Category Archives: Privatisation

Why are parking fees TRIPLING for hospital staff after Johnson promised to end them for everyone?

Where’s the warning that parking charges are enormous?

The price of working for the NHS is astronomical as it is – and now it seems it is rising again, in spite of a promise by prime muppet Boris Johnson.

The issue here is car parking. Boris promised to eliminate parking fees for everybody attending hospital – which includes staff.

But now we have reports that the price of staff parking at King’s College Hospital in London is tripling.

New permits will cost doctors and nurses at the trust up to £1,440, with the changes reportedly taking effect from the beginning of December.

Let’s remind ourselves of Johnson’s promise:

It seems the government pledged in their December 2019 election manifesto to provide free parking for some patients and staff on their night shifts.

In the email from the Kings College Trust to staff, the hospital’s management claim the move has prompted privately run car parking companies to pass on the cost to daytime NHS workers.

This prompts the obvious question: why are hospital car parks run for profit by private companies in the first place? Our health care is supposed to be free at the point of use so is our useless Tory government getting around that by charging us all to get there?

The question is rhetorical; the short answer is yes:

And it turns out Johnson was lying to Parliament when he made that promise:

In an exchange in the House of Commons in July, Labour leader Keir Starmer urged the prime minister to keep free parking – but Johnson refused to rule out bringing charges back in for hospital staff.

He told Starmer: “May I suggest he takes his latest bandwagon and parks it somewhere else.”

Johnson added: “The hospital car parks are free for NHS staff during the pandemic, and we are going to get on with our manifesto commitment to make them free for patients who need them as well.”

Clearly the prime muppet hasn’t thought this through. With hospital car park firms passing their losses from free parking on to those who still have to pay, it will soon cost staff too much to work there.

Richard Burgon, former shadow justice secretary when Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour Party, has called on the Tory government to put a stop to the price rise:

It seems unlikely Johnson will take any notice.

Public opposition to hospital car parking charges is widespread:

The subject was buried over the weekend, beneath the Downing Street soap opera about Dominic Cummings quitting and Boris Johnson self-isolating.

But honestly, who cares about those things? They don’t affect us. Cummings will be replaced by somebody just as bad at the job and Johnson can use Zoom.

But if our doctors and nurses can’t afford to work at a hospital because some greedy private car parking firm wants to keep its profit margins high during a medical emergency, then we’re all in trouble.

Source: Labour MP calls on government to intervene over ‘disgusting’ 200% rise in parking fees for NHS staff

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Reinventing the wheel: after replacing civil servants with expensive private consultants, Cummings wants to replace them with… a civil service

Caught out: Dominic Cummings and his puppet Boris Johnson are pretending to be creating a shiny new way to stop spiralling consultancy and private contractor costs for the government – but in fact they are simply trying to revive the civil service after successive Tory governments spent the last 10 years running it into the ground.

Dominic Cummings – what an absolute, utter, dunderheaded nincompoop.

After months in which the Tory government under his puppet Boris Johnson has been doling out cash hand over fist to expensive private consultants for help on Covid-19 – and getting nothing in return…

… and years in which the Tories have been disparaging the expertise of the civil service, pushing leading public servants to quit forever…

Cummings has decided that private consultants are just too expensive and the government should consider creating an in-house organisation for service provision instead.

He has given it a snazzy new name: the Crown Consultancy. The concept will be more familiar to you as the Civil Service.

The plan was presented to the public via the Financial Times – which is behind a paywall, so I’ve been referring to a report in The London Economic instead:

“There’s a lot of reliance on consultancies,” one source close to the plan told the paper. “It would be sensible to look at what we can do internally, rather than externally.”

Isn’t that a description of what the Civil Service does?

This is a story about government spin.

The real headline is that the Conservatives have wasted billions – perhaps hundreds of billions – on private rip-off merchants since they came back into office in 2010, because of their well-professed distrust of so-called “experts”.

Between 2016 and 2020, Britain spent £2.6 billion on just eight consultancies – including KPMG, McKinsey, Deloitte and EY.

