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Welcome to the Pornocracy (Part One): the UK Economic Miracle

by ChrisCook Fri Jun 20th, 2014 at 11:07:19 AM EST

I am coming to the irresistible conclusion that the Coalition government is a modern day version of the late Byzantine Pornocracy - government by harlots. This facebook quote was the final straw.

You might not know that job centres and work programme providers are encouraging claimants to take up self-employed status on the basis they can pretend they're working, claim Working Tax Credit and get the same money as they would on Job Seekers Allowance but with no hassle or fear of sanction.

That's where all the new 'jobs' are coming from Cameron crows about, that's why there's a boom in so-called self-employment, and that's why productivity's so low per capita, these people aren't working at all. I assume this is why Ian Duncan-Smith still has a job despite the ongoing absolute chaos at the Dept of Work & Pensions as he's set this all up.

So as automation and austerity do for the UK middle class what Thatcher did for the working class we see an exponentially growing class of intellectual value flowing to a shrinking number of skilled workers (who are next in line for automation) and the holders of the relevant intellectual property.

This charade is of course fine to carry the Pornocracy through to the next election. After which, another crackdown on workshy shirkers while Serco, G4S or whoever is Blame-Taker of the Week.


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Social Security IS our Security eloquently tells how bad it's got.

It's a War on the Poor.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jun 21st, 2014 at 04:37:14 AM EST
My own opinion is that the citizens of a country are, effectively, the whores, who are rented out to monied interests by the pimps, who are our elected politicians. But I don't know if there is a word that describes a state run by pimps and in which the great majority of the citizens are unaware of what is being done to them.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 21st, 2014 at 05:43:53 PM EST
I've been meaning to write a diary on this for a while as one of the methods by which unemployment numbers have been cut

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 07:39:50 AM EST
....errrr...they're not


However, we learnt last week that revenues for the first two months of this financial year were down by 3.4 per cent on the same period in 2013. Total current receipts were £92.3bn, versus £95.4bn in April/May last year. VAT receipts are fine, up 5.7 per cent, and that would square with strong consumption, and corporation tax is up too. But income tax and capital gains tax are down 4.7 per cent and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are down 2.2 per cent. This is not what is supposed to happen, particularly since tax revenues have in the past been particularly strong in the early and middle stages of an economic recovery.

My thesis is that Macrae's second - grey economy - explanation is closest to the truth.

Perhaps the simplest determinant is whatever figures there may be enumerating the growth of working tax credit claims by newly self-employed people.

There are definitely safeguards - documented above - aimed at anyone reporting self-employed income at £11k pa or below, and my bet is that these safeguards are not currently being - and will not be until the election -  adequately applied.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 08:26:57 AM EST
Part of it, is that it's administered by HMRC rather than the DWP and so there's not any assessment of whether the business is actually working for a year. then if the buisness isn't working, HMRC can ask for the tax credits back. so HMRC will be punting a pile of people back to the Benefits system (but that won't appear back on the Unemployment figures till after the election)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 10:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ONS quarterly figures on self-employed persons as a percentage of the population:

Noodling along for years. 6.7% last year, until Q4 when there was a jump. And in Q1 this year, a leap.

(From ONS .xls spreadsheet.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 10:54:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I'm going to have to throw that to a couple of people

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 01:28:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bingo. That's it in a single graph.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 02:05:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's an error in the latest quarter's 'Total' figures, where the %age of employed should read 39.9% instead of the 49.9% which I'm seeing.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 02:16:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends on the total population (see footnote 1), which isn't given in the spreadsheet. But unless they've seriously redefined the total population, that figure is odd.

Still, the absolute number of self-employed has gone from 4.166m in 2013 Q1 to 4.554m in 2014 Q1. That's almost 400,000 more in one year, as against a much slighter annual variation in past years.

