Heidi Alexander – Labour’s Candidate for Lewisham East

PROUD to nominate Heidi Alexander for re-election as The Labour Party Candidate for Lewisham East🌹
Truly a candidate that has dedicated years to #Lewisham & #Catford

For her full election Pledges see www.heidialexander.org.uk

Vote Heidi Alexander ✅ #GE2017 on June 8th 2017

£40,000 to live alone in London, new research finds

The 2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’ research, carried out by nested.com, shows that the average salary for a singleton to live alone in London has soared to more than £40,000/yr, and a family of four need an income of more than £75,000/yr

The research shows that London is the 11th most expensive city in the world to live in, based on a square footage alone, we however know utilities and goods and services tend to be much, much, higher in UK and London in particular.

The report continues to identify that an individual earning The London Living Wage of £9.75hr would need to work 12hrs, every day of the year to reach this income threshold. 

When looking at city comparators across the U.K.- London unsurprisingly takes the stop spot, but what is shocking is the difference between London’s first place (£39,876.84) and 2nd  (£20,737.20) places is £19,139.64, almost 50% variance. 

Update: some have written to say that they disagree with this average rents for their area. Consistently, but only anecdotally, said they’re higher, in London or otherwise. That aside, this blog is focussed more about the loss of the life stage of living by yourself, whether as a transition army between professional sharer and starting a family, but equally about the financial trap individuals, who may have had a relationship breakdown, but can not afford to live alone. This will disproportionately affect women, and those less economically active.

In January 2014, Land Registry figures showed average house prices across the whole of England and Wales were £168,536, but in London the average was £409,881 (143% higher than the England/Wales rate). This house price gap has been growing ever larger, with London experiencing 10.9% growth over the last year, compared to 4.2% across England and Wales.

The same picture is apparent in the private rented sector, with the the England rental rate runnings at £665 a month in January 2014, compared to £1,516 a month in London (128% higher than the England rate). The differential in local authority rented property is less exaggerated but still significant, with average rent across England running at £79 a week in 2012/13, compared to £99 in London (25% higher than the England average).

London Weighting is not the answerUnison’s Bargaining Support Unit undertook a review for 2013/14 into London Weighting across seven sectors, this ‘top up’ is pitiful compared to the cost differential.

But what can Lewisham do?

Next week I’ll be attending my new role on Lewisham’s Poverty Taskforce, alongside Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trust for London, looking   This came off the back of work I undertook in my Lewisham Councillor Scrutiny role, 

The Committee will be pursuing the following issues:

  •  Tackling in-work poverty in the borough
  •  Tackling out-of-work poverty, namely for pensioners relying on state pensions
  •  Tackling poverty prevalent amongst young families struggling with a
    combination of housing and child care costs
  •  Ensuring residents are proactively informed about legislative changes that
    could impact both positively and negatively on their income and general
    financial welfare
  •  Staying up-to-date on legislative changes and advise on appropriate changes
    to the Council’s work accordingly.

2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’

Table 1

Table 2


Thought: No More Left & Right?

‘Politics in Britain is changing’ says think tank –  8 new tribes exists made up of both left & right parties.

Full research here: http://opinium.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Dead-Centre-British-politics4_lr.pdf

A quick sweep of each tribe:

(8%) Democratic socialists: Pro-immigration, pro-welfare state, pro-redistribution of wealth, internationalist outlook.

60% Labour : 2% Conservative
85% Remain : 3% Leave
48% Corbyn : 30% Neither : 15% May
Mostly middle to upper classes living in urban areas or in Scotland and Wales.
60% female
66% middle to upper class : 34% working class
Supportive of: staying in single market after Brexit, progressive taxation
Against: NHS privatisation, reducing net migration
(5%) Community: Redistribution of wealth, scepticism of business and capitalism. More closed off view of Britain and broadly anti-immigration. Describe themselves as centrists.

50% Labour : 12% Conservative
47% Remain : 39% Leave
36% Corbyn : 26% May
The working class in Northern England and the Midlands
59% female
Supportive of: banning zero-hours contracts, reducing net migration
Against: NHS privatisation, building nuclear power plants
(11%) Progressives: Open, internationalist and inclusive view of Britain, comfortable with immigration. Belief in the welfare state, balanced view towards tax and the economy.

