Don’t grow old!

When I was a lot younger I remember older people telling me not to grow old. Thanks to the NHS and better nutrition most of us live longer lives than our grandparents or great grandparents did, but greater age brings more health problems. At 78 I already consume a handful of pills morning and night, and tend to take a lift rather than use the stairs. I have a marked reduction in energy to do normal everyday things and often need a nap during the day. In spite of those constraints I am still actively involved in my local party and I volunteer and engage in creative activities (as well as editing Lib Dem Voice).

Occasionally people make assumptions about me – last year a car salesperson asked me if I knew how to use Google, and my grandson asked me if I knew what RAM is (even though he had one of my books on Computing on his shelves). I don’t think I’ve really come across deliberate ageism as such, but I could quote many cases of unconscious/institutional bias. The latter mainly arise because younger people just can’t imagine what the limitations are as you get older.

I was struck by some of the comments around the proposals to close down ticket offices across the rail network. Some older people struggle with ticket machines – these can be challenging if their eyesight is poor, or they have weak manual dexterity. Others find online booking difficult, if not impossible, especially if they don’t have a smart phone or tablet. Even once online the complications of widely varying pricing and competing train companies can stump some.  Most people want to remain independent for as long as possible – and that is good for their mental health – but these challenges push people towards greater dependency on others, or force them to give up travelling by train.

Five people describe the problems in The Guardian. One says:

Increasingly, with age and arthritis, ticket machines and my smartphone are too difficult to use. I sometimes get into a muddle operating a ticket machine, especially if a train is about to arrive. I do have a computer but my fingers don’t work very well any more on the keyboard.

During the Covid pandemic I used my camper van but if my local ticket office closes I might end up driving more, which is ridiculous because it costs me more because of the ULEZ (ultra-low emission zone). Not to mention the increase in pollution.

Closing ticket offices is yet another example of ageism creeping into society and people like me are feeling more and more marginalised. It makes growing older in this uncaring country unpleasant and scary. This is no country for old people.

We should all be making these points forcibly to train companies.

Older people already have protection from age discrimination in the workplace, but the vast majority of over 70s are not in employment, so it does not help them directly. We need rules that enforce the Government to consider the impact of all legislation on older people.

Back in 2010 the party published its manifesto for older people. That addressed some of the issues but there is plenty of scope for the development of new Lib Dem policy here.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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42 Comments

  • Barry Lofty 6th Jul '23 - 5:15pm

    A very good article, I am not completely ignorant of modern technology but do find that many barriers are needlessly and thoughtlessly put in place that make everyday life unnecessarily more difficult for older people ie car parking with no cash alternative to an app or mobile phone payment. Local councils are as much to blame for this as they would rather hive off the collection of payments to some remote private company who take the profits and the fat fines from the unwary motorist, hospital parking, in many cases, has also been hived out to private companies thus depriving the NHS of funds?
    As Mary Reid states at the beginning of her article, Don’t grow old, but on reflection it is probably better than the alternative.?

  • John McHugo 6th Jul '23 - 6:04pm

    Very interesting article, Mary.

    When I use my branch of the Nationwide BS (because I don’t like computer banking) or go to the station to buy a ticket for a future journey, the staff actively encourage me to use online services. I wonder if they are willing themselves into redundancy.

    I have an older cousin (aged around eighty) who has never got to grips with email.

  • Steve Trevethan 6th Jul '23 - 6:15pm

    Might it be that the principal purposes of the closures are to “save” money by reducing the workforce and to make the remaining workforce more compliant?

    Where does the “saved” money go?

    Might our party leadership adopt the “double entry” book keeping approach and always demand to know where monies come from and to whom they go?

    Might it be that (all) privatised essential services now have two purposes, which are:
    1) To appear to do what they are expected/alleged to do, in this case running an efficient railway service
    2) To concentrate on the extraction of as much money as possible from the public to go to the senior executives and shareholders?

    Might this model also fit the water/sewage industry?

  • Peter Davies 6th Jul '23 - 8:29pm

    “Even once online the complications of widely varying pricing and competing train companies can stump some”

    Picking an option randomly online generally produces a cheaper fare than asking at a ticket office. Ticket office staff generally work for a train company and will often sell you the wrong ticket rather than one for a rival. RedSpottedHanky.com and thetrainline.com compete with each other and try to get you the best price.

