Figures released by The Office for National Statistics
(ONS) reveal that UK pensioners are 4th worst off....
out of all of the countries in the European Union.
Survey Finds UK
Failing on Childcare
September 13th, 11:13am (FNA)
Tens of thousands of working parents said the government
is failing them with inadequate childcare policies that leave
them financially crippled, stymied in their careers and
desperate for radical change, according to a
The survey of more than 20,000 working parents, which was
shared with the Guardian and involved more than a dozen
organisations, found that 96% believed ministers were
not doing enough to support parents with the cost
and availability of childcare while 97% said
childcare in the UK was too expensive.
One-third of parents said they paid more for childcare than
their rent or mortgage. This proportion rose to 38% for
both those in full-time work or were single parents,
and to 47% of respondents from a black ethnic
The survey comes before a debate on childcare in parliament
on Monday that was triggered after over 100,000 parents
signed a petition calling for an independent review of
childcare funding and affordability.
According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development, the UK has the third most
expensive childcare system in the world, behind only
Slovakia and Switzerland; a full-time place costs
£12,376 a year on average.
Research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that
between 2008 and 2016 the cost of a one-year-old child’s
nursery provision grew four times faster than wages in
England. In London, it was more than 7 times faster.
Warnings that the early years sector is at risk of collapse have
been largely ignored and morale is low: research by Nursery
World, found that one in 10 childcare workers, is living
Justine Roberts, the chief executive of the online forum Mumsnet,
said, “This is a problem that’s been hiding in plain sight for years,
and parents know exactly how badly they’re being failed. The
government must not ignore the misery and stress this
issue causes for parents across the whole country.”
The survey found that people who were struggling the most were
on the lowest incomes, on universal credit, were single parents,
had disabilities or had a black ethnic background. One in three
parents with a household income of less than £20,000 has had
to cut back on essential food or housing as a direct result of
childcare bills, while four in 10 single parents have had to
use credit cards to pay for essential items.
Ninety-two percent of parents said the cost of childcare had
affected their standard of living, while 50% said the cost was
completely unaffordable or had resulted in a substantial
impact. Ninety-four percent of parents who changed their
working patterns after having children... said childcare
costs were a factor in the decision.
The survey also revealed how heavily parents relied on family
for childcare – while 75% used private nurseries for childcare,
56% of parents said they relied on grandparents for help.
Overall, the survey found 99% of all respondents agreed
that childcare should be recognised as a vital part of the
UK’s economic and social infrastructure.
Joeli Brearley, the founder of the charity Pregnant Then Screwed,
said, “All we want from the government is transparency. The cost
of childcare continues to increase, forcing more parents out of
their jobs, and the quality of our early years settings decrease,
which will have serious long-term consequences for all of us.
We don’t believe the government has a grasp of how big the
issue is... and the impact it is having on families and
The survey was produced and distributed by.. Mumsnet, Pregnant
Then Screwed, the TUC, the Fawcett Society, the Women’s Budget
Group, Gingerbread, Working Families, the Fatherhood Institute,
Maternity Action, Music Football Fatherhood, Mother Pukka,
Tova Leigh, Black Mums Upfront, the Young Women’s Trust
and Cathy Reay (That Single Mum).
The data, which was not weighted, was collected from 20,046 parents
in the UK with at least one child aged 18 or under, carried out
between 20 July and 31 August 2021 – with 97% of the
respondents being women.
It presented compelling evidence, that lack of access to childcare
was preventing progress on gender equality. Only 16% of women
said childcare had not affected their seniority or income at work,
compared with 42% of men. Of the female respondents, 83%
said childcare costs and availability affected mothers more
than fathers; 41% of male respondents said it affected
parents equally. Two-thirds of female respondents
reduced their hours after having a baby,
compared with 26% of men.
Felicia Willow, the chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said,
“Our government cannot drop the ball on this – it’s clear that
a lack of access to childcare is stopping women both going
to work and progressing at work.”
The survey also suggested the government’s flagship shared
parental leave policy was a particular failure; only 17% of
respondents said it was useful for their family.
Ros Bragg, the director of Maternity Action, said, “The deeply
flawed shared parental leave has been about as helpful to
working parents as a chocolate teapot. Take-up rate
among eligible families is now less than 4% in its
fifth year of operation. It’s clear that we need to
Elliott Rae, the founder of Music Football Fatherhood, said...
“Extortionate childcare costs reinforce traditional gendered
parenting roles and make it difficult for dads to have
flexibility in their work and be fully active and
The survey suggested that respondents wanted to see a radical
overhaul of the childcare system: 90% of all parents supported
at least three months of “use-it-or-lose-it” parental leave for
fathers, paid at at least minimum wage level, while 94%
believed subsidised childcare should start from the
end of paid maternity leave.
Frances O’Grady, the TUC secretary general, said, “We don’t
want tinkering around the edges. Our broken parental leave
system is in need of a complete overhaul.”
The Department for Education said parents’ ability to claim 30
“free” hours a week during term time for three- and four-year
-olds could save them up to £5,000 a year and the number of
childcare places offered by providers was stable.
A spokesperson said early years providers had been given
financial support during the pandemic, and the government
had invested £3.5bln yearly in childcare since 2018, adding,
“We’re making millions more available through our
recovery fund to level up children’s early
outcomes, raising the quality of early
education even further.”
Watchdog Finds UK Police
Tasering Children and
Mentally ill People
August 25th, 1:37pm (FNA)
Police must be trained to use Tasers only when “absolutely
necessary”, a watchdog said, after a review found the
weapons were being used against children and
mentally ill people.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) reviewed
around 100 of the most serious cases involving Tasers in
England and Wales, including 16 where people died, The
Inquests found that the use of Taser contributed to four
of those deaths, and inquiries are ongoing in others,
including the killing of former footballer, Dalian
Atkinson, by PC Benjamin Monk.
Last year, a coroner who examined the death of 30-year-old
father Marc Cole, warned that “future deaths will occur,
unless action is taken”, but the Home Office rejected
his call for a review of the physical effects of Tasers.
The IOPC said they had been used on people with underlying
health problems, including epilepsy and heart conditions,
and that, in some cases – including three where people
died – officers had suspected they were “feigning
A report published on Wednesday also raised concerns about
the “increasing use of Tasers on children and vulnerable
people with mental health, drug and alcohol issues”.
The review warned that police had used the weapons in
unsafe locations, and had not always considered the
“risk of injury”, properly.
In a quarter of the cases examined, Tasers had been wrongly
used to make people “comply with instructions”, and in a
third, officers had missed opportunities to de-escalate
The IOPC said that current Taser use was threatening public
trust in the police, especially over the disproportionate use
against Black men.
