When The Master Controls The Tardis- Part Privatising Any Part of the BBC is Criminal

Under threat of fines and a criminal record British people, if they wish to use a television, have to pay the TV licence, that is not ideal (nor is the licensing now being run as a sales operation). The license fee is also unrelated to ability to pay, a billionaire pays the same as someone subsisting on £50 a week. However most people are ok with paying it, because the BBC provides a unique and worthwhile service in a mediascape overwhelmed with banality and does not -overly- engage in profiteering from its captive user base. S0 if any part of the BBC were to privatised and listed on the stock market it simply means the already wealthy share owning section of society (Thatcher’s ‘share owning democracy’ scam) will have their wealth increased by a a public body whose funding is levied by an indirect and hence unfair tax on a population with no other reasonable choice.

Put it this way, does the BBC really want to argue you should pay the licence so private investors can get richer? That private profits are enforced with fines and a criminal record? Just when the US is waking up to this issue through the healthcare debate we are about to somnolently submit to it?

BBC Worldwide should continue to plough its income back into the public service broadcasting of the BBC and ideally the licence fee should reflect the ability to pay. Mark Thompson’s unsurprising floating of this idea further demonstrates the impeccable neoliberal corporatist credentials of the idiot, it’s fine if this leads to his downfall, the atrocity of deferring to Israel over the Gaza appeal should have been enough.

The BBC must be a public service broadcaster with no deference to power or corporatist ideology (especially in the wreckage of its demonstrable failure), it is failing at both under the current post Hutton careerist whelps, for instance broadcasting Metropolitan Police propaganda to protect criminals in the both the police & City. The BBC will remain under attack from the Right and the Murdoch crime family until it is privatised and broken into digestible chunks they can own and profit from while it sows hatred and ignorance as distraction to further corporate interests (the Fox Model if you like). There is no point in giving in to them a single centimetre, in the end they are looking to destroy the BBC and its ethos, which they abhor. As with New Labour the clever way for neolioberal zealots to destroy it is to populate the upper echelons with ideological chumps full of corporate free market libido, Thompson is showing he is the Blair in the infiltration and destruction of the BBC by conservatives (after sterling ground work performed by Dalek Birt).

Worst Pun Ever

bbc settler wine
Oh BBC, the article is not so bad, (even if it glosses over the violent racist extremism of the settlers and the state’s complicity), but who perpetrated that pun atrocity?

Posted in Media. Tags: , . 7 Comments »

ID Yachts

On the BBC story-Will you sign up for a new ID card? the comments are mostly- No! But one stands out for it’s elegance-

I have nothing to hide so why would I not want to have an ID card.
Anon

Now as spEak You’re bRanes makes clear the HYS threads are notoriously fuckwit rich but I’d like to think this was some neat conceptual wit at play.

Posted in BBC. Tags: , . 10 Comments »

…And Then The BBC

So where was I? Oh yeah blogging. Well it seems the banning of the DEC appeal on Gaza was symptomatic of something much more insidious, the BBC now have editorial policy that extends across all aspects of the institution and they are rejecting a play on the same grounds of ‘impartiality’. I sort of understood the DEC thing was angled that if they aired it it would compromise their news operations, which of course was nonsense, but seems they might have been a bit fibby, because now it appears the rapprochement with the Israeli government that began in 2003 is across the entire institution so that creative works will also be censored-

The BBC has declined to broadcast a radio version of Caryl Churchill’s controversial new stage play about Israeli history, claiming it needed to remain impartial ‑ the same reason given for declining to air the Gaza emergency appeal.

In a move likely to resurrect the row over the BBC’s refusal in January to broadcast the appeal to help the people of Gaza, Radio 4 rejected an unsolicited manuscript of the play, Seven Jewish Children, which recently finished a short run at the Royal Court theatre. BBC sources suggest that a significant factor in the decision was awareness of the controversy stirred by Seven Jewish Children during its theatre run and the fact that the BBC has only recently survived the onslaught of criticism for its refusal to broadcast the Gaza appeal. In an email seen by the Guardian, Radio 4’s drama commissioning editor Jeremy Howe said that he and Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer thought Churchill’s play was a “brilliant piece”.

