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Small business cannot afford the escalating wage growth that the Government has fuelled. As we face a financial crisis, the greed funnelling money out of everything without putting value back must finally be stopped

September 20, 2021 Leave a comment

We are constantly hearing about staff shortages and wage rises. Yet very little is being said by anyone about the real reasons underpinning what is happening.

There is no discussion about what we are seeing now being just the beginning or thin end of what will be a very thick wedge. There is no mention of how dealing with the problems we are now facing will require a lot more leadership and creativity on the part of our politicians rather than barking commands at businesses and demanding that they just put wages up.

Our Politicians, the media and a lot of other people too are taking for granted that everything will just keep rolling on ‘like normal’, certain that after a few temporary changes to deal with Covid here and there, things will carry on as they always have and that in no time at all, everything will be back to where it all was before.

In many respects, it certainly feels like business as usual. The problems that are being talked about are being blamed on Brexit, just as they have been at every opportunity for the past 5 years. And has always been the case without us paying all that much attention, the journalists, commentators and pundits are seeing everything through the lens of their own view of everything. The difference this time being that there is so much starting to happen that even the myopic nature of their supposedly broad thinking dialogue is quickly being exposed for being anything other than joined-up.

Yet we are now on the first steps of an accelerating downward spiral. A negative trend created by politicians and the banks cooking the books and getting away with it for such a long time, they genuinely believe that they could continue without risk of ever reaching a place called stop.

To be fair to them, the political class is so detached from the realities that face people outside of Westminster, it would be futile to imagine that this political class can suddenly develop empathy and understanding as another crisis looms. They certainly didn’t do so for the Covid Pandemic, and there is some irony that it is because of the choices that they have made in response to that, what comes next is set to be considerably worse.

In the coming months and possibly years ahead, we are set to experience a financial crisis of a kind that the world has never seen before. We are in the early stages of the descent towards it right now, and that thin end of the wedge – the employee shortages, empty shelves and the price escalation that we are now starting to see is just a small taste of what is set to come.

Our political class looks at every problem as being one that can be solved with money or a financial solution. But this is the same approach that politicians have been applying now for decades and all it does is make things progressively worse.

As our political class look at every problem through this ‘money solves all problems’ lens that many of they forebears have got away with – not because it works, but because there has been an awful lot of luck involved – they now see the staffing shortages as one that can simply be solved by telling business to put wages up.

Large supermarkets and hauliers have responded to the growing crisis by putting drivers wages up. Problems in other industries have resulted in large high street names like Costa throwing pay rises at staff ostensibly for their effort during the Pandemic. But this is the first sign of a panic materialising too.

There is no shortage of people to do jobs and to go to work in this Country. But no amount of money will solve what is now an out of control problem when employees are treated so badly and there are no controls placed upon what it costs and how much it costs the average person in this Country to live.

The rapidly expanding gap between what people earn and what it costs to live is an immediate problem for sure. But price inflation is now so firmly fixed in the hands of private interests who have seen the amount of money that Governments have created over the past eighteen months, that they will continue pushing prices up until the point that the system breaks. That is, if some other event hasn’t led to this already and proven to be one of the many straws that could so easily now break the camels back.

Perhaps the most useful example to illustrate the point is the cost of transporting a shipping container with goods to the UK from the Far East. Shipping costs have risen 1500% in the past 18 months, not because the costs of moving these items have become markedly different, but because world events have given the shipping conglomerate an excuse; together they have a stranglehold and ultimately, they know that they just can.

This change has in no small part led to goods shortages and price rises. And if you have already seen the presents that you want to buy for your children or family this Christmas, you might be very sensible to grab them now, whilst you still can.

What the shipping companies have and are doing is representative of how commercial supply chains now work. But what makes the situation even worse is the number of agents, speculators and handlers who have built ‘high performing’ business models, simply by handling goods – perhaps just buying and then selling them on at a profit – without adding any kind of value to the transaction. The end result being the unfathomable and unexplainable rise in the cost of living – with the end users and even the businesses one step removed from the end of the supply chain – struggling to keep going because all of the fat has been taken many times over and the prices of goods are too unrealistically high for anyone to afford or absorb.

Big name companies, that have a stake in how our broken economic model now works, can easily afford to pay their staff better than the living wage. They could easily absorb the rises with little impact on their bottom line. Yet the greed that drives them means that they would see the imposition of raising pay as one that gives them the excuse to raise their prices too.

Smaller businesses – and by this I mean the bedrock of our real economy and the ones that make everything work – don’t have the means or the economic scale to raise wages and then either absorb the difference or then pass on the costs to their customers and other without there being a significant cost the businesses that they own or run.

In fact, the demands that hapless Ministers have made last week for businesses to start paying more could easily result in people losing their jobs and making what were otherwise great small businesses no longer viable because the staff they need just to fulfil their normal order book has become a luxury they cannot reasonably afford.

In a prefect world, those small businesses or the trade organisations that represent them would sit down with the people running this country and be listened to in a way that counts.

Sadly, because we have the political culture that we have, that scenario is not one that is likely to ever play out. The system is literally going to have to break before those who should have been aware of the impact of what they have been doing will be ready to take note. And when then they do, then problem will be that we have the same people in power and pretending to lead us who got us into this mess in the first place.

Like everything Government in this Country touches or legislates for, the financial and economic system needs massive and comprehensive reform.

Money does not solve problems in the way that politicians would like and the process of the fat getting ever fatter by inflicting pain on everyone else without being forced to face up to what they have been doing is now over.

Things will not return to how they were before the Covid Pandemic began.

‘Fake it ’til you make it’ is no way to lead a Country and we are now on the brink of seeing our financial and economic system implode

August 9, 2021 Leave a comment

Politics has for a long time relied on the occurrence of unforeseen events to let blagging politicians get themselves off the hook for problems they created that would otherwise be exposed and visible for the whole world to see.

When Covid arrived on the political scene, the scramble to cover up and utilise the dubious promise of an umbrella to hide all previous sins appears to have been too good and opportunity for our political classes to miss. In fact, so much so, the chronology of events makes me wonder if Boris rubbed his hands together at the first emergency Cabinet Meeting and declared ‘ladies and gentlemen; go ahead, go and do your absolute worst’.

Ok. So, the reality might not have been quite like that. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt here and say the response might not have been conscious or openly calculated at all.

The reason I say this, is because of how important it is to understand just how politics works in the minds of those who supposedly lead us. Especially when there is an entire Parliament full of MPs who should never have been elected and are incapable of really leading anyone. So, at the first sign of a crisis, they are inclined to reach out for any dead horse and flog it in the hope that it will work.

No, I realise that some of you reading this blog are convinced that there is a much more sinister plan at work that underpins everything during the Covid Pandemic that the Johnson Government has done. But we really do have a Government constructed of politicians who are so stupid, unread and inexperienced, that they will willingly embrace any philosophy or set of ideas that any overconfident SPAD or advisor confidently convinces them will work – that is, if they hadn’t found the same textbook first.

Oddly enough, the point I’m going to focus on here is not about the misuse of statistics and behavioural science to manipulate and coerce people to doing whatever or politicians so ruthlessly want. Enough has and will be said about that elsewhere.

No, the area of policy that I want to think about more clearly, is the financial remedies that our Chancellor Rishi Sunak invented. The printing of non-existent money to back the whole lockdown policy up. And the disastrous time bomb waiting to go off that has been building in size for decades but was turbocharged the moment that the Chancellor and the Johnson Government began its massive cash giveaway.

Contrary to the thoughts of many, the events of the past 18 months really are not isolated, other than there being the all-covering veil of a Viral Pandemic underway. The focus that Covid has been given created a cloud of fear and misdirection that has allowed an inept and irresponsible Government to hide or avoid many other troubling public policy issues as if they have simply been removed from the frame.

But money, the way it is created, legislated, revered and actually worshipped – like it is a god, isn’t just a problem making the rich even richer, whilst making life increasingly hard for the middle classes and poor. It is also the elixir of extended political life and longevity of power for gutless politicians with little or no wherewithal who believe there are no problems that cannot be solved if you just produce the public cheque book and don’t give a shit about the real cost.

