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Price Fixing ! The British Norm ........


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Price Fixing !! The British Norm ........ Everyday it comes to our notice that more and more British Based companies are being investigated for price fixing, i.e. the construction industry, Banks, car manufactures, the telecom industry, energy companies, etc…..

common078.gif This behaviour is rampant in the UK, it’s why companies. Foreign and domestic call this country we live in Treasure Island, Gold coast .We all know it as rip-off Britain

On a personal level my brother- in- law who owns a paint shop on hearing a new customer mention the words ‘Insurance job’ on the method of payment for repairs to their car, he automatically prices the work to be carried out ‘times 4’ (that’s four times the normal price if he paid by any other method) for all parts, labour and materials and it doesn’t matter if this customer goes elsewhere the same thing will happen up and down the country no matter what Garage, Paint- shop he goes to.

This use to be called the British mark-up and functioned throughout British Industry, where a projected and protected profit margin was expected and guaranteed, and was even protected by the state, it was suppose to have been abolished through legislation in 1973 but it has evolved over the decades and is why Companies that do business in this country expect huge increases in their profit margins year in year out. To put it into context in the rest of Europe a profit margin of 20% is excessive here in the UK it’s called loose change. Remember this when your utility company puts it’s prices up again they’re not only passing on increased costs but a increase in their profit margin on to you as well.

So I ask the question! How do we put an end to this ingrained, excepted practice which is called by those who exploit the situation as legally mugging the consumer?

I suggest reintroducing for a temporary period something similar to the Resale Price Maintenance system (RPM) where prices were “capped” so that no one could charge an excessive high price, this use to make sure that profiteering didn’t happen and that everyone knew the maximum that could be charged for everything. Retailers should still be allowed to charge less and offer discounts or if you’re skilled enough as a customer you could negotiate

(Haggle) a lower price which as customers we use to be very good at but unfortunately we now seem to just except without question the price that is displayed.

To simplify what I’m trying to put across, imagine going into a shop to buy a New LCD TV and on top of the TV was a list of all the costs incurred including the profit margins, you will be able to see clearly the cost of everything and companies wouldn’t be able to hide their excessive profit margins through keeping us the customers ignorant. And if you think this is far fetched because I can see that every company that has a cartel/monopoly to protect would be up in arms in this country. This already happens in other parts of the world,

Buying a car in America where it was brought in to stop car salesmen from ripping off the customer which they had an endemic reputation of doing.

A few years ago, I also found out it was prevalent in France because of my French girlfriends’ mother who tried to buy a TV as a surprise gift for her daughter in this country while visiting.

On seeing 20% being displayed on the TV she thought that this represented the profit margin of the retailer, she went off the handle, which distressed the salesperson, after they told her that was the discount .I’ll never forget what she said to me as we where leaving “what you pay for a portable I pay for a widescreen TV”. wtf.gif

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  • 2 weeks later...

Price Fixing !! The British Norm ........ Everyday it comes to our notice that more and more British Based companies are being investigated for price fixing, i.e. the construction industry, Banks, car manufactures, the telecom industry, energy companies, etc…..

common078.gif This behaviour is rampant in the UK, it’s why companies. Foreign and domestic call this country we live in Treasure Island, Gold coast .We all know it as rip-off Britain

On a personal level my brother- in- law who owns a paint shop on hearing a new customer mention the words ‘Insurance job’ on the method of payment for repairs to their car, he automatically prices the work to be carried out ‘times 4’ (that’s four times the normal price if he paid by any other method) for all parts, labour and materials and it doesn’t matter if this customer goes elsewhere the same thing will happen up and down the country no matter what Garage, Paint- shop he goes to.

This use to be called the British mark-up and functioned throughout British Industry, where a projected and protected profit margin was expected and guaranteed, and was even protected by the state, it was suppose to have been abolished through legislation in 1973 but it has evolved over the decades and is why Companies that do business in this country expect huge increases in their profit margins year in year out. To put it into context in the rest of Europe a profit margin of 20% is excessive here in the UK it’s called loose change. Remember this when your utility company puts it’s prices up again they’re not only passing on increased costs but a increase in their profit margin on to you as well.

