Saturday, 18 April 2015

How Tough And Expensive It Is To Immigrate Here

I had a letter from a constituent explaining how tough things are for migrants. So much talk of open door immigration gives a false sense of how difficult and expensive it is to immigrate. 

I deleted some personal information from the email. 



Dear Adrian,
I'm on a Tier 2 three-year visa, with my wife and 15 month old daughter as dependants.

I'm emailing you today despite myself not being eligible to vote, because if I don't I fear that our rights will continuously be violated with no one to stand for us.

Specifically, I am concerned about the new NHS surcharge that came into effect on 6 August. I'm sure you are aware but this surcharge is of a value of £200 per person per year payable upon application of a visa or upon extension of an existing visa; so this surcharge also applies to people like us, who are already in the UK on valid visas. For me and my family, when our current visa expires and it's time to extend it for another three years, then we will have to pay £200 per person per year = £200 x 3 x 3 = £1800 plus visa application fees £651 per person = £1953 + £1161=£3753. That's a very large amount of money to cough up in a single instalment. A definite financial strain on our family, especially as we are expecting another little one.

As tax paying workers, we're already contributing to the NHS, "just as families in the UK do through their taxes" (Health Minister Lord Howe). Therefore, this surcharge is unfair.
If the argument is that, we or our families haven't paid long enough in backlogs of taxes as UK families have, then does this not extend to other public services funded through taxation, including police, fire brigades, roads, and even policy making?

I'm surprised that this clear unfairness have not been brought up widely yet, but I hope that you can. I sincerely hope that you can discuss this with your colleagues or even elevate it to a national discussion, where this unfair immigration policy can be subjected to further scrutiny and review. Ultimately, I want to see this surcharge abolished.

I really love the UK for it embraces ideals of human rights, fairness and democracy, while maintaining a healthy diverse society, and we wish to be a part of it. I hope that this country remains fair and open to all, not just migrants but other members of society who are in vulnerable positions such as those on benefits, pensioners, disabled or poor, and that everyone is fairly represented when discussing policies of great consequences to human lives and livelihood.

I look forward to hearing back from you, and good luck with the election (I can't vote but I do support the Greens).

yours sincerely,
...

Friday, 17 April 2015

Robin Hood Tax


The Greens have long called for the introduction of a financial transaction tax.

The South East Green MEP Keith Taylor : "Greens have championed the introduction of a financial transaction tax, both as a means of curbing harmful speculation and as a new source for generating public revenue. Public sector cuts are biting deep, yet banks have billions to spend on bonuses and tax avoidance. The Robin Hood tax is both a potentially significant source of revenue and socially just. 

"The tax will also serve as a disincentive for risky speculation, which was partly responsible for the banking collapse in the first place. It is time for the European Commission and member states to stop stalling."

- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/08-03-2011-green-meps-robin-hood-tax.html#sthash.He4ihBHs.dpuf

Regards Adrian Windisch
adrian@windisch.co.uk
P.S. Please make sure that you register to vote (whoever you decide to vote for). A lot of people who think they are registered aren't. It takes 5 minutes and you can do it online here:https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
P.P.S. If you've been convinced by what I had to say please pledge to vote Green here (it doesn't cost you anything):http://pledge.greenparty.org.uk




Dear Mr Windisch,

I'm a constituent in the parliamentary seat that you are contesting, I would like to know your views on the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), popularly known as the Robin Hood Tax.

Currently, on the European mainland, 11 countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain are about to introduce an FTT. The revenue will not go to Brussels but to their own Exchequers and, if all assets discussed are included, it has the potential to raise in the region of £30 billion a year.

That money could be used to pay back the cost of bailing out the financial sector and the on-going problems the global financial crisis caused, as well as ensuring that international commitments to combat global poverty and climate change are met. 

The financial sector can certainly afford this tax - which would be charged at a fraction of 1% on finance firms rather than individuals – in the same way that it has borne tens of billions in fines due to a host of misdemeanours from product mis-selling to rigging currency rates. Moreover, an FTT would improve the financial system by tackling short-termism and reducing destabilising activities such as High Frequency Trading.

It is often forgotten that the UK currently has an FTT - the 0.5% Stamp Duty on share transactions, which successfully raises £3bn a year. I think the UK should extend our existing FTT to other financial transactions, joining other European countries, to regulate and tax the financial sector more.  

Everyday, we hear that there will be more and more cuts. Surely it is high time the sector behind the financial crisis bears a greater burden of the costs of sorting it out. 

I look forward to hearing your views.

