Tactical Voting Tool Tells Students Where Their Vote Will Matter Most In The General Election

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More than 30,000 people have used the website since it launched.

 

Thousands of students have been sharing a tactical voting tool that allows them to find out where their vote will count most in the General Election

The website ge2017.com/students, created as part of the #TurnUp voter registration campaign, compares where students live during term-time and in the holidays, identifying whether either of the constituencies are swing seats.

It then recommends where their vote is “worth more”, with students allowed to register at both their home and university addresses under electoral rules.

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GE2017 #TurnUp has launched a new tool allowing students to find out where their vote will matter most in the General Election

According to Matt Morley, who created the tool, more than 32,500 people have used the website since it launched on Saturday.

“We know from social media that students are switching where they are going to vote because of this site,” he said.

“It is overwhelmingly people who support parties on the left who are doing that, typically Labour, the Greens or Lib Dems, but there are people on the right that are doing it as well.

“Conservative and UKIP voters are saying, if you want to support Brexit, vote here.”

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GE2017 The site identifies if they are registered to vote in a swing seat

Morley estimates that between 3,500 to 4,000 young people have “directly” registered to vote thanks to the site, with the tool linking to the Gov.uk website.

“It’s between 5-7% of our users,” he explained. “Because they are proactively thinking about their vote, they are more likely to go on to register.”

Morley was inspired to create the tool after his sister, a student at Bristol University, asked him where she should vote.

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Empics Entertainment Hope Not Hate had warned that students stood to miss out on having their say because they were confused whether they should vote at home or at uni

“I built her a Google sheet that compared the chances of her party winning, and it turns out Bristol is a much better seat to vote in than our parents’ home constituency,” he said.

After the sheet was quickly shared among his sister’s friends, Morley and the tech team at his company, which is working with Bite The Ballot during the election campaign, went on to convert it into a website.

There are now plans for the NUS to send the tool to its members.

Bite The Ballot’s Josh Dell added: “The fact that students are able to register either at home or at university gives them an extraordinary amount of democratic power.

“Apps like GE2017 are just one of the many ways that the #TurnUp campaign is empowering young citizens to take part in the general election.”

Barnsley welcomes new Mayor for 2017/2018

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Cllr Jeff Ennis has formally been elected as the Mayor of Barnsley for 2017/2018 during the annual council meeting held at Barnsley Town Hall this evening.

The retiring Mayor Cllr Linda Burgess was thanked for her service and presented with a replica medallion.

As the new Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Ennis announced his Mayoral theme: “The theme for my Mayoral year is families first. My family is very important to me. They have been with me throughout especially during my time as a councillor, Leader of the Council, Member of Parliament and now as Mayor of Barnsley. I’m grateful for the opportunity to use the role of Mayor to focus on family, whether it’s the single parent family or the broad family of an organisation.”

Mayor’s charities

The new Mayor and Mayoress, Mrs Margaret Ennis, have chosen to raise funds for two charities:

◾Barnsley Riding for the Disabled
◾Cure Myeloma Appeal

Barnsley Riding for the Disabled

Barnsley Riding for the Disabled was originally formed in 1979 and ran its services from a variety of commercial riding stables. It was quickly apparent that it needed its own stables which opened in June 1984.

The outdoor riding facility was renewed and extended in 2006, and its next development plan is for a purpose built indoor riding school, so the Mayor and Mayoress hope to raise funds towards this project.

Cure Myeloma Appeal

The Cure Myeloma Appeal is led by Dr Andrew Chantry, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant Haematologist with the Sheffield Myeloma Research Team. The Mayor is supporting this appeal as his brother-in-law, the Mayoress’ brother, is receiving treatment for the condition.

Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells that are found in your bone marrow and make up your immune system. Recent research by Dr Chantry and his team at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has demonstrated incredible results. To continue this research over the next three years £90,000 is needed, £55,000 has already been raised, and the Mayor and Mayoress will do all they can to support the appeal.

