Comments for en-gb 30 Fri 22 Aug 2014 19:37:56 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Alan_N 81 - Phil - No-one benefits from their own state pension contributions. The contributions you are paying now go to pay the pensons of those people currnely drawing thir pensions. When you retire your pension will be paid for by the contributions of people paying at that time. It isn't a savings scheme. Sat 26 Jun 2010 13:48:30 GMT+1 Phil Handley It seems finally that we have the true picture of the "two nations" that has been spoken about recently. There are many areas of this country where the average age at death is less than seventy. These people are likely to have worked for 45-50 years, contributing to the state pension, only to die before they receive any pension. This will then go to supply the pensions of those (generally) more affluent areas. I expect tobacco and other legal toxins to be cheaper just to ensure a ready supply of contributers who will never benefit from their pension contributions Fri 25 Jun 2010 17:38:54 GMT+1 Moray Mint 79. Alan_N"Vote SNP? Surely it can't be that bad..."Best move by far! Thu 24 Jun 2010 14:05:29 GMT+1 Alan_N 78 - BS - Quite agree. What about a nice big windfall tax on anything with the word 'bank' in its name.75 - Geoff - If it's a private pension plan then it will pay out when it's supposed to. If it's an employer's contributory pension then I guess you will have to wait a little longer. If you mean the state pension then it's not a savings plan at all. The state pension is funded from current contributions by NI payers. One of the reasons for the increase in the retirement age is that the number of NI payers (ie those who have yet to retire) will decrease as a proportion of the number who are drawing the state pension thus making it more expensive.Vote SNP? Surely it can't be that bad... Thu 24 Jun 2010 14:03:22 GMT+1 Big Sister 75: It seems to me that Banks have paid little for the crisis they created and am I the only one who thinks that if we had not bailed out the banks, spend money on two very debatable wars, we would not in fact have a deficit?I absolutely agree with your first and third points, but fear that if we hadn't bailed out the banks, the situation would be even worse. That much said, it is time for the Banks to show a LOT of gratitude for UK Plc having saved their skins. Thu 24 Jun 2010 13:52:23 GMT+1 strummerman This post has been Removed Thu 24 Jun 2010 13:48:28 GMT+1 Serangoon By what warped justification do 'we' syphon billions of pounds each and every blasted year into the bottomless black hole of foreign aid? Will it ever end? No, so better not to give any money at all and let Nature take its course. Giving foreign aid only prolongs the misery and props up the conditions which allow it to develop. It's not our problem and all the money in the World won't solve it. Our bleeding-heart, hand wringing, self-satisfied millionaire political masters may get a kick out of playing God with our money but they have no right do do so without our consent. If an individual wishes to give to charity that is their choice but I strongly object to Cameron and Clegg thrusting their soft lily-white paws into my pockets without my say-so. Thu 24 Jun 2010 13:11:46 GMT+1 Geoff I left school at 15 and worked hard and then I then decided to go to college and then university (at no little sacrifice or risk) I then worked for local authority saving as I went along getting myself well prepared for retirement putting money into my pension fund while making my contribution to a better society. No one ever said to me that when I started to approach retirement age the rules would change. Why, after working for 40 years, when I have made the arrangements that government has said are vital -pensions and savings- do I then get the rug pulled from under my feet with state pension?This is a political decision punishing the poor people of this country. It seems to me that Banks have paid little for the crisis they created and am I the only one who thinks that if we had not bailed out the banks, spend money on two very debatable wars, we would not in fact have a deficit? Nuclear weapons or properly funded hospitals and schools / welfare provision, was this the real debate that we did not have in the election, to late now though isn’t it .Can I also point out the local government employees do pay into a pension fund and their pensions are not a drain on the public purse.Geoff (who may vote SNP out of desperation at the next election) Thu 24 Jun 2010 12:50:09 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Your welcome Sid. Wed 23 Jun 2010 19:57:54 GMT+1 Sid Why thank you, Joe, for your contrafibularities! Wed 23 Jun 2010 19:49:02 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Its alright Alan, Sid swallowed that dictionary at birth - he can't help it. Wed 23 Jun 2010 19:42:54 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Alan_NThank you too for your comments. I agree with your sentiments on scroungers. I shouldn't think ways and means would be too difficult to find to weed these out. I'm also grateful for your