Tag Archives: delay

If Suella Braverman delayed acting on her confidentiality breach, is she in big trouble – or Rishi Sunak?

Suella Braverman and Rishi Sunak: he thought the economy would be his biggest problem but instead, she is.

It’s looking bad for Suella Braverman – despite all the good words put in for her by Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove and whoever else.

The BBC has seen an email sent from Braverman’s personal account on the day she had to resign for sending confidential information to the wrong person from her personal account.

In this email, she appears to tell the recipient of that message to “delete and ignore” it.

Braverman has said, according to the BBC,

“As soon as I realised my mistake I rapidly reported this on official channels.”

But if she emailed someone else before reporting it, then this is not true. Indeed, the BBC reckons she delayed taking any official action for several hours.

Fellow Cabinet minister, the Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove, told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that asking the recipient to delete and ignore the email was “quite proper” and “standard practice”, and that it would be inappropriate to “rush to judgement”.

His words ring false.

It might be “proper” and “standard” to tell the wrong recipient of confidential information to delete and ignore it, but in a situation in which the sender has delayed alerting the authorities for more than four hours, This Writer (for one) thinks it is entirely appropriate to form a judgement.

It seems clear that an inquiry is now urgently required, and Braverman should be relieved of her duties as Home Secretary while it takes place.

But Sunak is unsafe whatever he does.

The circumstances may persuade her supporters in the far-right ERG (European Research Group) wing of the Conservative Party that it is impossible to keep Braverman – which might be something that Sunak would appreciate.

Let’s face it, the ERG members are all somewhat extreme, and losing their representative in the Cabinet makes Sunak’s government look more reasonable.

But it seems likely that someone deliberately handed the BBC the damning email, which suggests a plan to discredit Braverman and have her ejected from the Cabinet. That would upset the other ERG members and could destabilise Sunak’s government.

Whatever happens, ERG members – including Braverman – will want to know how the evidence against her came to light and will want revenge.

It seems clear that someone is storing up problems for Sunak to face in the future – no matter what he does.

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New Tory economic plan delayed by more than two weeks

Jeremy Hunt: there is no urgency at all about his plan to restore the UK economy to its former glory. [image from last week when he dismantled Liz Truss’s economic plan. How long will it be until someone else has to do the same to his own?]

You didn’t really think Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt were really going to make any announcement on the economy on October 31, did you?

I know the Tory leadership contest was said to be happening within a week so the statement could be made on Monday, but it seems clear now that this was just an excuse to rush Rishi Sunak into office without a proper election.

There doesn’t seem to have been an intention to bring any certainty to the lives of the UK’s more-than-68-million-strong population with any urgency at all.

What did you expect from Rishi Sunak – the MP who is richer than the King?

Jeremy Hunt has tried to sweeten the pill by saying the report, now to take place on November 17, will be a full Autumn Statement – a Budget. So he’s lazy. Rather than give an initial briefing on what the government will do – and getting on with it – then providing a full Budget, he’s combining the two and making us wait.

Pathetic.

Weak.

Treacherous.

In a statement to Parliament, Hunt said he has discussed his delay with the governor of the Bank of England, who “understands the reasons” for doing so. That’s not a declaration of support!

Hunt admitted there has been market turbulence, even in the last 24 hours: “The question is how you deal with that turbulence” and it is crucial to make sure decisions “stand the test of time”.

But a delay means market turbulence will continue. The BBC is reporting that the Pound is holding on to gains made in recent days, trading at $1.15 and a bit – just two cents up from when Liz Truss resigned last week.

Gosh. Catch me if I swoon.

It’s nothing. The Tories have deliberately – let’s not forget – presided over possibly the greatest devaluing of the UK economy in the history of our nation.

And now Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak have announced that they can’t be bothered to do anything about it for more than half a month.

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Tories in trouble as voters identify issues they’re ignoring as reasons to vote them out

Sunak and Truss: whoever wins the race to become prime minister will not be smiling when they have to deal with the issues that might force their government out of office – and they realise they have no answers.

