Tag Archives: wages

‘Care’ minister who helped kill off 20,000 people is now shooing nurses out of the NHS

No pay rise for nurses: by keeping the payroll as low as possible, aren’t the Tories making the NHS more attractive to US corporate buyers?

Helen Whately is a vacuous, propaganda-spewing incompetent – in other words, she is typical of the UK’s current Tory government.

Not satisfied with having presided over the Covid-19 deaths of more than 20,000 care home residents in her role as minister for social care, she has now turned her sights on nurses.

In a car-crash breakfast interview, she tried to tell the nation that nurses don’t deserve a pay rise after all the good work they have done keeping people alive in spite of her own, and her colleagues’, incompetence – because they are locked into an unfair pay deal that was imposed on them three years ago.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic with video of her attempt to dissemble during the interview, interspersed with the shocking facts:

The difference between Whately’s words and the cold hard facts is more than a quarter of a nurse’s wages; she says they’ve had at least a six per cent pay rise since 2017 but in fact their wages have plummeted by a whopping 20 per cent.

This Site has already published the facts and you can see them for yourself here.

I said the lack of a pay rise suggests an attempt to keep NHS costs down to make the service attractive to US corporate buyers in a trade deal with Donald Trump.

The trouble is, it is also weakening the service – which is already short of 40,000 nurses – by encouraging staff to walk out and take higher-waged jobs elsewhere.

A huge part of the problem, I think, is that you can tell by Whately’s vacant expression that she actually believes the lies she has been told to speak.

One can only sympathise with the good people of Faversham and Mid Kent, who were clearly outvoted by similarly dimwitted Tory twits. That’s the only way anyone with any intelligence could have ended up with such a disgrace as their representative.

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Sunak wants employers to pay a quarter of furloughed staff wages from August

Rishi Sunak: is he opening the door for employers to exploit their staff?

Funny how this story comes out when everybody’s talking about Dominic Cummings instead, isn’t it?

This Writer has said before that employers won’t pay – most probably because they can’t afford it.

But here’s a thought. Will employees go back to their old jobs, after being callously laid off over coronavirus?

And if they will, will employers try to get them to do it for lower pay?

I think it’s a definite possibility.

Employers will be expected to pay at least a fifth of the wages of furloughed staff from August, it is claimed.

The Treasury is said to be considering asking businesses to cover between 20% and 30% of staff wages.

Companies may also be told to cough up for national insurance contributions, which are approximately 5% of people’s wages, according to The Times.

Source: Employers may have to pay 25% of furloughed staff wages from August | Metro News

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Coronavirus: zero-hours workers sacked en masse despite Tory government promises

Rishi Sunak: his promises to employees are turning out to be worthless.

Another Tory coronavirus promise bites the dust.

Rishi Sunak promised that zero-hours workers would be covered by his promise to pay 80 per cent of employee wages, as long as they were on PAYE.

But his promise depended on employers signing up to the deal, and many haven’t.

Instead, the Department for Work and Pensions has been swamped with new claims for Universal Credit.

The reason?

Rishi Sunak said on Friday that workers on zero-hours contracts would be covered, as long as they were paid through PAYE. But many of these workers have simply been let go en masse in any case. Self-employed workers, who are not on PAYE, are not covered at all and will have to claim benefits if their work dries up and no new government measures are enacted.

There’s no two ways around it. The Tories promised people would be protected; the Tories lied.

Source: Sacked by text message: Zero-hours contract workers laid off because of coronavirus’ impact | The Independent

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Coronavirus: Leisure venues to close for the foreseeable future as the government announces help for employees and business

Boris Johnson has announced that cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas and gyms are to close from tonight, to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

This should come as no surprise – operators of such venues were preparing to do so, if they haven’t already closed their doors.

Not only did they not want their establishments to be breeding-grounds for the spread of Covid-19; they knew that they absolutely didn’t want to turn people against them by appearing to be helping spread it.

