Archive for February, 2011

The difference between Barclays Bank and the Gardian Media Group

The following has been lifted unashamedly from Guido Fawkes website, Order-Order.com

 

On Saturday morning The Guardian decided to give UK Uncut a front page boost.  The protestors managed to shut down three dozen of the 1,720 branches of Barclays bank. Surprised they found any branches to occupy given Saturday opening hours.

The gist of the shabby story was Barclays bankers are evil tax dodgers. The evidence was a hatchet job with the paper making the spurious claim that Barclay’s only paid 1% tax on their £11.6 billion profits. In arriving at a profit before tax figure of £11.6 billion, The Guardian has added the profit from the ongoing business (£4.5 billion) to profits from a disposed business (£726 million) and the gain made on disposal of that business (£6.3 billion) to reach a total of £11.6 billion.

What they chose to ignore however was the total tax take Barclay’s had to pay; payroll taxes, bank levy, non-recoverable VAT, employers NI, SDRT and so on. Over the weekend Tim Worstall and the FCA Blog tore chunks out of the piece:

The article compares the cash paid to HMRC in respect of UK corporation tax in 2009 (£113 million) to the profits generated by the consolidated Barclays group worldwide in 2009. In the UK, tax is paid in arrears, so 2009 taxes would relate to widespread 2008 losses, not 2009 profits.

Multinational companies such as Barclays pay tax in a number of jurisdictions. Generally speaking Barclays only pays UK corporation tax on profits it generated in the UK.  Anything earned outside the UK doesn’t get taxed here. So it’s a howler to compare the UK corporation tax payment to the global consolidated profit. Most of those profits were taxed where they were made.

In 2002 (under Gordon Brown, Chuka), the UK government introduced the substantial shareholdings exemption, a corporation tax exemption for UK businesses disposing of a substantial shareholding in a part of their business. The idea was that businesses should be able to restructure their businesses without having to worry about chargeable gains implications. Barclays are heavily criticised by The Guardian for using it.  The last time that Guido saw this being used was by the, err, Guardian Media Group to save themselves some £60 million of taxes in 2008:

“In 2008 GMG sold half of Auto Trader publisher Trader Media Group and made an exceptional (one-off) profit of more than £300 million. No tax was payable on the return from that sale because under UK law GMG qualified for SSE”

In 2008 The Guardian made £302 million in profits and paid no corporation taxes. The CEO, Carolyn McCall, was paid an £827,000 package. Yet we don’t see the UK Uncut crowd kicking up a stink about The Guardian’s tax structures or their fat cat pay and bonuses.

Over the weekend the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger (half-a-million a year since you asked) tweeted about Barclay’s offshore holding corporations. Guardian Media Group holds hundreds of millions in assets in a Caymans Island domiciled offshore corporation.

Guido put it to the GMG press office that GMG has £223.8 million invested in an overseas/offshore hedge fund managed by Cambridge Associates which trades currency derivatives. They don’t deny it and have declined to confirm the fund’s structure for tax purposes.

Guardian readers seem to be under the illusion that it is owned by a not-for-profit charity. The Scott Trust was wound up in October 2008 and the Guardian is a for-profit-privately-owned media business, the well paid directors of which confirm in their annual accounts that they operate tax strategies in line with their fiduciary duty to the shareholders – just like any other business.

The old Scott Trust was set up in 1936 to avoid inheritance taxes and wound up in 2008 so that GMG could cynically exploit the SSE capital gains tax shelter to pay 0% in corporation taxes on their £302 million in profits that year. GMG claim that it was about modernising the holding structure, in fact it was a disingenuous cover for corporate venality.

For three quarters of a century the The Guardian has been shirking taxes, Guido has no problem with them acting in their shareholders’ best interests. The hypocritical cant from them however about others doing the same is beyond contemptible…

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The truth behind the Barclays Corporation Tax furore.

From the Telegraph:

Barclays paid out just £113m in corporation tax in 2009, despite making a pre-tax profit of £11.6bn, according to chief executive Bob Diamond.

The revelation came in a letter to Chuka Umunna MP, a member of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC), who put Mr Diamond under pressure to declare how much of the £2bn in tax paid by Barclays to HMRC was in the form of corporation tax.

The vast majority of the tax paid by Barclays was pay-as-you-earn and national insurance contributions, while corporation tax accounted for 5.7pc of the total bill.

Mr Umunna said it was “shocking” that Barclays had paid so little in corporation tax in 2009.

“This revelation underlines the government’s failure to take the robust action needed to make sure that the banks which caused the crash pay their fair share, and will stick in the stomachs of small businesses struggling to borrow and ordinary people feeling the pinch of the government’s austerity measures,” said Mr Umunna.

