“Government’s Help to Buy housing scheme increasingly benefiting higher earners”

“The government’s flagship, multibillion pound scheme for helping people to buy a home is increasingly giving taxpayer-funded loans to higher earners, The Independent can reveal.

The Help to Buy initiative was designed to help cash-strapped buyers, but analysis reveals the average salary of people receiving equity loans has shot up since it was introduced.

Official government data reveals the average household income of people benefiting from the £8.3bn scheme is continuing to rise, and now stands at just under £50,000.

London, the figure is even higher, with the average recipient of a Help to Buy loan having a household income of almost £72,000….

Almost one in five Help to Buy beneficiaries are already homeowners, and on average these recipients are wealthier than first-time buyers, with an income £8,500 higher.

The Independent has previously revealed how millions of pounds of public funds are being loaned to people with an income of more than £100,000.

The latest figures reveal that more than 6,200 households with an income of more than £100,000 have benefited from taxpayer-funded loans.

The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for comment.”


Have Cranbrook’s roads been adopted yet? Hope so, because, if not …

It’s not just Cranbrook – this could happen in any new development anywhere.

But it WAS a problem in Cranbrook in March this year:

The undated letters addressed to “The Occupier”, were pushed through doors along a cul-de-sac in Aldershot, Hampshire, on a Thursday in November. Those who bothered to open what looked like junk mail discovered that part of the road had been sold to a private company and they would have to buy a £2.50-a-week permit to leave their cars outside their homes where free parking had been available for 50 years. They also had to pay a £75 deposit or face a £60 further charge. …”


KPMG stops providing MPs with free researchers

“KPMG has quietly abandoned a longstanding practice of making donations in kind to MPs and political parties by providing researchers to help in formulating policy and legislation.

The decision by the accounting giant, which has been criticised for its role as auditor to the collapsed construction giant Carillion, comes after figures released by the Electoral Commission in March showed that donations by the big four auditors tumbled by 91% during the 2017 election campaign compared to that of 2015. …

Donations in kind from KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte were widespread in the 15 years running up to the 2015 election, with KPMG making £198,093 worth of donations in kind in 2015, falling to £40,575in 2017.

The practice has been criticised by outsiders, who argue that it helps secure long-term political influence, although the firms say they are politically neutral. Prem Sikka, a professor of accounting at the University of Sheffield, said: “The firms don’t make donations. The money is an investment to secure desirable outcomes.”

He cited as an example the abolition of the Audit Commission under the coalition government, which allowed the big four firms into the £100m-a-year local government market for the first time from 2015.

However, such political donations have tumbled after the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, decided to abandon them. Secondments have traditionally been provided to opposition parties, sometimes in considerable numbers, because they do not have the same access to the civil service as government.

… Instead, political donations by the big four firms have become increasingly concentrated on paying former ministers to speak at corporate events. George Osborne, the former chancellor who now edits the Evening Standard, reported in April 2017 that he expected to be paid £65,901 for giving a speech to PwC in Ireland; Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, received £18,000 in December 2016 for giving a speech to PwC. Ken Clarke received £11,500 in fees for giving speeches to KPMG in Leeds and Manchester in May 2016 while Michael Gove collected £5,000 from PwC in December 2016 and £4,000 from Ernst & Young in May 2017, again for speeches.

The big four came under fire earlier this month as part of a highly critical report by MPs on the business and work and pensions committees on the collapse of the construction giant Carillion. Rachel Reeves, the business select chair, said they had a “parasitical relationship” with companies, getting paid even if they went under and called for the Competition and Markets Authority to look at breaking them up “to increase competition and deal with conflicts of interest”. …”


Swire and Eaglesham Investments … still not on his register of interests

Eaglesham Investments incorporated on 12 December 2016 and shown as live’

Swire and Lord Barker only two directors, shown as active.

Described by Lord Barker in HIS register of interests as “developer of clean energy projects overseas, focussed on emerging economies”

Barker is very controversial – involved in a company with a Russian oligarch (Oleg Deripaska) who is allegedly linked to a “dirty money” scandal:



The company is still not on Swire’s register of interests on 18 May 2018:

“Swire: Time has come for international community to name and shame all guilty of influencing ballots” – no, of course he isn’t talking about East Devon!

No, this isn’t East Devon he’s talking about. Yet again, it’s the Maldives, of which Swire can never seem get enough:

“… Former Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister and Conservative MP for East Devon, Hugo Swire has said that politically influenced and controlled Elections Commission of the Maldives is seen attempting to freeze out opposition parties as Presidential election slated for September approaches.

In a tweet posted on his official twitter account on Wednesday, Swire wrote that the time has come for the international community to “name and shame all those guilty” of attempting to influence the ballots.

Swire also wrote that to date, adequate reaction from the international community has not been uttered, pointing out that “more robust action is desperately needed”.

The former minister further wrote that time may now be approaching when celebrities and tourists start to boycott the Maldives. …”


Oh dear – poor celebrities and tourists!!!

And, meanwhile, in your own backyard, Mr Swire … ?

Guess there will be no “emerging energy market” in the Maldives for Swire and Lord Barker’s company:


“The 60-Year Downfall of Nuclear Power in the U.S. Has Left a Huge Mess”

“The demand for atomic energy is in decline. But before the country [USA] can abandon its plants, there’s six decades of waste to deal with.

… It is 60 years since America’s first commercial nuclear power station was opened by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Shippingport, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 26, 1958. But the hopes of a nuclear future with power “too cheap to meter” are now all but over. All that is left is the trillion-dollar cleanup. …”


So what do we do? WE build MORE nuclear power stations which our Local Enterprise Partnership heavily subsidises with OUR money. Though, as a number of members of the LEP have nuclear interests, it won’t worry them.