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Everything posted by kjw

  1. "That was when the nasty element of the party was strong" Are you seriously suggesting it isn't now?
  2. A leading Tory sparked fury today after advising “jealous” Northerners to work in London. Ex-Cabinet Minister John Redwood said “good professionals” could boost their incomes by working two days a week there. He then claimed the rest of Britain is “jealous” of “the mighty capital”. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jealous-northerners-should-work-london-4555806
  3. George Osborne has told the Bank of England that it should consider the potential effect on mortgages and other lending activity when introducing new rules on banks’ financial safety nets. On Friday the Bank published its much-anticipated review of the leverage ratio – the amount of capital that banks should put up to protect against loans going bad – and said that one aspect of this would depend on an upcoming consultation on large banks’ safety. By 2019, the UK’s eight biggest lenders will have higher leverage ratio requirements than their smaller counterparts, with the difference depending on their assigned systemic risk buffer (SRB) – a measure of their purported financial safety. The higher a bank’s SRB, the higher its leverage ratio will be, meaning it has to put up more capital to protect against bad loans. The Bank of England will begin a consultation on the systemically-important banks' SRBs next year. In a letter to the Bank’s Governor, Mark Carney, the Chancellor said this should take into account “the levels of lending to the real economy; the degree of competition in retail banking; the impact on lenders with low average risk weights [such as big mortgage lenders]; and the maintenance of a diverse set of business models in the banking industry”. Despite Mr Osborne’s concerns, banks and building societies breathed a huge sigh of relief on Friday as the Bank of England’s leverage ratio rules proved to be less onerous than expected. Shares in Barclays – seen as most at risk from a punishing leverage ratio – rose 8pc, with other banks also rising. [more at link] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/11202337/George-Osborne-tells-Mark-Carney-to-consider-effects-of-leverage-ratio-rules.html?WT.mc_id=e_3651847&WT.tsrc=email&etype=frontpage&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FAM_New_2014_11_1&utm_campaign=3651847
  4. The government has been urged to reform right to buy and cut the discounts available to tenants to stem the loss of social housing. The National Housing Federation, which represents affordable housing providers, said it wanted to see a fundamental review of the whole policy including the discounts available to buyers, the eligibility criteria and where the money from sales goes. Right to buy, which was launched in 1980 by Margaret Thatcher, allows some council and housing association tenants to buy their property, currently at a 70% discount worth up to £77,000, or £102,700 in London. Since its launch, the scheme has led to more than 2m homes being sold off, which councils and housing associations have not been able to replace. In 2012, the scheme was reinvigorated to increase the discounts available to tenants. The number of people using it since then has leaped – between April and June 2,845 council-owned properties were sold to tenants, while 675 new houses were started or acquired by councils using right-to-buy funds. [more at link] http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/29/right-to-buy-reformed-social-housing-federation
  5. The UK is taking steps to repay the £2bn debt it originally borrowed to finance the First World War. The debt had not previously been paid off because the Government has to pay relatively little interest on it, having paid a total of £1.26bn since 1917. This amounts to roughly £13m a year, a relatively small item on the Government’s balance sheet in today’s terms. [more at link] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-to-repay-2bn-first-world-war-debt-9830086.html
  6. A top Bank of England (BoE) official warns widespread financial crime in the City of London is eroding public trust. The BoE’s criticism surfaced as it launched a review to tackle market manipulation. In her first public address since adopting the position of BoE Deputy Governor, Nemet Minouche Shafik denounced the actions of UK traders in foreign exchange, currencies and bonds markets, warning financial misconduct in these sectors goes well beyond a few rogue financiers. Referencing LIBOR riggers’ behavior as unacceptable, she suggested fines for such fraudulent activity were inadequate and signified “salt rubbed into the wounds to public confidence in financial markets.” [More at link] http://rt.com/uk/200235-financial-crime-public-confidence/
  7. Every successful party since the mixed economy was invented has won by credit expansion. All money is credit and all increases in the money supply involves projections about future demand that are not certain but a guess. No Government can be prudent as no Government can predict future demand and productivity growth. But they must win elections. No British Cabinet has ever said no to the city or tried to reduce dependency on finance, nor will they.
