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

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.”

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Bauchi pays N3.418bn in outstanding gratuities

The Bauchi State Pensions Board has announced that, from May 2019 to date, the state government has paid N3,418,288,11.68 in outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants.

The Chairman of the Board, Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, made the disclosure at the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Bauchi, held at the State Secretariat.

Although Senator Kariya did not specify the total gratuity backlog, he noted that it exceeds N20 billion.

He stated that since the inception of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration in 2019, a total of 4,273 people have retired, and 677 have died while in service, out of 4,948 files processed.

“The Board processes the files of civil servants due for retirement. We are the custodians of the processed files of all state civil servants who have retired,” the chairman stated.

Senator Adamu, however, said that in order to avoid further accumulation of pension and gratuity liabilities, the state government intends to commence the implementation of the proposed contributory pension scheme on June 30, 2021.

“As a sign of commitment, His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, appointed a 20-member committee, including a staff member of Messrs Premium Pension Ltd for technical guidance under the chairmanship of Mr. Abdon Dalla Gin (Special Adviser on Civil Service Matters).”

“In line with the Terms of Reference to the Committee, a final report with a draft bill has been carefully produced, tapping from the 2004 Act, 2014 revised Act, and previous efforts of successive state administrations like the 2005 and 2017 draft bills, and was presented to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, as appropriate.”

He recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had presented the report to the State Executive Council for consideration and approval, following which a draft bill was forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further legislative process in line with the laid down constitutional procedure.

“After gathering the necessary stakeholders’ input, the State House of Assembly then ratified the draft and returned the same to the Executive Governor for assent. Consequently, on August 5, 2022, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, assented to the bill enacted by the State House of Assembly.”

“It was named the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme. The law also provided for the establishment of the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Commission.”

“The state governor approved the constitution of another high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, the Secretary to the State Government, to facilitate the full implementation process of the new scheme in the state.”

Kariya further explained that prior to this development, the state government appointed two firms of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who have now engaged stakeholders in a massive sensitization, advocacy, and enlightenment of the scheme across the state.

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Two-storey building collapses in Abuja

A two-storey residential building in Phase 2, site 2, Kubwa Abuja has collapsed

The building collapsed on Saturday morning at about 7:00am.

It was learnt that the building was formerly a hotel, Al-Hilal, but was converted to a residential apartment.

It was gathered that several people are currently trapped in the rubble.

As at time of filing this report, emergency responders and security personnel were at the scene.

 

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Police to enforce e-CMR compliance from July 29

The Nigeria Police Force have given all motor users 14 days to register their vehicles with the newly-introduced digitalized Central Motor Registration (e-CMR), which will end on July 29, to begin the enforcement of its compliance in order to checkmate the rate of vehicle-related crimes and other offenses.

In a press release, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the move is part of the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to enhance the security of lives and property and significantly boost the nation’s safety.

The release further stated that the exercise is an advanced form of helping security agencies, mostly the Police Force, in their investigations and operational activities to combat vehicle-related crimes, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and other social vices.

It also stated that the introduction of the e-CMR digitalized system will help streamline the documentation and verification process for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

“Following the directives of the IGP, services such as change of ownership, change of license number, change of engine, and change of chassis/body would become seamless as the e-CMR system would ensure the validation of vehicle genuineness and ownership, enhancing the ability to track and recover stolen vehicles effectively, and preventing the purchase of stolen vehicles by innocent buyers.

“Prior to the enforcement itself, the IGP has ordered full publicity of the e-CMR and its enforcement to all members of the public, intimating them of the requirements, processes, and the enforcement procedures. Members of the public are urged to obtain the digitalized CMR certificate online at https://cmris.npf.gov.ng.

‘For further inquiries, individuals can contact the CMR Command Centre at FHQ Abuja (08117777666, 09169892000) and FHQ Annex Lagos (08117777555, 09169891000). Technical support is also available at cmftech@npfcmr.ng,” the release partly stated.

Following this new development, the Nigeria Police have enjoined members of the public to participate in the exercise by ensuring that all vehicle users comply with the new directive, maintaining that the initiative, which is in line with modern technology, remains a strategic approach to enhance public safety and national security.

ACP Adejobi further stated that the enforcement of the e-CMR is necessary to ensure a safer and more secure environment for vehicle ownership and to decimate the trend of vehicle theft by greatly reducing the possibility of selling stolen vehicles in the country.

“We therefore urge all vehicle owners and users to embrace and participate in this initiative promptly for optimum safety and security,” he stated.

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