But Howe wrote: “It is a no, I am afraid. Both Mark [Damazer, Radio 4 controller] and I think it is a brilliant piece, but after discussing it with editorial policy we have decided we cannot run with it on the grounds of impartiality – I think it would be nearly impossible to run a drama that counters Caryl Churchill’s view. Having debated long and hard we have decided we can’t do Seven Jewish Children.”

Ironically the author wrote this short letter about the DEC appeal ban-

I couldn’t believe I’d heard right when Channel 4 news said the BBC had refused to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza. But here it is in the Guardian (BBC refuses airtime to Gaza aid appeal, 23 January). I don’t think the BBC objected to the appeal for Darfur, wondering if they were being unfair to the Janjaweed. Perhaps their problem would be solved if a tiny proportion of the money were spent on the tiny proportion of Israeli wounded. The phone number for complaining to the BBC is 03700 100 222.
Caryl Churchill
London

The play has already been attacked by the usual suspects who try to equate anti-zionism with anti-semitism (even as shock horror! a mainstream US newspaper actually broaches the subject albeit with subsequent regulation ‘balance’ piece) and has drawn intelligent repudiations. The play ‘Seven Jewish Children’ is being performed (only as a reading, it is radioactive much like the play drawn from Corrie’s diaries/emails which was blacklisted out of theatres)  in New York today on the anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death (and as another US activist Tristan Anderson has been shot by the IDF). The implications of the BBC now extending its weird ‘impartial’ bullshit to all BBC output is utterly wrong and creatives need to stand up to this censorship. But as the Chas Freeman kerfuffle has also demonstrated the crushing of dissent is all the zionist lobby have left, which sort of gives away they know the strength of their arguments are somewhere between weak and complete rubbish.

Update: Pulse post the script of the play and details should non-profit groups wish to perform it.

UK Army Special Forces Back To Spy In N. Ireland

This story from the Beeb popped up in my RSS feeds-

Special forces monitor dissidents
Today, 06:00 PM
Members of the Army’s special forces are to help gather intelligence on dissident republicans, the BBC learns. Read more…

But clicking it gives a 404, for this url-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7927074.stm

the story has been scrubbed and no cache exists that I can find, two other stories relating to it are published on the BBC-

The intelligence service MI5 is still devoting considerable resources to Northern Ireland, according to a report from a Parliamentary committee. The Intelligence & Security Committee Report has revealed MI5 allocated 15% of its resources in 2007/08 to what it calls “Irish-related terrorism”. However, this was down from 17% in 2006/07. The committee reports that dissident republicans continue to pose a threat in NI and the rest of the UK.

And-

The government and security services believe dissident republicans pose a greater threat than ever. The threat assessment has been raised to “severe”, meaning an attack is regarded as highly likely. The decision to upgrade the level was made by MI5 – responsible for gathering intelligence on dissident republicans.

So I guess the Beeb got a phone call, yes big up the fearmongering but No don’t blab our special forces are back doing the do in the occupied territories. After all that worked out so well in the past, if by well you mean collusion with loyalist death squads. The War of Terror, the gift that keeps on giving.

Update: A version has turned up thanks to commenter Watching Them, Watching Us of Spyblog!

BBC Trust Supports DEC Gaza Appeal Ban

Unsurprisingly? Anyway something very sinister seemed to leap at me from this quote:-

Mr Lyons said: “The director general argued that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply divisive and that the suffering of civilians plays a central part in the political case each side makes in the ‘court of world opinion’.”

Mr Thompson had consequently thought it “impossible in this case to separate the political causes from the humanitarian consequences”, Mr Lyons added. “In the director general’s view, the appeal would, by its very nature, have shown only one aspect of the conflict and broadcasting it, he argues would have implied a significant level of the endorsement by the BBC of the appeal itself – thereby putting BBC impartiality at risk.”

