Payments Imbalance – Future Komp Fri, 31 Dec 2021 15:14:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Payments Imbalance – Future Komp 32 32 How investment projects suffer from an overburdened civil service – Blueprint Newspapers Limited Fri, 31 Dec 2021 15:14:35 +0000

With recurrent spending swallowing up the bulk of annual budget allocations, many fear that the execution of investment projects will continue to suffer for a long time; BENJAMIN UMUTEME looks at development.

For several decades Nigeria continued to suffer from an infrastructure shortage caused in part by declining income and mainly by a lack of a maintenance culture. And with governments preferring to spend more on recurrent spending than on repairing the country’s dilapidated infrastructure, authorities are forced to borrow from outside sources to finance projects.

A report released by Moody Investors Services indicated that Nigeria would need to spend $ 3 trillion per year over the next 30 years to close its infrastructure gap.

However, as Nigerians grapple with the challenge of basic infrastructure, there are concerns about the disparity in the proposed allocations for capital spending and recurrent spending in the country’s annual budget.

Recurring expenses are expenses for goods and services that do not lead to the creation or acquisition of fixed assets. Rather, it is mainly the expenses incurred for the day-to-day running of a business or public institutions that cover ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as they are called in Nigeria. To this extent, recurrent expenditure includes expenditure made for the payment of overheads, salaries, interest payments, grants, transfers, pensions and gratuities, among others.

From an estimated 2.13 billion naira in 2009, recurrent spending by the Nigerian government increased to 3.33 billion naira in 2012.

Huge imbalance

A review of budget forecasts and allocations showed that recurring funds have always had the upper hand over capital projects. Between 2016 and 2021, the figures collected by Master plan weekend showed that in 2016, in a budget of 8.06 trillion naira, 2.65 trillion naira became recurrent while the capital obtained 1.59 trillion naira. In addition, in 2017, the trend did not change because out of a total sum of 7.28 billion naira, the recurrent ones received 2.9 billion naira and 2.24 billion naira went to the capital.

Between 2018 and 2021, when total expenditure was 91 trillion naira, 8.92 trillion naira, 10.59 trillion naira and 13.08 billion naira respectively, recurrent expenditure was 2.99 billion respectively. billion naira, 3.5 trillion naira, 4.49 billion naira and 4 naira. 88 trillion. Juxtapose that with a capital allocation of 2.3 trillion naira, 2.8 trillion naira, 2.47 billion naira and 3.08 billion naira during the period under review and it will be obvious why Nigeria’s infrastructure is what it is.

Analysts continued to question the imbalance in allocations between capital spending and current spending. The imbalance was even worse under President Goodluck Jonathan’s previous administration.

They further noted that once said amounts are allocated, actual rejections become a challenge. This was further exacerbated by the drop in revenues caused by OPEC + production cuts, the theft of crude oil and Covid-19.

Further details gathered by this reporter showed that 3.1 trillion naira was spent on recurrent non-debt spending. Further examination would further reveal that of this amount, personnel costs swallowed up 2.09 trillion naira.

Further analysis showed that the sum of 197.77 billion naira was spent on pensions and gratuities between January and December 2018. Likewise, the sum of 218.8 billion naira was spent on overheads between January and December 2018, out of the budgeted amount of 246 naira. 49 billion, while the service-wide votes had a total expenditure of 237.6 billion naira allocated to this spending subtitle in 2018.

For the presidential amnesty program, the federal government has released 59.64 billion naira out of the budgeted sum of 65 billion naira, while a special intervention program and an electricity sector reform program have been released. had 271.79 billion naira and 27.62 billion naira out of the budgeted amount of 350 billion naira and 193.34 billion naira, respectively.

Question marks, expert advice

The recurrent government spending, which continues to rise, drew numerous complaints and criticisms from the population who argued that the government was a waste and that the money it was spending on servicing the components recurring government funds should have been allocated to investment projects.

Expressing concerns over the increase in recurrent spending, Federation Budget Office Director General Ben Akabuaze admitted that the cost of governance was becoming unsustainable.

“The cost of governance has generally increased; MDA’s real current expenditure increased sharply from 3.61 trillion naira in 2015 to 5.26 trillion naira in 2018 and to 7.91 trillion naira in 2020.

“This excludes the costs of public enterprises and transfers to the National Assembly, the National Assembly and the National Council of the Judiciary. Recurrent spending represented over 75 percent of MDA’s actual spending between 2011 and 2020, ”he said.

Interestingly, experts have repeatedly pointed out that high recurrent spending is responsible for the country’s current debt.

In a conversation with this reporter, political economist and development researcher Adefolarin Olamilekan said that the fact that the tax authorities had not made more arrangements for capital spending was at the root of the frenzy. current loans and borrowings from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said: “It is interesting to note that recurrent government spending in Nigeria is seen as a bigger obstacle to the realization of investment projects. The reason is that there is no match between what is on the ground right now and what is budgeted. Again, recurrent spending had not had a positive impact on economic growth in Nigeria as expected. Meanwhile, the efficiency of the public sector, especially compared to the private sector, cannot be overstated. In Nigeria, the public institution in Nigeria provides superfluous services, wasting personnel and capital, which could be directed to production that provides welfare and benefits to individuals in the economy.

“Fundamentally, investment spending in infrastructure and productive activities should contribute positively to economic growth, while recurrent spending in our climates remains public consumption spending that retards the growth of infrastructure investment. As might be expected, the Nigerian government was supposed to control the economy using public capital spending. This instrument of government control promotes economic growth in the sense that it attracts public investment by contributing to economic growth and expansion of businesses that generate jobs, wealth and better opportunities and income for the government.

For economist Pat Utomi, the role of inflation and the devaluation of the Naira in raising current spending should not be underestimated.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that the real value of our currency has gone down and inflation has been significant over the past two seasons.

“So in reality if you look at that amount of money today compared to the actual value of the naira in 2016, it’s not the same amount. Basically, it takes more naira to do the same thing today. ‘hui than in 2016, ”he said.

Additionally, a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, School of Management and Social Sciences, Pan-Atlantic University, Dr Olalekan Aworinde, has linked the development to rising wages and possibly the upcoming elections to huge recurrent spending.

He said: “The increase may suggest that the government wants to employ more people and has to pay these people with these huge funds allocated to pay wages.

Break the circle

Olamilekan believes the way forward is for the government to reconsider the recommendations of the Oronsaye report on civil service reform in order to break the vicious circle.

He told the reporter that in order for the government to get a correct productivity matrix, it must look for a way “to allocate more funds for investment projects at this stage of our national life.”

“As a vehicle that opens the door to increased infrastructure development that will fundamentally transform Nigeria’s well-being. To me, not having better funded our capital spending is the bane of the current excess lending and borrowing frenzy of the APC Buhari administration today.

