Monthly Archives: May 2014

Rising ESA sanctions: punishing the vulnerable for being vulnerable

Quite shocking statistics. Please share around and make a difference!

Politics and Insights

Details originally posted on the Benefits and Work siteon May 15, 2014.
The number of sanctions applied to ESA claimants rose 334% between December 2012 and December 2013, according to new Department of Work and Pensions statistics.
The report shows that since the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions regime was introduced on 3 December 2012, there has been a steady increase in the number of sanctions applied, from 1,102 in December 2012 to 4,789 in December 2013.
The total number of adverse sanction decisions over the period 3 December 2012 to 31 December 2013 was 28,702:
  • 5,889 were applied for failure to attend a mandatory interview and
  • 22,814 were applied for failure to participate in work related activity
In addition, the statistics show that, of the 28,702 decisions:
  • 13,994 were reviewed and in 8,508 cases, the decisions were overturned. This equals a “success” rate of…

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Austerity IS NOT working!

Well researched and to the point.
Thank you!!

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

austerity has failed to create jobs or economic growth. As  predicted, the government has attacked jobs, pensions and pay, threatened privatisation and attacked and demonised those entitled to welfare. Yet all of this has worsened rather than improved the economy and people’s lives. 

Unemployment is rising, living standards are falling, and in early 2012 official estimates confirmed what our communities have experienced: that the economy is back in recession. 

You might wonder why, in the face of such overwhelming evidence of failure, government ministers have not changed course. It is because they want the public sector reduced and privatised, and wages driven down. This is exactly what David Cameron promised, when he said his government would “tear down” what he described as “big government bureaucracy”. 

The government has pledged to cut 730,000 public sector jobs by 2017 and to cut spending by £80bn. For millions, their jobs, pay and pensions…

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Ipswich Labour Party (and Borough Council) Against Workfare.

Very interesting. Local groups seizing the initiative and then holding candidates to implementing policies ending this welfare ‘reform’ nightmare. Please read the comments below of those going through this modern form of slavery.

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

fwd from
John Cook
Ipswich Labour Party

Ipswich Borough Council will not take part in Government unpaid work schemes

Ipswich Borough Council has confirmed that it will not offer unpaid work under the Government’s ‘Help to Work’ schemes, ramped up versions of which came into force at the end of April.

Under the schemes, known as ‘workfare’, there are mandatory work activity and community work programmes in which benefit claimants are placed on 30-hour a week jobs without pay and with the threat of their benefits being removed. The mandatory work activity programme is for 4 weeks and community work placements for 6 months.

It has also emerged recently that there could be sanctions for those who refuse to take a job on a zero-hours contract.

Campaigners have been calling for the government to remove the schemes, which they say are not working and which lock people deeper…

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Britain’s richest are even better-off – but how did they get that way?

Well said!

Mike Sivier's blog


The Sunday Times Rich List has confirmed what some of us have been saying for years – that Austerity has funnelled Britain’s money into the hands of a very few, very selfish people.

The 1,000 richest Britons now own one-third of the nation’s gross domestic product, with their combined wealth rising from last year’s total of £449,654,000,000 to £518,975,000,000.

That’s an increase of 15.4 per cent, an average rise of £69,321,000 each and an average income of 518,975,000.

Average wages in the UK are stagnant at around £26,500, with average pay for the lowest earners having fallen by 14 per cent since David Cameron’s Tory government got its nose in the trough in 2010.

There are only two points to make from this.

Firstly, bearing in mind Gary Barlow’s recent appearances in the news for taking part in a tax avoidance scheme: How many of these 1,000 very rich people…

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The Coalition has deliberately financially trashed the NHS to justify its privatisation

An excellent analysis of a very worrying situation. Please share around so the truth gets out!

Politics and Insights

In the years before Cameron’s Health and Social Care Act, the National Health Service (NHS) ran a combined £10 billion surplus. Now it faces bankruptcy.


