Hancock accused of ‘cronyism’ over shares in family firm which has NHS contracts

Labour has said there are “serious questions to answer” after it was revealed that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has shares in a family company that has contracts with the NHS. Mr Hancock declared in the MPs’ register of interests in March of this year that he now owns over 15% of shares in company Topwood Limited, which specialises in secure storage, shredding and scanning of documents. The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported that the firm, which is owned and run by his sister, won a place on a framework to provide services to the English NHS in 2019, as well as contracts with the NHS in Wales. NHS…

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Tory government refuses to give details of its renewed NHS contract with this ‘Big Brother’ firm

The Johnson-led government is refusing to publish further details of an NHS contract with a US firm. This firm has been embroiled in controversies relating to intelligence gathering for several years. More transparency needed Palantir was co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel is a board member and major investor of Facebook and was a member of Donald Trump’s transition team. In the UK, Palantir has been awarded a £23m extension of its NHS datastore contract, but this was scrutinised by openDemocracy. This resulted in the government reportedly agreeing “not to extend Palantir’s contract beyond COVID without consulting the public”. openDemocracy also said that the government agreed “to engage…

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Labour is being pressured over its dire NHS pay stance

The Labour Party’s position on NHS pay is becoming increasingly poor. It’s ignored a huge social media campaign. It’s also fudging its local election messaging. So, Keir Starmer’s party is already in dire straits over the issue. And now, a group is writing to him – highlighting Labour’s lack of action. NHS pay insults This year, the Tory government is only giving NHS staff a 1% pay rise. And people aren’t happy. Not least because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Moreover, people are upset because in the past decade many public sector workers had a real terms pay cut. So, NHS organisations have spoken out and trade unions are…

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As the Labour right continues its purge, the left is defending the NHS

In October 2020, The Canary reported on ‘a right-wing power-grab’ at the Socialist Health Association (SHA). The SHA is an affiliate of the Labour Party that contributes to the development of Labour’s health policy. In its early days, the SHA campaigned for an NHS, which the Labour government then established in 1948. However, a member of the SHA who spoke to The Canary has said that: In more recent decades, [the SHA] had became a figleaf for Blairite privatisation before shifting left under Corbyn. Under Corbyn’s leadership, an SHA motion at the 2017 Labour Party conference led to Labour’s policy of defending the NHS from an American-based system…

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Public joins in slow handclap against 1% pay offer for NHS workers

Thousands of people showed their support for health workers on 11 March by joining a nationwide slow handclap protest against the government’s controversial recommended 1% pay rise for staff. Slow clap The event, organised by health unions and the TUC, mirrored the weekly applause for the NHS at the height of the coronavirus crisis last year. Anger has been mounting since it was revealed a week ago the government had suggested to the NHS Pay Review Body that health workers should receive a 1% wage increase. Unison thanked members of the public and health workers who took part in the slow handclap, which will be repeated on April…

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Now Boris Johnson’s justice secretary has said he hopes for an ‘appropriate’ NHS pay rise

A senior government minister has said he hopes NHS staff will be given an “appropriate” pay rise this year. Outrage The government is facing a furious outcry after calling for a headline increase of just 1% in its submission last week to the NHS pay review body. Ministers have argued that it was all that could be afforded following the massive hit to the public finances caused by the pandemic at a time when most public sector workers were facing a pay freeze. However, justice secretary Robert Buckland appeared to strike a more conciliatory note, saying that the submission to the pay review body was only the “beginning…

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NHS worker fined £10,000 for organising protest against 1% pay rise

Police have fined the organiser of a nurses’ protest in Manchester £10,000 after shutting down the demonstration against the NHS pay rise. The protesters gathered in Manchester city centre on 7 March said officers told them they would be fined for violating coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions if they didn’t leave. Unison maintained that the protest, against the government’s 1% pay rise for NHS staff, was safe and socially distanced. The protest Police said about 40 people attended the demonstration in the centre of Manchester, organised by a 61-year-old NHS worker. Another NHS worker, 65, was arrested after initially refusing to leave or provide details when police broke up the…

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Marr just witnessed a car crash. It was a Tory minister on NHS pay.

The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 7 March saw a Tory minister crash and burn. But education secretary Gavin Williamson wasn’t talking about schools when it happened. He was defending the Tories’ appalling 1% pay rise for nurses. An insult? BBC News reported that: In November [2020], the government announced that public-sector workers would have their pay frozen in 2021-22. The exception was for those on salaries under £24,000 and NHS staff… On Thursday [4 March], the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) gave its evidence to the NHS pay-review body. And, as BBC News said, the DHSC opted for: a 1% pay rise across the board…

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Government accused of ‘snatching away’ promised NHS pay rise as the outrage grows

The organisation representing NHS Trusts in England is challenging the government over its defence of a controversial 1% pay offer to health workers. Growing controversy NHS Providers said the NHS has conducted detailed work around implementing a long-term plan. It claimed that in this plan the government assumed an NHS pay rise in 2021/22 of 2.1%, not 1%. It comes amid growing anger at the pay offer, with the main nurses’ union setting up a £35m industrial action fund. And another union is urging the public to support a slow hand clap next week as protest against the proposals. Deputy chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said:…

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Even Tories are now sh*tting on the government’s ‘wrong’ 1% NHS payrise

A former Conservative health minister has said that it’s the “wrong time” to be restraining the pay of NHS workers who have gone “above and beyond” during the pandemic. The “wrong time” In a sign that a Conservative rebellion over the government’s 1% pay rise recommendation may be brewing, MP Dr Dan Poulter has called for a rethink on the proposal. Poulter has been assisting on the NHS front line during the pandemic. He said it’s “very valid” for ministers to turn their attention to paying back the £400bn borrowed during the coronavirus crisis – but it is the “wrong time to be making this decision”. Although the…

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