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Archive for the ‘Economics & Finance’ Category

The sheer hubris of la Sturgeon beggars belief. So the SNP are to table 50 amendments to the Brexit article 50 Bill when it comes before the UK Parliament. Why stop at 50 and why such a round number? Why not 60, or 99 for that matter.

It’s hard to see how the short two line Bill that seems likely could possibly give rise to 50 amendments. There’s likely to be less than 50 words in the whole Bill.  I exaggerate to make the point that you can only amend what’s written.

Of course this is simply her way to shore up support amongst her falling SNP support at home and little to do with any real hope of success. She needs to be careful. I sense that there are many who are getting fed up at her strident and overbearing manner. Who does she think she is?

I’m coming around to the conclusion that P.M. Theresa May should call la Sturgeon’s bluff and say to her, ‘You know what, we know you’ll fail but we agree you should have another referendum on Scottish Independence and we’ll be introducing a Bill to set one up shortly.’, and then do it. Let’s lance the boil. There’s not a cat in hell’s chance she’d get anywhere near a majority given the Scottish deficit as a % of GDP is now over twice that of the whole UK. Which of course would be even more when income from the Barnet formula was lost on independence day.

 

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Apropos the EU’s request that the UK chip in another €2 billion.

Not content with the UK being consistently one of the top two net contributors to the EU, every year in fact for the last 44 years (apart from 1975 when we had our one and only referendum on the then EEC), they now decide that it’s OK to seek an additional €2 billion in addition to our existing annual €14 billion price of membership.

Now I understand the principle that the ever-changing contributions (quadrupled over the last five years) are to some extent dependent on relative gross national incomes, but this additional sum is by no means trivial. It’s said that the reason is the technical re-assessment that happens every year that has been made starting back in 2002. That being the case nobody seems to be asking why this isn’t double counting. Surely if cumulative assessments are ‘brought up to date’ every year then the only change that should affect the numbers in the last year.

The ‘technical’ reassessment also takes into account for the first time the black economy and prostitution. By definition the black economy is unknown so how anyone can know the scale of it with any certainty, and certainly not the relative scales across all 28 states is highly questionable. And why prostitution? I mean how is that assessed for heaven’s sake?

And then there’s the timing. Much has been made of the fact that the UK Treasury has apparently known of the calculation method for many months, but the EU Commission have themselves said that the final figures were only given to the government a week before this broke in the press. That being the case the details of the calculation need to be scrutinised and checked, something that will take more than six weeks. The deadline for payment of 1st December even were we to accept the whole bill is completely unrealistic. How many of us would accept a recalculated gas bill without wanting to scrutinise the calculations?

The renegotiation by PM Cameron of our relationship with the EU can’t come soon enough. He now needs to set out his lines in the sand otherwise he may well not be PM in seven months time.

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There has been much comment, most of it against the suggestion of the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, that fixing a minimum price for the sale of alcohol at 50 pence per unit, would be a significant help in cutting down on irresponsible drinking and the ‘binge drink culture’.

At first glance, and as a libertarian, perhaps I too should be against it. What right has the governnment after all to intervene in a straightforward commercial arrangement between citizens and publicans or shops. And yet I’m not – against it that is.

More often than not issues are rarely black and white and there is always a balance to be struck. This is no exception. For once the government has been given a lead and opportunity to do something which would benefit society in general, but as so often Gordon Brown seems to have a blind spot. Critics, and I even heard Ken Clark on the BBC Question Time program, describe the suggestion as a tax. It is nothing of the sort. No revenue would accrue to the government, it is simply a measure to impose a minimum selling price.

Critics also seem to miss the point that for the large majority of people it would have no impact. A normal strength pint of beer contains about two units of alcohol and would have to be sold for a minimum of £1. In a pub I guess the current average is probably £2.50. The measure is clearly aimed at the binge drinker and the supermarkets who are selling high strength lagers at loss leader prices.

If the anti-competitive nature of the supermarkets’ loss leaders were curtailed, it might also assist in slowing down or even hopefully stopping the trend of closures for the traditional British pub. A double bonus in my opinion.

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So let me see.
As someone who has spent half their life building up a savings pot for retirement’ I’m now expected to lend my money, at pitiful interest rates, to mortgage borrowers who in some cases are on nil percent.

Factor in that many banks are effectively nationalised, and one must seriously question the competence of this goverment. If we’re going to have nationalisation why are the government allowing this?

It’s largely irresponsible borrowing that’s put us in this mess, why are we encouraging even more of this?

Where’s the equity in any of this?
Yet again in my lifetime has a Labour administration managed to screw up the economy so comprehensively.

Thanks for nothing Gordon.

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Are there many more out there in the UK who are totally hacked off at this government’s treatment of savers during this financial crisis?

At a time when it’s clear to just about anyone with half a brain, that the present problems stem from excessive borrowing, this wonderful government of ours is doing all it can to promote yet more borrowing in a vain attempt to kick start the economy. In the process of course slashing interest rates which is having an exceedingly detrimental effect on those of us who rely on savings to at least keep pace with inflation.

So what’s to be done? I have this half formed plan.

The idea is that if a large enough group of us could act in concert with our savings, then we just might be able to make the government sit up and take notice. Particularly so since the UK banking industry is all but nationalised. Suppose a few thousand of us made it known to the government that unless it came up with some system for compensating savers with better interest rates, then we would take concerted action. Next month we’d all transfer our savings to Bank A, and then the month after move them all out to Bank B. Each month putting them somewhere different, going round in a complete circle if needs be. The idea being to create uncertainty about the level of deposits in any one institution at any one time. This would presumably hamper decision making and reduce the levels of lending the banks could commit to.

As I say it’s a germ of an idea I have, and I wonder if there are any readers out there who would wish to comment and suggest just how we might organise this.

Even if you just read this and don’t wish to comment, perhaps you would pass it on to other friends, colleagues and acquaintances. If I detect a sufficiently large ground swell of opinion, I’d be prepared to move it on to the next level and see where we get to.

Over to you…..

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Or printing money. Seen as one part of the ‘solution’ to the credit crunch, when anyone remotely au fait with past monetary problems around the world knows this is a recipe for financial disaster. Still, whilst we seem to have kids in short trousers, in both government and finance running the world these days, we’ll just have to suffer the lessons from history we haven’t learned.

C’est la vie.

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Dramatic news coverage of the New Labour party machine in action has been leaked to the media. See the cast of characters in action as they blitz their way to their final solution.

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