Derby Derwent Living’s Christmas Greetings to Tennants

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Is this the worst Christmas card ever? Derby tenants get not-so-festive message from Derwent Living



COULD this be the least festive Christmas message ever?

Housing association Derwent Living has sent out a leaflet to tenants saying: “There’s no break from paying your rent this Christmas.

“Keep your account up-to-date over the festive season.”

The message appears above an image of colourful presents lying in snow.

On the back, a message reads: “Our offices are closed from midday on December 23 and reopen on January 2 but that doesn’t mean that rent payments should stop.

“Every New Year, we see a surge in rent arrears and January sees the most applications for court action and evictions.”
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Support the Fire Fighters

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Derbyshire firefighters to go on strike on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

By Derby Telegraph  |  Posted: December 17, 2013

FIREFIGHTERS from Derbyshire will be among those to go on strike on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve – and will launch a ban on overtime in an escalation of their long-running dispute with the Government over pensions.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in England and Wales will walk out for five hours from 7pm on December 24, for six hours from 6.30pm on December 31 and for two hours from 6.30am on January 3.

FBU members in Scotland will also join the industrial action for the first time since the row flared, by joining a ban on overtime.

Between 7pm on December 27 and 7pm on the 29th, all firefighters in the union across England, Wales and Scotland will refuse to work voluntary overtime.

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Derbyshire firefighters to go on strike on Christmas Eve and New…

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Benefit Delays And Sanctions Leave 100,000 Dependent Upon Food Banks, Charity Claims

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Welfare News Service

BY  · 17 DECEMBER, 2013

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) claim that they are on track to hand out 100,000 food aid vouchers per year and that demand for food aid has increased by 24% over six months, due to benefit delays, sanctions and low incomes.

Describing one case study, the CAB said that a thirty-five year old man, who was unable to write due to learning difficulties, had his benefits sanctioned on a number of occasions for failing to keep an adequate record of his jobsearch activity. The Jobcentre had made no record of the gentleman’s learning difficulties and advisers failed to inform him that he may be eligible to apply for the sickness and disability benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). As a result of the sanctions he had run out of money and needed to be referred to a food bank.

From Welfare News Service Full article here


Fracking law plan causes uproar

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Fracking could be allowed under homes in Britain without owners’ knowledge

Planning minister says law will be changed so companies do not have to directly notify people about gas drilling in their areas

Fracking could take place under thousands of homes without their owners’ knowledge after ministers said companies would no longer have to notify people directly about potential gas drilling in their areas.

Nick Boles, the planning minister, said the law would be changed to allow gas companies to put in fracking applications without sending out letters to tell people about possible drilling beneath their properties. Instead, companies will be required to publish a notice in a local newspaper and put up site displays in local parishes, as well as conducting a wider consultation.

Campaigners said the announcement was a blow to all communities likely to be affected by fracking, following concerns about minor tremors caused by test drilling for shale gas near Blackpool, and the potential for flaring, air pollution and contamination of water.

However, the government said it would be too burdensome for gas companies to tell everybody within a wide radius of drilling that it might take place under their homes.

It would mean a “disproportionately large number of individuals and businesses” would have to be personally informed, Boles told MPs in a written statement.

Ministers have repeatedly dismissed safety and environmental concerns about fracking, saying it will be tightly regulated and developed responsibly.

Full Guardian Article here

For the Sake of Humanity Society Must Unleash War on the Tories

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John Wight


If nothing else, for the sake of our children and children’s children, it is time for society to unleash war on the Tories.

This, to clarify, will not be a war of aggression, it will be a war against their aggression on the part of those who understand that collectivism not individualism is what separates us from the abyss of barbarism.

The campaign of hate being waged by this government of rich, privileged, and privately educated sociopaths against the poor, the unemployed, and those who dare try to claim the benefits to which they are entitled is unparalleled in modern history. Even Thatcher in her pomp was not as malicious in her treatment of the aforementioned demographic. This was not because she didn’t wish to be more malicious than she was, it was because when she came to power we still had trade unions capable and willing to resist such an onslaught, meaning that the cost involved in even attempting to rip up the foundations of the welfare state and the collective ethos which lies at its heart would have been too damaging to her government and party to make worthwhile.

Three decades on and the fruits of Thatcherism – with the corresponding neutering of the unions and other forms of working class solidarity – have culminated in a new normal of demonisation and the near criminalisation of poverty in Britain. Austerity has been sold to the country as a policy of necessity in response to years of Labour profligacy and a bloated public sector. It is a lie so bold and barefaced that even Joseph Goebbels would blush while repeating it.

