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Labour’s attack boomerang

Posted on April 09, 2012 by

Last week saw another deployment of Labour's secret weapon in the fight against the SNP and their dastardly independence plans. The device is a WMD (Weapon of MisDirection) which the party has unleashed several times. But the weapon has a persistent teething problem – it has a tendency to come straight back and hit the user in the rear when they least expect it, while rarely managing even a glancing blow off the intended target. (Which in this case is of course the SNP.)

We've seen the patented Attack Boomerang in action on many occasions (the most recent being the bizarrely ill-judged attack on the SNP's referendum consultation which rebounded particularly badly on the party's "deputy" Scottish leader Anas Sarwar, and forced even the BBC to reluctantly acknowledge Labour's embarrassment), but one of the strangest was Labour's bitter criticism of the SNP over the fact that it had persuaded Amazon, the internet retailing giant, to recently open a large centre in the Dunfermline area and provide thousands of new jobs.

To attract the company, the Scottish Government had offered it a subsidy of £10.6m to set up in Dunfermline. But a few weeks later Amazon was revealed to have avoided paying Corporation Tax over three years on UK sales of more than £7.6bn, with a resultant loss to HMRC of £1.8bn. Corporation Tax is a reserved issue over which the Scottish Government has no influence, and Amazon had broken no laws in the way it had structured its business to avoid the tax, but Labour furiously insisted the Scottish Government was somehow at fault nevertheless.

To determine the validity of Labour's outrage, we need to examine what the £10.6 million in Scottish Government subsidies brought Scotland:

2250 new jobs (750 permanent, 1500 seasonal) at the new Dunfermline centre
900 new jobs (500 permanent, 400 seasonal) at the company's new customer service centre in Edinburgh
200 new posts at the firm's Gourock fulfilment centre

That's a total of 3,350 new jobs for the Scottish economy, 1,450 of them permanent. Ken MacIntosh, Scottish Labour’s finance spokesman, called on the First Minister to withhold any further financial backing of Amazon. But a quick study suggests that perhaps Mr MacIntosh hasn't done his sums when it comes to assessing the wisdom of the Scottish Government's investment.

If we take a look at some representative numbers, we can see what these jobs mean to the Scottish economy, regardless of whether the Westminster Treasury elects to levy any Corporation Tax on Amazon or not.

Let's say that the "seasonal" jobs last three months of the year, and are therefore effectively each worth 0.25 of a full job, making our total 1,925. We'll assume a modest average wage of just £17,000 per employee (the actual UK average salary is £26,000), and see where that money goes each year.

Gross income £17,000
Tax-free allowance (£8,105)
Taxable income £8,895
Income Tax @ basic 20% rate: £1,779
National Insurance @ tax code 453L: £1,173
Take-home pay: £14,048

That gives us an annual direct-tax contribution of £2,952 per person. Over the new positions for 1,925 (equivalent) people, that equates to £5.7m in additional direct taxation. This figure does NOT include indirect taxation such as VAT, fuel duty and increased tax receipts from the goods and services that they purchase, but we can already see that in the first year alone, the economy has directly recouped over half the total amount invested by the Scottish Government to bring Amazon to Scotland.

But then we have to also account for the fact that these 1,925 jobs will mostly be filled from the ranks of the unemployed, reducing the public burden of benefits like Job Seeker's Allowance (currently £56.25 per week for under-25s, rising to £71 for over-25s, so we'll take the average at £63.62). That's an annual saving to the taxpayer of £6.4m, on top of the £5.7m paid to the Treasury in direct taxation. 

(It's highly likely that most JSA recipients also receive housing benefit, Council Tax Benefit and other payments, but we have no means of calculating those sums, although it would almost certainly be fair to say that they would at least double the savings made on JSA.)

