Friday, 31 January 2014

Workers' Real Salaries Suffer Longest Decline for Half a Century

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Decline, which means cost of living is outstripping salaries, attributed to low growth in productivity

The value of wages in real terms has been falling consistently since 2010, the longest period for 50 years.

The decline, which means that the cost of living is outstripping salaries, was attributed to low growth in productivity, or the goods and services that are produced in relation to the workforce.

Different rates of inflation between what is produced and what is consumed have also had a damaging effect on pay, said the Office for National Statistics, which provided the figures. » | Telegraph reporter | Friday, January 31, 2014

My comment:

So much for the Thatcher Revolution! – © Mark

This comment appears here too.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Double Your Dole, Eurocrats Tell UK: Ministers Told Current Handouts Are 'Manifestly Inadequate'

MAIL ONLINE: Eurocrats sparked fury last night by ordering the UK to double dole payments.

The Council of Europe claims the handouts given to Britain’s jobless are ‘manifestly inadequate’.

Ministers have been told they are in violation of the European Social Charter – potentially opening the door for claimants to take the Government to court to get more money.

But ministers say obeying the diktat from the Council, which oversees the controversial European Court of Human Rights, would cost the UK billions of pounds and plunge efforts to reduce the deficit into chaos.

To comply, Jobseeker’s Allow- ance (JSA) would have to be hiked by £71, from £67 to £138 a week.

Last night Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused the Council of Europe of ‘lunacy’.

He told the Mail: ‘This Government has made great strides in fixing the bloated welfare system we inherited from Labour. It’s lunacy for the Council of Europe to suggest welfare payments need to increase when we paid out £204billion in benefits and pensions last year.’

The Council said Britain had signed up to the Social Charter, which is ‘a legally binding economic and social counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights’. » | James Slack and Daniel Martin | Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Going Underground: Fracking under Your Home & MoD Tries to Unmask Anonymous

Afshin Rattansi goes underground with former head of regulatory risk at HBOS, Paul Moore, to investigate whether bankers have learnt their lesson since the bailout. We ask Friends of the Earth's Jane Thomas if energy multinationals can frack under your house without planning permission. We get to the bottom of why an MP tried to claim expenses for not voting at the Syria War debate in parliament. And David Cameron spends millions on trying to uncover the faces behind 'Anonymous'.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Pro-fracking Planning Reforms Rushed Through Despite Strong Opposition, Lords Warn

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Homeowners will no longer be individually notified of plans to drill under their homes, as part of changes that Lords suggest received inadequate public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny

Ministers rushed through pro-fracking planning reforms without proper scrutiny and despite overwhelming opposition, a Lords committee has found.

Under the reforms, which came into force as secondary legislation earlier this month, homeowners will no longer be individually notified of a planning application by an energy company seeking to drill or frack beneath their home.

Opponents fear the change, which still requires final parliamentary approval, could lead to fracking taking place without homeowners’ knowledge.

Nick Boles, the planning minister, said in December that having to notify every homeowner was “unnecessarily excessive” and instead, companies would only be “required to publish a notice in a local newspaper and put up site displays in local parishes”.

A Lords committee has now urged the Lords to look again at the reforms, raising a series of “shortcomings” with how they were rushed through and suggesting the policy had not been “adequately thought through” and may be “imperfectly achieve their policy objectives”. » | Emily Gosden, Energy Editor | Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Australian Tax Office Nets $430m from the Rich

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Scores of the country's wealthiest people have been caught up in a huge government blitz that has recouped more than $430 million in unpaid taxes and fines last year.

High-profile figures recently caught up in the crackdown include racing identity Sean Buckley, art dealer John Ioannou and entrepreneurs Bob Jane and Geoffrey Edelsten, who together have received bills totalling more than $21 million.

But the Australian Taxation Office investigation has been criticised by some of its wealthy targets, who claim they are being singled out by hardline and activist tactics that are "grossly unfair". Others have blasted the ATO as the financial equivalent of the Gestapo.

The ATO's deputy commissioner, Michael Cranston, said that while most wealthy Australians did the "right thing", the agency's compliance program ensured the country's rich were in fact paying "their fair share".

"If the broader population sees that we make sure that the rich - who can really afford to pay taxes - pay, then it's fairer for them and they are more willing to pay their taxes too," he said. » | Chris Vedelago | Sunday, January 26, 2014

Friday, 24 January 2014

Inside Story: Has Austerity Worked?

As Spain shakes free from its bailout, we ask if Europe is on the road to economic recovery.

Davos 2014: EU Needs 'Conservative Common Sense', Insists David Cameron

Challenged over a supposed inconsistency between his rhetoric on of freedom of movement and immigration, David Cameron tells Davos that the EU needs "practical, conservative, common sense"

Read the short Telegraph article and comment here | Friday, January 24, 2014

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Mark Carney: No Need for an Immediate Rate Rise

Mark Carney, Canadian Governor of the Bank of England
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Bank of England governor seeks to reassure markets that interest rate rise is not imminent, saying he doesn't want to focus on one indicator

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has pledged there will be no “immediate” increase in interest rates as unemployment nudges closer to the 7pc threshold in an apparent softening of his forward guidance policy.

He said Bank of England policymakers look at “overall conditions in the whole labour market”, rather than just one indicator, and that any change, when it comes, would be “very gradual”.

The governor, who said that the UK economy was "in a different place" to when he introduced the guidance, added: “We don’t see an immediate need to change monetary policy."

