Asylum Seekers Racket?

I am indebted to Brychan Davies, a regular visitor to this blog, for drawing my attention to this story and for doing a considerable amount of the initial research.

Featuring on the BBC Wales Sunday Politics show yesterday, and also topping the News was a report on the poor quality accommodation in which asylum seekers are being housed. There’s little doubt that the story was delivered, ready-written to the BBC by the Welsh Refugee Council.

Which is why I would caution against believing that the Welsh Refugee Council’s motives are entirely altruistic. For it could be that they’re a bit pissed off with an English company running the refugee/migrant/asylum seeker business on their patch. Knowing that the Clearsprings Home Office contract is up for renewal next year, the Council could be putting the boot in in the hope that it can take over.

Don’t get me wrong, if I believed that the Welsh Refugee Council was attacking Clearsprings for the right reasons, if there was anger that 17 years into devolution the Home Office in London can still award contracts like this, allowing English companies to operate in Wales, then I would unequivocally support the Welsh Refugee Council.

But the Welsh Refugee Council is part of the Third Sector, and so I suspect that the ‘outrage’ might have something to do with the allocation of  public funding. Which would make the report on BBC Wales yesterday – and the story run last year about Lynx House – little more than a propaganda offensive in a turf war.

UPDATE 06.12.2016: A trip to the Charity Commission website and a scan of the most recent accounts available would appear to bear out my suggestion of jealousy and desperation motivating the Welsh Refugee Council.

Income for the Council fell from £2.48m in y/e 31.03.2011 to just £610,000 in y/e 31.03.2015. Perhaps more significantly, in 2015 staff costs were £355,944, down from £748,470 the previous year. So there must have been quite a few redundancies and the organisation’s future might be on the line.

So let’s examine the facts. The company named by the BBC as providing the sub-standard accommodation is Clearsprings Ready Homes, here’s the Companies House information. You’ll note that it’s a relatively new company, only Incorporated on Jan 24, 2012. The original name – used until Dec 12, 2012 – was Clearel Ltd. The company’s address is given as 26 Brook Road, Rayleigh, Essex.

If you go to the latest set of accounts, up to 31.01.2016 – under the ‘Filing history’ tab – you’ll read the following:

clearsprings-operates

It would be reasonable to assume that Clearsprings Ready Homes Ltd was set up to run the contract with the Home Office that research tells us began in 2012. The contract is due for renewal in 2017 which, as I’ve suggested, almost certainly explains the timing of BBC Wales’ hostile coverage at the instigation of the Welsh Refugee Council.

If you stay on the Companies House website and type in ‘Clearsprings’ it will offer you a number of other companies, most of them sharing the same Essex address. Among them, Clearsprings (Management) Ltd. You’ll see that one of the directors is a Graham Ian King, whose address is also given as 26 Brook Road, Rayleigh, Essex. If you stick with Graham Ian King and bring up his other directorships you’ll see among them Kings Leisure Ltd, which I suspect is the original family firm, Incorporated back in January 1958.

The Kings are a family that seem to be involved in the entertainment and holiday industry, among their interests is a large caravan park on Canvey Island. A business that drew some adverse publicity last year when it was alleged that benefit claimants from other parts of England and ex-offenders were being ‘dumped’ there.

clearsprings-dumping

If we click on the ‘Charges’ tab of Clearsprings (Management) Ltd we see that this company – not Clearsprings Ready Homes – owns a number of properties in Swansea. In fact, despite what it says in the Clearsprings Ready Homes accounts about “London and the South of England”, and despite the Cardiff emphasis of the Welsh Refugee Council and BBC Wales, Clearsprings and Mr King seem to be very active in Swansea.

Here’s a list of the properties owned by Clearsprings (Management) Ltd in Swansea (according to Companies House): 14 Kildare Street, Manselton, SA5 9PH; 26 Clare Street, Manselton, SA5 9PQ; 3A Robert Street, Manselton, SA5 9NE; 57 Courtney Street, Manselton, SA5 9NR; 406 Carmarthen Road, Cwmbwrla, SA5 8LW; 16 Colbourne Terrace, Waun Wen, SA1 6FP; 42 Llangyfelach Street, Dyfatty, SA1 2BQ; 9 Portia Terrace, Mount Pleasant, SA1 6XW; 41 Landeg Street, Plasmarl, SA6 8LA; 359 Neath Road, Plasmarl, SA6 8JN; 5 Ramsey Drive, Clase, SA6 7JD; 13 Lon Hafren, Morriston, SA6 7EH; 59 Pentre-chwyth Road, Bon-y-maen, SA1 7AN; 162 Peniel Green Road, Peniel Green, SA7 9BE.

I was only able to find the title documents for four of these fourteen properties on the Land Registry website: 57 Courtney Street, 42 Llangyfelach Street, 41 Landeg Street, and 13 Lôn Hafren. You’ll see that they were all bought in 2007 and 2008 with loans from Barclays Bank. Interestingly, the last two properties named have a link with the Beaufort Estate, which will soon be dumping a wind farm on common grazing land at Mynydd y Gwair, and not so long ago demanded (and got) £280,000 for allowing the council to put a footbridge over the Tawe. (The Marquess of Worcester is the eldest son of the Duke of Beaufort.)

clearsprings-marquis-of-worcester

Another curiosity is that the Companies House website gives a title number, CYM66501, for 59 Pentre-chwyth Road, but when I entered this into the Land Registry search box it was refused. I suspect it’s a typo by Companies House, for I’m reasonably sure there should be six digits; but even when I tried to type in the address I still got nowhere.