In the decades up to the beginning of the Covid Pandemic, the recycling of this particular idea and the philosophy that underpins government economic thinking has been quite incredible. Based on flawed neoliberal thinking and the post 1971 FIAT money regime – where FIAT literally means ‘let it be done’, the bizarre approach to money and governance that ‘it will be this way because we say so’ has grown and grown in popularity with the political classes and has appeared to work effectively for 50 years. Incredibly, it even failing to be derailed when private banks that had been let loose from legislation as part of the same ‘free market’ thinking were bailed out with public money following the 2008 Financial Crisis – simply because politicians are so invested in the idea that the system cannot fail and therefore must be ‘helped’ to work.

To anyone who takes these things completely at face value – as the political classes have done – and says to themselves ‘it worked for 50 years, so it cannot possibly go wrong’, there clearly was no limit to what solutions could be conjured up in a crisis and sold publicly as beneficial to all. Whereas what politicians have really been doing with all this invented money – and particularly since the Pandemic began – is place massive bets on everything coming right if enough money is thrown at the problem for long enough. They literally believe that what they are saying, rather than what they are doing, will ultimately prove to be the truth, by faking it until they make it be so.

The money that the Government has been using to prop up non-existent jobs through a continually extended furlough scheme; the money it has used to underwritten crippling loans to businesses that will never be able to afford them, and the money it is now fire hosing at every public policy it thinks will get it out of trouble and win votes is all created – just like successive governments have been doing for decades before.

The money they are using simply doesn’t exist. Yet the politicians are so drunk from drinking at this poisoned well, all they can think of doing is printing even more.

Yes, there really is a philosophy behind all of this that the economists and academics that our politicians listen to insist really works.

You may even be thinking that if this is all true, what is the problem if it works?

The problem is that it doesn’t. It is imagination, dreamworlds and a visit to fantasy land writ large.

Whilst it is certainly true to say that neoliberalism has worked out well over 50 years for the few, it really hasn’t been working out very well for the majority of people. And if the economy were to be viewed as an engine – as it very often is, then just like keeping your foot down on a red-lining engine might see it keep going for longer than expected, the question is always when, not if the engine will blow, and when it does, it will be the whole vehicle that breaks.

Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson, this Government and the whole Parliament that has enabled them, have literally gone too far with a very dangerous approach to money and economics. One that may have been good whilst it lasted but is about to blow up and create a financial disaster of such epic proportions that not even the WEF are going to know how to pick up and rebuild the pieces so that they can press ‘restart’.

The public debt that is a real legacy of the Johnson era is simply too big for all of us to be expected to pay off this time. No amount of clever accounting and rebranding in terms of future GDP or other ways of calculating national economic output will make this ridiculous level of debt go away.

And Boris & Co. haven’t even done this on their own. Governments right the way around the world have been doing exactly the same things for all this time and have also gone into overdrive to finance an overkill response to a flu-like virus that was never necessary, could and should have been handled very differently and has now made it inevitable that we cannot go on as we have been.

We must rethink everything. And for us to get there, we are about to experience an incredible period of financially derived pain.

If you take the time and watch all the media available to you closely, the signs of what is coming are already beginning to unfold. But they are being covered by the mainstream media only in isolation – that is if they are even being covered by them at all.

The USA economy and the US Dollar’s collapse as the World’s Reserve Currency are looking increasingly likely to be the point where this dreamt up system can no longer function and the whole economic system explodes.

But that’s not to say that it couldn’t all kick off in the UK first. And stories like energy price hikes this autumn that they are that massive financial upheaval for us all is queued up and is about to start.

The biggest problem that we face today, isn’t finding a way to take a foot off the gas and calm the engine. Johnson and all of his chums have already driven the vehicle to the point of destruction and the momentum their policies have created will take this all over the point which was too far.

The problem we have is that when the engine blows, the wheels fall off and everything crashes – as we can now be almost certain that it will, we will still have the same politicians or politicians who will behave just like them left in charge.

The emperor has no clothes. You’ve seen what Boris and this whole sorry excuse for a Parliament did with their response to Covid. Just wait until the real trouble starts.

The Nonsense MUST STOP. The UK cannot afford the unnecessary cost of Covid and we should not be led by impractical idealists who think every life can be saved without consequences for others

It feels like the level of ridiculousness the Government has reached may now have surpassed the point where everyday normal people feel compelled to ask others to pitch them so they can check they haven’t got it all wrong. We can see that whatever it is, it is all very wrong.

