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Responding to the Government’s ‘charity tax’ u-turn, the latest in a series of recent policy climbdowns, Jon Trickett MP, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office said:
“Charities need all the support they can get; this latest Government u-turn is too little, far too late.
If David Cameron and George Osborne thought through their unfair policies in the first place and listened to the sector, this embarrassing u-turn would not have been necessary. Instead they have shown just how out of touch and incompetent they really are.
Too many charities are cutting back on the support they provide to individuals and communities as a result of the Tory-led Government’s cuts that go too far, too fast. The Government’s latest u-turn will not reverse the damage they have already inflicted on one of the most valuable sectors in our society.”
Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, responding to New Philanthropy Capital’s report ‘When the Going Gets Tough’, said:
“The effects of the Tory-led Government policies towards the community and voluntary sector have been exposed by this report from New Philanthropy Capital.
“It is clear that the gap between the Government’s ‘Big Society’ rhetoric and the harsh reality of their policies is widening. Time and time again we see new evidence that the Government’s policies are hitting the sector hard and resulting in instability and uncertainty.
“Today’s report reveals that over two thirds of charities are being forced to cut frontline services at a time when many of these services are seeing increased demand. On top of this, almost three quarters of charities are having to make staff redundant, adding to the already soaring number of people out of work under this Government.
“Community and voluntary organisations are showing brilliant and remarkable innovation in the face of cuts that go too far, too fast from the Tory-led Government but the evidence suggests that this will not be enough to prevent serious long term damage to the sector as a result of the Government’s actions.
“The Queen’s Speech was an opportunity to take real action that would benefit voluntary and community organisations but the Government has failed to act.
“The shambles that is the ‘charity tax’ and the failure to support the sector in this year’s Budget has proved they are not serious about working with the sector.”
Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett met local Remploy workers and GMB union representatives along with neighbouring MP Yvette Cooper last week at the Wakefield office of the GMB union.
The local Remploy factory currently employs 60 people with a range of disabilities but is set to close in August, under Government plans to move employees into mainstream places of work.
Commenting on the Government’s proposals, Jon said:
“The government are acting in a completely heartless way. I have two constituents who have worked at Remploy for 30 years, met and married there and now potentially both are facing losing their jobs.
“The government need to show an interest in Remploy and fully understand the implications of their decision.”
Read the full article in the Pontefract and Castleford Express here: http://www.pontefractandcastlefordexpress.co.uk/news/local/remploy-jobs-fight-continues-1-4558741
The Tory-led government is unpopular, out of touch and presiding over a Downing Street-created double dip recession. You would have thought that they would exercise a degree of caution and perhaps pause to reflect before blundering on.
Yet the Tories continue to drive policies that the electorate clearly disagree with. The truth is that they are more concerned with holding the Parliamentary Party together than actually listening to the people.
Look at the amount of time they have recently expended on an inward looking party election. Cameron and Osborne concentrated a great deal of effort in a failed attempt to launch a “coup” in last night’s 1922 Committee election.
They have become preoccupied with party management rather than governing the country in these difficult times. The divides within the Tory Party have been playing out since the 2010 General election, but, unfortunately for Cameron the 1922 Committee elections have brought the Tories’ infighting to the foreground.
Pressure on Cameron continues to mount; he is a torn Prime Minister. He has to please both the old guard and the so-called modernisers or the Tories will crumble under the internal, ideological polarisation of the Party.
It is far too simplistic to see the new conservative faction’s (entitled the 301 Group) good performance – they managed to get all but one of their candidates elected – as a move to a “modern” and socially liberal position within the Parliamentary Conservative Party.
The truth is, 11 out of the 18 Tory MPs elected to the 1922 Committee voted – against the Government whip – for a referendum on Europe. In any event, despite the Tory backbenchers being allegedly overwhelmingly modernisers, they still failed to take total control.
