Poverty

I’m thinking of last winter, a snow-blurred  landscape and my agonisingly permanently cold blue feet, painful hands, the shaming underweight lecture from my  consultant: “eat much more and you must keep warm with raynauds” she said. I told her I couldn’t do both, and she looked at me uncomprehendingly, though she usually understood me.

via Poverty.

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An email to authoritarian Tory MPs Charlie Elphicke, Priti Patel and Conor Burns

The Tories use the old tactic of “If You Have No Defence, Attack” against Oxfam.

Kittyjones shares her email to Tory MPs castigating them for their behaviour.

via An email to authoritarian Tory MPs Charlie Elphicke, Priti Patel and Conor Burns.

The French view of Welfare Reform

French readers of Le Monde get to read an interview with three disabled people regarding the Work Capability Assessments by Atos and the fear it engenders in those who are at risk of being forced to attend them. I think the translation of the article into English has been done with one of the online text translation tools but, as Jayne says in her intro, it is still readable and understandable even if a little difficult to parse because of grammar and pronoun irregularities.

via The French view of Welfare Reform.

Labour’s buried treasure

What does Labour think is the point of this? They commission a report but when it is released they ignore it and treat it as an unsolicited submission?

When FREE assistance is offered to translate the report into Easy Read formats for people with disabilities, they refused.

Labour, WTF are you playing at?

via Labour’s buried treasure.

Techniques of neutralisation: Cameron says keep calm and carry on climbing Allport’s ladder

As ever, an excellent piece of writing. If you’re not reading her blog, why not?

via Techniques of neutralisation: Cameron says keep calm and carry on climbing Allport's ladder.

Marks and Spencers’ Leading Ladies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Dear “Leading Ladies” (Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Rita Ora, Rachel Khoo, Lulu Kennedy, Baroness Lawrence, Alek Wek & Roma Agrawal),
Let me ask you, is your contract with Marks and Spencer on Workfare conditions? Or are you getting paid? Are M&S actually able to pay you because they are getting free labour? Did you know that Workfare is NOT voluntary? Unless you deem loss of any income at all and your family starving to death as a valid alternative. Did you know that Workfare is indefinite for sick and disabled people who the DWP deem “may” be fit for work in under a year (“may” be fit by then but are being sent on Workfare schemes anyway). Would YOU accept a position paying under £2 per hour (for 35 hrs/week, with all the extra expenses employment brings & also complying with DWP rules to look for paid employment for another 35 hours per week)?

Dear Marks & Spencer, How many paid, entry-level, positions have you made “redundant” because you’re filling them with unpaid “slave” labour via the Workfare scheme and others like it? Voluntary “work experience” in an appropriate employment sector for a couple of weeks is one thing, but this? This is so close to slave labour you could barely get a fag paper between them. Taxpayers’ money going to fund corporate wages.

Leading Ladies, you should be ashamed of yourselves for promoting a corporation that participates in this scheme.

Marks & Spencer, I refuse to shop with you until you stop, completely and utterly falling in with these scheme to exploit the unemployed, sick and disabled.

When we have half a million vacancies and 2.5 million unemployed (and that’s after the DWP faff with the figures and hide those on sanctions and Workfare schemes from the stats) surely it would make more sense to actually employ people than to throw more onto the job queue. If you want to “do the right thing” and encourage unemployed into work, why not offer more traineeships at (or preferably above) minimum wage with a guaranteed job at the end if certain tests/assessments are acceptable. If you can take on free labour you have the capacity to take on paid.

This goes for all large corporations who are benefiting from public funds instead of paying their staff.

Dominic Raab on BBC Question Time on Foodbanks

Of course Raab knew he was misquoting the Trussell Trust (aka lying). It’s a pity there’s never anyone on the panel (including the presenter) with either the knowledge or the guts to challenge him and his ilk when they spout rubbish. I’ve given up on watching Question Time or listening to Any Questions on R4 now, both given me an unwanted increase in blood pressure and put me in a bad temper.

via Dominic Raab on BBC Question Time on Foodbanks.

Cameron’s Class Background, Prejudices and Osborne’s ‘Workers’ Budget’

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

131001cameronspeech

This morning the lead story in the i was that Cameron had been told by the Tories that he had to stop the gap between North and South widening any further. Further to this story, Osborne had been preparing a ‘Worker’s Budget’ for next week. Quite how far Cameron is from anyone, who could remotely be described as working class is explained in detail in Owen Jones’ Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class (London: Verso 2012).

