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The future of Government (if any)

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#121 Postby Alan H » February 10th, 2013, 5:00 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

The full horrors of the bedroom tax are beginning to sink in.

For example: A couple have a boy and a girl under nine and they have their own bedrooms in a small, terraced, three bedroom Council house. The Government deems that too big (even if one bedroom is no more than a box room). Unless they find the additional £624 a year, they will have to apply to said Council for a house with just two bedrooms. This Government says the boy and girl will have to share. God knows when the Council will find them a smaller house - there seems to be a dearth of them.

Meanwhile, how does this family scrape together the money (yes, £624 is a lot for many families)? Well, they could move their boy and girl into the same room and take in a lodger (as one Government Minister has suggested) to make up the money. Except who'd want a stranger in a probably not very big house when you have two young kids? And what lodger would want to share a three bedroom house with a family of four with two kids? Except, the tenancy agreement forbids sub-letting, of course. So while they wait for a smaller house to become available, they have to find the £624 from somewhere...

Even if the Council does find a smaller house for them, who's to say it will be convenient for work? The school the kids were at? Neighbours and friends?

Then, when the kids are just a few years older, they will need separate bedrooms, so the process repeats itself.

And that's not taking into account the problems with the disabled, etc, etc.

Utterly bereft of any humanity, decency and compassion. As the article says, this could become David (call me Dave) Cameron's Poll Tax and ensure a vote for independence.

A tax invasion of privacy coming soon to a bedroom near you

'The 'bedroom tax' is truly the new poll tax.' Picture: Robert Perry
By Andrew Wilson
Published on Sunday 10 February 2013 00:00

POVERTY, according to Mahatma Ghandi “is the worst form of violence”.

When visited on people without the power to ­effect or change their situation it ­demeans, debases and humiliates. When public policy creates it all should be ­offended into action. All.

In homes across our country, hundreds of thousands are agonising about a particularly rancid piece of legislative action that removes their independence from the one safe place they should be able to relax in, their home. The “bedroom tax” is truly the new poll tax.

The Westminster government has identified one million under-used bedrooms in socially rented UK housing and wants them filled, reckoning this could save £500 million a year. That’s a lot of money, in fact it’s nearly a fiftieth of what the same government plans to spend on a Trident system it doesn’t need and can’t use, but why bother with such utterly ­irrelevant comparisons. It’s also about a thirtieth of what the government ­borrowed from the markets in December alone, but again I digress.

Let’s be clear what we mean by “spare” and “under-utilised”. If you have two kids of the same gender and under 15 in their own room the Westminster government think that’s a luxury too far for the likes of you, social renter. If you have a boy and a girl under nine in their own rooms that will also have to end.

Your choice to remedy your indolent self-indulgence will be to pay up to an extra £600 a year in rent from income you don’t have, to move to a smaller home wherever that may be available, or to take in a stranger as a lodger. Enter stage left Mr Charles Dickens.

The anomalies for the deceased and disabled are so disgusting I cannot ­believe they will stand. But a quarter of those households affected do have a disabled member. It is morally corrupt to force social engineering into family homes and tell nine-year-old girls to share with their beastly brothers while a lodger they haven’t met takes their room. Whole ­communities could be torn by this when you think it through.

It has been dubbed the bedroom tax, which the government doesn’t like. ­Remember they once tried to insist we call the poll tax the “community charge”?

In the House of Commons last February the relevant vote on this desperate policy was carried by a majority of 55 per cent overall. The Scottish MPs at Westminster however, voted 82 per cent against. The 18 per cent for were the last remaining Scots Tory MP and a clutch of Lib Dems following the government Whip. The likeable Mike Crockart was the notable Scottish Lib Dem “rebel”.

That there, in a nutshell, gets to the heart of the democratic handicap we face as a country. When Margaret Thatcher foisted the poll tax on Scotland before anywhere else it went a very substantial part of the way to making the 1999 Scottish Parliament the “settled will” of the people. What this vote demonstrates to me is that we have some way to travel to complete the powers of that Parliament. When the most offensive of laws damaging the welfare of our most vulnerable can be foisted on us against an 82 per cent vote then what power does the Parliament and devolution really give us?

