#UK:` Financial Crisis for the Poor’ Meanwhile the `Wealthy Gain Rich Pickings’ from this Government’s Strategy’

#AceGuestNews says Financial crisis for many, bonanza for the few.  

Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.
Published time: February 03, 2014 13:42
Reuters/Kacper PempelReuters/Kacper Pempel
Despite what the UK’s ruling politicians or statisticians from palm-greased think tanks may say, the UK’s economic “recovery” is visible nowhere on the country’s streets.

The opiate of Quantitative Easing (QE) or Printing Money, the £375 billion fraudulently spirited up so far, is making some of the figures look good, but it is killing the patient.

The effect of QE is to propel the nest eggs of the rich from prudent “savings accounts,” where interest rates are at an all-time low, into capricious stock and bond markets to be managed by hedge funds and other pushy players. Meanwhile, everything with half a brain that moves, including the Parliamentary Commission on Banking, chaired by Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, is demanding to see clear blue water between public-facing banks and the casino economy. However, precisely the opposite is happening, as billions of savings leaves the safe ground in search of higher returns.

The London media have no excuse to talk of a “recovery.” They don’t have to look very far to see the tell-tale signs of a nation falling apart: Try looking down next time you’re in the street. None of the infrastructure of the nation is being maintained. From jutting-out high street paving slabs to potholed roads and even silted up rivers in the Somerset Levels that have been flooded since Christmas, the vital systems of the nation are clogged and breaking.

For a country with one of the highest living standards in the world to have 20 percent of its population, ticking up every month, existing below the poverty line, something must be very wrong. And the “democratic” strings that are supposed to tie Britain’s 65 million people to the cosseted elite that spend the nation’s taxes are also horribly frayed. The period before a general election is when a government courts its voters.

And what is the role of Britain’s third-party in all this? The Liberal Democrats (with 56 MPs) hold the balance of power between Labour (256) and the Conservatives (303). Any party in such a position should call the shots, as Irish MPs did with the 1885 Ashbourne Act which forced absentee English landowners to hand over land to Irish farmers who had been impoverished by the famine: A dramatic change in ownership that was one of the main catalysts for Irish Home Rule.

A broken labour market

Like the “Balance of Payments,” which compares British exports to imports, taking stock of the “Cost of Living” has fallen out of fashion in the London media. Maybe it’s the lack of the feel-good factor in both sets of statistics – but that doesn’t make either of them any less crucial to understanding whether or not the economy is working. Cost of living is rarely mentioned because an enormous, economically driven, social engineering by the power elite has been played out in our lives in a generation. Britain has fallen from a high-wage, unionized, high-job security economy, from a developed world to a third-world economy in those 30 years.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFPSpencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

A broken housing market

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) has a “great plan” to exterminate Britain’s welfare benefits. So as Work and Pensions Secretary he has put the onus on the claimant, however disabled, mentally ill or otherwise infirm, to prove they are in need, and many are struggling to do so. Scores have already taken their own lives because the vulnerable cannot endure his“survival of the fittest” ATOS test. Duncan-Smith’s own family, though, continue to receive around £1.2 million in annual welfare benefits – in the form of agricultural subsidies for their inherited land.

IDS’s other “flagship” policy is the Bedroom Tax. So vicious is this tax that it puts the most vulnerable in constant fear of eviction and, unbelievably, costs the government more! Both to pay the higher rents the private sector demands and in eviction fees. Meanwhile, Britain is encouraging mass economic migration and building fewer homes than any time since the 1920s, so as to keep property prices artificially high. Now Britons who don’t get Housing Benefit are, on average, paying a staggering 45 percent of their income on rent or mortgage costs.

A broken food market

The international grain trade, according to Oxfam, is now dominated by only five multinational companies. ADM, Bunge, Cargill, Glencore and Louis Dreyfus control 90 percent of this fundamental trade. Through the unregulated derivative markets’ ability to speculate on a future collapse in world food supplies, a hideous profit motive is being whispered of which enriches the few by pushing billions of people to the edge of starvation.

With the demise of the biggest traditional fish, meat and fruit and vegetable markets, deals are now cut behind closed doors for vast quantities of food, the economies of scale suiting buyer and seller alike. With only seven supermarket chains in the UK (Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose) selling 85 percent of the country’s food they are able to coax almost every consumer with other basic essentials on the same site: petrol, banking and pharmacies, for example, driving traditional, locally owned shops to the wall.