‘Take back control’? Do the Tories think we’re idiots? They created this mess

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As a trade union leader, I see the poverty in this country. I make no apologies for backing Labour and Corbyn

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Theresa May in Stoke-on-Trent. ‘Only the Conservatives could have started the week announcing a ‘bold’ move on employment rights, which actually meant the minimum wage would rise more slowly than planned.’ Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

With just over three weeks to go until the general election it’s obvious now, if it wasn’t before, that the country will be faced with a clear choice on 8 June. Don’t let anyone tell you all politicians are the same or that it doesn’t matter who you vote for.

I’ve been a trade union leader for 15 years. I worked at Royal Mail from the age of 16 and raised my family on a council estate in Lambeth, south London. I’ve spent my life not in politics and Westminster, but in workplaces across the country – and for members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), for which I’m the general secretary, this is the most important election I can remember.

I’m struck by the contrast in the expectations I had when I started out and those of young people today. I listen not to the slogans casually being thrown around by Tory politicians who have never known what it’s like to have skin in the game, but what our members are saying around the country.

So while Theresa May stands in front of the television cameras to announce that the Conservatives will build a country that “works for everyone”, I wonder what she’d tell our young members who say they’ll have to wait for their parents to die to ever be able to afford their own home. Perhaps “strong and stable” wouldn’t really cut it with them.

Because let’s be clear about it, this is the country that her party has built in the past seven years: zero-hours contracts, food banks, in-work poverty. Things that were the exception a decade ago have become part of normal life. The headlines I last remember from 20 years ago about patients being stuck on trolleys in hospital corridors waiting to be seen are once again leading the news.

But this isn’t life for everyone in Britain today. The Tory mantra of “open for business” works out very nicely for some when it means little more than “up for sale”.

The houses our children can’t afford serve as hedge funds for the super-rich. The public services we pay hand over fist for end up in the hands of foreign governments. The companies putting frontline staff under ever greater pressure to work harder and faster for less just keep ramping up the handsome rewards for those at the top.

When the government that has presided over all of this – and has spent years telling us this is the necessary way of things – now promises it will “take back control” on our behalf, they must think we’re all idiots.

Only the Conservatives could have started the week announcing a “bold” move on employment rights, which actually meant the minimum wage would rise more slowly than planned by no less a revolutionary than George Osborne. Only the rightwing press could cover this as if May had turned into Che Guevara.

This week Labour announced an agenda for government that will deliver fundamental change – about time. So I make no apologies for backing the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn in the election.

A national education service; 100,000 council homes a year; renationalising mail, rail and energy; £6bn extra for the NHS; investment to grow the economy outside London; a crackdown on a labour market that operates like the wild west. These are proposals that make me believe my children might have a better future than my generation – a sense of optimism few of us have had much reason to feel in recent years.

So one thing is clear from the pledges we’ve seen this week. We do face a definite choice between more of the same under the Tories and a positive vision for the future under Labour.

They say it’s the hope that kills you. I disagree – it’s the lack of it that proves terminal in the end. So on 8 June there is only one option – vote Labour for the country and our children’s future.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/17/take-back-control-tories-labour-corbyn-theresa-may

Pay, jobs and public services

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Ask your politicians if they care

Before you vote on Thursday 8 June, do you know where your local candidates stand on the issues that matter to you?

UNISON represents people working inisolated-logo

  • local government
  • NHS
  • social care
  • police
  • education
  • community and voluntary sector
  • utilities and transport

That’s why we think it’s important to look at what the parties and candidates who want to be our local MPs have to say about your pay, jobs and public services.

The facts

The context in which this snap general election is taking place is stark: Inflation is now running ahead of pay increases, which means that most working people are threatened with a cut in their living standards in the period ahead. If costs rise, your pay will not go as far..

Because of the pay cap the average pay of public sector workers will be £1,700 lower in 2020 than in 2010, in real terms – a massive squeeze on your household finances.

Close to a million jobs have been cut and countless posts left unfilled, leaving our NHS, social care, local government services, policing and education struggling to meet rising demand. We know that you are feeling the pressure at work – with fewer staff trying to deliver the same level of service.