Of course this new policy offence affects a much smaller minority than the poll tax. And the voices of those who are hurting the most right now aren’t backed by big money, grand connections and bought ­education. Their cries are a mutter against a wind of pomposity about the need for “reform” of unsustainable inefficiency in the welfare system.

I am certain much in the system needs fixed. But this is the wrong target. The policy genius that dreamed this up has marched into the homes of the hard pressed, striving and worried and declared “this peace is yours no more”. How many parents have reached for Valium, anti-depressants or booze to settle their anxiety on this one I wonder? How many lives will end early as a result?

Incidentally the unelected Tory minister leading the policy charge is Baron Freud of Eastry. David joined the Tories in 2009 and was made a Lord.

I don’t much care for the politics of envy but it is inevitable that we must note Lord Freud himself has 12 bedrooms across two homes in London and Kent. I am sure he worked very hard to earn the privilege he enjoys but I’m not sure what gives him the right to lead legislation when he doesn’t have voters to whom he is answerable. And, once again, this episode presents Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories with an opportunity to follow the logic of their own new rhetoric and stand up for themselves and the people they want to reconnect with. Until they take the chance to make a stand their words will ring ­hollow.

Their opportunity is the same one we all face as a country when we get the chance to vote in just over a year. Don’t take the chance and we will have lost the right to be offended by 82 per cent majorities that get ignored.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#122 Postby Alan H » February 10th, 2013, 5:21 pm

Apparently, in Hull, there are likely to be 4,700 tenants hit by this tax and looking for smaller houses. There are 73 smaller houses in Hull.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#123 Postby Dave B » February 10th, 2013, 6:00 pm

Alan H wrote:Apparently, in Hull, there are likely to be 4,700 tenants hit by this tax and looking for smaller houses. There are 73 smaller houses in Hull.
[sarcasm]Well, they will just have to move then won't they?[/sarcasm]

As usual there it seems that some of these schemes are just plucked out of the ether and the implications not thought out at all!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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lewist
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#124 Postby lewist » February 10th, 2013, 9:37 pm

Dave B wrote:As usual there it seems that some of these schemes are just plucked out of the ether and the implications not thought out at all!
And the Condems try to persuade everyone that it is a benefit, not further punishment of the poor.

:angry:
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Dave B
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#125 Postby Dave B » February 10th, 2013, 9:39 pm

lewist wrote:
Dave B wrote:As usual there it seems that some of these schemes are just plucked out of the ether and the implications not thought out at all!
And the Condems try to persuade everyone that it is a benefit, not further punishment of the poor.

:angry:
That's true, but I bet Labour have done the same in the past. Political Techniques 101 I think.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#126 Postby Alan H » February 12th, 2013, 11:03 am

2013-02-12_11h01_04.png
2013-02-12_11h01_04.png (198.67 KiB) Viewed 988 times
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 24031
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#127 Postby Alan H » February 18th, 2013, 12:09 pm

Some sense from the SNP for a change, but this unholy mess isn't confined to just Scotland:
Figures show bedroom tax a catch-22 situation
Mon, 18/02/2013 - 09:20
The revelation of a massive gap between smaller social housing availability in Scotland and the numbers of people assessed as ‘needing’ smaller accommodation shows the bedroom tax is a ‘catch-22’ situation.

Scottish Government figures show that according to Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) methodology 60% of social housing residents in Scotland ‘need’ one bedroom homes, but currently only 26% of residents occupy such properties.

These figures show that there is a massive gap between the type of social housing that actually exists in Scotland and the kind of properties that Westminster thinks the majority of people receiving housing benefit should be living in. With council waiting lists meaning there are few alternative smaller properties to move into, Westminster’s bedroom tax will be an unavoidable strain on the household budgets of the estimated 94,000 affected people in Scotland from April this year.

Problems in the supply of social housing are were exacerbated by the absence of council house construction that took place following the introduction of the right to buy. During Labour’s last term in office, only six council homes were built in the whole of Scotland. The SNP Government ended the right to buy for new council tenants, sparking a new wav of council home construction in Scotland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee said:

“The mismatch between the reality of social housing in Scotland and what Westminster wants to do shows just how out of touch with reality the bedroom tax truly is.

“With so many people in Scotland set to be caught up by Westminster’s bedroom tax, where exactly do the Tories expect people to go if they are to avoid being hit by this punitive measure?

