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Understanding the Money Creation and Society Debate


Together with colleagues spanning four parties – Michael Meacher (Lab), Caroline Lucas (Green), Douglas Carswell (UKIP) and David Davis (Con) – I have secured a debate on Money Creation and Society for Thursday 20 November. Here’s a quick guide to understanding the debate. First, we have a system of paper or “fiat” money: it exists due to legal mandate as opposed to being a physical commodity like gold. Reserves, notes and coins are created by the state but claims on money […]

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One week until the Wycombe Homeless Connection Big Sleepout 2014


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Wycombe Homeless Connection is a community project of Wycombe churches, serving around 300 single adult homeless or vulnerably housed individuals each year. Through Speen Church, I have been a volunteer since before I was a candidate. I previously worked with the homeless during my MSc in Oxford. I spoke about the project in Parliament last year. Too many people are trapped in cycles of addiction, debt, family breakdown, worklessness and educational failure. Too often, one or more of these factors will […]

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Fewer workless households under this Government


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Via Share The Facts, the number of children living in workless households is at its lowest level for a generation:

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Wycombe Homeless Big Sleepout 2014


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As the Centre for Social Justice demonstrated in 2006, too many people are trapped in cycles of addiction, debt, family breakdown, worklessness and educational failure. Too often, one or more of these factors will lead people onto the streets, homeless. Please join me in supporting the great work of Wycombe Homeless Connection as they go about helping individuals rebuild their lives. I’ll be sleeping on the street on 15 November: please sponsor me here: bit.ly/BakerSleepout2014.

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Help to Work Scheme Launches


The Help to Work scheme – a new intensive support scheme to get the long-term unemployed into work – launched last week. A key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan is to deliver the highest levels of employment, making sure that everyone who can work is given the support and opportunity to do so.  The Help to Work Scheme will give Job Centre staff a new range of options to support the hardest to help people and provide more support […]

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UK-Pakistan relations: an update


Recently, I met representatives from the Department of International Development (DfID) to discuss the UK’s assistance to help foster Pakistan’s social and economic progress. I was informed that the UK is committed to helping Pakistan harness the skills, talent and productivity of all its population in order to end aid dependency through jobs and growth. Secretary of State Justine Greening made her second visit to Pakistan at the beginning of July. She reinforced the UK’s strong partnership with Pakistan, encouraged […]

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Book review: On God’s Side, Jim Wallis


I enjoyed meeting Jim Wallis in Parliament through The Bible Society. He’s undoubtedly a great orator with a huge heart for service to other people in fulfilment of the Christian faith we share. I mostly delighted in his book, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good. The book’s key inspiration is a saying of Abraham Lincoln, My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be […]

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Documentary on my time in rehab: Drink, Drugs and Democracy


I recently took the Centre for Social Justice Inner City Challenge, spending three days in drug and alcohol rehabilitation with ex-offenders at Acorn Treatment. My article on the experience is here: My placement with Acorn was emotionally exhausting. To share a few days full-time with people who have experienced life’s very worst aspects would be a challenge. To layer on top the drama of active rehabilitation was searing. There must be justice but, after that, mercy, forgiveness and transformation. That is what Acorn […]

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A remarkable visit to Acorn Treatment


Yesterday, I completed a remarkable visit to Acorn Treatment. I saw some serial offenders confronting their own lives and the consequences of their actions, often criminal, on others. I also heard some of the atrocious things which they had suffered at the hands of others, including their own families. I saw remorse, acceptance, struggle and transformation. There was real joy shining forth from those who have escaped cycles of addiction and crime and who are now looking forward to healthy […]

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CSJ placement with Acorn Treatment in progress


With thanks to the Centre for Social Justice, I’ll be with Acorn Treatment in Manchester for a few days, learning about their treatment and housing programme for drug and alcohol users. From their site: Acorn Treatment and Housing (formally ADAS) has been a successful treatment provider for over 13 years. Oak House, our first project, opened in Stockport in 1997 as a day centre offering treatment to individuals and their families affected by addiction. Since opening, we have treated hundreds […]

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