Tag Archives: BIS

Firm given cut-price Royal Mail shares is £1m Tory donor

  • Under-price sell off could have cost taxpayer billions
  • Government offered certain firms a ‘priority’ deal
  • Fidelity Worldwide gave £975,000 to Conservative Party
  • Hedge fund run by Osborne’s best man also cleaned up

Royal Mail post box

One of the ‘priority investors’ offered cut-price shares in the government’s botched privatisation of Royal Mail are a major donor to the Conservative Party.  Filings with the Electoral Commission reveal that asset management firm Fidelity Worldwide have given nearly £975,000 to the Tories.

Business secretary Vince Cable had promised to secure “a core of high-quality investors” who “would be there in good times and bad” but the Independent revealed today that many of the shares offered through his department’s ‘priority’ route ended up in the hands of speculators.

The news comes after Scrapbook revealed earlier this month that a hedge fund run by George Osborne’s best man had secured profits of £210,000 PER DAY — then totalling £36 million — on the deal.

Before the IPO — and their status as priority investorstors being revealed — Fidelity led the charge on hyping up the stock, with an analyst writing on their own website:

“It has been many years since investors have been so excited about an IPO. Not since lastminute.com in 2000 have so many people been talking about a company joining the stock market.”

Remember: we’re all in this together!

MORE: The donations in full »

Official Whitehall poll: working for Vince Cable is a-BIS-mal

Vince Cable is Mr Motivator

Under Vince Cable’s leadership, civil servants at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills are amongst the most demotivated in Whitehall, according to their own internal polling.

  • Less four in ten staff say that the department is managed well
  • Less than one in three staff say they can be bothered to ‘do their best’
  • A woeful 29% of workers say that they are motivated to achieve BIS’ objectives

This story of terrible employee relations comes from within the government responsible for the government policy lead on, erm, employee relations — not to mention driving growth as the economy bumps along the bottom.

Perhaps most damningly of all, just 19% of staff answered positively to the statement: “When changes are made in BIS they are usually for the better”.

With Cable hanging around in the forlorn hope of becoming deputy PM in a 2015 Labour/Lib Dem coalition, there is one change at BIS which would definitely be for the better. Despite the department’s woeful performance, however, it is highly unlikely that Clegg would wield the knife.

Better to have Cable pissing out the tent than in.

Government ‘Instagram your policy’ scheme flops with just four entries

A blue-sky drive by Vince Cable’s department has spectacularly flopped after only four people took part. Redolent of a backseat-of-the-cab scheme from The Thick Of It, the initiative, dubbed “Instagram Your Policy”, joins a long list of failed Whitehall social media initiatives.

The original morale-boosting vision was that BIS employees would submit photos of their policies from the Instagram mobile phone app, which would then be showcased on the BIS Pinterest board.

Here is the, errr, cream of the crop:

This picture symbolises UK manufacturing. Apparently.

We’re not quite sure what the UK Space Agency meant here.

The government’s digital@BIS blog wrote:

“We got a disappointingly low level of responses – four, although we’ve been promised a fifth.”

The department’s senior digital engagement adviser seemed utterly stumped by the lack of interest: “we’re not quite sure why the response was this low”.

In refreshing honesty uncharacteristic of Whitehall, the mandarin admitted:

“We’ll need to do some internal thinking about if and how we run this type of initiative again.”

Perhaps they should concentrate on the Business and Skills bits.

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