back to article Jeremy Hunt pockets £14m through sale of course search website

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has become one of the UK's richest politicians following the sale of his business which runs course-listing websites. London-based Hotcourses, in which Hunt has a 48 per cent stake, provides marketing services for universities, and course comparison sites for potential students. It today announced …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Good for him?

    Begrudgingly, yes.

  2. ecofeco Silver badge

    Re: Good for him?

    Good for him? How is his website any different from any others offering the same service?

  3. Symon Silver badge
    Pint

    Pocketing more than £14m (before tax)

    He won't have to pay too much tax, probably 10% because of entrepreneur's tax relief.

    https://www.gov.uk/entrepreneurs-relief/eligibility

    Good for him.

  4. sabroni Silver badge

    Re: Good for him.

    Why? The man's an absolute cunt as far as I can tell and incredibly smug to boot. Giving him tons of cash is only going to make him even more removed from the reality facing those trying to keep the NHS running.

    That 14 million could help hundreds of low paid Hospital staff make ends meet, what's he going to do with it?

  5. phuzz Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: Good for him.

    You're reading that wrong, Symon said "good for him" as in literally, this is a good thing for Hunt (with an 'H').

    He never said it was good for anyone else, but Hunt (don't forget it's an 'H', not a 'C') doesn't seem like the sort of person who cares about anyone else.

    Phew, I managed to make it all the way through that comment without accidentally calling him Jeremy Cunt.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Good for him.

    What kind of fantasy world do you live in that you think that someone selling their business is being "given" money, or that the proceeds of that sale can be appropriated to pay public debts because he's a smug cunt?

    What's he going to do with it? Whatever the fuck he wants to do with it - just like the rest of us do with our personal income.

  7. Bob Rocket

    Jeremy Richard Streynsham *unt

    Of course he started at the bottom with nothing and had to put in a punishing hour of hard graft with no help to make his business successful (ok I made that bit up).

    http://northernvoicesmag.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-secret-of-hunts-success-hunt.html

  8. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Re: Jeremy Richard Streynsham *unt

    Typical Tory *unt

  9. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    Re: Jeremy Richard Streynsham *unt

    worth a read.

  10. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Re: Jeremy Richard Streynsham *unt

    Puzzled. It says:

    while [Virginia Bottomly, a relative] was at the British Council, Jeremy Hunt, became the monopoly supplier obtaining the catering contract for his company 'Hotcourses'.

    But it's been widely -- universally, afaik - reported that HotCourses lists academic courses, degrees and what not. Nothing to do with catering. Shurely shome mishtake? Or did they ditch the original business model and pivot to doing something completely different, like all those entrypr0nners in the Valley?

  11. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    Looking forwards to another Radio 4 interview

    They are really insightful and always tell the people like it is.

  12. TitterYeNot

    Re: Looking forwards to another Radio 4 interview

    "They are really insightful and always tell the people like it is."

    Yes, absolutely beautiful the way that James Naughtie just manages to avoid a massive corpsing fit while on air.

    And as to Jeremy Hunt, well, he's almost an example of nominative determinism at its finest, as I'm sure Mr Naughtie will agree...

  13. batfastad

    Hunt's Capital Gains?

    Well I'm sure he'll be paying his fair share of capital gains! Anyone accountancy-minded care to calculate?

    I obviously don't know the ins and outs of MPs' employment contracts but before I became a "tax-dodging scumbag" IIRC my employment contracts had clauses which meant any inventions I made in the duration of my employment were property of my employer. MPs?

  14. Steve Foster
    Headmaster

    Re: Hunt's Capital Gains?

    Hotcourses was founded in 1990 (according to Companies House). Jeremy "Spoonerism" Hunt became an MP in 2005. Not sure you could realistically argue that he spent time out from being an MP to create the company!

  15. Symon Silver badge

    Re: Hunt's Capital Gains?

    10%

    https://www.gov.uk/entrepreneurs-relief/eligibility

  16. batfastad

    Re: Hunt's Capital Gains?

