Tag Archives: financial

Tories announce lavish new support scheme for businesses – after snubbing Manchester with a pittance

Stung: Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new support package for English areas under Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions in a move that seems time to snub Greater Manchester.

The north-west English area had been under Tier 2 restrictions until earlier this week, when Sunak’s government forced it into Tier 3 with a financial support package that has been vilified as punitive and unfair.

Now the BBC is reporting:

Rishi Sunak announced big changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – set to replace furlough in November.

Businesses in tier two areas, particularly in the hospitality sector, had complained that they would be better off if they were under tier three restrictions.

Sunak delivered his announcement in the House of Commons:

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was unimpressed – and even that usually-staunch supporter of the Tories, the BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg, had to agree that he made a fair point:

Burnham expanded on this in a TV interview:

Anthony Browne, the Tory MP appearing on the day’s edition of the BBC’s Politics Live, tried to justify the timing of the announcement:

If it takes time to evolve a policy change like that which Sunak announced in Parliament, then that means it would certainly have been under discussion when the talks with Burnham were taking place.

So it also follows that the Conservatives holding those discussions – like Robert Jenrick, who spewed such a lot of nonsense about it earlier in the week – deliberately failed to mention it to Burnham.

Why?

The only reason that I can see would be to corruptly engineer a financial disadvantage for the Labour-voting people of Greater Manchester.

Once again, it seems, the Conservatives are using the Covid-19 crisis for their own selfish political gain.

How utterly despicable.

I am glad to see that the £2,100 per month grant is retrospective and may be backdated to August 2.

I hope hospitality businesses in Greater Manchester use it to take as much as they can from Sunak and his twisted government.

Source: New government Covid scheme to pay up to half of wages – BBC News

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Independent Group for Change’s financial records were destroyed

Anna Soubry: she was leader of Change UK at the end, while her partner was Treasurer.

Remember Change UK, the company-pretending-to-be-a-political-party that went through multiple name-changes in its short life?

Well, it seems the auditor handling the wind-up has discovered irregularities.

Will anything come of it – prosecutions? Doubtful.

Should prosecutions happen? Hard to tell.

Politicians seem to get away with so much these days, it’s impossible to tell whether they’re innocent of wrongdoing or not.

Staff at the Independent Group for Change, the disbanded party established by centrist MPs in 2019, “inappropriately destroyed” financial records, a report by its auditors has found.

According to the auditors, documents including bank statements and files recording details of donations to the party were destroyed by former members of staff. None of the documents, auditors said, could be “satisfactorily reconstructed”.

The report, contained in accounts filed at Companies House on Friday, said the loss of the documents had limited the scope of the auditor’s review of the party’s finances.

Source: Independent Group for Change’s financial records were destroyed | Politics | The Guardian

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With so many others closing, why not hairdressers? Because they haven’t been told to

I was talking to an acquaintance the other day – a person of senior years who fits into several of the coronavirus “at risk” categories.

“Oh yes,” she assured me. “I’m self-isolating.”

Great!

“I was only telling my hairdresser about it at the salon today.”

What?

I mean, what?

Yeah. She was absolutely staying away from contact with any other people who could possibly pass on Covid-19 to her – apart from any other people who happened to be at the hairdresser’s at the same time as her. And she didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.

And here’s the thing:

Even the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) – that represents hairdressing salons – knows that people who attend such establishments are putting themselves at risk.

Why haven’t they closed?

Well, some have done so voluntarily.

But most have not – because the government hasn’t told them to do it.

See, without an order from Boris Johnson’s administration, hairdressers can’t get access to the financial help that has been put in place for businesses.

That’s why the NHBF has asked for salons to be put on the list of businesses that must close.

Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself:

The Government issued instructions on Friday 20 March about which businesses must close but made no mention of hair salons, barbershops or beauty salons. The NHBF has urgently contacted a number of key government officials and departments (see details below) to ask for all salons and barbershops to be immediately added to the list of businesses that must close.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we fully understand how worried everyone in our industry is at the moment. Our priority is to protect our industry, colleagues, business owners, employees and clients from the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Some salons and barbershops have already taken the decision to close, and we believe that this is the right decision. Stylists, therapists and barbers are inevitably in close contact with a wide range of clients which means they cannot follow the government’s social distancing guidelines.

My own experience with my acquaintance tells me that the NHBF is right.

It’s vital that the government puts hairdressing salons on the ‘closed’ list – otherwise people like her will blithely put themselves in danger without a second’s thought.

Source: Coronavirus: NHBF update 22 March 2020 – National Hair & Beauty Federation

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Inquiry demanded into claims Boris Johnson backers will profit from ‘no deal’ – and it can’t come soon enough

The sign says ‘leader’: but is there somebody in the shadows, telling him what to do in their interest, rather than that of the UK as a whole?

The Labour Party has demanded an independent “conflict of interest” inquiry into Boris Johnson, over claims that the prime minister’s backers will profit hugely from a “no deal” Brexit.

John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, has written to the UK’s most senior civil servant, Cabinet Office secretary Mark Sedwill, calling for an investigation into alleged collusion with currency speculators.

The demand is based on comments by Mr Johnson’s sister Rachel and claims by former chancellor – now an Independent MP – Philip Hammond that speculators were investing in “short” positions – betting on the pound plummeting and inflation rocketing – after a “no deal” Brexit.

It has been reported that they could make more than £8 billion – while the rest of us suffer.

In his letter to Sir Mark, the shadow chancellor said there had been widespread reports of increases in short positions taken against sterling in the lead-up to a possible no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson and the Conservative party had received “a significant sum” in donations from no-deal backers, a number of who are involved in hedge funds, he said. Meanwhile, the PM has made it clear he is ready to go ahead with a no-deal outcome to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

“These three facts have caused concern that the prime minister may have a conflict of interest,” wrote Mr McDonnell. “Donors to the Conservative party and/or the prime minister could stand to gain from a no-deal Brexit – even if only through cushioning losses by adopting short positions. The prime minister could reasonably be seen as having an interest in securing a no-deal Brexit to financially benefit his donors.”

He added: “It is becoming increasingly apparent from public comment that the prime minister is bringing into doubt whether he is upholding the highest standards, thereby further undermining public confidence and trust in him and his government… It is important for public confidence and trust in the House of Commons that any real or apparent conflict of interest is investigated.”

“The prime minister could reasonably be seen as having an interest in securing a no-deal Brexit to financially benefit his donors.”

No UK public servant can serve two masters in such a way, and for a prime minister the good of the nation must come before any personal benefit to that person, their friends or supporters.

The Jennifer Arcuri scandal has already placed significant doubt on Mr Johnson’s loyalties. The British public consider him entirely capable of putting the interests of himself and his financiers before those of the nation.

And in the meantime the Brexit deadline clock is ticking down to October 31.

Mr Sedwill must agree to this inquiry, and it must be carried out with haste. Everybody needs to know the facts before it is too late.

Source: Brexit: Labour demands inquiry into ex-chancellor’s claims Boris Johnson backers set to profit from no-deal | The Independent

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Sajid Javid helped cause the UK’s financial crisis. Why did BoJob make him CHANCELLOR?

I’ve had great fun using this picture of The Collector from Doctor Who in place of Sajid Javid. It turns out that the fictional character is a more honest villain than the new Chancellor.

I seem to be publishing a series on the uselessness of Boris Johnson’s new Conservative cabinet – so let’s discuss Sajid Javid.

The genius Yorkshireman who runs Another Angry Voice showed us that we all have reason to be angry about his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer, only a decade after he helped cause the financial crisis that unleashed a decade of pointless Tory austerity on us all.

Before we go on, let us all remember that there was absolutely no need at all for the Tory cuts to public services that we have endured. They have not cut the national debt. And the cuts to the deficit are in spite of the reductions in taxation of the rich that the Tories have insisted on making.

So their entire policy for the last nine years has had no point – other than the persecution of people with less money than the so-called One Per Cent.

Now read this:

Before his move into politics Javid was a banker at Deutsche Bank, where he sold complex financial derivatives called Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDOs).

CDOs were economic alchemy schemes designed to turn toxic bad debts into fake gold-plated investments.

The whole thing defied economic logic… they were junk investments that were bound to implode sooner or later.

If we’re charitable to Javid, then we could argue that he was a clueless dupe, naively selling a load of toxic junk in good faith simply because he was too stupid to investigate the products he was actually selling, and so poorly connected within the CDO industry that he was unaware of the open secret amongst his peers that the products he was selling as safe investments were actually bound-to-fail financial Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The other explanation is, of course, much worse. If Javid was smart enough to realise that the CDOs he was selling were bound-to-fail junk, and he was in on the open secret within the trade that they were certain to implode one day, yet he carried on selling them as safe investments to oblivious customers like other banks, pension funds, local and national governments, and insurance funds as low-risk investment opportunities, then he’s a cynical and duplicitous fraudster.

