Benefits cuts ‘leave single parents £4800 worse off’

The Scottish Government say UK welfare reforms make ‘no economic sense’.

Single parent families could lose more than £4000 a year in benefits cuts after welfare reforms made by the UK Government, a new report for the Scottish Government has found.

In recent years the Conservative government has frozen benefits payment rates and capped the total amount of welfare funding people can receive.

The report estimates recent changes to welfare policies mean an unemployed single parent with three children will be £4080 worse off a year by 2020/21, facing an 18% reduction in their income from £23,385 to £19,205.

Meanwhile, a working couple with two children face an estimated £1540 reduction (6%) in annual income to £24,300 by 2020/21 compared to having had no welfare cuts.

read more here:

UK’s austerity welfare spending is closer to poorest nations of EU

Its compatriots in the austerity camp are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Greece, Hungary and Romania.

Britain’s version of austerity is more aligned to the poorest nations of the European Union, according to figures from Brussels which reveal the UK was the only rich EU country to cut welfare spending as a proportion of GDP between 2011 and 2014.

France, Germany and Italy increased spending on welfare, as did the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland and Austria. Even Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Poland marginally increased the proportion of national income they spend on welfare.

France pushed spending from 32.7% to 34.3% and Germany raised the level from 28.6% to 29.1%, while Italy managed to commit 30% in 2014 compared with 28.5% in 2011.

But the UK cut the amount it spends on what Eurostat calls social protection (as a proportion of GDP) over the four years from 29.1% to 27.4%.

read more here:

George Osborne has asked Iain Duncan Smith to find even deeper cuts to benefits

The Treasury has asked Iain Duncan Smith to find deeper cuts to welfare than planned before the election, according to reports.

The BBC’s Newsnight programme says the DWP has been asked identify £15bn of welfare cuts, a jump from the £12bn promised in Conservative manifesto spending plans.

The suggestion comes after a warning from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that even with benefits taking £12bn of the cuts burden, reductions to other departments that run public services would be felt keenly by voters.

“The cuts that the Government announces later this year in next month’s Budget and the following Spending Review may turn out to be deliverable,” said Carl Emmerson, the institute’s deputy director, earlier this month.

“But they certainly will not feel like is just 1 per cent being taken out of each area of spending, nor will it require merely ‘£13 billion from departmental savings’ as the Conservative manifesto described.”

A goal to take more from social security could help relieve the pressure on departments but allow the Conservatives to meet their spending plans.

But even existing £12bn benefit cuts would involve “difficult decisions”, the IFS says, with over £10bn yet to be specified even at the lower figure.

Alternatively, officials could be asking the department to identify more savings than needed in order to give ministers more options when choosing which £12bn to cut.

The same programme reported last week that some of the cuts could be made by slashing £5bn from tax credits for working families, hitting 3.7m low-income households.

read the rest of this ‘Independent’ article here:

Bucking the trend: Poll shows huge opposition to privately-run public services

The public are overwhelmingly opposed to private firms running public services, a new poll has revealed.

The findings, in a Survation poll for campaign group We Own It, reveals the extent of public opposition to the role of Serco, G4S and others in providing public services.

Sixty-three per cent of people think Serco should be banned from bidding for any new public contracts after the firm was investigated for overcharging on government contracts.

Just seven per cent believed they should be able to bid for government contracts now.

Fifty-nine per cent of  people thought G4S should never be able to bid on another government contract after it overcharged for prison tags.

The poll comes as campaigners target Serco’s annual general meeting in London.

“People are feeling more than a little sick of Serco – too big to fail, too sprawling to deliver but too profit-hungry to serve us properly,” Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said.

The poll suggests the public’s hostility towards private provision of public services varies depending on the sector.

Read the rest of ths article here:


Bath Campaigner to go to Police to Bring Charges Against Tory Ministers

Keith Ordinary Guy – the Bath man who sends a letter to David Cameron every day – is heading to Bath Police Station at 2pm on Friday 2nd May to send the message that the government’s new Claimant Commitment Contract contravenes the Human Rights Act (HRA), and that Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud are in breach of the Human Rights Act.

The message reads:

Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud Breach Human Rights

The Claimant Commitment Contract. Policy Aims:

The conditionality regime will recast the relationship between the citizen and the State from one centred on ‘entitlement’ to one centred on a contractual concept that provides a range of support in return for claimant’s meeting an explicit set of responsibilities, with a sanctions regime to encourage compliance.

Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud have reintroduced slavery through forced compliance (sanctions regime), denying people the means of survival if they do not comply or fail to meet conditions.

 – Article 4 – Prohibition of Slavery and Forced Labour

2: No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
Exclusion: Any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.

Under these contracts the work or service cannot be considered normal because it involves the loss of means of survival. 

The new Claimant Commitment Contract means that claimants are required to perform forced or compulsory labour via contracts set up by DWP work coaches.

Claimants who refuse to sign the contract or breach it will be denied Universal Credit (JSA etc.), i.e. the means of survival, thus breaching Article 1 of the HRA.

HRA – Article 2 – Right to Life

1: Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

Earlier today we caught up with Keith to find out more about the campaign:

What drove you to to take this action?I’ve been writing ‘A letter a day to number 10’ for over two years now, currently on No 728, and it is clear that the government have an agenda that they are pursuing regardless of public outcry, facts or the suffering they are causing. I have been to the police twice attempting to bring charges against Iain Duncan Smith and was fobbed off both times. This time, I called on Sonia Poulton and her camera man Lee to, at the least, make this a very public ‘event’. Whatever the outcome I hope that we can bring the glare of publicity to bear on the inhuman policies being inflicted on the British people. I have a particular care for disabled people as someone who has experienced severe mental health problems all my life. The treatment of disabled people by this government is so inhuman it beggars belief.

Do you think it will make a difference?Yes I do think it will make a difference if in no other way than to raise awareness. People have felt comforted, supported and encouraged by my letters, I have been told many times that seeing that days letter gave someone the strength to go on for another day. Even if just one person is helped to keep going that was a letter worth writing as far as I am concerned.


read the rest of this article here: