Spin and delusion – making the figures add up

colinThe Government is ecstatic. Employment figures are high, unemployment is decreasing. Economists have been scratching their heads, seeking an explanation as to how this can possibly be the case when we are still suffering the after- effects of a bad recession. For the Government, there is no question that things are ticketyboo, and so concern about employment may be assigned to the back burner.

I don’t go along with this complacent attitude. More

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!

Thatcher

Baronesss Thatcher is to get a state funeral in all but name, and not merely because the Queen will attend – even if the last funeral of a prime minister she attended actually WAS a state funeral, that of Sir Winston Churchill. From the commentary we’ve heard since Thatcher’s death, the narrative has been that she was the greatest peacetime prime minister the UK had in the twentieth century, if not in all time. Therefore it is said she deserves a big send off at taxpayer’s expense.
Her death of course has sparked a debate about her legacy and position in history. But was she really the greatest peacetime PM we’ve ever had? Listening to Tory pundits she sorted out the UK economy, smashed the unions and put Britain back on the world stage, defeating General Galtieri and schmoozing Gorbachev (thus ending the Cold War) to boot.
The truth is rather different, More

Diana Jeuda, Labour candidate for Streonshalh and West Cliff writes:

I was out on the doorstep today in West Cliff and had a very good response from the people I met and talked to.
However I had one interesting and difficult conversation with a gentleman who told me that he had voted Labour for most of his life but wasn’t planning to do so this time. He told me had worked all his life, paid his taxes but didn’t feel what he felt were his taxes should go to people who weren’t working. In particular he felt that Labour was wrong to oppose the bedroom tax.
It’s clear from the opinion polls that his view is widely shared, but it is also clear that a lot of people haven’t thought through the real implications. I felt that it was important to have a discussion about it.
I told him about a young man I know in Whitby whose parents have died and as a result he lives alone in a two bedroom social housing flat. More

Welfare Reform for All Fools Day

This is a brief overview of the Con-Dems welfare reforms from April 1st of this year.

They are part of Ian Duncan Smith’s (IDS) quest for the Holy Grail of a Universal Credit system but reek heavily of the shirkers versus strivers argument and the deserving and undeserving poor views of a period I thought consigned to the dustbin of history. It is estimated that 60% of those affected are strivers; i.e. those in working families!
Well someone did say IDS sounded like an infectious disease.

I’ve split the changes into seven areas but don’t forget you can be hit by more than one and probably will be if you are affected. Whilst campaigning for the County elections I met a person with lymphatic cancer who had been moved from Employment and Support allowance (ESA) to Job Seekers allowance (JSA) as fit to work but is single and lives in a two bedroomed property provided by Yorkshire Coast Homes She is therefore also going to be hit by the bedroom tax as well as having to pay council tax (see below).At least a triple whammy! More

Like Mitt Romney, Cameron thinks 47% of people are lazy non-contributors: but what does it mean for Scarborough and Whitby?

WARNING: This article contains figures

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