And the simple fact is that people have been staying away in increasing numbers.

This Writer is chair of a local charity in Mid Wales and we were due to run a charity shop here for two weeks, starting last Saturday (March 14) – but we closed it down yesterday (March 19) for the reasons I mention above.

The biggest local hotel has seen a large amount of cancellations, including events and conferences.

One local pub didn’t open this week and the landlord of another had already announced his intention to close on Saturday.

All the local businesspeople have expressed concern about how they will keep going, as the measures announced by the government so far seemed not to apply to them. Odd, that…

Hopefully some of the new policies rolled out today may have changed that.

Employees will have 80 per cent of their wages paid by the government for the time being, up to £2,500 per month. This comes as a result of pressure on the Tories from unions, and should in turn take the pressure off our working people.

And business owners are getting measures to ease the burden on them while the crisis continues.

These are good policies, on the face of it – and, if we all accept and follow them, then the biggest fear as we go into enforced near-isolation, is about what to do with our time while we wait for the danger to pass.

Some of us will need to preserve our mental health very carefully.

As for others… well, to see how they pass their time, we’ll probably have to look at the register of births any time between nine months and a year from now.

The need was clear: after a decade of underfunding by the Tories, the National Health Service simply isn’t capable of handling an epidemic of the magnitude that coronavirus threatens.

Johnson tried to shrug his shoulders and tell us to expect a lot of deaths – and the response was disastrous for him.

So he had to find another solution and this is it. And on the face of it, it’s a good effort – albeit one that he had to be backed into.

But it might not save him – or us – because we don’t know how far the disease has spread while he was procrastinating and, with hospitals already running out of beds as cases multiply, we don’t know if even these measures will be enough to prevent a healthcare disaster.

Source: Coronavirus updates: Boris Johnson announces stricter new measures – BBC News

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‘A great deal’ for whom? The UK will haemorrhage money!

Thumb up: But Boris Johnson won’t lose money on his Brexit deal like the rest of us.

Read this, which refers to Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal:

A “great deal”? Or a nightmare?

Some of you will no doubt be saying, “Don’t give us all that Project Fear talk, Mike! It’s all just scaremongering to keep us as vassals to the fascist EU superstate!” Or whatever.

But is it scaremongering? Is it really, when the economic figures come from Boris Johnson’s own official government analysis?

Isn’t it more accurate to say that the unelected prime minister is once again lying through his teeth in the knowledge that the kind of voter who would respond as I suggest above will lap it up?

Analysis published by the UK government last November suggested that a deal along the lines of that agreed by Johnson would have a major adverse economic impact on the UK, with British people hit by falling wages and declining growth.

Consider this:

Johnson’s own government’s analysis suggested that a deal along the lines of that agreed on Thursday will reduce annual economic growth by 6.7% compared to staying in the EU. That’s a major hit to the UK economy which will make average households thousands of pounds poorer than they would have been had we remained in the EU.

The UK government’s own analysis also suggested that a deal along the lines of Johnson’s would have a big impact on the average wages of people living in the UK. According to its central projection, average real terms wages would fall by 6.4% compared to staying in the EU.

The economic hit would inevitably lead to the UK government being forced to borrow more, or dramatically slash the services it provides to the public. According to the government’s own analysis, there would be a 3% increase in borrowing as a percentage of economic growth.

Admittedly, negotiations over the final shape of the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe – and the rest of the world – have not yet begun – Boris “Get Brexit Done” Johnson lied about that too.

But the broad direction is clear. The UK economy is going into a ditch.

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Tory wage and benefit cuts mean millions are struggling to pay essential bills

Money: Boris Johnson is rolling in it but his policies have starved the UK of the cash that is the lifeblood of the economy.

Nearly 2.2 million people in the UK are struggling to pay council tax, rent and utility bills because they aren’t paid enough, according to research by two universities.

The reason is Conservative restrictions on pay rises since 2010.

So much for the “trickle-down” economics of neoliberalism, beloved by Boris Johnson and his cronies.

