Tag Archives: FTSE 100

A quick thought about the Conservative ‘tax lock’ silliness

Anyone who thinks David Cameron’s promise of a five-year ‘tax lock’ is a good idea must need psychiatric help.

Cameron promised to introduce a law banning income tax, VAT or national insurance increases in the next parliament if the Conservative Party is elected back into office, clearly in the belief that anybody on average wages or less is too stupid to know what this means.

We know better, don’t we?

We know that taxes are set according to each income group’s ability to pay. This means that people in the lowest taxable bracket pay the lowest amount, as they need most of the money they earn in order to pay their way. The amount of tax then increases by increments up to the highest earners – who take home considerably more than they need to survive, and who can therefore afford to contribute a much larger amount with no impact on their quality of life.

We also know that a five-year ‘tax lock’ will not affect the lowest-earning people at all. Nobody earning up to £10,600 pays any tax at the moment, so a freeze on nothing is still nothing.

What will it do to the people in the highest tax bracket? Well, it depends what they earn and how fast their pay increases, doesn’t it? Let’s have a look at the handy guide to average UK pay rises, created by fellow blogger Tom Pride last November:


So the director of a FTSE 100 company, paid the average amount of a mere £2.4 million, would have contributed 45 per cent in tax, or £1.08 million in the 2014-15 tax year. Over a five-year period, if that person’s income continued to rise at 14 per cent, then by 2020 – at a 45 per cent tax rate – they would pay a total of £8,138,360 in tax over the years until 2020. That’s certainly a respectable figure.

But Labour has proposed an increase in the top rate of tax, back to 50 per cent. Under the same conditions, this would mean FTSE 100 directors earning £2.4 million in the tax year 2014-15 would pay £9,042,623.

That’s a difference of £904,263; nearly a million pounds each.

This writer doesn’t have current figures for banker salaries and cannot, therefore, work out how much tax they would pay – but you can see for yourself that the difference between the two scenarios is likely to come to several million pounds per top banker.

Those people don’t need that amount of money in order to survive. The cost of living in the UK is less than 1/50 of what the FTSE directors take home, let alone the bankers. But David Cameron wants them to keep that money.

Meanwhile the UK Treasury goes without millions of pounds that could be used to help balance the national deficit, pay off the national debt, and boost the economy.

We’re back to ‘Starve the Beast’ economics again. The nation’s finances can go to Hell, as far as Cameron is concerned. He wants to starve the Treasury with tax cuts for the rich – either actual cuts or de facto cuts like his ‘tax lock’ – and then claim that public services cost too much and will have to be scrapped or sold off to rich corporations in return for donations to the Conservative Party – as we have seen in the years of the Coalition Government (most obviously in the case of the NHS).

Unless you are a banker, an FTSE100 director, or a member of Parliament, you would be mad to support such a wasteful and selfish plan.

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Inflation drop doesn’t mean wages will rise

'For the privileged few': If you're earning the average wage of £26,500 per year, or less, then nothing George Osborne says will be relevant to you.

‘For the privileged few’: If you’re earning the average wage of £26,500 per year, or less, then nothing George Osborne says will be relevant to you.

Why are the mainstream media so keen to make you think falling inflation means your wages will rise?

There is absolutely no indication that this will happen.

If you are lucky, and the drop in inflation (to 1.7 per cent) affects things that make a difference to the pound in your pocket, like fuel prices, groceries and utility bills, then their prices are now outstripping your ability to pay for them at a slightly slower rate. Big deal.

The reports all say that private sector wages are on the way up – but this includes the salaries of fatcat company bosses along with the lowest-paid office cleaners.

FTSE-100 bosses all received more pay by January 8 than average workers earn in a year. Their average annual pay rise is 14 per cent. Bankers get 35 per cent. These are all included in the national private sector average of 1.7 per cent, which means you get a lot less than the figures suggest.

Occasional Chancellor George Osborne said: “These latest inflation numbers are welcome news for families.” Why? Because they aren’t sinking into debt quite as fast as they were last month? They’re great news for the fatcats mentioned above, along with MPs, who are in line to get an inflation-busting 11 per cent rise; but as far as families are concerned, rest assured he’s lying again.

