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Daily Archives: 2011-08-20

Why we should include PFI in the national debt


From: http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/campaign/2011/08/include-pfi-national-debt.html

There is much talk of PFI in this morning’s news; the Treasury Select Committee has warned that many Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals are poor value for taxpayers and the cost of those that have been badly negotiated has shot up.

A huge amount of taxpayers’ money is spent via controversial PFI schemes and Andrew Tyrie, of the Treasury Select Committee, said on Today that whilst taxpayers are “getting ripped off” by PFI schemes they are often not aware how bad the situation is because PFI is not counted as part of our official national debt. The insidious characteristic of PFI deals is that they allow the Government to spend taxpayers’ money without really fully admitting that it’s spending it, or promising to spend it in the future.

We highlighted the importance of counting PFI as part of the national debt in our research paper, The Real National Debt, written in 2010 and using figures for the financial year 2009-10. For the first time we laid bare the startling growth of the real national debt over the last decade. At the time of that paper it stood at £300,000 for every single household in Britain; for most ordinary families it would represent the whopping second mortgage you never knew you had.

Bringing PFI fully onto the balance sheet and including it in the headline figure of national debt would, at a stroke, add a good few billion to the amount we admit we owe. It sounds terrifying but it’s hugely important that the liabilities for PFI are more transparent; at the moment the true scale of what taxpayers are on the hook for is disguised. Once we’ve faced up to the PFI problem why stop there? Shouldn’t we also look at the huge liabilities we have thanks to unfunded public sector pensions and unfunded state pensions? The debt from bailing out the banks is still very much sitting on our books, add that too and we’re nudging £8 trillion.

Once you get above a few million I think it gets all too easy to throw around billions and trillions discussing these matters. We created this video to try and illustrate the scale of the numbers we were talking about in our report. This useful graphic relates to US dollars but also gives you some serious perspective on what a few trillion looks like.

The Government should be responsible not just for the money that it spends but for the PFI deals that it signs taxpayers up to, because that represents our money or our children’s money.

 

Unemployed people ‘bullied’ into unpaid work


from: http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4029

Unemployed people ‘bullied’ into unpaid work at Tesco, Primark and other multinationals August 12, 2011

Unemployed people are being sent to work without pay in multinational corporations, including Tesco, Asda, Primark and Hilton Hotels, by Jobcentres and companies administering the government’s welfare reforms. Some are working for up to six months while receiving unemployment benefit of £67.50 a week or less.

The government says that unpaid work placements, which are also given in small businesses, voluntary organisations and public sector bodies, help people gain vital experience and prepare them for the workplace, but campaigners argue they provide companies with free labour, undercut existing jobs and that people are “bullied” into them.

In an interview published by Corporate Watch today, a woman who was given a placement in Primark for six months, under the previous government’s welfare programme, says her work was the same as that of other paid staff and that she was not given a job at the end of it. She also says she was told her benefits would be stopped if she did not attend.

A variety of multinational companies in the retail and service sectors appear to be taking people on unpaid placements. Employment services company Working Links, which has been awarded contracts to administer the coalition’s flagship Work Programme in Wales, Scotland and the South West of England, told Corporate Watch it worked with all the major retailers across Britain and “actively promoted volunteering as a tool to help our customers in their journey to find sustainable employment.”

A Tesco spokesperson said the company has 3,000 work experience placements for “the young unemployed,” while Asda and Sainsbury’s are both named in a list, obtained last month under the Freedom of Information Act, of companies, voluntary and public sector bodies taking unpaid work placements organised by A4e, another employment company contracted by the government, although Sainsbury’s denied working with A4e.

This comes after the discounter Poundland had been revealed to be taking people on unpaid placements earlier this year (see here).

The corporate placements are not limited to retail: Hilton Hotels told Corporate Watch they have “committed to 100 placements at hotels around the country – that’s more than one for every hotel we operate.”

Explaining the reasons behind its involvement, Hilton said: “the work experience initiative will help unemployed young people to develop the skills needed to secure a sustainable job,” but campaigners critical of these “workfare” programmes question why the companies are not paying a proper wage.

A spokesperson for the Boycott Workfare campaign said: “These placements are not designed to help people into full-time paid work but they serve to increase organisations’ profits. They provide a constant stream of free labour and suppress wages by replacing paid workers with unpaid workers. People are coerced, bullied and sanctioned into taking the placements. Placements in the public sector and charities are no better and are making volunteering compulsory. This is taking away the right of a person to sell their own labour and their free will to choose who they volunteer their time for.”