*Please email ppc@robinhoodtax.org.uk for more information or if you'd like to declare your position on the Robin Hood Tax, which will then be published on the Robin Hood Tax campaign's website: robinhoodtax.org.uk

Yours sincerely,

Evidence And Statistics

 I am happy to agree with attending a statistics workshop if I am elected. As I have a MSc and BEng in Civil Engineering I expect I have more maths and statistics training than most other candidates. 

I think more MPs should come from Science and Engineering backgrounds, I hope you agree. 

Regards Adrian Windisch


Dear Adrian Windisch,

I want my MP to put evidence and statistics at the heart of policy debate. The decisions politicians make should be based on what really works, using robust and relevant data to inform the choices they make in important policy areas.

To ensure this is the case, MPs and other senior policymakers should be given basic training in data handling and statistics. This would provide the knowledge they need to make good decisions for the people they represent, and help avoid costly miscalculations.

After the General Election, the Royal Statistical Society will be running a series of short statistics workshops for MPs in Westminster. The aim is to ensure all MPs make the most of local and national statistics, which are part of the day-to-day work of parliamentarians. The workshops will be entry-level, giving MPs extra confidence when dealing with complex data, as well as pointing out the common mistakes people make when analysing statistics and chance.

Will you give me a commitment that, if you are elected as my local MP on 7 May, you will attend a short statistics workshop in Parliament?

Please do make this commitment to statistical awareness by agreeing to attend a statistics workshop if you are elected. I would be grateful if you could reply to let me know if you will commit to this. The Royal Statistical Society will be in touch with MPs after the election to arrange a suitable timeslot for the workshop.

Finally, please also take a few minutes to read the Royal Statistical Society’s Data Manifesto, which outlines 10 things the next government should do to help improve prosperity, democracy and policymaking. 

Royal Statistical Society's Data Manifesto

The next government should:

  1. Ensure evidence and official statistics are at the heart of policy debate
  2. Commit to greater data sharing between government departments for statistics and research purposes
  3. Champion basic training in data handling and statistics for politicians, policymakers and other professionals working in public services
  4. End the practice of pre-release access whereby some people in government see statistics before the public
  5. Give citizens greater access to quality local data
  6. Encourage companies to share data for research purposes for the public good
  7. Increase investment in research and innovation
  8. Progress more quickly on opening up government data
  9. Give the Office for National Statistics and the wider Government Statistical Service adequate resources
  10. Prepare for the data economy by skilling up the nation. 
Best wishes,

Monday, 13 April 2015

I Support Rent Controls

The Green Party supports rent controls, having passed an emergency motion in support of the policy in 2013. Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson has long called for their introduction in London.

“We give our tenants some of the weakest protections in Europe, we should copy the smart rent controls and security enjoyed by tenants in countries like France and Germany where rent can’t rise faster than inflation guaranteeing fairness and predictability for tenants and landlords,” he argued two years ago.

“We cannot go on pricing low paid workers out of swathes of London, it’s hurting our economy and the aspirations of a priced out generation.”


Regards Adrian Windisch
P.S. Please make sure that you register to vote (whoever you decide to vote for). A lot of people who think they are registered aren't. It takes 5 minutes and you can do it online here:https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
P.P.S. If you've been convinced by what I had to say please pledge to vote Green here (it doesn't cost you anything):http://pledge.greenparty.org.uk


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Pledge to support non binary people

I have pledged support to strengthen the rights of non-binary people. And also pledged to support the TransManifesto. The Green Party also have two trans candidates.

Regards Adrian Windisch
adrian@windisch.co.uk
P.S. Please make sure that you register to vote (whoever you decide to vote for). A lot of people who think they are registered aren't. It takes 5 minutes and you can do it online here:https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
P.P.S. If you've been convinced by what I had to say please pledge to vote Green here (it doesn't cost you anything):http://pledge.greenparty.org.uk


Dear Mr Windisch,

I am writing to you as a candidate in my area to ask you to pledge your support to strengthening the rights of non-binary people. Non-binary is an umbrella term for people who don't identify entirely as only male or only female, including non-gendered people. Despite roughly 1 in every 250 people being non-binary, there is very little protection for them. That's over quarter of a million people in the UK being treated unfairly by the law.

UK Trans Info and 8 other groups are asking all candidates in this year's general election to make the following pledge:

I pledge

  • to support expanding the definitions in Equality Act 2010 to ensure all non-binary people are protected.
  • to support reviewing the Gender Recognition Act, with a view to bringing the UK in line with the statement on Identity Recognition issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in January 2015.
  • to support the introduction of non gender-specific X passports, and removing the requirement for a doctors letter when changing the gender marker on a passport.

