‘Truly shocking’ that the private-school educated and affluent middle class still run Britain, says Sir John Major

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10439303/Truly-shocking-that-the-private-school-educated-and-affluent-middle-class-still-run-Britain-says-Sir-John-Major.html

The dominance of a private-school educated elite and well-heeled middle class in the “upper echelons” of public life in Britain is “truly shocking”, Sir John Major has said.

The dominance of a private-school educated elite and well-heeled middle class in the “upper echelons” of public life in Britain is “truly shocking”, Sir John Major has said.

The former Conservative Prime Minister said he was appalled that “every single sphere of British influence” in society is dominated by men and women who went to private school or who are from the “affluent middle class”

More than half of the Cabinet, including David Cameron, the Prime Minister, George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, are thought to have gone to private school [Isn’t that a fact? what’s this “though to have”? Isn’t it closer to all than half?] and are independently very wealthy.

In the speech to Tory party grassroots activists on Friday evening, Sir John – who went to a comprehensive in south London and left school with three O-Levels – said: “In every single sphere of British influence, the upper echelons of power in 2013 are held overwhelmingly by the privately educated or the affluent middle class. To me from my background, I find that truly shocking.”

Continue Reading‘Truly shocking’ that the private-school educated and affluent middle class still run Britain, says Sir John Major

Eurobond tax scandal: David Cameron accused of dodging concerns over loophole that costs Treasury at least £500m a year

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eurobond-tax-scandal-david-cameron-accused-of-dodging-concerns-over-loophole-that-costs-treasury-at-least-500m-a-year-8899864.html

Prime Minister refuses to explain why he hasn’t stopped use of Eurobond exemption

cameronunhappyGETTYDavid Cameron’s attempts to “brush aside” legitimate concerns that the Government has not yet closed a legal tax loophole, which is losing the public purse at least £500m a year, have been condemned by MPs and campaigners.

When asked at Prime Minister’s Questions about revelations in The Independent that the Coalition had failed to stop the use of the quoted Eurobond exemption to avoid tax, Mr Cameron said decisions had been made by the Treasury and implied that was the end of it.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood and shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “It’s pretty shocking that David Cameron just brushed aside this important question. We’re talking about a loophole that costs us around half a billion a year, yet the Prime Minister arrogantly dismisses the issue. At a time when families are facing a cost-of-living crisis and the deficit is high, this isn’t good enough.”

She added: “David Cameron and George Osborne must explain why they decided not to close this loophole. And we need a government that takes tax avoidance seriously and is on the side of the majority of families and businesses who pay their fair share.”

The campaign group UK Uncut says it is now considering targeting the high-street chains highlighted in The Independent, which include Nando’s, Pizza Express, Café Rouge, BHS, Maplin, Office and Pets at Home. The companies all cut their taxable profits by borrowing at high interest from their owners through the Channel Islands Stock Exchange.

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.

dizzy

Continue ReadingEurobond tax scandal: David Cameron accused of dodging concerns over loophole that costs Treasury at least £500m a year

Eurobonds scandal: The high street giants avoiding millions in tax

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eurobonds-scandal-the-high-street-giants-avoiding-millions-in-tax-8897591.html

Many of Britain’s best-known high street chains are avoiding millions of pounds in tax through the controversial Eurobonds scheme.

Food chains including Nando’s, Pizza Express, Café Rouge, Strada and Pret A Manger have cut their taxable profits by borrowing from their owners through the Channel Islands Stock Exchange. High street retailers doing the same include BHS, the electronics retailer Maplin, Office and Pets At Home. The revelations form the third part of an investigation by Corporate Watch and The Independent into major UK companies using the quoted Eurobond exemption, a regulatory loophole the Government knows about but has decided not to close.

David Cameron is expected to be questioned today in Parliament about the scheme and HMRC’s failure to tackle it. Instead of putting their money in the shares of the companies they buy, the owners – mostly private equity funds – lend it instead. The interest on the loans cuts the UK companies’ taxable income each year and the exemption – triggered because the loans are listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange – means the interest goes to the owners tax free. Without this loophole, HMRC could deduct a 20 per cent “withholding tax” from payments overseas and the overall tax saving would be greatly reduced. Yesterday The Independent reported how Camelot had avoided tax using this method and how HMRC was lobbied by financial firms to keep the loophole open.

Murray Worthy, a tax campaigner with War on Want, said: “This isn’t just a niche issue that’s being used by a handful of companies. We’ve seen how angry people are about the ease with which these companies can avoid paying their fair share, [and] the only reason this is happening is because of the influence of big business on the Government’s tax rules.” Gondola Group – which owns Pizza Express, Zizzi and Ask – has avoided as much as £77m in UK corporation tax since it was bought by the Cinven private equity fund in 2006. Cinven loaned Gondola more than £300m at a 12.5 per cent interest rate but only invested £8m in equity. Instead of receiving the interest payments on the loans every year, Cinven has allowed it to accrue on the debt, compounding the amount taken off Gondola’s profits every year. When Cinven sells the restaurants, which it is reportedly considering, it can receive the £276.8m it is owed tax free.

