Why work?

   We have talked before about making work pay.  It is time to ask how is the Coalition government getting on with implementing its popular pledge that it would make it more worthwhile working?

     Over the last two years average pay in the UK has risen by just 4.2%. Meanwhile JSA and other out of work benefits have risen by 8.5%, or twice the rate of earnings.

       The government is introducing compulsory membership of  NEST, a new pension scheme, for lower paid employees and others not already in a private scheme. This will entail a 4% levy on employee earnings, and a 3% levy on the employer.

       Petrol, diesel, and public transport fares have gone up by more than inflation over the last two years. As many need to drive or be driven to work on train or bus, we could pencil in a further 1% loss of net income from travel to work costs.

        Putting this altogether, it shows that so far the governemnt has found it difficult to make it more worthwhile working.

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  1. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    The other obvious barrier to earning is the sheer scale of the logistics of coming on and off benefit which are prohibitive – particularly in the case of housing and housing benefit where it’s so easy to come off and often virtually impossible to get back into the system if you take a job which then suddenly disappears.

    IDS was partly on the right track when he was trying to reform benefits to put people on a single stream to help to overcome these barriers. However he failed to make progress because he did not understand the complexity of defining the individual and the household.

    What’s needed instead is a ‘wrapper option’ for the current benefits system where by people can elect to take part in a scheme where there benefits are protected but they can take work which allows their reasonable costs of work to be paid directly to them to cover the costs they are incurring in going to work but their income beyond that is taxed at a very high rate – say about 70%. This would make it possible for people on benefits to take insecure and short term work in the way that people off benefits do and would be a key step in the ladder to their becoming economically active.

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink


      Could do with just simplifying the whole system so it is easy to sign on and off, so people can take temporary work without it penalising them when it finishes, with them at present having to wait weeks and weeks to get back on the system again.
      This is the biggest block, and why people are loath to take any sort of temporary job, which could in the long term lead perhaps to full employment.

      • Rebecca Hanson
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        What if someone is being offered work which pays less than their benefits Alan? There’s no easy solution.

        But allowing them to process their pay through a system where they get 30% (say) of it and the rest goes to the government (and their benefits stay in place) could be relatively straight forward.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink


          That is exactly the problem with the system, in some cases benefits can be perhaps not enough, but in others it can be far too generous.

          The Government have gone part way to trying to resolve this by putting a cap of £26,000 TAX FREE on benefits but in many cases where people are perhaps getting this, they are not even capable of holding down a job which would pay that as a gross sum.

          Perhaps we should tax benefits just like any other income to get a level playing field and then make them not means tested.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            Just assume benefits are the after tax amount of money people receive, rather than a tax free amount.

            Let’s face it unless you can convince landlords to accept lower rents from the unemployed and supermarkets to sell their food cheaper to the unemployed your plan to cut benefits for no good reason won’t work.

          • alan jutson
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink


            Please explain why someone on benefits who does nothing to contribute to the cost of running the country (except on Vat purchases) should get the eqiv of £36,000 per year, way, way above the average wage of £25,000 which is taxed.

            Your statement assume this is after the tax amount is an insult to those who work for less than £36,000.

            Shame on you.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          The trouble is that make them far better off than very many full time workers on average pay levels.

        • James Sutherland
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          This is the sort of issue IDS’s new unified benefit system is supposed to address, as I understand it: instead of myriad different benefits you either receive or not, your employer reports earnings each month, then your benefits can adjust automatically to reflect earnings.

          (Rather than ‘you get 30% of pay, govt keeps the rest’ it’ll be more ‘you keep your pay, govt reduces your benefits by x% of it’, but the net result’s the same.)

          • Rebecca Hanson
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

            I first looked in to the IDS vision of unified benefits about 20 years ago. As a business analyst back home with my parents in Longbenton (the land of the DSS for those of you who’ve never used it) it was a natural interest.

            Unlike IDS and co I actually went and talked to the people who ran the systems who had thought through all these things many times before at length. The problems come because that initial assumption most people have that there is a universally objective system of calculating benefits does not hold. While it’s tempting to hold your hands up in horror and say – it must be corrupt – surely it must hold, the reasons why it doesn’t hold are complex and subtle but inescapable due to the mercurial interaction of the individual and the household and the benefits needs of the individual and those needs which are met by society. No amount of computer power or rational thinking can fix that. Benefits are context related and the same context is perceived differently in ways which are essential to the efficiency of the state.

            So you have to think differently. Adding in a wrapper which is specifically designed to allow people to take unstable, short term and unpredictable work was the only solution we could come up with then.

            Back then the main barrier was that such systems would be complex, costly and time consuming to set up. It would be necessary to learn from mistakes and adjust systems. All these thing would have been costly and very time consuming on an already overstretched system then. The web has changed that.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted September 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Your idea would necessitate close co-operation between DWP and HM Revenue & Customs. For that reason alone, it won’t work.

          In practice, if you want people to work at the wages and salaries that are on offer, you have to reduce benefits for people not working.

        • Disaffected
          Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          Force people to work if there job pays less and the government makes up the difference between pay and benefit. This reduces the cost to the state. More importantly it was found in states in America that it changed the psychology so that people once in work changed their mind set and then wanted to progress as they realised they were able to perform roles at a higher grade. Staying on state benefits for life has to stop. The cap needs to be reduced below the average wage not to insult those who work and pay taxes to keep people on welfare with a better standard of living. it does not take years to achieve, it takes the will and determination of individuals in government- sadly the government is still lacking interest and out of touch reality.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      You are quite right the system does deter people from taking jobs knowing, as you put it “the sheer scale of the logistics of coming on and off benefit.”

      • Bazman
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Like signing on and off? How difficult is that. Shear scale of logistics? What is this pants? Are you all so suddenly baffled by the system and forgotten how to understand? Often it is not worth working a day for example as you could just loose your dole for that week. I have done a days work and legally or illegally the job centre guy just did not write it down and dismissed it. This ain’t the Soviet Union, although many would like it to be. You are getting into the thinking of the unemployed and the middle classes at the same time. You have to be proactive to use that witless managers language. Be forceful, telling potential employers where to get off and charming others. Doing something through the day like exercise can magically lead to a job or doing some work that financially is pointless, but gets you out of the house. Can’t force anyone to do this though and any silly right wing scheme is going to backfire. I have a can’t do attitude. Ram it.

    • Atlas
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Rebecca and Alan – I agree.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    On the plus side us pensioners have enjoyed the rise as well,if you want to fund a cut in say employees NI,why not cut the 40% that taxpayers contribute to the pensions of those in that tax bracket,it is reported that those are the only pensions to enjoy a bigger pension so why are the poor helping the rich get richer?

    If you want more savings start with the feed in tariff for all renewables,we can’t afford the electric they produce .

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Certainly right on the absurd so called “renewables”.

      The people who have gained most in the last few years are people with state jobs and pensions (or defined benefit ones) and with floating rate mortgages and people on benefits. People in the private sector with no pensions or money purchase pensions paying rents (or a fix rate mortgage) or living off interest on savings are being hit with a steam hammer. Pretty much the opposite of what is needed.

      • nicol sinclair
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        And that describes my position perfectly. Why, otherwise, would I still be working at 69 (70 next month)?

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Exactly: if you are a kitchen lad why press on working as the Titantic is noticeably listing. And when your “betters” (Cast Iron) are also rather obviously vile & contemptible perhaps rampaging about ships deck is best.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          The difference being that the elite have their own private yachts being towed behind.

          • outsider
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            Dear Bazman,
            Nice point, though I suspect it will mostly be their friends’, sponsors’ and benefactors’ private yachts.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      A cut in employers’ NI for the under 25s would be much more effective but providing tax relief only at basic rate (20%) for all pension contributions should be implemented as soon as possible. It would also help those at the bottom end of the scale.

      • Martin C
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        No that’s far too generous to public-sector employees. Public sector employees pay only dirisory little pension contributions, but get fat great pensions out of all proportion to the amount they contribute. Therefore taxation on pension contrubutions hits the private-sector disproportinately hard – we have to pay far, far more contributions to get the same level of pension.
        What we could do is to value public-sector pensions at market rates, and then increase public-sector salaries accordingly, by the amount extra they must pay in pension contributions. This has the massive advantage of costing the state precisely nothing! Pension contributions are removed from the salary before the public-sector employee receives it, and the contributions are paid into a fund that doesnt exist. It’s all only phantom money.
        But now though, if you choose to remove tax-relief from pension contributions the state employee would be on level-terms with a private-sector employee.
        You would hear the screams of outrage on the far side of the moon.
        And in fact some state employees simply could not afford it; the true market value of a civil-service, 1/47th final salary index-linked partially transferreble to spouse pension is around 70% of salary. Therefore cut the tax-relief on that from 45% to 20% and you would be giving them a round a 30% pay cut.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          So you believe MPs will cut their own pensions? No chance of that happening.

          Also why are you calling for a race to the bottom on pensions? Surely it would be better if the private sector had to give their employees better pensions, rather than using the politics of envy to drag down public sector pensions.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            How many times do you have to be told? The future demographics of this year are alarming. Both the number and the proportion of over 65s have started to increase and this process will last from 2011 to about 2026. Although they will strenuously deny it, this is one of the main reasons that the government (and opposition) want the immigration of working age people to continue a high level, regardless of social tensions and the weakening of national identity.

            So don’t take the availability of funding for good pensions for granted. The money isn’t there. The French have failed to make adequate financial provisions for their own very good pensions and are desperately scrabbling round to get other nations to pick up the tab. You have been warned.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        There is little point in saving in a pension if tax relief is only 20%. It is only tax deferral (not really relief) anyway in the main you pay tax when you draw the pension later. So what is the point or getting 20% relief on entry only to pay 40%-50% on it latter? You also lock it up in a structure with many silly investment restrictions and often high costs perhaps 1%+ PA. Hardly worth it at 20% (the only saving is the 25% of the fund you can get tax free just worth about 5%) and the cost and restrictions mean that is often pointless. Then you have to buy a duff annuity “investment” because the regulation force you to.

        So you would just kill private sector pensions in effect.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink


          Absolutely agree, Private Pensions are killed by excessive charges, poor performance, and low annuity rates.

          The fact that you cannot even access your own money in an emergency means a complete lack of flexibility.

          The fact that Governments can and often do change the rules and tax position (Browns £5 billion raid per year) also means that a sensible investmnet decision taken 30 years ago is/can be an absolute disaster today, or in the future.

          Much more sensible and probably better to make provision in some other way.

      • sm
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        What are the advantages of a defined contribution pension plan, with tax relief at the basic rate of 20%, particularly for a basic rate taxpayer (lower earner with less free income)?

        Loss of the money for emergencies or house/flat deposit. Limited investments that you can personally control, high relative charges. Exposure to financial skimming by the finance industry.Government (theft) tax raids, then of course, repression of interest rates and potential higher taxation on exit.


      • a-tracy
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Only if you put all pensions savings, local government workers, public sector, GPs, MPs in the same boat could this be justified.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      It is worrying that the pension provisions of the higher paid have increased over the last year. This seems to point to this being further used as a tax avoidance mechanism. This emphasises the need to restrict the tax allownce to basic and also to look at the tax position and upper limits of employers’ contributions to the pensions of the higher paid.

      • norman
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Maybe Osborne’s wonderful wheeze of dragging millions more of the ‘immoral rich’ into the middle 40% rate so that these immoral scoundrels don’t gain from the Lib Dems proposal to raise the lower limit has something to do with this as well?