Where do the politicians stand?
Click on this link and you can send a message now to the candidates where you live, asking where they stand on these issues before you go to vote on Thursday 8 June.

Your vote really CAN make a difference.

Best wishes,

Dave Prentis
UNISON general secretary

Professor Green, Maverick Sabre and Rize Up – the drive to get young people voting in 2017’s general election

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Haven’t registered to vote yet? Sort it out. Professor Green, Maverick Sabre and Rize Up are doing everything they can to get the country voting

This year’s election isn’t a foregone conclusion, it’s an opportunity for change. That’s the message of Rize Up, a new campaign urging under 25s to go out and vote. In the lead up to May 22’s registration cut-off point and the general election on June 8, Rize Up will be everywhere around the UK, driving home the importance of having a say in this year’s crucial vote.

There’s a sense that the tide is turning. 100,000 under-25s registered to vote within three days of the election being announced. A recent Guardian survey found nine out of 10 students had registered. But there’s still more work to be done. With the registration cut-off point approaching, there’s still time to put a spanner in the works and change the country. We spoke to the campaign’s organiser and some of the acts joining Rize Up’s cause, urging young people to get out and vote.

Professor Green: “It’s strength in numbers”

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Professor Green, himself a first time voter, wants the UK to have its say.

This election feels like a chance to get out and do something…

“It would be amazing. Growing up, politics was just a load of mumbo jumbo. I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I had a lot to contend with outside my doorstep. They’re probably the hardest group to engage. I don’t think they feel like politics relates to them, and it has an impact on their lives.”

Do you think some people are convinced they can’t make a difference?

“People are so disengaged and they feel they can’t make a difference. Whereas actually, it’s strength in numbers.”

If anyone is reading this thinking, ‘I might not bother voting,’ what would you say?

“Well if it doesn’t matter either way, then why not just bloody do it? If you feel it’s unimportant, why not just do it for the sake of it? If you want to spoil your ballot, then spoil your ballot. Whatever people think of a man they probably have no idea about, there’s definitely a lesser of two evils here. If you have a low opinion of politicians, it shouldn’t matter.”

Josh Cole, Rize Up founder: “There’s something in the air”

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Josh Cole, founder of Rize Up, believes this generation could change politics forever.

What compelled you to set up Rize Up?

“I think a lot of young people are actually very smart, and they understand very well why they don’t want to vote, and it’s a very conscious decision. I think it’s really trying to tap into that anti-establishment energy and channel it into somewhere they can actually use their opinion and use their voice.”

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So does this feel like an election where big change can happen?

“I think there’s something in the air. People are starting to become more politically aware, and I don’t think we have been for a long time. We’ve become so disillusioned with the establishment and politics in general that I just don’t think we felt like we could make a difference. But that’s starting to change.”

What are Rize Up doing in the lead-up to the election?

“We’re just going to be promoting, getting the word out there to anyone who listens. There’s a lot of different people who’ve approached us who are organizing their own Rize Up parties, and we like to encourage that. There’s going to be an awful lot happening in the next few weeks.”

Maverick Sabre: “One voice can be so important”

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London-based rapper Maverick Sabre was turned on to Rize Up by his friends in Rudimental – he’s urging the youth to stand up and be counted.

Why is it that young people can feel disengaged by politics?

“It’s because it can seem like a world that we have no power over, no voice. We’ve become disconnected because we don’t see anyone as standing for us anymore. And even those who stand for the working people can see washed over, in a sense. We seem to only view the rise of politics as something that only affects us in a negative way. Even from a young age, in schools, politics is taught as an older generation’s problem – which is ridiculous. It’s ingrained in us to be disillusioned.”

What would you say to those still on the fence about registering?

“Think about when you grow older, think about your kids, think about the country you want them to live in. One voice can be so important. Source your own news, don’t take any one bit of information as truth, and think about your future. What voice would you want to have?”