As historian E.P. Thompson wrote in his 1979 book, “Writing by Candlelight,”quoting from an Elizabethan diary he found behind an oak panel in his library:

Fruit cannot go to Markett, not for Money nor even yett as Charitye for the Poor. Some say it be through a Sort of Monopolisers in the Dealing Trade, wch wd keep all Price at its Customary Heighth as it is set in any Leen Yeer. And that these Dealers wd rather that the Poor Starve, the Fruits fall Rotted and Wormey, and the Husbandmen & their Familys Toile & Swinke for no Reward – all so that their Proffits be not Sunke.

Prices paid to farmers today, they say, are driven down by the supermarkets while what the consumer pays is ratcheted up. The small grocers go to the wall and the poor cannot afford to eat, while the multinational food cartels become more powerful every day. With an exponential threefold rise in food bank use this Christmas, and food bank users set to top the 1 million mark in 2014, it seems that monopolies – after 400 years, the crooked markets of Elizabethan times – are back.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

A broken energy market

One of the most damning indictments of Coalition Britain is the obscene way in which the destitute have been quietly and gradually made to pay the energy bills of the rich. An investment now in an energy company of £20,000, peanuts for the rich, delivers annual share dividends which will pay the annual gas and electricity bill of the average two or three-bedroom home. That investment grows above inflation too and will provide a tidy sum if the investor ever tires of his free energy. Through the privatization of the utilities, indentured servitude has been hardwired into the economy and the suffering.

At the other end of the spectrum, those living hand to mouth are forced off cheap direct debit payment schemes onto key meter energy tariffs, where they can pay as much as double what the rich are paying, or not paying, for each unit of energy they use. Such injustice and cruelty is scarcely conscionable in a nation proud to suit among the top ten wealthiest in the world. One can only speculate that this must be worked out on average wealth, a handful of billionaires surrounded by hoards of 16th Century destitute.

Perhaps these markets are not ‘broken’ at all?

Given that Britain’s plutocrats are doing very nicely, thank you, out of the £850 billion bank rescue in 2008 and the subsequent financial “crisis,” and that their friends in the London media have promised not to tread on their toes, let’s take an educated guess at what the real game might be here.

Perhaps there is no democracy? Perhaps all the political parties are bought and paid for lock, stock and barrel by the power elite who have no conscience, letting accountants run their affairs.

And when they have filled all their garages with the most ostentatious sports cars money can buy, the next thing up the pecking order perhaps is a government department or a newspaper or two?

“Nobody wants a crash,” some might say. But they’d be wrong. One of the unintended, or intended, consequences of deregulation in financial markets is that it’s now easier than ever to make a fortune from betting on disaster. What Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism” – economic warfare and deliberate sabotage of a nation’s economy – is more profitable than ever before.

The ordinary people of the world had better wise up and look sharp, because we are swimming in shark-infested waters. What the power elite don’t seem to have realized, though, is that we are teaching our children to watch those overnight subjects like hawks. The younger generation are good swimmers, and getting ready with their rocket harpoons.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and full editorial rights to print have been obtained.

Though they do not necessarily represent those of: Ace New Group

 

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#UKGovNews ” Universal Credit the Pro’s and Con’s of `Employer’ and `Employees’Rights”

#AcePressRelease Lord Freud `Discusses how Universal Credit' will help Employee's  work more hours and calls on Employers' to champion the new benefit' 

It’s a pleasure to be here today to tell you about Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is rolling out across the country now and building momentum as the number of claimants rises.

It’s a fundamental overhaul of our benefits system that puts work at its very centre. It aims to make work pay and most crucially – create a system that is flexible and responsive to the modern labour market.

This flexibility could be really important in increasing your productivity. It will give you the opportunity to meet business peaks and troughs using your existing staff and you should find more people willing to take on irregular work.

It is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to help more people into work and we’re incredibly pleased with last week’s figures showing a large drop in unemployment. But there’s much more to do. And Universal Credit is a big part of that.

Learning lessons – what claimants are saying

We’re learning lessons as we extend the new system and this is feeding into our plans for when larger numbers of people start to make claims.

Early indications tell us people are positive about Universal Credit. 65% of those who previously claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance think that Universal Credit is a better financial incentive to work and they spend twice as many hours per week looking for work compared to those on JSA. That’s real progress.

Roll-out schedule

Employers I’ve spoken to are welcoming the benefits Universal Credit will bring to their businesses. They say it will be easier to recruit and develop staff as their employees will be better prepared for work and be more flexible with their hours.

I’d like to tell you more about our long-term plans for Universal Credit: Over the next 2 years Universal Credit will expand in scope and scale. Current plans are that during 2016 all new benefit claims will be for Universal Credit instead of legacy benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Housing Benefit. The vast majority of remaining claimants will then move onto Universal Credit during 2016 and 2017.

