The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

If We Have To Pay That 5p Plastic Bag Levy Then Let It All Go To LOCAL “Good Causes”

AM38GT Man looking at bill in grocery store. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

From now on any customer who wants a plastic bag at the check out of every large retailer will have to pay a compulsory 5p levy. The government hopes that this will reduce the use of plastic bags and help the environment.

Of every 5p paid under the new charge, 0.83p will go to the Treasury in VAT and retailers have been told they are expected to give the rest to good causes.

You can bet your Nectar card that the six figure boss of the RSPCA and his fellow big charity chiefs are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of shedloads of shekels being forklifted into their money chests via this plastic bag levy. Some of it might go to the front line but you can guarantee that a lot of it will pay for shiny new offices and extra bonuses for those vital “administrators”….

What’s more Cameron’s government will be getting a slice of the action with that 0.83p. No doubt Samantha Cameron will be persuading Dave to pump that into foreign aid or climate change gifts so that she can feel a warm glow inside at her dinner parties.

So how about we approach this from a different angle. Keep the “good causes” ploy but instead of funnelling it the charity fat cats why not insist that the money raised from the levy goes to charities that are local to each supermarket’s catchment area. Indeed most supermarkets already identify with local good causes.

Then, instead of the supermarket bosses deciding which good cause to support while schmoozing with fellow rotarians at the golf club get the customers who pay the levy to decide for themselves by copying the Waitrose way……giving them a plastic token which they then throw into one of three boxes identifying a local good cause. Every two months three new charities would be identified so that over the year at least eighteen organisations would benefit. Then, at the end of the year, each charity would have to publish, in detail, how exactly the money was spent and make the facts available on the supermarket’s website, in the local media and via a leaflet issued at each checkout.

Oh and Dave…..why not announce that you won’t be taking your cut from the levy so the whole 5p will go to local good causes.



posted by david in UK Politics and have Comments Off on If We Have To Pay That 5p Plastic Bag Levy Then Let It All Go To LOCAL “Good Causes”

Cameron Thinks Stay At Home Mums Are Unimportant…….

Cameron is now bigging up childcare costs

Working mothers will be given thousands of pounds-worth of support for child care to help them to return to work, under plans being considered by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Stay at home mums will be given an additional tax allowance to help pay someone else to look after their kids to get them back to work. But if they decide to remain at home to look after their kids themselves they will get zilch – even though they are creating the most stable, family friendly environment for those key formative years.

In effect Cameron is saying to those mums who want to stay at home that they are of less significance than those mothers who get back into the workforce as soon as possible. He is essentially devaluing motherhood and the concept of the traditional family – a strange move for the leader of a so called “conservative” party.

Time was that parents of young children accepted the fact that they had to downsize their own expenditure because there was now just a single earner….usually dad. So you made do with the same car for a few more years, you had the odd family day out rather than an expensive foreign holiday, restaurants and pubs became a fond memory, you kept the old black & white TV when everyone else had colour.

School hours and term dates were geared for education not for child minding. You were expected to keep your children with you rather than dump them in a crèche. Nobody complained because that was just the way things were.

But many of today’s parents don’t seem willing to make those sacrifices. They want to maintain their childless lifestyle. So both of them need to be earning as soon as possible – then they can pay someone else to look after their kids.

Now Cameron is saying that dumping your young children so that you can have the plasma TV, the expensive foreign holiday and the new car(s) is not only OK but you’ll pay less tax to make it even easier – so the rest of us will have to pay more to make up for it.

And he thinks it’s UKIP members who are odd?


posted by david in Family,UK Politics and have Comment (1)

Time For The Public To Be Told Some Cold, Hard Facts About The Economy….An Opportunity For UKIP?

Sombre words of warning from the former Auditor General of Scotland, Bob Black and, more surprisingly, from the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Johann Lamont. Although addressed to Alex Salmond and his SNP government in Scotland the message they convey should resonate not only across the border with England but even further afield in Europe and the USA.

Black called for a debate ‘as a society’ on spending plans for universal services, which in Scotland include free prescriptions and a council tax freeze. ‘We do have to revisit it. Every pound that goes on free services, such as bus passes for well-off older people, is not there to do other things,’ he said.

Lamont followed the same path

‘someone always pays in the end’ for universal services. She added: ‘I believe our resources must go to those in greatest need.

‘If we wish to continue some policies as they are then they come with a cost which has to be paid for either through increased taxation, direct charges or cuts elsewhere. If we do not confront these hard decisions soon, then the choice will be taken from us when we will be left with little options.’

In other words this is a debate that must be held at an adult level.

‘We need to get to a place where we can talk about these things quite frankly and openly, tolerate differences of opinion being expressed, and then allow the politicians to absorb that information, take it forward and develop the policies.

This would be a bitter pill for Salmond and the SNP tp swallow because their chip on the shoulder nationalist rhetoric has never been rooted in economic reality. Instead they have encouraged Scots to fall for the oldest confidence trick in the book – the free lunch.

Not that the Cameron/Clegg coalition in England is much better. For all the talk of “cuts” the fact is that government expenditure in the UK is increasing and will continue to increase over the next few years – but the increase will be a tad less than it would have been if Labour had been re-elected in 2010.

Moreover, although budgets have been reduced across several areas, Cameron has ring fenced spending in the NHS – the biggest “universal free service” of all – as well as pleasing the Guardianistas by protecting the overseas aid budget. In addition, of course, he and his government have dared not grasp the nettle of free bus passes and heating allowances for all old age pensioners, including those who holiday with Saga and overcrowd weekday golf courses.

But it’s not just politicians who have to face up to reality – it is also we the people. As Black has said there must be a “frank and open debate” with no histrionics, no bloody shrouds being waved by producer interest groups like doctors, teachers and local government workers, no sob stories commissioned by the BBC.

The tragedy is that none of the major UK political parties dares to ask the public to face the facts. Like the BBC over Jimmy Savile, our political elite prefers to pretend the problem doesn’t exist and, if they go ostrich, it will go away.

What an opportunity for UKIP to campaign on cold hard facts…..

Sorry but we can no longer afford to pay out so much money for benefits, “free” healthcare, protected public sector pensions, overseas aid, free bus passes for pensioners, arts subsidies etc etc. We believe it is immoral to pass on massive debts to our children and grandchildren. So this is what we promise. If you elect us we will reduce taxation but, in return, you must expect to pay a contribution for public services that were once “free”

I think such a manifesto might not be a political suicide note. Maybe, at last, we, the electorate, want to be treated, for the first time in decades , as adults….

posted by david in Economy,UK Politics and have Comments Off on Time For The Public To Be Told Some Cold, Hard Facts About The Economy….An Opportunity For UKIP?

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