In the event, the biggest loser was Cameron, since his candidate Charlie Elphicke MP failed to get elected. Nick De Bois MP, who is aligned to the old guard, managed to defeat him, as the new joint-Secretary. Issues such as Europe, immigration and welfare will be high up on his agenda.
It is simply untrue in any event to say that the 301 Group is a more liberal wing of the Party, they are, to use Tim Montgomerie’s term, on “the reasonable right”. They are made up almost entirely of 2010 intake of Tory MPs. George Eustice and Priti Patel, for example, who form part of this Group, are well known right-wingers and they are part of a new, modern generation of Tory MPs who wish to see their influence grow at a faster pace.
No matter what the outcome of the elections yesterday, Cameron still has a long way to go to get Party unity. Most commentary on the 1922 Committee elections has not fully acknowledged the deeper divisions within the Party that have lingered in the wings since the 2010 General election.
This is not a battle between the left and right of the party; but between two right wing sub-sets. But we should not underestimate the venom which is now enveloping relationships between the two groups, most spectacularly revealed in Nadine Dorries’ comments about two ‘posh boys’. So open is the conflict now that I was hardly surprised the other day when a very senior Tory backbencher made vituperative comments about Cameron to me in the lift in Portcullis House.
The truth is over the past two years both these factions could be seen pulling 10 Downing Street in different directions. This in part explains the sense of drift and lack of vision in Downing St.
However, the announcement today that Cameron is considering his adviser Steve Hilton’s policy to cut the welfare state by £25 billion will please the core Tory old guard. The only issue they are united over is the austerity programme; one of the key policies voters are most hostile to.
No matter who won the 1922 Committee elections, the factionalism will continue. Cameron attempted to take control of the 1922 Committee once before and his renewed effort will leave lasting scars. There is an old saying in politics that if you decide to use a knife then you had better ensure that the assassination which you attempt to secure is successful.
Cameron fluffed his move. The old guard losers will be disgruntled and it may lead them to feel freer to attack the Government. Indeed, there are already rumours that the old guard are planning secret meetings in a Tory MP’s house.
Let’s be clear, the battle of ideology is only going to get worse for Cameron and to win in 2015 he needs to make sure there is relative unity. But there are increasingly audible voices which are saying that his head may be the price which must be paid to secure that unity.
The 1922 Committee elections have given us a glimpse into the real turmoil the Tories are in. Behind the blunders and incompetence of an increasingly unpopular government, a civil war is waging on the Tory benches.
On one side are Cameron and Osborne. Desperate to influence the outcome of the elections and take control of the 1922 Committee, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have backed the modernising 301 Group slate. On the another side are the core Tory traditionalists, who are enraged to see the Prime Minster attempting yet again – he tried to effectively abolish the Committee in 2010 – to infiltrate the committee and keep it in line with the frontbench. And lastly, the “anti-factionalist” side which see all the infighting in the party as dangerous and feel that Cameron needs to clamour for unity at all costs.
The bitter fight is being fleshed out within an already fractious and disunited party. The EU, same-sex marriage and immigration are only a handful of contentious issues that are dividing the traditionalist Tories and the modernising ones, such as the 301 Group.
The 301 Group, which was first set up by Kris Hopkins MP and Jessica Lee MP, is made up almost entirely, bar two MPS, of the 2010 intake of Tory MPs who see the image of the Tories as the “nasty party” as deeply dangerous and propound a more socially liberal approach to issues such as same-sex marriage. They see the traditionalists as “the disloyal old guard”. The Group is made up of the new generation of Tory MPs– such as Nick Boles, who co- founded the think-tank Policy Exchange and Cabinet Minister Francis Maude’s PPS Angie Bray – that are dissatisfied with the values of the old guard.
The traditional Tories, who many Tory MPs, commentators and even David Cameron himself, see as a threat to the chances of the Conservatives winning the next election, are angered at issues such as immigration, the EU and welfare reform not being tacked effectively. The media cite the cause of this frustration and anger is because the Liberal Democrats are limiting the Tory agenda; this is simply not the case, in their eyes David Cameron is not right-wing enough, with or without the Liberal Democrats. Indeed, an anonymous letter from a Tory MP has been circulated calling for Tory MPs not to vote for the Cameron and Osborne -backed 301 group slate.
