Friday, 28 November 2014

Crazy Idea 15 - Require all companies operating in the UK to have a head office in the UK

Again and again when you read or hear news about companies avoiding paying tax we hear they have a head office outside the UK, usually in a tax haven somewhere.

It doesn’t matter where the head office is based (Luxembourg, Ireland, Bermuda...), if it allows the company to take all its profits from the UK and avoid paying tax where it generates those profits, the head office is in the wrong place. (CI015A)

The UK Government can and should demand that all companies operating in the UK have a head office here that is responsible for paying tax.

If we seriously want to fix the economy, we have to ensure that profits are not siphoned off out of the UK.


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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References

(CI015A; BBC; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20580545)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Crazy Idea 14 - Audit every company!

When I first began looking at the Government budgets last year I was shocked at how little Corporation Tax the Government receives. Look at this breakdown of estimated Revenue from the Government’s 2013/14 budget:


The vast majority of income will be from your salary and mine. Income Tax and National Insurance bringing in 43%. I’m unsure how much VAT is generated by citizens but even if we guess at a quarter, that brings our share of revenue to over 51%. Then of course, don’t forgot to add in Council Tax...

Contrast this with the spending forecast from the same budget year:


Would you agree with me that Social Protection and Health are justifiably two of the biggest costs? Together accounting for half of all government spending. It seems reasonable to me that we the people put in fifty percent and take out fifty percent.

Of course at £357 Billion, the half we get back is far bigger than the £306 Billion we actually pay the government through our income tax and national insurance and VAT...

We have many profitable companies in the UK, so, why is it that we only get £39 billion in corporation tax?

Back in 2012 The Independent published this article: Britain's missing billions: counting the true cost of corporate tax avoidance. Their leading paragraph: "Yesterday's public finance figures were a tale of two countries: the public paid more and corporations paid less." (CI014A)

That was 2012, has the situation improved? According to International Business Times: "In the year to April 2013 – the latest available data – the so-called "tax gap" (the difference in the amount of revenue HMRC should collect in tax and the amount it actually does) rose by £1bn to £34bn." (CI014B)

With the revelations over the last few years of how much turnover some large corporations generate compared to paying little or no corporation tax, it is past time that all companies were audited, starting with those that generate the most revenue and pay the least tax. (CI014C)

Any company that posts a loss or fails to make a profit should be fully audited.

But why stop there? The fact is that several major companies have only started paying tax over the last couple of years as a result of public scrutiny, prompted in part by petitions raised by campaigning organizations. Check out these petitions:

Sum Of Us: HMRC: Stop making secret tax deals with the super rich (CI014D)

Sum Of Us: Tell Caffe Nero: pay your taxes! (CI014E)


When Starbucks go from paying no UK corporation tax to paying ten million, one has to ask whether even that ten million is covering up some clever accounting practice that allows the company to pay less tax in the UK than a more honest company would pay. (CI014F)

Would it really be a crazy idea to audit every company?

No company should be allowed to get away without paying their fair share of tax!


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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(CI014A; The Independent; http://www.independent.co.uk/money/tax/britains-missing-billions-counting-the-true-cost-of-corporate-tax-avoidance-8341096.html)

(CI014B; International Business Times; http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/hmrc-not-doing-enough-stop-corporate-tax-avoidance-say-mps-1475301)
 
(CI014C; The Guardian; http://www.theguardian.com/business/series/tax-gap)

(CI014D; Sum Of Us; http://action.sumofus.org/a/ecclestone-tax-dodge/?)

(CI014E; Sum Of Us; http://action.sumofus.org/a/caffe-nero-tax)

(CI014F; The Guardian; http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/dec/07/starbucks-tax-offer-angers-critics)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Stupid Movie Blog Tour - Office Space

Taking a break from fixing the economy today thanks to Deb Nam-Krane from the Written by Deb blog who invited me to join her Stupid Movie Blog Tour.

[There will be spoilers!]

Those who know me will know I'm fairly serious most of the time. Those who know me well will know that I occassionally can let my guard down and enjoy daftness.

As a contractor I'm usually not around long enough in one work place to feel like I can let my guard down. yet workplaces are often daft places to be. We sometimes find ourselves ordered to do things that just don't make sense. See senior managers steer companies in directions that a sane person would question but it is often career suicide to question why.

Companies sometimes thrive in spite of the people that lead them. And the people that work for them, truth be told. There have been successful films and series based in the workplace but I can't believe that I'd not heard of Office Space until this year.



Friends had been running with high popularity for four years yet Jennifer Aniston only ranked fourth credit (at least on the DVD). I'd never heard of most of the other actors except, now I come to think of it...

That Milton character seems familiar... Turns out Stephen Root is described by IMDB as "One of the most prolific character actors working today." He's my favourite character from Office Space and now I know who he is and films/series I've seen him in (24; The Lone Ranger), or heard his voice in (Toy Story; Ice Age), I highly rate him and now I know why he ranked second credit.

And then there was the first Bob... John C. McGinley was classic as a consultant brought in to "Transform" the company.

I initially struggled to think of a movie to write about. A stupid movie? Why would I watch a stupid movie? It's the wrong word for me. Silly, maybe. Fun, definitely. Funny, absolutely.

I started thinking back. Young Frankenstein had me in hysterics as a teenager. The Man with Two Brains not so much - though that definitely strikes me as a "stupid movie." Police Academy I saw when I was fourteen. Watched on VHS in secret when parents were out of the house. It was the perfect age to watch such a wonderfully stupid movie. I don't think I've ever laughed as hard since. Yet I've seen none of these films since.