So in effect, the Scottish Government's deal with Amazon has cost the Scottish public a one-off payment of £10.6m, but will directly benefit the Treasury to the tune of at least £12.1m every year. In other words, the Exchequer will make a profit of at least £1.5m in year 1, and over £12m in every subsequent year. (But in reality far more than that, when you factor in other direct savings like housing benefits, and indirect gains from increased consumer spending.) Sounds a pretty good bargain, no?

There are yet more intangible benefits too, of course. The jobs improve the lives of the local communities where these sites are located, and increases the money going into the local economy which in turn supports the existing service sector. Yet the note tied to Labour's attack boomerang decrees that none of these benefits should accrue to Scotland, and that the public they're supposed to serve do not want these jobs. That’s going to be a tough sell by Labour to the people of Dunfermline should there happen to be a by-election any time soon, we suspect.

If we were the former party of the working class, we'd be contacting the Acme Corporation for a refund. We hope they don't, though, because we can't wait to see where they'll deploy this comedy WMD next.

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    27 to “Labour’s attack boomerang”

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      This analysis highlights one of the reasons we need independence. The £10.6million would have come out of the Scottish Government's coffers. But where does the resulting benefit go? Westminster. This is why further devolution is a non-starter – we need full control over our spending and revenue so that the Scottish Government isn't penalised for helping its own people. And since EU law ensures the VAT rate must be the same throughout a member state, nothing short of independence will give us full fiscal autonomy.

    2. Peter A Bell says:

      Excellent analysis. Would have had more to say but Doug Daniel got in first.

    3. Longshanker says:

      Jeez
      RevStu
      I don't want to appear like Mr Blackwhite mentality here – believe it or not I agree with a lot of the stuff you write about.
      But some of your assumptions here are just plain ignorant verging on pie in the sky mythology. It's obvious you've never been near Gourock in the past 6 or 7 years. You probably haven't survived on a job based on the minimum wage either.
      You clearly have no idea of the way Amazon as an employer operate, and to take the alleged job numbers generated as a given, is to sound like a Tory talking about jobs created by Tesco – Risible and bordering on shameful intransigence.
      Basing your wage figures on £17k – get out of here. The vast majority of those alleged 3350 jobs will be minimum wage. And I'll put a wager on with you regarding that. So using £17k as a median – get a job at the Chancellory of propaganda. They appreciate that kind of creative accounting.
      Show me some evidence that suggests a £17k figure for an average worker and I'll apologise. If not, shut up, you're doing the poor sods who'll carry out these tiresome and sometime unsafe jobs a disservice.
      Taking 4 quarter jobs as a full job and counting tax on it that way. You're joking right? It's a three month job which will – on your assumed figures – earn £4250 over the period. Therefore no income tax at all goes into the treasury other than NI.
      Pure bunkum..
      As for the figures of jobs created. Ho Hum.
      Amazon will probably use the new buildings to showcase the new automated technology it intends using in its vast warehouses. Its recent $3/4 billion purchase of Kiva Systems, an automated technology company, reinforces that belief.
      I agree with you that a jobs a job an aw that. And if you've been unemployed for a long time it can still feel welcome. But even the permanent jobs – based on Gourock experience – last much less than a year for the vast majority. And, in my experience, there are few employers out there less caring about employee wellbeing than Amazon.
      This goes beyond some of your laugably paranoid pieces RevStu. This is shameful apologism based on the argument your making.
      Regarding Sun King Salmond's post-independence vision, the Amazon deal sets no brave new Scotland precedent for the indigenous talent of our people. It reeks of third world exploitation of cheap labour and desperate manipulation of figures to score political points.
      Thnk again on this. I've never thought less of any of your pieces. Shameful.
       
       

    4. Peter A Bell says:

      So you would have preferred that Amazon went elsewhere. It's easy to have principles when somebody else is paying the price.

    5. RevStu says:

      "It's obvious you've never been near Gourock in the past 6 or 7 years."

      True.

      "You probably haven't survived on a job based on the minimum wage either."

