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Sir Jeremy Heywood – Sell-off of BAE, the Last of Britain’s Great British Defence Manufacturers

October 5 2012: Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet enforcer and a web of cronies, at centre of incestuous NEXUS lobbying to end independence of BAE

The controversial merger of the defense giant BAE Systems with a foreign conglomerate has been described by one respected global affairs expert as the ‘biggest redrawing of global defenses since the Cold War’.

The Government is now under intense pressure to stop the deal by refusing to sell its golden share in BAE (which last year sold £19?billion of defense and aerospace equipment). The golden share gives ministers the power to block a change of control of the company, to bar any non-UK nationals from top jobs at the firm and prevent any foreign investor owning more than 15 per cent of the company. Yet there are widespread fears that the merger is a done deal and that David Cameron doesn’t mind that one of the last great British manufacturing institutions, whose history dates back to Vickers-Armstrong which built the Spitfire, will fall into foreign hands.

The Prime Minister is said to be in favour of the move after coming under pressure from the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. He has been advocating the merger to the PM and has had a series of meetings with BAE and Morgan Stanley, the American investment bank which is advising the firm and which is in line to get millions from its work on the deal.

However, there is profound disquiet over the fact that 50-year-old Heywood has very strong personal links with Morgan Stanley staff, having worked at the bank as a director during a four-year break from the civil service. There is no suggestion, though, that he will benefit financially from the BAE merger. There have been claims that as the most important civil servant in government, the uber-ambitious Heywood (who was knighted by Cameron in January) is in danger of opening himself to charges that he could compromise the scrupulous independence expected of someone in his position. Heywood’s involvement has also led to widespread suspicions that the £28?billion BAE deal is being stitched together by the Whitehall establishment.

Several MPs want him to be questioned by the Commons defense select committee, which is investigating the merger. Heywood was a highly-paid director of Morgan Stanley as recently as 2007 — having taken a break from his Whitehall career. (Previously he had been Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Head of Domestic Policy and Strategy at the Cabinet Office under PM Gordon Brown.)

Heywood’s stint at the U.S. bank was itself highly controversial. He was accused of making a large sum of money while employed by Morgan Stanley, which dealt with the ill-fated Southern Cross care homes group. Heywood was the ultimate head of the Morgan Stanley team which advised on the sale of Southern Cross in 2006 to a U.S. equity firm which soon hived off many of the freeholds of the homes to another company. In turn, that company sold them off. The result was that 31,000 frail and elderly residents in 750 homes faced being made homeless and 3,000 jobs were lost. Although he was not directly involved in the deal, it was never made clear how much money Heywood was paid by Morgan Stanley at the time, but banking sources said it would have been a handsome sum. Justin Bowden, a union boss, said Heywood was in the scandal ‘up to his neck.’
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2213626/SPECIAL-INVESTIGATION-Sir-Jeremy-Heywood-centre-incestuous-nexus-lobbying-end-independence-BAE.html

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Sir Jeremy Heywood – The Big Society Debacle & Allegations of a Misuse of Government and Charitable Funds.-

July 26 2014: David Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse

David Cameron’s flagship Big Society Network is being investigated by the Charity Commission over allegations that it misused government funding and made inappropriate payments to its directors – including a Tory donor. The organization, which was launched by the Prime Minister in 2010, was given at least £2.5 million of National Lottery funding and public-sector grants despite having no record of charitable activity. The Independent has learnt that it has now been wound up, having used much of the money on projects that came nowhere near delivering on their promised objectives.

Two senior figures on government grant awarding bodies have also made allegations that they were pressured into handing over money to the Big Society Network despite severe reservations about the viability of the projects they were being asked to support. Liam Black, a former trustee of Nesta, which was then a public body sponsored by the Department for Business, said Nesta had been “forced” to give grants that totalled £480,000 to the Big Society Network in 2010 without a competitive pitch. He described it as a “scandalous waste of money”. Another senior figure involved in the decision to award £299,800 from the Cabinet Office to the organization said the funding request had initially been turned down. “When we did the analysis we turned them down because the bid did not stack up,” they said. “But we were told to go back and change the criteria to make it work.”

Tonight Labour said it was writing to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, asking him to investigate whether political pressure had been applied to give an organization with close ties to ministers, “special treatment”. The Independent understands that the Charity Commission is also looking into allegations that some of the “restricted funds” given by the Cabinet Office for a childhood obesity project were transferred to pay down the deficit of a linked company. It is also investigating payments made by the charity, “for consultancy services” to two directors of the charity and its chair, Martyn Rose. Mr Rose, who helped set up the Big Society Network, also contributed more than £54,000 to the 2010 Conservative election campaign.

