Wednesday, 27 October 2010

How Does Politics Effect You?

This is an open commentary on how politics effects some of our young people today.

"Living in East London since being born. Being unable to move out because of the financial restraint. Being caught in a circle of debt because of previous county court judgements handed to me. Being forced to sell “bags for life” at work and not hand out free ones even though we have them – because the store is heralded as a “green one”. Not working longer than my stated shift because I will not be paid. Keeping the heating off at home to conserve energy and lower my carbon footprint? Or to save credit on the meter for when we actually need it.

Thinking about money...

Drinking at home to achieve a drunken state BEFORE going out to a club, because it’s cheaper. Buying items you may not even need in bulk because they are on offer now, they may go up in future."

"Personally, politics has a major Impact towards my life on a daily basis. From work to uni to shopping. Something which has an outstanding effect on my life is the tax which has to be paid to the government on a monthly basis.

Even looking at minor cases, such as KFC. Before a mini variety meal was £1.99 and now it has increased to £2.29. The thing which scares me, is that there is going to be an added gradient on the tax which I am currently paying now. By next year the tax would have risen by 20%, which mean I would have less capital to spend on certain essentials.

As we know this country is suffering from heavy financial debt and I am extremely frightened that my job is going to be in jeopardy."

"I do believe that politics has a major impact on my life at the moment and the main issue that has also gone nationally is the increase of university fees. This is scary because as there will be a £12,000 increase without any added on interest. This £12,000 could have gone towards a mortgage of even to start a family in the future. Even the increase on V.A.T to 20% will have a huge effect on everything that buy. As I drive I have seen the price of petrol inflate from around 89p to £1.20 plus.

The government making additional cuts for example cutting child benefits have defiantly hindered my way of thinking because later on in life I would like to start a family of my own and knowing that little bit of help from the government isn’t going to be there makes me wonder why?"

The Difference Between: Central And Local Government

From the research Evolution NOW have gathered so far, University students are primarily concerned with rising fees. At the recent Q&A session at Hackney Town Hall, Ismael, passionate about such issues, stood up and asked a question regarding fees reaching £7000 by 2012.

Although the question wasn’t answered directly by the panel, an audience member raised an interesting view on the subject. The person suggested that the rises should not be seen as a disadvantage or a hindrance – but as an incentive, further encouragement to get into higher education and succeed.

This is one view on the situation but we feel that as a whole, most families within the borough of Hackney will not be as optimistic as this individual. From a money standpoint, most families will see this as further “Financial Fencing” and widening of the gap between the rich and the poor.

Upon further research, we have discovered that the question was correct, but the people we were asking it to, were not. This question should have been directed at central government, not local government.

But what is local government and what is central government?

At face value, imagine your household when you were a child – your parents or guardians looked after you, your interests and your needs. Everything that you use, is in good condition and shareable. This is local government.

Now, as the parent guardian, depending on your income – you will have to pay taxes and occasionally ask for allowances of money to help with the running of certain things: like additional help with the rent, council taxes and repayable loan to help you through higher education. This is central government.

Central government works with an idea. An idea then develops into a policy – for example, stop and search laws. This is then taken into the House of Commons, where your local MP’s talk about it within their parties and decide if it is a good idea or a bad idea.

If they agree, then the policy is then taken to the House of Lords. They generally don’t squabble about any policies really, and decide to pass the policy as a law.

House of Commons are made up of people elected locally, for each party. These are considered the “main government”.

House of Lords are made up of people that inherit their position. For example, if once upon a time, your great grandparents bought a massive piece of land, they were considered the “lords” of that land. When they passed away, the title was passed down to offspring and so the chain continues.

So with this information, who do you campaign to about the university fees rising?

By Lem Leon

Project Manager

Friday, 22 October 2010

Spending Review - What It Means To You

The Spending Review was the single most radical shake up in recent years in politics. but all the theatrics and bleating from within the walls of parliament aside, what does all these big budget cuts mean for us young people? in this blog we will pick some of the key sectors that we at Evolution NOW think will effect you.

And even show you the silver lining...

The Proposed Cuts will take place over the next 10 years and total to the amount of £81 Billion.

Communities and local government - Current Budget: £28.5 Billion - Cut: £6 Billion

Local councils are being urged By Eric Pickles to merge services and streamline buying of goods. Provisionally this means less digging up of roads and local improvements - but this could mean when the winter has passed this year, given last years deep freeze, we could be stuck with severely damaged roads and walkways but no money to repair them.

Culture, Media and Sport - Current Budget: £1.4 Billion - Cut: £0.2 Billion

These cuts are mainly going do be administrative promises the Secretary of State for culture, Jeremy Hunt. How will this effect London 2012 games? not at all as this budget will be maintained to ensure a successful delivery.