50% Labour : 22% Conservative
74% Remain : 12% Leave
43% May : 24% Neither : 19% Corbyn
A scattering of professional groups across the UK
55% female
63% middle to upper class : 37% working class
Quite high employment
Supportive of: staying in single market post Brexit, progressive taxation, mansion tax
Against: NHS privatisation, grammar schools
(7%) Swing voters: Mixture of views. Support an equal, multicultural society, internationalist outlook, hard stance on benefits, support a low tax economy. Describe themselves as centrists.

37% Conservative : 33% Labour
51% Remain : 31% Leave
High numbers (17% – 21%) do not vote
51% May : 19% Corbyn
A scattering of demographic groups spread across England outside of the capital
61% female
Supportive of: banning zero hours contracts; benefits claimants to do compulsory work; mansion tax; progressive taxation; government should grow the economy and provide public services
No strong opposition to any policies
(6%) New Britain: Open capitalist economy, pro-immigration, pro-single market, supportive of a low tax economy. Business friendly, internationalist, compassionate view of society.

56% Conservative : 32% Other/Did not vote
66% Remain : 26% Leave
53% May : 24% Corbyn
Younger successful professionals, many of them managerial, living in London
62% Male
Supportive of: deficit reduction, low tax, NHS privatisation, staying in single market after Brexit
Against: progressive taxation, re-nationalising the railways
(7%) Free Liberals: Strong faith in the market, little interest in socially conservative ideas. Strongly pro-business, the most opposed to the welfare state. The most personally optimistic. Describe themselves as right-wing.

58% Conservative : 27% Labour
62: Remain : 32% Leave
61% May : 22% Corbyn
Young, mainly male, professionals living in London
79% Male
75% middle-upper class
Supportive of: benefits claimants to do compulsory work, NHS privatisation, deficit reduction, building new nuclear plants
Against: re-nationalising the railways
(26%) Common sense: Don’t think of themselves as having particularly strong political opinions, despite supporting similar policies to the ‘Our Britain’ segment. Clear preference for low tax economy, opposition to immigration.

62% Conservative : 15% Labour : 13% UKIP
59% Leave : 34% Remain
71% May : 17% Neither : 5% Corbyn
Older Southern Englanders, either advanced in their careers or retirees
53% Female
Supportive of: reducing net migration, benefits claimants to do compulsory work, changing human rights law, new grammar schools
Against: staying in single market after Brexit, proportional representation
(24%) Our Britain: Closed perception of what Britishness is. Anti-immigration, government should put Brits first at all costs, broadly isolationist in outlook. Describe themselves as centrists.

38% Conservative : 37% UKIP : 19% Labour
80% Leave : 11% Remain
59% May : 24% Neither : 7% Corbyn
The older working class and retirees, living mainly in Northern England and the Midlands.
52% Female
Supportive of: reducing net migration, changing human rights law, benefits claimants to do compulsory work, banning zero-hours contracts
Against: staying in single market after Brexit, NHS privatisation
A fuller picture can be seen on the Opinium website.

Sshh tell no one: #MarchForEurope Saturday


Now, is the time to take action.
This Saturday, 2nd July 2016, we join the “March for Europe” in London. The fallout from last week’s EU Referendum in the United Kingdom has created a climate of social and economic instability, and the political system is in chaos. To us, politics currently resembles a circus. With the march, we call for a better, kinder and more inclusive country. We protest against social prejudice, anti-immigrant sentiment, and help spread a message of love and compassion.


Join the March for Europe

Start: 30 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE

Time: from 11am

Details: Join the Event Page here

Dress: colourful

Route: here

Share the message: #MarchForEurope

With you, we will create a marching circus filled with colour, positivity and creativity. Thousands have already confirmed their participation. We are calling on all those that feel passionate about Britain’s future to take part and take action. We are asking all cultural organisations, performance groups, and people from all backgrounds to join us by sending a message here.
Further details on the London march will be published here. Prepare to bring musical instruments, flags, and banners to support the movement.
We urge all those who can’t make it to stage their own protest, wherever they are. Please register your events here. Spread the word using #MarchForEurope. It is our responsibility to ensure that no barriers divide us – society can only progress through unity.

#MarchForEurope

The government’s unfair retrospective changes to student loans


The Chancellor George Osborne announced during the Autumn Statement to retrospectively increase your student loan repayments by £306/yr until a students debt is repaid, he also decided future student nurses & other NHS Bursary supported students will no longer get a bursary, instead they will have to take loans instead. On top of this, Maintenance Grants for the poorest students may also be stopped.
Currently, students in England who started university from 2012 will pay 9% of everything earned above £21,000 a year (or £1,750/month pre-tax salary) once they graduate.In 2010, the Government promised that from April 2017 this repayment threshold would be upped each year in line with average earnings. This meant graduates would have been spared having to repay more of their income towards their student loans, and fewer would have had to start repaying them in the first place.

