Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Trillion Pound Cost of Net Zero


 

You know, that ludicrous idea where we magically poof away all our carbon emissions? 

It turns out, according to the House of Lords, it might be a tad pricier than your average eco-tote bag and reusable straw combo.

Achieving net zero emissions – basically, balancing out all the carbon we chuck into the atmosphere – could cost a whole lot more than we previously thought. Like, way more. We're talking eye-watering sums that'd make even Elon Musk do a spit-take with his Dogecoin martini.

Olivier Blanchard, former head economist at the International Monetary Fund, dropped this financial bombshell on the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. Apparently, transitioning to a low-carbon economy is "necessary," but also "much more expensive than people imagine." 

Who knew?

The cost to the UK?

A "mere" £1 Trillion!

People need to wake up to the cost of this insanity before the West totally bankrupts itself!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Haldane Calls For Rate Cut

Andy Haldane, the former chief economist of the Bank of England (BoE) and known hawk, has thrown a cat amongst the pigeons by urging the central bank to cut interest rates. This comes despite the BoE holding rates steady for the fourth consecutive time earlier this month, citing concerns about inflation.

Haldane's Argument:

  • Sluggish growth: He argues that the UK economy is facing "anemic growth" at best, with the risk of a deeper recession looming.
  • Taming inflation: Inflation has fallen from over 11% to 4%, suggesting room for loosening monetary policy.
  • Credibility at stake: He warns that the BoE risks losing credibility if it doesn't adjust its stance as economic conditions change.

 

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Friday, February 16, 2024

ECB Infested With Net Zero Zealots


 

The ECB has become infested with Net Zero zealots who tolerate no suggestion that the climate change mantra may be wrong. 

Frank Elderson, who is the bank’s climate czar and vice-chair of its supervisory arm, spoke at a meeting and stated that people who did not believe in climate change should not work at the bank.

Elderson, one of six members of the ECB’s executive board, told an internal meeting

“I don’t want these people anymore.” 

Elderson forgets that the ECB's role is to control inflation, not tackle non existent climate change. Unless the ECB remembers its actual mission, wrt inflation, the people of Europe will find themselves bankrupted by these zealots.

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Thursday, February 15, 2024

GDP Fell 0.3% in Q4


 

The UK has fallen into recession. The latest ONS figures show gross domestic product shrank by 0.3% in Q4 2023. That follows a 0.1% contraction in Q3. 

Given that the ONS is useless, we all know that these figures will be revised in the coming months.

However, the real issue lies in the GDP per head which shows that migration is hiding the actual decline in GDP which was 0.7% in 2023.

No wonder governments love migration, and using the basic GDP figure, it hides the truly appalling GDP per head figures!

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Southern Water Hacked

Southern Water are sending out emails to customers wrt a recent hack of their database.

"Cyber attack: important information about your personal data  

I am very sorry to inform you that Southern Water has been the target of an illegal cyber attack, which has unfortunately affected the security of some of your personal data, as one of our customers.

We are currently conducting an intensive investigation into this, supported by industry experts and following guidance from our regulators together with the National Cyber Security Centre. Our operations and services have not been impacted and your water supply is unaffected.

As a result of this investigation, we have reason to believe that the data stolen and at risk, and which relates to you, may include:

  • Basic personal details for administering your account and identifying you, such as your name and contact details. This may include your national insurance number and date of birth if you have provided these details to us.

  • Financial information including your sort code, bank account number and payment reference number.

What we are doing to reduce the risk to you  

Southern Water takes its data protection and information security responsibilities to you seriously, and so we are bringing this to your attention as soon as we can. We are working closely with the regulatory authorities. We have notified the Information Commissioner’s Office and are in regular contact with the National Cyber Security Centre. In addition, we have taken further steps, with support from independent cybersecurity experts, to enhance the security monitoring of our IT infrastructure.

We have also engaged a reputable third party to monitor the dark web on our behalf. They report that, since we were named on the cyber criminals’ site on 22 January 2024, they have found no new evidence of data potentially compromised by this cyber incident being published online. They will continue to carry out these checks for as long as necessary.

To ensure that we’re doing everything we can to look after you, we are offering you a 12-month, free-of-charge, enhanced Experian credit monitoring membership. This service provides identity monitoring and helps detect possible misuse of your personal information. It also supports identification and resolution of identity theft incidents....

What is the background?  

On 22 January 2024 we became aware that a cyber criminal organisation was claiming on its website to have stolen data from some of our IT systems.

We had previously detected suspicious activity and launched an investigation, as well as enhanced monitoring and other precautionary measures. Our independent cyber security specialists continue to investigate.

What happens next?  

The information we have provided is based on what we know at this time. Our investigation remains active, and should we receive any additional material information, we will contact you.

Once again, I am very sorry that this has happened and for any inconvenience this illegal breach of data may cause you. We are working closely with the authorities and industry experts, to do everything possible to manage the situation and support you at this time.

Please call our dedicated customer service team on 0330 303 0025 if you have any questions.

FURTHER INFORMATION  

The National Cyber Security Centre, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioners Office all provide helpful information to help protect your data and prevent fraud. This is summarised below with some useful links.

- Stay alert against any suspicious calls, texts or emails which could be a scam. If you receive any suspicious messages or calls, do not hand over any information such as your bank account details. Instead, hang up, or delete any worrying texts or emails and then contact your bank to report the suspicious activity. The FCA has some useful information on how to spot the warning signs of financial scams at www.fca.org.uk/consumers/protect-yourself-scams.

- Cyber criminals commonly use a scam technique called “phishing”, which is mostly email-based but can also be via telephone calls, to lure victims under false pretences to websites which appear legitimate to get them to provide information including bank account and credit card details. These emails/phone calls appear to be from recognisable sources such as banks but actually link to fraudulent websites. To help prevent phishing:

  • Protect your email with a strong password.

  • Do not share your password with anyone.

  • Install the latest security updates to your browser software and personal computing devices.

  • If in doubt, do not open emails from senders you do not recognise.

  • Check links look correct before you click on them.

  • Be suspicious of anyone who asks for your bank account or credit card details.

  • If the email contains spelling mistakes, this can be a sign that this is a phishing scam. Do not open the email or attachments.

- More helpful information on how to protect your data can be found on the National Cyber Security Centre’s website - www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/data-breaches and the Information Commissioner’s Office website – www.ico.org.uk/for-the-public/identity-theft and www.ico.org.uk/for-the-public/online."

Summary

  • Southern Water, a UK water utility company, confirmed that their IT systems were compromised in a cyberattack in January 2024.
  • Hackers stole data from a "limited portion" of their server infrastructure, affecting potentially hundreds of thousands of customers.
  • The data breach was claimed by the Black Basta ransomware group, who threatened to release the stolen information unless a ransom was paid.
  • Southern Water has not confirmed the extent of the data stolen, but reports suggest it may include names, addresses, and contact information.

Current situation:

  • Southern Water is working with cybersecurity experts to investigate the breach and monitor the dark web for any signs of leaked data.
  • No evidence of the stolen data being published online has been found so far.
  • The incident has been reported to the UK's Information Commissioner's Office.

Impact:

  • The affected customers have been notified and are advised to be cautious of phishing attempts or suspicious activity.
  • The full impact of the breach is still being assessed, but it could potentially lead to identity theft, financial fraud, or other forms of harm.

Additional resources:

 

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Inflation Holds Steady at 4%

As of today, February 14th, 2024, the latest inflation figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that the UK inflation rate remains unchanged at 4.0%. It had bneen expected to rsie to 4.1%.

While holding steady might seem like a positive sign, it's crucial to understand the bigger picture. Here's a breakdown of what the figures mean:

Key Points:

  • CPI inflation: Stands at 4.0%, up from 3.9% in November 2023.
  • CPIH inflation: Remains at 4.2%, unchanged from the previous month.
  • Monthly comparison: Both CPI and CPIH saw a 0.4% increase in December compared to November.
  • Long-term perspective: 4.0% inflation is still higher than the Bank of England's target of 2%.