These changes should be made in full consultation with trans and non-binary people, as well as others who may be impacted by these changes such as intersex people.

Please make your pledge either by sending a tweet to @UKTransInfo or by visiting the campaign website at http://ppc.uktrans.info

Yours sincerely,

Friday, 10 April 2015

Nursing Counts


I support the Nursing Counts campaign. 
The Green Party supports the NHS and the people who work for this great institution. 

Sadly I can't make budget commitments this early, our manifesto is out soon but hasn't been published yet. But I agree it's shameful that nurses and other health workers pay has been frozen. 

I agree with your bullet points:
1.    Improve patient care by ensuring safe staffing levels; giving nurses access to training and; listening to the concerns of staff.
2.    Value nursing by paying a fair wage; stopping the downbanding of nursing experience and; investing in nursing so that future generations aspire to become nurses. 
3.    Invest in health and care by guaranteeing no more cute ts in the nursing workforce; increasing resources for the community and; implementing workforce planning that reflects the needs of patients. 

I pledge to stand up for nursing and patient care in the next parliament. 

Regards Adrian Windisch
adrian@windisch.co.uk
 
http://greenreading.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1 
@adrianwindisch
https://www.facebook.com/adrianwindisch.wokingham
P.S. Please make sure that you register to vote (whoever you decide to vote for). A lot of people who think they are registered aren't. It takes 5 minutes and you can do it online here:https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
P.P.S. If you've been convinced by what I had to say please pledge to vote Green here (it doesn't cost you anything):http://pledge.greenparty.org.uk




Dear Adrian Windisch

1,800. That’s the number of voters in your constituency working as nurses, midwives and health care assistants. We care enormously for our patients and the health care service and we want to be able to provide the best possible care, but often we are not able to, because of decisions made by elected representatives. 

As a voter in your constituency, I am asking if you will support the Nursing Counts priorities.

1.    Improve patient care by ensuring safe staffing levels; giving nurses access to training and; listening to the concerns of staff.
2.    Value nursing by paying a fair wage; stopping the downbanding of nursing experience and; investing in nursing so that future generations aspire to become nurses. 
3.    Invest in health and care by guaranteeing no more cute ts in the nursing workforce; increasing resources for the community and; implementing workforce planning that reflects the needs of patients. 

I want to know from you, my potential elected representative, that you will stand up for nursing and patient care in the next parliament. 

The nursing workforce have collectively chosen these priorities – get these right, and the health service will be the best that it can be and available for generations to come.

Sincerely,

Debt Plan From Step Change

Step change debt charity sound like they have very good advice. Like many constituents I have also struggled in the last few years as wages have come down, prices have gone up and now I have two children.  

I like the six point plan: 
  1. Ensure that every family has £1,000 in savings to cover a sudden cost or income shock.

  2. Ensure all low income households can access low cost credit products.

  3. Scale up free debt advice so that it reaches the 1.4 million people who urgently need advice but aren’t getting it.

  4. Ensure everyone dealing with problem debt gets the protection against interest, charges, enforcement and collections they need.

  5. Protect children and families from the harm of aggressive debt collection practices.

  6. Ensure debt solutions are fit for purpose, and do not have a disproportionate impact on people’s life chances.

Together, these policies will help people already in difficulty and those on the edge of their finances from falling into the debt trap.

 
Regards Adrian Windisch 
http://greenreading.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1 
@adrianwindisch
https://www.facebook.com/adrianwindisch.wokingham
P.S. Please make sure that you register to vote (whoever you decide to vote for). A lot of people who think they are registered aren't. It takes 5 minutes and you can do it online here:https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
P.P.S. If you've been convinced by what I had to say please pledge to vote Green here (it doesn't cost you anything):http://pledge.greenparty.org.uk



Dear Adrian Windisch,

I'm just one of three million people in Great Britain currently in problem debt. Many millions more are at risk of falling into difficulty.

If you're elected as an MP in May you will represent me in Parliament. So I wanted to know what action you will take to help people like me avoid problem debt in the future.

My debts got out of hand when I lost my job and was unemployed for 3 months, I have worked full time since leaving school in 1982 and had never been in this position before. As a single woman I have no one I could ask for help and the help available through the job centre was nonexistent. During this period I became desperate and even contemplated suicide as I just couldn't see a way out. Fortunately I found StepChange and I'm now paying an amount I can just about afford but which leaves me with nothing for myself!

StepChange Debt Charity has set out six actions the next Government can take to help people avoid and get out of problem debt, including building up savings and better protection when people are struggling.

Please let me know what you would do to help people like me avoid problem debt.

Yours sincerely,