Tory austerity undermined trust in Government says damning leaked official study

The document was accidentally revealed by an unnamed person who revealed it in front of Westminster photographers

It was the Tories flagship programmeb(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Tory austerity undermined the public’s trust that the Government acted “fairly” and “with integrity”, according to the government’s own analysis.

The document was accidentally revealed by an unnamed person, who revealed the damning assessment of the Tories’ flagship policy in front of Westminster photographers.

The dossier, apparently a joint study by the Cabinet Office and Department for Work and Pensions, states: “Austerity and its fall-out undermined perceptions of competence and the belief that [the government is] acting fairly, openly and with integrity.”

The Document was accidentally revealed on the streets of Westminster (Image: PoliticalPics/Twitter)


Labour MP Wes Streeting’s barnstorming speech as he slams ‘out of touch’ Tories

Labour Party Chair Ian Lavery said: “Austerity has done more than just destroy public trust, it has destroyed lives.

“The Tory party continues to treat being in government as some sort of cynical PR exercise.

“If they recognise that austerity has been a disaster, they should be focussing on bringing it to an end rather than how to spin it.”

Labour’s powerful party political broadcast is out – and there’s one thing it doesn’t mention

It’s part of a study into the public’s trust in politics, government and the party in power, in a bid to build trust and improve government communications.

The authors named on the document are Laura de Moliere, the DWP’s lead behavioural scientist, and Catherine Hunt, Head of Insight and Evaluation at the Cabinet Office.

A Government spokesperson said: “This document is a review of the latest academic literature, ensuring civil servants continue to communicate effectively with the public.”

Here’s the visible text of the document in full
Emphasis as in original text

The role of communication in rebuilding political trust

November 2018

Catherine Hunt, Cabinet Office & Laura De Moliere, DWP

1. What does this paper deliver?

This paper provides a definition of trust, based on a review of academic, public sector and media industry publications as well as our own research. It identifies the factors that underpin trust, looks at why trust in the institutions of government is falling and sets out how this affects us as communicators. It builds on the conclusions from our previous paper on trust from April 2018 and recommends a strategy for building trust and improving the effectiveness of our communication activity in the future.

2. Summary and recommendations

The main conclusions that can be drawn from this paper are:

An individual citizen’s trust in government (political trust) is based on his or her perceptions of its competence and whether or not is acting in the public (and the individual’s personal) interest, judged by the values that it governs by.

Competence is judged by the presence of five specific behavious: setting out a shared vision for the future; authenticity; taking perspectives; valuing others’ opinions; and transparency.
The core trust values that Government should demonstrate are fairness, openness and integrity
Citizens’ political trust and views of whether it is acting competently and int he public interest is influenced by:

Specific support for the political administration in power at any given point in time.
Diffuse support for the overall system of government and its institutions
Trust in politicians has always been low. However, the global recession in 2008 and subsequent period of austerity triggered a decline in diffuse trust for the system of government in many Western economies, including the UK.

Austerity and its fall-out undermined perceptions of competence and belief that it […] acting fairly, openly and with integrity
Rapid social, demographic and technological changes are […]

As diffuse trust in the institutions of government […]

parties is rising. People who support […]

parliament. This is also true for […]

The decline in political trust […]

which will in turn reduc[…]

With many thanks to the: Daily Mail for the original story.

UK: ‘Disturbing’ Government failure to commit to Human Rights Act | Amnesty International UK

Brexit: The complex new boundaries between different groups of citizens in the North of Ireland


Deputy director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)

Daniel Holder explains citizens’ rights post Brexit.

Discussion on Brexit and Northern Ireland has focused extensively on the potential hardening of the land border, or a border in the Irish Sea. However, beyond that are numerous questions as to the impact of Brexit on the entitlement-boundaries between different groups of people born or living in Northern Ireland depending on their citizenship status.

As is known in Northern Ireland citizenship is, in part, an expression of national identity. It is also about the relationship between a citizen and State and their rights and entitlements when they interface with public authorities.

This is complex as many rights and entitlements are not dependent on citizenship. Human rights (e.g. fair trial) as the name suggests, are usually not citizens’ rights. Some entitlements are based on residency. (E.g. full NHS medical care is generally based upon lawful ‘ordinary residence’ not nationality). In recent times entitlements to work, many public services and social security have increasingly been restricted by citizenship and related immigration status.

