A Driving Instructor's Blog

COVID-19

KFC QueueAn article in the local Nottingham Post (have an ad blocker – you’ve been warned) reveals that police had to be called as massive queues built up outside the only branch of KFC to open up in the region.

The combined IQ of those in the queue probably barely made it into three figures, but the really funny part is how KFC are going to handle it.

Even at the best of times, the likelihood of going to the drive-thru only to be told ‘we’re just waiting for chicken – it’ll be about 12 minutes’ is about 50:50, so how on earth they can manage queues of this size is anyone’s guess. Then there is the normal drive-thru procedure to consider.

KFC specialises in attracting the kind of people who drive BMWs and Audis who haven’t got a clue what they’re going to order once they reach the intercom. They’ll invariably have their brood in the car with them, and it’ll then turn into that scene from The Exorcist, with the driver’s head spinning repeatedly through 360° as he or she attempts to add whatever numerous items everyone wants to the order. And of course, it won’t be a normal order – there’ll be tweaks and special requests to customise it.

One they get to the pick-up window, you can be sure there’ll be no more chicken left for you. And God only knows how they’ll manage with the typical two Order Bays in the car park – they need a dozen even when it’s quiet.

It does make you wonder, though, how people can get their priorities so wrong. It’s the same as champing at the bit to go back to work as soon as you’re allowed – even though nothing has changed with the virus pandemic.

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HMRC COVID-19 Support ImageI had an email from HMRC this morning, which you can view here in website form.

If you go to GOV.UK and search for ‘Self-Employment Income Support Scheme’ you will find the tool that checks your eligibility, and assigns you a time from which you can place your claim. I strongly advise that you do it this way, just in case someone sends you a scam email – never click on links from emails to access your bank or business accounts anywhere.

Make sure you have the necessary information before you start your eligibility check. You need your Government Gateway number, your UTR, and your NI Number to complete it.

The good news for me is that I am eligible, and I can make a claim from next week (though there is the possibility that the claim system might not be available until later in the week, but we shall see). The email also says that the calculated money will be paid within six working days.

Update: Well, it didn’t take long, did it? The system is about as simple and straightforward as it could be, yet it still seems to have thrown many into a state of utter confusion.

The original email makes it clear that you need your Gateway Access number, your UTR, and your NI Number. If you don’t have those to hand, you will not be able to complete the check. If you do your own self-assessment you will have them (frankly, even if you don’t do your own SA, you really ought to have this information on file).

When you check your eligibility, it just says whether you are, or whether you aren’t, eligible. It doesn’t tell you how much you’ll be getting or give you any money there and then. Honestly, it doesn’t. It then asks you to enter your contact details. Just your email address and phone number – no inside leg measurements, bank details, or anything – just your email address and contact phone number. This is so you can be sent the claim link on the date and time it gives you on the screen.

Claim dates and times are different for everyone. I guess they’ve done it like this to stop everyone crashing the system as they all apply at the same time first thing Monday when it starts up. In other words, the claims are staggered whether you like it or not. Moan about it all you want – you’d certainly be moaning if the system crashed due to overload – but at least they are trying to avoid problems.

Let me stress again. You are not making a claim at this moment in time. You are just checking your eligibility, and providing two pieces of contact information so they can send you the claim link at your date and time next week.

Once you have done that, the screen message clearly indicates that there’s nothing more to do at this stage. The clue is in the absence of any further questions or requests for (sigh) bank details. They will want your bank information next week.

This system makes perfect sense to me. However, some people also appear put out by the fact that they aren’t just getting a wheelbarrow full of cash dumped on their doorstep, and they’ve actually got to do something to get it. Something so horrendously illogical as… filling in a claim form!


Reading social media, etc., and it amazes me the number of instructors who are confused over what they need to do – even though they apparently do their own self assessments each year!

