Tag Archives: grant

What happened to the £350k taken by Sunak’s wife’s now-liquidated firm?

Akshata Murty and her husband, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak: her firm took money from his government and then went into liquidation. Will she tell us what she has done with our cash?

Take a look at this:

A company owned by the prime minister’s wife Akshata Murty, which received almost £350,000 of UK grant money, is now being mysteriously wound up, it has been revealed.

Murty’s investment company, Catamaran Ventures, is being liquidated, it was announced on the London Gazette, the official public record, published on December 28.

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The move has raised a number of questions, with Carol Vorderman posting on X: “NEWS

Has non-dom, tax avoiding, Mrs @RishiSunak, Akshata Murthy, just rung up a home removals firm? #SunakHomeRemovals

“She applied to wind up her controversial company Catamaran Ventures on Dec 21st – 2 wks ago. I will post later about the many times the fund benefited from the public purse.”

Ms Murty’s company made headlines in May last year, when it was revealed by the Sunday Times that it held shares in Study Hall, an education start-up which had received almost £350,000 of UK grant money.

It was also reported in September that Catamaran Ventures UK was being wound down. A number of the startups that the fund backed received cash injections through taxpayer-backed schemes, including the upmarket furniture firm, New Craftsmen, which collapsed into liquidation in November 2022 after receiving £300,000 in taxpayer-funded loans.

So this firm, owned by Rishi Sunak’s wife, took £350,000 of government money and then went bust?

What happened to the cash? If there’s money invested in Study Hall, and that hasn’t gone under, then wasn’t there a possible return to come from that? Otherwise, why invest in it at all? To whom would that money return if Catamaran doesn’t exist any more?

If firms are given money by the government, aren’t they expected to tell the government what they have done with it and how it is fulfilling the purpose for which it is given? How is that happening?

This is not a simple case of a firm running out of money and going into liquidation. The money it has squandered – if it has – is public money, for which Ms Murty must account. Personally, This Writer would like the Treasury to have that money back, if it hasn’t been used as intended.

Am I right?

Source: Company owned by Sunak’s wife that received £350k in grant money gets liquidated – Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate


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Lord Sugar finally discovers the consequences of supporting Conservatives

Sugar: He’s probably not feeling too sweet right now.

I appear to have handed Lord Sugar his arse, without really trying.

He was on Twitter this morning (September 25), complaining about rubbish on the streets of Hackney. Here’s what he said and what I jotted off in response:

As you can see, a few people seem to have enjoyed my reply.

Of course, it does have the virtue of accuracy.


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Councils are going bankrupt after the Tory government cut their funding

Council tax bill: but the levy on residents of council areas won’t save some authorities, because it is a massive cut in CENTRAL government grant that is bankrupting them.

There’s not a lot to add to this because the fault is self-evidently with the Conservative government in Westminster.

Oh – this is different from the situation in Birmingham that was brought about by a coalition Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration imposing a sexist bonus scheme, for which the now-Labour-run council is going bankrupt while trying to pay compensation.

The fault still lies with the Tories, either way.


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The big Tory lie: new North Sea gas and oil might not even come back to the UK

Grant Shapps: he likes to spout a lot of nonsense from his base in Welwyn Hatfield (this image is from a BBC interview in 2020) but he’s not so smooth when faced with an interviewer who has checked the facts before talking to him.

The 100 new contracts granted by Rishi Sunak for energy companies to drill for gas and oil in the North Sea do not mean those fossil fuels will be used in the UK, as he falsely claimed.

The drilling will be done by commercial firms who will then sell the fossil fuels they find on the international market. Some of it may come back to the UK but most of it probably won’t.

Here are the facts, presented by Sky’s Jayne Secker to a spluttering Grant Shapps:

Notice how he tried to change the subject when the facts were presented to him?

Oh, these substances have to go to the UK because they are processed here. But that doesn’t mean they are used here.

Oh, but not all of them are used for fuel. Some are turned into plastics. But plastic pollution is harming the planet as badly as global warming.

Oh, but some of it is used for medical devices within the NHS. But that’s a tiny amount that would not justify the granting of any more drilling licences.

It seems ever-more-clear that the new licences are more likely to be a way for Sunak to corruptly reward companies like BP for signing contracts with his father-in-law’s firm Infosys than to improve the UK’s energy security.

If Sunak and/or his government wish to deny this, then there is a simple way to clear the air:

Let’s have an independent public inquiry into the awarding of these contracts: what they are intended to do; the way they have been presented to the public; what the actual consequences are likely to be – and who benefits?


