Getting people back to work

It is time for government to come out with proposals that can make it easier to start or re start a  business and to keep or create new jobs. Unemployment is already far too high thanks to the anti virus policies adopted, and is set to go higher as we limp out of lock down.

It is quite clear that there will need to be accelerated change in our economy to cope with the social distancing rules and the other changes that the pandemic has brought on. There will be more on line shopping and less shopping in physical stores. There will be more remote technology working in  health and education, in leisure and office work. These big changes will require large companies to be adaptive, and will require many more new and smaller businesses to offer new models and services and provide the flexibility fast change needs.

Let’s start with cutting into those great lists of the unemployed. Why not let any self employed person take on an employee or assistant, with the first year based on them being self employed. It is often the hassle of National Insurance, pensions and other paperwork that puts the self employed off expanding a successful business  by taking on additional staff. Give them up to a year to work with someone to see how good it can be and to guide them into the idea of accepting full employer responsibilities. Alternatively it might lead them to adopt a partnership or franchise model with the new person. We need more self employed to expand their often successful businesses.

End the threat of IR35 changes. We are losing business to foreign companies, as large groups here worry about carrying on or taking on a UK self employed contractor for fear that their tax status will be queried at a later date.

Raise the VAT threshold to allow small business more activity before they need to go through the complex process of registering for VAT.

There were around 5 million self employed when the pandemic struck. We need to see them as an important part of our future, and give them every help to get going again and to grow their activities. Sometimes the Treasury seems to see them as a nuisance, seeking ways to tax them into working for a large employer or not working at all. It is a prejudice we cannot afford.

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  1. bill brown
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    Very well argued and presented.

    We need to support the 5 million self-employed much more.

    • APL
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      bill brown: “We need to support the 5 million self-employed much more.”

      And the English channel ferry operation, formerly known as the Royal Navy.

      • bill brown
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink


    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      I’d like to know how many unemployed immigrants haven’t worked since the day they got here – and how much has it cost us to “support” them. We will NEVER know that.
      I’d also like to know how many have been shipped in while we have been under threat of the law and a criminal record, having been told we have to stay indoors – or else. There has been something the govt didn’t want us to see. Coachloads of them being driven away from RAF airfields perhaps, during the night?

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Yes and reflected on here by MH questioning whether Nigel Farage had a right to be there, rather than addressing the issue of illegal immigration!

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        I agree with your sentiment. That’s why I propose a two-tier Welfare system be introduced. For those coming to our shores, their NI contributions, less that needed to pay for healthcare, would go into a Provident Fund. The contributor would be allowed to draw down from it if made unemployed or in some other distress. On retirement, the balance would be converted to an annuity. If the contributor left our shores, they could take the balance with them. But there would be NO access to the Welfare system, something that would be open to citizens only. Would you vote for that?

      • Iago
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        There’s an article in Conservative Woman this morning, Mass Immigration – The Religion of the Left. It could not be more depressing. The present Conservative Party is of course part of the Left.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Why should it be OK for Immigrants to take British jobs? Whether we pay the immigrant or the person whose job they have taken, it costs us. Jobs and opportunities are hard to create, they don’t just ‘happen’.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        When the true unemployment hits this country and people are left with nothing to lose this situation will no longer be tolerated.

        There aren’t the numbers of police and military to cope.

      • bill brown
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        bigneil and jiminyjim

        A significant part of the wealth of this country was created and generated by foreigners and immigrants, and lots of us are immigrants, so let us have a serious, constructive and tolerant debate on the immigration.
        thank you very much

        • NickC
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Bill B, That is an old wives tale taught in the 1950s. Actually, lots of the population of the British isles are not immigrants.

          Despite numerous invasions and enslavements, the vast majority of the DNA mix of British people are of the original ice age settlers from 10,000 years ago. Even in the SE the mix is around 70% original, rising to c90% in parts of Wales, and around 80% in N England, Scotland and Ireland.

          And – you may not know this – being “tolerant” does not mean approval of, or acceptance of, another’s views. Thank you very much.

          • bill brown
            Posted May 25, 2020 at 1:57 am | Permalink


            More tolerance my dear chap and you forgot the Scandinavian influence as well

    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    I get your role JR as Tory MP and in this blog. It would be amazing if the Tory Party were able to get back on this one.
    Sweden appears to have the Britishness the Tory Government surprisingly lacks across the spectrum. Strange to relate.
    The Remainers did say
    “There will be food shortages and rationing ” “Mass unemployment” “Fresh vegetables disappearing from shops” ” Massive debts” ” Higher taxes” “Lack of democracy”
    Well, they were wrong about the time taking 5 years. Just 3 months. Plus house arrest. Police chasing a man and a dog in he middle of nowhere for being outside. Ban on people being in parks. Snogging courting couples arrested. Prisoners set free. Ban on Mayoral and Local Elections. 35-40000 dead.
    No, there is no coming back into power for the Tories. One should not predict in politics. Okay. I bet the Tories will lose the next General Election and will stay out of power for not just one generations but possibly always. The Germans are British, the Tory Party??????
    Not to you JR but to Tories in general “Get you out of our Country! We do not like your kind.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      I disagree. I want to agree, but after a conversation yesterday with someone I am not quite so sure. There is a large body of people out there, and this person was self employed, that have drunk the Cool Aid 😉

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Boris has only about four years left, he need to act now if the economy is to recover. The solutions are all very obvious and will certainly work but he needs to act now.

      So far he has not even cancelled the idiotic HS2 nor the net zero carbon Theresa May lunacy!

      He can win the next election or even the next two elections – given the right policies now. Just halve the size of the largely parasitic sector and increase the size of the productive one that pays the taxes. Get the government off the backs and out of the way of the productive.

      • JoolsB
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        I agree with every word Lifelogic as do many but unfortunately they’re not listening.

      • APL
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        LifeLogic: “Boris has only about four years left,”

        Which is why he should have stood strong on his original stance.

        The economy won’t recover from what the Tory government has imposed on it. Even the Eco fascist sympathiser Neil Ferguson said when he gave evidence before Parliament; “We* will be paying for this year for decades to come”.

        Not one decade, but at least two, maybe three.

        Thirty years to save .07% of the population, 85% of whom were in the last months of life anyway.

        But no, there is a solipsistic faction in the population that demand our young people pay with their future prosperity for six months extra.

        • APLa
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          apologies, didn’t close my bold after ‘decades’.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think ‘Boris has 4 years left’. If the Tories leave him in office, with all these wrongheaded attitudes which you do your best to absolve him of, they will, as people say, never be elected again.
        Apart from Frost, who is ‘man of the match’ the rest are making a right mess on all fronts. They seem to be in a literal blind panic.
        The Tories have 4 years left to get it right, and they MUST get real Conservatives into Downing Street as a matter of urgency!
        It’s our and their only hope. MPs need to understand what is at stake and provide a decent shortlist for the Leadership election which must happen as soon as Boris retires to recuperate. Soon I hope!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Well it will make a change to see Labour struggling with no money when they pick up the gauntlet rather than the other way around.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        The existing railways are now already redundant. No-one is travelling on them and I doubt the passengers will be back for a long while, if ever.


        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          Corruption, vested interests and the climate alarmism religion are the only explanation. Not that there is anything remotely green about HS2 in reality.

    • BW
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Good Grief. What on earth have you been drinking.

    • IanT
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Would you have preferred Jeremy Corbyn as PM, with John McDonnell as Chancellor Christopher? Would you have liked them in charge during this crisis – and it’s aftermath….

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        And with Nicola Sturgeon and her National Socialist Party of Scotland wagging the tail of this evil Labour dog.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        No. There is no election for 4 years. The next PM will be a Tory. My preference is JR. Since the end of Thatcherism we have needed him. Desperately now. All our businesses depend on it. Let’s get a campaign going.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink


    • graham1946
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Before the Tories lose the next election, first there has to be a believable alternative.

      Labour? Get past Kier Starmer and take a look at their front bench. Anything believable there?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        No Keir Starmer is the only one who can string a full coherent sentence together and even he is wrong on almost everything – in the same way as the dire BBC is.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      A bit of rant. The problems you mention have no connection with the EU, to which we are still, on a practical basis, attached.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    “ Give them up to a year to work with someone to see how good it can be and to guide them into the idea of accepting full employer responsibilities”.

    Why only a year just have easy hire and fire with standard pay offs (similar to statutory redundancy). This way there is little reason not to try someone out.

    They government is making the same mistake over evicting tenants which is becoming harder and harder to do. This means fewer and fewer people are prepared to let properties out – thus damaging supply of properties to rent (as with available jobs above).

    Much daft discussion (mainly on the BBC) about austerity being out of fashion so it will have to be tax increases. Increasing tax rates from the currently hugely over taxed position will raise less tax not more. Particularly as many businesses have now taken on much more debt to survive that will need to be repaid. Indeed sound businesses will have to repay the debt they have taken on, the debt the government has taken on and the CV virus debts that some other weaker businesses will never be able to repay to government.

    We need a much smaller state, no HS2, a bonfire of red tape and scrap the net zero carbon lunacy.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      Yep! Increasing tax, or even leaving it at these ridiculously high rates, leads directly to unnecessary bankruptcies and Austerity!
      The State is the burden we can no longer support and it must be pared back substantially. Government micromanagement is counterproductive and unaffordable.
      Thank God we seem to have won on Hauwei!
      Now for HS2 and the rest.

      • Adam
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Most people support themselves by exchanging their capabilities and resources with others for mutually-agreed values in pursuit of happiness. Govt exists to protect all citizens with services, and to moderate behaviour toward goodness.

        Capable people will do whatever they need and are free to do. Govt needs to derive income from capable people to perform essential services for all.

        Why does Govt choose to use so many different complicated sources of income? Each citizen either pays Govt or receives what it provides. Govt would be better with far fewer sources of income to fund what is needed efficiently. Instead it continues to produce convoluted tax codes, allowances and a myriad of lengthy complex rules which even its own specialists struggle to understand.

        Needs drive business, and capable people will create the means of reaching them, enabling the generation and funding of services for others.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          and don’t forget governments desire to social engineering

          forget market forces everything must be made in their image

    • Sakara Gold
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      We need more onshore windfarms, more onshore solar farms, an electric vehicle charging infrastructure starting with our motorway and dual carriageway network, grid scale energy storage facilities here in the UK. Dinosaur views on the carbon industry such as yours have already lost the argument.

      The green industry already employs over 150,000 people, new capacity is now coming on stream subsidy free and we are world leaders in the technology.

      We are also world leaders in offshore wind. We have ~24 GW of installed capacity which represents about a quarter of our energy consumption. Why dont you just give up?

      • IanT
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Really interested to hear how you intend to store all that renewable energy Sakara – “Grid Scale Energy Storage” ??

        What is that in the real world exactly?

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          He/she likes to quote installed capacity, this of course hides the fact that the average output is about 20 percent. On a gas turbine nameplate it say 100mw, it will produce that 24/7. Whereas the windmill will only produce on average 20mw. Makes a big difference.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Massive reservoirs and pumps usually, it wastes a huge proportion of the energy in the pumping process and costs a fortune. Very dangerous too when dams give way.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

            170,000 kill by just on dam failure in China!

        • hefner
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          IanT: Did you search for ‘Grid-Scale Energy Storage’? After you have done it, could you please tell us which ones of the four battery-linked, hydro-based, compressed or liquid air-based, flywheel, or hydrogen cycle-linked systems you object to, with scientific reasons for the your dismissal.
          It always is interesting to hear words from specialists.

          • Ian Wragg
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            There is no economc way to store say 120gwh except of course building dams. Not very environmentally friendly is it.

          • Stred
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            These have all been covered over the last four years in an energy blog with contributions from engineers. None of them have worked either for capacity or efficiency. They are still available. Re Euan Mearns.

