Tag Archives: costs

Energy costs: how will disabled people survive on the £150 payout from Liz Truss?

Disabled people face higher living costs than those of us who are able-bodied, but Liz Truss and her Tory government don’t care about that.

They have offered a pittance of £150 to cover the shocks disabled households are facing – and that was before they raised the energy price cap by more than that amount.

They say there are other methods of support – but people with disabilities are most likely to be receiving the Personal Independence Payment of up to £92 per week already.

Disabled people need extra money to cover their extra costs.

But Liz Truss claims her energy costs on expenses so she doesn’t understand.

Here’s a clip:

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Prime Minister’s Questions with Liz Truss – she answered, but not well

This Writer was away from his desk yesterday (Wednesday, September 7, 2022) because I was on a mercy mission – taking a family member to hospital.

So I’m relying on this video and BBC News (heaven help me!) for my information:

Interesting stuff.

So Liz Truss actually bothered to answer the questions. Was this because she doesn’t have the imagination to distract us with nonsense or divert us onto another subject? I find the latter likely but the former incredible, considering the amount of nonsense with which she regaled us all during her Tory leadership election campaign.

Ah, but her answers were useless. That’s more familiar ground. In fact, it seems clear that if the energy generation companies aren’t going to be made to subsidise our increased bills with their profits (which would be an excellent way of ‘chilling’ them – discouraging them from charging so much in the first place), the onus will fall to the general public.

This seems likely to take the form of a loan scheme, under which households will be forced to pay back the extra cost of their energy bills over a longer period of time, alongside whatever their energy will cost at that time.

This has the potential to put us all in perpetual debt. It reminds This Writer of an idea called the zombie economy, in which the working classes are kept in perpetual slavery to the business owners and politicians because they are forced to keep working in order to service ever-increasing debts that have been foisted on them, along with high government taxes.

Doesn’t that seem to be what’s happening?

Truss contradicted herself somewhat by saying she wants a high-wage economy. That would undermine the zombie plan – if it were true – but, as Phil Moorhouse points out, Boris Johnson said he wanted a high-wage economy too – and then told everybody to get back to work, the instant they started demanding it.

She said her energy plan would help business – so now we all want to know howIf she doesn’t help businesses, they’ll go under, and that’s a bad thing.

There’s a good sideswipe in the clip at the idiot Austerity policy of David Cameron and George Osborne: cut spending and you shrink the economy. The more they cut government expenditure, the lower tax receipts fell – because the money the government had been spending generated growth. And what did they do in response? They repeated the same mistake, expecting a different result (which is now a well-known definition of madness).

It seems tax-cutter Truss wants to repeat the mistake again – this time by cutting tax receipts first and claiming there isn’t the money to carry on spending on public services (the infamous Starve The Beast policy).

Truss said she would publish her energy plans today (Thursday) – meaning she’ll face a full week of debate in Parliament. That could be embarrassing – unless she merely announces aims.

And it seems she wanted to launch a catchphrase: “You can’t tax a country to growth, you know!” Except you can. History shows a clear correlation between GDP and tax revenues.

She said cutting Corporation Tax would lead to more businesses relocating to the UK – but in fact they are leaving, because of Brexit (which Truss used to oppose but now supports because she is in turn supported by the European Research Group loonies).

And Truss thinks the Northern Ireland Protocol contradicts the Good Friday Agreement – when it in fact protects the Good Friday Agreement.

So, Liz Truss actually answered the questions. But considering the nature of her answers, we can make an easy conclusion:

She is out of her depth.

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Autumn energy price raises may leave you DESTITUTE, says Martin Lewis. Who cares?

Martin Lewis: he is predicting a debt catastrophe for millions of people in October – and you’re probably one of those affected.

Coming energy price increases will swallow all the help the UK’s Tory government has provided to bill-payers so far, leaving us all severely out-of-pocket while energy shareholders pocket huge bonuses.

“Money Saving Expert” Martin Lewis has called for immediate action from our politicians – all of whom seem determined to pretend they don’t know anything about the danger facing millions of people because of their stupid political decisions over the last few years.

Bear it in mind: there is no real shortage of gas or electricity – or any other power source. You are simply being deprived of it in order to make someone rich.

Here’s Mr Lewis:

He has previously appealed for Tory politicians to get a grip on the issue in a video message last month, when he made it very clear that the price rises don’t just affect your ability to pay bills but may also affect your ability – for example – to get a mortgage.

Mr Lewis has also warned against the pitfalls of joining a campaign calling for people simply not to pay their bills, starting in October. He said energy suppliers could enforce a pre-payment meter, cut off energy supply or impact consumers’ credit scores negatively.

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Money-grubbing millionaire: Riley grabs cash from Mike after LOSING libel appeal

Money: after losing part of her libel case against Mike, Rachel Riley was desperate to get some from him, any way she could. The way she found was particularly loathesome.