The graphic below covers three key areas of entitlements:

Rights to reside, work and access services and benefits when in Northern Ireland.
Basic freedom of movement in the EU.
Subsidiary EU rights, such as being joined by (non-EU) family members, qualification recognition or access to health care in other EU states.
As things stand there are generally two citizenship status categories:

Pre-Brexit Category 1: All EU/EEA citizens – including British and Irish citizens – who have access to all three sets of entitlements.

Pre-Brexit Category 2: Non-EEA citizens – who don’t have EU rights and are heavily restricted in access to work and services/benefits in NI.

The implications of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, and any other Brexit that does not permit continued freedom of movement into NI, is that it places every group at some form of disadvantage.

Boundaries between citizens’ rights after Brexit
Table showing rights post Brexit depending on citizenship
Table showing rights post Brexit depending on citizenship

Brexit day: end of Brexit transition period (planned for December 2020);CTA – Common Travel Area (UK-Ireland and Channel Islands/Isle of Man; EU settled status scheme – provided for under Part II of Withdrawal Agreement)
Problem 1: Discrimination and denial of rights
Whilst the current two categories may seem straightforward, their enforcement and the denial of rights have been particularly draconian in recent years under the ‘Hostile Environment’ policies introduced by Theresa May as Home Secretary.

This subcontracted the policing of immigration to public services and the private sector including banks, landlords and educational institutions. The impact of this is (but not restricted to) the ‘Windrush’ scandal.

With over a dozen new categories of differentiated rights-holders it is predictable that racial profiling (the form of discrimination whereby persons are singled out for greater scrutiny on the basis of skin colour or other ethnic attributes) will become even more widespread. Even when restrictions are correctly applied, some are so draconian as to deny basic human rights to people who are, for example, homeless, or victims of domestic abuse. Actual or perceived non-EEA nationals currently bear the brunt of this, but the expanded scope will cover many more people.

Problem 2: Compliance with the Good Friday Agreement
Enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) Treaty the British and Irish governments recognised the birthright of the ‘people of Northern Ireland’ “to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose”.

When read with the equality and parity of esteem provisions of the GFA this is not merely a provision that allows persons to choose a British or Irish passport (or both). Rather the provisions ensure equal treatment between British and Irish citizens as a result of their choice. This is set out clearly in the UK’s Brexit policy papers.

At present, within the EU context, Irish and British citizens are in the same entitlements category. Both will experience differential treatment and different forms of disadvantage post-Brexit.

An examination of some of the categories further highlights these problems.

British citizens resident in NI
The entitlements of British citizens to work and access services in NI are secured in domestic law. EU citizenship is for citizens of a member EU state, and the basic freedom of movement is lost along with subsidiary EU rights and opportunities for British citizens on Brexit day.

Citizens of EU26 countries (i.e. EU excluding Ireland) resident in NI
All citizens of EU member states are automatically EU citizens, and regardless of where they live they retain some EU citizen rights. These are most notably freedom of movement to visit, work, study, and retire elsewhere in the EU, along with some more administrative rights, such as the right to petition the European Parliament.

However, the continued access to many EU rights, opportunities and benefits is more complex and requires specific arrangements. Practical access to and exercise of them is normally either dependent on residency in an EU member state, participation in EU programmes or social security coordination between countries. As NI will not be part of a member state, a specific arrangement is needed for EU nationals already here to retain rights to reside, work and access services.

The Withdrawal Agreement provides for an EU Settlement Scheme for EU citizens already in the UK (and British citizens elsewhere in the EU) to retain many EU rights and benefits – including access to work and services in their place of residence. The Home Office is to charge £65 per adult for applications under the scheme, which is to open in April 2019.

However, it is predictable that should this happen, many EU26 nationals will face obstacles in successfully applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, particularly those who have worked in more informal sectors of the economy. The whole purpose of the scheme is to differentiate pre-Brexit EU26 from fellow citizens who arrive after Brexit.

EU26 nationals will therefore fall into several different categories.

Irish citizens resident in NI
This is perhaps the most multifaceted and differentiated citizenship category. Given the GFA birth rights provisions it might be presumed that rights to reside, work and access services and benefits in NI are directly provided for in domestic law for those who choose to be Irish citizens. In fact, in large part this is often not the case. Irish citizens in NI only have many such entitlements either on the basis of EU law (that will be lost on Brexit) or on the basis of being treated by the UK as British, in conflict with the GFA.