Source: http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/meet-rize-drive-get-young-people-voting-2017-2072620

SERA Welcomes Labour Manifesto’s Bold Green Ambition

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From energy efficiency to sustainable farming, Labour’s manifesto, launched today, offers real leadership on the environment

Since the General Election was called in April, SERA have been taking part in Labour’s manifesto process, calling for environmental justice to be at the heart of the party’s offer.

We’ve provided briefings for the Shadow Cabinet teams, asked our members to take part in public consultations, taken part in Socialist Societies meetings and submitted our own manifesto – published online here – to the National Policy Forum, which our Co-Chair Melanie Smallman is a member of.

It’s fantastic therefore to see SERA’s recommendations front and centre in the final manifesto.

  • International climate change leadership? Tick.
  • Commitment to all EU environmental protections? Tick.
  • Banning fracking? Tick.

Whilst the Conservative’s record of inaction and broken promises speaks volumes, Labour’s manifesto offers positive, concrete actions to tackle the environmental challenges facing the UK – pledges that will make a real difference to communities across the country.

SERA asked for Labour to show clear ambition on the green economy, to fuel sustainable growth and create decent, skilled, jobs. Today’s manifesto places the low-carbon economy at the heart of the party’s Industrial Strategy, with a commitment to clean energy cited as a fundamental mission. It’s ambitious target – 60% of the UK’s energy from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030 – will not just help drive private investment, but would also underpin public capital spending from the likes of the much-vaunted National Investment Bank.

Matching another SERA recommendation, Labour has further pledged support for the green economy via public procurement – a government asset that’s often overlooked, yet has significant influence. It will require those doing business with the government to match best practice on environmental protection, making use of the estimated £200bn local and national spending. This will help create a new market for the green economy and set a clear environmental benchmark for businesses across the UK.

Looking at energy, simply freezing bills is only half the solution – we argued for a Labour government to reform the energy market, with support for cooperative and municipal energy. Labour’s manifesto delivers this – with a cap on energy bills but also a plan to break the stranglehold of the ‘Big Six’. Publicly owned energy companies will – and indeed already have in Bristol and Nottingham – provide true competition, using their profits to lower tariffs for consumers and invest in renewable energy.

We campaigned for bold action on energy efficiency – an area so often ignored, yet with huge potential for both reducing energy use and cutting bills. The manifesto makes energy efficiency an ‘infrastructure priority’, with a pledge to insulate four million homes, saving on energy bills, cutting emissions and driving growth in a highly-skilled sector. It also commits to a consultation on new housing standards for ‘zero carbon homes’, the first step to ensuring sustainable housing.

Our ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ campaign called for a new Clean Air Act to tackle the country’s toxic air pollution crisis. Labour has not just agreed to this, but pledged to introduce legislation within 30 days of office. This is supported by a commitment to investing in low emission vehicles and a retrofit programme for the worst polluting buses. Having called for the consideration of an independent enforcement body for air pollution, the suggestion of an ‘environmental tribunal’ is encouraging.

We also made recommendations on food and farming policy, where Brexit has left so much uncertainty, calling for a replacement for CAP that rewards sustainability. Labour’s manifesto supports this, promising to ‘reconfigure’ funds to support ‘sustainable practices’ as well as smaller farms. A ‘sustainable, long term future’ for UK agriculture will be Labour’s priority. There’s also a welcome  commitment to food standards, with the manifesto promising that Brexit will not be used as ‘an excuse to undercut our farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce’.

We are expecting to hear more details on a number of pledges – including energy and the Clean Air Act, over the next few days, and we will of course be paying close attention to these. This manifesto does however offer real, concrete action on improving our environment, with bold policies and ambition.

SERA has long campaigned for Labour to show real leadership on the environment – this manifesto has taken that spirit to heart.

Source: http://www.sera.org.uk/sera_welcomes_labour_manifesto

Let’s use this campaign to banish the myth Labour is anti-business – and let’s put small firms at the heart of the economy

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 Corrie fans on the Manchester studio set, Sept. 2000


The Labour Party has historically been a pioneering friend to small business. It is the natural friend to and best partner of small firms.

