Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business

David Cameron sits at the junction of a big-spending State and big business, writes Left Foot Forward’s Daniel Elton.

When David Cameron became leader of the Conservative party, he promised a new, yet somehow very traditional type of Tory. Our Dave cared as much about the volunteers on the streets as much as the executives in the boardroom, and wanted to make room for a big society.

However, a series of articles in recent days suggest that actually Mr Cameron sits at the junction of a big-spending State and big business.

First, reporting on the government’s controversial proposed planning reforms which threaten to seize up many of Britains major roads, the Daily Mail writes:

 Senior figures from the building industry – including a Taylor Wimpey executive – were hired by ministers to help draw up the contentious guidelines.

Planning minister Greg Clark appointed a four-strong panel to help the Government rewrite development rules. But only one of the panel was not involved in the building sector.

 It has also emerged that  senior Conservative ministers pushing through the plans have tried to block major developments in their own constituencies. 

 The party has been criticised for accepting £3.3million in donations from property firms over the last three years. The new rules, which give developers greater rights to build on the countryside, have enraged groups including the National Trust and English Heritage.

From the other side of the journalistic spectrum, we have the Guardian reporting today on conflicts of interest involved in the government’s disability reforms.

The coalition has hailed its drive to open up welfare-to-work operations to the voluntary and private sectors, but guess who is trying to get hold of the contracts:

David Cameron’s senior adviser on troubled families has set up a firm to bid for work under a programme to get 120,000 households into work that she helped design, despite publicly saying that to make money from the scheme would be a “conflict of interest”, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

Emma Harrison, the multimillionaire founder of private welfare companyA4e, was anointed the “families champion” last December. The prime minister singled her out in a key post-riot speech last month, saying she had ‘develop[ed] a plan to help get these families on track’.

Harrison told the Guardian she withdrew from bidding when the government announced the first tranche of contracts, worth £200m, in February. She said she had accepted the unpaid role but had been “shocked” to learn there would be hundreds of millions of pounds in funding.

But documents sent to private firms who did bid for the work reveal that Harrison’s company had set up in January a “partnership” called Families Unlimited, with a former civil servant who until this year was running the Department for Education’s “support services for families with multiple needs”, to pitch for the cash.

Families Unlimited offered to execute the work won by “prime contractors” for a fee. In blunt language, the documents say that: “A4e will not bid as a prime contractor… due to a conflict of interest arising from the work of its founder and chairman, Emma Harrison, through the Working Families Everywhere initiative.

“However, DWP [the Department for Work and Pensions] have advised that no conflict arises where A4e is acting as a subcontractor.”

Adding to the general smell of cronyism are the government’s proposed changes to legal aid which, according to six charities writing in today’s Guardian including Oxfam and Amnesty International, would lead to impunity for multinationals such as Trafigura.

Trafigura is a Dutch oil transportation firm, that  had 500 tonnes of toxic waste dumped off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire. Under the proposed rules, the charities claim, it would have been impossible for the 30,000 Ivorians injured by the dump to have sued the company.

That’s of course before we get to the private sector jamboree that is the NHS reforms. This should come as no suprise. As reported on Left Foot Forward, The Conservatives are tied electorally into an older demographic, who rely on services such as the NHS and for policy generation on think tanks that depend on corporate funding.

The result is big spending big business polices. It should come as no suprise that Cameron launched the Open Public Services White Paper not at ResPublica or the Centre for Social Justice – think tanks usually associated with small- and medium-sized charities but Reform.

Reform are a think tank and, oddly enough, charity, which vehemently argues for outsourcing, upfront fees for public services, known as so-payment in the jargon, and is funded by such public sector contract behemoths as Capita, GE and G4S.

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21 Responses to “Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business”

  1. Other TaxPayers Alli

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  2. Ian Mayor

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  3. Jenny Wackett

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  4. Juan Voet

    Corruption runs throughout the veins of this #Tory government and David #Cameron is right at the heart of it http://t.co/UHT4qAt

  5. Lee Curran

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  6. Leics Right To Work

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business: http://t.co/AX3tmte by @DanielElton

  7. Marian Anderson

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business – Left Foot Forward http://t.co/c3Mb0qX #BigSociety

  8. NORMAN HERRINGTON

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  9. Sue Davies

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/ddzZSTw

  10. Larry Gardiner

    This one will run and run and run… Good investigative journalism and a judicious leak or two will reveal all. Endemi…http://t.co/xtRdIlH

  11. Clare Jordan

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  12. A Better Way

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business: http://t.co/xfHGDSQ by @DanielElton

  13. STUC

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business: http://t.co/Vd5ztO4 by @DanielElton

  14. ross ofcourse

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  15. Scotland in Business

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business: http://t.co/Vd5ztO4 by @DanielElton

  16. dean raybourne

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business: http://t.co/AX3tmte by @DanielElton

  17. James Rupa

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business: http://t.co/AX3tmte by @DanielElton

  18. Gordon Watson

    Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/JchGQgK by @DanielElton @leftfootfwd < no "disgraceful" quote from @the_tpa?

  19. Douglas Lock

    In what way was this a surprise .It is the way Tory governments and big Business have always behaved.. It is a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ philosophy. It extends through the Finance Industry, private health care, civil engineering and so on.. We should know by now that the Old boys network is alive and well , not just in the Cabinet but throughtout the City clubs and the Establishment generally. They get away with it since the Media play the same game and the dumb English middle and upper working classes think along the lines suggested by the Mail, the Telegraph and the Sun. Thank God we have some avenues for sensible discussion, some avenues for the statement of the real facts about the Economy and politics and some stalwarts who persist in the struggle for equality, fairness and justice. Well done for this site. Thank you for the useful information . Douglas

  20. w.m o'mara

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/bkEUw181
    "old boys network alive and well"

  21. H. O.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameronism uncovered: Taxpayer-funded big business http://t.co/2VkS4Av0

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