I wondered about using Muriel's Wedding: one of my favourite films. "Are you black?"




Then there's the stupid movie that I mentioned at a job interview once. Not your regular kind of job interview... I was interviewing to become a missionary and yes, they do get interviewed...

This particular organisation brought a batch of us hopeful's together for a weekend retreat, sometime in 1997. A chance to share their vision and get to know us. You've probably been to many job interviews. Imagine a whole weekend of acting on your best behaviour. I would imagine that its very difficult to hide from constant scrutiny for that length of time. Especially since most of us were couples with children in tow...

Being interviewed with your family right there, all day, every day kind of has a way of exposing who you really are.

We had individual interviews during the weekend. I hadn't gone there with any intention to deceive and so when asked straight questions, I gave straight answers.

"How do you deal with stress?"

"I get stressed..."

Not my best answer to an interview question. Not my worst either. I followed it up though. Told them what I do to mitigate stress, how I recognise when I'm stressed.

Then there were the group sessions. Applying to this Christian organisation were many devout believers. And me. If you've read the back history of this blog you'll know I'm a follower of Jesus.

So, there we were. We were all being asked to share about ourselves and one of the "ice-breakers" was - "What is your favourite movie?"

Answers round the room included Jesus of Nazereth, The Cross and the Switchblade, The Hiding Place. All perfectly respectable answers to convince the powers that be of ones devoutness. Then it was my turn. 1997. I'd certainly seen all those other movies. Highly rated them too. But my favourite movie?

I struggle when put on the spot, especially in interviews. I'm too analytical. What kind of favourite movie? What category? What year? But, I had seen one movie that year that I'd rated.

My answer? The Full Monty

It certainly broke the ice. And all of that honesty didn't hurt my prospects. I was accepted to join.

I think it's safe to say my movie tastes are eclectic. Try and put me in a box and I'll turn it into a hobbit hole.

But, if you're looking for a stupid movie to enjoy this weekend, I'd recommend Office Space.

Want some other recommendations for stupid movies to enjoy, check out Deb's Stupid Movie Blog Tour.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Mary Pat Hyland: There’s Always Another Goal To Set

Today I'm welcoming Mary Pat Hyland as guest blogger. Make sure you check out her giveaway below this post...


I embrace the concept of writing down your goals, and believe that the action of doing so fixes within your subconscious an importance to the items listed. Even though you may have forgotten them, your subconscious prods them to the surface of your mind as a gentle reminder once and a while.

For the past three decades I’ve made the commitment to spend quiet time on the last day of every year to reflect upon what was achieved and list my goals for the New Year. I would wager that some sort of writing goal has made every one of those lists.

With the publication of my seventh book—my first collection of short stories; the others are novels—I’ve been thinking about my goals over those years and how many of them have been reached. I can check these ones off:
  • Published my first novel.
  • Someone I didn’t know purchased it.
  • Got a five-star review from someone I didn’t know.
  • Sold a book in a foreign country.
  • Published another novel. (Repeated four more times.)
  • Got interviewed on radio, TV, and the newspaper.
  • Reached No. 1 bestseller in a category (oddly enough it was for 3/17, my St. Patrick’s Day parody of Dante’s Inferno and the country was France).
It’s amazing to see what has been accomplished since 2008, my first full year of being an author. Can I rest on my laurels? No way! There are so many more goals to be met.

The next list of will be tougher to crack—a lot tougher. Someday I hope to…. Strike that! Someday I will reach at least one of these goals:
  • Sell enough books so writing will be my lone profession.
  • Make it onto a book recommendation list. Are you reading this, Oprah?
  • Make it onto one of THE bestseller lists.
  • Have one of my works translated into either a movie or TV show/webisode.
How do I get from here to there? Probably the same way I ran my first 5K race. Every day just put one foot after the other—er, just write one word after the other, and keep repeating and repeating.

This is my sixth year competing in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It most certainly will need massive editing when I’m done. But when the goal is achieved I will have completed the main gist of a basic novel in an extremely short period of time. In the past five years I’ve succeeded three times in reaching the goal. Trust me, it’s tough!

This year, I’m sure to make it. By the eighth day of the month I had already passed the halfway point. How was that possible? I think it’s because at this stage in my writing career I’m truly in the groove, committed to writing as a daily habit. A writer is not unlike an athlete; the more you keep “in shape” by writing every day, the easier the words will flow.

Goals such as NaNoWriMo keep you focused. Sometimes authors drift with their imagination, and reeling that back in can be like herding cats. So if you want to become an author, I strongly suggest making a list of goals for yourself and sticking to them. What makes achieving them easier is to make them in three categories: easily attainable, ones that will require an extra oomph of effort, and finally the dream big/reach for the stars ones.

May you reach every important goal you set!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MARY PAT HYLAND is the author of six Amazon Top 100 bestselling novels, all set in Upstate New York: The House With the Wraparound Porch (a family saga), The Terminal Diner (suspense), 3/17 (parody) and the Maeve Kenny Series comprising three books: The Cyber Miracles, A Sudden Gift of Fate and A Wisdom of Owls (humor, chick lit). Mary Pat enjoys gourmet cooking, gardening, teaching the Irish language and exploring the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

LATEST RELEASE: In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, collected short stories set.


DESCRIPTION: By the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango rivers in New York's Southern Tier lies a verdant valley called the Triple Cities. The shoe factories that originally drew thousands of immigrants from across Europe have long moved on. What remains are the distinct ethnic flavors of a gritty community determined to overcome economic woes, adapt to the rapid changes in society and find true meaning in life. Consider these stories as pages ripped from a sketchbook. Some are quick studies; others are more detailed portraits inspired by observed characters, whispered gossip, overheard conversations and the local lore of the residents whose neighborhoods are framed by the gilded Orthodox Church domes that span this valley. You'll find that each tale has its own tone: some are humorous or poignant, others are surprising and haunting.