Education -Current Budget: £58.4 Billion - Cut: £1.2 Billion

Michael Gove's budget maybe going down but he is considered a winner for protecting the budget for schools which will help disadvantaged children. But ultimately, will cutting back on education hurt the economy in the long run as tuition fees are set to rise?

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Current Budget: £2.9 Billion - Cut: £0.7 Billion

Considered one of the biggest losers in all the cuts, Caroline Spelman is forced to re-prioritise spending, focusing on British farming and food production. Could these cuts spell the end of British made products such as those advertised by Morrisons?

Energy and Climate Change - Current Budget: £2.9 Billion - Rise: £0.8 Billion

Chris Huhne Is one of the few who see a rise in his spending over the next four years. This is to ensure as a country we stay on course to cut greenhouse gasses and raise our usage of renewable energy sources. With renewable energy, this will eventually mean lower energy bills for us all.

Health - Current Budget: £103.8 Billion - Rise: £10.6 Billion

Andrew Lansley Benefited hugely from the Tory pledge to raise the NHS budget. The Secretary of State for health will see a rise of £2 Billion per year leading up to 2014/15, whilst a £200 Million cancer drugs fund will be set up. No matter how severe cuts elsewhere are, the NHS is still at the forefront of the coalitions thoughts and this is great news.

Transport - Current Budget: £12.8 Billion - Cuts: £0.8 Billion

Phil Hammond Maintains that bus travel for the elderly will remain free. That's the only good news here as in 2012 - train fares are set to rise 3% above the rate of inflation to pay for the improvements and help ease overcrowding, which will become commonplace as the Olympics comes to town.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as fares will already become even more expensive, a single fare on a bus set to rise to a whopping £2.20. All these new fares - are they fair?

Other Good Spending Notes:

- Council tax is also set to be frozen for two years

- BBC TV License is set to be frozen for SIX years

-Free Museum entry protected

So when you're broke in less than two years time, you can always hire one of Boris' bikes and go to a museum...

By Lem Leon
Project Manager

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Hackney Town Hall Q&A 15/10/10 (ISH &NAT)

As planned the Evolution met up outside hackney town hall, prompt in the morning and ready to commence. The aim of this day was to hopefully get some answers to our questions, as we were very excited to ask the panel.

Stepping into the courtroom was a new experience to us, as it felt as though we were entering the House of Commons. Upon entry, to our right sat the members of the panel. Which included the mayor of hackney, the head of the police department, and also young students from schools and colleges.

We sat down and listened to the discussion which was going on. A young person within the audience, asked a very relevant question which was:

 Aim higher is being stopped next year, what are you going to imply to replace it?
The mayor of hackney replied: the government is aware of this and is implementing funding towards programs, which are aimed to help young people within hackney.

Our concern is as the government are funding these programs, are they going to be
As easily assessable to young people as aim higher was?

From our primary resource, we have gathered that the majority of students within university are worried about the increase of university fees. Ismael felt very passionate about this subject, and had a question to ask the panel.

There have been several talks about the putting the university fees up to £7000 by 2012, what are you views on the current situation? And what do you intend to do to try and make a change.

From the question we asked, there was not a direct answer, and it seemed as though they went around in a circle and didn’t answer our question.

A young person which was on the panel, made a comment. That young people shouldn’t see the £7000 tuition fees as a disadvantage, or a set back. But more of an encouragement to make young people more determined to strive to get to university.

We found that, what he said was not a very considerate, as a lot of young peoples families cannot afford the £7000, which is required to get to university

Leaving the courtroom, we felt as though our question hadn’t been answered properly by mayor of Hackney. He didn’t really answer our question but instead went round in a circle.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Meeting With Citizen Foundation - 13/10/10 - (LEM)

Today was the day. Today was the day that evolution NOW was entering the next phase. We entered the meeting in a grand fashion and everyone knew who we were within seconds of our arrival.

There was a level of apprehension that I, as project leader, needed to overcome. There is always a sense of parenthood with something that one person creates. Whether it be a television show or a project such as this.

The Citizenship foundation encourages and enables individuals to engage effectively in their communities and in democratic society at large.
Evolution NOW is creating a world where young people better understand and engage with politics.

A lot of ideas were put our way as to how to get our message across, including various issues for us to raise. One of which stood out like a sore thumb and I couldn’t believe it was almost over looked. The issue being the referendum (insert here a link to the upcoming “What Is Referendum?”).
With the wisdom and knowledge of this organization, We stand to gain to a lot of experience as well as finding out exactly who else is starting their own evolution.

Lem Leon - Project Manager