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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It won't.

ANormalOne Thu 25-Jul-13 07:37:40

Because it's a contentious subject that widely attracts bashing, mostly be people who have nothing to add to the debate, like you, nothing you've said here is new, you're not adding anything to the discussion, you're just reiterating the same old bloody debate for the umpteenth time, what do you expect?

RedHelenB Thu 25-Jul-13 07:43:46

You have ALWAYS been better off working, it's a myth that you aren't.

Sparklymommy Thu 25-Jul-13 07:44:09

I actually agree with you. I am a married, stay at home mum of four. My husband works the same job he has had since he was 16 (he is now 31). We pay our own mortgage, for our children to partake in performing arts classes, for our children to have school meals.

I also know several piss takers. Several mothers who have several kids and have never had a job. (I personally worked up until my oldest was 3 and a half). We struggle to make ends meet whilst I see some of these mothers living the life of Riley and it is frustrating.

I am aware not all benefit claimants are scroungers, and I also do not want to see a return to draconian workhouses. I do not have anything against benefits per se, but the system does seem flawed when people on benefits are better off than those in work. And for those people who say people on benefits aren't better off I know of at least three families who have a very "entitled" attitude who actually are better off than us, but because my husband works, and my children are involved with different things they think we are loaded.

We aren't. And we make sacrifices. We struggle, and yet my hubby is on a good wage!

TarkaTheOtter Thu 25-Jul-13 07:51:57

YANBU. It's impossible to discuss it properly because 99.9% of the people who start threads about it on mumsnet are goady trolls looking to get a rise out of people.

Whothefuckfarted Thu 25-Jul-13 07:52:12

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

This says it all. The amount of money your given to live on isn't 'too much'
^Wages are too low^

We need a LIVING WAGE in this country.

antsypants Thu 25-Jul-13 07:53:51

As always for me it is not the cliched rantings of people who feel hard done by because they are doing what they should be doing to financially support their family.

It is the spite and vitriol, I know someone who appears to be riding the gravy train, on full benefits, has two children, isn't working, has a phone and Internet, her children have clothes and food... But there isn't much more to be had, with no work experience to speak of, her value in the workplace is little, she may never own her own house or drive or any of the other things many people do... She has never worked and her children have what they need, but that is the maximum for her at the moment... And the thought that there are people who resent this and would like to see her punished for getting by makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I think people forget we are talking about families doing what they have to do to survive, not the myth of the benefit scrounge living in a mansion and having 5 holidays a year.

And I'm sorry, but if you were substantially worst off working then you would be unemployed, no parent would let themselves be substantially worst off, you may not fare any better, but if your wage is not high enough to support childcare costs then there is also benefits to help that, which a large amount of people take advantage of without the stigma and resentment that people who are not working have to deal with.

Whothefuckfarted Thu 25-Jul-13 07:54:00

* I do not have anything against benefits per se, but the system does seem flawed when people on benefits are better off than those in work.*

Not true. The system isn't flawed, wages are too low.

Whothefuckfarted Thu 25-Jul-13 07:54:11

Bold fail

pouffepants Thu 25-Jul-13 07:55:19


people on these threads always assume that the criticisers are people who are above the benefits and would never end up on them. I have been on benefits several times, as a pregnant teenager, as a single parent, as a carer, as a widow, as a sick person. life has been hard, and often I have had to fight with the system for access to care, housing, major adaptions etc. The system is useless for the big stuff that you could never afford out of benefits anyway. But the money to live off? More than enough, in each and every situation.

I now work 50-60 hour weeks, luckily in a job I love. For what I actually consider a fair wage. But my spending patterns are very similar now to when I was on benefits. i can live comfortably, as I could then.

RedHelenB Thu 25-Jul-13 07:57:42

Sparkly Mummy - you have a mortgage (something you can't have on benefits) & you yourself say your benefit aquaintances think you are better off than you are, so how can you possibly know what their lives are like in reality?

RedHelenB Thu 25-Jul-13 07:58:47

Oh & it's surprising what difference that "only a bit better off" by working can make.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 25-Jul-13 07:59:12

YABU it clearly isn't impossible as every man and his dog is doing it at the moment.

HarryandJess Thu 25-Jul-13 07:59:35

YANBU size20knickers

mrsravelstein Thu 25-Jul-13 08:01:07

it is the wages that are the problem more than the benefits. if people who are working need to be topped up with child benefit and tax credits etc etc in order to survive financially, then they are not getting a living wage. the whole system is totally messed up, and can't be fixed until people who are working are earning enough money to actually support themselves. house prices are a major factor too.

TimeofChange Thu 25-Jul-13 08:04:35

Rents and house prices are too high.
They are out of proportion to wages - hence housing benefit.

50 years ago a low paid worker could pay rent, all the household bills and feed a family with one wage. No one had any extras, but now one one wage doesn't even cover rent.

Why is it always good news that house prices are rising?

The only people who benefit from high house prices are banks and builders.
The bigger the mortgage, the more interest we pay - straight into the banks pockets.

The welfare system directly benefits banks by paying housing benefit on rented properties.
Most landlords have bought their properties with a mortgage so again banks profit.

Unfortunately it seems too late to stop this mad vicious circle of high house prices, high rents and housing benfit.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 25-Jul-13 08:12:12

I've never actually seen a thread that is neutrally discussing the welfare state. I'd be very interested to see one because it would be a good thing to debate.
The only threads I have seen are ones with an op tellingus about her neighbour who wwon't work, her friend who moved her boyfriend in, a link to the daily mail about a single mother with 20 kids living in a council mansion and getting 80000 a year, etc etc.
When a thread is about demonising individuals rather than discussing policies, its never goingnto end well.

musicposy Thu 25-Jul-13 08:13:36

I agree witb you BUT I think benefits are a red herring. I heard some shocking figure about wages which I will try to find. Basically company profits rise and rise and the percentage that goes on wages has fallen year on year since the war. Companies make massive profits and pay less and less of those to the workers. Wages are the main problem - most people have had their pay frozen whilst everything else increases.
DH is one of those. He works for a huge company who have made billions but his pay has increased by just 1% in 5 years, despite their profits increasing year on year.
I am another. I am self employed but actually charging less than I was 6 years ago just to stay in business. It's a vicious circle that has its roots in very low pay.
DD1 is 17 and working full time over the summer. Money for her age is not just frivolity money. She is saving for her future and pays for her dance and singing lessons, contributing to the economy. Yet minimum wage for her is just £3.68 an hour. Employers can get away with paying this pittance, so they do. A week's work for less than £140 pay is pretty soul destroying - no wonder young people decide benefits is a better option.
But yes, the tax burden is too high. There's a date in the year which you have to work until your money becomes your own and not the government's. I believe this used to be April but is now 31st May and is getting later every year.

Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 08:14:02

Whothefuck - you've hit the nail on the head in saying we need a Living Wage in this country.

I think a lot of people forget that many many people who work are also on benefits because their wage is just not enough to live on. Also, unless one of you earns over 60k (or whatever the threshold is) everyone with a child gets Child Benefit - I think a lot of people forget that as well.

It's not about the "hard working tax payer" & the "benefit scrounged", the lines are much much more blurred.

We live in a Welfare State which supports (or was designed to anyway) people who have an income below a certain level. That is a good thing. Lets not all get het up about the stories pedalled in the DM about all these scrounges who live in mansions with their 25 kids. The reality is that the vast majority of people are on benefits, work & still struggle financially.

Can everyone bear in mind as well that the percentage of the total welfare bill paid out in benefits is absolutely tiny.

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 08:16:21

It might be a small percentage; that doesn't mean it's a small total by any stretch.

Neutrally, I feel it's a concern. Nothing against individuals on benefits. But - its a lot of money.

MrButtercat Thu 25-Jul-13 08:16:26


Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 08:18:33

So what?? The total GDP of the UK is a "huge figure", what's you point exactly?

AugustaProdworthy Thu 25-Jul-13 08:19:06

I wouldn't and don't discuss it in RL let alone on here! Too controversial and discussing it won't change it . Deeds not words.

So your complaint is that you are in a low income job that doesn't pay a living wage, and rather than think that maybe the problem is that minimum wage etc is out of touch with living costs? Or that rents are astronomically high? You think the problem is that other people are getting paid a tiny bit more?

HollyBerryBush Thu 25-Jul-13 08:21:16

50 years ago a low paid worker could pay rent, all the household bills and feed a family with one wage. No one had any extras, but now one one wage doesn't even cover rent.

And thats where 'equality' came into play - women out working, double salary taken into the mix for mortgages, pushing prices sky high. This is the knock on effect.

If only our grandmothers had has a little more foresight as to the poisoned chalice they left for their daughters.

MrButtercat Thu 25-Jul-13 08:22:51

Here we go.hmm

Op wasn't saying that Murder.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 25-Jul-13 08:24:58

Housing costs are indeed ridiculously high, that's a big problem. The amount now spent on housing is disproportionate.
When have housing costs ever taken up practically all your salary?

When I started out, my salary was 800 a month and my rent 50 a week.

To get the same place now, it would be about 700 a month but the salary for the same job is about a thousand.
So its gone from 500 left after rent to 300. Rough figures off the top of my head.
Food is also far more expensive.
And utilities are high
And don't get me started on fuel! That's the biggest rip off of all. There is actually no reason for it to be so high.

antsypants Thu 25-Jul-13 08:28:16

I'd be more convinced that someone wanted to have a discussion about welfare support (which is sorely needed) if, almost without fail, every post about how someone has no problem with 'genuine' benefit recipients did not end with the word but or a few words about someone they know is taking the piss.

Really MrButtercat because as far as I can tell the OP said she was doing badly financially and so people on benefits should be doing worse?

In your situation OP, its not benefits that are the issue. Infact, they are irrelevant really.

Benefits shouldn't pay more than working, that I agree on.

