Tag Archives: homes

Matt Hancock trashes Tory Covid-19 policy at the Covid Inquiry

Matt Hancock: he was a Covid-19 super-spreader, if you remember.

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 27) was Matt Hancock’s big day at the Covid Inquiry – and he didn’t waste any words trashing Tory policy.

This Writer’s problem will be if there’s a discrepancy between what he’s saying now and what he did back then – spring 2020 onwards. I’m pretty sure there is, but let’s establish what he said first.

Oh dear! He fell at the first hurdle.

This Site has covered the matter of asymptomatic transmission – and especially how it related to care homes – extensively. You can get a flavour of it in this article about a leak of WhatsApp messages earlier this year – and it also contains many links to other articles on the subject.

Hancock also had a few things to say about care homes…

Here’s a biggie: BREXIT ENDED LIVES:

Oh hang on – Hancock reckons some of the Brexit preparedness stuff would have helped with Covid-19, too…

 

For the rest, I’m going to rely on a lot of information from Robert Peston, who was live-tweeting while Hancock was giving his testimony. It runs as follows:

Let’s have a response from people who lost family members because of the government’s Covid-19 failures:

For the moment, I’m presenting this evidence as it is. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about it. I’ll want some time to look into the implications.

It seems certain the inquiry will turn up more – and possibly even more damning – evidence as it continues.

Braverman in Rwanda for propaganda junket; praises decor of homes for UK refugees

Suella Braverman arrives in Rwanda: what a pity she isn’t being forced to stay there.

Yes, here we are – and there she was: Suella Braverman has indeed been on a propaganda-fuelled junket to Rwanda, where homes are being built for the couple of hundred “migrants” (also known as asylum-seekers or refugees) into the UK that the African country has agreed to accommodate.

Here’s a video clip of her arrival:

The clip makes the very good point that the Tory government’s attempts to send people over to Rwanda – which has a very poor human rights record – are mired in legal challenges.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic to expand on that:

And he’s right about the headline, which is the source of This Site’s assertion that her trip was for propaganda purposes:

Does anybody really think Braverman wanted the name of the Rwanda homes interior designer?

Neither do I. If she was given it, I expect her to have binned it – which is exactly what she is planning to do to any asylum-seekers and refugees who are unlucky enough to be sent there.


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Are these the facts about Matt Hancock’s Covid 19 care homes blunder?

Matt Hancock: Blunderman strikes again.

The cache of 100,000 WhatsApp messages by Matt Hancock about Covid-19, from 2020, in which he discussed delaying or failing to test people going into care homes from the community, got a thorough airing on the BBC’s Politics Live and in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions.

PMQs focused mostly on the fact that information about the government’s behaviour during the Covid crisis is starting to drip out piecemeal, meaning it is now a matter of urgency that the independent inquiry into the response to the pandemic be concluded and report in good time.

The discussion on the talk show was more about the content of the messages – and did, in fact, touch on the fact that these messages all came long after the big decisions about testing for Covid-19 in care homes had already been made.

Hancock had known since February that year that people from the community, coming into homes, were infecting the people living there, and since March that people there were dying of Covid-19.

He chose to do nothing about it until April – and then, as the messages indicate, he didn’t do enough.

So, is this a storm in a teacup?

Judge for yourself:


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Matt Hancock WhatsApp leak rewrites history – but not the way you’re being told

Matt Hancock: the current WhatsApp controversy makes it seem he only considered testing people in care homes from April 14, 2020 – but existing information shows he had been ruling it out for around two months (since February) despite mounting deaths.

No wonder Isabel Oakeshott was so liverish on Politics Live – she was about to become the centre of a new Covid-19 controversy.

Ms Oakeshott is the person who leaked 100,000 Matt Hancock WhatsApp messages that seem to suggest he has not been altogether truthful about government plans for Covid-19 testing in care homes during 2020. She had access to them while “helping” him write his memoir.

Spokespeople for Hancock have said the messages have been doctored to present a false impression.

