Tees Cottage Pumping Station

Sometimes work can be very fun, particularly when road trip are involved (though I’m not sure you’d call a trip to Darlo a road trip, but when you don’t get out of the office much and you’re going to a new place that’s good enough in my book). Anyhow you can read more about this fab trip Ree and I took here:

https://www.teesvalleyarts.org.uk/2015/07/09/tees-cottage-pumping-station-tour/

Cancer Treatment

So though my father is currently on a clinical trial that involves sending his bone marrow and blood tests to Cardiff each day and then a custom chemotherapy being manufactured in Cambridge in response to those tests (presumably at great expense / and goodness knows how it is then brought to Middlesbrough in time for his treatment cycle each evening) I’m not a great supporter of the NHS simply giving in to Big Pharma and spending a fortune on life-prolonging cancer treatment drugs, such as those reported in the news for breast cancer today.

The basic argument that Big Pharma makes is that they invest millions in developing these drugs and then they require compensation for that investment from the NHS, sounds reasonable right? but as anyone with half a brain or a basic knowledge of tax right offs know Big Pharma’s investment in new drugs is completely tax deductible therefore the development of these drugs cost them precisely nothing. Nadha. This is the big con of that Big Pharma perpetrates against the public day-in day-out. And they’re prepared to let people die to improve their bottom line. It’s shameless.

Patrick Stewart – What a Man!

I’ve seen this many times before but if you haven’t yet seen it then I highly recommend it:

People often criticise celebrities talking out about issues but when it’s done so eloquently and from the heart – as Patrick does – then it’s surely a good thing.

Heart in my Mouth

Isn’t the internet just a crazy place? You can go from reading an article in the Guardian on what it’s like to live in Kensington Palace Gardens and a few minutes later you’re watching this with your heart in your mouth (especially on the roof!)

Closing VAT Tax Havens

Finally we see some action from the coalition on the issue of tax havens, albeit a small step in the right direction.

The hint by Lord Sassoon at proposals to be brought forward in the upcoming budget to change or even better to possibly remove the VAT exemptions currently enjoyed by the Channel Islands is to be welcomed.

Lord Lucas‘s observation that the amount avoided is likely to be higher than the Treasury’s estimated loss of £130 million pounds a year is almost certainly true; as you’d know if you’d ever bought a DVD from Amazon or Play.com.

I can only hope that this is the first 0f many rationalisations of the tax system with the aim being to remove our archaic tax havens special status entirely.

For more information read the register.co.uk here.

FCO puts British lives at risk

The ideologically driven condem coalition government has demonstrated profound failings over their handling of the evacuation of our citizens from Libya.

When we finally started to evacuate our citizens from Egypt, during a much more peaceful revolution, we were the only country in the world to rely on privately chartered planes and furthermore to charge our citizens the princely sum of £300 for rescuing them from impending danger; despite this being the principle obligation of the State during such circumstances.

Now with the turmoil unsurprisingly spreading to Libya, for which there were weeks worth of warnings, the Foreign Office has still, days into the turmoil, failed to evacuate our citizens. As even Cyprus (where we have an air base from which such a rescue could be launched) has evacuated their citizens ours remain stranded whilst Gaddafi uses increasingly aggressive language the FCO is putting our citizens at risk.

It is utterly unacceptable that the FCO waited so long to start to consider evacuating our citizens given the precedents set by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions and that they have waited and waited for privately chartered jets that have simply failed to appear rather than using the military resources at their disposal to ensure the safe evacuation of our citizens.

It is clear that the FCO is no longer capable of handling this issue and the matter should be handed over the Ministry of Defence so that our citizens can be rescued from the imminent danger posed by a regime increasingly associating the British as provocateurs in this uprising and thereby increasing the risk our citizens will be exposed to harm.

Once our citizens are safely home the PM needs to launch an urgent independent enquiry into this mess and I for one would welcome resignations from the ministerial team at the FCO.

The Greatest Tax Heist in History

So the pro-corporation, anti-society coalition government is proposing changing the tax code to give corporations the largest single tax break in British, perhaps global history.

The basics are fairly simple. At present corporations domiciled here pay UK Corporation Tax on profits earned offshore at the difference between the Corporation Tax of the offshore location and the Corporation Tax in the UK.

So for a simple real world example lets say that a UK based corporation earns £100 m in Ireland.

The Respective Corporation Tax Rates:

Ireland: 12.5 %

UK: 23%

Difference: 10.5%

Amount of Tax Paid:

Ireland: £12.5 million

UK: £10.5 million

Total Tax Paid: £23 million

This is an intrinsically fair system both jurisdiction gets the Corporation Tax rate it sets; if the rate was higher in the foreign jurisdiction then no tax would be due here in the UK.

The UK corporation can also offset the costs of the foreign offices, etc, against the tax due to be paid here. So in effect the foreign income is treated exactly like income earned here in the UK. All seems fair right?

So what are the Proposed Changes?

They’re radical so make sure you’re sitting down. Basically our coalition government is proposing that UK corporations no longer have to pay any tax on income earned abroad.

So in this example we’d go from earning £10.5 million to a big fat zero.

In fact it’s worse than that. They’re still allowing the corporation to offset the cost of their foreign earnings against the tax they pay here on their UK earnings. So we will actually lose money.

How I ask is this in our interest? A few corporations might stay in the UK?

Is it done anywhere else in the world? Not even in Republican States in the US.

So what are they telling us?

It’s a small tax change.

The Treasury estimates it will only cost £100 m a year in lost revenues.

But I ask will it end there?

As a business owner myself I deeply doubt it.

For further discussion on this see this excellent segment from Newsnight a couple of weeks ago featuring Richard Brooks, Richard Murphy and Chrystia Freeland.

What happens to Diplomats when a regime falls?

As Libyan diplomats across the world have resigned in protests of the blatant attacks by Gaddafi on his own people we have seen some ambassadors refuse to step down and back the regime, in particular I’m thinking of the head of the UN mission Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, what happens to these diplomats diplomatic protection if the regime itself falls?

Surely they are complicit in the crimes against humanity being committed against their own people by their administration. So if the regime falls would it be possible for them to be arrested and held with a view to charging them for that complicity?

I’m interested in anyone’s thoughts on the topic in the comments below.