Pressure is mounting on the government to ‘do the right thing’ and keep the Universal Credit uplift

Calls have increased to keep the uplift in Universal Credit, amid predictions of a downturn in living standards during 2021. According to new research by the Resolution Foundation, removing the uplift could push thousands of households into poverty as the UK continues to deal with the economic effects of coronavirus (Covid-19). Karl Handscomb, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: The living standards outlook for 2021 looks bleak at present – but the Government can directly improve it. Deciding if the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit should be extended will determine whether millions of households are able to enjoy any sort of living standards recovery next…

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The Tory government just made a mockery of a second Brexit-related promise

The UK has barely left the EU and already the Tory government has effectively backtracked on two promises it made in relation to Brexit. Never Bee-lieve a Tory government First, it authorised the use of neonicotinoids in England within days of leaving the bloc. There’s an EU-wide ban on the pesticides, with a mechanism for “emergency authorisations” for their use in limited circumstances. In 2017, then environment secretary Michael Gove promised that: Unless the evidence base changes again, the government will keep these restrictions in place after we have left the EU. The UK’s greenlighting of the pesticide caused a hefty public backlash because neonicotinoids are harmful to…

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Government defeated over child spy law

Peers have forced through an amendment to the spycops bill to curtail the use of child spies by the police and security services. The amendment put by lady Beeban Kidron passed by 339 votes to 235. It will ban the use of under-18s as informants by organisations like MI5 and the police except in exceptional circumstances. Speaking ahead of the vote, Kidron told peers: In every other interaction with the criminal justice system we try to remove children from criminal activity, to take them away from harm and towards safety. But before us is legislation which formalises our ability to do the opposite. Bishop Paul Butler, who also…

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Government contractor’s meal deal | The Canary

We need your help ... The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads. Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion. We have been fighting against an…

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An ICU nurse says ‘our government failed us’ with NHS staff ‘so burnt out they can’t eat’

An ICU nurse at an NHS London hospital has said “our Government failed us”. It comes as the capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” across the city in the face of soaring coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.London hospitals will run out of beds within weeks if the spread of coronavirus is not dramatically reduced, Khan warned.“It’s worse than the first wave”Ameera Sheikh, 28, said that across the country some of her colleagues “are so burnt out that they can’t eat”. Sheikh is also a Unite union representative.She told the PA news agency:During and after the first wave, a lot of staff had handed in their resignation, and that’s…

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Unison leader retires with blast against Boris Johnson and the government

The outgoing head of the country’s biggest trade union has criticised the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and their treatment of public sector workers. “Reckoning” Dave Prentis, who has been general secretary of Unison for 20 years, said ministers had been behind the curve on procuring enough safety equipment at the start of the pandemic, made promises they hadn’t kept, and were now denying a pay rise to workers who had heroically served their communities. He called for a public inquiry into how the government had handled the crisis, saying there has to be a “day of reckoning”. He accused the government of not being geared up…

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Education union defy the government as Matt Hancock is accused of gaslighting

The government’s incompetence in dealing with the pandemic has reached new levels, as it continues to ignore unions and teachers and insists on keeping schools open. If the government has its way, millions of children are set to mix in schools over the coming days. But headteachers are beginning to defy the government and keep schools closed. Some 400,000 people attended the National Education Union’s [NEU] emergency Zoom meeting on 3 January to learn how to take a stand against the government. In the meeting, the NEU strongly stated that: We are advising all primary members to look at the SAGE advice, and on the basis of the…

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Reports of mutating virus matched by even more claims of mutating government cronyism

Support us and go ad-freeAn article in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) has identified alleged conflict of interests between government advisers and pharmaceutical companies. Elsewhere, the New York Times (NYT) has identified more companies that are beneficiaries of what appear to be over-funded pandemic-related contracts. These claims come at a time when the UK population is not only facing a potentially more infectious strain of coronavirus (Covid-19), but also some form of lockdown. “Conflicts of interest” An article by Paul Thacker in the BMJ examines possible conflicts of interest by senior figures who advise or work for the UK government with regard to the pandemic. They include…

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MPs urge the government to publish a list of companies signed up to the furlough scheme

Support us and go ad-freeMPs are urging the government to publish a list of companies which have signed up to the furlough scheme. It comes amid concerns that the government doesn’t know how much is being lost through fraud and error. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said there could be between 7% to 34% of cases where furloughed staff continued to work while companies claimed grants. The committee described this as ‘opportunistic fraud’. However under current plans, the true scale of the losses won’t be disclosed until the end of 2021 at the earliest. The committee called on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to release by the end…

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Gender pay gap widens at government department run by the women and equalities minister

We need your help ... The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads. Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion. We have been fighting against an…

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