BHS’s Sir Philip Green worried about his reputation in auditor’s report, seeks gagging clause

Owl says: impossible to harm this bloke’s reputation any further – he already managed it all by himself.

And as for PwC auditor who spent only 2 hours on the BHS audit file – wonder how much that cost BHS!

“Sir Philip Green is seeking a gagging order to prevent the full publication of a watchdog’s report that casts fresh light on the BHS scandal.

On Thursday, Green launched a high court bid to stop the Financial Reporting Council publishing its damning report on the failures of the auditors responsible for checking BHS’s accounts.

The Topshop tycoon wants sections of the FRC analysis to be redacted or changed, arguing that references to him and other members of the former BHS management could cause “serious and potentially irreparable harm” to their reputations.

Last week Steve Denison, the senior PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant who audited the BHS accounts ahead of its sale for £1, only a year before the department store chain collapsed, was given a 15-year ban and and record personal fine of £325,000 after he admitted misconduct. …

On Thursday, a leaked email sent to nearly 1,000 PwC partners and written by the firm’s UK chairman, Kevin Ellis, was heavily critical of Denison who, it emerged, had backdated his BHS audit opinion and spent just two hours working on the file.

In the email, Ellis described Denison’s supervision of the audit as “inadequate” with too much work delegated to a junior team member. “This situation should not have happened and we need to face up to the failings and learn the lessons,” he wrote.”

A BUS to get to hospital? How quaint! How shameful! How hopeless!

The comment below on reductions to bus services deserves its own post – herewith:

“I have been contacted telepathically by several local politicians who have asked me to respond to this on their behalf:

Person A: Surely everyone has a car (or a friend with a car) in order to get to hospital? Honestly, buses are so 20th century.

Person B: I feel very strongly that the bus services should be retained and even enhanced. After all, how will the people of the Maldives get to hospital if their bus services are withdrawn?

Person C: If people can’t get to hospital under their own steam, then it is probably too late for the medical teams to be able to help them. Perhaps your local pharmacy can help instead? Or maybe the local herbalist or witch doctor?

Person D: The Government is committed to a strong and stable bus system, and we will be implementing an integrated, multi-service, joined-up bus-service consultation once the Brexit negotiations and transition period are complete and the economy has recovered.”

Air pollution: move children and other vulnerable people out of Sidford?

Owl says:

Can you imagine the damage to the health of vulnerable people (including children) on current and future levels if roadside pollution if Sidford and in the AONB if Business Park goes ahead?

“Air pollution harms one in three children

One in three children in Britain is growing up with air pollution damaging their health, a study has found. About 4.5 million children, including 1.6 million aged five and under, live in areas with levels of particulate matter above what the World Health Organisation considers safe, according to the charity Unicef UK. Separate research has found that children are exposed to 30 per cent more pollution than adults when walking on busy roads because they are shorter than adults and nearer the exhaust pipes of vehicles, the environmental charity Global Action Plan, which commissioned the study, said.”

Source: Times p7, Sky News Online, Independent Online, Mail p34, Mirror p21, Guardian p22, Telegraph p7

No use “improving” health service if you can’t get your bus to hospital!

“Threat to buses as councils fear £5 billion shortfall
Nearly half of all subsidised bus routes in England are under threat, the LGA has warned. Councils in England face an overall funding gap that is expected to exceed £5 billion by 2020 and are struggling to maintain current subsidies for bus routes across the country, which could leave many people isolated. The concessions come at the cost of other discretionary subsidised bus services – such as free peak travel, community transport services and post-16 school transport – and other services like collecting bins and filling potholes.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Transport spokesman, said: “It’s nearly impossible for councils to keep subsidising free travel while having to find billions of pounds worth of savings and protect other vital services. The way the concessionary travel scheme is funded by government has not kept up with growing demand and cost. Councils are being forced to subsidise the scheme by at least £200 million a year. By giving councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, and properly funding national free bus pass schemes, the Government could help us maintain our essential bus services, reduce congestion and protect vital routes.”

LGA Resources Board Vice Chairman Cllr John Fuller discussed the story on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. LGA Vice Chairman Cllr Marianne Overton and Deputy Chairman Cllr Peter Fleming have recorded interviews for BBC local radio and Five News, respectively.

Source: Express p17, Mirror p13

Clinton Devon Farms Partnership charged with corporate manslaughter

A Devon farm partnership has been charged with the corporate manslaughter of a 25-year-old worker who died in a tractor crash.

Clinton Devon Farms Partnership, which is based in East Devon, is alleged to have caused the death of Kevin Dorman on May 19, 2014.

The charge relates to a fatal incident involving Mr Dorman who was driving a tractor at Houghton Farm near Newton Poppleford.

The company, which is registered to Bicton Arena, Budleigh Salterton, entered a plea of not guilty to the charge that it caused the death of Mr Dorman by failing to properly maintain machinery, which amounted to a gross breach of care. It also denied a failure of care for its employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

George Perrot, 51, of Colebrooke, Crediton, is also charged with manslaughter and breaching health and safety law in relation to the death of Mr Dorman. He also entered a plea of not guilty.

