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Here’s some money for Canadians to save

Israel has destroyed or damaged 80% of schools in Gaza. This is scholasticide
Chandni Desai

Where’s this idea coming from then?

Chandni Desai is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who teaches in the critical studies in equity and solidarity program

A program that can be usefully closed down then.

Here’s another one

She said: “We need to see a departure from top-down accountability approaches, which stifle collaborative practice and drive unnecessary stress, and move towards a model of practitioner-led evaluation, with time invested to facilitate a more collegiate approach and peer review.

“A practical first step would be to put an end to the insidious practice of labelling schools through grading processes.”

Yep, fuck off. Teachers’ union insisting just give us all the money and don’t you dare try to measure how well it’s spent.

Umm, yes, OK

Aid shipments into southern Gaza are being squeezed out by commercial convoys, humanitarian organisations say, at a time when Israel’s military push into Rafah has choked off supply routes critical to feeding hundreds of thousands of people.

Deliveries of food, medicine and other aid into Gaza fell by two-thirds after Israel began its ground operation on 7 May, UN figures show. But overall the number of trucks entering Gaza rose in May compared with April, according to Israeli officials.

So the private sector is achieving that desired goal of supplyin’ the place. This is bad because it’s not aid?

That does appear to be the complaint:

Aid workers have long called for more trade into Gaza, to complement the supplies they can deliver. Food for sale allows those who can afford it to have a healthier, more varied diet, and potentially take some pressure off the demand for aid.

But if bringing more food to markets comes at the cost of aid deliveries,

Yep.

A fairly basic problem

The lifetime allowance capped the amount savers could put into their pension before being taxed on contributions.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt abolished the £1,073,100 limit last year, in an effort to stop experienced NHS staff quitting the workforce to avoid tax bills.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves quickly swore to reverse the move – calling it a “tax cut for the wealthiest in society”.

Labour has insisted that the cap will be reintroduced in a “fair and reasonable way” that would ensure public service leaders including doctors are retained.

There’s no fair way to do that.

Either pension pots above a certain amount are taxed or they’re not. To say that they are except for these speshul peeps isn’t fair.

There’s a sense in wihch I’d welcome someone trying that in fact. Because the swing/roundabout thing would then make it possible to reverse not just that but to also apply reasonable multiples to the standard civil service pensions. Wouldn’t it be exqusite if everyone above, say, undersecretary (and it would be about that level) faced to income tax plus 55%?

Cliches, cliches

OK, so the Brit govt is bad at handing out free money:

He said that most of the claimants “lived in Bulgaria and made claims in which they falsely claimed that they lived and worked here when they did not”.

He added: “Many travelled here for a short period of time to support the claim before returning to Bulgaria with the claim remaining ongoing. Some never even travelled here.”

The main architects of the fraud were, the court heard, Ali and Nikolova.

The gang would begin by finding “customers” in Bulgaria whose personal details they could use to fraudulently pretend they were living and working in the UK.

They would then produce an array of forged documents, including fictitious tenancy agreements, counterfeit payslips, and forged letters from landlords, employers and GPs.

At which point, in goes the Universal Credit claim.

Erm, weren’t we told that migrants were not eligible for public benefits?

Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph from the rundown offices of the organised crime division in Sliven before the sentencing, 47-year-old Mr Panayotov said he believed the gang had been making up to £200 million a year.

Once the benefits were approved, Mr Panaytov claimed the “customers” had to pay a one-off commission of between £500 and £800, after which they would receive on average between £2,000 and £2,500 a month.

Errm yes.

The officer said that the majority of the customers, and commissioners, were from the Roma minority community.

Cliche after cliche, no?

This is not, in fact, true

Thames Water’s biggest investor has slashed the value of its stake in the company to zero in a move that renders the troubled supplier effectively worthless, The Telegraph can disclose.

The Canadian pension fund Omers said it has been forced into a “full write down” of its investment in Thames, a day after withdrawing its representative from the utility company’s board.