Mr Lyons said the Trust had found this to be “a reasonable argument” and that the decision taken was “within the parameters of reasonable decisions open to him”.

No, it is not impossible, it is only impossible if like the BBC you have sought a rapprochement with Israel since 2003 and are now impartially close to it. Also this means the only main UK broadcasters to help the Israeli war effort are Murdoch’s Sky and the BBC. Must make the Beeb proud- look at us, we’re as good as Fox News!!!!!

So if you are sufficiently chums with the UK, US and the Beeb elite you can murder at will and your victims are unworthy of help, that’s what “impossible in this case to separate the political causes from the humanitarian consequences” amounts to, total cowardice, utter partiality. The more the killers have explained their position to us, the more we have elected to listen to them, the less able we are to see clear past that. Mark Thompson, go fuck yourself and take the BBC quisling Trust with you. No nation should get special treatment off the BBC, no casualty of violence should be ignored because the attacker is so awfully good at making their case. Now tell me is there any sign the BBC is now trying to build bridges with those who this decision has appalled? Or are they sat smugly with a shit eating grin the warm glow of victory obscuring the millions now even less accepting of the BBC as a useful source of information. Are they ok with powerful murderous friends and a lowered professional reputation? Silly question, corporate media always are, after all they don’t hang out with us, they hang out with them. Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, they’ll always be a good reason echoed through the media for killing people. Don’t rock the boat, especially when you’re in it and the BBC really are now in it.

Write To The BBC Trust

Well after getting the form reply from the Beeb I wrote back and firstly got an hilarious reply by accident reassuring me about some program called ‘Hunter'(Nah, me either) then I got a proper reply-

[This first bit is about the ‘Hunter’ mix up) Further to our most recent email, we would ask you to disregard that response as it was sent in error.  Our intended response is as follows:

Thank you for your further email about the BBC’s decision concerning the DEC Gaza Appeal.

The Director-General has explained the BBC’s position and is the BBC’s Editor-in-Chief so this cannot be considered at a higher level by the BBC’s Executive.  We cannot therefore add more to our previous response but if you wish to take the matter further you can contact the BBC Trust about the decision.  For details of how to do this please see the information on the BBC Trust’s website at:

www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/appeals/dec_gaza_appeal.html

Thank you again for your email.

BBC Complaints

Click that link and you get this at the BBC trust-

Arrangements for handling appeals against the Director-General’s decision not to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis Appeal
28 January 2009
The BBC Trust is responsible for setting standards for the BBC and ensuring that they are upheld. We ensure that BBC management has appropriate frameworks in place to deal properly with complaints from those who feel these standards have not been met. We also act as the final court of appeal if complainants are unhappy with the way their initial complaints have been dealt with by management. One of our overriding principles is that the BBC Trust must act independently of the BBC management in dealing with complaints.
The Trust published a complaints framework which came into operation on 1 August 2008. It applies to all complaints handling within the BBC and sets the principles to which complaints procedures and participants in those procedures must adhere. It allows the BBC to vary the procedures to ensure that complaints covering more than one subject can be dealt with efficiently and effectively. Further information about the new framework and procedures is available on the Trust website.
In the case of appeals against the Director-General’s decision not to broadcast the Disaster Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis Appeal on the BBC, appeals to the Trust will be considered in the first instance by an ad hoc committee consisting of Richard Tait (Chairman of the Trust Editorial Standards Committee), Chitra Bharucha (Vice-Chairman of the BBC Trust and Chairman of the Trust General Appeals Panel), and Sir Michael Lyons (Chairman of the BBC Trust). Richard Tait will chair the committee, which will make recommendations to the full Trust for final decision. The decision to hear these appeals via an hoc committee reflects the probability that appellants will raise a range of issues, which may cut across the Trust’s usual complaints handling boundaries.
The Trust will deal with this matter speedily – while also ensuring that those who wish to appeal have an opportunity to do so and that all sides, including the Executive, are given a fair hearing.
The appeals process involves a number of steps. These are:

  • Receiving the appeals
  • Summarising their contents to ensure that all relevant issues raised are considered by the Trust
  • Receiving a response from the Executive to the points raised by appellants
  • Presenting this with appropriate legal advice to the committee
  • Final consideration by the full Trust.

