The front pages the morning after – politicalbetting.com
Given that the general election has to take place before January 2025 what happened yesterday could have a big impact on the overall result. The chancellor has made some very big decisions the question is whether he will be proved right.
One of the best things the Tories have done over the past 13 years with George Osborne onwards was raising tax thresholds to make work pay.
Under Sunak and Hunt that progress is being reversed, taxes are rising and they're fiddling at the edges while taking tax and spend to record levels.
If this is meant to fuel aspiration or be a Conservative budget, its no Conservativism I recognise or would vote for.
Iraq: The Legacy
Yesterday's episode was: The Iraq War
Other podcast platforms are available.
A mere $2.2bn.
Meanwhile, one senior Tory MP agrees with my brief analysis from yesterday:
Coinbase and Binance also both in the news, stuggling to find banking services in many countries.
Or am I missing something?
F1: Leclerc's already onto his third electronics set. You're meant to have two for the whole season so he has a minimum of a 10 place grid penalty in Saudi Arabia.
It is hugely unfair.
The Conservative Party exists to further the interest of two groups: it's extremely rich friends, from whom it derives its funding; and minted elderly people, in outright possession of expensive houses and with more disposable income than most workers, and their expectant heirs, whom together account for the bulk of the party membership and the core vote.
These are the people who are indulged; the rest of us get half-arsed measures like the childcare reforms (badly underfunded, will take years to bring in, done to make it look as if they care when they don't,) and a shit sandwich (fiscal drag to extract the money to pay for massive tax breaks for the wealthy, and endless inflation-busting hikes in pensions - all paid for out of the ever-diminishing wages of low and middle income workers, rather than from the immense asset wealth of their supporters, which must never be touched.)
This entire Government and the Tory Party itself are both little more than vehicles for a process of managed national decline, in which a shrinking pool of wealth is steadily transferred upwards from the young and the struggling to the old and the rich. It's all they really care about and it's all they're any good at doing.
The Zurich-based lender said it was taking “decisive action to pre-emptively strengthen liquidity” in a statement issued in the early this morning.
The UK has been ranked among the worst nations in western Europe in which to participate in a peaceful protest, according to a report that warns of a “rapid decline in civic freedoms”.
Civicus, a global alliance of civil society groups, assessed the extent to which civil liberties were deemed at risk in almost 200 countries, placing them into five categories: open, narrowed, obstructed, repressed or closed.
For the first time the report has downgraded the UK to “obstructed”, making it one of the few democracies in the same tier as El Salvador, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste and Liberia.
Citizens in most other western European nations were deemed to have better protected rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression than in the UK, which was described as a “country of concern”.
The People Power Under Attack 2022 report says that the downgrading is the result of changes to legislation under recent Conservative governments. In particular, it highlights the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which came into effect in April last year. The legislation gave police new powers to restrict public assemblies, such as imposing start and finish times.
The report’s authors also expressed concern over the Public Order Bill, which is going through parliament and proposes giving police power to shut down protests if it is thought they will lead to widespread disruption.
Nothing at all for the majority of working britains.
I don’t vote Tory. I’m glad I don’t. Fuck them. They have made our lives immeasurably poorer and when they had a chance to do something they reward the wealthiest.
Basically, with the right drafting, you can turn a rich dead member's pension arrangement into a very efficient form of private discretionary family trust.
I don't think it will last much longer. No-one in the industry thinks it is justifiable.
Also, plenty of us in the industry have long argued for the abolition of the LTA. But this year ? Against this background of so little being done for younger less generously pensioned workers ? No way.
I don't think it makes much difference to me, as I was planning to "Retire and Return" next year anyway, having a pension pot just below the old limit. The only difference is that I may now rejoin the pension scheme after restarting work.
So, If I were to have £1 000 000 in a SIPP, crystallise it to take 25% as a tax free lump sum, then let the other 75% stay as drawdown funds, but not touch them, then that £750 000 fund could be inherited by a heirs without IHT.
Those better off will be working parents who require childcare, and the very wealthy who can take advantage of the pension bung.
The rest of us are paying.
The only mystery is how he got away with it for so long.
The point of fiscal drag is that the Chancellor raises taxes by doing nothing, and mostly escapes blame.
Hunt is as aware of that as you are - and expects the credit for his bungs, without the responsibility for the - unremarked in his budget speech - very large tax rise.
It needs pointing out, repeatedly.
After getting annoyed for a long time at the injustice of the tax system, particularly the inequalities associated with National Insurance; my conclusion was that I will not go down the intellectual rabbit hole of trying to pay the least amount of tax possible, I will just pay a decent amount of tax, see it as my civic duty, and focus my energy and time on other things.
