Category Archives: employment

Tax Return? Don’t Make me laugh!

THIS is a Tax Return:

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THIS is NOT a Tax Return:

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I will say this only once!

Cameron, Osborne and Johnson have NOT produced what are being referred-to as “Tax Returns”.

They have produced what look like simplistic spreadsheets which do not even look as if they’ve seen an accountant, never mind HMRC.

I wonder who is going to be the first to notice and ask for their audited accounts as well as PROPER Tax Returns.

Boris Johnson is taxed as both an employed as well as a self-employed person. He should be showing TWO sets of figures – but even he has been allowed to produce a schoolboy Excel spreadsheet.

Only the unfortunate Jeremy Corbyn has produced a Tax Return!

As usual, the British public had its opportunity and blew it!

Cameron & Gideon….don’t forget the wives!

In order to see number which give a true reflection of Cameron’s and Osborne’s incomes, their spouses tax returns should also be made public. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget having bestowed large amounts of cash on a loved one.

I am not suggesting for one moment that there may have been deliberate movement of assets or cash designed to defraud HMRC but these things can happen for totally innocent reasons…..so while we’re at it, perhaps it would be best to get it all over with in one go!

In addition, I would suspect that at least one of them is part-Schedule E and part Schedule D. That means that apart from PAYE deductions, there may be accounts!

David “Mr Meeting” Cameron and his Balls of Steel.

The outcome is already a certainty. Cameron, his Ministers will be engaging in Cameron’s favourite pastime – a MEETING. This one is to “discuss” the fate of the moribund British Steel Industry. In fact, the industry’s fate had already been decided even as far back as 1988 when the British public was encouraged to throw its cash away by investing in an industry which has been dying since the end of World War II. British Steel eventually morphed into Indian Steel, with its epicentre on the Sub-continent. Now there is hysterical talk of us being stitched-up by China with its “inferior steel” (commentators are confusing “inferior” with “competitively priced” – and there is absolutely no proof that Chinese steel is, in fact, of poor quality)…..and forget all romantic notions of the “proud steel worker” being “thrown on the scrap heap”. It’s all about market forces, dear boy. Tata!

The #NHS Job Creation Scheme.

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Very soon, the UK’s National Health Service will collapse under the burden of an impossible workload coupled to chronic government underfunding.

Unfortunately the Conservative mantra of “We have invested far more in the NHS than the last Labour government…..blah…blah…blah…”  has become not only an absolutely meaningless slogan but a very bad joke.

Here are TWO straightforward numbers: As at 30th September 2014, there were 1,387,692 NHS employees. That figure included 701,872  clinically-trained staff. In one year, the growth of the first figure was nearly TWICE that of the lower figure.

Many years ago, I began my career in the Scientific Civil Service. There were barely 200 of us researching, with nearly 500 admin staff looking after us…..so nothing has really changed in at least 30 years.

The NHS has undergone far too many changes – many of them based on the amateurish whims of a procession of unqualified Ministers. Luckily, the current Secretary of State seems to be more competent than many of his predecessors, but nevertheless, he is BOUND to be allowing his judgement to be clouded by politics, dogma, ambition and the Treasury. That automatically disqualifies him from making major strategic decisions.

Those pompous medical fatcats – the Consultants…. who use the NHS as a ‘feeder’ for their private practices in order to line their own pockets, also need to be audited and controlled.

An all-embracing  Management Audit needs to be undertaken as soon as possible – with only one aim…..To take a very wide “horizontal slice” out of the organisation so that the NHS administrative burden is brought DOWN to a sustainable level.

Yes, it IS very easy to justify layers of bureaucracy within a large organisation but NOT when they are killing the patient.

NHS – the beginning of the end? It doesn’t have to be.

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The issues which the NHS is currently experiencing have a  lot to do with a fundamental change in its ethos. When it was formed in 1948, its organisational foresight was totally focused on improving the health of a patient. The needs were the needs of the sick. Fast forward to 2015 and we see an amplifying obsession with expenditure and management.

