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Debbie Abrahams re-examines Pensions in Corby


20882898_1569207366433820_7313971429905566976_nDEBBIE ABRAHAMS VISITS CORBY COUNCILS ‘CUBE’ BUILDING TO DISCUSS “DIGNITY AND SECURITY IN OLDER AGE: THE STATE PENSION” 

The event took place on 17th August 2017 hosted by the Constituency Labour Party with an introduction by Cllr Tom Beattie on the discussion of the increase of the pension age to 67 years to those born in the 1950’s and State Pension Age increase in years to come.

As Debbie Abrahams wrote recently

“Older people have been badly let down by the Tories. During this year’s General Election they failed to provide transitional protection to women born in the 1950s who have had the increase in their State Pension Age (SPa) accelerated; in addition, they failed to guarantee they would protect the State Pension ‘triple lock’ and Winter Fuel Allowance. Most recently the Government announced that they will be accelerating the increase in the SPa to 68 at the same time it was announced that increases in life expectancy had ‘ground to a halt’.

This contrasts to the Labour Party’s manifesto pledge to retain the triple lock and winter fuel allowance, as well as provide support for the 1950s born women through pensions credit and further transitional protections. Labour has also rejected the accelerated increase in the SPa to 68 and is examining options for a flexible retirement age.

As part of the Labour Party’s commitment to ensuring dignity and security in older age, we are launching a national conversation with communities across the country to discuss what this means in relation to the State Pension.”

The visit to Corby Cube was part of the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions national tour gaining public ideas and proposals in re-examining the State Pension and incentivising Private Pensions.

 

 

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The Chilcott Delay!


Chilcot InquiryToday in the House of Commons; MPs reacted angrily to news that the inquiry  led by Sir John Chilcott into the 2003 Iraq War is not expected to reach it’s full report until after the general election

The inquiry said it did not see any “realistic prospect” of it’s publication of the report before elections are due to be held on the 7th May 2015 and the inquiry will probably face being questioned about it’s delay by a committee of MPs, while the chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir Richard Ottaway asked Sir John Chilcott to explain why the publication of the report has been delayed.

The inquiry was initially set up in 2009, under Gordon Brown to examine not only Britain’s involvement and it’s initial decision to go to war but also any cases of misconduct of British troops amidst claims of torture by both US and British allied forces against Iraqis forces and civilian. The report was expected to reach it’s conclusion within about three years and held it’s last hearing in 2011, following an unprecedented call for Tony Blair to give evidence to the inquiry in 2010. tony-blair-chilcot-inquiry

There was even speculation by many political observers and even MPs that delays of the reports findings may have occurred due to involvement or intervention from the former Prime Minister Tony Blair or those close to him pointing to a cover-up of the findings of the report following the invasion of Iraq by British and American forces after Tony Blair’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and after his decision to ignore, many people believe unlawfully, the United Nations Resolution 1441 in November 2002 that offered Iraq under Saddam Hussein one last final opportunity to comply with  disarmament obligations.

Leaders within coalition British Government have expressed concern over the delays with Nick Clegg saying that the delay was “incomprehensible” and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith saying the delay was “disappointing”. Sir John Chilcott had written to the David Cameron informing him that “substantial progress” had been made but that those criticised by the report needed an opportunity to respond to the criticism so far provided in the report. Mr Cameron in reply to Sir John has said he would have like to have seen the publication already and has criticised the former Labour Government for it’s delay in being published.

Cicero Lounge has a link to the Aitken Report (National Archives – MOD)  which documented and examined allegations of the British Army’s conduct against the allegations of abuse against Iraqi soldiers and civilians loyal to Saddam Hussein

See also the War Report for information on other reports issued following the Iraq and Afghan wars

Labour Win as UKIP Challenge Tories


ImageVaultHandler.aspxAs local council election results are starting to come in across the country; the Conservatives must be wondering who look like ‘clowns’ – as UKIP have taken two county council local election seats from them following yesterdays voting – 2nd May 2013. The popularity of the independent party is probably due to voters concerns over the widening issue of Europe and possibly voters are now sympathetic to the scare mongering of it’s Party Leader, Nigel Farage concerning the immigration controls for the free passage of Romanian and Bulgarian’s within EU countries – in particular the UK in 2014.

