U.K. Breaking the Social Contract Set’s it Back to Post-WWII*

Some very interesting points put forward in this blog. Worth a read!

Hwaairfan's Blog

U.K. Breaking the Social Contract Set’s it Back to Post-WWII*

Under Coalition plans, “day to day spending on public services… (will be at) It’s smallest share of national income since 1948”.  George Osborne’s 2013 Autumn Statement on spending plans for the UK government consisted of 7,025 words and took 50 minutes to read – but could have been summed up by that one line in the report of the government’s fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility.

On arrival in government, the Conservative section of the Coalition government were keen to present austerity as temporary, necessary and purely practical.  Back in 2010, Cameron claimed that he “didn’t come into politics to make cuts”, and that austerity was simply temporary spending restraint based on a necessary effort to cut the deficit, not “some ideological zeal”.

In 2013, ‘Austerity’ is delivering the half century long ambition of the Conservative party:  to revoke…

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Sell, Sell, Sell! Maximus Share Prices Could Tumble After Welfare To Work Scandal Rocks Australia

This is why the #WCA is not working & nor will those who this scheme is supposed to help!
This company and others like ATOS & Capita are operating all over the world & are ruining lives in every country they get lucrative contracts in.

Please read what JohnnyVoid has written on his blog. It’s very enlightening!

the void

share-collapse1A damning documentary exposing the shoddy behaviour of Maximus and the welfare-to-work sector in Australia could lead to a drop in the company’s share price according to one stockmarlet analyst.

The programme, produced by ABC (and still viewable here), tells a story which will be familiar to all those in the UK forced to attend outsourced schemes such as Iain Duncan Smith’s Work Programme.  Claimants had their benefits stopped for no reason, signatures on paperwork were faked and the most marginalised claimants were parked – meaning abandoned completely by the companies who saw no profit in helping them.  Maximus dominate the welfare-to-work sector in Australia, and have several contracts running similar schemes in the UK.

According to an analyst on finance website Seeking Alpha, Maximus earn 10% of their revenue in Australia and that could now be under threat due to a ‘short term negative news cycle’. …

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THE SECRET TO A GOOD MARRIAGE ?

UKIP North Thanet

ROAST DINNER’S AND ETHERIDGE GRAVY SAYS STAR

starbill

My next quest to find out more about the people in UKIP took me to Dudley, West Midlands where Black Country born and bred Bill Etheridge lives with his wife Star. I found out that despite a few near misses the couple finally met and then married in 2007.

Life’ has not been all plain sailing for the couple but have managed to build a strong foundation for their marriage,

The obvious question to ask Star was  how did they meet? 

“We met (after a few weeks of texting, phone calls & e-mails) on 28th Febuary  2007. We Married on 29th December (civil marriage) & had our BIG day 21st March 2008 (Good Friday) with a Humanist Celebrant. So been a mega whirlwind from then to now.”

What things bonded you as a couple? 

“We both have same geeky  likes, politics, Star Trek, Rock Music…

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UKIP – Basic Manifesto Promises via BBC Website

Immigration

UKIP: Introduce an Australian-style points policy, used to select migrants with the skills and attributes needed to work in the country – covering people from inside and outside the EU. Bring net immigration down to 50,000 people a year. Priority lanes for UK passport holders. Increase UK border staff by 2,500. Tougher English language tests for migrants seeking permanent residence. Opt out of the Dublin treaty to allow the UK to return asylum seekers to other EU countries without considering their claim.

Tax & Economy

UKIP: Increase the personal allowance to the level of full-time minimum wage earnings, about £13,500, by 2020. Abolish inheritance tax. Introduce a 35% income tax rate between £42,285 and £55,000, at which point the 40% rate becomes payable. Set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax on large businesses. Cut foreign aid budget by £9bn a year. Scrap HS2. Save £8bn a year in membership fees by leaving the EU.

NHS

UKIP: Ensure all migrants and visitors have NHS approved medical insurance as a condition of entry to UK, with £200m of the £2bn saved to be spent on ending hospital parking charges in England. Tougher regulation of NHS managers. Bring back state-enrolled nurses and return powers to matrons. Monitor and Care Quality Commission to be replaced with county health boards. Stop spending £90m a year on gastric band and breast enhancement operations.

Defence

UKIP: Leave the European Union. Remove the passports of any person who has gone to fight for a terrorist organisation and deport anyone who has committed a terrorist act. Cut foreign aid budget by £9bn. Create a Veterans Department to look after the interests of ex-service men and women.

Jobs

UKIP: Allow firms to offer jobs to British workers first “without the fear of being sued for discrimination”.

Education

UKIP: More grammar schools. Scrap sex education for children aged under seven. Scrap tuition fees for students from poorer backgrounds who take degree courses in the sciences, technology, maths or engineering. Greater emphasis on vocational education with new Apprenticeship Qualification Option. School governing boards must be made up of at least 30% parents of children at the school. Allow universities to charge same amount for EU students as non-EU students.

Housing

UKIP: Protect greenbelt land by incentivising the building of affordable homes on brownfield sites. Establish a UK Brownfield Agency to hand out grants, tax breaks and low interest loans. Major planning decisions to be ratified by local referendum.

