Monday, 21 April 2014

I've got my nomination form signed

When I checked my local council website a few weeks ago, it wasn't showing any local elections, so I thought they'd missed a year, but our Polling Cards arrived last week, giving me just enough time to get the forms filled in before next Thursday's deadline.

The only tricky bit, psychologically, is going round your neighbours and persuading ten of them (or nine actually, because you can sign for yourself) to sign the nomination form. Two of the people who usually sign for me are away, which is a bit annoying.

It took me exactly one hour. I knocked on about thirty doors, most of them were out, two or three people refused to sign (fair enough) but nine people signed quite happily, most of them even had their own Polling Cards handy so that they can enter their number on the form, and that was the end of that.

Next step, bodge a big yellow poster and stick it in the front window.

PS, the good thing about local elections is that you don't have to pay a deposit.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

YPP app

Ben W thinks it would be a good idea to have a "YPP app" which is basically these two spreadsheets (from here):

so that people can quickly look up how much they would be better off (or for a tiny minority, worse off) if YPP's draft budget and tax changes were implemented overnight.

Apparently, the mechanics of this are quite simple, but there's a bit of a faff making it compatible with different mobile phone systems. If anybody knows how to set up an app then please come forward, or if you know somebody who can do it for a good price, please put them in touch with Ben.

Email Ben W.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Back to the future

From the BBC:

The weekly earnings of full-time workers in the UK fell, in real terms, each year between 2008 and 2013, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says in cash terms earnings grew, by only 2% a year, from 2009 to 2013. But after taking inflation into account the purchasing power of those earnings suffered an overall fall of 8%.

This means that the real value of the UK's average weekly earnings are now back to the level of 2002.

From the BBC:

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which publishes the [English Housing Survey] each year, said:

"The proportion of all households in owner occupation increased steadily from the 1980s to 2003 when it reached a peak of 71%. Since then, there has been a gradual decline in owner occupation to the current 65%."

It pointed out that private renting in England had been steady at about 10% of all households during the 1980s and 1990s, but had since grown sharply, nearly doubling in size.

From the BBC:

The number of tenants in England and Wales forcibly evicted from their homes last year after court action reached a record high.

Some 37,739 private and public sector tenants had their homes repossessed by court bailiffs in 2013, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice. That is the highest number since records began in the year 2000.


However, the number of homes being repossessed by mortgage lenders at the end of 2013 was the lowest in a decade.

In cases that involved court action, 12,147 people had to hand back the keys to their home between October and December last year. The Ministry of Justice put that down to low interest rates and a "proactive approach from lenders in managing consumers in financial difficulty".

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

"Government plans to make evicting tenants easier"

Over at Kathy Newman's Channel 4 blog.

Making squatting a criminal offence was the start, it appears that the scales between protecting homeowners from the scourge of repossession on the one hand, and evicting tenants on the other, are being tilted in opposite directions.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Reader's Letter Of The Day

From The Evening Standard (19 Feb 2014, page 47):

We were delighted by Danny Dorling's endorsement of a land value tax.

The Holy Grail of high wages/low house prices can be achieved by collecting taxes from the rental value of land instead of from earnings and output. Our calculations show that replacing council tax, VAT and National Insurance with a fiscally neutral Land Value Tax would leave most young couples £10,000 a year better off.

As well as reversing the rising tide of wealth inequality, such a measure would dampen the boom-bust cycle and lead to more efficient use of existing buildings.

Land Value Tax was supported by figures as diverse as Marx, Churchill and Milton Friedman. Now that corporations can shift profits between jurisdictions at the touch of a button it has more relevance than ever as land cannot be hidden abroad.

Mark Wadsworth, Young People's Party.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Friday meet-up, tomorrow 14 February

Same time, same place.

i.e. Friday evening (10 January) from about 5.20 pm onwards at The Brewmaster pub near Leicester Square Tube station.

Robin Smith hopes to bring along Lloyd Churches from Prosper Australia.

I know it's Valentine's Day, hence and why I shall have to sneak of before 7 pm.