In the context of Brexit, the UK Government has long promised that the “associated rights” of the (UK-Ireland) Common Travel Area (CTA) will allow all Irish citizens in NI (whether NI born or not) continued access to entitlements in six named areas – rights to 1: enter and reside; 2: work; 3: study; 4: social welfare; 5: health services; 6: to vote. The Irish government provides this reciprocally for British citizens in its jurisdiction.

There are however a number of issues accessing these CTA ‘associated rights’, not least in that they have been consistently politically promised but not currently fully provided for in domestic law. Even if fully written into domestic law, the absence of enshrinement in a treaty or Bill of Rights means CTA rights could be changed by any incoming government.

There is also no clarity as to the scope of what CTA rights will actually cover. Does ‘study’ cover schools as well as third level education? What range of benefits does it cover – e.g. social housing? Voting is restricted to local and parliamentary elections – and not paradoxically referendums (which would include a border poll under the terms of the GFA).

CTA rights by definition will not cover any entitlements outside the CTA itself – and there is no commitment to cover cross border provision (e.g. schooling or health care) or recognition of qualifications.

If this persists it is likely to make an application for Irish citizens under the EU settlement scheme a more attractive option (save the cost). This would ensure the retention of a range of EU rights largely guaranteed for life. This will not be open to any Irish citizen who ‘arrives in NI’ (which includes being born) after Brexit Day, and anyone in NI less than five years will have to stay for five years to get permanent residence status.

The relationship with EU broader rights, opportunities and benefits is not straightforward either. The December 2017 ‘Phase 1’ EU-UK Joint Report committed to arrangements for the maintenance of a broad range of EU based entitlements for Irish citizens. However, the commitment was politically promised but no such arrangements were put into the Withdrawal Agreement.

Retaining some EU rights will be possible under the EU Settlement Scheme. The official line has generally been that Irish citizens can but ‘need not apply’ under the scheme (due to the CTA).

However, the Home Office may also seek to refuse applications from NI-born Irish citizens. The issue arises as the Home Office has taken an interpretation of the GFA, despite its clear wording, that the birthright only extends to persons ‘identifying’ rather than being ‘accepted as’ Irish. Whilst inconsistent, the Home Office has therefore treated NI-born persons as ‘British’ for administrative purposes regardless of their GFA choice, most often precisely when seeking to access EU rights. This would render NI-born among the only EU citizens in the UK not able to retain EU rights, and further subdivide already complex categories.

EEA nationals who are not EU26 are subject to separate agreements. The situation of non-EEA nationals does not improve. Then there are the circumstances of persons in NI but not residing here – most notably cross border workers, who are in separate categories.

Persons can also fall into more than one category and many of the above categories could also themselves be subdivided further.

As if decision making by the Home Office was not already poor enough the ‘hostile environment’ framework hands decision making powers on entitlements to a broad range of largely unqualified persons.

The complexity of the range of differentiated categories envisaged post-Brexit is largely a product of the thrust of the main Brexit campaign revolving around ‘taking back control of borders’.

Politically this ensured the ‘soft Brexit’ option of continued free movement was taken off the table. The result is the requirement of what will be a costly and complex system to differentiate different types of citizenship status to ensure that those deemed ‘not entitled’ (a fraction of 1% of the population) are excluded.

With many thanks to: The Detail for the original story.

CAJ deputy director Daniel Holder
Daniel Holder has been the deputy director of the human rights NGO the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) since 2011. He is also the co-convener of the Equality Coalitiona network of equality NGOs and trade unions jointly convened by CAJ and Unison. He is a member of the BrexitLawNI team, a partnership between the law schools of Queen’s and Ulster Universities and CAJ focusing on the constitutional, peace process and human rights implications of Brexit.

With many thanks to: The Detail for the original story.


14 MPs turn up to discuss UN report on 14 million people living in poverty

Petition for second EU referedum attarcts more than 4 million signatures

The Petition Page

A petition calling for a second EU referendum has been launchedand is proving so popular the page keeps crashing.

The majority of the votes cast are in Central London. The capital of England

The page, set up by William Oliver Healey, reads: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.”

Originally launched last November, at 10am today it had more than 77,000 rising to 114,000 by 1pm – 14,000 more than the limit required for it to be considered for debate in Parliament.

The Petition Page earlier

The high number of visitors to the site caused the site to crash, with several users complaining on social media that they were unable to access the site.

A spokeswoman for the House of Commons said: “UK Parliament and the Government Digital Service are aware of the issue and are working on this to ensure the site is working well.

“The site was temporarily down for some users due to high volumes of users.”

