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10p tax.

Eddie Mair | 17:00 UK time, Wednesday, 23 April 2008

What do you think?


  • 1. At 5:06pm on 23 Apr 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    An excellent idea, Eddie. Replace all tax bands with a single 10p band for all ;o)

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  • 2. At 5:10pm on 23 Apr 2008, i.moore wrote:

    Let me get this right, Brown makes a mess of his 2007 budget, so he is going to make companies pay through higher minimum wages rates to extract himself from the hole he's dug.

    What a wonderful world he lives in, where you get others to pay for your mistakes.

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  • 3. At 5:18pm on 23 Apr 2008, jonnie wrote:

    The backtracking by Gordon Brown is quite farsical isn't it?

    It seems John Prescott's Bulimia wasn't a big enough spoiler!

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  • 4. At 5:21pm on 23 Apr 2008, tazback wrote:

    Check out the BBC news archives - Brown said the 10% band was to be introduced in the interests of "fairness".

    Removing the 10% band must be therefore "unfair". I'm a lower paid worker who deals with the tax affairs of non doms. (yes, pay in the private tax sector is poor). The non doms have used their contacts, cash and influence to give themselves a particularly privileged tax status which isn't available to to everyone else. I object to the proposal that I should pay more tax to make up the shortfall they have created and any suggestion that I should apply for means tested benefits of any discription to cover a shortfall in my meagre income that shouldn't have arisen in the first place.

    I'm not "getting" anything in this u turn. Just the opportunity to claim working tax credit. Eh, Thanks!

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  • 5. At 5:27pm on 23 Apr 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    My word, the mods are hard at it tonight (no, none of the missing posts are mine!)

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  • 6. At 5:33pm on 23 Apr 2008, Fifi wrote:

    Our friends, who are a middle-aged couple with no children and both currently on low incomes, will be thoroughly hammered by the hike in tax, but won't qualify for any of the compensation measures.

    If you're not fashionably either old or rearing children, you don't come up on the poverty radar.


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  • 7. At 5:34pm on 23 Apr 2008, Sid wrote:

    I'm baffled by the fact that someone as [allegedly] intelligent as Gordon Brown could be caught out by such an obvious elephant trap. How could people NOT be worse off following the abolition of a lower tax rate? And why did the govt persist in their pig-headedness for so long? And all for the momentary gasp when GB announced the 20% basic rate.

    'It was right to listen' says GB - you mean you couldn't work it out yourself?

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  • 8. At 5:39pm on 23 Apr 2008, Cynosarges wrote:

    "New Labour's flag is dirty white.
    Poor Gordon Brown had a big fright
    shook to the core by 'pinion poll,
    Frank Field's vote has chilled his soul

    We'll change the country bit by bit
    So nobody will notice it
    To fake a pose that we're sincere
    We'll spin and lie throughout the year"

    The Red Flag, circa 2008

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  • 9. At 5:42pm on 23 Apr 2008, Butterword wrote:

    Blah, blah, smoke and mirrors. Nick Robinson opened the door to the obfurscation by the PM just a little. The erosion of whatever minute credibility he had goes on. What next?

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  • 10. At 5:43pm on 23 Apr 2008, Mohawali wrote:

    Oh! Eddie. Have just listened to Gordon (Buffoon) Brown.

    What a load of absolute waffle.

    He back-tracked. He will NOT admit it.

    He will NOT admit anything.

    He is the worst Prime Minister this country has ever had.

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  • 11. At 5:47pm on 23 Apr 2008, distantmountain wrote:

    I'm afraid I disagree with the tack of the interviewers questioning. A U-turn would be to re-instate the 10p rate - anything else is fixing a problem. So Brown has not u-turned, he's accepted that he's created a problem (making poor people poorer) - and we noticed when he probably hoped that he would get away with it.

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  • 12. At 5:49pm on 23 Apr 2008, congenialStuart wrote:

    Why not increase the personal allowance for all and increase the top rate of tax so that low wage earners are targeted to pay less tax and high wage earners to pay more tax?

    Ah - but then the take up rate would be 100% and the government would not be able to claim they are helping the low paid without having to actually do so!

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  • 13. At 5:49pm on 23 Apr 2008, Mohawali wrote:

    Just listened to Gordon Brown on p.m. Radio 4.

    WHAT a load of absolute waffle.

    Brown did a U-Turn. Then he denied it!!

