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Sunak offers £3 billion for the green economy when £100bn is needed

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 4:07pm in

As the Guardian notes this morning:

Rishi Sunak is to announce a £3bn package of green investment to decarbonise public buildings and cut emissions from Britain’s poorly insulated homes as part of the government’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

They add:

The chancellor will seek to use Wednesday’s summer statement on the economy to fend off criticism that his proposals lack ambition by insisting that he can “kick start” an environment-friendly revival through the creation of thousands of green jobs in the construction industry.

Sunak will say that the extra money for decarbonising houses, schools, hospitals, prisons and military bases will help the UK meet its target of being a carbon net zero economy by 2050, and is likely to say that further green spending will be announced later in the year.

This is pathetic. And it shows that we really are in deep trouble.

There is near-universal agreement that we are heading for mass unemployment in the UK, on a scale that almost no one now alive has seen in their lifetimes.

And there is almost unanimous agreement that whatever threat coronavirus created it is but nothing compared to what is to come from the environmental and biodiversity crises that we face.

I estimate it will cost £100bn a year for a decade to address this issue. And I have shown how to fund that.

And Sunak thinks £3bn will keep anyone happy? This is a pinprick. It will not deliver even a tiny percentage of the jobs that will be required. And it certainly does not deliver the green economy we must have.

Pathetic is too kind to it: this is an insult to everyone who cares about the future of our planet.

Worryingly, it is a sign of a government that does not care.

ScoMo Sees Nothing Wrong With Tradies Being Able To Take Arts Workers Lunch Money

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 30/06/2020 - 8:21am in

morrison map

Prime Minister Scotty from marketing has told reporters that he sees nothing wrong with tradies being able to legally demand an arts worker hand over their lunch money.

“Arts workers need to realise that they need to be a part of team Australia,” said Prime Minister Scotty. ”If they can do their bit to keep more valuable members of society, like tradies going, then they should do it.”

”After all ,we are all in this together.”

When asked why his Government is turning it’s back on the billion dollar arts and entertainment industries, the Prime Minister said: “I reject the premise of your question.”

“My Government has done all it can to support the NRL and AFL. Sure some of you inner city elites don’t view this as entertainment but I’ll tell you, more people watch the mighty Sharks on a Friday night than any old poncy ballet recital.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I saw a league player who was short of a few dollars for a coffee, I will go and raid the ABC budget to help him out.”

Mark Williamson


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To Fight The IMF’s Dire Prediction We Need More Government Debt – 10 daily

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/06/2020 - 2:29pm in

By Warwick Smith

This article was first published on April 15 2020 at 10daily, which has since shut down. I’m reproducing it here now partly to keep a record in case the web site ceases to exist.

Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the latest World Economic Outlook, in which it predicted Australia’s economy would shrink 6.7 percent this year.

This would be the biggest single-year fall since 1930 at the height of the Great Depression. They expect unemployment to reach 7.6 percent this year and climb to 8.9 percent next year. Despite noting Australia’s very large government spending program, the IMF suggests that greater fiscal stimulus may be needed to avoid even worse outcomes.

Meanwhile, Australia’s major political parties are both stuck in misguided and outdated attitudes towards government debt and deficits. During last week’s parliamentary debate about the $130 billion JobKeeper legislation, Anthony Albanese said, “We are headed for a trillion-dollar debt… It is a bill that will saddle a generation.”

If this dangerous thinking is allowed to dominate both sides of the narrow political divide in Australia over the next few years, then we will see unnecessary hardship and further loss of jobs on the Australian people.

This misguided thinking comes from the notion that the federal government is like a nationwide household and that if we spend too much now, we, as a nation, will have to tighten our belts in the future to pay for it. This may make intuitive sense but much of the true nature of money is not intuitive.

Paying attention only to money and debt often causes people (including economists) to lose sight of the real economy. The real economy is the production and distribution of goods and services. Our material standard of living at any particular time depends almost exclusively on the goods and services we are able to produce (and purchase from overseas) at that time. Is it possible for future generations to send goods and services back in time to pay for the current COVID response expenditure? Of course not, that’s a ludicrous suggestion.

