« Science? .....bah, humbug! | Main | Former MPs humbled »

December 08, 2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Kay Tie

"I seem to recall KayTie that you were saying a while ago that the "supposed" tax gap, was mostly irrecoverable money due to companies going out of business."

Depends which "tax gap" you are referring to. I think that was the "uncollected tax" one.

"Once businesses are large enough, the companies can wind up with little effect on the well being of those who ran them despite sometimes having enormous effect on those who relied on them."

You're conflating several issues here. There are strict laws against trading while insolvent, and they mandate that a business is put into receivership as soon as there is no realistic prospect of paying debts as they fall due. But that can mean that a business goes under even if it did have a realistic prospect (e.g. expecting an investment, but it fell through).

"which is more than any company has to be which is only at best answerable to shareholders only"

I'm afraid that's not how the Companies Act operates. Where a company is trading close to insolvency, the interests of the creditors come first. There are duties on a director not to exacerbate the situation.

I think you need to understand company law a bit better. I've sat on several boards, and more than once seen how things operate when close to the wire. None of my fellow directors in any company I've been involved in have been sharks and all have acted most properly. One of my finance directors was an FD on a major company that went bust and the auditors made special mention of how he operated in an exemplary fashion.

When a business is in trouble, you try to save it. It's not fun laying off people, much as you might think that moustachioed top-hat wearers revel in the misery of Bob Cratchett. And it's certainly not fun seeing small suppliers go under as a consequence.

Anyway, none of this has much to do with pensions: there are hardly any final salary schemes around any more whereby a company going under can cause a pension to be lost (and thanks to the levy scheme, risk of that is pooled).

Anyway, good riddance to final salary schemes, since they only caused grief, greed and worry. I certainly steer clear of them, and prefer a defined contributions scheme. Much simpler relationship for all concerned, and almost zero chance of having your pension thieved or lost.

HuwOS


I seem to recall KayTie that you were saying a while ago that the "supposed" tax gap, was mostly irrecoverable money due to companies going out of business.
Once businesses are large enough, the companies can wind up with little effect on the well being of those who ran them despite sometimes having enormous effect on those who relied on them.
The governments do still have to be answerable to the electorate, which is more than any company has to be which is only at best answerable to shareholders only and like I said, they are only one part of the equation.

Kay Tie

"but of course compared to private business there is still no contest, they will walk away the second they feel like it"

Not my pension: it's a SIPP and so it's all mine. When the government proposes a law to let companies walk away from RPI linking at least my fund is alright: I run it.

"Governments can have a problem with long term, private business in general is worse on that measure and at least we get some input."

A company can't renege on a contract: a court will enforce it. Governments change the law to thieve (eg Labour capped the payout from S2P - but not the contributions to it). Any private company trying that would be in trouble. But the Government just passed a law and puff! the pension entitlement was removed.

HuwOS

"And that's why I go nowhere near government: it can't be trusted not to renege on a contract of such length"

Yes that is a problem,
but of course compared to private business there is still no contest, they will walk away the second they feel like it, with no input at all from the people who, either just like and want the service or need and rely on it.
As per national express and the east coast rail franchise
and many of the online music services
such as MSN Music store, WalMart etc

It is business after all, and no point in continuing with it if you are only going to make a loss now you can always jump in again when prospects look better.
Like Microsoft and Bing (I never said it was a good or successful strategy).

Governments can have a problem with long term, private business in general is worse on that measure and at least we get some input.


DG

"I wish we had a way of e-mailing our votes."

I can see the potential for abuse in that unfortunately, but video teleconference would work well, especially as HoC already has formalised rules on when people can speak.

Kay Tie

"Barbara castle castle thought she had such a deal in 1975 on SERPS. The Tories ratted on the deal in 1986."

And that's why I go nowhere near government: it can't be trusted not to renege on a contract of such length. Labour were just as bad as the Tories.

Paul Flynn

This is the story of all many reorganisations, KayTie. l was here for the Social Security reforms of 1987-88. They promised to simplify the system. They did not. I have lost count of the number of NHS reorganisations, I have witnessed. The only sensible reforms are those agreed between the parties that can be continued regardlss of political control. Barbara Castle thought she had such a deal in 1975 on SERPS. The Tories ratted on the deal in 1986.

Paul Flynn

It's madness DG. Tommorrow I have no choice but to drive to Newport at 5.00 am returning by train at 12.00 from Newport to Paddington. Getting across London to Westminster might be a problem. I wish we had a way of e-mailing our votes.

Kay Tie

"I have not seen one where any improvement compensated for the disruption, waste, chaos and over-employment of the upheaval. "

That's just giving up, Paul. You said the same about welfare reform.

What's happening is that inertia and rot have set in across the two biggest spending items, bloated by huge bureaucracies and political interference. It's time that both were taken back to basics.

Some radical thinking is needed. I gave you some ideas on how people could be put in charge of their own welfare: a Citizen's Basic Income. Or even a lifetime welfare account (which can be used for education, early retirement, maternity leave, long-term sick leave, re-training, and all the other life events that happen). The same radical thinking could reset the NHS.

Yet not a peep from Labour on anything new. Ed Milliband wants to go back to the comfort zone of the 1970s and 1980s: touting tired old policies that failed, opposing the government at every step. Well if you want to be out of power for 18 years, go for it. I'd be quite happy for Labour to be out of office. After 18 years most of the Old Guard would have simply died by then and maybe some new thinking would be allowed.

DG

How is it possible that there are no facilities for remote voting in the HoC, a decade into the 21st Century?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/08/labour-force-chris-huhne-return-climate-talks

I've no sympathy at all for the Lib Dem position, but surely there's no need for people to coming running back from all corners of the globe just to cast a vote? Think of the cost; think of the carbon emissions; think of the time wasted!

The comments to this entry are closed.