“The DWP’s own system shows that there is a massive mismatch between the type of social housing that exists and what they think people need, so why on earth do the Tories think it is acceptable to penalise people for something they have little to no control over?

“The Tories seem to want to tackle a housing supply problem they ultimately created by causing a new, potentially even more devastating housing problem. To penalise people for people for something they have little to no control over?

“People in Scotland should not be paying the price for Westminster’s detachment from reality and their failure with this move only shows why decisions on taxes and welfare should be made in Scotland by people who understand the impact such a policy will have.

“Only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum will secure that right for Scotland and ensure that people here are not left at the mercy of a Westminster Government that has again shown itself to be wildly out of touch with reality.”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Nick
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#128 Postby Nick » February 18th, 2013, 3:25 pm

Alan H wrote:
2013-02-12_11h01_04.png

The Tax Justice Network is a notoriously unreliable source of information. They are inclined to take the maximum possible tax revenue, deduct the amount collected and treat the diference as illegal and immoral behaviour. And tax avoidance is of course, entirely legal, and largely the result of government initiatives to influence taxpayer behaviour.

I'm not saying there is no tax evasion, of course. But if they want to be taken seriously, then they need to be honest with the information they pump out.

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Nick
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#129 Postby Nick » February 18th, 2013, 3:49 pm

Alan H wrote:Some sense from the SNP for a change, but this unholy mess isn't confined to just Scotland:
Figures show bedroom tax a catch-22 situation
Mon, 18/02/2013 - 09:20
The revelation of a massive gap between smaller social housing availability in Scotland and the numbers of people assessed as ‘needing’ smaller accommodation shows the bedroom tax is a ‘catch-22’ situation.

Scottish Government figures show that according to Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) methodology 60% of social housing residents in Scotland ‘need’ one bedroom homes, but currently only 26% of residents occupy such properties.

These figures show that there is a massive gap between the type of social housing that actually exists in Scotland and the kind of properties that Westminster thinks the majority of people receiving housing benefit should be living in. With council waiting lists meaning there are few alternative smaller properties to move into, Westminster’s bedroom tax will be an unavoidable strain on the household budgets of the estimated 94,000 affected people in Scotland from April this year.

Problems in the supply of social housing are were exacerbated by the absence of council house construction that took place following the introduction of the right to buy. During Labour’s last term in office, only six council homes were built in the whole of Scotland. The SNP Government ended the right to buy for new council tenants, sparking a new wav of council home construction in Scotland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee said:

“The mismatch between the reality of social housing in Scotland and what Westminster wants to do shows just how out of touch with reality the bedroom tax truly is.

“With so many people in Scotland set to be caught up by Westminster’s bedroom tax, where exactly do the Tories expect people to go if they are to avoid being hit by this punitive measure?

“The DWP’s own system shows that there is a massive mismatch between the type of social housing that exists and what they think people need, so why on earth do the Tories think it is acceptable to penalise people for something they have little to no control over?

“The Tories seem to want to tackle a housing supply problem they ultimately created by causing a new, potentially even more devastating housing problem. To penalise people for people for something they have little to no control over?

“People in Scotland should not be paying the price for Westminster’s detachment from reality and their failure with this move only shows why decisions on taxes and welfare should be made in Scotland by people who understand the impact such a policy will have.

“Only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum will secure that right for Scotland and ensure that people here are not left at the mercy of a Westminster Government that has again shown itself to be wildly out of touch with reality.”

Whether or not one thinks that the taxpayer should pay for spare bedrooms for benefit claimants, there is clearly a mismatch between the type of housing stock available and that required. That cannot be resolved overnight.

Unfortunately, this rant by the SNP leaves much to be desired.

Problems in the supply of social housing are were exacerbated by the absence of council house construction that took place following the introduction of the right to buy.
Social housing these days is largely in the hands of housing associations, not directly with councils. The fact that so few council houses were built (during the Labour Government period in office) does not mean there was so little social housing constructed. A huge but "convenient" omission.

And I see no connection whatsoever between the abolition of "right to buy" and the beginning of more council house building. Where's the causation? Surely it is more likely to work the other way?

And to blame the Tories for not building suitable houses during their 13 years in opposition is a bit rich!

