/ Home & Energy, Money, Travel & Leisure

Autumn Statement 2015: what’s in it for you?

George Osborne

In today’s Autumn Statement the Chancellor made a number of announcements in big markets ranging from mortgages to energy. So, how will it affect you?

With the new rate for the single-tier State Pension confirmed (for introduction in April 2016) and changes to the tax credit system scrapped, there is a lot for you to digest. As well as the key highlights below we have also set up a dedicated advice page to explain what it means for your personal finances.

Generation buy

The Chancellor announced plans to boost home ownership included discounts on starter homes and Help to Buy shared ownership, along with a new equity loan scheme for Londoners.

This will be a welcome boost for those first-time buyers.

Mortgage fees

We were pleased to be asked by the Chancellor at last year’s Autumn Statement to work with the Council of Mortgage Lenders on ways to make it easier for people to compare the cost of different mortgages.

The result of this work is a new tariff, including two key improvements: standard terminology for the fees lenders use; and a common format for how lenders list and describe fees. In a win for our Sneaky Fees campaign lenders representing 85% of the market have committed to introduce this tariff and put it on their website by the end of the year.

Pensions

The Chancellor confirmed that the triple lock on pensions will be maintained. He also announced the new single-tier pension of £155.65 for new pensioners from April 2016. This sits alongside the freedom and choice reforms implemented earlier this year, more details on a secondary annuities market are due before 2016.

Energy savings

With energy bills still one of your top financial concerns, the Chancellor set out that the Energy Company Obligation’s replacement will mean that 24 million households could save £30 a year.

Meanwhile low-income households will welcome the extension of the annual £140 Warm Homes Discount on their electricity bills.

Transport improvements

After the EU’s slow action to improve vehicle emission testing, the Chancellor announced a delay to the removal of the diesel supplement for company cars until 2021. We’ve been campaigning for manufacturers, the Government and the European Commission to deliver fuel tests you can trust.

Meanwhile, drivers could see their annual insurance costs fall following a government clamp down on whiplash claims. There are also changes for rail commuters with new flexible season tickets on some lines, and plans to give rail passengers access to compensation when their train is more than 15 minutes late.

The bottom line

What do you think about the announcements made by George Osborne today?

Comments
Member

Whether by good luck, good judgement or a combination the country has been pulled back from a disastrous financial situation. Of course it is the people of the UK who have made this happen, but the framework and financial discipline needed to be put in place. So far, good for George.

I have two concerns (probably more) about policies though.

I do not believe we should ring fence overseas aid nor spend as much as we do. It is, I believe being widely misused for personal gain in some recipient states because it is not properly controlled, and it is going to countries that should be redistributing their own wealth in a more equitable way. Charity begins at home.

I do not believe we should be allocating the huge sums to defence – reputedly Trident could cost £40 bn. It is a pointless defence; we will never use it – if we did the lives it is designed to protect would probably be lost from retaliatory action. If anyone was foolish enough to wage war I, frankly, see no future for anyone if it were nuclear. I would much rather protect lives with this money in other more constructive ways – the NHS, social care, help for the genuinely vulnerable. It is just like being grossly over-insured in your home and then not being able to afford the essentials of life.

Apart from that I’m quite happy 🙂 Until I think of something else.

Member

Making it easier for Londoners to buy homes, eh? Just what London needs – a more vibrant home buying market…

But the fact that the country has recovered probably has more to do with the fact that London still attracts bankers en masse, and it’s still a fairly secure city in international terms. But in many ways this mini-budget’s reactive: not going after Tax Credits will placate many in his own party whilst encouraging home owning will delight the remainder. Sadly, the really needed changes – a far superior form of public transport system throughout the UK and a move towards nuclear power as a backup until we secure fusion – didn’t even merit an aside.

Member
S Louise says:
26 November 2015

Agree about NOT ring-fencing 0.7% GDP on Overseas aid, we should not be funding dubious projects or rushing to spend at the end of the financial year. Sometimes we’ll need to give more, but mostly far less.

Do t agree about getting rid if Trident…it’s rolling over to bullies.

Member

S Louise -if only you knew who the bullies really are you only get one point of view in the west. NHS or Trident who pays the 99 % so they should decide not war-mongers, in the cause of Big Business -West losing profit ? Invade and conquer new territory for asset stripping of that country . And when the country is too big to threaten -WW3 just look out your window at the World its kept very quiet in the UK.

Member

Ian, private sector jobs have increased far more than the public sector ones lost, and that will cover many industries and services other than banking. However, financial services are a big contributor to the economy.

I agree about public transport in one sense – in towns and cities to reduce pollution. I am not keen on promoting long distance commuting though. And particularly not HS2. Hardly of use to the “masses” (who will end up subsidising it for the few).We should be either encouraging businesses to move to cheaper (housing) areas where commuting is shorter.

