I missed last night’s Smoky-Drinky and opted instead for a sleep catch-up. I am saving myself for next week’s Burns Night – Bonfire of the Neurons. I started this post last night but ran out of wakeyness before I finished it. It’s a bit of a ramble.
Since our Great Leader, the Cameroid, has decided to go along with the latest nonsense and have a day of no sugar intake at all (it won’t adversely affect his brain because he’s never used it anyway), I think we should be kind to the almost-man.
Let’s send him some sugar-free sustenance to keep him ‘going’ throughout his biologically insane experiment. The reviews make it clear that this particular snack is an instant weight loss miracle and the more weight he loses, the less he exists. That can only be a good trend. Experts have Said and Studies have Shown that if he loses weight at the rate described in those reviews, by the time the election comes around he won’t exist at all.
Little Ozzy, the Chancer, could do with being somewhat less rounded as a person too. He would benefit from a few bags.
Ozzy has decided to increase minimum wage to £7 an hour. I am currently on a little less than that at my part-time janitor job and I am most displeased that he intends to increase it.
But… but… how can that be? I’ll get paid more, how can I object?
No. I won’t get paid more. I’ll get paid less. It works like this.
Local Shop pays the Secret Ninja Cleaning Firm to employ me and others to keep Local Shop from becoming a shithole. Local Shop also has staff who are on minimum wage and some who, like me, are above the minimum but below £7 per hour.
The Secret Ninja Cleaners will say to Local Shop ‘Look, we have to increase our wage bill. So we have to charge you more.’
Local Shop will respond ‘We have to increase our wage bill too. So we have to pay you less.’
The only outcome will be a reduction in the total amount paid to Secret Ninja Cleaners and since they have now to pay us all more per hour, they will have no option but to reduce the hours we work.
Well okay, I’d work less hours for the same total pay, right?
Wrong. The same issue applies to Local Shop who cannot afford to pay the extra to the Secret Ninja Cleaners, in fact they cannot afford to pay for all the hours they are paying for now because many of their own staff wages have suddenly gone up by law. At the same time, the Secret Ninja Cleaners have to pay more per hour to their staff and they have less income to take it from.
The hours available will decline below the current pay/hours ratio. I’ll get a lot less hours and my total income will decline.
Okay. I am an atypical case. I could go to the Food Standards Agency and be a suited shop inspector with a company car and a big salary. I just don’t want to. Most, if not all of the other cleaners have no such option. I can bail from the job and, with my new layer of retail experience, find another in a flash. They can’t.
I have met, in this job, people who don’t know what IQ means. I have met people who can’t spell it. I have met people who have come to me with ‘There’s been a milk spillage’ and I’ve replied ‘Well, don’t cry over it, there’s no point’ and they didn’t get it. There was a time before Christmas when one of the Local Shop staff was removing a pharmaceutical display (we only have a little one, it went away to make room for Christmas crap) and she was stacking sanitary towels into boxes. As I passed, I asked ‘Oh, do you only put those out once a month?’ She didn’t get it either.
There is nothing wrong with these people. In fact, they are the majority by far. They are normality. I’m the odd one. Even so, they are the ones who will think that an increase in their hourly rate is a good thing and will struggle to understand why they end up with less at the end of the month.
For me, it can work out. Remember, I’m the odd one. I’m the one called ‘Doctor’ and few of them know it. Nobody, not even the manager, understands its meaning. These are people who gain qualifications by going on a course and filling in a test at the end. Not by being told ‘This is the subject. There’s the lab and the library. You have three years. Go.’
I’m the one who writes stories and few of them know that either. I’m the one who, when they complain about the stress of their jobs, thinks ‘Get tae fuck’. When you’ve spotted a student about to pour a sodium azide solution into a stainless steel sink, when you’ve watched a flask full of nasty bacteria fall in slow motion to the floor, when you’ve discovered that those you have been roped in to teach microbiological food safety on an organic farming M.Sc. course have been accepted with degrees in accountancy or geography, then we can talk stress. Running the entire shop, even at Christmas, is a doddle. But then, it is not my place to say. It is my place to chuckle at the headless chickens and I admit to taking more enjoyment from that than is strictly decent.
I still have an attic full of stuff I could sell on eBay if my income dropped below the monthly bills. If I worked less hours I’d be less tired and would write more. I have alternatives. The others do not have these alternatives so when the new regime hits, I can adapt. They cannot.
