Category Archives: Funding

£831m ‘recovery fund’ for 72 high streets. But what will they do with £11.5m each?

Lip-chewing Sunak: if I kept wasting money on projects that won’t actually help the economy, I’d be nervous too.

I don’t get it. If high street businesses across the UK have gone to the wall because of the government’s lacklustre response to the economic effects of locking us all away from Covid-19 – how will this cash be spent?

The Tory government has announced that 72 high streets will get a share of £831 million – that’s around £11.5 million each.

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is bitching because Boris Johnson had offered £1 billion previously, but that’s not the point.

The question is: how is it going to help?

Many people – not just conspiracy theorists! – reckon the hardship forced on small-to-medium-sized business people may have been deliberate, in order to concentrate shoppers’ money in the hands of a few very large consumer chains.

I see little actual support for high street businesses in the projects mentioned by the Guardian article:

Among the projects selected for the funding were £17.9m for the renovation of the Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange in Worcester, a scheme to build 186 homes in Birkenhead and a plan to convert empty retail units in Tamworth, Staffordshire, into community spaces.

But according to Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, the money is supposed to be for

projects that level up opportunities and create jobs right across the country.

I don’t see how the latter will be achieved by the former. It’s just throwing cash away.

It should be injected into businesses to ensure they continue to be going concerns.

But then, of course, Sunak’s government is now best-known for spaffing £11 billion on companies owned by Tory cronies, for Covid-19-related supplies that they had no idea how to provide, while experts who had applied for the work were ignored.

That should tell you everything you need to know.

If I had a pound for every time Sunak has messed up someone’s finances, I would be richer than his wife.

Source: Government names 72 high streets in England to share £831m recovery fund | Business | The Guardian

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Promise to help people self-isolate fizzles out. Will they spread Covid instead?

Pennies instead of pounds: that’s what the Tories put into their fund to help people self-isolate. Now it is running out and applicants may find themselves forced back to work, simply to make ends meet – and that might spread Covid-19 in turn.

Only a few hundred people told to self-isolate have received the £500 help pledged by Boris Johnson, sparking fears that anyone missing out will continue to go to work and spread Covid-19.

This Writer doesn’t have much to say about this because it is only a fear at the moment. But let’s all keep an eye on this story, shall we?

It could be the next Tory Covid-19 scandal.

Tough eligibility rules and depleting funds have hit take-up, research by The Independent shows, despite millions being told to stay at home as the second wave of the pandemic struck.

Some local councils revealed they had been forced to turn away many more people, warning a £15m government “discretionary” fund is exhausted – or is about to be.

In Liverpool, a staggering 76 per cent of applications were rejected, because only workers on benefits can claim for the statutory scheme, leaving others on just £95.85-a-week sick pay, if they are eligible for that.

Only 3 of the 22 cities surveyed have helped more than 1,000 people each, while six have made under 200 payments.

Source: Only a few hundred people told to self-isolate receive £500 help pledged by Boris Johnson in most cities | The Independent

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Sunak’s spending review shows some common sense. But has he put enough cash into it?

Rishi Sunak looking nervous: is he being honest with us? Does he even know?

There were no surprises in the announcements that formed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review – but it did mark a major change.

Sunak has abandoned the failed “starve the beast” economic model that was favoured by George Osborne and that caused such economic havoc between 2010 and 2015.

Instead of forcing austerity on the UK by cutting investment, thereby restricting the amount of money passing through the UK economy and shrinking it, creating a spiral of steadily decreasing funds, Sunak has reverted to a tried, tested and effective model.

He has elected to borrow money and use it to pump fresh blood into the economic veins of the country. The question is: can a Tory ever put enough cash into the system?

This Writer was on Twitter during the Chancellor’s speech, and provided my own commentary throughout. I reproduce it here, along with other comments I’ve picked up:

We should all remember that announcements mean nothing; Labour has announced that it will implement all the recommendations of an EHRC review of the way the party handles anti-Semitism complaints but it seems this is because it won’t make any difference to what the party does.

So we need to watch what the Tories do, and check not only the amounts of money they hand out – but who gets it.

The so-called “chumocracy” has had far too much of our money lately and This Writer, for one, fears that they haven’t finished slurping up the blood that keeps our economy alive, vampires that they are.

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The Tories have used Covid to abandon children with disabilities and their parents

Money, money, money: Boris Johnson’s government says it is spending billions to help children with special educational needs and disabilities weather the Covid crisis – but they aren’t seeing it. So where is it going?

It may be hard to accept, but Boris Johnson and his cronies have been weaponising Covid-19, using the crisis as an excuse to take support away from vulnerable children.

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities have been particularly hard-hit, as Metro‘s report shows:

An Ofsted report into the impact of the first lockdown published this week found that some children lost basic skills and learning as a result of school closures and restrictions on movement.

