Friday, 31 May 2013

The homeless aren't 'negative impacts' – they are living victims of policy

The current homelessness crisis is a consequence of poverty and austerity above all. 


All current solutions are inadequateHomelessness is not a problem. Homelessness is many problems woven together into a human calamity and a social catastrophe: lack of housing; lack of jobs; lack of money; lack of social support; lack of mental health care; but above all, lack of compassion where it matters.

The past week has vividly illustrated the complexities of the issues. Already the eviction notices have begun to arrive for arrears on the new "bedroom tax", as prompt as they were predictable.

Freedom-of-information requests to 107 local authorities have revealed that 86,000 households in council or housing association properties have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year.

Meanwhile, the only response of disparate arms of authority is to punish the victims. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Ilford, where last week police raided a disused building to remove a small group of rough sleepers, confiscating the sleeping bags and food which had been donated by charities and members of the public. Chief Inspector John Fish told the press that "the public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers".

One might wonder when rough sleepers ceased being members of the public.

This crisis is a consequence of poverty and austerity, above all.  In the meantime, we can only remind local authorities, politicians and senior police officers that homeless people are not "negative impacts" either on the public's peace of mind or the public purse, they are the living victims of economic policy, ideology and political choices.

Food banks now a lifeline for half a million people in Britain

Massive cuts to social safety nets have led to "destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale" in Britain, with more than half a million people now forced to rely on food banks for sustenance, key poverty charities have warned in a report.


 "The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are turning to food aid," said Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive. "Cuts to social safety nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable that this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet."

Britain Plans I.P.O. for Postal Service

Britain is preparing to privatize Royal Mail, the country’s postal service, whose origins date to 1516 and the carrying of post for Henry VIII and the Tudor court.


The government said on Wednesday that it had appointed Goldman Sachs and UBS as the lead banks to manage a planned initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange later this year.


 Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will also work on the sale. The planned offering could value Royal Mail at about £3 billion ($4.5 billion), according to some analysts.

The government has been considering a sale of Royal Mail for years, but plans became more concrete over the last year when the company’s finances started to improve. Pressure is also growing on the government to find additional savings to reduce the budget deficit.

Mario Dunn, who leads the union’s campaign against the sale, said: “Banks are set to make up to £30 million when the government sells off Royal Mail. Once again consumers will lose out when prices rise and deliveries are reduced but banks make millions.”



645 apply for single job at Hull charity

"We have had applications from such a range of people, from first-class graduates and administrators with 30 years of experience to people with no qualifications.


"We have also had applications from those who have worked for businesses that have gone into administration or collapsed, such as Comet.

"But one of the things that saddened me a little was to see talented graduates who had received their degree four or five years ago applying for this job, as they were still doing what were effectively Saturday jobs."

Mr Buttrick's comments reflect findings by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

Last year, on average, there were up to 83 people chasing every graduate job.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Food banks struggle to feed hungry as demand rises

Charities torn between helping those in need and resisting prospect of taking over duty previously fulfilled by state


In the 13th most deprived borough in England, a fragile part of the local emergency welfare ecosystem is in danger of collapse. Haringey food bank, in north London, has warned it is struggling to meet the explosion in demand for food parcels from local people living on the breadline.

The food bank was evicted from its rent-free warehouse at short notice by a developer last November and has not found a suitable home. It still collects food donations but now distributes them from two small temporary outlets, a church and a local play centre. There is little storage, no room to talk to clients and no office space. The landline telephone number listed on its website no longer works. Its one full-time administrator has had to be laid off.

At the same time demand is rising inexorably. The spectacular expansion of food banks across the UK over the last two years is a powerful indicator of growing poverty as well as a sign of dedication and enterprise of the volunteers who created them.

The crisis in Haringey – and problems in other food banks – is exposing the limits of voluntarism and the brittle and precarious nature of the "big society" approach.

Queues, rationing and desperate appeals for food donations as demand outstrips supply are a feature of some food banks, and volunteers are beginning to question whether it is right – or whether they have the capacity – to take on a growing burden that was until recently considered a duty of the state.

The rising need for food parcels from people on benefits and from low-paid working families unable to make ends meet, he says, "is just frightening." 

He says he is not political. But he is quietly furious at the way he feels policymakers and politicians fail to understand the often desperate consequences of what may seem like small cuts to the incomes of people already living close to poverty.

He wrote to local MPs asking them simply: "Why is there a need for food banks?" Two didn't answer and the other two failed to answer the question, he says ruefully.

Courts may be privatised to save Ministry of Justice £1bn

The courts may be privatised in a justice shake-up that could save the Ministry of Justice £1 billion a year.


The plans would free the courts from Treasure control, placing court buildings and thousands of staff in the hands of private companies.

Fears that privatisation would erode the independence of the courts would be allayed by placing the courts under a Royal Charter, as has been proposed for the regulation of the press.

Earlier this year Justice Secretary Chris Grayling paved the way for reform by instructing officials to explore plans and ensure that the Courts and Tribunal Service provides value for money.

The courts should not be beholden to any private provider because the courts have to be independent of every interest.

“In particular I would be strongly against court buildings being placed in the hands of private providers. We should not have [them] influencing when courts open and close their doors or judges having to negotiate with private contractors over whether, for instance, a court can be open on a Saturday for an emergency injunction.”

A firefighters' strike looms unless Tory Madness is halted argues

The Government should act immediately to avoid the possibility of a strike over a firefighter pensions dispute.


Firefighters aged 55 or over could be thrown on to the employment scrapheap without access to their pensions after the Tory-led Government failed to properly negotiate scheme changes.

That is despite a clear recommendation in a Government-commissioned report that firefighters aged 55 or over who are retired on fitness grounds should be able to access pensions.
Nobody wants to see strike action but the Government’s inaction suggests they either don’t comprehend the scale of this problem or simply don’t care.

I fully sympathise with the frustrations of firefighters.

A strike would be wholly avoidable but the risk grows with every day this Government sits on its hands instead of taking decisive action.

It is quite clear it needs to look again at the report it commissioned, properly consider the evidence and recommendations in it and take steps to avoid a strike.

Court Case: Disabled tenants face ‘real risk’ of eviction but ‘should not panic’

Disabled people across the country are facing a “serious and real risk” of eviction because of the government’s “bedroom tax”, according to lawyers representing 10 disabled people and their families in a key court case.


 The warning came as the high court began a three-day hearing into the 10 claims brought against the housing benefit regulations that came into force on 1 April. 

The claimants are all arguing that the regulations discriminate against people who need larger accommodation because of their impairment. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has “intervened” in the case, to argue that the new regulations could breach the Human Rights Act, the UK government’s duties under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Equality Act’s public sector equality duty.

Government figures suggest that more than 400,000 disabled people will be hit by the introduction of the bedroom tax, which will see tenants in social housing punished financially if they are assessed as “under-occupying” their homes.

But campaigners believe the true numbers will be even higher, as the government figures only relate to disabled people who claim disability benefits.

DPAC believes the bedroom tax needs to be scrapped and that “concerted campaigning” – similar to the widespread and successful resistance to the poll tax in the 1980s – was needed “to force a u-turn”. 

But she said: “The message for disabled people from DPAC is not to despair if they cannot pay and cannot move and start to get into arrears. This rotten policy is unworkable. People who are worried or frightened need to seek support but not panic.”

“There is a serious and real risk of disabled people being evicted. It is absolutely what is going to happen.”

Leeds council tackles bedroom tax with semantic solution

Leeds council has come up with a novel way of sidestepping the controversial bedroom tax: reclassifying more than 800 "spare" rooms in its social homes as "non-specific rooms".

 
But in what appears to be a legitimate loophole, Leeds council is to reclassify around 837 spare bedrooms. Those who have already been subject to the bedroom tax and have lost out on housing benefit in the last two months are set to be refunded.

Councillor Peter Gruen, the Labour member responsible for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said it would cost the council more to evict tenants and rehouse them than it would to simply accept that many could not pay for the underoccupation charge.

He said: "The idea of taxing poor people for bedroom tax is perverse. The charges we incur in legal fees chasing up the increasing rent arrears from the last two months is farcical. It costs the courts far more money to evict people."

Gruen said council officials had inspected the housing stock and reclassified any unoccupied ground floor bedrooms as non-specific as well as very small bedrooms, or those which acted as a thoroughfare to another room.

He said he hoped that all "fair-minded politicians" across the country would implement the same changes.

Last week, the Guardian gathered data from 107 local authorities which revealed that as a result of the bedroom tax, 86,000 households had been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year. 

Austerity: IMF 1, Osborne 0

 Source:  The Guardian



The IMF on Wednesday told George Osborne that the UK remains a "long way from … recovery"; that "persistent slow growth could permanently damage medium-term growth prospects"; that, six years on from the collapse of Northern Rock, British banks are still not back to "healthy functionality"; and that the centrepiece of the chancellor's last budget – the help-to-buy scheme aimed at boosting property sales – would inflate house prices and lock would-be first-time buyers out of the market.

The great surprise was that the IMF went as far as it did last month, openly criticising the austerity that it is enforcing across southern Europe.

Given that the chancellor has made clear that he will not repudiate his signature policy, it was to be expected that the intervention this time would be easier on Treasury ears. Even so, this was a difference largely of tone, not of substance.

As the deputy managing director David Lipton made clear when fielding questions from journalists, the IMF still believes that the government is following the wrong fiscal policy.

It still thinks the coalition ought to be spending more now to support the economy during the almighty bust; and cutting more later, when the economy has recovered somewhat. In particular, Fund economists believe the UK ought to borrow up to £10bn more this year, and plough that money into public works.

Observers can argue the toss about whether such a policy is Ed Balls's plan B, but one thing is clear: it certainly isn't the Osborne strategy. The chancellor could have "back-loaded" the cuts, as the IMF now suggests, but refused – largely to fit a political timetable, with a general election due in 2015.

He was backed at the outset by the Fund. Back in September 2010, it chorused supportively: "The UK economy is on the mend. The [emergency budget] plan is essential to ensure debt sustainability. The plan … supports a balanced recovery."

One of those two bodies has since awoken to harsh reality: sadly, it isn't the Treasury. 

David Cameron was the first major leader to volunteer for austerity, even while Barack Obama was still gunning for fiscal stimulus in America. The comparison between the UK and the US performance is not flattering to the prime minister: our economy has yet to make up the ground lost after the banking crisis; the US has more than made up the lost ground and enjoys a tepid recovery

.

Dear ATOS, my 3 year old can push a button, should I be sending him to work?

I’m writing to you with a concern about a person known to me who is not in work. 


I am a journalist for a local newspaper, and on doing some research for an article yesterday, came across a very long list of questions that are asked at Atos ‘Work Capability Assessment’ interviews up and down Britain.

Questions such as:
Can you spell the word ‘world?’
What is 97 minus six?
Can you show me your left hand?
Can you show me your right hand?

As I started to read the questions, a growing sense of doom began to build as I realised that I might know someone who is committing Benefit Fraud.

You see, my son, frequently referred to throughout my blog as Small Boy, can spell the word ‘world’. He can also touch his nose with his right and left hand when asked, he can wash his face, he dresses himself in the morning, and he doesn’t live by himself.

My son is three years old, and from my understanding based on my own research, he would pass an Atos Work Capabilty Assessment with flying colours.


I mean, if you assess people based on their ability to push a single button, well, he’s been able to do that for quite some time.

In short – my toddler could pass an Atos test- IT DOESN’T MEAN HE CAN GO TO WORK. 

As your chief exec issues half arsed pithy apologies ‘if they have done anything wrong’ on Radio 4 last month, I ask her, with the blood of Linda Wootton on her hands, who died NINE DAYS after her benefits were stopped by your unfeeling omnipotent test of nothingness, how do you sleep at night?

When did the decision to live or die, depend on your birthright, your inheritance, a family business passed down or a postcode lottery? When did the right to live become a desperate wish not to die?

When the Government decided to chop up the National Health Service, while giving tax cuts to their millionaire friends.

When you took a 5 year, £400million contract to bully dying people into court and tribunals.

So first you came for the disabled, and they spoke out, they protested, but nothing changes.

Then you came for the terminally ill, the cancer sufferers, and they spoke out, they protested, but nothing changes.

Then you came for the sick, the elderly, the wounded, the injured, the dying.

Who is left? Who is next? 

As you ship people from the Work Capability Assessments to the dole queue knowing full well that there aren’t enough jobs out there for the unemployed let alone add to their number, I ask you – what is your plan?

When your five years are up, where will you go? How many people will have died at the hands of untrained ‘health’ ‘care’ ‘professionals’ before you accept the blood on your hands?

But I have a son. He is three years old. He could pass your Work Capability Assessment, and THAT SAYS IT ALL.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

EU exit would put US trade deal at risk, Britain warned

"But in return, Europe would have to give up existing protections on its agriculture, film industry and public services."

The Obama administration has warned British officials that if the UK leaves Europe it will exclude itself from a US-EU trade and investment partnership potentially worth hundreds of billions of pounds a year, and that it was very unlikely that Washington would make a separate deal with Britain.

 
The warning comes in the wake of David Cameron's visit to Washington, which was primarily intended as a joint promotion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Barack Obama, which the prime minister said could bring £10bn a year to the UK alone, but which was overshadowed by a cabinet rebellion back in London.

The threat by Cameron's ministers to back a UK exit in a referendum on the EU raised doubts in Washington on whether Britain would still be part of the deal once it had been negotiated.US officials say that the White House is particularly perplexed because Britain played a key role in persuading Obama to stake significant political capital on the ambitious transatlantic partnership.

If it is successful it could be the biggest trade and investment deal in history, encompassing half the world's GDP and a third of its trade.

Both European and American officials involved in preparatory talks on the partnership said that it was also intended as a bulwark against the economic challenge of China, aimed at forming a bloc powerful enough to lay down the rules of international trade and investment.

The TTIP will aim to remove the relatively low tariffs of about 3% to 5% between the US and Europe, but its greatest impact will be felt in promoting investment in both directions largely by the convergence of regulations on either side of the Atlantic.

One of the greatest potential advantages for the EU would be the opening up of tenders at the US state level to European suppliers. But in return, Europe would have to give up existing protections on its agriculture, film industry and public services.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Councils paying hundreds of millions to City fund managers for staff pension funds

Councils are paying out hundreds of millions of pounds in fees to City fund managers to run gold plated pension funds for their staff, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.


 In all £347million was paid out by the council pension funds to investment managers last year, up nearly 9 per cent on the £319million paid out in 2011. 

The overall cost of the fees would be the equivalent of adding £15 to every council tax bill in England and Wales.

The increase is more than double the increase in the value of the council pension funds, which went up by nearly 4 per cent to £158.6billion, raising questions about whether the taxpayer is getting value for money.

For example fees paid by Lewisham jumped by 85 per cent to £3million and by 41 per cent to £8.7million in Durham.

A breakdown shows taxpayers in some of the country's poorest boroughs supporting payments to some of the City’s biggest fund managers. 

Camden paid out £2.8million fund managers including £1.1million to Aberdeen Asset Management and £667,000 to Fidelity while Barking and Dagenham paid £2.2million to fund managers including Aberdeen Asset Management, Goldman Sachs, Prudential and Schroders.

Somerset paid £2million to a group of fund managers including Jupiter Asset Management, Aviva Investors and JP Morgan.

Iain Duncan Smith: cut welfare to fund police and Forces

Iain Duncan Smith has offered to cut Britain’s welfare Bill by up to another £3  billion annually to protect spending on the Armed Forces and police, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. 

 
Mr Duncan Smith is understood to have offered to restrict housing benefit for the under-25s, and to limit state payments to families with more than two children. 

Both proposed cuts were publicly floated by the Prime Minister last year, but were thought to be off the agenda during this Parliament. The discussions over further welfare cuts took place before last Wednesday’s suspected terror attack in Woolwich, which is expected to lead to renewed pressure on the Treasury to protect security spending.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to block any further working-age benefit cuts, but will now come under intense pressure from some Conservatives to reverse their opposition ahead of next month’s Spending Review.

A senior Conservative source said: “It is now a simple choice, Iain Duncan Smith has offered a deal which will protect the country’s security. “The Liberal Democrats will block it — and it will be for them to explain why it is more important for teenagers to be given council flats rather than for the nation and its citizens to be protected.”

Defence spending is facing a reduction of about £1.6 billion and the Home Office is facing £800 million of new cuts.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph earlier this year, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said that there was a “body of opinion within Cabinet who believes that we have to look at the welfare budget again”.

In the wake of Mr Hammond’s interview, Mr Duncan Smith is understood to have contacted him and Mrs May with the offer of new welfare cuts. It is not known if the trio have yet attempted privately to lobby the Liberal Democrats.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Blue Labour: Would Ed Miliband shrink the welfare state?

Welfare reform has become one of the most divisive issues in austerity Britain. 

 

Now, a rising force within the Labour Party wants to silence the party's critics and win the welfare debate - by abandoning some of its oldest principles.

Its adherents want to scale back the state's role in welfare, reward with extra support people who have "paid in" more than others, and even take away universal benefits. 

They are not a right-wing think tank, they are Blue Labour. And they are closer than ever to the very heart of the Labour Party.

Leading voices such as Marc Stears and Jon Cruddas are in charge of crafting Ed Miliband's speeches and writing policies for the next election manifesto.

The shift is nowhere more evident than in the deprived London borough of Newham, where long-standing Labour Mayor Sir Robin Wales has overseen moves to fast-track people in employment on to the housing waiting list.  "It's not acceptable that generations of people live on welfare - it is not good for them, it is not right and it is not fair, and we have allowed that to happen," he says. 

The idea of rewarding those who "pay in" first is not new, even on the political left.  It was included in the 1942 report by William Beveridge that became the blueprint for the welfare state. But its rebirth as possible Labour policy blurs the boundaries of a stormy welfare debate increasingly oversimplified as "strivers and skivers".

Labour's new blue clique believes the welfare state has contributed to the downfall of communities - blamed for so long on inequality and the collapse of industry - by allowing people to think it is acceptable to just take.

Outspoken academic and Labour peer Lord Maurice Glasman, a close friend of Jon Cruddas, advocates removing absolute entitlement to welfare in favour of rewards based on contributions - both financially and socially.

 "It's absolutely correct that people who have paid in over the lifetime should be treated better than people who haven't paid in," he says.

Bedroom tax 'could make thousands of poor people homeless'

Data from 107 local authorities shows 86,000 households have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year.

 

The figures mask considerable regional variation. In Essex, 100 social housing tenants in Rochford were deemed to require a one-bedroom property because of the benefit changes but only five had become vacant the previous year.

In Gloucester the council said 111 one-bed homes had been available last year, but almost 500 households needed them because of the bedroom tax.  Inverclyde in Scotland said 1,100 households would need to move into one-bedroom homes – of which just 96 had been free to rent last year.

False Economy, the trade union-backed campaign that used freedom of information requests to get the data, said it had chosen to focus on one-bed properties as ministers had been forced to acknowledge last year that there was a "shortage" of such homes but pressed on regardless with the policy. 

A spokesman for False Economy said: "The disparity between the demand for one-bed housing and a whole year's worth of supply is so severe that there is little hope of plugging the shortfall."

Without new homes being built, "tens of thousands are now facing a crisis".

Homeless charities also called for the policy to be abandoned.  Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: "Without enough one-bedroom homes to move into, tens of thousands are powerless to avoid the anxiety, debt and arrears caused by the bedroom tax. 

Our fear is that many, through no fault of their own, will in the end become homeless as a direct result of government policy. 

Ministers must accept these facts and rethink the bedroom tax now."

Labour described the policy as the "worst combination of cruelty and incompetence".  Liam Byrne, the party's spokesman on welfare, said the bedroom tax was a "mess". "Thousands of vulnerable households are trapped by this hated tax with no option to move

Cameron 'remains in charge' while on holiday

The Prime Minister and his wife Samantha soaked up the sun in Ibiza on Sunday after flying out to the island on Saturday. 


Mr Cameron has been accompanied by a small team of key staff and is being kept up to date over developments in the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Looking relaxed and casual, the couple sipped coffee against a picturesque beachside backdrop. Mr Cameron, in a dark shirt and open-toed sandals, and his wife, who was sporting a teal-coloured sun dress, were left undisturbed by nearby customers, including fellow Brits.

 A No10 spokesman said: "The PM is on holiday with his family for the week. As always, whilst away, he remains in charge, and has office support with him."

Ilford Chief Inspector John Fish Assualt on Homeless

The action's of Chief Inspector of Ilford police, a Mr John Fish, are very disturbing, no need to ask who he votes for, Is this the wisest use of PUBLIC resources?



He told the Recorder (local Newspaper) that the operation was carried out to "reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers"

Read more here.

Linda Wootton: Double heart and lung transplant dies nine days after she has benefits stopped

Linda Wootton, 49, was on 10 prescription drugs a day, suffering high blood pressure, renal failure and regular blackouts. 


Yet Atos – the private firm carrying out the Government’s controversial work capability assessments – ruled she was fit enough to find a job after she was interviewed. 

Cost-cutting officials sent Linda a letter telling her that her £108.05 a week employment and support allowance was being stopped as she lay dying in a hospital bed. Her husband Peter said: “I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own body fluids. It took half an hour for her to die – and that’s a woman who’s ‘fit for work’.

The last months of her life were a misery because she worried about her benefits, feeling useless, like a scrounger.

Peter said Linda found the process humiliating. The assessments, which have also seen some terminal cancer patients denied benefits, have been blasted as arduous and degrading. 

She was judged fit for work and her benefit was stopped on February 13. Peter said Linda typed her appeal on an iPad “crying her eyes out” as she lay in hospital chronically ill with a chest infection.

The Atos criteria for ability to work included “You can understand simple messages from a stranger” and “You can use a computer keyboard or mouse and a pen or a pencil with at least one hand.” 

While the Atos assessment failed to pinpoint any of Linda’s health issues, her death certificate listed lung and heart problems, hypertension and chronic renal failure as causes. Peter cannot grieve properly because he is so angry at how Whitehall bureaucrats ruined his wife’s precious last days. He said: “She paid her tax and national insurance – then she is treated like this. It’s disgusting.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our sympathy goes out to Mrs Wootton’s family. A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all supporting medical evidence.”

Tories look at limiting GP visits

Conservatives have considered limiting the number of times patients can visit their family doctor in a year, it has emerged.


Documents examining health reforms ask Tory activists if they agree or disagree with an annual cap on the number of appointments patients can book.

Among them were whether GPs should take greater responsibility for out of hours care in their area - something Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt addressed earlier this week - and if seeing a GP for a routine appointment in the evening or at the weekend is a luxury the country cannot afford.

Labour health spokesman Jamie Reed told the Independent on Sunday: "This paper, hidden away on their website, reveals the Tories' true agenda for the NHS. 

After throwing the NHS open to ever more privatisation with a wasteful and damaging reorganisation, it seems the Tories want to go even further.

"It's shocking that they are considering limiting the number of times patients can see their GP - changing the fundamental principle in the NHS constitution that access to the NHS is based on clinical need.

"The Tories have already wasted £3bn on a top-down reorganisation of the NHS and overseen a crisis in A&E - now they are consulting their members on opening up the NHS to even more competition, and making it harder for patients to see GPs in the evenings and at weekends."

Friday, 24 May 2013

Homeless in London? Here's a train ticket for Birmingham

The plight of a mother and daughter forced to live in a hotel room 127 miles from their former home in the capital

 
When Aisha was evicted from her flat in East Ham, east London, on 15 April, she packed her belongings in a suitcase and went with her six-year-old daughter to the council's housing office in Stratford, hoping for help to find somewhere else to stay in the area. Instead she was given a train ticket to Birmingham, and details of how to take the bus from the station to the Bailey hotel in Edgbaston, a hotel providing emergency accommodation 127 miles away. 

For the past month, she has been sharing a double bed with her daughter in a room scarcely bigger than the bed, living out of the suitcase, and surviving mainly on cold snack food from the corner shop because it is hard to get access to the hotel's kitchen, which has just one stove – four hotplates – shared between residents of the hotel's 25 rooms.

The Bailey hotel is currently home to six families from Newham, moved out of London by a council that is in the grip of a severe housing crisis.ome of them have been moved pre-emptively in advance of the forthcoming benefit cap, which will limit total welfare payments to £500 a week for families, and will be implemented this summer. 

Others have been moved out of London because Newham has run out of cheap accommodation within the borough. Over the past year, central London councils, themselves struggling to find affordable places to house their tenants, have been moving them to cheaper areas such as Newham, reducing the available affordable stock in that borough, so that Newham has had to start moving people farther out.

Newham council is currently housing 29 families outside the borough: 10 in Birmingham and others in locations such as Leicester, Southend and Northampton.

It expects that number to grow. In a statement, the council said it was "experiencing housing pressure".

Earlier this month, Aisha, 43, was told that the council had found her a permanent place in Hastings, East Sussex. She packed her suitcase and made the 193-mile journey to the south coast with her daughter, to look at the flat. She was told she had no choice about whether to accept the property, but she also found out that it was not yet ready to move into, so she returned by train to Birmingham. She is now unclear when, or if, she will be moved there.

