Wales and Northern Ireland to sneak off

Originally posted on notlondonnews:

Wales and Northern Ireland are making plans to nip out on Thursday night and not come back.

With the shouting match between Scotland and London likely to reach a crescendo as Scots go to the polls on Thursday, other parts of the UK are planning to get away from it all. Forever.

Northern Ireland said, “And I thought I was the argumentative one. Jeez, these last few weeks have given me a proper headache. I’m packing my bags and leaving. We’re going to tell Scotland and London that we’re popping out to the shop for some milk, but the reality is the car is packed and we’ll be on the ferry to France before they start wondering where we are”

Wales said they are still trying to work out how they can whisk Cornwall and the North of England away without London noticing.

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LATEST FOODBANK FIGURES TOP 900,000: LIFE HAS GOT WORSE NOT BETTER FOR POOREST IN 2013/14, AND THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

Reposted from the Trussell Trust

  • 913,138 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2013-14 compared to346,992 in 2012-13
  • Figures are ‘tip of the iceberg’ of UK food poverty says Trussell Trust Chairman
  • 83% of foodbanks report ‘sanctioning’ is causing rising numbers to turn to them
  • Foodbank figures trigger biggest ever faith leader intervention on UK food poverty in modern times.

Over 900,000 adults and children have received three days’ emergency food and support from Trussell Trust foodbanks in the last 12 months, a shocking 163 percent rise on numbers helped in the previous financial year. Despite signs of economic recovery, the poorest have seen incomes squeezed even more than last year reports The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest foodbank network. More people are being referred to Trussell Trust foodbanks than ever before.

 

Numbers given 3 days' emergency food

 

Static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, especially sanctioning, are significant drivers of the increased demand. 83 percent of Trussell Trust foodbanks surveyed recently [see notes below] reported that benefits sanctions, which have become increasingly harsh, have caused more people to be referred to them for emergency food. Half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.
The Trussell Trust’s Chairman, Chris Mould, says:

Chris Mould‘That 900,000 people have received three days’ food from a foodbank, close to triple the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain. But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no foodbank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food. [See Notes below]
 
In the last year we’ve seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low-incomes. It’s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions.
Unless there is determined policy action to ensure that the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low-incomes we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon.
 
A more thoughtful approach to the administration of the benefits regime and sanctions in particular, increasing the minimum wage, introducing the living wage and looking at other measures such as social tariffs for essentials like energy would help to address the problem of UK hunger.’

Whilst there has been a 163 percent increase in foodbank use, there has only been a 45 percent increase in the number of new Trussell Trust foodbanks opening in the last year. The rate of new foodbanks opening has reduced from three a week in 2012/13 to two a week in 2013/14. The Trussell Trust has launched over 400 foodbanks across the UK to date.

Foodbanks that have been open for three years or more have seen an average increase of 51% in numbers helped in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13, showing that well established foodbanks are experiencing significant uplift in demand.

The Trussell Trust’s figures further reinforce evidence from the recent government-commissioned DEFRA report that increased foodbank use is not a question of supply, but of meeting a real and growing need.

Increasingly, Trussell Trust foodbanks are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank, helping people to break out of crisis. They are also providing essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to families who are at breaking point.

Oxfam’s Head of UK Poverty Programme, Rachael Orr said: “The fact that the number of people forced to turn to food banks has doubled in the last year and the situation is worsening for people in poverty is deeply worrying.

“Foodbanks and the thousands of people who support them are doing an impressive job in helping stop people from going hungry, but the truth is that in a country as rich as the UK there should not be food poverty at all. The Government needs to provide adequate support to the poorest in society and urgently tackle the low incomes and rising bills that are leaving people hungry.”

 

Primary referral causes in 2013-14

New letter marks biggest ever faith intervention on food poverty in modern times:

Today a letter co-signed by 40 Anglican Bishops and over 600 church leaders from all major denominations will call for urgent Government action to be taken on UK food poverty.
The letter, initiated by End Hunger Fast, will be delivered to the constituency offices of each of the three main party leaders by three church leaders who have been fasting for 40 days in solidarity with people facing hunger in the UK. This will mark the biggest ever faith leader intervention on UK food poverty in modern times.