The coronavirus crisis has seen the government’s reliance on private-sector consultancies spiral, with at least £56 million spent for help with issues as wide-ranging as data analysis and supplying PPE.

Only £56 million? I make it £100 million – and all because neither Boris Johnson nor Dominic Cummings could be bothered to think for themselves.

But of course these figures do not include the sums spent on private companies recommended to provide services by these consultants.

Look at the privatisation of the probation service: £2.5 billion went down the drain in that disaster.

Related to that, what about the scandal of privately-run prisons, in which G4S was fined £2.7 million for more than 100 breaches of its contract with the government. Considering the size of the fines, how much was that contract worth?

Or we could consider the fiasco that is Universal Credit. How many billions has that cost by now? I reported on this in 2013 and costs have spiralled upwards exponentially since then.

My report on Universal Credit also mentions that “Michael Gove’s Education Department is now in a terrible mess because he brought in a gang of “advisors” to operate “above” his officials – who have meanwhile faced huge cuts in their workforce and a disastrous fall in morale” and refers to a report on This Site in June of that year.

Who took the blame for the private enterprise failures in the DWP and Education? The Civil Service.

In my June 2013 report, I described the policy as: “Blame the Civil Service for everything, cut it back, and leave the actual mechanics of government unusable by anybody who follows them.

Well, it seems I was right.

And now the Tories are reaping what they have sowed. Their scorched-earth civil service policy has cost them billions and they are still in office to take the blame for it.

Except, of course, that their client journalists in papers like the FT are happy to spin it into a story about a shiny new organisation to save the day, rather than admit it’s just an attempt to revive an old service they ran into the ground.

Well, we’ve all seen through it:

Source: Johnson wants a ‘Crown Consultancy’ to stem private sector spending spree

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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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After This Site suggested it, Tories are letting experts tackle Covid-19 instead of their chums

I know. It’s just a coincidence.

But isn’t it interesting that, the day after This Site asked, “Don’t you agree that giving control of the response to Coronavirus back to people who actually know what they’re doing might turn the tide?” the Tories are talking about doing just that?

I had suggested, “Let’s see the Tories reopen the contract system to multiple tenders, with assignments of Covid-related contracts going to the firms best-suited for the work. Or – indeed – to the public organisations and authorities best-placed to handle it.”

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick made the admission that this will happen on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show today (October 11): “People who know their own community… are bound to be better than Whitehall or national contact tracers.”

Here’s the clip:

There’s an obvious question to be answered here:

Yes – why weren’t they used in the first place?

The obvious answer is that individuals within the Johnson government have corruptly and opportunistically used the pandemic as a chance to funnel cash to their fellow-Tory friends. Certainly there is a movement now to find out how much money has been wasted on so-called services that haven’t worked at all:

That question of wasted time is crucial because many people have died.

What happens if we find that those deaths happened because the Tories were giving money to their friends – for nothing – rather than to people who could actually keep that death toll down?

Will there be any accountability?

Or will Boris Johnson just shrug his shoulders, say “Now is not the time,” and forget about it?

For further information, here‘s the Mirror‘s piece.

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Covid-19: their policies don’t work and neither do the chums the Tories have given all our money

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding.

If you tuned in to the BBC’s Any Questions at around 1.15pm today, you may have enjoyed the same experience I did: a guest, exasperated at the Johnson government’s abject failure to devise any effective policies to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

All that Boris Johnson and his Minister of Death, Matt Hancock, have achieved is the creation of a huge reservoir of distrust across the nation as regulation after nonsensical regulation fails to stem the tide.

His problem is that he is desperate to keep money flowing to his chums, the rich businesspeople who donate cash to the Conservative Party on a regular basis. For that, he needs to ensure that people go to work in spite of the fact that they are more likely to catch the virus in the workplace or on the way to work. Sending our children and young people to school and university has also hugely worsened the spread.

