying themselves average salaries of £350,000, but also enjoying billions in bonuses.

It has abolished the 50p top tax rate – creating a tax break for the rich. Executive pay has risen by more than eight per cent this year.

The richest thousand people in Britain own 25 per cent of its wealth – £1.5 trillion.

At the same time, benefits have been slashed, leading to mass suicides and health-related deaths.

VAT has been increased, helping to stall the economy.

Inflation has risen.

Income tax and National Insurance have increased in real terms.

University tuition fees have been tripled, meaning students face years – perhaps decades – of work to pay off the loans they have to take out, simply to get an education.

Public sector pay has been frozen.

Tax avoidance is only seen as a problem if it’s done by a satirical comedian with a talent for humiliating the Coalition government.

And then there’s that massive Royal Mail pensions raid.

And we see that the government is borrowing more, due to a fall in corporation tax payments.

We know why it’s happening: The government wants to cut public services down to (if David Cameron has his way) nothing apart from the judiciary and security services. Everything else is to be sold off to private corporations in order to fleece the general public of whatever they have left – wages, benefits, savings.

Some people are saying that the Tory economic policy has failed. They say George Osborne, as Chancellor, set out an economic goal and a method for achieving it – only to find that his methods have made the problem far worse. They say that his stubbornness in pressing on, even after being told his plan is a disaster, makes him the very definition of a failure.

Silly, silly people.

They forget how much the Conservatives love the private sector and hate public services. Their instinct is to ensure that large corporations (the kind that are happy to give funds to the Tories) have as much opportunity to make as much money as possible. They don’t want to balance the nation’s account books; that would mean taxing the rich and the corporations – in essence, biting the hands that feed them.

As long as the UK is in the red, they’ll have a perfect excuse to do as much damage to public services – and the vast majority of the population that relies on them – as they possibly can.

Let’s go back to the playing fields now. The decision to spite the legacy of the Olympic games by selling off 31 of these fields – 10 more than the Department for Education had previously admitted – was a gift on a day when the economy was shown to be utterly unfit while in Tory hands. They provide so many opportunities for clever wordplay, don’t they?

For example, I could say that, instead of levelling the playing field (in terms of the deficit and national borrowing) the Tories have made it steeper – possibly to match the slope at sold-off Woodhouse Middle School in Staffordshire.

But it would be more accurate to say that these Conservative Party hooligans have got onto the pitch – and spoiled it for everyone else.