Tag Archives: business

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Brandon Lewis: this is an old image so the facts about his houses may be out of date.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

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Should we have any sympathy for Leave-voting farmers facing bankruptcy after ‘No Deal’ Brexit?

Sheep: British farmers voted for Brexit like herds of sheep driven on by the dog. If they had thought for themselves, perhaps they wouldn’t now be facing bankruptcy.

A former chief economist for the National Farmers’ Union has said one in three farms could be driven out of business within five years if Brexit continues without a trade deal with the EU.

According to Farmers Weekly:

Sean Rickard said half of all farms were already unprofitable – and would be even less so after the government phased out direct payments to growers and livestock producers.

The situation would deteriorate further with no deal, he added.

Didn’t these people all vote for Brexit?

This Writer remembers attending pre-referendum meetings here in Mid Wales, with rooms full of Welsh farmers clamouring for the UK to leave the EU as soon as possible.

My recollection is that this was the pattern across the UK.

So it seems to me that they are getting exactly what they wanted.

Source: Farms could fold in no-deal Brexit, warns top economist – Farmers Weekly

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‘No deal’ Brexit looking more likely as UK negotiator rattles his sabre at the EU

If the UK government is not “scared” of leaving the EU without a trade deal, then it is because the interests of UK government ministers will not be harmed.

Reading between the lines of the BBC’s story, perhaps they expect the taxpayer to fund any businesses in which they have an interest?

The downside is that UK negotiator David Frost is saying your Tory government couldn’t care less if your business crashes to dust as a result of high tariffs that will be imposed by the EU nations in January.

Both sides want a deal agreed next month in order to have it signed off by politicians on both sides of the Channel by the end of the transition period on 31 December.

Differences remain on issues such as fishing and the level of taxpayer support the UK will be able to provide for businesses, also referred to as state aid rules.

The EU has said it wants full access for its boats to fish in UK waters in return for giving the UK fishing industry full access to EU markets.

On state aid, the EU has expressed concern that it could give business in the UK an unfair advantage over their European competitors and Mr Barnier has previously said the EU will require “robust” guarantees in this area if it is to agree a deal.

This Writer would be inclined to suggest that the EU should keep its nose out of the UK’s businesses if we could be sure that taxpayer funding for our firms could be administered in a reasonable way – but that’s not what we’re seeing.

Look at the Covid-19 crisis: the Tories have deliberately manipulated government procurement mechanisms to give whomping great wodges of public money to private companies run by their friends. That’s not reasonable!

On balance, the EU’s insistence on interfering in the way UK businesses are run is not acceptable, though. Does Michel Barnier really think a little state aid is going to make much difference for a single country dealing with the world’s largest trading bloc?

If This Writer was running a large concern, though, I would be worried.

Whatever happens, it seems UK businesses will end up paying large tariffs to sell into the EU, while receiving no support from their own government. Am I right?

Source: Brexit: Negotiator David Frost says UK not scared of walking away – BBC News

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Sunak threatens tax raid in yet another Tory u-turn

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

This won’t play well with the Tory backbenchers: after u-turn after u-turn over Covid-19 and schools, their government is promising yet another u-turn – over tax.

Tories pride themselves on being a tax-cutting party. But Rishi Sunak is said to be threatening not just one but several tax hikes:

And to add insult to injury, the planned policy change means the Conservatives will be mirroring a policy planned by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in its 2019 election manifesto:

And if the voters don’t like it – and they don’t:

… What are Johnson’s already-disgruntled backbenchers going to do?

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The list of Tory donors to boycott is growing. If you really want to beat them, starve them of cash

It’s all about money: if Boris Johnson didn’t have any, he couldn’t harm anyone. So why are we supporting the people who support him?

[Update: if you want to see the eye-watering amounts that Boris Johnson has received in donations – and the names of the private companies providing the cash – visit this article.]

[Update October 25, 2020: New additions added today. They are listed in this colour.]

The response to my article calling for people to stop buying products provided by firms that donate to the Conservative Party had a great response.

