The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

A credible counterterror strategy needed

brahmachellaney-- Brahma Chellaney is professor of strategic studies at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi. The views expressed are his own. --

The brazen Mumbai terrorist assaults are just the latest example of how the world’s largest democracy is increasingly coming under siege from the forces of terror.

The attacks, which bear the hallmark of al Qaeda, are also a reminder to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama that even as he seeks to deal with the financial meltdown, the global war on terror stands derailed, with the scourge of terrorism having spread deeper and wider.

International terrorism threatens the very existence of democratic, secular states. Yet the U.S. occupation of Iraq not only helped fracture the post-9/11 global consensus to fight terror, but also handed a fresh cause to Islamists and gave a new lease of life to al Qaeda.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Battleground India but Delhi clueless?

An attack of the scale and sophistication unleashed on Mumbai would not be possible without months of planning, and yet it completely went below India's intelligence radar.

Indeed, so unaware were the security agencies that even when the attacks began, the first reaction was these were probably gangland shootings that India's financial capital is known for.   So if the agencies have been so clueless about an attack so mammoth in its sweep, the question experts are beginning to ask is how safe are India's vital assets?

from The Great Debate:

CDS market: contributor, not cause

williams_mark-- Mark T. Williams is a finance professor at Boston University’s School of Management. The opinions expressed are his own. --

The Credit Default Swap market shares some blame, but it isn’t justified to make it the Beltway’s latest scapegoat responsible for the economic meltdown.

Slouching towards nationalisation


James Saft Great Debate – James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The Citigroup bailout is sure to succeed, but only if you count avoiding making unpleasant but needed decisions as success.

Pre-budget report: Who wins and who will pay for it?


Mark Schofield is a  tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The views expressed are his own.

mark-schofieldThere were a number of initiatives unveiled to kick start the UK economy which will increase the budget deficit for 2009/2010 to £118 billion. The Chancellor assured the House of Commons that finances would be back in balance by 2013/14 at which point the country “will only be borrowing to fund investment”. By that year the net UK government debt will be over £1 trillion representing 57.4% of GDP, compared with an estimate of £602 billion, 39.4%, for 2008/9.

Pre-Budget Report: More will need to be done


Brendan Barber is General Secretary of the TUC. Any views expressed are his own.Brendan Barber

The Chancellor was right to inject this extra money into the economy. We welcome the significant extra cash that he has put into the pockets of low and medium paid workers, and the extra help for pensioners. The new Ofgem probe into energy prices has the potential to reduce fuel bills if pursued with vigour.

It is absolutely right that the top one per cent, who have done so well in recent years, should pick up the bigger part of the bill for today’s boost. Indeed the Chancellor could have gone further. Cracking down on tax avoidance through new minimum tax rates on those earning more than £100,000 would probably make the planned National Insurance increases unnecessary.

Welcome news on taxation of overseas dividends


Bill Dodwell is head Bill Dodwellof tax policy at Deloitte. Any views expressed are his own.

With effect from 2009, companies will benefit from a new exemption from taxation in respect of overseas dividends.  At present, such dividends are taxable, with relief for overseas tax.  The will benefit not only the corporate sector, but also funds, especially those managed by life companies.  This will be financed by a new restriction on the amount of interest expense that may be deducted against UK profits.  In future, UK tax deductions will be limited to the total, worldwide, third party interest expense.  In addition, current anti-avoidance rules on interest deductions will be strengthened.  Finally, the requirement to seek advance permission from the Treasury for certain issues of shares and debt will be abolished, although there will be a new information provision requirement.

Most crucially, the Chancellor has announced that he will set up a new consultation on the reform of the UK’s controlled foreign company legislation (laws which charge UK tax on the profits of overseas subsidiaries of UK groups).  The previous attempt at reform was not well received and led to some UK-headquartered companies moving to Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda.  The Chancellor has now accepted that it is appropriate to move UK taxation onto a territorial system – that is, only taxing UK source profits.  It is thought that it may take up to two years before the new system is legislated.

from The Great Debate:

Running faster to stand still

--John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own--

John Kemp Great DebateLike a hamster trapped on a wheel, the International Energy Agency's 2008 World Energy Outlook paints a depressing picture of an oil industry having to run faster and faster just to keep pace with burgeoning oil demand over the next 20 years.

WEO2008 estimates the industry will need to find 64 million barrels per day (bpd) of new oil production capacity to meet the expected growth in demand by 21 million bpd by 2030 and offset 43 million bpd of expected declines from existing fields. The total cost is put at around $5 trillion at today's prices.

from The Great Debate:

Silence is no defense for Euro tech executives

-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --


A man keys in a message onto a mobile phone in a Milan bar March 3, 2006. REUTERS/Daniele LA Monaca When on trial, any attorney will tell you, the best defense is to stick with what you know and speculate about nothing.

from The Great Debate:

Fighting deflation globally ain’t easy

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

With the U.S., Japan and Britain -- nearly 40 percent of the global economy -- facing the threat of deflation, it's going to be just too easy for one, two or all three of them to get the policy response horribly wrong.

The global economy is so connected, and our experience with similar situations so limited that the scope for error is huge.