Friday, 14 March 2014

Tony Benn


1925 - 2014

Thank you, comrade.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Reaction to the public sector pay awards

• Christina McAnea, Unison: "This coalition government has taken a scalpel to the pay body’s report and won’t escape the anger of NHS staff. It’s a disgrace that 70% of nurses will not even get a pay rise this year."

• Frances O’Grady, TUC: "Ministers’ message to Britain’s young people is that they should not seek a career in health, education or other public services if they want a decent standard of living or to work for an employer who values them."

• Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing: "What the NHS cannot afford to do is continue a policy of treating hardworking and loyal staff with contempt, at a time when morale is at an all-time low and trusts around the country struggle to retain and recruit enough nurses to maintain safe staffing levels."

• Rehana Azam, GMB: "GMB members across the country will take the blocking of a full 1% pay rise as a personal insult. GMB members will not stand aside whilst the government makes such direct attacks on their pay and conditions. GMB will immediately begin making arrangements to consult members who will be asked to vote in a consultative ballot to decide the next steps in this dispute."

• Rachael Maskell, Unite: "It is despicable that Hunt has adopted such an underhand tactic. ... We will be consulting with our members about the possibility of industrial action."

• Dave Prentis, Unison: "This wretched government has treated the NHS, our members and patients with contempt."

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Labour accuse No 10 of 'burying bad news' during Lawrence report

Labour accuse No 10 of 'burying bad news' during Lawrence report
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBs8rj

Raft of damaging stories are released as Home Secretary announces major inquiry into Stephen Lawrence and Metropolitan Police corruption:

• 'Unacceptable' failings and overcrowding found in NHS hospitals
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBpTEv

• Report reveals little evidence foreign migrants put British workers out of jobs
Guardian - http://bit.ly/NBqEgF

• Philip Hammond challenged over two year delay in revealing nuclear submarine fault
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBrom5

• 12,000 homeless families housed outside their borough
Telegraph - http://bit.ly/NBrxpB

• Disability Living Fund closure to go ahead, says minister
BBC News - http://bbc.in/NBsT3H

• Cabinet secretary responds to Labour letter on arrest of Patrick Rock
BBC News - http://bbc.in/NBtRgh

PLEASE SHARE - GET THESE STORIES OUT THERE!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Panorama: Hungry Britain? - 8.30pm, Monday 3 March on BBC1

'A wall chart in a Grantham job centre explicitly sets out the cash savings available to the Department for Work and Pensions through stopping the benefits of claimants, ranging from £227.20 a week for a four-week sanction to £3,728 for a sanction lasting one year.'
Guardian 

'More than one third of councils are subsidising meals at food banks while some families are so short of cash they are returning food which they cannot afford to heat.'

'"If people can't eat at all, what's the point in trying to get them to eat healthily?" said Julie Hirst, Public Health Specialist at Derbyshire County Council.'

'Ministers have denied links between welfare reforms and the170% increase in emergency handouts in 2013. But a study by Policy Exchange, created by Tory ministers Michael Gove and Francis Maude, today says so-called benefit “sanctions” are leaving claimants too poor to buy food.'
Mirror

'What we thought we were hearing in the "big society" language was an affirmation of our role and an assurance that there was the political will nationally to supply the relatively small amounts of soft money needed to sustain it. In practice, the financial squeeze on local authorities, through whom much of the money was channelled, has decimated or destroyed many services.' Archbishop David Ward

Friday, 21 February 2014

ATOS seeks to exit DWP contract early

Persistent death threats against staff who decide whether sick and disabled people are eligible for benefits have forced the private company employing them to seek an early exit from a £500m government contract. With opposition Labour MPs also stepping up criticism, Atos Healthcare said the political environment had become untenable and that it was no longer fair to employees to leave them vulnerable to attack. “It is becoming incredibly difficult for our staff; it’s pretty unpleasant,” people close to the company said. About 163 incidents of the public assaulting or abusing staff were recorded each month last year, Atos said.