It has now backtracked on the promise given to students, effectively hiking costs retrospectively. A move that, according to the Government, will mean more than two million graduates will end up paying £306 more each year by 2020-21 if they earn over £21,000.

The current government plans to scrap maintenance grants for full-time Higher Education students in England and replace them with more loans instead.

FACT: Maintenance Grants support thousands of students from the lowest income households every year, and the Government’s plan will saddle poorer students with yet more debt.

If the government gets its way and maintenance grants are replaced with loans, the impact will be detrimental to hundreds of thousands of the poorest students studying in England for years to come.

What are maintenance grants and what are the proposed changes?

Maintenance grants are given to students from lower income households to help with their living costs.

The maximum grant is £3,387 per year for students whose household income is less than £25k.

NUS understands that currently, approximately 500,000 students rely on maintenance grants

The government proposals would stop all grants to new students from September 2016, forcing poorer students to take on further debt to fund their studies.

Student Nurses & NHS Bursaries

The Government’s decision to replace nursing students’, midwives, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, podiatrists, radiographers, dietetics, ODP’s and other students on NHS supported bursaries with loans is extremely disappointing.

Those who made this decision simply don’t understand that NHS funded courses are not like other degrees.

They don’t understand that 50% of course time is dedicated to unpaid clinical practice, caring for real people and their families. They haven’t grasped that the academic year is longer, which means there are fewer opportunities to earn money between terms.

From September 2017, any student applying for a nursing degree will have to take out a loan to cover their tuition fees.

UNISON has calculated that a student graduating in 2020 could leave with debts over £50,000, yet be starting in the workplace on a salary under £23,000.

Why #ISPFiltering is the wrong approach

parental control visual

My comment on ‪#‎ISPFiltering‬ – “Pointless” at the age of 10 I set up our internet service provision with our provider. I installed all the software – I set up all the hardware, my mother just looked blankly on.

How much is your degree classification worth?

A new report released by the London School of Economics Centre for Education reports the relatively increase in value of your degree dependent on classification.

In summary:

A 2:1 Degree earns 7 percent more compared to a Lower Second

First Class Degree earns 3 percent more when compared to an Upper Second.

However sadly the report also highlights the continuing pay gaps between men and women

For the full text visit:

http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1221.pdf

£37bn & counting

The war in Afghanistan is the War the media has forgot. With at best sporadic coverage of the conflict now shown on news services in the UK some people are now calling the conflict ‘a political, financial and moral disaster’. The role of the media, and their lack of coverage, is part of the reason there has been less public debate on tactics and the merits and the strategy of this conflict… It’s simply forgotten. In past times a major conflict of this scale would have been big news, but even casualty reports are relegated to the second half of the news cycle now a days.

From the Guardian:

“The war in Afghanistan has cost Britain at least £37bn and the figure will rise to a sum equivalent to more than £2,000 for every taxpaying household, according to a devastating critique of the UK’s role in the conflict.

“Since 2006, on a conservative estimate, it has cost £15m a day to maintain Britain’s military presence in Helmand province. The equivalent of £25,000 will have been spent for every one of Helmand’s 1.5 million inhabitants, more than most of them will earn in a lifetime, it says.

“By 2020, the author of a new book says, Britain will have spent at least £40bn on its Afghan campaign, enough to recruit over 5,000 police officers or nurses and pay for them throughout their careers. It could fund free tuition for all students in British higher education for 10 years.

“… In the first full attempted audit of what he calls Britain’s “last imperial war”, Frank Ledwidge, author of Investment in Blood, published next week by Yale University Press, estimates British troops in Helmand have killed at least 500 non-combatants. About half of these have been officially admitted and Britain has paid compensation to the victims’ families.”

#Budget: The increase in the personal tax allowance will mean an income boost of just 32p a week for most of the lowest earning income tax payers.

Today the Chancellor announced a further increase in the personal tax allowance. He claims helps struggling families. But who benefits most?

 

Tax relief not supportive

The rise in the personal tax allowance mainly benefits the top income deciles. as shown by this chart produced by the Resolution Foundation: http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/blog/2013/Mar/20/easing-squeeze-tax-cut-all/

This policy does not help those at the bottom much because they either don’t pay tax, or get most of any extra allowance tapered back as their Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit is cut. The regressive nature of the policy is show in this Resolution Foundation chart.

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