Tag Archives: cost

Should anyone be surprised that Brexit will cost more than Covid – in the long term?

This Writer’s initial reaction to Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey’s claim that a no-deal Brexit will cost more than Covid was:

Is that because most of the cost of Covid was due to short-term profiteering by Tory crony companies?

The cost to the UK of this nonsense is short-term, though; when the pandemic is finally under control, the profiteers won’t have an opportunity to screw any more cash out of the Treasury.

But the loss of the free trade deals the UK enjoyed as a member of the European Union will have long-term effects that may last many years:

LSE modelling estimates a reduction in GDP worth 8% over a decade compared with remaining in the EU.

Asked about the research, Bailey said economic models suggested there would be long-term consequences, as it could take a long time for the UK to adjust to a new trading relationship. “It takes a much longer period of time for the real side of the economy to adjust to the change in openness and change in the profile of trade,” he said.

Bailey was talking about the effects of a “no-deal” Brexit but be warned that even a deal will place the UK at a disadvantage.

Source: No-deal Brexit to cost more than Covid, Bank of England governor says | Politics | The Guardian

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Value for money? Serco contact tracer app cost £12,000 per person and harvests your data

CORRECTION: It seems the NHS contact tracer app wasn’t developed by Serco and won’t harvest your data. See this article for further details. I’m leaving the piece below on the site as an example of the mistakes that can happen when a prime minister lies – Boris Johnson has repeatedly claimed that the Serco test and trace business belonged to the NHS, so when an NHS contact tracer came along, we all automatically accepted that it was run by Serco, and subject to the same privacy issues as the Serco system.

The BBC is reporting that a million people have downloaded the Covid-19 contact tracing app developed by the private money-grubbers at Serco.

At the same time, we have learned that Rishi Sunak has handed over another £2 billion to Serco for its test-and-trace… work… bringing the total up to £12 billion.

So, that’s a cost of £12,000 per user (so far).

Here’s what it’s supposed to do:

NHS Covid-19 instructs users to self-isolate for 14 days if it detects they were nearby someone who has the virus.
It also has a check-in scanner to alert owners if a venue they have visited is found to be an outbreak hotspot.

First, let’s get something straight. It’s being called the NHS contact tracing app. Is it really being run by the National Health Service?

Bad news, Mike…

So it’s a money pit for corporate beasts.

Is the price right? Well..

And does it do what it’s supposed to do – and nothing else?

Oh dear.

But there is a bright side:

That’s the bright side. You’ve got to really want to see it.

So! If you haven’t done it already, are you looking forward to downloading the app?

Source: NHS Covid-19 app: One million downloads of contact tracer for England and Wales – BBC News

Coronavirus: Unpaid carers are working harder but ‘completely ignored’ by government

Care: the Tories don’t.

Family members who provide care for loved ones with only Carers’ Allowance as financial support are claiming that the coronavirus has “overwhelmed” them but the government is ignoring them.

It’s absolutely no surprise to This Writer. I gave up my claim for Carers Allowance last year, after my income from Vox Political finally exceeded the amount you’re allowed to earn per week (which isn’t much at all).

How anyone can survive on £67.25 a week alone is beyond me.

For myself, the stress of being a carer and writing a website every day is huge, but the fact is that I make just about enough money to cushion the worst effects.

That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how hard it is on my fellow carers (because remember, I haven’t given up minding Mrs Mike). So it’s heartbreaking to read the following:

New research published today by Carers UK reveals how 70% of unpaid carers in the UK are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The survey of nearly 5,000 unpaid carers showed that, on average, carers are picking up an additional 10 hours of unpaid care per week.

A third of these (35%) are having to provide more hours of care because their local care and support services have been reduced or closed.

More than half (55%) told Carers UK that they feel overwhelmed managing their caring responsibilities during the outbreak and are worried about burning out in the coming weeks.

The survey also found that 87% of family carers are worried about what will happen to the people they care for if they have to self-isolate or become ill.

The research shows 81% of carers are having to spend more money during the outbreak. The top increases in expenditure include spending more on food (72%) – due to lack of supermarket delivery slots and need for specialist food – and household bills (50%).

Worryingly, 1 in 10 claim to be spending more on equipment for the person they care for.

It’s very expensive indeed – in terms of finance and personal, emotional energy.

Carers UK is urging the Tory government to increase Carer’s Allowance, to recognise the crucial role people are playing in the country’s fight back against coronavirus – but I don’t think anything will come of it.

