Category Archives: Cut the Crap

Screwed in all directions

I’m seething.

Having just got my head around the government’s latest budget, and trying to work out how it will affect my disabled girlfriend (summary: income reduced, and outgoings increased), I’ve just got in to a lovely letter from HMRC. A threatening letter, in this government’s usual condescending tone. Here, take a look yourself.

HMRC_letter

So, let’s go through those key points, shall we?

My self-employment needs to be done on a commercial basis, with a view to making a profit

Oh, silly me! Here I was deliberately trying to lose money that I don’t have, to make my life even more difficult.

My self-employment needs to be done regularly and in an organised way

Fair enough. Well, that is, if I trusted this government to define what “regularly and organised way” means. I take it that the inspectors will fully understand the showbiz industry, will they? They’ll know that there’s no such thing as consistent work? They’ll understand that 95% of actors are unemployed at any one time? They’ll understand that you could make one year’s salary in one day, or no salary at all for several years, for reasons out of your control?

And what does “organised” mean? I spread myself across as many business types as I can just so that I can make ends meet. Will the government inspector view that as disorganised? I strongly suspect so, because as usual, this is another exercise to take money from the people that need it the most.

I may not qualify if I don’t make a profit

Brilliant. So instead of going after Google and Amazon, they’d rather take a few hundred quid off a sole trader who is struggling to make a profit. Someone that spends that lavish income on luxuries like food and toiletries. With no knowledge of their background, their endeavours, or the intricacies of any given market.

They may want to inspect my business records

Again, fair enough – come and have a look. But why are you wasting tax-payers resources in pursuit of a few hundred quid (which you won’t get, by the way, because I’ve nothing to hide) when THERE ARE BUSINESSES OUT THERE THAT OWE BILLIONS IN TAXES?

You know what? Don’t even answer that.

Why am I so upset? Well, let’s look at my current financial situation – laid bare:

Income: Part-time monthly salary- £470 approx
Self-employment for 2015-16 – total £1400 so far – approx £116 pcm on average (skewed by the fact that £700 of that came from October alone)

Expenditure: Rent+bills, car tax, savings (£10pcm!), phone bill, credit card repayment, car insurance, computer finance, WWE Network – total £610 approx.

TOTAL: A loss of £24. You may notice that apart from the WWE Network (at £9.99pcm) there are no luxuries in there. Even if you were to remove my car costs, I would spend twice that amount on public transport in a month.

You’ll see then, that my working tax credit covers my living costs and nothing else.

Oh, and by the way, in managing a social enterprise, a community website and a community festival, on top of part-time employment and pursuing paid acting work, I generally work at least 60 hours per week.

Now my business decisions lie in the hands of a government that doesn’t understand community enterprise. A government that could decide that I haven’t made enough profit for their liking. A government that only sees the word PROFIT in front of their eyes when they make decisions with community services. A government of multi-millionaires that don’t understand that you can start a business with no money, but to compensate you have to give it extra TIME.

The biggest irony is that if I stopped my claim and closed my businesses, I could then be forced to do “community work” while claiming JSA.

Now this alone I could stomach if they weren’t hitting my girlfriend doubly-hard at the same time.

My partner has MS and is unable to work. In today’s budget, another raft of cuts to disability benefits were announced. At the same time, her entitlement to housing benefit and council tax reduction were being reviewed by the Labour council. It’s likely that not only will her income be reduced, but the small amount she receives to help manage her condition will now have to be spent on additional costs forced on her by local government – namely making up the shortfall in housing benefit, and council tax reduction.

And this all on the same day that Gideon announced MORE tax cuts for higher rate tax-payers, and for companies that don’t pay what they owe anyway.

It’s easy to see that this government are coercing people to take their own lives. I’ve had too many conversations with vulnerable people recently that are in complete and utter despair because it doesn’t matter how hard they work, or how many hoops they jump through, this government is making their lives tougher by the minute.

No one that I have spoken to wants anything more than their basic human rights – the right to shelter, heat, food, and to live without persecution.

I live in one of the richest countries in the world. The rich are getting richer.

How are those struggling bankers doing?

Cake

My disabled girlfriend just asked me for a slice of cake. I had to say no. See, I’ve decided to adopt the Conservative approach to cake.

Unfortunately, I explained to her, the purchase of the cake was funded by HARD WORKING PEOPLE, and HARD WORKING PEOPLE didn’t want people who don’t work as hard as her to have access to the luxuries that they can’t have, because despite the fact that they are HARD WORKING PEOPLE, they are still unable to afford cake.

She protested, so I explained that 0.1% of cake benefit claims are fraudulent, so I’ve adopted a policy of guilty-until-proven-innocent, and if she wanted access to the cake, she’d need to go for a fit-for-cake assessment.

I then reminded her that if she wanted the cake badly, she could apply to the access-to-cake fund. But as soon as she looked in the opposite direction I moved the money to my wallet. “Sorry,” I responded disingenuously, “we don’t have enough money to fund your cake.”

She really wasn’t happy about this, so I introduced a new rule in the house. Vulnerable voices were are allowed to campaign against rules in the six months prior to a cake purchase. However, if she incorporates and pays me a big sum of money, I’ll happily allow her to influence future rules.

Next, I told her that she didn’t need the cake, as I’d looked in her fridge and found some carrots. Clearly she was wasting the money provided by HARD WORKING PEOPLE on cake that she didn’t need. She’d have to learn to budget.

I then explained the situation to her landlord, who, upon finding out that she was claiming cake benefit, asked for six months rent in advance.

She kicked up a fuss, saying that she’d worked hard until her disability made it impossible to work. But I ignored that, because I know that it doesn’t matter any more. We can’t afford to give non-HARD WORKING PEOPLE cake for doing nothing any more, because if we did, we’d have to take money away from the banks and THAT WOULD LEAD TO BANKERS LEAVING THE COUNTRY, WHICH WOULD INITIATE ARMAGEDDON.

Okay, so it's a chocolate roll, but the point remains

Okay, so it’s a chocolate roll, but the point remains

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What the UK has just voted for

I know there’s still a lot to be said and done, but if the exit polls are correct the UK has just voted:

  • For the dismantling of the NHS into private hands
  • For the end of the welfare state
  • For five more years (probably more, as redemption will take time) of the torturing of disabled people
  • To take the education system back to the 1950s
  • For the vulnerable to continue to pay for the mistakes of the super-rich
  • For bankers to continue unaffected
  • To remove the services that improve life chances of everyone, but particularly the sick and vulnerable
  • To continue the war on the homeless, while empty buildings remain unchallenged
  • To back unaffordable rents
  • To sell off social housing
  • To put further power in the hands of landlords
  • To support the bedroom tax
  • To drive those in need to desperation, food banks and/or suicide
  • To condemn disabled people to a life of harassment from government authorities
  • To remove the safety net for disadvantaged young people
  • For the possible abolition of maternity pay
  • For the potential abolition of human rights
  • For TTIP
  • For extended workfare
  • For zero-hours contracts, coupled with barbaric pressures from the Job Centre
  • For employer’s profit rights over basic worker’s rights

And this is just for starters. But hey, you’ve £20 a month better off, so what do you care? (Psst…. you’re not. Your costs are rising because you’re paying more in VAT.)

I’m going to bed now, and hoping that things look better in the morning.