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Congratulations to the New Economics Foundation for some startling facts and figures here: http://bit.ly/PrgHx8 I have blogged previously about income and wealth inequality, but even I was startled to see these facts and figures. The wealthiest 1% now have more property-based wealth than the other 99% of society. And the top 1% have a greater total aggregate wealth of all types than the bottom half of the population. Two thirds of the wealthiest 1% work in finance. Now who was...

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24 Jul 2012

So, now we know were all the money went. A Tax Justice Network report (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18944097) claims that a tiny international rich elite has siphoned off into tax havens a staggering £13 trillion pounds! Just to be clear, 13 trillion is actually 13 million, million pounds! Or 13 thousand billion pounds ! (Nice link here to a graphic to show you what a trillion dollars might look like- http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html). It is the size of the entire US and Japanese economies combined....

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7 Jun 2012
There IS an Alternative!

My last two blogs have emphasized how bad things are with the economy and the cuts. Some people have asked “what’s your alternative”? Well here goes………. Boost revenues by taxing those with wealth and assets properly There is VAST wealth out there. The richest 1000 people in the UK alone have assets of £400bn. The last study on land ownership six years ago revealed that just 0.6% of the population owned a staggering 69% of all land – indications suggest...

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29 Apr 2012
Government by the toffs for the toffs

I recently gave a presentation at the annual conference of the Horsham District Community Partnership. For the first time for years, I was criticised by local councillors for “depressing them”. Maybe they had a point. Equally, however, I think that a lot of people are in denial about how bad things are. Week of gloom The last week has seen four key announcements or reports that reveal what is really going on. The Office of National Statistics published economic data...

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22 Mar 2012

Quite simply, I’ve been just too depressed to blog recently. And this week – the passing of the NHS Bill and yesterday’s Budget made me feel worse. When I described last December this Government as the most reactionary in my (long) lifetime, a few responded with complaints of exaggeration. Surely, Cameron and Clegg could not be compared unfavourably to Thatcher. Thatcher as a closet socialist? Well, let’s take a look. For the first 9 years of Margaret Thatcher’s Government, the...

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30 Jan 2012
Council Tax

Council tax is the one tax everyone hates to pay! Why? Because, unlike income tax or VAT, it’s not deducted at source – you get a bill with the amount you need to pay on it. And unlike our national taxes, you can see very directly in your local area how council tax money is spent. That’s good: local people should feel they have a say over the money they give to national or local government. But it also means...

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19 Dec 2011
Review of 2011

What a year! A year where the political dividing lines were drawn more clearly than ever, here and abroad, where it became crystal clear that: 1) it will be the poorest and the most vulnerable who will be forced to pay for the economic crisis; 2) the bankers who caused the crisis will continue to get away with it unscathed; 3) the political and economic elite have no intention or capability of tacking the linked environmental crisis of over-consumption. It’s...

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10 Nov 2011
The world is spinning out of control….

The world is spinning out of control. A new report (http://bit.ly/tiXfGN) from the International Energy Authority (hardly a bunch of dangerous radicals) says we now have 5 years to significantly reverse the continuing growth in fossil-fuelled power stations. If we don’t, and there is lots of evidence suggesting we won’t, then by 2017 the planet will have reached the point at which we can no longer safely presume we can control climate change – “the door will be closed forever”....

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20 Oct 2011
Accidents waiting to happen

Another Care Quality Commission report – another ghastly story about elderly patients being neglected. Local Government managers might well be thinking: “there but for the grace of God, go I”. Reading the Care Quality Commission report on how one fifth of hospitals might be breaking the law on their poor care for the elderly, it is a salutary reminder of the value of what have become dirty words in recent years – regulation and inspection. These unannounced inspections found dreadfully...

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So, as promised/threatened, CLG has produced its one page Best Value Guidance to replace all the previous stuff. You can find it here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/1976926.pdf The Government has revoked the whole 2008 statutory guidance “Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities”, which included general Best Value guidance on commissioning. And the introduction to this new Best Value Guidance reiterates the Government’s intention to repeal the statutory duties to prepare a Sustainable Community Strategy and the Duty to Inform, Consult & Involve. For...

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