back to article What on earth do you think you are doing, Darling?

Well, wasn't that a wonderful little budget? We're broke, borrowing the entire output of many a small nation, and this as a result of the policies from the man who promised to abolish boom and bust. But it's not all bad news. Some of it is worse. Take, as a minor example, the increase in statutory redundancy pay announced. …

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Anonymous Coward

Really.

"If not, then the only reason to not fire them is because the employer can't afford the redundancy-pay hit all at once or because they're willing to risk the wrath of the law and keep someone in wages for what little value they do bring to the company"

If the employee has been employed for less than 2 years then no redundancy pay will be due.

What wrath ?

Automatic unfair dismissal went the way of the dodo at the start of this year.

Getting rid of a short term employee is easy. No wrath.

Government spending is transparent, you just have to look for it.

We could look at the total cost to the nation of the public servants pensions: those working now, and retired, will cost the taxpayer 1 trillion pounds.

About 168 billion a year, at the moment.

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Dead Vulture

We don't stand a chance

...when the big news is "Jade - The Musical"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8014126.stm

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Dead Vulture

geeks + politics = FAIL

Thought I was on The Register, but seem to have somehow ended up on speak you're branes.

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Linux

@Pheet

1) Actually, it's the people who produce value who produce value for the company, their position on the ladder has nothing to do with it. HR, Accounts, PR etc don't produce value in of themselves and yet these are 'growth industries'. If salesman X can bring in several multi-million pound contracts, increasing profits by £10 million, then a salary of £1 million a year seems quite reasonable. More reasonable than paying salesman Y £500k for an increase of £4 million.

2) Our employment laws make it rather hard to reward the good whilst punishing the bad. Anyone who's ever employed more than one person for the same basic role will tell you that some people are worth at least £5.85/hour and some aren't worth the trouble of unbuttoning your flies if their teeth are on fire.

Tux because it's friday.

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Flame

@Go to the Winston Smith blog to see where some of your money goes.

Some good stuff on here, thanks for posting. Something of a microcosm for certain aspects of our society today.

The rest of us need to stop bitching and cheer the fuck up. While there are some money issues that need ironing out (ok, lots), the way some of you were going on you'd think we were on a three day week.

I have seen NO convincing evidence of there being radically fewer IT jobs going. While the anecdotal evidence I've heard always seems to be prefaced by some semi-rascist rant and from people who I suspect weren't very good at their job.

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Flame

More wrong

"It's people at the bottom of the company that produce the most value. The higher up you get, the higher the salary with less value being produced - e.g. middle management (who often decrease value), till you get to the boardroom which get paid millions but contribute very little "

No, no, no, and finally, no.

Leaving aside the complete lack of proof and reasoned argument in your comment, it's not true. People above the front line workers contribute direction, organisation and prioritise the use of resources in order to meet the objectives of the company/government/whatever. That's another form of value.

Or to put it another way, front line staff keep the company going from one day to the next. The people above them keep it going week to week, and the people above them month to month.

Any one layer cannot exist without the others, but to state that anyone higher than a front line worker has no value (but mysteriously gets a mega wage for what they do) is bollocks. According to your theory, 100000 slaves doing random shit in the desert would have given us the pyramids*.

*and of course, we all know they gave us Linux.

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Happy

love IT

I enjoyed this article and IT means a lot to me.

one argument though that I am not entirely convinced by:

*** a general and sustained increase in the standard of living ***

I do not think that this is the case. I understand that numbers might be used to prove it but:

1. In the seventies middle class families could afford to buy their children birthday and christmas presents which costed them the equivalent of between four and six weeks of salary. They bought things such as Scalextric, Hornby Trains, Lego and Meccano etc. these things really did cost many parents a monthly salary. Still the popularity of these toys would appear to show that many families did indeed find that kind of money to spend. Now you ask yourself - when was the last time that you could spend a monthly salary on a present for you child?

2. In the late eighties and early nineties a PC cost several months salary and a good monitor also. Now you would be hard pushed to be able to justify - or find money for - a pc which would cost you the equivalent of three months salary. I would think that your spouse might have a thing or two to say about how you prioritize your expences if you tried to spend that kind of money.

3. In the early seventies many middle class families did not hesitate to change their (new) car every three years. It does certainly not appear to me to be nearly as common anymore in todays world.

