With so much going on in the world the media, particularly the BBC, can happily ignore the issues which concern the poorest in Britain. They managed - just - to report the fact that the government lost a vote on the bedroom tax. It was a private member's bill, introduced by a Lib Dem (!) to water down the current rules by exempting disabled people who need the extra room or have adapted homes, as well as those who can't be found a smaller home to move to. Labour backed it and the government lost by 306 votes to 231. It will now go to committee stage and is unlikely to get through its third reading and into law. But it's a start. Unfortunately the BBC managed to spread misinformation. The website piece says that the original changes "were designed to ensure social tenants get the same treatment as private tenants, who do not get any rent support". I don't know what he means by "rent support", but this suggests that private tenants don't get housing benefit, which is untrue. The piece also quotes Iain Duncan Smith as claiming that the changes would cost the Treasury £1 billion, a figure which is as accurate as all IDS's numbers.
Then we read about the "attitude to work" assessments which the gormless Esther McVey is now going to impose on the unemployed. It's an idea borrowed from Ingeus, apparently. You can read the Daily Mail version if you really want to, or the less hysterical version in the Independent. Although she's presenting it as voluntary, and as a way of not putting people on courses they don't need, there are obviously fears that it will be another way of catching people out and sanctioning them.
On the outsourcing front, there was an interesting article in the Independent about the race to, in effect, privatise the probation service. It suggests that there are 5 companies involved - Capita, Sodexo, Amey, Interserve and Carillion - and that they would be well advised to have nothing to do with it. They are very unlikely to make a profit.
Finally, please read the Guardian piece by John Lanchester about poverty and inequality.