When will there be a general election?

The maximum term of a Parliament is five years from the day on which it first met. The current Parliament first met on Tuesday 17 December 2019 and will automatically dissolve on Tuesday 17 December 2024, unless it has been dissolved sooner by the King.

Polling Day would be expected to take place 25 days later, not counting weekends or any bank holidays that fall within this period.

Prime Minister’s speech on welfare: Friday 19 April 2024

Today I’d like to talk about the growing number of people who have become economically inactive since the pandemic…

 …and the moral mission of reforming welfare to give everyone who can, the best possible chance of returning to work.

The values of our welfare state are timeless.

They’re part of our national character – of who we are as a country.

We’re proud to ensure a safety net that is generous for those who genuinely need it – and fair to the taxpayers who fund it.

We know there are some with the most severe conditions who will never be able to work. 

And some who can no longer work because of injury or illness.

And they and their loved ones must always have the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will always be supported.

But we also have a long-standing and proudly British view that work is a source of dignity, purpose, of hope.

The role of the welfare state should never be merely to provide financial support… 

…as important as that will always be…

…but to help people overcome whatever barriers they might face to living an independent, fulfilling life.

Everyone with the potential should be supported…

And not just to earn, but to contribute and belong.

And we must never tolerate barriers that hold people back from making their contribution… 

…and from sharing in that sense of self-worth that comes from feeling part of being something bigger than ourselves.

That is why this is a moral mission.

And why the value of work is so central to my vision for welfare reform.

And it’s fitting to be setting out that vision here, at the Centre for Social Justice. 

Over your 20-year history, you’ve inspired far-reaching changes to welfare. 

I want pay tribute to you and of course your founder, Iain Duncan-Smith… 

…who began the journey of reform in 2010… 

…a journey carried through so ably today, by Mel Stride. 

Because when we arrived in office in 2010, people coming off benefits and into work could lose £9 for every £10 they earned…

…by far the highest marginal tax rate. 

That was morally wrong.  

So we created Universal Credit to make sure that work always pays. 

We introduced the National Living Wage – and increased it every year, ending low pay in this country.  

We’re rolling out 30 hours of free childcare for every family over 9 months of age.  

We’ve halved inflation, to make the money you earn worth more.  

And we’ve cut workers’ National Insurance by a third.

A tax cut worth £900 for someone earning the average wage… 

…because it is profoundly wrong that income from work is taxed twice… 

…when other forms of income are not. 

For me, it is a fundamental duty of government to make sure that hard work is always rewarded.  

I know - and you know - that you don’t get anything in life without hard work.

It’s the only way to build a better life for ourselves and our family; and the only way to build a more prosperous country.  

But in the period since the pandemic something has gone wrong.  

The proportion of people who are economically inactive in Britain is still lower than our international peers.  

And lower today than in any year under the last Labour government. 

But since the pandemic, 850,000 more people have joined this group due to long-term sickness.  

This has wiped out a decade’s worth of progress in which the rate had fallen every single year.  

Of those who are economically inactive, fully half say they have depression or anxiety. 

And most worrying of all… 

…the biggest proportional increase in economic inactivity due to long-term sickness came … 

…from young people. 

Those in the prime of their life, just starting out on work and family - instead parked on welfare.  

Now, we should see it as a sign of progress that people can talk openly about mental health conditions… 

…in a way that only a few years ago would’ve been unthinkable.  

And I will never dismiss or downplay the illnesses people have. 

Anyone who has suffered mental ill health or had family or friends who have, knows that these conditions are real and they matter. 

But just as it would be wrong to dismiss this growing trend… 

…so it would be wrong merely to sit back and accept it… 

…because it’s too hard; or too controversial; or for fear of causing offence. 

Doing so, would let down many of the people our welfare system was designed to help. 

Because if you believe as I do, that work gives you the chance not just to earn…

…but to contribute, to belong, to overcome feelings of loneliness and social isolation… 

…and if you believe, as I do, the growing body of evidence that good work can actually improve mental and physical health… 

…then it becomes clear: we need to be more ambitious about helping people back to work.  