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.

dizzy

Continue ReadingEurobonds scandal: The high street giants avoiding millions in tax

Borrowing figures show how Osborne allowed thousands to avoid 50p tax rate

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/10/borrowing-figures-show-how-osborne-allowed-thousands-avoid-50p-tax-rate

The spike in tax receipts was caused by individuals deferring income and bonuses to benefit from the new 45p rate, not a surge in earnings.

By George Eaton

george_osborne

The latest borrowing figures are being trumpeted by the Tories as evidence of the success of George Osborne’s economic plan, with tax receipts up by 7% compared to last year. But what they won’t mention is that this spike has more to do with high earners avoiding the 50p tax rate than it does with any rise in earnings. By deferring income and bonuses from 2012 until this year to take advantage of the new 45p rate, taxpayers have caused a £2.9bn increase in receipts. But with earnings growth of just 0.7% in the most recent month, it’s far from certain that this improved trend will continue.

As the OBR notes in its commentary on the figures:

Growth in both income tax and NICs for the year-to-date is above the full year forecasts, but this largely reflects the fact that receipts in the first few months of the year benefited from the deferral of some income/bonuses to take advantage of the reduction of the additional rate of income tax to 45p and some temporary effects in non-PAYE income tax. Prospects for PAYE and NIC receipts growth will depend on the feed-through from the low growth in average weekly earnings in the latest data.

The IFS similarly warns:

It is important to note that some of the strong growth in receipts observed earlier in the year may not be expected to persist for the rest of the financial year, as it may be the result of some high income individuals pushing part of their income from last year into the beginning of this tax year in order to take advantage of the reduction in the higher rate of income tax.

And with individuals paying tax at 45p, rather than 50p, the Exchequer is left out of pocket. Osborne’s stated justification for abolishing the 50p rate was that, due to mass avoidance, it raised “just a third of the £3bn” expected. But while it’s true that £16bn of income was shifted into the previous tax year  – when the rate was still 40p – this was a trick the rich could only have played once. And as the government has acknowledged on other occasions, tax avoidance isn’t an argument for cutting tax, it’s an argument for stopping avoidance.

Having falsely claimed that the (anomalous) first year of the 50p rate proved that it was ineffective, the Tories are now using the (anomalous) first year of the 45p rate to argue that they were right to scrap it. We’ll never know how much the 50p rate would actually have raised – and that is just as Osborne intended.

Continue ReadingBorrowing figures show how Osborne allowed thousands to avoid 50p tax rate

UK politics news review

 

Since the last UK politics news review the Labour party conference has ended and the Conservative scum conference has started. Towards the end of the Labour party conference there was the unveiling of familiar NHS imagery and the start of a criticism of the Conservative-Liberal-Democrat Con-Dem policy of austerity.

The Conservative scum party came to power illegitimately, having campaigned on many promises of protecting the NHS – “no top-down privatisation”, “I’ll cut the defecit, not the NHS”, etc – and then joining with their Liberal-Democrat-Conservatives to form the coalition government. While there was no clear winner from the 2010 general election, the ConDems have proceeded to pursue policies contrary to their election pledges for which they cannot possibly have any electoral mandate.

The Conservatives are known as the nasty party and follow Blair’s policies and philosophy. It has been noted by several commentators that their conference is a showpiece affair. Slasher Bully-boy Osborne’s speech was certainly of the reciprocal applause every sentence affair. Bully-boy and British prime minister David Cameron is expected to make his “I’m a pretty straight kinda guy” speech today – I feel that it could never be as deceitful as Blair’s on a very fundamental level.

 

Continue ReadingUK politics news review

News review

    • UK in worst recession since 1955
    • Nick Clegg sent white powder and called a “devil worshipper” by a nun
    • Insane Tony Blair calls himself insane

 

Never had it so bad: UK recession is the worst since Fifties

GDP figures yesterday showed the economy shrank for the third quarter in a row – down 0.7 per cent between April and June – meaning the UK is in its worst recession since 1955.

  • But as Conservative Chancellor George Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron insisted yesterday there was no need for a change from their austerity policy, Mr Cable demanded what he termed a “Plan A-plus” to help boost growth in the UK.Business leaders also called for a rethink, criticising the government’s lack of growth policies….

 

Nick Clegg Abusive Letters Calling Lib Dem Leader ‘Devil-Worshipper’

 

Sister Ruth Augustus pictured in 2004
Sister Ruth Augustus pictured in 2004

A nun has been found guilty of sending threatening letters containing white powder to parliamentary figures including Nick Clegg, whom she accused of being a “devil-worshipping Freemason”.

Sister Ruth Augustus, 71, was found guilty on six counts of hoaxes involving noxious substances before Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday after the jury took only two-and-a-half hours to deliver a verdict.

Augustus, of Leyton, east London, was found to have sent the letters to Clegg and three others, each with allegations scrawled on the envelopes.

On a letter sent to the Lib Dem leader, the nun wrote the phrases “devil worshipping”, “freemason”, “sex with 30 plus women” and “your poor Catholic wife and children”.

Justifying why she sent the letters to the Lib Dem leader, Augustus said he had “lied about all the tuition fees and everything else, keeping those Tory millionaires and rats in government”.

“He boasted about all the women he’s had sex with. He’s an atheist singing hymns in the Albert Hall.”

Commons committee slams Blair on FoI

Tony Blair: nutter
Tony Blair: nutter

The Commons Justice Select Committee has criticised former Prime Minister Tony Blair for failing to cooperate with its investigation into impact of Freedom of Information (FoI).

“We deplore Mr Blair’s failure to cooperate with a committee of the House,: Sir Alan Beth, the Chair of the Justice Select Committee said. “Former prime minister Tony Blair described himself as a ‘nincompoop‘ for his role in the legislation, saying that it was ‘antithetical to sensible government’. Yet when we sought to question Mr Blair on his change of opinion he refused to defend his views before us and submitted answers to our written questions only after our report was agreed, and after a press report had appeared, suggesting we might criticise his failure to give evidence.”

Mr. Blair was in office when the FoI law was brought in but since then the former Prime Minister has said it was one of the worst legislation his government brought in.  However, the Justice Select Committee in its report concluded that FoI has been a “significant enhancement of democracy” and not hindering better governance.

 

Continue ReadingNews review

Cameron and the Tories attack the poor ::1

UK Tory Prime Minister David Cameron will today make a speech signalling his continuing attacks on the poor, youth and the vulnerable.

Cameron will suggest witholding housing benefit to under 25s despite the fact that the vast majority of such claimants are employed in crap-paying jobs. Housing benefit is not available to those that have inherited millions and typically attended Eton and Oxford.

Cameron also intends to attack child benefit for moderately-sized families (although it is spun as large families) and further support workfare schemes that force the unemployed to undertake unpaid labour to benefit rich Tory donors.

Return of the nasty party as David Cameron looks at stripping welfare benefits

Cameron is repeating the housing benefit myth

 

27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.

dizzy

 

Continue ReadingCameron and the Tories attack the poor ::1

Bank of England gives yet another £50B to bankers

“…quantitative easing – printing money by another name – is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed.”

George Osborne, speech January 9 2009

The Bank of England announced today that it intends to do a further £50billion round of Quantitative Easing. Quantitative Easing involves pumping money into the economy in an apparently futile – it hasn’t yet been shown to work – attempt to stimulate the economy. There is a problem that there is very little to show for so many billions after billions that have already been squandered on Q.E.

It appears that it’s austerity for the vast majority and rolling in lolly for the rich elite. No money for the NHS for the plebs, plenty of billions to stimulate the markets for rich multi-millionaire traders and bankers to get yet richer.

There is an argument that the poor would stimulate the economy far more – since they would have to spend the money.

 

 10/2/12:

Quantitative Easing is stimulating commodity trading, not the real economy

As the economy slides towards recession, the Bank of England today announced today it was creating a further £50bn worth of ‘quantitative easing’ (QE).

If you read articles on the topic in the media, you will see statements like “the Bank is ‘printing’ money” or the Bank  will “pump a further £50 billion in to the economy”.  Both these statements are misleading.

QE actually involves the Bank of England buying financial assets – usually government bonds – belonging to institutional investors and sitting in Banks. The Bank buys these assets with newly created central bank reserves.  These reserves can only be held by banks – they do not and cannot go to businesses the real economy.

As explained in nef’s Where Does Money Come From?, central bank reserves are used by commercial banks to settle payments with each other.

By ‘pumping’ more reserves in to the intra-bank clearing system the idea is that banks will feel more confident about making loans to the real economy because they will know that other banks are in a stronger position to settle with them.

In addition, by buying up ultra-safe government bonds in vast quantities and thus pushing down the yield (the interest received on holding) on these assets, the central bank hopes to encourage investors to buy higher yielding corporate bonds – which again provides money for real businesses.

QE may reduce long-term interest rates, but there is little evidence it has stimulated commercial banks to start lending more to businesses, in particular small businesses, or soften the conditions banks are attaching to loans.

In fact the most recent figures published by the Bank show that net lending – the amount of loans minus the amount repaid – to small businesses has contracted by six per cent in the year to November 2011. And this despite the banks being given small business lending targets by the government through ‘Project Merlin’.  Not much wizardry there then.

The hard truth is that commercial banks are still in a process of ‘de-leveraging’, more keen on getting their loans repaid and building up their capital base than making new loans to productive businesses in what is perceived to be a risky real economy.

Evidence suggests the additional funds provided by QE are more likely to be used by banks to create more speculative credit, not least commodity speculation,  that provides shorter term returns.  As a result, the money supply in the real economy is contracting just at the point where new investment is most needed.

 

 

Continue ReadingBank of England gives yet another £50B to bankers