With this morning’s headlines telling us that 1200 doctors and experts have called the ‘unlocking’ next week ‘criminal’, piggybacking on the news that health workers are about to have their Covid vaccinations imposed upon them, the number of people who are still confident and comfortable with everything that the Johnson Government is has passed the brow of that hill called a majority and is quickly heading down to being the relative few.

There is very little that can be called practical where the Johnson Government’s approach to dealing with the Covid Pandemic has been concerned. In fact, pretty much every decision made has been for effect, rather than dealing with any of the issues caused by this crisis head on. This is a government that ducks and dives to avoid the real issues whilst using a subservient media to communicate a narrative telling us that they and their specialists are the only people who really know what’s going on.

Had it not been for the fear-driven ideologies of career conformists who suddenly found themselves elevated to a public platform against the backdrop of totally inept politicians without even the slightest idea of how to lead, Lockdowns would never have happened. We would now be living with Covid in the most practical ways possible, dealing with illness for those affected as it arises and otherwise getting on with life responsibility without deliberately projecting our fears onto others. We would very Britishly be making the very best of it as we possibly can.

There was always an alternative to Lockdown. And if Lockdown had really been necessary, there were much better ways to deal with the financial fallout from the crisis too.

Yet the laissez-faire hangover of the free-market ideology that the Government applied in its approach to dealing with business, financiers and the markets when they issued the first Lockdown orders meant that as usual when there is a crisis, the same people are being expected to pick up the bill, whilst others line their pockets. To the elite, this is apparently all very run-of-the-mill.

The question of social distancing measures aside for a moment, the bill that Rishi Sunak, Boris and all their chums have racked up on our behalf for no good reason is already much more than the UK can afford. The UK was already bankrupt before this money printing bonanza started when Lockdowns began, and the prioritisation of what might happen if we don’t eradicate a virus vs. the practical implications for every other part of normal life, means that the dangerous, myopic idealism that we are being subjected to by our leadership, is a form of tyranny that we can simply no longer afford to indulge.

No. This is not a question of not considering those who are clinically vulnerable or of ignoring those who have looked the worst part of Covid in the eye when loved ones have been lost.

The problem with focusing only on the views that come from personal tragedies is that for anyone experiencing vulnerability or the white-hot pain that grief gives everyone before time has allowed proper healing to take place, the response to what is going on around us is highly subjective. It is a situation that does not lend itself to the objectivity required for public policy making in just about every possible way.

The list of consequences for others is already too long to write. Many of those who have or will suffer will forever remain unknown.

Amongst them are depression, suicide, domestic violence, mental health issues, financial loss, loss of jobs, loss of business, loss of credible qualifications, loss of contact with communities and the ability to live socially in any kind of meaningful form.

The reason the Government and influencers around them fuelling their fears are inflicting all of this – is simply because they can. There is no grand conspiracy at work – even though the evidence can be interpreted to suggest otherwise.

However, being able to do something because you can, doesn’t mean that you should do it. And real power is as much about not acting as it is about acting. Leadership is about only doing the things that are objectively right, not about being swayed by what anyone with their own agenda says that they should.

Few if any and probably none of the decisions made by Government since March last year have been objective. They have not been made in our best interests or aligned with a real appreciation and understanding of what the role of Government and our Prime Minister is actually for.

If the naysayers with power continue to succeed in influencing Government Policy, keeping us restricted here or there in some way, or under Lockdown once again by the Autumn – as most of us expect – the financial crisis that is already looming. that has been exacerbated by what they have already done, is likely to arrive even sooner that it might.

It is then that the idealists pushing this nonsense where they can value one life over all others will really begin to understand the true concept of cost.

We need everything opened up properly as quickly as possible with no ambiguity over social distancing or ‘voluntary rules’. Leaving anything open to question for people or for businesses simply will not do.

Its time for us to live to learn with Covid as we always should have and would have done so if politicians who cared about what happens to us all had always been in control.

Medical Experts should not be leading the response to a National Crisis. They clearly believe that tackling the medical part of the crisis is all our National response should be about

April 7, 2020 6 comments

In 2008, politicians turned to economists and Economic Theory to solve the Financial Crisis because they believed the solution and remedy could only be solved by thinking about the problem in economic terms.

It didn’t turn out well. The UK bailed out the banks and financial sector on terms that quickly returned them to profit and bonuses, whilst the Public were saddled with the continuing devaluation of money and a National Debt that under the same thinking will never actually be repaid.

The point was painfully made that economists think about any problem in economic terms, or rather doing what’s good for the economists – and in that specific case – what was good for the bankers first.

Whilst very different, the principles of the response to the Coronavirus Crisis are exactly the same and the Government has surrendered its strategic thinking to medical specialists and scientists when the Crisis itself and the response to it reach far beyond being just a medical matter.

Nobody could or should seriously even attempt to suggest that the medical and scientific response to this National Crisis shouldn’t be a priority. But the real priority of the response should be the prioritization of ALL the different priorities that exist, collectively ensuring that ALL of the British People are being considered fully and appropriately within that response, so that it is not just those who are or will be critically ill – which is the medical priority by default choice.

This National Crisis has become much bigger than being simply about fighting Coronavirus itself. The growing problem which is going to affect everyone was caused because the Government appointed a medical piper to play us through what only began as a medical problem and they have inevitably been playing everyone a medical tune ever since.

Meanwhile:

  • Job Losses
  • Lay offs
  • Businesses closures
  • Debt
  • Depression
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Domestic Violence
  • Bankruptcies
  • Administrations
  • Suicides

– are all on the rise since the Lockdown began.

The impact on people, the economy and our Country as a whole is going to come at an incalculable price.

This leap into a black hole by a few people with a name and title has to be stopped right now, before its too late for us all.

Every part of the response to the Coronavirus Crisis has to be appropriate, proportionate and above all, made in consideration of the full impact upon us all.

This cannot be achieved if the only direction and advice followed comes from those who are looking at a problem affecting us all through a lens which only reflects their own specialism and cause.

It’s time to end the Lockdown, let everyone get back to living their lives and tackle this horrible Virus in a more considered and considerate way.

#endthelockdownnow

Government MUST NOT bailout airlines, banks or any privately owned business during the CV Crisis. It should provide standstill legislation that trickles down to support EVERYONE and not just those who believe they are too rich to fail

March 16, 2020 4 comments

Reading over the weekend that Virgin Airways boss Richard Branson is seeking a £7.5 Billion Government bailout for the Airline Industry because of the Corona virus crisis gave me quite a jolt. Not because of what it says about the exponential impact of the worldwide outbreak of this horrid virus on British based airlines. But because of the long term implications of another government writing out cheques to underwrite privately and shareholder-owned businesses as they did so in response to the 2008 Financial Crisis without any consideration for the long term impact that it still has for us all.

To be straight to the point; it is not the responsibility of any government, the Taxpayer, public purse or whatever you want to call it, to bail out private business and especially not in such profit-orientated times.

It simply doesn’t matter matter how bad the consequences might seem for staff, shareholders or anyone else involved. These businesses are not run as a public service. They exist to enrich the people who own them, not to prioritise the wellbeing of the people they serve.

It is certainly not legitimate for any politician, elected or otherwise to underwrite the rescue of any privately or shareholder owned business so that it can again become profitable whilst the public is saddled with a debt for doing so that has not or never will be repaid.

Whilst we might all be at least concerned if not genuinely worried about what the coming days and weeks will bring, there are remarkably few businesses or organisations that will not be affected in some way. Within these, staff will have to change where they work or be laid off if they have not already done so, and in a large proportion of cases they will find themselves with a reduced income, whether that be from losing work completely or finding their hours lowered or indirect income reduced from a reduction in expenses or some other specific way that they would normally accumulate what they count as being pay.

Small businesses are going to fail. Especially those that are owner led and may have none or very few employees, where margins literally pay a living wage to the owner and nothing more. Other businesses, if not all of them, will have to lay off many staff.

Without clever thinking on the part of Government and politicians which really starts to join up all the dots and goes way beyond the brainstorming of Dominic Cummings current weirdos and misfits team, businesses that were not only viable a few weeks ago, but also very profitable will overnight become a permanently lost cause.