Magistrates sent the case to Exeter Crown Court. The next hearing will be on July 17.

Tributes were paid to Mr Dorman, a former Sidmouth College student, after his death. He had been one of Sidmouth Town Football Club’s star forwards for several years and the club said at the time he would be ‘sorely missed’.”

Neil Parish: is his only job as one of our MPs to stick up for fellow farmers?

We rarely hear these days from or about Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish. As our other absentee MP (he farms on the Somerset/North Devon border where he has his home) his visits to East Devon seem to get more and more rare.

But when he does pipe up, it always seems to be for fellow farmers.

What about the rest of your patch Mr Parish? Closed community hospitals, overdevelopment, no affordable housing, poor transport links, education cuts …. anything to say about them?

Seems our two MPs have little interest in their constituencies but an awful lot of self-interest.

“Sainsbury’s and Asda bosses faced accusations in Parliament on Wednesday that their £14 billion mega-merger could end up “cutting the throats” of suppliers.

Neil Parish, the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, launched a scathing tirade about the effects the deal will have on suppliers while the chains’ bosses were grilled in Parliament. He said: “You say it’s a cut-throat business out there. Yes it is, but I know exactly whose throats you’re going to cut.”

The merging grocers have pledged to cut prices on some, unspecified products by 10%. Parish said: “If you’re going to make anywhere near the 10% [price] saving in a hugely competitive market, you will have to take the model of the cheapest buying. Don’t come in here and give us a load of baloney. You’re going to get most of that from a supply chain.” …

Oh, and global warming and coastal erosion, unavailable home care, child poverty, food banks …..

Do you represent your constituents in Parliament – or just the National Farmers Union?

“‘Time running out’ for UK parks, government told”

“A coalition of countryside groups and environmentalists are calling on the government to protect the UK’s parks and green spaces which are at “crisis point” following years of swingeing budget cuts.

The group has today put forward a “Charter for Parks”which calls on ministers in England, Wales and Scotland to make it a legal requirement for all parks and green spaces to be maintained and managed to a “good standard.”

It also calls on them “to recognise the right of every citizen to have access within walking distance to a good-quality public green space.”

Dave Morris, Chair of the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces, said “time was running out” for the UK’s parks.

“Budget cuts to staffing and maintenance are leaving them vulnerable to neglect and deterioration, or even sell offs. Many people think local councils are legally responsible for maintaining local parks and open spaces but unfortunately, unlike waste collection, that’s not the case yet.”

He said the charter called on politicians “to take action to ensure these essential and highly-popular public resources are properly funded, managed, maintained, and protected for current and future generations.”

He added: “As the voice of the movement of more than 6,000 local Friends of Parks Groups throughout the UK we recognise the immense contribution that these community volunteers are playing. Now it’s time for government to show an equal commitment to act. The public will not forgive political leaders who let the sun set on the UK’s parks.” ….

Sidford Business Park: “Nothing has changed’ highways outlines objection to business park proposals”

Owl says:

A test of whether EDDC develops or plans on the cards here. New Leader new times or new leader, old times?

“Highway bosses have submitted fresh opposition to a new proposed business park at Sidford as ‘nothing has changed since the last time’.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, head of highways for Devon County Council, spoke exclusively to the Herald saying the department specifically objected to the distribution element of the application.

A change of use is being sought for the agricultural site, in Two Bridges Road, to provide 8,445sqm of employment floorspace.

The plan has received 102 letters of objection ahead of the deadline today (June 15) for comments.

Councillor Hughes posted on Facebook that the council would be submitting its objections and said the news would be welcomed by residents in Sidford and Sidbury.

He said: “Nothing has changed from the last time. The distribution element was a concern last time because it would bring big lorries through narrow streets in Sidford and Sidbury.

“They are very narrow and just aren’t big enough for this sort of traffic. It is the wrong site for a business park, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

Resident Jackie Green said highway’s focus on the distribution element could ‘play straight into the developers hands’.

She said: “Any down-playing of the impact of the rest of the plan, two thirds of the development, risks making it easier for the application to be approved. Worse, if the B8 [class for distribution] is deleted, it would leave a space for even more B1 buildings (office and light industrial), which require more dedicated parking spaces than B8.

“This emphasis in the Highways objection will not ‘be welcomed by all local Sidford and Sidbury residents’, as Stuart Hughes claims, nor by any other users of the Sidford-Sidbury road. The plan as a whole is wrong, not just bits of it.”

The plans state the applicants aim to create 250 jobs and have addressed concerns raised when a scheme for a larger business park were submitted in 2016.

District council ward member David Barrett said he must remain impartial as he is a member of EDDC’s development management committee, which may be involved in making a final decision about the application.

EDDC will make the final decision about the plans.”

Panama Papers latest leaks: in many cases company had no idea who they were working for

“… Two months after the firm became aware of the records breach, it still couldn’t identify owners of more than 70 percent of 28,500 active companies in the British Virgin Islands, the firm’s busiest offshore hub. It didn’t know who owned 75 percent of 10,500 active shell companies in Panama, the records show. …”