50 Things the Tories have done in 50 days to hurt people……(Daily Mirror 27/06/15)

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50 days of cuts, austerity and nastiness that could foreshadow the next five years.

Five years of a Tory/Lib Dem coalition saw a rise in student fees, Education Maintenance Allowance Cut, and the launch of the bedroom tax.

Now we have a majority Conservative government the austerity measures, harsh cuts and inhuman attitudes are out in full force.

There was a mass protest about these cuts and measures last Saturday; 250,000 people marched from the Bank of England to Parliament Square to demonstrate their discontent at the system.

Charlotte Church and Russell Brand were just a couple of the famous faces that turned up at the march to speak about why this can’t go on.

From heart attack victims having their benefits sanctioned to the plan to slash £12bn from the welfare budget and broken promises when it comes to helping the most needy, we list 50 things the Tories have done in their 50 days of ruling the country.

1. Scrapped NHS waiting time and staffing level targets so Jeremy Hunt doesn’t have to face embarrassing headlines because he wasn’t meeting targets. They’ll get published monthly rather than weekly, which means we still have the terrible waiting times, he just doesn’t look as bad.

2. David Cameron can’t promise that he won’t hit the disabled and vulnerable with extra cuts. The Prime Minister wouldn’t repeat his election vow not to cut disability payments as part of his £12bn plan to slash the welfare bill. Stephen Timms asked Cameron in the Commons to confirm that they wouldn’t be cutting disability benefits, and he just dodged the question.

3. He promised in his election manifesto that working families would receive 30 hours of free childcare. But he now admits that it will take time to bring in this arrangement due to the expansion needed in the childcare sector, and the system could go into meltdown unless Cameron ups the rate they pay providers.

4.The Human Rights Act could go, and be replaced by a British Bill of Rights. Although this change isn’t going to be a direct assault on your rights to life in the UK, it means that your human rights will no longer be absolute – but subject to conditions and stipulations.

Professor Trevor Purt, Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

5. Doctors and nurses have complained they are understaffed 1,800 times, at just one NHS board. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which runs 3 district hospitals and 22 smaller hospitals in North Wales, has received that many complaints about it’s hospitals being understaffed.

6. A Post Office Money survey shows that one in three workers worry about having enough money to last the month, with 13% of people missing meals and 40% of people scouting round supermarket reduced sections to try and make ends meet.

7. The bedroom tax is STILL a thing.

8. Legal aid will be cut by 8.75%, and the number of contracts for attending police stations and magistrates courts reduced by two thirds. This means that if people go to court, they are less likely to get help with paying their legal bills.

9. Theresa May is silencing her own drugs experts. The home secretary launched a crackdown on legal highs, with a “guilty until proven innocent” method – but the 48 page Bill makes no mention of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, an expert body which looks at the effects on people who actually take drugs.

10. Cameron is hinting that he is going to raid tax credits, which supplement the incomes of the low-paid, in order to fund the £12bn cuts to welfare.

Dr Mark Porter, Chair, British Medical Associationa
Dr Mark Porter, Chair, British Medical Association who says the figures for the 7 day NHS don’t add up

11. The 7 Day NHS numbers don’t add up, the British Medical Association chief exec Dr Mark Porter says. He says that the plan is full of old, repackaged pledges, and says that they need to provide substance behind the ideas. How are they going to find 5,000 new GPs to fill staffing gaps when it takes 10 years to train as a doctor? That means that one of the items in the Tory manifesto which might have helped real working people who struggle to get appointments is probably a pipe dream.

12. The flagship back-to-work scheme only gets 9% of disabled participants a job within a year.

Daily RecordDavid Duncan
David Duncan had a serious heart attack- and got his benefits sanctioned.

13. The heart attack victim who had his benefits sanctionedbecause he was having a heart attack when he was meant to be at his Jobcentre appointment. David Duncan had his jobseekers allowance stopped even though the reason he missed the appointment was a major heart attack.

14. Number 10 email’s self destruct after 3 months – but officials wouldn’t go into details about which emails, sparking speculation that the top PM officials are trying to avoid scrutiny through FOIs. This relates to being able to hold the leaders accountable when we need to, and transparency in running the country.