    Of course the answer is not helpful staff or web sites. It’s a simple and affordable fare structure. London may be the most expensive public transport system of any major capital but at least I can have a rough guess at the cheapest way from A to B and pay for it with two taps of a card. The national network could easily bring in a consistent pricing policy. A London style payment system would be a big project but it needs to happen.

  • James Fowler 6th Jul '23 - 9:40pm

    ‘This is no country for old people’. Really? Is your Guardian commentator sure about that? I’m certain that this country provides best deal for old people there’s ever been, given the share of national resources, accumulated property and capital devoted to their prosperity and continued well being. But privilege engenders entitlement rather than gratitude. Today’s elderly are the wealthiest and most secure elderly there have ever been in Britain. Clearly some of them feel that isn’t enough, and that workers owe them more in taxes – to pay for keeping ticket offices open, for example.

  • James Fowler – if you are disabled then it doesn’t matter how wealthy you are if the only route to where you want to go is via a long flight of steps. Yes, today’s retired people are (on average) more prosperous than previous generations but that doesn’t magically remove the very real restrictions they feel. Someone is not going to learn how to use a computer for the first time as they head towards dementia. And we mustn’t forget that averages do not reveal the extremes – there are plenty of old people living in poverty, whose life is made even more difficult if they can’t (and can’t afford to) navigate modern digital life.

  • Nonconformistradical 6th Jul '23 - 10:05pm

    @James Fowler
    Money doesn’t necessarily help you that much if you’re struggling to get around due to decaying bodywork.

    I don’t know how old you are but the older you get the more you’re likely to understand the different set of difficulties faced by the elderly (me included, suffering from increasing mobility problems due to osteoarthritis). Those difficulties may include bodywork problems, vision problems, dementia-type problems etc. All making life more difficult and possibly costing a lot.

    You refer to “continued well being”. Old age and well being don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

  • Peter Davies 6th Jul ’23 – 8:29pm:
    The national network could easily bring in a consistent pricing policy. A London style payment system would be a big project but it needs to happen.

    Such reform has been promised by the new Great British Railways. It’s another Brexit benefit of being free from the EU’s ’single market’.

    ‘Rail reform is not just necessary but essential to customers, communities and costs’ [September 2022]:
    https://gbrtt.co.uk/keep-informed/blogs/need-for-rail-reform/

    Great British Railways will make the most of modern technology to simplify fares and tickets – making the railway easier to use with more contactless, pay-as-you-go technology, and making sure passengers get the best price for their journey.

    ‘A simpler, better approach to driving revenue growth’ [September 2022]:
    https://gbrtt.co.uk/keep-informed/blogs/simpler-approach-to-revenue-growth/

    One of the biggest changes customers will see is a modernisation of fares, ticketing and retailing. In many ways, the confusing status quo is the opposite of what a simpler, better railway ought to look like.

    In late 2021 GBRTT unlocked £360m of funding to deliver transformational changes to the way rail is paid for and experienced. Digital ticketing, London-style tap-in tap-out payments in urban centres around the country, a new single industry online retail channel and app, and a modernised in-station retailing experience are an opportunity to reset how rail delivers.

  • Angie Harris 7th Jul '23 - 8:21am

    Brilliantly put Mary! Thank you. Already written to LNER (my local train company) who are proposing to shut the ticket office in Darlington. I nearly always have to queue for help there (one of their arguments is that they aren’t used enough!) and I often see people having difficulties at the ticket machines. Just like ATMs our banks decided we could simply use credit/debit cards rather than provide us with the ability to get cash from the wall, so this is the next insidious removal of our choice of how we actually pay for stuff. We must fight this!

  • 1. I’ve no idea, Jeff, how the EU is to blame for the way the British government (uniquely) botched rail privatisation.
    2. James F, envy/jealousy issues towards those one perceives to be better off than oneself just create bitterness. And can be counter-productive. But which older people do you imagine use public transport – cash-rich, able-bodied ones or those who either cannot drive or cannot afford to run a car?
    3. Ticket offices are also good when you get to a station and find the ticket machine(s) out of service!
    4. The idea of staff ‘around the station’ is good, but suspect it’s just a two-stage way to cut a LOT of jobs. Move people out of the offices on to the platforms, wait a while, then cut the ‘un-productive’ platform staff as ‘vital cost-cutting’.

  • I have a private one-person crusade to keep people in employment by (for example) using the staffed checkout at the supermarket, the ticket office at the station and the bank counter which has a human being behind it. The other benefit this always has is a brief moment of conversation – for some people this may be the only live interaction they have with another person all day. The more automated everything gets, the more people are forced into their own private spaces (whether they want to be or not) and the more our social structures break down.

  • For those who’ve not seen it, there’s a petition:
    https://www.wfelibdems.uk/campaigns/save-ticket-offices

  • @Margaret – “The more automated everything gets, the more people are forced into their own private spaces (whether they want to be or not) and the more our social structures break down.”

    This is perhaps the most important reason.

    Recently, I listened to a discussion about the increasing number of deaths caused by cattle being aggressive towards people in recent years. The much reduced interaction with humans was put as one of the possible causes…

  • Chris Moore 7th Jul '23 - 12:42pm

    Jeff, I’ve lived in various European countries that are members of the Single Market. All have much better railway systems in every respect than the UK.

  • Chris Moore 7th Jul '23 - 12:53pm

    In absolute terms, the Spanish railway system is excellent, for example. This is in an economically poorer country than the UK.

    There are all sorts of reasons why the UK railways are poor: the Single Market is not one of them.

  • Cassie 7th Jul ’23 – 8:57am:
    I’ve no idea, Jeff, how the EU is to blame…

    I didn’t say they were (in fact, the EU’s Fourth Railway Package adopted the UK’s franchise model). Peter (and many others) are advocating a “simple” and “consistent pricing policy” for the whole rail network. That’s only possible now we are outside the EU’s ‘single market’ (previous embedded link).

    Norway is partially in the EU ‘single market’ (not for food or agricultural products) and was therefore required to open rail services to competition (privatisation). They now have four train operators, Vy, SJ NORD, Go Ahead, and FlyToGet. Their national ticket sales operation, Entur, is similar to Trainline and has a similarly confusing morass of ticket options, pricing and travel conditions as in the UK…

    ‘Buying and using Tickets & Rail Passes in Norway’:
    https://showmethejourney.com/train-ticket-guides/norway-tickets-and-rail-passes/

    One notable train service not sold by Entur is the Flytoget airport express service in Oslo.

    …what can be confusing is that the names which Entur uses for specific types of ticket can be out of sync with the names of tickets that the train companies use, …

    ….what cannot be looked up on Entur is an overview of all the types of ticket sold by Vy, SJ NORD or Go Ahead.

    …Entur uses ‘Premium’ to designate 1st class, despite the train companies having different branding…

    …Vy, SJ NORD and Go Ahead set their own terms [for] bicycles…

  • Chris Moore 7th Jul '23 - 3:28pm

    Why light on Norway?

    The several EU countries I know best have uncomplicated pricing for railways, as well as being in the single market and having a competitive offer.

    Honestly, it’s not complicated: you put where you want to go. And you get a range of options you can order by price. There is more than one provider.

    You’re really scraping the barrel on this one, Jeff. Honestly, come over to Spain and I’ll guide your finger to the cheapest option.

  • Gordon Lishman 7th Jul '23 - 3:33pm

    Thanks, Mary.
    Your comment on computing reminds me of a comment I heard about these prejudices in relation to older people and computing: “which generation do you think invented it”?
    It remains true, however, that some people don’t need computers, some people have physical difficulties, and some of us don’t see the need for using all the modern media because we have better ways of spending our time.
    Discrimination against older people and prejudice about both older and young people are the most commonly experienced forms of discrimination and prejudice as reported in surveys.
    The worst form of prejudice is that which makes the Marxist mistake of regarding any group of people as “a self-regarding class”; that is a single group or generation, united in their status and beliefs and pursuing their own interests. If you think about it, people between say 60 and 110 are unlikely to be all the same!
    The fact that the 2008 pension reforms (plus Steve Webb’s later additions) moved a large number of older people from just below the poverty line to just above it does not mean that all older people are rich in terms of either wealth or income. I am quite proud of my role in achieving that, particularly for older women, but there are still improvements to be made, especially during a cost of living crisis.

  • @Jeff – “Brexit Benefit” – A little more research perhaps?
    That “The EU’s Fourth Railway Package” you refer too, started life in Westminster, hence why it advocates the UK model…

    A little ironic that a “Brexit Benefit” is a freedom to discard policies that the governing party in Westminster deemed were desirable and so pushed the EU to adopt…

  • Nonconformistradical 7th Jul '23 - 4:10pm

    @Gordon Lishman
    “ome of us don’t see the need for using all the modern media because we have better ways of spending our time.”
    You said it! I don’t want any technology which doesn’t make it easier (and maybe cheaper) to do something I need to do, not something in which I have no interest in doing.