It’s an excellent argument that Mr Javid is unfit to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. Indeed, it seems shadow chancellor John McDonnell has used it as the basis of his own argument that his appointment is inappropriate … but that is not the subject of the article you are reading now.

So, given that Mr Javid helped cause the crash, why did Boris Johnson make him Chancellor?

In the light of Mr Javid’s record, and of the Tories’ financial policies since May 2010, it seems clear that Mr Johnson sees him as the perfect man to keep those policies going.

Source: Sajid Javid is totally unfit to be Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Boris Johnson’s ‘Garden Bridge’ failure cost you £53m. So much for Tory financial responsibility

Is anyone keeping track of the amount of money these failed Conservative vanity projects are costing the public purse?

Boris Johnson cost us £53 million with this silliness alone, but has everyone forgotten his costly water cannon project?

Chris Grayling haemorrhages money.

The DWP spends a fortune trying to deny help to benefit claimants.

I’m sure you can think of plenty of other examples.

Under the Conservatives, the national debt has more than doubled, but they have insisted on granting huge tax cuts to the super-rich.

And they call themselves the party of financial responsibility. Pathetic.

A failed plan to build a bridge covered with trees and flowers over the River Thames in central London cost a total of £53m, it has been revealed.

A Transport for London (TfL) inquiry showed the Garden Bridge Trust spent £161,000 on a website and £417,000 on a gala for the abandoned project.

The design of the bridge cost more than £9m and the charity paid its executives £1.7m.

Around £43m came from the public’s pocket, TfL added.

Source: Failed London Garden Bridge project cost £53m – BBC News


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Shock doctrine: Is May planning to ENGINEER a crisis, just to stay in power?

Theresa May: As dangerously insane as a supervillain like the Joker?

This is psychotic.

It is being reported that Theresa May is planning to “engineer a financial crash” to bully MPs into supporting her Brexit deal.

The idea is that, if she loses a first vote on her Brexit deal, she will encourage a crash in the financial markets – purely to encourage MPs to support her lame deal.

That’s right – it seems she is deliberately considering trashing the UK’s economy (more than she’s trashed it already, even), ending jobs (which were probably only part-time/zero-hours/limited contract pseudo jobs anyway) and curbing our already-limited productivity, for no other reason than to keep herself in 10 Downing Street.

It’s pure “shock doctrine” – as defined by the Urban Dictionary: “The strategy by the world’s economic elites of imposing an extremely neoliberal economic regime on communities they control, using some form of shock: a natural disaster, a coup d’etat, a war, a financial crisis, etc. Once the community has been crippled by this first shock, the economic “reforms” [embodied in this case by Brexit] are imposed suddenly, creating a secondary blow.”

It is also despotism – deliberately inflicting suffering on the citizens of the UK in order to stay in power corruptly.

This Writer has little reason to believe that Conservative MPs have the moral backbone to understand why this is wrong, let alone stand up against it. The DUP – the Tories’ partner-in-crimes-against-the-people for the last year and a half – may withdraw its support, though, and the other parties should never accept it.

So it may never happen.

But the fact that it has even been suggested means it could – and that is a horrifying admission in the country that is home to the “Mother of Parliaments”.

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Tories must ‘call time’ on a decade of failed austerity cuts, says SNP. You know they won’t

The price of austerity: While the Tories laugh all the way to the bank, the rest of us are queuing up for the food bank.

Fat chance!

The Conservatives didn’t impose austerity on the majority of people in the UK to ease the effects of the financial crisis that happened 10 years ago.

Their austerity doubled the national debt and pushed millions into poverty – but it made a tiny minority very, very rich indeed, and that was the only reason for it.

It also shrank the state – public services were cut and public facilities sold off, in an attempt to make sure the people of the UK could never benefit from them again.

From the Conservative point of view, then, austerity has been a rip-roaring success.

So don’t expect the Tories to change direction just because the people are suffering.

They’re too busy lining their own pockets.

The SNP has said Chancellor Philip Hammond must use the forthcoming UK budget to “call time” on a decade of failed austerity cuts – as the UK marks ten years since the financial crisis.

Kirsty Blackman MP, SNP Economy spokesperson, said millions of families had suffered “years of pain” and are still being made to pay a “heavy price” as a result of “self-defeating” Tory and Labour cuts.

