Tory councils tell Osborne “No more cuts!” (#politics #ToriesOutNow)

Order of Truth: Speak Out
Even Conservative councils are saying no more cuts.

Order Of Truth

torynomorecutsIt appears that even stanch Conservatives have had enough of the inner-circle of government’s ‘austerity’ measures.

In an unusual move, Conservative led local authorities have formed an alliance with Labour and LibDem led authorities to tell Osborne enough is enough.

The Conservative controlled Local Government Association (LGA) said in a letter to the Observer that they have already imposed cuts of 40% since 2010 and can not afford more cuts.

They state that any further cuts will have more serious ramifications for community life and social care and will have a knock-on effect on other services such as the NHS,

“Councils have worked hard to shield residents from the impact of funding cuts. However, efficiencies cannot be remade or buildings resold,” they say.

“Further local government funding reductions over the next five years are not an option. The new government must consider the consequences that further funding cuts, without radical…

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Ever been late for a meeting? Did it mean that you lost a month’s income?

The Poverty Trap – let’s help people out of it, not punish them for falling into it.

A Fair Say

Time to Rethink Benefit SanctionsWith a new Government in place, it’s urgent that we keep up the pressure for a rethink of the unjust benefit sanctions regime which is harming thousands of people. In this guest blog, Paul Morrison of the Joint Public Issues Team explains how you can take action.

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My experience: Living Below the Line

The UK Hunger Project challenge is on until June 27th:
could we live on just £1 a day for both food and drink, for 5 days?
Here is someone who tries to do just that.
I would like to see George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith try this before imposing their new welfare “reforms”.


You may or may not have seen over social media the Living Below the Line challenge. But what does Living Below the Line actually mean? Well, it refers to the poverty line. Living on a mere £1 per day for food and drink is classed as extreme poverty here in the UK. The challenge that was set was to live below the poverty line for five consecutive days in a bid to raise awareness of extreme hunger and poverty both here in the UK and globally.

Did you know that 1.2 billion people on planet earth today live below the poverty line? This is nearly 20% of the world population. In a day and age where we have excessive access to technology, processed foods and the internet, doesn’t it seem astonishing that this many people can still be living in extreme hunger today? Well, it was time to do something…

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Post election post mortem.

A Public Tongue post election

Reasons to be cheerful part 3: Jack Monroe

Cooking on a Bootstrap

It’s Sunday already. I’ve started writing a blog post about the election so many times since Thursday evening, and Friday morning, but they were stilted, words slowly forced onto a page as my shocked and scrambled head for once didn’t know what to say.

It started with a heavy, sinking feeling as the exit poll data was announced. Based on 22,000 people of the some 41million who voted, and putting the Conservatives in the lead, I prayed it was wrong. For a start, it was the data from 0.0005% of the total number of people who voted. The margin for error was enormous, I told myself, not in denial – as I have been a politics nerd for long enough now to know that nothing should come as a surprise and nothing should be taken for granted – but in hope. Hope that a couple of the digits were slightly…

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A Public Tongue Chats to Mr. Cameron about Foodbanks

Mr. Cameron, your attitude to Food Banks reminds me of the Blue Peter presenters who, back in the black and white days of 1968, had to contend with a merrily defecating baby elephant. All smiles for the cameras they just couldn’t get Lulu to stick to the script. She pooped on their shiny studio floor, her gushing waterfall of wee spread alarmingly, and for good measure she pulled over her handler, dragging him through the muck. Plucky grins pasted to their faces, our intrepid BP team resorted to pretence and denial, trying to insist they had it all under control.

You too squirmed with embarrassment when asked by Jeremy Paxman this March about the proliferation of Food Banks, and the number of workers on zero hour contracts. Not wanting anything to spoil your happy story of an economic up-turn, you were powerless to prevent Mr. Paxman focusing on some unpalatable truths:

People are going hungry in our country.

Many of those people are children.

Many of those people are parents who have skipped meals in order to feed their children.

Many of those people are old, and have had to choose between heating and eating this winter.

Many cannot pay their bills and eat because zero hours contracts and low wages don’t add up to a subsistence level income, let alone a decent standard of living.

Many of those people have disabilities or learning difficulties so they struggle to find a job.

Many are chronically ill and cannot hold down a job. They are not alarm-clock Britain.

A worrying number of these people do not have the literacy or IT skills to apply for jobs online, and so have their benefits withdrawn for weeks at a time.

I know this because I work at a Foodbank. My husband tries to teach IT skills to job seekers. My friends have hungry pupils in their classrooms in Primary and Secondary schools around Britain. My friends are nurses and health visitors seeing hungry children and parents in their homes and in hospital wards.

Mr. Cameron, your election victory speech told us that in Britain a “ good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing”.

But what about those people who struggle to work, work, work from 16 to 66, or whenever they will finally get a small state pension? What about those who do not have the opportunities, the skills, the strength, or stamina to “ do the right thing? ”

And anyway, isn’t the “right thing” to share with each other? For those who have enough to help those who don’t?

In the words of another politician, Mr. Cameron, I can’t help thinking that
“ The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick; the needy, and the handicapped.”
Hubert H. Humphrey ( 38th Vice President of the USA, 1965-69 )

Here is the elephant in the room, Mr. Cameron, this hungry group of people who need you to help them. Unlike Lulu this particular elephant is not making me laugh. It is not a funny story.

Mr. Cameron, you told us that Britain is a country of “such good humour and such great compassion.” I was glad to hear you say so. In the coming months will we see compassion in action? Will you give those who are struggling something to smile about? Or will it just be the richest 1% laughing all the way to the bank?

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How to listen to people telling stories of poverty

A Fair Say

Real Benefits StreetAs our Real Benefits Street project continues, our Communications Manager Liam Purcell calls for more empathy and less judgement.

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A House for Essex. FAT / Grayson Perry. Living Architecture.

A week after the election and we all need cheering up.
The Conservative party may be determined to dismantle the public services the general public rely on, ditching disability benefits, devolving every city, town, and hamlet in the kingdom, binning human rights, and generally shrugging off responsibility for everyone and everything, but …… Grayson Perry can still lift our spirits.

AAJ Press

A House for Essex_Living Architecture A House for Essex, Living Architecture, FAT/Grayson Perry. July 2014

A House for Essex_Living Architecture2 A House for Essex, Living Architecture, FAT/Grayson Perry. July 2014

Living Architecture_FAT_Grayson Perry A House for Essex, Living Architecture, FAT/Grayson Perry. July 2014

PerryHouseImage A House for Essex, Living Architecture, Projection, January 2013

A House for Essex in the north Essex countryside is the latest contemporary house to be commissioned by Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture company. It is the second house involving architect/artist collaboration – further to the David Kohn Architects/Fiona Banner, building/installation, boat/house/room currently on the roof of the South Bank Centre in London. Designed by FAT architects in collaboration with Grayson Perry, it will contain specially commissioned artworks  – including three aluminium sculptures on the roof, an exterior clad in bottle-green ceramic tiles, and the roof  finished in copper alloy sheet. The sculptures, tiles and interior artworks explore the historical and contemporary character of Essex. The programme is for a two-bedroom guest…

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