On that fascinating upcoming tax justice conference

So as I said I was invited to be on a panel with Ritchie and Prem Sikka on the subject of tax justice. I said yes, why not, should be fun. And so I was duly invited.

Just got the email disinviting me. Apparently some of the organisers of the conference did not think that my views would add much light to anything, only a certain amount of heat.

Oh well.

So, better cancel those supporters’ buses I hired to bring in the righteous to confer with the bien pensants then, eh?

” the concern was not at all about you personally; it was about the explosive chemistry which might have resulted from having you on a panel with Richard and Prem”

The Miliboy really is an ignorant tosser

Ed Miliband will on Tuesday declare the cost of living crisis has become the preeminent issue facing Britain, as he sets out plans for employers to receive a tax rebate if they choose to pay a worker the living wage, which is now worth £7.65 an hour, £1.34 higher than the minimum wage.

The rebate is designed to incentivise a high wage and high skill economy and would last for a year at a minimum. In a speech, Miliband will claim the policy symbolises the choice facing the country at the next election between Labour committed to tackling low living standards and the Conservatives committed to broken markets.

Sigh.

That living wage comes out to a shade under 15 grand a year. Out of which the government takes a couple of thousand pounds to pay for things like the salary of the Leader of the Opposition.

Yes, indeed, Ed Miliboy gets paid from the crusts stolen from the mouths of poor babes in arms.

And if you think that the working poor don’t have enough money at the end of the day then there’s really a very simple solution. Stop fucking nicking it off them in tax.

However, research has shown employers paying the living wage secure a more productive workforce with lower absenteeism and turn-over. Dominic Johnson, employee relations director at Barclays, said on Monday that paying the rate had improved retention rates for its cleaners. “Early research on the impact of the living wage for cleaners on Barclays’ contracts shows our suppliers have a 92% retention rate versus an industry average of 35%,” he said.

Dear God Barclay’s employs some ignorant cunts. Yes, of course you have a greater retention rate. You’re paying more than everyone else. When everyone is paying the same as you then you’ll have the same retention rate as everyone else. Doesn’t anyone at all recall the story of Henry Ford and his $5 a day?

Margaret, Lady Hodge and tax

In a long and sometimes heated session, HMRC was accused of having a “supine attitude” to international tax collection. Ms Hodge said the existence of a £35bn tax gap – the difference between the total amount owed to HMRC and the figure collected – suggested the body was “institutionally incapable”. She argued that if the tax legally avoided by international companies “such as Google, Amazon and Starbucks” were included, the tax gap would be far larger.

The tax officials repeatedly explained that HMRC could only collect what was legally due. “Our tax gap is a complete measure of what tax we’re owed under rules currently in place,” said Mr Harra.

Mr Troup added: “Our job is to collect tax [and we follow] the law as it stands.”

Quite. The Google, Amazon stuff is not tax avoidance. So it cannot be included in an estimate of tax avoidance.

Seems clear enough to me.

Phillip Hollobone can kiss my fat, hairy, freckled arse*

Enforced servitude is something this country stamped out a long time ago – although we kept the vile principle of national service long after we freed our slaves and stopped other people trading in them. The state, however, seems to think that slavery to the state is, somehow acceptable – or, at least, this particular state apparatchik does. It is not. It never will be and it should be opposed vigorously.

Damn right.

I own me.

Nowt else to say about the fat fucker’s idea, is there?

*Both sides and the middle.

This isn\’t the Holy Grail of emissions reduction, no

Scientists believe they have achieved the ‘holy grail’ of the green economy by designing a hydrogen production plant that can split water with sunlight.

The University of Colorado at Boulder envisages an array of mirrors that would focus sunlight onto a central tower several hundred feet tall.

The tower would heat up to around 1,350 °C – enough to liberate hydrogen from steam with the help of a metal oxide compound.

Reforming steam with an iron/cobalt oxide catalyst to produce hydrogen isn\’t new, no. I think I\’m right in saying that hydrogen is generated in steel furnaces as any residual water passes over the iron oxide that is the ore in fact. Nor is using sunlight to heat water all that amazingly new. Combining the two is interesting but it ain\’t a Holy Grail of anything at all. For this reason:

Commercialisation of such a solar-thermal reactor is only likely to happen when the economic conditions are right, claims Professor Weimer.

‘There would have to be a substantial monetary penalty for putting carbon into the atmosphere, or the price of fossil fuels would have to go way up,’ he added.

It ain\’t economic.

And we\’ve many ways of producing energy, of storing energy (which is what this is, a storage method, not a production method), that are not economic. Even if we look to the hydrogen economy we\’ve got ways of doing this that are not economic. For example, take the electricity from either solar or wind power and electrolyse water to release the H2. That might be better or worse than this method but they\’re both still uneconomic.

What we\’re looking for of course is something that is economic. And what we\’d really like is something that is cheaper, unsubsidised, without a carbon tax, than fossil fuels at which point the entire climate change problem goes away. That would be the Holy Grail….

