Tag Archives: split

Tories split over plot to destroy the BBC

“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: and a fat lot of good it did the BBC! De facto Tory leader Dominic Cummings wants the BBC privatised and he has employed ‘Minister for Murdoch’ John Whittingdale to do it.

Days after the man formerly known as the Minister for Murdoch returned to the government, unelected leader Dominic Cummings has apparently declared war on the BBC.

It seems Cummings was just waiting to get the right man for the job – and the well-connected Whittingdale fitted the bill perfectly.

So it fell to The Sunday Times to herald the forthcoming assault on our national broadcaster:

“Downing Street turned on the BBC last night — vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.

“In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

“The blueprint being drawn up in government will:

“● Scrap the licence fee and replace it with a subscription model

“● Force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4

“● Reduce the number of the corporation’s national television channels from its current 10

  • “Scale back the BBC website
  • “Invest more in the BBC World Service”

It’s an interesting plan – especially, as Zelo Street points out, considering the fact that the BBC’s current agreement with the government runs until 2027, three years after the current Tory government’s term runs out.

Cummings is either incredibly confident of getting a new term with his puppet Boris Johnson, or he’s sure that Tory plants in the Labour Party will keep it riven by controversy and unable to mount a meaningful challenge.

That blog also points out that the plan has not been properly thought through: how can the government expect to dictate that BBC stars can’t have second jobs if they become part of a subscription service that is independent?

The announcement has provoked considerable debate online – and a clear contradiction has emerged in that most of those who oppose the BBC are only angry with it’s pro-Tory current affairs bias. It would be lunacy to think the Tories are going to create more balance!

(It’s worth pointing out that Raj Ganesh – above – considers the Conservative Party to be left wing and may therefore be considered a far-right extremist. That’s the kind of person who really hates the BBC. But expect also his phrase “telly tax” to catch on – Tories love that kind of thing.)

But it seems the plan does not have wholehearted support – even within Conservative Party ranks. Sure, some have described it as “Tory vandalism”…

… and, sure, some Tories have helped undermine the BBC and are now using the results of their own actions as reasons to attack it again…

… but some are standing by it:

Before anybody jumps in and tries to rubbish Mr Green’s opinion because of his past connection with certain forms of online… entertainment… let’s just remember that Whittingdale had a relationship with a female sex worker that only ended when he discovered the story was likely to be sold to the tabloid press.

And Mr Green isn’t alone, anyway. The Independent reports:

“Huw Merriman, another Conservative MP who is also chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC, also warned that the corporation should “not be a target”.

“Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said ‘it feels as if senior government aides are now ramping up an unedifying vendetta against this much-admired corporation’.

“A third Tory MP, Damian Collins, a former chair of the Commons culture committee, added: “No surprise that no-one has put their name to this destructive idea.

“’This would smash the BBC and turn it from being a universal broadcaster to one that would just work for its subscribers. The biggest losers would be the UK’s nations and regions.’”

The consensus among Tory opponents of the plan is that it will cost the party votes.

Personally, I don’t think that will stop Dominic Cummings.

He wants to smash everything of “cultural importance”, as Steve Coogan put it, to the UK. He’ll happily sell the lot to foreign investors and see all the money we earn dribble abroad, reducing the UK to Third World status. The NHS is set to be privatised, with the profit-making parts sold off to the US, remember.

Now why would a patriotic UK citizen want to do such a thing?

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Labour leader candidates sign Board of Deputies’ pledges in bid to become completely unelectable

Rogues’ gallery: Five of the six Labour leader candidates have signed up to the Board of Deputies’ undemocratic, divisive and damaging list of pledges. Only Clive Lewis has had the good sense to decline (so far) – and he is struggling to get enough nominations from fellow MPs to get on the ballot paper!

This is either an act of unutterable stupidity or a conscious betrayal of the entire Labour Party membership – and four of the five leadership hopefuls have committed it.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews – a self-appointed organisation claiming to represent Jews in the UK, believed to be composed mostly of Conservative voters – has released a list of 10 pledges  – in fact demands – its members claim Labour must support “in order to begin healing its relationship with the Jewish community”.

The Board of Deputies has no right to claim that it represents all British Jews; it doesn’t.

As for the list – let’s have a look:

“1. Resolve outstanding cases: All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale.”

This is an insult to justice. Cases take as long as they take – otherwise more innocent parties will fall victim to miscarriages of justice, as has already happened in the cases of Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson and myself, to name only a few.

