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British Politics Thread:

 3576 Greenmantle, Wed, 21st Mar '12 11:32:04 AM from Thornycroft-land Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Wight Light
It sounds European — that's the thing!
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 3577 The Bat Pencil, Wed, 21st Mar '12 12:07:44 PM from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
1.10 worse off per pint at this rate. Fuck off.
I couldn't possibly comment.
 3578 Greenmantle, Wed, 21st Mar '12 12:11:36 PM from Thornycroft-land Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Wight Light
[up]

You're in Scotland — you're going to get to minimum pricing, and probably an outright ban (or rationing) before the rest of the Not-So-United Kingdom.

Not that the Budget appeared to be much of a shock really. Anyone else want to post the details?
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 3579 pagad, Wed, 21st Mar '12 12:16:48 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
There's this, which is good news because we're like the last first world country to give the videogaming industry a tax break. Hopefully this should help stop Britain from haemorrhaging developers.
Decemberist
Budget 2012 at a glance: George Osborne's key points

The key points of Chancellor George Osborne's Budget on 21 March 2012:

INCOME TAX

From April 2013, the 50p top rate of tax will be cut to 45p.

Personal income tax allowance raised to 9, 205 from April 2013, making 24 million people 220 a year better off.

But 300, 000 more people will be drawn into the higher rate - 40% - tax band from 2013/14 as the threshold is reduced from 42, 475 to 41, 450.

New general anti-tax avoidance rule to be introduced.

Pensioners will no longer receive a larger personal income tax allowance than people of working age. Age-related allowances will removed for new pensioners from April 2013, while allowances for those already of pension age will be frozen until the personal allowance catches up.

George Osborne said "no pensioner will lose in cash terms", but HM Revenue and Customs estimates that in 2013-14, 4.41 million people will be worse off in real terms with an average loss of 83.

CHILD BENEFIT

Will be phased out when someone in a household has an income of more than 50, 000. It will fall by 1% for every 100 earned over 50, 000. It will mean those affected will have to fill out self assessment tax forms.

Only those earning more than 60, 000 will lose the entirety of the benefit.

ECONOMY

Independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) revises up UK growth forecast for 2012 to 0.8% - from 0.7%.

Forecast for 2013 is 2%, for 2014 is 2.7%, and in each of the two years after that 3%.

Eurozone growth forecast for this year revised down from 0.5% to -0.3%.

UK inflation forecast to fall from 2.8% this year to 1.9% next year.

BORROWING

Borrowing this year to be 126bn - 1bn less than forecast in the autumn. Predicted to be 120bn in 2012-13 and 98bn in 2013-14. Forecast to fall to 21bn by 2016-17.

Consultation to be held on offering gilts - government bonds - with maturity terms of more than 50 years.

JOBS AND SKILLS

OBR forecasts unemployment to peak this year at 8.7% before falling each year to 6.3% by 2016-17.

One million more jobs to be created in the economy over five years, OBR says.

HOUSING

From midnight, new stamp duty level of 7% for homes worth more than 2m. Any such homes bought through companies will pay 15%.

Consultation on the introduction of "a large annual charge" on properties already held in so-called "corporate envelopes". Treasury sources have suggested up to 140, 000 a year on any worth more than 20m, down to 15, 000 a year on those worth 2m-5m.

Extra funding to help construction firms building new homes.

HELP FOR BUSINESS

Corporation tax cut to 24% from next month. By 2014 it will fall to 22%.

Enhanced capital allowances for businesses setting up in new Scottish enterprise zones in Dundee, Irvine and Nigg. A Welsh enterprise zone to be created in Deeside.

Consultation on simplifying the tax system for small firms with a turnover of up to 77, 000.

Government support for 150m of tax increment financing to help councils promote development and an extra 270m for the Growing Places fund.

Tax relief for the video games, animation and high-end television production sectors.

Government considering enterprise loans for young people to start their own business.

Relaxation of Sunday trading laws on eight Sundays during Olympics and Paralympics, starting July 22.

ARMED FORCES

Cost of operations in Afghanistan to be 2.4bn less than expected.

Money saved will provide an extra 100m to improve military accommodation.

Personnel serving overseas will receive 100% relief on an average council tax bill.

Families welfare grant also doubled.

PUBLIC SECTOR

Government evidence to be published on the case for regional public sector pay.

Option for government departments to move to regional pay structures for civil servants when current freeze ends.

ENERGY

"Major package of tax changes" to boost oil and gas extraction in North Sea, along with 3bn new field allowance west of Shetland.

FUEL, CIGARETTE AND ALCOHOL DUTIES

Duty on all tobacco products to rise by 5% above inflation from 18:00 today - the equivalent of 37p on a packet of cigarettes.

No change to existing plans on alcohol duty - meaning the duty will rise 2% above the rate of inflation, putting more than 5p on the price of a pint.

New duty on gaming machines at a standard rate of 20% and a lower rate for low-prize machines of 5% of net takings.

No change to existing plans on fuel duty - a 3.02p per litre increase will go ahead on 1 August. Vehicle excise duty to rise by inflation, but frozen for road hauliers.

Existing fair fuel stabiliser means above-inflation rises in fuel duty will return only if price of oil falls below 45 ($70) a barrel.

PENSIONS

Automatic review of state pension age to ensure it keeps pace with increasing lifespans.

New single-tier state pension for future pensioners to be set at about 140 and based on contributions.

TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Upgrading the Transpennine route between Manchester and Sheffield. Further improvements to the lines between Manchester and Preston, and Manchester and Blackpool.

Report on the future of aviation in south-east England to be published in the summer.

Funding for superfast broadband and wi-fi in the UK's 10 largest cities.

OTHER TAXES AND ALLOWANCES

Bank levy to be increased to 0.105% from January 2013 "to ensure that corporation tax cuts do not benefit the banks". The levy will raise 2.5bn a year.

New cap on tax reliefs set at 25% of total income for anyone claiming more than 50, 000 in a year, but no significant change to pensions relief.

VAT loopholes and anomalies to be removed - including removing exemptions for sports nutrition drinks and hot takeaway products in supermarkets. Self-storage, static caravans and hairdressers' chairs will also no longer be exempt.

Existing VAT exemptions will remain for food, children's clothes, books and newspapers.

Personal tax statement to be sent to 20 million taxpayers from 2014. It will detail an individual's income tax and National Insurance payments and how those contribute to public spending.

GREEN MEASURES

Government to seek "major savings" in the administrative cost of the Carbon Reduction Commitment, and bring forward an alternative environment tax this autumn if such savings cannot be found.

Well, that was a mixed budget. Yes there does need to be a better link across the Pennines because its outrageous that its quicker to go North to South in this country than West to East. Other measures are not so good like the green measures being non-existent. But the headline is obviously the cut in the tax rate at the top because we're all supposed to be in together but not the people who caused this apparently.
Dutch Lesbian
 3581 Greenmantle, Wed, 21st Mar '12 1:21:13 PM from Thornycroft-land Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Wight Light
[up]

But the headline is obviously the cut in the tax rate at the top because we're all supposed to be in together but not the people who caused this apparently.

Not that the Government was getting much from the top rate of Tax anyway anyway, due in part of the high-earners taking tax avoidance measures. So basically, by reducing the top Tax Rate, they are hoping that they might get more income in taxes from the top earners instead of holding the top rate of income tax at 50% (while increasing taxes that hit the rich in other less-publisied areas). I hope that makes sense.

And about Transport Links — Blame the Romans. They're the (one of the oldest) basis of the British transport network.

edited 21st Mar '12 1:24:48 PM by Greenmantle

"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Decemberist
I understand the economics of why they have lowered the top rate form 50p to 45p but economics be dammed, its still pretty hard to swallow when everyone is struggling and they see the rich getting a 5p tax cut
Dutch Lesbian
 3583 Greenmantle, Wed, 21st Mar '12 1:42:10 PM from Thornycroft-land Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Wight Light
In other words you're more concerned about how it looks, instead of how it is?
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Decemberist
Yes yes I am, yes that makes me a bad and short sighted person but meh, society is more than just economic growth and GDP. Yes economics benefit society but not at the cost of its soul.
Dutch Lesbian
Euo will do!
Me, I vote "find ways to shut the loopholes". If you need to hire a guy who's made a point to study Tax Law for years to get you out of it, when most people can't do that, you deserve to have those doors slammed in your face. Should I ever be in the fortunate position to hit high tax bands, you wouldn't find me trying to wriggle out the bill for doing so.

Yeah, I'd complain like mad about how high the bill was, but I'd pay it, wincing the whole way. Maybe it makes me a putz, I don't know. But, I was raised to believe in social responsibility.

edited 21st Mar '12 1:57:01 PM by Euodiachloris

"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
 3586 Inhopelessguy, Wed, 21st Mar '12 2:44:53 PM from Birmingham, Greater Europe Relationship Status: Less than three
💩💩💩💩💩&#1
It sounds European that's the thing!

Now, do you want Americanisation, or Europeanisation? Because Europeanisation sounds a lot more attractive.

Anyway, I prefer to close tax loopholes, really. I mean, if we stopped discriminating between "foriegn nationals owning homes" and "foreign shell companies owning homes" we'd actually get this little known thing called... stamp duty!

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 3587 Greenmantle, Wed, 21st Mar '12 3:10:46 PM from Thornycroft-land Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Wight Light
Now, do you want Americanisation, or Europeanisation?

Neither.

I was probably Born in the Wrong Century.

I mean, if we stopped discriminating between "foriegn nationals owning homes" and "foreign shell companies owning homes" we'd actually get this little known thing called... stamp duty!

Stamp Duty only applies for property being Sold, remember, not for currently-owned property (not just homes, also commercial premises and land).

edited 21st Mar '12 3:12:37 PM by Greenmantle

"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 3588 Minister, Thu, 22nd Mar '12 4:21:47 AM Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
Do Not Go Gentle
Cost of operations in Afghanistan to be 2.4bn less than expected.

Why? I know there are several explanations, I'm just curious. Are our Military Financial Analysts debby-downers or have the Armed Forces finally stopped building 3 million hangars only to decide 'yeah, no need for it'. Just an interesting development; that's a 4% difference between projection and actual cost.
It's your God, they're your rules, you go to hell." - Mark Twain
 3589 Best Of, Thu, 22nd Mar '12 4:31:22 AM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
I guess the initial estimates were probably rounded up in each and every item on the list. That sort of thing is done so that when the final result comes, it'll be a positive rather than negative surprise - and also, having some slack in your budget (parts where you can "cut" something that was only there 'cause of the liberal rounding practices and thus you'd be "cutting" thin air) can be helpful.

I don't know about the British military, but that kinda stuff is something we do all the time when planning events in the political organisations where I'm a member. Like, "Ok, so we need 12.50 for supplies, 45.20 for food and another 45.20 for gas. So, 20+50+50=120. Therefore, we'll ask the main branch to support the activity with a sum of 120."

Then, when it turns out you forgot to by some stuff you forgot to include in the list, you don't have to make extra paperwork or amend the budget; you just take that money out of the surplus. In the end, the difference is gonna be so small that no one will care.

Now, obviously, there's a huge difference between a branch of government and a small regional political organisation, but I think that general type of process might be partially behind this outcome. If they did that kind of rounding up all the time, over the years they'd end up with billions.

edited 22nd Mar '12 4:37:15 AM by BestOf

I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day. - Douglas Adams
 3590 Inhopelessguy, Thu, 22nd Mar '12 2:31:14 PM from Birmingham, Greater Europe Relationship Status: Less than three
💩💩💩💩💩&#1
Well, considering a few of things in this Budget are simply things that aren't leaving the Treasury, not going back into it; effectively, we're just not giving people money they don't have.
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 3591 Greenmantle, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 12:01:48 AM from Thornycroft-land Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Wight Light
Government proposess a minimum alcohol price

The government is proposing a minimum price of 40p per unit of alcohol in England and Wales in an effort to stamp out binge-drinking culture.

Ministers say the proposal would not affect responsible pubs or drinkers.

But they predict that it could significantly change the behaviour of those who cause the most problems for hospitals and the police, by making it more expensive to get drunk.

Similar proposals are already being considered by the Scottish Parliament.

The drinks industry said the proposal was misguided and would hit consumers hard.

Under the proposal, a minimum price, such as the proposed 40p per unit, would act as a floor and retailers would not be allowed to offer alcohol below that level.

