Connect with us

News

Tory peer aims to challenge PM with vote on universal credit cut

Published

on

Tory peer

Tory peer aims to challenge PM with vote on universal credit cut

Boris Johnson faces a parliamentary challenge over the benefit cuts he has imposed on the country’s least well-off people, from a Tory peer who helped set up universal credit.

Philippa Stroud, the chief executive of the rightwing thinktank the Legatum Institute and a former adviser to Iain Duncan Smith during his time as work and pensions secretary, said more than 800,000 people would be pushed into poverty, and threatened a vote in the House of Lords on the universal credit cut.

“By our calculations, the decision today to remove this uplift will push 840,000 people into poverty – 290,000 of those are children – and so this is … a really bleak day for many, many families up and down the country,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The prime minister has pushed ahead with his plan to remove the £20 uplift to universal credit, which was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic. The cut comes despite serious opposition – including on his own backbenches.

Universal credit is available to many people in work, as well as jobseekers. Critics – including its architect Duncan Smith – have said the country’s poorest cannot afford the cut, which is being applied to assessments from Wednesday and will begin to take effect in a week, with the last families receiving the payment about a month later.

Save the Children has warned that more than 3.5 million children in the UK are living in households that receive universal credit payments.

Lady Stroud said: “There are people who are out of work who will move back into work, but there are also 450,000 who will move into poverty today as a result of this who have disabilities or who have children with disabilities.

“It is not just people who are in employment or should be moving into employment who claim universal credit and I think we have to be really honest about who is claiming UC and why they’re there.

“Our safety net is supposed to protect vulnerable people and that includes people who are sick, disabled and who have disabled children at this time.”

She threatened to challenge the prime minister from the Lords, telling Today: “At this moment in time, MPs have not voted on this at all, it’s been a decision taken by the executive. So my intention is to bring a vote in the Lords, cross-party vote that would say to the House of Commons, think again on this issue.

“Is this something we really want to do as a civilised nation? Putting our poorest people into poverty is surely not the way forward as we come out of the pandemic.”

The deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, defended the cut, telling Sky News: “Of course the emergency support we have provided was because of the pandemic. As we come through the pandemic, with youth unemployment going down, employment going up, we need to transition. We don’t want to see people reliant on the welfare trap.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

ten + 18 =

News

2023: Presidency Must Return To Southern Nigeria, Fayose Insists

Published

on

2023: Presidency Must Return To Southern Nigeria, Fayose Insists

A former governor of Ekiti State Ayodele Fayose has insisted that the southern part of Nigeria must produce the country’s president in 2023.

Fayose, a two-time governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said this in a series of tweets on his official handle on Wednesday, pinning his argument on the party’s constitution.

“The PDP Constitution provides for a rotational Presidency. Section 3(c) provides that the Party shall pursue its aims & objectives by “adhering to the policy of the rotation & zoning of Party & Public elective offices in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice, and fairness’,” Fayose maintained.

“The current President of Nigeria is a 2-term Northern Presidency, thus implying that it MUST be a Southern Presidency in 2023 or NOTHING. Awa ‘South’ lo kan’. Nigerians should await details soon.”

Fayose, who contested the PDP presidential primary, lost out to former Vice President Atiku Abukar in the exercise held earlier this month.

He has been one of the strong advocates for a power shift to southern Nigeria despite the party Atiku from the northern region, as the party’s flagbearer.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who also lost in the exercise, had campaigned, among others, based on a power shift to the south.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), however, is fielding a southerner – Bola Tinubu – as its presidential candidate to honour the power-sharing deal called zoning between the north and south.

Continue Reading

News

Senate confirms Buhari’s ministerial nominees

Published

on

Senate confirms Buhari’s ministerial nominees

The senate has confirmed seven persons nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for ministerial positions.

The upper legislative chamber confirmed the nominees on Wednesday after they were screened by the “committee of the whole” chaired by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

The ministers-designate will replace those who resigned to pursue political bids.

Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnaya Onu, Godswill Akpabio and Emeka Nwajiuba are some of the ministers who resigned to pursue presidential bids.

