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Ben Gummer. MP (Ipswich): An Alternative View on Workfare.

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Gummer: “Passionate about Chewing Gum Mess”

Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP (Con.) Chief Executive, Ipswich Hospital,  Mayor of Ipswich, Minister for Ipswich, and National Secretary of the Union of Stockjobbers presents his monthly Alternative View on Tendance Coatesy.

“It’s been a busy week.

Assisting my good friend Jorge  (‘Francis’)  at the consecration of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, I remarked that Britain is a Christian country. The  policies of my government should make us not afraid to say so.

I am passionate  about Ipswich Hospital and the National Health Service. 

My sponsorship of a pilgrimage to Lady Lane (Ipswich) for those about to take an ATOS Work Capability Assessment shows that local grass-roots action can make a difference.

Hundreds of disabled and sick  people are now capable of work!

Which brings me to ‘workfare’.

Why the unemployed cannot volunteer to scrub Ipswich pavements clean (after the mess Ipswich Labour Borough Council has left them in) is beyond me.

Only last week the heel of  my brogues got covered with chewing gum in Tavern Street.

The much loved statue of internationality famous Prince Alexander Sergeevich Obolensky looks as if could do with a spring clean as well!

My Hospital lacks auxiliary staff and we still have vacancies for medics.

The out-of-work could do a good job if they worked for their benefits on the wards!

We need less “Earnings Tax” and more elbow grease from those who don’t earn their sausage in return for their generous benefits.

My Cabinet’s Help to Work plans are another boost for Ipswich.

I am passionate about getting this country back to work!

Ipswich Tories, including former Leader, Defect to UKIP.

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Ex-Tories Fall for UKIP Politics.

Controversial former Tory council leader Dale Jackson is attempting to make a comeback in this year’s borough elections in his old ward – for UKIP.

Mr Jackson, who left the council after falling out with his Conservative colleagues, has been selected as UKIP candidate for Castle Hill ward.

It is a seat that his new party is targeting – the party’s James Crossley won the Whitton and Whitehouse county council division last year and that includes part of Castle Hill.

Mr Jackson will be up against former Conservative leader Chris Stewart who stood down earlier this year after a split in his group during the borough’s budget debate.

The Castle Hill ward will now be a key battleground – with Mr Jackson well known in the area.

He was Conservative leader in 2004 when the party took control of the borough in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but stepped down as council leader after he became subject of a Standards’ Board investigation into claims that he had sent an inappropriate letter to the teenage daughter of a fellow Conservative councillor.

He was cleared of wrong-doing, but the group did not allow him to return as leader. After that he fell out with other Conservatives, and ended up sitting as an independent councillor.

Evening Star.

Dale, from the lunatic fringe of the Conservative Party, has plenty of other skeletons in his cupboard. 

This may well be worth looking into (from UKIP Ipswich’s Twitter account),

La persona más de mis amigos es , escribe de media un Tweet cada 2 minutos

Then there is this, from the Best Blog based in an outhouse in Ipswich :

Three weeks ago Jose Esteves was canvassing with the Ipswich Tories. Yet now he is a UKIP candidate for Alexandra Ward. I have ascertained that the Tories knew nothing of his defection, though intelligence suggests that another local blogger may have been aware of it.

There is a theory held by some Ipswich Tories that Jose was in fact a UKIP spy. But I don’t think Ipswich UKIP are organised enough to indulge in such espionage. I think that the more likely thing that has happened is that Mr Esteves worked out he was working hard for the Ipswich Tories, not being appreciated for his hard work and being taken for granted like a lot of their foot soldiers are. Then UKIP offered him a candidacy and he took it.

There are 14 UKIP Ipswich candidates standing, that is out of 16 Borough wards.

So, it’s no longer just Algar and his mate in Bridge who’ve gone UKIP.

No doubt many of the others are complete nutters as well.

We also learn that comrade Paul Anderson, former Tribune Editor,  is standing as a Labour candidate for Bixley.

Paul Anderson is a University Campus Suffolk lecturer and writer who lives in Woodbridge Road. He grew up in Dorchester Road in Bixley in the 1960s and 1970s and went to Britannia primary – and his mum lives in the ward. He’s Bixley to his bones: he used to buy sweets from ITFC legend John Elsworthy’s shop at the roundabout and took the number 4 bus into town.

He knows what Bixley residents need from the council – decent bus services, reliable rubbish collection, better social services support for old people, protection of the heaths from housing development – and will campaign for all that and more on the borough council.

