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VII London Poetry Festival 2019
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This Sociological Squalor Has Been Created by This Conservative Government’s Dogmatic War Against the Poor Working Poor the Most Vulnerable Frail Elderly  Disabled People and Children in Which 14 Million People A Fifth of the Population Live in Poverty: Four Million of These are More Than 50 Percent Below the Poverty Line and 01.5 million are Destitute Unable to Afford Basic Essentials: Poverty Is High-Cruelty and Is Not Compatible With Human Rights: The Humanion: UK Policies Inflict Unnecessary Misery: In the Fifth Richest Country in the World This Is Not Just a Disgrace But a Social Calamity and an Economic Disaster All Rolled Into One: UN Rapporteur

 

 

|| November 16: 2018 || ά. The UK Government’s policies and drastic cuts to social support are entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery in one of the richest countries in the world, a UN Human Rights Rapporteur has said today. “The United Kingdom’s impending exit from the European Union poses particular risks for people in poverty but the Government appears to be treating this as an afterthought.” the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Mr Philip Alston, said at the end of a 12-day visit to the country. ‘’Successive governments have presided over the systematic dismantling of the social safety net in the United Kingdom. The introduction of Universal Credit and significant reductions in the amount of and eligibility for important forms of support have undermined the capacity of benefits to loosen the grip of poverty. British compassion for those, who are suffering, has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited and, often, callous approach.” said Mr Alston.

‘’Almost, all studies have shown that the UK economy will be worse off after the country exit the European Union. Consequences for inflation, real wages and consumer prices will drive more people into poverty unless the Government takes action to shield those most vulnerable and replaces current EU funding for combatting poverty.’’ he said. In the United Kingdom, 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50 percent below the poverty line and 01.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. After years of progress, poverty is rising again, with child poverty predicted to rise 07 percent between 2015 and 2022, homelessness is up 60 percent since 2010 and food banks rapidly multiplying. “In the fifth richest country in the world, this is not just a disgrace but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.” Alston said.

“Government policies have inflicted great misery unnecessarily, especially, on the working poor, on single mothers struggling against mighty odds, on people with disabilities, who are already marginalised and on millions of children, who are locked into a cycle of poverty from which many will have great difficulty escaping.” Mr Alston said. 

And, add to this devastating state of desperation the social, civic, public, cultural and communal decrepitude: cuts in all these services, amenities and provisions means that these very groups of people, one fifth of this country, are living in areas, where things have been dismantled and the reality is nothing but a falling-apart-in-showing-evidence and these places are evidence of ‘poverty’ expressed in shut out, closed-boarded up and shuttered community bases, service provisions, shops, agency outlets. There are cheap outlets selling cheap and unhealthy food and drinks and the ecology of such places is nothing but depressing, destructive and soul-destroying. Add to this, the disappearance of all the vital support networks for these groups of people to seek support and assistance have disappeared. Library services have fallen apart, the support for the mothers and babies have fallen apart. Youth service provisions exists in skeletal level and that leaves out a whole range of disadvantaged youth without any support whatsoever, where gangs, gang-warfare, crimes around gun, knife and drug related are rife and vandalism, anti-social behaviour related destructions of local expressions are marking this devastation, such as, walls, roadsides, building sites, bridges or flyovers and any other place, that can be vandalised. Support for the mentally ill and the disabled have been falling apart.

Communal and parks and recreational services have been cut to the bone, local governments suffer a budget cuts of more than 50 per cent so that it literally is a sociological squalor except: it is all invasive and all encompassing: these people, these very citizens of this rich country can not escape this sociological squalor because it is in their homes and it is wherever they go and look and see and hear: this desperate state eats away people’s humanity, it impacts and devastates people’s psyche and it puts a strangle-hold around people, who find society has sentenced them with a live-in-life sentence of misery, suffering and agony, that has no end in sight. This, in the long run, is enough to destroy any society. A sociological squalor it is, that this Conservative Party Government has been creating because of its dogmatic war against the poor and working poor and the most vulnerable and it is not acceptable and it can not be accepted. But this does not stop here: exiting the European Union project will lengthen and make it much more longer, harsher, cruel and inhuman, this live-in-life-sentence to these groups of people. This must end and it must do so sooner rather than later.

Poverty is high cruelty and is absolutely incompatible with human rights. This government has used poverty to punish a great chunk of the nation with a political and dogmatic choice, that have been devastating their lives and the community, civic and social spheres in which they suffer away. This high cruelty is inhumane, barbaric and brutal and this has not room in a rule-based civic and democratic society. But this will not change unless people rise up, both people and all agencies, who are struggling to do the jobs of the government and state, that are not their jobs to begin with, these are the obligations, duties and responsibilities of the state, of the government: the state and the government can not exist to run a war against a great chunk of its own citizens! This is not acceptable and it must end. The United Kingdom is the fifth largest economy in the world and its state and government must not be allowed to keep razing this country into a sociological squalor.

“During my visit I have spoken with people, who depend on food banks and charities for their next meal, who are sleeping on friends’ couches because they are homeless and don’t have a safe place for their children to sleep, who have sold sex for money or shelter, children, who are growing up in poverty, unsure of their future.” Mr Alston said. “I’ve, also, met young people, who feel gangs are the only way out of destitution and people with disabilities, who are being told they need to go back to work or lose benefits, against their doctor’s orders.’’

 “As a ‘digital by default’ benefit, Universal Credit has created an online barrier between people with poor digital literacy and their legal entitlements.” Mr Alston said. “And the ‘test and learn’ approach to the rollout treats claimants like guinea pigs and can wreak havoc in real peoples’ lives.”

Local governments in England have seen a 49 percent real-terms reduction in Government funding since 2010, with hundreds of libraries closed, community and youth centres shrunk and underfunded and public spaces and buildings, including, parks and recreation centres sold off.

“I was told time and again about important public services being pared down, the loss of institutions, that would have previously protected vulnerable people, social care services, that are at a breaking point, and local government and devolved administrations stretched far too thin.” Mr Alston said. “The voluntary sector has done an admirable job of picking up the slack for those government functions but that work does not relieve the Government of its obligations.”

“The Government has remained in a state of denial, and ministers insisted to me that all is well and running according to plan. Despite making some reluctant tweaks to basic policy, there has been a determined resistance to change in response to the many problems, which so many people at all levels have brought to my attention.”

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur travelled to nine cities in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and met with people affected by poverty, civil society, front line workers and officials from a range of political parties in local, devolved and UK Governments.

Mr. Philip Alston, Australia, took up his functions as the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights in June 2014.  As a Special Rapporteur, he is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity. 

This year, 2018, is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration, translated into a world record 500 languages, is rooted in the principle that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights

Further on the Rapporteur’s Visit in the UK

Read the Report

Caption: The Special Rapporteur visits a foodbank in Newcastle: Image: Bassam Khawaja 2018:OHCHR:::ω. 

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Exiting the European Union: With Her Deal the Prime Minister Has Left the UK on a Course of Poison Hemlock Spread Between the Florence Fennel and the Poor Little Dill: Do Not Even Dare Say Take It Or Leave It: The Country Must Reject It Straight to the Bin and Wake Up to Say: Stop This Waste of National Energy on This Utterly Negative Venture and Deal with the Endless Mountain of Problems Strangling the People of This Country Where Everything Is Falling Apart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| November 14: 2018 || ά. So, this point has, finally, arrived: there is now a mythical deal-come-to-life in 585 pages of bureaucratic pageantry and crafthumanship: here is the Deal, that Mrs May has secured and brought her Cabinet around the table to ‘stamp’ it; the country does not yet know who screamed at these pages and who sang out melodious appreciations in support of it. But soon voices will emerge and like the dramatics, that followed the now-forgotten Chequers Deal and new mess of political dramatics will begin to unfold. The Conservative Party faces this debacle but the country faces the peril of letting itself brought down to this ‘waste-space’, where, since the Referendum, all energies of the nation have been wasted in this utter and sheer negation: exiting the European Union.

Yes, with a little and tiny majority the country voted to leave the European Union, if, one looks at the number of votes but, if, one looks at the entities in the UK, two voted to leave, i.e, England and Wales and two voted to remain, i.e, Scotland and Northern Ireland and, yet, they keep telling that that’s the Will of the people! What is the will of the people of the UK: only those, a little over 50%, who voted to leave the EU? Are the other half, the less than 50% ones? Are they not part of the people of the UK? If, the Referendum has expressed the Will of the People, it must be stated as this: that the Will of the People is as divided into almost two equal halves opposing each other as the people themselves. This is the true will of the people of the UK in the European Referendum: That almost half is one-way minded and while the other half was another-way minded opposing the first half. That does not mean that we are saying that the Referendum should not be valid but that this will of the people is not such a biblical truth, that can not be challenged. The people voted for leaving the EU, with a fragmentary majority but they did not know and could not know nor did the campaign and all the dark-things, that went into it, offered any help but directed and manipulated people. The people voted without knowing how this leaving will take place, under what terms and which conditions or in other words, with what deal.

Time has passed a reasonably long enough of a duration so that things have begun to be clearer and people have begun to change their minds and the calls and supports for a second referendum have been growing, particularly, after it begun to be almost certain that there might be a no deal situation in which the UK will just crash out of the European Union. No one voted for that: national life and all the individual lives in that and the families and communities and society in general can not be ‘governed’ by whim without regards to the consequences, dangerous and outright negative consequences: Leaving the European Union is going to be a catastrophic event, particularly, for the fact that the UK has been part of this body of the EU for so many a decade that things have become so intricately joined up together and all the benefits, that entailed from this benefited the UK and its people and now to say that leaving it will not impact on anything is utterly false and absolutely dangerous. This is going to devastate the country and can not but be bad for all concerned and in monetary terms, it will cost too much to everyone and every agency and the economy will shrink and the government revenue will go down and the GDP will be smaller and it is not scare mongering for the part of those, who are seeing a recession might follow. And, reminding everyone of the Financial Crash and how the Conservative Party made the poorest and the poorer and the vulnerable and the working poor pay the most severe of all prices year after year after year after year ever since they took power, as well as, the severe and drastic cuts to vital services year after year, that these very people rely on made sure that these very poor suffer the most and, now, add, this scenario: it is not the rich, who will suffer but the price of an all-blind exiting the European Union shall be exacted with merciless fierceness from these very groups of the poor and working poor people and families, the majority of this country.