And more honest about the risk of over-medicalising the everyday challenges and worries of life.  

Fail to address this, and we risk not only letting those people down.  

But creating a deep sense of unfairness amongst those whose taxes fund our social safety net… 

…in a way that risks undermining trust and consent in that very system. 

We can’t stand for that.  

And of course, the situation as it is, is economically unsustainable. 

We can’t lose so many people from our workforce whose contributions could help to drive growth.

And there’s no sustainable way to achieve our goal of bringing down migration levels, which are just too high…

…without giving more of our own people the skills, incentives, and support, to get off welfare and back into work.

And we can’t afford such a spiralling increase in the welfare bill… 

…and the irresponsible burden that would place on this and future generations of taxpayers.

We now spend £69bn on benefits for people of working age with a disability or health condition. 

That’s more than our entire schools budget; more than our transport budget; more than our policing. 

And spending on Personal Independence Payments alone is forecast to increase by more than 50 per cent over the next four years.  

Let me just repeat that: if we do not change, it will increase by more than 50% in just four years.  

That’s not right; it’s not sustainable and it’s not fair on the taxpayers who fund it.

So in the next Parliament, a Conservative government will significantly reform and control welfare.  

This is not about making our safety net less generous. 

Or imposing a blanket freeze on all benefits, as some have suggested.  

I’m not prepared to balance the books on the backs of the most vulnerable. 

Instead, the critical questions are about eligibility… 

…about who should be entitled to support…

…and what kind of support best matches their needs. 

And to answer these questions, I want to set out today five Conservative reforms for a new welfare settlement for Britain. 

First, we must be more ambitious in assessing people’s potential for work.  

Right now, the gateway to ill health benefits is writing too many off… 

…leaving them on the wrong type of support… 

…and with no expectation of trying to find a job, with all the advantages that brings. 

In 2011, twenty percent of those doing a Work Capability Assessment… 

…were deemed unfit to work. 

But the latest figure now stands at 65 per cent. 

That’s wrong. 

People are not three times sicker than they were a decade ago. 

And the world of work has changed dramatically. 

Of course, those with serious debilitating conditions should never be expected to work.  

But if you have a low-level mobility issue, your employer could make reasonable adjustments…  

…perhaps including adaptations to enable you to work from home. 

And if you are feeling anxious or depressed, then of course you should get the support and treatment you need to manage your condition. 

But that doesn’t mean we should assume you can’t engage in work.  

That’s not going to help you. And it’s not fair on everyone else either.  

So we are going to tighten up the Work Capability Assessment… 

…such that hundreds of thousands of benefit recipients with less severe conditions… 

…will now be expected to engage in the world of work – and be supported to do so.

Second, just as we help people move from welfare into work… 

…we’ve got to do more to stop people going from work to welfare. 

The whole point of replacing the Sick Note with the Fit Note was to stop so many people just being signed off as sick.  

Instead of being told you’re not fit for work… 

…the Fit Note provided the option to say that you may be fit for work… 

…with advice about what you could do; and what adaptions or support would enable you to stay in, or return to work, quickly.  

11 million of these Fit Notes were issued last year alone.  

But what proportion were signed “maybe fit for work”? 

6 per cent. 

That’s right – a staggering 94 per cent of those signed off sick… 

…were simply written off as “not fit for work.” 

Well, this is not right. And it was never the intention.  

We don’t just need to change the sick note – we need to change the sick note culture… 

…so the default becomes what work you can do – not what you can’t.  

Building on the pilots we’ve already started..

…we’re going to design a new system… 

…where people have easy and rapid access to specialised work and health support…

…to help them back to work from the very first Fit Note conversation.  

And part of the problem is that it’s not reasonable to ask GPs to assess whether their own patients are fit for work. 

It too often puts them in an impossible situation where they know that refusal to sign someone off… 

…will harm their relationship with that patient. 

So we’re also going to test shifting the responsibility for assessment from GPs… 

…and giving it to specialist work and health professionals…  

…who have the dedicated time to provide an objective assessment of someone’s ability to work…

…and the tailored support they need to do so.  