As far as housing is concerned, we need lower cost homes in London, and other large cities, for the lower paid workers needed to make those cities work – police, teachers, medical staff, shop and restaurant workers and all the rest. But how to control the cost and make them affordable?

Nuclear power seems such an expensive option with the guaranteed prices offered. I would like money to be invested in tidal power. We are surrounded by water with some of the higher tides in the world. A ready source of clean energy on tap (well, nearly).

Member

1)….. ” … private sector jobs have increased far more than the public sector ones lost, … ”
Please post your source.
2)….. Much of the increase has been in the ”Self employed” sector
ONS…. Self-employed workers in the UK – 2014
* Self-employment higher than at any point over past 40 years
* Rise in total employment since 2008 predominantly among the self-employed
* The number of over 65s who are self-employed has more than doubled in the past 5 years to reach nearly half a million
*** Average income from self-employment fallen by 22% since 2008/09
* Across the European Union the UK has had the third largest percentage rise in self-employment since 2009

Member

Bump

Member

The term ‘Private Sector’ hides a multitude of sins, Malcolm, as I’m sure you know. Increasingly, even small businesses are moving their employees to self employed status, since that dodges their responsibilities under employment law. I’m seeing that happen on a daily basis and, of course, it all appears as ‘new jobs’ on the stats of any right-leaning think tanks – which so many are.

In terms of wave power I agree a lot of investment is needed and whether we’re talking fission or water power it’s still billions. Although I have to say I’ve always wondered why they need to build such big nuclear plants. RR do sell some neat little units that would still power a moderate-size town.

But on the housing question – and especially in London – you’ve hit the nail neatly. Most (if not all) the boom and bust house price cycles have had their origins in the South East. The problem is not addressed simply by making it easier to buy properties in London as that will only serve to exacerbate the issue. Instead, the administration ought to be considering either imposing huge taxes on non-UK citizens wanting to buy houses in London or barring them completely. While they’re at it, they should legislate to prevent any national media from being owned by those who live overseas…

Member

OH what a lovely bill —for the rich !!! Once again the poor are hit by tax credits removal this was a life saver for the poor once again Cameron,s government is a take from the poor to give to the rich. Payback for the banksters /IMF etc coming from where ??? the poor why cant billionaires with off-shore accounts pay back loans -deaths dont matter ,suicides dont matter ,starvation doesnt matter-just look at the food banks now in the UK look at the drastic rise in child poverty this government coudnt give 2 figs for the poor who are paying for this country with their lives . Every charitable organisation cries out but Cameron only has an ear for the rich I thank god I did not vote for his neo-con far right government otherwise I would be full of shame. I make zero apologies for posting this because I see day to day the result of their actions and they are just cruel.

Member

Osborne’s done a U turn on Tax Credits; they’re being left alone.

Member

Very glad to hear that Ian as last I heard they were being removed those in need will be thankful for that at least.

Member

The lead-in article assumed everyone had had time to watch the Autumn Statement or heard or seen the news. It merely said “with . . . changes to the tax credit system scrapped”, yet this was a huge policy reversal.

Member

Hi, here’s some more info on the tax credit announcements: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/11/autumn-statement-tax-and-tax-credits-424019/

Member

Yes Patrick I read it now but further down the page I see womens sanitary products are still taxed ,although I signed a petition against it by a UK women,s group ,but its an EU law and not a UK one . As this is something very essential to all women,s heath can somebody give the reasons why its taxed at all ?

Member

”Tampon tax’ donated to good causes
Mr Osborne said that VAT paid on sanitary products could not be abolished due to EU rules but that the £15m raised each year would now be made available for women’s health charities.”
————-
What with the Carrier Bag Tax and now this new tax, it looks like Charities are onto a Hypothecation roll.
A payback for becoming lick-spittles for Tory tricks like :
** Privatization of Local Authority ‘social’ services – undercutting by using volunteers
** Participation in Forced Labour / Workfare, schemes
** Profit oriented HealthWatch = Privatizing the Patients’ NHS complaint support system – Community Health Councils

Member

This not a new tax, but it is a new transfer of the revenue to relevant charitable purposes which in the circumstances seems like a good compromise if the EU will not allow a VAT exemption or nil rate charge.

Member

Do you REALLY believe that if C & O went along, with a suitable # of female supporters, that the EU wouldn’t allow them to remove the Tampon Tax?

First find the Civil Servant who included this tax in legislation
2nd locate the Perm Sec’y who signed it off
3rd grab the Minister who approved it, and the SoS who supported it

Take then ALL to Brussels, lock them in a room with appropriate EU women and leave them there until they’ve negotiated the deal.
Say, 10 minutes?