And he has made it worse by abusing the emergency system of awarding contracts without going through the normal procedure of inviting tenders from multiple companies and awarding the contract to the one best-suited to honour it, according to established criteria.

Instead of giving contracts to those best-suited, Johnson has handed them to Tories – some of them running start-ups or firms that were non-functional – and has received very little in return.

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis explained the issue on the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday (October 8):

Yet more and more Tory cronies are on the gravy train – doing less and less for your cash. Look at the state of this:

Meanwhile the test and trace system run, contrary to logic, by Tory peer, former jockey and business failure Dido Harding, continues to fail the nation:

She won’t “consider her position”, of course. She’ll carry on draining the Treasury of cash because that’s Tory greed for you.

And they don’t mind the fact that people are dying. They don’t mind that at all.

Enough is enough.

Isn’t it?

This crisis has been here long enough that there’s no reason for the emergency contract system to remain in place for it; even though the Tories might not be able to predict what new equipment and personnel will be needed in the future, our experienced civil servants and NHS experts should.

Let’s see the Tories reopen the contract system to multiple tenders, with assignments of Covid-related contracts going to the firms best-suited for the work.

Or – indeed – to the public organisations and authorities best-placed to handle it.

Don’t you agree that giving control of the response to Coronavirus back to people who actually know what they’re doing might turn the tide?

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#SpaffingTories: they’re giving even more money to their toff friends

Spaffer: Boris Johnson has thrown so much money at private consultants and contractors that the UK’s financial situation is in peril.

Conservatives. They’re rubbish at running a country but really good at stealing public money and handing it to posh people.

Only days ago, we learned that they’ve wasted more than £3 billion on the Covid crisis so far. That’s money Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will want you to pay back, by the way. They won’t.

https://twitter.com/RussInCheshire/status/1310615498023936003

Now we see that, far from learning any lessons, they’re funnelling even more cash to the upper classes:

The responses to this announcement tell their own story:

Your money.

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Test and trace doco shows why the Tories STILL want to silence the BBC

The Johnson government will want to give the BBC a kicking for this, but it needed to be said.

Panorama documentary has exposed the facts about the so-called “NHS” test and trace system run by a private company that has failed the nation.

Don’t be wrong-footed by this; the BBC remains fundamentally right-wing in its outlook.

The point of this documentary is that the BBC is showing that the political party it supports can be wrong.

And when it is, it should be seen to be wrong.

The BBC News story about the documentary says it clearly:

An army of more than 20,000 tracers was recruited by England’s test-and-trace service. But from the beginning, there were complaints that some had little or nothing to do.

Panorama spoke to 19 coronavirus tracers who expressed concerns about a … lack of work, or technical problems.

Latest figures show that just over one in five people who have tested positive for coronavirus are not being reached by the system.

The general public has been even more to-the-point:

And finally:

Source: Test and trace: ‘I spoke to one person in four months’ – BBC News

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Why can’t the ‘NHS’ Covid-19 contact tracing app register NHS test results?

I think we all know the answer to that: it isn’t an NHS app after all.

After This Site was criticised – quite harshly by some – for connecting the ‘NHS’ Covid-19 contact tracing app with Serco and suggesting that it is a data harvesting tool for private contractor Serco, and had to publish a story yesterday (September 25) providing the information on the government’s press release…

It seems I may have been right in the first place after all.

Concerns have been raised after a user discovered he could not enter details of a test he undertook that was processed at an NHS/Public Health England laboratory. It seems the app can only take details of Serco tests:

We in the general public aren’t stupid. We asked questions and we drew conclusions:

The BBC got the story wrong; the headline mentions nothing about the failure to accommodate NHS/PHE results…

… but it did tell us about a few other cock-ups:

  • People who test negative can’t share the result with the app if the test wasn’t booked through the app.
  • People who enter their symptoms but not a test result find the app puts them onto a self-isolation countdown anyway.
  • They cannot stop the countdown, even if they enter a negative test result later.

And it does mention the main issue – but buried low in the story, possibly in the hope that the mass of the general public (70 per cent of the UK public gets its news from the BBC, apparently) will not notice and will carry on along its brainwashed way.