      True, but only technically. I've sometimes gotten by on less, in one of the most expensive cities in Britain. That's the perils of freelancing for you.

      "You clearly have no idea of the way Amazon as an employer operate"

      I do, and I don't like it. But that's not the issue here. I suspect the majority of their employees would tell you they'd rather have Amazon jobs than no jobs, especially given the way the coalition government is continuing the disgusting, vicious and contemptible attacks on the unemployed and vulnerable that Labour started.

      "The vast majority of those alleged 3350 jobs will be minimum wage."

      Evidence please.

      "It's a three month job which will – on your assumed figures – earn £4250 over the period. Therefore no income tax at all goes into the treasury other than NI."

      True, assuming the person does no other work and has no other income for the other nine months, which we can't assume. We also don't actually know the temp jobs are only three months. They could be less or they could be more. It's an illustrative figure, not a definitive statement – the core point would still be true even if you halved all the figures.

      (Remember, the numbers in the piece already DON'T include the millions saved in housing benefit, and the indirect benefits from increased spending. Even if we recalculated for all-minimum-wage jobs AND discounted temp positions entirely, the housing benefit alone would more than make up the difference.)

      "This is shameful apologism based on the argument your making."

      No, it's pointing out the absurdity of Labour's attacks, hence the title being "Labour's attack boomerang" rather than "Amazon jobs are awesome". If Labour want to criticise Amazon's employment practices, that's fine. (I wish they would, but it'd be a tad hypocritical given how little did in 13 years for employment/union rights.) If they want to point out failings in wages, conditions, employment security, no problem at all. I'll be there agreeing – the piece at NO point makes ANY kind of defence of Amazon's employment practices.

      But what Labour is ACTUALLY attacking is the Scottish Government for bringing thousands of jobs to Scottish workers in the middle of an economic catastrophe that happened on Labour's watch, and for bringing money into the economy. (And bizarrely for not collecting Corporation Tax even though the Scottish Government has absolutely no powers over Corporation Tax.) That's despicable, hollow bullshit, and I make no apologies whatsoever for running a piece pointing out that it's despicable hollow bullshit.

    6. Peter A Bell says:

      Well said! Maybe could have done with one more "bullshit". Just for clarity, you understand.

    7. TYRAN says:

       
      There's also Amazon DC (software development centre) in Edinburgh, which does work on their sites across the world. Been there for a number of years now.
       
      http://www.amazondc.com/

    8. Longshanker says:

      "The vast majority of those alleged 3350 jobs will be minimum wage."
      Evidence please.
      Fulfillment centres, call centres, high unemployment area, non-unionised labour, corporate sharks, short term contracts, agency workers, expenditure leverage, company employment needs etc – I assume you'll make a wager then?
      Basing your £17k figure on average UK income shows how out of touch you are with basic (un)employment in Scotland. What possible evidence, other than pie in the sky statistics, have you based the £17k figure on?
       
      What is your evidence please? Second time asking.
       
      I know how much the average floor walker was getting at Gourock Xmas 2010 – minimum wage plus 25p per hour (just over £12k), plus the promise of a bonus which never materialised in the majority of cases. FACT!
       
      " the piece at NO point makes ANY kind of defence of Amazon's employment practices."
       