    He is definitely the worst Prime Minister this country has ever had.

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  • 14. At 5:51pm on 23 Apr 2008, hotspur612 wrote:

    Brown's interview on PM was a complete embarrassment, both for us and him. He seems to think that he can say "black is white" or "up is down" or "left is right" and we will believe him. How can this man have become our Prime Minister - he is a joke! Bring on the election a s a p.

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  • 15. At 5:51pm on 23 Apr 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    Time for a song
    Heigh ho, heigh ho
    It's about turn we go...

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  • 16. At 5:51pm on 23 Apr 2008, kk forever in the cyber atlantis of mustardland wrote:

    Hearing the noise, and still not listening.

    So Gordon Brown concedes that working tax credit (for those who are working) and pensioners aged 60-65 (females in receipt of retirement benefit) will be targeted for extra help.

    Meanwhile, the fact that there are still other losers in the 10p tax band roulette and he is either oblivious or doesn't care.

    An easier solution along the lines of increasing all personal allowances, and a slight lowering of the 40p tax threshold, would be simpler than his obsession with means testing. Higher rate earners would barely notice the difference, and those whose incomes are currently just below the the 40p threshold would contribute just a little bit more, if at all.

    Problem solved but it has two fatal flaws: too simple, and it risks failing to keep the poor in their proper but impoverished position.

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  • 17. At 5:52pm on 23 Apr 2008, Zubedaky wrote:

    Gordon Clown lays claim to making "hard long term decisions" - first example off his lips, "Super casino's"! Oh dear, oh dear.

    Didn't like the inclusion in the subsequent short, but feeble, list of "Helping the housing market!" Good God man, leave it well alone - you don't know what you're doing!

    Not flash, just inept.

    (by the way, was the U-turn announced after PM's questions?)

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  • 18. At 5:54pm on 23 Apr 2008, Sid wrote:

    6 shown - 11 hidden!

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  • 19. At 5:57pm on 23 Apr 2008, Colin McAuley wrote:

    Since heating costs were mentioned today, I thought I'd provide some info on what I pay yearly. I live in the Kingston, Ontario area , have a high-efficiency natural gas furnace and pay roughly $1000.00 Canadian dollars a year or about 505 UK pounds by the latest conversion rate. We have a programmable thermostat set at 21 degrees celsius during the day and 18 degrees overnight.

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  • 20. At 5:57pm on 23 Apr 2008, avenay777 wrote:

    I wish to react to the item on Gas prices in the UK. I live in France and I was scandalized to hear that some people blame France and Germany for high gas prices. THere is a state monopoly which has enabled investment in the industry (stockage capacity for example) Why should we here on the continent have to follow Britain's lead on privatisation which has brought lack of investment in so many sectors and this to satisfy a British wish for lower gas prices brought on by their evident lack of forethought? If a French or German person had said something like that he or she would have been accused of arrogance!
    Catherine Viac, Avenay France.

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  • 21. At 6:06pm on 23 Apr 2008, steelpulse wrote:

    There will be less spin = While seller - best spin.

    I have boundless admiration for political commentators abilities to keep a straight face. I will not turn, says PM Brown - several times and without prevarication.

    And today he did - turn. Except if you asked him about it as a complete volte face. As Nick Robinson did on PM just now.

    "I was wrong" and maybe "I have corrected that mistake".

    But no - presumably a committee sat down somewhere and drafted how it would be presented as exactly what was meant over a year ago when the abolishment off the 10p tax was mooted.

    And then we had the spectacle of it being presented as a sensible stolid move.

    A ploy! As I was thinking on another matter - when do ploys stop and commonsense kick in. You shouldn't try to spin the truth - especially when that is exactly what it is and everybody knows that too.

    It will come and kick you in the teeth if you do. Yes it is a BIG mistake. When you are presenting truth - it is so easy. You just sit down and explain it and laugh when evidence is offered that is false. Truth normally has documentary evidence too and other peoples memories to back it up.

    You ploy if you want to - this lad is not for ploying.

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  • 22. At 6:06pm on 23 Apr 2008, regalblahblah wrote:

    All the comments on Nick Robinson's blog are currently in 'moderation' ...