Bur those unfortunates (including me this year, FWIW) are in the minority.
My selections for Day 3 as follows:
1.30: APPRECIATE IT
2.50: BLUE LORD (each way)
3.30: GOLD TWEET (each way)
At least bank deposits are mostly insured.
2023 Cumhurbaşkanlığı Seçim Anketi:
%8 Kararsız (Çoğunluğu HDP’li Seçmen)
— MAK Danışmanlık | 2023 Mart Anketi
Taxed now at 45% = £761k (before future income taxes on dividends, capital gains etc, so actually much less)
In Pension wrapper = £1.38m (no taxes on the journey)
Remember also children have annual tax free personal allowances so the money out can be taken far more tax efficiently, and people can borrow against pension wealth as an alternative to ever taking it out.
55% of Britons think “it’s a good thing Britain has a monarchy.” Only 18% disagree and 30% are not sure.
Every single constituency is net in favour. 1/
The NHS was of course founded on the principle that consultants' faces were to be stuffed with gold but the need for this largesse has seriously distorted our entire tax system now in a way that greatly favours the wealthy. Labour have already committed to reversing it and they are right to do so.
Last year I sold a long term investment property and this allowed me to put an additional £30k into my modest pensions. This reduced my tax bill in January by £6k. Very welcome but bloody hell, this level of generosity so favours the rich who have the capital to make such additional contributions on a regular basis. Until yesterday these contributions were capped at £40k a year but that has now been increased to £60k. £12k off the tax bill of a 40% tax payer plus a top up of additional capital in the fund of the same amount. Its just not right. It really isn't.
Those dependent on income get absolutely battered in this country, especially if the earning is one of the couple rather than both. Those with capital can massively reduce their effective and marginal rate of tax. Osborne tried to at least narrow that window. Yesterday it was thrown wide open.
While I know that everyone pays VAT etc, there is value in people making - and knowing they are making - a contribution to running the country. I don’t believe most people think about VAT but they do notice the difference between gross and net salary.
Part of the issue with Osborne’s approach is that you have a large number of people who have an incentive to vote for more spending because they don’t have to pay for it
Part of the problem with the Lib Dems in 2015 in my view is they were far too apologetic about their record, rather than standing up tall and proud about what had been achieved like the tax thresholds, allowing Cameron and Osborne to take credit while all they got associated with was student fees etc.
I'm politically homeless, if the Lib Dems were to turn their backs on NIMBYism I'd quite happily support them. Unfortunately they're the worst of the NIMBYs and that's another thing I care passionately about.
There are rules (I assume) to prevent pension funds buying assets that are for the benefit of the recipients - as with companies. So it would just build up as a “rainy day” fund. That might give some relief from worry but it’s not the image you are painting
Interesting long read on AI.
Having dabbled in political activism myself many moons ago it's my experience almost all politically-minded individuals, of whatever political stripe or none, are genuine about wanting to improve the lot of their community and country.
We may differ on the means but not on the ends.
The other side of it is simpler - if you think you can do better, why not step up and help us all? What are your ideas for housing, transport, crime and all the other big areas? How would you make my and everyone else's life better?
As for the daft notion of "decline" - we have never lived better - put someone from 1950 let alone earlier in today's world and they'd think it was a world of miracles and marvels. Can we improve? Yes and we must always be striving to that end but this isn't the worst time in human history to be alive. Nor is Britain "in decline" - we may not have vast areas of land under our control but we matter and are important in so many other ways.
Crypto however can disappear in an electronic moment, or at least your access to it.
And in any event its not. The point is that the current losses being sustained on supposedly safe as houses tier 1 capital (because the value of longer term bonds has fallen as interest rates rise) has exposed that several continental banks remain under capitalised. The larger UK banks are not.
This is why people get the wrong end of the stick when the '100k' debate comes up. What the Conservative party is doing is giving massive tax breaks to its asset owning supporters, whilst disproportionately taxing people who work, including those who have high salaries, particularly younger people. The latter group are increasingly seeing that they are getting a bad deal and not voting Conservative, voting Labour instead. The Labour party could ultimately take advantage of a political division between people who work and people who don't.
There are layers of scam upon layers of scam in companies that service the crypto industry, but that no more makes the concept of bitcoin (self custody of an immutable digital asset) any more a scam than Pablo Escobar hiding his wealth in bricks of dollars makes the dollar a narco currency.
Bitcoin was designed for conditions where banks fail - it's literally written into the genesis block ("chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks").