      Correct. It does however make a defence of the SNP position based on the move being self financing through tax benefits and associated welfare savings.
      All based on arbitrary figures plucked out of a hat by you – which is no argument at all seeing that you didn't plausibly justify the reason for your £17k figure.
      Warehouse jobs and call centre jobs (with a few exceptions) rarely need to go above minimum wage in Scotland – the majority of the alleged Amazon job numbers will fit those job descriptions due to the natural logistics and employment needs of the company.
      Unless of course you have some insider knowledge on that – pray tell if you have.
      I agree with you about the corporate tax points – Labour's got a bloody cheek trying to lay that at the door of the SNP government, it's moronic in fact. That's not what I've taken umbrage at.
      You're also bang on about potential savings in welfare costs – an argument cogently made by Blair's New Deal scheme – and it's associated blind eye turning to dodgy employment practices and encouragement of arm twisting of the unemployed to take minimum wage jobs.
      Employment trends at Gourock tend to follow similar attrition rates as the average call centre. I've even heard it claimed that they're much harsher due to productivity monitoring and physical burnout of workers.
      A job's a job an aw that, but to try and turn it into some kind of reason to applaud the SNP and their sweeteners for a predatory corporate shark is shameful. It reeks of Westminster spindoctoring and politicking – one of the reason's why I see very little difference between the SNP and what Westminster has to offer.
      Both of them are equally bleak, both of them are equally depressing. Both of them sound the same or similar – just they're on opposite sides of the fence.
      Dispiriting in extremis.
      Your grandstanding at the end of your reply sounded like a politician with cheap snake oil for sale. Rousing for groupthinkers, empty for anyone else.
      I understand your desire for independence and agree with many of the arguments you make, but this piece – hmm. It's a low.
      Sorry about the essay, but if you can give me a sound and plausible reason for the average new Amazon worker receiving £17k I'll shut up. At that price, I'd have no qualms offering my labour to them – despite despising them.
       
       

    9. RevStu says:

      See, once again you're adopting the same tactics as Labour – attacking the piece on the basis of several completely false premises of your own concoction, rather than what it's actually about or what it actually says. It's a story about Labour, not Amazon.

      "What possible evidence, other than pie in the sky statistics, have you based the £17k figure on?"

      The piece doesn't claim to have any. It says it's making "assumptions" for "representative purposes". I've already said that even if you replaced the £17K figure with minimum wage for every single job, and completely disregarded the temporary jobs, the uncalculated housing benefit savings and other revenues would easily make up the difference and leave the net figure the same or better.

      "You're also bang on about potential savings in welfare costs – an argument cogently made by Blair's New Deal scheme"

      Comparing thousands of actual jobs – even if they were minimum-wage jobs – to the mendacious glorified slave labour of New Deal is the sort of thing that gets your arguments dismissed out of hand as trolling. New Deal was a charade designed solely to massage the long-term unemployment figures by forcing people to do non-jobs (typically in charity shops) for much LESS than the minimum wage (JSA plus £15, ie around £2 an hour) for a few months, in order to reset the clock on their unemployment so they didn't appear as long-term unemployed even though they were.

      Its promises of training were an out-and-out lie, an absurdly microscopic proportion of its forced-labour placements ever turned into real jobs, and everyone on the programme was still a burden on the welfare state because they were still getting all the benefits they were getting before, and paying no tax. It's not even remotely comparable to what's happening with Amazon.

      But once again – the piece makes no defence of Amazon's practices whatsoever. They're often appalling. All the same, if Bill Walker does get hounded into resignation and there's a Dunfermline by-election, I wouldn't advise Labour to stand on a platform of "Vote for us and we'll run Amazon out of town". Nor, I suspect, would you, and that makes this whole objection somewhat empty.

    10. Seasick Dave says:

      Imagine sitting next to Longshanker on a long bus journey.
       
      Eek.

    11. RevStu says:

      Just for the sake of argument, though, let's go with your figures. Let's assume almost every single job pays only minimum wage or fractionally over, and reduce our £17K estimate by 30%. Let's also assume that every single temp job attracts not a penny in tax/NI receipts (which is ridiculous on a whole number of levels, but we'll do it anyway just for you), and count them only as JSA savings for three months a year each, which comes to around £1.6m.

      That leaves us with the 1450 permanent jobs, each directly contributing just over £2000 a year to the Treasury – making a fraction under £3m – and saving £4.8m in JSA alone. That's a total of (£1.6m + £3m + £4.8m) = £9.4m every year, for a one-off investment of £10.6m. It still pays for itself in just over a year, and is pure profit for the Government from then on. If you can find me a hedge fund offering that kind of return, please link to it with all possible haste.