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  • 23. At 6:09pm on 23 Apr 2008, Tradewind25 wrote:

    Lest Messrs Brown, Darling or any of their foot soldiers should suggest that the promised concessions on the 10% tax rate have left nobody worse off; let me put them right.
    I have recently taken early retirement at the age of 58. Since I qualify neither for working tax credit nor any extension to the pensioners' fuel payment I shall still be over £150 worse off this tax year.
    As a life-long Labour voter it is clear to me that the last vestige of the party's founding principles have finally been ditched in favour of pampering to "middle England".

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  • 24. At 6:12pm on 23 Apr 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Nooooo! I don't want to be taxed on all my 10ps! I've got jars full!

    Is anyone else annoyed at the attitudes of the other parties to this? Instead of jeering and calling Gordon Brown "craven", shouldn't they be applauding him for rethinking his position and doing something about it (though admittedly nowhere near enough)? Is this any way for Parliament to encourage good decision making? No, it'll just continue pig-headed adherence to bad decisions even after they're proved to be unworkable.

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  • 25. At 6:15pm on 23 Apr 2008, regalblahblah wrote:

    Nick Robinson's blog is totally moderated at present ...

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  • 26. At 6:17pm on 23 Apr 2008, CaptainCleverDick wrote:

    So, Decisive Brown decides to change an earlier decision and both decisions are right. He cannot believe that we all believe what he says - can he? It's an insult if he does.

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  • 27. At 6:18pm on 23 Apr 2008, grannierose wrote:

    Why oh why can't politicians just tell the truth? |Surely there is no shame in admitting you are wrong and are doing something to correct the mistake. I would have so much more respect for Gordon Brown if he had just answered Nick Robinsons question honestly and didn't treat us as if we are stupid enough to believe the spin

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  • 28. At 6:23pm on 23 Apr 2008, Fifi wrote:

    10 for 17 ... this game is starting to sound like a cricket score!

    I guess it's hard to comment on this subject without making it sound as if somebody has been very silly, or ... no, that's about it really.

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  • 29. At 6:26pm on 23 Apr 2008, Deepthought wrote:

    SSC (24),

    I think the opposition right in continuing to call for re-instatement, rather than "adjustments"; tax credits and the like, which do not have anything like a 100% take up. OK, there is a lot of pointless yah-boo as well.

    GB introduced this band, presumably (for it was a long time ago now) as being a help to the poorest in the land; so why is it no longer needed in his 2007 budget?

    If he really wanted to remove the 10p band, then upping everyone's personal allowance by the relivent amount would have made it revenue neutral; so one can only assume he deliberately intended to raise tax from this group. IF he did not realise this would be the effect, he does not deserve to be PM.

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  • 30. At 6:28pm on 23 Apr 2008, colinhambidge wrote:

    I`ve just listened to Gordon Brown`s pathetic reply to Nick Robinson that he hasn`t changed his mind!! It`s this sort of reply that gets all politicians a bad name. I believe he is being dishonest. Sometime ago Gordon told us that he was "the son of the Manse" and could be trusted in all his dealings. I did not believe it at the time and I certainly don`t believe it now. He is not fit to hold office and he does not live up to his upbringing and he is a poor example of a Christian. Colin Hambidge.

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  • 31. At 6:29pm on 23 Apr 2008, Sid wrote:

    SSC (24) - usually I'd say you're right; there is, after all, more joy in heaven etc.

    BUT - in this case, they are replacing a pig's ear with a dog's breakfast. Not really worthy of applause.

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  • 32. At 6:58pm on 23 Apr 2008, Fifi wrote:

    Delighted to see that the mods have caught up with us at last!

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  • 33. At 7:08pm on 23 Apr 2008, totters_2000 wrote:

    During the interview this evening with Gordon Brown, I wondered whether the interviewer could physically see the size of Mr. Brown's nose lengthening. I was merely listening but I'm sure I could detect an increase in size simply by the way he spoke; in other words, normally!

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  • 34. At 7:28pm on 23 Apr 2008, baseballer wrote:

    Just think if BeanBrown was in the 'boardroom' Weds night will Sir Al'...

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  • 35. At 7:36pm on 23 Apr 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    A good start, then what is the next tax....

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  • 36. At 8:13pm on 23 Apr 2008, griff wrote:

    Keep the 10p rate and get rid of the rest!

