Chancellor needs a reality check

(27 Posts)
beardietwins Tue 21-Jan-14 12:22:55

We are struggling to buy food as a result of the governments policies. I am disabled and had my own little business which I could work around my pain management levels. (I have good pain times/days and bad ones) As well as working full time my husband also has a service pension with combined together before tax puts him just over £40k by about £200. . We paid our mortgage, our bills and were not in any debt. We were not extravagant and didn't drink or smoke, we didn't go out very often perhaps to the cinema occasionally or for a pub meal. I then had twins which we were over joyed about and it didn't matter that I couldn't do my business anymore as we were fine with our money. The twins were babies and we were able to feed and clothe them, pay our bills and groceries.

Then the conservatives came into power. They took away our child tax credit because hubbys pre tax money was just over the limit. A totally unfair system which fails to take account of the fact that there may only be one person in the house able to earn a wage so to still pay it to people who have a combined income of greater than the upper limit is grossly unfair. We are in the same boat in that we are skint. I am disabled and had my own little business which I could work around my pain management levels. As well as working full time my husband also has a service pension with combined together before tax puts him just over £40k by about £200. . We paid our mortgage, our bills and were not in any debt. We were not extravagant and didn't drink or smoke, we didn't go out very often perhaps to the cinema occasionally or for a pub meal. I then had twins which we were over joyed about and it didn't matter that I couldn't do my business anymore as we were fine with our money. The twins were babies and we were able to feed and clothe them, pay our bills and groceries.

Then the conservatives came into power. They took away our child tax credit because hubbys pre tax money was just over the limit. A totally unfair system which fails to take account of the fact that there may only be one person in the house able to earn a wage so to still pay it to people who have a combined income of greater than the upper limit is grossly unfair. So we lost approx. £75-£100 a month (depending on how much hubby got paid that month if overtime was available etc)

Then they lowered the 40% tax bracket and so we lost more out of our household income in paying more tax.

The 20% VAT has really knocked all of us and the supermarkets have taken advantage of that also by reducing the number of things in the packets but saying its still £1 when in actual fact you are paying not only more for the 4 items in the packet where previously you paid £1 for 6 but also you now have to buy 2 packets in order to get the 6 you actually need and so have doubled your spend to £2 instead of £1.

Obviously we have the same bills to pay now as we did prior to the current government coming in but now with less income due to their policies with which to do it.

I guess we are not alone in the above which coupled with the rise in fuel, heating and other utilities has resulting in out monthly outgoings being more than we have coming in. The amount available for food to feed all 4 of us is now £30 a week.

We looked into child minders but with twins it was obviously double the cost and would cost more to pay for than I would be able to earn. Coupled with the fact that my disability makes me unreliable in that on a bad pain day I would not be able to drive to work ( we live where there is very little public transport and I cant walk very far). My business would not bring in enough to pay for the minder and is such that I am unable to do it with the twins around because of all the equipment and small bits etc. Evening jobs are out as my husband works quite late to accrue hours for when I have bad pain days and need to lie up - he then looks after the twins. Disability benefit was turned down on ridiculous grounds. We have no family near to mind the twins.

My husband has a mental depressive illness that was diagnosed 6 weeks after the twins were born. In order to put the fuel in his car to travel to work (his employer moved his place of work to further away and only paid mileage allowance for the first 2 years after which you are expected to have been able to absorb the additional travel cost into your budget. Very difficult to do if there has been no pay rise for years, the cost of fuel has gone up, your take home pay has gone down because of the lowering of the higher paying tax bracket and also one of your benefits has been taken away.

Needless to say things have not been able to be paid and we have had to approach one of the debt agencies to help sort it out. Their comment was that we have nothing really we can cut in order to fund the debt which we wouldn't have been in had the government not taken away a lump of our income.

Basically we are very bitter that the situation we find ourselves in is as a direct result of the government policies which whilst claiming to "reward hard working families" actually fail to recognise that not every family can have 2 people working and I would like to see the chancellor actually have to live as we and all of you who are in the same boat as us are having to do. Its all very well them sitting there saying we all have to make cuts but when we are all falling into debt basically because of a previous government who quite frankly couldn't balance the books and another who is seemingly uncaring that the middle earners are falling into debt while the lower ones are managing very nicely thank you because even if they both only earn 20K each they still get their benefits as my friend is testament too in fact with their wages and benefit they are bringing in more money than we and most others have coming in. The people on benefits are still getting their benefits. The higher earners quite frankly are not affected as they already paid that amount in tax and probably don't need the tax credit.

