to think benefits are a safety net against poverty, not a cushion against an uncomfortable life ?

(310 Posts)
TalkinPeace2 Sun 30-Sep-12 18:02:52

Prompted by a thread where somebody said "DH has lost his job, what benefits are we entitled to?"

Sorry, but its the duty of ALL those on more than average wages (£26k per household) to put money aside for a rainy day.
No wonder the country is up to its eyes in debt if people first think about benefits rather than self reliance.

The benefit system should be to prevent true poverty, no more.

The American system has too many gaps. Most European systems, including that in the UK, provide far too comfortable a cushion, at far too high a cost to the next generation (as historically current over generous benefits have been kicked down the road to be paid for by our children who will never be entitled to such things).

Viviennemary Wed 10-Oct-12 08:51:55

There is such a discrepancy on the amount a person receives in benefit. I read that tax credits brings a single parent's income up to £446.00 a week. Can this be right.

Viviennemary Wed 10-Oct-12 08:50:09

I think it's a scandal that people on £12,000 a year pay tax. I'm talking about single people with no families. The tax threshold should be no lower than £15,000 per year.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 10-Oct-12 00:24:46

Sorry, I meant £69 per week. blush

Not that it matters but others in my position are in private lets. That have to put £100 from their benefits into rent. They are truly fucked.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 10-Oct-12 00:20:56

BENEFITS - For Those Who Think It's a Picnic

I a single parent on benefits. Here's the breakdown per week.
Income support = 67
CTC. = 50
CB. =20
Total. = 137

Utilities. = 30
mobile + TV lic = 08
School transport= 30

That leaves £67.00 per week for food, clothes, haircuts, extra transport (to/from supermarket, visiting friend's/family, days out) Christmas, birthdays (DS's and friends whose parties he is invited to, my family are happy with homemade), school extras (trips etc), extra curricular activities (swimming).

I am extremely fortunate. My family help out with clothes and shoes and treats for DS. If one of my appliances breaks down, I am fucked.sad

Life on benefits sucks. Why do people think it's great?

I know 5 people who have been made redunadnt while preganat or on maternity leave.

Last year, while in my 'secure' job we tried to get pregant. Having been unemplyed now for 17 weeks I am relieved it failed.

Relieved to not fall pregantn with a much wanted child. THAT is the current climate.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 03-Oct-12 19:29:42

Not really, no.

Someone who got sacked while they were pregnant would have not got pregnant while they were on benefits.

I realise there are contraception failures, but as contraception is well over 90% effective when used correctly, I don't believe that that can contribute to the high numbers of children who have two parents out of work. There are children in the third generation of families where no one works. That is wrong.

I also realise that unemployment is high. I don't think that is a reason to have children you can't provide for. If you haven't got a job and neither does the person you are having sex with, don't conceive a child.

There is no other excuse for people being on benefits long term, and there is no excuse for becoming pregnant while on benefits.

There are no jobs in my area?
There are 473,000 job vacancies and 2.59 million people unemployed?
The condom split?
I got sacked because I'm pregnant?

Aren't they good enough reasons?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 03-Oct-12 19:21:10

Fair enough Mamma. But 45% (if that's accurate) of not very much is not very much. And as the poorest people are the ones that take the most out, I think it balances ok. The higher rate tax payers pay a huge amount to the treasury, and take the least out so I don't think they deserve to be hot for any more.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 03-Oct-12 19:18:02

I think everyone supports a benefits system that is there for when people need it. But, it should always be a temporary thing, except in cases where disability or illness is impossible or makes working detrimental to health.

There is no other excuse for people being on benefits long term, and there is no excuse for becoming pregnant while on benefits.

Because Outraged they pay a higher proportion of their income in tax from other income groups. If the poorest 10% of the population(bottom decile/ decile 1) pay 45% of their gross income in tax (direct and indirect taxes) and deciles 2-9 pay 35% the poorest 10% are paying a larger proportion of their income in taxes.

FrothyOM Wed 03-Oct-12 19:15:14

Single mothers on benefits cause mental illness?!

Now I have heard it all.

freemanbatch Wed 03-Oct-12 18:58:08

the benefits system has just saved me from a life filled with marital rape and abuse.

he earned a lot of money I couldn't buy new shoes when I need them. I don't personally think that I should have to struggle to feed my kids as much as I am having to never mind even more so so that I can sleep at night and don't live in constant fear.

The benefit system is there to protect those who need it and most of those who need it aren't people in any position to have money of their own.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 03-Oct-12 18:42:20

How is the tax rate unfair on the lowest paid people? They get tax credits!

Because the tax rate on the lowest paid people in our country, is over 90%.
The tax system is completely unfair to the bottom and top income deciles. From memory the bottom decile pay around 45% of gross income in all taxes. Where did you find the 90% figure?

Abitwobblynow Wed 03-Oct-12 17:41:51

Do you know why people on benefits don't work and don't want to work? Because the tax rate on the lowest paid people in our country, is over 90%.

Why aren't people more scandalised about this!

Interfering bureaucrats CREATE the black economy they are in such a frenzy about. When are people going to get this basic fact of human life: if you reward bad behaviour, you get more of it. If you leave people alone and allow them the consequences of their good choices, you get more good choices.

It's so obvious.

Abitwobblynow Wed 03-Oct-12 17:38:13

Peachy I have been unemployed, homeless and grateful for the help, so try and hear what I am really saying.

OF COURSE there has to be help for people. We wouldn't be human otherwise. What I am saying is the welfare state as it is currently structured. And as it is currently structured, and how it is currently paid for is a cheap cop-out.

What I advocate is universal benefit where every British person over the age of 21 is automatically given around £6,000 per year, in monthly payments into a bank account. No ifs ands or buts, except for two provisos: they have to purchase health insurance, and they have to start a pension plan. They HAVE to do this (please remember the NHS is a state benefit). All other benefits are done away with.

If you are interested, Charles Murray (an economist) came up with the theory (Charles Murray: the reform of the welfare state). He agrees that it would cost more at the beginning and the rich would have to pay more than they do now, but that the cost would slide as more people got jobs (because there would be no penalty to topping up your income like there currently is), and less bureaucrats need to be employed.

I think it is a really good idea. The basic premise is: trust the people. People always do what is best for them and they really don't need state intervention to tell them how to live their lives.

Peachy Wed 03-Oct-12 16:35:23

Well Abit I have to disagree entirely on your POV.

Non emotionally again (and emotion is NOT a bad thing, not the enemy of reason) I have seen the welfare state save people's families, make difficult situations more tenable.

I worked for a children's charity conduction home visits and assessments so am equally exposed to the truth of the situation I believe.

I know that when Dh was made redundant it was the welfare state in it's current form (certainly UC would have worked against us) that enable him to retrain: as I can't work, on UC we would financially be better off in that situation if we had split up. Not just financially either- we would get respite and other help that we do not have now.

From what I have read (everything available) the new system will work against the people who need it the most and make it easier for bludgers and the habitually lazy to get by.

Peachy Wed 03-Oct-12 16:28:55

Mamma wouldn't tax breaks for public transport penalise those who cannot use it- those whose workplaces are away from commuter routes, whose work has erratic hours (SH had a job coming home at 3am once), anyone in housing away from public routes (and the current changes mean that many can;t be choosy- either because they are so poor they have to take whoever will house them, or because they have negative equity)or indeed those who rely on their car to work- care assistants....

Tax breaks for childcare would be great- mind, so would access to SN childcare at all...

Peachy Wed 03-Oct-12 16:25:45

Abit I will never support not tagaing benefits to babies (something that has changed under the cap to an extent) because the sort of people who would do that are not the sort of people to say 'bugger, income's cut, best give up the pub and spend a greater percentage of my income on my progeny'; the kids will be the ones who go without.

And that is not something I will ever be OK with.

Outraged, you're right - giving a set amount to each individual would cause inflation which would erode any increase in the standard of living. Furthermore, inflation hits those on fixed and low incomes hardest so a universal benefit/ payment would be self-defeating in terms of limiting poverty and creating greater equality in living standards.
I'd rather see more tax allowances built into the system (for public transport to work, children and child care), higher personal allowances and the introduction of a greater number of narrower tax bands. I'd also like to see VAT reduced so as to minimise its regressive impact.
What always strikes me about threads like this is that if we assume all humans are rational egoists (^homo economicus^ if you like) and a small number of people are making the rational choice to live on benefits how shit must the alternative be?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 03-Oct-12 13:04:26

Abitwobblynow speaks a lot of sense.

I'm open to the idea of universal benefit, but I don't really understand how it would work. It seems like a good idea, but wouldn't prices rise as companies see that people can afford to pay more for the same stuff? I'm not sure that it would raise the standard of living for most people. Plus, I would rather see the money from income tax etc go into providing higher quality healthcare and education. I'd like the personal tax allowance to be higher, and for everyone to pay a flat rate of tax after a generous personal allowance. That way, we could scrap tax credits (especially child tax credits which are in effect just free money for having children) as people could keep more of the money they earned, and it would save a huge amount of money in administering these benefits. I also think it would have the effect of reducing both tax avoidance and tax evasion, as the wealthy wouldn't feel like they were being fleeced and instead would be happy to contribute a fair share. Society would feel more equal if everyone was paying the same 30% (for example).

