Planning for Brexit

Yes, well I’ve just (when I first drafted this blog post in March) seen this excellent piece of forward planning *sarcasm*……

So, let’s try come up with some plans ourselves, shall we?

The first thing, based on a Tweet from Daniel Hannan I remember seeing a few months back saying we could knock around 60% off Council Tax. Based on this, I’m thinking maybe phase the cut in by reducing it by around 2 – 5% a year while using the excess to play catch-up on the crapload of Infrastructure repairs & upgrades required in many places + regeneration projects and things like that until the 60% cut is achieved (or things are met part way).

The next thing I’m thinking of it to use it as an excuse to introduce Flat Taxes. Not only do they piss off lefties who can’t do maths or properly read about policies before jumping into attack mode, but they also get shot of loopholes that mean the better paid pay more from it being easier just to pay it than employ a decent accountant to find ways of wriggling out of paying more than necessary. The less well paid also pay less because of a threshold that lets them keep hold of more of their money.

Following this up by a Universal Income welfare system I’ve seen a handful of other countries decide to roll out… a number of other countries seem to also be having a crack at introducing them since I first spotted Telegraph articles about it, so why not?

Introduce something called “Agricultural Allowance” / “Farming Credits” to replace EU subsidies to British farmers. + maybe something similar for our tattered & torn fishing industry while it gets back on it’s feet from decades of EU interference?

Double the cancer drugs funding, think it’s currently about the same as what we’ve been paying the EU daily….

Ditch V.A.T from 20% to around 10-17.5%… I’ve got an app on my iPhone called VAT Pro, which also gives the rates for equivalent sales taxes in other parts of the world, such as 6.5% in Illinois over in the United States.

At the same time we could put through my earlier plan of ditching 2 different taxes on road fuel (fuel duty + vat), and create a new single Fuel Sales Tax on it instead.

I’ll probably come up with a few more ideas later, perhaps?

Update:

Other stuff to do will probably include a bonfire of surplus regulations that’ve been foisted on us over the years

Some of the stuff that ConservativeChitChat Supports (UK Edition)

1) Brexit… Leaving the EU holds the key to being able to do alot of the stuff that many of the stuff I support likely depends on, like keeping proper tabs on immigration.

2) Flat Taxes… they’ve been yapping for too long about simplifying them, how about actually doing it? Introducing Flat Taxes would zap many loopholes, and encourage those with fat wallets to just cough-up what they owe, instead of paying accountants to find ways to wriggle out of paying more than they have to.

3) A £155 per week Minimum Citizens income…. originally touted by the Greens, and branded a bloody stupid idea because it would cost around £415billion a year at a time Britain is trying to get back on it’s feet after Gormless Gordon Brown ran up a national deficit of £156bn (and down to around £50-£90billion around the 2015 General Election), the writers of the Daily Telegraph seem to have started warming to the idea…………

… and Finland have decided to have a crack at it too….


So I reckon it would be do-able, but require some serious awkward maths on the budget to make it work properly, such as introducing Flat Taxes + merging Income Tax with National Insurance, and achieving Brexit to enable proper control of our borders, among other things.
Maybe make a range of grants available, possibly funded in a way similar to Zopa + Funding Circle (but through the government) for things like Home Repair + disabled equipment (among other things) to make sure no one is left in the lurch.

4) Expanding Airport capacity in the South-East of England… just not with a 3rd Runway at Heathrow

5) Expanding the UK Rail Network with Real Rail Improvement, and possibly also building cycle paths to the side of the new tracks too, to expand the National Cycle Network.

6) Ditching Fuel Duty + VAT on Petrol & Diesel, and replacing with a single Fuel Sales Tax (F.S.T)

7) Building a Wales-to-Ireland Tunnel + a Scotland to Ireland Tunnel to improve transport links across the Irish Sea, and zap issues caused by crap weather that can hold up the current journey. The Wales to Ireland Tunnel is estimated to cost around £15billion (not too far off what we pay for a year’s EU membership).

8) Building a new Northern Section of the East Coast Mainline… if you look at it on Google Earth / Google Maps, you’ll notice it’s a teensy bit too close to the edge of the cliffs just north of Berwick-Upon-Tweed, which is sure to cause massive problems sooner or later.
Also if you remember Top Gear (series13 Episode1) with the race between a Steam Train, an old Jaguar + an old motorbike, you may recall there seemed to be some bottlenecks caused by local rail traffic.

9) Kitting out the RAF with a new Generation of AVRO Vulcan / Rockwell B-1B / Tupolev TU-160 sized big bombers…. let’s face it, as good as the trusty old Tornado fighter-bomber is, the fleet is apparently getting a bit shagged-out, and new proper bombers would expand Britain’s capabilities (and after all the cutting to defence we’ve had to do since 2010 we could use some more positive additions on top of what was announced the other week)

Europe said our unemployment benefit is crap – what to do about it?

Back at the end of January, there was news that Europe says we must DOUBLE the amount Britain pays out to the unemployed. The news story kinda got the amount wrong (no longer £67 a week, but actually £70.71 a week, rising to £72.40 a week for over-25’s from 8th of April 2014).

