“Probation services set to be renationalised as [Tory] Government accepts failure”

Owl says: Privatisation was supposed to be the answer … not the problem!

“Probation services are set to be renationalised as the Government prepares to accept its experiment has failed.

An announcement on how supervision of thousands of offenders will return to the National Probation Service is expected in weeks.

Reforms introduced by Chris Grayling when he was Justice Secretary have cost taxpayers almost £500million and led to an increase in murders committed by criminals.

Sources said the news could be broken as early as Thursday.

… The Ministry of Justice began partially privatising the probation service in 2013.

It involved 21 “community rehabilitation companies” monitoring people released from jail after serving short sentences. But the Government announced last year their contracts would end in 2020 – 14 months early.

Dame Glenys Stacey, the Chief Inspector of Probation, has previously described the current model as “irredeemably flawed”.

She told MPs on the Commons Justice Committee yesterday there were “deep-seated, systemic issues”.

She said it was “remarkably difficult” to condense probation into a set of contractual measures.

The Mirror revealed this year that 225 people had been murdered by convicted criminals being monitored by firms since privatisation.

The toll soared to 71 last year from 42 in 2015, shortly after Mr Grayling introduced the changes. …”


Independents at EDDC … an interesting spread …

Independents by their nature are a funny bunch! With no party politics to bind them (a VERY GOOD thing!) what else can bind them?

The East Devon results are particularly interesting: a very cohesive group for the eastern area based on Exmouth, but with a smattering of Lib Dems and Greens, a very cohesive group for the whole of the Axe Valley and Yarty and a bunch of mostly newbies literally in the middle (Ottery St Mary, Cranbrook, Feniton).

Might we see a new way of doing things this time around – geographically rather than party politically? But might that have its own dangers as each area vies for scarce resources? Or, can the three different areas blend and share resources equitably and be seen to be doung so? The values of independents suggests they could if the will is there.

Now that would be interesting …..! It would certainly keep the now somewhat raggle-taggle mostly Honiton-based minority Tories on their toes and fighting their now very,very much smaller corner!

Interesting times … interesting times!

“Typical workers paid less than a decade ago while bankers get huge pay rises”

“The average British worker makes £17 a week less than they did a decade ago, once increases in the cost of living are taken into account.

But salaries for bankers and others in the finance sector are £120 a week higher than in 2009, a new study suggests.

To find the results, the TUC took a look at official earnings figures for different workers now, and compared them to those a decade ago. Then it factored in price rises.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s not right that pay is racing ahead in the City when most working people are still worse off than a decade ago.

“The architects of the financial crisis are earning record amounts while teachers and nurses struggle to get by.”

Nurses and teachers are among workers hardest hit, with those employed in health and social work and education £36 a week worse off than in 2009, said the TUC.

By contrast, average real pay in the financial sector has increased by 9.3% (£119 a week) since 2009 reaching a record average of £1,405. …”


“4m Britons in poverty despite having jobs”

“… It is the bruising combination of low pay, insecure hours, rising housing costs and cuts to benefits that has driven in-work poverty to its highest point in 20 years.

Innes says: “The labour market is trapping people in poverty, when it should be offering people a route out. It is very demoralising for people who are doing what society expects of them, going out to work to meet the essentials but still unable to do that.”…


“Almost one in 10 cash machines vanishing from East Devon”

“… Figures show one in ten cash machines – or ATMS – have disappeared from East Devon’s high streets in the last two years, amid warnings the UK’s cash system is ‘falling apart’.

At the end of 2017, there were around 230 ATMs – according to data from the cash machine network Link – this has now fallen to 208, as of February this year.

The number of free-to-use cash points has also gone down from 179 in 2017 to 171 two years later.

An independent review published in March found that around eight million adults – 17 per cent of the population – were still reliant on cash and would struggle to cope in an entirely digital economy.

These included people in rural communities, those on a low income who may struggle to budget without cash, and older people or people with disabilities who rely on cash for their independence.

Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Access to Cash Review, said: “There are worrying signs that our cash system is falling apart.

“ATM and bank branch closures are just the tip of the iceberg – underneath there is a huge infrastructure which is becoming increasingly unviable as cash use declines.

“We need to guarantee people’s right to access cash, and ensure that they can still spend it.”

A recent report by consumer watchdog Which? found almost 1,700 previously-free cash machines had begun charging users between January and March of this year. …”


“Growing inequality threatens democracy”

Inequalities in pay and opportunities in the UK are becoming so extreme they are threatening democracy, an Institute for Fiscal Studies study has said.

The think tank warns of runaway incomes for high earners but rises in “deaths of despair”, such as from addiction and suicide, among the poorest.
It warns of risks to “centre-ground” politics from stagnating pay and divides in health and education.

The report


says such widening gaps are “making a mockery of democracy”.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), one of the country’s leading research institutes, is launching what it says is the UK’s biggest analysis of inequality.

That will be chaired by Nobel Prize-winning economist Prof Sir Angus Deaton. …

It suggests pay inequality in the UK is high by international standards – with the share of household income going to the richest 1% having tripled in the past three decades.

The middle classes are also under pressure, particularly younger generations, with stagnant pay and unaffordable house prices.
The long-term decline in trade union membership is identified as another factor in wages not increasing. …

Richest increasing their earnings

As well as inequality in income, the think tank highlights divergence in health.

It says there is almost a 10-year gap in male life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas – and the IFS warns of “deaths of despair”, with a rise in early deaths from drug and alcohol abuse and suicide being linked to factors such as poverty, social isolation and mental health problems.
Patterns of relationship are also affected by inequality, the study suggests.

Over recent decades, wealthier people have become more likely to be living in a couple, either married or co-habiting, the IFS says. …”