“More than half of homeless families in work, says Shelter”

“More than half of families living in temporary accommodation in England are in employment “working every hour they can”, says housing charity Shelter.
Its analysis suggests 55% of families (33,000) living in temporary digs were also working in 2017 – up 73% on 2013.

The charity blames a mix of expensive private rents, a housing benefit freeze and a chronic lack of social housing.

The government said it was investing £1.2bn to support homeless people.
Temporary accommodation is the property offered to people by local authorities after they have been declared without a permanent home.
“The link between an income and a job, which used to be enough to secure a home, is just completely breaking down in the housing market,” Greg Beales, Shelter’s director of policy, told BBC Breakfast. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44904638

“Jacob Rees-Mogg’s investment firm launches second Irish fund”

“A second investment fund has been set up in Ireland by the City firm co-founded by Jacob Rees-Mogg, after it warned earlier this year about the financial dangers of the sort of hard Brexit favoured by the Conservative MP.

The fund, which is backed by $50m (£38m) in seed money from the Swedish national pension plan, was created to meet demand from international investors, according to Somerset Capital Management (SCM).

Uncertainty over the UK’s stance on withdrawal from the EU and the potential impact on banking and related services has led asset managers based in London to establish new financial products in European financial hubs including Dublin and Frankfurt.

A spokesperson for SCM said that for many years it had plans to launch a dedicated strategy for UK and European investors, saying: “Our decision to choose Ireland as a domicile had absolutely nothing to do with Brexit. We have funds domiciled all over the world including in Europe, the US and Australasia, and we will continue to offer a global service to our client base.”

In March, SCM described Brexit as a risk in a prospectus to a new fund, which has been marketed to international investors who want to keep their money in the EU long-term.

The disclosures have been used by political opponents of Rees-Mogg, who has been working part-time at Somerset Capital in addition to his work as an MP and who has repeatedly dismissed the concerns of those worried about the financial risks of Brexit.

The MP has a stake of more than 15%, according to the register of MPs’ financial interests.

On Saturday, Rees-Mogg said Britain was heading for a no-deal exit from the EU but said falling back on World Trade Organization terms was “nothing to be frightened of”.

Rees-Mogg chairs the European Research Group, which continues to put pressure on the prime minister to adopt a more antagonistic stance towards Brussels as the UK negotiates its exit from the EU.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/22/jacob-rees-mogg-second-irish-fund-scm

We MUST stop embedding Local Enterprise Partnership growth figures into local strategies

Readers know Owl bangs on about our LEP promising to double growth in Devon and Somerset up to 2030. Their figures then go on to be embedded in many Devon and Somerset council growth strategies.

Now we read (Sunday Telegraph Business – paywall) that the Office of Budget Responsibility believes that “growth” will “flatline for [at least] a decade, reaching as little as 2% over that period.

Will the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (public consultation about which is being postponed until after 2019 local elections – a very ominous sign) use LEP figures or more pessimistic government forecasts?

And then there’s the effect of Brexit ……!

“Council pensions poured into Carillion” [just before the company crashed]

“A City fund is under fire for pouring tens of millions of pounds of councils’ pension money into projects run by the outsourcer Carillion weeks before it went bust.

Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PIP) invests the pensions of councils from Strathclyde to the West Midlands. It bought 10 infrastructure schemes from Standard Life Aberdeen for £400m in late November.

That deal included two Carillion hospital projects — the troubled Royal Liverpool and Southmead in Bristol.

PIP’s investors demanded an investigation after the fund was left nursing heavy losses in the wake of Carillion’s collapse into liquidation in January.

That internal review, which has been completed, recommended that PIP tighten its internal controls.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/council-pensions-poured-into-carillion-v3xsrmsvk

Seaton fights for Axe Valley health care

Owl says: good to see the deprived eastern side of East Devon banding together to fight for its (similarly deprived) health services.

Priorities identified for Axe Valley healthcare provision

“A ten point plan to safeguard healthcare provision across the Axe Valley has been drawn up.

The list of priorities has been agreed following a series of meetings between representatives from statutory and voluntary health groups along with local councillors.

Following the workshops, organised by Seaton Area Health Matters group, 10 priorities have emerged:

* To take an area approach for the Axe Valley, not just Seaton.

* Improving communication and co-ordination between voluntary organisations.

* Maintaining and extending NHS services in GP practices and at Seaton Hospital.

* The challenges in older age groups (chronic diseases, loneliness and isolation).

* The challenges in younger age groups (drug and alcohol addiction, housing, poverty).

* Mental health support.

* Transport difficulties to access services.

* Promoting health and wellbeing

* Communication on what is available.

* Co-ordination and ownership to tackle the challenges.

To look at these challenges a steering group has been established under the chairmanship of Seaton town councillor Jack Rowland.

A Terms of Reference was agreed at the last meeting on July 12 and two initial working parties have been established to work on the priorities and report back on progress at the September 6 meeting of the steering group.

A website and Facebook page will also be set up to communicate what is happening and enable people to contribute their views and receive answers, where appropriate.

