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A Day in London: 2020

by John Brian Shannon

Welcome to London, 2020. You’re in the former Battersea Power Station where the British International Motor Show is being held this week!

Artist rendering of the renovated Battersea Power Station in London, UK that will be home to Apple Inc.

Artist rendering of the renovated Battersea Power Station in London, UK — Apple’s UK & Commonwealth HQ. Business Insider

Apple Inc’s new UK & Commonwealth HQ is full of Alan Turing-esqe brilliant people glad to be hosting the show in their auric new building — and for the first time anywhere, iDrive (Apple’s shiny new hydrogen powered car) is on public display.

Aside from its obviously stunning design, the best thing about this car is that it can’t be stolen because unless the owner of the car is within a few feet of the car with his/her iPhone on and logged-in to the iDrive app, it is just a piece of aluminum, glass and plastic that can’t go anywhere. There’s no computer or operating system to allow the car do anything at all, save for the iDrive app in your iPhone or iPad.

apple icar concept car in london, uk

Early Apple iCar concept.

No iPhone or iPad? Then you’re not the owner of the car. Because a matching serial number iPhone & iPad is provided with each Apple Car, with thumbprint security and as many passwords or login captchas as you want. It’s up to you.

Even if someone steals your iPhone and manages to locate your car, you can always “Log out of all devices and apps” remotely from any computer or smart phone on the planet — including the app that drives your beautiful new Apple Car. (Stolen car coasts to side of road, wholly inactive)

Now, that’s what I call a user-friendly car ownership experience.


And Brexit, You Ask? Pshaw!

Brexit came and went a long time ago. Neither Project Fear or the extreme Brexiteers were right; The UK coasted through 2019, Brexiting on March 29 as scheduled and other than a temporary blip in the markets things continued as normal. Yes, even the Sun rose in the sky the next day. Astonishing!

But not really. For all the hype, compared to other events taking place in the world Brexit turned out to be a sideshow. Only hyperventilating European politicians on both sides of the English Channel noticed Brexit.

After dipping to 1.2% GDP growth in 2019, the UK recovered and is now looking at 2% growth for 2021 — not due to Brexit — but due to the fact that Remainers are no longer sabotaging the UK economy hoping for it to fail so they could get their way.

Since the summer of 2019, the UK joined the USMCA (the new NAFTA agreement) and the CPTPP, and the new Commonwealth of Nations Free Trade Accord (CNFTA). In 2020, the UK has signed trade agreements with countries that have a combined population of 5 billion+ people.

A free trade deal with the EU (based on the excellent CETA agreement the EU has with Canada) is expected to be signed by the end of 2020 and go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Food shortages, rioting, family strife, civil war? Not a bit of it.

Every politician who tried to make a career out of Brexit is gone. Whether extreme Brexiteer, extreme Remainer, whether continental European or Briton; Every politician who held an extreme Brexit position was invited by their respective parties (and voters, hehehe) to leave politics.

Enjoy the day Britons, legal migrants to the UK, and visitors! You’ve earned it.

Oh, and the UK and the EU signed a modified Withdrawal Agreement on the 11th-hour of March 28th, 2019. But you knew that.

Immigration in the Post-Brexit World

by John Brian Shannon

The days of a foreign power deciding how many people can live in the UK are rapidly closing. On any date past March 29, 2019 the UK government could decide to radically alter the future of Great Britain. And that’s a very good thing.


The Days of Unrestricted Immigration to the UK Are Soon Over

Until now, the UK has been forced to accept both new residents and transients who easily pass through the EU’s porous border control system called the Schengen Area (visit here to see a list of Schengen countries) where anyone from anywhere can simply walk across the border and are rarely challenged or identified by authorities.

Which is one thing if your country is on the outer rim of the Schengen Area and those undocumented people are walking through your country to get to another country; It’s quite another if your country is their destination.


8-Million Immigrants Later; UK Police & Security Services Know Surprisingly Little About Who Those Immigrants Are

And that’s the reason the UK has 8-million (mostly unknown) refugees and economic migrants. It’s a wonder there hasn’t been 10-times as many terrorist acts! A million thanks to the overworked police and to the security services who surely have more pressing matters to attend to, for keeping 99.999% of Britons safe from harm.


The Hidden Cost of Unregulated Immigration

Regardless, there is still a cost to all this additional policing and security work — whether that cost is under-serving other police and security files, or devoting more of their police and security service budgets to identifying and tracking imported (potential) problem people.

Yet the majority of refugees and economic migrants are decent people who want nothing more than to find a better life (in our UK that our forefathers built and fought for) and are prepared to work hard to accomplish that goal. But many aren’t.

And we don’t know who is who in that opaque world and we may never know as few have been vetted to a standard where we even know their names, their criminal background (if any) and other important information about them like their level of education, history of exposure to communicable diseases, extreme religious views, etc.


Getting Selective with UK Immigration

Once the UK regains control of its borders, the country can be very selective of who it allows into the country, but if a person lacks important inoculations like Chickenpox (varicella), Diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Meningococcal meningitis, Mumps, etc., (it’s a much longer list than that, FYI) those inoculations could be administered at any UK port of entry to protect that person and simultaneously protect all Britons from some nasty foreign diseases.

It’s far less costly in lives and in pounds sterling to provide those inoculations in advance than to allow the next contagious virus to infect 100,000 people because someone didn’t get £40 worth of vaccine at the border.

Each UK port of entry should have enough Doctors and Nurses to administer such vaccines to Britons at no cost (as infected people may unknowingly carry viruses into the UK population when returning from countries where the Zika Virus etc., are prevalent) and for the very same reasons, such injections should be free (and required) to refugees and economic migrants at every UK port of entry.


Proper Police Screening post-Brexit

With proper vetting procedures in place, the UK will never again import another terrorist or criminal entity if every refugee and economic migrant is required to produce a paper copy of a criminal records check from their country of origin as they enter the UK.

To speed throughput times at UK ports of entry, the Border Force should create a secure section on their website to accept digital copies of such documents to be submitted in advance of travel to the UK.

Such documentation should be viewed online by Border Force officers prior to each plane landing or each ship docking at any UK port of entry — then that person can hand the official paper copy to the border guard as they pass through the border control turnstiles.


Choosing the ‘Right’ Immigrants

In some years, the UK may find it has a shortage of History professors, while other years it may have a shortage of farm labourers (for two examples) but when the UK government regains control of immigration it can decide in advance how many of each to let into the country.

In other years it may be the case that the UK requires more engineers, General Physicians or construction workers; But when you’re in full control of your immigration you can allow exactly the number of people into the country every year that you need. And none that you don’t.


Seasonal Foreign Workers Should be Pre-approved by the Border Force and Should Always Originate From Commonwealth Nations

Which is why the UK government should create a special category for seasonal farm workers so they can be efficiently notified by the Border Force website as soon as they are required for the season. (‘It’s time to pack your bags for your flight to Britain!’)

Such seasonal workers should be required to pay an annual £100 application fee and provide a digital copy of their criminal records check to the Border Force in advance via a secure website set up for that purpose.

If they don’t get hired, their deposit would be returned to them at the end of the year. If they are hired by their UK employer permanently, they would pay £100 per year thenceforth.

Once the Border Force has been notified by the relevant UK government department to allow (for example) 58,750 pre-approved seasonal workers into the country, they can easily accomplish this task by consulting the Commonwealth master list.

Large farm operators may decide to pay the £100 application fee on behalf of each person they hire from abroad and may also assist them in other ways such as picking them up at the airport and transporting them directly to their accommodations on the farm, etc.

This sort of ‘sponsor’ relationship between workers and their UK employers should be strongly encouraged by the government as it will dramatically minimize false applicants — those who never report to the farm and then go on to (unknown) activities in the UK.


All Other Foreign Workers Should be Pre-approved by the Border Force and Should Always Originate from The Commonwealth and the U.S.A.

To assist the UK economy during periods of peak manufacturing, or when the service sector requires more workers than are available in the UK, Britain’s businesses could draw from a pre-approved Border Force list of up to 1-million potential workers.

Pre-approved in this case means that such persons have proved their interest in working in the UK by prepaying their £100 annual fee to the Border Force, and have provided a recent copy of their criminal records check to the secure area within the Border Force website.

If they don’t get hired, their deposit would be returned to them at the end of the year. If they are hired by their UK employer permanently, they would pay £100 per year thenceforth.

Note to busy employers: It doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be appropriate to the particular job you want them to do or that the Border Force has their CV digitally stored on the Border Force website — but it will mean they aren’t a criminal or a terrorist and that they’ve taken the right steps to ensure they’re on the pre-approved list to work in Britain.

As soon as your telephone or Skype interviews are concluded, your new employee could be on the job in one day as all government paperwork would already be done months or weeks prior to your call.

Once supersonic airline flights resume between London and New York, your new employee from America can arrive before noon on the same day you approve them, and your HR department can give them the full orientation of your London office building that afternoon so they know where to park their rental car the next morning.

The UK would be the first country in the world to utilise such ‘Just In Time Labour’ in the same way the manufacturing sector has used ‘Just In Time Delivery’ to such good effect since 1990.


The Only (New) Immigrants to the UK would be Pre-approved by the Border Force and by Employers

Now How do You Feel About Immigration?

Isn’t that a better solution than having millions of undocumented people streaming into the UK sans job offers, proper inoculations, criminal records checks, and without any purpose in life other than to escape the problems in their own country?

Even if the number of annual immigrants to the UK were to increase post-Brexit (it won’t) the total number will be less relevant overall — as every one of them will be pre-approved and invited into the country by their employers — rather than millions of them just showing up and expecting the same benefits that British taxpayers are entitled to via their decades of annual tax payments.