Available in paperback worldwide through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major retail outlets and in ebook through Amazon Kindle.

ISBN-10: 1502358646
ISBN-13: 978-1502358646
ASIN: B00OP8PKD0

For more information, visit the author’s links:

Website http://marypathyland.com
Blog: http://www.marypathyland.com/thehylander/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1282032.Mary_Pat_Hyland
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/marypathyland

GIVEAWAY
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway contest to win an autographed copy of In the Shadows of the Onion Domes, copies of her ebooks or a piece of original art created by the author.

In the Shadows of the Onion Domes Rafflecopter giveaway

Join me at The Hylander

I'm taking part in a blog swap today. You can read my post: If you could change your world... at http://www.marypathyland.com/thehylander/2014/11/25/guest-post-author-mark-smith/

Look forward to meeting you there!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

My 100 Goals on the Radio

 I love listening to radio. In keeping with My 100 Goals, my tastes are quite eclectic. My first memories are of Radio 2 where I received a mix of songs from the Beatles to the Beach Boys, Marley to Motown.

I went through a Radio 1 phase but actually ended up preferring the greater mix of artists and decades that Radio 2 provided.

For several years I only listened to Radio 4. The Today programme through Women's Hour to The Archers with Old Harry's Game to round off the evening.

There have been many independent stations that I've enjoyed and currently one of my locals is Revival FM.

I've now been interviewed by Julien Crispin on Revival FM three times since Summer 2014. Being on radio was never on my list of 100 goals but for any author trying to market their books it's a wonderful opportunity. If you're trying to market a book or product or service, give your local station a call. See if you can find an angle that they'd find of interest to the local community and they might just invite you on.

Revival FM have kindly given me the recordings of the three shows so if you'd like to hear me on the radio, click on the links below:

The Great Scottish Land Grab - Interview by Jules Crispin on Revival FM 15 August 2014.

Scottish Independence Debate - Referendum Debate between Mark Smith for Yes and Gordon Anderson for No from 16 September 2014.

100 Crazy Ideas to Fix The Economy - Interview on Revival FM's Drivetime show with Julien Crispin.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Crazy Idea 13 - Don’t allow Parliament to destroy MPs expenses claims

If we want to fix the economy we have to deal with corruption, stop abuse of expenses and be willing to learn from past mistakes.

It’s impossible to do this if our Parliament destroys potential evidence.

According to The Telegraph on the 2nd Nov 2014: “MPs accused of abusing the unreformed expenses system will escape official investigation after the House of Commons authorities destroyed all record of their claims” (CI013A)

That our Government and Civil Service have conspired to destroy evidence of MPs abusing the expenses system makes a mockery of Parliamentary transparency. It does not matter if the majority of MPs were honest and above board, we will never now know... All MPs are now tainted by the fact their expenses claims and all evidence relating to those have been destroyed in a process that calls all of Parliament into disrepute.

A quick search of the Parliament website reveals a wealth of disturbing trends. MPs accused of abusing their position and the expenses system are documented defending their position by relying on the House of Commons Authorised Records Disposal Practice.

I picked a random complaint against an MP as recorded by Parliament. (CI013B) Look at the wording of paragraph 54:

‘54. The Director-General for Human Resources and Change responded to me on 21 February.[69] He said that the arrangements which were under scrutiny had begun in 2001-02, when [The MP] entered into arrangements with others for the purpose of acquiring a church hall to serve both as a constituency office for himself and as offices for the local Liberal Democrat party. The Director-General noted that at about the same time, the then Head of the Fees Office had issued new guidance which "affected" the arrangements that were being set up. He told me that the transactional records and most of the correspondence relating to the period between 2002 and 2004 had "properly been destroyed under the House's Authorised Records Disposal Practice", and in his view the few records that remained in this instance might support more than one explanation. The Director-General said: "I must therefore express extreme caution about drawing inferences from this period."’

The records had been “properly destroyed.” The law protecting MPs is completely different from laws protecting you and me. If you and I destroy evidence that the authorities deem relevant we can and will be prosecuted for that destruction. Even if the evidence would have proved us innocent. But there is a different law for MPs. We are not allowed to draw inferences about the past because all the relevant evidence has been properly destroyed. Whether this MP is innocent or guilty we are not allowed to know, not allowed to investigate, not allowed to judge or draw any inference.

Think this is an isolated incident? Try searching yourself with the phrase: Authorised Records Disposal Practice http://www.parliament.uk/search/results/?q=Authorised+Records+Disposal+Practice

The Director-General is correct that we should not presume to judge when the evidence is not all available. However, the evidence should never have been destroyed in the first place.

How can the British public have any confidence in a government that publically and openly covers up any disgraceful abuses by its MPs?

Our Government regularly criticises second and third world regimes for their corruption while deliberately practising a despicable cover up themselves.

If we want to fix the UK economy, we should start with the organization responsible for running the country: Parliament.

Is it a crazy idea for us to demand that the Authorised Records Disposal Practice should be terminated or at the least changed to ensure all records of MPs expenses are kept for the life of an MP plus say... thirty years?

On Monday I'm taking a day off but will be swapping blogs with Mary Pat Hyland's blog on Tuesday. You can read her post here: There's always another goal... While I'll be at The Hylander Posting: If you could change your world: http://www.marypathyland.com/thehylander/ [Edited 24 Nov]

On Wednesday I'm taking part in the Stupid Movie blog tour and normal craziness will resume on Thursday...


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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References

(CI013A; The Telegraph; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/11204405/MPs-to-escape-expenses-investigations-after-paperwork-destroyed-by-Parliament.html)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Crazy Idea 12 - Let’s get everyone auditing and analysing Government finance looking for ways to save money

It’s not enough to generate more revenue. We also need to cut out waste.

But how can we trust government to do this when they have such a high incentive to keep wasting? Both MPs and civil servants have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

The Office of National Statistics likes to break populations down into quintiles: five bandings. Looking at the latest sets of figures available, the average incomes for each banding breaks down as follows (CI012A):

Up to the fourth quintile, no-one earns on average more than £40,000 a year. The income for the lower quintiles is so low that even the highest earners cannot take the average income for the whole of the UK above £32,108.

Every MP earns more than 80% of the population. In fact, even on the basic MP salary of £67,060 (CI012B), they are earning on average over 73% more than those of us stuck in the first four quintiles.

Not all civil servants earn a high salary but the ones who make the decisions do. Minimum pay for a Grade 5 Assistant Secretary is £65,422. Salary bandings for the Head of Civil Service goes all the way up to £178,709. (CI012C)

Think about that for a minute, both senior civil servants and MPs – both sets of people that theoretically are there to serve our interests – have a vested interest in maintaining their high salaries...

They also have a vested interest in insuring that any corporations they are invested in or affiliated with or even – and yes I struggle to believe this – are employed by, receive favourable terms from any new legislation that is passed. If you find it hard to believe your public servants make a healthy income from second jobs, consultancies etc. etc. why not have a scan through the House of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests. (CI012D)

Or, if you just want the headlines, check out these articles from the Daily Mail (CI012E) and The Guardian. (CI012F)

How are people who have so much to lose supposed to fight against the greed that is common to all people?

Never ask someone to audit themselves. It doesn’t work. Sure, there are plenty of people out there who are honest (fortunately, or our economy would have utterly collapsed years ago) but most of us have levels of honesty. When you are faced with the choice of shouting out that you are overpaid or keeping quiet, how many of us will take the pay cut?

There’s a reason that independent auditors are called in but since many of the main auditors are themselves vested in an economy that allows them to make large profits, how can we trust them to thoroughly audit what the government and its many tentacles spend?

My crazy idea is essentially simple, open it all up. All of it. Even the supposedly ultra secret services. Publish all public finances online. Each month. Allow every single person in the UK unfettered access to what is spent and what it is spent on.

Sure, I can accept that we might not want to name the names of MI5 or MI6 agents when we publish their salary and employers national insurance contributions but we can learn a lot by publishing the number of people employed in a salary banding and the total amount paid.

How much is spent on IT equipment by all government departments? Software (and I’m not talking about that expenses claim by a police quango for lingerie)? (CI012G) How about on building costs or cleaning services? As Julius Levinson asked in Independence Day: “You don't actually think they spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?” (CI012H)

Office chairs, wallpaper, entertaining... I’m sure you could help add a few thousand items to the list. We need to fill in the black holes in government accounting.

According to The Guardian, the government are spending several million trying to get you to vote Conservative in 2015 by sending out a leaflet to every home that confuses the reality of what is spent. You will be told that our welfare bill is huge. That it needs to be cut and the Conservatives are the ones to do it. (CI012I)

What they hide in this disingenuous statement is that the bulk of welfare is made up by pensions. As our cruel liberal government seeks to crush the life blood from the poorest in society they fail to mention that the reason welfare is so high is that people are living longer and our pension system was not designed to cope with it.

I do not believe we can trust our government. I take a step back – that’s a seriously scary statement. We the people cannot trust our government...

Or is it? Why should we trust them? Government is only people, like you and me. Why should any of us trust each other? We are wary of strangers until they’ve proved themselves. If a stranger becomes known and is proved untrustworthy then we don’t leave them alone with what we hold most precious.

I don’t trust the Conservatives. Nor Labour. Nor the Liberals. Not the SNP. Not even the Green Party. It is way past time for us to refuse to accept government has the right to hide from our scrutiny. It is time for us to fully audit all they do and for us to then say what should change and what should continue.

With millions of us checking the accounts, surely we can find some cost savings that could help us balance the books... Or is this just another crazy idea?


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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References

(CI012A; ONS; 15/11/2014; http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/household-income/the-effects-of-taxes-and-benefits-on-household-income/2012-13/data--the-effects-of-taxes-and-benefits-on-household-income--2012-2013.xls)

(CI012B; Parliament; http://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/pay-mps/)

(CI012C; Department of Finance & Personnel; http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/pay)

 (CI012D; Parliament; http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem.htm)

(CI012E; Daily Mail; 5 April 2014; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597484/Labour-plans-ban-MPs-second-jobs-double-salaries.html)

(CI012F; The Guardian; 27 May 2013; http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/may/27/mps-jobs-interests-full-list-data)

(CI012G; Daily Mail; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2023578/Police-quango-expenses-Fury-6-5m-lingerie-beehives-away-days-expense.html)

(CI012H; IMDB; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116629/quotes?item=qt1534129)

(CI012I; The Guardian; 3 November 2014; http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/03/tory-tax-statement-welfare-budget-unemployment-pensions-cuts)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Crazy Idea 11 - Get everyone to actively propose ways the Government could raise revenue


There are several assumptions behind this crazy idea.

That we actually trust the government to wisely use any extra revenue we raise to help ALL people, not just the ultra rich. I don’t trust the government one iota. But I’ve a few crazy ideas scheduled that could resolve that...

Also that we are happy with the amount of money the government currently spends. I’m not. I would vote for less war, less money spent on funding conflict and nuclear defence. I’m not totally against Trident but I get the view that spending billions on missiles that can kill hundreds of thousands of people is not something we probably need.

If Russia or that other evil superpower – the USA – was to declare war on us, then our paltry collection of submarines would do us a fat lot of good. See that smear on the map? That used to be the UK...

But war and defence are only two ways the government currently wastes the revenue they force us to pay them. MPs expenses, MPs salaries... I’m getting ahead of myself.

I would revolutionise how government spends our money. If my crazy ideas were implemented, if the poor were enabled to work and earn a good wage, if people had more power than big business then I wouldn’t object to the current high level of taxation we have.

So, what would it take for you to be happy paying tax?

And if you were happy with allowing the government to spend our money on our behalf, could you think of any ways to generate enough money that our country wasn’t in debt, that we could actually balance our books?

If everyone in the country was involved in the debate, even if for a couple of hours a week we were all sharing and discussing ideas instead of spending all our time watching I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here or Formula One or Football or Game of Thrones... (replace with your favourite timewaster...) then could we collectively produce some solutions that would work?

Just thinking aloud here. What do you think?


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Crazy Idea 10 - What if we had ten million out picking up litter every week?

I’ve mentioned this previously but it deserves a crazy idea of its own. We’ve grown government and councils to the point we can’t afford to pay for all the services they provide.

Do you want to pay more Income Tax?

Do you want your Council Tax to go up?

No, of course not! But why should we pay the council or government to do things we’re perfectly capable of doing ourselves.

For a single hour per person every week, we could transform our neighbourhoods and communities. If we picked up litter that we passed instead of complaining about it, our streets and parks would be kept clean.

Cost to you and I? Zero.

But litter picking is small scale, we could really ramp up these crazy ideas...


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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Monday, 17 November 2014

Crazy Idea 9 - What if five million people volunteered to police our streets?

If we had an extra five million people volunteering to patrol our neighbourhoods, stand post outside known flash points, with power to intervene, would we all feel slightly safer?

What if that number was ten million?

There would be a cost: uniforms, training and probably other costs you can point out.

But there would also be a massive benefit. Communities set free from small groups or individuals who seem determined to destroy. Streets made safe to walk down. Shops able to reduce spending on security. I’m brainstorming here. If you had dozens of extra people standing guard and watch over your neighbourhoods, would that make a difference?

I’m assuming that such a scheme would require most of us to participate at some point.

I’ve worked with many groups and found for myself that my confidence has been boosted by the camaraderie, the training, the experience. Too many parts of our country are no-go areas. Why should there been any no-go areas?

The fact is that the economy cannot function or prosper when crime and disorder rule. Safer countries are prosperous countries.

But there is no need to employee extra police officers when we are perfectly able to train and act ourselves.

I know its a crazy idea, I mean, who wants to live in a safer country?


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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Friday, 14 November 2014

Crazy Idea 8 - Get everyone who is unemployed working on ways to provide full employment

Unemployment in the UK has in theory been falling over the last year but the reality is that people are being forced to accept contracts that provide no job security and even worse, no guarantee of income.

Zero Hours Contracts are trumpeted by the Government and some big businesses as a solution to unemployment. For anyone who has a family to provide for or regular bills to pay they are a cruel form of punishment.

People in work need a regular income, especially the lower paid. In 2010 I was working as an IT contractor on a decent daily rate. The recession reached its lowest point for the IT market and I was out of work for over five months.

We were only able to survive as a family because I’d earned enough over the previous year that we had been able to start saving. Five months later our savings were gone but we had survived long enough that I had been able to secure a new contract.

Someone on minimum wage is unable to save enough to have a buffer when they’re told there is no work.

Small scale, short term solutions to unemployment are sticking plasters on a gaping chasm in the UK. We need radical, large, huge solutions that will enable us to create jobs for everyone who needs them.

What if we had 2.5 million people actively proposing ways for employment to be created?

Is it conceivable that some really radically great ideas could result that would end mass unemployment?

Or is this just another crazy idea?

Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:


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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Crazy Idea 7 - Require everyone to give a number of hours community service each week

Just brainstorming here, why is it that we pay taxes so Government can do things we used to have to do ourselves?

I worked in Central Asia from 1999 till 2001 – in Tajikistan, a former Soviet Republic. Despite having declared independence in 1992,the Soviet ideology was still highly ingrained into the culture and included things like everyone participating in work projects that benefited… wait for it… everyone!

Many years before Tajikistan, I lived in Shetland. We used to practice Da Voar Redd Up. Essentially a spring clean up where unpaid volunteers would head out of their homes and pick up any rubbish they found.

Over the course of a few years Shetland was transformed. The beaches were cleared of rubbish, the road sides also, eventually the momentum became so great that public dumps that had blighted the landscape were removed.

This was done and started by a growing mass movement of the people who simply got out there and made a difference.

I look around where I live and see a need for us - we the people - to take responsibility for our own lives. Council Taxes have flatlined for years while inflation has pushed up prices. As a result public services such as litter picking have been reduced and we are now seeing the consequence with streets strewn with litter.

I better not get started on repairs and maintenance…

But why do we pay tax to do things we are perfectly capable of doing ourselves? Everyone has skills. Everyone can contribute in some way. Yes, some will be more able to contribute physically, others will require support to contribute but wouldn’t that be worth it? Wouldn’t we as society benefit from working together on shared projects?

I look around my neighbourhood and I see trees and bushes needing trimmed back, I see litter on the pavement. Dog dirt that I have to avoid. I see council owned homes that are in dire need of maintenance and repair. I see public property with the same problems.