      And that's on the absolutely, most absurdly, mean interpretation possible. It assumes NONE of the jobs pay over minimum wage, although most if not all of them will. It assumes NONE of the temp jobs produce ANY direct income for the Treasury, even though they will (through NI if nothing else).

      It assumes NO savings from housing benefits etc, despite the fact that there will in fact be millions of pounds of such savings every year. It assumes NO benefits from increased consumer spending, either directly in VAT receipts or indirectly in supporting businesses and employment in the local community.

      And yet even if we grant you ALL of these complaints, bending over backwards and straining every conceivable sinew to present Amazon's presence in Scotland in a negative light, the subsidy was STILL a wise and prudent investment by the Scottish Government even when measured in the barest, most mercenary financial terms.

      So give it a rest, eh?

    12. Scott Minto (AKA Sneekyboy) says:

      RevStu beat me to the minimal pricing version but I thought I would just throw these (MUST be minimum wage) jobs into the mix…   Area Manager – Dunfermline Area Manager   IT Technical Support Technician – Dunfermline   Regional IT Manager – Dunfermline   Senior Operations Manager – Dunfermline   Business Analyst – Dunfermline   Recruiting now…

    13. Ross says:

      "Warehouse jobs and call centre jobs (with a few exceptions) rarely need to go above minimum wage in Scotland"
      I worked briefly in the T-mobile building in Greenock (a rather large call centre, bascially) and the starting salary was £19k.

    14. Longshanker says:

      …attacking the piece on the basis of several completely false premises of your own concoction,

      Attacking it for using £17k et al as "assumptions" for "representative purposes" is a false premise. Correct me if I'm wrong, you made the £17k assumption.

      Comparing thousands of actual jobs – even if they were minimum-wage jobs – to the mendacious glorified slave labour of New Deal is the sort of thing that gets your arguments dismissed out of hand as trolling.

      You're being disingenuous here. I compared your argument's similarity to the arguments used by Blair's New Deal to force people into minimum wage jobs they didn't want to take. That's what your argument for "representative purposes" sounds like – Blairish New Deal spin. The rest of the proselytising sermonising I assume is for your regular readers. It didn't tell me anything about New Deal I didn't already know.

      It's not even remotely comparable to what's happening with Amazon.

      Are you honestly trying to tell me that people aren't/weren't being given the take it or no benefit option regarding Gourock? I can think of several instances of 'extended' interviews and 18-24 'options' at a 'local' warehouse which just happened to be called Amazon. That's slightly more than "remotely comparable" .

      Just for the sake of another argument though, let's go with some of the other economic tangibles which you didn't bend over backwards to factor in in your mean mercenary financial calculations.

      NI concerning part time jobs I already referred to regarding P/T jobs, so why you mentioned it again I don't know.

      You haven't factored in the costs of Tax credits – they're still available and still act as socio-economic lubricant for keeping wages low. The first time I saw a full time wage slip with tax credits added to it, the credit amount was £175 for a month. The job was a 30 hour minimum wage garden centre job. The person's monthly JSA benefit total pre-job had been £250 (not counting housing benefit). So recalculate your JSA savings.

      Factoring in housing benefits savings. You did well to steer clear of that minefield. Housing Associations, private lets, council tenancies, even up here in lower rent Scotland a single private bedroom flat is approx £300 – 400 pcm. So housing benefit  and council tax benefit having to be paid is still highly likely in a sizable proportion of ex-JSA cases.

      Profit factor for the government, while still undoubtedly there, is much diminished compared to your "representative" figures.

      Sun King Alex of Salmond should come clean and say what he intends to do regarding Amazon and Corporation Tax post-independence (should it ever arrive). Keeping shtoom does himself and the party no favours for the type of future being envisioned for an independent Scotland.

