• Abolish the Work Programme (WP)
    This is important because the General Public of the UK are not being given a fair and accurate picture of the clear failure of the WP to provide what the public are paying for through their taxes. People are not fully aware of the "sanctioning regime", seemingly endorsed by the DWP Provider Guidance Notes and the detrimental impact it is having on the health and well being of many of the most vulnerable people in society. These tactics are actually creating barriers to work, rather than removing them. People should be aware that the DWP Provider Guidance is constantly being updated to strip the unemployed of their rights under the Data Protection Act 1998. It is also being used as a license to cut welfare expenditure by providing more avenues and extra guidance on how to issue more sanctions against WP participants. There is more information contained within the DWP Provider Guidance relevant to sanctioning people correctly, than there is information relative to helping people back into suitable full time employment. Where are our priorities? For too long now, our government has discredited the unemployed in the UK, creating a negative stereotype for everyone on benefits, including those who are doing their utmost to find work with very little support from this Work Programme. Two contentions are being widely overlooked here: a) Jobseeker's allowance is a taxable income b) No person would be able to claim anything from the welfare/benefit safety net, if they could not prove on a regular basis that they are doing everything they can to find suitable full time employment From reading the DWP Statistics, this is what they should say: 1.41 million people have partaken in the work programme 16.6% managed to find work regardless of whether this work was found through the WP or not 22,000 people – that’s 1.5% - managed to stay in employment long enough for the WP provider to claim the maximum amount of job sustainment payments. 219,000 people, roughly 15% have returned to the Jobcentre still looking for work after being on the Work Programme for over 104 weeks. [source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-programme-statistical-summary-december-2013] It is clear from interpretation of the evidence that the success rate has been approximately 1.5%. The ‘corollary’ is that the failure rate has been 98.5%. The DWP Provider Guidance: 8. Providers are required to present all of their customers with a leaflet explaining the Departmental position in respect of consent to contact an individual’s employer. (A fair processing notice) 9. DWP now has a designation order in place that allows the Department and Providers to contact the customer’s employer directly to validate employment details for the above benefit groups. 10. There is no longer a requirement for you to obtain customer consent to allow DWP to contact a customer’s employer or for you to contact an employer in connection with Outcome or Sustainment payments. 11. You may also share this information with the Department for Work and Pensions. [Source: Chapter 9, Work Programme Provider Guidance] This begs the question – of the 1.5% of participants that did find suitable full time employment, how many of these people found the jobs themselves, only for the WP to take the credit and get paid, even in cases where the WP provided no assistance whatsoever? This failure has come at great cost to the tax-payer, and it seems people are generally misinformed and are allowing 'celebrities' to dominate the discourse on welfare reforms, rather than listening to those of us who are already on the receiving end. No moral conscience can simply walk on by and allow the suffering of their comrades. "When a complaint is freely heard, deeply considered and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained, that wise men look for" (Milton, 1644) Please note that, not being experienced myself in the realms of ESA benefits, I don't feel that I qualify enough to really discuss that in much detail. But what I can say is that there was a risk highlighted by the National Audit Office upon the introduction of the Work Programme that people who the WPP's deem "easier to help back into employment" will always receive the help first. This is because the WPP's are paid on a target basis and by helping those who they deem easiest to help first, they can achieve their targets more easily and hence get paid more readily. THIS RISK IS NOT BEING MANAGED PROPERLY. The reasons the WP have provided for not managing this risk at all is that they "treat everybody equally", however in reality, this is clearly not the case and my argument is supported by the official statistics. It follows then, that if you are a person who needs extra help to find employment, unfortunately the WPP will get round to helping you last. This is disgraceful, it is unfair and it is unethical.
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  • Close The 'Tax Gap'
    Our tax system is open to massive abuse by individuals and corporations of all sizes. Whilst the government works very hard to target those who supposedly milk the benefit system, they are less than vocal in their crusade against those who defraud the taxpayer by avoidance and non-payment of tax. It is time to close the tax gap.
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    Created by Mark Jeffery
  • Save the Bombed Out Church in Liverpool.
    The Bombed Out Church is an Iconic Space in the City of Liverpool; it represents many of the struggles of the City over decades. It's not a simple a shell - It is a living, working monument to the people of Liverpool.