At protests outside 45 Atos offices this week, names of individual doctors were chanted, while many of the 2,000 staff employed to carry out the work had received threats both in person or on Facebook and Twitter, as well as bullying at the company’s assessment centres. 

The French IT company has been in discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions with a view to exiting the deal since October last year, because it views the tests as outdated. “In its current form it is not working for claimants, for DWP or for Atos Healthcare,” Atos said. “For several months now we have been endeavouring to agree an early exit from the contract, which is due to expire in August 2015. Despite these ongoing discussions, we will not walk away from a front-line service. Our total focus remains on delivering the services we are contracted to provide in a professional and compassionate way, until a new service begins.”

Atos has become a lightning rod for discontent over the coalition’s welfare reforms, which aim to shift more people off social security benefits and into work. For the past three years, the company has been under fire for its handling of work capability tests, which assess whether people are well enough to apply for jobs. A third of its decisions were overturned on appeal, amid allegations that people with terminal cancer or other serious illnesses had been denied benefits as a result of its assessments. Last July, the DWP told Atos to improve the quality of written reports provided to the department.

Atos said it had improved processes and that appeal court judges had said its reports were the reason for a successful appeal in fewer than 1 per cent of cases. A National Audit Office report also warned there were “dangers” in viewing high numbers of appeals as a measure of the quality of medical assessment work undertaken by Atos. “An appeal may be successful because the information available to the tribunal was not known at the time of the original assessment,” the NAO said. “In addition, a decision made by the Department on benefit entitlement will draw on other sources of information as well as the medical assessment.”

Despite the furore, Atos was awarded a fresh deal last year to carry out tests for the new personal independence payment (Pip), with the aim of reducing the projected cost of the benefit by 20 per cent by 2015-16. It replaces the disability living allowance and determines whether people are entitled to extra money to help cope with disability – such as cars, equipment or nursing. Atos’s £400m Pip contracts over five years cover the south-east and north of the country, accounting for about 75 per cent of disability living allowance claimants. Capita, a rival outsourcing company, has the remainder.

Private providers likely to be in the frame for the next work capability contract include G4S, Serco, A4E and Capita. According to an NAO report on the government’s four biggest suppliers, Atos earned £700m in revenues from the public sector in the UK in 2012, of £7.2bn sales worldwide. The company made an average net profit margin of about 2 per cent over the past decade, rising to 3 per cent in 2012.

Gill Plimmer, Financial Times


BBC News 21/2/14

Derry Journal 20/2/14

Daily Mirror 20/2/14

Lancashire Evening Post 20/2/14

Disability rights campaigners demonstrate outside Atos HQ in Euston 
Camden New Journal 20/2/14



Saturday, 15 February 2014

Atos National Demo - Wednesday 19 February 2014


Listings for the Atos National Demo, updated 15 February

East Midlands
Chesterfield:
https://www.facebook.com/events/595911257161904/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1
Derby:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1453037974916051/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Leicester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/237874276386917/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Lincoln:
https://www.facebook.com/events/648512661858799/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Mansfield:
https://www.facebook.com/events/627622143962116/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Northampton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/651698731519599/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Nottingham:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1410666865840806/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

London
Atos HQ Triton Square:https://www.facebook.com/events/274151616075668/?fref=ts
Balham:
https://www.facebook.com/events/614290765273457/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Croydon:
https://www.facebook.com/events/565295986892220/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Ealing:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1430035953896749/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Harwick:
https://www.facebook.com/events/609050165834040/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Highgate:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1434805916736886/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Marylebone:
https://www.facebook.com/events/603893969686083/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Neasden:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1407232986188423/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Romford:
https://www.facebook.com/events/500553090054112/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Wimbledon:
https://www.facebook.com/events/377917025685018/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

