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Wages, inflation a Guardian reader’s cup of coffee: a journalist’s confusion

Journalists are notoriously bad at numbers. Writing in the Guardian, Patrick Collinson is talking about how things were better years ago.

The Bank of England governor told us this week there has been a “lost decade” of wage growth. But is the truth really a lot worse than that?

It turns out that the question is rhetorical. Collinson knows. He’s looked at his dad’s old tax returns:

In 1963-64 his pay as an accounts clerk in London was £1,357 a year. In today’s money that equals a little over £25,000 a year once inflation is taken into account.

Is it? Inflation is the percentage change in the value of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) on a year-on year basis. The Office for National Statistics tells us: “The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods.”

Changes in the prices of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers including price indices of materials and fuels purchased (input prices) and factory gate prices (output prices).

And there’s the Retail Price Index, a comprehensive measure covering goods and services bought by most households. And there’s the Consumer Price Index, of which the FT says:

On a particular day every month, thousands of ONS inspectors collect 110,000 prices for more than 650 goods and services in 150 places and over the internet. This basket of goods and services is based on a survey of the spending patterns of 6,000 households and is continually updated.

Since there is no such thing as a typical household – not everyone smokes, drinks, eats out, buys rail tickets or pays school fees or a mortgage – the inflation rate of each household will differ from the average.

People who spend a lot of their money on services – childcare, hairdresser visits and restaurants, for example – will have faced a higher inflation rate in recent years given the much larger rise in services inflation than goods inflation.

Inflation is measured by comparing the price of the same or comparable things over time.

Collinson continues:

In some ways that £25,000 doesn’t look so great. After all, someone working in a similar role with his level of experience at the time might expect £35,000-£40,000 today. But then look at what an income of £25,000 bought in 1963 in London.

And look at what it buys you now. Yeah, it buys you the same stuff. Collinson has compared wages by looking at inflation.

His granddaughter now works in the same city, London, for the same pay, £25,000. But what does an income of £25,000 buy you in 2016?

As Tim Worstall notes: “Well, actually, it buys you a basket of goods worth exactly the same as £1,357 bought you in 1963. Because that’s how we work out what the inflation rate is.”

Quite.

PS: The Guardian is appealing for cash. It wants readers to pay £5 a month to read the paper online. And in the Guardian’s world the desired £5 donation is “the price for a cup of coffee”. The headline of Collinson’s story: “Oh for the 1960s! People earned less but could afford more.”

Life was frothier than your expensive coffee back then.

 

Posted: 10th, December 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jose Mourinho’s tax problems shame Manchester United and Chelsea

Jose Mourinho is “the rich one” in the Sunday Times’ look at the Manchester United manger’s financial affairs. The allegation is that “a complex offshore structure” has allowed Mourinho “to dodge tax on his image rights income”.

Is it all legal? We should suppose it is. But after the words “criminal investigation”, the paper looks at the cash – pots of it. The paper says since arriving in the UK in 2004 Mourinho has been paid – get his – £120m in salary. Much of that cash came from Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea. Perhaps the paper would be best served looking at the owner’s sources of income. In 2015, the Times Matthew Syed was scathing of the Russian:

The money that has bankrolled Chelsea these past 12 years, which has brought multiple trophies while sanitising the image of one of the most dubious individuals ever associated with British sport, was corruptly amassed

Back to the Mourinho, then, and his cash:

An investigation by The Sunday Times has found evidence suggesting that the Manchester United boss’s advisers misled the tax authorities in Britain and Spain during inquiries into more than £10m in earnings hidden through a Caribbean tax haven.

In an attempt to reduce his tax bill, Mourinho’s advisers appear to have fabricated more than £1m in costs run up by a British Virgin Islands shell company with no employees.

They also withheld from the tax inspectors the fact that Mourinho’s family were the true owners of the shell company.

The story is based on a “1.9-terabyte cache of data was originally handed to Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, by a whistleblower who does not wish to be named”. We are told why he’s leaked the data. “It is time to finally clean up football,” he says. “The fans have to understand that with every ticket, every jersey they buy and with every television subscription, they are feeding an extremely corrupt system that is only in it for itself.”

As is the way with big scoops of the past years – politicians’ expenses; the US embassy cables;  Hillary Clinton’ emails – the source is huge wad of data dropped on the media’s mat. It;s quickly packaged up as story of bad versus good. But how many of us see the Tax Man as a force for righteousness?

The paper notes:

It shows how the super-rich can employ highly paid advisers and lawyers to shield them from the tax laws that apply to everyone else. The public rarely gets a glimpse into this world. Until now.

Of course it all boils down to one thing: greed. But let’s not too be hard on Mourinho. Football relies on talent. The more talented the football name the more more they get. Revenues run to the workers. Jeremy Corbyn should enjoy that.

Whether or not Mourinho is overpaid or underpaid is neither here nor there. You could defend Mourinho by looking at the vast amounts of tax he has paid. You could say that a foreigner deciding to spend and invest his cash overseas is to be expected. You could see the taxman as an arbitrary force of state power.

What makes us curious is the power Mourinho enjoys. If the man who was indulged at Chelsea so long as he was winning – witness his hideous treatment of referees and Dr Eva Carneiro – is mired, it is not so much down to him as it is the clubs that stuck him on a pedestal and ignored and deflected criticism of odious behaviour that in any other industry would get him sectioned.

Mourinho’s people say they and he have done nothing wrong. But if he has cheated, the clubs that poo-pooed criticism of his antics and in so doing encouraged belief that he is free to exist outside the laws of acceptable behaviour, need to answer questions, too.