      Labour certainly fit the bill for the boy who cried wolf, but even in that fable the wolf eventually appeared. Offering sweeteners to corporations like Amazon without extracting any concessions regarding employment terms and conditions, never mind post-independence tax intentions, sends the wrong signals to a wide audience regarding a future independent Scotland.

      Guys like you dressing this move up as a good thing because it makes a better "return" than a hedge fund, without any protectionary concessions for the workforce, makes you sound exploitative, brutal, uncaring and Tory.

      You probably aren't a Tory – you sound like you are.

      NB: Dismiss me as a troll if you want. You've certainly been dismissed as an economist.

    15. Longshanker says:

      Sneekyboy
      I saw the ads for what's available at Dunfermline too.
      RevStu reckons you're sound for figures. Provide me with the ratios that disproves my argument regarding probable  minimum wage ratios.
      The majority of jobs you mention are managers, logistics or software administration. Chiefs and Indians?
      Believe it or not, I'd like to be proved wrong. I disagree with RevStu on a lot of things, but this piece has genuinely shocked me with its Tory sounding brutishness.

    16. Longshanker says:

      Ross
      I assume you started as a Team Leader or Assistant Team leader? Not mentioning the post is deceptive.
      Bottom of the ladder, majority of workers, post starts @ £14.5k. Not a great deal above minimum. As I said (a few exceptions).
      For every T-Mobile there's a Stellar, Teleperformance or TSC or Rise. They start nearer minimum wage.

    17. RevStu says:

      "Correct me if I'm wrong, you made the £17k assumption."

      No, Scott did. But it's of no relevance anyway, for reasons already exhaustively detailed. It's an illustrative figure, and a pretty valid one – especially given the amount of stuff that was left out of the calculation.

      "Bottom of the ladder, majority of workers, post starts @ £14.5k. Not a great deal above minimum."

      Minimum wage is £12.6K, so it's actually almost £2000 above, or 16%. A fairly substantial difference. The qualifying threshold for tax credits for a typical person is £13,000 so it's unlikely anyone on £14.5K would qualify. Anyone on that salary who's under 35 is also going to struggle to qualify for housing benefits, since under-35s are only able to claim for a single room in shared accommodation, not the one-bedroom flat you cite.

      (And £14.5K is £970 a month take-home, so even an over-35 entitled to have their own place should be able to manage the £300-400 a month rent you quote.)

      http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/start/who-qualifies/quick-questionnaire.htm

      http://www.castlepoint.gov.uk/main.cfm?type=benunder35

      Despite your constant shifting of the goalposts and your insistence on challenging claims nobody ever made ("Amazon are great!"), you're STILL talking cobblers. Anyone unemployed in Dunfermline would almost certainly snatch your hand off for a £14.5K full-time job, and the Scottish Government had no leverage to demand anything from Amazon – they're not short of places to locate. (Otherwise there'd have been no need to give them a £10m subsidy in the first place.)

      Securing thousands of real jobs AND making millions for the state in those circumstances is good business, and it certainly beats the shit out of Blair and Brown forcing people to rot in charity shops for half the minimum wage with no hope of a proper job at the end of it, and still costing the taxpayer a fortune in benefits. The three Unionist parties who let Amazon get away with paying no Corp Tax in the UK have no fucking right whatsoever to make demands about what the SNP might do with it after independence.

    18. Ross says:

      "I assume you started as a Team Leader or Assistant Team leader?"

      No, Team Leaders start at £22k (averaging at £26k with bonus), reaching up to £32k if you're particularly good.
      Whilst the barely qualitfied Customer Service people do start on £14.5k (with a £1k bonus on top)  the starting pay for somebody with a *little* more technical knowledge was £19k

    19. Longshanker says:

      Apologies RevStu
      It's only when you referred to Scott did I realise the piece wasn't written by you – not looking at bylines on a blog dominated by your writing is hardly a crime. But hey,  £17k you defended it anyway.
       
