Tag Archives: businesses

Should water firms charge an extra 40% to tackle the sewage crisis?

You pay for their bad decisions: the privatised, profit-driven water firms have had more than 30 years to fund the restoration of the UK’s crumbling sewage system but instead they have given £72 billion to investors and pumped our effluent into the environment. Now they want to increase our bills by almost half to fix the problem they have created. But where will the money really go?

It looks like the UK’s privatised water firms are trying to sell us down the river again.

They want to add an extra 40 per cent to our bills, saying that’s what it will cost to clean up the sewage crisis they have caused by neglecting the UK’s crumbling system of sewage pipes.

Here’s a report about it, broadcast early in the morning of Wednesday, June 28, 2023:

It’s true that Thames Water boss Sarah Bentley has quit her job, that was worth £1.6 million a year to her, even before she got anywhere near the bonus she received (that she has already given back amid anger over the firm’s poor performance over sewage):

We don’t know how much her bonus totalled but last year she received £496,000.

Unlike many of the water firms, it turns out that this was much more than Thames Water shareholders received – they haven’t had a payout in six years, possibly because the business seems about to go down the pan:

Thames Water is an unusual case, though; since privatisation in the late 1980s, water companies have paid out £72 billion to shareholders.

Should this money have been invested in restoring the crumbling system? Has such investment been watered down to give a fast return to investors?

Panellists on the BBC’s Politics Live thrashed their way through these murky waters in two debates, when it seemed the Tory panellists, Bob Seely and Johnny Mercer, knew why this disaster has happened, but the left-wingers had the solution to it. See for yourself:

The funding system certainly seems to be sending our money down the drain.

But isn’t that because water is not appropriate for privatisation and is, as Mr McKenna suggested, a racket?


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Is this the reason our rivers and beaches are overflowing with sewage? [VIDEO]

Tory Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

An informative video clip from the Express? Will wonders never cease?

The big question is why nothing is being done about this.

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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Cameron warns of ‘legacy of debt’ – that he intends to leave

150113cameronmustgo

Comedy prime minister David Cameron has urged voters in the forthcoming general election not to pass on a “legacy of debt” to their children. This is clearly advice to vote for anybody but the Conservative Party.

His words came as an economic expert finally demolished the claims made in his first, lying, election poster and others pointed out that he has failed to fulfil other key pledges from 2010.

David Blanchflower, writing in The Independent, took the Tories to task for the lies on their poster.

Starting with the claim that the national deficit has been halved, he pointed out: “The size of the deficit itself has shrunk from £153bn when the Coalition took office in May 2010 to £91bn today, so it is down by around 40 per cent, or nearer to a third than a half.

“GDP is up, so when the deficit is expressed as a proportion of GDP it has indeed halved from 10.2 per cent of GDP to five per cent. It should be said, though, that the reduction in the deficit is nowhere near what George Osborne claimed it would be in his Budget statement in June 2010.: ‘The formal mandate we set is that the structural current deficit should be in balance in the final year of the five-year forecast period, which is 2015-16 in this Budget’.

Mr Blanchflower said the claim that 1.75 million jobs have been created is “false.” He showed three ways of calculating job figures and none produced the amount suggested in the poster: “No way, no how, can you get 1.75 million jobs created.

He continued: “The Tories continue to boast that the fact there are now nearly 31 million people in work means ‘there are more people in work’ than ever before… It could also be said that there more people inactive than ever before. This is just because there are more people than ever before – 16-plus population is up 3.2 per cent since May 2010.”

He said the claim that “the NHS has more doctors and nurses and money than it has had in its history” is also wrong for the same reason: “The population… has grown by nearly two million since 2010. The number of people age 65 and over, who make greater demands on the health service than young people, is up by around 800,000 since 2010. So spending more on a bigger population could be entirely consistent with spending less per person and of care worsening as demands on the service increase. That presumably helps to explain the evolving A&E crisis in the NHS.”

Finally, on the claim that 760,000 more businesses have been created: “This claim uses data… which includes unregistered businesses which don’t pay VAT or PAYE and have no employees – in other words, self-employed people working alone, some in partnerships.

“Careful work by Channel 4 Factcheck has helpfully noted that if you simply count (as the ONS does) the number of registered new firms who pay VAT and/or PAYE… the number of registered new firms is 163,275, or around a fifth of the Tories’ claim.” He went on to show that the number of successful businesses created by the Coalition was 4,400 – around 1/172 of what was claimed.

Meanwhile, on the blog Left Foot Forward, two other Cameron promises were trashed – his claim to protect the NHS, and his plan to reduce immigration.

“Last week figures were released showing that the health service is experiencing the worst A&E waiting times since records began back in 2004. This  in part stems from problems experienced by GP surgeries, with many patients turning up at A&E because they are unable to get a doctor’s appointment.

According to the Royal College Of General Practitioners, 50 million patients will be turned away from GP surgeries next year because of government underfunding. There is also a potential shortage of GPs coming further down the line: under the coalition the number of family doctors per 100,000 people has fallen to 66.5 – down from 70 in 2010.

“Operations to replace hips, knees and cataracts are also being rationed in certain areas of the country, with elderly people having to either go without or pay.”

