Author Topic: Help with rising fuel costs?  (Read 1946 times)

Sunny Clouds

  • Access All Areas
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6265
Re: Help with rising fuel costs?
« Reply #15 on: 26 May 2022 05:55PM »
And how's he going to deliver with a shortage of funding in local authorities for existing services, without adding paying out the previously announced amount, then the existing shortage of staff in the civil service, with massive staff cuts soon.  What other services will he cut back on to enable this to happen?

As I may have mentioned elsewhere, earlier this year I received a letter from HMRC in response to a letter I wrote.  I paraphrase it.  "Dear HMRC, I've been getting very inconsistent information on the phone about tax rates on my father's estate.  Could you clarify the rates of tax on..."  "Dear Customer, thank you for the letter you sent us a year ago.  Unfortunately I can't answer your questions because your circumstances will have changed." 

I wasn't asking them to apply rules to my personal circumstances, I was asking rates of tax on income and capital gains, e.g. interest received between death and closure of savings accounts, profit on sale of my father's house etc.  But it was very obviously a copy-and-paste letter.

Bear in mind that that's when I'm trying to give the state money, not vice-versa. 

So does anyone think they've actually got the staff to make all these expletive extra payments with any reasonable speed?

Meanwhile, the government's off on one about  benefit fraud again.  The BBC has published an article confuddling the figures for 'fraud' with the figures for 'fraud and error'.  Oh, good, bash the benny scroungers again.  No, just the 'fraudsters'.  That's fine then, none of us genuine claimants might be tarred with that brush then, unlike previous campaigns.

Funny how the government and BBC aren't finding the time and space to get so enthusiastic about PPE contract fraud, isn't it?  Still, you'd need lots of extra civil servants to investigate that, wouldn't you?  That or read a few Private Eye exposé articles and put a small team onto it.

Thank heavens for those that help others to get what they need.  I'm not in crisis, but there have been times in the past when I've been desperate, so my heart goes out to people who are struggling.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

  • Access All Areas
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6265
Re: Help with rising fuel costs?
« Reply #16 on: 27 May 2022 01:53AM »
I just looked on my council's website.  Because I don't pay by direct debit, it said I had to claim online and it was a long, tedious process.  But just before I clicked send on my application, it said that applying would transfer me to online billing for my council tax.  Well in theory, it shouldn't matter, because I'm exempt anyway, but I loathe online billing.

Re. the exemption - my bipolar disorder automatically entitles me to a severe mental impairment exemption, although I think my local council doesn't want people to know that, because all their SMI exemption stuff is now labelled 'dementia' all over it, thus not only giving the impression that other people can't claim it, but also putting off anyone with dementia that doesn't want to fill in paperwork that screams dementia all over it.  (That sort of thing was a nightmare with Dad.) 

Oh, and you can't claim a rebate from my council unless you have a phone number.  Some sorts of application systems let you insert 'deaf' into the phone number slot, but the contractor my council's using for this doesn't. 

So we'll see.  But this system makes me angry because the people that most desperately need the money may not currently (or ever) have internet access.  If I don't get mine, I'll be annoyed but not starving.  The same can't be said for all too many people.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8425
Re: Help with rising fuel costs?
« Reply #17 on: 09 Jun 2022 02:01PM »
You point about needing people to process the new payments is a good one but then what you said about Direct Debits maybe showed some joined up thinking  :f_erm:


I paid my hairdresser in cash yesterday and was reminded how much I hate the new notes. Slippery, hard to hold and hard to count, are we being nudged to use electronic money more because its paperless and therefore in a way easier to handle.







Sunny Clouds

  • Access All Areas
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6265
Re: Help with rising fuel costs?
« Reply #18 on: 09 Jun 2022 02:28PM »
I find the idea of a mixture between different sorts of currency/payment systems reassuring.  I don't want to get rid of cash but I think that that's the direction in which many societies round the world are going.

The Swedish government had a bit of a panic not many years ago when it was pointed out that there are places where it is effectively impossible to function without cards.  A team of cyberhackers could starve whole swathes of the country by blocking the payment processing systems if the government didn't mobilise emergency systems fast enough. 

(I don't have the right jargon for what I call the systems.  Mentally I  map it onto 'visa and mastercard' but it's not just that.  What I think of as 'card' payments also includes what I think of as 'smartphone' payments.)

Imagine you live in a village or small town and can only buy things like food, fuel, sanitary items etc. by card, then hackers block payments.  The Swedish government has been exploring various ways of protecting their country.

To put that in perspective, look how Nato governments have weaponised banking systems against Russia in relation to Ukraine.

There are also, separately, issues in relation to countries that pay benefits by means of special cards.  You end up trapped in being only able to buy your food from companies  with a contract with the government.  Forget buying anything cheap at your neighbourhood market or allotment sale.  (Not that I'd be cynical enough to suppose that it would be big companies with big profits that would make generous donations to a governing party's funds, of course.)

There's also an issue with people that can't get a bank account and with people that mentally can't cope with 'technology'.  It's possible to get a chip and signature card, but they can befuddle shop assistants.  Personally, I struggle with remembering PIN numbers when I'm depressed.  In the past, I've written them down in code, but what of people whose memory and reasoning skills aren't up to that?

So whilst I also hate the new notes, I am very scared of moving away from cash.  That being said, I don't even like having left the gold standard, so I'm a dinosaur.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)