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What Santa has for you

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Issue 1726

Inside the system

What Santa has for you

STUCK FOR ideas for Christmas presents? Worry no more! Inside the System has found the perfect solution in the Christmas special of the Financial Times How to Spend It magazine.

For that extra special gift, why not splash out on a diamond and emerald jewellery set? You can get the necklace for just 750,000, earrings for 240,000, a bracelet for 295,000 and a ring for 65,000. Or why not give that special someone a sterling silver millennium champagne bowl-at 195,000.

We realise not all our readers will be able to stretch to these prices. So if you’re a bit hard up, why not get a picnic hamper with a china picnic service? That’s a bargain 12,000. You could throw in a bottle of Dom Perignon Ros at just 155 a bottle.

Or what about a delightful spaghetti strap tulle and snakeskin column dress? It’s a snip at 6,220. Or if things are really tough, the sequinned, bat-wing sleeved mini dress is just 2,900 with a matching evening bag for 600. And if you’ve really hit rock bottom this year we recommend a Montblanc Boheme Rouge fountain pen at a very affordable 215. Merry Christmas shopping!

Whisky galore

CAZENOVE, Britain’s oldest broking firm, is to become a public company. Its 120 partners will each become multi-millionaires. The business will be floated in 2002 and it is expected to be valued at 1.5 billion. Cazenove has been the fixer in nearly every major takeover deal in the last 30 years and is believed to be the Queen’s stockbroker. The firm’s senior partner, David Mayhew, was arrested during the Guinness affair.

Milking a profit

HAVE YOU found getting a cup of coffee more and more expensive? No wonder. Coffee bars such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Coffee Republic have put up their prices by 15p.

Yet the owners of Starbucks and the rest are paying less than a quarter of the price for the coffee beans. The price of Brazilian coffee has tumbled from around 2 per pound in 1997 to 50p today.

Yet at Starbucks a cup of coffee has gone up from 1.60 a cup in May to 1.75 a cup today. The coffee bar chain owners can’t blame the price of beans so they are blaming high milk prices!

Phone an accountant

“I THINK toffs ought to line up in rows and sign on, and fight back a bit.” So said posh Who Wants to be a Millionaire? winner Judith Keppel last week as she pleaded for “toffs” to use the game show as a way of making more money. “It’s the last throw really,” she said. “They are stamping on us now. There’s no power base, no House of Lords.”

And if you have a million, it is easy to keep hold of it. An article in the Glasgow Herald last week exposed the tricks millionaires use to avoid paying tax. Multi-millionaire Lord Levy, for example, managed to pay just 5,000 in tax last year.

Here are a few tips:

  • Claim to live off the gains made by property investments.
  • Use the zero dividend preference shares issued by investment trusts.

Profit counts as capital gain, so you pay no tax.

  • Why not try single premium investment bonds? Your income and capital gains do not have to be declared during the life of the bonds.

Plus you can cash in 5 percent of the bond each year for 20 years, which means a tax free income of 50,000 a year if you invest your million.

HERE’S one pay rise Socialist Worker will not be supporting. Members of the House of Lords are demanding a big increase in their allowances because of the “additional workload”.

They want a rise of nearly 50 percent to compensate for the longer hours they say they have to work since some of the hereditary peers were removed. Peers want the overnight allowance to go up from 84 to 120 a night, and their daily amounts from 157 to 200 a day.

Bosses call on Israeli military

BOSSES ARE apparently eager to make use of a new portable lie detector that claims to know if people are not telling the truth by tremors in their voice. The 35 pocket sized gadget has been produced using technology developed for the Israeli military.

Its South Korean makers say it can detect eight out of ten lies. A British businessman told newspapers that “it might be possible to use it during disciplinary interviews or when someone phones in to say they are sick”. Any trade unionist would be wise to make sure such “detectors” are thrown in the bin.

But perhaps they are occasionally correct. The Handy Truster Emotion Reader was tested using the recent US presidential debates. It found that Bush told 57 lies and Gore told 23.

Nottinhamshire police launched a big campaign during the recent fuel crisis against “selfish motorists” who were filling up their tanks when they did not need to.

The propaganda does not seem to have filtered through to Inspector Austin Kelly, part of the force’s traffic wing. He was dismissed from his job last week after a disciplinary hearing found that he had siphoned emergency supplies of petrol from the tank of a police vehicle for use in his own car.

Things they say

“FOR your extraordinary and valiant attitude in defending Senator Pinochet.”

  • AUGUSTO PINOCHET FOUNDATION in Chile, giving Tory Norman Lamont an award, just after Pinochet was placed under house arrest

“THIS IS not a collective punishment on the Palestinians. It is a way of controlling them. It is the only way to keep the ground quiet.”

  • ISRAELI ARMY OFFICER explaining why they impose a curfew on Palestinians

“WE ARE working hard to address the changing expectations of multinationals.”

  • DIRECTOR OF corporate affairs for British American Tobacco explaining its 3.8 million donation to Nottingham University’s “corporate social responsibility centre”

“THE TABLE’S not big enough.”

  • BBC OFFICIAL on why the Scottish Socialist Party was not included in the television coverage of the Anniesland by-election

“THERE are protesters outside the Dome. They seem to be mainly from the Socialist Workers Party. They seem to have it in for Jerry Springer and Channel 5. They chant, ‘Jerry Springer, shame on you, putting women in the zoo’.”

  • DEBORAH ROSS reporting on Miss World for the Independent

“TRULY, I have nothing against the SWP. Indeed, I’m not even sure there is anything in it that a little age and yearning for expensive face cream from Harvey Nicks can’t cure.”


“IF I was marrying someone of lesser fortune who was 25 years younger, I’d be doing exactly the same thing. Why should Michael be in a position where half his fortune should land in someone else’s lap?”

  • CATHERINE ZETA-JONES defending her pre-nuptial agreement with Michael Douglas

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