Category Archives: Think tank

King’s Fund gets a schooling on NHS privatisation | SKWAWKBOX

Not for sale – except under the Tories: It turns out that the money given to private health businesses within the NHS has more than doubled in the last 11 years or so.

This is fun – except if you’re from the King’s Fund, of course.

… and the Tory government…

Have a look:

An influential ‘independent’ think-tank that once recommended the cutting back of ‘acute’ health services has published a Twitter thread claiming that the Tories’ privatisation of the NHS is a ‘myth’, because – supposedly – the proportion of NHS spending on provision by private firms has stayed ‘broadly stable’ for the past ten years.

Pro-NHS campaigner ToryFibs demolished this nonsense with plain fact, in a response quoting the official figures from the House of Commons Library that show the proportion of NHS spending going to private – and usually Tory-donating – firms has almost doubled in that period.

Nip over to Skwawkbox for the details. You can find them here: King’s Fund gets a schooling on the facts after claiming NHS privatisation is a ‘myth’ – SKWAWKBOX

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Was Tory crackdown on protest really prompted by this oil-funded think tank?

Targeted: Extinction Rebellion members – here protesting at a Murdoch print works – were briefly defined as an extremist group. Although they have now been removed from the list, Home Secretary Priti Patel has continued to refer to climate protesters as “criminals”.

A Tory crackdown on legal political protest was devised by a right-wing think tank that is funded by the US fossil fuel corporation ExxonMobil, it has been alleged.

And it is easy to see the reason: it removes the right of ordinary citizens to protest against the climate-wrecking policies followed by the oil industry.

According to Open Democracy,

Policy Exchange explicitly said the government should pass legislation to target Extinction Rebellion (XR) in a 2019 report that got the attention of Tory MPs and peers.

The report called for protest laws to be “urgently reformed in order to strengthen the ability of police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass law-breaking tactics”.

Sections of Priti Patel’s controversial policing bill, which became the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, appear directly inspired by the Policy Exchange report.

The Policy Exchange report that appears to have contained the seeds of the policing bill was later cited in the House of Commons by Tory MP Steve Baker, who urged ministers to read it, and in the Lords by Tory peer Matt Ridley. Baker is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic group that has received money from groups with oil interests in the US. Ridley is a member of the group’s academic advisory council.

Patel said openly that the legislation was intended to stop tactics used by Extinction Rebellion. The home secretary first pledged to introduce the bill just over a year after the Policy Exchange report was published.

Policy Exchange does not disclose its donors, but openDemocracy has uncovered that ExxonMobil Corporation donated $30,000 to its American fundraising arm in 2017.

There is much more information on the Open Democracy site (link below).

Circumstantial evidence?

Maybe – but then it isn’t likely that the Conservative Party, Policy Exchange and ExxonMobil are ever going to admit conspiring to silence legitimate political protest.

Source: Policy Exchange: Was oil-funded think tank behind anti-XR policing bill? | openDemocracy

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Are Tory right-wingers proposing a ‘Northern Bang’ or just another clusterf***?

Money: Margaret Thatcher’s favourite thinktank, the Centre for Policy Studies, says England needs a “Northern Bang” – like the so-called “Big Bang” in the financial markets that ultimately led to the financial crisis of 2008-10. It’s begging for disaster, as Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy explains.

Tories can’t help themselves, these days. Whatever they do turns into a “complete bureaucratic nightmare” and this plan is no different.

It’s certainly nothing new.

Let’s all be grateful to Richard Murphy for his analysis.

In his introduction, he states: “Margaret Thatcher’s favourite think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, has published a new report suggesting what they call a Northern Bang – aimed at the Tory Red Wall seats.

“Let’s ignore the fact that they want to favour these seats over those in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Instead let’s note that this is all the usual right-wing nonsense, including relaxing planning rules, providing state subsidies to big, foreign-owned businesses whilst ignoring those already based here, and reformed tax reliefs, for which there is absolutely no evidence of success in encouraging new investment.

“This is a Northern Whimper delivered by a think tank right out of ideas, but which still knows that its real purpose is to shovel wealth upwards from taxpayers to those who own and run large companies.

“The CPS report is here https://www.cps.org.uk/research/a-nor… and my proposals on capital allowances are here https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/w….”

Here’s the video, and it’s worth seeing:

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People with disabilities: do YOU want IAIN DUNCAN SMITH influencing how government treats you?

