Moral Money: ‘Do I have to cancel my birthday party if I can afford the Rule of Six fine?’

The 'rule of six' dashes hopes of big celebrations but is it wrong to push ahead if you are willing to pay the price?

My 50th birthday is coming up in a week and my wife has planned a big bash with all my friends and family. She has put a lot of time and money into it and it is something we have both been looking forward to. 

Imagine my horror when I heard Boris Johnson announce the new “rule of six”. I do not know what to do anymore. I understand that I shouldn’t have a big party with dozens of guests but I would like to have my family, including my three children, and a few close friends over at my home. 

I would happily pay the £100 fine if I have to if it means that I can celebrate with my loved ones. I could even afford to pay for everyone’s fine if needs be. Do I have to cancel or is it acceptable for me to host a group of 10?

Anon, Kent

It is only natural to want to celebrate such a big birthday with those you love and it sounds like your wife has gone to a lot of trouble to make it perfect. It must be a huge disappointment to think that it may no longer go ahead. 

Any gathering of more than six people is illegal in England and it applies to meetings both indoors and outdoors. So it may be tempting to do it in the privacy of your own home with a small group, and hope you are not caught, but you would be breaking the law by doing so.

You say you have three children, this means that you can see them all at the same time thankfully but that you can only invite one close friend to complete your group of six.

This must be frustrating when other celebrations are still going ahead in large groups such as weddings and organised team sports, and pubs are packed. The Government has come under fire, with many criticising the logic of the new restrictions after even grouse shooting was granted a special exemption.

But if you do decide to throw your party you could face a £100 fine the first time you get caught. This then doubles for every new fine up to a maximum of £3,200. You say you are prepared to pay this if it means you can all have a good time.

Technically, you can do this but do not forget the bigger picture. 

We are still in the middle of a pandemic and many would say that we all need to play our part. The Government said it brought in the latest restrictions in order to contain the spread of coronavirus and in the hope that we can avoid another lockdown.

If everybody carried on meeting in large groups the infection rate could spiral out of control. If this happens we could be in for much more disappointment and more cancelled events, including a very lonely Christmas.

There’s nothing stopping you from celebrating your birthday one day with your family and four of your friends the following day. You can still see all the people you care about most, just not in one room at the exact same time.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below and by emailing [email protected]

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Last week’s Moral Money: ‘Colleagues with kids can keep working from home. Can I tell a lie to do the same?’

I have been happily working from home for months. I can do my job perfectly well remotely and much prefer it, but my boss has just asked me to go back to the office in two weeks’ time. 

I spoke to some colleagues about it and found out that those who have children are not being asked to go back in case they can’t get childcare. 

I think this is completely unfair. If they could come into work pre-Covid, surely they can still come in now? I don't see why I should put myself at risk by travelling on public transport just because I don't have children. 

I’m considering telling my boss that I have care duties too. I have a grandmother who is 83 and I occasionally pop over with some groceries for her. True, it’s usually only once a week on a Sunday and she’s fit as a fiddle so doesn’t actually need any help. But is a white lie like that really going to hurt anyone? 

Anon, Lincolnshire 

Poll results

Is it wrong to tell a lie to avoid going back to the office?

Yes, you shouldn’t lie to your employer: 68pc

No, but only if it is a small lie: 6pc

No, they shouldn’t be forcing you to go back: 22pc

Other: 4pc