The people of this country, the poor and the working poor, have paid too much already for the Financial Crash, that they had nothing to do with causing and now an all-blind exiting the European Union is poised to cause this very desperate and exacting punishment being imposed on them again. This is not a made-up claim: when the economy shrinks what are the outcomes? There are many but the most important one is  this that as the GDP goes down the Government revenue will go down with it so that it will cut its cost and who will pay for these cuts: guess who is paying now? These very groups of the various types of poor people will be handed down the next sentence of misery as they were dictated following the Financial Crash. Further, when budgets are cut by the Governments how else it impacts on people: many ways but the most vitally important one is that many people will loose their jobs and from that many other severe consequences will follow for those, who will lose their jobs! If, the economy shrinks what are businesses going to do: let go off people, invest less and seek to cut more to ensure their profit level do not get smaller so that as people become poorer they have less money to spend so that they buy less so that the economy finds little way to grow. That brings in a chain, that engulfs the whole system.

This so-called deal is a meshed-up mess-up and an absolute desperate failure on the part of the Conservative Party Government to secure a deal, that will serve the country and the people. This deal, as said in our headline, With Her Deal the Prime Minister Has Left the UK on a Course of Poison Hemlock Spread Between the Florence Fennel and the Poor Little Dill: Do Not Even Dare Say Take It Or Leave It: The Country Must Reject It Straight to the Bin and Wake Up to Say: Stop This Waste of National Energy on a Utterly Negative Venture and Deal with the Endless Mountain of Problems Strangling the People of This Country Where Everything Is Falling Apart.

What is falling apart: housing has fallen apart, the NHS has been falling apart, social care has fallen apart, the Police Services across the country have been falling apart, education has been strangled, social services have been cut, the local government structures are finding themselves unable to sustain, working conditions, workers rights and employment situations of workers have gone back a century, where workers are now all Ubers-masquerading on poverty and rightlessness while zero-hour contract has strangled the entire society as all agencies and businesses seem to have their filed day, making and saving lot of money to claim as profits. Much of the employment created in the economy in the recent years are horribly low-paid, part-time and terribly low-skilled and their combined productivity is terribly little. No wonder that, despite all the bravado the Conservative Ministers produce about the economy, the country’s economy is suffocated and strangled by desperately low productivity. What else has been falling apart: homelessness has been sky-rocketing, rough sleeping has gone so bad that last year few hundred people died on the streets, youth services have fallen apart and the entire range of public and civic services and facilities have been disappearing and on top of that the entire nation is made of various types of homeless people: people renting and never ever have a home of their own and those, who own their own homes, the vast majority of them are living in poverty because most of their income goes to pay for the mortgage and we could list more as to what else has been falling apart? One last thing is this that the food banks have grown in number and the number of people surviving on them have increased by many folds and now, even, working people are queuing at them so to ensure they can feed themselves.

Count and add all these and see what a mountain of problems and desperations have been put together by this entire Conservative episode in Government while they squabble among themselves about exiting the European Union and the entire socio-cultural and socio-political spheres are poisoned by this issue! Hundreds of people are dying on our street rough sleeping and working people queuing at food banks in order to feed themselves and families are torn apart because of the benefit cuts and the families and children stuck in temporary bed and breakfast on limbo, the Universal Credit has been ruining lives and will do more harms as this Government vehemently goes ahead to roll it out across the country without looking at and accepting evidence against it, the country does not need this farce, this Conservative Self-Serving as they devastate the country and its people. The Prime Minister blamed the European Union and the entire political forces of the United Kingdom as she called that fateful election, that mortally wounded her and her Party, she, again, uses the same language: take it or have no Exiting the EU? Well, with this deal, it is infinitely better to remain in the European Union, at the very least, this would ensure that the UK Parliament will still remain a sovereign body and will not be ‘forced and obliged’ to ‘cut and paste’ EU directives and laws without ever being at the table of the EU, to decide on these regulations and laws!

Why on earth the country should accept a poisonous deal, that leaves the country in a limbo-land, that effectively put a border inside its own territory and divide its own integrity into two so that Northern Ireland has no border with Ireland, to which it is not politically joined as its constituent part but to the very UK to which it is a part of, now it finds a border! And there are much in this deal, which is nothing but wasting time: there is going to be two more years of waste and debacle as this Government goes about seeking a Trade Deal! If, this deal is anything to go by, the Trade Deal they will be able to get is not going to be any better. This deal is a poison hemlock, the country should reject it outright. The Parliament should reject it and throw it into the political bin. Bring this farcical governing waste in the name of the Conservative Party Government to an end and let the country elect a new government to deal with the last seven years of ruination of the country and its infrastructures so that it all has been creating a sociological squalor, advancing, distributing and imposing poverty in everything and everywhere, in every meaning of the word poverty, where the socio-cultural ecology has become nothing but poisonous and sickening. The reality has been falling apart, the high streets, the local communities, community infrastructures and the community lives have been falling apart; wherever one goes reality is desolate, deserted and shuttered up. Shops and stores and everything seem to be closing up and leaving: but where are the heading? What is to happen to reality? The reality is falling apart and the Government seems to say, well, trust us and let us lead you to ‘pseudonium’!

Toxic air is strangling people and killing lives and the latest research suggest that it is causing many other lasting health damages, such as, stunting in young children and loss of intelligence, impacting on the brain and heart etc. Let the political parties go and fight this election with how they will deal with a this Exiting the European Union: do they commit to a second and final referendum on this issue, including, the option for people to choose to stay in the European Union and the option to get out must add the deal published as Election Manifesto, for which people voting to leave will vote for and this Party shall seek to get that deal, if, elected. If, that deal is not achieved they leave office and another Government comes in. If, on the other hand, people voted to remain, leave the time spent in the pursuit of this negative endeavour as a memento as to how a nation can be misled into such a void and waste-space of national energy into a ‘National Nightmare Waste Museum’ for posterity so that future generations will take note to remain vigilant about manipulation, misleading, herding and directing by forces with their own hidden agendas.

It is time, the Houses of Parliament act as the Sovereign body of the nation and ensure that the members of the both the Houses take leadership and stand up and make a choice to not only reject this poison-hemlock deal but, also, bury it into a bin and bring and end to this debacle and let the country elect a new government, that can lead this great country back to health and rescue it from the strangulation of poverty of all kinds, forms and manners and let it join the world once again and work as equal, active and engaged partner, colleague and neighbour with the European Union and all its member countries. And, let the Houses put an ABSOLUTE END to this NONSENSE to Exit the European Union with NO DEAL once and for ALL. The UK Can not leave the EU with a NO DEAL. PERIOD.  

The country and its desperate people require a Government, that works and runs the country and goes about dealing with the challenges there are, that must be dealt with. Exiting the European is vitally important but  a tiny little thing against the vast and most pressing issues, that must be dealt with and these can not be left as they have been. Further, this whole negative endeavour has harmed greatly the integrity of the United Kingdom, this new Government must make it a great priority to invest in enhancing this United Kingdom by way of seeking to create a new, modern and enabling constitutional arrangements for the centuries ahead. It is time to say to the Conservative Party, despite your death pact to keep serving your self-interest and squabbles and in-fighting and the rest, the country and the people have given you enough time and opportunity, all of which, you have successfully squandered: it is now time to leave all this back to the people and let them decide the way forward: the country’s most pressing desperation is to have a properly committed and well- functioning Government and this new Government must work to bring the socio-political, socio-economic and socio-cultural spheres back to a sense of togetherness, civility, positivity and decency and once again without all the horrible and dangerous and poisonous negativity and divisions.:::ω.

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Gravity Pioneer Project: Industry Leaders in the Field Form Consortium to Develop New Quantum Gravity Sensors With a £06 Million Research Funding From UK Research Innovation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| November 13: 2018 || ά. A UK consortium of leading scientific and engineering companies has come together to develop a new industry of quantum cold-atom sensors, that will detect and monitor objects beneath the ground better than any current technology, thereby, reducing the need for investigative drilling or digging. The Gravity Pioneer project, which has been awarded £06 million in research funding from UK Research and Innovation, was at the 2018 National Quantum Technologies Showcase 2018 in London.

The Gravity Pioneer project will be led by leading environmental and engineering services company RSK and consist of 12 project partners from prominent organisations currently engaged in quantum technologies in the UK. The partners include Teledyne e2v, Fraunhofer UK, Altran, Geomatrix Earth Science, Magnetic Shields, UniKLasers, Silicon Microgravity, Optocap, QinetiQ, the University of Birmingham and the University of Southampton. The project aims to build and test a new gravity instrument, that will have demonstrable benefits over existing technologies on the market.

“Despite our increasing ability to detect and monitor objects, that exist on land, in the sea, around buildings or in space, our ability to detect objects beneath the ground has not improved significantly.” says Mr George Tuckwell, the Project Lead and Divisional Director for Geosciences and Engineering at RSK. “When it comes to attempting to locate a forgotten mineshaft, determine the extent of a sinkhole or assess the quality of infrastructure, we still, often, resort to digging or drilling holes. This presents huge economic and societal costs as road networks are dug up, oil wells are dry or brownfield land is left undeveloped.”

Existing techniques for ground investigation include classical microgravity, ground penetrating radar and seismic technologies but these can be limited in sensitivity, penetration or cost. Gravity Pioneer aims to develop a tested blueprint for a commercially relevant device, that will overcome these challenges. Working with leading UK universities, it aims to demonstrate a 2× sensitivity improvement and a 10× measurement speed improvement over the industry standard gravity sensor.