Don’t blame the EU, blame the chinless wonders in Whitehall who impozed such a discriminatory Tax.

Member

Yes, unfortunately, because of the nature of the EU, I do believe that it would not give way on the liability for 5% VAT on sanitary products, whoever turned up to argue for it. These products have been liable to VAT ever since we joined the EU. The VAT rate was reduced from 17.5% to 5% some years ago and it has taken until now for the UK to do something about using the VAT yield for a relevant purpose.

The list of products that are zero rated, like incontinence products, or exempt from VAT, shows that there is no consistency of treatment. The EU’s argument has always been that sanitary towels and tampons cannot be essentially discriminated from other personal hygiene and health products that are liable to VAT but that is a very specious argument.

This tax bears particularly harshly on women who are past the age of parental support but have no income [like students] or are dependent on benefits. Women have a choice over make-up but not over sanitary requisites.

I also suspect that manufacturers and retailers are making substantial profits out of these necessities.

Member

If we can’t abolish 5% vat on domestic gas and electricity, what hope is there for these sorts of items?

Member

According to my news I heard tax credits were no longer being cut? Perhaps I have misunderstood your comment.

Member

I wouldn’t trust Mr O as far as I could push him with a piece of wet string – I’m waiting for the equivalent of the Budget ”Red Book”.

Member

A lot of the major capital spending announcements had already been telegraphed in the Spring and Summer Budgets and through recent newsdrips.

I am not surprised by the expanded wriggle room in the economy. With more people in work, even part-time work, that is more people paying tax and national insurance and fewer claiming benefits. The decision not to reduce tax credits will leave more money in people’s pockets and a large slice will come back in VAT and excise duties.

I was also expecting some relief on the police front but not a wholesale redemption. The police funding is not as straightforward as has been portrayed and constables shouldn’t be doing cartwheels up the high street just yet; I am pleased to see there there will still be constraints on ordinary policing as money is shifted into priority areas. The amount of crime reported to police has fallen by more than a quarter since 2002-03 so I think it is time to get a lot of officers out of plain clothes and into uniform. Some images on the BBC news this evening showed some officers in tightly-stretched uniforms ambling along at a very comfortable pace and of such a body mass index that their efficiency in an emergency must be questionable. I have seen lots of French officers on TV lately and they look fitter for purpose.

I don’t have a problem with overseas aid as an amount of money although I do agree it should be much better controlled. I think it should be deployed more for strategic intervention in development on a planned and organised basis and not just kept in a bucket waiting for the next disaster to crop up; if there is no emergency to throw it at by the eleventh month of the year, the money just gets splurged on whatever happens to have its hand out at the time. This is an insult to taxpayers.

The Department of Transport is facing massive cuts and it will be interesting to see what effect this will have on the road and rail programmes. The DfT has a poor record on managing its resources, seems to take for ever to get started on new road schemes, and has made a complete mess of rail investment and franchising. Thank goodness it doesn’t actually run the trains.

The decision to release £2.3 billion to the housebuilders to get them building affordable housing is a good move. In itself it will reduce unemployment and stimulate the economy as people buy new goods for their new homes [shame they mostly won’t be UK-manufactured though]. I just hope the design of all these new houses and flats is going to be improved above the rock-bottom basic that we see everywhere at present.

Member

@ John Ward
”The decision not to reduce tax credits will leave more money in people’s pockets and a large slice will come back in VAT and excise duties.”
MAGIK !
Do you mean
The decision not to reduce tax credits will leave **that** money in people’s pockets and ** the same** slice will come back in VAT and excise duties….. rather than less.
? ?

Member

What I meant was that most people on tax credits were expecting a drop in income. This will not now happen and they will have more to spend than they thought they would. I assumed that a percentage of that would be liable to VAT and excise duties so the nett cost to the Treasury of this U-turn is moderated. It makes virtually no difference overall but the Chancellor’s decision is not the bonanza that is being portrayed.

The Chancellor could have used the better economic position to reduce VAT [for instance] instead of scrapping the tax credit reductions but that would have been very thinly spread and would not have equitably compensated the losers.

Since the intended reduction in tax credits was a major plank in the mission to achieve a “low welfare/high wage economy” this outcome is a huge policy reversal but I don’t think George Osborne has given up on the project. It seems to me to be highly likely that the Chancellor will freeze the tax credit thresholds indefinitely and not raise them in line with inflation or growth in incomes. Since he is also banking on the economy growing and more people moving into work and obtaining higher wages [as is bound to happen if the capital expenditure plans announced recently come to pass], more and more people will move out of tax credits or into higher brackets so he will achieve his objective quietly and almost invisibly.