Asked if he would consider lowering the 7pc threshold, Mr Carney added: “There are a broad range of things we could do, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion … we’re trying to get across is that it’s all about overall conditions in the labour market.

“We wouldn’t want to detract from that focus by unnecessarily focusing on one indicator.” » | Denise Roland | Thursday, January 23, 2014

My comment:

"No need for an immediate rise [in interest rates]" – Mark Carney

No, there is no need for him. He's sitting pretty with his huge salary and exorbitant expenses. The rest of us have to make ends meet from our savings. What a thoughtless, unreasonable man Carney is!

Never in my lifetime can I remember not being able to get interest on my capital that at least equates to the rate of inflation, and then some. Does this man have no sense of true capitalism? Does this man have no sense of economic history?

What an utter disappointment this Governor is! – © Mark

This comment appears here too.

Cameron: UK's Economic Recovery Will Need 'Patience'

BBC: Prime Minister David Cameron has told the BBC that a sustained economic recovery must be one which is balanced between "north and south".

Get Adobe Flash player

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the prime minister said that the economy needs rebalancing.

He said: "In the case of Britain we need to rebalance our economy and make sure it's a north and south recovery - manufacturing as well as services."

But Mr Cameron said that economic recovery will take "patience".

He added that the government needs to deal with "excessive deficits and our broken banking system", but he was confident that the UK could attract investment and manufacturers. » | Thursday, January 23, 2014

Monday, 20 January 2014

New Great Depression 2014. Prepare for an Economic Collapse

Oxfam: 85 Richest People as Wealthy as Poorest Half of the World

The InterContinental in Davos
THE GUARDIAN: As World Economic Forum starts in Davos, development charity claims that growing inequality has been driven by a 'power grab' by wealthy elites

The world's wealthiest people aren't known for travelling by bus, but if they fancied a change of scene then the richest 85 people on the globe – who between them control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together – could squeeze onto a single double-decker.

The extent to which so much global wealth has become corralled by a virtual handful of the so-called 'global elite' is exposed in a new report from Oxfam on Monday. It warned that those richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world's population.

The wealth of the 1% richest people in the world amounts to $110tn (£60.88tn), or 65 times as much as the poorest half of the world, added the development charity, which fears this concentration of economic resources is threatening political stability and driving up social tensions.

It's a chilling reminder of the depths of wealth inequality as political leaders and top business people head to the snowy peaks of Davos for this week's World Economic Forum. Few, if any, will be arriving on anything as common as a bus, with private jets and helicoptors pressed into service as many of the world's most powerful people convene to discuss the state of the global economy over four hectic days of meetings, seminars and parties in the exclusive ski resort.

Winnie Byanyima, the Oxfam executive director who will attend the Davos meetings, said: "It is staggering that in the 21st Century, half of the world's population – that's three and a half billion people – own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all fit comfortably on a double-decker bus."

Oxfam also argues that this is no accident either, saying growing inequality has been driven by a "power grab" by wealthy elites, who have co-opted the political process to rig the rules of the economic system in their favour. » | Graeme Wearden | Monday, January 20, 2014

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Der Euro muss weg, damit die EU gerettet wird

DIE WELT: Die gemeinsame Währung ist ein mutiges Experiment - das gescheitert ist. Eine geordnete Euro-Auflösung wäre schmerzhaft, doch weniger traumatisch als die Massenarbeitslosigkeit in vielen EU-Ländern.

Ich gehöre zu einer seltenen und gefährdeten Spezies: Ich bin ein europäischer Föderalist, der daran glaubt, dass die EU auf lange Sicht so tief integriert sein sollte wie Brasilien, Indien oder die USA. Trotzdem möchte ich Sie dazu einladen, über eine Auflösung des Euro nachzudenken. Denn ich bin zu dem Schluss gekommen, dass die beschlossenen Maßnahmen zur Rettung des Euro am Ende zur Zerstörung der EU führen werden.

Der Euro ist ein mutiges Experiment, das gescheitert ist. Die gemeinsame Währung sollte für Einheit, Stabilität und Wachstum in einer immer engeren Union sorgen. Stattdessen ist die EU tief gespalten – wirtschaftlich, sozial und politisch.

Das europäische Projekt hat aufgehört, eine breit angelegte, kollektive Unternehmung zu sein, es ist nur noch auf eine einzige Dimension reduziert: den Euro zu retten. Die Wähler sind sauer – entweder als Folge der endlosen Austeritätsprogramme und beängstigend hohen Arbeitslosigkeit oder weil die Bürger in den Geberländern fürchten, dass ihnen auf undurchsichtige Weise die Verbindlichkeiten der Schuldenstaaten übertragen werden. » | Von François Heisbourg | Donnerstag, 16. Januar 2014

Monday, 13 January 2014

Fashion Fakes: Cheap Chinese Clothes Force Italian Brands Out

In the midst of a financial storm, Italians are turning their backs on the designer brands that have made their country world-famous. And they are increasingly turning to Chinese producers for cheap goods, sometimes even labeled 'Made in Italy'.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Spanish, French Euromillions Winners Share 130 Million Euros

EXPATICA.COM: A Spanish and a French punter on Tuesday shared more than 130 million euros ($177 million) in the EuroMillions draw, with the jackpot swelled after 10 consecutive draws without a winner.

Organisers La Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) said the lucky pair would pocket more than 65 million euros each. » | Wednesday, January 08, 2013