I received this as an email this morning and thought I would share it with you on a day that probably requires some humour – with my own thoughts.
1949: Always Leave Them Laughing
Suggestions for fixing the UK Economy:
The Patriotic Retirement Plan
There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them £1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire.
Ten million job openings – unemployment fixed
2) They MUST buy a new British car.
Ten million cars ordered – Car Industry fixed
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage –
Housing Crisis fixed
4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university –
Crime rate fixed
5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week …..
And there’s your money back in duty/tax etc
Whilst the above is amusing, sadly life is not quite as straight forward as that for the Government (of any persuasion).
1. For example, making everyone over 50 retired, would create a significant gap – there are nothing like 10m unemployed people in Britain. It would also be folly to ditch anyone over the age of 50 who has a wealth of experience and value. It also smacks of ageism and a lack of understanding that skills are honed over years. There are also plenty of people unemployed over the age of 50. There are roughly 29m people in work, roughly 25m employed and 4m self-employed, 107,000 unpaid family workers and 87,000 in Government training and employment programmes. Of roughly 29m in work, 7.8m are part-time. (aged 16+) of a population of 62.3m.Of the 29m people working in Britain 86% were born in the UK. The average public sector employee pay is £24,804, in the Private sector it is £23,920.
2. If it were simple to fix the British car industy, this would have been done. The sad reality is that British Companies do not really make mass market cars. “British” cars are rather rare and even Top Gear might think that they wouldn’t be suitable for everyone. The UK has about 2% of the global passenger car production. Of car production (which is a wide term) 75% is exported. Last year (2010) Nissan produced the most cars (432,262), Mini BMW (216,302) Land Rover (179,165) Honda (139,278) and Toyota (137,054). Whilst we may think of Land Rover as British, it is owned by Tata Motors from India, who also own Jaguar.
3.The housing crisis is not solved by repaying mortgages or buying homes. The problem is that property is over-priced and “out of reach” of many people. The declared income of average First Time Buyers in 2010 was £44,464 who took an average 68.9% mortgage. There is a lack of homes to buy where people want to live, which is why prices have soared in certain areas. In 2000 there were 25.2m dwellings across the UK by 2008 this had risen to 26.9m. Price increases have largely been fuelled by all home owners, myself included, who want to maximise the value of their home. This has been worsened by Estate Agents who price property by comparison to other properties not on what they are worth (but what real choice do they have in this). Similarly Surveyors are caught in the same game. The price problem is made worse by anyone that owns more than one property.
4.Education does not make people honest. Crime is generally related to a perception of lack. There are plenty of very well educated individuals that have committed massive financial crimes. A thoughtful reflection about war/conflict might cause one to consider who actually financially benefits. A University education does not by default create a model citizen. Emotional intelligence is grossly undervalued and largely ignored. Since the 1970’s the number of people in higher education has almost quadrupled from 621,000 to 2.5m in 2007/08. In the same year having attained a first degree only 60 percent moved into UK employment within 6 months. Crime levels of all types have remained reasonably static at around 11m reported incidents. More sophisticated crime in terms of plastic card fraud has increased in value from about £130m in 1998 to over £600m in 2008. The Prison population has increased from about 40,000 in 1978 to about 85,000.
5.The notion that excise duties are in some way a tax back is deeply flawed. The spending on healthcare in 2009 was £136.4bn compared to £54.8bn in 1997 an increase of nearly 8% a year. As a proportion of GDP this has risen from 6.6% to 9.8%. The Private sector spending on healthcare has remained relatively stable at between 1.3% and 1.6% of GDP. Few people actually pay in tax what it costs for the NHS to care for those with drink, drug or alcohol problems, let alone the associated costs where lives have been wrecked. In 2009 there were 8,664 alcohol related deaths, two thirds of whom were male. However coronary heart disease is the major cause of death, breast cancer and lung cancer follow closely in the tables for those that died between the ages of 35 and 79 in 2009.
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