Third, for those who could work with the right support… 

…we should have higher expectations of them in return for receiving benefits.  

Because when the taxpayer is supporting you to get back on your feet… 

…you have an obligation to put in the hours. 

And if you do not make that effort, you cannot expect the same level of benefits.  

It used to be that if you worked just nine hours a week, you’d get full benefits without needing to look for additional work.   

That’s not right. Because if you can work more, you should.  

So we’re changing the rules.  

Anyone working less than half a full-time week will now have to try and find extra work in return for claiming benefits. 

And we’ll accelerate moving people from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit, to give them more access to the world of work.    

One of my other big concerns about the system… 

 …is that the longer you stay on welfare, the harder it can be to go back to work. 

More than 500,000 people have been unemployed for 6 months… 

 …and well over a quarter of a million have been unemployed for 12 months. 

These are people with no medical conditions that prevent them from working… 

…and who will have benefitted from intensive employment support and training programmes. 

There is no reason those people should not be in work, especially when we have almost 1 million job vacancies. 

So we will now look at options to strengthen our regime. 

Anyone who doesn’t comply with the conditions set by their Work Coach…

…such as accepting an available job… 

…will, after 12 months, have their claim closed and their benefits removed entirely.

Because unemployment support should be a safety net – never a lifestyle choice.

Fourth, we need to match the support people need to the actual conditions they have. 

And help people live independently and remove the barriers they face. 

But we need to look again at how we do this through Personal Independence Payments. I worry about it being misused. 

Now its purpose is to contribute to the extra costs people face as they go about their daily lives. 

Take for example, those who need money for aids or assistance… 

 …with things like handrails or stairlifts. 

Often they’re already available at low cost, or free from the NHS or Local Authorities.    

And they’re one-off costs… 

…so it probably isn’t right that we’re paying an ongoing amount every year.  

We also need to look specifically at the way Personal Independence Payments support those with mental health conditions.   

Since 2019, the number of people claiming PIP citing anxiety or depression as their main condition, has doubled… 

…with over 5,000 new awards on average every single month. 

But for all the challenges they face…

…it is not clear they have the same degree of increased living costs as those with physical conditions.  

And the whole system is undermined by the way people are asked to make subjective and unverifiable claims about their capability. 

So in the coming days we will publish a consultation on how we move away from that… 

…to a more objective and rigorous approach that focuses support on those with the greatest needs and extra costs. 

We will do that by being more precise about the type and severity of mental health conditions that should be eligible for PIP. 

We’ll consider linking that assessment more closely to a person’s actual condition…

…and requiring greater medical evidence to substantiate a claim. 

All of which will make the system fairer and harder to exploit. 

And we’ll also consider whether some people with mental health conditions should get PIP in the same way through cash transfers… 

…or whether they’d be better supported to lead happier, healthier and more independent lives…  

…through access to treatment like talking therapies or respite care. 

I want to be completely clear about what I’m saying here. 

This is not about making the welfare system less generous to people who face very real extra costs from mental health conditions.  

For those with the greatest needs, we want to make it easier to access with fewer requirements.

And beyond the welfare system, we’re delivering the largest expansion in mental health services in a generation… 

…with almost £5 billion of extra funding over the past 5 years, and a near doubling of mental health training places. 

But our overall approach is about saying that people with less severe mental health conditions… 

…should be expected to engage with the world of work. 

Fifth, we cannot allow fraudsters to exploit the natural compassion and generosity of the British people.   

We’ve already cracked down on thousands of people wrongly claiming Universal Credit… 

…including those not reporting self-employed earnings or hiding capital   

And we’ll save the taxpayer £600 million by legislating to access vital data from third parties like banks. 

Just this month, DWP secured guilty verdicts against a Bulgarian gang caught making around 6,000 fraudulent claims…

…including by hiding behind a corner shop in North London. 

And we’re going further.  

We’re using all the developments in modern technology, including Artificial Intelligence…

…to crack down on exploitation in the welfare system that’s taking advantage of the hardworking taxpayers who fund it.

We’re preparing a new Fraud Bill for the next Parliament which will align DWP with HMRC… 

…so we treat benefit fraud like tax fraud… 

…with new powers to make seizures and arrests. 

