Tag Archives: profit

Tories plan to hit people over 60 with prescription charges

Prescription: if you’re over 60 and you need one of these – especially if it’s on a regular basis – then the price is set to skyrocket under a new Tory plan to make money for private healthcare firms.

Is this some of the government policy Lord Bethell has been discussing on his private email account, to keep it away from pesky Freedom of Information requests?

The Conservatives are planning to raise the age at which people may receive free prescriptions in England from 60 to 66, in line with the state pension age.

That’s the wrong yardstick, of course.

Firstly, prescriptions should be free to everybody because we all pay into the National Health Service via our taxes. If you are in England and you pay for prescriptions, you are literally paying twice for your medicine.

Secondly, if free prescriptions must be rationed, then in a country where many people are extremely poor, it makes sense to provide them to those who are most likely to need them – meaning, if they must be pegged to age, that they should become available at the age when most people start to suffer the illnesses associated with age.

The problem is that this is not a matter of medical need; it is about giving more money to the private companies that the Tory government has allowed to flood into the health service in order to make a profit from your pain.

That’s around £300 million per year, according to Lord Bethell – around £46.75 for an average person without need for regular medication – or £130.90 for people who need more than 12 prescriptions a year. And that’s at current prices which are sure to increase.

It’s a typical Tory back-of-a-fag-packet idea, based on a desire to rake in cash for people who don’t need it, from people who desperately do – but aren’t being given a choice about whether to give it up.

In other words: extortion.

Ministers are consulting on raising the age when people become eligible for free prescriptions in England to 66-years-old – but pharmacists branded the plan ‘unacceptable’

Source: People over 60 could be hit by prescription charges under new Government plans – Mirror Online

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Serco profits have doubled – because the Tories PAID for its test-and-trace failure

The Tories have been pigging out on public money again: Serco is run by the brother of a former Tory MP who also happens to be the grandson of Winston Churchill.

Happy days are here again for government outsourcing firm Serco.

The company’s shareholders have enjoyed a £17 million dividend after the company doubled its profits in 2020.

What was the source of these profits? Government contracts to handle Covid-19, including huge amounts for ‘Test and Trace’.

And what did Serco provide in return for those contracts? Absolutely nothing, it seems. The National Audit Office said there was no evidence the £22bn programme had reduced rates of Covid-19 in England.

If that’s the case, then Serco failed to honour its contract, which was to deliver a system for tracking Covid-19 infections in order to isolate the people spreading the virus and stop it from progressing.

Why, then, did the government pay up?

Could it be because Serco is run by Rupert Soames, brother of former Tory MP Nicholas and grandson of legendary Tory PM Winston Churchill?

Could it be that Serco is yet another arm of the Tory ‘Chumocracy’?

If you’re in any doubt, remember this: Soames himself has pocketed a whopping £4.9 million for his contribution to the fiasco.

Source: Serco brazens out Covid calamity as the profits roll in | Serco | The Guardian

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Every new MP receives briefing on how Tory social security reforms have harmed us – so they can’t say they don’t know

Long-term readers of This Site will remember Mo Stewart, the researcher into the harm being caused to claimants of sickness and disability benefits by successive Conservative governments’ determination to convert the social security system to a for-profit insurance scheme.

Mo spent 10 years researching and writing a book on this subject: Cash Not Care – The Planned Demolition of the UK Welfare State.

After the 2019 general election, she became concerned that the huge new influx of Conservative MPs – along with those from other political parties – were ignorant of the harm that government policies had caused.

So she wrote a briefing paper specifically addressing the issue and sent it to all of them.

Labour’s John McDonnell has apparently offered to arrange a debate on the subject, if possible.

Whether or not that happens, Mo has provided me with a copy of the document so we all have a record of what these MPs should know – and so they won’t be able to plead ignorance.

And here it is:

Social Policy Abused:
The Creation Of Preventable Harm

Executive Summary

The Preventable Harm Project (the Project) ran for ten years and closed in November 2019, with the evidence identified within the Project findings widely promoted during 2019/20. The Project identified the bipartisan political ambition to eventually remove the UK welfare state, to be replaced by private income replacement health insurance. In order to remove the welfare state, it was first necessary to remove the psychological security provided by the welfare state. This was achieved by the adoption of a flawed disability assessment model, and the manipulation of the general public aided by the tabloid press, that successfully demonised claimants of disability benefit(s). Large numbers of suicides linked to the adoption of the Work Capability Assessment are overlooked by the Department for Work and Pensions, and successive Rule 43 ‘prevention of future deaths’ Coroners’ reports, highlighting the link between the Work Capability Assessment and suicides, have also been disregarded. The Work Capability Assessment was fatally flawed by design and should be abolished, and the departmental intimidation of disability benefit claimants should be outlawed.

Introduction: The Creation of Preventable Harm

1. Introduced in 2008 to restrict access to the new Employment and Support Allowance long-term out-of-work disability benefit, the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is a ‘non-medical functional assessment’ that disregards all clinical opinion. Since 2010, the WCA has been linked to the deaths of thousands of chronically ill and disabled benefit claimants who applied for state financial support when unable to work, yet were deemed to be ‘fit for work’ by the fatally flawed WCA.

2. Twelve years since the adoption of the WCA there is an identified and growing mental health crisis within the UK linked to claimants of disability benefit(s), and a disturbing increase in suicides directly linked to the WCA, as identified by published academic research but dismissed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

“The worst thing, I find, is realising that I am forced into looking for a life that I want but have no chance of having. I seriously feel I may kill myself because being sick, having next to no money, no life, no future, no cure, constant pain and constant disapproval defeats me.”

An extract from the ‘Fulfilling Potential? ESA and the fate of the Work-Related Activity Group’ project, conducted by Catherine Hale and published by MIND and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

3. In both 2006 and 2007 the government’s own expert medical panel warned the administration not to adopt the WCA, advising that it was ‘not fit for purpose’ due to the predictable negative impact on public mental health. The expert panel’s clinical opinion was disregarded by the DWP. The removal of clinical opinion from disability assessment using the WCA guaranteed that many of those in greatest need were destined to die, as the state removed the financial and the psychological security of a guaranteed income when unfit to work.

4. There have been two official Rule 43 ‘prevention of future deaths’ Coroners’ reports linking the WCA to suicides, with other Coroners expressing concern at inquests due to the identified enforced suffering of the deceased by the DWP. Coroners’ official Rule 43 reports and identified concerns are disregarded by the DWP, whose social policy reforms since 2010 created preventable harm to those in greatest need linked to intimidation. The constant threat of sanctions, which removes all disability benefit income, leaves the chronically ill and disabled community in need of state financial support living in fear of the DWP.

5. Regardless of the Jobcentre being advised that a claimant is unable to attend an interview due to ill health, disabled claimants are routinely met with an ‘institutional reluctance’ to meet their needs, as identified in Coroner’s reports. Jobcentre staff’s decisions to sanction a claimant can cause death by starvation, in C21st UK, when all income is removed for a period of weeks or months. No-one is held to account when some of those in greatest need are starved to death by the state.

6. The WCA is used to limit access to all state disability funding including the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Universal Credit and the War Pensions for older working-age disabled veterans, which is a military medical pension not an out-of-work benefit.

7. The WCA is regularly and inappropriately referred to as a ‘medical assessment’ by the DWP, MPs, academics, policy advisers and journalists. The WCA is not a medical assessment and is totally unrelated to clinical opinion. The adoption of the WCA is identified as being attributed to psychocoercion by successive administrations, to remove what once was the psychological security of the welfare state for anyone who is unfit to work.

8. Identified in 2008 by the American Association of Justice as being the second worst insurance company in America, the corporate insurance giant Unum (Provident) Insurance have been advisers to the UK government since 1992, and were appointed as the official UK government consultants for ‘welfare claims management’ from 1994. Concerned by the increase in various conditions that could not be confirmed by blood tests or x-rays, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Unum Insurance adopted a biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability assessment, which disregards all clinical opinion.

