Privatisation – win, win for companies; lose, lose for us

“The dirty secret of PFI and all government attempts to pass public services into the private realm is that the shareholders make profits while the taxpayers remain on the hook for any losses.”

… Should Carillion go down, there will be another truckload of questions for Grayling. He awarded the firm its £1.4bn HS2 contract last July – by which time the writing was already on the wall. That job from the Department of Transport may have helped tide Carillion over for a bit – but why did the transport secretary give the work to a company that was already in existential difficulties? A firm known to have grown too quickly by borrowing hundreds of millions. A firm that just a few months later came under investigation of the Financial Conduct Authority. I have long thought that Grayling is less serious minister and more an unexploded landmine. I just wonder what the trigger will be.

But what happens to that minister is just one debacle of many as far as Carillion is concerned. Today you may never have heard of Carillion. Soon you may wish it had remained that way.

Otterton – results of meeting called by Independent councillors

Meeting organised by EDDC Independent East Devon Alliance Councillor Geoff Jung and Independent DCC Councillor Claire Wright – several practical measures suggested but major worries over retrospective planning applications:

What happens when a massive privatised contracts company goes belly up?

Answer: our government looks for ways to use OUR money to bail it out.

Carillion (formerly more plainly called Tarmac) owes £1.5 billion.

Why? Because it underbid for contracts and then racked up massive losses even when offering minimal services.

Why does it matter? Because it is a major contractor for the HS2 rail line and it also maintains 50,000 homes for the Ministry of Defence, manages nearly 900 schools, has NHS contracts and also manages highways and prisons and works with National Grid. It employs 43,000 people worldwide.

Imagine if Jeremy Corbyn had suggested it should be nationalised!

and much more information here:

“New Tory Housing Secretary Sajid Javid was Director of his brother’s £11m buy-to-let property firm”

“Theresa May and the Conservatives have come in for fierce criticism today after it was exposed that the brother of newly appointed Housing Secretary Sajid Javid is the owner of a buy-to-let property company worth an estimated £11m – a firm which the new Housing Secretary Mr Javid was, incredibly, a Director of as recently as 2005.

Added to the fact that he was a Director of his own brother’s multi-million pound property business, the new Housing Secretary, Mr Javid, is also a private landlord himself.

Javid has previously voted to phase out secure tenancies for the very poorest people – those living in social housing. He was also one of 72 landlord Tory MPs to vote against a bill requiring private landlords such as himself to ensure that their properties were ‘fit for human habitation‘. …

Cranbrook Herald reports on estate rent charges

Owl broke this story on 2January:

Now Cranbrook Herald has taken it up:

“The unexpected demand for payment caused uproar on social media, distressing many during the festive break.

One resident said the company which sent the letter was using ‘scare-mongering tactics’.

Another said the matter was a ‘disgrace’.

The estate and asset management company Blenheims sent the bill on behalf of the Cranbrook Consortium and FPCR (which provides the town’s landscape and horicultural services).

In the letter – delivered to all Cranbrook households on Friday, December 22 – Blenheims explained that the annual Estate Rent Charge (ERC), which meets the cost of maintaining the public open spaces and amenity areas had been reviewed.

Previously set at £150 per annum – based on an ‘historic and initial assessment of the annual costs’ – the Consortium had increased the ERC to £231.76, to reflect actual accounting figures. These suggested that the total costs of the 2017-18 ERC were £370,816. Split between 1,600 properties, this came to £231.76 per household.

In many cases, the £231.76 demand was reduced to £194.26, taking into account an initial quarterly ERC instalment paid by residents of £37.50.

The letter implied that the £194.26 needed to be paid in one sum. There was also confusion about when the money needed to be paid, with some residents believing it had to be within 10 working days.

There was no suggestion of being able to pay in instalments (although Blenheims has since said that there are three payment dates – January 22, February 1 and March 1).

Having received their bills, Cranbrook residents found Blenheims had shut for Christmas, and initially there was no one available to discuss the issue.

At the request of Cranbrook Town Council (CTC), the Reverend Lythan Nevard – Cranbrook’s minister and a Belonging to Cranbrook Facebook moderator – offered advice for residents, posting her thoughts on social media.