And we’ll also enable penalties to be applied to a wider set of fraudsters through a new civil penalty. 

Because when people see others in their community gaming the system that their taxes pay … 

…it erodes support for the very principle of the welfare state. 

Now, in conclusion some people will hear this speech and accuse me of lacking compassion.  

Of not understanding the barriers people face in their everyday lives. 

But the exact opposite is true. 

There is nothing compassionate about leaving a generation of young people to sit alone in the dark before a flickering screen… 

…watching as their dreams slip further from reach every passing day.  

And there is nothing fair about expecting taxpayers to support those who could work but choose not to. 

It doesn’t have to be like this. 

We can change. We must change. 

The opportunities to work are there… 

…thanks to an economic plan that has created almost a million job vacancies. 

The rewards for working are there… 

…thanks to our tax cuts and increases to the National Living Wage. 

And now, if we can deliver the vision for welfare I’ve set out today… 

…then we can finally fulfil our moral mission, to restore hope…

…and give back to everyone who can, the dignity, purpose and meaning that comes from work.  

The Prime Minister


Smart motorways tech 

Year 2023 the Government announced that was halting the roll-out of any new smart motorways because of cost and safety concerns. It is spending £900m on technology to make the existing network safer, but there are no plans to put the hard shoulder back.

Technology on smart motorways lost power nearly 400 times over 20 months, according to the BBC. Panorama reported that, according to data obtained under freedom of information laws, there were 397 incidents between June 2022 to February 2024 with smart motorways losing power to support the system that controls safety features on these motorways, experienced a range of issues to sign, signals and stopped vehicle detection technology.

Tory leadership race

Who could replace Liz Truss as prime minister

Liz Truss has announced has resigned, which means there will now be another leadership election to decide who becomes the next Conservative leader and prime minister, the contest to replace her is due to be completed by 28 October.

So far two candidates need at least 100 nominations from fellow Tory MPs to get on the ballot, meaning no more than three of them will be able to stand because there is 357 Tory MPs.


Penny Mordaunt, she received good reviews for her confident performance at the despatch box. She stood in the last contest and secured strong support from her fellow MPs but just missed out on making it to the final two.


Rishi Sunak, made it to the final two along with Ms Truss, having won the most support from Conservative MPs. During the campaign he warned that his rival's tax plans would damage the economy, but his message failed to appeal to party members and he lost by 21,000 votes.


Boris Johnson, was forced to announce his resignation in July however, he still has allies both in Parliament and the party membership in general, but will he stand again?

Westminster crash: Salih Khater named as suspect 


The man arrested on suspicion of terror offences after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament has been named as Salih Khater by government sources.

The 29-year-old British citizen, originally from Sudan, has also been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, Met Police said on Wednesday.

He came to the UK as a refugee and was granted asylum, the BBC understands.

His brother described him as a "normal person" with no fanatical ideas, and no links to any religious group.

Abdullah Khater also said his family - who are originally from Darfur in Sudan - was in "a state of shock" over the incident.

Three people were injured after the car hit cyclists and pedestrians during Tuesday morning's rush hour.

The silver Ford Fiesta then crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament just before 07:40 BST.

A man and a woman were taken to hospital after the crash and later discharged, while another man was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

The suspect is not believed to have been known to MI5 or counterterrorism police, but is understood to have been known to local police.

He did not co-operate with officers after his arrest, Scotland Yard said. The investigation team's priority "continues to be to understand the motivation behind this incident", a spokesman added.

Police have concluded searches of two properties in Birmingham and one in Nottingham and are currently searching a third address in Birmingham.

What else is known about the suspect?

Mr Khater came to Britain in 2010 and successfully applied for UK citizenship in the past two years.

His brother said he had been planning a trip back home to see his family, having not seen them for some time.

Mr Khater is believed to have lived in a first-floor flat above a parade of shops in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham until four months ago, when he moved to the city's Highgate area.



