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Whilst the media were moaning over Trump the Tories have done terrible things

Richard Branson's Virgin Care wins £700million contract to run more than 200 NHS services 
Also, Fury as Scotland Yard buries damning child sex abuse report on day of US election

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Billionaire Richard Branson's healthcare group has been awarded a £700million contract to run NHS services - the first time a for-profit firm will deliver a council's social care for adults.

Health bosses on the board of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Bath and North East Somerset yesterday voted unanimously in favour of the deal with Virgin Care.
Councillors on Bath and North East Somerset Council then cemented their decision by approving the proposal in a vote yesterday evening. 

The private company is now set to run or oversee more than 200 health care and social care services in the area.

The deal marks the first time a council's core adult social work services will be delivered by a for-profit private firm. 

Earlier this year Virgin Care was awarded a £126million contract to take over services at hospitals in Kent.

However, the new seven-year contract is thought to be the financially-largest deal the company has ever won from a single authority.

But it is understood Virgin Care would reinvest any profit it makes.

Dr Ian Orpen, clinical chair of the CCG said: 'Following extensive consultation with local people and a very rigorous procurement process, the board is assured that Virgin Care is the right organisation to deliver the personalised and preventative care that local people have asked for.

'The board would like to thank all of the service users, carers and subject matter experts who dedicated so much of their time and experience to assessing the bids.

'We fully endorse their recommendation and we sincerely hope the elected members of the council will do the same when they meet this evening.'

Since 2006 Virgin Care has treated more than five million people via more than 250 NHS and social care services that it runs or oversees.

Virgin Care will run three statutory services - adult social care, continuing healthcare and children's community health - from April 2017 onwards.

Child abuse investigation

Unlike in children's services, there are no laws preventing councils from delegating statutory adult social work functions to profit-making providers.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has been accused of a cynical cover-up after announcing he will publish a devastating report into Scotland Yard’s inquiry into historic child sex abuse on the day of the US elections.


It’s election day in the US, and it’s captured most of the headlines. But the furore over who may end up in the White House has distracted us from some shocking figures released in the UK.

The figures reveal the true cost of austerity, and how deprived the nation is as a result.

Do the math

The Trussell Trust published its latest foodbank figures on 8 November. It revealed that it is on course to break its 12-year record for the delivery of food parcels this year. The food bank network gave out 519,342 emergency food supplies between April and September 2016. That’s 12,973 more than it supplied in the same period last year.

But the real devil is in the detail. The trust records the numbers of the “three-day emergency food supplies” it hands out. These three-day supplies contain enough food for 10 meals. So the trust provided 5,193,420 meals to the UK public in those six months. And 1,885,840 of those meals went to children.

The trust has called on the government to set up a direct telephone ‘hotline’ between food banks and job centres. It claims that line would give “timely and invaluable trouble-shooting support” to people attending food banks due to issues with their welfare claim.

A similar ‘direct line’ has been set up between the trust’s Coventry foodbank and Citizens Advice. This scheme has seen 79% of users not returning to the food bank following assistance. Largely because that advice led to £700,000 being recouped for those people through overturning sanctions, restructuring debt, and accessing benefits they were entitled to.

The UK’s national shame

The sheer scale of food bank dependency in Britain is a national shame. And it’s a terrible indictment of the government’s welfare reforms and ideology. These latest statistics should compel the government to act. But our Prime Minister apparently doesn’t see things that way. At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 2 November, Theresa May said:

"It is absolutely right that, in our welfare system, we have a system that makes sure that those people who receive benefits are those who it is right to receive benefits"
 The UK is one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. So poverty on this scale is a choice, not a necessity. The Conservative government needs to step in and resolve the crisis. And if it doesn’t, the public needs to take action against it at the next general election.

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