But my recollection is that the controversy at the time had little to do with what these messages say. I made my point on Twitter as follows:

You can read the relevant background information in these Vox Political articles from 2020:

Coronavirus deaths: ‘sorry’ is the hardest word for Hancock (April 29, 2020)

Is Johnson guilty of human rights abuses over coronavirus care home deaths? Could be! (May 3, 2020)

Care home deaths cover-up suggests Johnson and Hancock are guilty as sin (May 15, 2020)

If Tories really regret not testing for Covid-19 in care homes – is it because they were caught? (May 20, 2020)

Why didn’t Matt Hancock send vulnerable Covid-19 sufferers to Nightingale hospitals rather than care homes? (May 22, 2020)

Hancock denies claim about Covid-testing care home residents. What DID he mean, then? (June 6, 2020)

Hancock’s excuse for care home deaths changes with the wind – but doesn’t change the fact that HE LIED TO US (June 10, 2020)

Doctor launches court case against Tories over Covid-19 care home death of her dad (June 14, 2020)

Is Matt Hancock denying care homes Covid-19 tests to deliberately harm residents? (August 30, 2020)

So there you have it. Despite advice from SAGE in February 2020 that Covid-19 was already being transmitted between people in the community, Hancock put out official guidance saying there was no such transmission and nobody in a care home was likely to be infected.

Care home staff who moved from one home to another were also not tested, meaning they were able to catch the disease from patients at one home and transmit it to those at any others they visited.

This remained official advice until March 12, 2020, despite the fact that care homes had been recording deaths related to Covid-19 from March 2 onwards – 10 days previously.

The UK only went into lockdown on March 23.

Care homes did not start testing for the disease until April 15 (of people leaving hospital), and regular tests of all staff and residents did not start until July.

Now check this against the current story (I’ll use the BBC version as the Telegraph, which broke this story, is behind a paywall):

WhatsApp messages leaked to the Daily Telegraph newspaper suggest Mr Hancock was told in April 2020 there should be “testing of all going into care homes”.

Government guidance later mandated tests only for those leaving hospital.

In one message, dated 14 April, Mr Hancock reportedly told aides that Prof Sir Chris Whitty, the chief medial officer for England, had conducted an “evidence review” and recommended “testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting result”.

The message came a day before the publication of Covid-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care, a government document setting out plans to keep the care system functioning during the pandemic.

Mr Hancock said the advice represented a “good positive step” and that “we must put into the doc”, to which an aide responded that he had sent the request “to action”.

But later the same day, Mr Hancock messaged again saying he would rather “leave out” a commitment to test everyone entering care homes from the community and “just commit to test & isolate ALL going into care from hospital”.

“I do not think the community commitment adds anything and it muddies the waters,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Hancock said this followed an operational meeting, where he was advised it was not possible to test everyone entering care homes.

When the care plan was published on 15 April, it said the government would “institute a policy of testing all residents prior to admission to care homes”, but that that would “begin with all those being discharged from hospital”.

It said only that it would “move to” a policy of testing everyone entering care homes from the community.

From March 2020 to January 2022, there were 43,256 deaths involving Covid-19 in care homes in England, according to the Office for National Statistics.

There’s a big discrepancy, isn’t there?

The WhatsApp messages have it that Hancock was only advised to start testing everybody going into care homes on April 14.

But in fact, SAGE had warned him in February – two months previously – that Covid-19 was already being transmitted in the community, and it is clear that community transmission was considered likely to cause infections within care homes from the government advice that was published on February 25.

And death figures from care homes clearly showed that Covid-19 had caused deaths there from March 2 onwards, so Hancock had no reason to believe that these homes were unaffected.

But he waited nearly two months before doing anything.

The lack of testing kits in sufficient numbers has been blamed for the failure to test everybody who needed it – but this is not an acceptable response. The government had known of the threat since late 2019 but had not bothered to take timely action, and this is the reason too few testing kits were available.

And more than 43,000 people died.


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Tory government caused tens of thousands of Covid-19 care home deaths unlawfully

Dr Cathy Gardner: she was one of those who took the government to the High Court, after the care home death of her father, Michael Gibson.

Watch (and/or listen to) this:

“The thing that we didn’t know in particular was that Covid could be transmitted asymptomatically,” said Boris Johnson.

Not true.

In their judgment, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham found that the government failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission, which had been highlighted by Sir Patrick Vallance in a radio interview as early as March 13, 2020:

“Those drafting the March Discharge Policy and the April Admissions Guidance simply failed to take into account the highly relevant consideration of the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from asymptomatic transmission.”

The government stopped testing for Covid-19 on March 12 that year, due to a lack of capacity, and care home residents weren’t regularly tested until April 15, by which time the virus was rampant.

The Commons’ own Science and Technology Committee pointed out in May that year that, despite having been warned about asymptomatic transmission, and despite evidence suggesting a “high proportion” of people with Covid-19 – possibly as high as 80 per cent – have no symptoms at all, the government’s approach to dealing with asymptomatic carriers was still unclear.

