Money | Anorak - Part 27

Money Category

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

An absurd story on Formula One tax dodges

THIS absurd tax story is brought to you by The Independent:

The standard rate of corporation tax in the UK is 24 per cent of a company’s profit. The F1 teams tend to avoid this because they spend all of the money they receive in a bid to boost their chances on track. Breaking even or making a loss means that they don’t need to pay tax as there is no profit for it to be charged on.

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Posted: 26th, July 2013 | In: Money, Sports | Comment

Crystal Palace underground toilets are now a compact and bijou home (photo)

ARCHITECT Laura Jane Clark has transformed these ancient Crystal Palace Parade underground toilets (built: 1929; closed in the 1980s) into a 600 square foot home.

She bought he lavs for £20,000, invested £65,000 and now owns an underground home that boasts a few original fixtures and fittings, notably the public health warning sign for VD.



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Posted: 24th, July 2013 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comments (2)

The idiocy of gambling on dumb luck

THE seductive idiocy of gambling on dumb luck: Chris Dillow reviews:

Jordi Brandts and colleagues got a group of [fourth-year finance] students to predict a sequence of five coin tosses, and then selected the best and the worst predictor. They then asked other subjects to bet on whether the best and worst predictor could predict another five coin tosses. The subjects were told that they would bet on the worst predictor from the first round, unless they paid to switch to the best predictor.

82% of subjects paid to make the switch.

But of course, there is no such thing as an ability to predict the toss of a coin. Most subjects, then, saw skill where there was only luck. And, what’s more, they were willing to spend good money to back this daft opinion.

Wonder what the experts say..?

Posted: 23rd, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

The Guardian makes a hash of biomass and gasoline use

THIS  is really rather good in The Guardian. Further evidence that the people who produce it just don’t understand numbers.

There’s a piece cooing over a new method of producing hydrogen. Basically, if we boil up some plants then we can stop using that nasty petrol and Gaia will be saved. Which is great, if it’s true:

In 2011, the US consumed 134bn gallons (507bn litres) of gasoline, but “with our technology, just 700m pounds [317,500 tonnes] of biomass would be enough to replace the whole yearly [gasoline] production,” says Zhang. The last official assessments estimate the availability of crop residues for biomass in the US to be about 157m tonnes per year.

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Posted: 23rd, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Austin Mitchell’s tax rate is lower than that of the Prince of Wales

AUSTIN Mitchell’s Tax Rate Is Lower Than That Of The Prince Of Wales….

A fact which makes his comments in the Commons yesterday really rather interesting.

Mitchell announced that the Prince of Wales pays tax at a lower rate than the poor do. He reached this conclusion by doing something fairly interesting:

Austin Mitchell said that the Prince’s accounts show that he paid less direct and indirect taxes as a percentage of income that the “bottom quartile of households” in Britain.

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Posted: 18th, July 2013 | In: Money, Politicians, Royal Family | Comment

Spotify is overpaying Thom Yorke and The Bleaters

spotify radiohead

THE latest is the row about how the royalty streams from Spotify are too low turns up in The Guardian. As you might expect from that paper there’s a great deal of indignation and not a lot of light and sense.

As background, Thom Yorke has demanded that Spotify no longer play his songs as he thinks they offer a really bad deal to musicians. So, The G went out and found someone who agreed:

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Posted: 17th, July 2013 | In: Money, Music | Comment

Asiana Airlines sues Captain Sum Ting Wong with a ‘smile as beautiful as a wing with stripes’

asiana jet

ASIANA Airlines will sue the TV station that reported on the accident that saw three passengers killed  (two have been named as Ye Mengyuan, 16, and Wang Linjia, 17) and scores more injured when one of it jets crashed into the tarmac at San Francisco airport.

Reports suggest that the 777 descended too fast, causing the tail of the airliner to strike a sea wall.

The pilot was Lee Kang Kuk.

Yoon Young Doo, Asiana’s CEO, said the crash was not down to mechanical failure.

