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Everything posted by Wayo

  1. Any other country would just dam the river and control it. No more hose pipe bans after a week of dry weather, or need for a national water grid to supply a rising population. The flood plains of the Thames are already colossal, there must be literally hundreds of square miles downstream of Reading that often floods when the water is up. Many of the same places were also affected in 2000, 2003 and 2007. This is not surprising as the rainfall has been nothing exceptional, except for the added high winds and coastal flooding. It may be said to be the wettest January for xx years, but it hasn't been the wettest month, or 3 months for even 10 years. January being crucial word required both to speak truth and sufficiently inflate the media hysteria.
  2. Had we gone and bombed Syria, our fair share might well be 1.2m of the 2.4m external refugees. As the UN declined our offer of assistance at ending the problem at source, by forcing a military conclusion to the nearly 3 year old civil war, they should sort out the relentlessly increasing refugee problem for themselves. Technically refugees are meant to be hosted in the first safe country they reach, once they have already travelled through most of Western Europe to reach the UK they are little different to the other economic migrants seeking the same. Unfortunately we are now in a typically squalid corporate style charity auction, with countries trying to outdo each others generosity by offering places to the greatest numbers. Of course 500 refugees is nothing to us, let alone Syria. We would be much better binning off the International Development spending on India and other wealthy countries and spending linked to lucrative contracts for UK companies and use our taxpayers money where it will go the furthest - helping Syrian refugees hosted in region, from where hopefully they will one day be able to return home, if the so called UN ever gets it act together.
  3. Arguably... Definitely! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_system#Health_systems_performance They spend twice as much per head as everyone except Norway and have the highest level of preventable deaths (by access to effective healthcare) of the developed countries studied. The second worst system is ours, which shouldn't be surprising as it is the second most extreme model of provision. It is also one of the cheaper developed world systems though, but not anything like cheap enough to justify its very poor outcomes. A terrible shame, that as someone else pointed, out the debate in this country is between: U.S system NHS system None When in fact just about any hybrid system, as used by all other developed countries would be a big improvement. So in fact we simply debate whether we want to have the worst, or second worst healthcare model in the developed world.
  4. Presumably like most other insurance, if you are predisposed to a condition, have actually been ill, are old, or are likely to become ill, the price rises exponentially such that it is only ever worth claiming if you plan on managing without insurance from the date of your next renewal.
  5. I don't know about seizure (also sounds expensive), but they certainly have the power to force improvements when a property becomes so bad it is detrimental to the amenity of the area. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/town-and-country-planning-act-1990-section-215-best-practice-guidance Pity it isn't used more, but without the neglect being noticeable from outside it is difficult to see how it might be justified.
  6. Heating your London crash pad is one thing, but why are they allowed to claim for the constituency home? 31 acres in Warwickshire is hardly a business expense for an MP.
  7. If you take the view that welfare isn't really sustainable, then the first place to look would be UC. The idea seems to be that it is flexible so people can take up casual work without having to wait months to get signed back on. They also say you will always be better off in work, which would if true, correct some of the worst areas of the current system. Workfare (not in the private sector) sounds like a good motivator. The main arguments against it seem to revolve around the practicalities of administering it, rather than the principles behind it. A large part of welfare is paid to working poor. Wages are lower than living costs, and artificially high house prices / rent is the main culprit. Get rid of tax incentives to hoard property and allow the developments needed particularly in the South of England to bring down prices. Stop taxing new builds with social housing quotas and infrastructure levies.
  8. You shouldn't pay the same £6k to someone who can work with the intention of it being so low they are forced back into work, yet pay the same £6k to someone who genuinely cannot work through disability.
  9. £6k for an adult is well below the bare minimum. £40k for 2+7 is very comfortable. The current system is designed around need - specific amounts for physical disability, housing adjusted for local costs, benefits for the first child, a different rate for subsequent children, lower rates for couples living together. CI is blunt and crude, so will never be as good at touching that 'bare minimum' without some of the complexity you are trying to remove. Tinkering with £6k, £4k is not going to fundamentally fix this, though £4k is way too much. It is already suggested that people do this, and the gain is much less than £4k per child. Pensioners income guarantee is £150/week and CI is £115. This illustrates just how low the £6k is. Plunging many into destitution will undermine NMW as some people will work for much less than present. NMW is reinforced by the benefits floor. Then you make the low paid pay 40% tax. Talk about kicking people when they are down. I am not sure if this has been done before? but it looks incredibly statist to me. 40% tax and giving a fixed income to every citizen looks pretty Communist to me. I am not seeing 'roll back the state' here... I don't. It works in spite of government because most people aren't doing this. The solution to government failure and poor welfare state outcomes is not to expand welfare and the reach of the state. 1. £6k is pretty destitute. 40% tax on the low paid makes it very difficult for them to get even as much money as they do today. 2. They don't get £4k per child. Many of the excesses today are exploiting carers allowances and of course housing costs, which we are assuming will drop under CI. 3. Who gets the £4k when they reach 16/18? £4k for living at home, £4k living away. The former sounds like a non-stop party. No account of need or circumstances. £4k much of it 40% income tax paid by people struggling for food and heat. 4. Sounds like a massive black hole in the numbers. Of course CI is one big black hole - that is why you need to put 40% income tax on the low paid when one of the best things this government has done is to take the low paid out of tax. Just like the straw man you created above?
