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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.

Zavi Fri 18-Jan-13 14:22:47

I think changes to the benefits system were LONG overdue.

Hard-working tax-payers are especially fed up in these economic times of paying for people who have never done a days work in their lives and have a higher standard of living, and are granted more concessions, than they themselves have.

The system had got completely out of control. If skivers wanted 10 kids - no problem! The tax-payer would pick up the bill for their housing, schooling, food, utilities, knickers.

After all, we don't want to see children living without SKY in poverty do we hmm

OF course tax-payers are going to be pissed off when they see that they have to foot the bill created by feckless men who have fathered 13 kids, by 10 different mothers - all of whom are on benefits. Just maybe those hard-working tax-payers would like to spend their hard-earned cash on their own kids.

I think the changes are wonderful smile

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 18-Jan-13 15:03:12

<hard hat & popcorn at the ready>

Snog Fri 18-Jan-13 15:06:40

It's true that there aren't enough jobs and I think the government should address this. I also think it is sad but true that the government do try to divert attention away from what they should be dealing with and aren't. And that trying to vilify or stereotype benefit claimants is destructive for all of us. I would like to see the governement addressing the scandal of huge companies operating in the UK paying little or no tax.

If there is a shortfall of private sector jobs then I would have the government create jobs.

We have the strange situation at the moment where newly qualifield teachers for example who the govt has trained cannot get work. In this situation we should clearly either be training fewer teachers or creating more teaching jobs. Maybe this could reduce the work burden on existing teachers. I am not a teacher but this is just an example of how things could be different.

I believe in the welfare state but am dumbstruck by how many people say they can't work because they could only do a job that fitted between school start and pick up...that may be an ideal but if the alternative is for the state to pick up your bills then I think it is wrong to afford the luxury of choice in hours worked and timing of those hours to benefit claimants.

I guess I think that if you are able to work then you should work - and full time unless you can afford not to without depending on social security. And the corollary is that there should be a job for you which ultimately I see that the backstop provider of work must be the govt.

If you are genuinely unable to work then I think the state should look after you to a higher standard than it presently does.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 18-Jan-13 15:42:53

The first post shows how well the government have launched their agenda wink

Most people forget that people in work take a higher percentage of benefits home then people on JSA and not everybody who signs on has 13 different children with 12 different partners.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 15:45:42

Zavi, was that a rhetorical question?
I for one, don,t want to see children living in poverty.

This Governments devisive language is hateful, unproductive and short sighted in the extreme.

How about doing something about tax evasion? If those who don,t contribute fairly to the economy, are to be targeted, at least lets have some parity.

JakeBullet Fri 18-Jan-13 15:50:11

YAWN...... Another benefits thread...change the fucking record please.'s a grip love......go and get it.hmm

On benefits and infinitely poorer financially than I was in work....and my benefits are higher as I have a disabled child. God knows how other people do it.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jan-13 15:52:06

Zavi. Oh dear love, you shouldn't believe what you read unless you have a bit of education to understand politics sweetie.

What on earth are you going on about? I know many people on benefit myself included and none that fit your description.
I think it would be a different kettle of fish if people criticised your life choices. I wonder who minds the kids of these wonderful tax payers you refer to. Some of us choose to look after our own and don't particularly want material things. Yes we take the benefit, so did many workers until they earned too much and had it stopped. I didn't see many refusing stating they didn't need it and it should go to the needy.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 15:59:14

Having created a monster in the 1950's, Maggie was the one to open the box and set it lose. Over 30 years wages have stagnated, living costs have risen, two workers now needed to support the family and even then that is not enough so people are forced to take on levels of private debt never seen before. But that's fine because indebted people are always very desperate to keep their jobs at any rate of pay. They even get a great new badge of honour or label "the striver"

Having impoverished the "working class" yes that's all of us who work for wages, (including those that would, if it were not for the fact that they are not needed) they then must divide us because there are more of us than them. How else can these puppets of the rich keep a lid on things. In any other time in history you would have people taking to the streets, well they do now and we don't always get to hear about it because the mainstream press is mostly propaganda and isn't there to enlighten us. Just occasionally you get a piece of well written and well thought out coverage in the mainstream and whilst I don't agree with everything Zoe Williams has said, it gets a thumbs up from me.

So if you are a striver, don't be so flippin smug because you are probably the very subject of derision by the people with the agenda, because it is you who is worked to past retirement, it is you who is paying the tax (because the corporations & the rich don't pay theirs) and it is you who makes the profits and keeps them in knickers.

AmberLeaf Fri 18-Jan-13 16:07:33

The first post shows how well the government have launched their agenda


FanFuckingTastic Fri 18-Jan-13 16:39:42

It certainly stops people looking at those who we should really be scrutinising, those in power. Misdirection, bias and spin - and a problem getting worse by the day, just seen another "striver" laid off due to the crapness of our economy and collapsing high street chains. Now what is he? A skiver because he was unfortunate enough to work for a company that has gone under, and has little chance finding employment in a market that is already tough enough.

This problem is so much bigger than welfare and yet that's what is focused on all the fricking time. The government have used the media well to beat down the poor and have the taxpayers chasing their tails with what I would consider to be almost a non-issue. Sure cuts needed to be made, but to target disabled people and scapegoat the poor, it's not on.

It's not an easy life being disabled, or caring for disabled children, being left to cope on your own with the kids, or losing your job, and yet people want to scream and shout about how greedy we are.

I am already fighting so many battles, three diseases and my ill health, for my daughter to be diagnosed, for her to get the support to do well in school, for my son to get support in school due to his minor disability, to keep the roof over our head, to stop the council discriminating against my daughter and not allowing her her own room, for my DLA to appropriately reflect my disability, for appropriate housing to safely raise my daughter, to get some sort of sleeping through happening with my nearly five year old. I've gone without food to see things happen, without sleep to care for my risk unaware child, without any sort of security - landlord wanted me out, council wouldn't rehouse due to debts, government decides to launch a new check on IS without informing, benefits get stopped for six weeks and I have to use a food bank so we eat. It's not the high life, anything nice we have is given not bought, and I've explained myself to the agencies, I shouldn't need to explain myself to society too. Fuck sake.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Fri 18-Jan-13 17:05:43

People that assume this, have obviously never been on benefits.
Maybe you should try it sometimebiscuit

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 17:07:37

If the economy continues to shrink at the rate at which it is, they'll be trying sometime soon.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jan-13 17:16:37


I see your point but whats the difference between parents not working because they can't fit work around school claiming benefit and those working claiming help with childcare?
To me it is a question of choice, fairness and living within your means. If you can't afford childcare don't work, then you can't moan about being a tax payer and paying for others to sah to bring kids up.

Bonsoir Fri 18-Jan-13 17:22:59

There are many problems with the British economy but the cost of housing is one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century. That, and the fact that the British have been encouraged for far too long to live a long way from where they work, thereby wasting hours of their days on non-productive transport time.

JakeBullet Fri 18-Jan-13 17:32:13

Well said Bonsoir

therugratref Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:14

The 2 part BBC 3 production "Growing up poor" opened my eyes, its worth watching. The loss of hope and the inertia that causes are heartbreaking.

Bonsoir Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:18

It is also particularly perverse and incredibly irritating when politicians seek to pit voters against one another rather than understand the mistakes of previous adminstrations.

Snog Fri 18-Jan-13 18:15:11

Hugely agree with Bonsoir about the inefficiency of workers living further than cycle distance from their place of work

Travel to work = wasted time and wasted energy imo

cheddarcheeselover Fri 18-Jan-13 19:33:22

It's just good old fashioned divide and conquer. It's horrible and cynical.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 18-Jan-13 20:13:10

As we're on the subject of the "lovely" Zoe Williams, I had the dubious privilege of hearing her speak on the issue of the current Government's policy some while ago, when she delivered herself of the following charming rhetorical question:
"What do they think we are? Educationally sub-normal, or something?"
As the parent of a child she would no doubt regard as belonging to that category, I literally couldn't believe my ears. I was also very disappointed that no-one else appeared to register what was wrong with that question.
it's not germane to this debate ; it's just something I like to mention when I see the woman held up as some kind of icon of progressive ideology, which is all too often in these parts.

MrsDeVere Fri 18-Jan-13 20:43:26

It is clear that the government have been running an insidious and highly effective propaganda campaign against benefit claimants for years.

Despite facts that show the contrary they have people believing that there are many thousands of 4-5th generation workless families and that disability benefits have a high fraud rate.

We have a government that harks back ot the 1800s that is almost entirely made up of, not just the privileged, but the over-privileged .
Men who have spent their lives in a well cushioned bubble of wealth and a prime minister who has never had a job in his life. One who claimed disability benefits for his son yet who has systematically demonized DLA recipients to the point where it is now the majority view that to claim is to lie.

There always have been and always will be lazy people. Before the welfare state parents would spend their money on gin and their children would starve. Providing support for our disadvantaged has not caused feckless parenting. It has save many hundreds of thousands of lives.

If the price to pay is that a few live a life on benefits, contributing little towards their small and depressing lives, it is a price worth paying.

There is no such thing as 'striver v skiver' and if there was the cuts do not discriminate between the two.

In short...its a load of fucking bollocks thought up by a load of fucking bollocks.

And you may quote me on that.

JakeBullet Fri 18-Jan-13 20:48:13

<high fives MrsDeVere for her fabulous post>

cheddarcheeselover Fri 18-Jan-13 21:24:50

absobloodylutely mrsdevere

Zavi Fri 18-Jan-13 21:44:00

It's not bollocks. There ARE strivers and there ARE skivers. And strivers have to support the skivers.

I live by one very simple rule in life: if everybody did what I'm doing would it be OK? If it is OK then I crack on with it. Living within this simple yardstick gives me self-respect.

If you can say the same thing: that if everyone did what you are doing, and it would be OK, then crack on with what you're doing. There's nothing wrong with it.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the govt have manipulated me into feeling animosity towards the skivers. I already felt animosity towards them! I recognise of course that successive governments have created the status quo.

I'm not suggesting that people should be left destitute or in poverty. But I am saying that the availability of benefits, over the long term, strips people of their dignity and their self-respect. And their motivation. I'm aghast to hear of people who "can't afford to go back to work. I'd lose too much money in benefits". I guess it doesn't occur to them that if they got back into work they would eventually improve their skills, their experience, their opportunities for further training and promotion all of which will put them in a better position to negotiate salary increases further down the line.

And I feel sick when I think about newly unemployed people who have been working for 20 years getting the same income support as someone who has worked for 2 years sad...if at all.

And don't even get me started on people who bring kids into this world without being able to support them.


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


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.


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


"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?

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!

JakeBullet Sat 19-Jan-13 08:56:17

God this gets worse.... Smiff comes along with another load of bollocks. So Smiff worked in a disability advice centre... .and its all a load of rubbish with dubious claims Personally speaking I think Smiff is talking a load of rubbish and lying through her teeth about her "experience" but in case she isnt.....

My friend gets DLA and ESA for a depressive anxisty disorder which makes her agoraphobic. ....thats a nice woolly one isnt it.
If Smiff was to see my friend occasionally she would see a woman drinking coffee in Starbucks with me, what a skiver eh?
Obviously what Smiff would NOT see are the more frequent days when she is NOT drinking coffee in Starbucks but is a shivering suicidal mess sitting indoors. On those occasions its me ss her friend making her coffee and talking to the crisis team. Smiff also would not know that as a child of between ages 8 -13 my friend was being systematically raped by her stepfather......and others! Believe me rape does not (and did not) just happen vaginally. I apologise if this is triggering for anyone but people like Smiff are so thick you HAVE to spell it out.
Is she or anyone in her position disabled enough for you now tell?

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sat 19-Jan-13 09:15:26

Zavvi, are you Maggie Thatchers double?
MrsDevere, love your earlier postgrin

All those with this notion, that people CHOOSE not to work-How is that possible when the current rules don't allow those that quit or that are sacked to recieve JSA or IS?

Where are these high paid jobs that allow for a lifetime savings?
In my area nearly all jobs semi or unskilled are mw or just above.
Would like to know how my dh could have possibly saved before he was made redundant?
My dh has been out of work for 4 months now, should my dc starve because some people say so?

Carers allowance helped my mother look after my teenage bro who was dying of cancer. If it wasn't for carers allowance she would have lost her home and my bro would have suffered even more than he already had.

DLA helps people with disabilities have a better quality of life and helps them with bills, food etc.
Where would they be without it?
There are lots of genuine claiments that probably aren't sleeping for worrying about the changes.

I just hope that none of you lucky ones never have the shoe on the other foot, because you would get your eyes wiped to the true reality of being on benefits.

DrRanj Sat 19-Jan-13 09:18:09

Did you never claim child benefit then zavi?

If you had a disabled child and had to give up work or list you job would you not claim any benefits because if everyone else in the country did it wouldn't work?

Iggly Sat 19-Jan-13 09:21:14

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

What a simplistic argument.

Children are not taxpayers. Some people who are severely disabled and unable to work are not. Some people do not earn enough to pay that much tax. We can't all be high flying accountants/lawyers earning shit loads.

Strivers vs shirkers is such a simple argument which superficially seems to illustrate the problems but it is black and white.

Anyone with life experience knows that that is not how real life works.

My mum left me and my brother when I was aged 11. We were taken into care.

I, being only 11, had not yet "contributed to the pot". So, does that mean that I should have been left to wither and die? Thank fuck this was under labour so I ended up being supported and got into university. Am now a higher rate taxpayer (seeing as that's the only thing that matters to people like Zavi).

I hate the divide and rule politics. It's disgusting. The Tories should remember that they are talking about people, real people FFS

MrsDeVere Sat 19-Jan-13 09:27:12

Smiffy I hope you are not still working there. You are clearly not qualified.
I think you are one of those who enjoy regaling showing off your mates in the pub about all the scroungers. Do you have a sister who works for the housing - you know, one who is being forced to give mansions to Romas with 20 kids whilst pensioners live in a shed in the back garden?

They then come and re-tell your silly stories as fact.

Depression, anxiety and eczema - dubious?

Did you process my claim?

I got IB for a few months due to anxiety. I had just watched my DD die and very long and painful death.

How un British of me not to just get back on the horse and get myself out to work.

But don't worry I only got away with the scam for just over a year.

My DS has severe atopic eczema and he got low rate DLA because of it. When you have gone through two washing machines in as many years due to a condition and have to buy PJs that cost £30 quid a pop, do come back and we can discuss the situation again.

The thing is with these threads is that really do highlight how ignorant and insulated benefit bashers are.

leniwhite Sat 19-Jan-13 09:36:18

I too feel very strongly that anyone judging depression and anxiety or eczema all as minor quibbles is exactly the sort of person who reads the Daily Mail and swallows this ridiculous and damaging 'skivers' rhetoric. I've worked with people who were injected with heroin at ten years old by their own parents and raped and beaten for years, people who had similar treatment from a sibling who was never punished because the family wanted to make their own lives easier... Funnily enough the 'depression and anxiety' these people experience causes them lifelong problems because our current system isn't set up to offer them the specialist treatment they need.

This whole 'if everyone did what I do would it be ok?' test Zavi proposes - if we were all in the same circumstances then fine, but if we were all like Zavi then the Daily Mail would be running government confusedsuch polarised and simplistic ideals are the very reason we have a society of rich vs poor.

Just as an example - DM writes about the Savile abuse - they use the terms 'victim' and 'monster'. But they simultaneously refer to these so-called 'skivers', who may have suffered not just one instance of abuse by a celebrity, but years and years of sustained abuse from family members.

I'd have more reason than most to vilify those apparent 'skivers' because my house was burned down by rioters in 2011 whilst I was inside, but I make it my business to try and inform myself of all sides before judging people willy nilly.

Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, it's just a shame people don't base them on the facts rather than what they read in the papers or have gone through in their one much more comfortable life.

CatAndFiddle Sat 19-Jan-13 09:48:54

I can't believe that so many of us fail to see what is really going on here. Multi-national corporations paying little or no tax, the political class living the high life on the public purse, global financial institutions rigging the system to ensure obscene profit for the precious few, the world's 100 richest people earning enough in one year to end extreme poverty across the globe four times over....and what are the masses doing whilst all this goes on?? Arguing amongst themselves about who deserves what of the relative pittance we are thrown to placate us, while all this massive injustice and corruption rages on around us.

We should all take care of each other. That should be in our nature. I don't receive benefits, but I don't begrudge those that do. There but for the grace of God go I. I also can't stand this mentality of "I buy your knickers/pay for your Sky TV". We live in a civilised society that attempts to take care of the less fortunate, and everyone makes a contribution to allow this to happen. Surely that is something to be proud of? That we care about each other? That we wouldn't want to see someone else homeless/starving/freezing, just so we could pay less tax....or worse, feel smug that "everyone is getting what they deserve"?

This is all so depressing and makes me feel so sad. sad

StormyBrid Sat 19-Jan-13 10:57:31

Dividing us all into "strivers" and "skivers" is an attempt to paint some of us as inherently more valuable than others. Valuable to whom? The state? Strivers are good little economic units, industriously creating wealth for the state. Skivers is a catch-all term encompassing everyone who, for whatever reason, is currently unable to do so. Setting the two in such opposition means we're all so busy arguing amongst ourselves that we have no time to stop and consider whether it's right to judge our individual worth based on how much money we can produce for the state.

Poverty benefits none of us. Those of you with jobs, would you prefer the unemployed to have shelter and food, or would you prefer the unemployed to be forced to resort to crime to feed themselves? Which is going to make your life easier, in the long run? It's nothing to do with who's more worthy of assistance, and everything to do with basic human decency. Society gains when standards of living are improved across the board. Taking away the only legal means many people have of supporting themselves and their families isn't just cruel. It's an outrage, and no civilised society would be willing to do it.

And just for the record, I'm currently feeling far less inclined to seek work and pay tax than I did five years ago, because I have no desire to pay into a system that's being dismantled as we speak. I have no faith that any taxes I may pay will be used for the good of the people of this country. Zavi's taxes don't buy my knickers. They're used to pay private companies to deny disability, undermine the minimum wage, and reduce the chances of the unemployed ever finding work. Why on earth would I want to become a good little economic unit in a system like that?

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sat 19-Jan-13 11:14:54

Good point stormy-No legal means of feeding/clothing =crime.
I for one would steal to feed my children if i had to.
Is this the way this country is heading under the conservatives?
Having to steal & living on the streets-maybe seeing children living on the streets would change some peoples minds.
I for one would never want our country heading that way.

NC78 Sat 19-Jan-13 11:17:57

"I used to work in a disability benefits centre, which processed an average 250,000 claims every year. The vast majority were dubious, and included "disabilities" such as eczema, depression and anxiety.

Anyone who thinks the benefit system isn't the subject of a huge abuse by the UK public is deluded.

Swap giros for food vouchers and you would see an instant drop in claims. "

This post is highly offensive. sad

Shame that it this day and age peple still feel MH problems are trivial at best and fake at worst.

I had a friend who claimed disability benefits due to eczema and the resulting depression.

He was covered from head to toe. In the morning his sheets would be covered in blood and skin. His sleep was disrupted every night and, as his condition was chronic, this meant he was suffering the psychological effects of constant sleep deprivation. He had to take drugs to supress his immune system with all the side effects that entails - yet he still had severe eczema. This all lead to severe debilitating depression.

JakeBullet Sat 19-Jan-13 11:28:27

That post was indeed very offensive...I notice the cretin who posted it has not been back to update us with more pearls of wisdom....or to respond to what others have posted. Says it all really.

AmberLeaf Sat 19-Jan-13 11:29:23

Wonders of smiffy is aware of the fraud rates for disability benefits?

weegiemum Sat 19-Jan-13 12:07:11

I'm probably a skiver. I get dla due to a rather unpleasant neuro disability, git nothing else as dh earns too much.

But I administer, run and teach a young mums literacy ptoject. Isn't that the "big society", Dave? But cos I do it for free, it doesn't count??

They'd like to take my DLA away. And thren I can't afford a taxi, so I can't do my job. Doesn't make sense!!

MrsDeVere Sat 19-Jan-13 12:57:22

We are both. We pretty much explode the whole stupid lie.

A lot of our income comes from benefits = skiver
We both work = strivers
We both work part time = skivers
OH works despite having MS = striver
I work despite being a carer and having MH problems = striver
We own our own house = striver
We have a car from mobility = skiver
We have 5 children = skiver
One died and one is the child of a relative who we saved from a life in care and adopted = strivers
Adopted child is disabled and we claim DLA for him = skivers
We have paid taxes for over 50 years between us = fuck right off Cameron.

We are not the only ones. This is not a simple issue. I suppose we could have avoided having to claim? Maybe if OH was heavily insured with one of those dodgy 'if you get sick' plans that hardly ever pay out, maybe if we had taken out life insurance on our healthy 12 year old? Maybe if we had said 'no, put him in care, YOU pay for him all his life. Why should we care what happens to a child we have never met?'
Maybe if when DD got sick I had not given up work to care for her and expected the NHS to do all her care and somehow found a carer willing to look after a her when i was at work? I suppose I could have popped in to see her after work. She only had cancer and she was 12 so being a proper Striver, she would have understood.

But we didnt prepare for a shattering neurological condition to hit us in our late 20s or for cancer to take our child in our 30s or a newborn to arrive with a week's notice and for him to have multiple disabilities.

Most ordinary, striving, working class families don't have that sort of financial cushion. We don't have parents with money or trust funds.

(BTW my list above is not meant as any comment of those with MS etc who are not able to work.)

