Monday, 13 May 2013

"We can't go on like this" - Cameron Hires Lobbyist Into the Heart of Government

Number 10 today welcomes Nick Seddon, former lobbyist and private healthcare advocate, into Downing Street to lead on health policy formation. What does this say about Cameron’s real attitude to the lobbying game he has publicly decried? And what kind of policies will Seddon be pushing now? There are good reasons to be concerned.
before the general election, David Cameron declared his opposition to  lobbying, saying “we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire... It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works, with money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest...We can't go on like this”

Today, Number 10 will welcome former lobbyist Nick Seddon into the heart of Downing Street, as his health adviser. Seddon’s last role was as deputy director of ‘Reform’ - a free market think tank extensively funded by healthcare and insurance companies. He has openly called for an end to the NHS as we know it, and promoted the idea of an insurance-based system.

Before joining Reform, Nick Seddon was head of communications at private healthcare company Circle - the first company to take over the running of a NHS hospital. 

His role during the passage of the Health and Social Care bill was to lobby key people to defend competition in the bill. His reward? A place in Cameron’s health policy unit,  developing  policies for the 2015 general election.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Breaking the Code and the Healthcare Chain

'In the conduct of their parliamentary duties, Members of the House shall base their actions on consideration of the public interest, and shall resolve any conflict between their personal interest and the public interest at once, and in favour of the public interest.' - the Lord's Code of Conduct

The Lords have spoken. The coalition with a little help from Labour Peer, Lord Warner chose to vote in favour of the government to keep section 75 regulations of the Health and Social Care Act in place. In doing so, they imposed increased legal pressures on the new commissioners to put out services to tender, which will fragment the NHS into the hands of private companies.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Healthcare Coup: The Lords Didn't Save us the First Time

Lord Tim Clement-Jones
In early 2012 the Lords voted in favour of the Health and Social Care bill, the final step in turning it into an Act. As the Lords sat in the house to debate and vote on the bill, research conducted by Social Investigations revealed the Lords were riddled with private healthcare interests across all parties. Despite these recent or present financial links to private companies involved in healthcare, they were allowed to debate and vote. 

Now, for the second time of asking the Lords are about to pass or reject a key piece of legislation that will affect the NHS to such an extent its very existence is in the balance. Will they or will they not choose to vote for or against section 75 Regulations of the Health and Social Care Act. If it is the former, then if passed will sound the death knell to the NHS.

Tax Haven? No Contract

The message proffered by David Cameron when he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos was tax avoidance would become a priority of the UK’s presidency for this year. In reality, the government acts in the opposite manner, rewards those companies who channel money to tax havens with further contracts paid for by the taxpayer.

The calls for the government to bring about an end to tax havens has continued to grow ever louder as the general public observe the stripping of the welfare state, whilst billions of pounds exits the county into offshore accounts. Many of these companies are in receipt of taxpayer’s money, which are handed contracts by cash-strapped councils who continue to work with the organisations despite their dubious tax practices.