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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.

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 18:19:20

morethan, ffs of course some people dont have the choice!!!

and I dont mean the choice between getting a big house, getting into debt for a new kitchen or something else like that

I have a choice between going to work or not, getting into a shitload of debt or not, because I am healthy and so are my kids, I can work, they can go to school, we have choices there

but for people in poor health with kids or partners that require full time care, there is no choice, they have to live with the hand fate has dealt them and telling them they have choices must be so grating to hear

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 18:21:16

william I didnt e mail you, what are you on about?

but yes, I do agree with you, being a nippy sweety is part of living here grin

morethan - i said everyone makes choices - i also pointed out the, 'i can't's of higher income families are the i can/do because i 'have' to of lower earners. you are owning your 'choice' to not work and to manage with less.

again with the hyperbole bonsoir? not censoring anyone's opinions merely expressing my own (and without the need for attacking or hyperbole).

williaminajetfighter Mon 21-Jan-13 18:28:21

Sorry ssd I just meant your post and comment. Fair play! I love Glasgow. 12 years there. Miss it every day.

merrymouse Mon 21-Jan-13 18:33:40

Going back to the OP...

I think most people would agree that a striver (somebody who works hard to achieve their goals (excluding people like Lance Armstrong and people who run dodgy tax avoidance schemes)) is more deserving than a skiver (somebody who avoids doing work that they are perfectly capable of doing in the pursuit of short term pleasure e.g. sitting on the sofa).

However, as plenty of posts on this thread have shown, once you start trying to divide people into strivers and skivers, life becomes a little more complicated.

I'm having difficulty identifying the policies that are helping existing strivers or those that will transform skivers into strivers. All the benefit changes just seem a bit cobbled together.

(Honestly - people getting child benefit then having to pay it back if they are on £50-£60K, no clarification about pensions until 11th hour for those losing it, self employed having to produce additional cash accounts that don't follow any standard accounting practice to claim Universal Benefit - it's a mess)

merrymouse Mon 21-Jan-13 18:37:15

And completely agree with ssd about choice.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 18:39:20

Xenia.

I don't need school fees, nor nannies or childcare because I have raised my own children and along with a state education and several much sought after private tutors have been responsible for our 3 dcs education. My travel costs are minimal as I walk and use public transport unless I have a chauffeur available (through dh business). I have only worked for an employer briefly since having dc so about 20+ years now. I believe I am in the category of people who work very hard supporting my dh and children and run our family home, which is all paid for now. These are all my choices and they have certainly paid off as dh is semi retired now, only taking the work he wants to. I see it more as good management than good luck but either way it is lovely to know that things are going so well for us, especially as dh has only really ever earned the minimum wage. 100k wow, how needy or greedy I'm not sure.

i too agree there are those who don't have choices. i really wasn't well enough to work and manage being a mother when ds was younger. i am extremely lucky that my health has improved a bit and ds has no additional needs and is at school now and that i found a decent job before my name happened to be encountered on the degrading, life destroying atos' list.

morethan - there is a hell of a lot of luck involved though - luck that you had the intellectual/motivational capacity to do that, luck that your children and husband weren't afflicted with terrible illnesses that required you to be a full time carer, luck that you didn't have a horrible illness yourself.

the trouble with the whole meritocracy idea is that it ignores these very real realities of life - disability, ill health, unexpected death, domestic violence, etc etc etc. none of which are acquired by a lack of merit.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 18:47:18

ssd.

My sincerest apologies I should have made my post more clear. Of course there are people in this position who don't have the choice and I should have made this clear. My heart goes out to people on welfare who are experiencing the latest cuts, and I agree it is unfair to suggest they have choices.

My angst is with people who do have choices but harp on about not having any choice in their decisions when they clearly have.

merrymouse Mon 21-Jan-13 18:47:35

morethan, you are lucky.

I do not argue that you have worked very hard, or that your work has contributed to the financial well being of your family.

However, to rely on one adult to be a wage earner is very risky.

Xenia you choose to pay school fees. It is not a bill thrust upon you. If you want more disposable income use state schools. Its your choice.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 19:05:39

I do realise that I have been lucky, I do appreciate what I have and yes relying on one wage earner is risky, I know.

However, in response to posts about the luck statement. I was responding to the post of Xenia, which suggested that she was lucky and becoming more luckier due to income and work. I clearly believe that it is good management of the resources she/ I were given.
I can see how my comments if taken out of context could imply something other than my intention and I apologise if I have offended anyone.
I know it is no picnic for anybody who is disabled or cares for a family member and I have witnessed how hard it is for a very good friend of mine.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Mon 21-Jan-13 19:07:43

School fees are a luxury for the middle class, they are certainly not needed when state education is just as good.
If you can afford them, wonderful good for you but don't moan that it leaves you with less money-it is a choice!!!

