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What Cross-Border Collaboration Can Bring to Investigative Journalism

After WikiLeaks, Luxleaks, WildLeaks and Swissleaks, it appears there is an unmistakable, mutual value in the collaboration between journalists, media organisations and non-profits around the world. How can editors produce and sustain original investigative journalism by tapping into international networks of knowledge and expertise?

Rachel Oldroyd, Director, Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Gerard Ryle, Director, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)

Moderator: Peter Bale, CEO, The Center for Public Integrity

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What Cross-Border Collaboration Can Bring to Investigative Journalism

  1. 1. Section:OBS NS PaGe:5 Edition Date:140209 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 8/2/2014 18:23 cYanmaGentaYellowblack NEWS | 5 DuchyofCornwallandCrownEstateregularly getcouncilstoreduceratiosofcheaperhomes Revealed:royal estatesfailingon affordablehome buildingtargets by Nick Mathiason, Will Fitzgibbon and Jamie Doward TwoofBritain’slargestlandowningbod- ies, which between them generate mil- lions of pounds a year for the Queen and Prince Charles, are regularly failing to meet affordable housing targets when building new homes on their land. Amid an escalating housing crisis, planning documents unearthed by the independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal that both the Crown Estate and the Duchy of Cornwall are persuading councils to allow them to cut their affordable housing quotas on the grounds that meeting them would be too expensive. An investigation by the bureau for the Observer has examined the two land- owners’ plans to build 4,299 homes in 31 schemes. Of these, 14 developments, set to produce 2,470 units, fail to meet local targets, resulting in at least 213 feweraffordablehomesbeingbuilt. The bureaualsofoundthat10ofthe19largest Crown Estate developments have not or will not meet affordable housing targets. “I find that quite concerning,” said Clive Betts MP, chairman of the Com- mons communities and local govern- ment select committee. “They have a special obligation beyond the ordinary developer and they ought to be doing what’s right by the community. They ought to be taking the lead, especially as it’s public land after all.” Initsmostrecentfinancialresults,the Prince Charles has previously expressed concern at the lack of affordable housing in rural areas. Photograph by Ben Birchall/PA NickClegglobbiesfor‘proper debate’overdrugslawreform believes there is a need for politicians of all parties to confront an issue in a non-partisan way if the harm caused by drugs is ever to be tackled successfully. “If Britain were fighting a war where 2,000 people died every year, where increasing numbers of our young people were recruited by the enemy and our opponents were always a step ahead, there would be outcry and loud calls for change,” Clegg says. “Yet this is exactly the situation with the so-called “war on drugs” and for far too long we have resisted a proper debate about the need for a different strategy.” His comments, which will dismay those who believe change will encourage drug taking, were warmly received by pro-reform campaigners. “Bad drug policies have an international impact, whether it’s black market related violence or borderless health crises,” said Kasia Malinowska- Sempruch, director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Foundation. “So charting a new course is the job of every country. “A number of European countries developed great health services for people who use drugs, but far less attention has been paid to the issues faced by producer and transit countries.” ing number of US states move towards a regulated trade in marijuana, and at a time when increasing numbers of Latin American countries have stated that the war on drugs doesn’t work and are demanding that the world consider alternative approaches. During his visit, Clegg met the country’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, as well as former paramilitaries, guerrillas and human rights representatives. “All were clear about the central role of the drugs trade in perpetuating conflict and violence and the need to build a better future,” Clegg says. “Many people in Britain and the rest of Europe will be unaware of the impact drug use in western nations has on countries on the frontline of the drugs trade.” Reiterating his call for a royal commission on Britain’s drugs laws, Clegg says future legislation should be based on “what works, not guesswork”. The Lib Dems are conducting a review of international alternatives which will produce what Clegg claims is “the first proper UK government report examining different approaches in other countries”. It is clear the deputy prime minister Crown Estate said it had “outperformed themarket”andachieveda£252.6msur- plus, 15% of which goes to the Queen to support her duties as head of state. The rest of the profit goes to the Treasury. George Mudie MP, chairman of the Treasury sub-committee, which scruti- nises the Crown Estate’s affairs, agreed, saying the housing crisis should act as a wake-up call for the body: “They should besettinganexamplebymeetingafford- able housing targets.” Although not legally binding, local authority affordable housing targets, usually expressed as a percentage of the number of homes to be built, are based on local housing demand, affordability andlocalwages.Ifadevelopercandem- onstrate that a target makes a scheme unviable, that target can be changed or waived. Under planning rules, develop- ers are entitled to take 20% of the rev- enues generated by a scheme. In its largest development, in Bing- ham, Nottinghamshire – where there are 804 individuals and families waiting forahome–theCrownEstateispropos- ing cutting the affordable homes quota to 200. It argued that the 1,050-home schemecouldnolongersupportthe300 affordable homes it had agreed to build, as the financial return would be at “the lowerendofthenationalbenchmark”.It declinedtorevealwhatthisfigurewould be, but said it was providing a package of community benefits and could build up to 50 more affordable homes if the scheme outperformed expectations. Local politicians have been critical. “OurexperienceisthattheCrownEstate is not a particularly generous land- owner,” said George Davidson, a coun- cillor for Rushcliffe, the local authority. Steven Melligan, strategic land man- ager at the Crown Estate, said it was “proud of the contribution