When asked by Corporate Watch, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) did not say how many placements led to paid jobs. Tesco said “many work placement staff starting on work placements will become Tesco employees,” while Hilton said “a number” of young people are offered full-time positions at the end of their placement. Asda and Primark did not comment. Sainsbury’s said they organise their own ‘You Can’ programme, outside the government schemes, which they said always leads to paid work.

People are sent to work unpaid through different government schemes, all under the Get Britain Working banner. Tesco and Hilton are taking 18-24 year olds for between two to eight weeks on Work Experience Placements direct from Jobcentres. People were sent to Primark and Asda by contracted employment companies through the previous government’s Flexible New Deal for up to six months and this will be continued in the recently started Work Programme. The DWP said the decision to send people to corporations under the Work Programme will be made by the employment provider companies as they see fit.

This is in addition to the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, through which 20,000 people will be sent to work (unpaid) for up to 30 hours a week for 4 weeks. The DWP said these jobs will “deliver a contribution to the local community” and will not involve major corporations.

Do you know any other companies taking unpaid work placements? Contact Corporate Watch on 02074260005 or contact[at]corporatewatch.org

 


I found this funny:

From: http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2011/07/25/london-2012-crass-commercial-and-completely-acceptable/london2012_logo/

 
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Posted by on 2011-08-20 in Humour

 

Norman Scarth: from Wake Up Orkney 2011-08-19


From: https://wakeuporkney.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/free-norman-scarth/

Complaints have been lodged with various bodies about Norman’s treatment.

This has gone beyond a joke.

Please publicise if you can. He has now served longer than Lord Ahmed who killed a man on the motorway shortly after texting. Ahmed served just 16 days. Refresh your memory here.

These emails arrived in my inbox this morning:

Mr. Geof Dobson Prison Reform Trust

15 Northburgh Street

London

ED1V oJR

Dear Mr. Dobson:

NORMAN SCARTH LEEDS PRISON A1903CF

JUDGE JONATHAN ROSE BRADFORD CROWN COURT

CASE S20110514, COURT 5, JULY 26, 2011 

I wish to draw your attention to a very serious and urgent problem, to which authorities are not responding, and the vindictive circumstances under which a severe and unjust sentence was meted out to Mr. Norman Scarth. Nobody at all is responding; in particular, government ministers who have the power to intervene, yet are wilfully blind, or attempt to be so. 

I ask that you take emergency action by using your influence to help Norman Scarth, who is suffering torturous conditions, and denied medications and access to a lawyer.

Judge Jonathan Rose of Bradford Crown Court committed Norman to Leeds Class B Prison for six months, which he is spending in solitary confinement. He is charged with contempt of court for attempting to switch on a recording device in court.

The courts are denying his right to habeas corpus and it seems that the intent is to cause Mr. Scarth’s premature death in Leeds Prison, simply for turning on a recording device.

There is much media attention surrounding this case, and we intend to release more details to the media at the beginning of the week, along with filing a complaint with the UN and EU for the gross violations of Human Rights Conventions, which filing will take place before the end of the day on Monday, August 15, 2011.

Leeds Court Manager has denied Mr. Scarth’s Writ of Habeas Corpus, twice, and now the Royal Courts of Justice in London is similarly blocking the processing. A full week has already passed, and there is obviously criminal collusion to deny Mr. Scarth, an 85 year old World War II veteran, his rights as a human being.

Her Majesty has been made aware of all the details of this case by the Governor General of Canada. Mr. Scarth was brought into the courtroom like a common criminal, in handcuffs, July 26,  and sentenced by Judge Jonathan Rose.

There is a huge public outcry, and this matter will not be laid to rest.

I am sure you will be similarly outraged.

Your sincerely,

XXXX XXXXX


and:

For the urgent attention of the addressees:
Mr. Nick Hardwick, HM Inspector of Prisons
Rt. Hon. Crispin Blunt, Prisons Minister
Mr. Michael Spurr, National Offenders Management Service
Mr. Paul Baker, Governor, Leeds Prison
Ms. Emma Marshall, Prisons and Probations Ombudsman Assessment Team
The Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke, MP, Secretary of State for Justice
Ms. Maggie Woods, HMPS Healthcare Manager, Leeds Prison
Ms. Ann Lavery, PALS NHS Leeds
Dear Sirs:
WITHOUT PREJUDICE – NORMAN SCARTH PRISONER A1903AC – LEEDS PRISON
You are hereby put on notice for your failure to attend to the matter of Mr. Norman Scarth’s unlawful confinement and official complaints, as advised in previous urgent emails.
Further to previous correspondenceon the matter of Norman Scarth, I wish to impress upon your that significant delay on your authority’s part may well prove fatal to Mr. Scarth, who is an 85 year old gentleman with health problems. You are aware of the relationship between distress and cardiac arrest. It is clear from Mr. Scarth’s correspondence that the Prison is placing him in severe distress. This places him at high risk of deterioration. Essentially, the matter is simple – Mr. Scarth should not be in prison, as he is not a danger to the public. It is therefore in the interests of the prison to avoid a fatality. In order to do that, you must recommend that his sentence and complaints be reviewed immediately.

