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Dannyno

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  1. I know this wasn't your point, but not all prisoners have a TV in their cell. The prison system runs an incentives scheme, where you can earn certain privileges, one of which is the possibility of renting (for £1 a week) a TV. The last statistics I could find suggest that just under half of prisoners have an incentives status which would permit the rental of a TV.
  2. I think your perception is not correct, not least because the prison population has continued to grow more or less continuously and there have been changes over the last couple of decades to increase the base length of sentencing for certain crimes - including the introduction of indeterminate sentences. The government is predicting that the prison population will reach 98,500 by 2026 (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/prison-population-projections-2021-to-2026). Most people don't know how sentences are determined - they aren't just made up. Surveys have shown that many people underestimate the normal sentences for crime, probably based on sensational news reporting of cases which are unusual or seem surprising. In 2016, the average sentence for all offences was 18.8 months. In 1993, it was 16 months. In 2016, 34% of prisoners were serving less than 4 years. In 1993 it was 54%. The average sentence for the year ending June 2021 was 20.2 months, higher than 2016. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmjust/483/report-files/48307.htm https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-june-2021/criminal-justice-statistics-quarterly-june-2021-html#sentencing For historical data on the prison population, see: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN04334/SN04334.pdf. The pandemic has reduced crime levels and slowed court processes, so there's a blip over the last year or so, but the trend has been mainly upwards for years.
  3. I have no special knowledge, but... Forgemasters do still make stainless steel of various kinds. https://www.sheffieldforgemasters.com/capabilities/steel-grades But I don't see 316 listed. ATI make it: https://www.atimetals.com/Products/ati-316 But according to the documentation, they make it in Pittsburgh.
  4. I'm not in favour of mandating vaccines. But the vaccines are great. The vaccines are not perfect at preventing infection, or in preventing its spread. But they nonetheless do a good job of preventing infection, and in reducing its spread. They also dramatically reduce the incidence of hospitalisation and death, and that's the really crucial thing in terms of why lockdowns and restrictions exist. The reason the "only" people you know with COVID at the moment have been vaccinated is because - taking Sheffield figures, assuming you live here - in the region of 70% of people have been vaccinated. As the number of people vaccinated increases, it's to be expected that the proportion of of the number of infections that are in vaccinated people will increase. But by the same token, those people will be less ill than they might have been, are less likely to be hospitalised, and less likely to die.
  5. Smart meters don't save money, people save money. The more information I have about my energy use, and how much it costs me, the easier it will be for me to make changes to reduce that cost. Or perhaps it will give me information to look for a better deal from a different energy company. If it turns out that I use most energy on a particular day of the week, or at a particular time of day, then I can look at doing things to reduce that and make the biggest impact - perhaps different light bulbs, or turning down the heating by a degree or have it come on 10 minutes later or turn off 10 minutes earlier. Or if I can put a price on how much the kettle boiling is actually costing, maybe that will motivate me not to fill it as full. Or maybe I will look more actively for more energy-efficient devices. Whether current models actually provide enough information is one of the reasons I've not been an early adopter. I haven't seen anything with enough detail when I've researched them. It's like dieting by calorie counting, if you can see what's going on it can make you more likely to do something about it.
  6. Thanks, I'll take another look.
  7. I'm in favour of smart meters in principle, because they ought to make it easier to save money and energy and so forth. But I'm not an early adopter and there still seem to be issues with current models. Smart meters are not compulsory. There are lots of scams and fake British Gas emails out there, as well as fake salespeople. If you see someone's ID, don't just accept it, ring British Gas and check it with them.
  8. No. https://www.gov.uk/new-state-pension/how-its-calculated
  9. It's the government's list, remember, I didn't make it up. It also ought to be pointed out that your idea that we should "drop the courses which do not lead to careers in necessary areas of skill shortages" would rapidly create shortages in the sectors fed by the "dropped" courses. Clearly those specialisms where there are shortages need to be supported, but that doesn't mean that you can do without the specialisms where there currently aren't shortages. "Necessary" subjects aren't only the subjects where there is currently a crisis. For example, there doesn't appear to be a shortage of lawyers at the moment, but that doesn't mean it would be sensible to discourage people from becoming lawyers (no jokes please). I would also argue it's a good thing to ensure that education remains broad-based rather than excessively narrow, because everyone benefits from different specialists working together - biologists and philosophers, for example. If you want to find out what Sheffield University teaches at undergraduate level, just look at the list: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergraduate/courses/2022 But you can find courses anywhere here: https://digital.ucas.com/search
  10. It's worth looking at the government's list of shortage occupations (for visa purposes, but relevant here). It includes medicine, dentistry and the others you mention, but it also includes: Archaeologists IT business analysts and system designers Programmers and software developers Web designers Cyber security specialists Architects Artists Ballet dancers Musicians Arts officers and directors Graphics designers Care workers All except I guess ballet dancing are courses which are taught at universities. There are teaching shortages too, and teaching is taught at universities - the usual teaching specialisms we're short of are of course in STEM subjects, but there are also shortages in modern languages and RE.
  11. There really aren't lots of courses which are of "little value". BTW: Universities also offer apprenticeships. See for example: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/apprenticeships It's a shame there's this idea that courses should be primarily vocational, since people can get very good jobs of the back of apparently non-vocational courses like history. But universities have always done vocational training - medicine and law, for example, are vocational if anything is and have always been taught in universities going back to the invention of universities (along with entry to the priesthood, which is where the very word "vocational" comes from!). And now, as I already noted, universities are doing apprenticeships.
  12. The story of the pensions catastrophe is complicated, and implicates both Tory and Labour administrations. The "pensions holiday" thing goes back to the Thatcherite Finance Act 1986. That said that pension schemes were not allowed to build up "excess" surpluses (because they had turned into a tax-free profit-boosting loophole for some employers). If they did, they had to pay back the employer, pause contributions or upgrade their benefits structure. That created an incentive for employers to seek to avoid the build up of taxable surpluses by taking contributions holidays when the stock market was high. None of that had anything to do with Labour. But what Gordon Brown did was abolish dividend tax credits, which hit pension funds hard. There's some shocking books out there on all of this - it's a scandalous story all down the line and we're still picking up the pieces.
  13. Just to point out that UCU can't just decide to go on strike. They will do what their members want to do. That's why they are balloting, and then they can only legally call their members out on strike if there is at least a 50% turnout and if at least half of those voting vote to do so.
  14. Are you sure? Announcements from Derbyshire CC say the closure includes the weekend, and don't mention 9-5. Has contrary information been published somewhere? See this on Twitter:
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