Already a number of councils results are already coming in with many councils continuing to hold their Conservative seats.

A new Labour control of South Shields has been announced, following the call for a by-election after it’s former MP, David Miliband (brother of Labour leader Ed Miliband) resigned on the 15th April. The new MP for South Shields is Emma Lewell-Buck.

The large swing to the independent parties who are calling for tougher immigration control in the UK,  and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) who have won around 26 per cent of the vote and cost  the Conservatives control of the two councils has also seen other parties worried by what they’ve perceived to be a win purely through misinforming the countries votes with  Deputy leader of the Lib Dem‘s, Simon Hughes, urging UKIP’s  leader Nigel Farage to stop claiming 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians will arrive in Britain when travel restrictions are lifted shortly. The figure Mr Farage has stated is projected one but one calculated from statistics he felt were reliable.

So far at noon today most of the results have come through from the councils in the south of the UK; including Dorset, Hampshire, Essex, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Bristol and Hertfordshire.

More election results are expected in the North and North West, where traditionally there is expected to be more Labour controls or holds.

Dark Days Ahead – Justice and Security Bill loses safeguards


Photograph of the debating chamber of the Hous...

Last night was a dark moment for British justice as odious Government plans for Secret Courts moved to the brink of becoming law. The House of Lords voted against introducing safeguards to the Justice and Security Bill ensuring that so-called Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) were used only as a last resort. The margin was tight, but the legislation was passed in its entirety and now heads for Royal Assent and the statute book in all of its foul, shadowy glory. Not only are Secret Courts infesting our civil law system – minor restrictions making them slightly less deplorable have also been dismissed.
Peers voted by 174 to 158 against a Labour amendment which would allow CMPs only where a judge decided a fair verdict was impossible by other means. The proposed safeguard won cross-party support, with 26 Liberal Democrats rebelling alongside 16 crossbenchers, six non-affiliated peers, one Conservative and 109 Labour counterparts to back the amendment. Regrettably it wasn’t to be, and we now move towards a world where Ministers will be able to rely upon secret evidence – never disclosed to the claimant, let alone public or press – during cosy private chats with judges behind closed doors.

And yet the principled opposition to Secret Courts was clear throughout the Upper House. Labour opposition spokesperson for justice Lord Beecham, moving the amendment, urged peers to help “minimise the damage threatened to the most valued elements of our jurisprudence and judicial system”.

Liberal Democrat peer and former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald of River Glaven QC observed: “Nothing would be more corrosive of justice and public confidence in justice than the routine intrusion into our system of closed procedures, of secret courts, of excluded defendants, of confidential meetings between government lawyers and the judge.”

“I have never been convinced of the Government’s position that expelling one party to the proceedings and running the risk of evidence not being challenged is better justice than excluding some evidence, not a party, from the hearing,” said Conservative peer Baroness Berridge, a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. “It is better for the Government, but not for justice.”

And former Attorney-General and Labour peer Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws QC told the House of Lords: “Openness will sometimes be more important for the health of the nation because of the poison that is released by secrecy.”

“This legislation involves so radical a departure from the cardinal principle of open justice in civil proceedings, so sensitive an aspect of the court’s processes, that everything that can possibly help minimise the number of occasions when the power is used should be recognised and should appear in the legislation itself,” added non-affiliated peer and former Justice of the Supreme Court Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood.

We also mustn’t forget the mountain of outside opposition which the Government ignored in forcing the Bill through. Lawyers, the international community, the Scottish Government and much of the national press rejected the legislation, along with politicians of all political stripes and hordes of Liberal Democrat supporters. Liberty members also fought the proposals determinedly and we salute their dedicated campaigning.