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  • 37. At 8:16pm on 23 Apr 2008, Otter wrote:

    Parliament is there to keep the executive in check, that is one of its primary roles and today it did its job well.
    Frank Field and his fellow "rebels" should also be congratulated for fighting on their constituents behalf, the job they were elected to do.
    The opposition can bleat about whether the Prime minister backed down, did a U-turn or a backflip. Whatever maneuver he is "guilty" of he still did what we so often complain the Government fails to do; listen and act upon what people are telling it.
    The Prime minister may have been acting purely to save his political skin, but that is why most politicians do things. Nations base their complete constitutions around the understanding that the potential loss of power will (hopefully) force leaders to act in the interests of their people.

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  • 38. At 8:19pm on 23 Apr 2008, Deepthought wrote:

    20:00 news suggested that the changes are only going to apply to the over 60's after all!!!

    It is ture that new bulletins run behind interviews, but this one did seem to suggest the other help did not apply after all.

    Was Frank Field (a Labour member I have a lot of time and respect for) a little premature in withdrawing the ammendment? Or is the news bulletin wrong?

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  • 39. At 8:31pm on 23 Apr 2008, Simon wrote:

    Field is patently a man of intelligence, honour and integrity. One of the greatest of all lost opportunities was when he was told to think the unthinkable, did exactly as bidden and had to resign because his proposals were considered too risky to enact.

    I think that he was premature to withdraw until he saw some precise proposals, but only the next year or so will let us see if that was the case. Was he duped, or did his threatened amendment truly carry the day?

    I've just popped over to Nick Robinsons Blog and checked out all the comments, which have now cleared moderation. If that's anything like a representative sample of public opinion then I'll eat my (non-existent) hat. Those with an axe to grind are taking the opportunity over there wholesale. 22 against GB, only one in favour as it stands. If I were a Govt. MP I'd be in turmoil.

    It may not be representative right now, it can't possibly be, but if the Govt. don't take note pretty sharpish and smarten their act up, then it may become so.


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  • 40. At 9:16pm on 23 Apr 2008, Deepthought wrote:

    WR (39),

    Just a historical note.

    Corporation tax was set at zero for a low amount, then a sliding scale up to the standard rate. This was done to encourage "entrepreneurs", a term I hate when applied to myself.

    But now, just like the 10p band, it was all disbanded, and its full (small company) rate from GBP 1 is applied.

    All this low rate bands were introduced by our current PM, who has decided to *volte face* over everything he's introduced for small profits/earnings.

    Just one question: Why if it was necessary to introduce it, is it now necessary to abolish it? OK, I know the reason on the corp. tax (to entice people to register as companies, and then, too late for them to get out of it, close the trap).

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  • 41. At 9:31pm on 23 Apr 2008, phil1629 wrote:

    As a small business man I hope Mr Brown is not going to put up the minium wage to get himself out of this big hole he is in with the 10p tax. All business are in difficults as it is with high diesel prices high fuel costs high business rates. Think again Mr Brown


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  • 42. At 9:57pm on 23 Apr 2008, NLPDoc wrote:

    I have finally realised today that with Gordon Brown at the helm we are headed for deep and dangerous waters.
    If you listen carefully to his responses and analyze - count the times he says words to the effect of 'good decisions' 'better decisions' etc , together with his easily predictable circular replies ( full circle responses and questions ) it displays a rigidity of responses that betray his insecurities relating to the subject of discussion and perhaps more. This does not inspire confidence.
    To be so limited in his articulacy and behaviour in response to simple direct questions must tell us something about the man?
    It seems to be common knowledge that Mr Browns monetary policies over the past 7 years or so have been building up to the inevitable financial difficulties we are in right now and he bears some responsibility for that.
    Sadly from his performance in this interview I would see no way he would accept the challenge of that nor do I think that he would seriously consdier that the 'right and best decision' for the country would be for him to .......

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  • 43. At 10:31pm on 23 Apr 2008, Cora Jones wrote:

    Labour, in its current incarnation, has been around for ages, so drop the "New" part from their name. Labour is also raising taxes on the poor, so drop "Labour" from their name. This leaves a party with no name. Next whistle the theme tune from "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly."

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  • 44. At 10:43pm on 23 Apr 2008, anarchist1789 wrote:

    Thank you BBC PM for making me aware day by day of the 10% tax rate abolition and the progress of the protest.
    As a result, I have written to Alistair Darling (with a copy to my MP) sometimes twice a day. I was delighted to hear my MP on the radio and to gather tonight that progress has been made.
    The BBC is the biggest force for democratic change that we have. Keep up the good work Radio 4 and the team!