And more than 20,000 people died.

This Writer hopes the judgment opens the way for the families of the deceased to claim compensation from the government – although, sadly, any such payments are likely to be paid from the public purse, rather than directly by the Tory Cabinet ministers responsible, such as Boris Johnson and then-health secretary Matt Hancock.

The deaths of this multitude of people are their responsibility. It’s no wonder that bereaved families have demanded Johnson’s resignation.

He has ignored the demands, as usual. He doesn’t care that thousands of people died. Remember – he’s alleged to have said “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” at a later date.

But there will be an inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic next year.

Perhaps it will recommend that those responsible be brought to justice for the deaths they have caused (but I doubt it).

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Inside the Facebook groups where desperate Ukrainians are searching for spare rooms | JOE.co.uk

I told you this was happening and here’s the proof:

New Facebook groups have emerged that serve as platforms for Ukrainian refugees and British hosts to make their ‘match’. In emotional posts, Ukrainians share the horror they have endured over the last three weeks.

As well as sharing details of traumas they have already suffered, Ukrainians are pointing out the qualities that make them good house guests. Examples include being “sociable”, “tidy”, “hardworking” or even “clean” and maintaining a “healthy lifestyle”.  Hobbies like cooking and baking are highlighted, with some offering to do housework, washing, gardening and nannying “just for joy”.

UK residents who are found to be fit to host will be given £350 each month to do so, and will be required to keep refugees for a minimum of six months. Many are offering their home for as long as is needed.

Social media groups do appear to be matching people quickly.

There are concerns that this is demeaning.

But there are also concerns that vulnerable people would otherwise struggle to access the Tory government’s Homes For Ukraine scheme because it demands that UK sponsors know their names.

And even with the help of these Facebook pages, there are worries that those who might not speak English, who have significant mental health issues, who are physically unwell, or who might not have any access to social media won’t be helped.

Does anyone have any idea how to help them?

Source: Inside the Facebook groups where desperate Ukrainians are searching for spare rooms | JOE.co.uk

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Is Homes for Ukraine a way to beat the Bedroom Tax?

Remember the Bedroom Tax?

It was a nasty Tory tactic to deprive poor people of benefit money by claiming they were under-occupying their homes, even if they had been moved into particular properties by local councils.

So if you had one spare bedroom, you would be docked 14 per cent of your Housing Benefit. Two spare rooms meant losing a quarter of your payments.

But now the Tory government is offering to pay people to house refugees from Ukraine – right?

Under the new scheme, people may offer a Ukrainian refugee a rent-free space in their home or a separate residence, for at least six months. In return, each household housing a refugee will be offered £350 a month, tax-free – and won’t even have to provide food and living expenses if they don’t want to.

That’s at least £2,100, tax-free.

The catch with the Tory government scheme is that you have to know a Ukrainian refugee by name in order to sponsor them. Presumably the Tories thought this would limit its scope.

All it has done is push Ukrainian refugees to post on the social media, which is shameful in itself…

… but makes it entirely possible for them to be contacted by Brits.

So, if you have been hit by the Tory Bedroom Tax over the last 10 years or so, this is your chance to even up the score. Just seek out a Ukrainian refugee on the social media, join the scheme and submit their name!

In fact, if you have a word with some of the refugee charities that have sprung up, they’ll probably be able to help you too.

It’s just a thought that occurred to me after a Twitter user mentioned the Bedroom Tax…

But it could help people in both Ukraine and the UK – and foil the Tory government at the same time.

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Gove slams criticism of ‘ungenerous’ scheme that only helps refugees IF YOU KNOW THEIR NAME

Michael Gove: This Site has better pictures but the Spitting Image dummy’s cheeks look like what he was talking in the House of Commons.

Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove had a rather spectacular meltdown in the House of Commons when he attacked critics of the government’s new Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

This Writer recalls there were a few allegations about him flirting with a certain white powder a while ago. Based on this performance, one has to question whether the claim was accurate.

He banged on the Dispatch Box, he strutted up and down the Chamber, he wagged his fingers around in aimless gestures, and as for his language… “Chuck it?” Really?

Let’s have a look at that “ungenerous” claim.

Under the new scheme, people who wish to offer a rent-free space in their home or a separate residence, for at least six months, can register their interest online.

Each household housing a refugee will be offered £350 a month, tax-free. They will not be expected to provide food and living expenses but can choose to offer this.

But they can only sponsor a Ukrainian national to receive an entry visa into the UK if they already know the individual by name.

