Secretive group which wants to privatise NHS is funding Conservative Party (and Swire’s choice for PM)

Swire is a lead supporter for Dominic Raab – named below

“A secretive think tank which called for the NHS to be scrapped while its heads pour millions into the Conservative Party – and its MPs’ – coffers is being funded by big tobacco, an investigation has found.

British American Tobacco is one of the groups funding the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a free market think tank which is notoriously close-lipped about its donors.

The IEA has been an outspoken critic of public health measures for tackling smoking, obesity and harmful drinking, and past funders include organisations affiliated with gambling, alcohol, sugar and soft drinks industries. …

It has close links to the Conservative Party and the chair of its board of trustees, Neil Record, donated £32,000 to health secretary Matt Hancock between 2010 and 2018.

Dominic Raab – who, alongside Mr Hancock, is aiming to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader – also has close links with the IEA, speaking at its 60th anniversary event, and promoting an annual essay competition as recently as last month.

When asked about these links by the BMJ, a spokesperson said Mr Raab has “always been a strong supporter of public health initiatives to make the UK healthier and reduce pressures on the NHS”.

While Mr Hancock is among the biggest beneficiaries, 30 Tory MPs including David Davis, Liam Fox and David Willets have received cash or hospitality from Mr Record or fellow trustee Sir Michael Hintze.

In total MPs have declared funding to the value of £166,000 from the pair since 2005, and they have donated £4.3m to the Conservative Party.

The BMJ investigation identified a 1999 document listing UK supporters of the IEA, including British American Tobacco, Rothmans UK Holdings, Tate and Lyle, Whitbread, and Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland.

When the authors followed up with key organisations to see which were still actively funding the IEA, British American Tobacco confirmed it was still donating. …”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/big-tobacco-funding-conservatives-nhs-hancock-raab-davis-a8916561.html

Conservative Party funded by loads of Russian money

And Hugo Swire stays silent about his business partnership with the British Russian “big cheese” Lord Barker …..

“Given Theresa May’s strong stance on Russia (not least on the Salisbury poisoning), it’s baffling that she has allowed any whiff of links between Putin and Tory donations to occur. But thanks to Liz Truss’s energetic Instagram account, hacks have been able to pounce on a grainy photo of the PM and six female Cabinet ministers at a lavish fundraising dinner with the wife of one of Putin’s former ministers. Lubov Chernukhin’s latest £135,000 charity bid (for the event on Monday) takes her donations to the Tories over the past seven years past the £1million mark.

The Daily Mail has led the sleuthing, pointing out that at last year’s Black and White Ball Mrs Chernukhin won two more auctions – £20,000 to dine with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and £30,000 to dine with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Earlier this year, she donated £9,500 to the war chest of Tory chairman Brandon Lewis. Five years ago, David Cameron faced questions after Chernukhin successfully bid £160,000 at a party fundraising dinner to play tennis against him and Boris Johnson.

As the Mail reports, it was not known whether the match involving Cameron and Johnson ever went ahead, but last March – following the spy poisoning – Johnson finally admitted it had. He said: ‘It’s very important that we do not allow a miasma of suspicion about all Russians in London – and indeed all rich Russians in London – to be created.’ Hmmm.”

Source: The Waugh Zone, Huffington Post

Property developer sponsors Tory conference – The beneficiaries of Help-to-Buy have put their name around party members’ necks.

“The housing crisis has become a central issue in British politics, with a shortage of social housing forcing millions into expensive, shabby private rentals; locking a generation out of home ownership; and causing a massive increase in street homelessness.

Help to Buy, a government-backed loan to supplement mortgages for first-time buyers, remains the Conservatives’ biggest housing intervention. But it sucks.

Even the Tory press thinks it’s rubbish. Last month, the Daily Mail’s Money Editor wrote that Help to Buy was a “flawed plan” that “would bump up house prices, boost builders’ profits and increase debt”. In the same month, the normally Tory-supporting Times analysed the Help to Buy figures and argued that “while it has boosted profits for house builders, it has failed to provide the greater supply of new homes that is needed”. The Times worried that even those lucky enough to get a Help to Buy house might now be stuck in “negative equity”, with “young people … being left in overpriced homes that they will struggle to sell”.

For its part, the solidly Tory Sun also worries that sticking with Help to Buy and failing to offer something to increasingly angry private renters could cost the Tories the next election.

So why is the government so keen on the scheme? The answer could literally be around the necks of delegates at this year’s Tory conference. The Conservative party sells advertising space, charging corporations to brand the lanyards that house the security passes conference attendees must wear at all times inside the Conference “secure zone”. Lanyards for this year’s Conservative Conference in Birmingham bear the name “Thakeham Homes”, a property developer making profits with help from Help to Buy.

