Cameron & the careworkers

Paul Cotterill
3 min readApr 18, 2021


Journalists at the Sunday Times have done some good digging and exposed the April 23rd email from Cameron to Gould seeking privilaged access to NHS Electronic staff Records.

The main ask is appalling enough: someone who drove down public sector pay for six years in government, now apparently reveling in a project to offer short term respite to public sector staff who can’t get one from pay cheque to the next.

But there’s more to it than that.

The NHS offer Cameron is making on Greensill’s behalf might just about be seen as legitimate because because it’s offered on a no-cost basis and sold as helping out in the pandemic.

And then there’s this throwaway:

I suspect this is where the real action is for Greensill. While the NHS was not going to get charged under the arrangement proposed, there is no such assurance when it comes to social care, the vast majority of which is in the private sector; indeed charging employers for offering the pre-payday service is the core of the business model adopted by Greensill.

So the upshot appears to be this. Greensill would test the product in the NHS and then expand it into the care sector, charging employers for the service. The care sector is, it goes without saying, where you find all the people on £8.72 per hours (2020–21 rates), on zero hour contracts, and therefore in more need of payment before payday.

But why would care industry employers pay for this service? Simple. They can simply take the costs incurred off employees’ wage packets next time round, in a way which means that those same employees need to work enven longer hours to try to make ends meet. This suits the employers just fine, because recruitment in the sector is hard (no least post-Breixt), and turnover rapid, so less staff tied to more hours makes a lot of sense for their bottom line.

And for Greensill, it also makes sense. They get to become something like non-Wonga Wonga, exempted from the 2014 controls on high cost payday lending, because they are not lending directly to employees, but charging employers for their cashflow service.

And there you have it.

Mutual benefit for two arms of the machine of capitalist exploitation, facilitated for a nice shares kickback by the ex-head of the state arm of that machine, and all at the expense of some of the most marginalized workers in the country.

Brutal in its efficiency.

At just about the same time as Cameron was writing his email to Gould last April, I was writing this paragraph [1]:

Decent contemporaneous evidence of Greensill’s and Cameron’s market, certainly.


[1] The paragraph is in essay ‘Carers’ Agency, which will finally see the light of day in Renewal journal in the next few weeks.



Paul Cotterill

Secretary General, Habermasian Labour (UK). Indefatigably focused on the promotion of ethical discourse in the public sphere, except when there's cricket.