The ministers confirmed on Wednesday are Henry Ikoh (Abia), Umana Okon Umana (Akwa Ibom), Ekuma Joseph (Ebonyi), Goodluck Nana Obia (Imo), Umar Ibrahim Yakub (Kano), Ademola Adewole Adegorioye (Ondo), and Odo Udi (Rivers).

During screening, Ikoh said as a way of tackling employment in the country, “technical” graduates can be job creators.

“On the unemployment situation, we need more technical graduates to do most of the things we are doing right now. If you are a technical graduate, you can employ yourself and employ others,” he said.

On his part, Umana said the country could boost its foreign exchange earnings with its free trade zones.

“On the issue of how to boost foreign exchange, I want to say that even the free zones platform is a veritable platform for this,” he said.

“The free zone is a platform that can drive production because when you produce for export, you earn foreign exchange.”

Nakama said the federal government must be ready to make some compromise to end the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“On tackling the issue of ASUU, my answer is that there will be leave of compromise. Government and ASUU will have to come to a compromise and through this, we will able to solve these incessant strikes once and for all,” he said.

The remaining four nominees were asked to “take a bow and go” on the grounds of their experience.

Continue Reading

News

R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in sex trafficking case

Published

on

R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in sex trafficking case

Fallen R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday for using his fame to subject young fans — some just children — to systematic sexual abuse.

Through tears and anger, several of Kelly’s accusers told a court, and him, that he had preyed on them and misled his fans.

“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” said one unnamed survivor, directly addressing a Kelly who kept his hands folded and his eyes downcast.

“Do you remember that?” she added.

Kelly, 55, didn’t speak at his sentencing, where he also was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine. The Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling singer and songwriter was convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking at a trial that gave voice to accusers who had previously wondered if their stories were being ignored because they were Black women.

“Although sex was certainly a weapon that you used, this is not a case about sex. It’s a case about violence, cruelty and control,” U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly told him.

The sentence caps a slow-motion fall for Kelly, who was adored by legions of fans and sold millions of albums even after allegations about his abuse of young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s.

Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct didn’t come until the #MeToo reckoning, reaching a crescendo after the release of the docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”

Kelly’s lawyers had argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison because he had a traumatic childhood “involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence.”

As an adult with “literacy deficiencies,” the star was “repeatedly defrauded and financially abused, often by the people he paid to protect him,” his lawyers said.

The hitmaker is known for work including the 1996 hit “I Believe I Can Fly” and the cult classic “Trapped in the Closet,” a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

Allegations that Kelly abused young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s. He was sued in 1997 by a woman who alleged sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor, and he later faced criminal child pornography charges related to a different girl in Chicago. A jury there acquitted him in 2008, and he settled the lawsuit.

All the while, Kelly continued to sell millions of albums.

The Brooklyn federal court jury convicted him after hearing that he used his entourage of managers and aides to meet girls and keep them obedient, an operation that prosecutors said amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, used his “fame, money and popularity” to systematically “prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing earlier this month.

Several accusers testified that Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.

The accusers alleged they were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as “Rob’s rules.”

Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.

According to testimony, Kelly gave several accusers herpes without disclosing he had an STD, coerced a teenage boy to join him for sex with a naked girl who emerged from underneath a boxing ring in his garage, and shot a shaming video that showed one victim smearing feces on her face as punishment for breaking his rules.

Kelly has denied any wrongdoing. He didn’t testify at his trial, but his then-lawyers portrayed his accusers as girlfriends and groupies who weren’t forced to do anything against their will and stayed with him because they enjoyed the perks of his lifestyle.

Evidence also was presented about a fraudulent marriage scheme hatched to protect Kelly after he feared he had impregnated R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15. Witnesses said they were married in matching jogging suits using a license falsely listing her age as 18; he was 27 at the time.

Aaliyah worked with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.” She died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.

An earlier defense memo suggested prosecutors’ arguments for a higher sentence overreached by falsely claiming Kelly participated in the paying of a bribe to a government official in order to facilitate the illegal marriage.

The Associated Press does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted or abused, unless they come forward publicly. The women who spoke at Kelly’s sentencing were identified only by first names or pseudonyms.

Kelly has been jailed without bail since in 2019. He’s still facing child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago, where a trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 15.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending