Sunday, 30 November 2008
Friday, 28 November 2008
I love London, and am staying in the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, right on the Thames. At Uni and here at the Hotel I still get excited seeing all the London icons despite all the years I have been coming here. Houses of Parliament, London Eye, St Pauls, and the beautiful bridges. It is a beautiful city
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
I will never complain about my job again
I will never complain about my job again
I will never complain about my job again
I will never complain about my job again
Chancellor Alistair Darling presented his Pre-Budget Report (PBR) to MPs yesterday afternoon. By cutting taxes and increasing spending, he hopes to avoid a long, deep recession in the UK. However, there is a price to pay in the form of massively increased government borrowing.
Thus, in return for short-term gain, there will be long-term pain in the form of higher taxes and lower spending in the future. Indeed, some economists predict that, as a result of sharply higher government borrowing, our national debt will increase by more than £500 billion by 2015. This is equivalent to an extra mortgage of £20,000 for every household in the UK. Ouch!
So, here’s a round-up of the changes announced yesterday:
In its first three years, my small business saw its tax rate rise from 19% to 20% to 21%. Hence, I welcome the news that the proposed increase to 22% has been put back from 2009 to 2010. Also, some small businesses may benefit from VAT being cut to 15%. In addition, the Government intends to allow businesses to spread their tax bills over longer periods and given them access to a Small Business Finance Scheme offering temporary loans of £1,000 to £1 million.
Foreign dividends paid to medium- and large-sized businesses will become tax exempt with effect from 2009. Also, small firms get temporary relief from empty-property rates: in 2009/10, empty properties with a rateable value under £15,000 will be exempt from business rates.
Families with children (winners)
Child Benefit will rise by 6.4% from £18.80 to £20 a week for the first child and by 4.9% from £12.55 to £13.20 for other children. These changes have been brought forward three months, from April to January, as have proposed increases in Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
High earners (long-term losers) and other workers (winners)
After eleven years of restraint, the Government has taken aim at Britain’s richest individuals. From April 2011, it will introduce a 45% income-tax rate for those earning over £150,000. It estimates that only 400,000 people will be affected by this tax hike -- the richest 1% of the population. What's more, from 2010, the personal allowance for income tax (currently £6,035) will be withdrawn completely for the highest earners. Those earning more than £140,000 a year will lose their entire personal allowance, while those on £100,000 to £140,000 will lose half of its value.
On the other hand, the temporary £120 tax rebate for basic-rate taxpayers will become permanent, increasing to £145 next April. This will put more money in the pockets of around 22 million households. Alas, from April 2011, National Insurance contributions are to rise by 0.5% for both employers and employees. Also, the lower threshold for NICs will be raised to match that for income tax. In effect, future NICs will rise for anyone earning over £20,000 a year.
Homeowners (not much on offer)
There’s not much on offer for homeowners, although the Chancellor has promised that borrowers in arrears will be given a three-month breather before lenders can begin repossession proceedings. In particular, hoped-for reforms to Stamp Duty Land Tax failed to arrive, with no extension to the current one-year exemption for houses worth up to £175,000.
Vehicle Excise Duty (VED, alias ‘road tax’) will increase and will be based on CO2 emissions. However, the maximum increase per vehicle will be capped at £5 in 2009 and £30 in 2010. The greenest vehicles will have their VED cut by up to £30. Fuel duty is to rise by 2p a litre from 1 December and by a further 1.84p a litre from 1 April 2009.
Pensioners do pretty well from the PBR. From April, the Pension Credit rises by £6 to £130 a week for individuals and by £9 to £198 a week for couples. Also, the weekly state pension for a single person is set to rise by £4.55 to £95.25 in 2009/10. The Winter Fuel Payment remains at £250 for the under-80s and £400 for the over-80s, plus there’s an extra one-off bung of £60 in January (£120 for couples).
Savers (no change)
There’s precious little on offer for savers in the PBR. However, the government is to launch a national savings scheme in 2010 aimed at eight million people who receive various state benefits and tax credits. The Savings Gateway scheme was first proposed seven years ago and has been undergoing trials in selected parts of the UK.
A Savings Gateway account can be held for two years, with the Government adding 50p to every pound saved, which is a terrific return for low-income households. In total, up to £600 can be saved, with the Government contribution capped at £300. However, families earning less than £15,000 a year and individuals earning less than £11,000 a year are unlikely to have much disposable income, which may handicap this scheme. In addition, this scheme could be open to abuse, with well-off relatives or friends providing savings to low-income folk in return for a cut of that guaranteed 50%+ return!
People who like to splash their cash will be pleased to hear that Value Added Tax (VAT) is being cut from 17.5% to 15% until the end of 2009. Then again, housing, food, childcare, public transport and children's clothes are already VAT-exempt, so these will not become any cheaper. Indeed, some retailers may decide that the switch to 15% VAT is too much hassle and, instead, will absorb the extra profit. It’s bad news for sin taxes, too, as duty on alcohol and tobacco will be increased to cancel out the VAT cut.
This is a big-budget giveaway, designed to put more money into everyone’s pockets in an effort to prevent a major downturn in the UK economy. Thanks to changes to income tax and NICs, most households will pay between £119 and £343 less tax in the 2009/10 tax year. Thus, most workers will be winners, although high earners will lose out in future. Indeed, someone earning £200,000 a year will pay almost £5,600 more tax and NICs from 2011/12. However, I suspect that few of us will take pity on these super-high earners!