Oh dear, oh dear: the Conservative Party is facing electoral collapse after people who voted Tory in 2019 identified the issues the next prime minister should tackle – and they’re mostly issues that party wants to ignore.

According to a Daily Express article, these include:

  • Inflation
  • The cost of living/energy bills
  • Delays in treatment by the National Health Service

Neither Liz Truss nor Rishi Sunak have shown much interest in any of these – having to be dragged into discussing the topics.

The only issue discussed by the voters the newspaper polled, in which the Conservatives have shown any interest, is immigration – a fake issue created by the Tory government as part of its ongoing “divide and rule” policy of presenting us all with an enemy to hate.

Sadly, they seem to have fooled a large number of people with it.

Whoever takes up the – some would say poisoned – chalice of the premiership in September, they will have to address these problems as a matter of urgency, or face the prospect of losing all the Parliamentary seats Boris Johnson won in 2019. That is a career-ending prospect.

Source: Furious Tory voters reveal key issues as party risks losing next general election

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Government is delaying Covid-19 inquiry, say bereaved families threatening court challenge

Satire? This image suggesting the Tories were lying about their Covid-19 strategy may be more accurate now than at the time it was made. Why is an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic being delayed? Is evidence being altered or destroyed before it becomes illegal to do so?

Families who lost loved ones in the Covid-19 crisis are preparing a court challenge against the Tory government, which they fear is delaying an inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.

Boris Johnson appointed Baroness Hallett to chair the inquiry in December 2021, and has said it would begin in spring this year. But spring is over and no terms of reference have been published nor setting-up-date specified.

Under the 2005 Inquiries Act, an inquiry “must not begin considering evidence before the setting up date” and once an inquiry is under way it is an offence under the Act to destroy or tamper with evidence.

So the longer the setting up date is delayed, the more evidence it is possible for … someone… to alter or destroy.

That’s the concern of the group Covid-19 bereaved families for justice, who are planning a judicial review into the failure.

Elkan Abrahamson, head of major inquiries at Broudie Jackson Canter, who is representing the group, said taking legal action is the “last thing” families want but they may be left with no choice. He said: “In the vast majority of inquiries a setting-up date is given within days or weeks of the chair being appointed, so this delay of over six months is both unprecedented and totally inexplicable.

“The consequences are extremely serious, as it only becomes a criminal offence to destroy or tamper with evidence after the inquiry’s start date. By failing to give one, the Prime Minister is opening the door to key evidence being destroyed.”

Not only that, but a delay like this means it will take longer, and be more difficult, to learn lessons from the pandemic and the government’s failures in handling it.

Perhaps most to the point, though, is this: Boris Johnson has claimed that he needs to stay on as prime minister to “get on” with tackling the issues that matter most to people – but instead he is delaying a vital inquiry.

He can’t say it’s because he had to deal with the challenges to his own leadership because he has already told us he considers them to have been nothing more than a time-wasting sideshow; he should have been handling the issues that matter – not diverting time and energy to his own self-preservation.

All the government has been able to say is that the inquiry’s terms of reference will be published shortly. Nothing has been said about the setting-up date.

So, what’s really going on here? And do we need a judicial review to establish what’s really going on at the heart of our government?

Source: Bereaved ready to take Government to court over Covid inquiry delay

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Sunak makes you wait; if you were banking on Tory council tax rebate, you’re in trouble

Rishi Sunak: the cowboy Chancellor.

People who were told they’d receive a £150 council tax rebate in April have been betrayed by Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

He – and the Treasury – are now saying council taxpayers whose homes are in Bands A, B, C or D will receive the money from April.

In practical terms, people who pay by Direct Debit are first in the queue – but are not likely to get their cash until May or June.

Those who don’t – around a third of council taxpayers – may have to wait until September or later. They are being told to wait to be contacted by their councils to arrange payment – but that is expected to draw the process out even longer.

The Treasury is saying: “We’ve always been clear, including in our press notice and the leaflet which went out to millions of households, that the £150 council tax rebate to help with the cost of living would be paid ‘from’ April.”

This is a lie; the BBC has demonstrated that the wording of Treasury documentation changed between February and this month.

