The PalArse of Westminster


Exposing the hypocrisy, greed and incompetence of our "respected" elected political "elite".

Monday, 30 April 2012

Jeremy Hunt's Tax Arrangements

What was it Cameron was saying the other day about not associating himself with anyone who carried out “aggressive tax avoidance”?

Jeremy can you remember what he said?


Oh well I guess that's because you're too busy trying to sort out your tax affairs:
"The Culture Secretary was paid a dividend by the company he founded in the form of half its office building. The offices were then immediately leased back to the same company. 

Accountants said that the deal allowed Mr Hunt to legally reduce his potential tax bill by more than £100,000 because it was completed just days before an announced 10 per cent rise in the tax on dividends in April 2010. 

The Culture Secretary and his business partner, Mike Elms, transferred ownership of their company’s office building in Hammersmith into their own names in April 2010, just before the tax rate for the transaction rose to 42.5 per cent. They then leased the property back to Hotcourses, their jointly owned education company, for 10 years. 
By paying themselves the building as a dividend before the change in tax rules, the two men saved themselves an income tax bill of £202,000 on the £1.8 million deal, by paying tax on it at the rate of 32.5 per cent. The company now pays them £60,750 a year in rent. No stamp duty was payable on the property, which at the time would have been 4 per cent.
Mr Hunt and Mr Elms set up Hotcourses in 1991. Mr Hunt stood down as a director in 2009, but remains a major shareholder in the company. 

A spokesman for Mr Hunt said that all the Culture Secretary’s interests were properly declared and approved by his department’s permanent secretary. “Mr Hunt is a shareholder of Hotcourses and has not been an employee since the end of December 2009. The only way he can receive income is as a dividend paid to shareholders. As a shareholder, Mr Hunt has no responsibility for the day-to-day running of Hotcourses, including any financial decisions.” 

Mr Hunt owns 48.6 per cent of Hotcourses. In the previous financial year, it paid £2 million in dividends, meaning Mr Hunt would have received £972,000. 

Mr Elms said: “A dividend in specie [the name of the transaction] is the correct way to pay a non-cash dividend and all appropriate taxes were paid. 

“Mr Hunt has no responsibility for any financial decisions including the nature, amount and timing of dividend payments to shareholders.” 

Hundreds of companies brought forward their dividend payments to beat the tax rise in April 2010."

The Joy of Cover Ups - UKBA Hides Its Shame

As loyal readers know, cover ups are the politicians' "go to" tool when the shit hits the fan.

However, it is not just elected politicians who practise the dark arts of cover ups, but also their government agency appointees.

Step forward Marc Owen, the director of UKBA operations at Heathrow, who has made a complete fuck up of his attempts to conduct a cover up over the clusterfuck that is Heathrow's arrivals' processing.

Given that the entire world's attention will be focussed on the UK during the Olympics, Owen will learn that his political masters will not tolerate being blamed for this clusterfuck and will want the problem resolved and/or his head on a platter.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Hungry Like The Wolf - Next Course Jeremy Hunt

Oh dear, it appears that throwing Adam Smith to the wolves last week may not be enough to save Jeremy Hunt's career.

Cameron is now saying that if new evidence emerged showing Hunt's direct relationship with News Corporation had been too close, he will fire him.

Quelle surprise!

Cameron et al should know that wolves are very hungry creatures, and are not easily sated by just one or two courses!

Friday, 27 April 2012

The John Mann Award for Fuckwittery

Sometimes politicians display such utter fuckwittery that one wonders how it is they even manage to find their way to the "Mother of Parliaments".

Step forward John Mann MP to receive your Fuckwit award, courtesy of my ICAEW chum, Christie Malry:
Labour MP John Mann, a member of the Commons Treasury select committee, said Goldman Sachs should not defer tax payments when it was able to pay now.
"It's morally and ethically wrong. These are people who are at the heart of the problem in the financial world who've paid extraordinary bonuses to their partners and aren't prepared to pay a fair amount of tax. It's pure unadulterated greed."
Oh, FFS! With stupidity this unrestrained, it's a wonder John Mann can tie his shoelaces, let alone get elected as an MP and serve on the Treasury Committee. 

A company's tax bill is determined by tax law. And its reported profits are determined by accounting standards. Big companies report their consolidated profits for all the countries in which they operate.

Now these two sets of rules are different. So it's hardly surprising that sometimes they give different results. 

While some of the differences are about measurement, most of them are about timing. And usually this means the financial reporting numbers are faster to recognise profit than the tax man. The reason for that is to make it more likely that there's cash to pay the tax bill when it arises.

Because the main difference is one of timing, accounting standards force companies to account for these timing differences in their financial statements. And that's where deferred tax comes in. But deferred tax is a pure accounting concept. It's not something that otherwise means anything. 

So John Mann is being a prime fuckwit when he talks about Goldman Sachs deferring their tax bill. The amounts that are reported as deferred tax aren't due. They represent profits in the financial statements that will give rise to a tax bill at some point in the future but don't give rise to one now.
Goldman Sachs might well be able to pay more now. But there is simply no "more" tax bill to pay. Not until the profits reported this year become taxable in future years.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

If In Doubt, Say Nothing

Oh dear, it seems that Hunt's Permanent Secretary is not publicly backing Hunt's version of events wrt Adam Smith's interactions with Murdoch.
"Five times in the House of Commons yesterday the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told MPs that the Permanent Secretary (the most senior civil servant) at his Department approved the arrangements for the dealings with the Murdochs over their planned takeover of BSkyB.

Twelve times in the Public Accounts Committee this morning , the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport himself refuses to answer questions about whether he DID approve those arrangements - namely that Adam Smith, Mr Hunt's special adviser who resigned yesterday, could liaise with News International."

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Adam Smith's Resignation and The Invisible Hand

Politicians can be rather a loathsome bunch of individuals. Aside from breaking election promises and habitually lying to the voters, they treat each other with contempt (especially when they try to save their own skins).

Such is the treatment meted out to Adam Smith, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's special adviser, who has been forced to quit in order to try to save Hunt's skin.

For why has he been forced out?

The enormous row (that is growing in strength and ferocity) over contact between Hunt's office and News Corporation re the BSkyB bid. Emails released on Tuesday showed that Adam Smith had been in contact with the company about its takeover bid.

Smith therefore has been sacrificed, in the hope that Hunt won't need to be.

It is of course ironic, and very instructive (as to how politicians stab each other in the back), to see that last night Number 10 insisted that Smith would not go.

Doubtless Number 10 will blame Smith's departure on an "invisible hand", but we know better don 't we children?

Here is Smith's "resignation" statement issued (and I assume written) on his behalf:
"While it was part of my role to keep News Corporation informed throughout the BskyB bid process, the content and extent of my contact was done without authorisation from the Secretary of State. 

I do not recognise all of what Fred Michel said, but nonetheless I appreciate that my activities at times went too far and have, taken together, created the perception that News Corporation had too close a relationship with the department, contrary to the clear requirements set out by Jeremy Hunt and the permanent secretary that this needed to be a fair and scrupulous process. 

Whilst I firmly believe that the process was in fact conducted scrupulously fairly, as a result of my activities it is only right for me to step down as special adviser to Jeremy Hunt."

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Joys of Living In A Council House

Full marks to Ayesha Chowdhury (council member of the London Borough of Newham) for once living "as the people do" in a council house.

However, it is rather odd that she chose to do this, as she in fact had a financial interest in a string of properties in Newham worth over £1M:
82 Downing, Beckton, E6 Co-Owner
95 Lonsdale Avenue, East Ham, E6 Co-Owner
6 Truesdale Road, E6 Co-Owner
100 Park Avenue, E6 Co-Owner
199 Tollgate Road Co-Owner
10 Harrier Way, Beckton E6 Co-Owner
27 Trader Road, Beckton, E6 Co-Owner
5 Hogarth Close, Beckton, E6 Co-Owner
47 Plymouth Road, E16 Co-Owner
205 Tollgate Road, Beckton Co-Owner
39 Albert Roase Close, E6 Co-Owner
59 Fourth Avenue E6 Co-Owner
16a Forest Side E7 Co-Owner
18 Eric Close E7 Co-Owner
96a Plashet Grove E7 Co-Owner
5 Chelmsford Close E6 Co-Owner
203 Tollgate Road, Beckton Co-Owner
5a Hogarth Close, Beckton, E6 Co-Owner
Is it not a bit selfish of her to deprive someone who really needs council housing of a place to live, given that she has several addresses at which she could live and that Newham is currently conducting social cleansing in time for the Olympics?

