Friday, April 17, 2020

The Money Go Round

The photographs on this blog were taken at 6.30 am, Thursday the 16th of April. I bought this house ( optional roof, windows and holes in the floor) because it is across the road to the path that goes to the bluebell woods, then up onto the Gleniffer Brae.

It's a long area of raised land left by the glacier  when the Clyde was made of ice. I did learn the name for that in 3rd year Geography but it has long been forgotten. On what would be the glacier bed, there sits Glasgow airport. The planes are all parked up nicely, with extreme precision.  I wonder how the pilots got out? Stepladder?  Do pilots learn a three point turn? And I think I'm right in thinking that big planes like that don't reverse?

The sky above is empty apart  from the helicopters ferrying patients to and from the islands to the hospital and the small prop planes that island hop. They are still flying with  much reduced frequency,  all essential travel- patients coming in for kidney dialysis etc.

While working, I am  well used to getting up at this time in the morning and being out with the faithful hound. I am not at the day job now and I still get up at this time in the morning to get a speedy walk ( 3-4 miles) in our one outing allowance for exercise. 

The rules here are that you can go anywhere you like, as long as you go by foot. You are not supposed to drive somewhere and then let the dog out.  There are a few more rules I'd put in. If you are in a family group, walk at the speed of the slowest one. On  the narrower paths through the marsh and the dense trees, it's impossible to get passed when the family in front are walking single file, strewn out, a dog running between them and both parents on their mobiles, not realising that those down can't get up and those up can't get down.  It's human buffering.

I've done my SARs-CV2 course.  Much about the virus is unknown and we don't have time to learn. It's droplet spread, but some  forms of coronavirus can aerolyse allowing them to hang in the air much longer. The cast-off of those moving at speed is greater,  so cyclists and runners should really have a eight metre  non entry jet stream behind them.  

Runners do tend to off-path, keep  their distance and move away quickly. The cyclists can  treat the walkers like a slalom and  disperse God knows what as they zip through.  

But at this time in the morning, we meet the same people and the same dogs. White Tail and Slabber Chops the two German pointers.   Hugo and Unpronounceable, two wee balls of fluff that  yap a lot. 
And the brown and white collie who abhors social distancing and rounds up every body on the brae. 

It was quiet today, our only companions were four red deer, unimpressed by Mathilda the staffie.

At the start of lockdown, I worked out that if we were looking at two three  months of the business being closed and not earning, then I'd be putting  my hand into my pocket for £18 000 just to keep us out of the red.
I employ the reception staff, but not the therapists  which is an insurance type requirement.

I made the decision to close the doors, but judged it just right. It was forty minutes before Boris made his announcement. Our professional association is sitting on the fence saying you can work if you want. The insurance companies have been much more pro- active. Our professional endowment  will not be valid if we lay hands on anybody. Or any body.

I had no idea what category of worker I was. Boris immediately announced all kinds of  help. Was I  self employed?  But I am a limited company?  What box did I tick? I am an osteopath, company director and author? How many boxes do I tick?

Initially, we filled out a form online and A) who are you b) what's the rates number of the business premises.

Somebody in an office somewhere did a calculation and between £10 000 and £25 000 was deposited into the business account of all businesses who applied.  The criteria for that is having business premises with a rateable value. This was at local government level.

Then when I come to pay the staff,  the Govt will pay me back 80% of the wages a few days after the Inland Revenue have received their PAYE from us. That takes a huge stress off the employer and should go some way to  people keeping their job when there's no money coming in.

And the self employed that don't have premises? Well they will get 80% of their earnings judged on their last tax year. 

The grants came out first as I think that was the easiest calculation to do, somebody in the council pushed a button and the computer ran through the rateable values and did its thing.

The PAYE system will take a few weeks to set up as the programming is not there, the infrastructure  needs to be constructed.  Six weeks? I think that's pretty good going.  And the grant came through first and eased the cash flow.

The self -employed, well they need to wait. It's a tough one and quite labour intensive. It will  of course, be brutal to those who do not  declare their earning for tax purposes and quite frankly, hell mend them.

On a personal note, my 80 plus year old mum is out doing the garden and my sister and I are getting her food and her plants! She is not considered at risk.  But a neighbour got a letter to say that she's at high risk (COPD) so she must stay indoors, and gave instructions  to get help.  I can understand why but the letter advised doing it online,  the queues at the call centres were up to 75000 at some points. The neighbour just handed us the letter as she can't really use her computer. The ID number was  the national health number, it knew what comorbidity our neighbour has and worked out what help they needed. Emergency packs of meds like steroids so they don't annoy GPs or A&E, pharmacy deliveries of repeat scripts, plus a weekly food parcel of fresh veg and milk.

And there's much more coming. Yes, it's going to cost a fortune but it's cheaper than all those folks going on the dole, or getting ill. Businesses like mine will be up and running as soon as  we can,  we will be spending, earning and paying taxes.
 The money go round will start up again.

And yes, authors do qualify for the 80%! 

As my Dad would say, it's better than a slap in the face with a dead haddock.  

Stay safe everybody, I think we are nearing half way or  hopefully, out the other side.

Caro Ramay


  1. It sounds as though the UK is much more efficient at providing emergency support than the US. They had $350 billion to disperse for small businesses, have spent it all, and many small businesses (including one I'm a director of) are still waiting and may now get nothing and have to retrench all their staff.
    But, of course, we get the cheque personally inscribed by Donald Trump so that makes it well worth the wait!

  2. I received my $1200 this week - not from Donny as he'd like to say, but the government. I was delighted that my online deposit did not have his name or scrawl on it.

  3. Caro, I envy you and I don't. I wish I had a path into nature instead of an Avis Rent-a-Car garage across the street from me. But I am glad I no longer run a small business. I would HATE to be dealing with all that red tape, or worse yet, to have gone through the process only to find out that the fund has already run dry. I understand there is still money available in the USA for large hotel chains, though.

  4. "I WANNA LIVE WHERE YOU LIVE. PLEASE TAKE ME AWAY FROM ALL THIS."--the typical sort of response I anticipate your post is receiving from all reading it who reside on the non-science/nonsense-driven side of the Atlantic.

    1. I'm on the same side of the Atlantic as Caro, I just have to cross the Pacific, Asia, and most of Europe to reach her...