How long do we have to endure this plutocratic corporate-political relationship?
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A search on the ‘revolving door’ and ‘rewards for failure’ categories on this site will show how very often these themes surface – and why so many are going unreported simply because this has become the accepted – though appalling – government norm.
However we have been prodded into recording two more examples – the first by Anne who sends news of an article by Owen Bennett in The Huffington Post UK , “Esther McVey Given Top Quango Job With £35k Expense Account By Her Old Tory Colleagues”.
In November ex-employment minister Esther McVey, who lost her Wirral West seat in May, was appointed Chairman of the British Transport Police Authority with an allowance account of £35,000 for just 60 days work a year.
According to the British Transport Police Authority website, all appointments to the board are signed off by the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. The website also says members of the body are “required to have knowledge of a range of views from the rail industry and rail passengers” but no such evidence is evident – before entering Parliament in 2010, Ms McVey was a journalist, TV presenter, and businesswoman.
Ms McVey supported the Government’s welfare cuts programme, claiming in 2014 that there was no link between the rise in foodbank use and the Government’s welfare reforms.
A year before, as Disabilities Minister, she oversaw the closure of the final 92 Remploy factories which employed disabled people to make products such as wheelchairs and school furniture.
The second link was sent by Felicity. It led to a February trail from two sites and the Stoke Sentinel which also provoked serious questions. Vox Political directed readers to questions about the gains made by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, another ex-minister, who left parliament and passed through the revolving door, following publicity about a film of him offering access for cash to a private firm.
A bid from Alliance Medical was chosen by NHS England, though a £7 million cheaper bid from a consortium of NHS trusts led by the Royal Stoke University Hospital had been received.
The contract to perform medical scans for the five million population of Staffordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire and Lancashire, raised other issues. It will enable Alliance to use a £3 million state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner installed at the Royal Stoke in 2013 and funded by public donations (one patient in Stafford contributed £8,000 of his life-savings in memory of his wife for this scanner), Keele University and research grants. The contract initially would have forced Potteries people to travel to Liverpool, Birmingham or Crewe for the service – but the threat was averted following a challenge by Royal Stoke.
As Alliance Medical pays Sir Malcolm £60,000-a-year as a non-executive director for attending 10 meetings – according to the register of MPs’ interests; the Prime Minister has been asked to clarify Sir Malcolm’s role.
In a letter, shadow health minister Jamie Reed told Mr Cameron: “It is now incumbent on you to show that the awarding of NHS contracts to Alliance Medical has not been influenced by Sir Malcolm’s position on their board.” He also urged the PM to publish correspondence between Sir Malcolm and the Department of Health relating to Alliance’s commercial interests.
Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley has campaigned against the contract. She said: “I want to know why a private healthcare company was awarded the contract when the local NHS bid is understood to have been better value for money. We need full assurances there was no undue influence. The Government must be open about whether representations were made by the Alliance Medical board of directors about the contract.”
Kate Godfrey, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Stafford, added: “This is now escalating into a parliamentary scandal. We need to see answers on Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s board role at Alliance.
As yet no answers and no evidence of any enquiry have been seen – par for the course in Britain.
Posted on December 10, 2015, in Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Finance, Government, Lobbying and tagged Alliance Medical, Esther McVey, medical scans, Owen Bennett, ritish Transport Police Authority, Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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