Okay, so if we focus on the real economy and forget about the money for a minute, what are the real future consequences of spending now to support businesses and households? The fewer businesses go broke now, the quicker the recovery and the more rapidly we can get back towards full employment. The closer we get to full employment (and the full use of our infrastructure, factories, equipment, etc) the more goods and services we can produce and the higher the material standard of living we can have.

So what about the trillion-dollar debt then?

We have a very clear historical precedent we can use to shed light on the impact of debt and on the choices that lie before us. The highest level of government debt Australia has ever had was accumulated during World War II.

(Image: Ashley Owen, Stanford Brown)

This debt, 120 percent of GDP, would be equivalent to a debt today of well over two trillion dollars. If Anthony Albanese and Josh Frydenberg are right about the current debt burden, then post-war generations must have really struggled under that debt burden, right?

As it turns out, the opposite is true. The 25 years following WWII are often referred to as the post-war boom. We had strong economic growth, high wage growth, rapidly increasing material standards of living and falling inequality.

During this period governments of both political persuasions ran near constant modest deficits and the level of government debt to GDP fell sharply. This counter-intuitive miracle occurred because governments weren’t focussed on paying off the debt but were instead focussed on productivity and full employment.

Policy thinkers in the Curtin government, trained in the new economics developed by John Maynard Keynes, had seen massive unemployment during the Great Depression and then zero unemployment during the war. They figured that if the government could bring about full employment during the war then they could bring about full employment during peace time. They laid out this plan in 1945 in a remarkable white paper, Full Employment in Australia, that’s still very much worth reading today.

Australia’s unemployment rate, 1901-2001. (Image: Australian Treasury)

Arguably the 20th century’s most influential economist, Keynes said, “Look after the unemployment and the budget will look after itself”. In the 25 years following WWII, unemployment in Australia averaged two percent and, as noted above, government debt to GDP fell sharply, despite governments continuing to run deficits.

The same could be true in the recovery from the COVID-induced recession — if only our politicians could understand it.

Falling debt to GDP while governments run deficits could occur because the combination of economic growth and inflation saw the economy outgrow the debt. The debt was never really paid off, but the Australian economy was fully employed and was producing enough goods and services to provide Australians with an increasingly higher standard of living.

As I’ve discussed elsewhere, Menzies very nearly lost the 1961 election because unemployment was creeping up towards three percent as a result of reduced government expenditure. Menzies, chastised by the result, immediately adopted Labor’s policy of intentionally running a deficit in order to reduce unemployment — and it worked.

The dangers of austerity

If we adopt the attitude currently dominant in both Labor and Coalition party rooms that this debt is a burden that must be paid off, we will have the opposite outcome. This could entail implementing so-called austerity policies, lifting taxes and/or cutting government expenditure in an effort to pay off the debt. Both increasing taxes and cutting government expenditure remove money from the non-government sector, right when they need it for the economic recovery.

Cutting government services, including health, mental health, education, research, environmental protection and more in order to pay off government debt will inevitably result in higher unemployment, worse health outcomes and worse economic outcomes. We know, both from sound economic theory and from the lessons of history, that we don’t need to focus on paying off the debt. This means, if we do suffer as a result of government debt repayments, that we are doing so as a political and ideological choice, not out of necessity.

Instead, we should focus on full employment and on the real economy and let the budget take care of itself.

ScoMo Gets A Laugh In The Party Room By Asking Cormann To Do Some Basic Maths

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 26/05/2020 - 7:48am in


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lifted spirits in the Coalition party room by pulling out his favourite party trick of asking the Finance Minister Matthias Cormann to do some basic maths.

”Scotty really knows how to keep spirits high,” said a Coalition Insider. ”I tell you when he asked Matthias whats 13 minus 7 was the place erupted, and by the time Cormann said 8 well there were people passing out on the floor from laughter.”

”Oh, what a hoot it was, I can’t wait till he has to help knock out the budget.”

”When asked whether it was problematic for the Prime Minister to have a Finance Minister who was unable to do basic mathematics, the Coalition Insider said: ”Problematic, are you kidding?”

”With Matthias around as Peter Dutton’s numbers man ScoMo is as safe as houses. Sure it’s gonna lead to some bad headlines every now and then when he cocks up some budgetary measures but it’s not like we have an Opposition stronger than Dutton to worry about.”

”Now. if you’ll excuse I’m off to wind up Barnaby about the Queensland border being closed during schoolies.”

Mark Williamson

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Why Public Universities Can't Take New Cuts: The Essential Charts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/05/2020 - 4:01am in

Should university officials be fatalistic about Covid-powered cuts to their core educational budgets?  Or should they work 24/7 on their state governments to keep their current budgets whole?

What about state governments? Should they cut higher ed yet again, as various governors are doing (New Jersey, Ohio), and as Gavin Newsom proposes in California?

This post investigates the budget case for a zero-cuts policy.  If your state's public colleges and universities have an ample base budget, you can make some temporary cuts to their state funding. If they are already bare bones, further budget cuts will cut educational quality.

0. Why The History?
There are lots of ways to use numbers as proxies for teaching and research quality.  Most are bad. A pretty good one for teaching is instructional expenditures per student. To help state governments understand quality, departments could establish a set of minimum practices, then cost them out.   Campuses could figure out what their budgets must be to meet these standards. But departments haven't been invited to build the budget that would meet their needs.  And the averages for instructional expenditure that have been used by my case study here, the University of California system, aren't reliable.

Instead, I'll use historical budget trends as quality proxies.  I do this for two reasons.  First, the history of the state's relationship to UC controls what the state thinks UC should have.  This is a strained history and it still matters.

Second, UC's budget history expresses the idea that public universities could and should be as good as elite private universities.  Public university students should be roughly equal to private university students. The same was to be true of their faculties.

Historical budgets expressed this aspiration for equality through public quality.  A detailed Senate report I co-authored identified this proxy for full quality as UC's 1990 budget. Strong budgets expressed the quality aspiration in reality as well as in theory.  For example, previous, higher levels of public funding for UC campuses had enabled most of them to become members of the American Association of Universities, a group of North America's strongest research universities. Nearly all did this while tuition was still very low and with negligible per-student endowments.  This taught an important general lesson: Great academic quality came as readily from public support as from private capital.

Quality wasn't just about prestige, but also about social effects.  Public universities were to educate students as well as private universities did.  There were always resource differences (though not today's resource abyss), so let's put it this way: students were not to have to accept lower cognitive benefits from their B.A. by getting it from UC Irvine instead of from Occidental College.  UCI students had more courses in large-lecture format, so UCI had also to be able to afford lots of small courses too.  Occidental College seniors could write a thesis that taught them how to produce as well as consume knowledge.  So UCI had to offer undergraduate research experiences.

The same was true in research: major public universities were  to be as good as the elite privates (Berkeley and Stanford, Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago, Chapel Hill and Duke, Rutgers and Princeton, etc.).  Public university doctoral and professional degrees needed to be roughly comparable to private university degrees--or at least not in different leagues. The idea was to have proverbial world-class research going on at several hundred research universities rather than mainly at 16 Ivy League universities and their wealthy equivalents. Public universities needed plenty of internal funds to support research.  It was a national priority to have millions of really good thinkers and hundreds of really good research sites. The dominant political culture assumed these two things--widespread intelligence, abundant research--were essential for democracy, progress, and justice.

So to put the large public system on a clearly inferior resource tier was understood to be economically suboptimal and also unjust.  This was particularly clear in the wake of civil rights movements as economic inequality grew and many K-12 school systems became minority-majority--while generally giving the least funds to districts with the highest shares of Black and brown students.