15. Benefits officials have nearly doubled the amount of sanctions they place on people claiming Employment and Support Allowance. In 2013 they placed sanctions on 40 out of every 1,000 people claiming benefits. By 2014, this was up to 75 out of every 1,000.

16.Tory voters are accused trying to sabotage the Labour leadership race, by paying the £3 sign up fee and voting for Jeremy Corbyn, claiming his political views would cast the party into the wilderness. That could skew the result of an election that’s meant to be decided by genuine Labour members. ******This to be honest was made this way by the Labour Party. Unfornately, that’s where the problem lies!******

17. Cameron hijacked the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta to push his own plans of scrapping the Human Rights Act for a British Bill of Rights. The Magna Carta is the cornerstone of our justice system today – but Cameron used its anniversary as an event to push his own agenda.

Greater Manchester PoliceDamian O'Reilly
Damian O’Reilly quit because he couldn’t face the Tory cuts to the force

18. An award winning policeman quit his job because of the cuts to the police force, saying he could no longer stomach the government’s changes. Insp Damian O’Reilly was named Britain’s community policeman of the year – but quit his job because he felt the system was collapsing.

19. The Government sold 150million Royal Mail shares to City fatcats and didn’t give ordinary voters the chance to buy any of them.

20. David Cameron boasted about how all his staff get paid the living wagebut brushed off a comment about ALL government departments doing the same by commenting on how the SNP can only afford to because they get more cash from Westminster.

21. A badly designed welfare system. A study by the Resolution Foundation says that Universal Credit would leave a family where the second parent earns £10,600 a year just £3,600 better off – compared with £6,000 under the current system.

22. Bedroom tax can cost councils up to £80m in less than a year, because they are handing out emergency funds to stop people becoming homeless. “Discretionary housing payments” are being given out by councils so that residents can keep up with their rent. This is money that, if the bedroom tax didn’t exist, could be spent on other vital areas in the community.

23. Theresa May accused the police of “crying wolf” over the impact of staffing reductions.

24. Michael Gove replaced independent members of the justice board with a Tory donor who gave £134,000 to the party. Labour’s shadow business secretary warned the Tories needed to be careful to avoid claims of bias, even if the MoJ insists the new Tory member is the right man for the job.

25. Half a million public sector jobs are likely to be axed in the next few years. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said 580,000 jobs might be at risk in the next few years, after studying details of cuts in the Tory manifesto.

George Osborne
George Osborne and his smug grin

26. George Osborne trying to hide his smug grin at the Queen’s Speech, when she mentioned the Northern Powerhouse, a term that he coined. The North has some of the most disadvantaged towns and cities. These are the people that need helping the most, and many people actually living there feel the whole “northern powerhouse” plan isn’t addressing any problems.

South Wales EchoRachel Degaetano
Rachel Degaetano, grieving mum forced to pay back benefits

27. A mum was ordered to pay back £41.36- benefits given to her son just after he committed suicide. Two months after he died, Rachel Degaetano received a letter saying the money had been incorrectly deposited into her son Chae’s account in the days after he died and could she pay it back?

28.Iain Duncan Smith claims the 200,000 strong campaign to reveal the number of people who have died after being declared fit for work “disgraceful”.

29. 16 year olds can’t vote in the EU referendum. Despite voter turnout among 16-24 year old’s being at an all time high for the Scottish referendum, they will not be able to cast their ballot at the in/out vote.

30. George Osborne wants governments to always run at a surplus– which would mean binding the austerity measures we face now into concrete that could last forever.

31. A mum of five was killed by a car near her home, because austerity cuts meant the street lights were turned off. Cheryl Richards was struck near her home in Salisbury at around 2am after walking home in the dark- following a decision made by her local authority to turn lights off between midnight and 5.30am, as part of Tory cutbacks.

