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Cuts continue to bite

Two factors make the below inflation 1% pay rise for NHS staff even less favourable: the additional payment will be non-consolidated and will not apply to staff receiving routine increments:

“The government has shown complete contempt for the NHS, contempt for staff and contempt for patients and will pay the price at the ballot box. Even a straight 1% increase would be nowhere near enough to meet the massive cost-of-living increases that NHS staff have had to cope with since 2010. Staff are on average 10% worse off than when the coalition came to power.”

There’s been a huge fall in the number of industrial tribunal claims since the government introduced fees.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said the figures showed that introducing fees had stopped many people seeking justice.

“No one will believe that Britain’s workplaces have got fairer overnight. Too many of Britain’s bad bosses are getting away with treating staff badly, confident that the government is on their side,” she added.

Legal aid cuts may be costing taxpayers more not less – and are certainly having an impact on those trying to secure justice:

Labour Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry MP met Cambridge lawyers last month at Mr Zeichner’s invitation, where they explained in detail the impact that changes were having particularly in family law. They argue that cases being heard in Cambridge courts are now taking much longer because clients are representing themselves, because they cannot afford legal advice. As a consequence, cases take much longer, clogging up the courts – at increased cost.

Left Foot Forward reports that the DWP, despite the government’s assertion that they should not be seen as part of the welfare system, has been referring claimants to food banks.

The documents show that when referring someone to a food bank, jobcentre staff fill in a form with the person’s details, but another document instructs them not to describe this as a ‘food voucher’. This is presumably to make it look as though the referral service is not part of the welfare system.

The DWP’s claim that they do not hold or collect information on the usage of food banks was also contradicted, by parts of the documents which show that each jobcentre is supposed to record how many claimants have been referred to food banks.

The lives of many disabled people and their families will be affected by the closure of the Independent Living Fund.

Last week’s quiet closure of the Independent Living Fund is one of the most cowardly actions taken by this Government.

The fund currently provides vital support for 18,000 of Britain’s most profoundly disabled people.

Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled against the move, saying the Government had not given proper consideration to the adverse effects on disabled people.

The Government’s response has basically been to just acknowledge this and press ahead anyway. Its press release didn’t even mention the court battle.

And finally – and yes I do realize this won’t appeal/be relevant to all readers – a suggestion.