So it seems that the only people who are actually loosing under this government are the middle earners who also perhaps live out in the sticks and so do not have the luxury of reducing their fuel costs by using public transport. Where the shop is in the next village and is too far to walk (especially if you are disabled). I realise this may result in a back lash of people saying do this and do that or cut this and cut that - but believe me we have cut all we can and reduced our shopping all we can (the nearest aldi is 17 miles away and with the cost of fuel its now costing more to get there and back than would be saved).

I, am heartily sick of being squeezed to the point of desperation as I am sure many of you are too. The only thing that can be reduced to pay the bills is the food budget, 5 a day how funny I cant afford to give my children 5 a day. Its about time this government recognised that the people it is claiming to help are the ones struggling and like us drowning as a direct result of loss of income through their policies. They need to recognise families where only one person can work but because of their limit on child tax credit do not qualify and yet their neighbour who is able to have both parents working (even if one is part time) have more income than the single earners limit and also still get their child tax credit. They need to recognise that they are plunging people into debt that ordinarily would not be there. They need to acknowledge that you don't have to live on benefits to struggle to meet just the basic living bills and that depending on where you live you have different challenges in terms of public transport, access to employment, access to cheaper child care etc.

I get very cross when I see reports about how the government has paid approx. £600 million in aid to Syria and whilst I am sad they need it I am a firm believer in charity beginning at home. Why are they paying for another countrys problems when their own people are suffering and struggling. That is our money they have used to pay all of these hand outs to other countries whilst at the same time squeezing us for every penny they can claiming that the country needs to pay a debt. Hang on I feel sure that our creditors would be pretty cross if instead of paying them we gave the money elsewhere. So how come they think its ok to ignore us and give our money away. We wouldn't get away with it with our own house hold budgets so why do we let them get away with it with our country (a massive house hold budget).

I realise this may result in a back lash of people saying do this and do that or cut this and cut that - but believe me we have cut all we can and reduced our shopping all we can (the nearest aldi is 17 miles away and with the cost of fuel its now costing more to get there and back than would be saved). Or people berating me for begrudging other countries in war torn places help but yes when my family are suffering I do. Leave it to charities because at least the people who donate have actually chosen for the money to go there. We haven't and quite frankly I think they should sort their made mess out first and give us a break before giving money away. If the country is in debt then it isn't spare cash at all I don't care which line item its sat in on the budget spreadsheet. - MOVE IT we cant afford foreign aid any more than my family can afford to give to charity now. Ok very long rant over but if I didn't do this somewhere I would explode. Over to you all.

hootloop Tue 21-Jan-14 12:30:32

I know why you feel like this, we are on a low income but we manage.
We, as a country, though should never stop foreign aid because no mattrr how shitty life is for us it id a hell of a lot shittier in Syria or wherever needs our help.

I'm not sure I quite understand your finances. If you have no housing costs and have £2800 a month coming in (roughly 40k after tax) where is the really large expenses coming from confused

hootloop Tue 21-Jan-14 12:33:47

Laurie I glossed over that in my reply because often these threads get disolve into competitive poverty when figures are mentioned.

Pootles2010 Tue 21-Jan-14 12:37:38

Sorry I disagree with a lot of this government's policies, but you're bedgrudging Syrians aid when you've a combined income of 40K?

Honestly? You need to get a grip.

Mines is a genuine question. smile

With no housing costs and no childcare costs £2800 a month is a lot of money and I was wondering if there was some huge, horrible expense we were unaware of.

HauntedNoddyCar Tue 21-Jan-14 12:42:43

Why do you say no housing costs Laurie? I saw the paid our mortgage bit but I assumed that was the payments rather than paid off. Did I miss something?

Do you mean child benefit rather than ctc op?

Custardo Tue 21-Jan-14 12:57:57

600 million is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of taxes dodged and uncollected - that is where people need to focus. not Syria.

Estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, suggest that more than half the of those displaced by the conflict in Syria are under 18, and 17 per cent are under five. there are reports of severe malnutrition within Syria

you are comparing apples and oranges -

now you can't go to the cinema occasionally and you can't run your own business, the benefits that you receive and the tax that your dH pays is unfair. the tories have squeezed you and you are justified in feeling comparatively hard done by - compared with the previous government.

this is a valid way of feeling and millions of people just like you are feeling the exact same thing.

and you want to compare this to people being tortured, bombed and starved?

why not focus on this:

THE bill for MPs’ taxpayer-funded expenses soared by £7million last year to a record total of nearly £100million. 155 MPs - nearly one in four - have given jobs to their spouses and other relatives.

focus on this figure
Unpaid tax and fraud costs £55bn. thats every UK family £3,000 a year

gretagrape Tue 21-Jan-14 15:37:45

I think that there is a lot wrong with what they are doing regarding benefits/practical help to disabled and elderly people, but there was also a hell of a lot wrong with the previous government's attitude to handing out money which is why we are in such a crap state now. My friends had 4 children under Labour and got the child trust fund payment for each of them and also got tax credits...this was despite having their own house with a small interest-only mortgage, 2 flats that they rented out and 2 new cars.

Iamnotanugget Tue 21-Jan-14 19:06:06

With your dh earning 40k you are still getting child benefit. You are no longer getting tax credits but this is assessed as household income so a couple earning 20k each are also not getting them. If your children were born while the last government were in power then they should now be old enough to get 15 hours free childcare for 36 weeks a year.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 21-Jan-14 20:25:42

Agree with you whole heartedly twins. We have been royally screwed over by this government. I am a SAHM to 3 dc and we have lost child benefit for 3 kids, as dh earns just over the threshold, depite the fact that families earning a joint income of 100k can still claim. Dh is a public sector employee so no pay rise there for years and massively more pension contributions. Rented house as can't afford to buy where we live, although landlord is moving back in and has served us notice to leave in May. Rents are massive here and a mortgage will cripple us, although it's starting to seem like the better option when considering the costs of renting and the fact that we'll get another landlord who might ask us to leave in 6 months. Their help to buy policy has just inflated house prices here by another 10%. I hate everything that twat has done and am starting to feel that he has a personal grudge against my family. They can't be gone soon enough for me.

serin Tue 21-Jan-14 23:33:39

You had my sympathy OP, until you started using the phrase "Charity begins at home"

My home is a small planet called Earth, I share it with several billion people. We are all to a large extent co dependent on each other.

I consider myself a lottery winner simply to have had the good fortune to be born here and I want to help other countries where the standard of living is so much less than it is here.

FWIW, our family income seems to be similar to yours.

I think that any government, Labour, Conservative, Whatever (well maybe not Farage!) would commit to foreign aid.

Dromedary Tue 21-Jan-14 23:56:48

My family is also suffering from the policies of this Tory government, though we had less money than you to start with.
But that doesn't mean that I think the UK should stop foreign aid. There will always be people in the UK who could do with more money - many are far poorer than you. But if you've listened to the news today you'll have heard about the death by torture of thousands of Syrians, for political reasons. And you must already know about the vast numbers who are being displaced. Why do they not matter just because some of us in the Uk are in the squeezed middle?
Plenty of money could be saved by other means - eg fair taxation.

Babyroobs Wed 22-Jan-14 00:00:14

Are you not eligible for DLA?

specialsubject Wed 22-Jan-14 10:46:24

I also wonder where all your money is going. And while I appreciate living in a democracy, one of our problems is that all our governments are pretty much as clueless as each other!

recognising your problems - but how about moving somewhere with more facilities?

learnasyougo Wed 22-Jan-14 11:15:16

I can't fathom why you're so broke. my household also has only a single earner (and you're right, a household income of 40k made up of two 20k earners is better off than a household Income if 40k from one earner, not just due to child benefit but also two tax free allowances).
but I'm on a single income of 22k, also no mortgage and we manage. I consider myself bloody lucky not to have a mortgage (southeast here). so where is your money going? how much is the car costing you? we got rid of ours (but we're not rural, so we can) could toy mice somewhere more central so you don't have to run a car? and maybe downsize and release some house equity?