If you do your own SA, you will have access to the Government Gateway. When you log in, the security system sends you a text message with a short-lived access code, which you then have to type in before getting to your account. It stands to reason you should not be sending screenshots of this access code to social media or any other source, but I can see people doing precisely that. The first time you log into the Gateway, it asks you to set this up.

The access code expires after 15 minutes, after which time you’ll need to get a new one. However, you can ask the system to ‘remember for 7 days’ if you plan on logging in several times in the immediate future. This is even more reason not to go posting screenshots anywhere just because ‘you can’. It is security information, roughly equivalent to a password, and making it known to all and sundry removes one level of security from your most private financial information. If anyone gains access to that, they could pretend to be you virtually anywhere in the world.

I also see people triggering the whole issue all over again every single time they get a text message, with a deluge of inconsistent, repetitive replies every single time. HMRC will not send out any messages with links in them. You should always go to GOV.UK and access your account from there, or from within links within GOV.UK.

If you’ve gone through everything once and been given a time and date for your claim, you do not need to do it again. You do not need to do it two more times. Or three more times. Once you’ve done it the first time, nothing you can do will make next week come any quicker. Just wait.

Not every test message you receive is a scam. If you get one from HMRC and it doesn’t contain any links or mention sums of money, it is almost certainly legitimate. Log into the Gateway and you can check – if you don’t owe anything when you look at your account, then you don’t owe anything, period. So any text message saying otherwise can be ignored.

This is the same principle you should follow for any other text message telling you your ‘bill is overdue and you’ll get cut off if you don’t pay immediately’. I get them allegedly from EE and Virgin Media on a regular basis. The giveaway is usually the email address they come from, but all I do is log into my EE or Virgin accounts and check (helped by the fact that I pay by direct debit and I know I have funds to cover my payments). What I don’t do is click the link and then start posting all over social media to get a 50:50 opinion on whether it’s a scam or not. I note that social media replies are frequently 50:50 on being right if it is a scam, and 50:50 on being right if it isn’t. The net result is a complicated answer that is lucky if it’s even close to being right.

DO NOT click links in emails to access your bank, HMRC, or other accounts where your bank details are stored. If you do, contact your bank immediately and tell them what you’ve done.

Even if you realise it is a scam, don’t try and be a smart arse by clicking the link to try and outfox the scammers. You might be saying ‘yes’ to having software installed on your PC or phone. At the very least, you are saying ‘I am here’, and thus registering yourself as a target.

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Sunshine after the stormOriginally published 27 March 2020.

It’s no secret, but I am not a fan of this government in normal times. None of that will have changed.

However, they have announced a help package for self-employed people that will apply to the majority of driving instructors. From what I understand at the moment, your average income for the last three years will be determined (though I believe you will still be eligible if you submitted a return for last year), and you will be paid 80% of that. It’s all explained here. You will still be liable for tax on it next year because it is still self-employed income, which is perfectly understandable. But this is where the fun begins.

It appears that many instructors still can’t work out the difference between turnover and profit/income, and are of a mind to believe that the government is going to (or should be) be paying them for overheads which they no longer have to cover right now, such as fuel and franchise/car ownership costs. Others, for unfathomable reasons, seem to expect to be paid their entire (and sometimes imaginary) income without even having to get up. This is where previous, erm, ‘creativity’ when filing your tax return comes home to roost, and if you’ve been earning close to £30k but only declaring £20k of it, then it is the latter figure you’ll be assessed on.

For the billionth time, your turnover is not called gross profit – or any other term with ‘profit’ in it. It is your turnover. HMRC will not be calculating this grant based on your turnover, and that is true no matter what stupid name you give it when you’re doing your tax return. It is how much money passes through your hands as a result of your business. In any normal year, you have to subtract business overheads from your turnover. What’s left is your trading or taxable profit. This is sometimes referred to as gross profit, and it is what you pay tax on. It is the trading/taxable profit HMRC will be using to calculate how much you’ll get from this grant – not any other kind of ‘profit’, and especially not one you made up so you could use the word ‘net’ a lot on your Excel spreadsheet. And one final thing, as long as your trading profit makes up more than half of your total income then you will still get the grant – that condition is there for people who live off investments. In other words, if you have a private pension income and also work as an instructor, then as long as your Self Assessment trading profit is more than you get from your pension (which is PAYE and HMRC knows about it already), you are still eligible.