IOPC director general Michael Lockwood stated, “Tasers are
available to more officers than ever before, but engagement
with communities has highlighted a stark difference
between their expectations about when a Taser
should be used, and the situations in which a
Taser can be used, under current national
guidance, particularly on those who
“Police forces must be able to explain this clearly, or risk
further eroding public confidence,” Lockwood added.
Lockwood said that although Tasers were a valuable tool
for protecting both the public and police officers...
independent scrutiny must ensure that they
are used appropriately.
“Clearer national guidance on the circumstances in which Tasers
should and should not be used - and better training - will improve
officer safety, as well as give the public reassurance that Tasers
are being used, only when absolutely necessary,” he added.
“Police forces must be able to justify to the public the
circumstances in which a Taser is deployed,
particularly when children and vulnerable
people are involved. Forces must also
respond to the disproportionate use
of Tasers against Black people,”
The IOPC made 17 recommendations, including improvements
to police guidance and training, the scrutiny and monitoring
of Taser use and data and research.
The Inquest charity said they do not go far enough and called for
“systemic change”, saying Tasers were dangerous weapons,
that had resulted in serious injury and death.
“They are increasingly used, as a first, not last resort,” added
Director Deborah Coles, adding, “Ultimately to prevent further
deaths and harm, we must look beyond policing and redirect
resources into community, health, welfare and
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of
Policing announced research on racial disproportionality in
police use of Tasers last year.
A National Taser Stakeholder Advisory Group in this area has
also been set up, and there are new conflict management
guidelines and training proposals.
The NPCC said the IOPC’s review only covered 0.1 percent of
all Taser use, because so few cases had been referred to
Home Office figures record Taser use if the weapons are
drawn, used to plant a red target dot on a suspect, or
fired. In 86 percent of recorded Taser incidents,
they are not fired.
Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi, the national police lead on
Tasers, said work was already underway... to make
“Focusing on these smaller number of cases missed an
opportunity to consider Taser use more broadly and,
unfortunately, has resulted in recommendations
which are mostly out of date and not based
on the realities of policing,” she added.
“Policing is not easy and in many violent situations I believe
Taser is a viable, less lethal option for officers, between
using a baton and the lethal force of a gun. Taser has
a critical place in protecting the public and our
officers,” she said.
The IOPC said it could only investigate “the most serious
and sensitive cases” because of its remit, and aimed to
contribute to the growing evidence base around
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said
it would act as a bridge between police forces and the
public, to ensure concerns were addressed.
The watchdog also uncovered evidence that some officers made
inappropriate comments, including derogatory remarks, during
these incidents, in an analysis of 101 investigations involving
Tasers, between 2015 and 2020.
Some 60 percent of Black people involved in Taser discharges
were subjected to continuous discharges of more than five
seconds, compared with 29 percent of White people.
The longest length of continuous use, was 67 seconds.
Watchdog Finds UK Police
Failing to Impose Orders
on Men Accused of Abuse
August 24th, 12:05pm (FNA)
Police are failing to impose restraining orders
or bail conditions on men accused of rape,
domestic abuse, harassment and
stalking, a watchdog found ---
placing women and girls at
increased risk of harm.
A police super-complaint, submitted by the Centre
for Women’s Justice (CWJ), raised concerns that
police were failing to use protective measures
in cases involving violence against women
and girls, The Guardian reported.
A joint investigation between HM Inspectorate of
Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, the
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC),
and the College of Policing found there was
a lack of understanding in police forces of
how and/or when to use such protective
measures, which could lead to women
and girls being harmed, or victims
being less likely to report crime
in the future.
However, the CWJ expressed disappointment that
the recommendations did not go far enough.
Nogah Ofer, a solicitor at the CWJ, stated, “The super-
complaint recommendations are welcome. However,
they do not get to grips with the severity of the
problem, or go far enough to ensure that
police forces make real changes
“Some recommendations, require improved data-gathering,
and tell chief constables in general terms to prioritise and
monitor use of orders, but there is a lack of specifics and
no discussion of under-resourcing, which is the elephant
in the room. We fear that in five years’ time the situation
will not be much different to today,” Ofer added.
The report made several recommendations, including that
chief constables should ensure their officers understand
all the protective measures available & the Home Office
and Ministry of Justice should intensify and accelerate
their consideration of creating a bespoke offence, of
breaching pre-charge bail.
The director general of the IOPC, Michael Lockwood, said:
“Police have a key role in protecting vulnerable people
and this super-complaint has highlighted clear gaps
where improvements must be made in protecting
vulnerable women and girls."
“The right training, support, guidance... and leadership, is
critical to police using protective measures to help keep
women and girls safe from harm," Lockwood added.
“However, this is a community-wide issue and one that
needs not just a policing response, but a response
from the whole criminal justice sector, non-
government organisations and others,"
“More than ever, we need a consistent approach to
stopping appalling crimes of violence against
women and girls, from occurring in the
first place,” Lockwood added.
[Rhondda Records adds:
Damned if you do, and damned if you
don't... think, change, and improve!!!]
UK head teacher prompts outrage,
heated debate -- after revealing her
school ban on ‘sexist’ expressions
like ‘boys and girls’
April 29th, (RT)
UK head teacher prompts outrage, heated debate
after revealing her school ban on ‘sexist’
expressions like ‘boys and girls’.
A UK primary school headmistress has kicked off a storm
after revealing that she has instructed her teachers not to
use a number of “sexist” phrases, including ‘let’s go,
guys’ and ‘boys and girls’.
Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, who heads the Anderton Park
primary school in Birmingham, told the Good Morning
Britain show on Thursday that students as young as
three are taught to reject the use of the banned
expressions by holding up posters.
The program – which has stoked fierce debate among
parents – rewards the two students who flag the ‘best’
instances of such usage with certificates at the end
of the week.
“If our boys and girls grow up and in school we don’t
challenge this sexist language and boys are told,
‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’ and ‘boys don’t cry’, it’s
very damaging for them...abusers later on
potentially, or bullies, will also use this
fear,” Hewitt-Clarkson said.
“Fear is the biggest weapon that abusers have and if
boys are told, ‘boys don't get scared’, ‘boys don’t talk
about their feelings’, then where are they going to go
when they are afraid and they are frightened?”
“Fast forward a little bit to when the children are older
just to see why this is so important because it’s a tiny
part of a huge jigsaw,” said Hewitt-Clarkson, who had
previously said that there was a thread tying tragic
outcomes like the murder of Sarah Everard to
casual ‘banter’ and the examples adults set.
When asked how the school handled the resulting issues
in addressing students in a classroom setting, Hewitt-
Clarkson said that the preferred greeting should be
“good morning everyone” since that does not
create a gender divide and includes people
who might not identify as either sex.
Journalist Nana Akua, who was also part of the show,
called the move “absolutely ridiculous” and warned
that “we’re creating a generation of wallflower kids
who are listening for an offence.”