The write-down represents a complete loss for Omers, which valued its 31.7pc stake in Thames’ parent Kemble at £700m at the end of 2022.

That is saying that Kemble, the holding company, might be worthless. It is not saying that Thames Water, the ring fenced, regulated, water provider is worth nothing. There’s some amount of debt at the Kemble level which may well be greater than the ability of the dividends from TW to support – thus the worthlessness. Which could even mean that Kemble can be bought for very little, possibly even that those owning that debt take a haircut.

But for all those slavering to nationalise, that doesn’t mean that Thames Water is going to be cheap. Because if yuo do takeover Kemble you can indeed do that cheap – maybe – and impose a hbaircut on the Kemble debt. But the TW debt would still be at full value if you did and thus paying that back would be a cost of the takeover. Further, the TW value belongs, in law, to the Kemble shareholders and creditors.

It’sa a lot more complex – and expensive – than Spud and the like make out.

Fairly cheeky, no?

Millionaire Labour donor Dale Vince has joined a campaign to block Britain’s biggest nuclear power station project.

The entrepreneur, who founded green energy company Ecotricity, has emerged as a patron to Stop Hinkley after accusing the Government of wasting billions of pounds.

Given that, you know, Dale’s cash comes from money wasting by govt?

No wonder we’re fucked

Man builds 10ft-wide house to spite nimby neighbours — take a look inside
The skinny home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, is on sale for $619,000 after its builders went to great lengths (but not widths) to adhere to strict zoning laws

Teeny, tiny, house etc etc etc.

The home, measuring 10ft across by 80ft deep,

On two floors – and so that’s twice the size of the average UK new build.

Why the country’s fucked

Ros Wyke tried for more than 25 years, including as leader of the former Mendip district council. Cautious council officers denied the paths planning permission. Then, in 2022, they began experimenting with using “permitted development rights” – the separate process that a farmer uses when building a new track through a field. This much more streamlined process still requires application forms and licences for hedgerow removal, water or drain crossings, and to protect newts or bats. However, it removes the need to survey every tree within 50 yards of a path, for example, and other elements of the planning process designed with large out-of-town developments in mind, like topographical surveys. This can easily cut two years off the process and make a path’s success far more likely. Under this model, planning permission needs to be granted only for those sections of path that meet roads, which cuts delivery timescales from decades to weeks.

This is for a cycle path.

Blow up the TCPA, proper blow up, kablooie.

How amusing

The New Labour veteran, who was first elected in 2005, bought a newbuild home in his Wolverhampton constituency for £159,950 in 2006.

He lived there for six years, claiming expenses for mortgage interest of £547 a month, until he moved out in July 2012 because of the rule change.

That month he let out his house and moved next door, where he started claiming the £625 a month rent on expenses as his constituency home.

His own property was advertised for £700 a month by a letting agent in August 2015.

The living arrangement was first reported by The Sunday Times in September 2015, by which point Mr McFadden had claimed £21,000 in rent.

Seems rather aggressively expenses claiming even if, as claimed, it is within the rules.

One of those times, eh?

The judgment leaves behind a divided community fighting battles on internet message boards and in meetings. One side believes the creation of the new city is elitist, racist and protectionist, and that it will exacerbate existing segregation by hogging tax dollars. Their opponents believe they are exercising their absolute democratic and constitutional rights as Americans, voting to stop their money bleeding out into a needy parish whose residents don’t earn enough money to look after themselves.

It’s not always that we can see that both sides are – potentially at least – entirely correct.

Yes, obviously

Before civil war engulfed her Ethiopian home region of Tigray in 2020, Tsega Girma was a prosperous trader who sold stationery and other goods. But when hungry children displaced by the conflict started appearing in the streets, she sold everything and used the proceeds to buy them food.

After that money dried up, Tsega appealed to Tigray’s diaspora for donations. At the height of the war, her Emahoy Tsega Girma Charity Foundation provided meals to 24,000 children a day.