BingoWingsBeGone Wed 22-Jan-14 13:07:04

Doesn't child benefit go after £50k?

Child benefit goes after £50k but it does not just stop immediately one person passes the threshold for higher rate tax, it tapers off over the next £10k or so of earnings.

OP you are mistaking child tax credit with child benefit. You still get child benefit but will not get child tax credit as £40k family income is above the limit for that. If couple between them earns £40k then they won't get child tax credit either.

Also don't understand how you claim you've no money for food if you have £40k earnings. You'd have to have a massive mortgage for it to swallow up nearly all your disposable income.
And, as others have said, you must now be entitled to 15 hours free pre-school/childcare for the children so could work your business around that.

I had two children close together. The nursery fees were massive the first couple of years but its only a short term expense and in the long run now they are at school we are far better off than if I'd stopped working altogether.

Maybe you should move to somewhere with more facilities because the transport problem is only going to get worse when the children start school

redskyatnight Thu 23-Jan-14 12:53:50

A couple with 2 people earning 20K each would also not get tax credits.
They would potentially have significantly more outgoings in terms of childcare, double commuting costs etc.

I know moving is not easy, but seems like you have nothing to tie you to your current location and plenty of reasons to move - which would save you lots.

beardietwins Tue 28-Jan-14 17:54:17

Let me try and address the points raised
LaurieFairyCake
Firstly not sure where you got that we have no housing costs - we have a large mortgage, which previously we could afford - so is that not classed as a housing cost by you? -

To the many that seem to wonder where our money is going - to quote what the debt credit agency said - "all your income is going out on basic household costs nothing extravagant at all" - we also have the same bills that that you all have that go with the houses -utilities - insurances, fuel for my other half to get to work and for me as a disabled person to get about. We live in the sticks where there is no public transport and to get my husband to work, his fuel bill just to get to and from work is approx. £100 a week. He cant lift share as he works different hours to the colleagues here.

There is no combined income because I am disabled and to quote the Drs because of my pain I am " seriously disadvantaged in the workplace" hence why I started working for myself as I could work around my pain levels. I wasn't always disabled but had an accident - prior to that I had always worked full time as has my dh. I lost my job basically because of my disability.

Reading all the comments of what I can only describe as disbelief that we are struggling with that income - only underlines the point I was trying to raise - there are lots of middle income earners who are heading down the slippery slope of food poverty and yet they have an income and are paying their bills etc. But people think that because they are working and paying their way they are fine. Not always so. There is no mystery as to where the money is going its going in basic house hold living costs and - believe me if there was any left and we were not in this mess I would probably be spouting all the disbelief that you are guys are doing. Walk in a persons shoes is a good saying. (abridged before someone decides to give the correct one). Had we not lost the CTC and the 40% tax had not been lowered we would have been ok - but if you are only just keeping your head above water, it only takes one wave to cause you to drown depending on the circumstances.
and then your hit by another wave that the tax office write and tell you that for the last year they had cocked up your previous years tax code and would be deducting more from your wages - so as well as paying more tax because of the 40k thing you are also having to pay back tax too.

Ask yourselves - if you are not living extravagantly on your income and are managing to pay all your bills - where you have already pared your outgoings in order to feed and clothe your new children, you don't smoke, drink or spend money on days out etc and everything is balancing nicely - what then If you suddenly lost £300 a month out of your income - but still had exactly the same bills then you too would soon spiral into debt. Yes you cut your cloth but if there is no cloth to cut what do you do? It only takes one single event such as the much needed vehicle requiring repair in order to get to work to earn the money to pay the bills - . Hence begins the debt - which needs paying - but now there is more going out than coming in. and the vicious spiral begins. Fuel goes up, utilities go up, etc etc. Twins cost a lot more than a single baby - as we had to have two of everything - had I had one then the other we would have hand me downs etc - even second hand things are not cheap when you need to get two. And before anyone says anything about why did we have them etc etc - at the time we could afford them. circumstances change.

ihategeorgeosborne - my dh is also a public sector employee so we are in a similar boat - with no pay rise since before this government came into power.

gretagrape yes there was a hell of a lot wrong with the previous government - I never said there wasn't - in fact I didn't mention them at all - but wanted to raise the point that is isn't only people on benefits who are struggling. People who are the very people that this government claimed to want to help are struggling too - hard working families.