"The government admits that over 7,000 London households will lose over £100 when the benefit cap hits and many will be forced out of London."

In a statement, Newham council said the area had high poverty levels "resulting in high demand for the cheapest properties". "We have a shortage of good-quality housing, with approximately 24,000 people waiting for a council house …

Government changes to the benefits policy have put Newham's private rented sector under increased pressure and restricted the number of properties available for us to house homeless families," it said.

"Unfortunately there is not enough housing of sufficient quality in the borough to meet the high level of local need and we have been forced to consider other options. "In addition to this, changes to the benefit system will mean some properties available now would become unaffordable in the future, to the detriment of both residents seeking help with housing and the council." 

Major Coalition projects like aircraft carriers, welfare reforms and broadband roll-out questioned by official Whitehall report

A Whitehall audit released last night discloses that officials have warned that billions of pounds of public money is in jeopardy because of the poorly-managed reforms.


The publication of the report from the Major Projects Authority - on the eve of a Bank Holiday weekend when MPs have started a long holiday - sparked accusations of “burying bad news” as the audit paints a damning picture of the Coalition’s competency.

The Major Projects Authority was founded in 2010 with a mandate from David Cameron to turn around the Civil Service’s record of delivering projects.

Its report uses by a traffic light system to rate the risk of delivery of every one of the Coalition’s 191 spending projects, which are so large that they provide Treasury approval Of the 191 schemes, 32 are defined as either “red” or “amber/red”. which means that they are unachievable or in doubt.

A red classification also means that the “project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed”. Amber/red means that “successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas.

Urgent action is needed to ensure these are addressed, and whether resolution is feasible”.

Red projects include the two Ministry of Defence's new £7billion aircraft carriers, the £5billion West Coast Mainline scheme and a shared services project at Ministry of Justice. Amber/red schemes include many of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms, which are worth billions, including the Universal Credit scheme and reforms to the Disability Living Allowance, child maintenance and benefit cap. 

“In these straitened times taxpayers simply can’t afford this lack of control and the extra money that will be wasted as a result of that.

One is left wondering this why this important information was put out one hour before everyone went home for the bank holiday?”

A source close to Ed Miliband said: “David Cameron promised change but instead we are seeing collapse. He has failed to cut the deficit and this report shows he is failing to deliver major projects he promised the country. 

“Slipping out the news at just before 5pm on a Bank Holiday weekend is a shoddy attempt at burying bad news. It will not work.

Tory council to make homelessness illegal

The Tories have a new policy on homelessness: make it illegal. 
 

That is the extraordinary intention of a Conservative flagship council.

Westminster city council, the richest and most powerful council in the UK, is proposing a new bye-law to ban rough sleeping and “soup runs” in the Victoria area of London. 

The proposed new bye-law will make it an offence punishable by a fine to “sleep or lie down”, “deposit materials used as bedding” and to “give out, or permit another to give out, food for free”. 

Last year, the Tories in Westminster spent £3,973,952 on 12 temporary staff, all of whom cost the council over £500 a day. The highest paid temporary staff member, a temporary head of regeneration and partnerships, costs the council £745 a day and has cost £453,446 for the 608 days the person has worked for the council.

A senior project manager, charges £600 a day, costing the council £852,600 for 1,421 days work, while a senior business analyst, charging £521 a day, has cost the council £827,400 for 1,588 days work. Overall, the council spends £10.5 million a year on temporary staff. 

You can buy a lot of soup for £3,973,952.

Yet the council is cutting over £1 million from voluntary sector grants over the next two years, a cut of 25%. Nearly £60,000 (39%) is being cut from the financial support given to information and advice agencies – the sort of people that give advice to the homeless. 

Direct support to the homeless is to be cut by £967,000 over the next two years. No wonder they want to make it illegal to sleep in a cardboard box.

Is the BBC Deliberately Avoiding NHS Cutback Woes?

Is the BBC no longer functioning as the primary conduit of information, and “interrogator in chief” on behalf of the British public?


However, the consistently inadequate coverage of major reforms to that other great British institution, the NHS, in my mind, raises this question. 

With the passing of the Health and Social Care Act, in March 2012, healthcare provision in the UK has undergone the most fundamental economic and structural change since the NHS’ inception in 1948.

The transformation goes to the very core of British society and culture and has been the subject of intense politicking from across the ideological spectrum.  The lead up to any legislation would have seen much in-depth debate and forensic critical scrutiny by our core public service broadcast network. Right? 

Well, perhaps not. The BBC has been criticised for systematic and willful avoidance of various strands of the issue: 
• lack of explanation regarding the influence of private companies in the reorganization
• question of how taxpayer subsidies undercut the Private Finance Initiative (PFI)
• alleged financial benefits to MPs with shareholdings in private healthcare companies
• absence of dissenting expert voices from professional organisations such as the BMA
• simple failure to register public protest.

But in many ways the specific details of the BBC’s failings are less important than the public perception and possible long term outcomes.

While live-tweeting Thursday’s Question Time (16 May) the palpable level of dismay at a narrow agenda was encapsulated by @bodnotbad who lamented:

“Every week on Question Tijme (sic), Europe, Europe, Europe… in the meantime our NHS is being sold out from under us. ‪#bbcqt‬‬‬‬”. ‬‬ 

Two days later (18 May) @PenguinGalaxy asked: “Hey ‪#BBC‬‬‬‬. Just to let you know, 7000 people marched through London to save the ‪#NHS‬‬‬‬ today.   That’s a good story for you, right? Right?” (retweeted 122 times). ‬‬‬‬ 

While these singular comments might not constitute a revolutionary groundswell of opinion, there appears to be a public sense that the corporation has been, at best, quiet on the issue, at worse, guilty of ignorance, manipulation and even collusion with the coalition.

The BBC, arguably more than any news provider, sets it stall out as the benchmark of unbiased objectivity. Yet it finds it increasing hard to maintain that ideal and level of editorial control in a much more chaotic news environment.

But the seemingly deliberate avoidance of a politically sensitive social issue undermines its often taken-for-granted ‘fourth estate’ role.

With its royal charter renewal up for discussion in 2015, perhaps the BBC will be the next British institution to undergo major surgery.

