The UK government’s cuts to spending on public services are for ideological reasons, not just because of the deficit. In a speech at the lord mayor’s banquet in the Guildhall, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to build “a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.”
Bedroom tax: much-needed affordable homes face demolition
Because of the bedroom tax, many much-needed affordable homes may be demolished, despite the housing shortage. The Observer reports that several housing associations, unable to let three-bedroom homes because of this controversial UK government measure, are planning to knock some of these down or considering doing so.
Commonwealth gathering in Sri Lanka tainted by atrocities
Sri Lanka’s regime is preparing to host a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in mid-November. Embarrassingly, however, a disturbing documentary containing evidence of atrocities towards the end of the island’s civil war was broadcast by Channel 4.
The UK supreme court has confirmed that the government had broken the law through failing to supply adequate information about its work-or-starve schemes for jobless people. Yet, by and large, ministers are succeeding in inflicting terrible hardship on many unemployed and sick people, as Citizens Advice Bureau research reveals.
Anglicanism: GAFCON, condemnation and communication
At the second Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which met in Nairobi from 21-26 October 2013, senior clergy from certain provinces firmly condemned fellow Anglicans with views different from their own.
“Health tourism: the TRUE cost”: “Foreigners using NHS cost Britain up to £2 BILLION a year, government reveals – 100 times more than previously claimed” declares a Daily Mail headline. Yet the reality is very different, and there is little evidence that many people visit the UK for the purpose of getting free medical treatment.
2013 marks the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, when emperor Constantine ended the persecution of Christianity, to which he had converted. In early October, World Council of Churches General Secretary Dr Olav Fykse Tveit praised Constantine’s legacy in glowing terms. Yet in reality it has been a mixture of harm and good.
Would NHS break-up really improve hospital safety?
The type of problems at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in England – where care failings affected patient safety and dignity – would not have happened in an enterprise part-owned by employees, according to care minister Norman Lamb. Yet the drive to remove more health services from NHS control may seriously harm patients.
Dutch social care shift hits disabled people’s rights
The Netherlands government plans to slash social care funding and put pressure on frail elderly and other disabled people to do ‘voluntary’ work in return for any help they get, the newspaper Volkskrant reported. Austerity measures have already taken a heavy toll, and are hugely unpopular.
There is overwhelming evidence that human activities are mainly responsible for climate change since the mid-twentieth century, and urgent action is needed to tackle the problem, scientific experts have said.