Archive for category Work and Social Security

An open letter to the TaxPayers Alliance

Frankly I was appalled by the comments made by research director Alex Wilds. Mr. Wilds suggested that as old people are forgetful and dying off, there is no harm in cutting the benefits, which they receive in exchange for a lifetime of work and taxation.  In case anyone thinks I am misquoting him, here is what was said:

“The first of which will sound a little bit morbid – some of the people… won’t be around to vote against you in the next election. So that’s just a practical point, and the other point is they might have forgotten by then.”

He added: “If you did it now, chances are that in 2020 someone who has had their winter fuel cut might be thinking, ‘Oh I can’t remember, was it this government or was it the last one? I’m not quite sure.’

“So on a purely practical basis I would say do it immediately. That might be one of those things I regret saying in later life but that would be my practical advice to the government.” [[Source: BBC News]]

There are flaws with Mr. Wild’s statement. If either of my grandmothers were still alive I would only be too happy to remind them who had cost them their winter fuel allowance. There are plenty of people over 65 who are capable of doing internet research. The idea also that failing to remember if Winter Fuel Allowance was cut by the current conservative administration or the last conservative administration, means the conservative party are safe, is spurious. At the same time, it is unlikely the next conservative leader would offer to reverse those cuts, whereas the 2020 labour leader (presumably Corbyn) would.

By 2020, some people will voting for the first time as pensioners – ‘old people’ are not a species you can steadily phase out.

This assumption that voters forget everything is breathtakingly arrogant – it is vital at election time to remind people who did what. People claimed in 2011 that the tuition fees vote wouldn’t harm the Liberal Democrats – as in four years time everyone would have forgotten – their massacre seems to suggest otherwise.

Yes, alot of turkeys do vote for Christmas – as the last election reminded us – but not all do. I shall endeavour to ensure none of my loved ones do this – and we must all do the same – remind those around us who is costing them the things that matter the most to them.

If you are morally outraged – it might be an idea to join the Taxpayers Against Poverty Alliance http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/

Update: Wilds has since issued an apology for this prejudiced nonsense – nevertheless I can’t help thinking he’s simply shown his true colours.

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“Do you think that’s wise sir?”

The war on disability benefits was spearheaded in 2008. Since  then the disability charities have been as responsive as Sergeant Wilson – decent and good hearted, but ultimately passive. ‘Excuse me Mr. Duncan Smith’ they will say, ‘would you awfully mind considering not rolling out PIP? It is a bit beastly you know’. A ‘spokesman’ for the DWP will then spit out the standard spiel about how lumberjacks claimed a grand a week via their DLA for years, and we need to stop this, the genuinely sick have nothing to worry about and stories about headless people being declared fit for work are misunderstood. The matter is then closed for the next few months, until the cycle starts again.

Despite having considerable budgets and full-time staff, they have done virtually nothing to stop the benefit cuts. The fightback has been led by voluntary organisations – DPAC, welfare weekly and vox political (with the latter two being single person entities).

Neil Coyle left the world of disability charities to become a MP. This says it all – he is far more likely to achieve something in the House of Commons than by simply holding sending a polite, but firm letter to IDS every six months. (Not that I want to belittle his efforts, he did fine work in the charity sector, and I hope he will build on his achievements now he is the honourable member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark).

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The Legendary George Carlin

384px-Jesus_is_coming.._Look_Busy_(George_Carlin)

“They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin’ years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.”

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Workfare

workfare

Workfare benefits nobody – except the workfare providers. They can hire people and pay them nothing, which increases their profit margins.

Does it reduce prices? No

Does it reduce wages? Yes

Does it increase profit margin? Yes.

It is a cynical means of massaging the employment figures.

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The rise of the embarrassed millionaire

“The poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” John Steinback

Given the harsh attitude towards Welfare claimants and the declining membership of trade unions, the temporary millionaire attitude seems to be endemic. Too many people seem convinced that poverty is caused by choices.

It seems only a minority of people accept the fact, that high unemployment is by design, low welfare is false economy and the majority of welfare recipients work full-time. Why are people happy to accept their lot? Are they confident that their lottery numbers will come up this week, or they will become one of the fraction of people who gets a decent salary?

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Food banks are not free food – just listen to Norman Tebbit

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If you read the tabloids, or listen to your opinionated friend who hasn’t bothered to read up on the facts, then you are probably under the impression that foodbanks are a free for all. The fact nearly a million people use foodbanks, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is a testimony to laziness, scrounging and people refusing to pay their way. Foodbanks are not used as a last refuge of people struggling to dealing with a rising cost of living, stagnating wages or benefit sanctions. After all if they couldn’t afford bread, they’d eat cake right?

The idea that anyone can go down to a food bank and leave with a juggernaut of free food, has no substance or reality. In reality there are strict guidelines for who can get food and there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that even if you do qualify for food, you may only get meagre rations. A few simple facts:

  • Food banks are referral only (a successful referral results in a food bank voucher)
  • A food bank voucher entitles you to three days of food.
  • You can only receive three food bank vouchers a year.
  • Food bank vouchers are issued at the discretion of the job centre and front line professional such as social workers.
  • In 2014 over 900,000 people used food banks in the UK
  • A study by the University of Oxford showed that areas with higher welfare cuts and slashed local government spending had more food bank usage.
  • At the same time the richest people in the UK have nearly doubled their wealth.
  • Malnutrition has affected a significant amount of people since 2009.

Norman Tebbit himself ate some humble pie, when he visited a foodbank and retracted his previous musings.

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The New Minister for Employment

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