On January 2, CTC posted its own advice on its website, describing the timing of the letter as ‘unfortunate’, and Blenheims has since issued a ‘frequently asked questions’ (FAQ) document.

“I think the timing of the Blenheims’ letter was poor at best,” said a Cranbrook resident, who did not wish to be named. “Some people were concerned that if they just cancelled their direct debits, they would end up with bailiffs at their door after Christmas.”

“It was a disgrace to receive a letter demanding payment of £231.76 within ten days, and especially at this time of the year,” said another resident.

In its FAQ to residents, Blenheims said the payment demand was issued on December 22 in advance of the next collection date, December 25, and was ‘in accordance’ with residents’ ERC deed.

It also issued advice for those that had cancelled their direct debit or hadn’t returned their mandate and explained why the ERC was being increased and why residents – who are already paying council tax – were being charged for ERC.

Neither Blenheims nor the Consortium have provided the Herald with further comment on this matter.

CTC is currently finalising details of taking over the town’s ERC. If draft agreements are approved, from April 6, 2018, the ERC will be paid as part of EDDC’s council tax, with any increase in the element of the council tax payable to CTC.”

Claire Wright gets debate on NHS winter care crisis at next DCC Health and Adult Care Scrutiny meeting

From the blog of Claire Wright:

“I have asked the chair (Sara Randall Johnson) that a report on Devon hospitals winter pressures – ie A&E waits, delayed discharges, how many patients are waiting to be discharged etc, is presented at the next

Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee on
Thursday 25 January.

This has been agreed.

The agenda papers are out next week so we will know more then.

Also on the agenda is a presentation from NHS Property Services/NEW Devon CCG on the future of our community hospitals – asked for by Cllr Martin Shaw and I at the November meeting ….”

Judicial review of Accountable Care Organisations allowed

“A judge has granted permission for national campaign group 999 Call for the NHS to bring a Judicial Review of NHS England’s draft Accountable Care Organisation contract.

The group believe this is not only unlawful under current NHS legislation, but would threaten patient safety standards and limit the range of available treatments. The case will be held in Leeds High Court on 24th April 2018.

‘999 Call for the NHS’ and internationally recognised public law firm Leigh Day are launching the third and final stage of their crowdfund on 12 January, in order to cover all the costs of bringing the Judicial Review, and are appealing for £12,000. This amount, when added to existing funds donated by hundreds of generous members of the public in 2017, will cover the £37,000 cost of the Judicial Review.

The link to crowdfund is: Crowd Justice Healthcare4All Stage 3 . Please give what you can – any amount is useful.

 The crowdfunding starts at 6pm this evening.

Recognising that it is in the public interest to establish if the Accountable Care Organisation contract is lawful or not, the Judge has awarded 999 Call for the NHS a capped costs order of £25K. This limits the costs that the campaign group would have to pay NHS England, were they to lose the case.

999 Call for the NHS – originally well known as the Darlo Mums who organised a 300 mile Jarrow to London People’s March for the NHS in 2014, culminating in a rally in Trafalgar Square attended by 20,000 people – are challenging NHS England’s introduction of a model contract for use by new local NHS and Social Care organisations, known as Accountable Care Organisations (ACO).

We can help

Interestingly Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group “is in the process of trying to establish …perhaps the only example of an advanced ACO type model”, according to the Health Service Journal (HSJ), and had hoped to award the Accountable Care Organisation contract by April 2018. Now however, they have confirmed they are planning to award the contract after guidance by NHS England and NHS Improvement (the Regulator with Dido Harding as ‘Chair’) with a start date in April 2019.

Has the 999 Call for the NHS Judicial Review put a spanner in the works? We can only guess!

According to the HSJ, the Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group had planned that the contract would take forward the “multispeciality community provider” (MCP) new care model, (a form of Accountable Care Organisation). Worth £5bn, the contract would incorporate a capitated (per person) budget to cover much of the health and some social care for the population in the area. This is not the usual current form of payment for NHS treatments, which is based on the actual costs of treatments that are provided.

What happens if the Accountable Care Organisation budget for the population does not meet the costs of the treatments that patients need? Who gets treatment then?

Please help us fight the dismantling of the NHS, to save healthcare for all.

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Many thanks”

Source: 38 Degrees