So those of us who were encouraged to believe a vital cash injection was on its way have been deceived by a Chancellor who is so rich personally that he has absolutely no concept of how important it is for people to receive government funding when the government originally promised it.

There is no justification for this. It’s irresponsible.

People are facing serious financial cash-flow difficulties because of conditions created by Sunak and by Tories before him – the largest number of tax rises in 40 years; Brexit-prompted price rises and inflation; energy price rises and so on.

They have ordered their household budgets in the belief that they would receive this council tax rebate at a particular time – and now that isn’t happening.

Unacceptable. Sunak is a cowboy, not a chancellor.

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Failure of NHS privatisation is proved by harm to patients kept waiting in ambulances

Waiting: ambulances outside a hospital. Strange how privatisation was supposed to improve healthcare but, since it was brought in, the NHS has only deteriorated.

A report for ambulance service chiefs shows that around 160,000 hospital patients in England are being harmed every year because of delays getting them out of ambulances.

As many as 12,000 – or one in 10, could be suffering severe harm like a cardiac arrest, loss of a limb or brain damage.

The ambulance drivers aren’t at fault.

The problem lies with the UK’s Conservative government that has de-funded the National Health Service to a critical degree, while also inviting profit-making private firms to provide some services – taking even more money from healthcare provision.

In a way, we should be grateful for the collapse of healthcare provision since 2010, under the Conservatives.

The delays that have kept patients waiting in ambulances – and thereby risking serious injury – have only become seriously harmful since the Tories brought private providers into the English health service.

They demonstrate more clearly than words that the introduction of those private providers into NHS England has been a disaster for patient care.

And they show that the best possible strategy for the future of healthcare in England is to ban private profit-grubbers from the NHS – forever. Otherwise this nightmare will only get worse.

Source: Ambulance delays outside hospitals are harming 160,000 patients, leaked report warns | The Independent

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DWP tries to blame Royal Mail for PIP delays but do we believe it?

It’s a sad consequence of having to fight a court case that I don’t have as much time for some of the subjects that made This Site’s name – such as the persecution of benefit claimants by the DWP.

This particular issue is one on which I have personal experience, though – as, I dare say, has anybody who has had to deal with DWP letters.

My case differs from that outlined by Disability News Service, though – in that the DWP contacted Mrs Mike to tell her that her PIP review was due, and could she return the form within a month of the date of the letter?

The letter arrived no less than 10 days after the date on it. That left three weeks to get the review done.

It is not enough time. Not only do PIP claimants have to navigate the form, which is worded in an open way but which is marked according to very specific requirements, but they must also seek corroborating evidence from carers, community helpers and healthcare professionals.

All of this takes considerable time.

As her carer, I knew that we needed to seek expert help in writing the form, so I contacted Citizens Advice and was immediately told that I would have an appointment to talk to someone in a few days’ time – and that I should seek an extension on the deadline at once.

I can’t say that conditions are the same across the UK – I live in Wales – but once I managed to get through to DWP (there was an inevitable wait of more than an hour) the department could not have been happier to extend the deadline.

I think I was given a couple of extra weeks.

I therefore advise everybody to do this – especially if receiving a letter with a deadline that appears to have been delayed in the post. It makes the argument between DWP and the Royal Mail irrelevant.

And I needed the extra time. Mrs Mike has a condition that can only get worse, but it wasn’t until I spoke to somebody else about it that I realised the extent to which her condition had degenerated.

Help I had provided as a favour when she was feeling particularly bad had become a habit – meaning that he condition has worsened – and the very shape of our days had changed as these accumulated.

The changes had been so gradual that I had not taken them into account – but they mean a great deal when dealing with the DWP.

I therefore advise everybody going through a benefit review to seek expert help from Citizens Advice or an organisation that is similarly qualified.

Finally there was the question of corroborating evidence. I provided a letter, as Mrs Mike’s carer, describing the obstacles she faces getting through the day, and the ways I have to help her.

We sought letters from community organisations and some professionals but received no interest in return.

And we contacted Mrs Mike’s doctor, too. This seemed likely to be problematic. “Oh, you’ll get no help there,” people said. “Doctors have been discouraged and disincentivised by the DWP! If you do get a letter, they’ll charge you a fat wad of cash!”

Not a bit of it was true.

We received a letter in due course, containing a printout of Mrs Mike’s medical history and a medical opinion that was adamantly in favour of her receiving the highest degree of benefit available to her.

Finally, when it was time to post the completed form, I took it to the post office and paid extra to ensure that the DWP would have to sign for it, to confirm receipt.]

This is very important. I know from personal experience and the experience of others that the DWP finds it easy to claim non-receipt – as it did in the case of the claimant in the DNS story.

This cannot happen if you have evidence that somebody signed for it. It bypasses any concerns about whether delays were caused by the Royal Mail or the DWP because it provides proof of delivery within the time stated.

The decision took about a month to come back. It confirmed Mrs Mike’s benefit would continue at the highest rates possible.

So that is my advice for anybody going through the benefit review process:

  1. Seek expert advice on filling out the form because they must provide specific information that the DWP must see before it awards any points.
  2. Contact the DWP and ask for an extension on the deadline if its letter arrived late.
  3. Seek evidence from anybody who has experience of the claimant’s disability. The worst that can happen is they decline to provide it. Don’t be put off asking your doctor.
  4. When you post the form back, make sure the DWP has to sign for it to confirm that it has been received.

These are measures that work.

They deprive the DWP of any excuse to blame another organisation for delays in processing a claim.

And they ensure that your benefit payments are disrupted by any nonsense if the DWP claims that you haven’t returned your form.

Source: DWP and Royal Mail dispute cause of PIP delays – Disability News Service

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Excoriating report on Tory concentration camps is buried on last day of Parliament

Priti Patel doesn’t like answering hard questions: in this image she was defending Boris Johnson over ‘herd immunity’ so no wonder she has dodged interrogation over herding immigrants into overcrowded concentration camps to catch Covid-19 or get burnt when fires break out.

The Tories made sure a searing report on their failure to provide habitable accommodation for immigrants would not receive proper scrutiny – by releasing it the day after the relevant Parliamentary committee met for the last time before the summer recess.

The delay is all the more deplorable because Priti Patel has had the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration for months – but sat on it because she doesn’t like to be criticised – poor widdle baby!

According to the Mirror, the report only came out now because Labour’s Yvette Cooper accused Patel of delaying its release “for many months” in a “Kafkaesque” situation.

(Has Patel read Kafka? She probably thought he was a grotty foreign Communist and stuck to Ayn Rand and Mein Kampf.)

Conditions in her camps at Penally, Pembrokeshire, and Napier Barracks in Kent, certainly reflect the philosophy of Nazism (such as it is).

The reports findings certainly suggest that Patel followed Hitlerian thinking. It said overcrowding meant a major Covid outbreak at Napier was “virtually inevitable” once just one person was infected.

There was no way to isolate anybody; the outbreak eventually infected hundreds of people. Did anybody die? This Writer hasn’t seen the statistics.

And the report said: “Despite a large fire at Napier, inadequate action had been taken to address ongoing serious fire safety concerns.”

Furthermore, it said: “Managers at both sites lacked the experience and skills to run large-scale communal accommodation.

“Home Office staff were rarely present at either site. There were fundamental failures of leadership and planning by the Home Office, which had led to dangerous shortcomings in the nature of the accommodation and poor experiences for the residents.”

Yes indeed – they were locked into the camp, packed together like sardines, and treated like criminals even though they had not committed any crime.

A Home Office spokesperson said the government department has made “significant improvements” since the report was put together – which itself indicates that Patel withheld its release for an unacceptably long time.

And there has been a strong effort to hide events at the camp from public view. I’m not just referring to the intimidation of a photographer who took images of protests outside, either.

Simply withholding the report while changes were made is dishonest. It should have been published on receipt, and independent reviewers invited to examine any changes, to ensure that they were fit for purpose.

That hasn’t happened.

It is easy to form your own conclusion about the reason: Patel is a racist and hates immigrants – especially because she is herself a daughter of immigrants.

