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"Strivers vs Skivers" - what do you think?

(494 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 18-Jan-13 09:57:40

Hello all

Prompted by a blog post this week from MN Blogger Sonya Cisco, and this opinion piece by BlogFest panellist Zoe Williams, for our first blog-prompt of the New Year we thought we'd ask for your thoughts on the current debate around benefits cuts.

According to both Sonya and Zoe, politicians have deliberately encouraged us to think of people as either 'skivers' or 'strivers' in order to pit people on low incomes against one another -  and to divert attention from the fact that the economy simply can't provide enough jobs.  

Do you agree with them? And if not - why not?  Post your URLs here if you blog - or, if you haven't got a blog (why not? wink) do tell us what you think here on the thread.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jan-13 21:52:36

Zavi.

Maybe you are highly qualified with much experience in your job. Not everybody is as fortunate as you and you come across as having no empathy.
There are people who can't work because of illness, those who choose not to work in order to raise children, others who can't find work because there isn't any.
I bet if you described your life there would be numerous on here who thought your choices poor.
Just because you hold yourself up as some paragon of virtue don't presume everybody agrees with you.
You can be aghast at me if you like because I choose not to work, and there is more to supporting your children than money you earn.

MrsDeVere Fri 18-Jan-13 22:05:22

Benefit like DLA give people their dignity. It enables them to work, socialise, live a nearer normal life.
Direct Payments allow people with disabilities to employ people they trust to carry out intimate care instead of seeing what new agency member turns up that day to take them to the toilet or help them change a tampon.

Those who have worked for 20 years who only receive the same as those who have worked for two?

When does your perception shift? When that 20 year worker has been unemployed for 5 years and the previously unemployed person has a job and paying taxes for 5 years?

Does the striver then become the skiver in your eyes?

You suffer from the common misconception that the benefit claiming population is static and homogeneous.

It is neither. People on JSA may have paid in for 30 years, the tax payer complaining about the spongers may have only paid in a tiny fraction of what has been spent on them by the likes of Mr/Mrs JSA in their life time.

The idea that the majority on benefits are planning to stay like that or have never worked is ludicrous. The common answer to that is 'well I know that but they DO exist even if its a minority'

My response is then 'so why do we treat every claimant as the skiver when the stats show otherwise'

Like racism, the prejudice against benefit claimants is based on the massively flawed premise that 'they' are 'all the same' and 'other' from 'us'

If you really believe that our country is on its knees due to legions of workshy, never have worked, never will work people laughing at the like of 'you'. 'You' are a fool.

Zavi Fri 18-Jan-13 22:24:51

Morethan: if you choose not to work, and claim benefits instead, then you can thank me now for buying your knickers.

I too chose not to work for a time with my DC. I didn't claim benefits when I did that though. I lived off my savings. 100%. I returned to work when my savings got low.

My pride's intact. Is yours? cos you wouldn't pass my simple test:

If everyone did it would it be OK?

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 18-Jan-13 22:38:09

Saving how about you thank the Carers of this country for saving you £118 billion a year in residential care costs?

Thing is they're banded in with the so called 'skivers' for the purposes of welfare reform.

DLA also cuts costs in relation to the same costs being borne by the NHS for patient transport, to give one example.

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 18-Jan-13 22:38:41

Saving Zavi

JakeBullet Fri 18-Jan-13 22:39:47

Bollocks to you Zavi....I am on benefits because my child is disabled. Do let me know where I should send the thank you note next time I buy some knickers.

You also pay my rent and council tax too.

What you are proposing is no benefits at all. So you lived off savings for a while. Lucky you, you DO know that not everyone is in the same fortunate position dont you? Try saving enough when on minimum wage and then vome back and tell us you didnt claim brnefits.

I am frankly sick of the people who cannot see beyond the end of their noses and judge others. Its sad and pathetic.

MrsDeVere Fri 18-Jan-13 22:52:22

Dont let Zavi derail the thread.
Just give your experience and your views based on your life.

She/he can spout as much as she likes. It makes know difference to reality.

smiffynw10 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:18:50

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 18-Jan-13 23:20:39

0.5% was the vast majority?

Blimey, another bullshitter arguing with the DWP's own data.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 23:23:10

My prides intact [ hmm], is life REALLY so simplistic for you zavi?

If only economics, social policy, could be condensed into a few simple tests.

Ffs.

Zavi Fri 18-Jan-13 23:25:51

"Just give your experience and your views based on your life"

Erm, that's what I was doing...

"Don't let Zavi derail the thread"

Erm, I was the first contributor to this thread...

I think I've tried to offer a view that is relevant to the question posed. You may not like the views i've expressed and you may disagree with my views. That's OK.

But why try to corrall other posters into ignoring my views just because you dont't happen to like or agree with them?

You're trying to stifle honest debate.

Like I said. Ask yourself: if everybody did what I'm doing would it be OK?

See how universally useful that simple guiding philosophy can be grin

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 23:31:21

Don,t think we,ve ever had full employment in this country zavi, even in the post war period.

So, in simplistic terms, how does that work then?

#zavi simplistic plan for full employment.

edam Fri 18-Jan-13 23:47:42

smiffy, are you a doctor or a nurse? You talk about processing claims so I assume you were dealing with admin, rather than actually meeting any of the people you are so quick to dismiss.

You don't appear to know much about medical conditions, tbh. Do you realise that eczema can actually be fatal? You might think of eczema as a bit of sore skin but some people have it very severely and it can be incapacitating, limiting movement, causing pain and depression and hence affecting the ability to work. Ditto 'anxiety' - the kind of anxiety that counts as disabling is far more severe than feeling a bit worried.

