What is the real reason behind Dominic’s call for a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

According to Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Dominic Raab is part of a far-right revolutionary group of Tories intent on the destruction of the ‘old order’ and a chaotic, no deal Brexit plays right into their hands.

(highlights below – click link for full article)

theguardian.com

What few realise is that we are living through a revolution that has been a long time brewing among Tory party entryists. Those clawing to dethrone Theresa May are of a different ilk, only just within a recognisable Tory penumbra. Infiltrators, bent on destroying from within the party that harbours them, inhabit another planet from Heath, Clarke or Heseltine – but nor are they Thatcher’s children, either. Leaving Europe is only a part of their revolutionary project, a means not an end. Because they are revolutionaries, the more dramatic the break and the wilder the chaos, the better. They are bent on the creative destruction of a stagnant old order, so as to plough up the ground for a fertile new radical right beginning. Tax-haven Singapore beckons.

The recently resigned Brexit secretary Dominic Raab currently leads the betting to take over from May. Since coming into parliament in 2010, he has worked unstintingly for this day. Maybe his ministerial promotion came later than some MPs’ because his seniors could see that glint in his eye: a bit of a loner, he belongs nonetheless to a coterie of the likeminded.

Browse his essay collection Britain, Tomorrow: the Case for Free Enterprise, Meritocracy and Liberty and you find his views on cutting worker protection and the minimum wage, for “no-fault dismissal” and tax cuts for the better off: “Middle-class Peter should not be robbed to pay working-class Paul.” Boris Johnson’s foreword calls it “a blistering collection”.

Dominic Raab supports fracking

Sent: 25 October 2018 18:52
To: RAAB, Dominic <dominic.raab.mp@parliament.uk>
Subject: Please attend a Westminster Hall Debate on fracking this Wednesday

Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP,
Esher and Walton

Dear Rt Hon Raab,

As a constituent of yours, I am writing to ask you to attend and make a contribution at a Westminster Hall Debate on Wednesday 31st October at 16:30-18:00pm on ‘Local involvement in shale gas development’. It is hosted by Mark Menzies MP (Con, Fylde).

The debate relates to the government’s proposals to fast-track fracking and follows the closure of MHCLG’s consultations on ‘Permitted development for shale gas exploration’ and BEIS’ consultation on ‘Inclusion of shale gas production projects in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) regime’ on October 25th.

I am concerned that these proposals are counter to public opposition and feeling, and would:

● disregard the wishes of local communities;
● remove decision making powers from local councils;
● strip the requirement for fracking companies to apply for planning permission for shale gas exploration;
● undermine urgent action on climate change.

I am a supporter of Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and believe that fracking poses great risks to our countryside, through the industrialisation of landscapes, potential environmental hazards and fossil fuel extraction driving climate change. It is my belief that unless these risks can be mitigated, that it should be harder – not made easier – to frack.

A short outline of why these proposals are a problem, plus a list of questions that you might like to ask at the debate are in the briefing below.

Please do let me know if you are able to attend the debate.

Thank you,

Yours sincerely,

Briefing for Westminster Hall Fracking Debate – October 2018

CPRE, together with partners at Friends of the Earth, Frack Free United, 38 Degrees, 350.org and SumofUs, have put together a briefing for MPs ahead of the debate. This briefing outlines;

• The key arguments for why these proposals must be dropped
• A summary of public opposition to the proposals so far
• Suggested questions for MPs to ask in the debate

To read the full briefing please copy and paste this link into your browser:

www.cpre.org.uk/frackingbriefing

Dominic’s response: 

Thank you for contacting me about planning practice on shale development.

Shale development has the potential to deliver substantial economic benefits to the UK economy and for local communities where supplies are located. The government remains committed to protecting the environment and ensuring that shale exploration happens safely. Planning decisions on shale exploration applications remain disappointingly slow, which is why the government announced a range of measures to help speed up these decisions.

A consultation has been launched to consider whether the early stages of shale exploration should be treated as permitted development, and in particular the circumstances where this might be appropriate. This would allow early exploratory work to proceed without requiring planning applications, although planning applications would still be required for fracking.

Other measures include strengthening community engagement by consulting on the potential to make pre-application consultations a statutory requirement, and launching a new £1.6 million shale support fund over the next two years to build capacity in local authorities dealing with shale applications.

A new Planning Brokerage Service for shale applications will also be created, to provide guidance to developers and local authorities on the planning process in order to speed up decision making. Furthermore, to simplify the complex UK regulatory regime for shale gas, a new Shale Environmental Regulator will also be set up, to act as a single coherent face for the public, mineral planning authorities, and industry.

These measures will help speed up decision making on shale applications, whilst protecting our environment and ensuring that the voices of local communities are heard. I hope this provides you with a degree of reassurance.

Unfortunately, due to pre-existing diary commitments, I am unable to attend Wednesday’s briefing on this issue.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,

Dominic

Analysis:

Much emphasis on ‘good for the economy’ and ‘speeding up the process’ puts Dominic firmly in favour of fracking wherever it is economically viable but with no reference to the effects on climate change when releasing fossil fuels or the effects on local democracy where communities say no to fracking in their area but are over-ruled by central government.

Greenpeace put forward 4 reasons why fracking is not a good idea for the UK. greenpeace.org.uk/what-we-do/climate/fracking/the-problem-with-fracking/

  1. Increase climate change
  2. Bad for the local environment
  3. Potential to damage our water supply
  4. Will not reduce bills

None of these points is mentioned in Dominic’s response. Profit over planet is a very short-sighted view. 

