Michael Gove - Housing, Communities and Local Government
- Michael Gove is the cabinet minister with the most experience and moves to housing to take responsibility for "levelling up"- the programme to help communities who feel they have been left behind.
Mr Gove became environment secretary in June 2017 and proved a key advocate of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, while other Brexiteer cabinet ministers resigned.
In 2016, he famously scuppered the leadership hopes of his friend Boris Johnson, by announcing his own candidature on the morning of Johnson's own campaign launch. He lost out to Boris Johnson in the Conservative leadership campaign in summer 2019.
Mr Gove was a key ally of former Prime Minister David Cameron and has served as MP for Surrey Heath since 2005.
He made his name as a radical education secretary, bringing in major changes to exams and the curriculum and battling teaching unions during his four years in the role.
Gove has a tough job ahead of him, with corruption in local
authorities being a major issue, with greenbelt being developed
under questionable circumstances all over the south of England
in particular. Councils have been cutting corners on granting
consents, seeing the apparent "free for all" as a way
of boosting income from Community Infrastructure Levies (CIL)
payments, another form of property tax, where greedy town
planners are working hand-in-glove with favoured developers -
some of which contribute to the Conservative Party - and then
miraculously, find juicy Greenfield site consents landing in
their laps. Local action groups have long called for a dedicated
planning policing unit, where it is alleged that corruption
extends to local police protecting crooked planning officers and
chief executives, rather than investigating allegations and as
appropriate, prosecuting them. Indeed, those challenging the
system and reporting crimes, have themselves become the victim
of SLAPP actions and other fit-ups, allegedly. The Wealden
District is held to be one of the most corrupt in England, with
Sussex police refusing to investigate serious allegations of
long term fraud and institutionalised discrimination
(misfeasance turned into malfeasance in public office) for so
long, they are now barred from further involvement. As per R
v Sussex Justices ex-parte McCarthy 1924. The fraud however,
is ongoing, until such time as this very naughty Council comes
19 NOVEMEBER 2021 - IMMORAL DEVELOPERS TARGETING RURAL AREAS AND REFUSING TO BUILD ON BROWNFIELD SITES
Developers are “gorging” on greenfield sites in rural areas to build despite a record amount of brownfield land being available for construction, a charity has said.
A report by the CPRE, an organisation that aims to protect the countryside, said there is enough brownfield land in England to accommodate 1.3 million homes.
Despite this, CPRE said “wasteful and immoral” developers are choosing to concrete over greensites because it is cheaper. Emma Bridgewater, the charity’s president, is calling for councils and planners to take a “brownfield first policy”.
“We need to direct councils and developers to use these sites – often in town and city centres where housing need is most acute – before any greenfield land can be released,” she said.
“It is wasteful and immoral to abandon our former industrial heartlands where factories and outdated housing have fallen into disrepair. Developing brownfield is a win-win solution that holds back the tide of new buildings on pristine countryside and aids urban regeneration at a stroke.”
In The State of Brownfield, CPRE’s latest study, the charity says there are enough derelict sites in London alone to build 350,000 houses.
Meanwhile in the north west there is enough brownfield land available for developers to build around 170,000 units.
The report highlighted two cases in Manchester which it said were examples of how development in inner cities is slow . It said the former Boddingtons Brewery site in the city has been awaiting development for 15 years.
Despite the increasing availability of brownfield land, planning permission permits for building on green sites are soaring, CPRE said
The proportion of brownfield housing units with planning permission is the lowest since records began – down to 44 per cent in 2021 from 53 per cent in 2020 – and the actual number, at 506,000, is the lowest for four years.
Ms Bridgewater said she welcomed the recent “warm words” from the government to protect green sites but wants to see more action on a brownfield first policy.
Andy Street, the Conservative mayor for the West Midlands, said the priority for housing “has to be providing homes that are much needed” while protecting the “greenbelt for future generations.”
“That’s exactly what we’re doing here in the West Midlands,” he added. “The simple fact is there is no excuse to destroy the countryside while so much brownfield land is available for housing, which is why in our region we use the cash we’ve won from government to pay to clean up derelict industrial land.
