Bed-ridden stroke victim told to use food banks after DWP admin error leaves him without benefits | The Independent

The UK’s Independent reports a tragic story from Scotland. It reports that a bed-ridden stroke victim was told to use food banks after an administrative error left him and his wife facing extreme poverty. Alan Buchanan, 65, has been bed bound after suffering several major seizures since he had his first stroke 15 years ago, and the once successful businessman is now entirely dependent on his wife Heather and the occasional visits of carers. The couple, from the small Scottish town of Callander, near Loch Lomond, said they now fear homelessness after their benefits were stopped because of an administrative error.

Source: Bed-ridden stroke victim told to use food banks after DWP admin error leaves him without benefits | The Independent

Whilst this is an extreme example, it highlights the impact of austerity and what happens when the social safety nets are removed. It also questions the wisdom of outsourcing to large consulting firms like Atos, who are probably more interested in their own profitability than social care, driven by partners with massive incomes.

Of course, even if this is an isolated story, the growing dependence on food banks highlights the realities of austerity.

With a general election looming, it surprises me how few people realize that matters will get much tougher post Brexit. The media should be presenting independently commissioned risk analysis showing the worst case scenarios post Brexit with higher taxes, fewer jobs, slashed public services and limited real change to immigration. The election is about more than Brexit.


Opinion – What Is Mossack Fonseca, the Law Firm in the Panama Papers? – The Atlantic – John Gelmini

The answer to Dr. Alf’s question is that it will make very little difference firstly because it is very old news, more than 40 years old and of the kind that Private Eye the English satirical magazine was writing about and still writes about today.

The UK invented tax havens and special tax treatment of non-doms, using this last creation to pay for the Napoleonic Wars which were financed by Lord Rothschild of that time more than 210 years ago.

Now there are more than 40 UK tax havens, plus Dutch ones and over 200,000 companies registered tax efficiently in the State of Delaware. Panama was used by Lord Hanson and Gordon White as far back as the 1980s and Sir Richard Branson uses his own bank on the island of Necker to create self-liquidating loans and hide losses made by his UK companies.

Some 35 trillion GBP sits offshore and no doubt it is leveraged into even bigger sums using binary options trading robots by the UK Government which controls its tax havens and by other Governments which control theirs.

Leona Helmsly the now deceased hotelier from New York said that “Little people pay taxes” and despite her downfall she was right,Vodaphone which was investigated by HMRC three times has not paid a penny in taxes in 10 years and the amounts paid by Facebook, LinkedIn, BT PLC, HSBC PLC, GOOGLE, Mandiant, State Street, Commerzbank, Bank of America and others in the Dublin Financial District are no more than 3% which is pretty derisory by any standards.

Last year, Sir Philip Green the CEO of Arcadia Group PLC who lives in Monaco and flies to the Dorchester hotel by helicopter when he has business here paid £80,000 GBP in taxes. His accountants told him they could reduce his tax liability to zero but Sir Philip with his usual directness told them” I think £80,000 GBP is fair, I don’t want to poke them (HMRC), in the eye”.

In summary, offshore tax havens and minimal taxes are in the gift of the of the rich and powerful whilst the great unwashed masses have to pay their full measure.

John Gelmini