“Lower inflation and rising job numbers show our long-term plan is working, and bringing greater economic security,” he had the cheek to add. Employment has risen, although we should probably discount a large proportion of the self-employed statistics as these are most likely people who’ve been encouraged to claim tax credits rather than unemployment benefits and will be hit with a huge overpayment bill once HMRC finds out (as discussed in many previous articles).

The problem is, Britain’s economic performance has not improved in line with the number of extra jobs. If we have more people in work now than ever before in this nation’s history, then the economy should be going gangbusters – surging ahead, meaning higher pay for everybody and a much bigger tax take for the government, solving its debt reduction problem and ensuring it can pay for our public services – right?

We all know that isn’t happening. It isn’t happening because the large employment figures are based on a mixture of lies and low wages. The economy can’t surge forward because ordinary people aren’t being paid enough – and ordinary working people are the ones who fuel national economies; from necessity they spend a far higher percentage of their earnings than the fatcats and it is the circulation of this money that generates profit, and tax revenues.

Osborne compounded his lies by adding: “There is still much more we need to do to build the resilient economy I spoke of at the Budget.” He has no intention of doing any such thing. He never had.

Conservative economic policy is twofold, it seems: Create widescale unemployment in order to depress wages for those who do the actual work and boost profits for bosses and shareholders; and cut the national tax take to ensure that they can tell us the UK cannot afford a welfare state, opening the door for privatised medicine and private health and income insurance firms.

This is why, as has been discussed very recently, leaders of the Margaret Thatcher era including Nicholas Ridley and Keith Joseph determined that the defeat of the workers would require “the substantial destruction of Britain’s remaining industrial base” (according to ‘The Impact of Thatcherism on Health and Well-Being in Britain’). It is, therefore, impossible for George Osborne to seek to build any “resilient economy” that will improve your lot, unless you are a company boss, banker, or shareholder.

The plan to starve the public sector, as has been repeated many times on this blog, has been named ‘Starving the Beast’ and involves ensuring that the tax take cannot sustain public services by keeping working wages so low that hardly any tax comes in (the Tory Democrat determination to raise the threshold at which takes is paid plays right into this scheme) and cutting taxes for the extremely well-paid (and we have seen this take place, from 50 per cent to 45. Corporation tax has also been cut by 25 per cent).

This is why Ed Balls is right to say that average earnings are £1,600 per year less than in May 2010, why Labour is right to point out that the economy is still performing well below its height under Labour…

… and why the government and the mainstream media are lying to you yet again.

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Another Cameron lie: Energy companies’ profits are unaffected by his changes – and we still pay

Cost shock: Even the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph has been complaining about high energy prices - as demonstrated by this cartoon from 2012.

Cost shock: Even the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph has been complaining about high energy prices – as demonstrated by this cartoon from 2012.

To borrow a favourite David Cameron phrase: Let us be clear on this – any savings on your fuel bills as a result of the Coalition government’s policy change will be added to general taxation in another way and you will still pay.

Energy firms’ profits, which have tripled since 2010, will be unaffected. Cameron’s plan is akin to shifting deckchairs on the Titanic (to borrow another well-known saying).

Why on Earth does he think anybody is going to be deceived by this silliness?

Even with the changes in place, prices will still rise by an average of around £70, at a time when people were already being forced to choose between (let’s have yet another now-tired phrase) heating and eating. Average household incomes have dropped by nine per cent since David Cameron made himself Prime Minister by the back door three years ago.

Average pay for bosses of FTSE-100 companies has risen by 20 times the rate of pay growth for most workers, just in the last year. And let’s not forget that they were getting much higher than average pay already!

It should surprise nobody that all of the ‘Big Six’ energy firms are part of the FTSE-100 – or were, before foreign takeovers.

This means average pay for these companies’ bosses should be around £2,321,700, while profits have risen to £2 billion – up 75 per cent on last year (according to the Independent reports).

None of this will be changed by David Cameron’s measures, which were hastily cobbled together in a bungled bid to regain the initiative from Labour, whose plan to freeze energy prices and re-order the energy market has captured the public imagination.

Instead Cameron – who once campaigned under the slogan ‘Vote Blue – Go Green’ – will postpone green policy targets to a later date, cutting the so-called ‘green levy’ on the energy firms accordingly. This means the UK will be forced to rely on greenhouse gas-producing carbon fuels for longer.