  • Mick Taylor 7th Jul '23 - 5:18pm

    @Martin. Yes, indeed, Luxembourg does have fares free pubic transport, inside the single market. Who do you suppose introduced it? Luxembourg’s Liberal government!

  • Peter Martin 7th Jul '23 - 10:16pm

    @ Roland,

    You’re missing the point about a Brexit freedom to discard certain policies. I personally would like to fully reinstate the British Rail model. However, I can well appreciate that those who might disagree on the model itself might agree that the question should be decided by the voting UK public and and that those live elsewhere should not have, nor should have ever had, any say in the matter.

    I can’t see why the EU wants to interfere with how any particular sovereign country wishes to run its own transport system by the publication of such directives as the “fourth railway package”.

    If Luxembourg wants to have free public transport within its borders that’s fine by me! If the Luxembourg people also want to fully nationalise all buses, taxis, trains and trams, or even do just the opposite, that’s OK too. Anyone who doesn’t live there should keep right out of it.

  • Chris Moore 8th Jul '23 - 6:10am

    As you say, Peter, Luxembourg can do what it wants and it does. Good for little Luxembourg!

  • Peter Martin 8th Jul '23 - 8:27am

    @ Chris Moore,

    “There are all sorts of reasons why the UK railways are poor: the Single Market is not one of them.”

    You’re right.

    The are, IMO, poor because of the botched privatisation process. We can say the same thing about the utilities: mail, gas, water and electricity.

    Having said this, there is no doubt that the Single Market has encouraged, some would say forced, similar privatisations in the rest of the EU. However, other EU governments were far less willing to jump through all the hoops as required by the EU.

    Both the Lib Dems and the Labour Parties have been much more culpable than either have been prepared to admit. They simply didn’t do what they should have done to effectively oppose the Thatcherite economic and political agenda. If they had then it’s doubtful that Brexit would have occurred. So this failure came back to bite them in the end.

  • Alex Macfie 8th Jul '23 - 9:01am

    @Chris Moore: Not sure I agree about the Spanish railway system. I don’t like the fact that you always have to book a seat on a specific train, and RENFE often doesn’t run long enough trains at busy times, so trains are often “completo” throughout the day. I also don’t like the idea of the contrived “RyanRail” type services that exist in some countries, e.g. Ouigo in France. One good thing about the GB rail system is that it is “turn up and travel” by default and you can buy a through ticket to your final destination and not worry about who runs the particular service(s) you are travelling on.
    Cross-border train services in the EU are also patchy, particularly local services (although few are as bad as the Channel Tunnel crossing, where there is not and never has been any provision for ‘loca’l cross-border travel and it is now more difficult than it was before the CT was opened to simply hop across the channel as a foot passenger).

  • Chris Moore 8th Jul '23 - 9:42am

    Hello Alex,

    I usually book ahead with RENFE. But have also bought on the day. I wasn’t aware of the issue with short trains. Capacity may not be high in general? except in the mass transit systems near cities.

    I’ve never booked ahead on Euskotren. ((And also travelled with FEVE on the day.)) And there’s always capacity. Though sometimes standing is necessary in summer if your route goes to or past beach towns.

    Hi Peter, in reality the single market regulations are compatible with a dominant provider: RENFE in Spain. SNCF in France for example. Their dominance may be eroded in time or not.

    I don’t see either possible outcome as problematic in itself.

    I honestly can’t see how the LDs and their antecessor parties with their derisory representation in parliament could have effectively opposed the Thatcherite reforms!!

    Labour were better placed, but still couldn’t out-vote the Tories!

    Your love of saying the LDs were somehow responsible for Brexit reveals the fact that almost unknown to yourself you really appreciate everything the LDs have done for you……..

    Well overdue for you to join the party. As you can appreciate, eccentrics are very welcome.

  • Peter Martin 8th Jul '23 - 9:55am

    @ Chris Moore,

    “I honestly can’t see how the LDs and their antecessor parties with their derisory representation in parliament could have effectively opposed the Thatcherite reforms!!”

    This is precisely the problem!

    Lib Dems, and many in the Labour Party too, think that effective opposition is only possible through the Parliamentary system. The opposition to the Thatcherite Poll tax, which did force a backdown, was led by extra Parliamentary activity with the Parliamentary left tagging along.

    The biggest pool of potential supporters is to be found in the 40% or so of those who do register but don’t bother to vote. I don’t know how many don’t even bother to register. Ask them why and the most common reply is that “they’re all the same”.