In effect, it would not alter the price of most drinks but could significantly alter the price of heavily discounted ciders, super-strength lager and cheap spirits.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the government wanted to reverse a drinking culture that last year contributed to one million alcohol-related violent crimes and 1.2 million hospital admissions.

Mr Cameron said: "Binge drinking isn't some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities.

"We can't go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking and we have to do it now. So we're going to attack it from every angle."

Mr Cameron said cheap alcohol was the "root cause" of the problem, but he knew that minimum pricing would not be "universally popular".

"We're consulting on the actual price, but if it is 40p that could mean 50, 000 fewer crimes each year and 900 fewer alcohol related deaths per year by the end of the decade.

"This isn't about stopping responsible drinking, adding burdens on business or some new kind of stealth tax - it's about fast immediate action where universal change is needed."

The government says it is considering banning buy-one-get-one-free deals but, at the same time, it will allow half-price promotions.

The strategy also includes a plan for a late-night levy to make clubs and pubs help pay for policing.

But the prime minister said the strategy could help pubs because minimum pricing would stop supermarkets offering cheaper alternatives.

Andrew Opie of the British Retail Consortium said the proposal was "seriously misguided".

"It's simplistic to imagine a minimum price is some sort of silver bullet solution to irresponsible drinking, " he said.

"Irresponsible drinking has cultural causes and retailers have been hugely engaged in information and education to change attitudes to drinking.

"It's a myth to suggest that supermarkets are the problem or that a pub is somehow a safer drinking environment. Effectively, a minimum price is a tax on responsible drinkers."

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, of the Royal College of Physicians and the Alcohol Health Alliance, welcomed the proposals.

"Health care workers who struggle every day to cope with the impact of our nation's unhealthy drinking will welcome tough new policies in areas such as price and licensing that are based on evidence and should bring about real benefits, " he said.

Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, the lead on alcohol for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "Week in week out in town centres across the country the police have to deal with the consequences of cheap alcohol and irresponsible drinking.

"The growing trend for 'pre-loading' means that young people are often drunk before they even enter a bar.

"By the time they hit the streets at closing they are more likely to get involved in crime and disorder or injure themselves or others."
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 3592 pagad, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 12:01:32 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
Achievement Unlocked: Piss Off Every Mainstream Newspaper

edited 23rd Mar '12 12:10:15 PM by pagad

 3593 Caissas Death Angel, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 12:06:09 PM from Dumfries, SW Scotland Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
House Lewis: Sanity is Relative
Link doesn't work.
My name is Addy. Please call me that instead of my username.
 3594 pagad, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 12:07:41 PM from perfidious Albion Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sneering Imperialist
Yeah, I fail at uploading images.

Or rather, neither Facebook nor Photobucket are co-operating adequately.

Fixed!

edited 23rd Mar '12 12:10:31 PM by pagad

 3595 Octo, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 12:12:40 PM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
Those planned alcohol minimum are obviously targetted at cheap alcohol - and hence kinda seem like class warfare against the underclass to me...
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

Unrelated ME1 Fanfic
 3596 Caissas Death Angel, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 12:24:49 PM from Dumfries, SW Scotland Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
House Lewis: Sanity is Relative
Yep, the people who buy the drink hit by this sort of thing are those for whom it is their only solace, really. It's not going to hit alcoholic middle aged professional times drinking high value wine, tha's for damn sure.
My name is Addy. Please call me that instead of my username.
 3597 Greenmantle, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 12:36:02 PM from Thornycroft-land Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Wight Light
Not that they haven't talked about hitting them — because apparently Middle-Aged Professionals drink too much as well!
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" — Alfred, Lord Tennyson
 3599 Caissas Death Angel, Fri, 23rd Mar '12 1:11:19 PM from Dumfries, SW Scotland Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
House Lewis: Sanity is Relative
I'm not sure, but such things remind me of a discussion I had years ago (in school I think).

We have names for ages of the past - Bronze Age, Iron Age, etc. But what will our time be known as?

The Oil Age is certainly a possibility.
My name is Addy. Please call me that instead of my username.
Euo will do!
[up] Which is quickly coming to a close.
"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
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