For those of you with branches or bases in the north-west of England, you will be particularly interested to know that Universal Credit will start to expand to cover more of the north-west by the end of this year. Employers such as Blue Arrow and Premier Inn are already working with Job centre Plus to prepare for this.

Universal Credit is totally different to the current benefits and tax credits system. It supports claimants seamlessly, both in and out of work. The smooth taper means their Universal Credit payment decreases gradually as their earnings rise – so their overall income goes up as they work more. What this means is your employees will be able to agree to more work without worrying about what it means for their benefits – because under Universal Credit they will be better off working more.

Impact on employers

So let’s move onto the key benefits of Universal Credit for employers.

Firstly, we’ve abolished the 16 hour rule. This artificial tipping point where you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and work up to a maximum of 16 hours prevents many people increasing their hours. They fear losing their safety net, their benefits – and if their hours change – being short of money whilst reclaiming benefit. Many of you have employees who are restricted in this way. Universal Credit has no such limits.

Secondly, the new PAYE in real time system has been designed to support Universal Credit payments. 99% of employers are now reporting their PAYE in real time every month. Not only does it prevent fraud, it ensures that every person who is in work on Universal Credit has their award automatically adjusted every month, based on these returns. So it’s absolutely crucial that you as employers report this accurately, as this will affect the payments of claimants.

Thirdly, Universal Credit claimants keep more money in their pocket for every pound they earn. That’s at least 35 pence in every pound compared to JSA claimants who cannot earn more than £5 a week before having it deducted against their benefits.

Blue Arrow told us they’ve had numerous candidates turn down offers of work as they would lose benefits, or were unwilling to sign off and sign back on again. They say Universal Credit will make it easier to recruit – particularly when it comes to part-time positions or for temporary work.

Finally, claimants apply for Universal Credit online and are paid monthly. This will include money for housing costs, childcare costs, and additional costs such as caring. So they’ll develop the budgeting skills and IT skills employers look for in their staff – and it will help them to adjust to monthly payments, the way most employers pay their staff.

What all of this means for employers is that you’ll have a more flexible workforce both in your existing employees and in potential recruits. I’m going to be upfront with you – it is certainly possible that those of you in certain sectors have built up HR structures around the 16 hour rule – such as care, retail or hospitality – and you will need to change them as this rule disappears and your employees can be much more flexible.

Specific groups in more detail

In fact, Universal Credit is already having a big impact on the kind of people you all employ – people with caring responsibilities, young people – and those for whom work has not just been worthwhile.

People for whom work is not attractive

It will help these people who have not found work – or working more – to be very attractive in the past. The current system can trap people on benefits – just the sheer complexity of moving off one benefit and onto another when going into work is a real barrier for some people. This complex system just does not reflect the modern workforce where hours can change from week to week.

Under Universal Credit, the benefit payment adjusts depending on earnings month-to-month. It also lets people take up short-time work without closing down their claim. This means they can accept a job for one month and know they won’t have to reclaim when that job ends.

Our Universal Credit claimants are already seeing the positives of this approach: Craig, a job seeker in Rugby said:

Universal Credit is much easier to use than Jobseeker’s as you don’t have the hassle of starting a rapid reclaim. Since starting my claim I have had part-time work and in the past you stress over the reclaim.

Another claimant Greg, who took up short-term work at Christmas, said:

It was good to know that my Universal Credit claim wouldn’t be closed. Anything that comes along – just give it a try!

Under Jobseeker’s Allowance, it would have been a difficult decision to take up these jobs. Now they have something else to put on their CV as they continue to look for full-time work.

Young people

Universal Credit will particularly help young people under 25. Nearly 7 out of 10 claimants receiving the new benefit are aged between 16 and 24. We’ve committed to increasing youth employment and Universal Credit is a key platform of this policy, alongside Youth Contract and apprenticeships, which the Minister for Employment spoke about earlier.

Under 25’s, who are currently excluded from Tax Credits, will receive this in-work support under Universal Credit. Getting a short-term job or a work experience placement is now so much easier as they’ll continue to claim Universal Credit – the payment will be adjusted automatically depending on how much they are earning.

Take Ben, one of our first Universal Credit claimants, aged 19 – after intensive preparation with his work coach, he started work experience for a fortnight and was taken on this month as an apprentice by Delta Laminates, a manufacturer in Wigan. He is one of the first Universal Credit claimants to qualify for a wage incentive.

Lone parents

Lone parents will benefit greatly in Universal Credit. There’s a whole range of benefits and add-ons designed for lone parents, but it is a complex system which hasn’t been working well enough to help them manage the transition into work.

