14.05.08, Financial Anomalies

The Backlash of the Credit Crunch must be presenting Alistair Darling with a confusing headache. The repossession of an increasing number of houses might be doing solicitors, surveyors, and the auctioneers an increase in their incomes, and consequently the tax they pay, but the lack of building, and the lack of sales, are having a knock-on effect on the building industry as a whole, and the estate agencies. In consequence he is losing not only stamp duty, but the reduction in income tax from the rest of the industry. When he took over from Brown he was under the impression it was just a sleigh ride, how wrong he was.

The unnecessary swingeing rise in the cost of fuel, increased by the rise in VAT is slowing down the overall spending and hence the revenue. Eire has a reduced levy on fuels which is prompting an incredible cross-border trade. The knock-on effect of the rise in fuel prices we all know about, because we suffer. It is interesting that a lot of the immigrants have already seen the red light and are away home. We, like Alistair Darling, have nowhere to go. The only bright light on the horizon is perhaps the fact that now we should be able to get a plumber, a joiner and a painter, because their house building contracts will be slowing down and then they will be forced to take on our mundane little jobs

The DeLorean Syndrome My pint is always half empty rather than half full. My long memory causes me a certain amount of doubt when I hear of this incredible number of enterprises that are being examined for sponsorship in Northern Ireland. In the past, a new batwing car, designed and intended to be built by an American here in Northern Ireland, all failed miserably with the loss of millions of Government seed capital. Currently there is a great hurrah about American businessmen coming here to open up new businesses in order to provide work in underprivileged areas. I believe the idea laudable, what I don’t understand is, if the American economy is as bad as we are told, why they are not setting up there to help their people, rather than here, unless it’s because they are getting a vast handshake to get them started – the DeLorean syndrome. The inference that I have taken from what I have heard and read, is that these people are looking for special skills. What I question is if we will be able to fulfil the demands, or out of the blue we will have to import hundreds of skilled immigrants to complete the contracts, and have to house these foreigners who will not be spending their money here but sending it home. I question everything that our current leaders do, because up to now it seems that they shoot first and ask questions afterwards. Over the years we have had a number of new starts, sponsored and government-funded to provide labour, and I think I’m right in saying that in some cases once the contractual period had passed, the project either found a new home, or died. Our expertise will be used to design the initial system, iron out the wrinkles, and once the operation is running and children can operate it – bye bye!

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