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The future of Government (if any)

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Nick
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#101 Post by Nick » January 14th, 2013, 5:15 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Fun stuff from Tim Worstall at the Adam Smith Institute. Somewhat tongue in cheek, but raises some interesting thoughts as well as smiles. :wink:
Let's get medieval about paying MPs
Written by Tim Worstall | Sunday 13 January 2013

Our Honourable and Right Honourable Members of Parliament are offering us one of the less wholesome sights in politics: the discussion of how fat they should wax upon our money once again. Unsurprisingly for a group who get to decide themselves about how much of our money they should be paid the answer seems to be "more". More than they have been paid and more than almost all of us earn: earnings that must be scalped to pay them.

It's not an edifying sight their trotting out the usual arguments. They're terribly important so they should be well paid. I am particularly amused by their insistence that higher pay is needed to attract the "right types". They're too dim to understand that if higher pay is indeed needed to attract the right types then this obviously means that the current pay is insufficient to attract the right types. Which is why we've got the bozos we do, namely those arguing that their pay is too low to attract the right types. All those MPs thus making this argument are people arguing that they themselves should not be MPs. Which they may well be right about of course.

Given my own increasing age I am becoming increasingly convinced of the righteousness of the old ways of doing things. I would thus suggest that we should get properly medieval on the subject of political pay. Not quite to the extent of determining the sum in groats but certainly to adopt the method of determining how many groats it should be.

Simply abolish payment to MPs from central tax funds. Indeed, abolish payments to MPs from taxation altogether. My thanks to Mr. Dillow for having found this parliamentary document upon the historical pay of MPs. From which we get the following:

Payment of Members of Parliament can be traced back as far as the 13th century, when the shires and boroughs allowed their representatives certain wages for attending Parliament; knights received four shillings a day, and citizens and burgesses two shillings a day for the duration of the Parliament.

In modern terms this would be the constituency itself paying the constituency's representative. This of course is as it should be. Rather than some deduction from central funding the link between MP and the represented would be immensely strengthened by such a system. Local and regional variation would inveitably follow:

For example, in 1296 the two Aldermen representing the city of London were paid ten shillings a day and, in 1463, the Borough of Weymouth paid its burgesses with a wage of five hundred mackerel.

I admit to finding the thought of Richard Drax being paid in mackerel amusing. But over and above the amusement there is an important point here. MPs are not the centre's appointees over us. They are our appointees over the centre: we should thus be paying them directly, at the rate we approve of and are willing to dig into our pockets to provide. Their pay should not be some abstraction from central funds at all.

Another way of putting this is that we should reverse the nationalisation of how politicians are paid. This would truly be a return to a welcome localisation.

I see one further glory in such a system. There are plenty of constituencies where the election result is a foregone conclusion. It is the nomination proicess for one or another party that actually determiners who the MP is. By demanding that, even after such a pocket borough process, pay for the MP must be raised, directly and voluntarily, from the constituents we would produce a welcome diminution of party political power in our democratic processes. If some ass with a blue rosette, donkey with a red, does indeed get imposed by the central party machine they've still got to be competent enough to convince the provincials to actually pay them.

I am also convinced by this argument:

In general, the payment of Members by their own electors had ceased by the end of the 17th century. Samuel Pepys' diary entry for 30 March 1668 remarks:

"At dinner ... all concluded that the bane of the Parliament hath been the leaving off the old custom of the places allowing wages to those that served them in Parliament, by which they chose men that understood their business and would attend it, and they could expect an account from, which now they cannot."

If it was a good enough system that old Sam would mourn its passing it's a good enough system for me to advocate its reinstatement.

Of course, this is partly a result of my increasing age and my consequent reaching back into history for examples of how much better it all was before it went to the dogs as a result of the youth of today. Give me a few more years and I'll be reviving millennia old ideas. Although for the life of me I cannot even at present see why a decently bred horse couldn't do a better job than some of the current executive so perhaps Caligula did have something apposite to teach us.

But even if this could be dismissed as just an old way of doing things, we are constantly urged to at least consider the wisdom of the ancients, aren't we?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#102 Post by Alan H » January 27th, 2013, 8:58 pm

How the Government's new 'Bedroom Tax' will work:
2013-01-27_20h56_30.png
2013-01-27_20h56_30.png (866.89 KiB) Viewed 1874 times
Full details here: The 'bedroom tax' could light the touchpaper of protest
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Fia
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Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#103 Post by Fia » January 27th, 2013, 10:33 pm

I'd have no problems with a bedroom tax provided it's universal and works the other way, probably though the council tax system, which, of course, hasn't been updated in the house value for years. Counting the bedrooms and folk in the property unused bedrooms should accrue more tax, and overcrowded properties less. Seems fair to me...

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Dave B
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#104 Post by Dave B » January 28th, 2013, 10:41 am

I now of people living in council houses too big for them, but I suppose there is more then just the property to take into account - my family was uprooted from a cul-de-sac with mutually supportive neighbours and dumped in an anonymous council estate where we never really got to know anyone.

The Shelter article - linked via the newspaper article - says that there may be some leeway for disabled children, taking the sting out of the example given if so.

But it is still wrong that some have huge houses/mansions and do not pay proportionally.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#105 Post by Alan H » January 28th, 2013, 11:10 am

It really is unclear what tenants are supposed to do: stay where they are and pay the tax (which many are likely to struggle to afford); move to the private sector (because there are few small council houses available) where they could pay more for less...

This really is yet another demonisation and subjugation of those who already have very little - and in many cases have literally no more to give.

Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day and for those who remember Jacob Bronowski's TV series (and for those who don't), The Ascent of Man, this excerpt is particularly poignant:



From man's inhumanity to man came a desire to understand how such things could ever happen. One of the seminal pieces of work on this was Gordon W Allport's The Nature of Prejudice in 1954 (which is still available). From this, he devised his 'Ladder of Prejudice':
1. Antilocution: Antilocution means a majority group freely make jokes about a minority group. Speech is in terms of negative stereotypes and negative images. This is also called hate speech. It is commonly seen as harmless by the majority. Antilocution itself may not be harmful, but it sets the stage for more severe outlets for prejudice. (e.g. Ethnic jokes)

2. Avoidance: Members of the majority group actively avoid people in a minority group. No direct harm may be intended, but harm is done through isolation. (e.g. Social exclusion)

3. Discrimination: Minority group is discriminated against by denying them opportunities and services and so putting prejudice into action. Behaviors have the specific goal of harming the minority group by preventing them from achieving goals, getting education or jobs, etc. The majority group is actively trying to harm the minority. (e.g. Jim Crow laws, Apartheid, Koreans in Japan)

4. Physical Attack: The majority group vandalize, burn or destroy minority group property and carry out violent attacks on individuals or groups. Physical harm is done to members of the minority group. Examples are lynchings of blacks, pogroms against Jews in Europe and British Loyalists in the 1700s.

5. Extermination: The majority group seeks extermination or removal of the minority group. They attempt to eliminate either the entire or a large fraction of a group of people (e.g., Indian Wars to remove Native Americans, American lynchings, Final Solution to the “Jewish Question” in Germany, the Rwandan Genocide, and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia).
The Government should be playing an active role in ensuring no one becomes the subject of any of these steps on the ladder.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#106 Post by Dave B » January 28th, 2013, 12:12 pm

Yes, that was a poignant moment when Jacob Bronowski was in the ash pit.

I have the AoM series on DVD and still watch it concessionally and I still look through the book. That series, and his presentation, made a big impression on me on many levels - I have a copy of the portrait from the book cover on the wall.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#107 Post by Alan H » January 29th, 2013, 7:10 pm

This still angers me.

If - and it is an if - there is a problem that can be resolved by freeing up some 'under occupied' bedrooms, this has got to be the most vindictive, inhumane, nasty way to do it.

Why weren't Councils and other social landlords encouraged to look at where people could be moved around to make more efficient use of the bedrooms in their housing stock?