How are state legislatures doing with keeping public universities in the mix? Here are some charts to show what's happened in California. They come in three sections: UC Core Revenues, the State's Point of View, and What UC Really Has Left.   They track funding from the turn of the century.

1. UC's Core State Revenues
Figure A looks at what's happened to the state's allocation to the University of California.  This is money that generally follows resident students.

In Figure A you'll see 3 lines. The blue line is a benchmark, tracking growth in state per-capita income.  This measures the strength of the economy as it exists in people's pockets.  It goes up 4-5 percent a year most of the time.  If a state wanted to fund an agency in an average way, it would make that agency's revenues rise at the same rate as per-capita income. In this case, the legislature isn't treating it as essential or special, but just letting UC or CSU or public health or transportation grow with the state.

UC enrollment did not stay flat through this period, but increased by about 50 percent. The yellow line takes the per-capita income benchmark and corrects it for actual UC student growth.

The red line tracks the state's actual general fund allocation in nominal dollars, not corrected for inflation.

Figure A: State Funds for UC in Nominal Dollars, Compared to Per-Capita Income Benchmark, and Benchmark Corrected for Enrollment Growth

The story is clear. The state's allocation fell far behind state income growth.

If UC's state funding had kept up with state per-capita income (blue line), its 2019-20 allocation would have been $6.6 billion--not the $3.7 billion it actually got.

If UC's state funding had kept up with this benchmark corrected for 50 percent enrollment growth (yellow line), its current-year allocation would be $10 billion--nearly 3 times more than it received.

Sometimes people explain this low state allocation by saying the state population just doesn't have the money. That's not true.  The state population had the money to spend on UC (or CSU), but spent it elsewhere.  2017-18 was the first year that UC got a higher state allocation than its state allocation in 2001-02 ($3.28 billion).  (2007-08 was the sole exception, at $3.39 billion.)  These nominal dollars don't reflect cumulative inflation, which has been around 46 percent.

In other words, for twenty years, the State of California has gotten all UC enrollment growth and all of its cost increases for free.

On to another chart. Sometimes people say, "well, the whole public sector has been falling behind."  That's also untrue.

 Figure B: Adding California State Budget Growth to Figure A

The purple line is the California state budget (right-hand scale).  State government--health, corrections, transportation, K-12 education, etc--has grown at around the same rate as personal income.  California doesn't have an exceptional government, measured by growth rates.  It has an average-growth government--except for higher education, which state government has pushed well below other agencies.

2. The State's Point of View
State officials will often say that Figures A and B are misleading because they leave out UC's other revenues, especially tuition.  The state has in the past claimed that student tuition is actually state funding.  The more plausible claim is that UC tuition hikes have offset state funding cuts.

In a January 2013 UC Board of Regents meeting, a state official made the point this way:

The possibility of increased funding right now: it doesn't exist. . . .There is no significant amount of money to backfill previous cuts. We've made roughly $900 million in cuts and you've increased fees $1.4 billion dollars. The [fee] increases were disproportionate to the level of disinvestment by the state. 

He was accurately using Department of Finance data to say that UC had $500 million more in gross tuition revenue than the amount of the 2011-12 cut.  The official was state Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.  Pérez, who helped install the UC tuition freeze, now serves as chair of the UC Board of Regents.

To represent the state's understanding, Figure C adds a green line that represents UC core educational revenues.  These are about a quarter of UC's total budget (no medical centers, auxiliaries, or extramural grant funding ("direct costs").   The main revenue sources are state general funding, but now with various kinds of tuition added in (resident tuition, non-resident supplemental tuition, abbreviated as NRST, which mostly international students, and also the state funds that go to UC via the Cal Grants program that eligible students use to pay some of their tuition.  1/3rd of gross resident tuition is "return-to-aid," meaning thaat it cannot be used as operating revenue because it is converted into financial aid. There's also some indirect cost recovery funds and other bits and bobs that the core uses.  Take a look.

