Maria Miller has resigned as culture secretary after telling David Cameron that her continued presence around the cabinet table would act as a distraction to the “vital work” of the government.
Hours before Cameron was expected to face a bumpy session in the House of Commons, Miller released a letter to the prime minister saying she would resign with immediate effect. Full story
Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
What a difference a few years make. As the government finds it more and more difficult to cut government spending on goods and services, it aims austerity at welfare spending. There is plenty that has already happened, some well known, some not. As to the future, here is Paul Johnson of the IFS talking about the implications of the latest Autumn Statement. The scale of cuts he is talking about for welfare are huge (particularly if state pensions are ring fenced), yet they appear to be Osborne’s preferred option. The Conservative’s current Party Chairman and an influential MP have recently suggested restricting benefits for those with more than two children, to encourage ‘more responsible’ decisions about procreation. Never mind the impact this would have on those children.Changes to welfare already introduced, together with falling real wages, have led to a huge rise in the use of food banks in the UK. Here is data from the Trussell Trust, one of the main operators of voluntary food banks. 346,992 people received a minimum of three days emergency food from Trussell Trust food banks in 2012-13, compared to 26,000 in 2008-09. Of those helped in 2012-13, 126,889 (36.6 percent) were children. The Red Cross is to start distributing food aid in the UK, for the first time since WWII. A letter from doctors to the British Medical Journal talks about a potential public health emergency involving malnutrition. It is undeniable that benefit changes are a big factor behind these developments, yet the government seems intent on hiding this fact.
The charity Save the Children, best known for helping some of the world’s poorest families, has launched its first appeal to help UK children.
The charity says the UK’s poorest children are bearing the brunt of the recession, with some missing out on regular hot meals, new shoes or warm clothes.
BBC Newsnight has spoken to one eight-year-old girl about her experiences of poverty, which sees her mother skipping meals to ensure that the children eat.
I’ve come to a conclusion about the current UK government. I really do think most politicians start out with the intention of doing what they think is right - let’s face it, it isn’t exactly the way to make a quick buck, relying on the vicissitudes of the electorate for a several years and climbing up the greasy pole. Even Maggie Thatcher (and I find it difficult to admit this) was doing what she thought was for the great er good, although she was sorely mistaken and willing to perpetrate a great deal of pain to get things done.
This bunch, though, I generally cannot see the actions they are taking as anything other than self-serving, pocket-lining corporate whore mongering. And that’s about the kindest thing I can say about them.
REBLOG THIS, UK PEOPLE
1) Sign the Petition to the House of Lords
As you may know, the Health and Social Care Bill is due to be debated by the House of Lords today and tomorrow. This is the bill that is
seeking to make big changes to the NHS in terms of opening it up so private health firms can offer services to patients well. As we all
know, private companies have making money as their top priority, so it seems unlikely that they will place patient care at the top of their
agendas. Even with oversight from the new Clinical Commissioning Groups there is the potential for conflicts of interest.
The BiIl would also remove the Government’s legal reponsibility to ensure provision of a health service for all. These proposals are massively unpopular with healthcare staff and, in fact, pretty much everyone but the Tories. (Just type ‘NHS Changes’ into your search engine to see this) Have a look at the link below and please sign the petition:
I’ve just signed the petition to send a clear message to the House of Lords to protect our NHS. The more of us that sign it, the better the
chance they’ll vote the right way.
Please sign the petition now:
2)Give your opinion directly
If you live in Sheffield or Rotherham, give your thoughts on the consultation document about opening some services up to non NHS provision
This needs to be done by October 12th, eg, tomorrow.
3) You could also Adopt A Lord!
Cheaper than kittens, possibly less likely to be housetrained :-) Go to
and you will be assigned a Lord or Lady you can contact personally about your thoughts on the changes.
We pretend that “almost everyone has food and can scrape by, and anyone who can’t is just a shiftless waster, anyway” is good enough, and we pretend that the government and upper classes in wealthy countries aren’t constantly conspiring to wage a civil war of economics and access against people living lives of quiet desperation who are accused of being irrational and crazy and savage and uncivilized by their oppressors if they have the temerity to object to their oppression, and we pretend that a sustained campaign of marginalization and denial and subjugation doesn’t amount to a lifetime of abuse committed against vulnerable people by their own government. And we pretend that a government in service to an ideal that ostracizes many citizens by virtue of poverty and others by virtue of indifference to its ostensible rewards is a functional government and not simply a tool of privileged elites. Those pretenses are going up in smoke across the UK.
“The UK government has abandoned its plan to establish a copyright-based national firewall that media executives could use to block websites to which they objected.”