Shouldn\’t a tax piece know about tax?

This is because British law allows relief on a quarter of the money spent on items including debt interest payment, spectrum purchases and installing equipment such as masts and radios. The relief is equal to the tax rate – an average of 25% in recent years.

What?

Hang on, you buy something to make the business work. This is a cost. If it\’s something that makes the business work for a long time then you get a piece, not all of it, as a cost each year. That cost is obviously deducted from your income before calculating tax. Because profit, the thing being taxed, is income minus costs.

It\’s not just the alarmingly cack handed way in which they\’re describing this process: they really do seem to be arguing that you cannot deduct the costs of doing business before you calculate your profit.

Ah, Prem Sikka is involved: we know that it won\’t make sense then.

But critics say that its ability to send large sums abroad while making no corporation tax contribution to the Exchequer highlights the unfairness of British laws.

Cash made here should be taxed here. A fair enough idea in isolation. And then in the companion piece we have:

Vodafone has ceded just £156m in UK corporation tax, but paid £6.7bn to other countries during the past three years.

And, err, profits made elsewhere should be taxed here? Again, fair enough in isolation, but you really cannot go around believing both.

The latest threat from the Murphmeister

If you comment here then you won\’t be allowed to comment there.

I want to note that several commentators who fall foul of the ban on those who openly support the policy of blogs where abuse is commonplace have placed abusive comment on this thread, as might be expected.

Their comments have been deleted.

One also suggested I wished to create an echo chamber – which is exactly, of course, what right wing think tanks set out to do

Yes, that combination of right wing think tanks and promoting a culture of abuse does indeed mean here.

Participating in web sites that approve abusive language and an aggressive tone, frequently laden with sexual innuendo and all with clear intent to oppress those calling for greater equality in society, which comment carries with it the clear message that violence in pursuit of greed and manipulation to secure advantage is acceptable, means a commentator is not welcome here, ever.

Apparently either disagreeing with someone or pointing out their errors is oppressing them these days.

Who knew?

Becoming Self Employed: Taking the First Steps

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Starting your own business can be an attractive concept, especially when you can utilise your skills and work from home, giving you the ultimate in convenience. Regardless of what your new venture is, there will be various steps that you will be required to take to ensure that your plans are optimised to the best they can be. From choosing the right business insurance from Hiscox to thinking of a business name that will pack a punch, you need to plan every last detail – and if you’re planning on heading down the self-employed path, you only have you to rely on.

Choose your business wisely

You may have a flurry of ideas whizzing around your head and while many of these may be pipedreams, you need to establish which one is realistic for you. Make sure that the idea you have is something that suits who you are and what you’re passionate about and ensure that this new venture is well and truly set in your mind before you start planning further.

Insure yourself

Whether it’s adding your business to your home insurance if you’re working from home, or looking into public liability insurance if you’re providing a mobile service, you need to make sure that you’re covered. If, further down the line, you’re faced with prosecution or a compensation claim, you’re going to need that insurance to cover your back. With plenty of customer reviews on Hiscox insurance available, you can be sure that the cover you choose is right for you.

Plan, plan, plan

Even if you’re not planning on applying for financial help, a business plan is highly recommended – if only for your own good.

Plan what marketing strategies you’re going to implement and what platforms you’re going to use to spread the word about you and your service. Being self-employed is often about who you know and with plenty of networking facilities online, you can build your customer base in no time.

Don’t stress!

The last thing you need is for your head to be full of doubt and for you to have cold feet when taking these first steps. Taking the plunge and going for it is often the best policy and as long as you have the passion, you’ll succeed.

A small note for the TUC

We\’re getting a certain amount of whining from the TUC (and also from the AFL-CIO over the Pond) that wages have been growing more slowly than productivity in recent years. And that this is the real, underlying, cause of our economic woes.

Hmm.

German wages grew more slowly than productivity over the last decade, helped along by Gerhard Schröder\’s labor reforms in 2003-05. This meant Germans consumed vastly less than they produced, fueling an export boom and keeping unemployment low.

Does Germany have different laws of economics then?

Gadgets for online gaming

Smartphones have become the most preferred type of phone today. Not only do they receive calls but they can also perform many tasks that were previously restricted to computers, all from a device that fits right in your pocket. Online gaming is one of the most common uses for smartphones. In fact, each time a new device is released, it is analyzed for its capability to run online games. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most popular phones out today and is well respected as an online gaming gadget.

