Mark Wadsworth

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Category Archives: Politics

Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

From City AM:

Borrowing was £1.5bn higher in April and May than at the same point last year, knocking the coalition’s plan to reduce the deficit by around £20bn. Spending in the first two months of this financial year was 4.1 per cent higher than the same time in 2010.(1)

Despite the over-spend, Labour last night blamed the UK’s anaemic growth on Osborne’s planned cuts. The deficit reduction “goes too far and too fast”, a party spokesperson said,(2) arguing for a reversal of the VAT hike.(3)

The Federation of Small Businesses this week called on the government to temporarily slash VAT for the construction and tourism sectors, in a bid to kick start the economy.(4)

Yet Osborne’s policy of raising VAT while scheduling reductions in business tax was supported by Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding(5): “Cutting business taxes is the strongest signal to send to global firms (6), while other supply side reforms will help boost the economy in the medium-term.”

1) But both the big parties are doing plenty of Indian Bicycle Marketing. The Tories are allowing the deficit to increase while claiming that they are reducing it…

2) … a delusion which Labour are keen to foster.

3) In which, unusually, Labour would be absolutely correct*.

4) As backed up by the FSB, who actually represent small businesses on the ground in the real economy – these people have to fill in their own tax returns and write cheques from their own bank accounts, and know full well that VAT is a tax on business and that they pay five times as much in VAT as they do in corporation tax or income tax on their profits.

5) Banks love the idea of VAT being increased and corporation tax reduced because they are largely exempt, for every extra £1 input VAT they suffer, they save £10 in corporation tax.

6) Banks are global, they can redirect transactions to whichever jurisdiction they choose; a local building firm or pub landlord can’t just up sticks and relocate to a country where VAT on construction or catering is lower.

* Reducing VAT to 15% and curtailing exemptions for Business Rates were about the only two really good things they ever did. Along with exempting foreign dividends from UK corporation tax and the Substantial Shareholdings Exemption.


As we all suspected

From the IFS press release:

Children born to married parents achieve better cognitive and social outcomes, on average, than children born into other family forms, including cohabiting unions. This report asks why this is so: is it the parents’ marital status per se that results in better outcomes for their children, or is it because married and cohabiting couples are different in some other ways, such as their level of education, which also matter for child development?

Differences in outcomes between children whose parents are married and those who cohabit may simply reflect these differences in other characteristics rather than be caused by marriage…

Go on, tell us! Damn, we’re going to have to skip right to the end of their report:

Taken together, these findings support the broad conclusions reported in Goodman and Greaves (2010a and 2010b) and suggest that the gaps in cognitive and socio-emotional development between children born to married and cohabiting parents mainly or entirely reflect the fact that different types of people choose to get married (the selection effect), rather than that marriage itself has a direct effect on relationship stability or child development.

On the basis of this evidence, therefore, there does not seem to be a strong reason in terms of child development for policymakers to encourage parents to get married before they bear children. There is, however, good reason for policymakers to continue to try to increase the educational attainment of today’s children (tomorrow’s parents) as a means of improving the outcomes of future generations of children.

Spot the token wheelchair user

Another one which they lifted from UKIP’s 2010 pensions manifesto…

We said:

12.1 As background, it is useful to compare the relative figures for private and public sector state provision…
• The Government are deliberately understating the liabilities of unfunded Public Sector pensions schemes. As at March 2005, the government estimated the liabilities (the ‘discounted net present value’) of accrued public sector pensions – which in future cash terms will amount to around £3,762 billion – at £530 bn. Using more realistic assumptions, Neil Record calculated the liabilities to be £1,025 billion, which is now widely accepted as the best estimate…

12.3 There also needs to be proper accounting for public sector pensions liabilities. Although this will not ‘solve’ the issue, it will at least highlight it. A reasonable suggestion is that public sector pension schemes liabilities be calculated under normal accounting standards and accounted for as such in public sector accounts. This would prevent a future government hiding the cost of current promises.

They did:

Landmark documents published today show that the government’s liabilities for public service pensions are more than £1.13 trillion.

The figures, which also show Private Finance Initiative liabilities of more than £40bn, are included in the first set of Whole of Government Accounts, published by Chancellor George Osborne and the Office for Budget Responsibility’s first report on the sustainability of the public finances.

FakeCharities under the Lib-Cons

As I said a while back, “… under the Lib-Cons fakeprivatecompanies and industry-lobby-groups-masquerading-as-charities (‘ILGMACs’) will take the place of the much loved fakecharities in setting the agenda (i.e. dictating ‘regulation and legislation’) and/or directing how taxpayers’ money is to be spent.”

Adam Collyer describes the machinations of a specific ILGMAC here. Worth reading in full.

Another ex-News Of The World editor who deserves a kicking.

Another Home-Owner-Ist Milestone!

From “According to the English Housing Survey, only 11 per cent of those who own a house are under the age of 35.”

According to the ONS Population Pyramid, there are 12.7 million people in the UK aged 20 to 34, according to the English Housing Survey itself, there are 14.5 million owner-occupier households in England, which equates to about 17.3 for the whole of the UK.

17.3 million x 11 per cent = 1.9 million households, let’s assume it’s half single people and half couples who own jointly, so that’s 2.9 million people, 2.9 million divided by 12.7 million = 0.23, i.e. only about 23% of under-35s own their own home, and as they probably have staggeringly large mortgages, in reality they own nothing at all. Nice to see all that wealth cascading up the generations!

Fun Online Polls: Care home fees and News Of The World

Thanks to everybody who took part in last week’s Fun Online Poll, results as follows:

Who ought to pay for the long-term care of ‘asset-rich’ pensioners?

They themselves and their likely heirs – 74%
The taxpayer generally – 20%
Other, please specify – 5%

Crikey it seems like a long time ago since that was the hot topic. Anyway, it’s nice to see that I’m with the majority on this one.
This week, let’s do a Trial By Internet. To save time, let’s put them all in the dock in one go.

Vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.

Immigration Advisory Service Fun

From the BBC:

The Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) has gone into administration, BBC News has learnt. The IAS, which employs 200 people, has closed its branches across the UK. One employee told the BBC that staff had been told to clear their desks and that administrators were already in the central headquarters in London.

The free service is one of the leading charities giving legal advice and representation to immigrants and asylum seekers in the UK… The Legal Services Commission (LSC), which runs the legal aid scheme in England and Wales, said the IAS’s decision to go into administration was “theirs alone”.

A spokesman said: “During recent stewardship activities LSC raised concerns around financial management and claims irregularities which prompted IAS trustees’ to conclude that the organisation was no longer financially viable. Our priority now is to work closely with IAS and the administrators to ensure clients of IAS continue to get the help they need, whilst safeguarding public money. We are now identifying alternative advice provision in the areas affected and arrangements for case transfer will follow as soon as possible.”

From page 12 of their 2010 acounts

Total income declined by 7% from £17,278,000 to £16,093,000. This reduction was entirely due to a decline in income from the Legal Services Commission (LSC), our main funder; by 8%. It continues to account for 90% of total income.

And their page at The Charity Commission website says they have 381 employees, so there.

Andy Coulson

Andy Coulson