The Guardian: Jobless young people without basic skills told to learn or lose benefits

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Unemployed 18 to 21-year-olds without basic maths and English

will only get benefits if they undergo 16 hours of training a week

Unemployed teenagers who leave school without basic English and maths will be forced to go back to the classroom for 16 hours a week or lose their benefits under new rules announced by George Osborne.

The chancellor said he wanted to get rid of a “culture of worklessness” among some school-leavers, as he unveiled a package of measures to get some of Britain’s one million unemployed young people into jobs.

Among the changes, Osborne said he would gave a tax break to companies that hire under-21s, create another 20,000 apprenticeships, fund more training for 16 to 17-year-olds and bring in elements of an “earn or learn” system to stop 18-year-olds going straight on to the dole.

The principles of “earn or learn” have been hotly debated within the coalition, after David Cameron used his conference speech in October to float the idea of taking away housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance from under-25s who were not in work or training.


ULU statement on violent eviction of Senate House occupation

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December 4, 2013

For contact from ULU call 07964791663

Send solidarity to:; @SHoccupation

Today, over a hundred students occupied the management office of Senate House at the University of London. It was one of the biggest and most widely supported protests that the student movement in London has seen in years. The protests demands centred around the campaign for sick pay, holiday pay and pensions for outsourced workers – 3Cosas – and the threats to close down ULU, the university’s student union. It was also inspired by a wave of occupations and strikes for fair pay in HE, and raised a number of issues around the price of accommodation and the privatisation of student debt. For the full occupation statement, click here.

This evening, the University of London colluded once again with police to evict occupiers, in a violent attempt to harass and silence dissent on campus. Their actions are a disgrace, and show their disregard for both the welfare of their students and their own university community.

Hundreds of police descended on the occupation at around 8.30pm and broke into the occupation. We are still investigating what happened inside, but initial reports indicate that protesters were assaulted by both police and security: thrown to the ground, kicked and punched, and dragged to the ground by their hair. When supporters gathered outside to show support for the occupation, they were beaten back and assaulted. A number of arrests were made, and protesters are demonstrating tonight outside Holborn police station.

Occupations are a legitimate form of dissent. When our university exploits our staff, shuts down our student union, and are utterly unaccountable to the students and staff that give it life and make it function, students have no choice but to gain leverage in whatever way they can.

Tonight’s events constitute a significant escalation of the dispute on campuses. At Sussex University, five students have been suspended by their university management for taking part in similar action. We send them our solidarity: sign the petition to defend them by clicking here.

The terms of our dispute are clear. On one side is a university management that is attacking its staff, shutting down student representation, and that systematically colludes with police in order to keep control of its affairs. On the other is an increasingly united campaign of the academic community – in all its forms – committed to reclaiming our university. We are clear which side of the line we fall on.

Anyone who thinks that what happened tonight was reasonable is not fit to run a university.


Cuts should not mean axing Derbyshire fire stations, says Labour cabinet Derby Telegraph

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By Derby Telegraph  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

Proposals to cut fire stations in Derbyshire are facing opposition from the county council. Paul Whyatt reports.

LABOUR cabinet members are to write to fire bosses objecting to proposals that would see 19 fire stations close in Derbyshire.

When the letter is posted, there are two ways it could be signed off.

One option is to scrawl “with sympathy” in acknowledgement of the fact Derbyshire’s Fire Authority is losing 40% of its budget – hence the proposed cuts that would also see 108 full-time firefighters axed.

Or, alternatively, the cabinet could end by putting “with love”. After all, eight of the 13 councillors who sit on the authority are fellow Labour politicians.

Judging by the tone of yesterday’s cabinet meeting at County Hall, the first option seems most likely.

Read more:

Derby centre may lose £50,000 lottery funding to help abused women By Derby Telegraph

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A CHARITY that helps victims of domestic abuse has won £50,000 in lottery funding to expand – but now faces losing the cash before it is spent.

Derby Women’s centre needs £170,000 for an extension and refurbishment to keep up with demand after seeing a 65% increase in users over a two-year period.

The centre has already won one battle to stay open after it fell victim to council cuts earlier this year, but was reprieved when the Big Lottery Fund provided a grant of £50,000.

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BBC NEWS; Mental health patient deaths ‘should force rethink’

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From BBC NEWS  26 November 2013

The unexpected deaths of 58 mental health patients in six months should force a trust to “rethink” budget cuts, campaigners say.

About 300 people fighting proposals to cut the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust budget by £20m over the next four years attended a meeting in Norwich.

Mental health senior social worker Terry Skyrme said the trust should review its strategy.

The trust said patient safety was its “priority”.

It revealed earlier this month that there were 58 unexpected deaths between April and October.

Between April 2012 and March 2013 there were 88, while in 2011/12 there were 89.

Speaking after Monday’s meeting, Mr Skyrme, who works for the trust’s crisis team, said: “This number of unexplained deaths over the past few months should have made [the trust] rethink their strategy, you would have thought.


Scroungers and Striver: It could be you

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The shocking truth about ‘Benefits Britain’ is … that people receiving benefits are people like us.

Too often, people who have lost their jobs, have a disability or become ill, or who are in low paid work, find that when politicians talk about benefits, they talk about things which say nothing to them about their lives.

Words and images about ‘skivers’ and ‘benefit lifestyles’ may win votes or persuade people to back cuts to welfare benefits, but they mislead the public and don’t capture the experiences or needs of ordinary families.

Join us in asking party leaders not to forget that when we talk about benefit claimants we’re talking about real people, real families, and real children. People like us.

For more information, please visit

Thank you for your support.

Child Poverty Action Group

Listen to the real stories of families striving and surviving on benefits in the UK.
Support CPAG campaign, People Like Us:

This film was created by’s VoiceOver service,

see for more information.

    Conservative /Liberal Democrat legal aid cuts devastating for women

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    Legal aid cuts are devastating to women, especially those suffering abuse

    Mary O’Hara
    The Guardian, Tuesday 3 December 2013 13.00 GMT

    It is incontrovertible that women have been disproportionately affected by austerity, be it from public sector job cuts, the disappearance of Sure Start centres or fewer refuges for those desperate for a place of safety. But what many people might not be so familiar with is the devastating effect legal aid reforms are having on some of the most vulnerable women in our society.

    In the grand austere scheme of things law reform might appear marginal, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. More than six months after a law was passed reducing access to justice for victims of domestic violence, women’s groups are ratcheting up efforts to shed light on its repercussions.

    In the run-up to Human Rights Day on 10 December, organisations including the Women’s Resource Centre, the North East Women’s Network, and Southall Black Sisters, will try to focus attention on how a raft of changes have put additional barriers in the way of victims’ access to justice, including a “residency test” that affects women with insecure immigration status.

    Among the obstacles is a requirement that victims produce specific “evidence” that they have been domestically abused, such as a criminal conviction of an abusive partner, before qualifying for legal aid. In addition, there is now a limit of 24 months during which victims can come forward with evidence. Given that we know many women take years to come forward about abuse, this restriction is both baffling and needlessly cruel.

    Read the full article here