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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 7:10 am 
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Morning all.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 8:11 am 
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https://www.politico.eu/article/emmanue ... er-brexit/
"The fly in London’s soup: When it comes to EU countries, bilateral relations only go so far."
Quote:
This week’s summit “is really the first hesitant attempt to forge a bilateral relationship with France,” said Eyal. “For the U.K. the problem is what will be the substantive content, beyond military cooperation, in these bilateral relationships after Brexit?”

“The U.K. is trying to recreate a relationship which went out of fashion in the 1960s,” he added. “It’s now so counterintuitive to modern diplomats — both sides will be grasping in the dark to make this work.”

Austin Powers springs to mind.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 9:00 am 
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Good-morning, everyone


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 9:51 am 
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Morning all. Chemo 5 today so will be transporting 'er indoors there and back. The rest of the day is mine although I do have to do a bit of soup making later.

PFI?

This was always a Treasury-run scheme which both parties said they'd stopped but when in office both continued. Says more about the power of the Treasury to get their own way. I don't buy the "ministers made bad deals" argument - ministers wouldn't be allowed within a country mile of the actual contract apart from having to sign the thing off. Are PF2 deals better than PFI? I doubt anyone knows- or if they are they aren't saying.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 10:21 am 
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Are PF2 deals better?

Maybe worse.
Quote:
Under PF2, the government will gain a smaller proportion of profit if deals are refinanced – a cut from 50% of gains to 33% – which could cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... dit-office

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 10:30 am 
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https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploa ... nd-PF2.pdf
Quote:
Although we do not form a view on the value for money (VfM) of PFI and PF2 there
are some key points which have emerged from our work which we would like to highlight:
• PF2 is similar to PFI
The fundamentals of the financing structure and contract remain the same.
• Increased transparency
Data on forecast and actual PF2 equity returns will be published for all PF2 deals.
However this does not apply to other non-PF2 PPP deals, and data on the cost
of debt is not published.
Budgetary and balance sheet incentives remain
As part of the PFI reform HM Treasury considered removing incentives, unrelated
to VfM, which have driven the use of private finance but it chose not to. If capital
and cash budgets are insufficient, private finance may be the only investment
option for public bodies.

• Lack of data on benefits
There is still a lack of data available on the benefits of private finance procurement.

My bold.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 10:33 am 
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As highlighted by Chris Cook
Quote:
1.29 Making changes to the discount rate applied to future costs can also affect which
financing route is assessed as VfM. The VfM assessment compares private finance
costs with a government discount rate of 3.5%, which is 6.09% with inflation, known
as the Social Time Preference Rate (STPR), which is higher than government’s actual
borrowing costs (Figure 5). The higher the rate applied, the lower the present value of
future payments. For example a payment of £100 in 12 years will have a present value of
just £49 when discounted by the STPR. Discounting using a lower discount rate, which
compares private finance with the actual cost of government borrowing, results in fewer
private finance deals being assessed as VfM.32
1.30 Using a fixed discount rate, set in 2003, means that the VfM assessment does not
reflect the additional cost of private finance above the prevailing cost of government
borrowing. In the current low-interest-rate environment it is possible to privately finance
projects below the 6.09% rate. When this is the case private finance will be assessed
as costing less than public finance even though the actual long-term cash costs of
debt servicing and repayment will be higher than government debt costs. HM Treasury
does not consider the cost of government borrowing to be relevant in making financing
decisions on PFI and PF2 deals.33 However, other countries, such as Germany and the
United States, do compare the cost of private finance with government borrowing costs
when assessing financing options like PFI.

A fixed discount rate, set in 2003! Nothing at all has changed since then, of course.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 10:43 am 
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I don't always agree with Roy Lilley but this is a great rant.
http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Hone ... 88bOU9LDSA
Quote:
I'm talking about the Department of Health Press Office.

Why don't we dump them? We could have one of those press-button, dial yer-own-answer, premium phone lines; dial-a-quote.

