...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.

Never gonna happen.

kim147 Mon 01-Apr-13 20:34:12

But IDS could. Because he said so on the radio.

We're all in this together.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 01-Apr-13 20:35:12

He won't do it no matter how many people sign. He couldn't give a shit.

LynetteScavo Mon 01-Apr-13 20:36:43

He could if he had to. But he doesn't have to.

SDeuchars Mon 01-Apr-13 20:38:08

Oh, go on. It only needs another 10,000 sigs and I'm sure MN can do it. In fact, how about a whole bunch of comments referring to MN?

Catchingmockingbirds Mon 01-Apr-13 20:38:20

I'd love to see him live off that but it wouldn't happen, no matter how big the petition.

HollyBerryBush Mon 01-Apr-13 20:39:21

Michael Portillo did it - he took on a whole family - he took the challenge and swapped a life with a single mum on a deprived estate for a week. He had to do the whole budget thing - she left him to it - there was no backdoor skull duggery and meals delivered

IDS spend a fair bit of time on UB after leaving the army. He's probably more grounded than most MPs; he's state educated and mixed race (not that that makes a difference today, but it would have when he was growing up)

Just because someone has made a success of their lives doesn't mean they have forgotten their roots.

skinnywitch Mon 01-Apr-13 20:40:24

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.

Changebagsandgladrags Mon 01-Apr-13 20:41:26

Maybe he should read 'Life in Low Pay Britain' a little out of date, but still relevant. In fact every Government Minister should have to do this during recess. Then tell people we're in it together.

YouTheCat Mon 01-Apr-13 20:42:39

So you could manage to adequately heat a home, buy food, pay any extras like contents insurance etc? I doubt it.

Latara Mon 01-Apr-13 20:46:02

No-one of working age gets 'free housing' & 'free council tax' now actually if they claim any benefits.

IsBella Mon 01-Apr-13 20:48:32

Anyone can do it for a week HollyBerryBush.

I'd be more impressed if they did it for a year minimum.

Latara Mon 01-Apr-13 20:49:28

I get council tax benefit (i'm on DLA for serious health problems, manage to work PT, get some WTC).

I pay literally only £18 less than someone not claiming CTB.

It's very hard for a single adult to cope on benefits if you work as much as health problems allow.

I don't have £53 a week to live on, i have nothing after bills are paid.

HollyBerryBush Mon 01-Apr-13 20:52:54

Isbella I see where you are coming from there, but in fairness, he was left to it (mum on a webcam overview) with a stroppy teenaged girl, the middle one and a toddler prone to tantrums. For a person of middle age, who has no children, nor interest in them, he was really quite wonderful at organising them AND getting them where they should be on time, dealing with their demands (which as parents we know at times are quite unreasonable) and he managed to feed them decent food without succumbing to their demands for what I would call Iceland Fare.

I don't think the mother would have left them for a year grin

Pleasesleep Mon 01-Apr-13 20:53:48

I have just signed.

Surely the person who started it missed a trick, it should have gone on the downing st. Page, then if it got to 100,000 they would have had to debate it in parliament! grin

littlemisssarcastic Mon 01-Apr-13 21:05:58

A friend of mine is living this nightmare. She has a 2 bed 1st floor flat that is in the middle of nowhere. She cannot find anyone who wants to downsize, and can't afford the costs involved with moving anyway.
She receives £71 a week JSA.
£16 goes towards the rent since she has a spare bedroom.
£4 a week goes on council tax.
She is left with £102 a fortnight.
Bus fare to jobcentre to sign on every fortnight is £7.
She's then left with £95 a fortnight to live on!!

Quite how she is going to do this is beyond my comprehension. confused

SDeuchars Mon 01-Apr-13 21:34:54

Well, the total is now over the initial 75,000 but the originator of the petition has just doubled the number of names needed. You too could be one of 150,000 people calling for this by breakfast time!

WafflyVersatile Mon 01-Apr-13 22:22:59

Even if he did it for a year he would know that at the end of that year he would go back to his real life. He could never understand the desperation of knowing that was it; every week a struggle for the rest of his life.

What's sick is he doesn't think others deserve the welfare he himself received when he needed it. And because he found his way out through luck and perhaps his own resourcefulness he thinks everyone else should be able to find jobs that don't exist.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 01-Apr-13 22:56:39

To carry this out for a year though would be long enough to get a good insight into the daily struggles to juggle finances and stretch your moneyso thinly it is virtually transparent.

FWIW, I don't think 62,000,000 signatures will get him to agree to live on £53 a week for a month, let alone a year.

BreconBeBuggered Mon 01-Apr-13 23:00:32

No, nether do I. He wouldn't even reduce his expenses claim to that level, never mind his actual income. Hard choices had to be made for other people, not senior Tories.

ReturnOfEmeraldGreen Mon 01-Apr-13 23:11:34
ivykaty44 Mon 01-Apr-13 23:20:38

I would hate to live on fifty four pounds a week, it would be soul destroying.

As I am fit and healthy I would walk to sign on or try to find a recycle bike to use and grow and swap vegetables etc, free cycle other items and collect stuff.

But it would be a worry in the cold for heating and a worry if anything broke, long term I wouldn't like it one bit

RunningAgain Mon 01-Apr-13 23:26:02

I really, really hope I never have to live on £53 a week. I appreciate how lucky I am not to have to. Have signed.

MsTakenidentity Tue 02-Apr-13 01:29:15

Never have I so heartily agreed that: YANBU ... to infinity gringrin

Celticlassie Tue 02-Apr-13 01:31:35

I've signed. How dare he demean the people who actually have to live this?

MsTakenidentity Tue 02-Apr-13 01:42:46

PS: 'The Betsy' Duncan-Smith has a few bob to allieviate the pain of her DH's life on 53 per week wink ...OMG - did some cad mention Betsygate? shock

luckybarsteward Tue 02-Apr-13 01:46:28

yeah, IDS is really grounded

"Ian Duncan Smith is a man who has spent most of his adult life sucking on the public teat and sponging off his wife's family.

He has a dim view of spongers and has promised to cut another £10billion off the state’s handout bill. Obviously, the people who take handouts they don’t deserve should be the first to take a cut.

So let’s start by talking about someone who lives off the state and has little experience of the world of work you and I know. He is 58 years old and has suckled upon the publicly-funded teat for most of his life.

He’s signed on the dole. He’s had four children and received child benefit for all of them. He has put them each through private school, too.

His wife hasn’t worked since they married, except for 15 months in which he got her a job paid by the taxpayer.

He and his colleagues eat and drink food subsidised by the tax payer in a palace we pay for. He is driven around in a car he does not own and has not paid for - we did.

And when he is too old to ‘work’ any more he will receive a better pension than most of the rest of us - which again we paid for.

He started out at the age of 21 with six years of taxpayer-funded military service, during which he acted as bag-carrier to a Major-General. Then in 1981, aged 27, he left the Army and signed on the dole for several months.

He then began a period of ordinary work based upon the skills he had gained at the taxpayer’s expense, and worked in sales for arms dealer GEC-Marconi.

He then moved on to a property firm, where he was made redundant after six months, and then sold gun-related magazines for Jane’s Information Group.

After 11 years of this not too glittering a career he succeeded in once again boarding the publicly-funded gravy train in 1992.

In the intervening 20 years he has been paid by the taxpayer every year more money than most of the rest of us manage to earn. He has managed to boost it up to more than six figures for a few years here and there by being more pompous than the others in his position.

In 2001 he helped his unemployed wife to have a suckle, arranging for her to be paid £15,000 a year to be his diary secretary. (The Newsnight TV programme pulled a story that seemingly alleged she didnt actually do anything).

These days he is given the grand total of near £150,000 a year from the taxpayer.

He lives for free in a £2million Tudor farmhouse on his father-in-law’s ancestral estate in Buckinghamshire.

He has three acres of land, a tennis court, swimming pool and some orchards, which is not bad for a life paid for by the state.

‘Who is this parasite?’ you might cry. ‘Tell us his name, let the authorities know his address. Let’s get this guzzler out of the cushy life and show him what life is like for the rest of us,earning £7 an hour with a rise once every eight years and a miserly pension if we're lucky.’

His name is Iain Duncan Smith, and his address is: Palace of Westminster, LondonSW1A 0AA.

He is disgusting and a far far bigger leech on your money than the worst dole scrounger you can think of and twice as pointless."

MsTakenidentity Tue 02-Apr-13 02:22:43

Harry Leslie Smith [comment]

I've seen and experienced poverty first hand. I've lived in slums and as boy growing up in the north in the 1920s and 1930s, I ate out of rubbish bins. I was dirty and I was hungry for most of my youth. School was a luxury I couldn't afford because I had to make some money to keep my mother and father fed as the Great Depression ravaged Britain. I am 90 years old now and what is happening now happened before- the rich, the titled, the banks and the investment houses believed that civilization was their own private club and everyone else could go hang. Perhaps the style of the clothes that the well to do wear in 2013 is different from 1931 but not their attitude towards poverty. The poor and their problems to them, to quote Malthus, are "beyond the power of man."

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 07:30:05

YABU. Some of us would like to see Iain Duncan-Smith just stop living. £53 a week has nothing to do with it.

dopeysheep Tue 02-Apr-13 09:03:50

He said he could if he had to. I think he could. He wouldn't like it, no-one would/does.
But he could do it. I think 6 months would be fair, and perhaps all politicians should do this as a condition of service.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 09:12:50

I'm sure he could. But it's not a reality show.

Duncan-Smith took part in a programme a while ago where a number of MPs were challenged to live on a bleak estate on little money. He dropped out after a week because his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and he needed to be with her.

I felt very sympathetic towards them at the time. These days, after the contempt he's shown towards people for the crime of being poor, I would expect her to move in with him as part of the entertainment.

specialknickers Tue 02-Apr-13 09:25:03

How the hell does anyone live on £53 a week? Seriously. We spend more than that a week on a supermarket shop and I'm a pretty thrifty person.

I've never totted up our utilities bills either, but I bet gas, electric, water etc come to more than £50 a week as well.

Given that IDS once claimed £39 just for breakfast, I would think he'd get through £50 in a day. He wouldn't last till Friday, let alone a while year...

greenbananas Tue 02-Apr-13 09:52:32

I'd love to see him do this and have signed.

Nothing against Iain Duncan-Smith personally, but how many MPs can possibly really understand what it is like to live in poverty? He would need to do this for a while (e.g. six months or a year) before he could even start to get the full picture.

I would like to suggest a few further amendments to the plan (mostly from my own experience):

1. He should be allowed only one pair of shoes, and they should be something cheap, uncomfortable and unfashionable that he doesn't feel particularly good in. One should have a small hole in the left heel, so that if he needs to go somewhere he will either have to wait until it stops raining or accept that he will get wet feet. (If he wants new shoes, he will have to budget for this!)

2. On at least two occasions, he should be asked to attend an interview at the Jobcentre - this should cost him at least £10 in bus fare. When he arrives, he should be told that the interview has been cancelled and that he will need to get himself there again on the following day. If he fails to do this, his benefits will be cancelled for at least a fortnight.

3. At some point in winter, his boiler should break down. The landlord should be on holiday in Tenerife and completely unavailable.

4. There should be mould in his kitchen and on his bathroom wall. The landlord will do nothing about this, so he will need to have a go at it with bleach and a scrubbing brush.

5. Obviously he will need to work as an MP while he undertakes this challenge. He should make sure that he doesn't take advantage of expenses to make up the shortfall in food and clothes etc.

Of course, he will never manage to do this challenge. He has to work at the job we so foolishly elected his government to do, and I don't see how he could fulfil his commitments as an MP at the same time as coping with the lifestyle of somebody on £53 a week.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 02-Apr-13 09:59:41

I think you could survive on £53 a week but it would have to be VERY short term indeed. No one could cope on that for more than a few months. Unless there is light at the end of the tunnel then it's soul destroying.

I've had to live on less before but it was in order to clear debts. It was very difficult but I knew there would be an end to it and my quality of life would improve in that I would afford better food, be able to buy clothes and actually get out of the house!

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 02-Apr-13 10:00:50

Oh, and I agree with everything Greenbananas has said too.

Some weeks we end up living on that....and me and DH are both working! By the time you take out mortgage, rates, cost of running two cheap cars (which we both need to have for work), childcare, paying off a loan we had to take out last year - the money we have left for heat, electric, nappies and food can be very bloody tight, forget any socialising, holidays, trips to dentist or new clothes for any of us confused

Love to see see IDS take this on and do it, even for a month...

"IDS once claimed £39 just for breakfast" <-- fav quote of thread!

Snazzynewyear Tue 02-Apr-13 10:17:59

<applauds Greenbananas > This!

I agree that a month would be more like it. A week is doable because most people can get through a week of discomfort knowing there's an end in sight, as HoHoHo says. What no game-show style experiment can reproduce (not ethically, anyway) is the grinding misery of not knowing when, or if ever, things will get any better and not having any prospect of change or respite from a very low income to look forward to.

Shagmundfreud Tue 02-Apr-13 10:20:25



From The Daily Mash

Iain Duncan Smith's £53 a week diary

MONDAY: Fortify myself for the week ahead with a half-bottle of the ’05 Pinot Gris Rotenberg.

Big scary dogs can stop you wasting money in pubs and betting shops.
Cost £62, but if I’d been on the dole for a while I’d have had the £9 spare from the week before. Stick candle in empty bottle and spend rest of day sitting in my bedsit thinking about Samantha Cameron.

Tuesday: Neighbours offer me building site work for undeclared cash. Contact benefits agency to report them and tell neighbours they’re bringing this country to its knees. Use empty Rotenberg bottle to fend them off and barricade myself in my bathroom.

Wednesday: Woke up to see a big dog on pavement. Remained indoors.

Thursday: Get into furious argument with chap at local antique dealers, ‘Cash Converters’, who insists they don’t deal in 19th Century watercolourists. Finally get £10 for the frame. Money stolen by children waiting for me outside.

Friday: Electricity stops working. Investigation shows I have some kind of meter that appears to be empty. Assume this is an annual thing and well outside the scope of my £53 budget. Keep warm by eating a pack of animal nuggets left by previous occupants. May have sobbed a little bit.

Saturday: Neighbours apologise for calling me a ‘jumped-up ballbag’ and offer to pay for an 18-hour holiday to Jamaica if I would ‘run a little errand’ for them. Big Society in action.

Sunday: Final day. Secretly borrow a fiver from old woman who lives downstairs. Use it to buy delicious three course lunch at House of Commons restaurant. That evening the lovely people from ATOS take me to Savoy Grill for dinner.

Should have just done this every day. Would have been a piece of piss.

But what would this actually achieve? The government won't hand out any more money and this simplistic view of 'if politicians lived lived like this for a week/month/year' it would be sorted at the drop of a hat is inmvvvvho is bullshit.

He actually seems quite clever because whilst we all amuse ourselves with a cute petition IDS is probably thinking up another way to fuck over the most vulnerable in our society.

What I would like to see is him going into the communities he is screwing over and talking to the disabled/the carers/the struggling families and tell them why they are being hit hardest whilst his millionaire chums are getting tax breaks, and multi £billion companies are getting away with paying peanuts in tax.

nenevomito Tue 02-Apr-13 10:36:38

Anyone can do it for a week. Anyone.

I could do it for a week.
The queen could do it for a week.
Even Simon fecking Cowel could do it for a week.

Its when thats's your reality week after week, year after year.

Going to a state school doesn't automatically mean you have been brought up in poverty on an estate and a touch for the poorest FFS.

kyotokate Tue 02-Apr-13 10:36:57

I suggest it may not be long before so bright spark comes along and suggests the introduction of workhouse "style" institutions .......

Kaekae Tue 02-Apr-13 10:55:56

If he thinks he can, then I want to see it. I have signed.

101handbags Tue 02-Apr-13 10:56:19

I wonder if he watched that BBC documentary 'Growing up Poor'. Every. Single. Penny. Counted. He has no idea. I've signed the petition.

NigellasGuest Tue 02-Apr-13 11:12:17

IDS assumed he could go to the top of the waiting list at DF's golf club.
They said No.

ClaireDeTamble Tue 02-Apr-13 11:15:09

Agree with those saying it wouldn't make a difference because he would know there was an end to it.

Pulp got it right:

Rent a flat above a shop, cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool, pretend you never went to school.
But still you'll never get it right
'cos when you're laid in bed at night watching roaches climb the wall
If you call your Dad he could stop it all.
You'll never live like common people
You'll never do what common people do
You'll never fail like common people
You'll never watch your life slide out of view, and dance and drink and screw
Because there's nothing else to do.

thebody Tue 02-Apr-13 11:15:31

Signed. Love to see it.

NigellasGuest Tue 02-Apr-13 11:17:28

Living on £53 a week - is that for food, after all other outgoings, or is it for everything? Either way it's impossible. And I agree, he needs to try it for a year in social housing, not sitting at home in his country house taking the opportunity to have a healthy fast for a week.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 11:18:35

What I would like to see is him going into the communities he is screwing over and talking to the disabled/the carers/the struggling families and tell them why they are being hit hardest whilst his millionaire chums are getting tax breaks, and multi £billion companies are getting away with paying peanuts in tax

I agree. He was ambushed by some of the people he's fucking over in Edinburgh the other day and he didn't do very well, though it wasn't widely or well-reported.

What this petition will achieve is that his hasty boast on the Today programme stays alive and the thin-skinned liar struggles to control his temper when he's challenged to do this again and again.

It's a bit of fun; the only bit of fun that people can have at his expense at the moment. And being treated with scornful humour is what does for all politicians in the end.

DrinkFeckArseGirls Tue 02-Apr-13 11:19:11

Sugned it for the pute pleasure of watching it being discussed in the parliament. grin

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 11:30:57


fluffiphlox Tue 02-Apr-13 11:40:26

I dare say there are people who have the misfortune to live on £54 per week but I'm not altogether sure that the man on the Today programme is one of them.

Miggsie Tue 02-Apr-13 11:45:40

Well, I know someone who attended a meeting about the new benefit system with IDS and most of the meeting ended up being people explaining to IDS that the majority of households whether or not on benefits are NOT married couples with 2 children with a SAHM and male wage earner.

His model for benefits was that all money would be paid to the male "head of the household" who could them distribute the money as he saw fit to his extended family.

Cue a hour of poeple trying to explain about benefits that go to single mothers. I don't think he understands the reality of the UK - his social model seems to be ancient Rome and the pater familias.

He is not fit to be in charge of a whelk stall.

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 11:46:35

I signed the petition, despite it being pretty whimsical. It's change.org, not the house of commons website, so it won't be discussed in parliament, but hopefully this massive response to his foolish, patronising bullshit will alert some journos who have their heads equally in the clouds that his cuts do not have the popular support that they claim.

changeforthebetter Tue 02-Apr-13 11:56:51

Signed. I hate this grabby, hard-nosed fuck-you attitude. I am hard working and have paid loads of tax over the years. I work now but can't survive without a top up. I had the misfortune to marry a seemingly upright twunt citizen who turned out to be anything but hmm

Trinpy Tue 02-Apr-13 12:00:47

I've signed.

Would love for this to be changed to include the entire Conservative party grin.

We lived on a very low wage not long after we first moved in together. The hotel dh worked for went into administration. He hadn't been paid for 2 months. He was the main wage-earner in our household, I was working for min wage in a crappy pt job (the recession had just kicked in and there were no ft jobs availiable). We couldn't afford to finish furnish our house so we slept on an old mattress and put a paper tablecloth on the floor for mealtimes. Dh took any work he could get and I worked evenings for a fast-food chain, wiping down the tables and emptying the bins (they don't let just anyone flip the burgers, y'know) but I would often turn up to be told that they had too many staff on and I had to be sent home. I used to lock myself in the cleaning cupboard at work and cry because it was so soul-destroying.

I hope to god I never have to live like that again but it really helped me understand how it feels to be poor. I agree though its not quite the same if its only temporary.

curryeater Tue 02-Apr-13 12:11:25

Trinpy, I would like it to be the whole govt.

There is a book by Rawls called "A theory of justice". Basically the idea is that if you got the decision makers of society to make the decisions about how society would work while having no idea what position they themselves would hold in that society they would go for something Rawls called "maxi-min" - they would maximise the well-being of the worst-off. You could still have rich people or even a few insanely rich people, but if you didn't know what situation you were going to land in, you would hedge your bets and make sure that all situations were at least reasonably alright.

I think we should actively apply this principle to the govt. I think we should force them all to live for reasonable periods of time under the conditions that they impose on others. As other posters have said, they should still work and maintain their other obligations while living on £54 a week. Let them try to squeeze the last bit of glue out of the tube to mend their broken shoes in the middle of the night, hoping it will dry by the morning in time for work; let them do this while the baby is teething and they can't afford the usual staff, and they have work in the morning; let them do everything they have to do with no cabs, no money to eat out, not even to grab a ready made sandwich or coffee, no paid help, hardly any proper protein. Let them do it.

WhatKindofFool Tue 02-Apr-13 12:21:18


boxershorts Tue 02-Apr-13 12:40:24

Well IDS is being paid by the taxpayer about 140 grand a year. Yet he crucifies poor people

boxershorts Tue 02-Apr-13 12:43:07

diverting A little Vic Derbyshire has disappeared fro radio 5Live misteriously. Has she had a baby?

LexiLexi Tue 02-Apr-13 12:43:28

Poverty really bites over time, this isn't a matter of surviving on £53 for one week.

I've signed and would love to see this experiment played out over a year, however would suggest the following amendments:

1. IDS is placed on an estate with no nearby shops other than an expensive newsagents, a long and expensive bus journey from the nearest town
2. He starts the experiment with no insurance of any kind on any household goods, etc.
3. Empty cupboards
4. A set of very basic, old, inefficient and unreliable household appliances; and 5. A collection of nearly worn out secondhand clothes.

Sparklyboots Tue 02-Apr-13 12:54:57

Agree - we could all manage for 1 week but if it's your whole fucking life, and you haven't the education, contacts or experience either personally or in your social circle to get out of it then I can't really see anyone surviving as a happy, law abiding, socially engaged citizen.

I think I could manage but only because I know I've the education and social skills to get out of that situation. IDS, if he's genuine and not just speaking the rhetoric which keeps him in privilege, has totally overlooked his own socially constructed resources - like education, like having a social circle that models work and social engagement that would make it possible for him.

If he could survive on £53 a week then he should accept it as his salary for the rest of his public service. I'd be interested to see how long he remained in public service on those terms, even with his free housing and inherited wealth...

curryeater Tue 02-Apr-13 13:00:23

In fact I think that, under the circumstances described (estate in the middle of nowhere, second hand wearing out clothes, no cabs, no staff etc) he should be docked money from this if he is ever late to any of his engagements ever. No bike, no car, bus doesn't turn up, no money for cabs, holes in shoes = late. Which, irl, means that those in low-status jobs, on benefits, or in workfare lose money. So should he.

WhatKindofFool Tue 02-Apr-13 13:16:14

Curryeater That would be an unfair comparison though as it does cost a lot of money to work.

lottieandmia Tue 02-Apr-13 13:21:58

£53 a week, I would say is impossible to survive on. This is supposed to include rent, food, fuel and clothes??

LexiLexi Tue 02-Apr-13 13:27:48

WhatKindofFool I think I'd have him stay at home with fortnightly visits to the Job Centre. Social isolation is a major hurdle for many stuck in the poverty trap. Not 100% convinced that going to work is more expensive, just think of the free perks, most have access to the internet, free heating and cups of coffee.

Agree with curryeater that his money should be docked if he is late for any appointments, public transport is very unreliable and many of the sanctions currently given to job seekers are downright petty and unfair. Be good to see how he feels when he's on the receiving end.


TooExtraImmatureCheddar Tue 02-Apr-13 13:37:44

I didn't see the Today programme - was that £53 including rent, council tax, bills, petrol, food etc? I have signed - I'd love to see him try! I spend more than £100 per week on food, petrol and bus fares (to work) alone, not counting rent/bills etc that come off at the beginning of the month.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 02-Apr-13 13:43:04

As said upthread I've lived on less before and the thought of going back to that life fills me with dread, I really couldn't bear it. I knew I'd get out of it and worked hard to do it but not everyone is that lucky. This is there life, every single day of it, for ever. Now that is poverty. What quality of life is that? It's not good enough saying people can live on that amount of money. They need a light at the end of the tunnel, help to get out of the rut.

Latara Tue 02-Apr-13 13:43:26

I would like to see him sitting in his own mortgaged home, unable to mend broken window latches because he can't afford it (like me) & there's no landlord to pay for the repairs.
With no insulation in his walls or roof, heating turned down low as possible or turned off, sat in his coat & scarf & hat & 3 layers of clothing.

I'd like him to have to find the money for his mortgage (no Housing Benefit for mortgage payers) from the £54 a week.
He won't be able to sell the home because he can't pay for Estate Agent fees, or Solicitors fees etc etc.

I hope there'll be a Foodbank near where he lives or he'll get skinny fast in that situation haaha.

Latara Tue 02-Apr-13 13:44:54

PS if my family weren't so kind as to pay for food (cheapest tinned fish, no meat for me) then i'd be down the Foodbank too.

Viviennemary Tue 02-Apr-13 13:49:41

Who exactly is living on £53 per week at the moment. I'd like to see their budget.

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 13:52:08

Not rent, lottie, but everything else. Including your council tax, now, in many areas.

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 13:55:59

my son is Vivienne not a scrounger just 23 and cant even get an interview for a real job (those he has been sent on all turn out not to be paid jobs at all). he lives in a crummy privately rented room and if it wasn't for me helping out of my own very much less-than-average-wage job.. he'd be totally stuffed

Rosieres Tue 02-Apr-13 14:02:12

In a speech in 2011 IDS complained about an entrenched sense of entitlement in UK society. Even though he lives in a house on the Buckinghamshire estate of his father-in-law, the 5th Baron Cottesloe. Terrible thing "entitlement", I hope his actions reign in the over-housed and titled. Somehow I think he prefers to persecute those without very much to those with plenty.

Petition signed.

Latara Tue 02-Apr-13 14:02:27

Laska42 has your son tried care work? It is poorly paid at first but not so bad once you have experience & NVQs.
It's rewarding & sociable, would look good on a CV for most jobs as it shows you are good at working with people.

Lots of Care Agencies and Nursing or Residential Homes are looking for staff & many now give NVQ training too - it's not for some people because it involves personal care but it's worth a try?

Lastofthepodpeople Tue 02-Apr-13 14:04:49

Wow, they're up to 213000 signatures in two days and I agree that a week isn't enough.
Doubt he'd do it though, not if even if it got a million. I think the govt is quite aware £53 isn't enough to live on, they just don't care.

I've signed too, tho I do think it's a stupid gimmick in a way, I would love to see it debated in parliament lol

What IDS needs to come to terms with is that it's not just people on benefits trying to live on a pittance, it is also working families who don't qualify for tax credits (because their combined income is more than £26k) but who do have to pay out on childcare and the other associated costs of going to work and find themselves really very short on money to live on. In this recent cold weather I have been heating just one room in my house on days I'm at home with DS just with a heater, the two of us wearing extra jumpers and playing under blankets. IDS and the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition want to act like we're all in this together?! I'd love to see Sam Cam trying to stay warm and serving up beans and baked potatoes for dinner every night. This is the reality of life for families in modern Britain, and that's with the parents being together and both have degrees. When I think of being a single parent trying to juggle work and childcare or not have qualifications so not being able to get a job I really do despair for us all.

Bridgetbidet Tue 02-Apr-13 14:09:19

If he did it he would be put in a flat that was perfect one person, with the most fuel efficient heating, good access to local facilities for internet etc, links to public transport, new and fully functioning white goods which don't break down, and access to shopping.

Not like in real life where you live in a house which is inconveniently big and hard to heat, miles from the library where you need to go for the net, only convenient for expensive shops like Costcutter, you have old shitty stuff which breaks down constantly and already have a pile of debt and bills which need to be paid.

I would LOVE to see him pay council tax on £53 pound a week. I really struggle with that bill on much more.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 14:11:25

Signed it yesterday.
It'd have to be for a year, with no recourse to his wife's family money or other support.

In a damp flat that has one room too many so he has to pay 14% of his rent out of that £53 (which is what they wanted me to do out of my £58 Carers allowance). Plus the council tax contribution. Oh, and have key meters for fas and electric.

Plus make the white goods rickety so they'll fail and need replacement, too.

Oh, and make sure he gets sanctioned for not signing on because he's expected at his workfare placement (which he'd get sanctioned for being late for that to sign on so he can't win either way).

Plus stuff up a couple of payments necessitating numerous calls from his payg mobile to get reinstated... But his credit runs out and there's nothing in the bank...

Dinkysmummy Tue 02-Apr-13 14:20:51

What I would really like to see is any government official try to live in the circumstance I find myself in. I have a 5yo undergoing assessment for SN, we have just been housed after i lost my job in the recession and threfore being made homeless from private rental accomodation, we have no carpet, curtains, cooker, washing machine, fridge, beds, sofa , wardrobes, chest of drawers ect.
I am on JSA and get child tax credits. I applied for community care grant (which now no longer exists) and was told all I need is a cooker, a bed each, a chest of draws between the pair of us, and a sofa.
A fridge/freezer, washing machine, carpets, curtains ect were considered not to be a reasonable need!
So I have to find the money out of my JSA/tax credits to buy these nessessary items. But having to fork out for laundrette doesn't help either. I can't hang her unformed, not even off the curtain rails, because I don't have any!
I'm searching for a job but can't find one to fit in with school and my dd's appointments and school meetings re her SN.

Could they do it without trying to fill in an expenses form? No. I'm doing my best but with the government forcing so many into work there are too many applicants for the small number of jobs. This is only made worse when the area has seen a major influx in new migrant workers.

I fear I will have to pay for the items I sorely need by credit card and spend the next however many years paying it off!

I never intended to be dependant on the state. This is the result of the reccession... Maybe instead of saying we are in it together from their comfortable homes and lives they should have to have the worries most people have. Take away their expenses, reduce their salaries and make them experience the way those they make decisions for live!

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 14:21:33

I felt sorry for those poor sods at Morrison's Kent depot today dragooned into listening to Gideon's speech about the glorious welfare reforms.

Is Morrison's on the Workfare list by any chance?

MoreBeta Tue 02-Apr-13 14:23:59

News just out in the FT behind paywall but here is headline plus first para:

"UK considers cut in minimum wage

Ministers are considering freezing or even cutting the minimum wage, despite embarking on the largest contraction to date in the welfare state with the aim of making “work pay”."

This is insane and typical of the cack handed way this Coalition is implementing benefit and tax reform.

Cutting NMW will result in Govt paying out more tax credits and removing the incentive to work for many.

Madness. I voted for the Conservative party at the last election and support welfare reform - then they go and remove the incentive and reward for work and hand big business an even bigger subsidy.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

MoreBeta Tue 02-Apr-13 14:26:03

By the way Jo Swinson LibDem minister is supporting this so it is a Coalition idea.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 14:27:54

They really have lost it, haven't they?

It's already been pointed out that the minimum wage isn't a living wage.

Latara Tue 02-Apr-13 14:33:16

Cutting the MInimum Wage. WTF?!!

PS. DinkysMummy i would definitely like to see IDS in your situation, & George Osbourne & the Camerons too, i hope things improve for you soon.

I have signed.

If we are all in it together the lot of them should be doing this, anyone who agrees with this should be living the dream on £53 a week, they are all paid by the tax payer, funny they are not voting to cut their own benefits!

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 14:34:36

If there was an election tomorrow what does everyone think the result would be?

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 14:34:57

Sorry, that was a blatant hijack and should be on another thread.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 14:36:32

Oh and if it's possible to live on£53 a week perhaps they shouldn't be getting £400 a month food allowance, housing allowance, subsidised bars and restaurants all on top of their MP salary! We'd save millions a month if they all cut that lot to £53

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 14:37:06

Hester - UKIP or BNP scarily.

JustinBsMum Tue 02-Apr-13 14:42:51

If you are determined enough to win an elected seat in Parliament you will be determined enough to live on 53 quid a week.

I could live on 53 quid a week (not happily but i could live on it) so am sure IdS can.

WhatKindofFool Tue 02-Apr-13 14:47:26

I'd like him to have to find the money for his mortgage (no Housing Benefit for mortgage payers) from the £54 a week.
Letara - I agree.

Dutchoma Tue 02-Apr-13 15:09:18

I'm just wondering what he would have to pay out of that £53 a week? A room in a house costs more than that. Toilet paper, washing up liquid, washing powder even if the utility bills were included in the rent. Not to mention food. I could live on £53 a week if it was just for food and for not very long, but for everything?

ModernToss Tue 02-Apr-13 15:26:17

In a speech in 2011 IDS complained about an entrenched sense of entitlement in UK society. Even though he lives in a house on the Buckinghamshire estate of his father-in-law, the 5th Baron Cottesloe.

This is why they can get to fuck with their 'all in this together', and why I signed this petition yesterday.

WorraLiberty Tue 02-Apr-13 15:29:23

Just a word of warning about Change.org

I signed a petition on here a few months ago and every since, I've been spammed to kingdom come by Change.fucking org.

I've also had this petition 'kindly' sent to me by them.

Bitofagirl Tue 02-Apr-13 15:38:37

The caller in question said once he had paid his rent and bills he was left with £53 a week. That is what IDS responded to.

We were with friends over the weekend and discussed this whole story, and this week are totting up how much we spend after mortgage and bills, as we honestly have no idea.

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 15:41:31

worraliberty and all You can unsubscribe to Change.org mailings .. the link is on their emails ..

WorraLiberty Tue 02-Apr-13 15:43:48

Really? Thanks Laska I didn't realise that.

They must have been sneaky though cos I didn't sign up to receive them in the first place. Must have been an auto ticked box I didn't spot blush

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 15:50:15

I didn't think I had either .. , so yes sneaky

Xenia Tue 02-Apr-13 15:57:20

He said he would if he had to as would all of us. He is doing very good work to change the system to make it all work better. He deserves cross party support.

Kneedeepindaisies Tue 02-Apr-13 15:58:36

I've signed because it must be awful to have to survive on £53 a week let alone live!

And because IDS proved what a twat he is by coming out with such a glib comment.

QuintEggSensuality Tue 02-Apr-13 16:02:22

Why should he?

He has a good education, and a job. He has been working his entire life, his financial commitments match his salary, and like most people will need to readjust as his life changes.

Why should some people live on benefits their entire lives? Most people could live on that amount for a short time, being tidied over.

The welfare state was meant to be a stop gap, not a life style choice.

I agree with the changes. He also said that he fully expected certain people to be totally opposed, and he was right about that too.

I for one think the government is on the right track with this.

QuintEggSensuality Tue 02-Apr-13 16:05:04

I should add, if I had £53 a week spare when everything was pad, I would be laughing!

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 16:11:55

But he doesn't have a good education, he lied about that. And he hasn't worked for what he has, he married a rich woman and lives rent-free in a house provided by her father.

He reminds me of that song by Dave Lee Roth - what's it called? I'm Just a Gigolo? Something like that.

lonahjomu Tue 02-Apr-13 16:12:52

How many people who have signed the petition, did so having heard the radio caller and the facts behind the reply IDS made?

Many I believe think that £53 is being expected to cover everything? It isnt. The caller has this figure after Rent & bills are paid.

QuintEggSensuality Tue 02-Apr-13 16:16:49

Well, so is he a good living proof then that you can get ahead without a degree. He has still had some education, and he has been working, and also for a short period of time claimed unemployment benefit!

garlicbrunch Tue 02-Apr-13 16:19:08

To those asking: The weekly subsistence has to pay part of your rent (depending on what it is / whether it's social housing / how many rooms you have) and, from this week, 30% of your council tax.

People under 30 are expected to live in a shared home.

I am not paying my council tax, by the time I get sent to prison I'll have been evicted for rent arrears so will need the food & shelter confused

I get £71 a week.
I have no insurances any more.
I cancelled my TV licence.
My passport and driving licence have expired.
I pay £54 a month for landline, mobile and broadband. (Took out phone contract before this all kicked off; 6 months still to run.)
Rent excess is £60 a month, which I don't always pay.
Metered gas & electricity: currently costing £30 a week. (Heating more expensive as home all day, and often unwell.)

Fortunately I did have lots of clothes, shoes, bed linen, etc left over from better days. I daren't even think about my 18-year-old washing machine breaking down as even the cost of hot water to do it by hand would be a problem!

I cancelled a hospital appointment today because I'd forgotten about it and don't have the £6 bus fare. The hospital pays my fare back in cash, but Work Programme appointments are also in the £6-fare town and they refund it 10 weeks later by BACS.

I only have myself to think about - the choice to heat or eat is mine and I live on casseroles padded out with lentils. With children, you get more money but have stacks more sudden expenses.

It's an incredibly tiny life, hemmed about with fear sad

garlicbrunch Tue 02-Apr-13 16:20:01

Oh, water rates - I don't pay those, either.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 16:20:27

Of course you can get on without a degree.

In his case by marrying money.


limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 16:20:34

I'm glad it's not just me that remembers him lying about his education saskia. Making a misleading claim on your CV is an excellent example to jobseekers, isn't it?

However YABVU to put an image of baldyman as Richard Gere cutting a swathe through the ladies of LA in my head <<vomit>>

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 16:21:31

He's a good example of getting ahead by marrying into money. Maybe we should suggest it to all those unemployed 20 year olds - 'don't bother to get a job, just look for a rich person to hook up with'. hmm

garlicbrunch Tue 02-Apr-13 16:24:01

Hmm, they could replace MWA with compulsory matchmaking?

QuintEggSensuality Tue 02-Apr-13 16:26:59

Saskia, many women who opts to marry and have kids and become sahms rather than work could be accused of the same!

This man works! Does his rich wife work? I assume you know, seeing as you know so much about his married life.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 16:28:25

limitedperiod Yes, we should all do it. In the future I shall claim to be a fully qualified astronaut - what could possibly go wrong?!

Sorry, for spoiling RG though sad

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 16:30:05

Being a sahm is not the same as marrying someone far wealthier than you and then portraying yourself as a hard working paragon of virtue. It's very insulting (to sahms) for you to suggest the two situations are the same.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 16:31:14

And as far as I know, the only time his wife worked was when he wangled a job for her as his diary keeper.

QuintEggSensuality Tue 02-Apr-13 16:32:45

I honestly dont see what him lying about his problems getting on with education has to do with his welfare reforms! You are turning the whole argument on his head.

Whether you are a woman or a man opting to live off your partner, and not work, does not matter. However, I honestly dont think you can call mr Iain Duncan Smith a sponger, as at least he works.

QuintEggSensuality Tue 02-Apr-13 16:33:43

So how can you even bring up the point that he married a rich woman? He is a working man earning a living! He does not sponge off her? Or are men not allowed to marry rich women? How sexist of you!

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 16:38:00

Quint are you Mrs DS? Because you seem very keen to defend him, despite him being a rank hypocrite.

cuillereasoupe Tue 02-Apr-13 16:47:52

And as far as I know, the only time his wife worked was when he wangled a job for her as his diary keeper

For which she was investigated for receiving pay (funded by the taxpayer) wholly incommensurate with her duties. Nice work if you can get it:


fluffiphlox Tue 02-Apr-13 16:49:20

I think Betsy may have made sausages at some time (honest).

Chockyeggpants Tue 02-Apr-13 16:58:55

There are millions of people around the world who survive on PENNIES A WEEK. Perhaps it's time the entitled UK dwellers remembered this.

Astley Tue 02-Apr-13 17:18:53

Why should he though? He has a job so isn't trying to live off the state. He doesn't need to prove he can, he has proven he doesn't want to by getting out there and having a job.

cuillereasoupe Tue 02-Apr-13 17:20:48

He has a job so isn't trying to live off the state

No, he just got the state to pay his wife for a fake job.

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 17:21:33

What a bloody ridiculous thing to say. Your comment is astounding in its stupidity, Chockyeggpants.

That crucial little concept called "cost of living" hasn't occurred to you has it?

I'm sure folk on £54 a week could survive just lovely in Bhutan on the same money, you're right.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Tue 02-Apr-13 17:25:37

When IDS said he could live on £53 a week, what was he meaning it would cover. Surely not rent and council tax?

If he had absolutely no luxuries at all, walked everywhere, and ate baked potatoe and beans all week as his main meal, and heated his house ofr about an hour a day, maybe he could manage...

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 17:37:38

quint the kindest way to put it is that Duncan-Smith made a misleading statement on his CV that may have led an employer to believe he had a degree from a prestigious Italian university when in fact he'd attended a brief non-degree course at a college down the road. He also made the most of a month-long series of classes sponsored by a former employer which led to no qualification.

That's the sort of thing any of us might be tempted to do when finding ourselves redundant in a competitive jobs market, such as the one there is now.

But most people would advise against putting that on a CV in case an employer finds out and shows you the door.

I find it fascinating that the Secretary of State for The Department of Work and Pensions hasn't advised today's jobseekers not to follow his example. Or maybe he would tell to go for it because sometimes people don't check. Sadly, it's one of the few matters about finding work in a challenging environment of which Duncan-Smith has experience but keeps quiet on.

The other thing he knows about is being a middle-aged person who's let go by an employer, as happened to him when the Conservative Party waved him goodbye as leader 10 years ago.

Luckily he was able to hold on to his other job as Chingford MP and has managed to reinvent himself. Although an air of humility about those people not fortunate enough to represent a safe seat would be nice.

Kendodd Tue 02-Apr-13 17:40:27

Suppose he takes up this challenge and survives beautifully? What are people going to say then?

Maybe he'll arrive with his own bike to get from a to b, he'll stay in the smallest (cheap to heat) place he can find, and eat a really healthy veggie diet with loads of lentils.

I don't know what else he has to pay for out of his £54 per week, but I could feed myself easily out of that. I fear this whole petition could back fire.

Vev Tue 02-Apr-13 17:46:59

And when he takes a huge reduction in his salary, to live on his fifty odd quid for a year, he should donate it to homeless shelters. Put his money where his mouth is.

I think that if he were to do this in a way that actually meant anything, and gave him any real idea he would have to

- Do it without knowing when it would stop. So have to deal with the uncertainty.
- Start off with the money being delayed due to processing.
- Have to find a LL that takes HB.
- Sign on every fortnight.
- Apply for jobs and get to interviews, making sure to go the furthest distance the jobcentre dictates.
- Have to factor in how he'd pay off a credit card which has an average amount of debt on it.
- Be quoted insurance as if he were unemployed.
- Have to deal with at least one expensive emergency (broken cooker, broken car etc)
- Start off with cheap clothes/furniture etc so that he has to factor in the lower quality stuff wearing out sooner.
- Not have anyone else pay for his meals, drinks etc.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 17:53:01

Of course you can do that short term, especially if you have a point to prove kendodd

Duncan 'quiet man' Smith has previous for making vainglorious statements and some people in the government aren't happy with him for foolishly blurting that out on the Today programme when he should have anticipated a bear trap.

But submitting to a regime such as greenbananas and lexilexi have mentioned is a lot more difficult.

Duncan-Smith will tell us that he's far too busy sorting out the scroungers on the welfare state to do anything like live on £53 a week. But it's a useful thing to bait him with seeing as he's vain and amusingly thin-skinned.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 17:54:14

Chockyeggpants People in other countries may be living on pennies, but that doesn't mean we (in one of the richest countries in the world) should try to emulate that. We should aspire to bring our living standards up to those in countries such as Sweden, not dragging the poor down to subsistence levels.

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 17:55:06

he night,, but if he did it properly like most people on benefits do .. not like hes just lost his job , but like hes been doing it for a while he'd find,,,

1. you need money to buy a bike (or he could steal one of course like many scroungers do) .

2 vegetables and lentils and the gas / elec / pots and pans to cook then , cost more than meals from Iceland or aldi in a microwave (or there is scrounging from closed markets attheend of the day and supermarket bins)

3. small places privately rented cost lots and are well beyond most peoples means

I just had to fork out nearly £1000 to a letting agency for the tinest of studio flats in rent in advance. guarantor agreements , 'application fee' and 'inventory@ (of an unfurnished studio) for my unemployed son of 22, who yes,will get housing benefit and JSA (lower rate because he is under 25) but will still be £50 a month short on his rent of £320 (the cheapest we could find) , but he couldn't have funded anywhere to live otherwise..

Why doesn't he live with me? . .. he's moved to another city from our high unemployment area so hopefully he can find a job

Yes you could feed yourself.. but there clothes , shoes, bus fares to find work, council tax (now) water gas electricity , furniture and white goods which break or wear out..

nkf Tue 02-Apr-13 17:55:55

If he did it, it still wouldn't prove anything. Most people could do it. Many people do. Most rich people could do it. Many poor people do it all the time. It's just no way to live week in, week out. It's a silly statement.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 17:59:21

I have no time to reply to chocky. I'm too busy sorting through the stinking rubbish next door to my slum.

Kendodd Tue 02-Apr-13 18:04:59

What exactly would he have to pay for with his £53 per week? I'm sure this isn't to cover everything, rent, tax, bills, food etc. That would be impossible but it's not for everything, what is it to cover?

Kendodd Tue 02-Apr-13 18:08:21

As I said, I fear this whole thing is going to backfire. Didn't Michael Portillo do something similar and manage very well?

Kendodd Tue 02-Apr-13 18:08:42

Although I know it's not long term.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 18:10:20

laska42 one of the things that enraged me about a Jamie Oliver programme teaching a feckless single mother how to eat homecooked food with a knife and fork was that he didn't explain how she'd have any money left over for delicious food after buying a knife and fork, and pans and plates, a fridge, a cooker, the bus fare to go and buy it or maybe the internet connection to order it and the gas and electricity to run them and wash up.

The other thing that enraged me was that she was so starstruck, or maybe downtrodden and edited, that she didn't tell him that.

nkf Tue 02-Apr-13 18:10:31

Michael Portillo did. It was filmed. He lived with the family of a single mother for a week. He was adorable if I remember correctly. Did her TA job, cooked a chicken, read to the children, wore a pinny. Not sure how she fared as a cabinet minister but perhaps they didn't do the swap.

Tortington Tue 02-Apr-13 18:12:03

nadine dorris was on LBC radio and said about the tower block programme that MPs took part in that they did not have to live off benefits, they DID budget money with families who had those benefits - but they ate very nicely with the camera crew and to her (loony) honest credit she did say that the programme was totally falsely advertised.

she also stated that she made a spag bol for 12 people for next to nothing using basic ingrediants - and what 'these people' want to do is microwave meals and get instant gratification.

Its perfectly do-able said she....after just admitting that she never actually did it hmm

Chockyeggpants Tue 02-Apr-13 18:13:31

The negative responses to my earlier post just shows how entitled UK dwellers are. So my comments are stupid are they? Pot and kettle springs to mind.
I remember the Michael Portillo programme too. I recall he did very well.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 18:19:14

Entitled? No, it's basic human decency not to want your fellow citizens to live in abject poverty. If you can't relate to that, there's not much point discussing the matter.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 18:25:50

Yes, Portillo did manage okay. It was some years ago, he'd been out of Parliament since 1997 and was seeking to reinvent himself.

It's what many middle-aged people have to do when finding themselves suddenly unemployed. Most middle-aged people don't have TV companies offering them high-profile platforms on which to offer their wares.

Still, all credit to Portillo, who performed admirably on that programme, and is likeable and humble on the various well-paid TV gigs from politics to trainspotting shows that he's earned off the back of it.

Humility was in short supply when he was one of Margaret Thatcher's favourite young ministers in the '80s but I can be charitable.

Another former MP who's done it is a now-journalist called Matthew Parris. He seems thoroughly ashamed of his past views. Every time I think I should forgive him I think: 'Nah, let him carry on feeling like he used to be a shit.'

In case anyone thinks I'm partisan, there was a Labour MP, I think it was Austin Mitchell, who was disgraceful on that tower block challenge show that Duncan-Smith ducked out of when Betsy got cancer.

And I make no apologies for saying that the unfeeling bastard 'ducked out' of it. Because people's wives get cancer and they don't have a get out back to a nice life.

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 18:25:57

Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, did an experiment with £18 for a week's food. www.youtube.com/feed/UCBa5dv2Oq9UY-zkDRDIhAsw

Chockyeggpants Tue 02-Apr-13 18:32:51

I don't want people in the UK to live in poverty.
It's about being thankful that the UK has NHS free education and social welfare to look after those who can't look after themselves.
In other countries disabled, homeless, unemployed would be left to starve.
From what I can see the majority on this thread are whining at how little taxpayers give them to help them out.
And yes I've lived on less than £50 a week when my partners employers went bankrupt with no warning. I was grateful that the State gave us any money at all.

JudithOfThePascha Tue 02-Apr-13 18:33:15

One of the many problems with this debate is that some people are confusing the issue of whether benefits are being properly administered with whether there are people without enough money to exist on.

The media has got so many people into a frenzy over people claiming benefits of different kinds when they don't deserve it, that the issue of whether those that truly need and deserve it are given enough just to live is buried.

I don't have a problem with many people being richer and more privileged than I am as such- but I do have a problem with the growing number of people in our country living in real poverty. If this petition goes even a tiny way to highlight this, then that can only be a good thing. However, I doubt it will even do that.

ivykaty44 Tue 02-Apr-13 18:39:33

DC tried to move IDS to another post other than DW and IDS refused to be moved - he could well seal the fate of this government if he tries a little harder

Chocky Being grateful for not being on pennies a day does not mean you should just put up with barely getting enough to live.

And actually it benefits the state to make sure people can afford to live, it's not all one way.

- if people have enough money to live by then they spend it, which helps the economy.
- if they don't then they have to find a way to live, which often only leaves crime as an option.
- if they don't have enough money for a decent level of living then they put strain on the state in other ways (eg. worse health = more pressure on the NHS)

And that's just a few examples.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 18:42:10

Chocky But, all those things are being cut, so many people won't have even the basics - food, a home, healthcare. You do realise there are thousands of people who are facing eviction? And just as many who will have to choose whether to buy food or heat their homes? Personally, I think that's despicable, unnecessary and completely counter-productive.

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 18:46:55

Well said, Judith. "... frenzy over people claiming benefits of different kinds when they don't deserve it" Many of these stories were actually made up. Fictional. The retractions are published in a tiny box, somewhere inside the paper. Meanwhile, the invented 'scandal' has gone viral.

Chocky, you are really not getting the point. Mr Duncan Smith's policy is to drive the under- and un-employed of Britain to the very edge of total destitution, with extremely limited access to healthcare and education. It is sad that the poor of some less wealthy countries are destitute, but that's no reason to say the poor of this - the sixth wealthiest nation in the world - should suffer equally!

In case you missed the OP, Duncan Smith has actually said he could live on £53. He is rich. He is paid - plus huge expenses and other benefits - by taxpayers. He wants to reduce what poor people get from taxpayers, yet has demanded a 42% pay rise for himself. We would quite like him to put his money where his mouth is.

Zavi Tue 02-Apr-13 18:47:43

What I'm hearing on here is that it really, really hurts to be living a life on benefits. It's hardly "abject poverty" though is it hmm

But actually, living on £53 a week is probably managageable with proper budgeting. Not much fun but manageable.

I loath it when individuals take, take, take whilst adding nothing to the collective pot, or contributing nothing positive to their community in some way in return.

I'm really delighted that the Tories have finally got round to making things fairer grin

I think what is really needed is for life on benefits to feel so uncomfortable that paid employment becomes a far more attractive option. Such a level of discomfort will serve To motivate.

Lets face it, it's well known that people used to whinge, without a shred of shame, "but I can't afford to work, I'd lose all my benefits and be worse off". They used to blame the benefits system for trapping them on benefits angry

Bring on the changes I say! Not soon enough!

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 18:48:23

Chocky, I have never been on benefits. I have never been hand to mouth. I have never been genuinely poor.

But even I can see that £54 per week in the UK is a miserable, miserable thing. It's called empathy. And again, you fail to address the cost of living which in the UK is very high.

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 18:49:51

No one is saying the system is perfect as it is. No one is saying nothing needs to change. But this government is demonising poverty and genuine need and blaming the ills of the country on those claiming benefits rather than looking a little closer to home at their tax avoiding chums.

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 18:50:42

Great stuff, Zavi, where would you like them to find this paid employment to make them better off?

Why do you imagine people choose a life that "really hurts" if they could just sign off and earn more?

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 18:55:32

Earth to chocky. People in the UK do live in poverty. It's all relative, innit?

Do you want people in a first world country to starve in the gutter before you'll believe it?

And how will that help our economy to generate growth, jobs and prosperity, exactly? I'd really like to know your thoughts on you'd organise that because it's proving a bit of a challenge for politicians of all first world nations.

BTW I have a job that doesn't require me to whine at taxpayers to help me out aside from little things like paying for infrastructure, the Armed Services, education, the NHS, police...

I'd just like our country to do that because I don't know about you, but I've been gravely ill in the past and before I paid off my mortgage, because I'm rich, middle-aged and bought at the right time, I was just three mortage payments from disaster, or whatever they say it is.

Still makes me a bit twitchy about my future income given that I may live for another 40 years with a shrinking work market despite my enviable skills. Are you as lucky as me?

midastouch Tue 02-Apr-13 19:03:01

What have you got to pay for with the £53 a week? and for how many people?

"I think what is really needed is for life on benefits to feel so uncomfortable that paid employment becomes a far more attractive option."

Ok, say there were 3 job positions open. And 30 candidates. How will motivation help 27 of those candidates?

TotemPole Tue 02-Apr-13 19:03:28

Living off £53 a week could be doable depending on circumstances.

What facilities does their kitchen have. Does it have a fridge/freezer.

Do they have access to cheaper shopping options such as a market or a supermarket with a reduced section.

Is their home well insulated or a money drain.

Having to use a laundrette costs more than the electricity to run a machine at home.

Can they walk where they need to go or do they need to pay for public transport.

It's all the little things for an extra £1 here and £2 there that add up to make a big difference.

Zavi Tue 02-Apr-13 19:03:51

Yes, I agree that there is competition for jobs out there but there are also loads of people who have been sitting on benefits for years waiting for a "well paid job" to magic out of thin air.

Meanwhile, immigrants with initiative has snaffled up the jobs that the layabouts "couldn't afford" to take on. This whole country has become a land of opportunity for hard-working immigrant families. They should be an example to the home-grown lay-abouts.

My bug-bear is about those who take more out of the common pot than they've put in. If their lives on benefits are uncomfortable so be it

Bring on the discomfort for the non-contributors (and stop giving them concessions) I say!

JudithOfThePascha Tue 02-Apr-13 19:04:49

Zavi, as you say living on £53 per week is 'probably' manageable, can we take it that you haven't actually tried? I mean, including all utilities, insurances, food etc etc? Maybe you should actually try it before you make sweeping statements like that. Somebody should start a petition...

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 19:11:05

Zavi I know someone who says things like that - they're quite racist.

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 19:12:44

I simply dont know what to say to you without resorting to being rude. ..

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 19:16:11

zavi, a "non contributor" being.....??

Someone paid such shit pay they pay no income tax?
Someone who's unable to work because of ill health?
Someone who has been looking for a job for ages and can't even get an interview?
Someone who lives somewhere the main industry has been closed down leaving them with no prospects?

Because I think these people are more usual than the kind of people you are imaging.

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 19:19:38

zavi immigrants with initiative are undermining hard-won rights, such as the minimum wage, that they don't have in their own countries.

That benefits governments current and recent present.

I don't blame them. I might try the same thing faced with desperation and with their youth, initiative and willingness to relinquish ties on my side.

But I also have direct experience of legal and illegal immigrants who have left this country of opportunity because they can't make it work and/or have been forced by the authorities to leave.

There aren't many jobs to snaffle.

morebeta - i didn't vote Tory and prob wouldn't in future but at the same time i have to say i do have a certain amount of sympathy for welfare reform. All that aside, I really think the proposed cuts in minimum wage, slashing the threshold for tax credits, not doing anything to support families paying for childcare til 2015...all that is removing the incentive for people, particularly families, to go out to work. Not exactly the platform the Tories were looking to get elected on hmm

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 19:20:35

Chockypants - we're incredibly grateful for those things - and downright pissed off that they're slowly being taken away from us.

Unfortunately, some disabled, homeless and unemployed people are being left to starve. George Osborne said today that people who don't go to work have made the wrong choice. That is the level of disdain that this government holds the have nots in.

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 19:21:29

There is competition because there are not enough jobs, you numpty! There are more unemployed people than jobs, hence competition. This obviously means that, if every single vacancy is filled, there will still be millions unemployed. Will they count as lazy, or what?

As for immigrants being willing to work for peanuts and live in a shithole - they leave their kids at home; perhaps you'd like impoverished mums to send their DC to Poland, just so they can clean toilets & live in a shed?

midastouch Tue 02-Apr-13 19:24:31

Zavi So does my DP count as a non contributor, he pays NI but barely any tax, and wont pay any when personal allowance goes up in a few years. He would rather work for pittance than be jobless. He is self employed so his income varies so some months are very very tough for us. Since he isnt putting anything in the pot as such we shouldnt be getting anything out?

HesterShaw Tue 02-Apr-13 19:25:36

Clearly midas you deserve to STARVE IN THE STREET.

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 19:29:26

No, you shouldn't, midas, and by the same token I should be living a significantly happier life on the proceeds of my previous contributions hmm ... oh, wait, it's National Insurance not a personal savings scheme! Quick, somebody tell Zavi.

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 19:32:13

only 300 people till the petition is 300000 and IDS says its just a stunt..

Thats right .. a Cunning Stunt to get a Stunning to finally show that if they want to be in government they should be prepared to lead by example!

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 19:34:12

ooh Mn took my stars out! of 'Stunning C---' , well you know what I meant

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 19:35:08

No, hester, he could starve in the privacy of his own home so long as there were the requisite number of bedrooms.

wheredoistartmrs Tue 02-Apr-13 19:37:43

A lot of people working live on less than that. It's a decent amount.

Latara Tue 02-Apr-13 19:39:19

Zavi my life hurts enough thanks; i'm recovering from Depression with a nasty episode of Psychosis; luckily i can just about cope with part time hours now as an HCA but i've lost the Nursing career i loved and i have to rely on benefits to help pay the bills for the next few months at least.

It's very hard to work even part time hours when i still feel very paranoid at times but i don't want to be unemployed and on JSA or ESA.

I can't pay all my bills and would have to go to the Foodbank if my family weren't so kind.

I get my Part time wages; low rate DLA & some Working Tax Credits as a top-up but that doesn't add up to £53 a week left after paying bills - it adds up to -£0.

I live alone & have to pay for my Mortgage, Loan, Credit card, council tax etc etc etc.
I'd get a lodger but i'm too paranoid still so it would be bad for me and unfair on them. When i'm a bit better i will reconsider.
I can't afford to sell my home.

I hope this situation will be temporary and i can get my career back if i recover but it's not looking too good right now.

Latara Tue 02-Apr-13 19:41:11

I wish i hadn't just posted that cos it's quite personal and it really does hurt to have lost my career - hopefully i will be able to work as an SN again one day but it's not possible for the next year or so at least.

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 19:43:39

Not again.

You can kiss my arse.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 02-Apr-13 19:47:19

Latara I'm sorry you're in that situation, it must be awful sad

If you don't want to leave your post, report it to MNHQ and ask if they'll delete.

Latara Tue 02-Apr-13 19:47:27

What does that mean??

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 02-Apr-13 19:48:19

Not you, Latara. The vile fuckers smile

Laska42 Tue 02-Apr-13 19:50:37

Latara (((hug))) ...OK its corny and cheesy , but have a hug anyway..
(I dont think that last comment was meant for you) . I dont know what it means either , but possibly the poster will illuminate later

limitedperiodonly Tue 02-Apr-13 19:58:30

Yes, have a hug latara.

I hate these people but they crawl all over these threads. Ignore. There aren't as many of them as I expected.

You'll be okay. I say that because I'm optimist and it has to be okay. Take care smile

montage Tue 02-Apr-13 20:07:38

The difference is between living on £53 a week when you have already spent a long time in poverty and are likely to continue to do so and living on £53 a week when you have been bolstered beforehand by a life of privilege and have no fear for your longterm future.

The difference is so vast as to render the experiment meaningless.

Although if he could be dropped on a desert island for at least a week I'd sign that petition. Give us all a break from his meaningless pronouncements.

foolonthehill Tue 02-Apr-13 20:33:50

The numbers of People referred to our foodbank have tripled in the last year...these are people who have to meet very strict criteria of need...we are expecting this to more than double in the next few months. sad sadReform by all means but make sure people can still live.

zwischenzug Tue 02-Apr-13 20:57:31

Should have been done on the government petition site, waste of time trying to force an issue with an online petition on some random site wide open to fake signatures. Plenty of frothing Tory haters will have signed this multiple times.

Tiggles Tue 02-Apr-13 21:03:09

After taking out rent and council tax and petrol for getting to work, but to include all bills, insurance etc, I have (since August last year) £100 a week to live on for a family of 5 -£60 from my job and £40 from child benefit. So working on the assumption that £53 is for a single person, I don't really see the issue.
I've always felt quite well off, sure I live off value products, but we have enough. From the tax year about to start we will be able to claim tax credits (DH was made redundant part way through last year so we weren't eligible) which will mean we are exceedingly well off.
If you have accumulated debt then I guess it would not be enough, maybe in London it's a problem? I am willing to be educated smile

Hopeforever Tue 02-Apr-13 21:03:56

Signed and shared on Facebook.

Don't think he will

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 21:04:32

Hi all,

Could anybody explain to me how do people arrive to the £53 figure? I have totally no idea how the benefit system functions, can anybody enlighten me please?

So, the guy in question works. That mean that he earns at least minimal wage. £6.19 x 40 hours week x 52 weeks gives £12,875. Let's assume he is an honest citizen and pays his ~£1,821 tax and NI. So, he is left with £11,054.

What kind of support a guy with such income can receive from the state? From the council?

Many thanks,

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 21:13:34

The guy in question runs a market stall. He earns whatever his takings are, less costs etc over the 50-70 hours per week he works. He's not guaranteed minimum wage as, presumably, he's self employed.

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 21:21:26

Yes, I thought about that, but isn't working below minimal wage a good sign that the business does not have commercial sense and is merely a hobby?

Anyway, it is was not the thing I was asking. Let's assume he is a prudent guy, works hard and gets his minimal wage. What can he expect from the state?

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 21:24:11

Littlemissgreen. The house isn't going to cost much more to heat for 4 people than for 1. The standing charge for the phone and the TV license are going to be the same whether they're for a family of 4 or a single person living alone. White goods cost the same, whether for 4 people or one, though a single person can have a smaller fridge at a small saving, not necessarily in running costs if it's an old one. A single person isn't able to make economies of scale in the same way as a family of 4. I can buy a big bag of apples and, between us, they're eaten before they've gone off or we're sick of the sight of them. A single person either has to eat them to the exclusion of other fruit to get through that bag on their budget, or buy a smaller bag that might not cost much less. A 400g loaf of bread costs more than half as much as an 800g loaf of bread. A cheap chicken can go a long way for a family. Unless they have a working freezer, it would just go off before a single person can finish it.

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 21:32:06

I don't call working 50-70 hours a week a hobby.hmm Many self employed people take very little for themselves out of a business, specially when it hits hard times, like now. If he has an outdoor pitch, then business has probably been pretty poor with the bad winter we've had (very little break from the snow all year, here). He probably got rained off several times last year.

It's impossible to speculate without knowing how much he takes home, but he might be entitled to working tax credits. He might be entitled to housing benefit. He might have been entitled to council tax credit.

Tiggles Tue 02-Apr-13 21:39:39

Thanks ouryve smile

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 22:03:40

Thanks ouryve - and LMG for your courteous reply smile I must admit your post made me feel terribly inadequate, until I thought it through as Ouryve posted! I had £100 a week for a couple of months after Christmas - and did feel, not well off, but OK. The drop to £71 has made a nightmarish difference. Another £20 off that would be hell, frankly.

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 22:09:58

Ouryve, people are free to devote as many time as they want for hobbies, and that time does not make hobbies businesses. It's not a taxpayers' responsibility to support peoples' hobbies and lifestyles. Then, if our [model] guy does not take money from the business and claims all sorts of benefits, he is subsidising his business by taxpayers' money. So, I am granting all the trust to the model poor fellow: he is prudent, honest and not cheating with anything. Just because we do not know him we suggest the best of him.

Does he (or any person is such position) get any housing support? Tax credits? Council tax reduction? Foodbank access?

TotemPole Tue 02-Apr-13 22:17:24

According to some of the articles

He gets tax credits and HB.
Has Sky TV.
Left with only £23 a month after all bills are paid for.
Is a gambler.

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 22:22:37

I think the man in question was a bit of an iffy choice - the crew could easily have found a more 'solid' example. But the question it raised after IDS's statement was valid, unlike the figures he quotes.

MrsAverage, most people in minimum-wage jobs get housing benefit, tax credits and council tax relief. Is frying burgers in shifts just a hobby to them?

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 22:34:45

Garlic, if you read what was written above you will see that the term "hobbies" was used to describe enterprises which bring return well below minimum wage, which is not the minimum wage frying burgers you describe.

Thank you for the benefit list. So, on the top of the model minimum wage person's £11,054, we can add

housing benefit - how much? just "usual" figure for a moderate accommodation
tax credits - how much?
council tax relief - somewhere above it was said that they pay £4/week of council tax. Let's assume it is true, and we have (£208) of council tax.

Valpollicella Tue 02-Apr-13 22:38:19

I agree with those who say this would be a reality show experiment. So he lives on £53 for a week? No skin off his nose as he'll be back to his super heated, multi bedroom, fridge filled, bills paid house soon enough . Those whose reality it is, day after day, week after week, with no hope or glimer of it changing, other than for the worse because of his fucking party won't benefit from his experiment.

We'll get a PR spin of how he got a full weeks shop for £6.58 and had enought left over for a chippy supper on the Friday to 'celebrate' getting through the week.

Makes me so full of rage its unbelievable.

TotemPole Tue 02-Apr-13 22:40:07

MsAverage, he's had his HB cut, I think because he's in a 3 bed house and his ex wife is main carer for the 2 children.

Apparently he's earned £2,700 in 14 months. I think such a new business should be given time to see if it can turn a reasonable profit and provide a living wage. I believe 3 years is what is usually considered reasonable.

TotemPole Tue 02-Apr-13 22:58:43

I don't think the 1st week would be the easiest. It takes time to adjust to such a change. After a while you'd be more skilled at feeding yourself on a lower budget and have a better idea of how much electricity/gas you use.

garlicballs Tue 02-Apr-13 23:02:37

Under the new rules, a small business will be expected to pay minimum wage from the outset. Costs will be offset against takings in the month of expenditure only, no writing down or apportionment. If the DWP deems the business insufficiently successful, it will be subjected to a plan created and monitored by Jobcentre staff hmm

If anybody has a bit of spare capital, I suggest you invest in lease-hire schemes for everything from display units to stationery. That instant-cost thing's ridiculous! SEs will have to pay more to spread the expenditure, or fuck themselves over before getting out of bed.

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 23:09:19

Totem, taxpayers do not have to subside people's 3-year-long attempts to build their own businesses (which are transferable assets, btw). Savings, family, banks, loans, grants (if we are talking charity) - these are they ways to find money for building your assets (best case scenario) or for playing with non-viable projects (worst case scenario).

So, it does not get clearer - do his ex-wife and children live with him? If the wife earns, where the figure of £53 comes from? If the wife+kids do not live with him, why does he live in 3 bedroom house?

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 23:11:27

MsAverage - Speculating, again, but if his choice is between working his market stall all hours to get by, with a hope that business will pick up again, one day, or a zero hours contract at his local overnight petrol station (because the shelf stacking jobs at Tesco will be taken by workfare), maybe he's making the choice that is less demoralising to him and actually gives him a guaranteed income, no matter how small. That is not a hobby. If he chose not to do it, he would be choosing to receive no income of his own accord and be entirely dependent on benefits, only he wouldn't be entitled to the same benefits as someone who had been made redundant as an employee.

TotemPole Tue 02-Apr-13 23:20:19

MsAverage, not everyone has family or savings to rely on. The idea behind these enterprise schemes was to allow people to move over to self employment without giving up the safety net of benefits. It gave time to build up a business and make it profitable.

If he's paying himself something, he is turning a profit so presumably is costing the tax payer less than if he was on straight forward benefits.

It sounds as though he could do with some advice though. I think he's selling gloves and hats, so should have had a boom period over the recent colder months.

ouryve Tue 02-Apr-13 23:22:10

And I read something the other day - can't remember where - that there are only a couple of hundred 1 bedroomed properties on the social housing register in the whole of County Durham and, understandably, there is a massive waiting list for them. Add in the complication that Co Durham is geographically huge, so those small properties are spread over a wide area and not evenly distributed. Most of them, as far as I am aware, are also pensioners' bungalows.

TotemPole Tue 02-Apr-13 23:24:13

If the wife+kids do not live with him, why does he live in 3 bedroom house?'

I'm making the assumption that they do stay with him some of the time, so he would need the extra room for those occasions.

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 23:29:23

Ouvyve, it does matter how small, because taxpayers have to top it up. And let be generous to the guy, let him be a prudent and hard working, not a good-for-nothing dosser, which has "no other option" than to be entirely dependent on benefits, being in working age and health.

Anyway, I am not as much interested in the particular individual as in the size of the benefits for the working benefit receivers, who reportedly form the majority of the people on benefits. We stopped at £10,845 after income tax, NICs and council tax, but before housing benefit and tax credits.

TotemPole Tue 02-Apr-13 23:33:53

It depends on a household's individual circumstances.

HB is dependent on the size of the property, the number in the household, the local housing allowance and other income.
Tax credits depends on size of family and wages.

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 23:45:32

Totem, thank you for the new bit of knowledge, I have not heard of NEA before. Anyway, 3 years of feeding somebody's dreams look toooo generous for me, 26 weeks, as in NEA scheme, is enough for a small enterprise.

Garlic, in the view of the new knowledge - if the government subsidises entrepreneurial attempts, why Jobcenter should not be checking how the business is going and whether there is any business at all?

MsAverage Tue 02-Apr-13 23:55:19

I'm making the assumption that they do stay with him some of the time, so he would need the extra room for those occasions.

If it is so, and this is an archetypal benefit cut victim, I would agree with the previous speakers - so called "poor" in this country are not poor, and it is them, "poor", who are out of touch with reality.

Good night everyone.

MsTakenidentity Wed 03-Apr-13 00:24:29

Queen gets 5m pay rise from taxpayer - Grant to cover household running costs rises to £36.1m – up from £31m in diamond jubilee year > Good to know. Wouldn't want her to go without...

pollypandemonium Wed 03-Apr-13 01:38:36
Bedtime1 Wed 03-Apr-13 03:09:12

I agree running again. Hope I never have to live on £7.50 a day.

JohnStuartMillions Wed 03-Apr-13 03:36:36

Yes little miss sarcastic I know people in that situation too! Lots of people out there don't believe people can be that 'poor'. Like lots in the government too. Think IDS lives off £255 per day.

Xenia Wed 03-Apr-13 08:15:50

IDS hsa been on state benefits twice by the way - first when he left the army and later when he was made redundant - his foolish fault because he is sexist and his wife is just a housewife which is always a silly decision for couples to take. However he does mean well and we certainly need to get a grip with this awful entitlement culture we seem to have developed. It is me me me and take take take.

greygeek Wed 03-Apr-13 08:16:18

I have signed but even if he did do it he'd be starting with an advantage because he already has a full wardrobe of lovely warm clothes and even if he moved into rented accommodation he would have warm bedding to take with him. Despite this, I think it would be a salutary experience and he would gain a painful insight. IMHO a month would be enough to drive the point home.

merrymouse Wed 03-Apr-13 10:09:50

Many, many people have claimed benefits. (Can you still claim unemployment benefit if you have just left uni and live at home with your well heeled parents?) That is not the same as relying on benefits. I don't think IDS (along with many other politicians) even has to rely on his parliamentary salary to fund his lifestyle.

I am sure that IDS would be able to survive on £53 a week, as he would also, if push came to shove, be able to bake a cake or jump from a 7.5m diving board.

Would he, however, be prepared to pull all funding from his children's education (not sure how old they are), make them live in a damp house on an estate with high crime rates, stop all extra curricular activities and call a halt to Christmas, birthday presents and holidays? (Also taking into account that funding has been pulled from libraries, free swimming etc.) I wouldn't expect him to, after all he is just a politician, not Gandhi.

However, I also think he doesn't really know what he is talking about.

Xenia Wed 03-Apr-13 10:16:23

He only said he would survive on it if he had two and had two spells on benefits. We cannot as a nation even afford what we currently pay. It is very difficult for many people at present even those in full time work who receive no housing benefits.

He is someone whom most mumsnetters will like as he has a housewife at home like many mumsnetters are. A pro housewife old fashioned sexist. Many mumsnetters do not work or earn only pin money whilst a man or the state support them so they should find a true hero in IDS surely?

HesterShaw Wed 03-Apr-13 10:57:26

Oh go away and be deliberately insulting somewhere else. Your rudeness knows no bounds.

Yes you're very clever and earn a lot. We get it.

HesterShaw Wed 03-Apr-13 10:57:47

Sorry - should have ignored her.

LaVolcan Wed 03-Apr-13 11:30:36

We as a nation can afford what we currently pay - and in spades. The government created £375billion in so called 'quantitive easing' i.e. made up money, which they used to bail out the banks. The banks meanwhile, having had their fingers burned, are refusing to lend this.

If you don't we could create money, just think what would happen if there was a war. The government would ask the bankd of england to print money like a shot, gear up industry for production and get the economy on its feet again. As happened at the start of WW2.

It's not that we can't afford it; it is that Cameron and his ilk choose not to afford it. Cameron of course, didn't win the election, so he has no mandate for what he is doing. I just wish the other parties weren't so spineless and got together to call his bluff. But that's a discussion for a different post.

LaVolcan Wed 03-Apr-13 11:31:41

Should read, 'if you don't think we can create money......

taxi4ballet Wed 03-Apr-13 11:50:49

Had to pay the plumber £50 yesterday to mend a leak.

Just deciding what to spend my other £3 on!

OhLori Wed 03-Apr-13 12:18:03

I find myself agreeing with Xenia (again). There is an "entitlement" benefits culture e.g. teenage pregnancy, never worked, no problem, the State will have a legal obligation to house and finance you and as many children as you want! Fact. Many responsible, ordinary working-class people actually resent this, as it gives them look like mugs.

OhLori Wed 03-Apr-13 12:18:24

Makes them look like mugs.

LaVolcan Wed 03-Apr-13 12:36:51

I wonder whether there really is an 'entitlement' culture. When it comes down to it, how many people know people who have never worked. There's an awful lot of Daily Mail type finger pointing, which when it's investigated properly doesn't stand up to examination.

But this is off topic. Could IDS live on £53 a week? I am sure he could for one week, but for 20 odd years, for ever? No.

Kendodd Wed 03-Apr-13 13:26:30

I wonder whether there really is an 'entitlement' culture. When it comes down to it, how many people know people who have never worked.

I know people/families who've never worked, not many, and admittedly, most of those have has some sort of short term, minimum wage job, they never lasted though. But I did grow up on a council estate in Liverpool in the 1980's. I moved to Surrey when I was a teenager and got a job in a supermarket, I was shocked to have got a job because I had grown up surrounded by the idea that there where no jobs. This was largely true though for the particular type of job (male manual labour) in that time and place. I wonder if this present day culture of multi generational worklessness has grown from the Thatcher years of the 1980's?

IntheFrame Wed 03-Apr-13 13:33:32

It's not "entitlement it's called doing what you have to. If you live hand to mouth then you are going to claim what you can, work cash in hand etc.

Ironically if everything wasn't means tested you would stand more chance of people making the most of work.
If you lose housing benefit and tax credits start wanting money back from last years work then it's going to only make "proper" work actually beneficial.

LaVolcan Wed 03-Apr-13 13:35:19

Yes, there are, or at least were, many more jobs in the South East than in other parts of the country. The biggest problem then comes with finding affordable housing.

aroomofherown Wed 03-Apr-13 14:02:14

Problem is, as someone mentioned about Co Durham, is that there is simply not enough 1 bedroom housing available. There are people who would be happy to be in a 1 bed but the waiting list is too long. So they will be penalised for not having the choice.

Also, as people get the Universal Credit payment monthly, some people won't be able to pay their rent = arrears = will be evicted, and so the government will have a responsibility to house them.

And not to mention the small housing associations that will go bust because they can't afford to go for months in arrears of rent.

This reform hasn't been thought through, no matter which angle you are coming from.

SDeuchars Wed 03-Apr-13 14:16:06

IDS has replied: It's a stunt!

limitedperiodonly Wed 03-Apr-13 14:33:45

I read that in the Mail. There was lots of 'bloody' this and 'bloody' that and 'I'm not taking any bloody lessons from the Left' that which they wouldn't normally print.

I think it was meant to give the impression of a decent man pushed too far when trying only to do a proper job for the good of the nation.

It came over to me as Duncan-Smith's usual peevish bluster when caught in a bear trap that a senior politician ought to see a mile off and side-step effortlessly.

The Mail helped him out of the hole further by trashing the £53-a-week man. I think Today could have chosen a much better example, but the fact the Mail saw the need to do it displays their contempt for a man who can't even be trusted to get a simple stitch-up of 'scroungers' right.

grovel Wed 03-Apr-13 15:02:09

The problem with all this is that IDS loves camping. He'd go into the woods, build a shelter, gather firewood and forage for food. At the end of the week he'd say that he's been wrong all along. Nobody actually needs benefits at all. Let alone £53.

There's a gov.uk petition now to challenge him to live on £53 a week for a year. Of course he would never do this but it would be great to see this debated in parliament. Looks like it needs loads more signatures though!


Footle Wed 03-Apr-13 18:20:51

It's a change.org petition and is currently up to 389,054 signatures.

No there's a gov.uk one now as well!

Footle Wed 03-Apr-13 18:55:34

sorry, I'll have a look

WaterfallsOver Wed 03-Apr-13 19:08:21

But why should IDS live on £53 a week? He has a job, it's a free country and people are free to move/retrain/take a job. Where I work there are lots of immigrants, they seem happy to work.

limitedperiodonly Wed 03-Apr-13 19:09:13

Signed the gov.uk one.

It doesn't specify all the things people here have said him being on it for a year, crappy clothes, no bus fare etc...

But it'll embarrass the bastards

limitedperiodonly Wed 03-Apr-13 19:11:07

But why shouldn't he waterfalls? He said he could.

Mugofteaforme Wed 03-Apr-13 19:42:49

As long as he's on £53 when all the bills arrive and has to attend interviews for minimum wage jobs, but even then he'll be better off because he'll have something that many of us haven't;the prospect of decent employment!

flaminhoopsaloolah Wed 03-Apr-13 20:47:32

Oh Lori - the average single mother is not a teenager....she is 37 and has found herself in a post divorce situation. Single mothers who are teenagers account for 3% of the single mother demographic. 55% of single mothers had their children within marriage.

HesterShaw Wed 03-Apr-13 20:50:49

Waterfalls, I think you are missing the point just a little bit. He is being challenged to do so because he seems to think it's easier than it actually is. The government seems in the most part to be incredibly out of touch with the lives of a huge segment of society.

OhLori Wed 03-Apr-13 23:57:21

Flamin', I didn't say single mothers, who I do understand have different circumstances, sometimes complex, and I am also quite aware of those statistics.

I said and meant dependant teenage single mothers who are entitled to housing and benefits that their working and studying peers aren't, which frankly is an absolute piss-take. Such girls have never worked or contributed, yet have access to cash, housing and other legal entitlements that their peers do not have. Its totally the wrong way around!

Similarly, why should a person under 30 on benefits be entitled to a whole flat to themselves because HB will pay it, but a single person working be entitled to nothing and only be able to afford a bedroom in a flatshare!

Another example, a friend of mine is a drug-worker and all her unemployed, drug addicted clients demand council flats. They turn their noses up at studios because they feel entitled to a minimum 1-bedroom flat hmm. My friend works with these clients, but (irony) cannot herself afford to either buy or rent a 1-bedroom flat. As she is just a single, working woman, she is entitled to nothing.

I'll stop there. None of this makes even remotest sense, and I am glad that some of these inequalities are finally being addressed.

For the record, I think we are living in dark and difficult times, and I think it will get worse, as immigration continues, and the consequences of that including higher birth rate, not enough housing, not enough space, not enough jobs. Its not going to be easy, and I honestly think its very confusing for everyone. But I think some positive things may hopefully come out of it. More self-respect. More sense of personal responsibility. More self-reliance. More co-operation and support for each other. But of course it could all go belly-up, which I think is the scary thing (witness riots last year).

garlicballs Thu 04-Apr-13 01:36:06

why should a person under 30 on benefits be entitled to a whole flat to themselves - They're not, they only get the room entitlement.

Sorry if I've missed an earlier post where you acknowledged that, Lori. I do feel for non-resident parents aged under 30 who depend on HB.

Your friend is either doing her sums badly or misrepresenting her situation (and her clients'.) Top-up benefits exist to ensure that nobody is worse off in work. Obviously this doesn't always come true in practice, largely thanks to the usual gaping blind spots where childcare is concerned. If your friend is single and childfree, she must be earning the equivalent of JSA + HB + CTB or she would get benefits.

Whether there are actually any one-bed flats available at the LHA level for where she lives is a whole other matter. But that problem is the same for her clients.

garlicballs Thu 04-Apr-13 01:43:40

Sorry, her clients "demand council flats"? Hahahahah! Demand all they like, if they ever manage to get one it'll be in a tower block that's so nervous it's unsuitable for families - and that's with prioritisation for their vulnerability.

I'm not sure this imagined utopia of lovely homes and well-stocked cupboards for all has ever existed in Britain. It certainly hasn't done for many years now, and has been getting steadily worse; these 'reforms' are going to cause real, developing-world style poverty. In this, the sixth wealthiest nation.

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.

Xenia Sun 07-Apr-13 08:36:05

I don't think anyone wants to suggest living on benefits if easy. If the Government gives out a message Philpott received the equivalent of a £100,000 gross salary (2% of people only get so much) which indeed he did, then that is just going to encourage more people not to work. Nor do I think the Labour party wants to increase benefits either as they need to be a bottom line support but not too much. The mood of the nation has changed. Many private sector workers are earning about a fifth less even ignoring inflation whilst state workers and state benefits have had some inflation rises or 1% rises so private sector workers are worse off sine about 2009 the benefits claimants have not been so far.

Another option if we could afford it would be £10,000 per adult. Then if you have children your job to support them. You get that sum whether you work or don't and it is instead of your pension too. If you want more money at any age you work for it, or save up or marry well or get it from your family. A £10k benefits cap in a sense and something that then removes any incentive to be a benefits cheat as you get your £10k whether you are working or not. If that does not give you enough to pay rent where you are then you rent in Sunderland. If that is not enough then you have to camp down on mother's floor even if you have 4 under 6 years old or perhaps choose a husband more wisely who will stay with you or live with 3 friends so you are pooling £30k.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 08:55:34

If only, merrymouse....

Landlords do pretty well off the taxpayer....

Thank you for the link too.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 09:04:00

Springdivas - I hardly think that single teenaged mothers from the benefits list will help much since they only account for 3% of single parents - what percentage of that 3% actually claims benefit (and its reasonable to think it's not all of them) I do not know.

As a single person with no children it's not easy to keep on claiming benefits unless you are working with a very low income - you can't just keep on keeping on claiming JSA without looking for work. Sure you can keep walking out of work, but you don't immediately get JSA given to you if you create your own situation.

What about the large proportion of people who do work and still qualify for benefits because NMW doesn't give a living wage? What's the government doing about that? Oh, they've created a workfare scheme giving free labour to the big companies which drives down the hours of the people already in work thus creating more problems and more benefits paid out to those in work so long as their hours dont' drop below the minimum amount of hours to qualify for WTC and in the form of increased HB payments up to the maximum Local Housing Allowance....clever idea there.

Springdiva Sun 07-Apr-13 09:27:42

Yes, it's only 3% of single parents but there is, though I can't quote figures, less liklihood of a successful outcome for the DCs of young single parents. So possibly their DCs are becoming single parents at a young age so are producing 2(or more depending on the number of DCs) families to the average middle class 1 (as they are having families later). So it's still a drain on the coffers.

Everyone, absolutely everyone, I know can give examples of people fleecing the system so stats are only telling part of the story. The genuine claimants are the ones who will suffer but what is the option? Tax payers are fleeced into bankruptcy or some suffer in the short term to nail the cheaters in the long term, the second option is the only one imo.

merrymouse Sun 07-Apr-13 10:12:10

To be honest, I am more familiar with people who are thought to be 'fleecing' the tax system than the benefits system.

My mother used to mutter darkly about friends owning their own businesses and 'putting it all against tax' (as though HMRC was somehow handing out free cars and kitchen extensions), and I've known freelancers who claim to be saving money through various tax schemes (e.g. setting up their own companies before the crack down) - until they realise how much tax they actually have to pay at the end of the year.

Apparent 'fleecing' often doesn't exist, or is due to financial incompetence. When you come down to the nuts and bolts of how much things actually cost and proper budgeting, the reality tends to be rather different. It is difficult to 'fleece' without actually breaking the law, and people often believe they are fleecing before they do their sums.

Stats are no doubt inaccurate, but I think more accurate than hearsay.

merrymouse Sun 07-Apr-13 10:13:00

(Thats proper stats, by the way, not stats dredged up from some irrelevant report 10 years ago for the sake of a speech).

reluctantmover Sun 07-Apr-13 10:21:37

Sorry I might have missed the criteria for living on £53 a week, is that exclusive of housing (eg after paying rent or mortgage) and is that per person? If so, I'd like the challenge please as that would mean getting more per week than at present per head in the family.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 11:22:31

So for the percentage of the 3% of single teenage mothers who are claiming benefits ( and you feel that somehow they are all fleecing the system) you are saying that the VAST majority of decent honest claimants (and that include those who do work but don't earn enough to be clear of claiming - and by the way, and single 37 year old mother who work 60 hours a week on NMW still qualifies for some benefits) should pay and have their benefits cut even further?

Might I turn you attention to this article, which gives you a much clearer picture of the benefits system.

Aditionally, that money that's getting fleeced from the taxpayers....50% of the benefits budget is, actually, pensions.

I'm not sure what percentage of taxes are avoided by tax dodgers - but the cost to the treasury is approximately £120bn.


CecilyP Sun 07-Apr-13 12:54:01

reluctantmover, the £53 per week is for a single householder living in a LA/HA unfurnished tenancy who has been hit by the bedroom tax. So, yes, it is after they have paid the proportion of the rent that they now have to pay. It is not relevant to per head in a family because they live alone. That is what they will have left for all bills, expenses and everything else they need.

reluctantmover Sun 07-Apr-13 17:21:38

Maybe I'm thinking a bit simplistically here, but you hear people going on about families squeezing into public housing several children to a room because there is no public housing free that they could move in to, so in comes a "bedroom tax" and suddenly the opposite is true, saying there is a shortage of housing which is smaller so these people are forced to live in housing with spare rooms and there is an outcry that their HB is therefore reduced. So which is it, UK is on the whole overpopulated and not enough housing or underpopulated and too much housing?

As for £53 a week after housing, well I'd not like to be in that position but I've done it myself many years ago, living on IS and renting a tiny room in a shared house. I'm very grateful that tax payers picked up the tab for me for a few months and I've paid back into the system. I'm more than happy for my taxes to go towards those who find themselves out of work or unable to work. The state purse is only so big though, to me more should go to less, more to those in greatest need, less to those who need to get out and provide.

JakeBullet Sun 07-Apr-13 17:29:39

It's both.....there is just a shortage of social housing full stop. Some have had three bedroom houses allocated when they really only need two....but there is a shortage if two bed houses. They might be affected if they claim HB. Likewise if they are privately renting due to not being housed in the social sector and took a three bed because their HB covered that.

Doesn't change the fact there are a shortage of houses though. I have seen 4 children and parent(a) squeezed into one bed flats waiting for three bedroom properties. I have seen someone with one baby and one on the way allocated a three bedroom house. She will be affected as her children are under 10 and in reality could share a room.....she won't be likely to find a 2 bed house under social housing though.....I only got mine as DS is autistic which meant I was deemed high priority.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 17:32:13

Reluctant - yes you are thinking simplistically - I don't' have all the facts to give to you but only a small percentage of families have multiple children - those stories you see in the papers about large families banging on about not having enough space are rare cases. What happens a lot is that there are a lot of 2 bedroomed and 3 bedroomed houses/flats and not many 1 bedroomed. Families have had kids move out or people who have never had children have been put in two bedroomed accommodation because there wasn't anywhere else to put them...and now there isn't enough accommodation to make it so that people are not under occupying. The rules have also been changed over the years. Just a few years ago I kne several people who today would only qualify for a two bedroomed house even though they had 2 children and now those goal posts have been moved...and people are being told by their LHA that there is no where to move them.

There had always been a shortage of housing since so much of it got sold off. In one distric near me the wait list is.....13 years to get a council house. In the district I used to live in, I was on the emergency list because we were homeless and the wait was two years even being in the top priority - there IS a shortage, that's no mistake.

CecilyP Sun 07-Apr-13 17:45:43

As for £53 a week after housing, well I'd not like to be in that position but I've done it myself many years ago, living on IS and renting a tiny room in a shared house.

In a sense, you probably haven't quite done it. You were probabably managing on the rate of IS at the time for a single person. This has subsequently been raised over the years in line with inflation. However you did not have a a significant percentage taken off your benefit to pay towards a proportion of your rent. This is really what the originators of the petition are complaining about.

In terms of housing stock, I think it depends largely where you live. In London, where council housing started in the 1900s and councils have taken over many older blocks built by charities like Peabody Trust, I am sure there are many one-bedroom flats as a proportion of the total stock. In the provinces, where council house building only started in the 1920s, there are relatively few and, in some cases, hardly any and, of those, most will be bungalows designed for older people.

reluctantmover Sun 07-Apr-13 18:01:29

well of course I didn't have a proportion of IS taken off me because I chose to live in a small room, I didn't hang around for someone to be responsible for me, I deliberately chose the smallest place, smallest bills etc. I don't know why any single person would live in a 2 bed place, pay more council tax, pay more rent, pay more bills. That's just me, I always go for the most economical option.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 18:11:22

Reluctant - you chose to live in a small room...these people who are having the bedroom tax levied on them didn't choose to be put there, the LEA put them there. Could they rent privately? Yes, so long as they can get the deposit together and pay for the move...and find somewhere cheap enough that is covered by their LHA housing allowance for renters in private properties...it's not that easy. Some may be able to achieve it, but those that can't and are being told they won't be moved because there isn't the stock...is that fair?

CecilyP Sun 07-Apr-13 18:40:08

I would imagine you were young at the time, and chose to live in a shared flat, reluctant. The people affected would either have applied for social housing and been allocated something larger than needed, or their circumstances may have changed and they will be in accommodation larger than needed. Some may even be on transfer list for smaller homes. But it takes time and smaller homes have to become available. A friend of mine (a widow in her 50s) moved from a hostel to a 2-bed maisonette to a one-bed bungalow. She was quite happy for the 2-bed to go to a family, but that was what was available at the time and she would have been competing for the one-bed with those who could not manage stairs. (At a rough estimate, about 60% of one-bed LA and HA accommodation in my town is ground floor)

reluctantmover Sun 07-Apr-13 18:42:31

"they didn't choose to be put there", what did they not have free will to look for their own place to live? Here comes individual responsibility, at some point people should stop relying on the state and start thinking for themselves how they can better their lot. People above HB thresholds make these choices, they might actually be struggling too with bills and dependents too, it's time everybody did. Sometimes people in the UK don't know how lucky they are. Many countries have no such thing as housing benefit, that includes ones in the EU too.

CecilyP Sun 07-Apr-13 18:54:01

"they didn't choose to be put there", what did they not have free will to look for their own place to live?

They could have chosen a private rental over LA/HA but that would have been more expensive, if indeed they could raise the deposit.

People above HB thresholds make these choices, they might actually be struggling too with bills and dependents too, it's time everybody did.

We were allocated larger council accommodation than needed; we were above the HB threshold. We could have chosen to reject it and rented smaller accommodation privately, but then we would have qualified for housing benefit.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 19:09:16

So, what you are saying reluctant, is that no one should live in the social housing that does exist? It's all their fault? You had as much right as anyone to apply for social housing - you chose not to. And what about those with children? Should they get a bedsit too? And those with complex disability needs, should they have chosen a bedsit too...you are being pretty blinkered and unreasonable. They were being responsible - they applied to social housing - A RIGHT EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS - it's cheaper and costs the tax payer a heck of a lot less than renting privately . And what about those who did have a family and their children have moved out? And they've asked to be moved, and have been told they can't? You are simply applying your personal situation and thinkin it would fit everyone. Life isn't like that.

Xenia Sun 07-Apr-13 19:11:00

There are smaller places to rent around the UK. It is not impossible to find them and lots of social housing swaps going on. You just as ever need to get on your bike.

reluctantmover Sun 07-Apr-13 19:16:50

So in fact the people you were talking about DID make a choice and chose something larger than needed in the public sector, they weren't put there at all, they put themselves there to be completely correct, even if that sounds rather unemotional and unkind, it's not meant to be. Yes I chose the smallest place, I did it because if I'd chosen anything bigger, I had already been told what HB would cover and didn't want to have to pay a proportion out of IS, this was a few years back, so it's nothing new to HB only now will not fully cover housing. The local housing officer even came around to check I really was renting a small place and the rent was a fair one, she told me if she'd deemed it too high, I would only get a proportion paid. With such a small amount of IS, I couldn't take chances.

The UK is overpopulated, budgets are being cut everywhere, those in public sector work, those in private sector work and those on benefits in work and not. I know from personal experience with someone close to me whose just been forced to take 30% pay cut and works alongside colleagues earning thousands more doing the same job, stupid bugger signed up for annualized hours and has now been stung, that's working for a large government department and now earning less in £s than 10 years ago, it's crazy, but has a job and is told to shut up and put up. Life stinks, life goes on.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 19:19:25

Reluctant - I did have a fair amount of respect for you...until you said that people who are in social housing are irresponsible. That's a completely unfair statement. I'll tell that to my grandmother who left an abusive husband who nearly killed her with her tow young children and worked hard all her life but could never afford to buy a house or rent privately. I'll tell that to my friend who did rent privately but was moved by environmental health because her flat developed problems that no-one could seem to get her multi-property owning private landlord to fix - her situation was so bad, and she couldn't' raise another deposit for another flat (cause, you know, landlords just don't give deposits back until after you've moved out - sometimes they even keep a hold on it citing you as having damaged their property when you haven't) and she's now in a three bedroomed property and cannot get moved into a two bedroomed one. I'll tell that to the gentleman down the road who has mobility problems and the only property available was a two bedroomed property and renting privately wasn't an option and now there's no where to move him...he's retired by the way and worked all his life but only has a state pension.

Your attitude is shameful.

reluctantmover Sun 07-Apr-13 19:23:01

Sorry Flaming, I did indeed apply for social housing but as a single person without "special needs" or dependents, I couldn't wait 5 years for it, I go off my arse and looked for somewhere private to rent. Of course the social housing exists, but guess what, you have to look for it and that includes moving perhaps away from family or further from work, that's life. I am far from blinkered, I ran away from an abusive family actually.

reluctantmover Sun 07-Apr-13 19:25:34

I said people have to be responsible for themselves at some point, that does not in any way mean people are irresponsible, that is very puzzling you think I said people in social housing are irresponsible.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 19:29:33

No they did not choose something larger than they needed!!!!!! Christ on a bike. And social housing rents at way under the local housing allowance in the main (3 bedroomed council house in North Wales £70, private rented property of equivalent size - £125 - weekly. Local Housing Allowance for a property of that size, approximately £115 per week) if someone needs a 3 bedroomed house which would you rather see them in|? the one costing the taxpayer £70 a week or the one costing the taxpayer £115 per week?

how can you possibly say that someone chose a house allocated to them by the LHA? How? They can turn a house down, but they can't say...nah, I want a bigger one cause you know, I like my space...IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY! The LHA will allocate the smallest one available.

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 19:31:02

You said people need to be more responsible. Should they have had a crystal ball and realised that the government was going to say they can't be moved into smaller accommodation?

flaminhoopsaloolah Sun 07-Apr-13 19:34:03

As a lone parent with a DC I couldnt' wait the two years either - and we were classed as homeless and in desperate need - I rented privately...and my HB was £110 per week until I managed to find a job instead of the £50-60 per week it could have been. Taking social housing is no not taking responsibility for oneself.

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