Bearing in mind that 43,800 people signed up for the scheme in its first five hours, I wonder whether they all have that kind of connection with people from the eastern European country.

Time will tell but people are already having their say about Gove’s outburst – and it hasn’t been complimentary:

(Gove was probably referring to a claim that the “hostile environment” policy was made possible because a Labour Home Secretary (Alan Johnson?) authorised the destruction of many documents proving that people of the so-called Windrush Generation (for example) had a right of residence in the UK. The documents were destroyed during the term of his successor, Theresa May, though.

May went on to coin the term in a 2012 speech: “The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants.” So it is her policy – Conservative policy.

The last point is very good: the accusations aren’t that the UK isn’t generous but that the Conservative government running it isn’t.

The UK’s citizens didn’t create the conditions under which Windrush people were thrown out, and they didn’t create the conditions in which Ukrainian refugees are being refused entry.

A Tory government is – one that contained Michael Gove in some capacity.

He’s got a lot of cheek, coming out with that.

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Nearly 9,000 people died from catching Covid-19 in English hospitals. Comment, Matt Hancock?

Smug little liar: Matt Hancock defended himself with untrue claims after Dominic Cummings lambasted him for his many failures to tackle Covid-19. This was just one of them and it caused around 22,000 deaths.

So much for Matt Hancock’s “protective ring” around care homes.

Official NHS data shows around 8,700 people died of Covid-19 after contracting it while being treated for other conditions in English hospitals.

It seems logical to conclude that these include many people who Hancock then sent back to care homes, where inadequate procedures to shield vulnerable residents caused more than 20,000 deaths in total, unless I recall the figures inaccurately.

Fact-checking by The Guardian states that Dominic Cummings’ claim – that Matt Hancock had said a protective shield would be put around care homes but that this was nonsense – was true. That article states:

Cummings said: “We were told categorically in March that people would be tested before they went back to [care] homes, we only subsequently found out that that hadn’t happened. Now while the government rhetoric was we have put a shield around care homes and blah blah blah, it was complete nonsense.”

He went on to say the opposite occurred and people with Covid were sent back to the care homes.

Care homes and representatives of the sector have said the government “completely abandoned” them, while criticism of the handling of the care home issue has been voiced by the former health secretaries Andrew Lansley and Jeremy Hunt.

Though authorities in Britain are not alone in comparison with counterparts in other western states, in terms of failing to follow through on talk of shielding care homes, a study from the London School of Economics has put the number of Covid-19 deaths among care home residents in England and Wales at 22,000, more than double the official estimate.

We all knew Hancock’s silly talk of a “protective ring” around care homes was a lie – more than a year ago, as this article evidences.

How far did Hancock manage to spread Covid-19 through the UK, simply by allowing it to spread among people in hospital getting treatment for other ailments?

And when will he be forced to face justice for it?

(I think we all know the answer to that one, judging by what usually happens: we won’t have the facts until after he has died.)

And here’s the big question:

When with the people of the UK finally stand up and say we’ve had enough of a corrupt government that rewards people who have knowingly helped cause the deaths of thousands upon thousands of us.

Source: Up to 8,700 patients died after catching Covid in English hospitals | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds rent out £1.2m home – because the funding stream from Tory donors is drying up?

“Can I hide in your fridge”? At the rate he’s going, Boris Johnson (who once, infamously, did hide in a fridge to avoid scrutiny) will soon be living in one.

It’s a valid question.

In the midst of a huge controversy over the way Boris Johnson has funded changes to the Downing Street flat, he suddenly announces this:

Boris Johnson is preparing to rent out his £1.2 million townhouse to raise cash following his second divorce and the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat, it is reported.

Property experts told the Times that Mr Johnson, 56, and Ms Symonds, 33, could let the house for up to £4,000 a month.

The Prime Minister recently put his £1.2 million house near Thame in Oxfordshire up for rent. It was listed at £4,250 a month in April, and a lease was agreed this week, it was reported.

Johnson insists that he paid for the Downing Street renovations himself – but won’t say whether the money was given to him by one or more donors before.

The Electoral Commission has launched an inquiry into whether any loans or donations made in connection with the refurbishment work had been properly declared.

And it is with officials examining his finances that Johnson has started renting out not one but two buildings he owns.

I think it’s reasonable to conclude that he has suddenly run into cashflow problems – and we may reasonably question the reasons for them.

Source: Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds rent out £1.2m home – and they could make £4,000 a month – Mirror Online

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