The Tories know they’re onto a good thing – 6.5 million people providing billions of pounds worth of care services for less than the minimum wage because they are doing it for family members.

You could say it’s the worst kind of emotional blackmail. There’s no social care service, and you can be sure that there won’t be in the future – the Tories will plead that the cost of getting the economy back up and running is prohibitive. So they – we – feel constained to do it ourselves.

Think of that when the Tories say they’re doing everything they can.

Source: Unpaid family carers ‘feel completely ignored’ by Government amid the Coronavirus pandemic – Welfare Weekly

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Mum’s court challenge against DWP demand for UC claimants to go into childcare debt

Why should the Department for Work and Pensions demand that parents on Universal Credit go into debt over childcare costs?

Current rules say parents can get up to £646 per month for each child under 16, funding 85 per cent of their care costs – but they must pay those costs up-front and claim them back later, putting them in debt.

Some end up thousands of pounds in the red.

The DWP says this is to prevent fraud – but there are ways to do this that don’t push people into debt.

Just off the top of This Writer’s head: what’s wrong with having a letter from the provider, saying exactly what the costs will be in advance? That proof is as good as anything else.

The rule may be unlawful, discriminatory, and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (which I should remind readers is nothing to do with the EU and therefore is something by which they UK must still abide).

Now, single mum Nichola Salvato is demanding a judicial review of the DWP’s dodgy rule.

She also happens to be a professional benefits advisor and is supported by Save the Children – so it seems likely that she knows her facts.

But will a ruling against the DWP do any good? Tories aren’t very good at following laws they don’t like – and the general election handed them far too much power to do anything they feel like.

Source: Single mum takes DWP to High Court after Universal Credit hurled her into childcare debt – Mirror Online

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Four years of Brexit is costing more than 47 of EU membership. It is economic insanity

When life imitates satire: This mock “Brexit 50p” is now eerily indicative of what the UK has done to itself.

How is this good for the UK?

By the time the transition period ends in December this year, Brexit will have cost the UK more than £200 billion in lost economic growth.

That’s almost as much as the £215 billion the UK will have contributed to the EU in the 47 years of its membership (inflation-adjusted).

The UK economy is three per cent smaller than it would have been if a majority of voters had not decided to leave the EU in the referendum.

That’s equivalent to a three-year-long recession.

But racists, jingoists and fantasists love it.

And they will ignore the inconvenient facts until the day they die.

Brexit will have cost the UK more than £200 billion in lost economic growth by the end of this year – a figure which almost eclipses the total amount the UK will have paid towards the EU budget over the past 47 years.

The cost of the UK’s vote to leave has already reached £130 billion, with a further £70 billion likely to be added by the end of 2020.

Business uncertainty has caused the UK’s economic growth to lag behind that of other G7 countries since the 2016 vote.

That means the British economy is now 3% smaller than it would have been if the UK had not voted to leave the EU.

Figures from the House of Commons library put the UK’s total projected contribution towards the EU budget between 1973 and 2020 at £215 billion after adjusting for inflation.

Source: Brexit will soon have cost the UK more than all of its payments to the EU over the last 47 years put together

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Council services to get best boost under Labour, says leading think tank

Labour is the only main political party that has allocated more than enough money to councils to meet rising costs and demands.

That is the verdict of leading think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Its briefing shows that the Conservative claim to be a low-tax party is a lie – at least in relation to public services.

The money allocated by the Tories would not be enough to meet rising costs and demands over the next Parliament even if council tax were increased by four per cent every year, the briefing said.

This means either more service cuts or unfunded top-ups would be needed.

So the Tories are planning to make council services a postcode lottery, dependent on the amount of council tax that can be collected. Logically, only the richest areas would received the best services.

In contrast, Labour would provide more than enough to cover increasing costs and demands – even if council tax was frozen (although this is not being planned).

Funding would not be restored to 2010 levels – but Labour would also be providing more to councils via funding increases elsewhere in the system.

The Liberal Democrats are offering enough to fund services if council taxes rise by around two per cent a year across the board – but only if some of the money they are promising to bus services, youth services and the relief of homelessness is put to this purpose.

In This Writer’s home county of Powys, council tax increased by a massive 9.5 per cent in April, while the amount and quality of services in offer decreased. The council is run by an Independent-Conservative coalition, with a Conservative councillor responsible for finance.

