Thieving, Lying Reprobates…


Do NOT use this site!!

Beware of these reprobates!

I have to admit I have been scammed!  However, and in my defence, at no point in the purchase did it let on that, they were not an official site, or that I was are merely paying a fee for the form filling and not for the actual passport.  The site goes out of their way to look legitimate, that they are ‘not the official site’ is hidden in the middle of tiny grey text on a grey background at the bottom of the page when I was looking for the customer services, and was nowhere to be seen when I first used the site.

When I had not received the completed forms to sign  within the promised 10 days, I discovered their ploy and we have had to stump-up the full cost of the passports again to pay HM IPS once if your form ever arrives.

This site not only break several of Google’s terms for advertising, such as not using google to commit fraud, not to mention utterly ignoring the law that states that individual terms and conditions cannot under any circumstances override statutory consumer rights, but Google don’t seem to mind, being a patsy for thieves, so long as they’re getting paid to advertise: yes, you heard me Google, right now you might as well be the front for the Maffia!

To add to this disgrace, they are actually one of 2 companies charging for a service the HM IPS offer free, that come up before the official site on a Google search for passport services’. This apparently breaks Google’s terms and conditions, according to a Guardian article from earlier in the year (see bottom) but it looks like they have taken that clause out rather than fixed the actual problem.

On top of financial fraud this there is the theft of personal details under false pretences to consider.  So far, these companies have merely been fined for their blatantly fraudulent conduct.  Why have they not been prosecuted and imprisoned too?  Yes, I feel like an utter muppet for falling for it and I now have to find another £49 per passport for Oscar and Henry because once they have your money you can’t get hold of them. They don’t even provide what you have paid for.

So far, I have notified:

  • The Office of Fair Trading
  • The Advertising Standards Agency
  • HMRC
  • BBC Watchdog

about this company but really need to let people know not to use them as a matter of conscience.  I am really REALLY pissed off and don’t want other people caught by the same trap.

For your own safety, do not trust a Google search,  ONLY use the HMRC official site

Also See

 

Updates:

Apparently, their tiny and barely readable disclaimer, makes what they do a legal and legitimate service in the eyes of trading standards and the ASA. However, having heard the issue raised again on BBC Radio 4′s ‘You and Yours’ this week, I gather the problem of people being scammed is on the increase.

Why do they not just make these ‘services’ illegal and be done with it, and make Google liable for accepting money to advertise them?

The Human Cost of the Bedroom Tax | Futile Democracy


The Human Cost of the Bedroom Tax | Futile Democracy.

“Firstly, it is important to note that the Court did find that the policy was discriminatory toward some disabled people. Try to remember that, when you hear the joyful response from Conservative MPs. They are expressing delight at the fact that they now have a legal right to discriminate against people with disabilities. This is the nature of the Conservative Party in 2013.”

Excellent article!  Just waiting for them to bring back the workhouses.  Considering how this lot are acting, it’s only a matter of time.

Why I do not indulge in the hypocrisy of ‘Remembrance Day’…


Allied War Cemetery Germany

Allied War Cemetery Germany

poppies

Such a symbol, so taken for granted…

You will not see a poppy in my profile nor on my person.  The whole circus has lost all meaning when you consider we are STILL at war. It might not be Europe imploding on itself again, and call me paranoid if it doesn’t seem to you like a reunified Germany is going for the [economic] hat-trick but it has become a debacle has become consisting of nothing more than a nation-wide display of ostentatious sentimentality: a popular affectation of imagined grief over soldiers and civilians killed in a pointless war while more people on both sides die in pointless wars that we started. I refuse to involve myself in hypocrisy.

This article by Robert Fisk probably says it perfectly.  Remembrance Day is not mourning the passing of servicemen and civilians.  It mourns the passing of the Imperialist British Empire, for which we are reaping the consequences even now. A war which ended which the forced peace of the Treaty of Versailles on the 11th November 1918 to end an unwinnable war: a treaty so punitive against one part of the Central powers that it resulted in another world conflict 28 years later.

