Money | Anorak - Part 44

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

Dear God the UK Uncut people are stupid: Philip Green is innocent

SO here’s a little missive from a UK Uncut protestor who was released from a police cell after protesting at TopShop about Phillip Green.

Well, Philip Green pays no tax on his company dividends.

I agree that we might have to beat this into the fool with a cluebat but the reason that Philip Green doesn’t pay any tax on his company dividends is that Philip Green doesn’t receive any company dividends.

Not a penny, not one iota. And we don’t demand that people pay tax on money that they don’t get. Strange that but we don’t.

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Posted: 19th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

The best economy graphs of 2011

2011 was a great year for money, wasn’t it. But what was the best bit? Well, we’ve got the 10 best economic graphs of the year? Want to see them? Of course you do:


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Posted: 15th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

When The Butter Runs Out in Norway Laugh At Local Food Fans

I’M sure you’ve seen this little piece, the Great Butter Famine going on in Norway?

Yes, isn’t it terribly amusing when one of the richest nations in the world runs out of a basic food stuff. There’s got to be some craziness behind it all. And indeed there is.

Norway is one of the very few places with farming policies even more stupid than our own dearly beloved EU. They “protect” their farmers even more than Brussels does. Part of that protection is that there is a quota and then a tax upon the top of the quota on importing butter into the nation.

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Posted: 14th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Twin Seoul Skyscrapers Look Like World Trade Centre Collapsing

THE South Korean skyline will soon feature The Cloud, a pair of skyscraper seemingly modelled on the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. In 2016, office workers in Seoul’s redeveloped Yongsan business district will be able to toil at their desks just like the thousands of people did at the World Trade Centre before they were murdered by militant Islamists.

Any idea that the 54 and 60 storey towers by Dutch architects MVRDV are in poor taste are dismissed by White Paik, spokesman for the Yongsan Development Corporation:

“Allegations that it [the design] was inspired by the 9/11 attacks are groundless. There will be no revision or change in our project.”

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Posted: 14th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Why Banking Regulation Doesn’t Work

WE’D all like it to work, obviously. We’d really rather prefer to have a few bureaucrats stopping them from going bust than having to throw hundreds of billions at them every generation for sure.

However, the problem seems to be that such regulation doesn’t actually work:

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has conceded that it was outwitted by hedge funds who realised that the bank’s loan book could not be as healthy as stated by the figures using the International Financial Reporting Standards (IRFS).

The regulator’s report found the “anticipation that large loan loss provisions might arise…. was highly relevant to the collapse in confidence in RBS in autumn 2008. And while this confidence effect was general across the banking system, RBS was particularly affected because of market concerns that its loan portfolio might be of relatively poor quality.”

But rather than blaming the “speculators” the FSA agreed their view was correct. “This perception of relatively poor loan quality (compared with some, but not all, other banks) was confirmed post facto by the scale of RBS’s provisions in 2009 and 2010,” it found.

This isn’t confined to the UK and the FSA either. Germany spent even more cleaning up their banking system than we did ours, Eire famously allowed the banks to bankrupt the entire country and in the US the SEC was just as gobsmacked as everyone else.

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Posted: 13th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Understanding The Eurodeal: All They’ve Saved Are The Banks And Saddled Us With Inflation

OF course, saving the banks is an inportant thing to do: a world without banks is one which is much poorer than the one we live in. However, really, last week’s eurodeal, that is all they’ve done: saved the banks:

What the ECB can do is pull out all the stops to save Euroland’s €23 trillion banking system, and that is what it did last week by extending unlimited credit to banks (LTRO’s) to three years, halving the reserve ratio to 1pc, and relaxing collateral rules to allow banks running out of eligible “kit” to pawn almost anything at Frankfurt’s lending window.

This is the closest we have come a “game-changer” in two years of rolling crisis. The banks can play the “carry trade”, borrowing at 1pc until 2015 with gearing to buy Italian debt at 6.4pc. That is how you rebuild a shattered banking system, and how to finance governments covertly without breaching any Treaty clause.

Everything else is just, well, we’ll agree to agree about something some other time. This however does indeed work.

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Posted: 12th, December 2011 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comments (5)

BREAKING NEWS: David Cameron Evicted After Neighbours Complain Of Drunken Anti-Social Behaviour, Foul Language And Urinating In The Street

IT’S quite amazing what the Boy Dave gets up to when Sam let’s him off for a night out with the boys in Europe really, isn’t it?

Sadly though that’s not quite what the story refers to. It’s rather an old thing that local newspapers rather delight in doing. Finding that they’ve got some local miscreant with the same name as someone more famous and then plastering the misdeeds all over the headlines. This one is from the Northampton Chronicle and the David Cameron referred to is a 60 year old with multiple ASBOs.