 

Posted: 4th, December 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Money, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Camelot hackers make Daily Star readers worry more than most

The Star once more leads with Lotto news. And as ever it’s bad news. “Lottery site hacked, it could be you,” warns the front-page headline. The story goes that hackers have “stolen” the passwords of 26,000 people registered with the National Lottery’s website – “Dozens had email addresses and passwords stolen”. It looks like they did. But the theft did not occur on the Lotto site.

 

daily-star-lotto-hack

 

‘Experts say it could have “serious consequences” for those who use online bank accounts,” says the paper. Why the Star should lead with this story can have nothing to do with the fact that it’s owned by Richard Desmond – the Press baron who also owns the Health Lottery, a rival to the Lotto.

The Mirror has a slightly different angle on the same story:

Thousands of National Lottery players’ accounts are feared to have been hacked after Camelot confirmed “suspicious activity”. Around 26,500 accounts fear to have been compromised after the log-in details were accessed by a third party. Camelot claims it doesn’t believe it’s own system was hacked, but that the details were taken from elsewhere. It added that no money has been withdrawn or added to any accounts.

 

daily-star-lotto-hack

 

And in the Guardian, we get this:

About 26,500 National Lottery players are facing compulsory password resets on their online accounts after they were apparently accessed by cybercriminals.

Camelot, the firm that operates the game, said it had become aware of “suspicious activity on a very small proportion” of accounts, and it was now taking steps to understand what had happened. Logins may have been stolen from other websites where players use the same details, it said.

Far be it for us to stick up for the greedy, kak-handed so-and-sos at Camelot, but it’s useful to have all the facts.

Says Camelot:

We would like to make clear that there has been no unauthorised access to core National Lottery systems or any of our databases, which would affect National Lottery draws or payment of prizes. In addition, no money has been deposited or withdrawn from affected player accounts.We do not hold full debit card or bank account details in National Lottery players’ online accounts and no money has been taken or deposited. However, we do believe that this attack may have resulted in some of the personal information that the affected players hold in their online account being accessed.

The advice is to change your passwords and use different passwords for different products. And if you read the Star, look at least one other news source for the full story.

Posted: 1st, December 2016 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Work at Buckingham Palace for ‘less than minimum wage’ and a flat in Mayfair

Buckingham Palace is been given a refit. The Mail’s Sebastian Shakespeare is shocked and dismayed that the penny-pinching Queen will not chip in to help with the £370m refurb. So tight is Her Majesty that staff are being short-changed. Below the headline “Gardener at Palace won’t get London Living Wage: Staff member would have cost of living in docked from their salary”, he writes:

The Royal Household is advertising for an experienced, qualified gardener who will be paid £17,000 per year — which works out at £8.72 an hour for a standard 37-and-a-half-hour week.

Grrr!

However, the successful applicant will, in fact, be paid less than £17,000 because they will be obliged to live in, the cost for which will be docked from their salary.

A small studio flat in Mayfair will set you back at least £2,000 a month.

And the job includes perks other than living in the Royal Mews:

You will be rewarded with a comprehensive benefits package, including 33 days holiday (inclusive of Bank Holidays), a 15% employer contribution pension scheme (with the option for flexibility – to increase contributions or draw down as salary), meals provided, training and development, as well as a range of recreational facilities. In addition, as this is a live-in role, you will be provided with single accommodation, and if eligible, be able to apply for self-contained accommodation, for which your salary will be adjusted.

So you don’t get paid less than minimum wage at all.

Posted: 22nd, November 2016 | In: Money, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


It’s time to ban the £50 note and befuddle the villains

Big notes attract big criminals. The Indian government plans to thwart villains by doing away with larger bills. Politicians are upset:

The prime minister last week outlawed 500- and 1,000-rupee notes in a drive to rein in corruption and a shadow economy that accounts for a fifth of India’s $2.1tn gross domestic product.

In southern Spain I met a woman whose estranged husband funded her and their young son’s lifestyle with wads of 500 euro notes. I know this because when the lad flushed a clutch of them down the toilet, she wailed, “Those were for my new t***. ” Could she get more cash? Not easily. The husband, an ex-pat, earned his wedge doing a bit of this and bit of that. She’d have to wait and see.

In India another sort of t** gets the big notes:

With no state election funding, illicit cash is the lifeblood for political parties that collect money from candidates and businessmen, and then spend it on staging rallies, hiring helicopters and on “gifts” to win votes.

Spending on the Uttar Pradesh election is forecast to hit a record 40bn rupees ($590m), despite the cancellation of big denominations.

“We will have to plan the entire election strategy all over again,” said Pradeep Mathur, a senior Uttar Pradesh leader of the Congress opposition party that was trounced by the BJP in national elections in 2014.

Big notes are gong out of fashiin,

In 2000, Canada got rid of its $1,000 bills and Singapore called time in its $10,000 bills.

In April 2016, the BBC reported: “The European Central Bank (ECB) says it will no longer produce the €500 (£400; $575) note because of concerns it could facilitate illegal activities.”

Why? In 2010, we read:

After eight months of rigorous analysis of currency trading in the UK, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has established that the 500 euro note is at the heart of money laundering. The reason is simple: it’s easier to shift.

 

500 euro

 

Harvard brains have studied it in a reports called “Making it Harder for the Bad Guys: The Case for Eliminating High Denomination Notes”:

Our proposal is to eliminate high denomination, high value currency notes, such as the €500 note, the $100 bill, the CHF1,000 note and the £50 note. Such notes are the preferred payment mechanism of those pursuing illicit activities, given the anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and the relative ease with which they can be transported and moved. By eliminating high denomination, high value notes we would make life harder for those pursuing tax evasion, financial crime, terrorist finance and corruption. Without being able to use high denomination notes, those engaged in illicit activities – the “bad guys” of our title – would face higher costs and greater risks of detection. Eliminating high denomination notes would disrupt their “business models”.