          • NickC
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            Hefner, Simply because various “storage” technologies are “laboratory” feasible, does not make them either safe, cost effective or desirable. Moreover they approximately double the “cost” of Wind, making Wind one of the least cost effective ways of generating electricity.

          • Hope
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

            Hef, presumably you would need to be a specialist to know whether the answer is correct or not? Unless you know everything.

          • jerry
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            @hefner; Perhaps his point is the need for such post generation storage?…

          • hefner
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            Stred, are you referring to the ‘Energy matters’ website?

        • Fred H
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          ‘Grid-Scale Energy Storage’?
          answer: for the forseable future an impossibility.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 4:07 am | Permalink

            Grid scale energy storage is best done with a pile of coal a tank of oil (or liquid methane). These are work very well and are far cheaper than trying to store intermittent electricity.

            You then just generate as needed.

        • anon
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          As renewable costs continue to undercut fossil fuels then the answer to balancing the grid will be a combination of technolgies including.
          1) Extra capacity which may be curtailed if no short term use can be identified. (why not mine bitcoin? or hot water storage)
          2) Forecasting short term supply, weather forecasting is more reliable than large plants dropping off the grid.
          3) Grid scale energy storage solution.
          4) Demand curtailment
          5) I don’t see a long term role for fossil fuel plan, but no reason to close capacity or current working plant until the tech proves itself.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 4:08 am | Permalink

            “Cost undercut” sure!

          • Al
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            “1) Extra capacity which may be curtailed if no short term use can be identified. (why not mine bitcoin? or hot water storage)” – anon

            I laughed like mad when I found one of our local pensioners who was forced onto all-electrical heating is heating their house by mining bitcoin. It is, apparently, cheaper than running their boiler.

      • jerry
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        @Sakara Gold; The green energy industry is akin to those old East German tractor factories, always above production targets but the country always being dangerously short of tractors…

        IF carbon is a problem, there is no actual evidence that it is, then we need far more nuclear power stations.

        Pollution is likely the real cause of any (slight) climate warming, or should I say the lack of pollution due to the reductions in pollution since the 1950s, so in effect the climate is simply returning to a state last seen before the very high pollution levels of the industrial age. In other words nothing to worry about!

      • Ben ES
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        “We are also world leaders in offshore wind. We have ~24 GW of installed capacity which represents about a quarter of our energy consumption.”

        Apologies if this is just a slip up, but that should say “quarter of our electricity” which is itself about a quarter of our energy. Thus just e few percent of our energy. Think heating, transport, industry etc.

        Also mandating the grid to take ‘renewable’ energy preferrentially is a massive hidden subsidy that matters more than a few pence per unit direct subsidy.

        • Tom
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          Agree totally.
          The last para of John’s original post is spot on too!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          Well if you piss taxpayer subsidies at something people will build them. It might be good if we could be world leaders in something that did not need large subsidies from other tax payers!

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Yes we have World leader football that costs a bloody fortune too, but can’t win a trophy. We need some sequential thinking now, we can’t afford dreamers!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Other countries are more sensible than to subsidise them!

      • matthu
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Why do you compare wind farm capacity to electricity consumption?

        It’s like comparing the capacity of all your empty dams and comparing that to average water consumption over a 5 year period.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        What absolute rubbish. Wind farms supply intermittent energy and when there’s high pressure they produce zero.
        Running gas turbines on little or minimum load produces far more CO2 than the windmills save.
        If you think batteries which can store 500mwh can be built,you should get other medication.
        The green blob is hooked entirely on subsidies which we can no longer get afford.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink


          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink


      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        I assume like most “believers” you have little knowledge of physics, energy production or engineering?

        You say:- We need more onshore windfarms, more onshore solar farms, an electric vehicle charging infrastructure starting with our motorway and dual carriageway network, grid scale energy storage facilities here in the UK.

        Non of this saves any significant CO2 anyway (even if you do believe in the CO2 devil gas religion). It is tree and plant food – food that plants and trees need to produce all the Oxygen we breath and grow the food we eat.

        • M Brandreth- Jones
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          The trees have decline considerable and cannot use the CO2

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            They do indeed use the Co2 and grow far better with slightly increase concentrations if it in the main.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Capacity and what they produce is very different. Also they often produce when you do not need any power and do not produce when you do. So it is worth far less than on demand power. Storage is very expensive and wasteful too.

      • NickC
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Sakara Gold, One thing we’re not, and that is “world leaders in [green] technology”. Where ever did you get the idea we were?

        As for battery cars we would have to practically double our electrical energy production. We’re hardly capable of building enough power stations to take over from Coal and retiring Nuclear, let alone doubling capacity. And building the storage facilities for the extra energy.

        Non-scientific and non-technical views such as yours have already lost the argument.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      You have easy hire and fire for two year – just follow simple procedure. If as a boss you can’t work out whether someone is any good in that time, maybe you need to retire?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        We they can put on a good show for a year and then once the year is up can take the piss – many do.

        People change too, some people actively want to be fired or paid off perhaps as they want to move or some other reason. Some just get too old to do the job properly anymore too.

        • graham1946
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          Two years is what you get and what I said. You seem obsessed with one year which is totally wrong.
          People can change. So can you. Bosses can be good then go bad. You want to fire someone who’s served you well for donkeys years? You can, but you must make them redundant and pay up. Nothing stopping you doing that – or is that the problem, you don’t really want to accept your responsibility?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 4:11 am | Permalink

            You cannot legally pick and choose with redundancy in that way.

          • graham1946
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            ‘You cannot pick and choose redundancy in that way’

            Yes you can. All you need to do is make sure the old job is fully redundant and make a new one with different responsibilties. If you try to employ someone else for the same job on the same terms, then you are illegal. But best of all, if you teat people well, pay them well and give respect I find they work well. Usually bad bosses make bad employees.

  4. Nigl
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    I have been listening to politicians talking about getting self employed people to expand tyeur business for umpteen years and this is another example. It is far too much hassle and anyway why when you have a lifestyle, which what these businesses are.

    So who is earning the money when all trading is going on, who is now having to do the marketing for an extra person, who is going to tell your valued clients that ‘sorry can’t be with you’ because my employee hasn’t turned up as happens so often, where us the money coming from when your government arbitrarily puts costs up via the minimum wage, how do you run a small business having to provide for maternity leave, what about the cist and hassle of setting up a pension for them, what about the threat of an employee tribunal hanging over etc?

    As a self employed person I will have a network. If I get additional work I can always look to ‘sub it’.

    Get real Sir JR on this one, apart from the personal disruption an additional employee would cause, your government makes it absolutely not worth it . I look forward to Lifelogic on this one.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Employment laws virtually mean that you have to adopt an employee for life (rather than just employ them as and when needed). If you have to employ people make sure they work for a limited liability company with no assets that you can drop if needed. If you listen to an employment lawyer explaining all your responsibilities and liabilities or read up on them this you probably will not bother at all.

      You can even get sued by “would be” employees you have never even taken on (just interviewed) or even decided not to interview. Even the interview process can be dangerous. Certainly do not trust any qualifications they claim to have (give them a test yourself). One person I interview had “good” maths and English GCSEs but could not do very simple sums or even write a simple letter that could be understood. This in a simple test I gave them.

      Employment rights seem to be there mainly to benefit duff, incompetent and lazy employees and to enrich lawyers and HR consultants. If they bring a claim they almost always claim it is due to their disability, race or gender discrimination. When in fact is it just that they are not doing the job properly (nor often even trying to do it).

      • graham1946
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Well, for a so-called boss you don’t seem to know much about employment law, you seem to be relying on anecdotes and things you heard down the pub. You are wrong. All you need is to be reasonable, something which someone with extreme right wing views will find difficult, I grant you. If you employ someone who does what you say, I’d say that your judgement is poor.

    • SM
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink


      • Jim Whitehead
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Nigl and Lifelogic, excellent contributions, and I can confirm the truth of their conclusions.
        Simply put, It’s not worth the Hassle !!
        That extra step of taking on another employee is a step into a bear trap!
        It made no sense (over several decades) to me so I simply didn’t add to my number of employees.
        What’s so difficult to understand for the Conservative MPs about the way people behave in the real world?
        No point in asking about lib/lab views, they don’t inhabit the real world of the enterprising self-employed.
        Reality check on that point point : NiCaligula Sturgeon and 5 miles travel radius for Scotland’s inmates !!

        • Jim Whitehead
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          My son-in-law, started his own one-man business several years ago.
          He is much in demand (plumbing and Central Heating).
          He occasionally subs out a job.
          He has no intention of expanding by employing others.
          It’s too much Hassle.
          Rules, regs, red-tape, not all are silly but all are disincentives.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            If every one man business took on another person that is a lot of jobs. The other deterrent is the VAT threshold. Many can keep below this with one man but not with two.

            Plus these assistants would often be learning the job and how to work.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      NigL providing for sick leave is more onerous than maternity leave to be fair, at least an employer can claim back 92% of statutory maternity pay – although the employer still has to pay the near six weeks holiday pay (pro-rata – maternity leave can be extended to one year now so you can’t replace that worker during that period unless you pay extra for a temp.) plus employers NI.

      With sick leave you have to pay all SSP plus all the holiday pay they accrue during the potential 28 weeks you’re paying SSP which is three weeks pay, and even if that worker doesn’t come back to work and SSP stops you are eligible for their holiday pay accruing whilst not in work and you have keep them hired even if not capable of returning, they can come back work a few weeks then go off again for 28 weeks. To end the position is a nightmare of medical reports you have to pay for, long winded procedures which you’re best to pay for advice to work through plus you leave yourself open to a damaging claim if they have a wide ranging disability characteristic so a solo entrepreneur really does need to know all the employment law before they set off on this.

      I’ve know a couple of women who were self-employed knowing they wanted a baby take up a position, get pregnant shortly afterwards (just enough to be 26 weeks before the qualifying week 15 weeks before the week of childbirth) to get their paid ante-natal time off, 11 weeks leave paid before the birth, SMP throughout and all the holiday pay accrued with no intention of doing a good job for that company, in fact they keep their little sideline business going throughout and just take lots of sick leave with morning sickness etc.

      John, solo entrepreneur hiring is a big commitment.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink


      Agreed, when I had extra work i used to sub it as well, going back very many years now but the old 714 certification worked ok for me, never understood why they scrapped it.

      Everyone was registered with HMRC, paperwork receipts and certificates exchanged for payment, would be so much easier now, as it could all be on line, and completed electronically.

      Employment laws far too complicated, time consuming and expensive to risk talking on additional staff when work loading can never be guaranteed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink


        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          And in your previous comment re VAT, spot on. The successful startups are strangled at that point. So once again the system supports the failures at the cost of the successful. Pure madness in normal times, lethal in these circumstances.

      • NickC
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Alan Jutson, That bears repeating: “Employment laws [are] far too complicated …”. Above all, scrap IR35 completely.

  5. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    The 2 metre rule is unsustainable.
    The WHO says 1 metre and some in Europe are adopting that.
    No one will visit a pub or restaurant if they have to sit apart.
    We need someone like Tim Martin to announce he is opening all his pubs on 4the July and everyone else will follow.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Theatre and cinema likewise.
      I’m more than ready to take my seat as usual in any cinema, concert hall, or theatre, shoulder to shoulder with other aficionados of whichever of the performing arts.
      Where are the voices of the luvvies?
      They’re two metres from the cliff edge.
      I know that there’s great revulsion for the ‘arts’ being skewed by PC and ‘diversity’ and other ‘woke’ rubbish, and I share that distaste, but there’s much else to enjoy, appreciate, and be uplifted by.
      It cannot die because of some unsocial distance superstition.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Two metres is perfectly workable, except for those commuting at Rush Hour into a city. I’ll be maintaining it.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Two metres is totally unworkable for most of the hospitality industry. It would reduce customers to about 30percent capacity. Not enough to pay the bills.
        We ran a shop and it would have closed by now if people had to keep 2 metres apart.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          All my tenants are telling me same.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        even after full employment returns? Or are you assuming it never will?

