The Furlough Titanic Hits The Rule Of Six Iceberg

It is now a couple of weeks since I wrote about the impending furlough crisis and the horrific consequences that lie in wait for unemployment, as well as the social consequences.

But unlike most latter-day Cassandras, and perhaps the reason that Cassandras are ignored, I did provide the solution: pay asset finance.

David Brown, Founder of payroll finance group, Hi55 Ventures – Podcast

This would enable corporates to monetise the vast sums they require for payroll every month. Thus, rather than sacking employees once furlough ends in October, they can retain them – saving the economy and the welfare state from further pain. All of this for less than £20 a month per employee – the cost of a relatively modest bottle of wine.

The question is why a massive Working Capital Jobs Retention scheme (WCJRS), powered by fintech Hi55 Ventures has not already been given the green light? Governments being Governments, there may be a few explanations – in italics…

1. It is too short notice for a scheme to save jobs after furlough ends. 

No – the Bank of England has already been looking at WCJRS.  Of course, the Government itself came up with the September / October wind down to furlough and therefore chose the time frame. In addition, pay asset finance is not rocket science and the fintech platform to execute it is in place. 

2. It would be embarrassing to acknowledge that such a simple idea as pay asset finance was not the Government’s idea, and therefore better to have a jobs tsunami in the autumn.

Yes, it is a little embarrassing, but a jobs tsunami after Halloween would be even more so.

3.The Government is busy with other more important matters.

Admittedly, working out whether it should be Rule of Six rather than Rule of Five or Rule of Seven is tricky. But the consequences of a jobs catastrophe would be more difficult to grapple with.  Sadly, this will probably be accelerated by the new Rule of Six decree.

4. The Government has not heard of Hi’s solution.

It has been widely reported in the mainstream media as well as social media that Hi is out there with a “working solution” for furlough – from the Sunday Times downwards. Even a former Chancellor, Lord Lamont, has been “Highlighting” Hi’s initiative.

5. It may be best to just keep furlough going. 

Given the consequences of ending furlough without any landing gear, this may very well be the case. Unfortunately with Government debt at £2tln and rising, the country simply cannot afford furlough any longer.  Even if furlough is extended temporarily, pay asset finance has arrived just in time to prevent job losses.

Hi Is Backed By NTT

Brown’s company Hi, has the backing of Japanese giant NTT, and has already signed up a FTSE 250 company. Given that we are talking fintech, Hi’s technology is scalable and ready, in terms of providing pay asset finance to companies in the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic fallout. British Airways would be a prime example.

Brown’s Working Capital Jobs Retention Scheme (WCJRS) ensures that while most crises become disasters because no one has a solution, in this case one is ready. It is based on data sourced from the Office For National Statistics (ONS), and the way it would work is illustrated below.

What is HI?

A global first, Hi enables employers to release working capital based on their payroll. Lenders will now be able to see its value and lend against it without adding debt to the balance sheet of the business. Employees will also be able to access their earned money weekly with the new system, with real-time pay our vision for the future.

Hi is a privately financed, unique, digital payroll scheme that allows businesses to standardise and capture time worked by employees. Its technology standardises time in financial terms for the first time ever.

Currently, in financial terms, time is not standardised. This new system will mean time is literally money, unleashing a new asset class which will be financed. Time will become the new form of secured credit – it’s your time, you own it and your employer will pay you for it

UK Payroll figures published by ONS in June 2020:

Employed  28,454,397

Payroll  £70,315,000,000 pcm

Average Pay £2,471 pcm

Tax/NI Cont [25%]  £17,578,750,000 pcm

Pay Asset Finance

Uptake 50%

WCJRS number 14,227,198 [jobs protected]

Duration 3 months

Total Funding  £105,472,500,000

Finance Cost 3%

Finance Fee £3,164,175,000 p.a.

Cost per employee £18.53 pcm

[Finance Fee / WCJRS]

New Tax Revenue* £1,054,725,000 p.a.

*- potential to generate new tax revenue for the provision of the guarantee to lenders

£18.53 A Month To Save A Job

Taking the data from the ONS and the medium pay figure quoted of £2,471 a month, the cost to protect every job at risk in the UK under the WCJRS is £18.53 pcm. This not only secures the job but also protects the revenue to HMRC which is also in danger even before one adds in the cost to the UK taxpayer in the provision of benefit claims.

Clearly, the more unemployment there is, the longer it will take people to find new work. This is especially the case if the Bank of England prediction of mass unemployment as high as three million comes to pass and the need for WCJRS is that much greater.

(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Share Talk.) is a purely journalistic website – Zak Mir is a member of the National Union of Journalists. There is no intention here of providing financial advice. It is recommended you seek an independent professional opinion before deciding whether or not to take any action with regard to anything written here.

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