Tories slammed by other Tories for introducing a Labour-type solution post-Brexit!

Owl says: but if we are all going to be richer by leaving the EU, why will this be needed?

And in a “free market” aren’t uneconomic businesses supposed to fail? Confused(dot) Owl!

Tories slammed by free market groups over state aid pledges.

Business and free market groups slammed pledges today by Boris Johnson to expand state aid for businesses if the Conservative Party win the upcoming election.

In a press conference today, Johnson promised to expand Britain’s state aid regime once the UK leaves the EU.

“We will back British businesses by introducing a new state aid regime which makes it faster and easier for the government to intervene to protect jobs when an industry is in trouble,” a briefing document said.

Head of regulatory affairs at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Victoria Hewson said support for state aid was “veiled support for cronyism.”

“For all the lip service the Conservatives pay to free markets and free enterprise, today’s announcements about state aid call into question their basic understanding of how these systems work,” she said.

“Calls to expand state aid translate to veiled support for cronyism. Interventionist and protectionist policies always end up disadvantaging smaller businesses in favour of a few giants.”

A spokesperson for the Institute of Directors said: “It’s not clear how these proposals will fit with ambitions of a ‘Global Britain’. The Conservatives must be wary of opening a can of worms on state aid, it’s important to have consistent rules in place to resist the impulse of unwarranted protectionism.” … “

Tories slammed by free market groups over state aid pledges

British capitalism “too extreme” and doesn’t work

“The UK has one of the most extreme forms of capitalism in the world and we urgently need to rethink the role of business in society. That’s according to Prof Colin Mayer, author of a new report on the future of the corporation for the British Academy.

Prof Mayer says that global crises such as the environment and growing inequality are forcing a reassessment of what business is for.

“The corporation has failed to deliver benefit beyond shareholders, to its stakeholders and its wider community,” he said.

“At the moment, how we conceptualise business is, it’s there to make money. But instead, we should think about it as an incredibly powerful tool for solving our problems in the world.”

He said the ownership structure of companies had made the UK one of the worst examples of responsible capitalism.

“The UK has a particularly extreme form of capitalism and ownership,” he said.

“Most ownership in the UK is in the hands of a large number of institutional investors, none of which have a significant controlling shareholding in our largest companies. That is quite unlike virtually any other country in the world, including the United States.”

This heavily dispersed form of ownership means none of the owners is providing a genuinely long-term perspective on how to achieve goals while also making money.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50562518

If you don’t want the NHS to be a political weapon – depoliticise it!

NHS bosses have said that the NHS should not be used as a political weapon in the forthcoming general election:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50282333

But it will ALWAYS be used as a political weapon if it is given annual sums of money or has very short-term plans made by the political party currently in power, as is the case now.

The solution is to make the NHS independent of politics, have a long-term funding plan and have it run by non-politically appointed staff.

You can’t have it both ways.

Tax cuts

Just remember every tax cut costs. It costs public services (health, education, police, social services, young people’s services, environmental schemes).

They benefit the rich and make the poor poorer – the little bit you gain will be offset (and more) by what you and your family will lose. Indirect taxes (VAT, excise duty, fuel duty) are where the gain may be outstripped by bigger losses.

Tax cuts sound good but think twice before voting for them.

Business rates system broken say MPs

The business rates system is “broken” and needs to be reformed for the benefit of councils and businesses alike, according to a report from the treasury committee released today.

It revealed that the tax generated £31bn in the UK in the last financial year, with revenues rising faster than inflation.

MPs also found councils have applied business rates reliefs inconsistently and urged the government to create a “single comprehensive” guide on how they should operate.

The report acknowledged the government’s plan to increase councils’ retention of business rates from 50% to 75% – but this move, which was meant to start in April 2020, has already been pushed back by a year.

“Any reform of the system should have particular regard both to the need to maintain the total income for local authorities, and to keep the link between individual authorities and the current and potential new businesses in their areas,” it said.

Alison McGovern, Treasury committee’s lead member of the inquiry, said: “It’s abundantly clear that the current business rates system is broken. The tax represents an increasing burden on businesses, particularly those with a physical high street presence struggling to remain competitive.”

Commenting on previous attempts to improve the business rates system, she said: “Odd reliefs here and there are nothing more than sticking plasters to a system in urgent need of reform.”

The committee has heard arguments for alternatives to business rates, such as a ‘land value’ tax – a levy on the land a property exists on rather than the property itself. Another suggestion has been to have online sales levies as the system places a “disproportionate burden” on bricks-and-mortar high street shops compared to online businesses.

However, McGovern said that alternatives had not been “sufficiently modelled to examine who would be the winners and losers of any change.”