The decision of the Trust will be posted on the Trust website.
The email address to send appeals (on the DEC Gaza crisis appeal issue only) is: dec.complaintsappeals@bbc.co.uk

So get that, this is beyond the complaints procedure which they allege cannot compete with Mark Thompson’s authority so the Trust is now the place to go.

Posted in BBC. Tags: , . 6 Comments »

Malcolm Balen, Hutton, Iraq & The DEC Ban

2003 and relations between the BBC and the Israeli government had broken down, concurrently relations between the BBC and the British government of Tony Blair were also strained over the lies of the Iraq war. The Jewish Chronicle-

14/11/2003 THE BBC’s appointment this week of a top broadcasting figure to oversee its Mideast coverage was welcomed by Israeli and Jewish community leaders as a recognition of their protests over alleged anti-Israel bias.

In an unprecedented move, the corporation named Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the “Nine O’Clock News,” to monitor its coverage of the region.

A BBC spokesman said Mr Balen, appointed by head of news Richard Sambrook and World Service chief Mark Byford, would “build our relations with all people in the Middle East.” He would also be a “point of contact” for viewers and listeners.

The move came in the wake of a series of meetings in recent months, in both London and Jerusalem, involving Israeli officials, figures from the British Jewish community, and top BBC representatives.

Relations have been increasingly strained amid accusations that BBC coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq war, and other Middle East issues has been slanted against Israel.

Relations hit a low earlier this year when BBC representatives were barred from briefings during Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s London visit, and Israeli leaders refused to appear on BBC programmes.

The Chronicle are excited by the post Hutton tamed BBC and by the new Balen brand-

14/11/2003 WHAT exactly prodded the BBC’s extraordinary move to name Malcolm Balen, a respected broadcasting veteran, to oversee its Mideast coverage is impossible to say with certainty. Israeli and Jewish community spokesmen clearly see the appointment as a sign that their long campaign against “Beeb bias” has borne fruit — that the corporation recognises that its coverage has been slanted against Israel.

BBC officials, by contrast, seem at pains to portray the move as an effort to address concerns on all sides of the conflict. Unspoken, but not necessarily unimportant, is a third possible catalyst: complaints from the British government over BBC broadcasts on the war in Iraq, the debates that preceded it, and the controversies which have followed. Whatever the origin of the BBC decision, it is welcome.

How nice, the cowed BBC simultaneously less antagonistic towards Blair (now of course peace envoy to the region, a peace envoy who has yet to visit Gaza) and Israel. The BBC have fought long to keep the report Malcolm Balen wrote about BBC coverage of Israel & Palestine secret, the idea put about by Israel friendly/BBC antagonistic media is that it found the BBC biased against Israel, at least in Balen’s eyes. We don’t know though, some vague mentions of context being more important could point either way. Although his judgement when asked about an independent report –Bad News from Israel– that found BBC bias in favour of Israel was to dismiss it before even reading it. So that and subsequent BBC coverage suggest the rumoured appraisal is correct. Then there is the hush-hush trip BBC director general Mark Thompson made to Israel to hang with Ariel Sharon (in fairness he ‘held talks’ with Abbas, although should the BBC DG follow the US & UK lead at the time and not talk to Hamas? Now that’s an interesting understanding of independence and impartiality). It’s possible to see BBC management becoming too accommodating to Israel (and its US and UK elite allies) a blindness which is resulting in the shameful banning of the DEC appeal.

Alex Brummer in 2003, the city editor of the Daily Mail also earning a crust writing opinion in the Jewish Chronicle, displays the allegiances of those who have pushed the BBC to this shameful state of affairs-

Slowly but surely we are moving towards a new BBC. In the year or so since government scientist and Iraq-expert David Kelly took his own life, sparking an official inquiry, the corporation has been turned on its head.