Bank holiday strike to bring bus chaos to London

Centrecom Bank holiday strike to bring bus chaos to London

Controllers are set to strike in a row over pay sparking fears of widespread disruption across the capital. Transport for London confirm their staff will be on strike on Sunday 27th and Monday 28 August.

The strike was voted for by members of the Unite union. The staff responsible for re-routing buses due to major events, roadworks and accidents, bus station controllers, network traffic controllers, revenue protection inspectors, infrastructure controllers and road transport enforcement officers will begin their walk-out at 00:01 on Sunday, with the strike expected to last 48 hours.

The members on strike are also responsible for answering emergency code red alarms directly from bus drivers. Drivers can choose how to proceed if they don't receive a response and, if they are uncomfortable continuing their journey, can decide to immediately cancel their service.

The action, which was announced whilst 'peace talks' between TfL and Acas broke down, was called over complaints of inadequate pay.

Reportedly, the Unite regional officer Hugh Roberts said:

"This is entirely the fault of TfL management which has had every opportunity to resolve this dispute long before now."
During talks TfL were prepared to improve the workers' pay offer to a non-consolidated payment of £350 for each year, which amounts to £6.73 a week. However the bus staff claim the pay offer is the worst of any sector of TfL workers, adding London Underground workers are to receive a 3.2 per cent increase this year.

Reportedly, Claire Mann who is TfL’s Director of Bus Service Delivery and Operations, said:

“We made a revised offer to staff at the conciliation service ACAS on Tuesday in a bid to resolve the dispute. This offer is fair, maintains pay and conditions, brings salaries in line with similar roles and reflects the tough financial environment in which we operate. Discussions have been underway for the past 13 months and we remain open for talks. We are putting plans in place to ensure minimal disruption to bus services over the bank holiday weekend should the strike action go ahead."

Bus companies for the planned industrial action at centercom over the weekend, are stating that there were initial fears that bus drivers, Londoner's and visitor's to London may be put in danger with no code red facility. They have been assured by the managers at cetercom, that this is not the case. The code red facility will be fully operational with the normal cover available.


The new Data Protection Act 2018 alongside the GDPR. Organisations and data protection professionals could use this as an introduction to the new Act.


Beyond 2018 – data protection laws built to last

ICO the data protection authority for the UK, are eager to embrace the changes it brings and begin regulating the new UK and EU legislation that, from 25 May, will make our country one of the world’s most progressive data protection regimes.

The previous Data Protection Act, passed a generation ago, failed to account for today’s internet and digital technologies, social media and big data. 

More informatiom

The data protection law is changing 25th May 2018, so we've updated our Data Protection Policy.


Autumn Budget 2017: 25 things you need to know 

The Chancellor has presented his Budget to Parliament – here's a summary of what was announced.



22nd November Autumn Budget 2017


1. There are over 32 million people in work – near a record high

The rise in employment over the past year has been driven by full time workers. Unemployment is also at its lowest rate since 1975.

In 2017 growth has remained solid, but slowed slightly at the start of the year. The UK economy is forecast to grow by 1.5% in 2017. It will then grow at a slightly slower rate in the next three years, before picking up in 2021 and 2022.

Inflation is forecast to peak at 3% in the final months of this year, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). It will then fall towards the target of 2% over the next year.

2. Borrowing has fallen by three quarters since 2010, but debt is still high

In 2009-10 the UK borrowed £1 in every £4 that was spent. Last year it was £1 in every £16.

The fall in borrowing means we are adding less to our debt every year. However the UK still has a debt of over £1.7 trillion – around £65,000 for every household in the country.

3. An extra £3 billion to prepare for Brexit over the next two years

The money will make sure the government is ready on day 1 of exit. It will include funding to prepare the border, the future immigration system and new trade relationships.

4. £6.3 billion of new funding for the NHS

£3.5 billion will be invested in upgrading NHS buildings and improving care.

£2.8 billion will go towards improving A&E performance, reducing waiting times for patients, and treating more people this winter.

3 billion of new funding for the NHS5. Abolishing stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on homes under £300,000 for first-time buyers from 22 November

95% of first-time buyers who pay stamp duty will benefit.