The large project has received £06 million in research funding from UK Research and Innovation, the national funding agency investing in science and research in the UK. The consortium submitted a bid in response to the £20 million Quantum Technologies Pioneer Fund, which aims to develop prototypes in two years, that could be used in future sensors, consumer electronics and digital services. The fund, which is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, implements the policies set out in the UK government’s white paper Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain Future for the Future, which was published in 2017.

Speaking on receiving the research funding, Dr Richard Murray, the Business Development Manager at Teledyne e2v said, “The project was proposed by a UK consortium of the best scientific and engineering companies the UK has to offer, from component manufacturers to instrument developers and end-users.

A large factor in the bid’s success was the prominent role of end-users in the project structure and the full supply chain of service, instrument and component partners involved. Together, we are working to build a gravity instrument that works, that the marketplace wants and that provides value to users such as RSK and client organisations such as BP, Network Rail, HS2 and Airbus.

The UK is world leading in quantum technology and the project brings together the best the UK has to offer in this field. Once we can demonstrate the advanced performance of quantum cold-atom sensors, the economic and societal benefits of this new quantum industry in the UK will be significant.”

About RSK www.rsk.co.uk: RSK is a fully integrated, environmental, health, safety and engineering services company employing over 2,500 staff in offices across the UK and worldwide. In 2016, RSK was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade, one of the UK’s highest accolades for business success. With a turnover of over £175 million, the company was ranked the eighth largest UK environmental consultancy by Environment Analyst in its 2017 Market Assessment Report.

RSK provides independent environmental consultancy and technical services in the areas of the environment, health and safety, engineering and sustainability management to industrial, financial and public-sector clients in the UK and abroad.

RSK has a diverse client base but mainly services key accounts for clients in energy, property, manufacturing, water, government and transport. The company is certified to the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 international standards for quality, environmental management and health and safety management.

About Teledyne e2v’s Quantum Technologies Group: The engineering groups of Teledyne can draw on a remarkable portfolio of leading-edge technology, unique expertise and decades of experience in sensing, signal generation and processing across a vast range of applications and industries. As a result, Teledyne e2v is well positioned to focus on the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies.

Teledyne e2v’s quantum technologies team aims to harness quantum effects to produce devices that have exciting new applications in the real world. Quantum technologies are set to provide much-improved capabilities in timing, sensing and measurement, electronics, imaging, computing and simulation, and communications. Teledyne e2v’s Quantum team design solutions for the impossible.

Teledyne e2v is at the forefront of UK and European activities to industrialise these devices and unlocking a multitude of applications. Over the last four years, Teledyne e2v has grown a team of 30 highly skilled and talented scientists and engineers who are turning quantum science into the enabling technologies of the future. These products include super-accurate clocks and frequency references, quantum gravity sensors and quantum systems in space.

About UK Research and Innovation: UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. It aims to maximise the contribution of each of its component parts, working individually and collectively. It works with many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.:::ω.

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UK Budget: Please Forget Everything I Said in the Event the Train Goes Off the Rails After March 29: 2019 If and When the UK Leaves the EU Without a Deal: Grand Declarations Hiding the Cruellest Cuts of Ten Years to Keep on Being Implemented

 

 

|| October 29: 2018 || ά. The Prime Minister declared at her Conference speech that their austerity was to end but the Chancellor, did not quite manage to say that in his budget but this that it, this decade-long austerity, was ‘coming to an end’. There’s much difference in something ending and something coming to an end. Much is made of all the ‘give a-ways’ but a whole lot of it is making grand ‘sound and fury’ knowing that, in the event of the UK leaving the European Union after March 29, 2019, without a deal, this all will have to be put in the bin and new not so cosy realities will have to be confronted and dealt with.

Whatever the Chancellor has presented to the House this afternoon is as, if, he was saying, ‘’Please, forget everything I said, in the event the train goes off the rails after March 29, 2019, if and when, the UK leaves the EU without a deal.’’ The last decade of Conservative austerity has devastated the country’s public service infrastructures and no amount of tweaking and ‘sweet-talking’ will fix it. The NHS has been allocated the promised amount and when it is said in billions people are led to believe that’s a lot of money, yet, against the vast networks of systems and mechanisms, bodies, hospitals, trusts and services, these billions become really fragmentary and, then, the list of mental health provisions described to come into existence with some two billions is like saying you go to the moon with a paper-boat!

The country is facing an ‘epidemic’ of mental health poverty of resources, infrastructures and systems, as well as, of qualified and trained professionals’ against which a mere two billion pounds is a drop in the ocean! How much does it cost to get a student to qualify to be a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse, a psychologist, a counsellor, an administrator of a mental health unit and other allied personnel? How many different professionals are required to provide mental health services at a hospital A and E? How much does that cost to equip all the NHS A and Es with all these qualified professionals? And now divide this two billion and you would be looking at an abyss of ‘now what’ and what can you see in this darkness of this ‘epidemic’ of mental health, that faces the country!

Further, the grand sounds being made about the social care allocation is a joke for the entire country’s local governments have been brought to their knees through decade-long continuous cuts and a whole lot of them, might, find that, that has become ‘terminal to their financial viability’ and the government offered a ‘pinch of salt’. The entire social care has fallen apart and people are paying for that with devastating consequences. This is literally a budget, that says you can fix and fill oceans with throwing some coins in them. Add to this the insult to education that a few hundred million will fix their desperate state. What is a primary school to do with a £10,000 extra or a secondary school with a £50,000 extra! How much a full-time teaching assistant’s annual salary is!

Housing is no longer a crisis but a catastrophe and, yet, the Government has done hardly anything to make a dent in this. Rough sleeping is costing lives; hundreds of people are dying on the street from rough sleeping and the government did not, even, mention that! The social services, the other vital public services, for example, the Police did not, even, get a mention in the budget! And this Universal Discredit is to go ahead with the cuts already in built in that still in place despite some cosmetic adds on, which will not change much in those, who will face the calamities of this horrendous mess of this Government.

There is no mention of housing benefit caps, that has been devastating people’s lives and forcing local councils to send families out of places where they have their entire ‘networks of existence’, from London families were being sent to Scotland and so on. No mention of poverty and children and young people in that strangle-hold of poverty, no mention of working people queuing at the food banks. No mention of the Universal Discredit fuelling the rise of people losing their homes and getting into debts and so on! What exactly this Government is seeking to do: the answer is they do not know but they do not want to tell the country that so that they offer these rosy-cosy declarations knowing full well the mess they have made of exiting the EU and the real exit: if, without a deal: a devastating scenario and they have no way out and so the country grinds on and as everything have been falling apart, they will keep on falling apart but the Conservative party will keep on going till they have run out of rails.

The Budget as Put Out by the Chancellor

01: Public finances have reached a turning point: Since 2009-2010 the deficit has fallen by four-fifths, from 09.9% to 01.9%. Public debt peaked in 2016-17 and is now falling. On average, spending on public services will grow 01.2% above inflation a year from next year until 2023-24.

02: Employment is at a near record high and the OBR forecasts it is set to keep growing

The economy has grown every year since 2010 and is projected to continue growing in each year of the forecast. The unemployment rate is at its lowest for over 40 years, there are over 03.3 million more people in work since 2010 and the OBR forecasts 800,000 more jobs by 2022.

03: National Living Wage will increase to £08.21: From April 2019 the National Living Wage will increase from £07.83 an hour to £08.21. This will benefit around 02.4 million workers and is a £690 annual pay rise for a full-time worker.

04: The tax-free Personal Allowance will rise to £12,500: The Personal Allowance, the amount you earn before you have to start paying income tax, will increase by a further £650 in April 2019 to £12,500. This rise comes a year earlier than planned and will be maintained in 2020. This means a basic rate taxpayer will pay £1,205 less tax in 2019-20 than in 2010-11.

05: The Higher Rate Threshold will increase from £46,350 to £50,000 in April 2019: The amount people will have to earn before they pay tax at 40% will increase from £46,350 to £50,000 in April 2019. This means that in 2019-20, there will be nearly one million fewer higher rate taxpayers than in 2015-16.

06: £01.7 billion to increase existing work allowances in Universal Credit: Increases to work allowances will mean working parents and people with disabilities claiming Universal Credit will be £630 better off each year. People will, also, receive extra help as they move from their existing benefits to Universal Credit and there will be targeted support for people repaying debts.

07: A new railcard for all young people aged 26 to 30, available nationally by the end of the year: The first digital only railcard will offer up to a one third off most rail travel.

08: Fuel duty will remain frozen for a ninth year: In 2019, fuel duty will remain frozen for the ninth year in a row, saving the average driver £1,000 since 2010.

09: Short-haul rates of Air Passenger Duty will not rise: Short-haul rates of Air Passenger Duty will not rise for the eighth year in a row, keeping costs down for 80% of passengers. Long-haul rates will rise in line with inflation.

10: Duty on beer, cider and spirits remains frozen: The cost of a pint of beer will be two pence lower than if duty had risen by inflation.

11: NHS funding will increase, including more spending for mental health: The NHS is the public’s number one priority and the government will increase its budget by £20.5 billion after inflation by 2023-24. Within this, the NHS will increase mental health spending by more than £02 billion a year by 2023-24.

12: £650 million for social care next year: Local authorities in England will receive a further £650 million in social care funding next year.

13: Lifting the borrowing cap to allow local authorities to build more housing: From today in England the government is lifting the cap on the amount of money local authorities are able to borrow to build housing. Local authorities fund housing through a separate Housing Revenue Account:HRA. The Welsh Government is also taking immediate steps to lift the cap in Wales.

14: £400 million extra for schools this year: This will be £10,000 for the average primary school and £50,000 for the average secondary school.

15: A commemorative 50p Brexit coin will be available to buy from Spring 2019: The Royal Mint will create a new commemorative Brexit coin to mark the UK’s exit from the European Union.

