Oct 012014

Coalition partners turn on the Tories after Chancellor’s tough attack on welfare


George Osborne’s plan to freeze welfare benefit has caused outrage among Lib Dem members of the Coalition government.

The Chancellor used his conference speech to confirm benefits for working age people would be frozen for two years in an attempt to cut welfare spending.

But his move has been roundly criticised – not least by the Liberal Democrats.

One senior Lib Dem source said: “The Liberal Democrats have consistently blocked Conservative attempts to freeze benefits for the working age poor, just as they have blocked our attempts to cut benefits for the wealthiest pensioners.

“Decisions on benefit uprating should be taken at fiscal events and in light of the fiscal circumstances. Continue reading »

Sep 282014

Health service staff will stage a four-hour walkout from 7-11am on Monday, October 13, followed by four days of industrial action short of striking

Maternity Wards Not Coping With Demand

Betrayed: Even the 30,000-strong Royal College of Midwives held its first strike ballot

The NHS will be plunged into chaos next month as nurses and hospital workers walk out in their first pay strike for 32 years.

Operations and routine appointments are set to be cancelled as 500,000 staff vent their fury over the Tory-led Coalition’s rejection of an across-the-board 1% offer – recommended by an independent pay review body.

Continue reading »

Sep 282014

Andy Burnham received standing ovations because he bawled at them from the heart while the rest of the event was death by focus group

Passionate: Andy Burnham

One morning towards the end of the last century a senior Labour figure gave me a rollicking for labelling the party conference a Dalek’s Convention.

He was livid I’d told Mirror readers this annual gathering had changed from being a melting-pot of stirring, radical debate to an insipid over-managed TV photo-op dominated by Mandelson’s Androids (or Mandroids) who’d gathered to “nod like plastic Alsatians at the right places, praying one more push of their tongue would secure another rung up the New Labour ladder”.

When he’d stopped effing and blinding I told him that if the conference had shown a fraction of his passion I wouldn’t have needed to write my piece in the first place.

So don’t be too surprised that this week’s Labour Party gathering was flatter than a rat mashed by an M62 beer truck.

It’s been heading that way for more than 20 years. Call it Death By Focus Group.

Yet still it had its moments. Ed Balls throwing shapes like an uncle with a spiked drink at the Mirror party was one.

And Andy Burnham telling it as it is about the NHS was the other.

Continue reading »

Sep 282014

Carol Sutherland, who is going blind, covered herself with a plastic sheet and hay in a ­desperate bid to keep dry and warm

Evicted: Carol outside the flat she lived in for 30 years

A widow who is going blind was forced to live in a field with cattle after she was evicted from her home of 30 years ­because she couldn’t ­pay a £210 Bedroom Tax bill.

Carol Sutherland, 56, covered herself with a plastic sheet and hay in a ­desperate bid to keep dry and warm, writes Nick Dorman in the Sunday People.

She had to dig a hole under a hedge to use as a toilet.

And her weight plunged to 6½st as she struggled to survive after being kicked out of her two-bed council flat.

The scandal is yet another example of the misery caused by the coalitions bedroom tax  since it  became law in 2012.

Its latest victim Carol said: “I’d lived in my lovely flat for 30 years and even though I didn’t have much, I had a roof over my head and my dignity.

“When I was in the field I could not believe it had come to that. I cried so much I didn’t have any tears left.”

Bailiffs booted Carol out after she told a housing officer she couldn’t ­afford the £11.35-a-week spare-room penalty imposed as part of Tory Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare shake-up.

Continue reading »

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