#IPTsUnfair – The Raid on the Responsible

In less than two years, the Government has doubled the Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) burden from 6% to 12%. The tax is payable on most general insurance policies, as well as commercial insurance taken out by businesses. Independent experts say that IPT costs per-household are set to rise above £200 in 2018.

If the Chancellor increases it once again in this year’s Budget, millions of British households and businesses will be affected even more.  

Another hike would mean another cost passed directly onto hard-pressed families. This could dissuade them from protecting essentials like their homes, health, vehicles and pets.

The idea of taxing people simply for doing the responsible thing by buying insurance is absurd. It’s like taxing people for locking their front doors, or stopping at a pedestrian crossing. If you raise taxes on insurance you will discourage people from insuring themselves.

Shouldn’t we be encouraging those who are taking proper precautions and being responsible, rather than discouraging them?  

If you, like us, oppose another increase in Insurance Premium Tax, then speak out. Watch and share our video and stand up against another hike once and for all, because quite frankly, #IPTs Unfair.

 

Content produced and sponsored by The Association of British Insurers (ABI)

For Whom the Lord Bell Toiled

Last month, Lord Bell appeared on Newsnight fronting up the disgraced Bell Pottinger, the PR spinners he co-founded, which has now been dissolved. Re-wind a few years and his Lordship was fronting up another disgraceful entity.

In 2013, he was the guest of honour at the annual shindig of the Association of British Bloodsuckers (Bookmakers – Ed) – the ABB. According to Private Eye, he encouraged them to take a leaf out of the tobacco lobby’s playbook and believe “your opponents are wrong, and the moment you start acknowledging that they have an argument, you’re dead”.

It must have had an impact as Malcolm George, now CEO of the ABB, still claims that betting shops are the safest places to gamble.

Back then, the ABB Chair, Neil Goulden, was also Chair of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT). Guess who did the PR spin on the RGT’s whitewash research into FOBTs? Yes, Bell Pottinger!

When the RGT met with the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board to discuss the FOBT research whitewash, guess who was in the room with them? Yes, Bell Pottinger!

It was also reported that Lord Bell had advised the ABB to acquire the royal seal of approval – which would have made them the Royal Association of British Bookmakers.

It will take more than bookies’ PR spin to avoid their pending seal of disapproval from the government’s FOBT review.

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS.

Time for European businesses to stand up for a fair Brexit deal

by communications firm PLMR’s Brexit Unit

To judge by a lot of media coverage about Brexit, you could be forgiven for thinking that all important decisions rest with Jean-Claude Junker. Rather than seeing the European Commission as an almighty entity, one could see it as a kind of political secretariat (albeit a powerful one) for the interests of the Continent’s national leaders; for the political interests of Chancellor Merkel and President Macron in particular. But there is another powerful voice that has been curiously absent from the Brexit debate: the voice of businesses, large and small, from across the European mainland.

European firms have no real interest in seeing a punitive, anti-trade settlement after Brexit. Any marginal market share benefits they may receive from anti-UK protectionism would be more than offset by the broader economic problems that such a settlement would cause. Businesses are not interested in political pride or point-scoring – they are interested in certainty, simplicity, sensible regulation and the removal of barriers to trade and commerce.

British businesses have been very vocal about their interests in this process. Governments must listen to businesses but not be led by the nose. Business lobbying is not always in the broader national interest as the 2008 financial crisis showed, and politicians must listen foremost to their electorates. But it helps to also let companies have a say on the stewardship of the economy. UK firms have had their say and now it is time for European firms to stand up for a fair Brexit settlement.

EU companies will want a pragmatic deal. They will still want to access London’s financial markets and to sell goods and services to our 60 million-strong population, and they will want to be able to do business with our companies as they always have. Making these points to the Commission, but especially also to their national governments, should help avert a punitive deal.

Businesses know that there is no point ruminating on past decisions or seeking to undermine the result of the 2016 referendum. They want a deal that benefits both sides because they know that trade is not a zero-sum game. Let us encourage European companies to find their voice and to make their points forcefully to their representatives.

