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Dr-David-Banner

Low Earner Self-Employed Targeted

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Dr-David-Banner

News on the grapevine is lots of self-employed are abandoning their small businesses. These are the very low earners who do stuff like sell craftwork, translate, freelance in some way. Very many live on narrowboats and try to make a small income. To be honest as well, many of these businesses yield mediocre profit and may well be run a bit lax. We should remember the government was pushing self employment because it suited them to mask real unemployment stats. I admit it is true many of these businesses are strictly "non-profitable" economically, but hold on a second! Isn't it true experienced companies are shutting down right left and centre? Maplins and Toys Я Us owed thousands in debt loss. Woolworths, Littlewoods and Boots closed their doors. In my area scores of cafes, shops or other small businesses often last just weeks. How then can low income self employed somehow buck the trend? The latest form sent to self employed threatens fines and deadlines for information. I am amazed too it assumes a nine till five work schedule yet the self employed always tended to juggle working hours. Someone pointed out part of the perk you get being less well paid than someone employed is flexible hours. Plus "choice" how you work. Unbelievably now The Tories are not only dictating how people seek work but how they run their businesses. Neither do they really know what the overall result will be. My guess is far less people will give self employment a bash if they have to spend hours filling in forms "to prove" they advertised last Monday or issued an invoice on Friday. What I heard is many traders have panicked and abandoned whatever small business they have. And then what? Do they switch to invalidity, try agencies or slip into crime? I only know one sure way to encourage self employment and that's to boost the overall economy. 

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Sanctuary

I'm not quite sure what change or action you're referring to David. Are these people officially self-employed, i.e. registered with the tax authorities as self-employed, or are they people who are informally self-employed, perhaps making a small amount of money doing things such as selling, repairs or some kind of creative work? Whatever way someone is working for themselves it can be very difficult to make a living and what these people earn may be more in the way of a source of income that could still be useful in them avoiding having to claim benefits or enter the wider employment market and compete for jobs with others. Self-employment has many advantages but can be difficult and precarious and only a small number of such enterprises are likely to be enough for someone to rely upon as a sole source of income. Many of those who do sustain it for more time will often have other sources of funds such as savings or more conventional employment. A small number do have more success - some because they have been very skilful in finding a market but more often because they have had considerable support, connections or a customer base from previous employment that they can already build upon.

There are some people who make a significant amount of money from self-employment (sometimes in addition to conventional employment) and they may be failing to pay taxes and I can understand action in these cases. However as you suggest there may be others making very little money (indeed well below any taxable figures) and if they are subject to investigation or lots of regulations may decide it isn't worth carrying on. This can then have the consequences of them either re-entering the labour market - increasing competition for jobs - or having to claim benefits which then costs government money. 

 

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Dr-David-Banner

I refer to legally self-employed people, yes. They register as self-employed and can claim tax credits. They have to declare earnings during tax returns at the end of the tax year. If earnings are low they don't pay tax. As I refer to low earners it is true to say these people aren't contributing to tax. This is clearly an issue but neither do you pay tax when unemployed so some people may prefer that to being an official unemployment statistic. The truth is, after all, job centres were pushing self-employment to get the unemployment figures down but genuinely it was wishful thinking. I had an old friend at school who some years ago informed me he was "self-employed". At the time I recall being impressed and viewed him as successful. A graphic designer (whatever that is). Anyway, one day I bumped into his mother and she chatted away to me about her family. When I mentioned her son being "self-employed", she suddenly rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, 'that!'. Let's put it this way: He doesn't make much money," she laughed. As time passed, I came to see it is as you describe above. There are truly some who do very well as self-employed (my cousin did brilliantly well as a car mechanic). However the truth is many thousands of self-employed make peanuts. I know one guy who's a uni graduate T.V. engineer. Like so many he couldn't find employment so went self-employed. He made a basic website and had a card to advertise basic electrical, hi-fi and TV repair. Similar to what I do. Yet, we all know in reality people will chuck faulty dvd players and televisions in the bin and buy another. Possibly this guy may have since found an angle doing tube guitar amps but, at least, two years ago he told me he'd not made a bean. As for me I have recently been fortunate enough to have a little success which is mostly down to luck. This may only be temporary though. The truth is lately many established outlets are really struggling. Should the very low income self-employed be weeded out then clearly they will have to be somewhere else. 

 

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Dr-David-Banner

To add personally. Being HFA and self-employed is a whole thread in itself. I found the essential need to make social connections is factored out of the equation. Maybe you can sell things online but lots of business is rooted in personal interaction. In the past it would have helped me if people who knew me well enough would have tried to find me some hours work. Despite being reasonably liked, nobody offered. The result was I did become very resourceful and very good at recycling unwanted items (electrical goods or other products). I was building websites for free and advertising for free. Anyway, what I really am determined to avoid is competing for regular employment. This is a "no-go" area. For a start job centre staff are clueless where HFA is concerned (it was never officially diagnosed in my case). All these people know is any job is supposedly suitable (with HFA this is fantasy). And finally there is the diagnostic path and invalidity support but, really, I never believed autistics are totally unemployable ("if" allowances are made to support our situation). That is, I am not seriously anxious or depressed to be classed as unfit to work but I do need to be working in areas I can handle without overload.

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