#ukip, @MarkReckless, #NigelFarage, #NMW & Tax ‘Cuts’ #RochesterandStrood #RochesterStrood

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Nigel Farage recently announced that he would take all those on the National Minimum Wage out of Income Tax. On the surface that sounds like a bold move. On the surface.

From 1st October this year, the hourly rate for someone on the NMW will be £6.50 per hour.  If that someone works 40 hours per week, 52 weeks of the year then that works out at £13,520 per year.  Their personal tax allowance will be £10,000 so they only pay Income Tax at 20% on £3,520.  The amount paid works out at £704 or £13.54 per week.  Certainly not to be sniffed at, but hardly the largesse that one might first think.

However, Value Added Tax is levied at 20% and, if those benefiting from Farage’s tax cut spend all or most of that £13.54 per week then they are receiving with one hand and paying most, if not all back to the Treasury with the other.  VAT, being a regressive tax, bears down most on those with the lowest incomes, because, more likely than not, they will spend every extra pound that they receive, unlike those higher up the income scale.

It would also seem that some ukippers (on Twitter at least) think that VAT is levied purely to pay our annual EU subscription and so it too may be scrapped.  True, it is a requirement of membership, but the money raised by it in the United Kingdom is well in excess of that needed to pay our sub.  As a consequence, we will not be scrapping VAT any time soon, if ever, given Farage’s proposed (costed?) spending plans to date. Moreover, Farage recognises that we get £7 back from every £10 we pay into the EU and plans to continue (at the moment) with maintaining that 70% of EU spend, but not via Brussels.

The hourly rate for the NMW that I have quoted above is for those aged 21 and over.  The rate for those aged between 18 and 20, inclusive, is £5.13 per hour or £10,670.40 per year.  The amount of Income Tax paid being is £134.08.  If Farage makes good on his promise the cut amounts to a pay increase of £2.58 per week for 18 to 20 year olds.

The NMW hourly rate for those aged under 18 is £3.79 (or £7,883.20 per year) and for apprentices is £2.73 per hour (or £5,678.40 per year).  Neither group would, of course, benefit from Farage’s tax change.  The rate for apprentices is for those aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year of their apprenticeship.  All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

I am not holding my breath as to whether Farage would raise the NMW for those not benefiting from his taking those on the hourly higher rates out of the range of Income Tax.  Elsewhere in the ukip forest, influential members of ukip want to see the NMW scrapped.  One assumes this is not so employers may pay more per hour.  There are some benighted individuals who think the NMW keeps wages low.  Perhaps it does, but do they seriously want to go back to the days before its introduction?

Also, you will have noticed that if you work 29 and a half hours per week, at £6.50 per hour for 52 weeks, then you already pay no Income Tax and, if you work 37 and a half hours per week, at £5.13 per hour for 52 weeks, then you too already pay no Income Tax. Who is more likely than not to work less than 40 hours per week for 52 weeks per year? Women, often in part time jobs; Black and Ethnic Minorities; People With Disabilities; anyone in part time work; people with casual contracts and those on zero hours contracts. Oh, and those white working class (left behind) males flocking to ukip to be shorn like sheep whose fleeces are more than ready for the clippers.

It has been estimated that taking all those out of the NMW out of tax will cost £13 billion per year.  We have no idea where that money will come from, although as mentioned above, it may well be partly, if not almost completely recouped through VAT. And I have not added in the revenue accruing from purchases on which other imposts are levied, for example alcohol and tobacco.

Look at in another way, though.  Farage would lose £13 billion of tax revenue per year were his proposal implemented and yet the resulting benefits per person on NMW would be modest, to say the least.  There are, therefore, a lot of low paid people in the United Kingdom.  If Farage really wanted to make a real difference to their lives, he would be lecturing his mates in the City, ukip’s big business backers and its members who are business people, like many of its MEPs, on the need for business to raise the pay of their workers.  Instead, he is once more revealed as all style and no substance.

May be not, though. Join up the dots.  You have taken everyone on the NMW out of paying Income Tax so why do you need the NMW and big government?  You may scrap the NMW and promise to increase the 20% starting rate and the 40% starting rate every year by the Cost Price Index.  I assume you will not wish to be overly generous by increasing it by the Retail Price Index?

We now have a policy that will be music to the ears of libertarians, like Douglas Carswell; business people with no sense of corporate social responsibility and the Hard Right of the Tory Party.  Without the NMW there will be nothing to stop paying new recruits less than now as well as freezing pay for current staff and possibly even reducing it.  And, increasing the 20% and 40% starting rates benefits those paying Income Tax at the highest rate the most.  And there you were thinking a tax cut for the low paid was born out of pure altruism.  Think again?

ukip, the party of the left behind? ukip, the party of the low paid working man (and sometimes working woman)? ukip, the party that cares for the plight of the young?

No! Not when Farage wants to cut the top rate of tax from 45% to 40%.

Now you know who will benefit from Farage’s tax cuts.  People nothing like you, me and most of the electorate. Certainly not those whose pay is currently guaranteed by the NMW.

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Data and politics…

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Paul Bernal's Blog

CarswellOne of the less obvious side shows to the defection of Douglas Carswell MP from the Tories to UKIP has been the report that he may be taking his data with him – detailed data about his constituents, it appears, and according to the Daily Mail people at UKIP are ‘purring’ at the prospect of getting hold of the data.