This and other things leads me to wonder if the talk about living standard is an exercise in illusion and wishful thinking. So perhaps we have more things - but are they of as good quality? Is our living space nicer? Is the food of better quality than it used to (oops... perhaps this one is a silly comment as we are talking about the UK). Yes these are ofcourse oversimplifications but personally I am not convinced that the living standard has become better overall. Yes in many things it may be better today - but there are really many things that are worse - and I do not believe that this is only due to my possibly rose tinted glasses. Or maybe I was just a very happy and lucky child when I grew up so my expectations on todays society are just unrealistic...

... oh and by the way - both of my parents were industrial factory workers.

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Coat

re: Forget the workers

psst!

1. I like my job!

2. IT is fun and rewarding!

3. And the salary is possible to live on...

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Stop

Parties

As a young person working at design level in telecoms, I'm very worried about the future in the UK currently.

What worries me more though is the way the media has suddenly became pro-tory. I remember growing up, and although not fully able to understand the conservatives, I'm pretty sure their views on politics is down right atrocious, favouring big business, and not so lenient on the poor of our country. However, labour appear to be letting the poor down also.

I'm *not* a lib dem, and actually just prefer the 'good' guys to get into power - but to me Vince from the Lib Dems is talking like the "common man" currently. I'm not sure what to make of it all, but I can certainly see the tories getting in at the next election, and just taking us backwards (values wise.)

Ok, I'm mainly concerned about my job at the moment - but the way the media has evolved as I've grown up very much scares me. Then again, no matter what any sane person says, the public are always thick enough to go with the typical laughable democracy approach of "had enough of those left wingers, get those right wingers back in!" or vice versa.

Unbelievable, what a country we've became :-(

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark Wolstenholme 24th April 2009 14:34 GMT

Dear Mark

Please read

http://nightjack.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/darkness-at-the-edge-of-town/

especially the comment from "Lilyofthefield" which states:

"I teach in a high school that er… serves the sort of estate you describe, and from the point of view of someone not in the Police, would like to say that every word is true. The Sunday Times once did a piece on our catchment area, and interviewed a number of “Our Young People”. I suspect Kate [or Mark Wolstenholme? ;-) ] was one of the interviewers. They overwhelmingly felt that these were dear good children if only they’d had the breaks. Well Social Services, the Welfare State,Youth Workers, schools, voluntary organisations and do-gooders alike have given them nothing but restorative breaks to try and make up for their lousy gang-led community, cultural and spiritual impoverishment and disgusting parents since the day they born. They had plenty of breaks and pissed them up against the wall.

Two of the boys interviewed were in my form. Both are now in prison, but even at 13, they had broken into the house of an elderly lady who lived alone on that estate - that in itself should be a crime - and had killed her cat in front of her and urinated over her, her carpets and furniture. The offence itself was in legal terms, minor, and they roared with contempt at the non-sentence. "

Happy now?

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@it's good for me

Most people who worked out that any budget at all is good for them are shit at maths. Not having a job doesn't make you better off, nor does paying more for everything you need. Amazingly still, neither does having more taken out of your pay check if you are lucky enough to still have a job.

Usually I like taxing rich people as much as the next person, but there comes a point where everyone with any real money will simply leave this country and invest elsewhere, taking the jobs they create with them. When this happens the little crisis we're currently enjoying will look like a storm in a teacup.

@Martin, 'This really isn't the place for this discussion.'

You people still exist? How many stories does it take for the fuckwits to understand that satire, humour and political comment are as much a part of this site is about as anything technical or scientific. You want an IT angle? The story is on a website and you're reading it with a fucking computer, there's your IT angle.

@ASI and tax

Damn, two of you on the same comments page. See above, unless being this stupid is a talent you want to show off again. There never has been a time when political stories were not part of this website and hopefully never will. They're as much part of the Reg as Rise of the Robots and Google's penguin death march.

@Sarah

You did after all say you wanted a Flamey Friday.

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Dead Vulture

UKIP?

If the Weimar Republic taught us anything it's not to vote for a nationalist party when things get tough economically (especially when the nation is actually "Engerland" not the whole of the UK).

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Coat

@Joe Harrison

" Too many people in this fread are on about "rewarding those who work" as if working is (in and of itself) a Good Thing. It isn't - if we could 100%computerise and robotise the entire planet's means of production then we could all lounge about and please ourselves all day with no downside. "

Then we would have to go through that nasty Cylon/Terminator business.