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  • 45. At 00:22am on 24 Apr 2008, Captain-Jango wrote:

    I note that somone comments that Gordon is the worst PM ever.I fear that it could get a lot worse before he finally goes. Listened to him, saw Yvette Balls with Paxman, they havent learned anything, Just spin and blatent untruths,
    Fortunately the Public , at last are on to Brown, and his rump of a government. Brown is the worst but its going to get worser!

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  • 46. At 00:45am on 24 Apr 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Froggers will know my thoughts on this.
    Too little, too late seems to be the current situation.

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  • 47. At 07:09am on 24 Apr 2008, MrCatLovesFootball wrote:

    Brown's concession is motivated by fear of losing support from his party rather than a genuine concern for those members of the public who will be worse off without the 10p band... Which sums up Brown as PM.
    I have first hand experience in the catastrophic tangle of the benefits system - and the logistics of compensation for those hardest hit will be a nightmare. Thousands of people will still lose out, polarizing Britain even more.
    "Things can only get better"? If only that were so!

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  • 48. At 10:49am on 24 Apr 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    Mr. Brown hasn't changed his mind. He's changed his action. He still clings to the idea that the abolition of the 10% tax rate was correct. "Events, dear boy" have forced a change of plan.

    And as someone paid well above the £18K threshold given in the media, I note that my April pay slip shows £3 less net pay under the new scheme than under the old. How odd.

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  • 49. At 12:04pm on 24 Apr 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    On a completely different subject, I thought his performance was the best he has ever given. Considering that he was defending the indefensible he did rather well and left Nick looking like he hadn't done his homework (i.e. not exactly sure of what he said and when). Also, he sounded less Scottish. Perhaps he is using Margret's voice coach as well has her policies (sorry, a completely unnecessary and unjustified slur on our great leader).

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  • 50. At 12:07pm on 24 Apr 2008, Nigel_N wrote:

    Vyle (48), If your income is very much above £18K, you may have been hit by the increase in the top threshold for NI contributions.

    Brown has not done a U-turn. He has consistently moved people from simple income tax rates to complex handouts, and appears to be doing the same here. As he claims that the replacement with a 10% rate with a 20% rate will affect no-one (ha ha) because anyone who would suffer is on state handouts, would it not have been sensible to just increase the threshold for paying tax to the mid-point of the 10% rate?

    Oh, and by the way, why do pensioners get such preferential treatment on their tax? If you want to help <i>poor</i> pensioners, then make all tax thresholds the same regardless of age and put the tax gained from the wealthy onto the basic state pension.

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  • 51. At 12:23pm on 24 Apr 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    RJ Molesworth (49) - Not sure that I would go as far as saying that he was 'defending the indefensible' - perhaps more amending a policy implementation in response to criticism and comment within his own party, with the Tories and Lib Dems 'ya-booing' from the bandwagon.

    I wholehearedly agree about Nick Robinson though - a pretty feeble interview. Although I did notice in later broadcasts on TV and radio that he was very opinionated on the matter, as if he was trying to redress the balance. I think sometimes he is in danger of doing a "Robert Peston" and believing that the story is about "him telling the story" rather than the story itself!

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  • 52. At 12:39pm on 24 Apr 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    TIH (51) The indefensible in my mind was the reason for the decision to remove the 10p rate (i.e. he created the 10p rate to help the poor and removed it to help the poor). Some clear thinking at the start, a course set and followed through would be defensible.

    What is really sad is that the criticism and comment only came from about 40 MPs in his party.

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  • 53. At 12:48pm on 24 Apr 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    RJMolesworth - Hmm, not sure I agree that there were only 40 who were discontent. There were probably an awful lot more who presented their doubts and comments in a less open manner than the 40.

    What I find most disagreeable was the appallingly false indignation of the Tories and Lib Dems on the subject. Their concern for all the 10p tax "losers" was very hushed until recently.

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  • 54. At 12:49pm on 24 Apr 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    Pretty frightening that Gordon Clown has no support in the country,
    none abroad,
    and certainly none amongst his own...Et tu, brute?
    Time for him to start typing his c.v.?
    Perhaps ring his temp controller?
    After all being in charge of 10 dunces street is only a temp job, isn't it?
    {thinks} Maybe I should apply...