    > Hotcourses was founded in 1990 (according to Companies House). Jeremy "Spoonerism" Hunt became an MP in 2005. Not sure you could realistically argue that he spent time out from being an MP to create the company!

    True, and cheers foro clarification. I will try and RTFA better next time ;)

  17. Jedit

    "Jeremy "Spoonerism" Hunt"

    Pedant point: a spoonerism is when you switch corresponding letters or syllables of two words, as in the old joke where the Merry Men start calling each other "Hobin Rood" and "Skill Warlet" until Friar Tuck says they're being stupid.

    Hunt's more accurate renaming is not a spoonerism. It's just another attempt on the speed record for entering Cockney rhyming slang, a title previously held - to his credit, quite proudly - by James Blunt.

  18. teebie

    Re: "Jeremy "Spoonerism" Hunt"

    It was a spoonerism when he was the Hulture Secretary

  19. Triggerfish

    Re: "Jeremy "Spoonerism" Hunt"

    Hunt's more accurate renaming is not a spoonerism. It's just another attempt on the speed record for entering Cockney rhyming slang, a title previously held - to his credit, quite proudly - by James Blunt

    Not even sure it's that, I think it's just calling it as it is.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "Jeremy "Spoonerism" Hunt"

    Can we call him Cupid Stunt then?

  21. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Re: "Jeremy "Spoonerism" Hunt"

    @word_merchant

    Can we call him Cupid Stunt then?

    Ofcourse, it's "all in the best possible taste".

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Private company sold != NHS issues

    While I don't particularly like the man, Jeremy Hunt created this company in 1990, stepped away from it in 2005 when he became an MP, and stopped being a director in 2009, but kept his shares. He has had no control over the running of the company, and even though he holds 48% of the shares, he wouldn't even have been able to stop the sale of the company.

    It looks like he's done the right thing with this business, and therefore I'm not sure why this is being linked to his stewardship of the NHS? The two are completely unrelated. "The windfall has brought with it some criticism of his policies as Health Secretary", which just smacks of the politics of envy.

    "Oh, I don't like the way he runs the NHS, and he's made some money, more money than I'll ever make because I can't get off my lard arse to create a company that employs people and provides a service people use, and so I don't think he should be allowed that money - even though he'll be paying tax on it which benefits the public. Now, where's my e-cig? Jeremy Kyle's about to start."

  23. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    It could however be seen as a sign that he's never taken his job seriously since its more than covered when he gets shown the door (plus a nice pension when he's put out out to grass)

  24. Youngone Silver badge

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    Have a good read of Bob Rocket's link, above.

    Jeremy Hunt's business was successful because of his family connections.

    Here's the link again.

  25. Roland6 Silver badge

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    It could however be seen as a sign that he's never taken his job seriously since its more than covered when he gets shown the door

    That charge could be applied to many, particularly Conservative, MP's.

    Additionally, it could be levelled at practically any massively successful entrepreneur: Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg etc.

    One of the benefits of "being of independent means" is that you have a different take on life and work, like you do stuff because you actually want to do it not because you've got bills to pay.

  26. Roland6 Silver badge

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    This article (written in 2012 ) came up in a google search, it is quite interesting as are many of the comments!

    http://thequietus.com/articles/08944-jeremy-hunt-levenson-enquiry-hotcourses

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    The answer will lie in what he does next.

    If he resigns as an MP then fantastic, great, brilliant. Then I can have someone who cares as my MP. (From my experience with him, he does not)

    but he won't. His snout is far too far up the PM's arse for that. The PM needs to give him the Knighthood he wants before he will go. Sort of standard practice in business where idiots get promoted to get them out of the way so that they can make less mistakes.

  28. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    Don't forget the Labor MP's who are jumping Corbyn's ship.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: which just smacks of the politics of envy.

    Which is about as valid an argument as talking about the "politics of greed". Calling people who think wealth needs to be distributed more evenly envious doesn't actually address any of the issues, it's a facile way of trying to shut down debate.