  8. Coleen Rooney wants to block plans to build 15 new homes next to her £5million mansion. Before jetting off on a ­sunshine break to Barbados without husband Wayne last week, Coleen wrote to officials to say the development would ruin their pretty village. Coleen and Manchester United captain Wayne have made their family home – dubbed Rooney Towers – in Prestbury, Cheshire, which has one of the highest percentage of ­millionaires in the country. Coleen, 28, argues the new homes would be on greenbelt land, would cause traffic chaos and irreversible damage to the lush Cheshire countryside which surrounds their home. The Scouse beauty has been backed by fellow WAG Leanne Brown and her husband Wes, the former United defender who now plays for Sunderland, alongside Slade rocker Noddy Holder and his wife Suzan who also live in the exclusive area. In a letter to Cheshire East Council planning chiefs, seen by the Sunday People,Coleen warned: “Let’s not ruin our village. The development would be in direct conflict with the national policy to protect greenbelt land.” She added: “The development will mean more car journeys in to the village, which is already congested and unsuitable for the increased traffic. “It will damage the special landscape character and ­appearance of the area.” In addition to Rooney Towers, the couple also own a £5million villa in Barbados where Coleen had taken sons Kai, four, and one-year-old Klay last week to avoid the dismal British weather. [more at link...] Coleen Rooney... about as classy as a turd in a swimming pool [and that gives me an idea ] http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/coleen-rooney-teams-up-wives-4507980
  9. Universal credit, the government scheme to integrate in- and out-of-work tax credits, will generate £7bn in economic benefits annually, largely due to up to an additional 300,000 households finding work once the programme is fully implemented, Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, has said. The claim was made as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed that millions of existing benefit claimants would not be transferred to universal credit by the end of 2017, or even 2018. Duncan Smith said: “It is wrong to gather people up and dump them into a new system at an arbitrary date.” The scheme will also produce a modest net administrative saving of £100m a year, caused by the saving of £700m through the closure of existing benefits and the addition of £600m in costs due to more people joining the tax credit system. The total lifetime implementation costs have been set at £1.8bn, of which £1.2bn is yet to be incurred, including a further £120m for IT enhancement. The government figures form part of a drive to regain credibilityover the universal credit scheme, which has been plagued by delays and software problems that have undermined the effectiveness of the whole government welfare programme [more at link...] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/22/universal-credit-work-pensions-tax-credit-economy
  10. The Chancellor is looking at allowing local authorities in the North to keep a greater proportion of the revenues raised from business rates in their area, it can be revealed. It is understood that the move to devolve more economic powers to cities including Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool could form part of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in December. The move would form part of a major drive by Mr Osborne, heading into the General Election next year, to rebalance Britain’s economy away from an overbearing focus on London. It is aimed at creating a so-called “Northern Powerhouse” across the Pennines. The current system of how business rates are retained have been a particular focus of discussions with the Treasury, business leaders and the other parties involved. Mr Osborne is apparently looking closely at business rates as a way to devolve more powers to the regions. Business rates were last reformed in 2013 when councils were allowed to keep more of the revenue raised from any increased income in an effort to encourage local initiatives to boost high streets and business activity. However, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has since called for councils to be allowed to keep up to 90pc of the revenue raised from business rates. [more at link..] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11178284/George-Osborne-eyes-business-rates-reform-for-northern-powerhouse-cities.html?WT.mc_id=e_3628983&WT.tsrc=email&etype=frontpage&utm_source=email&utm_medium=Edi_FAM_New_2014_10_22&utm_campaign=3628983
