Mandatory Work Activity Scheme (MWA)

On Monday 6 January during Scarborough Borough Councils Full Council Meeting a question was put to The Portfolio Holder by Labour Cllr Challen regarding the council’s blatant exploitation of the Governments Mandatory Work Scheme.

(Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) is a workfare programme in the United Kingdom that started in May 2011, whereby individuals must work for their benefits or risk being “sanctioned” and losing them. An academic analysis by the DWP cast doubt on the effectiveness of the scheme.Nevertheless, in June 2012, the scheme received a £5m expansion)

Tony Randerson Labour’s Cllr Tony Randerson a former Trade Union Official, was incensed that SBC had been using this abhorrent scheme by forcing some 120 people since 2011 to undertake training / work for zero pay. Cllr Randerson spoke extremely strongly against this exploitation likening it to 21st Century Slave Labour.

A review of this scheme took place the following day, and it was promptly abandoned, although many questions  still need answering by the administration regarding its utilisation of this scheme in the first place.

This fantastic result shows Labour is the only credible opposition at SBC and the only party that truly cares for the welfare and working conditions of local working people. Labour at Work is showing that the Tories, propped up by the Independents, are truly rattled by challenging questions from the Labour Group . An administration in disarray.

Roll on 2015!

From potholes to polls

Along with my newly elected fellow Labour County Councillors a strange affliction has infected us. The symptoms are easily spotted, walking along seemingly obsessed with looking down drains and gullies, an unhealthy preoccupation with potholes potholeand a fascination with road markings.
Then a week or two later I’ll be doing it again but this time in the company of the local highways surveyor and I’m pleased to say that much of the work will be done. Some things take a little longer but I’m pleased I’ve obtained £30,000 for carriageway repairs in the next financial year for Fieldside in the Northstead area of Scarborough.
There is also the sheer difficulty in getting my head around nearly a £1 billion budget and the coalition government cuts. In my specialist policy area of health and social care it looks grim for many people receiving social services as they will be ineligible under even tougher eligibility criteria.
This is all against a background of the so-called welfare reforms including the bedroom tax and the enforced reclassification of people moving from health related benefits to job seekers allowance.
This afternoon (Thursday 10th July) I will be attending the first meeting of the County Council area committee which covers the Borough of Scarborough. It will be interesting to see how the sole surviving Independent member and the UKIP member cast their votes.
On the Borough Council there are two by-elections to be fought after Tory councillors resigned in Newby and Ramshill. Both are winnable by Labour, particularly Ramshill, where we once held one of the two seats and which has a volatile political history. We’re eager for both elections to be fought as soon as possible.
Cllr David BillingPlease feel free to contact me either by telephone 01723 361415 or by email at: cllr.david.billing@scarborough.gov.uk or at cllr.david.billing@nothyorks.gov.uk .

Council Tax Benefit Cuts Bite

Recipients of Council Tax benefit will lose cash every week from 1 April.
These changes have come about because the coalition government is cutting the current sum given to the council
by 10% and now capping the total amount.
Although this will not affect pensioners it is estimated that around six and a half thousand households will be affected throughout the Borough and means that everyone regardless of means will pay at least 20% of their Council Tax bill.
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Austerity is fine if you are Margaret Thatcher’s granny, but when the whole country is plunged into a double dip recession, it’s time to change the medicine.

Scarborough Borough  Council is gearing up for change: a new welfare system which suggests that just about everybody of working age is a vast drain on society if they have the temerity to be out of work, or poor, or low paid, or in part-time work, or who have children, or who have a spare bedroom, or are disabled or . . .  well the list goes on. I’m not sure the Council will be able to cope with the changes that begin in earnest next April, but we have some talented officers who will do their best. I don’t envy them the task. More