Saturday, 18 March 2017

gig econonomy skewing employment figs.

Research published today shows 4% of UK working adults aged between 18 and 70 are working in the ‘gig economy’, and nearly two-thirds of them (63%) believe the Government should regulate to guarantee th basic employment rights and benefits such as holiday pay.
That means approximately 1.3 million people are engaged in ‘gig work’ according to ‘To gig or not to gig: Stories from the modern economy’ a new report from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.
The report is based on a survey of 400 gig economy workers and more than 2,000 other workers, as well as 15 in-depth interviews with gig economy workers.
The research also found that, contrary to much of the rhetoric, just 14% of respondents said they did gig work because they could not find alternative employment. The most common reason for taking on gig work was to boost income (32%).
Overall, gig economy workers are also about as likely to be satisfied with their work (46%) as other workers in more traditional employment are with their jobs (48%).
However, there were concerns raised by some workers interviewed for the report about the level of control exerted over them by the businesses they worked for, despite them being classified as self-employed.
This is supported by the data, as just four in ten (38%) gig economy workers say that they feel like their own boss, which raises the question of whether some are entitled to more employment rights.
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “This research shows the grey area that exists over people’s employment status in the gig economy. It is often assumed that the nature of gig work is well-suited to self-employment and in many cases this is true.
“However, our research also shows many gig economy workers are permanent employees, students, or even the unemployed who choose to work in the gig economy to boost their overall income.
“Our research suggests that some gig economy businesses may be seeking to have their cake and eat it by using self-employed contractors to cut costs, while at the same time trying to maintain a level of control over people that is more appropriate for a more Traditional employment relationship.

Friday, 17 March 2017

spartacus respnds to green paper

Spartacus responds to Green Paper
The Government's failed policy to 'get disabled people into work' by a mixture of sanctions, enforced training and benefit cuts (sometimes known as the Employment & Support Allowance) is now being reviewed with the intention of introducing new reforms and creating closer links between the DWP and the NHS.
You can read the Government's intentions in their Green Paper here:
Sadly disabled people and independent advocates have found that policy in this field very poor. Often negative assumptions about disabled people seem to driving policy-makers into establishing very harmful systems. The Centre for Welfare Reform has itself published many different reports outlining:
The dodgy research behind the so-called biopsychosocial model of disability
The ineffectiveness of the Work Programme
The dangerous assessment processes which seem to encourage suicide
The underhand cuts in income that target people already on low incomes
It is not surprising therefore that many are dubious about the next round of reforms. The Spartacus Network, the leading research group powered by disabled people, have consistently provided some of the best ongoing analysis and criticism of Government policy. The Network has now turned its attention to the Government's latest thinking. Sadly they find:
"No-one is ignored in this Green Paper; the elderly, the unemployed, the sick and carers are all potential units of productivity."
"What we found was truly shocking. In a Green Paper, touted as being mitigation for the cuts to the sickness benefit ESA, there was very little evidence that the cuts would be mitigated at all. Instead the Green Paper outlines yet another series of Work Programmes, using many of the familiar Prime Work Programme providers, supported by many of the same community and charity organisations as sub-primes."
You can read the full Spartacus Network report at:

Thursday, 9 February 2017

climate change deniers REALLY?

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (methane, carbon dioxide, etc.) let visible light pass through, but absorb infrared light
This causes the earth to heat up.
The warmer atmosphere emits more infrared light, which tends to be re-absorbed
Since the industrial age began around 1750, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 40% and methane has increased by 150%.
Such increases cause extra infrared light absorption, further heating Earth above its typical temperature range (even as energy from the sun stays basically the same).
Energy that gets to Earth has an even harder time leaving it causing Earth’s average temperature to increase–– producing global climate change.
Emissions are measurable. Temperature changes are measurable. The effects are measurable.
They lead to the same conclusion. 97% of scientists agree. The standouts have ties to fossil fuel industries. TRUMP WILL 100%

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


A Tory MP was too late deleting this online post, revealing a secret at the heart of his party [IMAGE]

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Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski was too late deleting a post on Twitter, revealing a secret at the heart of his party.

The secret

The Conservatives are prudent with national finance, while Labour spends way too much… Right? Well that’s what Kawczynski himself seemed to believe when he tweeted this graph showing the national debt since 1995:
The graph shows a sharp increase in national debt after the taxpayer shouldered the financial crash for bankers in 2008. Then, the Conservatives came to power and David Cameron assured us:
So though this government has had to make some difficult decisions, we are making progress. We’re paying down Britain’s debts.
But since the Conservatives took power in 2010, there has been a steady increase in government borrowing, as the graph shows. Under six years of George Osborne, the UK national debt increased by over £555bn.

