Tag Archives: company

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Brandon Lewis: this is an old image so the facts about his houses may be out of date.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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Ofqual chief Sally Collier resigns – over letting Cummings chum’s company have contract?

Exams: If Sally Collier had examined Public First a little more closely, she might not have had to resign.

The big development in the ‘A’ level scandal yesterday (August 25) was the resignation of Ofqual boss Sally Collier – apparently under criticism about the algorithm that marked down students from poorer backgrounds.

That’s what Tory mouthpiece the BBC is saying:

Ofqual chief Ms Collier has been under fire for a controversial algorithm which changed GCSE and A-level marks, making them unfair, according to heads.

It also led to many A-level students losing university places they had been offered, and a crunch on degree places.

But didn’t that only happen because Ofqual had hired useless lobbying/research firm Public First, run by friends of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove?

A spokesperson said: “Due to the exceptional circumstances presented by the cancellation of exams, the single tender justification process was used for this contract, due to the need to urgently procure the work, in line with our procurement policy.”

This comment makes it clear that Public First was hired to find a way forward for students’ exam results. It came up with the infamous algorithm and caused a scandal.

And we now know that the government paid £49,000 for that disaster.

So it seems Ms Collier has resigned, but the fault lies with James Frayne and Rachel Wolf, the people behind Public First.

Other contracts given to the firm under the “no competition” regulations which apply when a service is deemed “urgent” during emergency circumstances include £840,000 to research public opinion on government policies – including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not bad for a firm whose registered office is a residential address – a house – in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire.

Another contract saw the company handed £116,000 by the Department of Health and Social Care to identify ways to “lock in the lessons learned” by the Government during the Covid-19 crisis.

But will the Tories learn the obvious lesson – that Public First should not be hired to carry out any work under any circumstances at all, whether in an emergency or not?

It seems doubtful.

Source: Ofqual chief Sally Collier steps down after exams chaos – BBC News

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Spendthrift Tories have spaffed £500 MILLION on firms run by their friends – that do NOTHING

‘Spaffer’: Boris Johnson is throwing money the UK doesn’t have at his mates’ companies. What will you do when he tells you to pay off the debt?

In a week when we learned the Tories have more than doubled the national debt to £2 trillion, a mere £500 million might not seem much.

It’s around 1/200th, or half a per cent, of the total they’ve borrowed since 2010.

But this is money they have spent in the last six months alone – on contracts with companies run by their personal friends… that have apparently done nothing useful in return.

According to the Labour Party, 13 firms run by friends of Tory ministers have won contracts related to Covid-19, without having to go through a competitive tendering process.

Here’s what they’ve done with the money:

One firm, Randox, received £133million for Covid testing.

It pays Tory MP and former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson £8,333 a month as an adviser.

Earlier this month, 750,000 unused Randox testing kits were ­recalled over safety concerns.

How about the Serco ‘test and trace’ fiasco?

Serco is paid £108million for running the national contact-tracing service and nearly £46million by the DWP to run call centres.

Health minister Edward Argar was a senior executive and boss Rupert Soames is brother of former Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames.

In November 2019, Rupert Soames’ wife Camilla donated £4,995 to the Tory Party.

Here are the other firms mentioned in the Mirror article:

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which won seven contracts, hired Theresa May’s former top aide Gavin Barwell as a strategic adviser in January.

He is also a non-executive adviser at Arcadis – which was given a £1.5million consultancy contract with the Ministry of Justice in April.

Public First Ltd gets £840,000 to run focus groups for No10. It is owned by James Frayne, who started the New Frontiers think tank in 2003 with Dominic Cummings.

Dragontown Ltd was awarded a contract worth £675,000 to supply PPE to London’s Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Lady Xuelin Bates, a director of this firm, is the wife of Tory peer and former minister Lord Bates and has donated £30,000 to the Tories.

If we had anything to show for this emptying of the public purse, there might be some justification for these contracts – but we don’t.

This is nepotism intended to further enrich the undeserving while bankrupting the nation.

Expect Boris Johnson to demand that, now he and his spendthrift mates have run up a huge debt, you have to pay it off.

Source: Firms linked to Tories have won £500m coronavirus contracts without having to bid – Mirror Online

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Coronavirus: This tax haven exclusion is just one way the UK is missing the chance to change

Registered in a tax haven? Then no tax-funded help for you: there’s no reason the UK should give tax-dodging firms a hand during the coronavirus crisis if they haven’t paid their full dues.