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Posted: 15th, July 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

The streets are paved with gold – well, the platinum in your catalytic converters

OR, in this case, platinum and other valuable metals:

One of the country’s biggest street cleaning firms has announced it is to “mine” the sweepings it collects from roads and pavements, in search of gold and other precious metals.

Veolia Environmental Services believes it can find at least £1 million worth of materials like platinum, palladium and rhodium from the muck swept up from Britain’s streets each year.

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Posted: 15th, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Girl-hating gamer boys: Quit thinking with the Smaller of Your Two Heads


ACCORDING to 1980s pop culture stereotypes, anyone who likes computers is compensating for being a socially clueless nerd who cannot get laid.  Kudos to pop culture for evolving beyond that, but why the hell are today’s gamer boys trying so hard to revive old stereotypes?

For over a week now, male gamers have been freaking out over news that a woman— 19-year Microsoft veteran Julie Larson-Green — has been named the new head of the Xbox division. Not that the company is any feminist utopia (or dystopia, depending on your preference); it’s the same Xbox which, just last month, got called out by Anita Sarkeesian for introducing its new line of games and  “revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation”.

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Posted: 13th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment (1)

Estate agency writes the best property blurb ever – ‘Due to the owner’s hobby, we are unable to take internal photographs’


YOU looking to buy a 3-bed semi-detached house on Eastcroft Road, West Ewell, for £337,950? McCann’s estate agents, on Epsom High Street, has just the thing. Want to see inside?

Sorry. You can’t. Why? Well the estate agency says:

“Due to the owners hobby, we are unable to take internal photographs”

This is how you market a property. You create a mystery. Now we call want to look inside. Anyone know what’s there? Is “internal photographs” a clue?

epsom home mystery

Posted: 12th, July 2013 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment

Don’t use the Internet if you want to keep secrets – Russian spies revert to paper economy


I ASSUME that we all actually know this by now, that you cannot keep things secret on the internet? At least, we should all have learnt it from the revelations by Edward Snowden I think, no? That the only truly secure computer is one that’s not connected to anything at all?

It would appear that the Russians have worked this out:

In the wake of the US surveillance scandal revealed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Russia is planning to adopt a foolproof means of avoiding global electronic snooping: by reverting to paper.

The Federal Guard Service (FSO), a powerful body tasked with protecting Russia’s highest-ranking officials, has recently put in an order for 20 Triumph Adler typewriters, the Izvestiya newspaper reported.

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Posted: 12th, July 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Apple conspired to keep e-book prices artifically high as libraries die

BOOKS are not just objects to buy and trade. The BBC reports on a ruling that Apple “conspired with publishers to fix the price of electronic books”.

And those are the electronic books that thanks to convoluted copyright rules you are not permitted to pass on to friends, as you can with an actual paper book.

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Posted: 10th, July 2013 | In: Books, Money, Technology | Comment

Fact v fear: nine scare stories that make mugs of the British

A SURVEY by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London looks at scare stories and the facts behind them.

These are the popular misperceptions:

Teenage pregnancy

images (1)

Fear: 15% of girls under 16 get pregnant each year
Fact: 0.6% % do.

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Posted: 10th, July 2013 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

The Wall Street Journal thinks Egypt needs a General Pinochet

n this 1974 file photo, Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet speaks at an informal press conference in Santiago, Chile. Newly declassified U.S. documents indicate that Pinochet planned to use violence to annul the referendum that ended his brutal regime in 1988. The formerly secret documents posted by the independent U.S. National Security Archive on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 showed U.S. officials warning Chilean leaders against violence if Pinochet tried to use force to stay in power if people voted against eight more years of his rule. They also show U.S. officials and agencies backed the anti-Pinochet campaign portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film "No," even though the U.S. government also had tried to undermine the socialist government Pinochet had overthrown. (AP Photo, File)

THE Wall Street Journal thinks Egypt needs a General Pinochet

And this has predictably outraged just about everyone else:

Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who took over power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.

