Should Boot’s be given the The Boot?

Should Boot’s be given the The Boot?

New research shows that Alliance Boots, the high street chemist and pharmaceutical giant, has avoided more than £1 billion in tax since it went private six years ago through taking on excessive debts, profit shifting and corporate restructuring. This report, Alliance Boots & The Tax Gap, published by War on Want, Unite the Union and Change to Win, exposes the full scale of Boots’ tax avoidance for the first time.

At a time when Alliance Boots is trying to sell additional services to the NHS, the lost tax revenue from Alliance Boots has tangible effects on the British public. Using the tax Alliance Boots avoided, the government could have funded:

1. More than two years of total prescription charges for all of England.
2. The starting salary of more than 78,000 NHS nurses for a year– roughly 120 additional nurses each constituency.
3. Over 185,000 hip replacements.
4. More than 5 million ambulance call outs.

What a bunch. These tax avoidance loopholes should be denied to companies operating in the UK. Boots is only one of a huge number of tax dodging enterprises. Many of them provide financial support to the Tory party. Vote, “Yes” in the referendum so that Scotland will be enabled through independence to ensure tax collection is applicable to all.


Privatisation of the NHS in England.

Privatisation of the NHS in England.

First you bring the Doctors to Heel. Then you bypass them through the widespread use of private healthcare contracting using large conglomerates with their place of business registered off shore, Bahamas, Switzerland etc. This ensures profits are maximised but the UK taxpayer is well and truly ripped off, and we talking big money. Over ten years around £1trillion profit.

The undernoted information provides evidence of the privatisation. Be assured where the NHS in England goes the NHS in Scotland will surely follow, by fair means or foul. There is so much at stake for Scotland. A, “no” vote in the September referendum will bring the changes to Scotland. A, “Yes” vote will free Scotland from the clutches of Westminster. Vote not for your father. Vote for your children.

GPs across England face being fined if they don’t make use of a new e-referral system that is due to be launched by the end of this year, according to plans being developed by NHS England. The e-referral system, which has been modeled off popular flight-booking websites, is central to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to create a paperless NHS by 2018. It is hoped that if this target is met it could deliver the government savings of £4.4 billion a year.

According to specialist health publication Pulse, NHS England has set its sights on getting 100 percent of practices using the new system by 2017 and that it is considering penalties for Gps that don’t use it to make referrals. Speaking to MPs on the Public Accounts Committee this week, chief executive of NHS England, Sir David Nicholson, said that they were looking at an “incentive stroke penalty system” to maximise uptake.

The system will allow ‘anyone to anyone’ referrals, with GPs able to refer to any NHS service and diagnostics. It will also be designed for mobile and patients will be able to book follow-up appointments via the system. Sir David told MPs: “GPs, of all our clinicians across the NHS, are probably the most technically advanced. They’ve got more digital systems than almost anybody. So it’s not that they’re frightened, they just don’t like the way the system works and it affects their patients they think they don’t want different ways, and we’ve been unable to persuade them of that.

“But I think we’re getting to the point here, where we’ve heard from e-referrals implementation, is that we want to get a system where we can make it a mandatory system as we go forward.” He added: “The question we’ve got to ask is, in a sense – to get as wide a support for it as we can – and then: What is the incentive stroke penalty system we want to put in place to ensure that it actually works?”

By March 2015 everyone in the UK should be able to get online access to their health records held by their GP, according to Jeremy Hunt, and there should be a clear plan in place to enable secure linking of these electronic health and care records wherever they are held. The NHS Commissioning Board will be leading the implementation and it has set a clear expectation that hospitals should plan to make information digitally and securely available by 2014/15.

Alternative Providers of Medical Services (APMS) contracts To be Offered Exclusively to Private Healthcare Providers

All new GP, Alternative Providers of Medical Services (APMS) contracts To be offered exclusively to Private Healthcare providers

NHS Contract Terminology

1. Personal Medical Services contracts (PMS)
Contracts are agreed between NHS England and GP practices, together with funding arrangements. In England, approximately 40 per cent of GP practices are on PMS contracts.

2. General Medical Services (GMS)
practice-based contract rewards practices for essential services, as well as additional services that practices can choose to offer.

3. Alternative Providers of Medical Services (APMS)
Under APMS, PCTs are able to contract for primary medical services with commercial providers, voluntary sector providers, mutual sector providers, social enterprises, public service bodies, GMS and PMS practices (through a separate APMS contract) and NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts.

Contracting Policy

Exclusive All new GP contracts will be opened up to bids from the private sector by NHS England in a move that GP leaders have warn marks the ‘death-knell’ of traditional life-long general practice. As a tide of practices face closure, because of competition law they will replaced with time-limited, (usually 5 year) APMS contracts instead. The move has taken GP leaders by surprise, with the GPC seeking urgent legal advice about the move. Some have warned it will lead to the privatisation of the NHS with surgeries replaced with ‘short-term, profit making ventures’.

The foregoing changes are now well under way in England. High street pharmacies will be increasingly offering a range of services previously the remit of GP’s. Computerised private patient records will be made available to contractors. GP service provision will be dismantled over a period of 5-10 years in favour of large Private Healthcare providers. The Scottish government recently restated that healthcare provision in Scotland will not be subject to such abuse, which favours profiteering by large private healthcare contractors. But in the event of a, “No” vote the English NHS model in all respects will be imposed, (by stealth) on Scotland. Scot’s who wish to retain the existing Scottish NHS should vote, “Yes” in the referendum.

A few views from senior NHS medical staff

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘Under the GMS regulations there is scope to enter into a temporary contract but this is AT CLEAR ODDS WITH PROCUREMENT LAW and the 2013 regulations so best practice would dictate that this should not be used when APMS effectively does the same job and does not come with the same risks attached. “GMS can still be entered into upon reversion from PMS and the new form of PMS contract may be entered into by way of renegotiation (ie variation) but in respect of procurements, yes they should all be on APMS.”

GP leaders are warning that, with practices under increasing workload and financial pressure, strict tender requirements could exclude smaller practices from primary care and drive the invasion of private providers and they are advising practices to seek alternatives to contract termination, for example by merging, when partners reach retirement in order to avoid losing, “invaluable” GMS and PMS contracts.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he was surprised to hear about the national policy that would, “spell the death knell of the whole ethos of long-term, continuity of care in the way general practice operates”. He said the GPC was seeking urgent legal advice on whether NHS England was correct in asserting that APMS contracts were the only way to satisfy international procurement law. He added: “It’s extremely unfortunate, and highly ill-advised that area teams should be undermining secure, long-term sustained provision of general practice through APMS contracts. There is nothing to stop an area team choosing to use a PMS or GMS as a contract, on the grounds that it offers a local population the best mechanism for the provision of general practice services.”

Dr Tony Grewal, Medical Director at Londonwide LMCs said they were worried about the moves in the capital that would replace family doctors with, “short-term, profit making ventures that went against the ethos of primary care”. He added: “APMS is only for five years, potentially renewable, which means that you cannot invest time, you can’t invest in the long term. It’s designed for people to go in, to make a profit, and to go out again. Which is not, in my opinion, what general practice is about.” “What it means is, over a reasonably short period of time, given the rate at which practices are closing at the moment, you are going to have significant proportions of general practice services in London, being run by the commercials or big conglomerates.”

Dr David Jenner, GP contract lead at the NHS Alliance and a GP in Cullompton, Devon, warned that the move would mean that independent GPs would struggle to compete with larger healthcare corporations. He said, “Often minimum requirements of IT, quality, financial backing, in practice can make it difficult for small providers to effectively compete”. “It can be a very inefficient way of procuring a service of limited value. There is also the danger of providers bidding low to win the contract and then being unable to meet the terms of it.”

BMA Council member and Lewisham GP Dr Louise Irvine said, “I’m worried about that becoming the new model of care, we’ve already seen new models of private companies bidding for these APMS contracts, some of them have been successful and it’s hard for ordinary practices to bid against them.” She added, “It’s very much part of a trend, it’s part of this big push to privatise, to commercialise and bring in private, for profit companies to run more and more, not just primary care, but community and secondary hospital care.”

Wind Energy Smashes UK Electricity Share Record

Wind Energy Smashes UK Electricity Share Record

Wind turbines met 22 per cent of power demand on Sunday 17 Aug 2014, while coal contributed just 13 per cent. Yesterday’s high winds may have been frustrating for anyone out and about, but they also helped set a new record for wind power on the grid.

According to RenewableUK, Britain’s fleet of onshore and offshore wind turbines met 22 per cent of electricity demand during Sunday 17 Aug 2014, setting a new record, comfortably outperforming coal, which met just 13 per cent of demand.

Nearly 5.8MW of wind power was generated, which is equal to the power demand of 15 million homes, the trade association said.

August 2014 already looks set to be a particularly strong month for the UK wind energy industry, with reports confirming wind turbines also met 21 per cent of demand last week as the UK felt the tail end of Hurricane Bertha.

“We’re seeing very high levels of generation from wind throughout August 2014 so far, proving yet again that onshore and offshore wind has become an absolutely fundamental component in this country’s energy mix,” said RenewableUK’s director of external affairs, Jennifer Webber. “It also shows that wind is a dependable and reliable source of power in every month of year – including high summer.”

The latest figures also confirmed that solar power provided three per cent of power on the grid yesterday, while hydroelectric plants produced one per cent.

Constraint Payments – (A Temporary Measure)

Critics pointed out that the National Grid is forced to pay wind turbines millions of pounds to switch off on windy days in order to balance out demand. Last week, it paid wind developers £2.8m and £1.1m to other generators in balancing payments at the time high winds coincided with a period of low demand.

Constraint payments are necessary but will be much reduced following upgrades to the national electricity network, such as the Western Link – a £1bn subsea cable that will bring renewable energy from SCOTLAND to the rest of the UK

Yesterday’s record is the latest in a string of strong performances across Europe for the renewables industry over the past 12 months. Recent data has suggested that Germany and Spain have also delivered record levels of clean energy output in the past six to 12 months, as surveys across Europe have also demonstrated high levels of public support for renewable energy.


Never mind oil, Scotland is the leading renewable clean energy producer in Europe. The UK electricity grid is dependent upon Scotland’s clean electricity and this dependency is expected to increase to around 50% by the year 2020.

A, “Yes” vote in the referendum will ensure Scotland benefits directly from the income generated by electricity production. A, “No” vote will result in the UK National Grid claiming production as a national asset, (to be controlled by Westminster). A yes vote is the only sensible way forward.

The Inefficient UK National (Electricity Supply) Grid

The electrical grid is viewed by the public as a natural and strategic asset. As such it is, in the view of many, totally unsuited to the pressures of market forces. But if a market is to operate then application of variable transmission costs make sense.

Electricity transmission loss in transfer forms a small part of overall electricity loss. The real problem with the grid is capacity crunch. The lack of a transmission cable from the islands to the Scottish mainland brings with it reduced amounts of electricity transfer from the North of Scotland. Supply of electricity to the grid is therefore rationed and this brings with it increased transmission costs. In England there is a lot of demand, but not much generation. The installation of an electrical supply cable link from the islands to the Scottish mainland, (regardless of the outcome of the referendum) is crucial to the future of the National Grid.

The option of expanding Coal, Gas and Nuclear power stations, (using lease lend contracting) funded, designed, built and operated, using foreign finance and workforces may appear to be attractive and cost effective over electricity but fossil-fuels and nuclear have been indulged for far too long on cleaning up their long-term residual mess and when the cost of this is factored in renewable energy is by far the more cost effective.

A recently published, (heavily biased) OFGEM report is very positive about the use of renewable energy, but not at this time. Entirely due to a lack of forward planning by Westminster governments, short term measures are considered necessary, in England. The Con/Dem government is determined to expand nuclear production, (although the preferred options would breech EU financial rules). The Department of Energy and Climate Change, (DECC) is undecided and a government funded and staffed, (blinker wearing) policy think tank strongly believes in market forces, but only so far as nuclear is good and renewables are bad. So the future of UK renewable energy looks bleak.

Scotland is rich in renewable energy production and does not need to commit to the Westminster governments dogma. But a, “No” vote will bring with it the introduction in the next parliament of a, “National UK Energy Production Policy Unit” which will direct the development of ALL energy production within the UK, (including Scotland). All that has been achieved in Scotland will be set aside in favour of the pursuit of nuclear power expansion. But there is remedy available, vote, “Yes” in the referendum so that Scotland will be able to continue the good works in place and planned. We do not need to follow a lead to destruction.

The Basket-case Economy- The UK or Panama?? Darling hopelessly wrong again

The Basket-case Economy- The UK or Panama?? Darling hopelessly wrong again

Panama announces major oilfield discovery in Darien. I seem to remember a number of the Darien shares were lodged, (for safekeeping) with the, Bank of Scotland. Might be Scotland retains some control of the area formally settled and claimed for Scotland all those year’s ago. Darling keen to put Panama down as a basket-case economy

But the truth is that it is the UK that is operating a basket-case economy and in the event of a, “no” vote Westminster will, (soon after) set about reducing the UK deficit, which is now larger than the total world deficit that brought the World to it’s knee’s in the 1930’s. Austerity measures. “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet”.

The UK population is currently, severely burdened down with debt, (encouraged by the excesses of successive governments). It is calculated that the debt, ( spread evenly across every household) equates to about 50% of the total weekly cash available to them.

The Governor of the Bank of England has given formal notice to the Con/Dem government that inflation, now rife in the economy will need to be reduced significantly or the UK will be in, “deep S***t.

The problem for the UK population is the only feasible fiscal correcting measure is a sharp rise in interest rates. A rise which will result in widespread bankruptcy, loss of jobs, homes and other moveable / transferable assets for many millions of UK citizens.

These measures will be kept well hidden until the, “Chancellors Autumn Statement” (well after the referendum) so as not to influence the Scottish vote in favour of independence. Scot’s need to be aware of the foregoing so that they will be able to vote, “Yes” in the referendum. “Beware of locusts bearing gifts” since there is very often a, “sting in the tail”.

Romeo Oilfield Discovery

Trapoil and the Romeo Oilfield discovery

Trapoil has entered into an agreement with Prostar Capital Limited, a global private equity firm, which will enable Trapoil to participate in the consolidation of the Romeo discovery, a high value asset within the North Sea. Prostar’s management believes that there is considerable value in the North Sea, and has established a substantial fund targeted at acquiring undervalued assets and companies in the region.

The Romeo discovery (drilled in 2012) in which Trapoil now holds a controlling position, has SIGNIFICANT POTENTIAL in the event a further planned high impact well is drilled. TOTAL OIL controls, with 100% equity, the adjacent block to the west that contains approximately 20 per cent. of Romeo and has a lookalike structure named Alfa (or Scarinish). In Q4 2013, Trapoil farmed out its Valleys asset, located near the Forties field, to TOTAL OIL and in return negotiated, inter alia, an option to acquire up to a 35 per cent. equity interest in Alfa. This option has now been extended through to late July 2014. The Company believes this option to be important as drilling information from the Alfa prospect will be key to unlocking the potential in the Romeo discovery. Alfa is expected to be drilled in 2015 and is a commitment to DECC.

JK Rowling Moans About, “Yes” Campaigners

JK Rowling Moans About, “Yes” Campaigners

In her explanatory letter to the Public Rowling predicted that some pro-independence campaigners would discount her views because she was born and raised in England. She likened that stance to the obsession with pure wizard blood of the villainous characters in her magical saga. “When people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste,” “you need to know that there is going to be a referendum on 18th September on whether or not Scotland should leave the United Kingdom. If you’re only vaguely interested, or pressed for time, there’s further mention of Death Eaters later in my letter”

It must be argued, with good reason, that Rowling invited attacks on herself, since it was she who first gave mention to “Death Eaters”. Indeed she made great effort. She wrote; “when people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste.” I wonder what moved her to invite negative comment about her lineage, since it was a subject given no coverage in the debate. Indeed a multitude of expats, from many countries living in Scotland, have expressed strong opinion supporting views totally contrary to those of JK Rowling.