by Pseud O'Nym
I was in the garden yesterday, relaxing on my giant bean-bag and allowing my mind to wander and I thought of ‘furlough’. Now maybe its just me but the word ‘furlough’ was one that had never crossed my path before. I had no idea what it meant and all of a sudden, its everywhere, but nobody has taken the time to explain exactly what it meant, it was just assumed everyone did.
I didn’t know. If someone had said that they were going to ‘furlough’ someone, I’d have thought of some sexual act, involving some ropes and pulleys, a a horse and possible serious injury. ‘Furlough’, furlong, you can understand why I might think it. Think of Catherine the Great.
Sadly though, it isn’t. According to the government,
If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.
Your employer could pay 80% of your regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500
Essentially working tax credits for people who aren’t working. On super strength steroids. Not the people. The tax credits.
And did you spot the cunning use of the loophole word, ‘could’. I ‘could’ climb Mount Everest, I ‘could’ do all manner of things, some more likely than not, but all are theoretically possible. You can’t theoretically pay for things, you’d get short shrift at a checkout if you tried that stunt.
Then I thought of all the people who can’t be ‘furloughed’, and also that there isn’t any indication of how long this largesse might last. I then thought of how the government is ready to splash the cash when it benefits big business -– corporate welfare costs £92billion a year – but not the little people, those who are in the gig economy, people on zero-hours contracts and those in the creative industries. I know how precocious this world is, having briefly had my toe in the murky world of advertising a long time ago now. Thats a tale for another day.
I thought that someone well connected in the entertainment world could get all their showbiz pals and they could get all their showbiz pals, not to do a telethon or release another charity single, not to do sponsored something. But rather to just put their hands in their pockets and donate some cash. With enough schmoozing and publicity, they could get charitable status and with that not only could they say it was a charitable donation and write it off against tax, it would qualify for gift aid from the government.
That Ricky Gervais, him with a laugh like a hyena, I hear he’s a nice chap, I’m sure he’d do it.