What’s wrong with that of course is that Pinochet overthrew a democtratically elected President (Allende), tortued and murdered and then, when age caught up with him, brought back that democracy. Sorta.

What’s right with it is something more subtle and well expressed by Fraser Nelson here:

All this has been established by Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist who travelled to Egypt to investigate the causes of the Arab Spring. His team of researchers found that Bouazizi had inspired 60 similar cases of self-immolation, including five in Egypt, almost all of which had been overlooked by the press. The narrative of a 1989-style revolution in hope of regime change seemed so compelling to foreigners that there was little appetite for further explanation. But de Soto’s team tracked down those who survived their suicide attempts, and the bereaved families. Time and again, they found the same story: this was a protest for the basic freedom to own and acquire ras el mel, or capital.

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Posted: 8th, July 2013 | In: Money, Politicians | Comments (2)

Don’t panic: an extra minute in the shower will wash away that horrible Puritan spirit

Leicester Tigers' players give teammate Perry Freshwater a champagne shower

HAVE we been taken over by some alien race of puritans or something? They’re telling us today that having a long shower is a “waste”. One that we should righteously avoid:

An average shower lasts seven-and-a-half minutes, yet cutting just a minute off that time would save British households £215 million on energy bills each year, the report said.

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Posted: 4th, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Starbuck balls: they’re becoming insane over this corporate tax dodging

TWO stories that show quite how insane people are becoming over this corporate tax dodging stuff. Both, of course, from the Mail. The paper that can indeed read the zeitgeit but never quite get the details correct.

The first, about Starbucks:

Starbucks’ UK sales during the year rose 4 per cent to £413.4million – the biggest increase since 2008.

But the company made a loss of £30.4million – after paying £26.5million to overseas subsidiaries in ‘royalty payments’.

It also paid £1.8million to other Starbucks companies as interest payments on loans made between divisions.

Think about the paying the royalty bit for a moment. If you open a coffee shop without the Starbucks brand are you going to get as much trade as if you open one with it? Quite: so the brand has a value and it’s right that that value be paid for. A Liverpool FC replica shirt is worth more than a Bath United one: the brand adds value to it.

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Posted: 3rd, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Corporation Tax: Government hires contractor based in British Virgin Islands

YOU’VE got to hand it to the campaigners: they can get newspapers to print the most godawful rubbish these days. The latest complaint seems to be that a company is paying all the tax that is due. What Horrors!

Downing Street faces more flak over company tax arrangements after it emerged that a major Government contractor is funnelling profits into an offshore haven.

Telereal Trillium has a £3.2 billion contract to manage buildings such as job centres for the Department for Work and Pensions. It also manages property used by the DVLA.

While the company paid full UK corporation tax last year, it funnelled £163 million of its post-tax profits in the form of share dividends into a parent company based in the British Virgin Islands where there  is a zero rate of income and corporation tax.

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Posted: 3rd, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

We’re all getting diesel generators to beat climate change – WTF!

THIS has to be the most insane side effect of the hysteria over climate change yet: we’re all supposed to kit ourselves out with diesel generators:

NHS hospitals are being asked to cut their power demand from the National Grid as part of a government attempt to stave off power blackouts, which the energy watchdog Ofgem warns could arrive as early as 2015.

According to one energy company, four hospitals have already signed up to a deal under which they will reduce demand at peak times by using diesel-fired generators.

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Posted: 3rd, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Do we have to start saving our own pee to produce phosphorus for farming?

SOME scientists are working on the idea that we do you know. Fortunately, they’ve really not grasped an important part about the world that we live in:

American families may soon be using waterless toilets and recycling their urine, according to new research.

Chemical engineers at the University of Florida have been looking at ways to extract phosphorus – a life-sustaining element – from urine, before it enters the sewage system and becomes diluted.

Since estimates suggest that phosphorous – which occurs as phosphate rocks and is mined for crop fertilizer – could be exhausted in the next 50 to 100 years, urine recycling may be the key to conserving the non-renewable resource in the future.