    In many way they are right. We see that now in the so-called opposition to various Government bills. It is half- hearted at best.

  • Chris Moore 8th Jul '23 - 11:40am

    The Poll Tax was a particularly striking error which came after many years of Thatcher in power, when she’d already lost much of her original popularity.

    Earlier, the miners’ strike, for example, had ended in defeat for the miners.

    The most notable LD extra-parliamentary activity in recent decades was a leading role in unsuccessful protests against the Iraq war.

    In any case, I’m against street rule.

  • Chris Moore 8th Jul '23 - 11:59am

    Also, there were massive street protests against Brexit in which LDs participated and which, of course, got nowhere.

    So I’m totally unpersuaded by your surprising veer towards the street.

  • Alex Macfie 8th Jul '23 - 5:40pm

    @Peter Davies
    “Ticket office staff generally work for a train company and will often sell you the wrong ticket rather than one for a rival.”
    Ticket agents are required by law to sell train tickets impartially. So if they ever act as you are alleging, then they are breaking the law and you can take them to court. Most walk-up tickets are inter-available anyway so the question doesn’t arise. Ticket offices have access to the same database as the online providers so sell the same range of tickets. However, certain tickets are still only available from ticket offices, e.g. Boundary Zone tickets, for combining with Travelcards to travel outside the Travelcard area without paying twice for the same journey. So unless these ticket types become available from online retailers and ticket vending machines, they will become practically impossible to buy without ticket offices.

    The requirement to sell impartially was brought in with privatisation, and actually represents an improvement from British Rail. It’s fairly well known now that splitting tickets can result in a cheaper fare. And the impartiality rule means that if a customer asks at the ticket office for split tickets, the agent is required to sell it. Even pre-privatisation there were some such anomalies, but the ticket staff could (and often would) refuse to sell a cheaper split-ticket combination, insisting you buy the more expensive through ticket.

  • Helen Dudden 10th Jul '23 - 6:53pm

    I agree that probably most of us older people know a little more than given credit for.

    Never would I have thought I would be making this comment. Needing an accessible property to live in with my Power Wheelchair. Waiting more than 7 years for a wet room, I fell from the very small shower tray. No seat.

    Anyone with a suitable property please think of me. As I comment for Habinteg on the subject of lack of homes because of the dire state of things.

    This is the shocking state of our country today.

  • Chris Moore 7th Jul ’23 – 3:28pm:
    Why light on Norway?

    Norway obediently transposed Directive (EU) 2016/2370 into law and implemented it before the pandemic. Most EU members dragged their feet and then the pandemic delayed introduction….

    ‘Ireland will not agree to railway privatisation, says Minister’ [September 2015]:
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/ireland-will-not-agree-to-railway-privatisation-says-minister-1.2363998

    ‘EU orders Greece and Ireland to transpose rules on opening rail passenger market’ [August 2019]:
    https://labourheartlands.com/eu-orders-greece-and-ireland-to-transpose-rules-on-opening-rail-passenger-market/

    Competitive tendering started EU-wide in 2019, although the government and local authorities can invoke get-out clauses that will delay effective free-tender competition until 2033 the EU are pushing their rail privatisation ‘Directive’.

    The several EU countries I know best have uncomplicated pricing for railways,…

    Most EU countries are only just starting to open their passenger rail services to competition…

    ‘French Renfe subsidiary approved’ [June 2023]:
    https://www.railway-technology.com/news/french-renfe-subsidiary-approved/

    The approval means that the spanish operator can start running services in France “imminently”

    Expect to see some lower fares, but more complexity.

  • Peter Martin 11th Jul '23 - 7:48am

    Lib Dems do argue, and of course it is a good argument, that political power should be devolved to local communities on the basis that they are better equipped to decide the correct policies for themselves.

    However, the contradiction is in their support for such a highly centralised organisation as the EU. For example, instead of letting national governments get on with running their transport systems as they see fit, the EU issues ‘directives’ on how they should do it.

    If the EU doesn’t want to interfere, as many Lib Dems try to tell us, why write the directives in the first place? It’s not just about transport and railways of course. This is just an example.

    We do appreciate that some countries are much better than we were in getting around all EU directives, but it is still an odd argument to use. Lib Dems are essentially saying that the EU isn’t so really so bad because ways can always be found to counter its interference.

    There isn’t really much difference between us Leavers and former Remainers. It was only about the best method of doing that.

