Tory grandee asks Tory May about Persimmon – gets Tory reply!

“Robert Halfon, a Conservative, says he recently met constituents who moved into Help to Buy homes build by Persimmon. The houses are shoddy, he says. He says his constituents view Persimmon as “crooks, cowboys and con artists”.

May says developers should be building good quality housing under this scheme.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/jul/17/brexit-tory-leadership-pmqs-boris-johnson-theresa-may-mcdonnell-sets-out-labours-three-strategies-for-ending-in-work-poverty-live-news

Well, that’s sorted then – NOT!

“Rural domestic abusers being protected by countryside culture”

“Rural women enduring domestic abuse are half as likely as urban victims to report their suffering and are being failed by authorities with perpetrators shielded by countryside culture, a report says.

Abusers are protected by the isolation of the countryside and traditional patriarchal attitudes, says the report from the National Rural Crime Network. It is the first study of its kind and finds that close-knit rural communities can facilitate abuse which can last, on average, 25% longer than in urban areas.

Some abusers move their partners from urban areas, where detection is more likely, to rural areas.

The report, published on Wednesday, says: “Rurality and isolation are used as a weapon by abusers. Financial control, removal from friends, isolation from family are all well-understood tools of abuse.”

It continues: “We have revealed a traditional society where women (and it is mostly women) are subjugated, abused and controlled, not just by an individual abuser, but de facto by very the communities in which they live, too often left unsupported and unprotected. This is not at all unique to rural areas, but it is very significant, and change is slow.”

Abusers exploiting isolation is a common theme in the report. One woman said: “My partner used to deliberately drive off to work with the kids’ car seats in his car, which meant I could not go anywhere safely because I was stuck in the cottage with the kids … it was just another way he isolated me and kept me from interacting with anyone else.”

The National Rural Crime Network is funded largely by police forces and their police and crime commissioners, to improve public safety in rural areas.

The report says that traditional, patriarchal communities control and subjugate women. “Rural communities are still dominated by men and follow a set of age-old, protected and unwritten principles.

“Men tend to hold the rural positions of power – head of the household, landowner, landlord, policeman, farmer. This patriarchal society makes women more vulnerable to coercion and control, prevented from speaking out and accessing support.”

Some cases have led to murder, such as that of Lance Hart, 57, who shot dead his wife Claire, 50, and daughter Charlotte, 19, in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in 2016, before killing himself. Claire Hart suffered years of controlling behaviour without the authorities realising and was killed after leaving her abusive husband.

One caseworker in County Durham said of the people suffering: “Many of them are in such a stressful situation they have shut down from any kind of rational thinking. It’s like all their effort goes into survival mode or protection for the kids … The longer it goes on the less likely they are to see the dangers.”

Escape is harder than in urban Britain because of shrinking resources and cuts to public services, the report says. “The availability of public services in rural areas more generally is on the decline, limiting the support networks and escape routes available to victims.

“A recently evidenced reduction in rural GP practices and challenges of effective broadband are good examples. This equally extends to services like buses and trains, whereby it remains very difficult (and getting worse) to travel within rural areas without a private vehicle. Abusers use this to limit victims’ movements, rendering already inaccessible services all but impossible to contact. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/17/rural-domestic-abusers-being-protected-by-countryside-culture?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Boris Johnson campaign chief’s firm lobbied councils for tobacco firm”

“The lobbying firm co-run by the man heading Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign has been writing to councils on behalf of a tobacco company before the announcement of planned new anti-smoking measures due in the coming weeks.

The Guardian has seen emails showing Crosby Textor Fullbrook Partners (CTFP) contacted councillors on behalf of Philip Morris, seeking to get the tobacco multinational involved in voluntary moves to curb cigarette smoking, as opposed to more onerous statutory efforts.

One of CTFP’s partners, Mark Fullbrook, has taken temporary leave from the firm to act as Johnson’s campaign manager. The lobbying efforts took place in April, while Fullbrook was still with the company.