So I ask the question! How do we put an end to this ingrained, excepted practice which is called by those who exploit the situation as legally mugging the consumer?

I suggest reintroducing for a temporary period something similar to the Resale Price Maintenance system (RPM) where prices were “capped” so that no one could charge an excessive high price, this use to make sure that profiteering didn’t happen and that everyone knew the maximum that could be charged for everything. Retailers should still be allowed to charge less and offer discounts or if you’re skilled enough as a customer you could negotiate

(Haggle) a lower price which as customers we use to be very good at but unfortunately we now seem to just except without question the price that is displayed.

To simplify what I’m trying to put across, imagine going into a shop to buy a New LCD TV and on top of the TV was a list of all the costs incurred including the profit margins, you will be able to see clearly the cost of everything and companies wouldn’t be able to hide their excessive profit margins through keeping us the customers ignorant. And if you think this is far fetched because I can see that every company that has a cartel/monopoly to protect would be up in arms in this country. This already happens in other parts of the world,

Buying a car in America where it was brought in to stop car salesmen from ripping off the customer which they had an endemic reputation of doing.

A few years ago, I also found out it was prevalent in France because of my French girlfriends’ mother who tried to buy a TV as a surprise gift for her daughter in this country while visiting.

On seeing 20% being displayed on the TV she thought that this represented the profit margin of the retailer, she went off the handle, which distressed the salesperson, after they told her that was the discount .I’ll never forget what she said to me as we where leaving “what you pay for a portable I pay for a widescreen TV”. wtf.gif

you see this especially with game consoles, look at the US and even european prices compared to ours!

thats why when the nintendo wii was released it was possible to buy one on amazon france and get it shipped over and make a profit, also with the games, xbox 360 region free games are much cheaper to get mail order from the asians, i made a killing in the first year it was released just buying region free games from japan and selling on gumtree and ebay.

not sure if this is possible so much now as currency exchange rates are a lot different now

fools and their money........

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  • 1 year later...

Swinney calls on power companies to explain price hike

John Swinney has written to Scottish Power asking them to explain last week's £180 hike in energy bills for Scottish households.Mr Swinney said he was "deeply concerned at the scale of Scottish Power's price increases" and is asking for an urgent meeting to hear why they think increases of this scale are justified. The SNP has introduced a warm homes fund to help people facing fuel poverty however if other companies follow Scottish Power's example 169,000 people could be put in fuel poverty.

Mr Swinney continued, "Any fuel price rises have an impact, yet these increases will leave many households, in particular vulnerable consumers, in real, real difficulty. If these increases were replicated by the other suppliers, we estimate over 900,000 households would be in fuel poverty in energy-rich Scotland. That is an utter disgrace and simply underlines the urgent need for Scotland to secure responsibility for its own North Sea oil and gas resources, securing billions of pounds of revenue, which would allow us to help offset the worst effects of these price hikes on the poorest households and provide a sustainable and lasting benefit for this country.

"Price rises on this scale also undermine the progress we have made in boosting energy efficiency and tackling fuel poverty. Our Home Insulation Schemes have visited over one in five of Scotland's homes, and our range of energy assistance packages have now helped over 200,000 people on low incomes reduce their energy bills. Our new Warm Homes Fund will build on this success and further reduce energy bills and protect vulnerable households by providing renewable energy for people on low incomes.

"Price hikes like this also underline the importance of the actions we have taken to protect household incomes through continuing to freeze the council tax for the rest of this Parliament and scrapping prescription charges. "Yet the Scottish Government can only do so much with the powers we currently have. I have asked Ofgem for an urgent update on their actions to address unacceptable price rises by power companies and to further protect consumers."