Figure C: UC Gross Core Revenues, Including Various Forms of Student Tuition and Related Funds

The green line is a lot better than the red.  UC gross core revenues grow faster than the income benchmark. Core revenues (mainly state funding plus various tuition streams) do a somewhat decent job of keeping up with enrollment growth at the benchmarked level (the yellow line).

You might be wondering about the widening gap between the yellow and green lines in recent years: it reflects the "surge" of unfunded or underfunded resident students the state forced UC to take to make up for the previous growth in non-resident enrollments.  This is a key source of the deficits many UC campuses were projecting even before the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

So here, it looks like the state has a point. UC's educational core has much better revenues than the state general fund calculation (Figures A and B) suggests.

This does not change the fact that the state has been free-riding for growth and upgrades on students, and also on other UC revenues.

But it looks like UC's gross core revenues have at least kept up with state income growth, and slightly beaten inflation.

3. What UC Really Has Left
Here's the problem with the state's point of view: while it was cutting or eroding the general fund allocation, the state also decided not to pay for lots of other things. The two biggest unfunded costs are (i) capital projects and (ii) that part of total compensation known as the University of California Retirement Program (UCRP).

In contrast to previous practice, UC now has to build its own buildings with a combination of University-based borrowing, private donations, and internal operating revenues.  This is the case both on the campuses and at the medical centers.  The state acknowledged the situation with legislation, AB 94, that allows campuses to use state funding to pay interest on debt.  That isn't additional money, just permission to use existing funds for debt that the state used to pay.  Three familiar symptoms rae chronic student overcrowding, inadequate office and research space, and campus disrepair across the UC system.

The "pension holiday" from 1991-2010 was also a payment holiday for the State of California, which saved many billions of dollars over the years.  The state is the only beneficiary of that ill-advised break that has not started to make payments again.  Thus the employer contribution to UCRP comes out of UC operating funds as well. 

Figure D deducts employer pension costs and capital projects costs from UC's gross core revenues. There are many ways to calculate both, and I tried nearly all that I could think of, in consultation with several other longtime budget observers.  This figure uses a UCOP report (without the underlying data) for UCRP costs (Display XIX-6, p 159).  Capital projects costs were based on campus-by-campus calculations of operating revenues allocated to capital projects in each individual year.  This variant, Figure D, shows the highest net revenues of all the methods, so you should see it as a best case for the state's funding practice.  Watch the green line.

Figure D: UC Net Core Revenues (Core Revenues with Endowment Revenues, minus Employer Share of UCRP Contributions and Campus Funds Used for Capital Projects)

Most of the tuition revenue gains in Figure C are canceled by the state's withdrawal from capital projects and by its non-contribution to pension costs. UC revenues have not kept up with the income benchmark.  In some years, net core educational revenues are close to the flatlined state general fund allocation.

The University of California comes into the Covid crisis with net core educational revenues that are well below historic quality norms.  There's no educational surplus lying around to cut.

 4. The Insufficient Base for 2020-21
The anticipated Covid state cuts would be the fourth major round since 1990. But these would be the first without UC's traditional revenue rescue, large tuition hikes. (Existing UC reserves are a separate matter that are outside my scope here.)

The first time the big cuts came, University of California officials assumed they were a one-time event.  That was 1992-95.  The second time the state cut general fund support for UC and CSU, UC had a plan, which was large tuition increases.  That was 2002-5.  The compact the two systems signed with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 2004, didn't just permit tuition increases of 7-10 percent each year, but required them.

The third time state cuts happened, 2008-12, the high tuition plan was in place.  But high tuition didn't make it through the cuts cycle.  The student protests of fall 2011 effectively ended tuition increases on resident undergraduates. Jerry Brown removed Tuition Plan A, tuition hikes on resident undergraduates. UC then refocused on Tuition Plans B and C: increasing non-resident supplemental tuition (NRST), especially by taking more international students, and growing Self-Supporting Graduate Professional Degree Program tuition, where UC academic units create for-profit (mostly masters) programs that can charge high tuition to residents and non-residents alike. The regents capped Tuition Plan B in 2017, and Plan C is unlikely to survive the pandemic.