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  • 55. At 12:54pm on 24 Apr 2008, Sid wrote:

    TIH - do you not remember Vince Cable raising this very issue at the time of the budget? I do.

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  • 56. At 1:05pm on 24 Apr 2008, UptheTrossachs wrote:

    There are lots of comments here and on NRs blog about GB's grip on reality. What about the MP's understanding of reality? Why has it taken them so long to work out that removal of the 10p band will affect some people adversely?
    I agree with the comments about Nick Robinson not pushing further. Opportunity missed, I think.

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  • 57. At 1:10pm on 24 Apr 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Yes, Vince Cable did raise it but it wasn't followed up which is why it is hard to believe many MPs were seriously concerned. In their defence, back-benchers and Lib-Dems get scant coverage by the press but one only has to look at their voting record to measure both their concern and courage, that characteristic the PM highly values, except, possibly, when that courage is in opposition to his views.

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  • 58. At 1:28pm on 24 Apr 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    Sid (55) - To be honest - no. But I'll take your and RJM's word that he did.

    But there has been the best part of 12 months for the opposition parties to address and follow-up whatever concerns they had. It seems to me that they only really became exercised when concerns and doubts were raised within Labour. Ya-booh, bandwagon, opportunism, etc.

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  • 59. At 1:57pm on 24 Apr 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    I am sure if most MPs were honest they didn't even know about it until their local party gave them the feedback on the doorstep leading up to the local elections. When they understood what it really meant (as opposed to what GB and AD said it meant) then they became concerned. Some out of conviction and some for concern about the local elections. In traditional Labour areas the party rightly fears the Lib-Dems as the new *true* party of the left. But they also fear the Tories' ability to make their leader look inept. For a politician, the concerns of local elections are an immediate concern whereas conviction can always be revisited at a later date.

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  • 60. At 2:00pm on 24 Apr 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    TIH (58) I totally agree. My wife thinks the MPs are suddenly worried about losing their seats; in the light of recent revelations about their expenses, it's not surprising.

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  • 61. At 5:31pm on 24 Apr 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Sid 55,
    I do, but then I'm a Lib Dem member. TIH doesn't, so it is opportunism.

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  • 62. At 5:38pm on 24 Apr 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Is pronouncing 'says' 'saise' instead of 'sez' a regional thing? I just heard Alastair Darling say it and Gordon Brown said it yesterday. Just wondered....

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  • 63. At 6:54pm on 24 Apr 2008, FirstTove wrote:

    Well, "saise" also describes a lot of Northern English pronunciation... long, flat vowels.

    OT I think all the coverage I've heard has focussed on the politics of the 10p band rather than the fact that, as described, the new improved system won't compensate everyone. I'm paid an ill-health, early retirement NHS pension and still get less this month than last, after it's inflation increase. No kids, no work and no winter-fuel payment, so no access to the compensatory mechanisms floated.

    I'll be OK but anyone in a similar situation with a private sector pension will be worse hit, and it sticks in the craw to see the contrast with Capital Gains Tax etc, etc. Of course, my only power lies in the ballot-box... I cancelled by Labour Party membership for the obvious reason some time ago.

    Perhaps I should move to a Labour marginal seat and book into my new MP's surgery?

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  • 64. At 06:50am on 25 Apr 2008, RiskManager wrote:


    It isnt just "some people" its the EU commission who are currently investigating your gas and electricity companies. And furthermore, their investigations are into price manipulation in France and Germany, not the UK!!

    The fact is avernay77 that ALL Europeans pay to support this structure, all our bills are higher than they should be and every household suffers as a result. Meanwhile they can write books that become bestsellers about hopw to be lazy at work, and then EdF didnt even fire the individual in question.

    This is la la land. European energy markets are I think hot contrenders with ECB governance for the key battlegrounds in European politics. Lets see what Nellie Croes comes up with. It has to be said her two reports so far are damnning. Hence the investigations and EoNs close shave with an 8 BILLION Euro fine

    And on investment its true that France and others have gold plated their kit, its what monopolists do. Their prices are calculated from a return on capital employed. Time to employ capital then eh?

    Tell me, has the continental gas storage EVER run near to empty if it were operated as an integrated european system? I think not. So why not trade it? We could all play beggar thy neighbour hoarding in any market and all be worse off. No one wants French investments for free, we want to pay for them. The question is, how much!

