Hinkley C: we could end up selling our highly subsidised electricity cheaply – to France!

Physicist claims Hinkley Point deal means UK taxpayer could get £53bn bill to supply cheap nuclear energy to France

Electricity from planned nuclear plant ‘could all end up being exported to countries with fewer renewables, like France, at a price massively subsidised by Britain’s hard-working bill payers’.

It is a claim that, if true, would mean Britain is about to make one of the biggest economic mistakes in its history, a blunder that would damage our country’s finances for decades and almost inevitably cause the Government to fall.

For, according to Keith Barnham, an emeritus professor of physics, the total subsidy paid to the planned Hinkley Point nuclear power station by the British taxpayer could reach a staggering £53 billion over its lifetime – and the main beneficiaries will be French.

He argues that such is the likely growth of renewables that the UK will not actually need the Hinkley’s electricity, so it will be sold abroad. And, he says, the most likely customers are in France, home of energy giant EDF, which is expected to build the plant. …

… If Hinkley starts in 2025 with the performance Department for Energy and Climate Change expects, the nuclear subsidy will be around £820m each year on the ‘no-subsidy’ renewable scenario.

“The subsidy will double should the second Hinkley reactor come on stream around 2030, leading to a total bill, over the 35 years of the guarantee, of £53bn, which could all end up supporting low electricity prices abroad.”


Hernandez resigned from Torbay Council Executive as she said she couldn’t do the job as a single parent and the allowance was too low

Hope she now has a partner.

“Cllr Hernandez said she offered her resignation with ‘great sadness’, but said it was ‘untenable to carry out this role effectively when one is a working parent’.

The 39-year-old, who has a five-year-old daughter, said: “The lack of flexibility, lack of decision-making ability, lack of the use of technology, low allowances and extremely limited officer support has exacerbated this.”

She said that unless the mayor changes working practices, she cannot consider being an executive lead again, but she will continue to be a ward councillor.

She said: “I support the mayoral system, but executive leads are advisors not decision-makers and nobody does anything unless the mayor says so. I recognise he’s a very busy man, but it’s Gordon Oliver who sets the standards and makes the decisions and I believe he is not driving change where it’s needed.”

… “You have to be at meetings to input your view. But meetings are usually at school pick-up time. You get £6,000 for being an executive lead and it’s not sustainable. I spend more than that on things like petrol, printing posters and leaflets for community information, and buying coffee or lunch for people I’m trying to persuade.” …


“Jeremy Hunt says Britain’s care time bomb is a ‘one of the biggest commercial opportunities’ for private firms”

Good luck junior doctors with a boss like this! And no doubt our LEP has many friends who will contact him,

“The top Tory made the eyebrow-raising claim – and suggested more people should be saving for their own care

Britain’s care time bomb is “one of the biggest commercial opportunities” for private firms, Jeremy Hunt has said.

The top Tory made the eyebrow-raising claim today as he was grilled by MPs on the influential Health Select Committee.

And he suggested more people should be saving for their own care, treating it like society treats pension pots.

It comes as care homes fear they will be left penniless by the costs of the National Living Wage – throwing services into the lurch.

Tory MP Maggie Throup asked if private firms, facing a cocktail of higher costs, an ageing population and stricter standards, could also be forced to bow out of providing care.

Yet Mr Hunt said although it was a “very concerning situation”, he expected “many” private firms would be willing to fill in – because they see the potential for profit.

He told the committee the government had already taken the National Living Wage into account when doing its sums.

But he added: “If there are people who are exiting the market because they don’t like the much greater scrutiny over standards of care, then that’s their choice – but I think it’s the right thing for us as a society.

“At the same time I would also say that in many parts of the world businesses, because many of these organisations are private businesses, are looking at the ageing population as one of the biggest commercial opportunities.

“Because this is an area that all of us are going to spend much more money on as time goes on, both for our own care and those of our loved ones.

“So it’s important not to take a short-sighted approach as to the opportunities in that market.

“This is a section of the economy going forward where were are going to be spending more and more money, both publicly and privately.”

The exchange comes weeks after care providers claimed homes could be forced to close because of a lack of funds.

Town halls are being allowed to raise council tax by 2% to help meet spiralling care costs for the elderly.

The government claims the move could raise £2bn extra a year by 2020 – but the Local Government Association said the boost in 2016-17 could be wiped out by the cost of the £7.20-an-hour National Living Wage.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England which represents care providers, said last month: “If you’re poor and you’re old in Britain, you’re in trouble now. The state cannot afford to take care of you anymore.

“Everyone seems to think the state will come to your rescue if you need help in old age, but they won’t anymore, because they won’t be able to afford it.

“It’s not so bad if you are 40 and have cancer as that is a health care issue but if you are 80 and have dementia that is a social care issue, and that is going to be big, big problem.”

In another exchange Mr Hunt revealed the Tories shelved plans for a £72,000 ‘care cap’ until at least 2020 because they failed to create a private insurance market to go with it.

The Health Secretary said the policy was “designed” to push life insurance firms to create policies to cover the cost up to £72,000.

But he said: “We saw no signs of that insurance market being developed so we need to rethink.”

Although he insisted the cap was still government policy he warned: “I think the long term funding over the next few decades of our own social care is something we need to give a lot more thought to as a society.

“I think we decided after the war that it was incredibly important for us to be a society where the norm was for people to save for their pensions.

“And then we make some provision for people who aren’t able to save as much as they perhaps need to.

“I think we need to go through that same process of thinking for social care costs, given that we’re all going to live for much longer and the final few years of our life are likely to need expensive social care.”

Mr Hunt faced two and a half hours of questioning today as chiefs resumed negotiations with junior doctors over his 7-day NHS contract.

He defended axing bursaries for student nurses and replace them with loans, saying: “This can be a very beneficial way of increasing the number of places and increasing the number of people from poorer backgrounds.”

And he claimed the NHS was already bringing down the bill for agency staff after it “exploded” from £2.5bn to £3.7bn in recent years.

In one tense exchange Mr Hunt was questioned repeatedly about his ‘flawed’ claims NHS patients are more likely to die on weekends.

SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford blasted: “Is it not beholden on the Secretary of State to actually know what the problem is before spending billions to fix it?”

But he replied: “I’m not an academic but I think the mistake for a Health Secretary is to look at the overwhelming amount of evidence there is of a weekend effect and decide to get off the hook by disputing the methodology.”


Police and Crime Panel Chair sees no problem for PCC to be in charge whilst under investigation


Doesn’t see any conflict of interest. No plans to call a special meeting. All absolutely fine. Nothing to worry about, it’s only an allegation … Move on, nothing to see here … fuss over nothing …

Councillor Croad, Conservative Chair of the Panel on Spotlight this evening.

Wonder if the Chief Constable agrees?

Hinkley C: EDF works council demands independent report on project

“EDF’s works council said on Monday it had voted to order an external study into the French utility’s project to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Britain.

The works council said it was missing key information and ordered the study to help it to prepare a recommendation about the 18 billion pound (23 billion euros) project.

EDF’s main unions want the company to delay the Hinkley Point project by three years, the time they say is needed to finish other nuclear projects in France and China.

The works council did not say when the study would be ready or when it expected to make its recommendation, which will not be binding on EDF.

EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said late last month that Hinkley Point would be launched once the works council had issued its recommendation.

Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has said he expected a final investment decision in September.

EDF declined to comment.”


Barnet CEO and Returning Officer resigns after polling blunders

“The chief executive of Barnet Council has left his role after a blunder led to some voters being turned away from polling stations on Thursday.
Andrew Travers left the authority by “mutual agreement” after the error, officials said.

Voters were initially turned away from all 155 polling stations in the borough because their names were missing from the poll list.

An independent investigation has been launched, the council said.
In a statement issued through the council, Mr Travers said: “I have enjoyed my time at Barnet and I believe the changes we have put in place and the continued programme of growth and transformation will enable the borough to continue to thrive.”

The chief executive of Barnet Council has left his role after a blunder led to some voters being turned away from polling stations on Thursday.

Andrew Travers left the authority by “mutual agreement” after the error, officials said.

Voters were initially turned away from all 155 polling stations in the borough because their names were missing from the poll list.

An independent investigation has been launched, the council said.
In a statement issued through the council, Mr Travers said: “I have enjoyed my time at Barnet and I believe the changes we have put in place and the continued programme of growth and transformation will enable the borough to continue to thrive.”

A council spokesperson said Mr Travers had “made a valuable contribution to the council during his three and half years as chief executive.”

Deputy chief executive John Hooton will take over temporarily while longer term arrangements are put in place, the council said.

On election day, staff at one station said just three of the first 30 voters to show up were on the register. The rest were told to come back later.
Barnet Council apologised for the problems and later offered emergency proxy votes to residents who had been affected.

But voters in the area questioned how the result could be “fair” when not everyone was able to have their say at the ballot box.

A statement released by Mr Travers on Thursday blamed electoral registration lists for the problems.

The council’s review will conclude by the end of May and the findings will be presented publicly to the General Functions Committee.

It will look at the “appropriateness” of arrangements in place for the EU Referendum in June.

A spokesman said it was currently in discussions to establish who would lead the investigation.

And yet our CEO and Electoral and Returning Officer has arguably been far more remiss in East Devon, having had to explain in Parliament why he “lost” 6,000-plus voters (he decided not to send officers to canvass those missing from the electoral roll as recommended in electoral rules) and having had to re-issue postal ballot papers because of errors in the explanation of how many people to vote for, blaming “inexperienced officers” for the problem.

He was also scrabbling around on Twitter 48 hours before the PCC election as he did not have presiding officers for two polling stations.