recognition that reform should be fair and equitable. I think we agree over more than we disagree. Wheat and chaff, wheat and chaff. ;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 19:41:46 GMT+1 Sid Of course! Wed 23 Jun 2010 19:26:41 GMT+1 Alan_N I was of course using it in the classical sense meaning 'abundant'. But you realised that... Wed 23 Jun 2010 19:17:30 GMT+1 Sid For general information (but prompted by Alan):OED - fulsome"7. Of language, style, behaviour, etc.: Offensive to good taste; esp. offending from excess or want of measure or from being ‘over-done’. Now chiefly used in reference to gross or excessive flattery, over-demonstrative affection, or the like." Wed 23 Jun 2010 18:52:20 GMT+1 Alan_N Joe,Many thanks for your fulsome reply.66 - Absolutely - I would means test child benefit in a flash. Can't figure out why they didn't, and I don't but the 'it's all too difficult' argument.64 - I don't get the housing benefit cut as, for 'genuine' claimants who for whatever reason can't find work, that will just punish the family. It will, of course, also punish the scrounger who doesn't want to work, but it's way too blunt a tool.I think you're right that the objective is to reduce the number of people claiming disability benefits and as I said on one of the other streams it will have to be handled sensitively. I hope that your expectation that it will fail to recognise genuine need is mistaken.Finally, I'm afraid I disagree with your assertion that no-one chooses a life on benefits. Sadly there are all too many people who just don't want to work but who think the state owes them a living. With rights come responsibilities, and people who won't work should be weeded out, allowing us to concentrate on supporting those who can't work, or whose capacity for work is limited through no fault of their own. Wed 23 Jun 2010 18:10:15 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn And apart from all that, if if was a fair reform, surely they would take state benefits away from those who have little or no monetary need to be in receipt of them wouldn't they? I heard today that if they stopped paying child benefit to the better off they could save up to 5 billion. Wed 23 Jun 2010 17:50:49 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn However, I do believe in reform. Wed 23 Jun 2010 17:46:47 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn Alan_NSo Putting DLA to one side. Cutting peoples housing benefit by 10% after being unemployed for a year is about taking benefits from people who don't need or deserve it or should qualify for it. Even though they may have applied for numerous jobs and been turned down is it?The New DLA medical test no doubt will be tailored to recouping benefits as opposed the recognising genuine need and the enhancing quality this benefit can bring to people with long term conditions. I guess the government would want to take this benefit away at the point where it is doing most good by saying a persons condition has improved. However, all the evidence gathered by interested charities, etc show a detrimental effect on a persons well being and health going down this road of removing benefits arbitrarily. Secondly who will be consulted and how will that consultation be carried out concerning who sets the medical tests for these people? Who takes the responsibility at present when up 80% of appeals for benefits are upheld. Many people who have to appeal their benefits win but many say their condition was made worse having been put through the appeals process. Consequently, taking longer to become able to work again. I have personally known of people who have been driven into hospital through being hounded by the benefits agency. If you want to know of how many are treated by benefits and medical agencies, go to Citizens advice and ask to see their research. It might open your eyes a little has to how difficult life really is for those reliant on benefits. And I care waht people say, no one in their right mind chooses benefits as a career option in my opinion. It dosen't work like your thinking it does my friend. Wed 23 Jun 2010 17:41:56 GMT+1 Sid In a public forum, Alan, I can only say that not all members of the government are as scrupulous as one might wish - and some of those are Tories! Wed 23 Jun 2010 17:38:46 GMT+1 Alan_N 61 - Sid - I agree entirely that what you and Joe describe is possible, but I don't think that it is the present government's motivation. Maybe I'm just naiive!And anyway, surely you're not suggesting that the current government is made up of unscrupulous people, are you? ;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 17:34:10 GMT+1 Sid Alan - but you do see, don't you, that an unscrupulous government could use this tool as Joe describes? Eternal vigilance ... Wed 23 Jun 2010 17:21:11 GMT+1 Alan_N 59 - Joe - I don't think it is. It's a tool to ensure that only those that should get DLA do get it. Everyone who needs to be supported by the state should be, either in terms of DLA or any other benefit. I see nothing wrong with ensuring that only those people that really need such support are so