Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Elective Dictatorship

its a phrase coined by the former Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom, Lord Hailsham.
It describes the state in which Parliament is dominated by the government of the day. It refers to the fact that the legislative programme of Parliament is determined by the government, and government bills virtually always pass the House of Commons because of the nature of the governing party's majority.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Child Benefit

From the BBC...

What has been announced?
From 2013, the coalition government will withdraw child benefit from families in which one or both parents are higher-rate taxpayers.
A family looking out to sea Families where both parents are on modest incomes will not be affected
Chancellor George Osborne said the measure would affect people earning more than £44,000 a year.
That means people in the 40% income tax bracket, and those whose taxable earnings are above £150,000, who therefore pay the new 50% additional rate of income tax.
There are an estimated 3,274,000 individuals who will pay tax at these levels this year.
The proposal means that if both parents earn less than £44,000, they will continue to receive child benefit. But families with one main earner on, for example, £45,000, will see their benefit stopped.
Mr Osborne said it was not a decision they had "taken lightly".
"It's a big decision for us, but we think it's absolutely necessary and fair, given the financial situation we face," he said.
Impact of child benefit cut
Tax rate Annual income Benefit Keep or cut?
£43,875 or less
£43,876 or more
2x Lower

(2 x 43,875)
1x Lower
1x Higher

(43,875 + 43,876)
Note: higher rate tax begins after earning £43,875 (£37,400 + personal allowance of £6,475)
Source: HMRC
Who will be affected and how much will it save the Treasury?
The Treasury says about 15% of families will lose out. In real terms, this means 1.2m families will be affected, while 6.6m will see no change to their child benefits.
The Treasury says the annual child benefit bill is about £12bn, and the cutback will save £1bn a year.
How could the government stop higher earners claiming?
Mr Osborne has suggested that any higher-rate taxpayers in receipt of child benefit may be asked to declare this fact on their self-assessment tax returns, implying they would then face an extra tax charge.

Start Quote

The nitty-gritty will be decided; we don't have any details yet”
End Quote HMRC spokesman
It might be simpler for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which administers the child benefit system, simply to cross-reference claimants against their tax records.
The child benefit claim form already asks for full details of a spouse or partner.
Even simpler would be to put a warning at the bottom of the form, warning higher rate tax payers that they are no longer eligible and they might be prosecuted if they still claim.
What is clear is that the government announcement has taken HMRC by surprise.
"The nitty-gritty will be decided; we don't have any details yet," said an HMRC spokesman.
How much is child benefit? Child benefit is worth £20.30 every week for a first-born child.
For each subsequent child, there is an additional weekly payment of £13.40. The money is not taxed.
In June's emergency budget, after the general election, Mr Osborne announced child benefit would be frozen for three years.
Who can receive it? It is available for every child in the UK below the age of 16; child benefit is paid to the parent directly responsible for care of the youngster.
You may get child benefit if you pay towards bringing up a child who does not live with you if no-one else is claiming the benefit for them.
Those in full-time education remain eligible until the age of 19, but the cut-off point for children registered for work or training is 18.
How many parents claim it? Child benefit is taken up by 96-97% of the eligible population, according to the most recently published HMRC statistics.
Which department administers the benefit? HMRC is responsible for the administration of child benefit; previously it was overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Whose idea was it? After World War II, bringing up several children was encouraged to restore the birth rate.
And in 1945 the Family Allowance was introduced to provide benefit for second and subsequent children.
In 1975, then Labour Social Affairs Secretary Barbara Castle put forward the Child Benefit Act, proposing additional benefit for the first child.
And between 1977 and 1979, child benefit replaced the Family Allowance and Child Tax Allowance.
What has this got to do with child tax credits?
Nothing. That is an entirely different and more complicated system introduced by the last Labour government.

Now read what Stephen Law has to say....

Thursday, 28 October 2010


I will try harder!

Click the play button (which is here) to listen to the latest podcast
If you missed Prime Minister’s Questions earlier today listen again by clicking the play button above.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

To what extent are long-term factors still important in voting?

Age-The older people tend to vote conservative whilst young and middle age people vote liberal or labour. The posible explanation is that younger people tend to be more idealistic, want to change the country and the world. They favour policies involving more public spendings.As they become older, people have a more realistic and perhaps more cynical point of view. They pay the taxes and so become anti-social. because the burden of taxation falls upon them.In 1997 labour`s landslide win, it did better than the Conservatives among all age groups other than the over-65s.In 2005, the progresive parties, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, again fared better among young people. Labour scored well among 34-44 age group and Liberal fared well among those under 34. Moreover Labour`s policy on tuition fees was widely believed to have troubled many voter in contituencies that had a univeristy=more sttudent in the constituency the greater the fall in the labour vote and the rise in the Liberal vote.
Gender- in the past women were found to be strongly pro Conservative(stayed at home and were protected from bad working cond., when the work they usually worked in cleaner conditions and offices, had a greater commitment to traditional values of family and religion and women are more cautious in their attitude to social change) but in the 80s this trend was partially reversed and women become more inclined to vote Labour Party. in 1997 the swing to Labour was greater among women than man and in 2001 and 2005 elections women were more likely to vote Labour than man.
Ethnicity- members of ethnic minorities have traditionally been more likely to vote Labour than Conservative although the turnout among them in generally low. Saggars Findings(2000) based on data derived from the 1997 election,  suggested that of those who voted, 89% of black and 81% of Asian opted for Labour(unsurprising because many of them are simple workers+ Conservative more restrictive policy towards immigration) BUT Labour lost a lot of ground in constituencies with big muslim minority in favor of Liberal democrats. reason? most probably the Iraq War

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Parliamentary sovereignty

Its a concept in a constitutional law. Under parliamentary sovereignty, a legislative body has absolute sovereignty , meaning it is supreme to all other government institutions (including any executive or judical bodies as they may exist). Furthermore, it implies that the legislative body may change or repeal any prior legislative acts. Parliamentary sovereignty contrasts with notions of judicial review , where a court may overturn legislation deemed unconstitutional. Specific instances of parliamentary sovereignty exist in the UK

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

judical review

this doctrine means that executive and legislature actions can be reviewed and even invalidate by the judiciary. Special courts(constitutional) have power of judical review and must annul the acts of the state if it finds them incompatible with higher act, usually Constitution