Tag Archives: volunteer

Coronavirus: Thousands sign up to help NHS do what community volunteers are already doing

The Tories are celebrating after half a million people answered Matt Hancock’s call to do unpaid work, making up for the cuts he and his party have made in the National Health Service.

What are we to conclude from this? That half a million Tory supporters have nothing better to do? Possibly.

That they haven’t realised that groups of local volunteers have already sprung up in communities carrying out two of the three duties the Tories have named? Probably.

No doubt they’ll come in handy, delivering equipment and medicines to NHS locations that need them.

But the simple fact is that people should be paid for providing this service, and the Tories should have thought of it themselves – rather than waiting for groups to spring up in local communities and stealing the idea.

Source: Coronavirus: Thousands volunteer to help NHS with vulnerable – BBC News

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

David Cameron won general election with series of lies? Tell us something we DON’T know!

Yvette Cooper is only half-right. Cameron certainly lied to win the election – but Labour failed to beat him because Labour did not effectively answer those lies.

Labour’s five-year-long failure to deny the claim that it had spent too much while in government is the perhaps the most obvious example.

But Cooper has chosen to highlight promises that were made to the people of the UK, which have been broken in the very short time since.

David Cameron won the general election on the basis of a series of lies, Yvette Cooper said on Thursday, as she highlighted a series of broken promises by the Conservatives.

In a sharpening of her rhetoric against the Tories, the Labour leadership contender accused Cameron of ripping up nine pre-election promises. She said he had changed tack on areas ranging from child tax credits to housing and rail electrification.

Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said: “We may have our own leadership election going on, but Labour can’t allow David Cameron to get away with this and carry on like nothing has happened – he is taking the British public for fools. We have to confront him directly on every lie and broken promise – that’s exactly what I plan to do in parliament and across the country.

The nine areas identified by Cooper are:

  • Cuts in child tax credits. Cooper said Cameron denied during the election that he would cut child tax credits. She said Osborne, the chancellor, unveiled £4.5bn of cuts to child tax credits in the budget which would hit women twice as hard as men.
  • Cuts to child benefit after Cameron said during the election there would be no cuts beyond a two-year freeze. Cooper says it will now be subject to a four-year freeze.
  • Cancellation of rail electrification plans.
  • Downgrading of the number of affordable homes due to be built. The Office for Budget Responsibility has said 14,000 fewer homes will be built.
  • Delaying of a decision on a new airport runway in south-east England. Downing Street says it is standing by its commitment to reach a decision by the end of this year.
  • Delay in the introduction of tax-free childcare from 2015 to 2017.
  • Shelving of an election pledge to give public officials three days off work to take part in volunteering.
  • Delay until 2020 in the introduction of the social care cap.
  • Reversal of pledge for greater government transparency after launch of review into freedom of information.

Source: David Cameron won general election with series of lies, says Yvette Cooper | Politics | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cancer sufferer’s benefits are cut – and the chattering classes demonise HIM

The vindictiveness of our Conservative-led government knows no bounds.

Not only has the government cut a man’s state benefits after he was diagnosed with cancer, but its supporters then attacked him in the local newspaper’s comment column – even though they knew nothing about his situation.

The gentleman concerned is Pete Woodcock of Scunthorpe who, according to a report in the Scunthorpe Telegraph, has been unemployed for around eight years.

Rather than sit around, he has spent his time volunteering in the community – for up to 40 hours per week – while also job hunting.

But when his doctors told him he had cancer, DWP officials cut his benefit money by 40 per cent (from £140 per week to £84). This is because attending hospital on both sides of the Humber meant he was unable to attend job clubs and had to claim a sickness benefit instead.

“When a person has cancer the last thing a person needs to worry about is finances but I now have to look after my family, pay bills and finance my trips to hospitals on less than £100 per week,” Mr Woodcock is quoted as saying. “Is this what health and welfare reforms have led to?

“The DWP even told me that if I went back on to jobseekers and gave up my treatment I could go back on to £140 per week to live on – meaning if I decided to die, I could be richer!”

So much for your caring Conservative-led government. Now look at this despicable response from a reader:

“Not much gratitude shown to taxpayers for the hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of free cancer treatment he will receive. I would say that is a pretty substantial benefit myself.”

Disgusting. The whole point of the National Health Service is that everybody pays something towards it, to ensure that it is free at the point of use. One has to question whether this commenter was a government plant, ordered to make this statement as part of the campaign to soften us all up for privatisation.

Here’s another one with his head in the clouds: “I’d look at this man’s situation the other way and suggest that he’s been overpaid (by at least 40 per cent) over the last eight years, whilst he’s been sat at home reaping in the benefits – whilst the rest of us have been going to work. Eight years is a very long time. Why couldn’t he find a job? Not really looking perhaps.”