Originally I intended to update that article with new additions to the list of Tory donor firms, but it occurs to me that this may not attract as many readers as regular (or semi-regular) updates, so I’m taking the latter route.

I am aware that some respondents have expressed scepticism about the idea. It won’t produce results overnight, that’s for sure – but then, we’re stuck with Boris Johnson and his cabal of incompetents until 2024, thanks to the 2019 general election. Do you have anything better to do?

This Site can’t change the situation on its own, either, so don’t expect me to. It is the individual responsibility of everybody in the UK to obtain the best government possible – and to change that government by any legal means if a wrong decision is made; you can’t expect the rest of us to do it for you.

That means changing your behaviour to cut out the Tory businesses, and finding new suppliers of goods and services you need.

It also means pestering your friends and colleagues to do the same. Expect resistance because people are naturally lazy. Use the exam results fiasco to persuade parents, and the Covid-19 disaster on others. As the Tories perpetrate more cock-ups – and they will – add those to the list you can use.

And here’s the list of Tory donor firms to shun:

Addison Lee (via founder John Griffin)

Airbus Group Ltd

Airport Park & Ride Ltd

Alfred Dunhill Ltd

Allinson’s (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

Amey Group Services Ltd

Annabel’s (Berkeley Square) Ltd

Asda Property Holdings

ASDA Stores Ltd

Askey’s (ice cream – owned by Associated British Foods)

Associated British Foods

AXA Trading Limited

BAA Airports Ltd

Balfour Beatty

Beds and Bars Ltd

Bell Pottinger Communications Ltd

Bestway (cash and carry)

Betfair Ltd

Bicester Shopping Village

Billington’s (sugar – owned by Associated British Foods)

Birmingham Airport Ltd

Boden

Cameron Mackintosh (theatre company: Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon, Cats and Hamilton)

Caxton Associates (via boss Andrew Law)

Country House Weddings Ltd

Crusha (milkshakes – owned by Associated British Foods)

CVC Capital Partners (via co-founder Bruce Hardy McLain)

Delamere Dairy

Dorset Cereals (owned by Associated British Foods)

Dunelm (owner Bill Adderly donated £500,000 to the Tory 2019 election campaign)

Dyson (household appliance manufacturer)

E.On (gas and electricity supplier)

Express Newspapers

Flamingo Land (Yorkshire theme park)

Gatwick Airport

Genix Healthcare (NHS and private dental clinics)

Ginsters (pasty and pie manufacturer, owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

Golden Wonder (crisps)

Hooch (drink, owned by Tory donor Global Brands Ltd)

Iceland (supermarket)

Imperial London Hotels Ltd

Jacksons of Piccadilly (tea – owned by Associated British Foods)

JCB (construction, but has also licenced hundreds of other products)

Jordans (cereals – owned by Associated British Foods)

JP Morgan Cazenove (via former chairman David Mayhew)

Kingsmill (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

LNT Group (boss Lawrence Tomlinson donated £40,500 to 13 Tory candidates in 2019 election)

The London Cabaret Club

Lycamobile (SIM card company)

Melton Mowbray pies (owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

Microsoft Ltd (UK branch of the US corporation. This could be tricky as I expect we all have Microsoft products!)

National Express

New Cross Nursing Group Ltd (nurse agency)

Next

Nielsen Massey (vanilla and food flavourings – owned by Associated British Foods)

Ocado

Ovaltine (owned by Associated British Foods)

OVO Energy (through managing director Stephen Fitzpatrick)

Palantir

Patak’s (owned by Associated British Foods)

Petrofac (via chairman Ayman Asfari)

Pimlico Plumbers

Radnor Hills Mineral Water

Frederic Robinson Ltd (owns Robinson Breweries and 280 pubs in the North West, producer of bottled and cask beers)

Ryvita (owned by Associated British Foods)

Sainsbury’s (supermarket) (due to donations by Tory Lord John Sainsbury, the company’s president, totalling more than £1 million between 2001 and 2017. There is also a Lord David Sainsbury who donated £8 million to the Liberal Democrats – but his holdings in the firm are now managed as a ‘blind’ trust to prevent any conflict of interest with his political career.)

