Connect with us

Politics

As energy costs soar, we cannot balance environmentalism on the backs of the poor

Published

on

The 2019 General Election realigned politics as working class voters in places like my constituency, Blackpool South, backed Boris and the Tories in record numbers. Whilst this was mainly attributed to Brexit and a dislike of the woke and metropolitan values which the Labour Party had come to symbolize, lifelong Labour voters who switched to the Conservatives were undoubtedly put at ease by a party who was promising to ‘level-up’ and spend record sums on the public services upon which they depended. There was a distinct feeling that the Tory Party of Boris was different and was genuinely on the side of working people in places such as Blackpool, Bolsover and Burney.

Two years since the election, and the view of those former Labour voters towards their old party hasn’t changed. This explains why despite the pandemic and a number of government mishaps, Labour aren’t 25 points ahead in the polls as one might expect. My constituents generally think that the government has done a pretty good job in handling the pandemic, and the vast sums of money which were spent on supporting people’s jobs and businesses, and keeping the NHS afloat, has bought the government some time. However, there are monumental challenges ahead. Not just managing the pandemic or the NHS, keeping the economy on track or finally rebooting ‘levelling up’, but more imminently, the impending cost of living crisis.

By many standards, my constituency is the poorest in England. Unemployment is double the national average and the majority of those in work are in receipt of benefits. People in Blackpool are already struggling to manage the household budget but with nearly all consumer goods and foods rising in price, and the expected increases in National Insurance and Council Tax also set to kick in, working people are facing a tsunami of rising prices. Factor in the expected £600 rise in fuel costs for the average family and people’s budgets will be stretched beyond breaking point in many circumstances.

If the government is going to maintain the trust and support of those new converts from Labour, and truly demonstrate that it is ‘on their side’, it must act quickly. Although we are already doing a great deal to help working families (raising the income tax threshold for low earners; the Universal Credit taper rate changes; increases in the National Living Wage; and freezing fuel duty, for example) people are facing unprecedented pressure on their household budgets and we must go further, and fast.

Featured

BASC’s scholarship programme opens for 2022 applications

Featured

Rural mental health inquiry must account for gamekeepers and shooting, says BASC

One blindly obvious solution to help people with the expected rise in fuel costs from April would be to scrap VAT and the so-called ‘green levies’ on bills. Collectively these make up around 25% of the average fuel bill and scrapping them would save the average household somewhere in the region of £250 pounds per year. Whilst this wouldn’t fully protect consumers against the expected £600 rise, it would go an awful long way towards helping families in the short-term. It is imperative that the government doesn’t become blinded by green ideology in retaining these levies in the midst of millions of working people being plunged into fuel poverty. If there is one single thing which would demonstrate my Party being out of touch with working people it would be this. In short, you can’t balance environmentalism on the backs of the poor who are struggling to keep the heating on. In any case, the green levy is spend on some very dubious projects: not least, a £1 billion subsidy to a power station burning wood chip pellets. Doesn’t sound very green does it?

Whilst cutting VAT and green levies would be a helpful short term measure it does not of course solve our energy crisis. Governments of both colours have hopelessly mismanaged our energy policy for decades. A reluctance to properly pursue nuclear energy and a reliance on fair weather green power has brought us to the point where we are dangerously reliant on the whims of a geo-political foe in Russia. Our long term energy security surely necessitates expanding North Sea exploration and looking again at shale gas where appropriate. Whilst this may be unpalatable to some, the alternative of huge price volatility, the enormous costs to our economy, and working people suffering in cold homes is simply not an option.

Working class voters in red wall seats, like Blackpool South, will decide the outcome of the next election. The test will be whether people feel that the government is truly on the side of people such as them. That’s why the government can’t afford to get decisions such as this wrong.

Scott Benton is the Conservative MP for Blackpool South

GET IT NOW

Politics

Ogun Assembly summons LG officials over alleged financial infractions, abuse of office

Published

on

Ogun house of assembly

Ogun state House of Assembly has summoned some officials of the state’s Local government council commission over allegations of financial infractions and abuse of office.

The Assembly summoned the officials after it received an audit report on the commission by the assembly’s Committee on Public Accounts and Anti-corruption.

After its Plenary on Friday, the commitee directed the Permanent Secretary of the commission to formally communicate it’s summon to the officials indicted in the audit report.

The committee audited activities of all 20 Local Government Councils from 2014-2019.

The Committee summoned one retired Mrs. F.O Odebiyi and a former Chairman of the defunct Sagamu South LCDA, Barr. Hassan Olugbenga to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 to explan financial infractions allegedly committed while in office.

