SORRY WE MISSED YOU

TODAY’S BLOG

SORRY WE MISSED YOU

The new Ken Loach movie “Sorry We Missed You” takes a scathing look at the life of the new gig-economy self-employed who are now a part of the service sector that we all use. Instantly you will sense that this is a political piece and you are probably right. Loach makes yet another bleak, grey but good little movie about the daily struggle to make ends meet. This story may jog your memory about snippets of information that you have picked up over the last couple of years. I can assure you that it will have an impact on your thinking for any online orders you make before Christmas.

Confession – I quite like Ken Loach. I have a great deal of empathy for what he seems to be trying to do. As far as I can gather, this is little more than calling to account a system that is simply not working for lots of very “ordinary people”. This movie is clear that some employers are abusive. I suspect you know this already to be true. Whilst one would argue that “workers rights” are largely the diet of the left-leaning, I haven’t met anyone that believes people should be treated as commodities, perhaps I don’t get out enough though.

Masters of the Universe

Ricky (Kris Hitchen) is fed up with being told what to do, a friend suggests he become a self-employed delivery driver. He can be his own boss. I may have misheard, but I think the deal is £150 a day for deliveries completed to satisfaction. The problem being that Ricky doesn’t have a van, he can rent one from his new sole customer (at £60 a day) or make his own arrangements. Ricky also has a tight schedule (set by others) which means he doesn’t have time for anything more than a 10-minute break in his 12-14 hour day. Worse still, he can only “not work” if he has arranged a driver to cover him or it’s a £100 fine and a “penalty”. The parcel tracking device is provided (it’s a requirement) but if lost must be paid for at £1,000. The parcels, once taken by the driver become a personal liability.

Return to sender

The benefits of self-employment quickly evaporate with a sense that in practice, Ricky is not in control of very much at all, yet has agreed to offer his services at guaranteed rates for guaranteed results. This is really the crux of the story and the resulting pressure. The employer has waived all responsibility and has rented labour at a lower cost than having proper employees.

Technology that liberates?

Amazon and other delivery drivers spring to mind. However Ricky’s wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) is a carer that is employed at arm’s length to care for (clean, bathe, feed) infirm people on set 30 minute slots (or less) and invariably this isn’t enough time to do the job properly or with any care, let alone get to the next “client” on time. As you may imagine, the fact that both husband and wife are running around working long hours attempting to keep to someone else’s schedule has a knock-on effect for their family and relationship.

I’m not a fan of “zero hours” contracts or the gig economy. I don’t like “internships” or unpaid labour with the hope/promise of better things. I think its abusive and I have little time for those that use it as their business model. That covers almost the entire media industry.

Sorry but I have a few questions…

I do have some questions for Loach. If Ricky earns £150 a day and is working 6 days a week. That’s £900 a week or £46,800 a year. Abbie also earns and so I wonder what is happening to their income. They missed out on buying a home in 2008 due to loss of his job, but quite what that was is unclear. However the inference is that the failure of Northern Rock and the credit crunch are partly to blame. There may well be some debt, but this is not explained. Teenage son Seb (Rhys Stone) goes from being “top of his class” to a truant, violent, petty thief – what happened there? When he and younger sister Lisa (Katie Proctor) state that they want things to return to “how they were” what does that mean? When?

Required: Thinking

To my mind Ricky and Abbie are taken advantage of. They may or may not be good with money and sums, frankly its impossible to say. They certainly care and seem like “decent people”. Even with the abusive employment, why don’t the drivers have rota for a shared replacement driver, so that they can actually take time off for important things? There is simply not enough to convince me that any of them really understand what “self-employment” is. Perhaps because everything about the work has the feel of employment without the reality.

The problem I have as a financial planner is that I suspect that some of the financial problems that Ricky and Abbie have could probably be easily addressed, but nobody has the time to stop to think, assuming they are able to do so. Perhaps “the job” could work for some but it certainly doesn’t for this family. I was moved by the story but left with questions about the how and why. Whilst Loach has a specific working-class focus, in practice the same stresses of post-modern life and inability to see the bigger picture can negatively impact any of us. Sadly, I suspect that this will be seen as little more than a critique of “big business” and “Government policy” yet the problems are far deeper than that, issues that need facing before any significant change can occur.