I hear about Government incompetence on the news. I hear there are not enough jobs. I hear that our economy has flatlined… What if we press-ganged every single person into contributing to resolving the problems we have as a country?

What if we gave people a choice? Contribute financially or with your time and energy or if you feel generous, with both?

The problems we face are great but working together we can resolve them.

Can you imagine what we could do as a country if everyone worked together? I'll share some connected crazy ideas over the next week...


Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:


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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Crazy Idea 6 - Give people a choice how to pay their taxes

If they’ve read this, right now HMRC (or their puppet masters) are probably contacting a hitman to wipe me off the face of the earth. Give people a choice about paying tax? He’s a madman!

Here’s the thing? Why is it the Government expects the poorest in society to pay VAT? What about Fuel Tax? Insurance Tax?

Do the poor pay these taxes? You bet they do. Not always directly but they are paying indirectly and often are further marginalised because they cannot afford things those of us who are richer take for granted – like insurance.

What if we created a new tax – just to be used to pay off the national debt? Allow people the choice of how to pay – either in cash or in community service. This would enable the poorest in society to fully contribute to public life while preventing them from being destroyed by an unjust tax.

Contribution by community service may not directly pay off the national debt but would benefit everyone in society. This leads me to a sneaky offshoot crazy idea which I'll publish tomorrow...

Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:


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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Crazy Idea 5 - Tax everyone more

This certainly isn’t going to make me popular but I can sympathise with the rich getting mighty annoyed if they are the only ones suffering the loss of their wealth.

Yesterday I proposed forcibly removing a third of the wealth of the rich to eliminate the National Debt. The fact is that a large portion of our National Debt has been incurred providing for the poor and middle classes. Whether it is pensions or the National Health Service or one of the myriad of benefits the Government provides, everyone in this country has contributed to the debt we now have.

Since we all have benefitted from the money taken on as debt, it’s reasonable we should all take part in dealing with it.

Later on I’m going to propose some crazy ideas to enable the poorest in society to actually be able to afford to pay more tax but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Call me crazy but I suspect many people would be willing to pay more tax if it was universally seen as just; actually used to reduce our national debt; actually used to enable the poorest to thrive through work rather than receiving benefits.

If the tax was tapered so that the poorest paid the least and the rich paid the most in accordance with everyone’s ability to pay, it would hurt, it would be resented but it might just also be accepted.

Crazy idea number five: Tax everyone more.

Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:

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Monday, 10 November 2014

Crazy Idea 4 - Tax the Rich!

The fact is that unless we increase government revenue and stop borrowing as a country, we will never pay off the National Debt.

Let’s be honest, no-one actually wants to pay more tax. The poor simply cannot afford to, the rich may feel they have earned their wealth so why should they give it away. Those in the middle (if there is such a place anymore) have no desire to lose what they have.

Yet the disparity between rich and poor has grown to such an extent that the very rich are in real danger of a revolution occurring that not only strips them of their wealth but also takes their lives. With millions of people attacked by inflation on food, the savagery of benefits and mass unemployment, how close are we to the point where the poor will have had enough and be willing to risk their lives to achieve justice and equality?

Would the super rich be willing to accept a large increase in tax, even on their savings and assets if it made Britain a more equal country, a more just country to live in?

Even if not, one only has to watch some of the many excellent presentations online to see that something has gone very wrong with the distribution of wealth in Western Society:

Distribution of Wealth in the UK

Wealth Inequality in America

I posted both the above presentations on this blog back in March 2013. Has the situation improved? Only for the wealthy...

According to the ONS back then, the richest ten percent of people in the UK have wealth totalling £4.5 Trillion.

For over eighteen months, the richest ten percent in the UK have been able to afford to pay off the National Debt in its entirety and still have well over three trillion pounds to cushion their deep pockets!

Even after paying of the National Debt, the richest ten percent in the UK could fund full employment for the 2.5 million currently unemployed at an annual salary of £20,000 for the next 66 years!

Yet the Coalition has insisted in cutting taxes for the wealthiest in Britain…

Here’s a crazy idea, tax the super rich and redistribute that wealth until there are no more poor people left in the UK.


Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:


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References:

(CI004A; ONS; http://www.youtube.com/embed/oGdRM3C_wjc?rel=0)

(CI004B; http://www.youtube.com/embed/QPKKQnijnsM)

(CI004C; My100Goals; http://my100goals.blogspot.com/2013/03/equality.html)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Your Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy

It's been fun getting feedback this week. From friends to total strangers I've had crazy suggestions to fix the economy. My two favourite are...

  • The million pound cash machine - from Jules.
  • Ban online shopping - from Liz.

Jules crazy idea was to give everyone a million pounds. We all spend our million pounds. Then once the money's been spent, we gather it in and give it all out again!

I love it. A wonderfully crazy idea that would make us all truly equal. No more rich, no more poor.

Would it work though? What do you think?

Liz's crazy idea was to ban online shopping. That way we'd stop local shops going out of business, keep jobs in the local economy, keep money in the local economy and fix the economy.

I've got a lot of sympathy with this idea. I do use online shopping a lot now. But I'm conscious that every transaction online is taking revenue away from local companies that I value.

Could banning online shopping help fix the economy? Or could local shops manage to integrate online to make themselves as competitive as the big online retailers

What do you think?

More crazy ideas next week.


Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:

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Friday, 7 November 2014

Crazy Idea 3 - Tackle debt by increasing revenue…

It is a simple solution. I came across a great article by Prof Robert Neild: The National Debt in Perspective, which gives a startling look at how much debt Britain has had over the last few hundred years. (CI003A)

"Britain, a leader in the management of government finances, has maintained a national debt without default for more than three centuries. The ratio of debt to GDP has often been far higher than it is today."

Unfortunately the article focuses on GDP to the exclusion of Tax receipts. It is striking that, as he says, the debt to GDP ratio at one point fell from 260% to 24%. It is somewhat ominous that it took a century to achieve this fall!

If Tax receipts can be increased to match spending and then exceed spending, the National Debt can be paid down and money can be also used to further boost the economy.

Next week I'll give some crazy ideas for increasing Tax receipts…


Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:


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References:

(CI003A; Royal Economic Society; http://www.res.org.uk/view/article5jan12Correspondence.html)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Crazy Idea 2 - Stop using irrelevant economic terms like GDP

While I’m on the subject of honesty and plain speaking I’d like to throw GDP in the bin: Gross Domestic Product.

I hear GDP mentioned again and again and its only real use appears to be to deflect attention from the two most important figures Government has to worry about: Tax receipts and spending. In fact, read through the Coalition's 2014 budget and you'll be hard put to find many figures that are not percentages of GDP. (CI001A) Would it really hurt to tell us the actual figures?

Our GDP goes up, it goes down and economists have palpitations. It seems to be of grave concern to our politicians who love to quote the GDP statistics, or at least, the headline percentage change in GDP…

I finally looked up GDP to find out what it meant. It wasn’t reassuring. It is a loosely defined figure that attempts to define what a country is worth. If you were to apply the same equations to your own life and try and obtain a mortgage with the resulting figure, I would expect most mortgage providers to kick you back on the street before you’d even sat down.

The ONS released an explanation of Understanding GDP and how it is measured in 2013: (CI002B)

A quick Google search will show that many are unconvinced by politicians continued use of GDP.

Is GDP a satisfactory measure of growth? (CI002C)

Is GDP growth a poor measure of improving living standards? (CI002D)

Beyond GDP: The Need for New Measures of Progress (CI002E)

While it may be useful for a country that has low debt or has greater Tax receipts than spending, it is of no use whatsoever for countries like our own that spend more than we receive in taxes.

Our GDP could increase 1000% but it makes no difference to anyone when our tax receipts don’t budge.

Of course if the GDP was to increase and tax receipts failed to follow suit that flags up there is a problem but is the problem with a multinational failing to pay tax or is it a problem with the equation?

If the equation (and apparently there is not just one but a hideous amount of them) cannot pinpoint which company is failing to pay taxes then it is of no earthly use whatsoever.

Since so many large companies seem to have been managing to avoid paying tax my suspicion is that GDP is nothing more than a smokescreen.

My second crazy idea is that Government and the media stop obsessing over GDP and concentrate on the only two figures that matter: Tax receipts and spending.


Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here. You can sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts:


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References:

(CI001A; UK GOV; Page 27; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/293754/37630_HC_1104_Budget_2014_Complete_PRINT.pdf)

(CI002B; ONS; http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/elmr/explaining-economic-statistics/understanding-gdp-and-how-it-is-measured/sty-understanding-gdp.html)

(CI002C; OECD Observer; http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/archivestory.php/aid/1518/Is_GDP_a_satisfactory_measure_of_growth_.html)

(CI002D; Keith Hennessey; http://keithhennessey.com/2010/04/28/economist-debate/)

(CI002E; Boston University; http://www.bu.edu/pardee/files/documents/PP-004-GDP.pdf)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Crazy Idea 1 - Be honest about the amount of debt our country has

The first step in any rehabilitation program is to admit the extent of the problem. Not just to acknowledge there might be a problem. Not just to admit there is a problem, but to disclose the full reality of the situation.

Until this is done with complete honesty, the problem cannot be dealt with.

How many times have you heard politicians talk about our National Debt?

Have you ever heard them talk about it?

Our Governments response to the problem of National Debt over the past decade has resembled nothing better than a gambler in denial. “I only lost seven percent of our annual income this year, Honey. Don’t worry, the loan shark gave me a reeeally good deal…”

Politicians frequently talk about the deficit but rarely about the actual debt our country owes.

When large corporations issue their quarterly reports stating they made a loss there is a general understanding that three of these in a row signals something seriously wrong with the company. If you haven’t already bailed as a shareholder then it may be time to sell. No matter how much you stand to lose, if you continue to hold those shares there is a good chance that trend down is just going to get worse.

The UK Government hasn’t just made several quarterly losses, it has made a loss every year since 2001! (CI001A)


The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government, hereafter referred to simply as Government or Coalition, inherited an estimated National Debt of £776.6 Billion in 2010.
(CI001B)

According to the Coalition’s 2014 budget, Net Debt is forecast to be at £1,355 Billion in the current 2014/15 financial year. (CI001C)

Contrast that estimate by our esteemed Coalition with this statement from the ONS on 23 September 2014: “Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks (PSND ex) was £1,432.3 billion in August 2014, an increase of £96.7 billion compared with August 2013.” (CI001D)

We’re already well over the Coalition’s estimate of where our debt should be and still almost half a year to go…

In the first four years of Coalition they managed to add £655.7 Billion to our national debt. By the time the next general election is held, it is likely the Coalition will have doubled our national debt.

Note the statement above that this does not include the liability taken on by the Government for bad loans made by the now publicly owned banks. Or as it was subtly put in Labours 2010 budget: the “temporary effects of financial interventions.” When you actually include this figure, national debt balloons to £2.285 Trillion! (CI001A)

Neither does it include the unfunded pensions black hole… “Obligations relating to unfunded pensions for public sector employees in the UK at end-2010 were estimated at £0.9 trillion.” (CI001E)

National Debt is up to £3 Trillion already!