The Court of Appeal has ordered me to pay £3,628 to Rachel Riley after she lost the appeal in her libel case – because it reckons she ran up more costs in presenting her failed case than I did in winning mine.

In fairness, it could be said that she won two-thirds of her application to strike out all my defences (because two of them remain struck out). But the starting-point for the appeal is that I won it outright, because the third of those defences was the only thing that took up all of the court’s time.

I had done what I considered the chivalrous thing: suggested that we should simply write off all our costs and move on. It seemed to me that, having won the appeal and a third of the strike-out hearing, I would be more likely to benefit from a costs order than her.

But it seems Riley wasn’t happy with that. The millionaire was determined to wrench some money from the poverty-line blogger, any way she could manage.

The strategy seems clear: she still wants to run down my funds to make it impossible for me to take my own case to a trial – despite two years in which you have shown that you won’t allow her to achieve that.

Of course, I could choose not to pay. But then, it seems likely that she would call in the bailiffs while seeking an order from the court that my defence should be struck out unless I pay. I would have to spend more money than the costs order itself if I wanted to resist those moves.

It isn’t worth it, so I have instructed my solicitor to let her have the cash, if she’s that desperate for it. It’s still less than half the £7,500 she wanted earlier in the week.

The timing is unfortunate – I put it no stronger than that – because I am facing an expensive month.

My amended defence must go before the High Court on June 23, and this will take up an unavoidable amount of my legal team’s time. I don’t know how much this will cost.

So I have to return to my regular appeal. If you can spare it,

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.

It would have been nice to be able to tell you that I had received money from Riley, but the size of the costs bill she submitted for the High Court hearing (inflated because it came from a price list that, in my opinion, was not relevant) made that impossible.

Once again, those of us who are poor have to try to accommodate the selfishness of those who are very rich.

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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After Mike won his libel appeal, Rachel Riley wants him to pay HER court costs

Filthy lucre: Rachel Riley thinks I should pay her court costs, despite the fact that I won my appeal and she lost. It will cost a lot more than the loose change in this image and I don’t intend to part with a penny.

That’s not a typo in the headline.

You may recall that, when I reported that I had won my appeal against the striking-out of my ‘public interest’ defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim, I said the awarding of costs had yet to be determined, but I would be happy to see my win at appeal and Riley’s two-thirds win on the application (she did manage to strike out two of my defences) cancel each other out.

Riley has other ideas, it seems.

I have learned that she has rejected that proposal. She says that, because she did not argue against the public interest defence in the High Court, she should not forfeit any costs for losing on that issue at appeal.

But the High Court’s costs order reflected the fact that it struck out all three aspects of my defence.

Now, having restored the public interest defence I could, technically, argue that I actually won in the High Court; Riley tried to destroy my entire defence but my defence survived.

As for the appeal, Riley is trying to say that I only succeeded in relation to one-third of it because two aspects of my defence did not receive permission. This is a false argument.

The starting-point under the rules is that I succeeded and so I am entitled to my costs. Also, the vast majority of my lawyers’ time and all of the court’s time was spent on the successful aspect.

It gets worse: Riley then says that my Counsel was too expensive, having regard to the amount of work involved, which is bizarre. My Counsel charged less than hers, who is more junior and had much less work.

The practical upshot of this is that Riley wants me to pay, to her, £7,500 of your money.

She won’t get a single coin if I can help it.

Because Riley has taken this unreasonable position I will now argue not only that the result of the appeal means she should pay costs money to me, but I may also ask the court to impose an indemnity order – penalty costs.

I am entitled to take this step but had not intended to do so. If the court awards me the extra cash, then she should know she has brought it on herself.

But it’s your money I’m using to make these arguments, and I would appreciate your approval for this course of action.

If you agree that I should go ahead as I have described, then please signal your support in the usual manner:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

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

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

It really is a squalid way for Riley to behave, after losing the appeal.

We know she doesn’t need the money, so I think there’s only one obvious conclusion.

She is still trying to drag out the case as long as possible, to drain my funds and prevent me from giving evidence in a trial that she fears she won’t win. Let’s make sure she can’t.

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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Musicians: brace yourselves for the hidden costs of EU touring the Brexiteers never mentioned

Festival: if you’re a musician who regularly performs at EU events, you can kiss those big crowds goodbye – unless you’re getting paid big bucks for your performance.

As a musician myself – even though I’ve never toured in Europe – this is infuriating.

I know musicians who do gig on the Continent, and the new costs triggered by Brexit are likely to make it impractical for them to continue.

Wasn’t Brexit supposed to make it easier for us all to ply our trades? Do you know anybody who actually and materially benefits from January 1 onwards?