      • Fred
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        A sneeze can travel 12m. It’s best to wear a surgical mask and goggles.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          or use a hankerchief

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        It is not really just distance but how wind or air is moving plus the time spent together. Someone I know had a severe allergic reaction to horses that ran past her 10 meters away with the wind blowing the horses breath/saliva towards her. One infected person at a restaurant infected 9 people due to the way the air con circulated the air I understand.

        I do wonder how air con on aircraft will spread it? Or one infected person with perhaps 10 or more others well within 2 metres for perhaps several hours. Or even from the last person who sat in the seat and used the table 20 mins earlier.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        ‘Except for’???
        No return to work in London will be in the least possible with a two-metre rule on public transport. The stations will be closed due to overcrowding, no business will function at full strength, and will eventually ground to a halt.
        If we want to kill off the economy, a two-metre distancing rule is a brilliant way to ensure it is done thoroughly.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        As long as the pavement is sufficiently wide, Sea Warrior.

  6. oldtimer
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Good ideas. The UK will need these and many more if it is to limit the damage caused by the lockdown. Real recovery and wealth creation will only come from private initiatives. Government needs to remove as many impediments as possible as soon as possible.

  7. Nigl
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Ps have you tried to recruit people when seemingly doing your best, you are at risk of being accused of racism, sexism, transgender phobia etc? Have you interviewed some of the ‘dross’ from employment centres or straight out of school with people with poor literacy, numeracy and communication skills, that is if they turn up, which often they don’t.

    Have you taken on someone, when I need to work all hours, to meet my customers needs etc, my new employee has a 9 – 5 attitude?

    No I though not.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I have. I wanted a junior for one of my shops and found the standard of education was very poor, reading and writing and arithmetic and had to interview about 20 to find one who could do simple things. This is the state of education – not surprising when teachers seemingly don’t want to go to school. My parents generation (and mine come to that) are all literate and mostly numerate.

      Regarding ‘all hours’ do you expect to pay for it or want something for nothing like many these days. The British work far more overtime especially in office jobs than are ever paid for and are constantly in touch on the phone and dare not switch them off, even at home, which accounts for a lot of stress and mental problems.

  8. Mark B
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The travel, leisure and sports industries are ruined. These industries cannot cope with social distancing, not just for participants but customers/spectators as well. The whole country has been put in a near state of perpetual fear. I and others here warned against much of what the government was doing regarding the handling of this. We criticised the MSM for its carnal desire for a news story and the government being all too keen with its draconian legislation and power grab. Will our kind host comment on this attack on our liberties ? Doubt it !

    Now we hear the government is going to quarantine legitimate visitors to this country whilst, behind our backs, it has been only too happy to facilitate illegal migrants without such restrictions. When is the Home Secretary going to act ? And why did not the media report on this major news story ?

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      You only name three ruined industries:

      There are many more:
      Car Hire
      Facilities Management for offices and empty shops
      Manufacturers for products used by the above
      Services of those business above
      And on

      I’m hearing the travel industry is expecting people to move their holidays on a year and pay an extra £1000 to do so! Pay for two years in one.

      I don’t think younger people are as fearful though, if a cruise company put on a ship to sail somewhere sunny with virtually deserted beach stops in say Africa I think they’d go. Especially if they could cv19 test and temperature check the cruise staff I think that could be the breakthrough. But then will these young people have jobs left to pay for holidays – least experience, lowest cost to make redundant because businesses are stuck now with over 65s who would all need massive payoffs.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        We’re in our 70’s and have rebooked a cruise for October. If the ship sails we will be on it.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          don’t expect us to rescue you!

      • Stred
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Hertz is filing for bankruptcy re F. T.

  9. Kenneth
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I see no reason why employees cannot switch their status to self-employed if that suits them and their company.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      What sane person would do that?

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Someone who is offered the extra 12.8% employers NI portion of their pay and can offset ‘business expenses’ that a paye worker can’t such as vehicle, fuel, accommodation, telephone, home office costs …lower employees NI only take 20 days holiday instead of 28 and take the money for the other 8, take time off when they want to or potentially ‘work’ at home.

      • formula57
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        BBC luvvies allegedly.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Please can someone explain to all politicians (and BBC staff) that electric cars are not “zero emission” and do not even save net CO2 emissions. Even if all the electricity used in their lifetime is from low carbon sources (which is will not be) they nearly always cause more CO2 emissions just during the manufacture of the new car and battery (or batteries as they do not last that long) anyway.

    The Transport Secretary is deluded on this as was Baroness Nicky Morgan last night on Any Questions (another Lawyer with zero grasp of physics/engineering/energy).

    • Andy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      There was a study by Cambridge University published in Nature Magazine in March which found the exact opposite of what too claim.

      It took into account the complete lifecycle of electric cars – from production to disposal, and looked at cars powered by electricity generated by fossils fuels – and it concluded that electric cars are still responsible for the production of significantly less CO2.

      This is part of a growing body of evidence showing the same result. So I’m afraid your thesis – which may have been correct a decade ago – is now woefully out of date.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        I would be delighted to drive an electric car and know a number of people who do. At the moment it’s fine as only 12k cars are All-electric out of a total of 38m. So although it takes 20 mins to charge them at a motorway station if you plan, although inconvenient, it’s not a huge problem. But what happens when we have 1-2,000x as many such cars on the road? A huge increase in charging infrastructure will be needed. Also the electricity needs to generated. There is not nearly enough wind capacity for this now, If we don’t want to just burn more fossil fuel, and even if there was a multiplication of wind (at huge cost) we would also need a massive expansion of nuclear for back-up.

        We hear far too many fine words on decarbonisation and not nearly enough hard numbers and choices.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        I have done the maths, if they say what you say they say they are mistaken. But anything that is not “on message” rarely gets funded.

        If you really want to save CO2 run you old small petrol or diesel car for a few more years. It is far more sensible than buying (and this causing the manufacture of) a new electric car and far less limiting too.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          Far cheaper as well.

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink


            I doubt it. If we all drove around in old bangers millions of cars would remain unsold and thousands of workers would lose their jobs.
            And in the long run I doubt it would be any cheaper as garage bills to keep the old car on the road would soon mount.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

            In one report the most environmentally friendly cars were Rolls Royce Aston Martin Ferrari and old Jeeps.
            Because a high percentage of them are still being used after many decades.

            Reduce Reuse Recycle.

          • Alan Jutson
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink


            Agreed our two cars total 34 years old, one a Toyota Corolla SR the other a V6 Mitsubishi sport 4×4 double cab pick up. Both purchased new after Pre Registration at a 35% discount.

            Total motoring cost about £1,000 per year each (includes road tax, servicing, and insurance) plus fuel

            No depreciation for years, both still totally reliable, and both still look good.

            Will replace the 20 year old pick up when it becomes un economical to repair.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 4:21 am | Permalink

            The old bangers are better, cheaper and more flexible cars than most new ones. They produce less CO2 too overall – if that concerns you.

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          wise words and completely correct

      • Fred H
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        well Andy are you going to list the assumptions made? Vehicle life in years, average mileage per year, number of recharges, total KW required to supply the vehicle, how may battery changes, expected miles per recharge, how many assumed breakdowns, average driven speed per year.
        Without some stated assumptions it is all hogwash.

      • Stred
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Why don’t you read the article by Prof Kelly on GWPF. It explains that the planned changes to electric transport will be impossible unless we have given up travelling.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 5:05 am | Permalink

          Energy Utopias and Engineering Reality by Prof. Michael Kelly brings some reality to the subject.

          Not something you get very often from most scientifically, economically illiterate and innumerate dopes like Theresa (net zero carbon) May.

          Still she did give us “opt out” organ donation I suppose – just nothing else remotely positive.

      • NickC
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Andy, If you are referring to the study by the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen and Cambridge, reported in Nature Sustainability (not Nature) then you are wrong that it does not matter if the electricity is generated by natural (“fossil”) fuels. The study specifically cites Poland where most electricity is generated by coal, as producing worse results.

        The study is also merely calculated rather than a real world experiment. One thing we know is that in the real world, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) do not perform as the brochures claim. BEVs are about 40% heavier than petrol vehicles so will always cost more to produce and thus also carry the penalty of higher CO2 in their production. For the user BEVs take too long to charge.

        Above all, BEVs won’t be here in any numbers until the government authorises the build of many more generating plants. Do you see that happening right now? Because I don’t.

    • formula57
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Likely once we have been encouraged to switch to electric the realization of their harmful CO2 emissions effect will dawn and be sufficient justification to up the tax on ownership. As went diesels, so will go electric!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink


  11. GilesB
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    We have about forty million people who want employment.

    That’s roughly one job for every £million of turnover. Every job saves about £20k in avoided state benefits.

    Businesses that employ a lot of people but have a low turnover/employee should receive a job bonus of up to £10,000 per employee.

    Business with high turnover /employee and few employees should be charged a job malus of up to 10% of turnover.

    A firm with average turnover/employee, Marks & Spencer for example, would receive neither bonus nor malus.

    Calculated correctly the scheme would not cost the Exchequer anything. The Inland Revenue already knows the number of UK employees, all companies need to report is their U.K. turnover.

    Stop the likes of Google plundering the U.K. economy without creating enough jobs!

    • James1
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      It’s not “jobs” that’s important, it’s “production”. We need to produce more. If it was just “jobs” that mattered the government could employ people to dig holes and fill them in again.

      • matthu
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        GilesB was talking about turnover/employee: simply digging holes and filling them in again does not produce enough turnover to replace unemployment benefit.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        they have proved to be very good at digging holes. Just hopeless at filling in the mess.

      • oldwulf
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Hi James1

        I think we need more private sector jobs to pay for the public sector and benefits/welfare system. So …. if the government digs a hole and fills it in again, it might not be such a good idea 🙂

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Instead of getting a bonus for employing people, businesses are charged tax in the form of employer’s national insurance.
      It seems government treats employment like a social ill they are trying to eradicate.

    • oldwulf
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      @GilesB. An intriguing concept. The fine print of such a scheme would be important. I’m no expert on this but, on an individual level, I’m wondering about rates of pay and the interaction with the benefits system.

      I believe we have reached a time where a fundamental reform of the system would receive support, rather than merely tinkering around the edges. Maybe tax on workers could be reduced by abolishing National Insurance in all its forms. To pay for this there could be an increase in tax on all income/profits and gains (principally income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax). Such a change would cost me money.

      Perhaps someone cleverer than me might be able to offer a view as to whether or not the arithmetic stacks up.

      • oldwulf
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        ps – IR35 might go out of the window if there is no National Insurance ?

  12. Mick
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Getting people back to work
    Good luck with that, especially teachers all there unions are interested in is taking Britain back to the 60s & 70s in trying to bring a elected government down , you don’t have to be politically minded you only have to listen to them spouting there poisonous speeches, then there the opposition Labour/snp/libs/welsh /greens when they are speaking in Parliament or to the media talk through snarling faces as though they have a nasty smell under there noses , thank god we have a Tory government and not any of the others in power or we would be in a lot worse situation than we are now

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Lots of young intelligent graduates will be out of work, better a supply teacher than no teacher if older and ulnerable teachers need to furlough.

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Maybe all those teachers that have been sitting at home on full pay should be made to work through the summer holidays. The Government needs to be firm with them especially the unions but we haven’t see it yet.

