Taxpayer to loose out over Labours bank rescue


Many sites including the Telegraph and the BBC are reporting that it is now unlikely the Taxpayer will ever recover their Investment in Lloyds and RBS.

The Common's Public Accounts Committee talks of "monumental failures". Billions of pounds that were extended to the banks won't be seen again.

The real question is not whether the bail outs will make a profit, but have they actually saved the banks. The financial crisis is far from over.

Supply teacher agency not paying employers NI


The BBC are reporting,

An offshore company employing thousands of teachers is avoiding the payment of millions of pounds in employer's National Insurance contributions.

ISS Ltd, based in the Channel Islands, employs more than 24,000 temporary agency workers across the UK, most of them working as supply teachers.

ISS is a payroll company - sometimes known as an "umbrella" company - which pays the salaries and expenses of workers who find jobs through recruitment agencies in the UK.

The arrangement means that temporary workers, such as supply teachers, are the employees of ISS.

Because ISS is based offshore it does not pay employer's National Insurance contributions - but neither do the UK-based recruitment agencies that find the jobs for staff paid by ISS.

I would have thought that as the UK based recruitment agencies more than likely invoice the schools for the work done, they should be responsible for ensuring all taxes are paid. Will the supply teachers involved be entitled to benefits and state pensions, it would seem to me they haven't paid the full stamp.

It shows that the UK tax system, while being excessively complicated, is not fit purpose.

Winter fuel payments for better off pensioners


There's a lot of talk about better off Pensioners receiving the winter fuel payment. Some say pensioners should be means tested with only the most needy getting the payment. Means testing is, in itself, costly because someone has to be paid to do it.

The solution is quite simple, simply add the fuel payment to the state pension. One pension payment in Nov or Dec would include the fuel payment.

The state pension is taxable, so those paying the lower rate tax would in effect only get 160. Higher rate tax earners would get even less.

Two tier Vehicle Excise Duty


The BBC are reporting the governments thinking on a two tier Vehicle Excise Duty.

A two-tier Vehicle Excise Duty, with a lower rate for those avoiding motorways and other main routes, is among options being considered by the government.

The plans would not necessarily mean those using motorways pay more than at present, a Treasury source said.

On the other hand the BBC report,

Reforms to road tax follow concerns that increased fuel efficiency could lead to a fall in revenue.

Now perhaps I have missed something, but surely having a lower rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is going to lead to lower revenues than at present. Perhaps the thing missing will be the massive fines handed out to those caught on the motorway who have not paid for privilege. Will the courts be able to cope, how will it be administered.

Naturally a lucrative PFI gravy train would be given to some company to supply and operate all the cameras. They are planning to use number plate recognition technology, so big brother will know all our movements.

There are apparently 13 rates of VED, the government plans would double that. The real solution is to do away with VED completely and increase fuel duty, probably by about 10p a litre.

I notice some BBC readers suggest introducing road pricing per mile. What planet do these people live on, we are already using that system, its called fuel duty. The bigger the vehicle and more miles you do the more you pay. And it is simple to administer.

Other readers suggest toll roads. I accidently ended up on the M6T earlier in the year. I have never seen so much unused tarmac, only three cars going in our direction. As to making the existing motorways in to toll roads, I think motorists feel they has paid for them many times over, we own them. Handing them over to some rent seeking corporation is not on. Equally making them toll roads would greatly increase traffic on A roads and on rural roads through towns and villages.