See if you can spot the error. A clue is that the present Government only came to power in May 2010.

Hattip to: Working Class Tory

I honestly thought, from the noise the left were making about this, that it was the Tories who let the banks off all the Corporation Tax – and now it turns out that the Labour Party made them this enormous present.

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How fast is your laptop?

Watch this video for true enlightenment.

Ubuntu Light: Live fast from Immprint ltd on Vimeo.

As you can see, this is the way to conserve your laptop battery each and every day.

Ampers.

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A comparison of Cameron, Cleg and Milliband

Watch this video and you will be enlightened and will, forever, know the difference. Thanks to my good friend Max for this gem – Lord knows what he would do if they took his editing software away!

Ampers

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How the Government steals your money

John Maynard Keynes wrote…

“By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens…. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

So have you stocked up on beans or gold yet?  Have you taken Guido’s advice?

Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, if we don’t figure out a way to exit QE we will inevitably suffer double digit inflation. This is not an accident, it is as the Chinese have pointed out, the deliberate intention of policymakers in Washington and London to inflate away their debts. The cost of that policy will fall hardest on savers and pensioners who will be the collateral damage of this policy.

It is entirely cynical of Mervyn King and Ben Bernanke to scaremonger by talking of a bogus threat of deflation…

Thanks to Guido Fawkes at order-order.com for this reminder, he has a really good website and often gets the political news before the newspapers..

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Britain, crime and the law

The following was written by Working Class Tory and was nicked from his blog – but I know he won’t mind as long as I have acknowledged the author and given a link to his website! This, in turn, was nicked from the National Review On Line, but like my blog, full acknowledgements have been given. When something is good and of great interest, it moves around!

Britain has the highest crime rate in Western Europe, despite having a third of all the closed-circuit television cameras in the world to oversee the population, and despite having more or less abandoned a suspect’s right to silence.

There are whole areas of the country in which the weight of the state in the economy is not far short of that of the state in Soviet Russia.

Thanks to state-sponsored social pathology, more than a third of the population is entirely dependent on the state for its livelihood, and would starve without it.

The last government created a new criminal offense every working day for ten years, such that no citizen can possibly know what is legal and what is not.

Arbitrary and constantly changing regulation makes life a nightmare for anyone running a business or a service.

While expenditure on education doubled between 2000 and 2007, the proportion of British children learning a foreign language declined by 75 percent.

In short, the British state is a swamp of corruption, all the worse for being more intellectual and moral than straightforwardly financial.

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The two Eds – it gets worse and worse

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) told the incumbents at the Treasury (Gordon Brown and Ed Balls) as early as 2004 that it was borrowing too much and spending too much.

But our illustrious duo totally rejected the IMF findings and, further more, bullied the officials into keeping schtum (silent) and not to broadcast their findings to all and sundry. During this time Ed Milliband was the economic adviser to the Government.

A new report finds that information was not only withheld from the public, but from the IMF as well, by our then Government.

In addition, IMF officials were intimidated and because of the withheld information, regulators at home and abroad failed to spot serious risks to the financial sector and the economy.

The story gets worse but I will keep it short here and you can watch this unfolding over the next week or so. One high point in the following week will be PMQs (Prime Minsters Questions) in the House of Commons. On Sky News at noon on Wednesday for half an hour. Look out for fireworks there.

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WE HAVE MOVED!!!

Ampers’s Rants have decided to move.

Please note our new address. There will be no more posts here.

If you have added your name to be notified, you can also add your address at the new website:

www.ampers.me.uk

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How the Irish invented Dance

This is hilarious, you must have your sound up! No point in telling you the length as, after you have listened for a few seconds, you will stay for the duration, but don’t worry it isn’t too long!

Keyboard warning – put your tea or coffee on the table before starting the video below

Ampers

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Is the Government finally listening?

Nick Clegg; we’re restoring hard won British liberties

Today the Government is publishing a Freedom Bill. A piece of legislation that brings together a raft of measures to restore hard-won British liberties that have been lost in recent years.

Read this exciting article at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8317257/Nick-Clegg-were-restoring-hard-won-British-liberties.html

Naturally there are many who will say this isn’t going far enough, but it will only be those who don’t understand the nature of committees. The more you put into a bill, the less chance it has of getting everyone behind it.

This will do for starters surely?

And remember, it is up to all of us to persuade them to have a “Mark Two”.

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The sad thing about the Big Society

What really saddens me is that we have had to have the Prime Minister remind us of what living in the world is all about. Where I come from, in Africa, they understand what it is about, they even have a word for it, “Ubuntu” and I am not talking about the Linux software!

But I don’t blame the people over here for this, it is not their fault. It is the fault of various politicians of either party since 1945 who have built into our psyche that the State will look after us from the cradle to the grave.

The Big Society has not been invented by David Cameron! It was around long before the second world war. It is practiced in some parts now such as the military, and until twenty years ago very much in the East End.

It is about small things that make a difference. Helping a neighbour who is ill with their shopping, saying good morning to an elderly person who lives alone and smiling at them. joining a club to get to know your neighbours better. helping a local charity group. Clubbing together to protest at a council injustice. All these little things help grow a community.

Naturally the socialists rubbish the notion of the Big Society, and it isn’t just because it was the Conservatives idea. The whole idea of the big society is against everything they belive in. Their whole philosophy is that the state rules all. Everyone has to be dependent on the sate as, the more people who are, the more votes tend to go to Labour. If everyone learned to do everything for themselves, and to work instead of being on benefits, the Labour vote would deteriorate very quickly and they would never get in to rule the country again.

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Banking in the UK

When people see my cheques they are surprised that I bank with a building society instead of a “proper” bank. OK until last year I used to bank with Citibank as they issue Euro and Dollar accounts complete with chequebooks and credit and debit cards. But I am retired, no longer in business, and no longer need the services of an international bank – although I have kept my sterling account still live. In addition to this, I no longer have any “real” money to play with!

Last year I decided to move to Nationwide. There are some points which I do like. For example, when I pay in, I don’t have to use a paying in slip, I just hand the teller my Nationwide debit cart and the cheque or cash, and she swipes the card on her till and it is done. Citibank do this but as we normally used Lloyds to pay in as Citibank only have six branches of their own in the UK (and have a special arrangement with Lloyds) this wasn’t a help to me. However, I am not aware of many other banks being so up to date.

The other thing I like is they send me a text every Saturday showing me the account movements since the previous Saturday so I can see if there has been any funny business. Not sure if they offer a text if your account is below a certain amount, but this would be very useful to younger people out there.

Finally, they are giving me around 3.5% p.a. interest on my meagre savings and that is very fair considering the 0.5% bank rate!

If you look on the Internet you will see a string of complaints about every bank and building society out there. I was with Citibank for around a decade and never made a complaint. This was probably due to the fact that I had never been overdrawn and obeyed their rules. No doubt if I had broken any rules and they chastised me, I would have been angry with wounded pride.

The staff in my local bank are always exceedingly polite with me but that is probably because I keep my account in credit.

If you are unhappy with your bank, sit down and have a long think at the reason for it. Could it be a little of your own causing?

Finally if you are unhappy with your bank, changing to another bank can be fraught with difficulties. Also, the entire bank structure doesn’t revolve around one branch and if you have bad people in one branch, consider just changing branches. Moving then is a lot simpler. Especially if you have a chequebook and debit card, and a lot of standing orders and direct debits!

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Why we should sack our police and employ Ghurkas

February 3, 2011: For the last five months, India has been celebrating and honouring a retired Ghurkha soldier (Bishnu Shrestha) who, single-handedly killed three bandits, wounded eight and drove off another 30. This incident occurred five months ago, and since then Shrestha has been given medals, cash and accolades for his outstanding valor and prowess. The Indian Ghurkha regiment he recently retired from persuaded him to return to active duty so he could receive a cash award and a promotion. Bishnu Shrestha father had also served with the same unit, and retired from it 29 years ago.

All this occurred because Bishnu Shrestha was on a train where about forty bandits, pretending to be passengers, suddenly revealed themselves, and, armed with knives, swords and pistols, stopped the train in the jungle, and proceeded to rob the hundreds of passengers.

When the bandits reached Shrestha, he was ready to give up his valuables, but then the 18 year old girl sitting next to him was grabbed by the robbers, who wanted to rape her. The girl, who knew Shrestha was a retired soldier, appealed to him for help. So he pulled out the large, curved khukuri knife that all Ghurkha soldiers (and many Ghurkha civilians) carry, and went after the bandits. In the narrow isle of the train, a trained fighter like Shrestha had the advantage.

Although some of the bandits had pistols, they were either fake (a common ploy in India), inoperable, or handled by a man who didn’t want to get too close to an angry Ghurkha. After about ten minutes of fighting in the train isles, eleven bandits were dead or wounded, and the rest of them decided to drop their loot (200 cell phones, 40 laptops, lots of jewellery, and nearly $10,000 in cash) and flee. The train resumed its journey promptly, in case the bandits came back, and to get medical aid for the eight bandits who had been cut up by Shrestha (who was also wounded in one hand). Shrestha required two months of medical treatment to recover the full use of his injured hand.