The research by the University of Birmingham and the University of Lincoln shows that nearly 1.6 million people have fallen behind with council tax payments.

Nearly a million people are behind with their rent and more than a million are in arrears over their water bills.

Nearly 2.2 million people have been contacted by bailiffs over failure to pay (which suggests that many have multiple bill-related problems), and nearly one million have said bailiffs have broken the rules.

These findings make a nonsense of claims that average wages are rising.

Perhaps those figures have been skewed by huge increases in the amounts paid to top earners, while those of us who do the work are left to struggle?

Experience shows that higher pay for workers results in increased productivity and market dominance – as Henry Ford learned when he doubled the wages of employees at his motor company in the early 20th century.

He called it the best cost-cutting measure he ever made.

Conversely, as workers struggle to survive real-terms wage cut after wage cut, productivity in the UK has suffered its worst drop in five years.

We have nearly a million people struggling to cope with zero-hours contracts in which they don’t know whether they’ll be working (and therefore earning) from one week to the next.

Average weekly real-terms earnings are not as high as they were before the 2008 financial crash, while bills have increased.

Poverty is particularly high in accommodation and food services; agriculture, forestry and fishing; administrative and support services; and wholesale and retail.

Few households have any savings worth mentioning – the rate is lower than the EU average and far lower than many of our largest and closest European neighbours.

Oh, and Boris Johnson is determined to force us into a “no deal” Brexit, creating even harsher economic conditions.

Considering the situation now, it seems this would be a huge mistake.

He would literally run the entire country into the gutter.

Source: Millions struggling to pay council tax and other essential bills, finds study

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As Theresa May trumpets ‘record low’ unemployment, we find it stands at FOUR TIMES her official figure

Food bank: Parents who have jobs are being forced to request food packages because their greedy employers don’t pay them enough. But we’re told employment – and wages – are rocketing.

Here’s another lie from Theresa May:

It’s the official figure – but it is also fake news in its claims about unemployment and wages.

The simple fact is that the official figure fails to take into account several important elements. For example:

And if unemployment is so low, why is in-work poverty so rampant?

The answer is that the actual number of people who are unemployed is four times the official figure – nearly nine million people. The number who are actively looking for work is between three and four times the official figure, for the following reasons:

The website Business Insider provides the supporting evidence.

In a nutshell, it argues that if unemployment was so low, and employment so high, then wages would be much better: “When unemployment gets that low it generally means that anyone who wants a job can have one. It also suggests that wages will start to rise. It becomes more difficult for crappy employers to keep their workers when those workers know they can move to nicer jobs. And workers can demand more money from a new employer when they move, or demand more money from their current employer for not moving.”

But that isn’t happening. “Wages in the private sector have not started to rise. Public-sector wage rises are capped at 1%. There has been a little uptick in new-hire rates, but the overall trend is flat. This is part of the proof that shows real unemployment can’t be just 4.5%… Workers’ real incomes are actually in decline.”

This must mean that employers are still able to get people who are willing to work for rock-bottom rates, and the only way that is possible is if there are more people looking for work than jobs available.

And this means that the methodology used to work out the number of people available for work is a fiction.

Business Insider again: “For decades, economists have agreed on an artificial definition of what unemployment means. Their argument is that people who are taking time off, or have given up looking for work, or work at home to look after their family, don’t count as part of the workforce. In the UK and the US, technical “full employment” has, as a rule of thumb, historically been placed at an unemployment rate of 5% to 6%.”

You’ll notice that the Conservative government in the UK has decided that people doing unpaid family work – carers – now do count as part of the workforce, even though they are paid nothing by employers. The full list of people the Tories count as employed is here, under heading 3.

And “full employment” includes anybody who works for an hour or more per week and gets paid for it. That’s not full employment; that’s under-employment.

