Privatisation – another big company seeks rescue – the one building EDDC HQ!

Owl says: Has the message still not got through? Privatise, give your directors MASSIVE salaries and bonuses, look after your shareholders. Then, when it all goes belly-up either (a) get the government (ie us) to bail you out or (b) let your government clients (ie us) go to the wall!

“Interserve: Major government contractor ‘seeks second rescue deal’

One of the UK’s largest providers of public services is seeking a rescue deal as it struggles with £500m of debt, according to the Financial Times.
Interserve, which works in prisons, schools, hospitals and on the roads, said it might look for new investment or sell off part of the business.
Workers at the Foreign Office and the NHS are among Interserve’s tens of thousands of UK employees.

The government said it supported the company’s long-term recovery plan.
The Financial Times reported that the company was looking for a deal to refinance its debt which would mean lenders taking a significant loss while public shareholders would be “virtually wiped out”.

Its share price dropped to a 30-year low last month.

Despite lucrative contracts in the Middle East and its wide range of work in the UK, the company has continued to lose money since March, when it agreed an earlier rescue deal.

Its troubles have been blamed on cancellations and delays in its construction contracts as well as struggling waste-to-energy projects in Derby and Glasgow.

Interserve claims its prospects are improving, and says it will increase profits this year.

What does Interserve do?

From its origins in dredging and construction, the company has diversified into wide range of services, such as health care and catering, for clients in government and industry.

At King George Hospital in east London, for instance, Interserve has a £35 million contract for for cleaning, security, meals, waste management and maintenance.

Its infrastructure projects include improving the M5 Junction 6 near Bristol, refurbishing the Rotherham Interchange bus station in Yorkshire, and upgrading sewers and water pipes for Northumbrian Water.

But Interserve is also the largest provider of probation services in England and Wales, supervising about 40,000 “medium-low risk offenders” for the Ministry of Justice.

In a statement, Interserve said: “The fundamentals of the business are strong and the board is focused on ensuring Interserve has the right financial structure to support its future success.”

The company said its options included bringing “new capital into the business and progressing the disposal of non-core businesses “.

Interserve’s difficulties follow the collapse of Carillion in January 2018, which put thousands of jobs at risk and cost taxpayers £148m.

Government reassures over Interserve

Following that, the government launched a pilot of “living wills” for contractors, so that critical services can be taken over in the event of a crisis. Interserve is one of five suppliers taking part.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We monitor the financial health of all of our strategic suppliers, including Interserve, and have regular discussions with the company’s management. The company successfully raised new debt facilities earlier this year, and we fully support them in their long term recovery plan.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46494465

Swire continues to plot … but for whom? and why?

Daily Express article today – heck that fence must be pretty uncomfortable!

“Under the terms of the deal Mrs May agreed with the EU that the UK will automatically fall into a ‘backstop’ EU customs union should the Government fail to agree a new trading relationship with Brussels during the transition period. The transition period is currently set at 21 months, though Mrs May has hinted it could be extended. Should the UK enter a customs union with Brussels it would struggle to sign comprehensive trade deals with third parties, and will still have to obey a significant proportion of EU legislation.

Tory loyalists Sir Hugo Swire and Richard Graham have tabled the amendment, which would give MPs a vote on whether the UK joins the customs union backstop or extends the transition period if a new trading relationship with the EU can’t be agreed.

It also requires the Government to push for “further assurances from the EU that the backstop would only be a temporary arrangement”.

Should the UK enter a customs union the amendment requires the Government to make plans to exit within a year.

Nikki da Costa, formerly the Prime Minister’s director of legislative affairs, suggested Ministers could be behind the move.

He told the Daily Mail: “I know a Government amendment when I see one”.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1055563/Brexit-news-Theresa-May-EU-exit-deal-Parliament-amendment-Conservative-MP

“The fight against fast food continues …” but … but …

Cranbrook Town Council wants to block a kebab van from selling food in The town:
https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/the-fight-against-fast-food-continues-cranbrook-councillors-object-to-kebab-van-s-seven-days-a-week-trading-bid-1-5807445

Cranbrook has only a pub for eating out, which sells a mix of what is crudely called “healthy food” and junk food:
https://www.cranberry-farm.co.uk/our-food/?menu=513118

Cranbrook is installing outdoor barbecues at its “country park” where no doubt junk food will be cooked:
https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/plans-for-outdoor-barbecues-to-be-installed-in-cranbrook-before-easter-2019-but-council-is-looking-to-share-the-cost-1-5810127

Is it fair to try to stop the van? A poll says 58% want it.