The trouble with self custodied assets is that they invite layers of scams from people offering to custody your assets for you. Nobody who fully self custodies can be scammed. Not your keys, not your coins, etc.
Overall though recent governments haven't done much to grow incomes, and pretty similar across the developed world. This was from the Resolution Foundation yesterday:
10% inflation change
5% pay change
0% tax threshold change
Equals a 5% pay cut in real terms, and a tax hike to add insult to injury.
Silicon Valley Bank's collapse a 'warning signal' to the banking system, according to Axel Lehmann [chairman] of Credit Suisse
Investment funds roll up paying 20-25% on gains. When you pay out as a dividend it becomes the same as paying income tax but you get to Invest the gross capital. Just simplistically
Start 100. Gain 20 (20% return) = 120.
Pay 10 tax (50%) = 110
Invest 110. Gain 22 = 132
Pay 11 tax = 121
Invest 121 etc
Start 100. Gain 20 = 120
Pay 5 tax (25%) = 115
Invest 115. Gain 23 = 138
Pay 6 tax = 132
Invest 132 etc
At the point the gains are paid out as income it all balances from the individual’s perspective but you can easily see the benefit of rolling up gross investment capital
This is the thing about people on 100k who are dependent on income, they are abandoning the Conservative party to vote for Labour. Hence they should not be politically disregarded. The people with the 'broadest shoulders' who should be paying more are wealthy people with capital and assets, not those are doing well in their careers.
Their farsightedness on ring fencing has saved us all.
On one level, we know the things that would improve the state of the nation; more creation of assets, less consumption and speculation on existing assets, making it easier to build things, doing Brexit (if we must) in a less dickish way.
Trouble is that they are things that cost us money, pleasant lifestyle or face now, for benefits down the line. So they're not easy sells on the doorstep.
PB is turning into an echo chamber right now. Maybe that’s inevitable given the length of the Tory government, but I believe PB is populated with intelligent posters, who can be a bit better than that.
Not holding my breath though.
What's actually going on here is electoral coalition building: the Conservatives are trying to bolster their support amongst the 55-64 age group and doing so by making generous pension reforms for the last 10 years of their working lives before they pivot into becoming pensioners themselves. In the 12-18 months before a general election virtually everything is political.
I think Labour fell into a trap by pledging to reverse this today.
The seats won in 1997 were all in areas of strong local Government representation. The seats held in 2015 were the same.
I haven't commented on the budget so far but I have read the threads and it seems to me we are witnessing, and have been for quite a while, a move to the left and demonising entrepreneurs and seemingly those earning in the region of £100,000 plus who received short shift when they pointed out that the tax system actually disincentives them from earning more
I do believe that because of covid the public have acquired a mindset that the government must provide support and assistance to maintain their cost of living at anyprice without any comprehension how it is to be paid for
On the budget it is clear parents with young children will benefit from the provision of early years childcare but even that is delayed to April 24 and not completed until 25 and the removal of lifetime pension savings is clearly directed at doctors but it is also an attraction to wealth creators but then they are persona non grata in our economy
I do not see this budget as a game changer for the conservatives who are looking at defeat in 2024 but again I say I am thankful that Sunak and Hunt are protecting the economy and with the business announcements hopefully encouraging growth, but ironically at a time when Labour will be the benefactors, not them
On Labour I thought Starmer's response was predictable and he could have written his speech before the budget
Yesterday's budget announcements while generally sensible, did lack a pleasant surprise and if Hunt had wanted to he could have provided a substantial increase in the personal allowance to standard rate taxpayers, but he seems set on stealth taxes no doubt as they are integral to his strategy
I expect a Labour win in 24, it is just the margin that is uncertain
That seems, if possible, even stupider.
This legislation was brought in to stop saboteurs like Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion disrupting traffic so they can no longer pretend to be peaceful protestors. One wonders what the overlap between this alliance and those campaigning groups is.
It's nothing like how people and prisoners are treated in El Salvador, as the article illustrates.
VD, "One of the reasons the Conservative party can't do what you want them to do, is because of the damage caused by Truss and Kwarteng."
JRM, "That was marginal."
VD, "But you accept that?"
JRM, "It was not a success."
Rees-Mogg's car crash interview #Newsnight
The political benefit of this is keeping consultants in the NHS at work.
Best result of the day?
Bronn, 3rd at 66/1, tipped by some guy in commentary before the start of racing.
Why should we vote for that Casino? I joined the Tories because they were a party as I grew up that supported aspiration and believed in lower taxes on those who work, rather than draining workers to featherbed a client welfare state.