Sunnywithshowers Sat 19-Jan-13 13:34:47

smiffy are you aware that giros were phased out years ago?

I agree with posts like MrsdeVere above. You could say I'm a striver - I've worked almost continuously for over 20 years. My DH has been unemployed for several years - through MS - for which he receives DLA. Because I've been working he doesn't receive any other benefits. Before his unemployment he was in a highly skilled senior role and paid lots of taxes - he paid more in taxes than I earned some years.

We've recently started as mature university students (skivers?) - DH is retraining so he's more employable. If all else fails I can go back to my previous occupation, which is unrewarding but pays decently.

But we're both aware that MS is a progressive condition, so he may not have a lot of 'working' years left. At which point I'll be his carer and save the government loads of money and receive a pittance in return. And I'll be called a skiver too.

I reject utterly the skiver / striver rhetoric. It's a way of getting people fighting amongst themselves instead of being angry at the way in which governments (deliberate plural there) have fucked things up and are dismantling the welfare state and the NHS under our noses.

Those of you above who think that people who claim benefits are not like you - you're mostly wrong. This country is in deep trouble with huge unemployment. You could lose your job or your health in a moment and be in need of the safety net.

Jux Sat 19-Jan-13 13:52:30

Apparently I'm a skiver. I worked for most of my adult life - 3 years of from 8am to midnight as a basic shift, and 6 days out of 7, nearly had a breakdown - most jobs I have done were long hours and I worked incredibly hard.

When I became pg with dd, ms developed along with the foetus, leaving me incapable of doing almost antyhing. My condition is improving very slowly, though I will never be well again. I get DLA.

I am trying to get a new qualification from the OU so that I can just do office work which won't tax me physically too badly. Until then I will be dependent upon DLA. I am apparently entitled to other benefits (or was) but I didn't claim them as I feel bad enough about getting the DLA.

I think, looking at my struggles now and my aspirations, that I am actually a striver, though my dependence on a benefit makes me a skiver.

It is divide and rule all over again, and a particularly pernicious form.

I also never felt that the money I paid in tax when I was working was mine. It belonged to the State to do things which needed doing. That included helping those who were less fortunate than I was, unable to work at all, or unable to find work.

Tax money doesn't belong to you. It belongs to the State. It is not your money, it never was. That's the worst of the message that DC is giving out.

VestaCurry Sat 19-Jan-13 16:02:35

'BRING ON THE CHANGES' you say Zavi.

It's very dangerous to have that kind of blind faith in a Government's proposals. It tends to be of the right wing variety and unfettered, we all know where it can lead in terms of attitudes to the disabled and sick. Germany in the 1930's springs to mind. And, the economic conditions are not dissimilar.

charitymum Sat 19-Jan-13 16:31:46

The language is there to divide and rule. Like the equally insidious taxpayers v disabled (because nobody with a disability has ever paid tax)

Where the language may be useful is in exploring the truth that there are some people happy to live off others and take little personal responsibility at every level and in every part of society. Skiving-self first and stuff everybody else is not class specific.

From the multi million pound bankers avoiding taxes to parents who can afford it laughing that they pay nothing for school trips because "why should they" - leaving others to pay more - to the private landlord raking it in while his tenants live in the damp.

To say all bankers/wealthy mum/landlord are skivers because they live off others is as crass as saying all those who take benefits are. There are those who take the piss and look after themselves - screw the rest- and those that see the greater good.

But on benefits I'm clear. I am a higher rate tax payer. I work my arse off and juggle care for four kids. And I don't begrudge a penny to those on benefits-even those taking the piss- because one child going hungry or being homeless in modern day Britain is a fucking disgrace. Accepting some fraud (less than .5% of benefits bill btw and some billions less than unpaid and avoided taxes) is small price to pay to ensure no kids fall through net.

ParsingFancy Sat 19-Jan-13 16:35:17

So where do Ladies Who Lunch fit into this dual universe?

They're clearly not strivers.

So they must be skivers.

Or does this "moral virtue = paid work" notion only apply to the poor?

tethersend Sat 19-Jan-13 16:44:45

Some disjointed thoughts:

1. The amount of money in unclaimed benefits is greater than the amount the government estimates is lost to benefit fraud. This suggests, contrary to popular belief, we are a nation who doesn't claim what we're entitled to. A sense of disentitlement, perhaps?

2. Are HMV/Jessops/Blockbuster employees still strivers or are have they been skivers all along? I think we should be told.

3. It's far cheaper for a government to pay 'feckless' parents a small amount of child benefit to care for their children than it is to take them into care. What will happen to the children of the 'feckless' who continue to have children past the benefit limit and refuse to/are unable to pay for them?

4. If you're on Workfare, are you a Skiver or a Striver? Or neither? Or both?

FanFuckingTastic Sat 19-Jan-13 19:43:29

I know two people with eczema that is bad enough to claim for.

One is a little girl, her skin cracks and bleeds all over her hands, arms, legs and she gets it through her hair. Her mum has to wet wrap her every night. The creams get everywhere and stain. She needs to replace clothing, bedding, even carpets on a regular basis. He daughter needs special clothes and washing products, she finds it difficult to sleep through the night due to the itching, which means that she gets tired very easily. Her mum often has to carry her home from school. As with eczema like this she has allergies too, which mean she needs to be fed a special diet. You're saying that wouldn't qualify for DLA to improve a little girl's life?

The other is my best friend's husband, who works six days in seven, seven if they'll give him overtime. He has really bad eczema again to the point of raw skin. He has to get all sorts of medication for it, but he pays for prescriptions. They have to find out the trigger, which can involve messing about with washing powders and cleaning products, he has to be wet wrapped also, but his wife has cerebral palsy and can't always manage to help him, so instead he suffers. It disturbs his sleep, his confidence is nothing, he gets infections in the wounds. But it's just eczema right? No need for DLA?

As for depression and anxiety, I am sorry but that is disabil-ist and shows pure ignorance. Are we saying that these illnesses are somehow less valid that others because they are mental illnesses? Can't you understand that for all the sufferers there are actually people so badly affected by mental illness that it rules their life and makes it very difficult to live. Do you include autism in your attitude of stupid claims? What about ADHD or PTSD? Are any mental differences or disorders worthy of claiming?

No wonder getting DLA is so fucking difficult with pure ignorance like that from people who work there/have worked there.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sat 19-Jan-13 20:18:44

I wonder where zavvi wentgrin

ethelb Sat 19-Jan-13 21:38:09

I agree with the notion that the government has promoted v devisive language about benefits recipients since the coalitions inception. The attitude to disabled benefits recipient in particular disgusts me

However, I do wonder what is more damaging. The bastard Tory's attitude to people receiving benefits or the bleeding heart liberal attitude that involves shouting down any (often low working imcome) voice that points out there are people who have chosen living on benefits as a 'lifestyle choice'.

Imo you have to have lived a v priviledged and sheltered life to belive that noone is a) better off on benefits than in work and b) chose to live on benefits.

ethelb Sat 19-Jan-13 21:49:38

@mrsdevre i completely agree on the lack of clarity in the past three months Dp lost his job and was put on jsa = skiver
While i worked full time. = striver
And set up a sucessful business to make up the deficit = striver
While we applied for housing benefit = skiver
But it only paid 1/3 so we had to pay rest if rent = no one is sure
Then by the time benefits were sorted dp got a 7month contract = striver until that runs out
We have no children = selfish / not selfish depending on who you speak to

I agree that the government are doing this so we cannot see what is really going on.

What are they doing to create jobs? If they want more people to work then surely the only logical solution is to sort out the lack of jobs.

Why does "making work pay" involve cutting benefits when 1) benefit rates are already set at "what you need to live on" and 2) work currently only pays for the majority because it is topped up by benefits? Shouldnt "making work pay" be about raising wages in line with inflation and paying a living wage as a minimum?

There are jobs advertised near me for positions that require qualifications which took people years to achieve. The pay? NMW! What message is that sending out? Strive to better yourself but we will still pay you a wage that wont lift you out of poverty.

This government is a disgrace, yet we are blaming the poorest in our society?

debtherat Sun 20-Jan-13 05:32:18

It's the start of improving our international competitiveness - other economies we are competing with don't have same liberal, caring benefits system. Maybe they will in time if their populations rebel/demand it, vote for it .. look at India - how long will it take for them to have a decent social security system? care about those born into poverty (seen as fate - not to be meddled with) and China - social welfare not an aspiration I bet.

I prefer our system - wish the govt would reconsider fundamental shifts in what gets spent and why public exp wise and stop the privatisation of public services = cheaper and better because it doesn't and this drives a lot of NMW practice in private companies.

merrymouse Sun 20-Jan-13 07:21:04

I think it would have been more fun if they had gone for 'scythers v. hivers' and then they could have had a government sponsored game show where bee keepers and arable farmers competed in 'it's a knock out style' challenges.

As it is, I feel that the conservatives are trying to speak to me as a 'striver', (Live in Tory Land, pay tax) but I am just confused. The whole child benefit thing is just 'wtf?' (I expect they will ditch it completely in a couple of years once universal benefits are up and running), and the ATOS assessments seem to have been a fiasco. I can't really understand the part where I benefit from any of this.

There have been cutbacks to services I use (NHS, libraries, schools), but I think the pill is supposed to be sweetened by the idea that somewhere a family with 10 children and a massive council house are loosing their wide screen TV.

DrRanj Sun 20-Jan-13 08:19:04

I hate this "strivers" thing. Does that mean that people who are earning very high incomes are going to donate what they don't need to families that are still striving but have to claim tax credits to top up their income in order to live, in an effort to strive for a healthier economy?

Probably not, they will resist higher taxes and the Tories will side with them on that. Probably because if this notion that they have strived for that money so they deserve to keep it. However it is no coincidence that most very wealthy people I know had very wealthy parents, who were able to provide houses/businesses/jobs for them.

I am a mature student and I had a summer job where it was trendy for a lot of middle class younger student types to get summer jobs, because they were a lot of arty things happening. I'm going to sound like an old woman now, but some of these kids don't know they're born. They were lazy, clumsy, rude to customers, had a shocking work ethic. If they were working class and not at uni, in their first job after leaving school, society would definitely call them skivers. But because mummy and daddy are putting them through uni, paying their rent, giving them an allowance they are strivers?

I have worked in a variety of settings in my time. I may be generalising, but often the hardest working people I have come across have been young and working class, often working for a pittance, and that will probably never change.

I sometimes wonder if social mobility really exists in this country. You are pretty much born with your lot I reckon. I kind of broke the mould in that I am a working class girl who started medical school as a mature student and have had dd since starting, so some might call me a striver, but now the fees ave gone sky high since this government there is no way I could have done it if I started a few years later. Plus I have had to have a lot of government help, childcare grants etc, so dies that then make me a skiver?

DrRanj Sun 20-Jan-13 08:21:08

P.s. I definitely think that merrymouse's scyther's vs hivers sounds more fun! grin

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 08:45:47

Worked for 30 years as a nurse and midwife = striver
Had a mortgage = striver
Gave up work to care for autistic son= skiver
Live in social housing and claim housing benefit = skiver

This Government and their simplistic bollocks = scumbags of the highest order.

smiffynw10 Sun 20-Jan-13 14:27:31

In response to those who disagree with me;

"Edam"; Was I a "paper-shuffler" ? If it makes you feel better to belittle that job, go ahead. Less acceptable is the idea that I have no idea about disability.
I'd wager I have far more experience than many people, but that's not really the issue. As for meetings claimants, you're wrong. I spent over 12 months making home visits to people of all ages claiming DLA. Many were genuine, many weren't. It often transpired that the claims were filled in by welfare rights advisors, and then handed to the claimant for their signature. I call the claims dubious as they were often disallowed, following lack of medical evidence from GP's or hospitals. What word would you use?

"JakeBullet"; If having my own viewpoint is enough for you to call me thick, I guess it's the end of the line. Not sure why you think I'd make up a story about where I used to work, but it takes all sorts I suppose.

Anyway, I gave my view based on my experience both in and out of work.

If you don't like or agree with that, I won't be losing any sleep over it.

That's me done on this subject!!

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 14:37:50

If the claims were disallowed then I don't know what your beef is with the benefit. Eczema can be severe, mental health issues can be severe.....did you actually read what my friend went through as a child. It makes me angry that anyone would sit in judgement on her.

You dealt with genuine cases and those where perhaps the evidence was not strong enough and they were declined. So by that argument the system works then.....makes me wonder why you want to see it changed.

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 14:41:41

"That's me done on this subject" = "I am wrong and I know it"

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 15:31:20

We all know the country is stuffed with the idle who are making up claims. The NE had a massive number of supposed disabled who had just been advised to claim for that as it was more cash and less attention than other benefits. I doubt the new system will cut the sums paid to skivers down and I rhink £500 a week for maximum benefits including housing benefits is really erally massive and a total insult to people who claim nothing £26k a year - £35,000 a year of taxed income! We need a benefits cap which is much much lower to get people back into work.

The Government is not whipping up public opinion on this. It has always been there, been there since the poor laws, work house and all the schemes over many years to try to ensure we care for the poor but that work pays. It is a very difficult issue to solve.
One solution which I favour is give every adult over 18 £200 a week, nothing more and nothing less whether you work or not and abolish all benefits. The if you have 10 children or want to rent a £1m house in London you might have to think again and you will cut your cloth according to your means. A universal payment to everyone 18 or over, old or young in place of all benefits and pensions and whether you work or not. It would also keep housewives happy too in the bargain and ensure working on the sly whilst claiming benefits which is a massive problem rarely addressed is pointless at one stroke.

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 20-Jan-13 15:34:47

Xenia that sounds almost like the green partys plan to scrap benefits and pay everyone 15k a year. Quite a good idea if the cost of living can remain the same.

StormyBrid Sun 20-Jan-13 15:50:03

Before I go off and bang my head against a wall, could someone please explain to me how giving impoverished people even less to live on is going to magically create jobs? If you want to get people back into work, one of the basic requirements is available jobs. The government's own figures show there simply aren't enough available for everyone currently lacking one. What is the mechanism by which reducing benefits creates jobs?

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 16:35:16

Inneed, I've always liked that idea as it means you don't need anyone scrutinising who does what. Of course it rewards the utterly idle but as it's just £10,400 a year and the benefits cap alone is £26,000 (when it comes in if they ever enforce) it does incentivise you to work and/or live with your sisters or friends or mother or boyfriend to share costs/expenses.

You keep it whether or not you work 50 weeks a year full time as I do or whether you sit at home thinking about God or your next fag. We could then abolish all the jobs of checking and means testing but we would need to ensure it is not available to everyone on the planet who chooses to come here I suppose.

It would also force those who who don't work and live in very expensive places to slum it where the workers live.

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 16:36:33

Before we go any further can I jist point out for those talking of "supposed disabled" that DLA is NOT an out of work benefit. Some claim it to keep themselves IN work. So suggesting people were or are advised to claim it in order to avoid work is a load of rubbish.

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 16:41:49

Goodness me Xenia, do you know lots of idle jobless living in expensive areas then? Most of the jobless people I have met live in crappy housing in poor areas unless they have lost jobs

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Sun 20-Jan-13 17:10:06

I think the debate is not helped by the tendency of both sides to obfuscate it by confusing DLA with other benefits related to incapacity and illness. DLA is very difficult to claim, the forms are ridiculous, and the Government's own figures show fraud is very very low. I still cannot see what the legitimate case is for eforming this benefit (unless to make it easier to claim; I know some people with quite significant impairments who have been denied it. Certain other benefits - incapacity benefit as was, now ESA or whatever they call it this week - are quite widely abused, is my anecdotal impression. Put it this way, I'm fairly convinced the people I used to represent fopr burglary, shoplifting et al who were all IB were abusing it! Never quite worked out how your depression prevented you going to work, but didn't stop you burgling old ladies' houses....

williaminajetfighter Sun 20-Jan-13 18:03:31

Can't believe I agree with Xenia on this.

I just left west of Scotland and Glasgow where something like a quarter of people of working age are on DLA mostly signed off in the 80s/90s and still on it. Creates an odd culture but does ensure people vote labour!

I don't disagree with benefits particularly as there is a Lot of money very poorly spent/wasted in other govt departments, not including all the issues about individual and corporate tax evasion.

What I HATE is the industry around benefits- the bossy social workers and community liaison officers that fester in local authorities, the job center industry, the people making money through ATOS. All this creates a benefits infrastructure which I find grim. In that way I'd rather come up with a solution that required less govt and a more libertarian approach.

I don't think we should be talking 'strivers' vs 'skivers' rather thinking about how little govt intervention we have in our lives because in my experience people need to have less of a cradle to grave mentality. Working for a council, getting help from the council and getting housing from the council?!! I mean seriously!!!shock

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 18:22:03



I take the point about IB or ESA as I know little about how theae benefits work but DLA is difficult to get and requires masses of written medical evidence.

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 18:26:32

William, yyou suggest 25% of the population in Glasgow are on DLA. Do you have figures to prove this?

Xenia Sun 20-Jan-13 18:32:12

I did not say DLA and of course it is clear I referred to incapacity benefit as it was and it was an utter scam for some (but of course not for all).

I drove today to my daughter's (further into London than I can afford to live) and there are absolutely masses of people on benefits living right there in the centre where the workers cannot afford to live and where young people in work are struggling to rent or buy a house because of in part all the competition from those who don't work for homes in places where they don't need to be. Many of us in work have moved hundreds of miles from family as i did to get work. I have just paid my tax about 5 minutes ago so it is not the best time for me to be writing about this topic or perhaps it is the very very best of times. I hope the fact I work 50 weeks a year is hugely appreciated by those who never work and whose food and housing is entirely due to the workers of this nation.

The industry around benefits would go if everyone in work or out got a universal payment. If we are going to give those with 35 years national insurance £140 a week without means testing when they reach 66 years old we could extend that principle downwards although I suppose all the work on the universal credit thing for the low paid is a more complex version of that but nothing like as simple and with large marginal tax rate increases once you work at various levels. They never ever seem to achieve simplicity.

Younglee Sun 20-Jan-13 18:36:51

It's a tricky one because of course there are genuine cases out there and not everyone on benefits is the sterotypical lay about. But on the other hand there are a lot of people who are.
There is no doubt that the benefits system needs a good shake up and fast its not sustainable the way it is right now and when you see families that have several generations in the home who have never worked it makes me despair.
Especially when they keep on having children (because they know that the state will support)

williaminajetfighter Sun 20-Jan-13 18:43:04

Sorry all in my last post I meant to say 'incapacity benefit' not DLA.

Re request for clarifying stats: I worked for Glasgow council for many years and had access to figures/stats when putting together funding bids. Also worked for Univ of Glasgow. Anecdotally I remember my director mentioning a 1/3 figure of working-age adults on incapacity benefit in Glasgow but I couldn't believe that was right. A lot of people were signed on to IB when the shipyards closed....

This is a useful site for stats about Glasgow. A lot of deprivation, not so much Scotland with Style. I love Glasgow so not trying to be critical.

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 18:55:49

sad that's sad. Whole generation being written off .

williaminajetfighter Sun 20-Jan-13 19:35:18

Yup it's rubbish. A lot of the deprivation is in places like Easterhouse that are on the outskirts and not visible to the 'tourist' community and west-endies. But Glasgow can be very divided - I've met people from Bearsden and Milngavie who have never been to the east end or even to the Barras! sigh.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Jan-13 19:35:52

For goodness sake, how many governments and doo gooders, would be politicians have tried numerous strategies to stop the VERY FEW families who live on benefits, refusing to work and passing this life style to the next generation?
They will and have always existed, cutting welfare and benefits to people who really need them is not going to help.
The answer to what do we do about them is nothing, let them be. Is there honestly anybody here who would like to swop lifestyle with them? I have seen regeneration and increased efforts to provide education and services to increase social mobility for the next generation and it didn't work, well not for the majority. However, I believe that if one family managed to get out of the trap the strategies were helpful.
I really don't see how so many people can hold their heads up when all they do is persecute the under class.

williaminajetfighter Sun 20-Jan-13 19:37:37

There are also lots of communities there with 3rd generation unemployment, what they now refer to as worklessness. But, trust me, these aren't people to be jealous of or irate about. It's just sad.

Jux Sun 20-Jan-13 19:45:04

I've been touting the possibility of a Universal benefit for years. i am gobsmacked to find Xenia doing the same.

Where are all the people who usually tell me what bollocks the idea is? grin

(Xenia, do you know what? If I got £200 a week, that would double my income in one fell swoop. It would be a hell of a lot easier for me to -eventually -get work then.)

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 19:54:06

I agree with this idea to a point bit am not well versed enough to know the ins and outs of it. A hearing it's a Green Party idea....must go and look.

am i right in thinking that these third generation families would be found in areas where employment got wiped out by the death of the manufacturing industry and the dirth of anything replacing it? would these be the same areas where there was a not so subtle push to transfer people on to incapacity benefit to fiddle the unemployment figures.

not to mention that long term unemployment, lack of status, poverty and lack of a sense of involvement or purpose in society can and does lead to depression and other health conditions which would lead to an increase in IB claimants anyway?

whole towns have been literally 'depressed' - economically, in status, in community and life. def not something to be jealous of or want to stone the people for

morethanpotatoprints Sun 20-Jan-13 20:16:58


I can only speak from my experience but yes you are right in your thinking. I agree there are very few not stuck in this trap that would want to swop lives. I live in the NW and in some areas this has been the case for the past 30 years. I only refer to pockets though, a few communities. I think these are a minority in society and not the masses that the Daily Mail readers seem to want to believe exist.
My own philosophy is the some middle class people are guilty of their wealth when others have so little. They try to hold themselves up by convincing themselves that the poor who can't find work or have given up hope are the dregs of society.
The town I lived in was like this, I managed to get out because my parents were better educated, although I wasn't.