Oh, wow I got a great idea for a sequel-squared - "Cylon v. Terminator." Caprica six (or an 8) takes on John Conner's personal fembot.

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Thumb Up

The UK is ok for the unemployed :)

I recently lost my job, well it was given to a nice Indian gent, cant balme him, my company needed to save money, and the best way to do that was to charge UK companies £2500 per day, invest the money offshore and pay a salary offshore (So all the money leaves).

Now Herr broon wont get a penny of tax on that, and I quite like that.

Heres the crunch!

My mortgage is £267'300 ish, and as I have been 'off' for 13 weeks the guwwermint pays it

My wife works 20 hours a week on the min wage £5.75 and pays £15 a week in taxes.... BUT

Your gonna love this.....

BOTH our kids are in afterschool (I could look after them, but hey, Guwwermint pays for it)

And we get £300 a week to 'pay for stuff'

And £135 a month family allowance

In total its £1200 a month

No Mortgage

Free childcare 8am -6pm

Wife works 3 days a week

And we now have money, I was always skint on my takehome of £2300 per month

Mortgage £1220, Council Tax £180, Childcare £300 Thats £1700 which left me with £600 a month

We are off to Ibiza this summer.

So for all those in IT wondering of your job is safe, and (You need a big mortgage, having equity means your in a sticky puddle)

You should hope that you get outsourced soon, then you can at least enjoy life a bit whilst the guvvermint gets itself sorted.

I think the jobs will have to come back soon, as we dont sell anything apart from Debt and Advice in the uk, and we really do need scientists and engineers.

Nice article, and yes you pay tax and NI on £5.75 a week if you work 20 hours, I have the wifes wage slips to prove it.

Hope its sunny next week.......

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Following up.....

"The ASI were one of the early advocates in the UK of the very daft (and extremely regressive) flat-tax system,"

Just a technical correction here. A flat tax "can" be regressive. It can also be progressive (defining that as tax as a percentage of total income rising as income rises). It depends upon what the basic allowance is. Which is why the ASI advocates a high one, to make the tax system more progressive than the current one. Umm, OK; I haven't seen the figures for whether it's more progressive now, with the 50p band, but certainly as compared to the earlier one it was.

If you define progressive as ever rising marginal tax rates then of course it isn't progressive but then that's not what progressive actually means.

Me and UKIP? I'm a candidate in the London Region for the coming euro elections. I'm also a press officer for them. So, no, I'm not resident in Portugal either. And as to tax, Portugal would be a strange place to be a tax exile. Depends on exactly the income level but taxes can be higher there than in the UK.

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Flame

Politics

@Sarah : lets make it flamey monday too :-)

This artice was an interesting and thought provoking read, as were the comments.

I have to take issue with one assertion the article makes. The assertion that capitalism provides a sustained increase in standard of living. For whom, and an on what basis ? Industrial jobs are now in the far east, while we now have armies of bankers, estate agents, surveyors (of what ?), and solicitors as the UK 'industry'. All this relies on the ability to move produce about worldwide, for example imports from the far east, and for big business entities to leech some of the profits at each stage. And when the oil has gone ? This at the very least shows that the current economic model is not viable in the longer term. The only solution is to bring the industrial jobs back home. At least that way we can manufacture the equipment to support agriculture which in turn will feed and clothe us.

The rest ? I don't know, but it seems tax and minimum wage won't matter a damn !

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Linux

Hold it sunshine!

"This is the end result of that useful thing which capitalism alone amongst economic systems manages: a general and sustained increase in the standard of living." Whose lives are we talking about...?

You and your mates at the ASI?

The British People? (Chavs running riot, civil liberties gone, life savings vapourised, negative equity, job insecurity, lost union rights etc)

The Chinese factory workers/slaves making our consumer goods?

The coffee, cacao, banana, mange tout, etc growers in many countries?

Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, Vietnamese, Southeast Asians, Nicaraguans?

The kids eating 20p school dinners and trying to grow healthy bones and brains on that shite?

People failed by the "NHS" as a result of the forced backdoor privatisation?

From a global perspective I believe that the "general and sustained increase in the standard of living" of which you speak is neither general nor sustainable. While I'm not against a capitalist or trade-based system, I *am* against the system the world is currently suffering.

I mean no disrespect mate, its just that sentence that really got my back up. Otherwise, it was a good interesting read :-)

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eat the rich!

take one bite and spit out the rest!

etc.