Dominic Raab supports Universal Credit

Sent: 25 October 2018 14:54
To: RAAB, Dominic <dominic.raab.mp@parliament.uk>
Subject: Universal Credit

Dear Dominic Raab,

No one in our constituency, or any constituency, should be left struggling to make ends meet because of Universal Credit. But I am concerned that right now, the real life impact of Universal Credit is being lost or in the worst cases, dismissed.

So I’ve attached a briefing below which is a snapshot of the experiences of 15,000 members of 38 Degrees who have been or will be affected by Universal Credit: https://38d.gs/ucbriefing

As my MP, could you please let me know what you are doing to support people facing problems with Universal Credit in our constituency? And could you please read this report and speak to the Chancellor ahead of the budget, asking him to give Universal Credit additional money so that no one is left worse off?

Will you also do everything in your power during the passage of the Finance Bill and future dealings in the Department of Work and Pensions and Parliament to make sure Universal Credit is rolled out only if and when it is fixed?

I look forward to hearing about what you are doing to support people in our constituency and the outcome of your conversations with the Treasury.

Yours sincerely

 

Dominic Raab’s response:

Dear John,

Thank you for contacting me about the managed migration of claimants from the legacy system to Universal Credit (UC). I appreciate your concerns about this important issue. 

UC is a fair benefit that protects vulnerable claimants. It is a simpler, more accurate benefit based on up-to-date information, which will provide people with their full entitlement. Under UC 700,000 people will receive on average an extra £285 per month which they have not received under the existing system, while one million disabled claimants will gain on average £110 a month. 

UC will also help 200,000 more people into work when fully rolled out. People on UC spend around 50 per cent more time looking for a job than they did under Jobseekers Allowance. Since 2010, we have seen over 3.3 million people move into work, and youth unemployment has plummeted by over 50 per cent to its lowest level on record.

With regards to the managed migration, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been working closely with stakeholders to design the best possible process for the migration of people from the old benefits system to UC. This will include a variety of communications to ensure people are aware of the migration process, and work Coaches will be prepared to ensure that claimants move smoothly. 

Draft Regulations will come before Parliament later this year, with the managed migration process starting later in 2019. It will be tested and refined before larger volumes start from 2020, until completion in 2023.

Transitional Protection will be provided for those moved through managed migration, meaning that at the point of moving to Universal Credit, people’s incomes will be protected. This includes support for around 500,000 people who are eligible for a Severe Disability Premium.  

There will be flexibility to extend the transition period for people alongside a process to ensure that staff check for evidence of complex needs, vulnerability or disability before existing benefits are stopped. Furthermore, if someone misses their deadline to make a claim, there are provisions in the draft Regulations for the DWP to back-date their payment. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me on this important issue.  

Yours sincerely,

Dominic

Analysis:  

This response from Dominic appears to come directly from a UC crib sheet and it denies the fundamental flaws of UC as identified by The Institute for Government – significantly the six weeks (or more) delay in paying out benefits which pushes vulnerable people into debt and homelessness.  A delay which exists purely as a political decision to ‘save money’.

instituteforgovernment.org.uk/blog/problems-universal-credit

Universal Credit is essentially a good – if highly ambitious – idea that has proved vastly harder to implement than its proponents ever imagined.

It has been hit by problem after problem since its launch by Iain Duncan Smith in the very early days of the Coalition.

Universal Credit rolls six benefits into one in an attempt to simplify an over-complicated benefit system. The original aim was to ease the transition in and out of work and back again while ensuring, transparently, that it always paid to be in a job.

It is an honourable ambition.

On the original timetable, all eight million in and out of work households in the UK – most of them in work – that currently receive working tax credits, child tax credits, housing benefits, income support, means-tested versions of the jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance were meant to be on the new ‘universal’ benefit by October 2017 i.e. next month.

As of June this year, just 540,000 claimants were receiving it and the implementation timetable now stretches to 2022.

The unintended and unfortunate consequences

Under the old system, the goal was to pay benefits within two weeks of a claim. Under Universal Credit, there is a formal waiting period of one week with no money, with the benefit then being paid monthly in arrears – the intention being that this more closely mirrors what it is like to be in a job. In practice, many of those earning less than £10,000 a year are in fact paid weekly.

The effect of this ‘discipline’ in practice has led to an in-built wait of six weeks before people get their cash – three times as long as the old system – and the Department for Work and Pensions admits that in around a fifth of cases it is failing to meet even that target, partly because of the information demands it places on the claimants.

Waits of ten or twelve weeks are not uncommon.

The overall effect has been to plunge people already on low incomes into rent arrears and debt and in some cases homelessness. In others cases, it has caused job losses – the very opposite of what Universal Credit is intended to achieve.

The Commons Work and Pensions Committee has been hearing in detail evidence about these effects and bodies as diverse as Citizens Advice and the councils in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out so far have been telling the Government about this for many, many months.

Compounding the problems

Despite these problems, the next big roll out of Universal Credit is set to go ahead, and what are already major problems look set to be compounded, as The Times among others have recently highlighted.

Apart from the ideological step of making the benefits mirror a monthly salaried job – when growing numbers at the lower end of the labour market are on ‘zero hours’ contracts or other forms of the ‘gig economy’ – the six week wait was incorporated, to put it crudely, to save money.

It is just one of the many cuts to the level of support offered by Universal Credit that have been introduced since its inception, to the point where even some of its proponents fear it has become too mean to work for those it sought to help.

Universal Credit would still be Universal Credit without the six week wait. Imposing it was a policy choice, not a necessity, and a choice that can be undone. The answer has to be a shorter wait and not just the loans that claimants can theoretically claim, but which many don’t know about which in any case just bring new problems.

If the Government does not act before the further roll out of Universal Credit to hundreds more offices, it will cause immense hardship and bring the Universal Credit approach into further disrepute.

 

Nick Timms September 2017.