    And yes, the UK is currently building new gas import capacity equal to about 80% of its demand over the next few years. Most of it is LNG that looks away from continental europe for its supplies. This is a good thing IMHO

    Another long boring post I am afraid :-o

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  • 65. At 09:28am on 25 Apr 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    The energy market in the UK is very interesting. Although a small country with a national grid you can pay different prices depending where you live. I tried some of the price comparison sites recently and found I could save 235 p.a. by switching from nPower to nPower and 113 p.a. by switching from Scottish Power to Scottish Power. None of the sites tell you the unit charge. It soon becomes obvious that there isn't a real market. If you think about it, any market with a regulator will cease to be a real market. If there was a cheap source we would all use it and then it would become scarce and expensive so there can never be a cheap source or a cheaper deal unless you manage your energy like a market trader. In the end I decided that life is too short.

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  • 66. At 10:54am on 25 Apr 2008, RiskManager wrote:

    Its certainly good to shop around and yes, you can make large savings. But this is on the supplier margin, not on the wholesale price. The wholesale price is what it is claimed is being inflated due to continental gas hoarding (for local security of supply). On the continent the commission is investigating alleged price fixing at the consumer (i.e. including the supplier margin). In the UK this part of the market works very well, its the wholesale market effects of the continental market structure that cost UK energy consumers (and perhaps the UK offshore structure as well to be fair).

    As for paying different prices depending on where you live, thats correct. it reflects costs of supply which vary depending how far you are from the supply. I think cost reflective pricing is good and cross subsidisation is bad.

    btw, the worlds marginal barrel of oil production, assuming the world decided to develop the cheapest oil first (crazy I know), is almost certainly less than $30 bbl. Yet prices are $115 and rising. I am sure this will be "sustainable"...... wont it.....?

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  • 67. At 1:47pm on 25 Apr 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Risk Manager @ 66 you say 'As for paying different prices depending on where you live, thats correct. it reflects costs of supply which vary depending how far you are from the supply.'

    and that is about the cost of domestic supply of fuel; what about transport supplies?

    You pay more depending on area, and the price in areas is supposedly predicated by the cost of supply to that area, but one thing has always made me wonder how true that is.

    A large supermarket near me sells both milk and petrol. The milk is sold at the same price per litre (or per pint, in their case) throughout the country, or at anyrate in London, Bristol, Banbury and Leeds last time I looked. The price of petrol per litre varies not just from town to town but even from supermarket to supermarket within a city like Bristol.

    Why should milk have a country-wide price per litre in that group of shops, but the price of petrol vary by as much as 5p per litre from town to town? Surely the cost of getting each to the individual outlet can't be so different? --and why does the fuel in the shop very near to a motorway cost *more* per litre than the same fuel in the local town, when the fuel arrives down the motorway by tanker and has to go further to get to the pumps on the other side of town?

    Could it be that they charge what they can get from the punters, and what it costs them isn't the main factor in this case?

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  • 68. At 3:40pm on 25 Apr 2008, FridayPM wrote:

    I just received my payslip. My salary is £30.00 more than last month, whereas my colleague who works part time and therefore earns half what I do has had a reduction of £15.00 - which over the year will mean me £300 better off and them 150 worse off. Because they earn less than I do.

    I have been and still am a socialist, and a labour voter. I find the scrapping of the ten pence tax band offensive and an insult to my intelligence. How can I support a party that does this? Is Gordon Brown insane?

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  • 69. At 4:30pm on 25 Apr 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    FriPM; a good question.

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  • 70. At 5:20pm on 25 Apr 2008, RiskManager wrote:

    Chris Ghoti 67

    I dont know much about petrol retailing but for gas the further west and the further south you are then the further the gas has to be piped as its produced of the east coast and is increasingly supplied from up north as the older southern fields decline

    As for Motorway servise areas and town to town comparisons, cost of the site for the service area (or the rent for it) varies perhaps?

    For sure there could be monopoly rents on petrol stations. But this is once again planning gain as the only thing stopping people building a petrol station to compete is planning. Milk of course cannot get the same rents because to sell milk you only need a fridge, not underground storage tanks and pumps, licences etc. Most crucially car owners are by definition mobile. If you forget to fill up as you drive past the cheap outlets only to get caught out in a city centre or motorway then why not charge more? If you dont like it, get organised and go to the supermarket where fuel is usually much cheaper (free site in the car park! ).

