- Largest food bank operator report 50% rise in users
- Government claiming benefit claim processing has improved
- But Osborne deliberately introduced seven-day delay
With the number of people using food banks rising 50% in the last year, the government are indignant at the suggestion that their policies have anything to do with it.
The BBC reports:
“There is no robust evidence that welfare reforms or benefit administration are linked to increased use of food banks,” said a spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
She also maintained that the amount of time taken to process payments had improved.
Some 92% of payments were now made within the target time of 16 days, a 6% improvement on the time taken five years ago, she told the BBC.
So, errr … what about George Osborne’s announcement at the 2013 Spending Review that the newly unemployed would be forced to wait seven days before being elligible to claim benefits?
“We will also introduce a new seven-day wait before people can claim their benefits. Those first few days should be spent looking for work, not looking to sign on.”
And three months before that they scrapped crisis loans for desperate families.
The only people benefiting from these policies are payday lenders.
- Osborne’s university friend Peter Davies was his best man
- Davies’ hedge fund bought £50m share now worth nearly £86m
- Lansdowne Partners made £100m from financial crash
- Ex-boss given knighthood after £500,000 Tory donation
George Osborne’s best man heads up a hedge fund which has secured profits of £36m from the privatisation of Royal Mail in under six months — £210,000 for each day since the sale in October last year.
The chancellor’s university friend Peter Davies sits on the management committee of Lansdowne Partners, which snapped up shares at the offer price of just 330p. They are now trading at 564p — a whopping 70% higher.
The government has been slammed today by the National Audit Office for an under-priced sale which saw City firms walk off with two-thirds of the public asset while 40,000 ordinary individual investors were excluded:
“The department [of Business and Skills] was very keen to achieve its objective of selling Royal Mail, and was successful in getting the company listed on the FTSE 100″
“Its approach, however, was marked by deep caution, the price of which was borne by the taxpayer.”
With one fund manager telling Radio 4 that the postal service “was significantly underpriced”, business minister Michael Fallon will be hoping we’ve forgotten about this gem from last April:
“I can state categorically that we have no intention of selling off Royal Mail cheaply.
“We will sell shares in Royal Mail at a fair commercial price that represents value for money for the tax payer.”
In other news, Lansdowne’s former chief exec was awarded a knighthood in 2012 after donating £500,000 to the Conservative Party.
CLICK THE TOP LEFT AUDIO BUTTON TO LISTEN
George Osborne speaking to a Royal Mint worker on the new pound coin:
“I think it’s gonna be great, innit?”
This is a man knows how to speak to bingo enthusiasts.
Video via: ITV News
Responding to a budget is always tough, but Ed Miliband was forced to weather flak from hacks (below) for failing to address the new measures announced by George Osborne.
Miliband’s office claim the reason is simple: he wasn’t given an embargoed copy of Osborne’s speech:
So was this dirty tricks from Treasury or spin to save Ed’s blushes?
UPDATE: After 72 re-tweets of his original, Sunny Hundal clarifies he was told it is normal procedure for the leader of the opposition to receive an advance copy of the budget speech …
It was perhaps inevitable that Michael Gove’s comments on the “preposterous” number of Old Etonians surrounding David Cameron – interpreted as a barb not only against Cameron but wannabe leader Boris Johnson — would make an appearance during the budget debate.
While Cameron and Gove resort to embarrassed laughter, Osborne — whose leadership hopes were boosted by the intervention — pretends to be ‘reading his own budget’.
Scrapbook is enjoying the latest salvo in the unofficial Tory leadership contest. With Michael Gove playing down his prospects out in favour of George Osborne, the education secretary was given a “right royal bollocking” for highlighting the “preposterous” number of Etonians in David Cameron’s clique.
Then Sayeeda Warsi goes on telly with this sign. Osborne was allegedly called “oik” by pals in the Bullingdon Club because he attended St Pauls rather than Harrow or Eton — like Boris and Dave.
Then Louise Mensch accuses Boris (who served five years as European community correspondent for the Telegraph) of being — shock horror — a Europhile:
And what has Boris hit back with during this period? Errr … getting his dad to go on the Today programme to argue for a change in Tory leadership rules which would favour his son.
With his shift to leave the door open to an in/out referendum on Europe — but only if a transfer of new powers to Brussels were proposed — it was inevitable that Ed Miliband would be accused of a fudge by both Eurosceptics and Europhiles.
Ed follows in the footsteps of David Cameron, who also promised a referendum on the EU — but only in 2017 when he probably won’t be prime minister.
If only for amusement purposes, it’s worth revisiting the European travails of Tory MP James Wharton, who warned his party over EU headbanging, only to be forced by whips to adopt a pre-drafted referendum bill when he won the Private Member’s Bill ballot the day later:
After attempts by Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers to bring a poll forward to this year, Wharton’s bill was finally killed off by peers at the end of January.
With George Osborne posturing over the revival of a 2017 poll last week, however, Westminster’s EU can-kicking competition looks set to run and run.
Video: BBC interview with Norman Smith
As this blog observed on Twitter earlier, Danny Alexander has left it rather late to start rowing back against claims that he has “gone native” in the Tory-run Treasury — telling the Mirror that cuts to the top rate of tax will be brought in “over his dead body”:
It’s worth reflecting on the techniques used by Tory rodent charmers to pacify the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury for this period. Scrapbook’s favourite wheeze has to be the budget bribe (FULL DETAILS) offered to Alexander as the cuts began to bite in 2011.
Danny is the former spinner for the Cairngorms National Park, which covers a large chunk of his constituency. In the run up to that year’s Finance Bill, an ‘unaffordable state subsidy’ (in the form of green tax exemptions) for a monorail track running up the side of a mountain suddenly was suddenly deemed vital.
The thinking behind the edict given to civil servants in 1 Horse Guards Road? As we reported at the time:
Coalition dynamics dictated the Tory overlords should “give Alexander something” for his slavish loyalty.