“This is vital in the context of protecting our natural environment so it can help in the fight against climate change while levelling up our towns and cities so that they are thriving, attractive places to live and work – with nature on the doorstep to be explored and enjoyed.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson has previously pledged to encourage more housing in the north and Midlands to alleviate stress in the overheating market in London in the southeast.
Earlier this year, Mr Johnson was forced into a U-turn by his own MPs following a backlash controversial planning reforms unveiled in the
Queen’s speech, which critics said would turn swathes of the south into an urban sprawl.
Downing Street later in the Budget announced a £1.8 billion fund to regenerate brownfield land for 160,000 homes, with Michael Gove, the new “levelling up” secretary responsible for housing has emphasised the need to build on brown sites.
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “We welcome the CPRE’s commitment to focus on brownfield, which is an absolute priority for the government.”
BUILDING - The
problem with empires is that they do not last. Their builders always lose
sight of the natural limitations that have governed the evolution and
ecological balance of planet earth for millions of years before man came
along and thought he knew better.
house and factory that is built increases our carbon footprint. As each
council in the UK does the same as Wealden District
Council, the country
adds to desertification
and rising sea levels that affect another country, along with more lung
THE GUARDIAN 16 NOVEMBER 2021 - Michael Gove backer won £164m in PPE contracts after ‘VIP lane’ referral
A Conservative party donor who supported Michael Gove’s Tory leadership bid won £164m in Covid contracts after the minister referred his firm to a “VIP lane” that awarded almost £5bn to companies with political connections, new analysis reveals.
The disclosure draws Gove into a furore over alleged cronyism that has led critics to accuse the government of running a “chumocracy” where MPs’ friends, contacts or acquaintances have won huge contracts without proper process or transparency.
Meller Designs, based in Bedford, was awarded six personal protective equipment (PPE) supply contracts worth £164m from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) during the coronavirus pandemic.
Until January this year it was co-owned by David Meller, who has donated nearly £60,000 to the Tory party since 2009. This included £3,250 to support Gove’s party leadership bid in 2016, a campaign on which Meller worked as chair of finance.
When the contracts were awarded, Gove was a minister at the Cabinet Office, which is responsible for government procurement, and in charge of the office of the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, which referred Meller Designs for PPE supply.
The company was among 47 awarded contracts for PPE totalling £4.7bn after referrals from politicians and officials, according to a Guardian analysis. Several were linked to MPs, all of them Conservative. Due to the health emergency, many contracts were awarded without competitive tender.
The list of 47 companies awarded contracts via the VIP lane was published by Politico on Tuesday before its official planned release by the DHSC after a freedom of information request by the Good Law Project, which is challenging the propriety of some contracts.
The VIP or “high-priority” route was a fast-track process set up by DHSC procurement teams for offers to supply PPE from companies referred by ministers, MPs, NHS officials or other people with political connections. A report by the National Audit Office last year found that firms referred to the VIP lane had a 10 times greater success rate for securing contracts than companies whose bids were processed via normal channels.
Labour has repeatedly accused the government of favouring people with Tory party connections in the awards of multimillion-pound contracts during the pandemic.
The list of companies includes 18 whose contracts were processed through the fast track after being referred by a Conservative MP, minister or peer. When questions were first asked about the process last year, the government responded that referrals were a way of filtering credible offers that came to MPs and ministers. However, only companies referred by Conservative politicians are on the list of those awarded contracts.
The then health secretary, Matt Hancock, referred four firms subsequently awarded contracts; Andrew Feldman, a health department adviser at the time, referred three of the companies; Theodore Agnew, a Cabinet Office minister, referred three; and the Tory backbenchers Julian Lewis, Andrew Percy, Steve Brine and Esther McVey referred one each.
Another Tory peer, the lingerie businesswoman Michelle Mone, is stated to have referred one company, PPE Medpro, which was awarded two contracts worth £200m via the VIP lane. Corporate services including accounting and directorships were provided to the company by Knox House Trust (KHT), an Isle of Man firm run by Mone’s husband, Douglas Barrowman.