Here’s Howard Goodall to explain the bad news:

Last summer, the arts/culture charity I currently chair – Radnor Fringe Festival – ran an online version of its annual event because Covid-19 made a physical festival with thousands of people standing around shoulder-to-shoulder impossible. It was a huge success.

We’re currently working on making the online festival an ongoing thing, with new content by musicians, artists, actors and so on, to be funded initially by donations.

Personally, I see this as one way for UK musicians to get their sounds out to the Continent while the Brexit insanity holds sway.

It won’t be the same as being there at a gig, but it might be the only cost-effective way of being heard.

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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The great water privatisation disaster: Tory scheme means England could run out of drinking water

There’s a line in one of the Horatio Hornblower books in which the Admiral of the Fleet tells the young hero it’s every officer’s duty to leave the navy in better condition than when he found it.

That’s a good philosophy for any organisation.

What a shame the Conservatives don’t have the same philosophy – about anything at all.

In particular, we see their actual philosophy – “sell it off and ruin it” – in action in the UK’s water industry, which was privatised by the Thatcher government in 1989.

A new report by Parliament’s public accounts committee states that privatisation has been such an catastrophe that there is a serious risk that parts of England will run out of water altogether within the next 20 years.

The report says that “ponderous” water companies – 70 per cent of which are now owned by foreign businesses – have made “no progress” in reducing leakage meaning that more than three billion litres of water leaks out of the system every single day.

That’s one-fifth of the UK’s daily supply!

The committee says the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has failed to provide enough leadership in telling the private companies how to balance investment in infrastructure and reducing customer bills, but This Writer thinks that is nonsense.

The private companies are neither investing in infrastructure nor cutting costs – they are literally draining us dry.

We pay too much for the water we get and the lack of investment in the UK system by its foreign owners means soon we won’t even get it!

This is a problem entirely created by the Conservatives with their ridiculous lie that private firms are more efficient, more economical, and cost the consumer less. They aren’t, they aren’t and they don’t.

And by letting these firms fall into the hands of foreign business people, it seems our money is being invested into the systems in their own countries, rather than in ours. It’s certainly boosting the treasuries of the countries where these firms are based in tax – rather than our own.

This is an English problem.

Scotland receives its supply from the publicly-owned company Scottish Water, which is the most trusted public utility in the UK. It constantly invests in its system, keeps customers happy – and paying less, and is even reducing its carbon footprint.

In Wales, three million people get their supply from the not-for-profit firm Glas Cymru/Welsh Water which, according to surveys, has sector-leading levels of customer satisfaction.

Customers in Northern Ireland do not pay water charges to their publicly-owned water supplier, Northern Ireland Water.

England is less lucky.

Anglian Water is owned by a consortium consisting of Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardColonial First State Global Asset ManagementIFM Investors and 3i.

Northumbrian Water is owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings.

Southern Water is owned by a consortium called Greensands Holdings Limited, comprising  JP Morgan Asset Management (40%), UBS Asset Management (22%), Hermes Infrastructure Funds (21%) and Whitehelm Capital (8%).

Wessex Water is owned by a Malaysian firm, YTL Corporation.

Affinity Water is part-owned by US firm Morgan Stanley.

Bristol Water is part-owned by Japanese Itochu corporation.

South East Water is part-owned by Utilities Trust of Australia.

And Sutton and East Surrey Water is owned by the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation.

Other water firms are still UK-based – and some are only part foreign-owned.

Across the board, bills have increased by 40 per cent on average. Considering the efforts made by the publicly-owned/not-for-profit firms, it’s likely that some English customers have suffered much higher hikes.

Shareholders have received at least £56 billion since privatisation in 1989.

Six water companies have been found to be avoiding millions in tax.

Water makes big money.

But you can see that most of it has been going abroad.

It certainly hasn’t been used to plug any leaks!

The message is clear: public ownership is cheaper, more efficient, and guarantees that customers’ taps won’t run dry.

It seems the private shareholders are swimming in cash while ensuring that, in a very short time, you die of thirst.

Source: England faces “serious risk of running out of water within 20 years” – Committees – UK Parliament

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Westferry development scandal grows as Jenrick admits he knew he was saving tycoon millions

Robert Jenrick: while he was presenting press conferences about Covid-19, he has also been mired in an apparent corruption scandal.

Calls for Robert Jenrick to be removed from his role as a housing minister are escalated after he admitted he knew he was saving tycoon Richard Desmond between £30m and £50m by approving plans for a £1 billion development at Westferry, London – in defiance of planning rules.

Desmond subsequently gave the Conservative Party a £12,000 donation, raising questions about this being a “cash-for-favours” scandal.

According to the Mail:

He insisted ‘all the rules were followed’ over the 1,500-home development in east London.

But he told MPs he knew that the timing of his decision would save the businessman a fortune.