Custardo - your summary of my post is blasé to say the least - I do not believe I mentioned the previous government at all - but yes if you want to get down to it we managed under them. If you suddenly lost £300 of your monthly income but still had all the bills Equally I disagree with your comments regarding overseas aid - yes people are not being bombed here - yet but many do live in fear of walking down streets - people are going hungry - elderly are not being cared for - children are being neglected - women are being forced into prostitution - mentally ill people are not getting they help they need the list goes on - so yes I think that you should fix your own country first and then if there is spare help others and I know I am not in a minority of people who think this - but perhaps I am just in the minority of those who actually say so.

Babyroobs - you would have thought so yes - but it got turned down because "I can walk 50 yards with the aid of my stick" and also "cook a meal for one using appropriate kitchen tools" they ignored the fact that I had to keep stopping when walking or that I cant use a knife to chop veg or stand by the cooker for more than 5mins etc.

Dromedary - yes there are people far poorer than me and I acknowledge that - but callous as it sounds they are not my responsibility to feed - my own family is and in order to pay the bills THAT is the budget that gets hit the food one - its the same for everyone who is struggling now. You have to pay for your utilities and household bills. I agree money could be saved by other means - and yes its sad about Syria and its politics but call me selfish but coming from a military background we have been dragged into war after war and though as stated above " 600 million is a drop in the ocean" its not the only drop and many drops make a puddle - etc etc and there is too much money leaving this country - look at India - they say they don't need the money but its still given to them - I still say put your own house in order first.

specialsubject

agree with your government analogy - Love your simplistic approach but do you not think that if it were possible to "move to somewhere with more facilities" we would do so and it not cost us anymore then we would have done it by now. That's the whole point to move closer to the facilities costs more to do than we have funds for (assuming we could sell our house) but then it would also cost hubby more in fuel to get to and from work as well so to do as you suggest would infact cause us more detriment not less. but thanks for the suggestion.

learnasyougo - Yes you are very lucky not to have a mortgage - would that we were so lucky but we are not and we do have a mortgage - and the insurance to cover it if god forbid anything happens to my dh. That is something we cannot cut.

To those of you who kindly suggest we downsize - mm we have a 3 bedroom house, 2 children (boy and girl) its a run of the mill 3 bed but in the sticks - in one of the low value areas of the country. We cant afford to move to a more central location. That would cost more than our house is worth and that would mean a bigger mortgage which we cant afford.

Flibbertyjibbet

No I am not I do mean child tax credit. I also know when child benefit gets tapered off. Disposable income is not just swallowed up by a mortgage its all the other costs that do it. How would you manage if you were ticking along paying everything (including a loan) and had enough for food (no luxuries mind) but then all of a sudden lost £300 a month. What gives to pay the bills you still have - well the only thing that can move because its not fixed is the food budget - hence why we are struggling with the food bill. Yes we would get 15 hours a week pre school - which if I were not disabled with a pain management regime then I could do the remaining 10 hours on my business - but my pain levels only at best allow 20 min stints and then a break to bring the pain back down of approx. 1 hour. When they are at full time school it will be easier but at present its not workable - but thank you for the suggestion - I have actually tried to do it. Re your suggestion about moving - I refer to the previous response to others same suggestions. Moving costs more money than we can do.

redskyatnight "I know moving is not easy, but seems like you have nothing to tie you to your current location and plenty of reasons to move - which would save you lots." how do you figure this? I refer you to the previous responses to the "just move house" comments.

I think I have addressed everyones - If I have missed anyone I am sorry please feel free to give me a prod.

Things are not always as cut and dried as many of you seem to think. Just because someone isn't on benefits doesn't mean they can manage and just because they cant doesn't mean they are squandering their money. I am not alone that I know but- this government (and yes I believed their hype prior to the election too - this was a blind sider they did after election) is crippling lots of families to pay for a debt that was caused by the government - labour should never have sold off our gold reserves, not squandered the coffers as they did. Equally conservatives are squeezing in the middle but when their fingers meet there is nothing more to squeeze and those in the middle have nothing left.

I shall now sit back and listen to the flack that is coming my way. Oh and to those who condone overseas aid before helping those in need in your own country then I do hope that you adopt the same approach in your own family home - i.e. give everything away before seeing to the needs of your own family. A bit of an exaggeration I know but unfortunately that is how I and quite a few others actually do feel.

Ok, thanks for explaining you had a mortgage.

Can you sell? Go to interest only? Rent out a room? You can get up to almost 5k tax free if you do so.

Do you have extra space you can make money from?

handcream Tue 28-Jan-14 18:12:19

Blimey - what a long winded response. Do you want someone to say 'poor you' dont worry about other countries where some dont have houses, edcuation etc - as long as you are given this money you will be OK. In fact dont worry about anyone else. As long as you are given more money you will be content (or maybe you wont....)

You seem to have a real chip on your shoulder about your lot in life.

Instead of stating all the things you dont have please start looking at the things you do. The average age for a first time buyer is what 30 something? You have a two longed for children and a partner. Some dont have any of this.

emma16 Tue 28-Jan-14 21:49:18

I'm not quite sure what you want people to say in response to your last post to be honest. It seem's no matter what someone say's or suggests, you have an answer straight back for it so perhaps it would be best if everyone said nothing?
I do feel for anyone who is struggling financially but unfortunately benefits are exactly what they are called..'benefits.' It's not a wage it's a benefit, to go along with what you should already be earning.
There has to be cut off's for everything in life, should the government make the cut off for Child Benefit £40k, or £70k or £80k?
Should they make the cut off for child tax £30k or £40 or £50k?
No matter where these cut off's are put, it's always going to annoy someone out there.
You keep calling yourself disabled but if i'm reading correctly, your not medically classed as disabled?
You say you have a massive mortgage but then say you live in a run of the mill 3 bed in a low value area?
I'm not going to sit here & say what i'm saying is correct, just giving you my opinion.
My husband earns £65k a year which i completely appreciate is a large sum of money for one individual to earn & yes you would be correct. But i still clean other people's bogs 3 days a week in school hours for extra money towards my family, it keeps me in a routine, we still live in a tiny 3 bed terraced house which will be bursting at the seams over the next 10 years as our eldest gets to his early 20's & his sister not far behind, we don't spend money we don't have & i budget for everything..i mean everything. Why when my husband earns such a large wage, because life can change in a second. There's no way we'd take on a large mortgage for a house that just costs more to run & heat, because shit happens in life & we could be without that income.
I'm sure life is crap at times right now for you but you need to look at what you've got & i really don't want to sound horrid saying this, but stop making excuses for everything someone suggests or blaming something/one else.
You came on here for help & for that to happen you need to think about the suggestions made.

RhondaJean Tue 28-Jan-14 21:56:24

I am sorry to say this but if you have an income of 40k Ish p year and all you have lost is £300 per month and it's tipped you into debt problems, you had too much debt to start with.

gretagrape Wed 29-Jan-14 08:24:30

I'm not down-playing your situation, but what I meant in my comment about the previous government is that there are always going to be people who seem to get all the luck, and there are always people who fall through the net and never seem to get a break. No system will ever be fair.

Since going on maternity leave our income has fallen to 21k (and my husband has had no pay rise in the private sector for 5 years). Despite being way below the cut-off point for tax credits, and appealing twice, we have been told we can't get anything. It's shit, but we've just had to adjust as best we can. Like you, we have no extravagances - no smoking, drinking, takeaways, going out, etc, so really there was nothing we could cut back on, so it's been bloody tough. However, I go back to work in March so for us there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I've had people suggest to me that we move house, but that's not always a realistic idea. We are only 1 year into a 5 year fix, so we would have to pay a £15k penalty fee and by the time we sold up I'd probably have been back at work anyway.

I think you do need to accept that you are in your situation and no-one is going to get you out of it except yourselves. Sorry - I don't mean it to sound harsh and uncaring, but that's just the way it is. The government isn't going to change its strategy, especially now that we are seeing figures of growth, so nothing's going to improve for you unless you implement whatever changes you can.

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