16: Up to £19 million in commemoration of the Centenary of the WWI Armistice: Up to £8 million to help with the cost of repairs and alternations to village halls, Miners’ welfare facilities and Armed Forces organisations’ facilities. £10 million to support veterans with mental health needs through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. £01 million for First World War Battlefield visits for school students.

17: £30 billion to improve roads: A £28.8 billion National Roads Fund, paid for by road tax, includes £25.3 billion for the Strategic Road Network, motorways, trunk and A roads. The largest ever investment of this kind. It will, also, help fund the new network of local roads, known as the Major Road Network and larger local road projects. Local authorities will receive £420 million to fix potholes on roads and renew bridges and tunnels, and there will be a £150 million to improve local traffic hotspots, such as, roundabouts.

18: More money for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will all get more money to spend in devolved areas, including education, health and housing. This Budget means: over £950 million more for the Scottish Government through to 2020-21. Over £550 million more for the Welsh Government through to 2020-21 and over £320 million more for a Northern Ireland Executive through to 2020-21. There will, also, be £150 million for a Tay Cities Deal, £120 million for a North Wales Growth Deal, £350 million for a Belfast City Region Deal and opening negotiations on Derry:Londonderry and Strabane City Region Deal.

19: Over £01.5 billion to support the high street: Small retail businesses will see their business rates bills cut by a third for two years from April 2019, saving them £900 million. Local high streets will benefit from £675 million to improve transport links, re-develop empty shops as homes and offices and restore and re-use old and historic properties. Public lavatories will receive 100% business rates relief. This adds to previous reductions in business rates since Budget 2016 which will save firms over £12 billion over the next five years.

20: £01 billion more for defence over the next two years: The Ministry of Defence will receive an extra £01 billion to help protect the UK against changing threats, such as, the rise in cyber-attacks and the resurgence of state-based threats. This funding adds to the £800 million announced earlier this year.

21: Increasing funding to help departments to prepare for Brexit to over £04 billion: The government is providing £500 million of additional funding for departments to prepare for Brexit for 2019-20. This is on top of the £01.5 billion already announced for that year.

22.       The Annual Investment Allowance will increase to £01 million from January  01, 2019 to December  31, 2020. The government will increase the Annual Investment Allowance five-fold from £200,000 to £01 million to help businesses to invest and grow. Also, from October 2018, businesses will be able to deduct 02% of the cost of any new non-residential structures and buildings off their profits before they pay tax.

23: A 02% digital services tax on large digital firms: From April 2020, large social media platforms, search engines and online marketplaces will pay a 02% tax on the revenues they earn, which are linked to UK users.

24: Further changes to the apprenticeship levy to support employers: From April, large businesses will be able to invest up to 25% of their apprenticeship levy to support apprentices in their supply chain. Some employers will pay half of what they currently pay for apprenticeship training, from 10% to 05%. The government will pay the remaining 95%.:::ω.

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It’s About Time: Kellogg’s UK Announces New Sustainable Packaging Actions: All Companies Must Do Everything to Reduce Littering the Environment with Unacceptable and Damaging Packaging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| October 28: 2018 || ά. Kellogg’s in the UK has launched a raft of measures to help make its packaging greener, including, a new sustainable packaging commitment, a new solution to allow people to recycle Pringles cans and the introduction of recycle-ready cereal pouches. The cereal and snack company will work towards 100 per cent of its packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by the end of 2025.

This goal, which is being rolled out to all Kellogg’s global markets, including, the UK, builds on its current sustainable packaging commitment to continue to ensure 100 per cent of all timber-based packaging is either recycled or certified as sustainably sourced. People in Britain will, also, now be able to recycle their Pringles’ cans due to a new deal struck in the UK between the Kellogg’s owned crisp brand and recycling company, Terra Cycle.  

From December 2018, empty Pringles cans can be sent into Terra Cycle using freepost labels, with the sender rewarded with a charitable donation for each can, which can be redeemed for the school, charity or non-profit of choice. The cans are, then, recycled and the resulting pellets used to create new products, such as, benches and fence posts. Within the complex Local-Authority-based public recycling infrastructure in the UK, Pringles cans are not currently recyclable, so the Pringles and Terra Cycle partnership provides a consistent nationwide solution for people.

In a linked moved, Kellogg’s has launched a project to change its cereal pouches to a recycle-ready material by late 2019.  This action will remove an estimated 480 tonnes of non-recyclable packaging from its British and European supply chains each year.  This development comes on the back of work the company is undertaking with suppliers to identify packaging designs, that minimise waste while ensuring the quality and safety of its foods.

“As a company with a caring legacy and a foundation of strong values, we’re committed to playing our part to safeguard the future of our planet. While most of our packaging in the UK is sustainably sourced, made from recycled materials and fully recyclable, we feel it’s our responsibility to continue to develop new creative packaging formats, that answer the needs of our consumers and customers.” said Mr Oli Morton, the Managing Director, Kellogg’s UK.

Kellogg’s has, already, taken steps toward making its own facilities more sustainable.  In April, the company announced the transition to compostable and paper food service products in all its factories and offices globally by end of 2018, fully removing all remaining single-use foam and plastic catering ware, plastic straws and plastic water bottles.  

“Nurturing our planet is a foundational value of Kellogg.” said Mr Steve Cahillane, Kellogg Company Chairman and CEO. “It’s imperative we are part of a solution, that ensures a healthy and sustainable planet for all people around the world.”

All these actions contribute towards Kellogg’s support of U.N. SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production, including, 12.5, to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. It, also, helps towards Kellogg’s commitment against SDG 12.3, to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level and to reduce food losses along the production and supply chains including post-harvest losses by 2030.:::ω.

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Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Or CPR Should Be Included to School Curriculum Without Delay to Help Save More Lives
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| October 18: 2018 || ά. Ms Dawn Hargraves, a Resuscitation Officer at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, who is a critical care specialist, has called for resuscitation training to be added to the school curriculum without delay to help save more lives across the UK. Ms Hargraves said that Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation:CPR should be viewed as a life skill, which is embedded from the outset. She spoke in highlighting the Restart a Heart Day, observed on last Tuesday.

Restart a Heart Day aims to highlight the issue and urged the government to get behind training for children in full-time education. “Unfortunately, as a nation, we have never put enough emphasis on the importance of CPR.” Ms Hargraves said, speaking on behalf of the resuscitation services department. “It should be viewed as a life skill as it could be required at any time and in any situation, not just in hospitals.

That is a feeling shared by clinicians in resuscitation services, emergency departments, intensive care units and across all emergency services as we all see the devastating results of CPR not being started by a bystander, it is a topic we all feel very passionate about.

However, the government hasn’t got behind CPR training for children in full-time education early enough as it has not been a mandatory requirement on the curriculum and that is a big problem. Schools have been able to change their own curriculum but that could often allow two hours per year to do training, if that, which is not adequate. The government launched a consultation only this year, but the need has always been overwhelming, so we want to see it introduced without delay."

Restart a Heart Day, led in the UK by the Resuscitation Council, is a designated yearly day of action with the aim to teach vital life-saving CPR skills to as many people as possible, with 2018 the first year the campaign has gone global with the aim of training 200,000 people.

Ms Hargraves, who is based in the critical care team at UHS, said that the lack of structured training in schools, as well as, colleges and universities, had, also bred a culture of apathy among adults.

“If, we can embed CPR in society from the outset, then, we will see a change in approach, if, we don’t, then, we have to look to utilise the tools we already have at our disposal and improve their effectiveness. For example, courses need to be more widely available and better-publicised, we need to utilise technology through smartphone and tablet apps and get the media focusing on success stories more regularly.”

Ms Hargraves said that the survival rate for a person, who has suffered a cardiac arrest, when the heart stops pumping blood around the body, decreases by 10% every minute they don’t receive CPR. “The statistics demonstrate the significant impact of non-action, lives, that could be saved are put at much greater risk and, in the worst cases, it proves fatal.” she said.

For more information on Restart a Heart Day, visit:::ω.

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Poverty’s Many Faces and Definitions: Food Deserts of the United Kingdom

 

 

 

|| October 16: 2018 || ά. A map released early this week of Britain’s poorest ‘food deserts’ shows the local areas across England, Wales and Scotland, in which households struggle to buy fresh food, that they can afford. This map, first of its kind, was commissioned by Kellogg’s for a report about food access and affordability across Great Britain and shows that 01.2 million people are living in deprived food deserts: a low income area, that has too few supermarkets or convenience stores, selling food at an affordable price.

People living in these food deserts are likely to pay a higher cost for their weekly food shopping, having to go to more expensive small convenience stores with a limited stock of good value fresh products. 41 per cent of these households don’t have a car, making it, even, harder to get to a wide range of good value food stores. Sadly, this could impact their health. One in eight people surveyed for the report say that not being near a supermarket offering healthy food at low prices stops them eating more healthily.  