“2. Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent: An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.”

And how is that supposed to happen? The Board of Deputies will be certain to demand a veto on any organisation chosen to carry out such work, ensuring that its disciplinary process could not be independent. This demand also conflicts with pledge 7, below. Come to that, it’ll be a neat trick marrying this up with pledge 10.

“3. Ensure transparency: Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.”

This is a demand for access to confidential information about party members to be provided to people from outside organisations who may belong to organisations that oppose the Labour Party. I’ve already mentioned the BoD’s apparent preference for Conservative government; who else would want access under this unreasonable demand. And isn’t it contrary to the Data Protection Act?

“4. Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders: It should be made clear that prominent offenders who have left or been expelled from the party, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership.”

This Writer is currently in the process of court action against the Labour Party over its decision to wrongfully expel me. If I succeed, then the party will be legally bound to readmit me, no matter what some third party like the BoD may think. This is simply an attempt to prevent Labour from reconsidering decisions to expel innocent members under false pretences.

“5. Provide no platform for bigotry: Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”

This is a blatant attempt to thin out the party, ensuring that it remains too weak to win any future election. All members who were falsely accused have supporters who remain members, but this means anyone saying anything remotely supportive will face automatic suspension and possible expulsion. It is a fascistic attempt to exert control. And if anyone signing up to this pledge becomes leader, it will probably be unnecessary as the exodus is likely to be thunderous. People who have supported me have already indicated their disgust with Labour’s behaviour over the last few years, and a willingness to leave of their own accord.

“6. Adopt the international definition of antisemitism without qualification: The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.”

The man who wrote the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is on the record as saying that it has been weaponised by hard right-wing characters to demand support for criminal activities by the government of Israel. It was intended to be a working definition and is flawed in that it can be interpreted as demanding that anyone criticising the Israeli government should be treated as an anti-Semite.

See for yourself:

“7. Deliver an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community: The Jewish Labour Movement should be reengaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.”

So much for “make the Party’s disciplinary process independent”. Labour has, in the past, told members to take anti-Semitism training from the JLM, but those members would be fools to accept it as the JLM has been known to fake evidence in order to get party members expelled.

“8. Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups: Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.”

This is an example of genuine anti-Semitism. The Board of Deputies is trying to ensure that groups representing a more common-sense attitude, like Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, are denied a voice. That’s denying Jewish people a right to self-determination, and it’s a claim that members of this organisation are “the wrong kind of Jew”. Despicable. It’s also undemocratic, of course.

“9. Communicate with resolve: Bland, generic statements should give way to condemnation of specific harmful behaviours – and, where appropriate, condemnation of specific individuals.”

An attempt to turn the anti-Semitism circus that Labour has become into a full-on witch-hunt. The demand for individuals accused of anti-Semitic behaviours to be named is a malicious attempt to blacken the names of people who may be perfectly innocent.

“10. Show leadership and take responsibility: The leader must personally take on the responsibility of ending Labour’s antisemitism crisis.”

The leader has always been responsible for tackling claims of discriminatory behaviour by party members. But this is a contradiction as the Board of Deputies is trying to claim seniority over the party leader – make the leader kowtow to its demands. That is simply unacceptable.

But five out of the six leadership candidates have signed up to it: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.

And deputy leadership candidates Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray has also backed the pledges.

None of these turncoats should be allowed to have any position of authority – at all – in the Labour Party.

Already the move has put people off joining Labour – like Michael Siva, below:

And others both within the party and outside have voiced their outrage:

It goes on and on. These probably aren’t even among the strongest examples.

The Board of Deputies – and their Labour-hating allies – are undoubtedly loving the division they’ve caused. If party members elect a leader who supports these pledges, the resulting split could plunge us into far right-wing dictatorship for decades.

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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No confidence over ‘no deal’: The start of a Tory disintegration – or the end of UK democracy?

The Queen: Will she have to use her constitutional role to rid us of Boris Johnson, if he refuses to honour the threatened vote of ‘no confidence’ over his ‘no deal’ Brexit.

That didn’t take long! The Conservative Party appears to be falling apart over Boris Johnson’s plan for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Some are siding with Dominic Grieve and threatening to support Jeremy Corbyn in an early vote of ‘no confidence’ against Mr Johnson if ‘no deal’ seems the most likely outcome when Parliament re-convenes in September.

