Category Archives: Money

Why is the Foreign Office buying £20m New York townhouse to subsidise art dealer’s court case?

Liz Truss: she’s not a serious politician. Look at that vapid grin and you’ll understand exactly why she’s spaffing away public money like it was newly-ensewaged water.

While the rest of us face a cost-of-living crisis, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is apparently planning to spend £20 million buying a luxury New York townhouse so the UK’s UN representative can have big parties.

Not only that, but the money would be paid to an art dealer who is currently facing trial for a £500 million tax fraud in France.

Should the UK’s government really be subsidising a possible fraudster’s court representation? And does the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations really need a massively expensive building, just so she can host lavish parties?

The memo on the proposed Manhattan purchase argues that ‘the Sutton Square townhouse would provide a high-quality entertainment space close to the UK mission to the UN [and] comfortable accommodation for VIPs’.

The 9,600 sq ft Manhattan townhouse, which has views over the East River, would be used mainly by Dame Barbara Janet Woodward, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Described by the property agents as ‘a grand and iconic residence for the new gilded age’, Dame Barbara… would enjoy the use of a huge kitchen, sauna-like showers, parquet de Versailles wood floors and a filigreed spiral staircase.

The documents leaked to The Mail on Sunday make the argument that despite already owning three residences in New York, in addition to the embassy and ambassador’s house in Washington, the new property is required to help the UK to pursue ‘soft power’ diplomacy through drinks and canapes.

These things are not good for the UK’s diplomats. Apparently there was a huge row when it was revealed in 2020 that Antonia Romeo, now Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, had been investigated over allegations that she had ‘terrorised’ staff who criticised her extravagant lifestyle and reportedly lavish spending when she was Britain’s Consul General in New York.

But the good news is that, as the building is in a “highly desirable” area of New York, it will likely hold or increase its value in the long term. So it’s a good investment. But how will the people of the UK benefit from this extravagant spending.

Ultimate authority over the deal will lie with airheaded Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who doesn’t seem to understand that spaffing our money – yours and mine, not hers – on things that aren’t vital for the nation is offensive to the people of the UK.

She’s also clueless about the new policy of cutting the number of civil servants in the Foreign Office by 900.

Apparently she’s happy to throw away “people whose skills we no longer need” (charming!) but then wants to take on enough new personnel to create a net increase of 1,000.

It would be okay if we knew that more than 1,000 jobs will be going to people who really need them – but you know Truss is just going to dish them out to more Tory cronies. I await proof that my assertion is false.

It seems clear that, not only is Truss a danger to the safety of the UK, with her sabre-rattling comments about Russia – but she can’t be trusted with money either.

Source: Liz Truss faces row over purchase of £20m New York ‘partyhouse’

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UK is heading into recession – probably – as your savings run down

Consumer confidence has fallen off a cliff: will spending do the same – and, if so, will the UK economy go into reverse at the worst possible moment?

Be careful with those savings you racked up during the Covid-19 lockdowns, because you’re going to need them to ride out the cost of living crisis!

That’s the message, as far as This Writer can tell, from economist Simon Wren-Lewis on his Mainly Macro blog – and it’s as close to a prediction that the UK is going into recession as you’re likely to see.

Most economic forecasters aren’t saying it because they’re afraid to, it seems.

We know we’re looking at the biggest fall in living standards since records began in 1956-7, because of Brexit-fuelled increases in the cost of goods (including food), rising energy bills and the largest number of tax rises to be inflicted on a UK population in around 40 years.

You will be expected to use your savings to cushion this blow.

That’s fine – as long as you can be sure that the cost-of-living crisis will be only a short-term shock. But there’s no evidence that this is the case; the effects of Brexit are expected to last for decades, we’re being told to brace for another energy bill shock in October, and the Tories have absolutely no intention of reducing taxes – they want to squeeze you until your pips squeak.

With these expectations in mind, consumer confidence is flatlining:

“The GfK Consumer Confidence Index fell for the fourth month in a row to -31 from -26 in February, its lowest since November 2020, deep in the coronavirus pandemic. Readings of -30 and below have presaged recession on four out of five occasions since the survey started in 1974.” Since then the March data is available, and it’s at -38!

That’s the weakest consumer confidence since the 2008 financial crisis, and weaker than at any time during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So it seems likely that spending will tail off as the year progresses, people see how the cost-of-living shocks affect their savings, and improvements in their financial position fail to appear.

As spending tails off, the economy will falter. And the Tory government has already told us it does not have any plan to stimulate growth with an injection of public cash.

So, even if you have a well-stuffed savings account now, expect those funds to run low by the end of the year, while bills and taxes remain high. What are you going to do then?

Source: mainly macro: Is the UK heading for a recession?

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Check your direct debits to energy companies, warns Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis: last time I used this image, a reader said he never attaches his image to advertising so the story must be fake news. Let’s not have any of that silliness this time, please!