PLMR’s Brexit Unit advises organisations on managing the transition to a post-EU framework in the UK. Consultants Joe Mitton and Simon Darby are on hand to field queries – for more information visit www.brexitunit.co.uk

Bookie self-regulator goes into hiding as gambling sites found to be ripping people off

An eight-month investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has revealed that people are not getting the deals they expected from gambling sign-up promotions, and sites are unfairly holding on to customers’ money. The CMA said it was taking action against “a number of operators” suspected of breaking the law.

Nisha Arora from the CMA said: “New customers are being enticed by tempting promotions only to find the dice are loaded against them. And players can find a whole host of hurdles in their way when they want to withdraw their money.” Adding that customers were sometimes forced to play hundreds of times before they were allowed to withdraw their money, denying them the choice to “quit while they’re ahead.”

Ten years since the enactment of the Gambling Act and the formation of the Gambling Commission, this is a conclusion that millions of gamblers have been painfully aware of.

If the Senet Group, the industry-funded self-regulator, actually did what it says it does: “promote responsible gambling standards and ensure that the marketing of gambling is socially responsible” this would not be an issue, so proving that self-regulation does not work.

Wanda Goldwag, the “independent standards commissioner” appointed by the Senet Group, who regularly shows up in Westminster with PR spin initiatives, has gone silent and missing since the CMA news that her members could be subject to legal actions.

Wanda – where are you?  

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTS.

Screw EU! Paddy Power’s Giant Theresa Flips V-Sign

Paddy Power has erected a 110-ft Theresa May statue, offering Europe a two-fingered salute from the White Cliffs of Dover. Ahead of the embattled Prime Minister’s trip to Brussels on Thursday the mischievous bookmaker has offered her some ‘strong and stable’ support. Or, as they call it in Westminster – a ‘hard Brexit’…

The statue can be seen from Normandy, took a 12-man crew a full week to assemble, and sends a clear message to the UK’s soon-to-be former EU neighbours – even if the election didn’t. Paddy Power makes it odds on that more than one Prime Minister will be involved in Brexit talks (2/7) – and just 13/8 that a second General Election will be called this year…

The chances of May performing a U-Turn – her party piece – and deciding that the UK should instead Remain in the EU, are rated at 20/1A Paddy Power spokesman said:

We tried to make the installation look as life-like as possible to Theresa May – which is why it’s two-dimensional and largely wooden. During construction, it was both strong and stable, but soon went weak and wobbly when the winds changed – about as stable as a partnership with the DUP.”

The structure is of such a scale that the fingernails alone are more than five-foot long. And Theresa’s legs are a huge 10-metres tall, the equivalent of almost six Jeremy Corbyns…

Paddy Power Brexit specials:

  • 2/7 More than one UK PM is involved in Brexit negotiations
  • 13/8 Another General Election is called this year
  • 3/1 UK to fail to reach agreement with the EU over a Brexit deal before the March 2019 deadline
  • 4/1 A second EU Referendum to be held before 2019
  • 7/2 The UK to apply to re-join the EU within ten years
  • 20/1 Theresa May to perform a U-turn and announce that the UK will Remain

Content produced and sponsored by Paddy Power

Recapping the Betting

How did you do with your election betting? Over at Paddy Power Guido looks back on the betting and the tipping. Find out who is Guido’s tip for the chop….

Next Labour Leader Runners & Riders

Guido has taken a look at the runners and riders to be the next Labour Party leader over at Paddy Power. Find out who is Guido’s 7/1 tip for the top….

YouGov’s Shock Poll: Should You Be Betting on a Hung Parliament?

This morning’s YouGov poll showing a hung parliament as a likely outcome has moved the pound and the betting markets. Guido has taken a look at the polling and the betting. Get some betting perspective and a tip over at Paddy Power.

Labour’s Pop in the Polls: Blip or Trend?

Labour have popped in the polls after Theresa May’s manifesto went down particularly badly over the so called “dementia tax”. Should you be betting on Labour to win more seats? Get some betting perspective over at Paddy Power.