There will also be a public vigil led by End Hunger Fast opposite Parliament at Old Palace Yard at 6pm. At the vigil Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi at Movement for Reform Judaism, will for the first time publicly express the cross-communal support of the Jewish community for action against UK food poverty.

Academics are also expected to add their voice to the growing groundswell of public concern at the growth of UK hunger.
Chris Mould says: ‘We are encouraged that there is a growing public concern over the problem of UK hunger. Faith leaders, academics, charities and MPs are all standing up to say that hunger is not acceptable in Britain, and that is what gives us hope for change.’ Ends

Notes to the editor:

SUPPORTIVE EVIDENCE

A new survey by parenting website Netmums and Trussell Trust conducted in March 2014 and released this week reveals that more working families are struggling to make ends meet

·         A survey of 2,178 working families conducted by Netmums in March 2014 shows that one in five working parents have had to choose between paying an essential bill or putting food on the table in the last 12 months.
·         A huge 78 per cent of parents in working families have cut spending over the last 12 months. 56 percent admit to having to buy cheaper, lower quality food.
·         Forty three per cent of those surveyed admitted that they are only ‘just about coping’ with balancing their family budgets and a quarter stated they have suffered stress as a result of not eating properly.
·         Only 1 in 40 had turned to a foodbank for help, with more than 70 percent saying that they would only do so as a last resort. This reinforces evidence from the government’s recent DEFRA report which states that turning to a foodbank is very difficult for many. It also reinforces the fact that foodbank figures only reflect part of the problem of UK food poverty.

ABOUT TRUSSELL TRUST FOODBANKS AND STATISTICS

·         Trussell Trust statistics are collected using an online data collection system into which foodbanks enter the data from each foodbank voucher. The system records the number of adults and children given three days’ emergency food. Trussell Trust figures have always been reported in this way. We cannot measure unique users on a national scale, but recent evidence collected from a sample of foodbanks indicates that over 65 percent of foodbank users were only helped once over a six month period, and that only 7.5 percent needed four or more vouchers.
·         In 2013/14 582,933 adults and 330,205 children received 3 days’ food = 913,138 total.
·         Evidence of foodbanks showing an increase in sanctioning was obtained from a survey carried out by The Trussell Trust in March 2014. 130 Trussell Trust foodbanks responded to the survey, providing a representative sample of foodbanks across the UK, including both rural and urban foodbanks.
·         The release of latest Trussell Trust figures comes the day after the first call for evidence for an All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into hunger and food poverty led by Frank Field, Bishop Tim Thornton and Laura Sandys MP. Chris Mould says: We support the recently launched All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into hunger and food poverty and hope that it will provide a more in-depth understanding of food poverty in the UK so that action can be taken to stop it.’
·         Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis in the UK. We also signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis.
·         Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a professional such as a social worker, health visitor or schools liaison officer. Over 27,000 professionals referred people to Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2013-14, and 50 percent are statutory agencies.
·         Over 90 percent of food given out by Trussell Trust foodbanks is donated by the public.
·         An estimated 30,000 people volunteered with a Trussell Trust foodbank in 2013-14.
·         The Trussell Trust is a Christian charity that runs the biggest network of foodbanks in the UK. For more on The Trussell Trust visit http://www.trusselltrust.org

SPOKESPEOPLE, FOODBANK VISITS AND, WHERE POSSIBLE, CLIENT CASE STUDIES ON REQUEST. REGIONAL BREAKDOWNS OF FIGURES ALSO AVAILABLE.

CONTACT

Molly Hodson, PR Manager – 01722 580198 – molly.hodson@trusselltrust.org

Hannah McMullen – Press officer –  01722 580191 – Hannah.mcmullen@trusselltrust.org

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The Ballot Box

Reposted from Tpuc.org

Thought provoking piece from Tpuc … something to consider before the next “General” election.

