Bosses pocket Trump tax windfall as workers see job promises vanish | Business | The Guardian

Stephen Smith worked at an AT&T call center in Meriden, Connecticut, for over 20 years before the giant telecoms company announced it was closing the city’s three call centers in February 2019.

“At 46 years old, I’m looking for a new job,” Smith said. “They basically told us we either need to move south or lose our job. It was out of the blue. We had no idea.”

Smith and about 90 of his colleagues were offered severance packages or the option to relocate to Georgia or Tennessee. But for most workers who have spouses with their own careers, elderly parents nearby in need of care, or children still in school, relocating on a whim isn’t an option.

These sudden mass layoffs have become increasingly common for workers at AT&T and many other big firms. But it was not meant to be that way.


Source: Bosses pocket Trump tax windfall as workers see job promises vanish | Business | The Guardian


Swiss women strike for gender equality | Euronews

Women across Switzerland are striking on Friday to denounce slow progress on tackling the gender pay gap and inequalities.

The movement echoes a similar protest held in 1991 in which some 500,000 women took part and which led to the adoption five years later of the Gender Equality Act. The legislation banned workplace discrimination and sexual harassment with the aim of “furthering true equality between women and men”.

But 28 years after their first strike, Swiss women continue to denounce the persistently-high gender pay gap under the slogan “Pay, time, respect!”


According to data from the country’s Federal Statistics Office, Swiss women earn 19.6% less than their male counterpart. While that is down by nearly a third since the first strike, the discrimination gap — the differences that cannot be explained by rank or role — has actually worsened since 2000.

The International Labour Organisation also found last month that the country is near the bottom of the list when it comes to the wage gap between men and women in senior roles. Only Italy, Kazakhstan and Israel were deemed worse across Europe and Central Asia.

The Women’s Strike Zurich Collective, which co-organised Friday’s movement, wrote in a manifesto: “We’re striking because women earn less for the same work, are passed over for promotions, are hardly represented at the executive level and because typically female jobs are poorly paid.”


Source: Swiss women strike for gender equality | Euronews

Blue badge scheme now open to people with invisible disabilities

This is good news, however, with Local Authorities (LAs) still having the final say on who does and does not qualify, will this become a ‘Postcode Lottery’.

The LAs having the final say on who does or does not, they may not issue them directly, as this could be done by a another organisation.

To ensure consistency should not one organisation deal with the total process. When LAs did issue their own Blue Badges directly then I could see the reason for each authority to do their own, but not now.

To obtain a Blue Badge see

The rules regarding Blue Badge parking should also be consistent, but they are not. See

Govt Newspeak

New guidance means those with conditions such as dementia or anxiety may be eligible for parking permit

Related image

People with invisible disabilities can now apply to use blue badge parking permits, the government has announced.

The Department for Transport (DfT) issued the new guidance on Saturday, advising that those with conditions such as dementia or anxiety disorders could be eligible for the scheme, which allows people to park closer to their destination.

But despite the new criteria, local authorities will still have the final say on who does and does not qualify. There are about 2.35 million holders of the blue badge in the UK at present. The DfT could not estimate how many more people would qualify after the extension of the rules.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “As a society, we don’t do enough for people with hidden disabilities. I hope this change to blue badge guidance will make…

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Single mum denied DWP disability benefits despite having cancer

A stock Statement from a DWP spokesman “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they’re entitled to, and PIP is available for those who need help with the costs of additional support for their daily living and mobility needs.

“Universal Credit is available for those who need help with day-to-day living costs, and Ms Lyth is receiving her full entitlement.
“PIP decisions are made following careful consideration of the evidence provided by the individual as well as their GP or medical specialist, and anyone who is unhappy with their decision can appeal.”

However, what does it really mean, not much in effect. It is something to say, but is it meant?
More thought and effort should be given to all applications and ‘lessons learnt’ from the many mistakes that are made. Another stock saying and again is it meant, for the lessons never seem to be learnt.

For it is not appeals that should be pushed, but correct Assessments and decisions made, with appeals being there as a backstock.

Where is the caring, common sense and many other aspects in the process.

For myself it appears that the assessors first action is to refuse a benefit claim and in many instances not correctly doing assessments, for in some there are blantant lies emanating from Assessors for which there are being paid to do.

If an assessment is proved to be wrong is the assessor penalised, I doubt it, but the claimant was.

Govt Newspeak

Single mum-of-two denied DWP disability benefits despite having cervical cancer
Laura Lyth, 30, from Stoke on Trent, was told she does not qualify for a benefit only a month after she completed chemotherapy treatment.

A mum-of-two was turned down for long-term illness benefits – despite having treatment for cervical cancer. Laura Lyth, 30, was assessed for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) less than a month after her final chemotherapy treatment.

But the single mum has received a letter to say she does not qualify for the benefit, reports Stoke on Trent Live . Laura had been forced to leave her teacher training course following the diagnosis and can no longer afford to pay for her son to attend full-time nursery on Universal Credit .

Laura, from Basford, Staffordshire, said: “I applied for support in January after someone from the Douglas Macmillan Hospice advised me to apply because I was struggling to even…

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Civil servants fail to answer key DWP deaths questions

The meeting was a start, but the answers need to be coming, with a significance change of practice to eliminate mistakes, now that would be something.