Subsidies for people in fuel poverty will be moved into general taxation, meaning we pay for them rather than the energy firms who should.

“Even after these changes to levies, energy bills are still rising and the average household will still be paying £70 more for their energy than last winter,” said Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Caroline Flint. “Any help is better than none, but you can judge this Government by who they’re asking to pick up the tab – the taxpayer. The energy companies have got off scot-free.

“This shows why nothing less than a price freeze and action to reset the market to stop the energy companies overcharging again in the future will do.”

She was expected to tell the IPPR thinktank today: “If David Cameron and Nick Clegg think just doing what the energy companies ask of them is the answer to bills being too high, they are wrong.

“Energy bills have gone up by £120 this winter alone, so even with a £50 cut in levies, people’s bills will still be higher this winter than last year. The real reason bills are rising year on year without justification is because the energy market is broken.

“Instead of bailing out the energy companies, David Cameron should stand up to them and stop them overcharging people.”

But we all know that David Cameron never stands up to his corporate masters, don’t we?

(Vox Political‘s Mike Sivier will be talking about the energy scandal, along with the continuing cover-up of DWP-related deaths on Sonia Poulton Live today. You can see it by visiting www.thepeoplesvoice.tv, starting at 5pm.)

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This wage-induced slavery is not science fiction

Would you want to live in this kind of Britain - where the rich and privileged live it up in huge high-status dirigibles while you and I toil in dirty, pollution-spewing factories? If not, you need to do something about it - now.

Would you want to live in this kind of Britain – where the rich and privileged live it up in huge high-status dirigibles while you and I toil in dirty, pollution-spewing factories? If not, you need to do something about it – now.

A few years ago, an entertaining TV drama presented an image of a Britain very similar to ours – but with a few significant differences.

The rich no longer lived in the cities, but swanned around overhead, flaunting their wealth in giant dirigibles. Working people seemed perfectly happy to put up with a military presence on every street and a curfew in the evening, because their mobile phone technology had developed into ear-‘pods’ that downloaded the latest (and undoubtedly pre-approved) ‘news’ directly into their heads.

It was both amusing and chilling when the day’s ‘joke’ came down the wire and everybody laughed at once. Good little robots.

Of course, the Doctor saved the day – but not before thousands of these characters were turned into Cybermen (let’s face it, they were halfway there already) and many more had been killed.

Good thing it’s just fantasy, isn’t it?


Isn’t this exactly what ‘bookmanwales’ was telling us in his comment on the recent Vox Political article about David Cameron’s intentions?

“Whilst you can make the information available for people to see what is happening they are not interested,” he wrote.

“’Can I afford the latest iPhone?’ ‘Can I get totally p**sed at the weekend?’… and ‘How cool does my new car look?’ are at the forefront of most people’s minds.

“The pursuit of personal pleasure has overtaken simple reason. It matters not that you have to work 8 or 16 hours a day as long as you possess these luxuries.

“It doesn’t matter if you see no family or friends, doesn’t matter if you sleep all day when you are off. You have the things that matter because TV tells you having those things matter.”

It’s only a small step from that to “It doesn’t matter if your employers take more and more for themselves and give you less and less, literally looking down on you from a great height; doesn’t matter that it costs more and more to buy the status symbols you want and they give you less and less purchasing power; you are doing what matters in the best possible way because that is what they tell you”.

So we come to the announcement over the weekend that wages, here in the UK, have declined faster and further than almost anywhere else in Europe – and the fact that nobody batted an eyelid.

Adjusted for inflation, our hourly wages have fallen by a massive 5.5 per cent since mid-2010 – that’s the fourth-worst decline among all of the 27 EU nations, recorded in the country with the sixth-largest economy in the world (some say seventh).

Only Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands had a steeper decline – and their economies stand at 36-40th, 49th and 17th in world rankings.

Meanwhile, according to Michael Meacher MP, chief executives of the FTSE-100 – the top British companies – have increased their own pay to 133 times the diminishing national average.

They’re laughing at you. They think you’re beaten; that you’ve been brainwashed into conditioned helplessness and into believing that your status-symbol phone or car or television actually means something. Meanwhile, they have been taking everything.

And, as long as you carry on playing their game, their way, they’re right.

