Tag Archives: business

Government rules out searching Matt Hancock’s private emails. What does Johnson NOT want to find?

Matt Hancock: I thought I might not get another chance to use this image of him looking gormless. How wrong I was!

Despite admitting that Matt Hancock used his private email address to carry out government business, Boris Johnson’s gang won’t check his private emails to find out what he did in them.

Why not?

It seems the government has no record of much of Hancock’s decision-making during the pandemic, and this is because he carried out his business by private email.

Government guidelines expressly demand that ministers who use their personal emails for Parliamentary business should “take steps to ensure the relevant information is accessible” but it seems clear that Hancock hasn’t bothered.

Otherwise, why would The Sunday Times state that no record exists to show how Hancock negotiated PPE contracts, created the test-and-trace programme and oversaw the care homes strategy?

The nation needs to know about these matters because we need to know how much money he wasted on the first two, and how many lives he wasted on the third.

It seems clear that the only reason the government won’t go through Hancock’s emails is fear of embarrassment; he was incompetent at best, and a search could reveal the kind of mistakes that are actionable in court.

The claim to have been through 1.4 million documents already, so checking Hancock’s mail won’t be necessary, is clearly a smokescreen. Why do all that work when you can get all the information you need just by looking at one person’s emails?

The Good Law Project is already calling for Hancock’s inbox and outbox to be examined.

If the information won’t be provided willingly, perhaps this organisation should seek a court order?

Source: Government rules out searching Matt Hancock’s private emails – BBC News

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Covid-19: Boris Johnson gave more than the GDP of 140 nations and territories in contracts to crony companies

Spaffer: Johnson spaffed £52.5 billion up the wall in so-called Covid-19 contracts to Tory crony firms – and got practically nothing in return.

Boris Johnson used the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to give cash totalling the Gross Domestic Product of 140 nation states and territories – your money – mostly to companies that were run by Tory donors or friends of people in his Conservative government.

And now he’s saying the cost of the Covid crisis means he’s cutting overseas aid. Doesn’t he mean there’s no money for Johnny Foreigner because he’s spaffed it all up his fatcat crony donor friends?

Of £52.5 billion in contracts, £27.5 billion was awarded without competitive tender. Experience shows that this means the cash went to cronies of the Tory government, many of whom had no experience and had literally just set up a company name in order to take the money. Meanwhile, experts in their field were denied any funding at all.

Profiting most from the handout was a firm called Innova Medical Group, with whom most of the contracts were for test kits that the US government has said are inaccurate and should be thrown away.

The National Audit Office says only 96 million out of 691 million Innova test kits have been registered as used.

The travesty is explained in excruciating detail by The Citizens, below:

Yes, the government has serious questions to answer.

Sadly, it is a government led by Boris Johnson so we know that all the answers will be twaddle.

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Tory MPs have been using private emails to covertly conduct government business for YEARS

Boris Johnson: who knows how much government business the prime minister has corruptly carried out over his own personal email account, in order to hide it from your scrutiny? And before anybody says they expect honesty from the PM, let’s all remember that we all knew what he is before he won the 2019 general election.

Why is everybody making such a fuss about Matt Hancock carrying out government business on the sly via his private email account now? Tory ministers have been doing this habitually since 2011.

There can only be one reason for it, too – and that is to avoid proper and lawful scrutiny of activities that they know are not acceptable behaviour for government ministers.

Michael Gove was caught using private emails to communicate with Department for Education personnel, all the way back in 2011.

Financial Times journalist Chris Cook established that Gove and some of his special advisers (or Spads) had been using private email accounts to conduct business which appeared to many (eventually including the Information Commissioner) to be Government business. It was suggested that this had been done to avoid potential disclosure of the emails through FOI.

Did Gove receive any punishment for this? No.

Liam Fox’s personal email account was hacked by Russians in 2019 when, as International Trade Secretary, he was responsible for negotiating a trade deal with the United States.

The hackers lifted 450 pages of classified information from the account, prompting Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to ask why Fox had been using an unsecured personal email address to carry out government business.

Has there ever been an answer to this question? No.

There have been attempts to justify the use of private emails – Tory MP Tom Tugendhat claimed in 2016 that he had received private advice from GCHQ, the government communications centre in Cheltenham, that a Gmail account would be more secure against hacking than the government’s own system.

It’s possible that he was telling the truth – after all, it has been claimed that GCHQ routinely monitors MPs’ private email accounts in any event. Alarmingly, it seems the US National Security Agency is also privy to any information gathered during these sweeps. Why?

