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suze
97346.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:30 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin makes a valid point - under the current system, those who do not watch television do not pay a licence fee; under my system they would.

Mr Grue gives one response - that the licence fee also pays for radio and internet services. At one time, there was a wireless licence which people without televisions were required to have if they wanted to listen to the radio. This no longer exists precisely because there are so few people who do not have television.

Furthermore, these people are primarily:

i) older people who have never had a television. I would advocate the introduction of an age allowance so that people older than X do not pay the extra part of income tax - comparable to the current system where the TV licence is free for those over 74. The income tax system already has age allowances, so this would not present a problem.
ii) the very poor who cannot afford a television. These people are non taxpayers, so would not be affected by my proposal.

The BBC are understandably cautious about releasing the figures, but it seems that the majority of those who avoid the TV licence by declaring they have no television are doing so fraudulently. My proposal would eliminate this.

 
samivel
97352.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:37 am Reply with quote

Can we pass a law that shafts banks in the manner they shaft their customers? That would be worthwhile.

 
suze
97354.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:40 am Reply with quote

Thanks for the endorsement Mr Grue - the charter can stay!

I like Tas's idea about road tax - it's another regressive tax which is widely evaded and could easily enough be reformed.

Inheritance tax is trickier. It's politically difficult to introduce a tax change which would only benefit the relatively affluent, and whose effect would be felt mostly in the South East of England - the most affluent part of the country.

There does seem to be some serious discussion now about abolishing inheritance tax altogether, and that has more merit to my way of thinking. I can't remember which country it was that did so in the 1980s ...

 
dr.bob
97374.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:21 am Reply with quote

samivel wrote:
Can we pass a law that shafts banks in the manner they shaft their customers? That would be worthwhile.


I quite agree with this idea!

We were having a discussion in the office yesterday after one of my collegues had checked his bill and found his mobile company (Vodafone, I think) had been overcharging him. When he rang them, they admitted their mistake and promised to refund the money.

However, when we thought about it a bit, we realised that this was a bit crap. Imagine a big company like a bank or mobile phone company decides to overcharge, or in some other way shaft, their customers? The ones that notice get their money back, so the company hasn't lost anything. The ones that don't notice end up benefitting the company to the tune of the money that they've been shafted.

In other words, there's little incentive for a company (apart from something nebulous like reputation) to make absolutely sure they're billing their customers properly, and plenty of incentive to "accidentally" overcharge people.

So, if I ruled the world, I'd pass a law that meant if any company overcharged any of their customers, they'd have to pay back double the amount of money that was at fault.

That should keep 'em honest :)

 
Neotenic
97386.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:44 am Reply with quote

This thread is doing odd things to me. I tended to consider myself liberal almost to the point of anarchist, but I find myself defending most of the charges levied against us.

There is a simple way to avoid paying bank charges, and that is Spend Less Than You Have In Your Account. A QI fact is that running a bog-standard current account is actually a loss-making excercise for the banks. It is the add ons and charges that actually make them profits. If you behave, then you cost them money. This week, under duress, a number of credit card companies have halved their late payment penalties. To cover the cost of this, however, they have raised the APR charged on balances by quite a hefty whack. Which penalises those that manage their money fairly responsibly, whilst rewarding those that piss it away.

Everyone has bad months (yes, even me), and I think you'll find that a number of banks can be quite lenient when it comes to occasional defaults or over-extended overdrafts. If yours isn't, then take your business eleswhere.

We seem very eager to blame the banks et al for the state of public indebtedness in this country, when really it is just our irrepressable urge to buy shiny things most of the time. In my opinion ANYONE who gets a store card is out of their minds.

 
Mr Grue
97402.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:28 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
This week, under duress, a number of credit card companies have halved their late payment penalties. To cover the cost of this, however, they have raised the APR charged on balances by quite a hefty whack.


Ah, to cover the cost. Because heaven knows these companies are in dire straits, aren't they!

Oo, which does remind me... credit cards should by law only be granted and handed over at a face to face interview. That ought to cut through rather a lot of fraud...

 
Tas
97403.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:37 am Reply with quote

(Deleted due to cock-up whilst typing!)


Last edited by Tas on Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:38 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Tas
97404.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:37 am Reply with quote

Quote:
So, if I ruled the world, I'd pass a law that meant if any company overcharged any of their customers, they'd have to pay back double the amount of money that was at fault.


I like this one. I'll second Dr. B's proposal. I'd also like to thank Suze for her ringing endorsement of my Road Tax Is Bollocks, Let's Scrap It Bill.

:-)

Tas

 
Neotenic
97405.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:37 am Reply with quote

Covering costs means maintaining revenue, which in turn keeps the share prices bouyant and helps them pay healthy dividends to shareholders. Seeing as the largest single group of shareholders are pension funds, it is actually in our own interests for these companies to do well.

But I do think the face-to-face credit card idea is fantastic.

 
dr.bob
97426.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:05 am Reply with quote

Alternatively we could reduce the revenue of these companies by cutting costs, thereby giving us more money in our pockets which we could simply pay directly into our pension funds.

Or am I missing something here?

 
Tas
97429.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:12 am Reply with quote

Seems like good sense to me. If I am not getting charged a bloody fortune, I'll have more income (to put into my pension fund, for example) available.

:-)

Tas

 
Neotenic
97491.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 1:06 pm Reply with quote

On paper, what you say makes perfect sense. The trouble is, and the Turner report commented on this if I recall, that many people simply don't put that extra money they may have into a pension. Instead, they spend it all on pre-grated cheese and 3.50 cups of squash from Starbucks. I may have paraphrased slightly.

When it comes to public services, we seem to be stuck with a hopelessly paradoxial viewpoint where everyone wants better services/more benefits, but isn't prepared to stump up the cash.

I am firmly in favour of having as small a government as possible, which would indeed be cheaper to run. All this twaddle about 'inclusion' and 'equality' is massively expensive and common sense should do the same job for free. But again, many people like being able to blame the government for things, because it absolves them of any personal responsibility for their shitty state of affairs.

Granted, my eyes were opened to this quite starkly, as my first job in financial services was calculating the projections of what customers private pensions would be worth, if they kept up their payments until they retire. It was remarkably sobering seeing how someone who had put off starting their pension plans until around forty could put 400 away a month, and that would still only give them about 6k annually at 65. I started there at about the age of 20/21 and I've been paying into a pension ever since.

But still people don't do it - barely any of my circle of friends have anything if their employers don't provide it, and we're all starting to hit thirty now. They say they can't afford it, but they can afford to buy CDs, DVDs and spend at least one night a week in a nightclub.

It's not much fun paying into a pension, but then again neither is trying to live for a week on three cans of corned beef when nearing your 70th birthday.

 
snophlake
97517.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:22 pm Reply with quote

As a new law I would like to see either values of products set at either the pound or 50 p or the introduction of a 99 p coin because I personally think we can do without coppers.

 
samivel
97526.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:15 pm Reply with quote

Yeah get rid of the pigs!


Oh, those coppers...

Sorry.

 
suze
97527.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:40 pm Reply with quote

The idea of a 99p coin was at one time official policy of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party - along with strange notions such as reduction of the voting age to 18, passports for animals, and all day pub opening. They also had a bit to do with EU surpluses being distributed to worthy causes rather than destroyed.

In my former home continent, .99 is less common in prices - .98 tends to be used instead. Dunno why.

 

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