Saturday, 24 December 2016

Conservative Government 2015 - 2020

A post to hold stuff related to the current Conservative administration, with some references to previous governments.

6) Some examples of sanctions and the effect they have:
Liverpool mum-of-four went without food for a week so her kids had enough to eat
5) Charity says DWP has "no direct evidence for the effectiveness of sanctions"
Link here.
"..a recent report from the National Audit Office (NAO) showed that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has no direct evidence for the effectiveness of sanctions, has failed to analyse the data it holds about sanctions, and has refused to share data with other researchers or assist those researchers.

The DWP made itself deliberately blind to the failures of the sanctions regime. But we have seen the harm these sanctions cause. In 2015, our report Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions revealed that 100,000 children were affected by benefit sanctions in one year. The NAO now tells us that, on average, these sanctions reduced people’s short- and long-term job prospects, and led to reduced earnings for those who got work."
Emailed and Tweeted Conservatives asking why the DWP were acting in this way, which goes against British Values of transparency and evidenced based policy:
I've received an email from "Church Action on Poverty" which claims that the National audit Office says that sanctions, on average, reduced people’s short- and long-term job prospects, and led to reduced earnings for those who got work. And that the DWP has failed to analyse the data it holds about sanctions, and has refused to share data with other researchers or assist those researchers. Are these claims true?

I can certainly imaging that, if I were sanctioned, I would be less able to search for work as I would be spending my time ensuring that my children had food to eat and that the heating was not cut off. Also I would be less able to buy petrol / bus tickets to attend interviews. It all looks very counterproductive to me.

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4) Government accused of poor response to low Housing build rates
Article here
Comments from the Chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee:
"The Government have accepted the Committee's analysis of the problem, but shied away from the steps needed to address it. In particular, the Government continue to rely on the private sector to build more houses when, as the Committee heard, these builders are incentivised to maximise profit margins not increase the number of houses they build. The Government have failed to recognise the need for local authorities to build more homes and for them to be freed from unnecessary and arbitrary financial restrictions which severely curtail their ability to build...

We are also disappointed that the Government has ignored our suggestion to give a single Cabinet Minister responsibility for ensuring suitable unused public land is made available for developing homes. Without a champion for that work at the highest level in government there is a danger that an opportunity to bring those spaces into productive use will be lost."
Tweeted to Conservatives that their failure to act on this issue was making life very difficult for young people.

3) From Nottingham Labour :
"On Wednesday 14th December the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening announced a new funding formula for schools up and down the country. The Conservative Government’s new method of funding directly targets schools in Nottingham for big budget cuts. While our schools in Nottingham are set to lose tens of millions of pounds by 2019/20, schools in some of the wealthiest areas of England are set for big gains... This latest move quite simply takes money from children in Nottingham only to hand it to wealthy, rural and mainly Conservative voting shire areas such as Wokingham and West Sussex. Other large cities, urban areas and areas with the highest levels of child poverty such as Birmingham and Manchester have been targeted in the same way.

The National Audit Office has said that the scale of the cuts mean that schools in England will have to reduce spending by £3 billion between now and 2019/20.

98% of Nottingham schools will receive lower funding under the new Tory school funding structure (87 out of 89 schools)."

Asked Nottingham Conservatives to comment on these funding changes and why education was being targeted for cutbacks at the same time as corporate taxation was being reduced, corporate tax evasion remains rampant and the number of tax inspectors has been culled.

2) From a Guardian article
NHS Income from private patients
2011-12 : £454 million
2015-16 : £558 million

Patients waiting more than 18weeks for treatment
Oct 2011 : 234,030
Oct 2016 : >360,000 (increase of 54%)

1) A campaign email sent out by Theresa May on her election as Prime Minister, together with BFTF's response (slightly edited)...

I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new Government. And I accepted. In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister. Under David's leadership, the Government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit, and helped more people into work than ever before. But David's true legacy is not about the economy, but about social justice.

From the introduction of same-sex marriage to taking people on low wages out of income tax altogether, David Cameron has led a One Nation Government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead. Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. And that word 'Unionist' is very important to me. It means we believe in the Union - the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But it means something else that is just as important. It means we believe in a union, not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens. Every one of us, whoever we are, and wherever we're from. That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you're born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others.

If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working-class boy, you are less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you are educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there's not enough help to hand. If you're young, you will find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

But the mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. If you're from an ordinary, working-class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don't always have job security. You have your own home, but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school.

If you're one of those families, if you're just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you're working around the clock, I know you're doing your best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. The Government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful but you. When we pass new laws, we'll listen not to the mighty but to you. When it comes to taxes, we'll prioritise not the wealthy but you. When it comes to opportunity, we won't entrench the advantages of the fortunate few. We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

We are living through an important moment in our country's history. Following the referendum, we face a time of great national change. And I know, because we're Great Britain, that we will rise to the challenge. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world. And we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us.

That will be the mission of the Government I lead, and together we will build a better Britain.

Thank you,

Theresa May

Prime Minister

Dear Theresa May

I received the message in the email below from you back in July.

It resonates very deeply with me. It is what I want to hear. You are proposing actions that will make this country a better place.

But, at the same time, I know the following facts :

i) University fees, some of the highest in the developed world, are imposing a crippling burden on young people as they try to make their way in the world, while historically low levels of house building mean prices are high and they will struggle to buy their own homes.

ii) As we speak, this government is ripping the heart out of the NHS by trying to stretch 5 days of elective care into 7 days without extra funding, indeed while imposing BILLIONS in cuts, sorry, "efficiency savings"

iii) Day after day, I read of instances where vulnerable people with physical or mental illness are subjected to heartless and grossly unfair benefit sanctions.

These are not the actions of a government that cares about the common man or woman.

These are the actions of a government that is trying to become a British version of the Tea Party.

...I will have no faith in you while you are treating our young people, our NHS and our most vulnerable in this way.

Yours, very disappointed

Ash Choudry

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