And for the SNP to appeal to the populace to vote for more expenditure, when the potential revenue to Scotland is reducing dramatically and will fall further each year (North Sea revenues have dropped dramatically in the last couple of years) is a failure of economic policy of the most dangerous kind.

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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#130 Postby thundril » February 18th, 2013, 4:20 pm

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:
2013-02-12_11h01_04.png

The Tax Justice Network is a notoriously unreliable source of information. They are inclined to take the maximum possible tax revenue, deduct the amount collected and treat the diference as illegal and immoral behaviour. And tax avoidance is of course, entirely legal, and largely the result of government initiatives to influence taxpayer behaviour.

I'm not saying there is no tax evasion, of course. But if they want to be taken seriously, then they need to be honest with the information they pump out.

Ok, but even without the big blue dot attributed to the TJN, the rest of it's not so dodgy, is it? On the govt's own figures, (DWP and HMRC) what do you think? Chase the benefit scroungers (weak, easy targets, limited access to legal help) or chase the tax fiddlers (a tougher proposition). Easy targets or bigger thieves. Which to chase (given limited hunting capacity)? £1.2bn benefit cheats or £30bn tax cheats?
Does morality enter the equation anywhere? Should it? Whose morals?
In the allocation of detectives, morality perhaps should be second to practical realism. But in rhetoric from the Daily Meldrew and chums, a bit of moral proportionality would be nice!

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#131 Postby Alan H » February 18th, 2013, 4:29 pm

What Thundril said.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#132 Postby Alan H » February 19th, 2013, 1:11 am

Loopholes cost HMRC £5bn a year, say MPs

NIGEL MORRIS TUESDAY 19 FEBRUARY 2013

The accountants and lawyers behind sophisticated tax-avoidance schemes, such as that once used by the comedian Jimmy Carr, are "running rings" around HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), MPs warned last night.

The schemes are costing the Treasury £5bn a year by exploiting loopholes in a complex system designed to help businesses, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

The committee delivered a scathing verdict on the performance of HMRC, which it accused of losing "a game of cat and mouse" with companies that promote aggressive tax avoidance.

Its investigation followed the disclosure last year that Carr used the K2 scheme to cut his tax bill. In the face of a public backlash, he apologised for a "terrible error of judgement" and pulled out of the arrangement. In a highly unusual intervention in an individual's tax affairs, David Cameron alleged that money from ticket sales to Carr's shows was going into some "very dodgy tax-avoiding schemes".

The band Take That, the television presenter Gabby Logan and the former England football manager, Terry Venables, were among other celebrities who minimised their bills by using tax "management" schemes.

The committee said the HMRC should adopt a "much more robust approach" and consider "naming and shaming" the banks, accountancy firms and lawyers who advise rich clients on how to limit their tax liabilities. Its chair, the former minister Margaret Hodge, said: "We have seen how public anger and consumer pressure can influence large companies, such as Starbucks, to behave more responsibly."

The PAC warned of a "proliferation" of ways to take advantage of gaps in tax legislation. It said: "HMRC has allowed a system to evolve where the [dice] are loaded in favour of the promoters of tax-avoidance schemes.

"The complexity of tax law creates opportunities for avoidance, there is no effective deterrent to stop people from promoting avoidance schemes and HMRC is ineffective in challenging promoters who obstruct its attempts to investigate."

Ms Hodge said: "Promoters of 'boutique' tax-avoidance schemes like the one brought to our attention by the case of Jimmy Carr, are running rings around HMRC. They create schemes which exploit loopholes in legislation."

An HMRC spokesman said: "The Government recently announced an extra £77m in HMRC funding to tackle evasion and aggressive avoidance."
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Nick
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#133 Postby Nick » February 19th, 2013, 3:49 pm

thundril wrote: Ok, but even without the big blue dot attributed to the TJN, the rest of it's not so dodgy, is it? On the govt's own figures, (DWP and HMRC) what do you think? Chase the benefit scroungers (weak, easy targets, limited access to legal help) or chase the tax fiddlers (a tougher proposition). Easy targets or bigger thieves. Which to chase (given limited hunting capacity)? £1.2bn benefit cheats or £30bn tax cheats?


