Scottish independence referendum, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


Deal or no deal?

Posted on December 15, 2013 by

One of the great battle cries of the No campaign is the insistence that an independent Scotland couldn’t possibly be a “land of milk and honey” (even though nobody has ever actually said that it would). You simply can’t, we’re constantly told, run a country with Scandinavian levels of public services on US levels of taxation.

krone

That, of course, is a matter of opinion, rather dependent on what you want that country to spend its money on – it’s a lot easier to afford pensions if you haven’t spunked all your cash on a load of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.

But that’s by the by. To make a better, Nordic-style Scotland, we’re warned, we’d all have to pay much more tax, and if there’s one thing that terrifies British people beyond sanity it’s the threat of higher tax. But just for a moment, let’s assume that’s really the choice, and have a quick quiz.

Which of these scenarios would you prefer?

(a) A salary of £23,063 taxed at 21%?

(b) A salary of £41,025 taxed at 27%?

Take your time. Use a calculator if you like. There’s no rush.

We didn’t just pluck those numbers out of the air. They’re the World Bank’s current calculations of international GDP per capita for the UK and Norway respectively, adjusted for what’s called “Purchasing Power Parity”, or PPP. (We’ve also converted them from dollars to Sterling.)

What PPP means is that the figures already take account of the cost of living, so they’re genuinely comparable – it doesn’t matter that beer costs £10 a pint in Norway or whatever, because that’s been factored into the figures, which means you know you can still afford to buy 1.78 pints (41 divided by 23) in Oslo for every one pint you can get in Auchtermuchty before your wages run out.

The gap’s getting bigger, too. Those are 2012 figures – in 2009 Norwegians were only 1.59 times as well off than their British counterparts. And it’s actually worse still, because those are national averages but Norway is a much more equal country than the UK, so the average Brit doesn’t get as much of their fair share of national GDP wealth as the average Norwegian does. But let’s not complicate things.

norwaytax

The graph above is Norwegian taxation. Conveniently, the exchange rate between the Norwegian krone and the pound is almost exactly 10:1, so it’s easy to compare to UK wages. At an income of 410,000 krone a year (£41,000), a Norwegian worker is still paying only around 27% in income tax and the equivalent of National Insurance.

(In the UK that same income would put you just inside the 40% bracket, which currently starts at £41,000. Factoring in current personal allowances, your tax and NI would take roughly £11,200 out of that – an effective combined tax/NI rate of, er, 27.3%. So what we’ve learned is this: on a very healthy salary of £41,000 a Norwegian would actually still be paying slightly LESS tax than a UK worker on the same wages.)

But the average UK worker would actually be taking home roughly £18,000 a year less than that, and paying a lower total of around 21.4% in tax and NI after single-person’s allowance. So let’s finish the calculation:

Worker with average national purchasing power

UK: £23,000 minus tax/NI of £4935 = £18,065 disposable income

Norway: £41,000 minus tax/NI of £11,070 = £29,930 disposable income

That, readers, is the reality of the “Scandinavian tax levels” with which the No camp seeks to terrify Scottish voters. A country the same size as Scotland with similar levels of natural resources, but which chooses different spending priorities, is almost £12,000 better off per head per year DESPITE higher tax rates.

This is the great lie of neoliberalism, the political creed which now unites all three UK parties – that we need austerity because there just isn’t enough money to go round, but we have to cut taxes for “wealth creators” so that some of it will trickle down to the rest of us. But Norway shows that it’s simply a matter of which choices you make.

So that’s the reality. Vote Yes next year and you could find yourself paying 6% more tax, but in return for a 65% pay increase. Sound like a fair trade?

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128 to “Deal or no deal?”

  1. Paula Rose says:

    Suits me Sir.

  2. Doug Daniel says:

    I’d settle for paying 6% more tax with no increase in wages and just seeing it not spent on crap like nuclear weapons, to be honest. But if there’s a pay rise on offer anyway…

  3. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Put me down for a Norwegian style of pay and taxes, sure as hell beats the pay and daylight robbery level of taxation that we are all currently experiencing.
    Oops sorry I forgot we are not all experiencing these levels of taxation are we, only the poor, middle waged folks are our great friends in the Millionaires Club are getting away with paying NO taxes or very little at best!

  4. rabb says:

    Amen Doug!

  5. msean says:

    I would take that.Besides,i wouldn’t mind paying taxes that weren’t squandered on foreign wars and running agents in the middle east. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25379391

  6. Thepnr says:

    @Doug Daniel
    I too would pay more tax if it was being spent in the right manner and I believe there are many more that think like we do.
     
    I mentioned this once before on another thread but worth mentioning again.
    At the “Five Million Questions” debate on Welfare in The New Scotland” towards the end the chair asked for a show of hands of those who would be willing to pay more tax fair a fairer welfare system. Over 2/3rds raised their hand, when she asked for those against I saw only about 6 to 8 out 200 put their hand up.
     

  7. cjmasta says:

    This is exactly the kind of information the Scottish public will be denied by the MSM but if those in the Yes camp can articulate as much info as this to counter the BT mob then the Scottish public will see them for the blatant liars and fear mongers they are.
    Just look at Alistair Carmichael`s poor poor performance when he had to debate Nicola recently, the facts speak for themselves and lies when exposed lose the trust they need  to secure a no vote.
    I hope early next year we see some movement in the polls, i`m gonna spend as much spare time as I can getting out there for Yes anyway. There`s a lot of BS to sweep aside.

  8. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Doug
    @Rabb
    @others
    Me Too! :-)
     
    I could write a list as long as your arm on the things that I object to paying for with my taxes. Oddly the £40mill for Westminster sticks in my craw more than most.

  9. Chic McGregor says:

    Agree totally.  Made exactly the same points a couple of days ago when the story broke over on an NNS thread.

  10. Patrician says:

    “You can’t run a country with Scandinavian levels of public services on US levels of taxation.”
    Isn’t this a perfect description of what has been happening in the UK for the last 30 odd years and just look how well that has gone.  The level of debt incurred by underpayment of taxes is coming home to roost.  The destruction of the welfare state was always the end-game for the lower taxes strategists.  

  11. Vincent McDee says:

    And these incomes are not really taking into account the legal tax loopholes  that are so popular down south, which if I’m not mistaken, allow the ones in upper tax brackets to have a discount, thus making proportionally worse deal for the usual suspects, us.
    Somehow, I can’t see the high income Norvegians dodging their duties. unlike here.
     
    Shame we are just preaching to the choir.

