The disillusionment of UKIP supporters could damage the charity sector


UKIP rosetteStudy shows that UKIP supporters are as disillusioned with charities as they are with MPS

New polling by Ipsos Mori for NPC warns that the mistrust many UKIP supporters feel for ‘the establishment’ is now extending to the charity sector.

Over half of UKIP supporters said that they had no trust in UK charities, adding them to the list of institutions in which they have lower than average trust – MPs, the BBC and the police.

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More irresponsible transport decisions


Public Accounts Committee is not confident that the Department for Transport can handle the rail commitments it has taken on

thameslinkThe Department for Transport faced criticism today for its decision to buy new trains for Intercity Express and Thameslink itself.

The Department has no previous experience of leading this kind of procurement, which is usually left to rolling stock companies and train companies.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said that the decision ‘left the taxpayer bearing all the risk’. She said:

“The Department has no previous experience of running a procurement of this kind, let alone two with a combined value of £10.5 billion […] if passenger forecasts are wrong and fewer new trains are needed in future taxpayers will have to pick up the bill.

“The only way the Department can limit this risk is by requiring train operating companies to use these new trains to run their services regardless of whether they best fit the services they would like to offer.”

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Posted in Public Services for All | Tagged , , , , | 5 Responses

The underpayment of care workers is an absolute disgrace


Up to 220,000 care workers are being illegally paid

Social care-JPEGThe people who look after the most vulnerable in our society are being illegally underpaid and it is an absolute disgrace.

Between 160-220,000 care workers are routinely being paid below the National Minimum Wage. UNISON are now asking people to sign this petition calling upon the government to help end the practice.

We have been campaigning extensively on this issue for the last year. We have shown how it is bad news for care workers and bad news for the people they care for.

We have also drawn attention to the fact that the government has been failing to do enough to ensure the law of the land is being obeyed in one of the most important parts of our society. Read More »

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Development Assistance Committee commends UK’s increased aid spending


Review recommends that UK maintains its level of spending in the years ahead

Africa aidjThe OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has released a review commending the UK’s increased development spending.

In 2013 the UK raised its official development assistance by 30.5 per cent to £1.4 billion, which the DAC says made it the world’s second largest donor by aid volume after the US.

The UK is the first major economy to meet the 0.7 per cent target that was agreed by international donors in 1970.

Current spending represents 0.72 per cent of gross national income (GNI). The average ODA/GNI ratio among DAC members is 0.30 per cent. Read More »

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The Lima climate talks: a small step forward, a long way to go


It’s clear that while the rest of the world is powering up with renewables, the UK is being left behind

chinacarbonSo on Sunday we heard the rather grandly titled Lima Call for Climate Action: considerably less than we’d hoped for, but not as bad as we might have feared.

It’s a small step towards the next UN summit in Paris in 12 months’ time.

What is to be applauded is that we do have an agreement on paper and signed up to; it would have been disastrous to have left Lima without one.

And it is worth noting that the existence of this next step very much reflects the wishes of the British people: a Populus poll last month found that 73 per cent want a global climate deal and 66 per cent want immediate action on climate change.

But it is clear, as Greens/EFA climate change spokesperson Bas Eickout has said, that the talks are lagging behind the real world economic, social and technical progress. Read More »

Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Responses

Darling warned Cameron not to pursue EVEL following Scottish vote


The former chancellor warned that whilst the issue of Scottish MPs voting rights on English-only matters needed to be addressed, to link it with further powers to Holyrood risked putting the SNP back into the ascendency

Alistair-Darling-300x239The leader of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, warned David Cameron not to make any moves to dilute the voting power of Scottish MPs just moments after Scotland voted to stay in the Union.

According to the Guardian, during a phone call with the prime minister in the early hours of 19 September, the former chancellor warned that whilst the issue of Scottish MPs voting rights on English-only matters needed to be addressed, to link it with further powers to Holyrood risked putting the SNP back into the ascendency.

Just hours later however, Cameron used a statement outside Downing Street to call for a process to allow some sort of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) to work in tandem with further powers for Scotland. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Responses

Bedroom Tax has cost low-income families an average of £1,260


Commons vote will be held today to determine the future of the Bedroom Tax

bedtaxThe latest government figures show that the coalition’s Bedroom Tax has cost thousands of low-income families an average of £1,260 since it was introduced in April 2013.

Around 500,000 people are currently being charged the Bedroom Tax, paying an average of £14 a week. Incredibly, two-thirds (330,000) of those hit are disabled and 60,000 are carers. Read More »

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Eight reasons why the centre-left could form Israel’s next government


Unlike in previous elections, in 2015 there will be a genuine chance for change at the top

tzipi“I told my wife I am off for a weekend of coupledom with Tzipi”. So joked Isaac Herzog, Labour Party leader and maybe, just maybe, Israel’s next Prime Minister.

It is still more than three months to polling day, but three recent opinion polls show the alliance between Israel’s Labour Party, headed by Herzog, and Hatnuah, led by Tzipi Livni, winning the largest share of the votes in Israel’s March 2015 election. Read More »

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Boris’ pledge to tackle rough sleeping is a failure which gets worse each year


The mayor needs to ask himself whether yearly rises in the number of people living on the streets is a legacy he is happy to continue ignoring

homelesscoventIn 2008 Boris Johnson signed up to the target to end rough sleeping in London by the London Olympics in 2012. Since then, the number of people sleeping rough in London has increased every single year.

In 2013/14, 3,473 more people slept rough in London than in the year Boris was elected mayor. This is nothing short of a national scandal.

Since the firm target to end rough sleeping by 2012 was missed, the impetus seems to have seeped away from the mayor’s drive to tackle the problem. Read More »

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Strange times in French politics


With youth unemployment running at 24 per cent, it is unsurprising that people are being attracted to fringe ideologies which offer simplistic solutions

Marine-Le-Pen-Jean-Marie-Le-PenFascism arrives as your friend,” suggested the children’s author Michael Rosen.

“It will restore your honour, make you feel proud, protect your house, give you a job, clean up the neighbourhood, remind you of how great you once were, clear out the venal and the corrupt, remove anything you feel is unlike you…”

All this sounds attractive right now for the French, who are mired in a political and economic crisis. The Front National sits near the top of the polls, and the prospect of an extreme-right president in France is seriously being discussed.

A recent edition of L’Express was entitled “President in 2017? Why the worst is possible”, over a picture of a stern Marine Le Pen. The governing Socialist Party is deeply unpopular and the opposition right wing UMP divided. Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Responses