That the Government failed to make the case for Secret Courts is beyond debate. There wasn’t a shred of evidence suggesting they were necessary; not a single previous case where the existing system for handling sensitive material had fallen short. Clearly the argument was won, but not quite the politics. Needless to say we’ll continue working hard on this – starting as soon as the Bill is rolled out.

Source – Liberty

http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/news/2013/dark-days-ahead-for-british-justice.php?dm_i=C3V,1DLZO,6YC936,4O9SJ,1

 

Simon Danczuk – Rochale MP


Simon Danczuk is Rochdale’s MP since 2010.

Simon started working at the young age of 16 in a factory making gas fires, he then worked for ICI (the chemical company).  While working, he studied as a mature student at night school and gained qualifications he had missed out at secondary school before gaining a place at Lancaster University where he studied economic sociology and politics.

Danczuk co-founded  research; public affairs and communications company Vision Twentyone and also has been involved in The Big Issue in the North, Opinion Research Corporation, Bolton Bury TEC.

He has written a number of articles and books ranging on such diverse subjects as democracy, homelessness, regeneration, drugs, housing and employment. His business acumen saw him as being voted one of the up-and-coming stars of North West business by Business Insider magazine in 2001.

He campaigned prior for a referendum for an elected Regional Assembly for the North West.

Having been involved with the Labour Party for many years (joining it via the trade union GMB) in the 1980s.  He was elected as a councillor to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, and served in this position for 8 years. He also was a campaign manager for Rossendale and Darwen Labour Party

Simon Danczuk was elected as a candidate in 2007 to be Rochdale Labour Party’s Parliamentary Candidate. He has since being voted MP in Rochdale campaigned tirelessly for local investment in business, voting against cuts and the abolition of the EMA, on local jobs and for regeneration of Rochdale Town Centre and it’s shopping areas. He also has opposed cuts to the local Police service and against the closure of the Accident and Emergency unit in Rochdale’s NHS infermary.

Below you can see Simon taking a look around Rochdale town and speaking to leaders of Rochdale’s council about his hopes to see more investment in the town centre. As a no nonsense MP he is against any forms of Council misuse of money or officials impropriety of their positions. He also is one of the only MPs in the country to have a surgery available for local constituents to visit on a 9am-5pm basis  – his surgery is based near St. Mary’s Gate in Rochdale.

He will of course be running as the Labour candidate on May 3rd 2012, and you can find out more information on Simon by visiting his website at his website.

Mayor Tax Debate Rages


After last nights promice on Newsnight – the four main (Conservative, LibDem, Labour and Green Party) hopefuls for the London Mayor election have each produced details of their income and taxes. There now however is speculation over the transparency of the details produced and in particular the delay in Ken Livingstone producing his tax and income details.

GuidoFawkes.com has implied that the figures produced by the Labour candidate are only a partial summary of his income/taxes stating that it is based on personal tax/income and not his company’s tax details in full (Guido Fawkes) and that the figures were not produced by an accountant but by a former member of his team; his Climate Advisor, when he was Mayor of London.

It also raises concern over why he is paying himself through dividends rather than a salary and questioning whether Ken has been taking advantage of the National Insurance exemption in doing this.

LibDem hopeful Brian Paddick not only produced his full tax return over the last three years but in a slight oversight in his attempt to produce these figures neglected to shield the details of his personal National Insurance and home address for the public to view. Boris Johnson also had produced his tax details  showing he paid 45.1 per cent of his income in tax in 2010/2011, a rise from 36.8 per cent in 2009/10.

On the Ken4London site the following statement has been produced to cut fares has been produced and a letter from his team to the parties concerning the details of Ken’s income and tax posted as this article goes to press.

