Tag Archives: George Osborne

The meaning of CSR?

CSR = Comprehensive Spending Review

CSR = Cheer Smirk Rejoice

LibDemCon MPs cheered –they smirked – they rejoiced.

LibDemCon MPs applauded, smiling, seeming satisfied that they had destroyed enough.

Coalition Ministers smiled even as their own departmental budgets were cut.

The poorest will lose a higher proportion of their income than the average, according to the government’s own graphs.  Brendan Barber TUC General Secretary said that the poorest tenth of the population would lose a fifth of their income because of Coalition cuts; the richest would lose just 1.5 per cent of their income.  He may now revise that estimate.

Some councils will go bust.

750,000  public sector job cuts are forecast.  Or more?

Twice as many women as men work in the public sector and 40% of all female workers are employed by the state.   Women have been encouraged to become gainfully employed, largely in the public sector, with young children being placed into childcare, another largely female industry.  The majority of care workers are women.  Not many male librarians where I live.  It’s rare to meet a male in local admin jobs either.  Is this a plan to send women back to the past?  Could that really be seen as progress?

An additional £7bn welfare cuts, on top of the £11bn already announced.

The convenient accounting that has gone on with the £2bn to social care (via the NHS in part) is a con!  That money is not ring-fenced, so it will just be swallowed up by the big local authority pot that has just been cut savagely via the CSR.  Goodbye social care; an unwelcome return of the poorhouse/workhouse. And don’t be fooled by this attempt to persuade people to use Personal Budgets.   They are enormously complex to operate, requiring most people who’ve tried them to turn themselves into employers, or to employ someone to manage the Personal Budget for them.  Or is that another part of the con trick?  The responsibilities of unpaid carers will increase; the burden of care will fall on their shoulders.  Their narrow shoulders, not the broad shoulders mentioned by Creepy Osborne.

Any government that can remove the mobility component of DLA from people in residential care cannot sink much lower.  At the moment, many people in residential care are allowed the grand total of £21 per week for ‘spending money’, after their care costs have been paid for.  That’s all they are allowed to retain.  Remove the mobility allowance and they will be trapped forever, within the walls of the care home.  Is that really the best we can offer and still call it ‘care’?

The IFS says spending review cuts are regressive and will hit the poorest in society, not the richest.

This is not what I call ‘fair’.  Nor are we all in this together.  The Big Society?  Not sure that one will wash any more!

By strange coincidence of the calendar, Nick Clegg has just been named Communicator of the Year at the PRWeek awards.  “The judges (sixty-two senior PR professionals) praised Clegg for his smart general election communications campaign that positioned him as a fresh alternative to the other political parties.

In fewer than 12 months, Clegg has gone from leading a party frustrated by a lack of media attention to the full glare of the world’s media, as he walked side by side with Prime Minister David Cameron into 10 Downing Street on 11 May.

Style over substance; if Clegg was that good a communicator, the Liberal Democrats would have won the general election, as opposed to having to swallow everything they ‘communicated’ beforehand in order to shack up with the Tories.

Joanna Lumley won that same award last year.  “She was chosen by judges for her work spearheading the Gurkha campaign for settlement rights. As a figurehead she was able to move seamlessly from the media scrum to heavyweight political programmes such as the Andrew Marr Show, and had the clout to secure meetings at the highest political level.

Joanna Lumley might make a better fist of government than this bunch of clowns.

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Filed under care, Local Authority, NHS, politics

Care UK’s former chairman joins Osborne spending panel

No surprises here:

George Osborne has recruited four City figures to join a “red team” of experts to puncture the Treasury consensus on the spending review, as he seeks inspiration for cuts that are causing mounting friction in Whitehall.

The chancellor has asked the bankers and financiers to act as the main figures from outside government on his “independent challenge group”, which has a remit to question the unquestionable in the Treasury’s austerity drive.

The four are Adrian Beecroft, one of the founders of Apax Partners, the private equity group; Douglas Flint, finance director of HSBC; Richard Sharp, the former head of the Goldman Sachs European private equity arm; and John Nash, a founder of the Sovereign Capital buy-out group and  chairman of Care UK, the nursing home group.

Mr Beecroft, Mr Sharp and Mr Nash are Tory donors, and some of them have been on good terms with Mr Osborne for some time.

I’m not too sure about their ‘red’ credentials though.   Correction: Nash was until recently chairman of Care UK; he stood down in March this year, very recently.

The FT forgot to mention the mounting disgust in territory outside of Whitehall.  That pre-nuptial agreement between Clegg and Cameron may need to be dusted off soon – due to mounting friction elsewhere too.

The Cameron Clegg Coalition.  The CCC isn’t working the way it could have worked.

Cameron, Clegg and Co plumb the depths, as Andrew Lansley rests on holiday, but soon to return – Lansley is being blamed in No 10 for failing to spot the political consequences of scrapping milk for the under-5s.