 

Posted: 17th, November 2016 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Busy Bins: ripped off Manchester homeowners pay private company to collect rubbish

Human skill fills the voice in Manchester, where bin collecting has become a luxury. You’d think getting rid of human waste would be a priority for any Western society, living longer and better on the back of improved hygiene and the availability of fresh water and cheap food. But in Manchester, collecting rubbish is a lifestyle choice.

Some householders in Greater Manchester are paying a private firm to empty their bins. Many are angry because some councils have reduced rubbish collections in an attempt to cut costs, and to motivate people to recycle more.

You’re motivated to recycle by having overflowing bins? Maybe not. For every problem, ingenious humanity conjures a solution:

A local businessman who bought himself a truck eighteen months ago is now emptying up to 800 bins a week.

Where there’s muck, there’s brass. Across the Manchester area, councils plan to empty bins every three weeks.

Manchester Council had a plan:

Between 1 August and the end of October 2016 we’re taking your old rubbish bin away and replacing it with a new, smaller grey one. We’ll put an information sticker on your old bin on the collection day 2 weeks before the swap.

On the day of your swap we’ll take away your old bin and recycle it.

We’ll leave new grey bins outside front doors or in front gardens, anytime during the day until 7pm. Your address will be on your new bin.

We can’t let you keep your old larger bin – the switch to smaller bins is to help cut the amount of waste from grey/black bins and increase recycling – so we won’t empty old bins after the swap.

In June 2016, the MEN reported:

Coun Nigel Murphy, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “When recyclable waste is put into the wrong bin, money is being needlessly being thrown away. Taking this action to boost Manchester’s recycling rates now will save the city almost £2.5m every year in waste disposal costs, helping to protect the vital council services that residents care about for the long-term future, while also helping the environment.

“Doing nothing is not an option and we are determined to work with residents to ensure that as much waste as possible is recycled.”

In steps Bury Bins.

Josh Morris, a 25-year-old businessman who is licensed to handle environmental waste, manages the bin collection service in Greater Manchester.

Local authority rubbish collection day – green wheelie bin being loaded onto a refuse cart, UK ALAMY

After starting in his hometown Bury, he quickly expanded his services to nearby Rochdale and Oldham due to a huge spike in demand.

He told the Daily Mail: “I started with a van last year. Now I have three trucks collecting 200 bins a day.”

He sends the rubbish he collects to a private sorting plant.

Says Josh of Busy Bins, “…apart from the regular emptying of their bin, they absolutely love the fact we put their bins back outside their home & not down the road.”

Adding:

“Many households struggle to keep on top of their rubbish following the reduced bin size, citing problems with overflowing bins, fly-tipping, bad smells and increased problems from flies and rats.

“It’s a problem that a significant number of households’ face and our service provides people with the option to have their bin emptied before it is overflowing”.

People will pay for a good service. Demand and supply, right?

Posted: 7th, November 2016 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Apple fans delighted a new range of Mac laptops costs less here than in America

If you use Apple computers you are an “Apple fan”, says the Daily Mail. You’re also a mug because the Apple stuff you buy in the UK is pricier than the same stuff you can buy in the US, the paper notes.

The Mail thunders: “That’s not how you convert from dollars to pounds, Apple! British fans outraged as new range of Mac laptops costs far more here than in America.”

Fans, of course, never mind paying a surcharge to support their touring idols. But Alexander Robertson has a spotted the outrage and is keen to report on it.

Apple fans in the UK are once again being hit in the pocket after the tech giant announced prices for its new laptop. The company’s latest range of notebooks were announced on Thursday, with the cheapest option coming in at £1,449 in Britain and $1,499 in the US.

That’s the kind of exchange rate only Brexit and the bureau de change on Times Square can recreate.

The pricing means customers in the UK will pay £218 more than their American counterparts after converting the two currencies.

 

apple mac new

 

What a rip off! The Mail sense the “fury”. And then readers get this:

The majority of American buyers will pay slightly closer to the UK price due to many states putting a sales tax on top of the price. In New York for example, where the sales tax is 8.875 per cent, customers would only be saving £50 compared to their British counterparts.

As Tim Worstall says, “US prices are quoted exclusive of sales tax, UK prices are quoted inclusive of VAT.”

Robertson fails to mention that. Apple does. Take this quote for one of its products:

2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
8GB 1866MHz memory
256GB PCIe-based SSD1
Intel Iris Graphics 540
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
£1,449.00
Includes VAT of approx. £242.00.*

You can claim the 20% VAT back if you are VAT registered. So, yeah, the Apple stuff might be cheaper over here than it is in the USA!

Posted: 28th, October 2016 | In: Money, Tabloids, Technology | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal balls: Ivan’s pay eclipses all

Money in football is always a news story to get people angry and agitated. The BBC says Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face “intense questioning from shareholders” over his salary .

The BBC says he earns £2.65m a year. Better perhaps to break his salary down into weekly components, much as the media does for players. It’s about £51,000 a week.

The Daily Mail picks up the story. “Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis faces flak over £1m jackpot,” says the headline. Charles Sale tells of Ivan’s “extraordinary” salary. Is it that extraordinary?

In 2014, the HuffPost told us Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre earns a basic £1,311,975 salary and a £500,000 “supplement” for each full year he completes after his 60th birthday. The Mail’s chief executive earns over £2m a year.

So what is extraordinary about a top executive at a large company earning such a sum?

The Mail told readers in March 2016, Aston Villa’s chief executive Tom Fox earned £1.25m.

 

Pay football club chief executives

 

Maybe Ivan’s being underpaid.

In 2016, the Guardian reported: “UK’s top bosses received 10% pay rise in 2015 as average salary hit £5.5m.” (Guardian chief David Pemsel gets a £600k salary.)

Sale then takes a flight of fancy:

The Emirates Stadium summit…is normally used by Arsenal fans to interrogate manager Arsene Wenger about his transfer plans. But with the Gunners joint top of the table, Gazidis will be in the firing line instead.

Fans will more worried about the chief exec’s pay than they will playing matters?

No. They won’t be.

Posted: 20th, October 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Liverpool move to lower footballers’ obscene wages

Liverpool are keen to prevent the “too much, too young” culture that infects professional football by bringing a wage cap for younger players.

The Telegraph says Liverpool will not allow a footballer age 17 or under to earn more than £40,000 in their first season as a professional.

Too often players go off the rails when they are given the financial power that comes with being a professional footballer, and Liverpool are looking to try and reduce the risk of young and talented players going to waste.

The youngsters will be allowed to boost their salaries with performance-related bonuses and breaking into Under-23 and senior sides.

Is 40k too low? Too high? In 2016 the Daily Mail reported the average wages paid in British football.

Last season, first-team average salaries were around £1.7million a year

Average basic pay in the Championship was £324,250 per player per year

Figure dropped to £69,500 in League One and £40,350 in League Two

Would you prefer to earn £40,000 playing for Liverpool youth sides or the Plymouth Argyle first team in League Two?Should wages be more performance-related?

In 1960, Jimmy Hill was embarked on in his campaign to abolish the Football League’s maximum wage which stood then at just £20 a week. Hill won.  A wage bill from August 17, 1960, shows that Liverpool’s Roger Hunt took home £22 after bonuses, tax and insurance. He’d go on to be part of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966. What would he earn in these post-Bosman times?

In The Football Man, Arthur Hopcraft says such wages were “derisive in comparison with what could be earned by entertainers performing in front of much smaller audiences in, say, the theatre or cabaret… [and] small beer to what could be earned on the production lines of the country’s post-war, streamlined factories.”

Nowadays players earn a fortune. In 2009, Premier League clubs spent £1.2 billion on players’ wages in 2007-08, so passing he billion mark for the first time.

The game is rich with TV cash and owners’ money. But if the players don’t get the cash, who will? Will club owners use it to reduce ticket prices or pay dividends to shareholders?

Oliver Kay writes:

It is obscene, obviously, but it would be more obscene to see the money generated by the Premier League — whether through television, sponsorship or ticket sales — simply sit on the balance sheet as profits go up and up. Football clubs do not exist to make profit. They exist to give something back to communities. Unless the clubs’ intention is to give more and more back to the grassroots, which sadly seems unlikely, then it would be indecent to suggest that the benefit of this latest television deal would not be felt by the players.

He’s right. Footballers can get paid very well. But so do many other workers, top talents in their fields. Do we know what others earn a week, like TV’s Ant and Dec or a soap opera actor? Why do footballer always have their wages discussed in terms of what they earn a week?

Simon Barnes:

The first thought on hearing a player’s weekly earnings is to measure it against your annual salary: why, that little bastard makes more in a week than I do in a year.

The second reason is snobbery. Wherever there is an anomaly in British life, check out snobbery before anything else. The wages of working men — rough types from the working class, you must have heard of them — have always been calculated in weeks.

He notes that the wages are paid by us, the fans who buy the TV packages, tickets and tat.

What do we get from all this money? Not much. Only beauty. Only incomparable skill. Only great bravura performances of mental and physical strife. Only individual and corporate levels of brilliance and defiance. Only the chance to identify with such people, to revel in the fact that they belong to us, that we are part of them and they are part of us.

Only the opportunity to watch as the myths and legends of our times are forged before us. Only the chance to participate in great dramas of will against will, skill against skill. Only anguish, only elation, only inconceivable joy, only the chance to taste despair without any actual suffering. Only the chance to drink down Life in great big gulps.

Do young footballers get too much too soon? Yes. Some do. But we enable them to get it. We invest in them because unlike most of us, these tyros have a chance to shine at something many of us would pay to do.

Posted: 14th, October 2016 | In: Liverpool, Manchester City, Money, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brexit: Guardian says Zara shoppers epitomise the working class

What does it mean to be working class? Aditya Chakrabortty knows. Having analysed the 17m people who voted to leave the European Union and found them “delusional”, he tells Guardian readers what it is to be working class:

What the pound’s weakness will chiefly achieve is to stop Britons buying as much. The middle classes will swap the wonders of the Alhambra for a week in Anglesey. The working classes will find Zara 15% more expensive.

 

working class

Tops, shits, hobnail boots and hats by Zara. Grime: models’ own

 

The working classes rather enjoy packages holidays to Spain. But, yeah, shopping at Zara is just what defines the working class, those people employed in the blue collar trades who having put food on the table and coins in the gas metre can’t afford market-stall schmutter and catalogue shopping and are forced to do with Zara fashions.

PS: In April the Guardian increased its cover price in the UK by 20p, taking the cost of the weekday print edition to £2 and Saturday edition to £2.90. The working class should form an orderly queue at the newsagents.

Posted: 12th, October 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Cinema ticket alternative makes everyone look like George Clooney

Alcohol remains relatively good value. Cinema tickets less so. Laura Donnelly is shocked, telling Telegraph readers: “Alcohol now so cheap 13 pints can be bought for price of cinema ticket.”

Or to flip that: Cinema is so expensive you can buy 13 pints and watch telly for the price of one ticket.

She writes:

Teenagers are able to buy more than 13 pints of cider for the price of a cinema ticket, according to a new report which says children are being put at risk by “pocket money prices.”

Teenagers buying cider? Do they get it cheaper than the rest of us. She means people over 18, right?

The study from the Alcohol Health Alliance says supermarkets are selling alcohol at prices that are attracting children and harmful drinkers, because of the absence of minimum prices.

And now the facts:

Consumers could buy two and a half bottles of the cheapest white cider – Frosty Jacks – containing more than 13 pints for the standard £8.24 paid for an off-peak cinema tickets, the study found.

You can get big bottles of cider for the price of a discount cinema tickets. Why not forgo a peak-time trip to the cinema and buy a bottle of champagne?

PS: drink enough and everyone looks like a movie star – in glorious technicolour (yawn).

 

 

cinema ticktes

Posted: 6th, October 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Signs Apartheid is over: 42,000 South African whites live in poverty

Good news and bad news in the Daily Mail. The good news is that apartheid in South Africa has well and truly ended. The bad news is that South Africa is not a very rich country and productivity is low enough to mean poverty grips blacks and whites. No longer protected by a system designed to give them the biggest slices of pie and privilege over blacks, South African whites are free to fall.

Chris Summers is shocked.

The WHITE ghettos that blight South Africa: 20 years after the fall of apartheid, how it is now white people who live in squalid camps?

Answer: see above.

While the black South African middle class has grown and many live in big houses, with swimming pools and drive around in BMWs like their white peers; many poor whites live in squalid squatter camps just like their black peers.

There were poor whites before Apartheid ended, but the system meant they were elevated above the blacks. You whites might be poor, but you’ll never be as poor as the Untermensch.

Around 42,000 of the 4.5 million white South Africans are thought to live in poverty, which equates to 0.9 per cent.  But 63.2 per cent of the country’s 43 million black South Africans also live in poverty and around 37 per cent of ‘coloureds’ – people of mixed race.

Apartheid is over but it’s legacy continues.

PS – This from The New York Times:

Most first-time visitors to Cape Town are mesmerized by the majesty of Table Mountain, and wowed by the vivacity of the Victorian-era waterfront. As a new visitor myself last month, I was captivated by both. But what has lodged most in my memory is something very different.

Driving from the international airport, I was struck by the sheer wretchedness of Cape Flats: the series of black townships, comprising mostly shacks with corrugated steel roofs, that stretch from the highway almost to the horizon. Few people — tourists or locals — want to talk about the Cape Flats. But there is no better starting point for a discussion of the state of contemporary South Africa.

Show me the money.

Posted: 5th, October 2016 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Adam Johnson is ‘the shrewd paedophile’ cashing in on crime

Adam Johnson, the former Sunderland, Manchester City and England footballer jailed for sexually abusing a 15-year-old fan is a lowlife. But the Mail is shocked and amazed by his life in prison. The paper declares:

Paedophile footballer Adam Johnson is still earning £5,000-a-week despite being locked up for sexually abusing a teenage fan.

Is there some sick trade in a celebrity paedo’s image rights? Maybe, because the Sun says a little ambiguously: “Disgraced footballer Adam Johnson is still raking in £5000 a week while behind bars for child sex offences.”

The Star makes it sounds as if Johnson is getting paid to be a lag: “The ex-England footballer will pick up £250,000 for every year he is locked up on child sex charges.” The longer the sentence, the more he earns?

Back to the Mail, which thunders:

The winger, who was capped 12 times for England, used to earn £60,000-a-week while under contract with Sunderland. The Black Cats sacked him after he plead guilty to the child sex offences, but it has emerged that Johnson will not be strapped for cash when he is released from prison.

Oh?

The Daily Star reports that thanks to shrewd property investments and high interest funds before he was convicted, the Premier League star is set to take home around £250,000-a-year without kicking a ball.

Wow! Adam Johnson is the shrewd paedophile, then, the criminal who invested his legally earned money soundly.

Do we expect the State and victims to take control of all a convicted criminal’s investments and money?

Posted: 1st, October 2016 | In: Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The 4,000 per cent cup of coffee hike that holds no water

As newspaper investigations go, the Mail’s look at the piece of coffee 30,000 feet in the air aboard a plane is weaker than a happy hour cocktail in Riyadh. In “Revealed: How low-cost airlines inflate the price of in-flight coffee by up to 4,000 per cent”, Qin Xie repurposes as bit of PR from Kayak.co.uk, which “looked at the prices for coffee on five low-cost airlines departing from the UK – Ryanair, easyJet, Thomas Cook, Flybe and Jet2 – and compared them with the cost of making the same beverage at home.”

 

Ryanair coffee

Budget airline unveils new low-cost seats

 

Unless you live aboard a passenger jet, the relative costs don’t hold water. But undeterred by the obvious, the Mail ploughs on:

For example, the cost of a cup of Lavazza coffee on Ryanair is the equivalent of £2.55 when converted from euros. But if you purchased the same coffee at supermarkets, available in 100g tins for £3, each serving comes in at just six pence.

This means a mark-up of 4,150 per cent was applied to the coffee.

What does a cup of coffee cost in high-street coffee shops, like Nero or Costa, or in a local greasy spoon cafe? Qin Xie doesn’t mention that.

But look out for the Mail campaign for the right for passengers to take aboard their own kettles, coffee granules and mugs.

PS –  And look out for other ‘revelations’ on other things that cost more when not bought in bulk and consumed in the home, like, well everything.

 

Posted: 1st, October 2016 | In: Money, News, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Greedy Sam Allardyce trapped in ‘slavery’ sting and ‘Woy’ Hodgson insult

England manager ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce wraps the Sun in a choke hold. He’s embroiled in an alleged “dodgy deal”. The FA have launched a “probe” into his affairs.