It is genuinely the case that like birth and death being the great levelers that they are, Corona virus does not see wealth, status or any other factor as being a mitigating factor against its dark and malevolent cause.

Nobody has the right to be treated better or differently to any other in this Country. If this Government is to succeed in leading us all through a crisis of what could very well become an indeterminate length, it is essential that Politicians on all sides put equitable thinking and the consequences and knock-on effects of all this and how it is going to effect people and businesses alike at the heart of their decision making and at the centre of what should now be a purely non-partisan cause.

Whilst we have many experts who are putting forward their opinions and trying to pressure the government to change policy and go in different ways, the reality is that whether these ‘experts’ are economists, mathematicians, scientists or doctors, none of them are experts on the full and comprehensive complexity of the snowballing issues that this crisis is building. Even the political leaders themselves have never dealt with a situation like this one and none of them have a specific historical example to look back on which could be shoehorned into use as a blueprint for managing this 2020 pandemic.

The time to question the ability, decision-making and motivation of any politician is at election time. Not when a crisis of this magnitude comes to call.

For better or for worse, right now, we have the politicians that the electorate gave us and we MUST give them the support necessary to get something done that for some if not all of us is never going to feel right.

The question should therefore be not whether our Politicians are suitable for the jobs that they had in December – because public opinion has already concluded that for us.

The question must now be whether our Politicians can now adapt and think differently to the way that they historically appear to have always done so – without foresight, empathy or any reasoned ability to look beyond the situation that appears to be right in front of their faces and then think through the implications of everything that their decisions and responsibility will now touch and lead to not just one, but potentially many steps beyond.

When big names like Branson come calling and are given an immediate public spotlight because of the fickle world of media and celebrity we have been living in until now, we must all look to see and consider the realities that roll out beneath, in front of and beyond the self interest that drives these people and see the impact of every single decision government and influential people now make as being part of the same very big cause which is actually theirs, mine and yours.

Why does anyone want a bailout?

Right now, there are lots of businesses and whole industries asking themselves and looking to our Political Leaders to answer the question ‘who will keep the lights on’?

But it is not the responsibility of the Government and therefore the Taxpayer (that’s you and I…) to keep any business functioning when it cannot trade – no matter what the circumstances or cause.

To do so – with the way that our economy currently works – will help them now, whilst causing long-term pain for us all.

Sounds harsh I know. But if a business stops trading and isn’t doing anything, so needs to be ‘mothballed’ even temporarily – what are the costs and how can or rather how should those costs be met in order to keep that business viable for when ‘normality’ can return?

Contrary to common parlance, no business is too big to fail and no individual is too financially rich to fail – that is if politicians are genuinely doing their job. It is only fear and lack of ability to take responsibility on the part of the people we have elected to lead us that drives decision making otherwise.

So no, in 2008, the Banks should never have been bailed out. And certainly not in a way that they could resume paying bonuses to staff almost immediately and then return to profitability whilst we the public will continue paying for what was a commercially created – and therefore avoidable mistake, now and for potentially many years to come.

The difference between the banking crisis and the Corona Virus crisis is that in 2008, the implications of a financial meltdown were assumed because of the ideas we all have about money, what happens without it and how we all perceive it to be the controlling force within our lives. In 2020, the implications of the Corona virus are all about how the spread and presence of a real disease WILL genuinely affect us all – not just about how we feel and respond emotionally – and in some cases irrationally – to it in our thoughts.

Income, what we ALL face and the trickle-down solutions that we ALL now need

Today, businesses are worried about trade and therefore income.

People and employees are worried about jobs and being able to work and therefore income too.

But why is income so important?

Income is important because we all have to live – which other than for food pretty much means to keep paying bills.

But who takes money from us when we pay the bills?

If we remove basic food and essential items from the equation, its commercial interests, whether it be for phones, TV, utilities (such as water, electricity, gas etc), services, loans, leases, rents or anything else.

So when we are all facing a situation that has the ability to leave none of us untouched, why should any of those private interests be able to continue to profit from what is essentially a genuine crisis, public emergency and therefore public cause, when any one of them in isolation will be able to resume their profit making activities without anything standing in their way once the Corona Virus crisis is over and life in the UK returns to something like what we agree to be the norm?

