The average UK household pays more in tax than it spends on food, clothing, housing, fuel and power

A picture can be worth a thousand words….so this austerity thing? So this national debt interest thing? So those unfunded liabilities thing? So these corporate tax avoidance schemes thing? So the City of London acts as a corridor to the biggest tax havens in the world thing. So you might as well bend over and take it without hesitation and a rye smile on your face thing.

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‘Housing has become the defining economic issue of our times’

From the governments own report, they state that 250,000 households are formed in the UK per year with 100,000 new homes built. This shortage in supply continues to drive up prices and this systemic issue will not be plugged by Help to Buy, eventually it will fail and drive many millions into long term poverty. Courtesy of The Guardian:

Housing is of greater political consequence than most other areas of government policy. It’s as near as most people get, personally, to what is called the greater economy. Employment comes a close second to housing, but most pensioners and children, and many others, are not employed, whereas everyone is directly affected by housing.

Conversely, many people, especially those who do not have young children, may not care much about what is happening to education, and those who are feeling well can easily pay less attention to changes to our health services. Most people are not affected by the level at which benefit payments are set, nor by how the minimum wage is determined. Cut benefits and crime may rise, but few make such links and, often, those who do simply demand more prisons.

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The people who are most adversely affected by housing policy believe they have little power to alter politics. And, usually, they are right. They are the least powerful in the areas where they live, so politicians can reduce social security spending on the poorest without losing much popular support. Politicians can increase overcrowding in social housing and in much private rented housing and, in the short term, they can get away with it. However, as their housing policies begin to have an impact on a greater and greater proportion of the population, and on the majority of young adults, it becomes harder to sustain such policies. But it also becomes harder to end them. A particular constituency has become reliant on prices remaining high, and rising. Continue reading

Dude, where’s my North Sea oil money?

I wrote an article back in April of 2013, The Legacy and the Lies. This article backs up what I wrote, that the Thatcher government squandered the UKs sovereign oil wealth fund. A scandal in deed by wasting it on tax breaks, property speculation and allowing people an easy opt out into disability! Courtesy of Aditya Chakrabortty @ The Guardian

Last Wednesday, every single Norwegian became a millionaire – without having to lift a lillefinger. They owe the windfall to their coastline, and a huge dollop of good sense. Since 1990, Norway has been squirreling away its cash from North Sea oil and gas into a rainy-day fund. It’s now big enough to see Noah through all 40 of those drizzly days and nights. Last week, the balance hit a million krone for everyone in Norway. Norwegians can’t take a hammer to the piggy bank, amassed strictly to provide for future generations. And converted into pounds, the 5.11 trillion krone becomes a mere £100,000 for every man, woman and child. Still, the oljefondet (the government pension fund of Norway) owns over 1% of the world’s stocks, a big chunk of Regent Street and some of the most prime property in Paris: a pretty decent whipround for just five million people.

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Wish it could have been you with a hundred-grand bonus? Here’s the really nauseating part: it should have been. Britain had its share of North Sea oil, described by one PM as “God’s gift” to the economy. We pumped hundreds of billions out of the water off the coast of Scotland. Only unlike the Norwegians, we’ve got almost nothing to show for it. Our oil cash was magicked into tax cuts for the well-off, then micturated against the walls of a thousand pricey car dealerships and estate agents.

Continue reading