Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Childcare and education – excluding private school fees – account for the biggest costs to parents. Childcare is estimated cost £67,430 over the course of a child’s upbringing. Other regular expenses that have risen in cost at a rate higher than inflation include clothing, which is up 11.7% compared to last year, holidays (up 6.4%), food (up 5.9%) and personal care items, such as toiletries, which have risen by 5.1%. Overall childcare costs are £84 for 25 hours a week – more than half the gross average part-time weekly earnings of £160. In addition, Government support to parents to fund childcare is going down – from 80% to 70%.
"Three-quarters of parents said they were having to economise because of the financial pressures they were under, with nearly half making savings on holidays.” Satwat Rehman, director of One Parent Families Scotland, said those on lower incomes were particularly vulnerable to rising costs. "The cost of basics are going up and the greatest impact is on parents who are at the greatest risk of poverty.”
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
In January this year, Glasgow had Scotland's highest proportion of youngsters in severe poverty at 18%, followed by North Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire and Clackmannanshire at 14%, and Dundee at 12%.
The charity said Glasgow had almost 18 people chasing every job vacancy, and that in West Dunbartonshire there are more than 36 people vying for every job.
Douglas Hamilton, Save the Children's head of Scotland, said: "Urgent action is required in Scotland's most deprived areas or we will end up with a lost generation. Some of these children will grow up living in households with no working adults - they have never seen a parent or grandparent work and this becomes the norm. People don't see a route out of poverty or this cycle of worklessness "
Meanwhile, Pensioners should lose a series of benefits, including free TV licences, free bus travel and the winter fuel allowance, to ease the financial squeeze on younger people, according to the think-tank., the Institute of Economic Affairs.
David Manion, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Suggesting that all older people enjoy a ‘privileged’ economic position shows total ignorance of the reality of life for the majority of over-65s. In fact the UK has one of the lowest state pensions in Europe, with 1.8 million pensioners living in poverty and many more surviving just above the breadline.”
Yet Elinor McKenzie, chair of the Scottish Pensioners’ Forum, said: “Every year around 3000 older people in Scotland die over the winter months from cold-related illnesses."
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Millions of people have been trained to think about what they buy through advertising slogans. They go into the grocer for a packet of "exceedingly good cakes" and some "prolongs active life" for the dog; in the sweet shop they pick up a "helps you work, rest and play" bar and perhaps "just one Cornetto" - to the approved tune, of course; then on to the travel agent to book two weeks in Benidorm with "we'll take more care of you"; down to the garage to pick up the "Vorsprung durch Technik" and fill it with a few gallons of the petrol which" you can be sure of". It is hardly surprising that a buying and selling society has taught the consumers to go in for commodity-talk, Think of all the language we'll lose to a world of free access: no more mindless slogans and jolly tunes to persuade us to buy shoddy brand A rather than bargain brand B. In a moneyless society l suppose we will have to learn to survive without the ad-men telling us what we want.
Steve ColemanSocialist Standard July 1985
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Deaths of people who were waiting for appeals to be heard against the loss of benefits has prompted calls for a fairer assessment system. The claimants from West Dunbartonshire, died from the conditions which caused them to claim Incapacity Benefit (IB) while waiting for appeals to be heard against cuts to their benefits.
One was deemed fit for work during a work capability assessment, despite having a deteriorating chronic illness, and lost both incapacity benefit and disability living allowance. When his support worker appeared at the appeal tribunal she had to report her client could not be present because he was dead. The appeal was upheld and the backpayment will become part of his estate.The other had a congenital condition which caused difficulty in walking but was assessed capable of work and his incapacity benefit was withdrawn. He was waiting for a date for an appeal tribunal when he died.