Benefits cap will have catastrophic effect on families, court will hear

Vulnerable families challenging £500-a-week cap say it may force victims of domestic violence to return to their abusers
 

Families will suffer catastrophic effects and victims of domestic violence may be forced to return to their abusers, it will be argued in the first test cases challenging the government's imposition of a £500-a-week cap on benefits. 

A judge has already given permission for a full judicial review of claims that involve four vulnerable families relying on welfare payments.

One household is facing imminent eviction, according to documents filed at the high court. One of the families lives in Haringey, one of the four London boroughs selected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as pilot areas for introducing the controversial benefits cap.

The DWP restrictions are supposed to provide an incentive for those on benefit to seek work and prevent families from receiving more by remaining dependent on welfare. The government's own impact assessment of the Welfare Reform Act estimated that as many as 56,000 households would be affected, losing on average around £93 a week.

The overall cap has been set at £500 per household and £350 for single adults. There is no right of appeal against benefit reductions. The cap applies however many children there are in a household. Large families are therefore likely to be disproportionately affected by the regulations.
 
"The families who bring this claim are indicative of … concerns regarding the legality of the policy, including its discriminatory effect, given its disproportionately adverse impact upon women (particularly single mothers), children, the disabled, and certain racial and religious groups," the court papers explain. 

"Two of the families have fled domestic violence in circumstances where they were financially reliant upon their abusive partners, and they now face a stark choice between descending further into poverty and risking losing their homes, or returning to their abusers in order to escape the imposition of the cap."

Rebekah Carrier, the solicitor at Hopkin Murray Beskine, who acts for all of the claimants, said: "This is a cruel and misguided policy. It will have a catastrophic impact on our clients and many thousands more vulnerable children and adults. They face street homelessness and starvation.

"The difficulties now faced by my clients were predictable and avoidable. The reason for the policy is said to be to encourage people to obtain work but my clients face difficulties in securing employment because they are lone parents with caring responsibilities for babies and toddlers, and disabled adults who have already been recognised as unable to work due to their disabilities."

The DWP has recently faced a number of judicial reviews on its welfare reform programme. Earlier this week a tribunal ruled that the work capability assessment (a test determining eligibility for disability benefits) put people with mental health problems at a substantial disadvantage. A separate judicial review has been considering whether the impact of the government's so-called bedroom tax on tenants "under-occupying" social housing is discriminatory.

Two win sickness benefit test legal challenge

Judges at the Upper Tribunal ruled the Work Capability Assessment puts people with mental illness, autism and learning difficulties at a substantial disadvantage. 


 The process is too difficult for many to navigate, a court heard. 

 The Department for Work and Pensions says there are safeguards in place and it will appeal against the ruling.

The court was told people who have conditions that mean they lack insight can struggle to gather the right documents needed for a successful claim, such as doctors' reports.

Lawyers for the two argued that where a claim is from someone with a mental health problem, it should be the government's responsibility to seek additional medical evidence. 

UK charities Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and the National Autistic Society intervened in the case to provide evidence based on the experiences of their members and supporters.

More than a third of these people are claiming primarily for mental health problems, meaning tens of thousands of people each month are going through a process that puts them at a substantial disadvantage, the mental health charity said. 

Under the current system, evidence from a professional, such as a GP or social worker, is expected to be provided by claimants themselves. There is no obligation for the DWP to collect this evidence, even on behalf of the most vulnerable claimants - apart from in some rare cases.

The charities involved in the case called on the government to suspend use of WCA tests for the people they help.

Mind's chief executive Paul Farmer said: "The judgment is a victory, not only for the two individuals involved in this case, but for thousands of people who have experienced additional distress and anxiety because they have struggled through an assessment process which does not adequately consider the needs of people with mental health problems."

Press TV's Documentary- Child Poverty in Britain (I)

THE PEOPLE'S PROTEST!

A PROTEST FOR THE PEOPLE WITH THE PEOPLE. 


LIVERPOOL
June 1ST 
1PM St Georges Hall
St John's Lane
Liverpool L1-1JJ

Spread the Word advertise on every Group concerned with cuts whether it be bedroom tax, welfare cuts, Demonisation of the Sick/Disabled etc on Facebook & on twitter get the word out Friends Family Neighbors everyone on the Street! 


Councils blows £3m in six months on housing homeless in hotels

A London council has spent over £3 million putting homeless people up in hotels in the last six months.

 
Between October 2012 and March 2013, the council paid £3,573,321 to hotel booking agency Polyglobe. 

Councillor Jonathan Glanz said: "The changes to housing benefit caps in particular, and the changes to welfare reforms, have meant that we have seen a huge increase in the number of people that are presenting as homeless.

"Although we have been redoubling our efforts to ensure that we have more and better self-contained accommodation for people, inevitably the sheer numbers of people that have come along have meant that we haven't been able to accommodate them all."

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Duncan Smith to face grilling from MPs over misuse of statistics

With deceptively little fanfare, the work and pensions select committee has announced that it intends to question Iain Duncan Smith over his misuse of statistics. 

 
After IDS was rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for falsely claiming that 8,000 people had moved into work as a result of the introduction of the benefit cap, the committee has "decided to examine the way DWP releases benefit statistics to the media".

Since the Work and Pensions Secretary always appears before the committee once the assessment has been published, he is now certain to face questions over his statistical chicanery.

The Change.org petition calling for Duncan Smith to be held to account by parliament has now received 96,271 signatures. Let us now hope he is.

In the past month, the Work and Pensions Secretary has claimed that 878,000 people dropped their claims for sickness benefits rather than face a new medical assessment; that thousands deliberately registered for the Disability Living Allowance before it was replaced with the more “rigorous” Personal Independence Payment; and that 8,000 people moved into work as a result of the introduction of the coalition’s benefit cap.

Not one of these assertions was supported by the official statistics.

Duncan Smith’s insistence that the reverse was true was dog-whistle politics of the worst kind. By stating that 8,000 people entered employment as a direct consequence of the benefit cap, he painted them as “scroungers” unwilling to work until the state ceased to subsidise their fecklessness. 

As for those who had not found jobs, the implication was that they were merely not trying hard enough. 

Victim of Atos Goes on Hunger Strike

YOUR SUPPORT URGENTLY NEEDED - Read the full story here!

A PROTEST FOR US ALL.


 The result of my abuse was that I now have PTSD and recurring bouts of depression. I also have Asthma but that runs in my family. My abusers were never punished.

I did not just sit down and whine and feel sorry for myself. I took action to help other abused males and to raise their profile to the public mind. I started a web site on the subject (Only the second one in the world at that time) and went onto TV, Radio and into the press to discuss the issue.