Listeners and viewers may yet find it difficult to detect changes. It may also be that the politically correct views of BBC reporters take time to adjust. But, as a result of the changes to management and news leadership, there could be, over time, a return to the Reithian values of quality and fairness which many ob-servers feared had been abandoned.

Ooh, just feel the Daily Mailian pomposity and flowery prose (Reithian, give me strength) of pretending doing the warmongering governments of the world’s bidding is quality and fairness. He goes on (oh does he ever)-

But as head of the World Service, with its reach into the developing countries, Sambrook’s new role will be equally important. We know from the UN General Assembly vote on implementation of the International Court of Justice ruling on Israel’s security barrier how much work there is to be done if a more balanced interpretation of Israel’s objectives is to be achieved.

It is an uphill task. The disputed barrier is still routinely referred to on BBC news output as a security “wall,” even though only a few of the hundreds of kilometres are solid concrete. In a recent “World This Weekend” broadcast on Radio 4, the presenter referred to the barrier as “Ariel Sharon’s wall.” Yet the plans for the barrier were first drawn up by the IDF and the intelligence services when Labour was in power.

In the struggles which the BBC faces as the charter review looms in 2006, coverage of the broader Middle East is likely to play an important role. After all, it was Alastair Campbell’s war of attrition during the Iraq war, when he bombarded Dyke and the governors with a series of complaints about the failure of the Beeb to provide full-on support for the war effort, which triggered the events which eventually led to the Kelly tragedy and the shake-up at the top.

Oh and he, er, likes the Dubya-

21/11/2003 He [Roger Mosey] regards being “impartial about President George Bush,” this week’s state visitor to Britain, as something to crow about. The assumption in this is that it is having to bend over backwards to be fair to the American leader.

But why? Mr Bush is, after all, the elected leader of the free world, the protector of Britain’s security through NATO, and a vitally important economic partner. There is no need to work on impartiality — just report the US President as he is, unadorned.

It must be love! The Blair lies of Iraq and the pressure to acquiesce to the Israeli lobby and to the Bush cabal (counter)-revolutionised the BBC. Such that in 2009 management were able to convince themselves airing a charity appeal for the casualties of war is a bias against the poor beleagueredaggressor.

PS. The ‘Kelly tragedy’ was found likely a homicide after an investigation by Norman Baker MP.

Not Anti Beeb

Update: And here is the ad they banned, shown on all the other terrestrial channels only the BBC and Murdoch’s Sky helped cover up the damage of the attack on Gaza.

Donate to the DEC appeal, details below or here.

Is the BBC a news channel? It is not, it is public broadcaster who as well as news makes and broadcasts all manner of radio and television shows available in various media. They have shows about surreal puppets who live in the woods, they have shows about time travellers and their enmity towards malicious dustbins, they have shows about quaint EastEnd folk and their inability to act very well or ever have even a halfway happy life. They have music shows, DIY shows, gardening shows, cooking shows, look you get the idea. So the BBC as a whole is not a news organisation that is only one of its functions, therefore to air the DEC appeal does not immediately mean its news operations are synonymous with the appeal, in fact it doesn’t mean the BBC is, they are simply doing their job as public broadcaster to give leading charities a platform to raise money for a region in dire need. That the DEC saw fit to focus on this the BBC should respect their expertise and assessment of needs, people at the BBC are not more expert than personnel from the charities making up the DEC. Claims this impacts impartiality is like claiming because Have I Got News for You ridicules public figures the current affairs department can no longer do its job as the BBC clearly takes a stance all politician’s are feckless grifters.