Scottish Power (although this firm seems confused and has also given to Labour)

Selfridges (department store)

Serco

Silver Spoon (suger manufacturer, owned by Associated British Foods)

Soreen Malt Loaf (owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

The Spectator (magazine, via former owner Sir Henry Keswick)

Speedibake (bakery products – owned by Associated British Foods)

The Sun (newspaper (it says))

Sunblest (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

Tate & Lyle (sugar manufacturer)

Tempcover (car insurer)

Truvia (sweeteners – owned by Associated British Foods)

Twinings (tea manufacturer, owned by Associated British Foods)

Tyrells (crisps)

VK (alcopop owned by Tory donor Global Brands Ltd)

Warburtons (bread manufacturer)

Westfield

Wetherspoons (pub chain)

Wren Kitchens

It’s still not an exhaustive list. I’m working through the evidence as fast as I can.

And it may be inaccurate in places. Any firm or person listed above who thinks they shouldn’t be is invited to get in touch (politely, please!) and we can talk about it.

I must emphasize that this is not something that can achieve results overnight. It requires a behavioural shift by a large number of people, into awareness of where their money goes after they use it to buy goods/services.

And I must also remind you of one very important fact:

If you – personally – don’t do anything, nothing will change. It really is your choice.

(NOTE August 17: Richer Sounds has been removed from the list as I have been informed that the company is very far from being a Tory donor; it is now largely employee-owned and supports a large number of progressive causes and campaigns, in line with the activities of its founder, Julian Richer. I am delighted to make this correction and hope to run an article about what appears to be an exemplary UK business in the near future.)

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If you want to stop the Tory class war, boycott the businesses that help them

It’s all about money: if Boris Johnson didn’t have any, he couldn’t harm anyone. So why are we supporting the people who support him?

In a previous article I called for anyone harmed by Tory policies – like students whose ‘A’ level results were downgraded at random by the Department of Education, relatives of people who have died of Covid-19 and so on – to do what they can to stop the Johnson government at a grassroots level.

This means starving it of cash.

The way to do that is to boycott businesses that are run by Tories or that donate to the Tory Party; if you run a business, deny employment to graduates of further education institutions that have denied students places because of the Tory ‘A’ level downgrade; and to urge your friends who have been simiilarly affected to do the same.

I think it would be valuable to have lists of such organisations, so everybody knows who to avoid – and already some names are coming in.

The information is unconfirmed, but so far I am told that these firms donate to the Conservatives:

Tate & Lyle (sugar manufacturers)

Warburtons (bread manufacturers)

Wetherspoons (pub chain)

I’d like to add to this list as I go.

Feel free to contribute names of offending organisations – national, international and local. I’ll look up Tory donations soon.

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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Tory donor who supported Johnson bets AGAINST UK firms post-Brexit

Crispin Odey: This man supports the Conservatives in the belief that they’ll crash the economy. And they’re still saying they’re the party of financial responsibility.

What a charmer this Crispin Odey is!

After backing Boris Johnson to win the Conservative Party leadership contest, he has gone on to bet against at least 16 UK companies. He reckons their share prices will plummet post-Brexit.

We may safely (I think) conclude that he is making this prediction on the back of Mr Johnson’s win.

So he thought BoJob would be bad for the UK – and backed him to win in order to make money betting on British businesses crashing as a result.

And the Conservative Party is still taking money from such a person.

How utterly cynical.

Crispin Odey, the pro-Brexit Conservative donor, reportedly waged a £300m bet against some of Britain’s biggest businesses on the implication their share prices will crash after Brexit.

The multimillionaire hedge fund tycoon’s company, Odey Asset Management, is understood to have taken out £299m in “short” positions on at least 16 firms including Royal Mail and Intu, the shopping centre owner.

Shorting involves borrowing currency or shares and selling immediately in the hope of buying them back later for less and pocketing the difference.

Source: Tory donor bets £300 million on losses for UK firms after no-deal Brexit – inews.co.uk

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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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook