Thursday 25 April 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013 Posted by Jake No comments Labels:
Posted by Jake on Thursday, April 25, 2013 with No comments | Labels:

Famous academic paper used to make the case for austerity cuts contains major errors
Another surprise is that the mistakes, by two eminent Harvard professors, were spotted by a student. He'd spotted a basic error in the spreadsheet. The Harvard professors had accidentally only included 15 of the 20 countries under analysis in their key calculation (of average GDP growth in countries with high public debt). BBC NEWS
(“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?” – JM Keynes c.1940. “I change the facts” – George Osborne c.2013.)

OFT accuses pharma giant GSK of 'pay-for-delay' deals to protect profits
GlaxoSmithKline has been accused of paying three other firms to delay the release of cheaper copies of its anti-depressant drug, Seroxat, in a bid to protect one of its best performing products. The introduction of cheaper “generic” medicines leads to strong competition on price, drives savings for the NHS, benefit patients and, ultimately, taxpayers. GSK said they had only just received the OFT objections and needed “time to carefully review it.”  TELEGRAPH
(“How much time? About the same time it takes to collect our paper trail of bribery, then shred it,” said our pharma insider…)

Big Six energy firms 'hide profits to dodge price controls' and cash in as household bills soar
Energy firms may be hiding their profits from energy regulator Ofgem and understating how much they make from consumers. Their accounting methods could be obscuring how much energy groups earn from UK households, making it harder for Ofgem to regulate pricing. It follows the revelation last week that many of the big six energy firms – RWE npower, ScottishPower, SSE, Eon, Centrica and EDF – pay little or no tax in Britain. DAILY MAIL

Shelter inundated as housing costs and benefit cuts bite
Housing benefit changes and soaring living costs mean growing numbers of tenants are struggling to pay bills. A series of welfare changes took effect this month, including a £26k/year cap on household benefit claims, begun in four London boroughs and to be implemented nationwide from 15 July. Also, the so-called bedroom tax, which will result in social housing tenants losing 14% of their housing benefit if they are deemed to have one spare bedroom, or 25% if they are deemed to have two.  GUARDIAN

Which? warns current energy strategy means households pay more
At present, 82% of people who believed they were on the cheapest energy tariff were paying more than they should. As part of a raft of proposals designed to protect consumers, the commons will this week hear proposals to help customers compare tariffs for energy, water and credit cards. But similar measures already aimed at the energy market were accused of adding to costs for consumers. One problem with energy billing formulae is the less you use, the more you pay per unit. DAILY MAIL
(“The less you use, the more you pay per unit?! A stupid formula for a scarce resource, and one that means poor low-use households subsidise the rich. Who’s keeping an eye on these cowboys?!” said OFGEM, without a hint of irony...)

Final salary pension members '£149,000' better off than those with the new standard schemes
Government figures show that the median worth of a final salary pension is £178,000 compared to just £29,000 for standard schemes. The wealth gap between those with gold-plated final salary pensions and the rest of the population is growing. 48% now have final salary “defined benefit” pensions, while 51% have the lower “defined contribution” pensions. However, the number with DC pensions is expected to rise sharply as more final salary schemes are closed: they will increase from 6.6m today to 16m by 2020. TELEGRAPH
(Forget about the threat to the status quo of UKIP. Wait until someone starts the UK Pensioners Party!)

Savers warned of expansion of £80bn "Funding for Lending"
The scheme promised to boost lending to smaller firms, but its main impact has been to reduce mortgage and savings rates. Critics say it's simply sustaining a property bubble and disincentivising savers: two causes of the credit crunch. Anna Bowes of the website said: "Those who have done the right thing and prepared for their future by saving have been hammered and now there is little incentive for future generations to save; what message does this send out and what mess will we have to fix in years to come." TELEGRAPH


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