we make to providing much-needed new housing, both market and affordable,” across the country: “For new homes of any sort to be built, schemes must be commercially viable, which is why a suitable package of wider benefits, of which affordable housing is just one part, is agreed with local councils based on their priorities for the local area.” The bureau also found that four large housing schemes being developed by Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall, failed to meet local affordable housing targets, in spite of the Prince’s concern about “the desperate effect the lack of affordable housing was having on the social and economic fabric of rural communities”. At Tregunnel Hill in Newquay, Cornwall, the Duchy – from whichthePrincemade£19.1mlastyear– originally committed to build 60 afford- able homes. But it persuaded the county councilthatthewithdrawalofagovern- ment grant meant it could provide only 48. The Duchy’s revised proposal stated thatitwouldbuildnohomesifthecoun- cil did not accept the reduced figure. “Given the way Prince Charles and others associated with the Duchy make statements about social improvements, theyshouldputtheirmoneywheretheir mouthis,”saidCornwallcouncillorDick Cole. “The bottom line for me is that the Duchy of Cornwall has to act like any other developer.” Cornwall’s housing waiting list has grown by 267% since 2010. The region has the highest level of street homeless- ness outside London, according to gov- ernment statistics. The Duchy said in a statement that it is “proud of its achievements in provid- ing affordable housing,” and pointed to five developments of 100% affordable housing that will deliver 67 affordable units. “The objective of the planning process is to meet the needs of the area assetoutbythecommunityandthelocal authority. In the few instances where our developments include slightly less affordable housing, they instead meet requirementsinotherways,suchaspro- viding new schools or better transport.” Continued from page 1 ‘Theytalkabout socialimprovement, buttheyshouldput theirmoneywhere theirmouthis’ DickCole,councillor,Cornwall “ We’renot tryingto takethe loveoutof love;we’re trying tomake itmore efficient Thesecrets ofinternet dating Tech Monthly, pages12-14 *09.02.14 Section:OBS NS PaGe:10 Edition Date:130609 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 8/6/2013 18:13 cYanmaGentaYellowblack 10 | NEWS Costs soar for wealthy councils as benefit cuts force families to quit their home Hanane Toumi with her two children, Salsabile, six, and Waleed, three. Photograph by Antonio Olmos for the Observer BilltohousethehomelessinWestminster risesby63.5%topayforhotelsandB&Bs by Tracy McVeigh, Nick Mathiason and Toby Helm The government’s clampdown on bene- fitsisforcingup,ratherthancutting,the cost of housing low-income families in wealthy areas, as people are shifted into hotels and bed and breakfasts, accord- ing to new figures obtained for the Observer. Charities are also reporting a chain of misery and chaos as children are forced to move schools, and parents have to spend much of their time ferrying them large distances to classes. Data obtained through freedom of informationrequestsshowsthatatWest- minster council – one of the wealthiest areas in the country – the bill for home- lessness has shot up by 63.5% since last year as new temporary accommodation has had to be found for those hit by cuts. The figures show that it has cost West- minster more to place thousands of people in temporary accommodation, including hotels, than the council has savedthroughthegovernment’swelfare clampdown. Thecouncilsaysitcut“around£40m” from its costs, thanks to the introduc- tion in 2011 of restrictions to housing benefit.However,repliestoFOIrequests obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism show that it has cost the council £135.83m to rehouse homeless people since 2009. The council’s bill for housing vulner- able families in temporary accommoda- tionthisfinancialyearaloneisestimated tobe£41.8m,comparedwith£25.5mlast year. With average monthly rents in Lon- don reaching £1,100, a rise of 8% in the last year, new figures released by the government last week showed that the number of households made home- less in England in the financial year to March 2013 has hit 53,540 – a 6% aver- age increase on the previous year and a 16% increase in the capital. Alarmingly, rents are now rising so fast in London that charities are see- ing people who found new homes after beingevictedinthefirstroundofbenefit cutsbeingmadehomelessagainascosts soar. Westminster is also potentially fac- ing expensive legal action for keeping families in B&Bs beyond the statutory minimum six-week limit. Karen Buck, Labour MP for West- minster North, said: “We are now see- ing the costs and consequences of the government’s salami-slicing approach tohousingbenefitashomelessnessrises and millions are being spent keeping families in hotels and bed and breakfast. Not only are there massive costs associ- ated with homelessness, but the lives of childrenandfamiliesarebeingdamaged and disrupted, with a particular impact on children’s education.” In a statement, Westminster coun- cil said: “The effect of reform in West- minster was always going to be more pronounced than any other area, with limited space to build new housing and with high rents.” It argues that it is “misleading” to link the cash the council has saved from housing benefit reform with its tempo- rary accommodation budget. Most peo- ple forced out of rented homes because of housing benefit restrictions are not “long-term residents of the borough”, Westminster maintains, and it says it is working hard to renegotiate the costs of rents to save housing benefit bills. Jonathan Glanz, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Increased demand, coupled with an endemic undersupply of housing across London, hasresultedinmorehouseholdscoming to us as homeless.” An investigation last month by the bureau showed that London’s authori- ties have rehoused 32,643 households outside the city, with often devastating effects on families, jobs and children’s education. It also adds to the pressure on “dumping ground” councils such as Slough, already struggling with housing shortages and school places and now ‘Thelivesoffamilies arebeingdamaged anddisrupted,witha particularimpacton children’seducation’ KarenBuck,LabourMP being stretching to breaking point by the influx. CharitiessaycasessuchasthatofZara Mahamat, whose family were evicted from a three-bedroom flat in Pimlico, Westminster, in January, are common. She and her family had to leave because thehousingbenefitcapmeanttheycould no longer afford the rent. Within days the family will expand with the arrival of her new baby, and she does not know where everyone will sleep. Westminster council acted quickly to move the family first into a hotel in Paddington, where they stayed for four months. Then they went to a serviced apartment where they are now, several milesawayintheboroughofSouthwark, in an eight-storey block mainly popu- lated by tourists and short-term work- ersvisitingthecapital.