But benefits are already set as the minimum amount the government says you need to live on so is lowering them going to solve any problems or just create more?

Its very easy to look at your pay packet and moan about benefits, but who does that help? Its a line we are being fed that is untrue. The problem is high cost of living and low wages. Benefits are a different subject entirely.

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 08:39:24

You read wrong, murderofgoths. I believe the system is flawed. Read my bullet points in the OP - they are my 'points.'

Funny how people rant and rave at anyone daring to criticise anyone in receipt of benefits as they all must be treated as saints and martyrs but its fine to be as personal and acerbic as you want towards anyone who makes a note of protest!

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 25-Jul-13 08:43:00

Showing there that you really want a nice neutral discussion.

Err not.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 25-Jul-13 08:47:43

But if standard low wages are not enough for a family to live on, and we want benefits to always be lower than wages, what we are actually saying is that we want a system that acts as a safety net but doesn't provide enough for a family to survive. Not a terribly effective safety net really?

I would like more money. But taking money away front already poor people won't mean I get richer. My taxes won't go down, the government will just find more things to spend them on.

I want people to be supported to live happy, full lives. I am incredibly lucky to have had a great upbringing, to be reasonable secure financially and to be in good health at the moment. It's all just luck though, and I would be a fool to forget that.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 08:52:27

Totally agree about the high cost of living and low wages. Yet there is no initiative to address such issues when it comes to housing costs, fuel costs, energy costs and even food costs.

Living / surviving is expensive - and a living wage would go a long way to addressing that as well as looking at the tax system to ensure that work does pay and people can afford to survive.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 25-Jul-13 08:58:09

So do you want to discuss the system or the people?

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 09:04:44

I said quite clearly the system Hecsy but I ask again, why is it all right for someone to make personal digs at my character when if I was to do the same I would be accused of the things I outlined in my OP.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 25-Jul-13 09:06:35

You SAID the system..then are bashing individuals.

janey68 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:08:44

There are several issues here : yes, wages should be higher. Housing costs are way too high, as are utilities and food. And on top of that, the welfare system is flawed and has been long overdue for reform.

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 09:10:56

Um - did I?

I don't think I did. I said they are not all saints and martyrs, which is true and was in response to another poster informing me I was scum of the earth (paraphrase.)

This is why it's impossible to discuss it on here, because the minute you say something remotely critical about benefits it is made personal. Saying people in receipt of benefits are not all saints and martyrs is not bashing individuals. You can try and twist it around to that if you want to, but it will remain an incorrect assumption.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:11:17

People need to survive and the welfare system does that.

Work should pay - but it doesn't for many people - especially when you get no support for childcare and living costs are so high but the wages do not reflect these costs.

I think these are two separate issues - and I think that the second area I have mentioned is being ignored by Government.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 25-Jul-13 09:13:51

It's not, obviously, but using words like saints and martyrs betrays a view of the people. A bitterness about the people.

fwiw, I think the entire system is deeply flawed. From wages, to benefits, to the royals! to the nhs, to big business, to all the tax loopholes.

You can't pick benefits out of that and say that! that there is the problem!

It's simply too simplistic and it does come across like a judgement about people. How a certain group are seen.

If it was about the system, then it would be as part of a wider discussion about the living wage and big business and tax avoidance and national debt and faked oil prices...

It's a good debate to have. The system as a whole is not working. Or rather it is working, but it is working for a select few sitting at the top of the pile.

But when we ignore that because we are following their manipulation and looking at those at the bottom (so that we don't look at those at the top!) we are missing what's actually going on here.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 09:15:30

And thats where 'equality' came into play - women out working, double salary taken into the mix for mortgages, pushing prices sky high. This is the knock on effect

I think Holly made a good point about women working. To be able to afford to live reasonably well in the uk most households need two breadwinners. One wage just isn't enough anymore (obviously some earn a lot but they are fairly rare).

There is no way dh and I could have afforded an ok property to buy on just his or my wage.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:18:27

Maybe we should build more houses, release equity to allow councils to build more houses and provide a stimulus to the house builders.

Supply and demand.

ParsingFancy Thu 25-Jul-13 09:18:36

Hec, I may have to marry you for that.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:20:50

There's a lot of people who are not married, are not in a relationship but still want to buy somewhere.

How do they manage?

Renting is prohibitive.

In a decent country, someone on an average wage should be able to rent somewhere or buy a property for their needs. They should not need to house share.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 09:22:30

Work should pay, but it's not benefit claimants fault that wages are low.

Cutting the benefits bill won't make any difference to wages.

Giving someone on benefits less, won't make any difference to your life ,OP.

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

I've re-read the thread twice now and can't see anyone calling you the scum of the earth, or anything close.
If you feel someone has personally attacked you, report the post and MNHQ will delete it (if they agree with you)

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 09:28:04

I agree with you there Hecsy.

I manage alone. Not easily, and not in a massively expensive area, but I manage. Incidentally in order to do so I did have to move away from friends & family as where I grew up was too expensive (s/e.)

I don't think some benefits do provide the minimum either. I think they provide a reasonably generous amount, fortune, no, generous considering what you'd have to earn as a gross salary comparably, yes, pretty generous.

That's not a dig at the people. It's my opinion - I think some people do very nicely out of the benefit system, thank you very much, while I am aware still others struggle hugely.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 09:30:40

Really the debate needs to be about house prices,rent controls,zero hour contracts,low wages,lack of affordable housing.

Otherwise it just becomes another benefit bashing thtead.

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 09:31:46

I didn't say it would usual.

But it might make a difference to the NHS.

Or education.

Or local services.

Or preserving the countryside, or crime, or disability benefits - I have a friend with cerebral palsy. She cannot work because she cannot even control the movements of her head, poor woman. Having a bath is a hugely mammoth task - will the council fund a walk in shower, which she desperately needs? No, no money.

It's not about me. It's about the world at large, there is not an infinite amount of money and the more you give to one area the less there is for another.

That's why I can't shrug it off and say 'well it's only one person claiming £500 a week' or whatever, as £500 a week wold make a huge difference to some people, areas or places and its stupid to shrug it off as if it doesn't matter, it DOES.

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

Exactly, Usual.

So much stuff going on that makes work not pay.

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

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

Not say 'it's not fair'

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

A large proportion of benefits are 'in work benefits'

Why is that do you think?

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

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


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

Its not an eviable lifestyle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry for the long post blush

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

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

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

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

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

Lets have a discussion about the whole picture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think the solution is then,OP?

Cut all benefits?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That needs addressing imo.

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

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

I'm off.

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

Ha ha usual! Ikwym grin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just me then

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

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

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

NameThatTuna Thu 25-Jul-13 10:17:01

Another thing, the NHS workforce is mainly women, who are most likely to be claiming some form of benefits. Tax credits/HB. There are at least a third on my ward (40 odd staff) who work part time because of childcare costs. The more you work, the more you pay in childcare.

Because of the shifts, starting at 7am, having to get the kids up at 5.30 to drop off to the childminder is fucking hard work and exhausting. Trying to find childcare after 6pm, when your shift finishes at 8pm is almost impossible. That's why most single parents work part time and claim TC/WTC/HB. The flexible working hours are like gold dust.

Because the term "average salary" nowadays does not equal a good salary.

The average salary in this country is barely enough to live on.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 10:21:21

IMHO the biggest problem with the system is the inefficiency of the way it is administered. I suspect more money is wasted on this than is spent on benefits themselves.

It doesn't react well to changes in circumstances making it difficult to accept short term contracts. I know UC is meant to help but we'll see.

Work wise nil hour contracts are the work of the devil. No idea what you'll earn each month, could easily go a month with no pay yet no WTC because can't guarantee being over the hours threshold or not enough CTC because you earned a decent amount previously. The problem is worse because the nil hours contract employers expect you to be available all the time at a moments notice making a second job difficult if not impossible. That's before you take into account how difficult getting any job is these days.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 10:21:56

The OP sounds like she's living a normal life though. Certainly much easier than my life growing up, which was then a normal life too. Most people have to make choices, go without for this to pay for that, have a lean month in order to pay for Christmas etc. It's just life when you don't have a limitless amount of money.

Bowlersarm Thu 25-Jul-13 10:22:29

I agree with your opening post OP.

People aren't rational about it on here, the opinions are generally too extreme.

You get the same posters periodically posting 'Tory cunts, cutting benefits, robbing the poor to pay the rich, their children are suffering' etc

Then other posters 'my neighour is on benefits, taking the piss, living the life of Riley, it's not fair for me to pay my tax to support their lifestyle' etc

Most people are placed somewhere between the two opinions, but debates quickly become a downward spiral of name calling, and it gets too heated.

I don't know what your answer is, feelings run high from both points of view, so I don't think you'll get an unemotional debate.

PasswordProtected Thu 25-Jul-13 10:22:38

The Economist published an article some years ago that put forward the theory that housing costs should not amount to more than 28% of the total household income. Any higher and there would be trouble.
I wonder now if we are seeing the effects of the relatively high cost of housing in all sectors?

Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 10:24:25

Kim - yes that's exactly why employers don't pay a decent wage, that's the problem. It's not helped by bloody Tesco doing Workfare either

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 10:25:28

That about sums it up Crumpled although I'm not sure how normal we are! grin

It is difficult to get a job in some areas of employment, however our recent job ads attracted the grand total of 3 applicants hmm Yes, some jobs are hugely competitive and hard to get - others, not so much.

I read propaganda in the newspapers, I recognise it as propaganda and ignore it, but by the same token I have to say the world I am presented through Mumsnet is at odds with the world I know. Anecdotal perhaps, but nonetheless, it's difficult to ignore what you see on a daily basis, isn't it?

size20knickersandfatter Thu 25-Jul-13 10:26:13

bowlers you've described my stance pretty nicely there, I think - cheers! wine

Bowlersarm Thu 25-Jul-13 10:29:52

Why thank you. Bit early yet, but I'll have it later. Cheers

mumandboys123 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:31:05

redhelen of course you can have a mortgage on benefits. You are unlikely to get a new mortgage or be allowed to re-mortgage whilst on benefits but plenty of people have mortgages when benefits enter their lives.

