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Phuket business: What does the UK budget mean for British expats?

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket business: What does the UK budget mean for British expats? | The Thaiger

It’s that time again when George Osborne tries to tighten the purse strings for the UK economy and cut down the huge debt levels the youth of today have inherited from poor decision making and fiscal policies of the past.

Inconsequential it may well be to certain socio-economic brackets with Mr Osborne’s large outstretched arm unable to ruffle their financial feathers. But if we take a closer look at what has been proposed, this may have more affect on us than we think.

On first viewing, if you are in the super wealthy bracket and don the colors of say Manchester United or City, then the chancellor has just done you a huge favour in cutting the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p as from April 2013. Fantastic! Well not really, how many people in the UK are regularly earning £150,000+ per annum? I can tell you the answer, not very many. In fact it is only 1% of the UK population that have the privilege of earning these amounts.

Back to the real world and what does this mean to the rest of us. As we know, many UK expatriates come to Phuket’s paradise shores to enjoy the fruits of their retirement and a tranquil life and it is not only the retired who are flooding into Thailand. More and more people arrive every year to enjoy a slower pace of life or to set up a business with the intention of making this island their permanent home.

So what does the budget mean for them? Well, if you are a pensioner who currently enjoys the UK state pension scheme then you are going to take a hit, the main points for pensioners being; Plans to freeze the age related allowance and an automatic review of the state pension age.

A freeze in the age related allowance sector means essentially is that your UK state pension will be stagnant for the foreseeable future. The big problem with this is inflation, as the cost of living rises and the age related allowance doesn’t, the buying power of your money is going to diminish.

The next is the automatic review of the state pension age. As we are all living longer, it is only natural that this will continue to rise. This is not only happening with the state pension scheme, but also with UK company pension schemes.

Recently Tesco announced that after a review of the pension scheme, calculations on retirement benefits will be increased from aged 65 to 67. You would still be able to retire at 55, however, using the new retirement age of 67 your benefits are going to be greatly reduced. Many companies will go this way and this just shows the importance of reviewing any pension schemes that are based in the UK and having your own provision in place has never been as important.

On the plus side individual income tax allowances are going up from £8105 to £9205 from April next year. Anyone who currently benefits from a UK pension within this bracket will certainly gain.

If you have a UK frozen pension or are still contributing into this then now is the time to have it reviewed by a pension specialist as the noose keeps tightening around the pension neck. As the pension age keeps rising, more and more of us will have to work longer and longer and will have to save more and more to provide ourselves with sufficient funds to sustain us in retirement.

I, for one, don’t really fancy the idea of having to continue working well into my 70’s and would like to put my feet up and enjoy the lifestyle I have become accustomed to.

Not only are pensions on the agenda, stamp duty has increased on properties and to go through each point of the budget would be like writing War and Peace.

However the points of the budget will affect a very many of us, and they need to be addressed on an individual basis. My main advice is to seek advice.

For more information on how the UK budget affects you or UK pension plan reviews please contact Alyman@montpeliergroup.com or you can follow me on twitter @ AnthonyLyman.Anthony Lyman is a Senior Financial Consultant for the Montpelier Group.

— Anthony Lyman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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