As you can see in Figure D, UC's net revenues have stagnated for 20 years, have not kept up with the income benchmark, and are far behind enrollment growth.

State cuts and quiet general fund erosion have already lowered UC quality. They have lowered it specifically for the most economically and racially diverse population in California memory.  Sacramento's funding practice gives much less per-student educational funding to today's students-of-color majority than it gave to their majority white predecessors a generation ago--even after we count revenues from tripled in-state tuition.

This losing battle has taken place in a state that has seen one of the most intense accumulations of wealth in recorded history.  We don't expect Google and Apple to support high quality higher ed for all. But we do expect state government to do that.

Any state revenue cuts now will directly cut UC quality again.  This time, the damage may be irreversible.  State government must now reverse the chronic underfunding policy of recent decades. It must keep UC (and CSU) whole for the sake of the state.

Figure E: Version 2 of Figure D--UC Net Core Revenues (Core Revenues with Endowment Revenues, minus Employer Share of UCRP Contributions and Campus Funds Used for Capital Projects)

Many thanks to Minh Hua, the RA with inexhaustible spreadsheet stamina.

Minnesota State Moorhead Plans to Cut Philosophy Major

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/04/2020 - 9:53pm in


Budget, philosophy

The administration at Minnesota State University Moorhead announced a plan “designed to close a projected gap of $6 million in fiscal year 2022” that involves the elimination of around 65 positions and 10 major programs, including philosophy.

The plan, announced last week, will get rid of 43 faculty positions, 20.5 staff positions, and 3 administrative positions through a combination of early retirement incentives and layoffs.

The 10 major programs to be eliminated are:

  • Advertising
  • Public Relations (Integrated Advertising & Public Relations still offered)
  • American Multicultural Studies
  • International Studies
  • Paralegal
  • Philosophy BA degree
  • School Psychology
  • Spanish Education
  • Theatre Arts
  • Teaching English as a Second Language (Graduate)

According to the university’s announcement, “students currently enrolled in these programs will be able to complete their degrees.”

The specific program cuts are a way of the school “adapting to meet the changing needs of our students and our community,” said the school’s president, Anne Blackhurst, whose Ph.D. is in college student personnel.

There’s some further information about the cuts in the Post Bulletin.

(via Daniel Brunson)

The post Minnesota State Moorhead Plans to Cut Philosophy Major appeared first on Daily Nous.

IPA Demands That The Government Stop Subsidising Low Income Workers And Instead Focus On The Rich

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/04/2020 - 1:00pm in


The Gina Rinehart funded ‘think-tank’ (sic) the IPA has demanded that the Government stop subsidising low to middle income earners and instead focus their bail out funds on looking after the richer members of society.

”There’s no use giving valuable Government funds to anyone currently earning less than $250 K per year,” said an Adjunct Spokesperson for the IPA. ”This pandemic has hit our countries billionaires hard.”

“They’ve seen their share portfolios fall and to make matters worse their corporate boxes at events like the NRL and AFL are virtually worthless.”

“Surely the Government could at least refund them what they paid for their corporate boxes.”

When asked why the IPA was so obsessed with seemingly robbing from the poor to feed the rich, the adjunct Spokesperson said: ”We believe in trickle down economics. In that if you give the rich champagne they will then piss it on down to the poor.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to deliver a paper to the Treasurer on how poor people should be taxed for breathing in rich people’s air.”

Mark Williamson


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Government Moves To Reassure Negative Gearers That They Are There For Them

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/03/2020 - 7:00am in

morrison 730

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has moved quickly to reassure those who are negatively gearing one or more properties that the Government will be there for them no matter how bad things get.

“It is a tough time for many Australians at the moment, I acknowledge that,”said Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “However, rest assured my Government will do what ever it takes to protect all those people out there who negatively gear.”

”Whether it be negatively gearing one property or seven, we have your back.”

When asked why his Government was so quick to reassure negative gearers, banks and airlines as opposed to pensioners and new start recipients, the Prime Minister said: ”People on new start know that there money is guaranteed so they need not worry about anything.”

“We need to focus on those who have a lot to lose as opposed to those who have not much at all.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to have a chat with Rupert Murdoch, just to see if he needs anything.”

Mark Williamson


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Seven questions for Rishi Sunak on the coronavirus job retention scheme

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 22/03/2020 - 2:31am in


Budget, Economics, HMRC

I have already noted that I have major reservations about much of Rishi Sunaks coronavirus job retention scheme. As the day has gone on these have only grown. Right now I have seven questions that need answers:

1) What happens if an employer of laid off staff refuses to apply for them to be treated as furloughed? Does that mean they cannot get payment under this scheme?

2) What happens if the employer refuses to, or cannot, pay the 20% of pay not covered by the scheme? Does that mean the government will not pay their 80% part under this scheme?

3) What happens if the employer goes bust during the duration of this scheme? Does that mean those on the scheme then lose their benefits under it? Why should that happen if it does?

4) Who pays the employer's national insurance due on this pay? And if the employer, why? What if they say they can't afford it? Can the scheme not work in that case?

5) What happens to mandatory pension contributions whilst this arrangement is in force, and who pays the employer's part?

6) If an employee has lost their job since 1 March as a result of coronavirus why can't they just apply to HMRC direct for 80% of their old pay up to the ceiling you set? Wouldn't that be fairer? And, please note, given online PAYE failings HMRC do have all the information to confirm such claims.

7) People need answers to these questions now. When will you supply them?


NOTE ADDED 23.3.20

A great many questions have been asked about this scheme.

I understand people’s concerns, but three matters arise.

First, nothing on this blog is personal advice.

Second, in every case I have had to offer same variation on the theme ‘wait and see’ - we do not know the rules are as yet so no one knows the answers to questions raised, me included.

Third, I am sorry that I cannot keep providing variations in that same answer. I know people are worried - but I cannot answer questions on something unknown - so everyone has to wait for the rules and then seek their own advice, I am afraid, starting with your own employer. 

Impact of Covid-19 on UC Graduate Students: Now is the Time to Improve their Funding, Not Cut It

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/03/2020 - 10:26am in



Statement to the UC Board of Regents by Shane K. M. Wood, President, UC Irvine Associated Graduate Students; Department of Theater and Drama

The Pandemic we find ourselves currently enduring has shown just how precarious the lives of our students across the state are. Within days of the rolling campus closures, the student governments from each campus began receiving reports of students who would be losing their housing because of lack of work or inability to move as has been suggested for social distancing. In particular, our graduate population has been specifically impacted, many scrambling to create online classes with little to know training while being expected to also contend with all the other logistics

When speaking about the need for more funding for our graduate students, it is often mentioned that the state is cautious of another economic downturn and therefore will not contribute more money to the system. Frankly, this is an unacceptable stance to take. Our graduate students are a huge economic driver for the UC System and the state as a whole. Not only are we responsible for a large portion of undergraduate education, but also the research our system, state, and society depend on--including the continual study of the Covid-19 virus and the media, literature, and art we’re being urged to utilize during social isolation.

As the graduate students navigate the next few months, foregoing personal research, travel, and coursework as they continually adapt to the changing needs of this pandemic, the Regents must urge the state to begin investing in its graduate students, not only to support the current population doing this essential work, but to allow the UC to get back on track once this crisis is over to continue the enormous growth of the graduate population that is being asked of each campus.

A logical start is to insist that state commitment for graduate students be raised and expanded to cover the additional costs that this 20% increase in graduate numbers will represent to the state. The UC simply cannot commit to this increase without a firm commitment from the state for their increased and continued financial investment in this vital population.