Posts Tagged 'Waste'

The other side of the Legal Aid cuts coin

Make no mistake, the cuts to the legal aid budget will have ramifications for the ability of less well off people to have access to justice.  The media, in particular the BBC, will continue to tease out individual cases as part of its activism to make the case against cutting legal aid.

But the fact remains that legal aid has been abused by many people who easily have sufficient means to fund legal counsel, and by a number of solicitors and barristers, some of whom have become extremely wealthy over the years as a result.  Legal aid has also been used by convicted criminals to make unwarranted, nuisance challenges to punishments and restrictions justly handed down to them.

So it is of no surprise to hear yet more bleating from vested interests about how they are being adversely affected by the cuts after years of living happy on the hog, milking the legal aid fund to maintain very comfortable lifestyles indeed at our expense.

The most prominent example of this has surfaced in the Telegraph today, as Michael Mansfield QC’s firm, Tooks Chambers, has announced it is to cease taking client instruction from next month and close at the end of the year – as a direct result of the legal aid funding reductions.

Since the miner’s strike, joint head of chambers Mansfield has made a lucrative living taking on human rights cases and challenges to the establishment.  So much so that in legal circles he earned the nickname Mr Moneybags, with earnings apparently exceeding £700,000 per year.

A good example of how Mansfield earned this title, at the expense of taxpayers, is retailed in a Daily Mail piece from 2007.  It recalls how even as far back as 1998, Mansfield represented a client in a criminal appeal before the House of Lords.  In return for 43 hours work he submitted a legal aid bill of £22,300, or more than £500 per hour. Apparently after the Lord Chancellor criticised the fee, Mansfield very generously knocked £10,000 off the bill and only took £12,300 from the public purse.

There is no doubt that Mansfield has, during his career, taken on deserving cases in need of justice.  But the issue is the manner of his treatment of the public purse.  The Telegraph piece sets out what steps Mansfield and other Tooks’ barristers are being forced to take in order to start a new chambers and keep working after Tooks has gone:

Mr Mansfield said he plans to form his own, low-cost chambers “within the near future”.

Fifteen barristers from Tooks are expected to join the new set, to be called Mansfield Chambers,     which will keep overheads low by employing fewer clerks, sharing desks in cheaper offices and using     free computer software.

Only now, with limits put in place on the previously never ending reservoir of public money wrested from us through taxation, are some of these well-heeled legal eagles starting to be mindful of the costs they incur that they have long relied upon us to fund.

Where was this focus on costs previously?  The only conclusion that can be drawn here is that many solicitors and barristers are now reaping what they have long sown.

Had they charged reasonable fees and sought to be responsible in their use of other people’s money, perhaps the legal aid cutbacks would not have needed to be so drastic – and most importantly, more innocent people in need of help to fund worthy cases would not be squeezed out and left at the mercy of better resourced parties.

Perhaps this is something the BBC and other agenda based media would do well to consider when attacking the government.

Squandering taxpayers’ money – let me count the ways… NI special

In 2010, a man by the name of Kieran Doherty was found shot dead in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, naked and bound and dumped by a roadside.  It was a heinous crime.

After following the process that exists in such circumstances, Doherty’s mother and grandmother have now been awarded an undisclosed sum by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel, described by Doherty’s uncle as a ‘substantial’ amount.

It all sounds quite reasonable, until you realise that Doherty was a member of the terrorist Real IRA and the killing was carried out by his own terrorists-in-arms. He was also a convict who had served time in prison.

So what we have is a man who opposes Northern Ireland being part of the UK, who resents the British and views them as an occupying force and therefore joins a terrorist organisation to take up arms in support of Irish unification, because at this time the majority of people in the country want to remain part of the United Kingdom.  He falls foul of his fellow men of violence and is ‘executed’.

Not only has the British taxpayer funded the murder investigation by the PSNI and an additional investigation and report into unfounded allegations of MI5 collusion in the killing, but we are now also having our pockets picked pay the family of this worthless terrorist scumbag compensation for his murder – which was brought about because of his fetish for the bomb and bullet and his desire for violence over democracy.