Average wages here historically stand at around only 3/4 of the national average, meaning that the abnormally large increase in council tax set by the Conservatives has put many families under considerable stress.

So, in terms of council services, Labour is the logical choice in the general election.

Isn’t it interesting, then, that Labour is nowhere in the polls in either Brecon and Radnorshire or Montgomeryshire, the county’s Parliamentary constituencies?

Both are considered to be Tory/Lib Dem marginals.

So people here regularly vote for huge tax increases that provide few services.

Are they simply misinformed?

And what would they do, if they had the right information?

Source: General election: Council tax more likely to go up under Tories than Labour, IFS suggests – live news | Politics | The Guardian

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.

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Johnson’s falsehood about nurse numbers: it’s not good to launch a manifesto with a lie

Nurses: Boris Johnson has promised more, but he has not been straight about the numbers to be recruited or the cost of recruiting them.

Boris Johnson has finally launched the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the 2019 general election – with a huge, and all-too-obvious, lie.

He promised 50,000 more nurses and the creation of 50 million more GP appointments.

The Tories’ spending document says the additional nurses will cost £879 million.

But fact checking organisation Full Fact says this is not true:

“According to reports since the manifesto launch, the 50,000 figure includes 18,500 existing nurses who will be encouraged to remain, or attracted to rejoin after leaving.”

So the Conservatives are really offering to recruit only 31,500 nurses.

What about the cost?

“The party claims in their spending document the policy to retain, recruit and train nurses for the NHS in England will cost £879 million in 2023/24. (Health is a devolved area, so the UK government is only directly responsible for it in England.)

“While it’s not clear how this has been calculated, that clearly isn’t the total cost of eventually having 50,000 more nurses on the NHS.

“A newly-qualified nurse on pay band 5 can expect a salary of about £24,000 a year. But this isn’t what it costs to employ that nurse. There’s a lot more to the cost of employing someone than just their salary—you also need to consider things like national insurance and pensions, as well as the costs of giving them places to work and training them on the job.

“Independent analysts estimate that once you add up the extra costs (excluding capital overheads), a band 5 nurse may cost around £53,000 a year.

“That doesn’t include the cost of recruiting or training those nurses, which is a significant factor in how much such a policy would eventually cost. Estimates suggest over the expected lifetime service of a nurse, that could amount to around £8,700 a year.

“Even without adding training costs, as a very rough indication, 50,000 nurses at pay band 5 cost the NHS in the region of £2.8 billion a year based on this estimate (or £2.6 billion excluding capital overheads). The actual cost will be higher as some move up the pay scale, and considering ongoing training costs as well.

So the cost is only around £1.9 billion out!

The 50 million GP appointments is derived from employing 6,000 more doctors.

The trouble is, the Conservatives promised 5,000 more GPs back in 2015, and more than 500 have left since then.

So there’s no reason to believe they’ll recruit anybody; they’re far more likely to push even more away.

Source: General election 2019: Boris Johnson vows to ‘forge a new Britain’ – BBC News

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Target set to fund next hearing in Riley libel fightback

Countdown: Supporters of Vox Political‘s Mike Sivier are being asked to raise the cash by the end of November.

The legal team advising me on my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim need another £6,684.

That will provide enough to fund our submissions at the preliminary hearing on December 11.

The hearing will establish the meaning of the words Ms Riley claims are libellous, and whether they are fact or honest opinion.

It is crucial to the case. And it’s needed by the end of November.

So I have to beg your collective indulgence yet again, as I must rely on your generosity to pay for my defence. Please:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

Oh, and if you think my costs are high, you should see what Ms Riley’s lawyers are charging!

I have. If they win the case, I’ll be expected to pay them.

They support what I’ve said all along – that Ms Riley’s claim against me is nothing but a shabby attempt to buy justice; bullying me with the threat of a huge debt at the end of this.

Well, I won’t be bullied.

To my way of thinking, they are tacitly confirming that they can’t beat me in the courtroom.

Please help me find out if I’m right.

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.

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Boris Johnson’s big NHS meltdown

After their campaign on law and order dissolved into chaos, the Tories tried to take the moral high ground on health. It didn’t work.

Most particularly, it didn’t work for Boris Johnson, who was challenged on the subject by prime minister-in-waiting Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Mr Corbyn was keen for Mr Johnson to explain why his government had held secret trade talks with US firms that would nearly triple the price of medicines bought by the NHS, creating serious pressure on the service at a time when it is already under enormous strain.