In the 6 years before the Tory Health and Social Care Act became law the NHS ran a budget surplus of a combined total of more than £10 billion. This is shown in the table above and can be confirmed on page 9 of the report document Tough times, tough choices – An overview of NHS finances.  Of that £10 billion surplus, more than £2 billion of the surplus came from NHS Trusts in the years preceding 2012.
After the passing of the Tory Health and Social Care Act, however, the combined surplus in the NHS Trust Sector has declined sharply. For example, in the most recent year, the NHS Trust surplus halved. This is confirmed on page 20 of…

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The Tory Euro threat exposed

Very useful summary addressed to those who are in the mould of voting conservative out of habit – don’t!

Mike Sivier's blog

Many a truth told in jest: This Labour advert was withdrawn after claims that it was in bad taste (although this could be said equally well of the television programme it references) - but it accurately summarises the Conservative approach to the European Union and our place in the world. Many a truth told in jest: This Labour advert was withdrawn after claims that it was in bad taste (although this could be said equally well of the television programme it references) – but it accurately summarises the Conservative approach to the European Union and our place in the world.

Here at Vox Political it has come to our notice that some of you are still thinking of voting ‘Conservative’ in the European Parliament elections. This would be a mistake.

The Conservative Party is trying to hoodwink you into thinking it has a host of great ideas dependent on having a large number of MEPs after May 22, but its own manifesto tells a different story.

Here are just three examples:

1. The lynchpin of the Conservative campaign is the pledge to hold an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. The party’s European manifesto states, “The…

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Tweeting about UKIP: political expression and the Cambridge police – Tamsin Allen

Just a tad worrying….

Inforrm's Blog

Cambridge News Victims of crime in Cambridge might have been surprised to read that two officers from the Cambridgeshire police force recently visited a person who had not committed any crime, at the behest of a political party who did not like what he had tweeted, and asked him to remove his tweet.  Happily, the tweeter in question ( @MichaelAbberton ) was concerned enough to contact the media, outrage has ensued and Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire has accepted that police attendance was not required. 

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Bedroom tax appeal win on room size: Note the judges reasons well!!

Another very important ruling – take note!!

The DWP cannot have their cake and eat it!!

I live in hope, not fear.

Well worth reading.

A wee Sovereign Scot

Lord Fraser bomb your airports

The people of Scotland, my people, have lived through a very unusual experience.  Let’s go through the facts.

Scotland, for want of a better description was “annexed” and without delving into history too much, the ordinary people of Scotland were against any union with England.  Riots and protests were dealt with most severely. A fair treaty it was not. It was forced.

Scotland’s people eventually made the best of things and became the steam that powered the engine of “empire”.  The empire where the “sun never set” would never have happened in the way it did without the people of Scotland.

Fast forward to the First World War and we see a disproportionate number of Scots falling in battle, they don’t tell you that on Westminster’s mouthpiece the BBC who are going to fill your summer months on TV and Radio with the glory of the First World War.  The…

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How do we wrestle fairness from a rigged economic system?

Very useful analysis by Mike Sivier with some interesting comments on ways to stop the corporate banksters from creaming off all the profits and sitting on them. A financial tax of 1% would mean we could pay no taxes and have a basic income of £7000pa. See Reset.

Mike Sivier's blog

The problem in a nutshell - and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman] The problem in a nutshell – and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman] It’s terrific when an article makes you think.

Why Capitalism needs unemployment, by Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts, tells us that unemployment is used as a weapon against the workers – with the threat of it used to force pay cuts on employees, while we are told to fear inflation if unemployment falls.

So fatcat company bosses win either way, it seems.

The article commented on Margaret Thatcher’s ideological mentor, Milton Friedman, who “understood that low levels of unemployment give confidence to workers, who can fight for better pay and conditions. When they’re successful, the profit margins of capitalists are reduced, causing them to put their prices up in response“.

We know this happens; we have seen it many times. Some may argue that it is different from cases in which shortages…

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