The Conservatives always take advantage of big national stories and the Queen’s birthday was no different. While the country was distracted by tributes, ceremonies and royal cake the government really took out the trash.
Here’s the three bits of bad news the Tories released while everyone was looking the other way:
1.) A merciless plan to deport yet more people
The government is slapping a 500% increase on immigration and asylum tribunal fees. The £80 to £490 rise will price people out of being able to appeal decisions to deport them. Immigrants are unlikely to have the resources to cover the costs.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it is
no longer reasonable to expect the taxpayer to fund around 75% of the costs of immigration and asylum proceedings
If the government stopped deporting working people we wouldn’t need to fund any of the costs of appeal proceedings. And we wouldn’t lose the contribution they are making to the economy.
The story of Luqman Onikosi is an exemplar of the failings of Britain’s immigration system. A student at Sussex university with liver disease, he faces deportation to Nigeria where he will die because of the lack of healthcare. Aside from the tragedy of sending anyone to their death, this man is at a good university – an asset to the nation.
This 500% increase serves a similar role to Theresa May’s new policy of economic apartheid. From 6 April, thousands of skilled workers in Britain who come from outside the EU face deportation if they earn less than £35,000. Considering the average income of 90% of the country is £12,969, this arbitrary rule would kick out nearly all of the country were it applied fairly. And it’s not like those earning over £35k are paying any more in tax – only at £43k do you pay a higher rate.
2.) A miserly pay rise for the armed forces
The government announced a pay rise for the armed forces of only 1%.
Meanwhile, MPs accepted another 1.3% pay rise this month bumping up their basic salary to £74,962. This is despite voting for a public sector pay cap of 1% until 2019. The increase is due in April, 9 months after MPs enjoyed a backdated 10% pay rise from £67,060 to £74,000.
3.) The number of adults in Further Education plummets
As The Mirror reports:
New figures sneaked out today show the number of learners participating on a level 2 government funded adult further education in the first two quarters of 2015/16 fell by 21.4% to 597,000 compared to the previous year.
21.4% is a huge drop. A Lib Dem spokesperson said:
This Government is killing adult further education. At a time when we need to be giving people the chance to learn throughout their life and adapt to compete for the jobs of the future, the government is cutting off the chance for people to learn.
When an event draws widespread attention, the Conservatives always betray their contempt for democracy. Rather than allowing important issues to face proper democratic scrutiny, the government just try and sweep them under the rug.
Only last month, George Osborne tried to bury a £22bn loss to the taxpayer through quietly releasing the news on budget day. It appears we are set to lose untold billions through the sale of our remaining shares in RBS.
Let’s keep an eye out so they stop getting away with it.
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