Ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond has bagged himself a new job: as of today, he’s working as a ‘senior adviser‘ at Copper, a UK-based cryptocurrency trading start-up launched in 2018. Announcing the appointment this morning, the company said Hammond will
“provide strategic advice to the Copper team as the company expands globally…[focussing] on promoting the UK as a Global leader in digital asset technology.”
Hammond himself added:
“Copper is a true pioneer of digital asset investment technology.. if we can bring together the best of Britain – entrepreneurs, industry, government, and regulators – to create and enable a blockchain-based ecosystem for financial services, we will secure the UK’s global leadership in this field for decades ahead.”
Copper currently handle around $50 billion in monthly transactions on behalf of 400 clients, having raised $75 million in capital investment since May. Hardly a big surprise to see Hammond join them then, given how enthusiastic he was about fintech start-ups as Chancellor. Although he’s not going full-time; he’s still keeping a seat warm in the House of Lords…
Lord Pickles’s ACOBA has admonished former Chancellor Philip Hammond for breaking rules on post-cabinet jobs and lobbying. Last month Hammond was accused of breaching the ministerial code after lobbying one of his former senior officials on behalf of a paying client. Today Lord Pickles has published a letter to Hammond confirming it was:
“an unwise step to contact senior officials at the Treasury on OakNorth’s behalf… the use of your contacts in government in this way was not consistent with the intention of the Rules and was not acceptable.”
Remarkably, Hammond made it clear he was exploring legal action, possibly in the form of an injunct, to prevent ACoBA’s letter being published…
Hammond claimed that in contacting Charles Roxburgh, second permanent secretary at the Treasury, he was “neither seeking to influence policy, nor motivated by an attempt to secure business (or any other form of benefit)”. Pickles wryly comments he has no doubt Hammond “sincerely believed contact with your former department in this way was appropriate”.
“The Committee considers the use of your contacts in government in this way was not consistent with the intention of the Rules and was not acceptable. The material consideration is the privileged access you obtained for OakNorth not the commercial value of the proposition.”
On the same day we learn David Cameron’s still laughing all the way to the bank…
Read Lord Pickle’s letter in full below:
Boris announced his new wind-powered policy with great aplomb today – insisting that hundreds of new fixed arrays in the sea and “windmills that float on the sea” will power “every home in the country”. A bold claim. The only figure he used when describing this green at sea vision was £160 million for “ports and factories across the country” to manufacture the turbines. But what would be the real cost?
A freedom of information request was answered by the Government earlier this year, denying access to the calculations that led to former Chancellor Philip Hammond warning that the net zero target would cost £70 billion a year or “well in excess of a trillion pounds” overall, based on calculations from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. BEIS wrote back saying:
“Extracting information about these calculations is a time-consuming process, and also requires a second person for quality assurance.”
Hammond’s figures themselves figures suggest that the government doesn’t believe the low cost estimates from Lord Deben’s Committee on Climate Change, and that Government is keeping quiet about the true cost of decarbonisation.
The FoI answer went on to reveal that there is a huge body of work the Civil Service has done on this subject that they have been keeping quiet about – with “over 220,000 specified data points… organised over 100 Excel workbooks.” Work that the Civil Service does not want to publish…
Phillip Hammond (remember him) emerged from the shadows yesterday evening to offer advice to his successor as Chancellor. The perpetual Eeyore had this to say to Saj…
“I would prioritise a cautionary approach because a giveaway Budget signals everything is fine, which is potentially slightly misleading.”
Which is funny, because Guido remembers Phil’s own budget last year being described as the “largest giveaway Budget since 2010.” Do as I say not as I do…
Tim Shipman’s story in the Sunday Times about Hammond threatening to launch a “Blue Momentum” is a giggle. Hammond apparently fancies himself as the Tory version of Jon Lansman.
A prize from the merchandising cupboard of a Guido mouse mat to whomever comes up with the best name for this new organisation. The Inert Tendency? The Blue Undertaking? Nonentum?