Govt Newspeak

Civil servants fail to answer key DWP deaths questions after meeting grieving parentsJoy Dove head and shouldersSenior Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) civil servants have failed to answer key questions about links between the government’s policies and the deaths of disabled benefit claimants, during a face-to-face meeting with grieving parents.

Emma Haddad, DWP’s director general for service excellence, and Colin Stewart, its work and health director for the north of England, spent more than an hour in Monday’s meeting with Joy Dove and Eric Whiting, the parents of Jodey Whiting.

The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) concluded earlier this year that DWP was guilty of “multiple” and “significant” failings in handling the case of the mother-of-nine, who had her out-of-work disability benefits stopped for missing a work capability assessment (WCA), and took her own life just 15 days later.

During the meeting, Dove asked 13 key questions that had been drafted for her…

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House Oversight votes to hold Barr, Ross in contempt | TheHill

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted largely along party lines on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) broke with his party to vote with the Democrats on the panel.

The high-stakes vote took place just hours after the Justice and Commerce Departments announced that President Trump had asserted executive privilege over the subpoenaed documents, which were tied to the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Wednesday’s vote, which comes just one day after the House voted to empower committee chairs with more legal authority to enforce their subpoenas, is a further escalation of the battle between the Trump administration and House Democrats investigating the president.

The citizenship question has been hotly contested since Ross announced in March 2018 that it would be included on the 2020 census, stating that the Justice Department had requested the question in order to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.


Source: House Oversight votes to hold Barr, Ross in contempt | TheHill

Housing Benefit Victory: Child poverty campaigners welcome Supreme Court verdict

This is in some respects is good news, but what is not good is that Housing Benefit is not able to cover all rents. Housing assistance needs to be made avalable and I believe this is the decision of the Supreme Court. However, this still means a private tennant could lose their home, therefore surely aome form of Affordable Rent legislation needs to be in force, so that tennants will not lose their accommodation due to housing benefit shortfalls or exorbitant rents being charged.

Govt Newspeak

Supreme Court rules that tenants should not be forced to use subsistence benefits to cover housing benefit shortfalls.

Ms Samuels applied to Birmingham City Council for housing assistance in June 2012 and July 2013, having fallen into rent arrears because of a substantial shortfall (just over £150 per month) between the rent on her private tenancy and her housing benefit of £550 a month.

She was a lone parent with 4 children and was unable to cover the rent shortfall from her non-housing benefits. She lost her tenancy, but the council decided that she was “intentionally homeless” on the grounds that her rent was deemed affordable and therefore the loss of that housing was said to be a result of her deliberate failure to pay the rent.

As the council regarded Ms Samuels as intentionally homeless, it did not have to help her obtain housing under the Housing Act 1996.


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Trump asserts executive privilege over census citizenship question info as Dems prepare contempt vote : NBC News


Source: Trump asserts executive privilege over census citizenship question info as Dems prepare contempt vote : NBC News

Canada hails landmark victory as Canada bans whale, dolphin and porpoise captivity – Humane Society International

OTTAWA – Canada has passed legislation that bans keeping whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity for entertainment, as well as the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans. Today, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favour of Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act.

Bill S-203 was introduced by Senator Wilfred Moore in 2015, and then sponsored by Senator Murray Sinclair. Upon passage through the Senate, it was championed by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in the House of Commons.

Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of HSI/Canada stated: “The passage of Bill S-203 is a watershed moment in the protection of marine animals and a victory for all Canadians. Whales and dolphins don’t belong in tanks, and the inherent suffering these highly social and intelligent animals endure in intensive confinement can no longer be tolerated. We congratulate the sponsors of this bill and the Canadian government for showing strong leadership in responding to public will and sound science on this critical issue.”

Green Party Leader and Saanich – Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May stated, “Canadians have been clear, they want the cruel practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity to end. With the passage of Bill S-203, we have ensured that this will happen.”

Bill sponsor Senator Wilfred Moore said, “We have a moral obligation to phase out the capture and retention of animals for profit and entertainment. Canadians are calling upon us to do better – and we have listened.”


Source: Canada hails landmark victory as Canada bans whale, dolphin and porpoise captivity – Humane Society International

Labour unveils raft of new policy plans, including abolishing Council Tax entirely for renters and least well-off homeowners | Evolve Politics

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have unveiled a raft of new policy ideas designed to solve the housing crisis and make the economy fairer for the least well off – plans which include abolishing Council Tax entirely and replacing it with a “progressive property tax” to be paid only by asset-rich homeowners.

The policy paper, entitled ‘Land For The Many‘, has been co-authored by a host of progressive luminaries including Guardian journalist George Monbiot, and outlines 9 multifaceted policy recommendations which could be implemented by a future Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government.

The most eye-catching of the proposals is a plan to replace Council Tax with a “Progressive Property Tax” levied only on homeowners – meaning that private renters and low earners unable to get on the housing ladder would be completely freed from the burden of Council Tax.

The policy paper recommends that the new tax should be “based on contemporary property values“. and would only be “payable by owners, not tenants“, adding that the new system would:


Source: Labour unveils raft of new policy plans, including abolishing Council Tax entirely for renters and least well-off homeowners | Evolve Politics

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