So, there's a banker, a DM reader and a benefits claimant and they sit down to share ten biscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuit. The banker takes nine biscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuitbiscuit and then turns to the DM reader and says, 'Careful! That benefits claimant is trying to take your biscuit!'

<old'uns are the good'uns>

I haven't read the blog post but I completely agree with the opinion in the OP, it's divide and conquer and we should be vigilant and ready to resist it and stand together. The cuts are harming the health and well being of loads of vulnerable people at the moment. People are worrying about how to afford to eat or keep a roof over their head. We have thick snow and people who can't afford to put their heating on or get their boiler mended ... some of them are working, some are not.

We are being sold a big fat divisive lie and it should be named for what it is every time it crops up.

extra biscuit for smiffy
biscuit and another one
biscuit one for luck

ThisIsMummyPig Sun 20-Jan-13 20:18:21

Xenia - who is going to be dealing with all the identity fraud? A growing area of benefit fraud and very difficult to pick up on and investigate.

Actually though, I don't disagree, and its not so different to what they are doing with the pensioners.

PeneloPeePitstop Sun 20-Jan-13 21:48:26

It's funny how they scoured the nation trying to find these families with multi generational workless ness and only found..... Five.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sun 20-Jan-13 22:28:50

Let's not forget that in the 80s and 90s the government was actively trying to move people from unemployment benefit to incapacity, to make their statistics look better (as SAF said)

And people don't generally get more healthy as they get older. Nor, indeed, do they get more employable after years out of work.

BoffinMum Sun 20-Jan-13 23:54:02

With one exception, the only people I know of who have lots of children, decide not to work, and maintain the setup on benefits are religious people, who argue that they need to devote the whole day to religious study. However that is too inflammatory for anyone to debate.

Gemd81 Mon 21-Jan-13 04:54:00

I am going to find it really tough with the child benefit being cut because the new policy only looks at the highest household earner - which is unfair and discriminates against women choosing not to work and bring up their baby - even though my work would not accommodate a part time role I am being penalised for wanting to bring up my child. All along there are a family next door to me earning more jointly an being able to claim child benefit - David Cameron stop being so anti women staying at home and at least make it a level playing field!
NEVER voting Tory ever again!

Gemd81 Mon 21-Jan-13 04:56:12

Always really the middle earners being penalised the most - people on lower paid jobs have higher disposable income because benefits not fairly handed out - big vote loser mr Cameron - duh!!

for those who are assuming people on lower incomes and benefits are better off and middle earners are the worst squeezed...

i earn a pittance and with the changes to housing benefit (whereby most councils are having to decide they won't pay full benefit for anyone and will stop it at lower levels of income due to govt changes in the way it's funded) i will no longer be entitled to any housing benefit or council tax benefit.

for those not working and on benefits - re: the unemployed, the disabled, pensioners who are topped up with benefits will now have to find a portion of their rent and housing benefit themselves from their frozen benefits along with inflation, souring fuel prices etc. their 'disposable income' will be shrinking significantly.

the working poor are getting lower percentages of childcare paid and have had the hours they must work in order to receive working tax credits increase whilst funnily enough employers are not going here, have a few more hours seeing as we've got so much work to go round.

seriously it just isn't true to say the middle are most squeezed.

we (as in those of us out here in the real world who don't get bailed out of our debts from tax funds or get a full pension after 3 years work or tax payer funded 'expenses') are all being squeezed.

let's face it in this country now the most 'squeezed' are the sick and disabled who are literally being squeezed to death.

Gemd81 if your husband earns enough to make you lose CB perhaps you should look at living within your means before you complain about being squeezed.

£60k a year is a lot of money, we would live like kings if we had that. But then we have had lives of going without to learn the value of money.

£60k a year and worrying about £20 per week....something is going wrong in your budgets surely?

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 08:05:13

Then again £60k a year if you live in an area which is expensive is not much any more. Lets not forget that many people plan around their income and CB might be an income they included in their figures when making decisions.

Then move to a cheaper area.

Im sorry but its really infuriating to hear high earners tell low earners they should live in cheaper houses etc but not apply the same logic to themselves. It happens all the time on here.

Drive a cheaper car, have less holidays, live in a cheaper house. Yes house costs are high, but they are high for everyone, not just high earners.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 09:04:55

That is true wanna. I am pretty much anti the CB cut simply because its often the one payment a woman gets and if she has to leave (domestic violence etc) it's just a bit of help until other benefits can be sorted.
I agree though that many moaning also say those of us not earning so much should move, downsize, cutback etc.

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 09:17:02

gemd81's post says all there is to say about tory voters:

my husband earns more than 60k a year
I want to receive child benefit anyway
I don't want to read the thread and comment an all the posts about the disabled and vulnerable people who'll suffer terribly after these cuts being made
I just want to discuss my own comfortable standard of living and ignore anyone else less fortunate
I'll threaten to never vote tory again!!!

really gem, really hmm

Iggly Mon 21-Jan-13 09:24:52

Who are these mythical middle earners?

I certainly wouldn't put someone on an income of £60k in the middle.

Average household income with two working adults is around £40k.

£60k makes you minted. Earners on this should recognise that fact even if you don't feel like it.

Me and my DH are higher earners and we only recently have to worry about money because of a few disasters. However we are in a good position where we can cut back quite easily.

Imagine living on the breadline, having to count the pennies, worrying about feeding your family and then having to cut your costs further?!

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jan-13 09:28:18

BoffinMum - "With one exception, the only people I know of who have lots of children, decide not to work, and maintain the setup on benefits are religious people, who argue that they need to devote the whole day to religious study. However that is too inflammatory for anyone to debate."

I shall not debate it either, but I know what you mean.

Xenia Mon 21-Jan-13 09:31:49

£60k a year is £41k after tax. If you were a single person on that then you probably have £14k to £3k a year in childcare costs if you work full time. Do people now think it's minted to have that much? Add in the fact that person has no housing benefit unlike the poor so has to pay for housing out of the balance. It's not minted at all - it's not too different from the net income those on benefits have for some particularly single or widowed parents.

True that the new £140 a week pension if you pay 35 years of national insurance is a bit like my proposed universal £200 a week for all adults.
I don't think identity theft would be that bad - universal benefits do seem to have worked pretty well without too much fraud - child benefit etc, less fraud than non universal benefits.

On the question of religious groups who pray and live on benefits there are not really very many of them. Even the orthodox jews with 14 children tend to have jobs although a few will not work. Groups like the Brethren who often have a lot of children tend to work. Gypsies tend to be self supporting. I don't think there are that many families in the UK with lots of children in them. It's not our biggest issue at all.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 09:32:17

Are these religious folk in huge numbers though...if not then surely they are in a minority of folk who won't ever contribute no matter what? Or is this a bigger problem than I realise....PB by any chance?

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 09:33:14

Cross posted with Xenia.

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 09:34:16

to me on an income of £24k between the both of us working, him full time me part time but trying to get more hours, the squeezed middle is the people who might have to think twice before buying a new car and get one a year old, books one week abroad this year instead of the usual two, only manages a few weekends away instead of whenever they feel like it, buy their kids new clothes and visits charity shops for a nosey, not an outfit, has to cut back on their nights out as going out every second weekend is getting a bit expensive now

I'd bloody love to be in the squeezed middle

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 09:36:52

41k after tax

I'd be happy with that, not on here moaning that I cant live on it

Iggly Mon 21-Jan-13 09:37:14

Xenia, relatively speaking, yes you are. Although point taken on single parents.

We can debate whether or not childcare costs are too high (yes I think they're extortionate) but ultimately if you're on £60k even as a single parent, you're still better off than most.

My point was that £60k doesn't make you part of the squeezed middle. I think a lower income makes you part of that.

Housing and childcare costs are the two biggest disgraces of this country. For example, me and DH want to move as our mortgage is too high. However we'd be looking at stamp duty to pay plus other costs of moving. Yet I won't complain because there are people who are worse off than me.

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 09:38:01

my 24k is before tax but even that is luxury to some folks, imagine what 41k after tax would feel like to them, then coming on here and reading its not a good wage,,,sheesh

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 09:40:53

Even on 30k a year I managed to live easily without benefits (aside from minimum tax credit and child benefit which came to £100 a month)) though Xenia, I appreciate housing costs can be high but as Wanna says, if I was on a lower salary and said my housing costs were too high I would be told to move, or cut back etc.
Fact is if you are on £60k you are doing very well indeed....CB arguments aside as I don't agree it should be cut.
I certainly did not need help with housing costs even though I was privately renting. When you are on benefits (as I currently am as a Carer) then every penny counts....and I get extra as a Carer so have no idea how others not getting any extra cope. I don't anticipate this being forever but fact is at the moment life is a struggle and is going to be considerably harder than someone on£60k a year losing CB.

i lived, paid a mortgage, saved, paid my transport, food, clothes etc etc without any benefit top ups on 20k before tax. the idea that 41k after tax is not a lot of money or not enough money just sounds ridiculous to anyone who has or does live on a hell of a lot less.

it's a massive insult when it is those same people who believe oap's in their 80's should be kicked out of 2 bed houses and disabled single people should only get enough housing benefit to live in a room in a shared house with 20yo students or that people who don't have enough money should all clear off out of london rather than receive housing benefit that reflects their rent.

i mean come on!! you must reflect on what you're saying and the context you're saying it in?

it's actually offensive in the context of what is happening to the sick and disabled in this country to sit around whingeing that you only have 41k after tax especially when it's a sahm who doesn't actually have to work at all to supplement that and are looking at outright ownership of property in the future. you know? just think what you're saying! try to think about how easy your life really is compared to so very many people.

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jan-13 10:00:39

A lot of SAHMs are unable to work at all because the cost of childcare is greater than the income they are able to generate and their DHs are away from home due to work commitments and unable to share childcare. It is wrong to say that "they don't have to work" - many would like to.

that's exactly the same for people at the lower end of the pay spectrum bonsoir. i know couples where they work on alternating shifts and never see each other because they can't afford childcare. they 'can't afford childcare' yet have to work anyway - they don't have the luxury of saying oh well we'll cut back a little bit and just live on your income for the next few years till the kids go to school and i can go back to my well paid job.

and single mums on benefits are expected to go and work at whatever jobs are available once their kids are 5 - they don't get a 'haven't got childcare i can afford' clause that lets them off.

so again - context and others.

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jan-13 10:06:01

Working alternating shifts is a good solution but it relies on both partners having a good chunk of time at home every day. Not all people are that lucky.

true - hence the couple i'm thinking of he works full time and she works part time shifts at a supermarket in evenings and at the weekend. nothing to do with luck but necessity and doing the shit job you didn't want to do and wasn't what you were qualified for but has to be done to make ends meet.

wonder if these poor sahms who'd love to work but can't afford to would consider night shifts stacking shelves for minimum wage? i'm just saying it's context and choices - when you say 'can't' as a privileged income family you can bet plenty of lower income families make it possible because they have no choice so acknowledge your luck that you can afford to make that choice albeit not one you'd ideally choose.

(incidentally this family does not qualify for any wtc and only a scrap of ctc despite earning well below the figures being discussed on this thread).

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jan-13 10:11:52

Don't be so rude and dismissive, swallowedAFly. Lots of people do do hard things. When one of my cousins was unemployed, his wife (RG university degree educated) did night-time cleaning so that he could carry on with his job search during the day. Nobody knew except close family.

rude and dismissive?!

well there you go then - there are things people can do just as your cousins wife did - so you're agreeing with my point. when they 'have' to they do so those moaning and not doing obviously don't have to and if they have a grateful heart will be able to acknowledge that blessing and appreciate many have it worse.

the friend i'm talking about is university educated too btw if that bears any relevance.

by the way some people do night shift cleaning for years shock it's their actual job and they don't get to hide it from the neighbours.

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jan-13 10:19:02

So in swallowedAFly's world nobody gets to complain unless they are worse off than every other person on the planet? hmm

nope - not at all but yes i believe that we have a moral obligation to care about people worse off than us and recognise that it can't always be about us and what we want. i also believe that gratitude for one's relative privilege and blessings is a worthy human attribute to aspire to.

and this is a conversation in which people of all different classes and financial positions are a part of so it pays to be sensitive. if you were sat in a world conference about hunger you wouldn't sit moaning that you were starving because you'd had to miss breakfast this morning to someone from a country with a famine in full swing.

those posting here about how hard up they are on 60k are doing so in the company of people living on a quarter of that at times. that would be considered poor manners at the very least in my book.

love the way you did the peanut gallery play there though rather than address me directly. smooth grin

LittleFrieda Mon 21-Jan-13 10:35:50

The real problem is that we seem to have arrived at a situation whereby the not well-off place limits on how much the wealthy are allowed to earn, which means that the wealthy pay less tax. And childcare costs are enormous in spite of the fact that childcare work is very poorly paid: it is very labour intensive, and higher level training doesn't make it less so. We should not seek to curtail enterprise at the top but insted of doling out money in child tax credits to encourage learned helplessness, we should use the revenue to provide really excellent heavily state-subsidised childcare. As things stand currently, you have to be wealthy to be enterprising. I see that as the only way of beginning to close the gap between rich and poor and it is the gap that's the real problem.

Xenia Mon 21-Jan-13 10:56:38

I think you need real worked examples before you can compare how much cash various people have in different parts of the country.I do think those on benefits who don't work and have all their housing paid for think those on say £20k or £40k are rich whereas in fact many of those people have the same amount of spare cash because of spending £14k - £30k a year on childcare, £15k on mortgages and often much more, travel, work clothes.

They think gosh if I had £20k extra not realising that would mean housing benefit would go, tax credits might go, child benefit might go, never mind a third going in tax before you've even started (to fund benefits for those who never work).

Anyway the bottom line is that most people in the UK think there is a big problem with shirkers so unless that perception can be changed then these supposed shirkers are going to find life is harder for them.

Iggly Mon 21-Jan-13 10:56:43

The real problem is that we seem to have arrived at a situation whereby the not well-off place limits on how much the wealthy are allowed to earn

What do you mean?

nope the real problem is that we have arrived at the point where the people at the genuine top take so much out in profit and give so little out in salaries or sharing profits by reducing prices for example that there is a pittance of money for the masses to spend and ridiculously high costs. so then the very top decided to keep squeezing out their profits by lending ridiculous sums of money the masses (and made profit on doing that too). now it's really fucked because we still don't earn enough and we can't borrow anymore but they're still not willing to ease off on how much they take out of the system.

if they can't overcome their greed the whole system will break imo.

i guess what i'm saying is that mega-companies taking out multi million pound profits from a limited economy and a few people amassing billions is patently not bloody sustainable.

is it just me who thinks that that is common sense? feel free to explain to me that i'm missing the point because to me it just seems that simple! take fuel for example - yes prices of fuel have gone up and that would account for it needing to be a little more expensive for us peasants but the fuel companies (and each mega business in the chain on the way to us) still wants to take out millions of pounds of profit rather than having any responsibility to share the reality of rising prices by reducing their profit margins.

or banks for the obvious example - still taking million pound bonuses out even in the face of the current climate.

we can bicker to our hearts content about the small change at the bottom and who has more of it but the problem clearly lies much further up the food chain with people and companies hoarding fortunes that whole countries couldn't spend in a generation.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 11:36:17

Having been in both positions Xenia I can tell you thst employment
and a good salary are infinitely preferable to benefits even with the housing costs etc

agreed jake - my son's school is closed today and so is the college i work at. i can tell you now i'd rather be at work interacting with colleagues, getting on with projects that mean a lot to me and generally living than stuck in the house with a bored 5 yo.

i earn a pretty low salary and don't qualify for any HB etc - just wtc and cb. i am definitely better off financially working both in the here and now and in future prospects - not to mention how much better my mental health and self esteem is. therefore i cannot believe (because i know from real life experience) that people are worse off working in well paid jobs than living on benefits.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Mon 21-Jan-13 11:47:37

Benefits aren't as fun or as much as some of you would think.
Even on mw me & my dh were better off, i wish he wasn't made redundant, but he was and now we are on benefits.
We get £440 a month in jsa, that is it.
My rent isn't completely subsidsed, we have to put £100 towards it.
In April our council tax won't be all paid either.
Apart from that we get ctc which pay for food and essentials and child benefit which i'm very greatful for as my children need clothing and other essentials.
I don't believe anyone chooses to be on benefits.
We all strive to work or atleast have our partner in work, but it doesn't always work out the way.
There aren't enough jobs to go round and many are for the skilled-to gain qualifications you need money=no money equals no education.
Big coporations pay little or no tax, that is the main problem.

If they lower the benefits, the morale will be low which will make families depressed and in a never ending cycle which will never be broken

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 11:51:55

What IS an issue is that a jobcentre advisor told me if I took a job at NMW then to be financially better off I woukd need to work a minimum of 30 hours. I dont know if this was with the changes to benefits or not (am sure he said but it was a few weeks back).

Obviously having worked in the past I know the benefits to work are more than just financial but if you have never had this then it must be a leap of faith to say "I will work 24 hours even though I might be a little bit worse off financially".

I am also assuming that this includes childcare costs and transport etc....but it probably does not. As Xenia says this adds massively to the costs of being in work and affects how much disposable cash is left foe living expensrs.

FanFuckingTastic Mon 21-Jan-13 12:21:11

The problems I see are:

Childcare is expensive before three, often ridiculously so.

Employment is poor, there aren't jobs there at the moment. People are losing them faster than employment opportunities are being made.

Minimum wage is not a living wage, this shown by the top ups given in forms of tax credits.

Housing is too expensive and there aren't enough decently priced housing opportunities, so councils are overloaded and end up paying private rent rates in benefit.

There may be some issues with the state benefits, but adjusting them at this time was wrong I thought, perhaps when the economy is better and people had more opportunity to work in living wage jobs where the majority of income doesn't disappear on rent and childcare as it does now, perhaps then it might be time to look at something different, but I certainly then still wouldn't have started with the most vulnerable disabled adults and children, and I'd be making sure carers got paid more for their input.

My employed Carer gets £10 per hour. £7.50 after deductions. I worked out as my daughter's carer I get about £10 per day on top of what I get normally, and that is a twenty four hour day as she needs care throughout the night and day, I sleep a bit now that she goes to school, but it worsens my condition and the money to make it more bearable is laughable. Every single bit counts and I am glad for, obviously, but it does show that carers aren't actually appreciated for what they do.

correct me if i'm wrong but say an economy produces X amount each year and the top 2% of capital owners take out percentage X of that per year that leaves a certain amount to dissipate through the rest of society. the more that top 2% takes the less there is to dissipate. then if you agree on a poverty line that no one should fall below the gradient of how much people at various levels (other than the 2%) has to fall within what's left. if the top 2% takes a huge percentage there is very little left to spread over everyone else and that gradient will have to be pretty shallow (does that make sense?).

if the top 2% weren't taking vast quantities out there would be far more to be dissipated, keeping people at the bottom above the poverty line wouldn't be such a huge proportion of what was left and the gradient could be steeper - re: a far more marked difference between those who don't work/are disabled/are poorly qualified etc having markedly less than those on the other end whilst still being above the poverty line.

the problem surely is the percentage taken out by the 2% in this example. if they take too much, get too greedy, not only is there less money out in the spending economy (bearing in mind the 2% hoard and save theirs, not spend it) but there is less spectrum of wealths for the remaining masses.

sorry that was really poorly worded - does it make sense?

if i have a small amount of sweets to share between five people and i've decided they all have to have at least 5 then no one will be able to have much more than 5. if i have a huge amount to share between ten people i can give some way more than 5. the gradient steepens.

i really believe that it is the greed of that 2% (to coin a figure) that crushes us all. if they took less we could keep people off the poverty line and still have enough left over to make sure people who worked hard or achieved well could take out far more than those who didn't (something like the mythical meritocracy) - that can't be achieved when only the small change is entering the system whilst the very few vampircally suck out too much before it even hits the ground.

For anyone to say that people on benefits have more disposable income than those earning £41k after tax is so offensive its unreal.

People on benefits are often living in poor housing, spending a fortune on pre pay meters for electric and gas, the houses are hard to heat because they are poorly insulated. The landlords are a law unto themselves and the housing isnt secure, unless you have a LA or HA house. And even that isnt a guarantee of a settled life as those areas are often hotspots for anti social behaviour.

Private rental prices are now so far above the LHA rates that Im sure a lot of people are having to top up their rent.

Its not a lifestyle choice either. There is no choice right now because jobs are so few. Want to start a business on benefits and be a bit entreprenurial? Dont bother. Your JSA goes down to £50 per week for 6 weeks and they might give you £1000 towards set up costs. I havent a notion what happens to HB etc but what business can be started on £1000 and pays a wage straight away? People have families to support. And when you already have nothing you cant afford to take even a small cut.

Its a trap. Claimants are trapped and then the rest of the country blames them for their own situation. Companies went bust and they lost their jobs, but yes its all their fault and their lives are so much better than that of someone earning £41k after tax. Really? Jesus!

Right now we are sitting here trying to decide whether to spend our last £5 on coal, electric or petrol ffs.

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 15:10:16

For anyone to say that people on benefits have more disposable income than those earning £41k after tax is so offensive its unreal.

Why? It is true in some instances. Say you were widowed with a v large mortgage and childcare for two or three children. It's entirely possible (unlikely but possible).

I think there was a study last year that showed people earning between £10K and £40k had v similar disposable income due to loss of benefits over £16K and the cost of childcare that comes with a £20K plus job.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 15:12:20

Well said Wannabe, I had never had a prepayment meter before living in this property. As it happens the electricity one suits me as it is not responsible for heat or hot water. The gas one though I got changed immediately for a credit meter.

Fact is that the prepayment one while okay is definitely not the cheapest tariff and its not so easy to switch companies either.

I have already said previously that I was far better off on £30k a year despite having to pay my own rent, council tax etc. I have for less disposable income's freezing and only because I managed to overpay the gas slightly do I feel relaxed about having the heating on.

Still think that the NMW is too low...why on earth can you be better off out of work than in work? That says it all to me.....and many jobs which ARE available are NMW.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 15:15:36

ethelb I had far more disposable income on £30k a year than I have on benefits. It's not comparable at all.....yes childcare costs are an issue but if you need to claim for childcare costs then it must be debatable about whether or to work is worthwhile financially. Obviously I understand that there are more than just financial reasons for working.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 15:22:37

.....and actually while I think about it, it's the working poor who will ironically suffer the most.sad

The problem is not benefits. As Jake says, its that the NMW is too low and right now the government are undermining it further with the workfare schemes.

If you bring home 41k and you have less disposable income than someone on benefits you need to seriously reconsider your choices.

Just because you can afford a large mortgage on paper doesnt mean you can in practice. Same with the car or holidays.

People earning that much choose to buy these things. People on benefits and in low wage jobs have no choice. That is the difference.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 15:28:24

Is it me or is it ridiculous to compare disposable income. It depends on outgoings and standard of life doesn't it?
I know some people who manage quite well and others up to their neck in debt and whether they are earning 20k or 100k doesn't really come into it. Neither does working/ receiving benefit have any bearing.
Personally we are financially better off with me not working and receiving Tax credits and cb, because our out goings are relatively low. However, if we wanted material things, childcare etc I would have to work to fund these things. Mostly its down to personal choice as well.

Yes it is ridiculous morethan but people on here seem to think being on benefits is a life of riley compared to their £60k a year pittance hmm

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 15:50:11

Xenia never claimed that beign on benefits was the life of riley.

However, there does seem to be a lack of awareness on MN about a) just how much people on higher incomes pay in tax and b) just how much you need to pay for childcare if you are to get a higher paying job

it is laughable isn't it? and yet they say it straight faced so they presumably DO believe it.

as a single mum with a disability my total income including hb and everything else was 12kpa from which everything - rent, council tax, food, bills, clothes, nappies, etc etc etc had to come. my rent was just over 5k and my council tax just over 1k. that leaves under 5k with which to pay for all fuel and water bills (at least 1.2k per year when you're in all the time and have a baby to keep warm so now we're down to 3.8k), food, nappies, clothes, bus fares etc etc etc.

it is plain fallacy to suggest i was better off than if i'd been earning 60k a year. maybe if i'd had 5 disabled kids and my rent was extortionate it would begin to be slightly nearer but christ knows i'd rather work than raise five disabled kids on my own. i would definitely rather live in my own home than in a private rental that a landlord had me over a barrel with because he was one of the few who accepted housing benefit and would accept a single mum and kids.

seriously it's just not reality that people are talking.

williaminajetfighter Mon 21-Jan-13 15:52:47

I don't think anyone on this thread was trying to compare disposable income, per se. I think what was raised (perhaps by Xenia) is that the disposable income people have and their income after key costs does vary depending on whether they are getting benefits or not.

For instance a family living on 20k with 3 kids in a metropolitan area may be entitled to additional benefits in the form of ctc, cb, ctb and housing benefit. All these things add up and means that the family might be on par with the same family who on paper have a higher annual income but aren't entitled to as much and therefore have to pay for or pay more for housing etc. These are not actual figures, just examples. So a sahm with a husband making 60k and 3 kids, no longer entitled to CB and not getting HB and council tax benefits etc may find a lot of their money is going to housing, cost of living and their disposable income isn't much. I do think this is the case.

The fact that some families are subsidized by the government in different ways skews the way we look at income and makes it impossible to compare a salary of 20k against 30k because you're not looking at the whole picture. Look at the amount of money LEFT after housing, council tax, childcare, and food then we're comparing apples with apples. If the SAHM on 60k has £500 after paying off these key costs and the other family has £200 only then can we say that the latter family is less well off.

whether your job is high pay or low pay you have to pay for childcare ethel. unless of course you have a wife at home doing it all for free.

for example the average teacher earns 32.2k - a classroom assistant doing the same hours earns closer to 8.5k (not even looking at pension, maternity entitlement etc) - both theoretically need the same amount of childcare.

the sahm isn't on 60k - her husband is.

williaminajetfighter Mon 21-Jan-13 16:03:31

swallowedafly - don't forget childcare done by grandmothers and aunties, not just sahms. When I lived in Glasgow it seemed about 70% of people left their children with relatives. As I am from N America I didn't have a relative to rely on. There are people who hugely benefit from having relatives close by.

My DD was in full-time private childcare (I didn't know council-funded childcare exist because I couldn't believe it could!) and paid £700 per month. Pretty nice saving if grandma could do it for me. That meant mums on half the salary of mine had better disposable income. Tough.

High earners may have family to do the childcare just as a low earner might.

I have paid for childcare on a low wage. I didnt realise the cost of childcare rose in line with wages hmm

I will say it again. Its about choices.

Everyone has high housing costs, low paid workers have the same childcare costs as high earners. The only difference in these costs is area, not wages.

High earners have a choice. Low earners do not.

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 16:14:29

@swallowed, yes I agree. But my point was that if I ever got a job that paid £60K I would probably need flexible, wrap-around childcare (ie lots and lots of hours a week) rather than being able to shuffle my hours around (as you can do in some, but not all jobs) or be able to leave bang on time to pick the children up from childcare.

I think this disparity is why so few women reach the top tbh.

ethelb retail jobs are low paid and require wraparound care. Often last minute overtime (usually unpaid).

You havent yet described an issue that only presents itself to high earners.

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 16:22:20

I never said I was going to @wannabe. I never said there were situations that only presented themselves to high earners.

I seem to be making you quite angry, why?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 16:25:56


I see what you mean about the childcare but surely, then its about living within your means. I had a teaching job that paid me as little as a TA and yes I have a PGCE. There is no way I could afford childcare and there was no chance of gaining more hours. I gave up work and became a sahm as it was ludicrous working for minus money, by the time work expenses had been deducted. People tell me I'm lucky because I don't have to work not realising that if they themselves didn't run 2 cars, high mortgage, childcare expenses they too wouldn't need to work.

You arent making me angry at all.

But when you are sat in a freezing house with two kids job hunting daily and getting nowhere it starts to get a bit tiring to come on here and read about people earning so much complaining about it. Also sick of hearing we are skivers and scroungers.

I want to start my own business. I need £1500 for start up costs and theres no way I can do it because I have children to feed and a house to keep. If DP hadnt lost his job I could save and start it. But thats impossible now.

Its offensive to hear how difficult life is for someone earning £60k. They havent a fucking clue.

ethelb Mon 21-Jan-13 16:42:03

but @wannabe I never claimed that someone on £60K doesn't have more choices than someone on less.

williaminajetfighter Mon 21-Jan-13 16:43:27

wannabe the lowerpaid workers in my area have access to council-led and funded childcare which is literally half the cost of private and which I didn't and don't have access to. I don't begrudge that (although I admit I did when I was paying so much in private) but again it's silly to say that everyone pays the same amount and it's just not true that childcare costs are universal.

Yes, all the costs start out the same but some people have access to different/varying costs of childcare. For me, my big bugbear is that if you stay at 'home' within your own community then you get access to family assistance but if you decide to leave 'home' to get further on in life then you just don't have family resources to tap into.

william I used to live 2 miles from my mum. I had no family assistance with childcare. Im not sure what point you are trying to make about family childcare. IME its not very common.

ethel I addressed your point once on this thread. Once.

williaminajetfighter Mon 21-Jan-13 16:52:00

I'm not interested in a bunfight just trying to point out that things aren't always black and white.

over and out...

well of course if you move away from your family you lose family support confused

again - choices. most people i know who get family support do so through living where they don't want to be, earning less than they could by doing so and putting up with a hell of a lot of strings and obligations they wouldn't have if they lived elsewhere.

swings and roundabouts as ever.

and duh to living within your means - yes you chose to give up work and live on your husbands salary - that's not you being savvy it's you having a choice. that's not a choice available to someone whose partner doesn't earn enough or a single parent obviously.

Someone disagreeing with you does not a bunfight make.

i think some people get really defensive when called on their relative privilege and the stock response is to imply those calling it are bitter, poor people who are jealous and angry.

apologies as this is a controversial statement but i have to admit that i actually feel sorry for people who have over 60k coming in and still feel hard up and hard done by. seriously.

it's actually quite a sad reflection.

I agree swallowed.

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 17:26:51

williaminajetfighter, I live in Glasgow and earn mw and pay for any and all childcare I get

something tells me you wont miss living here andwewontmissyou

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 17:28:51

I agree with swallowed too

I might not be well off but I try not to live in a bubble and Im teaching my kids there are people better and worse off than us financially, thats just how it is.

MrsDeVere Mon 21-Jan-13 17:33:26

william really? Where do you live? Where I live everyone has access to the 15 hours of gov.funded childcare from years.

There is a scheme for 2 year funding which is available to low income families and non low income families with particular needs.

We are one of those. I would happily not be eligible.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 17:34:56


My dh earns the minimum wage, we have 3 dc albeit 2 are 18 and over but they still need feeding.
We get TC/WTC for one dd aged 9, and manage to survive. I'm sorry but it is all about choice and everybody has that same choice. Ok we may be better off if I worked but unless I was offered work which gave me a profit why on earth would I take it. I know people from all walks of life and all types of income, the one thing they have in common is they all made their own choices. Nobody holds a gun to your head.

morethan i'm confused because you seem to be agreeing with me. a) in that it's possible to survive on less 60k and b) that people make choices.

Xenia Mon 21-Jan-13 17:40:31

£60k doesn't pay many school fees and it's only £41k after tax which is not much more than the cost of a nanny or three full time nursery places plus your travel costs in London never mind housing

I suggest women seek to earn £100k plus if they can to make life easier - if you can pick high paid work you enjoy go for it.

Getting back to the thread topic - yes some people in all culutures are basically lazy. Some of those laze and live on male earnings whilst having help at home too. Some get a cushy job and spend the day polishing their nails before leaving work early. Some never work or have children and live on benefits for life. Those skivers will always exist in various forms. Then you get people who work very hard indeed. I am probably in that category, work 50 weeks a year most days, never mind 5 a week, and not even had a maternity leave in 30 years. Now I could also work those hours on the minimum wage or in higher paid work but I do work hard - my choice and gosh it certainly paid off. I am terribly lucky and the harder i work amazingly the luckier i get. Most people are in the middle - wouldn't work if they didn't have to, take a sicky when they can, sit around quite a lot at home watching television, go part time if they can get away with it, retire early if they can manage it, never do very well.

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jan-13 17:42:57

Earning a gross salary of £60k does not mean that "you have £60k coming in". Taxation and other costs of working (childcare) can eat very significantly into £60k.

And whomever expressed surprise at the idea that childcare costs increase with earnings - yes, they do. People who need to be at the beck and call of their employers, with frequent overnight travel, require 24/7 live-in childcare. This is very expensive.

unless of course you get a sah wife bonsoir - then it's free

it's hard to listen to sah wives talk as if they were hrt tax earners and everyone is lazy or feckless. you don't earn anything! yes you facilitate your partner to earn it by being his free domestic and childcare labour but you're not earning it yourself and you don't get to comment on other women's earnings and finances imo because you're not in a position to - given you don't work yourself.

trust me i could earn a fortune and would happily work very long hours if i had free domestic labour and childcare and cooking at home.

this royal we shit really irks me. what talent or merit is it that you feel you have over a woman earning a low wage or claiming benefits? that you managed to snag a man who earns well and to put up with him?

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 17:51:26

Please can we stop using the term "skivers". If you are in the outside then you have no idea why someone works part time or not at all. The term "skivers" is basically a lazy arsed stereotype being pushed by our right wing media. Yes some will never contribute by choice....but they are not as common as we are being led to believe, everyone has a story.

Bonsoir Mon 21-Jan-13 17:57:37

swallowedAFly - in your book, nobody is allowed to complain or comment - and you have very little idea of anyone's circumstances. What gives you the right to censor people's opinions?

ssd Mon 21-Jan-13 18:08:03

agree again swallowed

I'll tell you a story about something my ds said to me. I have always worked part time around dh's shifts, I've got no family to help with childcare and can't afford to pay a childminder, so I've always worked nights/weekends/when the kids are in school, cleaning/ironing/waitressing/bar work etc , basically anything that fits around dh and his shifts so one of us is at home for the kids. Where I live many woman are married to men with good jobs and dont need to work, even when all the kids are in school.

So anyway, ds and I were talking about one of his friends mums who doesnt need to work and has all the trapping of a well paid dh keeping her in the lifestyle she wants. Ds didnt know she didnt work, he asked me " but what does x do if she doesnt work?" and I said "she looks after the kids" (they are all at school), he said "but doesnt she feel guilty, you look after us too".

what about those mums, who dont need to work, come on here moaning they are losing their child benefit, spend each day the kids are in school at the gym/having coffee etc,. looking down their noses at the rest of us cleaning their houses and serving their lattes, does the skivers label not apply to them just because hubby brings in the big bucks?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 18:13:24


I totally agree with you apart from the bit where you say that some people don't have the choice.
This is a soap box of mine, where people assume that because they have hurdles to overcome and decisions to make that sometimes the decision they make is out of having no choice.
Like I said, if we had a higher mortgage (bigger house), I was determined to follow a career, perhaps a few debts then of course I may feel like I needed to work but the choice would be mine.

williaminajetfighter Mon 21-Jan-13 18:15:31

Ssd your email comment to me was unnecessarily chippy! I'm just telling my experience of where I lived which happened to be in Glasgow but being quick on the defense IS one of the traits of weegies!!grin

As for your comment about moms who married well I am pretty sure they'll not want to be judged about that probably thinking their biggest achievement and unique talent is marrying well!

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


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


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.

Bonsoir Tue 22-Jan-13 13:39:43

Fewer than a third of mothers in the UK work FT, Xenia, and that is mothers of all dependent children.

thunksheadontable Tue 22-Jan-13 13:55:28

I don't even live in the same country as my mother, who is in quite a high level job as it is travelling the length and breadth of her country and in no position to offer childcare. My MIL already takes care of two other grandchildren.

I am currently on maternity and have had OCD for the last year. Hopefully it will go away and it is just a pregnancy/postpartum thing, but either way, the hour and a half commute to my job in the NHS where there is more and more paranoia and a culture of overworking and scrutiny with scant net income after childcare doesn't seem worth the stress and the potential impact of that on my family. My oldest boy is showing signs of anxiety himself (OCD is very heritable) and my NUMBER ONE priority in this life is to support him to develop his confidence and belief in himself and the future. My parents were both workaholics and we lived in near chaos at times, there was never any housework done or routine, you never knew who you would see after school if anyone, if you were ill you stayed home alone. They had plenty of money for it to be otherwise, but they were pretending to themselves that they could have and do it all.

I think I will probably have to go back to work for some part of the week, but increasingly, much of what is outside friendship/family and paying basic bills/mortgage seems totally and utterly meaningless to me. It's all very well to aspire to have all this "lovely stuff" and "experiences" for the kids, but I can't help but think that life is very ordinary really and we are all being trapped into the notion that it must be exceptional when, let's face it, in 3 generations no one will really remember who we were even if we have got our names in some paper etc. Our time is so fleeting. Striving - striving for what exactly? Skiving from what made up nonsense job laden down with paperwork that makes people look busy and lines the pockets of the fat cats? I don't want to be either. Basic simple living is the best route forward for all of us but a capitalist society is never going to promote that.

Bonsoir Tue 22-Jan-13 14:03:16

Indeed - the chaotic domestic lives of some (not all) of my contemporaries with stellar careers always leaves me perplexed. How can you not care that your DC have no dinner, no adults to talk to when they get home and live in squalor?

merrymouse Tue 22-Jan-13 14:26:25

The mind boggles Bonsoir. Generally I have found that well paid professionals have cleaners.

meadow2 Tue 22-Jan-13 14:36:17

In rl I the only mothers I know that dont work at all are on benefits.I think the stats are 63% of mothers work in some form,so most children will have a working mum at one time or another.

ssd Tue 22-Jan-13 16:10:07

I know lots of mothers who don't work and have all the kids at school. They have the choice, that's all. Its hard enough getting a job that fits in with school times if that's what you want, most jobs like this are boring mw jobs, I should know, that's what I've got. All the mums I know who don't work wouldn't be seen dead doing a job like mine, but we need the money so I do it.

Bonsoir, I found your comment about your cousin who did some night time cleaning very telling..." Lots of people do do hard things. When one of my cousins was unemployed, his wife (RG university degree educated) did night-time cleaning so that he could carry on with his job search during the day. Nobody knew except close family."

I hate what I do, I could do so much more, but this job means I'm home whenever my kids are so I do it. And I hold my head high when anyone asks what I do, no one should be ashamed of providing for their families.

Xenia Tue 22-Jan-13 16:12:13

Looking after a baby, 1 year old and 3 year old (a combination we had at one stage) all day alone whilst maintaining a house is as hard work as any job which is why most parents seek to avoid it.

What seems to have happened is that those in the middle are finding their net pay after tax, VAT, childcare, travel and housing costs is much less than it was and no pay rises for 5 years or forced on to a 4 day week. They then see those out of work with as big a net income and all housing or a good proportion of it picked up by the state. They resent that. Those on higher incomes whether earned by their husband or wife aren't in quite the same category.

That seems to be why there is massive support in the UK for measures which appear to make those who don't work and draw benefits have less.

JakeBullet Tue 22-Jan-13 16:44:49

I have less income out of work than in work....even when housing benefit is taken into account. I was on a middle income (£34k) in work. I definitely don't have the same disposable income now despite the extra benefits I get as DS is disabled.
I am struggling to understand how middle income can make someone worse off than someone on benefits because it absolutely is NOT my experience.
Now NMW work I can see why there might be a difference. ....but surely this means the NMW needs to increase OR benefits for those on NMW nedd to increase and yet the Govt has embarked on a programme to make those people in work and on low wages worse off financially. might think they were pursuing an ideological path..........oh waithmm

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 16:48:18

Xenia that's simply not true.
The vast majority of women with kids under 3 either do not work outside the home or work part time.
A minority work full time.
I sort of agree with your point upthread wrt a one off benefit for all of £200 per week - that would be great for me!! - but I worry that the children in low income households would bear the brunt of these cuts - as they are now in fact.
I also agree about being at home with children...far and away the hardest thing I have ever done.
I really like thunks post...exactly how I feel.

it can't jake - it's just bullshit. but no matter how many of us who have actually lived on benefits and on salaries and in my case back to salary again say 'we were never better off of benefits' we just get ignored because it doesn't fit the spin machine.

xenia they wouldn't pay housing benefit for a five bed house for you when you have adults living there.

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 17:20:10

Meadow...I am a sahm and have never been on benefits.
Neither has my sister, although her dh is quite rich and she spends quite a lot of her time shopping hmm
We don't go out much, holiday in the uk and my clothes are from places like matalan and tesco but I haven't go the figure for couture anyway smile
I do voluntary work which I enjoy.
I have done many different jobs prior to having dc and wouldn't want to go back to any of them! They work, babysitting, waitressing, care work, retail work and admin and reception work in offices.
My passions are history and literacy/ idea if I could make either of them into. Job though! smile

williaminajetfighter Tue 22-Jan-13 17:37:17

I think Xenia is right that about 1/3 of moms work full-time. Best to see the stats here:

From the ONS - latest stats I could find were end 2010:
In this quarter, 66.5 per cent of mothers were in work and 67.3 per cent of women without a dependent child were in work.

Full-time working has driven the increase in the percentage of mothers in work. In 1996, 23.1 per cent of mothers worked full-time, increasing to 29.0 per cent by the final quarter of 2010. Over the period the percentage working part-time has remained stable.

However, a higher percentage of mothers work part-time, as they share their time between work and looking after the family. In the final quarter of 2010, 37.4 per cent worked part- time.

williaminajetfighter Tue 22-Jan-13 17:39:02

I can understand why only 2/3 of moms work but not sure why 33% of mums without kids don't work!! come on ladies!!

presumably a lot of those will be women who gave up work to look after their children who have now grown up and who are close to retirement age themselves. what that could be read as saying is that a lot of women don't go back to work after stopping to look after their children and that rates of sahms used to be higher. itms.

if you gave up work for 20 years to look after your children allowing your husband to develop his career and by that point have a high income and you have no work experience or financial incentive to work and aren't far off retirement anyway you probably don't go back to paid employment. that third of women could be in their late fifties having married and started familes forty years ago in 1970.

give it another 15yrs (taking us to mid 80's - 90's family starts) and the figures would look very different.

also women then were less likely to go to university. also i'm not sure how working age disability compares upon gender.

williaminajetfighter Tue 22-Jan-13 17:50:39

My post about women without children not working. I was being a bit facetious ! However I do find it really interesting that basically the same %ge of women with children versus without work. That's pretty shocking. Given those stats I am really surprised the govt doesn't do a better job of investing in affordable childcare infrastructures...

but it's not shocking at all when you consider they're probably of the baby boom generation who spent 20plus years raising kids and now don't need to work. it's not the same percentage of the same women - it will be reflecting generational differences as much as anything.

