Commonwealth Games

Political correctness gone mad. There are dangerous precedences being set by the Bitter Together campaign, (games organisers take their instructions from the Labour controlled Glasgow City Council). In seeking to, (in public at least) ensure the games would be free of political influences the organisers are covertly achieving the reverse.

Commonwealth games spectators attending venues in, Glasgow Green revealed they were ordered to remove, “Yes” button badges at the gates by security guards who told them they, “represent a protest”.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/fans-told-to-remove-yes-badges-at-glasgow-green-1-3493082?fid=15399&isc=1&did=custom.4536&ctp=article

I have sympathy for Pacific Quay based BBC Scotland presenters who must be seething at being, (put out to pasture) with coverage of the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow being remitted to English presenters. An event of the magnitude of the games would be one of the highlights of a scottish presenters career but where were they? There was only one, Hazel Irvine and she was used sparingly as an anchor.

Heard a good one on a BBC TV morning segment this morning, apparently there are 2 teams now: Team England; and the home nations. To paraphrase “Looks like Team England are in the running for a a couple of gold medals and the home nations should pick uup some other medals”

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The Universal Credit debacle- Robert Devereux- United Kingdom Permanent Secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions

The Universal Credit debacle- Robert Devereux- United Kingdom Permanent Secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions

Robert Devereux is the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Work and Pensions. A government organisation with 100,000 staff, operating from nearly 1000 sites, with some 22 million customers, and an annual budget – in terms of money spent on pensions and other benefits – of £160 billion. He believes there are four crucial qualities in public servants namely, Confidence, Openness, Resilience and Leadership.

The Con/Dem Coalition Government decided upon a radical reform of the UK’s welfare system, aiming to reduce worklessness, and make work pay, and at the same time improving the support available for both disabled people and pensioners. Delivering these reforms, would be an enormous leadership challenge.

There’s history here. The Labour government led by Tony Blair & Gordon Brown wasted many millions of taxpayers money presiding over the introduction of the, “tax credit” system. Blame for the disastrous out of control project had been placed with the, “civil service” . One government minister likened, “Whitehall” to the set of a disaster movie.

With the foregoing in mind one wonders what, “bright spark” ever thought the department could successfully introduce a fundamental change in the benefits system titled, “Universal Credit”. Well we have his name, “Ian Duncan Smith”. Having assessed the tools to hand, namely Robert Devereux and his management team Ian was persuaded the project, whilst complex could be implemented within the timescales and other parameters outlined. So off they went, with a potload of taxpayers money, (anyone minded of the 7 dwarfs at this point). Well a couple of years later, way beyond the completion date, with nothing in the pipeline the National Audit Office, (NAO) decided to have a wee gander, just to guide Westminster that satisfactory progress was being made and financial expenditure was within prescribed limits.

“Shock and Horror”. The adverse report on, “Universal Credit” made for difficult reading with a focus more on the day-to-day operations of the department than on the decision-making at the top. It described a “fortress” mentality within the team and a “good news” culture, where officials avoided telling ministers about problems. It said the department used unfamiliar methods to implement the reform, and that there was a “lack of a detailed plan”.

All fingers pointed to Robert Devereux, the Department’s Permanent Secretary, as the bad tool. A government minister said, “You have a permanent secretary who seemed not to know what he was doing and was not willing to admit it and appallingly badly negotiated contracts with suppliers, which you would not expect”.

The project was halted so that the NAO, Ian Duncan Smith and the project team would be able to take stock before deciding the way forward, if indeed the project could be salvaged. After a deal of discussion, and appointment of a team of highly paid external experts. It was decided the project would be RESET and started again.(RESET: write off all before and start again). Reset costs projected at £2.5billion but not yet confirmed. Could be much higher.

Poor Ian Duncan Smith. He had to report the fiasco back to the commons. In his statement he suggested that he had lost faith in the ability of civil servants to deliver the behemoth project adding bitterly, “When I arrived, I expected [to find] the professionalism to be able to do the job properly.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10288977/The-Universal-Credit-debacle-is-the-fault-of-the-Civil-Service-not-Iain-Duncan-Smith.html
http://unemployedtynewear.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/dwp-denies-urging-staff-to-vote-no-in-scottish-independence-referendum/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28861227
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/19/universal-credit-failings-pac-accuses-dwp

Some of Ian Duncan Smiths Achievements

Some of Ian Duncan Smiths Achievements

Expenditure on Temporary Staff: Up 91% this year.