        The genius that is Osborne could hardly have played it worse – the Lib Dems get all the credit for a much needed tax cut for lower paid while Osborne and the Tories get all the blame from the tradional Tory ‘hard working families’ for dragging them into the middle rate.

        I’m sure there has been a more incompetent Minister over the last decade but I’m scratching my head to think of one. At least Balls won’t do any worse, that’s how bad the situation is, the one positive, fear of Labour’s handling of the economy, has been neutered by Osborne doing worse.

      • A different Simon
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        I think you are wrong .

        Pensions are taxed on the way out . It’s simple .

        The tax benefit for the those in the upper rate income tax benefit is achieved by spreading their income tax liability over more years .

        A graduated income tax system is a bit of a con anyway in these days or years of plenty and years of poverty . Someone could make £60k one year and be out of work the next and end up paying more tax than someone who earned £30k over both years .

        If your pension fund performs better than expected you don’t save any tax , you just defer it and if it performs better than that you could end up paying more tax than you got in relief .

        If you start trying to tax on the way in as well it becomes impractically complex .

        – Would you make any attempt to treat people on defined benefits and defined contributions schemes equally ?

        – How on earth are you going to assess the tax liability of contributions on the way in of a defined benefits pension ?

        Ultimately we would be better off with a state pension of about £14,000 per year . Get that right and there is no need to worry about secondary pensions such as occupational and private .

        Furthermore it costs no more to pay a £14,000 state pension than it does to pay £7,000 in state pension + £7,000 in benefits to keep them off the streets .

        It would be cash neutral and the removal of means tested old age benefits which cost £18billion a year to administrate would save money and not penalise people who chose to save .

        • A different Simon
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

          PS ,

          What would you think about no tax relief on the way in and no tax liability on the way out , like an ISA with restricted access but with the benefit that if you become bankrupt your creditors cannot claim this money ?

          • alan jutson
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink


            No tax in none out.

            Its so simple.

            Something I suggested more than 20 years ago.

            Bbefore politicians answer it would not be fair getting a ax free income how about those on benefits !

            Simple solution as from 1st April next year no tax relief on any new pension contribution and no tax due on income from a seperate fund started after that date. Transfers to the new fund from the old, not allowed.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        It is not a very good “tax avoidance mechanism” unless you get 40%+ relief on the way in and pay only 20% on the way out otherwise it is not really worth it after costs/restrictions. Now that G Brown has robbed the (private sector) funds – by preventing dividend tax reclaims too.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    The problem in the nut shell. It is not hard to do this they just need to fire some of the state sector (about half), cut benefits and cut work taxes. Also give a pro business, small state low tax vision.

    Allowing just 1% (net income) for travel to and from work is perhaps rather a underestimate, particularly as jobs are hard to find, train fares are up and people need to travel further. The new pension rules are yet another regulatory burden on employers that will stop many companies being able to give any pay rises. Then there are childcare cost and the money you can save by shopping better (due to having more free time) and the DIY/maintenance tasks you can do with the extra time you have. The free prescriptions, dental care, more free time and other benefits of not working. Not to mention the odd cash in hand job many do illegally.

    If you cannot earn a fairly large salary why bother, that is the government’s tax and benefit message. I blame the system/government not the claimants in the main. The incentive to work need to be quite large not £5 a week better off – or so as it can be now.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Still at least there is some relaxation in planning laws we are assured. Start by making them last more than 3 years. Many have had to put builds on hold for lack of finance or lack of demand for the finish properties – why make them pay renewal fees and pay for all the pointless paper work when they have been through the absurd process already?

      Sort out the OTT building regulations and all the building regulation green tosh too.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        I had a garage extension built, I was glad of the planning conditions and the planning officer because he said that the foundations weren’t dug sufficiently deep and insisted our builder did the job properly, it cost us no more money as it was the builders error but we didn’t get a botched job and this insurance protection only cost us £300. I watch these tv nightmare programs about dodgy builders and wonder why the planning officers didn’t pick up on their builders mistakes on extensions, you’re never told on the programs whether the family applied for planning permission or not.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          I also extended my home last year. The planning process was quick and efficient. The building regs officials were helpful (although costly). There were no problems. Our useless Govt is being fed lies bythe media, who are being lobbied heavily by developers and the construction industry.

        • Mick Anderson
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          Personally I’d prefer to have an architect (preferably chartered) oversee a buiding project.

          A proper Chartered Architect should have been trained not only in what the foundations need to be, but should be able to calculate why that is the case. In other words, an understanding of the situation.

          The planning officer is going to be tick-box orientated. No reason required, no specific training, no understanding.

          • Mick Anderson
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            Sorry; that was intended to be a reply to a-tracy

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          That is building control rather than planning. But you should really have an architect/surveyor or someone similar to ensure the build is done properly and only pay when you are sure it has been. You cannot rely on building control to do that.

        • alan jutson
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink


          Yes we will welcome shanty town type extensions if building regs and planning is not needed.

          We already have minor shanty towns at the bottom of gardens in some West London Boroughs.
          All exposed recently in the press and on TV where so called garages and sheds are rented out for unregistered living (so called ) accomodation.
          Given it that Councils have known about these structures for decades, they are only now deciding to do something about them, albeit too little too late.

          I am all for freeing up the planning system, but disregarding all the rules is a nonesense.

          The problem was caused by too many gold plated regulations in the first place, just simply scrap many of these over the top regulations and so called compliance needs with some commonsense, and the system sorts itself out.

          • Winston Smith
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            Also to be found in Slough, Ilford and elsewhere.

          • zorro
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I’m slightly concerned that this proposal may lead to more sheds/conservatories being built in said locations to house more illegals. I wonder how the government intends to stop this happening. I’m just cocerned that this announcement seems a bit off the hoof and amateurish, as if they are clutching at straws (perhaps they are)….


          • Steven_L
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

            Illegal immigrants have to live somewhere, in someone’s back yard. They have to earn a crust too, hence all the fake designer tat at some London markets.

            They only have to live like that for 14 years, then they can be naturalised.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      More absurd climate alarm drivel on the BBC last night – the BBC is hugely destructive on this issue do they not have anyone sensible working there.


      as see nicholas-stern-the-most-dangerous-man-youve-never-heard-of


      • lifelogic
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink
      • Vanessa
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        And the reason is because their pension funds are invested in the “green” global warming companies. It is vital to them all that they succeed so that they can retire on great big fat pensions which we have paid through our energy bills.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Personally I would not touch “green investments” with a barge pole. Reality will dawn eventually and people will just look at the real temperatures rather than the computer projections and all the scare

          Alas I suspect the licence payer. and the taxpayer will end up protecting the huge pensions for these habitual BBC propagandist I suspect.

        • Bill
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          And am I alone in being outraged that the government is changing annuity rates in November so that they no longer differentiate between men and women despite the fact that women live longer than men? Men’s rates are going down and women’s are going up.

          Is this an ‘equality and diversity’ policy based, like many others, on ideology rather than empirical data?

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            Another reason not to buy a pension or take insurance if you can avoid it legally – Cameron’s gender neutral insurance is clearly mad, absurd, a huge burden and highly damaging.

            Life & car insurance and for women will to expensive annuities for men too expensive too. Just chucking money at the insurance companies.

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Government schemes never work. Why does anyone persist in believing that they do? Your figures show that it will result in some people being worse off and almost nobody being better off except those bureaucrats that administer the stupid idea. Phase out or freeze benefits, eliminate regulation and make it clear people are expected to make provision for their own old age. Cut the nanny state and slash taxation.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      True in general. Like Clegg today “we are putting £300M of government money to build new affordable homes”. So I assume they took £500M off tax payers, wasted £200M in admin, and gave just £300M back to build homes – probably in the wrong places and wrong type of homes.

      • Adam5x5
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        “we are putting £300M of government money to build new affordable homes”

        Should be rephrased as “we are putting £300M of taxpayer money to build new affordable homes”

        Put like this it distances itself from the idea that people have to work for this money and see no benefit from it. Why not let the market sort itself out?

        • Bazman
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Like it did in the boom?

          • Adam5x5
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

            Boom and bust is part of the natural cycle of economics.

          • APL
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “Like it did in the boom?”

            The ‘boom’ was a ‘boom’ largely because the market was distorted by Brown tinkering with the economy and his regulators (FSA etc) failing to regulate, all to the end of claiming the Socialists had ‘abolished boom and bust’ and heralded the brave new world of infinitely increasing prosperity.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            The point being even when house prices where at their highest the market still could not build enough suitable housing for the population. The market did not work and is still not working.
            More silly free market fantasy. Even when you are proved wrong you still believe.

          • APL
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “The point being even when house prices where at their highest the market still could not build enough suitable housing for the population.”

            If we had no immigration, something our political class has encouraged and as a result of abortion, our population would be in decline, and there would be sufficient housing to go around. As it is, the population is exploding and yes, as a result there may well be a shortage of housing.

            It ain’t because of the market, if the market had been allowed to have effect, house prices would have been about 2/3 lower now.

            By the way, you can’t make a post not talking about a thing, then later claim that the point of your post was the thing you didn’t mention the first time around. Well, you can, but it just makes you look silly.

            Bazman: “More silly free market fantasy.”

            Then you clearly don’t understand what you are talking about.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Better put the government are taxing you an extra £500M in order to give you just £300M back (after our admin overheads) but you can only use it to have some “affordable” houses. Houses of a type that we will choose and where we choose to build them, with builders we choose too and we will choose who get them too.

          Good deal hey!

    • Bob
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      @Pete the Bike

      In a nutshell!

  5. Electro-Kevin
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    There are those who would have the gap between workers and non-workers closed further still and use child ‘poverty’ to justify it. Bear in mind that the permanently unemployed become ‘pensioners’ without ever having had to contribute to a compulsory pension scheme.

    The VAT and duty on fuel is levied in the order of 150% – 200% of refinery price but this percentage is never quoted. As with ‘net’ immigration this is a deliberate deception to hide true figures.

    Indeed it is difficult to understand why many people work – other than that they are proud and self sufficient people. Significant numbers of them (with energy vital to our recovery) emigrate where they have the money and/or skills to do so.

    Those I know who are in receipt of incapacity benefit are being squeezed on their housing – any surplus bedrooms are now being charged for. The deliberately single never-worked-in-her-life mum is getting along fine and David Cameron wouldn’t see much to distinguish who is doing what for their living in a drive-by of our lives.

    • Vanessa
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Likewise it is difficult to understand why anyone would run a company and employ people with the idiotic legislation from Brussels on maternity, redundancy, making sure people are happy when they leave and paying someone to sort out all the paperwork which needs to be filled in and paying through the nose for basic energy to run a company. Why would anyone bother? Governments consistently make it more and more difficult to manufacture and trade, of course, with the European Union’s help.

    • Dan H.
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Actually, the situation with road fuels is even more biased than just an excess of taxation. The Government has legislated to force all companies to put at least 2.5% biofuels in all road fuels, and is relying on the fuel companies (already engaged in a race to the bottom on price) to implement this.

      The net result of this was brought home to me a few weeks ago, when my diesel car started smoking horribly in the mornings (though at no other time). Fearing the worst I took it to a Toyota dealer, the upshot of which was a bill of over £200, but no substansive fault found on the vehicle (fuel filter replaced as a precaution, plus minor adjustments). Diesel of dubious quality was the conclusion, and a heavy dose of an additive which I later found to be a strong detergent was added; a few days later the problem ceased.

      Further research demonstrated that quite a few companies are now adding quite large fractions of biofuels to road diesel, without taking the precautions needed to prevent growth of bacteria in the storage tanks, and are simply relying on selling the affected diesel to get rid of it without admitting to any quality control problems. It is also telling that commercial diesel fuel additives suppliers such as Miller’s Oils have recently updated their product line to include additives designed to inhibit or kill bacterial contamination in fuel.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Bio fuels are another insanity forced on people by absurd governments and mad green. Causing starvation in the process in many counties and wasting energy in the process.

        • Steven_L
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

          And subsidy seeking landowners, a bit like the bat choppers and PV solar bling!

        • uanime5
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          That would make Brazil one of the most green countries in the world because of their long history of using biofuel. Though it’s preferred because it’s cheaper than petrol.


  6. Alte Fritz
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    And that is because there is hardly an area of state activity which has not grown into a monster having begun with the best of intentions. Even the very modestly paid have to suffer deductions. The prospect of paying into under performing pension schemes (as raided by Gordo) just about puts the lid on it.

  7. Alan Wheatley
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    In what way is NEST a better deal for the employee than NI?

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      The government say NI isn’t for your state pension it is for general taxes, so you now need a pension because all this time you thought your 12% contribution and your employers 13.8% contribution wasn’t for your state pension.

      Unlike public sector workers whose 3% contribution gives them a guaranteed return (they get a reduction on employees NI if they have a defined benefit pension) , the nest 3% workers contribution has no guaranteed return whatsoever.

    • Lord Blagger
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Well, I did some calculations. I took a median wage earner, who is on 26K a year.

      Using average wages, you can get a good estimate of what they would have been earning for each of the last 40 years.

      We can also look at their NI contributions, both paid by them and on their behalf, and the percentage.

      Now we go back 40 years. We take the past wage, apply the NI rate and get an amount of money. We put that into the FTSE. At the end of the year, it could have gone up or down, plus we have some dividends.

      Next year, we do the same, except we have the existing fund, as well as the contributions.

      Run this for 40 years, then we buy the most expensive annuity going (gives the least money initially). RPI, joint life at 65.

      Low and behold, 19K a year, instead of 5K, linked to CPI (worth 25% less), at 67 (two years loss of income plus two years extra payments), and not fully joint life (payments drop when one dies).

      So you are better off investing, because you get compound interest.

      However, you won’t be. What’s going to happen is the state pension will be means tested. The government hasn’t saved and is running a fraud because all these debts are off the books and not reported [still waiting on John for the numbers in spite of an election promise] As a result it can’t pay because the tax payer can’t afford it.

      So if you have a NEST pension, all that has happened is that you have reduced your state pension pound for pound.

      PS John, its OK, I know why you can’t find the numbers, its because they don’t exist. However, I can tell you that the state pension debt is 2,400 bn. If you want the actuarial analysis, just ask away.

      • norman
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        There’s more chance of the reverse happening, and I fully expect it to at some point in the next 20 years. Instead of putting our money aside and investing it the government will instead raid private pensions and guarantee the person whose being stolen from so that they can build something impressive, large, and wasteful.

        The government must really hate the thought of all those billions we’ve put aside for our old age sitting there uselessly when they could be spending it for us now.

        The day will come when they’ll steal it, I’ve no doubt about it.

        • lifelogic
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          In many ways they already do by forcing you to buy duff annuities and IHT.

      • Johnnydub
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        And yet the public sector, lead by their indescribably greedy and stupid unions, will try to cause civil unrest in the streets if their massively over entitled pensions are threatened…

      • zorro
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Pensions are and always have been a con. You save money in a scheme and never see the whole capital just an annuity. It would be better for people just to make provision for themselves by saving throughout their life (i.e. investing as appropriate) and their being a safety netscheme for the low paid. In fact, that is almost what will happen because some time in the future the state pesnsion will be means tested anyway….The way I described just avoids the pretence, hangers on, and extra expense/creaming off….


  8. Mark M
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Not forgetting the increase in national insurance, the effect of which is to raise taxes on the low paid by 0.5% overall and raising the marginal tax rate on low paid workers to 32%

    For every extra hour of overtime a minimum wage worker does, they see £4.15. Or viewed another way, do an extra 12 hour shift (as many care home workers do), and between 8am til 11:50am you are working to pay the tax. Then after 11:50 you have to work to earn the money to actually get in to work, so for most it would be well after midday until they were actually earning any money they could spend on themselves.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Indeed so often you cannot get them to do an extra day. Why should they when they keep so little for themselves.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Cos’ their contract says if they do not they will be replaced with more ‘cooperative’ workers due to your easy fire laws and no workplace rights.

      • zorro
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        It is pointless working when so much is taken in tax. Better to have some free time to enjoy yourself whilst you can….


        • Bazman
          Posted September 9, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          Like they do in Switzerland?

  9. oldtimer
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    You make very good points. I do wonder, despite the proliferation of holders of PPE degrees among the UK political leadership, whether they actually know how to do elementary arithmetic. The description you give above is one example. I suspect, in the absence of any cogent explanation, that Mr Cameron`s recent claim to have cut the deficit by a quarter and getting a grip on the national debt is another.

    A related question is whether they have any grasp of the notion of the net present values of future cash flows – and of the discount rates used to calculate them. The reasoning that underlies the current CGT regime suggests that they do not. An even more egregious example is provided by Mr Peter Lilley`s demolition of the use and abuse of the concept in the Stern Review. He has exposed the ridiculously low discount rate implicit in the Review (Stern is careful not to state it explicitly despite having 600 pages in which to do so). Yet this Review was swallowed hook, line and sinker by the political establishment as the economic justification for the Climate Change Act. Yet the measures that flow from that Act are now employed to impoverish this country now and into the years ahead as far as the eye can see.

    Finally, I note that this morning Mr Clegg is promoting the idea of adding house extensions without the need for planning permission. Cynical observers of politicians bearing gifts (I am among them) will conclude that anyone foolish enough to take advantage of this measure, will be marked down as an early candidate for a wealth tax.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      This is terrible news for home owners. This back to the 70s, when there was a free for all. Its ok if you live in protected or listed areas like much of the political/media elite, but not if you live in the suburbs. Planning rules on home extensions are already relaxed to allow small extensions without planning permission. Get these cretins out of Govt. The likes of JR are watching from the sidelines, just moaning, as these PR men are destroying the Country. history will record your reluctance to do anything.

      • zorro
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        You can imagine what is going to happen in some parts of Slough and Reading can’t you….Is this Cast Elastic’s way to solve the housing crisis for immigrants…?


    • Lord Blagger
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      They have no clue on debts, because they have hidden the big debts.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      “Stern is careful not to state [discount rate] explicitly despite having 600 pages in which to do so”

      An ‘economist’ in the sense of ‘economical with the verite’. The Global Warming scam is built on a tissue of lies concocted by a criminal conspiracy of ‘economists’, climate ‘scientists’, and banksters who have made very sure to being around when innumerate politicians require a little guidance through ‘official’ reports etc.

  10. Disaffected
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    When a judge praises the courage of burglar instead of jailing him it shows how far the lefty liberal establishment has gone and what harm it does to society. What sort of message on moral or values does this send out to the public at large? How about the victims of this burglar- why work when the state offers no protection from thieves. Why work when welfare claimants get 5.2% pay rise, why work when civil servants get paid more than the PM and a £100,000 bonus when their staff get a pay freeze. Rewarding MPs with promotion for wrong doing ie Mr Laws.

    Whatever the facts of the burglar case there can be no excuse why he was not jailed. Mr Grayling should explore every avenue to dismiss the judge from office. Clearly part of the judge reasoning is attention seeking.

    • Bob
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      “judge praises the courage of burglar instead of jailing him”

      I searched the BBC website for this story to no avail.

      LBC’s Nick Ferrari is now talking about it on LBC.
      It appears that Judge Peter Bowers has lost his marbles.

      Mr. Redwood – Does Chris Grayling have the power to sack a judge for gross misconduct?

      • Johnnydub
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        +1 from me…

        The loonies are running the asylum…

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        It seems he was a drug addict, not really brave but just addicted.

        Still it gave Cameron a chance to sound tough on the issue (for the electorate’s ears) – even if his government is not at all tough on anything.

        • Disaffected
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          But this is the result of soft on crime Clarke taking no substantive action to bring the judiciary into line with normal hard working people. And now Clarke is minister without port folio- how can the UK afford this???? The more you hear and read the more you realise what incompetents are in the cabinet starting with the PM.

          • APL
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            Disaffected: “And now Clarke is minister without port folio- how can the UK afford this????”


            That no one in the Westminster self serving bubble has objected is evidence if you needed it of the utterly corrupt nature of the two and a half party system.

          • APL
            Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            Disaffected: “And now Clarke is minister without port folio- how can the UK afford this????”

            But it does answer the question of the post, ‘why work?’ To keep the politicians AKA our new aristocracy in the manner they have over the last few decades, become accustomed.

          • APL
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            ” aristocracy ”

            MPs are still making out like robber barons of old.

            650 MPs were handed £89.4 million in expenses during 2011-12.

          • APL
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            “650 MPs were handed £89.4 million in expenses during 2011-12.”

            Assuming 650 MPs are paid £64,000 pa, ( I know the PM and cabinet ministers get considerably more), lets figure out what the salary bill might be for MPs.

            £64k * 650 = £41,600,000. Lets throw in the expenses too.
            Ta da!!! £131,000,000 total

            So that we can be governed from Brussels!

      • Mark W
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        From the little snip I saw the Judge thought he was no danger to anyone and prison wouldn’t help.

        In fact many onthe left think prison is just a spiteful punishment and only the dangerous should go there.

        I’m just waiting for this idea to cover all non violent offences as I can’t wait to stop paying income tax and NIC. Also if the threat of imprisonment is removed for not paying the BBC poll tax that’s another saving.

        I’m guessing I shouldn’t cross my fingers anytime soon. Tax evasion will still carry the longest sentences followed by murder.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          No, the reason violent offenders, rapists and burglars are escaping jail is to free-up cells for thought-crime, non-pc offenders.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Disaffected – We should thank Judge Bowers for being so candid. (If this incredible story is true)

        He is simply expressing what so many working in our justice system seem to think. If he is reprimanded it will be for letting the cat out of the bag – not for saying something so repugnant.

        People are having their pensions taken off them to pay for such stuff ?

        I repeat what I have said before. Austerity and hardship we can take – somehow we’ll pull through. We cannot, however, survive a justice, immigration and welfare system which is so weighted against honest, hard working people.

      • zorro
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        The judge said that imprisoning the burglar would be of no benefit to him….Oh really?….It might be of benefit to the householders he is all too keen on visiting!!


        • alan jutson
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink


          And if this judge or a member of his family were burgled, and then felt trepidation every time they put the key in the door to enter their own home for years afterwards, wondering if they what they were going to find!

          I wonder if he would still feel the same.

          My elderly mother was burgled when she was 80 years of age, took her years to recover.

          The Judge should simply be sacked if this report is true, as he is simply not fit to judge anyone.

  11. alan jutson
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink


    !Putting this altogether, it shows that so far the government has found it difficult to make it more wortwhile working”.

    Sorry this statement is just wrong, they have not found it difficult at all, as they could have done many things to make work pay.

    Who is in charge of the Benefit System.
    Who makes policy.
    Who set the rules.
    Who sets the rates.
    Who sets the qualifying criteria.

    The simple fact is it is THE GOVERNMENT WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE for all of the above.

    Difficulty does not even come into it.

    Lack of will and understanding is the problem.