Thakeham Homes is a Sussex-based residential property developer with an extensive “landbank” throughout the Home Counties. According to its latest accounts, Thakeham believes it is doing well because of “low interest rates and increased demand from first time buyers, supported by Help to Buy”.

In 2018, Thakeham’s turnover jumped 64 percent, to around £30 million. The company’s profits jumped from £100,000 to £4 million. The firm says that Help to Buy helped it boost its business; according to the accounts, “the adaptation of our planning strategy to increase the percentage of Help to Buy eligible properties within our schemes has yielded an increased sales rate and has enabled our resilience in light of the effects of Brexit on the wider market”.

Thakeham says it is “encouraged by continued political support” for Help to Buy, and seems to be encouraging that “continued political support” by giving the governing party cash. According to Conservative Party sales brochures, Lanyard Sponsorship costs around £16,500 (2016 brochure).

Thakeham’s sponsorship extends beyond lanyards. Thakeham Homes began donating to the Tories in 2017 and have now given £107,00 in total.

I asked Thakeham if its Conservative donations were a way of encouraging continued government support for Help to Buy. Their spokesperson: “Yes, we do donate to the Conservative Party and we think it is important as over 50 percent of our construction is for public sector partners. Thakeham contract builds for housing associations and local councils; placemaking and seeking to enhance and create new communities.”

He added: “The amount of product we sell via Help to Buy is small in proportion when compared to our contract build for housing associations and local councils for whom we deliver affordable homes.”

Help to Buy was introduced by Chancellor George Osborne in 2013. It offers a zero-interest loan to buyers of new-build houses costing up to £600,000. Loans are worth up to 20 percent of the cost. The Treasury has loaned a whopping £7 billion on the scheme – that’s a massive and much-criticised intervention in the market.

The criticisms will continue to be made – even from those sympathetic to the Tories. But money also talks. Thakeham is not the only firm benefitting from the multi-billion scheme who in turn give the Conservative Party cash.

In 2015, companies owned by businessman John Bloor started donating to the Tories. Bloor’s firms have since donated £1 million, and Bloor has attended Tory dinners with Theresa May, Philip Hammond and other ministers. Most of Bloor’s money comes from his housebuilding firm, Bloor Homes. According to its latest company accounts, Bloor Homes’ turnover is up 27 percent to £917 million. Profits have leapt by 58 percent, to £152 million. The average price of each Bloor home sold has increased from £275,000 to £300,000 in a year.

The accounts explain this performance by saying “the housing market has been strong” thanks to “the government backed Help to Buy scheme”.

I asked John Bloor Homes if the Bloor donations were a way of encouraging continuation of the Help to Buy scheme. A spokesperson said: “Bloor Homes continues to provide, via various tenure and financial structures, much needed housing from social rent all the way through to private ownership, driven by clear demographic and affordability demands.”

There are also jobs for Tories in Help to Buy firms. Since 2016, Angela Knight has been a director of housing firm Taylor Wimpey. She is paid £60,000 a year for this part-time “Non-Executive” job on the board. Knight was a former Conservative minister who is still “in” with top Tories. In fact, George Osborne – who launched Help to Buy – also gave Knight a job at the Treasury, which runs the scheme. Knight is currently the Treasury’s “Chair of the Office for Tax Simplification”. According to Taylor Wimpey’s accounts, the firm made £589 million in profit this year, with around 39 percent of sales relying on Help to Buy.

If the Sun is right, backing Help to Buy instead of investing in more social homes and regulating rents could sink the Tories, as voters hurt by the housing crisis desert the party. But the donations from Help to Buy-backed companies – not to mention the post-ministerial jobs they offer – might encourage them to stick with the scheme.

@SolHughesWriter”

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/xwpvva/developers-who-got-rich-off-tory-housing-policy-are-sponsoring-conference

“Tories cling on to tax exiles’ right to vote for life despite bill delay”

“The government has said it remains committed to passing a law that could allow tax exiles the right to vote and donate to political parties for life, after it failed to pass through the House of Commons.

MPs, including the serial filibusterer Philip Davies, tabled dozens of amendments to the overseas electors bill for debate on Friday, resulting in it being dropped after parliamentary time to discuss it ran out.

Under current law, British expatriates can remain on the electoral roll, allowing them to vote and make donations, for 15 years after they leave the UK. The overseas electors bill proposed removing the time limit, giving all expats the right to vote and donate for life.

Speaking on behalf of the government, the cabinet office minister Chloe Smith told the House: “The government remains committed to scrapping the cap.” The Conservative party pledged to bring in the law in its 2017 manifesto.

