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Everything posted by Wayo

  1. BMIBaby Pilots threaten Strike action over 2.4% pay deal. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5216386.stm Haven't their management seen the latest figures? RPI is +3.3% at the moment. You'd be in a very weak bargaining position to have to accept a 0.9% real terms pay cut. The new figures will affect every pay deal in the country, this will affect prices and so on. The 'miracle' economy sees retailers and manufacturers as some kind of 'tardis sponge', able to soak up increased costs and lower margins indefinately. You can have inflation and unemployment at the same time - weren't the MPC gurus around in the 1970s then?
  2. Also depends on *WHERE* you get your 2:1 1st etc. In my experience there is still a huge bar if you have a degree from an 'old poly' regardless of the class you achieved. This is to the point, that when I left many graduate employers specified 'red brick university' and such in their spec. If you set your sights high, you need the A'levels too, most require a number of UCAS points as well as the degree, and most using a points system to sift large number of applications means it will be very difficult to get around. My exp. of University [one of the best of the Old Polys, now has a medical school blah blah blah] was what a load of tosh - huge class sizes, almost no tutorials / seminars. Teaching quality across the spectrum from one lecturer who read word-by-word from her powerpoint slides, to the dedicated, insightful, enthusuastic - just within one department. The cross department modules revealed similar inconsistency. Moderate coursework load - very short word limits tailored to the lowest common denominator, most coursework set in groups, ostensibly ['it's a business course, you need to work in groups'] but really because the class sizes were so vast it was impossible to mark assignments or schedule presentations doing it any other way. Coursework plagarism was also rife, the most effective wheeze being to find / buy material produced by last years intake as the assignments often didn't change year on year. Frequently assignments were not marked before the following one was set, one lecturer was so bad at this and offering the prelim. notes after many people had left home to go to his lecture, that we submitted a joint letter of protest to the Dean of Faculty. Needless to say he didn't soil his fingertips replying... We had one marketing lecturer who spent more than half of each semester in the southern hemisphere drumming up trade in full fee payers, so delivered his lectures in 3x 2hr blocks each week over 2-3 weeks at about 200wpm and then nothing for 5 months. The front five rows of seats had to be mopped up when he was through and most of the students switched off after 10mins, hardly surprising as the only theatres free for this charade of learning were from 1700-1900. Another decided that as a Greek first year student assisgned to our group couldn't speak English, we had no right to complain as we couldn't converse in Greek. This chap also spent several weeks a year in erm Greece 'recruiting.' Language problems like this were common in the 1st year until we were allowed to choose our own groups. Library facilities were diastrous - hardly anything in stock post 1995 - useless for the subject matter. The shortage was exacerbated by continuing to loan popular items which should have been reference only given the number of students. Lecturers also very good at recomending their friends books to buy. Not a desk on the entire campus available to revise at from about 6 weeks before finals each year. Massive cheating in exams (who thought of 3hr exams then?), and a seen exam paper ie. memory test in our final year. Extensive use of OMR multiple choice questions [guess why?] but here's the rub - they are actually very good at discriminating between the good and the weak candidates! A LOT of sub 'monkey mark scores'! We worked out that we received apx £400 of tuition per year, for which we were charged over £1000 and still had to pay 50% on work placement, for two lecturers visits in the year. When I left only 2 members of staff knew me by name......
  3. This whole 'city centre living' thing is only a relatively recent trend. Not so long ago inner cities were ghastly places inhabited only by dole-funded 'chavs', or whatever the word was then.....
  4. This constant carping over the cost of petrol only goes to prove how financially illiterate much of the UK population is. Judging by the queues at motorway service stations a lot of people don't even bother to shop around, or better still they scoff at paying a few pence over the odds and then shell out £3.50 on a prepacked sandwich, put the air-con on and open the windows! On an average car with say a 50-60l tank, a couple of pence will only make £1.20 worth of difference - there are better ways to save money. Constant improvements in fuel efficiency mean that unless you drive the genuine 'gas guzzler', fuel is not actually very expensive at all. Assuming 40mpg, which is pretty pessimistic for a small-ish car, at 95p/l makes a whopping 10.8p/mile. London to Manchester for under £20. Probably even less if you stick to speed limit. A couple of rounds in the pub? That's as cheap as chips. The last time I was lazy enough to use a bus here in Exeter it was £4.50 for a return to a village about 4-5 miles out of town. Needless to say the buses are not used by people between the ages of 18 and 60....
  5. In other words it is a pyramid investment scheme, always requiring far more young people at the bottom to pay for the old people at the top. This is also one of the reasons we are being sold mass immigration as a solution to the current problem.
  6. Raise taxes (doesn't count towards inflation) and use the money to subsidise goods and services suffering from rampant inflation. Now THAT is crafty... I suspect the negative effect isn't from falling bus fares. As far fewer people now pay bus fares (they all have free passes) I would expect the weighting inside the inflation statisitcs has shrunk. The effect of course is the same. I would suggest that the real reason pensioners get free bus passes, TV licences, heating fuel payments and council tax bungs is because they actually turn out to vote, whereas the young do not. Where the price of something is geniunely subsidsed by government (negative tax) e.g milk, is the subsidy stripped out for the purpose of the CPI calculation??? I presume VAT is stripped out of purchases.
  7. Just to add a little perspective: US National debt is now 65% of their GDP. In 1996 it was 67%, which was a post war high. In 1946 it was an incredible 122%. Our National Debt is currently 36% of GDP. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,11...2090441,00.html
  8. So is Cardiff. What a load of cobblers!
  9. Too right they don't come cheap, and getting rid of them is another story on its own! The current 'guess' of nuclear power station decomissioning is running at £70bn, although nobody can be sure, because we currently have no long term storage solution for long term radioactive material. Have a look at this article on the decomissioning of one nuclear power station in Wales. 500 employees and contractors, yet it hasn't generateed a watt of electricity for 15 years! The only more expensive method of power generation must be to burn £20 notes. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4700106.stm Very rarely when this topic is brought up in the media does anybody mention Germany - which is committed to completely phasing out nuclear power in favour of renewables. They are currently forging ahead with developing solar technology, and given that I owned a solar powered calculator, oh about 15 years ago, it will surely be a winner?
  10. The trouble is that with so much money and cheap credit swilling around in the economy, people will keep buying houses as fast as they can built! They are already parting with huge sums for houses from which they gaining almost very little utility, and in some cases are probably no more than an inconvienience to manage. Just look at the utter dross they are snapping up now. Imagine opening up the likes of Borrowdale and Dartmoor to developers - it would be total anarchy. And any sales covenants, new planning laws or taxes on second homes will probably not be difficult to get around.... I can remember back in the annals of history, TSB calling itself 'the bank that likes to say yes.' Unfortunately until the banks get burned up by bad debt and learn to say 'NO', the situation isn't likely to improve.
  11. There's probably some crazy hedonic adjustment at work, such as the doubling of utility derived by people buying organic milk, being treated as the price actually halving...
  12. Not a clever move when they are also expecting that same generation to pay for their rather generous pensions. If my cohort are anything to go by, the upwardly mobile will emigrate in rapidly increasing numbers straight out of University and really **ss on their bonfire!
  13. If business accounting standards are applied to the government they may indeed be bankrupt. The most serious accusation is that the liabilties of the Federal government are increasing by the order of $3 trillion every year because of pensions and healthcare. He puts the current US National Debt somewhere at the order of $35 trillion, meaning either a lot of work for the printing presses or some serious defaults on their healthcare and social security obligations....
  14. Joint income of MORE than £58,000(!) in two tax allowances and no holidays abroad. Child benefit? Show us the books Sarah, before telling us that you deserve tax credits as well! Council tax here is now £850 in Band A.
  15. Long term equity returns are more like 5-6 %. It is important to remember in recent times we have had two of the biggest bull runs on global stock markets of all time. I would take the view that it is impossible to make any judgement even ten years hence based on past performance alone. You could probably manage 7% with high yield bonds, but with significant capital risk. And don't forget even a tracker fund will charge an annual fee. However when you consider that it is perfectly possible to rent a £100,000 property at the moment for £500-600 a month, maybe with water rates or council tax thrown in, free repairs, furnishings, white goods and buildings insurance, with no stamp duty, conveyancing or arrangement fees, at current prices it may not be worth buying for the risk!
  16. It is a terribly difficult decision to make. For example raising UK interest rates means: 1) Higher interest payments on debt and mortgages reduces spending. 2) Higher government debt interest payments. 3) Investors buy £ as they generate higher yields. The price (exchange rate) rises. Imports are cheaper and exports more expensive, affecting inflation, the trade balance and demand. 4) Business investment in fixed assets is more expensive. Then trying to look at the effects of all this on debt, inflation, house prices, exchange rates, competitivness, the balance of trade and the government books. And then the effects of everything on consumer and business psycology / confidence. If that isn't bad enough, many of the effects have various time lags before taking effect, often of many months. Then there is the question of what to do about the 'two tier' UK economy, where certain areas seem to require different interest rates. Sometimes the South-East can be in danger of overheating with inflation, while other regions suffer low demand and job losses. And then try setting a single interest rate across a dozen or more different countries each with different economic challenges and government tax policies!
  17. Are the banks breaking their own rules? The overwhelming majority of current accounts will charge hefty fees for unauthorised borrowing or for bouncing payments, including standing orders or cheques and these will be laid out in the terms and conditions that you have to sign up to when opening the account. It may be nice to think of a bouncing payment generating little cost to the bank, but if they bounce a payment and then charge you the agreed, if exorbitant fee, then they are not breaking any rules. Don't 'expect' them to do anything that isn't explicit in the small print! Most will charge exorbitant amounts if items or paid or unpaid, so either way it is very bad news. The banks may also consider that some items such as debit card transactions or guarenteed cheques are 'forced to be paid.' Similarly when you enter agreements with mobile phone networks, utilties, subscription services and other enterprises, they will come with their own lengthy sets of terms and conditions, including more exorbitant fees for bouncing or missing payments. Of course all these contracts are subject to discretion; if you only transgress once every 32 months they may well decide it is preferable to waive the charges and retain your goodwill; but this is not necessarily an admission that they have broken their own rules. Some current accounts even have grace periods or provision for a limited number of transgressions in their terms and conditions. There are laws, aimed especially but not exclusively at loan sharks, against unfair terms and charging extortionate rates, but we are talking more about 100%+ interest p.a, than £30 fees, ostensibly for writing snotty letters. I totally agree with the point about delaying payments and transfers. I can withdraw cash one one ATM, walk across the road and get a statement 2 mins later, with the withdrawl already deducted from my account. Yet transfer money by direct debit using the phone or internet and it takes 3 working days to appear at the other end. It is very much buyer beware out there....