He suggested that in order to achieve a balance, the government must “first focus on eliminating the functions of redundant and duplicate agencies through a merger.”

“Second, we need to consider greatly the role of civil servants and civil servants in national development, and above all justify its structure, function, overheads, payroll and service delivery.

“Third, we need to define the role of state government and local governments in managing the national development process with respect to the investment project.

“Finally, it is imperative that the Buhari administration and future governments recognize the urgency of cleaning the Aegean stable from the scraps of our public service as a model for achieving an ineffective government trade mechanism.”

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The effect of calamities is never neutral in terms of class, the poor suffer the most from all pandemics Wed, 29 Dec 2021 19:02:36 +0000
The effect of calamities is never neutral in terms of class, the poor suffer the most from all pandemics

Sanjay Roy

The pandemic and its consequences that have manifested in different parts of the world and, more importantly, its differential impact on classes of people and segments of the population reveal deeper chasms and structural divisions that capitalism reproduces in its process. accumulation.

In the twentieth century, since the “Spanish flu” in 1918, we have been confronted with two other pandemics, namely the Asian flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong flu in 1968. While in the 21st century already, we have encountered the avian flu in 2009, SARS in 2002, MERS in 2012 and Ebola in 2013-14 and finally Covid-19 in 2020.

The frequency of pandemics has increased over time and, more importantly, the origins of most subsequent pandemics have been in the south of the planet. Rather, geography looks like a particular pattern. It is the global south, in particular the peri-urban centers of the global agro-industry from where most of the human-to-human transfers originated in recent episodes, it is spreading across the world through the roads trade and global value chains; it is mainly overcrowded urban slums, industrial towns and reception centers for migrants that are considered to be super vectors for the spread of the virus. This time, however, the spread was not confined to the darker and poorer parts of the world as has happened in the case of other diseases; instead, he destroyed the citadels of capitalism, the rich and rich centers could not see themselves as isolated and providers of aid to the poor.

Capitalism in its neoliberal phase has been ruthless in appropriating nature and facilitating activities of relocating production to spaces where both labor and nature can be easily undervalued. The livestock revolution and the resulting commodification of food products, large-scale production with vertically integrated structures, biotechnology innovation and the corporatization of these value chains need to be critically examined.

Livestock, aquaculture, horticulture, large-scale poultry production and the pig industry have been corporatized, involving huge investments and transnational value chains. The productions are located in the south of the world where the cost of producing animal feed, in particular corn, is low, wages are well below the averages of advanced countries and environmental regulations are much more relaxed. The terminals of these food chains were the virus mixing soup bowl where humans interact closely with animals, birds are raised under conditions of stress, which facilitates the transfer of pathogens to the human body.

Climate change, deforestation and human-made genetic interventions have often resulted in ecological imbalance and destruction of habitats of wild animals, birds and insects which ultimately caused disease to the people whose livelihoods are located near these habitats. Certainly, unlike all other beings, humans have the unique ability to create an environment conducive to their production and reproduction and they are able to change their environment and, through this process, they change themselves as well. But humans are part of the very nature in which they reside, and capitalism’s pursuit of profit fuels an autonomous process of uncontrolled appropriation of nature that ultimately creates a crisis not only for capitalism but for the human race as a whole. .

The current pandemic once again underscores the fact that human intrusion into the natural process driven by an unbridled thirst for profit and therefore trying to control it without worrying about the impacts on interrelated processes is only a hallmark of ‘a particular class process of capital relations. and not an inevitable result of nature taking revenge on all kinds of human commitments. And the impact of natural disasters, epidemics and environmental degradation is not neutral and uniform for all. It is the poor who are suffering the most from the environmental crisis because they cannot afford to pay for artificial patches, protective devices or cures. It is the malnourished who lack immunity; the poor live in overcrowded slums and are easily exposed to disease, it is they who cannot afford to stay at home and survive on their savings or may choose to work from home, informal workers, migrant workers and the self-employed lose their jobs and their income while the rich can go through hard times using money, power and social capital.

The division between mental and physical labor and the supposed hierarchy that class-divided societies reproduce has become more evident than ever. Contact-intensive production activities involve physical labor that is performed primarily by the poorer segments of society, while mental labor can be done remotely and it is the wealthy and middle class of society that operate primarily in these segments. In addition to this, workers who actually work at the risk of being infected are stigmatized if not criminalized as “carriers of the coronavirus” and have been expelled from the metropolises on the one hand and the fear that such stigma will be generated and propagated. by some state governments and communities have led to inhuman exclusion even in their places of origin.

The pandemic has not been so bad for everyone. In fact, the stock market recovered very early on, and financial profits soared even during the pandemic. The profits of the tech giants have grown significantly during this time, and the big players in retail could reap the benefits of a massive expansion in online shopping during the pandemic. This is also the time when Mukesh Ambani became the fourth richest person in the world, earning around Rs 90 crore per hour according to an estimate while 24% of Indians were earning less than Rs 3,000 per month. The wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35% during the abnormal times, and apart from agriculture, the financial sector was the least affected as it requires the least amount of contact and operates mainly through digital signals.

The impact of the pandemic on the poor and the middle class also shows significant variation. People earning Rs 60,000 per month had to accept an average reduction in income of 10% while those earning less than Rs 20,000 per month suffered a loss of around 37% on average. This is further revealed by the digital divide which has widened the difference between the poor and the non-poor in terms of continuous work, access to education, health care, immunization as well as payment. and purchase. According to an Oxfam survey, 32 million students, mostly from rural India, lost access to education during the pandemic, as only 4% of them have computers and 15% can access the Internet. The survey further reports that 40 percent of teachers believe that a third of students would not go back to school again. This will further widen the gap between the poor and the non-poor in terms of outcomes and income for days to come. According to CMIE estimates, listed companies made extraordinary profits in the quarter ending March 21, recording the strongest growth in surpluses and reserves in the past decade, while small businesses were destroyed because they had very little working capital to run. In fact, rebuilding their funds even after the recovery becomes difficult as savings are largely depleted and working capital is largely depleted. It was also the time when big companies bought out smaller ones, leading to greater concentration and growth of monopolies. (IPA Service)

Courtesy: People’s Democracy

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Australia puts website accused of bogus journalists on register for payment by Facebook, Google – Opinion Sat, 25 Dec 2021 22:57:35 +0000

Australia’s groundbreaking law forcing platforms like Google and Facebook to pay local publishers for news faces an unlikely test case: a website that experts say uses fake journalist profiles that gained regulatory backing for that his offer be paid.

