“Councils face bankruptcy after Tory cuts open £25billion black hole in finances”

“Council leaders say government funding cuts will leave a £25billion black hole and plunge stretched local authorities into worse debt.

Research by the TUC and New Economics Foundation think-tank shows the plans will lead to greater suffering and even council bankruptcies.

Grants will fall almost to zero and plans to let councils keep income from business rates will not match the shortfall.

Nationwide, £16billion has been taken from the Local Authority Grant since 2010, equivalent to 60p in each £1.

Labour ’s Paul Dennett, leader of Salford Council, said this summer that
3,000 children in his area were given emergency food vouchers, police numbers have been cut by 2,000 and new foodbanks have been opened.

“Local government is on its knees,” he said.

“Without serious investment, we will soon see more bankruptcies in local councils, as has happened in Conservative-run Northamptonshire.”

The TUC report shows ringfenced government grants to councils have fallen from £32.2billion in 2009-10 to £4.5billion in 2019-20, and are expected to be cut further by 2024-25.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady warned: “A colossal hole will be left in local budgets and the poorest communities face the biggest shortfalls.”


DevonLive or DevonUndead? Thank heaven for blogs!

There was a pro-EU demonstration in Exeter yesterday. Exeter’s MP spoke, Lib Dem MEP Caroline Voaden spoke, independent DCC Councillor Martin Shaw spoke as did, preumably others.

Was it a big turn out? Don’t know.
Were there many other speakers? Don’t know
Was it peaceful? Don’t know

Our local newspaper (website DevonLive) has no mention of it today. Owl found out information only by reading Councillor Shaw’s blog and the Devon for Europe Facebook page.

My plea at today’s Exeter protest against Johnson’s vandalism – where the Tories can be defeated (especially Exeter, Totnes, East Devon), we will need a single opposing candidate to make sure we win

It seems local news websites such as DevonLive have more advertising and more “filler” (stuff sent in from local social and voluntary groups) and less REAL news.

Thank heaven for other social media – including blogs!

Why multi-generational old Etonians are secure in these troubling times

Swire, of course, is an old Etonian whose wealth derives through many generations from Hong Kong and China.

” … There are no fundamental political differences between Cameron, Johnson and Rees-Mogg because they belong to the same world. A world of extreme wealth where there has never been any decline for them. They are secure, as their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were before them. Once that security may have come from land; now it comes from hedge funds and shipping fortunes and extracurricular salaries (“chicken feed”, Johnson said of the £250,000 a year he was paid to write a column). Whatever happens in the next 30 or 40 years, post-Brexit, isn’t going to affect them. Privilege is like an unwritten constitution: you can never lose what you never have to find.”


“Property giants pay bosses £63m while ‘exacerbating housing crisis’ by sitting on enough land for 470,000 homes”

“Property giants have been accused of rewarding bosses for “exacerbating the housing crisis” after spending £63.6m on chief executive pay last year while sitting on more than 470,000 unused plots of land.

The chief executives of Britain’s 10 biggest housing developers raked in a combined £63.6m, earning a median sum of £2.1m, according to figures compiled by the High Pay Centre. Four FTSE 100 companies handed £53.2m to their top bosses in total, a median pay packet of £5.7m.

The 10 firms completed and sold 86,685 homes last year, but hold planning permission for 470,068 other plots of land on which homes have not been built. The UK needs an estimated 340,000 new homes a year to meet demand.

Councils have repeatedly complained of developers taking longer to build on sites which have been earmarked for housing, with the Local Government Association calling for powers that would allow local authorities to seize unused land.

The High Pay Centre said its findings raised questions about whether executives “should receive such vast sums of money, particularly given the many criticisms levelled at the big housing developers regarding the extent to which they are exacerbating the housing crisis”.

Luke Hildyard, the think tank’s director, told The Independent: “Homes are a public good and housing companies are charged with quite an important social responsibility. If the housing companies don’t play their part in delivering enough homes then we have real problems.

“There is something particularly unseemly about people who are supposed to be providing a public good raking in millions or even tens of millions.”

The 10 companies, which are all FTSE 350-listed, paid a combined £150m to chief executives and other directors last year. The four FTSE 100 house-builders – Barratt, Berkeley, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey – accounted for £131.1m of that sum.

The average UK construction worker is paid £24,964 a year, 89 times less than the median pay packet of the 10 housebuilders’ chief executives, according to the union Unite.

The pay disparity was greatest at Persimmon, where chief executive Jeff Fairburn earned £39m – equivalent to the average pay of 1,561 construction workers – last year. He was forced out of the firm in late 2018 after a public outcry over his £75m bonus.

The pay ratio between Berkeley’s chief executive and the average construction worker was 331:1, at Taylor Wimpey it was 126:1, and at Barratt it was 113:1.

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Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh, who cited the figures during a debate in parliament on Thursday, said the “vast scale of inequality” showed “the British housebuilding industry is broken”.

She added: “In the midst of a national housing crisis, how can it be right, just or fair, for the top housebuilding CEOs to walk away with such astronomical sums while there are workers are seeing their salaries stagnate?

“These companies have a land bank of a simply staggering 470,068 plots but completed just 86,685 homes between them. Is that really a record worth rewarding?”

Barratt, Berkeley and Taylor Wimpey all declined to comment.

Persimmon did not respond to a request for comment.”