“We’restruggling now,”saidMahamat.“Similarproperties can be rented for £169 a night.” Hamza, 11, is preparing for school exams, but much of his time is spent travelling. “It’s very frustrating,” he said. “I used to be able to get to school in twominutesandnowitjusttakeslikean hour. It’s really tiring.” In the past two years Westminster councilhassecuredmorethan360prop- erties outside its own borders to house vulnerable households such as Maha- mat’s. The family are booked to stay until 25 July, but she has no idea what will happen after that date. They are being offered support by Zacchaeus 2000, a London-based anti- poverty charity that helps low-income households affected by welfare reform anddebt,includingthosebeingforcedto relocate. Romin Sutherland, its project manager,saidLondonhousingisinmelt- down: “Residents placed outside of the borough are being forced to commute back in to get their children to school, and often spend the whole day waiting for them in order to minimise costs.” Hanane Toumi, 34, is exhausted. Her hair is falling out due to stress. “I’m running, every day I’m running,” she said. “My daughter asks, ‘Mum, why don’t we move this house so it’s closer to the school?’” When Toumi, a single mother of two, finishes her four-hour cleaning shift in the early afternoon, it isn’t worth her trying to make the five-mile journey home and then back, so she hangs around north London’s Edgware Road area in rain or shine, waiting to collect her children – Salsabile, six, and Waleed, three – from school. The family used to live close to school and work, but when her husband left she no longer had the right to live in the home registered in her husband’s name. Westminster city council moved the family into temporary accommodation, first in Hackney and now, on a three-year tenancy, to a flat in Brent, overlooking the North Circular Road. Like many families having to shift around under the benefit changes, the transition is painful. Far from the life she had established in Westminster, she gets up at 5.45am to prepare for the five-mile race to drop her children off by 8.30am and then go on to work in Kentish Town. She is often late. Toumi sometimes has to change a nappy on the bus. She tried to register her daughter at a Brent school, but was told there were no places. Nearby nurseries cost more than the £140 a week she pays in Westminster, and her monthly salary of £631 is barely adequate, even with child tax credit. Since the family moved, Toumi said her daughter has started falling asleep in class. A teacher at the school has testified to the council that the daily commute has had an impact on her education and emotional welfare. Westminster officers have recommended that she find work closer to home, easier said than done for a woman without qualifications, and have rejected Toumi’s request to review her Neasden placement. “Given the age of Ms Toumi’s children, I do accept that travelling from Neasden to school would not be ideal,” wrote a Westminster housing review officer. “However,havingconsideredthechildren’s age and level of schooling, I do not see any reason why they could not attend an alternative nursery and school.” The housing review officer accepted Toumi’s claim that travelling to school, nursery and work took more than three hours a day, but rejected it as grounds for relocation. With review options exhausted, Toumi has little hope of returning to Westminster. Will Fitzgibbon CASE STUDY: THE HUMAN COST Daily3-hourtripfor asinglemotherto linkschoolandwork * 09.06.13 Section:GDN BE PaGe:34 Edition Date:130918 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 17/9/2013 16:35 cYanmaGentaYellowblack *34 The Guardian | Wednesday 18 September 2013 Thousands of affordable homes axed Councils cave in as developers refuse to undertake building projects unless they deliver healthy profits Nick Mathiason Will Fitzgibbon George Turner Housebuilders and councils in Britain’s biggest cities are failing to comply with affordable housing targets, and even rip- pinguplegalcommitmentstobuildcheaper homes.Athree-monthstudybytheBureau of Investigative Journalism for Society Guardian has established that 60% of the biggest housing developments currently in the planning system are falling short of localaffordablehousingtargets,preventing thousands of cheaper homes being built. The investigation reveals huge cuts to the proportion of affordable housing in one of the largest housing projects and how none of Birmingham’s biggest hous- ingdevelopmentsmeetits35%affordable housing target. Separately, the investiga- tion also shows how financial viability assessmentsonbehalfofaleadinghouse- builder repeatedly persuaded councils thathavinglargeraffordablehousingquo- tas would make schemes uneconomic. Affordable housing includes social, rented and shared ownership for speci- fied eligible households that can’t afford to buy or rent on the open market. The bureau’s assessment of 82 of the biggesthousingdevelopmentsin10major citiesfoundjust40%compliedwithlocal affordable housing targets. Other than Birmingham, the cities where at least 50% of housing schemes failed to meet local affordable housing targets were Bristol, Bradford, Cardiff, Manchester and Sheffield. Leslie Morphy, chief executive of the homelessness charity Crisis, says: “With homelessness on the rise and millions of people languishing on housing waiting lists, we must do more to increase the supply of affordable homes. This is not just a numbers game, but about creating mixed,vibrantcommunitiesandavoiding ghettoisation of rich and poor.” InLondon,wherethenumberofpeople acceptedashomelessstandsat14,812,one ofthelargestdevelopmentsgoingthrough the planning system shows less than 17% oftheplanned15,000unitswillbeafford- able. This is despite Lambeth, one of the two councils involved in the 195-hectare (480-acre)developmentinsouthLondon, statingtoitstenantscounciltwoyearsago that affordable housing could account for 35% of new units built in its section. PeteRobbins,Lambethcouncilcabinet member for housing and regeneration, says: “We