And now we have information showing that Matt Hancock, Lord Bethell, Helen Whately and PM Boris Johnson himself have all misused their personal email accounts in order to hide business they have done as members of the government from lawful scrutiny.

You may have heard misinformation claiming that ministers are allowed to conduct some business by private email, depending on the seriousness of the matters concerned and the level of security to be applied.

This Writer heard a mealy-mouthed Tory apologist making such claims on Radio 4’s PM on June 28. They are not true.

Cabinet Office guidance clearly states that “The originator or recipient of a
communication should consider whether the information contained in it is substantive discussions or decisions generated in the course of conducting Government business and, if so, take steps to ensure the relevant information is accessible (e.g. by copying it to a government email address)”.

There is no opt-out. Any and all emails in which government business is carried out must at least be copied into the government’s email system and any failure to do so is a breach of the rules.

Sadly, the guidance note does not describe any sanctions that could be used against government ministers or officers for misuse of private email accounts to carry out government business in secret. This is a common omission that makes the rules themselves a dead letter; worthless.

In other words, while it is entirely possible that Hancock, Johnson and all the others have been corruptly hiding dirty Tory deals for more than a decade, there isn’t a damned thing that can be done to stop them.

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Windfall tax on pandemic profits should wipe out Covid-19 related debt says McDonnell

John McDonnell: he would have revolutionised the UK’s economy. Instead, the Tories have saddled one-tenth of the population with debt so great that they cannot pay their regular bills.

A former Shadow Chancellor has proposed a radical set of plans to clear the debt created by the Tory government’s cack-handed handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

John McDonnell pointed out that the richest firms in the UK have profited hand-over-fist during the crisis, and should pay a windfall tax to help pay for the measures to end it – which would ultimately help them, of course.

His proposals were not an attack on businesses, though – they were a criticism of a speech by current Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose best idea was to get members of the public to give all the money they have managed to save during the crisis to a new investment bank – meaning the nation’s poorest would foot the bill (again). What a socialist Starmer is!

In fact, according to Citizens Advice, more than six million people have fallen behind on their bills because of Covid-related hardship, and the number in severe, problem debt has doubled to 1.2 million.

They don’t have any spare cash for castle-in-the-air investment banks!

McDonnell said a comprehensive package of debt cancellation was needed to get the UK back on its feet, including high-cost debt, old debt, unmanageable rent and student debt – all to be supported by a windfall tax on businesses that have raked in billions of pounds over the last year.

He called for the creation of a ‘Debt Charter’ to tackle the causes and consequences of debt in UK society.

Improved benefits and a £10-an-hour living wage, along with restored universal basic services, should be deployed to prevent people from getting into debt in the first place, he said.

He called for a cap on interest rate charges and a ceiling on overdraft fees and interest payments to “rebalance power between lenders and the indebted”.

And he said bailiff visits should be suspended at least until the whole of the UK has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

This is the kind of thinking we need at this time.

We could have had it, too – if only millions of people had not been hoodwinked by anti-Labour propaganda at the 2019 general election, including a Tory campaign that was found to be more than 80 per cent lies.

So if you find yourself struggling with debt for years to come, while the Tories, their client media and their business-oriented doners tell you you’ve never had it so good, just remember that you could have had it better.

And remind everybody you know not to be fooled again.

Source: Impose windfall tax on pandemic profits to wipe debt slate clean, says McDonnell | The Independent

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If half our exporters are in danger due to Brexit, should we ignore them in favour of the other half?

Imagine this container ship half-empty and you’ll have an idea of the effect that Brexit is having on UK exports.

That was the rationale behind the support for the EU referendum decision, if I recall correctly: that the 48 per cent who were disadvantaged by it should accept that the 52 per cent had won.

Now we see 49 per cent of UK exporters are facing difficulties that are disrupting their business as they struggle to cope with Brexit-related bureaucracy and border checks that the Tory government spent years promising would not be imposed.

People are making the obvious comparison, and This Writer thinks it is reasonable to do so.

All right – the EU referendum vote was democracy in action and it was won by those who wanted to quit the European Union.

That decision has consequences, and we are seeing those consequences in action now.

In January, the UK lost 68 per cent of its export trade to the EU. Now we see that 49 per cent of exporting companies are experiencing difficulties with the new system. If the situation continues, they may close. Already fishery firms are closing.