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Posted: 1st, July 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Apple pays no UK tax yet again – this is why

apple tax

SO,  someone’s gone and had a look at the Apple UK tax filings and once again we find that the company has paid no UK corporation tax whatever. Which really shouldn’t some as all that much of a surprise:

The US technology giant used tax deductions from share awards to employees to help wipe out the corporation tax liabilities of its UK businesses.

Accounts filed by one of Apple’s two main UK divisions, Apple Retail UK Ltd, showed the company made a pre-tax profit of £16m on sales of almost £1bn in the year to September 29.

Another subsidiary, Apple (UK) Ltd, made a pre-tax profit of £43.8m on sales of £93m, according to accounts filed at Companies House, while a third, Apple Europe, made a pre-tax profit of £8m.

However, the company offset tax deductions relating to share schemes of £27.7m against its corporation tax liabilities in the UK. The move also enabled it to claim a tax credit of £3.8m to carry forward to future years. Experts have also suggested Apple’s total sales in the UK are far higher, as many are logged elsewhere.

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Posted: 1st, July 2013 | In: Money | Comment

About those tax-dodging hypocrites at The Guardian

tax protest the guardian

THE Guardian’s been lambasting any and every one who doesn’t pay the amount of tax that they think they should. But of course, we find there is hypocrisy there:

The events and magazines company Top Right Group ran up a corporation tax bill of just £200,000 despite making a pre-tax profit of £186.2m last year.

Top Right, owned by Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners, landed a huge one-off windfall of £166.1m after selling its motoring research arm, CAP. Its chief financial officer, Mandy Gradden, told The Independent the profits on the sale were “exempt from tax under the substantial shareholding exemption which is available to every company in the UK”.

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Posted: 28th, June 2013 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Branding A Rotten Apple: Stormfront Opens Outlets (Chapters) All Over The UK

Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 12.20.15


BRANDING. There is much in a name. Which makes us wonder why the chain of Apple resellers is called STORMFRONT? The Exeter-based retailer has 24 stores across the UK.

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Posted: 28th, June 2013 | In: Money | Comment

There’s a reason companies are people: The ACLU v NSA proves it

THERE much spluttering around about the fact that companies are people. However, there’s a damned good reason that they are: if they weren’t we couldn’t sue them. And we like  being able to sue companies when they stuff up or rip us off.

This particular example is more about the US than UK but the principle still stands:

If progressives had their way, the ACLU’s latest challenge to the NSA’s domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed. ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons.”

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Posted: 27th, June 2013 | In: Money | Comments (2)

It’s the schools to blame for the property crash, not the banks

THIS looks like an interesting piece of propaganda from our neo-capitalist overlords in the banking system. The property crash wasn’t actually their fault at all, oh no sirree. Actually, it was the state school system:

People with poor maths skills are more likely to be behind with their mortgage payments and have their home repossessed, according to a study.

It shows the risk of defaulting on a mortgage is directly linked to a home owner’s maths skills and could explain the mortgage defaults in the recent global crisis.

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Posted: 26th, June 2013 | In: Money | Comment

Guardian Australia fails to understand the Aussie dollar and how Sony sells its PS4

AS you may or may not know The Guardian has just started up an online section devoted to Australia. And it’s terribly comforting to know that even on the other side of the world the lefties are subject to the same damn delusions as they are here. For example, we’ve got a complaint about how the Sony PS 4 is going to be more expensive in Oz that it is in other countries:

All that, and it cost $100 USD less, too, coming in at $399. It seemed like Sony could do no wrong. But for all this fanfare and literal standing ovation, there’s a problem for Australian gamers. The PS4 is set to retail at a tooth-grindingly expensive $549 because of… reasons? That’s too much. I’ve checked. You can too. Sony haven’t explained their unique pricing structure yet, but it seems like a fairly arbitrary dollop of Australian tax.

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Posted: 25th, June 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)