Ten Most Deprived Food Deserts in England

01        Marfleet, Greatfield, Kingston upon hull, Kingston upon Hull East
02        Hartcliffe, Bristol, Bristol South
03        Hattersley, Mottram, Tameside, Stalybridge and Hyde
04        Seaforth, Sefton, Liverpool, Bootle
05        Withywood, Bishopsworth, Bristol, Bristol South
06        Clubmore, Norris Green, Liverpool, Liverpool, Walton
07        Greet, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, Birmingham, Hall Green
08        Astmoor, Castlefields, Halton, Norton, Windmill Hill, Birmingham,Halton
09        Everton, Vauxhall, Islington, Liverpool, Liverpool, Walton
10        Kirby, Melling Mount, Simonswood, Knowsley, Knowsley
 

Nine Most Deprived Food Deserts in Wales: there are only nine ‘deprived food deserts’ in Wales, as per the definition we use throughout the report, those in the bottom 25% on the ONS deprivation measure

01        St Mellons, Old St Mellons, Cardiff, Cardiff South and Penarth
02        Rumney, Trowbridge, Cardiff, Cardiff South and Penarth
03        Bishpool, Liswerry, Ringland, Newport, Newport East
04        Rhosnesni, Caia Park, Wrexham, Wrexham
05        Rhyl, Denbighshire, Vale of Clwyd
06        Milford, Vaynor, Trehafren, Maesyrhandir, Powys, Montgomeryshire
07        Rhigos, Hirwaun, Penywaun, Cefn Rhigos, Penderyn, Llwydcoed, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Cynon Valley
08        Llanrumnet, Cardiff, Cardiff South and Penarth
09        Brynmawr, Pontygof, Clydach Terrace, Blaenau Gwent, Blaenau Gwent
 

Ten Most Deprived Food Deserts in Scotland 

01        Dalmarnock, Glasgow, Glasgow Central
02        Central Easterhouse, Glasgow, Glasgow East
03        Wyndford, Glasgow, Glasgow North
04        Drumchapel North, Glasgow, Glasgow North West
05        Crookston South, Glasgow, Glasgow South West
06        Methil West, Levinmouth, Glenrothes
07        Drumchapel South, Glasgow, Glasgow North West
08        Craigend and Ruchazie, Glasgow, Glasgow North East
09        Glenwood South, Glasgow, Glasgow South
10        Granton South and Wardieburn, Edinburgh, Edinburgh North and Leith
 

Ten per cent have, even, cut back on their own food consumption so that others in their family can eat. This increases to 14 per cent among individuals with a household income of less than £10,000. Ms Megan Blake, an expert on food security and food justice, said, “Everyday food insecurity is on the rise in neighbourhoods across the United Kingdom. For those living in a food desert this can mean having to dedicate a portion of an already stretched budget toward transportation costs in order to secure food.  It can mean having to carry their food shopping a long distance, a struggle, that many older people living in food deserts experience.’’

The research goes on to suggest that online food delivery, may not, be the solution for people living in Food Deserts. One third of people on low incomes said that they would never use online shopping.

A Kellogg’s Spokesperson said, “These findings are, especially, worrying when a lack of fresh food can have a significant impact on people’s health and it seems to be the most vulnerable people, who are impacted. This is a complex problem, that will require organisations, including, local authorities and charities to work together to come up with solutions for local communities. There isn’t a one size fits all solution. We hope the food deserts map is the first step to getting these conversations going locally.”

Kellogg’s has shared the deprived food desert map with government and has helped develop a pilot programme in its home Greater Manchester. Teaming up with food redistribution charity, The Bread and Butter Thing, it will address the issue of access to food in the deprived food deserts in Greater Manchester..::ω.

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Serious Climate Change Mitigation Is Likely to Reshape Everyday Life: Only When Public Support for the Non-Existent But Necessary Policy-Ideas Become Public Policy: That Is a Political Act Meaning Public Support Must Grow Into a Political Demand So That the Public Bodies are Forced to Adopt Such Policies

 

 

|| October 11: 2018: Cardiff University News || ά. The public is supportive of emissions reduction strategies, that are likely to bring significant changes to the way we own and use everyday items, such as, clothing, cars and furniture, finds a new study led by Cardiff University. In addition to Cardiff, the study team includes researchers from the Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products and the Universities of Leeds and Manchester.

The Study found significant public support for a range of resource efficiency strategies, that, when combined, could see a 39% reduction in the carbon emissions, used in making a range of common household items, such as, cars, clothing, electronics, appliances and furniture. Professor Nick Pidgeon, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, said, “Current mitigation measures, which focus, primarily, on emissions directly produced within the country, are failing to achieve the carbon reduction levels required to prevent dangerous climate change.

If, we want to stay within safe carbon limits we need to consider emissions, produced by the goods we consume, whether they are manufactured inside or outside the UK.” The three main strategies identified include making products more efficient by using less materials and packaging, which would mean more modular and repairable designs; re-using, swapping and sharing products, such as, cars, electrical goods and household and garden tools and increasing product lifetimes through extended warranties, increased maintenance services and hiring schemes.

Dr Catherine Cherry, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, said, “As a nation, we have become highly dependent on manufactured household goods so any strategies, that target them depend on the support of the public. While we found that most strategies were perceived positively, acceptance was, however, dependant on goods still meeting other important conditions, such as, safety, affordability and convenience, as well as, demonstrating a fair distribution of benefits and responsibilities.”

The groups interviewed in the study were, particularly, positive about the redesign of packaging, with current packaging for most products considered extremely wasteful. The idea of a shared library of products, where items can be borrowed cheaply instead of bought or hired was, also, well received and seen as a route to increasing social interactions. Participants were, also, generally, in favour of increasing product lifetimes and avoiding premature disposal, although, some commented that this still wouldn’t stop people from wanting new things.

Professor Pidgeon said, “While it is good news that the public is positive about potential changes to everyday goods, acceptability doesn’t necessarily equate to levels of adoption. However, it, nonetheless, represents a critical component of decision making, that is likely to be important in successful policy development and implementation.”

The study was carried out by combining analyses of the technical emissions reductions potential and public acceptability of strategies for reducing emissions from the manufacture of material-intensive goods.

The Paper: The study ‘Public acceptance of resource efficiency strategies to mitigate climate change’ is published in Nature Climate Change.:::ω.

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IFS Green Budget: The Exposure of Different Workers to Potential Trade Barriers Between the UK and the EU
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| October 10: 2018 || ά. In a pre-released chapter of the Green Budget published on October 05, the Institute for Fiscal Studies:IFS Research Economists Mr Peter Levell and Ms Agnes Norris Keiller look in detail at changes in trade barriers with the EU and examine the consequences these, might, have for different industries, workers and regions. While there is no doubt that the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in June 2016 will have far-reaching consequences, there is much we do not know about what these consequences are likely to be.

We do not know what form of trade agreement the UK will strike with the EU, what new trade barriers, may be, imposed on UK–EU trade or what effects these will have on UK industries. In the face of all this uncertainty, various studies, conducted both inside and outside government, have attempted to predict the UK’s EU-Exit’s possible impacts on growth in the economy as a whole. These studies tend to find negative economic impacts of that event in both the short and long run, regardless of what kind of agreement the UK strikes with the EU. However, these economy-wide effects are likely to mask considerable differences in the exit’s potential effects on different industries, workers and regions across the UK.

Some people or places, may be, more negatively affected than others. Some, may, gain. This means exiting the EU could have important implications for both inter-personal and inter-regional inequalities within the UK. In this chapter, we focus on one particular aspect of exiting the EU, changes in trade barriers with the EU and examine the consequences these, might, have for different industries, workers and regions. Throughout, our aim is to shed light on relative impacts across different groups in the population rather than their overall scale. To conduct our analysis, we calculate measures of the impact of new barriers to trade on demand for goods and services produced in the UK and how these are likely to affect different industries and, by extension, the workers, that they employ.

:: The EU accounts for 44% of UK exports, equal to 13% of GDP and more than half of UK imports, 17% of GDP. Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union will increase trade barriers and make both importing and exporting more costly.

:: Some industries, such as, clothing and transport equipment, including, car manufacturing, are likely to be, especially, badly affected by these changes because they sell a large fraction of their output to EU countries. The transport equipment sector will, also, be hard hit because it imports 25% of its inputs from the EU. The same is true for the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sector. Finance is the most exposed services industry, as it currently exports a relatively large share of its output, 12%, to the EU.

:: Industries, such as, agriculture, may, benefit from trade barriers, though, at the expense of consumers, because consumers will substitute away from more expensive imports towards products made by UK industries. However, the industries, that could benefit make up a small share of the overall economy.

:: Men, in particular, those with fewer formal qualifications, are more likely to be employed in the most exposed industries than women and more highly educated men. Workers in process, plant and machinery operative occupations are, particularly, exposed. These tend to be older men with skills specific to their occupation, who, history suggests, may, struggle to find equally well-paid work, if, their current employment were to disappear.

:: On average, exposure to new trade barriers is set to weigh somewhat more heavily on the top half of the earnings distribution. While earnings inequality, may, fall, it will come at the cost of making most UK workers poorer. The likely impacts on inequality among regions are both smaller and much more uncertain than the effects on earnings inequality.

:: Low-educated workers are more exposed in some regional labour markets than others. While 19% of low-educated men work in industries we class as highly exposed in the UK as a whole, the fractions in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands are 25% and 24% respectively. Low-educated workers in these regions, might, find it, particularly, hard to adjust to the negative consequences of trade barriers.

This research was funded by the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe initiative. This is a pre-released chapter from the IFS Green Budget, that will be published on October 16. The Green Budget is being produced in association with the ICAEW and Citi and is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.:::ω.

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Make Print in Green: Epson Launches Its Reseller Roadshow in UK and Ireland: October 02-November 22

 

 

 

|| October 01: 2018 || ά. Epson is bringing its Reseller Roadshow to the UK and Ireland between October 02 and November 22 to showcase its latest range of print, projection and scan products and solutions. The programme will feature insights from world-class guest speakers on a range of different subject areas, that impact the channel. The Reseller Roadshow, which will visit five different cities across England, Ireland and Scotland, will outline the power of business inkjet technology, where Epson has seen an enormous growth in sales in the last 12 months.

Attendees will learn how making the switch from laser to inkjet can deliver significant value to the channel, driving the shift to make print a contractual and not transactional, business. Joining the roadshow as a guest speaker is print industry expert Mr Mick Heys, the Vice President, European Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions:IPDS at IDC. Mr Heys will be at each roadshow event, delivering key insights into print industry trends and the evolving IPDS landscape. The Reseller Roadshow events take place in London: October 02, Coventry: October 18th, Manchester: October 25, Edinburgh: November 13 and Dublin: November 22.   

The roadshow will highlight why size matters in projection and how document management, which is of utmost importance in today’s compliancy landscape, is made easy with Epson’s Document Capture Suite. A demo zone will, also, showcase how Epson’s products deliver optimum value for end users within the healthcare, corporate and retail sectors. 