In addition, it has been revealed that 25 cancer treatments will no longer be provided by the NHS in England, putting an end to Cameron’s claims that his government has delivered better cancer care.

Moving on to immigration, Left Foot Forward stated: “Back in 2010, David Cameron promised, “no ifs, no buts’ to cut net migration – the difference between people moving to the UK and those leaving – to the tens of thousands – despite warnings that the figure was undeliverable.

“Net migration is now above 200,000, its highest level since 2011. According to the Office for National Statistics, estimates for the 12 months to the end of September 2014 revealed a net flow of 212,000 migrants to Britain, compared with 154,000 the previous year.”

This puts Cameron’s speech in context. When he said voters faced a choice between the “road to recovery” and the “path to ruin”, he may have been trying to steal the catchline used by his critics about that infamous election poster – but voters have already made their decision about it. It will be clear that the “path to ruin” is Conservative policy.

“When you look at the children you love, do you want to land them with a legacy of huge debts?” he said. “Do you want to limit their future, to make life more difficult for their generation, because we refuse to do the right thing in our generation?” Of course people don’t. That’s why nobody in their right mind with an income around the national average or less will be voting Conservative.

He warned that “the writing is on the wall” for the country if it fails to deal with its debts, the consequences of which could mean higher taxes, higher interest rates and less money to spend on public services such as hospitals and schools. The Conservatives have not only failed to deal with the nation’s debts; they have created worse debts. A vote for the Tories is a vote for increased public debt.

And in the context of the facts related above, Cameron’s claim that “not a penny” would be cut from the NHS budget over this period, so “everyone gets the care they need” is clearly disingenuous. Health services are failing because of the Tory NHS Crisis and an increasingly-profit-driven service will not put matters right – the money will go into shareholders’ pockets rather than into care.

Cameron deliberately dodged the issue of immigration, saying it would be addressed “through the prism” of other subjects including jobs, taxes, home-ownership, education and retirement. In other words, if you’re worried about immigration, Cameron will do nothing for you.

Tories rob the poor to pay the rich. The fact that the national debt is still rising to the £1.5 trillion mark, despite punitive cuts to the incomes of the poorest, demonstrates that better than any verbal argument.

Cameron is a liar and a thief, and his government is responsible for the deaths of many thousands of vulnerable people who couldn’t cope when his government stopped the benefits they had funded with their taxes.

Think about that when you vote on May 7.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Health and safety deregulation: The thin end of a crippling wedge

I know what you think about this: “It’s only low-risk places like shops – what harm can it do?”

A lot, in fact.

The government is planning to introduce new rules from April next year, scrapping health and safety checks on thousands of businesses it considers low-risk. Shops are among them, along with offices, pubs and clubs.

Apparently this will save millions of pounds. I wonder how many lives it will ruin.

I have a friend who works in a supermarket, which counts as a shop. While he was working, a cleaner on some kind of motorised transport shot through a pair of doors which hit him on the arm, injuring it. This was months ago; the arm isn’t better. Because the supermarket chain had sub-contracted the cleaning work to another company, he is still awaiting compensation for the injury and loss of earnings; both firms deny responsibility.

This is a health and safety issue. Why does the government have nothing to say about it? And how many more people will suffer similar injury – or worse – in an unregulated future?

According to business minister Michael Fallon, firms will only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in areas deemed to be higher-risk, such as construction and food production, or if they have had an accident or a track record of poor performance – but for how long? If the policy saves companies money – never mind the human cost for a moment – won’t they expand it, to improve profitability for proprietors?

Ministers also said legislation would be introduced next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently.

Mrs Mike (my girlfriend) has had firsthand experience of how this works. She’s a former employee of a manufacturing company. This firm had multiple health and safety regulations to enforce, along with the equipment to do so – but she tells me that, strangely, all this equipment was hidden away during the normal working day and only came out when the factory’s owners were notified that a surprise inspection would take place. Think about that.

She doesn’t work there any more. Conditions were such that she had to perform repetitive physical work while standing at an uncomfortable angle, because the work surfaces were too low, for many hours every day, and this caused her physical damage.

But can she prove that it was her job that did the harm?

No.

I admit that this was one factory, run by a firm that no longer exists (it went into receivership and the premises are now run by someone else, who may have instigated a better health and safety regime; we don’t know, Mrs Mike isn’t there anymore). But consider the opportunities for abuse that will be available to other firms, if regulations are relaxed.

You might ask why I don’t think firms will carry on in a responsible manner after deregulation, and it might be a good question if we didn’t have the example of recent history available to us.

What I mean is: Just look at what happened with the banks.

Finally, what do you think will happen if you do suffer an injury at work? Mrs Mike was quietly sacked and has ended up on the infamous Employment and Support Allowance – Work-Related Activity Group. That’s right – you’ll get a year’s worth of invalidity pay before being required to go out and look for work, no matter what your physical condition might be. We already know that this experience can be terminal.

If you still doubt me about ESA, the latest YouTube video on the subject is on the Vox Political Facebook page. It tells the story of a claimant undergoing the hated Work Capability Assessment, in which the assessor actually asked, “So how long exactly have you had Down’s Syndrome?”