      Totally agree. I watch BBC Parliament often and every time an opposition MP stands up, almost every one speaks in a nasty vile snarling manner. They are truly the nasty party. Pity hapless Labelled the Tories with that label instead. Must be something in their DNA.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        There’s an obvious need to review the scope of the Civil Contingencies Act once we’re out of this crisis.

    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    The Left-Labour are now in control of all aspects of the British State and the self-employed are viewed as detritus and suspicion. Beyond the State, all is considered with moral distaste

    Most on here now understand and accept the Parliamentary Tory Party is now owned by a political culture that demands adherence to the Left. It is dead and is now nothing more than part of the machinery of the State rather than a movement of ideas, culture and conviction.

    The UK is dead. By 2060 it will be unrecognisable. The left will have been victorious and for that we can thank the very party whose primary purposes was to protect the fundamental identity and integrity of the UK, the Conservative Party

    • BOF
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Should it continue, Dominic, this will be a third world country!

    • Iago
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      plus 1, Dominic. We are a subject population now.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      I fear you maybe correct

  14. Sharon Jagger
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Nigl says that as a self employed person he has a network and subs when he has additional work. My limited experience of plumbers, electricians etc would show this to be the case. No-one is employed, they are all self employed and seem to work as a team (or network) showing up when their specialism is required. And do a great job too!

  15. jerry
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    UBR needs to be scrapped for very small businesses, I know there is relief for those who apply but the paperwork all takes time, with no certainty of success, for many that is time taken away from time that could have been used to generate wealth and serving the customers needs..

    The problem is not just the VAT threshold but B2B purchases, VAT needs to be abolished for genuine (HMRC registered) B2B sales, not adjusted for via the tax return. VAT needs a be totally revised from the ground up, it is far to complex.

    Commercial building planning rules (and some residential building property Deeds) need to be made less restrictive, repealing past and banning future requirements. Coupled to this there needs to be a far better supply of basic, cheap, flexible (lease terms), start-up/growth-encouraging small industrial units that allow sole traders and start-ups opportunity. I would hope private landlords can ‘step-up’ to provide these but if needs-be these light industrial units should to be provided by govt/LA.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree Jerry.
      Great post.

  16. rose
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The Cummings family appear unwittingly to have performed the perfect lab experiment, demonstrating that children do not spread the Wuhan virus, even when both parents are seriously ill with it.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      People in glass houses should be careful when throwing stones.

      Cummings is a ‘key worker’ key workers can travel with permission. Parliament didn’t close until 25/26th March all those MPs living in London and working by all accounts in one of the most affected/infected workplaces in the Country just how many of them did like Dom and concluded their work affairs in London before returning to their family home elsewhere (even as far North as the Highlands of Scotland) as they knew the lockdown would be for a potential three months.

      There are plenty of inter-generational living families and MPs who would have returned home instead of staying in their work flat to potentially put their children and partners at risk! Take care people.

      • rose
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Harriet Harman says her daughter cuts her hair. So they must be under one roof.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          you write because you doubt! There are tens of thousands of similar situations – people forced to move back together as soon as Lockdown announced.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            I’m so sick of this attitude – all we get from Hitchens etc is ‘the death of Britain’. Bloody depressing! He and you are doing the enemies job for them! Every General knows that moral is critical. My husband, Rodney Atkinson, is writing his last book on the EU. It’s called ‘Epitaph for the EU’. Britain is on the cusp of a Golden Age. OK we have to fight for it, that’s normal. It’s worth fighting for!

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink


            Is it his ‘last’ or just his ‘latest’? He seems to have had quite a few tries for decades now without much success so far.

            The book’s title ‘Epitaph for the EU’ reminds me of Mark Twain’s famous quote:

            “Reports of my death have been vastly exaggerated

            Still, as you say, you have to fight for what you believe in.

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            Lynn Atkinson

            “It’s called ‘Epitaph for the EU’.”

            Another best seller?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      at the first day of raised temperature you may not be infectious – ideal time to move if you feel you must.

    • Stred
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Cummings juniors may have passed the virus to their parents, while being asymptomatic and then recovered. It still wasn’t a good idea to put them with older relatives.

      • rose
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        He wasn’t put with older relatives. The media are deliberately misleading you.

  17. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Cummings business is irrelevance being blown out of all proportion.
    What is this couple supposed to do with their kids when both are sick?
    Should they have left 4 year old children to fend for themselves?

    • jerry
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      @SJS; Whilst I feel for Cummings and his wife, what would another parent do in a similar position, symptomatic with CV19, hold-up in a two bedroom (or smaller) London flat with a young child. did the govt not put in place measures for the NHS and LA to help in such instances?

      That said, Cummings mistake was his return to London once recovered (if MPs can work remotely then so can a SpAd), the rules allow a change of permanent residency, not to keep flipping residency.

  18. James Bertram
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Just scrap social distancing – it’s a complete nonsense. Stop this lockdown immediately, just protect the elderly and vulnerable better, then forget the stupidity of the last 3 months, get back to work, and get back to normal.

    • villaking
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Absolutely. My sentiments exactly. I wish more saw it this way

      • Jacqueline B
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        That would be the common sense approach at this juncture, or indeed at the start of this outbreak.
        Our government however appear to be following their own agenda and making one non-sensical decision after another and appear to be doubling down on economically wrecking the country for a virus that has proven to be maybe more contagious but no more deadly than bad flu.
        The governments response has now over reached its purpose and has become counter productive and dangerous to personal health and liberty

    • JoolsB
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Hear hear James.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      wise words, if only our government had the bottle

    • Bob Dixo
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Well said

      • BOF
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        You speak for millions, James.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      The lock-down is the problem – not ‘social distancing’. We need to keep the public hygiene effort going.

      • M Hopkins
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Scrap social distancing

    • M Hopkins
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Totally agree

      • James Bertram
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for your support.

        Here are some other voices:

        Professor Gupta (Oxford – epidemiologist)
        ‘Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous from the point of view of the vulnerability of the entire population to new pathogens. Effectively we used to live in a state approximating lockdown 100 years ago, and that was what created the conditions for the Spanish Flu to come in and kill 50 million people.’
        [Comment today by Toby Young of].Does that mean she’s in favour of dispensing with social distancing altogether and just returning to normal? She doesn’t quite say so, but that appears to be what she thinks.

        Will Jones – Conservative Woman – ‘social distancing: the case against’:
        ‘…To date, proponents of social distancing have not provided a satisfactory answer to this basic discrepancy between their proposed remedy and the data on infection spread. It appears to be based on wishful thinking about diminishing the amount of contact between people that superficially seems to make sense and appeals to ‘common sense’….
        If social distancing as practised doesn’t affect the infection curve, the theory that the epidemic peaks and declines because it has hit a collective immunity threshold and has run its course becomes ever more persuasive…..
        On this evidence, the case against the efficacy of social distancing – given that it cannot happen where it matters most – and in favour of the idea that the virus has now run its course and collective immunity has been reached, looks ever stronger. The onus really is on the defenders of social distancing to explain why their hypothesis explains the data better now its effectiveness can no longer be lazily assumed…’

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Assuming it was all an overreaction, the best thing govt could do would be to say…
      “Sorreee! We got it wrong! Back to school and work with you all. No more bl**dy clapping. We’ll just build a decent health service“ ( yes that’s pushing it).
      Result…totally deflated Left and all those busy storming the barricades.

    • L Harris
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree – just scrap social distancing and stop the lockdown now

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink


    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:48 pm | Permalink


  19. BW
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Is it time to take another look at the furlough scheme. It does appear people are scared to go to work but not go to the seaside in vast numbers. Not bad if you can get it at 80% wages. Whilst there are obviously genuine workers needing this. I think there are a load who will take full advantage of the paid holiday for as long as possible.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      You’d think the media would interview and find out what jobs the people on these beaches taking risks for them and their children’s lives do, especially those in the week, if they’re vulnerable furloughed they’re taking the Mick.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink


  20. davews
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    You suggest all shopping should be online. This crisis has show that in the supermarkets there is simply not enough manpower to meet the demand. It requires a huge staff just picking goods off shelves into the online orders, because of those staff in the store there is less room for real customers so they limit the numbers to meet ‘social distancing’ and then huge queues outside. Our Tesco has three huge temporary containers by their click and carry to store the stuff. It is already over sensible capacity and cannot be extended.
    As for ‘social distancing’ it is clear that a return to normal is not possible while the draconian UK 2m for five seconds rule is in place. The whole need for this seems to based on dodgy science, people are not catching the virus from passing somebody in the street, rather most seem sadly to be catching it inside hospitals and carehomes. Scrap the 2m.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Large stores, cafes and restaurants are where everyone goes to the toilet – this weekend is going to see lots of problems for ‘day trippers’ with no loos!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I think that (according to delivery men) picking is done through the night.
      I fail to see how or why the virus should have IMMEDIATELY made so much difference. Why didn’t the supermarkets employ Christmas tactics?
      And then of course they allowed the govt to “nationalise” them!
      Gave us all a short, sharp shock though didn’t it? No food!!

      Dentist always insists on 6 month check but appeared to know ( last October) that an April appt. would not be poss. “Make it a year this time.” Unprecedented.
      Carpet fitter made every excuse under sun to not start work. Unusual.
      Air con installer bloke ditto. Unbelievable!
      Boiler servicer revealed tip-off re “unlocking” date May 11th. Untrue.
      All nonsense I dare say…but ….

    • John E
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      In my experience Tesco have done a much better job than the Government so far. Imagine if we had to rely a National Food Service run along the lines of the National Health Service!

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        I agree. I’ve been very impressed with my Tesco Extra. Their one mistake has been to allow panic-buying in the early stages of the crisis – despite their knowing full well that Mrs Smith doesn’t usually buy ten multi-packs of loo-roll.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        We call it the ‘national sickness service’, Bevin predicted it would shrink as the population became mor healthy. Would that he could see us now!

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          I think Bevin had something but the NHS had other ideas

    • graham1946
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Even at today’s levels only about 10 percent is done on line. If it was increased by even another 10 percent imagine how the roads would be and the pollution. Also, not many make any money out of it – the supermarkets don’t – it takes an organisation like Ocado with its infrastructure to do it. Normal shopping will have to resume sometime fairly soon – the present system of queuing up outside etc will not work long term and when the winter comes?

      Reply On line is higher and growing fast

      • Fred
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Click and collect works really well too. The only problem is that you can’t sort out the fatty cuts of meat and sometimes they substitute something that’s expensive, small or too big. Last week Asda sent us a cauliflower as big as a tennis ball.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          same as us online ‘weekly’ delivery….we’ve had 2 bags of mixed salad dated tomorrow, 2 loaves dated 2 days time, 6 bright yellow/black bananas, lamb chops with 2 items of almost total bone, potatoes that have so many eyes they look ready to go in the ground.

        • graham1946
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Click and collect is ok if you can go out – no good for those ‘shielding’. I’ve been well served by Sainsburys, have got a slot every week and if a product being substituted is dearer they keep to the original item’s price even on branded goods.Very fair.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        But still miniscule and will drop once we get back to normal shopping.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – I fear you’re ignoring realities, Sir John. In London neither Ocado nor any other supermarket is allowing anybody to book a delivery who was not already a customer pre-lockdown. Ocado even blocks its entire website from general view.

        Any attempt to access the website gets the message ‘If you have priority access to, please log in. If you are returned to this page, you do not have priority access.’ You can register but that still gets you nowhere.

        Being elderly and/or diabetic or some similar condition is not enough to get a delivery. You must already be an Ocado customer, and formally state in a contact message: “I am an Ocado customer and I or someone in my household has received a letter from the NHS or Wales’ Chief Medical Officer to say I am ‘extremely vulnerable’ to the symptoms of Coronavirus […] We will verify this information against the government records and update your account as required.”