The Ballot Box// // //

The general election – why are you electing a new general – a general over what you might ask? It is very simple. Maybe you are electing a new general over the legion(s). The truth is you are not electing anyone and it has all been sorted out in advance, because it would never be allowed to be down to just CHANCE!! The election is nothing more than a stage show to make you think you live in a democracy and you think by voting you are taking part. Sorry complete rubbish! Only those of society ‘citizens’ live in a democracy and they don’t even get a say, they just do the bidding and the mp’s have the lowest status within that society that is why they are called the ‘commoners’. As for the rest of us, well we are just slaves who are not asked, but TOLD! When they come up with some new crackpot law are you asked if you would like to comply or are you forced to comply by the lawmaker’s private political army called the ‘police’? It is a very simple question that only has one answer!! When they come up with some new tax or regulation again are you asked or told – are you ever asked if you would like these new laws, taxes and regulations or again are you told? And after knowing these facts as everybody does, as it is obvious, I am still amazed at how many people are still hood winked by this sham and actually believe they have a voice through voting. How can you have a voice in something that is completely orchestrated before it even begins? They even make you think you are a ‘citizen’ by calling you this and giving you agencies such as the citizen advice bureau, but when you cut to the chase you are nothing more than a slave to them as the above points prove. A citizen is a member of a political community and that is why they need you to believe you are a citizen, to maintain you believe in politics, to maintain things stay as they are. Slaves did not nor will ever have citizenship within a political community unless; you are of standing, position or status and work in a certain position within the ‘state’. Again citizens are asked, slaves are told, are you asked or told?

I have covered the formulation of the senate called parliament within my book so I wont go into this in great detail within this article, but I would like to point out a few facts that you may or may not find interesting.

When Rome backed out of Britain they took the legions of soldiers with them. Some years later they re-legioned (this is where the word religion comes from) with a different type of soldier armed with different types of weapons. Before they could do this they needed to conquer some German tribes 7 so history records, which they would then use to achieve what they could not achieve the control and obedience of the people of this island through violence, but not just the people, but their kings and queens as well. This new type of soldier was to be armed as I said with very different types of weapons; legal words, two legal systems and a book of law called the bible. Before this happened they installed the Sees (cathedrals) and created cities that contained that seat of a bishop by incorporating towns by their own names. These were the eyes needed to keep watch on what was going on. Even to this day there are 26 lord archbishops that sit in the house of lords. Later they would create a commune to control everything from, a city (a See), and a separate state that even has its own unique set of laws, customs and even its own private political army called the ‘city of London police’. From this point in the shadows they needed a building called the palace of Westminster (west monastery), separate from the commune, but within the country they needed to control. Then they would need ‘ministers’ to force the rules of control using one of the legal systems allowing them the privilege of the other legal system for protection if they got found out. This was also done to give the people someone to blame far removed from the real culprits when their greed and need for power got out of control. Ring any bells!! (Pardon the pun). In essence the most perfect of all self-defence systems.

The ‘con’ speaks for itself though when you realise you supposedly elect people called ‘ministers’ and a ‘prime minister’ (general) that go to work every day in a building that looks remarkably like a ‘church’. The legally defined area you know as a ‘country’ is actually called a ‘state’ (political community). This state has secrets that are kept by ‘secret-aries’. Secretary; someone to whom a secret is entrusted i.e. secretary of state. Keeper of the secrets of the state. Ask yourself, if this is all being done in honesty as they profess, then why would you need secrets and people to keep them? If it is not a secretary, then it is another general such as the ‘attorney general’ a position required to maintain the sectaries keep the secrets, done by legal mechanisms called statutes. Each minister has a ward and is known as a ‘warden’ (the chief officer in a prison). The open prisons (a vessel to which people are legally committed) are cities and boroughs that include all villages and hamlets. A borough being a town with a corporation and privileges granted by royal charter that can only be issued under the strict control and the advice of parliament ordered from the commune (city of London). This would allow them to create their own by-laws through legal mechanisms to force upon the prisoners, with the ones at the top of each council receiving privileges via ‘liberty’ nothing more than a lead role in a cage, a better type of slavery. Ask yourself this if you are not a prisoner why do you need a passport to leave the legally defined area to go to another one? The reason you are allowed is because you have conformed to the rules and are classed as a ‘trustee’. A trustee is a prisoner that has received the privilege of liberty through conformity, but is done under strict rules and conditions, but nonetheless is still a prisoner! And what do you need to get a passport; a birth certificate!! You are without doubt a prisoner in a political community and this fact cannot be disputed!