Explained Cllr Rowland: “The working parties will utilise the experience and knowledge of whoever they need to as part of producing recommendations for approval by the Seaton Area Health Matters Steering Group and then potential approval and support from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Royal Devon and Exeter Trust (RDE).

The next meetings of the Seaton Area Health Matters group are:

Thursday, September 13, at
2pm

and

Thursday, December 13, at 2pm

both at the Marshlands Centre, Harbour Road, Seaton.

Anyone who has an interest in healthcare in the Axe Valley is welcome to attend.

Representatives from groups involved in health, care and wellbeing are actively invited to become members of Seaton Area Health Matters by attending the meetings.

Other members of the steering group are: Cllr Geoff Pook (vice chair), Cllr Marcus Hartnell, Victoria Parry (Healthy eating charity and Clinical Commissioning Group community representative), Cllr Martin Shaw, Roger Trapani (CCG community representative) Tina Trapani (Devon Senior Voice representative), Dr Mark Welland (Seaton GP and chairman of Seaton and District Hospital League of Friends).”

http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/group-identifies-patients-needs-1-5616100

“Revealed: Tory donors who paid £7m to socialise with Theresa May”

Owl says: hedge funds expect to make squillions from Brexit.k

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s business partner, Brexit backers and wife of Putin minister among benefactor

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s business partner, a string of Brexit backers and the wife of a former senior minister to President Putin are among the Conservative donors who have paid more than £7m to socialise with Theresa May since the general election.

Eighty-one party benefactors have paid a total of £7.4m to the Conservative party for access to the prime minister at dinners, post-prime minister’s questions’ lunches and drinks receptions since July 2017, records show.

Party insiders say the large amount raised over just nine months from a single revenue stream is evidence that the Tories are aiming to be “election ready” for the autumn.

At least 10 of the donors, who joined the Leader’s Group for £50,000 a head, are supporters of a hard Brexit.

Dominic Johnson, who attended two of the group’s events in 2017, is the co-founder of Somerset Capital Management – an investment firm set up with Rees-Mogg, a hard Brexiter and the chairman of the European Research Group [ERG].

Somerset was recently reported to be warning its clients about “considerable uncertainty” as a result of Brexit, and set up a fund in Ireland, which benefits from EU financial passporting rights.

Sir Michael Hintze, the hedge fund billionaire who gave £100,000 to Vote Leave, is a familiar figure in Conservative circles and attended at least one dinner in 2017 with the prime minister, sources said.

Hardy McLain, a retired US hedge fund manager living in London, attended events in 2017 and 2018. He previously donated £20,000 to the Vote Leave campaign.

It is the first time since July 2017 that any details of dinner guests of May’s Leader’s Group have emerged. Their identities have been quietly released by the Conservatives this week.

Receiving campaign donations is a routine activity for politicians. But each gift carries with it a potential conflict of interest if the prime minister’s policies appear to benefit those who made the donations.

Edmund Truell, who attended dinners in 2017 and 2018, owns a Swiss-listed private equity business called Disruptive Capital, whose mission statement is to “exploit market uncertainty” to generate returns.

Only two women are among the Leader’s Group donors disclosed in the documents.

Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband, Vladimir, was the deputy finance minister of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was given access to the prime minister between last July and September. She has given £626,500 to the Tories since 2012, including £160,000 to play tennis with Boris Johnson and £30,000 to dine with the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson.

Alisa Swidler, a US philanthropist and friend of Bill Clinton who has given £336,686 to the party, also attended an event with May.

The party’s chief executive, the mining tycoon Sir Mick Davis, told a meeting of donors in September that the party needed to raise an additional £6m through the parliamentary cycle if it was to win the next general election.

The party spent £18.5m on last year’s election, when the Conservatives lost their working majority, compared with £11m by Labour. Sources told the Guardian the Tories are aiming for a 40% annual increase in the party’s budget – money that will be spent on up to 100 local campaign co-ordinators.

Records show that Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative party treasurer who gave millions to the party under William Hague’s leadership but stopped donating during Cameron’s premiership, appears to be back in the fold and is a member of May’s leader’s Group. He was joined by the former government adviser and investor in payday loans, Adrian Beecroft.

May appears to bring cabinet members to each event. She was joined by Amber Rudd and the party chairman, Brandon Lewis, at events between the election and the end of September; the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, accompanied her to Leader’s Group meetings in the autumn; between January and April this year, May was joined by Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and four other cabinet ministers.

The Conservatives had not updated details of donors who attended events since July 2017. Cameron pledged to release donors’ data following an outcry over the Leader’s Group dinners and whether they were allowing the rich and powerful to buy access to the cabinet.

The documents were spotted this week by campaigners for a second referendum on membership of the EU. Chris Bryant, the MP for Rhondda and supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “People will rightly be angry to see the government listen to Brexit donors in return for donations to the Tory party while denying the British public a vote on their deal.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/20/revealed-tory-donors-who-paid-7m-to-socialise-with-theresa-may