Your Tax Money At Work

Setting up a working lunch on Tinder

Working lunches could be exempt from Covid lockdown restrictions after an apparent “loophole” emerged.

Meeting people inside pubs and restaurants in tier 2 and tier 3 areas such as London, York and Manchester is not allowed as part of efforts to try and contain the spread of coronavirus
But last night No 10 and local authorities suggested that such meetings were permitted so long as they are for work purposes.

There are undoubtedly professionals who use Tinder to set up working lunches. Expect those not actually professional to claim that the Tinder meets – and andless other kinds of non-professional meets – are in fact working lunches.

Incentives, they matter.

Oh, well done, well done

The NHS test and trace app cannot be downloaded by most over-sixties because their smartphones are too old, a new survey indicates.
A leading charity for older people has accused the government of failing to think through the needs of the group most vulnerable to the virus, after releasing findings that just 31 per cent of its members have installed the NHS Covid-19 app.
Of the majority who have not, nearly six in seven said it was because their mobile phone was too old to support the technology.
….
The app is available to download for free from the Android Market and Apple App Store. However, the technology only works on phones which have iOS 13.5 or above installed, or Android 5.0.
Android 5 was released six years ago, and most Android smartphones are compatible with the NHS app.
However, iOS 13.5 was only released in May 2020 so requires users to have a very up-to-date operating system.
In addition, iOS 13 is only compatible on the iPhone 6s and newer

People with feature phones are entirely out of luck of course. The market for feature phones still exists and, amazing, tends elderly. Because that’s how you make a phone with lovely great big buttons that are easy for elderly hands to find and elderly eyes to see.

Vry well done there.

I’m a Believer

How to gain a quango job in the progressive world:

Given that the party appointed a woman who does not believe in structural racism to the government commission on racial inequalities, the Tories’ investigation into their issues with race and Islam is unlikely to be a rigorous affair.

Only those who already believe might be allowed to consider what should be believed.

Horizon IT system

This Fujitsu/ICL system for post offices clearly had some major failing in it.

But does anyone know what it was? General journalism isn’t likely to tell us and the computer press might not go into the details of the accounting.

Post offices were being registered as collecting more cash than they had. That’s why post masters were said to owe the system money, or to have been skimming cash and all that.

OK, but what was the error of the cash counting system? What bit was it that went wrong? Was it doubling the amount that should be there for TV licences or something? What, exactly, was the accounting error?

Anyone know?

Train nationalisation

It occurs to me that this could be more expensive. I don’t know the figures and would be grateful to anyone who does. But think it through for a bit.

Under the old system there were some companies that needed subsidies. And others that coughed up for the privilege of running a franchise.

Under the new there will be a 2% of turnover fee for running something. There will be no payments into the Treasury for running a franchise. The subsidies will have to stay.

So, “profits” will disappear, there’s just the 2% of turnover to be had for the private companies. And whatever profits those cash flow positive franchises had will now go to the Treasury.

So, for this to be a financial net positive for the Treasury the profits flowing in – from people paid a flat percentage of turnover recall, so with no incentive to stamp upon costs – have to be greater than that 2% fee.

Who thinks that’s going to be true over time?

Doesn’t this just fuck the NHS then?

It examines a puzzle: why were vessels on this route, a monopoly of the Spanish crown, three times more likely to sink than those journeying between the Netherlands and East Asia?

Historians cite the weather as the main reason why one in eight ships, carrying incredibly valuable spices and silver between the Philippines and Mexico, sank. But the researchers pose a different possibility – that monopoly restrictions on ship numbers incentivised bribe-taking by galleon officials, undermining limits on cargo weight. Overloaded vessels have a tendency to sink, and one galleon, the San José, went down with cargo equivalent to almost 2% of the entire Spanish empire’s GDP.

We spend a lot of time worrying about the negative impact of monopolies in raising prices. But we need to take a wider view of their damage, which can include lower wages for workers and, it turns out, being lost at sea.

Oh come on people

Large numbers of people will be refused coronavirus tests even if they have symptoms under Government plans to ration testing if the crisis deepens,

You’ve had 6 months to get testing sorted out. It’s possible to do basic tests – basic note – for £1 a piece with reagent dosed paper hankies.

No, it wouldn’t be any better if Jezza had been in charge. But seriously, why do we give, or have taken from us, 35% of everything to a structure that can’t even manage this?

On the subject of benefits benefiting the employer

In an earlier discussion, many pointing out that the benefits system benefits the employer.

Well, sorta.

Benefits that you get whether you work or not – child benefit, housing benefit – and are either fixed or dependent upon income do not benefit the employer. Because they’re not reliant upon you being in work or not.

Benefits dependent upon your being in work could benefit the employer. Say, working tax credits from Gordon Brown. They’re based upon the EITC in the US and the usual thought is that about 30% benefits the employer – they can pay lower wages as a result – and the other 70% benefits the employee.

One of those questions

I’ll never forget trying to feed myself and my son on £10 a week. I was a single mum, absolutely skint and living hand to mouth, even after I started working as a trainee reporter for the Southend Echo, following 18 long months of looking for a job.

In all the stories about Jack Monroe I never did work out why the father of the child wasn’t chipping in.

It is still a legal requirement that he do so, isn’t it?

Then there’s this which is just stupid:

most benefits are paid to people in work, which means our taxes are bailing out the poverty-level wages paid by corporations who dole their profits out to shareholders rather than their staff

If they’re paid to staff then they’re not profits, are they?

So, I was wondering

Who in buggery are these people?

How do we know it was bad to begin with? That information comes from studies such as the one conducted by the Intergenerational Foundation, a charity that funds research into the growing divide between the generations, which found that the social wellbeing of Britain’s twentysomethings declined by 70% between 1991 and 2017-18, the period for which the latest data is available.

Looking around I find that Danny Dorling is involved.

So, it’s complete bollocks then. A useful shortcut that.

Could be a clue here

“I don’t understand why Blackpool has so much poverty. Everyone should be pulling together as a community.” She said that to level up the differences “there should be more funding from the government”.

She was forced had to take out loans to cope with rising bills and is now struggling with debts.

“I’m worried about that, I’m a single mum and will not be working until she starts school.

Scary thought

The New Yorker recently reported that Biden has been reading How Democracies Die, by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Good start. Now he needs to read Stephanie Kelton on The Deficit Myth. Or better yet, appoint her to head OMB.

Of course, Ritchie would immediately claim he’d invented it all…

This seems reasonable

Hospitals in England carried out almost 180 operations a day on children and teenagers last year to remove rotting teeth, costing the NHS more than £40m.

The NHS being there to service the health needs of the population, right?

After all, it would be entirely ridiculous to suggest that we the population are there to serve the NHS.