MadBusLady Thu 25-Jul-13 10:34:45

It's pointless to "discuss the welfare state" for the simple reason that almost nobody, on either "side", knows a fucking thing about it that isn't anecdotal.

As a result, nobody makes any actual arguments worth the name, it's all just people getting up on their hindlegs and bellowing "I BELIEVE..." and then talks in very general terms about their "beliefs" using metaphor, general allusions to safety nets, crutches etc, illustrated perhaps by a story about their auntie's milkman's cousin. Then other people disagree with the generalised terms using their own generalised terms, nobody really says anything of substance, nobody changes their mind, and nobody learns anything.

This is very, very boring to read, and almost totally pointless to write.

HeySoulSister Thu 25-Jul-13 10:36:17

Op....... Which benefit do you feel is too generous? Which one out of all of them are you referring to?

Also, why did you mention child care?

Fayrazzled Thu 25-Jul-13 10:39:22

Discussions of the welfare budget tend to ignore the fact that by far and away the largest proportion of the spend is on state pensions and benefits relate to pensions. The benefits that tend to get people frothy at the mouth (unemployment benefit, income support etc) actually account for a very small % of the state's expenditure on benefits.

Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 10:42:16

Thanks Fay - that was the point I was trying to make in one of my earlier posts smile

Bowlersarm Thu 25-Jul-13 10:42:23

Actually MadBusLady I think you're spot on, and you've pretty much summed me up. I have opinions, but know very little about the benefit system so would never comment on it because, well, it's just my opinion and I'm not sure i know enough about it to give my argument any substance.

You're also right about no one ever changing their mind. It's always the same old, same old from the same posters. Gets a bit tedious after a while.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 10:44:05

I really do not understand the resentment.

Even if you were better off on benefits (and I would dispute this) in cash terms you are never better off in reality.

And I think a lot of people imagine 'if I was on benefits I could do this and this and this thing and not have to worry about work'

forgetting that they wouldn't have their car, their status as an employed person, the possessions they have accumulated over the years, perhaps a decent house and the fact that they are educated and healthy
(I know that this does not describe everyone's circumstances).

A life of benefits is no fun. Even if you do manage to get the flat screen tv. Your life is not your own, you have no status, nothing 'moves'.

Even those very few who sneer at the hard working families are not to be envied are they? Really, do we want their lives?

I don't mean to depress those on benefits. I used to be, a long while back and it was fucking horrible. Drudgery and stress.

We are on a low income now and keeping working is tricky for both of us due to health issues but my biggest fear is being back on full matter how 'generous' they are.

I also feel the feelings of resentment are based on inaccuracies. Of course you will feel resentful if you believe that people are living the life of Reily while you live in abject misery.

But is that really the case? Why don't more people give up their jobs and go on benefits if it really is true?

RedHelenB Thu 25-Jul-13 10:46:56

Mum & Boys - not if you are on long term benefits which I took the thread to be about. yes, you may get the interest part paid, but only at a certain rate and for a certain amount of time.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 10:47:18

MrsDV : the resentment is because people who have less are often paying for people who have more and don't work for it.

Why would you not resent that?

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 10:49:19

Yy,endless anecdotes.

HeySoulSister Thu 25-Jul-13 10:49:21

What are 'long term benefits' ??

MadBusLady Thu 25-Jul-13 10:50:17

Bowlersarm then you have a restraint that is unfortunately rare grin It's like Budget Day, when almost everyone I know unexpectedly turns out to be an expert economist for a day.

LessMissAbs Thu 25-Jul-13 10:55:14

Sparklymommy I also know several piss takers. Several mothers who have several kids and have never had a job. (I personally worked up until my oldest was 3 and a half). We struggle to make ends meet whilst I see some of these mothers living the life of Riley and it is frustrating

I suspect this trend (people looking for a free ride/meal ticket through life, men as well as women) supports the OP's original point.

People working long hours in stressful jobs don't post as frequently on mumsnet as those with an agenda in maintaining generous welfare state payments. Its not a balanced demographic for debate to spring from.

Theres also a lack of tolerance from some very shouty posters when their strongly entrenched views are challenged. They seek to stifle debate by informing people that, should they have any different view to themselves, they have all sorts of character flaws that mean their views are worthwhile. But presumably they can still pay the tax to support the benefits system.

Aye, right.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 10:56:16

The point is crumbled in I general they don't have more. Through my work I have seen people on benefits who have good possessions. They fall into 4 groups those who were previously working and already had these possessions. They are unlikely to be replaced when broken, they have been bought from one of these weekly interest places for which they struggle to meet the payments and fear the bailiffs. They have saved for months if not years doing without something else (sometimes meals when it's for children's presents) or the worst group they have obtained them illegally. You envy these people? Really?

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 10:57:22

crumbled your posts illustrates my point.

The only people I am paying for who have more than me are the rich.
I don't know anyone on full benefits who is better off than me and we are on a low income.

You are resenting a myth.

LessMissAbs Thu 25-Jul-13 10:58:46

Added to the above, comparison is a pretty useful tool in debates. So if you compare the situation in the UK to that in similar countries in the same part of the world - Germany, Holland, Belgium, etc - their economies are currently doing better, they have less people on all types of benefits of lesser amounts despite higher costs of living, and the overall standard of living is now noticeably higher than in the UK. With the exception of housing. I may be wrong, but it appears to me that people in those countries tend to live in smaller houses and less luxury new builds than people of similar salary status in the UK, rent more, and take more responsibility for making upgrades to their homes themselves. I think theres also far more self builds, but I may be wrong.

I do think if there was a planning policy in this country that said that 20% of all new builds had to be self builds, it would be very beneficial for society.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 10:59:17

mrsd I don't feel resentful. Being on benefits sounds awful just awful.

Seems worse to me that we spend a lot of money on keeping people in these depressing situations than if they had a good life for free on the tax payer.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 11:01:17

lessmiss and people who have real working experience of people living on benefits are ignored in favour of those who 'knows someone who gets loads of money and laughs at people who work'

Time and time again people who work with families are dismissed. Whilst people with zero first hand experience are believed.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 11:03:47

when I can't see how anything the current government are doing is going to help.
If you are cutting access to benefits you must provide an alternative.

If you are telling people they have to move out of a 2 bedroom flat into a 1 bedroom flat there have to be 1 bedroom flats surely? (for example).

No one on these threads every defends lazy arse shirkers, they just tend to challenge the idea that there are tens of thousands of them lying around the place.

Davsmum Thu 25-Jul-13 11:04:40

I think for many many people their wages are far too low.
The govt. decide the way forward is to cut benefits so that working people do not feel resentful about people getting as much or more than they do working and yet it can be bloody hard to manage on a minimum wage.

I haven't had a pay increase in almost 10 years. I have to make my money stretch to pay bigger bills and living costs. I am not on a minimum wage - If I was I would be in real trouble.

emilyeggs Thu 25-Jul-13 11:05:43

What's the big deal with people having a flat screen tv? They are not expensive and have been around for years! grin

RedHelenB Thu 25-Jul-13 11:06:08

I'm saying "long term " benefits because she is talking about people who choose to be on them, so Income support, JSA etc. if you are on these benefits for years you won't end up owning your own home!

janey68 Thu 25-Jul-13 11:07:57

Mrs de vere- I think you make valid points about life as an unemployed person on benefits. I agree that for most people, that's going to be soul destroying, and even if there is just enough money to scrape by, I think you illustrate the lack of self esteem, the feeling that their life is owned by the state etc very well.
Personally I think anyone who genuinely believes they would be happier being unemployed and living on benefits is nuts

BUT I think where a lot of quite reasonable resentment is felt, is not to do with the intractable problems of the long term unemployed, but where couples are working hard, often both full time, qualifying for no top ups, and they see people manipulating the system and working part time so they still get benefits.

If you work part time, you don't have the lack of a sense of purpose and self esteem of being unemployed. You also perhaps don't have the pressure of working long hours and having to pay your own way for everything- housing, childcare, councils tax, dentist, prescriptions.

Now , this is the point where people will accuse me of being anecdotal, but hell, we all rely on our own experience don't we. And I know significant numbers of people who do exactly the above. They don't want to be jobless, but they do want to work the minimum number of hours they can to qualify for benefits. And that is not the purpose of the welfare state

Another example: hands up those of you with teenage children moving towards Uni, who won't be able to get the full maintenance loan because you as parents work full time and are therefore over the threshold? Meanwhile, watching the teenage children of separated /divorced friends of yours getting a lot more access to loans, grants and ultimately access to higher education- even when their parents combined income may be greater than yours?!

So while I agree with mrs de vere that no one in their right mind would prefer a jobless life, I can totally understand how many people who work hard, to the maximum potential and pay their own way are thoroughly pissed off with the unfairness of the system.

And yes, I'm all for people being paid a living wage, house prices not being so exorbitant etc, but there are also fundamental flaw in the welfare system which need to be addressed

tedmundo Thu 25-Jul-13 11:11:01

I have been reading this hoping it would not turn into a bun fight. I studied Sociology at degree level a long time ago, but even then there was endless debate on this topic and not much consensus!

I binned the text books, and anyway, I am sure the research and theories have developed endlessly in the past 2 decades, but can I throw into the debate the need for a sector analysis of a mandatory living wage?

Manufacturing? I honestly don't think a mandatory living wage would end well for the UK employees in this sector.

Health and Social care? Just off the top of my head I can imagine that paying a living wage to care home staff will deplete those living off their assets even faster leaving them eligible for state care, and we are back to square 1.

It is a fascinating subject and when discussing the theory, it is possible to forget the people side of it, so FWIW I can't stand the benefit bashing. It is entirely possible to discuss economic strategy without demonising whole sections of society.

I bet the career claimants wouldn't even fill a division 3 football stadium.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 11:11:19

Ok anecdotal but here goes. Our downstairs neighbours are 21 with one child. They are vile, are very noisy and laugh and ridicule me when they see me going to work because they say work is for mugs, they boast about never having worked.

Do I envy them? Not a chance. Ok I don't like leaving DC when in work but DH has seen inside their house. They sleep on the floor because they can't afford a bed, their dd sleeps with them or in the buggy, they freely admit not to using the bedrooms in winter because it saves on heating, their TV is a CRT. Their Dd's only toys are ones my dd and our other neighbour's Dd have grown out of. Not a nice way to live at all.

HeySoulSister Thu 25-Jul-13 11:12:59

redhelen but how is income support long term? It's not, and neither is JSA....

Job centre push and push to get you into work... It's £71 a week and not 'long term'

Same with income support.... Your youngest reaches 5, you are moved off it!!!

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 11:13:37

mrsd you are right, people do need an alternative. God only knows I don't have the answers.

In general I would like to see more money put into services than just thrown at families that are struggling. Most obvious would be better more affordable child care so that people can afford to go to work.

I would love to see massive reductions in the cost of public transport, round my way it's cheaper to get a cab than a bus if there are three of you. That doesn't feel right to me.

HeySoulSister Thu 25-Jul-13 11:14:30

grumpy that is there choice, nothing to do with benefits system. There are budgeting loans to enable furniture to be bought!

Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 11:15:16

Yy to the childcare. I've actually opted to be a sahm as it actually works out cheaper for me to do so than go back to work & pay for childcare

RedHelenB Thu 25-Jul-13 11:15:59

I probably fall into that category Janey, but my kids are not going to miss out cos I'm working all hours. I have a lot of my adult life to work full time, like I did before they were born. As to uni, it is also unfair that kids with well off parents won't fund then but there will always be some group that misses out.

RedHelenB Thu 25-Jul-13 11:16:48

And actually, as a part time worker I think you do more pro rata than a full time worker IME.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 11:17:30

janey but it that very system that allows me and my husband to continue to work and pay taxes into the system.

I am 46. I remember when you had two choices. You worked and received nothing or you stayed on supplementary benefit/dole

This caused a far bigger chance of a benefit trap because in order to take a job you had to be able to earn enough to cover everything. This is the ideal, I accept that, but it is also pretty unrealistic now (as it was then).

If you offer WTC people can take part time work and pay taxes.

If it was removed both me and my OH would be on full benefits and in a horrible position.

He is disabled, we have a disabled child and I am their carer.

He cannot work full time. I cannot work full time because he cannot provide full time care for our disabled child.

I honestly think there are more people in this type of position than there are people who think they will do a few hours and sack off the rest.

We don't get any of that stuff free either. We have to pay the same as those on full wages.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 11:20:43

grumpy and don't you think that a lot of that nastiness is front?
When people make a big deal out of how stupid people are for going to work it usually strikes me as a way of covering up how crap their lives are.

They sound delightful btw hmm

And you know you are going to be better off and your children have a better life in the long term.

I don't understand how so many people don't grasp that.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 11:21:56

heysoul I was just trying to counter people saying people on benefits have more and have it easy.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 11:24:26

grumpy your downstairs neighbours sound a bit like me and dh. Except we are mid 30s, go to work and are nice (I know no one thinks they are horrid but honest we are good people --most of the time--)

Dd sleeps on a mattress on the floor, we can afford a bed but she loves jumping around on it and it seems safer. I or dh normally sleep with her little devil never did learn to self settle

In winter our house is freezing and we stop using rooms because we can't really afford to have them heated. Loads of dds toys are second hand and I see no shame in this. Oh we hardly ever go on holiday, if we do we stay with friends / at grandparents place, maybe once a year.

I guess the big difference is we choose to make these savings, we are well off by any stretch but we have savings and if we need to or want to spend some money we can. Just pointing out that living in the way you describe is also done by people in work.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 11:29:05

MrsDV I do dislike them but for a lot more than in my post above eg the death threats to our seriously ill elderly neighbour when she asked them to keep the noise down.

BTW I'm not ashamed of working, I'm ashamed of earning so little that I need TC to ensure I eat. Working on getting better paid btw but it will take time. I'm hopefully starting on a course this year which I'll do in addition to work because my shifts can work round it. Our aim is to be independent in 5 years although on a bad day it feels like it will be nearer 10.

siezethenight Thu 25-Jul-13 11:31:50

Yawn - can you go and moan elsewhere please? The majority of people on benefits are those in work. If there was a living wage rather than a minimum and if there were more affordable housing then Housing benefit would not need to be claimed. Deposits for first time buyers are too big therefore they rent therefore the rent market has boomed and people don't earn enough to cover basic housing needs. Ditto the food situation and energy bills and so on and on.
Quit bullying those on benefits and instead point to the Government and ask them to sort the country out from its roots.
The only reason those getting benefits are being vilified is because the Government has encouraged it.
Quite how anybody thinks, Jobseekers for an example is living a cushy life on 78.00 a week is beyond me. And before you shout Housing Benefit - where and how would you like people to live? In slums at the edges of town? That be good enough for you?
Go away with this sanctimonious bullshit. Congratulations for being led like a sheep into the Conservative way of thinking.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 11:34:08

when it's not the sleeping on a mattress or not being able to heat the house that makes me think they are vile. I'm sorry if my post made you think that. It's their constant abuse of the neighbours that makes me think that. Would be too much to detail on here.

By posting that story I was trying to challenge the belief that those on benefits live the life of riley. We were homeless at one point I don't despise anyone for being poor.

DadOnIce Thu 25-Jul-13 11:35:53

The vast majority of people on benefits do struggle, that's obvious. But a lot of people do seem to know at least one piss-taker. Statistically, we know these are a very, very small minority and not representative of people on benefits in general - and yet they are there.

What amazes me is that anyone actually can plan a benefits "lifestyle". I expect like many on here, I was registered unemployed for a short while. It was for six months in my 20s, and I remember how hard it was. You had to turn up every Monday morning at the dole office and account for yourself with copies of all your application letters, proving you were "seeking work" - they took it very seriously and were pretty stern about it. If you were claiming JSA (or Income Support as it was back then) for longer than they were happy with, they'd send you on a course or insist that you applied for a minimum number of jobs. It would have been impossible to take the piss. Or perhaps I just wasn't devious enough?...

Like the OP, I think work should pay. You should never be better off claiming benefits than you are in work. What can happen, though, is that someone takes a low-paid job to get off benefits and on paper that job pays more than the benefits would - but after tax, NI, travel to work and other costs such as work clothes, etc., are deducted, they're actually worse off, in terms of actual pounds and pence going in the bank, in the short term. That can happen. Being in work is always better than not, though - as the old saying goes, it's always easier to get a job when you have a job.

I suppose the controversy comes when we start to legislate for what we think the unemployed are "allowed". Is the Internet a luxury? Well, no, because it's essential for job-hunting. Nobody just goes and looks at the cards in the Job Centre any more. Is a car a luxury? Maybe not, for some types of work. Etc.

Of course, the standard response from my more left-wing friends is that we should all be getting terribly irate about the bankers' bonuses instead, which in practice "take" more money from us than benefit cheats, although I don't see the two as mutually exclusive worries. (Bankers are such a world apart from anything I ever do, anyway, and I mentally separate them off in the way I do the Royal Family - nothing I ever say or do is going to make a difference. We might protest and and knock a few thousand off their income here and there,so they get one less skiiing holiday a year. Big deal.)

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 11:35:54

No I don't envy them. And no, you aren't paying for the rich mrs DV. Unles you mean the Labour party bailing out the bankers. The Labour party.

janey68 Thu 25-Jul-13 11:37:55

Redhelen- I am not talking about part time workers who can afford to be part time. I am referring to those who deliberately manipulate the system to work fewer hours or in less demanding roles because they have Sussed that there will be virtually no difference in their standard of living than if they worked more and were entitled to less top ups
That is categorically NOT the purpose of a welfare state. And yes, I blame the system more than the individuals, though I still think it takes a certain mindset to work the system like that

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 11:39:15

Where does this envoy accusation comes from anyway? It comes from just needing something to say. I don't envy them, I don't want anyone to have my money that steals it or takes the mickey. Legitimate redistribution is fine - you shoudl try living in a place where it doesn't happen.

That's not envy. Unless you count the fact that I worked, they didn't, they have my money and I don't.

SunshineBossaNova Thu 25-Jul-13 11:41:53

I've not been on benefits for nearly 20 years, thankfully. I signed on for 6 months and I hope I never have to do it again - it was soul destroying.
I don't begrudge people who receive benefits, even though there is a small percentage of people who take the piss.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 11:43:16

Blaming the system is not really the answer. Adults are not children. They can make choices. Goodness knows those choices are defended often enough. If adults want to behave like children - treat them that way. Tell them what they can spend their money on, make them want independence.

DadOnIce Thu 25-Jul-13 11:43:17

I would add that, while I was unemployed in my 20s, the very idea of purchasing a television, a computer, a mobile phone (they were around, just), a car or, oh my sides, a holiday would have been in the realms of fantasy. I bought a suit and a new pair of shoes and had regular haircuts - for obvious reasons.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 11:43:48

grumpy it didn't sound like you thought they were vile due to their sleeping habits or not using a room in winter. I very much got the impression it is their behaviour you don't like (can't blame you they sound horrible).

janey68 Thu 25-Jul-13 11:45:48

Another example: I currently know two qualified teachers who work as teacher assistants precisely because, in their words, they are entitled to top ups due to the ridiculous low pay of the job, and they have Sussed that if they worked to their potential as teachers with the additional childcare costs, work pressure etc , the difference in their standard of living would be negligible.