The Department for Health and Social Care has said the app will be updated (although it hasn’t said that these problems will be resolved).

This Site ran a Twitter survey when the app was launched, asking if it would be withdrawn by the weekend. There was a low take-up but the result was decisive:

It isn’t being withdrawn but it seems clear that it should be.

The DHSC is still claiming – somewhat desperately – that “by downloading the app you are helping protect yourself and others”. But it seems clear that the app’s real purpose is entirely different:

This is what we’re finding. And as long as the government keeps lying to us about what it is doing, it is also sapping away public trust in anything Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and the other crooks are doing.

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‘NHS’ contact tracer app DOESN’T come from Serco or harvest data. Johnson’s lies confused us

For once, it seems This Site is having to do a u-turn!

Information has come into my possession – some of it from very rude people on Twitter! – that the new contact-tracing app for smartphones hasn’t been developed by Serco after all.

It has yet to be proved that the incompetent outsourcing giant has nothing at all to do with it – the Department for Health and Social Care has not released the names of every organisation that worked on it.

But the headline, according to Wired, is that

The app has been developed by the NHS and NHSX, the innovation arm of the health service, under the direction of the DHSC. Software firms Zuhlke Engineering and Pivotal have been involved in the development though NHSX has not published a full list of companies who have worked on the app.

This raises an awkward question:

What has Serco been doing that required £12 billion?

As far as privacy is concerned, I misread Jim Killock’s tweets. He was saying that, while the smartphone app keeps your information private in an acceptable way, people who don’t have a smartphone and cannot – or will not – use it are in danger of having their data harvested because of the traditional ways in which it is recorded.

He’s saying you hand your details in to people at the location where your case is handled, with no safeguards or guarantees on it at all.

And he’s saying we have no idea whether privacy issues at Serco have been fixed – or how bad they are.

This Site is happy to apologise for the confusion.

The fact that there was confusion over this simply highlights the incompetence of the Conservative government in hiring untrustworthy private contractors to do a job requiring confidentiality in the first place.

It has created an atmosphere of distrust in which the default position is an expectation of betrayal; I wasn’t the only one who made the mistake.

And the mistake over Serco’s involvement in the smartphone app can be directly traced to our performing monkey prime minister Boris Johnson and his insistence on mislabelling the Serco test and trace fiasco as belonging to the NHS.

Now that there is an NHS app, will he start referring to the Serco shambles by its proper name?

I think not.

So the confusion will continue and it seems people will be put off the UK’s contact tracing schemes as a whole because of it.

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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Value for money? Serco contact tracer app cost £12,000 per person and harvests your data

CORRECTION: It seems the NHS contact tracer app wasn’t developed by Serco and won’t harvest your data. See this article for further details. I’m leaving the piece below on the site as an example of the mistakes that can happen when a prime minister lies – Boris Johnson has repeatedly claimed that the Serco test and trace business belonged to the NHS, so when an NHS contact tracer came along, we all automatically accepted that it was run by Serco, and subject to the same privacy issues as the Serco system.

The BBC is reporting that a million people have downloaded the Covid-19 contact tracing app developed by the private money-grubbers at Serco.

At the same time, we have learned that Rishi Sunak has handed over another £2 billion to Serco for its test-and-trace… work… bringing the total up to £12 billion.

So, that’s a cost of £12,000 per user (so far).

Here’s what it’s supposed to do:

NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus.
It also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot.

First, let’s get something straight. It’s being called the NHS contact tracing app. Is it really being run by the National Health Service?

Bad news, Mike…

So it’s a money pit for corporate beasts.

Is the price right? Well..

And does it do what it’s supposed to do – and nothing else?

Oh dear.

But there is a bright side:

That’s the bright side. You’ve got to really want to see it.

So! If you haven’t done it already, are you looking forward to downloading the app?

Source: NHS Covid-19 app: One million downloads of contact tracer for England and Wales – BBC News