The economic crisis which began in the US and hit these shores in August/September 2007 was a consequence of an out of control international banking and finance industry – in other words private greed on the part of the rich, the very constituency favoured by and so exalted by the Tories. Britain’s public sector was neither bloated or out of control. On the contrary, under an economic system prone to volatility and unpredictable but periodic shocks, the public sector acts as a ballast of demand. If people are not spending then there is no demand for the goods and services produced by businesses, which results in a reduction in economic activity, borrowing, and investment and a concomitant rise in unemployment and government debt in order to meet the cost.

From Huffington Post read full article here

Food bank debate: 20 things you need to know about food banks and hunger in Britain

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From  The Daily Mirror December 18th  2013

1.      Food bank use in the South East, the region known for its wealth and relative prosperity, is up over 60% this year.

2.      A decade ago, food banks were almost unheard of in the UK. The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest network of food banks, now opens new food banks in Britain every week to cope with the increase in referrals.

3.      The Government commissioned a report into the rise in food bank use in June this year. DEFRA investigated, and the Government are refusing to publish the report.

4.      Thousands of families face the prospect of relying on emergency food handouts this Christmas.

5.      Some people who are in full time work are using food banks to support themselves and their families. Many of these work zero hour contracts – people are employed, but can work little or no hours in a week. They have no financial stability, and are not guaranteed enough to pay their rent, bills, or buy food.

6.      Half a million people received emergency food assistance from a Trussell Trust food bank between April and December 2013. This is more than the number assisted in the entire year before (346,992).

7.      Robin Aitkin in the Telegraph claims that: “A new service is being offered to more and more communities, and naturally people are using it. The sustained media interest in food banks has acted as a giant advertising campaign.” This is simply untrue. People cannot simply turn up to a food bank and ask for help, they need to be identified as being in need by a healthcare professional or social services or similar, and referred with a form or a voucher.  It isn’t, as certain politicians would have you believe, an opportunist desire for free food.

8.      Figures from the Trussell Trust show that changes to the benefit system are the most common cause for food bank use in Britain. Nearly a third had been referred after benefits had been delayed, and a further 19% due to their benefits being cut or stopped.

9.   3 in 10 people say they are now struggling to feed themselves and their family because of the rising cost of food.


10.   Lord Freud (again) thinks that food banks are a good thing and that local authorities should ‘ramp up support in kind’. Speaking at a recent conference on welfare reform, he said that it is “absolutely appropriate” that charities should provide free food parcels to people hit by benefit cuts and delays.

11.   Niall Cooper, the national co-ordinator of Church Action On Poverty, says: “Where are we as a society that people in work are having to turn to food banks? It’s a big question but it does not feel like one the Government wants to answer.”

12.   All 152 councils in England have set up welfare assistance schemes to replace the crisis loan and community care grant elements of the social fund, which until April were provided by the DWP. Some schemes offer food vouchers in place of cash assistance, and a number are working in partnership with food banks. Despite 87% of benefit claimants being in work, almost two-thirds of the local council welfare schemes stipulate that working people are not eligible for their help.

13.   Nottinghamshire council is proposing to close its welfare assistance scheme in April, and will cease to refer people to food banks or offer additional support.

14.   Lord Freud (again!) claims that there is no robust evidence of a link between welfare reform and the rise in food bank use. However over half of the people referred to food banks are there due to delays and cuts in benefits, and benefit sanctions.

15.   Today there are more than 400 food banks across Britain, with new ones opening every couple of days.

16.   Some food banks now open twice a day in order to meet the number of referrals in their local community. The Storehouse, in Southend, changed its opening times earlier this year to accommodate the growing number of people in need in their community. The Storehouse is an independently run food bank, part of the Vineyard church, and not affiliated with the Trussell Trust.

17.   Since April this year the number of people referred to food banks because they can’t afford to feed themselves due to benefit changes has increased. Over half of food bank referrals are due to welfare issues, such as cuts and changes to benefits, delays, and sanctions.

18.   A mum of two whose husband is in work was referred to Chiltern food bank for help after the council made a mistake with her housing benefit. “I was really embarrassed at first, but the volunteer at the food bank really boosted my confidence and self esteem. She made me feel like I was worth something.”

19.   Food banks don’t just hand out emergency food, they also provide other essentials such as nappies, formula milk and sanitary towels.

20.   Food banks do not encourage a cycle of dependency. Molly Hodson from the Trussell Trust says: “Our food banks are different to American and Canadian food banks, they are an emergency service. Where there is a welfare provision, nobody should be at a point where they can’t put food on the table long term. We help people out of poverty by working with local agencies and charities for example if someone has debt problems, we put them in touch with a debt counselling charity. We want to help resolve the issues, and make sure people have a route out of poverty.”

You can still sign the petition at – and tweet your MP right now to demand they attend the debate
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