40k in benefits??? Where are all these people that get 40k in benefits.
Even with four dc i get no way near that at all.
I'm astonished people are to believe this codswallop.
Even with 10 kids you wouldn't get 40k in benefits.

agreed pumpkin - i stated upthread that as a single parent with one child under 5 and a disability myself i received 12k all in (hb, ib, ctb, ctc, cb etc). it is a mythical land where people are rolling in it on benefits.

someone without ill health would have received less than that.

also to repeat full housing benefit no longer exists where i live - and i'm sure it's the same for most of the country. so regardless of whether you rent a place for £250 or £1000 you won't receive full benefit. that's a nutty one as it actually discourages people from bothering to find cheaper rentals. i don't qualify for any housing benefit now but if i moved to a place 25% more expensive that 25% would be paid by HB. mad world.

LittleFrieda Mon 21-Jan-13 19:40:04

wannabedomesticgoddess - what sort of business do you want to start?

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 19:58:38

@wannable @littlefrieda have you gone over to the freelance/business start up boards to ask for advice. I set up a business for £1k in November this year and it has done really well (was useful when DP lost his job in the same month) and its a great time to set up a business. I also know someone who has crowdsourced funding to write a book, and if you are determined there is funding for start ups out there. Its certainly worth a look. Esp for £1.5k as that is low for starting up a business but entirely possible (I should know, I did it for less!)

If you start a thread I'll bump it!

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 20:09:08

can I ask anyone here who might know, what changes to council tax benefits are coming in? I was going to apply but don't know if I should bother now.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 20:30:57

Hi ssd.

I know a lady working on the new system and she said that it was coming in with immediate effect when it is rolled out in your area. We are the first to have the trial in April but the whole benefit will be in existence in October here. As far as I know if you qualify for it you are assessed as part of the universal benefit not a separate form. This could be better for some who might struggle with the form. I was going to apply as we are low income but the forms were so confusing and dh self employed I gave up in the end.

Wrote a huge reply to that and then the site went down. angry

I will start a thread in start ups when the site is more reliable. But I want to start a candy cart business.

FanFuckingTastic Mon 21-Jan-13 21:24:02

Can the majority really rely on family for free childcare?

I mean, my mum still works and likely will for at least twenty more years, Aunties and Uncles work, even the flipping teenagers in six form work, I'm letting the side down being such a skiver, and oh my goodness does my stepdad tell me about it every single time I go there. He's never had kids, he has no fucking idea how hard I work day to day. Lazy for sleeping in the day I get told, try having a child with ADHD/ODD/autism that never sleeps, and gets into such dangerous situations when you did once fall fully asleep and missed her getting past your extra lock at the top of the door and turned handle that was too high for her, plus key in the lock to frolic in the night hours and now you spend your life with your heart in you throat at bedtime throughout most of the night. Gah! That £10 a day makes it all worth it in the end, not!

She's going to grow up with a lifetime of difficulties and I'm responsible for somehow trying to fit her with the tools of life when they went and changed the goalposts of raising a child, and added on that whole extra minefield of a child with SEN and challenging behaviour. I get so bloody irate that I'm being criticised by someone who does have even the first fucking clue, for actually doing the better thing in my opinion and staying her main carer and focusing on just being a mum for the kids because they've both got so many extra needs.

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 22:09:55

Great idea. Ill look out for the thread.

Bonsoir Tue 22-Jan-13 11:23:48

"However, to rely on one adult to be a wage earner is very risky."

For most families the choice to have a single wage earner is a measured risk (ie the alternative will be riskier still).

Xenia Tue 22-Jan-13 13:30:50

Not most families in the UK. Most women with under 5s in the UK work, not the other way round and obviously is wise as if you just rely on male earnings you are risking your children's future in many cases.

As for benefits the new cap is not yet in place . It is £500 a week which is about £26,000 a year which is about £35,000 of before tax income for workers. On top of that you add on child benefit. The benefits cap does not apply to CB. I think it does not apply either to council tax benefit (although that is about to reduce a bit in some areas as councils will be allowed to make the poor pay say 10% of the council tax). I worked out the housing benefit alone our family might get fro the state living where we do and with the numbers of children and adults in the house and we got a four bedroom place (!) and I think the amount of only just the housing benefit was going to be £20,000 - massively high amount if I chose to be utterly idle.

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