United Against Terrorism

closed eyes

Yet another terror attack has taken lives in streets of the UK.

A small number of extremists have yet again murdered innocents.

My thoughts are with the injured and families who lost their loved ones.

Election is the last thing in my mind; this post is not an attempt to score points either.

Instead, here are my opinions, in no particular order, from the moment I came to know about the brutal attack last night near London Bridge.

  • Nuclear weapons are not the answer for all threats; in fact, they were least useful yesterday – in all senses.
  • We need more police, more nurses, more doctors and even more emergency facilities.  Reducing these positions and services will only weaken our responses.
  • “Strong” words have little impact on radicalised, vicious minds.  Publically defeating terrorist ideologies via thought provoking discussions will have much better impact than “strong” words of retaliations – which only fade away as victim’s angry words coming from hurting sentiments.
  • Public sector services respond to terror situations and need more attention and investments.  Businesses and private sector focus on profitability, not terrorism.  Let us not forget the learnings we had from G4S scandal during Olympics.

Major parties have done the right thing by suspending election campaign for a day.  Hope a day’s deviation will make our political leaders think about priorities and considerations. If it could stop terror related deaths and carnage from our streets, that will be the best outcome of the day.

 

UK Elections Topic #3: Corporation Tax

Have you decided whom to vote in this General election?

Hope you were able to watch today’s TV debate.  It was a good eye-opener, which provided clear choice on whom to vote on 8th June.

On one side you have Labour that is standing for the many with a fully costed manifesto.  Its leader was democratically elected within the party with a very high grass-root majority, and also have a honest, sincere image.

On other side, you have the austerity party, which threatens the country with more cuts in all sectors including education, public services and NHS.  They also offer a leader who won the party leadership via walk-over, has been called a “weak and wobbly leader” who don’t even have the courage to meet common public on a national debate on serious issues.

This post is on Corporation Tax.

Here as well – there are clear choices between the main two parties.  Labour is asking for your vote to increase the corporate tax, while Tories promise to further reduce it.

Before proceeding, let me clarify:  I am not an economist and do not claim expertise on the subject.  I use the data available from government and independent organisations and apply common sense to arrive at conclusions.  If you have valid points to disagree with my deductions, let me know and I am happy to update this post.

 

So, what is this corporation tax?

To put in simple terms, it is the tax corporations pay on their profits.  That is, tax on real profit, AFTER all expenses (purchases, bills, salaries) have been paid, AFTER all tax credits have been consumed.

Let us compare this tax with income tax of an ordinary salaried person.  A salaried person pay tax on salary BEFORE his/her expenses.  I mean, the net salary they get in hand is after deducting tax at the source itself.  On top, they also pay VAT on purchases; in contrast, corporations pass on the VAT to consumers.

That is a real difference!

Now, let us compare the tax rates as well.  If you are lucky enough to be in the higher tax bracket (£45,000 – £150,000) in UK, you will pay 40% as income tax.  In contrast, current, single bracket, UK corporation tax is 19% – whatever be the profits!

Corporate (who enjoy other tax credits as well) pay flat 19% AFTER their profits (no limits), while you and me pay 40% tax on gross salary.

Do you think this is fair?

It is this rate that Tories want to reduce even further to 17%!

They justify that a reduced corporation tax rate will attract more investors.  Tories and their economists argue that if UK raises the corporation taxes, the businesses will look elsewhere to shift profit.

Is that argument true?  Is corporation tax the only way to attract businesses?

Independent, non-profit, World Economic Forum reported in Oct 2015 that the top 3 most attractive countries for investments were India, China and Brazil – with corporate taxes 34.61%, 25% and 34% respectively.

All of above mentioned countries have a higher corporate tax than UK’s 20% at 2015.

Here are the graphs on these statistics:

World Economic Forum report on world’s most attractive investment markets:

WEF-attractive investment markets

KPMG Corporate tax rates tool:

KPMG- corporate tax rates

In short, the statistics negate the Tory theory that by increasing corporate tax, businesses will leave the UK.

Instead, making UK a great place for investment is the key to attract corporations.

How can that be achieved?  By several factors, including by having:

  • talented workforce
  • educated youth
  • quality of life that educated and ambitious have come to expect
  • Attractive infrastructure investment
  • A strong industrial strategy

Labour manifesto have policies for each of above factors.

Will try to post on each of these topics in coming days.

Let me know your thoughts…..

 

 

 

UK Elections Topic #2: Free School meals for all pupils – is the policy justified?

Catching up with general election topics….

In early April, Labour had indicated that they want to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils in England, by charging VAT on private schools fees.

Though yet to evolve in its entirety, I think this is a policy in right direction.

Studies confirm that extending free meal to all will improve overall pupil performance; this IFS report says students made 4 – 8 weeks more progress over a two-year period.

The policy will help the students, teachers (with improved pupil performance) and parents (by not only saving money but also knowing that their child will get a healthy meal in school).

As for any policy, there are critical comments on this idea as well, the prominent one being “why feed rich kids?”

I would like to look at this topic not from a rich-parent’s viewpoint but from that of state, which has an obligation to offer the best care without any discrimination to its future citizens – whether the pupil is coming from rich or poor background.

One of the other benefits of primary-wide free meal is that it will stop the “supremacy” claims in classrooms, similar to “my family is feeding you free meal”.  Free school meal to all will bring an end to these class-based boasts – which of course do not originate in kid’s minds;  these feelings  are injected in a very few kids from somewhere else.

Another argument is why make private schools pay for public school free meal?

Private schools are ultimately business establishments – businesses with aim to make profit; it is only fair that they are taken out of the subsidies they now enjoy – to provide facilities including equestrian centres and recording studios in some cases.

Instead of subsidising private education, it will be much more beneficial for the state to create a more equal level playing field for all the students by strengthening main, public education system.

Let me end this post with a comparison of education with health.

Vast majority in UK support public, free health/NHS for all.  We overwhelmingly believe that a person’s bank balance should not dictate his/her eligibility for the best available health care.

Now, replace the word “health” with “education” in above line – what is your opinion now?

 

UK Elections Topic #1: Ensure your vote counts …

In coming days, I will post my thoughts on critical polices that are being actively debated.

Let me start the subject with a news clipping from BBC; hope you have already seen this.

Nurses, police, teachers, fire service.. professions that are backbone of any community; professions that face cuts under present government.

My kids were born in NHS hospitals; they study in local schools, and I am proud of these professionals.

If these professionals are not paid enough to live a decent life, then we should be very worried about the future of our society.

Ensure that your vote counts, for your community.
Ensure that your vote counts, for yourself.