Member

I think tax credits disappear when, and if, the revised benefits system is introduced.

As the economy grows there is more to spend from taxes. Much of this is a redistribution of wealth, so a good thing. Let us hope the economy does keep on growing. One problem with vat is that it affects everyone. I’d like to see those with the most genuine needs benefited – the same as I feel with the winter fuel allowance.

Member

What I meant was that most people on tax credits were expecting a drop in income. This will not now happen and they will have more to spend than they thought they would.
—————-
Oh, it’s that ‘old’ trick that Mr O has played.
Sentence the prisoner to death
Keep them on death row for a a week or two
Commute the sentence to life

Singing and dancing !

”You (not ”you”) can fool ……..
But North of Watford …..
————
The real way to cut *** Working *** Tax Credits is to stop those of us who DO pay our taxes subsidizing the spivs paying non-viable wages so they can:
** line their offshore pockets,
** ramp up house prices by using them as Commodities, not dwellings,
and soon
** assert strip our NHS.

And as for forcing prospective nurses and others in such short supply – high demand areas into massive post training/education, debt ……. ‘planet Zogg ??

Member

ALL this, and Robert Peston is leaving BBC for ITV.

Member

Whatever you say the rich get even richer (by avoiding paying tax ect) and the poor get poorer as life goes on the only losers are those people on low to middle incomes that fill the coffers of people that pay a minimum to low wages saying they can not afford to run their business and still manage life’s little luxuries .The only thing this and every other government has done is take money give it away without a proper balance and check (Kids company comes to mind) making certain people even richer you never see a poor politician and they all have expensive London pads we pay for

Member

+ 1

Member

…………………………………………. Autumn Statement 2015: what’s in it for you?

The (new) face of WHICH? ??

what’s in it for you?…………..what’s in it for you?……………………..what’s in it for YOU?

Whoever wrote and approved this headline should go to work for some Spiv organization selling snake oil, not a CO-Operative, COmmunity oriented set up like Which?
[Unless Which? is no longer such a ”CO-” organization – in which case, Come one spiv, come ALL.]
.

Member

Coo
Lookie, lookie
Minus 4
And not a word to say why.

Why?
.

Member

Well our “nice ” chancellor gave me another shocker as regards OAP,s (old age pensions ) .Big publicity about the new £155/week pension from April BUT—— MY state pension is £147 /week –phoned pensions dept –answer YOU !!! are under the OLD rules people are getting more than £155 (said it twice ) –I said BUT I am getting £147 –answer === thats the new rules-aka-LIVE WITH IT –okay if you are rich I am not and whoever is using Which to send me rip=off loan spam –*&%$£!+***** Dont dare try to rationalise this to me or come out with some airy/fairy philosophical comment . 17 years looking after my wife 24/7 –50P from the government -hate doesnt come close !!! BY the way I have 44 years NI stamps .

Member

The decisions to escalate the small claims limit for injury claims to £5k and to outlaw claiming for “minor whiplash” is nothing other than an insurance co sponsored outing for this government. Most people won’t care as they will accept the BS that insurance premiums will come down, but they won’t.

Worse still, when people actually need assistance to claim for their damages and losses, they will either have to navigate the court system themselves without assistance against legally represented insurers, or they will have to agree to forfeit a % of their compensation. Meantime, insurers profits will continue to soar higher. Wake up Britain, your basic legal rights are being eroded further and further for the sake of insurance company profits

Member

Lee check up your basic Human Rights which will become law because of “terrorists ” even Obommer admitted a day or two ago the US is not full of “terrorists ” 10000 UK armed forces deployed to the streets as in the US where Congress changed the US Bill of Rights to allow US military shoot dead US citizens,every US State institution has a storeroom with hollow-point bullets-small hole in -large hole out -dead in one shot /save money exercise. I have a wealth of info on World politics.

Member

+ 1

Member

Not quite in regard to the US. The US has the Posse Comitatus Act which actively prevents the US Army from acting on US soil. I suspect you’re thinking of the National Defense amendment signed by Obama in 2012 but the issue on the legality of what’s permitted under that amendment is far from clear, and will possibly have to be tested in court.

Member

Ian I post on several US radical websites over years spoken to literally 1000,s of US citizens . US troops are already on the ground in the US and have confirmed what I said .The con is -its “terrorist ” ,in reality they are dead scared of American citizens rising up in revolt at the harsh treatment of the poorer ones /working 2 jobs for peanuts / up to their eyes in medical debt -the largest single debt of the 99 % in the US NOT the mortgage / its so bad that the vets welfare has been cut back in both medical and psychiatric care because $trillions of tax dollars go to another country. Infrastructure is crumbling /city council are going bankrupt and still the US dollar printing machine churns out worthless $$$ (in real terms /not backed up with gold ) as well as worthless US government bonds. They dont like it Ian and thats why —its – captain KIrk to Scotty- its gonna be war with the “Klingons ” Scotty fire up the photon torpedoes -aka -nukes .

Member

Hi all, could we please keep comments on here on the topic of the Autumn Statement. Thank you 🙂

Member

Are you a Mod, plz?
I have suggested elsewhere that as a new contributor to these columns it would be helpful if ”Official” Mods could identify themselves, and thus differentiate themselves from others who wish they were Mods.
Thank you

Member

Good morning JosefKafka, welcome to the Which? Conversation. I’ve seen that you’ve had this question answered by other community members on the Black Friday thread. But, it might be helpful for you to take a look at the ‘Need Help? section at the top of the page, it’s got some FAQs and a guide for new members which may be of use. Thanks 🙂

Member

Guess what?
I had.
And that’s why I posted that which I posted.

Now
Are you going to add what other ”community members” have kindly contributed to that incomplete FAQ list?

And what’s this COMMUNITY guff – this is a commercial enterprize.
Some supermarkets hang out banners announcing things like.
”We’re making improvements to YOUR Store.”
It ain’t, it’s THEIR’s.
The only stores which are even remotely ‘ours’ are Co-ops, and that’s debatable.
This faux ”community-ization” is Cameroon-ish propaganda of the
”We’re all in this together.” kind.
Which can then be used in the context of
”If you’re not with us, then you’re against us.”
And that leads to ………. Salem

Member
Mr A WATKINS says:
26 November 2015

It is to expensive to be born these days, It is to expensive to live, It is also to expensive to die.

Member

Now thats a philosophical comment I can accept Mr Watkins !

Member

My view on the autumn statement. Personally from where I stand.
In bonny Scotland there is a saying. Ner look a doon lookin coo in the eye.
The term doon lookin coo refers to a cow putting its head down and is about to bolt at you or something of that type of threat. There’s no point in trying to direct it elsewhere. It aint listening. So by looking it in the eye, your in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mr Osborne to me is always looking through his eyebrows or via the side of his eye I would not and do not trust the man no not one millimetre.
This is not meant as any kind of personal slur on the man but it’s the way I see him. I dont see him as a friend lets say.
This Gov has been cut, cut, and more cut with only one thing on their mind. Fiscal policy. And Mr Ozzy Sir you were the driving force behind this and your Gov had a majority and by gum you were making your point.
Thats what Gov’s do, spend 5 years getting very well paid to do one thing and one thing only most often not actually what they were elected to do although they seem to have a way of making us believe we voted for what they in fact wanted or deemed right not what we actually wanted.
Mr Osborne has apparently done a bit of a U-turn on some benefits cuts and the reason given was that the Gov all of a sudden had a lot more money to play with that originally forecast.
To that Mr Ozzy I say B*****s.
None of what you said in your usual long winded speech in the house add’s up and that would be nothing new
In my mind what’s really going on are several things
Firstly Mr Ozzy you got your a** whipped in the Lords and rightfully so.
So badly were you stinging that your peers were making threats to take power away from the Lords.
Shame on you Sir.
The Lords are there to protect us against just this type of thing. Otherwise we go back to slavery or something akin thereto.
You Mr Ozzy were not getting your own way Sir. No matter how you stamped your foot on the floor you were being told no!!!! and in no uncertain terms.
Now all of a sudden rather a lot has changed in just a few hours.
Maybe just in time to save your skin Sir.
All of a sudden you are coming under pressure to find funds for all sorts of expenditure that you had never considered.
There is a pressing need to retain our Police Forces as is or better
There is a pressing need to enhance our Military Forces, all three plus Intelligence services etc
So you have just announced all sorts of Security Service upgrades and all sorts of purchase orders.
You had to do this. You had no option. You now know you are never going to balance your accounts along your daft, being in the Black for 2020 theory
You have had to spend way more than anything you have ever saved by your cutbacks to enable our Security Forces to get back to where they should have been all along.
With such additional expenditure which is not a few million or even a few Billion you know you’ll never reach your 2020 target so you decided to let some of the proposed changes in effect die and made a bit of a speech about it too.
Mr Ozzy you Sir did not abandon the changes because you found additional funds, you were turned down by the Lords and sent hope crying. This little speech may let you believe that you are a great fellow but out in the real world we know what you are.
Is it not a case of, it doesnt matter any longer because your austerity budgeting is not going to work anyhow
Mr Ozzy, I say Good.
I paid taxes every year from 1974 to 2011. I invested in this our Country. In my mind I paid my due’s. I paid for my pension which you are now denying me until I am even older than my original ideas
I do not wish to be told by an upstart that we cannot afford basic food and heat and in the next breath you tell us how great our country is and that its the 6th or whatever biggest economy on the planet.
If its the 6th + – largest economy how come you Sir have to cut us to the bone.
I Sir was paying tax not long after you were born and you, you who have never known what “doing without” meant have the tenacity to tell us the very people who pay your wage what we can or cant have.
We want and are entitled to, Health Care and you Sir and your family should be made by law use our Health Service
We want and are entitled to Education for our children and you Sir should be made by law to use our education system
We want and are entitled to Security for our land and our people’s and you Sir should be made by law to live with the same security as the rest of us
Maybe if everyone were just a little more of equal citizens there would be rather a lot more to go around.
Mr Ozzy you have plenty left to give and I hope you can see fit to give up on the remaining cutbacks.
If it were not for some very unfortunate circumstances you Sir would have left us with practically no Forces of any description and its time you got behind your country and put your shoulder to it and give it some help not come up behind it and stab in in the back.
In your Autumn Statement you volunteered nothing but were forced by circumstances to abandon your self centred policy that you had worked out mathematically rather than compassionately.

Member

Did you send this to No. 11, DeeKay? It would interesting to see the reply.

Member

Hi John, I would’nt know how. Feel free if you wish!!! Its only a lot of heart felt sentiment

Member

Hi John having thought about your post/suggestion I wonder if Ozzy could restrain from using expletives in reply.
Many’s a day I have used many such words to describe the policies and antics

Member

Sound, and short Vid, of hat being thrown in the air.

Member

Ye Haw, ride em cowboy, there’s maybe more to come

Member

+ 1

Member

Ian, whatever you or I might think personally about any of our politicians, I would rather we were in the present position than where we were in 2009-10. That is partly due to reining back public spending.

What I would have liked to have seen was an outright ban on PFIs – a tool used by all governments to keep debt off the books, with very expensive consequences, particularly for our schools and even more so for the NHS.

No government will please all of us all of the time. They rely on manifesto promises and their own choices to introduce policies. We – the great majority – are now in a position with the internet where we can quickly and easily communicate. so referenda on all major issues is possible, allowing each of us to express a view despite what the governments’;s policy might be. So the countries view need not be sought at a general election, it could be regularly sought on specific issues. Do we need trident, should we have a full 7 days of health care, should we cap benefits, should we have HS2, should we become directly involved in Syria? We’d at least feel we had a part to play in how the country is run.

Member

”I would rather we were in the present position than where we were in 2009-10.”
————
Errrr

WHY, plz ?

Member

THe latest news from the Resolution Foundation (UK) by director Torsten Bell says the new unveral credit benefit will lose on average £1000 and £1300 if children by 2020. Average loss in lowest half of income distribution is £650/year ,whereas the top half will have no average loss at all. The poorest in society wil continue to have their welfare reduced . Big “OH ! ” has announced that by 2020 an extra £12 Billion will be cut from welfare spending –the rich shall inherit the earth –the poor everlasting life(when dead ) -sounds about right (yes I know misinterpretation from the bible )

Member

One misconception, perhaps, about cuts in welfare spending is that nothing else changes. One factor is that as the country’s economy recovers more people will be on wages that take them out of the need for state welfare – hence a reduction in welfare spending. However what we must ensure is that all those deserving of state help do get it – whether they are working poor, disabled, those who cannot work etc.

It is worth bearing in mind that a single pensioner with no other source of income only gets £7862 a year (including pension credit). The capped benefits of others are, as I understand it, £23000 (£20k ouside London) and are not subject to tax – whereas the state pension is, of course if you reach the threshold of £10 600). I think there is inequity in how we treat pensioners in comparison with others.

Member

I fully agree. When presented as you have done in your second para, Malcolm, the distribution of financial support from taxpayers looks distinctly skewed and it makes me wonder how we managed to get to this position, such that now it cannot even be put into reverse.

It is another misconception that every pensioner gets the £200 winter fuel payment: where there are two pensioners in the same dwelling it is split between them which theoretically seems fair – as it is a heating allowance not an income supplement – but it reinforces the case for abolishing this payment, transferring its value to the benefits system, charging the cost to direct taxation, and ensuring that those who need additional financial support get it while those who don’t need it can forget about it. I received a letter from the DWP yesterday telling me I am about to have £200 slipped into my bank account; that is a cost in itself that could clearly be avoided. If any communication were required at all, I would be prepared to accept an e-mail, and so would most pensioners I expect.

Member

But that could afford yet another opportunity to the spammers.

Member

True, but I would probably not fall for a letter addressed to “Dear respected pensioner”. Obviously there would have to be some tight security controls such as the HMRC have for dealing with on-line tax returns. The strategic solution is to ditch the payment as I and many others here have proposed.

