Tag Archives: Ministry of Justice

Why is Chris Grayling trying to sabotage the national finances?

You loved yesterday's meme about Iain Duncan Smith so here's one about Chris Grayling. Feel free to share it across the Internet and tell all your friends to do the same [Image: 38 Degrees].

You loved yesterday’s meme about Iain Duncan Smith so here’s one about Chris Grayling. Feel free to share it across the Internet and tell all your friends to do the same [Image: 38 Degrees].

Here’s further evidence that Justice Minister Chris Grayling is not only unjust but actually evil.

It seems he is drawing up contracts which will ensure profits – for the period of the next two parliaments – for private companies taking over probation services, and massive penalties for the next government if it cancels the contracts.

“Taxpayers will face a £300m-£400m penalty if controversial probation privatisation contracts are cancelled after next May’s general election under an “unprecedented” clause that guarantees bidders their expected profits over the 10-year life of the contract,” according to The Guardian.

It seems the contracts would guarantee the income of two of our favourite outsourcing firms, G4S and Serco, both of which have been at the centre of serious fraud allegations. They have received these contracts during a period when Grayling himself had said they would receive nothing.

Clearly he has misled Parliament.

The Ministry of Justice says it is following Treasury guidance by including the clause, making it likely that we are seeing a conspiracy among Tory-led government departments – and that we will see more of the same in other politically-controversial contracts that will be signed before next May’s general election.

In a time of austerity, inflicted on us by the same government!

Isn’t it illegal for one government to tie the hands of the next in this manner?

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, has said she was appalled by the discovery, according to the newspaper.

This is a typical Tory tactic in new wrapping. Remember how the Tory-led Coalition has forced budget cuts on councils and the regional assemblies, meaning in return that they had to cut services to citizens – and take the blame for the choices?

Grayling is clearly hoping that a Labour or Labour-led government of the future that cuts the contracts to G4S and Serco will take the blame for the increased cost to the taxpayer that he is imposing.

He isn’t thinking straight, though. G4S and Serco are under investigation, facing serious allegations of fraud. While they were cleared to work on government contracts in January, this came from auditors working for the Conservative government; a future government may disagree with that decision.

This means that contracts awarded to G4S and Serco would be void – and no money would be due to them.

Whatever happens with the contracts, Grayling himself should face legal proceedings for his own involvement in what amounts to interference with the public finances, after he is forced out of office next year. The favouritism he shows towards the two companies is deeply suspicious and he should be investigated for financial connections to them.

Let us remember, also, that Grayling has no mandate for these actions as nobody elected a Conservative government into office to tie the hands of future administrations. It was not in the Conservative 2010 manifesto, nor was it in the Coalition agreement.

This ‘justice’ minister belongs behind bars.

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Ministry’s mistiming will keep Miller in the spotlight

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“Oh, f…”: Now Maria Miller’s Cabinet colleagues are stabbing her in the back. By accident?

The Ministry of Justice has just announced that £14 million, taken from criminals’ ill-gotten gains, will be used to help their victims.

How much of this will come from the fraudster Maria Miller?

None.

What an awkward, mistimed moment – another in a series for which this Conservative-led administration should be justly famous.

Here we all are, stridently discussing the future of a Cabinet minister (Miller) who clearly defrauded the taxpayer out of tens of thousands of pounds to pay for mortgage interest on a house she then sold for more than £1 million profit – and her Cabinet colleague Chris Grayling decides now is the time to announce what the government is doing with other criminals’ ill-gotten gains.

This will merely intensify calls for Miller to face trial and conviction, and for her financial assets to be seized.

The MoJ press release states: “Under this government more money than ever before is being raised from offenders specifically to help victims of crime.” This is except for when the offender is a member of the government, apparently.

“An increase in the penalties judges can impose on criminals from 2012 is ensuring criminals are forced to pay the price for their wrongdoing.” Except when they are investigated by Parliament, rather than the police.

Miller remains a member of the Cabinet, her criminally-won gains sitting in her bank account. She is unrepentant, as her “obstructive” attitude to the Parliamentary investigation and her 30-second apology to Parliament – for that obstruction, and not for any criminality – clearly demonstrates.

David Cameron, the weakest Prime Minister in living memory – if not all time – does not have the backbone to sack her.

Maybe there is another reason for this.

We were all reminded by the Scriptonite blog yesterday that there is another crook in the Cabinet who likes doing dodgy property deals.

George Osborne “‘flipped’ his first and second homes to claim over £100k of taxpayer money for interest payments on a mortgage for his £455k Cheshire pad. He later sold the home for over £1m having made improvements partly funded by taxes. He also claimed taxpayer money to cover payments on a horse paddock for the property,” Scriptonite reminds us.

In fact, he claimed taxpayer money for several pieces of land in addition to the house, and sold the lot for a profit that was estimated to be £1 million, because he never paid a penny of his own towards the purchase – it all came from the taxpayer.

Vox Political called for Osborne to face criminal proceedings more than a year ago but the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) closed ranks around him and the Commissioner said that, as this had already been investigated under the lax pre-2009 rules, Osborne was going to get away with it.

So the message today is that you don’t have to be a master criminal to get away with illegal activities – you just have to be a member of the government.

Is that really what the Conservatives want to say – before an election?

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Enemy of the State: Chris Grayling

grayling

What do you call a Justice Secretary who wants to ensure that access to the justice system is restricted to the fewest people possible – only, in fact, those who can afford it?

What do you call a Justice Secretary who is overseeing plans to ensure that legal aid in civil cases is cut by £350 billion, meaning people who need qualified advice on social welfare debt, employment, family problems, clinical negligence, divorce and housing problems will not get it? Those people may have to pursue the cases on their own behalf, clogging up the civil justice system, perhaps for years to come.

What do you call a man who, as Employment Minister, presided over a scheme of ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ for the unemployed that was worse than useless at getting them into employment but made a great deal of money for the useless ‘Work Placement Provider’ companies to whom he funnelled government money like there was no tomorrow?

You call him Chris Grayling, that’s what.

This walking, talking blight on common sense is now talking about cutting legal aid in criminal cases, eyeing up £1 billion that is currently spent on it.

He wants to sell off guilty defendants’ cars to pay their legal costs. What does he think that’s going to do? Well, let’s put it in his own language. If cutting people’s benefits is likely to “encourage” them into work, taking away a thief’s car is likely to “encourage” him to steal another. His policies will increase crime.

And he wants to introduce price competition into criminal legal aid, ensuring that the cheapest lawyers – not the best – get the work.

He calls it “working to improve the efficiency of the criminal justice system as a whole, to move towards swifter resolution of cases before the courts”.

But Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger has said the cuts already going ahead are likely to restrict access to justice. That’s not efficiency.

And Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has spoken of similar fears that cutting legal aid might undermine the rule of law, with people resorting to violence.

The bar council has warned that the introduction of price competition is “a blunt instrument” assuring “none of the safeguards and qualities which we must expect from our justice system”.

And, as Lord Bach has pointed out, there will be no savings in the end, as the state “will eventually have to pick up the pieces when things get much worse than they need to”.

Sadly, Mr Grayling – who has no legal grounding whatsoever – will ignore this sensible advice. One can only conclude that he wants to increase criminality.

This blog has already discussed the possibility that Defence Secretary Philip Hammond wants to use the armed forces to quell any civil disturbances in the UK. Is Grayling trying to engineer such disturbances deliberately?

You read it here first.