Bonsoir Tue 22-Jan-13 18:17:58

Women without children under 18 who don't work outside the home may be caring for elderly relatives or for grandchildren. Or they may be 50+, well off, and enjoying themselves. It isn't "shocking" not to work outside the home.

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 18:24:42

Sorry to shock you William!
As I said upthread, I have 2 young dc, do voluntary work and am my mothers main carer (she is due major surgery soon).
I do love the idea that sahms sit around in their pants watching homes under the hammer all day smile < I wish>
I am also a governor of my sons school and the church secretary.
I am plenty busy, thanks smile
I am 40 btw.

williaminajetfighter Tue 22-Jan-13 18:38:39

Oh, for goodness sake I said it was 'shocking' that the same %ge as women without children work as those that do. Not shocking that women don't work but shocking that the figures suggest, for instance, how much more seriously the government should take issues like childcare.

You guys are getting far too defensive. Why don't you stay on this post and just smugly agree with each other without hearing any conflicting viewpoints and read everything defensively, as if everyones posting is an affront to your choices. I work full time but obviously aren't enlightened enough to discover the meaning of life isn't working. Honestly, these type of posts can sometimes feel like an awful lot of work....

Over and out!

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 18:41:03

Why should mothers put their children into childcare if they don't want to
I wouldn't have put my kids into childcare even if it was free.
Not til 3 anyway.
I wonder how many members of the current govt and opposition use the kind of childcare they encourage the rest of us to???

Bonsoir Tue 22-Jan-13 18:41:23

The government is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to childcare. The British have very high standards when it comes to childcare - hence childcare in the UK is very expensive. Reducing quality is distasteful to parents, and subsidising expensive childcare is distasteful (impractical) for governments.

Bonsoir Tue 22-Jan-13 18:46:36

Anyway, the government's agenda seems to be to make everyone work outside the home and tax them to death while indoctrinating them with the idea that this is their moral duty to society and liberating for women hmm. Clearly, many idiots women, judging from this thread, are buying into this- --crap the idea.

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 18:47:45


meadow2 Tue 22-Jan-13 18:48:45

Badvoc thats why I clearly stated in my rl.

Badvoc Tue 22-Jan-13 18:53:29

In rl I know both...sahms who are in benefits and sahms who aren't.
I think those sahms who rely in benefits to enable them to stay at home with their kids are in for a shock sad
This givt will force them back into a low paid, menial job and take them away from their children.
Because "We're all in it together"

Jux Tue 22-Jan-13 19:41:20

Bonsoir, I believe that childcare in Sweden is of a much higher standard than her, and it is all free. I'm afraid high standard = very expensive to each family doesn't really wash.

It helps, I suppose, that Sweden dealt with their bankers rather differently than we have, so their economy is a bit healthier.

merrymouse Wed 23-Jan-13 08:03:56

I thought they had very high taxes in Sweden?

merrymouse Wed 23-Jan-13 08:12:46

If strivers v skivers is designed to stop women being SAHMs, aren't the conservatives going to alienate a large number of their core supporters? It's not very DM is it?

(Or is it only ok to be a sahm if you are the kind that has an au pair?)

ssd Wed 23-Jan-13 08:25:02

badvoc, can you explain what you meant by

"I think those sahms who rely in benefits to enable them to stay at home with their kids are in for a shock"


Bonsoir Wed 23-Jan-13 08:27:09

Jux - I don't understand your point. Swedish childcare is highly subsidised. I am not sure that British parents would find it to their taste anyway.

Xenia Wed 23-Jan-13 08:55:24

Most women get a huge amount of satisfaction from their work. They are not being idiots to work, coerced by Government forces. They are playing a full part in life and the world and want to work and like men want a balanced life of work and a family rather than being put into the sexist position of having to choose one or the other.

No one has said looking after three under 5s alone for 12 hours whilst doing the house cleaning which is what ilfe is like for many women who give up and have very little money is not hard work. They are clearly not skiving. If their husbands or civil partners etc are paying for them or they live on savings laid down over 20 years of work or inheritance then it is not the state's business how they or their partners spend their time.

The issue is that the middle earners in the UK are a bit fed up of working very hard to subsidise those who don't work very hard or don't work at all and the state has very little money either. Hence changes are being brought in to try to deal with the problem.

Work brings huge joy for many women and men, even if it is just working in a bar. Most adults want both adult and child company and most want to earn their keep. It's just a basic part of human nature. Very few are particularly happy living off male earnings or state benefits even if a disproportionate number may be on this thread.

ssd Wed 23-Jan-13 09:05:36

xenia, I just dont agree with you. Most people I know go to work to earn money, not because it gives them much satisfaction. I'd guess most workers are like this. A lucky few love their jobs, but I'd say they are in the minority in this country.

I do feel you believe the myths the government are trying to feed us about the squeezed middle. They aren't the only ones who work hard or contribute to pay taxes. Low income families are just the same.

ssd Wed 23-Jan-13 09:08:06

and before anyone starts with the "oh but low income families get loads of benefits we don't get", we are a low income family that gets £30 a week tax credits and pays all our bills/council tax (£155 a month)/mortgage etc etc

Iggly Wed 23-Jan-13 09:15:20

Xenia how would you define the squeezed middle?

Bonsoir Wed 23-Jan-13 09:24:22

Indeed - people work to earn money and it is important that the primary purpose of working should be earning to support oneself and one's family, rather than personal satisfaction/moral obligation to society/liberation (if you get those things too, all well and good, but that's not the point).

I think that that amount of brainwashing going on is appalling.

ethelb Wed 23-Jan-13 10:00:28

@jux it depends on how you define 'higher standard'. The reason a lot of the rest of europe has cheaper childcare that the state is willing to subsidise is that the child to carer ratio is much migh higher. I think it is about 10 children per carer in France for example.

And I think the problem in the UK is that families expect a higher standard of care than we can afford.

ethelb Wed 23-Jan-13 10:02:50

@ssd I always assumed low income familes were the squeezed middle. Any family on an income between £20-30K would be the squeezed middle I imagine.

mindosa Wed 23-Jan-13 10:08:56

I think many in the UK have a huge sense of welfare entitlement and its an issue because the exchequer simply cant afford it anymore.

I dont think its a particularly great standard of living on benefits but the number of people who will do this rather than work is incredible and the squeezed middle simply cant take it anymore.

In a recent thread a poster, who had several children with very challenging health issues, was pushing her husband to give up work to be a carer for their children. She wasnt considering the long term implications and seemed to think that the state would always assist her in rearing her family. That to me is a dangerous position.

Bonsoir thats nonsense about people not working for personal satisfaction.
Yes the primary reason for working is the salary but this is not the only reason many work.
Some work whilst not needing to financially but they feel that they need work in their lives for stimulation, satisfaction etc.

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 10:13:19

Because this govt will force them into low paid menial jobs by taking away their benefits ssd.
It will force them into putting their dc into sub standard childcare.
It's just wrong.

ethelb Wed 23-Jan-13 10:13:45

@bonsoir plenty of people do work for personal satisfaction

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 10:16:07

I have always worked for money, not personal satisfaction or growth.
And I think the vast majority of people are the same.

Bonsoir Wed 23-Jan-13 10:16:12

People don't need or deserve "protecting" from low paid, low status work, Badvoc, by giving them welfare payments. We cannot afford that sort of luxury.

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 10:16:57

ESP part time workers, the majority of whom are women...

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 10:18:33

I don't agree with forcing people to put their dc into poor childcare to earn minimum wage.
What about the kids?
What about the next generation?

mindosa Wed 23-Jan-13 10:21:00

Badvoc People have always had to do menial jobs when they are not qualified for other better paid and less menial jobs.

Motherhood is not a career choice and women should not think that by having children the state will subsidise them. Pre school, I believe that there should be some kind of benefit but after that it needs to be re-thought.

Sure if they have a partner who can support them, then staying home is an option but if you dont then you have to work and yes probably have childcare that is not absolutely ideal.

My mother worked in a department store on a low wage for 30 years rather than rely on the state when my father left. No doubt its tough on everyone but isnt it our duty to support our families

ethelb Wed 23-Jan-13 10:21:10

@badvoc who said anything about 'poor childcare'? Standards are pretty high in this country (which is why it is so expensive).

Bonsoir Wed 23-Jan-13 10:21:19

There are definitely issues surrounding the type of support that society provides to families of young children.

mindosa Wed 23-Jan-13 10:25:00

Bonsoir What type of support do you think they should be getting?

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 10:25:33

I dont agree Ethelb.
I know of some awful nurseries locally to me and I live in a small village.
Full of 16 year olds who will not be there for more than 12 months and who are doing childcare because they didn't get the grades for anything else.
No thanks.
We are better than the US in that regard, where only 9% of childcare is classed as good.

Bonsoir Wed 23-Jan-13 10:33:14

mindosa - I think that questions merits its own thread. But, to be succinct, I think that for profit nursery chains are not the way forward for most families. Childcare, like school, needs significant state funding if it is to be effective for the majority.

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 10:43:11

Agree bonsoir.
Same with any care environment IMO.

merrymouse Wed 23-Jan-13 10:54:13

I did a bit of googling and apparently people in Sweden pay 50-60% tax once they earn £32K and VAT is 25%.

Xenia Wed 23-Jan-13 11:03:35

Many women do enjoy their work even if it is fairly low paid. They like the chatting to colleagues at the factory or customers in the shop or bank.

I certainly accept that most people if they won £20m whether male or female would stop work, but given most of us need to support ourselves and there is the motivation of earnings there there is also satisfaction in many jobs. Also the routine helps people too. Many an older person gets depressed when work ceases. Same as if you come out of the army or prison. They think retirement or housewifeship will be some nirvana of personal happiness and then they realise the reality is loss of purpose and depression. Anyway that is again a separate topic.

As for whether the state wants workers to think there are more skivers than there are, for the state's ends and encourages a skiver/strivers view point I don't agree. I think it is the middle earners themselves who have got heartily fed up of those who don't have a work ethic and think they can rely on state top ups whilst they dabble in working a few hours a week because the state (ie full time hard working tax payers many of them female) pick up the tab so that Julie at home working 2 hours a day has time to get her nails done as full time work would be far far too hard and stressful for her precious little self.

I agree with that last post Xenia. When I apply for jobs I am certainly not doing it for financial benefit. Being a SAHM is mind numbingly dull to me and I will probably be working at a loss.

However, the problem is that "skiver" has become a sweeping generalisation of ALL SAHMs/single parents/benefit claimants.

It is nowhere near as widespread as the government is trying to make out.

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 11:32:39

The govt is trying to be divisive and it's working.
I am looked down on because I am a sahm.
There is an assumption that I am never busy so can do things at the drop of a hat or that if I do have plans, they aren't important.
I have had to cut back on my church work as its been getting a bit ridiculous...the vicar seems to think I am his PA!
I have 2 young dc. My dh works away sometimes - indeed is going away again next week.
My parents are growing increasingly frail.
My life is certainly not glamourous smile but it is worthwhile and I enjoy it, generally smile

JakeBullet Wed 23-Jan-13 11:58:33

.....and they also demonise anyone not working full time or needing to claim tax credits to top up their minimum wage.

Bonsoir Wed 23-Jan-13 11:59:13

I agree that the assumption that SAHMs have endless swathes of free time to do other people's chores is very tiresome, Badvoc. So patronising.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 23-Jan-13 12:03:14


I totally agree that the term skiver is used to incorporate too many people.
I think sahp get a raw deal here sometimes. I know that many parents see it as mind numbingly dull, but others like me find it very rewarding and are far from skivers. I work hard to support my family and at present teach my dd at home. Ok, I know its not for everybody, but I have a very fullfilling life and have opportunities to follow my own hobbies and interests as well. I would admit that my position may have greater opportunity to skive, sit on the sofa, watch tv. That doesn't mean to say that I or others do this.

Yes Jake. Just earn more. hmm

morethan I hope I didnt offend you. I do realise that a lot of SAHPs dont find it mind numbingly dumb.

Thing is, if only those wealthy enough to afford to SAH or childcare had children then who would be the workforce of the future?

We need people to have children.

*dull. Ofgs blush

morethanpotatoprints Wed 23-Jan-13 12:33:02


On the contrary, you see it from both sides.
Some people presume too much about sahp's.
I love the assumption that we are all getting our nails done, cleaning all day and have no life, lol.

I do get FTC/ WTC and cb (the middle as dh works). However, when our much older 2 dc were small there was no support (Tax credits), but I still did not work for an employer as I found it more rewarding at home. I guess it will be the same again if they stop FTC.

All I say is live and let live, and I think it is a shame that when women worked so hard to be able to have choices that it is ourselves who put each others choices down.

Wannabe. Hope you find a job soon.

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 12:35:12

But some days it is dull, wannabe.
And some days it isn't.
Just like paid work really smile
Take's snowing - again - here ATM. Just picked up ds2 from pre school but ds1 is staying behind for sports club so dh is picking him up later.
So ds2 and I can either stay indoors watching room on the broom and colouring smile or we can go outside and make snow angels/snowball fight.
Already been to check on my mother earlier so don't need to do that.
Need to get dinner and then I am off out to a church council meeting @ 7pm.
Won't be back til 9pm at least. Dh will do bath and bed tonight.
Add to that washing, tidying, dishes etc - it keeps me busy smile
Should have had. B of gov meeting at school @4pm too but that's been cancelled thank goodness.
Was supposed to be going to see my friend in London for the day in Friday but its been cancelled due to weather sad
Might force dh into take me to ikea instead...
I know how to party! smile

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 12:36:53

Bonsoir...yes it is.
I will help anybody if I can, but it's the assumption that "oh give that crappy job to badvoc, she doesn't have anything better to do!" That really gets to me.
Some weeks there just aren't enough days....

Thanks morethan.

I know that Badvoc and I would never expect life to be exciting everyday. Work would be just as boring. But I need to feel useful and have my brain stretched. I just dont get that at home. All my life I hoped for children. I loved children. Im actually quite jealous of SAHMs who enjoy it and sometimes think there must be something wrong with me because I dont.

Im just happier in work. I cant explain it.

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 13:14:33

Well there isnt anything wrong with you.
I know personally i dont want to do jobs i have done previously.
Been there done that etc.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 23-Jan-13 13:48:50


I didn't used to enjoy it as much when our situation was much different. We were really skint, stuck out in the stix and oldest were little. It was almost like a life sentence at times. When we moved from East Anglia to a large town in Greater Manchester my life improved 100% and we have never looked back. I rarely have a bad day now but I'm fortunate that the move was such a positive one for us all. Now dd is H.ed life is quite busy, but in the main enjoyable.

Xenia Wed 23-Jan-13 14:57:46

Most women with children work and most women are like wanna and men for that matter.

this is all getting a bit polarised and black and white now.

i work because i enjoy my job - sure some days i'd rather stay home and piddle around on the internet but actually once i'm up and dressed and on my way i'm happy. i stayed at home with my son for 5 years. i was on and off depressed throughout that time which is what stopped me going back to work really though chicken and egg applies obviously and it may have been the at home, no sense of wider purpose, not enough interaction and activity with adults etc that contributed to the depression.

now i do work part time but can assure those saying otherwise that it's not two hours a day so i can get my nails done. i'm a single parent and i drop son at school and go straight to work, leave work and go straight to pick him up for four days a week and one day a week he is picked up by my parents so i can get more hours crammed in to enable that. in reality full time work would be easier in many ways if i could afford the childcare because instead of doing the working day and the school runs etc i could just drop him with a childminder on the way to work and pick him up at the end of the day knowing he'd been fed and all i had to do was the nice bath, chill, bedtime story end of things.

i don't think sahm's have it easy at all - i actually find it easier to be at work than at home now. however i do not think that sahms should be judging other women's work and benefits decisions. there just isn't that much merit in your husband earning enough money for you not to work and then looking down on others who aren't in that situation re: low income families or single mums. it's all a bit vicarious judging other people by standards you don't actually personally adhere to.

i hate when these discussions get polarised into 'most women love working' or 'most women love staying at home and only work for money' stuff. it's not one is worthy the other must be unworthy. that's as simplistic and stupid as 'skivers vs strivers'. for me personally the women i know who stay at home or work part time would rather be working in fulfilling careers and getting a break from the whole mum/home/constantness - especially those whose children are 3 or older. that's me and the kind of women i associate with - clearly if you're a different kind of woman you associate with different kinds of women and therefore experience something different.

must because we know more people who feel x doesn't mean that the majority of people feel x it just means we hang out with people who feel x because they're our 'kind' of people.

ssd Wed 23-Jan-13 16:20:35

badvoc, how are benefits being taken away to force sahm's into work?

have I missed something?

Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 16:37:12

The universal credit will mean less benefits for most LPs and low income families.
I ask many of the govt or opposition use the sort of childcare they expect us to??

Thats probably part of it morethan.

Perhaps if everything wasnt budgeted to the penny and we werent miles from anywhere it would be different. If DP was working I could afford to be a SAHM comfortably.

I still think I would need to work part time or as I mentioned before start a small business. As it is we are both applying for any job and once one of us is successful we will work round it.

Anyway, thats off topic. What it all comes down to is that we need to do what is best for our families and our lives, not just work because its a moral duty. Bringing up children is just as important to society and should never be devalued.

i cannot for the life of me judge what impact universal credit will have on me as a low wage single parent because i can't seem to find out anything about it in terms of real figures.

if it was the £200pw that has been mentioned i'd be better off personally because despite what the likes of '' told me before i took this job it turns out i'm entitled to no help with rent or council tax and only get the wtc. i can't for the life of me work out how giving a single mum £200 and a hrt earner with a sahp providing free childcare and domestic labour (as well presumably as giving his sahp £200) makes any sense at all. i don't understand how we can afford to give benefits to people with high earnings. but maybe i'm missing something which wouldn't be surprising given how abstract the notion of UC seems to be.

ssd Wed 23-Jan-13 16:59:22

badvoc, I'm still confused, we are a low income family who receive tax credits, do you know how we'll be affected? I cant find any info on it anywhere either, just random stuff, no figures.

there appear to be no figures ssd. it's one of the things i find most shocking about it - the public can't be consulted or have a chance to respond without the actual facts. this starts rolling out in a few months time yet we have no information on what it actually amounts to therefore no right to respond.

i suspect as a low income worker and single parent with one child i might end up better off. reading between the lines i'm assuming it's people who have lots of kids and relied on really high wtc and/or ctc who may lose out. i may be wrong but you'd think that'd be the tory agenda - to discourage poor people having more children given they see it as a pay per pop system we have currently.

imo we shouldn't be 'guessing' though - if they're rolling this out in a few months they know exactly what the figures are and they should be sharing that info with us. public servants was my understanding of what they were meant to be.

i would really appreciate it if someone could explain to me why we have no figures. is there nothing to say they have to tell us? can they literally do what they like secretly and let us have no say?

also want to state that despite being very much not a tory fan i am suspending judgement on universal credit because i cannot judge something that has no details. it might be a marvelous idea for all i know because i don't know anything. none of really do.

i am judging the fact we have no facts though. that seems disrespectful to say the least given how this will effect every single one of us, is huge and radical change to the fundamentals of our welfare state and yet we are left entirely in the dark whilst it is executed by a government that didn't even get a majority in an election.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 23-Jan-13 17:21:40

Hi, ssd.

In answer to your question above and obviously depending on your circumstances your entitlement and amount doesn't seem to change much, unless your situation does and that is the same under this system. I did an online comparison and we aren't losing anything at all. I was surprised as there were several on here saying that sahp's on TC were going to lose alot.

Tortington Wed 23-Jan-13 17:24:13

society is structured thus: if you are born into wealth, you shall control public policy and countries will be run based on your and your close privileged friends interests. one will introduce workfare programmes to highlight skivers

grrr you skiving bastards <shakes fists> [more grrr] you skiving bastards should now go and work a real days work and i the tax payer can pay through the nose to the owner of tesco or some such Cameron friend /supporter/contributor/business interest whom this inevitably benefits.

then as a sun reader with an IQ of -3 i can say "yeah dat Cameron, nearly as ok as that farrage blokey innit, he makes them bloody workshy cunts get a job - now all he has to do is sort out the pikeys and the blacks."

and i scream and scream - your paying for his friends to get richer you thick striver if a job exists - give them a fucking job - its a job, they dont just turn up and do shit all - its a real job - pay them.

the economy is broken, it was broken by rich untouchable bankers. who still keep their bonuses.

the bankers were allowed to get away with it by the Labour party, under the leadership of Tory Blair. There wasn't enough control of the banking industry

The Tories at this time, did not want control either - lets make this clear.

but Labour, was in charge when shit hit the fan and they fucked it up. not that they has any idea who the working man was by that point, Tory Blair was too busy sending them to die in an illegal war to aid his Monetary legacy - businesses, tour curcuit, books... He killed them for oil. for rich businessmen friends, american links and interests

the people who run the free world, are a small circle of people - they know each other, or know someone who knows them.

There used to be ideology, it did exist - now it only exists in third world countries and on a bookshelf. I think the ember died when the lib dems put a nappy on and shit themselves to death.

self interest has replaced ideology and thats sad, ideology was a whimsy that really could come true, really. not now. i digress.