are serious about delivering a high level of affordable housing in every new development that comes forward in Lambeth. But this is much harder now because of the viability tests that give … developers a chance to avoid our afford- able housing targets. We continue to work hard to maximise affordable hous- ing levels, but the bottom line is that our hands are increasingly tied.” Affordable housing targets set by coun- cils are based on local demand and supply, thecostsofhousinglocallyandlocalwages. The targets are usually expressed as a per- centageofnewhousingsupply.Thetargets are not legally binding, and if a developer can demonstrate through a site-specific financialviabilitytestthatthetargetmakes a development uneconomic, then the requirement can be reduced or waived. Viability assessment Asthehousingcrisisintensifies,thebureau foundrepeatedexamplesofhousebuilders and property consultancies winning councilpermissiontosignificantlyreduce the number of affordable homes using economic viability assessments based on projections which state that schemes will only be marginally profitable. Thebureau’sanalysisofStGeorge–part of the Berkeley Group– one of the UK’s most successful developers, showed it used financial viability assessments which repeatedly persuaded local authorities that increasing the number of affordable homes in its schemes would stop it meeting “industry-standard” profit margins of between 17% and 20%. St George’s published accounts show that in the six years to 2012 its margins averaged25.5%anditsaccumulatedafter- tax profits were £268m. Michael Edwards, UCL senior lecturer intheeconomicsofplanning,says:“There arewell-acknowledgedsystemicproblems with the viability system. It is not func- tioning in a way that necessarily reflects economic reality. When developers make very large profits and yet cite viability as a reason not to build more affordable homes, common sense tells you there is an anomaly. And the public can’t test whether the assumptions contained in viability assessments are fair because the assessments are confidential.” This“anomaly”arisesbecauseviability assessmentsarebasedonasite’sprojected profit, with little reference to the individ- ual developer’s financial circumstances. There is nothing to suggest St George or any of its related entities has failed to comply with planning conditions. The company says it is committed to deliver- ing 2,000 affordable homes, linked to its housebuildingpipeline,andithasalready deliveredthousandsofaffordablehomes. In addition, it has contributed £76m to local infrastructure beyond the supply of affordablehousing,suchasroads,schools and green spaces. The company says anticipated profit figures are only one factor in deciding viability and are independently assessed according to industry benchmarks. It believesitiswrongtocompareoverallpre- tax profits with the development margin on an individual site. Greg Fry, chairman of St George, says: “Councils independ- entlyassesstheviabilityofaprojectbased on the site in question, regardless of who might develop it or how profitable they are. The profitability of the developer has nobearingonthelevelofaffordablehous- ing required on a site.” Sir Edward Lister, deputy mayor of London responsible for policy and plan- ning, says that while the priority is to get new schemes off the ground, the mayor would intervene in future to raise afford- able housing numbers if it was shown that developers were making dispropor- tionately large profits: “I’m not trying to defend the property industry, but I do believe they have been through a bad time and I believe it’s more important to get building moving. Fifteen or 20% of something is better than nothing.” Legal commitments In Birmingham, not one of the nine big- gestschemesassessedbythebureaumeet the 35% affordable housing target. In one planned 353-unit project, even the alloca- tionof12affordableunits–just3.4%ofthe scheme–isconsidered“unviable”byplan- ning advisers representing the developer. Councillor Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham city council, says afford- able housing targets haven’t been met because major developments in the city centrefocusonaffluenturbanprofession- If a developer can show that a council’s affordable housing target makes a development uneconomic, the requirement can be reduced or waived als. “Requirement to provide affordable housingislowerinthisareathanforother areasofthecity,asthereislessdemandfor family accommodation,” he points out. But freedom of information disclo- sures obtained by the bureau show that over five years more than 2,300 afford- able homes have been axed from housing schemesacrosstheUKevenafterbuilders and councils signed off section 106 legal agreements specified these homes must be built. Section 106 is a clause within the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act that providesamechanismtorecoupcontribu- tions from developers for infrastructure requirements to enable a scheme to go ahead.Ithasbecomethemainwayafford- able housing is delivered. But under new legislation that came into force in April, developers now have the ability to fast trackchallengesagainsta“section106”ifit canshowthatbuildingthelow-costhomes required makes a scheme unviable. In Cheshire, a council decision to allow a consortium of leading housebuilders to axe252affordablehomesinthe1,200-unit Winnington Urban Village in Northwich after legal sign-off has “opened the flood- gates” to developers requesting similar reductions, says Labour councillor Brian Clarke.CheshireWestandChestercouncil says that under the revised arrangement, moneyforaffordablehousing“willbeavail- able if the development can afford it”. In south Devon, research by the bureau showsthat109affordablehomeshavebeen scrapped after legal sign-off. Anne Fry, an independent Teignbridge district council- lor, warns: “Developers are just picking us off at the moment.” She says she and her colleagues struggle to cope with the tech- nical demands of developers seeking to reduce affordable housing contributions. The district council states: “Teign- bridge has not lost 109 affordable homes through the s106 process – those homes would never have been provided because the developments were not viable. By demonstrating flexibility and an aware- ness of market conditions, Teignbridge has ensured the delivery of a viable level of affordable housing.” Councils are bracing themselves for a big increase in retrospective appeals by housebuilders.Tenofthebiggestbuilders – which between them own enough land to build more than 300,000 homes – together made pre-tax