EDDC liberalised street trading rules to encourage more street trading.

Confusing!

Ottery Community Hospital – a campaigner speaks on council in-fighting

Text of address to Ottery Town Council by Philip Algar, a long-term campaigner for the Ottery hospital, including its in-patient beds:

“OSMTC 29th NOVEMBER 2018

As an interested member of the public, I have attended almost all the town council meetings over the last few years. During that time, I have seen the councillors confront many issues, some trivial and some serious. However, I have not seen a collective, note the word “collective”, and timely public effort by the council as a whole to support those of us who have been campaigning to save the Ottery hospital. I can think of nothing that is more important to the local people than having access to a well-located modern greatly-valued hospital and this, surely, justifies your collective support. Why has such support been missing?

Whenever the subject of the hospital’s future has been included on the town council agenda, the main speaker, often the only speaker, has been one councillor, who, quite correctly, has said that she does not speak for the council but for a group of which she is a leading member.

As recently as last August, I asked the council to adopt an official and supportive role but nothing happened and, as far as I know, my suggestion that the hospital should become a community asset, which was rejected by EDDC, was not challenged by this council, even although such status has, I am told, been granted to other hospitals. I had suggested in advance that it might be wise to devise a response in anticipation of a negative decision.
All this is why I shall no longer be attending your meetings which will be good news for many of you. Furthermore, the well-intentioned and hard-working unofficial groups have failed to make much progress with the official bodies and, apparently, admit this. That said, it would be helpful if they were more communicative with the public.

Given this lamentable situation, it was hardly surprising that three councillors, backed by a county councillor, suggested setting up a semi-official working group to solve the crisis. Three councillors voted in favour and six, according to the draft minutes of the meeting, abstained.
I was astonished to learn that, allegedly, some councillors construed this as a defeat for the trio. That is breathtaking and worthy of Private Eye. If this is true, it also exposes a level of ignorance that calls into question the competence of those involved. If it is not true, I withdraw this comment immediately.

Now, despite an objective explanation from Dr. Margaret Hall, explaining that, effectively, NHS groups, apparently, will only discuss matters with official groups or those under the aegis of the council, you still chose to organise this meeting, at an unusual time when so many residents are at work. I note the comments that this meeting was planned as councillors were attending a finance meeting. The claim by the abstainers, that they did not have sufficient information, has already been undermined by Dr. Hall’s contribution so why have another meeting?

This, presumably, is an effort to overturn the initial decision on the creation of a working group. The agenda also raises the possibility of supporting a decision that has already been agreed after a vote of three to nil, and which has now been explained by Dr. Hall. I find the possibility that organising a meeting to consider reversing the democratically-taken decision to be a truly ludicrous waste of time and totally unnecessary.
Those who were penalised by the decision to remove inpatient beds and now face the prospect that the hospital may not even become a hub, deserve much more from their councillors.”

End: 29.11.18

Swire and Rudd – a marriage made in …

Multiple sightings of our esteemed MP lurking in the background – almost seeming to try to duck out of shot – of early TV news items featuring Amber Rudd spouting today’s riff on Brexit.

Swire has already been described as “a state sanctioned dissident” and Rudd is known to be quite prepared to do May’s dirty work:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2018/12/07/swire-state-sanctioned-dissident/

So, are they dirty working today WITH May or AGAINST her?

Be careful Mrs May – keeping your friends close but your enemies even closer has its failings. And Owl thinks he has never forgiven you for ousting him from his “job” at the Foreign Office, cosying up to the sheiks of the Saudi Arabian peninsula and his favourite islands, The Maldives. Which he still does but in the very much less prestigious ‘job” of Chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council.