This isn\’t Upstairs Downstairs: this is the division of labour

\’Upstairs Downstairs\’ Britain alive and well
Over a quarter of all homes in Britain employ some form of domestic help in a demonstration that the ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ culture is alive and well, new research shows.

No, just no.

Despite the depressed economic climate, around 28 per cent of households regularly employ help on a regular basis, according to a survey by LV home insurance.

People employed include cleaners, child-minders, gardeners, dog walkers and handymen.

This isn\’t Upstairs Downstairs, this is the division of labour.

For the cleaner is just as likely to be paying a child minder as the dog walker is a gardener.

Umm, OK, I\’m sure we can outline households that are more likely to be employing any of the set and those that are less but it just isn\’t that Upstairs Downstairs life where 25% of the population were in domestic service to the upper middle classes and the aristocracy.

And perhaps the crucial difference about then and now is that it\’s not live in…..

LV, which was formerly known as Liverpool Victoria, found that people pay out an average of £40 cash-in-hand to helpers, amounting to almost £500 a year.

And there\’s Ritchie\’s tax evasion. £30 billion of cash moving hand to hand without taxation. When you add the VAT and income /NI that\’s a good £20 billion being evaded (yes, evaded, not avoided). And who would want to live in a society where the State managed to control and tax such transactions?

7 comments on “This isn\’t Upstairs Downstairs: this is the division of labour

  1. Not even really sure what Upstairs Downstairs Britain actually means ?

    Does it imply it is somehow demeaning for one person to perform domestic tasks for another ?

    Yet even in Edwardian Upstairs Downstairs land the butler Mr Hudson wouldn’t have ironed his own shirts or cooked & served his own meals.

  2. “And who would want to live in a society where the State managed to control and tax such transactions?”

    According to the latest poll, 42% of the adult population.

  3. Not even necessarily much evasion there.

    £500 per year is very part-time, so (depending on the circumstances) the cleaners etc. are quite possibly self-employed rather than employees (OK, possibly not the child-minders, because you usually need them to work set regular hours, but probably the gardeners and handymen).

    If they’re self-employed, cash in hand doesn’t necessarily mean tax is evaded, because they could be declaring the income themselves. I pay my gardener cash, but I know he declares it because I do his tax return.

    Even if expecting all the recipients to declare it is a bit naive, a lot of the income will be under the personal allowance so not taxable anyway.

    And hardly any of it should have VAT – how many “cleaners, child-minders, gardeners, dog walkers” make more than the £77,000 per year you need before you have to register for and charge VAT?

    So even there, Murphy’s tax evasion melts away in the light of day.

  4. Surely the critical difference is that the lady of the house pre WW1 did not have a career. The women of today hire a cleaner because they do have a career

  5. “This isn’t Upstairs Downstairs, this is the division of labour.” So was Upstairs Downstairs, surely?

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