John Swinney.jpg

post-21939-0-70106900-1307972759_thumb.jpg

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How black gold was hijacked: North sea oil and the betrayal of Scotland

In 1975, the Government faced a dilemma: how to exploit the potential of its new oil fields without fuelling demands for Scottish independence. So it buried the evidence

It was a document that could have changed the course of Scottish history. Nineteen pages long, Written in an elegant, understated academic hand by the leading Scottish economist Gavin McCrone, presented to the Cabinet office in April 1975 and subsequently buried in a Westminster vault for thirty years.

It revealed how North Sea oil could have made an independent Scotland as prosperous as Switzerland.

The Freedom of Information Act has yielded many insights and revelations into the working of the British government, but none so vivid as the contents of Professor McCrone's paper, written on request in the dog days of Ted Heath's Tory government and only just unearthed under the FOI rules.

The Chancellor Gordon Brown underlined the vital revenue stream that North Sea oil still is in the context of British politics. In his pre-budget report, Mr Brown extracted an extra £6.5b in tax from North Sea oil and gas producers.

Economists like the Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman Vince Cable say that high oil prices have already bailed out the Treasury to the tune of £1 billion .

Imagine then, what the oil could have done for a Scotland which if it had chose independence in the mid 1970s and claimed ownership of the reserves.

Thirty years ago, Professor McCrone answered that very question and his conclusions shocked his political masters.

Although BP first discovered the giant Forties oilfield in 1970 - which by 1977 was producing 500,000 barrels of oil a day, equivalent to a quarter of Nigeria's entire daily production - the real rush for "black gold" had only begun around 1973, when the Yom Kippur War caused a crisis in the Middle East and forced prices up to around $16 a barrel.

By the time the oil companies realised that North Sea drilling was not only cost-effective but highly lucrative, and the British government realised it was sitting on a gold mine, the Scottish nationalists had already laid claim to the oil.

The "It's Scotland's Oil" campaign began in 1972. If only they had seen the professor's research.

An independent Scotland's budget surpluses as a result of the oil boom, wrote Professor McCrone, would be so large as to be "embarrassing".

Scotland's currency "would become the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian Kronor." From being poorer than their southern neighbours, Scots would quite possibly become richer. Scotland would be in a position to lend heavily to England and "this situation could last for a very long time into the future."

In short, the oil would put the British boot, after centuries of resentment, firmly on the foot standing north of the border.

Within days of its receipt at Westminster in 1974, Professor McCrone's document was judged as incendiary and classified as secret. It would be sat upon for the next thirty years.

The mandarins demanded that Professor McCrone's 19-page analysis be given "only a most restricted circulation in the Scottish Office because of the extreme sensitivity of the subject." The subject was sensitive alright.

This is a story of Whitehall betrayal that will satisfy the pre-conceptions of the most extreme Scottish anglophobe.

It was the comparison with Norway that particularly worried the Westminster politicians. In the mid 1970s of course, Norway was fully independent and about to take advantage of an oil boom that has generated undreamed-of prosperity to the present day.

In Scotland, the situation was somewhat different, and potentially explosive.

National pride had been hugely galvanised by the appearance of the Scotland Football Team in the 1974 World Cup, a competition for which the England side had failed to qualify.

But economically, the outlook was bleak. Heavy manufacturing, which had been the heart and soul of the Scottish economy for generations, was in deep trouble.

Between 1970 and 1974 the number of coal mines in Scotland fell by a third, while steel production plunged by a fifth.

Shipbuilding, the mainstay of the Clyde, was in particular trouble. After the Heath government refused to bail out four yards in Upper Clyde in 1971, trade unionists staged a work-in and occupied the yards.

Some 70,000 people marched calling for government help and a 48-hour strike by other workers brought out more than 100,000 in support.

Meanwhile, in politics, the nationalists were riding high as never before. The 1970 general election saw the SNP poll just 11.4 per cent of the vote and one seat. But in February 1974 they scored 21.9 per cent and won seven seats. Within eight months, by the October election of that year, their support had risen to the all-time high of 30.4 per cent of the vote, and 11 seats.

The party was also nipping at the heels of Labour in 34 other Labour-held seats. This was the high tide of Scottish nationalism.