Vote Anderson!

Vote Labour!

Written by Andrew Coates

April 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP, to ‘abolish’ National Insurance.

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Ben Gummer’s Political Programme.

Ipswich Tory MP Ben Gummer is famous for a number of  things.

  • He has ” suggested shaking up local government so that councillors solely representing local businesses could be elected to town halls.Mr Gummer acknowledged the idea “had no hope of getting into a manifesto” but pointed to the City of London, as a model for how his idea works in practice.The City is governed by the Corporation of London, which is the oldest local authority in England having been founded in medieval times.Elections there give votes to both firms and residents. (BBC 2012)
  • For his book, The Scourging Angel: The Black Death in the British Isles. Gummer suggested that the Catholic Church played a noble role in comforting the sick and helping stem the worst effects of the plague. This may or may not be taken as seriously. We note that his Catholicism has not helped him take a stand against the misery that “welfare reform” has brought to many of his constituents. Or to help the present-day unwell fight off the ATOS pandemic.
  • Being a Toady, a founder indeed, of the Royal Guild of Toadies. This has earned him the position of adviser to Michael Gove.

Today we learn this,

A Conservative MP is campaigning for national insurance contributions (NICs) to be rebranded the “earnings tax” in a move that has caught the eye of the chancellor.

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, is bringing forward a 10-minute rule bill this week that proposes changing the name as the first step towards merging it with income tax.

It is highly unlikely to make it into law through this route but George Osborne, the chancellor, is said to be attracted to the idea.

Gummer has been campaigning on tax transparency as a merger of income tax and NICs could make it clearer to people how much they are paying to the exchequer out of their earnings.

National insurance, first introduced in 1911, is levied on employers and employees to pay for certain benefits such as the state pension. It works out at around 12% per year, plus an extra 2% for earnings above £41,450.

Guardian.

Ipswich Spy notes that renaming National Insurance  is a demand of the hard-right Tax Payers’ Alliance*.

Gummer states that “Taxpayers are consumers”, including no doubt employers.

Nobody should be in any doubt as to which ‘consumers’ he is most interested in.

A recent post (14th February)  on his Blog shows where he stands, “ANGLIAN WATER SHOWS WHY PRIVATIZATION CAN WORK.”

Now he wants to get people aligned with the bosses to complain about the level of tax, that is the “earnings tax”.

Gummer’s support for the City of London and hard-right free-market ideas are no secret.

Perhaps  Georgi Dimitrov was thinking of the likes of Gummer when he talked of “of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”

*The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for National Insurance (NI) to be scrapped to make the tax system simpler and more transparent. The need for tax reform has never been more pressing, particularly in light of this week’s revelations about HMRC errors.

The campaign group says National Insurance serves no purpose and has set out a package of measures to merge both employers’ and employees’ contributions with Income Tax. The call comes as part of the Treasury’s call for feedback as part of its consideration of the integration of the operation of the income tax and National Insurance contributions system……

The move could significantly reduce the burden on businesses of complying with these taxes, as well as making it easier for people to see exactly how much tax they are paying on their earnings. Here.

The Spectator underlines our point.

After describing the Ipswich Toad Eater’s proposal notes, 

That’s all very noble in itself. But there’s another point, which Gummer isn’t focusing on, but which is politically handy to his party. Labour wants a greater emphasis on raising taxes after 2015 than the Conservatives do. But because tax rises aren’t very popular, the best way to do this beyond some symbolic taxes such as raising the top rate back to 50p (if that raises anything more at all) and introducing a mansion tax would be to focus on the mysterious National Insurance. But if National Insurance became an Earnings Tax and it was clearer to the electorate what it is, then the Tories wouldn’t need to work quite so hard on their ‘stealth tax’/’jobs tax’ campaigns as they have before.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

The Shadow Over Ipswich.

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Major Ipswich Tory Donor

Education secretary Michael Gove has chosen Ipswich MP Ben Gummer as his parliamentary aide.

In an unusual guest post a Mr Cthulhu comments, 

““Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

Which roughly translated means, “The mussel crop in Ipswich Docks promises to be rich this year”.

Mr Cthulhu adds, “An excellent  choice. That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”

Written by Andrew Coates

October 30, 2013 at 10:58 am

Hate on the Dole: George Osborne to Make Unemployed “pick up littter.”

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http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/09_04/CommunityServREX_468x325.jpg

‘Community Service’ Osborne’s Solution to Mass Unemployment.