Universal Credit will give them much greater financial incentives to move into work, and instead of claiming Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credits, they will receive one Universal Credit payment.

We have announced an additional £200 million in childcare payments for those needing it and we’re determined to find the best solutions for parents with childcare issues to help them once they are in work.

People with caring responsibilities

Employers are recognising that for those who have other commitments, Universal Credit will bring much-needed flexibility. B&Q are supportive of the changes it will bring for their staff, in particular those who have caring responsibilities. Carers will be able to flex their hours up and down around their commitments and earn more, rather than be restricted to a certain amount of hours.

Progression theory – in-work conditionality

We’re improving the way we set conditionality for job seekers. The new Claimant Commitment mirrors an employment contract, setting out clearly what a job seeker needs to do and the consequences of failing to meet their side of the deal. All Universal Credit claims include it and by spring it will cover all new Jobseeker’s Allowance claims.

Under Universal Credit, because there are no limits to the number of hours a person can work, we also need to include some in-work conditionality, so that unlike the current Tax Credit system, people are encouraged to progress and, with time, move off benefits. The in-work progression pilots are looking at the best ways of achieving this.

11 Job-centre Plus led pilots are running across England, Scotland and Wales. We are encouraging people to consider work beyond their first part-time job – to think about the skills they will need in the longer term.

You are a key component in this. We’ve ramped up apprenticeships and work incentives to help you train recruits in the skills that you need in your industries. As the economy grows, as labour market conditions improve and with your ongoing engagement we can ensure that once in work people can develop their skills and gradually become financially independent.

Engaging with employers, zero hours

I’m really pleased we’re engaging with you in the delivery of Universal Credit: I’m meeting with local employers in roll out areas; we’re working with you on in work conditionality and we’re consulting with trade bodies and employer organisations on how best to communicate Universal Credit to employers.

In the north-west we’re working with some large employers such as Premier Inn to specifically recruit Universal Credit claimants.

Some of you have asked about zero hours – these contracts support business flexibility, they provide entry to work for young people and give people the flexibility to combine work with other commitments, but they need to be fair. Universal Credit is not prescriptive about the hours people work, provided they are able to earn enough to support themselves and their families without undue reliance on state benefits, and a zero-hours contract may well be consistent with that, particularly where people have work flexibly for a number of employers.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has an ongoing zero hours employment contracts consultation which closes in March, so do take part and give your views on how zero hours can be sensibly regulated.

Conclusion

So we’re introducing Universal Credit gradually, learning lessons as we go along, freeing up the labour market and making sure work pays for every person, and we’re working with you to help people become financially independent.

Universal Credit is a fundamental reform – we hope you will champion it – to make the most of the benefits it offers – flexible, supported labour. We need to get more people into work. And Universal Credit will help people into work, stay in work and progress in work.

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UK: `New Migrant Job-seekers from the European Economic Area (EEA)’ will no longer be able to get`Housing Benefit’ from April 2014″

#AceNewsServices says Press Release New Migrant Job-seekers from the European Economic Area (EEA)' will no longer be able to get Housing Benefit‘ from April 2014.

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New migrant job-seekers from the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer be able to get Housing Benefit (HB) from April, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith announced on (20 January 2014).

The government is determined to cap welfare and reduce immigration as part of Britain’s long-term economic plan and ministers want to make sure the system is fair for hard-working taxpayers.

From the start of April, new EEA job-seekers will no longer be able to access Housing Benefit if they are claiming income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

This builds on new rules introduced in January which mean EEA migrants cannot claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance until they have been in the country for three months.

English: Iain Duncan Smith, British politician...

English: Iain Duncan Smith, British politician and former leader of the Conservative Party. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

As part of the government’s long-term economic plan we have taken action to make sure our economy delivers for people who want to work hard and play by the rules.

These reforms will ensure we have a fair system – one which provides support for genuine workers and job-seekers, but does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage of our benefits system.

The British public are rightly concerned that migrants should contribute to this country, and not be drawn here by the attractiveness of our benefits system.

The Housing Benefit changes do not affect UK and Irish Republic nationals, or EEA migrants genuinely self-employed or in a job. EEA nationals who have worked in the UK, and are subsequently made redundant and claim JSA, will not be affected by this measure.

As part of the government’s long-term economic plan to get people off benefits and into work, a series of reforms have been put in place to make sure migrants wanting to come to this country do everything they can to find a job and stay in work.

Other measures recently introduced include:

From 1 January all EEA job-seekers have to wait for 3 months before they can get income-based JSA. This will make sure that only people who have a clear commitment to the UK and plan to contribute to the economy have access to our welfare system.

