The Public Accounts Committee published its latest progress report into Universal Credit last week and the results are disappointing (to use the polite vernacular of such reports). Criminal is probably what the rest of us would say.
Keren Suchecki, Author at NewStart
The first Tory poster of the campaign proclaims ‘let’s stay on the road to recovery’ against the backdrop of a long road (German incidentally, as ours are inconveniently full of potholes due to local authority cuts and the unexpected arrival of winter) fading off into the beautiful blue skies of the future.
The thing I fear most for 2015 is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The government is secretive about its behind-the-scenes negotiations because the TTIP carries a raft of undemocratic horrors, not least further and irreversible privatisation of the NHS.
Stephen Hewitt has died from cancer on 24th of October 2014 aged 56. He worked his whole life in regeneration and public health on a local and national level. The loss is enormous and is felt around the country.
There were an awful lot of people hoping that Iain Duncan Smith would be defenestrated in last week’s cabinet shuffle. If Michael Gove is considered so toxic that he had to be removed before the next election, how on earth did IDS escape with his career intact?
Miller’s ‘mistake’ has made it terribly embarrassing to go bragging about how you’re going to force benefit cheats to sell their homes, hence Penning’s moment in the limelight slunk back into the shadows.
If you want really shocking reality television about social security then I suggest you tune in to Parliament TV. Watch Lord Freud in front of the all-party Work and Pensions Committee refusing to exempt disabled people from the spare room subsidy even if they need the room for specialist equipment or a carer.
Any ‘sharing economy’ model where money changes hands can’t really contribute to regeneration: someone is always getting rich at the expense of the poor; employment rights are being dispensed with; local taxation is losing out; the health and safety of consumers is ignored.
With Fixed Odds Betting Terminals averaging £900 per week profit per machine, under the relaxed planning laws there’s every incentive to convert many more empty shops into bookies. This is what the government is actually doing to the high street and they don’t care as long as they can screw every last penny out of business rates.
Bristol greeted the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death with a customary bout of rioting. Maybe it’s something in the cider, but every occasion between the introduction of bridge tolls in 1793 to the opening of a Tesco Metro in 2011 has been marked by lobbing lumps of concrete at the establishment.