Thursday, 8 December 2011

Is this right?

I regularly read JuliaM's blog at so I wasn't shocked to see the case in the paper today where 4 girls racially abused and beat up another girl, yet didn't get sent to jail, receiving only a suspended sentence

Then today I was reading the news sent round at work, and I saw that the first conviction had been made under the bribery act.  This chap took £500 to refrain from entering the details of a traffic summons in a court database.  He was sentenced to 6 years in jail (3 for the bribery and 6 for misconduct in public office, to run concurrently).

Now don't get me wrong - what he did was very wrong, but 6 years in jail?  That seems a little over the top.  Sacking him and giving a very honest reference would pretty much destroy his career prospects, and seems like it would nearly be punishment enough on it's own.  Throw in a big hefty fine and I'd say you're good.

The first case I mentioned?  Jail seems to be the least we could be expected to do...

How did we get so turned around?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

One to watch

As if evidence were needed that our current benefit system is not fit for purpose:

Basically, there's a chap who earns £65k and faces losing his child benefit.  He asks if it's possible to use salary sacrifice to commit enough of his salary to pension so that he won't lose the benefits, and wonders what happens if he goes further.

Based on the responses and what I know of the matter, if he were to put £50k a year into his pension (plus another ~£2k into childcare vouchers) he'd be assessed for benefits as if his income were just over £12k - meaning he'd get all sorts of benefits.  He reckons he'd go from an income of £3300 per month (after paying for childcare vouchers and nearly £4k a year into his pension) to about £3100 per month thanks to all the benefits he could claim.  He'd lose £200 per month, but would have an extra £46k in his pension pot per year (nearly £4k per month).

Sounds like a good deal?  So the benefit state is really good for people with incomes of £65k or so...