    When you allow fares to rise above inflation, when you introduce higher fuel taxes which add to inflation, when you increase utility bills with green taxes, when you print money and devalue, making inflation even worse, then you increase everyones costs and lower disposable income. We all bear the costs.

    But on top of that when you also introduce a wage freeze for some, and know that millions of people are suffering very significant wage reductions on top of the above , but insulate those who do not work with a 5.2% tax free rise in take home benefits, you are either crass, stupid, or incompetent if you think this will give greater encouragement to those who do not work to go and get a job.

    The Government have made this policy out of choice, SIMPLE.

    • Lord Blagger
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink


      We have had no say. We get no vote.

      That means we are not responsible. Period.

      • norman
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        But the government has to do something to kickstart the economy. Don’t you read the newspapers? Despite George Osborne’s swingeing cuts that has maintained our AAA+ credit rating and made us a safe have for foreign investors who are buying up our record low yielding bonds like nobodies business that blasted Frenchies and (Germans-ed) have ruined everything with their problems of too much debt fuelled spending.

        If it means quantatively easing a few dozen more billion into the economy to get growth spurting upwards so be it. It will pay for itself by the extra taxes generated by that growth so the more QE the better.

        If people like you and JR were allowed to have your say two years where do you think we would be now? Certainly not here, that much we can say with certainty. No, the situation would be far different so just sit down at the back and shut up.

        Carry on spending.

        (Although the above is obvious farce there are actually newspapers who report more sensibly worded versions of this line as if it were true).

    • uanime5
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      The Department of Work and Pensions is in charge of the benefit system.

  12. Independent England
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    JSA is £71 per week maximum. Wow, couldn’t you party on that!

    • Lord Blagger
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      And free health, 1,800 a year.

      And housing benefit, about 4,000 a year

      and free education for your children – 5-6,000 a year

      and their health care, 1,800 a year each

      and free council tax …

      JSA is just the icing.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        @Lord Blagger: Many of those other benefits are also claimed by those in work.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and the time to do what you want.

        Sounds quite appealing to me at the moment given how rushed I am.

      • RB
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Add child benefit.

        Add child tax credits

        JSA is just beer and fags vouchers.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

        JSA is the only benefit specifically give to people who are unemployed, all the other benefits can be claimed by those in work.

        Also tax credits are a benefit you can claim if working but not if you’re unemployed. So not all benefits are given to the unemployed.

    • norman
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Since you wrote such a short sentence I shouldn’t wonder if perhaps you feel a dull throbbing when you type? Worth checking out at the doctors (pssst there’s no way to prove of disprove RSI so it’s like bad back syndrome, and let’s not pretend there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, playing that little game, so my advice, get as much as you can, why should you miss out when everyone else is getting it? Don’t be a mug, go get your due).

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      One does !

  13. a-tracy
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I know a young girl who left school with a clutch of GCSE’s even though she truanted for half of her time at high school and managed to get about three jobs in telephone sales, moving after about two months in each. She got pregnant at 17 and as soon as she found out took a job at a large firm, she was six weeks pregnant when she started. She went off on sick leave shortly afterwards which continued until her maternity leave commenced, she then took her full allowance of SMP. She asked them for flexible work when her SMP ended but only did a week and quit. The state stepped in to fund the family for the following three years.

    Her boyfriend contributed about £50 per week towards the care. They have just got a private rental together finally as the child started school this week and she wants another child. First she needs to get a job to fund her pregnancy and has started sending out her CVs. Work doesn’t pay, these girls aren’t stupid, in fact they’re very calculated about how to fund your maternity time with a child. My concern is that Dad will get kicked out when the new child arrives because this time around they may be slightly worse off with him working in the same household. It will be interesting to see her next move.

    • Bob
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink


      It’s called “gaming the system”, and any employer that takes on a female of child bearing age is taking on a liability.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Bob, the rules are changing so that the male partner can share the maternity leave. Males in the public sector will then be able to share the maternity leave on virtually full pay at the cost of taxpayers.

      • Adam5x5
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. the inevitable outcome of the maternity leave laws.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Very common the system almost tells them to do that.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Which ones are told to do this? The council estate ones by any chance? Most of the young girls I meet are dead against this. Maybe it is you middle aged middle class fantasy prejustices working again?
        If you took away all maternity rights for woman there would be more job for them? Have think as to why these laws where passed? There would be not one more job. Count on it.

        • Richard
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

          Have a look at the statistics Bazman, its no fantasy , the UK has the highest numbers of single mothers living on benefits in the whole of the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Well when the Government makes couples worse off by living together is it any wonder why they don’t get married.

      • Richard
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Quite correct uanime5, I knew quite a few young guys I worked with who had a “wife” and had children with their “wives” who lived off the state in one house whilst the guy claimed to be still living at home with mum and dad.
        They would stay a few nights at their wife’s home and few nights at mum and dads.
        The difference in the overall income for these “families” was well over £200 per week if the man went and officially lived with his wife and paid all the bills from his wages.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    “Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”
    “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”
    “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”
    “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”
    “Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.”

    Ronald Reagan

    Nothing changes!

  15. Acorn
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Why Vote?

    Anyway, be aware that Uncle Tim has updated his data base for the UK economy. Worth a look at if you are going to quote numbers on this site for one.

    • zorro
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Most helpful


  16. Bob
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Our politicians really are a clueless bunch, with one or two notable exceptions Mr. Redwood.

    Forcing employers to enrol their workers into occupational pensions is a complicated way to provide pension provision.

    It would be better if the individual were to set up the pension fund with their chosen provider and the employers could then make contributions into that account for the duration of their employment with any particular firm.

    This would avoid people ending up with lots of small pension entitlements with different firms if they frequently move jobs, because the pension follows the individual, and they would have better control if they wanted to change providers.

    It would also avoid adding to the increasing list of burdens placed on employers.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Given that employers are in a better position to choose a pension fund than the employee they should be the ones to set it up. Remember if an employees chooses a pensions fund that collapses / disappears because they didn’t know how to choose a good pension fund it’s the Government who has to supplement their loss of pension.

      • Bob
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink


        That’s right, we wouldn’t want employees to have any responsibility for themselves, would we. Just leave it to the over-privileged bourgeois employers who just sit around drinking champaign and taking advantage of the poor workers.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

          @Bob: You missed the point, most people don’t understand (and couldn’t understand in minutia of) pensions even if one reared up and hit them full in the face, thus “uanime5” is quite correct to point out that these people need others to advise. Also you miss the point that an employer can often obtain a better deal for all.

      • alan jutson
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink


        Yes and if the company choose it and it fails they may get sued by the employee.

        Anyway thought you had to be an IFA to advise on Pensions.

        Company’s are not qualified.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

          No, but a company can easily be advised by such a regulated company and if anything goes wrong it won’t be the employer who gets sued – just as if the employee had been advised by them direct, in fact any such legal action would be stronger as it would amount to a ‘class action’ of sorts.

  17. Nina Andreeva
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It s is a decision taken by most of them before they enter Parliament. After all when did you last hear of an MP that did not die at least a millionaire? You would think Dave and George would be making a big thing about not being in it for the money unlike Dave Milliband with his “expertise” in solar power and football that currently pulls him in excess of £500k p.a.

  18. A different Simon
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Regarding NEST pensions why are you implementing a solution that won’t work John ?

    You seem to be able to delay everything else forever like shale but are determined to push ahead with NEST .

    It’s not too late for a rethink and a u-turn , marry in haste repent at leisure .


    While I’m at it , here is another reason why inflation figures are understated .

    – Headline Inflation figures are pulled down by inclusion of accommodation costs which in the case of mortgages (though not rent) have come down due to ZIRP .

    – Headline Inflation figures do not include the amount of money someone needs to save to provide for their old age . Due to the same ZIRP policy and economic situation :-
    – you have to save a bigger pot for retirement because annuity rates are lower
    – you have to save more in order to build the bigger pot because i) it is bigger and ii) growth rate is lower .

    This is a triple whammy resulting in a need to save around twice as much per month as 10 years ago .

    Is there any need to ask why the public servants and politicians who compile the inflation figures why it does not occur to them to include the cost of making provision for old age in the item basket ?

    Perhaps you can take it up with them John please ?

  19. Iain Gill
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I would make travel to work costs tax deductible. Many people get this already through various freelance arrangements. I would do the same with child care. Many folk are getting these anyways through freelance arrangements and vouchers etc, I see no reason why everyone could not have the same. Would level the playing field with those not working who don’t face these costs.
    I would make state benefits higher for folk who have spent the majority of their adult life working. So it is clear to everyone there is an incentive to do the right thing over the long term.
    Folk who have never worked who are fit and healthy I would be offering them grants to move to another part of the country where they are more likely to find work, and removing the inertia of the state subsidised housing in areas where there will never be a full jobs market again. I would be offering tax breaks to companies that took such folk on and trained them.
    I would tax foreign workers at least as much as Brits, so no 1st year employer and employee national insurance free, no tax free supposed expense allowances that Brits working away from home cannot get, and pro rata their tax allowance to the amount of that tax year they are legally allowed to work in this country. All of this would go a small way to starting to encourage folk to hire and train Brits.
    Free school meals, free prescriptions, cheaper access to the local swimming pool, etc also make it hard for folk to make the transition from being on benefits to working. This needs sorting. I would be tempted to make prescriptions free for all in England like they are in the rest of the UK.
    Genuinely ill folk, especially those with children, need much more help and support. The dire straights that a genuine hard working member of society can face when struck down with some illness and the dramatic change in the life for their children needs fixing. Such folk need a lot more help.
    Remove loopholes that allow companies to be registered in tax havens and operate here but pay minimal UK taxes would pay for all of this.

  20. English Pensioner
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I was trying to work out, if I were a low paid worker, how much more I would want to have in my pocket at the end of a week’s work, than if I had sat at home and drew unemployment benefit. The conclusion that I reached is that it would need to be at least 25% extra and probably more like 50% extra (that is net, after paying taxes, fares and other costs of working). If I did not end up with that much more, I don’t think I would bother, after all if I want a bit more money I could probably pick up a few hours casual work and I’d have time to grow my own vegetables, etc.
    There must be a significant difference between benefits and the net earnings of someone on the minimum wage, otherwise why work? I wouldn’t, would you?

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink


      That is it in a nutshell.

      At the moment if you have a family with little savings (thus you pass all means tested benefits) unless you earn large sums of money, it would appear other than for personal pride reasons, why work.

  21. merlin
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    When the average worker has to work halfway through the year just to cover his taxes there must be something wrong. In other words the worker is going to work to pay the governement. What does the average person actually get out of the government, and local councils, a lot less than he puts in. I’ve always thought that tax is legalised theft and if you do not pay it then you go to jail, what’s fair and free about that? There is only one winner in the finance game and that is the government. Government in general sucks peole dry and the biggest joke of all it tries to persuade you that it is trying to help you with the money it has forcibly taken from you in the first place. individual people are far better at spending their own money than the government has or ever will be therefore once again
    1) less government
    2) less taxes
    3) less regulation

    Will it happen , of course not, because government is full of people who think that they know better than you how to spend your money.

  22. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Benefits increase more than wages ? – this scrounger still feels poor !

  23. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    To compare the percentage increases in JSA and wages is pointless. If someone earning £500 a week gets a 2% pay rise, they get £10 a week.

    Someone on the maximum JSA will get £1.42

    Personally, I have not been able to put my rates up for 4 years so I have a good bit less disposable income. Where is demand to come from if more and more people are finding things tighter all the time?