  12. Vincent McDee says:

    And these incomes are not really taking into account the legal tax loopholes  that are so popular down south, which if I’m not mistaken, allow the ones in upper tax brackets to have a discount, thus making proportionally worse deal for the usual suspects, us.
    Somehow, I can’t see the high income Norvegians dodging their duties. unlike here.
     
    Shame we are just preaching to the choir.

  13. Vincent McDee says:

    And these incomes are not really taking into account the legal tax loopholes  that are so popular down south, which if I’m not mistaken, allow the ones in upper tax brackets to have a discount, thus making proportionally worse deal for the usual suapects, us.
    Somehow, I can’t see the high income Norvegians dodging their duties. unlike here.
     
    Shame we are just preaching to the choir.

  14. Wilma Watts says:

    O/T Just read a great article by Allan Wyllie in The Huffington Post.
    Within it is a poll that I voted in.”Should Scotland be an independent country”.
    The result was a massive 82% Yes!
    Anyone know how to get more articles in the Post?

  15. yorkiepud says:

    Option b please!

    It really gets me that the comparisons between the UK and Norway used in the media at large just compare cost and ignore the cost relative to the wages in each country. Such comparisons smack of mathematical stupidity and journalistic laziness.
     
    It just seems ridiculous that it hasn’t been reported widely that the Nordic model of high taxation also includes high wages, and therefore, as the World Bank’s figures show, the Nordic model is indeed valid.

    Also, priorities are key. Why would you want to prioritise nuclear weapons when many can’t afford to eat every day, or heat their homes?

    Good article Rev.

  16. PedanticDave says:

    Not being a pedant or anything but the higher rate of income tax currently in the UK starts at £32,011 and not £35,000 that was the 2011-2012 starting level. Since 2011 the starting rate for the 40% rate of income tax in the UK has been falling, so to capture more money from the lower earners, next year it falls again to £31,866 and no doubt after that it will fall again. So all in all, we will all eventually pay more income tax whether we remain in the UK or gain Independence, I know which I prefer.

  17. Patrick Roden says:

    Shame we are just preaching to the choir”
    Well bud, it’s a choir that is growing by about 10,000 a month on Wings alone, so we aren’t doing too bad. :-)
    O/T
    Just having a look at some of the details on the latest Mori Poll and noticed something interesting:
    The overall swing to Yes is 5% with Yes up 3% and No down 2%
    The interesting thing though and something that might just explain why BT are rehashing the currency issue, as well as lying about the price of shopping, is that of this 5% only 2% were men and 3% were women.
    I think we have all agreed that if women begin to move to Yes then BT are in big trouble, well it’s started!
    No wonder they have been lying through their teeth this past week.
    The stats don’t make it clear (to me anyway) how many of the men or women went from No to Don’t No, as it only showed the percentages for people who had previously said they would vote No and how this number had dropped. IE Women ‘No’ dropped 3% men ‘No’ 2%
    BUT…for the first time in the campaign, women are going over to Yes in bigger numbers than men.
    It seems the internal polling data by the SNP, that Nicola Sturgeon said was showing women and young people moving along the scale towards Yes, is at last beginning to translate into some genuine conversions.

  18. Marker Post says:

    Got around to watching the Newsnet Referendum Discussion, well worth it. Yes Campaigner Mark Coburn hits the nail on the head. The No Campaign aided and abetted by the MSM is re-hashing the only two scare stories they think have any legs – Europe and the pound – to try to focus attention on the “uncertainties”. They have no answer to the welfare state, taxation, nuclear weapons, and there is no positive case for the union. It gets clearer by the day.
     
     

  19. john king says:

    Yes please,
    do you need me to sign anything?
    no?
    what about an x maybe?

  20. scaredy cat. says:

    @ Patrick Roden
    I said before, on several occasions that women simply hadn’t engaged with the debate. Well they are beginning to take an interest now.
    Another great article.
    Thanks Stu.
     
     
     

  21. seoc says:

    Great article.
    The way the UK finances are designed ensures that Everyday Joe loses out, whatever the system is called, whatever ‘tradition’ is underlying it.
    A Monarchy, an Aristocracy and a Democracy are mutually exclusive systems, unless two of them agree to carve up the spoils, leaving those without access to the ‘levers of power’ high, dry and poor.
    The trough is designed so that two of these have access to the more juicy contents.
    Now, put a few bricks under the trough and one end will be awash with ‘National Wealth’ and the opposite end will often be just a little damp, which is where we live.
    it will have been spotted that the artificial ‘deep end’ just happens to be the south east of England. Coincidence, of course.
    Solution? Remove sticky fingers and take hold of the mechanism ourselves.
    Better still, build our own self-levelling trough.

  22. Craig P says:

    Look around any Scandinavian country and you can see where the tax is being spent. Yes, you think to yourself, but they all pay about 60% tax, so no surprise to see how tidy, prosperous, boring and well-run it looks. So it comes as a massive surprise to see how *low* average tax rates are in Norway and how close they are to ours. 
     
    Which then begs a question to anyone who has witnessed Scandinavian countries with their own eyes. Where is the evidence of tax expenditure in our own shabby-looking country? Where is the money all going?

  23. PedanticDave says:

    What happened to my comment?

  24. Simon says:

    “Where is the money all going?”

    Look at the MPs and Lords and London elite on the telly.

  25. Doonfooter says:

    I’ll take that too but you can add in this – in this weeks Building Design magazine they did a survey of the best and worst countries to be a female architect in comparing salaries and maternity leave and most interestingly cost of childcare as a percentage of salary. UK (3rd worst country to be a female architect after Japan and USA) childcare was 40.1% of salary. Norway was 7% of salary! The other Scandanavian countries were all in the top 5 but interestingly in Germany, France and Spain childcare costs were less than half the UK costs! Better together my arse!

  26. Caroline Corfield says:

    @Craig P.   where is the money going? Indeed.

    That’s why the MSM tell you it’s going on benefit scroungers and immigrants, because people do ask that question and at the moment the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Express, The Times readers still believe them. The support down here in England for UKIP and BNP believes it. The support for the Tories believes it, what’s more dangerous now, much of the remaining support for Labour in Scotland believes it. When working class people start to believe right wing propaganda you get fascism.

    Of course programmes like ” On benefits and Proud” don’t help. Where is the series on ordinary families ground down to food banks and sanctions? Where was the investigative journalism that should have blown the spare bedroom levy apart? 

    When you know that’s not where the money is going, then your search for the true places will lead you to the disastrous IT projects, the gravy train jollies associated with tender allocations of these projects, paying off PFI, subsidising private companies that should be state run, subsidising foriegn energy companies to build nuclear power stations, servicing debts that shouldn’t have been amassed, paying politicians that don’t deserve the pay.