The Leave campaign secured 52 per cent of the vote in Thursday’s referendum. On Friday morning David Cameron addressed the nation in an emotional speech outside 10 Downing Street to announce that he would be stepping down.

Britain must rediscover its confidence, and lead the world it is responsible for creating.

With many thanks to: The Telegraph for the original story

Former NHS nurse born in UK with no criminal record deported to Ghana

Dean Ablakwa, 34, currently stateless in Accra despite having British birth certificate and studying and working in UK for more than a decade, raising fresh questions about government’s treatment of Commonwealth nationals in wake of the Windrush scandal

A former NHS nurse who was born in the UK and has no criminal record has been deported to Ghana, in a case that raises fresh questions over the British government’s treatment of Commonwealth nationals in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

Dean Ablakwa, 34, is currently stateless and unable to work in the Ghanaian capital Accra after the British government removed him in June 2017, despite the fact that he had previously worked and paid taxes in the UK for more than a decade.

With no relatives in the city, he has been sleeping on the friend of a friend’s sofa for the past year and a half and is relying on donations from family in the UK.

Speaking from Accra, Mr Ablakwa said: “It’s been mind-torturing. I can’t sleep properly. I am restless at night-time. Every time I dream I feel like I’m in prison. Even when I’m here I feel like I’m not free. I don’t feel like I’m meant to be here.

“I’m always indoors. I don’t want anyone to see me because I feel embarrassed. I can’t even fend for myself over here. I feel my human rights have been stripped away. I feel betrayed because I always thought I was British.”

The NAO’s Windrush report shows what our reporting points towards

Government ‘failed to act’ on warning signs of Windrush failings

The 34-year-old was born in East London, but during a family holiday to Ghana when he was five both his parents were killed in a road accident. Unable to locate his passport, distant relatives adopted him into their home in Ghana and he remained there during his childhood.

When Mr Ablakwa turned 18, it was decided by his relatives that he must return to the UK to live with his aunt and uncle. With the whereabouts of his passport still unknown, a family member arranged for him to return to Britain illegally using somebody else’s passport.

On arrival in Britain he reverted to using his own identity and was able to obtain a driver’s license, National Insurance card and bank account using his birth certificate. He enrolled in college and later began working as a care assistant.

In 2012, the Enfield resident got a job as a trainee socio-therapist with the NHS in Homerton. But almost a year into the job, he was accused of helping a convicted murderer escape from a secure unit in the facility – a crime for which, after nine months in prison on remand, he was found not guilty.

Mr Ablakwa was released into homelessness because his flat had been repossessed while he was in jail, and he wasn’t given his NHS job back, for reasons he said were never made clear to him. He describes his imprisonment as the moment his human rights started to be “stripped away”.

With nowhere to live and without a job, Mr Ablakwa moved into his aunt’s house in Milton Keynes, at which point he began being targeted by immigration control.

“I was trying to apply for housing benefit, and I got a letter back from the government saying you’re not eligible for housing benefit, you’re an immigrant. You need to leave right now,” he said.

“I called the Home Office and explained what had happened. I had my birth certificate, my bank account, I had voted in elections, I had a GP. I had already been wrongly branded a criminal.”

Mr Ablakwa said the Home Office informed him that it was probably a mistake, but that he must apply for naturalisation because he was born after nationality law changes in 1983 and therefore didn’t automatically qualify for British citizenship.

He paid more than £1,000 to apply, using his last savings, but was refused on the grounds that, the Home Office said, he had not been eligible to work.

“I felt suicidal at this point. It felt so hurtful. It was just too much,” he said.

The 34-year-old was informed he must sign on with the Home Office in London once a month. During one of these meetings, he was told his application to remain on human rights grounds had been rejected and he was detained in Harmondsworth removal centre.

Three weeks later, he was apprehended by immigration officers and taken to a military base and onto a charter flight to Ghana.

Describing the moment he landed in Ghana, he said: “I felt hopeless. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know who to call; I didn’t know how to ask to come get me. I was no longer in touch with the distant relatives from my childhood. I felt lost.”

Why is the Home Office getting so many immigration decisions wrong?
Mr Ablakwa managed to borrow someone’s phone and call friends in the UK who put him in touch with people in the city who he has been staying with since. But with no Ghanaian ID, he has been unable to work or get a bank account and is relying on sporadic donations from friends and family in Britain.

The 34-year-old has no funds to pay for legal representation. His previous solicitor Naga Kandiah, of MTC Solicitors, said the main obstacle in his case was the fact that he couldn’t obtain his parents’ records, and accused the Home Office of “ignoring” non-Caribbean Windrush cases.