But Dominic Cummings, BoJob’s senior advisor, has apparently claimed that Mr Johnson will simply ignore the result of such a vote if it goes against him.

This is unconstitutional – dictatorial, in fact.

If a confidence vote goes against Mr Johnson, Parliament will have 14 days to form an alternative government, according to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, with a cross-party “government of national unity” strongly suggested.

But Mr Cummings apparently reckons BoJob would call a general election, framing it in populist terms as being “people v politicians”.

He wants to put us on a slippery slide towards fascism, it seems.

One of the so-called 14 early warning signs of fascism is the identification of enemies as a unifying cause. In this case, with the enemies being politicians opposing Mr Johnson, it seems he would set us on a path to totalitarianism.

The obsession with Brexit would tick off another entry on that list – “powerful and continuing nationalism”.

It has been suggested that Mr Johnson would not be required to step down after losing a confidence vote, and the timetable of anything that follows would be set by him.

But others have claimed that refusal to honour the result of such a vote would require the Queen to step in and dispense of his services herself.

That would be ironic – a man who is asserting the ‘divine right of kings’ to do what he wants being removed by the person who actually has that right.

Source: Dominic Cummings takes swipe at Grieve over confidence vote plan | Politics | The Guardian

The Tory death wish: They’ll have Brexit even if it destroys the UK

Tories really want to cripple their country, according to a new poll by YouGov.

Not only are they desperate to harm the economy by daring a “no-deal” Brexit in order to decouple from the European Union no later than October 31, triggering the application of huge tariffs on international trade…

… But they also don’t care if this has the knock-on effect of destroying the union, with Scotland and/or Northern Ireland separating from the United Kingdom.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is likely to capitalise on this in her speech to mark 20 years of devolution. She’ll probably say:

“Immense damage to Scottish communities was caused by an out of touch Conservative party that governed, unelected in Scotland, for 18 years. But now I fear a similarly out of touch Tory party, led by an even more reckless leader, could cause as much damage as Mrs Thatcher and John Major did. But while they took 18 years, he, whoever it is, could do as much – or more – damage in just 18 weeks. Because by the end of October, Scotland could be heading for a no-deal Brexit.

“Scotland must have the option of choosing a different course. The next six months could offer challenges greater than anything we have seen in the last 20 years. In my view they will inevitably require greater powers for Scotland – indeed the full powers that come with independence.”

So she wants out before the next Tory leader – whoever he is – can do the damage we all expect.

In Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that has been propping up the Conservative government in a confidence-and-supply agreement has also been holding up Brexit by absolutely refusing to accept the so-called NI border “backstop” that would put the province on different trading terms with the EU than the rest of the UK.

Tory MPs are said to want a general election the instant a new leader is installed (Daniel Kawczynski mentioned Boris Johnson) in order to establish a majority without the need for DUP support.

But that might trigger moves for Northern Ireland to leave the union.

Of course, it might also lead to a Labour government, if the public at large don’t take to the leader the Tories elect (and Boris Johnson has a proven track record as a liar, a racist, and a sexist who’ll happily spaff our cash up the wall on nonsense).

And this leads to a contradiction, because according to the YouGov poll, the only thing that would dissuade Tory members from demanding Brexit at the first opportunity is the possibility of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

But such a government is more likely if they choose a leader committed to Brexit at any cost.

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This is how fear of a Tory split could threaten the course of Brexit

Speculation about the effect particular Brexit options could have on the Conservative Party may hinder the course of democracy.

This Site reported yesterday (March 31) that pro-Brexit ministers are threatening to resign if Mrs May agrees a permanent customs union with the EU – but that is precisely the course most likely to be chosen by the “indicative” votes due to take place in the House of Commons today, if last week’s exercise in democracy is any yardstick.

So how would any conscientious Conservative ensure that their party stays together?

By not supporting the “customs union” option – that’s how. Right?

A customs union is part of the Labour Party’s preferred form of Brexit, so that party might whip its members to support the option whenever they can.

But there are good – in terms of party politics – reasons for the Tories not to support a customs union. According to the Mirror, “following that policy would break the Tories’ 2017 manifesto and stop the UK signing its own trade deals around the world.”

Despite turning their backs on manifesto promises almost as soon as they were made in 2017, the Tories have since become rather precious about them and it seems 170 Conservative MPs, supported by 10 cabinet ministers including Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Penny Mordaunt, have written to Mrs May, demanding that she take the UK out of the EU as soon as possible – and not into a customs union.