I have to admit that GOV.UK has complicated the issue by putting ‘turnover’ in brackets next to ‘total trading income’ (aka trading profit) on it’s ‘information page’ – which doesn’t actually explain things very clearly at all. The media summaries which say you will get “80% of your taxable profits from self-employment, averaged over the last three years” is the key.

If you go on to the HMRC website and look at your account, you can see your tax statements for the last four years. Last year – the one I’ve most recently sent in as my self-assessment – my total income was around £25,000. Part of that for me is now from a private pension which I only started receiving part way through that tax year, but which means I’ve eased off the gas somewhat when it comes to worrying about cancellations and maintaining a full diary these days. The majority of it was from self-employment, though. Depending on how they do this, I estimate that they will be paying me around £1,000 per month.

That’s £1,000 a month (£230 a week) that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, which – when the payment kicks in – will be backdated to the start of March, as I understand it. As the saying goes, that is somewhat better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

These are extraordinary times, and we are experiencing something no one has ever experienced before – and I include the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 in that (if anyone is alive who can remember it). The government paying anything – let alone 80% of income – to millions of people is unprecedented. Unprecedented with knobs on. Unprecedented to the power of . And still people aren’t happy.

The vast majority of instructors have had franchises, car leases, car loans, and almost all other debts put on hold. Gas and electric companies are deferring payments. Even major lenders for mortgages are trying to help. OK, some are still stalling on it, but they’re going to have to get real and offer people something. On that alone, though, getting 80% of your normal annual income could easily leave you slightly better off in the short term until you can start earning again and the bills come back online.

In some cases, the help is automatic and is being applied as a matter of course. In others, you simply have to get off your arse and ask for it. Although they appear to snowed under, Universal Credit is open to almost everyone – especially those who have only been instructing for a short time.

I am fortunate now, and have my private pension to help me through this. That pension, with the lump sum that went with it, was originally purposed for use in retirement when I eventually get there, and it is a long way from keeping me in the manner to which I have become accustomed by itself (though it will be much closer once there is a state pension on top of it and I have no business overheads to worry about). But to have it partially protected in this way now is some comfort.

Of course, this will make many people angry – anger comes immediately after jealousy for many people. But I would point out that I have been through something very similar financially in the past. When I lost my job all those years ago, I had huge debts and zero income initially (the pension was way off). While I trained to be an ADI I was on almost the minimum wage for a part of the time, and had to negotiate with my creditors to allow reduced payments throughout that time – and that was back when they had no reason at all to want to play ball. But they did (though CapitalOne tried hard not to the entire time, with their incessant, sometimes daily, phone calls). I didn’t want to declare bankruptcy, or use it’s teenage cousin (the IVA), because of how it might affect me being an instructor and self-employed later on. My credit rating then was literally zero.

It was a struggle. But I got through it – forced my way through it, in fact – and eventually paid off all my debts. My credit rating now couldn’t be higher.

If I can do it, you can do it. You can. The only way out of situations like that – and like this one now – is to be active and proactive. To meet problems head-on and deal with them. And to accept that some degree of hardship is inevitable. Don’t get angry or start throwing hissy-fits at anyone, and be very careful if you cut off payments without clearing it with them first (don’t listen to smart arses on social media telling you to do it), because that would mean you’re defaulting on your agreement, and I can promise you that will come back to haunt you in future if you get one against your name. Yes, you might be on hold for a long time on the phone – other people are affected, too – and yes, you might get cut off. But you’re not going to get chucked out of your home anytime soon. There is a solution to every problem. You just have to find it.

I realise that the support package will not apply to those who have only been trading for a short time, and I am really sorry for you about that (obviously, the title of this article isn’t directed at you). Similarly, you’re not eligible if your main income is from somewhere else, and you only give lessons to make a bit of pocket money. Universal Credit is there if you need it, so push for it. And if it really seems like there is no way forward – or if you simply cannot do it by yourself – contact a credit management company to help you.

Once all this is over, people are going to want driving lessons again. Many will be in a position where they need to drive to be able to find work. While all this current stuff is happening, people will still be turning 17, and they will be waiting for the time when they can start taking lessons. In my case, all those people who I had to terminate lessons with last week will still be waiting (unless they were all so mercenary they managed to find some asshole who has been teaching during the pandemic).

We can all get through it.

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Virus graphicWell, Donald Trump appears desperate to outdo himself with everything he says and does. You will no doubt have heard his latest medical endorsement of the possible use of bleach or detergent – injected or consumed – to get rid of COVID-19. He even iced the cake by referring to UV light – used internally as well as externally – as a possible ‘cure’ for the virus!

Whatever he meant – whatever he was thinking – it is what other people will think that matters. Stupid people, in particular.

There has already been a case of someone in Arizona dying because he took Trump’s previous endorsement of Chloroquine literally and dosed himself up on the stuff used to clean aquariums. His wife was apparently in a critical condition after doing the same. In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s latest rant, Reckitt Benckiser – the manufacturers of Lysol and Dettol – have had to issue warnings not to ingest or inject their products.

The problem is that stupid people don’t know that they’re stupid. In many cases, they actually think they’re smart. I suppose ‘stupid’ is perhaps a bit strong, but the alternative – that they are just average people – is potentially even more worrying, since it means that there’s a lot more of them around.

Sticking with the bleach thing for a moment, household products are not manufactured under conditions that make them anywhere near suitable for internal use. They are even further away from being suitable for intravenous use. An example would be calcium supplement tablets. The raw material in those is often calcium carbonate – but the quality of that material is nothing like the calcium carbonate that would be used in cement, which is another of its applications. The stuff in the tablets is purified in a lab to make it suitable for ingestion. The stuff used in cement pretty much comes straight out of a limestone quarry.

Household cleaners share a similar gulf in how ‘clean’ they are, with the additional problem being that you don’t use bleach – particularly chlorine-based bleaches – internally for anything. They are corrosive and toxic. Even gentler bleaches like the peroxides are used highly diluted and for external purposes (tooth whitening, for example).

But the problem seems to be that stupidity – or averageness – isn’t confined to Trump, the Americans, or any other nation, although there does seem to be a link between education and being prepared to do things that it might have been best not to.

Let’s summarise the problem we have. There’s a virus. It spreads easily. It kills a lot more people than seasonal flu does, even though it isn’t flu. There is no vaccine at the moment. No one alive can remember anything like what we have right now. In order to protect as many people as possible, the government ordered the lockdown we are all currently dealing with. No one person’s life is any more valuable than anyone else’s – no matter what their health or age.

Read that last paragraph carefully. It contains no opinion – just facts.

Now ask yourself this. What has changed in any of that during the last month? Absolutely nothing has.

And yet there is an article today indicating that, with the next pulse of warmer weather getting underway, people are breaking the lockdown rules in greater numbers than at any time since the lockdown began.

In my own industry, I continue to see people who are putting money and themselves above all else. They desperately want to return to work, and will try any argument to convince themselves they should be allowed to. There are still people saying that it’s ‘no worse than flu’. There are still people whose argument is ‘I need money, so we should be allowed back to work’. There are instructors desperately searching for key workers to teach, even though they have children and are in daily contact with vulnerable people. There are instructors desperate to return to work by the time ‘the kids go back to school’ (or conversely, want the lockdown lifted just to suit whatever the schools decide to do so that they can work without having to worry about childminding). There are older people arguing ‘I don’t want to be imprisoned for the rest of my life’, as if that is a reason for the lockdown to be lifted. There are people still desperately trying to believe that wearing a mask and gloves means you’ll be safe sitting in a car with six or more different pupils every day, and who would gladly go back to normal if that’s all they had to do. Some would work tomorrow – with no protection whatsoever – if they were ‘allowed to’. Others repeatedly quote ‘Sweden’, as if that somehow means we ought to pretend nothing has happened.