    There is only one place. Tax must be cut. But instead of hitting the most vulnerable (which is what is happening to the genuinely disabled at the moment and it is a scandal) – it really is time the government got to grip with waste and the cost of the public sector.

    Sorry, folks, we are borrowing £150 billion a year at the moment – something has to give. We are not slashing the paltry benefits given to those in genuine need – and those genuinely looking for work. So we have to cut other costs.

  24. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, comments to this forum are appearing out of time order.

  25. Jerry
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    8.5% of nothing is still nothing John, or at least very little, perhaps MPs should only be paid what those on JSA receive if they think it is more than enough to live on (constituency/parliamentary expenses aside)?…

    This constant bashing of those on benefits -most of who are in need, not making a lifestyle choice- does nothing to forward the real issues and does much to (buzz word warning) “empower” those on the left (if not hard left…) who would like to be sitting on the benches to the right of the Speaker. The reason people are not working is because the economy is a total ******g mess, people can’t work if there is no work, sort that out and you will sort out the benefits problem. Politicians need to stop putting the cart ahead of the horse.

    If the government wants to save money, sort out government spending on such things as international aid, the EU, green subsidises etc. (never mind the job sapping regulation stemming from central government and the EU), and stop picking on the weak and defenceless all the time, easy targets they may be but you are making easy targets of yourselves come 2015 – remember that Mr Major didn’t loose in 1997 on policies, he lost because the Tories were seen as the ‘Nasty Party’, if the government carries on as they are then not only will the LibDems be toast but the Tories will be back in opposition and probably opposing policies that have not been seen since the 1960s is not the 1940s!

    • JimF
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Sorry but the economy is in a mess partly because folk priced themselves out of work, encouraged by the government who took too large a portion of their wages to pay people to do nothing. It just got into a vicious spiral, encouraged by Comrade Brown who was in visceral hatred of anybody with a smidgeon of independence in their blood. I’m not saying this government has done anything to unwind this vicious spiral, but they didn’t start it with a vengeance either.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        A lot of rhetoric there Jim but few ideas as to how to get people off benefits and back into work (at a living wage [1]), or do you just expect people to be made homeless etc?

        [1] remember that most the benefit bill is actually for in-work benefits

    • zorro
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      I fail to see why the Tories prattle on about the ‘nasty’ party when they have turfed out disabled and crippled people from their REMPLOY jobs on the BS promise of them finding a job in the private sector ‘on equal terms’ in areas of deprivation…..


      • Jerry
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Indeed the REMPLOY issues is disgusting, but as both Labour and Tories (plus LibDems) have all nailed their colours so firmly to the mast on these closures I am starting to think that there must be another -unspoken- issue at hand. Many of those who work at REMPLOY will never in a million years find suitable employment in the free market, so just why do all three major Westminster parties think they will (unless they are planning something similar to the law that made employers take on disabled ex-service personal after WW2)…

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        There is so much debt around that any government that has a programme to reduce it is bound to be labelled ‘nasty’. So carry on with you insults; it’s water off a duck’s back.

        REMPLOY was ended because there were more cost effective ways of providing employment for the disabled – and you know it.

  26. Independent England
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The minimum wage is £6.08 per hour so many in full employment receive working tax credits and sometimes housing benefit etc. Meanwhile companies like Sainsburys are making billions. So the taxpayer is effectively subsidising these companies. Why not increase the minimum wage and reduce tax credits etc. in order to reduce benefits? Many companies like Amazon presumably pay the minimum wage and yet manage to avoid UK corporation tax. Madness!!

    • Adam5x5
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Because the minimum wage punishes those whose labour is not worth the money.

      Why hire someone whose labour is not worth £6.08/hr for that amount?


      in particular this statement
      The employment effects of minimum wages are significant and negative among small firms and less educated workers, but not among large firms and workers with high school education and above. The negative employment impact is more severe for non-production workers than for production workers. The analysis also shows that the minimum wage disproportionally affects women: most of the non-production job losses are experienced by female workers.

      So by trying to protect the weakest (ie. the idiots who couldn’t be bothered at school) members of society, you are actually punishing them.
      The minimum wage should be abolished and people allowed to negotiate their own salary with the company in question. The government has no business interfering.

      Of course, with our incredibly generous benefits they aren’t really suffering negative effects as they can sit on their arse all day and watch Jeremy Kyle while us mugs go to work to pay extortionate taxes to pay for beer, fags and drugs for them.

      Amazon etc avoid UK tax because we joined the EU. It is how the system is setup. If you’re based in one, you can sell to any. So of course the companies take advantage of this – they are supposed to. You can’t complain that they are doing this – it is what the system is supposed to allow them to do.
      Maybe we should be debating whether we should be in the EU…

      • Bazman
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Evidence from the manufacturing sector in Indonesia? Scrapping the barrel now aren’t we? We live in Britain and as I have mentioned to you before minimum British living standards apply in fact they are an entitlement. You presume to make the working poor of Britain compete to cut each others wages and compete against desperate foreigners and young smart EU nationals and to make this happen you propose to do it by stopping benefits that as you see are spent on booze and fags. Would the working poor not also spend their money on these too if they could afford them on your minimum minimum wage. The drop would also find its way into skilled work as everyone fought to survive. Ram it.

        • Adam5x5
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          Because the same laws of economics don’t apply here as in Indonesia?
          How about an example from the US? Or would their economy be too radically different from ours as well?


          By scrapping the minimum wage, you’d be levelling the playing field, instead of tilting it towards the better qualified as is done at the minute. If you’ve got to pay someone £6.08/hr, then you’re going to hire the best qualified you can. If you’re not set to that, then you could hire the lower qualified person and pay them slightly less. If the wage bill of the workforce dropped, then the price of goods and services would also drop as competition brought the prices down into line.
          You argue that the wages of skilled workers would also fall – have you considered that the skilled wages may rise as the cost of hiring the unskilled labour falls? It could free up monies for the attraction of skilled labour and increased competition for the labour in these areas. Also, if you actually bothered to read the abstract, it does not say that there would be no effect on higher wages, just that these would not be significant.

          The immigrant workers competing for the jobs is a failure of government to control immigration – a separate argument.

          I couldn’t care less if the working poor spent their money on booze and fags. If they earnt it, they can spend it however they wish. My objection is to having to give my hard-earned to the lazy and feckless under the threat of prosecution.

          I would be interested to know why you think there should be an entitlement to a certain living standard? Surely people should get the reward for the effort they put in? Lots of effort = lots of reward. No effort = no reward.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

            You really have no understanding of economics do you.

            If people are paid less they have less to spend in the economy, so demand will drop. A falling wage also means that any company trying to compete on quality, rather than low price, will go bankrupt because far fewer people will be able to afford their product.

            Let’s not forget that if wages are too low those at the bottom will have no incentive to work, so they won’t.

            All removing the minimum wage will do is massively increase unemployment and vastly increase the amount of work performed by immigrants.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

            We are not third world country and if you belive abolishing the minimum wage will somehow increase the skill base in cleaners and street sweepers you are unable to be helped. The cost of hiring unskilled labour falls? What are you talking about? Is this like the shear scale of logistics of signing on and off the dole? A reduction of wages put forward in a piss poor argument. An apologist fantasy. How about cutting the massive pension pots of the top campaniles directors and increasing the average workers as a more worthwhile cause? Ram it.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

            Oh come off it Adam, if you need to hire someone you will hire the best person for the job, the NMW has nothing what so ever to do with any of this. People who complain about the NMW just want to be able to pay £1 per hour, expect their ‘slaves’ to work 60 hours a week just to live, and then pocket the resultant profit – as happens in places like Indonesia were there are loads of people in poverty, a few very wealthy people and very few in between.

            So yes, the laws of economics are different in second and third world countries, perhaps you like the idea that the UK should become a second or third world country with people living in shanty towns – perhaps that is the real reason the coalition announced those changes in local planning laws, to make way for the shanty towns?

        • JimF
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          So you are saying that we are somehow superior to Indonesians? You should get over your superiority complex.
          That is the way Nazism started and it didn’t turn out pretty.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

            You can go and live Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and many other of your’ advanced countries if you like a pasty faced middle aged bloater like you would not last five minutes, so don’t expect anyone in Britain to live by these standards.

      • Independent England
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        In arguing for the abolition of the minimum wage are you also arguing for the abolition of benefits because if you are not then any reduction in income as a result of abolition of the minimum wage will surely result in a corresponding increase in state benefits? Anything other than this would be a major change in the welfare state indeed. As for companies which are based in the EU being able to sell to any other country in the EU, has China joined the EU because the vast majority of products I see on the high street have ‘Made in China’ stamped on them. It seems to me that membership of the EU is an irrelevence as far as manufacturing is concerned!

    • uanime5
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      Then there’s the apprentice wage of £2.60 per hour and Government programmes where people are forced to work for free. Both cost the taxpayer a large amount of money because these people claim more in benefits.

  27. Tad Davison
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    There’s a saying to which I do not subscribe. ‘You’re skint if you work, you’re skint if you don’t, so why work?’

    Yet it cannot be ignored for it would seem that some who do subscribe to it, feel it is their right to opt out if they choose.

    Much of the blame for this must be directed towards those who have created the benefits culture. What should have bern a safety net has been abused by people who have been allowed to develop a very loose attitude towards self-reliance.

    One former Conservative Prime Minister once complained that governments cannot make good people. I would cointer that by saying, in which case, he should never have been in the job in the first place!

    Governments can, and should legislate to instill a sense of civic responsibility into the people. It happens elsewhere, and it can work just as well in the UK.

    Benefits are meant to provide, where people cannot conceivably provide for themselves. Yet the jobs have to be there in the first place, to enable people to get back into mainstream life. How much easier would that have been, had the Labour party not given us the free movement of labour throughout the EU, and had the coalition not merely just complained about it, but acted to stop it!

    I believe most of the contributors to this blog could identify the plroblem, and then move to put it right, and that makes me wonder why it is beyond the ruling political classes?

    There has to be a welfare state. Some people cannot avoid having to draw upon it. But I wonder what will happen if say Turkey joins the EU, and millions of those people come to the UK to find work? And what of those present member states whose economies are going down the tubes because of gross mismanagement, is there to be any check on their peo

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink


      people moving here too?

      It’s a nonsense, but given that the Lib Dems are so wedded to, and are so enthusiastic for anything the EU says or does, we aren’t going to sort out the mess until either the coalition is disolved, or Clegg and Co. wake up from their pipedream.

      Once we have the jobs available to our own population, then we can at long last make inroads into the problem of long-term unemployment, not until. In those circumstances, benefits needn’t be chipped away piecemeal, but removed entirely if the claimant flatly refuses to take paid and gainful employment that is within their capability.

      But what of unemployed parents of large families who would need to earn a fortune just to equal what they receive in state handouts?

      That might take a litle longer, but the nettle has to be grasped. We now need a cut-off point. The state shouldn’t keep paying for fecklessness and irresponsibility on the part of some, so as from a certain date, the limit should be three kids, or maybe just two. The ones already being paid for, will eventually grow up and be able to earn their own living.

      There seems to be a lot of support for this amongst the general public, but I bet you anything you like, it won’t happen. We’re too deeply enmeshed with the EU, and they’re calling all the shots.

      Tad Davison


      • Adam5x5
        Posted September 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        ‘You’re skint if you work, you’re skint if you don’t, so why work?’

        So you can get experience to leave the country and go somewhere sensible.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          Like Monaco where badly dressed people are put in prison.

          • Johnnydub
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink


            Your entire contribution to this debate whenever someone introduces facts is to try to shout them down.

            Try bringing some facts rather than emotional foot stamping outbursts to the table…

            In a lot of ways you are a typical leftie.. I don’t like the way the world is so I’ll indulge in some wishful thinking and that will solve things… Well the bankrupcy of the western world due (mostly) to their social programs have kind of proved what the outcome of that it hasn’t it…

          • Bazman
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

            Your Mum? And it is as a serious political point. Oh really? Take a look at the lack of replies to my posts. Ram it.

          • APL
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Johnydub: “Your entire contribution to this debate whenever someone introduces facts is to try to shout them down.”

            Bazman: “Your Mum?”

            Point illustrated

    • Bazman
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      What you are saying Tad is there needs to be some serious social engineering from an early age on many of the populations children as either way you are going to pay and in many of the lower strata of society there is a culture of knobbling anyone who tries to better themselves often by their closest relatives, so don’t anyone give me state interference and nanny state as this is exactly what is needed.

  28. merlin
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    As many people have said before when governments do anything it usually fails, so let’s look at NEST. Out of the average person’s wages is taken tax and national insurance contributions which means that the worker has to work for 6 month in order to pay the government. Now with NEST another 4% is taken and is put into the individual’s pension’s pot along with 3% from the employer, the effect of this is to further reduce the worker’s pay, and remembering, of course, that very few workers will get any sort of a pay rise. The net effect of all this is that the worker will be worse off. At 4% of the average wage and 3% of the employer’s contribution this, assuming the worker manages to stay employed for a few years ( seriously how many people actually get 40 years in these days ),
    would not produce enough money to live off in retirement and the worker would probably be worse off. I think this ridiculous scheme should be instantly scrapped and let individual workers decide what to do with their own money. It is so easy to do things when it’s not your money, I would love the opportunity to spend someone else’s money, think of all the stupid schemes you could create, by conning people into believing that they would be so much better off always remember:-
    If something seems to good to be true it is, this applies to NEST

    • JimF
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      You’re right.
      This is an absurd Labour-generated scheme that has got in under the wire.
      There are no winners.
      Anybody who wants to start a pension was free to do so under a Stakeholder scheme. Some of our employees who are part-time, say 10 hours a week, weren’t earning enough to get any tax relief so opted to take the employer contribution as pay instead. Fine. Now do I go to them and say well that pension contribution which we transferred to pay has to come back and go into this scheme? Or do I end up contributing for them again? At which point the workers who stayed in the Stakeholder scheme could rightly say “What about us?”

  29. Adam5x5
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Putting this altogether, it shows that so far the governemnt has found it difficult to make it more worthwhile working.

    That’s because the government’s too soft.

    It’s afraid of headlines from the left-wing media (BBC, Grauniad, etc) about ‘stealing benefits from the mouths of babes’.

    Cut taxes, cut spending, cut regulation and cut benefits. Then you’ll start to see people working and people enjoying the benefits of working.
    I see no reason why I should have to fund the feckless from the sweat off my back.
    Benefits should be a safety net for people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and to support people who are medically incapable of work – depression and Seasonal Affectation Disorder are not good enough.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      In other words make everyone more desperate? You think this will work? Lets make you more desperate in that case.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Indeed Bazman, I’m actually quite disgusted at how many on this blog preach the politics of “I’m all right Jack, sod you”. It has never been the solution, never will be the solution, only breeding resentment that eventually even leads some Tory voters to decide that there has to be a another way – hence 1997.

        • Richard
          Posted September 7, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          Don’t forget the great resentment on housing estates all over this country where hard working families see those around them living off the state whilst they have to get up for work every morning.
          I’m quite relaxed about, it but many of my employees were very angry indeed.
          Still it won’t be long ’till the money starts running out, what are we borrowing now £150 billion a year?

          • Bazman
            Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

            This is as real as the resentment of higher rate taxpayers. Oh wait? It’s less real. Not on your housing estate as it is to expansive/expensive for your employees. I bet they wish they do not have to get up every morning to listen to this and your 150 billion salary. Ram it.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

            A simply solution to all that Richard, in the immortal words of Yosser (Jimmy) Hughes from the Boys from the Black Stuff, “Gizza job” – oh sorry, forgot, like the 1980s there is a rescission on thus there are no jobs or at least very few compared to the number out of work, what is the current average, something like 300 applicants for every one job… A Major employer is opening a site, employing well into a three figure number, their recruitment went live the end of last week, their press adverts were inn the local press from mid week, I understand that recruitment was over subscribed (and the website thus closed) by Monday just gone so please don”t suggest that most people on benefits are sitting at home watching daytime TV out of choice.

            The answer to the ‘money running out’ is to cut other government spending but of course bashing the weak and defenceless is easy, quicker and achieves better headlines in papers like the Daily Mail. As I’ve said before, the way things are going it won’t be the EU and UKIP that does for the Tories at the next election but the way it is being perceived as the ‘Nasty Party’ once again.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          A more likely explanation is probably in the character Tim Nice But Dim.

          • Richard
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            Yes, thanks for another of your hilarious and witty replies Bazman.
            Try responding to the arguments or is that too difficult?

            PS You know all this “ram it” business you keep mentioning….. have you ever read any Freud?

          • Bazman
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

            The argument is that Tim is supported by the middle class socials security system which protects him from his dimness. A system that many fail to even acknowledge exists. I wonder why?

          • APL
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            Richard: ” have you ever read any Freud?”

            Ha ha, Richard. Priceless!

  30. Barbara Stevens
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, the change in the planning laws will bring chaos, and unwanted extentions and conflict with neighbours. Having planning laws in place saved a lot of problems. When the rubbish appears and downgrades properties, I hope it’s a Conservative house that is effected. We’ve had problems like this and the planning office saved the day.
    Has for making work pay, we have to have realistic salaries and wages, and utilities that can be afforded taken into account. You cannot just take ‘any job’ and have nothing left to survive on, no one with sense would engage with that. Life is for living, not exsisting. Household accounts today are expensive, yes, there are many living for free, but its greedy landlords who have reaped the benefits not the unemployed. Most of these are foreign people who are getting benefits for rents via the local councils. I see this every day we are surrounded by it, so I know full well what I’m talking about. Getting this stopped would be an asset to the taxpayer, and building more social housing belonging to local authorities is the answer, or a combination of private and council. Most houses for rent are appauling to live in and not worth the rents demanded. We own our own house, it’s taken years of sacrifice and hard work, and now we may see odd buildings appear lowering the investment. You just cannot win in this country.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    “Meanwhile JSA and other out of work benefits have risen by 8.5%, or twice the rate of earnings.”

    So what precisely is the objection to freezing these benefits at their current level in nominal terms for a few years, giving earnings growth a chance to catch up?

    • Jerry
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay, perhaps because this benefit (not benefits) have not kept up with inflation, true many private sector wages have not either but then wages (yes I understand all about the situation with the self employed…) are at least that of the NMW and thus there is a buffer zone were people might start loosing the comforts of life but don’t need to cut into the core basics of living in society.

      Why this government thinks that people make a lifestyle choice to live on JSA [1] when they also accept that 1. the NMW was a good idea (possibly the only good economic idea Labour had in 13 years of government) 2. place a current worth of £6.09p on the NMW and 3. then expect the law to enforce it. I’m in no way suggesting that the JSA rate should be anything like that of the NMW, that would simply be stupid (and really would start people asking John’s headline question about work), I’m just pointing out that it is far more likely that people make a lifestyle choice about working at the NMW and then play the in-work benefits system to gain those extras in life such as free child care, beer and fags, even the Sky Subscription…

      [1] well we all know why, it makes good headlines in the right-wing press and something for the unthinking right-wing bloggers to have a rant about

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Curious, isn’t it, that we nasty Right wng b______s are the only people coming up with ideas for cuts in public expenditure, and this in a nation that is as near bankrupt as possible.

        I saw a comment in the Daily Mail the other day, to the effect that the Labour Party are like a bunch of arsonists who have stayed behind in order to throw bricks at the fire fighters. Rather apt, don’t you think?

        • Jerry
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

          @Lindsay: It’s not the cuts, it’s what the cuts are… Oh and as for your other comment, re the Daily Mail (why do I always want to type Daily Maul…), no I don’t think that at all, they are doing the job of opposition, it’s called parliamentary scrutiny (which can be within or outside of the Westminster bubble).

          • APL
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: ” It’s not the cuts, it’s what the cuts are ..”

            There are no cuts, the deficit is increasing, ergo the government is spending more than Labour.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 10, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            ALP: You’re right, the deficit is increasing but there has also been cuts, that is why many find the cuts so far beyond the pail…!

          • APL
            Posted September 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “You’re right, ”

            Thank you.

            Jerry: ” the deficit is increasing but there has also been cuts, ”

            Perhaps there have been reallocation of resources, but that is utterly pointless if there have been no actual cuts in government spending aimed at eliminating the deficit. A case of pain but no gain!

            Clearly there have been no cuts in government spending because the deficit is increasing.

            At best, you are complaining that your particular government funded hobby horse isn’t getting the money you think it deserves.

            For the record:
            Government debt, how much the government has borrowed and currently owes. This debt is serviced by interest from general taxation.

            Deficit, how much more the government needs to borrow to meet it’s current spending commitments. A measure of how the debt is rising.

            If the second is increasing, the first must be increasing too!

            QED no cuts.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        @APL: Your last reply is a superb example of tunnel vision. None so blind as those who chose not to see… 🙁

        Would you still claim that there have been no cuts had the DWP scrapped all in-work benefits outright, simply because it had resulted in not one penny being paid off the deficit?!

        • Jerry
          Posted September 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          Sorry picked-up the wrong sub thread, the above comment should be under .

    • uanime5
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      The 2.56 million people who are unemployed would object. It would also cause the Government to fail to meet its poverty reduction targets.

      • Johnnydub
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Holy cow… Just how long will it take for lefties to realise that welfare programs cause poverty…

        And as for “poverty reduction targets” that policy has been proven to be the biggest load of old cack going…

        • Jerry
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          No, welfare stops poverty, how long will it take before those on the middle to far right realise that only the benefit payment is between many of these people, the street and “cardboard city”?

          That is not to say that people don’t become dependant on welfare but that is often the fault of the system than anything else, when claimants need to jump through so many hoops to even do voluntary work (unless it is pre sanctioned by the DWP) is it any wonder that so many get into the habit of sitting on the couch whilst watching “Jeremy Kyle”.

          • sm
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            Yes , its interesting noting the governments approach to the word volunteer.
            1) if you wish to do voluntary work it is made difficult, more than it should be.
            2) if they wish you to work voluntarily for your benefit they seem to put so much effort into it.

            Sometimes wouldn’t it be better if they , just concentrated on helping those who want to make a positive contribution, particularly in a recession/depression.

        • APL
          Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          Johnydub: “Holy cow…”


          Didn’t Tony Blair promise to abolish child poverty within a decade?

          How did that policy lie work out?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        Until poverty is defined in absolute terms rather than relative to average earnings, poverty reduction targets are a sick joke and should be ignored.

  32. David Langley
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I think there are more people on this blog than there were in the HofC this afternoon for the Immigration debate. The new Immigration Minister was in, chairing the Governments debate. I caught the back end of it but it appears that it will be business as usual whilst admitting that there are continuing problems ensuring illegal immigration can be controlled. One has to despair that there are not (bus? ed) loads of unwelcome visitors being shipped out , whilst others attend a large waiting room while we can turn them round and return back to sender immediately. If we are not in control of our country’s admissions who is? You only have to look upstairs in any 24/7 burger bar to see the rows of campbeds, no problem getting cheap labour there. Perhaps the massive stay away from this afternoons immigration debate highlights the attitude of our government to their real attitude to this national disaster. (Comments on lack of integration in some communities-ed) May I stress that I have no brief for racists or others who seek to capitalise on our weakness for immigration control but I do despair about the failure to absorb in an controlled way those who see the easy touch UK as a new outpost for their own language and culture in a different country.What mugs we must seem to be.

  33. David Langley
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    By the way what is happening with Abu Hamza?

  34. Bernard Juby
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “The government is introducing compulsory membership of NEST, a new pension scheme, for lower paid employees and others not already in a private scheme. This will entail a 4% levy on employee earnings, and a 3% levy on the employer.”

    Yet another dis-incentive for small & micro businesses to take on employees. We are dangerously close to “Atlas Shrugged!”

  35. Antisthenes
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    We have what I term entered an employment revolution in that unemployment no matter how much growth there is in an economy is going to decline, of course the greater the growth the slower the decline but the decline will not go away. This is because productivity rises significantly as the number of people employed to produce a product or service falls. Before the technological revolution there was always a need to employ vast numbers of people but even then it was rarely often that full employment was achieved. Now that great technological strides are being made year after year the need to employ people is becoming less and less. We have seen this decline already in agriculture and manufacturing and it is spreading. So this debate about how to make work pay is becoming obsolete. The new debate should be about how to manage the current and future unemployed in a way that is not harmful to the economy or to society. We can no longer think that unemployment is avoidable or to be unemployed is a stigma instead we have to think of ways of how the unemployed can channel their energies into improving their own life and and also contribute to society. As far as unemployment is concerned dealing with it is going to be a momentous task especially if we do not recognise earlier enough that unemployment is set to rise regardless of efforts to make it do otherwise. There is a simple answer of course that is war and many of them then manpower does come into short supply. Even then eventually machines would take over and those wars would be fought remotely. I do not for one moment advocate war a most morally wrong and repugnant idea I just use it to illustrate the point I am making.

  36. BobE
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Cap public sector and council workers pension payouts to £75k PA.
    Cap public sector and council workers Pay to a max of 100k PA.
    But you won’t will you! Its all hot air until you loose the next election.

    • zorro
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Public sector pensions should be capped at £30,000 pa in today’s money. The higher grades can fund the rest. They should be able to live on that anyway.


  37. fairweather
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone watch Newsnight last night with Paxman discussing child poverty?
    Why do we have child poverty?
    Poor people can get housing and council tax paid for
    If they earn a small amount and declare this for tax they can get tax credit
    A single mum we know with 3 kids who declares earnings of £4000/year doing table top sales in the village hall (a scam) manages to have an income of £25,000 from the state
    Isn’t this enough to put a hot meal on the table every day? Also pay for a bit of heat in the winter? She runs a car,has a mobile phone,laptop,telly. All out of your/my taxes. Whats going on?
    To make almost a whole programme of this shows the left wing bias of the BBC

    • Bazman
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      No child poverty or even povery in Britain then? Glad to see that one sorted.

      • Johnnydub
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        There isn’t child poverty if the parents are responsible.

        But the welfare system has encouraged the underclass to have children not because they want to love them and bring them up in a stable family unit, but because they are a route to benefits and priority in the housing allocation process.

        Strangely enough when their motivations are so materialistic, you’re surprised that they treat their children like careless possessions.. Etc

        • Jerry
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          You hit the nail when you mention “materialistic”, of course it is more important for these families to have a new sofa or the Sky subscription than to feed and cloth their kids correctly. 🙁

          The mother who complains that she can’t give her child a yoghurt and the like on a regular basis doesn’t need extra money, she needs basic home economics lessons, some basic and wholesome cooking lessons – oh and the willpower to stop being their child’s ‘friend’ and start being a parent, doing what is in the best interest of the child and not what they want or what is easiest…

        • Bazman
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          There isn’t child poverty if the parents are responsible? Says it all really Responsible for having children they cannot afford, but as a way to get benefits and housing? Almost as simplistic as you.
          Why don’t you take a few second to read this? You will but as you are so bigoted and stupid will see any, I mean any, information which contradicts your views as lies and propaganda and any lies and propaganda which confirms your views as true. You want them to suffer is your fundamental point for being poor.

          Twelve quid a day? What was the last thing you spent twelve quid on and what did you get? Have think fool. Me? Pint of lager, pint of cider and burger meal in a pub. Thirteen quid. Fortunately all other living expenses for that day for myself and my family were well covered and no rent. Ram it.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Bazman, please don’t take this the wrong way but citing Barnardos on child poverty is a bit like citing the Flat Earth society whilst attempting to prove that the world is flat – in other words it is in their vested interests to make the claims they do.

            There is little or no true child poverty in the UK, there is perceived poverty, that one child has less then another. Might I suggest that you look to places like India South America or Africa if you want to know about real child poverty, malnourishment and neglect/abuse.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            Maybe you can tell us why Fairshare a charity that provides food parcels is experiencing in their own words “ridiculous growth”? $ out of ten being the unemployed and the other six being from working households who’s part time jobs an inadequate wages coupled with the massive rise in food prices in recent years, makes them hungry.13oooo children arriving at their shelters looking for food and a survey of teachers by The princes trust saying that children are turning up to school hungry and dirty looking not for education, but food and shelter.
            Hunger is not relative, not eating because you cannot afford to is the same as being hungry in Africa or India and can be for a number of reasons. In the case of a businessman unpaid invoices. To use old fashioned language the Conservatives who fail to acknowledge this distress are no longer patriots. Instead of asking how the governments can stand by whilst fellow citizens go hungry, they denounce the charities, which however small and pathetic try to take on the responsibility of the state. Maybe this is all the fault of single mothers? You need to ram it.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            ‘A charity says…’, sorry Bazman but you obviously either didn’t bother to read what you replied to or (more likely) failed to understand. A charity will say that the Moon is made of Cheese if it creates donations. Come up with some real figures from independent and credible sources.

            As I mentioned elsewhere in this blog, it’s often not an inability to buy food in the UK that causes hunger but kids not being feed properly, of course people on a fixed income are not going to make ends meet if they always buy ready prepared or the more fancy brands, or junk food for their kids.

            I might also add that keeping kids clean has nothing what so ever to do with poverty, it is just very poor parenting, it’s quite possible to wash both kids and their cloths in cold water if push come to shove – ask any loving parent in the third world,were there is real poverty.

          • APL
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “Maybe you can tell us why Fairshare a charity that provides food parcels is experiencing in their own words “ridiculous growth”?”

            Because the previous government ruined the economy, and this government isn’t doing anything to reverse the situation.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            As I said the large writing has the conservatives on the run. Disgusting and disgraceful, words Bazman rarely uses.

      • Richard
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        As long as poverty continues to be defined as a certain percentage below the average wage then there will always be people defined as poor.

        Add a rapidly increasing population into the mix and the numbers defined as poor will inevitably increase every year.
        Poverty is impossible to eliminate defined as it is.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

          Absolute pants and a self justification for doing nothing.

          • Richard
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            Thanks for that witty, clever and detailed reply Bazman, excellent debating skills shown yet again.

            You therefore believe that there is greater poverty now in the UK than say 100 years ago , because that is what this particular way of measuring poverty shows.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            Bazman: What you seem to be talking about is socail levelling, your child has nothing my child doesn’t, that is not poverty – what ever the vested interests of the charities say in their propaganda appeal pamphlets.

            How long before someone claims that a British child is living in “poverty” because they don’t have a mobile phone or an Xbox or that they do/don’t get taken to McD’s or feed on microwaved Ready Meals?….

          • Richard
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

            You are totally wrong as usual, blinded by your political bias. Think about it. Think about the way the maths works.
            Measured in relative terms it is impossible to eliminate poverty.
            Even if most of the UK were millionaires, those who had incomes lower than a certain percentage below the set average would still be defined as poor.
            Even if they earned a six figure sum.
            Can you grasp this ?

            Do you really believe that there is more poverty today in the UK than there was 100 years ago, which is what measuring poverty by this strange method as a relative figure results in.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            A few years ago you might of got away with this ‘relative poverty’ argument by saying they are not truly poor and can afford SKY TV a car etc. Now they are and are going hungry for the reasons I gave in the above post unemployment and part time working paying low wages with competition from skilled peole for these jobs. You can deny this does not exist and if they just spent their money on food instead of booze and fags the problem would go away in some cases this may be true, but what you are coming down too is the same old same old blaming the poor for being poor and inflicting poor services on them due to their lack of skills and political will. The middle classes would not tolerate this and do not, supported by the middle class social security system. Ram it.

  38. Iain Gill
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    very disappointed by the immigration debate in parliament, lots of basics facts got wrong by MP’s including the minister. its clear such debates are never going to change anything in the party system we have.

    was interesting to see labour openly saying they want open door ICT visas though, first time I’ve actually seen them come out and say it, prior to today the have avoided saying it while doing it while in power.

    if anyone is interested I can sketch half a dozen easy mainstream policies that would guarantee a landslide election victory at the next general election?

    • zorro
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Fire away Iain!….I may add to it.


      • alan jutson
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink



    • APL
      Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Ian Gill: “if anyone is interested I can sketch half a dozen easy mainstream policies that would guarantee a landslide election victory at the next general election?”

      Don’t bother, the way the electoral system is set up it wouldn’t matter if only ten people voted in the next general election, the party with 60% percent of the vote would claim a landslide victory.

      There should be a threshold voter turnout before any party may form a government.

      By the way, Brussels still doesn’t have a government a year after election in 2011.

  39. Mactheknife
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Talking to a friend yesterday. His brother-in-law who secured a job with Tesco has terminated his own employment. Why? Because he earns £20 a month less than his previous income on benefits and his attitude is why work ?

    Personally I’d stop the benefits of everyone who voluntarily resigns and asks to go back on benefits. That would stop this practice stone dead.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 12:18 am | Permalink

      Don’t expect to reduce unemployment if you discourage people from leaving benefits.

      Why should someone work if they’re worse off because of it?

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        They should work to contribute to your socialist society and pay their fair share of the tax burden instead of expecting everyone else to work for them.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          If someone is getting £20 less than they were on benefit then they won’t be paying much (if any) tax!

          • a-tracy
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

            Buy at least other working taxpayers aren’t paying the full cost of paying them with no productive contribution on the economy.

            JSA is a work related benefit that is topped up by social security benefits, these shouldn’t be higher for more than six months than someone working full time on the NMW

        • uanime5
          Posted September 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Why should they contribute to the “tax burden” when they’re worse off for doing so? If those who provide jobs aren’t going to pay a fair wage they shouldn’t be surprised if people refuse to work.

          Also under socialism people who work get paid enough to live on, so they don’t need to claim benefits. Unlike the capitalist system where people are paid a pittance so their employers can make a fortune.

      • Mactheknife
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Are you serious ? Oh I forgot you are our resident Marxist. Why should someone not work and be paid to do nothing off the back of working people ?

        • Jerry
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

          Well I guess that makes me a “Marxist” too then!… 🙂 Sorry, forget “Mactheknife”, you are just the resident clueless troll… Yes we can all throw the insults around but that doesn’t get anyone very far does it.

          No one is saying that people should not be working (and under Marxism everyone who was capable of working did just that, less you forget) but two things need to happen in the capitalist world to achieve this, first there needs to be the work available and second people need to be paid a living wage. If the laws that govern benefit awards stated that this person needed £20 more than he was earning then is it any surprise that he found that he couldn’t actually live and work.

