Frontline Friday round-up 4th January 2013

Chris Sherwood /   June 29, 2015 at 8:32 PM 1,734 views

In the first of a new series, we offer up a round up of frontline bloggers from the week of 31st December. The issue of evidence – or lack of it – for Government policies has come through strongly this week in the frontline blogosphere. Another angry woman was particularly unhappy about the report from Westminster Council and the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) that was published this week on how to tackle obesity, in part for its lack of evidence: “So, Westminster Council have announced something thoroughly, offensively awful: they want obese people to be monitored to check if they’re using a gym, and if they aren’t, they should have their benefits cut. Seriously. That’s actually a thing they think should be done.” Meanwhile David McQueen in an open letter to the Education Secretary Michael Gove questioned the evidence behind his reforms to the education system: “You see for me I think you are a bit short sighted. In your haste to raise standards you seem to have run roughshod over those who are the executors of such systems such as head teachers and teachers alike, as well as raising anxiety levels for governors and parents. Not only that but I think there are some great flaws in your thinking.” The full impact of the government’s welfare reforms are still being dissected by the frontline blogosphere. Richard Exell described the impact of the introduction of the new Personal Independence Payment following the publication by Esther McVey the new Minister for Disabled People of the draft regulations for the qualifying rules for the new benefit: “These new rules will lead to 960,000 fewer people getting help with the extra costs of coping with disability and 400,000 fewer will qualify for an adapted car from the Motability scheme.”  In advance of next week’s benefits vote, some bloggers expressed anger and disappointment that the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is supporting George Osborne’s ‘strivers and skivers’ narrative. Mike Sivier in a piece of insightful analysis on Vox Political questioned the statistics used by IDS to justify his attacks on the previous government’s tax credit policy: he claimed that the tax credit system, introduced in 2003, was wide open to abuse, with fraud and error costing more than £10 billion. Oh, and just for good measure, he threw in some good old-fashioned Tory xenophobia by claiming that fraudsters around the world targeted the benefit for their own personal gain.” Finally, the impact of the government’s economic policy on low and middle income families came through this week. Adam Tugwell in a post on rail fare hikes and tough talk on welfare waste wrote that that it’s time to face reality, especially the impact on the ‘squeezed middle’ who are being hit by higher rail fares and increases in the costs of everyday essential services.  He argued that today’s problems will not simply be solved by continually taking more from pockets when there is even less to replace it: “With a 4.2% average rise in ticket prices hitting rail commuters today, just how long do politicians think that rises in the cost of essential services, utilities and products will remain ‘sustainable’?” Whilst Flipchart Fairytales provided a typically useful analysis of the actual gap between the rich and poor and answered the question – ‘just who are the rich anyway?’: “When people talk about ‘the rich’ they almost always mean ‘the people richer than me’. Few people actually admit to being rich. A couple with an after-tax income of £120,000 will find themselves in the top 1 percent of earners yet most of these people will not describe themselves as rich.” We are always interested in hearing from frontline bloggers. If you’re interested in having your post featured on Guerilla Policy then please get in touch with us at: [email protected]  

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