What does this mean for you?

While an unchanged figure might offer some stability, It is important to realise that the figure is expected to drop significantly in the coming months.

Looking ahead:

The following factors will influence the future trajectory, including:

  • Global energy prices: Continued volatility in energy markets could fuel further inflation.
  • Supply chain disruptions: Ongoing issues with global supply chains could continue to push up prices.
  • Bank of England policy: The Bank's monetary policy decisions, particularly regarding interest rates, will play a crucial role in managing inflation.

Stay informed:

It's important to stay informed about inflation and its potential impact on your finances. Here are some resources to help you do so:

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Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Another Net Zero Failure

Net Zero is the worst possible solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

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Thursday, February 01, 2024

Interest Rates Remain at 5.25%

As expected the Bank of England didn't reduce rates, they remain unchanged at 5.25%.

Two members of the MPC voted for a 25bp hike, six for unchanged and one for a 25bp cut.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

OBR Screws Up Yet Again


 

Remember that OBR lot, the so-called "independent" watchdogs of Whitehall's wallet? 

Well, they've gone and done it again – tripped over their own spreadsheets and missed the December borrowing figures by a whopping six billion quid.

While the OBR were busy pencilling in a hefty £14bn December deficit, the actual figure came in at a measly £7.8bn. That's, as the Americans might say, a "yuge" £6bn miss – the kind that makes you question if these fiscal soothsayers even bother to look at the books before predicting the future.

So, what went wrong? 

Well, the usual suspects. VAT receipts were higher than the OBR's estimate, income tax took a surprise bite out of paychecks, and even government spending was a tad more restrained than expected. Turns out, sometimes reality doesn't always follow the OBR's economic origami models.

Now, the interesting bit. This unexpected borrowing bonanza has Chancellor Jeremy Hunt singing a different tune. Gone are the doom-and-gloom pronouncements about austerity and belt-tightening. Now, it's all sunshine and rainbows, with whispers of tax cuts dancing on the breeze. Apparently, when the coffers are unexpectedly full, even the tightest-fisted Tory starts feeling a bit generous. Suddenly, that £20 billion giveaway he's been whispering about doesn't seem so pie in the sky.

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Monday, January 22, 2024

The Fall of Lagarde


 

Over half of the ECB crew, the ones who actually crunch the numbers and sweat the spreadsheets, reckon that Christine Lagarde (head of the ECB) is a dud. A whopping 50.6% gave her a thumbs down, labelling her "very poor" or just plain "poor" in the first half of her eight-year term.

So, what's got the ECB crew grumbling like a pack of hungry hedge funds? Well, for starters, there's the whole inflation fiasco. Remember when Lagarde was all, "Nah, inflation's just transitory, like a bad perm"? Yeah, about that... Prices are skyrocketing faster than a Ferrari on nitrous, and the ECB's stuck in neutral, fiddling with its interest rates like a grandma trying to tune a dial-up modem.

Then there's the communication breakdown. Lagarde's speeches are about as clear as a bowl of alphabet soup after a toddler's tantrum. The markets are left scratching their heads, trying to decipher her cryptic pronouncements like they're lost in a Baudrillard seminar. No wonder the ECB's credibility is tanking faster than a meme stock during a market crash.

And let's not forget the whole "out of touch" vibe. Lagarde's jet-setting lifestyle and champagne-popping pronouncements don't exactly resonate with the average eurozone citizen who's struggling to afford groceries. It's like she's piloting the eurozone economy from a private jet while the rest of us are stuck in rush hour traffic on a broken-down moped.

The ECB needs to get its act together, and fast. Lagarde needs to listen to her staff, ditch the doublespeak, and start showing some real leadership. This is about livelihoods, jobs, and the future of the whole euro project.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Fujitsu Admits Moral Obligation - #PostOfficeScandal

The bill for compensation currently stands at £1BN, how much Fujitsu thinks it will contribute towards this remains to be seen.

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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Potential Motor Finance Payout - The Next PPI?

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