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Smoke & Mirrors ? A Government Speciality ! Promise One Thing Deliver Another : Child Care Policy Failing The Working ! - Page 5 - Carers UK Forum

Smoke & Mirrors ? A Government Speciality ! Promise One Thing Deliver Another : Child Care Policy Failing The Working !

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Revealed : HMRC missed out on collecting £35 BILLION in tax in 2018, up £2 BILLION on the year before.

The taxman published figures revealing its latest tax gap.

It is the difference between what HMRC feels it should be paid and what it gets.

The figures show the gap is up £2bn on 2016-2017 and £5bn on 2015-16.

Nearly £9.9bn of the shortfall was blamed on avoidable errors.

Legal interpretations of the tax effects of complex transactions and the use of legal tax avoidance loopholes combined to deprive the taxman of another £8billion.

HMRC's shortfall due to illegal tax evasion increased to £5.3billion in 2017-18, up £700million from 2015-16 – slightly undermining Treasury minister Jesse Norman's claim that Britain's low tax gap 'underlines how effective HMRC has been in its efforts to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance.'
" Vanity project " : debts pile up for English free schools scheme.

Exclusive : £64 million has been spent on university technical colleges that have closed.


Image

Part of the government’s flagship free schools programme is facing mounting financial difficulties because of its unpopularity with parents and pupils, with schools forced to pay back millions of pounds to the Department for Education and cut staff after failing to attract and retain students.

University technical colleges (UTCs), a type of free school in England that was launched in 2010, ran up debts of £14m last year after many fell short of their forecasts for pupil numbers. Others had to borrow money from the DfE’s funding arm, throwing into question their long-term viability.

Research by the Price Bailey accountancy firm disclosed to the Guardian reveals that 31 out of 40 UTCs with published accounts owe money to the DfE’s education and skills funding agency (ESFA), including 25 schools owing a total of £8.6m after educating fewer pupils than they received funding for through their general annual grant.


As a result, UTCs face an uncertain future, despite many being housed in brand-new buildings, including modern science and engineering facilities intended for the surge of pupils who never arrived.

“Eight UTCs have already closed and two further closures are imminent, so unless UTCs can boost pupil numbers and performance, more will follow,” said Gary Miller, the head of education at Price Bailey.

“UTCs with tight cashflow could be seriously affected by these clawbacks. After salaries, which often make up 70%-80% of the budget, there isn’t a lot left. £350,000 per school is the equivalent to seven or eight teachers, so in some cases cuts to staff numbers may be necessary, which could impact educational standards.”

Wigan UTC is the latest to announce its closure. Parents were told that the decision to shutter the school had been approved by DfE chiefs in June.

“The decision to close Wigan UTC has been taken as the UTC is financially unviable. The UTC has been unable to recruit sufficient students to operate without a growing deficit, which will severely hamper the quality of education it can provide moving forward,” the school told parents.

Wigan’s closure follows those of Black Country UTC, in Walsall, which attracted just 158 students out of a planned 480, and Burnley UTC, which was expecting 800 students but enrolled only 113 in the three years it was open. Analysis by Schools Week found that £64m was spent on eight UTCs that have closed.

The difficulties experienced by UTCs are part of a wider trend of schools having to return overpayments to the ESFA, usually because of lower than expected pupil numbers. In 2016-17, just three academies in England had to return funds to the DfE, but in 2017-18 that figure rose to 50 academies, including UTCs, with nearly £4m returned, according to a freedom of information response.

Price Bailey said it had analysed the accounts of 40 of the 50 UTCs operating last year and found that only nine were operating within their budgets, with 31 recording deficits and one or more outstanding debts to the DfE, including 10 owing nearly £4.7m in general loans to cover running costs and three with working capital loans adding up to nearly £1m.


Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, said she was concerned that the financial struggles of UTCs were “being hidden in the government’s opaque academies system, with figures concealed from parents and the public”. She said: “Too much money is being wasted on ministers’ vanity projects, and the education system is being fragmented in the process. Labour will end the academy programme and ensure schools are properly accountable, and invest in an integrated education system through our national education service.”

As part of Michael Gove’s free schools revolution, UTCs were meant to provide specialist education in science, maths and technology subjects, and attract university and industry backing. But the decision to admit students only from the age of 14 meant that they struggled to compete with secondary schools taking pupils from the age of 12.

“The problem with brand-new schools, particularly specialist UTCs, is that they are not tried and tested, which can make parents and pupils wary. Faced with a choice between a new UTC with little or no track record and the local school, which might have served a community for generations, the latter often wins out,” said Miller.

