Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Corporate Behaviour”

Shop in Shops or On-line

My mother’s old TV broke down yesterday. She is in a nursing home and spends a lot of her time watching TV. Immediate replacement today was required.

You would think that this would be a classic case for “going to the shops”. After a frustrating 4 hours, I wish I had bought on-line last night. Read more…

Pay up £571M or lose your knighthood

The above headline (from the Daily Mirror 25 July 2016) reflects the exasperation that many feel at the behaviour of Sir Philip Green – former boss of BHS.

But surely this is muddled thinking?

Read more…

Labour won’t find its soul by navel gazing

… last year’s election defeat could be reduced to two key factors – Labour’s failure to pay enough attention to “economic competence”, and the fact that “the public did not perceive Ed Miliband as a credible prime minister”.
The Guardian, 1 January 2016 : When are Labour party ‘moderates’ going to do more than just moan?

But behind that there is a rejection of Labour’s attempts to hold power by trying to ape the Tories – they can never be “better Tories than the Tories”. If unrestrained global capitalism is the name of the game you might as well vote Tory.

But if unrestrained global capitalism is not the name of the game … Read more…

FCA has no stomach for regulation

The City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has shelved plans for an inquiry into the culture, pay and behaviour of staff in banking.

The FCA had planned to see whether pay, promotion and other incentives contributed to misconduct seen in previous years.

The review was meant to be a major piece of work by the watchdog.
BBC News Website, 31 December 2015 : Banking culture inquiry shelved by regulator FCA

Are we surprised? No not really, and that is what makes it so damned sad. When they need bailing out we bail them out, but when we want to look at why they – as a sector – failed, “we” (i.e. an anonymous “they”) do not have the stomach for the fight. Read more…

Nudge Taxes

For a couple of months we (in England, UK) have had a “plastic bag tax” of 5p per bag. It is actually a compulsory levy as the proceeds do not go to the exchequer but to good causes.

What is remarkable is the impact this tax has had and how this compares to the uproar in certain areas about the idea of a sugar tax.

Read more…

Conservatives: Strike 2

Yesterday the Conservatives moved one step closer to their objective of neutering the Trade Unions, proposing to:

impose a minimum 50% turnout – and public sector strikes would need the backing of at least 40% of those eligible to vote. …

force unions to give employers 14 days notice of strike action and allow them to bring in agency staff to cover for striking workers. …

cut the amount of money unions have to mount campaigns – or donate to parties such as Labour – with members actively having to “opt in” to pay the so-called political levy, which is currently automatic unless members opt-out. …

have a named individual supervising a picket line.
BBC News Website 15 July 2015 : Trade Union Bill: Ministers deny ‘attack on workers’ rights’

At first sight each of these proposals may seem “reasonable” – particularly if you have been inconvenienced by say a recent tube strike, but at second sight and viewed as a package they appear much more partial and unreasonable.

Why? Read more…

Grexit: Wrong Problem?

In another of his periodic pronouncements Robert Peston ponders the possibility and impact of a Greek Exit from the Euro. His conclusion includes:

… an exacerbation of the Greek crisis would be an inconvenience for Britain. But by no means a disaster.

That said, the Treasury fears that Greek exit would be more damaging to the medium-term sustainability of the euro than most of the eurozone establishment apparently believes right now – in that it would prove the euro is not forever.

The euro would be turned into a glorified Deutschmark peg: speculators would have a big incentive to bet on who will be next to leave the currency; and history (the ERM for example) shows those bets can be self-fulfilling.
BBC News Website 5 may 2015 : How vulnerable would new UK government be to Grexit?

It’s the last paragraph that is the give-away. Read more…

What about the Elephants?

This (2015 UK) General Election seems to consist of lots of minor and pretty irrelevant skirmishes. The major issues seem to be un-addressed in the election.

So what are these elephants in the room? Read more…

Subsidising Scrooge Employers

Supermarket workers paid the national minimum wage are forced to claim state benefits totalling £11bn a year, according to a charity.

Citizens UK said the employers of five million workers in the UK were being “subsidised” by the taxpayer.
BBC News Website 12 April 2015 : Supermarket workers have to claim £11bn benefits, charity says

Supermarkets may be a prime offender – but the issue is wider and needs reform. Read more…

Oxfam’s war on tax dodgers

Instinctively you reach to support Oxfam’s proposals for a bill which:

  • Makes it harder for big companies to dodge UK taxes and ensure they’re not getting unfair tax breaks
  • Ensures UK tax rules don’t encourage big companies to avoid tax in developing countries
  • Makes the UK tax regime more transparent and tougher on tax dodging

They want it introduced in the first 100 days – perhaps the urgency is such that MPs should work through the summer?

It is not easy though.

What is the difference between an “unfair tax break” and a rule framed to “protect our competitiveness”? Read more…

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