Tag Archives: rich

Starmer runs out of credibility – and cash – and runs to the rich as Labour supporters run away

Another chance missed: Keir Starmer’s Marr Show letdown was the first of two broadcasting balls-ups for the Neoliberal Democrat Labour leader last week. His party is losing members because the people won’t support him – so he’s running to the rich.

It should have been a cakewalk.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have screwed up the United Kingdom in the worst possible ways since before the December 2019 election. The leader of the main Opposition party should have had hearts and minds of the public, there for the taking.

But the leader in question was Keir Starmer, currently in charge of the Other Conservative Party, currently masquerading under the misnomer ‘Labour Party’.

When he gave his interview to Andrew Marr, the representative example of the public on Channel 4’s Gogglebox took a look – and the verdict was damning:

One doesn’t have to imagine how Starmer responded to this; in fact, one imagines this parody account has come close to the truth:

Result: well, party membership was haemorrhaging already but that flood hasn’t abated!

As a result, it seems Starmer’s cash is running out. How ironic that, now the party has been re-taken by the wing that reckons it’s better with money than the Left, it has spaffed all the extra cash accrued by the Left-wing leader up the wall.

So, in order to get money, it appears Starmer has copied the Tories again:

Think of the Conservative Party’s annual Black and White Ball fundraiser.

Of course, this information comes from Gabriel Pogrund*, who I wouldn’t normally trust to tell me what the weather’s like, but as there appears to be documentary evidence of this, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Starmer has also sent personalised letters to lapsed party donors:

This Writer hopes Starmer fails to attract the cash.

Firstly, if he does get it, he’ll finish Labour:

Moreover: His version of New Labour is nowhere near as investible as Tony Blair’s; he has made too many public relations blunders (again, he’s like the Tories in that respect). The Andrew Marr/Gogglebox incident is only the latest.

And if the rich donors don’t come back, they won’t be able to give Starmer any more excuses to steer Labour even further into Toryism.

Then who will Starmer ask for help?

That’s why, while This Writer can’t go back there (at least, not at the moment), I tend to agree with the following:

Monitor this situation closely. There may yet be a chance to bring democracy back to the UK.

*Pogrund wrote a story about This Writer in The Sunday Times that was riddled with falsehoods, for which that newspaper was forced to publish a lengthy “correction and clarification” almost a year later (it took me that long to go through the IPSO complaints process).

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Raise taxes on the rich, voters tell Johnson. They’ll be disappointed – it was never in his manifesto

Voter confusion: a survey has shown that voters’ policy preferences indicate they should have put Labour in power, not the Tories.

The Independent reckons Boris Johnson is facing a dilemma after a survey found voters who gave him his election landslide want him to raise taxes on the rich.

There’s just one problem:

That was never a Conservative manifesto promise so he’s under no obligation to do anything of the sort.

Did these people not realise that they were voting for the promises the Tories put in their manifesto?

Voters have never had the right to make demands on a government after putting it in power.

And I know it must seem unfair, considering governments very rarely act according to their manifestos. Theresa May’s 2017 manifesto was obsolete almost before it was published.

And in Johnson’s case, the dilemma isn’t even “Does he deliver for Conservative voters or business leaders?” as the news website claims.

Johnson will deliver for himself, as always. If anybody else profits, that’ll be their good fortune.

But the survey does make one thing very clear.

Voters who want government intervention in the economy, tax rises for the wealthy and spending on public services made a mistake voting Tory.

Those were Labour policies.

Source: People who voted for Boris Johnson want government to raise taxes on the rich, survey finds | The Independent

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Another humiliation for Johnson – this time over claim life expectancy gap is narrowing

Boris Johnson: The blond lummox is humiliated again.

How many times does Boris Johnson have to make a fool of himself before we can do something about it?

Let me answer that: We’re 44 days into his new Parliament, meaning there are a potential 1,783 days of humiliation to come.

And it’s always possible that he’ll manage to make himself look a berk more than once per day.

Conclusion: It’s going to be a long five years.

The current humiliation concerns his claim that the gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor is narrowing; it isn’t.