A report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that UTC pupils’ GCSE results were almost a grade lower than similar students at mainstream schools, with the most able students doing even worse. The EPI also found that more than half of UTC students left after taking GCSEs.

But while many have struggled, UTC Reading has thrived and is now oversubscribed, having been given an outstanding rating by Ofsted in 2015 and boasting partnerships with Microsoft. Others have been less successful, with five rated as inadequate by Ofsted.

A DfE spokesperson said UTCs remained a “key part” of its efforts to improve educational standards. “Funding that is provided to set up new university technical colleges is based on estimates of pupil numbers. Once the school or university technical opens, this funding is then adjusted to reflect actual figures and, where necessary, we work with the institutions to recover funding.

“The department continues to support UTCs to be educationally successful and financially viable,” the DfE said.
Unemployment figures should be millions higher, says research

OECD and Centre for Cities study indicates there are " Hidden " numbers.



Millions more people in Britain are without a job than shown by official unemployment figures, according to a study that suggests the jobless rate should be almost three times higher.

According to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Cities thinktank, large levels of “hidden” unemployment in towns and cities across Britain are excluded from the official government statistics.

The study found that more than 3 million people are missing from the headline unemployment rate because they report themselves as economically inactive to government labour force surveys, saying that they believe no jobs are available.

It said the true unemployment rate should rise from 4.6% to 13.2% of the working-age population not in education. The OECD made the estimate by creating an adjusted economic activity rate, which removes students, pensioners, people caring for family and people with health issues.


In a stark analysis of joblessness across the country, the assessment raises the total number of people out of a job who could work from the official level of 1.3 million to almost 4.5 million.


The Centre for Cities said that urban locations faced the highest levels of hidden joblessness. Liverpool had the highest rate in the country, with around one in five working-age adults not in education finding themselves out of work.

At 19.8% compared to 5.8% on official statistics, joblessness in the city ranked just ahead of Sunderland, Dundee, Blackburn and Birmingham.

All the top 10 cities with the highest adjusted economic inactivity rates were found to be outside London and the south-east, and all tended to have weaker economies. In contrast, cities across the south-east had much lower jobless rates, with Crawley recording the lowest adjusted rate of just 2%. Oxford and Exeter were also below 5%.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: “It is possible that the unemployment rate in Britain’s cities is far higher than official figures suggest. This research suggests that people in cities which have struggled to recover from the deindustrialisation of the 20th century could be dealt a second blow as they are ill-equipped to respond to automation.”

A spokesperson for the Office for National Statistics, which produces the official estimates of unemployment in Britain, said its headline figures were based upon internationally agreed definitions, which includes those both looking for and available to start work.

“If the definition were widened, for example by including people not looking for work because of health problems, it would stop being a measure of spare employment capacity,” they added.
Chris From The Gulag wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 9:13 am
Unemployment figures should be millions higher, says research

OECD and Centre for Cities study indicates there are " Hidden " numbers.



Millions more people in Britain are without a job than shown by official unemployment figures, according to a study that suggests the jobless rate should be almost three times higher.

According to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Cities thinktank, large levels of “hidden” unemployment in towns and cities across Britain are excluded from the official government statistics.

The study found that more than 3 million people are missing from the headline unemployment rate because they report themselves as economically inactive to government labour force surveys, saying that they believe no jobs are available.

It said the true unemployment rate should rise from 4.6% to 13.2% of the working-age population not in education. The OECD made the estimate by creating an adjusted economic activity rate, which removes students, pensioners, people caring for family and people with health issues.


In a stark analysis of joblessness across the country, the assessment raises the total number of people out of a job who could work from the official level of 1.3 million to almost 4.5 million.


The Centre for Cities said that urban locations faced the highest levels of hidden joblessness. Liverpool had the highest rate in the country, with around one in five working-age adults not in education finding themselves out of work.

At 19.8% compared to 5.8% on official statistics, joblessness in the city ranked just ahead of Sunderland, Dundee, Blackburn and Birmingham.

All the top 10 cities with the highest adjusted economic inactivity rates were found to be outside London and the south-east, and all tended to have weaker economies. In contrast, cities across the south-east had much lower jobless rates, with Crawley recording the lowest adjusted rate of just 2%. Oxford and Exeter were also below 5%.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: “It is possible that the unemployment rate in Britain’s cities is far higher than official figures suggest. This research suggests that people in cities which have struggled to recover from the deindustrialisation of the 20th century could be dealt a second blow as they are ill-equipped to respond to automation.”