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The news in tweets: Thursday, July 20, 2023

The puppets: in fact, with today’s information, this image needs to be updated to show a Saudi politician or a private health boss with his hand up Blair.

Labour sinks its candidates’ chances in today’s three by-elections

The UK’s main parties seem to have given their candidates in the three by-elections taking place today (Thursday, July 20, 2023) a shot… in the foot. An entire volley, in the case of the STP (Substitute Tory Party – formerly Labour). In fact, metaphorically-speaking, it would probably be accurate to say that those candidates no longer have any legs to stand on.

Here’s former party leader candidate Liz Kendall showing why members made the right choice by avoiding her like a nasty disease. In defending her leader’s decision to condemn 55 per cent of families with three children and a massive 80 per cent of those with four to poverty, she resorted to the “fiscal responsibility” argument that simply doesn’t ring true:

The simple fact is that fiscal rules may sound good to the public but all they really do is straitjacket political parties into courses that can harm us all in the long term. There’s no need for them.

Nor is there any justification in saying that (Labour) can’t make promises about where the money for a change will be sourced. The simple fact is that the Conservatives have spent 13 years cutting taxes for the richest people in the UK. The opposition party should be looking at the amount of money these policies have denied to the treasury and making its plans accordingly. Instead, the plan is to leave these tax breaks in place – boosting the rich still further while punishing the poor yet again.

The claim that parents should get better jobs is risible. Even if such employment was available in an economy where pay has been pushed through the floor, how are parents supposed to take them when the massive cost of childcare ties them to their home, looking after their children?

(And please, let’s not engage in the tired old argument that people should not have had more than two children in the first place: you don’t know the circumstances behind those situations, and in any case the UK’s economy requires a larger indigenous population, now that so many workers from abroad have been scared away.)

Elsewhere, Tony Blair has demanded that a future ‘Labour’ government should inflict austerity on the UK:

We know from the nauseating spectacle of Blair discussing policy with Keir Stürmer in public that the opposition party leader is a Blairite and wants to follow the desires of his ideological leader as much as possible.

Blair is saying he wants austerity, and he wants increased privatisation in the NHS. Only “basic” healthcare should be free at the point of use, he said. Other services would cost money. These are not Labour Party policies, of course – and nobody claiming to represent Labour who supports them, and/or the leaders who spout them, should be allowed into Parliament.

What we’re looking at is “policy capture” – and the organisation behind Tony Blair should be avoided at all costs because it is owned by foreign governments, it seems:

So candidates in today’s by-elections – by the words of leading party members – are not going to help working and working-class people but may well be following the demands of foreign governments instead, with plans including making us pay for anything more than “basic” healthcare.

Would you vote for that?

Grant Shapps shows why Tories should not be allowed near power

While leading members of the STP (Substitute Tory Party – formerly Labour) have been hobbling their by-election candidates, Grant Shapps has been doing the same for the real Tory Party’s credibility.

He has written to Keir Stürmer, demanding that the STP pay for damage caused by Just Stop Oil protests, on the grounds that the STP is the political wing of Just Stop Oil:

This is boneheaded stupidity. In doing so, Shapps is publicly acknowledging that any politician or political organisation that takes money from a donor will do what that donor demands in the future.

If Stürmer’s STP had said that, we could point to the donations its members receive from Trevor Chinn and say this is an admission that that party is now a sockpuppet of the so-called Israel Lobby (amongst others).

But because a Conservative has said it, we can rifle through all the donations that party and its MPs receive instead. Obviously Shapps is admitting that the Tories are all in thrall to private health firms (for example), and that’s why the NHS is being increasingly privatised.

He has opened the door for us to tell the world that the Conservative Party – and more importantly the Conservative government – does not work for the people of the United Kingdom, despite taking huge amounts of our cash.

Instead, it works for those shadowy donors, despite all the claims over the years that it did not, which we are now free to conclude are lies.

And that means any Tories elected in today’s (Thursday, July 20, 2023) by-elections will do the same and should therefore be blocked from ever entering Parliament.

Nice one, Shapps!

Rishi Sunak blames striking junior doctors for his own government’s health service blunders

Here’s another Tory failure that should cut into that party’s vote in today’s by-elections: Rishi Sunak’s attempts to blame striking junior doctors for weaknesses in the National Health Service.

I’ll let Peter Stefanovic explain:

A couple of points that should be emphasised:

As a result of Tory pay cuts since 2010, you are £11,000 a year worse-off than you would otherwise have been, and Sunak wants you to take further pay cuts (not just just junior doctors). Meanwhile, average pay for MPs, once their multiple other jobs are taking into account, is more than £200 per hour.

The “Independent” Pay Review Body is nothing of the sort. Its members are all employed by the government and are told how much money the government is willing to pay public sector workers before making any decisions. Those decisions are then made to fit in with what the government tells them to do, rather than with what public sector employees need.

Daily Express fails at basic maths. Just because inflation has fallen, that doesn’t mean prices are dropping

Carol Vorderman explains basic mathematics to the writers of a national newspaper.

It seems the Daily Express and its employees don’t understand that a fall in the rate of inflation does not mean that prices have dropped – despite the fact that it has been drilled into all of us over many months that such a fall really means the rate at which prices increase is slowing down.

So the following headline betrays a lack of economic credibility:

Still… when the price cuts demanded by the paper don’t happen, perhaps we can all enjoy a public backlash against the Tories.

That’ll be fun to watch.

Tory government paid almost as much for each ‘migrant barge’ as it costs to hire the most luxurious cabin cruise ships

This is self-explanatory:

This Writer understands that we still don’t know who won the contract to provide these barges, that have been modified to accommodate 500 people rather than 240, meaning less space is available for each of them.

And we don’t know whether there was a proper tendering process, with multiple interested parties invited to bid for the contract, or if it was just handed over to a Tory crony via the illegal “VIP lane” or any successor route.

It’s another point for voters in today’s three by-elections to consider.


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The news in tweets: Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Falling energy prices are not being passed on to customers and the government is doing nothing. Why?

Tory energy security minister Grant Shapps was grilled over the government’s failure to support cash-strapped households, by Martin Lewis on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. His answers were revealing:

So: we will receive no more money to help with energy bills, even though the energy companies are charging us far more than the cost of the energy itself. The government is supporting these firms as they rip us off.

Shapps’s comments about standing charges are also useful. He said these charges are for “all of the network costs, the maintenance costs and the things which happen before you get the live supply of energy to the household”. He said these costs were “not for nothing”.

This Writer certainly hopes that is true.

But let’s have a look at another privatised utility that forces you to pay standing charges: water. If standing charges on water are said to be for the same purpose as for energy – network costs, maintenance etc – then the water companies are guilty of fraud because we have learned that none of our money is being spent on infrastructure (maintenance). The pipe system still dates back to the Victorian era and some of it is made of lead, which is poison.

The water firms also borrow heavily to cover day-to-day costs. That leaves me asking what the standing charge supports. Is it just feeding into the profits of shareholders? If so, then these firms are lying to us about its purpose and should be prosecuted, forced to return that money to us and the charge abolished.

In fairness, I have read that the charge is for the cost of reading meters and sending out bills – but with smart meters installed that tell firms what you’ve used without anyone having to come to your home, and with the facility for people to receive bills by a new-fangled device called email, those costs now must be very low compared with times in even the recent past. Why are the standing charges not being reduced, then?

Taking the subject back to energy, if standing charges on water are a rip-off, how do we know that the energy firms aren’t also charging us far more than is reasonable?

Answer: we don’t.

One rule for them: MPs get up to £16,305 per year for up to three children, but restrict your child benefit to two kids and £2,080

Yes indeed.

Current salary for a backbench MP is around £84-5,000. They get expenses to pay for food, rent and bills (on the second homes they need in London, if I recall correctly), and they also receive £5,435 per year to pay bills related to their children, for a maximum of three children. That’s around £104.23 per week, per child, up to £312.69 – let’s round it up to £312.70.

If you have three children, you won’t receive any child benefit for one of them. You then get £24 per week for the eldest and £15.90 for the second child: £39.90 per week or around £2,080 per year.

Your MP thinks this is fair – even those in the Labour Party who should be demanding equality for everybody (possibly with a few exceptions).

This is why we need to think very carefully about who we allow into Parliament and what they should be elected to do.

Meanwhile, Substitute Tory (formerly Labour) Rachel Reeves can’t see how a UK government can fund free school meals for children who need them, so members of the public have been offering helpful suggestions:

Howard Beckett pointed out: “In Norway the sovereign fund stands at over $1.3trillion. Norway tax[es] fossil fuel Corporate giants at 78 per cent.”

She could also reverse some of the massive tax cuts that the Tories have handed to the richest members of UK society since 2010. There are plenty of ways to fund a better future.

One can only conclude that Pamela Fitzpatrick is right: “Reeves really cannot see where the moneys going to come from because she simply does not have the skills, talent or vision for the role she is in.”

There is a lighter side to this – if you have a certain sense of humour:

Keir Starmer was ‘consciously dishonest’ when he campaigned for the Labour leadership. Shouldn’t he be given the boot?

We may conclude from the information available to us that when Keir Starmer was telling Labour Party members that he would respect and continue the policies of his immediate forerunner Jeremy Corbyn, he was actually planning to throw away all the popular policies that Mr Corbyn had formed, as soon as possible.

He lied in order to be elected.

That is not acceptable.

He should be removed.

He won’t be – because Labour disciplinary procedures are a bad joke at the expense of rank-and-file party members. But voters should – and will – remember his betrayal, and the cynical, calculated way in which he planned it.

Defence spending rises by nearly one-third of what it was in 2019 – while all other spending falls. Why?

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced that the UK government will spend £50 billion on “defence”, for the first time in its history – more than £12 billion more than in 2019.

Jeremy Corbyn asked him about his priorities:

In response, Wallace said: “I am not out looking for war. We are all out here trying to defend our nation by avoiding war, but we do not avoid war by not investing in deterrence. Sometimes we have to invest in hard power, to complement soft power. We do not want to use it and we do not go looking for it. I know the right hon. Gentleman mixes with some people who always think this is about warmongering; it is not. But if countries are not taken seriously by their adversaries, that is one of the quickest ways to provoke a war.”

So he wants to avoid wars by rattling the sabre. This Writer isn’t sure that works – and I am encouraged to doubt him by his own prediction that the UK will be at war within seven years.

Mr Corbyn’s question was an opportunity for him to explain how his spending plan would prevent the UK from being at war within seven years. He did not answer that question.

What are these Tories planning to drag the rest of us into?

£500 million public money bribe to get Jaguar Land Rover owner to build electric car battery factory in Somerset

The Tory government is paying £500 million towards the creation of a £4 billion factory by Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata, building batteries for electric cars.

Is it really great news?

As migrant-housing barge arrives in Portland: how was the contract awarded and was it carried out corruptly?

Two tweets on this:

Is the illegal Tory “VIP lane” still operating, then?

Why is the government repeating consultation on wet wipe ban? Is it looking for a different response?


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Who erased Boris Johnson from image of him and Grant Shapps at Cornwall Spaceport?

I wasn’t sure about this at first:

… But then I found the proof on the BBC News website.

Here’s the pre-photoshop image:

And this is how it looked after somebody had it doctored:

And this on the day when he was trying to convince us all that his strike-restricting plans were necessary with a pack of lies, too.

BBC News says Shapps has insisted that he didn’t have the imaged changed:

A source close to Mr Shapps said: “Grant wasn’t aware anyone had edited the picture.

“He removed it as soon as it was pointed out. Obviously he wouldn’t endorse anyone rewriting history by removing the former PM from a picture.

“He was proud to serve in Boris Johnson’s government.”

That’s not exactly proof that Shapps isn’t lying about it – being proud to serve in a government headed by someone widely understood to have been the biggest liar Parliament has seen in many decades.

And the big question has gone unanswered: if Shapps didn’t change the image or have it changed, then who did?

Until we know the answer to that question, he’ll always be under suspicion.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The frame game: how Grant Shapps LIED about the need for new anti-strike law

Business secretary Grant Shapps explained the need for a new law demanding “minimum service levels” during strikes – with a pack of lies.

The trick was in the way he framed the situation.

He claimed that the aim was to protect lives and livelihoods – that the right for nurses and ambulance workers (for example) to strike should not come at the expense of the lives of people across the UK.

And he said the wave of strikes sweeping the UK had been caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and by the Covid-19 crisis that created huge backlogs in NHS healthcare procedures.

See for yourself:

In fact, as Labour’s Angela Rayner pointed out, the strikes were caused by the government’s own policy of running the NHS (to use the same example) into the ground, starving it of resources and forcing employees to seek alternative jobs, simply to make ends meet.

She said people had been dying while waiting for ambulances long before ambulance workers took the decision to go on strike – because of delays caused by Tory defunding and de-resourcing.

In fact, ambulance workers had continued to work, coming off the picket lines in order to respond to emergency calls. Shapps’s legislation was jeopardising that.

Excess deaths were at their highest level since the Covid crisis, she said – because of staffing shortages caused by the Tory government.

Livelihoods and lives were already being lost, she said. Everybody wanted minimum service standards – but it was the government’s job to provide it (implying that the government had deliberately chosen not to).

Again, see for yourself:

Rayner was correct; Shapps had been telling untruths.

This Site has been reporting on failures in ambulance responses for years – since long before the Covid crisis or the invasion of Ukraine. Likewise with the shortage of nursing staff due to low pay.