Monday, 23 April 2012

In Which The Prime Minister Avoids Avoidance

David Cameron dug himself into another hole today, by discussing his dislike of "aggressive tax avoidance" (which of course is perfectly legal).

Tax Journal reports that John Humphys noted on this morning’s Today programme that the Chancellor said in the Budget that he regarded tax evasion and ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ as ‘morally repugnant’.

He was trying to clarify, he said, what the government meant by ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ and offered Cameron a case study:
 "A very successful businessman (you’ll know who I’m talking about) creates a structure that transfers most of the ownership of [his] company to his wife through offshore companies based in the Channel Islands. She lives in Monaco, he takes a huge dividend – it’s paid to her, it’s estimated that this reduces his tax bill by hundreds of millions of pounds.’

Humphrys asked: ‘Is that “aggressive tax avoidance” and therefore morally repugnant?’

Cameron declined several times to answer the question, saying he was not going to discuss an individual’s tax affairs. Humphrys said Cameron knew that the individual was Sir Philip Green, whom Cameron recruited to advise the government.

Cameron said he did not know Green’s tax affairs and offered his own definition.

‘There are things that people do that reduce their tax liability, for instance they put money into a pension scheme.’

‘Rather than Monaco,’ Humphrys said.

‘Absolutely,’ Cameron said. ‘I think putting money into a pension scheme is a sensible thing to encourage people to do and that doesn’t count as aggressive tax avoidance … I’m very clear about the difference between putting money into pension schemes or Enterprise Investment Schemes to help start-up businesses, and there is that form of tax avoidance where people are almost specifically setting up a company in order to avoid tax rather than actually wanting to invest in start-ups and the rest of it.’

The government had taken a lot of steps to try to reduce ‘this sort of activity’, Cameron added. ‘For instance we have put £900m extra into HMRC to enable them to go after aggressive tax avoidance.’

Aggressive tax avoidance was wrong, he said. ‘It’s right that the government is going after this activity. Everyone should pay their taxes properly.’

Generally speaking, he told Humphrys, it was ‘sensible’ for a Prime Minister not to have dealings with people engaged in aggressive tax avoidance."
So there you have it folks, "aggressive tax avoidance" is whatever the government chooses to define as "aggressive tax avoidance"; the fact that it is perfectly legal seems to escape them.

Georgie Porgie and Cameron need to be reminded of the wise words of Lord Templeman in 1992:
"There is no morality in a tax and no illegality or immorality in a tax avoidance scheme."

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Guardian - Hypocritical Gobshites!

As I have stated before, it's not just the politicians who are hypocrites but also the media who feed off them.

Step forward the bastion of the "moral left" the Guardian, which yesterday published an article about the finances of David Cameron's family under the attention grabbing headline "Cameron Family Fortune Made in Tax Havens".

I will allow one of my ICAEW chums, Christie Malry, to explain why this story is bollocks:
"Ooh, have we caught the Cameron family doing something naughty?
David Cameron's father ran a network of offshore investment funds to help build the family fortune that paid for the prime minister's inheritance, the Guardian can reveal.
Though entirely legal, the funds were set up in tax havens such as Panama City and Geneva, and explicitly boasted of their ability to remain outside UK tax jurisdiction.
Er, no (emphasis added):
The structure employed by Cameron senior is now commonplace among modern hedge funds, which argue that offshore status can help attract international investors. UK residents would ordinarily have to pay tax on any profits they repatriated, and there is nothing to suggest the Camerons did not.
So they've put a bunch of money into a place where it's not subject to UK tax. They'll be subject to UK tax whenever they bring any money back to the UK and there's no evidence or allegation that they haven't complied with their tax obligations at all.

This isn't tax avoidance, because not even the mighty brains at The Guardian seem to be able to articulate precisely what taxes have been avoided."
Well said Christie!

Now there is of course another point to be made about the Guardian's hissy fit over tax avoidance (even though their story states clearly that there is no avoidance in this particular case), what of the Guardian's own dealing with HMRC and it's use of Auto Trader as a possible "vehicle" (pardon the pun) for tax avoidance?

Here I will refer you to Tim Worstall:
"There’s a reorganisation from the Scott Trust to the Scott Trust Limited in 2008.

2008 is also when that 50% sale of Autotrader went through, leading to the £300 million profit which was not taxed: quite righteously not taxed because it was a subsidiary of Scott Trust Limited and the sale of a subsidiary of a limited company is not, under the SSE rules, subject to corporation tax (technically, a chargeable gain).

The question is: if the Scott Trust had not reorganised into the Scott Trust Limited, would some form of tax have been due on that £300 million?

That is, did the reorganisation alleviate some of the tax bill on that capital/chargeable gain?"
Oh, and by the way, don't forget that the Guardian Media Group set up a Cayman Islands company to minimise its own tax liability.

I think the phrase hypocritical gobshites springs to mind here!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Do Panic!

Last month I wrote:
"Congratulations to the coalition government for providing an object lesson in how to turn a drama into a crisis, by causing panic buying of petrol and a petrol shortage in the run up to a possible tanker drivers' strike."
Well now it appears that the government, contrary to popular belief, really did have a plan.

Yes, really!

The plan was not to help us drive during a tanker strike, but to save the country from recession by manipulating the statistics.

The panic buying of petrol has in fact saved the UK from recession:
"Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a 1.8% month-on-month increase in retail sales volumes and a 3.3% year-on-year rise. The increase was above economist forecasts, and were partly helped by a 4.9% increase in petrol purchases."

Well done the coalition government for saving us from the recession, and for showing us all that you really do know how to manipulate people!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Red Ken Goes Private

Ken Leninspart, the Labour candidate to be Mayor of London and opponent of NHS privatisation, has been outed by City A.M. as a user of private health services.

A spokesman for Leninspart tried to spin the revelation of hypocrisy away, by claiming that Leninspart only uses an “external provider” for annual check-ups.

That won't wash, private check-ups generally cost anything from several hundred pounds to several thousand; and for a man who claims to be anti privatisation it is rank hypocrisy to use an "external provider".

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Big Society

This Is Local London reports that a Conservative councillor and GLA member Brian Coleman is under investigation for allegedly misusing his councillor’s parking permit to avoid off-street parking fees on Sunday.

The badges are handed to Conservative politicians on Barnet Council for use on authority business only. Coleman allegedly used his badge whilst he accompanied Boris Johnson on a visit to Golders Green

This allegation, if true, is rather ironic given that, apart from being one of the highest paid councillors in Britain, Coleman was the one who introduced the charges in the first place. 

Coleman denies the charge.

Nothing New Under The Sun

It is nothing new that politicians and their servants in Whitehall try to keep things hidden from the voters. Only today has the Foreign Office finally made public the first batch of thousands of "lost" colonial era files previously believed to have been destroyed.

The documents were secretly sent back to the UK, when former colonies became independent. However, the Foreign Office only admitted last year that it held some 8,800 files at Hanslope Park which were "migrated" to Britain from colonies at the time of independence because of their sensitivity.

The Independent reports that over 1,200 of these records were released today at the National Archives in Kew, the first of six tranches in  process due to be completed by November 2013.

I wonder what else the government and Whitehall deny that they have, yet actually exists?

Monday, 16 April 2012

Georgie Porgie Gets His Arse Bitten

Last week I wrote the following:
"The government, for reasons best known to itself, has decided to play up to people's prejudices  and encourage media hysteria over the tax affairs of people classified as "rich".

This is rather odd, given that Cameron, Georgie Porgie (Chancellor of the Exchequer) and their associates are not exactly short of a few bob themselves. Anyhoo, wee Georgie has today expressed shock at the fact that some "rich" people organise their tax affairs in a manner so as to reduce their tax burden.
A week, as the old saying goes, is a long time in politics. Georgie Porgie has now released data showing the tax paid by those who he defines as "rich".

Oddly enough, the data contradicts his hysterical claims that "rich" people habitually "dodge" taxes.

Robert Peston has written the following:
"so it is striking quite how many people paid tax greater than 40% - a proportion 10 times greater than those who succeeded in paying almost no tax. Or to put it another way, perhaps the highest earners have had a slightly unfair press, because the majority of them seem to have been paying their proper share."
I noted last week that Georgie's policy of:
"Whipping up the media into a fire storm of hysteria over this may serve a short term political goal"
would come back to bite him and Tories on their arses.

However, I did not think that it would happen quite so soon.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Mr Ed Offers Fuck All

Ed Miliband's offer to cap union donations to Labour at £5K means fuck all.

As per the Guardian:
"The proposed £5,000 cap is 10 times lower than that previously put forward by David Cameron, but Miliband told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the cap should not affect the system under which three million union members individually make a £3 payment to Labour's coffers, a payment which is automatically debited from members."
Nice try Ed, but it's a meaningless gesture!

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Tears of a Fraud

On Wednesday I wrote the following about Ken Leninspart:
"The Evening Standard reports that Ken Livingstone burst into tears at the sight of his own election broadcast.

A rare event, the last time Ken cried was when he was apologising for the slave trade.

Beware politicians who
blub for the camera!

Still, the good news for Ed
Miliband is that this made him look competent and in control."
Well now it seems that, according to the Guardian, those tears were not genuine at all.

For why?

The people in Ken's election video were actors hired and paid for by Liebour.

Nice try Ken, now that you have been exposed to be a complete fraud please crawl back under the stone from whence you came!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Tears of a Clown

The Evening Standard reports that Ken Livingstone burst into tears at the sight of his own election broadcast.

A rare event, the last time Ken cried was when he was apologising for the slave trade.

Beware politicians who blub for the camera!

Still, the good news for Ed Miliband is that this made him look competent and in control.

Politicians' Tax Returns

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has let it be known that he is "very relaxed" about publishing his tax returns and believes the "time is coming" for politicians to be more open about their personal finances.

That sounds all very nice and "open", until that is you actually think things through and realise that at tax return does not show background wealth (eg trusts, inheritance etc). You only have to look at the ongoing spat that erupted between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone over the "accuracy", or otherwise, of their recently published tax returns to see how such "openness" achieves nothing.

Politicians who claim that they are "relaxed" about publishing their tax returns are playing to the gallery and are being disingenuous, their tax returns will reveal little more about their true wealth.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Georgie Porgie Is "Shocked"

The government, for reasons best known to itself, has decided to play up to people's prejudices  and encourage media hysteria over the tax affairs of people classified as "rich".

This is rather odd, given that Cameron, Georgie Porgie (Chancellor of the Exchequer) and their associates are not exactly short of a few bob themselves. Anyhoo, wee Georgie has today expressed shock at the fact that some "rich" people organise their tax affairs in a manner so as to reduce their tax burden.

Osborne told The Daily Telegraph:
I was shocked to see that some of the very wealthiest people in the country have organised their tax affairs, and to be fair it’s within the tax laws, so that they were regularly paying virtually no income tax. And I don’t think that’s right. 

I’m talking about people right at the top. I’m talking about people with incomes of many millions of pounds a year. The general principle is that people should pay income tax and that includes people with the highest incomes.
I’m not allowed to be shown the names of the individuals but I’ve sat with the most senior people at the Inland Revenue, the people who run some of the high net worth units there. They have given me examples, anonymised examples, and so we are taking action."
Georgie claims that he was shown anonymised tax returns of "rich" individuals who were paying a tax rate of "only" 10% or less on their income.

Well Georgie someone was having a laugh with you, the tax returns were yours!

All "joking" aside, as Chancellor how is that this is only now "news" to Osborne??

Whipping up the media into a fire storm of hysteria over this may serve a short term political goal. However, it will come back to bite the Tories on their arses:

1 Tax avoidance is legal

2 George, his friends and the boards on which they sit use the services of accountants, trust funds, schemes etc etc to reduce their tax bills.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

David Cameron Has An Attack of The "Samantha Bricks"

David Cameron appears to have had an attack of the "Samantha Bricks", and has completely lost touch with reality. He is proposing that sites that host music videos, that he claims to be "raunchy" (eg those featuring Beyonce), should block children under the age of 18 from watching them  and that music videos should have certificates.

For why?

Apparently it is harmful for under 18's to see attractive people gyrate in a "sexual fashion" to music.