Today, more than a year after the conflict ended, it still feeds 5,000 children who cannot return home because of lingering insecurity.

All the food is bought locally and prepared by volunteers in the grounds of a disused library. “It is emergency work,” Tsega says. “We are doing this simply to keep them alive.”

Charities such as Tsega’s, set up by individuals to help their own communities, are the oldest form of humanitarianism. Yet they are also being viewed as the future of an overstretched and underfunded aid system that relies on international organisations and UN agencies to devise and deliver programmes.

Why send money to Oxfam, who will spend it on Land Cruisers, £60k salaries for Tamsin, Jocasta and Tristram when you can sernd it to some bird standing by hte market where they sell the necessary food?

Sure, economies of scale exist – but also Parkinson was right.

Success is a moveable word

The EU is to shut down its “privacy-friendly” Twitter rival after it attracted just 18 active accounts and failed to secure public funding to keep it running.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said it would stop operating EU Voice, as well as YouTube alternative EU Video, on May 18, two years after setting up the two social feeds.

The projects were launched as an effort to demonstrate that social networks can be run without advertising, respecting privacy and with data stored on EU soil.

The EDPS said it had been successful but had failed to secure financial backing from other EU institutions to keep it running.

Errm, yes.

So, here’s a question

Almost a million children will be receiving health benefits by the end of the decade amid a surge in reported autism and ADHD cases among boys, official forecasts show.

The number of under-18s receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is expected to hit 948,000 in 2028-29, according to figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – double pre-pandemic levels and equal to around one in 14 children.

Is something that’s 1 in 14 a disability that must be paid/compensated for or is 1 in 14 just part of life’s rich variability so get on with it?

Sure, sure, as benefits for ADHD become available more are diagnoseed and all that. But we still do have this question. Losing the genetic lottery badly enough to have an IQ of 60 and no moral sense at all leaves nothing but politics – so probably wise that we do pay disability. But how common does it have to be for it to be normal?

Lordy Be

Last year, HMRC were overpaid to the tune of £1.1m – with employees paying back just £900,000.

Many of the people who benefited from these extra payments were staff who left the organisation but messages did not get through to payroll to halt their salary payments.

Yes, yes, large organisation, slips t’wixt cup and lip. But still…..

How joyous

Schools in England could lose up to £1bn in funding by 2030, researchers warn, with exceptional falls in pupil numbers prompting a wave of closures as some establishments cease to be financially viable.

Mergers and closures are already under way in parts of London, where pupil numbers have been falling for some time. According to the Education Policy Institute (EPI), a thinktank, the north-east is projected to see the greatest decline in primary pupil numbers, down 13% by 2028/9.

There are simply fewer children of school age. Therefore fewer school places are required and, presumably, fewer schools.

“The next government must address this grave situation by using the reduction in pupil numbers as an opportunity to improve per-pupil funding – particularly for disadvantaged pupils – rather than as a saving for the Treasury.”

Oooooh, no. That would mean a bureaucracy with a lower than last year budget. Can’t be having with that now, can we?

Seems sensible

The UK is housing so many asylum seekers that more than half the foreign aid budget earmarked for poor countries is now being spent in Britain, new figures suggest.

In 2023, the UK spent £9.9 billion in bilateral aid – yet 54 per cent of this was used domestically, according to the Centre for Global Development (CGD), which analysed data released by the Foreign Office data on Wednesday. This was an increase from 48 per cent the previous year.

Nigel speaks

I have watched the William Wragg scandal develop with mounting incredulity. First, this Conservative MP showed an astonishing lack of judgment by sending intimate images of himself via a gay dating app to a man he had never met before. That was stupid. But what horrified me was that he then handed over the personal telephone numbers of public figures to somebody who was blackmailing him. His excuse for this incredible lapse is that he was “scared” because the individual “had compromising things on me.”

When it’s laid out like that it is pretty stupid, isn’t it? Certainly not relective of the sort of intellect we’d like among our rulers……