Noting that the “context of language” was important,
Akua told Hewitt-Clarkson her “energy is in the
Social media users were divided on the school’s emphasis
on gender identity and inclusion with as many supporters
defending the program as important as there were critics
who called it unnecessary.
Describing it as “absolutely ridiculous”, one person, a p
rimary school teacher, tweeted, “Let kids be kids. They
grow up too fast as it is.”
Another user, identifying herself as an academic, said
Hewitt-Clarkson was right since “we do segment”
others based on lessons learned early on.
A number of users suggested she stick to teaching
students “reading, writing, arithmetic and also how
to be kind” instead of “any of this other stuff.”
The majority of users agreed with the need to “phase
out” some phrases like ‘man up’ and ‘grow a pair’ but
called for “balance and some common sense”. Some
also expressed concern about the long-term effects
of the program.
But some denounced the program as evidence
of “brainwashing” and “stifling freedom of
speech” in schools, while others said the
problem lay with the English language,
which doesn't use gender.
Tweeter: The problem is English Language.
Only English and Turkish do not assign
gendered pronoun & cases in discourse.
English denotes everything as Male with
few satisfactory gender neutral alternatives,
Learning non-gendered language early is
the best solution and avoids confusion
If you like this story, share it with a friend!
UN hits out at UK decision
to cut family planning aid
from £154 million to £23m
April 29th, 2:39pm (PressTV)
The UK faces criticism from a UN agency, over
the government's decision to cut aid for family
planning by 85 percent.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has
launched a scathing attack on the UK’s decision
to cut family planning aid from £154 million to
£23m this year, warning that women and
girls around the world, will suffer as
The aid cut, which indicates a reduction by 85%
could have helped prevent “250,000 maternal
and child deaths.”
Prior to this decision, Britain was the biggest
donor to the initiative, run by the UNFPA.
UNFPA provides contraception and maternal health
medicine to millions of women in some of the world's
poorest nations, as well as training maternal health
staff and promoting efforts to prevent child
marriage, unintended pregnancies and
Natalia Kanem, UNFPA executive director, accused
Britain of “stepping away from its commitments at
a time when inequalities are deepening and
international solidarity is needed more
She branded UK government’s decision as “devastating”
& said that "with the now-withdrawn £130m, the UNFPA
Supplies Partnership would have helped prevent around
250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million
unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million
Kanem said the UN agency “deeply regrets” the UK’s
decision, before adding that - upon slashing funds -
“women and girls suffer, especially the poor, those
living in remote, underserved communities and
those living through humanitarian crises.”
In response to a UN statement on Thursday, Liz Sugg,
the former Foreign Office minister, who resigned in
protest of the cuts, said that Britain's withdrawal
of financial funding for the women's health
organization was a "double hit on the
“This is money the UK committed to in the UN chamber,
signed an agreement and now we’re walking away from
it – it’s pretty unheard of," Sugg told the BBC Radio 4
Today program on Thursday.
The UK declared this year that it would reduce its total
foreign aid budget from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of
national income, a £4 billion cut.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he did
not recognize the figures, but admitted no area was
immune to cuts.
The move has triggered an outcry from charities and aid
organizations that argue it will harm poor communities
already reeling from COVID-19 and could also hamper
efforts to curb climate change.
UKAid has long been a cover for the government’s foreign
policy deployment in the poorer countries and its drastic
aid cuts happen, even as the British military and
intelligence services step up their activities in
the subject countries.
The UK’s retreatment from its financial commitments
comes after other world powers’ increase their aid
spending to the poorest, because their need is
increasing, given the global health crisis.
UK: Domestic Abuse Victims
‘Forced to Sell Homes or Rack
Up Debt to Get Justice’
April 28th 5:08pm (FNA)
Domestic abuse victims who can’t get legal aid
are being forced to sell their homes or rack up
debts, to bring perpetrators to justice,
New legislation introduced in January eradicated
the cap -- previously used -- when determining
eligibility, but charities say domestic abuse
survivors are still being refused help, due
to owning their home, The Independent
Experts say victims who cannot afford legal representation
are being forced to face their abusive former partners
alone in court, due to the changes not being
properly rolled out.
The warning flies in the face of a December 2020 High Court
ruling that stopped a legal loophole that blocked a domestic
abuse survivor who was a single mother from obtaining
legal aid, despite her only having £28 in her bank
account. Legal aid helps people pay for legal
advice and representation in court.
Lola, a domestic abuse survivor, said she reapplied for legal
aid twice after learning the law had changed but has been
rejected both times, due to owning her home.
The 36-year-old, who is unemployed and struggling for money,
added, “I was also rejected before the law change. I meet all
the criteria, except for the fact I own my house."
“They asked: ‘Why haven’t you got a loan out? and ‘Why haven’t
you asked friends and family?’ The process is re-traumatising.
But my ex has got full legal aid," she added.
“He manipulated a professional by saying he had suffered
domestic abuse from me and got them to write this down
in a letter, which he then used to apply for legal aid. You
don’t need any proof for this. He’s taking me to court
for nothing,” she said.
Lola, who has had two restraining orders against her ex-
partner, said she qualifies for free school meal vouchers.
“I have to represent myself alone in court,” she said, adding,
“I’m not legally trained. It's the most triggering, traumatising
experience. He has a barrister. They talk to me like I’m the
lowest form of humanity. Like I’m scum. He’s got an
endless pit of my money to keep taking me to
court. It’s like I’m his plaything.”
Lola criticised the legal aid agency which gave her ex money
for not even checking if there were legal proceedings or a
restraining order against him - adding it should be
She warned the “injustice” of the situation was “so huge” it
means she is “consumed by anger” every day, and warned
an individual as dangerous as her ex-partner, who refuses
to pay child maintenance, should not be granted “all that
power” in the courts.
Lola, who is being supported by domestic abuse charity
Women’s Aid, recalled the abuse suffered during her
“It was never physical,” she said, adding, “But it was getting
to that point. It was emotional and financial abuse. He
starting reading up on conspiracy theories and
taking an interest in flat earth theories. He
completely lost his grip on reality.”
Lola said he would regularly scream at her in front of their son
for trivial issues such as leaving lights on and constantly
ringing her when she was at home due to his
She said her son is keen to do school activities but she has
had to request grants from charities to afford them —
adding she is terrified she won’t be able to “afford
to let him pursue his passions”. Money set aside
for her son’s future is being spent on solicitors
and barristers, she said.
“I’m in a horror film,” Lola said, adding, “This man has got all
his support. He is hunting me down. I’m going from room to
room and there is no escape. He was bad enough but now
the legal aid is abetting him to do this to me.”
Refuge found 1,780 women seeking help – more than a third of
the total – had faced economic abuse from their partner. On
average, the mistreatment, which includes being denied
access to money or a bank account, as well as having
debt placed in their name, lasted more than six years.
Charlotte Proudman, a family law barrister, told The Independent
she had referred domestic abuse survivors to solicitors since
the changes were in introduced but they had nevertheless
not been eligible for legal aid.
Dr Proudman added, “Solicitors have said it hasn't come into
force. On the ground, it is not happening. The legal aid
agency might be refusing because they own
properties, which defies logic and law."
“There is one woman in particular, who because she owns half
of the family home, they have said she is not eligible for legal
aid even though she is on benefits. She is a domestic abuse
victim. It is awful," Dr Proudman said.
“If victims haven't got any money to seek protection through
courts, it leaves them in a vulnerable situation, unable to
escape abusive partners and seek court protection.
Such as, orders which block the abusers
contacting them or approaching them
in person,” she said.
Dr Proudman warned women who are not legally trained do
not know how to “navigate” the legal system - with victims
of domestic abuse being particularly scared to face their
abuser in court alone.
“It is a process of them being re-traumatised without the
protection of a lawyer to speak on their behalf,” she said,
adding, “An abuser can continue abuse by taking them
back to court as a way of continuing harassment and
Legal aid for domestic abuse victims needs to be non-means
tested and universally available for all irrespective of their
finances with no delays, she added.
“Sometimes it can take weeks to get a legal aid agency to
decide if they are going to get funding,” Proudman said,
adding, “In that time serious physical or psychological
harm could have been caused.”
Olive Craig, senior legal officer at Rights of Women, a
leading women’s legal rights charity, told The
Independent recent changes to legal aid are
“applied inconsistently and do not go far
enough to address the many problems
presented by the legal aid means test”.
She added, “We expect the government’s long overdue review
of the means test to address those deficiencies and ensure
access to justice for all.”
While Lucy Hadley, of Women's Aid, said they have been
“disappointed” to learn domestic abuse victims who
own their own homes are still being blocked from
getting legal aid, in spite of the High Court’s
She demanded the legal aid means test to be completely
axed for domestic abuse survivors to make sure “no
woman who needs to access legal advice and
representation when escaping an abuser
is barred from justice“.
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.
UK breakup? Welsh
April 8th, 8:56pm (Press TV)
New polls suggest that support for Welsh independence
from the UK is at an all time high. This has created fear
in Downing Street, over the real threat of a Kingdom
breakup, with the Welsh parliament elections on
The idea of a Welsh breakaway from the United
Kingdom is high on the agenda, ahead of this
year's Welsh elections.
With the country’s biggest pro-independence party
Plaid Cymru, pledging to secure a vote on Welsh
independence within the next five years.
The idea of Wales going alone has traditionally been
an obscure viewpoint, however, since Brexit, public
support for an independence vote has skyrocketed.
One poll conducted this year actually suggested that
Welsh support for independence, could be as high
as 39 percent, that would be the highest level
No.10 has reportedly become very aware of the growing
anti-Westminster sentiment outside of England, and are
drawing up plans to counter the trend.
The Welsh elections are taking place in May. Plaid Cymru
have been recording great successes in past votes, and
hopes are high of major gains.
Although support for independence is not yet near a
majority view, Westminster’s poor handling of the
coronavirus crisis, and the negative effects
Brexit has had for Wales, appears to have
created greater belief in the virtues of
self-government. With Scotland also
pushing hard for a UK divorce...
No.10’s concerns are growing
as fast as Welsh patriotism.
Hello darkness my old friend
...Peter Mandelson is back
advising Labour, why not
just go the whole hog &
bring back Tony Blair?
by Chris Sweeney
February 15th (RT)
Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has written
for newspapers such as The Times, Daily Express, The
Sun and Daily Record, along with several international-
selling magazines. Follow him on Twitter
Keir Starmer is so devoid of original ideas he is bringing back
the Prince of Darkness to help him crowbar his way into
Number 10, but if the plan is Blair 2.0, why settle for an
impersonator when the original is still available?
Lord Peter Mandelson is not a name that will resonate beyond
the UK, but he is one of Britain’s most infamous spin doctors.
The type of character who has seemingly exerted an extended
sphere of influence without it ever being clear exactly what he
does. He arrived into the Labour Party in 1985 and it’s now
been revealed he is still pulling strings today, 36 years later.
Tony Blair adored his style but some of the left-wing union
devotees had no time for the man who became known as
‘The Prince of Darkness’. So, to appease them, and to
keep his involvement in Blair’s leadership campaign
secret, he was issued a code name – 'Bobby'.
Since then, he’s inhabited a range of roles; minister without
portfolio, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, European
commissioner, business secretary --- and then Baron
Mandelson as he entered the House of Lords. After
Blair left - and was replaced by Gordon Brown -
Mandelson retained an iron-grip on the levers
of power. In that period, he was a member of
35 cabinet committees, and some referred
to him as the “unelected prime minister.”
Mandelson likes a frontman, a lead singer to shield him while
he writes the lyrics. So it’s business as usual now that’s he
back in alongside current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
There is only a decade or so in age between the two, but
the level of experience in the dark arts of politics, is
heavily tipped in Mandelson’s favour. The notoriety
is why he chooses to remain in the shadows, as a
lot of voters detest him. He represents the back-
room dealmaking and media manipulation that
turns so many off politics.
Mandelson is like a lightning rod, he takes the surge and
allows his ‘stooge’ to carry on. He ended up in the public
court of shame, for spending a New Year’s Eve, on Paul
Allen’s yacht, while Microsoft was at the centre of an
Another yacht trip got him in hot water, this time,
with oligarch Oleg Deripaska, as Mandelson had
been part of a decision to cut aluminium tariffs.
At the time, Deripaska owned United Company
Rusal, one of the world’s biggest producers of
Mandelson was also friendly with Jeffery Epstein,
and has been pictured with the disgraced financier.
So for Keir Starmer to bring in a man with that amount of
baggage, proves how desperate he must be. Starmer
replaced Jeremy Corbyn - the most socialist main-
stream figure seen in British politics for decades -
but has as yet done nothing of substance. He's a
more centrist figure, but Boris has that sewn up:
he won the last election, with an affirming 80-
seat majority. The so-called Red Wall, fell to
the Conservatives, proving that the working
class heartlands, no longer had faith in
their old ally Labour. And still there’s
no spark or idea from Labour, to
turn that around.
Since Blair left office, the party hasn’t won an election. Their
last victory was in 2005 and before Blair led them to victory
in 1997 they hadn’t won an election since 1974. Blair is the
only person who has led the Labour Party to victory in the
last 47 years, and it seems they’ve simply decided to
revert to what worked then and hope it does now.