Member

In a related government comment recently Justice Minister Michael Gove called for non-payment of the BBC license fees to be de-criminalised as 1 in 10 cases in the Magistrate court in 2013 was related to this . 178300 people were prosecuted out of 1.54 Million cases that came to court . 7 out of 10 of the cases were against women . A survey taken recently indicated that 60 % want it scrapped in favour of ads . AS this conjures up great controversy in the general public on both sides of the table some very heated maybe this could be a Convo in the future ?

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Excellent idea.

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I am pleased to see that the government plans to tackle the problem of fraudulent insurance claims. I presume that nuisance callers who ask if you have had a recent accident are trying to find people who can be persuaded to make a fraudulent claim, and take their share.

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It can be entertaining to explain all the injuries you have suffered in the accident to which they refer. You could explain that the accident involved your own fatality and you have had great trouble trying to communicate with someone to claim death benefits. You are very grateful that they have managed to contact you. Where shall we start?

It seems that insurance companies take your word for it that you have suffered whiplash injury, without requiring any proof that it has either happened or that it has caused any real disability. My daughter’s car was run into from behind, but very slowly, and she made a claim for repairs to the bumper. Some while afterwards a solicitors letter arrived encouraging her to claim for whiplash injury for herself and the occupants (two children) pointing out that the other driver had claimed around £2000. She had no injury and made no claim but to many the ease of extracting a couple of thousand pounds must be tempting.

Such claims should be supported with medical evidence. I believe in future they will?

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I like your tactic Malcolm. I wil have to try that one sometime.

Another fraudulent type of claim is where someone deliberately causes an accident so they can claim injury damages.

I heard of someone where the car in front braked suddenly in the middle of a roundabout at slow speed for no reason. The cars barely touched but all 4 passengers claimed they were badly hurt and claimed damages

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Malcolm your fist para is just magic. I enjoy that type of thing. And yes we are far. far too soft here.

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”It can be entertaining to explain all the injuries you have suffered in the accident to which they refer. You could explain that the accident involved your own fatality and you have had great trouble trying to communicate with someone to claim death benefits. You are very grateful that they have managed to contact you. Where shall we start?”
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ROFL………………RIP…………………….ROFL…………………………….RIP-ROFL………………
Oooops, I think I’ve sprung a leak !

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I did once decide to waste a caller’s time when they asked if I had suffered a motor accident. Eventually they lost interest when I told them it was in 1975 and I had made a successful claim against the insurance company of the person who had driven their car out of a side road without giving way. This reminds me that the medical chap who had assessed my injuries, several months later, wanted me to claim that I could no longer play squash (which I had never played in my life) as a result of my injuries. I wonder how much additional compensation I could have gained by making a fraudulent claim. I know others who have similar experiences to ours, Malcolm.

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This is long overdue. I believe the Chancellor said that “minor whiplash” claims would no longer be covered by motor-insurance policies. These are almost impossible to prove or disprove as there is little physical evidence. With properly adjusted head restraints and seats belts worn there should be very few minor whiplash injuries caused by low speed impacts. With serious crashes there will be physical evidence and óther indicators of the severity of impact. Unfortunately many people do not adjust their headrests correctly even though this is a legal requirement.

I read that Aviva estimated that UK motorists were collectively charged over £1 billion a year to cover fraudulent claims. The chancellor forecast that there should be a reduction in insurance premiums of £40-50. Anything that disrupts the parasitic claims harvesters is a good thing.

Malcolm – I trust you affect a suitably sepulchral Lurch-type voice when you answer the phone: “You rangggg?”

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When that becomes the case, will such calls then be classified as attempted conspiracy; incitement; or some other act of criminality……. hope so.

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Without going into a long story. Once upon a year I had taken my eldest to Queen Margaret Uni just outside of Edinburgh as that would be where our lot would go lets say
On my way back I got in behind a lady in and Astra who made several attempts at getting onto a big oval aroonaboot as its called there.
I sat patiently watching her make several failed attempts to get onto this road until she was well over the give way lines and finally there was no cars between her and and Aberdeen and I swore she had started off.
I put our peugeot partner all 1.9L of normally aspirated power into gear and stated off.
I glanced to my right just in case a 747 was landing at high speed and just as I did I seen a car rounding the far end of the roundabout.
Yes your right, she stopped again and bump. Not so much as broken number plate because I was barely moving.
Anyhow almost two years later when I was paying my insurance I asked why this claim was hanging over my wifes policy. The broker whom we know looked at me like I had two heads and then said “”you been had mate”
He went and rumbled around and returned with photos of the rear of a silver astra damaged to oblivion and a list of you guessed it whiplash injury’s.
Between the car and the injury’s the compensation was megabucks
Unfortunately being the trusting soul I was I had not photographed the car or the people at the time they had a party with the event
Everything seems to revolve around a claim culture and my insurance company was again paying the price.
In my entire lifetime and my wife’s that is the only claim made against us and it was fraudulent but with no evidence and an all too easy give in that’s the way things were.