Cameron’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all stockbrokers. His primary school was Heatherdown Preparatory School in Berkshire, whose old schoolboys include Princes Andrew and Edward. When he was eleven he flew across the Atlantic with a group of his school chums to go to the birthday party of Peter Getty, the grandson of the oil billionaire, John Paul Getty. He was, of course, like all good snobs, educated at Eton. Before he went…

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“We ARE a wealthy country, and we need to make the right choices in 2015. Flooding is awful – but extreme poverty, isolation, freezing cold homes and hunger are as well.”

I agree with Jane Young:

“Disabled people clearly don’t matter. Poor people clearly don’t matter. Older people matter a bit, but not enough to ensure social care is properly funded. But suddenly, after lots of people and communities have been suffering from dreadful flooding for many weeks, the Thames breaks its banks. As if by magic, the Prime Minister tells us “Money is no object. We are a wealthy country”. I feel sick.” (my emphasis)

One of the things that depresses me the most, living in Somerset (fortunately in a higher area and never likely to flood), is that come May 2015 whatever turn out we actually have will be almost evenly divided between Tory and LibDem tribal voters. It doesn’t matter how devastated families have been by the actions of this government, they will still turn out to vote the way their parents and grandparents voted. Because that’s the way it’s done here! Which one of them gets in will depend on how the splinter vote goes, whether more jump ship from Tory or from LD and which way they go (to the other or to a smaller party – around here that includes Labour). The incumbent will get back in unless they do something to seriously piss off their supporters in the 3 months before the election.

BTDT, getting really sick and tired of it.

We're a wealthy country… money's no object….

Me at age 2 with Pippy

“OMG! Why do we pay people just for squeezing out another kid?!?”

I should probably stop “reading the comments” (those under certain online newspaper articles and blog posts). My BP goes up and the acid rises into my throat.

Regarding the Philpott case and the Chancellor’s comments I’ll just say that Osborne is a creep of the first order. There’s no natural justice in the world or he, IDS, Cameron and the rest of the bastards would soon experience the pain and stress that too many of us have to deal with every day – and without the cushion of insane wealth or “friends” to ease it for them. It won’t happen, but I can dream sometimes. Hey, I never, ever said I was a nice person. I can be kind, helpful, caring etc – also judgemental, bad-tempered, angry, grudging and vindictive. But not nice – ask my husband, he’s the nice one.

So, the Philpotts received Child Benefit for 11 children (two mothers, 5 and 6 children each)? And, apparently that’s a horrible horrible thing. To some people the idea of having that many children is so alien that it can only be explained by “They did it for the money!” I’ve heard this said about families with 5 or 6 kids where both parents are working and claiming no other benefits than Child Benenfit (until recently payable to, usually, the mother of every child in the UK).

So let’s examine the amazing financial benefit of “squeezing out another brat” as I have heard it termed (I have heard other terms used, some by people I still consider friends despite their seeming hatred for children – that’s another rant for another post). One thing every single person forgets when they cry “OMG! They were getting £8K* a year in Child Benefit!” is that each one of those kids has to be fed, housed and clothed. Each one has to:

– have a bath or shower regularly (utilities bill);

– be clothed adequately, now hand-me-downs used to be the way with large families but nowadys cheap clothes barely last through one child, so clothes & school uniforms for constantly growing kids, shoes and coats being the most expensive items – oh, laundry, more on the utilities bill;

– they have to be fed regularly, preferably with healthy food;

– have somewhere to live, so rent & rates on a large enough house to accomodate all of you (note: both women worked, so may have had to pay rates & at least part of rent depending on income);

– to be kept warm in winter – unless you want to force them all into the box room to keep warm by body heat a la the middle ages.

There is a lot more, but you get my drift.

Once you’ve paid all that…. you know what? Child Benefit per child doesn’t come anywhere close to covering what it costs to raise a child. So there’s no “extra” left to fund any kind of “lifestyle”. I don’t know what sort of “lifestyle” the Tories and their sycophants think someone who has to rely on a high level of benefits has – perhaps they should each swap homes and incomes with some of those that they are trying to dehumanise and turn into hate figures for people who are scared that they might be next.

*Calculations

£20.30 /week for first child

£13.40 for each subsequent child

Now, most calculations I have seen assume only one at eldest child rate, but I suspect each mother received her own Child Benenfit.

So, per week:

2 @ £20.30  = £40.60

9 @ £13.40  =£120.60

Weekly total = £161.20

x 52  = £8382.40