United Kingdom


UK is comprised of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scottish people live in Scotland, Welsh in Wales. Welsh is also a language - with words starting with cw.. I don't know how to pronounce that. There is some talk of Scotland gaining independence from the UK.

free stuff

I've signed up to Show Film First and they will email you opportunities to preview films for free. Its a first come first serve so if your day to day tasks involve reading email you've got a good chance of scoring free tickets. You will have to print your emailed ticket, or send a SMS which will cost 25p on top of your usual rate.

0870 phone prefix

say no to 0870 claims that numbers starting with 08 cost more than normal. Typically I've used these numbers when calling various helpdesks. Instead you may be able to find a cheaper number from this site.

Moving home

BT reconnection fee: If the previous tenant switched their home phone to another provider you may have to pay a reconnection fee.


Account types

A "current account" is a bank account that you can attach your ATM debit card to. You can also setup "direct debit" to automatically pay for bills such as utilities or credit cards. These accounts typically earn little interest. Instead you should open a "savings account" as well. There is a limit to the amount of money allowed to be withdrawn from a current account, so typical usage is to keep a minimal amount in the current account, and any excess is kept in the savings account.


Instead of having to remember your Internet Banking user ID, you can login the following link by replacing the IB123456789 with your real user ID. https://www.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/?idv_cmd=idv.CustomerMigration&StartMigration=&userid=IB123456789

Minimum wage

It is reviewed each year. as at 2008-10-01 the rates are. ?5.73 per hour for ages 22+, ?4.77 for 18-21, ?3.53 for 16-17.

VAT Refund

Doesn't work unless you leave the EU for at least 12 months. VAT refunds for visitors to the UK

Royal Mail

You can buy and print envelopes online. You'll need a credit card, and the envelope has a barcode and must be posted within a couple of days.


Use this for cheaper last minute restaurant bookings


Dukeshill keeps sending me brochures after I bought a ham from them for Christmas. I need to make another order soon.

Chancellor of the Exchequer

The person in this role is responsible for delivering a budget. This includes changes to taxation (revenues) and how the government will spend the money (expenses).

Personal tax

Due on Jan 31st of the following year. The tax is between Apr 6th and Apr 5th.

For foreign exchange values I use the average to Mar 30th of the tax year. Figures can be found on the HMRC website.

Checklist for us is:

  1. employment: P60
  2. foreign: foreign interest: AUD savings banks (hsbc super saver, citibank, ing direct)
  3. foreign: foreign interest: USD Bond interest received
  4. foreign: foreign dividends: AUD (10%) relief. yes it qualifies for UK dividend tax credits
  5. foreign: foreign dividends and withheld interest: USD (double taxation credit is 15%)
  6. cap gains: foreign cap gains: USD stock and options. Whole section might be skipped if less than threshold.
  7. cap gains: foreign cap gains: forex


A local authority is another name for a local council. We live in the London Borough of Camden.