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Posted: 9th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

This is What Is Known As Lying With Numbers: Home Finance Loans

THAT’S distinct from Disraeli’s thing about lies, damned lies and statistics: for this is straight up lying with numbers.

It’s all about the payday loan industry. You know, those appalling people that some 3 million of us borrow from each year. Usually for a lower cost than we’d have to pay a bank for arranging an overdraft, if they would even give us one.

But still, some have decided they’re evil and must be pursued. So we end up with things like this:

My Home Finance loans are not subsidised, and a borrower would pay £7.09 a week for 52 weeks to repay £300, producing a total repayment of £383.68 over the year including interest of £68.68 and an administration charge of £15. The same borrower taking out £300 from Wonga for just 31 days would repay a total of £398.91.

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Posted: 8th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Taiwan Dog Poo Lottery Means Very Dumps A Winner

FOR each bag of dog poo collected, the residents of New Taipei City, receive a lottery ticket, giving them the chance to win two gold ingots Tw$60,000 (about $2,000!)

The dog poo collectors have so far collected 14,000 bags of turds.

Says Lai Lien-chueh, of the city’s environmental protection bureau:

“The outcome of the campaign beat all our expectations.”

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Posted: 8th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Scotland Pays For Chinese Panda Bears With Fishy Salmon And Turning A Blind Eye To Norway’s Nobel Woes

SCOTLAND gets those Chinese panda bears on hire for ten years, and China gets lots of Scottish salmon.

In October, the BBC reported that Scottish salmon suits Chinese tastes:

China has leapt into top spot in the Far East for Scottish salmon exports – just six months after it allowed seafood to be sent directly from Scotland for the first time. Data from HM Revenue and Customs revealed 2,347 tonnes of salmon were exported to the world’s most populous nation in the first half of 2011.

The Far East total for the period was 3,036 tonnes, worth £16m.

China is now the fifth largest export destination for Scottish salmon.

In January, the Scottish and Chinese governments reached an agreement to allow seafood exports directly from Scotland. The announcement was made when First Minister Alex Salmond met Vice-Premier Li during a visit to Scotland…

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead hailed the figures as “a huge vote of confidence” in Scottish salmon and another boost for Scottish food exports.

He said: “If this is what can be achieved in the first six months, then the sky could be the limit for exports to China”…

Scottish Development International chief executive Anne MacColl said the announcement was “a true reflection” of Scotland’s reputation as a world-leading producer of high-quality seafood produce.

It’s a true reflection of something.

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Posted: 7th, December 2011 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comments (2)

New Economics Foundation: Loons on the Loose

THE new economics foundation (they’re so green and hip that they think there’s a shortage of capital letters) has decided that British banking is broken and that we really ought to all go and adopt the German system.

Local banking works. The experience of other countries that have thriving local banking sectors, including the US, Germany and Switzerland, has demonstrated that smaller, locally focused institutions are the ones that provide economic resilience.

Germany in particular provides an excellent case study of a different way of doing things. Once considered plodding and underperforming compared with swashbuckling British banks led by the likes of Fred Goodwin, the humble German savings banks, or sparkassen, have been quietly showing their mettle since the financial crisis began.

There are 430 of these banks, each of which is focused on serving its local area. They are public interest institutions with explicit social as well as economic objectives. They are prudently managed, but also will back new business ventures and stay with customers for the long term. Lending decisions are not made by computers, or sent to some remote regional office. Your branch manager has the authority to back his or her judgment.

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Posted: 7th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Occupier Wall Street Protestor Gets Job On Wall Street

THANKS to her participation in Occupy Wall Street, Tracy Postert scored a job on… Wall Street.

Having tried her luck with such signs as “Reagan sucks” and “I’ll vote after the revolution“, she opted for “Ph.D. Biomedical Scientist seeking full time employment – Ask me for my resume.”

Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst for John Thomas Financial Brokerage, spotted it and gave her a chance.

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Posted: 7th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

BBC Offers One Lucky Viewer £18m Licence Fee Rebate

THE BBC is paying back slices of its licence fee:

Ever wondered where it all goes? Well they are giving me a Christmas bonus out of it!!






0845 838 1815 (UK Local Rate)
+44 7024084948(From Outside UK)

The lads from the Room 419 graphics department are waiting::


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Posted: 6th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodies: The Buma/Stemra Model For European Pirates

QUIS Custodiet Ipsos Custodies. Or to translate that into modern English, how do we make sure that the people we ask to make sure that bastards don’t steal from us aren’t bastards who steal from us?

Oh, sure, we can appoint all sorts of technocrats, bureaucrats, have politicians, even have independent organisations to monitor things for us. But what happens when they turn out to be breaching their own monitoring?

A board member of rights management company Buma/Stemra which represents composers and music publishers has stepped down amid allegations of corruption, the Volkskrant writes on Thursday.
Broadcaster Powned recorded a conversation between Jochem Gerritsand and  the lawyer of composer Melchior Rietveldt who claims the organisation owes him at least €1m in lost copyright fees.

Rietveldt wrote a piece of music for an anti-piracy ad which was widely distributed without his knowledge. In spite of numerous requests he was never paid for the reproduction of his music.

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Posted: 5th, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

The Robin Hood Tax: It Won’t Work You know

SO we get, hot off the presses, the report from the House of Lords Committee looking into the Robin Hood Tax (or financial transactions tax, Tobin tax, call it what you will):

A European tax on financial transactions could cost Britain’s economy up to 20 times the amount it raises, a committee of lawmakers said on Friday.

Britain has said a transaction tax, dubbed a Tobin Tax after the U.S. economist who devised it in the 1970s, would only work globally and the EU plans are “deeply confused.”

Britain is fiercely opposed to the proposed financial transaction tax (FTT), which the European Union said could raise 57 billion euros (49 billion pounds) a year if implemented across the bloc.

“The FTT is likely to induce a loss in GDP between five and 20 times larger than the revenues raised from the tax,” according to an economic sub-committee of the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the parliament.

And that’s only one of the reasons why it won’t work: others being that banks won’t pay it, workers and consumers will, there’s no point at all in having it unless it’s global, it’ll raise volatility in the markets, not reduce it and so on.

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Posted: 2nd, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Coupon Crazy: Saving With Groupon And Others Doesn’t Add Up

ARE we going Groupon Coupon Crazy? Yes yes yes, we all know you can save money by using coupons when you go shopping. And yes yes yes, we all know that it’s the sort of thing that started out in the US and has only recently started to become common in the UK.

However, economists just love pointing out something about these sorts of activities. Yes, you’re saving money: but how much is it costing you to save money?

Like the bank customer cashing in a jar of pennies at lunchtime, Judith thinks nothing of handing a cashier coupons printed from the online money-saving forums that she trawls daily for cut-price deals on non-perishables to feed to her brood. But, then, she is Britain’s most accomplished penny-pincher…….The forums are a step ahead. It does mean I spend a fair bit of time every day on line – but I’m not a big television person anyway.”

The question is, how much time?

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Posted: 1st, December 2011 | In: Money | Comments (2)

GCHQ Recruits 35 Phone Hackers On Twitter And Facebook: Can You Crack Milly Dowler’s Phone?

THE News of The World may be dead, but you spooks and spies can still get work at MI6. GCHQ is recruiting 35 new code-breakers on the “Can You Crack It?” web page.

Crack the code and win the right to be trained up to snoop on members of the public, and have your mysterious death swept under the carpet and your name and reputation muddied.

Says a GCHQ spokesman:

“Code cracking skills are vital to secure the very best talent and to support the GCHQ mission in its fight against cyber threats. Our target audience is not typically attracted to traditional advertising methods and may be unaware that we are recruiting for these kinds of roles.”

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Posted: 1st, December 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Booze Taxes Have to be Reduced Or The Bootleggers Get The Money

DO booze taxes have to be reduced? Well, of course they do; hardened topers like myself insist they must be.

However, there is a more serious point here as well. The reason we tax booze so heavily isn’t, as some might think, to make everyone healthy by keeping them off the sauce. It’s actually because demand has a very low elasticity.

That’s the economists’ posh way of saying that when you put the price up people still buy it. Because, you know, living in modern Britain will drive anyone and everyone to drink. So it’s absolutely the opposite that is true: we don’t tax booze a lot to stop people drinking it but because even when we do tax it people still drink. That means we can get tonnes of money out of taxing booze: and getting tonnes of money is the point of taxing things at all.

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Posted: 30th, November 2011 | In: Money | Comment

1%er Doesn’t Make Much Of The Working Classes, Unsurprisingly: A Banker Speaks

OCCUPY Everywhere (it feels like ‘everywhere’ at the minute) continues, there’s not been too many words coming from the bankers. It seems they’ve been reluctant to speak.

That is, until now. One of the 1%ers has been caught on camera, looking at the protests and, unsurprisingly, he’s rather sniffy about it all.

He effectively tells the cameraman that no-one “great” ever came from the 99%, which is met with a couple of cheeky answers from the person filming events.