After 3 months, job-seekers will also have to take a stronger, more robust Habitual Residence Test if they want to claim income-based JSA.

If they pass the Habitual Residence Test, EEA job-seekers will then only be able to get JSA for 6 months. After 6 months, only those who have a job offer or compelling evidence that they have a genuine chance of finding work will be able to continue claiming.

This week, the government will set out how reforms to welfare and immigration are helping to build a stronger, more competitive, economy that will secure a better future for Britain. Ministers are determined to fix the welfare system to make sure more people can get into work and benefit from the security that a job brings.

 

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Universal Credit Simplifying the Welfare System by Making People Pay

Ace News Group For a while l have followed the roll-out  by the UK Government of  their “Universal Credit” scheme, its is billed by politicians as the way to simplify the welfare system ,by guiding people back into work!

Of course as with all “Government Initiatives” there is a person tasked to front this policy in this case it is Iain Duncan Smith and so far he is keeping a lot of people in this country happy with the result! The reason being that the emphasis is for those that work and pay their taxes, whilst the scroungers get it all for free! Now everyone wants a government to spend their taxes wisely, so it is a winner as far as it goes!

So concept good on the face of it, but as my personal investigations have uncovered, behind what looks good for some, hides the real truth for others! In this instance the part in this latest system about “Making Sure Work Pays” well my insider source says it does, for the contracted service companies that get paid for providing a job, any job, as long as you work!  Now the pay can be low, the conditions can be unfair and the consequences can lead to tribunals and even dismissal ,as my source has confirmed. But as long as you do not turn up on the unemployment register as an applicant claiming welfare benefits ,that suits this government just fine!

As a lot of people are aware a number of employers have signed up to this contract and it enables these companies to get cheap labour, on short-term contracts and unburden the register for the unemployed, massaging the figures and making this government, look as if they are looking after the people’s interest.

So it is a real vote winner for the government, welfare system and unemployment!

But these companies do not care about all that, they just want you to work in any job, and of course they get paid for providing such a service, but according to my source their tactics are not very humane, their interview techniques are questionable and their methods would lead one to believe we are back in the 1930’s not living in this day and age. The problem is that my source had to take a job working on a third-party contract for a Property and Maintenance Services company ,providing their services to the NHS and on a 24 hour call-out arrangement, being told  that he would receive a vehicle, mobile phone and only be on call-out every two weeks. Sounds great and so with no choice he took it ,against my best advice as the contract was exceptionally onerous, to say the least!

That was 6 months ago, since that time the mobile phone, has one feature the employer can ring him, no call back or checking procedure, the van never arrived, he now works every weekend using his own vehicle, and never sees his wife ,or his very ill house bound mother! His time at the company has gone from bad to worst as refusal to do these hours, has brought him into conflict and recently before the disciplinary board, and he is now awaiting an appeal!

Now upon reading this you would think that these are all excuses ,he does not want to work! Well l can tell you l have known this person all of my life, and he is nearly 60 years old now! He has worked all his adult life from the age of 16, but has been unlucky like so many to be made redundant 4 times, and he has always done his job to the best of his ability!

So you might say, why is this situation not well-known, well of course these so-called interviews are carried out behind closed doors, so nobody gets to see or hear how they get you to agree to a job! This can include standing you in the middle of a room full of people and publicly humiliating you, saying you are lazy and a burden on the state, so if you do not take the job we offer you, we can make a phone-call and stop your benefits! Of course they couch it in such a manner, saying words like we could, as we have been given the job of getting you off the unemployment register and into work.

What they do not say is that for everyone who takes a job they received a payment, so the incentive to get people a job, any job is paramount as more that stop taking benefits, the more money they make!

Conclusion: 

At present there is an appeal under-way and the story of this tribunal will be written in part two, but suffice to say for now my source has asked me not to share his name ,or the name of the company! Also l will eventually after more investigation name the company tasked by this government to carry-out these recruitment services and where in the country this took place!

Of course for all those that want to look at the government’s way of providing Universal Credit here is a link explaining it all, together with a small  snippet the scheme:

Department of Work and Pensions Introducing Universal Credit:

We are introducing Universal Credit in 2013 for people who are looking for work or on a low-income. Universal Credit brings together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment. It will:

  • encourage people on benefits to start paid work or increase their hours by making sure work pays
  • smooth the transitions into and out of work
  • simplify the system, making it easier for people to understand, and easier and cheaper to administer
  • reduce the number of people who are in work but still living in poverty
  • reduce fraud and error

Read More at: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/simplifying-the-welfare-system-and-making-sure-work-pays

or download this PDF: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/253919/uc-faqs.pdf

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