Labour or Tory. Rich pricks, shaping policy for self interest.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 23-Jan-13 17:25:48

Sorry ssd forgot to say, I used a link from here but it was a while ago now. I can't even remember where it was. Is there a search for past threads here that may help. Another poster provided the link. How reliable it will be in the long term though, is anybodies guess.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 23-Jan-13 17:31:14

Bravo Custy.

The real ones to blame for screwing the economy get off scott free whilst the most vulnerable take 25% of the cuts 'Cos it's all their fault'.


Badvoc Wed 23-Jan-13 17:52:05

Hear hear custy.
Abso fucking lutely!

Jux Wed 23-Jan-13 18:34:58

Exactly Custy.

Your post needs to be widely disseminated.

thunksheadontable Wed 23-Jan-13 20:00:16

I used to enjoy working when it meant I actually did work, but increasingly in many jobs, "work" is just about paper pushing. I used to see clients for hours each day, build relationships, have banter and also be empathetic and caring.. now I mainly design protocols and pathways as to how other people who are being paid naff all should take more responsibility for care of these patients... it is like being down the rabbit hole sometimes.

So I am supposed to want to "strive" to do more of this bullshit and in so doing leave my kids in a nursery all day long, 7 until 6 so that I can pretend to do a job I'm not really doing at all, paid for by the taxpayer, while being told that the care I provide is rubbish (and knowing that it is) with no power to do anything about it?

Bonsoir Wed 23-Jan-13 20:40:03

Indeed, thunksheadontable - ending up not doing anything that you feel is purposeful with your day and not seeing your DC either. And probably not making much profit either, if you have childcare to pay for. There is no point to that lifestyle.

ssd Wed 23-Jan-13 21:56:19

excellent post custy

and thanks for answering me girls, I hope my tc dont change, but with no info available we'll have to wait and see!

if anyone does know where you can allegedly see how you'd fare under UC i'd love to see a link. i have googled and googled and can find no figures.

Badvoc Thu 24-Jan-13 09:28:06

That's the problem and the worry one knows yet.
The govt are being very cagey about it (

mindosa Thu 24-Jan-13 10:30:17

Thunk It sounds time for a career change. There are jobs out there that allow you the stimulation of work whilst still being around for your family. You have to be creative about finding them.
It is possible to do both but you do have to really dig and work hard to find something that can work for you and your family.

Before anyone jumps in, yes I am referring to the relatively qualified. I am aware that those on lower wages do not tend to have the luxury of choice.

StormyBrid Thu 24-Jan-13 12:14:54

Link to the calculator I think morethan is referring to. Quite what figures it uses are anybody's guess, as none have yet been revealed. Personally I find that deeply suspicious.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 12:45:26

I have checked the link but not sure if this is the same one I did. I couldn't remember if it asked for area on the one I did. I could be wrong though. I too would treat it with a fair amount of suspicion as nothing has really been announced yet.
I know there were several threads on here when news broke so suppose they would be in news, maybe work and childcare,.

Xenia Thu 24-Jan-13 12:58:11

It says I would get £24,000 a year !! for doing absolutely nothing. Benefits are so so generous. It is no incentive to work at all.

AmberLeaf Thu 24-Jan-13 13:00:40

Id love to see you live for a year or two on benefits Xenia.

JakeBullet Thu 24-Jan-13 13:04:52

£24k including housing benefit Xenia. And I am here to tell you tgat the calculator is not that accurate either. I dont get the amount it says Id get.
Benefits are not generous need to try living on them before making such a sweeping statement.

Xenia Thu 24-Jan-13 13:06:35

I know it includes rent paid but it is ridiculously generous. No wonder the nation is bankrupt.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Jan-13 13:10:25

The calculator that I did was spot on considering our circumstances stay the same. The amount was exactly the same and it said that we would be aprox £800 and something worse off per year if I woh, which there is absolutely no chance of. grin
I'm not sure about any other benefits though only WTC/FTC/CB.

No benefits are not generous I know many families struggling on welfare benefits. I think it disgusting that anyone would consider differently.

ethelb Thu 24-Jan-13 13:20:03


24k is a gross income of £32k is you are PAYE.

Most people who work full time in the UK are on a lot less than that.

Are you really suggesting that living on £24K net would be a hardship.

duchesse Thu 24-Jan-13 13:28:39

Xenia that includes housing costs etc... So most people would be living on half that -at most. When I see how quickly money flies out of this house despite us being really very careful I don't know how anybody would with a family manage on £12000/year. I suppose there are some things that are free when you are unemployed (like dentistry, school meals etc...). But there are all sorts of things that people wouldn't be able to afford on that small amount of money. So it should already be a fairly incentivisingly low income to encourage people back into work, if there are jobs that people can and are able to get.

ethelb Thu 24-Jan-13 13:51:52

@duchess but plenty of families do survive on £12K after rent and taxes per year. To suggest otherwise is a bit offensive tbh.

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 13:59:25

what circumstance does one get 24k (inc. housing costs)

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 14:00:49

i mean suddenly there is this 24k figure - upon what it this based?

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 14:01:17

i think the offense is to subsist on 12k a year

If someone is able to claim 24k due to housing costs then the problem doesnt lie with the benefit system, but with the cost of rent in this country and the in-it-for-profit landlords taking the proverbial. Oh and the difficulties surrounding getting a mortgage which can all be traced back to the bankers.

If we dont want the welfare bill to be so high why arent we taking the money out of rich landlords pockets instead of out of the mouths of the poor?

AmberLeaf Thu 24-Jan-13 14:24:32

Are you really suggesting that living on £24K net would be a hardship


Im suggesting that those who think benefits are so so generous try it for themselves before they say things like that.

The vast majority of benefit claimants get no where near £24k per year in benefits. Nothing like it at all. That seems to be the figure that is spouted though.

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 14:30:56

well said wannabe

ethelb Thu 24-Jan-13 15:18:09

Xenia came up with the 24K figure, whoever asked earlier.

Xenia Thu 24-Jan-13 15:25:51

I put in single mother, 2 single (my situation), no job and living here in not particularly expensive outer (not inner) London. SO surely the state ought to say well chances of gettnig a job are tiny so let us move you from there back up to where you came from (a much cheaper area) and save a lot of money or say I have to share a bed room with the children as an incentive to force me to look for work or put us in a hostel with 12 beds a room or something that is much less comfortable than minimum wage workers might afford.

Also the new benefits cap which is not yet in force from April will have £500 a week £26,000 (which is the equivalent of £35,000 a year if you are working and pay tax) sa the upper limit for housing benefit and benefits although I think not including child benefit

Xenia, do you realise you are suggesting workhouses in that post?

Is your hatred of the poor really that strong?

that linked calculator shows that i'd be about £250 worse off a month under universal credit. i work part time, am single and have one child and live in relatively cheap accommodation. all i receive is wtc and ctc currently and would be £250 worse off!?!? i wouldn't be able to afford to work basically. let's hope that calculator is wrong.

and weirdly that calculator shows that the child element shrinks massively when you start working which is odd - does a child become cheaper because you're at work? i thought the child element was supposed to be applicable to all unless they earned over a set amount?

just did it again and added £150 to my rent - re: moving out of my cheap housing association house and into a private rental. works out in such a way that there is no incentive for living in cheap housing - i'd be no worse off moving into a more expensive property.

same thing has happened with housing benefit by starting work though - i've lost any entitlement despite being told i'd get it because of how low my income is but if i move to a more expensive property they'd pay the difference in rent.

it does seem weird that there is zero incentive for finding cheaper accommodation.

xenia i suspect you are adding in the adults who live with you as your 'children' which will be skewering the figures - you can't count over 18's. if you only include your actual 'children' a) you'd lose the child element for them and b) your house would be 'underoccupied' and you'd get far less housing element.

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 15:44:26

the bedroom tax does come into force Xenia, and that means that people will have to downsize and share rooms. So your idea is already being put into practice.

the HB will only cover entitlement, so if you are entitled by the govt rules to have a 2 bed flat or house for which HB will be paid, however - you decide to stay in your three bedroomed house ( beucase its easier to look after your disabled daughter whose disability will not be taken into consideration for the calculation unless very severe) then as the tenant you will be expected to pay for the 'spare' bedroom. which is 14% of the rent out of your own money.

looking at it the figures really aren't accurate - nor do they take into account council tax. that calculator appears to be codswallop thankfully.

Xenia Thu 24-Jan-13 15:51:49

I just keyed in single non working mother and 2 teenagers and got £24,000 which is under the benefit cap so probably about right. It just seems quite generous - £35,000 o f before taxed income for doing absolutely nothing all day. I was assuming was for a 2 bed flat. I didn't key in that I owned a property as I was doing an experiment as single mother with 2 children who does not work.

ssd Thu 24-Jan-13 17:06:44

that calculator says we're £708 better off in work??

as if!!

but that doesn't make sense xenia - i can't see how you got that given i got such a paltry amount when i did it - i doubt it more than doubles when you have an extra child.

no i don't believe it i'm afraid xenia - i've even tried putting 3 kids and a four bedroom house and i still get nowhere near the figure 24k.

bear in mind if you've put your actual housing costs in and in fact there are more bedrooms than required for you and your two teens you wouldn't get the amount stated - it shows me a warning for that if i try to put in a three bed house. if you've put 'mortgage' and therefore selected no no. of bedrooms you'll be getting a vastly inaccurate result.

JakeBullet Thu 24-Jan-13 17:29:25

In any case even if you were working you might well get benefits yo top up a meagre wage. Its not as simple as saying "Id get 24k for not working".

I am not working and get nothing like £24k

The calculator also over estimated tax credits etc. I didn't find it accurate at all.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Thu 24-Jan-13 18:16:01

To get the 24k figure you put in £1200 -ish rent per month.

Also, as a single mum of teenagers, you wouldn't be able to 'do nothing all day', you'd be expected to be looking for a job or have your benefits cut. Unless they drastically change the system from now. Which seems unlikely.

Jux Thu 24-Jan-13 18:31:08

Xenia, thw country's bankrupt because high flyong bankers were playing unsustainable, silly games with money, and because people like Cameron and because of unfair tax loopholes and because Starbuck et al have been shifty.

Not because of over-generous benefits.

Bonsoir Thu 24-Jan-13 18:36:43

Jux - that's not fair. Gordon Brown deliberately doled out cash that he didn't have in order to make >50% of the electorate dependent on hand-outs (benefits, tax credits etc), hoping that would win him the next election.

duchesse Thu 24-Jan-13 18:50:38

Custardo there are plenty of employed people down here in Devon who exist on less than that. If you're a single farm labourer I'd be surprised if you hauled in more than £10,000 a year, probably less. Most jobs are advertised at minimum wage, and many jobs are seasonal. So loads of people live on that even if they're in work. The net result is that there a very thriving and successful barter economy.

if they were 'dependent' that would imply they couldn't survive without them.

surely that would be the fault of low incomes rather than topping up the low income?

AmberLeaf Thu 24-Jan-13 19:56:46

Surprised at gordon brown being blamed for tax credits?!

Tortington Thu 24-Jan-13 21:22:25


JakeBullet Thu 24-Jan-13 21:28:56

On minimum wage though a farm labourer woukd be eligible for benefits. Housing and council tax support, probably income support as well so theu woukd not be living on £10k a woukd be £10k a year plus any benefits they were eligible for.

on ten k they wouldn't be eligible for housing benefit or council tax support - as i've just found out to my detriment.

JakeBullet Thu 24-Jan-13 22:08:15

What NOTHING.....even privately renting? shock

Must go onto the calculator and sed what it comes up with for me. Never found it that accurate tbh.

i am privately renting and earning less than that believe it or not (part time and pro rata salary due to being term time only position) and despite being told i would be i've just had my decision back saying i'm not entitled to any housing benefit or council tax benefit.

i'm as shocked as you are and a bit daunted! i get ctc and wtc and that is it. no longer entitled to school dinners obviously and have added on costs of a work wardrobe, travel etc and will sometimes need childcare going forward.

housing benefit and council benefit has been changed more radically than is being let on. the publicised bit is that people who are not working at all will have to pay 10% in many areas - the bit that isn't coming through and i hadn't realised till it hit me is how much it will hit those on low incomes or those returning to work for the first time. i got a 4 week run on of HB then straight to nothing even though had said i'd get around £18pw HB when i checked i could afford to take the job.

ho hum. i really do not know where these people who get the life of larry on benefits or working part time and rolling in the top ups live!

however i'm doing good things at work - have been there two months and have already successfully written a bid for funding to pay for stuff i was going to do anyway, made lots of headway on links with the community and faith groups and sourced lots of voluntary support and services for the college and i can only hope and pray i can build my role up and beyond it's original remit and land on a better pay scale. if not well then i'm poor but productive i guess - my job is real in that i actually make things happen that are positive for society and i'm really independent and self governed. i doubt i'd feel so peaceful about being financially screwed if it was so that tescos could have cheap labour and i could be micromanaged by some dogsbody eejit half my age.

utterly confused now - been on again and it says i'm entitled to £35 per week in HB confused and some ctb.

nothing is making sense.

JakeBullet Fri 25-Jan-13 07:57:14

This is what I mean about its accuracy. Xenia feels from her input that she would get £24k a year for not working. The reality is that she would be unlikely to get anything like that amount, especially as some benefits cancel each other out. For example Income Support is calculated into mine but it doesnt remove the £58 Carers Allowance I it shows an extra amount on top of the CA which I dont get as its deducted directly from my income support....I look much better off from their cslculations. Xenia take note before chucking in that high powered job lovegrin .

yeah on that calculator i look at least £45pw better off than i actually am. have just re-examined my housing benefit award letter and according to the rates of disregard, amount required to live on, percentage of excess income included etc etc they're absolutely right - i'm not entitled to a penny. so please don't think these calculators are accurate - i wish it was because £45 pw towards my rent and council tax would be bloody helpful right now grin

now according to the spin of universal credit it is exactly people like me who would be better off because the benefit removal taper rate would mean i didn't lose as much when i went back to work whereas at present the taper rate is dramatic for people in my situation.

in reality the universal credit calculator and the gov pdf doc i found on UC and the graphs there in show that i would actually be getting even less than i'm currently getting under.

so if it doesn't benefit a single mother going back to paid employment and doing 'the right thing' who does it benefit? presumably those on higher incomes than me who previously didn't qualify for tax credits?

and before anyone says i should work more hours - this is the job there was and when i work out the hourly rate it is actually pretty good - i'd have to work twice as many hours in a minimum wage job to earn this much and i'd then incur masses of childcare costs that would be offset by the government on top of the same income top up needed so i'd actually cost the taxpayer more if i worked in a job with more hours.

ssd Fri 25-Jan-13 10:51:27

this just shows how crap UC will be if thats the case swallowed

its ok people saying work more, I've been begging for more hours but they arent available, the work isnt there anymore, most people would love more hours if they could actually do them

Xenia Fri 25-Jan-13 13:52:12

I presume the £24k for an idle Xenia and 2 teenagers is mostly housing benefit and I suppose if you don't work the state pays you some money for your children too.

So why don't the Devon poor move to areas where wages are higher, camp on sofas of friends ( we are using the example of Devon man with no children here).

expatinscotland Fri 25-Jan-13 13:55:16

Gees, Xenia, maybe the collective Devon poor don't know anyone in these mythical lands of plentiful work with decent wages, or don't know anyone who has a spare couch going free, perhaps that's where you workhouse ideal comes in?

What an apt thread on a day when it's been announced we are likely facing triple-dip recession.

I just cannot understand how people, usually high earning, seemingly intelligent people, cannot make the link between the number of jobs being a fraction of the number of unemployed.

Why do benefit claimants automatically become "idle" when clearly the economy has left them with no other option?

Bonsoir Fri 25-Jan-13 14:07:02

There is also an issue of mismatch of skills with employment opportunities. When industries die, highly-skilled workers are left with no employment options. This is not their fault (though not a reason for state subsidy of obsolete industry either).

Xenia Fri 25-Jan-13 14:57:12

I've never suggested it is easy to get jobs at the moment. I didn't understand why they were thinking of special arrangements for foreign fruit pickers this week due to a massive shortage why we cannot rustle them up in the UK but other than that there are few areas of the country with many jobs but even so a lot of Spaniards and Greek have come to London recently to get work and do find it easier than at home. It is not impossible.

I am sure everyone on the thread woudl agree that some areas of the country have few jobs and are poverty stricken and that a lot of us have had to move hundreds of miles leaving family behind to find work (as have I).

and those areas have the very high rents you don't want to subsidise xenia.

apart from which i don't think the whole country moving to the south east is really that feasible.

JakeBullet Fri 25-Jan-13 15:12:06

I am laughing about the unreality of "an idle Xenia", lets be honest would NEVER be idle rich or poor.grin

expatinscotland Fri 25-Jan-13 15:20:41

So the solution is for everyone to pile into London? Okay.

Hasnt a breakdown of extended families been blamed for some of Britains problems today?

People already have moved to where the jobs were. It doesnt work. Life isnt all about work work work.

Xenia Fri 25-Jan-13 16:08:53

Most people want to remain caught in inertia sighing and saying there is nothing to be done to improve their lot, which is why the very few of us prepared to get on a bike do incredibly well. Long may many remain of the idle bent as it benefits those of us who aren't.

Anyway let us hope universal credit improves things although I have no faith that it will. It is still complicated. There are lots of add ons for different circumstances.

There is some good in the benefits claimants having to pay 10% of council tax however rather than thinking they get council services for nothing and they are often the heaviest users of council services.

AmberLeaf Fri 25-Jan-13 16:10:12

It has been explained in both detailed and simple terms to Xenia and others so many times on similar threads.

They don't want to understand as that may force them to alter their static mindset.

Willful ignorance.

expatinscotland Fri 25-Jan-13 16:14:16

Yes, get on your bike, screw everyone else, screw your country, screw your own people, as long as it makes for Jack being alright, that's the main thing.

Xenia Fri 25-Jan-13 16:23:33

I suspect I am not amongst a majority of people sharing my views on this thread....

No, the way it works is you get on your bike on an individual basis to do your best for your family and then you do well and pay a lot of tax and that keeps those whose bike journeys did not succeed who therefore owe the fact they are able to eat to the fact that enough women are prepared to get on that bike and work very hard to give back more than half of what they earn to help the poor. In other words the getting on of the bike is a charitable act in a sense as it helps those less fortunate or not up for the ride. If we all sat there in hopeless slough of despond saying oh woe is me there is no way out no income would be generated to pay state benefits at all.

NC78 Fri 25-Jan-13 16:25:19


JakeBullet Fri 25-Jan-13 16:31:02

Xenia I agree to a point but lets not forget that some might never be able to get on that bike in the first place.

I was fortunate enough to be able to anf for 30 years wworked and paid taxes. I am hugely grateful that the State is here to support me now I cannot work for a period of time.That does not mean I want to tug ny forelock at every passing hivher rate tax payer....not unless they are giving thanks their tax bill is not higher because I care for and fund extras for ny disabled child. It works both ways.

AmberLeaf Fri 25-Jan-13 16:31:11

I seriously doubt you've ever had to 'get on your bike' or done anything remotely related to struggling in your life Xenia.

You don't seem to grasp how being priveliged makes a difference?

Xenia, it must be amazing to be you. Maybe if everyone cut ties with their loved ones and got over themselves for being disabled the economy would be thriving. hmm

Xenia Fri 25-Jan-13 17:23:20

i am certainly very lucky and most of all for being mentally and physically healthy and happy. However I have also worked hard full time for 30 years without a break longer than 2 weeks including maternity leaves and I work 50 weeks a year. Of course I don't need benefits claimants to be kissing my feet in gratitude but I do think the example of women who have moved miles from family to find work and then who do well are a great example for other women, particularly women on low incomes to show what is possible. We can be a very negative society and defeatist at times and that is a shame.

As for whether I have struggled it's all relative. I have had my share of difficulties over various kinds like most people. As I've said on business threads I have had a lot of failures and luckily some things succeed. Most don't but I seem to be like an india rubber ball,look on the bright side and always bounce back.

Anyway if people on benefits want to have a pity fest I will leave them to indulge. It might be more beneficial to look on a daily basis at what enterprise you can start and work every day on those business plans and a heap more fun. Loko at what you can do not what you can't do. The glass is half full.

Badvoc Fri 25-Jan-13 17:30:16

Indeed you are Xenia.

FanFuckingTastic Fri 25-Jan-13 17:42:16

I'm on my bike. Pedalling for my children, ensuring they get the best care, all whilst trying to stay fit enough to continue being their carer, because when you are disabled yourself, people are watching to make sure you are actually able to care for them properly, and if you aren't there is a chance of losing them. I am so busy playing ball trying to please agencies and get safe housing and get diagnosis and keep hyper children entertained and catch up on sleep and fill out all their forms and appeal until I get the right decision and do all my accounts for the council for my carer. Don't think I would find time anywhere to pull myself together and bounce back with a business plan.

Perhaps when children are brought up in relative poverty they do develop a glass half full outlook.

Its very easy for priviledged children to grow up thinking the world is their oyster because it usually is.

Jux Fri 25-Jan-13 17:43:25

I just tried that calculator, it says we would be about 400 quid better off in work. Oh goody. That presupposes that I were not too disabled to work, and that my dh wasn't my carer and therefore was free to work. So, whoopdidoo! riches are nearly ours hmm

Today I have applied for two jobs. The only ones I have qualifications and experience for. If the last hundred applications are anything to go by, I wont even get an interview!

wordfactory Fri 25-Jan-13 19:21:59

The strivers versus skivers narrative has notbeen invented by this government. It was alive and kicking under the last one.

Whilst doorstep canvassing, that's all you heard from Labour and Conservative voters alike. The poor, be they working or not were absolutely not in harmony.

This government are just tapping into a deep seated feeling in the UK.

JakeBullet Fri 25-Jan-13 19:59:29

They are whipping up hatred though word which is what worries me.

All the bollocks about neighbours curtains being drawn etc "sleeping off a life on benefits while the tax payer goes to work". Yes a minority may be like that but most are not and these comments encourage us to "judge" our neighbours. This is why you see posts on MN moaning about the neighbour up the road supposedly disabled with a brand new car...not knowing ANYTHING about said neighbour apart from the fact he has a disabled sticker in the car. Everyone is frightened that someone is getting something they themselves are not.

I am on curtains may be drawn because:

I forgot to pull them (am up by 6am most days)
I am sleeping in as DS was up a lot in the night.

What I am not doing is sleeping off some mythical golden hedonistic life because I haven't the time, the energy or the money despite what Gideon would have the masses believe.

And while I can ride a bike and did ride a bike for 30 years as a midwife wink I didn't get the huge salary which people like Xenia can choice and we will always need midwives. I do resent though being judged by anyone now I have to's so bad I feel guilty handing over my proof card for free prescriptions. The sales lady doesn't know I am a veteran of 30 years employment, to her I am yet another benefits claimant sucking the land dry sad because people like Gideon said so.

Jux Fri 25-Jan-13 20:50:35

My shutters are closed because it keeps the warmth in; because atm I can barely move my arm so can't reach to open them; because I haven't got around to opening them; because I'm happy with them closed for the moment.

Mind you, a not-very-good-friend assumes they're closed because dh and I are snoring away all morning. Presumably she also assumes dd has got up and gone off to school without any goodbye other than our snores. Silly woman.

Xenia Fri 25-Jan-13 21:52:26

It is certainly worth if people have time to write on mumsnet and are wealthy enough to have a computer and afford the internet which it appears those on benefits can afford.... their also trying to make money by typing on line. There are a lot of businesses you can run just by typing at home and on line. I do encourage those on benefits to try every day to set aside even just 30 minutes to generate self employed business and hopefully the new universal credit will make it easier to start a business as I think there is a 12 months start up period during which benefits may not be affected and you could earn small sums whilst you get started.

JakeBullet Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:56

Some of us are tied into contracts any case I don't have much free time ....or a laptop/computer come to that. I am typing on a mobile.

I think everyone needs access to the Internet these days. I could use the library but tbh my broadband costs just £12 a month...not horrendous....and DS's Dad pays for it.

Point me to a genuine "typing online" business please xenia.

Oh and give over with going on about benefit claimants having internet. Its said all the time on here. FFS. angry Why shouldnt they have internet if they budget their money to afford it? They arent second class citizens.

When you lose your job contracts dont just stop needing paid.

Im the same as Jake, typing on my phone. Pay for broadband because its cheaper than mobile web. No laptop.

JakeBullet Fri 25-Jan-13 22:56:41

The families I help as a volunteer parent supporter often need help with basic stuff like reading, writing and Maths. Far more than getting them online to run a business I try and encourage them to attend literacy or numeracy classes....I will even go with them if getting out is an issue.

Nothing wrong with your idea for those able Xenia, lots of ads come up locally with stuff being sold by private individuals with small businesses...some individuals need help with more basic problems first sad.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 25-Jan-13 23:04:08

Haven't read all the posts, but I work with the long term unemployed. The reality that a lot of the benefit bashers seem to miss is that unfortunately there are a significant proportion of claimants who will NEVER be able to sustain long term employment. Yes, many can do menial jobs for short periods of time, but the issue is they can't sustain them. Literacy and numeracy issues are a huge part of this, but that's only part of the problem. Mental health issues, addictions, chaotic home lives, the cost of childcare, poor coping mechanisms, the list goes on. Some simply are a lost cause and just need help to be able to maintain a tenancy, never mind make it to work. God knows how they will cope when the universal credit comes in.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 25-Jan-13 23:17:04

Have just read Xenias comment about hoping universal credit improves things- it absolutely won't. It will simply lead to huge rent arrears, housing associations being unable to borrow money to build new properties and evictions.

ssd Fri 25-Jan-13 23:33:44

when the new uc comes in and the housing benefit is paid to the claimant, what happens if the claimant spends part of it on something else....will they be made homeless?

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 25-Jan-13 23:38:46

Depends how much arrears they run up, but potentially, yes. They will then be evicted and have to move in to the private rental sector where land lords may be less tolerant.

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 08:09:59

I spoke to a Jobcentreplus advisor about this and his opinion was that it had all been tried before....didn't work then and won't work now.

I have mixed views on this....partly I feel people have to have some responsibility and getting an amount of money in to pay the rent which is then used for exactly that purpose is good. When I earned a salary this is exactly what I did and is what most people who work have to do...either with or without a housing benefit top up.
However, I also think there are plenty of folk who cannot and will not cope with this because they cannot for mental health or learning disability issues or because they live utterly chaotic lifestyles. If you have doorstep lenders breathing down your neck and a largish sum in the bank it might be all too easy to buy some time from the doorstep lenders and think "I'll catch up with the rent next month".

I predict chaos to be honest.

It won't affect the moment I get full housing benefit which is paid direct to the housing association. When things change over I will just ensure it goes to the HA the same day it hits my bank...end of.

jake will you continue to get full HB from april? most authorities will no longer be paying it in full for anyone

i laughed a lot at the mythical work that can be done at home typing on the internet. 'work from home', 'supplement your income' etc sites, adverts and schemes are notorious for being run by utter con merchants exploiting the many, many people who would love to believe that they could do so.

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 11:16:14

Apparently as I am in social housing yes it will. I will have to pay a contribution to council tax but that's fine with's not me and DS here so I will find the 10% of whatever it is they ask will be harder though. DS has a rreferral to CAMHS for support with anxiety and depression (common in ASD) and is still waiting a year on. I am funding some private sessions for him with a local charity which offers children's counselling.....fact is that the council tax will be just another bill.....oh well.

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 11:16:50

just me and DS....

MrsDeVere Sat 26-Jan-13 11:18:03

My friend has a severely disabled child. She has a manual chair, power chair plus standing frames and seating systems. She is awaiting an adaptation to allow her to get her child upstairs. Presently she carries the child everywhere but the child is not a baby anymore. (deliberately not mentioning gender)

She lives in a nice enough 3 bedroom home. Usual two medium rooms and a box room.
From April she will have to pay an extra 14% rent because she has an extra room. This will apply even if she has a through lift going through the box room (rendering it unusable as a bedroom).

She has been told she should move to a two bedroom. Aside from the space issue lets us consider:

How many two bed, adapted properties are available?
Child goes to special school
Child has services (such as they are) set up in area
Child's medical needs are met in area.

How do you find a two bedroom, adapted property in a small geographical area that will allow this family to met it's child's needs?

The options are to move to wherever a bungalow comes up (gold dust) but move away from school and support services with a vulnerable child.
Move to a two bedroom and camp out in whatever reception space is available (lets be honest, two bedrooms rarely have spacious living/dining areas) and strip wash the child on the floor.

Try and find extra money out of a static income to pay extra rent on the present property.

I could tell you many stories like this one. Does anyone care though? They are focusing on the wives of terrorists living in mansions hmm

FanFuckingTastic Sat 26-Jan-13 15:42:31

My internet connection is something I pay for as an aide to living, it is there when I need to order food, or other things, to avoid the need to traipse painfully around shops, and in the event that I cannot get out, like recently, it is more than essential. I can access my bank, pay bills, find public transport and actually use websites to plan to a tee my outings in such a way that they use up the least energy and leave me feeling the best I can. I've researched the benefits I am entitled to ONLINE, I found the charities that support us ONLINE, I found the grants for essential equipment ONLINE, I found the support for when we are in a crisis ONLINE, homelessness advice ONLINE, disability discrimination facts so I could appeal a council housing decision ONLINE. Everything I know that gets me by has been found mostly online, or at least the connection to the charity or advice giving service online.

The EU and UN state that internet access should be a human right []

It really annoys me that people see us poor folk on the internet and believe that we are being extravagant or somehow mis-prioritising our benefit money (send us all to hell, how dare we spend our money on something like that!).

Certain technologies have improved my life no end and I actually use my disability money to fund them, like my tablet which I can take notes on as quickly as I could writing them onto paper, because I can't hold a pen and write. SKY TV because I have autistic children who freak out and meltdown if they have to do anything at all and miss what they were watching. Now I can pause things, rewind them, store them, get them from a library, and it only cost me £30 for the first year because I used my internet to find special offers and money back deals, and thus used money I set aside for the children anyway to make it so.

If people want to think I get too much, then maybe we should look at the things I don't get.

Sleep. My daughter barely sleeps, and if I let myself sleep too deeply she does dangerous things, I could go into the lists of things, but it's depressing.

Pain free existence, every moment of the day I hurt, some days less than others, but this is me for the rest of my life, and if I want some comfort in the form of internet to chat to my friends or make my life easier I don't see the problems.

Peace of mind. I never never relax. I have to worry about whether my daughter will come home from school having hurt other children, hidden or run away. I have to sleep with one eye open because she has no sense of danger and thinks playing with a hot iron would be fun. I have to stop her hurting her brother, breaking stuff, running away, licking the sockets, and trying to open and climb outside windows on the second floor.

There's more, but lucky me, part of my condition (one of them anyway) is fogginess of thinking. Which means for now that's all I can remember. And also really doesn't help with keeping on top of all the possible forms of danger my daughter might find and keeping her safe, I spend a lot of time coaxing her down from high places and taking pictures of the bruises or bitemarks she's given to anyone she see's on a regular basis.

PeneloPeePitstop Sat 26-Jan-13 16:19:00

People are aware that broadband can be had for £9.50 a mon, free with certain phone packages, yes?

As said before sometimes Internet connection is required to food shop, get prescriptions filled, do all your banking and even school communications require it nowadays.

When you are unable to leave the house through disability, or by having to care for someone with a disability, Internet is essential.

expatinscotland Sat 26-Jan-13 16:21:28

Many homework assignments require internet usage as well.

NC78 Sat 26-Jan-13 16:27:58

no one should have to justify having the internet in this day and age.

Plus the government wants people to claim benefits online and monitor claimants job applications via universal jobsmatch.

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 16:43:49

My car finally died thr death today..... it was a bargain a year ago at £250 from eBay. Thankfully I have friends as DS just cannot cope with public transport unless its the middle of the day and empty. My friends will do the school run for me.

Xenia I respect your views but have you read the posts immediately prior to this one as they are heartbreaking. Nobody is saying "woe is me" but they ARE saying "this is hard".

I am relieved to have Internet access because at the very least I can do my shopping online, sell an expensive camera I won in a competition and with the scrap value for my current car will have hopefully £500 for a "new" car which I hope will be a tad more reliable than the last one smile .

not to mention that unemployed people will actually find the nine pound a month for internet cheaper than buying newspapers, getting buses to the job centre everyday etc to job search.

or the fact that buying clothes and other essentials (yes even people on benefits need to buy clothes for their children) is often cheaper than high street shops.

or that, as others have said, children are expected to have internet access for educational purposes - my son is five and has already been sent home log in details for an online maths resource.

the internet can be used to find the cheapest utility providers and indeed having an 'online' account can result in cheaper charges for many things. fuel bills can be monitored by providing monthy meter readings.

oh and then there's that decadent bit of actually having some social interaction for say carers who never get to leave the house, or the severely disabled. how very dare they have such luxuries.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 26-Jan-13 18:41:55

There was a gov initiative until recently that provided laptops for low income families on certain benefits for children to do homework.
It was obviously seen to be important enough then. Ok they didn't pay for internet access but it made a huge difference to many families I know.
Another benefit to dc that was cut.
We didn't qualify, but I am so sorry for those now who either do without or worse still have to complete homework at school. Sometimes this makes getting home more difficult and can create unsafe situations.

Xenia Sat 26-Jan-13 18:47:01

Yes, I wasn't really asking you all to justify the time you spend on the internet or the fact benefits are so generous you can afford internet and food.

On earning money by writing, there is nothing special about me but I manage to do that so I am just suggesting people have a go as it is a way to earn money without being able to move much other than to type and without leaving the house. Be positive.

On different generations' positions this radio 4 programme is really interesting. I couldn't find part 1.

It is comparing children born in 1950s or 40s and 1990s - what you now expect to have - holidays whereas their parents had none, electronics, meals out but that some of the things the parents found - jobs albeit on low paid - are harder to be had. Mind you there was also that awful time in the early 80s when a whole generation couldn't find much work so I suppose it's always cyclical.
One person made the point that we are becoming more continental, spanish in a sense in that responsiblity for children is moving from state to parents, childre are living at home into their 30s and the trend may also mean care in old age moves from the state to those children too. Perhaps it's just a return to the norm across the planet - that your family cares for you and state will have no money to help much at all and you'll have to tolerate your awful mother or dreadful father whether you like it or not and/or keep in with your children.

expatinscotland Sat 26-Jan-13 18:54:56

Surprise, surprise! We have moved forward in time and no longer live in the past! And, amazingly, peoples' thinking has changed as well.

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 19:19:26

Not had a holiday for three years...couldn't afford one even when I was in work so definitely can't now.
I don't do meals out except on very rare occasions and even then it's just an Indian.

These things are nice but I honestly don't understand how anyone on benefits manages them...they are not a necessity. Now Internet access........that IS a necessity these days.

I have never been on holiday. Meh. Not fussed. If we could afford to I would save for years and take my girls to florida. But I wouldnt do without for it.

Saying that thats the way things were has no bearing on how things are now or how they should be.

Should we go back to slavery or imprisoning gay people? No. We are supposed to be moving forward and progressing.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 26-Jan-13 19:42:31


I see where you are coming from, but any comparison on this subject just finds that society has changed. It really doesn't tell us anything more, except people have different expectations now. We used to send children up chimneys and there was no education provision, but its a good thing that society changed.
It is ironic that you mention old age and the care of the elderly falling on their children. I read a report from a professor of Sociology (can't remember University) a few years ago that suggested that state care/private care would be the only care. He suggested that children who had attended institutions throughout their childhood would treat their elderly parents in the same way, as they had not experienced care from their parents from birth. Not saying I agree or otherwise, but certainly food for thought.

AmberLeaf Sat 26-Jan-13 20:15:21

On earning money by writing, there is nothing special about me but I manage to do that so I am just suggesting people have a go as it is a way to earn money without being able to move much other than to type and without leaving the house. Be positive

How many books have you had published Xenia?

Do you think just anyone can earn money by writing?

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 20:24:16

Xenia, I actually think there IS something special about you. You are healthy, intelligent and had a strong sense of who you were and what you wanted at a young age. I don't know what your background is as a child but I am assuming you didn't starve, go cold or hungry.

Contrast that with a child growing up in poverty. How likely are they to have a strong desire to succeed, study, prove themselves if they are hungry, have a chaotic home life etc.

You are special.....your intelligence and drive makes you special. I doubt I have anything like your IQ and nor do many others. That's why you are able to write, that's why you have books published and that's why you have a high powered and well paid job and good luck to you because you deserve it. It's am worth being aware that others also work hard too though, either in employment or as parents or Carers. And some of them need benefits to live and participate in might think these benefits are generous. I think they meet the basics and no more....and I n luxe Internet access in those "basics".

Xenia Sat 26-Jan-13 22:09:56

People on this thread write better than I do and I wrote 30 books or something like that (not that there is a huge amount of money in books by the way but it is just something most people can do who can sit at a computer and type on mumsnet just about whatever their circumstances which is the only reason I brought it up).

JB, often it is the other way round though.. the children of the rich often don't work and turn to drugs for satisfaction in life. The children of the poor are often the new entrepreneurs because they are so so sure they do not want to live in poverty for life. Childhood deprivation can be the force some need to do well in life a force that those in the middle don't seem to have.

Anyway I was only trying to encourage people. Women in Britain (more than men) don't want solutions or routes out of poverty. They want to sit around moaning with friends who keep saying poor you how awful. They don't actually want to do anything which involves hours of hard work and might fail. They'd rather sit around having a moan whilst the state keeps them in internet connections and food.

i'm not sure who that's directed at. the people who've mainly posted are either working, like myself, carers and/or disabled themselves, or desperately looking for work.

how these qualify as sitting around moaning i'm not sure. if the disabled, carers and unemployed who are desperate for work don't merit keeping in food by the state i'm not sure who you think does xenia confused

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 22:18:43

Xenia..."Internet connections and food" - behave yourself grin.

AmberLeaf Sat 26-Jan-13 22:23:17

For an educated and seemingly intelligent person Xenia, you can come across as incredibly thick at times.

AmberLeaf Sat 26-Jan-13 22:28:30

Of all the threads you have contributed to on subjects such as this, many people have detailed things that are obstacles to a route out of poverty and things that have put them into poverty.

You still fail to grasp that though? you don't seem to get that most people are not as priveliged as you.

ssd Sat 26-Jan-13 22:31:35

Actually I don't think there is anything special about Xenia... sorry Xenia, that sounds harsh doesn't it! I think Xenia has got where she is by putting her needs first and working at her job a lot. That may be asperational to a lot of folk, it doesn't do a lot for me. I don't admire her more because she works 50 weeks a year or takes 2 weeks maternity leave. I do admire the way she wholeheartedly belives in what she does and what she says, many people could do with some of her self esteem.

But if Xenia is special then we all are, I might not have written books but I work hard and love my children and try to be a good mum to them, thats my idea of special.

And BTW this isnt a personnel attack on Xenia, although it does come across as that, it was just my thoughts after reading JakeBullets post above. I know posting this won't hurt Xenia in the slightest, she's read worse on here than my ramblings!

FanFuckingTastic Sat 26-Jan-13 23:32:45

Perhaps it's just a return to the norm across the planet - that your family cares for you and state will have no money to help much at all and you'll have to tolerate your awful mother or dreadful father whether you like it or not and/or keep in with your children.

I for one fucking hope not, my father abused me sexually and my mother emotionally, the day I managed to leave home with the help of a job and some benefits was a happy, happy day.

Things just aren't simple Xenia, reason I need all these benefits and the like is because I don't have family to rely on, and I don't have friends to help (my best friend has cerebral palsy, I wouldn't even ask for help she has it so hard) because I was an army child and anyone I ever knew growing up has scattered to the wind. All my neighbours do is shout at me about my kids noise levels disturbing their sleep (or let their horrid dog in my back garden to almost kill my rabbit).

No one cares about me and my kids, except me, and you know when we were threatened with homelessness just before Christmas, I went into the job centre and told the man I needed a job and he refused to help on the grounds that I wasn't fit to work, or job seek. The government is the only place I have to turn so I can live, and I don't do it because I expect it, or believe I am entitled. I do it because I am desperate to keep my two children who I love more than life itself. To then feel like I need to defend why I have the internet but haven't turned it into a thriving business so I can make my own money, it's frustrating. I am barely coping with my life the way it is, I am focusing on improvements, therapies, drugs, counselling, letting my carer lighten the load so I can rest.

Actually trying to work at this point in my life would be the stupidest thing I could consider doing. When all the focus should be on being well, getting the household stable, routine for the children, diagnosis and treatment, therapies etc. How sustainable would that be? Maybe I could get a job, but when I am sick a month or two later, then again after that, and the same on and off all year, how long will that job last?

The ambition to work is there. I am human under my disability, and I want to achieve as much as anyone. In fact I have a long term plan to eventually achieve what I want, and I am playing a long game, which focuses on doing things in the right stages so that when it comes to it, I'll be able to do a damned good job and make a load of money and gain status maybe as a worthy human being.

Xenia Sun 27-Jan-13 08:04:37

ssd, I am not hurt at all. It's fine. It's not true I always put my needs first. If that were so I'd just have married someone well off and sat around living off male earnings and I wouldn't have had children. I love them and if we count up the hours looking after them over the last 28 years it will be more than just about any housewife of 2 on mumsnet. I have always aimed to spend time with them every day, rushed home from work when they were babies, early etc, set up my own business so I control my time, do quite a lot of unpaid stuff I don't write about. So I don't particularly characterise my life as putting myself first.

In fact you could say people like I am are the ones who ensure that those who genuinely cannot work like some on the thread or need the state to top them up with tax credits or housing benefits or disability rights are working for. Half of what many earners earn, indeed a lot more if you add in national insurance and VAT and stamp duties is keeping those people in need. So the fact at before 8am on a Sunday I am at my desk about to do a load of work whilst children sleep upstairs is yes 50% so I can feed myk children without state benefits but the other half of that money will go back into the benefits budget and ensure that those who are not working can spend Sunday at home rather than pushing leaflets through local doors asking for work or foraging in pret a manger bins for lunch.

If I wok from say 7 - 1 today which at the very least I will do then half of that at least will be going to those on the thread and OAPs and the state schools and the like. Now quite a lot of people up against 52% and indeed more now child benefit has gone entirely so marginal tax rates can be 60 or 70% in the UK have started to think okay the over time is not worth it as the state takes so much of what i will earn. I do know people who once tax got to 50% (it is still 50% by the way, not yet reduced) decided that was it - if most of what you earn is confiscated then you don't bother to do the over time. The fewer people who work the worse the economy is and the less there is available to the less well off.