Law & Order

UKIP: Repeal Human Rights Act and replace it with UK Bill of Rights. Withdraw from European arrest warrant. No votes for prisoners. Those responsible for criminal damage forced to carry out unpaid work in area where it was committed. Those jailed for offences affecting their community should be banned from returning to live in the area, as a condition of their release. “Complete overhaul” of police taking into account “best practice from other countries”.

Benefits & Poverty

UKIP: Only pay child benefit for the first two children for new claimants. Increase the Carers’ Allowance to the same level as Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) and pay a higher rate of JSA if you’ve been in work and already made tax and National Insurance contributions. Prevent anyone taking up permanent residence in Britain unless they’re able to support themselves and any dependents they bring with them for at least five years and stop them receiving benefits. Stop paying child benefit for children who don’t live in Britain. Scrap what UKIP calls the “detested bedroom tax”. Boost “credit unions”.

The other parties manifesto’s can be viewed at
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29642613

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Star is a “Token” used by UKIP – so I’m told

This week I have been appalled at the behaviour of someone who really hates UKIP to such an extent she said I’m a “token” used to make UKIP look good. I have a screen shot of the tweet so please read on & read the tweet.

If I am as she says then If she wants my chronic illness & mobility issues with the pain too then she can have them.

I’d give anything to be rid of this I have much I want to do but due to my chronic disease & disability I can’t.

On good days my brain is pushing me but my body refuses to do what I want.

I quite honestly hate being in this body. I have a career to resume because I worked so hard to get qualified as a Solicitor, I also have the qualification & experience of teaching in colleges & Universities. I have given my all to achieve what I have. I also had my children to care for whilst working & studying. I was determined to have a well paid job so I could be a role model for my kids & to provide for them.

I was doing well until this vile illness took over. Now I’m living on medication. I work from my bed dealing with all the questions re UKIP Disability Policies & also doing my best for the people of Coseley. Thankfully technology allows me to undertake the vast majority of my duties from my bed.

If anyone wants to swap I’d jump at the chance. Sadly it’s not possible. I have had to go from being a very energetic independent person to being almost as reliant as a toddler!

Then after working all of my life I had to experience the benefits system! What a bloody shock that was! I had no idea what to do, no help or advice, given the runaround, indignity of ATOS in 2008 but then in 2010 the changes came in & things were made even more confusing, upsetting, being told you’re ill but you’re well enough to look for work or to get training!

What training could I possibly get to make me useful to an employer? I have all the qualifications, I have vast experience, I simply do not have any chance of getting a job because I would be so unreliable plus being medicated so I would never be able to get there before 1pm & due to my pernicious illness I’d only manage 3hrs at the most.

It makes me angry because there are millions in the same position. A person is either well or they’re not well enough to work there isn’t a middle ground. That’s a complete waste of time and money in assessing many people when a call to their GP would give verification of their true state of health!

Also the middle ground of outcomes (Fit for work, Work Related Activity Group & Support Group) of the assessment penalises those who have worked all their lives! That is wrong & is totally used to reduce the costs. The expected cost reduction is not real because of the appeals, the back pay, the tribunal costs, the staffing costs to process it all etc etc!

Time for a rethink & to put in a system which does weed out the scammers but equally does not vilify, belittle, cause undue stress to any person who has the misfortune to be disabled/sick either from birth or later in life!

Rant over but this is why I do what I do. It gives me a sense of purpose & use. It’s not what I’d have chosen but as the saying goes when life brings your lemons then you make lemonade.

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Diabolical situation in Social Housing/Private rental properties

Over the past year or so I have helped a number of families and residents. I will not reveal any details of the people as that is a breach of their confidentiality, so I will give basic details so that I can show how they and countless others no doubt are living in conditions that quite frankly are no better than the old slums of the 1890’s!

Family number One

This family had been on the waiting list for over 8 years. They had a notice to quit their current accommodation yet they were put on the lowest band so no matter how often they bid on homes they liked and would like to live in they were never considered. It was apparent that the band was incorrect and they should be actually in Band 2 rather than Band 6.

With a few e-mails, a few weeks, a bit of investigation and some legalese contained in the letters this family were eventually offered a suitable property and moved in on the day they would have been made homeless.

Family number Two

This family lived in a completely unsuitable property. Due to disabilities and illness the property was simply not fit for purpose. One family member was unable to use climb any stairs at all. They were reduced to descending the out stairwell on their bottom and crawling back up on their hands and knees. This was not only undignified but was also extremely painful. Inside the property the family member could not access the upper floor, they had no option but to sleep on the couch in the living room. They also had to have a commode brought so that they had some sort of toilet facilities, as they couldn’t access their bathroom! It was a very dire state of affairs. Again rules stated were that one had to be a resident of good standing for two years before an application could be made for a property exchange.

I don’t know about you but I knew how different life can change in two years and this seemed like a rather arbitrary period of time. This family had been contacting the relevant people and departments but each time they met the same barriers. After a good few months of trying and getting nowhere they contacted me.