Poli-tics (many bloodsuckers) has the same hierarchal set up as the church as it is an extension of the same. The policy (contracts, because you will agree in the end!) is enforced from a church by ‘ministers’ and is enforced by either of two political armies. One being the police and one type of court system and the other by the advocates i.e. barristers and lawyers and another type of court system, all bound by legal policy and all of this is forced upon you whether you like it or not.

This is why everything within government (govern-mental) is called a ‘ministry’ another word for monastery. The word ‘church’ comes from the word ‘kirk’ which in turn comes from the word ‘coercion’. According to Greek mythology this was a Greek goddess who would temp you to her house and then feed off your mind – exactly what religion does, feeds off the mind in ‘gods house’ aka a ‘church’. The new soldiers were of the mind (legal words) not the body, but if you reject the control of the mind then they attack the body to make you comply. Prisoners in slavery mentally governed by legal words made to conform.

Look back in his-story and you will find all censuses emanated from the church (parish records) and were stock takes of the assets (us). In 1857 they just made recording the assets easier with a certificate of registration thus so they could legally control the movements of the slaves within the legally defined areas. They use the law of the fear of the lord(s) (god(s)) and the laws of oppression (statutes) from the word status, which again comes from the church and its hierarchal system. Because these people believe they are gods on earth. They even adopted the word ‘lords’ as a higher point of status, exactly what those of religion are told that there is a lord that is better than you. Now you know what the word lord really means, your lord, your slave master and you really know what the word god means Gold Oil Drugs the true material external elements these people worship; from the word worth-ship; equity; external value. They just needed to fool everyone into believing (containing the word ‘lie’) in something false called ‘god and the laws of god’ to make it all work, based upon the ‘the myth of jesus christ that earned them and served them well’. Because you are told that you must serve the lord and anyone who does his work and in so they are entitled to a better life off of your backbone and they always require ‘money’ and until such time as nothing can be bought in any shop with any kind currency people will believe in money.

One of the things that has always amazed me is that the richest corporation in the world is always asking for money and pleading poverty. But the leader wears £700.00 plus shoes?? – Also whether a ‘house of god’ needs a new roof or you pay for a marriage, funeral or christening, they always want you to pay. This is where the most powerful abuse has happened, the abuse of ‘trust’, because so many trust in a ‘lie’.

My advice is do not vote for anyone; do not take part in the hoax. Anyone in politics, in or entering into it, are only doing it for one reason the power overcoat and their need for status fooled into keeping the myth alive.

The big secret…. first install the church’s then the law followed, forced upon the slaves from the church, there is no difference today and it is all masked behind a sham to hide the fact being called ‘democracy’. The concept of liberty forms the core of all democratic principles and societies, yet as a legal concept it defies clear definition. Why? Because it is slavery.

Some people do not want you to know these facts as they know their world that they are addicted to, will come to and end when you realise how simply this has been done and who really are the culprits – and how simple it is to undo. What I have talked about here does not only effect this island, it effects the whole world and can be seen at work daily if you care to look. In the next few months the rules (laws), regulations and the precautionary principles will go beyond the point of ludicrous and you will accept this as you always do and I will just watch. I will watch as many of you take part in a hoax believing this is all you can do accepting a lie as the truth, as you always do. I will watch until such time as you realise how simple it is to stop this once and for all, until the point is reached that you cannot fail to realise. I will watch you support the vessels of anger called political parties (and there is no exceptions to this no matter what one, or what they are called) set up to maintain that you never realise what politics and democracy are really about and to always maintain you will accept a lie over the truth.

You can never win a game using the rules of the game that the inventors of such rules can change at a whim to maintain they always win the game.  x

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*plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Today is my birthday. I have been alive for over half a century…if this was the 1400s, I’d be a village elder or something, (on account of having lived so long)

So, I thought today would be a good day to reflect on how things have changed (for better or for worse) during my time on planet earth.

