There is a new urgency to debates about the future of public broadcasting. The first question we should be asking is not how the BBC can be saved from its enemies on the right, but more constructively, what kind of public media organisation would best meet the technological and political challenges of the 21st century?
The Financial Conduct Authority has been slapped with a £2,000 fine from a fellow regulator after failing to provide enough detail in its staff pension plan report.
Even the regulators can’t keep up with the regulation. Obviously going to happen at some point, but will they now stop?
HS2 says the changes to its agreements with its “main civil construction contractors”, which remove financial incentives for firms to stay within budget, will save an estimated £1 billlion and were related to the collapse of Carillion, the construction giant, in 2018.
They surfaced in a 62-page report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
But Mr Morris said that HS2’s “short term savings” appeared to come at the “potentially substantially higher risk of increasing their liability for future cost increases – which would ultimately be borne by the taxpayer.
“This artificially lowers the cost now but inevitably the final price will be a lot higher.”
Joe Rukin, campaign manager of the Stop HS2 lobby group, claimed that the move was evidence that HS2 Ltd were “conning politicians into making sure that their gravy train keeps running”.
The NAO report, published last week, states: “At the time of publishing this report, HS2 Ltd was finalising revised commercial terms with its main civil construction contractors … HS2 Ltd estimates that these revised terms will achieve £1 billion of savings, through contractors reducing their pricings in response to the reduced risks that they will bear.”
It adds: “Revising the commercial arrangements was a reasonable response to HS2 Ltd’s analysis on the reasons for cost increases.
“However, like all contractual arrangements, these revised terms carry risks to value for money, which the Department and HS2 Ltd must manage.”
Contractors “were previously incentivised to control costs” because they were liable for 60 per cent of any forecast cost increases above a target price”, but “there is no longer a fixed target price for the contracts.
“HS2 Ltd has collaboratively developed an estimated cost for the works with its contractors and will be responsible for funding increases above the estimated cost.”
No fixed cost agreement is going to limit costs is it?
Just cancel the damn thing. By the time we’ve got to this sort of nonsense claim we’re well into something that can never, never, work.
A small government agency is supporting fossil fuel projects abroad with estimated carbon emissions of a country the size of Portugal, it has emerged.
UK Export Finance (UKEF), a government agency in the Department for International Trade, is spending billions of pounds on the projects, Newsnight researchers have found.
UKEF does export finance and credit guarantees.
Agreed, it’s a silly thing for government to be doing. But it most certainly doesn’t spend billions doing it. Total turnover might well be billions but not spending….
Fewer than 4 per cent of offences investigated by police in a crime-ridden area of north-east London end up in court, it has been disclosed.
Statistics show that last year 1,094 crimes were investigated in Stoke Newington – an area on the Scotland Yard map that is made up of about 30 streets.
Just 45 offenders were dealt with in court in the same period, equivalent to just 3.37 per cent of the offences under investigation.
Note that that’s not convictions, that’s just those prosecuted in court. Which is an even worse number that the rape ones, right?
HS2 is over-budget and years behind schedule because ministers “underestimated the complexity” of the project, a damning official report states.
The National Audit Office said the Government did not “adequately manage risks to taxpayers’ money” and failed to “take into account” the sheer scale of the railway.
HS2, originally costed at £36 billion, is now forecast to cost £106 billion, but the NAO warned it is impossible to “estimate with certainty what the final cost could be”.
Junk the thing, seriously.
Air travel should be taxed more and EU funds redirected to pay for a dramatic reforesting of Britain’s countryside, the government’s climate change advisers have recommended.
Farmers should be incentivised to plant 100 million new trees a year and consumers encouraged to eat a fifth less lamb, beef and dairy to cut sheep and cattle grazing by 10 per cent, the Committee on Climate Change has said.
If you don’t graze – or plough or anything else – land then it turns to forest. Assuming that the land is suitable for forest in the first place. The cost of creating a forest in a pace where a forest wants to be is therefore nothing.
Equally, we all eating less meat costs less, not more. So, why the insistence that the change will cost anything?
Putin’s new PM Mikhail Mishustin accused over unexplained wealth
There’s nothing unexplained about it at all.
The new Russian prime minister became mired in corruption allegations after less than a day in the role when newly discovered documents showed that his wife has acquired a substantial fortune and that the couple live in a luxury property near Moscow.