9. Unum advised the UK government as to how to adopt a similar BPS assessment model in the UK, and funded an assessment centre at Cardiff University for this purpose. The DWP adopted the discredited Waddell-Aylward BPS model of assessment for the WCA, which disregards diagnosis, prognosis, past medical history and prescribed medicines. The human consequences of using the WCA is that many of those in greatest need would die, with many driven to suicide with a common perception that anyone claiming to be unfit to work, and in need of state financial support, will be persecuted by the DWP. The Waddell-Aylward BPS model of assessment failed all academic scrutiny.

Policy recommendations

• Since 2009 every clinical authority in the UK have demanded that the WCA should be abolished. This includes the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Nurses and the British Psychological Society. Introduced by the private health insurance industry, disregarding clinical opinion was always dangerous. The WCA is fatally flawed and should be abolished without further delay, to be replaced with a disability assessment that considers clinical opinion, with many assessments being paper-based, so that the chronically ill and disabled community are no longer intimidated by the DWP.

Research findings
• In order to remove the past psychological security provided by the welfare state it was necessary to discredit vast numbers of disability benefit claimants, aided by the tabloid press, which helped to manipulate the British public.
• Social policies were adopted with a fiscal priority whilst disregarding health and wellbeing, which policymakers failed to take into account when recommending policies which were harmful.
• Since 2010 the social policy reforms, and the additional austerity measures, were destined to have a catastrophic and often fatal consequence for many of those in greatest need. Thousands of chronically ill and disabled benefit claimants have died when ‘killed by the state,’ with a 2014 NHS Digital Adult Psychiatry Morbidity Survey report that identified that almost 50 percent of ESA disability benefit claimants had attempted suicide at some point.
• Prosecuted disability hate crimes, including murder, increased by 213 percent between 2010-2016, during the coalition government’s term in office.
• The relationship between physical health and mental health is well documented. The numbers of benefit claimants who have perished due to social policies since 2010 will never be known.
• Published in September 2016 ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’ provides the results of the first six years of independent disability studies research for the Preventable Harm Project. The book is now recommended reading for various social policy, health and legal courses at universities in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

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The people want a windfall tax on big firms’ pandemic profits. Why is Keir Starmer getting in the way?

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

I bet certain commentators will be doing their best to muddy this issue so let’s make it clear:

There are moves to increase Corporation Tax, forcing companies to pay more when they could be investing that money in (for example) employment of people who desperately need a regular paycheque. This is a bad idea.

There are also moves to levy a windfall tax on firms and individuals who have profited from the Covid-19 pandemic – such as Amazon and all those Tory cronies who won huge Covid-related contracts. This is a good idea and is supported by 70 per cent of the population, according to a Survation poll.

Keir Starmer and his Zombie Labour party oppose any increase in taxation for businesses.

There will be voters who are shocked that anybody claiming to be a Labour Party representative should plead against taxing corporations, and while there are good reasons for leaving Corporation Tax low at the moment, although it is likely that firms will need further incentives to keep them on the straight and narrow, there is no reason at all to back away from a windfall tax.

This decision is spitting in the faces of the voters – at a time when Starmer desperately needs to get them on-side.

Labour is falling increasingly further behind, at a time when – we were told – the party should be at least 20 points ahead of anybody else, having dumped Jeremy Corbyn.

Is it time his supporters’ club admitted that this wasn’t true and Starmer is a non-starter?

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GP surgeries are being privatised by the Tories. Do you really want your healthcare dictated by profit?


Doctors’ surgeries across the UK are being bought up and run for profit by private firms – including at least one from the United States.

American health insurance giant Centene has just taken over 49 NHS GP practices. In the last few years, they have bought NHS surgeries in Nottingham, Basingstoke, Milton Keynes, and Leeds. Yours could be next.

Centene appears to be a “bad actor” too – described by the Daily Mail as “profit greedy”.

In 2018, the company took control of a group of surgeries in Essex, including the historic Osler House surgery, founded in 1955. Soon after, Osler House was closed, leaving thousands of residents without a GP within 40 minutes’ drive from their house.

Healthcare provision doesn’t matter to them, you see. Their only concern is their profit.

In the US, Centene has been sued by thousands of people who bought insurance from them. Court papers showed that those people had “difficulty finding — in many cases cannot find — medical providers”.

