Monday, 27 June 2011

Cuts Are Not The Cure

Cuts Are Not The Cure from Unionfilms on Vimeo.


Watch it, pass it on.

This about a political choice: the Tory/Lib Dems choice to inflicit the hardest cuts on the poorest in our society.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Coalition Cuts Hurt Women More

Far from being "all in this together" a new report highlights the fact that the coalition cuts hit single mothers hardest.

The research prepared for the Fawcett Society demonstrates as false the government's claim that it is unable to assess the different impact of its tax and benefit policies on women and men.

Using the government's own currently available data the report, considering all tax and benefit reforms to be introduced between 2010 – 2015, shows that single women will lose more as a proportion of their income than other households as a result of the cuts.

Single mothers can expect to lose 8.5% of their net annual income by 2015 –more than a month’s income each year.

Anna Bird, Acting Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society said:

“During our court case, the government insisted that assessing how cuts impact differently on women and men in any meaningful way wasn’t possible; this research shows it can be done.

“This puts paid to the idea that the government can’t anticipate or predict the impact of its fiscal policies on different demographic groups. Had the Treasury been doing this research in the first place, single mothers might now not be facing a situation where they can’t afford childcare and so can’t work, and where some of the poorest women in our society are right now getting poorer.

“We’ve looked at each of the tax and welfare changes in turn, considered how different households will be affected by them, and calculated what the impact will be on different groups’ incomes.

“The results are clear: women are bearing the brunt of cuts. Single women, on average, are set to lose a greater proportion of their income than other households, such as single men or couple households.

“In part this is because women are typically poorer than men, but it is also because women make up the vast majority of lone parents – and it this group that are set to lose most under the reforms. Lone mothers can expect to lose the equivalent of one month’s income a year by the time all the cuts are implemented.

“Some of the least well off in our society are being forced to act as shock absorbers for the cuts, with women – in particular single mothers - faring worse.

“A year on from the Coalition Government’s first budget, we call on the Chancellor to adopt this analysis in future budgets to allow for fairer and more transparent decision-making. The government should also review welfare, employment and childcare policy, so that lone mothers do not shoulder more than their fair share of cuts.”

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Tuition Fees: Just A Question Of Language Apparently


Last autumn I linked to a local LibDem activist who had complained to his national party leader about being put in the position of "Knocking on doors and being called liars".

Sadly, Chris Mills later removed his response to Nick Clegg's letter to members on the tuition fees debacle.

However it now appears that Chris thinks it is just a problem of language. Apparently if the tuition fees, loans and debts were renamed a graduate tax then would be no problem.

At least Chris admits that the pre-election pledge by Clegg was dishonest: "It was pretty obvious we were never going to win an election outright, so would either be in coalition or in opposition. Either way we would not be able to stop a fees rise going through."

Read it while you can, before it disappears.

Even now, they just don't get it do they.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Royal Air Farce

Cameron's clumsy Strategic Defence and Security Review continues to draw fire from within the armed services, as well as at home and amongst our allies abroad.

When Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant said that "huge" demands were being placed on the RAF and morale among airmen was, as a result, "fragile", he was told by the Prime Minister to stop "sniping".

Cuts earlier this year saw a quarter of trainee pilots made redundant, some within hours of qualification, wasting up to £4m a pilot, Tornado squadrons scrapped, the versatile Harrier jump jets sold "for peanuts", which as a consequence could leave Britain unable to defend its air space, counter threats from hostile states or conduct major foreign military campaigns.

With "rock bottom morale" it is time to reopen the Strategic Defence and Security Review: the country and our armed services deserve better from a government apparently lacking in any coherent defence strategy worthy of the name.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Inflation: We're Not All In This Together

An interesting report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies highlights the fact that there isn't a single rate of inflation which applies to all of us.

With rocketing fuel and food costs, and the inflation rate way above the government's target and no sign of falling, the truth is that the poorer you are, the higher your real inflation rate is.

This is because pensioners and less well-off families typically spend a greater share of their income on food and fuel. So with inflation around 5% and rising, and fuel prices rising at 10% - 19%, the real cost of inflation for this group is nearer 8%. Add that to the VAT rise, cuts to tax credits, cuts to childcare support and the child benefit freeze, and many low paid families are really hurting.

The inflation rate for better off families is actually less than 4%.

Yet when will the coalition government act on this? Is this because they aren't feeling the pinch?

Rachel Eden has another angle on the issue.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Trash Talk

The Lib Dems have been in overdrive in Redlands, spreading lies that Labour has cut an end of year special collection of rubbish from student housing. Misleading residents and students alike, they even have a petition about it.

The truth is that the decision to axe this service was taken by RBC's Streetcare service last March when, erm, Lib Dem Cllr Ricky Duveen was the Lead Member for these services.

So the Redlands Lib Dems are petitioning to get a Lib Dem cut restored. Excellent politics! Obviously a case of being in power, but not in control.

Let's just see if they will start banging on people's doors to retract their slurs ... because we will certainly ensure that everyone knows when this was done!

I am confident that the Labour council will ensure the student clearances will be taken care of. Who can clean up the mess to Redlands Lib Dems' reputation may be a job too far.

On a lighter note, but just as expected, word reaches me that poor Cllr Glenn Goodall is being pushed aside in Redlands after just one term, to make way for the defeated Kirsten Bayes to have another try at winning an election next May.

If that's true, it's going to get very interesting!

(image: getreading.co.uk)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Redlands: And So It Begins ...

It didn't take long for the Redlands Lib Dems to settle back in to their traditional opposition role of saying anything to get elected. Well, they've now discovered that no seat, not even their Leader's (the last one or the latest!) is safe.

Something tells me that the May 2012 election campaign is already underway, and that the Lib Dems in Redlands will become more and more desperate in their actions and words to hang on - and all to no avail: then there will be one.