READ ALSO: Ogun Assembly confirms commissioner nominee

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Musefiu Lamidi disclosed that the committee had discovered a trend of illicit practices perpetrated by some officials including non attachment of supporting documents to payment vouchers and the use of unqualified officials as conduit pipes to siphon council funds.

“The commitee also discovered nugatory payments, improper signing of payment vouchers and self procurements by some council chairmen amongst others which were against financial regulations, hence the need to prevent the re-occurence with a view to sustaining transparency in the running of the councils,” he said.

The Committee also reaffirmed its invitation to all Heads of Local Government Administration (HOLGAs), Treasurers and Directors, General Services and Administrations as well as Internal Auditors in all the Local Government councils for an interactive session on Wednesday, 16th February, 2022.

By Oluwatobi Odeyinka

Join the conversation

Opinions

Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now

GET IT NOW

Continue Reading

Politics

IPOB warns Asari Dokubo over comments against Kanu

Published

on

Asari Dokubo

Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has warned former Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo, to mind his utterances and comments against their incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The Igbo separatist group took exception to recent disparaging comments credited to the founder of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force against Kanu and the Biafra cause, cautioning him to mind what he says as he is neither a member of IPOB nor a Biafran.

In the past few weeks, Asari Dokubo has been in the forefront of those urging the Federal Government not to release Kanu, claiming that the Biafra agitator had been instigating violence and killings in the South-East.

But in a statement issued by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary on Friday, the group said it never declared war on Dokubo as he had been claiming, and would be held responsible if any IPOB member died in the coastal areas or hinterlands.

In the statement made available to Ripples Nigeria, IPOB accused Dokubo of sabotaging the Biafra agitation and efforts because of his hatred for Kanu.

“We the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to put the whole world on notice, particularly the Izon people, of the unguarded and nonsense statements coming out from Asari Dokubo against the people of IPOB and our leader because when it will starts, nobody should blame us.

“Asari Dokubo numerated how he sabotaged and planned how our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was abducted and extraordinarily renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria.

“Asari Dokubo should know that he is not an Igbo man, and should stop portraying himself so. Igbos believe in equity and justice and Igbos don’t need a traitor like Asari Dokubo.

READ ALSO: IPOB warns of fake Biafran media groups allegedly sponsored by Nigerian govt

“Asari Dokubo should equally remember that IPOB never declared war against him since he started his nonsense statements against IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu. We don’t want to be distracted or join issues with him.

“But we want to make it categorically clear to him that if any IPOB member, both in the hinterland and coastal region of Biafra, dies as a result of his threats, he will understand what IPOB is capable of doing.

“Again, we want him to withdraw his empty threats and stop exposing his historical shortcomings and ignorance by dabbling into a century that he has completely no idea about. Asari Dokubo is not an Igbo and has no link with the Igbo people.

“Igbos don’t need Asari to live their lives. Asari should know that he doesn’t, and can never love Igbo people more than Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB movement.

“Asari Dokubo should know that his sabotage of the Biafran struggle will not stop us from getting Biafran freedom. His grouse with Nnamdi Kanu was because he was more interested in becoming the President of Biafra, and he was told to wait first until Biafra comes.

“He turned against Kanu and Biafra freedom because he hates the truth. Asari thinks that his criminal gangs sponsored by Aso Rock and some politicians in the region will kill IPOB members and blame it on Igbo people. We know who he is and he will soon regret his actions against a just cause,” the statement added.

Join the conversation

Opinions

Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now

GET IT NOW

Continue Reading

Politics

INEC assures disabled persons of priority voting rights

Published

on

4CF4D2DE 2C73 4ED4 B206 4155FBD6D062

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) of unhindered access in exercising their franchise in the February 12 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area councils’ elections.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) FCT, Yahaya Bello, gave the assurance on Friday,  in his remarks at a one day sensitisation meeting with PWDs toward an Inclusive Area Council Elections in FCT, organised by INEC.

Mr Yahaya, represented by the Deputy Director, ServiCom INEC FCT, Dennis Ogu, said that INEC having taken into consideration the electoral rights of every citizen, had continued to strive to remove barriers which prohibited full participation of PWDs as voters and candidates.

“The commission has therefore put in place several measures to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in the electoral process in the country.

“Therefore, in the forthcoming area council election, the commission will be providing Braille Ballot Guide and/or magnifying glasses for visually impaired persons.

“Special queues will also be maintained on the election day to give priority to the persons with disabilities to cast their ballots with dignity and privacy.

“Other measures will be explained to you by relevant departments in the course of this meeting,” Mr Bello said.

The REC said the sensitisation meeting was organised to ensure that every registered voter in FCT, including PWDs exercised their civic rights in the election without hindrance or inhibition.

(NAN)

Source

GET IT NOW

Continue Reading

Trending

NgGossips.com