After March 29th 2019, the UK will have entered the 21st-century where people will apply to reside in the UK and their ability to work in the country will be based on their merits rather than on their ability to run across a border.

In the future, immigrants will be perceived to be a welcome addition to the UK instead of being perceived as a potential security threat.

Which will result in a fundamental change in how Britons feel about immigrants in a general sense, and how they feel about their foreign co-workers and neighbours.

Welcome to the 21st-century!

Why the UK Should Match Canada’s 15% Corporate Tax Rate

by John Brian Shannon

Canada’s corporate tax rate remains at 15% and that low tax rate was one of the reasons the country essentially cruised unharmed through the financial crash of 2008 and its bloody aftermath.

Throughout the global financial meltdown Canada easily led all G7 countries in growth (although Canadian growth was curtailed as compared to pre-crash projections) and the country didn’t need to increase taxes, nor make major fiscal or monetary adjustments during that period.

Corporate Income Tax Rates for Canada in 2018.

Corporate Income Tax Rates for Canada in 2018. For active business income — includes all rate changes announced up to June 15, 2018. Information courtesy of www.EY.com

Although the country isn’t thought of as an offshore tax haven by any stretch, having a 14.5% corporate tax rate during the global economic crisis (it’s since risen to 15%) meant the country avoided the exodus of capital that other nations experienced.

That reasonable corporate tax rate as much as any other factor helped Canada to survive and thrive in the face of one of the most damaging economic meltdowns in modern history.

Money fleeing the country to low corporate taxation destinations is NOT what the UK government needs any time over the next decade.


Will There be Another Recession?

Of course there will be another recession. Recessions in Western countries occur every 25-years on average although unexpected economic shocks have been known to occur. Just because the average interregnum is 25-years, doesn’t mean recessions can’t also happen randomly — which means that the UK needs to begin playing it smart, now, to better survive the next global downturn.


Why Match Canada’s Rate?

Canada’s corporate tax rate just happens to fall within an economic ‘sweet spot’ — high enough that it doesn’t get named and shamed as an offshore tax haven (which tend to get a lot of bad press when a recession is on) yet is close enough to other developed nation corporate tax rates that it doesn’t get a bad reputation.

All else being equal, you want to go with what works. And Canada’s low corporate taxation plan worked wonders to help the country coast through the last recession — and it performed even better than expected, pre- and post-recession.

Sure, there were nervous moments here and there, nobody denies that. But that 15% rate combined with a steady hand on the economic tiller by Mr. Mark Carney then-governor of the Bank of Canada (now governor of the Bank of England) and the country under the steady leadership of (then-Prime Minister) Stephen Harper added gravitas and confidence to the Canadian economy at a time it was needed.

That’s all it takes to survive and thrive in recessionary times, folks.


Philip Hammond’s Next Budget

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond should match Canada’s corporate income tax rates exactly, and publicly commit to that at Spring Budget 2019. Or even better, in Autumn Budget 2018.

Due to Brexit there is a real need to write both a spring and autumn budget each year, at least until the 2-year implementation period is complete.

Lowering corporate taxes could mean less revenue for HM government. That’s a possibility. But there are positives to a lower corporate income tax rate for the UK, particularly during the present economic uncertainty:

  1. More companies will move their headquarters to the UK to obtain a better corporate tax rate.
  2. More UK companies will decide to stay in the UK rather than leave it for (perceived) greener pastures during this period of economic uncertainty, although they could well have plans to return 5-years on from Brexit. (But can you count on that?)
  3. UK-based companies will have more money to invest in their UK operations, to increase non-labour purchases, and perhaps expand their existing factories, facilities, or number of retail outlets.
  4. UK companies that presently fear Brexit may hurt their business may find that as the UK corporate income tax rate falls to 15% it gives them a competitive advantage of 5% they didn’t have prior to this (proposal). Less fear and better after-tax profits. ‘Gotta like that’ said every CEO ever.
  5. Instead of the government needing to stimulate the economy, increased spending by UK companies flush with newfound cash will help to stabilize the economy now and through the 2-year implementation period via increased spending and hiring.
  6. Hiring more workers with a 5% tax savings means more revenue for HM government — as many of those workers will earn enough to pay an average 45%-55% personal income tax rate.

That’s just a short list of the benefits of lowering the corporate income tax rate to 15% and if the tax reduction announcement is timed correctly HM Revenue and Customs shouldn’t suffer any loss of revenue — and it’s possible that HMRC may receive slightly more revenue courtesy of additional personal income tax contributions if companies go on a hiring spree with their saved money.


Here’s a bonus graphic to show *what can happen* when you cut the UK corporate income tax rate…

UK Corporate Income Tax Rate drop

UK Corporate Income Tax Rate drop increased tax revenue by 50% from 2010-2016. Image courtesy Daily Mail.