    We are simply being mismanaged on a giant scale. It would be pretty difficult to have a worse government that was elected: you don’t need electoral fraud to get corrupt governments, you merely need good advertising and marketing. 

  27. Can you do the same for pensions please ? 
    #pensioner ta

  28. Red squirrel says:

    Higher incomes with only slightly more tax = better public services and fairer society 
     
    vs low income, low tax = debt,  despair and keeping the serfs in their place
     
    Where do I sign? 

  29. sionnach says:

    iScotland would have fewer “fingers in the till” too. Speaking of which, (O/T but interesting), Darling has resigned from the Faculty of Advocates:
    http://archive.is/JWyBQ
    Feeling the heat in the kitchen, is he?

  30. Andrew Morton says:

    Never underestimate the ability of people to misunderstand percentages. I worked for many years for a large insurance company in Manchester. A colleague reported a phone conversation with an insurance broker,

    Broker, “This is an outrageous increase in premium!”
    Underwriter, “But all we’ve done is put the premium back up to where it was two years ago!”
    Broker, “But last year you only reduced by 50%, this year you’ve put it up by 100%!”

  31. Martin says:

    The tale in Sweden is different yet the same.
    If you see a Unionist using a Swedish comparison, guard against 2 things:
    1) if comparing incomes and claiming Swedish incomes are lower by using a relatively high income, remember that Sweden has much lower income disparity. People just don’t get stinking rich there. It wouldn’t be lagom. In contrast, there is much less poverty. This is A Good Thing.

    2) if comparing income tax and claiming the Swedish taxes are much higher, remember that the Swedish income tax includes local tax. So you’d need to include UK council tax in the discussion, and define which area of each country you’re talking about. Don’t let them compare Orkney and Stockholm! Swedish taxation is also more strongly progressive than UK so again watch out for using a high end income as a basis for comparison.

    I don’t have time to provide a table of examples, but I compared my (pretty good) UK salary & take home pay with the same salary in Sweden as part of an evaluation of whether to move there. It came out about £200/month different, which for the salary and all the benefits I’d get (eg the childcare costs that make it affordable for my wife to go back to work and therefore significantly increase household income) was an astonishingly good deal. And that’s how all my Swedish friends describe it – really good value for money.

  32. Malc says:

    Darling resigned from Faculty of Advocates in 2010 after they investigated his flipping and tax arrangements.

  33. cjmasta says:

    OT, guy on Andrew Marr this morning talking about a new airport for London or third runway for Heathrow. Banging on about how it will be good for London and therefor good for the UK.
    Lost count of the amount of times he said it would be good for the UK but it just showed clearly that the UK is run for the SE of England and to hell with the rest of the UK.
    How many decisions are made that are good for that part of the country but have no benefit for the rest of the country? How many decisions are ever made that are good for Scotland and hence good for the UK ? Unless that decision is to keep Scotland`s resources flowing to the south to fund such projects.
    Is it not now glaringly obvious to all outside the SE that they will never get the chance to compete and will never see the investment needed under the current system?

  34. JLT says:

    For myself, at the end of the day, I would rather pay extra tax if it was going to do the greater good. What I mean by that is

     – if it allows our kids to go to Further Education without the fear of accumulating massive debt.
     – if it allows Pensioners to be subsidised properly with winter fuel
     – if it allows the homeless to go to a center where they can get a bed, food and a chance to rebuild their lives
     – if it allows people to go to the NHS and not pay for operations
     – free prescriptions for those who can’t afford it (I would prefer to pay as I can afford it)
     
    I would pay a £1000 extra in taxes and take NO wage rise, if it meant all of the above could happen.
    That is the freeing of one’s soul. To do all of these things would show that Scotland and her people don’t kneel at the altar of elite capitalism, and Money is not our God. That is how our nation should be defined; not by judging how much money is in a person’s wallet.

  35. kininvie says:

    @Caroline,
     
    I think you can add needlessly complex systems to your list of where the money goes. Almost every incoming UK government claims to be about to simplify the tax/benefit system, but they all fail to do more than tinker round the edges, often at enormous expense. Why?  You can see the same kind of thing in the NHS, where vast sums of money were spent designing a digital health service – which failed.
     
    One of my concerns about our transitional period between 2014 and 2016, is that, almost by default, we’ll be setting up our own systems to mimic the exisitng set-up. I’m not quite sure when or how we shall have the opportunity to start afresh with the much simpler structures which we shall need.

  36. Martin says:

    Of course, this is an entirely misleading discussion.
     
    While most people here (me included) would be delighted for a higher tax, higher social goods society, that’s not the point because that’s an argument to have in post indy general elections. 
     
    The referendum is about who decides.
     
    if the low tax neolibs wish to continue with such policies, they are perfectly able to put them to the public in a democratic way and argue the case without stitching it up by lashing us to auto-NeoLib rUK.

  37. Andrew Morton says:

    @Kininvie
     
    One of the curses of the UK over the last fifty years is the desire to design everything from scratch rather than buy an off the peg solution from abroad which actually works. The company I worked for decided that it needed a new IT system. It spent millions and three years to build a system which didn’t do the job it was designed for. One of our competitors surveyed the market and found a system already in use in Australia which they adopted and ended up with a system which worked at a fraction of the cost.
     
    IScotland can do the same as that competitor and adopt solutions which are tried and tested rather than squander our money needlessly.

  38. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    Oh my – Rev Stuart Campbell and WOS mentioned on Radio Scotland about this Post. Makes me feel all fuzzy inside.

  39. Another London Dividend says:

    More Tory donors who live outside Scotland bail out Bitter Together
     
    http://archive.is/D2u0n

  40. Scarlett says:

    Patrick Roden: 
    Do you have a link to the Mori poll, I’m interested in the data about women now moving to Yes. I’m doing an interview tomorrow and it would be good to talk about positives rather than negatives.

  41. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What happened to my comment?”

    It was your first, and a person’s first comment has to be manually approved. It also contained a slogan signature (“Saor Alba” in your case), which would have triggered moderation anyway. Don’t do those.

  42. X_Sticks says:

    JLT says: 
    “show that Scotland and her people don’t kneel at the altar of elite capitalism, and Money is not our God. That is how our nation should be defined; not by judging how much money is in a person’s wallet.”

    That’s the Scotland I want too JLT, and like you I’d be prepared to pay for it.
     
    The problem is there is a small brit-Scottish establishment elite that have a completely differing viewpoint and would rather keep us in thrall to westminster’s capitalist slavery.
     
    They don’t want a better society for everyone, They want a better lifestyle for themselves.