Energy firms are increasing customers’ direct debits by more than the 54 per cent cap imposed by Ofgem, according to ‘Money Saving Expert’ Martin Lewis.

He’s saying – well, see for yourself (this version of the clip by the Mirror):

There is no point having a price cap imposed by a regulator if the regulator won’t enforce it.

So, come on – check your direct debits and, if you’re being charged more than 54 per cent extra, contact Ofgem.

And come on, Ofgem.

Let’s see some hefty prosecutions.

Source: Martin Lewis urges MPs to crack down on worrying trick used by energy companies

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Starmer is trying to change history by blaming Corbyn for Labour cash crisis

Lie: Keir Starmer wants you to think previous Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ruined Labour’s finances when he did it himself. Is the look on his face, here, his version of “duper’s delight”?

Keir Starmer is resorting to Nazi propaganda tactics to blacken the name of his immediate forerunner as Labour leader – but it won’t work.

Starmer’s chosen ploy is known as “The Big Lie” – repeating a known falsehood time and again until a majority of people come to believe it. The lie in this case is that Jeremy Corbyn caused Labour’s funding crisis.

When Mr Corbyn’s term as party leader ended, Labour had £13 million in the bank – and that was after running an expensive general election campaign in 2019.

Starmer squandered this money – most prominently on silly legal battles connected with his fabrications of anti-Semitism among party members.

We know this, but it seems the current Labour leader is hoping that if he keeps reviving his lie, people will start to believe him.

To boost his lie, it seems Starmer is now saying Corbyn torpedoed Labour’s finances by turning away rich donors.

But he should know that a lie won’t be strengthened with another lie – and the new claim isn’t true either:

Lies like this make Labour unelectable.

We already have a government headed by a man who is on the record saying he lies – and blunders – so often because he hopes people will forget the last one when the next one happens.

We don’t need to replace it with a government headed by another liar, which is what Starmer is.

The UK needs a government of integrity, led by individuals who genuinely want to build prosperity for the majority of citizens.

We won’t get it under Keir Starmer.

Source: Starmer tries to blame Corbyn for party’s financial collapse – but even in big donors, Corbyn beat him – SKWAWKBOX

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Spring Statement signals huge fall in UK living standards – especially if you’re on benefits

Despair: the indifference of the Conservative government that UK voters put into office by a landslide means that – unless you’re a millionaire like them – you are going to struggle to survive over the next few years. Does voting Tory still seem a good idea?

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has let voters down badly.

His failure to do anything meaningful to tackle the cost of living crisis, coupled with inflation and high taxation, mean people are facing the biggest fall in living standards since records began in 1956. Worst-hit will be people on benefits, for whom Sunak offered absolutely nothing at all.

Watch Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies as he lays out the bad news:

I’m not going to suggest that any Vox Political reader was stupid enough to vote Tory. But somebody is bound to find this article and consider responding along the lines that the alternative was Jeremy Corbyn “and we’d all be in a terrible state with him in charge!”

But this is quite clearly nonsense. Corbyn was never allowed to be in charge and so any such claims are just childish speculation.

We know why he wasn’t allowed to be in charge:

You were told he was an anti-Semite, and that was a lie.

You were told he wanted to dismantle the UK’s armed forces, and that was a lie too.

You were told he was a friend of Vladimir Putin, and that was also a lie. The friends of Vladimir Putin are currently sitting in Downing Street pretending to be his enemies.

In broader terms, the Tories won because you were told that Brexit would be good for you and voting Tory was the only way to “Get Brexit Done”. That was the biggest lie of all; Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster for the people – and the economy – of the United Kingdom.

As your Tory friends struggle to make ends meet over the coming years and months, please don’t hesitate to remind them of the facts that they ignored because they preferred the convenient lies.

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Spring Statement analysis: UK is facing biggest drop in disposable income since records began

Rishi Sunak: he’s squeezing you until your pips squeak. How do you like it?

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement – and the pitifully few measures he announced in it to counter the cost of living crisis that he helped create – means citizens are facing the largest fall in disposable income since comparable records began in the 1950s.

That was the verdict of the independent Office of Budget Responsibility, as reeled off on the BBC’s Politics Live.

See for yourself:

Unless you are a millionaire, you’re probably going to face money trouble.

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Money Saving Expert says: don’t let the Tories blame cost of living crisis on Ukraine war

Martin Lewis: “It is a worsening of the situation – it is not the cause of the situation.”

The UK’s cost of living crisis started in the UK before the Russia-Ukraine war and should not be blamed on that conflict, ‘Money Saving Expert’ Martin Lewis has said.

And he said direct political action to ease the pressure is required – in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring Budget on March 23 – because cutting household expenditure won’t be enough to save people from poverty.

He was speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on March 10:

 

“Kwasi Kwarteng has said that many people are willing to make sacrifices because of Ukraine. I think he’s probably right but I am slightly worried that we are seeing what may be potentially a deliberate narrative shift that effectively says the entire cost of living crisis is due to Ukraine, and therefore we all need to make sacrifices/

“That is not correct. What has happened in Ukraine has exacerbated the situation.