Chai Patel, legal and policy director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), who are currently looking into Mr Ablakwa’s case, said: “Sajid Javid has refused to expand his department’s review of Windrush cases of wrongful deportation to people from non-Caribbean countries like Ghana.

“By focussing only on Caribbean countries he is attempting to conceal the huge scope of the scandalous way in which people from all Commonwealth countries have been treated.

“The government must widen its review immediately to remedy the injustices caused to people from all over the world and their children, not just to those from the Caribbean.”

The Home Office refused to tell The Independent whether they held records for Mr Ablakwa’s parents, but claimed that no evidence has been provided, suggesting that they were residents in the UK before 1973.

With many thanks to: The Independent for the original story.

Farmers warned of Brexit no-deal ‘turbulence’

Every farmer and person from a rural community needs to watch this video and realise the consequences of what is coming upon Brexit.

Mr Gove said the UK was on the cusp of a “fourth agricultural revolution”

Farmers and food producers face “considerable turbulence” if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said.

He told the Oxford Farming Conference it was a “grim and inescapable fact” there would be tariffs on exports and new sanitary and other border checks.

While “not perfect”, he said Theresa May’s Brexit deal would protect market access and provide economic certainty.

But Labour said “basic legislation” was not in place to prepare for Brexit.

And environmental campaigners said Mr Gove should set up an independent regulator to ensure that minimum standards to protect water, soil, wildlife and animal welfare are maintained.

Farmers seek food standards law after Brexit

Brexit ferry firm in terms gaffe
Brexit: A really simple guide

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March, with MPs due to vote in the Commons in mid-January on the prime minister’s withdrawal bill.

Urging MPs to support the PM’s deal, Mr Gove said it would ensure the UK left the Common Agricultural Policy but, at the same time, provide a smooth transition period for agriculture and guarantee continuous tariff-free and quota-free access to EU markets.

From 2021, he said, the UK would be able to “largely diverge from EU regulation”, enabling it to pursue its land management priorities and invest in technology which the EU has “turned its back on”.

“All of these are real gains that our departure from the EU can bring, but these real gains risk being undermined if we leave the EU without a deal,” he said.

Subsidies for farmers will continue to be paid at the current EU level until 2022

Mr Gove, a leading figure in the 2016 Leave campaign, rejected suggestions that warnings about the economic impact of a no-deal exit were being over-stated and another example of “Project Fear”.

“No-one can be blithe or blase about the real impact on food producers in this country of leaving without a deal,” he said.

Gove sets out post-Brexit farm funding
New EU fishing rules ‘could hurt UK industry’
It was a “grim and inescapable fact”, he said, that beef and lamb exports could face export tariffs of at least 40% if the UK defaulted to World Trade Organization rules, while standard tariffs of 11% could be levied on a host of agricultural products.

“The combination of significant tariffs, where none exist now, friction and checks at the border, where none exist now, and the requirements to re-route or pay more for transport when current arrangements are frictionless, will all add to costs for producers,” he said.

The government has guaranteed to pay subsidies to farmers at current EU levels until 2022.

After that there will be a “transitional period” in England, with an increasing link between funds and maintaining “public goods”, such as access to the countryside and planting meadows.

Mr Gove said these commitments offered farmers greater certainty than their EU competitors.

‘Fantasy deal’
But Conservative former minister Guto Bebb, who backs another Brexit referendum, said the proposed deal would leave “all the big questions unanswered”.

“There is no kind of fantasy Brexit deal that can meet all the promises made to farmers or the rural economy,” he said.

And Labour said Mr Gove’s vision for the future of farming was “irrelevant while basic legislation is not even in place and there are serious concerns about Defra’s preparedness for a no-deal scenario that would be devastating for farmers”.

The National Farmers Union said an “orderly” Brexit was vital for the industry’s future prosperity and to fail to deliver that would be “catastrophic”.

“That’s primarily because a lot of our input, 90% of our animal medicines and vaccines, chemicals and fertilisers, are produced in the EU,” its president Minette Batters said.

“We don’t make those kind of things in the UK any more.”

In his speech, Mr Gove insisted maintaining animal welfare and food safety was critical to the industry’s reputation and sustainability and the UK “must not barter them away in a short-term trade off”.

The NFU is calling for “more than warm words” on the issue, with specific legislation to ensure the same standards are applied to imported food as home-grown produce.

With many thanks to: BBC England (Politics) for the original story.