Theresa May: “the government wants people to be able to manage their own (universal credit) budgets”
Yet again, the vulnerable suffer. Due to successive governments many now in need have been ill-educated, ill-nourished and under stress because they could not find work. In similar circumstances Mrs May and few of her colleagues would be managing their budgets well.
The introduction of universally paying housing benefit direct to landlord (stopped in 2008) was extremely helpful to those not able (or willing) to budget. It has been retained under universal credit and actually adds to the problems of landlords and tenants alike.
Quoting from a letter circulated by GAP Property during PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn said: “Will the prime minister pause universal credit so it can be fixed? Or does she think it is right to put thousands of families through Christmas in the trauma of knowing they are about to be evicted because they are in rent arrears because of universal credit?”
GAP Property said the introduction of universal credit would affect the vast majority of its tenants and it needed to take action to avoid a slew of rent arrears, which could put it out of business.
The company’s owner, Guy Piggott, said the letter was not intended to be threatening and he was pleased it had been highlighted by Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
“We are not planning to throw people out, but the prime minister should read this and recognise the problems . . . the majority of his tenants were on an average household income of about £17,000 a year. “People are already living hand to mouth . . . At best, if they need to wait six weeks to be paid, it will be the end of February before it comes, and by then they might have spent the money they had on feeding their families or heating their homes”.
Paragraphs from a snapshot of the letter:
Piggott said many landlords would soon refuse to take people who were on universal credit. “A lot of landlords are now saying enough is enough”.
Jeremy Corbyn said: “Will the prime minister pause universal credit so it can be fixed? Or does she think it is right to put thousands of families through Christmas in the trauma of knowing they are about to be evicted because they are in rent arrears because of universal credit?”
Mrs May replied that she wanted to “look at the issue of this particular case” but said the government wanted people to be able to manage their own budgets and expressed less than impressive hopes that the government could act next week to cut the six-week wait for payments to five.
Media 51: the New Statesman was being economical with the facts – of course a rattled David Cameron in PMQs ‘dialled up the abuse’
George Eaton, political editor of the New Statesman, appears to be another nominal socialist who cannot accept the democratically elected Labour leader who has such an enthusiastic cross-party following in the country.
New to Mr Eaton’s work, the writer visited the site and saw the general Corbyn-undermining tenor of his articles, post election. How he would dislike the admiration expressed by South Korean speakers and young Brits in a South Korean film (http://newstapa.org/29509) recently circulated.
Today he exults: “Labour right triumphs in PLP elections of backbench committee chairs – many of them ‘part of the problem, rather than part of the solution’. And yesterday Eaton reported that at this week’s PMQs session, Cameron’s patience ran out – accompanied by jeering Tory MPs.
Eaton attributed the PM’s tone to ‘contempt for Corbyn’ but social media – Roslyn Cook’s tweet – filled in the very significant missing link: the statement which will be seen as a major threat to arms trade, party funding and a loss of face for the PM on the international ‘stage’
Cameron was deeply riled by the Labour Leader’s statement issued shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions and lost the respectful tone assumed in earlier sessions. Jeremy Corbyn:
“David Cameron’s invitation to Britain today of the Egyptian president and coup leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi shows contempt for human and democratic rights and threatens, rather than protects, Britain’s national security.
“Support for dialogue and negotiated conflict resolution in the Middle East is vital to us all. But to welcome and bolster with military support the coup leader who overthrew a democratically elected president in 2013 and has presided over the killing and jailing of many thousands since makes a mockery of government claims to be promoting peace and justice in the region.
“Support for dictatorial regimes in the Middle East has been a key factor fuelling the spread of terrorism. Rather than rolling out the red carpet to President Sisi, the Prime Minister should suspend arms exports to Egypt until democratic and civil rights are restored.”
Britain’s shame: the UK arms industry is a major supplier of weapons and other military equipment and $24bn has been invested in the Egyptian economy by British businesses in the past five years – British-based companies such as BP and Vodafone being among the biggest players in the Egyptian economy.
Sometimes I wish that John Lewis was in charge of running the country
A Lancashire reader sends points from an article by Janet Street Porter:
The sales staff are models of politeness and customer services’ telephone help is second to none.
Contrast that Dickensian scene with the world of John Lewis, where the customer is always treated with respect.
The store still reflects the ideals set out by the founder’s son John Spedan Lewis in the Twenties, in a little red book. Staff are ‘partners’ who share in the profits and are expected to dress and behave in a way which reflects well on the store. The customer is always right, even when rude and must not be pressurised into purchasing things they might regret.
If only these ideals of shared responsibility — the belief that any organisation is only as good as its staff — could be passed on to MPs and civil servants.
Today, 91,000 staff work for John Lewis and their Waitrose supermarkets, and it would be good if anyone seeking public office in the UK was made to complete at least three months’ work experience in their organisation.
MPs are our servants, and not the other way around.
We vote for them, fund them, and trust them — but this is a one-way contract. They patronise us, treat us with arrogance and have little experience of the real world. They could learn a lot from working in haberdashery, curtain accessories, bed linen or lighting at any branch of John Lewis.
John Lewis is classless, and that’s its strength. Our politicians are mired in a class structure that doesn’t apply to the rest of Britain— surrounded by friends from private schools or posh universities, trade union backers or wealthy donors.
John Lewis uses its house rules to ensure all staff, no matter where they are in the pecking order, sign up to the same agenda, which is to serve to the best of their ability.
It is a mantra Cameron & Co might care to reflect on as they import (at vast expense) experts from all over the world to help them win the next election.
The answer is right here at home.
Margaret Hodge: an admirable Chair of the Public Accounts Committee
By chance, tuning into the BBC Parliament channel’s televised proceedings of 18th March scrutinising the ‘Use of NHS Consultants and Severance Clauses’ went some way to restoring confidence in the calibre of MPs, so sadly shaken by the foolish & loutish behaviour of many in Prime Minister’s Questions and the less than statesmanlike performances of the prime minister and leader of the opposition.
Above all, this restoration was compelled by Margaret Hodge as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, incisively holding Sir David Nicholson and others to account, quoting the relevant sections of the Treasury’s “Managing Public Money” which lay down “some specific rules and conventions about how certain things are handled”and never letting the prevaricators ‘off the hook’.
The exchanges recorded were from Q149- Q184 in an uncorrected transcript in Hansard: MANAGEMENT OF HOSPITAL CONSULTANTS AND TERMINATION AGREEMENTS IN THE NHS.
The rare accolade of ‘admirable politician’ has been given on this website to three people:
- Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George for his years leading the campaign to create a watchdog to protect smaller farmers and growers from the unethical practices of supermarket buyers,
- Old Labour stalwart Tony Benn – quoting from his 2011 Salter Lecture
- and the similarly principled and eloquent former Respect Party leader, Salma Yacoob.
Three other admirable MPs from the Conservative, Green and Labour parties, respectively, will be featured in due course.
Prime Minister’s Questions: who is the female MP in the picture?
A kindred spirit? She always looks as depressed as I feel.
The weekly session of MPs’ questions to the Prime Minister was set aside for a momentous announcement of national importance.
Had war been declared?
Had the Queen abdicated?
No, a football manager had been cleared of allegations of fraud.
Time for change.