Here’s The Independent:

The prime minister raised eyebrows when he told MPs the gap “is a disgrace”, then added: “None the less, it is coming down, and it will come down.”

In fact, official statistics last March showed women in the poorest parts of England are living three months fewer – while the average life span of women in the wealthiest areas is rising by almost as much.

The discrepancy between men in the richest and poorest areas has also widened by about three months, driven by a faster rise in life expectancy for the wealthy.

Alarmingly, decade-on-decade improvements in life expectancy began to tail off in 2011 – a shock change blamed by some experts on the government’s harsh austerity programme.

Alex Cunningham, the Labour MP who raised the issue, said: “The prime minister is renowned for making things up” – and there wasn’t much that BoJob could say in response.

And Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “If the prime minister really wants to unite the country, he has to learn how to tell the truth.”

If we believe that, then the country will never be united because there’s no chance of Boris Johnson ever learning to tell the truth!

Source: Boris Johnson forced to retreat on false claim life expectancy gap between rich and poor is narrowing under the Tories | The Independent

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Tax offices refuse to charge rich people with evasion – to avoid reputational damage

How sympathetic of our tax guardians! And if I get caught evading my tax responsibilities, will I receive the same treatment?

No?

Then this is unfair and must end.

It also seems contradictory. Look:

A senior HMRC official admitted that the UK tax authority panders to the rich and powerful when chasing them for tax evasion so they can avoid “reputational damage“.

If you ever had any doubt that in Britain there really is “one rule for them, and another for the rest of us“, this utterly astonishing admission by the UK’s tax authority proves it.

Richard Las, a deputy director of HMRC, said that criminal prosecutions are not the “default option” for cases of tax evasion, money laundering or fraud. He went on to say:

“When deciding whether to deploy our resources, we try to understand what motivates different types of offenders. For example some tax offenders are very wealthy, prominent members of the community. We know that these types of people do not want the reputational damage of custodial sentences, and we can use that to our advantage.”

I could understand this strategy if it resulted in a larger repayment to the Treasury, but the evidence indicates that it does not.

Can HMRC point to anyone who has paid more back to the state as a result of the organisation using the threat of reputational damage “to our advantage”? No – because that would make the whole exercise pointless.

And consider this: Is HMRC admitting it blackmails the rich?

The more one thinks about the HMRC statement, the less credible it seems.

This government department is apparently admitting blackmailing rich people with the threat of reputational damage if they don’t pay up – but we have no evidence to show that they have paid everything they owe.

We need a lot more information.

Source: HMRC refuses to charge rich and powerful people with tax evasion to ‘avoid damaging their reputation’ | Evolve Politics

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Tory policies are intentionally worsening the strain on the health service – and our health in general

A new report says inequality is costing the NHS millions of pounds a year [Image: Daniel Atkin/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo].

The evidence is conclusive, wouldn’t you say?

We know that Conservative policies have caused a regression in the nation’s health, generally.

People have less cash, which means they are less able to feed themselves properly, leading to malnutrition.

This, in turn, has led to the return of the so-called ‘Victorian’ diseases – gout, TB, measles, scurvy, rickets and whooping cough. The Conservatives are undoubtedly delighted by this, as they have long desired a return to Victorian-era values.

Employment policies mean people are finding it extremely hard to earn more cash, meaning not only are they unable to feed themselves properly, but they also increased levels of stress due to the odds being stacked against them.

And the increasingly unreasonable demands of employers – emboldened by the government – mean people are running themselves ragged simply trying to keep their jobs.

I have elaborated on the ways this is harmful to the economy in several articles over the past few years.

Those of us who are unemployed, in low-paying or in part-time employment are placed under increasing pressure to get work or increase our working hours and pay, by the benefit system. This also attacks our mental and physical health.

And those of us who are physically unable to get a job because of long-term illness, or who need particular aids to keep a job, because of disability, are also placed under huge pressures that adversely affect our health.

These are all consequences of Conservative government policy that affect the poor, rather than the rich – and all impact on our health in a hugely harmful way.