Mone, who made her career and fortune with her Ultimo lingerie company, last year denied to the Guardian via her lawyers that she had “any role or function in PPE Medpro, nor in the process by which contracts were awarded to PPE Medpro”. Mone’s lawyers told the Guardian she maintains her denial of involvement.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and the shadow chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, said in relation to Gove: “It shows just how engulfed in corruption this government is that the minister in charge of procurement and ensuring that contracts are awarded to the best bidder and represent value for money for the taxpayer was helping his own donor to get VIP fast-track access to contracts.
“It is time this … government published the full details of every PPE and testing contract awarded to companies with links to the Conservative party, Conservative ministers and Conservative MPs.”
A spokesperson for Gove denied that the referral involved any impropriety, saying he passed on offers to supply PPE. “The former minister for the Cabinet Office played no role in the decision to award any PPE contract, and all ministerial interests were properly declared to officials,” they said.
A spokesperson for David Meller said he had nothing to add to a previous statement provided by Meller Designs, which said it had approached the government offering to supply equipment and was “extremely proud” of the role it played in supplying “more than 100m items of PPE”.
The Cabinet Office has refused Freedom of Information Act requests from the Guardian to release correspondence between Meller and Gove during the pandemic.
A lawyer for Mone and Barrowman said: “Baroness Mone is neither an investor, director or shareholder in any way associated with PPE Medpro. She has never had any role or function in PPE Medpro, nor in the process by which contracts were awarded to PPE Medpro.” They added that she did not accept that PPE Medpro was “referred in as alleged” or “that our clients misled anyone”.
The DHSC has stressed that ministers were not involved in decisions to award contracts, and that all company offers referred were subjected to a due diligence process. A government spokesperson said: “At the height of the pandemic there was a desperate need for PPE to protect health and social care staff and the government rightly took swift and decisive action to secure it. Ministers were not involved in awarding contracts.”
Lord Feldman said the companies were referred to him by third parties and he passed them on to officials. He was “neither responsible for nor played any part in the decision to award these contracts … never had any commercial relationship with them or their owners” and “did not request, or indeed know, that these offers has been assigned to the high-priority lane”.
The Cabinet Office said Lord Agnew had been referring on companies that had approached his office. Uniserve said the DHSC had approached it directly and that it had no connections with Agnew.
McVey and Lewis said the companies they referred were local to their constituencies.
By David Conn, Rowena Mason, Rob Evans and Joseph Smith
OF CONDUCT - While there are questions over the reasoning
behind certain awards - and obvious conflicts of interest - the
apparent corruption has little to do with climate change, but
does raise questions as to the morals of yet another cabinet
minister, in a trusted position, who holds great sway over
decisions on the development, or not, of zero carbon technology.
Our advice to ministers, is to be very careful not to take
political donations from any company or person who may be
awarded any contract. With perhaps a 5 years cooling down
period, to avoid, as far as is possible, any impropriety.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson carried out a reshuffle of his
24 cabinet members on Wednesday (15 September 2021), removing several key ministers.
in the other posts? Below is a guide to the people that make up Mr
Johnson's cabinet, with the latest new faces. The burning question is, will it
make any difference to Britain's performance on the world climate stage. Or
will they be feathering their nests and fiddling on their violins, while Planet
A frys. Or are they the B
Following the abysmal result from
COP26, all that can be said
is, the cabinet need to scratch their heads a little more, stop taking
second jobs - that deprives their constituents of MP thinking time, that
should properly be spent on COP27 (set for Egypt),
saving lives and of course; developing a sustainable
economy. Ancient Egypt is a prime example of an
un-sustainable civilization that developed itself out of house
and home - not to be emulated. But that is where we are headed.
both Australia, China and India said they'd be stepping up coal
use to expand their economies. Hence, Greta
Thunberg was right about greenwashing
and blah, blah, blah. The world has gone backwards, now
these nations have told us their plans.
remaining countries assume commitments to build up efforts for reduction of
energy consumption based on unabated coal and abandonment of inefficient
fossil fuel subsidies.