There are many features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that make it an ideal gadget for online gaming. The display screen is fully HD compatible and measures in at five inches. long with that is its fast processor which is a quad core. The RAM within this phone is an impressive 2 GB which is double the needed amount for gaming. As games continue to evolve, this phone can keep up. If gaming on the go, you needn’t worry about getting the phone wet. Another great benefit of this phone is that its body is fully waterproof. During the winter months, gaming can be accomplished quite easily thanks to the increased sensitivity of the touch screen. This means you don’t have to remove your gloves to play.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 can access the numerous Android online casinos such as Lucky Nugget casino. Slot machines are fun to play with the touchscreen. Many five reeled slot machine games can be accessed. Thunderstruck is a game with nine paylines. It also provides additional bonus features that provide free spins. Tomb Raider is a slot machine game that was inspired by the fictional character, Laura Croft. It has more paylines than Thunderstruck with 15. With Tomb Raider, activating additional paylines can increase one’s chance of winning. Like Thunderstuck, Tomb Raider also comes with a free spin bonus game.

A thought about Cyprus

North Cyprus doesn\’t have a banking problem.

The rest of Cyprus has a very large banking problem.

North Cyprus isn\’t in the euro.

The rest of Cyprus is in the euro. And the EU.

Sounds like we\’ve found our natural experiment to judge the effect of being in the EU/euro. It\’s not an experiment that leaves the EU/euro looking good really, is it?

Timmy in Czech, weather edition

So, I\’ve hired the production engineers. We\’ve a neat and simple plan from here to production then.

Part of which is that we need a few hundred kg of rock to test the precise tolerances of that production (for those with a technical bent, we want to test the liberation point). Excellent, off you go geologists, go get a few hundred kg. Should take an afternoon, it\’s only 10 km from your house anyway.

Err, yes Tim. We\’ll get to it in about 10 days time.

Err, why not now?

Temperatures have not risen above -5 oC at noon for a week now. We\’d need blasting powder, thus licences, to collect samples. Better to wait a week until it warms up a bit.

Oh. Fair enough. Thought it had been a bit chilly.

Fun technical note. The geologists are on a short project in Kosovo anyway. Where their email access is better than it is at the bottom of the little valley they occupy in Saxony.

Let\’s Ban Woodchip Imports! And Watch The Lights Go Out!

What a clever idea this is:

Ministers have been urged to consider banning the import of woodchip made from ash as part of measures to prevent the spread of ash dieback disease.

Given that the disease is now endemic not really going to achieve much. Except of course accelerating the day when the lights go out. For we\’re converting several coal fired stations (inc. Drax, the largest of them all) to burning woodchips.

Which will need to be imported as the nation just doesn\’t have enough wood to cover the needs. And if we ban woodchip imports (and no fair saying it\’s \”only ash\”. Here\’s a 300,000 tonne boat. Now sir, you promise and hope to die that there\’s no ash anywhere in your 300,000 tonnes?) then we can\’t generate the \’leccie any more.

But Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP and member of the environment select committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today there should be further action to stop woodchip used as “biomass” fuel being brought in.

He said: “It seems to me that the Government, in addition to banning seedlings, which are a clear factor of transmission of this disease, should also be considering banning not all biomass but the ash woodchip that contains twigs and leaves.”

And don\’t think that the little fucker doesn\’t know that.

How to lie with numbers Climate Change Committee version

Household energy bills will be about £600 higher per year by the end of the decade if the UK relies increasingly on gas, the government\’s climate advisers warned on Thursday.

But the Committee on Climate Change found that bills would only be £100 higher than today\’s average dual fuel bill of about £1,300, if the country concentrated on renewable power generation, such as wind power.

Entirely done and dusted then, eh?

Renewables will be cheaper than gas.

Their core assumption? The DECC one that gas prices will rise from where they are now. They take the DECC middle estimate.

What is the one thing that none of the DECC estimates take account of? Not even the low estimate?

Fracking for shale gas gets green light in UK

Ed Davey has lifted a suspension on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, on the condition of strict seismic controls

That\’s right, they\’ve entirely, and deliberately, ignored the impact of shale gas. Which has, as we know, reduced the US price to what is it, one third of the current UK price?

Decc has been, entirely laughably, known to insist that all shale produced will be exported and thus not affect domestic prices.

They\’re all lying, absolutely and deliberately. Hang the fuckers, all of them.

Can\’t economists do maths any more?

In the last decade and a half China, which has grown at an annual average of 10%, has increased its spending on research and development by 170%.

Hmm.

Of course, we need both general stimulus spending – in areas such as healthcare, education and infrastructure – and directed investment in strategic new technologies and sectors. But the global economic race will be won mainly on the latter, and the winners will earn more profits for welfare programmes. Indeed, as has been shown in research by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the investment multiplier is higher when public investment is directed to growth areas rather than just \”digging ditches\” and filling them up again. But direction requires vision, courage, and solidarity – all casualties of the latest European crisis.

I do hope I\’ve got this straight. China\’s increase in R&D spending is used as an argument that we Europeans should increase our R&D sending, yes?

China\’s been growing at 10% per year for 15 years. GDP of 100 at the start of that period would be 417 at the end of it. Or a 317% rise in GDP if you prefer.

And R&D spending has risen by 170%. That is, fallen substantially as a portion of GDP.

This is used as an argument in favour of increasing R&D spending, is it?