Australia’s law enforcement regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, last month added “News Cop” – an almost unknown site with no physical address – to the public register of companies that can negotiate licensing deals with the parents of Facebook. and Google as part of the government system.

ACMA’s decision to wipe the site through an initial vetting process intended to support local news by giving the Australian government the power to make deals with Facebook and Google raises questions about how the still controversial law will be implemented, said several legal experts. .

News Cop features rewritten articles from other news providers. It has no physical address other than a PO box and was registered as a company on February 21, 2021, according to records, three days before the content law was passed. It is the only media company entered in the register without any commercial file before 2021.

Until recently, the News Cop site attributed accompanying images to reporters that appeared to have been faked, according to two experts.

Adam Cox, named on ACMA’s registry as News Cop contact, declined to answer questions about journalists’ profiles. In emails and calls with Reuters, he said News Cop would not derive any financial benefit from being listed on the ACMA ledger and the company was making money from donations from readers.

Richard Holden, professor of economics at the University of New South Wales, said the inclusion of News Cop in the registry, which defines the news providers that big tech companies must compensate for their content, has undermined the intention of the law to support public service journalism and “shows you these rules are easy to play.”

“The fact that it seems to have come through the door, at least so far, is rather disturbing,” he said.

An ACMA spokesperson said that since News Cop’s clearance, the agency had returned to the company and asked questions “about the registered news company and its production of source material. ‘information”. The spokesperson declined to provide details of his investigations.

Registering does not guarantee that News Cop will receive payments from Facebook and Google. Federal treasurer’s office must first “nominate” one of the tech giants for government intervention – in which an ombudsperson decides what companies should pay for content – a measure it has yet to crossed.

Representatives for Facebook, which changed its parent’s name to Meta, and Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, also declined to comment.

Both companies opposed the law and threatened to pull operations from Australia, but gave in when the government added measures that raised the bar for “designation.”

News Cop is unrelated to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which made deals with Facebook and Google before Australia’s licensing regime became law. All 28 companies on ACMA’s list could make deals if the government steps in.

A News Corp spokesperson did not respond to Reuters calls and emails seeking comment.

Tim Graham, a disinformation researcher at the Queensland University of Technology, analyzed 14 photographs published as if they were News Cop staff and found that 13 “almost certainly” were generated by AI software . Elise Thomas, an analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue specializing in online disinformation, said that “most profile pictures” were “very likely” to have been generated by software.

After Reuters investigations, all signatures on News Cop articles were replaced with Cox’s name, and journalists’ photographs were replaced with a photo of a monkey. Asked about the change, Cox said: “I have no idea, I’m sorry.”

On its website, the company says the profits will be donated to charity. He also says Australia’s media law, which was passed in February, is intended to “reduce the power imbalance between big tech companies and news media like us.”

“If bogus news agencies appear on the register of eligible news organizations, it is clear that increased monitoring is needed and that the definitions of what can be included (…) need to be revised,” Tanya said. Notley, associate professor at the University of Western. Sydney and vice president of the Australian Media Literacy Alliance.

Other critics of the law include free market supporters such as Holden, who say the market, not the government, should decide who gets paid for their information. From the start, Facebook and Google opposed the obligation to pay.

The impact of the law is being closely watched globally; France and Canada, among others, are considering similar regimes in which Big Tech pays news providers for content.

Several other established media organizations are campaigning for Facebook and Google to be pushed into mediation. If successful, the tech giants would be required to negotiate licensing deals with every company on the ACMA registry, including News Cop.

Representatives for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, who oversees ACMA, declined to comment on News Cop’s inclusion in the registry and the scope of the law.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which drafted the law at the treasurer’s request, declined to comment.-Reuters

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How to make sure your rental purchase is still profitable Wed, 22 Dec 2021 13:41:31 +0000
  • Investing in rental property is no longer as tax-efficient as it used to be
  • But there are always ways to reduce the amount of taxes and expenses you incur when doing this.
  • If you choose the right area and buying real estate can still be a worthwhile investment

Investing in real estate comes with its own unique challenges, and its appeal has waned in recent years following changes in tax breaks and regulations. The impact of the pandemic has also dented landlord profits with the introduction of emergency tenants protections, which include a ban on evictions, rent cuts and paid holidays during a series of lockdowns. Homeowners can now recoup lost income amid uncertainty over the future of the rental market and the possibility of further coronavirus restrictions.

Changes to tax benefits since 2017 have already affected profits, for example by reducing the amount of mortgage fees that can be deducted from rental income. Homeowners and owners of second homes must also pay a stamp duty surcharge of 3 percent. The government had planned to increase the surtax to 4 percent in the fall budget, but no increase has yet been implemented.

Sarah Coles, Senior Personal Finance Analyst at Hargreaves lansdown, says: “Thanks to tax changes, owning rental property is one of the least tax efficient ways of investing. You pay taxes on entry, as you sell, severely reducing your profits. “

At the same time, the recent increase in bank of england base rate of 0.1 percent to 0.25 percent is likely to be passed on to real estate investors in the form of higher mortgage rates. Lenders typically need rental income to cover at least 125% of monthly mortgage payments, although they vary in their approach.

Fortunately for real estate investors, the cost of rent and demand from tenants have increased. Over the past year, rents have increased at their fastest pace in over a decade. According to the site of the establishment Zoopla, UK rents were 4.6% higher in September 2021 than a year earlier, averaging around £ 968 per month. Some parts of the UK still offer yields of over 7%, including Hartlepool, Middlesborough and Liverpool.

Coles says: “In the South West and East Midlands demand is driving rental prices up dramatically. Meanwhile, in London, rents are dropping as workers move out of the city and short-term rentals convert to long-term rentals, flooding the market with new properties.

Real estate agent Hamptons predicts that the pace of rent increases will slow in 2022 and forecasts average growth of 2.5% over the next 12 months. Generally speaking, however, real estate experts agree that the imbalance of supply and demand in the rental market means that the cost of rents will continue to rise.

So, despite the challenges for the sector, there may still be opportunities for income-seeking homeowners who choose the right area and property to attract tenants.

There are also ways to reduce your taxes. You can still deduct 20% of mortgage interest from your tax bill, although that’s not as good as when higher rate taxpayers could get 40% relief.

Offsetting expenses against profits

Landlords can offset all expenses “wholly and exclusively” associated with the rental of a property. For example, these can include travel costs to rental properties and advertising costs.

“You can always offset certain expenses, including water tariffs, council tax, gas and electricity, building insurance, the cost of services like gardeners and cleaners, utility costs. rental agent and managing agent, general maintenance (but not improvements) and accountant fees, Coles says.