Here’s a good idea. Shame it’s another country that came up with it:

https://twitter.com/withorpe/status/1251925513217675264

https://twitter.com/withorpe/status/1251940269303435264

It makes perfect sense.

Companies that have withheld their profits from HM Revenue and Customs by registering themselves in tax havens have opted out of paying the full amount of tax that they could (I would say should) have been paying.

Therefore there is no reason they should benefit from aid schemes funded by those taxes, in the UK.

And do we expect the UK to impose a restriction similar to Denmark?

https://twitter.com/KateyKay3/status/1251951667450429450

So Denmark is doing the right thing, but the UK won’t because we have a Conservative government that receives donations from tax dodgers, in the opinions of the masses on Twitter.

Yet millions of people voted for the Conservative government that allows this gaming of the system.

There will be more chances, too. The simple fact is that the coronavirus lockdown, and the many deaths that Conservative government failures have directly caused, mean the Tories will need our help to get the UK running they way they want afterwards.

Alternatively, we could demand the changes we need in order to live the kind of lives they have in Denmark (for example).

Do you honestly want a few crawlers to throw that chance away?

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Financial Times gives Labour a huge boost with front page lead on life-changing policies

Plaudits to Skwawkbox for pointing out the fact that the Financial Times has shot itself in the foot with its lead story today (September 2).

The headline states that “Labour would cost companies £300bn” – implying that this is a scare story. But it continues “by shifting shares to staff”.

Brilliant news!

It’s saying that working people, who actually create the profits that the UK’s biggest firms make every day, will actually receive a dividend from those profits under a future Labour government.

That alone is a good reason to vote Labour at any future election.

No doubt the parasites will claim that the move will destabilise UK industry but this is clearly nonsense.

Working people have every right to profit – just as much as bosses and other shareholders – from the work they do.

The Financial Times (FT) has given the ‘above the fold’ half of its front page this morning to policies it presumably thinks will horrify its core readership – but which will be music to the ears of millions of voters hard-pressed under the Tories and their prioritisation, as Corbyn said in his Salford speech this morning, of ‘those who lend and speculate over those who actually make things‘.

The headline may blare about ‘costing UK companies £300bn’ – the FT’s estimate – but it goes on to say ‘by shifting shares to staff’. The article itself can’t help but elaborate a few of Labour’s groundbreaking policies and the way they would revolutionise the life of ‘the many’ in this country:

And it seems the FT digs itself further in by listing other great Labour policies:

The detail of the front-page coverage gives some key information on just a few of Labour’s game-changing policies:

  • Labour in government will give shares to workers in seven thousand of the UK’s biggest employers – entitling them to dividends of up to £500 per year as well as helping the national finances
  • Labour will introduce a right-to-buy for tenants of private landlords at affordable prices, helping to reduce the concentration of property in the hands of a few that has driven up rents and house prices under Conservative governments
  • Shifting power away from ‘bosses and landlords’ and to the people
  • Increasing productivity and long-term thinking by giving employees a meaningful stake

The timing is also hilariously inept for a newspaper trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

This week, Parliament is in crisis as Boris Johnson’s dictatorial excuse for a government tries to overrule Parliament’s sovereignty in order to push through a “no deal” Brexit that few people want.

MPs may push back, even to the point of demanding a general election.

And on the eve of such a move, the Financial Times has given us all an excellent reason to vote Labour into power.

Tony Blair may be urging Labour to vote against an election on the grounds that Jeremy Corbyn is unpopular – but he is preaching a perspective on the Labour leader that is largely created by the Tory media.

We saw similar claims evaporate during the 2017 election campaign and fearmongers and yesterday’s men like Mr Blair would be better-off keeping their mouths shut.

The message from this newspaper is clear – if not quite as intended: If a general election is possible, bring it on! Labour will walk it.

Source: FT inadvertently gives huge front-page ad to Labour as party of hope and change | The SKWAWKBOX

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UK railway services are now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries

Could there be a better argument to support Labour’s call for train services to be re-nationalised?

British rail commuters pay the highest prices in Europe to use trains that are almost exclusively run by European state operators.

We are subsidising services in their countries.

If our railways were re-nationalised, the money we pay would flow into UK state coffers. From there it could be used to, possibly, improve the service and reduce prices.

Don’t you think that would be a better way?

With rail fares set to rise again by as much as 2.8 per cent, the debate over whether the UK should renationalise the railways – which Labour made a 2017 manifesto pledge – has already reared its head.