Press one for; 'The NHS has had more money than any time in the history of coinage... there is more money than ever before'.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 11:25 am 
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One of my jobs at school is being in charge of e-safety education, so this week I've shared with all of the students the cautionary tale of Toby, a man who thought he could say whatever he liked on social media without there being any consequences, and about how your past will always catch up with you.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 11:40 am 
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Wren-Lewis on fine form

https://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/2018 ... ublic.html

Although at the end he is too soft on the current Labour leadership. Their answer to the question of whether to outsource is not going to be evidence driven either.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 11:55 am 
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The point at the end about neoliberalism not always being the same as orthodox free market economics is a good one.

"socialism for the rich and powerful, capitalism for the poor and weak" anyone?


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 12:01 pm 
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I see Rentoul comments on this but mistakenly.

https://twitter.com/JohnRentoul/status/ ... 2007427072

Quote:
John Rentoul‏Verified account
@JohnRentoul
Follow Follow @JohnRentoul
More
He seems to think it's self-evident govt shouldn't build its own hospitals or roads


But that's not the same as outsourcing which involves transfer of employees to the private sector but doing the same roles as they were before.

I doubt anyone is suggesting that the public sector ought to own construction companies.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 12:11 pm 
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RogerOThornhill wrote:
I see Rentoul comments on this but mistakenly.

https://twitter.com/JohnRentoul/status/ ... 2007427072

Quote:
John Rentoul‏Verified account
@JohnRentoul
Follow Follow @JohnRentoul
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He seems to think it's self-evident govt shouldn't build its own hospitals or roads


But that's not the same as outsourcing which involves transfer of employees to the private sector but doing the same roles as they were before.

I doubt anyone is suggesting that the public sector ought to own construction companies.



I think as a matter of usage Rentoul is clearly right. Whether a service is outsourced is not determined by whetehr at some point in the past it was not.

See also Wren-Lewis where in the second paragraph he uses outsourcing in the same sense as Rentoul.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 12:22 pm 
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SpinningHugo wrote:

I think as a matter of usage Rentoul is clearly right. Whether a service is outsourced is not determined by whetehr at some point in the past it was not.

See also Wren-Lewis where in the second paragraph he uses outsourcing in the same sense as Rentoul.



yeah, it is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outsourcing

Quote:
In business, outsourcing is "an agreement in which one company contracts-out a part of their existing internal activity to another company".[1] It involves the contracting out of a business process (e.g. payroll processing, claims processing) and operational, and/or non-core functions (e.g. manufacturing, facility management, call center support) to another party (see also business process outsourcing).


Contracting a company to build you something isn't outsourcing unless you used to build it yourself before.

We outsourced the whole of our IT department. And then reversed it a couple of years later when it turned out to be a dud. One of the worst mistakes our company made while I was there.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 12:25 pm 
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Another example from our manufacturing company.

We sold the machinery that packed one particular line of products to another company. We then used to sell them the base product for them to pack on our behalf.

That is outsourcing.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 12:26 pm 
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I see that you quoted Victoria Freeman last night, Roger - she is genuinely ghastly. And that is if anything being kind.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:05 pm 
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I think you need to differentiate two different things.

If I outsource something, I put it out.

If something is outsourced it is out.

So building work (and catering and transport and cleaning) may all be outsourced, even though they were never 'insourced'.

And as I've said before, there is no reason at all to think that what is best outsourced and what is not is best determined by what happened in the past. That isn't a principled basis for determining where the line should be drawn.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:14 pm 
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SpinningHugo wrote:
I think you need to differentiate two different things.

If I outsource something, I put it out.

If something is outsourced it is out.

So building work (and catering and transport and cleaning) may all be outsourced, even though they were never 'insourced'.



Sorry but that is completely wrong.

The term 'outsourcing' has a particular use which I've described above.

I know you can never accept that you may be wrong but trust me - I've been there on this one and know its precise meaning.
If you'd ever been in a business environment you'd know what it meant and wouldn't be so confused.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:17 pm 
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our company had probably a £100 million+ of capital expenditure projects on the go at any one time which I had to report on, and I never heard anyone describing them as having been outsourced. Simply not the right terminology.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:32 pm 
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RogerOThornhill wrote:
our company had probably a £100 million+ of capital expenditure projects on the go at any one time which I had to report on, and I never heard anyone describing them as having been outsourced. Simply not the right terminology.

I'm definitely not an expert on this subject, but I suspect at the heart of it are risk and reward.