Cabinet v. Committee system of district council governance

For the person who just asked what the difference is between Cabinet governance and Committee governance at district council level, this comment has been bumped to a post:

Both the cabinet system and the committee system have committees, which ultimately report to and are approved by the full council, but in the cabinet system a small subset of the full council makes the policies and decisions without the remainder of the full council having a vote or any real say. According to Wikipedia, in a Cabinet system the full council is responsible only for agreeing the council’s constitution, electing the Leader, giving them a budget, and adopting the Local Plan – the Cabinet is responsible for all other policies and decisions, and full council can only raise issues or in extremis hold a Vote of No Confidence.

They key difference is that in the committee system, committees are represented by different parties in proportion to the membership of the full council, but a Cabinet is appointed by the Leader / Mayor and is typically formed only or mostly by members of the majority party and minority parties have far less influence.

Prior to the Local Government Act of 2000, the committee model was the only one that existed. The LGA abolished the committee system (which was seen as inefficient) and introduced 3 alternative models:

Leader and Cabinet – where the Leader is elected by the members of the council who then appoints a cabinet of their choosing

Elected Mayor and Cabinet – where the Mayor is elected separately by the electorate and they then appoint a cabinet of their choosing

Elected Mayor and Council Manager – where the Mayor is elected by the electorate but there is no cabinet. This option only had referendums for adoption in two councils of which only one was selected – in 2007 the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act abolished this option.

The Localism Act 2011 reintroduced the Committee system – it should be noted that EDDC Leader Paul Diviani was wrong when he said at Annual Council in May 2015 that they were not allowed to return to the Committee system (but then he would say that as the Cabinet system gives him a great deal of power).”

See Wikipedia: Executive arrangements ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_arrangement)”

London tour “Shines Light on Where Billionaires Stash Their ‘Dirty Money”

Kleptocracy Tours:

… “aims to shed light on where the world’s rich and powerful stash their billions.

With some high-end properties in and around London running at the tens of millions of dollars, the city is well-placed to launder illicit funds or park money that is being hidden from tax authorities. In fact, British officials estimate that around $173 billion in laundered money entering the country every year is whitewashed via bricks and mortar — with much of it ending up in the country’s capital.

… Why do so many of the world’s super-rich park their cash in London? Because it’s easy and it works, according to Borisovich.

“This is a place where a company can come, buy a luxurious piece of property, and just put down the name of its director without telling us who is behind it,” he said.

… Why do so many of the world’s super-rich park their cash in London? Because it’s easy and it works, according to Borisovich.

“This is a place where a company can come, buy a luxurious piece of property, and just put down the name of its director without telling us who is behind it,” he said.

“Everything else helps in London as well … I mean this is the best ownership legislation, robust, tested, it’s a cultural center, education center. But first and foremost is the ease with which dirty money can come here and anonymously buy anything,” he added.

The kleptocracy tour debuted in February before the revelations of the Panama Papers — a trove of leaked documents that shed light on a network of law firms and banks that offer financial secrecy and investments in low-tax regimes.

Growing interest in the tour’s outings feeds on the perception that many of the world’s richest are avoiding paying their fair due in taxes.

According to watchdog Group Transparency International, companies based in British territories overseas —former British colonies — own 36,000 homes in London.

“Were all those houses bought using illicit money? Probably not, but the rules create an environment where the corrupt can easily hide,” said Rachel Davies, the group’s head of U.K. advocacy and research.

Activists like Davies have long said that it is hard to get the government to take notice of loopholes in the U.K. ownership laws. That may get easier in the wake of the Panama Papers.

“What’s striking about the Panama Papers is the fact that it really blew the lid off the U.K. being involved in these issues,” she said. “Half of the companies involved in the Panama Papers are based in British overseas territories, almost 2,000 of the professional enablers, accountants, [real] estate agents, that were working with the Panama firm were based in the U.K.”

“The U.K., unfortunately, is complicit in the laundering of corrupt funds,” she added.


Unfortunately, it isn’t only London – launderers are switching their interest to other prime sites in the UK – including Devon.

Dorset referendum: voters back committee system, not Leader and Cabinet

Hint, hint East Devonians!

A VOTE for a change in the way West Dorset District Council is run has been hailed as a victory for “the will of the people”.

A referendum was triggered after the Public First campaign group gathered more than 6,000 signatures calling for a change from the council’s cabinet style system of governance to a committee based system.

More than 25,000 people cast their votes at the ballot box last week with 64 per cent of them backing the change of system.

A total of 16,534 voters were in favour of the committee system with 8,811 supporting the cabinet approach.

… Mr Grantham said the vote had succeeded in “sweeping away the failed cabinet system”, adding: “The council has to serve the public’s needs and make the best use of public funds.

“We trust that West Dorset District Council has finally heard the will of the people and will truly engage with us in greater democracy.”

The council’s leader Anthony Alford said: “Throughout this process one of the things I have been keen to ensure is that we do things to observe the law correctly.

“I’m very glad to say I have the utmost confidence we have proceeded with this referendum on the basis that confirms with the law and procedures and have gone through the referendum process very clearly and well.”

Cllr Alford said that the council had already agreed a structure for the new committee based system and it is expected to be implemented in May next year.