“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

You are classed as “employed” if you work ONE HOUR A WEEK!

No wonder employment figures look good!

“BBC Reality Check asked the Office for National Statistics (ONS) whether working just one hour a week was all that was needed to be officially classified as employed?

The ONS confirmed that was the case.

Every three months, a large survey (known as the Labour Force Survey) is sent to approximately 90,000 people, selected at random. The ONS extrapolates the findings to produce employment bulletins.

Those selected to take part in the LFS are interviewed every three months for fifteen months before they drop out of the sample. Interviews are initially done face-to-face and follow-up ones are done by phone. The one exception is the north of Scotland where all interviews are done over the phone because of the distance involved.

A person will need to have worked at least one hour in the week before the interview with the ONS takes place to be classified as employed. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46264291

Seaton Lib Dem Councillor ‘censors’ councillor publicising bus consultation

Astounding that something as neutral (and important) as a consultation on changes to major bus routes to and from Seaton should be censored. And even a pitiful and low-bar excuse of a ‘political post’ (assuming that is the reason) doesn’t hold water as Councillor Shaw is not up for re-election until 2022!

Councillor Burrows, in the other hand, IS up for re-election on 2 May 2019 – even though he had to resign as Mayor, admitted that he had brought the town council into disrepute AND was censured by EDDC – if the Lib Dems can’t find a better candidate! If they can’t, it really doesn’t say much for the quality of their current membership in Seaton!

From the blog of Seaton and Colyton East Devon Alliance DCC Councillor Martin Shaw:

“Seaton EDDC and town councillor Peter Burrows (pictured in his Facebook logo with the late Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown) resigned as mayor in January after self-confessedly ‘bringing the town council into disrepute’ after abusing a ‘Tourist Information Centre’ Twitter account to pursue a personal grudge.

Now, in the very week in which East Devon’s Monitoring Officer has formally censured him on four counts, Burrows and his co-administrator, Tony Antoniou, have abused their positions as admins on a community Facebook group to remove me from the group, as I found when I tried to post details of the Stagecoach bus consultation to the group, to which I’ve belonged for years. No warning was given and neither has responded to requests for an explanation.

This example of arbitrary censorship raises two fingers to Town Council recommendations – in response to Burrows’ January actions and expected to be adopted in two weeks’ time – that councillors should ‘behave responsibly, considerately and professionally’ on social media and should NOT be Facebook admins.

It is laughable for Burrows to call himself a Liberal Democrat. This self-appointed Town Censor has no respect for the idea that a community Facebook group – the group in question is called Positive Development for Everyone in Seaton and was set up after a community meeting – should be open to a County Councillor to post important local information, and indeed for members to express views different from the admins’.

There is a long history of Burrows arbitrarily removing people and posts from different Facebook groups. I have considerable respect for the Liberal Democrats – their members on the County Council are fine councillors and I work with them closely – but Burrows is bringing his party into disrepute. I am reporting him to their regional organisation for his latest antics.”

Seaton’s rogue councillor is at it again on Facebook. I’m reporting him to the Liberal Democrats, because this self-appointed Town Censor certainly isn’t a liberal. Paddy Ashdown must be turning in his grave.

No anti-corruption move on property ownership since promised in 2016

“More than £100bn of property in England and Wales is secretly owned, new analysis suggests. More than 87,000 properties are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens, research by the transparency group Global Witness reveals.

The analysis reveals that 40% of the properties are in London. Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, where the average property costs £3m, hosts at least 134 secretly owned properties. Buckingham Palace Road is also home to a large number, with a combined estimated value of £350m.

The revelation comes as parliament’s joint select committee on the draft registration of overseas entities bill meets on Monday to hear evidence on the impact of property ownership by anonymous companies.

The government committed to introduce a register of UK property owners at its anti-corruption summit in 2016, but since then progress has been slow.

“It’s increasingly clear that UK property is one of the favourite tools of the criminal and corrupt for stashing and laundering stolen cash,” said Ava Lee, senior anti-corruption campaigner at Global Witness.

“This analysis reveals the alarming scale of the UK’s secret property scandal.”

The combined value of the properties was at least £56bn, according to historical Land Registry data at the time of their acquisition. Once inflation is factored in this would exceed £100bn.