Tonight he said he had no memory of the payment but added that it was possible “one of my companies did work on its behalf”. He said he had personally put £200,000 into the Big Society Network which he had not got back. “With hindsight, of course, if we had all known that the projects were not going to work we would have been idiots to do them,” he said. “[The truth] is that in the early stages of social investment some will work and some won’t.” Giles Gibbons, a trustee of the charity and a former business partner of Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s “blue skies thinker”, added that he did not believe any of the payments made by the charity had been in any way inappropriate.

An examination of the Big Society Network projects, funded by the Government and the lottery, reveal a marked discrepancy between what they claimed they would achieve and what they did. They included: A project called “Your Square Mile” whose purpose was to encourage and enable local people to improve their community. It was awarded £830,000 by the Big Lottery Fund – despite officials assessing the application as “weak” in three out of the six criteria. In February 2012 the project had attracted just 64 signed-up groups compared with the one million predicted in the funding application.

A project called Get In – to tackle childhood obesity through sport. In April 2012 it was awarded a grant of £299,800 from the Cabinet Office despite officials concluding it was unlikely to meet its stated objectives. They were told to change their selection criteria and approve the grant. The project was never even launched.

Britain’s Personal Best, which aimed to build on the Olympic Games by encouraging people to excel in athletic, educational or creative challenges. Given £997,960 in April 2013 by the Big Lottery Fund, it claimed it would sign up 120,000 people to take on challenges in their community – but was wound up within months after failing to meet all the milestones the Big Lottery Fund had set.

A long-running investigation by Civil Society News into Big Society Network funding has also discovered that the organization was given statutory grants totalling £480,000 in 2010 by Nesta – which was then an arms-length body of the Department of Business – without a competitive pitch being held. About £150,000 was to part-finance the core costs of running the organization in its early stages and £330,000 was to support four projects – called Nexters, Spring, Your Local Budget and It’s Our Community. Nesta is now an independent charity but said, “While the vast majority of Nesta’s grants are made following open calls for proposals, we do have the ability to provide grants to projects that fit with our vision and advance our objects outside of open calls for proposals. That is what happened with the grants to the Big Society Network.”

Labour is now demanding an inquiry into links between the Big Society Network and senior Conservatives. Several members of the network’s staff had worked with and for ministers including Michael Gove and Theresa May, and two had stood as Tory candidates. Giles Gibbons had been a partner in the same firm as Steve Hilton and co-wrote a book with him. He said tonight: “Am I disappointed that the network didn’t have a more positive impact? The answer is 100 per cent yes. Do I think we could have done more about that? Yes I think we could have. “There was powerful core at the heart of what we were trying to do but was our delivery was not good enough. Is there anything untoward in the way in which we have worked? I genuinely don’t think there is.” But Lisa Nandy, the shadow minister for civil society said: “It’s bad enough that millions of pounds of public money were squandered, but the connections between these organizations and the Conservative party are deeply concerning.”

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said: “Our case into the Society Network Foundation remains open and ongoing. We have received a response to questions we had relating to connected-party transactions and the use of a grant. “However this does not fully address our concerns and we are in the process of engaging further with the trustees. We are also awaiting copies of documents that explain the grounds on which a grant was given.”

Key players

Steve Hilton: A former advertising executive who became David Cameron’s, “blue skies thinker”. He championed the idea of the Big Society, and was instrumental in getting government backing for it when the Tories came to power.

Martyn Rose: A businessman who gave £60,000 to the Tories in the run-up to the last election and became chairman of the Big Society Network. Worked with both Theresa May and Michael Gove.

Giles Gibbons: Co-wrote a book with Steve Hilton called Good Business. He became a trustee of the Society Network Foundation – the charitable arm of the Big Society Network. It is now being investigated by the Charity Commission.

Steve Moore: Worked for the Tories in the late 1980s and became chief executive of the Big Society Network. Was ultimately responsible for delivering the projects that failed. Had close links with Mr Hilton and the Nick Hurd, the minister responsible for the Big Society.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-camerons-big-society-in-tatters-as-charity-watchdog-launches-investigation-into-claims-of-government-funding-misuse-9629848.html

August 20 2014: Since publication of the above, an application dated 7 August 2014 has been made by the Trustees to have the corporate entity Society Network Foundation Ltd struck off the Register of Companies. The controversial charity that received over £2.5m of lottery and government grants is to be wound up amid allegations that it misused funding and made inappropriate payments to its directors. The Society Foundation Network, which ran the Big Society Network, is being probed by the Charity Commission following several failed projects.

The Network was also investigated by the National Audit Office over allegations that Government money was incorrectly allocated. The charity denies all the allegations. Yesterday, “The Independent” revealed that one project run by the organization had made a series of claims for nearly £1m of lottery funding that are now being disputed by other charitable organizations it referred to. The Charity Commission said that the trustees of the organization had contacted it to tell them that they planned to voluntarily wind it down. It said its “operational compliance” case into the terms and conditions of a grant awarded to the charity and other accountancy issues were still on-going and the trustees were co-operating.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/big-society-charity-winds-up-after-claims-it-misused-up-to-25m-in-funding-9681836.html

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Exposes

Supply of a Corona Vaccine to the UK is awarded to AstraZeneca – Tory Financial Backers are Happy Bunnies Yet Again

 

Editorial cartoons

 

Coronavirus – A Safe Vaccine ??

Drug manufacturers and regulators have been under intense political pressure from Governments to deliver a safe vaccine and AstraZeneca recently reported it expected to be able to introduce to the market before Christmas 2020, a coronavirus vaccine with a success rate of 90%-10%. But the announcement was premature.

Shortly after US (Food and Drug Administration) regulators, the FDA stopped trials enabling it to conduct a probe into an adverse event in the UK involving a patient on a trial of the vaccine falling ill with unexplained neurological symptoms, previously believed to be consistent with transverse myelitis.

Trials were not halted in the UK since the regulation of vaccines, which are technically biologics, falls to the (European Medicines Agency) EMA’s remit, until the UK leaves the EU.

But Boris Johnson recently announced that the UK will bypass the EMA’s regulatory regime and grant a production and distribution license to AstraZeneca enabling the roll-out of a vaccination programme in the UK, from December 2020.

 

AstraZeneca's Covid trial pause a reminder of huge challenges in race for vaccines | Free to read | Financial Times

 

 

The EMA Rolling Review Procedure

At the beginning of October 2020, the EMA started the first ‘rolling review’ of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the company AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford. This meant that the committee had started evaluating the first batch of data on the vaccine, which had come from laboratory studies (non-clinical data). It did not mean that a conclusion had been reached on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, as much of the evidence had not yet been submitted.

A rolling review programme is a regulatory tool that the EMA uses to speed up the assessment of a promising medicine or vaccine during a public health emergency.

Normally, all data on a medicine’s effectiveness, safety, and quality, and all required documents must be submitted at the start of the evaluation in a formal application for marketing authorization.

In the case of a rolling review, EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) reviews data as they become available from ongoing studies before a formal application is submitted.

Once the CHMP decides that sufficient data are available, the formal application should be submitted by the company.

By reviewing the data as they become available, the CHMP can reach its opinion sooner on whether or not the medicine or vaccine should be authorized.

There are at least 64 companies worldwide involved in the research and production of a safe vaccine and many are nearing production.

So it is expected that a number of vaccines, perhaps safer and more efficacious will become available to the market in the early months of 2021.

Time will be the judge that will decide if the UK Governments’ decision is right.

(https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/ema-starts-first-rolling-review-covid-19-vaccine-eu)

 

AstraZeneca shares gain as coronavirus vaccine trials resume | Reuters

 

 

2 June 2014: Just let me ask the wife!!! says Civil Servant and UK Tory Government Cabinet Secretary

Heywood advised the Prime Minister on the view to take on the Pfizer takeover bid for its British rival AstraZeneca.

And just as it happened that Heywood’s wife (who worked for McKinney’s) had only just recently written a report, circulated to Tory politicians, advising pharmaceutical firms to restructure, including mergers with rivals, ‘to navigate turbulent times’.

The Pfizer bid was subsequently withdrawn. Heywood and his wife’s role needed to be independently investigated. But it didn’t happen.

 

 

AstraZeneca to receive over Rs 140 crore grant from promoter - The Economic Times
Brexit Uncertainty

 AstraZeneca, headquartered in Cambridge UK  is headquartered in Cambridge and is the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company. It is on record as saying that a hard Brexit would mean moving some of its operations away from the UK.

An organization spokesman said that moving manufacturing takes several years but the likelihood of the company relocating to the EU is high in the event of a hard Brexit and the company has taken the first steps in planning for a scenario in which no divorce deal is reached between the UK and the EU by the 31 December 2020 deadline.

AstraZeneca bid is threat to UK science, says committee chair | Business |  The Guardian