  • Alex Macfie 11th Jul '23 - 4:20pm

    “and my grandson asked me if I knew what RAM is” but does he know that what the letters R A M actually stand for is misleading?

  • Helen Dudden 11th Jul '23 - 7:44pm

    Ram is a male sheep.

  • David Evans 12th Jul '23 - 9:56am

    Peter Martin. You are grossly oversimplifying to the point of misrepresentation when you state “Lib Dems do argue, and of course it is a good argument, that political power should be devolved to local communities on the basis that they are better equipped to decide the correct policies for themselves.”

    The simple fact is that Lib Dems know that political power needs be placed at the level where it can best be used to achieve the objectives desired. Often this is more local because political bureaucracies continually seek to accumulate power around themselves and away from people.

    However, dealing with big issues like climate change or the abuse of power by huge multinationals can only be dealt with effectively by multinational organisations like the EU.

    The key role of politicians is to hold the people running those organisations in check, and you have to continually find ways to do this and you don’t always get it right. However delay is one way to allow problems to emerge and a effective remedies found.

    Leave removed our input into that process and was used to alienate us from our friends within the EU.

  • Peter Martin 12th Jul '23 - 10:52am

    @ David

    If you’d said the UN rather than the EU….! Climate change is a global problem and even the EU isn’t going to solve it any better than the individual countries that are members. They have seats at the UN. The EU doesn’t.

    On the point of standing up to the multinationals and international capitalism generally you’d have to be wearing a pair of Lib Dem issue rose coloured spectacles to see much benefit there. The only country, as far as I know, which sent any banker to jail over the 2008 financial crash was Iceland (pop ~ 300k). They aren’t part of any multinational organisation such as the EU although they are in the international organisation of the UN. There is a difference between multinationalism and internationalism.

    Many on the centre left promote a Pan Europeanism as the only way of taking on the powers of corporations. The idea is that the Nation state is dead. This is what the multinationals want you to think! Consider the facts: Corporations do not have armies, police forces, civil servants etc. They cannot make laws. They don’t have votes other than for the individuals involved. They have to manipulate the legislative process in their favour. It’s easier to do that with the EU as whole than for its constituent components. Much easier to write an EU directive saying how there needs to be a “free market” in this or that than getting 27 countries to do the same thing individually.

  • Alex Macfie – ““and my grandson asked me if I knew what RAM is” but does he know that what the letters R A M actually stand for is misleading?” I don’t suppose he does – but I do!!

  • Helen Dudden 13th Jul '23 - 12:54pm

    Mary Reid. My knowledge of computing is to charge and switch on.

  • David Evans 13th Jul '23 - 6:03pm

    Peter,

    Sorry about UN typo.

    But you really do have a way of finding one single point and oversimplifying it to an extreme degree to support your views. You seem to want to decry the EU and say it is worse as a collective body for nations than the individual countries without any reference to evidence but then imply that the UN (an organisation where six individual countries have a veto) is better. However, the UN would be next to useless in dealing with say the impact of the lowering of summer river levels in Europe. The EU would at lest have a chance of coming to an agreement.

    It’s an interesting view you have on corporations and their lack of an army, police force or civil servants. Indeed, but i haven’t heard of anyone threatening to invade or arrest the US because of the actions of meta, twitter, amazon, illumina etc.

    But you may be right – they could have sent a sternly worded memo or two.

  • Peter Martin 13th Jul '23 - 8:16pm

    @ David Evans,

    Now you’re deliberately missing the point by introducing some absurd argument about invading the USA .

    Whenever Amazon, Meta etc are accused of not paying their fair share of taxes their justification is that they always pay the taxes they are required to by law. We do have all the power we need to ensure that the multinationals do cough up by changing our tax laws.

    One favoured method is to require country by country reporting. I personally would make it much simpler and calculate their UK profits from their Global profits on the proportion of their total turnover in the UK. Google(UK) is subject to UK law just like any other company. What Google can get away with in the USA is the US govt’s problem.

    Why would we need the EU to help with that? They are about as useful as a chocolate tea pot in any case! This is not a new problem. We were previously in the EU for as long as most people can remember and what good did that do? The EU isn’t against tax havens. Luxembourg and Ireland are now the two main ones within the EU. When we were members so was Gibraltar. Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, the Vatican, Lichtenstein, the Channels Islands, even Switzerland may not actually be in the EU and have never been in the EU, but nothing serious have ever been done to try to put a stop to their tax dodging activities.

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