It happens that a previous commenter had already answered this claim, but clearly these people don’t pay attention to anybody but themselves. The other commenter noted: “He is long-term unemployed (so largely unemployable), he didn’t sit on his behind all day (from what I hear) and smoke pot. The guy has a social conscience and appears to give a toss about where he lives.”

But this person noted that Mr Woodcock’s voluntary work could also harm his benefits: “I have to say he should be careful; the Jobcentre could class that as ‘not actively seeking and being available for work’, mainly due to the amount of time his job-seeking should occupy compared to a full time job.” We’re living in a crazy, upside-down country!

Final word goes to another commenter who pointed out that nothing has changed since the Coalition government first tightened the rules for claiming sickness benefits: “The aim of Govt was to demonise those on benefit by highlighting the worst cases of abuse and unless you are near to terminal there is the idea by the DWP you can do something.”

This is eerily reminiscent of the incident that sparked all the other stories about the victimisation of the sick. Does anybody remember, years ago, when the Coalition government was chastised for putting a patient with terminal cancer into the work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance, telling that person he should spend the final six months of his life at work?

Despite the huge backlash and protestations from the government that it has changed the system, it seems there has been no improvement at all.

Meanwhile, perhaps because of the constant right-wing media attacks on the sick as “feckless” “scroungers”, it seems the public have been manipulated into hardening their attitude.

ADDENDUM: You can read another perspective on this, from Scriptonite, here.

Just as the Tories wanted.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Who will ‘Help to Work’ really help?

140428IDSshrug

The government’s latest draconian measure – to drive people who have been living off the state for more than three years into all the nonexistent jobs that ministers insist are waiting for them – was launched today. (Monday)

Help to Work forces jobseekers to sign on every day, commit to six months of voluntary work, or sign up to a training scheme (the last two effectively removing them from the government’s unemployment figures without getting them a job) – or face having their Jobseeker’s Allowance docked for increasing lengths of time.

It’s clearly a scam to fiddle the joblessness statistics but, dear reader, you’re intelligent enough to have worked it out before you even started reading this.

Of course, voluntary work must be offered without coercion – otherwise it’s slavery – and for this reason leading charities have already announced that they will boycott the mandatory work placement part of the scheme.

Particularly disturbing – and we should be grateful that they highlighted this – is the fact that this aspect would lead to jobseekers doing more than double the 300-hours’-maximum community work than convicted criminals, who are ordered to carry out certain tasks as punishment for their offences.

The Guardian used the government’s own data to prove that Help to Work does not increase anybody’s chances of getting a job, and is more likely to put people off signing on for the benefits to which they are entitled – a ‘punishment’ effect that the government is desperate to play down.

Esther McVey, speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme in support of the scheme, said instead that it would be particularly useful for “people who have been away from the marketplace and the workplace for long periods of time”, and specifically mentioned those suffering from mental illness.

All right then, let’s ask this:

How well would this scheme fare in trying to find a job for a man aged 60 with no academic qualifications worth mentioning (left school at 14 and has lied about further education achievements), whose working life consists of a failed Army career that lasted less than six years, followed by irregular stints selling arms, working in a property company and selling gun-related magazines, in between periods on the dole. He has been funded by the taxpayer continuously since 1992 – a total of 22 years ‘parked’ at our expense. There are concerns about his state of mind, with fears that he suffers from paranoia and delusions.

Could Help to Work really find a job for a man like this?

Let’s hope so – because, if there’s any justice, Iain Duncan Smith will be looking for a job after next year’s general election.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy Vox Political books!
The second – Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first, Strong Words and Hard Times
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Conservatives: Exploiting hardworking people

140214intern

Exploitation: The logo on the cups says, “Conservatives – for the privileged few” – and the intern carrying them isn’t included.

“We’re all in it together” are we, George?

The Conservative Party represents “fairness”, “for hardworking people”, does it, David?

It seems not – if we are to judge the Conservative Party by its actions, rather than its words.

Yesterday a website focusing on graduate careers blew the full-time whistle on these deceptions, exposing how the Tories have been briefing MPs and candidates on ways to avoid paying the minimum wage by exploiting the perceived differences between volunteers, interns and paid employees.

The article on Graduate Fog said a memo circulated to Party members was advising them to start calling their unpaid interns ‘campaign volunteers’, in order to evade “potential hostile questioning” about exploitative business practices.

The Conservative Party has denied doing anything wrong by providing advice on ways its members may avoid paying the minimum wage.

It would have been better for the Party spokesperson to deny that Conservatives have been wrongly recruiting people as employees – under the umbrella title of ‘interns’ (which means nothing in UK law), while treating them – for payment purposes – as volunteers.

But that was impossible because it is exactly what has been happening – as the memo makes clear.

Look – here it is:

140214interns1

140214interns2

Graduate Fog kindly published it for us all to examine.