profits of £1.1bn last year, according to bureau analysis. The burden to maintain low-cost housing supply is increasingly being left to housing associations. Yet Chancellor GeorgeOsborne’sspendingreviewinJune announced that housing associations would receive only £3.3bn in the three yearsfrom2015,whichamountedtoacut of 2.2% on top of the overall 63% funding reduction made in 2010. There are 1.85 million people on coun- cil waiting lists in England – up 69% in 10 years – and, as of last June, there were 56,210 households in temporary accom- modation, up 9% in the past 12 months. Data in June showed the number of affordablehousebuildingstartsbackedby thegovernment-fundedHomesandCom- munities Agency and the Greater London Authorityinthefinancialyearto2013was 36,206 – 33% lower than when the coali- tion came to power. “Inhigh-valueareastheproblemsocial landlords face is access to land, and sec- tion 106 agreements gives them access to these sites,” says Rachel Fisher, National Housing Federation head of homes and land. “Local councils therefore have a responsibilitytotheircommunities.They must ensure that the planning system continues to take into account what local peopleandfamiliesneed–andbecommit- ted to delivering these homes.” Additional research by Victoria Hollingsworth and Jude McArdle at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism In numbers 2,300The number of affordable homes axed across the UK over the last five years after section 106 renegotiations 60%The percentage of Britain’s biggest housing developments falling short of local affordable housing targets £1.1bnThe combined pre-tax profits made last year by 10 of the UK’s biggest housing developers ‘When developers make large profits and yet cite viability in not building more affordable homes, common sense tells you there is an anomaly’ 12-27-2013 Mark Steel Haven’t you heard? It’s all the foreigners’ fault! VOICES P.17 John Lichfield Our man in Paris on the fate of François Hollande WORLD P.27 Rosie Millard Twitter shows us the true meaning of Christmas ANOTHER VOICE P.37 Geoffrey Macnab Five stars for a stunning new Robert Redford film ARTS P.40 Only 60p When you subscribe to our seven-day package for £5 VISIT INDEPENDENT.CO.UK ISSUE NO.8492 £1.40 WWW.INDEPENDENT.CO.UK 9 7 7 1 7 4 1 9 7 4 2 5 7 5 2 FRIDAY 27 DECEMBER 2013 victims. The confidential report,obtainedbytheBureau ofInvestigativeJournalismfor The Independent, found basic forensic protocols were rou- tinelybreachedattheLondon centre, which was set up to provide a “gold standard” in support for rape victims, and to improve conviction rates. Dozens of samples taken fromvictims of sexual attacks thatshouldhavebeensentfor forensic analysis were found leftinafridge,accordingtothe report, which also exposed “multiple deficiencies” in the unit’s dealings with children andvulnerable adults. Staff at the unit described working in “an oppressive, tense environment” and told investigatorsthattheydreaded their shifts but were afraid to complain to managers. The report concludes that many of the problems “ech- oed the underlying failures µ Shocking standards exposed in damning report with echoes of Mid Staffs crisis NHS ‘covered up’ scandal at centre for rape victims Continued on P.6 > A peculiarly British scene: residents of Matlock in Derbyshire brave heavy rain and cold to cheer on competitors in the annual charity raft race, which raises funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Britain is braced for more severe weather. NEWS, P.4-5 The NHS was accused last night of suppressing a damn- ing report that found Mid Staffordshire-type failings at a pioneering centre for rape Salmond ‘hid legal reality of Scotland’s EU status’ Alex Salmond is facing accu- sations of hiding the full legal reality behind the Scottish Government’sassurancesthat an independent Scotland would enjoy fast-tracked membership of the EU. The SNP leader launched his administration’s White Paper on independence last month by claiming legal advice given to the UK Gov- ernment earlier this year described as “realistic” a period of 18 months of entry negotiations between Edin- burgh and Brussels. Holyrood’s Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, recentlyclaimedabreakaway Scotland would have a “smoothandquick”transition to full EU membership. But both Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon failed to men- tionasubsequentlegal“clari- fication” given to the Edin- burgh government on the politicallycrucial issue of EU membership. The advice, shown to The Independent,highlights“seri- ous unresolved issues” and potential difficulties in the process. Likely problem pointsincludevotingrightsin both the European Council andParliament,thevalidityof current UK opt-outs, the use of the euro and what was termed “further financial questions”. CatherineStihler,aLabour MEPwhohascampaignedfor greater transparency over Scotland’s position on EU membership, said: “Alex Sal- mond has form saying one thing in public but knowing the opposite to be true. On this issue you can’t trust a word he has to say. The idea thateverythingwillbeallright on the night just because he says so isn’t credible.” ExpertopinionfromJames Crawford and Alan Boyle, EXCLUSIVE JAMES CUSICK POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT Continued on P.6 > EXCLUSIVE MELANIE NEWMAN AND OLIVER WRIGHT Elephant Appeal: Bid now in our third charity auction P.32-33 GETTY Revealed: Labour’s mystery hedge fund donor OLIVER WRIGHT WHITEHALL EDITOR Continued on P.4 > TIMOTHY ALLEN Labour has received a huge donationfrom amultimillion- pound hedge fund manager whoseidentitythepartytried to keep secret, TheIndepend- ent can reveal. Martin Tay- lor has given Labour nearly £600,000since2012,making him the party’s fourth-largest donor, and has had at least one meeting with the Labour leader, Ed Miliband. But party officials have refused to confirm Mr Tay- lor’sidentityforseveralweeks despite repeated requests from journalists. Yesterday, after The Independent said it intended to publish details of Mr Taylor’s identity – with- out the party’s confirmation –Labourreleasedastatement fromMrTaylorconfirminghe was the source of the funds. A party spokesman said it had not previously released theinformationoutofrespect for his privacy. But the case highlights the continuing lack of trans- parency surrounding party finances. Parties are required to provide details of all their donors who have given more than £7,500 – but only the name of the donor is made public, making it hard to identifyindividualswho have a common name. It is also