I could go on, and on, and on with more examples.

These are the ‘average’ members of society I was referring to. They simply do not have a clue.

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I received an email today from DVSA. This one has no web link, and since it is addressed and worded to me personally (as in, all ADIs ought to have received similar), I won’t reproduce the entire thing here.

It refers to the suspension of driving tests (except for key workers) – which we all know about along with advice on how to deal with any key workers we might be teaching, and suitable sanitisation procedures.

There’s a bit about how they are working with the political wing of this industry (‘the associations’) to keep people informed.

There’s reference to the forthcoming grant for the majority of instructors – if anyone didn’t know, those eligible will be contacted by mid-May(ish) and payments will be made early June(ish).

Then, a couple of interesting bits, which I will reproduce. Firstly:

If your ADI registration expires by the end of June

If your ADI registration is due to expire by the end of June 2020, you can choose not to renew it right now.

You then have up to 12 months to re-register without having to take the qualifying tests again. However, you will not be able to charge money (or monies worth) for instruction while your registration has lapsed.

To my mind, this suggests that no one is realistically expecting life to get back to normal anytime soon.

Secondly – and even more telling:

If you renewed your ADI registration in March

If you renewed your ADI registration in March 2020 and have stopped working, you can apply for a refund of your registration fee.

Email padi@dvsa.gov.uk with your name, ADI registration number, date of birth and postcode to apply.

You’ll then need to cut up your ADI certificate (badge). You will not be able to charge for instruction after you do this, but you can re-register as an ADI up to the end of March 2021 and start work again without retaking the qualifying test.

So, anyone who got their latest badge in March can apply to get a full refund. I honestly don’t think they’d be doing that if they were realistically expecting tests – and, therefore, lessons – to be starting up in the foreseeable future. No figures or dates are given, but if anyone was expecting the lockdown for driving instructors to last less than 4-6 months, would DVSA be offering refunds? I would doubt it.

All I can go on is what I see, and what I understand. Frankly, there is no realistic end in sight to not being able to give driving lessons just based on the passing of time, or people ‘getting fed up with it’.

All of this is still developing by the day. It’s as serious now as it was when the lockdown first came into force, but there is a growing number of people who, even if they belatedly realised the seriousness before, are falsely trying to play it down now. I’m seeing an increasing number for whom ‘I’ve got to get back to work’ is becoming a mantra.

Because of my background, I know full well the only way out of this is a vaccine. The good news is that Oxford University’s candidate – which they have already said they’re 80% certain will work, and hope to have ready as at least a million doses ‘by the Autumn’ if it does – begins human trials tomorrow. Imperial College has one that will begin its human trials in June. Labs in Germany, China, and USA are also ready to commence (or already have) human trials.

I’m following this news above all else. Because only it will get us out of this in any way which doesn’t lead to even more COVID-19 fatalities.

Update: If you’re on Facebook, ignore any f**kwits telling you either you can’t get a refund, or – possibly worse – that you shouldn’t. In the unlikely event that we can  officially work at any point in the next three months, ask yourself seriously if you really want to.

If you get infected, you will pass it to all the people you meet, and all the people you live with. The virus isn’t going to go from full throttle to engine off overnight on June 12th or any other date some prat has heard one of their pupils has had a test moved to.

If you’re a brand new ADI, you got this far without having to take people on lessons, so why risk never getting the chance in future?

You can get a refund.

