Sunday, 18 December 2016

One party state leader accused of hypocrisy over self-employment!

WE are publishing below a letter from Steve Fisher aka 'Starlord' that was sent to the Tameside Reporter & Chronicle last month but was not published.  Mr Fisher, a tenant of New Charter Housing, who own the Reporter, under the guise of 'Quest Media Ltd', in the one party state of Tameside, has been proscribed and deemed a "prolific complainant" by New Charter and banned from entering their business premises since 2007. His letter, was a response to Tameside Council leader, Kieran Quinn (pictured below).

'The Leader' accused of Hypocrisy
"I read 'The Leaders' Column', Tameside Reporter (3rd Nov 2016), with astonishment! Cllr. Kieran Quinn thinks Self-employment is 'here to stay'. Does he mean  bogus self-employment or the truly self-employed 'Sole Trader' like myself ? Should I call myself a Sole Trader to differentiate myself from the rising mass of bogus self-employed? 
Ironically, the very existence of thousands of real self-employed people, is imperilled by the roll-out of Universal Credit. Why? Because they are not subject to the National Living Wage, but that's changing for the worse. 
To qualify for Working Tax Credit (WTC), HMRC require that all work done be 'for payment or in expectation of payment', and they must work at least 16 hours p/w part-time or 3o hours p/w full-time. WTC is paid if earnings are low, zero, or if making a loss. But WTC is being merged into Universal Credit and thousands of self-employed Sole Traders will be forced onto the dole, while bogus self-employment is on the rise! 
Some organisations exploit tax loop-holes to employ people 'as if' self-employed. It's part of the tax avoidance/evasion scam. It is indeed "an excuse for companies to avoid their duties and obligations in terms of things like sick pay, holiday pay, the minimum wage and pensions." But this is precisely what Tameside Council are doing! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! 
Many of the bogus self-employed are little more than slaves without workers rights and none of the freedoms of self-employment. They have little or no control over what they do. If they don't do as the Company commands they don't get the work. Self-employment lets them dodge their employment responsibilities, and health and safety legislation. It's 'my way or the highway'! 
A client of mine was indirectly employed by Tameside Council. He worked 'as if' a council employee alongside council employees, but he has no contract with the Council. He's an agency worker. Many years ago he worked directly for Tameside Council doing the same work. 
You wouldn't believe how much paperwork he had to deal with, reading, signing, scanning and emailing, merely to secure simple paid work. It's bad enough claiming Universal Credit and trying to avoid benefit sanctions, but this scam is even more devious. 
Let me explain. As a self-employed consultant I helped him to complete all 'paperwork', did some online research, and made some phonecalls on his behalf. He couldn't have done this alone, but the tale's even more twisted. 
He was employed by 'Service Care Solutions Ltd.', Preston, who procure workers for Tameside Council via AGMA. Much cheaper than hiring workers directly. He has few employment rights and no union protection, but that's a Labour Council for ya! 
This situation was exacerbated when SCS hired a payroll company, 'Freelance Professional Services Ltd.', to pay his weekly wage into his bank account. They have an office in Viking House, Ramsey, but their HQ is on the ISLE OF MAN! The bells begin to ring! 
FPS then created a separate company to act as his direct employer, and so he became a de-facto employee of his very own company Limited by Guarantee, and working for himself. These are known as Umbrella Companies. FPS act as Tax Agent with HMRC. I say de-facto because he had to sign and agree to a 36-point 'Administrative Terms & Conditions' form, many of which are legalistic and complex and completely unreasonable. He'd already been working for a week! Don't sign, don't get paid, lose the job, and then try to re-claim Universal Credit which would be refused because he'd left his job voluntarily. Not much of a choice! Whatever happened to workers rights? 
He had to "agree to adopt a flexible working approach and opt out of the 'working time regulations'", agree to data sharing, breaching his Data Protection rights, and that FPS be appointed Company Administrator placing them in control of the very company that they set-up in his name without his permission. 
The job was advertised as £8.60 per hour, but his actual pay after deductions was £7.20 per hour. It's as if they'd calculated backwards to get this figure! He did not receive the full advertised rate because he had to pay two lots of taxes and two lots of National Insurance, one for the company and one for himself, and holiday pay manipulations. What a con!
He hadn't a clue what was happening. He just wanted to work, but had little choice in the matter. It's all seemingly legal, but very dodgy! 
There are 4 separate 'legal entities' in-between the worker and Tameside Council, which includes AGMA, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities! 
The Leader says, "that HMRC have set up an 'Employment Status and Intermediaries Scheme' that will react to complaints and investigate companies that have declared a high amount [number] of self employed workers." Very good and about time, BUT how high is high? Will this include the likes of Tameside Council? It certainly should! So where do I go to report TMBC?"


El Gordo Farnell said...

From: Councillor John Bell

To: Steve Starlord

Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 11:44 AM

Subject: Re: One party state leader accused of hypocrisy over self-employment (was - TAMESIDE REPORTER LETTER - Tameside Council & the pseudo Self-employed)

Dear Steve,

Welcome to the Socialist Republic of Tameside.

As Leader of the Opposition for Tameside I never get any journalist from it requesting me to put the alternative view.So much so I have stopped buying it in disgust.

No journalist ever attends our full Council meetings to report debates.

All we get in the paper are cut and paste press releases from the Councils Communications Dept.

We have something akin to a Socialist state where the media is totally controlled by the Council and New Charter.

Kind regards


Sent from my iPhone

Steve Starlord said...

Thanks for your reply,

I rarely ever get a reply from any councillor on any matter, not even from my own. I find the level of ignorance astonishing. They, we, the public, don't have to be on the same page politically to be deserving of some kind of response. After all, they are our elected representatives, but then the degree of complacency shown when elected year after year after year without fail, almost a shoe-in, means they can largely ignore the electorate and just try to look good through the pages of the Tameside Reporter. I rarely get replies from my MP either, except sometimes a reply about 1 month later through the post essentially giving me the Party line.

You are quite right, we, by and large, get 'cut and paste' reproduction of press releases with little or no investigative reporting or even balanced reporting. I seek only fairness and balance in respect of letters sent to the press. I have no issues with the letters of others whether I agree with them or not. I should have the right of reply to published letters! I just expect fair right of reply as was the case with what was said by 'the Leader', even though his was not a letter but his own column. Surely the public have the right of reply? Apparently not!

Love, Light & Laughter

Steve Starlord

----- Original Message -----
From: Councillor John Bell