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
We have had a report from one of the Councillors that there was a suspicious male seen. This male was first seen in the Pitt Way/Clouston Road area on Saturday 22nd around 1155 hours. We was knocking on doors in the area. Cllr X approached this male to find out what he was doing and explaining who he was, the response he got was less than polite. The male went on to say however that he was a tree surgeon and that he had business cards, however he would not show them to Cllr X. He said that he was registered and that he came from Farnham. This is all at this time suspected to be false. From the way the male behaved towards Mark he had something to hide. Please all be on the lookout.
White 40-50 years
Clean shaven 5ft 10
14 stone approx.
Black trousers Shirt Jacket Brown shoes
Approximately 10 minutes later Cllr X as cycling along Westheath Road when he was chased by a Grey coloured Mondeo saloon which contained 3-4 adults. It is not certain if this was the same male and some friends of his as Cllr X had to take evasive action to avoid being hit.
Westheath Local Beat Officer
Monday, 24 November 2008
One in Oak Road Farnborough between 20.40hrs and 21.20hrs on Saturday night where an attempt to steal the car was made by smashing the rear drivers side window and removing the steering column.
Two incidents of theft of number plates in Rectory Road Farnborough.
Please be vigilant and consider carefully where you leave your vehicles overnight.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
What will rise from the dust during 2009
Works commenced August 2008 and comprises the construction of the foodstore, other retail units, hotel and residential units, together with the realignment of Kingsmead and construction of the surface car park. Demolition and enabling works have been completed. Completion of these blocks is programmed for the end of October 2009.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
The good wishes and cheers of the crowd just were not enough to win over the referee!!
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
- Cabrol Road and the play area needs unclogging of too many vehicles and some anti social juveniles. Empress Estate needs restricted parking times.
- Need to survey our alley ways and have a clean up, and light up where needed.
- Rectory Road needs some thought as to how we cope with parent traffic for local school.
- Trees in the ward - there are lots - what liability if they fall on roads etc. Who pays and can assistance be given to improve maintenance etc.
We have dealt with most of the anti social behaviour in the town, our neighbourhood watches have trebled and we are on target for 100% coverage. We have successfully been dealing with cycling, and are seeing improved facilities in the Ward. Recently, following a meeting with KPI the town centre developer we agreed some cycle path improvements and better locations for cycle racks.
I would like to thank the police for all their support, and especially residents for their valuable feedback and contributions, and finally my fellow ward councillors Brian and Gareth who all work hard making this place a nicer place to live.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
I reflect today on the sacrifices made by so many, but especially on my own families sacrifice thru the years:
Our Family Roll of Honour
David Pullen: 1813-90 (51st Regiment of Foot) Storming of Rangoon 1847
John Robt Townsend: 1842 - 1932 (Queens Own Gloucester Hussars)
Frank Edwin Powell: 1892 - 1979 (Royal Navy) Served on HMS Victory
Henry Albert Sanders: 1877 - 1953 (Royal Artillery) fought in the Boar War
Charles Hardaker - killed - 22 Aug 1915 (AIF) Gallipoli, Turkey
Patrick McBride - killed - 26 Oct 1915 (DLI) Houplines, France
Francis Trudden - killed - 15 Oct 1916 (DLI) Somme, France
Denis Trudden - lost - 6 April 1917 (SS Powhatan) Atlantic
Arthur Merrell - killed - 12 April 1917 (Gloucester Regiment) Arras, France
George Richards- killed - 2 Aug 1917 (South Wales Borderers) Ypres, Belgium
Charles Penfold- killed - 12 April 1918 (Royal Fusiliers) Hazebrouck, France
George Williams: 1889 - 1965 (North Somerset Yeomanry) Prisoner of War
John J Townsend: 1873 - 1959 (AIF)
William T Jackman: 1882 - 1966 (Royal Fusiliers)
Patrick Clifford - lost - 1st Feb 1943 (HMS Welshman) sunk by U boat 617 in Tripoli Harbour, Libya
Albert G Godwin: 1912-98 (Royal Engineers) captured by Japanese in Hong Kong 1940, survived the sinking of the Lisbon Maru, by an American submarine, and survived the Japanese prison of war camp.
Francis Clifford: 1933 - 2001 (Royal Corps of Transport) served in Malaya and Aden
The family appear to litter the worlds battlefields!
Monday, 10 November 2008
Young Britons are using cocaine in quantities and with a frequency unmatched anywhere else in the world apart from the US, the report found. One in 20 schoolchildren of 15 and 16 - around 200,000 teenagers - have used the drug, it said.
The analysis, by the European Union's drug agency, also pointed to levels of deaths from drugs that are higher here than in any other major nation in the EU. Only four small European countries - Luxembourg, Estonia, Norway and Denmark - lose a higher proportion of their young people in drug-related deaths, the report said.
Deaths linked to drug abuse in Britain are, the figures suggest, running at double the rate of those in Germany and four times those in France.
The use of cannabis, says the report, is showing signs of decline in the UK, however.
In the context of this report little comfort.
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
1. He serves as the ultimate role model (at the moment) for kids that feel or are told that they are disadvantaged. Any ethnic minority kids, or kids with a single parent need to realise that with hard work and talent they can achieve anything they set their mind to do. It may at times be tougher than for some others, but nothing is impossible, and the harder they work the luckier they will get.
2. The greatest stumbling block to an Obama event in the UK is Parliament. I believe that Parliament is in need of reformation. This has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with how our democracy is organised. It is extremely unlikely in the current system that an MP having just served a few years (as in Obama's case) could campaign and win the job of Priminister. WE DO NOT CHOOSE our most senior and powerful political position - we leave it in the hands of Parliament. I say it is time for change. The job of Priminister is far to important to the Nation for us to leave it to a few hundred MP's. I want to have a say in who runs this Country, and in this modern Britain it is about time we joined the rest of the world in being able to all cast a vote for our political head of state. Now that I would like to see in my lifetime.