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The Finance Bill 2013 – How to promote special interest lobbying

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Yesterday, I spoke against Clause 35 and schedules 15 to 17 of the Finance Bill 2013. They introduce tax relief for “high-end” television production (that is, posh drama and comedy) and video games development. They’re industries I’d like to see flourish but not by granting special privileges. It’s special privilege which is the most egregious objective of lobbying: it represents a subsidy for a preferred group at everyone else’s expense. I began by provoking laughter, for this kind of measure deserves to be […]

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Book review: Ouch! Ignorance is bliss, except when it hurts…

Once I saw George Selgin referenced on page 7, the paper dollar criticised on page 8 and a Zim$100 trillion note on page 12, I knew I would enjoy Ouch!: Ignorance is Bliss, Except when It Hurts- What You Don’t Know About Money and Why It Matters (More Than You Think). It’s a wonderful read. From the jacket: We live in a world dominated by a system that most of us aren’t aware of, never mind understand. When it comes […]

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Margaret Thatcher nationalised regulation of the City

For City AM, Prof Philip Booth writes, Thatcher changed the City forever but Big Bang isn’t the whole story: Let’s be absolutely clear: in general, the 1980s was not a period of financial deregulation. Insider trading was made illegal in 1980. The life insurance industry, which had been almost free of regulation for over 100 years from 1870, was re-regulated from 1980 to 1982. Bank deposit insurance was introduced in 1979. The sale of investment and insurance products came under […]

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New directory for small business finance

A new source of help for small and medium enterprises across the country was introduced yesterday when Treasury Minister Lord Sassoon launched a comprehensive on-line directory of finance companies providing alternatives to conventional bank loans or overdrafts. Businesses may need finance for a variety of reasons, including short-term cash flow or working capital, asset purchases, business development, the purchase of stock, and the financing of imports or exports.  Research shows that most small businesses have some awareness of the types of commercial […]

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Accessible and insightful fiscal analysis with Ray Stevens

American musician Ray Stevens has produced this superb analysis of the Obama Budget Plan: I’m sure Ray has much to teach politicians and the public in the UK and Europe too, particularly about ethics and decency in the public finances. For more on that subject, see Jörg Guido Hülsmann’s brilliant book The Ethics of Money Production (PDF) and these sovereign debt projections from the Bank for International Settlements.

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