As for the other properties identified as being owned by Clearsprings (Management) Ltd, and assuming these were also bought in 2007 and 2008, why haven’t they been registered with the Land Registry?

But then, Mr King is a busy man, what with everything. For he also got himself involved in the strange business of the Aquarius Film Company which, not to put too fine a point on it, was a tax scam reminiscent of, and perhaps inspired by, The Producers.

Another frustration I encountered was that even though the ‘Welsh’ Government is now supposed to maintain a register of private landlords, it’s less than useless.

It’s here on the Rent Smart Wales Website. Go to the ‘Check Register’ tab and you’ll be offered four options – Property Address, Landlord, Agent, Reference Number. Type in ‘Clearsprings (Management) Ltd’ and it brings up a list of other companies that have no connection with Clearsprings. ‘Clearsprings Ready Homes’ gets the same frustrating result. So I typed in the post code for 59, Pentre-chwyth Road, SA1 7AN, and the site came up with addresses in SA10 – Neath!

In my experience, searching for anything on a ‘Welsh’ Government website is like trying to conduct a conversation with an old and very deaf person, the ‘answer’ never matches the question: ‘It’s cold out today, Auntie Glad’. ‘Oh, thank you, two sugars please, and a couple of Digestives . . . I likes Digestives, I do’.

This post may be no more than an introduction to the King family and the various Clearsprings companies, for I suspect that there’s a lot more information to come. Some of which might be encouraged out of hiding with the following questions:

1/ Who at the Home Office thought it a good idea to give a contract to house asylum seekers to companies and a family whose main line of business seems to be a down-market caravan site on Canvey Island?

2/ Can we assume – as the Welsh Refugee Council is obviously hoping – that the contract will not be renewed in 2017?

3/ Who owns the Lynx Hotel on Newport Road in Cardiff, used by Clearsprings, for the ownership appears not to be registered with the Land Registry?

4/ Why does Clearsprings own houses in residential areas of Swansea which are clearly different to the Lynx Hotel in Cardiff in that they are not Houses of Multiple Occupation? Who is being housed in these Swansea properties? Why is the ownership of most of them not registered with the Land Registry?

5/ Does Swansea council know who lives in these properties? Does Swansea council care? Has Swansea council even been consulted? (Maybe people living near these properties can tell us who lives in them.)

6/ What is the ‘Welsh’ Government’s role in a system that sees the Home Office in London award a contract to an English company to house people in Wales? Does the ‘Welsh’ Government have any role at all? Was the ‘Welsh’ Government even consulted?

7/ Are the ‘Welsh’ Government or any of our local authorities contributing financially to the Clearsprings operations in Wales?

8/ Given the allegations made last year against the King family at their Thorney Bay caravan park, are benefit claimants and ex-offenders (perhaps others) being brought from England into Wales?

9/ If we are talking of genuine asylum seekers, then some of them will be the opponents or enemies of ruthless and bloodthirsty regimes. Regimes that may seek revenge. So is it wise to locate these asylum seekers in residential areas of Welsh cities?

10/ If what we are discussing here has been done without any input from the ‘Welsh’ Government, then what is the point of devolution?

♦ end ♦

55 thoughts on “Asylum Seekers Racket?

  1. Daley Gleephart

    The reason why Clearsprings is not on the Rent Smart (Wales) website is probably because organisations providing accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers are not subject to the same regulations that apply to private landlords.

    1. And why would, or should, they be treated differently? Such an exemption could be interpreted as, ‘Anything’s good enough for them’.

    2. Brychan

      That’s not true. Besides a provision for leeway for sloppy admin there are only three other exceptions to registration under the Housing Wales Act 2014.

      5d, being registered as a social landlord with the Welsh Government.
      5e, being a fully mutual housing association, under the mutuals register.
      5f, person of a description specified in an order made by the Welsh Ministers.

      The 5f definition applies for ‘safe houses’ like under the witness protection programme, other requirements from UK wide bodies like the MoD, or, as I suspect in this case a warrant of exemption from the Home Office.

      This would mean that ‘Welsh Ministers’ hold responsibility for the non-registration of these appalling housing conditions operated by Clearsprings. A local authority inspector of HMO would refer the premises, and in turn, the Welsh Government could require the holder of a 5f exemption to act, even if that is the Home Secretary in Westminster.

      That would, or should, be in the ‘contract’.

      1. Daley Gleephart

        “That’s not true.”
        Not true? What’s not true?
        My take on it is: The Housing Wales Act of 2014 doesn’t apply to organisations offering accommodation to refugees as they are controlled by different legislation passed by Parliament. I hope that I’m wrong and something can be done but I’m not optimistic.

        1. Brychan

          The Westminster parliament passed legislation to allow the Senedd to pass primary legislation in the Government of Wales Act 2006 in specific areas. One of the specific areas is housing. As far as I’m aware there is no legislation subsequently passed by the Westminster House that has repealed or modified this. It means that the Housing Wales Act of 2014 has primacy in Wales. There is a get-out clause (as described above) to deal with items that were previously reserved. All housing in Wales is governed by the Welsh legislation. For example, it doesn’t cover the cells in Swansea prison but it does cover the flats in Llansamlet. Another example is when the prisoner is fed in the custody suite at the police station is not covered, but any food purchased from the take-away to feed the prisoner is covered by Welsh Food Hygiene regulations.