      Your grabbing at the £14.5k figure reeks of desperation to prove an admittedly fruitless point. The figure was quoted in another post in reply to Ross regarding T-Mobile's call centre in Greenock – nothing to do with Amazon's pay rates – rendering the rest of your calculations and argument pointless. So no change there then.
       
      I'll concede the Tax Credit point though – truth be told it was around 3-4 years ago I saw this referred  to person's wage slip. But this person WAS under 35. Tax Credits have been tinkered with quite a bit since, obviously, and overhauled by the Tories. So yup, you got me.
       
      It's a Pyrrhic victory though. Because, it not only makes your steadfast defence of the SNPs implied motive for tax profit, at the expense of the unemployed, sound harsh and Tory, it makes it sound Thatcherite Tory in all its ghastly magnificence. Well done. I applaud you for that. Not too many Scots in that camp these days.
       
      Housing benefit – fine. Without knowing the demographics you can't make too many assumptions, but that applies to the rest of the mostly meaningless calculations in the piece.
       
      Your grandstanding rant about Blair and Brown neatly ignores real and known cases of claimants, in and around the Gourock catchment area, being given the take it or no benefit option of these fantastic jobs – not to mention 'extended' interviews lasting 3 days to a week or 18 – 24 'options'.
       
      You can argue that's down to Blair and Brown or the incumbent Con-Dems, but the SNPs silence on matters like these on Scottish soil reeks of political class homogeneity.
       
      It wasn't until I made my second post here that I fully realised the argument being made by Labour, and the Scottish Greens, and the Lib-Dems, in the linked to Scotsman piece – I hadn't read it before. My bad.
       
      You said in your last reply however:
      The three Unionist parties who let Amazon get away with paying no Corp Tax in the UK have no fucking right whatsoever to make demands about what the SNP might do with it after independence.
       
      As a voter with a real stake in Scotland – unlike YOU –  I feel I have an absolute 'fucking' right to know what they're going to do about Corporation Tax and Amazon post independence – should it ever come.
       
      Why they're staying quiet on the matter reeks of the stench of Westminster entrenched politicking at its worst. It's indefensible and the fact that YOU are defending it is nothing short of 'fucking' disgusting.
       
      Bought and sold for corporate gold and aw that.

    20. RevStu says:

      What, you think an independent Scottish Government could somehow get LESS Corporation Tax out of Amazon than the ZERO that successive Westminster governments have? Also interesting that you apparently don't countenance the possibility of a non-SNP government post-independence.

      Bored of the "Tory" smears. I despise everything they stand for, as nobody who's read any of my writing for the last 20 years could possibly mistake.

    21. Scott Minto (AKA Sneekyboy) says:

      @Longshanker
       
      At no point has the motive of the SNP been characterised as "Tax Profit".  Indeed it would be highly strange for this to be the case when as pointed out by Doug Daniel, the benefits accrue to Westminster and the Treasury, not Scotland.
       
      No the motivation in this instance is to bring jobs to the local community, thereby providing a boost in wealth and further benefits to the already existing local economy, but most importantly JOBS!
       
      £17K was used as an example (as not all jobs are Minimum wage), with many of the jobs being created having far higher salaries, such as the Area Manager, IT Technical, Support Technician, Regional IT Manager, Senior Operations Manager and Business Analyst jobs for Amazon that are being advertised now.
       
      Further to these are the Accounts Assistants, Accountants, Logistics, Operations, Receptionist, Storemen etc, etc… that all have varying pay grades, few of which are Minimum Wage.
       
      Yet even when you are confronted with the "stripped down" analysis from Rev Stu on the Minimum Wage Figures, with no benefit from temporary workers, and are shown that this would still equate to a return of nearly half the original outlay each year you have continued to try and flog the dead horse of a line that this is a bad thing for the Scottish Government to have done.
       