The report concluded that it should not be up to “external stakeholders” to develop and evaluate detailed proposals for a new system. Instead, the government should prepare a consultation on the business rates system by the next Spring Statement, it said. …”

Source:Public Finance (pay wall)

How you can (try to) get a cash machine back in your community

“… Following our analysis, Link launched its Community Access to Cash Delivery Fund, which invited local communities to apply for a free-to-use cash machine. The network today announced it had already had 100 applications in the first month.

As a result, the new tool has been developed to meet the swell of demand.

To use it you just need to go to the website:

https://www.link.co.uk/consumers/request-access-to-cash/request-an-atm/

fill out your details, suggest a site for the ATM and explain why it is needed.

Link promises it will respond to the requests one by one and assess whether it can find a viable location to get an ATM up and running in the area. …”

‘Request an ATM’ tool launches for areas hit by cash machine closures

EDF can’t manage its French sites, let alone Hinkley C

So, so nany of Devon’s economic eggs in Hinkley C’s basket – dropped in there by our Local Enterprise Partnership, with the vested interests of its board members uppermost.

And no wonder Germany has dropped nuclear in favour of renewable energy.

“An official report rapped French energy giant EDF on the knuckles Monday for lacking a “culture of quality,” as reflected in huge delays and price overruns at a nuclear plant it has been building for more than a decade.

The report was presented to EDF’s largest shareholder, the French government, which called for an urgent “plan of action” to improve standards at the company and get the much-needed plant online.

The delays at the Flamanville site in northern France come on top of a massive cost overrun at the Hinkley Point nuclear project EDF is building in Britain and a decade-long delay to the Olkiluoto plant in Finland.

EDF’s European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) reactor in Flamanville is now seven years late and costs have more than tripled to 12.4 billion euros ($13.7 billion).

Earlier this month, the company said fixing faulty welding on the Flamanville reactor will add 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to the already swollen price tag.

When Electricite de France began work on the reactor in 2007 it targeted a launch date of 2012. It is now eyeing 2022.

Presented by Jean-Martin Folz, ex-boss of car-maker PSA, Monday’s audit report highlighted a loss of competence at EDF and slammed the company for lacking a “culture of quality.”

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said the report underscored “an unacceptable lack of rigour” at EDF.

He ordered the company to put in place an action plan within a month to bring its nuclear project to the “highest levels”.

EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy, at the same press conference, said he accepted the findings and vowed the company would “redouble its efforts” to boost skill levels.

Folz said that in spite of the problems, the EPR project has successfully demonstrated the “relevance” of the new technology.

– Frustration –

The EDF’s board a few months ago discussed abandoning the Flamanville project but the French state still supports the build despite frustration with the delays.

The project was meant to showcase the third-generation EPR reactor technology that EDF has sold to Britain and Finland.

In September, EDF announced that an EPR reactor it is building on Britain’s south coast would also be delayed, and cost between 1.9 and 2.9 billion pounds ($2.4-3.7 billion) more than initially estimated.

A similar EPR third generation nuclear power plant project in Olkiluoto in Finland is now 10 years behind the initial schedule.

The government acknowledges the delays risk severely denting France’s international reputation as a reliable provider of nuclear energy technology.

Folz said EDF would need to embark on a massive investment and recruitment drive, which was only possible if the government commits to “stable, long-term programmes for the construction of new reactors and the maintenance of the existing fleet.”

The state is considering building more reactors but Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne insisted Monday a decision cannot be taken before EDF has demonstrated the effective running of the EPR.

France relies on nuclear power for 72 percent of its electricity needs. The government wants to reduce this to 50 percent by 2035 by developing more renewable energy sources.

The government has said it would shut 14 of 58 reactors, spread across 19 power plants, by 2035.

But France, by far the country most reliant on nuclear energy, has no intention of phasing this source out altogether, like Germany.

The nuclear sector provides jobs for nearly a quarter of a million people.

Two reactors in Fassenheim in the east of the country are still online despite a 40-year lifespan that expired two years ago.

Last year, a parliamentary report highlighted failings in the safety and defences of the country’s nuclear plants, citing a series of shutdowns at sites around the country.”

https://www.france24.com/en/20191028-audit-raps-french-energy-giant-edf-over-nuclear-project

More flack for EDDC Leader Ingram on spending and transparency

Not looking good … now being attacked for  wanting to employ consultants to tell him what town centre problems are:

“East Devon District Council ‘lacks good detailed intelligence about its towns and their economic wellbeing’.

Cllr Ben Ingham, leader of the council, admitted: “This is not a good state of affairs,” when questioned at Wednesday night’s full council meeting.

It came after Cllr Mike Allen asked questions over the decision of the portfolio holder for economy, Cllr Kevin Blakey, to commission a major study into town centres.

Cllr Allen asked for an indication of the cost proposed and in the interests of proper transparency, for the Consultancy brief envisaged be put to the next Overview Committee for discussion before any expenditure is committed. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/east-devon-lacks-good-intelligence-3474769