    The main problem as I see it is that this man has no idea how hard life is for the thousands of NHS staff he's fucking up. How will him getting richer help him gain the perspective he needs to do his job properly?

  30. tiggity Silver badge

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    For balance: One of the disadvantages of "being of independent means" is that level of financial independence can often mean having no real clue about the financial hardship, job insecurity etc. great swathes of the country are trying to deal with. This is especially true of those such as Hunt who were born into a wealthy family and so were always quite insulated from the plebs - no crappy comp for his schoodays (unlike those who became wealthy from poor backgrounds who at least will have some memory of struggling despite their current comfortable situation)

  31. Chris Wicks 1

    Re: Private company sold != NHS issues

    One of the benefits of "being of independent means" is that you have a different take on life and work, like you do stuff because you actually want to do it not because you've got bills to pay.

    Hence proposals for the universal basic income.

  32. Tom 64
    Alert

    Successful?

    Hotcourses was probably a success exactly because Mr. Hunt stepped away from control of it.

    This man couldn't run a train wreck.

  33. JimboSmith Silver badge

    There was a reason he was known as a real "Naughtie" in the media when working at the DCMS. How many people are watching his vanity project, the local tv stations? I've put London Live on channel 49 on my tv and rarely watch it.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/hunts-hotcourses-the-full-grubby-history/

  35. CheeseTriangles
    Thumb Down

    Cunning Hunt?

    My initial reaction was "Bastard!

    Then I thought "OK, he's probably worked hard for it to become a success, He maybe deserves it".

    Then I read the two articles posted above, and again I'm thinking "Bastard!".

    Very few things are clearcut when it involves politicians. Why do I never remember that?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Cunning Hunt?

    I don't know the guy I don't have any particular opinion about him but earning a one-off £15M is not a crime. There's thick guys earning more than that a year for kicking a pig's bladder round a field (OK I know that's not quite how football works) .

    Anyway I read the articles too. They are clearly written from the perspective of "let's try to scrape up some dirt" and end up clutching at straws or at best referring to third party allegations, light on detail or references.

    To take one trivial example "Head boy at Charterhouse" is represented as privilege. Attending Charterhouse is indicative typically of parents or grandparents having access to adequate finance (not always the case: my very skint widowed mum managed to get local authority to fund me at a private school, others were on scholarships). Becoming head boy in an environment full of kids with wealthy and influential parents isn't "privilege", it is actually indicative that the school saw him as in some way distinguishing himself from a cohort of kids largely from "privileged" backgrounds. Didn't happen to me - fair enough - thick and lazy (no good at football either so still no prospect of £15M ). Likewise getting into Oxford Uni is usually contingent on excellent exam results.

    I'm prepared to believe that he's probably a smart guy - he may also be an expletive deleted but that's a subjective assessment I'm not in a position to make.

    Anyone attempting to improve the workings of the NHS is on a hiding to nowhere, there's so much wrong and the time honoured response is always "give us more money". That's been done time and again and the system just continues to get worse. A different approach is required. That means change and change is always resisted. Best person to be put driving that change is someone smart (but frankly, if they're that smart, they'll be smart enough to turn down the opportunity, the only certainty is vilification).

  37. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    Re: Cunning Hunt?

    "give us more money" the old chestnut. how about funding the NHS at the level the USA spends on health care.

  38. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Re: Cunning Hunt?

    how about funding the NHS at the level the USA spends on health care.

    Isn't that what he's trying to do anyway? US style costs, US style provision

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In our local area

    His lot are trying to privatise the NHS via the backdoor, and in my local area close the nearest and then the next nearest after that AE. Dissapointed to find that he is earning all that cash means he can afford private health care. I was sorta hoping he would have an accident and die on a long journey by ambulance as it tries to find an open ward.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dog food the fucker

    Should be made illegal for MPs to have private health care provision. Make them use the NHS and I think you'd find it rapidly got the funding it needed (well, the hospitals near their homes, anyway....)