          Jac’s question 6 needs to be answered at First Ministers questions tomorrow.
          All AMs in Wales have a duty to ensure asylum seekers housed in Wales are treated properly.

          1. Daley Gleephart

            Thanks, Brychan, but I’ve got a suspicion that refugees do not have the rights afforded under the Housing Wales Act (2014). If refugees had the same rights as someone born here they’d be able to place their names on Council housing lists and Housing Association lists.

            1. Brychan

              The registration requirement applies to the property not the occupant. The enforcer being a local authority. It’s the property that resides in Wales, and the owner, landlord or agent has to comply. These are multiple occupancy residential premises, not barracks, prisons or detention centres. The BBC cameraman and Bethan Jenkins AM (see film) would not have access to those.

            2. Daley Gleephart

              Yes, the registration applies to the properties but those are properties that are let to people who have full citizenship in the UK.
              You’re missing the point. Lynx House, the HMO in the BBC report, would be in serious breach of the Housing Wales Act of 2014 if it was let to people with full UK citizenship but it is now occupied by refugees who do not have the same rights as you and me. Where and how refugees are housed comes under separate legislation.

            3. Brychan

              But we know Lynx House was inundated and couldn’t cope. The registration requirement came in after Lynx House was already in operation, maybe it’s one of these late registration places.

              The logic of what you are saying is that Clearsprings Ready Homes Limited are not using the properties which have been acquired in Swansea by their holding company Clearsprings (Management) Limited for the asylum seekers contract.

              Clearspings Ready Homes must, in that case, be leasing accommodation off other privately registered landlords to house these people. This would explain why Clearsprings do not appear on the landlords register, and would then claim the condition of the properties is not their responsibility.

      2. Brychan

        PS – I have assumed we don’t have foreign embassies, UN envoys, or diplomats living in Bon-y-maen, Dyfatty and Clase.

  2. dafis

    A nice starter on this subject. With a bit of prompting we should get the usual mix of angst ridden apologists on here with the standard patter along the lines of ” …..I know it’s not perfect but we’re only wasting money hand over fist and it’s lives that matter”.
    Well lives do matter and where were these whingeing bastards when young Adam Price tried to get Blair pulled up by the short and curlies in the House of Shame ? Had he been stopped early perhaps the UK would not be driven by the same sense of guilt and more inclined to a rational humanitarian response.
    And why is it, accepting some refugees need to be housed all over the country, that government agencies forget the meaning of value for money and budgetary control and end up paying top dollar even for squalid homes ? Or accommodate these people in places where they can not readily access their own ethnic group for at least the first year or so as they begin to integrate ? Who is responsible for checking after they set up home that normal integration takes place rather than regular visits to the local ISIS / AQ recruiting mullah/emir – I don’t mean spying on them but rather visiting and actually taking an interest in their welfare so that the instincts to “go bad” don’t have the same fertile ground.

    No wonder the King family and others like them are laughing their collective cocks off. They got daft government agencies just wishing the problem away by handing over the cash – lots of it. Just like they do with the 3rd sector in general. No doubt there are other similar scams waiting to be uncovered.

    1. You make some interesting and pertinent points. There were or probably used to be (before it was probably sold off) a lot of ex MOD housing attached to now surplus military bases, some of which is located in areas that aren’t a million miles from anywhere that could, (and some indeed are being used to house people who would otherwise be homeless) be used, that is relatively high quality, (when in MOD ownership management and maintenance was exemplary, though designs were council house uniformity, and that went for the interior as well, as they came fully equipped: all you needed to bring was your clothes!) and much of it has been ‘mothballed’ and stands empty.

      Your points about integration are important, but it’s unlikely in the vast majority of cases that those fleeing would want to touch ISIL with a ten-foot bargepole – there is of course a possibility of ISIL infiltration, but in that case most of those would probably wish to get as far away from any refugee concentration for fear of being discovered and handed over to the authorities – most refugees are here because they have more concrete reason to fear ISIL etc. than we do. Many are only ‘nominally’ Muslim, (much as many are Church in Wales here) and even those who are devout will often say that what is happening in the name of Islam is abhorrent, (and was what was done in the name of Christianity by Bush and Bliar representative of the message of Christianity?). Certainly taking a genuine interest in people’s welfare is paramount, and crucial to the effective integration of people into a new environment, and this is, and perennially has been a massive single point of failure when it comes to UK policy on immigration, whatever the cause of that immigration, that leads to the scapegoating of immigrant people. There is a general shortage of jobs, houses, schools and healthcare facilities, but immigrants are not responsible for those shortages, and should not be blamed for them. The responsibility lies directly with government under our present arrangements. Go back to the initial UK government encouragement of immigration in the immediate post WW2 period, and the same shortcomings in government policies are apparent.

      I have some experience in this area, as I do voluntary work helping people get online for jobsearching etc, and many of the people are refugees, who are not being helped enough, in that many of them do not speak English, (let alone Welsh) sufficiently well to cope with everyday life, even at a completely basic level. Many of them are extremely well educated people who could make very valuable contributions, if they were able to speak English. The government, (of Wales, or wherever) needs to prioritise fluency in English, (or Welsh) attainment over sanctioning of social security for failing the increasingly ridiculous demands of DWP policies. Six month’s intensive English learning would benefit the economy hugely, supplying wello qualified candiates for the many jobs for which there is a shortage of workers, rather than swelling the ranks of the pool of cleaners, who mostly work part-time and increasingly on zero hour contracts, and therefore still rely heavily on benefits.

      I share similar misgivings about the way that the 3rd sector is very inefficient when it comes to value for money, but isn’t that part of the plan? Increasingly provision of services is being hived off to the 3rd sector, and this is government policy, and is core to Cameron’s idea of ‘Big Society’. It allows government to say they care, whilst allowing them to shift the blame for anything that goes wrong onto the organisations that now run much of what used to be a direct government responsibility. Of course, the 3rd sector is more than happy to oblige in taking over the running of services on behalf of government, at both a national, (and international if you include UK wide responsibilities) and local level. Sadly, I don’t think the 3rd sector is properly prepared for such a ramping up of their responsibilities, and as we know, lack of experience is bound to lead to mistakes and inefficiencies – simply put, the 3rd sector has been too rapidly expanded into areas where it possesses no experience. Things are almost bound to go wrong, and that too could be part of the Tory plans, as the next step could be the complete privatisation of services currently (badly) run by the 3rd sector.

      The 3rd sector provides essential services, however there is a distinct lack of oversight, and due to many of them being charities, they are only answerable to their boards of trustees, and the Charity Commission. It would be hard to configure a less democratic system of oversight, as most boards of trustees are well meaning people who don’t necessarily possess the skills and knowledge required, and rely a lot on the advice coming from people working for the charities they oversee. There is a definite lack of transparency, which really in the end is the only way any organisation, operating under any regime, can be seen to be working or not.

      This post is timely, and it is an issue that needs careful consideration, but what of solutions to these issues? Would a private sector intervention, for profit result in better outcomes? The neoliberal privatisation fetish would indicate otherwise, so what else could be considered? Perhaps systems based on those currently used by the Third Sector, but made independent, transparent and democratically accountable? A system run by the state? Many of the criticisms of the Third Sector would remain valid, though at least theoretically remaining under democratic control.

      1. Brychan

        The points about integration, language, culture and the third sector is illustrated at 0:29 in this video.

        The black man with an East Africa accent gives thanks in Welsh (perhaps picked up by his children attending a Welsh medium school in Swansea), while the white woman from England distributing third sector grants, who can’t understand him, evidently has not integrated.

        1. Very revealing. And what a bunch of self-righteous wankers. God! I detest them.

          Daley, if you’re reading this, I’m sure we could find a few more lamp-posts for these buggers.

          1. dafis

            Daley too busy sending Xmas cards to all his friends in 3rd sector and his idols in the superior elite mob ! Happy days. l

            1. Daley Gleephart

              Using the Strawman Technique of creating a false, inferior image of me and then attacking the false image.

          2. Daley Gleephart

            It’s depressing, I know, but a likely scenario would be the third sector workers escaping in their Land Rovers leaving the asylum seekers to the lynch mob

            1. Ah, but you misunderstand. Looking at those two groups, both strangers to our lovely country, you should be able to guess which one I prefer, consequently, there’d be no lynch mob . . . unless of course we could stop those Land Rovers. (There! I’ve put an idea into my head which will hopefully be the theme for a dream tonight.)

            2. dafis

              tut, you got there before me. Still we can catch some more at their preferred local salon they more likely be there than attending to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers anyway ! By the way do these 3 rd sector “workers” get thoroughly vetted to weed out kiddy fiddlers, BNP undercover types and other deviant groups ? or are they just nodded in because they are “connected” ?

            3. Daley Gleephart

              That’s right, dafis, blame the workers in the 3rd sector rather than the politicians who created the situation with their ideology of small government and a ‘private good / public bad’ strategy and then parrot the sneering contempt of the Sun and Mail reporters for anyone they label ‘do-gooders’. Notice how Murdoch’s minions and Dacre’s doggies are labelling those in the voluntary sector as workshy in exactly the same way is they did manual workers in the 1970s.
              Well done.

            4. If anyone is going to be employed in anything remotely like a sensitive situation involving people then they would be subject to an enhanced DBS search, which whilst not infallible, is about as good as it gets.

            5. Daley Gleephart

              “… there’d be no lynch mob …” In the dream where you’re the leader and the mob obey you at all times?

            6. dafis

              you are deliberately missing the point. The 3rd sector and the politicians are, to a significant extent, joined at the hip especially in Wales. Indeed aspiring political entrepreneurs ( a fairly new species in any numbers) develop a “need”, create a plan, submit it to the friendly party down the Bay, and bingo, you have a viable “charity”, funded by the public purse. This creation is then able to pay tidy salaries to our entrepreneurs and if there’s any left over even engage in some of those good works they set out to undertake in their publicity material. No different to Del Boy.

              Now some of the foot soldiers in these scams are deserving of our support, empathy, goodwill etc because many will be on Nat Min, Living Wage or zero/ flexible hours contracts but their predicament doesn’t cause any concern to those plonkers down the Bay because they are working for the good “cause”. Welcome to the band of brothers !

              So stop apologising for the indefensible. If you think it’s so sacred get in there and sort some of those wasters out. There is a huge need for a wide array of services but to deliver them through these shabby structures does those who are dependent a serious disservice.