So welcome back Mandelson, who is right in his sweet spot,
without an official position but is there to “broaden the party’s
appeal.” It seems a redundant mission, as you’re asking
Mandelson to recreate the old magic. For that, he needs
his protege and the man who brought those ideas to life
– Blair. Why bother trying to copy him, when he is still
out there, sitting around not doing very much? Blair
has been quite vocal and made quite a few public
interjections into the Covid-19 effort. It was his
idea to stagger the two vaccine doses, which
Britain and other countries are now
If Labour's desperation is so great they need to face facts.
Starmer is keen to paint himself as a paragon of the good
and just. He created a big spectacle over the investigation
into anti-Semitism within Labour and also fired a member
of his shadow cabinet for making a remark that was
judged to slight the Jewish faith.
Starmer’s previous profession was as a barrister where he
worked on human rights cases before becoming a QC and
the Director of Public Prosecutions. He also spoke out
and protested against the Iraq war.
Yes, the same war that Blair led Britain into, after years of
working with Mandelson. So if Starmer is so willing to
embrace Mandelson, is he really as principled and
motivated by integrity as he’d like to have us think?
All of this also reflects an extremely depressing facet to
British politics. The country has suffered the most
deaths in Europe due to incompetent leadership.
The list of ludicrous decisions has been recounted many
times and if the opposition cannot muster up a feasible
counter after all these months, they really are
The vaccination rollout is the only thing Boris has handled
well, but it won’t erase the number of families left to rue the
unnecessary loss of loved ones. There is also the much-
covered resurgence in support for independence in
Scotland and a growing movement in Wales. Brexit
was another shambles, with a deal agreed days
before everything went into meltdown. How is it
possible that an allegedly well-run, professional,
perceptive political party ,can’t muster up a
Winding the clock back 20 years and hoping that the same
things will work is, in my view, a fantasy. Society and
attitudes have changed, there was no social media
in 1997 and simply looking plausible and playing
'Things Can Only Get Better' on a loop isn’t
going to win you 80+ seats. But let us
suppose, for a minute, that it might,
if the Labour party & it’s leadership
really believe that’s their greatest
hope and the best plan they have
for the British people is New
Labour 2.0, then why isn’t
Starmer talks a bit like him, has a similar presence, they were
even both barristers before entering politics, but trying to
‘out Blair’ Blair is futile. If Starmer isn't able to lead and
create his own vision, then why did he put himself
up for the job? Trying to get Peter Mandelson to
Svengali you into some sort of Blair tribute act
is never going to work. As Queen fans know,
Adam Lambert, is no substitute for
Step up or step aside, don’t be a down-
market copy of your predecessor.
Think your friends would be interested?
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Boris Defends Bully Patel
but Not Pensioners – His
Govt is Morally Repugnant
by Tommy Sheridan
22/11/2020 (Source - Sputnik)
Anyone surprised by BoJo’s decision to condone shameful bullying at
the heart of his government and order a “square” of defence be formed
“around the prittster” after he decided to keep Priti Patel in his cabinet
despite her being found guilty of breaching the Ministerial Code and
bullying, has plainly been sleeping over the past eleven months.
That period has exposed the rancid hypocrisy, corruption, cronyism,
and lack of integrity which characterises Johnson and the Tories
under his leadership.
Priti Patel was accused of disgraceful conduct and bullying while an
employment Minister under Theresa May in 2015, behaviour which
drove a female civil servant to attempt suicide on at least two
occasions and ended with a Department of Work & Pensions
pay-out of £25,000 in April 2017 to avoid the scrutiny of an
Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal, harassment,
discrimination, and victimisation.
Patel the Bully Became Patel the Liar
Patel was then moved to the role of International Secretary only to be
found out as a devious liar whom May had to sack after her deliberate
misleading of the PM and Parliament over secret meetings with Israeli
officials, business representatives and lobbyists was exposed. She
lied and was caught. She had to go.
Being a dishonest bully presented no barrier to Boris Johnson’s
cabinet however and he appointed Patel as his Home Secretary
in July 2019 after he became Tory leader.
Within weeks the top civil servant in the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam,
felt compelled to warn her about her conduct and lack of respect for
staff before eventually resigning from his post at the end of February
this year in a move which caused shock waves in the civil service
and government. He accused Patel of lying about a “vicious”
campaign orchestrated against him and creating a climate
of fear in her department.
Patel Investigation Handicapped from the Outset
A high-level investigation was reluctantly ordered into the allegations
made by Rutnam, and he vowed to pursue a constructive dismissal
claim against the government which is yet to be concluded. It is
increasingly clear that the investigation has been less than
rigorous as the senior civil servant appointed to conduct
it was refused access to Rutnman despite him being the
best equipped to inform the investigation.
However the report that was compiled was laid on Johnson’s desk
in April and he refused to act on it for months before recently
contacting the author, Sir Alex Allan, and leaning on him to
water down the conclusions. Despite the limited access to
witnesses the investigation still found Priti Patel "shouted
and swore" at staff in actions "that can be described
as bullying" and that she had indeed breached the
Ministerial Code which is normally an automatic
The fact Sir Alex Allan, former chair of the prestigious Joint
Intelligence Committee, chose to resign rather than alter his
report to save Patel’s reputation is admirable, but the full
report is being kept secret. It must be revealed in full and
the fact it was severely handicapped by the barring of
access to Rutman’s input must also be highlighted.
Johnson Willing to Protect Patel
but not Pensioners in Care Homes
Patel was ordered to issue an apology on camera on Friday but all
it did was rub salt in the wounds of the campaign against bullying
as she smugly smirked and smiled when she claimed to have no
knowledge of bullying but apologised anyway. Please watch and
remember - her conduct drove a lowly paid civil servant to
attempt suicide on two occasions and compelled a very
senior civil servant to resign. The lack of contrition for
her actions and empathy for her victims is truly
If Johnson and his Tory gang of millionaires and spivs showed an iota
of the concern and commitment to defend elderly care residents as
they have shown to defend lying bully Patel at least 20,000 lives
could have been saved. A shocking report compiled by Amnesty
International last month received very little media attention but
condemned the Tory Covid19 response as a dereliction of duty
and care towards elderly citizens.
Read the document and understand just how complicit this Tory
government is in the deaths of thousands of senior citizens. It
presents evidence that the government’s policy of herd immunity
was responsible for mass murder. The government was entirely
aware of the probable outcome of their policy and went ahead
regardless of the risk to thousands of lives.
The report, “As if expendable: The UK government’s failure to protect
older people in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic”, details
how, between March 2 and June 12, 18,562 residents of care homes
in England died with COVID-19. The vast majority (18,168) were
aged 65 and over, representing almost 40 percent of all deaths
involving the virus in England during this time frame. Of these,
76 percent (13,844 deaths) occurred within care homes for
During this brief period, 28,186 “excess deaths” were recorded
in English care homes, a 46 percent increase in comparison
with the same period over previous years.