embarrassing for Mr Miliband because he has been a frequent critic of the Conservatives’ reliance on µ Party’s fourth-largest financial supporter works in industry repeatedly targeted by Ed Miliband µ Officials tried to keep Martin Taylor’s identity secret for weeks while attacking Tories over donations Plus: Janet Street-Porter Culture vouchers are just what poor children need P.47 Boyd Tonkin How science is redrawing Britain’s history P.41 Andrew Grice Everything to play (and pay) for after a sobering Budget P.20 Foodies told to prepare for flood of counterfeit olive oil British shoppers have been warned to beware of counter- feitoliveoil–ascriminalgangs exploitadisastrousItalianhar- vestbysellingpotentiallydan- gerous bootleg bottles. A senior Italian food fraud investigator told The Inde- pendent that he has already seen evidence that criminals are moving into olive oil pro- duction and distribution. Consumers should be particularly wary of olive oil that appears “too cheap to be true”, experts said. Fake oil produced in unhygienic conditions could put Britons at increased risk of E.coli and salmonella. The incentive for fraud has TOM BAWDEN ENVIRONMENT EDITOR Continued on P.5 > PHOTOGRAPHS:REXFEATURESANDOLISCARFF/GETTY(BOTTOMRIGHT) Revealed: how exclusive Tory ball plays matchmaker to donors and politicians Simon Goodley Melanie Newman Nick Mathiason A doorstep lender, a host of property tycoons and a Ukraine-born energy mag- nate were among guests worth £22bn who attended the Tories’ most important fundraising event of the year, a table plan leaked to the Guardian reveals. The secret list of about 570 guests attending the Tories’ Black and White Ball, held last February in London, will heighten concerns that the country’s wealthiest people are gaining access to David Cameron and senior Conservative cabinet members in private. The revelation follows details pub- lished by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in July which showed how lobbyists and oligarchs had paid up to £12,000 for a table at the 2013 Tory summer party. At both events, where tickets went for £450 to £1,000, guests were seated with ministers whose portfolios were relevant to the diners’ financial interests. However, the wealth of the partygoers attending the February gala – which also took place at the Old Billingsgate Market, intheCityofLondon–isestimatedtohave beendoublethatofthesummerparty.The table plan for February’s dinner, again analysed by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, reveals that: • The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who has overseen a wide- ranging programme of welfare cuts, was seatedwithdirectorsofthedoorsteplend- ing firm CLC Finance, which advertises loans at a 769.9% annual interest rate. • The housing minister at the time, Kris Hopkins, sat with two of London’s top property executives, Bruce Ritchie, a business partner of the chef Marco Pierre White,andPaulMunford,anadvisertothe Candybrothers,luxurypropertydevelop- erswhosefirmsarrangepurchasesof“tro- phy” London homes for rich foreigners. •DavidCameronsharedatablewithLord Chelsea, whose family are worth £4.2bn and are among London’s largest heredi- tary landowners. • Michael Fallon, then energy minister, dinedwithdirectorsofafirmthatsupplies the offshore renewable energy industry and which has directed donations at MPs whose constituencies are in areas where offshorewindfarmshavebeenproposed. • Celebrity glamour was provided by Joan Collins, who arrived with her friend Ivan Massow, the financier and gay rights campaigner. There is no suggestion that guests discussed either policy or their business interests with the ministers and MPs at the dinner. A Tory spokesman said: “All donations to the Conservative party are declared and published by the Electoral Commission.Listsofallministerialmeet- ings with external organisations are pub- lished on a quarterly basis. “Ministersmeetarangeoforganisations – voluntary, commercial or educational. Anysuggestionthatpolicyisinfluenced by donations is malicious and defama- tory and will be treated as such.” However, the fact of politicians mix- to know, [is] that these events are taking place together with [people from] indus- tries and government – so we can track, over the forthcoming months, if policy sweeteners have been promised as an incentive to attract donations.” Two of the directors of CLC Finance (which had three executives sharing a table at the ball with Duncan Smith) are Philip and Dominic Wilbraham, who are also members of a family company named Wilbraham Securities LLP, which has given £28,500 to the Tories over the past three years. The donations began in 2011,justaspressurewasmountingonthe government for tighter regulation in the high-cost credit market. Also at that same table was George Hollingbery,MPforMeonValley,inHamp- shire,whoisprivatesecretarytothehome secretary,TheresaMay,andhasaparticu- larinterestinworkandpensionsandwel- fare legislation. A spokesman for the Wilbrahams said it was “absolutely not the case” that the family firm had made a donation to the Conservative party with the intention of influencing government policy on the regulation of home credit providers. He added: “The Wilbraham family has been supporters of, and donors to, the Conservative party for over 30 years and the Wilbraham and Hollingbery families have been friends for over 40 years. The discus- Joining them was Hopkins, the housing minister. Ritchie is chief executive of the ResidentialLandGroup,whichownsmore than1,200letpropertiesintheprimemar- ket of central London. He has called for less government intervention in the resi- dential property sector – and along with his wife and company donated £111,600 to the Conservatives in 2013, more than twice the previous year’s figure. Also joining Hopkins at the Ritchies’ table was Paul Munford, whose company arranges mortgages for wealthy foreign- ers wanting to buy high-value residen- tial properties in London. There too was JamesCaan,theentrepreneurandformer panellist on the TV show Dragons’ Den. The general counsel for Caan’s com- pany, Hamilton Bradshaw, said: “No policyissueswerediscussedwithMrHop- kins.” He added that Hamilton Bradshaw was involved in a number of sectors but predominantly recruitment. At the Black and White ball, Alexan- der Temerko, a Ukraine-born director of the Tyneside-based firm Offshore Group Newcastle, which specialises in build- ing offshore wind, gas and oil platforms, hostedFallonandtwootherMPswhoalso havebenefitedfromTemerko’sdonations – James Wharton and Alun Cairns. Temerko,whowasaguestattheTories’ 