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

Motion on companies blacklisting individuals

My motion regarding the appalling scenario of companies blacklisting individuals for no other reason that they are “activists” either as Shop Stewards or Safety Representatives of various unions goes before County Council on the 19 February. See my earlier post for the full motion.
I fully expect this motion will be deferred until the May County Council Meeting that basically is asking the County Council to double and triple check any organisation before they award contracts for work required.
If any bidders are unscrupulous employers who have in the past blacklisted people they will take this into consideration during the bidding process. Clearly my view, which I will make abundantly clear, is that under no circumstances should the County Council award contracts to this type of immoral employer.
The Leader of the Council has assured me that he will take this motion back to the Executive and will call on me to address the Executive before the Meeting in May.
Because this motion is going to be deferred until the Executive have looked into it, I will be formally moving it at the February Meeting, but speaking at length on it at the May Meeting. Eric Broadbent is to second this motion.
The Labour Group pulling its weight and proving a force to be reckoned with at County Hall.
Access your county council services online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at www.northyorks.gov.uk.

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!

Potash Jobs YES – but not at any price

“Jobs Yes – but not at any price” said Diana Jeuda, co-ordinator of Whitby Labour Party’s three month investigation into York Potash’s proposal to mine for potash at Dove’s Nest, three miles south of Whitby. The Whitby Labour Party branch, backed by Scarborough and Whitby Constituency Labour Party, is pleased to support the proposed mine, but with a number of environmental and safeguarding provisos.

This far-reaching and thorough investigation included a meeting with the Chief Executive of York Potash to raise questions and to clarify matters of concern. Members of the Labour Party visited Boulby mine to experience underground working and talked to Boulby’s senior management to gather information. Following further study of UN and other reports together with stock market intelligence, the Labour Party now has a 5,000 word response which you can read here or download here. More

Dear Voter and Labour Supporter

It’s three years since the Tories came to power and it’s clear that David
Cameron’s plan is failing and failing badly.

His first priority is to hand millionaires a tax cut, while there are nearly a
million young people out of work and long term unemployment is rising.

We can’t face another lost generation, but David Cameron isn’t doing anything
about it.  So Labour will.
Click here to read more about Labour’s plan for jobs – and to help us spread the word
This weekend Labour activists across the country are out on high streets and doorsteps telling people about Labour’s Jobs Guarantee: a real job for anyone
who has been out of work for more than two years, or one year if they are under 25.
You can help them, even if you can’t get out on the doorstep, by clicking here

We’re not getting into the divisive, nasty and misleading smears we’re seeing
from David Cameron and his out of touch party – we’re providing real support to
get people back into work.  It will be tough and fair where it needs to be
– people who can work should work – but it’s first and foremost about doing
something that works.  Because David Cameron can’t or won’t.
People need an alternative – we’re giving them one.  So join the campaign
– online or offline – today.
Thank you,
Liam Byrne

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Sponsored by The RMT, Wales TUC, Unite, GMB, NASUWT, TUC, PCS UCATT & ACCORD
Townshend Productions presents
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Directed by Louise Townsend
From L-R Neil Gore and Richard Stone_PressStephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, May 8 at 7.45pm and May 9, 1.45pm and 7.45pm, 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com
A new powerful two-handed version of the classic book by Robert Tressell. Townsend Productions have produced a gem of Edwardian humorous theatre with songs and music of the time.
This hugely successful production tells the story of a group of painter-decorators who are joined by artist Owen, whose spirited attacks on the dishonesty of Capitalism, along with his socialist vision, highlight exploitation in the workplace and inequality in society. Relevant still, this tale is told with vigour and passion.
**** “ …. tremendous…. delivered with brio, humour and some great songs” Times Review (Libby Purves)
“A strong and robust show that brings the characters, humour and inspirational ideas of this great book to life. It is needed now more than ever. You’ll leave the theatre and join the struggle!” – Ken Loach
10/10 ‘Sensational’ Liverpool Echo (Marc Waddington)
***** ‘…quite literally awesome ’ Love Shrewsbury.com Owen Lewis


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