  43. Richard says:

    I too would pay more tax to ensure that quality services were available. I would also be prepared to pay towards medicines as I can afford it (although my money would be tighter). I think the recent Scotland bill was designed so that scots would pay more tax for what we have now(or less than we have now).
    I don’t think we are entering a land of milk and honey and I expect that our own currency would cost us in the early years but might be worth considering.
     

  44. kininvie says:

    @ Andrew Morton
     
    Correct, but as a small example of the point I was trying to make, there exists an excellent NZ self-contained system for tracking, updating and making available the medical records of survivors of childood cancer. NHS Scotland was offered the system effectively free of cost, but then it had to be ‘integrated’ with the ponderous  pre-existing NHS IT structures. Four years and some hundred thousand pounds worth of development costs later, and there’s still not much sign of it working.
     
    Off the shelf only works if you are prepared to strip out and abandon the stuff you already have. Trying to integrate it into an existing set up can often be costly and ineffective.

  45. gordoz says:

    No !

    I totally disagree with Doug Daniel our tax helps mother Britain so much !

    Scotland clearly needs to contribute to nuclear weapons if Britain is to remain a world power, we need them to protect Britains oil, Britains water and Britains fishing stocks and to scare the b’jesus out of  the Irish, the Iranians and the Afghans so they don’t invade Scotland.
    Surely that’s the case Doug I mean look what us in Jockland get for this money, come on ?

  46. Ken500 says:

    The Union costs Scotland £10Billion

    £4Billion in debt repayment (it doesn’t borrow or spend) The deficit is (supposed) to be cut by
    £15Billion (pro rata = £1.5Billion)
    £2Billion+ loss in Oil tax revenues after Osbourne/Alexander increased Oil tax 11% – £2Billion.

    £1.5Billion spent on Trident

    £1.5Billion could be saved on Healthcare/Social costs by a tax on ‘loss leading’ alcohol

    £1Billion taken by UK Exchequer on CAP intended for Scottish farmers+ admin costs HoL/Minster.

    Scotland raises £60Billion in revenues – £10Billion is 1/5 of Scotland’s revenues.

    Total revenues raised in the UK £600Billion. Total revenues spent £700Billion. £100Billion is borrowed and spent in the rest of the UK. Scotland would need to be borrowing/ spending
    £70Billion pro rata. Not the £48Billion it gets back.

    No austerity in London S/E. Unemployment 4%. No cut in Public spending. There is no need for another Airport in London, if APT was devolved. There would be more flights from the Scottish/regional airports.

  47. caz-m says:

    @Richard

    You sum up the scare stories that comes out of Project Fear. You will not be paying “more” taxes.

    In proportion to what you earn, in a Norwegian style economy, you would be paying “less” tax,

    That is the message that the Rev. is getting out and you have to get that across to the undecided voter.

  48. Jim Mitchell says:

    Anybody know if they have to have food banks in Scandinavia?

  49. crisiscult says:

    o/t but always relevant to news bias. Here’s another reason I didn’t renew my TV licence. BBC doesn’t just manipulate information on Scottish news! I know some people who visit here are interested in the Ukrainian protests. This is from BBC story today
     
    Opposition leaders have urged protesters to remain vigilant, fearing “provocateurs” could trigger clashes between rival demonstrators. The opposition has also accused the authorities of bussing people into Kiev for the pro-government rally and providing them with money and food. The authorities officially deny this, but a number of participants in the rally have said they were forced to take part.
     
    Now that is quite probably true i.e. paying people to protest, but the BBC doesn’t appear to have revealed the same claims about the opposition protesters. Maybe no one has told them? Maybe their investigative journalists aren’t looking very hard. I could provide them with plenty of witnesses who’ll tell them this is happening on both sides. However, it doesn’t sit with the theme the BBC likes to nurture.

  50. Richard says:

    Hi caz-m
     
    I was only indicating a willingness to pay more if it was for the public good. I believe that the new Scotland bill will change the way that Scotland is funded and is a strategy by Westminster whereby they can wrest back control over Scottish spending whilst pointing to the dressing of a devolved parliament

  51. Marcia says:

    Merci to the Rev for this article that the readers can pass around.
     
    I heard the same scare story over 40 odd years ago which used to make me laugh at the stupidity of the core article. Then the top tax in the UK was 83% plus 15% investment income surcharge. That meant that after personal allowances and reliefs you could be liable up to 98% on your income. That is why many pop stars, artists and sportsmen and women went abroad for tax reasons. I am sure the top rate elsewhere was not 98%.

  52. JLT says:

    X_Sticks,
    I think if you were to ask everyone in Scotland, then the vast majority of people would agree with us. The problem is, that they still have this fear of letting go of ‘Mother Britain.’
     
    Without going into too many details, as I can’t say too much, there was a scenario last week while I attended a job at a major investment House. It was lunchtime, and I had just finished completing a job. As I came down the stairs to ground level which housed the buildings restaurant, I heard children singing (this was at lunchtime). The kids were singing Christmas Carols.
    When I peeked my head around to view the scene, what I saw hit me like a train and it left me with a feeling that this was wrong …very, very wrong. We had kids from a normal state school singing Carols to Investment Bankers as they ate, while the teachers carried buckets looking for donations of thanks from the staff.
    As I have said in previous posts, the people in these buildings send their kids to the private schools of Edinburgh. The kids here, were NOT from those private schools. These were kids who go to the normal state schools.
     
    Now, some here might say, ‘Ah bah Humbug!’, but lets get something straight – I have no problem with kids singing Carols. I love Christmas!
     
    But for some reason, the whole scenario left me with a feeling of great unease. Why here? Why an Investment House? Why not in a Shopping Center? This place makes millions of pounds a day, and yet, we have teachers standing next to the kids holding buckets looking for donations, while their kids sing to people who will never starve, be destitute, live in fear, or never want for anything; who make more money in a year, than many of us will in a decade.
    It reminded me of a Victorian age. Where the poor came around to the houses of the rich, and sang for them. At that point, I just left the building.
     
    I might be missing something, but somehow …I don’t think I am.

  53. Tîm Criced i Gymru says:

    Btw, what’s happened to the official SNP website this morning ?- won’t upload ! ‘No’ Gremlins at work?….I mean gremlins from the ‘No’ or ‘Noo’?!

  54. Robert Kerr says:

    Thanks Rev for the reference to onanism vis-a-vis nuclear weapons.
     
    Perhaps an FoI question should be asked
     
    “is it possible for the UK’s submarine nuclear deterrent to be fired on a USA land target? Yes or no?”
     