“But the rises in energy, heating oil, water, council tax, broadband and mobiles, food, National Insurance, were all in place before Ukraine.

“When we have a Budget – or a Spring Statement – coming in a couple of weeks, we need to be careful not to allow that narrative to happen and to be used as an excuse that we all need to make sacrifices because of Ukraine, and that’s why we have to suck in the cost of living crisis.

“That is not a correct analysis. It is a worsening of the situation – it is not the cause of the situation.”

Mr Lewis added: “We are going to see a real increase in genuine poverty in this country; millions of people being thrown into poverty.

“The only way we can stop that is not by being money saving and tightening our belts; it is by genuine political intervention.

“We have a Spring Statement coming and I would urge the Chancellor: let’s nip this in the bud. Let’s not have people starving or freezing.”

What if the Tories don’t nip it in the bud? What if they want to push this fake narrative? What if they’re trying to use it to avoid providing any meaningful help?

You see, the mass media tries to avoid suggesting it, but this is what we need to ask ourselves:

What if the Tories are actually steering most of us directly into poverty because that’s what they want for us? Are we really going to lie back and let it happen?

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Johnson’s sanctions hesitation lets Russians make $423 million AFTER invasion of Ukraine

Let the money flow, says Johnson: it’s all going into the pockets of his Russian friends – at a time when Western governments are supposed to be cutting off the flow of money into Russia.

File this under: evidence that Boris Johnson is an asset of the Russian government.

Four Russian-born oligarchs have raked in $423 million in dividends on shares in Russian companies on the UK stock exchange, after the UK imposed sanctions on Russian firms.

How were Roman Abramovich, Alexander Abramov, Aleksandr Frolov and Alexander Nesis able to have the payouts from Evraz and Polymetal? Simple.

Those firms weren’t on Boris Johnson’s list of those to be sanctioned.

In total, the four named billionaires have received $4.5billion (£3.4billion) in payouts from the FTSE100-listed Russian commodities giants since the Tory government of the day failed to act decisively on them after Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014.

None of the four billionaires have been sanctioned either.

It seems Boris Johnson – and his government – deliberately pretended to be imposing heavy sanctions while doing nothing of the sort… wouldn’t you agree?

Source: Oligarchs take £3bn in dividends from Britain | This is Money

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#Grenfell cladding firm announces record profits

Inferno: The Grenfell Tower blaze caused the greatest single loss of life in London since World War II, with official figures showing 72 people lost their lives.

Remember the Grenfell Tower tragedy?

A fire that started in one flat in a tower block spread to engulf the entire building because cladding purchased by landlords (the Conservative-run local council) proved to be highly flammable instead of – as was expected of it – flame retardant).

In the resulting conflagration, 72 people are known to have burned to death.

Now – well, I’ll just leave this here:

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#Labour is said to be on verge of #bankruptcy – and we can all see the reason

Keir Starmer: if his job was to destroy the Labour Party, then it is nearly complete.

So there you have it. After less than two years in office, Keir Starmer has turned a bank account of around £13 million into bankruptcy.

And he was the Great White Hope of neoliberal right-wing Labour – the “any other leader” who was going to revitalise the party’s popularity and put it 20 points ahead of the Tories in the polls.

Labour is ahead of the Tories in some polls (just!) – but only because corrupt Conservative prime minister Boris Johnson has disgraced himself by breaking the rules he himself imposed on the people of the UK.

How did Starmer drag Labour to this new low?

Partly by launching a wrong-headed crusade against left-wingers/socialist party members, under the guise of attacking anti-Semitism. We all know it’s a false flag because he has been expelling left-wing Jews.

Court cases both by and against Labour, due to this outrageous behaviour, have cost the party millions.

And ordinary members have been deserting the party, having realised that Starmer is turning it back into a tepid version of the Tories that they simply won’t support.

What better example of this behaviour could we have than Starmer’s response to a vote on the Tory Welfare Cap on Monday (January 10)?

What a shocking indictment against Labour – the party that was set up to stand up for common people everywhere!

You can probably work out most of the Labour MPs who voted against the plan to restrict benefits to poverty levels and increase child poverty, but here’s the list:

Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Margaret Greenwood, Kate Hollern, Kim Johnson, Ian Lavery, Andy McDonald, John McDonnell, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Marie Rimmer, Zarah Sultana, and Beth Winter.

Jeremy Corbyn and Claudia Webbe also voted against it but of course Starmer has thrown them out of his Parliamentary party for no good reason.

183 Labour MPs abstained, including Starmer himself and his Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth – indicating tacit support for the harm the Tory measures will inflict on vulnerable people across the UK.

That is why Labour is nearly bankrupt: if Starmer won’t stand up for us, we can’t support him.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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