Questionable expenditure from East Kent?
Oct 2013 08

East Kent is full of examples of questionable expenditure at the moment. Not just government and local government, but other public bodies, not all quite as accountable.

Globe trotting Kent University staff have enjoyed trips to exotic locations such as New Delhi, Shanghai, Las Vegas and Rio De Janeiro. Credit card statements for June obtained by the Kentish Gazette show more than £900 was spent on just the New Delhi Hotel and another £729 in Mumbai; £740 in Beijing and Shanghai, and £280 on Croatia’s coast. Other entries include £639 spent at the Istanbul Hilton, over £1,500 in Washington DC; £762 in Rio De Janeiro, and £668 in Dubai. December last year also saw almost £900 at restaurants and hotels on The Strip in Las Vegas. The university defended use of corporate credit cards in recruiting students from 120 countries after being forced to reveal details when the newspaper submitted a Freedom of Information request. Continue Reading

COMMENT: A Single Income Tax would simplify our excessively convoluted system
Oct 2013 08

Writing in City A.M., Rory Meakin says that the Single Income Tax is the plan for substantial tax simplification that we need:

TAX simplification is back on the agenda, thanks to Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors. Highlighting combined marginal rates of child benefit withdrawal and income tax of 73 per cent for those with four children earning between £50,000 and £60,000 a year, Walker called for radically simpler taxes. “I am all for a flat simple tax system,” he said, adding, “it has been shown to raise a lot more money”.

Click here to read the full article

Institute of Directors is right to call for substantial tax simplification
Oct 2013 07

The Director General of the Institute of Directors, Simon Walker, has spoken out against complicated and high tax rates, citing the 73 per cent marginal combined income tax and child benefit withdrawal rate faced by a taxpayer with four children earning between £50,000 and £60,000. Continue Reading

New research: renewable energy subsidies will double to over £5 billion in next five years
Oct 2013 06

Renewable energy – such as wind – is only competitive thanks to generous Government subsidies. Those subsidies are paid for by consumers through higher household energy bills.We can reveal that, even based on conservative projections, those subsidies will rise from just under £2 billion this year to over £5 billion by 2018/19.

Ministers have claimed that costs will fall over time thanks to greater economies of scale, but the announcement that high subsidies will continue for the foreseeable future suggests that this
strategy has failed, despite the transfer of risk from investors to consumers.

Key findings of this research:

  • Total support for renewable energy through the main subsidy scheme (the Renewables Obligation and Contracts for Difference) will rise from around £1.99 billion in 2012-13 to over £5.32 billion in 2018-19 as more capacity is added to the network.
  • Onshore wind will receive a guaranteed electricity price double the typical wholesale price. Offshore wind will receive triple the typical wholesale price.
  • The Government appears likely to miss a critical target to reduce the cost of renewable energy. The target to reduce the cost of offshore wind to £100 /MWh by 2020 will almost certainly be broken as offshore wind will still receive £135 /MWh in 2018-19, falling from £155 /MWh next year (in 2012 prices).
  • Renewable energy subsidies have failed to deliver reductions in cost. Government policy was supposed to reduce costs by creating economies of scale and driving technological innovation but renewable energy still requires very similar levels of subsidy despite years of subsidy.
  • Despite the level of subsidy, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned that “required investment is at risk” unless higher subsidies for offshore wind are provided.

The total subsidy under the Renewables Obligation is projected to rise as follows:

subsidy

Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Targets that require massive investment in the energy sector, to install expensive technologies like offshore wind turbines on an enormous scale, will always mean more profits for energy companies and much higher prices for consumers. If the Government are serious about easing the pressure on people’s living standards, they need to take action and scrap lavish renewable energy subsidies. And it is a joke for Ed Miliband to pretend he is taking on the big six on behalf of consumers, when he is proposing to keep the targets in place. If politicians are serious about helping families struggling with their bills, then they need to do something about their dysfunctional and painfully expensive energy policies.”

Welfare reform in South Wales
Oct 2013 04

As the owner of a small business in South Wales, the news of an economic turnaround has really benefited us and created a fresh positivity amongst our customer base. Demand for our services is up to the point that we have gone regional and are on the verge of national expansion. However, I like many small business owners, are falling foul of the benefits system and a largely incompetent DWP.

As reported by ‘This is South Wales’, Jean Rashbridge, a local businesswoman from South Wales, has similar problems. She encountered a situation where her company ‘Smokers Angel’ received over 100 job applicants for an £8ph position within an hour of posting an advertisement with her local Job Centre Plus. After filtering the candidates and interviewing the final few, sadly Mrs Rashbridge found that the successful candidate didn’t even show up for the job. Continue Reading

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