Smoke And Mirrors ? A Government Speciality ! Promise One Thing Deliver Another

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
A report from today's Guardian that dovetails into several other news stories / articles in this section.

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/news-and ... 09#p356500


Falling unemployment is great for the economy? Try telling cleaners like Irene ... an article by Stefan Baskerville.

The latest employment figures may look healthy. But they mask stories of hardship, fear and exploitation in an insecure, unregulated jobs market color]

Worth reading if only to see the parrellels with other articles ... the real impact felt at grass root level and the Government's response ... through their Ministry of Propaganda spokesperson ?

Numerous comments , one in particluar stands out :


There is something inherently wrong with a society in which people can be working full time but still need benefits..

One does not need 1,000 words or a degree to say exactly the same ?

Smoke and .... mirrors ... the British way.
Another article on a recent Government announcement which , when first tested , falls at the very first fence.

Grenfell Tower ....

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... y-grenfell

Ministers 'refusing to pay for fire safety measures' after Grenfell.

Councils accuse government of washing its hands of problem after earlier promising that money would be no object.

Councils have said the government is failing to release funds to improve the fire safety of dozens of tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower disaster despite promising that a lack of financial resources should not stand in the way of essential works.

Ministers have said building owners are responsible for funding safety measures, but town hall leaders complain that they are “washing their hands of their responsibilities” and are being “dismissive”, four months after the blaze at the Kensington tower block, which claimed about 80 lives.

The government has said it will consider help “where works are essential”, but has so far resisted bids for support to retrofit sprinklers in towers despite the London fire brigade (LFB) saying this must happen.

The Conservative-run Westminster council is understood to be the latest town hall to have had a request for financial assistance pushed back by ministers. It is removing cladding from six high-rise towers and wants to install sprinklers across other tall council blocks at an estimated cost of £20m.

The housing minister, Alok Sharma, has already declined Nottingham city council’s request for help to install sprinklers inside flats and communal areas in 13 towers at a cost of £6.2m. Sharma told the council: “The fire safety measures you outline are additional rather than essential.”

He has told the London borough of Croydon, which wants to spend £10m on retrofitting sprinklers to 25 tall residential blocks: “It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that people are safe.”

Wandsworth wants to spend up to £30m on sprinklers in 100 towers but has been told: “Support will not include general improvement and enhancements to buildings.” All the councils said they had been advised to carry out works by their local fire brigades.

The tension over who should foot the fire safety bill follows a pledge in July by the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, that any lack of financial resources would not prevent necessary works going ahead. However, the government appears determined not to fund or allow additional borrowing for any improvements that go beyond essential safety works. The necessity of sprinklers is proving a key faultline.
Adam Hug, leader of the Labour opposition at Westminster city council, said he had seen correspondence with the government detailing the council’s request for financial aid or better flexibility on borrowing.

“Both were being asked for,” he said. “They were told: only in exceptional circumstances. Yet again it will be council tenants and people who desperately need new homes who are left to pay the price of this Tory government washing their hands of their responsibilities.

Punch and Judy show ?

As children , we found those amusing.

As adults , the political version is NOT ... for some , as we have all seen , maybe the difference between living and dying ?
Another issue worthy of being included under this thread.

The Government's " Arbeit Macht Frei " ... " Work sets you free " ... philosophy :


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 08826.html

Cost of childcare for young children has risen more than four times faster than wages since 2008, shows research.

Most working parents with one-year-olds get no state help with childcare costs



I will ignore that older generation's usual retort ... " If you can't afford 'em , don't have 'em " ... not in line with modern day thinking , and practice ?

In those days , wages / costs were such that only one parent needed to be the " Breadwinner " ... today , a couple on minimum wage , both working 35 / 36 hour weeks , would still qualify for certain benefits.

That , in itself , speaks volumes for how times have changed ... for the worst ?

Times have changed , and old ideas have to change with them ... they are no longer relevant ... and that includes some of my , grandad !


The cost of childcare for young children has risen more than four times faster than wages since 2008, research shows.

New analysis published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reveals that in England the average wages of those with a one-year-old child rose by 12 per cent in cash terms between 2008 and 2016, while their childcare costs shot up by 48 per cent in the same period.

In some parts of the UK the cost of childcare has risen by even more, increasing 7.4 times more quickly than pay in London, seven times more quickly in the East Midlands and 4.8 times more in West Midlands.