The answer is that they shouldn’t.

And it is now that Boris and all of the wannabe politicians and advisors who surround him and inhabit our political system need to stand up to these interests that are indirectly responsible for so many of the ills that we face, simply because money and profit are their one an only motivation and cause.

The Government has the power to grant a moratorium on all non essential payments and financial activities such as the accumulation of interest in every sense possible.

The Government can also underwrite the actual cost of providing essential utilities and services during this crisis period without any profit being payable to any of the private interests or shareholders who are involved in providing the ‘public’ services that we will all continue to need.

Standstill Legislation: extraordinary measures for extraordinary times

No individual can survive on around £90 per week in what we would now call ‘normal times’ and for any politician to say otherwise is to tell a disproportionate lie.

However, if the Country comes to a standstill – as it is quite reasonable for us to now expect it will do so, the suggested £90 per week, per individual or thereabouts that the DWP would pay through ‘Universal Credit’ or whatever the benefit paid to those laid off from work as a result of the crisis would be, would certainly be enough just for food and essentials per person. That is if ‘Standstill Legislation’ halted the requirement for all other bills to be paid and Government takes control of essential services so that everyone can function within their homes with no travel or any other form of expenditure required.

Done in blanket form, without exception for any company, industry or anyone else involved, Standstill Legislation would not only be a fair, but very practical solution to effectively shut down the wider, profit-based nonessential goods economy and put it on hold until we are all ready and able to move forward with life in this Country as one.

Legislation could include but not be restricted to:

  • The temporary halt of all loan, mortgage, lease and credit card payments for all people and businesses, with payment plans resuming for full schedule beyond
  • The temporary halt to all interest accumulation on credit for all people and businesses with interest only becoming applicable once again once we move forward as one
  • The temporary halt to all council tax and business rate payments for all people and businesses with Central Government picking up the tab for revenue income flow for local authorities in-between
  • The implementation of anti-profiteering legislation for all businesses able and continuing to function throughout the shutdown period requiring margins to either reflect pre-crisis trading or those of the specific industry in the period before
  • Employers being able to lay-off staff until the crisis ends, with permanent staff being able to resume their positions as soon as the crisis ends unless the business can demonstrate that normal trading cannot be immediately resumed
  • Universal Credit or rather a ‘basic income’ payable to all those out of work because of the crisis purely for food and essential items
  • Government control of all essential and previously publicly owned services (Gas, Electricity, Water, Transport etc)
  • A temporary extension of VAT payment windows to at least 6 months from 3 for any business continuing to trade during the Shutdown Period
  • Staggered Taxation support for businesses that have been able to remain trading, applied relative to drop in trading
  • Suspension of all EU derived working hour legislation – including removal of the restrictions on driver hours, driver cpc training etc.
  • All tickets for holidays and events to be honored within 12 months of normal activates being resumed or repaid – with the choice being that of the customer, or refunded by default if the event or holiday cannot be honored for ANY reason which is identified at that specific point
  • Supermarkets being required to focus on essential foods and items only with rationing in place for items that are in genuine short supply

If there is one very good thing that can come from the Corona Virus outbreak and the crisis that has created, it will be the opportunity for politicians and big business to recognise how none of their actions or decisions take effect in isolation or in the targeted way that they might think. Echo chambers are only something that exists on the internet, not in real life.

The reality is that Corona Virus is not only exposing us all to a potentially life-threatening illness. It is also demonstrating how the lives of all of us are already exceptionally vulnerable, and that Government already has the ability to address the weaknesses of an unrestricted economic system where private interest and profit making at one end of the spectrum are indirectly or otherwise making life misery for many others in a wide ranging and incalculable number of different ways.

Yes, the suggestions that I am making would be only on a temporary basis and that is how it would have to be once normality returns. But until politicians actually start doing their jobs properly, taking responsibility and making life better and more equitable for everyone in many different and far-reaching ways, the chaos and hardship that the Corona Virus is now revealing will continue to be an example of the daily struggles than many British people face until we all start thinking and behaving like we are one.

 

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