            7. Daley Gleephart

              Dafis, It’s the system, not the workers. The 3rd sector is a deliberate creation of Government egged on by their masters and paymasters. Contracts awarded to those bidding in the 3rd sector charity work tend to go to the organisations that submit the lowest bid. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

              Money paid out to the voluntary sector dwarfs into insignificance when compared with Free Schools and Academies in England when Michael ‘enemy of the shadowy elite’ Gove was Education Secretary. Big rip-offs in other areas include private security firms for major events like the Olympics and day-today running of prisons etc.

              Then there are the fire sales of national assets. Look at British sea ports. Thatcher noted that no one could claim title to our docks so she sold most of them in one big package. Associated British Ports was floated on the London Stock Exchange. Goldman Sachs always on the lookout for capital acquisitions formed a consortium, bought up all the shares and de-registered the company. ABP Ltd is now a private equity registered in Jersey and shares in it are only traded amongst the big players. Did I tell you that Baron Griffiths of Fforestfach (Thatcher’s economic advisor) is a director of Goldman Sachs?

            8. dafis

              Griffiths ? more likely one of yours than mine. Have spent my life avoiding chancers, or occasionally ripping one or two of them off when they were blissfully unaware.

              Don’t you see that many of these 3rd sector “entrepreneurs” are just mimicking their heroes of decades ago. Maybe their contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder but very often the initial specification is ignored. So peanuts and monkeys don’t serve as a good analogy it’s more about money for nothing, again and again.

              And ever since Mandy gave his “blessing” about being relaxed about wealth the New Labour millionaires and their buddies have had a good run and Cameron continued with the gravy train. Check out that woman from Yorkshire who spouted all sorts of tripe about getting the unemployed back to work. Labour awarded her huge contracts and to cap it all I think Cameron stuck her in the House of Lords !! where she could cultivate yet more useful contacts.
              When her company was investigated it had failed almost all of its performance targets yet had been paid shed loads of bonuses by a government department that was supposed to oversee its antics. Where was all the loot ? in overseas accounts held in the names of the good lady and her extended family. Fuckin’ marvelous. That company had hardly ever done a tap for a paying private sector client, it was all “services” on behalf of government, in my book an example of uncontrolled 3rd sector activity led by a prime example of the sort of corrupt leadership found in that sector. And to cap it all the company is still trading today although it is less reliant on UK government contracts having taken its toxic formulae overseas !

              Old sayings about piss ups in breweries apply equally to the shysters running these types of operations and the muppets in government departments who are supposed to oversee them.

            9. Daley Gleephart

              dafis,
              As I said, contracts awarded by the Government. I glad that you’ve come round to thinking that it’s those who own the companies who are coining it.
              The company you’re trying to remember is PeoplePlus, the trading name of A4e. I mentioned security and the Olympics earlier.

              Yet again you resort to Strawman Technique with your accusation that I’m close to Baron Griffiths. I have no connection with anything or anybody vaguely associated with the Tories.
              Did you cheer when Thatcher proposed taming the Sir Humphrys of Whitehall? Well the nation got SpAds, like Brian Griffiths (now Griffiths of Fforestfach) to replace Civil Servants and the Treasury / Private Financial Sector swap staff almost at the speed of light. The same arrangement occurs in the USA and it is no surprise that Trump has people on his ticket with Goldman Sachs connections.
              Serving two masters has been the trend for decades.

            10. dafis

              read back through the many articles written on here by Jac and some of which I have commented and you will invariably find that we take issue with those shysters who are at the APEX of the 3rd sector entities. Seldom if ever have we jumped on rank and file troops – they may not get everything right but their failings are minor accidents/incidents whereas the bosses are almost incessantly “at it”.
              You alluded to funding being tight but never so tight as to stop these wide boys from taking out bumper salaries, expenses, and paying consultancy fees to their buddies in the “professions”.
              Now in England much of this hanky panky may be the domain of Tories although Labour does its best to stop them having a total monopoly, but here in Wales well it’s Labour 1st, 2nd and 3rd with little or no crumbs left for any other politician to dole out ( other than one or two noteables who have featured in these columns from time to time ! )

              As for you and Griffiths I don’t claim that you have a direct connection but in your vociferous defence of that establishment elite you make common cause with him and his kind. Your awareness of what’s going on should enable you to come to some radical conclusions and lead you to conclude that there are no embryonic or metaphoric lynch mobs on this blog. As for apologists for Trump, Farage et al – not guilty, we see them merely as a symptom of the “common herd” being willing to use its vote from time to time to send a message to all those people at the top of the pile who have an overwhelming sense of entitlement about their positions and how things are done.

              I’ll sign off now I need to get a few more chapters of the Serbian guide to Diplomacy to get through. Nos da

            11. Daley Gleephart

              dafis,
              You say, “As for you and Griffiths I don’t claim that you have a direct connection but in your vociferous defence of that establishment elite you make common cause with him and his kind.”
              If you think that I’ve been defending the establishment elite you’re so wrong that I’m beginning to think that you may be unbalanced. What I have done is draw attention to the fact that Brexiters and Trump voters have been duped.
              Got a pension plan? Here’s how one Tory champion of Brexit sees how he and his mates in the finance sector stand to gain: http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/2471482/lord-flight-brexit-will-allow-us-to-dump-eu-pensions-legislation?utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral
              And, of course, all the protections afforded to employees under the EU are at risk.

              Nos da,dafis. Have a good night’s sleep and you’ll be fresh for another bowl of Ready Brexshit in the morning.

