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Showing posts from January, 2013

Charging Council Tax to people on JSA

I explained why Birmingham was wrong to do this in parliament yesterday. The video of my speech is here . The text of the debate is here There is always a challenge understanding the arguments when different people quote different figures. I will, therefore put up the two arguments about costs. These figures look only at the effect on the city council. That is about 88% of the total council tax bill. The rest goes to Police and Fire. Labour's figures My figures 2012/3 government support 88,231,598 88,231,598 2013/4 government support (79,494,242) (79,494,242) Shortfall 8,737,356 8,737,356 Contingency 882,316 0 Requirement for 1.45% increase in Council Tax 1,292,152 0 Total to find 10,911,823 8,737,356 From Flexibilities 5,437,977 6,012,692 Government Grant 0 2,129,441 Final Shortfall 5,473,847 595,223 The money that can come in from reducing backdating is 792,542 which is more than that required for my approach to the figures. The policy question is the one hi

GDP, growth and oil and gas

There are two aspects of fossil fuel production that affect GDP. The first is that higher oil prices tend to reduce economic activity. The second is that if the UK produces less oil or gas then that takes down the GDP. Because this is a geological issue it needs to be excluded from consideration. The GDP index at the end of Q4 2011 excluding oil and gas was 103.5 and the provisional Q4 2012 figure is 103.9. For some reason ONS make this growth of 0.3% (I make it 0.4% - actually 0.3864%). The figures including oil and gas are 102.8 and 102.9. The ONS make this flat whereas I make it a 0.1% (0.09728%) increase. The reason why the ONS figures and mine are different is that I am comparing the 2011 figure directly to the 2012 figure whereas the ONS are summing the percentage variances (their approach brings in a rounding error). [note it is possible that if the figures are expressed to a greater accuracy that the ONS are right on the rounding, but wrong on the economy being flat


Follows Success of Online Petition and Motion from Member of Parliament NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2013/PRNewswire/ – In the wake of the child-abuse scandal surrounding BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, the United Kingdom lifted its 500-day travel ban on American journalist Leah McGrath Goodman and restored her visa this past week, allowing her to complete an investigation into allegations of systemic child abuse in the UK and its territories. As reported by The Guardian and the BBC, Goodman was banned after being detained and questioned by UK authorities in September 2011 about her research into allegations of horrific crimes against children at the orphanage Haut de la Garenne on the island of Jersey, a leading offshore tax shelter controlled by the British Crown. Amid fresh allegations about Savile’s predatory activities on the island of Jersey, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley John Hemming filed a parliamentary motion in September 2012 protesting Goodman’s ban. “I am pleased that

Monday's speech (the fast one)

It was at 21:33:13.25 I am not sure how to embed it at a particular time. If you wish to go directly to the right time please click here . The reason the speech was given quite quickly was that the time of the debate had been reduced and I wished to get it all on the record. The record is here .

Fountain Statue with Icicles

As I was leaving the House of Commons today I noticed that the fountain statue had icicles. It would have been really good with the right lighting sadly I didn't have the time to wait for the sun to get in the right place.

Deficits and Benefits

Because of the economic difficulties the government has extended the period during which it is aiming to reduce the structural deficit. This, however, has required the finding of additional saving. Although I pressed for the full inflation increase on all benefits last year I did support the new Welfare bill which limits the increase to 1%. That is because we cannot expect the Welfare budget to be immune to savings. If we do not have a general limit on benefits then any specific targeted changes would have to be much more. The proposal is to increase by inflation those benefits that specifically relate to disability, but to hold other state payments to the same figure as applies to public sector workers (viz 1%). It is worth noting that there has been a 100% reduction on child benefit for families with earners earning over £60,000 (the only benefit available to such families) In the mean time Labour seem to want to tax people on benefits in Birmingham. This, however, is not t