Campaigning group We Own It said: “Your own local GP surgery or the local GP surgery your friends and family depend on may not be affected today. But if this takeover goes ahead, your GP surgery is not safe.

“Our local Clinical Commissioning Groups – the bodies that make local healthcare decisions in every area – can stop this.”

The group is urging you to sign a petition calling for an end to Boris Johnson’s privatisation of GP services, and for you to urge your family, friends and colleagues to sign it too. Will you?

The petition is here.

The choice is yours.

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#FreeSchoolMeals scandal: ‘£30’ shopping basket provides just ‘£5’ of food because the Tories outsourced provision

Let’s not beat around the bush: your lovable Conservative government led by cuddly Boris Johnson deliberately starved schoolchildren by outsourcing free school meals to a very expensive company – because it was part of the so-called ‘chumocracy’.

The government had promised to provide £30 to feed children for periods lasting 10 days.

But rather than giving vouchers to parents so they could buy the food themselves, or even tasking local authorities to do it, the Department for Education outsourced the job to private, profit-making firms.

One of these firms is called Chartwells. It seems it won the contract as part of the so-called ‘chumocracy’ – it is part of the food service giant Compass Group whose former chairman, Paul Walsh, was once a member of David Cameron’s business advisory group.

Instead of putting all £30 into food hampers for hungry children, it seems Chartwells provided just £5.22 worth of food and kept the remaining £24.78 as profit.

Food parcels have been brought in to replace £30 vouchers given to parents to spend in supermarkets as schools close for remote learning. But one mum valued the contents of her parcel at no more than £5.22, if bought from Asda.

She was given two jacket potatoes, a can of beans, eight single cheese slices, a loaf of bread, two carrots, three apples, two Soreen Malt Lunchbox Loaves, three Frubes, some pasta and one tomato.

Chartwells has protested that it followed Department for Education guidelines – which throws the blame back towards the Tories – but has also admitted that details of the contents of its hampers do not conform with its own specifications.

Whichever way you slice it, someone has been creaming cash from this scheme and allowing children to starve – and the only reason they’ve managed it is because of the Tory obsession with privatisation.

It is a ridiculous state of affairs. Everybody in the Tory government, from Johnson down, knows that giving a contract to a private company means it will keep some of the cash for itself.

So a claim to be providing £30 to feed children is a lie. They were always providing £30 to their friends in food companies.

Sadly, many of the parents whose children are now being forced to starve on pennies-worth of food per day actually voted for this treatment in December 2019.

The question has to be asked: why weren’t vouchers provided to parents?

Was it because another Tory – Ben Bradley – put out a false claim that they would squander the money on “crack dens” and “brothels”, even though the vouchers that existed at the time specifically prohibited their use for such purposes?

It only takes a piece of fake news like this from one influential source to influence large numbers of people into believing the lie, and I wonder whether this was what enabled the Tory government to starve children in the way it has.

Think of it this way: Isn’t it odd that many people get outraged at the (faked) possibility of someone spending a fraction of a food voucher on alcohol (more likely than Bradley’s choices but still impossible) – but don’t bat an eyelid when private firms take 80 per cent of food vouchers for their own profits?

Perhaps the most pertinent comment on this whole shabby affair is the following:

Sadly, it would have been necessary for millions of people to have voted a different way in 2019 for that to have happened. And something stopped them:

Source: Free school meals firm with Tory links shamed over £30 shopping basket | Metro News

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More than 600,000 jobs lost – so 45 fat cats can increase their wealth by £25 billion?

Loadsamoney: and Boris Johnson has been spaffing it up the wall on furlough schemes so his big business pals can make a killing from Covid-19, it seems.

Covid-19 has had remarkably divergent effects on people, depending on their status in our society.

At the bottom, more than 600,000 people have lost their jobs:

The number of paid employees in the UK fell by 449,000 between March and April 2020 and early estimates suggest that a further 163,000 people lost their jobs in April.

It is believed that this number would have been much higher if not for the Government’s furlough scheme, and other support measures introduced to help businesses.

But with this scheme due to be wound down from August, it is feared that the UK could yet see a second spike in job losses and a subsequent rise in unemployment.