Nearly 200 countries have made an unprecedented and historic pledge to speed up the end of fossil fuel subsidies and coal at the COP26 climate summit, where India pushed through an 11th hour intervention to weaken the language on coal.
So nailing their colours to the mast.
Crucially, despite almost a fortnight’s negotiations that ran more than 24 hours late, the 196 countries meeting in Glasgow committed to issuing stronger 2030 climate plans next year in a bid to avert dangerous
Pledges at COP26 are expected to see Earth warm 2.4°C this century, better than the predicted 2.7°C predicted before the summit but still a rise that would bring extreme climate impacts and see countries overshoot their shared goals of 1.5°C and “well below” 2°C.
The promise to “revisit and strengthen” new plans by the end of 2022 means the UK government hosting the summit can credibly claim to have delivered its aim of “keeping alive” the 1.5°C target. “It is a big moment,” says Chris Stark of the
Climate Change Committee, an
independent group that advises the UK government.
Fresh plans submitted next year for curbing emissions in 2030 must be aligned with the 1.5°C goal, an important new requirement that means those governments who fall short will have to justify why to their citizens. Australia,
Indonesia are among many countries whose existing plans are inadequate and will need to be strengthened.
Until today, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have never been explicitly mentioned in 26 years of treaties and decisions at UN climate talks, despite coal being one of the key drivers of global warming and $5.9 trillion of subsidies being given annually to coal,
oil and gas.
The language in COP26’s final decision text, now known as the Glasgow Climate
Pact, sees countries agree to “accelerating efforts” on the phase-out of “inefficient” subsidies. In a dramatic last-minute intervention, minutes before the outcome was adopted, India proposed a watered-down version of the language on coal, changing “phasing down” of
coal rather than “phasing out.”
DIRTIEST DOZEN G20 - COAL, GAS & OIL GUZZLERS - COP OUTS.
von der Leyen
Mohammed bin Salman
abusers will say they had no choice. They needed to keep
burning coal, gas
and oil for their economies - just like the camp guards at the
many concentration camps in WWII, they were forced into business as
usual. In the case of the camp guards, they argued they were
just following orders. But that is not true. We all have
choices. There are clean alternatives, such as solar
power. There is no need to keep building coal
generating stations, and no need to drive carcinogenic petrol
or diesel vehicles that contribute
to between 7-8 million deaths a year from lung
cancer. We have hydrogenfuel
you are going to increase electricity capacity, it makes sense
to invest in renewable
energy, unless it is that the fossil
fuel giants are lubricating the works with party
If that is the case, we say that such contributions should be
transparently declared, that the public is informed as to what
is guiding policy decisions.
Note: BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) is a term widely used in the UK to describe people of non-white descent, as defined by the Institute of Race Relations.
The make-up of the cabinet has also changed with all the comings and
goings. There are two more women then there had been before the reshuffle, but the proportion has stayed about the same because the overall number of people attending cabinet has also increased slightly.
As for the education of those now in cabinet, about 63% of them went to private schools, down slightly when compared to Mr Johnson's previous reshuffle last year - but still a stark contrast to his
predecessor's. Just 30% of Theresa May's first cabinet in 2016 attended independent schools, which was fewer than both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's original cabinets.
According to the Sutton Trust social mobility charity, every prime minister since 1937 who attended university was educated at Oxford - except for Mr
Brown. At 43%, Mr Johnson's new cabinet has slightly fewer members who were educated at Oxford or Cambridge compared to his last reshuffle - but it's still more than double what is was in Tony Blair's first cabinet in 1997.
is no fault of Bozo, that Australia, China, India, Russia and
USA have refused to cease using coal in the near future (2030-
2040), but they did sign the Glasgow
Those countries with
policies, the fossil fools are too
entrenched in carcinogenic fuels to save around two hundred and
forty 240,000,000 million lives from 2030 to 2050. This figure
is based on current death statistics from lung cancer and
related respiratory diseases, that are likely to rise as earth's
temperature increases. This does not include projected deaths
from heat stroke, starvation, thirst and displacement.