Things have come to a head in the last few days, with news that Nicholas Soames and Tracy Crouch quit the 1922 Committee in protest at the factionalism of the elections.
Let’s be clear, the Tories are in a mess; Cameron looks weak and the majority of his backbenchers are unhappy: Cameron knows he is in a vulnerable position. The polls are going from bad to worse for the Coalition, he and Osborne are losing their economic credibility and Ed Miliband is becoming a growing and threatening force, showing himself to be a calm, collected and clever leader opposite Cameron’s arrogant and angry demeanour in PMQs.
The Tories are in trouble and these elections are only the beginning of a long battle within the Party. Only time will tell if Cameron is able to lead a united Party into the next General Election, but when Cameron is at the centre of the squabbling, it is hard to see him being able to do so.
Commenting on today’s unemployment statistics, Jon said:
“With Britain falling into a double dip recession made in Downing Street young people in Hemsworth and across the UK are paying the price.
“The number of young people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Hemsworth has risen by a staggering 1100% in the last year alone- even worse than the UK average rise of 240%.
It is a total disgrace that this Tory and Lib Dem Government should preside over a failing economy which is hurting everyone but hurting young people in particular. Complacent Ministers simply aren’t doing enough create the jobs that are needed.
They should not be forgiven. At the same time they are failing our young people, the Government introduced a Budget that cut taxes for millionaires whilst the millions pay more. As a result, someone earning £5 million will get a massive tax cut of £240,000 per year. That money could and should be used to help people in difficulty rather than helping the richest get even richer.
The recent Queen’s Speech merely reinforced the Government’s reputation for complete and utter incompetence when it comes to addressing economic issues. This should have been a Queen’s speech that put building an economy that works for hard-working people centre stage but the Government had nothing at all to say on it. Yet just a week later the unacceptable price young people are paying here in Hemsworth for the Government’s failure has been made clear.”
The Efficiency and Reform Group, the organisation in charge of driving efficiency and tackling waste across government, has cost the taxpayer £60 million since its creation by the Tory-led government in June 2010.
The Group employs 440 staff – more than the number of staff employed by the Cabinet Office in 70 Whitehall – and When the Group was created, 15 of those staff were earning well over £100,000 – nearly 5 times the average salary.
Jon Trickett, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, who unearthed the figures in a PQ, stated:
“It is clear that the Efficiency and Reform Group is a facade. The public will find it hard to understand why £60 million has been spent on this Group in less than two years and has still failed to deliver any real and sustainable savings. With nearly 450 staff, many of whom are paid well over £100,000 we should be seeing results, instead we see constant headlines of wasteful spending.
Why has nearly £100,000 been spent on flowers in only 7 departments? Why has the Home Office spent £214,000 on tea and biscuits? Why is it that despite the cuts the deficit is getting bigger and bigger? This Government needs to get serious about tackling waste, especially when they are driving through a cuts agenda that is squeezing the middle.”
- The Efficiency and Reform Group was set up within the Cabinet Office in June 2010 with the aim to improve value for money across government by strengthening the central coordination of measures to improve efficiency.
- Jon Trickett asked the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many staff are employed in the Department’s Efficiency and Reform Group; and how many such people receive a salary over £100,000 at full-time equivalent.
- The total running cost of the ERG was around £37 million in 2010-11 and around £23 million in 2011-12.
- In June 2010 there were 15 staff in the Group earning more than £100,000; in March 2012 there were 11.
- As of March 2012 there was a total headcount of around 440 full time equivalent staff.
Wednesday 9th May saw the Queen deliver the Government’s legislative programme for the next session in Parliament.
