UK shipping cluster unites against tax changes


THE Baltic Exchange, Chamber of Shipping, Maritime London and Joint Hull Committee (which represents the Lloyd’s and International Underwriters’ Association (IUA) hull underwriters) have jointly called on the UK government to abandon its proposed changes to the non-domiciled resident tax regime as they will undermine the UK’s £1.5bn maritime services sector.

In a submission to the UK government, the organisations warn that international shipping enterprises based in London will move abroad with a substantial negative impact on the maritime services sector if the proposals set out in the government’s Pre-Budget Report and subsequent draft legislation are implemented. This would lead to a negative impact on a large number of UK based maritime service providers.

The key points of the submission are that:

The direct tax take from the proposed changes will be neutral or negative as a result of the departure of most, if not all, non-domiciled shipping businesses from the UK; The indirect damage to overseas earnings and other UK government income will be substantial; The proposal for a new fee to qualify for a remittance basis of taxation is already highly damaging, but since the Pre-Budget Report it has evolved to become intrusive, expensive, and filled with additional pitfalls and tax traps; By publishing a list of potential additional measures, the government has created a climate of uncertainty and threat which is already harming maritime business in the UK; The very tight deadline for implementation is exacerbating the situation, with many feeling forced to become non-resident purely on the grounds of timing

The proposed legislation increases the cost of international shipping companies’ London operations by adversely changing the tax position of long-serving overseas staff as well as creating a considerable reporting burden on non-domiciled residents.
The submission’s authors believe that the proposed changes create an uncertain business environment which, if implemented, will lead to a flood of departures from the UK to overseas locations.

“The implementation of proposals from the Autumn Statement would lead to the continual attrition and eventual demise of the international shipping community in London and the policy should be abandoned. Even an implementation of the original proposals from the Autumn Statement and an offer of clear assurances to the non-domiciled community and those who rely on their business that there will be no further change, would cause serious damage.

“We believe that, in order to begin to restore confidence in the maritime services market, it is essential that Treasury and Transport Ministers make clear public statements as to the importance of the maritime sector and the fiercely competitive global environment in which it operates.”

Baltic Exchange Chief Executive Jeremy Penn said: “These proposals have such serious consequences for so many UK maritime businesses that the Baltic Exchange, Maritime London, Chamber of Shipping and Joint Hull Committee are working together to explain the damage the government is causing.” London is currently the largest centre worldwide for the provision of maritime services including shipbroking, ship finance, legal and arbitration services, insurance, accountancy, average adjusting and surveying and technical consultancy. Latest figures from International Financial Services, London (IFSL) suggest that the international shipping business generates the employment of 14,300 and generates net earnings of £1.5 bn.
However London faces increasing competition from other cities to attract maritime business including Singapore, Dubai, Athens, Copenhagen and New York.

Crazy Gordon – on the Homeless


“Bottler” Brown’s Big Idea, a return to the Victorian Workhouse?

You know that the economy is heading into deep trouble when politicians start trying to sound tough on unemployment instead of boasting about how many new jobs have been created (usually without any help from them).

Ms Flint, Blair Brown Regime Minister, decided the time was right to announce that all unemployed people who lived in public housing would be thrown out onto the street unless they accepted the first job they were offered.

The reaction was so immediate and strong that Ms Flint has let it be known that she was only jocking and the statement was intended to start a debate – a debate about what? the reintroduction of the workhouse? or the desirability of reducing Government costs? or diverting attention from crisis? or just trying to find someone else to blame?


Australian Anti-whaling Stand


The Australian government is being pressured to release footage of whales being killed by Japanese whalers in the southern ocean.

At leave five whales have been killed since the Sea Shepherd conservation society vessel, the Steve Irwin, left the fleet to return to Melbourne to refuel and restock.

The fleet is still being followed by an Australian customs ship.

The Australian opposition party’s environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, says the public deserves to know how the whales are being killed.

A Winter of Discontent


Institutional incompetence has become a hallmark of the Blair Brown regime. Things have become so bad that the British population is becoming numb to news of the latest costly failures. There has been growing feeling of discontent and impotence as each new disaster emerges, only to be lightly dismissed by an arrogant regime that is happy to continue pouring billions of pounds of taxpayers money into a Black Hole, where the greater the sum of tax pounds spent, the less is provided in services in return. Perhaps Gordon “Bottler” Brown is as brilliant as he claims to be – only real genius could be so consistently bad.

Central Government has featured a long an inglorious line of disasters during the last ten years that in commercial life would have long ago resulted in the perpetrators being fired, or the company being forced out of business. A central feature of many disasters has been the failure of very costly Private Finance Initiative, PFI, schemes and Public Private Joint Venture, PPJV, projects.

In the field of Information Technology, the Blair Brown regime has excelled in incompetence. This is not confined to the design and installation of huge IT systems, but has included implementation, routine usage, training, and security procedures.

What has received less media attention has been the parallel failures in local government. Not all of the blame can be laid at the doors of the Blair Brown regime because local councils, usually of the same political party, must shoulder responsibility for their own individual failings. However, the degree of central control and the impact of Stalinist ‘targets’ imposed by the Blair Brown regime has played a major role in a succession of Local Government failures.

In central and local failures of IT projects, a common factor has been the impulse to buy the largest and grandest systems, often under PFI or PPJV. It suggests that part of the problem results from lack of adequate requirements specification, compounded by a lack of budget and project control.

The latest example of grand failure is from Birmingham City Council.

Birmingham, which claims to be Europe’s largest local authority, is suffering from what the Council’s spokesperson describes as teething troubles and local MP John Hemming suggests is something trivial. That lack of accountability and acceptance of responsibility is in its own right staggering. If any action is eventually taken against perpetrators responsible for the failures, it is likely that this will be promotion and the award of further bonus payments.

The council’s joint venture IT system with Capita is a SAP-based Voyager installation. The Council uses the system to pay GB£1 billion a year for goods and services, representing some 700,000 invoices.

So far, 216,000 invoices from 20,000 suppliers have been paid and the Council claims that these are successful payments, suggesting that no paid invoice has been contested by a supplier. The Council admits to approximately 18,000 invoices in backlog but has not disclosed how long they have been in backlog.

For bailiffs to have been sent to Council premises to enforce orders for debt payments suggests that at least some invoices have remained unpaid for a significant period.

There is no indication yet as to whether the system problems are being successfully addressed, or how long it is expected to take before the Council is able to pay invoices within payment terms.

In addition to bailiffs calling on the Council, many suppliers are reported to have withdrawn services and/or refused to supply goods to the Council. In one reported case, Council staff have had to buy food, using their own money,to feed children in a Council care home.

The council ran into problems in October 2007 when the system went live. That suggests that some unpaid bills may have been outstanding for as long as eight months which would explain why suppliers have been forced to go to the courts to obtain payment of bills. There is no available information on the companies that are still owed money, but it is believed that many of them will be small to medium sized enterprises, SMEs, who would be seriously affected by late payments from what might be a major customer.

Amongst the problems encountered was the failure of the automatic installation system, affecting 5,000 PCs, each of which had to be visited by by a software specialist. Users were unable to obtain assistance from the helpdesk for 48 hours.

BSD Newsdesk

Stuart Bower’ Case February 07


The UK Independence Party is preparing to support Stuart Bowers on Thursday February 07. Stuart Bowers is bringing a claim for Breach of Contract of the Human Rights Act against the Blair Brown regime.

“Thursday 7th Feb 10.30am Brighton area – Stuart Bowers’ court case against Gordon Brown over the referendum Breach of Contract of the Human Rights Act (the right to a free election). His argument is that the manifesto pledge to have a referendum was a binding contract which has been broken. We hope to have the inflatable bulldozer and maybe the Battle Bus. Please plan on coming with all your flags, banners and signs that you can manage. We would hope to start organizing between 9-9:30am. The government will be represented now, which is why it was changed from 1000 to 1030am so it can run for at least an hour. A barrister from the Treasury is also attending.

UK Independence Party members who want to support Stuart will be told more by the South East organiser Steve Harris, who can be reached on 01903-885573.

UKIP Head Office, UK Independence Party”