Sorry, couldn't resist the aerosmith. I believe there is some merit in taxing everyone to a degree. It's the other side of the principle of no taxation without representation. If the people who demand and spend taxes should be accountable to the electorate, then the electorate, as a society should all be contributing. It's along the lines of 'buying' a stake in the country. Poor countries with despotic leaders tend to have large numbers of untaxed people. It's a lever for the despot to increase his power: leave the peasants largely alone so that at worst they are ambivalent to you no matter what crimes you commit against humanity elsewhere. If the government doesn't tax you, why get involved in the government or politics?

However, since nearly everyone in the UK pays some amount of VAT (even if just enough so that suspicion in the tax office is not aroused) and whatever other hidden taxes, it is unfair to tax people's income at 20% from £6000-odd. Even 10% would be too much in my proposal for broader income taxation. 5% or less might be a starting point.

Anyway: note that government ministers are paid less than £150000pa and hence should be under the 50% radar. Expect if ministers' pay goes up they will increase the threshold pretty sharpish. don't forget capital gains is still at 18% for the time being. I suspect to keep the rich from flocking away immediately and to artificially inflate the stock market by 'encouraging' high earners to take a reduced salary, but take the rest in options/investments.

Finally, whilst I have shown I'm not a flat-taxer, politicians and ultra-progressives tend to forget that the rich do pay more tax when they earn more money. 40% of lots is very much more than 20% of a little. Ah, socialism, and making everyone equally poor.

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Dead Vulture

UKIP?

What next, a Reg column by Nick Griffin?

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BNP is nicking ex labour voters, not UKIP.

Don't be silly Roy. It's Labour that are competing with the BNP, not UKIP.

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My 2p worth...

If the personal allowance was raised to £11,500 as some people are suggesting, how would the government recoup the lost income?

A few months ago (before the recession hit), Radio 4 did some analysis of where all the extra money pumped into the NHS has gone. About 1/3 went on increased costs, 1/3 on salary increases, leaving 1/3 extra investment.

The Tories seem to have got the impression the public sector (or "quangocracies" as they seem to have termed it) is stuffed full of senior managers earning vast quantities of money. In reality in the bulk of the public sector (i.e. schools, hospitals, local government offices), there are many tiers of management, and I suspect it's only a few thousand people that earn vast sums of money in the public sector. Pruning them wouldn't save much money.

Then there's the notion of protecting "front-line workers" (but presumably only if they agree to a pay freeze in the next settlement) - but what about the armies of support staff, without whom the front-line staff couldn't operate? Public sector pay settlements have been less than inflation for many years now, and the concept of "Best value" has become embedded in the culture.

However, there are some ways the government could potentially raise extra money:

* scrap the upper limit on NI.

* clamp down on the loopholes that allow those earning significant quantities of money to avoid paying tax on a large proportion of it.

* when the VAT cut expires, don't renew it.

As for benefits for the unemployed, I read AC's comment above with envy. As a single person living in a rented 2 bed flat, I'd be lucky to get my £525/month rent paid by the state, let alone the £130 utility bills (soon to rise as my gas DD apparently isn't enough)...

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@Rupert you twunt...

"If you vote, you should pay tax. Otherwise, non-taxpayers have no incentive to vote for tax-reducing parties (since it's someone else who'll be paying)."

Hey, while we're at it, why don't we make the value of your vote proportional to how much tax you do pay? Oh, that's right, because that would be facism, the natural next step in your line of thinking (if you can even call it thinking). I was born here, I have to live under this countries rules and thereby surrender a part of my natural liberty to the state - THAT IS WHY I GET TO VOTE on who administers the state. Anyway we all pay tax, EVEN TRAMPS pay tax, just not income tax and most of these taxes are regressive and penalise the poor disproportionately.

"A flat rate tax would be a good start, so everyone can understand exactly how much tax they'll be paying, coupled with benefit reform to reward people who work."

So you want an even more regressive tax system? People who work are rewarded with wages, I don't think it's even slightly fair to claim we are 'rewarding' the poor and needy for doing nothing, such comments can surely only come from privileged bigoted snobs who have never had to live on the breadline and "copper up" for a bag of rice. I want a massively simplified tax system too but only if it's fair. Flat taxes are not fair and I suspect YOU only want them RUPERT because they will make YOU richer.

Much as I hate to find myself siding with an ASI / UKIP member I'm afraid he's making a lot more sense than you today!

Roger Heathcote.

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