My work is based on this understanding and the consequent importance of strengthening ties between Labour and the sector. I believe in the underlying principles of our party and the importance of the role of small business in creating a fairer society. I started SME4Labour with the aim of promoting these principles. 

We must dispel the myth that the Labour Party is somehow anti-business. There is a sense that Labour sees small businesses as profiteers. While this may be the case among some isolated factions, the overwhelming train of thought makes the party the closest to small business of all Britain’s parties. 

Labour political centre has a long tradition of recognising the importance of small business. This has been demonstrated by an excellent study by the late Richard Beresford, director of the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise Development at Oxford Brookes University, who sadly passed away last year. His family was kind enough after his death to share this in History and Policy.

The study shows that even from its earliest days, Labour displayed a sensitivity towards the interests of small business owners. The party was the first to make any mention of small business in a manifesto. A section in its 1906 manifesto read: “Shopkeepers and traders are overburdened with rates and taxation, whilst the increasing land values, which should relieve the ratepayers, go to people who have not earned them”. 

From this first mention, we see an implicit understanding that small business owners are not “cruel profiteers” but rather part of the mainstream of society that must organise to resist unfair policies imposed by uncaring governments. Back then, much like today, there was an imperative need to resist a government which catered exclusively to the needs of big business. The study traces the development of Labour thought over the years and we see the recognition time and time again that small businesses play a valuable role in binding together communities.

It is true that there are some among the Labour movement’s members or grass roots who do not recognise this. We have a duty to demonstrate to these people the value of small businesses as community hubs, playing a vital role in bringing people together and providing a socially fruitful source of employment. By emphasising this community-focused understanding of ethical small business ownership, we can get the whole party on task, from top to bottom.

Small businesses need the Labour Party to support them. Ultimately, why should the Tories care about a guy running a restaurant on a street corner in Lambeth when they have some of the world’s largest companies taking them to lunch? And when they are making policies for these people? Or when they probably went to schools with these people? The Conservative Party has consistently proven through its policies that it cares little for helping small businesses over massive corporations.

Labour principle of fairly distributing wealth and securing social justice requires a flourishing but ethical economy. Small businesses are crucial to this; they provide employment and create wealth. Due to their size they can do so without losing a community perspective. For these reasons, Labour is right to praise small business and should do so even more.

I started my business under the last Labour government and it felt like the right thing to do. My business has flourished but now I am concerned. I do not see my interests reflected in the policies of this government. I want my party to step in and take control of the economy. 

Labour needs to hear more from people who are self employed or who run SMEs; the same goes for the trade unions. Before starting my business I was a trade union member, and I still am today. But there is this idea among a few in the union movement that small business owners are part of the problem. It is time the unions adapted. It is attitudes such as these that hold back the Labour Party and prevent it from fully fulfilling the promise of its mission.

Small business owners and the self-employed need unions. They do not receive the same protections as salaried workers and we have seen this government attempt further erosion of their protections and increases of their obligations. Labour and such people are natural fellow travellers. They contribute to, rely on, and value their communities. They drive the economy forward. They are vibrant and creative. These are qualities that go hand in hand with those of Labour.

Indeed, small businesses face a host of problems, such as late payments and raising capital. Since at least the 1970s, as Beresford’s study shows, Labour manifestos have been engaging concretely with such dilemmas.

Labour is the party of small business and it is time that we stand up and say it proudly. This will make the party more electable. Having a party in power that focuses on small firms and communities will make our society and economy stronger. It will make our private sector more successful. This is the way forward and it will benefit everybody in society.

Ibrahim Dogus is an entrepreneur and Labour’s parliamentary candidate in the Cities of London and Westminster.

Source: http://labourlist.org/2017/05/lets-use-this-campaign-to-banish-the-myth-labour-is-anti-business-and-lets-put-small-firms-at-the-heart-of-the-economy/

Only 1 in 4 people with a long-term mental illness are in work, says TUC

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1 in 4 (26.2%) people with a mental illness or phobia lasting for 12 months or more are in work, according to a report published by the TUC to coincide with its Disabled Workers’ Conference today (Thursday).