Commenting on the announcement in the Queen’s Speech regarding small charities, Jon Trickett MP, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
“The Queen’s Speech has indicated that the government will introduce a bill reforming gift aid to the charitable sector.
Labour is firmly committed to a strong and independent voluntary and charitable sector. We will support in principle any help which this proposed Bill will give to charities and voluntary organisations. However we will need to see the detail of the Bill in order to discover whether it is a genuine attempt to improve legislation to benefit charities, or whether it is simply another example of the widening gap between the Government’s ‘Big Society’ rhetoric and the reality of its policies.
There is a deeper problem facing the sector than issues surrounding gift aid, however. Changes to gift aid will not make up for changes to charity policy in this years’ Budget or compensate for the Government’s disproportionate cuts in funding to community and voluntary organisations; cuts that are inflicting real damage and having a devastating impact on the voluntary sector.
In the Budget, George Osborne announced a new cap on income tax reliefs for those who give more than £50,000 to charity. Charities have warned that this “charity tax” will have a serious impact on their ability to raise funds through philanthropic giving.
At the same time, according to research by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the voluntary and community sector is expected to lose £3.3bn between 2010 and 2015 in Government funding alone. This comes on top of the 77,000 job losses the sector has suffered in the last year alone.
Let’s be clear; the gap between David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ rhetoric and the reality of his Government’s policies is widening. All those thousands of people who work in the sector or are beneficiaries of its services will believe that the Queen’s Speech was an opportunity to take real action that would benefit the voluntary and community sector and that the Government has proved they are not serious about working with the sector.
The Government’s cynical and contradictory approach to the voluntary and community sector needs to be exposed for what it really is.”
Failure to include lobbying in the Queen’s Speech, as promised, will only perpetuate the public’s mistrust of politics.
Despite a commitment in the Coalition Agreement and a consultation paper on lobbying being released in January of this year, the Queen’s Speech lacks any Bill on lobbying.
After a string of uncomfortable headlines for the government about the cosy relationship between members of the governing parties and the lobbying industry it is of great urgency that politics is cleaned up.
Jon Trickett, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office said:
“The Queen’s Speech is yet another addition to the omnishambles of this Tory-led government. The failure to deliver the promise to clean up politics by introducing a statutory register of lobbyists will continue to destroy the people’s trust in politics.
It just shows how completely out of touch the Tory-led government is with ordinary people’s concerns.
Members of the governing parties have had, on a number of occasions, their close relationships with private vested interests exposed; from the Liam Fox Affair to the Peter Cruddas scandal, to name but a few. But what of those close relationships that we do not hear of in the papers? Legislation needs to be introduced to promote trust and transparency; instead the Coalition gives the public more broken promises, more of the same old Tories.
David Cameron himself acknowledged that lobbying was “the next big scandal waiting to happen”. How many more times does a scandal need to happen for this government to act?”
In point 16, page 21 of the Coalition Agreement it states: “We will regulate lobbying through introducing a statutory register of lobbyists and ensuring greater transparency.”
The consultation on lobbying closed on 20th April 2012, with the view that legislation would follow.
According to new figures out this week, in my constituency alone, more than 4 out of 10 people on Job Seekers Allowance are under 24 years old.
In South Kirkby the comparable figure is 39% and in South Elmsall it is 38%. This is way over the national average which is still 3 out of 10 of JSA claimants.
Sadly, walking around the streets, it is the one thing which reminds of the 1980′s and 1990′s under Mrs Thatcher when a whole generation were abandoned to the dole. But now the children of those people are facing the same fate as their mams and dads. Once again it is the Tory government punishing the young in the mining areas
In total there are over one million people under 24 who are out work- the highest figure since records began. It is a total disgrace that this Tory and LibDem government should preside over a failing economy which is hurting everyone but young people in particular.
They should not be forgiven. Especially because in the recent budget they have just cut the taxes to the rich which means that someone earning £5 million will get a tax cut of £240,000 per year. That money could be used to help people in difficulty rather than helping the richest.