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Posted: 30th, November 2011 | In: Money | Comment

You Want to Know What’s Happening In the Eurozone….Yes, I Knew You Did

DO you want to know what’s happening in the EuroZone? Well, if you really want to know what’s happening over in Euroland then you should read this book:

A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960
Milton Friedman & Anna Jacobson Schwartz

Admittedly at near 900 pages including charts and references it is pretty hard going. But if you really want to understand, that’s where you need to go.

As and when you read it though you’ll need to remember a point. When Friedman starts talking about what the Federal Reserve did in the US before and during the Great Depression, he’s actually listing the whole set of things that they got wrong. When he says they made an error here then that’s exactly what the European Central Bank has been doing. Like, for example, raising interest rates because of the risk of inflation. We have a risk of deflation, of a depression, in front of us, not a risk of dangerous inflation.

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Posted: 29th, November 2011 | In: Money | Comment

419 Scammers Cannot Do Photoshop: Brilliant Gallery The Nigerian Con Gone Wrong

THE Nigerian 419 scammers cannot do Photoshop. You’d think that being the Commander of the Imperial Forces of his Excellency etc… the Nigerian contact sitting on vast pile of cash would be able to hire a decent web designer. It turns out they like to do it themselves. People wise to the scam invite the scammers to pose for photos. These snaps will prove that they are persons of fine repute, elevated jobs and impeccable dress sense. Want to see some of the results


Picture 1 of 9

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Posted: 29th, November 2011 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comment

If An NGO Goes Bust Without Government Money Is It Really An N- GO? Environmental Protection UK It Not Independent

THE definition of NGO is Non-Governmental Organisation. Supposedly those nice people outside politics with ideas about how to make the world a better place who campaign to make the world a better place.

Which makes this slightly odd:

The UK’s oldest environmental NGO has been forced to close after government cuts to local authority budgets drastically reduced its income.

Formed as the Coal Smoke Abatement Society at the end of the nineteenth century, Environmental Protection UK provided expert analysis on air quality and, more recently, contaminated land and waste issues. But over the past two years, the Brighton-based charity has faced severe financial challenges due to the coalition’s cuts to local authorities, which purchase its products and services.

If an NGO cannot survive without government money is it in fact a non-governmental anything at all?

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Posted: 28th, November 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Kate Middleton To Join Public Sector Strike: Official Royal TUC Strike Fridge Magnets Raise Millions

PUBLIC Sector strikes are coming on Wednesday. And the big question is: will anyone who works notice? The right-wring press warn of queues at Heathrow Airport, pupils learning nothing in school and the country’s borders being porous. Again we ask: will anyone notice the difference?

Well, one difference is that the Guardian’s website is expected to be busier than usual and more people will watching Neighbours. Also, people on their way to work will be able to see the striking public sector workers and ask them what it is they do.

Francis Maude and Danny Alexander say the strikes will pose a “significant hit to the economy at a very challenging time”. It’s a warning that talks up the importance of the strikers’ jobs.

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Posted: 28th, November 2011 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comment (1)

So Where Are All The Bond Vigilantes? Doubling Rates For the Italians

WHERE are all the Bond vigilantes? Not buying Italian debt is the short answer.

Italy paid a record 6.5 percent to borrow money over six months Friday and its longer-term funding costs soared far above levels seen as sustainable for public finances, raising the pressure on Rome’s new emergency government.

The auction yield on the six-month paper almost doubled compared to a month earlier, capping a week in which a German bond auction came close to failing and the leaders of Germany, France and Italy failed to make progress on crisis resolution measures.

Well, OK, OK, they managed to sell them so there were buyers: but with bonds, the fewer buyers there are the higher the interest rate you’ve got to offer to attract them. That’s what is happening here.

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Posted: 25th, November 2011 | In: Money | Comments (2)

That One About Politicians and Their Lips Moving Again: Chris Huhne’s Green Shirts

TODAY’S  edition of politicians are not like you and me comes from Chris Huhne:

Households currently pay £89 a year on their bills for the green energy drive, but this will increase every year to reach £280 by 2020, according to the Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The ‘taxes’ will provide almost £8billion a year towards the £200billion cost of vast wind farms, nuclear power stations, a new pylon network, and to put up solar panels.

But in a bizarre statement, energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne told the House of Commons that his policies mean consumers will actually be better off.

He said: ‘By 2020, we expect household bills to be 7 per cent – or £94 – lower than they would otherwise be without our policies.

‘Britain’s homes will be cheaper to heat and light than if we did nothing.’

The big lie here is that he’s talking, with certainty, about what prices are going to be in 9 years’ time. This simply is not possible, it’s a gross effrontery for anyone, politician or not, to stand up and try us anything in that level of detail for that far in the future.

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Posted: 24th, November 2011 | In: Money | Comment