After I left school in the 70s having previously passed my 11 plus exam

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleven_plus_exam

and struggling with studying for my GCSEs, in what was one of the hottest summers on record, I applied to be a student nurse at my local teaching hospital. By now it was the late 70’s early 80’s. Thatcher was sat on the throne and she was on a mission to destroy the NHS

http://www.nosuch-research.co.uk/index.html

I remember junior doctors going on strike and Senior consultants having to take bloods and admit patients.

I remember those junior doctors being so tired having done well in excess of 80 hours on call a week that they would fall asleep on the ‘phone whilst I was discussing a patient with them (and nooooo it’s not because I bored them to sleep before you say anything)

My first monthly wage as a student nurse was £80 (my rent was deducted at source by the hospital because I resided in hospital accommodation – very handy for the hospital if there was a major incident or adverse weather; I could just stick my cap and cape on and walk over to the ward, A&E or wherever I was needed)

I remember the previously in house hospital catering and cleaning services being outsourced and the resulting fall in standards of both of those services.

I remember the demise of the matron… a time served nurse who ruled the ward including the doctors, cleaners, catering and porters (and probably anyone else she could lay her hands on)

One incident sticks in my mind, which illustrates how these battleaxes always had the welfare of patients at their core….

Dr Das “now then Matron, I want to get Mr Jones mobilising. Can you arrange physiotherapy please”

Matron ” Dr Das.. do you know how long I have been nursing?”

Dr Das (looking puzzled) No Matron

Matron (pulling herself to her full height and leaning across the nurses station towards Dr Das) ” 32 years Dr Das…. (leaning in closer towards Dr Das) 32 years”

Without warning, Matron leans over the desk and grabs Dr Das by his red dickie bow and without raising her voice says…

“Do not dare come on to my ward and expect a patient who is 24 hours post op laminectomy 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminectomy

to ambulate without adequete pain relief. I suggest you go immediately and write up appropriate pain relief for Mr Jones”

Priceless! Dr Das of course, did exactly as he was told… well you would, wouldn’t you.

These women (they usually were women in those days) have now long gone, to be replaced by THE HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR; usually someone who used to work for Sainsburys and knows fu*k all about patients, medicine or anything much really!

I suspect that Matron and Dr Das are dead now, they must be spinning in their graves to see the current state of the NHS. I cry for it too, just as you would for someone that you loved who is no longer with you.

I think it is immoral, obscene and if it isn’t it should be illegal, to allow private companies to profit from ill and vulnerable people and remember, it WAS the tories who sounded the death knell for the NHS.

I’ve seen the police change from public servants to paramilitary… acting as judge, jury and executioner with no one (not the courts, not the IPCC, not professional standards) curbing their excesses.

I’ve seen the DWP (or the Department for Health and Social Security as it once was) go from assisting people to find work, to sanctioning for all it’s worth.

I’ve seen local authorities now having no regard for it’s citizens but more concerned with lining it’s own pockets and carrying out central governments draconian policies.

I’ve seen the BBC change from an organisation with integrity and unbiased reporting to brainwashing the public and only showing one side of the story and ignoring opinions and evidence against the government of the day.

I’ve watched as the UK becomes an increasingly surveilled state… CCTV, Regulation of Investigatory Powers, DNA kept for ever even if acquitted/not convicted. I note that it is only us citizens that are watched 24/7 … politicians, police chiefs, tory donors, bank chiefs… well they don’t seem to be as under the microscope as we are do they?

One thing we all have access to that I certainly did not have in the 70’s is the internet….what a golden nugget that is.

That is how like minded people can connect and help each other. It’s how I became aware of how Mike Sivier on Vox Political was hitting a brick wall trying to obtain ESA mortality statistics from the DWP. It’s how I was able to assist him by researching and putting together a statement of case.

I have been educated and empowered by the internet and THEY hate it…those who are in authority …. knowledge is power; educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to use the governments own weapons against them (such as the Freedom of Information Act)

As my dear old dad (who died 10 years ago) used to say to me…

“If you don’t fight, you won’t win; but if you do fight, you’re in with a chance”

* the more things change, the more they stay the same

 

 

 

 

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Deborah, her ATOS debacle, and the missing coat mystery

Originally posted on Ann McGauran:

Deborah Ruby, who had her ESA stopped, despite her multiple chronic health issues.

Deborah Ruby, who has had her ESA stopped, despite her multiple chronic health issues.