Steve Reed, Labour’s housing spokesman, urged Mr Jenrick to make a full Commons statement, publish all correspondence and ‘disclose all conversations with all Government ministers and officials’.

In response, the Cabinet minister said information relating to the decision has now been passed to Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.

So he knew he was breaking planning regulations – in fact Jenrick had to quash the planning permission he had granted, as a result of the scandal, and he knew that doing this would benefit the developer, who subsequently rewarded the Tories with a donation. And he isn’t publishing anything.

He still says he’s innocent of wrongdoing, but Jenrick must know how suspicious his behaviour looks.

Indeed, anti-corruption expert Elizabeth David-Barrett, a professor of governance and integrity who is also the director of the Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex, has already said he should have resigned:

“In most previous governments, Robert Jenrick would have resigned well before now.

“The questionable conduct that is tolerated and defended in this current government is creating a dangerous new world in which standards in public life are seen as a concept from the past, and personal patronage and loyalty are now prized higher than combatting corruption.

“Although Robert Jenrick eventually reversed the decision on the Westferry scheme, under threat of legal action, this should not be the end of the matter.

“If there is no subsequent investigation into alleged misconduct, then the message that sends is that ministers can do whatever they like and just reverse the decision if their actions are questioned. The system needs to be preventive and act as a deterrent.”

Fat chance of that, under Boris Johnson!

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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Housing minister Jenrick faces ‘resign’ demands after approving donor’s £1bn scheme

Robert Jenrick: while he was presenting press conferences about Covid-19, he was also mired in an apparent corruption scandal.

The news seems to be full of stories alleging corruption by Tory minister. Does the Covid crisis mean they have nothing better to do?

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick is facing calls to resign after he admitted “unlawfully” signing off a 1,500-home development that saved a Tory Party donor millions of pounds.

The £1bn project on the former Westferry Printworks site on London’s Isle of Dogs was approved in January by Jenrick – a last-minute reprieve after the council and then the independent Planning Inspectorate both deciding it should be refused. They had said it lacked enough affordable housing and conflicted with local conservation policy.

But the housing secretary’s decision came just a day before Tower Hamlets Council approved a new rate for its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – a move that would have increased the property owner’s financial liability to the local authority by between £30m and £50m.

That money would have been spent mitigating the impact of the development on the local area, and improving local services. Instead, thanks to Jenrick’s timing, it stayed in the pocket of the developer.

So this was a development proposal that did not meet planning conditions.

It did not provide enough affordable housing.

It conflicted with conservation policy.

It should not have been approved.

But Jenrick stepped in to do just that – and on the day before a new rule was imposed that would have compelled the developer to pay between £30-50 million that would have minimised any harmful impact on the Isle of Dogs.

The money would also have improved local services. All lost, due to this Tory minister’s intervention.

We need to ask who benefits from this decision?

The local authority? No.

People who need affordable housing? No.

The public? Certainly not!

The environment? Don’t make me laugh!

But the developer did.

The land is owned by publisher and former Tory donor Richard Desmond.

The local council – Tower Hamlets – began legal action in March, alleging that the timing of the decision appeared to show bias. It asked the High Court to order the government to disclose documents that, it argued, would show Jenrick was influenced by a desire to help Desmond save money by avoiding the charges.

Faced with the prospect of having to publicly release documents relating to the case, Jenrick accepted his decision letter was “unlawful by reason of apparent bias” and confirmed it was deliberately issued before the new CIL policy could be adopted. He agreed planning permission should be quashed and decided by a different minister.

So the minister admitted interfering in the planning process to grant planning permission to a development that should not have been allowed, and to save a developer connected with a Tory donor from paying extra costs.

This is not the standard of service the public should expect from a government minister.

Should he step down? Should he face disciplinary or legal proceedings for corruption?

Source: Robert Jenrick Faces Calls To Resign After ‘Unlawfully’ Approving Tory Donor’s £1bn Housing Project

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Williamson launches fund to help Labour members who were wrongly expelled

Unity is strength: Chris Williamson, announcing the new fighting fund.

This is damning – for the Labour bureaucracy and the news media that lied about what it has been doing.

Chris Williamson, the former MP who left the party after being wrongly accused of anti-Semitism and subsequently took Labour to court, has been awarded all of the costs associated with that case after he won it.

He will use the money to start a fighting fund for other wronged ex-party members to fight back against the slurs on their names.

But why don’t I let him explain for himself? Here he is:

This is the right time for an overhaul of Labour’s policies – after an election in which that party fell disastrously short of what the public expected of it.

The nightmarish mistreatment of members falsely accused of anti-Semitism is just one area in which the party got it wrong, pandering to pressure groups when the leadership should have been questioning the motives of those involved.

It is one reason This Writer will not be supporting Rebecca Long-Bailey’s bid to be party leader:

Yes we do, Matt Kennard.

Would anybody strong enough like to step forward?

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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