            12. dafis

              Just eaten 2 bowls of best fruit and breads and raring to go ! The Brexshit is still in the cupboard you can have it any time you want but be careful about overdoing it cos of the hallucinations ( been having those already ? must be a symptom of that irony disease you are carrying ) which lead to regarding any one not thinking your way as unbalanced.

              As for those Pension rules you refer to, are you implying that what we have now protects anybody ? “Protection”, especially of any kind of consumer interest, is a crude fuckin’ joke in the land where institutions are kings, and that includes EU and UK. As soon as any company defaults. pension rights are watered down and some kind of so called safety net – Pensions Protection – is invoked which oddly enough gives some protection to a higher proportion of lower paid pensions but cuts out sharply at modest levels. That scam is a product of collusion between big government and big business, common practice at UK and EU levels. Nothing much to be proud of.

              However if you really want to witness banksterism at an even worse level check out the Private pensions arena. What a joke ! In a sector where exec earnings sky rocketed its returns plummeted almost to high street savings account levels and at the same time annuity rates fell dramatically to a point where retiring at 60 – 65 you’d need to live for ever to get a decent return. Actuarial calculations corrupted hand over fist just so those banksters could keep sucking out money on a never ending cycle.

              So getting out of EU has to be Step 1 of a Plan to get out of UK and its Category 1 criminal ruling class. At present we too have a bunch of petty rogues and dim wits running our little country on a client/subsidiary basis. That lot need turfing out first and foremost but longer term we will need to tear away from the dis-United Kingdom.

          3. Brychan

            We see the perfect example in that video Salman Malak. A former telecoms engineer from Syria. The third sector dropout mob have him on an ‘awareness workshop’ on the flanks of Mynydd Carningli. He doesn’t need the spending of £47,000 on silly workshops and squandered on overpriced HMOs from shyster landlords from Essex, What needs to happen is to pay for him to go on a Telecom Technician Diploma to get his skills regularised with Welsh certification. They are on offer at Coleg Sir Gâr for £320. Then he can fill the skills gap Openreach has on staff recruitment who are doing the rollout of superfast broadband in South West Wales. He can then pay for his own flat in SA1 and his income and council tax generated can be used for other young hopefuls to get trained up to his skill level. Is it just me who’s spotted the blindingly obvious?

            1. That it would restore his sense of self-worth better than any hippy crap, that it would so obviously be cheaper for the public purse, and so much more beneficial for society as a whole, makes us realise what influence these shysters have. It’s very worrying.

            2. dafis

              A simple straight forward remedy there from Brychan, but it falls down because your dispenser of “hippy crap” has no competence in the world of real skills. However he will be able to dispense bullshit faster and longer than a herd of cattle down west.

  3. Ian Perryman

    Just a few points.

    1. The funding comes from UK central funds and some EU money. Some refugees are referred directly to the UK government by UNHCR. It is because of the international issues raised by refugees that the issue is primarily dealt with by Westminster. This is why the relocation contracts are awarded on an ‘UK basis’ by London.

    It would also appear from this article that refugees are shipped about all over the UK, from place to place, on a regular basis, wherever the supplier can find space. So it’s not a contract that could be locally controlled.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/28/cardiff-council-tells-lynx-house-cut-asylum-seeker-overcrowding

    2. Who gets UK contracts is often a bone of contention as a result of the bidding process. It is often heavily biased in favour of the lowest quote with little regard for quality. Any company with a record of social housing would be free to apply. It is doubtful however that they would be allowed to use the refugee money to relocate benefit claimants who were not also refugees.

    3. The Refugee Councils (plural) have had some setbacks recently. They have seen a funding cut and they lost a contract to a competing setup called Migrant Help in 2013.

    http://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/news_and_events/latest_news/2206_migrant_help_to_take_over_provision_of_asylum_advice_services

    So, as you say, they are probably running a bit of a turf war for central funding.

    1. The Charity Commission website tells us that the Welsh Refugee Council income declined from £2.48m in y/e 31.03.2011 to £610,652 y/e 31.03.2015. ‘Staff Costs’ to y/e 31.03.2015 were £355,944, down from £748,470 the previous year (but still makes up 58% of the total income).

      There has clearly been a big reduction in funding which has resulted in redundancies, and resentment. Hence the turf war.

    2. Brychan

      How the registered asylum seeker became that status is irrelevant.

      Some will have been plucked from the back of a lorry on the M25, some will have been acquired internationally by arrangement, some will have been found hold in pan in the back of a kebab shop by UK Border Agency. Once registered, however, they have restrictions, as they may, and often do, abscond. A different scheme operates for minors, which Ceredigion Council have opted into.

      Registered adult asylum seekers are part of the ‘dispersal programme’, which is where the £119million to be spent in Wales awarded to Clearsprings. That’s £47,000 per individual. It should be noted that depending on the progress of the asylum hearings, the individual can have their status changed while living in Wales, to that of granted, appeal, or repatriation.

      You are right about the bidding process. The question arises from the BBC investigation that found unacceptable living conditions or the situation exposed by Jac on this blog, why was there insufficient diligence in vetting contracts, so it was awarded to a ‘wide boy’ from Essex with investments in tax frauds, and a record of housing ‘dumped ‘ benefits claimants and ex-offenders at down market caravan sites on Canvey Island?