I discuss the issue here, or you can watch this video to have it in a nutshell:

Note also that “drug pricing” is now to be known as “valuing innovation”. And, as a TV comedian once said, from now on radiation will be known as “magic moonbeams”.

Here’s Mr Corbyn, opening his questioning in PMQs – and Mr Johnson’s answer:

Of course, Mr Corbyn was well aware of the situation regarding the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi; it was his intervention that succeeded in getting it provided on the NHS, we’re told.

Mr Johnson’s claims about building 40 new hospitals fare less well in the fact-check. As Mr Corbyn put it: “As for the fabled 40 hospitals, that figure dropped to 20 and then finally dropped to six.” They’ll be down to none in the event of a Conservative election victory.

Mr Corbyn continued: “We learned this week that Government officials have met US pharmaceutical companies five times as part of the Prime Minister’s planned trade deal. The US has called for “full market access” to our NHS, which would mean prices of some of our most important medicines increasing by up to sevenfold. While the Government are having secret meetings with US corporations, it is patients here who continue to suffer.”

And he said: “Of course we need to import medicines from various places; I just want it to be done in an open and transparent way. I do not want secret talks between Government officials, on behalf of Ministers, and big pharma corporations in the USA.”

He slammed Tory privatisation of NHS services, which has skyrocketed with more than £10 billion being frittered away to private companies and their shareholders, rather than supporting the health of UK citizens.

He said: “What we do not want is private companies like Virgin Care suing our NHS for contracts that they did not get. Our NHS should be focused on making people better, not making the wealthy few richer.

“National health service A&E departments have just had their worst September on record. This morning, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said that this winter the NHS needs more than 4,000 extra beds.” But under Boris Johnson’s government, he said, the number of people in England waiting for an operation has now reached a record high of 4.4 million.

He continued as follows:

And he concluded: “Despite the Prime Minister’s denials, the NHS is up for grabs by US corporations in a Trump trade deal. Is it not the truth—the Government may not like this—that this Government are preparing to sell out our NHS? Our health service is in more danger than at any other time in its glorious history because of the Prime Minister’s Government, his attitudes and the trade deals that he wants to strike.”

It is indeed the truth.

Mr Johnson spluttered on for a while but the best he could do in his defence was quote a discredited CBI claim that Labour would spend nearly £200 billion on a privatisation programme; the CBI itself has admitted that the claim was based on questionable assumptions and withdrawn it.

He lied that Labour would tax corporations, people, pensions and businesses – in fact Labour will only increase taxes on the people earning the most, who are therefore most able to accommodate such a charge.

And he said Labour would condemn the UK to two more referendums – on Brexit and Scottish independence. He neglected to say that he would consign us all to even more Brexit uncertainty as he would try – yet again – to push through a departure on the worst possible terms for the majority of the nation.

Finally, he appears to have become tongue-tied in his predictions of the future, mixing the roles of his party and Mr Corbyn’s.

I’ll fix that for him now:

“That is the future for this country: drift and dither under the Conservative party, or taking Britain forward to a brighter future under Labour. That is the choice this country faces.”

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.

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Shock revelation: Liar Boris Johnson has been secretly selling out the NHS

Boris Johnson has been selling out the National Health Service in negotiations on a trade deal that would allow US companies to set drug prices, it has been claimed.

The revelation about these secret talks could not come at a worse time for the Tory government, as it prepares to dissolve Parliament and launch a general election campaign.

This is electoral poison for the Conservatives as Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock and international trade secretary Liz Truss have all insisted that the NHS is “off the table” in talks with the US if the UK leaves the European Union.

The threat is that NHS finances would be put at risk by a trade deal with the US that would force the health service to buy more expensive drugs.

And there is evidence that it is an overarching Tory policy to lay the NHS open to exploitation by US pharmaceutical monopolies, as the talks began under Theresa May (who also lied about them) but have continued under Mr Johnson.

Who will vote for a government that is bad for our health – and deliberately lies about the harm it is doing?

Here’s the information from Channel 4’s Dispatches:

The Independent has reported that more than one-third of people surveyed in a recent poll said they were “very concerned” about the future impact of a deal with Washington on the NHS.

Meanwhile, Tories like Michael Gove have apparently been lying through their teeth (metaphorically, on Twitter)…

… and the public isn’t having any of it:

The message for the general election is clear:

Your NHS is not safe with Boris Johnson – or any of his Conservative liars.

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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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

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

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook