If there’s one thing I really love about the Brixton community, it’s the amount of highly-concentrated common sense wrapped up in street corner conversations that have been taking place before any of us were born, writes Rashid Nix.
The word from the street is official; everyone is on a hustle. From the smallest cogs in the wheel, the lowest pawn in the game right up to the multi-billionaires who have the power to avoid paying billions in tax to Her Majesty’s Government.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the average Londoner’s salary is an unbelievable £39,476.
For those readers who do not earn anywhere near that eye-watering figure, I suggest you re-read the sentence for confirmation, and the next time you see your boss ask him or her if you are an above average worker, or simply an average worker.
And, before they answer, tell them you are not greedy, but you are demanding an average wage for your above average work.
Good luck and let me know how you get on. An old university friend of mine, who runs a small legal practice, recently asked if I knew anyone suitable for an admin position in their office. Of course I know people, but before I start casting pearls I need to know how much will they earn for their week’s graft.
“£290 per week”, was the response. “Wow, that’s £15,000 a year… just over a third of the London average”, I mumbled.
According Zoopla, the average house in London is a staggering £658,000. That’s 16 times the £40k average salary… But, if you’re the unfortunate soul who gets that £15,000 admin position, then you need to multiply your earnings by a factor of 44 to get an average Zoopla home.
Unfortunately, I will – like 99 per cent of the people I know – have to pass up that brilliant offer. So, I’ll settle for a one-bedroom flat instead; a steal at only £1,500 a month, which is the same as pre tax-office admin earnings.
Forget food, you can survive on optimism soaked in unicorn’s milk. Some things we can choose to boycott or simply do without, however for many Londoners housing is now a luxury item along with gas, electricity and food.
Even a trip to your local cinema has become a moral/financial dilemma which is exactly what happened last month when I went on a date, with tickets priced at a steep £14.50 (popcorn not included!).
Brixton was always a hustlers’ town – and nothing’s changed. My point about hustlers shouldn’t be misinterpreted.
Henry Ford, the great industrialist, who actually made stuff, said it was good business sense to pay workers enough to afford stuff they make. Unfortunately, in this brave new world, old values do not travel well, or even hold their shape.
Companies have taken Ford’s business advice and pushed it to its illogical conclusion by paying workers Asian factories a measly £150 a month.
‘Workers in flip flops unite’ could be the rallying cry.
Another example of hustle is when a self-employed friend received an 18p cheque from a well-known bank when they closed his business account, leaving him financially stateless and borderline depressed, it took a terrible toll on him.
At 58p, the second class stamp on the envelope was triple the value of the cheque within. Needless to say, his bank received approximately £100 billion in bailout money from us UK taxpayers as a result of 2008-9 financial crisis – created by bankers.
‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…’ said the Master teacher 2,000 years ago, when talking taxes.
Those least able to pay are now being aggressively pursued by HMRC, while the super wealthy avoid inheritance tax hits.