 

Allardyce sam sting money

 

Allardyce is accused of trying to cash in on his England position – one that pays a mere £3m a year plus bonuses for tournament wins (so that’s £3m a year, then). Undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph posed as foreign businessmen keen to deliver overseas players to England. Allardyce, 61, told the stingers “how they could circumvent FA rules which prohibit third parties ‘owning’ players”.

The key point is not that Allardyce comes across as greedy and thick, but that third-party ownership of players was banned by the FA in 2008 for being akin to “slavery”.

 

Allardyce sam sting money

 

The BBC lays it on:

During the meeting with the businessmen, who were undercover reporters, it is alleged Allardyce – who was only named England boss in July – said it was “not a problem” to bypass the rules and he knew of agents who were “doing it all the time”.

It is alleged by the paper that a deal was struck with the England boss worth £400,000, which could represent a conflict of interest if he is paid by a company whose footballer clients could benefit from preferential treatment by an international manager.

The Mail says this is the end of Allardyce who should be “axed”.

But it’s the Telegraph that has the big scoop.

 

allardyce scoop sting

 

In the “England manager for sale” readers are told

Before he had even held his first training session as England’s new head coach, Allardyce negotiated a deal with men purporting to represent a Far East firm that was hoping to profit from the Premier League’s billion-pound transfer market.

He agreed to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong as an ambassador…

Unbeknown to Allardyce, the businessmen were undercover reporters and he was being filmed as part of a 10-month Telegraph investigation that separately unearthed widespread evidence of bribery and corruption in British football.

Allardyce really is in the mire.

But that bit about his calling Roy Hodgson “Woy” makes us chuckle. After all, this is what the Sun said when Hodgson got the job:

 

Rop Woy Hodgson the sun allardyce

 

What a load of Wubbish!

 

Posted: 27th, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


MODE Media: I Want My Money

Mode payIt’d been looking iffy for a while. We at Anorak were not the first to notice that MODE media were not the best payers. They routinely paid 90-120 days. MODE got the money into their bank accounts, used it for a while and then paid the bloggers who hosted their ads, typically on a 50-50 split (after their company costs have been paid for).

Now MODE has gone bust. Bloggers – people from all walks of life and businesses – have been creamed.

Putting a lot of energy into building a readership and letting MODE take first dibs at getting ads in front of those readers’ eyes was a mugs’ game.

Bloggers have been told nothing since the company abruptly ceased training last week. Your money has sat in MODE’s bank accounts while their directors and owners knew the company was in peril. All the while they let everyone carry on working to keep their side of the bargain and said nothing.

It’s reported MODE made $90 million in 2015. Mode Media was expected to make $100 million in revenue this year.

 

MODE media money screwed

 

Those contracts MODE made bloggers stick to – the ones that commanded their ads to be shows only above the fold and before all others – are worthless.

For online publishers who depend on page views to sell advertising against, MODE have pulled a fast one. We wrote the copy, built audiences and they sold the ads. It was a two-way reciprocal arrangement. We also advertised their company – contracts stipulate bloggers must slap MODE’s log on their sites.

And then they shafted us.

We, like many others, simply can’t afford to lose the money MODE owe us.

We can sympathise with the perils of business. But MODE are cowards. A visit to the company’s website, MODE.com, reveals nothing.

 

MODE media money

 

 

Disgusting. Talk is that MODE also screwed their workers.

 

mode media staff sacked staff letter

 

We and hundreds if not thousands of others who bought into MODE’s business want our money.

 

Posted: 23rd, September 2016 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United earned £515.3m in 2015-16

Ker-ching! Manchester United earned £515.3m in 2015-16. They are the only British club to break half a billion quid.

On the other side of the accounts, there is net debt of £260.9m.

As an aside, Louis van Gaal and his coaching staff were paid a fortune to leave the place –  £8.4m in compensation.

The club also wrote off £6.7m because Schweinsteiger is no longer a first team player.

Profit: £36m

@JakeFCohen looks at the band: “Football still comparatively small business – Manchester United’s annual earnings amounts to 8 days of Nike earnings.”

Posted: 12th, September 2016 | In: manchester united, Money, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


What happened when ‘four big guys’ lifted a woman’s car into parking bay

To Fremantle, Western Australia,where Sally is outraged. She’s received a parking fine for not parking within the white lines. She posts a picture of her car with a front tyre barely an inch over the line. Sally says the ticket is a gross “unfairness”. But the traffic warden says Sally is wrong.

 

parking freemantle fine sally

Sally’s photo

 

His picture shows Sally’s car parked well over a white line.

 

parking freemantle fine sally

The warden’s photo

 

“I see the time on his photo at 6.47pm and I don’t understand that at all,” she says. “I have absolutely no recollection of moving the car and nor do my witnesses. A friend did tell he, though, that he’d seen ‘four big guys’ lift and move her car.

Balls, right?

No. The council looked at CCTV footage. Nine minutes after the warden has issued Sally with a fine Sally, four men lifted her car into the centre of the parking bay to allow enough space for their vehicle to park in the adjoining bay.

 

parking freemantle fine sally

 

“We now see this not as case of trying to fabricate evidence, just a really unusual series of events,” says a council rep. “While this doesn’t change the fact the car was illegally parked across two bays at the time of the fine being issued, it does support the confusion Sally would have faced when she came back to her car.”

The fine stands.