Source: All the bad news the Tory government buried hours before MPs’ summer holiday – Mirror Online

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Forde inquiry into leaked Labour anti-Semitism report delayed – but does it matter?

Jeremy Corbyn: the Forde Inquiry could have exonerated him from any implications of support for anti-Semitism but it seems to have been gagged from doing so.

Martin Forde QC’s report on the leaked report into the way anti-Semitism was handled by Labour Party officers has been delayed. But does it really matter after its focus was watered down to almost nothing?

Mr Forde told Labour’s National Executive Committee he was delaying his report to avoid prejudicing an inquiry by the Information Commissioner’s Office into whether the leak breached data protection laws.

But is this really likely, considering that the Forde Inquiry is apparently now focused only on examining “the structure, culture and practices of the Labour Party”.

It had originally been charged with some much more interesting and worthwhile purposes.

But in an all-but-ignored announcement last summer, Mr Forde announced that he would not, after all, “investigate and report on the truth or otherwise of the main allegations in the report”.

This was the inquiry’s most important purpose. The report had produced a mountain of evidence which, if true, cleared Corbyn of claims that he had been complacent on anti-Semitism.

Instead, it implicated party officials who had been among his fiercest critics with claims that they actively worked to prevent the party as led by Corbyn from winning a general election.

If the claims were found to be true, then claims that Corbyn and his supporters were soft on – or even supported – anti-Semitism would have been exposed as primarily a witch-hunt.

But now, nobody is checking the basic accuracy of the report at all.

Also ditched was the requirement to investigate why the report was written and how it was leaked.

So it seems there is little point in being concerned about when the Forde Report will be released. It simply won’t provide any information worth waiting for.

Source: Labour: Report into anti-Semitism dossier leak delayed – BBC News

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If the long-awaited Environment Bill has to be delayed, why not use the time to make it useful?

Pollution: the Bill will contain provisions to improve air quality – but not in the immediate future, and the watchdog body it will set up is unlikely to have any teeth.

Do you think it’s bizarre that our government(s) tell us constantly that their actions are for the good of the country, but they always seem to postpone anything for the good of the planet?

The case in point is the decision to postpone, yet again, an Environment Bill that has been waiting for a reading in the House of Commons since 2018.

Campaigners say the delay will harm action to lessen air pollution and improve water quality.

Ministers say the delay is necessary because of the amount of time being taken up by the Covid-19 crisis.

Dispassionate onlookers might say this discussion seems pointless anyway, as Boris Johnson’s government has resoundingly failed to cope with the pandemic on any meaningful level.

The Bill sets out a framework by which ministers can impose new targets on vital issues like air pollution and water quality, waste, resource use and biodiversity, which were previously regulated under EU directives.

But the bill as it stands makes these into long-term targets, meaning direct efforts to cut pollution may be left in limbo.

If passed into law, the legislation will create a new Office for Environmental Protection – a watchdog body that campaigners fear will not be sufficiently independent or powerful under the current bill.

The bill also includes measures to ensure consumers in the UK no longer contribute to the destruction of vast swaths of forested land overseas, through new rules intended to stop the import of goods to the UK from areas of illegally deforested land. UK businesses will need to show that the products they source that could come from at-risk areas – wood, but also soy, palm oil, beef, leather and other key commodities – are from supply chains free from deforestation. Breaches of the rules will incur fines.

So all in all, the Bill looks like reducing, rather than increasing, environmental protections.

It seems to This Writer that, if it must be delayed, then this is an opportunity to do some background work.

I remember hearing that US president Lyndon Johnson used to do much of his work in the backrooms of Congress, persuading (I won’t speculate on his methods) Congresspeople to support his laws – or finding ways to make them acceptable.

Perhaps if the Tories currently working on the Environment Bill – Rebecca Pow is named in the Guardian report – spend the spring and summer polishing it up to ensure that there are quantifiable short- and medium-term targets, and their new Office for Environmental Protection actually has the clout to live up to its name, then the amount of discussion time in Parliament could be cut down, the Bill could sail through and everybody will be (belatedly) happy.

But that may be too much like common sense.

Source: Fury as long-awaited UK environment bill is delayed for third time | Environment | The Guardian

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