Anti-corruption campaigners and Labour MPs had expressed alarm at the bill. Margaret Hodge, the former chair of parliament’s public accounts committee, described the bill as “shocking” and warned it would “increase tax haven billionaires’ influence and allow dirty money donations to political parties”.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/22/tories-cling-on-to-tax-exiles-right-to-vote-for-life-despite-bill-delay

“Outgoing NHS digital chief wrote ‘puff piece’ for future employer in ‘jaw-droppingly inappropriate’ behaviour”

“NHS England’s outgoing chief digital officer has been criticised for “jaw-droppingly inappropriate” behaviour after she announced her departure for a health technology start-up she had praised in a “puff piece” article without disclosing she was joining its payroll.

Juliet Bauer is currently serving out her notice period after announcing she was departing from NHS England last week, and faced criticism for leaving the NHS to join a health tech firm— days after the long-term plan called for a major NHS expansion in the sector.

Bauer, one of the top officials who worked on the NHS Long-Term Plan, is accused of a conflict of interest after she wrote a high-profile article in The Times newspaper praising Kry, a video appointment app, without disclosing she had been hired by the company.

In the article last week, and under her NHS title, Bauer wrote that data provided by “Europe’s biggest video GP consultation provider” showed “high levels of patient and GP satisfaction.”

She said that from April she would taking up a new job at “one of the largest and most trusted digital healthcare providers in Europe,” but did not specify that she would be joining Kry, leading to NHS England distancing themselves from the article.

Speaking to the Financial Times (FT), Meg Hillier, chair of the public accounts committee (PAC), labelled the article a “puff piece advert for the new employer,” and said she was “shocked at the lack of judgement.”
“This revolving door of senior officials going into businesses they have worked with has long been an issue but this is brazen,” Hillier added, arguing that the move was “jaw-droppingly inappropriate.”

As reported in the FT, the chief clinical information officer for health and care Simon Eccles defended his former colleague and said she was a “fantastic” during her time at the NHS, but acknowledged that the article had been inappropriate.

He said: “I think muddling that (view) with any individual commercial provider, which that piece did, was a mistake.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘I now work for a company who’s trying to do this and I think that this company will do great things’ once you’ve left us, but that’s not what happened.”

Bauer announced her departure days after the long-term plan she helped to develop was published, but Eccles emphasised that she could not have had any undue influence over the tech-focused NHS Long-Term Plan.”

http://www.nationalhealthexecutive.com/Robot-News/outgoing-nhs-digital-chief-wrote-puff-piece-for-future-employer-in-jaw-droppingly-inappropriate-behaviour

“David Davis Reveals £3,000-An-HOUR Job With Firm Led By No-Deal Brexit Champion”

“David Davis has landed a £3,000-an-hour job with JCB, the multi-national construction giant led by a billionaire who has championed a no-deal Brexit.

Theresa May’s former Brexit Secretary disclosed his lucrative role as ‘external advisor’ for Lord Anthony Bamford’s firm in the official MP register of interests on Thursday.

It was revealed the Tory MP will make £60,000-a-year in 2019 and 2020 working just 20-hours-a-year for the firm. …”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/david-davis-lands-ps3000-an-hour-job-with-firm-led-by-no-deal-brexit-champion_uk_5c48aa5ee4b025aa26bf5e22

MP who earns (possibly massively) over £350,000 gets loan from lobbyist for office and staffing costs

Pigs, snouts, troughs – though with this income and STILL needing a loan maybe he needs some help or counselling?

£275,000 from Daily Telegraph, his MP’s salaryand expenses AND staffing costs. AND his Register of Interests (in full after the article) shows another £100,000+ from other sources.

“Boris Johnson received £23,000 in loans and donations last month from a company run by the Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby, official documents have revealed.

The former foreign secretary, who is widely regarded as a potential Conservative leadership contender, declared he had been given an interest-free loan of £20,000 from CTF Partners, in the latest register of MPs’ interests.

Earmarked for “office and staffing costs”, the loan is due to be repaid by 20 January. Johnson also received a £3,000 donation from CTF Partners before Christmas. …

[Johnson] He has since become a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph, using the platform to to offer a strident critique of the government’s Brexit strategy. According to the register of MPs’ interests, Johnson receives £275,000 a year for the column, which he has estimated takes him 10 hours a month to write.

Johnson was criticised in December after it emerged he had accepted a £14,000 trip to Saudi Arabia from the country’s foreign affairs ministry only a few days before the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul.