The part that blows the gaff is a “suggested template reply” for “hostile questioning” about the issue of “recruiting unpaid interns”.

Clearly, this is what Conservative chiefs want to avoid.

Clearly they would not have gone to the effort of circulating a memo if NOBODY was “recruiting unpaid interns”.

So there is a clear implication that some Conservative Party MPs and prospective Parliamentary candidates, in fact, have been “recruiting unpaid interns” – and illegally exploiting them by demanding that they carry out the duties of employees.

The tone is clear from the get-go: The Conservative Party is running scared.

Members are told that people working in an unpaid capacity are no longer to be described as ‘interns’ – they are ‘campaign volunteers’ from now on because, that way, there is no obligation to pay them.

Conservatives are advised not to pay anything at all to these ‘volunteers’ – even expenses – as this could lead to them being classed as ‘workers’ and establishing ‘mutuality of obligation’. This would be equivalent to payment for services rendered – and the ‘volunteer’ would therefore be classed as a ‘worker’, requiring payment for services rendered, at the minimum wage or higher.

From now on, the memo states, recruitment adverts should be “appropriately worded” – meaning there must be nothing resembling a “formal job description”. This means references to “work”, “worker”, “hours” of work, “tasks” the ‘Volunteer’ will be “expected” to perform, and “expenses” are all out.

Instead, Party members are advised to use words like “volunteering”, “volunteer”, “campaigning administration”, and “help” – and to describe functions carried out by the “volunteer” as “the kind of activities it would be great to get some help with”.

This advice would not be necessary if Conservative Party MPs and prospective Parliamentary candidates had not been illegally “recruiting unpaid interns”.

For the interns themselves, this should be terrific news: There can be no requirement for them to turn up to work, and no disciplinary measures may be taken against them if they don’t. They may come and go as they please and do not have to conform to any set working hours. Nor may they be expected to perform any specified duties.

If the Tories want people to do that kind of work, they can pay for it like everybody else.

… although the minimum wage probably won’t be enough.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Like the interns, Vox Political cannot survive on good intentions alone.
We need support as well.
That’s why Vox Political needs YOUR help to continue.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Queen’s Christmas betrayal of Jubilee Workfare forced-labourers

Whoever wrote the Queen’s Christmas message this year should be hung as a traitor for making her appear to be another uncaring exploiter – like her current government.

Confused? Allow me to explain. The message might seem to be full of praise for the UK’s efforts to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee year – and it was – but it also contained this passage, referring to the Olympics and the Jubilee event on the Thames:

“The success of these great festivals depended to an enormous degree upon the dedication and effort of an army of volunteers. Those public-spirited people came forward in the great tradition of all those who devote themselves to keeping others safe, supported and comforted.”

In the case of the Olympics, her words might well ring true – people did come forward freely to take part in that great sporting event.

However, the regatta is a very different matter. We learned very shortly after the event that many – if not all – of the ‘volunteers’ were in fact nothing of the kind. They were unemployed people who had been coerced onto the government’s Workfare scheme and then misled into taking part, under the belief that they were being paid for it.

They were bussed into London at night, told to sleep under a dirty bridge before taking part in a work shift that lasted 14 hours, with no toilet facilities, and only a wet campsite awaiting them as rest facility afterwards.

They were originally told they would be paid for their efforts, but then the organisers revealed that the weekend was just a “trial” – no extra money would be forthcoming for what – let’s face it – was their suffering. The Duke of Edinburgh was hospitalised for days after this event, and he only had to endure four hours of it!

It’s doubly disappointing to see the BBC reporting Her Majesty’s speech in glowing terms. ‘Queen’s message praises 2012 “army of volunteers”‘ read the report on the corporation’s website.

“The Queen has praised the ‘army of volunteers’ at the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” the story stated.

Was this the same BBC that reported ‘Jubilee stewards “humiliated” by the pageant experience’? This report stated “A group of unemployed workers at the Jubilee river pageant were left to shelter under a bridge in the middle of the night. The unpaid volunteers say they felt humiliated by the experience.”

Was this the same BBC that reported Lord Prescott’s fears that such cheap labour could be used at the Olympics? That report stated on June 7: “Volunteers bussed in from Bristol, Plymouth and Bath were reported to have spent part of Sunday night under London Bridge in cold and inhospitable conditions.”

“The appalling treatment of staff working for free over the Diamond Jubilee weekend highlights the damage that unpaid work experience risks causing people who are desperate to get back into proper employment, as well as the exploitative treatment that they can face,” said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber in the report.

So let’s have a bit of consistency in our news reports, please. What happened to those so-called “volunteers” can’t be a travesty in June and a triumph in December.

And let’s have an apology from whoever wrote the Queen’s Christmas message – not just to the nation, but also to the Queen.