2013 summer ball, where he bought a £12,000 bronze bust of Cameron for £90,000 at auction, is also a member of attempt by either Mr Temerko or OGN or its representatives to influence policy in relation to wind farms is false,” said an OGN spokesman. He added that wind power formed only a small portion of OGN’s business. The 21 ministers listed as going to the ball in February were all asked to confirm their attendance at it. Only Ken Clarke, then minister without portfolio, did so. The Treasury minister at the time, Nicky Morgan, and Owen Paterson, then envi- ronment secretary, said that they did not attend the event. David Cameron and Samantha, his wife, at the Black and White Ball. Guests included, right, from top, Joan Collins and Ivan Massow, James Caan, William Hague and Ffion Jenkins, and, below, Iain Duncan Smith Duncan Smith seated next to doorstep lending bosses Tycoons deny business interests were discussed ‘We need to know … if policy sweeteners have been promised’ Estimated worth of the 570 or so guests who went to the Conservatives’ Black and White Ball this year, which raised cash for the elections £ 22bn 9 7 7 1 7 4 1 9 7 4 2 2 6 0 6 Help us save Africa’s elephants CharityAppeal P.28 ISSUE NO.8524 WWW.INDEPENDENT.CO.UK £1.40 ONLY 6OP TO SUBSCRIBERS SEE P.24 Steve Richards The Tory modernisers’ dream has died at last VOICES P.11 Grace Dent Why do we forgive the likes of Woody Allen? VOICES P.19 Virginia Ironside Everyone lives with guilt – so find a way to cope DILEMMAS P.37 Norman Rosenthal Georg Baselitz: a portrait of the artist as an old man ARTS P.39 despite a 3 per cent rise in reported rapes over the period.Thenumberofpeople chargedwithrapebytheCPS over that period has fallen by 14 per cent. Nowaninvestigationbythe Bureau of Investigative Jour- nalism for The Independent has found disturbing links between the fall in referrals and changes to the police approachtorapecasesfollow- ing updated CPS guidance in 2011. It has also found evi- dence that police may be droppingcasesonthebasisof informal guidance from CPS lawyers – without files being formally examined by prosecutors. The amended CPS guid- ance puts more emphasis on police forces identifying and stopping cases where the threshold for charging is not met before they get to the CPS. Critics say that police may be dismissing cases that could be successfully prose- cuted. The shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, described the Bureau’s find- ingasprofoundlyconcerning andsuggesteditmaybelinked tocutbacksinpoliceandCPS resources. Last night the CPS con- firmeditwouldinvestigateits guidelines as part of a review into the falling referral rates. “We are exploring the reasons for the drop in rape referrals with the police,” the CPS said. “This work will include looking at the appro- priate interpretation and application of the Director’s guidance and the evidential standard of the case files sub- mitted to the CPS.” A document obtained by the Bureau shows that on average police forces across EnglandandWalessent21per cent fewer cases to the CPS for charging in the financial year 2012-13 than the year µ Sharp fall in both referrals and charges follows new CPS guidelines issued three years ago µ Shadow Attorney General expresses ‘profound concern’ as victims’ groups demand investigation Revealed: the rape cases police don’t bother with Continued on P.9 > Thousands of suspected rape cases may have been wrongly discontinuedoverthepasttwo yearsbecausepoliceforcesor prosecutorsaremisinterpret- ing official guidelines. Since 2011 the number of rape cases referred by the policetotheCrownProsecu- tionServiceforchargingdeci- sions has fallen by a third – MELANIE NEWMAN AND OLIVER WRIGHT John Walsh: Why lapsed Catholics love this Pope BIG READ P.31 TUESDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2014 Section:GDN BE PaGe:23 Edition Date:141229 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 28/12/2014 19:24 cYanmaGentaYellowblack *The Guardian | Monday 29 December 2014 23 Financial Businesseditor:JuliaFinch @businessdesk02033533795 Top 10 housebuilders to rake in £2.1bn in 2014 Profits rise 34% as targets missed for low-cost homes Research shows how firms work around council rules Nick Mathiason Britain’s ten biggest housebuilders will see profits climb to more than £2bn this year despite falling short of local govern- ment targets on affordable homes. While profits surge to levels not seen since the last credit-fuelled boom, the number of affordable homes built in Eng- land has fallen to an eight-year low. Analysis bytheBureauofInvestigative Journalism shows that the country’s big- gest builders, who between them control enough land to create 480,000 homes, will make pretax profits of more than £2.1bn in 2014 – a 34% jump on last year. The total is based on reported and pro- jected profits for firms including Persim- mon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt, many of which have seen sales boosted by the government’s Help to Buy schemes. The return to pre-crash profit levels comes as official figures forecast 42,710 affordable homes will be built in England intheyeartoApril–thelowestsince2006, and a 26% fall since 2010. Jon Sparkes chief executive of home- lesscampaigngroupCrisis,said:“Atatime when the country faces a housing crisis and with homelessness having risen sig- nificantly in recent years, we desperately need developers to provide more afford- able homes.” Steve Turner of the Home Builders Federation whose members account for 80%ofhousesbuiltinEnglandandWales, said:“Theindustrywasdevastatedinthe financial crash, profits initially fell very steeply, or disappeared into losses, and many companies disappeared. Only now are profits returning to pre-crash levels allowing companies to rebuild, restruc- ture and replace lost capacity.” Affordabilitycampaignerssuggestpart of the reason why developers have failed to achieve targets for cheaper homes is to befoundinanopaquepartoftheplanning system, known as the financial viability test.Thisiswidelyusedbyhousebuilders to reduce, legally, the number of afford- able homes to below local authority tar- gets. More than half of affordable homes inEnglandarebuiltbyprivatedevelopers through what is known as the Section 106 system, in which tests of financial viabil- ity are key. These assessments form the basis of negotiations with local authori- ties when developers want to reduce the numberoflow-costhomesbelowthelocal authority’s targets. Targets typically range between 25% and 40% of the total number of homes in a scheme set according to local housing