While the Government provides some support for childcare for children aged two and older, most working parents with one-year-olds do not get any state help with childcare costs.

With around 950,000 working parents across the UK with a child aged one, the TUC warns that these rising costs have huge implications for family budgets, as parents are spending an increasing portion of their pay on childcare.

The analysis shows that a single parent working full-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week spent more than a fifth (21 per cent) of their wages on childcare in 2016, up from around a sixth (17 per cent) in 2008.

Meanwhile, households with one parent working full-time and one parent working part-time with a one-year-old in nursery for 21 hours a week spent a seventh (14 per cent) of their salary on childcare in 2016, up from around a 10th (11 per cent) in 2008.

Pressure is even greater on parents working full-time, especially single parents, with a single mum or dad with a young child in nursery for 40 hours a week needing to spend two-fifths (40 per cent) of their pay on childcare.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that “eye-watering” childcare bills and comparatively slow wage rises meant mothers had to make a choice between having a family or a career, and urged for subsidised and affordable childcare.

“The cost of childcare is spiralling but wages aren’t keeping pace. Parents are spending more and more of their salaries on childcare, and the picture is even worse for single parents,” she said.

“Nearly a million working parents with one-year-old kids have eye-watering childcare bills. There is a real gap in childcare support for one-year-olds until government assistance kicks in at age two.

“Parents need subsidised, affordable childcare from as soon as maternity leave finishes to enable them to continue working, and so mums don’t continue to have to make that choice between having a family and a career.”

It comes after the Government was accused of failing to fund their own pledge to provide 30-hours free childcare for three and four-year-olds, with ministers having admitted “teething problems” with implementing the policy.

Some nurseries have claimed the funding allocated for the plan does not cover the true cost of providing the extra hours.

Ellen Broomé, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, meanwhile said: “Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads to making our country run: it boosts children’s outcomes, supports parents to work and provides our economy with a reliable workforce.

“For too many parents, however, high childcare costs mean that it does not pay to work. Low-income families claiming Universal Credit typically take home just £1.96 per hour after childcare costs have been paid, and some get even less than this. We must make sure every parent is better off working after childcare costs.”

To address this increasing pressure on working families, the TUC is calling for universal free childcare from the end of maternity leave, which it argues would help single parents and families stay in work and progress their careers after having children.

It is also urging for more government funding for local authorities to provide nurseries and child care, and a greater role for employers in funding childcare - either through direct subsidy to employees or the provision of on-site childcare facilities.

Responding to the findings, children and families minister Robert Goodwill said: “Helping families access affordable childcare is at the heart of this government’s agenda, which is why we are investing a record £6bn every year by 2020 in childcare.

“As well as providing tax-free childcare to around 2 million households to help pay for childcare costs, we have doubled the free childcare available to working parents of three and four years olds to 30 hours a week, saving them thousands a year and helping them get back into work.

"Indeed, an independent evaluation of the early delivery of 30 hours free childcare found that 84 per cent of parents reported improved family finances as a result of the free childcare.”


Yet another conundrum for many with young families.

Do the " Right " thing ... and run into another trap ???
Another one ... recall the Government's headline making crackdown on rogue landlords ... thus appeasing the low millions who have no real option other than to rent from private BTL landlords ?

Think again !


https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... -prosecute


Rogue landlords enjoy an easy ride as councils fail to prosecute.

Most local authorities have not secured a single prosecution, figures released under Freedom of Information Act reveal.




For once , the headline says it all ... any curious readers should clink on the above link to the Guardian article for the full sp.

I'll let the Government have the last word ... last paragraph from said article :

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said:

“This government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords, either forcing them to improve and raise their standards or to leave the sector entirely.

We expect all councils to use the strong powers and funding we’ve given them to improve property conditions and tackle poor quality rental homes in their area.

Civil penalties and extended rent repayment orders were introduced this April meaning councils can now impose fines of up to £30,000 to tackle those landlords who flout the rules and shirk their responsibilities.”


Similarities to social care ?

Government v. LAs ???
Today's Money Mail ... a trap for all those wanting to top up their future state pensions :


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/pensio ... -trap.html


Savers snared by state pension trap... and even an ex-minister slams the taxman's penny-pinching ways

Many savers have gaps in their NI records and are due less than the full payout.
But it is supposed to be possible to top-up your pension under a DWP scheme.
After making payments savers told they wouldn't qualify for any extra pension.