First-time buyers of homes worth between £300,000 and £500,000 will not pay stamp duty on the first £300,000. They will pay the normal rates of stamp duty on the price above that. This will save £1,660‎ on the average first-time buyer property.

80% of people buying their first home will pay no stamp duty.

There will be no relief for those buying properties over £500,000.

6. 300,000 new homes a year, an amount not achieved since 1970

£15.3 billion new financial support for house building over the next five years – taking the total to at least £44 billion. This includes £1.2 billion for the government to buy land to build more homes, and £2.7 billion for infrastructure that will support housing.

The government will also create 5 new ‘garden’ towns.

Changes to the planning system will encourage better use of land in cities and towns. This means more homes can be built while protecting the green belt.

7. The National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage will increase from April 2018

The National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over will increase from £7.50 per hour to £7.83 per hour from April 2018. Over 2 million people are expected to benefit. For a full-time worker, it represents a pay rise of over £600 a year.

The National Minimum Wage will also increase:

21 to 24 year olds

18 to 20 year olds

16 and 17 year olds


£7.38 per hour

£5.90 per hour

£4.20 per hour

£3.70 per hour

8. The tax-free personal allowance will rise with inflation to £11,850 from April 2018

The personal allowance – the amount you earn before you start paying income tax – will rise from £11,500 to £11,850. This means that in 2018-19, a typical taxpayer will pay £1,075 less income tax than in 2010-11.

9. Fuel duty will remain frozen for an eighth year

In 2018, fuel duty will remain frozen for the eighth year in a row, saving drivers £160 a year on average.

10. A new railcard for those aged 26 to 30

The government will work with the rail industry on a new railcard which will be introduced from spring 2018.

11. Duty on beer, wine, cider and spirits will be frozen

The cost of a pint of beer or cider will be 1p lower than if duty had risen by inflation. The cost of a typical bottle of wine will be 6p cheaper.

Cheap, high-strength cider will be subject to a new band of duty.

12. Duty on tobacco will rise

The duty on cigarettes will increase by 2% above inflation. Hand-rolling tobacco duty will increase by 3% above inflation.

13. 95% of passengers will not see an increase in their Air Passenger Duty

Air Passenger Duty will be frozen for all economy passengers and all short-haul flights. It will rise for premium fares on long-haul flights, and on private jets.

14. Households applying for Universal Credit will get more upfront support

Households in need who qualify for Universal Credit will be able to access a month’s worth of support within five days, via an interest-free advance, from January 2018. This can be repaid over 12 months.

Claimants will be eligible for Universal Credit from the day they apply, rather than after seven days. Housing Benefit will continue to be paid for two weeks after a Universal Credit claim.

Low-income households in areas where private rents have been rising fastest will receive an extra £280 on average in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

15. Electric and driverless cars

The UK will set out rules so that self-driving cars can be tested without a safety operator.

An extra £100 million will go towards helping people buy battery electric cars. The government will also make sure all new homes are built with the right cables for electric car charge points.

16. The world’s first national advisory body for artificial intelligence (AI)

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will set standards for the use and ethics of AI and data. This will allow the UK to lead the world in developing practical uses for the technology.

17. More investment in maths and science in schools

Schools will get £600 for every extra pupil who takes A level or Core maths.

£27 million will help improve how maths is taught in 3,000 schools. £49 million will go towards helping students resitting GCSE maths.

£350,000 of extra funding a year will be given to every specialist maths school that is set up across the country. The number of fully-qualified computer science teachers will also rise from 4,000 to 12,000.

18. £64 million for construction and digital training courses

£34 million will go towards teaching construction skills like bricklaying and plastering. £30 million will go towards digital courses using AI.

This funding is provided in advance of launching a National Retraining Scheme that will help people get new skills. It will be overseen by the government, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). They will decide on other areas of the economy where new skills and training courses are needed.

19. A £220 million Clean Air Fund for local areas with the highest air pollution

Local authorities will be able to use this money to help people adapt as steps are taken to reduce air pollution. Possible ways the money could be spent include reducing the cost of public transport for those on low incomes or modernising buses with more energy efficient technology.

The money will come from a temporary rise in Company Car Tax and Vehicle Excise Duty on new diesel cars.