Once any player has too little risk and too much reward they are likely to be exploitative. And vice versa.

Operations whether all private, all public or a mix who get this balance right will most probably see high productivity.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:36 pm 
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This is quite fun

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42731272?

Who would you choose as the first female statue in Parliament Square?


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:37 pm 
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PS Hugo the front runners are all deceased, so probably best not propose Caroline Lucas just yet ;-)


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:39 pm 
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Nice


Attachments:
Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 13.44.39.png
Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 13.44.39.png [ 61.39 KiB | Viewed 1738 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:46 pm 
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PaulfromYorkshire wrote:
Nice



It is indeed a nice question to what extent collective responsibility ends with a change in management.

As I think we've been through before, the Labour proposals to end currrent PFI deals are all a bit silly. Just hand waving about special purpose vehicles.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:48 pm 
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RogerOThornhill wrote:
SpinningHugo wrote:
I think you need to differentiate two different things.

If I outsource something, I put it out.

If something is outsourced it is out.

So building work (and catering and transport and cleaning) may all be outsourced, even though they were never 'insourced'.



Sorry but that is completely wrong.

The term 'outsourcing' has a particular use which I've described above.

I know you can never accept that you may be wrong but trust me - I've been there on this one and know its precise meaning.
If you'd ever been in a business environment you'd know what it meant and wouldn't be so confused.


So, if,say, I start a company, and always use outside contractors to do the cleaning, you'd say that the cleaning work was not outsourced? do we have another word for this service that is not (and has never been) done inhouse?


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:53 pm 
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I think Roger's point is that outsourcing doesn't usually refer to building work, whether the building people are "in house" or not.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 1:57 pm 
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Tubby Isaacs wrote:
I think Roger's point is that outsourcing doesn't usually refer to building work, whether the building people are "in house" or not.



And my point is that it is not correct to simply assume that it is always best to have goods or services delivered inhouse. A quick and easy way of showing that is to think of the goods/services that are almost always outsourced: eg building work.

The semantic point is mildly interesting, but wholly secondary.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:07 pm 
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SpinningHugo wrote:
So, if,say, I start a company, and always use outside contractors to do the cleaning, you'd say that the cleaning work was not outsourced? do we have another word for this service that is not (and has never been) done inhouse?


No, it's not outsourcing.

No particular word for it - just buying in a service. It's only outsourcing if you're transferring something you already do yourself to an outside company.

Example from the NHS.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-12-21-nhs ... a%E2%80%99

Quote:
The superbug is becoming increasingly difficult to treat. As from 2005, trusts have been required to regularly report incidents of MRSA, which has enabled researchers to produce empirical evidence for the first time that compares the rates of infection in hospitals that outsource cleaning with those using in-house cleaners.


Given that all cleaning used to be using their own employees, any change is outsourcing. Couldn't really be much clearer.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:07 pm 
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PaulfromYorkshire wrote:
This is quite fun

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42731272?

Who would you choose as the first female statue in Parliament Square?


Laura Pidcock, of course :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:11 pm 
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Tubby Isaacs wrote:
I think Roger's point is that outsourcing doesn't usually refer to building work, whether the building people are "in house" or not.

You can easily make a distinction between a finite building contract, which would only be undertaken once in a generation, and an ongoing service such as cleaning or building maintenance. It would be odd to call the former 'outsourcing'.

Even if you're building things all the time, as the govt could be, each school, road or hospital is different and separately tendered. Part of a PFI deal is outsourcing because it usually includes ongoing maintenance and some services, but the other part is a financing arrangement. I think the melding of the two things is one of the worst features of PFI.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:15 pm 
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SpinningHugo wrote:
Tubby Isaacs wrote:
I think Roger's point is that outsourcing doesn't usually refer to building work, whether the building people are "in house" or not.



And my point is that it is not correct to simply assume that it is always best to have goods or services delivered inhouse. A quick and easy way of showing that is to think of the goods/services that are almost always outsourced: eg building work.

The semantic point is mildly interesting, but wholly secondary.


:roll:

I give up - either you simply don't get it or you're arguing for the sake of it.

Enough.

