in thinking it is getting impossible to discuss the welfare state on here any more

(262 Posts)
size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 07:26:40

Disclaimer: I am all for the welfare state. I firmly believe in the NHS, and have no desire for a return to workhouses or other such draconian matters.

However, it seems to be that ever since the Tories started making cuts, it's impossible to even question on here the morality or the fairness of the system. I'll admit it - I don't think the system was fair, at all.

I earn a very average salary. As a result I am only slightly better off than I would be on benefits and considerably worse off when my childcare costs are deducted. It's difficult not to feel resentful when you're in that position.

- I don't believe throwing money around will mean any less children will "go to bed hungry."

- I don't believe benefits should be more lucrative than paid work. Ever. And at the moment, they are. I think the fact that they ever were is disgraceful.

- I think the welfare state is a crutch in a crisis. Disability excepted, it is not a walking stick through life.

I also know there will be hundreds of yawns, this AGAIN, do I want children to starve, I want a return to the workhouse actually no I want the poor shot actually I want them deported ha ha ha what a bitch what a cow what a horrible person. Oh and she hasn't mentioned widescreen TVs LOL.

No, actually, I'm none of the above, I'm just an ordinary person struggling to make ends meet myself. It's very easy to be lofty and high handed and sentimental when you're on board the gravy train yourself. As it is, I don't want benefits to disappear but I don't know just one piss taker, I know several, and don't believe I'm not typical in this.

Welfare - benefits - cost a FORTUNE and people are deluding themselves if they think they don't. The cost of other services doesn't mean welfare isn't a massive cut. It's like saying "that holiday is cheap, look how expensive it is to spend a fortnight in Disneyland." The fact is, it's unsustainable.

I'm happy for people to be given the support they need but at the moment I think some people do think "give people on benefits all the money they like and it will end poverty."

It won't.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:31:52

Exactly, Usual.

So much stuff going on that makes work not pay.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 09:32:21

You need to ask the question 'why doesn't work pay'

Not say 'it's not fair'

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 09:34:38

A large proportion of benefits are 'in work benefits'

Why is that do you think?

The only ranting I can see on this thread is you OP, in your later posts. Who called you scum?

You wanted a debate, you are getting one, just because people are challenging your view point does not mean they are criticising you.

hmm

Any claimant receiving £500 per week isn't handed that in cash. A large part of that is rent (high housing costs) or for disabilities that mean they cannot work.

Its not an eviable lifestyle.

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 09:42:21

Because 'I don't agree with this, I think it is wrong,' is ranting? Right, ok then! I'll leave it there - have said my bit.

Usual - frankly, I think the benefit system is far too generous and has been for far too long. That includes people who claim when working, especially since a fair number claim top up benefits due to working part time hours as opposed to not being on a living wage. I do however think the working poor are far, far more vulnerable than those who do not work at all, for he most part, and would like more help extended to them.

NameThatTuna Thu 25-Jul-13 09:43:29

I never get involved in these threads as they usually all end up in a bun fight. I kind of agree with what you're saying OP but it's so much more complex than that.

I come from a big family. Mum and 3 siblings who I grew up with, 4 other half siblings are from my dads second marriage.

When my dad left my mum, he paid fuck all in maintenance for us 4. My mum, bless her, struggled so much on income support to feed and clothe us, she had no choice but to take on 3 cleaning jobs for cash in hand (yes, whilst claiming income support). I remember throughout my childhood my mum crying after working out her bills. There were always bits of paper about the house with her income and outgoings on. We were too ashamed to invite people into our home because we didn't have nice stuff or even carpets in some rooms. Tax credits were not available then. As soon as we were old enough to make our way home from school and let ourselves into the house, she got a job and came off income support. Just to make up the money she lost in income support, she had to work up to 50 hours a week.

My father on the other hand is bone idle and has claimed benefits for over 20 yrs, my step mum also. None have a disability. Out of my 4 half siblings, one works. The other 3 are what most people would call scroungers. I've sat with them when they've been slagging of the government for not giving them more. More money, a bigger house etc. One of these siblings has just had her 5th child, all with the same father, who lives with her and has also never worked a day. Ever!

At times I have felt resentful. I've frothed at the mouth because of the entitled attitude. You know what though? I feel sorry for them now. Listening to them, I realize their world is so small, they don't have much of a life. I can only afford cheap camping holidays (DP and I both work) but at least i'm going somewhere, my DD gets to enjoy time away from home. My nieces/nephews are growing up just like I did. I don't wish that for anyone. It's fucking depressing.

The sad thing is, my nieces and nephews will learn from their parents. Just like we all did.

The housing issue is a massive drain on the tax payer. I became a single working parent when my relationship broke down with DD's dad. I couldn't get a council/HA property. There were none available and I was classed as low priority. I ended up in a private rented flat with £300 pcm Housing benifit. I paid the other £250 from my wages. The same size Council flat in my area, the rent is around £250. If there wasn't such a shortage in social housing, I could have paid my rent without any benifits.

Where is the sense in that? That HB when to my landlord, who had other flats in the same block. He drove around in a Merc FFS!

Sorry for the long post blush

grumpyinthemorning Thu 25-Jul-13 09:49:37

I would also like to say that the £20k a year figure that tends to come up is a cap. It is the maximum amount a benefits claimant can receive - including housing and council tax benefits. Not everyone gets that, I certainly didn't. The majority of people on benefits are on quite a bit less. It's all worked out based on personal circumstances.

Which benefits do you think are generous? I'm happy to discuss specifics in a civilised manner smile

The real problem is the lack of a living wage, and the extortionate costs of housing and utilities.

NicknameIncomplete Thu 25-Jul-13 09:50:51

Lets have a discussion about the whole picture.

I claim unemployment benefits (jsa) because i work 8 hours a week. I want to get away from the jobcentre. I dont want to be signing on my whole life.

You could tell me to get a different job with more hours or get a second job. I have been trying to do this and getting nowhere. Companies want you to work for them and only them. They employ you on a low hour contract and then expect you to work when they want. Some weeks that could be 20 hours other weeks it could only be 10.
When i apply for a second job i dont get it because i am not fully flexible even though they are only advertising a 10 hour a week job for 2 days a week.

IMO there is not just one problem. Everything needs to be looked at from benefits to wages to working hours/contracts.

Housing costs being addressed would help two fold. Firstly, working people would see more money in their pockets rather than it going to private landlords and the banks. Secondly, it would lower the housing benefit bill (the majority of which is paid to working households btw).

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 09:57:09

It is difficult to discuss because it can be very emotive. Ending up having to rely on benefits to survive has a psychological impact in itself. Add to that the often vile, abusive things that some people feel they can say because you are on benefits and you end up with a default state of defensiveness.

As a family we have gone from a very comfortable (though not rich) financial position to redundancy and living off savings (claiming no benefits) to no savings left and a very low paid job not making ends meet so ended up homeless. We claimed tax credits in desperation as wages left £15 after rent and council tax. We are working very hard both to earn what we do and to try and better ourselves so we can get on a financial even keel again. It is a very steep and slippery slope trying to drag yourself up from rock bottom not fun, certainly not the life of riley that the media prompted by Government spin doctors try and portray it as.

Defaulting to my defensive position before someone tells us to move somewhere cheaper we live in a 2 bed flat in the cheapest street in town. A town where rent is well below the national average. Yes we have internet, we shopped around for a good deal and it saves us a lot more than it costs per month. I can give a further breakdown if necessary.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 09:58:23

But a lot of workplaces only offer part time contracts, because they know that employees can claim tax credits.

You will never get a full time contract in low paid work like retail for example.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 10:03:51

What do you think the solution is then,OP?

Cut all benefits?

NameThatTuna Thu 25-Jul-13 10:03:56

I'm starting to see that in my work place usual

NHS - constantly short staffed on the ward but can I get more contracted hours? Nope!

It's because they can refuse to put out the extra shifts as overtime when they have to meet their financial targets. It happens every year.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 10:07:05

I see it all the time, give the workers short hour contracts,give them more hours as 'overtime'

Drop the hours back ,as you say when the wages bill s too high that month.

How can you live like that when you have a family to support?

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:07:10

That's interesting - does the benefit system prop up a low wage economy because employers know that people will get support?

It's starting to sound like Victorian times when Joseph Rowntree was concerned about his worker's welfare so he provided a decent wage and even houses for them.

If there were no benefits if you were in work, would employers step up to the mark and pay a decent wage to attract employees?

nkf Thu 25-Jul-13 10:09:16

MN is only very rarely a good place for a debate in my opinion. It's better for fun. And slow cooker recipes.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 10:09:37

It sounds like the OP has a living wage. Paying the bills, not rolling in it. That sounds normal to me.

I agree with the OP. It suits people to say you think poor people should be shot, if you question the welfare system. It means they can feel superior and feel like they've won an argument. Of course they haven't. But they have to resort to that kind of thing because the truth is harder and less comfortable for them to deal with.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 10:09:54

I know people who work in care on zero hour contracts.

That needs addressing imo.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 10:11:24

So people try to have a reasonable debate for once, and along comes crumbled.

I'm off.

emilyeggs Thu 25-Jul-13 10:12:58

Ha ha usual! Ikwym grin

jacks365 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:13:02

Part of the problem is that what is generous for one person isn't for the next. Not necessarily due to entitlement but due to basic needs and requirements. When I ended up relying on the safety net of benefits when my marriage broke down I was once it got sorted in a strong position. I didn't need clothes or shoes, I could live without a car, I could grow some vegetables but most importantly I knew it was a stop gap so did the dc and they pitched in and helped out partly by lowering demands and expectations. For various reasons I could see an end to it. I didn't need to worry about replacing appliances, school uniforms, shoes etc so yes it must have looked like I had plenty but I was in an unusual position for a benefit claimant. I couldn't imagine being in that position long term and seeing no way out.

Benefit levels are falling in real terms but not as fast as wages are and that is the bigger problem. In some ways NMW has not helped as it is now common to base wages on it, 20 years ago I was earning over the current NMW but that job now only pays just over still because they can.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 10:13:29

I earn a very average salary. As a result I am only slightly better off than I would be on benefits and considerably worse off when my childcare costs are deducted. It's difficult not to feel resentful when you're in that position.. I'm just an ordinary person struggling to make ends meet myself.

Thsi all sounds normal and not a cause for people to say - complain about your wage rather than benefits.

For a start, if she paid less tax she'd have more money for herself.

For another start - when it's a normal sized wage packet why shouldn't she complain if people get the same without working the way her family does?

Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 10:15:56

Does anyone else feel like banging their heads against a wall & shouting "fuuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkk" really loudly?

Just me then

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 10:16:24

Yes, Usual, you disappeared last time when things got uncomfortable, didn't you? (As you brought up past contact there's no reason why I shouldn't mention that.)

I work on almost zero hours contract. There's enough work. The only problem is that zero hours people should be allowed to have the freedom to be self-employed and deduct expenses.

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