Posts Tagged ‘low pay’

Erosion of universal benefits is destroying public support for the welfare state

05/04/2013, 07:00:15 AM

by Robin Thorpe

Earlier this week George Osborne stated that “this month, around nine out of 10 working households will be better off as a result of the changes we are making”.

The BBC report on this speech (before it happened, which frankly annoys me, why can’t politicians just give a speech and have it reported after the event? Why must it be released beforehand?) states that;

“This month saw the start of sweeping changes across public services including reform of the benefits system.

Mr Osborne argues that the government has had to take difficult decisions to cut the deficit and the current benefits system is fundamentally “broken”.

Changes include:

  • The introduction of a £26,000 cap on the amount of benefits a household can receive
  • A cut to housing benefit for working-age social housing tenants whose property is deemed to be larger than they need
  • Disability living allowance replaced by personal independence payment
  • Working-age benefits and tax credits uprated by 1% – a below-inflation cap

The chancellor believes the changes to benefits and tax will be fairer and help ensure that the country can live within its means and compete globally”

For all the rhetoric both in favour and against these cuts I would agree with Osborne on the limited claim that the vast majority of the public are in favour of these changes to the benefit system and do not agree with Labour or other critics of the changes. The very fact that 9 out of 10 people will purportedly be better off underlines the reason why most people agree with the changes. This, however, does not make it the right thing to do.


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Why Labour has to win in 2015

19/10/2012, 02:50:29 PM

by Ian Stewart

Politics is a game. It is irrelevant to the real needs. The authorised version of the game and its rules have been pickled, or maybe set in aspic, or possibly worse. The ingredients that make up our HP Sauce have curdled. That is the view from the bottom of the pile, it is the reason why so many of us cannot be bothered. It is also the view peddled by the seemingly endless parade of hip young things in our media today. That is unless they can find a cause that ticks the right boxes of their sales demographic.

If you want to practice politics go to a good university then get that job as a researcher or SpAd. Get yourself into a union machine, work in local government or law or work for a pressure group or the media. In other words get inside the established channels as quickly as you can, starting with student politics.

Whatever you do, do not get a job outside of the process. The process is king – never forget that. Once inside you can play the game to your heart’s content. In your chosen career – showbusiness for ugly people – you will be talking to others similar to yourself and most of those interested in what you do will also be like you. The rest of us neither matter nor care, except during elections.

You can read a lot of leftish blogs and sites these days and most of them seem to accept the rules of this game. It’s a game that few can ever win. Left wing commentators occasionally wring their hands over the fate of beings called “the low paid.”

I have a suspicion that most of them have only sensed these beings from a slight distance. Let me help you, my fellow blogging comrades, in your search for these mythical beings. They were serving your coffee, washing your dirty plates and getting you that glass of wine in the bar at that conference you attended… (did you tip, or did you think a few extra quid would be demeaning? Tightwad.)

I know this because I am one of them. I’ve spent most of my working life in catering, hotels, restaurants and bars. I admit that I’m atypical (particularly in London) as I am English and fairly educated. Oh, and I am interested in politics. Forgive me, I spent all of my working day on my feet, including my break, and am a little cranky. Sadly, in many respects George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London is all too familiar today. To those who see politics as simply a tribal game or as irrelevant to the lives we all lead, let me explain what a large bulk of “the low paid” go through on a daily basis.


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Reframing immigration: Ed’s clause four moment?

15/08/2011, 01:31:58 PM

by Kevin Meagher

I had never heard of Maurice Glasman until a year ago. Now this “radical traditionalist” frontman for the blue Labour movement seems to be everywhere.

To his friends, he is the exponent of a viable new politics for Labour, drawing on earlier, non-statist traditions of social solidarity and reciprocity and rejecting New Labour’s fetish for market solutions and, most controversially, the commodification of labour through a decade’s worth of mass immigration.

To his opponents, however, he is a nostalgic blowhard peddling a backwards-looking Labourist version of the big society to a party desperate for any crumbs of intellectual coherence.

Friend or foe alike can agree, however, that Glasman does not mince his words, particularly about immigration. Accordingly, he reckons Labour “lied” to the public about the scale of immigration that the party presided over in government. He warns that Britain must not become an “outpost of the UN”, instead focusing on the welfare of its own workers first, revising the EU’s free transfer of people to that effect. (more…)

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