If that’s true, they’re saying she should honour the Tory manifesto by ignoring the will of Parliament (if a majority of MPs go for the “customs union” option). That would be contempt of Parliament, of course, and Mrs May’s government is already the only sitting government ever to be found guilty of that offence. A second such ruling might trigger the election that Tories are equally desperate to avoid, as it could be said that Mrs May’s administration was not fit to govern.

But another wing of the Tories seems keen for Mrs May to support a customs union – as suggested by David Gauke, The Guardian has reported.

Mrs May might be thinking she can get out of it with her plan to subject us all to a fourth vote on her meaningless Brexit deal, set against anything chosen by Parliament today.

But (again) it is entirely possible that a large contingent of her Parliamentary party could resign before she gets that far – even though any such vote will happen this week.

It’s a dilemma – and one that threatens to break the Conservatives in a big way if they get it wrong. I’m hoping they do.

But I fear that they will make a choice that helps only themselves – and even then, only in the short term.


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Ian Austin quits Labour over ‘anti-Semitism’. His own? What about the warmongering? And…

Ian Austin: Abusive, warmongering, treacherous.

It is hard to believe Ian Austin’s claim to be leaving the Labour Party because of anti-Semitism when his own behaviour towards Jewish people can hardly be considered exemplary.

Skwawkbox has re-published an account of a rant at Jewish author Michael Rosen by the Dudley North MP. My own take on that story is here.

But dig into Mr Austin’s past and there seem to be many more reasons to celebrate his departure as “no loss” to Labour (to quote Chris Williamson MP, another victim of Mr Austin’s aggression).

There certainly seems to be no love lost between him and his Dudley North constituents. After the 2010 election he had a majority of just 649. This improved to 4,181 in 2015, after a scandal involving a Tory candidate named Afzal Amin, but just two years later Mr Austin had squandered all of that goodwill and more. His majority in that constituency now stands at just 22 votes.

No wonder he won’t be standing in a by-election to justify his choice!

He was one of a large number of then-Labour MPs who abstained on the Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Act when it was working its way through Parliament in 2015 – indicating that he supported the idea of an arbitrary benefit cap being applied to poor families.

When, in 2015, George Osborne hypocritically led Conservative MPs through the “Aye” lobby in support of a Charter for Budget Responsibility that he had said was unnecessary five years before, Mr Austin abstained in a gesture of defiance against the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the financial policies of John McDonnell, who had just delivered a speech brilliantly trashing the Tories’ claims that Labour had caused the financial collapse of seven years before.

He was heavily criticised for in-fighting against Jeremy Corbyn – especially after he welcomed the news that Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John, had been killed in an airstrike, in contrast with Mr Corbyn’s wish for that man to be brought to trial.

He voted in support of pointless air strikes in Syria in December 2015 – against the Labour whip – but his vote counted for nothing as the motion would have been carried without it.

Warmongering Mr Austin also voted against an inquiry into the Iraq War, and when Mr Corbyn made his speech in response to the Chilcot Report on that war, that MP shouted from the backbenches, “Shut up!” and “You’re a disgrace!”

I think we can all see who the disgrace really was.

He was included on a list of “abusive” MPs which was wrongly dubbed a “deselection list” by some of the people on it.

When Labour tabled a motion calling for the UK to end support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, Mr Austin abstained.

He signed a letter in support of “trial by bigotry” of Labour members accused of anti-Semitism, calling for every accusation to be considered proof of guilt, in breach of the most fundamental principle of British justice – the fact that people are innocent of any crime until they are proven guilty.

When Theresa May’s Tory government was floundering, unable to secure a Brexit deal that Parliament could support, Mr Austin offered to help her.

He was issued a disciplinary letter by the Labour leadership after he uttered a foul-mouthed stream of abuse at Ian Lavery.

So Mr Austin is a foul-mouthed, abusive, treacherous, warmongering supporter of austerity who complains about anti-Semitism but has abused at least one Jew himself. No loss? I’d say Labour is much better for his departure.


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Where are the Tory splitters?

“Thanks but no thanks”? Anna Soubry was thought to be joining the new Independent Group of MPs. Where is she?

All the talk last weekend was of Labour MPs splitting away from their party to form a new group – along with Conservative MPs and possibly Liberal Democrats.

We know that seven Labour MPs went through with their split – with humiliating consequences for all those involved.

What about the Tories?

Anna Soubry was thought to have been in talks with Chuka Umunna – did she miss the memo saying when it was all going to happen?