Speaking at a rally outside the Bank of England on Saturday, with civil society groups including Positive Money, Christian Aid, Unite, and War on Want, the SNP MP for Aberdeen North warned UK government austerity cuts had caused “self-inflicted” harm to the economy – and left the whole country poorer.

The SNP is calling on the UK government to admit failure and “consign austerity to the dustbin”, replacing Tory plans for further cuts with a programme of investment to boost economic growth – and ditching plans for a hard Brexit, which would cause further economic devastation.

Source: Tories must ‘call time’ on a decade of failed austerity cuts, says SNP

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Report warns of health and earnings risk to unpaid family carers


It’s about time the spotlight swung round to illuminate the plight of unpaid family carers.

I’m one, and I can confirm that life for carers like me is a never-ending, thankless struggle to make ends meet, combat government attempts to terminate my partner’s sickness and disability benefits (and my own Carer’s Allowance), cope with my partner’s mood swings that can make me feel entirely unappreciated, and avoid knock-on effects on my physical and mental health as well.

I am fortunate enough to be able to earn a little extra cash by writing This Site (although it has attracted enmity from certain vested interests who are determined to deprive me of this valuable income stream by disparaging my articles and my character – click on the link to my JustGiving site for further information on that).

Others have to rely on government funding that is dwindling in value every year.

It is an agonising struggle to avoid being crushed between the rock of my partner’s needs and the hard place of increasing financial pressures.

The report mentioned below makes recommendations – but these relate only to carers who are also employees.

Much more help is required.

Nearly eight million family carers in the UK are “propping up the care system” by providing unpaid care for relatives and other loved-ones, whilst also paying a significant personal and financial price for the care they provide, according to a new report from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) think tank.

Research has calculated that around 7.6 million adults are giving up their time to provide unpaid care for relatives, up 1 million since 2005 and equal to almost 15% of adults living in the UK.

In [a] report published on Monday, the SMF says the proportion of family carers providing 20 or more hours of unpaid care each week has increased from 24% in 2005 to reach 28% in 2015, with family carers providing an average 19.5 hours of unpaid care each week.

In total, family carers are sacrificing 149 million hours to care for loved-ones every week, equal to 4 million paid care-givers working full-time hours.

However, this level of unselfishness can have a devastating impact on the carers’ health and work prospects, with family carers less likely to be in employment than non-carers and more likely to earn far less.

Source: Nearly 8 million unpaid carers are ‘propping up’ the broken care system

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After Carillion – Interserve. Will it go under – and if it does, who’s next?

It seems Interserve is about to go the same way as Carillion.

If it does, the Conservative government will force the public to pay the costs again, even though they’re the ones who stupidly employed greedy private contractors who put our money in their bank accounts rather than investing it in the public services they are supposed to be providing (at least, that’s the Carillion model).

I hope that Interserve doesn’t go under, but it occurs to me that any private firm with a contract to provide public services will be in breach of that contract if it ends up in receivership due to poor financial management.

So it should be the government’s responsibility to get our money back from these people, rather than charging the public.

It might be easy to force the poor to cough up for the mistakes of the rich, but it isn’t justice.

Let’s have some justice for a change.

It appears the Tory Government could once again be stretching its pan-palms out to catch the overspill from the potential collapse of another favoured private contractor, Interserve.

Interserve’s debt almost doubled from £274m in 2016 to £513m at the end of 2017. An underestimation of the costs involved in a public-private partnership contract to provide waste-to-energy services, which saw the corporation raise its provision on one such project in Glasgow from £70m to £195m, has badly affected it.

And in further deeply worrying news, the corporation’s share price has plummeted from 717p in 2014 to just 63p in December, leading to serious discussions with its lenders over the firm’s remaining financial options.

Although the corporation issued profit warnings in September and October 2017, it has announced that it reportedly expects that its 2017 performance was in line with expectations. This, along with the partial recovery in its share price might be due to the fact that the corporation’s new chief executive announced cost cutting measures: £15m in 2018 to £50m by 2020.

With the corporation employing 80,000 people worldwide – 25,000 in the UK – and when it is responsible for public contracts including cleaning, healthcare, security, probation and construction, one wonders what cost-cutting measures will actually involve and how these might impact the provision of essential public services.

Source: Another major government contractor on the brink after 90% share price collapse and debt doubling | Evolve Politics


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