I started the ball rolling, had to get other agencies involved but I am happy to say the family have now got the keys for a disabled adapted property and move in very soon. The family member will now have access to a bed, toilet and washing facilities etc.

UPDATE

This family have now moved into the new property, they are very happy despite a few odd remedial repairs to be undertaken but they have now got access to a bathroom with the adaptions required so things are looking up for them.

Family Number Three

This a particularly harrowing situation for anyone to find themselves in. The family have been in private rented properties for a number of years. Sadly having to move every now and then due to the Landlord’s property being required for use by the owner or in some situations the property being repossessed.

The Landlord of their latest property, despite being aware of the problems and being present at the Pest Control Officers inspection, allowed the family to live in a house that was infested with rats. The family had become severely ill on a number of occasions, they had put it down to various possibilities like a bug picked up from school, work or a dodgy burger/take away the things we would all think of first. None of us would think any different.

The family had been taking medication and doing all they could to keep the infestation under control but it was like trying to turn back the tide (think King Canute) they and their young children were suffering to such a degree that the Landlord should in my humble opinion be prosecuted.

I remained hopeful that this family would be soon found a home, free from non-contributing unwanted guests RATS. They needed a home to start to live normally together and to enjoy a real family life, without moving so often. Alas before the family could think about their future things in the here and now got worse! I had previously suggested that the family contact environmental health and to make an emergency appointment with their GP. I was concerned about health issues, namely Wiels Disease which is a killer.

A member of the Environmental Health team came out and raised worries on a number of issues regarding the property. The rats were one issue but even more worrying was the boiler. Transco were called and within an hour or so the Boiler was condemned. So the family were facing the prospect of not only being infested with rats but also being cold and having no access to hot water to wash in or to clean with.

This was now a matter of life and death there was a boiler that was condemned but due to its position and some faults with its installation it was highly likely the family had been suffering the effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

This did escalate the matter somewhat and the council did get the family booked into a hotel as there was category 1 breach. The council where actually on the ball when it came to ensuring the health and safety of the family. This is one time when I can see that Health and Safety laws really do help.

Update

I have fantastic news, the family have now been successful in the bidding process. They have been to view their new home and they accepted it immediately. The family are ecstatic and are looking forward to a more secure future in to their “forever” home.

It has been a slog but must say the council staff have been very helpful and accommodating. The family now have the keys to their new home and are moving in.

There are so many families on Council Housing waiting lists, some living in conditions such as this family or indeed even worse. Most families are forced into private rented properties because there simply are not enough Social Housing properties available for those who need them. Families are being charged rents by these slum landlords that aren’t cheap by any means. Many rents are more than it would cost per month to pay a repayment mortgage on the property, most places in my local area are at least £475 a month! This is for the cheapest properties in the area, rents on average are around £650 for a 2 bedroom house.

Working families find the rents crippling, they can’t save to get a deposit to buy their own home which would cost less per month than the rent. Obviously things a different in the South or in very sought after areas.

Families like those above and many others who find themselves in this situation must fill out countless forms, they often have made request for help from their Councillors and MP but their pleas did not produce any sort of help or assistance. What are these people doing? They are paid to help, support and take up such issues but all to often I hear that despite contacting the elected officials the help is not forthcoming and I suppose that is why people search me out and ask for my help. I am helping people all over the country not just my local area.

Obviously this is just a snapshot of the issues people are facing and in fairness to those involved I have diluted their stories and given scant information. It would be wholly unfair to them, the council area they live in and a breach of confidence.

What is the solution to the housing shortage and slum landlords?

I firmly believe that on the brown field sites in every town and city it would be the best course of action for councils to build houses and to retain them as a real asset. Ok the initial capital outlay could be high but it will give the council assets that could be mortgaged if need be. It will put more social housing in to the system which will save more families from slum style landlords.

Why should the taxpayer fund the pension plans of Slum Landlords
The people who are the usual inhabitants of the slum properties are those on low incomes and those on housing benefit. Why should they be forced to live in such disgusting properties that are full of mould, damp, rats, faulty boilers etc.

Sadly many of these landlords do not even perform the basic checks undertaken such as gas safety! How can they allow people to live in a home that could be killing them? So many people die in winter due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning, they need to put the heating on more often
in cold weather and the results can be disastrous for the inhabitants and others who are close by. It is criminal that families who aren’t well off must suffer at the hands of unscrupulous, uncaring, money grabbing, slum landlords.

No matter how we may wish for a smaller state there are some things in a civilised society that must be controlled by the state. The rise of slum Landlord’s in the past 20 years or so has been exponential. The councils have sold many properties off to residents or Housing Associations. Instead of replenishing stock the councils didn’t, the Government didn’t push that agenda either, it seems they were more interested in collecting the massive revenues from stamp duty on the ever increasing values of houses.

At least there are now 3 families with a secure and stable home, I wish I could help more people and families but I am just one person. I will continue to help all who ask, sadly I cannot ever guarantee outcomes that would be unfair and wrong.

I will always try my best to help those in need. Maybe one day the families will reveal the full details but that is for them to do!

If you need help please contact me I will try my best to give you the help, support or best agency to assist you.

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