        The supermarkets have have given their elderly customers (who have not previously found it affordable to spend £40-60 on a single food delivery) no choice but to shop at a local, under-supplied supermarket, queuing for an hour in all weathers. As in Soviet Russia. This is what your government has brought us to, Sir John.

        No wonder the generations are joining up in large, closely-packed households.

  21. ukretired123
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    You will have to rekindle the fire of entrepreneurship as last seen in Margaret Thatcher ‘s day for without it the record no future in this digital age.

    When building a wall the traditional way the trade secret are the little stones that hold the biggest ones in place, so true of SMEs who help larger ones all the time, but misunderstood by HMRC who advise the government instead. A fundamental error as witnessed by the totally inappropriate IR35 applied to 5 million. Time to fundamentally assess his to structure the work life balance and get the unions to reassess their “contribution” to society too.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I wonder how many of Border Force’s passengers will have a work/life balance after getting their whole family here. More like they’ll have a NO work/ all life on the taxpayer balance. We don’t punish them for their crime off illegal entry – the govt rewards them with a life on our taxes, forever.

  22. ukretired123
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Errata in first sentence changed …

  23. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    If we are going to get everyone back to work, there needs to be acceptance that this virus is something we have to live with. It’s no good a restaurant opening if a risk averse clientele doesn’t turn up.
    In industry, I can do my bit by putting infection control procedures in place, but I can’t guarantee all risk is eliminated. Being an employee means you have to accept the risks of the job, not refusing to work because absolute safety can’t be achieved.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I would happily visit a restaurant today – as long as it’s not full and the hygiene measures are top-notch. The industry can’t survive a tardy release from lock-down.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Incidentally, I saw a news report today about how one pub/restaurant chain, in mid-Kent, has geared up for an expected re-opening on 1 July. Very impressive! Which only makes me think that they should be allowed to open this week, getting their staff in off furlough, the tills ringing, and the VAT on its way to HMRC.

  24. Everhopeful
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Nothing to lose now from a “falling off the cliff” if we don’t get an EU trade deal.
    The virus has given us an almighty shove off Everest!!

    • ukretired123
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Ideal conditions to start something new!

  25. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I don’t wish to be rude but this blog sounds more detached from reality with every passing day. You talk about immigration but have our Border Force meeting boats half way! You talk about simplifying tax and do the opposite. You talk about taxing multinationals that move their profits abroad and do nothing. It goes on and on.

    I was self employed for many years. I often had the opportunity to take on more work. I generally turned it down. The bit of profit you make is not worth the hassle of running PAYE, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Sick Pay, aWorkplace Pension, providing a Safe Working Environment, being terrified lest someone has an accident or complains their back is aching because their work station is ‘not right’ etc. When I have had to take someone on, in latter years, I employed them through an agency. Why anyone bothers employing people baffles me. Being an employee is is a cushy life. Being a state employee is the ultimate lifestyle choice.

    Why do any of you on here vote Tory? Do you think they are ‘better’ than Labour? What’s your evidence for that?

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Please pay attention, Mike. Boris is the leader of the Liberal Party.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        correct in all respects

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      We have been corralled into no choice.
      Labour is not and Conservative is not.
      People squashed by terror of name-calling…”racist”. Dare not support parties that might actually care about the UK.
      Brexit P nobbled by usual means and with promises of leaving EU. “ Get Brexit Done.”!!
      Fear of the communism we are staring in the face anyway.
      I suspected we would be delivered into something worse.
      Wasn’t wrong was I?
      But if we ever get to vote again…who to vote for?

    • Bob Dixon
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I waste my vote on Nigel . My MP is a conservative and a complete waste of space.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Mike – – well done! Spelling out the sort of basic measures we had expected a Tory government with a figurehead to ‘get things done’.
      What has been done is a travesty against the wishes of the electing majority.
      You state:
      ‘Why do any of you on here vote Tory? Do you think they are ‘better’ than Labour? What’s your evidence for that?’
      Increasingly I worry that with the bogey man Corbyn no longer frightening the voters, Starmer can sit out the shambles and make hay as things start to settle.

      Did you get what you voted for? How did Brexit go? Wasn’t the Covid saga handled well? Were you always clear on the Government messages? How’s your business going? Are your children fine after missing so much schooling? When will the xx million unemployed get jobs? Time to throw them out and give (insert Party name here) a chance to sort out the mess.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        I spell out what Labour will be asking if they have any sense of going for the jugular. Why not add it? Don’t you think Boris and the Tories should understand what they will face? Time to come up with answers?

  26. Richard1
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Not much progress had been made by the govt with its radical agenda before the Wuhan virus struck and stuffed the world economy. Big and bad decisions were announced on HS2 and Huawei, We are still due to hand 1/4 or so of our electricity network to the control of the CCP due to mrs mays unreversed decision on Hinkley Point.

    As we limp out of lockdown Boris needs to inject a sense of real urgency into making the U.K. super competitive post Jan 1st. Over a year of the 5 year term will have gone, debt will inevitably and unexpectedly be 20% of GDP higher due to the virus. We cannot afford waste and virtue signalling gesture policies. Let’s put real energy into FTAs with countries which don’t demand political control as the EU does at present. Perhaps let’s crowdsource ideas for regulations we should dump once we are free to do so. We must hope interest rates stay low so we can get away with the extra debt – the tax rises which the left, the BBC and it seems the Treasury are calling for would stymie any recovery. No time to lose. Don’t waste so much as a day.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. The marginal rate of tax in the U.K. is over 90%. How much higher do they think they can push it?

  27. Javelin
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    This is not going to be a normal recession because there will be so many unemployed people. Unemployment has a very different effect on the psyche than low wages because it takes away hope, it creates desperation and people look for different solutions. It’s why the miners strike caused riots.

    What seemed like a good idea before – such as mass immigration, high state sector pensions, hate laws, free trade with china, outsourcing jobs – now becomes a target for those millions unemployed and creates a tinderbox. Industrial areas, such as car building, fall into decay and people see benefits and jobs going either to immigrants or abroad.

    The decision to pull China out of the 5G is only the tip of a huge wedge. It’s going to get very ugly.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Let’s hope the price of bread doesn’t rise too steeply!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      About time this generation of native British comprehended the value of a job! They lobby for our treasure to be given away because they think there is a never ending supply and that they will always eat and be housed.
      The Government needs to protect asylum seekers by encouraging them to return to their own people (where we are all safest).
      I am funding 100 destitute white families in South Africa (because they are precluded from working by law on racial grounds; they are refused ‘destitute status’ so don’t receive international food aid and those still earning who normally feed them are themselves wiped out by the lockdown) – £14 per month to feed a family. British people think this cannot happen to whites. Maybe it’s time they saw the world in tooth and claw!

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        “I am funding 100 destitute white families in South Africa (because they are precluded from working by law on racial grounds”

        Really? The South African branch of my family all belong to the former ruling classes of the country. They originated mostly from Scotland and Northern Europe and their lifestyle today is still vastly superior to that of most Europeans, living in the choicest neighbourhoods with African staff seeing to all the unpleasant daily chores for them.

        So what are the REAL reasons why your ‘whites’ are destitute? Boers under apartheid? The way many of them treated their African neighbours and men like Mandela they are lucky they weren’t kicked out of the country altogether.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      And when the lower universities collapse there will be far fewer adult creches to hide the true youth unemployment figures.

  28. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The only way out of this mess is simply to throw the doors open as far as innovation and opportunity are concerned – That means getting rid of as many restrictive and suppressive regulations as possible and reducing taxation across the board – IF THE COUNTRY DIDN’T BOOM AFTER THAT THEN THERE WOULD BE NO HOPE FOR US.
    People need encouragement and incentives to innovate and produce – Keeping us all locked into a society that has crept ever closer to the socialist world will simply not do.

    Repeal the irrational laws – especially the PC ones, reduce the burden on the working man and small business leaders via taxation and red tape, Undo all the damage the EU and the last socialist government did to our country and we stand a change – a good one…

  29. Andy
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Self employment is wonderful when the person is actually self employed. But too often they are not self employed – they are ‘employed’ but not paying fair taxes.

    The ‘self employed’ hairdresser who only ever works on one salon. The taxi driver who drives for one company. The graphic designer who designs for only one firm.

    I know plenty of people in this category. They are self employed but they only ever work for one company or in one place. They are tax avoiders and need targeting.

    Incidentally I don’t often wish for people to lose those jobs. But hopefully Mr Cummings will soon be losing his.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Lose his job, not because he’s done anything illegal, Andy, but because you disagree with his views. The more you post on here, the less attractive your version of the world sounds!

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink


        Well your ‘version of events’ omits to mention that he has lying.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          Should read: ‘was’ lying.

    • Cliff. Wokingham
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink


      I wonder how far you would take the principle in practice.
      If a company only makes products or supplies services to one entity, should they be deemed to be employed by that customer?
      There are many businesses which just provide services to Wokingham Borough Council, should those working for such a company be deemed to be employed by our council?
      The ONLY reason tax is avoided, is because the law allows them to. If the state really wants to stop people avoiding tax, they need to change the tax rules. Tax avoidance is sensible tax planning tax evasion is a crime.

      Regarding Mr Cummings… His actions seem to be perfectly sensible for a concerned father.
      I would not expect anything less from the left to call for his resignation or sacking…. Everything has become too politically polarised recently.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      HMRC have many rules that need to be met before you can be accepted as self employed.
      And they would challenge all the examples you state.

      You tell us you are an employer yet it is odd you don’t already know that.

    • Bob Dixon
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Many hairdressers rent a chair. They are self employed.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        paying a share of rent/rates, electricity, building mtce etc?

        • mancunius
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

          Probably, but not necessarily itemised. These days even in residential rentals many letting agreements are for a single figure to cover all costs. Perfectly legal, perfectly normal.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      In what way is the graphic designer who designs for one firm avoiding tax?

      And in what way is he not self employed? Does he have a contract of employment guaranteeing a wage each month? He probably works from home using his own computer and software. If the work he does is not satisfactory it can be rejected and either not paid for or fixed at the designer’s expense.

      Hairdressers usually rent a chair in a salon. Whether they get any customers, and how much they make, is up to them. Do they have a contract of employment guaranteeing a wage and paid holiday. No, they don’t. How are they avoiding tax? By offsetting legitimate business expenses against their income? If they were employed the company they work for would be claiming those business expenses.

      My son is a self employed personal trainer. Two blokes got hold of a unit and kit it out as a gym. They rent it to about 10 personal trainers, one of whom is my son. My son has to find clients and pay rent to use the gym. Is he really an employee of the blokes who own the gym? I’ve told him it is a mug’s game being self employed but he hasn’t learned yet how much easier it is to be an employee.

    • ukretired123
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      You have no clue about the personal risks taken by self-employed folks and insult them with your silly comments. Your attitude rules you out of most work. Simple and basic.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      What about the business employing the worker? Avoiding taxes and benefits due to a PAYE employee?

      • Andy
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Of course. I have no qualms with people who are legitimately self employed. That is a great thing. But we all know many of them aren’t legitimately self employed and that it is just a convenient tax avoidance method for all.

        If you are a hairdresser who rents a chair in a salon one day a week you are perhaps self employed. But if you rent the same chair in the same salon every single day you are an employee avoiding tax.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          Again you show your lack of knowledge of employment laws.
          You will be challenged if you do not meet strict laws on being self employed.
          There are lots if documents on line about this.
          Do some reading.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Your Hairdresser renting a chair – who is employing her?

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            He or she is self employed. I’d they are no good, they will have no customers. The person who owns the salon may well not ever be there. It is their shop and they kit it out so people can run their own businesses in it. Like someone who owns a building used as an indoor market. Is the building owner employing the stall holders? In my son’s case, as a personal trainer who rents the use of a gym, the blokes who own the gym are never there. They don’t are if my son has one customer or fifty.