Posted: 10th, September 2016 | In: Money, News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Holler Timing: Liverpool FC frozen in sponsorship hell

Liverpool have a new ‘official timing parter’. It’s a brand called Holler. This is how Holler announced the deal on their website:

 

Liverpool Holler

 

Yeah, not a single wrist in sight. Odd that a brand specialising in watches would show three Liverpool players not wearing one between them.

Holler describes itself thus:

The Official Timing Partner of Liverpool FC.
Holler was born out of a long history of soul music originating in the 1960’s. Soul is a genre which combines different elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues.

And what is soul music without watches?

And they’re on Twitter. This was how @HollerFC account tweeted about Liverpool.

 

Holler Liverpool

 

It looks like Holler announced the deal and then mocked Liverpool for their lack of league titles in recent years, praising Manchester United for good measure.

Timing, eh.

Like the time when Americans knew nothing about football…

NOTE: Is the @HollerFC account authentic? The Drum says:

…speculation around the legitimacy of the new Holler FC Twitter account in relation to the Holler brand has since circulated. However the @Holler_Soul twitter account, which has over 19,000 followers, had promoted the launch of the Holler FC division in its Twitter background page which read: “Coming soon at HollerFC.com”. This has since changed but a screenshot of the old background can be seen below.

 

Holler Liverpool

 

And this:

 

Holler

 

Liverpool celebrate their last last league title win on April 28 1990.

Posted: 8th, September 2016 | In: Key Posts, Liverpool, Money, Sports, The Consumer | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Why I’m not buying an iPhone 7

Like millions of you, I’m not buying the New iPhone 7 because: a) they told me the iPhone 6s was the greatest phone ever and could not be beaten, and I beliveed them – still do!; b) the new cameras are so clear they force you see your own life as it really is; c) something about tax and stuff.

In the Guardian, you can read one man’s reasons for opting out:

….because they had pulled the Double Irish, the European commission has ruled, Apple deprived the EU of $14.5bn over the last 10 years. The EU ordered Apple to pay the taxes with interest at the end of August, a decision whose logic the company refutes.

No. The EU does not set tax rates.

This is hardly surprising: Apple is a massive multinational, and behaves like one despite its sanitized image. It has a long track record of looking the other way on suppliers’ human rights abuses, documented by the New York Times and other outlets. And it pays a tax rate lower than that of 99.99% of the human beings reading this story right now – and they clearly work harder at that profit margin and squeezing their supply chain now than they do on their actual technology. And in the last few years it is beginning to show.

d) They’re expensive.

Posted: 8th, September 2016 | In: Money, News, Technology | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dear Guardian readers, Ede & Ravenscorft is not for investment bankers

Former BBC journalist Paul Mason offers guidance to Guardian readers: “How to blag a job in finance: buy some black shoes and talk like an aristocrat.”

Big news any of my friends who worked on the LIFFE floor – including ‘The Professor’, so nicknamed because he had two A-levels (grades C and D) -, no, it wasn’t sarcastic – and those from very non-aristo backgrounds (hard to fake being a toff if you’re Jewish, black or Asian) working throughout the money markets.

Mason, however, has honed in on investment banking:

There’s supposed to be a war for talent. If so, it became pretty clear last week why Britain’s investment banks are losing it. The recruitment filter, revealed in a report from the Social Mobility Commission, works like this: you can only join the customer-facing part of an investment bank if you went to one of four public schools; got a first from one of five universities; and possess “sheen”.

Yes, sheen. And polish. No matter how good you are, if your tie is not right or your suit does not fit like a glove, you are destined to take your excellence somewhere else.

Big news: people with lots of money prefer dealing with people who grow up at ease with lots of money and who succeed in academic studies. But the best part of this article in the picture used to illustrate the unfairness of it all.

 

paul mason

 

The label on the shirt says “EDE & RAVENSCROFT”. Who are they? Well;

We provide ceremonial robes for all occasions, dress the judiciary (including providing handmade wigs) and ensure that graduates from all over the world look their best at graduation ceremonies.

You don’t wear brown in town. And you don’t wear an Ede & Ravenscorft shirt in investment banking. Of course, had the Guardian’s picture editor gone to the right school, they’d have known that.

Spotter: Tim Worstall

PS : jobs at The Guardian, this way!

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Of course Adidas and Nike discriminate against disabled athletes

Are Nike and Adidas prejudiced against disabled athletes? Yes. Is that prejudice immoral or illegal? Surely not. The Guardian reports on Hannah Cockroft, a British paralympian who accuses sportswear companies of discrimination.

Cockroft, who is expected to be one of the stars of the Paralympic Games in Rio after winning two golds at London 2012 and three in last year’s world championships, is the dominant figure in her sport but said Adidas and Nike have cited her inability to use their footwear in competition as a justification for not sponsoring her.

That seems reasonable. Nike and Adidas are most renowned for making trainers. If you are not known for wearing trainers, sponsorship would be waste of their endorsement cash.

 

nike

 

Cockcroft says:

“The real reason? I have been told it’s because I don’t wear shoes when I compete. What do I do with that? I wear a shirt, I wear trousers, I wear shoes on the podium when I’m collecting a gold medal. But apparently because that’s not when I’m competing that’s not enough. I’ve been told this by Nike, Adidas, all the big brands. I told them it was discrimination. It is discrimination.”

Yes. It is discrimination. Of course it is. But it’s about her not it.

Adidas also rejected Cockroft’s claims, pointing out it has designed ParalympicsGB’s kit for the Games. “As a sports brand we have partnerships with teams, including ParalympicsGB, and individuals across both apparel and footwear,” a spokesperson said. “Whilst we will not discuss negotiations with specific athletes we can say we sponsor a number of athletes who don’t wear footwear to compete.”

So why has no big brand sponsored her?