          Why this person couldn’t claim in-work benefits is open to question though, perhaps he got caught in trap that was set when the DWP raised the minimum hours people had to work before being eligible for such in-work benefits, he needed £20 so he could live, the supermarket couldn’t provide any more hours and the DWP wouldn’t pay any in-work benefit to make up to what the law (via JSA) say he needs?

          • a-tracy
            Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            He could move to somewhere cheaper to live or somewhere there is more available work. Why clogg up housing in say the City for none workers?

            The NMW from Oct 2012 is around £12,000 pa for a full time basic skilled job, there is tax and NI to pay on this amount plus a contribution to bulk taxation via employers NI, there are working tax credits available and people can share housing or rent out rooms to top up income. My husband moved from North Wales due to a lack of work in his rural location and paid for a bedsit on an apprentice wage, students share four to six to a home, these sort of arrangements should be available to trainee workers in higher employment areas.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            Sorry “a-tracy”, but I don’t think you have a grasp on the issues here. This is nothing to do with working for the NMW, it is the number of hours someone works @NMW, supermarkets are great at employing people for 16hrs on zero hours contracts (which = £97.28, more than the JSA pays assuming a single person, out of this someone has to deduct any extra living expenses and travel etc.), but then there is nothing to stop the supermarkets from cutting the hours and it doesn’t take many hours to be cut before the person has fallen into the trap were working does not pay the bills – in work benefits used to pick up the slack but not any more,thus people end up having no choice but return to JSA.

            Zero hours contracts really should be outlawed, at the moment these companies are basically relying on the state to top-up these peoples pay, but then the politicians would have to accept that the headline unemployment figure would be higher, even if the benefits bill is no lower. The NMW works well to get people off benefits assuming someone is working three or more days at 8hrs x £6.08ph, anything less and it

            As for your comment about finding some place else to live, well yes I suppose if this man is single then there is always the share or hostile option [1] (assuming they are not already in that option, which they might well be considering the current housing benefit rules), or perhaps he should just move back home, assuming there is one, and of course there is always the “Workhouse” no doubt…

            [1] although I would suggest not forcing, especially young, people into such measures as it might breed things society would prefer it doesn’t, what worked socially 40 or more years ago might not work well now, times move on.

          • a-tracy
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            My nephew left school recently at 16, with no direction, he picked up a couple of jobs relatively easily for Stoke , he blew one job being silly and he was encouraged to look at training in the forces, he had to share a dorm with around 20 others, he is doing well training as an engineer, the point is he wasn’t allowed to doss around by the family, his parents didn’t bail him out to wander around with his mates, his sister attends college and works now, she doesn’t particularly enjoy the job but she funds herself whilst training. My son has just started his first job just this month, when our business went through a bad patch and couldn’t afford my wages I went temping and did the admin and accounts at night and weekends leaving my husband to manage day to day operations. It wasnt too long in the past my sisters business crashed, she couldn’t get any state help, the family rallied around so she could put food on the table, she sorted herself into another job pronto in a high unemployment area.

      • Johnnydub
        Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        How about the feeling of shame that you’re living off the hard work of others?

        But when the Labour party has built their base of people sucking on the taxpayer teat, there’s no surprise that any acknowledgement of shame has been banished…

        • Jerry
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          How about actually being able to live first?!…

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Benefits are not a right, they are a privelidge. Alec Home once got himself into very hot water once by referring to benefits as “these donations”. It was tactless but spot on.

        People cannot be allowed to turn down a job because it pays less than their benefits. If that attitude is widespread, the only solution is to reduce the benefits – no doubt this is the thinking behind the IDS cap.

        There are some incredible stories about benefits doing the rounds. One family of 5 – two adults and three children – were receiving £1,000 a week in benefits. The adults had never done a day’s work in their lives. They lived on junk food and all 5 were obese. They could afford TV, communications, beer and fags to their hearts’ desires. Let us hope it is just a story. Taxpayers just don’t see the funny side.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      @Mactheknife: So let me get this correct, through no fault of his own (he has attempted to get a job, indeed has got a job), but he is getting less to live on than the law said he needed (and not by an insignificant sum), yet you think he should have to remain in such a job?!

      You’re living on Mars and your comment was sent via NASA…

  40. BobE
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Kicking the can again.
    Mario Draghi has defied German opposition and launched an “unlimited” bond buying programme by the European Central Bank (ECB) that he said would provide a “fully effective backstop” to the stricken eurozone economies.
    The president of the ECB said the decision to unleash the new action, which will be called Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT), had not been unanimous.

  41. JimF
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    The Coalition is making heavy weather of a fairly simple proposition-make the differential between workers and non-workers sufficiently large that working is encouraged.

    As you say it has raised benefits more than wages have increased. So it has done the reverse of what was promised. All this could be changed by simply cutting income taxes, cutting benefits. That’s what was promised and it hasn’t been delivered.

    I really don’t know how you will deal with these salient facts when the time comes for you to put forward the proposition that voting Tory will be good for workers as the Tories alwatys keep their promises. They don’t.

  42. Matthew
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    If the debt is to grow by about 40% before we start to see a reduction.

    If welfare and tax credits swallow 30% of government spending it obvious that this is an area to tackle. It seems that the definition of disability and poverty is evolving.
    Welfare spending is growing at a greater rate than our GDP (So are glaciers)

    IDS has been passionate about welfare reforms for ten years, so I had high hopes.

    When IDS backed the increase in the benefit rate at such an early stage (it would have been a good place to start) in the game then I feared the worst.

  43. Monty
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Very suspicious of this NEST boondoggle. What freshly minted hell is lurking within?

    What I suspect is that your chancellor has sneakily added 7% to the Tax/ National Insurance burden of every minimum wage job. What guarantees of pension income do these workers gain, having been compulsorily dragooned into NEST? This is an assault on the rights and liberties of the low paid, who have every right in current circumstances to avoid pension schemes, and concentrate instead on building up a cash ISA, so that at least they would be able to access the capital if they should need it. To emigrate maybe. Taking money off them for this, is just not on. It is profoundly illiberal and authoritarian.

    If you want us to save for our retirement, stop penalising us when we do so.

  44. merlin
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    ON the general subject of NEST and pensions in general. An individual pays contributions ( some people have non-contributory scheme still in the public sector by the way ) into his pension and the employer also contributes. This creates a pension pot which the individual will NEVER be able to access ever and when he dies all the money will go back to the employer. Yes, the employee gets a tax free lump sum ( depending on the amount ) and an income for life. Personally I think there are better systems than pensions where your lump sum is accessible throughout your period of retirement, for example ISAS. John Major once stated that individual’s should be able to access their own pension pot, after all the individual has worked to produce the pot in the first place, but this idea disapppeared into the long grass.

    • zorro
      Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Pensions are a scam…there I said it.


  45. uanime5
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Originally those in work were able to live without benefits. Then salaries started to fall and rather than raise minimum wage the Government gave people benefits to supplement their low incomes. This resulted in higher taxes to supplement low private sector wages. Now wages have fallen so much in real terms that for many people it doesn’t pay to work. Until the minimum wages rise to a level where someone in full time employment doesn’t need to claim benefits work won’t pay.

    I recommend that minimum wage should be set at 60% of the median wage to ensure that it provides a sufficient amount to live on.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      So you think a person working 40 hours per week, having trained for three or four years at University should only be 40% better off than someone who has low skills or no qualifications at the age of 21.

      Is the 60% of the median wage job based on every job whatever talent that person has e.g. Hospital Consultants, GPs, Software Engineers. Or 60% of the median wage of someone with basic skills e.g. the current median wage of an Office administrator according to payscale is £16,275 so the NMW would be £9765 for a 37.5 hour week the NMW is already set higher at £11,856 or £12,070 from Oct 2012.

      So how much per hour would you set the NMW at?

    • Mactheknife
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      The only way for it to “pay to work” is get get the workshy, feckless, feral free loaders off benefits or cuts to the numerous different handouts these people expect.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Whilst insults seem to be your only debating skill, but then you are so clueless about why most people are on benefit I wouldn’t’ be surprised if you are one of the “feckless” as you call them, just that you have a a rich daddy so you can sit on your gluteus maximus whilst slagging off others all the time.

        The only way to get under and unemployed people back to work is for their to be the jobs (that pay a living wage) in the first place, no amount of putting the cart before the horse will get the hey shifted.

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          I don’t have a rich Daddy, my Dad was a dairyman working 7 days on, one day off with a weekend off every seventh week so that my Mum didn’t have to work while we were tiny, she took on part-time work as we grew and he cut his hours, was made redundant, set up his own window cleaning business, had a bad fall so sold his round having got a factory job. He instilled a work ethic in all his children and when my sisters business collapsed encouraged her to pick herself up and take any job until she sorted herself out which she did.

          What responsibility should the unemployed person take on to retrain themselves for the available jobs in their area, even if it means taking on one or two unskilled jobs whilst they train. My brother did just this and completed an open university degree and several of my family and friends.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            It help if there is actually work to be done, clue, in a resessio0n people either clean their own windows or leave them dirty (whilst an existing employee might well be expected to sweep the warehouse/factory floor, in excess to their normal duties), understand yet? You keep talking of a time when people could walk out of one job and into another, those days are as gone as yours and my childhoods have.

            Sure people can still start their own businesses but in this highly regulated world that is not something everyone can or feels able to do, what with income Tax (quite frankly the HMRC rules and regs appear daunting to a novice), then there is UBR/planning rules, even H&S. Also there has to be a market (as noted above), never mind funds to actually set the business up (much easier to more from paid employment in to self employment that move from JSA to self employment if there is any need for premises or capital investment – even simple things like insurance, gone is the time when one could wake-up of a morning and decide to strap a ladder to the roof-rack, bung a bucket, sponge and squeegee in the boot and set off cleaning windows. Oh and don’t suggest a push-bike…

        • Richard
          Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          The words pot and kettle spring to mind Jerry

          • Jerry
            Posted September 9, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            Yes Richard and Mactheknife are as bad as each other, clueless as to the real world outside of the Tory heartland and the Daily Mail comment pages.

    • Richard
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Its not that wages have fallen that makes working unprofitable but that inflation, huge rises in all sorts of taxes and automatic increases in benefit levels and housing benefits has risen even more.

      By your logic we should raise the minimum wage to say £25 per hour and all poverty and unemployment would be abolished at a stroke.
      Where is all the money coming from???

    • Johnnydub
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Typical lefty fool…

      Every rise in the NMW will cause a rise in unemployment. This is basis economics, it;’s not a political position.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 8, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Care to cite some figures to prove your theists? If you are correct then politicians should be more worried about sorting out inflation than benefits (something, to give credit, Mrs Thatcher was), but how to go about this – and don’t say cut benefits, they are a very small factor in causing inflation.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      What makes you think that you know better than the markets what wage rates should be?

  46. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The cads and oppidans can just go and hang themselves.

  47. Jon
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Thats Ian Duncan Smith’s bag. He had good ideas for this area, is it taking too long though?

    A few weeks ago on the BBC they had a case of a 19 yr old who had never worked and about to get the keys to his own flat, a converted semi so no small for a single 19 yr old. I expect he never worked so as not to scupper his chances of the council flat. The BBC made out that it will be poor little souls like him who could loose out.
    I was about the same age when I ventured out, it was a room in a shared house that I paid the rent on.

    I hope this area is reformed before the next election.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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