            The simple fact is that the hairdresser renting a chair has no guarantee of a wage. They are on their own. They have no boss. If they decide to have a day off they do not have a boss to bollock them.

        • anon
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          Compared with a 1 day a week part-time employee?
          It is splitting hairs.

          Combine NIC and Paye. Problem solved. Bring in a flat tax.
          Bring in a UBI equivalent to the state pension.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Yeah! Because anyone who works FOR a company is ENTITLED to a salary paid, WITHOUT FAIL, every month, 4 weeks of pay whilst not working, statutory sick pay (if you put your back out in your own time – your employer must pay you OBVIOUSLY), statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and, of course, a pension so you can retire comfortably after such a hard life. Hey, and a bit of life insurance too!

        Meanwhile the business owner, a right MUG and a half-wit, gets none of those benefits, must pay a tax of 13% for the pleasure of employing you and has to lay awake at night hoping and praying that there is enough work to pay his precious employees and that his customers don’t keep him waiting so long for money he has to borrow to pay the bills.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          +1 – and the generosity of the Govt announcing increased minimum wages … too cute!

  30. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Anyone else noticed Orwell’s Big Brother is here? I’ve been in a couple of supermarkets lately and there are constant creepy messages being played about social distancing and ‘government guidelines’. I am waiting to hear ‘The man in a blue shirt queuing for till 3 is too close to the person in front of him. Pease move back and observe government guidelines’.

    Yesterday, queuing in a supermarket, I felt like I’d woken up in a Brave New World. How on earth did this happen?

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s worse than Orwell.

      People had pubs and could socialise in 1984.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Mike Wilson

      ” constant creepy messages being played about social distancing and ‘government guidelines’.”

      Orwell’s Big Brother? To me they sound eminently sensible reminding people to keep themselves and others safe.

      Nothing to compare to the hideous music so many of them play, especially ‘Jingle Bells’ from the middle of October.

      • everyone knows
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Orwell’s Big Brother? To me they sound eminently sensible reminding people to keep themselves and others safe.

        They are constant, incessive, and creepy.

        • everyone knows
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          Orwell’s Big Brother? To me they sound eminently sensible reminding people to keep themselves and others safe.

          Dont be ridiculous. Do you want govt nanny state announcements for everything?

  31. George Brooks.
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Yes Sir John we are limping out of lockdown far too slowly and if the pace is not increased significantly the whole economy will spiral down.

    As you have illustrated there is a host of restrictions that could be lifted to get the self employed and the unemployed together and working profitably. Resurrect the ”self-preservation society” and encourage everybody to look forward and upwards and not downwards and to rely on the State.

    The government has done a good job so far, but in doing so it has lurched dangerously to the left, giving too much encouragement to both the media and those working in central government who would have the State controlling our lives completely. They create a nasty undercurrent running through this country which needs to be eliminated.

    Medical advice has been improving as the scientists learn more about the virus and the NHS is in sufficiently good shape for the government to take some calculated risks and accelerate our release. Test and trace needs to be up and running with or without the app.

    Slightly off topic, it is interesting to see how this nasty under current works with those trying to stop the schools going back, knowing it will slow the economy. Also the timing of the news that Cummings might have bent the lockdown rules. If it had been the 3rd clerk sitting near the window in the main office it would never have been mentioned and supposedly taken two months to surface.

    I reckon Dominic has ruffled a few feathers and they know what is coming down the line and good riddance to these economic saboteurs.

  32. JoolsB
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I keep saying it but if the six million working for the state including politicians had been furloughed and seen their incomes drastically cut like everyone else, we’d be coming out of lockdown by now. But as they are totally protected financially from all this, they can dither and take their time which is what they are doing. Many in the public sector, excluding those on the front line of course, see it as one big holiday and are in no rush to get back to work. I know some of them. They have been told to just ‘do what they can’. Politicians and civil servants haven’t got a clue what it’s like in the real world for those who need this lockdown to end sooner rather than later.

    There needs to be a huge purge of the public sector when this is over. Whatever happened to the number of MPs being cut from 650 to 600? And don’t get me started on the H of L.

    • Fred
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      At least the late quarantine rules will mean that more Brits will be booking B and B holidays at home, providing that big Matty chooses the right scientists to advise him and allows breakfast to be served on a 2m plank in the bedroom. The weather usually changes when the school holidays start and Wimbledon is nearing the finals. It may be a good time to invest in plastic macs and sou’westers.

  33. Caterpillar
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    (-1) Immediately update the SAGE page with all minutes and all unedited documents.
    (0) Publish the economic considerations taken alongside the scientific advice evidencing why lockdown was considered the best option. If there were no economic considerations then admit the policy was probably wrong, show its damage and openly show the effect if it continues.
    (1) Cornophobia – Stop playing the fear card publish estimates of how low the risk is for the majority (it seems very low the Health and Social Care Secretary).
    (2) Furloughphilia – Stop the biased patronage of furlough, grants etc. Replace with UBI to give basic security to all working age to adapt and innovate, but allow removal of minimum wage, many benefits etc. (Replace the Chancellor, re-separate the No 10 and No 11 advisers).
    (3) Immediately cancel the Home Secretary’s bizarre 14 day quarantining policy – a stupid signal that the U.K. is closed; the U.K. should be open for business, pleasure and education and the signal should be strong. There should only be quarantine if in the previous 14 days someone has been in a high risk area (small areas of specifically no bridge rather than complexity of bridges) (Replace the Home Secretary).
    (4) Set the income threshold for immigration much higher. Currently it continues to signal the U.K.’s path to a low income and low wealth per capita country (the path taken since WW2). A higher income threshold signals a higher likelihood of contributing more than GDP per capita – it should be obvious that a marginal contribution below the average brings the average down and there is less to go round. Perhaps with the exception of a work to residence route for students who have paid full international fees to study for at least 4 years in U.K. (Replace the Home Secretary).
    (5) Allow all and actively promote outdoor events whilst the season gives a chance.
    (6) Reduce social distancing to 1 metre where possible indoors. Scrap for outdoors.
    (7) Immediately switch off the lockdown but subject to the very basics such as (i) sanitation and hygiene (hourly, good technique hand washing, clean shared surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons etc) (ii) 1 metre indoor separation and/or screens to increase confidence, (iii) protection of care home residents and staff, (iv) full pay for sick days.
    (8) Consider scrapping stamp duty on 2nd but not 3rd+ residential properties, this as small easing of geographic mobility of workforce.
    (9) Accelerate Govt infrastructural projects (skilled labour is being made redundant)
    (10) Innovation often originates in active, connected cities. The (spontaneous) real not virtual mixing of people needs to continue and increase – the past few months and Govt’s reactions substantially harm this. Cities need to continue to go vertical (and offering mixed business and rented residential), need weather protection if people are walking, need good rail connections between them. Sitting in a suburban sprawl working from home, with a few scheduled online meetings doesn’t do this.
    (10) Given the Govt’s resurgence of interest in cycling the no velodrome for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games remains disappointing. There needs to be a big push to ensure maximum spillover from Commonwealth visibility at this time
    (10) Close Westminster. Build an English Parliament in Birmingham and a U.K. one in Liverpool/Manchester.

  34. Johnny Dubb
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    Paras. 3, 4 and 5 are all superb ideas and could be written by a small business owner. VAT threshold being so low especially deters sole traders from expanding. We should proceed toward abolishing vat anyway. A simple, “1 stop online govt shop” to simplify employing people would be great. NI, tax, pension etc all done in one place on day one. This admin work does inhibit employment.
    On wider issues, HS2 is shown to be less important now than good broadband. Cancel this, NGOs, “charity” & Quango funding. Reduce DFID.

  35. acorn
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    The relationship between per capita income and entrepreneurial activity is generally negative, rather than positive.

    In each of 135 countries sampled, the fraction of the population that is self-employed has a negative relationship with GDP per capita. Self-employment rates are lower in rich countries than in poor ones.

    Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economics, show a pattern of real per capita income increasing by 79 percent in the US. While over the same period, the number of new employer businesses founded each year declined 49 percent. As the United States has become wealthier, the rate at which people have started companies in the US has declined.

    The same negative correlation between real GDP and self-employment, shows up in OECD studies. In nations that have experienced economic growth, their rates of self-employment have declined. Studies show also a negative correlation between rates of business formation and economic growth across the US. Areas that have experienced more economic growth also experienced lower rates of new business formation.

    Rates of entrepreneurship are negatively related to growth in social well-being. Rising incomes make possible more lucrative employee jobs in big businesses than an owner-operated small business. Neoliberal politicians are welded to the belief that entrepreneurship is the only answer to raising incomes and transforming the economy.

    Alas, what the UK needs are a lot more well educated and skilled employees working for big employer businesses; NOT more self employed in tax bubbles.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      I wonder if your study looked at the number of small businesses employing say 1 to 20 employees before jumping to the conclusion you have.
      In the UK for example there are tax benefits (although nowhere as good as they were) to moving from self employment to forming yourself into a limited company.
      Bear in mind many of the big companies were started by one person with entrepreneurial drive.

    • NickC
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Acorn, Like other Remains, you are hooked on authoritarianism.

  36. APL
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    JR: “Getting people back to work”

    Stop paying people to do nothing, ( at their and their children’s own expense ) and you’ll find they will probably decide that working is better than sitting around doing nothing.

    You get what you pay for.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      stop forcing people to live is social housing in jobless areas with no jobs within travelling distance. let individuals control their own housing subsidy. let old council houses in areas with no jobs fail as people make their own choices to move away.
      let the market work, so rents collapse making it cheaper for people to live in such areas and allowing new employers to move in who can use labour that needs less money for rent. and in the final analysis let housing estates fail and be left behind if their is no demand for jobs in the area.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        The only mobile workers in the U.K. are the casual EU workers who live elsewhere. British people cannot sell a house! Cannot move to where jobs are, cannot afford a ‘second’ home near a job. All this gives foreigners advantages over our own people. Drop Stamp duty. Houses are in oversupply, so building these rubbish new estates. The only ‘demand’ for houses are from people who expect a free one.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Lynn Atkinson

          If these restrictions are so arduous and even prohibitive, how did you manage to acquire all your rental properties?

        • Iain Gill
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          on the contrary I am a mobile worker, there are a lot of us, but the political and governing classes do not understand us, why the country needs us, or how badly the system lets us down.

          now that the govt has printed money like its going out of fashion there will be massive inflation, and house price inflation will take off again. there is a shortage of housing in popular areas with jobs market, lots of the pressure is out of control immigration.

  37. Mick
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Off topic
    I see the anti Brexit press and media are all acting like a bunch of hyenas with the smell of blood a victim in this case Mr Cummings, the bbc and sky going all out to rake out all the Eu loving anti Brexit individuals who want to have there 5 minutes of poisonous spouting of how the PM should sack Mr Cummings, all I can say is he or she who’s without sin on lockdown to cast the first stone , hypocrites the lot of them

    • Fred
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I’m as guilty as hell. I am allowed to meet one person and keep 2 metres away. I also hold my breath if the wind might blow germs towards my nose and sometimes wear a mask like surgeons use and goggles like Weatherspoons bar staff are going to be given. I usually try to be a good citizen to please Matty. I went to meet my daughter on her birthday but my ex answered the door and my son came and said hello too. I apologise if I have put people’s health at risk and have changed my name in case anyone working for Matty or Pritti reads this and sends the rozzers round.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        you should be safe in this confessional.
        I don’t think we have any examples of Sir John handing over you email address to GCHQ.
        However, once using 5G the Chinese might be interested to throw you to the wolves.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely right Mick. Members of the public are breaking the rules all the time and in general the police have turned a blind eye. I wonder if Cummings might be a political pawn? Sarc.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        People can break the guidelines all day without fear of breaking the law

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Boris travelled to his country home. Distance is irrelevant.