Turning to SEND children, it found the pandemic has presented ‘serious and far-reaching’ challenges for families, with some feeling ‘isolated’ from existing services.

One parent who spoke to Metro branded the situation a ‘national disgrace’ and said her three-year-old son had received no physio or occupational therapy for nine months.

Another told of a ‘pressure cooker’ environment and the ‘terror’ parents face with no end in sight, as they struggle without services they had previously relied upon in their day-to-day lives.

The response from the Tories’ Department for Education spokesperson gives great emphasis to the amounts of money that have been allocated to help parents and children in this situation.

It mentions “£37million this year to help thousands of low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children with the challenge they face staying at home”, a “£1billion Covid catch-up fund”, and “increasing high needs funding for local authorities by £780 million this year and a further £730 million next year”.

But who actually receives the cash and what does it actually pay for?

This year we have seen the Tories waste no less than £12 billion on a Covid-19 test, track and trace system that not only doesn’t work but is actually a contamination risk.

So quoting amounts of money allocated to particular projects means nothing.

It is clear from the stories here that these parents and children are not receiving the support they need.

And I, for one, would like to know what the Tories are really doing with that cash.

Source: Exhausted parents of disabled children feel ‘abandoned’ in lockdown | Metro News

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Businesswoman rationed daughter’s food after falling through cracks in government help

Closed: while lockdowns bit into small traders’ funds, government help has been restricted only to those that meet arbitrary criteria – meaning many are going hungry, along with their children.

This is the reality of Covid-19 for millions of self-employed people across the UK.

The government trumpeted huge amounts of funding for scheme to keep businesses open – but failed to mention the small print that means some businesses don’t qualify.

It’s as though the pandemic was being used for political reasons – to clamp down on small enterprises and their owners. Isn’t it?

Jo Hill, of Cardiff, was denied any support because her business had only two years of profit on its books.

She had to rely on food banks and borrowed money to survive.

The money I have earned I have had to use for food for myself and my daughter. She’s growing like a bean pole, I couldn’t afford to buy her shoes over lockdown. At times we were so skint food was rationed, I’ve had to be really careful.

When the Chancellor announced [support for self-employed businesses] I breathed a massive sigh of relief. I was applying and it would say I’m not entitled, I was quite bewildered. The money should have gone to everybody.

“I’m too scared to spend any money at all since I don’t know what will happen in the future and how long that money will last. There have been times I couldn’t afford a food shop, I don’t know if my budget is going to last two weeks, three weeks.

The Welsh government has announced business support worth £1.7 billion to firms across the country.

And a fat lot of good it will do to single traders like Ms Hill if they don’t qualify because of arcane eligibility standards.

Source: Mum-of-two forced to ration 12-year-old daughter’s food after support cut off – Mirror Online

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Tories announce lavish new support scheme for businesses – after snubbing Manchester with a pittance

Stung: Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new support package for English areas under Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions in a move that seems time to snub Greater Manchester.

The north-west English area had been under Tier 2 restrictions until earlier this week, when Sunak’s government forced it into Tier 3 with a financial support package that has been vilified as punitive and unfair.

Now the BBC is reporting:

Rishi Sunak announced big changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – set to replace furlough in November.

Businesses in tier two areas, particularly in the hospitality sector, had complained that they would be better off if they were under tier three restrictions.

Sunak delivered his announcement in the House of Commons:

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was unimpressed – and even that usually-staunch supporter of the Tories, the BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg, had to agree that he made a fair point:

Burnham expanded on this in a TV interview:

Anthony Browne, the Tory MP appearing on the day’s edition of the BBC’s Politics Live, tried to justify the timing of the announcement:

If it takes time to evolve a policy change like that which Sunak announced in Parliament, then that means it would certainly have been under discussion when the talks with Burnham were taking place.

So it also follows that the Conservatives holding those discussions – like Robert Jenrick, who spewed such a lot of nonsense about it earlier in the week – deliberately failed to mention it to Burnham.

Why?

The only reason that I can see would be to corruptly engineer a financial disadvantage for the Labour-voting people of Greater Manchester.

Once again, it seems, the Conservatives are using the Covid-19 crisis for their own selfish political gain.

How utterly despicable.

I am glad to see that the £2,100 per month grant is retrospective and may be backdated to August 2.

I hope hospitality businesses in Greater Manchester use it to take as much as they can from Sunak and his twisted government.

Source: New government Covid scheme to pay up to half of wages – BBC News

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Jenrick’s definition of fair funding: £237/person in his rich constituency – £7.95/person in Manchester

Robert Jenrick: what dictionary did he use when he looked up his definition of fair?

Why was housing secretary Robert Jenrick part of the negotiating team handling support for Greater Manchester while it is in Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions?