If firms go out of business, people will lose their jobs and the economy will spiral into a recession so deep that 2008 will seem like a picnic in comparison.

I wonder if Brexiteers who work for affected firms will still be telling Remainers, “You lost – get over it!” from the food bank queues.

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Employers need to plan for the future. Why is the ‘party of business’ denying them this security?

Ditherer: Rishi Sunak doesn’t know how to safeguard businesses and the UK economy, or link its well-being with public health because the neoliberal dogma he learned does not accommodate phenomena like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19-related support packages for businesses are set to end soon, with no extension or replacement announced – signifying a £50 billion loss to the UK’s economy.

According to Tory plans the furlough scheme, rates holidays, tax deferrals, VAT cuts and other support packages will be closed at the end of the financial year.

But businesses are now expecting to be closed well into the spring and possibly beyond.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak is not likely to announce his plans for the future of the economy until he makes his spring Budget statement on March 3 – too late for many firms, whose bosses will have to make decisions based on information currently available to them before that, if they are to be seen to be acting with responsibility to their shareholders, creditors and even employees.

Labour has demanded immediate action and, for once, Keir Starmer’s party is right.

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell also touched a raw nerve when she said Boris Johnson’s Tory government had failed to ensure that business support was integrated with public health measures.

As a result, the UK’s Covid-related recession had been the worst of any major economy.

And the longer Sunak dithers, the worst the situation will become.

Source: Businesses facing £50bn ‘bombshell’ as Covid support withdrawn, warns Labour | The Independent

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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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No u-turn on free school meals, says Brandon Lewis – kids will have to survive on charity

Brandon Lewis: this is an old image so the facts about his houses may be out of date.

If you think we’ve reached peak Tory cruelty, allow me to point out at the outset that we haven’t.

It may seem that way, with Boris Johnson and his government passing cash hand-over-fist to their Tory chums while ordering that children stricken with a poverty that they have created must starve, but believe me – it is possible for these soulless monsters to do much worse.

On the subject of soulless monsters, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis made an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today to make it clear that, no matter how much abuse they receive, Tory MPs have absolutely no intention of reversing their decision to deny free school meals to kids who need them over the half-term and Christmas holidays.

He claimed that the Tory government has already put huge amounts of money aside for this purpose but the claim does not correspond with reality; he was just plucking numbers from his rear end.

Marr told him businesses were stepping up and Lewis signified his approval. But we have an answer to that :

The Tory response to the charity from local businesses was to claim that these firms clearly do not need government support during the Covid crisis and should not apply for it; a clear indicator that they intend to punish anybody in a position to stop poor children from starving:

The Tory MP highlighted in the article, Selaine Saxby (North Devon), has since claimed that she was misrepresented…

… but it is hard to see how “I am delighted our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking any further government support” can be interpreted any other way.

Ms Saxby was elected last December with a massive majority of 14,813 votes – that’s 14,813 more than her nearest rival, 26.6 per cent of the total. She took 56.5 per cent of the vote altogether.

This means the people of North Devon voted by an overall majority to support a Conservative who endorses policies that put children in poverty, and votes to starve them once they are there.

I know This Site has readers from that constituency who are sickened by their MP’s choices. Public voting habits being what they are, it will be up to these people to force their peers to see what they have supported – possibly by finding local examples of children who are going hungry as a result of this cruel Tory policy? – and make them face their responsibility for it.

Meanwhile the backlash against the Tories continues:

Davies is the MP for Grantham and Stamford. People living there: you know what to do.

If you have made a similar infographic – or have seen one – please send it in so I can publish it here.

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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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Brexit: outrage as Tory lord falsely claims businesses have ‘head in the sand’

Lord Agnew: he appears to have an honesty deficit.

Business leaders are furious after Cabinet Office minister Lord Agnew told them they’ve had their “heads in the sand” by failing to prepare for new border checks at the end of the Brexit transition periods.

They say they have spent the last four years asking the Tory governments of David Cameron, Theresa May and now Boris Johnson what they need to do, only to be met with silence.

You can read the news story here

… or just see the reactions for yourself:

The facts seem clear:

  1. Businesses have spent four years – ever since the EU referendum vote happened – demanding clarity from the Tories on what Brexit will mean for them. They received no response.
  2. Now that the reality is almost upon us, Lord Agnew has been wheeled out to pretend that the situation in 1. above has not taken place.
  3. His lie has been exposed, and
  4. The government has still not told businesses what they need to do.

Have I missed anything?

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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Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook