Once upon a time there was a Banker called Nick Leeson who worked for Barings Bank in their Far Eastern branch. He made the Bank lots of money and so the Bank paid him huge commissions and bonuses on top of his very generous salary. He was highly successful as a trader and the Bank allowed him to take bigger and bigger risks with their money. Everything went very well until his risky trading started to lose money. Unperturbed, Nick made more and more even riskier deals in a bid to get back into profit but to no avail. Eventually, his dealing losses caused the Bank to fail and it was no more.
Realising he was in trouble and unable to explain his actions, Nick decided to run. He left his luxurious home and beautiful family and headed off across the planet in an attempt to get back to his home Country, Britain, but the whole world was after him. The news media tracked his every move and he was headline news until he gave himself up to the police. His Bank called him a ‘Rogue Trader’ and condemned his actions as criminally irresponsible.
Nick was eventually tried, convicted and jailed. He served his sentence and was duly released but the events had cost him his marriage, his family and his wealthy lifestyle.
Then, in 2008 the whole of the Banking industry did something very similar to Nick Leeson but on a much, much larger global scale. It destroyed most of the world’s economies, cost millions of people their homes, their jobs, their lifestyles, their health and their happiness. It led to widespread protests and riots in many Countries. Many Banks across the globe collapsed and had to be bailed out by their taxpayers. But nobody was allowed to call them ‘Rogue Traders’ this time. The people were told that the world needed these Bankers to help get us out of the mess they themselves had created. While those who protested against the austerity measures put in place by Governments to restore financial stability were met with truncheons and riot shields, these Bankers continued to receive huge bonuses, even while the Banks were still losing money – the taxpayer’s money.
History has repeatedly shown how yesterday’s terrorist is tomorrow’s revered statesman but never has there been a transition quite as fast as with the Bankers.
Look out for the next chapter of this gripping tale….
Small firms don’t have the luxury of a Sales & Marketing team to get new orders for them. Time was that small manufacturing, engineering, electronics or design firms got their work from agents who charged a small amount, typically 10% on top for their services in finding customers. Nowadays, these Mr 10%’s add on 100% to the firm’s quote and chase fewer contracts, thereby inflating costs for those who buy their products or services, pricing small firms out of competition, and putting enormous strain on them to get work. Small firms have little alternative but to use these middle men and the companies who need their products and services have no other way to find suppliers. At the end of the day we all pay more for the goods they provide. Another example of the greed cycle.
What a splendid idea the Portas Pilot Bid scheme is, despite being too little and very late on the scene.
Put aside the slim chance of being one of Mary’s 12 Pilot areas to share in the £1 million on offer, winning that would be the icing on the cake, the real prize is the creation of town teams. To form these, a diverse mix of local interests must get together and devise an innovative strategy to improve their community. Hopefully, some really good ideas will emerge which will cost very little but will focus the whole community on working together to improve things for the benefit of everybody.
Successful Town Teams will need to show exceptional enthusiasm and innovative ideas to boost their community.
The deadline for applications to be submitted is 30th March so there is no time for delay.
Who are the ones doing OK in this recession?
One local Estate Agent wants the recession to go on longer with small businesses folding after about 6 months.
When a shop fails, the Estate Agents get commission for finding new tenants and Solicitors draft the new leases. One Solicitor charges his standard fee despite the fact that most of the details are the same as when he last dealt with that property only a short while back.They openly admit they don’t mind businesses failing as it means more work for them. Long stay tenants means much less work for them as they only get fees at lease renewals.
One of our Clients attended an auction for repossessed properties. She was appalled to hear Estate Agents agreeing not to bid against each other on properties they wanted so they all got them cheaper. The Banks give Estate Agents bridging loans until the markets pick up when the Estate Agents make a killing in selling them on. In the meantime, they rent out the properties to pay off the bridging loan.
What’s so special about Bankers that we need to fear the consequences of them moving to another Country? In any other trade or profession, when the top tier leave or retire, there are plenty from the lower ranks itching to step up and prove they can meet the demands of the top jobs. I say take those who caused this recession to court and fine them heavily. If they leave, those who replace them will know the price of doing likewise. Chances are the new batch will find better, safer ways to invest our hard earned funds. Those who leave will undoubtedly wreck someone else’s economy next time round.
I agree with @paullewismoney from BBC Radio 4 Money Box Programme that the Government will find it extremely difficult to end the free bus passes issued to Senior Citizens.
It’s more than a bus pass, it’s a passport to a LIFESTYLE.
My mother is over 84 and uses her bus pass regularly to go shopping. It gets her out of the house and she meets lots of other people using the buses. Because travel is free she can buy a few items several times a week instead of struggling home with a heavy weekly shop. Additionally, it gets her out of the house and involved in the local community. Without the bus pass she would be forced to shop at the more expensive local village store and would have very little social interaction. Getting out on the bus is keeping her physically fit and mentally alert, thereby saving the NHS money and she has her independence, she is not reliant on others for lifts.
There are a great many Senior Citizens using their bus passes in Northamptonshire where I live. They not only use it for local shopping trips but also for longer journeys. I am temporarily unable to drive, having had an operation and have used my bus pass to get me to and from the hospital (saving the NHS the cost of transporting me) for checkups and physiotherapy. I also use it to visit my 2 small hair salons and to go shopping. I have also used 3 buses on a 5 hour trip each way to visit my mother in Suffolk.
One of the original objectives of issuing passes was to get older drivers off the roads to reduce traffic, parking, etc and free up our congested highways for other users. It was also done to encourage a return to a culture of public transport so that the latter could increase to provide a satisfactory level of service. As far as I can see, this is working. When my father was in hospital in 2000 there was virtually no bus service to the hospital and my mother was dependent on lifts. Now three services are available, one running every 10 minutes.
Without the free bus pass the over 60’s would be forced off buses and back into private cars. The bus services, stripped of vital revenue, would revert to less frequent services, making them less appealing for other sectors of the public to use them.
I am sure the additional costs involved from all the changes would far outweigh the proposed £1 billion saving from scrapping bus passes to say nothing of the effect it will have on the lives of our Senior Citizens.
They won’t give them up without a fight.