    A supplementary question would be “fired on any target without USA approval”
     
    Just to open minds please watch the 1984 BBC production “Threads” and be really scared.
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQo0BQM3OlQ

  55. Rev, great article and I’ll print it off and keep a copy on me to show to my friends, when the topic comes up, but as anne with an e says, could you do one about pensions in Scandinavia, please?  

  56. Albert Herring says:

    Or indeed pensions everywhere else!

  57. Anon Sailor says:

    Robert, Trident is a shared NATO asset and can’t be fired at anyone else but preprogrammed NATO targets. Hard wired to targets as weapons of vengeance. Former Naval Person.

  58. Mealer says:

    That’s a very useful article,Rev.The YES campaign says Scotland can be a successful independent country and we should crack on and do it using Scandinavian countries as an example.The NO campaign agrees Scotland can be a successful independent country but says we re better to stick with London so our leaders can prance about on the world stage pretending to be big and important.And spending billions on nuclear weapons to keep up the image,while people queue at food banks.Vote YES for a better Scotland!

  59. PedanticJohn says:

    Sorry to be a pedant, but higher rate tax does not start at 35,000, or £32,011 as PedanticDave said – these are income brackets above the personal allowance – so higher rate tax starts at 9,440 + 32,011 = 41,451.

  60. Anon Sailor says:

    Robert, Trident can be fired at Argentina, thats why Polaris didn’t prevent Falklands War, nor can we decide to hit Spain if they invaded GiB. Pointless weapons and time for them to be not renewed.

  61. caz-m says:

    @Richard

    The point I was making was that the NO Campaign just have to mention paying Norwegian style “higher taxes” and people run a mile.

    What they forget to mention is that salaries in Norway are higher, so overall you have more money in your pocket and still have the kind of society that we are all striving for.

  62. kininvie says:

    O/T
     
    Murray Ritchie (ex Pol editor of the Herald) tears into the tired old EU expulsion story:
     
    http://www.scottishtimes.com/scotland_eu_membership
     
    Another cut out & keep for nay-sayers article  IMO

  63. Robert Kerr says:

    @Anon Sailor
     
    My point exactly. A total waste of money. 
     
    Thank you

  64. Ann says:

    I’d take the £23K wage and 21% tax any day. That’s over £4K more than I get at the moment.
     

  65. X_Sticks says:

    @JLT
     
    Your post paints a picture that could have come from a Dickens novel. The poor grovelling for bawbees from the rich. It doesn’t surprise me that you felt uneasy.
     
    There is something far wrong when the 7the richest country in the world can’t look after its own population and ordinary people are left in severe poverty when the top 10% make off with all the wealth. The elite in the UK have no conscience.
     
    I believe that there is a hidden master plan – probably created through the Bilderberg club or the Rothschild mob – to reduce average western wages to be competitive with the developing countries. That way the rich can continue to rake in massive profits and still be based in the west.
     
    I don’t think I am missing anything. You only have to look around to see what is happening in the UK. Foodbanks, denigration of those on welfare, those on disability benefits, those on minimum wage etc. And the rest of us? When was the last time any of us ordinary folk had a pay rise? The price of living in our unequal society continues to rise and the profits continue to line the pockets of the wealthy.
     
    We in Scotland have an opportunity to change our direction. I sincerely hope we take it.

  66. sionnach says:

    Malc says:
    Darling resigned from Faculty of Advocates in 2010
     
    Sorry, my stupid mistake. Read today’s date at the top, didn’t notice the 2010 date on the by-line.
     
    As you were.

  67. KOF says:

    Another London Dividend syas
    “More Tory donors who live outside Scotland bail out Bitter Together”

     
    From the article. 
     
    “The 53-year-old former engineer gave £100,000 in his own name, plus £500,000 via two companies, Rain Dance International and Beinn Bhuidhe.”
     
    Rain Dance International – http://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/rain-dance-investments
     
    Beinn Bhuidhe – http://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/beinn-bhuidhe-energy

  68. X_Sticks says:

    KOF says:
    “More Tory donors who live outside Scotland bail out Bitter Together”
     
    Is it just me, or does it seem that something dodgy might be going on here. Both those companies registered to some wee hoose in the middle of nowhere?
    ST LAWRENCE 28 STATION ROAD
    BARDNEY
    LINCOLN
    UNITED KINGDOM
    LN3 5UD            
     
    It’s a pity we don’t do investigative journalism in Scotland any more. I suspect there might be a good story lurking in there somewhere. 28 Station Road, Bardney might be worth a visit.

  69. KOF says:

    @ X_Sticks
     
    Dodgy is as dodgy does.

  70. Ian Brotherhood says:

    What is the story with these donations – are they tax-deductible?
     
    It’s hard to imagine anyone in their right mind giving that incompetent shower anything at all unless there was some incentive.

  71. magnus barelegs says:

    Bitter Together and very dubious Tory types, says it all really. Spivs/Spies/Sharks you name it. Well done McDougall you must be so proud of yourself.

  72. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    O/T
    Strange Sunday Herald today. Reads like a unionist rag mostly. Is the editor away again?

  73. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Strange Sunday Herald today. Reads like a unionist rag mostly.”

    Based on what? It wasn’t the impression I got, other than perhaps the rather petty Salmond/Mandela story.

  74. Adrian B says:

    ST LAWRENCE 28 STATION ROAD, BARDNEY, LINCOLN, UNITED KINGDOMLN3 5UD      
     
    That is the address of the company’s accountant. Its quite a normal thing to do.

  75. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Not being a pedant or anything but the higher rate of income tax currently in the UK starts at £32,011 and not £35,000 that was the 2011-2012 starting level.”

    Yes, I know. We’ve written before here about the rapid fall in the higher-rate threshold. But all the figures in the piece are 2012 ones and I wanted to keep everything as accurate as possible. However, on reflection it makes more sense to use the current ones, so I’ve adjusted the stat while recalculating (see comment below).

  76. liz says:

    @X_Sticks – I know something strange is happening in this country.

    Everything is being sold to private companies.

    In the Observer today they mention that their are plans to sell off the MODs equipment repair and maintainence service to private hands and the US is not happy.

    Also the probation service is to follow and recently the UK government sold it’s share in the euro star.
     
    It’s as if we’ve been completely taken over – by whom?

  77. As Deepthroat said “Follow the money”.

  78. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Sorry to be a pedant, but higher rate tax does not start at 35,000, or £32,011 as PedanticDave said – these are income brackets above the personal allowance – so higher rate tax starts at 9,440 + 32,011 = 41,451.”

    Well, every day a schoolday. Didn’t know that, after a mere 25 years as an income tax-payer, and it was a real struggle to verify, but you’re right. Now I have to do the bloody sums AGAIN, even though it doesn’t affect the core point or the disposable-income figures, which were correct because they didn’t include any higher-rate tax.