The problem is that this includes tax avoided. This could be ISA's, pensions, and other reliefs specifically legislated for by Parliament. We really need to know what is included. It is also a fundamental part of UK law that one can legally and legitimately organise ones affairs to reduce the tax one owes. I think it would be pretty outrageous if our income only belonged to us as individuals by permission of the government.

We also don't know what is uncllectable because of bankruptcy, death or other factors.

I'm not saying, nor have I ever said, that benefit claoimants ae scroungers. However, the more generous the benefits (and I know, they are not generous!) the less the incentive to find work. IMO, the principal problem here is the cost of housing.

One suggestion for curbing evasion would be to allow private (but licenced) investigators to work on a freelance basis. If the revenues raised don't pay for themselves many times over, then the sums involved are not that great, or the evasion not that clear-cut. How far the populace would be happy with that amount of snooping is another matter....

Another factor which I think would be very relevant is the degree to which such a fierce clamp-down on so-called evasion would snuff out useful economic activity. I can think of any number of activities which would not be carried out if it had to be reported to HMRC. And given that any income above £5 per week leads to a deduction pound for pound from benefits, there is a huge incentive to evade such declarations. It is small wonder that so many participate in the black economy. In some ways, it is the apparent determination to be fair which criminalises so many. A huge proportion of tax-payers receive some sort of benefit. IMO, it would be better not to give benefits to such people, but to allow them to keep more of their income. (Sure there are difficulties, but we could at least start....)

Does morality enter the equation anywhere? Should it? Whose morals?
Of course. But morality is a human variable, isn't it?

In the allocation of detectives, morality perhaps should be second to practical realism. But in rhetoric from the Daily Meldrew and chums, a bit of moral proportionality would be nice!
If I question HMRC, I'm not exactly likely to believe the press without question! :wink:

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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#134 Postby Nick » February 19th, 2013, 4:35 pm

Alan H wrote:Apparently, in Hull, there are likely to be 4,700 tenants hit by this tax and looking for smaller houses. There are 73 smaller houses in Hull.

Er, no.

An alternative view.

Westminster expects 5,000 families to be evicted by housing benefit cuts – and it’s happening almost everywhere. Councils have no choice as they frantically search for cheap housing, often hundreds of miles away. In Hull the bedroom tax hits 4,700 families with a spare room, and only 73 small properties free.
Well, you know, I’m just not sure about that. I really would be surprised if in a city as large as Hull there are only 73 empty houses.

Ah.

Mr Miliband said: “The policy is not just unfair, it is not going to work either.

“In Hull, 4,700 people are going to be hit by the bedroom tax and there are just 73 council properties for them to move to.”

Now that is rather different, isn’t it? RightMove seems to have 500 houses to let today. And that of course won’t be the entire supply available (that doesn’t even include flats at that site) in the city.

Further, of course a council house is not the same as “affordable housing” or even “social housing”. Here is the list of housing associations which have properties to let in Hull.

There may well only be 73 council properties available to let. But that’s got pretty much fuck all to do with the availability of affordable housing in the place.

The truly gorgeous part of this story is of course this:

Large areas of former urban authorities, including Newcastle in the north east, Birmingham in the midlands and Ms Bartlett’s home city of Hull on the Humber were being afflicted with what policy analysts and academics called market failure. Unpopular areas of towns and cities, streets and housing estates, were being abandoned in their droves by residents willing and able to escape the terminal decay that had set in.

Labour’s favoured solution, as trumpeted by then deputy prime minister John Prescott, was to set up and fund the pathfinders to fix these failing housing markets. Many of the areas earmarked for rejuvenation, including Greek Street in Hull where Ms Bartlett rented her three-bedroom house, were considered by the pathfinders as beyond help: their favoured, expensive and often controversial solution was to demolish and rebuild; to rejig the housing market from scratch.