This raises many, many issues – not least data protection issues. The excellent Jon Baines (@bainesy1969 on twitter) has been blogging about political data issues for some time, not least how it appears that political parties ride roughshod over data protection law and yet somehow the Information Commissioner’s Office does not want to get involved. He’s written something today in relation to Douglas Carswell – you can read it here.  As Jon Baines explains, there are many legal issues to deal with, including a possible criminal offence.

Even setting…

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Can We Make #ClactonByElection About #BedroomTax and #WOW For @DouglasCarswell? #Clacton

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The political circus and the media are about to descend on Clacton.  The story?  Will ukip manage to get its first Member of Parliament elected.  The issue?  Europe or at least that is what ukip wants it to be and what the likes of Nick Robinson will want to talk about.

However, Douglas Carswell brought up the Bedroom Tax just after his defection.  Despite voting strongly in favour of the Bedroom Tax (and the rest of IDS’s welfare ‘reforms’) in the House of Commons, Carswell says he is now minded to switch his position that of ukip:

“I used to be staunchly in favour of the bedroom tax and then I met a man who was living quite near here. He suffers from mental health issues, his partner died and now he is being forced to move out of a place he calls home. My heart actually was telling me about the bedroom tax: ‘Hang on a second,’ and now I discover that Ukip is against it as well.”

Carsewll was deaf to the many similar cases, anticipated by MPs and debated during the passing of the Bedroom Tax legislation.  Carswell was all for it then and he has still not shifted to backing repeal, because ukip only says it will oppose the Bedroom Tax, even in Government.  Like a lot of ukip policy, it is a case of trying to be all things to all men (and sometimes women).  In other words, Carswell proposes to switch his position to a middle of the road one.  A position that would, even if ukip came into Government, leave the legislation in place and still causing misery and death.  Is this a sign to the Tory Party that their opposition to the Bedroom Tax policy is one policy that ukip would be happy to negotiate away in any post May 7th negotiations about coalition with the Tories?

Apart from possibly sending a signal, Carswell may have revealed a concern about a possible campaign issue.  An issue that might well help to reduce his chances of being returned to Parliament.  An issue, that if brought up at every opportunity during the by election campaign, would smoke out ukip’s stance on Social Security once and for all.  In the process, ukip might find its position driving away supporters.  Will it be seen as weak on welfare or a party wanting to go further than IDS.  Either way ukip jumps, it stands to lose support

Why might the Bedroom Tax be an issue in Clacton out on the stump?  Unemployment, using the monthly JSA count figures is relatively low.  Clacton is ranked 173 of the 651 Parliamentary seats.  The higher up the charts you are, the higher the proportion of the working age population, using the JSA figures, who are out of work.  However, the total number of people of working age on Social Security (scroll down the page) such as ESA propels Clacton much higher up the charts.

Until now there was not an opportunity to send a clear and direct message to Parliament about the Bedroom Tax.  However, Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions intends to put down a motion in the House of Commons that would repeal the Bedroom Tax legislation.  Nick Clegg’s wobble over the Tax earlier in the year means that repeal is much more likely than at any time since the introduction of the Bedroom Tax.  Therefore, a vote for Labour in Clacton that returns a Labour MP into Parlament might well further improve the chances of repeal before next May.

Ah John, you say, Labour are not to be trusted on matters like the Bedroom Tax.  Well now is a chance to see if Labour will do its best before next May to do what is says it would do after May 7th next year.  If it does not, then voting for Labour in Clacton will only return a Labour MP for a few months and the voters of Clacton may hold that person to account on May 7th next year.

I say to the cynics and the apathetic, voting for Labour in Clacton in the upcoming by election is surely a small price to pay for possibly bringing the end of the Bedroom Tax a bit closer?  And, in stopping ukip in their tracks then you send a clear signal to ukip that they cannot ignore your votes and that they should think again about the negative attitudes they so often display towards People With Disabilities, the LGBT and BEM communities, women and quite a few elderly people too.

There is plenty that people may do to put the Bedroom Tax front and centre in this by election campaign.  For example, pester ukip at every turn out on the campaign trail; get involved in radio phone in programmes; write to your local newspapers and Carswell; e-mail Carswell; approach him on Facebook; Tweet him; petition him; stand behind him at every turn with placards, particularly during interviews with the media and gatecrash his press conferences.  In short, make the issue of the Bedroom Tax a nightmare for him, both day and night, throughout the campaign!  Who knows, if he is returned to Parliament, he might undergo a Damascene conversion and abstain on a vote about the Bedroom Tax and possibly, just possibly vote against it.

Help send a message to Farage, Carswell (and Clegg) that, as Aneuran Bevan observed, people who stand in the middle of the road get run down!

Community responses to child sexual exploitation. Pt 1 Helping children to be less vulnerable

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itsmotherswork

When the #Rotherham report was first published, I spent an evening reading it in full and commenting on Twitter as I read. One of my remarks was this:

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A good Tweetmate, @rattlecans, very reasonably asked what that community involvement should look like. This is not easy to define, any more than what the professional response should be is easy to define (despite everyone who doesn’t have to do this work thinking it’s simple and common sense, and pretty much effortless and only the truly stupid, corrupt, venal or incompetent could have failed to protect the girls who were raped, trafficked and abused in other ways).

This blogpost is intended to examine the community actions which could help to prevent child sexual exploitation. The same steps would, incidentally, protect vulnerable adults from sexual exploitation too. The post is not intended to absolve professionals from their own responsibilities but rather to make…

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