I voted Conservative in the 2010 election, in large part as I was then convinced that the then huge increase in National Debt was unsustainable and I hoped a Conservative led government would attempt to bring debt under control. I struggle to understand how a Coalition that preaches the need for austerity can be so profligate with public spending.

When in 2013 I first tried reading the June 2010 Budget I noted this statement: “The OBR’s judgement is that the policies set out in this Budget are consistent with a greater than 50 per cent chance of achieving the Government’s fiscal mandate and target for debt.” Slightly better than flipping a coin but not much!

A small clue is given in the 2014 budget: “net borrowing will reach a small surplus by 2018-19. However, the record deficit inherited by the government means that public sector net debt will have risen by around 40% of GDP to a forecast peak of 78.7% of GDP in 2015-16, and will be 74.2% of GDP in 2018-19 – or over £50,000 per household. This is the highest level of debt since the end of the 1960s.” (CI001F)

No, No, No! The Coalition inherited the debt, not the deficit. The moment the Coalition released their emergency budget in June 2010, they became fully responsible for the deficit. They could at that point have been fully honest with the British public about the level of debt. Could have been fully honest about the need for GOV.UK to massively cut back. But instead they failed to face the problem.

When the Coalition came to power in 2010, they inherited a Budget that planned to borrow £163 Billion (CI001C). They cut this down to £149 Billion in the June 2010 Budget (CI001C) yet presented no plan of how this money would ever be repaid. The June 2010 Budget forecast we would pay interest of £44 Billion that financial year. This means they knowingly planned to use 8 Pence in every Pound collected in tax to pay interest! (£44 Billion interest payment divided by £541 Billion Government Receipts)

Almost ten percent of the money we paid in taxes in 2011 went on paying interest and this could continue for decades even if they immediately balance the Budget!

There are many views on Budget management. I and many people in Britain hold to the view that we should only spend what we can afford and should only take on debt when we have a clear plan of how to repay that debt. Taking on greater amounts of debt when we cannot even pay off the debt we have previously accrued is a sign of financial mismanagement.

No competent financial institution will lend to a person who has no plan to pay off their loan. It is a sad indictment of our society that financial institutions still exist that fail to ensure everyone who takes out a loan can and will pay it back.

Our Government is a borrower with no plan to repay its debts. The budgets of the last few years include an intention to pay interest but also to keep borrowing. Money that in a normal future would be expected to be repaid.

But everyone with financial sense knows that if anyone keeps borrowing without ever repaying that debt they are digging a deeper hole in which to bury themselves.

The National Debt is publicly known. Some people are extremely worried about it, everyone it appears except the only people whose jobs it is to do something about it. They may well be worried in private but in public they rarely mention the elephant in the room instead preferring to talk about “the deficit.”

You know what the deficit is, right? The difference between tax receipts and Government spending, or to put it another way, the deficit is spending more than you have coming in. It is absolutely essential the deficit is reversed if we are ever to repay any of our debt. However the absolute focus on deficit fails to address the real problem. Government has set targets to reduce the deficit by one or two percentage points. What this really means though is that they want to continue to add billions of pounds to the National Debt, not just every year, but every month!

Remember, National Debt currently stands at £1.4 trillion in August 2014 according to the ONS! (Leaving aside all that nasty unfunded stuff the government doesn't like telling us about...) According to Labour Market Statistics, September 2013 from the ONS, there were 29.84 million people in employment aged 16 and over. (CI001G)

If we round that number up to 30 million and state that we as tax payers owe this debt, this means that each and every tax payer owes £47,743. (Not including unfunded pension obligations or debt from bad banks…) And the National Debt continues to grow!

Can you afford to pay your share of £47,743? Fancy taking out a mortgage? A second mortgage? Not so you can own a house but simply so that this debt can be repaid. Debt that you didn’t ask for, didn’t authorise, didn’t sign up to be responsible for?

If we don’t deal with this debt then it will remain. Do you want your children to inherit fifty, sixty, eighty thousand pounds worth of debt, before they are even born?

The deficit appear to be the politically correct way of minimizing the problem. I’m not sure what exactly our Government thinks would happen if they stopped talking about the deficit and started actually talking about debt. Riots on the streets? Food shortages? Civil War?

I’m quite confident the vast majority of my fellow citizens have no desire for riots or war and that there actually is enough food to go around. Though my recent experiences volunteering at a food bank suggest while some may have plenty, there are many who have far too little.

Currently the Government appears to be in denial about the debt we face. Unfortunately it is only once denial is overcome and the reality of the situation is fully faced that the problem can truly be dealt with.

So, my first crazy idea is that Government and all of us stop talking about the deficit and start being honest about the amount of debt we have as a country and what it means for us and our children.


Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.

Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations.

As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.

I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.


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References:

(CI001A; ONS; 01/11/2014; http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/psa/public-sector-finances/september-2014/rft---public-sector-finances-tables-1---10.xls)

(CI001B; National Archives; Budget 2010; Page 215: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2010_documents.htm)

(CI001C; UK GOV; Budget 2014; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2014-documents)

(CI001D; ONS; http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/psa/public-sector-finances/august-2014/stb---august-2014.html)

(CI001E; ONS; http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pensions/pensions-in-the-national-accounts/uk-national-accounts-supplementary-table-on-pensions--2010-/art-mainarticle.html)

(CI001F; UK GOV; Page 27; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/293754/37630_HC_1104_Budget_2014_Complete_PRINT.pdf)

(CI001G; ONS; http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/september-2013/statistical-bulletin.html)