Saturday, December 22, 2012

UK Immigration Explosion

Even an astounded Daily Express can't get the increase in Polish immigrants to the UK right. It wasn't an 89% increase from 2001 to 2011, it was a truly astounding 890% increase, to well over half-a-million. That is an almost nine-fold increase in just ten years, in fact, more like six years, as Poland was only admitted to the EU in 2004.

Overall, 7.5 million migrants live in the UK, up from 4.6 million ten years ago - a 63% increase. And in 2014, the EU will open up the UK's borders to twenty million more people, as Bulgaria and Romania fully enter the union.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Unemployment Rate vs Unemployment Benefit Rate

New Zealand Government performs miracles, raising the unemployment rate while lowering the benefit rate. Is that why we have more beggars on the streets?


Saturday, December 15, 2012


Nice title eh?

This is the lovely language used under the UK's new Universal Credit scheme:

"Mandatory Work Activity

"17. Mandatory Work Activity will be part of the toolkit that Jobcentre Plus advisers will have available to them. Where advisers believe a jobseeker will benefit from experiencing the habits and routines of working life, they will have the power to refer the recipient to Mandatory Work Activity. The placement will be for up to four weeks and aimed at helping the recipient develop the labour-market discipline associated with full-time employment such as attending on time and regularly, carrying out specific tasks and working under supervision.

"18. Requiring a small group of recipients to engage in full-time activity will give them the opportunity to demonstrate their compliance with the Jobseeker’s regime. If a recipient fails without good cause to attend or complete the placement, then we will impose a significant financial sanction. This could be, for example, withholding Jobseeker’s Allowance for at least three months."

Universal Credit - Welfare That Works, Chapter 3 - Conditions and Sanctions, p29

And you thought it was too late for Nineteen Eighty-Four.


Be Very Afraid: UK's 'Universal Credit' Scheme

This is quoted directly from the Department of Work and Pensions' paper on Universal Credit - Welfare That Works, Chapter 3 - Conditionality and Sanctions:

"Our current proposals for financial sanctions are:

"a. Failure to meet a requirement to prepare for work will lead to 100 percent of payments ceasing until the recipient re-complies with requirements and for a fixed period after re-compliance.

"b. Failure to actively seek employment or be available for work will lead to payment ceasing for four weeks for a first failure and up to three months for a second.

"c. The most serious failures that apply only to jobseekers will lead to Jobseeker’s Allowance payment ceasing for a fixed period of at least three months (longer for repeat offences). Actions that could trigger this level of penalty include failure to accept a reasonable job offer, failure to apply for a job or failure to attend Mandatory Work Activity."

Be very afraid. And expect a good deal less young or not so young entrepreneurs, authors, actors, musicians, thinkers and artists having the time to do anything creative any more.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NZIER - Lifting Export Performance

Apparently, "in New Zealand, the quality of the business environment has deteriorated through some big steps on the part of government to increase its activity in the business sector through, for example, buying assets and engaging in businesses in sectors such as rail or banking." p16

Or so say the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), our largest and most influential economic think tank, in their report on Lifting Export Performance published last month.

And apparently, "Growth in social spending also has the unintended consequence of biasing production in favour of domestic-focussed industries. An additional dollar of social welfare spending typically ends up in increased consumption of locally-based non-tradable products and services. This is precisely what social welfare programmes are designed to do - to support costs of living which are mostly local in nature. Nonetheless, it means that an additional dollar of spending goes to consumption, rather than investment, and then to industries which do not export." p18

Hmm, a fair bit of social spending assists families to buy forms of agricultural produce (that is food), and that's New Zealand's number one export, so the argument is at least partially, if not substantially, flawed.

Problem is, NZIER then go on to to make further claims based upon it, including the following:

"These biases in favour of consumption (rather than saving) and domestically focussed enterprise go on to put upward pressure on the exchange rate, downward pressure on the prices that exporters receive on international markets and thus there is less incentive to export. This is essentially a tax on exports." p18

Wow, so social spending is a "tax on exports".

I always knew NZIER focussed only on economics rather than on a more holistic view of life and living standards, but I also thought it was somewhat objective. Now I realise it's become a campaigning arm for the right wing economic viewpoint that spouts ever lower taxes on corporates, less regulation and less income sharing.

These NZIER methods aren't going to grow anything other than harm and inequality. If we want growth, we should encourage sharing, because if everyone benefits from growth, then everyone will contribute to it. And what the Hell is wrong with Government investment in "rail or banking"? If the government hadn't invested we wouldn't have a rail network, airline or highly successful New Zealand bank.