This week the Trades Union Congress renewed its call for renationalisation, saying doing so would lead to lower ticket prices.

“We’re already paying the highest ticket prices in Europe to travel on overcrowded and understaffed trains,” the organisation’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said.

[But] extensive state-ownership exists among UK rail operators, it just doesn’t involve the British state.

Here’s the full list:

c2c: Italian state

Chiltern: German state

Caledonian sleeper: PRIVATE

CrossCountry: German state

East Midlands: Dutch state

Eurostar: French state

Gatwick Express: French state

Grand Central: German state

Great Northern: French state

GWR: PRIVATE

Greater Anglia: Dutch state

Heathrow Express: PRIVATE

Hull Trains: PRIVATE

LNER: British state

London Northwestern Railway: Dutch state

London Overground: German state

London Underground: British state

Merseyrail: Dutch state

Northern: German state

Northern Ireland Railways: British state

Scotrail: Dutch state

South Western Railway: Hong Kong state

Southeastern: French state

Southern: French state

Stansted Express: Dutch state

TfL rail: Hong Kong state

Thameslink: French state

TransPennine Express: PRIVATE

Transport for Wales: French state

West Coast: Italian state

West Midlands Railway: Dutch state

Source: Trains on UK railways now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries | The Independent

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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

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Did you know that the Tories are seducing English GPs into an American-style health system – RIGHT NOW?

I’ve only just found out about this and it is scandalous.

The Conservative government is pushing a new “GP contract” on local medical practices in England, demanding that your family doctor should sign up to the creation of “Primary Care Networks” based on a US-style model of “integrated care”.

The traditional doctor/patient relationship will end.

You will lose the right to see your GP.

Continuity of care will end.

Your GP may think they are signing up for something better, as doctors are being promised more money and more nursing staff, but…

The money is to make up for cuts to hospital care.

You will be forced to see less skilled staff.

This means your medical records will be shared widely, breaching patient confidentiality.

Patient care will suffer, meaning you will be more likely to suffer preventable harm under the new system.

And, eventually, the new system means the Tories will be able to sell your healthcare to private companies who don’t even need to be health specialists.

For the full, nightmarish scenario, see this video clip:

Is this what you want?

A diminished, profit-driven model of health care in which your well-being is of no consequence compared to the ability of a multi-national conglomerate to make money from your illness?

If you don’t, there’s still something you can do about it.

Download the leaflet and editable letter from this site, adapt the letter according to your own circumstances, and send both to your GP.

Do it before it is too late.

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Brexit talks are stalling because May wants to sell the NHS to Donald Trump

Theresa May and Donald Trump: That’s not what he really wants to get his hands on!

What’s left of it, anyway.

Jeremy Corbyn has said Brexit talks with the Conservative government are stalling because the Tories want deregulation, partly to ensure a US trade deal.

Deregulation, for those of you who aren’t in the know, means a lowering of standards – in this case to allow American firms to trade their lower-quality goods with the UK – chlorine-washed chicken being the most-quoted example.

It would allow the Tory government to sell off the remains of the National Health Service to American profit-making interests.

And it would also allow the Tories to set up the UK as a tax haven, right on the EU’s doorstep.

Environmental responsibilities and workers’ rights would also be sacrificed in Mrs May’s march to Donald Trump’s drumbeat.

Mr Corbyn won’t accept any of it. He’s standing up for you – to give you a fighting chance to maintain our current rights as a bare minimum of what we can expect in the future, to retain current high consumer standards, to make sure that the super-rich pay their taxes, and to stop the Tories plunging us into an expensive and harmful US-style health system.

Every single citizen of the UK should support him in that, for an obvious reason.

Brexit represents the desire to stop giving away our assets to foreign countries and companies, but that is precisely what Mrs May is trying to do.

AFTERWORD: Some might say Mrs May is neglecting a deal better-suited to Donald Trump:


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‘I’m no hypocrite’ says Dyson of Singapore move. Does he expect us to believe him?

James Dyson: Legs-it rather than Brexit. I used that phrase last time but enjoyed it so much I decided to use it again.

James Dyson has defended his decision to move his company’s head office to Singapore, saying Brexit played no part in the decision.

Instead, he reckons the eight-hour time difference between a head office in the UK and a production plant in Singapore could seriously affect the viability of his business there.

Isn’t it more feasible that he just wants to avoid having to pay increased import-export tariffs, and wants to avoid increased taxes that are likely if Brexit harms the economy in the way the experts expect?

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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