Daily Archives: 2011-08-29

Live free, or die hard



Time To Axe The Council Tax … Forever!


Simply administering the Council Tax system is vastly expensive – it costs £600m every single year!

The money goes on having separate collection systems in each council area, as well as the expensive Council Tax benefit system.

We estimate it costs about 4 times as much to collect £1 in Council Tax as to collect £1 in Income Tax: and costs will increase if the Government decide to proceed with the Council Tax Revaluation.

Council Tax benefit was designed to help the poorest people with their bills. But it simply doesn’t work.

A third of families entitled to Council Tax benefit don’t claim – so have to struggle with their bills instead.

And the situation’s worse for pensioners: approximately 1.7 million don’t claim the money they’re entitled to.

These take-up rates are way below those for other benefits.

The main reasons for the dismal rate of take-up of Council Tax Benefits are that people don’t know about the benefit, and if they do they’re put off by the complexity of the application process – there can be as many as fifty pages of forms to fill in!

We believe that England needs a fairer system of local taxation. The Lyons Report highlights the fact that “fair taxation is based on ability to pay or income.” Thus, a local income tax would achieve the goal of developing a fairer local tax system.

A local based income tax would remove the unfair burden that is currently placed on those least able to pay. Such a tax “could significantly reduce the burden of local taxes on those groups with the lowest average incomes, notably pensioners and lone parents.”

Furthermore, the Lyons report asserts that it would be possible to implement a locally based income tax. “A local income tax could be feasible in England and could viably replace all or part of council tax, or operate alongside it.”

We here at are NOT opposed to paying a “Local Community Charge” PROVIDING is that its fair, that its based upon the services you actually use and of course based upon your ability to pay!


Small fish are important too!

No shit!


A new study has shown that it is not just the big fish that matter in marine ecosystems and that catches should be cut in order to safeguard marine fish stocks.

The study which was funded by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and lead by an international team of scientists found that fishing methods that remove smaller fish can have severe impacts on their ecosystems.

Anthony Smith and colleagues looked at five different ecosystems around the world and subjected species at the bottom of their food chain such as krill, anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardine and capelin to varying degrees of fishing pressure.

They found that fishing the most plentiful fish in an ecosystem, or the ones that are most highly connected in the food web, tends to have the largest impacts on those ecosystems, having a knock on effect on mammals, seabirds, and larger fish.

At present around 30% of the global fishery production comes from smaller fish where they are used to produce fishmeal and also as a food source especially in the developing world.

The study used computer modelling on fish in Peru, Australia, southern Africa, the California current and the North Sea. It showed that harvesting these fish at the so-called ‘maximum sustainable yield’ had significant effects and as much as a 60% change in biomass could be seen in some ecological groups when there was just a 25% decrease in the numbers of the smaller (lower trophic level) fish.

The team suggested that catches should be severely cut and in places backed up by no-fish zones such as seen in the North Sea where fishing of sand eels is banned to protect breeding sebirds.

By halving the exploitation rates of certain low-level species, Smith and his colleagues say that fisheries could still achieve 80% of their maximum sustainable yields while also lessening the impact on marine ecosystems. This in turn may bring associated long-term economic benefits as well as the recovery of some larger fish species which have been depleted by over-fishing.

Their findings should help to inform harvest strategies that could ensure that fisheries maintain substantial yields while also protecting ecosystems from collapse.

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Posted by on 2011-08-29 in Environment, Fish, Madness

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