There is only one answer as to why the DEC appeal is banned from the BBC, and make no mistake banned is an appropriate word. The answer is they are overly open and sensitive to the partisan concerns of pro-Israeli parties, be they lobbyists, Zionist organisations or the Israeli government itself. The result is the BBC is now, by banning the ad, reducing help to people Israel has only recently stopped killing. By default that makes this decision not impartial but actually a helpful part of the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza. Only looking at it from a partisan pro-Israel position does the decision even approach appearing ‘impartial’. One can only assume the military forces in the Congo neglected to spend money on effective lobbying of the BBC as that appeal was broadcast without the BBC panicking what Hutu militia’s thought about ‘bias’. It is also extremely offensive to the peace groups and human rights organisations in Israel who themselves opposed the attacks and are trying to help the Palestinians in Gaza. The BBC is lining up with the pro-war faction in one nation on Earth against the needs of a starved and bombed populace. That is not impartial. Humanitarianism trumps political and religious factions, perhaps the most recent and well known precedence for ignoring such basic ethical approaches was given by the Bush regime in denying Red Cross access to prisoners they were torturing, that is no example to follow.

On screen talent at the BBC now have an opportunity, presenters, chat show hosts, DJ’s can use their allotted broadcast time to give out the details of the DEC appeal. Those that do should be lauded for their integrity and professional courage, those who choose not to, well we can make our own choices about whether to include them in the media we consume from now on.

Those details-

Online: Click here to donate online

CAF Card: Click here to donate by CAF Card

Phone: Call our automated 24 hour credit card hotline 0370 60 60 900

Post: Make
cheques payable to DEC Gaza Crisis and post to DEC Gaza Crisis, PO Box
999, London EC3A 3AA or go to any Post Office quoting Freepay
number: 1210

You can also download our Gaza Donation by Post form to make your donation payment and send it to PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA

I think like many I have great affection, even loyalty to the BBC, it’s an institution that does make me proud. A long time ago working for it freelance it was thrilling to be in the same places The Goon Show was made, or On The Hour. And as a viewer, it makes some of the best programmes on Earth (Two Pints of Lager notwithstanding). So, much like a friend or family member who makes some appalling choices it makes it all the more acutely felt because of the relationship you have with the transgressor. From all accounts it is a tiny cabal of management who are holding firm in this decision while BBC staff find it appalling, so this is more of an intervention for a loved one who has gone astray, ended up in bad company and needs help, than an attack on the institution. It’s always difficult when you dig yourself into a hole hanging on for pride’s sake to the insistence you are right to admit you are wrong, it feels like defeat more than what it is- the intelligent and responsible admittance of reason. It takes a lot of ego to be head of a large institution which means reversing this decision will be even harder for those in power, but they must recognise they serve the BBC not that it serves their personal need to be ‘right’. The damage of continuing this ban to the BBC will be immense, another nail from the same batch that Hutton came from. Only one side is praising this ‘impartiality’ which of course by definition makes it not impartial at all.

Those Were The Days

BBC TRANSCIPT TO BE USED IN WAKE OF NUCLEAR ATTACK

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.

Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger.

If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which followed a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors.

Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting. You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long.

Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don’t waste it.

Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep.

If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The “all clear” message will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room for a minute longer than is necessary.

Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or fell it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the “all clear” on the sirens.

Here are the main points again:

Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the sirens and repeated on this wavelength. Make sure that the gas and all fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories. Ration your food supply: it may have to last for 14 days or more. We shall repeat this broadcast in two hours’ time. Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come on the air again. That is the end of this broadcast.

Bravo Jon Kelly at the BBC

A nice piece about how people on low wages are betrayed by the Labour government’s recent tax changes-

Hoarding loose change. Always having to buy the cheapest groceries. Dreading the arrival of utility bills through the door. Britain’s low earners say their lives are already difficult enough. But changes to the tax system could mean that making ends meet becomes even harder for many.

Under the new system, standard income tax has been cut from 22% to 20% and tax credits raised – but the lowest 10p band has been scrapped entirely…

“As it is I always try to buy the cheapest own-brand groceries but it’s never enough. I’d love a fresh wardrobe but I can’t remember the last time I bought new clothes. I don’t think it should be people on low incomes who have to pay more. It should be those with higher incomes – like MPs.”