...to think that some of you'd like to see Iain Duncan-Smith live on £53 per week for a year

(302 Posts)
SDeuchars Mon 01-Apr-13 20:30:35

If there are still spaces on the petition, please sign it.

No one lives on £53 a week, what utter baloney. Add free housing, prescriptions, health care, education, school meals, council tax, eye care etc etc and it all adds up to a fair and liveable sum

Not getting your POV here. Can u expand? Interesting. smile

IntheFrame Thu 04-Apr-13 13:30:01

UnlikelyAmazonian-here lies the confusion with welfare. Yes, you would need a fairly good job to make up the "free housing, prescriptions, health care, education, school meals, council tax, eye care etc etc"

However the person claiming welfare can't actually use the benefit as money. If your car breaks down you pay the council tax 3 weeks late and do overtime. On benefits you can't use your free housing, or eye tests can you? Any extra money you get gets taken off your benefits too.

WhatKindofFool Thu 04-Apr-13 16:15:36

I was unemployed for a a couple of months earlier in the year. I have 3 children. I got the following per week;
£72 Job Seekers Allowance
Council Tax Benefit worth approx £25 per week
Child Tax Credit £163 per week
Free School meals worth £30 per week
No payment required for school trips,
Free dental treatment, free prescriptions, free eye test plus about £35 towards my glasses.
I own my house but I would have got housing benefit if I had been renting.
£43 Child benefit per week.
This was a total of £333.
I had to pay my mortgage, fuel, telephone, groceries etc out of this. I just about managed. However, if I had no mortgage and the Council was paying my rent, I think I would have managed quite nicely.

ohLori there are many, many hundreds of vulnerable people in the Uk.

How warming it is to know that you are out there challenging societal norms and just being a good egg. Not.

intheframe I am on carer's allowance now. I have an interest only mortgage after my exH disappeared. Maybe I could go through the CSA? You sound quite well informed....There is no reciprocal agreement between thet UK and Thailand I dont think.

flaminhoopsaloolah Fri 05-Apr-13 13:15:21

Lori - if those teenaged mothers (the whopping whole 3% of them) are dependant then they are not claiming housing and HB are they, because they are living at home. Those that are not dependant, what would you suggest we do? Force them to live on the streets until they reach a more "respectable" age? Or make abortion mandatory for those under a certain age? You are upset over a very very small percentage of the population who take a very small chunk out of the benefits budget.

flaminhoopsaloolah Fri 05-Apr-13 13:17:30

Unlikely - the CSA is even pretty powerless with countries for which the have a REMOS agreement - it depends entirely on the country and their ability and willingness to enforce British child maintenance judgements - it can also cost an awful lot of money to get enforced even with the help of a REMOS agreement. Now, where is that magic wand....? grin

flaminhoopsaloolah Fri 05-Apr-13 13:28:10

What kind of fool - this is what a parent with 3 children who was claiming HB would roughly get (based on a 3 bedroom house renting at £650 pcm)

JSA - £72
HB - £120
CB - £20
CTB - 100% of what ever CT was, lets go with your £25
CTC - £163
School meals - £10
Prescriptions etc free, yes, but not actually money in your pocket to spend on things like food and heat.

Total income: £430

So, she may get about £100 more per week if she were renting...but she'll also never have anything that historically does better than the stock market when it comes to increasing one's initial investment...a house, that she can sell sometime in the future.

WhatKindofFool Fri 05-Apr-13 15:18:40

All I'm saying is that what I got was enough to tide me over. If I was unable to work long term it would have been a grim existence. It was OK for 2-3 months but I had no social life or treats.

flaminhoopsaloolah Fri 05-Apr-13 15:40:14

That's very clear - living that way long term would not have been fun at all. But even an extra £100 a week long term for someone who was renting would not be much fun, better, a little less tight, probably stretch further with a brilliant budgeter, but again, the hypothetical person we are talking about still would not have the benefit long term of having ownership of bricks and mortar.

I do feel that people who have a house and find themselves up the creek without a paddle should be considered for a bit more short term help with the mortgage, but you have to remember that benefits paid out to a renter don't help that renter pay for something they're going to ultimately (hopefully) benefit from.

WhatKindofFool Fri 05-Apr-13 19:05:47

Except it gives them a lot more to live on!

A rented 3 bedroom house here would cost a lot more than I pay for my mortgage and is therefore very expensive to fund socially. If I did not have a mortgage to pay I would have been £321 better off each month. I was only paying the interest at this point and if I had stayed on benefits much longer, I would have had the interest on the mortgage paid for, I think, 2 years.

I think the welfare state provides for a very basic standard of living. I don't think it should pay for any more than that otherwise I would have been tempted not to go back to work.

I'm glad of the welfare I received when I needed it but having experienced it, I do think it can be a lifestyle choice. I know one person who is in his 40s, no kids and worked only once for about 6 months when he was 21. He has never had a paid job since. He has no physical illness or disability. I could assume that he suffers from mental illness but it seems that he hasn't tried to work in over 20 years so as he hasn't tried working I'm doubtful that he knows that he could not cope with it.

I know another person who also has 3 kids and lives in a Council house. She has not worked for over a year and admits to me that she is not prepared to work for a low wage in a supermarket or anywhere else. She would rather not bother as she says that it just isn't worth it. She may have a point, I don't know as I haven't worked out the figures.

Being on benefits long term would have been horrendous for me because I am capable of earning a decent wage, but if I had no qualifications, perhaps long term benefits would be an attractive alternative to working hard, taking home little pay and having a huge mound of bills.

TotemPole Fri 05-Apr-13 21:20:42

I think the welfare state provides for a very basic standard of living. I don't think it should pay for any more than that otherwise I would have been tempted not to go back to work.

The problem is that circumstances can vary from household to household so the system makes some better off and others will struggle or fall between the cracks of the various regulations and eligibility criteria.

The person you know with 3 children would probably get WTC and up to 70% of childcare covered if they needed it. How useful that is depends on the cost and availability of childcare in their area. A single parent with a support network of family, friends and neighbours would be better off than someone that needs to pay for all out of school hours.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sat 06-Apr-13 14:03:24

Whatkindoffool - a 3 bedroom house in your area may be a lot more expensive than your mortgage, but is that the renter's fault? No, it's the landlords. That money doesn't go into the renter's pocket - it goes on the rent.

As for a single working parent - it's not always that easy - transport, support system in place, available affordable childcare...it's all a potential route to finding working a not very affordable option in some circumstances.

Benefits didn't encourage me to stay on them - our life was shit and my parents had to do the childcare as there weren't many options for weekend/evening childcare and the weren't exactly in the best of health to do that.

A lot of people seem to think that those on benefits have a lot more to live on - I can only speak form my experience....no I didn't.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sat 06-Apr-13 14:16:55

To further illustrate - I worked as well and my total income (including everything) was 312 per week (110 of that was rent) add in gas/electric/water/council tax at about £40 a week, food at about £40 a week, school meals at £10 a week, running a car because the bus service couldn't get me to work on time or my son to school on time - £50, school trips/fundraises, TV license, telephone, Christmas, shoes, clothes....

If you didn't have a mortgage to pay you would have been no better off a month - you would have had to pay rent and would have received help towards that in the form of housing benefit - which yes, would have been more than the help you were receiving for your interest only mortgage but you will own that house. You don't see renters saying...hey, I took out this loan for this car I need so I need some help to pay towards it...

Viviennemary Sat 06-Apr-13 15:09:49

There are so many conflicting reports of how difficult or easy it is to live on benefit. I don't think benefit should be so much that it just isn't worth while people bothering to go out to work, though a lot want to. Still all this talk of starving children. It would be difficult to see how children could be starving on £430 a week. It's good to see some actual figures as it does clarify things. So thanks.

Laquitar Sat 06-Apr-13 15:19:25

Sorry i haven't read all the thread but why do you sign?

If anything this will make him a hero. Yes, of course he can do it. for a week. So what?

I lived once for 2 weeks with a bag of poridge and a bag of onions, i was eating porridge for lunch and onion soup (just boiled onions, no cream) for dinner. I didnt top up my phone or my travelcard, i stayed in and watched tv. But i knew that the situation will change in 2 weeks, thats why it was ok.

Dont many women do those cabbage soup diets for a week? it is fine for a week but you wouldnt eat cabbage soup for a year! I really hate these 'challenges'. Very patronising. It is nothing like having to liv poor for years or for the rest of your life if you are ill and disabled. He will do it and then he will pose as a hero and he will say even more patronising shit.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sat 06-Apr-13 15:30:17

Vivienne - that is a rough estimate, not actual figures and bear in mind that £150 of that a week would be rent.

To learn more about the difficulties some families face you need to look at reputable websites...there are plenty out there. All you are seeing is a snapshot. That's it. Are there some people out there who take the piss out of the benefits system. Yes, there are. Having been on both sides of the fence I can tell you it's not a picnic.

Xenia Sat 06-Apr-13 22:07:12


Viviennemary Sat 06-Apr-13 22:25:24

But even less £150 people wouldn't starve. I find it really annoying and counterproductive when people say there will be children starving in the streets. It just makes sceptical people even more sceptical and unsympathetic so it does absolutely no good at all.

Springdiva Sat 06-Apr-13 22:32:58

You can't remove payments to people and expect there not to be problems. But the thing is if you don't ever reduce payments we are going to go bust. And there should in time be a social change.

If teenagers knew they were going to be penniless and live at home if they didn't get a job then, hey presto, they might start to work at school!
If single teenage mums knew they were going to have to be kept by their parents, which would have the problem of overcrowded homes and, perhaps, other family members missing out eg the DM giving her job up to childmind, then they might be less likely to have a baby at such a young age.
etc etc etc.
The sooner things are cut back the sooner we might start tackling the debt (which our DCs will be landed with) - and the sooner the social changes (for the better imo) will start happening. Meanwhile we hurtle into a disastrous future.

IntheFrame Sat 06-Apr-13 22:45:11

The problem is that so many benefits are means tested that it sometimes doesn't pay to work. You pay for childcare, transport and have to fill in endless paperwork every year/every time you do overtime and never know where you are.
If you get everyone to stump up for slightly higher taxes we could have free childcare, better public transport etc a la Sweden so working is the easy option so more people do it.
Making the poor poorer doesn't get them into work does it. Or they work below the radar because you can't risk losing the little they have (housing benefit is their roof above their head, not sky,mobiles or fags)

IntheFrame Sat 06-Apr-13 23:05:11

And the amount of wastage in the means tested system is bonkers. As a student I get the student loan and grant every year to last me the whole year. If I worked I would tell local council, tax credits etc.

That hasn't stopped housing benefit sending me 6 sheets of paper and a leaflet every July (for 3 years) asking about my money. Followed by exactly the same again in September. Every year they have worked my benefit out differently (until I write back) and I get another six sheets plus leaflet.This year they spent 3 months "reclaiming" housing benefit until they agreed they had made a mistake. I am a really simple case - one letter stating all my grant loan money for the year and a tax credit letter. I don't dare work as well.

Every single term I need to fill in another "free school meals" form despite my evidence being the same bits of paper all year. How many days of a council workers life does that waste?
I fill out the tax credits form every year and get the bumpf back that is impossible to understand but makes me liable if I don't inform them of mistakes.
Now I can look forward to complete confusion when my course ends benefits being stopped or reclaimed for no reason etc etc.

And as I said mine is an easy case, working is much much more complicated.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sat 06-Apr-13 23:06:54

Vivienne - It's not just about not starving - it's about the kids having opportunities - it's well documented that children who live in a household where they are barely getting by don't get the exposure they need to develop socially. They are hugely disadvantaged. And disadvantaged often leads to yet another generation who end up at least partly reliant on benefits.

Like I said, there are reputable websites out there that will give you a lot more information on what poverty is and is not - and I think you could benefit from having a read. Incidentally, a parent working full time on NMW would still qualify for benefits and the most basic way of calculating the poverty line denotes that a lone parent with ONE child under 14 is on the poverty line at £167 a week AFTER housing costs are deducted from total income. Housing costs are denoted as rent/mortgage, council tax and water rates added together.

merrymouse Sun 07-Apr-13 06:50:27


Some left wing commie rag on the difficulties of living on benefits.

merrymouse Sun 07-Apr-13 06:55:07

Whatkindoffool - a 3 bedroom house in your area may be a lot more expensive than your mortgage, but is that the renter's fault? No, it's the landlords. That money doesn't go into the renter's pocket - it goes on the rent.

Hmm, if only they could come up with some way of building basic but cheap living accommodation for people on low wages. Of course people would have to pay a reasonable amount of their wage in rent, but they and our taxes would not be held to ransom by fluctuations in the housing market.

Perhaps they could call it 'society housing' or maybe 'government houses' or something.

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