We’ve had some useful coverage here and there, mainly in business pages, as well as seeing some unfortunately less well informed stories. Now that Christmas is over, let’s make a concerted effort to push this up the news agenda.
We’ve already made a start, thanks to Isabel Zinaburg, Rosie Slosek and Beth MumblesMummies talking to The Daily Mail this week – and whatever you may personally think of The Daily Mail, it has a massive readership and that’s the reach we need. Here’s the article.
Now let’s target the opinion pages. A few thousand letters on the same subject should get the editors’ attention as everyone comes back to work after Christmas. Let’s fill their inboxes over the weekend, to make them sit up and pay attention on Monday morning.
Don’t try to explain it all. These letters need to be short and focused; a couple or three paragraphs at most, and as an email, not an attachment. With enough people writing, the papers will get the full picture.
Concentrate on the most important aspects to you individually. Such as –
Disruption, even ruin, of your business plans for 2015.
Loss of revenue if you’re cutting digital products completely.
Loss of revenue if you’re abandoning direct sales and being forced into using 3rd party suppliers.
Make the point that it’s Amazon, Google and Apple who’ll benefit from that.
Additional costs if you’re paying for enhanced online payment solutions and/or accountancy services in order to comply.
What that means if your digital earnings make the difference between claiming benefits or not.
What that means if your margins are already so tight, this could very well put you out of business.
How the zero threshold means imposing an appalling burden on the smallest businesses, out of all proportion to their resources, and to the revenue that the scheme will bring in.
How late you found out about it all– and at such an impossible time of year for dealing with things like this.
Loss of hours of precious time with your family over the holiday season, as well as the stress of trying to tackle all this.
How late so many of the platforms vital to e-commerce found out about this, such as Bandcamp, Ravelry, Etsy.
How some platforms are trying to help and how others refuse to be forced into doing so.
How utterly lacking consultation and communication has been, with so many folk only finding out by accident, through social media.
How confusing and changeable HMRC’s advice has been.
How HMRC and Treasury, as well as the EU Commission, clearly have no idea how much small scale e-commerce goes on, never mind how it actually works.
What all this means for customers, as prices go up and choice goes down, especially with US sellers increasingly opting to block sales to the entire EU just to avoid this mess.
Remember, just pick a couple of these points. Make your letter passionate and personal!
Letters for publication in The Guardian should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org letters for publication in The Observer should be sent to email@example.com
They say – “We do not publish letters where only an email address is supplied; please include a full postal address, a reference to the article and a daytime telephone number. We may edit letters. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions.”
(Those T&Cs are essentially you’re granting them a license to use the letter in print, online etc, edited if they wish. Plus don’t be obscene or defamatory or infringe intellectual property rights.)
Letters to the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and Telegraph.co.uk should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (Daily Telegraph) or email@example.com (Sunday Telegraph). Please include name, address, and work and home telephone numbers.
Daily Mail – Send letters to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org They don’t stipulate adding your name, postal address and phone number but since every other paper does, I’d recommend doing so.
You might like to start by thanking Louise Eccles for her story raising awareness about this, since you feel so strongly that the public really need to know what’s going on
The Independent – E-mail (no attachments), giving postal address and telephone number, to email@example.com
You’ll notice I haven’t included The Times, The Sunday Times or The Financial Times. That’s because they’re all behind pay walls online, so that information’s not immediately accessible to me, and similarly any letters that got published wouldn’t be linkable for social media purposes.
That said, if you are an online subscriber, please do write to any or all of these papers. If you can help by posting their contact details in a comment, by all means do so.