I was reflecting today on how easy it used to be to advise on setting up in business.
Once upon a time it used to be 'If you want limited liability, then run a company, if you aren't worried about that, sole trade / partnership. Oh yes, companies cost more to run'
Then, in the late 90's with changes to dividend taxes it became normal to add to the above sentence 'But then we can 'pay' you by way of dividend and save tax'
If only I had a time machine and could go back and add - 'But then in 2020 we'll be locked down, the Government will pay you for not working. If you are Joe Bloggs Plumbing Ltd you won't get paid anything, but if you are Joe Bloggs trading as Joe Bloggs Plumbers you will'
The problem, of course, is that I'd have been written off as a fantasist. (No comments please !)
But, that does highlight a conundrum.
I look after Joe Bloggs Plumbing Ltd. Joe is a one person operation, has been trading about fifteen years, drives a white van with his name on the side and works hard. About fifteen years ago he was advised to 'go limited'. I've looked after him for three years and the tax benefits of having been set up as a company are marginal - he makes a living, not much more, and he takes most of his income out as salary.
At the moment he is getting by with emergency callout work only, as a result he can't furlough himself.
Anyway, Joe contacted me after Ed 37 saying 'Ah, so you were wrong, I do get support as a self employed person after all'.
Sadly I had to explain that, as a he trades through his own limited company, that makes him employed rather than self employed. Which means no Government help.
Joe gets this now, but feels a bit hard done by (to put it mildly) that due to a sensible decision taken for operating reasons 15 years ago he now has to struggle to put food on the table. When by any sensible (i.e. non tax) definition he is as self employed as anyone is !
There is an online petition about this, Joe is frantically searching for it. To save you the job it is at
Remember, if you have 'missed' any previous editions, they can be found at
What are my positives today:-:
1. Rebecca is cross
I've looked after Rebecca and her business Compass Point Recruitment for about ten years. I got a screamingly cross email yesterday, and I naturally worried about what I'd done to upset her.
Actually, nothing - but she wanted to let off steam about the way the media are talking the economy down - 'worst recession in 300 years' headlines etc etc etc. Her point is that the more we read it, the more we believe it, and the more we believe it the more likely it is to happen.
To which I couldn't agree more. The rant is now on social media...the call to action is for us all totalk up not talk down.
2. Roger the Robin lives
I'm sure you remember the tale of Roger the Robin in Edition 34 and the sad ending for Roger and his nemesis, the cat.
Well, like all good stories there's a sequel. Which involves a Bobby Ewing-esque reincarnation. (Younger readers may need to Google 'Dallas')
I was in conference with my good friends and clients - Emily, Neil and Simon at Iscavia yesterday. For the purposes of the story, you need to know that Iscavia are aircraft engineers.
Emily shared some photos of an event that had taken place that morning. Her husband walked into their lounge to find the family cat with none other Roger in his jaws. Using superbird powers, the Robin managed to escape the clutches of Felix, and conducted an SAS-style roll under the sofa.
The next hour saw a complete dismantling of the lounge to 'free Roger' (sorry, is anyone else thinkingLife of Brianhere ?). Roger, having now escaped to the wild is sitting in his nest writing 'The Positive Robin, Vol 1 Ed1'
I'm struggling to think of a good business moral, except 'If you have a broken flying machine, entrust it to Iscavia who'll get it fixed"
3. I'll be saving a fortune on flowers
The broccoli that we picked last weekend is still doing really well, see picture below.
Think about it. A bouquet in Tesco costs, what, £15 ? But a couple of stalks of broccoli £1.50 ?
This is going to save so much money....
"Roses are red,
Violets and Blue,
But as we're in lockdown
Will a Cauliflower do ?"
And what am I talking to clients about ?
Furlough rumours I mentioned the rumours about the cut to 60%. Today I heard about a fairly major employer who had committed to that in writing...sounds like it is gathering momentum. But careful- they are still rumours at the moment. Watch this space.
Enjoy the weather this bank holiday weekend, stay safe, safe positive