If tenants have not been able to pay their rent during successive lockdowns, the loss of rental income can be offset by your next tax bill. If you own a rental property that has been unoccupied for months, leaving you to bear housing tax and energy bills, these additional costs may also be claimed on tax returns.

Hold property through a public limited company

Owning rental property through a public limited company has various tax advantages. All mortgage interest can be deducted from tax, and businesses do not pay capital gains tax (CGT) when they sell property. Corporate tax, which currently stands at 19 percent, is levied on profits rather than income tax. Personal income tax rates are 20%, 40% or 45%, depending on which tax bracket you are in.

“If you are buying through a limited liability company, the mortgage interest can be treated as a cost that is offset by the profits,” Coles explains. “Tax rates may also be lower than income tax on rent. However, you will also be taxed on any income you receive as wages and any income you receive as dividend, after the annual deduction. for dividends. [of £2,000]. You also pay more for a commercial mortgage and have to foot the bill for all costs associated with running the business.

However, Mark Harris, managing director of the mortgage broker SPF Private Customers, says, “Limited business loans are more expensive, but with the growth of competition, even these specialized rates are getting cheaper. It’s worth consulting with a mortgage advisor who can help you find the best products and who potentially has access to only middle-of-the-road products.

However, if you already own properties for rent, you will need to effectively sell them to the limited company, which will likely result in a tax bill. The exact position depends on your personal situation, so if you are interested in owning rental property through a public limited company, consult a tax professional who can advise you on the implications and the best strategy for your situation.

It is also important to note that if you have a portfolio of properties held through a limited company, you could be affected by tax increases. Corporate tax is reduced from 19% to 25% in April 2023 for companies with profits over £ 50,000.

Switch to a vacation home or sell

If a property for rent doesn’t turn out as lucrative as you hoped or needed, you can sell it or turn it into a vacation home. Vacation rentals have the potential to provide a higher income than rentals, although you have to work hard to market them and secure bookings.

If you rent a furnished rental property, you benefit from numerous tax advantages. Vacation rentals are treated as a business rather than an investment by HM Revenue & Customs, so that mortgage interest charges can be deducted from any income for tax purposes. Housing tax, utility bills and repair costs can also be charged against income, before tax. However, the units must be available for rent for at least 210 days per year and rented at least 105 days per year, although they cannot be rented on a long-term basis.

Vacation rental income is treated as business income, so capital deductions may be available for items such as furniture, equipment, and fixtures. Income from vacation rentals can also be invested in a pension and receive tax relief, unlike income from rental properties.

CGT debts resulting from the sale of a seasonal rental are renewable. So if you sell one vacation rental and reinvest the proceeds in another, any gain on the first may be deferred until you sell the second. However, if you already own another residential property, a 3% stamp duty surcharge applies when you buy a property, whether it’s a vacation rental or hire purchase.

Whether or not to invest in real estate is worth it depends on your personal circumstances, so you need to do the math to establish it. Gareth Lewis, Commercial Director of the Real Estate Lender MT financing, says: “A growing number of real estate investors are looking to reorganize their portfolios or even sell them. This in turn will open up new opportunities for investors to buy property, allowing them to take advantage of the current price growth and low interest rates. “

If you are selling a property, be sure to deduct fees such as realtor fees and attorneys’ fees from your CGT bill. You can also include money spent on major work such as a loft conversion or extension. And you will also be able to substantially reduce your CGT bill if the property was at one point your primary residence.

It’s harder than it used to be to profit from brick and mortar, but it can still increase your income, depending on your financial goals and personal circumstances.

Possible tax changes on the horizon

Further changes and regulations could be forced on homeowners, and there are fears that CGT rates will rise to cover the huge sums of money the government has spent to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Office for Tax Simplification, for example, has proposed that the annual CGT abatement – the amount of profit you can make before you have to pay this tax – be reduced from £ 12,300 to £ 2,000. Base rate taxpayers are currently billed 18% CGT for sales of investment property or second homes, and higher rate taxpayers 28%.

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California spent $ 1.7 billion on a COVID testing contract. Was it worth it? Thu, 16 Dec 2021 21:51:26 +0000

According to district documents, 22 companies were assessed through a fast-track bidding process, and SummerBio offered the lowest price by far, between $ 38 and $ 166 less than other diagnostic companies, including major players like Curative and Fulgent.

The state paid PerkinElmer about $ 740 million for the tests in the past year. Most of the costs are recovered through federal funds and health insurance payments, according to the state health department. In contrast, LA Unified is expected to spend $ 350 million for the entire school year and test far more people per week than the Valencia lab. The district will also recover the costs through federal grants to reopen schools and federal emergency funds.

“Cost comparisons between labs are difficult as a lab’s testing modalities vary due to differences in the scope of their contracts and the configuration of each lab,” health officials said. in a press release sent by email.

The Department of Health did not respond to questions about whether other providers were considered or whether the department tried to negotiate a lower rate with PerkinElmer.

Representatives for SummerBio declined to comment on the Valencia lab, but said the company has been in contact with state officials.

Beutner said he informed the governor’s office of LA Unified’s plans out of courtesy, months before the PerkinElmer contract was announced. As the largest district in the state – and second in the country – LA Unified’s contracts are often backed by other districts and government organizations.

“The simplest way to put it is that they [state health officials] weren’t particularly responsive or interested, ”Beutner said.

By the time the state lab opened in October 2020, LA Unified was on track to develop its own in-house testing infrastructure. And the state test – which cost schools $ 55 at the time – was still much more expensive.

Too little, too late – or a lifeline for schools?

Like LA Unified, the San Diego Unified School District began developing its testing plans long before the state’s PerkinElmer lab was a resource. The district tests about 25,000 students per week, which represents about a quarter of its student body.

“Just talking about our experience, our district, we always had to act quickly and strategize because, you know, waiting for the state would just have taken too long,” said the chairman of the board, Richard Barrera.

San Diego Unified performs a limited number of bundled tests for free through the state lab, but the bulk of its testing is done through a private vendor.

The district initially contracted with UC San Diego to offer testing to students and staff at around $ 40 per test before moving on to another provider, which charges around $ 60 per test, when the university couldn’t. no longer meet its testing needs. At the time, there were few state guidelines for school testing, causing headaches for school administrators.

The state charged schools $ 55, which made the district’s contract with UC San Diego less expensive. Now, although the school district is paying a private vendor significantly more than the state’s reduced price of $ 21, Barrera has said it is too late for the district to change. The district has already built capacity through a private provider and has established procedures for obtaining parental consent, informing them of test results, training staff and tracing contacts.

“The last thing we would want to do now that we are finally able to scale with private providers would be to walk away and do something with the state and then end the state program,” a- he declared. “Then we start from scratch. “

State officials say the lab is needed to reach communities with few resources. Barrera said that for small districts, state support is likely crucial in keeping children in classrooms.