Almost impossible to copy over the full article due to the clutter.

RECOMMENDED to be read by any reader thinking of topping up their state pension.

No excuses for any stepping on this mine ... READ the article !
Childcare nurseries the subject of this one ... the direct effect of Government policy.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 63521.html

Government accused of 'failing families' as 1,000 nurseries close in childcare 'crisis'.

'If they were serious about giving every child the best start in life, they would give providers the resources they need instead of managing the decline of the sector'.


The Government has been accused of “failing working families” after it emerged more than 1,000 nurseries and childminders have gone out business in the past two years.

Official Ofsted figures show a net loss of 1,146 providers from the Early Years Register since 2015, when the Conservatives were elected with a promise of 30 hours free childcare for working parents.

But the implementation of the flagship policy has been plagued with technical problems, with some nurseries struggling to fill places as glitches on the scheme’s website left parents unable to sign up.

The full roll-out of tax-free childcare, another key policy first announced by the Conservatives four years ago, has also been delayed until next year.

Only 14,142 providers joined the latest register of childcare, compared with 15,288 when it was started two years ago, according to figures obtained by Tracey Brabin, shadow minister for early years.

Four-fifths of those that dropped off the register had been rated either good or outstanding by Ofsted.


“The Tories promised to be the most family-friendly government ever, but time and again they are failing working families,” Ms Brabin told The Observer. “Ministers ask early-years providers to do more and more but refuse to give them the necessary funding.

“If they were serious about giving every child the best start in life, they would give providers the resources they need, instead of managing the decline of the sector, content to see thousands of providers lost year after year.”

The cost of childcare has risen more than four times faster than wages in the last decade, research by the Trades Union Congress found last month.The Government’s childcare scheme came into force on 1 September with a promise of 30 hours free provision for parents who earn less than £100,000 a year and have three- or four-year-old children. Thirty hours free childcare, worth about £5,000, is double the previous government allowance.

But problems with the online registration system left some parents unable to open an account to pay a nursery, playgroup, childminder or pre-school.

Some providers have also been unable to register, leaving them unable to fill places just weeks before the launch. Others have refused to offer 30 hours free provision, arguing they cannot afford to because the Government has failed to properly fund them.

Ministers have admitted the scheme had suffered ”teething problems” but denied failing to fund the pledge. The Government said it was spending £6bn a year on childcare.

Children and families minister Robert Goodwill said: “We are determined to support as many families as possible with access to high-quality, affordable childcare, and earlier this year we fulfilled our promise to double the free childcare available to working parents to 30 hours a week, saving them up to £5,000 a year per child. Hundreds of thousands of hardworking families are already benefiting from that offer."


Oh dear , yet another case of what's in the tin doesn't match what it says on the jar !

Teething problems ?

How 'bout failure ... ?
A potential ... given the headlines on this issue ... Grenfell Tower :


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-42063904


Grenfell tragedy: Councils plan £380m fire safety spend.



The interesting bit is this :


Councils across the capital will be spending a total of about £383m to make social housing safer following the Grenfell fire, research by BBC Radio London has found.

About half of London's boroughs have asked for financial help, which the government has not yet agreed to.

Of 33 London boroughs contacted following the disaster in June, 26 responded with estimated costings.

Four boroughs said it was too early to know how much they would be spending.



And that's just London ... nationwide , how much ???

If nothing else , the forthcoming budget ... will the Government honour it's " Obligation " or , like the Care Act . said obligation is just that ... an obligation ... to do nothing ???
Another one to savour :


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 66571.html



Flagship government housing plan fails to deliver a single home in three years

Exclusive: Officials admit it is still an ‘ambition’ to deliver any of the 200,000 homes promised under David Cameron's Starter Homes initiative.



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The headline will serve us well on this one.

Excuses ?

Strangely , no 2 blue moons / R in the month or wrong type of snow ?

I rest my case ... the article is pretty depressing !
Childcare Scheme ... oh dear , now problems with age ?


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consum ... -children/


Tax-Free Childcare scheme delayed for parents with older children.



The Government will delay the roll out of its Tax-Free Childcare scheme for older children until next year, following months of technical problems with its dedicated childcare services website.

The scheme, which offers parents up to £2,000 a year for childcare, will be available on November 24 to parents of children aged six or under. However those with under 12s will have to wait until the end of March 2018 before the scheme is made available to them.

