Money | Anorak - Part 23

Money Category

Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

How to Stay on Top of your Finances this Christmas

How to Stay on Top of your Finances this Christmas

While Christmas is undoubtedly a fabulous time of year, it’s also an expensive one! Some people start planning and saving in January, let alone October, especially when they’re part of a large family with lots of gifts to buy and mouths to feed. It’s essential that, when the festive period comes around, you stay in control of what you spend and keep an eye on your finances so that you’re not suffering once it’s all done and dusted.

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Posted: 28th, October 2013 | In: Money, Online-PR | Comment

Russell Brand, Ignorant Poseur Or Just Posing As Ignorant?

brand paxman

SO. We’ve seen the earnestly Teenage Trot Russell Brand trot out his ignorance of economics for us all on Newsnight. This is the one line that made me cringe the most:

David Cameron said profit isn’t a dirty word, I say profit is a filthy word. Because wherever there is profit there is also deficit.

Oh Dear God that’s nonsense.

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Posted: 25th, October 2013 | In: Celebrities, Money | Comment

French Football Cancels Matches To Protest Against Tax


GETTING footballers to show any sort of excitement, opinion or passion for anything is nigh on impossible. All over the world, they talk in monotone voices, all the life trained out of them and blurbling on and on, vaguely about results and teamwork.

Unless, of course, it involves money.

French professional football clubs have scrubbed all matches over one weekend in November to protest against President François Hollande’s 75% “super tax” on high salaries.

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Posted: 24th, October 2013 | In: Money, Sports | Comment

Yes, Of Course Royal Mail Was Sold Too Cheap But Not For The Reason You Think


WAS Royal Mail sold on the cheap? Yes. But not for the reason you might think.

When they announced that they were going to privatise Royal Mail there were all sorts of shrieks and moans that this would just put cash into the pockets of the hedge funds. You know, the fly by night boys just looking for a quick turn on tyhe shares. And of course that’s not what the government wanted at all: rather, we want stable long term investors who will be with the company for years.

So, when the hedge funds all applied for shares in the share offering they were told to naff off. Or allocated very many fewer than they had asked for:

TCI, for its part, applied for a whole presidential suite of rooms £200m of shares and was allocated just £1m. Many other hedge funds were similarly shunned.

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Posted: 24th, October 2013 | In: Money | Comment

The Daily Mail’s Witterings About X-Rated Mumsnet And Women Who Reproduce

mKokD-r1sPKrVh5vHXg1h-QFOR some reason the Daily Mail seems to think that Mumsnet has been taken over by a horde of sex crazed housewives. Something which is really very strange indeed. For most human beings are quite interested in sex so you don’t need to be sex craved to talk about it. Further, there’s something about mothers that indicates that they might actually have some experience of the subject at hand:

It is an internet forum where parents can share advice on subjects such as potty training and the spiralling cost of childcare.

But Mumsnet has also attracted thousands of posts on risqué topics, as women members clamour to share details of their explicit bedroom antics.

The website – popular with middle-class mothers – risks undermining its wholesome image because many users seem preoccupied with X-rated chatter.

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Posted: 23rd, October 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

Sexism: The Fault Is In Ourselves, Not Google’s Autocomplete

THIS is a rather fun finding, the UN has actually managed to do something both useful and interesting. There’s a piece in the Guardian about it here and the main page of the project is here.

What they’ve done is go to Google, typed in part of a query and seen how Google autocomplete finishes it off:

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Posted: 23rd, October 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

What Is It With The French Ruling Classes And Bad Economics?

ONE of the things that grates, now that we have to share this EU system of government with them, is the way in which the French ruling classes seem not to have the first clue about economics:

In a rare alliance, France’s ruling Socialist Party and the opposition UMP Party approved a new bill banning the company and other online retailers from shipping discounted books for free. It comes in the form of an amendment to a 32-year-old law that sets the value of new books at fixed prices.

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Posted: 22nd, October 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Row Over Muslim Woman’s Pubic Hair Costs Taxpayers £350,000

high court pubic copy

TO shave or not to shave? What says the judge who oversaw a case costing £350,000 that hinged on whether a disabled 23-year-old Muslim woman should have shaved pubic hair?