In fact, that's half of the job creation they claim over the past year.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 03:20:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what is the total population though? if you look at the rates and totals there, the total population works out at just over 51 million, so is it over 18's? working age population? or what?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 04:19:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
can't be working age population these are the 2010 figures

All ages         62,262
Mean age (years) 40.0  
Under 16         11,608
Working age*     38,426  
Under 40         19,828  
40 & over        18,598
Pensionable age* 12,228

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 22nd, 2014 at 04:41:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The age groups considered are the over-16s (no upper limit).

In your breakdown (second comment), if you take the under-16s out from total pop, you get 51 million.

But the real humdinger is that roughly 800K "new jobs" have been created from 2013 Q1 to 2014 Q1, and half of those are self-employment. There would seem to have been a very sharp rise in self-employment, concentrated on 2013 Q4 and 2014 Q1. This is prima facie evidence for the thesis that jobseekers are being encouraged, in significant numbers, to become self-employed.

Next stop, is there a concomitant rise in working tax credit payouts? I don't know if any figures are available for that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 01:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well there's this

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-finalised-annual -awards-2012-to-2013

but the rise won't be available in there till the end of next May, (15 days after the Election) as it appears only to be published once a year and the last one was end of May this year

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 07:21:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd looked at that. But it breaks everything down by family. You can feel the political pressure to produce "useful" ie feedable to the media government-friendly data. I didn't find a total working tax credit paid out p.a., nor a breakdown employees/self-employed. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough (there's the final page).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 08:00:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact I looked at the most recent one.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 08:02:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
46,000 are maybe not in the tax credits figures. they are on a seperate "run your own business scheme




Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 10:21:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting a 404.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 08:02:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 08:09:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's very interesting. I'm officially self-employed, my income is not high - well, not for the last few years - and HMRC interest in my accounts is not running at the levels it might be.

But I also wonder about incompetence and under-staffing. I don't suppose the pay is particularly good for minion-level inspectors, the different parts of the system - corp tax, personal tax, PAYE, and VAT - don't seem to talk to each other, and although fierce powers are available, it's not obvious how often they're used.

And newer parts are broken. I had a completely spurious demand for £2.4k of back PAYE a couple of weeks ago, from the new RTI system. It seems to have decided to ignore the submissions and pick a random estimate.

I solved it with a phone call. But I doubt I was the only victim.

I wonder how many people paid it, and how much cheaper and quicker it is to send out threatening 'estimates' than to handle real numbers.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 06:33:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they're being treated like the Irish Revenue staff then morale will be rock bottom too. Pay cuts, pension cuts, under staffing etc. If the government don't give a crap, why would they?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 07:02:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Self-employment surge across UK hides real story behind upbeat job figures | Society | The Guardian

Coalition claims that "more people are in work than ever before" have been undermined by a report that shows the number of traditional employee jobs is falling or flatlining across the country - a phenomenon masked by an explosion in recorded self-employment which one economist describes as "the last refuge of the desperate".

Only London has shown a marked rise in employee jobs in the last six years, according to new analysis by the independent thinktank the Resolution Foundation, seen exclusively by the Guardian.

The research reveals that the total number of employed jobs fell in nine of 12 regions between 2008 and 2013, ranging from a drop of 156,000 posts in Scotland, to a fall of 24,000 in the east Midlands. The numbers of employee jobs in the south-east (-1,000) and eastern region (+4,000) remained virtually static, while in London, uniquely, 285,000 were created.

Any increase in the number in work in other regions over the 2008 baseline, after four years of recovery, was due to rising rates of self-employment, which was up everywhere except Northern Ireland.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 03:48:26 AM EST
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 03:51:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
getting that as a broken link here's a repaired version

http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/state-living-standards/

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 at 07:24:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome to the US: Everyone is unemployed self-employed.
by rifek on Tue Jun 24th, 2014 at 09:25:18 PM EST
For a while, when people asked what I did, I answered that I was self-unemployed.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jun 25th, 2014 at 04:36:28 AM EST
I work for a Greek university as a "free professional" - sort of freelance. More convenient for the bureaucracy to drag payments, clearly. Now comes the tax returns filling time...
by das monde on Wed Jun 25th, 2014 at 04:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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