I joined the male charity, ‘ManKind‘ as their National Domestic Violence Coordinator and ran a 24 hr help line from my home for male victims.

The PTSD made this all very difficult and, after having a flashback and breaking down live on a breakfast programme with Philip Schofield and Fern Britain, in front of millions, I was forced by my health to give up much of that work and withdraw from the public eye.

Expected time to live: Between three and five days. This protest will begin at midnight on Monday may 20th 2013 and will end in either victory or death soon after.

Whether or not my fight becomes a pointless and empty gesture or, a carefully aimed and effective stone in my sling shot aimed at the enemies head, depends on you and people like you.

NOTE: This decision is NOT the result of a depressive episode. I am thinking clearly and I am in my right mind as I type this. 

The Plan and what YOU can do to help: 

On Monday I will eat my last meal and take my last fluids. The media will be able to reach me through this number 0750 88 1975 7.

Do what you can to get it to as many local, national and International press offices as possible. Search for them online. Get Organised here!

WHY AM I DOING IT THIS WAY?

ATOS have stripped all of my benefits away and left me with nothing. I cannot pay rent or council tax. I cannot buy any food once my money runs out.

Soon I will be homeless and on the streets. While I am still in my home I will have no power or heating. I have no family left. I will go from poverty to extreme poverty and at 60 years of age

I will not last long anyway. The appeal process is long, fraught with obstacles and hard to undertake alone. None of what is offered to me, or you, is guaranteed. It is a bureaucratic nightmare designed to make us give up and go away from the sheer stress they are putting us through. 

 It is like walking a tightrope without a safety net while the government and ATOS try to push you off with long polls. 

If I am going to fall to my death then I will do so when I am ready and not when the government decide to give me that final nudge and the medical establishment decides to walk by on the other side and pretends not to see.

It is my life. I shall end it in my way while I still have that choice. I will not be murdered by savage unfeeling suits in Westminster and the civil service. 

If you can use my protest to get the help you so richly deserve and to remind the British people what compassion and love for others means, then do so.

Spending on patient care set to plummet by millions, warn GP leaders

The amount of money allocated to GPs to care for their patients is set to fall by nearly £200m over the next three years- equivalent to the current funding for 1.2 million patients, according to predictions from GP leaders. 


 The stark warning comes from the Royal College of General Practitioners who say that the proportion of NHS funding being spent on general practice has been falling for successive years, with GP practices being starved of the resources they need to meet the growing needs of patients and to safeguard the future of patient care.

Only 9% of the NHS budget in England was spent on general practice in 2010/11, even though GPs see over 1 million patients per day and 90% of all NHS activity takes place in general practice.

“Most GPs want to help alleviate pressure on hospitals, including on A&E, with a shift in care back to the community, but this must be matched with adequate resourcing and we cannot continue to juggle an ever-increasing workload with a decreasing workforce.

Homes 'standing empty' because of bedroom tax

Speaking in parliament this week, Liam Byrne said three-bedroom homes ‘in places like the north east’ are being left vacant because the under-occupation penalty means families on housing benefit cannot afford the rent. 



Addressing work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, he said: ‘There are now 53,000 households in our country being put up in temporary accommodation, which is costing the taxpayer billions of pounds. 

‘When will he admit the truth: the hated bedroom tax now costs more than it saved? It is time to scrap it, and scrap it for good.’

'Telephone tax' of government's premium rate phone lines raised £2.5million from one department and is 'ripping off millions'

Millions of people are being ripped off by government premium rate phone lines, it was claimed today. 

 
The Department for Transport alone raised £2.5million over two years from calls branded a ‘telephone tax’.

Labour MP John Healey warned many of the premium-rate numbers were imposed on the ‘sick, elderly and vulnerable usually on fixed, low incomes’.

Almost two thirds of the government’s 371 lines called by the public are high cost 0844 and 0845 numbers or premium (09) numbers. The numbers cost up to 41p per minute to call.

‘Members of the public are subsidising the government’s phone bills to the tune of millions of pounds and phone companies are making a fortune.

Helplines for the government’s new benefits – Personal Independence Payment and Universal Credit – will also be 0845 numbers.

Lawyers protest outside parliament against legal aid cuts

Hundreds, some wearing wigs and gowns, demonstrate against justice secretary's plans, which they say undermine UK justice.

 
Standing in front of a coffin marked: "RIP legal aid," hundreds of lawyers – many in wigs and gowns – demonstrated outside parliament on Wednesday.

The protesters oppose government plans to cut £220m from the annual budget for criminal legal aid and remove defendants' rights to choose their solicitor.

Opponents of Grayling's proposals say that cutting legal aid will lead to more miscarriages of justice.

Jonathan Cooper QC said people did not realise they needed legal aid until they become involved in a case. "Everyone understands that they may need the NHS at some point but people don't believe they may need legal aid."

The former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes condemned Grayling's statement that those arrested were too poorly informed to choose their criminal defence lawyer. He said the justice secretary was implying they were "too thick to pick". "Independent lawyers will disappear within two years. 

High street solicitors will close down and the British justice system will be handed over to corporate bloodsuckers," Hayes said.

100 TUC delegates join DPAC to block traffic in central London [22/05/13]

After a passionate speech from Andy Greene inside congress house calling for immediate direct action, the TUC chair ends the conference and delegates join DPAC to block Tottenham Court Road for almost two hours.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

People's Assembly Against Austerity

Below is the launch letter that started the People's Assembly.


The People’s Assembly Against Austerity was launched with a letter to the Guardian.

This is a call to all those millions of people in Britain who face an impoverished and uncertain year as their wages, jobs, conditions and welfare provision come under renewed attack by the government. With some 80% of austerity measures still to come, and with the government lengthening the time they expect cuts to last, we are calling a People’s Assembly Against Austerity to bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice.

Here are the most recent meetings and workshops:

Over 700 people attended Manchester Peoples Assembly. Biggest meeting in Manchester for over a decade.  Click here for the Gorton (MANCHESTER) Against The Bedroom Tax


Brilliant, inspiring The People's Assembly in Newcastle yesterday - over 200 people came. We heard from campaigners over the bedroom tax, legal aid and workers' rights. 




Over 300 people turned up to the The People's Assembly meeting in Nottingham yesterday. A day of workshops, then a few speeches from me (Owen Jones), Francesca Martinez, Lindsey German and Tony Benn at the end.