A third person, again from West Dunbartonshire, died recently after winning a second appeal tribunal following three years of repeated assessments and decisions being overturned.He worked as a shop assistant in his 20s but was forced to give up due to severe heart and lung problems caused by a degenerative syndrome.An “indefinite” award of IB and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was revoked after only two months on the basis of a questionnaire he had filled in.Six months later it was reinstated by an appeal tribunal. Despite this ruling and the finding that his condition was worse than the original assessment, his case was once again referred for medical assessment. Once again, the benefit was withdrawn. He appealed again, with help from staff at the Clydebank Independent Resource Centre, and a tribunal date set for a further six months on. By that time he had been confined to bed with severe pain for several days and his extreme difficulty in reaching the chair in the tribunal room caused the chair of the panel to say the hearing would be as short as possible and that a taxi would be waiting to take him home. He won the appeal but only after three years of unrelenting anxiety over whether his benefits would be cut.
Mary Hodgson, from Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, worked from the age of 16 until she was 41, latterly as a support worker for people with learning disabilities. That ended suddenly when a lower disc cut through her spinal cord leaving her semi-paralysed. “I went from being a fit and healthy person to being unable to walk without crutches and needing a wheelchair to go any distance,” she said. “The damage to my nerves has caused other problems and I need daily care from a nurse.” She was assessed as fit to work. That decision was overturned on appeal and she now receives the higher rate of Employment and Support Allowance, but the experience has left her fearful over her future support.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
A BBC report out today argues, "Scotland is facing its "most difficult" challenges in tackling poverty in years, campaigners have warned.
The Assembly for Tackling Poverty, which is due to meet in Glasgow, said levels of poverty in Scotland have "not been improving for a number of years".
It said about 250,000 Scottish children were living in low income households.
The assembly will hear from community and voluntary organisers, faith groups, trade unions, academics and policy makers." ( Faith in reforms is a huge part of resistance to the solution: Added MC)
The assembly is part of a four-year project supported by the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland.
(Capitalism is a lottery right enough but it is stacked from the beginning in favour of those already winners:.Added MC)
It aims to support community and voluntary organisations to become more involved in developing anti-poverty policy.
A spokesman said it was now "crucial" to find solutions to the causes of poverty.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-12491459
However well meaning some of this group are, we would have to point out that there is only ever going to be a solution to poverty however one may define it by getting rid of the system which causes it.Capitalism must be destroyed. ( What is Capitalism?)
Official statistics show that despite taxation the distribu¬tion of incomes and wealth remains as it must be under capitalism: concentrated in the hands of a few. The few are rich through their monopoly of the means of life and their returns on their investments as rent, interest and profit; the workers get as wages and salaries little more than enough to keep themselves and their families in efficient working order. State action, such as tax reform and social security benefits, cannot alter these basic inequalities of capitalism any more than they can solve the problems in housing, health and education which arise for workers as a result.
Don't be fooled either by Labour politiians in opposition now positioning themselves as teh champions of the poor.
On 20 July 1946 the late Aneurin Bevan claimed in a speech at Durham that: "when the next election occurs there will be no housing problem in Great Britain for the British working class" (Hansard, 14 July 1948, Col. 1202); and the Labour Party announced that "destitution has been abolished" (Labour and the New Society, 1950, page 5). Merely to recall these claims is to expose the futility of reformism.
The Labour Party has always shown disdain for the Socialist Party of Great Britain's insistence on first convincing the workers of the need for Socialism,(What is Socialism?) choosing instead to put forward reforms in its electoral programmes in order to gain working class support and thus obtain political power. 'The workers want something now', we have always been told, the implication being that a workers' party should imitate the openly capitalist parties and make promises of reforms in order to catch votes. Such reasoning ignores the fact that a party which rises to power on non-socialist votes can only administer capitalism. The fate of successive Labour governments is proof of this.
The question needing to be put to this group is, can capitalism be made to work differently? Or must there be a social revolution to replace capitalism with some other society? (Reform or Revolution?)
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
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The Socialist Party insist the working class is the only social force capable of putting an end to capitalism—the root cause of econom...
The media and the political mouthpieces of capitalist ideology have done their job well. Scottish workers are being caught up by the "...