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End tax breaks for right wing bodies!!

16/04/2012

WHY SHOULD BODIES THAT PROMOTE FREE MARKETS AND FREE SCHOOLS BE ENTITLED TO TAXPAYER FUNDED SUBSIDIES VIA CHARITY STATUS? ASKS GMB
 
We could do without intervention in South West London school selling playing fields by body linked to Stanley Fink, Treasurer of the Conservative Party and that he has the temerity to complain about losing the right to tax breaks for such bodies is galling says GMB
 
GMB, the union with 618,000 members, has established that a range of organizations that promote free market solutions and free schools are registered as charities and as such they are entitled to donations eligible for taxpayer funded subsidies to promote these political views and policies.
 
Below are listed 10 such bodies which enjoyed an income of £27.6m in their last published accounts. GMB does not know how much of this income comes for the tax breaks to be capped as charity donations to promote such policies unlike political donations are not in the public domain.

Income
Absolute Return for Kids (ARK)
£13,593,000
Accounts for 31 Aug 2010
Future Leaders Charitable Trust Ltd
£6,903,226
Accounts for 31 Aug 2010
Policy Exchange Ltd
£2,076,820
Accounts for 30 Sep 2010
Social Affairs Unit
£612,587
Accounts for 30 Jun 2010
Civitas Ltd
£1,347,716
Accounts for 31 Dec 2010
Legatum Institute Foundation
newly registered
The Institute of Economic Affairs Ltd
£896,000
Accounts for 31 Dec 2010
Reform Research Trust
£1,122,693
Accounts for 31 Dec 2010
The Countryside Alliance Foundation
£799,125
Accounts for 31 Mar 2011
Politics and Economics Research Trust- linked to Taxpayers Alliance
£248,836
Accounts for 31 Dec 2010
Total
£27,600,003

 
The ARK Board, trustees and patrons are as follows:
·         Kevin Gundle – Chief Executive Officer Aurum Funds Ltd, founding Trustee of ARK.
·         Nick Finegold – Co-Chief Executive Officer of Espirito Santo Investment Bank
·         David Harding – Founder Chairman of Winton Capital Management. Ranked 196th of the Sunday Times Rich List 2011 with wealth of £410m.
·         Arpad Busson – Hedge fund boss and founder of EIM. Ranked 381st in the Sunday Times Rich List valued at £180m with his girlfriend, Uma Thurman.
·         Stanley Fink – Chief Executive Officer of International Standard Asset Management, Treasurer of the conservative party. Regarded as the father of the British Hedge Fund industry and ranked 583rd on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth of £120m.
·         Jennifer Moses - former Agent Provocateur director, wife of collapsed hedge fund boss Ron Beller and friend of Michale Gove.
·         Blaine Tomlinson – Group CEO of Financial Risk Management Ltd, multi-billion dollar hedge fund.
·         Nick Jenkins – Chief Executive Officer. Owner of online Greetings card company Moonpig.com, previously a commodities trader. Sunday Times Rich list, 1,474th with £45m. Chief Executive of ARK
·         Ian Wace – Chairman. Set up Marshall Wace hedge fund with Paul Marshall. Ranked 257th on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth of £300m.
·         Paul Marshall - Set up Marshall Wace hedge fund with Ian Wace. Ranked 257th on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth of £300m. Co-founder of ARK.
·         Paul Dunning – hedge fund manager, established Finsbury Capital Advisers
·         Michael Platt – Co-founder and CEO of Guernsey based asset management company, BlueCrest Capital Management. Ranked 143rd on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth of £525m
·         Anthony Williams, chairman of Bluefield Partners and former partner of Goldman Sachs
Patrons
·         Elton John – honorary patron
·         Lily Safra - honorary patron, socialite and philanthropist worth an estimated $1.2bn. Inherited wealth from her late husband, Edmond Safra, billionaire banker.
·         Elena Ambrosiadou – CEO of hedge fund Ikos. Was the highest paid woman in Britain until Ikos moved to Cyprus in 2005.
 
 
Paul Maloney GMB Regional Secretary for Southern Region said “ARK is up to its neck in promoting right wing dogma in South West London schools and are being totally disruptive and anti - democratic.
 
They are supporting the selling 4 acres of playing fields at Elliot School in Putney to pay the costs of buying land for a free school in Battersea which planned to exclude poor kids. The average annual household income of parents near the Elliot School is 63% of the London average household income. The average annual income of parents living near this new Battersea School is 186% of the London average household income. See below in notes to editors GMB press release on sale of playing fields.
 
So these rich people are entitled to tax breaks which they are free to use to promote robbing kids of playing fields in a poorer part of South West London to pay for a Bankers Free School in an affluent part of the area. ARK were quite happy to go along with the exclusion of poor kids on the wrong side of the track too till GMB stepped in to stop them.
 
Frankly we could do without this intervention in our community this body linked to Stanley Fink, Treasurer of the Conservative Party and father of the British Hedge Fund industry who is ranked 583rd on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth of £120m. That he has the temerity to complain about losing the right to tax breaks for organizations promoting right wing dogma is galling.”
 
