Integration should be the focus of immigration policy, not posturing


Poverty and job insecurity are more strongly associated with support for UKIP than migration

Migration uk-JPEGThe media has made much of an immigration stand-off between David Cameron and retiring EU Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso.

With an eye on the Rochester and Strood bye-election, Cameron has put forward some vague-sounding suggestions to limit EU migration.

Barroso has responded by arguing that attempts to limit the free movement of people within the EU would also certainly be illegal.

UKIP must be delighted, as the argument backs their position that only a British exit from the EU can control migration. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , , , , , | 34 Responses

It isn’t just child poverty that limits social mobility; inequality does too


The side of social mobility that no politician will talk about: making rich-but-dim children downwardly mobile

PovertyjThe government will fail to meet its child poverty reduction targets by 2020, according to a new report from Alan Milburn’s social mobility and child poverty commission.

According to the report, “absolute child poverty increased by 300,000 between 2010-11 and 2012-13″ and “independent experts expect child poverty to increase significantly over the next few years”.

This mirrors earlier findings by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which forecast last year that coalition cuts and employment trends would mean that, by 2020, a quarter of all children (3.4 million) will be living in poverty, reversing reductions in child poverty that took place under Labour between 2000 and 2010. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Responses

Scottish Labour faces crisis of its own making


For too long Labour has taken Scotland for granted. It is now paying the price

Labour ScotlandjThat a party that has been defeated at the polls spends time pondering what it stands for and what it’s ‘offer’ to voters is not new. Indeed, in many respects it is a good thing – an opportunity to take stock, understand why voters rejected them and change accordingly.

To be undertaking such an inward analysis just months before a General Election and in the wake of a win at the polls would be a sign of panic and desperation. That however, is the position that Scottish Labour now finds itself in. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , | 23 Responses

Until recently the Tories said Jose Manuel Barroso’s views were ‘definitive’


When the European Commission president agrees with David Cameron his views are ‘definitive’

Barroso ncrThe Tories have been quick to dismiss comments made by the outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that the UK would have ‘zero’ influence if it decided to quit the EU.

According to the BBC, a No 10 source said Mr Barroso ‘should be under no illusion that the status quo is not acceptable to the UK’.

Barroso also said that without agreement from all EU countries on changes to EU migration rules, the prime minister’s plans to curb EU migration could be illegal. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Responses

Tristram Hunt’s Hippocratic oath: a bad policy from a weak shadow education secretary


Attention is now focused on the fallout from Hunt’s policy rather than where it should be – on coalition education policy

Tristram Hunt ncrIt is genuinely difficult to fathom what was going through Tristram Hunt’s mind when he decided that a Hippocratic oath for teachers was a good idea.

This proposal was apparently inspired by a trip to Singapore where teachers swear their commitment to the profession in a ceremony which involves the presentation of a symbolic compass, directing them “to provide a sense of moral purpose and virtue to young people”.

This oath, said Hunt, would stress “the moral calling and the noble profession of teaching” and thus help to “elevate” the status of teachers. Read More »

Posted in Public Services for All | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Responses

Exclusive: An open letter to Iain Duncan Smith: Universal Credit questions that need answering


Existing problems with Universal credit risk being replicated unless you resolve them

IDS no copyright2jDear Iain,

At your party conference you announced your intention to “accelerate the delivery of Universal Credit … from the New Year, bringing forward the national roll-out through 2015/16 to every community across Great Britain”.

As 985,920 fewer people receiving are Universal Credit than you originally said would be claiming the new benefit by April 2014, acceleration is clearly necessary.

However, given the litany of problems with the delivery of this scheme to date, and the £130m of public money wasted on IT, it would be extremely worrying if even the limited expansion of the scheme you have announced was being driven more by a political  timetable than by due concern for effective and efficient delivery. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 63 Responses

This week’s most read: Leaders’ debates, Labour’s working class problem and MIPIM


Green PartyThe most read stories on Left Foot Forward this week:

1. A majority in Scotland still want changeNicola Sturgeon

2. On any objective test the Green Party should be in the leaders’ debates - Natalie Bennett

3. The MIPIM property fair: everything that is wrong with regeneration in LondonToby Hill

4. UKIP is tapping into ‘left behind’ BritainAlex Glennie

5. Labour has a working class problemJames Bloodworth

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Austerity economics don’t add up and Scotland’s public services are living through a lost decade


The political energy released during the referendum campaign is focused on inequality during Scotland’s Challenge Poverty Week

PovertyjTrade unions and the wider civil society have come together this week in a series of events culminating in a march and rally in Glasgow on Saturday. The aim is to highlight the damage inequality does to everyone in Scotland and provide a space where new ideas can be debated and developed.

UNISON Scotland’s contribution includes a report on the impact of austerity on Scotland’s public services and the staff who deliver them. Creating decent work and providing dignity for those who cannot work is at the heart of the battle against austerity and tackling inequality. It makes economic sense and this report demonstrates why. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Responses

SNP most trusted to deliver for Scotland – Labour’s problems mount up


In Glasgow, 40 per cent trusted the SNP most compared to 16 per cent who said Labour

Nicola STurgeonThe SNP and its leader to be Nicola Sturgeon are the party most trusted in Scotland to deliver further powers for the Scottish Parliament, according to new polling published today.

The findings, collected by TNS, who surveyed 993 people aged 16 and over, reported that 37 per cent said they trusted the SNP to deliver the extra powers for Holyrood the country wants, compared to just 15 per cent who trusted Labour, 8 per cent who trusted the Conservatives and 1 per cent who trusted the Lib Dems. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Responses

Disabled people know what it will take to help them into work. Will Labour listen?


Labour must prove it has changed its spots since the days of hiring Lord Freud as welfare reform adviser under Tony Blair

disabled ncrNarrowing the 30 per cent disability employment gap will be a cornerstone of Labour’s policy on disability, Kate Green and Stephen Timms announced last week.

But is this a genuine move to win the votes of Britain’s 11 million disabled population, worse hit than any other group by austerity policies? Or is it more posturing to out-tough the Tories on welfare?

The dual aim of fulfilling disabled people’s potential while bringing down the benefits bill sounds like a no brainer, except that we were here with Labour 10 years ago. Similar pronouncements gave rise to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in 2008 and few policies have done more damage to the fortunes of sick and disabled people. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , , , | 35 Responses
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