Or was the Conservative side of this just another smokescreen; another gesture towards rebellion that just didn’t quite make it into reality?

That seems more likely.

Until some Conservatives join Umunna’s Seven, it seems clear that we should add to the list of their failings a willingness to be deceived by Conservatives.

Tories who offered to join the Independent Group (or Gemini A Ltd, to give it its official title) have managed to speed a schism in the Labour Party. In public relations terms, this is a boost for their own party that remains (for now) intact.

And the ex-Labour independents should have seen this coming.

The Tories have, after all, a record of failure to go through with rebellion. And they have a record of dishonesty.

They are a party of liars led by a liar. Only a fool would expect them to honour a promise.


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MPs split off from the Labour Party. Voters say ‘Good riddance!’

Chuka Umunna: Good riddance.

A group of seven MPs has split off from the Labour Party – to gasps of relief across the United Kingdom.

The reaction is probably not what they wanted.

The group includes Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith as expected.

Joining them are Luciana Berger – quitting before her Liverpool Wavertree CLP pushes through the “no confidence” vote that members have been readying? – along with Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey.

The group has released a statement but it seems its website is having teething problems – odd since it has been registered since 2015 – and I can’t really be bothered unless Vox Political readers are genuinely interested. Are you?

It’s much more fun to highlight the public response, which is primarily relief. The flood of comments yesterday (Sunday, February 18) when rumours spread that the split would happen today, speaks for itself. Some thought this was another publicity stunt and they would not go through with it:

Others pointed out the qualities of the expected splitters and the likely tensions between them:

The prevailing mood – especially in the case of Mr Umunna, was clear:

And some posted wish lists of other Labour members they would like to see split off – for a very obvious reason:

Mr Jeffery will be pleased to see Ms Berger and Mr Gapes among the splitters. Mr Gapes is also on Matt Zarb-Cousins’s list:

Speculation on what the “Independent Group” would represent has been overwhelmingly negative towards them:

And the departure will provoke comparisons with the “Gang of Four” who formed the SDP in 1981. That decision led to the formation of the Liberal Democrats, a party that apparently killed itself off as a national political organisation by forming a coalition with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015. Here’s Martin O’Neill:

As ever, Tony Benn called it correctly – 38 years ago.

Last word goes to Liam Young:

Damn straight – good riddance.

MPs from both sides of the Commons in talks about new party. Jumping before they’re pushed?

Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry: Party on?

Don’t let the headline get your hopes up. Chuka Umunna was supposed to be quitting Labour last Thursday and didn’t have the guts.

Michael Rosen mocked him brilliantly on Twitter:

Still, Mr Umunna may well be thinking about announcing that it’s possible he could consider something along those lines again at some point in the future.

Also involved in discussions about forming a new party, we’re told, is Chris Leslie – who has been castigated in a letter by representatives of his Nottingham East Constituency Labour Party.

“We believe that the views expressed in your most recent email to constituents are likely to damage the reputation and electoral prospects of our party and give the impression that you are doubtful that a Labour government would be the best outcome for Britain,” they wrote. “This email crossed a line and we believe it is unacceptable for a sitting Labour MP to attack the party in this manner.”

The letter also stated: “You are happy to attack the party leadership, other Labour MPs and party members; giving the impression that our party is divided as we approach the local council elections in May and a possible general election.

“The support you give constituents and party members in Nottingham East is well below that of other local Labour MPs… Members and residents are much more likely to have seen you attacking the party and its leadership than representing the views of local residents.”

Draw your own conclusions. While the MPs already mentioned, together with Gavin Shuker who lost a vote of “no confidence” in his own CLP last year, and Angela Smith might say they are frustrated with pro-Brexit policies and issues over anti-Semitism, their real reasons for wanting to take their allegiances elsewhere seem clear.

So the right-wing newspapers are full of rumours that these people will help set up a new “centrist” (read: neoliberal) party alongside Conservatives (possibly Anna Soubry) and Liberal Democrats who may be desperate for public interest after their five-year dalliance with the Tories.

Intense discussions are taking place at Westminster that could lead to the emergence of a new centrist party consisting of six or more disaffected anti-Brexit Labour MPs along with the involvement of some Conservatives and the backing of the Liberal Democrats.

Apparently some of the ringleaders have lobbied backbench colleagues they thought were sympathetic, with an invitation to join in. It seems Clive Lewis was among them – and here’s his response:

The message – to the Labour MPs implicated, at least, is clear: If you want to go, push off.