While there is no suggestion that Fullbrook was personally involved in these actions, or that he is advising Johnson to adopt a similar line, it comes just over a week after Johnson called for a reconsideration of “sin taxes” on highly sugared drinks.

It later emerged that another arm of Crosby’s lobbying group represents a dairy firm in Australia which sells high-sugar milk drinks of the sort that could be targeted by an extension to a UK sugar tax.

CTFP states that Fullbrook’s role at the company has no bearing on his work with Johnson, and that he currently has no contact with clients.

But amid continued delays to a landmark government consultation on public health, expected to include tough new anti-smoking measures, campaign groups and Labour have urged the Johnson camp to commit to not watering down anti-smoking plans if he becomes prime minister.

They have also called on the health secretary, Matt Hancock, now a leading supporter of Johnson, to push ahead with the plans, which are expected to include a “polluter pays” levy in which tobacco firms would be forced to finance anti-smoking measures, and compulsory cards inside cigarette packets detailing the health perils.

The so-called prevention green paper, originally due in the first half of 2019, was scheduled to be released this week, but the Department for Health and Social Care says it does not have a confirmed publication date. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/16/boris-johnson-campaign-chiefs-firm-lobbied-councils-for-tobacco-firm?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Berlin buys 670 flats on Karl-Marx-Allee from private owner”

THAT’S how you do it NOT “Help Developers to Make Obscene Profits” aka Help to Buy!

“The state of Berlin has bought back 670 apartments on the historic Karl-Marx-Allee from a private owner after decades of property privatisation in the German capital.

A 1950s prestige project for socialist East Germany, the grand boulevard that stretches from the city centre to Friedrichshain in the east has been the frontline of a months-long fight over gentrification and rising property prices.

The struggle erupted last November when the property management firm Predac announced its intention to offload 700 apartments on the road to Berlin’s largest property company, Deutsche Wohnen.

Fearing rent increases, tenants organised protest marches and hung banners from their apartments, eventually pushing the city senate to block the sale.

After months of legal wrangling, the senate confirmed on Monday that three blocs containing more than 670 apartments would instead be purchased by the state-owned housing provider Gewobag.

While the price of the sale was not confirmed by either side, the move to renationalise the buildings on Karl-Marx-Allee is likely to come at a steep cost, with estimates ranging between €90m-€100m (£80m-£90m).

Berlin’s mayor said the move was indicative of a wider strategy to reacquire housing stock sold to private investors in the 1990s, following rapid rises in rental costs in the city in recent years.

“Berliners should be able to continue to afford living in the city,” said Michael Müller. “That is why it was and continues to be our intention to buy up apartments wherever we can, so that Berlin can regain control of its property market.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/16/berlin-buys-670-flats-on-karl-marx-allee-from-private-owner?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

This wouldn’t have happened at the “old” EDDC HQ!

Sidford Business Park Olanning Inquiry live feed:

“… Jeremy Upfield is the first witness of the inquiry.

He is a Devon County Council’s development management officer and will give evidence as the highways and transport case officer familiar with the site.

We are just having a pause to rearrange the tables so that the evidence can be heard by everyone in the room. …”

Might have been better and easier to use HQ 2 – Exmouth Town Hall!

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sidford-business-park-application-goes-before-planning-inquiry-1-6160654

Employment, wages and growth – good news – not so sure

“Following the pattern of recent months, the labour market statistics exhibit a shift towards less secure forms of employment. While the overall employment level continued to rise in the three months to May of this year, the composition of this increase is a source of some concern. The number of full-time employees fell by some 77000, and the number of part-time employees also fell slightly. There was a modest increase in the number of full-time self-employed workers, but the main source of employment growth has been part-time self-employment.

This grew by a massive 104,000 over the quarter. While many jobs of this kind offer workers the flexibility that they might want, this may come at a cost in terms of insecurity. As parts of the traditional engine room struggle in the current economic climate, workers may increasingly be turning to the gig economy.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2019/jul/16/markets-uk-unemployment-wages-ryanair-boeing-737-max-mark-carney-business-live?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other