In Hull alone 1,031 homes have been bought with government cash from homeowners and landlords. The pathfinder programme as a whole has seen 21,765 homes acquired and 20,586 knocked down, according to Homes and Communities Agency figures.
The fat fucker decided to increase the supply of homes by knocking down homes. Is it any wonder that there’s a shortage of homes?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#135 Postby Alan H » February 19th, 2013, 5:02 pm

Eh?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#136 Postby Alan H » February 19th, 2013, 7:44 pm

Secrets of the Rich
Billionaires are hiding behind a network of “independent” groups, who manipulate politics on their behalf
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#137 Postby Dave B » February 19th, 2013, 8:10 pm

Alan H wrote:Secrets of the Rich
Billionaires are hiding behind a network of “independent” groups, who manipulate politics on their behalf
Surprises me not one little bit, there are "fronts" of all kinds out there I would suspect.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#138 Postby Alan H » March 22nd, 2013, 5:14 pm

I suspect there will be a lot more like this in the next few weeks: Widow packs her bags
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#139 Postby Alan H » March 24th, 2013, 12:50 am

Bedroom tax: David Cameron's hated new rules will force disabled gran from her home

The title doesn't quite match the story, but it's still despicable:

Shockingly, if she moves, she will have to pay for modifications needed for wheelchair users, which could cost £10,000.

Libby has decided to stay, forfeiting £1,300 a year. She said: “I’ll struggle to pay it, but if I moved I couldn’t manage.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 24031
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#140 Postby Alan H » March 27th, 2013, 10:07 am

A friend on Twitter linked to this story, saying:
It's taken me a while to grasp Cameron's Big Society. It's about us doing what the Coalition has abrogated.
Food banks used by thousands of jobless, figures show

Many also need IT help to apply for benefits as the system moves online

Thousands of welfare claimants are being referred to food banks by Job Centre staff over concerns they have not got enough money to eat, the BBC has learned.

Figures obtained by the BBC suggest about 6,000 people have been given vouchers for emergency food parcels by benefits officials in the last year.

The government says Job Centre staff are responding to people's needs.

But Labour says the figures show more people are suffering hardship.

The food banks are operated by the Trussell Trust, which has more than 325 of them in the UK. They provide at least three days' worth of nutritionally-balanced food for local people in crisis.

In all but exceptional cases, Trussell Trust food banks will only issue a food parcel to someone with a voucher from an accredited agency. Claimants are limited to emergency aid on three occasions.

Since October 2011 Job Centres have been able to issue vouchers for clients to access help at registered food charities.

The trust says the number of people being sent to them from unemployment officers has doubled in the last few months.

"We have had a lot through from Job Centres where very heavy sanctions have been imposed upon them and they have not been able to feed themselves," says Roslyn McVeigh, who manages two food banks near Glasgow.


Foodbanks are staffed by volunteers who provide emergency food for people experiencing hardship
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said directing people to food banks was a short-term method of alleviating their financial problems.

"I've said to Job Centres, sort their problem out. If it is a case of food banks, Job Centres are meant to help passport people through to that so they can get them stable, so they can deal with their problems."

Mr Duncan Smith says he is proud of the fact that his government agreed that Job Centre staff could refer people to food banks.

"What would you prefer? Under the last government, Job Centre staff were not allowed to talk about it. My concern is that the individual who is in front of Job Centre staff can get access to everything they need to."

Values criticised
However, the figures are likely to be embarrassing for the government, which is introducing major reforms to the benefits system.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne says the revelation demonstrates that even welfare officials recognise the hardship being caused.

"Instead of sending people to jobs, our job centres are sending people to food banks.

"Yet instead of offering extra help, this Tory-led government is cutting taxes for millionaires. That tells you everything you need to know about this government's values."

In the last 12 months, the number of food parcels issued by Trussell Trust centres overall has reached almost 300,000 - more than double the year before.

Almost half of those being referred to the Trust by various agencies say a problem with benefits is the cause of the emergency.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#141 Postby Dave B » March 27th, 2013, 11:04 am

And the latest on food/benefits, it seems, is that food vouchers may soon be issued rather than benefit cash. there is even an epetition asking for this that has been rejected due to a previous epetition on the same subject (which I have not yet found.)

Later: found this.

Is Britain entering a Second or Third World status? The increasing gulf between the haves and have nots is getting as bad as the one that makes the Great American Dream exactly that, a fantasy. At the moment, with flattened or falling wages and more people on the dole, more housing needed but fewer people able to buy, it certainly seems so. And we do not even have the dream!

Historically there are always slumps and peaks but the horizon seems very high at the moment - and getting higher with the bunch of blinkered politicians (all colours) and capitalists we have in charge.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015


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