Amnesty conclude that the Tory government together with its
agencies at national and local level have “taken decisions and
adopted policies during the Covid-19 pandemic that have directly
violated the human rights of older residents of care homes in
England—notably their right to life, their right to health, and
their right to non-discrimination”.
The report argues that the decisions and policies of the Tory
government “impacted the rights of care home residents to
private and family life, and may have violated their right not
to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Johnson was determined to “form a square around the prittster”
to defend his lying bully Patel at the Home Office but didn’t lift a
finger to defend thousands of pensioners in care homes. That is
the warped and putrid priorities which define this government.
A Litany of Government Failures but No Resignations
Their top advisor broke lockdown rules but there was no resignation.
They have been caught awarding contracts worth over £20 billion of
public money without proper scrutiny or tendering processes to
friends of senior Tories and companies known to donate to the
Tory party and no one has resigned.
The UK government’s late response to Covid-19 and failure to
impose lockdown measures caused the unnecessary deaths
of 20,000 --- but no one resigned from government.
International law will be broken because of the government’s
Internal Market Bill --- but no one resigns.
The Johnson government backs bullies, liars, public contract
cheats and international law breaking. It is morally repugnant
and thoroughly incompetent. No wonder Scotland is so keen
to break away as soon as possible.
Report: Patients Discharged from
UK Hospitals without COVID Test
October 28th, 2020 (FNA)
Almost half of hospital patients have been discharged
without receiving the results of their coronavirus test
– including some patients who were sent to care
homes, new research revealed.
Independent national patient body Healthwatch England
said it had learned many patients were discharged from
hospitals between March and August this year without
proper assessments with many vulnerable people sent
home without medication, equipment or the care they
needed, The Independent reported.
At the start of the pandemic thousands of patients were
discharged to care homes as NHS England instructed
hospitals to free up 15,000 beds ahead of the first
wave of coronavirus.
Approximately 25,000 patients were sent to care homes
with some not tested, sparking fears this helped seed
care homes with the virus. There have been around
16,000 care home deaths linked to COVID-19.
According to a survey of almost 600 discharged patients
and interviews with 60 NHS staff, Healthwatch England
said it had found serious flaws with the way hospitals
had followed NHS England’s instructions.
In joint research with the British Red Cross, shared with
The Independent, it found that 44 percent of patients were
discharged without knowing the result of their corona-
virus test - including some to care homes.
It said, “Despite the policy stating that all patients
discharged to a care home should be tested for
COVID-19, we found that 26 percent of our
survey respondents who were discharged
to a care home were not tested.”
While the numbers involved were small, only 13 out of 50
patients, the report added that this was “still a significant
proportion of people who were required to be tested
but did not receive one”.
Healthwatch added that while patients going to care homes
must have the results available and shared with the home
it was still not national policy to test everyone being
discharged. It argued this should now be an
''ambition'' for the government.
Its report also raises concerns about the wider care
of vulnerable patients sent home from hospital.
88 percent of patients reported having care needs
after being discharged that have still not been met.
82 per cent did not receive a visit or any
assessment from a health professional
Almost one in five of those who did not
receive a visit, reported unmet needs.
In total 45 percent of people with a disability and
20 percent of people with a long-term condition
had support needs that were not being met,
following their discharge.
Healthwatch England criticised the national discharge
policy put in place by NHS bosses, as “confusing” in
places which it said may have contributed to some
patients missing out on the care they needed.
Robert Francis QC, chair of Healthwatch England, said,
“In March, hospitals were asked to discharge patients
with little or no notice and the speed with which this
took place was important, but led to mistakes."
“We do not want to detract from the heroic efforts of
those on the frontline, who often put themselves at
great risk to care for their patients, but services
and system leaders have now had more time
to prepare," he said.
“It’s essential that we learn from what people have
shared with us about the impact that a poorly
handled discharge can have on them and
their loved ones. Taking action now will
not only reduce the risk to patients but
will also help improve the way people
leave hospital in the future,” he added.
The British Red Cross and Healthwatch England said
assessments for patients needed to be prioritised.
They also called for discharge checklists to make
sure patients were asked if they needed help with
transport and equipment.
Other recommendations included making sure carers
and patients had a single contact for support, which
was already national policy but still not fully adopted.
The report also said community services needed
to be boosted, to cope with increased demands.
British Red Cross Chief Executive Mike Adamson said,
“We’ve seen first-hand the huge efforts made to
improve the discharge process for patients and
their families. However, we also know, despite
good intentions and hard work, there are still
barriers to making the ideals of discharge
policy a reality."
“The Red Cross has been bearing witness to these
issues for years, and we hope that the increased
urgency of the situation will bring lasting change.
Many of the people we support are older or more
vulnerable, & fall into the higher-risk categories
for COVID-19," Adamson said.
“Simple interventions, like getting equipment and
medicine delivered, or follow-up visits, can make
the difference between a good recovery or some-
one regressing to the point of readmission -
precisely at the time we want people to
stay well, and stay at home,” he said.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director,
said, “There has long been a wide consensus about the
benefits for patients of being able to return home as
soon as their specialist hospital care is complete,
and it is good that delays have been reduced in
recent times. While this is a very small snap-
shot survey, local hospitals will want* (sic)
to take account of the points it makes.”
(*No they won't!)
By backing housing charity’s
‘Jewish only’ rule, UK court drops
the ball. Aren’t we all equal in Britain?
by Chris Sweeney October 17th, 2020 (Source: RT)
A small legal challenge has turned into a precedent-
setting case about whether someone in today’s
Britain can be prioritised or denied housing on
the basis of their religion.The law isn’t always
right and it’s not just people who can be
In a disgraceful decision deemed legitimate by the UK’s
highest court, a single mother with four children was
refused social housing – because she wasn’t a Jew.
It’s that simple.
The charity Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA)
owns 470 houses in the London borough of Hackney.
Local authorities promised, in October 2017, the
next available home to the woman and her kids,
two of whom are autistic.
AIHA refused to hand over the keys to any
of its SIX four-bedroom, unoccupied flats.
Their argument was it makes offers “only to members
of the Orthodox Jewish community.” As Britain is a
secular nation, the woman’s legal team found this
claim astonishing and argued it had the same
sentiment as the ‘No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish’
signs that were once displayed in some pubs.
Lord Sales stated the charity’s use of positive discrimination
was lawful, under the Equality Act 2010, in order to correct
the disadvantage faced by the community. The issue
apparently was not racism, but discrimination on
the grounds of religious observance. The court
considered the “widespread and increasing
overt antisemitism in our society.”
Intolerance or hate speech of any form is unacceptable.
But it’s hard to believe the courts and public reaction
would have been the same, if this had been Islam or
a group of Pashtuns from the Iranian border region.
