Tag Archives: cost

#PoorBoris part II: now he’s complaining that he *can* pay for his kids!

Money, money, money: but how much of it was donated by Boris Johnson’s Tory cronies, did it pay for the Downing Street wallpaper, and did Johnson want even more, so his donors paid for his children instead of him?

Don’t you wish Boris Johnson would make his mind up?

The reporters at The Times and The Sunday Times probably do.

Back in September, The Times reported that Johnson was complaining that he was hard-up as a result of achieving his lifetime ambition of becoming prime minister.

It had cut his income in half, the paper claimed, while he was still paying for four of the six children he accepts responsibility for.

Now it seems he is complaining that he is perfectly capable of covering his costs, after the Sunday Times suggested he had asked Tory donors to pay for a nanny.

(For one of his kids or for Johnson himself? Couldn’t Jacob Rees-Mogg have provided a decent reference? He knows nannies.)

Apparently,

Asked about the same issue during the Downing Street press briefing, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The prime minister has covered the costs of all childcare.”

And here’s the serious part – because it puts this story on the same level as the Downing Street refurbishment.

Johnson said he had covered the cost of that as well – but he couldn’t tell us whether he asked (for example) Lord Brownlow to put up £60 grand for it first.

And this story was prompted, it seems, by

one Conservative Party backer saying they “resented” being asked to help foot the bill for Wilfred’s childcare.

(I’m presuming Wilfred is one of the four he actually pays for.)

So now Johnson’s childcare costs are on the same level of corruption as the Downing Street wallpaper – which I understand the Electoral Commission is probing.

Let’s hope it probes Johnson’s nanny as well.

My only problem with this whole corruption angle is the obvious one that has been raised by many people on the social media:

This is a man whose decisions have led to the Covid-19 deaths of more than 150,000 people. It seems wrong that he should be brought down for sponging off of his cronies.

But then, as other people on the social media have pointed out, Al Capone was brought to book (literally) over tax avoidance.

Source: Boris Johnson paid for all son’s childcare costs, says Downing Street – BBC News

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Let the ridicule pile high: social media destroy Boris Johnson over Downing Street flat redecoration

Loadsamoney: the controversy over Boris Johnson’s flat has concentrated attention on the fact that Tories always find cash for their own benefit, while depriving members of the general public of the funding that a proper government should provide to them.

The Electoral Commission has announced that it is investigating the funding of redecoration work on Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat, saying it has “reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred”.

And our friends on the social media have gone into satire overdrive.

Today they have targeted the prime ministerial consort, Carrie Symonds, under the hashtag #CarrieAntoinette – on the grounds that she was the driving force behind the astonishingly-expensive changes.

So we see this:

And, indeed, this:

The claim that Symonds demanded the use of wallpaper costing £840 per roll has been particularly inflammatory:

Many have pointed out the hypocrisy of being funded with huge amounts of cash to pay for the redecoration of a Tory prime minister’s flat, while the Tory government still refuses to fund safety improvements to blocks of flats afflicted with inflammable cladding that makes them as likely to go up in flames as Grenfell Tower (due to decisions by Tories, most likely):

But possibly the best snipe of the lot came from department store chain John Lewis:

The image is of a John Lewis van outside the gates of Downing Street.

The way events are moving, in a few days we’ll be seeing a removal van there.

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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Defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim could fail for lack of funds. Don’t let it!

Time is running out and donations to Mike’s CrowdJustice find have dwindled to a trickle. Can you help?

My defence against Rachel Riley’s claim that I libelled her is in danger of failing – not because I cannot beat hear legal arguments but because I don’t have the funds for the next court hearing.

At the time of writing, despite heroic efforts by hundreds of supporters that have brought in more than £11,000 of the £20,000 that my legal team told me (two weeks ago) that I needed… well, I’m sure you can do the mathematics. We still need nearly £9,000.

I know that some funders are getting tired of putting money into a campaign that seems to be going on forever. I’ve seen messages attached to donations from people saying this contribution will be their last – and I understand. Everybody has their own life to live and I’m grateful for the difference they have made.

But it will all come to nothing if Riley is allowed to buy justice, simply by having forced me into a situation where I couldn’t raise enough cash to get back into court. All the cash raised so far – more than £138,000 in total – will have been for nothing.

I can’t let that happen uncontested.

I don’t want to let down everybody who has funded my case so far. Indeed, if we hit the target, I’m positive that I will be able to win my appeal against Riley’s ridiculous strike-out of my defence.

Then I’ll be able to take the case back to the High Court and win.

But we need to hit that target. Please help. Here’s how:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

The last three of these requests – asking you to encourage friends and other contacts to donate – is just as important as the request for you to donate cash yourself. The more people know about this case, the more likely I am to succeed.

We have come a very long way together – it is now more than two years since Riley’s legal team initially contacted me with a threat of court action unless I paid her a ridiculous amount of money that I didn’t have (and still don’t).

Help me see this through to victory.

Why are Tories hiding details of £37bn ‘Test and Trace’ boss’s meetings – on grounds of expense?

Useless: Tory money pit and expertise vacuum Dido Harding.

The hypocrisy is stunning. It seems clear that Dido Harding has done something embarrassing that Boris Johnson wants to hide.

That’s the only reasonable explanation for the Tory government’s decision not to honour a request for details of meetings she held with other people and organisations since taking on the job of running the ‘Test and Trace’ organisation that has cost £37bn so far.

The Tories are saying honouring the Freedom of Information request by the Good Law Project would cost more than the £600 permitted for such matters, but this is ridiculous; these details have been deliberately omitted from a schedule of all meetings held by Department of Health and Social Care officials, ministers and advisers on a quarterly basis.