Reinforcing Epson’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, the agenda focusses heavily on CSR trends and the many opportunities these present for the channel. Attendees will find out how inkjet printing can help keep both costs and energy emissions down; Epson has found that companies could save up to £157 million on their energy bill and 333,041 metric tons of CO2 emissions in Europe over four years, as a result of opting for inkjet over laser.

Mr Leo Johnson, the Head of PwC’s Disruption practice, and presenter of Radio Four’s flagship series Future Proofing, will, also, join the Reseller Roadshow to discuss how CSR is reshaping business and society.

Mr Darren Phelps, the Executive Director Europe, Value Partner Channel for Epson Europe, says, “We are dedicated to offering businesses across Europe cost-effective and efficient technology, that is better for the environment. An example of this in action are the advances we’ve made in inkjet technology, which uses up to 96% less energy, produces up to 92% less CO2 and achieves up to 99% less waste than laser technology.

We are delighted to bring our Reseller Roadshow to the UK channel. Our aim is for attendees to walk away from each carefully designed event with a clear understanding of how Epson’s products and solutions can help resellers strengthen customer retention and grow sales in an increasingly challenging market.”

About Epson: Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a line-up, that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to Three-LCD projectors, watches and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 76,000 employees in 87 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

About Epson Europe: Epson Europe B.V., based in Amsterdam, is the Group’s regional headquarters for Europe, Middle-East, Russia, and Africa. With a workforce of 1,830 employees, Epson Europe’s sales for fiscal year 2017 were 01.7 billion Euros. :::ω.

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The Green Party Elects a New Set of Co-Leaders and Re-Elects the Existing Deputy Leader for a Third Term

 

 

|| September 04: 2018 || ά. The Green Party members have voted Mr Jonathan Bartley and Ms Sian Berry as its new Co-leaders of the Party after an internal election this summer. Mr Bartley and Ms Berry have launched their leadership by pledging to take the party on the course to become the ‘third political party in Britain’ and get a Green in every council chamber. The new Co-leaders expressed their hope that their party would stand as ‘the opposite of vapid, old school centrist politics’ and promised to put forward ‘bright Green ideas’ to answer the big challenges of today from exiting the European Union to climate breakdown and the housing crisis, to automation and the broken world of work.

Ms Amelia Womack was re-elected as the Deputy Leader of the Party for a third term and will continue work on women’s rights, including, the campaign to make misogyny a hate crime, as well as, work on sustainable communities and the environment. The two Co-leaders, also, promised ‘fiercer Green resistance’ on the frontline of the fight against the destruction of projects from fracking to HS2 and the harm of practices like deportation and indefinite detention. Mr Bartley has led the opposition on Lambeth council since being elected a Streatham Councillor in May this year. Ms Berry was elected Green London Assembly Member in 2016, when she, also, came third in the London Mayoral race. She has been a Camden Councillor since 2014.

New Co-leaders Mr Bartley and Ms Berry won with 6,239 of a total 8,379 votes cast. Contenders Mr Shahrar Ali and Ms Leslie Rowe received 1,466 and 495 votes respectively. New Deputy Leader Ms Womack won with 3,981 of 7,369 total votes cast.

Mr Jonathan Bartley said, “We’re proud to lead a Party with a track record on the right side of history and are ready to mobilise a fiercer Green resistance than ever before. In council chambers across the country Greens are leading a political revolt against the status quo. We are more determined than ever to take the party to the next level. We want to take the Green Party on a course to become the third political party in Britain, building on this year’s local election success to get a Green on every council in England and Wales.

But the Green Party knows politics isn’t confined to council chambers or the halls of Westminster. When faced with the environmental destruction of fracking or the spiralling costs of HS2 or the inhumanity of indefinite detention and forced removals of refugees and migrants, we are not afraid to join protestors putting their bodies on the line for what is right.”

Ms Sian Berry said, “We’re excited to take on leading a buoyant Green Party at this crucial time for our country and party. With Brexit on the horizon and our planet burning, the last thing people need is the stale centrism of the past, which brought us austerity and privatisation and totally failed to tackle climate breakdown or give people real security and quality of life.

The Green Party is the opposite of vapid, old school centrist politics, and we are ready to shout louder than ever before about the bright Green ideas needed to face the huge challenges in the world today. 

We will be championing a People’s Vote on Brexit, tackling climate breakdown, ensuring everyone has the right to a safe warm home, and fulfilling work that translates to more time off with our families, not more unemployment as automation grows. We are the only party who can be trusted to stand up for citizens in our nations of England and Wales, instead of the interests of big business or millionaires.”:::ω.

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Where are Families Communities and Society When One in Four 14-Year-Old Girls Self-Harm: Or Rather What Has Been Happening to These Entities: The Children’s Society Report Presents the Disturbia for Everyone Concerned to Wake Up and Stop Lip Service and Act

 

|| August 29: 2018 || ά. Nearly a quarter of girls aged 14, 22%, said that they had self-harmed in just a year according to a new report by The Children’s Society. One in six, 16%, of more than 11,000 children surveyed reported self-harming at this age, including, nearly one in 10 boys, 09%. 22% girls and 09% boys and 16% of young people: this should send a chill to all policy makers and bodies, agencies, professionals working for and with young people! What is happening to society, in the individuals, in the families and in communities and why things have got to this desperately dangerous state and level: but, often, people are engaged in ‘false-agenda’ creating so that serious and informed debates and discourse are, sadly, missing.

But this can not go on and must not be let to get worse for the so called band wagon of getting the NHS fix the mental health crisis, including, fixing the young people’s mental health crisis, the sad fact of the matter is this that the NHS can not fix it alone for ‘pills’ are not and can not ever be the full answers to the multi-faceted and complex almost endless factors creating the mental health and well being crisis. It must have a strategy of regenerating, rejuvenating and reviving the individuals, the families, the communities and the networks of connections, interactions, participations, engagements, supports, education and guidance, as well as, therapies, only, one of which is ‘pills’ and, that, one is not for everyone. Those, who want to get the NHS fix all the broken bones, veins and capillaries of society’s fractures are utterly mistaken but those in the leadership positions of all the agencies and bodies and professions must now wake up. This is not a crisis but a sociological catastrophe building towards a momentum: wake up. It is wake up United Kingdom time. It is wake up and act time. No time to lose.

The self-harm statistics follow new analysis included in the charity’s annual Good Childhood Report, which examines the state of children’s well-being in the UK.  The report looks at the reasons behind the unhappiness, which increases the risk of children self-harming. Based on these figures, The Children’s Society estimates that nearly 110,000 children aged 14, may, have self-harmed across the UK during the same 12-month period, including, 76,000 girls and 33,000 boys. One young person told the charity: “I felt like self-harming was what I wanted to do and had to do as there was nothing else I could do. I think there is help for young people but not the right kind of help. Feeling not pretty enough or good enough as other girls did contribute towards my self-harming, however, I don’t feel just being a girl is the reason as I think boys feel the same way, too”.

Almost, half of 14-year-olds, who said they had been attracted to people of the same gender or both genders, said that they had self-harmed, 46%, analysis of the Millennium Cohort Survey showed.  Four in ten of these children had shown signs of depression, 38%, and three in ten had low well-being, 30%, both compared with one in ten, 11%, of all children. 

Mr Matthew Reed, Chief Executive at The Children’s Society, said, “It is deeply worrying that so many children are unhappy to the extent that they are self-harming. Worries about how they look are a big issue, especially, for girls but this report shows other factors, such as, how they feel about their sexuality and gender stereotypes, may be, linked to their unhappiness.”

The Children’s Society’s new Good Childhood survey of 10-17-year-old children and their parents across 2,000 households, which is, also, part of the report, found children were least happy with school and their appearance.

It asked children about their experiences of school.  Nearly a quarter, 24%, said that they heard jokes or comments about other people’s bodies or looks all of the time, while more than a fifth, 22% of those in secondary school said that jokes or comments were, often, made about people’s sexual activity. Both made girls feel much worse about their appearance and less happy with their life as a whole, but this pattern did not apply to boys.

The research, also, suggests both boys and girls can be harmed by gender stereotypes and pressure to live up to these expectations. Children felt under pressure from friends to be good looking but those, who felt boys should be tough and girls should have nice clothes were least happy with life.

The report suggests that happiness with family relationships could be the best protection for children because it has the biggest positive influence on their overall well-being. Mr Matthew Reed said, “It’s vital that children’s well-being is taken more seriously and that much more is done to tackle the root causes of their unhappiness and support their mental health.

Schools can play an important part in this and that is why we want the Government to make it a requirement for all secondary schools to offer access to a counsellor, regularly monitor children’s well-being and have their mental health provision assessed as part of Ofsted inspections. Issues like appearance, gender stereotypes and sexuality should be included in the new Relationships and Sex Education curriculum.

However, early support for vulnerable children and families in the community, which can help prevent mental health problems from developing, is, also, vital and ministers, must, urgently address the £02 billion funding shortfall facing council children’s services departments by 2020.”

Responding to the publication by the Children’s Society of their Good Childhood Report 2018, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Mr Javed Khan said, “The Children’s Society’s report supports my view that we are sleepwalking into a mental health crisis with too little being done too late to help vulnerable children and young people across the UK.

It’s truly devastating that so many children are so unhappy with their lives that they are self-harming. This is, often, an expression of a deeper problem, which is why early intervention is vital. Barnardo’s wants to involve children in discussions about mental health before they have an issue. We run wellbeing programmes in schools, so children learn that stress, anger and other uncomfortable feelings are normal, along with techniques to help cope with them.

“However, some children will still need specialist help.  It is unacceptable that 3 in 4 children with a diagnosable mental health condition do not get access to the support they need and the average waiting time for CAMHS services in England is six months for a first appointment and 10 months until the start of treatment."

Read the Report:::ω.

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Exiting the European Union: UK in EU Takes Its Case to the Court Challenging the European Referendum’s Constitutional Validity Following the Findings of the Electoral Commission

 

 

 

|| August 14: 2018 || ά. The organisation representing British living in the European Union, UK in EU, has succeeded in taking its case to the Court, seeking to challenge the Constitutional Validity of the European Referendum. The Agency’s legal team has put up The Case: The Case in brief: ‘Recent revelations show beyond reasonable doubt that the Leave campaign cheated in Brexit referendum. The Electoral Commission found ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that Vote Leave, the official campaign, cheated on its spending limit by almost £700,000:06%.

In a General Election, Local Authority election or Local Authority referendum the courts can declare the vote null and void, if, there has been cheating of exactly this type. What has the government proposed to do about this injustice? Nothing. The Prime Minister triggered Article 50 because she believed the Referendum result was the ‘will of the people’. We now know she was wrong. We believe that the British public is entitled to a fair vote on an issue which is so important to our future as a nation.

Our case is that: The Prime Minister’s decision to trigger Article 50 wasn’t in line with the UK’s “constitutional requirements” as fair elections are at the heart of our constitution. The decision is therefore null and void.

In any case, the Prime Minister needs to act on the clear and unambiguous findings that cheating was at the core of the EU Referendum by proposing a second referendum with strictly enforced rules.

This isn’t about ‘leave’ or ‘remain’. It’s about rights, fairness and democracy.

Orders Sought: A declaration that the Prime Minister’s or the government’s, decision to notify the European Council of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, ‘Article 50’: a. is vitiated by reason of the matters referred to above; and/or b. that it was not taken in accordance with the United Kingdom’s constitutional requirements.

By reason of the above, an order:

a. quashing the Prime Minister’s or the government’s decision to notify under Article 50; and

b. quashing the notice by which such notification was given, on the basis that it was not given in accordance with the UK’s own constitutional requirements.

Prime Minister’s Response

In the circumstances the Prime Minister will not be taking any of the steps demanded in your letter. In the light of this response we must go to Court as a matter of urgency.

The Legal Team: Croft Solicitors, Mr Rupert Croft, Ms Laura Nelson, Mr Edward Hazzan, Ms Eleanor Burden.

Counsel: Mr Patrick Green QC, Ms Jessica Simor QC, Professor Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Mr Adam Wagner and Ms Reanne MacKenzie.

Croft Solicitors has said in a statement, ‘’Our clients are a group of British citizens who live in other EU countries and are members of the pan-European organisation, “UK in EU Challenge”. The rights of the estimated 1 to 2 million British nationals who live, work or have other interests in other member states are profoundly affected by Brexit.

Recent findings by the Electoral Commission of illegal conduct by the Leave campaigns during the 2016 EU Referendum have called into question whether the Referendum was conducted in accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements.

Our clients contend the Prime Minister’s decision to trigger Article 50 and start the Brexit process was based on a factual error, namely that the Referendum truly represented the will of the people following a lawful, free and fair vote. They argue that it was not, and the decision to trigger Article 50 to withdraw from the EU was not in accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements.’’

Grounds for Judicial Review and Statement of Facts

The organisers have asked people to support their legal fight: ‘’We need your support to fund this case. Even a small contribution may have a huge effect on the future of our country.’’:::ω.

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The Absolutely Urgent Matter of The Unflushables: What Is To Be Done: Binned Must It Be

 

|| August 14: 2018 || ά. These can’t be flushed! Yes, that’s right. These things can not be flushed and can not, any longer, be ignored for they have become too big a problem to just leave in the ‘un-dealt-with’. Thames Water removes 30 tonnes of unflushable material every day from one of its sites. It unclogs five house blockages a day from London’s sewers, a 30 per cent increase from last year. Sewage blockages cost Thames Water and, ultimately, the consumers £12 million a year. Waste authorities collect more than 100,000 tonnes of nappy waste a year.  The majority will be sent for incineration, adding to London’s carbon emissions and polluting the air and Nappies, that go to landfill take around 400 years to disintegrate.

Across the UK, over 11 billion wet wipes, nearly 02.5 billion period products, nearly four billion nappies and over a billion incontinence products are purchased every year. These numbers are growing, wipes by over a quarter and incontinence products by nearly half, compared with five years ago. There is no legal requirement for manufacturers to list materials on the packaging of products. Tampons contain five per cent plastic, period pads contain 90 per cent plastic and nappies contain an estimated 50 per cent plastic and similar materials. Wet wipes, tampons and period pads are, often, flushed down the toilet. Londoners are not aware that these items contain plastic and combined with fat and oil create fatbergs and sewage blockages.

The London Assembly Environment Committee Report, ‘Single-Use Plastic: Unflushables’ recommends: i: The Mayor and Thames Water introduce a ‘block buster borough’ initiative, to get councils to pledge that unflushables don’t enter the sewage system and reusables are promoted where possible. ‘Bin it, don’t block it’ signage could be displayed on the backs of public toilets.

Ii: The Mayor’s London Healthy Schools initiative should ask schools to demonstrate that they are period positive, in order to reduce stigma and inform children about binning not flushingand reusable period products as an alternative; iii: The Mayor should write to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs requesting a statutory format to display proper disposal information and the presence of plastic in products.

Iv: The Greater London Authority:GLA Group should provide bins in men’s toilets for incontinence and other unflushable single-use products, as currently bins are only in female toilets.

Ms Caroline Russell AM, the Chair of the Environment Committee of the London Assembly, said, “Public awareness around single-use plastics, in terms of disposable water bottles and coffee cups is high but what about other daily products, like wet wipes, nappies and period products? These products end up in our rivers and oceans, sit in landfills or are incinerated, inflicting irreparable damage on our environment.

We urgently need to educate Londoners not to flush these items down the toilet and enlist the help of the Mayor to take some practical steps to help the situation. London has to learn to bin it and not flush it.”

Mr Stephen Pattenden, Waste Network Performance Manager, Thames Water, said, “Many people don’t realise how wipes, that get flushed, can cause blockages and fatbergs in the sewers.

 They contain plastic so don’t break down in the same way as toilet paper does, instead clinging to the insides of the pipes and combining with fat and grease to form the fatbergs, which have become so common across London. It’s great to have the London Assembly’s help to spread our ‘bin it’ message across the capital.”:::ω.

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Using Its Chemical Recycling Recycle Technologies Can Recycle the Unrecyclable Plastics: The Company Supports the Calls for the Government to Reform EPR So That Extra Funding Can Be Raised to Ensure Valuable Plastic Materials are Kept in the Economy and Out of Landfill and Incineration

 

 

|| August 08: 2018 || ά. In response to recent media coverage on the BBC and in particular the Local Government Association’s:LGA comments regarding plastics recycling, Mr Adrian Griffiths, the Chief Executive Officer of Recycling Technologies, which specialises in chemically recycling plastics, said, “Recycling Technologies has developed a chemical recycling machine, that converts plastic waste, which currently can not be recycled, back into an oil from which more virgin plastics can be produced.

Using chemical recycling our machine enables waste operators and local authorities to recycle plastics, that are currently sent to landfill and incineration, such as, films, coloured plastics, laminated plastics, i.e, crisp packets, black bin bags and multi-polymer pots, tubs and trays. This form of chemical recycling will help to clear up the problem with these non-recyclable plastics and at the same time create revenue from plastic waste here in the UK.”

Today 77% of local authorities collect pots, tubs and trays but the wide range of polymers used in these forms of packaging make it less-economical to sort and separate all of this packaging for recycling. Consequently, some of these plastics are rejected and sent to landfill and incineration.

This is where chemical recycling comes in; it can take this plastic waste and turn it back into a valuable oil for use by chemical companies to make new virgin-quality plastics with recycled content.  

Recycle Technologies agrees with the LGA, that Extended Producer Responsibility:EPR has a role to play in helping local authorities become more comprehensive in the range of plastics they can recycle by raising finance to boost recycling infrastructure and innovation in the UK.

Recycling Technologies supports calls for Government to reform EPR so that extra funding can be raised to ensure valuable plastic materials are kept in the economy and out of landfill and incineration.:::ω.

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UK Press Regulation After the Leveson Inquiry

 

 

|| July 29: 2018: || ά. This Parliamentary Briefing Paper looks into the Press Regulation in the UK following the Leveson Inquiry. In November 2012, Lord Justice Leveson, now Sir Brian Leveson, published his Report on the ‘culture, practices and ethics of the press’. The Report covered only Part One of his inquiry. The current system of press regulation is a response to this report. Part Two of the inquiry proposed to look at relationships between newspaper organisations and the police, politicians, prosecuting authorities and relevant regulatory bodies during the ‘phone hacking’ scandal of 2002-2011, as well as, the failures of corporate governance at newspaper groups. It has not started.

Press Regulation: The Current System: A Royal Charter on press regulation was granted on October 30, 2013. This incorporated key recommendations from the Leveson Report, allowing for one or more independent self-regulatory bodies for the press to be established. Any such body would be recognised and overseen by a Press Recognition Panel. Publishers, who joined a recognised regulatory body might expect to receive more favourable treatment, if, action was taken against them in the courts. The Press Recognition Panel:PRP came into being on November 03, 2014.

Two press regulators are now in existence. Most newspapers have signed up to IPSO, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which has no intention of applying for recognition. A small number of publications have joined IMPRESS. This body is ‘Leveson-compliant’ and was recognised by the PRP on October 25, 2016 as an ‘approved’ regulator.

Other publications, for example, the Guardian, have held back from joining any regulator and have appointed their own internal readers’ ombudsmen. Two legislative changes arising from Leveson were designed to provide financial incentives to newspaper publishers to join a regulator recognised by the PRP:

Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 would make it easier for the public to challenge illegality by news publishers, who chose not to subscribe to an approved regulator because it would mean publishers having to pay both sides’ legal costs, whether they won or lost a case. This section has not been brought into force.

Sections 34 to 39 of the 2013 Act offer protection from the risk of ‘exemplary damages’ in certain civil litigation claims to those ‘relevant publishers’, that sign up to the Royal Charter framework and make exemplary damages available in those claims for the courts to award as a punitive measure against ‘relevant publishers, who have not signed up. These sections are in force.

