An academy trust that recently abandoned its schools siphoned off millions of pounds to its own accounts.
Troublemaker regulars may recall that Wakefield City Academies Trust decided to give up all of its 21 schools last month, just a few days into term. It had run schools across Yorkshire.
The official reason was that the Trust didn’t have “the capacity to facilitate the rapid improvement our academies need”. But that’s little wonder once you’ve moved all the cash.
At Hemsworth Arts and Community Academy in Pontefract, some £220,000 was transferred to the trust’s accounts earlier this year.
A further £216,000 was also moved over. Some £300,000 was transferred to the trust from Heath View primary school in Wakefield in September 2016. Wakefield City Academy had seen more than £800,000 transferred at the end of 2015.
The trust told governors that these two transfers were loans. But the schools have now been told that the trust no longer views them as loans.
Campaigners have warned for nearly a decade that academies are a way of diverting public money to private hands. This latest asset stripping Trust proves them right.
What’s the Tories’ solution? Slash funding for state-run schools.
The Department for Education (DfE) knows academies aren’t good for children. A leaked draft DfE report last November described “inadequate governance, leadership and overall financial management” at Wakefield City Academies Trust. It pointed out that chief executive Mike Ramsay had been paid over £82,000 for 15 weeks’ work.
Yet the DfE now wants another trust to take over the schools. Delta Academies Trust was stripped of three schools in 2015 amid concerns about low standards.
The DfE used the fiasco in Yorkshire to claim that academy trusts “operate under a strict system of oversight and accountability”.
Troublemaker looks forward to the DfE hounding Wakefield City Academies Trust to get the schools their money back.
Sister helps with planning
Cabinet Office Minister Caroline Noakes has previously criticised property developers for manipulating planning laws.
But a bid to revamp her £1 million family house on the edge of the New Forest was submitted in the name of her sister, who was identified as the owner.
Yet Land Registry documents show Romsey and Southampton North MP Noakes is the sole owner of the property.
The application was waved through—but submitting a false certificate of ownership in a planning application is an offence carrying a potential fine of up to £5,000.
The New Forest National Park authority said it would “not be in the public interest to spend money on a prosecution”.
‘Kill ’em all’—says minister
Tories often get excited at the prospect of killing people.
So International Development Minister Rory Stewart opined, “These people are a serious danger to us, and the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them.”
Stewart was backing the US envoy to the coalition fighting Isis, Brett McGurk, who said his mission since the fall of Raqqa was to ensure every foreign Isis fighter in Syria died there.
According to the spooks of the 850 British people who have travelled to Syria since 2011, 120 were killed fighting for groups such as Isis.
Around 350 have returned home, with the same number still there.
So Stewart is going to be a busy man.
Deporting the homeless to keep the figures down
The number of people sleeping rough in London has dropped for the first time in a decade. Not because of more housing but because the government are deporting the homeless.
About 1,000 Romanians and Polish people have been deported in the past year, with about 200 going voluntarily and the rest removed by Home Office immigration enforcement officers.
The scheme could be halted because of a judicial review to decide whether the Home Office is correct. It says that rough sleepers who cannot support themselves lose their rights to freedom of movement as EU citizens.
Meanwhile the number of British born rough sleepers is at a record high.
Across England the number people sleeping rough on one night in autumn 2016 also rose by 16 percent to 4,134 compared with 2015.
Pepper sprayed—but at least the bars are British
Prisoners will be targeted with pepper spray. Four prisons will try out spray, known as Pava, which is more potent than CS gas.
Its use in the US has been linked to the deaths of 26 people in custody, according to a study by the American Civil Liberties Union group.
Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform, condemned the trial. “The Ministry of Justice should be preventing disorder and violence, not adding to it,” she said. Staff at HMP Wealstun in West Yorkshire, HMP Risley in Cheshire, HMP Preston and HMP Hull are being trained in using the spray.
The Tories have found for £1 millon for the introduction of new “police-style” handcuffs and restraints.
- In a victory to make you proud Justice Secretary David Lidington has found 2,500 tons of steel to build Berwyn prison, all of it British.
Tory MP Tim Loughton revealed he spends an hour in the bath every morning.
The news came as it emerged he claimed £662 for water bills over the past two years. The MP had a reasoned argument in his defence.
He pointed out, “One of the greatest causes of stress in the world was the invention of the shower.”
A number of newspapers’ front page last week was the following unconfirmed story.
Apparently a 33-year-old man called Harry took his 36-year-old girlfriend Meghan round to his 91-year-old granny’s house for a cup of tea.
Or then again he might not have.
The things they say
‘Why was showboat Corbyn there?'
The Daily Mail newspaper is incensed that Jeremy Corbyn was in Brussels at the same time as Theresa May last week
‘The Evening Standard, Russia Today with less George Galloway’
First secretary of state Damian Green attacks George Osborne’s paper
‘Have you been groped by someone rich and powerful?’
The Sun’s sensitive approach to abuse
‘It’s like Reservoir Dogs but with extra ketchup’
Ex-civil service boss Lord Kerslake describes cabinet divisions over Brexit
‘In no way do I come from privileged circles’
Lady Antonia Fraser, biographer and daughter of the Earl of Longford, denies that she’s posh
‘She was in good shape, she was not tired, she was fighting as is her duty’
EU Commission president Jean-Claude Junker denies he said Theresa May was ‘tormented’