No, this morally bankrupt Government jumps in with both size 12 jack-boots will be taking money from April from those it deems have far to much space to live in, before they even have any chance to find anywhere. People - and children - are being punished because they have a spare room.

For humanity's sake, when are we going to get rid of this fucking Government?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Fia
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Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#108 Post by Fia » January 29th, 2013, 9:17 pm

Alan H wrote:If - and it is an if - there is a problem that can be resolved by freeing up some 'under occupied' bedrooms, this has got to be the most vindictive, inhumane, nasty way to do it.
:clap: Yup. These 'under occupied' bedrooms are only the ones in poor folks houses. Take the flak yourselves on your own huge under-occupied houses, you smug politicians...
Alan H wrote:For humanity's sake, when are we going to get rid of this fucking Government?
As we, in Scotland, see the way England is going it seems that whatever the long term rights and wrongs we will have no choice but to extricate ourselves from the English mess. At least we have an opt out...

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Alan C.
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#109 Post by Alan C. » January 29th, 2013, 9:54 pm

We have two empty bedrooms that we would willingly give up to homeless folk (short term) though homelessness is not a big problem here, why aren't the powers that be looking at this option?

Adult adoption if you like.

While I realise there are probably some undesirables you wouldn't want sharing your space, there are a proportionate amount of folk in catch 22, cant get a job because they have no address, cant get a house because they have no job.
These folk need our help.

Alan, the bedroom tax poster you posted sums it it up.
Bastards!
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#110 Post by Alan H » January 29th, 2013, 10:04 pm

Alan C. wrote:We have two empty bedrooms that we would willingly give up to homeless folk (short term) though homelessness is not a big problem here, why aren't the powers that be looking at this option?
Because you own your house (I assume). This is about taking benefits away from those in social housing who, individually, can't fight back, and who will, almost exclusively, never be able to afford to buy their own house.
Adult adoption if you like.

While I realise there are probably some undesirables you wouldn't want sharing your space, there are a proportionate amount of folk in catch 22, cant get a job because they have no address, cant get a house because they have no job.
These folk need our help.
That is a different problem (although no one's said what 'problem' the under-occupancy tax is trying to solve) and a very important one.
Alan, the bedroom tax poster you posted sums it it up.
Bastards!
Indeed.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#111 Post by Alan H » January 31st, 2013, 12:43 pm

Image

I don't think I need to describe this graphic - it's pretty obvious to see that we, the public, are being scammed. All perfectly legal, of course, but morally reprehensible and unethical. But that's finance for you.

The Charities Commission has apparently found nothing wrong with what they are doing. See this Times article, paywalled, of course:
One of Britain’s biggest charities is a front for tax avoidance, The Times can reveal.

Wealthy donors used the Cup Trust to avoid £46 million in tax in an extensive abuse of Gift Aid incentives designed to encourage charitable donations.

The registered charity raised £176 million between 2010 and 2011. In 2010 it attracted more donations than the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the British Heart Foundation or the Salvation Army...
Another Times headline:
Charity donated £55,000 while its investors claimed £46m in gift aid
Is this what passes as ethical in their world?

This 'loophole' needs plugging. Will this Government do it? I wonder.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#112 Post by Dave B » January 31st, 2013, 5:36 pm

Check up on the corporate tax reduction scheme for patents as well, Alan. Cannot remember all the details but companies coming into the UK can claim tax relief on patents it seems - not just new ones that might just earn this country some money but on existing ones also I seem to remember.

This is the link to the HMRC site. According to the description of it on the radio it sounds like it is open to exploitation and may not earn GB any "profit".
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#113 Post by Alan H » February 2nd, 2013, 10:44 pm

There are no words.

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#114 Post by Fia » February 2nd, 2013, 11:17 pm

Alan H wrote:There are no words.
I'd offer selfish, uncaring and bastards for a start...
If we are really all in this together then lets get the huge amount of dosh from all those empty bedrooms in all our homes...

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#115 Post by Alan H » February 3rd, 2013, 3:46 pm

Just when you think it couldn't get any worse for those at the bottom end of society...