So we see a fiction in which unemployment figures don’t include part-time workers who want full-time jobs, “inactive” workers alienated from the workforce, people who retire, students, or those who work in the home. Once you wrap all those people in, the number of jobless people is actually 21.5 per cent of the workforce, or around 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Not all the inactive people actually want work – but there are plenty who do. Add them to the official figure and you get a “real-world” unemployment rate of around 14 per cent – three times the official rate. And we should also include as jobseekers the number of people who are under-employed – working part-time hours that aren’t enough for them. That gets us to between three and four times the official rate.

That’s why wages haven’t risen – because employers have access to a large number of people who are desperate for work.

And that is why Theresa May’s unemployment figure is a lie.

As for wages – take out inflation and this is what they’re doing:

The darker line signifies real wages – and they have plummeted. Note that historically wages have run roughly in line with unemployment – until 2016, when the Tories started making their big claims about falling unemployment. That’s the moment when it started to become possible to show up these claims as lies.

So:

  • Employment might be at 75+ per cent but this includes under-employment, with some people working as little as one hour per week.
  • Real-terms unemployment stands at more than three times the official rate, at more than 14 per cent.
  • And wages are not rising at their fastest pace in a decade. They have plummeted, creating a poverty crisis that the Tories have no intention of addressing; they will simply continue lying about it.

Those are the facts. Or perhaps you prefer this answer to the issue:

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Brexit: The people will suffer while politicians squabble – and May is running down the clock

Theresa May’s Brexit: The people will suffer while the politicians squabble.

Fear is setting in over Brexit’s potential impact on jobs, house prices, markets and wages – while the politicians squabble over nonsense and Theresa May runs down the clock in her bid to commit the UK to her dire Brexit deal, or no deal at all.

The Financial Times has polled more than 80 leading economists, and they said Brexit will hobble UK business investment and depress consumer spending in 2019, stunting long-term growth no matter what terms are eventually agreed with the EU. Many said forecasting for 2019 was impossible given the “comprehensive” and “chronic” uncertainty that had become “a way of life” in the UK.

And Ashwin Kumar, chief economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said low income households would not share equally in wage growth, with families facing a squeeze on benefits payments. A rise of one or two per cent will not be felt in most households as the rich would be the ones to benefit.

Contrast this with the attitude of UK prime minister Theresa May, who is desperate to convince voters that it is critics of her duff deal who are damaging the economy, which has been dragged down almost to standstill point due to the uncertainty created by years of bickering among the Tory leaders who were supposed to be negotiating the terms of our departure with the other EU countries but instead fell into squabbling among themselves.

Her attempt to divert the blame saw her on The Andrew Marr Show, accusing those who want a second referendum of “disrespecting” the result of the first, and in the Mail saying they are harming democracy.

But she would not say what she would do if she loses the “meaningful vote” on her deal, due to take place on January 15:

And, despite having accused supporters of a second referendum of harming democracy, she did not say whether she would support such a poll if it was put forward in Parliament as a way to break the deadlock.

So she’s only interested in getting her deal past Parliament. We’ve already discussed the reasons for that and they have nothing to do with the national interest.

On the other side of the Parliamentary divide, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is having trouble getting his own Brexit message across because of demands for a second EU referendum by right-wingers within and outside his party.

It seems, if you’re on the right, you can both support and oppose a second referendum at the same time. Perhaps we could describe them as Schrodinger’s democrats; they want democracy both alive and dead at the same time but don’t know which, until after all our choices have been used up.

Much of the pressure on Labour is just talk, though. The Guardian has a scaremongering story that thousands of party members are demanding that the leadership must support a second referendum or they’ll tear up their membership cards and send the party to certain defeat if a snap general election is called. But we know that this isn’t true. Party membership is stable at more than 600,000, polls do not give a clear picture (we saw one last week that showed more Labour members and supporters are in line with party policy), and a general election will be about much more than Brexit.

report of a YouGov poll involving 25,000 people, that shows a new referendum would show a comfortable majority in favour of remaining in the EU and claims that Labour would lose a general election if it did not support staying in, is also in the realms of fantasy. Labour policy is to push for a general election before a second referendum because the result of a second referendum is likely to do little good for the majority of the British people – no matter what the result – if a Conservative government is in office; Tories would tailor the result to their own interests rather than those of the nation.