      You are, of course, correct to point out that the plethora of ‘third sector’ agencies are in utter chaos over the matter, and are unlikely to form any basis of providing safe refuge of these unfortunate individuals. The only state organised scheme in Europe to manage the situation effectively is Germany, and that involved financing devolving responsibly of care to regional administrations while maintaining federal control relating asylum status. That has its price – democratic accountability. I cannot see the UK government giving Wales the legs to do a proper job, hence the mess.

      Maybe WLGA or WG just ask to take control after the Clearsprings contracts ends? The people I know in Wales are not hostile to giving people fleeing Syria a safe refuge. They are however, fearful of underhanded dumping of paedophiles, wife bashers, and drug dealers from Essex, and vast sums of public money being creamed off by shysters while those we are trying to help live in poverty.

  4. Brychan

    If you think about it, Syrian asylum seekers are not going to be deported back to Syria. Not to the Assad areas, nor the IS areas, and the other rebel areas like Allepo are inaccessible and too dangerous for human rights to be upheld. It is likely therefore that all of these individuals, once validated, will be awarded ‘indefinite leave to remain’ status, by the Home Office. They then may be able to work, or perhaps claim benefits, and by definition fall outside of the Clearsprings contract.

    The sting being, homeless.

    This is where the Swansea ‘buy to let’ properties come in. The Clearsprings management company know who they are, from what date they can claim housing benefit, what their personal circumstances are, and offer up accommodation as fallout from the Home office dispersal programme. Far from being ‘dispersed’, they are all in Swansea.

    It will be a vulnerable time for these people, and may fall prey to slavery.

    I did notice that one of the companies in the Clearsprings directorship was Crusader Cleaners Limited (01506134). It was stuck off in 2012. Obviously the trade was not a going concern. At a guess I suspect that this company was involved in cleaning, something like, hand-car-wash. Strange, as the other directors list their occupations at companies house as computer programmers. Also, there was Clearsprings Support Services Limited (07239697) which still operates as a commercial window cleaner.

    Will we see a ready supply of destitute slave labour washing cars by hand or shop windows after the end of the asylum dispersal contract? Workforce on zero hour contacts housed in the multiple occupancy buy-to-lets already identified as being acquired by the holding company?

    1. dafis

      Brychan that’s a neat bit of prediction which right now could attract all sorts of scoffing and sneering. However you can be assured you are broadly on the right track cos these bastards are well versed in their games and the clowns sponsoring them don’t really care and /or blissfully ignorant especially after the indefinite right to remain is granted to the refugees and they get shifted into another “government box”. Then they will be at the mercy of the vultures’ other sister companies. Are the Plaid leadership aware that these scenarios are played out under Labour supervision ? Do they care ?

    2. Daley Gleephart

      “Will we see a ready supply of destitute slave labour washing cars by hand or shop windows after the end of the asylum dispersal contract?”
      With the loss of all EU Employment Protection, it might be what’s in store for a large section of the workforce.

      1. dafis

        well just maybe that will get workforces rediscovering their collective back bones and taking action in defence of those rights. That’s what Unions used to do until they started farting about with issues unrelated to the workplace. No harm in shutting MacDonald’s down for a week or 2, country would be a lot healthier anyway.

        1. Daley Gleephart

          Wonderful thinking there, dafis !!! Take the rights away so that Trade Unions can fight for them. I had no idea that there is a plan for MacDonald’s post EU exit.

          1. dafis

            Bad English – only my 2nd language ! The TUC needs to be organising now to prevent erosion of rights across the piece. Thus it should leave the prospective post Exit government under no illusion that a negative shift in rights would lead to a sustained, escalating programme of action. Companies would have to take on board a message that erosion of rights will expose them to such a programme.
            However one suspects that the TUC may lack the stomach for this kind of fight any more. The way zero hours contracts and all sorts of “flexible ” working have slipped into the language of the country is shocking. While it may suit a small minority temporarily, most people like to normalise their patterns, even if only working say 16-20 hours a week. A cursory consultation with members and non-members would have told the TUC that there was a need for their involvement in these areas, but they found it easier to stand aside and have a good moan about how things were developing.

            There is an elephant in that room – the uncontrolled importation of migrant labour a practice hardly ever heard of prior to 2004. It has outflanked any attempt to inject some rational thinking into labour markets especially those with seasonal, or particular skills profiles and has been used to relentlessly hold down costs. This was all done within the framework of EU legislation, so doesn’t say much for the quality of their intervention any way , does it ? Maybe that’s why rank and file union members are not so uptight about the prospect of Exit as they see it as a step towards restoring some equilibrium.

  5. dafis

    Never thought I’d be drawing on Monbiot, but this quote, and the Guardian article in which it appears, really spell out the threats posed by globalisation, multi national corporations and big government

    “One of the answers to Trump, Putin, Orbán, Erdoğan, Salvini, Duterte, Le Pen, Farage and the politics they represent is to rescue democracy from transnational corporations. It is to defend the crucial political unit that is under assault by banks, monopolies and chainstores: community. It is to recognise that there is no greater hazard to peace between nations than a corporate model that crushes democratic choice.”

    He could have added Anglo Brit centred policy to that list but I guess that’s a major component of globalisation anyway.

    1. Daley Gleephart

      I see that you’ve added Big Government. I don’t think that George Monbiot is anti big government.
      What GM points out is how lobbyists for big business and big banks have the upper hand when it comes to getting favourable deals for their clients from governments big and small.
      GM, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and many others have been writing for years about how the crank economics of Hayek and Friedman (so loved by Thatcher) has resulted in the current situation.
      It should come as no shock to note that Milton Friedman is pro small government and anti regulation of the finance sector, just like many who want Britain to leave the EU.