Read the rest of the piece at: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htinf/articles/20110203.aspx

Forty to one? This surely means we could hire a thousand Ghurkha ex soldiers for our police force and “retire” 40,000 of our police. That would go a long way towards saving on expenditure. And, if we let them keep their khukuris, we’d also save on trials, and reduce the prison population. Every way you look at it, it has to be a plus

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It’s easy to put fear into the politicians.

I was watching the story unfold in Egypt over the last few days and thought “This could never happen in England.”

For one thing, successive governments have made us far too reliant on the state and no matter how evil the politicians become, the people who actually have the time to take to the streets won’t want to knock the status quo.

Yes, I know of the students riots and the poll tax riots, but these are riots with a hidden agenda, orchestrated by the Labour movement. Have you noticed that the riots are always when the Conservatives are in power? And, that the Labour Government always seem to “break” our country, and the Tory governments always try to fix it? Not that they ever make a good job of it!

Then there is television. No way will people riot in the street if they have to miss EastEnders or Coronation Street, not to mention the Archers or Neighbours!

Then there is the molly-coddling of the young. I grew up in Africa and had access to a little bit of danger – in fact I had access to a huge amount of danger but my parents never found out! Kids nowadays aren’t allowed the slightest bit of danger so grow up into pretty strange human beings.

There are many other examples, but these should suffice to explain why we have been slowly conditioned by our political masters to be completely docile. Even young soldiers have difficulty coping, mentally, with war any more. They come home a bag of nerves and need serious treatment, even those who haven’t been physically wounded. And our government doesn’t do enough!

We could never riot tomorrow, but we could start to toughen ourselves up politically. Here is a 5 point plan if you want to take a more active part of life in your country. I have also added a bonus item!

  1. Take more of an interest in politics. If you have digital TV watch, not just BBC or ITV news, but watch Sky news as well – they keep winning the annual prize for being the best news programme. Go to meetings, the Adam Smith Institute have many free meetings in London. Attend the occasional local council meetings, this is permitted and you can see how awful democracy works locally. Understand what ALL the parties stand for, even those you hate. I keep an eye on them all, even the obnoxious BNP!
  2. Watch less TV. You are going to hate this but don’t watch any programme which is not self-contained into one showing. This means the soaps and anything that is serialised. This locks you into the TV. Get a good magazine which shows next week’s programmes, highlight only those you really want to watch. After a few months, become even more strict, choose one weekday and one weekend day where you will not turn on the TV. If you really “have” to see a programme, watch it next day on iPlayer or record it! Work towards eventually getting rid of TV and take control of your life again.
  3. I know you have a computer as you are reading this. Investigate RSS feeds and how they work. I use Google Reader to “collect” any additions to a lot of websites and read them all at once. You can read every article in your newspaper’s on-line edition very quickly this way. Read my blog on how it works at http://ampers.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/google-reader/ this can reduce an hours searching for news ino 60 seconds!
  4. My mother used to say to me “Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.” This is an ideal philosophy to have when watching or listening to anyone in the political classes spouting on the box or in print. Ask yourself Cui bono (who benefits) or Cui malo (to whose detriment) or perhaps, what is their hidden agenda in saying this? All this is important as there will always be a hidden agenda, and whatever they do will usually be to our detriment and to their advantage.
  5. Know where you are on the political spectrum. Those of you who are a little older and can remember their school maths, will understand it when I talk about the ‘x’ axis and the ‘y’ axis. With politics, knowing where you stand in the political spectrum is important. The ‘x’ axis tells us where we stand between left and right but this is only a third of the picture. More important and counting for two-thirds, is the ‘y’ axis. This tells us exactly how much of a statist, centist or libertarian we are. If you aren’t sure, the statist believes the government should run the economy and also run peoples lives. The socialists are statists. A centist believes the government should run the economy but people should run their own lives. It is debatable whether the Conservatives are true centists but they lean a little towards that position. Libertarians are at the top and believe people should run their own economy and their own lives. To work out what you are, go to http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz and complete the ten questions. However, so that you can get proper results, spend a few minutes with every question, no matter how cut and dried they seem to be, and consider the implications of each before you tick the box. For example. Should we legalise drugs? Here you would mull over the fact that, for decades, we have not halted illegal drugs, we are not just losing the battle, we have lost the war. If we legalised drugs and you could buy them cheaply in Boots, then they would be ”clean”. Every drug dealer in Britain would be out of work, kids would not have access to drugs at the school gate in return for “deliveries”, muggings and burglaries would go down. OK, you might still say no, but at least you would have thought it through.Bonus: This brings me to my last point, Thinking things through. You will never be free of the current political oppression unless you learn to think for yourself, to think everything through before making any decision. This will also help in your personal and business life.

Ampers.

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Are you bored with your present situation?

Get a hobby!

Ampers

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