  10. They did have a reasonably good scheme for people to get home improvements, but scrapped it in favour of Green Deal, since when home insulation has dropped off a cliff. According to Which, internal wall insulation is between £5500 and £8500 and might save £460/yr on a pre cavity wall property. Forget adding energy saving costs to bills, scrap subsidies for wind and solar and pay for this to be done, subject to some sort of means test, it would surely be more productive.
  11. What a yarn. The ratios look all over the place. £6k for an adult and £4k for an under 18? A single person household gets about half the minimum wage - even if housing were cheaper, £6k is pretty destitute. Couple with 7 kids who have not done a days work in 10 years get £40k, even more perverse incentives for the irresponsible to have kids than now. Current Pensioner income guarantee is around £150/week a good deal higher than this CI. So as soon as you tick over the magic number, a whacking great pay rise. With CI at £6k, if the NMW were changed, wages for the lower paid would plunge. A great swathe of the low paid would not get close to their current living standards with 40% tax and many in marginal employment, particularly with children would stop working because their take home pay per shift would collapse. The current system rather by accident helps enforce NMW by creating disincentives to work for derisory wages, not to mention no income tax for the lowest paid. The current system is wasteful, inefficient and creates undesirable incentives, but contrary to popular belief, most people do what you would want - work and pay tax. This Soviet solution is badly thought through. If you take the view that most of what government does isn't terribly clever but works out in spite of, not because of government, then the solution is somewhere diametrically opposite to CI. CI Election Manifesto: Put up Income Tax up to 40%, scrap all personal allowances, make the poor destitute, give boat loads of money to rich families who don't need it and raise benefits for non-working mothers who keep popping them out. 40% income tax even for the low paid and part time workers on low incomes. Mass redistribution from poor to rich. Teens living at home get a £77/week booze, fags and drugs allowance, rising to £115 if they stay at home past age 18. No discrimination between the unemployed work shy and the physically disabled who cannot work. It wouldn't so much be a suicide note, as ready made heating material...
  12. Better still, reform the private rented sector for the benefit of tenant families and privatise the vast majority of social housing. Then the market can allocate housing and decide the mix of 1,2,3,4 bed property according to demand and people can make their own choices with the money they earn or receive in benefits. Currently we have an utterly dysfunctional market where a social home is for life, there is very low turnover and there are very few homes to downsize into because the Soviet planning of social housing has failed. Somehow the solution to this situation is for Chairman Cameron to decide exactly how many bedrooms each Comrade needs. If private sector rented housing is too expensive for those in work to afford, they need to remove its appeal as a tax shelter and zone more land for building until the price falls.
  13. Sounds like total madness. Why have they set a target of 20% self built? Why not a target for tractor production or cucumbers? Self build in units of one is never going to be cost effective for smaller, low cost homes. Not to mention incredibly risky and difficult to finance. It is 'free schools' all over again, political dogma over common sense. How do they come up with 10% self built currently? I don't see very many new homes that were not obviously built by developers. Are these numbers worked out using the same logic as those on 'first time' buyers?