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  • Limit London property rental to average maintenance cost
    Fact 1. Londoners without property must pay a large and ever increasing proportion of their hard earned income to their landlord as rent. Fact 2. The market value of rent in London is generally far higher than the long term cost of property maintenance. Property owners in London therefore often have a rental income which is well above the cost of maintenance. How can that be morally justified? The rate of extortion from tenants to landlords has been steadily increasing for decades, to the point now where even middle income Londoners are increasingly being forced to leave their home town. Property ownership removes the need to pay rent, but why should it also give anyone the right to an unearned income? Limiting the maximum property rental in London to the average cost of maintenance would be a long term solution to the problem of accommodation costs in London. The incentive to buy would remain as the prospect of paying a large chunk of your salary every month into your own pocket rather than someone else's. The squealing which this would induce in rich win-win property investors would of course be deafening! FAQs for this campaign are listed here: https://sites.google.com/site/limitlondonrents/home/faqs
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  • Make Zero-Hour Contracts Illegal in all Sectors of Work
    It's important as greater numbers of people are being offered these contracts and a higher percentage of these people are young. If we don't provide decent working contracts for young people they have no hope for the future, and this is detrimental to a feel-good factor in an economic recovery. It is also treating people as commodities.
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  • Make childcare costs an allowable business expense.
    For many self-employed people, they cannot operate without using a childcare provider. Eg. If you are a self-employed single parent who needs to meet a business client in their offices; why won't the HMRC accept that the childcare expense is wholly and exclusively for business purposes? The current position is an anomaly and indirectly discrimminates against women who disproportionately suffer a detriment under the current rules.
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  • Get Taxpayers money back from RBS & other banks who have invested in PFI
    If less money is allowed to be diverted from the NHS and Treasury into greedy Banks and private sector PFI companies, public services including the NHS will not have to bear such deep cuts in their budgets and/or the country will recover quicker from Austerity measures
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  • Keep Brighton Hippodrome for live performance
    The magnificent Brighton Hippodrome needs your help to save it from being wrecked. It is a unique theatre building, listed Grade II* by English Heritage because of its historical and architectural significance. It was converted into a variety theatre in 1901/02 by Frank Matcham, the leading theatre architect of the time. It is one of only three theatres of its type in the country. It is of national importance. After closing as a variety theatre in 1965, it was a bingo hall until 2007. The stunning interior, however, is still in remarkable condition, with very little deterioration. Nonetheless, the Hippodrome is top of the Theatres Trust list of Theatre Buildings at Risk. Suddenly, in mid 2013, a proposal to convert the building into an eight-screen cinema emerged. The plans involve demolishing the stage, the fly-tower, all the back-stage facilities, the stalls and the orchestra pit. Without these it ceases to be a theatre. Please sign the petition to help to keep it intact. English Heritage has a statutory responsibility to protect listed buildings. It says any changes should be reversible. The proposed changes will make this impossible. No one so far has tried to produce a scheme for restoration for its real purpose: live performance. It would be a national scandal if the opportunity to save the Hippodrome were squandered because of misinformation and short-term gain. Please sign this petition to allow the Our Brighton Hippodrome campaign to produce that missing theatre proposal, for presentation to the Council, to English Heritage and the developers. We have the knowledge, we have the experience and we have the contacts. All we need is time. Read about the campaign, see the full details of our objection and see pictures of the Hippodrome Website: www.ourhippodrome.org.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/ourbrightonhippodromepage Twitter: https://twitter.com/ourhippodrome The developer’s plan for conversion (not restoration!) to a multi-screen cinema: www.brightonhippodrome.co.uk/
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  • Hold Banks and bankers accountable
    It is important for the people of this country to know that no one is above the law. The current situation where the tax payer is bailing out the financial institutions is intolerable. How did banks end up selling and purchasing unsustainable mortgages if no fraud was committed.
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  • Why can't we cash in our small pension pot?
    Vast numbers of people are frustrated by restrictions on cashing in small pension pots, forcing them to take incomes of less than £5 a week, or in my case £72 a year! Government rules restrict us to taking just a tiny slice of our money, when we could cash in an amount of £2,000 or more, making a real difference to our lives.
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  • Fair Pay at RHUL! Oppose the Principal's pay rise
    We, the undersigned, are students, alumni and staff of Royal Holloway, University of London concerned about the recent pay rises awarded the Principal Paul Layzell. In 2012-2013, Professor Layzell was awarded an £8,000 pay rise of 3%, which he is yet to justify and we still do not know whether he was in receipt of a pay rise in 2013-2014.
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  • Save Salford Childrens Holiday Camp, Prestatyn - NOW SAVED
    The Jam Butty Camp has provided generations of Salfordian school children with the experience of a holiday by the sea, many of which would have never had the chance of a holiday under normal circumstances. Over the years it has supported our City and so when under attack we come to its aid and in turn support it. The camp is just as much a part of Salford as the Civic Centre you all inhabit, and should be protected at all costs. The purpose of this facility is just as relevant today as it was when it was first set up, and by the councils own admission the City and its people are suffering from the austerity cuts, and for many children this will be the only chance they have of having a holiday away from City life. This camp holds a special place in the hearts of many Salfordian's and should be immune to the Councils cuts on the grounds it provides a special service to Salford which is priceless.
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    Created by Karl Davison Picture