Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Double standards squared

Much has been made of the potential strike action by public sector workers in their dispute with the government pension reform.

Now read reforms as; higher pensions contributions, having to work longer to get their pensions and getting less for these higher and longer contributions.

These pension reforms are to be made, so the government says, because public sector pensions are becoming a burden on the tax payers.

Public sector workers are seeing huge job losses and pay freezes, so this means in real terms they are working harder for in real terms less, so with higher pension contributions this will see public workers income being squeezed.

In reality public sectors workers did not cause the recession, they are not responsible for the low growth and stagnant recovery.

The people who caused the recession were bankers who used the markets as their casino and gambled on leverage lending and a neo liberal political settlement.

So the bankers; Bank chiefs’ average pay in the US and Europe leapt 36 per cent last year to $9.7m, according to data compiled for the Financial Times, despite variable performance across the sector.

We have seen a switch from higher banker bonuses to higher pay.

Our MP's pensions are based on fortieths of an MP's salary for every year he or she is in parliament, so better terms than your local public sector workers.

There are growing signs this economic sitution is being used to reshape the burden from state to private individuals, the powerful i.e bankers unfettered riches, with low to middle income families paying more tax, with fewer services, less social insurance and more private insurance.

Drip by drip the changes are being made, effectively working longer for less benefits, the divide between the powerful and those whom own wealth and the rest of the population is growing dangerously, the public sector is angry and this may lead to industrial action. I hope the Unions and government can agree a settlement.

Those low paid workers in the private sector, those with no pension, no long term career development, no sick pay scheme, those in short term employment, those who have no security of employment, who speaks for these workers?

The danger is extremist politicans will fill the void, our MP's tells them that they must be flexible, must price yourself into work, yet the bankers and corporate bonuses continue to over pay themselves and MP's still live in there own worlds.

The low paid workers can look to a government of millionaires, can look to the heads of our corporations and see their double standards.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Another Day another U Turn

I'm afraid this bumbling government continues, today's U turn is the discounted sentencing policy.

After ken Clarke made his rape case mistake and pressure from the media, the conservative government have shelved the discounted sentencing policy.

Once again, confusion at the heart of government, this driven by the haste to cut budgets, without thinking the policy through, there has to be a question at the competence of the Prime Minister to control policy.

I see saint Vince Cable is now talking tough on bankers and banks, the next U turn awaits.

How long before the next U turn? Not long!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A State of Confusion

The Conservative led government is in a state of confusion, their policies are a mixture of u turns and muddle.

On the economy, they can't decide whether the heavy cuts they've made in our public services are the same as Labour cuts or they are deep cuts necessary to put our finances in order, or Labour left the highest debt in history yet economist point out only Canada has a lower debt in the G8 than Britain.

On the NHS, the Conservative led government published a bill and had two readings in the commons that marketised the NHS with European competition laws included, with NHS spending protected, this despite cuts in the NHS and waiting times increasing.

On housing, the Conservative government say affordable rented housing is populated by the work shy or is it this housing is occupied by people on £100,000 a yr.

The simple truth is this is a very poor government with a dubious electoral mandate, but for goodness sake get their act together or go.

Monday, 6 June 2011

£100,000 Council tenants

Some times you really wonder what planet some wealthy Conservatives lives on!

The latest little red herring is that Council Tenants living on £100,000 should lose their council homes.

So those over 3,000 Mendip citizens waiting for an affordable home ought not hold their breath waiting for too many homes coming on stream.

We are seeing a utter shambles in Conservative thinking on affordable housing,on one hand the Conservatives say Council housing is populated by work shy and now Council housing is populated by wealthy people blocking homes for people to aspire.

The real truth is housing is becoming unaffordable, to buy, in Mendip over 12 times salary and no chance of an affordable rent and having to rent in the private sector, where rents at best are £100 pw for a one bed property in the Town Centre.

People who frequent the real world know, real income has been falling for several years, with annual pay rises a distant reality. Living standards are under the same strain as in the 1920's. The people in unskilled and semi skilled jobs has seen their incomes in decline in real terms since the 1980's. With other professions such as doctors, lawyers have seen their income double in the same period.

The effects of globalisation has seen well paid manufacturing jobs go abroad and low paid service jobs have replaced them.

Whilst politicians spend much of their time talking about social mobility, in reality this has stalled, the thirty year experiment of the market is best, needs to be re-thought, social mobility is important but so is security, governments need to understand that low paid service industry workers need the social wage and a key element of the social wage is secure affordable housing.

A balanced housing market is good for the economy, no more housing boom, of pent up housing demand funded by funny financial products, homes are to be lived in, this is the basis of community, not a financial opportunity, the difference between knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

This is something the Conservatives have never understood.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Justice for All action

Today the campaign group Justice for All held a day of action against government plans to carve £350m out of the annual legal aid budget and control access to the courts is being staged across the country.

Details of the Ministry of Justice's final proposals and a draft bill on the cost-saving reforms are due to be published this month, possibly as early as next week.

The MoJ's own impact assessment study suggests that 500,000 fewer cases a year will be entitled to funding under the plans, while the Legal Action Group estimates that as many as 650,000 will be removed from access to legal aid.

As I have wrote before here that these cuts to legal aid will hurt the most vulnerable members of our communities, those affected by domestic violence, by employment issues, those with complex benefits difficulties and those with housing difficulties.

Caroline Lucas MP, leader of the Green party, said: "Reducing legal aid will increase the hardship of many as well as proving to be a false economy.

"If people do not get the help they need at an early stage, their problems will worsen. Their problems become more difficult to solve, and that increases demand on other public services, such as health and social care. The worst-off will be hit hardest by these changes."

The Labour MP Stephen Timms organised what he described as a "very British protest" against the cuts: an orderly queue symbolising how "legal aid cuts will leave vulnerable people with nowhere to turn for help but their MP".

These cuts to legal aid will cause injustice, to people that least have the means to defend themselves against the powerful, it's interesting that this Conservative Liberal Democratic government wishes to cut £350 million of legal aid from people on very modest means at the same time taxing city bonuses £1 billion less than the previous Labour government.

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