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  • 71. At 5:39pm on 25 Apr 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Deep joy! When I logged on to reply to RiskManager, I got a whole new error message:

    'The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    'Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@bbc.co.uk and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    'More information about this error may be available in the server error log.'


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  • 72. At 7:25pm on 25 Apr 2008, RiskManager wrote:

    Yes, I got Java'd as well. As a new user I must say its all very decorative but quite hard to get around this frog. For example it took me a while to figure how to access my profile and get a nickname (mind went blank when I signed up). Just click your name on a message is the siumple but unexplained anywhere I could see answer. And the links do different things day to day. Is this a work in progress?

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  • 73. At 8:31pm on 25 Apr 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    RiskManager @ 72, you ask

    'Is this a work in progress?'

    Seems to be. The next question is 'progressing in which direction?'

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  • 74. At 11:29am on 26 Apr 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Chris 71,
    I got that rubbish as well and played solitaire until it went away.

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  • 75. At 12:59pm on 26 Apr 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    FridayPM @68. You said, "I have been and still am a socialist, and a labour voter."

    Should you not have been in a position to say "I have been and still am a socialist, and, so, no longer a labour voter. As a socialist I was forced to switch to the Lib Dems as the new party of the left".

    Well they would be if they could make up their minds.

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  • 76. At 1:23pm on 26 Apr 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Risk Manager @66

    My point was that you cannot make large savings by shopping about. You might make some small savings (a couple of pints of beer a week) but you would waste your life confirming that you had actually saved money.

    As for gas distribution costs, like with electricity, there is a company that does that that likes to be paid. Are you saying that Scottish Power has to pay Transco a different amount for customers in Scotland and those in every other village and hamlet in the country. I find that incredibly difficult to believe but, if so, the cost of settlement must be a significant cost of distribution.

    I have a much simpler solution. The Gas Board buys gas from as cheap a source as it can find and delivers it to me at cost where cost is sufficient to maintain its infrastructure, borrowing and billing costs. It insulates (subsidises) those in remote areas from the additional cost of distribution, so all users pay the same price. I might allow industry volume discounts but they would have to make a good case. Naturally the Electricity Board, works in the same way.

    Should we have a Transport Fuels Board I hear you ask? Tempting, given the kind of people who are now allowed to run such businesses, but I'll reserve judgment until oil reaches $200 a barrel.

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  • 77. At 00:43am on 27 Apr 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    David McN, this machine doesn't have solitaire on it and there is no room on my desk for a spread of real live cards, so I went away and composed a reply to RiskManager, only I didn't get round to sending it.

    So here it is now. RM wrote:

    'As for Motorway servise areas and town to town comparisons, cost of the site for the service area (or the rent for it) varies perhaps?'

    The place I am talking about is specifically not a Motorway Services, it's a supermarket that is *off* the motorway, such that one goes up to a roundabout, on an A-road to the next roundabout and then turn left for the supermarket's petrol station. I expect to pay more at an official Service Area, because they have an obviously captive consumer-group.


    'If you dont like it, get organised and go to the supermarket where fuel is usually much cheaper (free site in the car park!)'

    (and quite likely use the same amount of pence'worth in fuel driving to get the cheaper fuel, which is just silly)

    My problem is that this -- call it a surcharge? -- applies in the case of a supermarket adjacent to but not on the motorway, but still charging more for fuel there than for fuel at another outlet of the same supermarket chain further from the place that fuel arrives from (ie down the motorway). The two outlets in the same town and owned by the same company charge identical prices for *everything but fuel*. *All* the outlets of that company charge the same price for everything they sell *apart from fuel*.

    Supermarket fuel is generally a penny or so cheaper than the outlets near that supermarket run by other people, but different in price from other outlets run by the same supermarket, and in that case run by the same supermarket in the same town. So the price is ruled by what they reckon punters will pay, rather than by what they have paid for it, as far as I can tell.

    Which seems to me like money-grubbing, plain and simple.

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  • 78. At 4:52pm on 28 Apr 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    CG 77,
    The first computer we had was a used IBM our daughter used at Best Foods when she worked there. When Unilever bought Best Foods certain people were made redundant and certain computers were given away. Our computer supposedly didn't have solitaire because they didn't want workers wasting their time playing games. I discovered that it had only been 'hidden' and I recovered it.

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