Iain Duncan Smith: apparently he isn’t demonstrating what he’d like to do to the throats of disabled people, although that isn’t clear from his record.

Iain Duncan Smith – his very name still triggers hate and fear in people with long-term illnesses and disabilities, in roughly equal measure.

It is now nearly five years since This Writer demonstrated that his Department for Work and Pensions had been responsible for more than 100,000 excess deaths of people claiming sickness and disability benefits.

The deaths had happened after he became Secretary of State and changed the way benefit entitlements were assessed, making it much more difficult for people who deserved them to make a claim.

And he perverted the appeal system into a labyrinthine, Kafka-esque nightmare designed to drive people to despair or starvation before ever seeing a penny.

Now, the right-wing think tank that this vile creature founded – and still chairs – is trying to interfere in the lives of vulnerable people once again.

The shockingly-misnamed Centre for Social Justice has launched what it calls a “Disability Commission” which it hopes will influence the Johnson government’s strategy for dealing with disabled people.

According to Disability News Service:

The commission appears set to focus on the role of business, employment and the free market, with CSJ calling on the government to use the disability strategy to “prove that only a market economy delivers sustainable social justice in a way that enables everyone to realise their potential”.

So it seems the plan is to throw people with disabilities into a free-market nightmare in which any skills they have will be ruthlessly exploited to make cash for the already extremely wealthy, while paying them as little as possible.

(Remember when Lord Freud suggested paying them as little as £2 per hour because they were “not worth the minimum wage”? That is what Tories think of the talents of people with disabilities.)

There appear to be a few names on this “commission” who have spoken out against Tory “reforms” in the past, but these seem to be token placements, intended to lend credibility to the project.

This can only be bad news for people on Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance.

Source: Thinktank responsible for universal credit launches ‘Disability Commission’ – Disability News Service

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Child poverty could reach 60-year high if Tories win general election – say experts

Child poverty is skyrocketing under Conservative rule. It’s time for a change.

The number of children in poverty could reach a 60-year-high if the Conservatives win the general election, according to the Resolution Foundation.

The organisation predicts a rise in the number of children in relative poverty from 29.6 per cent in 2017-18 to 34.5 per cent in 2023-24.

This is largely because of the impact of the two-child limit on support for families, which is mostly still to take effect.

In comparison, Labour’s plan to spend £9 billion more on social security will lift 550,000 children out of poverty altogether, the think tank says.

Labour has also said it aims to tackle the root causes of poverty, free school meals for all primary school children, expansion of free childcare, guaranteeing a right to food, improving pay and workers’ rights and tackling the housing crisis.

The Tories are still claiming – it would be hilarious if the consequences weren’t so terrible – that they are reducing child poverty.

They’re also still claiming – again, almost hilariously – that work is a way out of poverty (it hasn’t been since they came into office in 2010).

So they reckon fewer children are in poverty because 730,000 fewer of them are in workless households.

Typical Tories – their numbers just don’t add up.

Source: Child poverty could reach 60-year high if Tories win general election, experts warn

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Anti-NHS think tank that funds the Tories – hugely – is itself funded by ‘Big Tobacco’

Kate Andrews: This woman – and the IEA think tank she represents – is bad for your health.

Think about the British Medical Journal‘s findings: Tobacco and food firms whose products are harmful to health have been secretly funding the Conservative Party, through the think tank known as the Institute for Economic Affairs.

So next time the odious Kate Andrews appears on Question Time, or Politics Live, or The Andrew Marr Show saying the NHS should be scrapped, bear in mind she’s speaking for British American Tobacco…

And she’s giving the Conservative government instructions.

A secretive think tank which called for the NHS to be scrapped while its heads pour millions into the Conservative Party – and its MPs’ – coffers is being funded by big tobacco, an investigation has found.

British American Tobacco is one of the groups funding the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a free market think tank which is notoriously close-lipped about its donors.

The IEA has been an outspoken critic of public health measures for tackling smoking, obesity and harmful drinking, and past funders include organisations affiliated with gambling, alcohol, sugar and soft drinks industries.

Health experts said the findings, in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), raise the prospect of a future Conservative leader aligning with big business at the expense of the public’s health.

Source: Big tobacco secretly bankrolling anti-NHS think tank whose bosses donate thousands to Tory leadership contenders, an investigation reveals | The Independent

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