A review of of Britain’s compliance to the European Social Charter found the country’s level of jobseeker’s allowance, pensions and incapacity benefit falls below 40 per cent of the median income of European states.

To comply, Jobseeker’s Allowance would have to be hiked by £71, from £67 to £138 a week.

The Council of Europe said the UK was legally bound to meet the requirements in the same way they are by the European Convention on Human Rights.

What to do about this? (apart from leaving the EU, for which there are plenty of other reasons to do so long before this came up).

Around the time the story came out (and I first mean’t to get round to writing this thing) I came up with the idea of encouraging more people to take out private unemployment insurance while they have a job, so they can use that to start off with if/when they lose their job (then go onto to the government provided JSA that Europe says is crap once that has run out), and dabbled with a quote HERE, where I seem to recall getting a quote along the lines of £46 a week / month (can’t remember which now) for £1,000 a month cover.

I also found the Wikipedia article for how other countries deal with unemployment benefits, what d’ya think of the Canadian way of doing it?

In Canada, the system now known as Employment Insurance was formerly called Unemployment Insurance. The name was changed in 1996, in order to alleviate perceived negative connotations. In 2011, Canadian workers pay premiums of 1.78%[4] of insured earnings in return for benefits if they lose their jobs. Employers contribute 1.4 times the amount of employee premiums. Since 1990, there is no government contribution to this fund. The amount a person receives and how long they can stay on EI varies with their previous salary, how long they were working, and the unemployment rate in their area. The EI system is managed by Service Canada, a service delivery network reporting to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada.

A bit over half of EI benefits are paid in Ontario and the Western provinces but EI is especially important in the Atlantic provinces, which have higher rates of unemployment. Many Atlantic workers are also employed in seasonal work such as fishing, forestry or tourism and go on EI over the winter when there is no work. There are special rules for fishermen making it easier for them to collect EI. EI also pays for maternity and parental leave, compassionate care leave, and illness coverage. The programme also pays for retraining programmes (EI Part II) through labour market agreements with the Canadian provinces.

The Employment and Social Insurance Act was passed in 1935 during the Great Depression by the government of R.B. Bennett as an attempted Canadian unemployment insurance programme. It was, however, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada as unemployment was judged to be an insurance matter falling under provincial responsibility. After a constitutional amendment was agreed to by the provinces, a reference to “Unemployment Insurance” was added to the matters falling under federal authority under the Constitution Act, 1867, and the first Canadian system was adopted in 1940. Because of these problems Canada was the last major Western country to bring in an employment insurance system. It was extended dramatically by Pierre Trudeau in 1971 making it much easier to get. The system was sometimes called the 10/42, because one had to work for 10 weeks to get benefits for the other 42 weeks of the year. It was also in 1971 that the UI program was first opened up to maternity and sickness benefits, for 15 weeks in each case.

The generosity of the Canadian UI programme was progressively reduced after the adoption of the 1971 UI Act. At the same time, the federal government gradually reduced its financial contribution, eliminating it entirely by 1990. The EI system was again cut by the Progressive Conservatives in 1990 and 1993, then by the Liberals in 1994 and 1996. Amendments made it harder to qualify by increasing the time needed to be worked, although seasonal claimants (who work long hours over short periods) turned out to gain from the replacement, in 1996, of weeks by hours to qualify. The ratio of beneficiaries to unemployed, after having stood at around 40 percent for many years, rose somewhat during the 2009 recession but then fell back again to the low 40s.[5] Many unemployed persons are not covered for benefits (e.g. the self-employed), while others may have exhausted their benefits or did not work long enough to qualify. However, it is noted that about 80 percent of insured job-losers would initially qualify to receive EI benefits in Canada. The length of time one could take EI has also been cut repeatedly. The 1994 and 1996 changes contributed to a sharp fall in Liberal support in the Atlantic provinces in the 1997 election.

In 2001, the federal government increased parental leave from 10 to 35 weeks, which was added to preexisting maternity benefits of 15 weeks. In 2004, it allowed workers to take EI for compassionate care leave while caring for a dying relative, although the strict conditions imposed make this a little used benefit. In 2006, the Province of Quebec opted out of the federal EI scheme in respect of maternity, parental and adoption benefits, in order to provide more generous benefits for all workers in that province, including self-employed workers. Total EI spending was $19.677 billion for 2011-2012 (figures in Canadian dollars).[6]

A significant part of the federal fiscal surplus of the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin years came from the EI system. Premiums were reduced much less than falling expenditures – producing, from 1994 onwards, EI surpluses of several billion dollars per year, which were added to general government revenue.[7] The cumulative EI surplus stood at $57 billion at March 31, 2008,[8] nearly four times the amount needed to cover the extra costs paid during a recession.[9] This drew criticism from Opposition parties and from business and labour groups, and has remained a recurring issue of the public debate. The Conservative Party, after voicing much the same criticism while in opposition,[10] chose not to recognize those EI surpluses after being elected in 2006. Instead, the Conservative government cancelled the EI surpluses entirely in 2010, and required EI contributors to make up the 2009, 2010 and 2011 annual deficits by increasing EI premiums. On December 11, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a court challenge launched against the federal government by two Quebec unions, who argued that EI funds had been misappropriated by the government.[11]

Anyone got any better ideas?