Crosby was closely involved in May’s disastrous 2017 general election campaign. The £4m the Conservative party paid for his company’s services was its single biggest outlay. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/11/boris-johnson-received-23000-from-lynton-crosby-strategy-firm

BORIS JOHNSON REGISTER OF INTERESTS (in full as of today):

Johnson, Boris (Uxbridge and South Ruislip)

Johnson, Boris (Uxbridge and South Ruislip)
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Hodder and Stoughton UK, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DZ, via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE:
29 September 2017, received £15,372.17 for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

17 October 2017, received £1,167.40 for Bulgarian and Hungarian subrights and royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

8 February 2018, received £499.49 for Czech subrights on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 12 March 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

30 March 2018, received £6,013.27 for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 17 April 2018)

17 April 2018, received £560.13 for Czech subrights on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 09 May 2018)

10 July 2018, received £11,290.17 for French and US royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 22 August 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

28 September 2018, received £8,968.27 via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE, for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 02 November 2018)

12 December 2018, received £525.12 for Hungarian subrights on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 17 December 2018)
Payments from HarperCollins UK, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE:

26 September 2017, received £1,382.58 for advance on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

11 January 2018, received £5,970.76 for US and Dutch royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 05 February 2018)
5 July 2018, received £37.82 for French royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 22 August 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

23 October 2018, received £491.75 via Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN, for royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 02 November 2018)

Payments from HarperCollins UK, 1 London Bridge St, London SE1 9GF, via Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN:
30 September 2017, received £42.79 for royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

30 April 2018, received £244.91 for royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 09 May 2018)

5 September 2017, received £63.72 from Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE, for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered

20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.
From 11 July 2018 until 10 July 2019, articles for the Telegraph Media Group Ltd, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT, for which I expect to receive £22,916.66 a month. Hours: 10 hrs a month. First payment received on

13 August 2018. I consulted ACoBA about this appointment. (Registered 17 September 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

28 September 2018, received £800 from The Spectator (1828) Ltd, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, for an article. Hours: 2 hours. (Registered 15 October 2018)

9 October 2018, received £2,000 from Associated Newspapers Ltd, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, for an article. Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 02 November 2018)

2 November 2018, received £94,507.85 from GoldenTree Asset Management, 300 Park Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10022 via Chartwell Speakers, 14 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HN, for a speaking engagement on 8 November 2018. Travel and accommodation also provided. Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 09
November 2018)

2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Jon Wood
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation, or nature and value if donation in kind: £50,000 for office and staffing costs
Date received: 1 October 2018
Date accepted: 1 October 2018
Donor status: individual
(Registered 17 October 2018)

Name of donor: CTF Partners Limited
Address of donor: 4th Floor, 6 Chesterfield Gardens, London W1J 5BQ
Amount of donation: Interest free loan of £20,000 for office and staffing costs, to be repaid by 20 January 2019.
Date received: 20 December 2018
Date accepted: 20 December 2018
Donor status: company, registration 07196537
(Registered 04 January 2019)

Name of donor: CTF Partners Limited
Address of donor: 4th Floor, 6 Chesterfield Gardens, London W1J 5BQ
Amount of donation: £3,000 for office and staffing costs.
Date received: 21 December 2018
Date accepted: 21 December 2018
Donor status: company, registration 07196537
(Registered 04 January 2019)

3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources

Name of donor: Surrey County Cricket Club
Address of donor: The Kia Oval, Kennington, London SE11 5SS
Amount of donation, or nature and value if donation in kind: Two tickets with hospitality to Test Match at the Oval, value £1,800
Date received: 8 September 2018
Date accepted: 8 September 2018
Donor status: company, registration IP27896R
(Registered 01 October 2018)

Name of donor: Democratic Unionist Party
Address of donor: 91 Dundela Avenue, Belfast BT4 3BU
Amount of donation, or nature and value if donation in kind: Hospitality and travel to Belfast for myself and a member of staff, estimated value £355.94
Date received: 24 November 2018
Date accepted: 24 November 2018
Donor status: registered political party
(Registered 20 December 2018)

4. Visits outside the UK

Name of donor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Address of donor: 1789 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036
Estimate of the probable value (or amount of any donation): For myself, flights £6,666.09, hotel accommodation £1,459.52 and other costs of £1,059.56; for my staff member, flights £6,666.09, hotel £994.82; total £16,846.09
Destination of visit: Washington DC, USA
Dates of visit: 13-15 September 2018
Purpose of visit: To receive Irving Kristol Award at AEI Annual Dinner.
(Registered 15 October 2018)

Name of donor: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Address of donor: PO Box 55937, Riyadh 11544
Estimate of the probable value (or amount of any donation): Travel, food and accommodation, estimated value of £14,000
Destination of visit: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Dates of visit: 19 – 21 September 2018
Purpose of visit: Meeting with regional figures to promote education for women and girls.
(Registered 17 October 2018)

6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
From 1 November 2016, house in London, owned jointly with my wife: (i) and, from 1 March 2017, (ii). (Registered 20 March 2017)

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/190107/johnson_boris.htm