The spectator online magazine have accused the Ken and his Labour team of silence in the delay of the details accusing his team of not answering the why the details were not ealier forthcoming. The Labour team had put out the following statement

‘We believe household publication is necessary for full disclosure as the question of Ken’s income and his wife’s income and their tax has been central the coverage of this issue. Publication of Ken’s returns alone will not address many of the questions that have been raised. The only way to answer all the questions about this issue and to move the debate on the real issues facing London is for full household income disclosure. This should apply to all the candidates equally to avoid any further questions about the income and tax affairs that may or may not be applicable to them through their households. The same principles need to be applied to all the candidates if this process is to be seen as open and fair.”

Gorgeous George – Admire or Hate Him


George Galloway probably made a mistake when he recently twittered about a victory in Blackburn. But it’s left many wondering was it just that or a plan for another future labour takeover?

Announcing yesterday “Welcome to the 6000 new followers. I will try to live up to your expectations. Shattered but happy after the Blackburn triumph”

Realising his mistake he hastily then tweeted : Bradford is now home for me“, but his next tweet suggests that his account had been hacked!  A mistake perhaps or maybe he’s envisaging taking over a further  victory in the days to come – maybe the odious Jack Straw needs to watch his own seat.

Not all agree with George Galloway, and I must admit I don’t  agree with everything he’s said or when I do I don’t always like his opinionated expression of views – but maybe that un-diplomatic tenaciousness in putting his point across is the only way to get things across sometimes.

Galloway was a prominent critic of Saddam Hussein‘s regime in the 1980s but then became a embassador for overturning economic against Iraq in the 1990s. He became ‘friendly’ with ex-president Saddam Hussein and it’s then Prime Minister Tariq Aziz obviously in his role. He has spoken out against the treatment of Palestine in the Israeli/Palestine conflict (but maintains relations even within the Jewish community). Thus it’s o wonder confusion might arise sometimes to his allegiance to diametrically opposed political situations – but at heart he fights against poverty, injustice, racism, capitalism and obviously war. He thought Saddam a dictator, he met him – but disagreed with the military intervention; but so did the UN .

Anyone who defames him is immediately told to back down or spend a day in court with him – these victims are endless.  His self-importance and self-publicity then shrines through these appearances. Channel4 news didn’t serve well with him either, after only a two-minute interview with  Channel 4′s Cathy Newman before he tore off his microphone claiming he had more important interviews to hold. Newman said that she “had at least 10 more questions to go when he ripped his mic off”.

He could best be remembered for taking on the public during his radio shows, and with great zeal; often demonstrating some form of common sense. He should rightly be the antithesis of anything that is  ‘Labour’ – I hope he proves to be nail in the Labour (or rather New Labour) party coffin.  Labour lost its  socialist values. I believe that there hasn’t been any change in Conservatism since 1979 – as new New Labour merely continued it.

I don’t agree with him on everything; he even at times is iritating but I’m glad to see some opposition to  New Labour’s policies. The Labour party forgot many of it’s grassroots socialist views – I know I campaigned for them in 1997 – the party became a parady of Orwells “Animal Farm”  as it tried to accomodate lower upper & middle class voters and excluding and ignoring working class. They won  elections alright but became unrecognisable in policy looking more Conservative daily and allowing an unregulated financial market to take the country to meltdown,  just as Thatcher in the 80s.

Love him or hate him –  maybe he’s not entirely virtuous – but he speaks his mind even antagonisly getting that point of his across. .

Below a clip of one of his famous radio shows; here speaking to self-proclaimed Nazi:

The Rights Issue of Legal Aid Bill


Amnesty International are lobbying for amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

It’s researchers have documented serious human rights infringements by UK companies overseas. The Bill proposed by the UK government Amnesty believes would make it almost impossible for victims of these abuses to seek justice in UK courts.

One example was last year thousands of victims of illegal waste dumping in Ivory Coast successfully claimed compensation from British oil company Trafigura. Under the proposed legislation, such cases would be a thing of the past.

To deny these victims justice is to fuel a cycle of impunity. We want to bring about an amendment to the proposed Bill to ensure that where corporate abuses occur overseas, those affected can access justice in the UK. Read more about the human rights impact of the Legal Aid Bill

For more information visit Amnesty International

 

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