Vanifesto: FSB joins forces with The Sun to ‘Save Our Strivers’

Pressure is now mounting on all would-be politicians to show their support for the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed.  A highly-motivated group of voters, these are the UK’s army of strivers – the entrepreneurs setting themselves up, starting out on their own.  They take significant risks and often pay themselves below the National Living Wage.  They deserve the support of all those elected to office.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has today published its manifesto ‘Small Business, Big Ambition’The Sun’s White Van Man proudly drove the policy-packed plan to Downing Street and to Parliament, to deliver the demands from small business.

It is a Business Plan for Britain, full of proposals to reform the economy and unleash economic growth from small firms and the self-employed.  All those standing on 8th June will be sent a copy from their local FSB, and will be asked to back small business in their communities.  Have a look at the manifesto and its 30 proposals to improve the economy.

Small businesses and the self-employed have driven our jobs growth miracle, particularly for women. Those furthest from the labour market, including disabled people, enter the world of work by either setting up a small business or working within one.  The 4.8 million-strong community should not be targeted for tax hikes.  They deserve better from every party and candidates standing on 8th June.

Content produced by the Federation of Small Businesses #FSB2017

It’s Payback Time

With Christmas just around the corner, the fight is on against Government plans to let the banks keep billions of pounds they wrongly took from innocent consumers. There are still billions of pounds of mis-sold PPI stashed away in the bankers’ coffers. And it’s no surprise that the bankers are now doing all they can to stop punters getting their hard-earned cash back. So much for the season of goodwill to all …

Behind closed doors the banks have been furiously lobbying the Government to let them shift these remaining billions onto the profit sheets used to calculate their bonuses instead of giving it back to their loyal customers. And it looks like the Government is about to cave in! They are planning a New Year cash windfall for bankers by limiting how customers can get their money back from the banks who took it illegally from them in the first place.

It’s clear that this Government has been captured by the banks. Protecting the Scrooges running the big banks instead of helping ordinary consumers. That can’t be right!

It’s payback time – don’t let them get away with it again.

Ahead of the government’s expected announcement in early 2017, the Payback Time campaign has been launched to provide a platform for supporters to lobby their representatives about the unintended consequences of the PPI proposals. Click here to find out more…

Content produced and sponsored by the Alliance of Claims Companies

Making a Marc

Bookmakers battered as Government cracks down on ‘crack cocaine’ machines” screamed a Telegraph headline last week, bringing a leprechaun’s smile to former Paddy Power boss, Stewart Kenny, who had been calling for such action for some years.

You got it, another big bookmaking boss came out against the “crack cocaine” of gambling. Mr Kenny told the Irish Government, “Let us learn from the mistake in the UK of allowing them into betting offices. Once they are in it is impossible to get rid of them or even curb their more addictive elements.” He joined the growing ranks of industry insiders, (which includes another former Paddy power boss), who are all urging action on FOBTs.

Though the Telegraph headline may have been a little presumptuous as the Government hasn’t yet announced a “crackdown” on FOBTs, but an All Party Parliamentary Group has. The cross-party group of MPs has backed a stake cut saying “Government now has clear case for significantly reducing the £100 stake”.

So, MPs from all Parties, the media, the Scottish and Welsh Governments, the public and an increasing number of bookmakers themselves all want action on FOBTs, whilst just 4% of the public are in favour of keeping them!

Marc Etches, the CEO of “Gamble Aware” – the rebranded version of the bookmakers’ FOBT lobbying vehicle, hasn’t yet caught up with the times. He is still trying to persuade the Government NOT to act and joins an ever-decreasing club of industry CEOs desperately clinging to FOBTs (or their bonuses to be more precise).

As the Campaign told the Scottish Daily Record, those who continue to defend FOBTs will have blood on their hands.

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Are There Any Psycho Execs in Bookies?

cffg_psycho

Theresa May announces crack down on Executive Pay” read the headlines this week, just as disgraced former HBOS executive, Andy Hornby, pocketed a whopping £7.8 million from the newly merged Ladbroke Coral group.