I am therefore making the following points. Your response/or lack of will be used in the formal complaint made to the United Nations.

1. Attached are further complaints from Mr. Scarth, which are not being actioned, and Ms. Emma Marshall has already been advised of this. I am placing you on notice that Norman Scarth, Prisoner A1903CF, Leeds Prison, is complaining about Age Discrimination and the fear of being abused by prison officers while showering. He is unable, therefore, to attend to personal hygiene.

The  other matters outlined in the attached documents, include
a. Denial of his basic rights,
b. Denial of his medications,
c. Denial of access to legal counsel
d. Theft of his property by prison staff.
2. You have already been advised that his complaints are not being processed. I am therefore  requesting an immediate intervention. Mr Scarth is a human being, and British subject in distress. It will therefore be considered wilful negligence, in the event no immediate action is taken. Unfortunately, slow correspondence will not do when someone is in physical distress and you have been wilfully blind in this matter. In the event this lack of action results in Norman’s death, those who have not acted will be held personally liable.
3. Wilful blindness will be considered criminal recklessness. All parties have been previously advised that Mr. Scarth has been denied his prescribed pain medication and, by denying him, all parties herein are aware of his torture in Leeds Prison, and will be held culpable.
4. Your authorities have a duty of care,  and should have acted immediately in order to alleviate the problem. As this has not happened, it will be considered gross negligence. Should anything happen to Mr. Scarth, it will be gross negligence causing death, which is a very serious matter indeed.5. May I ask that you provide all internal documents, as I wish to make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act combined with a Freedom of Information Act to access all internal documentation relevant to my formal complaint to yourselves.In light of the seriousness of this issue, I shall be grateful if  Ms. Marshall  would re-evaluate her plan of action. URGENT intervention is required by all parties to this communication.

In conclusion, please advise, on the basis of previous complaints and several contacts made with Ms Emma Marshall, and the attached further complaints (none of which have been actioned by the prison), and including the complaint that complaints are not being actioned, how you intend to proceed and, when. You will no doubt agree that it is simply not adequate or acceptable for any of you evade the issues in light of the emergency nature of this issue.

As I have explained before to Ms. Emma Marshall, the delays that have been characteristic of this case are currently totally unacceptable. Significant stress leading to a cardiac arrest will result in death. Given the mortality rate of Leeds Prison is already significantly high, it may be in the authority’s best interests for immediate intervention. This may prevent future litigation and adverse publicity.

I hope to hear from you within 24 hours. If I have not heard from you, this document will be sent to the Special Rapporteurs at the United Nations accompanied by a formal complaint against the UK’s failure to care for its elderly prisoners in line with current human rights and equality legislation. Please review this link  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/torture/rapporteur/appeals.htm in relation to the steps that will be taken in 24 hours regarding the gross violation of civil liberties meted out on a elderly gentleman in the care of your authorities.

Best wishes,
Yours sincerely,
What a disgusting nation we live in.
Norman Scarth’s case was presented today at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Norman attended by video link from Leeds, was in good mental health, and he presented his case to the judge in very respectful and polite terms.

Judge Wyn Williams DENIED NORMAN DUE PROCESS OF THE LAW. He adjourned the case until next week, sending Norman back to prison. There was coverage by Russian TV, and a few members of the press.

The judge ordered that Norman be allowed to have contact with legal representation, which the prison has been denying him. However, he refused to order that Norman be given his prescription medication, thereby forcing Norman to be kept in torture for a further week.

The judge did not release Norman and there were loud shouts and cries from the public gallery. Judge Williams was seen to be shaking.

Judge Wyn Williams has summoned Kenneth Clarke, Minister of Justice to Court next week, along with the Prison Governor, Paul Baker of Leeds Prison, who was supposed to have been present today, but was not.