      Indeed you try to conflate bringing jobs to a local community with the "New Deal" under Labour and Tory abuses of the unemployed, when neither are relevant to the case in hand. 
       
      The unemployed are not being forced to take these jobs by the Scottish Government.  The Scottish Government is putting in place the backing to entice an employer that can accommodate them, with wages of at least Minimum wage (and in many cases higher), that they can choose to work for.
       
      Your entire thesis, that providing the funding to attract jobs to an area is undermining the unemployed is quite frankly laughable in its controtions to portray a positive step as a negative.
       
      As far as policies post independence goes, then I suppose we will all have to vote for the parties we believe offer the best result for us.  The SNP will not be a one party state despite your insinuations of the sort.
       
      Finally, I will not be responding to any further comments on the topic as between myself, RevStu and Ross, your arguments have been comprehensively covered and refuted. 
       
      Winning an argument is not about leaving the last comment, it is about the content of the debate, which in this case has already been done.
       
       

    22. Longshanker says:

      Scott Argument comprehensively refuted – hardly. Still – delusions are part of 'groupthink' I suppose. Keep taking the pills civilian, you'll make a citizen yet. At no point has the motive of the SNP been characterised as "Tax Profit". So why formulate a Tory sounding argument based on ridiculously fallacious figures to make such a point for them then?  "many of the jobs being created having far higher salaries," So still no blue collar manual to white collar ratios as requested? Not even an "assumption" for "representative purposes"? Thought so. You're an apologist like RevStu. The unemployed are not being forced to take these jobs by the Scottish Government Willfully ignoring the point I made about homogeneity of the political class and behind the scenes New Deal style strong-arming which, as far as I am led to believe, is still happening along Gourock way. Might not be the Scottish government doing it, but it's still under their watch. Great protection from the protagonists of independence I don't think. I will not be responding to any further comments I could understand that if I was being explicitly offensive or outrageously ridiculous. But seeing as I am not, I can only conclude that you're a lightweight with no courage of your alleged convictions. In conclusion, you've refuted nothing. You've only made a clear case that you think it's alright for the SNP government to let their country and their people be shafted by the very worst type of corporate shark. All for the sake of an alleged few million in tax revenues with no worthy concessions or protections of note. I'm not against jobs being created, but quality of working life and other social impacts have to be taken into account also. That should be a good government's job. It's sadly lacking here. And, it's all for the sake of headline making job figures which I'll wager will never be reached when looked at again over the next few years. The headline figures are projections expected to be reached after five years. As I asked in my first post, what kind of aspirational message does that send to the Scots about post independence Scotland? Seeing as you're not answering, I'll answer it for you – NO KIND OF ASPIRATION .

    23. Longshanker says:

      RevStu
      I notice you're not even trying to justify the SNPs silence. Everyone – even apologists like YOU – have a right to know where the SNP stand on Amazon's corporate tax responsibilities – especially as that is one of the powers so audibly whinged about by Sun King Alex.
       
      There's a good few reasons I can think of for his silence. None of them reflect well on him or his party.
       
      What’s morally repugnant in one country is accepted business practice in another, and companies take advantage of that.
       
      Good to see Sun King Alex is so 100% pro moral repugnance.
       
      And I don't care how anti-Tory you claim to be. You sound like the worst kind of Thatcherite defending this SNP move in the terms you've defended it.
       
      Such a stance only reinforces my belief that you are also morally repugnant, as evidenced elsewhere.
       
       

    24. RevStu says:

      Whatever, dear.

    25. Longshanker says:

      Nice 'endorsement'. Cheers.

    26. Robert says:

      Ive worked at tmobile greenock 8 years and I’m not on 19k, commission payments take my wages yo around this level, but it most certainly isnt a basic salary for anyone joining the business at less then ATL level

    27. AnneDon says:

      I seem to remember the temporary Call Centre jobs in Edinburgh were paying £7.60 per hour, or thereabouts.



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