We may wring our hands at the horror of it all but how many of us, without a special interest, truly comprehend the context of what went on?  The class-politics and strict social hierarchies, or Germany’s struggle as a new nation in 1871, for ‘elbow room’ and fear of being surrounded? The British Empire was still fairly strong but the the Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires were struggling to hold on to power at all costs. Serbia wanted independence and the Austro-Hungarian empire had from around 1912 been determined to end the matter. With assistance from Germany and a promise that Germany would prevent Russia from involving themselves (thus keeping Russia’s allies France and (indirectly) Britain out as well), all they needed was an excuse. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (July 1914) by one member of a single terrorist (NOT STATE ENDORSED), provided that excuse. however, Germany betrayed the Austro-Hungarian Empire by declaring war on both France and Russia at the last moment, subjugating the Serbia to a secondary concern.

France also wanted Alsace Lorraine-back from Germany, so previous grievance existed between them. A European arms race and the complex arrangement of treaties and alliances (The Triple Alliance and Entente Cordiale) made the First world war, not inevitable but not avoidable either, at least not in Britain’s case: we should not assume a universal experience.  With each party pledging to attack another nation in ‘defence’ of the others, as well as the general attitude toward warfare and glory, WW1 was  highly likely given the mood, but they did not have the hindsight of two global wars not to mention other bloody and drawn out conflicts. School history lessons barely scratch the surface, and the nationalist twaddle of the tabloid press at this time of year really does bring to mind the last verse of a poem by John McCrae, ‘In Flander’s Fields’, which is thought to have been inspired by the death of a Canadian 2nd Lieutenant in 1915 (Ypres) when prior much of the war was yet to occur.

“…

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

Even now, while at war in the Middle East can we not now see that the ‘War to End All Wars’ has not lived up to expectation. The best way to remember the fallen servicemen of a pointless war is not to gather round a stone monument and cover it with paper flowers, muttering prayers and singing hymns (when many don’t even believe in God let alone go to church) and pretend that it makes the slightest difference to what is actually happening.  The best way to honour those men (1914-1918) is to not send yet MORE men and women to die in wars, adding to the body-count.

WE HAVE NOT LEARNED A THING…

DULCE ET DECORUM EST(1)

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . .
Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)  
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori.(15) –  Wilfred Owen, 8 October 1917 – March, 1918

Rudeness…


Just so that people know, personal attacks against me or other commenters, straw-men and ad homs, go straight in the bin, where they belong. Disagree all you like but lets keep it civil please.

The cost of going back to work….


George Osbourne’s recent comments over the possibility of denying the same offer made to dual income families of a tax rebate of up to £1200 (to go toward child care) for families earning up to £300k , have angered many, including me. According to Mr Osborne stay at home mothers (he didn’t say ‘parents’; he’s having another pop at mothers) have made a ‘lifestyle choice‘ and are therefore undeserving of any help. Instead what we get is derision and vitriol, from people who haven’t the first idea of what we do.  I entirely fail to see how choosing to go back to work is any less of a ‘lifestyle-choice’ than choosing to stay at home to raise our own children, but that’s another post.  Okay, staying at home does not earn a wage, and therefore it is not taxable, but there are other ways to contribute to society than being a tax-paying wage earner.

On the whole, single income families actually pay more tax as a percentage of their household incomes than dual earner families.  We also claim less in tax credits depending on that income.  The threshold for help is at around £16-26k per year, in which you qualify for a plethora of tax credits and benefits such as housing benefit, council tax benefit, and Working Tax Credit (which has become a tax-funded subsidy for employers who will not pay a working wage). I do not begrudge the needy at all. They have the right to a family life every bit as much as the rest of us.  The ‘don’t have kids you can’t afford’ brigade ought to realise that this attitude makes having children a luxury reserved for the very wealthy.  The anti-parents-getting-any-help-at-all crowd fail to realise that it is the children of THIS generation who will be funding their pensions and providing the ‘antis’ with care in their dotage, through both time, skills and taxes. Is it so dreadful an idea, that we consider that parents do an important role in raising the next generation, which is deserving of recognition, rather than public derision and scorn?

“when it comes to tax credits and ‘benefits’, my husband’s income is counted as mine — as a “family income”. Yet when it comes to tax time, our family income can only have one personal allowance applied to it (so rather than “ours” it is now only “his”).