Deborah Ruby struggled into this London Trussell Trust food bank with her voucher. She’s a 51-year-old lady with multiple health issues. These include, but are not limited to, arthritis in the lower spine, hips, neck and knees, depression, severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome and congenital heart problems. She has been separated from her husband for 12 years and has four children – the youngest of whom is still at school.

A social worker gave her a voucher for the food bank after her employment and support allowance (ESA) was stopped on July 25. This stoppage followed her ATOS work capability assessment in June. Atos Healthcare is of course making an early exit from its contract to carry out “fit for work” tests on disability claimants. If Deborah’s experience is typical, the ATOS assessment process is if possible…

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IDS wants Obese Poor on Celebrity Diet Plan…

Reposted from Mum v Austerity 

You have to wonder what  goes on in the Duncan-Smith country estate at weekends. Like a scene from a James Bond film you can picture IDS in his “lair” pondering how to rule the world and what dastardly plan he can hatch out next to humiliate, degrade and punish the poor. Never in the history of British politics has one man, backed by his leader, and even worse turned a blind eye to by the LibDems, been allowed this much freedom to  target his own personal hatred onto one section of society; the most vulnerable. Backed up by a willing right wing media who have conned the working class into actually believing a lot of IDS’ rhetoric we are now never shocked by what this right wing maniac will do next.

I use maniac willingly and in context.  “An obsessive enthusiast” ” A person exhibiting wild or violent behaviour” “a person suffering from mania” “a deranged person”. IDS is certainly an “obsessive enthusiast” over his plans  for the poor, sick and disabled. His latest wheeze probably would have shocked us a few years ago, but such is our “unshockability” at  what he does, his latest idea barely raises an eyebrow, as we have come to expect demonisation of the poor as a daily occurrence, both from Duncan-Smith and his propaganda machine the DWP.

IDS has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a cunning plan  to ask if  poor obese people claiming JSA and ESA could be put on the celebrity diet “The Cambridge Plan” – a £45pw liquid diet. Now many people radicalised by right wing media may well see nothing wrong with poor obese people being given “help” this way. But with the Tories and particularly their hatchet man IDS, you have to peel back the layers to find the hidden truth and reality of the situation. IDS’ constituent Ruth Barber is the brain-child of The Cambridge Diet. “All in this together” certainly rings true. As with ATOS being handed multi million pound contracts and various Tory cronies having more fingers in pies than the nursery rhyme figure Little Jack Horner, it seems IDS is keen to put a huge  NHS “diet contract” Ruth Barber’s way. Of course were the scheme to become reality, there is always a stick with Duncan-Smiths harebrained ideas and you don’t need a crystal ball to know there will be an element of compulsion to participate if you are obese, and in receipt of JSA/ESA or the inevitable sanctions will be applied.

Putting aside, that this is the latest in a whole range of punishments  from a man so dim his own party derides him, let’s look at the facts of  obesity and being poor.

Poverty and being on benefit is a vicious grinding cycle. While many of us would like to put some portly MPs, obese due to lavish subsidised lunches and expensive champagne receptions, on one of these celebrity diet plans, yet again the spotlight falls on the very poorest, who in Tory eyes, are not permitted to be obese like their richer “betters”. While lardy Cameron parades his belly chillaxing on the various beach holidays he enjoys each year, this is simply not permitted to be poor and fat and scraping by on £71pw JSA.

Those of us whether poor or working poor have very limited incomes which have to be stretched like never before due to Tory imposed austerity. When I have the electric bill to pay or one of the kids comes home with torn trousers which needs replacing immediately, the food budget is where I , and thousands of other people turn to in an effort to find the money needed. To cut down means to go without or replace with  bulky cheap food the kids will eat. Simple as that. I know I can go to Iceland and pick up a pizza for £1 and frozen chips for £1. As much as I would like to , minced beef and fresh  vegetables are a lot more expensive. I have fed a family of 6 on £30 for a weeks meals when desperate, but I know how to as I was taught practical cooking skills by my parents and by school. Many people are not so fortunate.  The school GCSE for example is full of  theory based health and safety questions rather than how to feed yourself on a strict budget.