Yet the Conservative government insists it wants to improve our health. Clearly, that is a lie.

If it wasn’t, the Conservatives would not have opened up our National Health Service to private, profit-making corporations who take public money and put it straight into their bank accounts as profit, without it being used to improve the health of a single person.

They would not have deprived the health service of the funding it really needs, making it vulnerable to crisis after crisis that actually harms its ability to help people. We’re currently enduring the latest winter crisis, with a huge strain being placed on hospital accident and emergency departments.

There is a better way.

It’s simple: Encourage employers to provide secure, well-paid jobs that allow people to buy healthy, nutritious food. Happy employees produce better products and more profits, making it possible to hire more employees at superior rates.

The increase in high-quality jobs would mean an increase in tax revenue, easing the pressure on the benefit system, meaning there would be no reason for the extra pressures under which the current system places them and halting the relentless grind that is so harmful to their health.

The end result is less pressure on the health service, meaning it would no longer be over-stretched and may be more able to cope – not only with normal running issues but even with the crises that arise from time to time.

Everybody wins – even the profiteers, because they’ll be making more money.

Of course, every plan is fine until it is put into action and runs into the unexpected, but that’s why the government has so many clever employees in the civil service, along with so many clever advisors in think tanks and Universities.

So you see: The problems here are entirely manufactured by and on behalf of the Conservative Government of the United Kingdom – deliberately.

The Tories want you to be ill-fed, stressed, sick, mentally ill, and unable to access adequate healthcare.

It is a deliberate policy of theirs, although probably not one that you’ll ever see headlined in their manifesto.

But we must judge people on their actions, and the results of those actions, rather than on their words.

Children from poor families are far more likely to end up in hospital A&E departments or need emergency treatment for conditions such as asthma and diabetes, according to shocking figures revealing the consequences of poverty in Britain.

In findings that senior doctors said showed the “devastating impact” of deprivation on child health, the nation’s poorest teenagers were found to be almost 70 per cent more likely to appear in A&E than their less deprived counterparts.

A comprehensive study that examined hundreds of thousands of patient records found inequalities between children from the poorest and richest families were costing the NHS hundreds of millions a year and contributing to pressures on the health system.

Across the 10 most common conditions leading to unplanned hospital visits, the rates of admission were consistently highest among children and young people from the most deprived areas. The study, by the Nuffield Trust, found inequalities in some areas of child health had increased over the last decade in England, despite advances in care.

Source: Huge health gap revealed between UK’s rich and poor | Inequality | The Guardian


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Plutocracy in the UK: It seems the only qualification to rule is a massive bank account

Many of the donors dined secretly with Theresa May [Image: Rex Features].

The Tories can protest innocence all they like; what do YOU think these millionaires and billionaires discuss at these meals with ministers that they have bought with their hefty donations?

Call This Writer a cynic if you want, but I simply don’t think they discuss the weather.

Common sense suggests that, having spent a pretty penny propping up the Tories financially, these people will want a say in what those Tories do.

Of course, this would conflict with the principle of democracy, in which the Tories would be expected to do in government what they promised in the manifesto that was supported by a large proportion of the voting public.

(That’s the manifesto that seems to have been whitewashed out of history, as you’ll remember.)

The suggestion of corruption is heightened by the fact that the Tories had to be pushed into complying with their promise to name Leaders Group meal guests, the fact that all of these guests are spectacularly rich Tory donors and none of them are poor, and the fact that the Tories refuse to disclose what was discussed and whether it had any effect on their policies.

What are we to conclude – if not that the only qualification needed, to have a say in the way the Tories run the country, is to be filthy rich?

Matters such as conscience and responsibility have no bearing on it.

Humiliated Tory chiefs have finally named dozens of super-rich donors who dined with Theresa May.

Guest lists were slipped out without fanfare on the Conservative Party’s website.

The new list names 64 donors who attended a Leader’s Group meal with Theresa May or a top minister between January and June 2017.

Billionaires who attended meals in that period include Bestway cash and carry chief executive Zameer Choudrey, JCB boss Lord Anthony Bamford and hedge fund tycoon Sir Michael Hintze.