Needless to say, it appears to be perfectly OK for children to witness violence and cruelty as meted out on a daily basis on soap operas and the news.

I appreciate that Cameron has had a self inflicted lousy few weeks; what with  the "Granny Tax", Pastygate, private dinners, government surveillance etc etc. However, using this as an attempt to divert people's attention from these and other issues (eg has he forgotten the recession and austerity?) is absolutely pathetic and indicates that he has completely lost touch with reality.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Hypocritcal Gobshites

It is not just politicians who are prone to double standards and hypocrisy, but also those who feed off politics; ie the media.

The Mirror is foaming at the mouth over the income of Boris Johnson (he, Ken Leninspart and the Liberal candidate have published their tax returns as part of the contest to be London Mayor).

The Mirror shouts:

How did London mayor Boris Johnson find the time to earn £900,000 on the side?

The staggering sum, which he has described as “chicken feed”, comes on top of his lavish £143,911 taxpayer-funded salary"

This faux "outrage" is really rather "odd" given the pay that the Trinity Mirror's (owner of The Daily Mirror) CEO Sly Bailey actually receives:
"The pay package handed out to Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) boss Sly Bailey has had shareholders up in arms of late, and it's easy to see why.

With executive pay becoming increasingly disconnected from the money they actually earn for their employers (that is, their shareholders), disaffection is spreading amongst the ranks of everyday investors, and their voices are becoming increasingly harder to ignore in the country's boardrooms.
In this case, big investors are airing their displeasure too, after chief executive Ms Bailey was paid a total of £1.3m in cash, shares and pension contributions in 2011, despite Trinity Mirror having only last month reported a 40% fall in pre-tax profits, capping a dismal few years of falling profits, suspended dividends, and worrying levels of debt.

Collapsing value

The share price has collapsed too, falling from a 2009 peak of 192p to just 37p today, meaning that Ms Bailey has presided over a slashing of the company's capitalization. When she took over the top job in 2003, Trinity Mirror was valued at £1.1bn -- today it is worth just £97m.
The company's pension fund is suffering too, as the company has had to pursue a deal with its trustees to pare back its contributions in order to pay its dues to some of its creditors.
To answer some of the criticisms, the board of directors has decided to halve the value of any future cash bonuses paid to Ms Bailey, reducing it from a maximum of 110% of her basic salary to 55%.

Investors not calmed

But the move looks unlikely to stem the unrest, as they appear unwilling to budge on the overall levels of the boss's pay package, with share-based incentives boosted to compensate for any potential cash loss.
The board's actions appear to be at least partly aimed at avoiding a shareholder revolt at its upcoming AGM in May -- last year 11% voted against the CEO's pay deal, and a higher level of protest is expected this year.
But will it succeed in heading off the madding crowds? Major investors in Trinity Mirror include Schroders, Aviva, Standard Life, Royal London and Legal & General -- we'll find out next month whether they have the courage to press for shareholders' rights."
Maybe The Mirror hasn't been told what their CEO receives, or maybe The Mirror is simply being hypocritical?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Big Society Capital Theft

Question: When is theft not theft?

Answer: When the government is the thief!

David Cameron, desperate to prove that the "Big Society" isn't merely a spin master's coke addled dream, has today launched the Big Society Capital.

This is a bank that will lend money to charities and community groups. It is funded with £400M stolen by the government from dormant bank accounts, and by £200M funded by other banks.

This makes "good" Cameron's promise in 2010 that he would launch such a bank. However, as I noted at the time:
"- The cash being used to fund the "Big Society" is not the "elite's", the raid on dormant accounts is in fact a form of taxation.

- The Big Society Bank will of course be controlled by the politicians, or their chosen appointees.

I wonder if the government will be able to keep their sticky little fingers off the millions that will be hoovered up by the Big Society Bank?
Just remember folks when the government steals your money it isn't theft, it's redistribution for The Big Society!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Home Office Ignores Fraud Probes

Exaro reports that the Home Office has made A4e (the jobs agency being at the centre of a major fraud probe) the preferred bidder to take over the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) helpline to advise people of their rights in discrimination cases.