MoreBeta Wed 03-Oct-12 12:36:19

80sMum - yoiur idea of a National Living Allowance is widely discussed in academic economics circles. Generally called a Universal Benefit as you say everyone rich or poor either in work or out of work woudl get paid this allowance. It would be widely accepted as everyone would get it - like NHS Healthcare and Child Benefit and State Pension and State Education.

Typically, the theory is that Universal Benefit should be paid out of the income from tax on oil, gas, coal, forest, mineral and radio spectrum rights. This would therefore be each person's rightful share of the national natural wealth.

I think it is a terrific idea and the only additional thing I would add to what you said is get rid of minimum wage. That way employers would have to pay the rate that was attractive enough to make people get off the sofa but no one would be forced to work for under Welfare to Work schemes for nothing.

The cost of administering benefits would also drop dramatically as would benefit fraud.

Abitwobblynow Wed 03-Oct-12 09:52:52

Some other thoughts to consider:

One of the positive benefits is that the fertility rate of Britain is currently high, higher than, say Italy, or Japan (who will make themselves extinct in 100 years if they don't admit that Japanese women are voting with their contraceptives, and why).

However: as that poor Danish sociology professor who got sacked for telling the empirical truth about the results of his study*, the WRONG people are having babies.

A very sad and negative consequence of funding parenting in loose, chaotic family structures is that British children are the saddest. Britain tops the advanced world for depression in children.

I also read a in study this morning about emotional abuse: the severe rise of NPD and BPD (see relationships page for the problems this causes to people), is thought to be a result 'so few of us grew up in a two-parent family, to the fact that more and more single mothers are raising children whilst at the same time having to earn a living, or to the fact that all forms of child abuse have been increasing over the years. It is generally believed that these personality disorders are caused, or at least exacerbated, by inadequate parenting, parental neglect, abandonment and/or child abuse' - Beverly Engel, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship.

*In a study of IQ in Denmark, he found that the general level of Danish IQ is going down - because the highest birth rate is in socio-economic group D (unproductive) welfare dependents. He got sacked.

So: when are we going to be honest, and have an honest discussion, rather than a) assume that the welfare state (as it is currently structured) is an Inherent Good, b) getting emotional and using emotive rhetoric to 'prove a fact'?

After volunteering in a children's home, I truly believe that the welfare state (as it is currently structured) actively rewards immature irresponsible behaviour and because children bear the brunt of the suffering, and they SUFFER, is nothing short of fucking evil (I am not the first person to observe that welfare subsidises child abuse). Good Intentions are irrelevant self-indulgent and actually get in the way of the truth.

There. that is my non-emotional cards on the table smile.

Abitwobblynow Wed 03-Oct-12 09:33:36

This is a bit off topic, but pertinent to the discussion.

The chap arrested in the Wales sadness (not commenting on that) is a man who has fathered 7 children with different women, none of which has been a marriage [legal and binding contract of commitment]

This is called 'moral hazard' and is a deep, deep problem of the welfare state as it is currently structured.

What moral hazard means is that people embark on a course of action (having children which cost £££££) ^ - without taking on the risk themselves. 'Someone else' takes on the risk.^ There are no painful consequences to themselves, in fact as it is currently structured they are REWARDED for doing so.

Until we ADMIT and debate this, we can never agree to what desperately needs to happen: and that is for the bureaucrats (the State) to get the hell out of welfare payments (wasteful, inefficient, untargetted despite the Good Intentions), and for benefits to NOT accompany babies.

My solution is universal benefit (ie, give the money, and leave people to choose how they spend it and what is good for them). But that would require PROPER wealth redistribution, it would be much more expensive and it would require the government (whoever) to really care instead of offering mealy mouthed platitudes.

80sMum Wed 03-Oct-12 07:35:31

Ok, here's what should happen. All means-tested benefits should be abolished. Every adult should receive benefits at the level considered to be the minimum gross amount needed to live on. The income tax allowance should be abolished also, as should National Insurance.
There would then be no poverty trap. Whatever people earned would be in addition to their benefits, so people would be incentivised to work. No other benefits would be available. We could call it National Living Allowance.

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