Money | Anorak - Part 39

Money Category

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

Barroso blames it all on America – only the German banks went bust first

SO, Barosso, the President of the European Commission has this to say about the current euro disaster:

“This crisis was not originated in Europe … seeing as you mention North America, this crisis originated in North America and much of our financial sector was contaminated by, how can I put it, unorthodox practices, from some sectors of the financial market.”

Which is interesting because it’s complete tosh.

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Posted: 19th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Tax avoider Jimmy Carr says tax avoiders are pigs killing the country (video)

JIMMY Carr is best known for his jokes about Rupert Murdoch contracting genital diseases from a demonic louse. In other news, Jimmy Carr is on the front page of the Times (prop. R Murdoch), the subject of a story about tax avoidance.

Alexi Mostrous writes:

Thousands of wealthy people in Britain pay as little as 1 per cent income tax using “below the radar” accounting methods, part of a tax avoidance industry that costs the country billions of pounds.

Tax loopholes are not always accidents. Whisper it: they are part of the tax structure. They might even be deliberate:

An investigation by The Times into tax avoidance begins today with the exposure of a single Jersey-based scheme that shelters £168 million a year from the taxman. Jimmy Carr, the comedian who performed for the Queen at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this month, is understood to be the largest beneficiary of the K2 tax scheme.

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Posted: 19th, June 2012 | In: Celebrities, Money | Comments (3)

Greece votes and Spain gets it – Spain’s bond yield kills the euro

IT was supposed to be that if the “right” Greek party won the election then the pressure would be off Spain and Italy: for the euro would be saved.

The “right” party in Greece being anyone other than Syriza essentially, as the other two that had even a hope (Pasok and Ne Democracy) have already agreed that they’ll do the right thing and keep Greece paying its debts and in the euro.

So, that happened: New Democracy squeaked past Syriza and the euro is saved! Spain is safe!

That’s Spain’s 10 year bond yield at 7.1 per cent according to Bloomberg’s composite data.


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Posted: 18th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Victory for Martha Payne: politicians and media screw bureaucrats

YOU may or may not have been aware of the story of young Martha Payne. 9 year old up in Jockland who started posting pictures of her school lunches to her blog. You know the sort of thing, still live haggis with deep fried neeps. A decent backgrounder here.

But what you really want to read is this and this. How Argyll and Bute banend her from taking pictures in the dinner hall.

The first is the response of some twattish jobsworth in the union or the bureaucracy snarling at the temerity of anyone at all critiquing their serving up of whatever the hell is easiest for them.

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Posted: 15th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comment

UK Uncut are ignorant idiots says Judge

UK Uncut are ignorant idiots says a Judge. While we knew this it’s interesting to get the conformation from a senior and respected retired judge. He didn’t put it in quite these words of course, but that is the gist of his message.

We all remeber UK Uncut going off on one about how Vodafone dodged £6 billion in tax. The problem is that’s not really quite what happened. As the National Audit Office report released today points out:

Sir Andrew Park’s overall conclusion is that the settlement reached was a good one and represented fair value for the wider taxpaying community. Had the Department not reached a settlement, the case would have gone to litigation. In Sir Andrew Park’s opinion, company D had a good chance of winning both of its two arguments: the motive test defence and the Cadbury Schweppes defence. If it had won on either of these, the outcome would have been that it had no tax liability at all relating to subsidiary D’s interest income.

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Posted: 14th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Justin Bieber’s perfume sold to Elizabeth Arden: is he being ripped off?

JUSTIN Bieber’s perfume, Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend, has been sold to the company Elizabeth Arden. All seems fair enough on the face of it, brands change hands all the time.

However, there’s a little wrinkle to it. The company which used to distribute it, Give Back Brands, is supposed to be a non-profit. And as far as we know it’s not just the profits of the manufacturing company, but also the profits of the personality behind the brand, which are given to charity.

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Posted: 13th, June 2012 | In: Celebrities, Money | Comments (5)

So We Should Stop Wind Turbine Subsidies Immediately

THERE’S a report out, a briefing note if you prefer, from the Grantham Institute, about just how lovely onshore wind power is. You can read it in full here if you like. It’s the usual sort of piffle we’ve come to expect from these sorts of people. Everything’s just great as long as we ignore all of the costs and shuffle them off to the side there and ignore them.

But there is one point they make which really, really annoys. If what they say is true then we should immediately stop any form of subsidy to wind power. But I’m sure they would be entirely horrified if anyone actually suggested this.

What they say is that wind power is pretty much competitive with gas fired ‘leccie already. And it really really will be in only a couple of years.

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Posted: 12th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)

Don’t Build the High Speed Railway from London to Birmingham!

IT’S just so lovely when you trun out to be right, isn’t it? Gilligan’s got a piece showing that the cost benefit calculation for the HS2 high speed train from London to Brum is entirely cock:

But the internal DfT report, “Productive use of travel time and the valuation of travel time savings for business travellers,” says that most of these supposed gains are illusory. It says that the DfT is relying on the “unsupportable” assumption that time spent on trains is unproductive and demands “major changes” to the “1960s” method used to calculate the HS2 business case. No such changes have been made.

With laptops, wi-fi and smartphones now making long-distance train carriages an extension of the office, the actual amount of extra work produced by HS2 may be almost nil, the researchers find.

In order to make it wortwhile building something like this there has to be some benefit. To someone, somewhere. And the assumption has been that by getting to places faster all those lovely highly paid people in first class will be able to do more work. Less time just sitting on a train and more time doing something.

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Posted: 11th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Argentina to sue UK oil companies for being bigger cheats than Maradona

THE Argies have decided to try suing the British oil companies drilling off the Falklands. There is of course just one teensie, tiny, problem:

The Argentine foreign ministry on Monday declared “illegal and clandestine” the activities of Desire Petroleum, Falkland Oil and Gas, Rockhopper Exploration, Borders and Southern Petroleum, and Argos Resources on the grounds that they are drilling in Argentine waters.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the companies were operating “in a sovereign area of the Argentine nation and as such fall within its specified laws and rules”. The companies “are not authorised by the Argentine government under law 17.319 on hydrocarbons”, she added.

According to the Argentine foreign ministry, her declaration opened the way for the “immediate launch” of criminal proceedings.

That problem being: where are they going to sue them?

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Posted: 6th, June 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert to MoneySupermarket for £87m

MARTIN Lewis has sold his MoneySavingExpert site to MoneySupermarket for £87m.

Hard work, media whoring, affiliate deals self-promotion pay off. In the year ended 31 October 2011, MoneySavingExpert reported revenues of £15.773 million. The site is not only about you saving money. It’s about the site making money promoting those ‘savings’.

And it’s good news for everyone because Lewis can now afford to pay full price wherever he goes. Although had MoneySupermarket shopped around tehy could have got it for 11% less on a two-year contract with…etc.



Posted: 1st, June 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)

Idiot complaints about Apple’s Foxconn

THERE are reasonable complaints one can make about conditions in the Foxconn factories that make all of Apple’s kit (and most of those for Microsoft, Dell, HP and so on). Excessive overtime, short holidays and so on.

Then there are truly idiotic complaints one can make such as this:

a living wage for Chinese workers, whom it says are paid half the salary of workers in Foxconn’s Brazilian factory,


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Posted: 31st, May 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

International Trades Unions go loopy over green finances

THIS is a true glory of a report from the International Trades Unions Conference, ITUC.

They’re thinking about how lovely it would be if there were lots of investment cash to throw at green projects. Which, if you like green projects, it probably would be.

Then they look at pension funds, note they have a lot of money and start to work out how much of that could be spent on all those lovely green projects.

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Posted: 30th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment

The European Commission are being stupid aresholes

THE European Commission are being stupid aresholes. Yes, yes, I know, big surprise isn’t it? But they really are dangling out here on the outer precipices  of insanity:

The EU is poised to launch one of its biggest trade cases against China in a generation after telling member states it has compiled firm evidence that Beijing’s telecommunications equipment companies have benefited from illegal state subsidies.
EU officials informed representatives from the bloc’s 27 member states at a closed-door meeting on Thursday they believed the commission had “very solid evidence” that those companies benefited from illegal government subsidies and had sold products in the EU below cost, a practice known as “dumping”.

Upon a determination China was acting illegally, the EU could subject Chinese companies to punitive tariffs.

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Posted: 29th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Gina Rinehart: World’s richest woman might not be rich all that much longer

GINA Rinehart, mother of those children… We have a new entrant in the list of the world’s richest woman. An Australian who inherited one of the world’s largest iron ore mines:

Her personal fortune now stands at A$29.2bn (£18.2bn) placing her at the top of BRW magazine’s Rich 200 list for a second consecutive year.

That also signals Ms Rinehart has overtaken Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton, estimated to have a net worth of US$25.3bn (£16.1bn), taking her title as the richest woman in the world.

Still more eye-popping is the speed of her ascent. Rinehart’s wealth derives from Hancock Prospecting, the iron ore empire she inherited from her father, but she certainly has grown what she started off with.

That’s certainly a pretty decent chunk of change there. The big question though is how long is that going to last?

