Bus services in England down 10%, fares up 32% since 2010

“… Nearly three out five journeys by public transport are on buses, but passengers are getting a poor deal say MPs as there are long-term funding plans for rail and roads, but not buses.

And the House of Commons’ Transport Committee is calling for a “national strategy” for buses to give passengers a better deal.

The strategy should make bus services more passenger focused and provide value for money, help to bring more people, especially young people, onboard.

The report says local authorities should be able to create new publicly-owned bus companies and encourage people to switch from cars to buses.

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: ”The Tories have neglected buses, along with the people and communities who rely on them. …”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bus-services-services-plunged-damaging-16205852

“Destitute children unlawfully denied support by local councils”

“Local councils are unlawfully denying destitute children support because their parents’ immigration status is under suspicion, the Guardian can reveal.

Families whose immigration status becomes insecure can quickly become destitute because they lose their right to work and access benefits. Such families who have dependent children can seek support under section 17 of the 1989 Children’s Act, which states that local councils have a duty to provide cash or accommodation to ensure a child’s immediate needs are met.

Hundreds of these families have been unlawfully denied this support since 2010 because local authorities have focused on the parents’ immigration background.

Many of the children affected are either British or entitled to British citizenship, and campaigners say it has now become normal practice for them to threaten local authorities with legal action in an effort to ensure a fair assessment. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/26/destitute-children-unlawfully-denied-support-local-councils-immigration-status?

Swire’s choice for PM – a match made in …

Seems like a great fit for Swire!

“If MPs did block Boris, Mr Raab could prove popular with the Tory membership – a group of 160,000 true-bluers who’ll pick from two choices to choose our next PM.

So who is the MP, and why has he stirred controversy?

He sparked fury in 2017 by saying most food bank users are not “languishing in poverty”. When a disability activist told him “people are dying” under Tory austerity, he described her calls for cash as a “childish wish list”.

He branded feminists “obnoxious bigots”. And he put out a pamphlet in 2011 that suggested exempting small firms from minimum wage laws for workers under 21.

Here’s a profile – and 15 things you should probably know.

Former grammar school boy Mr Raab, now 45, was born to a Czech Jewish father who fled to Britain as a refugee before the Second World War.

The Oxford and Cambridge graduate was a City lawyer with Linklaters before joining the Foreign Office in 2000, helping bring war criminals to justice in The Hague.

He once found himself defending Tony Blair from being summoned to the international criminal court while working on the trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

He left the civil service for hard politics in 2006 becoming chief of staff to Tory shadow home secretary David Davis.

He was elected MP for Esher and Walton in 2010 and joined government in 2015, quickly rising through the ranks.

During his time as a junior minister in the Ministry of Justice, Mr Raab tried to get prisoners with sentences of longer than a year deported.

He also led debates against a European Court of Justice decision giving at least some prisoners the right to vote.

In July 2018 he replaced David Davis as Brexit Secretary – probably the most crucial and stressful job in government.

But he lasted just five months in the role, resigning in November 2018 in protest of Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

He stepped down just hours after Theresa May published her 585-page Brexit deal, accusing the Prime Minister of betraying “public trust”.

He lives in Thames Ditton, Surrey, with his wife Erika and two sons Peter and Joshua and his heroes include right-wing US President Ronald Reagan and Gandhi.

15 things you should probably know (see article for details)

1. He’d crash us out with No Deal
2. He didn’t rule out working with Farage
3. He wants MORE government cuts
4. He became Brexit Secretary without realising how important Dover is
5. And he didn’t read the full Good Friday Agreement either
6. He’s raised the idea of a Brexit tax haven
7. He said foodbank users aren’t ‘languishing in poverty’
8. He branded calls for NHS cash a ‘childish wish list’
9. He had some worrying views on workers’ rights
10. He branded feminists ‘obnoxious bigots’
11. He was in a Facebook group calling for NHS privatisation
12. He branded Brits ‘the worst idlers in the world’
13. He got embroiled in a row about housing stats
14. He revealed he had faced a claim of bullying, which he added was ‘false’ and ‘unsubstantiated’
15. And of course, there’s his diary secretary – with her clams about his lunch

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/who-dominic-raab-tory-leadership-12882420

1,700 more buildings in England may have defective cladding

“Fire safety experts have warned that 1,700 buildings in England are likely to fail a new round of tests into cladding and building materials.
Hospitals, schools, nursing homes and tower blocks are among buildings which could be “at risk”, BBC 5 Live Investigates has learned.

The government said it will monitor the test results this summer to decide if any immediate action needs to be taken.

It comes almost two years after 72 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48387380

Two big developers consider merge

“Two of the UK’s biggest housebuilders have kicked off secret talks about ‎a tie-up just two years after a previous set of merger discussions broke down.

Sky News has learnt that Bovis Homes Group has approached Galliford Try in the last few weeks about a combination of a large chunk of their operations.

If consummated, a ‎deal would represent a fresh catalyst for consolidation in Britain’s housebuilding sector.

Bovis has a market value of just over £1.3bn, while Galliford Try, which owns the Linden Homes housebuilding brand, is worth roughly £550m.

Both are among the ten largest housebuilders in the UK. …

A Bovis insider‎ cautioned that it was unlikely to be interested in Galliford Try’s troubled construction division, which was responsible for a recent profit warning from the group.”

https://news.sky.com/story/bovis-approaches-rival-galliford-try-about-housebuilding-merger-11728118