There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the inequities between those dastardly self employed and the saintly employees. The self employed apparently pay less tax, less NI and organise their affairs to avoid their responsibilities as taxpayers. In contrast, employees pay tax and NI on their earnings and cannot duck in any way. However, if an employee gets a sick note (for whatever reason) they are entitled to up to 6 months statutory sick pay: no question. A total of £2,323.10. Compare and contrast a self employed individual who is unable to work through illness. They have to complete a 25 page questionnaire, probably have a medical, declare their partner's income and if they've got too much in savings, they'll get zip. I had reason to look at the questionnaire recently with a client who has a physical job and has effectively lost, for the medium term, the use of his arm. As we waded through the questions, it became apparent that, although he cannot do his job, and will have to pay for outside help, he will not be able claim benefits, because he's got one arm that does work ie he's not bad enough. The form started to become fun when we got to the parts which asked: 'Do you have problems remaining conscious while awake?' - my husband might qualify on this, particularly after red wine on a Friday (or if I mention gardening) 'Does your behaviour often upset others?' - some of my colleagues would say I qualify for this on a daily basis. So next time someone complains about the unfairness of it all, feel free to point out this and all the other perks (holiday pay, maternity pay, employment rights, less responsibility etc)
Since the Financial crash at the end of the last decade, the Government has had an aspiration to re-balance the economy, with an increase in exported goods being one of the key aims. Indeed George Osborne, when Chancellor, set a target of doubling UK exports to £1tn by 2020. Much has been said about the export opportunities that Brexit could bring. Indeed, following the referendum, the fall in the valutaion of sterling has made UK products and services much more competitive. Exports in Q1 2017 were 23% higher than in Q1 2016 (HMRC). The US is the UK’s biggest (individual country) export market, followed by Germany and France – these three have been the top 3 markets over the last 12 months. In the latest figures China was our 5th biggest market, but the only one of the top 10 to decrease in value. Interestingly South Korea was our 11th biggest export market. There is no doubt that the EU will remain a key market for UK business, both before and following Brexit (whatever the outcome looks like), but where else are British businesses looking to export and which sectors are thriving? The latest HMRC/ONS statistics (May 2017) show that the value of exports to the US was 19% higher in May 2017, than a year earlier. Exports to France increased by 50% in the same time frame, South Korea had more than doubled and Switzerland which was our 7th biggest export market in May had more than tripled, compared to May 2016. The top 5 exports by product/commodity in May were mechanical appliances, motor vehicles, mineral fuels, pharmaceuticals and precious metals. These 5 areas made up more than half of the commodities exported. Key products for the US include electrical machinery and equipment, vehicles, mineral fuels and oils , pharmaceutical products and optical and photographic equipment. Export to Japan suggest that there are opportunities in green technology, defence and security. India and China have a rapidly growing middle class – China is expected to be the world’s largest luxury goods market by 2020. Companies that export usually grow quicker than those that don’t. If you are looking to grow your business, through exporting, please call the Ducketts Business Development team – either Mark, Martyn, Phil or John on 01432 370572. Finally, I saw this light hearted look at how things can get lost in translation!