  41. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    he's not going to be on a trolley in a&e then, nor will his operation get cancelled.

  42. Grenou

    The Register is a great place to be informed.

    A shame that so many who contribute their' comments' would be better off being sent to Mars on a one-way ticket.

    Grow up you lot.

  43. kmac499

    "Grow up you lot."

    I'll try.

    On the substantive point of selling your shares in a company for a profit no problem at all. In principle there is no difference between owning 48% of Hotcourses and a couple of hundred BT shares.but I do wonder how the employees of HotCourses feel

    On the moral point:- A £14m payout for a very small initial investment tends to grate a little (especially when he became an absentee owner a few years ago) I also wonder if when he started Hotcourses what was at risk, like his home, if the enterprise failed. I know of too many people who've worked damned hard and had everything taken away from them via personal bankruptcy when their business failed. A high proportion of the failures caused by non payment of bills by larger companies

    On the tax pojnt:- As a high proportion of us grumpy contibutors will be all too familiar with the wonders of !R35. The taxing of 'unearned' income, that one way or another, makes into your wallet, at anything less than standard PAYE rates really annoys me.

    If the money is ring fenced and used for other entrepreneurial efforts fine, similarly if it's used for charitable purposes then a reduced tax rate would be fine.

    We need to encourage people to try new things, but the risk reward balance in the UK is way out of whack. In the US if you go to a lender with an honourable fail that's OK they will expect you to have learned from it. In the UK you have trouble getting through the front door.

    I've never met the man but he has had more than his fair share of 'awkward' situations during his time as an MP. I have listened to some of his interviews as Culture Secretary and Health Secretary Remember the fun and games over NewsCorp and BSkyB.

    So I'm left with a pretty low opinion of the man, a saddened view of how our economy actually works, rewarding absentee ownership over real work but "thems' the rules"

    Grown up enough for you??

  44. SVV Silver badge

    Bargain Hunt

    30 million quid for a website listing university courses?

    What sort of idiot would pay that? Maybe students wishing to attend university should be capable of researching what's on offer themselves by showing a bit of initiative and using things called "web browsers" to look at things called "university websites". And then using critical thining to make decisions.

    Once agan, a classic "why am I sweating away at this job when I can make oodles of money with such obviously unnecessary garbage" moment. Although I could never make as much as he will as Im not a minister in a government that's slashed capital gains tax prior to him selling it.

    Presumably he now thinks of himself as a "successful tech entrepeneur". But everybody will continue thinking of him as the widely mentioned alter-ego referred to in the comments above so theres some sort of karma at work here.

  45. Roland6 Silver badge

    Re: Bargain Hunt

    Presumably he now thinks of himself as a "successful tech entrepeneur".

    Well compared to Martha Lane Fox...

  46. ecofeco Silver badge

    There's just something...

    There's just something a little more charming about British fascism compared to American fascism.

    Maybe it's the accent?

  47. Eponymous Cowherd
    Mushroom

    To be frank.

    I'm rather the black sheep in the family, being a software guy.

    Most of my family and close friends work in the medical profession. Doctors, nurses, midwives.

    Mrs Cowherd is a midwife, and often comes home near to exhaustion after a 12 hour shift with no breaks because there aren't enough staff, and sometimes comes home near to tears because of the near misses and occasional real shit-meets-fan incidents, again due to lack of staff.

    And all the fucktard never-seen-a-patient-in-their-lives hospital management ever do is hold investigations and point the finger of blame at a convenient over-stressed and over tired scapegoat, who then gets "retired", exacerbating the situation that caused the incident in the first place.

    Another close relation is a junior doctor, seriously considering jacking it in or pissing off overseas because of the new imposed contracts.

    And a close friend who was a highly regarded senior community nurse who quit because of the pressure to see more and more patients every day.

    So Jeremy Hunt?

    I fucking detest the smug bastard. I honestly can't think of a politician I have ever loathed more.

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