North EastBerwick-upon-Tweed:
https://www.facebook.com/events/774504785911478/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bishop Auckland:
https://www.facebook.com/events/210021869184422/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Durham:
https://www.facebook.com/events/399107443557239/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Hartlepool:
https://www.facebook.com/events/567558180000789/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Newcastle:
https://www.facebook.com/events/191510217720411/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Stockport:
https://www.facebook.com/events/577682318968672/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Sunderland:
https://www.facebook.com/events/632936793430759/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Thornaby:
https://www.facebook.com/events/222185447965766/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Wigan:
https://www.facebook.com/events/414250068712247/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular


North West
Barrow:
https://www.facebook.com/events/408660572598124/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Birkenhead:
https://www.facebook.com/events/203291546529436/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Blackpool:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1422873061282850/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bolton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/687873907919539/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bootle:
https://www.facebook.com/events/343322052472940/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Burnley:
https://www.facebook.com/events/441803119281314/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Carlisle:
https://www.facebook.com/events/339809916160383/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Chester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/353276264814195/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Crewe:
https://www.facebook.com/events/517002685082040/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Lancaster:
https://www.facebook.com/events/393899157422379/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Manchester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/211027602417363/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Mann Island:
https://www.facebook.com/events/629863890409135/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Preston:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1407839169460441/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
St.Helens:
https://www.facebook.com/events/679639728747947/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Warrington:
https://www.facebook.com/events/426500617479348/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Workington:
https://www.facebook.com/events/414250068712247/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Scotland
Ayr:
https://www.facebook.com/events/602669766472532/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Banff:
https://www.facebook.com/events/248182958682602/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Benbecula:
https://www.facebook.com/events/207816522741263/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Campbeltown:
https://www.facebook.com/events/504195273027618/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Dundee:
https://www.facebook.com/events/808106772536741/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Dumfries:
https://www.facebook.com/events/566925506734469/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Fort William:
https://www.facebook.com/events/488344341284732/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Glasgow:
https://www.facebook.com/events/624200270948488/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Greenock:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1437170449833360/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Golspie:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1453066334915397/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Wick:
https://www.facebook.com/events/565219020237007/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Thurso:
https://www.facebook.com/events/600728223309532/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Stornoway:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1410524212523087/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Stirling:
https://www.facebook.com/events/578024682281529/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Portree:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1443351242545681/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Perth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1434647630085774/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Oban:
https://www.facebook.com/events/261363464019740/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Newton Stewart:
https://www.facebook.com/events/418988541566556/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Lossiemouth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/350784431729934/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Lerwick:
https://www.facebook.com/events/784510894898443/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Kirkwall:
https://www.facebook.com/events/591369180935614/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Kirkcaldy:
https://www.facebook.com/events/565429276879590/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Islay:
https://www.facebook.com/events/561037633989380/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Inverness:
https://www.facebook.com/events/652484944794515/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

South East
Aylesbury:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1443310895884207/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Brighton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1385202078367178/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Cambridge:
https://www.facebook.com/events/213961708791854/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Canterbury:
https://www.facebook.com/events/756832141012210/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1
Chatham:
https://www.facebook.com/events/574071656018714/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Chelmsford:
https://www.facebook.com/events/572270359532733/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Colchester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/731157020230912/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Guildford:
https://www.facebook.com/events/441895872604024/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Ipswich:
https://www.facebook.com/events/584663371587491/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Kings Lynn:
https://www.facebook.com/events/692165417471543/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Luton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/412900848841905/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Milton Keynes:
https://www.facebook.com/events/565590610190772/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Norwich:
https://www.facebook.com/events/437335766391913/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Oxford:
https://www.facebook.com/events/590221801047981/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Peterborough:
https://www.facebook.com/events/734564879901793/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Reading:
https://www.facebook.com/events/687835117926514/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Southampton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/265383716951405/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Southend:
https://www.facebook.com/events/412235925589574/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