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Somebody tried that with me 2MPH zero damage BUT I called the police they checked out my car couldnt find any damage on it or the other car so they lost their case.

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Hi Duncan, I wished afterwards that I had done the same and called the police but everyone was so nice and maybe they were nice but then someone will see an opportunity and advise them.
Now the police dont want to attend unless there’s and injury so what do we do now.
It takes a thief a thief to catch a thief and despite having had several injuries outside of my driving career I never once claimed for anything.
I reckoned I had had the choice of being there or not or had the choice of staying in the job or not so why grump after the milk is spilled.
Even in employment my motto was if you dont like the heat get out of the fire. No one is forcing you to stay and no one was bullying me. It was me who worked too hard. Yes my boss should have known better but I was old enough to have known better and what would it have gained a few bob and another enemy in a man I’d rather remain friends with.
Honour was gone with the wind it seems. Claim, claim, claim.

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I can see your point Dee,makes you think of investing in one of those new car cameras that record your driving -forward/back .Now that claims are flying everywhere the companies selling them are doing great business.

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We have one about two years. A dirt cheap Fleabay Chinese model Must’ve done about 12k miles by now. There’s a great little red triangle on it and if seen something hit the triangle and it’ll store so many seconds before and after event
Brilliant toy

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” … Fleabay Chinese model … ”

I trust it was the Which? Best Buy one ? ?

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Josef, Na it was the cheapest thing with bump detect and the red triangle.
I have a camper and there is a well branded reverse camera on the thing. It has had two replacements at 100s of pounds.
I decided to try the nasty and it has been perfect to a tee.
Hate to say it but the cheapy worked fine.
I’m actually getting pretty anti big brand one thing at a time

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The good news with the Autumn Statement is the clamp down on buy-to-let with the trebling of stamp duty. This should help first time buyers get onto the property ladder before starter homes are snapped up by landlords.

Which? Convo lately seems to have become under siege by some highly intelligent individuals posting unintelligible gibberish, seemingly forever determined to break the thread of logical and topical consumer issues by ranting on about irrelevant matters entirely unconnected to the subject matter 🙁 🙁 🙁

Are we gradually becoming indistinguishable from Facebook and Twitter?

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If someone puts a point Beryl then are you not allowed to reply even if that point is not on topic ? Ve hav vays of making you not talk -sieg heil .Gibberish is in the eye of the beholder I can actually translate gibberish easily and inner meaning comes easily to me. Daleks =irregular thought patterns are not allowed -Exterminate ! -Exterminate !.

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Duncan if you were close we could have a beer and I’ll bet there’d be some laughs
Ah we just went off topic

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Thank god somebody here understands where I am coming from Dee I am not as evil as some might think. Thanks for that Dee.

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In recent years I have been surprised to learn that quite a number of my friends have bought property intending to supplement their income through letting. The most successful couple have turned what was a hobby into a successful business and have built up a team of contractors covering building, plumbing, electrical work, kitchen fitting and gardening. Having stayed in several of their recently refurbished properties for reunions with a group of friends who met at university, I see how much they have achieved through hard work and careful organisation. Others involved with buy-to-let have had less success, but it still seems lucrative. I am not surprised that the government is looking at the sector.

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”Providing” one of life’s MOST essential needs – housing – as a Hobby / Amateur pass-time, never mind the neo-Rachmanite Spivs who jumped on the bandwagon as soon as it was a gleam in the Milk Snatcher’s eyes.
One of thatcher’s main supporters in this day-light robbery was Ian Gow MP, who’s son, using Insider Trading Knowledge – still legal then, bought up hectares of council houses in parts of London which were ripe for re-development – he almost rivaled Dame Shirley Porter, Lady Porter, DBE, née Cohen [Tesco heiress] in his alleged dirty dealings over other people’s treasured and loved HOMES.
A genuine gesture from Mr O would be to take the 3% and use it to pay off the debts that near destitute people have run into to stay in their memory filled, and much treasured, homes until the end of their days.
Not houses = HOMES.
Not a commodity = HOMES.
Good idea?

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Josef -Maybe you were thinking of the action group I was in contact with in London ,signed petitions etc. It was called =The Sweets Way estate action group kicking out poor council tenants to make way for $1million executive flats-Last tenant a wheel-chair victim evicted 2 months back ,nice one Cameron !