That’s right, the man who knowingly mis-sold PPI to unsuspecting UK consumers for years and made millions from it, moved on to pillage and rape yet another company – and got away with it again!

But, Hornby’s multi million windfall pales into insignificance compared to that of his boss, Jim Mullen – the CEO of the new gambling conglomerate. Rumour has it that after an extensive career at Ladbrokes spanning a whole 2 years, he is set to get over £20 million despite question marks over his handling of issues concerning the rape and murder of his staff by FOBT users.

Then you’ve got the “Arthur Daley” of the bookmaking world, Fred Done – the man who linked his workers BASIC wages to his “crack cocaine machines”, then offered them pay day loans at 39.9% APR. Walk into any Betfred shop and ask punters and staff what they think of the “Bonus King” – if you are offended by expletives, cover your ears.

In September 2016, an Australian study found that about one in five corporate executives are psychopaths – roughly the same rate as among the prison population. One wonders whether the bookmaking sector needs to recruit more psychiatrists!

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Nanny and Baby in Unusual Relationship

nanny-babyv2

Wanda Goldwag is the CEO of the Senet Group, funded by the bookies and acting as their advertising and responsible gambling standards watchdog. A recent complaint to the ASA about a Senet “responsible” ad succeeded and Nanny Goldwag was guilty of breaching the standards she was hired to uphold!

Malcolm George is the CEO of the Association of British Babies (ABB) representing the bookmakers. He spoke at an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) co-sponsored event at Tory Conference and was heard crying that the Panorama program on FOBTs had victimized him! This event was covered in the last issue of Private Eye as FOBT ODDITIES on page 12.

At another recent event, a debate on “Does Britain have a Gambling Problem?”, Baby George was assisted yet again by the IEA with Mark Littlewood touting his usual virus of “freedom of the individual” to be screwed by corporations.

Baby George was hired by the ABB for his Labour contacts when they thought that Labour would win in 2015. Michael Dugher MP, for a while shadow Labour DCMS with gambling responsibility, had previously worked in the private sector for Baby George.

Baby George has been spotted in Westminster with his pants on fire. Did Nanny Goldwag offer a nice big wet Senet nappy as a “political firebreak”?

Now that the DCMS is holding a “Call for evidence review into gaming machines and social responsibility measures” will Nanny and Baby both be wetting themselves? Will the evidence show that the Senet Group is a sham and that Baby is controlling Nanny?

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

IEA LAUNCHES £50,000 PRIZE

The Institute of Economic Affairs has just launched the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize.

First prize of £50,000 will be awarded to the best and most innovative entry outlining a ‘Free-Market Breakthrough’ policy to tackle poverty in the UK.

There will be runner up prizes of £7,500 each, and a student prize of £2,500. Judging panel includes former Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne (chair) and the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith.

The deadline for entries is Monday, 9 January 2017.

To learn more about the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize and the entry requirements, click here – and watch the video below!

Paddy Power Paying Out On Hillary Win

paddypower-clinton

This gutsy call sees one of Europe’s largest betting companies put their neck on the line for over $1,000,000. Prior to paying out, the former First Lady’s odds fell to a low 2/11 (84.6 per cent chance of winning) and over the past week Paddy Power have seen a flood of money on Clinton.

Guido’s Paddy Power bookie says:

‘Trump gave it a hell of a shot going from a rank outsider to the Republican candidate but the recent flood of revelations have halted his momentum and his chances now look as patchy as his tan. Recent betting trends have shown one way traffic for Hillary and punters seemed to have called it 100 per cent correct. Despite Trump’s Make America Great Again message appealing to many disillusioned voters, it looks as though America are going to put a woman in the White House.

Should Trump upset the odds and win it will trigger the biggest political payout in bookmaking history and leave Paddy Power with some very expensive egg on its face. They are still taking other US election bets

Check the small print on the bet terms here.

Return of the Blair? You must be Jokering!

blair-monkey

Blair justified the 2005 Gambling Act with his comment “You can gamble your mortgage away on putting money on a horse or, you know, take a bet on the election”. No mortgages lost on Tony’s multimillion pound high streets though!

Go to Swindon and poker is played illegally in pubs at stakes in excess of those permitted under the Act and that’s because the corporations were not interested in operating poker clubs in 2005. They were too busy lobbying for remote gambling, FOBTs and super casinos.

Pub poker players report high levels of addictive behaviour with cash-loss factors being peer pressure (the winners don’t want the losers to quit), and of course an element of cheating.

Blairs’ Act criminalised the most sociable form of gambling, resulting in weaker players getting screwed in Swindon and every other community that it is not allowed a casino with Poker on offer.

Blair thought gambling was just another financial service, so all remote sites would locate in London and import revenue whilst exporting gambling addiction.

But remote gambling anarchists wanted the lowest regulation and tax so went to offshore banana republics. Many have since joined the monkeys in Gibraltar, from where they are using the EU courts to try to avoid paying UK gambling tax related to losses from UK gamblers.     

Tessa Jowell dressed in a croupier outfit smiling behind a Gala Casino roulette wheel said “There is nothing wrong with a harmless flutter”. Just out of camera shot was Labour donor and then Gala Coral CEO, Neil Goulden, who has been the betting sector’s biggest lobbyist. And let’s not forget former Gala Coral lobbyist at the time of the Act, Phil Wilson MP – the man who replaced Blair in Sedgefield. Tony coming back – is he serious?

Content produced and sponsored by Stop the FOBTs

Mark Thompson Interviewed

Click to Listen

As Director-General, Mark Thompson led the BBC for 8 years, and is now CEO of the New York Times. In this in-depth interview, he reflects in detail on his career, and the BBC’s challenges both past and present; reveals the demands on a Brit leading an iconic American newspaper, while keeping it relevant and profitable in the digital age; and makes the case that the language of modern politics – dominated with ‘truthiness’, ‘authenticism’ and the derision of expertise – is now at odds with the public good.

“It’s superb. Heard it tonight. Best yet, amid stiff competition”  – Amol Rajan

Content produced and sponsored by Media Masters

U S OF A (HOLE), PIERS MORGAN BACKS US RYDER CUP TEAM

As if you needed another reason to get behind Europe for the Ryder Cup – Britain’s biggest motormouth Piers Morgan has revealed that he’s backing America, in a video released by Paddy Power. That’s right, Morgan loves America, and America loves him – or so he says.

With Ryder Cup fever sweeping across Europe, the nation’s most polarising public figures is supporting the States in golf’s showpiece event – thanks to the UK’s decision to leave the E.U. in this summer’s referendum. Bemoaning the Brexit vote, he says: “I voted Remain this summer, but 17 million of you inexplicably didn’t. Now we’re supposed to pretend that never happened and we’re one big happy, European family again at the Ryder Cup?”

The bookie is confident that Piers Morgan coming out swinging for America will help give punters another reason to support Europe ahead of the Ryder Cup, which starts on Friday.Piers Morgan claims:

“I owe some of my fondest memories to the mighty U S of A – judging America’s Got Talent, winning Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, having my own prime time chat show, and even being publicly reviled for questioning their gun laws. And it makes no sense, if Britain doesn’t want to be a part of the EU, why should it support Team Europe? They’ve been Trump-ed by America. I’m shooting for the USA all the way. And, hey, if my old mentor Donald Trump gets into power, maybe I’ll be back-in their living rooms every night, too.”

Paddy Power say:

“If the annoying, over-the-top cries of ‘get in the hole’ from our friends across the pond wasn’t a good enough reason to support Europe, we thought exposing Morgan as Team USA’s biggest fan would be the perfect deterrent – and help drum up more support for Team Europe.”

Count Snowdon and the Bloodsuckers are NOT Libertarians

christopher_snowdon_dracula-2

Christopher “Silly Count” Snowdon writes for the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) which purports to be a libertarian think-tank. However, it usually “thinks” the same as the business sectors which fund it, as exposed by Dark Money and Snowdon has a particular penchant for the tobacco industry![…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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