The report, Mental health and employment, contains new analysis of official employment statistics, which finds that while 4 in 5 (80.4%) non-disabled people are in work, people with mental illness, anxiety or depression have substantially lower employment rates:

  • Only 1 in 4 (26.2%) people with a mental illness lasting (or expected to last) more than a year are in work.
  • Less than half (45.5%) of people with depression or anxiety lasting more than 12 months are in work.

The TUC is concerned that this suggests employers are failing to make adequate changes in the workplace to enable people with mental illnesses, anxiety or depression to get a job, or stay in work. Mental health problems can often be ‘invisible’ to others, so a lack of mental health awareness amongst managers and employers is also likely to be a factor.

The employment rate for disabled people is increasing, but too slowly for the government to reach its target of halving the disability employment gap by 2020. The TUC estimates it will take until 2025 for those classified in official figures as having long-term depression and anxiety, and until 2029 for people classified as having long-term mental illness.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s simply not good enough that so few people with long-term mental health problems are able to stay in work.

“Not only is the economy missing out on the skills and talents these workers have, but having to leave your job can worsen your mental health.

“The next government and employers must do more to support people with mental health conditions. Simple steps like giving an employee paid time off to go to counselling appointments can make a huge difference.

“All over the country, union reps are helping working people who have mental health conditions. They help with getting bosses to make reasonable adjustments, so that people can stay in work. And they negotiate better support from employers for workers who become ill or disabled. It’s one of the many reasons why everyone should get together with their workmates and join a union.”
– The TUC report Mental health and employment is available at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Mental_Health_and_Employment.pdf

– The report includes a more detailed presentation of analysis summarised in the table below.

Employment rates of people considered disabled under the Equality Act, and with health problems lasting more than one year, by main health problem in Q4 2016, LFS

Health problem

Employment rate (%)

Mental illness or phobias

26.2

Depression or anxiety

45.5

Average for all disabled people (Equality Act definition)*

50.2

*NB: The data used in this analysis is from the Labour Force Survey, which applies the definition of disability used in the Equality Act. However, wherever possible the TUC’s preference is to use the social model of disability. See the full report for further explanation.

– The TUC is calling on the government and employers to take the following action to help eliminate the disability employment gap:

Workplace policies

  • Employers have a legal obligation to put in place reasonable adjustments for disabled workers. For people experiencing mental health problems, this could include time off for counselling or other medical appointments, changes to their role, moving their workplace or allowing for homeworking.
  • An employer may adjust the sickness absence policy for disabled staff where time off is related to a disability. This is in recognition that some disabled people may have different and higher forms of sickness absence and the policy needs to be adjusted accordingly.
  • As stigma remains a huge barrier, it may be useful to consider suitable awareness-raising exercises which could include working with trade unions, disabled staff and mental health charities on awareness-raising sessions at lunchtime.
  • Employers should create a workplace wellbeing policy which looks at the issue of mental health holistically. This can include information on regular breaks, reducing workplace stress, the importance of physical activity, and signposting to relevant agencies.
  • On mental health, like other disability issues, efforts should be made to consult with staff who have experienced mental ill-health. This is in keeping with the notion that disabled people themselves should be able to determine the solutions to the issues they face.
  • Employers should include reference to mental health in the sickness absence policy.
  • Ensuring senior managers champion awareness of mental health and fight to remove the stigma around mental health in the workplace.
  • Engage with the recognised trade union so they can input into all policies related to mental health to ensure collective equality rights for disabled workers.

Government policies to support people with mental health conditions at work

  • The government should abolish tribunal fees to make it easier for those people with mental ill-health who have experienced discrimination in the workplace to access justice.
  • The government can make more effort to widely promote Access to Work for people with mental health problems if government funding is required for the adjustments. Access to Work is a government scheme which helps employers access funding to make adjustments to the workplace to enable disabled people to work.
  • The government should stop cuts to disabled people’s financial support which make it harder for disabled people to survive and even harder to access work. This includes cuts to Employment and Support Allowance which supports people out of work, and to the Personal Independence Payment, which can support people both in and out of the workplace.