This despite the fact that ministers have ordered an audit of ‘all’ Whitehall contracts with A4e, to run alongside two current police inquiries regarding allegations of attempted fraud involving the company. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which provides most of A4e’s UK income, is also conducting an investigation.

A4e has been ‘preferred’ over the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as Sitel, which ran the disability helpline for the EHRC before it was taken in-house, and Vertex, an international business processing company. The decision puts A4e in pole position to take over the service, despite the current controversy.

I wonder if anyone has told the Home Office that there are some fraud probes going on?

Georgie Porgie's Porkie Pies

George Osborne's recent budget has caused the Tories a wee bit of a backlash amongst the pasty eating classes. However, pasties aside, another controversial area of his budget was the media dubbed "granny tax".

Osborne has attempted to defend his position by noting that it is not a "tax" per se and that, in cash terms, pensioners are no worse off.

All well and good, maybe, if one only reads and focuses on his current defence/explanation. However, go back but one year and you will see that wee Georgie promised to increase Age Related Allowance by the RPI.

Compare and contrast the relevant sections of the 2011 Budget with the 2012 Budget:
"BUDGET 2011 page 35

1.128  As announced in the June Budget 2010, the Government has reviewed how the CPI can be used for the indexation of taxes and duties while protecting revenues. Consistent with this, the default indexation assumption for direct taxes will be the CPI from April 2012. To ensure employers and older people do not lose out, for the duration of this Parliament the annual increases in the employer NICs threshold, and the age related allowance and other thresholds for older people, will be over-indexed compared to the CPI, and will increase by the equivalent of the RPI. The Government will review the use of the CPI for indirect taxes once its fiscal consolidation plans have been implemented and the duty increases it inherited from the previous Government have come to an end.

BUDGET 2012 page 34

Age-related Allowances...

1.200  To support the goal of a single personal allowance for taxpayers regardless of age, and to spread the tax relief fairly across working age people and pensioners, from 6 April 2013 existing ARAs will be frozen at their 2012–13 levels (£10,500 for those born between 6 April 1938 and 5 April 1948, and £10,660 for those born before 6 April 1938) until they align with the personal allowance. From April 2013, ARAs will no longer be available, except to those born on or before 5 April 1948. The higher ARA will only be available to those born before 6 April 1938. These changes will simplify the system and reduce the number of pensioners in Self Assessment."
Could it be that wee Georgie was telling porkies last year?

Surely not!

Taking Power From The People - #telldaveeverything

On June 25 2009 David Cameron made a speech to Imperial College London, entitled Giving Power Back To The People, in here are a few choice quotes:
“If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state....
Every month over a thousand surveillance operations are carried out, not just by law enforcement agencies but by other public bodies like councils and quangos.   And the tentacles of the state can even rifle through your bins for juicy information. ...
The balance of power in our country has shifted away from the individual - just trying to live their life and towards the state and its agencies - constantly probing, prying and picking on people."
Move forward to 2012, and we see the same David Cameron advocating state snooping on the details of every phone call made, every email sent and every web page visited by British citizens.

Sadly this is but the thin end of the wedge, in 2013 Project Stellar Wind will go live in the USA:
"Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013.
Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.”....
Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.
Terrorism is used as Nanny's catch all excuse to cover all of her rapidly expanding surveillance requirements. In truth, our lives are not being blighted on a daily basis by terrorism but by "low level" crime (yobbery, thuggery, robbery, scummy behaviour etc). These are the issues that need to be addressed.

In this volte face, we see politicians revealing their true nature; dishonest, power hungry snoopers.

Good luck everyone, we are entering an era where will be watched, monitored and manipulated by the state as never before! 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Labour's Wet Dream

Shadow Cabinet member Jon Trickett, apparently an ally of Ed Miliband, has been caught gushing forth (in a video made last July) about the economic crisis that the UK is enduring.

He is positively revelling in the rising unemployment and inflation, describing it as "an orgasmic wet dream" for the left.

Oddly enough the video has now been removed from YouTube!

Cheap Pasties

Want to know where you can buy a subsidised pasty?

Dine in the Houses of Parliament.

An extra large minced beef and onion pasty, served with beans, was on the menu last Friday for £2.95.

Unfortunately, unless you are an MP or guest of an MP, you will have to pay around £4.99 for yours!