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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:23 pm 
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RogerOThornhill wrote:
SpinningHugo wrote:
So, if,say, I start a company, and always use outside contractors to do the cleaning, you'd say that the cleaning work was not outsourced? do we have another word for this service that is not (and has never been) done inhouse?


No, it's not outsourcing.

No particular word for it - just buying in a service. It's only outsourcing if you're transferring something you already do yourself to an outside company.

Example from the NHS.

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-12-21-nhs ... a%E2%80%99

Quote:
The superbug is becoming increasingly difficult to treat. As from 2005, trusts have been required to regularly report incidents of MRSA, which has enabled researchers to produce empirical evidence for the first time that compares the rates of infection in hospitals that outsource cleaning with those using in-house cleaners.


Given that all cleaning used to be using their own employees, any change is outsourcing. Couldn't really be much clearer.



Again, I think you've conflated two things (see above)

1. The ACT of outsourcing. For something to be put out it needs to be in.

2. Whetehr something is in fact outseourced. For something to be out it may always have been out.

So, in the cleaning example, the work is outsourced (ie sourced outside the company). The fact that it was never sourced inside doesn't alter that.

But again, much more important than this linguistic trivia is whether goods/services should be delivered from within or without a corporation or public body. That cant be answered by whether it happens to be manufacturing goods, cleaning work, building, legal serices or whatever, It alway depends on other factors.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:45 pm 
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gilsey wrote:
Tubby Isaacs wrote:
I think Roger's point is that outsourcing doesn't usually refer to building work, whether the building people are "in house" or not.

You can easily make a distinction between a finite building contract, which would only be undertaken once in a generation, and an ongoing service such as cleaning or building maintenance. It would be odd to call the former 'outsourcing'.

Even if you're building things all the time, as the govt could be, each school, road or hospital is different and separately tendered. Part of a PFI deal is outsourcing because it usually includes ongoing maintenance and some services, but the other part is a financing arrangement. I think the melding of the two things is one of the worst features of PFI.


I think this is spot on.

I think PFI as a 40 year contract was very much a product of its time- Labour faced such neglected public facilities that needed doing up ASAP that it wasn't feasible to borrow cash up front for them. So they went for financing over 40 years and chucked in services as well.

There are obvious downsides to that.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 2:57 pm 
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http://www.businessdictionary.com/defin ... rcing.html
External Sourcing?


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:15 pm 
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Tubby Isaacs wrote:
gilsey wrote:
Tubby Isaacs wrote:
I think Roger's point is that outsourcing doesn't usually refer to building work, whether the building people are "in house" or not.

You can easily make a distinction between a finite building contract, which would only be undertaken once in a generation, and an ongoing service such as cleaning or building maintenance. It would be odd to call the former 'outsourcing'.

Even if you're building things all the time, as the govt could be, each school, road or hospital is different and separately tendered. Part of a PFI deal is outsourcing because it usually includes ongoing maintenance and some services, but the other part is a financing arrangement. I think the melding of the two things is one of the worst features of PFI.


I think this is spot on.

I think PFI as a 40 year contract was very much a product of its time- Labour faced such neglected public facilities that needed doing up ASAP that it wasn't feasible to borrow cash up front for them. So they went for financing over 40 years and chucked in services as well.

There are obvious downsides to that.


And the downsides were known and even admitted at the time.

But most voters were themselves desperate by the 1990s for improved public services, so were also largely willing to overlook it.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:36 pm 
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https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... ed#history


School building framework: winning contractors announced


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:43 pm 
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https://www.gov.uk/government/consultat ... nal-estate


https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital- ... al-estate/

Fit for the future: transforming the court and tribunal estate


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:45 pm 
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https://www.gov.uk/government/statistic ... 8-p5-to-p7


Disabled Person’s Railcard and assisted journeys data: 2017 to 2018 (P5 to P7)


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:45 pm 
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Jeez.

Quote:
“What they’ve done is underbid, made a lot of money out of it and then moved on,” Corbyn said. “When the East Coast mainline was publicly-owned, it paid in a handsome profit to the Treasury and it was well-run.


He's either lying or ignorant. The line is still returning a handsome "profit" to the Treasury- something like £525m over 2 years.