South West
Barnstaple:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1409087915999478/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bournemouth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/567140856702846/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bristol:
https://www.facebook.com/events/189983411195929/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Exeter:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1402207896693258/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Gloucester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1437218629842072/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Launceston:
https://www.facebook.com/events/257499627742147/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Plymouth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/778829175464438/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Portsmouth
https://www.facebook.com/events/685104878178682/
Salisbury:
https://www.facebook.com/events/595244110540875/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Swindon:
https://www.facebook.com/events/671713999547934/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Taunton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/614007058647282/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Truro:
https://www.facebook.com/events/568662469891773/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Weston-Super-Mare:
https://www.facebook.com/events/597524910314098/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Weymouth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/264593907032421/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Yeovil:
https://www.facebook.com/events/568022133284172/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Wales
Aberystwyth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/415091678593969/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bangor:
https://www.facebook.com/events/444874778972871/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Brecon:
https://www.facebook.com/events/344746548996565/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bridgend:
https://www.facebook.com/events/191773507696538/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Cardiff:
https://www.facebook.com/events/486388334804436/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Cardigan:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1805599586245275/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Carmarthen:
https://www.facebook.com/events/416212641845306/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Colwyn Bay:
https://www.facebook.com/events/242176499276405/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Dolgellau:
https://www.facebook.com/events/691860607512815/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Haverford West:
https://www.facebook.com/events/203811896476847/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Llandrindod Wells
https://www.facebook.com/events/734704419873234/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Newport:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1509806555910380/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Newton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/573321876088664/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Pontllanfraith:
https://www.facebook.com/events/568017923274049/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Pontypridd:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1432562083645401/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Swansea:
https://www.facebook.com/events/492775364174998/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Tredegor:
https://www.facebook.com/events/249813591853448/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Tremadog
:https://www.facebook.com/events/648480761883360/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Wrexham:
https://www.facebook.com/events/601480386597892/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

West Midlands
Birmingham:
https://www.facebook.com/events/267028783448981/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Coventry:
https://www.facebook.com/events/717017001642348/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Hereford:
https://www.facebook.com/events/785077144841442/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Shrewsbury:
https://www.facebook.com/events/526762090756019/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Stoke-on-Trent:
https://www.facebook.com/events/456009357832294/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Wolverhampton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/562234693866433/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Worcester:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1393868550864155/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Yorkshire
Barnsley:
https://www.facebook.com/events/270272019793572/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Bradford:
https://www.facebook.com/events/687722494582691/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Castleford:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1437960413099761/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Doncaster:
https://www.facebook.com/events/224461594401346/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Grimsby:
https://www.facebook.com/events/573172599441772/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Halifax –
https://www.facebook.com/events/1452085458346320/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Huddersfield:
https://www.facebook.com/events/635446213160494/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Hull:
https://www.facebook.com/events/675411662480344/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Keighley:
https://www.facebook.com/events/630661276969194/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Leeds:
https://www.facebook.com/events/558084760928458/
Pontefract
https://www.facebook.com/events/244546612381217/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Scarborough:
https://www.facebook.com/events/246022472231609/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Sheffield:
https://www.facebook.com/events/394912740644836/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
York:
https://www.facebook.com/events/191314501063136/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

NUS supporting the National Day of Action against ATOS:
https://www.facebook.com/events/600728223309532/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Atos National Demo Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ATOSNationalDemo

Atos National Demo website: http://ukrebellion.com/atosdemo/

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Cameron lies again: government forced to reveal that spending on flood protection was NOT protected from cuts

Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Maria Eagle MP, responds to Defra’s correction to official figures on government funding for flood protection:

“It is humiliating for David Cameron and Owen Paterson that they have finally been forced to reveal that spending on flood protection was not protected when cuts to the Environment Department’s budget were made. The Prime Minister must now stop repeating his misleading claim that more is being spent in the current four year period than in the previous four years when these new figures reveal that is simply not true. The Government should also stop including money that they hope to attract from external contributions but have so far failed to secure.

“Instead of spending time spinning away their failure to prioritise flood protection, David Cameron and Owen Paterson should focus on completing the review that they have been forced to undertake under pressure from Ed Miliband.”