Once someone like IDS has lived for a year controlling a food budget week in week out on JSA of a total £71pw income or on a Carers income of £61.35pw, then he can speak with authority of how poor obese people should be truly helped. Imagine your food budget as a single person on JSA is £10pw every week, every month which thousands are living on. Now imagine doing a weekly food shop in the supermarket. Out goes the nutritional more expensive food like meat, fresh vegetables; in comes the bulky highly processed foods like frozen pizzas, chips, and value bread. In fact everything becomes the supermarkets value brand; the lowest common denominator. Now after weeks of living on this cheerless bulky high sugar diet, your health starts to suffer you feel lethargic, less motivated, sapped, stressed with the anxiety of wondering where the next meal is coming from, so your mental health takes a bashing. You feel cooking is a chore, you feel less motivated to cook, less motivated to go out. The walls and your horizons start to narrow as your life consists of one long huge effort to survive. And the inevitable thing is that your weight  increases on this high sugar diet and lack of  outdoor exercise and obesity occurs. Obesity brings its own demons of higher  blood pressure, diabetes and other related health problems. Then a man comes along earning £100k a year plus and tells you the answer is a celebrity liquid diet, a cure for your obesity and poverty in one, and that by going on this diet, you will be fit for work, off benefit and your life improves with a wave of the IDS magic wand!

What utter tosh!  GPs will tell you of the complex array of health problems caused by poverty. Poverty and a lack of education and life skills go hand in hand and have done for decades. Successive governments have never found the cure. Likewise GPs will also point to the excessive lifestyles of the rich where their obesity is caused by too many rich foods and lavish dinners. But IDS is not pushing a celebrity diet  onto his cronies is he?!

So stuff your liquid diet IDS. Stop trying to award big fat privatised NHS contracts to your chums. And get off the backs of the poor who can’t carry the weight of austerity any longer. Fat chance Cameron will sack you sooner, but  I very much think that like your party, you will be history in May 2015.

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Slump in tribunal cases prompts review calls

Reposted from the Law Gazette

I do not think the issue fee of £250 is the main problem as there is a fee remission process and some firms could even loan this to the client. The problem is the hearing fee of £950. This is too much for most firms to pay and it requires the client to submit a second remission application (one for each fee), which is ridiculous.

There are three solutions:

1) Abolish the fees, so that Employment Tribunals operate on the same basis as other Tribunals;
2) Abolish the £950 hearing fee, but keep the £250 issue fee (which would be enough to deter most vexatious litigants)
3) Set the ET fees at the same level as the County Court/MCOL fees, which would avoid the anomaly of employees bringing wages claims in the County Courts because the fees are cheaper than the Employment Tribunals.

Option 1 may not be possible for political reasons but either of the other two would make a massive difference, and would still raise some money and help deter unreasonable claims. (comment posted by Paul Stephens – contributor @Law Gazette)

Latest statistics showing a 71% fall in cases received by the tribunals service have prompted calls for the government to look again at its new hearing fees.

The Ministry of Justice reported today that in the three months ending 30 June, HM Courts and Tribunals Service received 74,400 claims – 71% lower than the same period last year and the lowest since current statistics began in 2008/09. The number of cases or claims disposed of fell by 35%, to 140,800.

The MoJ attributed the fall to ‘reductions in social security and child support appeals and employment claims’.

Fees for employment tribunal hearings were introduced in July 2013.

Richard Fox, head of employment law at London firm Kingsley Napley, said that today’s figures are the third successive round of statistics showing a sharp fall in the number of claims to the employment tribunal since the fees came in to force. ‘We really have reached the situation where many voices are coming together to say “something must be done”,’ he said.

The shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, this week said that a future Labour government would ‘ensure that affordability is not a barrier to employees seeking redress in the workplace’.

Fox noted that the government has said it is committed to its own review, ‘but we have heard nothing further in that respect for some time now. Given how well it had been doing in achieving a real balance between on the one hand allowing business to get on and prosper for everyone’s benefit, and on the other, allowing those with legitimate claims to have access to justice (prior to the introduction of fees), that is very disappointing.’

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Tribunal fees are pricing workers out of justice and have created a barrier to basic rights at work.’

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