  18. While I have no sympathy for banks making millions of pounds every day, there is something to be said for living within your means and financial planning. There are a great many 'poor' people who can do this and therefore don't incur these painful charges. Similarly there are plenty of well off and feckless types who don't take the trouble, or have enough money not to let it trouble them. Many current accounts now come with grace periods, permitting minor indiscretions without incurring swingeing penalties. It can pay to shop around. To run up £2000 in bank charges is no mean feat even as a student. Would you trust him with your accounts?
  19. Overtaxed and overtaxed. Also - why would companies invest when it is much cheaper and less risky to lobby governement to open a new box of low wage economic migrants? This governement keeps saying we have no future as a low wage, low skill economy, but some of its policies run completely contrary to this. We are told that this is necessary so that there are people working to pay for our pensions and public services - but once an economic migrant begins tp pay income tax and national insurance contributions a Pandora's box of entitlements such as NHS treatment, education and erm, pension rights is opened. Simply, having a large number of low wage, low skill occupations in the economy is bad productivity - defined.
  20. All you need is to be a mate of Tony: He can make you a life peer and then promote you to ministerial office at the drop of a hat. As he did in making Lord Adonis and education minister. It makes hereditary peerage look almost reasonable...
  21. Interesting the concept of life cycle costs hasn't reached academia yet. The system is broke because the tax, N.I and pension contributions of a citizen fail to pay for the pension they will receive. That is why pension funds private and public are billions in debt and the trustees for the US Social Security Fund say that it will be flat broke sometime around 2040. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/23/...ain682545.shtml The answer is not to draft in working age migrants to pay for todays pensions - it is for our esteemed politicians to make sure the system actually pays for itself. They could cut their teeth by raising pulic sector employee contributions to a minimum of 10%, the same as they tell rest of us to put away. Apparently the civil service (not to be confused with the rest of the public sector) pay 1.5% (a typing error surely?!) http://society.guardian.co.uk/industrialac...1417910,00.html
  22. The Local Authorities should consider their planning staff to be an investment rather than a cost. When all these thousands of new homes come under occupation, they will be laughing all the way to the bank. But needless to say the Council Tax will keep going up....
  23. That must be the same Councillor Greenslade who pocketed £35k in expenses this year - DCC councillors expenses are apparently rising even faster than the council tax - up 18% this year to over £850k. Of course it will be the council taxpayers, public libraries, care homes, and the overworked, poorly paid council staff who do anything useful which will be taking the budget hit. http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/displayNode....&folderPk=79934 The 'recruitment freeze' hasn't quite started yet: http://www.devonjobs.gov.uk/devon/searchresults.asp Just 182 jobs still on offer today - there are also plenty of 'external agencies' that still have money to burn and proving that public sector salaries are usually inverse to the amount of use they are to the community. Highlight must include a director of External Relations at The West of England School and College who can look forward to £45k (no educational background required).
  24. Simply not true. Not only is the UK densely populated by any global or European standards, because of international migration into the UK population it is also rising at its fastest rate for at least a generation. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=6
  25. Nothing of the sort - simple market economics. For design, read real wages, net of lost benefits, childcare etc are neglibile or negative, so they won't take jobs. The normal market response would be for wages to rise until the positions are filled, but once the government / EU opens up a new pool of cheap labour this doesn't happen. The bus companies, supermarkets and banks could afford the higher wages of Britons, but of course don't have pay them. Any SMEs that genuinely can't afford to pay real wages is in effect being subsidised anyway and should close or move offshore to find lower costs. If this is not practicable and the product / service is really required by the economy it would be paid for by higher prices or productivity. Instead working people and business have to pay higher taxes to fund anything as much as 10% of the working age population being economically inactive, while unskilled migrants fill 'employment gaps' in 'economic blackspots.' Higher wages may or may not be inflationary depending on market competitivness, but so are higher taxes. Migrant workers do contribute taxes, but in low paid jobs these will not be great. But when our governments roll out statistics on how much they 'contribute' to the economy there is little mention of the debit side in terms of health or eduction costs etc. We are never going to compete as a low wage, low productivity, low skill economy and shouldn't pretend that we can. In a 'perfect' EU labour market, average EU wages will be equal to average wages in each of the member states ie. far below UK wages. Unless we can pick and choose key skilled migrants which our education system is unable to train or our living standards retain, we probably have little to gain from uncotrolled EU economic migration. The idea that this arises as a function of any form of democracy is highly contentious!
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