Seventeen Lib Dem MPs are fairly fragile – apparently – and that’s one third of your Parliamentary Party, Nick Clegg.

The mood of the public is …. moodily swinging against the Coalition.  At the risk of repeating myself: no surprises there!

What a bunch!  Are they all aliens from another planet, with no feeling for us, mere earthlings that we be?  A new broom sweeps clean, but this broom will soon begin to shed bristles.   The lost souls of the electorate will all need  a strategically positioned upward-pointing besom broom to ward off witches and to protect from evil spirits.


Filed under politics

We’re all in this together, are we?

So, we’re all in this together, David Cameron, are we?

That phrase must be on page 1 of the Conservative dictionary – Cameron used it in 2008, then to his party faithful.

Fast forward, to the 2009 Tory Conference, and the then shadow chancellor George Osborne clings to the same phrase:

“The shadow chancellor also outlined plans to target Whitehall costs and axe child trust funds for the better off.  He told the Tory conference “we’re all in this together” and said that the measures would save £7bn a year.”

And Cameron’s doing likewise, at the same Tory Conference.

Since 2008, things have moved on, changes to the welfare state are now falling like leaves in Autumn.  Seems that some of us really have been more in it than others:

“More than 150 peers have been claiming a £174 tax-free overnight allowance for staying in London, despite owning a property there, a report says.”

The detail is published in a report on implementing changes to the Lords expenses system.  It says 326 members who replied to a survey claim the “overnight subsistence allowance”.  Of those 167 own accommodation in London and 113 own their properties outright – making them mortgage-free.

None of the peers were breaking the rules, which until recently did not specify which property was a “main home”.

The findings come as the government has outlined plans to pay peers a flat rate of £300 a day to attend the House of Lords.

The regime, due to take effect in October, compares with a current maximum daily limit of £334.

And ‘we’ have somehow or other given permission to our brand new Coalition Government to spend £18,000 on topping up the wine cellar since the election.  Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham revealed that Government Hospitality, which manages the cellar, had spent £17,698 on new stock since May 6 – bringing the total value to £864,000 – though he insisted the standard practice of buying wines young saved money for the taxpayer.

That’s all right then!  We’re saving money after all.

Iain Duncan Smith is now doing a Norman Tebbitt, twenty years after he first came out with his abusive phrase ‘On Yer Bike’.   Perhaps it’s something to do with being the MP for Chingford!  I am finding it very difficult to understand what kind of mentality you need to be able to consider forcing longterm unemployed people from their secure tenancies to another part of the country, in order to create a more flexible workforce.   It’s only people living in council housing, though, that will be ‘encouraged’ to be flexible.  Not the unemployed living in mortgaged property, of course.  The proposed scheme would allow them to go to the top of the housing list in another area rather than lose their right to a home if they moved.  That will be enormously welcomed by the people who are already on the housing waiting list in the area they are moved to!

Call me a cynic, but if there’s already a housing waiting list in the ‘new area’, that waiting list is going to get longer, so how long is that list likely to keep the new arrivals waiting?  It’s a non-starter.  Or am I missing something?

And IDS mentioned people living in East London who couldn’t at present work in West London.  It would be too much of a risk for them.  What planet do you live on, IDS?  I used to live in East London, and while living there,  I worked in West London.  I didn’t need to get on my bike either.  I got on the bus and tube!  There and back each day.  Since then, transport in London has changed dramatically – for the better.  It shows how out of  touch you are, IDS, with the world.  Why not provide those needing to travel from East London to West London in the interests of gainful employment with a little bit of ‘transport-support-funding’?  Better than uprooting them, from their family, friends and their existing support network.  But you would possibly know little of the consequences of that vicious uprooting.  It wouldn’t need to happen to you, would it, Ian Duncan Smith?  You are protected and secure.

If ‘sink estates’ exist, Iain Duncan Smith would do better to create employment by improving those sink estates, and the life chances of the people living in them.  Are ‘tons of elderly people’ (!! where did that one come from??) only allowed to live in a house with a spare bedroom if they live in a mortgaged property?

That reminds me: which of our esteemed political parties was responsible for the abolition, in effect, of much council housing in the first place?  Which political party was in power when the Right-To-Buy scheme was introduced, thus depleting the existing stock even further?  Which political party did Shirley Porter represent, when she used council funds to rig the vote, and moved council tenants out of marginal wards in Westminster to make space for owner-occupiers, presumed to be Tory voters.  Did she ever pay back the £37million she owed to Westminster Council?

Social cleansing and/or engineering is unacceptable.  Or has Shirley Porter smuggled her way back into the country, with the promise of a new job?

Count me out, Coalition Government.  I’m not in this with you at all.

I can’t resist editing this to add Outside Left’s  Wonky wheels on Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘bike-lite’.

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Filed under justice, politics