Most of the school tests were funded by the state through federal grants.

Long Beach Unified uses the state’s PerkinElmer Valencia lab. But after January, Long Beach administrators say the district will be responsible for paying for tests. At the height of its efforts, which averaged between 6,000 and 12,000 tests per day, officials at Long Beach said other vendors couldn’t handle the volume, though there were some early issues. concerning the slowness of state results. At the now reduced cost of $ 21 to school districts, officials in Long Beach have said the state lab is one of the cheapest testing options.

South of Modesto, in the Unified School District of Ceres, administrators say they have worked closely with the state’s Valencia laboratory for molecular PCR testing. Several months ago they had problems with false positives from the lab.

“We were told by the lab that a few tests were positive, but when they were retested with another organization they were negative,” said Edith Narayan, district student services coordinator. There haven’t been any recent problems.

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The fertilizer industry is not working Mon, 13 Dec 2021 18:32:12 +0000

The government should remove the control on urea and stop subsidizing manufacturers; instead, the government can give it directly to farmers

Launch of the revival project – annual production capacity of 1.27 million tonnes (MT) of neem coated urea – of Hindustan Urvarakand Rasayan, a public sector joint venture of Coal India Limited, NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation and FCIL – in Gorakhpur on December 7, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the following four observations: Despite the sharp increase in international fertilizer prices during the current year, the government has ensured that farmers do not have to pay more; The 100 percent neem coating helped curb urea diversion to non-agricultural / industrial uses; Gorakhpur and four other stimulus projects currently under implementation will add six million tonnes to the existing annual urea production capacity of 25 MT, thereby reducing dependence on its imports; and, soil health maps have helped farmers to use fertilizers as needed by the soil, thus helping to reduce the imbalance in use.

The above observations may seem to indicate that all is well in the fertilizer industry in India. However, we need a reality check to find out where exactly we are at.

The Union government controls the maximum retail price of urea at a low level, unrelated to the cost of production and distribution, which is much higher. Manufacturers are reimbursed for lost sales resulting from the sale in the form of a subsidy on a “unit specific” basis under the new pricing system. In addition, they get reimbursed for travel costs from the factory / port to the retailer under a uniform freight policy. Invariably, the MRP is kept unchanged (today’s price is the same as in 2002) even though all cost increases are absorbed by the increase in the subsidy.

In the case of phosphate and potassium (P&K) fertilizers, the government sets a “uniform” subsidy per nutrient for all manufacturers under the nutrient-based regime. Manufacturers are free to set the MRP, but are expected to reflect the subsidy there. They also get reimbursement for travel costs (but only up to the head of the line). In the past, the government had consistently kept the subsidy unchanged, even though the increased cost resulted in ever higher MRP.

Existing systems allow the Center to set the MRP of urea and complex P&K fertilizers to the expected level. If he exercises direct control over the former as well as over the non-controlled latter, he can achieve the same result by adjusting the subsidy rate.

In the current year, from October 1, the price of domestic natural gas (it supplies nearly two-thirds of the urea industry’s needs) has increased from $ 1.79 per million. British thermal units (mBtu) at $ 2.9 per mBtu and is expected to reach $ 5.93 per mBtu from April 2022 and $ 7.65 per mBtu from October 2022. The price of imported LNG (it provides the remaining third) fell from around $ 5.5 per mBtu in April to US $ 14 per mBtu and is expected to increase to $ 20 per mBtu plus from April 2022.

In the segment without urea, the price increase is even higher. The current price of imported ammonium phosphate (DAP) is $ 630 per tonne, $ 300 more than last year. The price of phosphoric acid (raw material or RM used in making DAP) is around $ 1,000 per tonne, up $ 375 while that of ammonia (another RM for making DAP) is $ 670 per tonne, up from $ 470. The price of muriate of potash at $ 400 per tonne is $ 170 higher.

While, in the case of urea, the increase in production costs due to the rising gas price is “automatically” absorbed by a higher subsidy ensuring that its MRP remains unchanged, for P&K fertilizers as well, the Modi government has significantly increased the subsidy rate (on the DAP from Rs 10,000 per tonne last year to Rs 32,760 per tonne current) to ensure its MRP remains at Rs 24,000 per tonne from last year . However, it came at a cost to the public purse.

During 2021-22, the Center will need to spend approximately Rs 58,000 crore more (Rs 30,000 crore on P&K fertilizers and Rs 28,000 crore on urea) in addition to the budget allocation of 80,000. Rs crore (Rs 21,000 crore on P&K and Rs 59,000 crore on urea). It is able to absorb such a gargantuan subsidy expenditure – a total of Rs 138,000 crore – due to a very liberal budget deficit target of 6.8% of GDP (Rs 15,000,000 in absolute terms). This room for maneuver will not be available when fiscal tightening returns.

A 100% neem coating, commissioned in 2016, aimed to eliminate urea diversion which, at that time, was estimated to be around 30%. Out of a total urea sale of 30 MT in 2015-16, this represented 9 MT. This implies that the urea used by farmers or the actual demand that year was only 21 MT. The use of urea coated with neem also leads to an improvement in its efficiency of use. Assuming a 20 percent increase in efficiency, farmers could manage with 16.8 MT of urea (21 × 0.8) to achieve the same level of agricultural production. In other words, consumption could be even lower at 16.8 or around 17 MT.

If things had worked as Modi promised, even assuming constant growth of five percent per year, consumption in 2020-21 would have been 22 MT. But, the actual for the year was significantly higher at 35 MT. This means that neither the diversion has stopped nor that there has been a significant improvement in efficiency. Even now, if the promise can be kept, farmers won’t need more than 20 MT (35×0.7×0.8). This has surprising implications for supply management.

At the current production of 25 MT there will be a surplus of 5 MT. India doesn’t even need to import a ton (during 2020-21 it imported 10 MT) which would result in huge savings in foreign exchange and subsidy payments (Rs 20,000 crore). There will also be no need for a new addition of capacity; the country could have survived without the five stimulus projects (including Gorakhpur). This would have generated an additional grant saving of Rs 12,000 crore per year.

As for the CSS, it could achieve the desired objective provided that the political environment is favorable. However, this is not the case. Currently, the price of Rs 24,000 DAP per tonne is 4.5 times that of urea Rs 5,360 per tonne while to maintain the desired balance in the NPK utilization ratio, the former should not exceed the double the second. In this context, even though CSS requires the farmer to use more DAP and less urea, he will continue to use more of the latter because it is much cheaper and less old because it is expensive.

In view of the above, it is quite clear that all is not well in the fertilizer business.

Modi must put the right policy in place by removing control on urea and stopping subsidizing manufacturers; instead, the government can give it directly to farmers.

This will allow them to use the subsidies mainly for the type of fertilizer that the soil needs most, which will help reduce the imbalance in fertilizer use. By ensuring that no subsidized fertilizer products are available on the market, the new regime will kill the very incentive to diversion. In addition, by aligning urea demand with actual needs, it will reduce the pressure to increase supply. There will also be a drastic reduction in subsidy spending.

(The author is a policy analyst. The opinions expressed are personal.)

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Horoscope Today, December 4, 2021: View Daily Astrology Prediction for Zodiac Signs Aries, Leo, Capricorn Sat, 04 Dec 2021 01:41:34 +0000

Aries, Gemini, and Aquarius ascendants are likely to stay busy with issues in the workplace. Read your daily predictions to know the possibilities of your rising sign.


Aries sign that people may have to deal with negative reactions from people to their proposals as well as some kind of illness. Their emotional and physical energies will descend in the morning. However, things will start to fall into place in the afternoon. Your hard work and persistence will pay off and solve many problems. Exhaustion can keep you restless and confused, so you may not be able to calm down. A young person in the family can bring comfort to your life.



People with the Taurus sign will have to deal with the complexity of an intimate relationship. You definitely need to be more caring and sincere towards your partner. This might be the day for you to get started on the job front. Retailers need to be mindful of their partners while making some changes to their strategy or approach. Your health stars indicate problems. Excessive consumption of food and drink can cause discomfort.



Gemini people need to be careful throughout the day on all fronts, whether it’s your spending habits or your interactions with people around you or even your health. Problems and challenges will persist on all fronts for you to negotiate. Make sure you don’t create new conflicts by being disproportionately harsh on a minor issue. An older friend can offer important advice for overcoming challenges. Your competitors are preparing a lap.



People with a sign of cancer are advised to analyze their financial situation, investments, personal commitments, and routine demands. If you are going for a job interview today, you should be well prepared and check your documents carefully before you leave home. A minor altercation is possible between you and members of your family. You should try to be indifferent to the small arguments that the young people in the family have. You will sleep well.



Leo sign people need to focus their energies on the right job. This will earn them rewards and job satisfaction. A father figure can help you land an important and prestigious assignment that will add to your profile. You may feel selfless paying attention to some of the not-so-exciting projects and it may anger your boss, so be careful. Be prompt to attend all projects with sincerity. Household chores and relationships can demand attention and your energy too. Spend wisely and wisely.



People of the sign of Virgo may not have the zeal and zest to go about their routine tasks. Lack of interest in work can delay the completion of even important tasks. There will be an influx of money from an unexpected source and you will be left with surplus money. You are likely to splurge on yourself to buy something luxurious. Retailers, as well as wholesalers, will find the right conditions to make a profit. You need to be caring and much more expressive in your relationships. If you show up for an interview, you need to prepare well.



The sign of Libra can get lost in their analysis in general. They are likely to have lengthy face-to-face and telephone conversations in order to decide on their next steps in life. You may remain irritable and react abruptly to people. It will only bring an unpleasant air into your relationships so you have to be careful. A young person in the family may see your interest in their activities as an intrusion and may react rudely. It will be better to maintain the distance. The afternoon can bring new possibilities in terms of work.



People of the sign of Scorpio can remain stressed from too much work and different types of demands on time and energy. The family atmosphere will be peaceful and comforting which will rejuvenate your energy to meet the challenges. There will be a greater influx of money from various sources and your financial situation will improve. A father figure can give important advice. Refrain from entering into any kind of debate with your spouse to avoid any breakup.



People with the sign of Sagittarius may not have the adequate physical and emotional energy to face the world and meet challenges. Too much work and your recklessness can cause you health problems, including seasonal illnesses. You have to bring your senses together and try to work. Completing certain tasks will be a big boost to your confidence and enthusiasm. Do not waste your time in small arguments otherwise, breakups are possible.



People with the Capricorn sign will end the day by doing household chores with a positivity. Today is a good day to extract your pending payments. Even simple reminders can do the magic. If you show up for an interview, you need to prepare well and work on your confidence and body language. Use presence of mind and conscious thought before answering questions. A young person in the family is at risk of injuring themselves and asking for your intervention. The stars bring a certain emotional imbalance for partners.



People of the Aquarius sign will face some issues in the workplace. Avoid being brutal with your senior officers to escape any breakup with them. Your colleagues may not cooperate with you adequately. You need to respect your partner’s feelings. You can be a little clueless today. There will be chances of making sudden monetary gains. Your offspring will do something to increase the comfort in your life.



Pisces are likely to have a quiet time in the company of their friends and relatives. You will have the opportunity to show your courage and you will jump at the chance. This will earn you pride of place in the books of your elders. It will be a day of beginnings and ends. Personal relationships, whether they are married couples or lovers, will keep a spark today. You cannot ignore your partner’s feelings.

Read also | Weekly horoscope (November 29 to December 5): Taurus, Leo, Capricorn; See what’s in store for the week ahead

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Socomec on capturing multiple energy storage value streams, power supply resilience – pv magazine International Thu, 02 Dec 2021 14:32:02 +0000

pv magazine: Which battery storage applications do you think are most relevant to your customers?

Gilles Ramzey, Director of the ESS Business Unit, Socomec: At the start of the business, the greatest demand was for remote microgrids, and we have deployed containerized solutions all over the world. About five years ago our biggest demand was for network storage, mainly in the United States, because it was a very lucrative investment. Today, the most relevant application for our customers is the resilience of the power supply. But we see the demand for the two functions together. From our perspective, we’ve come full circle. Today’s customers want on-grid energy storage for cost-effective returns, and they also want back-up power when the grid may fail.

Besides the economics of the project, there are other important factors. Decarbonization is very important, and energy storage can clearly contribute to this, especially when combined with photovoltaics. Yet economic returns are a part of almost every conversation about energy storage, so it is important to capture multiple value streams such as demand charge management, uptime management, resource payments. capacity, government tax credits and incentives, etc. It’s a long list.

We are also seeing increased interest in energy storage to support the charging of electric vehicles. Here too, it is multiple income streams, the systems should capture as many income streams as possible, while supporting one EV charging facility. As the transformation of green energy continues, there will almost certainly be new applications, and we will do our best to address them as they arise.

Why these particular applications?

Storage systems are expensive assets that can generate substantial savings depending on use. It is therefore necessary to prioritize the deployment of profitable applications, to guarantee owners maximum revenue and a rapid return on investment.

We have therefore targeted three main applications:

  • Development of energy storage co-located with photovoltaic production: The energy transition will rapidly accelerate the development of renewables in the years to come, but also create new grid constraints. Energy storage, whether installed behind the meter in order to maximize self-consumption of locally produced energy, or near a solar power plant to smooth the injection of electricity into the grid, is a particularly relevant solution
  • Load management on demand: Often, consumption is out of sync with production, in particular with photovoltaic production. New uses, such as recharging electric vehicles, will accentuate this imbalance. Energy storage will make it possible to limit the demand for electricity during these periods of high stress on the network. Some countries with high penetration of PV generation (Germany, California, etc.) have designed financial incentives to reduce demand over certain daily periods, thus creating attractive business models for energy storage.
  • Resilience: Power cuts often generate significant economic losses for businesses but can also endanger the population. This is what we have seen in recent years in the United States following extreme weather events (such as the fires in California, or the cold snap in Texas). Electrical resilience, which a storage system can provide, is therefore no longer an option but a real imperative in many situations.

You have developed a new battery energy storage system. How does it integrate the latest trends?

It’s not so much a “trend” as an effort to design the next generation of products to meet what the market is really looking for. Our offer is an outdoor system based on two main cabinets: C-Cab, a converter based on 50kVA power modules; and B-Cab, a 186 kWh battery, both of which are very flexible and can allow a wide variety of configurations.

Obviously, safety must be a top priority. So, we had a non-negotiable requirement at the start that our battery partner had to have a good result on UL’s new large-scale fire test before even entering into business discussions.

Then the system had to provide higher throughput. It’s a common abbreviation in this industry to compare products in dollars per kilowatt-hour of nameplate when what really matters is the lifetime throughput of each of those kilowatt-hours of nameplate. In other words, how many MWh can be delivered over the lifetime of the system?

We also knew we needed a service structure that would allow a commercial and industrial energy storage (C&I) system to freely do the variety of things they really do in the field. Most systems larger than residential sizes are intended for the utility market, where the systems will do much the same thing most of the time. C&I is very different, in that systems can do very different things on different days to capture maximum value, and the system warranty linked to the maintenance offering must allow this wide variety of operation.

Why is it different to use native outdoor systems compared to the containerized systems that Socomec offered previously?

Safety is always the top priority, so it makes sense to do so much assembly in the factory and have a bare minimum of assembly in the field. At the same time, the modules are small enough to be moved around the job site with large forklifts.

Doing more factory assembly allows for faster installation. Battery cabinets, for example, arrive fully assembled. The battery modules are already in their racks and all the wiring inside is already in place. The installation team doesn’t have much to do beyond bolting the cabinet to the pad and routing the DC and communications cables to the converter.

The last difference is flexibility, and we hear it’s even more important than we thought. There is a wide variety of actual projects and the ideal size of the system will vary from project to project as well. Our solution is based on a fully integrated converter cabinet that integrates not only the conversion but also all control, communication, IoT devices for remote access as well as protection devices. Each cabinet can hold up to six power modules of 50 kVA each, so the cabinet can reach up to 300 kVA.

This power can be increased by putting two cabinets in parallel per system. The batteries can also be installed in parallel from one cabinet – 186 kWh – to six cabinets – 1116 kWh per system. After systems can also be installed in parallel. So, we are able to offer our customers dozens of different combinations kilowatts and kilowatt hours, our systems can grow to the perfect size for every project. This saves costs and saves money. It also means that our footprint is often much smaller too.

What is Socomec’s expertise that has enabled it to develop its own storage systems?

We have been in the energy conversion business since the moon landings as we have been building uninterruptible power supplies or inverters since 1969. We are also known for our metering and switching solutions. It’s nice to have people on our team who have been designing and manufacturing them for decades. This experience allowed us to launch into energy storage ten years ago.

We started by building prepackaged microgrids to send to all corners of the world. In some of these places we are the local network – so they just have to be up and running. The experience of building all of these micro-grids permeates everything we do. At the same time, our UPS business provides us with economies of scale, allowing us to manufacture high quality energy storage systems in industrial quantities.

Which storage markets are the most attractive and why?

The North American market is the fastest growing market on the planet right now, so of course we find it quite interesting. All new products are designed to meet the latest North American standards, including additional requirements for larger markets, such as California and Hawaii. But we will always be an international company, which is why we also offer energy storage in IEC configurations for Europe and the rest of the world as well. As the transformation of green energy continues, new markets will open up around the world with new requirements, and we will closely monitor and adapt our products accordingly.

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MKR: Channel 7 insurer asks former candidate Piper O’Neill to undergo controversial psychological test Mon, 29 Nov 2021 05:00:11 +0000 A former MKR competitor who received compensation from Channel 7 had to pass a controversial psychological test.

A former My Kitchen Rules contestant who received compensation from Channel 7 has had her weekly payments suspended after refusing to undergo a controversial and ‘traumatic’ psychological test.

Piper O’Neill, who appeared in the 2019 season of the reality cooking contest where she was part of a high-profile “sex scandal” scenario, filed a workers’ compensation claim last year for psychological harm due to allegations of defamation and intimidation on the part of the producers and the network.

In April, Channel 7 was ordered to pay the former beauty queen $ 400 a week – but last month the broadcaster’s insurer, GIO, suspended her benefits after she refused to attend a go to a psychologist for “psychometric tests”.

Psychometric testing, an area of ​​personality testing commonly used in recruiting, has been criticized by some as pseudoscience, with The New York Times label it “office astrology”.

“It’s pretty traumatic for people,” said Ms. O’Neill’s lawyer Carmine Santone.

“It lasts for hours. For people who are not doing well… it is very difficult even for someone who is in a job interview who is doing well.

Lawyers acting for Channel 7 wrote in a September letter that a psychologist would “perform a forensic psychological assessment that includes your client’s diagnosis, any recommended treatment, and any treatment your client has received” and “provide a certificate. incapacity for work ”.

Ms. O’Neill refused and her payments were cut off.

His lawyers challenged the ruling, arguing that a psychologist was not a “doctor” within the meaning of the law.

The case was heard by the Personal Injury Commission of NSW, which ruled earlier this month in favor of Ms O’Neill.

Commission Member Carolyn Rimmer concluded that a psychologist was not a “physician” for the purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Act and that “the Applicant therefore did not refuse to submit to an examination by a ” doctor ” “.

“The use of the term ‘physician’ in legislation and guidelines rather than terms such as ‘health practitioner’ or even ‘medical expert’ supports the view that the term ‘physician’ should be interpreted as designating a person who is registered under the relevant law in the medical profession, ”she said.

Ms Rimmer felt that the term ‘physician’ as used in the law ‘should be interpreted in accordance with the National Health Practitioners Regulation Act NSW and that the term’ physician ‘does not include a’ psychologist ”, that is to say a person registered in the“ profession of psychology ”.