need.Theassessmentworksbycombining allcostslinkedtoahousingdevelopment, including a 20% margin for the developer but excluding the land price. These costs are then subtracted from projected sales revenue based on current values. If the resulting total is not much higher than its current use value, the scheme is likely to be considered unviable by devel- opers who will then argue the number of affordable homes required must be cut. This means assumptions on sales and costs are crucial. The bureau’s research has found that: •Theprocessisshroudedinsecrecywith many developers regularly refusing to disclose to the public the assessments on which their figures are based. •Councilsrarelyemployexternalexperts to scrutinise housebuilders’ figures con- tained in financial viability submissions. • Sales projections used in viability assessments are frozen at the time a scheme receives planning consent pre- venting the council from sharing in any benefit from rising house prices. Housing campaign groups point to 1.4m households on council waiting lists – a 34% rise since 1997 – and 85,000 chil- drenlivingintemporaryaccommodation. They argue the government has to put pressure on builders to meet affordable housing targets. Joanna Kennedy, chief executive of housing and welfare campaign group Z2K,saidWhitehall“shouldbesupporting boroughsinchallengingdevelopers’ques- tionable viability assessments, instead of undermining council’s efforts to secure planning gain through section 106”. A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “It is for local authorities to agree an appro- priate level of contribution to affordable housing with developers.” The number of Londoners buying homes outside the capital has jumped 50% in a year as rising house prices have triggered a larger than usual mi- gration to the home counties. Londoners spent £21bn on 58,000 homes elsewhere in the UK, the high- est number since 2007, according to Hamptons International, the estate agents. The vast majority, said Johnny Morris, Hamptons’ head of research, were bought for relocation purposes. Top spots included Brighton, Luton and Bath. Among families, popular destinations were Esher in Surrey, Brentwood in Essex and Rickmans- worth in Hertfordshire. About 80% of those relocating bought in the south- east or east of England. “Over the [economic] downturn, many Londoners delayed life-stage moves, restricting the natural flow of families out of the capital and building a pent-up demand,” said Morris. Simon Bowers Londoners relocate Acentury insilver The Royal Mint has introduced the first £100 coins with a design incorporating the Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, issued ‘to ring in the new year’. The mint, in Llantrisant, Wales, is making available 50,000 of the commemorative coins at face value. Each is composed of 2oz (57 grams) of silver. The mint hopes the £100 piece will be a sellout like Britain’s first £20 coin, issued in 2013, which bears a St George and the Dragon design Photograph: Dan Rowley/Rex Childcare costs leave one in 10 families with zero earner Angela Monaghan Simon Goodley Thousands of parents are in effect work- ing for zero pay, such is the high cost of childcareservicesintheUK,newresearch has revealed. One in 10 working families with young children has an earner who brings home nothing after commuting, childcare and other work-associated expenses, according to a biannual report into family finances by the insurer Aviva. The study also shows that one in four families includes one parent who brings home less than £100 a month after costs, while 4% of women surveyed said they were actually paying to work because theircostsweregreaterthantheirincome. “Aviva’s findings paint a picture of a nation of parents struggling to keep their heads,andcareers,abovewaterintheface of rising childcare costs,” sai m m 43% 48m 4% Hedge fund millionaire is Labours covert donor SATURDAY 12-pageguidem Eat! 12-pageguide Letshave brunch R
  2. 2. 1/2 The hostages killed by US drones are the casualties of an inhumane policy Trevor Timm Secrecy, misdirection and lies have shielded much of the public from the realization that US drone strikes have killed countless civilians in the past decade Friday 24 April 2015 10.00 BST P resident Obama’s admission on Thursday that the CIA killed two innocent hostages in a US drone strike in Pakistan should de nitively prove to the American public what the White House has been trying to hide from them for a while: the US government’s secretive use of drone strikes is a transparency nightmare and human rights catastrophe. It requires a full-scale, independent investigation. The only thing surprising about the news that US drone strikes killed one American and one Italian civilian al-Qaida hostage - along with two alleged American members of al- Qaida who were supposedly not targeted - is that the US actually admitted it. Secrecy, misdirection and lies have shielded much of the public from the realization that US drone strikes have killed countless civilians in the past decade. There is literally no public accountability - not in the courts nor in Congress - for the CIA and the military’s killings outside o cial war zones. It doesn’t matter who they kill, where, or under what circumstances. What we have learned from news reports and human rights investigations over the years has been disturbing. Consider, for example, that the the government counts “all military- age males in a [drone] strike zone as combatants … unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent”, as the New York Times reported in 2012. For many years, the US government also regularly carried out drone strikes on people they openly admitted they could not identify. The CIA referred to these as “signature strikes”, which targeted people who seemed to be up to no good from the sky, but could have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The administration supposedly curtailed signature strikes two years ago but the Wall Street Journal reported: “it can take the CIA weeks or longer to determine who was killed in a drone strike” How, then, can we believe they fully stopped it? As ACLU’s Jameel Ja er put it bluntly on Thursday: “In each of the operations acknowledged today, the US quite literally didn’t know who it was killing.” For years, the vast majority of drone strikes victims have never been positively identi ed as terrorists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has the most comprehensive data on drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, published a study last year showing only