I have no reason to doubt any of the following, but if anyone can show that any of these utterly inhumane, draconian, insane effects are not correct, please say so.
BEDROOM-TAX WILL HAMMER SINGLE/GRAND/FOSTER PARENTS, DISABLED, FORCES, BEREAVED
03/02/2013 by skwalker1964

Chances are you’ve heard of the ‘bedroom tax’, or the ‘under-occupancy’ sanction to give it its government name. But you might not have heard of the various ways in which this policy, which comes into force in April, will impact upon people – ways which make it a glaring example of this government’s programme of ‘planned misery’ aimed punishing people for the ‘crime’ of needing support.

The Premise

The government’s logic on which the bedroom tax is based are as follows:

* There is a shortage of social, council and low-cost housing
* People are ‘blocking’ housing by staying in properties which are bigger than they need
* People need to be ‘encouraged’ to go through the pain and inconvenience of a move to a smaller property
* This will ‘liberate’ the larger houses

Of course, it might seem a much better solution – especially when the economy is in desperate need of a boost – to solve the problem by building houses rather than twisting the arms of ordinary people through an ill-advised, even insane programme of financial penalties.

But that would require sensible things like redistribution through well-enforced taxation – not to mention planning, competency and a genuine concern for the economic wellbeing of the majority – so it’s not really an option the government wants to look at.

So, true to form, the government is forcing through its plan, with either no thought of the consequences for ordinary people, or else with scant regard for them.

How it will ‘work’

The policy will apply to every housing benefit claimant. Those who are assessed as having one bedroom ‘too many’ will lose 14% of their benefit. Those considered to have 2 or more will lose 25%. This is expected to mean average loss of £14 a week for affected housing benefit claimants, but more – £16 a week – for social housing tenants.

Among the assessment criteria that you might not be aware of are these:

* children under 16 of the same gender are expected to share a bedroom
* children under 10 are expected to share regardless of gender
* no allowance is made for couples using separate rooms because of medical issues, for example the space required for breathing equipment

What will the consequences be?

Because of the way families and properties will be assessed, there will be a wide range of clearly-unfair impacts:

* Because of the room-sharing requirement for children, families with a number of young children are likely to be regarded as having ‘excess’ rooms, even though commonsense says that they ‘fill’ the property

* Children will be deprived of the stability of a familiar home, and of the ‘luxury’ of privacy – low-income families will have to stay in cramped accommodation until their children grow enough, and then wait for a property to become available

* families with suitable accommodation will face financial pressure to move as soon as the first child leaves home, with massive impact on friendships, social integration and education for younger siblings

* because of the likely unavailability of suitable smaller/larger housing locally, people will be forced to move out of their home areas, estranging them from the support of family, friends and communities

* As the tweet pictured below from MP Tom Blenkinsop shows, foster-children will not count as part of the household for assessment purposes. Foster-parents will suffer financially if they keep rooms available for foster-children; vulnerable children will suffer because of the lower availability of foster-parents with available rooms and of the downward pressure the penalties will exert on foster-parent numbers
Image

* Parents with children away on service with the armed forces will be penalised for keeping a room available for their child(ren), or forced to move to smaller properties with no rooms for their returning heroes

* People with disabled or chronically-ill spouses needing special equipment, or whose condition makes it difficult to sleep in the same room with them, will be penalised if they keep their own room.I know personally of one couple where the husband, whose wife suffers from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder), currently sleeps in their spare room because of her breathing equipment and in order to get enough sleep to care for her. When he queried how they were going to manage with reduced benefit, he was told:
You’ll have to move somewhere smaller and sleep on the sofa.
* Grandparents below retirement age (pensioners are currently exempt from this policy) will be unable to keep a spare room for their grandchildren to visit, or will have to suffer the financial penalty.

* Divorced parents will be unable to keep rooms for their children to use when they visit. Even parents with shared custody will be affected, as the new rules state that one of the parents must be designated as the ‘main carer’, and the other parent will be subject to the penalty.for any ‘excess’ rooms.
Imagine being a young child whose parents are divorced. On top of the emotional trauma, you will now be faced with not even having a bedroom to sleep in when you visit your estranged father/mother.