Phil Harris/Daily MirrorMirror reporter Ros Wyn Jones meets Peter Ward-Miller who uses the Kingston upon Thames Food and Fuel Bank
Peter Ward Miller, who uses the fuel banks

32. The “heat or eat” dilemma which has plagued many people having to choose whether to heat their home in winter, or eat to stay alive, has reached new levels,with fuel banks opening in the same way that food banks do.

33. We are losing police on the beat due to austerity measures, with forces having to choose between neighbourhood policing or 999 calls.

34. As the Tories introduce vicious spending cuts on the people who need it most, Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt raked in £972,538 from his education company Hotcourses, along with his Cabinet ministers salary of £134,565.

35. Teachers are being forced to teach in asbestos ridden classrooms, without facilities like wheelchair access, science labs, IT facilities and cooking rooms after the Ministry of Education refused to help, as they deemed one school “in a reasonable state of repair”.

36. John Redwood claims he’s never met a 16 year old who was interested in the EU-reason enough not to give 16 year olds the vote then.

37. We know that George Osborne will not let up on the austerity measures until he has balanced the books, no matter that he is harming the most vulnerable in our society.

James Vellacott / Daily MirrorDavid Willetts
David Willetts

38. David Willetts, the former universities minister (and architect of tuition fees rising to £9,000) says that the current level of fees will probably rise. So that’s £27,000 that most people pay for a University education, plus living expenses- and it could still increase.

39. Phillip Hammond banned the rainbow flag from flying at the Foreign Office. He was one of four Tory ministers who didn’t support Gay Marriage.

40. In the Tory manifesto and the Queen’s Speech, Cameron has promised to reduce the benefits cap from £26,000 to £23,000. This would leave large families in the South East of England unable to afford rent in areas like London, Brighton and Hove, Epping and Mid-Sussex, meaning families would be forced to relocate elsewhere.

41. George Osborne will force future governments to meet a new “balanced budget” target– that the Tories themselves haven’t met since 1991.

42. There are plans set out to restrict Carer’s Allowance to those on Universal Credit, meaning 40% of people would lose out. The Department for Work and Pensions would save £1bn by doing this, part of the plan to save £12bn on the welfare budget.

BPMNick Gaskin
Nick Gaskin and his carer Tracy Martin in 2010

43. Multiple sclerosis sufferer Nick Gaskin, who communicates only by blinking, was told he needed to attend a job centre interview to train for work. They told Nick that they wanted to see him to discuss his benefits payments, as well as training to update his skills.

44. The shameful 12 hour waits at Royal Stoke University Hospital, where a 94 year old suffering from dementia took 12 hours to be treated. Until recently, she could have been treated at Stafford Hospital, nearby, but because of government NHS plans, that hospital has been recently downgraded and doesn’t deal with acute cases- and now Royal Stoke has to cope with Stafford patients, too

45. The Tories plan to kick 30,000 nurses out of Britain because they weren’t born here. New immigration laws mean that workers recruited outside the EU and earn less than £35,000 after six years will need to go home– meaning foreign nurses.

46. The Tories are planning on increasing the fuel duty, meaning fuel would be more expensive.

47. An ex advisor to Iain Duncan Smith, Charlotte Pickles- who was an architect of hated policies like the bedroom tax, says child benefit should be scrapped and tax some disabled peoples benefits, as it could help to achieve half of the £12bn saving the Tories want to make on welfare. Pickles now works for think tank Reform.

48. Mental health patients are being forced to go to A and E when they need help because of brutal Tory cuts meaning there is no where else to turn. Suffers of depression, especially teenage sufferers, are turning up at hospital because there is no where else to go.

49. The housing crisis in the UK is forcing people to live in their cars. Labour MP Debbie Abrahams warned that there is a wide problem with this across the UK, and we are facing an “urgent and growing” housing crisis.

50. Harriet Harman called David Cameron out in PMQs earlier this month for gloating over his election victory, as he dodges hard questions on childcare. Harman raised concerns over an item in the Tory manifesto, promising more free childcare, pointing out providers would raise their fees on top of the 30 free hours to compensate for the government underfunding. But the PM dodged the question.

This article was originally published in The Daily Mirror and was by Helen Whitehouse

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