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An email alert from DVSA states that all theory tests booked from 20 April are off until Friday 8 May.

Key worker tests will still be conducted. All those affected are being contacted.

I’m sure the rumours will start imminently, but 8 May is just a current future point. Depending on what happens over the next few weeks will govern whether or the lockdown is extended again, so further cancellations are still possible after that.

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Money vs morals seesawPeople are continuing to whinge about the extension to the lockdown the government has just announced.

I also note that although many have wised up, and are expressing the same concern I have had since all this started, many haven’t.

My concern is this: precisely what happens when the lockdown is lifted?

You see, I am a carer for my elderly parents, and both of them have COPD. There is no way on this Earth I am going to go back to work while the virus is still circulating out there to such an extent that me becoming infected is a significant possibility.

I don’t care about me – I’d probably survive. I care about my parents (and other people’s, come to that).

They could lift the lockdown tomorrow, but I would certainly not begin lessons again. And right now, the same will still be true if they lift it in May. Or June. And probably July. However, if people could, for once, look beyond their own financial concerns, they would see that this lockdown provides an alternative way out while a vaccine is developed.

If the current infection burns itself out – which the lockdown is likely to help achieve if people do as they’re f***ing told and stay inside – it is no longer actively circulating. That means there is much less chance of catching it. Of course, it also depends heavily on the idiots in Westminster doing something to stop it being ferried in again once any lockdown is eased – little things like testing to see if people coming in have actually got it before even being allowed out of Customs – but it is possible.

I would certainly be prepared to start teaching again if I knew with reasonable certainty that infections were not increasing and were very, very low numerically. But while there are over 1,000 active cases and rising in Nottingham, there’s absolutely no chance.

Remember: abiding by the lockdown means there is a way out of it sooner. Behaving selfishly means there isn’t.

Also remember that it doesn’t matter what other countries are doing. Just because Denmark or Spain is lifting restrictions doesn’t mean we are either going to or, indeed, should. Not yet, that’s for sure. Isolation does significantly reduce COVID-19 spread. Are people really so stupid that they put money above all else, and form their opinions on such information as this? It isn’t a stupid game – science is involved. While COVID-19 is spreading and killing people in the UK, what Denmark is doing is f***ing irrelevant.

If I knew that going back to work would kill just one person out there, I wouldn’t do it. A frightening number of instructors (and people in other jobs) apparently would.

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Virus imageI want to clarify what many people have read in the media over the last few days, but appear to have misunderstood. Here’s one media reference to the subject.

It concerns a promising candidate for a vaccine for COVID-19 being developed at Oxford that is just entering human trials. The confusion amongst people who have seen it appears to stem from what one of the scientists working on it has said:

“Vaccinologist at Oxford, Professor Sarah Gilbert, has said she is 80 per cent sure the vaccine will be a success.”

She is saying that she is 80% certain the vaccine she’s working on will work. Nothing more. In other articles, she is quoted as saying that if everything runs smoothly – and absolutely nothing goes wrong – the vaccine could be ready by the Autumn.

To clarify, she is 80% certain they have a candidate that will work, and the earliest they would be able to say ‘yes, it does’ is in the Autumn.

She is not saying everyone will be able to have the jab in the Autumn and go back to normal. Nor is she saying the vaccine will only be 80% effective (something else I keep seeing people posting).

Once they have a vaccine that works, it has got to be manufactured on a large scale and distributed. Then, tens of millions of people have got to get the jab. That is going to take time (and if what we’ve seen with PPE and medical equipment is anything to go by) it is likely to run into shortages of ampoules, vials, bungs, over-caps, or pre-filled syringes – the containers it is probably going to be put into.

In normal times, it can take anything up to 60 years to develop a vaccine (and yes, historically, that is how long some have taken to develop). Typically, it takes at least 3-10 years to get one, but that is when there is no major hurry and the very detailed clinical trials are carried out, analysed, and documented as is required by the various Health Agencies in different countries.