Our money should not be squandered in this way.  Doherty bit off more than he could chew and deserved to pay the price.  We should be pleased there is one less gun toting bomber to contend with in Northern Ireland, not handing out compensation for his killing.  His family almost certainly knew of his involvement in the Real IRA, yet they will now benefit financially from the consequences of that membership at our expense?

Their compensation claim was an insult and should have been thrown straight into the nearest bin.  Clearly it is we taxpayers who really end up paying the price, of the stupidity of officials who fall over themselves to make nice with terrorists and their families by wasting our money to reward their criminality and hatred of this country, and treating us as a bottomless pit to do it.

The great wind power rip-off revisited

In the Telegraph today is a piece about the ‘true cost of Britain’s wind farm industry’ which underlines the extent of direct (let alone the indirect) consumer-funded subsidy deployed to propping up one of the most unreliable and inefficient forms of energy generation available.

The piece opens:

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.

The disclosure is potentially embarrassing for the wind industry, which claims it is an economically dynamic sector that creates jobs. It was described by critics as proof the sector was not economically viable, with one calling it evidence of “soft jobs” that depended on the taxpayer.

It’s an interesting take, to focus on the extent of subsidy paid to wind farms against the number of wind farm jobs that exist.  But that doesn’t take into other subsidy that pours into the industry from other taxpayer funded sources.  Also it encompass jobs that were focussed on building and installing the subsidy farms in the first place, so the piece undermines itself.  When that happens it doesn’t do any favours to those of us opposed to the government’s insane and utterly disastrous reliance on wind farms for baseload power, for such pieces leave us open to attack for inaccuracy.

What the piece should do is remind people that creating jobs which are reliant on public subsidy does nothing to boost the productive sector of the economy.  It is simply another government mandated burden on the consumer/taxpayer.  That is because the roles that have been created at these subsidy farms would not have been without legislation designed to skew the energy market to underpin uneconomic wind farm development, and without rules put in place to confiscate extra money from us to service their upkeep we would not be paying so much for our energy.  The energy market would not have opted for wind if left without interference to develop the most cost effective and reliable energy solutions that would be delivered at less cost to the companies and their customers.

But while we are on the subject, let’s take a quick look at the contribution being made to our power needs by all those grotesquely expensive wind turbines pitting the countryside up and down our nation, within the last hour…

 
1.4% is a disgraceful return for the huge sums of money that have been taken from us to service the government’s unjustified and pressure group driven decarbonisation agenda.  Hanging would be too good for these people as punishment for the wholesale theft we have suffered at their hands and their justification for it on the strength of an unproven hypothesis.

They should count themselves fortunate that most people have, as intended, been distracted from real issues affecting all our lives by mind numbing TV programmes and glitzy trivia.

Whose money is it exactly?

Hope you’ve all been keeping well while I’ve been taking a blog break. With the madness that surrounds us it’s always good (and sometimes necessary) to shut out the noise and clear one’s head of the idiocy and wrongheaded nonsense that defies reason and logic.

So, the horsing around continues. This essay isn’t about the horsemeat farce – Richard has been at his blistering best showing up the ignorance and incompetence of most politicians and journalists about food regulation and the EU’s competence control of it, and there’s really nothing I can add of value. Suffice to say if you have not read his post about the involvement of Nestlé in the scandal then you really should.

No, this is about the political arrogance and media’s hysteria and misrepresentation surrounding the subject of taxation.  According to a typically statist article in the Independent, tax avoidance schemes:

are costing the Treasury £5bn a year by exploiting loopholes in a complex system designed to help businesses, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

Apparently the committee was scathing about the performance of HMRC, which, it says, is losing a game of cat and mouse with companies that promote aggressive tax avoidance.

That assessment sums it up. Costing the Treasury money?  How very dare some people and firms try to keep what actually belongs to them.  While there is nothing new under the sun here, it is deserving of focus because of what it reminds us about what is wrong with governments of every stripe,  namely that they believe they are entitled to the money we earn – our money – and that it is theirs to do with whatsoever they wish.

