Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Welfare Reform - What, more promises!!!!!!!

Labour have made a string of promises to reform the Welfare System and now Tony Blair is giving us another one. He has said that in 10 years time over a million people will be taken off benefits. Fantastic - but the words sound all too familiar. Lets look at what he's said previously:

‘By the end of a five-year term of a Labour government, I vow that we will have reduced the proportion we spend on the welfare bills of social failure... This is my covenant with the British people. Judge me upon it. The buck stops with me,’ (Tony Blair, speech to Labour Party Conference, 1 October 1996).

‘The new ambition for Britain is a modern welfare state that, instead of trapping people in poverty, provides opportunity for all” (Gordon Brown, Hansard, Col.1097, 17 March 1998).’

‘We are reforming the welfare state, and in particular, we are reforming incapacity benefit… There are now more people claiming incapacity benefit than claiming unemployment benefit. That situation cannot possibly be sustained’ (Tony Blair, Hansard, Col 1123, 10 November 1999).

‘We wanted to cut unemployment. But without the responsibility as well as the rights of the New Deal, we would never have cut it by so much.’ (Tony Blair, Speech at the National Labour Party Forum, 24 July 2004).

‘there will be a Green Paper on reform of Incapacity Benefit before the summer recess. People who can work, should be given the chance to work.’ (Tony Blair, PM’s Press Conference, 12 May 2005).

But what has happened?

After nearly nine years of a Labour Government which promised to reform welfare, more and more people are being written off sick and parked on incapacity benefit – although the Prime Minister himself admits: ‘We know that a million incapacity benefit claimants want to work’ (Speech in London, 11 Oct 2004).

The Green Paper originally promised for summer 2005, has been delivered six months late.

Labour tried to reform incapacity benefit before, in 2001. The result was a stricter regime that meant many people dared not go back to work for fear of not being able to regain benefits if they became ill again.

The rate of incapacity benefit off-flows has been slowing steadily since Labour came to power. In 1997 there were 950,200 off-flows, compared to 686,200 in 2004 (Hansard, 7 November 2005, Col. 139WA).

2.7 million people are now parked on incapacity benefit (DWP Press Release, 13 October 2005). This marks a 4.3 per cent increase on 1997.

Over half of incapacity benefit claimants have been claiming for more than five years, compared to 43% in 2000 (Incapacity Benefit Statistical Summary, October 2005).

There are now 10% more young people not in work or full-time education than there were when Labour came to power. The current total of young people not in work or education stands at 1.19 million compared with 1.08 million back in 1997 (ONS data series AGOL and AGPM).

Under Labour, thousands more young people have been written off sick. Since 1997, the number of young people under the age of 25 who are claiming Incapacity benefit has risen by an astonishing 71%, to 170,200 (Incapacity Benefit Statistical Summaries, October 2005 and February 2002).

So why should we believe Blair this time? We shouldn't.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sex Offenders

What a fiasco. Apparently Ruth Kelly is going to review the process of placing someone who is on the Sex Offenders Register on the Education Department's List 99.

We don't need a List 99. As a parent, I believe that if someone has been convicted or cautioned about a child sex offence, then that person should NEVER be allowed to be a teacher or work in any school. It's as simple as that and no Minister must have the power to overrule that.

Today I read that Miss Kelly gave approval for a man who had been convicted of indecent assault, fraud, deception and forgery to be a teacher because his actions had been merely 'unwise'. What is she on? And Tony Blair talks about youths having respect for teachers!!!!

NOBODY with a criminal record should be in our children's classrooms. Period.

Monday, January 16, 2006

R.A.P. or C.R.A.P

So the government has launched the solution to the ills we all suffer in our comunities: the Respect Action Plan, or R.A.P. This plan is going to end anti-social behaviour, will make young people respect other people's property and the authority of parents, teachers and police. Tony Blair has said that his R.A.P. will focus on the causes of anti-social behaviour, which lie in families, in the classroom and in communities.

So how is he going to do this when all means of discipline has been removed from parents, teachers and the police. There is now no fear of the law and therefore there is no consequence of breaking the law. Yobs can quote their rights yet have no idea about responsibility.

We have had ASBOs, bans on hoodies, parenting academies, parental contracts, yobs being dragged to cash points etc etc etc: all gimmicks from a government that hasn't a clue about tackling the real causes.

When I was canvassing recently in Chester, in one road alone I heard how one resident had his garden wall knocked down 3 times in one year; another had a concrete slab thrown into his fish pond; another plants pulled out of his garden; air gun pellets fired through a window and stones thrown at pensioners windows. All of these victims are ordinary hard working law abiding people. It will take more than a govermnet gimmick to put respect back into the youths that are tearing this community apart.

Maybe Chester's MP, Christine, should append her name to the R.A.P. then locally we can refer to it as C.R.A.P.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lib Dems

In May 2005 election the Lib Dems were telling people they were the honest Party and that they were the only ones that could be trusted to tell the truth. Now we learn that all along, the most senior Lib Dems have been lying to the public to cover up for one of their own. They have deliberately decieved the voters, knowingly covering up for an alcholic: aand when the going got tough, they couldn't have been quicker with the knives.

So much for truth and trust!!!!!!