20. Reducing single-use plastics waste

The government will seek views on reducing single-use plastics waste through the tax system and charges. Disposable plastics like coffee cups, toothpaste tubes and polystyrene takeaway boxes damage our environment.

This follows the success of the 5p carrier bag charge, which has reduced the use of plastic bags by 80% in the last two years.

21. Business rates will switch to being increased by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) 2 years earlier than planned

Business Rates will rise by CPI from April 2018. Business rates currently rise by the Retail Price Index (RPI), a different way of measuring inflation which tends to be higher than the CPI.

Business rates revaluations will take place every 3 years, rather than every 5 years, starting after the next revaluation, currently due in 2022.

22. Pubs in England will continue to receive a £1,000 business rates discount next year

The discount applies to pubs with a rateable value of up to £100,000.

23. Stopping digital multinationals who hold intellectual property in low-tax countries from avoiding tax

The government will also look to change international corporate tax rules to ensure digital companies pay a fair amount of tax.

24. More money for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The devolved administrations will all get increased spending power in devolved areas, including education, health and transport. Each devolved administration can decide where this will be spent:

  • There will be an increase of £2 billion for the Scottish Government
  • There will be an increase of £1.2 billion for the Welsh Government
  • There will be an increase of £660 million for a Northern Ireland Executive

Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be able to claim VAT refunds which will save them around £40 million per year.

25. Funding for transport across England

£1.7 billion will go towards improving transport in English cities. Half will be given to Combined Authorities with Mayors, and the rest allocated by a competition.

An extra £337 million will go towards a fleet of new trains on the Tyne & Wear Metro.

An extra £6 million will go towards the Midlands Connect motorway and rail projects.

Transport links along the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor will be improved by:

  • completing the rail link between Oxford and Bedford, and Aylesbury and Milton Keynes
  • setting up a new East West Rail Company to speed up work on the rail link between Bedford and Cambridge
  • £5 million to help develop plans for Cambridge South Station
  • building the Expressway road between Oxford and Cambridge


Unison has won a four-year battle against the Government, with the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday 26th July 2017 that employment tribunal fees are unlawful.

Ever since the government introduced tribunal fees three years ago, the number of claims has plummeted as workers have been forced to find fees of between £160 and £1,200 before they can pursue a case.

Court cases we're unsuccessful as a result it was too easy for some employers to escape justice. Many low-wage workers now must put up with unfair or discriminatory treatment simply because they cannot afford to take a case. Unison we’re determined not to give up the fight as thousands of low-paid workers was pinning their hopes on them being successful.

Thursday 26th July 2017 Unison won their case at the Supreme Court, ruling that employment tribunal fees are unlawful. 

Anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge. The Government will stop charging employment tribunal fees and refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling.

Well done Unison a great result for all employees.



New diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution, the government has announced.

Ministers have also unveiled a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions, including the potential for charging zones for the dirtiest vehicles.

New petrol and diesel cars, manufacturers won't be able to sell new cars with internal combustion engines by this deadline 2040 in the UK. Well, not banned outright, but it means a nation of around 45million licence holders will have little choice but to turn to electric vehicles - an option that's been readily available to drivers for the best part of a decade but has so far proved too expensive and impractical to take off.

Yes. The ban is purely for new vehicles being sold. According to Environment Secretary Michael Gove there will be a 10-year phasing out period after 2040 to remove all internal combustion engine cars from the road network.

According to recent National Grid report, peak demand for electricity would have to increase by around 50 per cent, from 61 to over 90 gigawatts to cope with the number of EVs being charged, especially after 5pm when many workers arrive home. To cope with demand, it would have to turn to imported electricity, which will rise from around 10 per cent of total electricity used in Britain to around one third. This could have serious issues for energy security.



Tips to avoid workplace burnout……

Workplace burnout isn’t just feeling a bit tired or coping with the stress of everyday work. It’s a feeling of chronic exhaustion, frustration and powerlessness. Those suffering from burnout tend to withdraw emotionally from their work, lose motivation, and become less productive. Studies also link burnout to numerous emotional and physical health problems.