I do not want a subsidy, but nor do I want to subsidise other peoples lifestyle choices.

The government should provide a level playing field and allow families to make their own choices without financial coercion.”

Défendenosinproelio • 20 days ago

It is not easy to be financially and emotionally dependant (especially if you are temperamentally unsuited to a dependant role) on one person, nor is it easy for the person who has a family reliant upon a single income (which in real terms has decreased significantly under the coalition). If you are that primary carer,  life is not about sitting in front of the telly with your feet up (as many who have no clue as to what full-time parenting would appear to assume), it involves engaging with those children, all day, everyday, with no ‘break-time’, no time off, and no ‘sick pay’.  If you are lucky enough to have extended family nearby, you might get a break, but generally, the care is up to you.  This is not, by any means, the easy ‘lifestyle choice’ that Osborne and the Tories would like people to think it is, in order to give a hint of credence to their socially regressive and punitive policies. I wonder if they actually have the stamina and testicular fortitude to live it themselves, rather than condemn a ‘life-style choice’ they clearly don’t have a clue about.

Personal situation (I really am getting to the point now)

Last week I was approached on LinkedIn for an admin role in the city paying between £10 and £15 per hour (£400-£600 per wk./£20800-31200 per annum). ‘Not bad‘ I thought and ‘the role looks like it is right up my street‘. However, upon looking into childcare (for 3 children under 5) and transport costs into London, working a full time job in London, which is the only place I stand to earn even close to what I would need to cover my costs.

Childcare (average UK prices)

It costs, on average, £177 per week per child for a full time nursery place. (£9204 per year). I would most likely need to consider this as the best option for our youngest who is only 8 months old. Our 2 year old will be doing 1 playschool session per week from September. As it is, £7.50 per 3hr session until he is funded at 3 will still be £390 for that year, assuming that I do not increase his sessions in that time.  I would also need to employ a childminder for him It would cost £3.84 per hour for at leas 50 hours per week coming to £194 per week. Our eldest, who will be starting full time education next week (I can’t believe where the time has gone!) would still need 30 hours per week for before and after school until I, or their father, returned home. That 30 hours would add another £115.2 to the price.  In total I would need to be earning, to be safe, £500 per week (after tax) just to cover childcare: £26k per year.

Child (by age)  Week Weeks  Hourly rate Hours per week
3  £  177.00  x 52  =  £          9,204.00
1  £  115.20  x 52  =  £          5,990.40  £             3.84 30
2  £  192.00  x 52  =  £          9,984.00  £             3.84 50
 £  484.20  £             7.68 80
Total per year [approx.]  £       25,178.40
Transport (Zones 1-6)
Ticket
Weekly  £     55.60  x 52  =  £          2,891.20
Monthly  £  213.60  x 12  =  £          2,563.20
 Before Tax  Minus childcare Minus transport Total per week after expenses
Maximum salary for Viewsy Vacancy  £       31,200.00  £    6,021.60  £  3,458.40 / 12 =  £  288.20 / 52 =  £                         5.54
Minimum salary for Viewsy Vacancy  £       20,800.00 -£4,378.40 -£6,941.60 / 12 = -£ 578.47 / 52 = -£                      11.12

Financial costs aside, there is the very real emotional cost that that I would incur through pursuit of my own career while my children are so young.  It would mean splitting my children up every day, so rather than building a relationship with each other and me who loves them to distraction, I would be working a full time job just to pay (at least two) other people to bring up my children who would not necessarily have that bond with them. It’s their job after all, so how could I expect them to love my children?

By going to work, I would not be sacrificing for my children because it would not be my sacrifice to them.  It would be their sacrifice to the state (in tax) and to me so I could pursue a career in their earliest years.  They would be going without me for very little return (don’t get me wrong, that is not a bad salary for an admin role and I was sorely tempted). The figures speak for themselves and I wonder if Osborne really has sat down and worked out the numbers. The emotional cost to me (I would miss my little monkies), and what it would cost our family in quality-time, far outstrips the financial burden we are under currently.  As it stands, we simply cannot afford for me to go back to work at the moment. Whether emotionally or financially, the cost is just too high and if that is the case for us, I am sure we are not alone.

See also

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