Tax-Free Childcare launched in April this year and was initially open to parents of children under four, or under 17 if the child is disabled.


It works as a savings scheme with parents opening an online account that is used to pay for registered childcare. For every £8 paid in, the Government adds £2 up to £2,000 a year per child, or £4,000 for disabled children. This can only then be used to pay for registered childminders, nurseries, nannies and after school clubs.

The Government promised to extend it to parents with children under the age of 12 by the end of this year. But it has now said it will be another three months before the scheme is available to everyone.

Months of childcare chaos

The Government's Childcare Choices, which went live in April to enable parents to claim their 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare, another scheme, has been blighted by technical problems. Thousands of parents have been prevented from applying for the childcare they are entitled to.

Nicky Morgan MP, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, wrote to HMRC in July regarding the technical failings and HMRC introduced a “compensation” scheme in August.

During the summer parents were also facing challenges related to the launch of the Government's flagship 30-hours free childcare scheme in September.

Charities argued the scheme had not been properly funded and squeezed providers were being forced to charge for meals, nappies and trips, previously offered free of charge, to make ends meet. Some have also had to raise prices for non-funded childcare and for older children.

Many nurseries were left with little option but to shut. The Telegraph reported multiple nursery closures across the country in July because the rate the Government offers is 39p an hour below the actual cost of childcare.

Temi Kamson told Telegraph Money she had to split her 30 free hours between two nurseries for her three-year-old son Daniel because his existing nursery could not afford to offer the full scheme.

Ms Kamson, 33, said the nursery could only offer the free hours if parents committed to 35 hours a week of childcare all year round. The five extra hours would have to be paid for.


Who can get Tax-Free Childcare?

From November 24 working parents with children aged six or under can apply for Tax-Free Childcare.

Both parents (if they are together) must be working 16 hours a week and paid at least the national living wage of £7.20 an hour, the equivalent to £120 a week.

If either parent earns more than £100,000, both parents are disqualified.

Those on maternity, paternity or adoption leave could still be eligible, as are those who are unable to work because they are disabled or are carers.

Tax-Free Childcare cannot be used at the same time as childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. However it can be used in line with the 15 hours and 30 hours free childcare schemes.

Tax-free childcare will eventually replace childcare vouchers, although there are significant differences.

Childcare vouchers offer savings per parent, whereas with tax-free childcare, the savings are made per child. The vouchers are only available through employers - and not all offer the scheme.


Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, an educational charity, said given the concerns over the performance of the Childcare Service website over recent months, it was "no surprise" that the Government decided to delay the full rollout of tax-free childcare to ensure the system can cope with an increased volume of applications.

"That said, with many families still struggling with the cost of childcare, parents who had hoped to benefit from the scheme by the end of the year will be understandably disappointed by this delay," he added.

In a written statement Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury, acknowledged there were problems with the childcare services website over the summer including "delayed decisions about eligibility". He admitted that parents didn't receive the "intended level of service".

He said Tax-Free Childcare will "gradually" be opened up to parents of older children over the coming months whilst further improvements are made to the online system.

Mr Stride said this means the Government can "manage the volume of applications going through the service, so parents continue to receive a better experience and prompt eligibility responses when they apply."


Sounded quite simple when announced ?

Nothing is ever " Simple " ... there are always catches ... and mines to avoid ???
Love it !

Headline news from the budget ... TORIES CUT STAMP DUTY TO HELP YOUNG BUYERS !

Think again !



http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 72601.html


Tory stamp duty cut could cost first-time buyers twice as much as they save, leading think tank says.

Policy will increase the price of an average home by £3,200 while delivering a saving of £1,600, the Resolution Foundation says.



Just a snippet :

Philip Hammond’s stamp duty cut for first-time buyers could cost those purchasing a home more than twice as much as it saves them, a leading think tank has claimed.

The Resolution Foundation said the policy will inflate house prices by more than the saving it will deliver for many buyers.

It added that the change will only marginally reduce the time it takes an average first-time buyer to save up to buy a property – from 19 years to 18.5 years.

The abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing homes costing up to £300,000 was the centrepiece of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget.

The Resolution Foundation said the rise in house prices that the policy is likely to cause equates to a £3,200 increase in the cost of an average-price home – more than double the average £1,600 saving it will deliver.

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