PAYING tax is a privilege. It is a moral imperative and a social responsibility to be taking part, pulling together, doing your bit. So to be clear, I'm all for it.

Here's another example of taking part, pulling together and doing your bit: working from home.

So what was my first thought when I read Deutsche Bank's suggestion that staff who continue to work from home following the pandemic should pay for their decency? Well, that's not fit for print.

But here are some others.

Deutsche Bank suggests that, following the pandemic, staff who continue to work from home should be taxed 5% for each day they don't travel into the office.

That seems a fairly unwieldy tax to collect given that not everyone will stick to a rigid shift pattern and deductions will change from day to day. I suppose, though, that's not our problem.

Our problem, the new home workers of the world, is this relentless misconception that we're having a lovely time and coining it in.

For an employee on a salary of £35,000 a 5% tax would be just shy of £7 a day.

The report suggests that home workers would see no difference in their bank balances due to saving money on commuting, shop bought sandwiches and office wear.

I'm actually exchanging all the money I've saved while working from home for gold bullion. When I have enough, I plan to fill a swimming pool and dive in to it like Scrooge McDuck. According to James Kakalios, a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota, the question is not whether someone could or could not dive into a pool of coins, but how badly injured they would be if they did so.

The professor suggests - because, of course, the internet has answers to everything - the best course of action be jumping feet first into a gold pile and landing with bent knees to avoid catastrophic breaking of bones.

My McDuck swimming pool is well researched and planned, you see. Unlike this suggestion from Deutsche Bank, which suggests its authors are big city boys with no experience of the reality of life away from the bright lights.

Not all of us have lengthy, expensive commutes. Some of us walk or cycle to work, making our journey free or very low cost. Last year, say, I spent £45 having my bike serviced and that was the sum total of my travel costs.

Not all of us spend large on takeaway sandwiches or cappuccinos to go, so do we tax packed lunches?

And not all of us - er hem - spend a lot on our office appearance. Some of us really should spend more.

“For years we have needed a tax on remote workers – Covid has just made it obvious,” Deutsche Bank strategist Luke Templeman said.

“A big chunk of people have disconnected themselves from the face-to-face world yet are still leading a full economic life. That means remote workers are contributing less to the infrastructure of the economy whilst still receiving its benefits. That is a big problem for the economy.”

The big problem seems more to be Mr Templeman's disconnect from reality. People aren't working from underground vaults. They are still spending the money they might have spent in the city centre on local high streets and town centres. You can't get near any of the coffee shops round my gaff unless you're prepared for a queue of home workers lining up for a latte.

This is only a problem if you're a corporate shill wedded to propping up large chains like Pret. Local economies stand to be revitalised by this new shift and that is a positive thing.

The reality of home working is an increase in overheads. My energy bill has gone from £57 a month to £98.12 and it's not quite yet winter. With everything done online, people are paying to upgrade their broadband.

It's possible to claim tax relief on some of the costs associated with working from home but you don't see that being shouted about.

Deutsche Bank makes the distinction between those who have been compelled to work from home on an ad hoc basis by the pandemic and those who subsequently then choose to work from home. Not all office employees will have the option to return though.

Working from home may have increased in popularity in recent years but this is a sudden tectonic shift, a rapid response to a crisis. Some people will choose to continue to work from home when the crisis finally ends, perhaps because it fits more easily with caring responsibilities or perhaps because it just suits them better.

Others will be compelled to work at home by employers who have recognised the cost saving benefits of not having to provide space for employees.

As we look towards creating a carbon neutral future, working from home brings environmental benefits in cutting the number of cars on the road and easing congestion into and out of cities and town centres.

I mean, if you want to take it to the extreme then there's also a case to be made for looking at A&E admissions - fewer vehicles on the road means fewer accidents and fewer people using NHS resources.

There is, unless we sleepwalk back to our previous way of being, a way that suited some but not others, a way that was environmentally unsustainable, going to be a fundamental shift in how we work.

This creates exciting opportunities to repair a faulty system but it will also create other issues, one such being large companies left with extensive office space and not enough people to fill it.

Some of these offices would be impossible to fill under social distancing rules - imagine how long it would take to fill and empty a high rise at the start and close of play using only one bank of lifts.

Thoughtful and careful strategies will be needed to create a new future for cities. That's a separate issue to the prevailing narrative around home working, which suggests it's somehow frivolous privilege and those involved in it should be penalised for their good fortune. In this case, the Deutsche Bank report suggests the home working tax, which would nonsensically apply only to employees and not the self-employed, should be funnelled to those in low paid jobs but this is a role of general taxation.

Bluntly, the entire suggestion is daft. But it does serve to shore up the Conservative narrative that there are deserving and undeserving workers, and that productivity is linked only to economic output and not wellbeing. And that is a narrative that must be pushed against, whether face-to-face or remotely.

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