A spokesperson for the Office for National Statistics, which produces the official estimates of unemployment in Britain, said its headline figures were based upon internationally agreed definitions, which includes those both looking for and available to start work.

“If the definition were widened, for example by including people not looking for work because of health problems, it would stop being a measure of spare employment capacity,” they added.
Finding a childcare provider was hard. I went to all the local nurseries, met with staff/children, asked a lot of probing questions. In the end, I interviewed and hired a local independent childcare provider based on careful observation and responses to my questions about her qualifications and skills. I also checked and verified her references and insisted on doing safety checks. I needed to go back to work. The search took four or five months but was worth it. I feel confident.

She responded to my online childcare advert.
A non Government one ... how many are fooled by this annual event ???


The Great Black Friday " Swindle " : Study by consumer group Which? reveals a stunning 95 per cent of bargains are actually cheaper to buy before or after the sales ( But retailers say MORE items are on offer ).

Shoppers have been advised to be wary of Black Friday offers from retailers.

Black Friday was imported from the US and falls on the last Friday in November.

Consumer group Which? claims some products may be cheaper before the sales.



https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... sales.html


Black Friday UK : just one in 20 discounts are genuine, research finds.

Consumer group Which? finds most items have same or lower prices at other times of year.


https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... uine-which
Passengers complain their train services have been scrapped and cancelled despite new timetable promising more services and shorter journeys coming into force this morning in a major shake-up for Britain's railways.

The changes included promises of 1,000 extra services a week across country.

But already reports of disruption to commuters despite launching on a Sunday.

Botched launch of May 2018 timetable led to travel chaos and crippled services.



https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... egins.html
Revealed: Just one in 20 low income workers entitled to free government money via a special savings account are taking advantage of it.

Figures released by the taxman this week found 2.85m eligible for tax credits.

This makes them eligible for Help to Save - which tops up savings by 50% with free money from the Government.

132,150 people have signed up to the scheme, just 4% of the 2.85m eligible.



Had to smile.

14 MILLION BELOW THE OFFICIAL POVERTY LINE ... balancing that Unholy Trinity ... eat / heat / roof.

Many clocking up short term debt in order to balance all three.

Where do the monies come from which will enable any of them to save ???
Some articles need to be read twice ... too incredulous to believe ?


HMP Birmingham: Funding dispute stopped CCTV installation.



A troubled jail has been making "steady progress" under new leadership but CCTV "promised for years" has still not been installed, inspectors have said.

HMP Birmingham used to be run by security firm G4S but was taken back into government control this year.

CCTV has never been fitted on wings because both G4S and the Prison Service felt the other should fund it, the Independent Monitoring Board said.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said CCTV would be installed within six weeks.

G4S took on the running of the category B prison, which houses just under 1,000 inmates, in 2011.

It lost the contract in April after the chief inspector of prisons described the jail last year as the worst he had ever been to, two years after a huge riot.

A new governor was appointed and the board's latest annual report published on Thursday said a "reduced prison population and the much-needed capital investment" since had enabled the prison to start making improvements.

Highlighting the lack of CCTV cameras for so many years, the report said "given the prison had the highest level of staff assaults and prisoner violence in previous years in England and Wales, the failure of the two parties to settle the funding of CCTV deserves criticism".

The delay in installing a body scanner in reception, promised last year, was also criticised.

The jail's failure to secure funding for the scanner was "inexplicable", the chief inspector of prisons said earlier this year.

The MoJ said it would now be fully operational in the new year.
How did children’s homes become centres of profit-making and abuse ?

The state has a duty to protect the vulnerable young, not simply entrust their care to the highest bidder.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... -and-abuse

An old term ... Wards of the State ... unwanted and vulnerable children.

Now sold to generate profits for their keepers ???
" Lambs to the slaughter " : Tens of thousands of savers have lost up to £10 billion in rogue pensions schemes sanctioned by the government... and now the taxman is threatening VICTIMS with fines.

Workers agreed to transfer to the rogue schemes enrolled with HMRC.

But HMRC enrolment can be secured with few checks thanks to Blair's rules.

The victims face hefty fines because many of the bogus schemes broke tax laws.

There are at least 105 rogue pension schemes registered with HMRC.



https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... phole.html


A loophole created by Government legislation and now , guess who loses out ???

The vultures need now not eat for a decade or more ... having feasted on that very loophole.