An interesting front page of the Independent today. It confirms what many have been saying all along. That this Tory Liberal Government are using specific examples and making out as if this is the norm. As if everyone on benefits is workshy and sleeping happily in the home with their curtains drawn while people get up early to go to work in dark hours of the morning.
Indeed this article by Ramesh Patel, a Conservative himself, calls on David Cameron to apologise for his deficit arguments – LINK. He even refers to the Nazi tactic at the end of his article pushed by Joseph Goebbels, that if you repeat a lie over and over, people start believing it, no matter how ridiculous it is – LINK.
In Brent, most people affected by the benefit changes are in low paid work. The Independent article (available online – LINK) says that two thirds of those affected by the cap are in work.
It’s sad that people are believing these Tory Liberal distortions. The article says that polling reveals three in five believe the system has created a culture of dependency. Brent Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Paul Lorber talked of this culture of dependency at the last Full Council meeting and has done so before, so even a senior Brent Lib Democrat is explicitly using this line of attack.
What we need is a better understanding on the lives affected by these changes. The atmosphere and toxicity that currently exists in society today in the UK towards people who receive benefits, not helped by Government and some parts of the media, is detriment to a peaceful society.
An article I want to bring to your attention highlighting how disabled people are being sidelined in society and literally being locked away due to budget cuts – LINK
The cumulative effect of cuts to the Disability Living Allowance, Local Councils, Time-Limiting of Employment Support Allowance, Wheelchair voucher allocation, NHS Services and many more means that the most vulnerable in society are most affected by the Tory Liberal approach of cutting too far too fast.
Rhetoric pushed out by even Government Ministers on how benefits are for scroungers and the undeserving out of work has led to it being acceptable to push through cuts that affect people who genuinely have an impairment.
The Brent Liberal Democrats have failed to field a candidate for the Barnhill by-election on May 3rd 2012. Just two years ago at the local Brent Council elections in May 2010, the Lib Dems put up three candidates in Barnhill and they attracted a respectable 987, 903 and 799 votes for the three candidates there.
A number of questions arise on the mystery decision. Perhaps the Lib Dems are stepping aside to help out their Tory Coalition partners.
In Brent, we know this is true as we have lost Police Sergeants in Brent as all were made to reapply for their jobs so that spending targets could be met.
At a Brent Council Partnership and Place Committee Meeting I revealed that even losses to back office staff to the domestic violence team in Brent meant that frontline staff were spending time they would otherwise spend helping people, doing paperwork and desk office functions.
The anwers I received reveals that even back office cuts has a profound impact on frontline services.
The Coalition of cabinet millionaires just do not have a clue how difficult their intention to treble fees will make going to University for young people from middle and lower income families.
They have benefitted themselves having free higher education and now they want people to pay up to £9,000 a year in fees. If we’re all in this together, every MP who votes for the fee cap rise should pay £27,000 into the higher education system.
THIS WILL RUIN THE LIFE CHANCES OF A GENERATION!
They are intent on tackling the deficit within one Parliamentary term because they say that the economy should not be built on a foundation of debt. But they think it’s ok for young people to be consigned with debts of up to £50,000 and build their whole lives on a foundation of debt. Where is the logic in that?
When they wanted to sell these extreme cuts, the Conservative and Liberal Democrats would turn moist-eyed and say it was “immoral” to “burden the next generation with higher debts.” So as a solution they have introduced a program that will burden the next generation with much higher debts.
During the years when young people have begun to work, are at the prime age to start up families and enter the housing market for the first time, a chunk of their disposable income will be removed from them at the time when they are in most need of it as they will have to deal with their student debt – thereby affecting their future life choices.
The Lib Dem comeback seems to be that it’s all Gordon Brown and the previous Labour Government’s fault. I disagree strongly – but you can blame Gordon Brown all you want… it doesn’t change the fact that Nick Clegg lied.
A total of 37 Lib Dem MPs signed an early day motion (EDM) in November 2007 which “actively opposes both the stigmatisation of council housing as housing of last resort and proposals to means test or time-limit secure tenancies”.
(Guardian, 9 August 2010)
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes today warned the Prime Minister that fixed term council tenancy agreements “in no way represent the policy of the coalition”.
Mr Hughes said David Cameron’s ideas for ending “council houses for life” had not been discussed within the coalition and “certainly do not represent the policy of Liberal Democrats”.
(The Independent, 4 August 2010)
Now in Government, the Lib Dems are abandoning what they signed for in Parliament when they were in opposition.
Earlier this year, the Independent highlighted that it costs on average £201,000 to raise a child in Britain today. Parenting has changed, with many taking more responsibility for their children in many cases, up to and beyond 21 years of age. Helping them to progress through education, in some cases University, giving them a foot up onto the housing ladder; it’s all very costly and now an inevitable part of modern day parenting.
Universal child benefit acknowledges and recognises that it is expensive to raise children in Britain today. Scrapping the Building Schools for the Future programme, halting Playbuilder schemes and freezing child benefits are just a few of the ways in which families have been bearing the brunt of the coalition cuts.
We now see Sarah Teather and her Tory pals going further and removing child benefit from some parents. Yes, it may be the case that those on higher incomes may be able to afford raising a child without need for help from benefits. But is it fair that this move now makes some parents with children worse off than wealthy people who do not have children?
The devil is in the detail of this Tory and Lib Dem policy. The benefit removal as proposed would leave households where a only one parent works and earns over £44,000 worse off and would leave parent households with combined incomes of up to £88,000 unaffected, so long as one of them is not earning over £44,000.
That’s the problem with the Government’s proposals as they stand at the moment. It’s always those who are on the fine line, who could do with that extra bit of help, who end up losing out. That is why I am in favour of keeping the universal based approach.
But, although many may agree with the principle of the Con Dem approach, the detail is ill thought out and would be unfair on middle income families. What would be a fairer approach to take is to have higher taxation on all higher income level earners, and not just penalise those who have children. Government should recognise the important role of parenting and acknowledge that bringing up children is expensive. The Lib Dem and Tory approach fails to acknowledge this.
The Independent has published an article looking at the absence of diversity in the Coalition Government. Below are excerpts from the article as well as a link to the original published on Saturday 7th August:
If Britain looked like its government, about four million adults would have gone to Eton, there would be no black people, and for every one woman there would be six men.
Analysis by The Independent of the social origins of members of the coalition government – the most extensive exercise of its kind – reveals that one-tenth of all the minsters in the Government attended just one public school: Eton. Overall, two-thirds of ministers were educated partly or entirely outside the mainstream state school system, and one in five went to one of the old established top public schools.
The educational background of the Liberal Democrats in government is not dramatically out of line with their Conservative counterparts, adding to suspicions that the coalition is as much a social as a political affair. Some 52 per cent of Liberal Democrat ministers went to state schools, against 35 per cent of Tories; both way lower than the 74 per cent in the last Labour Government and the 93 per cent of all pupils nationally who go to state secondary schools. Cabinet ministers Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne both went to Westminster School.
In some respects, indeed, the Liberal Democrats are even more divorced from the nation as a whole – their ministers are 100 per cent white.
In particular, at a time when the Government is attempting radical reform of the state school system and has cancelled more than 700 school building projects, many may also find it odd that the education department only contains one minister who completed his entire secondary education at a mainstream state school. The Secretary of State Michael Gove (Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen and Oxford), plus junior ministers Lord Hill of Oareford (Highgate and Cambridge) and Sarah Teather (Leicester Grammar and Cambridge) were educated independently.