Jewish affairs are treated differently. There's a 'kid gloves'
approach and they’re deemed to be culturally valuable,
while other communities are sometimes dismissed as
interlopers. AIHA’s founder Ita Cymerman-Symons,
speaking last year about the legal action, offered
the view: “Which non-Jewish person, honestly
speaking, wants to live in the midst of a
building full of Haredi men with all the
beards, and all the chanting on a
Friday night and all the children?”
A homeless single mother with four children
for one, along with many others.
Plenty of people in social housing endure noisy neighbours,
potent cooking smells and screaming kids. But isn’t that
wonderful? Diversity and living cheek by jowl with
people who see, think and believe different
things to you.
That’s a rich learning experience for anyone.
The fallacy of the AIHA’s superiority complex of viewing
Orthodox Jews above others is, every public service is
available to their members. And, of the charity’s 2019
income of £105,710, the sum of £39,716 came from
British government grants. They won’t be stone-
walled at hospital or refused entry on a bus, so
why should they be allowed to create their
small-minded kingdom with impunity?
These Jewish community leaders seem to be shutting out
anyone who doesn’t align with their beliefs. It’s unhealthy
and depressing, especially in a multicultural metropolis
The judgement also referenced issues that Orthodox Jews
don’t like to live outside of the Stamford Hill area and they
tend to be poorer than the wider Jewish community. Many
of us would prefer not to live outside of the millionaire’s
playgrounds of Kensington, Knightsbridge and Mayfair –
but we tend to be poorer, so can’t afford it. That doesn’t
mean the courts would support us founding the
Republic of Poverty Housing Association, and
letting us administer who can move in.
Even if we concede that Orthodox Jews appear to support
AIHA’s ghetto-isation, aren’t the courts supposed to rule
for the greater good? It makes no sense to encourage
people to live in self-imposed enclaves. How are they
going to progress in life, or do they never plan to
leave the streets around their homes?
There’s also a wider impact of the judgement. It raises the
hackles of the population. It hacks away at the concept of
respecting every other citizen. The far-right will jump on
this and sadly there’s no defence. It will birth more
discontentment and raise tensions.
The law lords have dropped the ball, because they are the
highest court in the land, they had the chance to set a
precedent. They seem to have been influenced by
Jewish sensitivity, that labels anyone who
disagrees with the faith an anti-Semite.
It’s hard to see how justice, fairness,
compassion and understanding are
applicable. But superiority, tokenism
and favouritism have been advanced.
Well one of the court’s final points was AIHA was "a small
housing provider, but similar discrimination by a larger one
might not be allowed.”
We’re all equal, right?
Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has
written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily
Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with
several international-selling magazines. Follow
him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney
Brits should be ashamed of the casual cruelty
we show towards over-60s, and shrugging it
off as ‘banter’, does nothing to excuse it.
by Damian Wilson
9th October, 2020
Two-thirds of UK over-60s say they have been abused in
public because of their age, with a fifth saying insults
come from within their own families. It seems the
idea that we should ‘respect our elders’, is no
longer in fashion.
We live in a society where everyone just loves to talk
about ‘respect.’ Even primary school children are
indoctrinated with the concept, told they are due
it by right and can demand it from others, if it’s
not forthcoming. It’s all one-way traffic.
That’s why, as they grow older, and insist on enforcing
their entitlement, it becomes increasingly evident that
while they assume that right is a given for them, they
actually don’t give a toss about it applying to
Every now and then, research will put this into sharp relief,
as is shown in the results of a survey undertaken by the
University of the Third Age (u3a). The study found that
the more senior members of society, basically those
aged 60 and over, are frequently insulted by younger
people, and they don’t like it.
Clueless Millennials, Zoomers and even Gen X’ers told the
u3a pollsters that they don’t mean anything by slinging
ageist insults, they were simply being “friendly” and
the name-calling was just “banter.” Everyone
The growing tendency of young people to airily dismiss their
elders as over the hill old fogeys, and to even insult them in
public because of their age, is not ‘banter,’ it’s insulting
The misuse of ‘bants’ as a term is one of modern life’s
great irritations, because while young people have
co-opted the word to (mis)represent the sort of
behaviour that borders on bullying, with a thin
coating of vicious humour, they are
Banter, in its traditional form, is an exchange between
two people, a battle of wits, a game of intellectual
ping-pong, like those nerdy folk on Channel 4 panel
shows. Usually, those engaging in banter finish
their jousting with a smug, self-congratulatory
smile. It’s showing off, it’s proving how clever
you are. It’s not calling someone an old fart
and shoving them out of the way.
Where’s the give and take, or clever verbal sparring, in
a teenager shouting at an elderly woman in the street,
“You dozy old biddy, move it!”. Or standing behind a
chap of a certain age at a shop checkout, as he
searches for his wallet and complaining,
“C’mon grandpa, hurry up!”?
That’s not banter. That’s something completely different.
A new sort of passive-aggressive behaviour combined
with name-calling, is increasingly common among
young Brits these days, thinking that getting one
over another person is some sort of achievement
proving their superiority, particularly if it
belittles their victim as a result.
Of those surveyed, 63 per cent of over 60s said they
had been verbally abused in public, with an ageist
insult, while others had also noticed an increase
in insults on television (65 per cent) social media
(33 per cent) and even from their own family
(21 per cent).
My 11-year-old thinks it’s funny to call me a ”boomer”
when I can’t find the TV remote. She has a very clear
idea of what the insult suggests, even if she’s
actually out of range by a few years. I’m 56 --
so borderline Gen X’er, thank you very much.
Unfortunately for me, British families in general
are not the sort of multi-generational dynasties,
such as in Italy or India, in which patriarchs
& matriarchs, are given lifelong roles at the
head of their family and afforded a respect
that other members ignore at their peril.
Break the rules in one of these families, cause offence
to an elder, and you will bring down the wrath of
generations upon your head, face humiliation
and even ostracisation. There is a sense of
honour woven into the fabric of the family.
These families are, sadly, not common
amongst the British.
So most kids and young adults have no hesitation
in freely hurling abuse at someone they consider
a geriatric, past it, a fuddy duddy, over the hill, a
fogey, a crone, an old dear, a codger, a biddy or
a fossil, which by the way, are those insults
most frequently employed, according to u3a.
This sort of casual cruelty, and the disregard
it displays towards our seniors, is hugely
disrespectful & we should be ashamed
that it’s so widely accepted as nothing
out of the ordinary.
We’re all guilty here. Causing offence like this should
provoke more concern than it does, because it is an
unwelcome sign of a breakdown in social and family
hierarchies. Ignoring the concepts of seniority and
wisdom --- we treat human beings like any other
consumable, in our consumer-driven world ---
with a finite shelf-life & built-in obsolescence.
Many people feel no qualms about calling out an older
person, in public, to remind them their time is up as a
useful contributor to society and they need to shift
it or risk being steamrolled by those behind them.