End
 
Contact: Paul Maloney 07801 343839 or Paul Grafton 07714 239 092
 
Notes to Editors
Copy of GMB release re Elliot playing fields sale Feb 2012
GMB DEMO AT WANDSWORTH COUNCIL MEETING ON WEDNESDAY (29 FEB) TO APPROVE SALE 4 ACRES OF PLAYING FIELDS AT PUTNEY SCHOOL TO FUND REFURBISHMENT
Selling 4 acres of school playing fields to fund the refurbishment of one of the council's own secondary schools while finding up to £30m to pay for a new Bolingbroke free school in the borough is an absolute scandal says GMB
GMB, the union for school support staff, is staging a protest demonstration outside the Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the London Borough of Wandsworth, which meets at 7.30pm on Wednesday 29th February 2012.
 
The Committee is being asked to approve the sale of 4 acres of playing fields at Elliot school in Putney to pay for the refurbishment of the school which the council owns. See notes to editors below for details. Last year a GMB report showed that the average annual household income of parents near the Elliot School was 63% of the London average household income.
 
The paper to the committee says “The total area of the site exceeds the DfE Building Bulletin guidance for external area (with external pitches provided off site) and it is proposed to market and dispose of the surplus land for residential development to fund the main scheme. The Secretary of State’s approval under Section 77 of the School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998 would be required for both the transfer of the playing fields area to the Council and the onward disposal to a developer. An application will also need to be made to the Secretary of State at the same time for a Direction of Transfer of the land to the Council and the onward long lease to the Academy. “
The details of the demonstration are as follows:
From 7pm Wednesday 29th February 2012
Wandsworth Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street,
Wandsworth,
London SW18 2PU
Carillion Construction UK Ltd commenced work in December 2011 on a £13.2 million 73 week contract to convert the old Bolingbroke Hospital site, in Battersea, into a new free school. The first phase is due to open in September 2012.  Wandsworth Council last year acquired the site from the NHS for £13 million using its own funds which it has now leased to ARK for 125 years. Last year GMB demonstrated that the average annual income of parents living near this new school was up to 186% of the London average household income
GMB, the union for school support staff, is calling on residents in the Borough to join the protest tomorrow to oppose these plans to sell these 4 acres of playing fields at Elliot School in Putney and to ask that the refurbishment is funded in another way when the Committee meets tomorrow evening. GMB will take the campaign against the sale of the school playing fields into the national arena as it has yet to be agreed by the Michael Gove Secretary of State for Education.
Paul Maloney GMB Senior Officer for school support staff said “ GMB is calling for a protest tomorrow evening because The Tory Council plan to transfer resources to the “well off” from the “less well off” in the borough. Selling 4 acres of playing fields to fund the refurbishment of one of the council's own secondary schools while finding up to £30m to pay for a new Bolingbroke free school in the borough is an absolute scandal.
These 4 acres are in an area of the borough where the average household income is less than 2/3rds of the London average. The council was well aware last year that Elliot needed investment when a £40.3 million refurbishment was cancelled by the newly elected government. Yet a few months after that the council announced that they were spending £13 million from reserves to buy the site in Battersea for a new school in an area where the household income are nearly double the London average.
ARK is involved with both projects. ARK is a menace as far as education provision in Wandsworth is concerned. They had their fingers in the plans for an elite Bolingbroke free school until GMB opposition led to changes in the planned catchment area. Now they are up to their necks in these plans to sell these school playing fields. They claim to be on the side of the poor and disadvantaged kids. How does getting rid of playing space do that?
Wandsworth council is nothing short of a thundering disgrace in proposing the sale of these playing fields. GMB is calling on the public in Wandsworth to oppose this asset stripping of publicly owned land used as playing field. As well as sale of outdoor playing fields the plan will also lead to the knocking down of one of the largest indoor sports halls in London and the loss of this amenity to the community. These are listed buildings and GMB will fight their demolition. We will not be alone.
Whatever education outcomes are agreed for Elliot, and whether or not it becomes an academy, none should involve the sale of playing fields. That should be common ground for all involved. We must unite to save these school playing fields. The Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee must scrap these plans on Wednesday.”
End
Contact: Paul Maloney 07801 343839 or Paul Grafton 07714 239 092
Notes to editors
The plan to sell the school playing fields and to turn Elliot school into an academy has yet to be agreed by the Michael Gove Secretary of State for Education. If the Committee does as requested Wandsworth Council will ask for the go ahead to sell these playing fields to fund the refurbishment of the existing building and make it into an academy school. The school charity ARK is party to these plans. ARK will be part of a rebranding of the school and will take over the new building and the school from September 2012.
These playing fields are owned by the Elliot Trust which was established 19 months ago. The Trust partners are two other Wandsworth schools, Chestnut Grove, Ernest Bevan and the Institute of Education at Roehampton. At that time the Labour Government put in £700,000 to form the trust. A £40.3m investment was planned to refurbish Elliot school and was due to start in summer 2011 under the Building Schools for the Future programme. This investment was cancelled in summer 2010 under Tory spending cuts. It is now proposed that the land is returned from Elliot Trust to the council so that the playing fields can be sold to fund this new investment.
As well as the plan being discussed by the Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, the ‘proposal’ has to go to the Secretary of State in January because Elliot is no longer a failing school and therefore cannot become a sponsored academy without the go ahead from his department.