Take a look at some of the articles from previous years – firstly on nursing:

‘The man who cut the NHS, not the deficit’

‘Compassion bypass’ as Coalition puts the squeeze on benefits and wages

Greatest Coalition Failures: National Health Service

Squirm, Cameron – we want answers about the NHS!

May surfaces to deny existence of NHS crisis. Total winter deaths are up by 50,000

Tory voters: Here is your government’s National Health Service – in graphs

Hunt trolls NHS staff by praising rota showing dangerous staff shortages

NHS vacancies are a national emergency BECAUSE THE TORIES MADE IT ONE

London hospital drops chemotherapy due to Tory-caused nursing shortage

Then on ambulance cover:

‘The man who cut the NHS, not the deficit’

A&E fears fall on deaf ears

Government accused of trying to ‘cover up’ scale of looming NHS winter crisis

NHS England records worst ever performance figures under Tory mismanagement

#NHSCrisis: Keep reminding May the misery is her fault

Tory-engineered NHS crisis is causing unnecessary deaths – and Theresa May boasts 

NHS privatisation: paying profiteers means there’s no money for healthcare and patients are harmed

Point made?

The Tories have been demolishing public sector pay since they came into government in 2010. They know a low wage bill is appetising to private firms when public services are privatised. And that’s the end goal of Tory policy – certainly on the NHS.

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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Shapps pretends to be money-saving expert – but Martin Lewis has other concerns…

Isn’t it offensive when government ministers pretend to be concerned about the well-being of the proles and try to show us how to save money?

And isn’t it worse when media giants like the BBC play into their hands?

Perhaps that’s why Grant Shapps’s attempt to play at being money-saving expert Martin Lewis fell as flat as it did:

This Writer hasn’t heard Mr Lewis saying anything about it – but then, he’s been wrapped up in other concerns…

He has joined YouTube stars Mark and Roxanne Hall – otherwise known as LadBaby – to record a Christmas song raising money for people affected by the cost-of-living crisis created by Tory ministers like Shapps.

Proceeds from their cover of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas will be shared equally between food bank charity The Trussell Trust and the Band Aid Foundation.

According to the BBC (how ironic),

“We never intended to release a fifth Christmas single but as ambassadors of the Trussell Trust we were not prepared to sit back and do nothing in a year when people are struggling more than ever,” Mark and Roxanne said in a statement.

They approached Bob Geldof and Midge Ure (the original writers of Do They Know It’s Christmas) to ask for permission six months ago.

“I wasn’t as difficult as people might think,” said Mark.

“Bob said he was excited to see what we were going to do, and they’ve approved everything – all the lyrics we wrote, the music video, who we got involved. Everything.”

Lewis said he was amazed to have been approached for help.

“I thought they’d confused me with someone else,” he said. “The nearest I’ve ever got to thinking about a Christmas number one is going to the loo on Boxing Day after too much orange juice the day before.

“Yet once I knew they were serious, and it was for the Trussell Trust, a hugely important charity I’ve a history with, I decided to give it a go, and do it with gusto.”

Mark said he had approached the money-saving expert because “he knows more than most how to help people in this country”.

Here’s the result of their work:

The song is available right now, right here:  https://ladbaby.lnk.to/FoodAidID!6

Remember: 100 per cent of profits from every download of the recording will go towards the fight against food hunger – and that could make a real difference to lives across the country.

Grant Shapps DOESN’T have ‘no role’ in rail strike – he’s apparently interfering merrily

Grant Shapps: if he’s forced to resign over this, it won’t be the first time. You can bet he’ll protest his innocence this time, too.

It seems Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been lying to Parliament – after he said he had no role in the rail strike, it has been alleged that he’s the one stopping agreement from being reached.

TUC chief Frances O’Grady said contracts mean the 15 train operators are unable to negotiate pay, conditions and pensions of 40,000 striking RMT workers without Shapps’s approval.

If they did try to reach a deal he could hit them with financial penalties by making them foot the bill for any extra wages costs.

This is based on legal opinion commissioned by the TUC from employment lawyer Michael Ford QC, who studied rail contracts to reveal a secret Dispute Handling Plan that rail operators must honour.

He said:

“These provisions mean train operators do not have freedom to negotiate matters which have given rise to the current dispute.

“It is the SoS, and not the operator, who has overarching direction and control of the strike.”

Of course, lying to Parliament remains a breach of the Ministerial Code that could potentially force an MP to resign.

So Shapps is now facing demands to actually do his job by resolving the rail strike in a way that ensures continued safety for passengers and security for workers – and then to resign from his job on grounds of corruption.

Source: Grant Shapps ‘misled public’ over claim he has no role in train strike – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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