Right back to work.

JakeBullet Sun 27-Jan-13 09:02:34

Good morning Xeniasmile

"Pret a manger bins" please.....I prefer M&S myself grin .

I waa up early too....woke up at 5am...pretty normal here. I absolutely DO appreciate people who are able to contribute to the economy assisting me while I cannot work.

The thing is that when I was working I paid taxes too. I wasn't quite in the higher rate area but I wasn't far off it in salary. I never considered the tax as to me it was just deducted and my consideration was "how much left to live on". Fact is that the higher rate tax payer still has an enormous amount to live on and more left over in many cases unless their outgoings are excessive. I don't have a great deal of time for those who say "bugger it, I won't bother working then" as they are just as bad as the "I can't be bothered to work" type of benefit claimant. Neither are contributing ...although the former HR tax payer presumably has enough to retire on and not give a stuff.

It comes down to how much does a family realistically need. I have an acquaintance who moans about tax yet he is a millionaire with a lavish lifestyle. He really doesnt miss or need the tax he pays but he csnt see it. Yes he has and still does work hard but he also had an awful lot of lucky breaks come his way too....bring in the right place at the right time for example.

Anyway just my thoughts. ...

jake my aunt used to sit and moan about the unfairness of inheritance tax and how on earth was she going to avoid her children paying it and in the next breath demand my dad came and sorted her garden out because she couldn't possibly afford to pay for a gardener grin some people are just.... well.

how much money does anyone realistically need?

i think i'd be up for the kind of set up where a doctor doesn't get paid that much more than a nurse who doesn't get paid that much more than a porter and everyone pays 50% of tax and gets free decent health care and education, free childcare, good pensions and affordable, secure rented housing. is it sweden that is like that? pretty sure they are some of the happiest people in the world according to studies.

people don't need to earn 5 times as much as someone else. and reality is we need nurses as much as we need doctors, teachers as much advertising executives etc etc. lower the pay gap, free education for those who want to be doctors or lawyers but no massively inflated income at the end of it just getting to do the job they wanted and have the status that comes with it and the state paid to train them so they don't need vast salaries to compensate them etc.

Xenia Sun 27-Jan-13 11:36:00

Yes, some people are never happy whatever their circumstances - happiness is about the balance of chemicals in your brain , seratonin, dopamine and the like. Getting that pay rise or better house is not the route to it at all. Nor is jealousy of others or feeling sorry for yourself,. Even if doctors and nurses were paid the same you would still get some people unhappy because they are always as miserable as sin or jealous of Janice because she's blonde and slim or her husband is better than yours and others who are content.

Ensuring we were all born as identical clones on the same wage is unlikely to make the nation happier. Obviously I could just go on threads in effect about how to spend your wealth, which holidays or posh shoes are best or comparing nannies or island owners but I think it's good to talk to all kinds of people and hopefully some people will manage if they want to to found that business and do well.

Lovely news in the papers today - female entrepreneurs in the UK now earn more than male ones.

not sure how we leapt to 'identical clones on the same wage'. i'm just saying the gradient between a cleaner's full time wage and the director of the business she cleans doesn't need to be off the charts steep. i also don't believe companies should make multi millions in profit whilst paying their staff so little they have to be topped up by the state.

i do think there is a huge spectrum between absolute capitalism and communism - the implications that any criticism of the former means one wants to see a communist regime a bit tiresome.

good news for female entrepreneurs.

Xenia Sun 27-Jan-13 12:22:40

Bad English from me - identical clones - you are a clone not an identical clone as they are all identical if cloned.

I'd solve the state subsidy issue by removing it and then wages would reach their market level which is how things used to operate before workers within my working life time started to get tax credits. It was a Labour party device to ensure benefits claimants were made of most of the working population to suck them into socialism and dependence and it failed.

If you want to ensure no one in a company is paid more than say 5 times anyone else (which seems to be the multiple those recommending that issue go for) that is pretty hard to achieve. Those won want to be the female entrepreneurs or male for that matter just leave if they cannot advance within the company and they make their own money through their own sole company which may not have any workers in it at all so no multiple issues arise.

You could have maximum pay rates for employees. I suppose you could have a prohibitive tax - we used to have an upper 99% rate in the UK. I read an interview with the tubular bells music man recently. He paid about 88% of what he earned from the music to the state under the 1970s tax rates. Obviously, he left the country but not before just about all the profit from that was in effect confiscated by a socialist state who wanted to redistribute to the poor.

imo if you want private sector wages to go up you create lots of decent paying public sector jobs - instead we've seen the opposite - cut public sector jobs, slash their pensions and working conditions so that private sector doesn't have to compete and can pay as shite as they like.

likewise if you want private rents to go down you build lots of cheap affordable rent housing and the private market needs to compete with that.

honestly the weird logic of this country freaks me - high unemployment, lack of work unskilled labourers and a need for employment to save money on benefits and generate tax revenue? don't put bin collections down to fortnightly! put them up to twice a week. increase your street cleaners, your road maintenance etc to create jobs.

NC78 Sun 27-Jan-13 13:35:35

'I'd solve the state subsidy issue by removing it and then wages would reach their market level which is how things used to operate before workers within my working life time started to get tax credits. '

Yeah, because there was no such thing as poverty before the welfare state... oh wait...

My gran was telling me that my grandad, who was in work, used to claim some sort of top up to do with rent. Must have been in the sixties or seventies. There have been top ups for poorer families for quite a while, going by various different names.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 27-Jan-13 13:47:48

Swallowed, while your proposal sounds lovely in theory, in reality it would be unworkable. For example, no one is saying that nurses aren't to be respected, but to pay them the same or close to a top brain surgeon is ludicrous. I believe you should be paid inline with the difficulty or skill level of the job. Obviously there will be those who may be paid more than they should be (before anyone mentions bankers wink), but on the whole, salary should reflect the level of the job.

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 27-Jan-13 13:55:41

An overhaul has been long overdue.

IS for single parents means they get at least five years of not working whereas those that work get 12 months maternity so this needs to be addressed to put all mums on the same footing rather than penalise those that provide for their children.

Tax credits were the worse things ever introduced, how many people quite their jobds, reduced their hours etc knowing the state would pick up the tab. On here lots will advocate having more children as tax credits will pick up the costs.

We need to ensure people only have children they can afford, if they want to e a SAHP or not use childcare then them alone will have to meet that cost. Luxuries should not be paid for by the state.

We should have a safety net for short term between jobs and for the disabled that cannot work in any form. Assistance with childcare could be done via the tax system like the voucher system or make it tax deductible.

Yes, salary should reflect level of job. At the bottom as well as the top.

NMW is just unacceptable for jobs that require qualifications. For example, care assistants or nursery workers.

The gap is too wide. It needs closing.

ssd Sun 27-Jan-13 14:34:20

xenia, I was wrong saying you put yourself first, sorry.

Jux Sun 27-Jan-13 14:36:35

I'm a fan of everyone earning exactly the same. If a job needs doing, it needs doing. If it doesn't need doing then there's no job. Tea lady or CEO, if the job exists it's because someone thinks they need that job to be done.

I expect that makes me a communist or something.

JakeBullet Sun 27-Jan-13 16:40:01

NMW is too credits were introduced to reflect this. NMW does not allow people to work without claiming benefits.

Id like to see evidence that people gave up work or reduced hours based on tax credits....they are not THAT good. All they do is top up a meagre income.

i actually don't believe a gp's job is harder than that of a nurse in busy hospital ward - so by that logic she deserves higher pay than the gp who does two 2hr surgeries a day mostly saying, 'ah it's a virus', writing a prescription for anti depressants or handing over a phone number to book your appointment with a specialist.

i reckon if every full time job paid between 25k and 50k that would be spectrum enough. and if education was free then you wouldn't have the 'but they go to uni for 7 years' argument. getting to study for 7 years and to learn to be a doctor is actually a privilege in my book.

i'm not saying identical pay but a much smaller scale of difference. then surprise surprise house prices would have to come down as would rents and you wouldn't have the overpopulation of some areas of the country and the barreness of others.

people would pick the jobs that they actually wanted to do and had a gift for - if that's delivering the post and chatting to old ladies about the weather then fair play to them - if it's brain surgery then great. i want my post delivered far more frequently than i need a brain surgeon to be honest. likewise i'm grateful for people who collect the bins, people who take care of old people with dementia in a dignified way, people who are willing to spend all day shut in a classroom with 30 kids who can't even tie their own shoelaces and people who clean in hospitals and give a genuine smile and service to those who are stuck on a ward going out of their mind.

i don't buy this the money should go to the cleverest, most ambitious, most power hungry or just plain lucky enough to have parents who funded their elite education and networking years people. it doesn't work. we've tried it for a long long time. it serves very, very few of us and ignores that fact that we need all work to be respected and appreciated.

i'm bored of the reign of the psychopaths. i like nice people.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 27-Jan-13 17:45:29


I am so sorry to disagree with you as I whole heartedly have agreed with all your points until now.

However, I don't work and dh earns min wage (paid out of his business). As a family we get more tax credit with me not working, taking into consideration costs associated with working. Namely running second car, tax, (I pay NI), work clothes.

They do only top up a meagre income though - I agree there and we are lucky that outgoings are minimal now. But all the same I would earn less working, and made the decision not to work and claim tax credits.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 27-Jan-13 17:54:20

I don't want to offend anyone, but I don't believe a GPs job is easier than a nurses on a busy ward- it may not be as frantic, but it will require other skills. GPs are also responsible for the running of the practice so require business management skills, plus a wide ranging medical knowledge. They also have to be bright enough to pass the same medical exams as all other medics to qualify.

Xenia Sun 27-Jan-13 17:56:27

We've tried it. The upper rate of tax at 99% in the 70s. Even my father a fairly modestly paid NHS consultant employed only by the state was paying 63% upper tax rate on the top of his earnings in the 1970s when we had strieks, power cuts, the three day week inflation up 60% over 3 years. It was not a great time. In fact on his savings he paid another 15%. The aim was as ssd and others want to ensure there was no difference between rich and poor - doctor taxed so hard that the pay starts to reach the level of the nurse once tax is taken off. It didn't really work unfortunately.

China tried it in the cultural revolution - doctors paid the same as dust bin men. I can obviously appreciate the moral view which thinks it is only right and surely it's what people try in communes - you pool everything and share it out and because of human nature (we fight each other tooth and claw and love to get to the top of that greasy pole on the whole) it always ends in squabbles nad failures. Even the Israeli kibbutzim today does not follow those same original principles of sharing and each keep their money.

And if anyone decided to take even more than the 50% of what I earn which goes to feed the poor at present I would simply move. I can work anywhere where there is an internet connection, even my island. I like England but it is not so great that I would stay here if tax rates were 60 - 70% which is the only way to equalise pay as limiting highest paid employee in a company to say double lowest or 5x which is what level those interested in this talk about simply means people go off and work for themselves as I do so it doesn't work too well. So your only route if tax.

France has a wealth tax - even though the income was earned they take a percentage of your savings, value of your house etc away from you every day so you get poorer and poorer. Then you could have 100% inheritance tax and 100% gift tax too so people give nothing to family including spouse (we certainly don't want in this socialist utopia women getting a penny from men, heaven forfend, even on death, greedly little rapacious leeches some of them can - let them earn their own money in our model utopia) during life or in death.

not in the main actually. there are very many people not at all motivated by fighting 'tooth and claw' and trying to get up a greasy pole. very, very, very many.

and again not saying all paid the same - but a smaller scale of difference and everyone paying the same tax.

scarlet intelligence is a blessing, a lucky break and one that most intelligent people want to exercise to feel fulfilled. it doesn't magically merit earning a fortune. and needing a few business skills - funnily enough i bet lots of nurses need business skills too if they're running a ward. and yes frantic - frantic matters. would you rather be using your natural given, or easily developed 'skills' or working your arse off digging ditches?

there are blessings enough to being clever, gifted, able to access work that you find rewarding and meaningful - i'd rather have a doctor who did their job because they cared about people, enjoyed using their knowledge, diagnostic skills and accumin to help people than one who did it because it was a secure job that paid well and let you retire at an early age.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 27-Jan-13 20:09:44


If people only had children they could afford, they wouldn't need help with childcare.
Tax credits have been taken by people to support their childcare provision. in the form of the childcare element.

JakeBullet Mon 28-Jan-13 07:06:31

I have to say that when DS was younger and his differences less obvious that tax credits were minimal for me...the basic. As he got older and more challenging I was able to reduce my hours ^but could stay in work^ because tax credits made it more financially worthwhile to be IN work. Only when DS got to his current age in the last year have I had to make the decision between being a rather poor(unreliable) and overtired employee and making the decision to become a full time Carer. It was not an easy decision and I chewed it over for 18 months before deciding it was the only way forward. It was still a leap of faith, I had no idea how it would work in practice until I did it.

Per month I am around £200 worse off out of work (including housing benefit into that "income") but knew this as I spoke to benefits advisors long before making the actual decision. I didn't face any sanctions for giving up my job because even the DWP could see I was in a difficult situation.

I am nearly a year out of work now and about to start volunteering as a parent supporter with an education charity which works to get adults into some form of education or training and focuses on those who might not have done this for a long time, it will be one morning a week and is my route back into work which I have missed. It will still be some time before I can go back to work but I know I will, I have always worked and see a future where I can work once again.

If wages were better (as in people earned enough to live on and support a family) we would not need tax credits. Fact is though they are not better and we DO need tax credits (or UC or whatever other name they choose to give them).

yes we do need it - and taking it away would not improve salaries. that only works in a situation where you have a surplus of jobs and labour is in demand ergo it's a workers market. much as cutting housing benefit only works to drive down rent if you have a surplus of housing, tenants are in demand ergo it's a tenants market.

in a situation where you have a shortage of work and housing there is no force to drive up wages and drive down rents. you simply find the person who will do the job at that price (even if you have to source them from overseas which is easy now we're in the eu) or the person who will pay that price to buy or rent the house.

the government should be creating jobs rather than fannying around with ideological moves and social engineering. instead they have cut jobs, cut workers benefits and are making it even easier for employers to pay cheap (or even get free labour from 'workfare').

i'd like the state to employ as many people as possible and to gain decent public services and tax revenue from doing so. let the profit be for the state (both in terms of money made and taxes generated and services given that improve everyone's lot). i'm lost as to why the state being a leading employer is problematic for people unless they're the people who benefit from services being sold off cheap to them for them to run with shit wages and big profits.

i'm guessing none of us here are profiting from this kind of strategy whereas most of us would profit from a state that creates jobs and leads the way in workers benefits and conditions.

does that actually make me a socialist or something? because it just seems like common sense. i'd definitely have taken over those banks that we bailed out and would be taking their profits into the public purse to pay off the deficit and recoup what had been paid out. is that not the logical thing to do?

i feel like tories want to shake their heads indulgently at me like i'm some naive child when i talk common sense. what is it that i'm missing? you don't give a business that has fucked up zillions of pounds and say oh pay me back some day when you can - you take it over and get back your money and run it efficiently so it works for you (us).

JakeBullet Mon 28-Jan-13 07:59:25

I would love to be in a world whete we didn't need it. I agree though that cutting tax credits will not improve wages...only make the poor still poorer.

My tac credit per month is £450 which is high because DS is disabled. If DS were not disabled it would be much much less. I am grateful to have it because it allows me NOT to work at the moment and to care for DS full time and rest if and when I need to.

I agree we DO need tax credits at the moment.

SAF, what I think you are suggesting is a more even distribution of wealth. I would say that could be explored to see if it could be done in a way which avoids the pitfalls others on the thread have talked of.

Its always the people who dont have to rely on tax credits who think they are a bad idea.

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 10:09:13

swallowed and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The last thing I want is the state to employ more people. I needs to employ many fewer and make changes which enable business to thrive. It should probably stop interfering in interest rates too. 0.5% base rate held down for years might well benefit me with huge debt, but it has hugely increased pension costs and quantitative easing has ensured that pension funds make hardly anything nor do those with savings which is having a knock on effect on pension costs. This market interference hinders rather than helps.

The state does things badly and also if everyone works for the state nothing is made in terms of profit as everyone is a civil servant or NHS worker rather than supplying goods or services that people want to buy, particularly things we can export.

Bonsoir Mon 28-Jan-13 10:15:07

Indeed. SwallowedAFly - that state that you think should employ more people - where do you think it is going to money to pay their wages?

State-funded schools and health care for all are a massive luxury that only functioning developed economies can indulge in. For most of history, those things were unheard of.

ParsingFancy Mon 28-Jan-13 10:40:53

Be careful what you wish for, Xenia.

Both here and in the US, the "state employing fewer people" actually means "the taxpayer continues to pay, but services are contracted out to private companies which a) siphon off profit and b) have no democratic accountability and are exempt from the FOI Act, etc."

Don't confuse optional consumer goods, like a new kitchen, with essential services like healthcare and rubbish collection.

Im with xenia on this one.

The amount of lazy, incompetent people working in the public sector is a real issue. There are no incentives. Targets yes, but no profit to be made. So managers dont enforce the targets and lazy people have jobs where their collegues pick up the slack for them to walk home with £16k a year. It just doesnt work.

Thats not to say I agree with privatisation of the NHS. I dont.

I just dont agree with making more jobs paid by the government.

Tortington Mon 28-Jan-13 10:50:13

ParsingFancy Mon 28-Jan-13 10:40:53
i think i love you

ParsingFancy Mon 28-Jan-13 11:09:48

Problem is, wannabe, that ATOS jobs are paid by the government (hence us).

Ditto G4S, the people who screwed up on Olympic security.

Ditto Serco, who do Ofsted inspections, collect our rubbish and run prisons, among their many, many other activities.

custardo, liking your work too... wink

Im not saying there should be no jobs paid by government.

I just dont think its the way to get the economy back on track.

We do need more nurses and midwives and doctors though. Why not employ more of them while encouraging enterprise.

ParsingFancy Mon 28-Jan-13 11:20:57

And with perfect timing, tonight's Panorama: The Great Disability Scam, 8:30 pm, is about the private companies taking taxpayer money to "assist disabled people to work", while actually parking them and walking off with the cash. While calling aforementioned disabled people Lying Thieving Bastards, or LTBs for short. Apparently.

ParsingFancy Mon 28-Jan-13 11:31:46

Today also sees a report by Church Action on Poverty : "The Blame Game Must Stop: Challenging the stigmatisation of people experiencing poverty"

p7 gives the real figures behind the myth-manufacturing.

Public perception of welfare budget lost to fraud = 27%
Actual figure = 0.7%

Public perception of welfare budget to unemployed = 41%
Actual figure = 3%

Politicians pontificate about families where three generations have never worked.
Rowntree Foundation actively looks for them and can't find a single family.

Politicians claim welfare spending has risen out of control.
Govt data shows proportion of taxes spent on welfare is flat.

And so on.

Badvoc Mon 28-Jan-13 11:40:55

I saw that too parsing.
And yet it won't be on the bbc will it?

ParsingFancy Mon 28-Jan-13 12:14:25

Doubt it, badvoc.

That's the same BBC which, in the article plugging Panorama, described someone on incapacity benefits as "long-term unemployed".

Which is like calling a SAHM unemployed, but worse, as many SAHM could work if they chose, but people on incapacity benefits are not fit to work (except in carefully tailored jobs, and many not even then).

The "68,000 disabled people able to work" are actually people who even under the new, incredibly limited tests, have been found not fit to work. But in the govt's mind they will be fit to work one day, even if they have progressive conditions. So that's nice.

Badvoc Mon 28-Jan-13 12:28:18

Its just unbelievable.
I expect this from the tories....same old same old, butnthe lib dems are over as a political party after getting into bed with these right wing fuckers.
And they know it.

ParsingFancy Mon 28-Jan-13 12:50:05

Actually welfare cuts, particularly for the disabled, originated under Labour with the 2007 Freud report.

Preparations for the privatisation of the NHS started under Labour as well. Something even Thatcher didn't dare to do.

Badvoc Mon 28-Jan-13 13:21:59

Hmmm..didn't know about the Freud report.
The privatisation of the NHS started before I left in 2007.
More managers than hcps.

Badvoc Mon 28-Jan-13 13:22:54

I think the rhetoric that the Tories use is very divisive. It's meant to be.
Them and us etc etc

again maybe i'm missing something but i'm thinking it's cheaper to employ someone, get necessary work done and get tax back from them than it is to just hand them benefits.

especially if the alternative is to outsource the necessary work to a private company who siphon off profit and pay the employees too little for them to pay tax (and so little they need the govt to subsidise their wages in tax credits).

and bonsoir how does france afford to employ so many binmen and street sweepers etc? when my sister lived in paris their was a collection every single day.

Problem was, jobs were created in unnecessary areas. Managers instead of frontline staff.

It would happen the same way again. In that situation a person gets a job for 10 years paid by gov versus benefits for maybe a year? Two years?

Its not cheaper long term.

Also in many situations, agency staff are paid more than LA staff.

I am all for the government creating jobs. But not for the sake of it. It has to make sense.

ok so if agency staff are paid more and the agency is taking an extra huge cut on top where is the loss being taken from? the quality of service or what?

it's just more money for nothing - more middle men taking their cut

Bonsoir Mon 28-Jan-13 14:54:59

swallowedAfly - there isn't a choice about the rubbish collection - there is nowhere to put our rubbish if it isn't collected daily. High density apartment living is cheaper in many ways but not on the rubbish collection front!