Some 10,000 of the properties are in Westminster, while almost 6,000 are in Kensington and Chelsea. Camden is home to more than 2,300 of the anonymously owned properties while almost 2,000 are in Tower Hamlets.

Global Witness says its investigations have shown how criminals and corrupt politicians use the UK property market to hide or clean dirty cash, and to secure safe havens for themselves and their families.

In 2015 it revealed how the mystery owner of a £147m London property empire owned via a network of offshore companies could be linked to a former Kazakh secret police chief accused of murder, torture and money-laundering.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/17/100-billion-of-uk-propert-secretly-owned-anonymous-firms-tax-havens

“Right to Buy homes re-sold since 2000 made £6.4bn in profit” (many sold within 6 weeks)

Proof that the destruction of social housing is a Conservative policy.

“A former council tenant bought their home under Right to Buy for £8,000 and sold it on for £285,000 nine days later – a £277,000 profit, the BBC found.

The Solihull buyer was among 140 in Great Britain who bought and resold within one month, making a £3m collective profit.

Opponents of the scheme said too many people had profited from a policy that had “much bigger social ambitions”.

Supporters said Right to Buy helped people secure their financial future.
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) said it was “shocking to see the extent of the profit margin in black and white”.

It called for the scheme to be suspended in England. In January it was halted in Wales, as it was in Scotland in 2016.

Housing commentator Henry Pryor said: “Far too many… simply profited from a scheme that had much bigger social ambitions”. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47443183

“Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘has earned £7,000,000 from investments since Brexit’

Isn’t the (dormant) company that Swire owns with his Russian oligarch-serving pal Lord Barker set up to invest in “emerging markets”?

Wouldn’t it be super if profits MPs made while in Parliament had to go to their constituencies!

“The rest of Britain might be fretting about the impact of a no-deal Brexit, but leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg is doing very nicely, thanks. An investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches found that the Conservative MP could have earned up to £7,000,000 from Somerset Capital Managment, which invests in emerging markets such as China and Russsia. In the programme, one expert suggests that the fall in the value of the pound has helped to drive SCM’s profits – but Rees-Mogg dismissed such claims as ‘living in cloud cuckoo land’.

Rees-Mogg refused to disclose his earnings from the firm, of which he owns 15% and which he set up in 2007. Records show that its profits have doubled and it has paid £47m to members since the referendum. Rees-Mogg told Dispatches, ‘The amount that I received is not for public disclosure. I’m entitled to the same privacy in my affairs as anyone else in parliament is.

Mr Rees-Mogg declares in his House of Commons Register of Interests that he is paid £500 an hour for his work at SCM and takes home around £15,000 a month on top of his MPs salary. SCM invests in emerging markets like China and Russia and one expert said that the fall in the value of the pound since the referendum result has helped SCM’s profits. Rees-Mogg also rejected claims that SCM’s decision in the past year to open two new funds in Dublin rather than London had anything to with Brexit.

Our decision to do it predates Brexit,’ he told the programme. Dispatches also revealed how some hedge funds have built up huge bets against British business and hoping to make big profits if the economy hits the rocks after Brexit.

Dispatches reveals that the US investment firm Blackrock holds the most bets against British business totalling more than £1bn. The hedge fund run by leading Brexiteer Crispin Odey is betting almost £500m against British businesses. Odey made more than £200m on the night of the referendum by betting that the value of the pound would plummet.”

https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/11/jacob-rees-mogg-earned-7000000-investments-since-brexit-8884678/

No Brexit problems for Rees-Mogg

“Profits in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s investment empire are soaring and more than doubled in the last four years, a TV investigation will show tomorrow.

A Channel 4 Dispatches programme will highlight the surging fortunes of Somerset Capital Management LLP, a firm co-founded and co-owned by the Tory hard Brexiteer.

SCM’s publicly-available accounts show its operating profit rose from £14.7m in the year to March 2015, to £18.3m in 2016, £27.8m in 2017 and £34.1m in 2018.

Meanwhile the profits available for distribution among members have risen from £11.5m in 2015 to £14.4m in 2016, £21.9m in 2017 and £25.3m in 2018. …”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/profits-jacob-rees-moggs-investment-14114954