And no these aren't mums of tiny children who have deliberately taken a sensibly lower stress job temporarily and are supported by their husbands. These are women with much older children who actually really would quite like to be doing the job they trained for but have little incentive.

Surely it would be far better for the system to incentivise people like this to do the career they trained in? It would also free up the teacher assistant posts for people who are qualified at that level but aren't teachers.

To go back to what mrs de vere said, I don't think many people would genuinely prefer unemployment over having a job. But I do think there is currently very little incentive for people to work to their potential, do a full working week or go for promotions, when any financial gain is given with one hand and taken away by another

ouryve Thu 25-Jul-13 11:46:29

If you've got something new to say, OP, then let me hear it. Welfare threads tend to be much like the proverbial pissing contest.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 11:49:02

crumbled you are totally missing the point that most of the welfare budget goes to pensioners. For working age benefits most are actually in employment. Of those that are unemployed most have been employed and made redundant relatively recently and are actively seeking work. Remember a large proportion of those in part time work are in part time work because it is all they could get. Their only other alternative was remaining unemployed. I'm sure you'll agree they chose the better of the 2 options.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 11:56:12

crumbled really? My taxes do not pay the wages of the MPs or the for the lifestyle of our huge extended Royal Family?

grumpy I feel ashamed that I only work two short days. I feel that I am not in a proper job (although my work is very important and useful). I have recently been offered a few more hours and I have this odd idea that if I a working 3 days it will be more 'proper' and I can feel less embarrassed about it.

Why do we feel this way when we are doing our best? I think it is down to years of propaganda and access to the internet and the ideas and opinions of millions of people who are not in our position.

It drags you down eventually.

I have worked since I was 16. I have had maternity leave 3 times of less than a year. My OH has worked since he was 16. The only break in employment has been a few weeks when he was made redundant.

We are in our mid 40s.

We find ourselves in this position due to my OH having MS, our DD dying and us adopting our disabled Gnephew.
We have both contributed and strived. Ok we are not high flyers but our ambitions are modest.

Yet I feel ashamed the we no longer both work full time (or have multiple jobs)

I care for my OH and my DS and my other kids and I work in a useful job.

But I still feel like I am failing.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 11:56:41

I forgot to add that I had a break in employment when DD was ill and for nearly a year after she died.

NameThatTuna Thu 25-Jul-13 11:57:00

The thing is, when the government give you something i.e tax credits and class them as an entitlement, people will rely on this to live. Quite rightly too, because so many people were in the situation my DM was in 20 odd years ago.

Due to this entitlement, people who had kids have gone on to have more. These are working couples who have had top ups like WTC.

A friend of mine only had one child when she met her partner, they claimed as a joint couple so received top ups. They went on to have 2 more DC, both planned. They knew things would be tight but she also told me they would receive a bit more for those children in CB and TC. It was what they were entitled to, and they didn't do too badly for a couple of years.

Now she's fucked financially. TC have gone down, they can barely manage.

The system allowed them to make these choices, but then pulled the rug from under their feet a few years later.

Who is to blame? The government or my friends? I think it's both.

Mumsyblouse Thu 25-Jul-13 11:58:51

It's a bit of a chicken and an egg with the part-time work- companies parcel up their work into part-time roles about 16 hours a week precisely so working parents can claim tax credits (although the hours are changing). The only people I know on benefits all keep their hours low on purpose for this reason, it's not a big secret but it is a bit galling when they could take more shifts/work longer hours but don't to keep the working hours/tax credit ratio to the optimum. I'm not envious myself as these aren't jobs I'd love to do but it's not true to say that this is all they could get; the employers know this is one way to entice people into low wage jobs.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 11:59:25

the trouble with reforms janey is that the do not discriminate.
I agree that two healthy qualified teachers should not play the system (kind of illustrates that its not all chavs though doesn't it?) but the government will not bring in changes that affect those people.

they will be blanket and draconian.

And your teacher friends will simply work more hours because they can and the rest of us will be buggered.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 12:02:42

mrsd I'm so sorry all that has happened to your family and I'm really sorry you feel guilty for not working full time.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 12:05:31

Part time work pisses me off. Poorly paid work seems to be available on a part time basis quite easily. A well part time job that's well paid however is a bloody nightmare to find. I would love to work 4 days a week but my work refuse to entertain the idea.

Mumsyblouse Thu 25-Jul-13 12:05:34

Name I agree with that which is why nothing would tempt me into the part-time/wtc trap, as if the benefits shift, you are really stuffed. Also, a lot of part-time work unless you are very lucky doesn't have much career progression. So, I wouldn't find that satisfying myself.

MrsDeVere I'm sorry you feel like that because under the circumstances, working part-time is an amazing achievement. I think it has been devalued though, by people who really do not have any other reason not to work full-time- although in each case, I have understood where my friend is coming from because they are usually putting their family needs first (most amount of time with mother/least amount of working/most amount of tax credits).

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:08:44

Some figures for you:

The government spending for 2013 comes in at £509.4billion, of which £9.8billion was spent on unemployment benefits. I'll do the maths for you - that's 1.9% of what the government spent overall.

It is a myth that unemployment benefits are the massive drain on the system that the Tories would have us believe. Conversely, £138.1billion went on pensions - 27.11%. Should we off the coffin-dodgers instead to save even more cash? Nope, because that would be absurd and morally abhorrent.

The answer is NOT to cut benefits or to spin a load of rhetoric portraying all benefit claimants as lazy and workshy. While the cost of living is beyond so many - including low paid workers - we cannot do anything to reduce the amount of spending on supporting families without forcing people into poverty.

We need a living wage, sod the minimum wage. We also need to bring down the cost of living. Rent, house prices, food, utilities - all too expensive.

janey68 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:16:38

Can I reiterate: I am not criticising people who work part time for health reasons, or because they can afford to do so with the support of a partner, or because they cannot find full time employment. (Obvious that part time is better than nothing) I am criticising a system which acts as a DISincentive to many people to work to their potential.
And as for the pensions issue: surely that's all the more reason why the system should incentivise people to work and earn to their potential? I don't imagine many people will want a part time pension which funds only half their week when they retire!

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:19:28

Crumbled really? My taxes do not pay the wages of the MPs or the for the lifestyle of our huge extended Royal Family?

Is that it, Mrs DV?

The Royal family generates income for the UK, quite a lot. And if you want us to go back to the 18th Century and have only independently wealthy MPS able to stand, that's up to you. And if you think MPs are rich, that's also up to you.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:21:22

Re: pensionsers, I know that. Of course. It doesn't mean I want my money to go to people who steal it, or to take the mickey, or to support people who get from not working than working. I just don't. I'm not missing any point.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:23:07

This government has got it right. If you penalise people for saving, they won't save. If you penalise people for working, they won't work. If you pay people to have more children, they will have more children.

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:25:22

People who are not on benefits can be just as bad at cheating system I.E Tax payments, only their ripple effect is a hell of a lot worse.
No one should cheat the system at all. However you do it.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:26:50

How is it worse?

FasterStronger Thu 25-Jul-13 12:28:05

£9.8billion was spent on unemployment benefits

that's £10,000,000,000

so every 1% you can reduce the bill by is £100,000,000.

that's £100 million. for every 1% reduction.

and we have teachers working as TAs.

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:30:51

How is it worse?

Because an unpaid tax bill in the millions is worse than 20,000 a year benefit payments...

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:32:10

Unpaid tax? You mean evaded or avoided? And what do you mean? £20,000 benefits is one person - is "unpaid tax in the millions" also one person?

FasterStronger Thu 25-Jul-13 12:32:23

shine - If you were the tax man, how would you collect more tax from say Amazon?

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Thu 25-Jul-13 12:32:40

Ok. Can't be arsed to read the whole thread so apologies if this has already been said. Have you ever been on benefits OP? I have. The reason people aren't massively better off working is because jobs do not pay a living wage. Do you think an entire family should have to live off less than mininum wage just to make sure that working people are better off? Btw we are 100 pounds per month better off than we were on benefits. We still get tax credits though and couldn't afford to live without them. Benefits are not too high. Pay is too low. Someone working full time should not have to be topped up with housing benefit or tax credits in order to live but that's the way it is. Many benefit claimants are working hard but their jobs don't pay enough and someone has to do those jobs.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:32:46

Do you know what per centage the top wealthiest people pay into "the system"?

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:36:15


Most likely a lot of them do. However when one of them don't it is a higher amount of money compared to a benefit claimant.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:38:35

Do you mean evading, or avoiding? This is their money, not the state's money.

Does this help?

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:43:26

I mean avoiding I.E not declaring. You don't need to get so defensive I was merely pointing out that it is not JUST people on benefits that manipulate the system and therefore cost the government money. wink

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 12:44:11

crumbled I think the top 1% of earners pay 24% of all the income tax collected. The top 50% of earners contribute about 88% of all income tax.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 12:46:18

Ooh I just read your link, my figures are out of date, it's 30% now - wow.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:46:55

Just trying to pin down vague statements. smile I agree with the government's moves to clamp down on tax evasion. Long time coming. Labour had 13 years smile

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:47:38

My figures also somewhat out of date because of the 50 rate. But it is huge - massive proportion.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:48:11

Tony Blair does well out of it. I read about his tiny, tiny tax bill not that long ago.

FasterStronger Thu 25-Jul-13 12:51:02

the table headed High Income shows the distribution.

so adding the last 3 columns show the top 10% (those earning £35,345 or more) pay 40% of all income tax.

WafflyVersatile Thu 25-Jul-13 12:51:27

Welfare does not cost a fortune and is a good use of money. What else would you have it spent on? More tax breaks for Starbucks?

If welfare is more lucrative than work then work is paying too little.

the housing market is out of control. there is not enough social housing.

None of this is the fault of people who do not have a job. Stop arguing for punishing them.

Stop fighting them for crumbs from the rich man's table.

janey68 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:51:39

I wouldn't want the pressure of a career earning a couple of hundred thousand a year and paying 50% tax on some of it (and 40% on most of it) Thank god there are some people who do it though, because the country depends heavily on them

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:54:20

There should be more social housing.

Doctorbrownbear Thu 25-Jul-13 12:54:35

I agree witht the OP but there are many many people on this site who are very defensive of the benefits system and will not accept that people should gain more by working hard, than by doing nothing (whether by choice or not) I think it is a very reasonable expectation. I wonder why they are so defensive???

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:58:37

Thank you faster. Waffly, welfare does cost a fortune. The details are on the thread. I would have the money to keep thanks, and I would have all those families who struggle to keep a bit more of their money to, to do with what they will.

ssd Thu 25-Jul-13 12:58:55

what I don't really get about mn is the amount of slagging someone like the op far as I can see she hasn't said living on benefits is cushy...

one thread about benefits was supposed to be really funny, loads of back slapping and in jokes about plasma tellies and goats...hilarious stuff...

yet mn seems to be full of well off mums posting between taking stuff to the dry cleaners or picking up kids from music lessons. Where are the mums who live on benefits/earn £6.19 an hour, live off 3 cleaning jobs?

these are the people I want to hear from, not the ones married to doctors...posting about goats and saying hi to their favourites

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 12:59:13

I wonder why they are so defensive???
Maybe because the benefits system has been a life saver for them or a member of their family/loved ones.
Maybe because they work daily with people who without the benefits would simply starve.
Maybe because they are decent people who understand that some people are not as lucky as others and are unable to gain good qualifications that result in high paying jobs.

Just to give a few hmm

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:59:30

The goat posting is for when you run out of arguments SSD.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 12:59:55

Not you, SSD, but i think you know what I mean!

WafflyVersatile Thu 25-Jul-13 13:00:07

Because we think the welfare state needs defending. And that the people attacking have their facts wrong.

Are you implying it can only be because they are benefit scroungers themselves, doctorbrownbear?

I've never been on benefits. I earn over the national average and am quite comfortably off.

I just give a shit about other people, not just myself.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:01:22

Who is attacking the welfare state? You run into problems when you defend the "welfare state" - when in fact people are criticising those taking the mickey or engaging in fraud. It's you lumping them together, not me.

EspressoMonkey Thu 25-Jul-13 13:02:37

OP i think it is impossible to have a fair conversation about the welfare state because it is simply not the done thing to have anything other than left wing political opinions these days.

I have a great life and am fortunate to have had a very good career and am married to a wealthy man. My life wasn't always so rosy, i grew up in a northern mill town, my DM was a cleaner.

When DH and i lived in South London and i had DD1 i made a lot of local friends at the baby groups. They were all wealthy ladies from wealthy families. They had had excellent educations, lived very good lives. They all read the Guardian and rolled their eyes at the Daily Mail. They all supported Labour. To have any other political opinions than theirs was not acceptable to them. They loved the welfare system. They felt that those on benefits needed a voice and it was them. They all had a token friend from an ethnic minority. They didn't actually know anybody on benefits, nor would they actually want to. The only people they knew who lived in less desirable neighbourhoods were their cleaners.

When they found out that i grew up in a Northern Mill town they decided i wasn't one of them and gave me a wide birth. Then when they found out who my DH was they wanted to be my friend again. They have no idea what it is like to live with very little, or to live on benefits, or to work incredibly hard and only just keep your head above the water. I think that quite a few of my old "friends" are on here.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:05:00

I know what a country looks like without welfare support and it's not pretty. It's brutal. This country isn't like that, doesn't even approach it, and isn't headed in that direction.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:05:10

The richest 10% of people in this country own 40% of the wealth.

I hate to imagine how much of that is owned by the top 1%.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:06:55

"The bottom 50% of households in Britain have just £4,400 of cash, property and pensions compared to the £1.2m held by the top 10%, according to an Office for National Statistics report which lays bare the vast disparities in wealth across the UK.

The top 10% of households are now 850 times wealthier than the bottom 10%, the ONS said. It also revealed that half of UK households have just £400 in net cash at hand, compared to the £123,200 in cash balances typically held by the top 10% of households."

A bit of a contrast.

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:09:02

The welfare Bill is expensive yes. The government need to do more to help the people who can work but are unable to find jobs.

However there are lots more issues where the bills are high. MP's, Bankers and the rest. So to justify reducing the government bill you have to start at the top and work your way down.

The media is horrendous and should never cloud your own judgment as it is always used as a distraction.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:11:46

"MP's, Bankers and the rest. "

What does this mean?

I notice your link Kim doesn't include the information about when this explosion happened or about social mobility during the Labour years. Or how much the top 40 per cent contributes in tax revenue. Or how it isn't - yet - illegal to own things.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:17:31

MrsDeVere, I feel so sad that you feel guilty for working part-time. You really shouldn't feel that way; you are doing your utmost which is more than most people do.

Mind, I also feel guilty for working part-time. I honestly don't think I can actually cope with full-time work, because when I was doing it I kept on having sodding breakdowns, and as a lp and therefore effectively the only parent my child has I can't let that happen. But still, I know that people look at me and think "Well, she's not really trying, is she?" I am, but it's not enough. So I know where you're coming from.

FasterStronger Thu 25-Jul-13 13:17:51

The government need to do more to help the people who can work but are unable to find jobs.

how? you need jobs creating and how do you do that?

I am an entrepreneur. but you cannot pay me to create a job. if the job can make money, I will create it myself. if you offer me £1k as the govt has in the past, I will take it, but if the salary is say £25-50k, I wont create a job to get £1k.

and no way should the govt pay any me or anyone else any more to create jobs. as we would just take the money and create a job that was always going to be created.

you could offer a cut in corp tax. if I paid £20k less corp tax this year, I might hire 3 people instead of 2.

NB: my company is tiny but when I look at how much tax my co pays compared with Amazon, we are much more useful than them to the uk.

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:17:58

It means what it says. They all cost money.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:21:51

^^as far as I can see she hasn't said living on benefits is cushy..

Well, she has. In the first post on this thread (not the header; read back).

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 13:24:56

I've already explained why I'm defensive. You are comfortable then face the stress guilt and humiliation of being made redundant. You try and do the right thing and live of the savings you made while also trying to do the right thing while facing the stress and humiliation of job hunting and constant rejection. You accept a low paid job rather than remain unemployed again trying to do the right thing. Your pay doesn't cover even the basic bills but by now you've no savings left and have sold what you can.

You then lose your home and face all the horrible things that come with being homeless. You become ill due to the number of meals you've skipped
but don't collect your prescription to save money. You become so desperate you claim tax credits to top up your pay.

Your health starts to improve and the long climb up the slippery slope to stability can start again. You work hard, you make improvement plans yet people call you a scrounged or worse.

This all leads to defensiveness becoming your default to the slightest bit of negativity in a desperate attempt to regain a little dignity and in the hope you can be viewed as a human being again rather than some characature that's fit for all to beat down (metaphorically speaking).

musicismylife Thu 25-Jul-13 13:25:07

OP, you are irritating the feck out of me. And yes it is hot and yes, I do work.

By your own admission, you're skint. You then (as well as others') whinge on about people on benefits getting the same amount of money than you (which I personally do not believe).

Would that not make people on benefits skint too? Just becauase you choose to let your kids do some arty-farty classes, and others might use that money to, erm, pay a bill; does not make you any more entitled than you like to think you are.

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

The bankers cost money during the Labour government.

MPs cost money because that is the price of democracy. If you want people not to stand because they can't afford to, that's up to you. You might not like the make up of the parliament that results.

"The rest?" How does "the rest" cost money? What do you mean?

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:26:25

"which I personally do not believe"

Any reason why you don't believe this, given that it's often true? Just don't want to, maybe?

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:29:15

Yes to answer the Op. You cannot discuss the welfare state on here. As it will always have people who are so focused on the daily government viper that brainwashes them into thinking all our hard working taxes goes to pay for some lazy scrounger to be living it up.

No, I am not on benefits I am lucky enough to have my job. Yet I do with work with a lot of families who are and I see the daily struggle it really is not only for them to get out of it but just to survive on them. They are not and should not be the first and only group of society to lose government payments and they should stop being used by the government as a reason the country is in such debt.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:29:29

Oh give over with your "often true". Prove it, you shyster.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:31:06

As someone has already pointed out, unemployment benefits cost a tiny fraction of govt expenditure. Yet take up a massive amount of tabloid space.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:32:06

Ok I'll prove it. If it wasn't "often true" then no one would complain about a cap which means no one receiving in benefits more than they would in work. Because there would be nothing to complain about, because it wouldn't be "often true". People complain about it because it will mean a reduction in money for some people, because they are receiving in benefits more than they would in work.

Stop complaining about the cap if you think it isn't true, because the cap would then affect no one.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:32:21

And don't be rude. I haven't been rude. There's no need.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:33:11

And as someone else has pointed out, the actual sum is huge. And any small reduction is huge.

sunshine401 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:33:27

MPs cost money because that is the price of democracy. If you want people not to stand because they can't afford to, that's up to you. You might not like the make up of the parliament that results.

grin Really?? So they have to have a wage of 61,000 p/a ?? So have to declare £6,000 for printing jobs? They have to declare £4,000 for food?
O yes they must otherwise we would have shit MP's.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:33:45

Lol you really think the cap is so that people don't earn more than they would in work? They've really done a number on you, Citizen Crumbled.

Viviennemary Thu 25-Jul-13 13:35:51

I agree with your post. Nice to see a bit of sense talked about the welfare state for a change.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:36:05

MPs expenses are something else. There is a clampdown, if you haven't noticed. I approve.

Yes, 61,000 a year is alright. It's not huge, for London. It's right that MPs from northern towns should be compensated for frequent travel down south and up north, because they couldn't afford it on that salary.

I don't think you understand sunshine. It's not about shit MPs. It's about wealthy MPs. If you only want wealthy MPs in parliament then slash the MPs wage. Slash it big. You'll get a gozillian more Tories than you want, that's for sure.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:36:41

Wallison, what do you think the cap is for?

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:37:43

And by the way people don't "earn" their welfare payments, though it's often described as payday by recipients.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 13:42:34

I have to say I agree with crumbled re MPs pay. If we don't pay them well we will just have wealthy MPs doing the job.

I don't get why people say 1.9% of total spending is tiny and not worth focussing on but are appalled at the massive cost of MPs wages.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:43:27

I think the cap is to chip away at the welfare state. It is done by pandering to the popular press and thick people who think that unemployed benefit claimants live the life of Riley and appealing to their worst natures. It's a nasty notion that will end up costing more money than it purports to save, and Cameron and Osborne, despite being thick posho spivs whose only encounter with the real world is folding fucking towels in a department store, know this. But they're doing it anyway, because they know they can get away with it by relying on people's worst instincts.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:44:45

Oh I see. Someone seems to have done a number on you.

It's to stop people receiving more in benefits than they would earn on an average wage.


FasterStronger Thu 25-Jul-13 13:44:51

right so lets cut 600 MPs £20k per year.

now we have saved £12million pounds. that's £12,000,000

and our national debt is £1triliion. that's £1,000,000,000,000

so about 1 million times larger than the saving from cutting MPs salaries by £20k

WafflyVersatile Thu 25-Jul-13 13:46:43

Perhaps the OP could explain in what way it has become impossible to have a discussion about benefits on here?

Do you mean people disagree with you? If more people disagree with you than agree then that doesn't mean discussion has not happened.

Perhaps the OP could also put forward a solution to what she sees as the problem.

Parroting what the Daily Fail tells you, or what the rich and powerful tell you is unsustainable doesn't count.

Why do you never consider that further lining the pockets of the rich is unsustainable?

WafflyVersatile Thu 25-Jul-13 13:47:59

I'm all for MPs being paid more.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:49:02

^^It's to stop people receiving more in benefits than they would earn on an average wage.

Yes, you just keep on believing that.

TabithaStephens Thu 25-Jul-13 13:49:26

There should be fewer MPs. The whole system should be shook up really, it's hardly changed since Victorian times. Do we really need MPs spending all that time in Westminster in these days of instant communication?

strawberry34 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:51:28

Yanbu. The benefits cap is a great idea.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 13:53:20

It will cause hardship and homelessness which will ultimately cost the country a lot more than just paying out benefits would have done. Yes, absolutely smashing.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 13:56:19

Waffly I think she means people start claiming that they want to throw people into the gutter, or start going on about goats lolololol.

Basically "defenders" tend to lump the entire welfare system with people who are taking the mickey or stealing from it, so they then defend the welfare system without inconveniently having to defend the people taking the mickey or stealing from it.

Wallison: I've no problem with believing it. Interesting spin though smile

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

I don't see any of the benefits cuts brigade offering any solutions. Do you really think Just cutting benefits without addressing all the other issues outlined on this thread is the answer?

You really think it's that easy?

Viviennemary Thu 25-Jul-13 14:04:21

The system is so complicated that it means some people are really struggling on benefits and others seem to be doing quite nicely. I'm not in favour of cuts for people who can hardly make ends meet now. I am in favour of a fairer system.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 14:15:38

Cutting benefits is not going to make a million well paid jobs appear.

Cutting benefits is not going to make rents more affordable.

Cutting benefits is not going to make childcare more affordable.

Cutting benefits is not going to make utility and food bills more affordable.

I could go on...

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 14:17:16

Me too, Viviennemary. I would suspect that we disagree on what would constitute a 'fairer system' though. Mine would be: lower house prices brought about through a comprehensive building programme incorporating both private and public sector so that we don't spunk over £20 bn a year on lining landlords' pockets with big investors such as pension funds playing a great part in this as happens on the Continent, greatly subsidised childcare facilities so that people on minimum wage aren't shelling out half of their hourly rate on said childcare, scrapping of zero hours and short hours contracts so that working people know what they will be earning on a weekly basis without arbitrary changes to their income meaning that they drift on and off benefits even though they are eminently willing to do said work. That's just for starters. I'm sure I could think of more. None of this would involve cutting benefits, but it would at least address the reasons why people are on benefits, which is surely the best place to start.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 14:17:40

usual smarter people than me have failed to find a solution so I very much doubt I'll come up with a fix while laid out on my sick bed I just have a stomach bug, thighs haven't looked this slim in years

I would support a more general move to providing services to people rather than throwing money at them. Definately have cheaper more flexible child care (which would cost a fortune). Cheaper public transport to help people look for and get to work.

In the very long term something needs to be done about the North South divide. In theory the h2h should help, if anyone can afford to travel on it. Making work from home more available and more flexiblty in jobs. It's so much cheaper to live up North, we have lots of room just need more jobs.

I look at it in a very basic way, country is spending too much and needs to cut back. I'm lucky enough that I have no experience of using the benefits system (apart from childbenefit) so I wouldn't know which bits of it could be cut.

WafflyVersatile Thu 25-Jul-13 14:18:20

Benefit fraud is an absofuckinglutely tiny percentage of the welfare bill.

The cost of reducing it to nothing would be much more than letting it stand.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 14:19:20

I think I'm missing a comma between 'pockets' and 'with' but hopefully you get my drift.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 14:22:08

Oh yes and a living wage rather than minimum wage. If a business can't afford to run itself without its employees having their income subsidised by tax credits, then it is not a viable business. It is being subsided by the tax-payer.

lainiekazan Thu 25-Jul-13 14:32:56

I read the other day that people born after 1990 will probably never be able to afford a property - any property. Not everyone has the bank of mum and dad and, in any case, care bills will erode any hope of an inheritance.

If you pursue a traditional course of getting qualifications, going to work and so on you will be living with your parents until you're 60. If, however, you can access social housing - you've got your own place - usually for life.

I wonder what will happen when there is a genuine tipping point where it seems madness to bother to go to work.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 14:42:56

But plenty of people who live in social housing work,so I don't really see your point.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 14:43:06

Come off it crumbled
The alternative is not to only have independantly rich MPs (besides we have an awful lot of them already).
The alternative is for them to have a living wage which is not topped up with ridiculously generous expenses and subsidies.

They are public servants, as am I. I have to pay my own mortgage and by my own lunch. I get a very small mileage allowance but I have to provide my own car and cover its expenses.

So why am I paying towards their second homes and their cheap lunches and discounted booze? Why am I paying to decorate their houses and provide cheap rental properties for their relatives?

Pay them a proper wage and if they are really struggling they can apply for WTC like the rest of us.

tedmundo Thu 25-Jul-13 14:44:36

wallison but it is not only employees within the private sector that receive WTC.

But within the private sector, depending on the service, if a living wage is enforced, there would undoubtably be a butterfly effect on those businesses. Closures? Relocations abroad? How is this going to benefit those employees?

And those public sector workers on WTC? Well the top up wage bill to living wage will come from taxes, undoubtably meaning cuts in other areas. It is not as easy as saying the NHS is not a viable business as they pay some employees minimum wage.

I also think it is important to note that all main parties agree cuts are necessary. We are stuck with them regardless of the party politics of those in power.

The benefits headlines are helping to bury the bad news. Local gvmt cuts never seem to get as much drama whipping coverage do they?

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 14:46:32

expresso what is your point? You knew some well off labour voters who didn't like you. What does that prove about anything?

On every one of these threads people who do not agree we need to slash and burn the welfare system are told we are champagne socialists. Its pathetic.

And coming from The North doesn't give you any sort of credentials when it comes to debating the welfare state. No more than me coming from the North of London does. Yep , Islington is where I am from. A borough with one of the biggest rich poor divides in the country and some of the highest rates of deprivation.

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 14:47:40

Tedmundo, all of those arguments were trotted out when the minimum wage was introduced and guess what: none of it happened.

The zero hours and short hours contracts are even worse: if you honestly do no know how many employees are necessary to run your business on a day to day basis then you should not be in business at all.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 14:51:26

Zero and short hour contracts should be made illegal imo.

Doctorbrownbear Thu 25-Jul-13 14:51:35

Yes I was implying that there is an awful lot of claimants or people defending people they know on benefits, in my post, hence why I asked why people were being so defensive about benefits,and can they all HONESTLY say that they have ALL gone out of their way to find work and would rather work than do nothing??? I exclude the genuinley ill and disabled and the people that are looking hard for work (these are the people that deserve benefits), but it goes back to the point that hard working people are not rewarded enough and the gap between the people working in lower paid jobs and people not working and recieving benefits is too small. So don't worry if you are looking for work or you really are not able to work... I am not talking about you... I am talking about the people who cannot be bothered to get off their arse and have the sense of entitlement that makes them think that they are owed and entitled to more or just as much than someone who works all hours. As someone that works all hours I can tell you that is why I get pissed off at the number of low lifes that cannot be BOTHERED to go to work and still profit.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 14:53:24

You can't expect someone who needs longer hours to work on an 8 hour contract and just hope they get more hours.

Which is what happens all the time now.

FasterStronger Thu 25-Jul-13 14:53:40

if you honestly do no know how many employees are necessary to run your business on a day to day basis then you should not be in business at all.

no. my business does not run like that - but running like that does not make the enterprise somehow invalid.

if your clients only what they need from you on a short lead time, in a competitive market, that is what must be done.

and those clients are only serving their clients and so on.

on MN people talk about business like it is the top of the tree - not just a chain of companies and people providing what someone else wants and getting paid for it.