Source: https://www.tuc.org.uk/equality-issues/disability-issues/social-issues/workplace-issues/only-1-4-people-long-term-mental

The Labour Party manifesto is fantastic for disabled people

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After seven years of systematic Tory abuse of disabled people Labour have come out very strongly on the side of disabled people and their families.

Here’s my breakdown of the main Labour Party policies relating to disabilities in the 2017 Labour Manifesto:

  • Labour will make it a priority to repeal the numerous Tory cuts in social security support for people with disabilities. They will do this through a new Social Security Bill that will be passed within the first year of the new parliament.
  • Labour will replace the WCA and PIP assessment regimes with a system where personal advisers help to provide every disabled person who feels capable of work to develop a tailored personal plan. A holistic approach to social security planning sounds like a real challenge to implement, but surely it can’t possibly be as bad as the current dehumanising and discriminatory regime that disabled people are forced into?
  • The Tory government has been slammed by the United Nations for “grave violations of disabled people’s rights” [Source – UN report PDF] . Labour will incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law.
  • Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax that has cruelly hit over 400,000 families with disabled members with punitive charges for “spare” rooms that are often used to store medical equipment, or for carers to sleep in.
  • Labour will scrap the Tory sanctions regime that has consigned hundreds of thousands of disabled people to absolute destitution. The sanctions regime is particularly harsh on people with mental disabilities because they’re often the easiest to trick into making sanctionable mistakes, and they’re also often the least capable of appealing when they’ve been unfairly sanctioned too.
  • Labour will increase the Carer’s Allowance by £11 per week to bring it into line with the rate of unemployment benefit. This will benefit Britain’s unpaid carers to the tune of  £572 per year. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but if you care for someone who is sick or disabled then it’s a clear gesture to show that you are appreciated by society.
  • Labour will reverse the Tories’ assault on the Bereavement Allowance, so that if you die of your illness or disability your surviving family will get the long-term of support families have had since the 1950s, not the new cheaper “here’s a lump sum and be off with you” approach of the Tories.
  • Last but definitely not least: Labour have announced that they’re adopting the social model of disability. This would mark a profound step-change in the way the UK government deals with disability issues, from the draconian Tory approach of bullying, humiliating and intimidating disabled people, to restructuring society in order to remove social barriers and allow disabled people to live up to their potential.
The Labour Party manifesto is a fantastic demonstration that they have been listening to the concerns of disabled people and their families, and that they’ve put together a set of policies to make people’s lives better.

How to vote

In light of these policies that have been designed to end the systematic Tory abuse of disabled people, you should vote Labour if:

• You are disabled.

• You have a disabled family member.

• You know anyone who is disabled and give a shit about them.

• You have the self-awareness to realise that you may one day become seriously ill or disabled.

• You have a shred of basic human empathy.

If you can read an article like this and still conclude that the Tories deserve to get your vote then you should be ashamed of yourself, but then shamelessness is one of the main elements of the self-serving “I’m alright Jack” attitude isn’t it?

So you’ll probably just perform some ridiculous mental gymnastics to conclude that voting to continue completely shafting disabled people is the right and decent thing for you to do won’t you?

What we can do

  • Make sure you are registered to vote so that you can vote in favour of this fantastic Labour manifesto for disabled people.
  • Spread awareness by sharing this article. Please also consider sharing this one too in order to spread awareness of how bad things have been for disabled people under Tory rule.

Source: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/

We will stand our ground against Tory attack dogs

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By Emily Thornberry

Dear Friends,

I know many of you can’t access articles behind The Times’ paywall, but they asked me to explain what drove me to take the fight to Michael Fallon on the Marr programme yesterday, and below is the article I have written for them.

It’s a lot to do with my upbringing and the way I’ve always believed in standing up to bullies, and it’s also the fact that – when you’re confronted with an opponent who trades in lies and hypocrisy – the only thing you can do is expose them for what they are.

