Charles Dallara representing 450 private sector lenders…

“There has been no agreement on any Greek deal or a specific haircut”

Forty Cases of Financial Mismanagement in Cable’s Expenses

Dr. and St. Vince Cable has said he made “an honest mistake” over his VAT avoidance and that it was “embarrassing and I should have spotted it sooner”. He’s attempting to make this look like a one-off piece of financial mismanagement in order to minimise the obvious “if he can’t run his own business affairs, why should anyone else listen to him” line of questioning. But is this case really a one-off? 

A look at Vince’s parliamentary expenses claims from the last few years show a trail of financial mismanagement. His claims are littered with with late fees, reminder letters and overdue notices. His electricity supplier, British Gas and BT have all sent letters stating their intention to disconnect him for non-payment. It appears he also thought it appropriate to charge the taxpayer for £240 of fines for not paying his fees on time. By Guido’s count there were nineteen late notices or threats in 05-06, thirteen in 06-07, and eight in 07-08. Were these honest mistakes too, or complete incompetence? 

CBI Beats TUC at Football
Now Fighting for Right to Hire and Fire

Yesterday saw the third CBI-TUC annual footy match; the pro-business lobby beat the anti-business lobby 4-3 to win the cup pictured above. There must be a metaphor there somewhere, especially given that Guido hears that things were quite heated with penalties awarded against both sides. The row has continued off of the pitch today in the wake of the brave suggestions, leaked to the Telegraph, from Adrian Beecroft. The venture capitalist advising the government has finally put the employment “rights” stranglehold on growth to the top of the policy agenda:

“The rules both make it difficult to prove that someone deserves to be dismissed, and demand a process for doing so which is so lengthy and complex that it is hard to implement… This makes it too easy for employees to claim they have been unfairly treated and to gain significant compensation.”

These employment rules are far more complicated than the offside rule and prevent British businesses from competing on a level playing field with international competitors. Interviewed on Sky News, Mark Littlewood of the IEA called the rules “a real burden and a real fear” in the business world, and it’s true that there are now untouchable elements within all sectors, but the public-sector in particular. It’s nearly impossible to sack a useless teacher…

There are five million small businesses in the UK. If just half of them can be persuaded to take on one more member of staff then this country would not be facing an unemployment crisis. If businesses could hire and fire flexibly they would be less reluctant to take the risk of hiring new staff. There is some suspicion that this report has been trailed today in an effort to move on the debate from Europe with something that appeals to right-wingers, but if anything it is yet again reminding Tory backbenchers of the disproportionate power the LibDems have in government. Before a proper debate has even begun, Norman Lamb, the voice of Nick Clegg, has already come out to say that it’s “madness” and they will block such a move. Sound familiar..?

VAT Vince Dodged Full Fine


With St Vince reeling from another scandal, Guido and several co-conspirators have noticed that he has got away with this one surprisingly leniently. If this tax-avoidance had gone on while he was in government it would have ended him, but given it was so long ago, surely he should have paid more than the £500 slap-on-the-wrist for his £25,000 “oversight“? The Treasury’s rules are perfectly clear:

10% is £2,500, not £500. Pay up Vince, or are the rules different for Ministers over the small businesses they punish?

Merkel gives a glimmer of hope:

“If the euro fails, Europe fails…”

PMQs LIVE: The Battle, Not the War Edition

Mirror’s Lawyers Increasing Work Load

Back in July, Trinity Mirror Group brought in City lawyers Herbert Smith “to help it in its dealings with the judge-led inquiry”. Guido has to wonder what this “help” really means and whether we will see some Harbottle & Lewis/ News International style “dealings”. Whether we will get a whitewash remains to be seen, but Mirror Group’s actions thus far don’t exactly inspire confidence. Either way their work load must be on the increase, especially given that the Mirror Group have already had the finger pointed at them

Heated Confusion

After their tent village was exposed as a sham yesterday, it seems the Occupy London protestors, and especially their designated spin-doctors, are getting a little bit grumpy. Guido hears that a Bryn phoned up the UKIP press office to make a complaint about Nigel Farage’s comments in yesterday’s Express about the threat to Remembrance Sunday. Guido didn’t have them down as Express readers, but maybe they picked up a copy in Starbucks. The gist of their strange complaint was that Farage was making “political capital” out of the protest. It’s not about politics, apparently…



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Quote of the Day

David Cameron tells MPs after voting:

“Wouldn’t miss this for the world. Secret ballots very important. Remember the Chartists.”

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