There's a meeting TONIGHT in Sheffield:

19:00, Wednesday 22 May 
Sheffield Hallam University
Adsetts Lecture Theatre Level 6, Room 6620



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Austerity has hardened the nation's heart

According to the latest survey results, 56 per cent think benefits are too high and stop people looking for work. At the height of Thatcherism, the figure was 35 per cent.
 
 
Today 63 per cent also believe that children are poor because their parents are feckless and lazy. As life gets hard for the middle classes, they turn harder and the same is happening to those who define themselves as working class. 

Most of our people, it seems, approve of the benefits cuts, the bedroom tax, substantially reduced disability allowances and a drastic cull of local services. They are now persuaded that the needy are greedy and are a parasitic hoard responsible for our shrinking GDP and economic woes.

Here are some of the truths assiduously avoided. David Stuckler, senior researcher at Oxford University warns “austerity kills”. Suicides rise during times of high unemployment. 

Since 2011, they have risen dramatically, most of all in the areas where there are no jobs and among people badly affected by the Coalition policies. Stuckler is also concerned about the disabled, those who can’t afford homes, and the sick.

A new report by the British Medical Association (who are not a gang of lefties) warns that government policies are hitting the most vulnerable. A quarter of a million children are already failing to meet the basic standards of normal development. 

The GP Greg Wood, who worked for Atos, the company charged by the Government with assessing disability claimants, has just resigned because he thinks that the system is biased against the disabled.

Food bank suppliers can’t cope with demand; Salford council, one of many, is closing shelters because it is unable to get state money to house the homeless.

MP Sarah Teather writes: “Stigmatising people on benefits is politically popular, but it isn’t fair or right... it will make Britain less generous, sympathetic and willing to co-operate... It will make it more difficult for campaigners coming after us to argue for an option for those in poverty, because public opinion will simply not tolerate it.”

How true that is, and too late already. Compassion is now a minority hobby in this great country where, remember, the welfare state was created during years of unimaginable hardship and post-war devastation. Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, describes austerity programmes as an “unethical experiment” on human beings. 

Public opinion can scare or encourage politicians. Today millions are backing this human experiment. They, more than the ruthless Government, are responsible for the blood and tears flowing among the unfortunate and disenfranchised. The savage tyranny of the majority, as history shows, destroys nations, social and human bonds.

It is happening here. One day we will all miss the nation we once were, but there will be no way back. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Social-housing landlords training staff to spot tenants at risk of suicide

Maintenance workers, call-centre staff and housing officers are being sent on courses after growing problems among victims of austerity reforms.
 


Call-centre staff, housing officers and even maintenance workers are sent on courses that cost up to £300 per person, teaching participants how to judge whether someone is suicidal or suffering from mental-health problems. 

One member of staff working for Helena Homes reported entering the home of an older tenant living in sheltered housing to discover he had hanged himself on the back of the bathroom door.

“We do have some of the very most deprived people in the whole country. These people have more or less just given up. Some of them are just starving to death. It’s very distressing when someone stops paying their rent, and you go and find them in these circumstances. It’s going to back to something like Victorian times.”

The development comes amid evidence of growing desperation in Britain’s poorest regions as austerity bites. Last week Stephanie Bottrill, 53, took her own life, leaving a note for her children blaming her misery over the “bedroom tax”

But Ms Clark says the problem of mental illness in social-housing communities – and among staff dealing with distressed tenants – will only get worse as benefit cuts bite.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Inequality surges in world’s richest countries, esp. in times of crisis

Inequality grew moreover the three years between 2007 and 2010 than it did over the 12years before that.

 
A majority of the countries experiencing the harshest rise of inequality were in Europe, where tough EU austerity policies took hold. Italy and Spain were hit worst. However, a 5 per cent decrease was seen annually in Iceland, Ireland, Estonia and impoverished Greece – which still remains on the verge of economic collapse.

“Households with children were hit hard during the crisis. Since 2007, child poverty increased in 16 OECD countries, with increases exceeding 2 points in Turkey, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia and Hungary.”

What makes the news grimmer is that cash injections into the world’s financial elite, via banks and markets, as well as Wall Street, essentially only helped the uppermost 10 per cent multiply their wealth. In the years since 2007, their financial portfolios are said to have grown by a large margin.  

But OECD’s data also explains that the economic crisis could not have been the sole factor in the widening gap between segments of society and in their redistribution of wealth. There has been a process that has been exploiting these economic conditions since 2008, via the bankrupting and impoverishment taking place in the developed world, most likely for the purpose of competing with the developing world’s working classes and their cheap labor.

So there is a widening base of severely underpaid working class workers across the entire world. 

But they don’t get nearly the kind of social, economic or healthcare benefits the upper layers of society do.

In the end, it will not get better – the report says. The only reason that 2010 seemed like the worst year is because the growth of the conditions of inequality was somewhat halted by many social state provisions, mostly across Europe.

Without them, the report says the real trouble we are in would be more evident, and so would its growth in the years to come. What we are seeing now is only the beginning.


UK spends £2bn housing homeless in B&Bs, hostels and shelters

Rising private rents, lack of affordable housing, benefit cuts and low levels of home-building force costly short-term solution, investigation finds.


With the number of houses built in Britain falling to new lows, according to figures released last week, a four-month study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, has revealed that £1.88bn has been spent on renting temporary accommodation in 12 of Britain's biggest cities over the past four years. 

Campaigners have said welfare changes will exacerbate the problem. 

Official figures show that in London alone 7,000 families dependent on benefits stand to lose more than £100 a week under the benefit cap, and many are expected to become homeless as a result.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of the homelessness charity Crisis, said: "For the sake of cutting just a few pounds a week from their benefits, families and individuals are being forced out of their homes, to be put up in B&Bs or temporary accommodation that costs us all far more.

"A separate investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered evidence that London councils are rapidly accelerating the rehousing of homeless households outside their home boroughs. Some 32,643 homeless households have been rehoused out of their borough since 2009.

The "destination" boroughs have said the influx of households has put a significant strain on local services.

Councillors in Enfield in outer London, where more properties and B&B rooms are secured by London authorities than anywhere else, have said the demand from inner London authorities is pushing up private rents and placing untenable pressure on school places.Bureau data shows the amount spent on temporary accommodation across 12 of Britain's biggest cities was up 5.7% to £464m last year. And London councils have budgeted for further significant overall rises this financial year.