Darkesteyes Thu 25-Jul-13 14:59:15

NicknameIncompleteThu 25-Jul-13 09:50:51

Lets have a discussion about the whole picture.

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

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

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

Nickname this should NOT be allowed. Its the old adage of employers expecting you to be available at all times JUST IN CASE only JUST IN CASE never happens

Wallison Thu 25-Jul-13 15:00:37

Oh give over, FasterStronger. Supermarkets and factories work on zero and short hours contracts and have done for a long time; fuck all of this 'lead time' bollocks; what these employers are doing is cutting down time to the bone because they can't be arsed to have a proper business plan. I've been an employee in that situation and it is utter shite. It is actually a fundamental breach of the employer/employee contract in that the employee is expected to be available for work but the employer doesn't have to provide that work. It is a fucking travesty for a major retailer/manufacturer to run their business in this way.

Darkesteyes Thu 25-Jul-13 15:03:32

With the fact that employers want you to work for them and only them i wonder what will happen when they start forcing part time workers on tax credits to do workfare in another workplace while also doing their part time job. Now THAT will be interesting.

grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 15:04:32

Yes I can genuinely say I'm going out of my way to find better work and better my family and get into a position of not having to claim any more benefits. It doesn't matter though nobody believes a word I say because I receive benefits so must be lying scum.

I would never defend someone for defrauding the system, they are scum who give me and other genuine people a bad name. I have explained twice on this thread why people are defensive about being on benefits.

What I object to is the implication on many threads about benefits that all claimants are conning the system, lazy, stupid etc. It is wrong, hurtful and adds to the stress of people living it. I also object to people claiming that I receive more than I do. I don't want more money from the state but it would be nice if people stopped claiming I get what I don't.

Most benefit claimants won't be hit by the cap and the majority of those who are are affected due to stupidly high rents.

WafflyVersatile Thu 25-Jul-13 15:19:40

Collective punishment is unlawful. But it seems to be what a lot of people are asking for.

It's not benefit claimants sucking us dry. Blame the real culprits.

tedmundo Thu 25-Jul-13 15:28:26

I typed a lovely post and lost it ... Bum!

Anyway, my whittering was about the minimum wage vs living wage costs. The minimum wage increases by pence each time. Jumping to a living wage is pounds. ( as an aside, I spent a diverting few mins on the living website. It is a good one).

I also blathered on about agreeing living wage seems to be part of a solution but to pretend there would be no repercussions is disingenuous. Anticipating and managing those repercussions surely makes more sense?

The zero hour contract stuff is horrifying. Wouldn't know where to begin discussing that as I have no knowledge of it. Will read up and try to understand it.

(Small Mood lightener ... We are proof this can be discussed calmly! Not a goat in sight!)

grumpyinthemorning Thu 25-Jul-13 15:29:20

The figures for the welfare bill should always be looked at as percentages instead of cash figures, by the way, purely because it always sounds like so much money. It's hard for any of use to wrap our heads around those kinds of figures, but it is a tiny proportion of what the government spends to keep the country ticking over. Don't think about the cash, think about the percentage.

Benefits bashing is all based on media spin, it's setting poor against poor (relatively, anyway) so that we don't turn on the rich. Because honestly, they earn so much more than a living wage, maybe they could let some of it trickle down to us peasants?

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 15:37:47

I don't know anything about zero hours contracts but the more I hear the less I like.

I can see how it would benefit businesses but would there be someway an employer could only have a small number of zero hours contracts. Maybe if the firm has 10 staff one of them can be zero contract bug the others need to be full contract. (Hmm would this create bitterness between employees, argh it's bloody difficult).

Maybe zero hours staff need to be paid a fee for being available. Would perhaps stop employers keeping people in reserve and stopping them from working somewhere else.

as you can tell I know nothing about zero hours contracts

FasterStronger Thu 25-Jul-13 16:21:27

the increasing cost of living is due to:

1) increasing global demand for oil.
2) increasing global demand for meat
3) increasing global demand for commodities

which the UK can do nothing about. and more people globally = lower wages unless you have a valued skill.

and the UK govt cannot control these forces. nor should it be able to.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 16:34:41

zero hours contracts also mean less protection for workers.

They are crap. They are no way to treat human beings and they are a retrograde step.

Rights for workers = decent living standards

NicknameIncomplete Thu 25-Jul-13 16:42:33

Darkesteyes - i hate the way businesses treat their employees.

Zero hour or small hour contracts should not be allowed. I dont want to be claiming unemployment benefits but i have no choice as i have a child to look after.

Everyone i know who isnt working wants to work. They dont see unemployment as a career choice.

NicknameIncomplete Thu 25-Jul-13 16:45:24

Another thing about zero hour or small hour contracts is that you get holidays depending on your contract not on how many hours you work.

usualsuspect Thu 25-Jul-13 16:56:47

Yy,you do get holidays based on your contracted hours only even if you work more hours regularly as 'overtime'

It also means the employer pays no NI.
contributions for you.

It's a tax dodge as well.

LondonMan Thu 25-Jul-13 16:58:16

I mean avoiding I.E not declaring.

This was someone failing in an attempt to clarify whether they were talking about tax avoiders or evaders. "not declaring" is evading, which is illegal. "Avoiding" is doing something to legally reduce your tax bill.

We are living in strange times when even Conservative politicians talk about avoiding as though there's something wrong with it. There's a famous quote by a judge in a tax case who made clear there's nothing wrong with "avoiding" tax.

No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open to it under the Taxing Statutes for the purposes of depleting the taxpayer's pocket. And the taxpayer is in like manner entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Inland Revenue

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Thu 25-Jul-13 17:10:14

But zero hours contracts could be good for young people. If they don't have kids yet and are prepared to be v flexible it could be the stepping stone into work they need.

I really don't like the sound of zero hours contracts for most employees though, firms should not be able to staff most of their workforce using zero hours contracts.

ClaraOswald Thu 25-Jul-13 17:14:05

Zero hour contracts should be illegal.

It means that while they are entitled to take holidays, they don't get paid for taking those holidays, therefore are less likely to take holidays.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 17:16:26

"Benefit fraud is an absofuckinglutely tiny percentage of the welfare bill. "

But people legally taking the mickey isn't. And MrsDV: MPs expenses is a tinier per centage than that.

People find solutions. They take jobs they would previously have looked down on, they live in places they didn't want to, they have fewer children than they might like, they don't spend as much as they want to, they work with less security in order to get more security later, they encourage their children to work harder at school, they may work harder to retrain.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 17:17:31

I am on an almost zero hours contract. I don't like it, and my employer doesn't need to do it, but there's enough work. The unfairness is that you can't be self employed.

ArtemisKelda Thu 25-Jul-13 17:20:58

YY about the zero hour contracts. How on earth is anyone supposed to budget when they've no clue how much is coming in.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 17:21:09

"Collective punishment is unlawful. But it seems to be what a lot of people are asking for. "

No it isn't. For the millionth time, it's you lumping legitimate redistribution together with stealers and mickey takers.

And it's really hard to take seriously arguments like "it isn't true that people receive more through benefits than others can earn" swiftly followed by "a cap which stops people receiving more through benefits than average earnings will cause hardship and homelessness. "

How? If it isn't true that people are receiving more than earners, how will a cap have any effect at all?

These statements are self-contradictory.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 17:21:31

Or rather, they contradict each other.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 17:25:08

zero hours contracts mean that any lender looks at what you're contracted to earn.

Even if you've earned 50-K on a zero hours contract for the last 3 years (nb I haven't in case you're wondering) they won't look at it for a mortgage. They look at what you're contracted to earn, which may be 50 pounds a month or something.

If you're self employed they look at your last years of earnings. I would say that needs to change very quickly.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 17:32:28

Can I just give you an example about MPs' pay.

It's currently recommended that they get about a 10pc pay rise. It's completely outrageous. However the wealthier MPs will be able to turn it down and look good. The poorer ones, not so much. They might not be able to afford to turn it down - and they'll look greedy. Assuming there are more wealthy tories than Labour MPs, the "looking good" will be heavily Conservative biased.

I don't think that's fair.

WafflyVersatile Thu 25-Jul-13 17:50:20

WTF is a neutral discussion?

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 17:54:38

One without swearing?

Whothefuckfarted Thu 25-Jul-13 18:01:44

Bollocks to that, impossible not to swear with you around crumbled. It's like banging your head against a fucking twatty brick wall!

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 18:04:35

Don't strain yourself thinking

Whothefuckfarted Thu 25-Jul-13 18:12:58


grumpyoldbat Thu 25-Jul-13 18:15:28

Please don't be patronising crumble just because we are poor does not make us thick. Also despite what the Government would have you believe we are still human beings.

Isabeller Thu 25-Jul-13 18:28:04

As you are willing to put your head above the parapet on this issue I would be very interested to know if you have worked out how much better off you are (taking account of pension entitlements etc you may be building up and the enhanced value of any charitable donations you make?)

There are so many financial advantages to working ie someone else is usually responsible for maintaining the temperature of your working time environment. Me DD and her bf sometimes ended up with free food to take home when there had been a conference at work which effectively meant a couple of meals not needing to be paid for etc. Even being included in social events of work friends who are slightly better off than you can in effect be a financial advantage.

It isn't that hard to work out your benefit entitlements using online calculators, I hope you don't mind sharing this information.

Crumbledwalnuts Thu 25-Jul-13 18:47:28

I was only patronising to the above poster because of the language and general horribleness. Otherwise I haven't been, I've just put arguments and links forward. Straw man grumpy. Nobody has suggested you are thick and nobody has suggested you aren't a human being.

pointythings Thu 25-Jul-13 21:36:48

I just keep wondering why the hell childcare isn't tax deductible. It would really help a lot of people on low incomes and a lot of people on middle incomes as well.

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