Trading humility for arrogance…

Liam Fox… Liam Fox…

Liam Fox called business leaders ‘Fat and lazy’, and stated that they ‘should do more work instead of playing golf on a Friday afternoon’. Some would think it fair enough that he’s made these remarks, he’s entitled to his own opinion, right? And usually I would agree with his right to make the comments even if I disagree with the sentiment. But do I agree in this instance? No, I flipping well don’t, because he’s the British Trade Secretary.

You know… the person whose job it is to WAVE THE FLAG FOR BRITISH BUSINESSES AT THE REST OF THE WORLD! And this coming from a man that if my research is correct, may never have worked in the private sector. He doesn’t know what it’s like to take a leap and start up a business, he had (and still does have) the safety of a wage paid by the tax payer. He’s never had to worry that the business that’s responsible for the livelihood of others might fail, so how dare he be so blasé.

If you drill down, private business brings in the majority, if not all – of the money that the government wastes spends and he would do well to remember that.

And If the firms he’s talking of are private firms, what the hell is it to do with him whether they ARE fat and lazy, or play golf on a Friday afternoon? I’ll tell you what it has to do with him, absolutely nothing. They can do what they want with their money/business as long as it’s legal. But to put LF’s mind at rest, I am almost certain that if any business leaders of private firms aren’t performing, they won’t be there for long, because unlike the public sector, the proper* private sector doesn’t usually reward failure.

Of course the line gets smudged when private business is too big to fail and gets bailed out by us, the taxpayer; an example being the Royal Bank of Scotland. And also the ‘private’ firms that aren’t really private like the postal and rail service. With these ‘businesses’ the line gets smudged between success and failure, meaning they rake it in during the good times, then come asking for public money when the bad times hit, or when they ‘need to improve infrastructure’. It’s a win-win really.

So I would be happy if LF insists that the bosses at RBS constantly have their noses to the grindstone 24/7, because I paid for them to survive. And whilst he’s at it he should turn his head away from the private sector and take a look at NHS bosses, and even consultants, all of whom are paid for, and very generously by the public due to the payment scale bought in by Blair of ‘pay the public sector bosses private sector wages to draw them in’. It used to be that you would take the pay cut to get the good pension when working in the public sector, but now they have both, and I know for a fact that some get the time to play golf on a Friday afternoon.

LF also needs to do an about turn and look closer to home, the MPs…

After all, a simple look in the mirror would reveal an MP that allegedly incorrectly claimed £22k in expenses!

Before I became self employed I was employed, and I couldn’t claim expenses for anything, my lunch wasn’t subsidised, or my dinner, or my wine and champagne had I wanted it. So LF, I would urge you to be a little more humble and a little less arrogant when referring to the people that PAY YOUR WAGES!!!

Now, I’m not coming at this as a big business leader, far from it. We have a small business you see, and it is north of the Watford gap. So we get no recognition from this London-centric, Big business-centric government. Yup. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that our teeny business and the other MILLIONS of small business owners that pay their tax and prop up the country, often earning less than their employees, and never having days off, are the forgotten. But even we forgotten millions see how wrong it was for LF to make these comments, because he’s supposed to be on their side.

 

*Not big banking – that’s an anomaly

Trading humility for arrogance…

Big business – my bigger picture

These days it seems that business is a dirty word, particularly big business. And as one who thinks about everything too much, this has troubled me for a while. Now, I’m not some business or political guru, I’m just a normal person running a very small business with my husband. Anyway, we smaller folk are supposed to be disgusted by the way these big businesses behave…

… well I won’t be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m disappointed that it appears integrity has to be enforced with some businesses, but I am even more disappointed by the system that enables them to behave the way they do with regards to things like aggressive tax avoidance etc. I want the system changed. Because it is the system, and the system is wonky. But no one is breaking the law.

At the end of the day I don’t hear of anyone paying more tax than they have to, and tax avoidance starts right at the other end of the scale.

If you put money into an ISA you are avoiding paying tax. But that’s okay, because that’s the system.

If you sell items on an auction site and don’t declare it to the taxman, you could be a tax avoider and it’s not the system so that’s not okay in the eyes of the law. That person could even be a tax evader. How many people sell their unwanted stuff on auction sites in Britain? I’ll let you ponder that one whilst I get back to big business.

Let’s drill down a little further into this big business issue and most of the companies people have a problem with are international. They can base themselves in Luxembourg therefore paying lower taxes. The growth of online retail has governments running to keep up with changes and failing miserably. It would be like me running the 100m alongside Usain Bolt. Yes, governments could move slightly faster, and do what’s right instead of perhaps what some big businesses want, but it’s a difficult balancing act. I see often on twitter the cry ‘LET THEM ALL LEAVE!!! WE DON’T NEED THESE BUSINESSES!’ and I quietly sigh. What do these people want to do with the employees of the businesses? The public sector cannot employ everyone, as much as some governments have tried.

And where do these people think the money the government would use to pay all of the people they want to be employed in the public sector comes from? It’s not a money tree that’s for sure. It comes from taxes. Whether it be corporation tax, capital gains tax, vat, or income tax they are all necessary. Businesses; big or small and the employees within contribute.

As much as some people like to say there is no ‘trickle down effect’, there is. Just talking in those terms, how many are employed by the likes of Starbucks, Amazon, Virgin, Tesco, etc in Britain (I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s a whopping number so there is a fine balancing act)? That is the trickle down effect in its simplest terms before we even think about wages.

Wages are another issue, so all I will say at this point is; if one introduces a minimum wage then the responsibility is taken away from the employer in a lot of cases. Any company that pays the minimum wage probably just waits for the government to pull the strings. They don’t worry too much about their workers going elsewhere because wages are the same like for like.

We NEED big business. Whether it’s banking or retail, big business oils the country’s cogs. So when the government tries to catch up with technology and make changes, it needs to be aware of that. The government has to look at the bigger picture, whereas the people railing on twitter apparently have a myopic view. It is alleged that the top 1% of earners pay 27% of the tax in Britain, so we should be celebrating the top 1%, or at least not vilifying them on a regular basis. We can be pretty sure that the majority of the top one percent are either employing a shed load of people, or are employed by a ‘Big Business’. So let’s find the balance whilst asking businesses to think hard about what’s the right thing to do.

NB. Any business mentioned here is mentioned only as an example of employing ‘shed loads’ of people, and is in no way tied in with any other comments.

Big business – my bigger picture