Sadly it seems this is the very attitude that is keeping them where they aren’t wanted.

Food bank use has rocketed because it is impossible to survive on the Tory benefit system

A food bank: This one is in Salford.

What is the point of the UK’s financial deficit reaching its lowest level since 2007, if the country’s citizens are being left destitute, families split, and individuals driven towards suicide because the government has deliberately taken away all means of supporting themselves?

That is the question we should be asking after the Trussell Trust revealed that use of its food banks rocketed by 13 per cent in the year from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

The charity’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children.

This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64 per cent.

It has been claimed that the increase is because the Conservative government has failed to ensure that benefit payments can cover the cost of everyday essentials.

Not only that, but delays in providing benefits to new claimants – particularly the hated Universal Credit – were responsible for a large proportion of food bank referrals.

According to the Trussell Trust: “‘Low income – benefits, not earning’ is the biggest single, and fastest growing, reason for referral to a food bank, with ‘low income’ accounting for 28 per cent of referrals UK-wide compared to 26 per cent in the previous year. Analysis of trends over time demonstrates it has significantly increased since April 2016, suggesting an urgent need to look at the adequacy of current benefit levels.

“The other main primary referral reasons in 2017-18 were benefit delays (24 per cent) and benefit changes (18 per cent). New data about the types of benefit change driving food bank use is clear: whilst referrals due to ‘benefit sanction’ have declined over the last year, those due to ‘reduction in benefit value’ have the fastest growth rate of all referrals made due to a benefit change, and those due to ‘moving to a different benefit’ have also grown significantly.

“Universal Credit is not the only benefit people at food banks are experiencing issues with, but it is a significant factor in many areas. New analysis of food banks that have been in full UC rollout areas for a year or more shows that these projects experienced an average increase of 52 per cent in the twelve months after the full rollout date in their area. Analysis of food banks either not in full UC areas, or only in full rollout areas for up to three months, showed an average increase of 13 per cent.”

The Trust also said a survey of 284 people on UC, who had been referred to food banks, showed the adverse impact of the initial wait, the lack of available statutory support, the inability of UC payments to cover the cost of living for people who most need it, and poor administration.

The charity is consequently calling for benefit levels to be uprated in line with inflation to ensure payments keep pace with the cost of living, particularly for disabled people and families with dependent children who are particularly at risk of needing a foodbank, and for a requirement to be placed upon Local Authorities to deliver a true Universal Support service to everyone who starts a Universal Credit claim.

It is also asking for an urgent inquiry into poor administration within Universal Credit, so errors such as incorrect payments along with poor communication issues can be tackled.

Clearly, the Trussell Trust is not expecting to bid for any contracts from the Department for Work and Pensions in the near future, as organisations working for the rogue government department are bound by contract not to do anything that harms confidence in the DWP or its secretary of state, Esther McVey. The charity’s findings are clear evidence of the reason for this contractual requirement.

In Scotland, the rise in food bank use was higher than the UK average, according to the Daily Record which stated: “In the past year, the Trussell Trust reported a 17 per cent increase in people depending on their help to live, with 170,625 three-day emergency food supplies handed to those in crisis – of which 55,038 went to children.

“The Scottish rise was higher than the UK average increase of 13 per cent.

“Data for 2017-18 shows that benefit delays and sanctions remain the biggest reason for people being referred.”

The Daily Mirror hammered home the cruelty of the Conservative policy that Ms McVey is cruelly following, with the story of a woman who considered giving up her children in order to make sure they could eat.

That’s right: These filthy Conservatives are deliberately starving families into splitting up.

The paper quoted Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie, who said: “We collected stories of a stroke victim left with nothing when discharged from hospital as their benefits were stopped.

“A woman whose husband suffers from PTSD with money for the electric heating.

“And even a mother who considered giving up her own two children while she waited for her Universal Credit to come in so that they could finally get some food.

“Tens of billions of pounds have been taken out of our welfare system in recent years, and this process shows no signs of stopping.”

She was also quoted as saying for many UC is simply “not enough to make ends meet” and leaves people “locked into debt, hunger, destitution and misery”.

But don’t worry about that – public sector borrowing has dropped to £42.6 billion in the last financial year!

Strangely, none of the reports about the financial improvement seem to be explaining how it was managed.

Maybe it is bad for business to report a financial boost built on misery, poverty and suicide.


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