Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news…

A pile of newspapers with text overlaid reading "Voices on the Left"

1.Anti-Green Politicians Tipped for Top Roles in Truss Government-DeSmog

As the world continues to face a climate emergency, Tory leadership contender Liz Truss who is the favourite to replace Boris Johnson, is looking to give top roles in government to MPs with a history of climate scepticism.

DeSmog reports that the likes of John Redwood who has accused the BBC of “peddling climate alarmism” and Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has downplayed humans’ impact on the climate, are in line for top jobs in any Truss cabinet.

Rather worrying given that during a leadership hustings last week in Exeter, Truss promised to “exploit all the gas in the North Sea” and suspend green levies on energy bills, claiming “our fields shouldn’t be full of solar panels”.

2.  How Big Profits are Made In Children’s Social Care-Byline Times

An investigation by Byline Times reveals how large private companies are “profiteering” from the increase in children needing care, after new data reveals how the number of looked-after children has grown by 24% since 2010.

The findings come after a report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on children’s social care found that the “dysfunctional” sector needed an overhaul to tackle high prices, scarce placements and provider debt levels.

One of the examples highlighted when it comes to how attractive children’s social care is to big business is when the founders of industry leader Caretech agreed to a £1.2 billion takeover to delist the company from the London stock market.

The piece states: “Caretech operates children’s homes through a subsidiary called Cambian Childcare Limited, whose latest unaudited accounts show a gross profit margin of more than 40% in 2020, despite being less than 30% a year before. In 2018, a year before Caretech took over, Cambian Childcare’s gross profit margin was less than 20%.

“Cambian Childcare’s growth in profits is partly driven by a decrease in the company’s cost of sales, which decreased by just under 10%, while turnover increased by more than 10% reaching over £100 million. This is unusual – in normal markets it is more often the case that cost of sales increases when sales (or in these examples, children being referred to their care) go up, thereby keeping the gross profit margin roughly the same.”

3. Revealed: UK household energy debt hit record high even before price hikes-openDemocracy

Quietly released data from Ofgem shows that even before the April price hike, a record 3.4 million gas and electricity accounts were in debt. The energy regulator admitted that it is “the largest year on year increase in arrears” that it has seen.

Joe Cox of the Debt Justice Campaign told openDemocracy: “These shocking new figures show beyond any doubt that millions of households are being pushed into debt just to heat and power their homes.”

He added: “This crisis is now so severe that we should be looking at writing off these energy debts to help these households get through the winter.”

4. To successfully level up, we must empower our local communities-LabourList

With the Conservative Party only using ‘levelling up’ as a rhetorical tool to keep their fragile electoral coalition together, with no real commitment to level up, Lisa Nandy writes a piece for LabourList on what must happen if the country is to truly reduce inequalities.

Nandy highlights the importance of empowering communities in her piece, highlighting the brilliant work done by areas such as ‘Grimsby, Preston and Wigan where businesses, community leaders and colleges have been rebuilding Britain from the ground up’.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government writes: “If ‘levelling up’ means anything, it must deliver good jobs in our hometowns so young people have choices and chances and do not have to get out to get on, where our high streets are thriving because the local economy is thriving, with good local businesses and money in people’s pockets.

“Our towns and villages should be better connected to jobs, opportunities, our family and our friends through good transport, digital infrastructure and affordable housing that we have too often been denied. Our town centres should be safe and welcoming instead of plagued by anti-social behaviour, with criminals being let off and victims let down.”

5. Ofgem Is a Scam-Tribune

After Ofgem announced last week that the price cap will now be updated quarterly instead of every six months, meaning millions of people are set to face further hardship amid the cost of living crisis, Rae Deer has written a piece for Tribune on the energy regulator’s failings and how it’s failed to protect consumers.

Rae writes: “As is so often the case with post-Thatcherite ‘free-market inspired’ government institutions, deeply entrenched right-wing economic ideology is to blame for Ofgem’s regulatory failure.”

The piece looks at Ofgem’s failure to regulate the big six which it puts down to the fact that its funding comes from the licenses it grants to these energy suppliers and what can be done to finally establish energy suppliers that work for the public good.

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