Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Tory MPs who won’t say if they voted themselves a tax cut

In April the top rate of tax was cut from 50p to 45p. UNISON (West Midlands) wrote to all 59 MPs in the West Midlands to ask them if they benefited from the tax cut. Most Tory MPs didn't respond!

All 24 Labour MPs replied. None of them supported the tax cut but only one, Geoffrey Robinson, said he benefited, but said he would be donating the benefit to charity

One of the two Lib MPs in the region, John Hemming, replied and said he benefited but said he would be donating the benefit to charity. The other Lib Dem, Lorely Burt did not reply.

Of the 33 Tory MPs, only six replied to say they supported the tax cut but did not personally benefit. Another five Conservative MPs replied and said they supported the tax cut but failed to say if they would gain; the remaining 22 Conservative MPs did not even bother to acknowledge the letter, despite being sent a reminder. What have the got to hide.

Regional Secretary Ravi Subramanian said:
“There was rightly a scandal about the cover up of MPs’ expenses and this is another looming scandal. How can it be right that Tory and Lib Dem MPs who voted for a tax cut won’t say if they personally gain?

The public, who are suffering austerity, have a right to know if MPs are being sleazy and voting to quietly line their own pockets.”
The MPs who failed to come clean are listed below. If your MP is there why not write to them and ask they why they won't say. What have they got to hide?

Andrew Mitchell - Sutton Coldfield
Chris Kelly - Dudley South
James Morris - Halesowen and Rowley Regis
Jesse Norman - Hereford and South Herefordshire
Bill Wiggin - North Herefordshire
Philip Dunne - Ludlow
Owen Paterson - North Shropshire
Daniel Kawczynski - Shrewsbury and Atcham
Mark Pritchard - The Wrekin
Lorely Burt - Solihull
Andrew Griffiths - Burton
Michael Fabricant - Lichfield
Gavin Williamson - South Staffordshire
Karen Bradley - Staffordshire Moorlands
Bill Cash - Stone
Christopher Pincher - Tamworth
Richard Shepherd - Aldridge-Brownhills
Aidan Burley - Cannock Chase
Jeremy Wright - Kenilworth and Southam
Caroline Spelman - Meriden
Mark Pawsey - Rugby
Nadhim Zahawi - Stratford-on-Avon (Update: on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire on 18 May he said he did not benefit)
Chris White - Warwick and Leamington
Paul Uppal - Wolverhampton South West
Sajid Javid - Bromsgrove
Peter Luff - Mid Worcestershire
Karen Lumley - Redditch
Mark Garnier - Wyre Forest

If you want to write to your MP an find their email address by going to www.theyworkforyou.com

The sample text you can use in your letter is below.

After 6 April 2013, anyone earning above £150,000 will see a reduction in the tax they pay from 50p to 45p in the pound on their earnings above that point.
 
I think this tax cut is both unfair, divisive and damaging. Unfair and divisive because it means those with the biggest pockets are not paying their fair share. Damaging, because it means less income to the government and more austerity which in turn continues to damage the economic recovery.
 
As your constituent I have two questions:
 
1.      Do you agree with the government policy to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p in the pound?

2.      Are you personally likely to benefit from this tax cut? 
 
Yours etc

Friday, 1 March 2013

Tax cut for high earners - do any MPs gain?

Right now councils around the West Midlands are implementing massive cuts to jobs and services services. These cuts will be devastating for the workers who lose their jobs, devastating for vulnerable people who rely on services, and damaging for the local economy.

While these cuts to services are made, in April this Tory-led government will implement a tax cut for people earning over £150,000. It is patently unfair to give high-earners tax cut while vulnerable people see vital services cut.

Ravi Subramanian, the UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary has written to all 59 MPs in the region to ask them if they support this unfair tax cut and whether they will personally benefit. We will be publishing the result of our survey in early April. See below for the text of the letter

THE TEXT OF THE LETTER THAT HAS BEEN SENT IS BELOW
 
Tax cut for high-earners
 
After 6 April 2013, anyone earning above £150,000 will see a reduction in the tax they pay from 50p to 45p in the pound on their earnings above that point.
 