  14. At the moment nobody is investing in much, as government gerrymandering makes most private investment loss making. Instead they chase subsidies for inefficient technology like wind / solar because they know it pays. Even the proposed nuclear 'strike price' is double the current wholesale price. Ridiculous idea for so many reasons, not counting the fact the person who announced it is one of the most culpable for them increasing. How about reforming EPCs to be fit for purpose? At the moment they guess on items like whether cavity walls are filled, or even have cavities, or what depth of wool is in the loft. There needs to be a linkage between landlords who do not pay bills and tenants who do, to make sure that the cost effective measures are carried out. A reformed EPC for rented properties could facilitate this. I suspect more people are wasting money simply because they don't understanding how much of their bills are heating and how little is everything else. Having the right heating controls and using them probably saves as much money as getting a new boiler. It is madness to spend £10,000 saving £175/yr. Many of the schemes in the current EPC are like this. Forget about them - it doesn't matter who pays - energy supplier obligation, landlord, tenant, taxpayer - nor how it is funded - someone's money is being royally wasted. With the amount of natural gas under this country, it shouldn't be necessary to go back to the days dressing for outdoors indoors or heating one room and huddling around a fire. Low indoor temperatures are detrimental to human health, especially among high risk groups like children, the elderly and those with respiratory illness. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/The_Impact_of_Fuel_Poverty_on_Children_Dec_08%281%29_1.pdf
  15. From reading various documents on smart metering, I got the impression that the consumer suppliers e.g. SSE are charged per end customer at some kind of fixed / estimated rate? If this is true it might explain a lot of the standing charges and lower unit costs for high users. Of course they can only bill the consumer for what actually gets used. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/42590/open-letter-gas-distribution-networks-project-nexus-gas-settlement-reforms.pdf
  16. Something of myth it seems: http://spatial-economics.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/empty-homes-and-housing-crisis.html There are not many long term empty homes (approx. 300k) and many that are naturally in areas where there are no jobs. The article is quite blunt, between 2001-2011 320,000 population increase each year, 188,000 new homes. Government has controlled the development of land much more than the increase in population. If you subscribe to the view that all those homes that have been subdivided and all those new homes with tiny rooms and no gardens are too small, it is time to let the bulldozers in. The other villain is the community infrastructure levies, adding £k to each new unit despite the taxes said property is liable for and the fact that the established households get access to the same services without paying any new taxes. I am not exactly convinced higher interest rates would see a resurgence in non-financial employment outside London, past experience is quite the opposite.
  17. Strictly speaking they don't. As you get richer they also reduce the amount of someone else's labour that you are entitled to claim in benefits and tax credits. The whole system is such a mess that it would surely be easier if they just cut taxes and left the benefit / credits system only for the genuinely poor. Hundreds of thousands of higher rate taxpayers now either have to forfeit child benefit in full or register for self assessment to receive any remaining entitlement. If they do neither, they will be fined.
  18. This is the sort of mindset that ends up with the taxpayer spending £50bn on a High Speed Railway. If he had gone to Aldi he might have seen the French get theirs for around 10-20% of the cost. Still if they build the trains in Co. Durham using a Chinese made flour grinding machine it will all be worth it.
  19. That is progress for you? Walpole didn't need the lower orders to vote for him as the establishment had the electoral system stitched up good and proper. Until the Great Reform Act in 1832 only landowners could vote. But at least he did go to the same school as Cameron.
  20. These large companies often seem incredibly dense. I wonder who designs the models and processes they use? You would think an 'A' level student would start up in house insurance or something and put them all out of business? <30m3 floor area cannot be mortgaged? You live 395m from the canal? Your home has proved its structural integrity for the last 400 years, but the walls are not made form brick? Computer on, brain off.
  21. I think someone at OFGEM needs to pull their head out of their derrière! How on earth can the average dual fuel bill possibly be £120/month? Have they included Buckingham Palace, or a large number of business premises flagged up as domestic customers? The various websites suggest the average usage figures date back several years, when fuel was cheap and before a good amount of insulation was carried out, but even a restatement of up to date usage figures will not being these numbers back to reality. Living in a house with no double glazing with the heating on at 21C all night during the coldest part of winter, I managed to consume only 70% of OFGEMs 'low user' gas. Anecdotally most people do not indulge themselves anything like as lavishly! Wait until smart meters, electricity tariffs will be like mobile phone tariffs. Extra discounts for using tumble driers on sunny days when there is a good breeze.
  22. Not sure I follow why Green Deal has suddenly caused a surge in the price of blown wool, especially if everybody has actually stopped insulating? The government is famous for cooking things up, but surely even they couldn't succeed in making uneconomic just about the only economically viable 'green' improvement yet seen on an EPC certificate except for room thermostats and energy saving bulbs? The former assuming they in fact cost a fraction of the £350-450 quoted in a standard EPC.
  23. Brand New Homes / Pre Owned Homes? Doesn't mean it is always used correctly though. Is it still the case you can lose all of your equity if you get into rent arrears on these shared ownership places?
  24. From Radio 4 interview at the Conservative conference - home owners are more likely to vote Conservative - so create more home owners. Just like Gordon greatly expanding the numbers in receipt of means tested in-work benefits, sorry 'tax credits'.
  25. I believe it is fairly standard for BTL mortgages not to permit >12 month contracts. http://www.lettingfocus.com/blogs/index.php/category/buy-to-let-mortgage-terms-and-conditions/
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