The latest dinner was believed to have seen billionaires and tycoons dine on lobster and beef with the Tory leader just weeks ago.

The meal came just hours after the government confirmed millions of people’s benefits would be frozen for another year.

Despite the newly-published list the Tory party refuses to say what is discussed at the dinners, even if it touches on government policy.

Source: Tories quietly name more than 50 donors who dined with top ministers and Theresa May after pressure from the Mirror – Mirror Online


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‘Help to Buy’ is helping the very rich. Did you think the Tories would do anything else?

The obvious solution: The government should be helping build new social housing – not forcing up the prices of what little there is.

It is astonishing that we have the Daily Mail to thank for this revelation (although This Writer had a feeling this is what was happening; I couldn’t find the information, though).

Not only is ‘Help to Buy’ pushing up house prices as the supply of homes diminishes, it is also helping the rich buy houses, rather than those who don’t have the funds to buy a first home – the people for whom the scheme was said to be intended.

It was planned this way, of course.

That’s why Philip Hammond is pumping another £10 billion into the scheme. It will push prices up well beyond your ability to buy, making it more accessible by the rich.

The rest of us will be at the mercy of private landlords, facing up to the forthcoming huge increase in social rents, or on the street – as intended.

Wealthy families are exploiting a £7billion government scheme aimed at first-time buyers.

Help to Buy doles out taxpayers’ money so househunters can secure a mortgage.

Almost 135,000 families have taken advantage since its launch in 2013. But four in ten recipients were earning more than £50,000 a year and one in ten was on at least £80,000.

More than 5,000 purchasers had six-figure incomes. Help to Buy has also been highly lucrative for builders and their bosses, accounting for a third of private sales of new homes.

Profits, share prices and executive bonuses have soared at firms including Barratt, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey. Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, where around half of sales are through Help to Buy, is in line for a £130million payout.

Academics said the scheme – given a £10billion further boost by Theresa May this week – was driving up house prices.

Source: Wealthy families exploit £7billion Help to Buy home scheme with 40% of recipients on more than £50k a year


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The super-rich may be avoiding billions in tax but HMRC has prosecuted just one of them

A specialist team at HM Revenue & Customs is examining the tax affairs of 6,500 super-rich individuals [Image: Alamy].

A specialist team at HM Revenue & Customs is examining the tax affairs of 6,500 super-rich individuals [Image: Alamy].

… And the story doesn’t say whether the prosecution was successful.

This revelation will certainly re-kindle claims that HMRC is concentrating far too much of its effort on tax avoidance among working- and middle-class people when it should be putting resources elsewhere.

But the simple fact is that it is easier to detect tax avoidance among the less wealthy classes – because they don’t enjoy as many – legal – opportunities for avoidance.

This is a story about corruption in Parliament, where super-rich MPs simply won’t simplify tax in a way that might disadvantage themselves. Or so it seems to This Writer.

Still, it is welcome to see that 40 of the people named in the Panama Papers are now under investigation.

Is it forlorn to hope that one of them is David Cameron?

Tax inspectors targeting Britain’s wealthiest people have identified potential evasion and avoidance worth nearly £2bn, but have pursued only one successful criminal prosecution, a National Audit Office report reveals.

It says the tax affairs of 6,500 super-rich individuals – each worth more than £20m – are being examined by a specialist HM Revenue and Customs unit. The unit is investigating outstanding receipts worth £1.9bn, a majority of which involve aggressive avoidance schemes.

However, just two individuals have been criminally investigated over the past five years, leading to a single prosecution, while another 70 were pursued through the civil courts.

In an indication of the scale of the task faced by the unit, the report discloses that each of the 6,500 super-rich taxpayers has had on average four serious tax issues looked at by the unit. Around 4,000 inquiries have been open for more than three years, it adds.

The report sheds a light on the scale of potential tax avoidance involving the super-rich and will prompt further claims that Britain’s wealthiest people are not being pursued with the same vigour as benefits claimants or small businesses.