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Posted: 28th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Why is the Caracas stock market booming?

YOU can see from this picture that the stock market in Caracas, Venezuela, is booming. The interesting question is why of course?

The answer is here.

What’s driving the market? My guess is a combination of reports that Hugo Chavez is fighting cancer and the uniting of the opposition parties behind one candidate. The upsurge that begins in February coincides with the February primary that chose Henrique Radonski as the candidate to stand against Chavez.

And, of course, February was also when the news broke that Chavez’ cancer was not in fact entirely cured and that further treatment would be necessary.

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Posted: 25th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Those idiots at Greenpeace and shale gas

SO. What has been the effect of the American rush for shale gas then?

‘The shale gas boom in the US has led to a big drop in its carbon emissions, as power generators switch from coal to cheap gas. According to the International Energy Agency, US energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, fell by 450m tonnes over the past five years – the largest drop among all countries surveyed.’

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Posted: 24th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Well, Greece is screwed whichever way it turns

LOOKS like any which way Greece tries to turn it’s screwed. If they try and stay in the euro then they’re screwed by a decade or more of this internal devaluation, this austerity. Things would get better if they leave, after the horrible shock of actually leaving.

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Posted: 23rd, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment

The idiocy means we won’t dill for shale gas

IDIOTS! This piece of nonsense from the fools that rule us has me aghast:

The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain’s energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on……..

But The Independent on Sunday has learned that industry experts made clear at a meeting attended by senior ministers, including David Cameron and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy secretary, that the UK’s reserves were smaller than first thought and could be uneconomical to extract.

Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.

This is the action of morons. Because a) we don’t know and b) we’ve got an excellent method of finding out.

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Posted: 22nd, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Why Facebook’s Share Price Is Going to Fall

IT’S a brave man who tries to predict short term share prices but I’ll have a go. Sometime soon Facebook’s price is going to start falling.

The IPO did just great for the company and people selling the shares. That’s what an IPO is for after all, getting in money for those selling. However, one part of such a float is what’s known as “stabilisation”. For the first 30 days or so the underwriters of the issue try to keep the price stable.

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Posted: 21st, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment

G10 – the debt explained in a graphic

THAT debt problem explained:

Spotter: Occupy design

Posted: 20th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Sam Hallam’s going to have to pay the government bed and board

I’LL guarantee you in a day or two you’re going to be seeing pieces shouting about how unfair it is that Sam Hallam, unfairly convicted and now released, will have to be paying bed and board for the time he was in prison.

The fact of the matter is that he won’t: but that won’t stop people saying he will.

What will happen is that he’s be due compensation: it’s how that compensation is calculated that allows the charge of being made to pay for bed and board.

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Posted: 17th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comments (6)

The Queen’s Speech In Austere pictures

AUSTERITY! Austerity! Austerity! The Queen’s well-spoken plans for the country, as outlined in her Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, we’re all about austerity. Still, we’re all in this together. Here are some photos of all that austerity in action:

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Posted: 16th, May 2012 | In: Money, Royal Family | Comment

Can you pay your bill with pennies?

YOU cannot pay your bills with pennies. Well, actually you can, but you can’t insist on doing so. The original story in the Mail:

A disgruntled client who paid a bill with £800 of loose change after a row with his accountant has been ordered to pay his debt ‘properly’ by a court judge.

And then the cock up The Guardian made of it:

A care home manager has been fined £1,118.62 after he settled an £804 debt to his accountant with five crates of mostly 1p and 2p coins. He had been to the bank especially, he said: be glad that you weren’t behind him in the queue. So what did Robert Fitzpatrick, the care home manager, do wrong?

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Posted: 16th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Smartphones: the fastest growing technology ever

ONE way of looking at the current economic world is that it’s a complete disaster. Slow to little growth (and don’t even start talking about Southern Europe), mass unemployment, a general dirge of it all being pretty crappy.

One the other hand, there are bright spots: what economic growth there is is in the poor countries, meaning people are moving from absolute, $2 a day type, poverty to the unaccustomed luxury of three square meals a day.

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Posted: 15th, May 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

The euro is doomed, doomed I tell ‘ee

THERE’S been much head scratching about what’s going to happen to the euro. Will anyone manage to get thumb out of bum in time to actually save the thing (pretty simple to do, just get the ECB to print a few trillion euros and set off some nice inflation) or is it going to collapse in a heap?

The betting is now that Greece is going to go: Chase puts it at a 75% odds. Paul Krugman is similarly gloomy:

Some of us have been talking it over, and here’s what we think the end game looks like:

1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

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Posted: 14th, May 2012 | In: Money | Comments (4)