      1. dafis

        I would be tempted to agree with you if Big government did anything for the people – but it doesn’t. Big government is now so aligned with big business you can hardly get a fag paper between them. If the EU penalises a company its often because another big corporate will benefit from such actions. Bad deal all round. The real problem lies with vested interests, dodgy relationships and those turn up within Big Government and the pseudo-small government as favoured by likes of Thatcher and her mates, which was only a con as they were intervening all over the place when it suited them. So to them small = big, but well camoflauged.

        1. dafis

          sorry I overlooked part of your comment about Big Government of course Monbiot’s got to be anti big government because it’s big government and its large scale institutions that collude and conspire with the big corporations to give us this unholy mess. No point getting rid of one without dumping the other. As for all the regulations they are only there to keep the likes of you and me in our places while at the apex of big business and government, well they just make it up as they go along or even more likely get some other sucker to write it for them.

          1. Daley Gleephart

            George Monbiot wants governments big and small to stop pandering to the wishes of big business.

            You say, “As for all the regulations they are only there to keep the likes of you and me in our places” –
            What utter bullshit. If you think that regulations imposed by governments on businesses, in matters of health, safety, product quality, worker pay & conditions, and regulations in banking and insurance were passed into law with the purpose of keeping the individual citizen in check then you’ve got a weird perspective that defies reason.

            You claim to be anti big business but you are happy to see big businesses increase their profits by removing the rights of workers to a decent employment deal.

            Take a look at these two mega-shits who were at the forefront of the Brexit campaign: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/07/tory-mps-suggest-firms-draw-up-list-for-bonfire-of-eu-laws-after-brexit If they get what they want, do you honestly think that they’d be satisfied and wouldn’t go any further?

            If everyone opposed to the ‘Profit before People’ doctrine of neoliberalism was like you, the directors of the multinationals would be laughing.

            1. dafis

              Regulations ? How often are they enforced, usually in retrospect after the horse has bolted or after the horse turns up in the lasagne as was the case a few years ago. Governments -UK and EU- colluding to the bitter end and very little real enforcement at the end of it all.
              Regulations in banking and finance are scarcely worth the paper they are scribbled on, but allow politicians to boast that they are being tough, taking a firm line and the gullible swallow that shit all the time. Try nailing any of these organisations and they weasel out of their “obligations” often with government standing back from the issue.

              You have a quite perverse understanding of what I’ve written if you are able to conclude that I condone the erosion of workers rights for profit or any other corporate objective. If you are an active union member you should get onto your Union executive and urge them to get the TUC to revisit its core mandate rather than the distractions it favours today. Again another bunch of people more comfortable chewing the fat in the corridors of power rather than defending their members’ real interests. There again you are probably more at ease coming on here and engaging in banter rather than addressing your remarks at those that might take serious offence.

              As for your last sentence – it just reflects your problem with hallucinations and that irony complaint that you referred to earlier. You guys with an alleged social conscience just can’t resist those who have power. I guess the day Blair walks back into the room and starts working his magic you will be ecstatic regardless of the misery he inflicts on people here and further afield.

            2. Daley Gleephart

              More Strawman Technique – You create an inferior false image of me, add an inferior false image that The Sun has of those engaged in the fight for a decent life, and then attack the false image.

            3. dafis

              not yet seen any evidence of you fighting for any kind of decent life as you spend too much time defending those who do us down – or do you spend too much time reading stuff like the Sun ?

            4. Daley Gleephart

              I have pointed out what some powerful people get up to. Highlighting the deeds of the greedy and devious does not indicate support for them.
              Using your posts as an indicator, I get the impression that if you were on jury service you’d take a statement from a witness testifying as to what they saw a defendant doing as sign that the witness supports the defendant’s actions.
              Clearly, I’m wasting my time responding to the crap that you post as you’re too thick to realise how stupid you are. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvVPdyYeaQU

            5. Now listen, boys, this is getting increasingly bad-tempered and personal. Can I suggest that you both call it a day, because you’ve surely said all you have to say?

  6. dafis

    just noticed your tweet about Qinetiq Aberporth creating a huge No Go area in Bae Ceredigion. Cheeky bastards turning that area into a war zone without any formal declaration. Anyway I thought that place was now focussed on development & testing of UAV’s ( drone technology and similar derivatives ) and this suggests that they are playing with Predator type systems in that area.

    Has anyone – like the Cynulliad, local authority or any other public body in Wales had assurances from these cowboys that there are sufficient safeguards in place to ensure zero defect of product to prevent one from going haywire and going off after a random target ? Given its position, a dud flying out of Aberporth could easily hit a target in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen, Powys and Gwynedd before some test engineer could rectify any inflight signal fault ( some of the other potential faults might be utterly incapable of rectifying in such situations ! )

    Also this lark of claiming priority over a large area of the sea is a bit much to stomach. Better if they relocated the whole thing on to the Thames estuary so that dud might stand a chance of making it to Westminster.

  7. Deborah Rea

    Hi, I ‘enjoyed’ reading everyone’s comments. My friend and I are independent volunteer caseworkers helping asylum seekers in Romford who are in some horrible accommodations. I’ve heard that a reporter, sometime last year was trying to uncover Clearsprings; his research led him to the Cayman Islands – which, of course is a tax haven. Has anyone heard about this?

    Debbie Rea

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