Tax avoidance is perfectly legal and responsible, yet HMRC is being criticised by MPs for not collecting more money from businesses and individuals for whom there is no legal necessity to pay it.  Despite the actions of tax advisers, and the businesses and individuals who rightfully want to hold on to as much as possible of what they earned, MPs and HMRC are engaging in a game of setting traps to seize more money and demonising those people and businesses who manage to retain their money legally. Look at Starbucks, accused of not paying its fair share and disgracefully maligned by MPs and the media, it actually does make a loss in the UK even before its supposedly controversial (yet under EU law perfectly legal) transfer pricing to its European headquarters. Yet as a result it has been pressured into voluntarily paying over money to HMRC, worsening its UK losses and most likely resulting in cost cutting that could affect jobs.

This is an outrageous inversion of the way things are supposed to be. The state has assumed for itself the position of master, rather than servant. And when it doesn’t get what it wants it bullies, threatens, slanders and character assassinates those who justly stand up for themselves.  And now MPs are calling for this so called informal ‘naming and shaming‘ to be made into a formal approach.

The inversion looks set to be extended by something even more dangerous – as evidenced by a discussion on BBC Radio 4 this morning – where a recommendation was being made to follow the approach taken by the Australian tax authorities.  This is where schemes designed to be tax efficient are not permitted until they have been examined and then approved by the authorities. Such a change would represent a move away from a position where an action is lawful unless proscribed by law, to one where the action is considered illegal until permission for it is granted. This is not the definition of freedom within a society. It is defacto enslavement.

Lets not forget it is the state, in the guise of grubbing politicians continually making unsustainable and unfunded spending pledges, that has caused and is deepening the financial mess this country is in.  The same state thinks it can arrest the decades-old slow burn implosion of our economy by seizing more of our money. It is as desperate as it is futile.

The fact is successive governments have, over a period of decades, been buying votes with our money by inflating and extending the welfare state. The emergency safety net originally envisaged for the welfare state has been gradually replaced by unfunded gerrymandering to buy off voters, creating an unaffordable client state.

The notion of living within one’s means has been abandoned by many Britons and by the government itself.  Instead of government recognising it cannot keep doling out an ever increasing number of billions of pounds to people to subsidise their lives – even when they are actually working – and cutting welfare spending to all but the most needy and vulnerable, governments have embedded a handout culture that has been funded by ever increasing borrowing.  This has been exacerbated by the adoption of increasingly delusional and unaffordable European approaches to welfare combined with a rapid increase in eligibility for benefits for foreigners who come to these shores.

The system is broken and the UK is bankrupt in all but name, owing a total of 900% of what the whole economy generates. The irresponsible politicians and feckless fools who believe in something for nothing are to blame.  It is only low interest rates that are keeping the country clinging on by its fingertips as it tries to service ever rising debt repayments.  Yet incredibly this Cameron-led coagulation government which promised to tackle and reduce debt is actually borrowing even more money than the feckless Blair and Brown government before it.

If the UK economy was a business, the organs of the state would immediately close it down and ban its directors from ever running a company again. But instead we have desperate politicians engineering the state sanctioned theft by HMRC in a desperate last gasp effort to undo the folly that has built up over many years.  It is an utter waste of time because the government’s own policies add more to the debt burden than can ever be replaced by even 100% taxation.

So back to the original question in the title of this essay.  Whose money is it exactly?  The answer is simple and unsurprising.  The money we earn through our endeavours is ours. The tax system is being abused, but it is the irresponsible and profligate previous and current governments that have been abusing it and continue to abuse it for its own self serving ends.  In such circumstances it is not only understandable that people and businesses are aggressively looking to be as tax efficient as possible, moreso than ever they are completely justified in doing so.

Footnote:

It’s interesting that George Osborne has been finding that despite record levels of people in employment, the UK’s tax receipts have actually been falling.  It’s common sense really and not just because more people have part time rather than full time work.  Many more productive people have started working for themselves due to redundancy or uncertainty with existing employers, forming small limited companies, they are discovering they can set their tax arrangements to ensure they pay no income tax or national insurance.  In fact they can pay corporation tax only on company profits after allowable expenses, and as long as they keep dividend payments below the higher rate tax threshold they pay no tax on that either – with some doubling the tax free dividend amount in their household if their spouse is a shareholder in the company too. If their spouse is also a director of the company an extra £7,488 of tax and NI free income can be taken in by the household.

I know this because it’s what I am now doing and it means for taking a small risk by being self employed I can keep more of what I earn.  It’s worth any fight with HMRC for the reward and the sheer bloody satisfaction of not having as much of my hare earned money pissed up the wall on moronic pet projects like wind turbines and imported benefits claimants by the useless idiots in Whitehall. Forget the claims that the Thatcher era made people selfish. It’s this supposed compassionate era since that is making people say enough is enough and look to themselves. The money I earn is being used to clear all my household’s debt and to purchase gold which will hold its value far better than our steadily devaluing paper currency, so I can leave something with intrinsic value for my children in what is likely to be a harsher economic climate that even that we have today.

UK economy struggles but Government pledges £2bn of UK aid to help Third World go green

So the government that never tires of telling us the story that Liam Byrne left a note in the Treasury saying, ‘I’m afraid there is no money‘ and which is launching an aggressive assault on businesses (particularly small ones) to squeeze ever more money in tax from them because of the state of public finances, has pledged almost £2 billion in “climate aid” to help finance foreign projects including wind turbines in Africa and greener cattle farming in Colombia.

The story goes on to say that each household will contribute £70 to schemes to tackle climate change in developing countries before March 2015, under plans championed by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary.

The political class is serving the interests of someone. It’s just not the people of the United Kingdom.

When vulnerable British pensioners die of cold this winter, because they can’t afford to heat their homes and have not been helped by the welfare safety net we have paid into that is supposed to be there for them in such circumstances, think back to this insane spending decision and the politicians who squandered our money while pleading the need for austerity. Then consider what is behind it.

Words cannot describe the visceral hatred I feel for these repulsive parasites who, like a virus, are slowly destroying this country.

A victory for state sanctioned and engineered bullying and intimidation

Following on from the BBC-enabled Margaret Hodge hypocrisy fest on the Today programme this morning…

American citizen Sam Bloggs, who when in Europe is resident in the Netherlands and pays tax on his earnings in full there, has told the UK government he is going to voluntarily pay more tax to the Exchequer than required by law, following a sustained campaign by his neighbours who argue that because he has a lot of money and he should pay more here.

Bloggs had followed the letter of the law enabling free movement of trade and capital in the EU after taking advice from taxation specialists.  But following his hard work and success in building up his worldwide franchise business, which indirectly employs a large number of people and contributes a substantial sum in tax and National Insurance to this country’s coffers, he was subjected to an onslaught of vilification in the media and even in Parliament.  Bloggs told AM:

My business model has helped create companies, wealth and jobs, generated substantial tax income and contributed a great deal through National Insurance in the UK. I give money and time to charity, working with the Fairtrade Foundation and supporting the Prince’s Trust through a partnership agreement even though I’m not based in Britain.

But because I’ve been fortunate enough to be successful a number of people and politicians have demanded I pay more than the rules say I am obligated to. They say it’s not fair that I’ve been successful and earned a lot of money and pay full tax in Holland instead of here.  Because I’ve earned it and got it they say fairness dictates they should have it instead.  They say they want it and they make the rules so therefore they’re entitled to it.

It means I’ll have less money to invest in creating more opportunities and supporting charity, but if I don’t make these additional payments some people are going to keep smearing me and telling people to boycott my brand.

State sanctioned and engineered bullying and intimidation has won the day for the feckless incompetents.  When will people wake up and say enough is enough?

Those who fritter away our money – not just on deserving vulnerable people in our society in need of support – on those who think they have a right to be kept in return for nothing, on those who come to this country to take advantage of the enhanced suite of benefits and services they have never contributed a penny to, and worst of all on massive handouts to the establishment’s friends who farm taxpayer subsidies for all manner of wheezes on an industrial scale to boost their already substantial wealth, are demanding even more money with menaces while hoodwinking the unthinking into applying the necessary pressure to make it possible.

The pressure to fork over ever more money to the government is not just being applied to the likes of Starbucks and Amazon.  Via the spiteful tactics of HMRC conducted outside the view of the public, it’s happening to small businessmen too, driving some out of business altogether.  And the state calls this ‘fair’.  Bollocks!

Ever wondered why the UK public purse is empty?

Let the good Dr North spell it out, using the taxpayer funded financial merry-go-round of the co-organisers of the infamous 2006 BBC Climate Change seminar, the International Broadcasting Trust, to illustrate the point:

… in this “trust” we have yet another of those networks of influence. It represents a coalition of international charities, the members including: ActionAid, Amnesty International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care UK, Christian Aid, Comic Relief, Concern UK, Friends of the Earth, the Media Trust, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Practical Action, Progressio, RSPB, Save the Children, Sightsavers International, Skillshare International, Tearfund, UNA UK, UNICEF UK, VSO, the World Association for Christian Communication, World Vision and WWF.

However, apart from the “usual suspects” such as Friends of the Earth and WWF, there is a particularly interesting member of the IBT – a trust which, as one will remember, lobbies the BBC. That is the Media Trust. And the “corporate members” of this trust are … the BBC as well as Sky, ITV, News International and Google.

Neglecting the other delicious members, and focusing on the BBC, it seems we have a situation where the state broadcaster is a corporate member of the Media Trust which, in turn, is a member of the International Broadcasting Trust, which is paid by the Government (DFID) to lobby the … er … BBC about climate change. And so the circle closes.

No wonder the establishment doesn’t want we ordinary people deciding how our money gets spent.  Overnight it would put an end to this outrageous abuse.  Read the whole piece on EU Referendum.

 

What a waste

The Daily Wail has a piece today titled ‘Binmen take a battering‘ which reports how frustration among residents at ever more rules and regulations on household waste disposal – combined officiousness and high handed behaviour by councils and rubbish collectors – is boiling over into instances of violence.

What has happened has being typically overblown by the Wail, but where it’s happening it is an unsurprising reaction to public servants imposing constraints on the people they are supposed to serve, without any consultation or permission.  In short it is a reaction to everyday, overbearing, anti-democratic behaviour by the establishment.

As is usual with the British media the article stops where it does and makes no attempt to explore possible solutions or explain where and how the regulations originated.  So being a considerate chap, I have just left the following comment for consideration:

There is a simple solution to disposing of rubbish that would go into landfill – PLASMA GASIFICATION. It is a safe form or incineration that doesn’t put dioxins in the air and leaves only a small amount of residue which is inert and can be used as hard core for roads and developments.  Plasma gasification units, which have a 35-45 year life and would pay for themselves within 10 years, can also work in the same way as combined heat and power units.  Instead of putting waste into landfill, incurring huge costs thanks to the EU, landfill can actually be emptied and sent for gasification thereby generating power and solving the waste problem.  Ask your local and county councils and councillors why they are not installing this technology instead of burying rubbish or using incinerators.

To be clear, I have painted the positive side of plasma gasification and not referenced some of the cost and maintenance issues.  But the cost and maintenance issues could be quickly reduced if the technology was taken up more widely because there would be commercial value in improving the offering and increasing the longevity of systems within the plant.  The technology has opponents who play up the downsides, from anecdotal experience these tend to be people with interests in building and running incinerators, which is why the Wikipedia page puts concerns before the advantages.

In the county where I live I raised this issue with the county council ‘cabinet’ member with responsibility in this area.  He pledged to look at gasification but did nothing of the sort, and is now involved in a local fight over his decision to sanction a new incinerator.  Lazy, backward thinking and ignorance of the opportunities that exist.  Yet another example of how the public interest comes a distant also-ran to vested interests and narrow minded views.


Enter your email address below

The Harrogate Agenda Explained

Email AM

Bloggers for an Independent UK

AM on Twitter

STOR Scandal

Autonomous Mind Archive