The rot starts with the government and it is with the government that you must start to change it. Nobody else will do this for you; you must stand up for yourself or your bosses and corrupt officials will walk right over you. Government sets the conditions in which populations either flourish or are repressed. We describe repressive governments as tyrannies, despotisms, dictatorships.

How would you describe the government of the UK?

Take a good, hard look at your own MP. Have they represented your interests? Are you better-off, now, than you were when they were elected in 2010? Don’t try to excuse them by saying times have been hard – that’s clearly nonsense, otherwise those FTSE-100 executives wouldn’t be enjoying such monumental pay hikes. If they are members of the Coalition parties, have they done anything to safeguard your interests against the crippling damage done by government policies? Anything at all? If there are members of the Opposition, have they vowed to redress the balance by restoring the rights and powers that have been stripped away from you – not just in the last three years but the previous 30 as well?


Then get rid of them and put someone in their place who will. It’s not rocket science!

Join the political party of your choice, link up with like-minded people and make a difference. Stop believing you are free, just because a politician tells you so. Freedom can never be taken for granted. People have had to fight for it down the generations and these times are no different.

Or would you rather go back to sleep and play Angry Birds (or whatever is the new fashion) until they come to euthanase you?

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: Our hard work has put some people up among the stars; isn’t it time to ask why we are still in the gutter?

(The first Vox Political book, Strong Words and Hard Times, is available now in paperback or as an eBook, including a large ‘footnotes’ section in which you can actually connect to internet links containing supporting evidence – if you’re reading on a device that supports this kind of activity.)

What does the man from Del Monte say about this?

He’d probably say that handling stolen goods is a crime for which the penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment.

The Conservative Party here in the UK is continuing the tradition of financial double-standards for which it is becoming – justly – infamous, by refusing to hand back an alleged £440,000 of stolen money that was donated by convicted tycoon Asil Nadir in the 1990s.

The 71-year-old businessman was formerly head of Polly Peck International, a company that at one time owned the Del Monte fruit juice company whose most famous campaign featured the line “The man from Del Monte, he say ‘yes’!” (that’s the connection with our headline).

Polly Peck expanded rapidly in the 1980s to become an FTSE 100 company, but collapsed even more rapidly in 1990, leaving £1.3 billion worth of debts.

Asil Nadir fled the country in 1993, to escape 70 criminal charges of false accounting and the theft of £29 million from Polly Peck. He returned to fight his case in court during 2010 but was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on August 23.

The connection with the Conservative Party is that, between 1985 and 1990, Asil Nadir donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to Tory funds. The Conservatives have refused to hand it back, insisting that it was received in good faith from a legitimate business.

The problem with that, for the Tories, is we now know enough to believe that it wasn’t.

The Labour Party has called for the money to be returned, and that call has been supported by Lord McAlpine, who was Conservative Party treasurer when the donations were made. He described the money as “tainted”.

A BBC report quoted him as follows: “The money was not Asil Nadir’s to give, although we thought it was at the time.

“Therefore the Tory party has a duty to return it. It will speak volumes about the character of the modern Tory party if they don’t do the right thing.”

Former Tory chairman Norman Fowler made it clear in 2010 that “we will return the money if it was stolen”.

But now the Conservative Party is trying to weasel out of handing back the cash, saying it never received personal donations from Nadir, and has no evidence that the money received via his business interests was stolen.

I don’t think that matters.

The man who was treasurer at the time, and therefore took delivery of the cash, clearly does believe the donation was unlawful.

The Theft Act 1968, section 22, states that a person is guilty of handling stolen goods if, believing them to be stolen, he dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal or disposal, by or for the benefit of another person, or if he arranges to do so. Penalty: 14 years’ imprisonment on indictment.

Reference to stolen goods includes goods which have been stolen by theft, blackmail or deception. It includes goods, whether in their original state or not, and other goods which represent the stolen goods in the hands of the handler.

Considering the evidence, I reckon we only need to see one of the 17,000+ people, who was formerly employed by Polly Peck or one of its subsidiaries, come forward and make a complaint to the police that the Conservative Party has received stolen goods in the form of this money, and the leaders of the ruling party in the British government will be facing the prospect of 14 years in jail.

Would anybody like to come forward and lay charges?