  38. Frances Truscott
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    11 million people live alone. 3.8 million over 65s live alone. Its not OK for govt to condemn the over 70s to permanent solitude for the rest of their lives.
    It needs thinking about. It needs a plan. But if two households have carefully isolated, can pretest for covid, disinfect their tyres, and wear recently boil washed clothes surely to goodness it would be worth any remaining risk?
    My next door neighbours sister hung herself because of lockdown. Someone needs to make a plan. There must be a way of having very limited but real human contact.
    Neither my adult working from home children nor my over 70 partner live close enough to wave at in the park. Virtual doesn’t cut kit.
    Please get someone to make a plan for the possible. It cannot be necessary to torture millions of people with solitary til they die. It just need thinking about and careful guidance.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      That is exactly what Macron said, Frances.

      That is why France, like Spain and Italy, are working assiduously to reduce the incidence of infection levels to such a low extent that normal life becomes safe for EVERYONE.

      If that needs the general wearing of masks, and a huge tracing and isolation programme, then so be it, they say.

      As Emmanuel Macron correctly said, the isolation of the elderly or frail of any age is discriminatory and a breach of their human rights.

      It all sounds like too much bother for the notoriously lazy Johnson et al though.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Normal life IS safe for the vast majority.

        You know full well.

        This will be no country for old men by May next year.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        Seems exactly the same as the UK is doing.
        Just from different starting dates

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          No, it’s not, which is why France – as other countries no doubt will – is going to quarantine everyone coming from the UK soon.

          The difference between the countries is in the scope and thoroughness of their measures, not in their natures, and that is everything.

          “The majority” is not “everyone” and the legal distinction is crucial, anon.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            France currently has a different policy on visitors compared to the UK but the lockdown policies are similar.
            And similar to many other EU nations.

            The graph curves are also similar especially when the graphs are scaled per million people.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The problem we all face is a pathologically incompetent government and civil service consisting of no-nothing Arts graduates. They appear to be following a pattern of action already pioneered by countries with competent governments but unfortunately, too late and not in the correct logical order. They have continuously blathered about ‘following the science’ when such advice has not been consistently towards any clearly defined goal. The ‘science’ consists of the opinions of a 50 man committee which is supposed to be SAGE but is in fact far too large to achieve any degree of decisiveness or even coherence. Of course, the Civil service love to have huge committees and committee meetings themselves as they are pathological time wasters, but those of us who have worked exclusively in private industry are well aware that half a dozen are the most that can operate symbiotically.

      We need to see how well the government’s track and trace works before vulnerable people should put themselves at risk; the precedent is that it will never work as well as in some countries and could take some time to be operating on three cylinders.
      If the government tries to normalize the economy prematurely i.e. before they have the disease reduced to very few clusters, we could be back to square one in a fortnight.

  39. BOF
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately Sir John, Consecutive Conservative Governments have followed Labour on employment and it is now extremely difficult for the small entrepreneur to grow his or her business by taking on new employees due to all the red tape and the dreadful minimum wage.

    Now is the time, with a big majority, for Boris to tackle this problem, introduce easy hire and fire, cut red tape and simplify tax if entrepreneurs are to succeed.

    I will not be holding my breath.

    • Andy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      It is not at all difficult to take on an employee.

      All you need to do is make sure the employee has a contract, is properly paid, that the terms and conditions of their employment are legal and that their workplace is safe.

      You then have to tell the government so they are properly taxed and their pension is paid.


      Which bit would you like to get rid of? The bit that states working hours and holiday entitlement?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        Those requirements were UK law before the EU was invented.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink


        How many people do you employ on a full time contract.. ?

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        Andy that is not all you have to do when hiring an employee?

        Getting references now is difficult most ex-employers only want to give you employment dates and won’t tell you if they had problems.

        You have to check they are legitimately able to work.

        You have to run a digital payroll system that costs money to buy and train to use or you can use a payroll service agent to process for you.

        You have to set up Nest and send letters and pay your contribution.

        You must know the Myriad of employment rules on holidays averaged overtime holiday pay, ssp, smp spl, sal, notice, redundancy, employers NI, disciplinary, grievance, appeal procedures and put it all in an employment contract – online templates tend to miss out important clauses such as lay-off and short-time working if work dries up.

        In fact it’s best to have a staff handbook that you can update because these rules change all the time.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          2/ I forgot the responsibility you’re taking on hiring them you must have all the signs about washing their hands and not smoking at work, the health and safety videos to watch and sign a little test to check understanding, the employers liability insurance, pat tests, risk assessment, driving licence check should you need them to drive, you cannot assume common sense as an employer so you need to start creating work instruction manuals to cover yourself. I could go on..

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        You employ away then! I’ve done it and it is a bucketload of hassle. I won’t ever do it again. Even just employing three women part-time years ago involved me in having to deal with two lots of statutory maternity pay and endless statutory sick pay. Once some people get an employment contract they think they are on easy street. For small businesses who do their own books and don’t have HR people, employing people is just a way to go from working 60 hours a week to working 70. You have to find time to get the work, do the work, deliver the work, get the work accepted, deal with any issues, invoice the work, chase payment, keep accounts, do the payroll, pay the taxes, run a workplace pension and, course, keep up – watch the competition and innovate. It makes me tired just thinking (and remembering) it. I’ll bet you’ve never employed anyone in your life.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      And the idiotic work place pension and ……………..and …………….

  40. glen cullen
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    If you are serious about getting self-employed back to work and furthering employment opportunities this government should attack the problem with vigour and get the money flowing again with confidence in the high street

    Step one – reverse the lockdown completely
    Step two – for a period of 12 months for SMEs
    Govt to subsidy half Business Rent
    Govt to fully subsidy NI & Pension
    Govt to fully subsidy Business Rates
    Govt to fully subsidy Car Parking
    Govt to fully remove ‘green’ taxes from energy and transport bills
    Govt to refund all VAT cost on business purchases
    Govt to subsidy half Insurance

    Our Government should kick start the economy with attitude and drive

    Our Goernment could do all the above tomorrow if it wanted too

  41. John E
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Eventually when the rest of the world recovers the ridiculous too scared to take any risk approach here will be ditched.

    Imposing quarantines after the epidemic but not before or during- you couldn’t have made it up a few months ago. Your governement is a laughing stock.

    You have to face the fact that the reputation of this PM is in tatters. He needs to step down. That will allow him to recuperate properly from his illness. We literally can’t afford to drift rudderless as we are doing now.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I think the reputation of PM, Chancellor, Health Secretary, Home Secretary should all be in tatters forever, but the reality is that they simply bribe themselves out of it by declaring those allowed to work as heroes, throwing money at select others by furlough and grant, and looking to continue cheap debt for zombies, rather than allowing the economy to readjust. Reputation does not require integrity, rationality, equity; it requires performance and politics. Even leaders who have destroyed Latin-American economies have nationally kept their reputation through targeted patronage. Anyone wanting the UK to recover its economy and reputation would want the PM and much of his cabinet and entourage to go, but the reality is many people have been sufficiently frightened and/or sufficiently paid off.

      The UK is where it is, under a very real (and massively ignored) risk of dropping out of being a developed* nation, but people are not going to march and demand to stop their own furlough payments.

      * Some economists view at least 25000 USD per capita as developed, drop the UK economy by 40% and that’s where it gets to (assuming currency holds up.) Once in this situation it is hard to escape. Johnson, Hancock and Sunak’s lockdown is creating this, Patel’s income threshold for immigration aligns to this.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        And although the whole country had to be stymied at the same time as London, undoubtedly the Govt bias will be to liberate (and ‘support’) London first – so much for the regions of the General Election.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        I feel that Education has also failed in this crisis. The MoD, though not over-stretched, has done well, as usual.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink


  42. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    The Daily Mail is reporting that most people are BETTER OFF now than before the lockdown. Consequently – and this will be no surprise to those with an understanding of human nature – they are reluctant to go back to work. Furloughing has to end pretty darn quickly, before it costs more than WW2.
    P.S. My local Household Waste Recycling Centre is persisting with its gold-plated ‘risk management’ obstruction of the public wanting to throw stuff in a skip, local cafes and pubs can’t open their outside spaces in this bright weather, and I can’t go for a walk around a castle’s grounds but am allowed to play a round of golf there.

  43. Javelin
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The Top 1% of workers in the UK pay 28% of the tax.

    I live in the borough of Elmbridge in Surrey. The average tax is £17,000 which is the highest in the UK. Next is St Albans who only pay £12,000 in tax. So the drop off is quite high.

    The local station at Walton on Thames has 3 car parks which have well over 1000 spaces and are usually 80-90% full.

    If you want to have an idea of how far taxes will fall and how deep the cuts will be in the public sector I have been walking past the car parks this week. There was a grand total of 11 cars. Less than 1% every day. Same cars. I think most of those cars were left in the car park all week on a season ticket.

    Many people I get the train with own their own company, are contractors, senior managers, directors, lawyers, judges etc. All on six figure salaries.

    So when there are only 11 cars across 3 car parks it’s going to make you think about to happen to the UK economy.

    All those Labour luvvies and politicos in the London bubble who think you can tax your way out a recession are in for a huge shock.

  44. ian
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Nobody talking about the banks, yesterday most loans and mortgages were reprieved till October, 200 billion has already been QE by the BOE bank which does not include 62 billion tax loss in April, how big will the bank bailout be this time, 500 billion or more, or will it be a bank bail-in. Will homeownership go blow 60% on its way to 50% and will the national debt hit 3.3 to 3.5 trillion before the next election.

    I can hear the Tory voters now, I will just have to hold my nose and hope for the best.

  45. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The IR35 changes, delayed till April 2021, are perfectly reasonable. Why should workers be able to avoid income tax and national insurance (both employee and employer) by setting up as personal service companies ?

  46. Not Bob
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    They are trying to destroy tourism to save the world from global warming. All our politicians follow the False Prophet and are destroying the earth because of it.

  47. Norman
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    There’s no doubt this past 3-4 months has been ultra-weird –
    on a global scale, unprecedented in human history; civil liberties voluntarily forfeited;
    virtual economic suicide, with many pushed onto or below the breadline already.
    Meanwhile, one cannot visit elderly parents or siblings, or the sick or the lonely; or gather in any form of assembly, even the most hallowed of all. It begins to come home that we may never see our dear ones alive again, even at their frailest and neediest hour.
    A perplexing situation for any government to cope with. Yet it’s hard to conclude other than that they’ve broadly done what they had to,. Scaling up on testing facilities and PPE seem to have been the key areas of shortfall.
    It really all does make you wonder what is going on? Where is it all going? And could the fall-out be worse?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      As usual the UK press is very inward looking – ramping up testing and PPE and care home deaths have been a problem throughout Europe with a few exceptions – the press have this notion of British exceptionalism where somehow we should innately be able to be better than France, Netherlands etc. The one big difference is that the German health service has been plainly superior to the NHS – we need to find out why.

  48. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Of course we need to be safe and the science isn’t ready to predict the nature of Covid-19 . We have all heard that the cornerstone of science is repeated results and with the results we need to look at numbers which relatively gives it more meaning . If I am going to get a sample of 10 and say 50% demonstrated no resistance to covid-19 , then the data is useless . Repeated results means over time and spread. Personally I don’t believe 2 meters distancing is sufficient . I have just passed by Boots the chemist in a precinct . The queue was all round the precinct with people standing around for more than hour waiting for their turn apparently . Do we seriously believe that the virus will not be agitated by airflow and stay 2 metres from another accordingly?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      M Brandreth-Jones,

      There have been huge repeated results all around the world, 5 million but probably more in the UK alone. We know the risks from being infected and they are extremely low for the majority (see my post yesterday) this does not imply that resources should not flow to protect the at risk minority (some of whom seem to have been failed in the UK) but it does imply that the continued destruction of the economy should stop immediately. The outright reckless damage that has and is continuing to be done is far more damaging to far more lives.