The organisation no longer asks the question “How do we improve the health of a patient?” or “What are the patient’s needs?”  The fundamental 2015 question is: “What patient needs does the capital allow?”

Patient needs are no longer an absolute. They are a function of cash available. Too many NEEDS and you’re dead!

It may sound counter-intuitive but the government can only solve the current NHS issues of underpaid Junior Doctors, the shortgage of beds, overpriced drugs, GPs becoming an endangered species etc. through a massive investment programme coupled to a gradual dismantling of the management structure which is weighing down what could once again become a great British institution.

NHS problems are mirrored in what has happened to the UK’s Education system. They have both been ‘broken’ by a lack of continuity, caused by interference by successive governments, ‘management’ by incompetent dogma-fuelled Ministers with their little ‘pet’ schemes –  as well as the installation of massive administrative systems.

The reason why Private Schools and Private Healthcare are both cost-effective and thriving is NOT because they are private but because they are FREE of government interference and the sort of management and admin structures which would frighten the Indian Railway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inequality and Iniquity of Growth.

This Christmas there will be millions of puzzled and sometimes hungry people staring at their televisions. Their hunger is easily explained – they are poor but what will confuse them will be the newsflashes showing smiling people shopping and talking about ‘Tablets’ at £500 each, Champagne, and a million other expensive items and yes…even Christmas turkeys!

Then they will see celebrity chefs cooking Brussels sprouts with pancetta, more champagne, the perennial debate about goose fat versus oil on roasties and how we’ll ALL be ‘over-indulging’ and falling asleep on the sofa! An alien world which some will have tasted but sadly, too many – especially children, will never inhabit.

This (to them) is a ‘make-believe’ world of plenty. They know it exists somewhere near them but it is like the parallel universe of science fiction….there but impossible to access.

They see shiny, smug politicians saying words about ‘the recession being over’….something the poor haven’t been too acutely aware of because what the politician calls ‘recession’ and ‘austerity’, they call “LIFE”.

‘The economy’ appears to be doing very well! …………..By the way….what is that?

The disparity between the most affluent Brits and the rest is hurting the economy. This chasm between rich and poor appears to have become an unacknowledged issue, primarily as the result of too many of the Cabinet belonging to ‘the Affs’. It is apparent that few understand that everyone (up to middle class) has seen their income stagnate, whilst wealthy households have really thrived.

Note: I propose to dispense with euphemisms such as “the well-off” and “society’s disadvantaged”. Let’s stick to rich and poor.

Bonuses, higher salaries, higher profits and exceptional stock market gains are flowing almost exclusively to the already-rich. Proportionately, however, the affluent household ‘spend’ represents much less of their money than that of  low and middle-income consumers.

One of the priorities of this government should be to engineer a much broader spending base – one which encompasses the poor……allowing them to actually participate in the economy.

Currently, there is a very distorted  picture of consumer spending because it is driven by the rich. The poor and the poorer are doing their best to keep up but inevitably need to borrow in order to spend – thus making themselves even poorer. Meanwhile, many rich are gaining profits from  bank or lending company shares which are fueled by the poors’ accelerating poverty….but the rich have something else which the poor have never had: OPTIONS or CHOICE!

One very profitable option this year has been the stock market – but once the markets have calmed down (which they will!) and gains are no longer eye-wateringly high, the affluent (As and Bs) will stop spending or at least, cut back dramatically.

THAT will have an immediate and devastating effect on this virtual economic recovery. SO, it is in the government’s interest to sustain the recovery illusion by keeping interest rates low and Quantitative Easing flowing to the banks so that , from an investment point of view, the equity markets (stocks and shares) remain the only game in town, so that the rich retain their mega spending power for as long as possible – at least until May 2015!

That is a very dangerous game for any government to play.

This is the phenomenon which has created and is sustaining the ever more bitter ‘CLASS’ debate and is in danger of feeding Populism and ultimately, major unrest.

Income Inequality and not airports or trains should be the government’s priority.

There is now little doubt that in spite of government policy, the United Kingdom’s economic growth is picking up….as it is everywhere else (Global Economy!)

NOW, while the mini-recovery lasts, would be a good time for the government to tackle the INEQUALITY OF GROWTH which is not an iniquity but the iniquity of modern times.

Immigrants – we NEED them!

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the UK needs SEVEN MILLION migrants over the next 50 years to help keep down national debt levels.

The OBR warns that the UK’s ageing population was squeezing public finances and said there was “clear evidence” that migrants, who tend to be working age, have a “positive effect on the public sector’s debt dynamics”.

The OBR has also warned that increasing pensioner numbers and a strained healthcare system means an extra £19 BILLION of spending cuts or tax increases  are needed to combat an “unsustainable” pressure on the nation’s public finances.

It IS possible that while we continue to live too long and not produce enough, those much maligned  immigrants could be the solution to our economic problems.

That should please UKIP!

HERE’S the Executive Summary of the OBR’s Fiscal Sustainability Report.

Economic ruin: The Root (Banking) Cause.

Here is some simple high-level analysis which always helps to crystallise issues:

The 2008 mortgage-driven banking industry meltdown was directly responsible for the Eurozone debt crisis, political chaos, austerity, recession (in some cases – depression) and mass unemployment.

The  multi-billion bank and government bailout costs were borne by the surviving taxpayers through increased taxes, constantly inflating prices as well as erosion of their capital and their pensions.

The ROOT CAUSE of this catastrophe was the design and distribution by the banks of technically ill-conceived products which were designed for no other purpose than to optimise bank profits.

Mortgage Securitisation, Default Swaps, PPI, Interest Rate Swaps etc were (are) all bad products.

Against this background, the British Chancellor, on behalf of the Coalition Government wishes to do everything he can to preserve the banking status quo. An “industry” which continues to grind the economy into the ground whilst sucking more cash out of the economy than it is putting in.

Meanwhile, it declares largely illusory profits upon which to base eye-watering bonuses.

The argument that the financial services industry represents a substantial percentage of the United Kingdom’s Gross Domestic Product used to be a good one!

But if the economic collateral damage being inflicted by the banking industry continues, its contribution to GDP will soon tend towards 100% – once everything else disappears!

(On the subject of Root Causes – the NHS is failing to deliver because it is TOO BIG and over-populated by over-promoted Administrators rather than Managers!)

Highest employment since 1971? Bull***t !

Politicians are always looking for new angles and prisms through which to observe and present statistics in the most benign way.

A comparatively recent statistical gem is as follows:

“Almost 30 million people were in work at the end of 2012, an increase of 154,000 on the quarter to September and the highest total since records began, in 1971.”

“Since records began” is quite a new angle and as nonsensical as the rest.

Today’s UK population is about 63.2 million.

The 1971 population in was  55.9 million.

That’s an increase of 7.3 million.

In 1971, unemployment was 2.98% of the workforce. Today it is 7.8%.

The figures don’t lie – they’re just encouraged to do so……..

GDP excuses?

These are the GDP figures per quarter since Q4 2010, the time from which we can assume that the government’s policies “kicked-in”.

Q4 2010:      -o.4%

Q1 2011:      +0.4%

Q2 2011:      +0.1%

Q3 2011:      +0.6%

Q4 2011:       -0.3%

Q1 2012:       -0.2%

Q2 2012:       -o.4%

Q3 2012:       +o.9%

Q4 2012:        -0.3%

If we now look at a “Moving Year”, that is to say, starting a year at Q4 2010, taking the four figures in blue and then adding them…..and then taking the next four numbers, starting with Q1 2011 etc, we have these GDP figures for the Moving Year:

+0.7%     +0.8%      +0.2%    -o.3%     zero    zero

WE HAVE BEEN IN RECESSION or “FLATLINING” SINCE  THE YEAR BEGINNING Q3 2011

The OECD statistics are HERE.

As you can see from the table, no matter how our government dresses-up the figures, we are the worst performing nation in this list (apart from Spain and Portugal).

The basic solution is simple. The Chancellor of the Exchequer needs to prioritise Growth ahead of Credit Rating.

Incidentally, much has been claimed by the government in respect of how many jobs they’ve created , WITHOUT any significant increase in GDP or “tax take”.

This could be the reason:

When the Coalition took power in May 2010, the number of unemployed people was 2.51 million. See HERE.

The latest figure shows that there are still 2.51 million unemployed in the United Kingdom. See HERE.

……….and no-one appears to have noticed!

All this banging-on about “THE MILLION JOBS we have created” since coming to power?


(Once again, the government appears to have been “economical with the actualité”.)

Not a Graduate? Tough!

It has become fashionable for politicians to spout about “apprenticeships” – although most look and sound as if they may not quite be sure what one is. Although they do know that it is something that the young underclass does at “work” …………whatever that is.

Unlike the Germans, we still consider an apprenticeship as a bit “infra dig” because Mr and Mrs Smith would still prefer Little Johny to “have a degree”.

“He’s the first in our fambly to have letters after ‘is name. We’re so proud!”

This British quest for letters after one’s name is one of the reasons why we continue to fail as a manufacturing nation.

Reality Check: Not everyone can be a desk jockey.

According to the CIPD, SIX OUT OF TEN  United Kingdom employers do NOT offer routes into their organisation for non-graduates.

But on the PLUS side, we have one of the best-qualified Unemployment Queues in the Western world.

This June saw an additional 123,000 people  out of work in the Eurozone.  We can all agree that an unemployment rate of 11.2% across 17 countries is only acceptable to the politicians who appear to be continuing to merely observe the numbers climb.

At just under 25%, the highest Eurozone unemployment rate is  in Spain.

The Older Woman Rocks….

There has been a lot of debate about the “older woman” TV presenter and the comparison between her and the young airhead “Autocutie”.

Thankfully, mature lady presenters are making a major comeback but one cannot help but wonder about the relationship between them and the new TV-types who seem to be mostly can-wearing teenagers with clipboards.

A couple of years ago, I met broadcaster Anna Ford and she was (and still is) a very beautiful lady. Her voice still resonated with the mellifluous lower-register tones of the professional broadcaster and  she exuded a velvet steeliness and confidence which I imagine would be frightening to most career-building media hobbits.

So is it about looks? No – but it is about age and what it has brought – and I do not mean wrinkles.

Here are a few  reasons why we should appreciate and cherish women who are over 50 and in this list, you will probably find the reasons why these women can frighten younger men:

1. They can run faster – because they tend to wear sensible shoes.

2. If you behave like an arsehole, they will tell you.

3. They no longer have wishy-washy views and will probably have developed proper healthy right-wing attitudes.

4. They are intimidating to young males with low self-esteem and are not impressed by 28 year-olds with  Media Studies degrees.

5. For every stunning 60 or 70 year-old woman there are two myopic, balding, beer-gutted males.

6. They are dignified so they will not engage you in a slanging match but will destroy you by sheer force of intellect.

7. Older women have had their fill of “meaningful relationships” and “long-term commitments”. Your professional or personal relationship with them is based on your merit.

8. They often have an undeserved reputation as “ballcrunchers”. Get past that and you’re “in”.

9. They will never accuse you of “using” them. They are using you.

10. Their already off-scale assertiveness is still developing and you will need to have had some serious coaching before you can deal with them satisfactorily.

11. They never announce that they’re pregnant.

So, when we think that the argument is about “ageism” it is not necessarily about a number.

It is more about the time-honed intensity of character and the fear of God that these women can instill in lesser mortals.

Sack the f*****s!!

I heartily endorse Vince Cable (above) and his moan about the government’s latest bit of displacement activity which is that employers can get rid of employees without necessarily having to give good reason.

However, there’s a condition: The law has to be extended to include Members of Parliament.

Don’t these politicians know ANYTHING about commerce and the workplace?

Sorry! Silly question.