Category: Policy

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Is there just a hint of Apartheid in Shipley?

John Cole

Editor’s note: the original version of this article stated that Philip Davies MP helped his colleague Christopher Chope filibuster the upskirting bill. This was incorrect and Davies in fact supported the bill. We apologise for any upset this might have caused and have amended the article to reflect his record more closely. In my life […]

For the chancellor, charity begins at boarding school

David Goff

What’s your favourite charity? Oxfam? Amnesty International? Maybe you keep your spare change closer to home, helping out the Air Ambulance or the Big Issue seller. Either way, the financial accounts of Eton, Harrow or Yorkshire’s own Pocklington School are unlikely to be high on anyone’s list of deserving causes. Rattling a collection tin for […]

There’s summit about flooding

Jane Thomas

The long-awaited flooding summit will convene at last on 8 October, following a concerted effort by Dan Jarvis, Barnsley MP and South Yorkshire mayor, and the Yorkshire Post. However, in what is a travesty for the rest of the region, the summit is for South Yorkshire and not the whole of Yorkshire. After being pressed […]

Our future: health

Hugh Goulbourne

By Hugh Goulbourne in collaboration with Dr M E Noble As thousands of parents and schoolchildren are forced to self-isolate, students are locked up in their halls of residence and pubs are required to close at 10pm, it is clear that the government has lost control of the pandemic. This has repercussions not just for […]

Sheffield residents misled over cladding for Hanover Tower

Douglas Johnson

After the horror of the Grenfell fire in June 2017, senior Sheffield Council officials moved quickly to reassure tenants that all its tower blocks were safe. They soon back-tracked after plastic cladding on Hanover Tower in Broomhall failed fire safety tests. This was a shock to residents and, apparently, councillors. Sheffield Council quickly gave a […]

Home office evictions of asylum seekers to resume

Dr Stella Perrott

The government wrote to voluntary sector organisations on 18 September to say it is restarting evictions of asylum seekers in England and will consult with the devolved nations before starting them again in the rest of the UK. As reported in the Independent, “Individuals who have claimed asylum and had their cases refused will begin […]

The case for a Green Building Fund for West Yorkshire

Andrew Cooper

Kirklees Council has recently agreed to build a new library in Birkby, just outside Huddersfield. I cast my eyes over the council report and saw some positives on the environmental standards. It said they would incorporate an air-sourced heat pump and a sustainable urban drainage system, but the big downer was when the report proudly […]

A-level furore the tip of the iceberg: how digital technology and artificial intelligence threaten social welfare, social rights and social justice

Marc Limon

The scandal around this year’s A-level results, and in particular the application of an algorithm to help predict students’ grades based on the historic performance of their school, drew unprecedented attention to the use of digital technology solutions in national social policy. The consequent public outcry eventually forced Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson into another […]

Trusting in history

Andrew Leach

That the National Trust could so upset a seemingly large swathe of its traditional supporter base is perhaps one more event to add to the weird dystopia that is 2020. But upset them it has. Not by changing the recipe for its Victoria sponge, nor by once more asking its volunteers to wear a rainbow […]

Thousands face winter of homelessness as eviction ban ends

Natalie Bennett

Yesterday (Wednesday) the House of Lords debated motions expressing its – and many others’ – grave concern about the plight of many facing the threat of a winter of homelessness, with the Covid-19 emergency eviction ban ended. It was noted, in the dry, formal terminology of such things, that the legal change “will permit evictions […]

Home Office risks immigration decisions being driven by “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”

Dr Stella Perrott

On 18 September, the Conservative-dominated public accounts committee (which examines the value for money of government projects, programmes and service delivery) published its report: ‘Immigration Enforcement’. The findings are damning, concluding that the Home Office’s approach risks making decisions on “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”. The directorate responsible for immigration enforcement has, as its vision: “to […]

Five areas in Yorkshire and the Humber named ‘least socially mobile’ in the UK

Alex Toal

Figures released yesterday by the Social Mobility Commission reveal that five local authorities in the Yorkshire and the Humber region are among the 24 least socially mobile in the country. Bradford is listed in 2nd place, behind only Chiltern in the South East, with Hull, Rotherham, Kirklees and North East Lincolnshire all featuring on the […]

Fight to save Leeds housing estate

Stephen Delahunty

Residents at a privately owned social housing estate near Leeds are fighting to save their community from an investment firm that has plans to demolish residents’ homes in favour of “executive, expensive housing”. Pemberstone has owned the estate for more than 20 years. It submitted an original planning application in October 2017 as it considers […]

Not at all Good, seriously Bad, and incredibly Ugly: government game-playing is immature, disrespectful and downright dangerous

Amanda Robinson

As Anthony Robinson (no relation) highlighted on the 14 September, the UK government announced last week that they intend to break international law. Perfectly stated by David Allen Green, “the government of the United Kingdom is proposing to enact legislation that is deliberately intended to make it possible for ministers to make regulations that would […]

UK internal market bill: Henry VIII powers on steroids

Natalie Bennett

Unless you’ve just splashed down from Mars, you’ll have noticed that the government has got itself into a great deal of hot water over the internal market bill. Former prime ministers, of various hues, have lined up to express their horror at its cavalier, casual dismissal of international law and repudiation of a treaty that […]

Rebels with a clause: now the fun and games will start

Jane Thomas

Ester Weber, reporter at The Times told twitter this morning: “One Tory MP in a big Leave constituency tells me: ‘In a patch like mine I think almost anything would be tolerated in the name of Brexit … Except fly-tipping.’” This may well be true, and the expectation that the government is about to fall […]

Grenfell: the price of property profiteering

Andrew Leach

At around 1am on the 14 June, 2017, an apocalyptic inferno engulfed a residential apartment block in unimaginable horror. The block was Grenfell Tower, a 23-storey building. An electrical fire that began in a flat on the fourth floor quickly consumed the entire structure. Some 72 people died that night. The primary reason for the […]

Mum’s the word?

Dr Pam Jarvis
blue jeans

Childcare for working families is one of those perennial problematic societal issues, such as youth unemployment and domestic violence, which has not been created by covid but simply exacerbated by it, as it relentlessly picks at existing fault lines in our society. Antonia Bance, head of communications at the TUC, recently picked up the baton […]

The not-so-genius evil behind the stamp duty holiday

Andy Brown
building metal house architecture

One thing we have all learned in lockdown is that where you live really matters. Being told to stay at home in a lovely house in the country is not the same as being told to confine yourself in a shared damp flat at the top of a high rise in an inner city. So […]

Beyond lockdown: what now for schools?

Dr Pam Jarvis
alphabet class conceptual cube

The debate about returning to school continues in England, while Scotland’s schools have already returned. Boris Johnson claims that there is a “moral duty” for schools to fully re-open in September, but as ever, appears to be covering a lack of detail with his familiar, flowery rhetoric. Some media sources cite psychological problems in children […]

The bigger picture beyond the exams fiasco

Mary Boothman
happy student throwing papers in air in park

Might the resignation of the chief regulator, Sally Collier – followed swiftly by the sacking of Jonathan Slater, permanent secretary to the Department for Education – draw a line under the exams debacle of recent weeks? I very much doubt it, nor do I believe they should have been the ones to take the hit. […]

The housing and planning bill we should have had

Andrew Cooper

The Conservative government’s proposals in the business and planning bill have been justly criticised for being far too developer-friendly, to the detriment of the local environment, climate change, housing standards and local democracy. The bill panders to the interests of big builders and not those of millions of people who need low cost, secure housing […]

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