Norman’s supporters are calling for the public WORLDWIDE to sign the public petition to FREE NORMAN, Arctic Convoy veteran hero, 86 years old who is being denied his human rights and medication in Leeds Prison, UK.

Will the public please help Norman Scarth by signing the petition as quickly as possible and telling all their friends? Will you please help with the campaign by spreading the word far and wide, contacting the media with this story, and  any and all contacts you may have so that this will go viral and we will get more names on the petition.
We need many more by next week.

 

Norman Scarth: from The Voice of Russia


From: http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/08/19/54896706.html

British Themis against WWII veteran

The London High Court ruled on Thursday that British WWII veteran Norman Scarth, sentenced to six months in prison for audio recording in court, will remain in custody.

The 86-year-old was put behind bars in the city of Leeds after he used a sound recording device during a court hearing, which is against the law in Britain. While admitting the breach of law, Scarth and his supporters also pointed to a disproportionately harsh verdict against the British veteran, who has already sent a plea for mercy to Queen Elizabeth.

A prominent human rights activist, Scarth was imprisoned on July 25, 2011 for making a recording of a Royal Court hearing in Bradford. Scarth, who has hearing problems, explained that he decided to use his dictation device after he discovered the absence of head-phones in the court. He was quickly sentenced to six months in a prison for serious offenders later that day. Since then, he has been denied all visitors and medical aid – something that infuriated his supporters who continue to demand his immediate release. More than 900 people have already signed a petition to this effect, which was posted on the Internet earlier this week.

The Scarth case and the petition were then submitted to an appeals court, which said its “No” to the veteran’s release on Thursday. Right now, Scarth’s supporters are calling for a public probe into the matter.

During the Second World War, Scarth was a crewmember of the Matchless destroyer, which took part in the so-called northern convoys, tasked with delivering military hardware and food to the Soviet ports of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. In this regard, Scarth certainly deserves to be pardoned, but meddling in Britain’s domestic affairs is not up our alley, of course, our political commentator says.

That the London court refused to release Scarth on bail really raises eyebrows, our commentator adds, pointing to the court’s soft sentences in relation to those taking part in recent riots in London and other British cities. Those public enemies were freed on bail in a move that our commentator says indicates Britain’s backsliding on democracy.

The past seven months have seen a whole array of human rights abuses in Britain, which notably still remains in the grip of the phone-hacking scandal related to the News of the World tabloid.  Adding fuel to the public fire was the recently declassified information about tortures used by British special services against suspected terrorists. As for the Scarth case, it once again confirms the fact that something is wrong with British society, which Prime Minister David Cameron said should be “repaired” as soon as possible.

 
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Posted by on 2011-08-20 in Crime, Norman Scarth

 

Norman Scarth: update from Victims Unite! 2011-08-18


From: http://victims-unite.net/2011/08/18/norman-scarth-on-video-in-royal-courts-of-justice-today-with-some-30-supporters/

Norman Scarth’s case (summarised on the petition to free him) was presented today at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Norman attended by video link from Leeds, was in good mental health, and he presented his case to the judge in very respectful and polite terms.

Judge Wyn Williams DENIED NORMAN DUE PROCESS OF THE LAW. He adjourned the case until next week, sending Norman back to prison. There was coverage by Russian TV, and a few members of the press.

The judge ordered that Norman be allowed to have contact with legal representation, which the prison has been denying him. However, he refused to order that Norman be given his prescription medication, thereby forcing Norman to be kept in torture for a further week.

The judge did not release Norman and there were loud shouts and cries from the public gallery. Judge Williams was seen to be shaking.

Judge Wyn Williams said the Court will notify the Secretary of State about next week’s hearing, as well as the Prison Governor, Paul Baker of Leeds Prison, who was supposed to have been present today, but was not.

Norman’s supporters are calling for the public WORLDWIDE to sign the public petition to FREE NORMAN, Arctic Convoy veteran hero, 86 years old who is being denied his human rights and medication in Leeds Prison, UK.

Will the public please help Norman Scarth by signing the petition as quickly as possible and telling all their friends?

Will you please help with the campaign by spreading the word far and wide, contacting the media with this story, and  any and all contacts you may have so that this will go viral and we will get more names on the petition?

We need many more by next week.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/free-wwii-veteran-norman-scarth-from-leeds-prison.html

Please do send the link to the marvellous comments or print them and send them by mail:

http://victimsunite.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/11-08-17-free-norman-scarth.pdf

A press release can be found here.

More news on http://justicefornormanscarth.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on 2011-08-20 in Crime, Norman Scarth

 
 
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