Previously unheard of would-be terrorist cells began to emerge: The "Scottish Legion", "Jacobites", "Border Clan", 'Tartan Army" and the "100 Organisation", which took its name from the famous historic Declaration of Arbroath, stating: "So long as 100 of us remain alive we will never submit to English rule."

American companies based in Aberdeen became nervous that a Scottish breakaway, socialist in outlook, was threatening their interests. Pressure was exerted on the government to control the situation.

Professor McCrone's report, in such volatile circumstances, would almost certainly have provoked a turning point in the history of the United Kingdom.

Billy Wolfe, who was leader of the SNP at the time and the man credited with developing the nationalists as a clearly defined left-of-centre political party, is in no doubt of what the McCrone findings could have meant.

"If that information had been published before the October 1974 election," said Mr Wolfe, "we would have won Scotland and it would be a much wealthier and happier place.

"A whole lot of economic factors would be a lot different, especially in the fishing, steel and shipbuilding industries. It would have been a tremendous boost for Scotland."

Tam Dalyell, who served as Labour MP in West Lothian for 43 years, agrees that the document could have led to independence. "In my view it might have done," he said. "It could have tipped the balance it a number of seats including mine. Oil was very much a totemic issue. It was new and it was dramatic. Politics at that time was very different. In 1974 my majority went from around 6,000 in February to around 2,000 after the October general election.

"It was most unpleasant. People were saying 'it's our oil'."

By the mid 1970s, international convention had already agreed that the North Sea north of the 55th parallel was under Scottish jurisdiction. That meant around 90 per cent of the UK's oil and gas reserves fell within Scottish waters. Such was the fear of the rise of Scottish nationalism that the document remained secret under the governments of Callaghan, Thatcher, Major and even Tony Blair.

Its very existence only emerged when Scottish National Party researchers, thought to be acting on a tip off from a former official, placed a carefully-worded request under the freedom of information legislation.

Very soon the Scottish Executive is will publish the annual Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland analysis, which charts expenditure north of the border.

Statistics for 2002- 03 showed expenditure per head of £6,579 in Scotland compared with £5,453 in England. It also showed that Scotland received £9.3 billion more than it took in taxes. It is an old English nationalist refrain that the Scots are both over-subsidised and over-represented in the British Parliament.

In response to the first of those charges, for the first time in thirty years the Scots now, in the form of Professor McClone's suppressed report, have hard evidence to suggest that it could have been Scotland, not England, sending money across the border.

Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, made it clear that the 31-year-old McClone papers were not just a dusty history lesson, but would form a central part of their campaigning for the future.

He said: "The impact of this would have been dynamite. It would have had great influence.

"I was astonished by how direct the paper was, and appalled at the extent of what has been hidden from the people. McCrone was saying that an independent Scotland would be Europe's Switzerland. The Labour party were saying that it would be like Bangladesh.

"This is hugely important. But it was not just important then. It is important now. Gordon Brown's black hole is being filled by black oil."

At the time of Professor McCrone's report to the cabinet office, the SNP claimed that North Sea Oil would yield £800 million a year for the government by 1980.

Professor McCrone's main criticism of their analysis was that their forecasts were "far too low". He put the sum at about £3 billion.

Scottish independence had become a mortal threat to the British exchequer. "The importance of North Sea oil" wrote, the Professor, "is that it raises just this issue in a more acute form than at any time."

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  • 2 weeks later...

World Renowned Economist says: 'Scotland subsidising England'

A leading Professor of Economics, Andrew Hughes Hallett, has sensationally confirmed that Scotland has been subsidising the English treasury in London for decades and that the Calman Commission recommendations are unworkable and potentially damaging.

Professor Hughes Hallett also rubbished claims by leading Scottish Labour ,Tory politicians that an independent Scotland could not have survived the banking crisis by explaining that much of the liabilities suffered by HBOS and RBS would have fallen on England.

