In a special seasonal podcast, the team members are quizzed on the news stories and major product reviews of 2013.
The Practical Party
Making practical policies to make everyones lives that little bit better.
Policy Proposal – The Benefits Refresh
Its a huge issue in the UK. How to prevent the current downward spiral where young people see no future except being on benefits for their entire life, and where this is the norm.
In 2012 the UK Government spent £209.42 Billion on benefits and administration of those benefits.
We need to break this cycle completely, and radically.
The practical party will change the current system in the following ways:
- Jobseekers Allowance can only be claimed for the same number of years as the individual has been in work. If the individual claimant has never had a full-time job for more than 12 months they are not entitled to any jobseekers allowance.
- Council tax benefits are removed completely.
- Council tax is abolished. A new annual rates system will be implemented at a national level, with all home owners paying a flat standard rate of £500 per year, per dwelling, irrespective of size or quality of the dwelling. The monies collected will then be distributed to a local council implementation team who are solely in charge of organising local facilities provided in the area. They are effectively administrators for the government, and as such will be on a pay-scale consistent with the private sector administrators.
- Personal tax credits are abolished completely. The current PAYE and National Insurance schemes are replaced with a single tax charge of 12% of all income, regardless of the amount of income.
- Housing benefit is abolished completely. The money is invested to build new, affordable housing, where benefits to rent the properties are not required as they will be affordable to someone on minimum wage
- Attendance allowance is completely abolished
- Child benefit will increase by 50% and be payable until a child is 18, not 16
- Rent rebates – abolished. Rents will be reduced in line with new affordable housing being created, thus this will no longer be needed.
- HM Revenue and Customs will be run as a separate company, it will have an annual budget of £1 billion to run all of its operations
- Child trust funds will be abolished.
- Carers allowance will be revised to ensure that there are not fraudulent claims. Carers allowance will no longer be eligible in order to care for someone who is obese, this does not count as requiring care, it means the person needs medical intervention to enforce a reduced-calorie diet.
- Disability living allowance, capped at the same amount as minimum wage for a 37.5 hour working week. If there are living relatives then receipt of this living allowance will not be eligible. Person must live with relatives, who can claim carers allowance.
- Employment and support allowance is abolished. Employers National Insurance payments are decreased to 4% per employee per month.
- Department for Work and Pensions Admin is cut to £2 billion per year, with a 5 year plan to decrease this to £1 billion.
- No individual is entitled to any benefit unless they are a UK citizen. Citizenship will be implemented in an identical way to the current Australian system.
Annual spending is almost halved under these proposals with a total expenditure of 129.26 billion. These reforms will also have the side-effect of meaning an increase of money in real-terms for individual citizens.
NB. As always, we welcome your comments on all policy proposals.
As many projects that seem to have come from nowhere, this one actually did. It all started when I took a random notion to add up just how much money I had spent on fuel for the Toyota Landcruiser in the past 12 months.
..yes, thats really it, a shocking amount of money! A testament to just how much of a reliance on cars living in the countryside gives you.
And then I started working out why it was so particularly bad, this year I had tried to do less miles than usual.
I started working out some costs of how much fuel the Landcruiser uses.
Cost of fill tank: Between £120 and £130
Normal mileage achieved with a full tank: Between 360 and 400 miles
In essence, it is costing approximately £1 for ever 3 miles I travel.
So I started looking into alternatives and came across a Toyota Aygo. 3 door, in chilli red, 1 litre engine. It gets better…. free road tax… and not only free insurance for the first year, but only £49 per year after that…
So I did a few sums, and it adds up, I now spend £99.14 per month on a new car + the fuel it uses, and so far this is how it is working out:
Cost to fill tank: £44
Number of miles achieved with the first full tank: 640
Thats a staggering 15 miles per £1 of fuel! 5 times the distance of the Landcruiser!
So if you have a big fuel-guzzling jeep, that you don’t want to get rid of, but want to save money…. get your spreadsheet out and visit your local car dealership and get a very small eco-car – its well worth it!
20. Thats wierd…..
19. It’s never done that before.
18. It worked yesterday.
17. How is that possible?
16. It must be a hardware problem.
15. What did you type in wrong to get it to crash?
14. There has to be something funky in your data
13. I haven’t touched that module in weeks!
12. You must have the wrong version.
11. It’s just some unlucky coincidence.
10. I can’t test everything!
9. THIS can’t be the source of THAT.
8. It works, but it hasn’t been tested.
7. Somebody must have changed my code.
6. Did you check for a virus on your system?
5. Even though it doesn’t work, how does it feel?
4. You can’t use that version on your system.
3. Why do you want to do it that way?
2. What were you doing when the program stopped working?
1. It works on my machine.
…..I must confess that we say No. 1 in our office all the time when someone phones up still running Windows Xp and IE 6!
On this week’s podcast we discuss the future of the Leap Motion gesture controller, the impact of surveillance revelations on the technology industry, the possible return of the Windows Start menu and Apple’s “iBeacon” advertising system. Our hot hardware candidate is the Nokia Lumia 2520, a colourful Windows RT tablet.