The data also shows a significant drop in median pay and recent wage growth has been reversed. Early estimates for May suggest that median monthly pay fell by 1.8% to £1,778 and the rate of growth in median pay became negative in April, falling to minus 0.75%.

So more people are unemployed and those who have kept their jobs have endured a drop in pay.

Meanwhile, at the top:

Britain’s billionaires have seen their fortunes soar by £25bn during the coronavirus lockdown – while some are criticised for using millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash to pay wages of the staff in their companies.

New analysis shows 45 of the richest in the UK have seen their Covid-19 pandemic wealth snowballing by 20%.

Analysis shows the collective wealth of Britain’s richest since five days before the coronavirus lockdown at the end of March has risen from £121.57bn to £146.61bn.

It comes as Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an economic crash three times greater than the 2008 financial crisis.

It seems the secret of their success is to have multiple business interests – and to take advantage of the government’s furlough scheme to get taxpayers to subsidise their payrolls.

The biggest winner, according to a study of Forbes data tracking billionaire wealth, is James Ratcliffe. He’s founder, chairman and majority owner of chemical giant Ineos, with wide North Sea energy interests.

Mr Ratcliffe’s net worth has risen from £8.75bn to £13.83bn. He has taken advantage of the government scheme to furlough almost 800 members of staff from his luxury hotel groups Home Grown and Lime Wood.

Under the scheme the State covers up to 80 per cent of the salaries of staff if companies keep them on the payroll. The payments are capped at £2,500 a month for each employee.

So he continues coining it from his energy firm, with lower outgoings because public money is funding his hotel staff.

Was this the intention?

It’s a valid question.

We were told the furlough scheme was to protect businesses and jobs, and that they would go to the wall without it.

But we see that the people behind the biggest businesses – who are therefore taking the most advantage of the furlough scheme – are raking in astronomical amounts of money.

Meanwhile the rest of us go without, and the national Treasury is emptied, meaning the poorest of us (again) will be told to pay more for the services the richest of us have received.

It’s wrong.

Nobody should be profiting from a pandemic that has killed nearly 70,000 people.

Perhaps Marcus Rashford should start campaigning for a windfall tax on the UK’s super-rich?

Source: Over 600,000 jobs lost to COVID-19 as Labour calls for an urgent ‘Back To Work’ budget – Welfare Weekly

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Newly-elected Tory MP runs food bank app that charges charities £180 when they use it 

Miriam Cates: Profiting from poverty.

This is the great new nation that 14 million people voted for.

What a travesty.

Newly-elected Tory MP Miriam Cates makes her money running an app that ostensibly helps food banks.

Each local food bank must register individually – at a cost of £180 each.

I think we can conclude that this Tory won’t be doing anything to end the poverty crisis that her fellow MPs have created!

Source: Foodbank app run by newly elected Tory MP charges charities to use it | The Independent

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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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Did you know that the Tories are seducing English GPs into an American-style health system – RIGHT NOW?

I’ve only just found out about this and it is scandalous.

The Conservative government is pushing a new “GP contract” on local medical practices in England, demanding that your family doctor should sign up to the creation of “Primary Care Networks” based on a US-style model of “integrated care”.

The traditional doctor/patient relationship will end.

You will lose the right to see your GP.

Continuity of care will end.

Your GP may think they are signing up for something better, as doctors are being promised more money and more nursing staff, but…

The money is to make up for cuts to hospital care.

You will be forced to see less skilled staff.

This means your medical records will be shared widely, breaching patient confidentiality.

Patient care will suffer, meaning you will be more likely to suffer preventable harm under the new system.

And, eventually, the new system means the Tories will be able to sell your healthcare to private companies who don’t even need to be health specialists.

For the full, nightmarish scenario, see this video clip:

Is this what you want?

A diminished, profit-driven model of health care in which your well-being is of no consequence compared to the ability of a multi-national conglomerate to make money from your illness?

If you don’t, there’s still something you can do about it.

Download the leaflet and editable letter from this site, adapt the letter according to your own circumstances, and send both to your GP.

Do it before it is too late.

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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