* If your husband/wife/partner/child dies, you will have only one year’s ‘grace period’ before being penalised if you don’t move. The pain of bereavement will be compounded by the loss of the home that houses all your shared memories. Worse still, when Universal Credit is rolled out this will be shortened to only 3 months.
Could there be a clearer example of the flint-hearted, inhumane people currently masquerading as our government?

* Lose your job and face an instant penalty – under current benefit rules, tenants who could previously afford their rent without claiming housing benefit, and whose circumstances change through job loss etc, will have a 13-week ‘protection period; to get a new job, recover from ill health and so on. But under Universal Credit, the penalties will start from the moment you have to claim the benefit.

These are just the impacts that I’ve been able to uncover myself so far. As people comment on this post, and as I continue my own reading on the subject, I’m sure that more will come to light.

But even what can be seen so far is enough to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that the heartlessness, callousness, venality and viciousness of this government make even Mrs Thatcher look like Mother Teresa.

God help us – and may He bring the power of these terrorists to a rapid end.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#116 Post by Alan H » February 3rd, 2013, 11:05 pm

Or, as someone Twitter has just said:
TO AVOID paying the bedroom tax, simply convert your spare bedroom into a Starbucks.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#117 Post by Nick » February 4th, 2013, 3:10 pm

Re: Cup Trust.

As far as I can see, there is existing law sufficient to squash this wheeze stone dead. The Sunday Times article is not very helpful, getting some of its terms wrong, and IMO, making inaccurate implications.

I hope and expect this will be done. As it should be. Squashed, that is.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#118 Post by Nick » February 4th, 2013, 3:15 pm

Dave B wrote:Check up on the corporate tax reduction scheme for patents as well, Alan. Cannot remember all the details but companies coming into the UK can claim tax relief on patents it seems - not just new ones that might just earn this country some money but on existing ones also I seem to remember.

This is the link to the HMRC site. According to the description of it on the radio it sounds like it is open to exploitation and may not earn GB any "profit".
This is designed to attract patent holders to set up operations in the UK. The alternative is for patents to be held offshore. So there is no overall tax-loss to the UK, but the prospect of a gfeat deal of inward investment employment and taxes. It is not a loop-hole, but is specifically included to benefit the country as a whole.

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Dave B
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#119 Post by Dave B » February 4th, 2013, 3:41 pm

So there is no overall tax-loss to the UK, but the prospect of a gfeat deal of inward investment employment and taxes.
Nick, the word, "prospect" is speculative, has no definite outcome - so we give them a tax deal for patents they already hold (not sure why that brings money in, but . . .) on the off chance that them holding these patents in the UK brings in money. How exactly? If the patented items are to be manufactured in this country, starting up new factories and generating new jobs, or ensuring current jobs are maintained, and those items are then to be exported from the UK with all taxes etc. paid into OUR coffers - that's great! But is that the guaranteed picture?

No chance that these firms will register in the UK, grab the patent box tax benefits, get the stuff made in China then take the profits through some path that means they pay between nowt and naff-all in the UK on these goods?

Then I have to agree that even the BBC so often get things wrong or leave out critical parts!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#120 Post by Alan H » February 10th, 2013, 1:29 am

How many more?
Bedroom tax: The heart-wrenching letter that shames David Cameron

9 Feb 2013 22:00
Julia Jones, who will have to live on just £53 a week, faces losing the home and garden where she scattered her husband's ashes

Sonja Horsman
This heart-wrenching letter shames David Cameron and the Coalition Government over their wicked bedroom tax.

In it, widow Julia Jones, 59, pleads with the PM to consider her plight, the Sunday People reports.

Julia, who will have to live on just £53 a week, faces losing the home and garden where she scattered her husband's ashes.

The malicious and divisive tax will punish 660,000 ordinary men and women come April and is rapidly becoming David Cameron's poll tax.

"Please think again," Julia begs the PM.

Today everyone should read Julia's letter.
Dear Mr Cameron
I heard you in Prime Minister’s Questions say you would look at individual cases on the bedroom tax.

I am 59 years old, David (my husband) and I have both worked since we were 15, paid taxes, did our bit.

We have never been well off but we both did worthwhile jobs.

Five years ago David got melanoma.

He had excruciating treatment and, although still not well, returned to work as he thought it was his duty.

Four years ago he got bowel cancer; he had an irreversible colostomy.

Six months later he returned to work. Two years ago he got brain cancer. Seven weeks later he died.

Throughout all this I was advised I could get care allowance, but I rejected this: he was my husband, it was my duty to care for him.

We lived off the little savings we had until we could return to work.

When he had the colostomy we were allocated this home as David could not climb stairs any more and I struggled.

His ashes are buried in the garden under the rose bushes that friends gave me instead of wreaths.

Mr Cameron, my husband and I were the hard workers you claim to support, we never asked for anything.

I would give everything if this had not happened to us.

Because we were on benefit and sick, you and your government said hateful words against us.

Words that made acquaintances look at us with contempt.

The most powerful men in the country imply we are scum so we must be scum.

You and your government call us scroungers, next door go to work while our bedroom curtains are still drawn.

My curtains were still drawn at 11am as the light made David scream with pain.

Do you not consider that I would give everything for my husband to be alive, me to not have incapacitating pain and we could both be the hard workers we once were?

I live in small 1 1/2 bed bungalow that was built for older people.

It is supported elderly living so I feel safe. It could not house a family as under 55s are not allowed.

You now want to take my home from me. The home that literally made my fingers bleed cleaning as it had been neglected for 20 years when we moved here.

You want me to leave my husband’s ashes, my neighbours who take me shopping and give me some form of social life? I have no family, we could not have children.

I am living without heating at present so how can I pay what I do not have to stay in my home?

Have you any idea how that affects my fibromyalgia?

I eat one meal a day and am in constant pain which is exacerbated by the cold.

I may get Discretionary Housing Benefit. But we both know that is only for 13 weeks at a time and when the pot is empty, it is empty.

I have considered moving but the only property available is far from shops and bus stops and costs £98 per month more than where I am at present. I would be living in isolation.

You say you are building more social housing, but it is too little too late for many of us.

You may blame the Labour policies, but it was your government who introduced this law so I have to hold you responsible.

Mr Cameron, I do not believe you or your MPs are evil men at heart, I believe this is an ill-thought-out plan and you did not understand the consequence of your action.

I ask you to take a step back and look at this again.

THE ABOVE IS JUST PLAIN CRUEL...I AM ASHAMED TO BE BRITISH.

Yours, Julia Jones
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 24047
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#121 Post by Alan H » February 10th, 2013, 5:00 pm

The full horrors of the bedroom tax are beginning to sink in.

For example: A couple have a boy and a girl under nine and they have their own bedrooms in a small, terraced, three bedroom Council house. The Government deems that too big (even if one bedroom is no more than a box room). Unless they find the additional £624 a year, they will have to apply to said Council for a house with just two bedrooms. This Government says the boy and girl will have to share. God knows when the Council will find them a smaller house - there seems to be a dearth of them.

Meanwhile, how does this family scrape together the money (yes, £624 is a lot for many families)? Well, they could move their boy and girl into the same room and take in a lodger (as one Government Minister has suggested) to make up the money. Except who'd want a stranger in a probably not very big house when you have two young kids? And what lodger would want to share a three bedroom house with a family of four with two kids? Except, the tenancy agreement forbids sub-letting, of course. So while they wait for a smaller house to become available, they have to find the £624 from somewhere...

Even if the Council does find a smaller house for them, who's to say it will be convenient for work? The school the kids were at? Neighbours and friends?

Then, when the kids are just a few years older, they will need separate bedrooms, so the process repeats itself.

And that's not taking into account the problems with the disabled, etc, etc.

Utterly bereft of any humanity, decency and compassion. As the article says, this could become David (call me Dave) Cameron's Poll Tax and ensure a vote for independence.
A tax invasion of privacy coming soon to a bedroom near you

'The 'bedroom tax' is truly the new poll tax.' Picture: Robert Perry
By Andrew Wilson
Published on Sunday 10 February 2013 00:00

POVERTY, according to Mahatma Ghandi “is the worst form of violence”.

When visited on people without the power to ­effect or change their situation it ­demeans, debases and humiliates. When public policy creates it all should be ­offended into action. All.

In homes across our country, hundreds of thousands are agonising about a particularly rancid piece of legislative action that removes their independence from the one safe place they should be able to relax in, their home. The “bedroom tax” is truly the new poll tax.

The Westminster government has identified one million under-used bedrooms in socially rented UK housing and wants them filled, reckoning this could save £500 million a year. That’s a lot of money, in fact it’s nearly a fiftieth of what the same government plans to spend on a Trident system it doesn’t need and can’t use, but why bother with such utterly ­irrelevant comparisons. It’s also about a thirtieth of what the government ­borrowed from the markets in December alone, but again I digress.

Let’s be clear what we mean by “spare” and “under-utilised”. If you have two kids of the same gender and under 15 in their own room the Westminster government think that’s a luxury too far for the likes of you, social renter. If you have a boy and a girl under nine in their own rooms that will also have to end.

Your choice to remedy your indolent self-indulgence will be to pay up to an extra £600 a year in rent from income you don’t have, to move to a smaller home wherever that may be available, or to take in a stranger as a lodger. Enter stage left Mr Charles Dickens.

The anomalies for the deceased and disabled are so disgusting I cannot ­believe they will stand. But a quarter of those households affected do have a disabled member. It is morally corrupt to force social engineering into family homes and tell nine-year-old girls to share with their beastly brothers while a lodger they haven’t met takes their room. Whole ­communities could be torn by this when you think it through.

It has been dubbed the bedroom tax, which the government doesn’t like. ­Remember they once tried to insist we call the poll tax the “community charge”?

In the House of Commons last February the relevant vote on this desperate policy was carried by a majority of 55 per cent overall. The Scottish MPs at Westminster however, voted 82 per cent against. The 18 per cent for were the last remaining Scots Tory MP and a clutch of Lib Dems following the government Whip. The likeable Mike Crockart was the notable Scottish Lib Dem “rebel”.

That there, in a nutshell, gets to the heart of the democratic handicap we face as a country. When Margaret Thatcher foisted the poll tax on Scotland before anywhere else it went a very substantial part of the way to making the 1999 Scottish Parliament the “settled will” of the people. What this vote demonstrates to me is that we have some way to travel to complete the powers of that Parliament. When the most offensive of laws damaging the welfare of our most vulnerable can be foisted on us against an 82 per cent vote then what power does the Parliament and devolution really give us?

Of course this new policy offence affects a much smaller minority than the poll tax. And the voices of those who are hurting the most right now aren’t backed by big money, grand connections and bought ­education. Their cries are a mutter against a wind of pomposity about the need for “reform” of unsustainable inefficiency in the welfare system.

I am certain much in the system needs fixed. But this is the wrong target. The policy genius that dreamed this up has marched into the homes of the hard pressed, striving and worried and declared “this peace is yours no more”. How many parents have reached for Valium, anti-depressants or booze to settle their anxiety on this one I wonder? How many lives will end early as a result?

Incidentally the unelected Tory minister leading the policy charge is Baron Freud of Eastry. David joined the Tories in 2009 and was made a Lord.

I don’t much care for the politics of envy but it is inevitable that we must note Lord Freud himself has 12 bedrooms across two homes in London and Kent. I am sure he worked very hard to earn the privilege he enjoys but I’m not sure what gives him the right to lead legislation when he doesn’t have voters to whom he is answerable. And, once again, this episode presents Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories with an opportunity to follow the logic of their own new rhetoric and stand up for themselves and the people they want to reconnect with. Until they take the chance to make a stand their words will ring ­hollow.

Their opportunity is the same one we all face as a country when we get the chance to vote in just over a year. Don’t take the chance and we will have lost the right to be offended by 82 per cent majorities that get ignored.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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