Expenditure Private Consultants: Up 59% this year.

Expenditure on a Private contractor to complete botched fitness for work assessments: £60million.

Expenditure on IT equipment that may never be put into use: £90million.

Expenditure on Universal Credit IT contractor overspend: £241million.

Expenditure on Youth Contract Scheme, (failure rate 95%): £434m

Expenditure Contesting appeals against unfair work assessments: £150million

Expenditure on overpayments at the DWP due to fraud: £1.2billion.

Shares For Rights Scheme opens up a £1bn tax loophole

I doubt any undecided voters will still hold that view after reading the foregoing. Vote, “Yes” and get Scotland out of the financial madhouse that is Westminster.

Scottish Health & Welfare Staff in Lanarkshire to be Trained to Spot Health Impacts of Benefits Changes

Scottish Health & Welfare Staff in Lanarkshire to be Trained to Spot Health Impacts of Benefits Changes

Both North and South Lanarkshire councils are taking the lead in dealing with the changes. Janice Scouller, health improvement lead for the North West Unit, who is overseeing the welfare reform work in NHS Lanarkshire, said: “The welfare benefits system is undergoing the most significant reform since its establishment. “It is resulting in unprecedented numbers of individuals having their benefit entitlement reviewed, which is resulting in many being financially worse off.

The changes will disproportionately affect vulnerable individuals, many of whom suffer ill health and disability and who rely on benefits as their main source of financial income. We know from previous experience that this will impact on health services as poverty associated illnesses, such as stress, increase. “We not only want staff to be aware of this but to also look out for the signs of deteriorating health in patients.” It is estimated the welfare changes will result in:

disabled people in Scotland losing over £1 billion in benefit payments

100,000 claimants losing entitlement to sickness benefit

50,000 losing entitlement to disability payments

83,000 disabled households affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.

Janice continued: “Patients are also likely to turn to some of our staff for advice and support and we want staff to signpost people to the correct place.
“GPs and other health care professionals may also be asked to give support in the appeals process of some claimants whose benefit has changed. “All this will have an impact on the NHS and we want to prepare staff for this.

The brutal treatment of those least able to cope and in need of help and understanding must surely sway any still, “undecided” Scot to vote, “yes” in the referendum. Scotland is better than this.

http://www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk/publications/Documents/Pulse-January-February-2014.pd

Francis Maude-Cabinet Office Minister Tells Elderly to Go on-Line or Lose Your Benefits

Francis Maude-Cabinet Office Minister Tells Elderly to Go on-Line or Lose Your Benefits

1. The elderly will soon have to have to go on online or risk losing access to key government services.
2. Refuseniks, who do not want to use computers will be able to apply for a one-off lesson to help them get on to the internet.
3. In future the Government will only make services available over the internet, in the same way an airline sells tickets.
4. Ministers are migrating dozens of public services onto the internet, including the carers’ allowance, (used by 3.2million carers a year), the small claims service, and Lasting Powers of Attorney, (which allow families to take control of a loved one’s financial affairs).

The comments were greeted with dismay by groups representing the estimated five million pensioners in their 80s and 90s who have never been on the internet.

Mr Maude was unveiling figures to an audience of civil servants at the Treasury showing the billions saved by the Government by moving Government services online. Asked by the Telegraph if all Government services would be online at some stage, he said: “Our point is that everything that can be delivered online, should be delivered online and only online.” He added: “There are some things that are physical and can’t be online. The key point is that like airlines, airlines do everything that is not physical, is not about actually flying the aeroplanes online, which is better for them and better for the passenger.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/10889563/Go-on-the-internet-or-lose-access-to-government-services-Francis-Maude-tells-pensioners.html#disqus_thread

Bedroom Tax

Bedroom Tax

Under the Con/Dems and/or Labour Government (if elected), people in social housing will receive a cut in housing benefit where they are deemed to have spare bedrooms. Take careful note all you council and Housing association tenants.