Labour's rail adviser, Ian Taylor, makes the nationalization case on the basis of reducing "friction points" between different organizations. There's lots to be said for that. No need to talk bollocks like Corbyn here.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:46 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:48 pm 
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I note in passing that Stella Creasy has been making some good comments re what to do about PFI contracts now.

You see, this is what Labour "moderates" should be doing. Party members will notice, as will the leadership (despite what SH claims to the contrary)

Whining and moaning in the bars to your favourite right wing hack (off the record, of course) just means you end up universally despised.


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Barack Obama just announced a return to politics in 2018, and Trump should be worried

http://washingtonpress.com/2018/01/17/b ... p-worried/


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:53 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:57 pm 
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AnatolyKasparov wrote:
I note in passing that Stella Creasy has been making some good comments re what to do about PFI contracts now.

You see, this is what Labour "moderates" should be doing. Party members will notice, as will the leadership (despite what SH claims to the contrary)

Whining and moaning in the bars to your favourite right wing hack (off the record, of course) just means you end up universally despised.


Creasy's is definitely in the wrong party. Her CLP hate her. She'll be out once deselection comes in in about 5 years or so.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 4:58 pm 
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AnatolyKasparov wrote:
I note in passing that Stella Creasy has been making some good comments re what to do about PFI contracts now.

You see, this is what Labour "moderates" should be doing. Party members will notice, as will the leadership (despite what SH claims to the contrary)

Whining and moaning in the bars to your favourite right wing hack (off the record, of course) just means you end up universally despised.


I was interested in McDonnell's response (via "people familiar with his thinking") that Creasey's windfall tax "wouldn't solve the problem". I wonder if he thinks that the moderates are trying to head off his more radical solution?

Talking of which, someone I know who writes for a financial paper, reckons that buying out PFIs isn't possible in most cases. So I don't know where that would leave McDonnell's promises. Does he know? I'm not sure.

I noted Wren Lewis earlier. Whereas the fiscal rule was expert led, the policy on public/private looks very different.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 5:04 pm 
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https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2018/01/rent- ... s-tenants/


How to rent’ Guide updated – important for all PRS landlords and tenants


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 5:23 pm 
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SpinningHugo wrote:
AnatolyKasparov wrote:
I note in passing that Stella Creasy has been making some good comments re what to do about PFI contracts now.

You see, this is what Labour "moderates" should be doing. Party members will notice, as will the leadership (despite what SH claims to the contrary)

Whining and moaning in the bars to your favourite right wing hack (off the record, of course) just means you end up universally despised.


Creasy's is definitely in the wrong party. Her CLP hate her. She'll be out once deselection comes in in about 5 years or so.


No, she is Labour and could and would never be anywhere else. Chris "magic money tree" Leslie, on the other hand......


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 5:31 pm 
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Interesting point here.

Quote:
Accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg say the UK tax authorities could help small businesses hurt by Carillion’s collapse.

The UK tax rules allow companies to claim VAT relief on unpaid bills -- but only six months after the money was due. Carillion made some suppliers wait 120 days for payment, so in a worst-case scenario a supplier might face a 10 month wait before they can reclaim VAT from the government.


If the government reduces this repayment time across the board, taxes will have to go up. But that sounds fairer.


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PostPosted: Thu 18 Jan, 2018 5:35 pm 
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AnatolyKasparov wrote:
SpinningHugo wrote:
AnatolyKasparov wrote:
I note in passing that Stella Creasy has been making some good comments re what to do about PFI contracts now.

You see, this is what Labour "moderates" should be doing. Party members will notice, as will the leadership (despite what SH claims to the contrary)

Whining and moaning in the bars to your favourite right wing hack (off the record, of course) just means you end up universally despised.


Creasy's is definitely in the wrong party. Her CLP hate her. She'll be out once deselection comes in in about 5 years or so.


No, she is Labour and could and would never be anywhere else. Chris "magic money tree" Leslie, on the other hand......


I think "magic money tree" was unfair on the sensible, expert-led fiscal policy.

But it's not looking so wrong for the attitude to public services and outsourcing that's taking root in Labour. Season ticket costs to be reduced just by renationalizing, if I understand it right. Plus of course outright lies, as from Corbyn today. As I've said "end firms profiting from public services" is going to be another "crack down on tax avoidance" as a balancing figure to stick in spending plans.


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