Even in this extraordinary situation we find ourselves in, a vaccine that became approved for use today might still take as long as 12-18 months to distribute and deploy. Hopefully, a target of 6 months might be met, but meeting targets isn’t something which has been demonstrated to any significant degree during this pandemic when you look at how many tests for COVID-19 the UK has managed to achieve.

Remember that if the UK government did manage to provide 100,000 vaccinations per day (based on its target of 100,000 tests), it would take 500 days to cover the entire population. And that is around 18 months. Yet we are nowhere near meeting that testing target.

The same issue arises with the manufacture of the vaccine. My guess is it will likely be deployed in pre-filled syringes (but I could be wrong, as they are probably the slowest and most likely to run into shortages way of delivering it). But an ampoule filling machine – those are the glass bottles you snap the top off to use – can fill at up to several hundred ampoules per minute. There aren’t that many of them installed in the UK in the first place, and of the ones that are, most run much more slowly. Even if we assume 1,000 machines running at 200 ampoules per minute, 24 hours a day, it would take 10 days to produce enough vaccine for the whole country. In reality, the UK has a fraction of that number of machines available, a fraction of the number of companies who can handle vaccines at all, running at a combined fraction of that filling speed, and only capable of running for a fraction of the maximum available time. Producing the vaccine would take months, and I haven’t even mentioned the manufacturing process for the bulk (which is unknown, as yet).

It is definitely very good news about the vaccine at this stage. But there is still a long way to go.


Update 17/4/2020: The latest to this – two days after I wrote it – is that the scientists involved in the Oxford trial are so confident it will work that they plan to manufacture 1 million doses while the trials are still ongoing and hope to be ready by September.

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Virus sepiaPeople keep asking (or criticising) DVSA over concerns about their badges. The ADI’s ‘badge’ – often called the ‘green badge’ – is their licence to teach. It costs £300, which has to be paid every 4 years in order to remain on the Register. I had one such query this morning.

Understandably – up to a point, and usually until it becomes offensive, which with some ADIs it does after about two seconds – during the COVID-19 Pandemic people are asking if they will get an extension to their ADI registration.

The situation we are in is extraordinary. Nothing like it has ever happened before. And it is a Brand New Situation. It’s only been in progress for barely more than two months, and in that time extraordinary actions have been taken – such as the plan to pay people 80% of their income out of government coffers. I would also point out that the number of people who have died (and who are likely to die) is also rather extraordinary, but this seems to keep falling on deaf ears for many.

Right now, there is no clear light at the end of the tunnel, and no one can be certain about when this will all be over and we can return to work.

ADI registration is, I believe, a situation that is governed in Law. It isn’t something DVSA can just change whenever it feels like it, because it doesn’t have that power – only the Law does. Therefore, in order to extend registrations, the Law would need to be amended. Right now, there are far more important things we need to worry about.

Phoning up DVSA is not going to get you anywhere, except angry (if you’re one of the kind who refuses to understand the situation, and blames DVSA for everything). All they can possibly say is what I have said above: that registration lasts for a fixed four years and cannot be extended.

However, the longer this situation continues, the more of an issue it is likely to become. DVSA itself will almost certainly be thinking the same thing, even now. And from what I can see, they are already being lobbied by professional groups of angry people who blame DVSA for everything to look at extensions. If you are really concerned, maybe you could join one of these groups and add your voice.

So just bear that in mind. My own opinion is that if this does go beyond three months, an emergency amendment to the Law to extend ADI licences at some point is likely. Or a partial refund, maybe. Or a discount on the next renewal. I’m only guessing, and have no inside information. The only thing I am certain of is that whatever they do, someone somewhere will still be unhappy about it.

I’m just being realistic instead of angry.

But what about learners and their theory tests?

The same still applies. It’s the Law. Right now, DVSA can only tell you what the Law is, and they have no power to decide differently. And they don’t, no matter how angry you are.

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