    Now fixed, and ta.

  79. msean says:

    How can the probation service be a money maker?Do you make money if more fail and are sent back to private prisons?Or do they somehow make money from probationers who behave themselves?

  80. msean says:

    There is an incentive-imagine the panic re land and titles if a REAL labour government was elected in an independent Scotland!Why,they might bring in a grouse tax or even worse,take back the lands for its real owners(the nation) and boot out the titled ones lol.

  81. Jingly Jangly says:

    Bardney may be in the middle of know where, however its a great wee village with a proper pub the Nags Head which does a brilliant quiz on a sunday night and live music, good food etc.

    Also the home of Ivan Linton one of the top road racers and good guy  (Isle of Man TT, Ulster GP, Scarborough etc)  and a few top line Motorcycle tuners/suppliers.

    Next time Im down there I will park my “YES Van” outside the address for those companies and see what they say…

  82. KOF says:

    Adrian B says
    “That is the address of the company’s accountant. Its quite a normal thing to do.”

     
    So, nothing to see here then, despite the fact that it’s the registered office and trading address for both businesses?

  83. Robert Kerr says:

    These are English companies paying tax in England. Nothing they do benefits the Scottish balance of payments.
     
    Every mickle makes a muckle!

  84. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Rev Stu at 1.18
     
    Apart from the petty but damaging Salmond/Mandela piece the main article which features on the front page is ridiculoulsy generous to unionists when it is more readily could be portrayed as the opposite and it is concluded by a very damaging anti independence piece by a business man at the bottom of it. There is no balance to either of these pieces in the paper. This was the way the paper was presented the last time the editor was away and Gordon and Hutcheon were allowed out to play

  85. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Bardney may be in the middle of know where, however its a great wee village with a proper pub the Nags Head which does a brilliant quiz on a sunday night and live music, good food etc.”

    Truly, we have eyes and ears everywhere.

    :D

  86. liz says:

    @msean – I have no idea how they would make money – my point is everything is being removed from government control.
     
    But to what purpose?

  87. msean says:

    @liz,I don’t know,but i suspect it will leave future non conservative  governments confronting a scorched earth where all aspects of said governments are in private(obviously conservative) hands and making said conservatives  a fortune at the same time..They know they might lose an election eventually to labour(not 2015 though)and don’t want them to cause any damage (in their eyes) to the finances.

  88. msean says:

    Spiking the future labour govts’ guns in advance so’s to speak,making government difficult in an american sort of way.

  89. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Rev Stu at 1.18
    And I should have mentioned that the only cover in the Sunday Herald so far of the hugely significant White Paper is an attack on John Swinney re the calculated cost contained in it of Tax Collection in Scotland, an issue of peripheral interest, if at all.

    Project Fear has gone into overdrive this week. I sincerely hope that the Sunday Herald has not been kicked into line.   

  90. Jeannie says:

    What worries me is what the handful of large Better Together donors are either currently trying to protect  or hoping to receive in the future as a reward.  What are they getting out of it?  What’s in it for them?  Or are we supposed to believe they’re doing it for no other reason at all other than they just love the UK?
     
    Or am I just cynical?

  91. X_Sticks says:

    @Jingly Jangly

    I did not mean any disrespect to Bardney JJ. I was just observing that it didn’t look like the address for companies that could afford to contribute £500,000 to the BT cause.

  92. velofello says:

    If Yes wins the referendum I’m definitely staying in Scotland! I’m essentially content with my personal situation as things are now but life isn’t static it is subject to constant change and I’m much more optimistic that an independent Scotland and her people will have the means and the sense of community to cope with change. Continuing in the UK I view with increasing foreboding.If No secures the decision I’m also definitely staying -no change there then – to fight on for independence, and I”ll be wearing a Don’t Blame Me I voted Yes T-shirt.
     
    lumilumi has provided a good account of life in Finland, the Rev does the income maths comparison here – and patiently corrects some detail. independence will bring change for the better.Whether my personal income rises or falls marginally doesn’t concern me. Food banks, the bedroom tax, childcare provision, these are the priorities to resolve.

  93. SIMON says:

    how about having a referendum in england on whether we want scotland to stay as part of the united kingdom i for 1 would say no ..they dont like us so why should we always subsidise everything they get sod them let them make their own way in the world

  94. Bill McLean says:

    Dave McEwan Hill – I sincerely hope you are right about the Sunday Herald too! However with respect I strongly doubt it. The apparent moderate, sometimes sympathetic, output may have been designed to do what it apparently has done to some. The British state, it’s minions and it’s mouthpieces are not to be trusted. Reading of history of the Empire indicates that this has always been the case!

  95. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “how about having a referendum in england on whether we want scotland to stay as part of the united kingdom i for 1 would say no ..they dont like us so why should we always subsidise everything they get sod them let them make their own way in the world”

    Is it a full moon tonight or something?

  96. setondene says:

    Re the BT donors story in the Sunday Herald, Messrs Savage and Sansom are both English chappies who’ve done rather well out of Scotland.  This is how they repay us.

  97. Edulis says:

    On the Sunday Herald article about BT donors, Donald Houston is worse than despicable. Can you imagine any Scottish business leader saying that a ‘Yes’ vote would make him re-locate his business out of Scotland (although he would personally stay in Scotland) just because it becomes independent? Surely anybody with entrepreneurial nous would wait to see how the economy developed. As CEO of Orion recruitment agency you would think there would be a fair chance of increased job opportunities in an independent Scotland. For a start, what about all those public sector jobs that would be required for a functioning public service?

    I am currently reading up on post-Culloden Highland history and this looks like a repeat of those times as clan chiefs began to ingratiate themselves with the establishment in London, even to losing their Gaelic language and becoming plummy southerners. 

  98. KOF says:

    Edulis says
    ” even to losing their Gaelic language and becoming plummy southerners. “
     
    The rot set in long before Culloden.
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutes_of_Iona

  99. magnus barelegs says:

    Oh dear simple simon above….has been reading too much of the daily mail and telegraph, if anyone has been getting subsidised its been the english thru scottish oil revenues. 
     
    When Scotland goes england is going to have to fend for itself.

  100. X_Sticks says:

    Edulis says:
    “Donald Houston is worse than despicable. Can you imagine any Scottish business leader saying that a ‘Yes’ vote would make him re-locate his business out of Scotland”

    He may move his business Edulis, but he’ll have a hard job moving Ardnamuchan ;)

  101. magnus barelegs says:

    Problem with people like Houston is they don’t see themselves as Scottish, they are gentrified brits first and foremost. Shameless carpet-baggers who deserve nothing but scorn.

  102. Andy-B says:

    @Edulis
     
    I think you’ll find that long before Cullodeon took place James I/VI around 1609, was forcing clan chiefs to send their sons to the Scottish lowlands to learn English, under the (Statues of Iona) James I/VI unlike his predecessors, James V & James IIII, couldn,t speak gaelic.
     
    James I/VI felt indifferent to the gaelic language and refered to it as erse, the Scottish Government at the time felt also it was time to abolish the gaelic language, thankfully now the present Scottish Government, are committed to reversing the decline.

  103. msean says:

    Reminds me of a famous magician who said he’d leave  the uk if labour won in 1997.Labour won,he stayed.Paul Daniels i think it was.I think this is the correct one.

  104. Dramfineday says:

    Kininvie at 09.27
     
    quiet right – which is why I’m a great fan of John Seddon and Vanguard ( no relationship of any kind). You’d do worse to sign of for his newsletter to get a view of just what is happening in Govt Departments and the fantastic savings than can and are being made when the system is designed properly. No doubt there will be a few Vanguard users that come here who could extol the approach more, but in the meantime help yourself to a read:
    http://www.systemsthinking.co.uk/home.asp

  105. Dougie says:

    I have noticed a steady drift of English northerners coming to stay in the Highlands. Many of whom have become members of the SNP and willingly contribute to the cause of Scotland’s Independence.

    I have a lot of English friends and acquaintances who have said that they would support Scottish Independence, but they do not have a vote.

    This referendum is definitely not a question of Scots versus English, it is Scots versus Westminster misrule, gross corruption and misrepresentation.

    Can politicians be prosecuted for telling blatant barefaced lies … or does their Parliamentary privilege protect them from justice?

  106. Edulis says:

    Sorry for getting the name of the businessman who is re-locating in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote wrong. It should have been Alan Savage. Derek Bateman has a great piece on this (click on the link above). He likewise sees his announcement as pretty despicable, saying we could do without these kind of people in a new Scotland.
    On the anglicisation of Highland chiefs, I accept that it was already happening long before Culloden, but most of the Highlands which is what I was talking about was still 100% Gaelic, even amongst the chiefs. When you look at our history it is so full of contradictions. Scotland ancient and modern excels at it!

  107. theycan'tbeserious says:

    James VI/I was a product of the reformation and brought up and influenced by those that benefited under the new establishment, and therefore very anti gaelic culture as it represented pre reformed, pre protestant Scotland, a threat to the new elite and to the united kingdoms and his sitting on the English throne a country that had removed itself from the church of Rome under Henry VIII.  Like all “proud Scot’s” he turned his back on Scotland for the “bling” of Westminster and London! And let’s not forget this……

    In 1598, King James VI employed a group of 12 men from Fife, who became known as the Fife adventurers, to colonise the Isle of Lewis in an attempt to begin the “civilisation” and de-gaelicisation of the region. This endeavour lasted until 1609 when the colonists, having been opposed by the native population, were bought out by

    href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Mackenzie,_1st_Lord_Mackenzie_of_Kintail" rel="nofollow">Kenneth Mackenzie, the clan chief of the Mackenzies.

  108. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Great article.
    OT. Well done to Iceland. Jailing a few bankers. I get the impression that if a senior executive of one of UK’s banks shot dead a customer in full view, he would only get a fine from the FCA. 

  109. David Boddie says:

    I always find it amusing when I read complaints that English people won’t get a chance to vote in next year’s referendum, mostly because the people complaining often want to see Scotland leave the Union as well! This is what happens when the politicians tell the Scottish that they’d be worse off after independence – some people in the rest of the UK get the impression that they’d be better off if Scotland went, so they’re all for it.

    As an Englishman who’s lived in Scotland and now lives in Norway, I think it’s great that Scotland gets to vote on independence. The referendum has the potential to go down as a pivotal event in British history that could really shake up the political system, hopefully for the benefit of the people on both sides of the border.

  110. Douglas Macdonald says:

    As my father used to say, “you should be glad to pay tax.  It shows, at least, you must have a job.”  I cannot offhand remember who said it, but my take on tax resonates with the person, who said, “I do not mind paying tax.  It buys me civilisation.”  That says it all really

  111. Dougie says:

    Well said David. No point bearing grudges for past sins. today is today and we hope to see a greatly improved tomorrow.

  112. Dougie says:

    Some people think work is a four letter word, but they ought to remember Dole is a much nastier one. Make the most of what you have.

  113. Devorgilla says:

    The kroner:£ exchange has only very recently become more favourable. For a number of years now it has been 8.75 to £1. It was that as recently as August. 

  114. bald eagle says:

    msean it was paul daniels
    he could disappear up his own arse and nobody would notice

  115. Churm Rincewind says:

    Apples and pears.  Certainly your average Norwegian may pay less in wage taxation than an equivalent worker in the UK, but pays more by way of other taxes – e.g. the basic rate of VAT in Norway is 25% compared to the UK’s 20%.  Norway has a high rate of corporation tax; the Scottish Government aspires to a much lower rate. 
    I say, who cares?  The comparison is meaningless.

  116. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Apples and pears. Certainly your average Norwegian may pay less in wage taxation than an equivalent worker in the UK, but pays more by way of other taxes – e.g. the basic rate of VAT in Norway is 25% compared to the UK’s 20%. Norway has a high rate of corporation tax; the Scottish Government aspires to a much lower rate.
    I say, who cares? The comparison is meaningless.”

    If missing the point was an Olympic sport, here’s your gold medal.

  117. lumilumi says:

    Sorry to come back to an old thread but I obviously have a personal interest in “Nordic levels of taxation”.
     
    This article focussed on income tax, and I ran some figures through our tax authority’s “Tax percentage calculator”
    http://prosentti.vero.fi/VPL2013/Sivut/Henkilotiedot.aspx?kieli=en-US
     
    I took a very simpe approach, a middle-aged single person with no dependant children and with a moderate mortgage on their own home. Dependant children would lower the tax percentage. Mortgage is relevant because part of own home mortgage interest is tax-deductible (a policy they might scrap soon but it was instituted decades ago to encourage people to save for a deposit and buy their own home – unfair on people who can’t save a deposit & buy – most Finns own their homes).
     
    Where you live is also relevant because Finnish income tax comprises local income tax, which varies according to the municipality (council area) where you live, and national income tax. They’re reconciled in a complex way but what the ordinary taxpayer sees is one tax percentage on their payslip. The total tax witheld from your monthly pay also includes “NI contributions”, a flat rate of 5,6%, so the figures I’ll be giving below include that.
     