The Daily Mail exults, “Benefits will be stripped from the long-term jobless unless they work full time picking up litter, removing graffiti or preparing meals for the elderly.”

“George Osborne will today announce details of the US-style ‘work for the dole’ programme, starting within six months and affecting 200,000 welfare claimants.”

The Independent reports the crucail details.

200,000 people a year who have claimed jobseeker’s allowance for three years will lose benefits unless they take up one of three options after two years on the Work Programme:

  • Thirty hours a week for six months of community work such as making meals for the elderly, cleaning up litter and graffiti or charity work, plus 10 hours of “job search activity”.
  • Daily attendance at a jobcentre  to search for work instead of a  brief interview once a fortnight.
  • A mandatory intensive regime for claimants with underlying problems such as mental health, drug addiction or illiteracy.

Although the benefit sanctions will be controversial, the Tories regard the “work for dole” scheme as an example of “tough love” and insist their aim is to help the jobless back into work.

We note,

Statistics released by the DWP today show that the performance of the Work Programme – which was already achieving less than doing nothing at all – is steadily getting worse.

By June 2013 a lower percentage of people who had been on the scheme for one full year had found a job which lasted at least 6 months  – known as a sustained job outcome – than in the previous two months.  In April 2013 14% of claimants who had been on the scheme for one year had found sustained jobs, by June this had dropped to 13%.*

Boycott Workfare  rightly compares the plans to the punishments given out to those who have broken the law.

Unemployed people and campaigners have condemned George Osborne’s announcement that long-term unemployed people will be forced to work unpaid or face losing their social security as a criminalisation of unemployed people.

The maximum community sentence that a judge can hand out is for 300 hours, but claimants on six-month workfare schemes are already being forced to work without pay for 780 hours. The four-week Mandatory Work Activity scheme is already the equivalent of a medium level community service order that a person might receive if they were found guilty of drink driving or assault.

When a similar scheme was introduced in the US, thousands of jobs in the Parks Department were lost in New York alone – to be replaced with forced unpaid workers. Similar case studies have emerged in the UK, where workfare placements are already taking place in hospitals, council offices, charities and businesses.

What is the record of previous workfare schemes?

A pilot has already been tried.

Boycott Workfare commented on the results,

The preliminary results are from the trailblazer pilot, which tested CAP along with Ongoing Case Management (OCM) – “a more intensive a more intensive offer of flexible and personalised adviser-based support, as well as a set of mandatory activities, delivered by Jobcentre Plus through increased adviser interventions for six months”. These two schemes were tested with a control group continuing on standard job centre plus, and participants randomly assigned to the schemes.

Fifteen to 18 per cent in each programme strand had entered paid employment, become self-employed or were waiting to start work at the time of the survey, six to seven months after starting on the trailblazer. These job outcomes did not vary significantly between programme strands, nor did the types of jobs entered, take-home pay and hours worked.

For participants on OCM, those who reported receiving more personalised support to their individual needs were significantly more likely to be in work at the end of the programme. However, for CAP participants, neither attending a placement nor receiving jobsearch support were significantly associated with a job outcome around the end of the programme.

The majority of participants reported being in receipt of JSA at the time of the survey. DWP statistics published alongside this report found statistically significantly lower levels of benefit receipt for both CAP and OCM participants compared to the control group about six months after starting the programme.

The degrading sight of the Chancellor of the Exchequer announcing, with glee, that the out-of-work will have to clean the streets, wash the walls of scribblings, and cook for the old, awaits us today.

His Minister of Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, is said to be devout Catholic.

Not doubt that played something in the decision to make life hell on earth for the unemployed.

Important Update.

Johnny Void points out how the hard right Policy Exchange has manufactured statistical support for Workfare.

“The general public’s opinions on workfare have been grossly distorted by the nature of the questions asked in this survey.”

* The TUC said (26 September 2013),

Work Programme is still failing to help vulnerable people, says TUC

Commenting on figures published today (Thursday) by the Department for Work and Pensions on the government’s Work Programme, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

‘Despite the official spin, the Work Programme is still failing to deliver for many jobseekers.

‘Just one person in 25 is able to find a proper job after a year on the scheme, and disabled people have seen virtually no benefit since its introduction. Although there has been an increase in placements for those on those on the dole these improvements are starting to tail off.

‘The government is obsessed with punishing those out of work, rather than helping them find jobs. The best way to get to grips with our unemployment crisis would be to offer a jobs guarantee for anyone out of work for at least a year.’

Written by Andrew Coates

September 30, 2013 at 10:34 am