What causes burnout? Work overload is often a factor. Because of economic pressures, some employers demand that employees work longer hours, at times for less money. Technology now keeps some in constant contact with their job, blurring the lines between work and private life. For some, job insecurity, lack of control over their work, or feelings of being treated unfairly contribute to burnout. So does dealing with unclear priorities or conflicts with co-workers.

Granted, change may seem impossible if you feel trapped in circumstances beyond your control. Nevertheless, consider the following four steps for dealing with burnout. You may have more options than you realize.


What is most important to you? Many people would likely put family relationships and good health near the top of their list. These are things that are likely to suffer if you are burned out.
By clarifying your priorities, you prepare yourself to make difficult decisions and accept trade-offs. For example, you may see that your work is leading to burnout. Yet you may reason, ‘I cannot change jobs or work less; I need the income!’ True, everyone needs income, but how much and at what cost to the things you value most?

Beware of pressure to adopt the priorities of others around you as your own. Your employer’s priorities and yours are likely different. Others may choose to put work first in their life, but this does not mean that you must do the same.


To reduce stress and gain time for what you truly value, you may consider working fewer hours, you may be able to persuade your employer to reduce your current job demands, or you may determine that you need to change jobs. Whatever you decide to do, you will likely need to adjust your financial situation and make changes in your lifestyle. But this is not impossible and may not be as hard as you might think.

We live in a consumer-oriented society which sends the message that happiness is linked to income level and possessions. But in reality it is not. A simpler lifestyle can bring greater freedom and satisfaction. To prepare for such a change, reduce expenses and save money. Try to lower or eliminate debt. Discuss the need for change with your family members, and seek their support.


If you face an unrealistic workload or some other persistent problem in your workplace, discuss your situation with your union and employer. A flexible working time arrangement may become necessary and in certain circumstances you may also be covered by the Equalities Act 2010. Whenever possible, the union will offer solutions that meet both your needs whilst recognising those of your employer. Reassure your employer of your commitment to your work, and explain what you are willing to do; but be clear and firm about what you are not able to do.


Even when your work is free of major problems, you may still have your share of stresses, difficult people, and unpleasant situations. So make time for sufficient rest and balanced recreation. Remember that recreation does not have to be expensive to be refreshing to you and your family. Cultivate interests and friendships apart from your work, and avoid defining yourself by the type and amount of work that you do. Why? The book Your Money or Your Life observes: “Who you are is far greater than what you do for money.” If your identity and self-worth come primarily from your work, then you will find it difficult to minimize the role that work plays in your life.

Driving tired

Concern is growing amongst many bus drivers, especially in London, about the number of hours they are expected to work and the types of shift pattern leading to fatigue and drowsiness at the wheel.

For example you may be contracted to work between 38-43 hours per week but could find yourself actually working in excess of 45 hours per week including break times. Because of ‘spread overs’, some drivers work in excess of 55 hours per week whilst only receiving pay for 40 hours.

Then there are the shift patterns. Imagine working a Saturday night shift that actually finishes at approx 2am on a Sunday morning, only then to be told that your next shift will commence at 5am the very next day! How is that truly putting the safety of both the driver and that of his or her passengers first? Would you feel safe getting on the bus with your family knowing that the driver is working to that type of pattern?

During induction training, a driver will be told on how many hours he or she can drive and that by law you must have 8.5 hours between duties. (This includes driving home and to work, washing, eating and having a sleep.) However, you are not necessarily made aware about the type of roster patterns that may have a detrimental impact on your health.

Transport for London has said that driver hours are strictly governed by the European Community (EC) regulation (561/2006) as well as rules under the UK’s Transport Act 1968 (as amended by the Drivers Hours (Passenger Vehicles) Order (SI 1971 No818). They say that these highly prescriptive regulations set out the time allowed for layovers and rest periods – and that if a driver feels that their shift pattern is not compliant with these, they should raise their concerns with their employing company.

This highlights the need for us as drivers to stand together and not let the bus operators continue with unsafe rota patterns. Driver’s hours also need to be overhauled so that people’s lives are not put at risk.

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