Her parents wanted it shaved before she returned home to live with them. They said it was a Muslim matter. The council, which cares for the woman, said it was unsure if the woman understood what the procedure meant. So. It went to court.

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Posted: 22nd, October 2013 | In: Money, Reviews, Strange But True | Comment

Why Do People Live So Damn Long In Eastbourne And Die Earlier In Liverpool?


WHY do people live so long in Eastbourne? This is interesting:

Eastbourne has become the first place in the country to boast a population with an average age of more than 70.

The Meads district of the famously genteel East Sussex town was identified by the Office for National Statistics as having the oldest residents in England and Wales.

Named by officials as Eastbourne 012B, the well-heeled area has a population with an average age of 71.1, compared with the national average of 39.7.

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Posted: 22nd, October 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Should Apple Throw $150 Billion at Shareholders or Not?

ONE investor in Apple, Carl Icahn, has demanded that Apple should throw $150 billion of the company’s money at shareholders. It seems like a reasonable enough idea, given that the company’s money does actually belong to the shareholders, but there’s a couple of minor problems. The most obvious being that despite Apple having $150 billion in cash it would have to go and borrow to pay that amount to the shareholders:

Mr Icahn took to Twitter to disclose that he had used a dinner meeting to press the tech giant’s chief executive Tim Cook to carry out further share buybacks. He said he had “pushed hard” for more share purchases by the iPhone and iPad maker.

Buybacks reward investors by lifting earnings per share and Apple shares rose 2.4pc on the news the influential investor was pressing the company over its share purchases.

“Had a cordial dinner with Tim last night,” Mr Icahn said on Twitter. “We pushed hard for a $150bn buyback. We decided to continue dialogue in about three weeks.”

Mr Icahn later told CNBC that he had invested $2bn in Apple. He added that the tech group’s finance chief had also attended the meal with Mr Cook.

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Posted: 22nd, October 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

We Know You’re Reading This At Work You Know: Google’s Online News Explainer


ONE of the things that’s become increasingly apparent in the development of this ‘ere internet thing over the last couple of decades is that everyone’s reading it at work. We seem to have shifted the “finding out the news” thing away from free or leisure time into the working hours of the day and the week.

Anyone who has ever run a website knows this little point: traffic starts to rise from a particular timezone as people start to arrive at work in that timezone. UK traffic is pitiful before about 8.30 am and rises strongly after 9.30 am. It then falls away again around 5 pm. US traffic starts to rise around 8 am East Coast Time and continues to rise until the Californians get in several hours later.

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Posted: 21st, October 2013 | In: Money, Reviews, Technology | Comment

Nuclear Nutjobs In Hinkley Point, Somerset: But Jobs Are A Cost Of Doing Something


IT’S a strange thing to be boasting about goings on in Hinkley Point, Somerset.

David Cameron has hailed as “brilliant news” the £16bn of new investment and 25,000 jobs he says will come to Britain as the Government struck a deal for the country’s first new nuclear plant in a generation on Monday.

Yes, it’s great that they’re finally going to build the damn nuke. It’ll reduce carbon emissions and the likelihood that the lights will go out. But it always astonishes me when politicians tells us how many jobs are going to be created by their plans.

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Posted: 21st, October 2013 | In: Money | Comment

But Boots Isn’t Avoiding Any Tax So What Are They Blathering About?


IT appears that the next part of the increasingly creaky tax campaign is to go after Boots:

 Alliance Boots, which became Britain’s biggest private equity buyout in 2007, could have received UK tax bills of more than £1.1bn over the last six years, had colossal interest payments on the group’s billions of pounds of borrowings not depressed the chemist and retail group’s UK profits, according to tax campaigners.

A report, commissioned by Unite, War on Want and US union group Change to Win, found that Alliance Boots generated UK taxable profits, before interest costs, of £4.5bn between 2008 and 2013. But it also incurred financing costs of £4.2bn over the same period, reducing its UK taxable profits to just £313m.

That’s a bit weird. For there’s no such thing as taxable profits before interest. Interest is an expense of the company so therefore it gets taken off gross profits before they become taxable profits.

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Posted: 18th, October 2013 | In: Money | Comment

For China’s Professional Cigarette Smokers Life Is Good

smoking china

LI Hui is a cigarette tester. She tests them by smoking them. And she loves her job:

As one of hundreds of “tobacco appraisers” in China, Li Hui, a petite, pony-tailed mother, has been smoking up to 30 cigarettes a day for more than 20 years. “It’s my job, and I like it,” Li explained in a long profile in the Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper. “Besides, I haven’t seen anyone around me or my friends getting sick from smoking yet.”

Li’s attitude, and the fact that she works for an officially-sanctioned company, Heilongjiang Tobacco Industrial, encapsulate the paradoxes China faces in dealing with a smoking epidemic. The country has over 320 million smokers, more than the population of the United States and over one-third of the world’s total, and the government has been taking small steps to try to discourage smoking, as Quartz previously reported. But with the country’s tobacco regulator and much of the tobacco industry controlled by the state – and tobacco taxes making up as much as 10 percent of state revenues – it’s a tough battle.

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Posted: 16th, October 2013 | In: Money, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment

All Hail The Corporate Content Sherpa Making Mountains Out Of Molehills

North_face sherpa

WOULD you like to be a Sherpa? No, not a Himalayan Sherpa, who risk life and limb for glory. A man or woman (surely guy? ed) who can do the jobs the gofer did before they got a YouTube Channel and stock:

The job title shows up as a branding tool: strategy sherpa and ideas sherpas; on Twitter and LinkedIn there’s the Gym Sherpa, the Human Resources Sherpa, the Tech Sherpa, and a startup sherpa or two, as well as quite a few social media sherpas. The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development has two staff members with sherpa in their titles, including its chief of staff Gabriela Ramos. Hannah Morgan has been known as the Career Sherpa since 2008. “One reason the sherpa term has become hip is because it sounds less arrogant than expert or guru. And it sounds more unique than ‘guide,’” said Morgan.

Only, Morgan, it can make you sounds like a otherworldly dick. Tread carefully…

Posted: 16th, October 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

The Ever Growing Foodbank Crisis


IT’S certainly true that we’re seeing more people turning up at foodbanks hoping to get some free food. And yes, we do indeed agree that most people would be somewhat embarrassed at doing so: this isn’t just people clocking on to the idea that they can get something for free.

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Posted: 16th, October 2013 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment

The Daily Mail defines Apple’s massive iPhone 5c failure for us


OR rather, the Mail might want to try and find a different measure of failure. For Apple has, as we all know, released two new iPhones, the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. Which seem to be selling pretty well: they shifted 9 million pieces over their first weekend which is many, many, more than they’ve done in the first few days of any other iPhone model. But here’s the Mail:

Is the iPhone5C a failure? Apple ‘halves’ production and slashes the price of its handset in China due to ‘dismal sales’

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Posted: 15th, October 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Markets versus bureaucrats in mobile phones roaming row: Simple Choice defeats the EU telecoms Tsar

WE’VE got a great little example here of how markets and bureaucrats work. Steely Neelie, the EU telecoms Tsar, is insisting that the mobile telephone companies will have to stop charging people for data roaming. That’s the idea that when you cross a border you start getting charged a fortune for your online access.

Europe’s digital tsar Neelie Kroes has been defending her call for greater integration of telcos across Europe, and appears to be arguing that what she described as “artificial” lowered roaming revenues should not hinder the telcos’ greater investment in European infrastructure.

Neelie’s plan is to get rid roaming charges across Europe by forcing operators to scrape them altogether, or offer customers the almost-impractical option of an Alternative Roaming Partner, but operators won’t give up on their revenue stream so easily and are lobbying to water down the legislation before it goes to the vote.

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Posted: 15th, October 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment (1)

Black East New Yorkers charge white people $20 to see the Banksy wall

BANKSY, the muralist, has been decorating walls in New York City. The locals can’y get enough of him. For a few dollars they’ll let you see his artwork.

capnyc took a video:

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Posted: 11th, October 2013 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Money | Comment

HTC’s creates tacky golden bling to celebrate black music at the MOBO awards

mobo tat

I’M really not sure that this is all that appropriate you know. Is overpriced golden blong really the way to celebrate the best of black and urban music at the MOBO Awards?

Because that’s what they’re doing:

Still, HTC has just announced a new model that’ll put their scarcity to shame: an 18 carat gold HTC One priced at £2,750 (about $4,400). Only five copies will be made to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the MOBO awards, which honors black artists and urban music in the UK. It’s the “most exclusive and expensive smartphone every produced by HTC,” according to MOBO, and features a MOBO 18 logo laser etched on the back.

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Posted: 11th, October 2013 | In: Money, Music, Technology | Comment

Mobile phone spectrum fees rise: Costs to us won’t

THE mobile phone companies have got all hot under the collar about new fees they’ve got to pay for the spectrum they use to provide the service. So much so that they’ve actually started lying about it. For this rise in fees will have absolutely no effect at all on the prices the companies charge us:

The communications regulator on Thursday unveiled plans to increase the amount it charges EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three for using certain bands of the airwaves by between 330pc and 433pc, meaning an increase in combined annual fees from £64.4m to £309m.

The move will provide a £245m a year boost to the Treasury, but the mobile operators said that it would discourage investment in new 4G services and labelled the price rises “excessive”.

Industry sources said they were digesting the likely implications of the new fees, adding that they may have to charge customers extra in order to protect margins.

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Posted: 11th, October 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Dear Margaret Hodge: Facebook just isn’t avoiding tax in the UK

Margaret Hodge MP outside No 10 Downing Street, central London, after handing in a petition - signed by more than 110,000 people - calling on internet retailer Amazon to pay their fair share of UK tax.

DEAR Lord the egregious Margaret Hodge is getting boring on this subject. She seems to ignore the manner in which every time she opens her gob on the subject of corporate tax she has to be corrected. It simply is not true that Facebook is avoiding tax in the UK:

However, those numbers are not reflected in its accounts. In common with fellow American technology leaders Google and Apple, Facebook funnels the vast majority of its income from advertisers targeting its 33 million British users through Ireland. “This is yet another example of what appears to be deliberate manipulation of accounts of economic activity to deprive the British taxpayer of a rightful tax contribution, according to the profits they make in the UK,” said Commons public accounts committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge. “I am getting fed up of this constant stream of stories and little sign of a challenge from HMRC and a strange silence from government.”

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Posted: 9th, October 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Now Silk Road has been taken down where will we all buy drugs?

silk road

YOU’LL have seen the news that Silk Road, the online drug bazar, has been taken down by the FBI. There’s a number of fun questions surrounding what actually happened.

For those who don’t know Silk Road was part of the “deep web”, the bit where Google doesn’t go. And it was a trading shop for just about anything: from heroin through computer trojans and all the way to hit men. All highly illegal of course and it seems the the bloke running it was a bit of an extreme libertarian. Which is going to cause problems for nice cuddly libertarians like me of course.

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Posted: 7th, October 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Crap jobs: Job Centre advertises for Fry Cook to work unpaid in Chippy for 30 hours a week

WE are indebted to @@chunkymark for pointing us towards this advert at the Job Centre for go-ahead 18-24 years olds living in Markethill, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

As he says:

Job Centre: Vacancy: Fry Cook (Chippy) Contract:6mths Hours:30/40per week Pay: £No pounds

job centre

Job Centre: Vacancy: Fry Cook (Chippy) Contract:6mths Hours:30/40per week Pay: £No pounds

Posted: 3rd, October 2013 | In: Money | Comments (3)

The Guardian fails to understand Google’s taxes

A quite wonderful piece of failure here by The Guardian on the subject of Google’s taxes today.

They’ve noticed that Google doesn’t pay very much tax in the UK. OK, fine, but the figures that they then use to illustrate this show that Google might well be paying too much in tax in the UK. No, really:

Google paid just £11.6m in UK corporation tax last year, despite revenues of £506m and a £36.8m profit, according to documents filed at Companies House.

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Posted: 1st, October 2013 | In: Money | Comments (2)