And an opinion piece by plummy-voiced right-winger Andrew Rawnsley, trying to foment rebellion against Mr Corbyn as a way of stopping Brexit, is exactly the kind of woolly-minded nonsense we have come to expect from the People’s Vote fantasists who have been putting the cart before the horse and hoping you won’t notice.

Rawnsley knows Brexit won’t be stopped by Labour supporters ousting Mr Corbyn in the belief that shifting Labour policy towards a second referendum will make it happen; it won’t. He just wants to cause trouble for a Labour leader whose people-friendly policies are anathema to him.

So the Tories are still – still! – squabbling among themselves after creating this problem in the first place; Labour members and supporters are being incited to squabble among themselves by right-wingers both inside and outside the party, who want to divide the left and unseat the best leader that party has had in 40 years; and in the meantime living conditions in the UK are likely to suffer brutally.

This Writer’s opinion – for what it’s worth – is that we need to take this one step at a time.

First priority is to defeat Mrs May’s deal because it is not in the national interest – it only benefits her and her cronies and is bad for the UK. Next priority will be a general election. A second referendum will only be worthwhile after a Labour government is returned to office.

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Tory deputy chairman Cleverly is caught lying stupidly – about home ownership

James Cleverly: Not the sharpest tool in the Tory box.

Remember when Dominic Raab was caught tweeting nonsense that wages were rising faster than at any time in the last eight years?

He was referring to a graph which demonstrated nothing of the kind.

You can read that story here. I stated at the time that this is the season for fairy tales and pantomimes, and – lo and behold! – here’s Conservative Party deputy chairman James Cleverly with another one!

He reckons home ownership among people aged 25-34 fell of a cliff during the years of the New Labour government (1997-2010) – but this has now been reversed under the Conservatives.

For that to be true, the number of people aged 25-34 who own their own homes now would be in the mid-40s on the graph below, and not the mid-20s. The Evolve Politics Twitter account is correct – the level of home ownership among 25-34 year olds is still lower than when the Conservatives came to office in 2010.

Why are the Tories so desperate to foist these fairy tales on us, and is anybody really stupid enough to believe them?

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Immigration and drug addiction caused huge rise in homelessness, according to Tory minister’s LIES

Is James Brokenshire an imbecile, or does he think we are?

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said the increase in homelessness since the Conservatives slithered into office in 2010 is not the result of government policy but is being driven by factors including the spread of psychoactive drugs such as spice, growth in non-UK nationals on the streets and family breakdown.

Oh, really?

Personally, I would have said it was due to income changes that made it impossible for renters to pay their landlords or for homeowners to keep up with their mortgage repayments and I would have said this was the result of policies including, but not limited to:

The Tory Bedroom Tax.

The Tory Universal Credit.

The Tory freeze (late a one per cent limit) on annual public sector pay increases.

The Tory squeeze on wages that forced them to plummet during the first half of the current decade.

Tory support for landlords that means they can force people to pay huge rents for accommodation that is unfit for human habitation.

And the electorate knows this.

Look at the responses to his claim:

Oh, and the Tory plan to eliminate homelessness by 2027? It requires the death of anybody who is homeless.

Labour’s John Healey puts the real reasons for the rise in homelessness in a nutshell in the following clip:

And Labour has a plan to help victims of Tory policies who end up sleeping rough:

“Oh, but we can’t support that, can we? It comes from that Jeremy Corbyn person and he’s a horrible Communist! All the newspapers and TV channels say it so it must be true, right?”

There’s a simple answer to the kind of person who says that – or anything similar to it.

Just point out that many of the people who are now sleeping rough were also persuaded to vote Conservative, in order to avoid the Labour policies that would have helped them avoid their current predicament.

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