Cockroft has had talks about kit sponsorship in the past but it is understood the companies’ offers have fallen below expectations.

She wants more money.

As for shoes:

Zoal Budd ran barefoot, but was sponsored by running shoe companies. One of the best known barefoot runners in history, Budd has actually been sponsored by a couple of shoe companies during her career – firstly Brooks and then Newton in more recent years.

Maybe Cockcroft is looking at the wrong brands?

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Money, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Queen has no crown on Australia’s new high-tech bank notes

 

In the UK:

 

5-pound-note-series-e-1990-front

 

But New Zealand wins. It’s five-dollar note was named the International Bank Note Society’s banknote of the year for 2015.

Her Majesty is much changed:

 

New Zealand money

Posted: 5th, September 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Premier League is worth the money and Manchester United’s Wayne Roony is no role model

Lovely article by Matt Dickinson the Times about the “obscene” sums of money in the Premier League.

It is slightly curious, this looking to football for a moral lead, which the Premier League counters by citing the total tax contribution of £2.4 billion to the UK Exchequer in the 2013-14 season, including £891 million paid directly by players. Equivalent to the pay of 90 per cent of all constables in England and Wales, so it says.

The vast sums paid to players and clubs is, as Dickinson suggests, “probably all part of the attraction”. And as for football taking the nation’s moral lead, well, I loathe the phrase “role model” when applied to a Premier League footballer whose not your dad or big brother.

Lamentably after so much sense, the Times also wrote: “Who is a good role model for young footballers?” The answer is none. But The article invites people to tell the Times who their footballing role model is and isn’t.

Wayne Rooney is an enormous talent but I’m not sure he has matured enough to be a “great role model”.

Ask his kids. They look up to him, most likely. Others wade in:

Rooney is a shocking role model…

Young Mr. Rooney is a disgrace to professional football and to society in general…

A much more suitable role model would be Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen or even John Terry, whose own rehabilitation now appears complete after a few difficult years…

I think Zinedine Zidane is a true footballing icon and should be a role-model for every aspiring footballer…

Danny Shittu, the Queens Park rangers defender, is an excellent role model for young people…

No footballer signed up to a “role model”. Is the Prime Minister a role model? Are other public figures, like MPs, there to offer you moral guidance? Is Prince Harry Baseball Cap your life coach? Is your first thought when confronted with model dilemma to muse, “I wonder what Richard Branson would do?” If it is, seek help. Now.

Posted: 3rd, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Money, Sports | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Crystal Palace chairman bemoans the money game but Premier League wages are of the clubs’ making

With the football Transfer Window, Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish assesses the scene in the Times:

There is one price for a club and there is another price for a Premier League club. But it isn’t just the increase in transfer fees we’ve seen. You now have a massive wage escalation, too.

Palace were in for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere but, reportedly, baulked at paying all of his £90,000-a-week wages. They did, however, spend big, agreeing permanent deals for: Christian Benteke (Liverpool, £32m), Andros Townsend (Newcastle United, £13m), James Tomkins (West Ham United, £10m)  and Steve Mandanda (Marseille £1.5m). Palace also took Loic Remy on loan from Chelsea, with an option to buy him for £10.3 million.

Palace pay big fees and big wages. Johan Cabaye, reportedly, signed a £100,000-a-week deal on his move to Selhurst Park. With so much money flying around, it’s odd that Palace didn’t stump up for a rare talent like Wilshere, who would have thrived behind Remy, Benteke and Townsend.

 

Parish adds:

The problem is that we’re paying players amounts of money that only our league can afford. I think to myself: ‘Where are these players going to go?’

Answer: China or, like Bastian Schweinsteiger, who refused to leave Manchester United, nowhere.

 

Former Birmingham City footballer Trevor Francis with his wife, Helen, and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough at the City Ground Nottingham after becoming Britain's most expensive player.   Date: 09/02/1979

Former Birmingham City footballer Trevor Francis with his wife, Helen, and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough at the City Ground Nottingham after becoming Britain’s most expensive player.
Date: 09/02/1979

 

Most Premier League players will be earning £25,000-£30,000 per week. And that is just your entry level for a good solid pro, so if your top, top wage in the Championship — apart from the parachute clubs — is around £10,000, where do they go? There is no European market. That is the problem.

Isn’t the problem with the clubs who offer these wages?

We don’t get value for money, really. You have to buy assets that you can recycle. A club like us, you have to accept that you need to create assets and you have to reinvent, as Southampton have done brilliantly over the past three or four years.

Dan Jones, who works at Deloitte, adds a few words:

If you look around Europe, you will see Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich making big-money signings. But you won’t see that from the mid-table clubs and those involved in relegation battles because they don’t have the money and that is because the TV deals in those countries aren’t as big and aren’t shared equally.

England has the most equal model about how they distribute that money. That means if you are a mid-ranking Premier League club you can compete with all but the biggest clubs in Europe, so it puts you in a pretty strong position.

Precisely. The money goes up when a Premier League club calls because the PL has the most cash. But the team has to woo the player with wages. Do they have to be bigger? Why do they want more?

Geraint Anderson, 38, who was earning a base salary of £120,000 and a bonus of £500,000 by the time he left investment banking after 12 years in the City, took a view:

“It’s like a gilded cage. They earn huge amounts but they have the massive mortgage, they have the high-maintenance trophy wife, they have the kids at Harrow – then they wake up on their 50th birthday and think, ‘What a waste of a life.’ They get into this culture where their worth is valued by how much they earn, so they work ridiculous hours. I’d rather earn £25,000, have the kids at a local school and not owe anyone anything.”

Can we blame the clubs for fomenting the money game?

Posted: 2nd, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Money, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0