The mystery of the Holt Park Leaflet – Labour Sleuth is on the case

Residents in Holt Park have recently received an “anonymous” leaflet that attacks a future Labour government and seeks to blame the Labour run Leeds City Council for the Lib Dem Tory cuts. The Lib Dems want us to believe that the Labour-led City council is responsible for cutting local public services. We all know this … Continue reading The mystery of the Holt Park Leaflet – Labour Sleuth is on the case

Public Opinion – misperception and the problem of informed debate.

Leeds North West Constituency

Labour often thinks that the media world is stacked against it – the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sun, the Daily Telegraph and so on. Against this cacophony, Labour finds it very difficult to have its voice heard. But does this matter? Well, Labour thinks it does. After all, political discussion and public policy making ought to be based on sound evidence and reasoned debate.L_560e5310-b3fd-c6b4-7d6b-fbbce8453bd2
So it would be great, wouldn’t it, if the public’s understanding of British society matched what is going on, out there, in the real world.
A recent survey by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London has investigated just this. Published on July 9th it revealed how wrong the British public can be when asked questions about the make-up of the population and the scale of key social policy issues.

Here is a selection of Ipsos Mori’s findings.

Topic –…

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Keith Wakefield, Leeds Labour Leader – on poverty, the wicked Bedroom tax, and power to the North.

Leeds North West Constituency

Unless you are an avid reader of the Online Guardian, you probably missed this interview with Keith Wakefield – Labour Leader of Leeds City Council – which appeared in its Professional section this week.image_gallery

If so, that’s a shame, and you should make sure to read it in full.

The autobiographical bits are revealing. Keith Wakefield has come up the hard way – in care in Birmingham as a boy, he’s a man who has experienced poverty first hand. He knows what it’s like to sleep rough, or be jobless.

Perhaps it’s experiences like this which have made him such a committed fighter against this Coalition’s welfare reforms. Leeds has been at the forefront of the struggle against the Bedroom Tax.
His understanding of what the Coalition Government’s policies are doing to the poor comes across strongly.
He’s ready to speak out for the sort of people our right-wing…

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Foodbanks: Hunger, Shopping and Politics in Leeds North West

Leeds North West Constituency

Whilst shopping at Otley Waitrose on Friday 28th June an Adel and Wharfedale Branch member found that the supermarket was providing floor space for Bradford Foodbank to collect customers’ donated provisions for distribution. After overcoming his initial surprise he experienced mixed emotions. First, he was pleased that he could take the opportunity to make a contribution to such an important charitable cause. His second emotion was of barely controlled anger that foodbanks had become such a necessary and significant part of our lives here and now in wealthy Britain.word_document_144435745_canonical_4d34b48c95

The Bradford Foodbank is one of many organised by the Trussell Trust, a Christian charity that serves people whether they have a faith or not.

The Trust recently reported a 170% rise in numbers turning to foodbanks in the last 12 months. The Trust comments:
Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers given…

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Britain is not Greece – Dispelling Myths about Debt

Leeds North West Constituency

Following the 2010 general election, Chancellor George Osborne and Danny Alexander, his Lib Dem assistant, argued that Britain’s indebtedness was as bad as that of Greece. Our own Greg Mulholland has parroted the same line, trying, typically, to implicate the Labour party.
So British debt like Greece?
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Well it wasn’t and it isn’t and it won’t be.

As it happens, neither important international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund nor national ones like the Institute for Fiscal Studies agree with Osborne and Alexander.
These organisations do think there is a problem with debt in the UK. There obviously is. Too many people have acquired too much personal debt in the guise of mortgages and credit cards, for example.
And, of course, the previous Labour government had to bail out the corrupt and corrupting banking system at the cost of hundreds of billions of pounds.

So what can be said…

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Council helps tenants affected by ‘Bedroom Tax’

Leeds City Council has been looking at ways to reduce the number of people who are being penalised by the Government for the under occupancy of a house. As part of the new welfare changes that are now in place, those tenants under occupying a house will receive up to 14% less housing benefit if … Continue reading Council helps tenants affected by ‘Bedroom Tax’

Busting the poverty myths

We've frequently reported on the wicked demonisation of poverty which this Tory/LibDem government has been engaged in. That demonisation has been accompanied by a steady feed of untypical individual stories, like the infamous Philpott case, and underpinned by the re-iteration of myths and half truths. So here are a few more myths - recently exposed … Continue reading Busting the poverty myths

The Welfare Debate – Lies, Damned Lies and Coalition Redefinitions

In the whole debate – if it merits that term – about ‘skivers’ and ‘strivers’ there have been a lot of so-called facts and figures bandied about. They all need very careful scrutiny. Here’s just one instance of how ‘facts’ are deeply affected by definitions. An item in this week’s New Statesman politics lays bare … Continue reading The Welfare Debate – Lies, Damned Lies and Coalition Redefinitions

Universal Credit could lead to hardship for families on limited budgets

This Government is committed to replacing a number of welfare benefits with a single benefit called Universal Credit.  In principle this would simplify the benefits system and seems like a good idea but there are major problems in the way the scheme will be operated. From April 2013 Universal Credit will replace a number of … Continue reading Universal Credit could lead to hardship for families on limited budgets