Clearly, it can’t be because he can be trusted with money; he corruptly induced a fellow MP to approve a grant for his constituency totalling £237 per person recently – contrast that with the £7.95 per person for Manchester. And Jenrick’s constituency isn’t in Tier 3!

Doesn’t it seem more likely that the opposite is true – that he was certain to deprive Manchester of the cash it needed? The precedent is there in his handling of Richard Desmond’s Tower Hamlet’s planning application, which Jenrick manipulated in order to deny London’s poorest borough £45 million.

He seems to have thought he could get away with this sleight of hand.

He thought wrong.

So after he appeared on TV saying this…

… the public responded with the facts:

And today the Commons will be debating whether children should have free school meals because, after years of Tory deprivation, their parents can no longer afford to feed them. What will Jenrick’s contribution be?

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Johnson forces Greater Manchester into pointless Tier 3 lockdown – penalising people for voting Labour?

 

Businesses in Greater Manchester are to close at huge cost to themselves after Boris Johnson imposed Tier 3 lockdown without offering a reasonable support package.

Tier 3 conditions don’t mean every firm will close – but significant harm will be done. The financial support package Mr Johnson is providing totals £8 per member of the local population.

Not only that: Tier 3 conditions will not stop the spread of Covid-19 (although they may slow it down a little).

So there seems little point to this…

Apart from to harm a Labour-voting area. I think this is party political.

Here in Wales, the Labour-led government is imposing a two-week lockdown in which all businesses apart from suppliers of food/groceries will close and people will be discouraged from leaving their homes.

The support package for this totals £300 million – more than £90 per person for the two-week period.

It’s still not perfect. It’s still controversial. But it’s hugely better than anything Johnson is offering.

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New three-tier alert system shuts down businesses – unless they’re run by Tories

Beer buddies: it seems pubs in Liverpool will be shut from Wednesday – apart from those owned by Tory donor Tim Martin.

Well, we learned a lot about the UK under the Tories in 2020, didn’t we? Most especially, we learned that they only look after their own.

So, according to the BBC, Liverpool is facing a new kind of lockdown as it stands in the highest tier of Boris Johnson’s new Covid-19 alert system:

The Liverpool City Region will be on the “very high” Covid alert level from Wednesday, Boris Johnson has announced.

Confirming new three-tier restrictions, the PM said pubs, bars and betting shops would close on Merseyside.

… with certain exceptions.

It seems the Wetherspoons chain of pubs is exempt from closure because the Tories have dreamed up the excuse that they are “food-based pubs”. Yes indeed, it’s nothing to do with them being run by a leading Tory donor, Tim Martin!

Or is it? On the social media, people have their own opinions:

Liverpool famously stopped buying The Sun after it ran a headline attacking football fans from the city after the Hillsborough disaster.

I’m wondering if this latest Tory abuse will prompt a similar response…

Meanwhile:

The PM said all retail outlets, schools and universities would remain open.

So his new rules won’t make a scrap of difference and Covid-19 infection rates will continue to rise.

Source: Covid: Boris Johnson confirms new three-tier alert system, with Liverpool ‘very high’ – BBC News

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What happened to the £3 billion Johnson paid for ‘missing’ Covid-19 contracts?

Spaffer: Boris Johnson has thrown billions at private consultants and contractors – but now it’s time to show where the money has gone, and it seems he can’t.

This is what comes of spaffing public money indiscriminately to your Tory mates and getting nothing back in return!

A cross-party consortium of Labour, Lib Dem and Green MPs have filed for a judicial review after the Johnson government failed to disclose details of £3 billion worth of Covid-related contracts.

These will be contracts made under the emergency system in which private firms are not invited to tender; instead, Johnson and his cronies have been shovelling money to their Tory mates, to provide multi-million pound services using start-up firms or companies that have been as good as dead for years.

Last month the Department of Health said £11 billion of contracts had been agreed between April 1 and September 7 – mostly related to Covid-19.

But analysis of publicly-available contracts information showed less than £8 billion of contracts awarded by the government.

It seems the government is taking 72 days on average to publish contract details online – despite a legal duty to do so within 30 days.

So the question arises: what are Johnson and his cronies trying to hide?

The Department of Health and Social Care has said it is committed to transparency and is working through its backlog of contracts with a view to publishing them “in due course”.

Is that after they’ve been doctored to remove any evidence of foul play?

It’s a reasonable question to ask, in the circumstances.

It’s incredible that Johnson, Matt Hancock and their buddies have splurged our money away in such a cavalier manner – and what have we got to show for it?

This Writer would like to see a full audit of all £11 billion worth of contracts, with details of whether they were honoured in an acceptable manner.

I think the result of such an audit could be highly embarrassing for Spaffer Johnson.

Source: Tories face legal challenge over £3bn of ‘missing’ coronavirus contracts – Mirror Online

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