supported. Wed 23 Jun 2010 17:15:37 GMT+1 funnyJoedunn The proposed new medical test for DLA is no more than a tool to force people back into the workforce through poverty. The efficacy of these medicals (hence the doctors who are paid to carry them out) is certainly questionable. They will be forcing the most vulnerable and poorest people in society into a labour market that does not and will not exsist for them. I see this as nothing less than the rich, privilaged, dynasty classes oppressing the poor and vulnerable by beating them with the Dickensian oppression I thought my generation would never see again in this country. Reduction in housing benefit by 10% for those out of work for a year or more. Ditto As above.It is immoral and possibly illegal (I hope some one takes them to judicial review - possibly European courts) to remove welfare benefits with-out offering a real alternative. I don't just mean an appointment with a job adviser.In fact many people reliant on state benefits are also carers, volunteers, charity workers, transport volunteers for the elderly, volunteers in the caring professions, teachers by experience, and many of them suffering from conditions themselves and much more. all unrecognised when they pillory all as benefit scroungers. They want to see everyone one through tunneled polarised vision. Namely middle class privilaged eyes. Yet the filth at the top feel they have a God given right to do this to us.Stand up the poor! Wed 23 Jun 2010 16:54:55 GMT+1 smee #6. I agree with Big Sister. Reducing Housing Benefit by 10% apparently to 'encourage' job seekers to seek work shows how little the government (actually any government) understands about the welfare system. It would have been far more useful to offer financial incentives when work was found so that people weren't worse off. Bankers taxed harder since they (those in the City not those behind the counter) should, surely, be paying the money back. Wed 23 Jun 2010 16:13:05 GMT+1 Galahad 51 - Trevor."Don't say tax the rich - that is generally the ideaology of the left".So you are discounting automatically any suggestions not from the right?Well, off the top of my head....VAT increases (if absolutely necessary) could be imposed on luxury goods at a higher rate.We could withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Iraq (saving perhaps £4bn per year?)We could withdraw charitable status from private schools (maybe £100m per year?)Refuse to allow homeopathy or any other worthless patent nostrum to be provided by the NHS (maybe £4m per year from closing the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, plus untold millions saved as a result of focusing upon the provision of treatments that actually work...)Cap higher pay grades in public services at 10 times the minimum levels (not 20 times, as under the present plans)I'm sure others will be able to add many other useful suggestions... Wed 23 Jun 2010 14:55:48 GMT+1 Sindy 53. Lepus_Madidus"Other countries in Europe have VAT at 20% or higher."As I pointed out at #37 ... Wed 23 Jun 2010 14:49:04 GMT+1 mittfh Someone asked somewhere about George's first job. According to Wiki, it was working for the NHS on a data entry project - entering the names of people who'd died in London onto a database. He then worked briefly at Selfridges before starting at Conservative Central Office.He was born Gideon, but changed his name at 13 to George. Wed 23 Jun 2010 14:48:54 GMT+1 DiY * whispers * Engerland 1 Slovenia 0 Wed 23 Jun 2010 14:46:47 GMT+1 Lepus_Madidus Other countries in Europe have VAT at 20% or higher. Wed 23 Jun 2010 14:41:55 GMT+1 mittfh For all those moaning about the VAT increase, just wait until you hear the announcements in October, when the various government departments tell Georgie how they're going to cope on a 75% budget... Wed 23 Jun 2010 14:11:23 GMT+1 Trevor Mansell All this whining about the rise in VAT. Any suggestions as to where else the money is coming from?? Don't say tax the rich - that is generally the ideaology of the left. A rise in VAT was inevitable, whoever became the government. A 2.5% rise in VAT is peanuts, and extra £2.50 on every £100 spent. I'm a not very well off pensioner and I believe the budget to be fair to all. As for all the doomsayers - give it a chance. Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:30:14 GMT+1 Sindy Another reminder:Two parties in coalition means compromise - neither party can get 100% of what they wanted. I know it's hard to comprehend, but it's the truth.;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:28:53 GMT+1 Moray Mint Reminder:For the first time in several generations, we have a government representing more than half the folk who voted. I know it's hard to comprehend, but it's the truth.;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:16:32 GMT+1 Looternite In the past the Tories after jacking up the rate of VAT in one budget then extend the range in a subsequent budget. So you have been warned.I remember when VAT was 8%, but then various Tory governments raised VAT and yet claimed to be tax cutters.Remember, Tories extend the range of VAT whenever the dust has settled on their VAT hikes. Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:11:00 GMT+1 Moray Mint 42. Lepus_Madidus"Why shouldn't flights be taxed? "You'll get no argument from me on that! Taxation on aviation fuel was explicitly ruled out by international agreement (no surprises there!) Consideration of marine and aviation CO2 output was explicitly ruled out of the Kyoto accord (No surprises there!)Enjoy your cheap flight! Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:10:02 GMT+1 Sindy 42. Lepus_Madidus"Remploy"Remploy say: "We have committed to supporting 20,000 people per year into mainstream employment by 2012/13 and we are on track to achieve this. In 2007/8 we found 6,500 jobs for disabled people and those facing complex barriers to work - an increase of 27% on the previous year." Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:07:10 GMT+1 Lepus_Madidus 'What countries can you or I just turn up in and get free housing?'Another possible question for Hugh Sykes? Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:03:49 GMT+1 Lepus_Madidus I'm incredulous listening to Dianne Abbot going on about a few extreme cases where immigrants have been put up in mansions at our expense. Well they should have sorted it out when they were in power.What countries can you or I just turn up in and get free housing? Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:03:03 GMT+1 Sindy 42. Lepus_Madidus"Why shouldn't flights be taxed?"Why indeed! Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:02:47 GMT+1 Lepus_Madidus 36 Murray Mint - It's one of my typos.Why shouldn't flights be taxed? Why should my relatives in Cornwall be more penalised for using their car than my other relatives that have a joint income of £70K plus and live under the flight path of Gatwick and get on planes like some us get on buses?38 - How many of those people that now aren't working following the closure of the Remploy plants have been found jobs by private sector agencies and how much have those agencies made of it?How many Remploy factories did Labour close?Sounds like a possible question for Hugh Sykes. Wed 23 Jun 2010 13:00:24 GMT+1 Sindy 39. ExpectingtheEnd"is the etymology of an aglet."I know. Wed 23 Jun 2010 12:59:25 GMT+1 Moray Mint 39. ExpectingtheEnd"2.5 percent on 17.5 percent is a 1/7 = 14.285714..That is a rise of over 14 percent in the rate of tax paid."2.5 percent on 15 percent is 1/6 = 16.666%That was a rise of almost 17% on the rate of tax paid.;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 12:54:32 GMT+1 GotToTheEnd 2.5 percent on 17.5 percent is a 1/7 = 14.285714..That is a rise of over 14 percent in the rate of tax paid.One in three are worried about losing their jobs. Extra money tends to go to run down debt.Middle English, from Old French aguillette, diminutive of aguille, needle, from Vulgar Latin *acūcula, from Late Latin acucula, diminutive of Latin acus, the etymology of an aglet.2.5 up or down on 17.5 is the same absolute percentage change.Sid,You are demonstrating why Sue Lawley, whose fluency in French and German rivals only that of Big Sister herself, was told the sorry story of Oxford standards by her philosophy Professor.Following C. P, Snow's concerns about two cultures, Stephan Korner found that Oxford men had no real depth of appreciation of further evolutions of classical languages and no mathematics whatsoever. Passages of Liebnitz defeated them on both counts simultaneously.'Oxford men,' he said, 'have solved the problem of the Two Cultures by keeping themselves in ignorance of both'I'd recommend the Reith Lectures, Sid. Lawley makes some introductory remarks you would find useful. Wed 23 Jun 2010 12:47:54 GMT+1 darkdesign 35. Diddums.Remember this? contemporary? about this? This chap. His personal experience. Needs to pull his socks up I think: Wed 23 Jun 2010 12:44:45 GMT+1 Sid Interesting to note that VAT is 25% in Norway, Sweden and Denmark ... which leads me to wonder if we have at last realised that we can't have Scandinavian spending without charging Scandinavian prices. Wed 23 Jun 2010 12:44:34 GMT+1 Moray Mint 35. Lepus_Madidus"2. When 70% of the pump price is petrol "Sorry? I thought it was around 70% tax. Wed 23 Jun 2010 12:37:25 GMT+1 Lepus_Madidus 1. They didn't revoke that special car tax band that would've meant all cars registered before 2006 back to 2001 on a Y plate would have been liable to Road Tax in line with their CO2 output.That was another stupid brain burp from Labour.2. When 70% of the pump price is petrol and many of those not lifted out of poverty by Labour's 13 year climate of fear reign rely on their cars to get to and from their jobs why shouldn't flights be taxed?The budget is OK with me.Diddums, we have to learn to live within our means. Wed 23 Jun 2010 12:34:03 GMT+1 DiY Crackin' budget Gromit! Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:49:01 GMT+1 Fifi I'm appalled by this Budget. I can barely type about it, a day later... yesterday I couldn't speak on the subject without cracking up. (Not with laughter, either.) So, I think I'm being 'progressive', if we really must use this word in the context of such a grim Budget.1. The Robin Hood Tax on big bank transactions brings in ... a measly £2 billion a year. They won't even notice the difference. Great, so the 'industry' that allegedy keeps the western world afloat will continue to do so, making money out of money and producing absolutely nothing. (Interesting how every business I hear about, large or small, has to run on overdraft.)2. VAT goes up to a whacking 20%, hammering the hardest those on the smallest incomes with the fewest purchasing choices. On a much smaller scale, I've been involved for some years in setting our parish council Precept. This year we needed to budget for a proper increase to the clerk's modest salary, without whom none of the village projects and services would function. To pay for it, we could have cut-cut-cut ... but when you cut the parish equivalent of free swimming for pensioners, you saved practically nothing off the total. Meanwhile, on a recent visit to my Mum in Scotland, I watched some [local authority not named] employees planting busy lizzies in the municipal flower beds: two to sit in the pickup cab chatting, two to stand around having a fag, one to throw plants one by one on to the ground, one to plant the busy lizzies. I think there may still be some genuine 'efficiencies' to be made - but you can't just keep cutting indefinitely - eventually you have nothing left to cut. The rich can afford the tax rises the most ... in the short term, I see nothing wrong with requiring it of them. Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:42:24 GMT+1 mittfh My broadband: £14pcm before the reduction, £13.50 after, £13.79 when it rose again, and from 4th Jan probably somewhere between £14.08 and £14.10. Presumably BT line rental charges would also rise a fraction. And for the curious, I usually get 7Mbps service from an 8Mbps contract (SNR/Attenuation would probably limit me to under 11Mbps if I had a 24Mbps contract). Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:18:15 GMT+1 mittfh Since we're talking spellcheckers, don't forget that they'll miss the right word in the wrong place...Eye have a spelling chequer,It came with my Pea Sea.It plane lee marks four my revueMiss Steaks I can knot sea.Eye strike the quays and type a whirredAnd weight four it two sayWeather eye am write oar wrongIt tells me straight a weigh.Eye ran this poem threw it,Your shore real glad two no.Its vary polished in its weigh.My chequer tolled me sew.A chequer is a bless thing,It freeze yew lodes of thyme.It helps me right all stiles of righting,And aides me when eye rime.Each frays come posed up on my screenEye trussed too bee a joule.The chequer pours o'er every wordTwo cheque sum spelling rule.(© 1992 Jerrold H. Zar, quoted on Wikipedia) Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:12:55 GMT+1 vainly_here Percentages - this is where the media usually give misleading information. For example, if VAT rises from 15% to 17.5% (it was temporary for the transition to Council Tax) the actual amount of VAT rises by (2.5 / 15 * 100) or 1/6, i.e. 16.666 %; the actual cost of the goods rises by LT 2.2%. Reporters usually say something like "Vat goes up by 2.5%." Occasionally they say "By 2.5 percentage points."I wondered whether the six month window of delay might actually stimulate demand during that period and thereby aid the 'recovery'?Must try to make all next year's phone calls before 4th. January! I suppose I ought to buy a set-top box before the price hike. The temporary reduction to 15% sliced a whopping 22p off my monthly broadband bill. Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:12:00 GMT+1 mittfh Here's a spot of number crunching relating to that VAT increase.17.5% VAT --> 20.0% VAT ~ 2.13% increase17.5% VAT --> 15.0% VAT ~ 2.13% decrease(2.127659574468% if you want to be a little more exact - unsurprisingly the fall/rise are identical)However, 15.0% VAT --> 17.5% VAT ~ 2.17% increase(2.173913% if you want to be a little more exact)So, to calculate the price of something after the VAT rise, multiply by 1.0213 (should be sufficient for most cases - a £50k purchase would actually be around £51,063.83, this method would give you £51,065 - but you're hardly likely to worry about a £1.17 discrepancy for a purchase that large!) Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:09:10 GMT+1 Sindy 25. Moray Mint"Whoops! The increase from 15% to 17.5% (under NuLab) was a greater percentage hike (marginally) that the coming 2.5% from 17.5 to 20... "Yes - but the temporary fall from 17.5% to 15% represented a larger amount than the new rise ... Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:07:36 GMT+1 Moray Mint 23. mittfh"'m still puzzled as to why George didn't increase VAT or duty on alcohol or tobacco - after all, they're fairly popular targets for price hikes."I suspect it was a 'populist' move, if possibly misdirected with regard to the increasingly demonised smoking minority. It is plain, however that such increases truly do affect the least well-off most, and thus such a decision can be called 'progressive'.;-)My spellchecker can 'moan' all it doesn't even like the term spellchecker! Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:04:44 GMT+1 Sindy 22. Moray Mint"I wondered whether the six month window of delay might actually stimulate demand during that period and thereby aid the 'recovery'?"I wondered exactly the same thing myself - people will be keen, no doubt, to buy things before Christmas at the old rate.Also agreed re the 2.5% cut in VAT last year - there seems to be a fairly widespread view that it was comparatively trivial. Wed 23 Jun 2010 11:04:25 GMT+1 Moray Mint 22. Moray Mint"this 2.5% increase is actually a smaller proportion of the 17.5% 'base' (percentages up and down, etc. - maths)."Whoops! The increase from 15% to 17.5% (under NuLab) was a greater percentage hike (marginally) that the coming 2.5% from 17.5 to 20... Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:59:28 GMT+1 vainly_here Further to my 21, £0.77 is much less than the £5 I was about to resent paying as Broadband tax. Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:59:28 GMT+1 mittfh In terms of direct taxation, as I'm a public sector employee earning just over £19,000, I'm likely to benefit by £200 from the increased personal allowance and £250 from the promised pay rise (as I'm earning less than £21,000). Which will probably come in very useful given his other measures.The impending threat of 25% cuts in most government departments, coupled with the freeze in council tax is worrying - it wouldn't surprise me if any remaining council housing stock is sold off to housing associations, and parks/leisure departments of local councils sold off to private companies.I'm still puzzled as to why George didn't increase VAT or duty on alcohol or tobacco - after all, they're fairly popular targets for price hikes. Then again, he might be saving that for the October budget, when he might also try tactics like reintroducing the fuel duty escalator.P.S. I have the British English Dictionary (v1.19) installed in FF, so if, for example, I spell "colour" without the u it moans :) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:57:02 GMT+1 Moray Mint 20. Big Sister"I don't think any of us have a full idea of just how much this additional 2.5% is going to hit those on lower incomes!"You may be right, but as someone noted elsewhere, the 2.5% reduction was called a trifle by the then opposition, and this 2.5% increase is actually a smaller proportion of the 17.5% 'base' (percentages up and down, etc. - maths).I wondered whether the six month window of delay might actually stimulate demand during that period and thereby aid the 'recovery'?;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:55:42 GMT+1 vainly_here MM (13) That appears to work (After a fashion - it allows US, but I wouldn't type that anyway). Thank you very much.Our telephone bill is an extortionate £36 this month; the VAT rise = £0.77 Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:52:39 GMT+1 Big Sister 18: I was particularly annoyed when another blogger yesterday talked about VAT and plasma screen TVs - I don't think any of us have a full idea of just how much this additional 2.5% is going to hit those on lower incomes! Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:50:27 GMT+1 Big Sister Another question: How will those pensioners who don't have 'other means' cope when their housing benefit is reduced? (Note: not all pensioners own their own home with their mortgage paid off, as the Treasury seems to think). Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:48:05 GMT+1 Moray Mint 16. Big Sister"20% VAT on their telephone bills?"and broadband subscription, too! Us silver surfers have got it in the neck! Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:46:03 GMT+1 Moray Mint 15. Big Sister"helpful though your comments are, I prefer to do neither"To be fair, my helpfulness was aimed at Vainly, who is also quite free to decline it. Personally I rarely pay much attention to the wee red underlines, but when I do and right-click on the 'offending' word, I am offered various corrections, available at a click. It's not quite like driving an autotransmission car (which I also disdain), more like having a finely tuned instrument....with a satnav you can ignore.;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:44:10 GMT+1 Big Sister My (6) above: I wonder how pensioners will be feeling about paying 20% VAT on their telephone bills? For many, this is a lifeline. Their future pension increases will soon look like empty promises. Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:43:29 GMT+1 Big Sister No, Moray, helpful though your comments are, I prefer to do neither. It's a bit like driving - if I took to driving an automatic, I'd forget how to do it properly. ;o) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:34:45 GMT+1 Moray Mint 12. Big Sister"no need to patronise! ;o)"Just couldn't resist - ;o)# Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:33:30 GMT+1 Moray Mint Try right-clicking in the comment-entry box. Otherwise look in 'options' or 'tools' or the like. Or just switch to a proper operating system and cease subsidising those who would enclose the commons;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:32:09 GMT+1 Big Sister MM: I realise whose fault it is - no need to patronise! ;o) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:26:57 GMT+1 vainly_here At the centre of my thoughts right now is to emphasise the spelling. This is IE8, and no spelling warnings are showing-up. Adn ehwn I psot it?My Opera claims ot eb using British English. Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:23:15 GMT+1 Moray Mint 8. Big SisterNo, Sis, it accounts for the mistake getting through. Any mistakes are your own.Most browsers have spellcheckers, but they need opting in. Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:17:08 GMT+1 vainly_here MM (7) Thanks. I hadn't thought of that. I use Opera - will check. Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:15:42 GMT+1 Big Sister I don't have a spellchecker at all. Which accounts for the occasional mistake ;o) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:10:14 GMT+1 Moray Mint 4. vainly_here"Er.. would it be possible to have a UK English spell checker on this blog, instead of a US one?"Is there one "on the blog", or is it resident in your browser? My firefox does British English, and has done for some time.Theater theatre, centre center colour color honor honour......digitise digitize. Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:08:20 GMT+1 Big Sister Some points that are bothering me greatly:Housing benefit - Cutting this back is, as has been observed elsewhere on the BBC, likely to lead to a new generation of homeless. Quite apart from the effects this is likely to have upon society, how ever will these homeless people be able to seek work, claim benefits, when they have no fixed address?Cutting back the public sector - Since salary bills form the largest part of any budget, this essentially means there will have to be huge job cuts, something in the region of 25% of the workforce of the departments that are hit. Where will the jobs come from for the new ranks of the unemployed? Let us not forget that we are already tipping 3 million unemployed. I can foresee a big rise in the welfare budget, whatever Mr. Osborne may wish.VAT - How can Mr. Osborne claim that this will hit the most wealthy the hardest? While their purchasing power may be greater than the poorest, any purchases they make, as a percentage of their income, are - or can be - significantly lower than those on lower pay or benefits. If there was no alternative but to raise VAT, why did he not introduce an additional tier on 'luxury goods', which would indeed have targetted those who can afford to pay a bit more, while keeping the general VAT rate as close as possible to 17.5%? The new rate is going to apply to an awful lot of things which are far from 'luxury' - I think it will hit phone bills (fuel, thankfully, remains at 5%), it will hit you if you employ anyone who is VAT registered to make any repairs to your home, plus the materials for those repairs, when your washing machine breaks down you'll be paying more for its replacement, when you need new shoes, when your boiler is services ..... Need I say more? Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:06:08 GMT+1 Moray Mint 2. Galahad"What has surprised me is the large number of friends and neighbours who appear to believe that Mr Osborne did not go far enough,... have succeeded in creating the right "mind set" in the population!"1. You must remember that the present situation is almost unprecedented in living memory. We have a government which represents more than half of the votes actually cast.2. Yes, the "management of expectations" seems to have been relatively sucessful, thanks in part to the previous Chancellor's remarks.;-) Wed 23 Jun 2010 10:02:57 GMT+1 vainly_here Generally it was a very boring budget. Mr. O. spent at least 20 minutes saying nothing before announcing any measures. Why did he leave the VAT news until the end? The 25% Govt. Dept. cuts were more exciting. Of course, with all the thousands more people out of work (forecast by Harriet) there will actually be a need for loads more civil servants to work in Job Centres...Er.. would it be possible to have a UK English spell checker on this blog, instead of a US one? Wed 23 Jun 2010 09:59:25 GMT+1 Looternite 1. GalahadNone, because they will be less healthy and so cost more for the health service. Wed 23 Jun 2010 09:53:31 GMT+1 Galahad I was saddened (but not surprised) to see the rise in VAT, which I consider to be a tax which impacts most severely upon poorer people. What has surprised me is the large number of friends and neighbours who appear to believe that Mr Osborne did not go far enough, and that he should have introduced much more swingeing cuts and tax hikes...obviously all of those government spokespeople (on both sides) who were warning of the need for large cutbacks have succeeded in creating the right "mind set" in the population! Wed 23 Jun 2010 09:51:04 GMT+1 Galahad Precisely how much money will be saved by stopping the over-60s getting into swimming baths for free? Wed 23 Jun 2010 09:44:39 GMT+1