“Any right to compensation is not suspended,” Ms. Rimmer said.

Courts in New South Wales have already taken a dim view of accepting psychometric tests as evidence.

In a 2019 case, the NSW Court of Appeals called a complainant’s psychometric test results “seriously disturbing material” and noted that the validity of the methodology was “impenetrable and unproven in court.”

The New South Wales Workers’ Compensation Guidelines state that “appropriate psychometric tests performed by a qualified clinical psychologist” may be part of a larger clinical assessment of an injured worker’s psychiatric symptoms. .

“I agree that the guidelines provide for a clinical evaluation which may include the results of appropriate psychometric tests performed by a qualified clinical psychologist,” Ms. Rimmer said in her decision.

“However, these test results are not a mandatory requirement for an assessment to take place.”

Mr Santone said Ms O’Neill’s case was won on the first argument – the definition of doctor – but another issue her lawyers allegedly raised was the imbalance of power.

The GIO was trying to send him to a psychiatrist and psychologist for a four-hour two-day appointment, which Santone called “completely unfair” and out of reach for most workers.

“We find that when insurance companies organize them, the result is always the same,” he said.

“This type of test is designed to determine someone’s credibility whether they are telling the truth or not. What (insurers) normally do is use it to tell workers that they are faking, that they have the ability or that they are pretending or something like that.

Mr Santone said it was “very rare that a worker could actually get their own psychometric tests in response”.

“It essentially creates that unfair balance where the insurer has all of this unfair medical evidence to try to defeat the claim,” he said.

He said the suspension caused a lot of concern for Ms O’Neill and that she was happy the matter was now resolved.

“She is happy that her payments have been reinstated and that this has eased some financial pressures,” he said.

GIO and Channel 7 have been contacted for comment.

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How MPs’ second jobs don’t give them experience of the UK economy Sat, 27 Nov 2021 01:05:59 +0000

Nearly three times as many UK MPs reported income from financial services companies than from industry, FT analysis revealed – one of many imbalances that can complicate Tories’ efforts to defend rights. lawmakers to pursue a part-time career.

the right of Members to take up a second job, which political rank this month was forbidden by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons. He told Parliament it was “a historic force. . . that MPs should have a bigger target than the Westminster bubble ”.

The government has now proposed rule changes to prohibit MPs from working too many hours outside or acting as political consultants – but to preserve their right to other income. A report on how the new rules work is expected to be released by an all-party committee next week.

In statements made since the last election in 2019, some of which relate to the year before the vote, 37 MPs recorded income of various kinds from financial services companies – the largest block of corporate income in this country. type. The sector accounts for 8.1 percent of UK GDP.

These include long-standing contractual relationships as well as one-off payments – such as the £ 160,000 paid to Theresa May, the former Prime Minister, by JPMorgan Chase in April 2020. The sum was an ‘early payment’ for two speeches that were postponed by the pandemic; she hasn’t given one yet.

In contrast, only 13 MPs received revenues from manufacturers, which contribute 9.9 percent of GDP. Only 8 MPs have financial ties to retailers, who contribute 4.9 percent. Public relations or lobbying firms employed 30 MPs.

Hannah White, deputy director of the Institute for Government which previously headed the Independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, said: The experience MPs actually gain is so unrepresentative of the UK economy.

It became a partisan issue due to an imbalance between the incumbents of these positions: the positions listed above were filled by 68 Tory MPs and only 18 lawmakers from all other parties combined.

The matter was also brought to public attention by the actions of Owen Paterson, a former Conservative cabinet minister, who was recognized by a bipartisan committee for “repeatedly using his position as a member promote the companies through which he was paidIn a way not allowed by the rules. The government flogged its MPs to save it from proposed sanctions – only to be forced to retreat in the face of a public backlash.

Some forms of external income are more bipartisan: 155 MPs have received additional funding by filling out polls for pollsters – receiving between £ 30 and £ 275 for each poll, which typically takes less than an hour.

Meanwhile, 105 MPs reported media income, mostly for writing articles (including for the FT group) or television appearances. 63 others held paid positions in local government. 23 others reported income from book publishing.

Westminster MPs are authorized to put pressure on ministers in the name of the companies which offered them money or gifts, and to defend them in the debates until they have not “initiated” conversations or debates. Customers should not either benefit “exclusively” from everything they offer. They should also not use parliamentary facilities for commercial purposes.

These rules are weaker than in UK decentralized parliaments, and significantly weaker than those in the US House of Representatives – where there is a cap for certain types of income earned and outright bans for d ‘others.

Members of the House of Representatives are forbidden to exercise the right to prevent them from having contradictory public and private functions.

In the UK, Lawyers are licensed to practice and are not required to disclose their end clients. The 30 MPs reporting income from the law – mostly as lawyers – include some of Parliament’s biggest employees, such as Sir Geoffrey Cox, the former attorney general. Cox, whose sheer volume of work outside helped fuel outrage over second-time MPs jobs, told the FT that lawyers had been hired “to advise and represent.” . . on a specific issue or in dispute ”, not for general representation.

Lawyers are strongly represented in parliament, but with accounting, of which 7 MPs declared their income, the legal sector contributes only 2.7 percent of GDP.

In the United States, members of the House are prohibited from accepting most gifts – with a special ban on gifts from lobbyists or anyone who also hires a lobbyist. Such a bar does not exist in the UK, where 26 MPs have registered giveaways from betting companies and their lobbying body. In total, 111 deputies received gifts or invitations from sports companies.

The biggest gift went to Tracey Crouch, who has just completed a review of English football regulations on behalf of the UK government. She said a hospitality package of £ 4,560 from the Football Association, England’s sports body, to watch a football match.

“It turns out that this is just a small group of companies that are most interested in paying and entertaining MPs,” said Duncan Hames, former MP and policy director at Transparency International UK . “The fact that these companies are often heavily regulated suggests more interest in their parliamentary role than the previous experience they might bring.”

MPs are allowed to own up to £ 70,000 of company stock without registering ownership, as long as the stake constitutes less than 15 percent of the capital. They are not required to indicate participation in funds. In the United States, members of the House of Representatives must report stakes over $ 1,000, as well as all other investments.

A person involved in the administration of the current UK system told the FT that she was “very skeptical” of comparisons with the United States – “especially because of [US politicians’] need to increase campaign funding ”. This, they said, has led US politicians to be “more attached to big business.”

Activists are calling for much more radical reforms than those currently being considered. Hames said: “There are still too many blind spots for the wrongdoing to hide. . . This could avoid a lot of problems if, as in many other workplaces, those wishing for a second job or other contractual relationship first seek permission from an independent body, just as former ministers are supposed to be. do it. “

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