I assume you realise that there is a difference between a headache and a brain tumour. Try to apply that concept of a spectrum to other conditions. And do try to acknowledge that a doctor might know rather more about what counts as a disability than a paper-shuffler.

Zavi Fri 18-Jan-13 23:47:49

Dunno. Diminishing benefits with starting rate based on previous NIC's or amount of voluntary/community work undertaken?

I suppose my general philosophy is that those who have contributed to the common pot should be helped most by that pot when they fall on hard times.

And that nobody should be given state handouts unless they contribute
something to the community or the economy. I think such a system would do more to preserve people's dignity.

And of course whatever happens it must meet the "if everybody did it would it be OK" lithmus test grin

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 18-Jan-13 23:50:10

Again, Carers. Many years in employment pre caring duties, paying tax. Higher rate in some cases.

Cannot undertake voluntary work due to caring responsibilities which are 24/7. But do save taxpayers £118 billion.

OK or not ok?

Welfare Reform puts them as not ok.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jan-13 23:57:18

Zavi.

"A simple test" sums you up quite nicely.

By the way, I doubt if you had savings whether you would have been entitled to claim benefits.
I certainly only claim the benefit to which we are entitled as a family and this doesn't include JSA. I don't qualify as I am unavailable for work, due to the fact that I H.ed my dd. Apparently I could claim if I sent her to school as the Gov would consider this as suitable child care. Oh but the schools and teachers certainly wouldn't like to think that Gov consider them as childcare providers. My dh by the way is paying for your dc to attend school/childcare
Oh Zavi you're so funny.

ThePathanKhansWitch Sat 19-Jan-13 00:11:39

Brilliant zavi. Now being as the majority of people claiming benefits are the working poor, amd carers save millions every year caring for our fellow citizens, what can we do to stop the vitriol of this Government?

Perhaps do something about tax evasion by multinationals, introduce The Tobin Tax, stop giving tax cuts to the richest 10% in this country?

You work hard zavi, you pay your tax, why shouldn,t Phillip Green (top shop), Amazon pay theirs?.

borninastorm Sat 19-Jan-13 00:17:31

I am pretty sure it wasn't benefit claimants that destroyed our economy.

In fact, I think it might actually have been the very rich bankers and perhaps a government or two.

I hate this pitting one against the other to take our minds off the real issues.

There are people who need benefits. I have a brother with learning difficulties who without DLA would not be able to live the independent life he now lives.

There are mothers who have been left by husbands (not all single parents are 16 and got pregnant to get a house, in fact a study a few years ago found that most single parents were divorced women in their 30's) and left in the shit by husbands (and vice versa) who need the help that is available.

If you have never had to claim benefits you should thank your lucky stars, but please don't be down on other people who have and do until you've walked in their shoes.

Bloody politicians and bankers and their spin doctors should be shot. Why aren't we outraged at them instead of at each other for trying to survive as best we can in a messed up economy?

Zavi Sat 19-Jan-13 00:26:31

I'd put the tax evaders in charge of sorting out the work evaders.

They're both "working the system". But at least the tax evaders are working.

borninastorm Sat 19-Jan-13 00:26:50

zavi how do adults with learning difficulties get money to live under your system?

My brother has never contributed and never will but he receives 'state handouts'. Should these be stopped for him?

I understand your anger because you have worked, lived off savings and never claimed benefits, but the majority of people who claim benefits don't do it because they want to.

Poverty is real in the UK in 2013 and poverty will continue to get worse thanks to the recession and government cutbacks.

One day, god forbid, that could be you - down and on your arse, no job, savings gone, no income. Will you claim benefits then? Or will you remain on your moral high horse, a better person than than the skiver next door?

I'll say it again, until you walk in their shoes don't put people down or judge them, you don't know what their lives are really like.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 19-Jan-13 00:29:31

I am constantly surprised how many people have very little knowledge of the benefit system.
They hear the spin of scroungers, skivers, feckless parents and automatically believe this is what all benefit claimants consist of.
There are many rich people claiming benefit but because it is called something different they go ahead accepting it. If cb and Tax credits aren't benefits I'll run down our street naked, as I can't buy knickers now without thanking Zavi.
Maybe Zavi gave her cb to charity or didn't claim it, after all if everybody did it...... grin. So Zavi, My pride is intact, but I'm not so sure yours should be after reading your posts.

ThePathanKhansWitch Sat 19-Jan-13 00:41:31

You,d put tax evaders in charge of the unemployed?

Mwaaahhhaa
Zavi, we just need them to pay tax in this country, at the appropriate rate.

They,re patently not interested in the uk apart from using us as a defacto off shore haven.
Anyhoo I have a snow-woman to build in the morn. So good night all.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sat 19-Jan-13 08:22:23

Specifically which welfare changes do you approve of, zavi?

Or do you just generally approve of the government's intention to kick the lazy bastards with the cheek to be unemployed in the worst recession for, what, 20 years?

Badvoc Sat 19-Jan-13 08:25:55

Zavi...have you watched the tv programmes "growing up poor" while has been in recently?
That will give you a pretty good idea what it is like to be a child in poverty in the uk in 2013.
And no any tv in sight!

My ExH left me when DD3 was a week old and has been pretty useless ever since. I work part time as I am pretty much the only parent my DDs have and would struggle to cope working more and bringing them up.

My rent and childcare is more than I earn a month so without tax credits I wouldn't be able to work at all.

Maybe what I should have done is when exH said he wanted us to get back together, even though he was emotionally abusive, I should have even though he was sleeping with someone else? Maybe those of us who have spent the last 2 years ill with stress because of their exHs should just suck it up and go back, at least then we would be able to pass your "test", never mind out own well being!

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