      As for the 2m rule, no distance can stop a droplet being captured in airflow (in the same way that no diet is perfect, no cancer treatment is perfect, no operation is free from risk …), but it is the case of droplet size,distance, viral content etc. The aim is not to stop an individual catching the virus (unless he is highly vulnerable), the aim is to reduce the spread and hence the number of patients.

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        The time from becoming a pandemic is very limited and new findings have been arising more or less daily . The rule is inadequate . If what you are saying is that the risk is acceptable then that is opinion and not a fact.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          No. There is real data on risk and hazard, and it allows consideration within the strategy of reducing R, it also allows comparison to the costs (in terms of lives) of the economic effect. These are not opinions. How one values them is of course opinion e.g. for me, to save 1 year of a person’s life now at the cost of multiple times that in the next decade is wrong, but of course others will have a different opinion – I would still prefer the data to be out there.

    • M Brandreth- Jones
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      We could all just shower before going out , wear masks , not loitre when shopping and working, avoid touching one another , wear special protective clothing and shower and hair wash and gargle on going back into the house.The trouble is hygiene standards are not available for all.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        what about the shopping? Wash it, hoover it, dry clean it, heat it, freeze it ? Any further advice?

  49. Iain Gill
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I see the travel companies are selling flights to the UK with a stop in Dublin on the way, specifically so that the passenger is not liable to 2 weeks quarantine.

    Come on government, stop this loophole!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Stop the loophole by removing the quarantine. Agree.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      I’d be happy to see the Common Travel Area done away with.

    • BeebTax
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I can’t see any point in stopping incoming passengers from countries no worse affected than us – surely they are less likely to carry infection than Brits, so they should be more worried about coming here than we should be of them visiting us.

  50. Iain Gill
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    stop IR35 for those on public sector gigs too! its still alive and well for anyone taking an assignment for the public sector.

    sheer madness being expected to pay for your work hotels & travel out of taxed money.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      The Germans and Italians (and several other countries) have got away with this lark for several decades. They issue invitations to advise their public bodies on a purely honorary and non-commercial basis, buy heavily discounted flight tickets on their national (state/tax-subsidised) carrier, then insist on taxing the full commercial value of the flight tickets that are the sole means of reaching their country to do the advising, And when you refuse the ‘invitation’ – pointing out the self-harming lunacy of their policy, they just shrug their shoulders.

  51. mancunius
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    “There will be more on line shopping”

    There certainly will, but it will not help the economy one iota until the government takes direct measures to support and accelerate UK mail order and slash postal costs, otherwise only the large monopoly supplier that begins with an A will benefit, and its economic benefit to the UK is so far nugatory, except as a salutary example of how easy it is to steal our lunch.

  52. ian
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Getting people back to work. Do they want to go back to work when only earning 300 pounds a week or less? how many people can afford to retire at 60 years of age and how many will need to carry on working to service their debts, should the country move away from full employment policy at the BOE, should the Gov give out grants and tax breaks for new automated factories to be built, can an automated factory in the UK compete with China and elsewhere, maybe, I don’t know.
    What about the railways nearly all owned by the Gov now with hardly any ticket sales and 50 billion debt at network rail, I don’t think the London rail commute will ever go back to normal if people are not keen on travelling by train and want to work from home or retire instead, will the city of London tax take ever get back to normal without the rail commute into London is London which had the most money spent on it over the years now just a new white elephant with no customers with the tourist gone, how will migrant workers view what has happened, do they now wish to go home or stay here on benefits, this is only London with billions lost in tax, jobs and tourist for many years to come, the rest of the country could fair a lot better than London over the next few years.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Ian, compete with China? What? With our energy prices?!!

  53. Sue L
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Making rapid CV19 testing kit available for use by traders / businesses on a shared / economic basis might ease their ability to address social distancing restrictions and enable hair dressers / dentists / nail bars / pubs / restaurants etc to open up PDQ. I would gladly subject myself to a test so as to assure others that I am not a carrier. And I would be happy to do business with people who are similarly vigilant.

    This kit sounds a real game changer rather than track / trace apps or anti-body tests (which might have doubtful longevity or applicability).

    Furthermore, surely this technology is a better bet than quarantine for travellers. 

    Lets be more lateral and flexible and get this country back to some form of normality.

    100% tax relief for this kit and making it VAT free would also help.

  54. ian
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    As far as I know, the CLO bundle bonds are the big bomb in the finance system, ie American company debt rates at A, AA or AAA but are below triple CCC, last time it was the big German bank that brought most of the CDO which were American mortgage debt bundle up to pay 8% interest in a 4% world.

  55. John
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    This is spot on Mr R pursue it. The pension regulator will kick off but we need to re establish who is in charge now, not the unaccountable bureaucrat.

  56. Stred
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    The D.M has a survey and finds that most public sector workers and pensioners are happier and better off working or not working at home. Some private sector workers are better off and there is only 9% difference between these and the worse off private workers. Rishi is by far the most popular politician and even Labour voters like him.

    This shows that the way to succeed in politics is to give everyone lots of money to stay at home with the kids being taught on laptops. It’s only when there isn’t any money left that the popularity may slip.

  57. Ross Hendry
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Raise the VAT threshold to allow small business more activity before they need to go through the complex process of registering for VAT.

    Isn’t VAT an EU tax?

    Won’t it end when we leave finally escape the EU on 31 December? Or is any opportunity to tax hapless citizens never rescinded by HMG, even if no longer applicable?

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      The UK joined the European Economic Community 1 January 1973 and as a consequence Purchase Tax was replaced by Value Added Tax on 1 April 1973

      Upon leaving the EU we should now replace VAT with our own purchase tax

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Maybe – but you haven’t made a case for replacing VAT. I would suggest that the government puts a Spad onto the issue, produces a proposal and works the issue through Parliament. One thing, though: reducing the tax-take, now, wouldn’t make much sense.

  58. David Brown
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    The one thing about Corona Virus :

    This is the longest any thing made in China has ever lasted.

    Ok I add a bit of humour into an ongoing subject but not the topic for today’s blog. However the serious point is that we have imported too much from China in the past.
    The self employed both now and future must be listened to. I feel the Civil Service seem to enjoy the regulations and paperwork that sinks many small businesses, now more than ever self employed need to be encouraged and helped

    • Fred H
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      joke taken from a week ago Whatsapp!

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Built to last !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 4:28 am | Permalink

      It has only lasted six months so far?

  59. Richard
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    NERVTAG’s Prof Dingwall says the two metre social distancing rule is unnecessary and based on ‘very fragile’ evidence:
    “There is a fair degree of consensus now among people who are more expert on these things than I am that outdoor transmission is negligible… Personally I think we could quite safely go to 1.5 metres, which seems to be an internationally acceptable standard, inside and outside.”
    He was told by a senior public health specialist that “we knew it was one metre but we doubled it to two because we did not think the British population would understand what one metre was and we could not trust them to observe it so we doubled it to be on the safe side”.

  60. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Landlords are the only sector who had their contracts trashed and ‘customers’ encouraged not to pay (rents) even though they had been given grants for same. The Government unilaterally took power over landlords assets and business, they owe us. This needs to be addresses else there will be nowhere from where online shopping can be posted!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 4:26 am | Permalink

      Indeed plus they are being taxed on “profits” they have not even made in many cases.

  61. Ian Pennell
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    The British Government may now find it has little authority to now extend Lockdown a moment longer- That will be better for the Economy (which has entered the most unprecedented Recession) but it will lead to a real risk of Coronavirus getting out of control and there being a more deadly Second Wave for which the Government may not have the political capital to enforce a second Lockdown unless a certain Dominic Cummings is made to resign ASAP.

    Dominic Cummings is now a liability to the Electoral fortunes of the Conservative Party and the credibility of the Government. He has been caught (twice) going to County Durham during Lockdown and there was absolutely no legitimate excuse for the second trip. There’s nothing like Public perceptions that there’s a “Do As I say…Not As I Do!” attitude in Government taking hold to totally alienate people from the Government and the Governing Party (in this case the Conservatives)!

    For the sake of all our futures Sir John Redwood, you must Demand, Plead, Order the Prime Minister to get rid of his so- called Strategic Advisor (who clearly did not see what disastrous PR this would be for the Government were he to be caught!)- the man’s a Liability! He must go before we have polls showing Labour is ahead. Being behind in the Polls will really get the back-benchers rebelling and Boris Johnson will not be able to govern, he won’t be able to force “No Deal” Brexit on Britain (if that’s what it must be)- so that we can trade freely elsewhere in the World.


    Ian Pennell

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Crikey Ian, as an employer you have to investigate first.

      Hold a meeting laying out any disciplinary charges with 48 hours notice.

      Give a right to be heard.

      Consider the employees evidence.

      As much as people believe we have easy hire and fire in the U.K. we don’t.

    • rose
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      So what would you have done? Would you have handed your child to Islington Social Services? Really?

      They thought it all through a lot more clearly than the Fake News, but however carefully they thought things through, there was no ideal solution. So the child came first. Is that difficult for you to understand?

      We are gong to have polls putting Labour ahead anyway, regardless of Mr Cummings. As we approach the June deadline, the fake news frenzy will intensify, not go away. Can’t you see that?.

  62. Anonymous
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I think people are seeing the bullshit that this lockdown is. Three establishment figures appear to have ignored it now.

    I notice a lot more people outside are ignoring it too.

    Then there’s the Channel migrant fiasco which everyone knows about but Government pretends we don’t (grunts in the Navy, Border Farce and on board fishing vessels have internet access and tell their mates, you know.)

    Lift the Lockdown now.

  63. Not Bob
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    John, have you seen Hitchens article? This is what millions are thinking. We need MPs who are not scared of the MSM narrative who will represent us strongly. We want the Coronavirus Act abolished and new laws to safeguard our liberty from MPs.

    • hefner
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it a shame that we lost Christopher and kept Peter?

  64. Not Bob
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    We need assurances MPs will never act like this again. What would we do if we ever faced a real pandemic like the Spainish Flu?

  65. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 24, 2020 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    May I combine getting people back to work with reducing public expenditure – carrot and stick.

    The teachers’ unions have got a cheek, saying that teachers are not safe if children go back to school. It is time that all teachers unwilling to go back to work are furloughed from 1st June. That would approximately halve the salary bill. Local councils unwilling to enforce the policy should have their grants cut.

    All public sector employees – especially the highly paid ones – who are not working with full effectiveness should take a 20% pay cut. Anyone doubting the fairness of this should ask what happens to private sector staff who are not fully effective because of reduced demand. Those not furloughed get reduced hours and a pay cut.

    We should ensure that all those who are asked to travel to work should have the means to do so. The Mayor of London’s imposition of high charges on cars is wholly wrong. And subsidies for sparsely occupied public transport will be needed.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 24, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      You have to have the employees agreement and a written clause to agree to furlough,

      I wonder if public sector contracts allow for lay-off or short term clauses, it seems you must have them in employment contracts if you want to use them, only people who have advice and templates on employment contracts seem to have missed out this paragraph!

  66. Dystopian nightmare
    Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I was in Poland when the Soviet Union collapsed, the politicians admitted on TV they had to resign so “the sun could once more shine upon Poland”.

    The time has come for the entire political class to resign.

  67. L Jones
    Posted May 24, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Not ”thanks to” the virus policies – but ”NO thanks to” or ”due to”.

  68. We will be free
    Posted May 24, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    The time has come for the entire political class to resign.

    so the sun can shine once more over the people.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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