The 115,000 UNISON members in the West Midlands working across the public services have told us they think this tax cut is both unfair, divisive and damaging. Unfair and divisive because it means those with the biggest pockets are not paying their fair share. Damaging, because it means less income to the government and more austerity which in turn continues to damage the economic recovery.
 
UNISON are asking three questions of all MPs in the region and we will be letting our members know who has responded and what we find out. Our questions are:
 
1.      Do you agree with the government policy to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p in the pound?

2.      Are you personally likely to benefit from this tax cut?
 
3.      If you are likely to benefit do you intend to “pocket the gain” or will you being making a charitable donation equivalent to the gain you have made?
 
I would be grateful if you could reply by  Tuesday 19 March as we will be collating the responses ready to inform our members of the outcome of our survey in early April when the tax cut comes into force.

Yours sincerely
Ravi Subramanian
Regional Secretary
 
END OF THE LETTER

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Opinion poll shows public increasingly blaming the coalition government for the cuts



An Ipsos MORI poll published on 18 January shows that the public increasingly blaming the coalition government for the cuts.

The tired old mantra from the Tory-led government that it was "the mess inherited from Labour" is beginning to wear thin, especially as people can see the choices this government is making. At the same time as attacking the Welfare State and public services the government are rather giving tax cuts to millionaires.

The graph above shows that public opinion has moved in the past nine months, but it also shows UNISON and all other people campaigning against these unfair cuts have more work to do to get more people to see the reality of who is to blame. We can't just assume because we know these cuts are unfair that other will too. We need to keep spreading the message. But at least this polling shows the message is getting through.

More info on the poll and the graph can be found on the Ipso MORI website here.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

West Midlands Police branch win TUC award

There was well deserved success for the UNISON West Midlands Police branch at the Midlands TUC reps' awards night on Friday 23 November.

Jill Harrison and Mark Bittle from the branch were joint winners of the "Campaign of the Year" award for their hugely successful campaign against privatisation of the whole of the police staff functions at West Midlands Police. The award was jointly award to Jill and Mark from the UNISON branch and two activists from the Unite branch at West Midlands Police as the campaign was a joint and determined effort from both branches.

It was quite fitting that the award was presented on Friday 23 November, the day after Bob Jones, the newly elected Labour Police and Crime Commissioner announced, on his first day in office, that he was formally scrapping the privatisation plans.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Birmingham Diwali Celebrants say no to austerity

Over 270 people at the Birmingham Diwali celebrations on Sunday 18 November signed our anti-austerity postcards asking their local MP to lobby the government to end their damaging policy of austerity.

UNISON (West Midlands) are determined to take our camapign out in to all parts of our communities and it's clear from the event on Sunday when we do, we find lots of people support us.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Birmingham says "no to austerity"



Yesterday UNISON we were out and about in Birmingham city centre taking our anti-austerity campaign to Brummies.

Over 400 people signed our postcards lobbying their local MP for an end to austerity. And we also got 8 people who joined UNISON on the day.

Day by day more and more people are saying they've had enough of austerity.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Staffordshire County Council row over a £2bn conflict of interest

A row has erupted at Staffordshire County Council where a council officer involved in drawing up plans for the privatisation of school support services has quit his job to work for one of the companies bidding to win the contract.

The Staffordshire Sentinal today reported that Phil Cresswell, council's transformation delivery manager, was leading the plans to privatise school support services and staff – including cleaners, cooks and grounds staff – to a profit-making private firm. But in September Mr Cresswell quit the council to work as business development director at the local government wing of Carillion, who it has now been revealed are one of the bidders for the contract worth £2bn.

Staffordshire UNISON are running a high profile campaign called "The Knot Unties" against this privatisation and we will be making sure that this conflict of interest is brought to the attention of everyone in Staffordshire.