Press regulation is a devolved area. The sections of the 2013 Act discussed in this paper only extend to England and Wales. The Royal Charter has been adopted in Scotland, but differences between the legal systems, may, lead to divergent outcomes.

Leveson Two: Section 40 and the Data Protection Bill: In November 2016, the Government published a consultation on whether to proceed with Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry and whether to commence section 40 of the 2013 Act.

In a statement on March 01, 2018, Mr Matt Hancock, the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, announced that the Government was formally closing the Leveson Inquiry. He, also, said that section 40 would not be commenced and would be repealed at the ‘earliest opportunity’.

Amendments to the Data Protection Bill HL 2017-19 tried, unsuccessfully, to: establish a Leveson Two type inquiry on data protection breaches committed by or on behalf of news publishers; incentivise media operators to sign up to an independent press regulator in respect of data protection claims, to be achieved in a similar way to section 40 and as a result of Government amendments to the Bill, the Data Protection Act 2018 requires:

The Information Commissioner’s Office:ICO to publish a data protection and journalism code:section 124; the ICO to produce guidance about how individuals can seek redress where a media organisation fails to comply with data protection legislation, including, guidance about making complaints and bringing claims before a court:section 177 and the ICO to review the processing of personal data for the purposes of journalism:section 178

Read the Paper

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7576: Author: John Woodhouse: Published on July 27, 2018 ::ω.

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Hard-Pressed Households Need Government Action to Deal with Debts: Uncompromising Local and Central Government Debt Collection Should Be Reformed

 

 

 

|| July 26: 2018: || ά. The Treasury Committee has today published a unanimously-agreed report on household finances. The key findings of the Report include many households are over-indebted and lack a ‘rainy day’ savings buffer, ‘uncompromising’ local and central government debt collection should be reformed, FCA should move forward with regulation to limit cost of high-cost credit, including, overdraft fees, urgently, ISA tax relief does little to incentivise saving for lower-income savers, government must act now to tackle looming crisis from 12 million pension under-savers, self-employed should be brought into pension auto-enrolment, lifetime ISA should be abolished due to its perverse incentives and complexity and pension tax relief does not incentivise saving.

The FCA's cap on payday lenders has proven to be beneficial for consumers. Earlier this year, the FCA published the outcome of it’s high-cost credit review, which includes proposals on overdraft fees, rent-to-own, home-collected credit and catalogue credit and store cards. The FCA should move forward with these proposals urgently. In the debt collection practices of public authorities 'worst in class': People become over-indebted not just through conventional credit but through arrears on bills, including, those owed to central and local government, such as, council tax. Debt collection practices of public authorities have been described as ‘worst in class’; debts are, often, pursued over-zealously, uncompromisingly and with routine recourse to bailiffs. This approach risks driving the most financially vulnerable people into further difficulty. The public sector should raise its standards to the level of industry best practice.

The Government’s principal savings incentive takes the form of tax relief on interest, primarily through ISAs. Yet, there is little evidence that tax relief is an effective way of encouraging potentially vulnerable households to save for a rainy day. There is, however, more evidence that cash bonuses and direct matching schemes, such as, the Help to Save scheme, are better at helping people build a precautionary savings buffer. The Government should update Parliament on the usage of such schemes and its efforts to increase take-up. It should, also, consider widening the eligibility criteria.

Since the introduction of auto-enrolment, the number of pension under-savers was reduced by two million but there are still 12 million people in the UK, who are not saving enough for their retirement, according to the Government’s own research. The Government must act now to tackle the looming crisis from millions of pension under-savers.

There is growing concern about the number of self-employed, including, ‘gig economy’ workers, who are not covered by pension auto-enrolment. There is, therefore, an urgent need to bring the self-employed into the auto-enrolment system but the Government has no clear strategy or timetable for doing so. The Government should consider making use of self-assessment and national insurance contributions to auto-enrol the self-employed.

The Lifetime ISA has been strongly criticised for its complexity and its inconsistency with the other parts of the long-term savings landscape, which has contributed to its limited take-up by customers and providers. The Government should abolish the Lifetime ISA.

The main financial incentive, that the Government provides for long-term saving is tax relief on pension contributions. This is not an effective or well-targeted way of incentivising saving into pensions. The Government, may, want to consider fundamental reform. However, the existing state of affairs could be improved through further, incremental changes. The Government should consider replacing the lifetime allowance with a lower annual allowance, introducing a flat rate of relief and promoting understanding of tax relief as a bonus or additional contribution.

If, the state pension triple lock is maintained in the long term, the state pension will rise relative to earnings indefinitely. This is clearly unsustainable. However, replacing it with earnings-uprating could increase the number of under-savers. The next auto-enrolment review should explore the options for making up with private savings the shortfall, that could result, if, the triple lock were abandoned in the future.

It is the Treasury and not the financial regulators, who bear overall responsibility for ensuring that low rates of saving or high rates of indebtedness do not imperil long-term economic stability or living standards. In the next Budget, the Treasury should report on the state of household finances, identify the key risks to the financial resilience of households and set out its strategy for addressing them.

Commenting on the Report, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said, "Many households are facing challenges, that are putting pressure on the health and sustainability of their finances. Over-indebtedness, lack of rainy day savings and insufficient pension savings are some of the weaknesses in the household balance sheet identified in this inquiry.

The Committee’s report makes a series of recommendations for the Government to consider that would help households ensure that their finances are as resilient as possible. Whilst financial service regulators and guidance bodies have important roles to play, the Government should not pass the buck to them."

Read the Report:::ω.

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WHO Is Advising Whom In This Heatwave: Please Read and Do

 

 

|| July 24: 2018 || ά. The World Health Organisation has offered its advice for people in this heatwave, facing the UK and many other parts of Europe. As the European Region enters the warm season, the public, medical professionals and public health authorities must prepare for eventual heat-waves and hot spells. Every year, heat harms the health of many people, particularly, the elderly. And, please, be extra vigilant to the people in the vulnerable groups for they will be most severely impacted by these heatwaves.

It can trigger exhaustion, heart attacks or confusion and can worsen existing conditions, such as, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Heat-waves are projected to increase because of climate change but their health effects are largely preventable. WHO alert and information materials are available online to support preparedness and response to heatwaves. Look out for anyone, may, need assistance and stay hydrated and avoid hot drinks.

Advice for the general public during a heatwave

Follow your local health authority's recommendations.

Keep your home cool, checking the temperature regularly. Ideally it should be kept below 32 °C during the day and 24 °C at night. Hanging shades across sunny windows, opening windows at night and early morning and hanging wet towels to cool down the room air may help to lower the temperature inside.

Keep out of the heat. Move to the coolest room in your house, especially at night. Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day. Avoid strenuous physical activity if you can. Stay in the shade. Do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles.

Keep the body cool and hydrated. Take cool showers or baths. Wear light, loose-fitting clothes of natural materials. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap and sunglasses. Use light bed linen and sheets, and no cushions, to avoid heat accumulation. Drink regularly but avoid alcohol and too much caffeine and sugar. Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein.

Help others, checking on family, friends and neighbours who spend much of their time alone. Elderly or sick people living alone should be visited at least daily. If a person is taking medication, ask the treating doctor how it can influence thermoregulation and the fluid balance.

Keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator, read the storage instructions on the packaging.

Seek medical advice, if, you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or are taking multiple medications.

If, you or others feel unwell, dizzy, weak, anxious, are intensely thirst or have a headache—seek help. Move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature. Drink water or fruit juice to rehydrate. Rest immediately in a cool place, if, you have painful muscular spasms; drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes; and seek help if the heat cramps last more than an hour. Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.

If, someone has hot dry skin and delirium, convulsions and:or is unconscious, call a doctor or ambulance immediately.

These materials are part of a wider portfolio of action for prevention, ranging from timely public and medical advice to health system preparedness, co-ordinated with meteorological early warning systems and improvements to housing and urban planning. These actions can be integrated into a heat–health action plan and many European countries have developed such plans, to enable them to plan for heat and take action quickly. :::ω.

 

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The Government Announces Pay Rise for Around a Million Public Sector Workers

 

 

|| July 24: 2018 || ά. The Government has announced that around one million public sector workers are set to benefit from a pay rise. Members of the Armed Forces will receive a well-above inflation increase of 02.9%, 02% consolidated, 0.9% non-consolidated, with today’s award worth £680 in pay to an average soldier and a one-off payment of £300. The teachers’ award means the main pay range will increase by 03.5%, 02% to upper pay range and 01.5% to leadership. Schools will determine how it is set

All prison officers will get at least a 02.75%, 02% consolidated, 0.75% non-consolidated), increase this year, with many getting higher awards. A police award of 02%, all consolidated, will mean average pay for a Constable will now be more than £38,600 per year. A pay increase of, at least, 02% for junior doctors, specialist doctors, GPs and dentists. Consultants will, also, get a pay rise of at least £1,150.

From October 2018: 02% for dentists and junior doctors consolidated, 01.5% consolidated for consultants with an additional 0.5% targeted at performance pay, 03% consolidated pay rise for specialty SAS Doctors:Backdated to April 2018: 02% for GPs consolidated, with an additional 01% potentially available from April 2019 subject to contract reform.

This follows the 06.5% pay rise over three years, that was announced in March for more than a million nurses, midwives and other Agenda for Change staff, in return for modernisation of terms and conditions.

Today’s increases are funded from departmental budgets. Current and future affordability across the whole public sector was considered when agreeing final awards, alongside the advice of the Pay Review Bodies.

This is to ensure that resources are available to invest in public service improvement, and that awards are sustainable without an increasing burden of debt being passed onto future generations. The UK already spends around £50 billion a year on debt interest, more than is spent on the police and armed forces combined.

Public sector workers continue to benefit from better pensions than those offered in the private sector.

Median pay for full time employees in the public sector is £30,630 compared to £27,977 in the private sector.

Pay awards are on top of performance and progression pay, which remains automatic for some workforces. :::ω.

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