Chris Grayling is rushing ahead with government plans to privatise probation services
This week the government announced a list of the 21 ‘preferred bidders’ to run probation services as the new ‘Community Rehabilitation Companies’ or CRCs, replacing the former publicly-run Probation Trusts.
CRCs will be responsible for low to medium risk offenders, comprising 70 per cent of probation services, while high risk offenders will remain the responsibility of the much-reduced publicly run probation service.
Despite repeated warnings from a range of sources, mass dissatisfaction from the workforce and mounting evidence that the reforms are unsafe, untested and unnecessary, justice secretary Chris Grayling is rushing ahead with government plans to privatise probation services, under the Transforming Rehabilitation programme. Read More
Ed Miliband should look closer to home before blaming Scottish Labour for the party’s problems
Yesterday’s polling by Ipsos Mori for STV suggesting a Labour meltdown north of the border took everyone by surprise. There was no way that Labour could ever be reduced to a rump of just four Scottish MPs, so everyone said.
As Ben Page, chief executive of Ipsos Mori, declared on Twitter just before the figures were published:
“Wow. Once a year or less we do a poll that genuinely surprises me and has big immediate implications. Out later!”
Then came the second poll which admittedly wasn’t as bad as the Ipsos Mori one, but nevertheless the YouGov survey, commissioned by the Times, put the SNP on 43 per cent and Labour on 27 per cent of the vote.
Replicated across all constituencies that would give the SNP ‘just’ 47 seats and Labour 10 in next year’s UK General Election. Read More
Chasing tax avoiders is labour intensive, but since 2005, 34,000 jobs have gone from HMRC
Taxes are the price of a civilised society and without them no state can provide social infrastructure, alleviate poverty, subsidise corporations or rescue distressed banks. But tax revenues are under relentless attack and corporate ingenuity in avoiding taxes shows no limits.
Companies have become very adept at shifting profits to low/no tax jurisdictions through complex corporate structures, as shown by Google, Microsoft, Starbucks and others. They shift profits by using intragroup transfer pricing techniques, spurious royalty and management fee programmes.
They have also enabled their executives to avoid income taxes and National Insurance Contributions by paying in gold bars, fine wine, platinum sponge and routing the payments through trusts in offshore havens. The financial effects of this alchemy are hard to estimate with any precision, but various models suggest that up to £120 billion of tax revenues a year may be lost to the UK Treasury. Read More
If this poll carries over to the General Election, Scottish Labour will see itself virtually wiped out
The three declared candidates to lead Scottish Labour will this afternoon be considering the meaning of a devastating poll carried out by Ipsos Mori for the STV.
The polling, carried out during a period which saw outgoing leader at Holyrood, Johann Lamont, resign with a damaging critique of the UK-wide party, gives the SNP a huge 29-point lead when people are asked how they would vote in next year’s General Election.
Of those voters questioned in Scotland who said they are certain to vote, 52 per cent say they will vote SNP, with Labour languishing on 23 per cent. Support for the Scottish Conservatives stands at 10 per cent, with the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Green Party both on 6 per cent. Read More
Austerity not only drives the growing inequality in our society, it drives the divisiveness that demonises the migrant, the welfare claimant or the public sector worker
Austerity has hit the poorest hardest, increasing inequality and poverty. Homelessness is up under this government and nearly a million families needed to use food banks last year.
These horrific trends are set to intensify in the next parliament whatever form the government takes, with Labour signed up to Coalition spending plans in year one and promising further austerity to balance the books by 2020. It is in this grim political context that Class will be meeting on Saturday to discuss ‘What Britain Needs’.
Austerity won’t balance the books, as George Osborne is currently finding, because the books can’t be balanced on the backs of the poor – austerity will only inflict more pain. Read More
Labour in London has long supported the Hackney-Chelsea line and the latest incarnation of this proposal is Andrew Adonis’ Crossrail 2 proposal
This announcement of a preferred route by the Mayor, Boris Johnson, is a big step forward for a project which is vitally important for London’s economic future.
Crossrail 2 will have a transformative effect on the capital and the surrounding regions, opening up vast new areas for regeneration and creating new jobs and economic opportunities. With London’s population set to grow to 10m by 2030 and 11.3m by 2050, there is a clearly evidenced need for high quality transport infrastructure like HS2.
Crossrail 2 will resolve two specific issues facing London, but let’s be clear, the economic growth resulting from Crossrail 2 will help power the whole country’s future. Read More
With three declared candidates so far, Left Foot Forward gives a snapshot of those who hope to take the reigns as leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Undoubtedly the most well-known name in the race, the shadow international development secretary and MP for East Renfrewshire was believed to have had a good referendum campaign, visiting 100 towns in 100 days with his trusted Irn Bru crate.
A supporter of the Iraq war, Murphy remains associated with the Blairite wing of the party which may cause the party problems when faced with an attack on its left flank from Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP more widely. Read More
There is no ‘obvious relationship’ between tough drug laws and levels of drug use, according to a new report.
The report looked at how 13 countries approached drug use and compared them to the UK.
While the report found drug use was influenced by factors ‘more complex and nuanced than legislation and enforcement alone’, it also noted that there had been a ‘considerable’ improvement in the health of drug users in Portugal since the country decriminalised drug possession in 2001.
Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Norman Baker said the findings should put an end to the ‘mindless rhetoric’ on drugs with a new focus on treatment. Read More
Jihadism has gone from fringe cult to a mass movement because non-violent extremists have too often gone unchallenged
A Bolton-based chemistry teacher and father of two, called Jamshed Javeed, has just pleaded guilty to two Syria related terrorism offences.
In a case that is being dubbed ‘Breaking Jihad’, after the US hit series about a chemistry teacher turned drug dealer, Jamshed become radicalised over a relatively short period of time in mid-2013.
Apparently he was deeply moved by images of Syrian civilians suffering under the brutality of the Assad regime, so decided to join ISIS to help them.
He was arrested by counter-terrorism police in December of the same year after a tip off that came from his own family. This followed a period of time in which members of his family had sought to prevent him from travelling to Syria by, amongst others, confiscating his passport and taking his battlefield equipment away. Read More