Mikhail Mishustin, a previously obscure tax official, was hand-picked by President Putin and voted in by the Russian parliament yesterday.
According to papers published by Alexei Navalny, a critic of the Kremlin, Mr Mishustin’s wife, Vladlena, declared an income of almost 800 million roubles (£9.9 million) over the past nine years, despite not appearing to own a business or have a job.
Mr Mishustin, 53, who has been a civil servant since 1998, was named head of the tax service in 2010, a post he held until he was unexpectedly promoted to prime minister. Most Russians had never heard of him.
What’s there to explain? He’s been the head of the tax service for a decade, he’s rich.
The health service should not be left to pick up the pieces from gambling firms’ tactics to retain customers with addiction issues, the NHS’s mental health chief has said.
But that’s what the NHS is for, innit? To provide the health care the population needs without discrimination?
Alex is an educator and outreach worker with an MA in Social Justice and Education. She’s in the midst of working towards a PhD specialising in restorative justice and theories of peace and emotion in schools. She is particularly focused on conceptions of violence within the UK education system and is excited to bring her expertise to the curriculum and delivery of JustEducation.
BTW, I think they’re barking mad as an organisation but they seem to be doing it properly off charitable donations and as far as I can work out there’s only one full time and they’re not making a fortune for London, not at all. So, barking mad but the very best of British to them.
From The Guardian’s blind date bit:
Maria, 24, fashion PR, meets Jacob, 27, charity fundraiser
These are professional jobs now. How wealthy we’ve got to be to be able to afford people doing that….
California wants to use vacant land to house the homeless
Empty space, add houses, homelessness solved!
Now all we need is that normal peeps can add houses to empty land they own and we’ll really be able to crack it, right?
A new report from Campaign for Better Transport has found that rail firms should be rewarded based on their value to the local area in order to maximise “the benefit to society that railways are able to provide”.
It claims that this should be so, not has found that it should be.
“Found” indicates something along the lines of scientific proof. Which ain’t what has been done here at all now, is it?
A homeless woman gave birth to premature twins while sleeping rough outside Cambridge University’s wealthiest college.
The woman, believed to be about 30, gave birth outside Trinity College. She was helped by members of the public, who called an ambulance, according to reports.
Because of course she’s not going to be homeless now, is she?
The Pirrong Principle: in a government bureaucracy, people are promoted to the level of their iniquity.
Of course the BBC Licence fee is a tax:
The BBC licence fee could be scrapped under a Conservative Government, as Boris Johnson branded it a “tax” and questioned how long such a funding system could be justified.
Gordon Brown defined it as a tax.
Why won’t UCL treat us cleaners like its other staff?
Leia Maia Donda
We are on strike today because the university refuses to give outsourced workers the same rights as direct employees
The reason for having outsourced workers is so that the university doesn’t have to pay for the same rights it offers its direct employees.
This is the entire point.
And, you know, think about it. Why would we expect cleaners to gain the same pension rights as professors?
What, actually, is the screw up here?
SNP ministers have been accused of presiding over a “ferry fiasco” after it emerged that the Scottish Government is being sued by its own quango.
The state-owned operator CalMac has raised legal proceedings after it missed out on a £450 million contract to run services to the Northern Isles.
Opposition parties accused the Government of incompetence and said the action “tells you everything you need to know” about the “mess” it had made of ferry services.
The contract was awarded in September to the private sector operator Serco, which has been running sailings to Orkney and Shetland since 2012.
Unnecessary appendix surgery ‘performed on thousands in UK’
Third of women who enter theatre end up having normal appendix removed, study finds
In today’s troubled Britain, it is commonplace to say that the political parties need to come up with some fresh ideas to transform the country. But what happens if one of the big parties starts announcing radical new policies and yet most people don’t seem to be listening?
That sobering question hangs over Labour’s hugely ambitious but so far only moderately successful election campaign, judging by the slow improvement in its poll ratings.
Yet the answer could be less bleak for the party, and for the country, than you think. Whether Labour loses or wins, in this campaign it has begun to set out a new, potent notion about how politics should be done and what elected politicians can achieve.
It’s not changed what politicians can achieve in the slightest. They’ve not achieved anything yet, have they?
It’s changed what politicians are willing to promise but that’s something rather different.
But then that’s rather one of the problems with politics as a societal management system, isn’t it? People do so confuse promises with outcomes.