Anyway, here is the trailer. The movie is out now.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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SORRY WE MISSED YOU2019-11-11T14:16:19+00:00

I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake

The new Ken Loach movie “ I, Daniel Blake” has created something of a ruckus. It would seem that if you hold entrenched political views, then probably you would learn nothing new. If you are a little more willing to be informed or at the very least, challenged, then this film has something to offer.

You might wonder why a financial planner is writing about a story, essentially about poverty and the UK benefits system. After all, our clients don’t draw benefits and are clearly not poor, by most normal definitions. My reasoning is that human dignity is simply a human issue for us all, and of course should disaster strike, any one of us could be left at the mercy of the State system – one that we all contribute towards and reflects our wider collective values.

Daniel Blake is one of those typical, gritty, grim and grey British films, that in truth you probably have to be in the mood for. It isn’t “entertainment” and it isn’t a documentary. However in the days of food banks and some fairly vile tabloid newspapers, it’s a film that needs to be seen, rather like the truthfulness of your own finances.

Passive? moi?

Perhaps like you, I am occasionally found shouting at the TV or radio as something rattles my cage, yet it is not often that I do so in a cinema. Yet, that’s what I was doing within about 15 minutes, exasperated by the ludicrous treatment of someone by box-ticking automatons. I won’t ruin your experience of it by giving away the story, but it resonated with similar experiences that most of us will have had at some point when dealing with some organizations, particularly Governmental ones.

A curriculum vitae…

The story of Daniel, a carpenter in his late 50s or perhaps early 60s suffers a heart attack, signed off work by those professionally qualified to do so (his doctors) and then assessed by a “professional health worker” (as if) that he is not sick enough to be off work… and so the story ensues with an exploration into the penalty system introduced by a man who was actually found to mislead within his CV (according to BBC News night) one Mr. Iain Duncan-Smith.

You cannot be serious..

I know many of you are medical professionals – proper ones, not deemed so by a job title that reflects the ability to read a questionnaire containing medical terminology. So I am sure that some of you will have had experience of being confronted by those less qualified, purporting to know better…. which these days seems to be most people in political office.

Clearly none of us want a society where it is easier and more rewarding to “do nothing” than to provide something of value to others. We don’t want to encourage a culture of benefit vultures or tourists. However this is loaded with political sentiment and bias. One might make the case that a rich businessman that pays no taxes is also a benefit scrounger, not “paying their way” for all the things that the rest of us mere mortals believe important for the wider society.

It seems to me that “the system” simply isn’t very good and attempts to make it work rather better because of bile generated from supposed “journalists” have failed spectacularly.

There’s something very wrong with this isn’t there?

My own former MP was at a hustings and said he was “proud that we have a food bank here” which is hardly something to be proud of, merely reflecting the failure of our “first world” social system and is actually a reflection that the local people believe that this is very wrong, and respond to a very real, very human problem.

Planning upon uncertainty

As for your financial plan… well at the heart of this is the ability to do your sums. To live within your means… which is a lot easier when you are healthy and let’s be honest, wealthy (by comparison). However when health becomes an issue, you have probably ensured that you have savings and insurance to cover certain eventualities (well if you took my advice you did). So it will always appear easier to cope than it is in practice, because you and I are fortunate enough to have enough to plan and think ahead, even thinking about the bleak, improbable and perhaps unlikely. Part of my job is to reduce reliance on the State system by creating independence of it, self-sufficiency.  This is not the same as being disconnected or unconcerned, which is the general line taken by those who have chosen to “critique” the film for being an extreme example….

Ok, there will always be some people that want to do nothing and expect something, but I struggle to believe that is how most of us behave. Most want a better life, not a benefits life. When I talk of lifestyle financial planning I am not advocating one of selfish disconnection, but of self-direction.

Anyway, wherever you are on the political spectrum (and I find myself finding some merit in most arguments from all sides) here is the trailer for a truly valuable film.

 

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

I, Daniel Blake2017-02-02T13:24:52+00:00
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