We can only conclude that the government does not want us to know who Harding has been meeting, what they discussed, and how much money she spaffed away as a result.

£37 billion is an enormous amount of money. Some commentators have suggested that ‘Test and Trace’ is nothing more than a conduit through which the Tories are corruptly draining the public purse, pumping money into the hands of people who are already extremely rich, in order to make sure poor people who really need help are deprived of it.

This response from the government shows that it really has no answer to that.

One appropriate reaction might have been to refer the matter to the government’s anti-corruption champion – but that would be John Penrose MP, who happens to be her husband. People are having doubts that he’ll do his job properly, for some reason…

And they certainly aren’t accepting the Tory line on this:

Some have even gone for the nuclear option – denouncing Harding for a lack of credibility on a stellar scale:

The simple fact is that the government should have published details of Harding’s meetings and chose not to.

This has focused attention on them. People want to know who she met, what was said, whether any money changed hands (without going through the normal tendering process) and if so, how much.

The longer the Tories drag their heels, the worse it will be.

Perhaps Harding could save everybody the bother by going back through her diary and producing a list? That wouldn’t cost £600 or even 600 pennies.

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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‘Compassionate Conservatism’: Covid deaths to cut state pension costs, says BBC

This BBC story could explain much about the Corporation’s wholehearted support for Rishi Sunak, even though he’s utterly vile.

The Beeb presents as a good news story the deaths of so many over-65s that the cost of paying pensions is set to plummet by £1.5 billion by 2022.

And wait! because there’s even more Good News!

The government will also receive an extra £0.9bn from inheritance tax, partly due to Covid-related deaths.

Every cloud has a silver lining, eh? As in thirty pieces of silver, if you recognise the reference.

Here’s an interesting slip, though:

More than 144,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have occurred in the UK since the start of the pandemic, figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show.

That’s 21,000 more than the official figure of 123,000 at the time of writing.

I think somebody’s been lying again – don’t you?

Source: Budget 2021: Covid deaths set to cut state pension costs – BBC News

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Will Sunak tax you cash you don’t owe, to pay a Covid-19 bill that doesn’t exist?

Rishi Sunak: now his nervous look may be attributed to the possibility that he will lie to us next week, demanding we pay back £300 billion that the Tories used to cover the cost of the Coronavirus when there is absolutely no need to do anything of the kind. The government created the money that was used to pay for the crisis.

Pay special attention to Rishi Sunak’s spring Budget speech next week because he will probably try to steal money from you.

It is likely Sunak will introduce measures that he claims are needed in order to pay back the £300 billion (roughly) cost of everything the Tory government has done to keep the UK running during the Covid-19 crisis.

He will be lying if he does. No such measures are needed.

You see, the money used to pay for Covid-19 was created by the government. It wasn’t borrowed and there is therefore no need to pay it back.

Watch Richard Murphy’s explanation here and you should get the idea:

What strikes This Writer as particularly evil is the implication that Sunak may impose taxes on us, in order to perpetuate a myth that the Tories have spun since 2009: that austerity is necessary.

It isn’t. It never was.

And this means that all the deaths that have been driven by Tory austerity policies were unnecessary; they were deliberately planned by Conservatives from David Cameron’s era onwards and this means that Cameron and those Tories who conspired with him (Iain Duncan Smith springs particularly to mind) should be brought to account for it.

But I doubt they will.

Public opinion is largely led by the mass media, who are currently owned by the Conservatives. They’re hardly likely to do anything that endangers them.

And that means you are unlikely to hear on the BBC any suggestion that we don’t owe anything for Covid-19.

But you don’t. And now you know this, you need to tell everybody around you.

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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Wealth tax plan to help pay for Covid crisis could be ignored if you don’t have your say

Cash: The richest people in the UK can afford to lose one per cent of theirs much more easily than you can afford to lose nine per cent of yours. But the Tory government listens to them, not you. What are you going to do about it?

The UK’s wealthiest households should pay a special tax to help cover the enormous cost of the Covid-19 crisis, according to an independent team of experts.

The Wealth Tax Commission said it would be better to pay part of the £394 billion in Treasury borrowing, incurred this year, with a tax on those who have profited during the crisis than by causing more hurt to those whose lives have already been seriously disrupted by the pandemic.

The Commission said a rate of just one per cent per year on households with more than £1 million would raise £260 billion over five years.

The Conservatives are, of course, biased against a wealth tax, with Rishi Sunak saying in July that he could see no reason to impose one.

But times change, and huge increases in taxes on the poor – income tax would have to rise by 9p per pound to produce the same effect; that’s nine times as much as the proposed wealth tax – would seriously harm Tory electability in the future.

That being said, critics have justifiably questioned why the proposed tax is being touted only as a way of paying off a national debt.

They say it would be better to invest the money in projects that will raise more revenue for the UK in the future, helping to reduce the wider national debt which the Tories have more than doubled to over £2 trillion in the 10 years since they took office in 2010.

The message for ordinary people is simple: If you don’t want to end up with an almost 50 per cent increase in income tax – or a 6p rise in VAT, which is the other alternative – get on to your MP at once and lobby for the wealth tax.

The richest people in the UK won’t want it, even though the loss of £10,000 harms them less than the loss of £260 (the equivalent from the so-called average pay packet) harms an ordinary working person.

Better still, how about forming groups to lobby your MP? Large numbers of people working together seem to impress the authorities more than individuals, who they can dismiss as lone voices.

The alternative may be a very expensive, poverty-ridden future.

Source: COVID-19: Experts make case for one-off £260bn tax raid on wealthy | Business News | Sky News

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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

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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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

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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