But of course it’s all Sir Phil’s fault, isn’t it?

Britain’s generous defined benefit pensions have plumbed further depths during August, reaching another record-breaking deficit of £459.4bn as the scramble for bond assets and the interest rate cut sent their liabilities soaring.

21 thoughts on “But of course it’s all Sir Phil’s fault, isn’t it?”

  1. Tim

    Very slim pickings on TRUK but the post ‘solving the problem of road fund license abuse’ is a gem – Murphy is speculating on how to tackle evasion of Car Tax and advocates anyone without a valid tax disc and MOT being barred from fuelling their vehicles – how it will work is anyone’s guess, but then for Murphy, he doesn’t care about the devil in the detail – the ‘Curajus state’ will take care of that!

  2. Bilbaoboy

    Unfunded Public Sector pensions has to run into the trillions, at least up until very recently I would imagine – I do know some of the pensions schemes (Local government in particular) have been switched to defined contribution so it could be less than it was a decade ago – still huge though….

  3. Murphy is speculating on how to tackle evasion of Car Tax and advocates anyone without a valid tax disc and MOT being barred from fuelling their vehicles

    Is he really wondering why 100% of the cars on the road these days are dodging car tax? Or was that just a shorthand executive summary of his screed when you say “tax disc”?

  4. “advocates anyone without a valid tax disc and MOT being barred from fuelling their vehicles – how it will work is anyone’s guess”

    Actually quite doable one suspects – in my local garage (Sainsburys) they have a number recognition security system, you can see the screen focusing on the plates and getting the number off while paying. So linking that to the databases of insurance, tax and MOT via internet would be feasible I assume.

    The downside of this IT is that it makes 1984 horribly possible, indeed probable.

  5. Of course being Ritchie he can’t consider second order effects – the massive rise in black market fuel trading that would result. Indeed such a system would mean if you ran out of fuel you wouldn’t be able to walk to the nearest garage and fill a fuel can, as you’d have no car………..getting fuel for your lawn mower might prove hard work too…….If on the other hand filling a can at a garage was still OK, all you’d need was a mate with a legit car to go to the garage in………………………

  6. Jim

    As always an excellent point you make and I agree it would be feasible technically – but the first time it adversely affects anyone of ‘minority status’ or leaves a woman stranded on a forecourt in a dodgy part of town it will run into some practical difficulties I imagine….

  7. Jim

    He has the least understanding of second order consequences of anyone I have ever seen put fingers to keyboard – really totally clueless, and even worse when these potential impacts are pointed out to him he cites a ‘comments policy’ or calls the offending party a troll and bans them – a mature approach to disagreement I have always admired.

  8. The downside of this IT is that it makes 1984 horribly possible, indeed probable.

    As many have said before – it was supposed to be a warning, not a fucking instruction manual…

  9. I understand that the DB local government scheme is a funded scheme – the only large funded scheme in the government sector.

    Yesterday’s papers were full of outrage about a small funded scheme, the BoE scheme. This year (or maybe last?) the employer’s contribution is/was 54% of salary. I find that a useful measure of how impossibly expensive DB schemes are. Especially since that one had been invested heavily in index-linked gilts, which must surely have done well as (what a coincidence!) – interest rates collapsed.

  10. Dearieme

    I know there is a DB scheme but I think it is largely closed to new entrants below a certain grade – so they have two schemes running in parallel.

    You hit on a deeper point here, as does Tim, as trying to invest in Chimeras (high yielding, low risk assets which really no longer exist in a world of QE and ZIRP) makes the schemes themselves by defintiion an impossible attempt to square a circle. The only way you could possibly get the growth is to invest in riskier assets but if those assets turn sour of course the sceme is f&^^ked.

    This is IMHO the largest timebomb ticking in contemporary British politics. When it blows, the multi person gallows that Tim and I (among others) have been calling for for years will get plenty of use….

  11. I went for an interview at the BoE a couple of years ago.

    35 hour week. Lousy salary, fantastic pension, real sense of occasion when I walked into the building. Onsite doctor and dentist which would have been useful.

    Didn’t get the job.

  12. “The downside of this IT is that it makes 1984 horribly possible, indeed probable”

    The motorway system is already littered with ANPR cameras linked (no doubt) to some gigantic database recording all our journeys for anyone who wants to know about them. (Except us, of course – if YOU ask it’ll be “can’t tell you because of Data Protection”)

    So worrying about surveillance at petrol stations is a bit silly.

  13. The Murphaloon wants to turn us into a gigantic police state where everyone is tasked with policing everyone else.

    On that bonkers petrol idea, The cost of linking up every petrol station in the land to a reliable database capable of coping with millions of enquiries every day would, I imagine, be huge For sure, the big supermarkets would fall in line but small independents might be tempted to circumvent the system and how in God’s name would you then police it?

    The ‘real world’ is so much more complicated than the Murphaloon’s little imagination can cope with. Time and again he advances ideas that superficially might seem good but 15 seconds thought shows endless flaws.

  14. As soon as I heard of the paperless Road fund tax, I thought that this was yet another job the Old Bill couldn’t be arsed to do anymore, along with catching criminals, points duty, checking for dangerous driving, nabbing the drunk and disorderly etc. Does anyone know what the police actually do other than sweeping motorways after an accident?

  15. Andrew C

    ‘The cost of linking up every petrol station in the land to a reliable database capable of coping with millions of enquiries every day would, I imagine, be huge’

    a drop in the ocean when there has been £2000 trillion of QE already, and due to the multiplier effect we will get an excellent ROI on this spend.

    ‘For sure, the big supermarkets would fall in line but small independents might be tempted to circumvent the system and how in God’s name would you then police it?’

    by employing more people from the PCS

    ‘The ‘real world’ is so much more complicated than the Murphaloon’s little imagination can cope with. Time and again he advances ideas that superficially might seem good but 15 seconds thought shows endless flaws’.

    Shall we deal in reality here.

    Statistics show my blog is the most read on economics in the UK

    But you choose to ignore that

    I wonder why

    That is your last contribution here

  16. Wasn’t there a case a few years back where a couple was visiting lay-bys where there were drivers stopping overnight and she was exchanging sex for fuel instead of cash, could be seen as ahead of their time if murphys Plan came into play

  17. Regarding Murphy’s “tax disc” dodge… In order for it to work it would have to be linked to the pump control system, stopping the pump from running if the vehicle failed the database check. No point doing it at the point of payment – it would just lead to a masive rise in bilking.

    But what a target for a hack!! Nobble the database so that it always returned a fail and bring the roads to a halt as queues spilled out onto the road outside every filling station, supermarkets would have their access roads jammed, etc etc. 🙂

  18. The paper disc for road tax was scrapped, what, three years ago now?

    Before that happened, the DVLA went on a bit of a blitz with mobile ANPR vehicles parked up in various places, as the roadside cameras were being installed. There are two near us. They’re about the same height as streetlights, slightly thicker poles, and dark green. Dual box affair at the top, presumably one camera for each side of the road. Each box is about the same size as the new speed cameras, which are about a quarter of the size of the old film based ones.

    About the same time, they sorted out their database, which was basically fucked. One of our cars, a P reg, could never be taxed online, as the system refused to recognise at least one of; the MOT, the insurance, the serial number on the reminder, and a couple of times, the vehicle registration number. Also, the Police dashboard cameras got upgraded, so pretty much all police vehicles now have ANPR as well. Got pulled over by a dog handler (Sussex force) and had the conversation about the state of the DVLA database as her system showed no MOT or insurance, and I had the (just renewed) insurance certificate with me by chance. Turned up at my local cop shop with the rest of the documentation, different force, to have the desk guy exclaim, “I don’t know why they fucking still bother with this, we stopped years ago”.

    See also the (admittedly, fairly obscure) story that arose a few years further back, where an FOI request showed that the DVLA had sold the registration database to one of the supermarkets’ banks, who revealed that that when they started using it, presumably to flog car insurance, discovered that it was basically useless.

    So, at the moment, the DVLA database is actually fit for purpose, Plod has ANPR in nearly all vehicles, there’s a network of ANPR cameras covering A and a fair few B roads, there’s a fleet of vehicles with ANPR that can be deployed, and the evasion rate is a problem?

    From Wikipedia; 2009 car tax revenue : £5.63b, about twice the BBC’s budget, or given 2009/10 total tax revenue of £485.7b (from the Guardian) about 1.2% of the total take.
    2006 estimated “loss” : £214m. About 4%.
    2009/10 estimated loss : £33.9m. So about 60 bp?

    Fuck off, that’s a rounding error.

    You can, by definition, get the evasion rate to zero by scrapping the fucking tax. If you must, stick the charge on the MOT, IPT or split it across both. Or just up fuel duty. And the damn thing has been treated as part of general taxation since 1937.

    (Come to think of it: 2012/13 total take £550.6b, VED £6b, Fuel Duty £26.8b. VED+FD is £33b or a rise of 22% so about another 11p duty on fuel, or just under 10% a litre. Plus the VAT. Hmm. You’d have to phase it in over a few years, cutting VED each year. Like that would happen.)

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