    I ran the numbers on three different municipalities, a typical one with a sort of average local income tax (19.75%), the lowest local income tax (16.5%, a small rich enclave within Helsinki metropolitan area) and the highest local income tax I could find (21,5%, a large, mainly rural municipality in north eastern Finland).
     
    National income tax is progressive and largely compensates for the variation in local income tax (which is flat rate locally). To see what tax progression means, I fed in a very low income (£16,200 per year; supermarket shelf stacker or similar), a middling income (£29,400 per year; skilled worker or college/uni graduate in middle-level administrative job), a good income (£70,900 per year; uni graduates in high expertise or upper managerial jobs) and, for the fun of it, a very good income (£162,000; ten times the income of the lowest paid. However, few people in Finland have these kind of incomes.) Nobody’s very rich in Finland, the average and median pay are both pretty close to my “middling income” of £29,400 per year. (I converted euro to pounds according to today’s rate 0.84385)
     
    This is what the tax percentage calculator came up with. First, the annual income, then (in brackets) the lowest local income tax place overall (local + national) income tax percentage, then the typical local income tax place overall tax percentage, last (in brackets) the highest local income tax place overall tax percentage. Overall tax percentage is what you see in your payslip, what you actually pay each month.
     
    £16,200  (14.05)  16.05  (18.05)
    £29,400 (24,05)  27.05  (29.05)
    £70,900  (37.05)  40.05  (42.55)
    £162,000  (46.05)  49.05  (51.55)
     
    As you can see, the least well-paid in this example (the first line) don’t actually pay the full rate on their flat rate local income tax anywhere because it’s compenstated in the national income taxation. However, it’s equally obvious that if you happen to live in a prosperous city in southern Finland (first column), you pay less income tax than those living in more peripheral, rural areas (last column), which is not very fair. Peripheral rural areas get more state funding to help run their local services but the taxpayers there also pay more. It’s a manifestation of the well-known problem about sparse populations and higher infrastructure and public service costs.
     
    I hope WoS readers have been able to follow this supposedly simplified account of Finnish income taxation! :-D
     
    Oh, one thing: income tax is on a sliding scale, not “tax brackets”. This means that as your income increases, your tax percentage increases (progressively) in 0.5 percents. The tax authorities assign you a tax percentage at the start of the year (based on last year’s earnings) and you give this “tax card” to your employer, which states the minimum the employer has to withhold in PAYE. However, a lot of people who don’t live completely hand to mouth actually ask their employers to withhold more tax than their tax card says. Then, later in the year, often after the summer holidays in August, you can go to the tax authority’s tax calculator, feed in all the income you’ve earned and all the tax you’ve paid so far, and get a lower tax percent for the rest of the year (because tax is assessed by calendar year, not by month. Paying “too much” in the beginning of the year lets you pay less later in the year. You end up paying the same amount but it’s distributed differently.)
     
    I remember a year when I paid 42% in the first quarter, 35% in the second quarter, 27% in the third quarter and 3% in the fourth quarter (=run up to Christmas). It’s not often you’re in a position to do it in such an extreme way, but by god, was it fun to have almost all my pay in my own hand for the last three months of the year! :-D
     
    All in all, it’s worth scrimping and saving a bit, early in the year, and pay 2 or 3 percent too much, to have a bit more money in hand before Christmas!

  118. david says:

    I am a yes voter but the only problem I see with the massive swing in taxation and wages is that there are many older Scots on very basic / low pensions. How would they be able to afford this dramatic new cost of living.

    I.e. Norway’s £10 a pint

  119. Dave Ward says:

    Hi folks, hoping a tax savvy person can help me answer this! I just posted this link and a Naw has replied with this…
    ‘Sounds awesome if the maths were accurate, which they are not. First of all an individual with salary of £23063 has a taxable salary of £13623 @21% so pays £2860pa.

    Secondly an individual would have to earn over £50440 to be eligible for the 40% tax bracket and then would only pay 40% on earnings above that.’

    I know bugger all about the tax system so would appreciate any help arguing these points!

  120. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I am a yes voter but the only problem I see with the massive swing in taxation and wages”

    What massive swing in taxation and wages?

  121. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “‘Sounds awesome if the maths were accurate, which they are not. First of all an individual with salary of £23063 has a taxable salary of £13623 @21% so pays £2860pa.”

    The article says “tax AND NATIONAL INSURANCE”, which is included in the Norwegian figures as “social security contribution”.

    “Secondly an individual would have to earn over £50440 to be eligible for the 40% tax bracket”

    Wrong. The higher rate kicks in at the threshold figure (around £32K) plus the allowance (a bit over £9K). And yes, you only pay the higher rate on the part of your earnings over that £41K. That’s how our figures are calculated. Where’s he getting another nine grand from?

    We put a link in the article so people can check those numbers for themselves:

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/it.htm

  122. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    There’s a calculator here which shows how the amounts break down:

    http://iknowtax.com/2012/

    It suggests (based on the older allowances and thresholds) deductions of £10,600 for a UK salary of £41,000. We got £11,200 because we were using the more up-to-date figures with a lower threshold for the higher rate.

    On those same figures we said a £23,000 salary would lose £4935 in tax/NI. That calculator site, on the older rates, says £4828, only £107 less. We didn’t get anything wrong.

  123. Dave Ward says:

    Thank ya kindly Rev! ;)

  124. R Bruce says:

    might want to say “typical brit” instead of “average brit” to make the right opposition with your other uses of average

  125. Ronkers says:

    This web site’s comparison of income and tax rates is simplistic. It overlooks the high cost of living in Norway, where sales and employment taxes push up prices to painful levels – £6 to £10 for one beer, for example.

    And you don’t get much for your money in the way of public services because of the cost of labour. An acquaintance who was recently receiving treatment for a heart problem in a Norwegian hospital was so disgusted by the lack of cleanliness that she got out of bed to clean the room herself.

  126. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “This web site’s comparison of income and tax rates is simplistic. It overlooks the high cost of living in Norway, where sales and employment taxes push up prices to painful levels – £6 to £10 for one beer, for example.”

    No it doesn’t, you silly blind twat.

    “They’re the World Bank’s current calculations of international GDP per capita for the UK and Norway respectively, adjusted for what’s called ‘Purchasing Power Parity’, or PPP. (We’ve also converted them from dollars to Sterling.)

    What PPP means is that the figures already take account of the cost of living, so they’re genuinely comparable – it doesn’t matter that beer costs £10 a pint in Norway or whatever, because that’s been factored into the figures



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