  11. Tiny Uruguay may not seem a likely front line in the war of the quit smoking brigade against Big Tobacco. But the Latin American country has unwittingly found itself not just in the thick of that battle, but in the middle of an even bigger fight – that of the rising opposition to international free trade deals. Philip Morris is suing Uruguay for increasing the size of the health warnings on cigarette packs, and for clamping down on tobacco companies’ use of sub-brands like Malboro Red, Gold, Blue or Green which could give the impression some cigarettes are safe to smoke. The tobacco behemoth is taking its legal action under the terms of a bilateral trade agreement between Switzerland – where it relatively recently moved from the US – and Uruguay. The trade deal has at its heart a provision allowing Swiss multinationals the right to sue the Uruguayan people if they bring in legislation that will damage their profits. [more at link...] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/big-tobacco-puts-countries-on-trial-as-concerns-over-ttip-deals-mount-9807478.html
  12. Well I see taxes on business profits from production as an important part of achieving maximum social economic efficiency. It is from these profits that social costs of labour will be covered, since heaven knows they are not fully covered by wages.This also applies to capital gains which should also be taxed accordingly, because they arrive indirectly from labour production and of course... labour does not own the output of their production. However, it is from their production that society is sustained. Therefore, corporate taxes allow a certain value of production to be directed back toward sustaining society. Just my own take, don't expect too much agreement in here
  13. Since businesses are de facto individuals now, tax them on their revenues like individuals. Then everyone's rates can go down. Or, tax pollution or something else we don't want. Wouldn't most companies support a CO2 tax, which is something they can control the production of, vs. a tax on profits which is what they want more of? Why are we taxing things we want more of and giving free rides to things we want none of?
  14. Actually, since corporations are considered individuals nowadays and can donate to [buy] elections, then really in the interests of fairness, shouldn't they be taxed as individuals?...
  15. Maybe we should cut the subsidies to business first?
  16. The Irish government decided last week to get rid of a tax loophole that has helped big multinational companies like Apple and Google avoid paying billions in taxes to any government at all. But hold the champagne: Ireland could well replace one problematic tax policy with another, leaving aggressive tax avoidance pretty much intact. On Oct. 14, Ireland’s finance minister, Michael Noonan, said the country would get rid of the “double Irish” — a provision that allows companies doing business in the country to avoid taxes by making royalty payments to an affiliated firm that is registered in Ireland but has its tax home in another country, often a tax haven like Bermuda that has no corporate income taxes. The provision will disappear for new companies in January, but businesses already using it can continue to do so until 2020. Still, Ireland, which for years used policies like the double Irish to attract multinational businesses, appears uninterested in true reform. It will create a new provision known as the Knowledge Development Box that will allow technology, pharmaceutical and other companies that make money from patented products and services to pay a discounted tax rate. Officials haven’t said much about what kinds of profits will qualify for the lower rate or what it will be. Experts expect it to be lower than the already low standard corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent. Ireland is not alone in trying to lure tech companies with very low tax rates. Since last year, Britain has been phasing in what it calls the Patent Box. By 2017, the country will have just a 10 percent tax on profits from “patented inventions and certain other innovations.” That will be less than half its standard corporate tax rate of 22 percent. [more at link] http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/opinion/ireland-still-addicted-to-tax-breaks.html?smid=tw-share&_r=3&referrer
  17. Shadow chancellor says £2m threshold could be raised if house prices continue going up and says less wealthy can delay paying It didn't take long... http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/20/ed-balls-reassure-london-homeowners-mansion-tax
  18. I think the author presents a 'progressive' edge to the debate but I think he lets himself down at times by falling into some of the classic neo-liberal myths about fiscal deficits, which undermine the power of his argument.
  19. Yes it does. For the richer sections of society at the expense of the living standards of the poorer sections.
  20. The UK economy will grow by 2.4% in 2015, well below the 3.1% growth expected this year, forecasting group EY Item Club has said. It says the forthcoming election and accompanying political uncertainty will hold business back from investing. Growth will also be constrained by worries about the eurozone and the Ukraine conflict, EY Item Club says. The 2.4% figure is well below forecasts issued by the Bank of England, the CBI and the International Monetary Fund. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29680253 So, with a low wage economy meaning lower tax receipts on income and lower VAT returns from spending... good luck with balancing them books whilst providing £7bn of tax cuts Davey boy!
  21. David Cameron promises three million apprenticeships by 2020 - paid for by reducing the benefit cap to £23,000. Excellent news, lots of fake apprenticeships at MacDonalds and Tesco in order to undercut the minimum wage and massage the youth unemployment figures, anyone would think there was an election approaching! http://news.sky.com/story/1356326/pm-ill-cut-benefits-to-fund-apprenticeships
  22. More workers than ever are employed in finance and professional services in London, new figures from TheCityUK show today, confirming that the capital has bounced back from the credit crunch. The City was hit hard in the global financial crisis, with banks shedding tens of thousands of jobs and spending billions restructuring and rebuilding their finances. But seven years on from the peak of the boom – and the collapse of Northern Rock, which heralded the beginning of the crash in the UK – London has reached a fresh peak, and is now a bigger employer of financial and professional services staff than ever before. A total of 703,900 are employed in the sectors, and that figure is expected to rise to 714,500 by the end of the year. This means the jobs lost in the financial crisis have now been recovered – at its previous peak in 2007 the industries employed 691,700 workers. That figure crashed to a low of 635,900 but has at last clawed its way back up to a new record high as the economy prospers. Over 2014, headcount in the finance and professional services sectors will have grown by 3.1 per cent, accelerating from the 2.4 per cent seen last year. The biggest growth over the first half of 2014 came in accounting and management consultancy, where headcount jumped by five per cent to 254,300. Next was fund management, with growth of 4.5 per cent taking the number employed to 25,300. By contrast headcount in banking slid 0.4 per cent to 143,300, and the workforce in legal services shrank 1.3 per cent to 105,500. Since the crash, the balance of hiring has also shifted – 51 per cent of workers in the sectors are now in professional services, while finance accounts for 49 per cent, the opposite of the figures seen seven years ago. By region the balance has moved slightly in favour of the City. The workforce in the City itself has risen by 6,800 from 2007 to 2014, to 236,900 today. In Canary Wharf the total has slipped by 300 to 76,500.And the total for the rest of London increased by 5,700 to 390,500. http://www.cityam.com/1413779482/exclusive-city-back
  23. The battle to tempt mortgage customers with attractive deals is heating up again as major lenders put more rate cuts into action. Barclays is preparing to offer what it said are some of its lowest ever rates, including a three-year fixed rate at 2.29%, a five-year fix at 2.85% and a 10-year fix at 3.49%. All of these deals are aimed at people with 40% deposits and come with a £999 fee. Barclays is also cutting the rate on its innovative family springboard mortgage, which helps people with only a 5% deposit get on the property ladder by allowing their parents to put some money into a savings account which is then linked to the mortgage. [more at link... ] http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/oct/19/mortgage-battle-hots-up-as-banks-prepare-to-slash-rates
  24. This is from last year but I've only just seen it, thought it might interest some of you. Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything. You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that's trillion, with a "t") worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it "dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets." [more at link...] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425
  25. Labour will allow more homes to be built on parts of the protected Green Belt if the land has little “environmental or amenity value”. The small print of the report which is expected to form the basis of housing policy, published Sir Michael Lyons, on Thursday discloses that Green Belt with little “environmental or amenity value” is at risk. The report singles out the Green Belt around cities like Oxford, Cambridge, York and Bristol as ripe for development. The news comes days after Eric Pickles, the Local Government secretary, set out new tougher protections for the Green Belt amid concerns that councils are sacrificing the protected land to meet local housing targets required under new planning rules. [more at link...] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/11169967/Revealed-Labour-plans-to-build-on-the-Green-Belt-if-it-wins-election.html
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