The secret goes back through history

The idea that the Conservatives are good with the economy and that Labour spends too much is often taken as a given. It is repeated by politicians and amplified by the mainstream media. Kawczynski’s belief was so strong that he posted a graph of the national debt assuming it would tell such a story. Realising the reality is actually the opposite of the rhetoric, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham swiftly deleted the tweet.
But the graph doesn’t tell the whole story. Osborne actually proportionately increased debt by more in five years than every Labour government in history combined.


Well, the evidence shows that Labour not only borrows less, but also repays more debt. Economist Richard Murphy showed this through data on borrowing per year from 1946/47 to 2016.
This chart shows each party’s record on borrowing since WWII:
As the chart shows, the Conservatives have borrowed nearly twice as much as Labour. The party’s record on repayments doesn’t look too good either:
The chart shows Labour has repaid over five times as much as the Conservatives since 1946-47.

The lesson

The underlying lesson here is that cutting public spending, like Osborne did severely, can actually pile on more debt. Calculated public investment facilitates economic activity and brings greater returns in the long term.
It’s no wonder Kawczynski deleted that tweet. It exposed the con at the heart of the Conservative Party.
Get involved!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


 Credit card debts hit a record high in the run-up to Christmas. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
A credit boom that is close to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crash should set alarm bells ringing in Theresa May’s government, debt charities have warned.
The latest figures from the Bank of England show unsecured consumer credit, which includes credit cards, car loans and second mortgages, grew by 10.8% in the year to November to £192.2bn, picking up pace on the previous month to grow at its fastest rate in more than 11 years.
In September 2008, the month that Lehman Brothers collapsed and the banking crash triggered a worldwide recession, the level of UK consumer credit debt hit a peak of £208bn.
Credit card debts, which accounted for £66.7bn of the total, hit a record high last month as Britons used the plastic to fund shopping as never before in the run-up to Christmas.
The debt charity StepChange said the rise in debt levels would leave thousands of families vulnerable to higher levels of inflation and changes in income from wage cuts, divorce or redundancy.
Its head of policy, Peter Tutton, said: “Levels of outstanding borrowing are approaching the 2008 peak, and the growth rate of net lending is at its highest since 2005. Alarm bells should be ringing.
“Previous experience shows how such increases in the levels of borrowing can leave households over-indebted and vulnerable to sudden changes in circumstances and drops in income that can pitch them into hardship.
“Lenders, regulators and the government need to ensure that the mistakes made in the lead-up to the financial crisis are not repeated and that there are better policies in place to protect those who fall into financial difficulty.”
Research conducted for National Debtline by YouGov found that one in three British adults bought Christmas food or presents on credit this year.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said there had been a spike in calls to its helpline.
“Consumer credit continues to soar, and this is something we should all be concerned about amidst the current uncertainty over the UK economy,” she said.
“Most people are currently able to handle this extra borrowing, but if the economy does indeed suffer in the years ahead, these extra debts could become even more difficult to repay.”
Economists polled by Reuters expect economic growth to more than halve this year to a rate of 1.1%, as inflation rises to close to 3% from zero at the beginning of 2016 due to the effect of sterling’s sharp fall since June’s Brexit vote.
Recent surveys of consumer confidence have shown a sharp dip after a recovery from the panic that dented sentiment after the Brexit vote.
The charity’s warning follows more than a year of intense competition among credit card companies for new customers, who are commonly offered 0% interest rates for several years.
Households have £66.7bn of credit card debt outstanding, up £600m on the previous month, while the total level of outstanding consumer credit reached £192.2bn, up £1.9bn on October.
Last month the Bank said some households were highly indebted and might struggle as unemployment rose, and separate data showed British households saved the lowest portion of their incomes since 2008 during the three months after the EU referendum.
But the Bank’s figures showed homeowners remained upbeat, with the number of mortgages for house purchase approved by lenders rising to an eight-month high of 67,505, from a slightly downwardly revised 67,371 in October.
The Bank forecast in November that mortgage approvals would slow to a monthly average of 65,000 over the next six months, and major lenders expect weaker house price growth.
Net mortgage lending, which lags behind approvals, rose £3.157bn in November, the Bank said, less than a forecast of £3.5bn in a poll of City economists.

Friday, 9 December 2016


International development aid is a lifeline to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. We should be proud that the UK is committed to spending money on helping those that need it the most.

A Greenpeace investigation has revealed how British government diplomacy and foreign aid have been used to pave the way for UK oil companies to explore for oil in Lake Malawi, where the UN warns that a spill could wreck the fragile ecosystem. [1]

Aid has the power to transform people’s lives and lift them out of poverty, but drilling in places like Lake Malawi could put the same people’s livelihoods at risk.

Aid should never be used as a bargaining tool for business, at the expense of people and the environment, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Tell Priti Patel the International Development 

Minister that aid is for people and not for oil.
Drilling for oil around Lake Malawi will threaten a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Africa's most iconic lakes as well as driving more climate change in a country that's already bearing the brunt of it. The lake supports the livelihoods of more than 1.5 million people living on its shores - it’s also home to Nile crocodiles, hippos, monkeys, and African fish eagles.