I hope you enjoy the article, and please as ever let me know your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Emily
——-

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When I was growing up in Guildford, I discovered a hole in the fence at the bottom of the playground at my secondary modern. If I climbed out, I could walk over some wasteland that backed on to our estate, and I was home fifteen minutes quicker than if I left by the school gate.

There was only one problem. This was also where the school’s biggest girl gang liked to hang out, and nine times out of ten, I’d have to run the gauntlet past them on my short-cut home.

Usually, the abuse was just verbal but occasionally I’d get back to my mum and brothers with a few clumps of hair pulled out, and some scratches and bruises where fists or kicks had landed. But without fail, the next day, I’d still be climbing through that hole in the fence at 3.30pm and taking my chances.

I wasn’t a glutton for punishment. I just couldn’t bear the idea of going the long way round, feeling like a coward, and knowing the bullies had got the better of me. So I stuck it out.

I’ve always taken that same approach in politics, and believe me, the level of bullying in Westminster can sometimes make that gang at school look like the Hare Krishnas. But I’ll always try and stand up to it, just like I did when I was a scrappy teenager.

And that gut reaction to fight back rather than run away is what snapped in me yesterday on the Andrew Marr show when I found myself up against Michael Fallon.

Michael prides himself on being the Tories’ lead attack dog. Throughout the 2015 election, if Labour had a good announcement to make, Michael would be unleashed to bark some gratuitous personal abuse at Ed Miliband just to distract the attention of the media. And he’s performing exactly the same role, with even more ferocity, in this election.

Labour could cry foul about the tactics, but this is a game without a referee. We could get down in the gutter and launch our own personal attacks, as New Labour spin-doctors all too often did in the past, but that is something Jeremy Corbyn won’t tolerate, and I admire him for that.

Or we could do what I did yesterday and point out the hypocrisy of Fallon and his fellow attack dogs, shaming them for their double standards. And let’s be clear, when it comes to exposing the two-faced nature of Michael’s recent charges against Labour, we are spoilt for choice.

When he claims the Tories are as committed as Labour to tackling tax avoidance, we could point out that he was the director in charge of pay and bonuses at the Tullett Prebon brokerage in 2009, when they publicly announced they would help staff relocate overseas to avoid Labour’s bonus tax.

When he claims Labour is unpatriotic when it comes to our armed forces, we could question the patriotism in putting our brave servicemen and women in harm’s way in Syria when there is no strategy to get them out again, and when there are still diplomatic options left to pursue.

And when he questions why Jeremy Corbyn was meeting Irish nationalists 34 years ago in an effort to broker peace in Ulster, and says that doing so makes him soft on terrorists, we could ask – as I did yesterday – about Michael’s visit to Damascus less than ten years ago to celebrate Bashar Assad’s re-election, and whether, by his own standards, that makes him soft on tyrants.

But there is one other hypocrisy which matters more than all of these others in terms of the choice the voters face on 8 June.

Michael Fallon routinely says that Labour’s sums don’t add up and that we can’t pay for our spending commitments. And yet yesterday, on both the armed forces and social housing, he could not say where a single penny of new money would come from to fund the Tory pledges, falling back on the old chestnut that the proceeds of growth and mythical efficiency savings will provide the booty.

Where Labour is prepared to list line-by-line each of our spending commitments, say exactly how they will be paid for, and take the hit from certain quarters over the taxes we intend to raise to do so, the Tories just continue to ignore the funding gap for their own promises, and tell the bare-faced lie that they have “no plans” to fill it by raising National Insurance.

No wonder Fallon and his Treasury colleagues have refused to let the independent Office of Budget Responsibility conduct an official audit of both the Labour and Tory manifestos in order to tell the British people which party’s sums truly add up.

Instead, their tactics are clear: keep slinging mud at Jeremy Corbyn; tell people it’s unpatriotic and dangerous to vote Labour; make popular promises that they cannot afford and will never deliver; smack down any critics; and hope that any real scrutiny of the facts, the policies and their record gets buried until they’ve secured another five years in power.

It’s both a shameful and a shameless way to do politics; it’s Michael Fallon all over; and, with just three weeks to go, it’s high time the Labour Party started biting back.