For these normal people, boosting minimum wage sounds like a great thng. They might well vote for Ozzy’s Jam Tomorrow Party on the basis they will be less skint and then find later that they are more skint. It’s not likely they will vote that way. Most will vote for Moribund and his ‘let someone else do the work’ party, or for Oily Al and his Scottish Nannying Puritans. The result will be the same.
Ozzy’s scheme thinks of businesses, not low-level workers, although on the surface it looks like it’s the other way around. It looks as if businesses are to be, in some way, forced to pay all their staff more.
In fact, businesses will reduce hours and/or shed staff to keep their wage bill the same. Ozzy’s cut to employer’s NI is irrelevant because many small businesses are on very tight margins – the amount they save on NI might not be enough to employ a weekly window cleaner, and most would prefer to let that small saving in NI contributions bleed back into their general/emergency fund.
Who benefits? Big businesses, with loads of employees, who are therefore paying a lot of employer’s NI. A few percentage points off that bill means a lot of money. The Local Shop with its few employees will certainly appreciate a reduction in one of the many taxes imposed on businesses, but in real terms, it’s not going to mean much money at all. Certainly not enough to alleviate the destruction caused by a suddenly-higher wage bill.
There are empty shops in this town centre, more and more each year. It’s only two streets. I’ve seen some change hands so many times you just can’t predict what will be on sale next week. One has been a craft shop, a fishmonger’s, a guitar shop, a Cartridge World and more in the last ten years. It’s currently in one of its ‘lying empty’ phases. To be honest, the Cartridge World franchise was a bad idea anyway. A shop selling only ink cartridges can work in a city centre but in this one-horse town? There just isn’t enough demand to keep it going.
If I were to take on one of those shops and set up a little business, the first hit will be business rates. Which are likely to be a big hammer blow to any start-up loan. Survive that, make a good profit, and at the end of your first year, you face a double tax bill. This year’s tax and also the same amount for next year ‘on account’. Oh, and then you get next year’s business rates bill. If you have staff then you have a whole crap-load of extra taxes to mess around with along with your wage bill. Little wonder then, that most new businesses fail within their first year. The taxes are designed to nip them in the bud.
It’s good news for the big, established companies who can afford all this, who can sit back and watch potential new competitors wither on the vine and who will reap the greatest benefit from small percentage cuts in these taxes.
If the Tories really wanted to help small businesses get started, the first thing they would do would be to phase out the ‘tax on account’ nonsense that the Brown Gorgon thought up. That would help those start-ups through their first year. Then they would put a stop to the massive business rates used by councils to stamp on innovation in the high street. Neither of those, as far as I am aware, have even been mentioned, much less considered.
Reduce the State burden on small businesses and you’ll find they will naturally pay their staff more because they will be able to afford it. They will be able to compete for the best available staff rather than having to start with the wage they can afford, and then find someone willing to take the job at that price.
Instead we get diktats on the amount a small business has to pay its staff, and if they can’t afford it then they just have to employ fewer staff. Fewer staff means there’s no leeway to take account of holidays or illness. People do really get sick sometimes, it’s not always just a hangover. Then there are holidays – the EU dictates how many days of paid holiday everyone must get but minimum wage means you have no spare staff to cover those holidays. That’s the situation in Local Shop. Nobody can take so much as a day off in December. Not even the manager. Holidays have to coincide with quiet times – and when one is on holiday, someone else is working double shifts.
Reducing staff to cope with a higher minimum wage is going to make an already bad situation a lot worse. It will make some, who are already on the line financially, give up and go for benefits instead. The only ones smiling are the big bosses of big businesses – but they are the ones who give money to these political parties. They are the only ones the parties are hearing.
Many people say, in comments on news articles, that they will vote UKIP – but will they? I expect there will be a big surge in the Euro elections but when it comes to the real thing, the UK election, will they stick with UKIP or will they chicken out at the last hurdle?
UKIP are seen as the party that will stop the EU monster and stop the crazy rules that let anyone come here for free money. They need to talk about other subjects too. Especially those subjects the other parties pretend aren’t real issues, like the ‘tax on account’ hammer blow to every new business. Would UKIP stop it? How would they phase it out? They won’t be able to just stop it because this government has spent next year’s revenue already. The Brown Gorgon’s curse on innovation won’t be easy to lift.
On second thoughts, we’d best not send those sugar-free gummi bears to Ozzy. It would only increase the rate of emergence of crap and he’s nearly at warp speed on that one already.
The Farts are strong with this one.