As more accusations appear about the behaviour of Trump it starts to feel like the world won’t be subjected to the uncertainty of him as president. However stranger things have happened even when it looked safe.
Did I just watch a small video on BBC News where an American woman was saying its ok it’s not as if Donald wants to be Pope….doesn’t that just say it all? I know it’s a generalisation but the Americans who live on the left or right sides of the country may be ok, it’s just the ones that don’t live next to an ocean may be the ones to worry about (oh come on, its slightly tongue in cheek)
Maybe Hadrian’s Wall could be moved to go around London and go down the middle of England, then those that want to stay in can move to the right of border and the leavers to the left, perhaps with a M4 corridor for the welsh?
Ryanair is starting some new services from Toulouse from Nov 1st ; a daily service to London Stansted along with regular services to Berlin, Brussels, Fez, Madrid, Malta and Warsaw. Flybe are adding daily flights from Toulouse to Manchester and Birmingham.
Email me if you would be interested in coming over to Routier to assist getting my garden back in order, the battle was lost some time ago. It’s not all heavy labour – there’s a lot of pruning cutting back and shifting into trailers to take to the tip. I can’t pay the enthusiastic but you will have a good lunch and copious cups of tea, let me know if this seems an attractive challenge.
Should you need a Toyota HDJ 80 Land Cruiser 1994 (I think), it’s the one that goes on for ever, let me know.
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Lost in France
Have you ever wondered about the driving skills or lack of them of your fellow road users? I would be surprised if you hadn’t.
I had this interchange of ideas with my neighbour once, who as many French males is particularly aggressive behind the wheel of his car.
I suggested to him that some people think it is better to drive on the left (yes, I know that about ⅞ of the world’s population drive on the right) because as a right-handed person you will always have your strongest hand on the wheel. I didn’t expand on the idea that in medieval times when travelling was done by horse between villages and towns if you passed a stranger you would always have your stronger side facing the on-coming person in case of attack.
His considered response was to ask how many left-handed people were there in the UK, I’m not sure why he asked that and I can assure you I didn’t misunderstand his French. I said it was the same number as the rest of the world, approximately 10% of the population. And I’m not sure why he would think that the UK was different to France in this regard. However, his next comment, after he had given it more thought, was to say it was wrong to drive on the left because surely it was better to have your strongest hand on the gear lever so that you could change gears quicker!
Napoleon Bonaparte was left-handed and he ordered his armies to march on the right so that he had his sword hand ready for battle or it could just have been that after the revolution it was decided to drive on the right just to be different.
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Should you consider transferring your Final Salary Pension?
A big question and something that raised a lot of interest at our recent Tour de Finance event that took place at the
There have been a number of recent changes within the UK economy and the UK pension world that make a review of
any pension(s) essential for those living or planning to live outside the UK.
Final Salary pension schemes (also referred to as Defined Benefit schemes) have long been viewed as a gold plated
route to a comfortable retirement. However, there is wide opinion now that there are likely to be large changes ahead in
the pension industry. The key question is will these schemes really be able to provide the promised benefits over the
next 20+ years?
Why Review now?
Record high transfer values
The calculation of transfer values from these types of scheme is complex. One of the factors that determines how much
the pension scheme has to pay to transfer a Member’ benefits is gilt yields, which are at an all-time low. This has resulted
in transfer values to be at an all-time high and we are finding that some transfer values have increased by over 30% in
the last 12 months.
Actuaries Hyman Robertson now calculate the total deficits on the remaining UK final salary pension schemes as
£1 Trillion! Since the employers are ultimately responsible for funding the cost of the pension benefits, unless they have
very deep pockets, this puts the security of the benefits at risk.
The final salary pension schemes of these two companies have been in the news. These recent examples show that
the very large deficits of their final salary pension schemes cause a number of problems; in particular no one wants to
purchase these struggling companies as the pension deficits are too big a burden to take on.
Could the Government be forced to change the laws to allow schemes to reduce benefits? A reduction in the benefits
will reduce the deficits and make the companies more attractive to purchasers. There is a strong argument that saving
thousands of jobs is in the national interest, if that just means trimming down some of these "gold plated benefits".
Pension Protection Fund (PPF)
This fund has been set up to help the schemes that do get into financial trouble, but two points are key. Firstly, it is not
guaranteed by the Government and secondly the remaining final salary schemes have to pay large premiums (a levy) to
the PPF in order to fund the insolvent schemes. As more schemes fall into the PPF, there are less remaining schemes
that have to share the burden of this cost. Their premium costs will increase, as there will be less remaining schemes to
fund the PPF levy.
It is likely the PPF will end up with the same problems as the remaining final salary schemes, as it is unlikely to have the
money to pay the "promises" for the pensioners. Additionally, the PPF will most likely have to reduce the benefits they
Pension changes that have already happened
Inflationary increases have already been allowed to change from Retail Prices Index (RPI) to Consumer Prices Index
(CPI). This change looks reasonably small, but over a lifetime this could reduce the benefits by between 25% and 30%.
In April 2015, unfunded Public Sector pension schemes have removed the ability for transfers, so schemes for nurses,
firemen, army personnel, civil service workers etc. can no longer transfer their pensions. Now these are blocked, it will
be easier to make changes to reduce the benefits and no one is able to respond by transferring out of the schemes.
When this rule was being considered the authorities also wanted to block the transfer of funded schemes, i.e. most final
salary schemes that are available. This could come back onto the discussion table in the future.
Autumn Statement (Budget)
This is on 23 November 2016. Could the Government make any further changes to UK pension rules? When Public
Sector pensions were blocked, there was a small window of time to transfer. However, most people couldn't get their
transfer values in time as the demand was so high. People who review their pensions now may at least have time to
Could Brexit end the ability to transfer pensions away from the UK?
Reasons why schemes are in difficulty:
People now expect to live around 27 years in retirement, when these schemes commenced the average number of
years in retirement was 13 years.
Lower Investment Returns
Investment returns have not been as high as expected. Also there has been a very large reduction in the amount
invested in equities in final salary schemes; this is now around 33%, but in 2006, the average equity content was 61.1%.
Benefits were too good
Simply, many of the final salary schemes were ‘too good’. In 2009, around 24% of employees’ salaries was needed to
fully fund final salary schemes that provided the standard level of benefit of 1/60th for each year of pensionable service.
In 2016, that rate is now 50%! Clearly, it is unrealistic to expect an employer to meet the liability.
What could happen in the Future?
An end to the ability to transfer out of all final salary schemes?
Increase the Pension Age, perhaps in line with the increase of the State Pension?
Reduction of Inflation increases, (already started as many now increase by CPI instead of RPI)?
Reduction of Spouse's benefit?
Increase of contributions from current members?
Lower starting income?
Act now! Review your pensions.
It does no harm at all to at least have a review of your pensions. In fact, it is prudent to do so. At The Spectrum IFA
Group, we carry out a full transfer analysis, which is in accordance with the UK Financial Conduct Authority rules,
before making any recommendation to transfer pension benefits. Doing nothing at all can often be an expensive mistake.
Hence, if you would like to have a confidential discussion about your pensions, or any other aspect of financial planning,
you can contact me by e-mail at email@example.com
or by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17 to make an appointment. Alternatively, if you are in Limoux, call by our office at
2 Place du Général Leclerc, 11300 Limoux, to see if an adviser is available immediately for an initial discussion.
The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation
from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of pensions, investment of financial assets
or on the mitigation of taxes.
The Spectrum IFA Group advisers do not charge any fees directly to clients for their time or for advice given, as can
be seen from our Client Charter at
SIRET 522 658 194 00017
Numéro d’immatriculation ORIAS 10 056 800
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The EU’s auditors have failed to sign off Brussels accounts for the 22nd year in a row, claiming that they are ‘materially affected by error’.
Some examples of waste include
The accountants had an ‘adverse opinion’ of the legality and regularity of EU payments, a term which is used only in serious cases of error. Congratulations to the EU, 22 years in a row…
Reported by Guido Fawkes
BOOK and FASHION
The Foyer, Cailhau
A chance to purchase some keenly priced quality outfits, jewellery and accessories, while you pick up your latest paperback.
Come and browse and perhaps take the opportunity to enjoy a coffee or lunch at A’Kotee at the same time.
Forum: http://csf.forum.org Local Association No : W112000594
Dear Steve - I was wondering if you could help?
We own a small property in Lavalette Aude which we let out during the summer months. The folk who have looked after it for the past decade are retiring and we need someone reliable, preferably in the area, who can clean, manage guest arrivals / changeovers etc garden and pool maintenance.
Do you know of anyone who might be looking for such a job?
I am coming over to France on 14th October and would be willing to meet anyone who might be interested in the job.
Appreciate any help or advice you can offer.
if interested i will pass mails on Just reply to this email
The string ensemble "Les Cordes Four Winds" looking for experienced musicians.
If you play the violin, viola, cello or double bass and would like to participate in our band, join us at our rehearsal "open door" November 6, 2016 at 14 h to Cambieure.
For further information: William Hedley, conductor, tel 04 68 60 02 08 -
Reference your article on parcelmonkey, I have found an equally efficient parcel force - Parcels2go.
We have just made a day trip from Toulouse to Gatwick, two empty folded cartons in our hand luggage, with prepaid and bar coded labels.
Filled same with "essential" groceries at Sainsburys, deposited at their reception as a DPD reception point et voila. Three days later a man in a white van called with the two cartons intact all for the price of £12.50 and an all'up weight of the two at 26 kilos. It beats Easyjets hold baggage cost at around €45.
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).
You wanted a female leader we’ve got one.Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (Look up 'vocabulary').
2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent.Guns should only be used for shooting grouse.If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with ketchup but with vinegar.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. Australianbeer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys.Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australiafirst to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
14. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs together with the Chancellor of the Exchequer(Second Lord of the Treasury) will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs. High quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) will be served when in season.
16. Your national anthem will be changed to “God Save the Queen”.
PETER DOHERTY 18 nov Bikini Toulouse
STEVE HARRIS BRITISH LION 8 NOV LE METRONUM TOULOUSE
JAKE BUGG 9 NOV BIKINI TOULOUSE
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL 22 to 26 Nov Zenith Toulouse
BIFFY CLYRO 29 JAN BIKINI TOULOUSE
CELTIC LEGENDS 28 MARCH Zenith Toulouse