reading the newspaper this polling day, three things caught my eye:
1. Guardian Letters: The scourge of our wealth divide:
The annual Sunday Times Rich List yields four very important conclusions for the governance of Britain (Report, Weekend, 28 April). It shows that the richest 1,000 persons, just 0.003% of the adult population, increased their wealth over the last three years by £155bn. That is enough for themselves alone to pay off the entire current UK budget deficit and still leave them with £30bn to spare.
Michael Meacher MP
In a deal signed off by the government in February, Circle takes the first £2m of any year’s profits at the hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. After that it gets a quarter of surpluses between £2m and £6m, and a third of surpluses between £6m and £10m. The terms mean that in any year Hinchingbrooke makes less than a £6m surplus, more than half will go to Circle.
In the past decade the hospital has never made an annual surplus of more than £600,000, suggesting large cuts would be needed to meet targets. This year the hospital is on course to lose £10m.
Circle’s 10-year management franchise is seen as a potential model for other hospitals.
News of the tiny payouts was announced to campaigners at a meeting on Monday and has led to calls for personal donations to the workers’ compensation fund from the so-called Phoenix Four – John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and Peter Beale – the businessmen whobought the company for £10 in 2000 and then paid themselves and managing director Kevin Howe a total of £42m.
Carl Chinn, a trustee of the former employees’ fund, said: “I hope they will search their conscience to see if they can find the goodwill to help those who have lost so much. But as they have been ignoring my calls for four or five years, I’m not holding out much hope.”
Chinn said a request for contributions had been put to representatives of the quartet, who last May were disqualified from working as company directors in Britain for a total of 19 years.
A spokesman for the four said: “All we would want to say is that the request has been noted.”
So, yes, I voted today.