Ed Miliband, The Labour leader claimed financial help for disabled people hit by the so-called bedroom tax was outweighed by cuts in other benefits they receive.

David Cameron Con/Dem Prime Minister said the figures put forward by Miliband to support his claim were “completely wrong” and said the coalition government was exempting a range of vulnerable groups from paying the bedroom tax.

There is a way out of this madness vote, “Yes” in the referendum. Take Scotland back. Let us decided for ourselves what our policies are to be.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9912660/PMQs-David-Cameron-and-Ed-Miliband-clash-over-bedroom-tax.html

Scottish Independence – Sterling and the Bank of Last Resort – Ignore the Reckless Ranting of Desperate Unionist Politicians – This is the Definitive Position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Northern Rock, RBS, HBOS  and other UK banking institutions failed, the UK Government belatedly stepped in with a financial bailout. But with Scotland independent, could Scotland expect English taxpayers to stand behind a failing Scottish institution?

George Osborne and his “Better Together” lot repeatedly broadcast, in the course of the referendum campaign, that in the event of a Yes vote the Bank of England would not allow Scotland to use sterling and would not act as the lender of last resort should Scotland experience financial difficulties in the future.

In the course of a “face to face” meeting on National television in Scotland Alistair Darling accepted Scotland had every right to use sterling and this would not need the authority of the Bank of England.

But he repeated the “mantra of fear” that the Bank of England would not provide bank of last resort support. But in reality Osborne and Darling were only intent on providing substance to their mendacious propaganda since they were well aware that provision of financial support to Scotland, if requested would not be withheld.

Precedence for such support had been established, at the time of the World financial crisis in 2008 when, the UK loaned Ireland £20 Billion, (at a knock-down rate of interest). In a statement, seeking understanding of his decision to, “prop up” the Irish economy George Osborne, UK Chancellor said, “Ireland is our very closest economic neighbour and we must assist.”

 

 

Last week,, said Labour “massively overpaid”, while

 

 

Bank of England officials and Grant Shapps (Conservative Party chairman)  claimed the UK Chancellor had botched the banking bailout and the Bank of England would never match the £10bn profit (out of the crisis) made in the US.

Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, said  “The sad truth is, in 2008, the idea of focusing efforts on recapitalising the banking system was a UK idea. We got there first but, like many UK ideas, the Americans developed it faster and better.”

The US forced all major banks to take State money, buying the stakes at about half their book value. The UK paid roughly twice the US rate, taking positions in the three worst-affected banks – RBS, Lloyds and HBOS.

A Treasury source said: “The Government judged that without a taxpayer injection the banks would have collapsed, with consequences for financial stability and people’s money, and it judged that was an unacceptable risk to take. The Government was bailing out UK banks with global operations.  Ireland was one international business, but not the only one.”

 

 

 

 

80% of the peak losses at RBS stemmed from its London-based businesses. The financial crisis shows us that bailing out the banks – like reinsurance – is a risk that is global in nature and shared between countries, and any tales about Scotland having to accept the burden all by itself are pure myth.

 

 

 

 

 

Bankers know perfectly well how the system works.

When Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of RBS gave evidence to the House of Lords in November 2012, he was quite clear:

“We have used many central banks as a lender of last resort for the many operations that we have in the many jurisdictions in which we operate. That is a key part of what central banks do in the jurisdictions that they control. Just because there might be an independent Scottish Government does not mean that all our lender of last resort facilities would disappear; they would be continued.”

This works when a country has a banking and a fiscal union, as the UK does.  And is supportive of the SNP’s plan for  “two governments one central bank” in the event of a Yes vote in the referendum.

The Bank of England would provide “bank of last resort” support to Scotland, if necessary. But should difficulties arise with the foregoing arrangements the final fall-back position (assuming both  rUK and Scotland retained membership of the EU) would be to seek assistance from their EU partners. Successful requests simply require a majority vote in favour, but the decision is binding on all EU members.

Provision of financial support would not be breaking new ground since this is exactly what occurred  when Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece were extended bank of last resort backing from the EU and the Bank of England donated its share.