While maybe not articulated quite like that as a
traffic queue forms behind an elderly motorist
showing excessive caution at a road junction,
that, sadly, is often the underlying sentiment
and we should be ashamed.
But most often, we’re not. We’re just annoyed at
the inconvenience that someone older than us,
is causing to ourselves. Nearly 10 years ago,
Age UK made a study of ageism & identified
it as the most widely experienced form of
discrimination across Europe, affecting
164 million senior citizens at that time.
Nothing much has changed in the UK in this regard
since 2011, it seems. And if the latest study is
anything to go by, things have become
Damian Wilson is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street
editor, financial industry consultant and political
communications special advisor in the UK & EU.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in
this column are solely those of the author and do
not necessarily represent those of RT.
Figures Reveal 17,000 Elderly People in UK
Forced to Sell Home to Pay for Care Costs
in Just One Year
October 5th, 2020 (Fars news agency)
More than 17,000 pensioners were forced to sell their homes
to pay for social care last year, research by Money Mail reveals.
The shocking figure means that 330 elderly residents each
week are taking the desperate step despite Prime Minister
Boris Johnson’s promise to fix the social care funding crisis.
The calculations reveal the scale of the emergency, showing
that the numbers forced to sell their hard-won homes have
soared 45 percent since 2000.
Last night campaigners called for urgent action and
demanded a "national fund" to pay for social care.
Morgan Vine, of charity Independent Age, said, "The
pandemic is not a reason not to act – it is the reason
why action has never been more vital."
On his first day in No 10 in July 2019, Johnson vowed to
make social care a priority and end the crisis "once and
But he has since admitted action would be delayed and
the coronavirus crisis has made immediate reform a
The cost of residential care has risen dramatically
and now stands at more than £33,000 a year.
Anyone with more than £23,250 in funds, including their
house value, is denied state help, leaving thousands
having to sell their homes to pay soaring care bills.
The Daily Mail has campaigned to end this injustice
for the families of those with dementia, as well as
MoneyMail’s calculations, verified by Independent Age,
are based on Department of Health data indicating that
30 percent of those who pay for their residential care
have to sell their homes.
The total was produced by comparing the numbers of
self-funders in care provided by analysts Laing Buisson.
The research assumes the average stay is two-and-a-half
years, as concluded in a study by the Personal Social
Services Research Unit and Bupa.
It means around 350,000 elderly people are estimated to
have sold their homes to pay for residential care since 1999.
Caroline Abrahams, director at charity Age UK, said, "When
the threat from coronavirus finally recedes, Age UK will
certainly be holding the Government to account on its
promise to fix social care. The obvious solution is for
us all to pay into a national fund, like we do with
She added" |Most people dread the idea of having to sell
the family home to pay their care bills and the fact that
this is the reality for substantial numbers is very sad."
Vine, head of policy at Independent Age, said, "These latest
figures are a timely reminder of the need to fix the funding
crisis that has plagued the social care system for decades,
long before COVID-19.
"When taking office, the Prime Minister promised to solve
the crisis, including preventing people from having to sell
their homes to pay for care," Vine said, adding, ‘Although
he couldn’t have predicted the challenges we now face,
we can all predict the long-term consequences of failing
to keep his promise."
Liz Kendall, Labour’s social care spokesman, said, "The
Prime Minister said, on the steps to Downing Street, that
he has a plan to fix the crisis in social care and that no
one should have to sell their homes to pay for their care."
"Yet we have seen neither sight nor sound of
any long-term plan for reform," Kendall said.
"This must be an absolute top priority for the Government.
People who have worked hard and saved all their life have
seen their savings wiped out," Kendall added.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said,
"We have committed to end the injustice that some people
have to sell their homes to finance care whilst others don’t.
We know there is a need for a long-term solution and are
looking at proposals."
UK’s chief scientific adviser has
£600,000 of shares in vaccine
maker contracted by govt
UK Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly
holds a bonus of tens of thousands of shares in a pharma
giant developing a Covid-19 vaccine for the government.
Yet, London says there is no conflict of interest.
Vallance, who also chairs the government’s expert advisory
panel on vaccines, appears to have retained over 43,000
shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – a UK-based
multinational pharmaceutical company –
worth £600,000, The Telegraph reports.
The shareholding appears to be the legacy of his previous
job as the head of research and development at the very
same company. Over his tenure from 2012 to 2018,
Vallance accumulated a total of 404,201 GSK
shares worth a whopping £6.1 million in his
hands, according to the British media.
However, he sold more than £5 million worth of shares
after being appointed to the government. GSK, mean-
while, has entered the global race to provide the world
with a vaccine against coronavirus – alongside some
20 other drug manufacturers and research centres.
The endeavour might prove quite lucrative, should
the company succeed.
The pharma giant working together with another drug
manufacturer – Sanofi – has already struck deals with
the UK and the US governments to supply them with
a Covid-19 vaccine in case its efforts are fruitful.
The contract would see GSK providing as many
as 60 million doses to the UK and 100 million
doses to the US. Washington has already
reportedly paid the two companies
£1.65 million to accelerate
Since it received the government contracts, GSK’s
share price rose by some two percent. Vallance
has meanwhile been busy ensuring that the UK
would get enough vaccine doses - if GSK is
successful and contributing to the vaccine
Earlier this week, he said that the first doses could
be ready as early as by the end of this year,
warning, however, that the first half of 2021
would be a more realistic prospect.The
revelations sparked suspicions of a
potential conflict of interest.
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied the
possibility of this. “No, there are rules around these
kinds of things and I'm sure that Sir Patrick has
been fully advised by them,” he told LBC Radio.
“If you know Sir Patrick Vallance as I do, any
suggestion that he is doing anything other
than his level best to try and tackle this
virus is wrong,” he added.
A government spokesman confirmed that Vallance holds
a deferred share bonus that would mature in April 2021
without revealing its exact value. The spokesman also
said that “appropriate steps were taken to manage the
government chief scientific adviser’s (GCSA) interests
in line with advice provided at the time.”
He added that the chief scientific adviser also has “no input”
into the commercial decisions on vaccine procurement,
which are taken by the government following a “robust”
The developments come as the UK braces for a second wave
of coronavirus. The number of new cases is on the rise once
again and some places in the UK witness it increasing at a
pace not seen since the peak of the epidemic in spring.
More than 6,100 people were confirmed to have contracted
the disease overnight and Hancock said that up to 10,000
people might get ill a day. The situation prompted London
to introduce a new set of restrictions, which according to
Prime Minister Boris Johnson might stay in place for up
to six months.
Some companies, including the British-Swedish AstraZeneca
are, meanwhile, seeking emergency approval for their
vaccines from the relevant regulators.
(originally appeared in RT.)