Hughes Hallett, who is a Professor of Economics at George Mason University in Washington DC and St Andrews University was appearing on Radio Scotland's 'Newsweek' show when he undermined much of what Unionist politicians and Scottish media commentators have been saying about Scotland for years.

Professor Hughes Hallett confirmed that Scotland subsidised the UK and also described the perception that public spending in Scotland is 20% per head more than the UK average as "misleading". He gave, as an example, the defence figures where the actual monies spent in Scotland was £0.8 billion LESS than the official treasury figures.

Prof Hughes Hallett said:

"The usual perception is that Scotland spends about 20% on public services more per head than the UK average...

"Those numbers are very misleading mainly because the spending in that part is what's spent on behalf of Scotland but not necessarily in Scotland.

"The estimate for Scotland's share, that's contributions to defence, is 2.8 billion but it's roughly 2.0 billion are actually paid out in Scotland

"So there's an implicit subsidy going south in that sense and you can think of lots of other examples ..."

Hughes Hallett added:

"At the moment, on the current account, there's a subsidy going to London, which is helping London.

"When you get down to it, on the current account for the last five years at least, maybe longer, Scotland has had a current account surplus, which is currently according to the national accounts in Scotland £1.3 billion."

Asked whether Scotland would definitely be better off, Prof Hallett replied: "You can definitely say that Scotland would be better off in terms of the revenue."

Prof Hughes Hallett pointed to 'missing' income that is generated in Scotland but is actually attributed to London, giving the Crown Estate as an example saying: "The Crown agents who take fees for electricity generation and give it to the Treasury..."

Professor Hughes Hallett also destroyed one of the myths surrounding the bail out of HBOS and RBS claiming that their dealings in England would have meant that England would have shouldered a significant part of their liabilities.

Professor Hughes Hallet said:

"They [HBOS and RBS] have substantial activities in England as well as elsewhere and therefore the burden of bailing them out would have to have been shared in any case.

"And there are plenty of precedents for that. The Dutch-French banks and the Belgium-French Banks that went bankrupt had to be bailed out jointly by the responsible authorities, and so it would have been shared."

Professor Hughes Hallett's experience has covered many areas and range from international economic policy to financial market stabilisation. Apart from a wide range of academic posts with Princeton, St. Andrews and other universities around the world he has also acted as a consultant to the IMF, World Bank, Federal Reserve, UN, European Central Bank, UNESCO, OECD, numerous central banks, governments and other organisations.

His comments will have strengthened John Swinney's case that Scotland would be better off financially with economic independence. They also come on the heels of the assertion by former World Bank chief economist, and key aid to President Clinton, Joseph Stiglitz that successive Westminster governments had 'squandered' North Sea oil revenues instead of investing them.

SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick seized on Hughes Hallett's comments arguing that Scotland is not dependent on hand-outs as argued by his unionist opponents:

"Professor Hughes Hallet has confirmed what John Swinney and the SNP have been saying for years. It's economically unviable for Scotland to remain part of the union and subsidise the rest of the UK. For years Scotland has more than paid its own way, only for unionist parties in Scotland to peddle the myth that it is the other way around."

As the crisis in Britain's public finances deepens and David Cameron's austerity cuts start to kick in, the debate in Scotland, in the lead up to the Referendum on Independence, will focus on jobs and the economy.

With polls showing most Scots blaming the Labour Party for the critical state of Britain's public finances Iain Gray, Labour's Holyrood leader, will try to shift the focus of the campaign onto Tory cuts. As the SNP government's principle rival though, Labour will be forced to defend a union in economic dire straits and explain why voters should trust them to get Scotland out of a hole dug by Labour.

With world-renowned economists such as Stiglitz and Hughes Hallett endorsing the SNP's case and with London spending deficits ballooning, nationalist leaders will calculate that the burden of proof of economic credibility will shift from the SNP to Labour.

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  • 1 month later...

the best defense against high prices is lots of competition.

the problem is we don't have real competition in energy markets, and insurance companies are happy with any practice that puches up premiums on insurance that you have to buy....

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