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It Isn't The Self-Employed Who Don't Pay Their Fair Share (Or - The Wealthiest Are The Problem)
3/9/2017 3:43:44 PM

There are times when I really wonder which planet our Government actually resides on. Put it this way – it is not my version of Planet Earth.

You might be thinking this is going to be a rant about the never-ending “Brexit” arguments. However, you would be completely wrong.

Just before I had to fight the extremely tempting desire to put a brick through my Dad's TV yesterday evening (I was cooking our usual midweek meal at the time) I found my intelligence being insulted by some Government Oik on the subject of “Self-employment”.

According to the aforementioned Oik people apparently opt for Self-employment soley for Tax reasons (as in they want to pay less Tax).

Well, I suppose the Oik has kind of got a point – even if he got it the wrong way around. Someone does want to pay less Tax as a result of recruiting Self-employed people. The trouble is – it is not the prospective “Self-employed” employees who want to skew the playing field – it is the companies who are doing the employing.

Leave the headline grabbing companies (Uber, Deliveroo, etc) out of it for a minute. I know of companies who have advertised full-time Administration jobs with the information that the candidate will be “Self-employed”. This means the company employing the candidate doesn't have to give them the same rights as workers who are directly employed by the company. It also means the company doesn't have to worry about a high Tax bill as a result of dodging the PAYE and NI (National Insurance) contributions they would otherwise have to pay as a result of properly employing the candidate.

There are quite a few reasons for people deciding to go down the “Self-employed” route – none of which include lowering a Tax bill.

You might want to go Self-employed because you want to have more freedom regarding where and when you work – if you have children for example.

Your skillset may not be used to its full potential by a “Mainstream” employer. This could be as a result of the limitations placed upon you as a result of Company Rules, etc.

Your Mental and/or Physical Health could be put at risk if you stay within “Mainstream” employment. This is particularly true if you have any kind of pre-existing Health problem or Disability. It is also particularly true if you become a victim of a bullying culture at work. (Trust me – a combination of those two would finish anybody off. It nearly finished me off.)

We all know the damage lack of sleep, etc, can do to our general wellbeing.

The irony is that (in my case in particular) sometimes the idea of going Self-employed can actually be kicked off by the idea of you being in charge of when you get paid. As someone who went through periods of not being paid for at least two months at a time in my last “Mainstream” job – I could cope better with the idea of not having to deal with an employer acting as a Middleman and pushing me towards the bottom of the “foodchain” as far as being paid is concerned. (Yes – I am aware that when starting out as Self-employed you don't have the luxury of a regular income anyway. However, at least you get a chance to work towards it.)

Another reason for someone becoming Self-employed might be because there is no way on Planet Earth that they can get a job any other way. They may have a Criminal Record, etc.

If you ask me – a fairer way to deal with the problems in our Economy would be to pay everybody a Basic Income and scrap the idea of Tax and National Insurance completely.

Instead of paying Taxes and not having a say in how they are used – we could simply pay out the full price for every single Public Service we use directly from any money we actually earn. The only mandatory thing we would all have to pay into would be Social Security (which would be deducted at source). If you decided to have children you would be responsible for paying the full costs of their education. You would have to pay the full price upfront every time you used the Emergency Services or the NHS.

I wonder exactly how many Government policies would get off the ground if the general public could decide for themselves whether or not to pay for them. I get a strange feeling that being forced to pay directly for things like Trident might change a few people's minds about them.

We keep being told that the lack of money in things like Education, the Health Service, the Emergency services, etc, is driving down standards. We also keep being told there is not enough money to fund these things properly – either at a Local Authority level or a National level. As for asking the very highly paid people like Footballers, Members of Parliament, etc, to surrender any earnings above two times the national average wage in order to pay for the proper funding of the above??? Forget it. Not every rich person is nearly as generous as George Michael was.

If we cannot fix the Employment situation so that everybody can afford to pay their fair share of Tax and National Insurance contributions – as well as giving people to vote with their hard-earned spending power about what exactly the money collected will be best spent on – we will either need to scrap Tax completely and pay for everything ourselves or we will need to turn the extremely (to the point of obscenely) wealthy on their heads and shake them until their money falls out of their pockets. We could also make them surrender all property they own apart from the home they actually live in. This would solve the Homelessness crisis at a stroke.

So – next time you think that the Self-employed are the best targets for Tax and National Insurance hikes – remember – they are the ones who are putting their lives into the Economy. The ones we should be targetting are the Millionaires, upwards.

 

Ben Williams Heats Up With "Put It On Ice"
3/4/2017 3:19:38 PM

The Guitar Maestro commonly known as Ben Williams has released his second album. He had put some videos of some of the songs on his YouTube Channel as a bit of a taster – they just made me want to hear the whole thing. Here now follows my review of “Put It On Ice”.

The first track is “Deadline”. It has got a catchy melody. I am trying to figure out what genre to say it comes into – Some parts of it remind me of different songs I heard back in the 1980's.

The next track is “Foolish”. This song just made me want to give Ben a hug when I heard it live – the feeling wasn't diminished by the album version. The lyrics are powerful without repeatedly bashing you over the head. This is one of the slower ones.

The third track is “Bob Dylan”. The title also perfectly describes the music. I could almost imagine Mr Dylan singing it himself. (Have a look at the video to this one on YouTube – you will love it – especially if you are a Bob Dylan fan.) Note to Ben – Even if you “didn't pass the exam” you came extremely close to an A* Grade.

The forth track is “Taking It Easy”. Ben goes 1960's with this one. This has a bit of a Hippy vibe – in a good way. If you want to relax after a hard day just listen to this song.

The fifth track is “Serious”. In a funny way this one kind of reminds me of “Let's Dance” by David Bowie laid over one of the tracks from “Dirty Dancing” (the name “escapes me at the minute but it is one which you can ballroom dance to).

Next up we have the one track you should see performed live. “Bodybuilding” is in the same vein as “The Fallout” from his first album – as in I cannot listen to it with at straight face. The chorus goes “I'm going keep on bodybuilding – building my body up. I'm such a skinny boy – everybody wish me luck”. The reason I suggest you go and see this performed live is connected with the Double Bass player lifted his Double Bass over his head at the end of the song when I saw Ben perform this live.

Now we come to a true tearjerker of a ballad. “Another Minute” strongly reminds me of “Stay” by East 17 – the lyrics are totally different but the atmosphere of the song song is the same. Ben really sounds like he is missing someone as he sings this.

The next track is the title track “Put It On Ice”. The intro to this one is a departure from all the other songs I have ever heard from Ben – I didn't know he could sing so low. The combination of the rocky-style (to the point of Heavy Metal in parts) music and Ben's mostly higher pitch singing should grate on the ears but it actually blends very well.

“You Got Me” is next up. Welcome back Jazzy Ben. Another song to relax to – preferably on a beach somewhere.

Want to know Ben's “Number One Rule”? Give this track a listen and find out. It kind of reminds me of “Not In Love” by 10CC – in how the song sounds like it could be a love song but in reality it is the complete opposite.

Next up is another example of Ben's sense of humour. “Bins” is exactly what it is about. You really have to listen to it in order to understand it. I could almost imagine one of the Great Jazz Singers singing this.

“The Mist On Morecambe Bay” is another slower track. This one includes a rather clever reference to a very famous painting “You're moaning like the Mona Lisa”.

“What Are You Going To Do Now” is the nearest thing you are going to get to a Country song.

The last track is “February Fools”. This track reminds me of “Autumn” by Kristyna Myles. A nice slow track to finish the album off with.

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