Source: HMRC investigating £1.9bn in potential tax avoidance by super-rich | Business | The Guardian

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The poor pay more tax than the rich – and Tories want to cut the highest rate

tax

The UK’s poorest families give more money to the government in tax than any other income group – and almost half of Tory MPs want to increase the inequality by cutting the top rate of tax yet again.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the poorest fifth of households paid 37.8 per cent of their income in taxes last year, while the richest fifth paid 34.8 per cent.

That’s not the whole story, of course – if you’re poor and you pay nearly two-fifths of your income in tax, that leaves very little for necessities like food, water, heat, light and rent/mortgage whereas, if you’re rich and you pay nearly 7/20 of your income in tax, you’re unlikely to be feeling any kind of pinch.

Say a poor family receives £12,000 per year. Tax would account for £2,400, leaving £9,600 for everything else. What’s the earnings threshold for the top tax bracket – £150,000? A family receiving that amount would pay… actually they’d pay 40 per cent of it, according to the law, but that would still leave £90,000 – nearly 10 times as much as a poor family and no problems at all in making ends meet.

It should be stressed that these are only representative figures. To be honest, the statistics are up for question: How many of the top fifth of earners avoid paying tax via legal schemes, designed for this purpose? How much do we all pay in indirect, or hidden, taxation? How many variations have been included in the ONS figures?

George Osborne is said to be considering a cut in tax credits in his July budget, meaning the poorest would lose part of a vital support system propping up their earnings. David Cameron has said he expects employers to increase pay, but he is offering neither carrot nor stick to encourage this, therefore they won’t. So the poor would pay more.

Meanwhile, 160 Tory MPs have demanded that the top rate of tax be cut from 45 per cent to 40, meaning the rich would pay less.

Not only would the poor be plunged further into poverty and debt if these measures were enacted next week, but public services would also take a hammering as income to the Treasury plummeted.

Perhaps the worst indictment of the situation, though, is the fact that – under the last Labour government – the inequality was worse. The poor paid more than 38 per cent of their income while the rich contributed less than 34 per cent.

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The SNP’s great education betrayal

Some facts about education in Scotland. SNPfail is a Liberal Democrat site but the information is accurate.

Some facts about education in Scotland. SNPfail is a Liberal Democrat site but the information is accurate.

That’s right – betrayal. For all its bluster about free University tuition, the SNP government at Holyrood seems more interested in providing cheap education for the already-well-off than helping the disadvantaged achieve their potential.

Holyrood abolished tuition fees for Scottish universities – but who did that help? According to research by Edinburgh University in 2013, it helped those who were already wealthy.

The report on widening access to higher education was submitted to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) after Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the university principal hand-picked by SNP ministers to review higher education, said abolishing tuition fees has mainly benefited the middle classes.

The report found the lack of fees in Scotland has meant initiatives to widen access have had “lower priority” and less funding.

The amount of grants available to poorer Scots has fallen and the funding packages offered north of the Border are virtually the same, regardless of the student’s wealth.

Meanwhile, there has been a huge drop in the number of students attending colleges since the SNP came to power in Holyrood and inflicted “savage spending cuts”, axing part-time courses which MSPs derided as “hobby courses”. The figures came from the Scottish Funding Council and show that 130,000 college places and teaching staff have been lost.

Those most affected by the cuts are young people who are less academic and are looking for vocational qualifications, and women returners – it was said that 100,000 fewer women were in education as a result of the SNP’s cuts.

And almost 4,000 teachers have been lost since the SNP took office in 2007. The party froze council tax that year, meaning local authorities were forced to make cuts in their spending.

As a result, instead of reducing class sizes to 18, the loss of enough teachers to fill 50 average-sized secondary schools has pushed class sizes to more than 30.

Again, the well-off are the winners. They benefit more from the council tax freeze because it leaves them with more disposable income; lower earners still have to spend most – if not all – of their income on the bills. And wealthy parents can afford to supplement their children’s education with extra, private, tuition – or opt out of the state system altogether and send them to private school.

So the SNP’s education policy is to penalise the poor and reward the rich. So much for that party’s left-wing credentials!

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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