Oct 292014


 Child Poverty haunts families and brings shame on us all

For communities up and down the country the last few years have been extremely tough. The current Tory – Lib Dem coalition are seemingly intent on finishing off the job Margaret Thatcher started during her disastrous premiership laying waste to communities throughout the UK.

There is absolutely no doubt that ordinary men and women have been targeted by this government. Along with their friends in the media the coalition have systematically undermined the key principles of the welfare state, demonised those most in need of the safety net and sold off services regardless of the consequences.

The much heralded recovery, based solely on employment figures is nothing but a con in communities like the one I represent. We can no longer base the prosperity of the nation solely on the numbers of people in work as the rise of the low paid economy now shows. Continue reading »

Oct 292014

With 200,000 renters evicted for complaining about health and safety problems in the past year, the government has decided to back a Private Members’ Bill that would protect tenants from revenge evictions.

One in 12 renters won’t complain to their landlords, for fear of being evicted. 

Complaining about your electricity, leaky roof, a lack of running water or a faulty boiler can leave you at risk of eviction. As ominous as the term may sound, revenge evictions pose a major problem for renters across the country. According to a recent report from Shelter, 200,000 people have suffered revenge evictions for complaining about poor conditions in their homes in the last year. In order to counter this problem, the government has decided to back a Private Members’ Bill which would make it illegal to evict tenants who make justifiable complaints about poor conditions.

Susan Hayley has experienced the horror of revenge evictions first-hand. Since moving in to her Southampton home four years ago, she has not only suffered appalling living conditions but also prolonged harassment and more recently an eviction notice. After Susan and her autistic son moved all of their possessions in, they were immediately shown a letter from their previous landlord. “Rather than showing me a contract, he showed me a letter which warned him that I had complained about conditions in my former home. My new landlord clearly explained that if I were to complain again to him, I would be instantly evicted.” Continue reading »

Oct 292014

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing will be led by Lord O’Donnell, the former Cabinet Secretary

Two years ago the Office for National Statistics began publishing the first data on national wellbeing as part of its Integrated Household Survey. Now the Government is to set up a centre to assist Whitehall policy-makers assessing whether Government initiatives are likely to improve or diminish the happiness of those they affect and the wider society.

The plan is that eventually all decisions from building a third runway at Heathrow to best approaches to cut crime should be subjected to a well-being assessment in much the same way as they are assessed for economic impact.

The new What Works Centre for Wellbeing will launched by next spring and will initially be led by the former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell. Continue reading »

Oct 292014

Almost half of people polled feel the UK has become less fair since the 2010 election

Mansion tax
A mansion tax on properties worth £2m is among the measures Britons feel would be useful in closing the gap between the rich and poor. 

A majority of people believe the gap between the richest Britons and the rest of the country has a corrosive effect on society and the economy, and almost half believe the UK has become less fair since the last election, according to a poll.

The survey, one of the most significant attempts to gauge the public mood about fairness and inequality under the coalition, found significant support for statutory maximum pay ratios to prevent company executives earning more than 65 times the salary of the lowest-paid employee in their company. It was backed by 65%, with only 16% against. This idea even won clear majority support – 57% to 26% – among those who voted Conservative in 2010.

The study, carried out by YouGov for the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class), a trade union-funded thinktank set up in 2012, found 47% of people think the country has become less fair under the coalition; 12% think it is fairer and 31% believe there has been no change. Continue reading »

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