IDS "I could live on £53 a week"

(108 Posts)

The Work and Pensions Secretary said he could get by on 7.57 per day if he "had to"

Ok then, let's see him do it.

And not just for one week, one week is easy. He wants to try it for longer than that. Say 6 months.

And he wants to do it down south, just outside London. Somewhere with London's costs, and none of it's benefits (eg. cheaper convenient public transport). During that time he should have to apply for jobs and get to interviews - to the full distance that the jobcentre specifies.

Have to deal with emergencies like cooker breaking down etc.

On and if he could spend the first few weeks without any income at all due to delays in processing, that would add a good level of authenticity.

MrsBungle Mon 01-Apr-13 19:29:39

What a knob he is. I have signed the petition.

Didn't Portillo or someone do a week or so on JSA for a programme? and met a lot of families desperately struggling on benefits. They usually make the Secret Millionaires live on basic benefits too.

ssd Mon 01-Apr-13 19:38:42

I don't know what would be worse

A. Him never following this up and actually doing it

B. Him living on £53 for a fortnight before going back to being a millionaire and telling us all "I did it, it is doable, people should try harder."

ssd Mon 01-Apr-13 19:39:22

oh and petition signed

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 19:39:42

An indefinite period of time, so he can deal with the insecurity of it all.

ssd Mon 01-Apr-13 19:40:57

yeah horryis, for a week

what bloody use is that

I can go on a diet for a week but it doesn't make me slim

Abra1d Mon 01-Apr-13 19:44:17

Fuckers yourselves, to anyone who called IDS one. ;)

We can manage, thanks. Husband umemployed for two years now.

ssd Mon 01-Apr-13 19:55:54

dont understand your post abra

iamsmokingafag Mon 01-Apr-13 19:57:25

he would never fully experience the insecurity though

I'd imagine he will have a nice fat pension to look forward to for a start and a nice inheritance for his children

Want2bSupermum Mon 01-Apr-13 20:09:57

Read the article. It is money after paying rent and bills. It is doable but it is an existence, not a life. I lived on less than that at university and agree that it is the insecurity/fear that hurts.

I question the market trader earning GBP50/wk. Something isnt adding up there. Hope this helps him get a full time job that is minimum wage or more.

"It is doable but it is an existence, not a life."

Just. £53 is not much after food, travel, etc.

Sorry ssd, was distracted whilst posting and missed out the crucial final line.

They always say how surprisingly difficult it is because of the kind of shopping one is limited to in such circumstances.

Jellykat Mon 01-Apr-13 20:37:04

The £53 might be after 'housing costs', but presumably should still cover household stuff (loo roll, soap etc) travel expenses and money for clothing etc.. i.e not just food costs.

This i'd bloody love to see. Petition signed and shared.

Jux Mon 01-Apr-13 20:46:08

I remember Portillo being reduced to tears almost as he tried to live on the dole with the children of a single mum, in their council flat. It was a series which involved various politicos from all parties trying to live as a family lived on their benefit. IIRC, Austin Mitchell walked out.

So yes, the point of the prog was to stop these arsehole politicians talking this sort of bollocks. I think Portillo managed almost well, but said he wouldn't be able to do it for longer, and I think it was only a fortnight. Made him seem a little less alien at the time.

pollypandemonium Mon 01-Apr-13 20:52:59

I remember that Jux, it was a brilliant programme. Poor Michael nearly had a breakdown. Also IDS, he did a programme about the underclass and I quite respected him for it at the time. He did get on with people and really understood their problems. It completely changed his view of what benefit policy should be. And he set up that big boost for the families needing most support which was very worthy and sensible. He just didn't take into account that giving people a social spring-clean was all well and good but it didn't mean there would be any work for them to go once they were spruced up.

expatinscotland Mon 01-Apr-13 21:03:40

'Read the article. It is money after paying rent and bills. It is doable but it is an existence, not a life. I lived on less than that at university and agree that it is the insecurity/fear that hurts.'

Then it's not accurate. If the JSA is £71/week, that is what it is with bill not included. The rent is paid by HB/LHA, but out of the £71 must come: transport, food, utilities, council tax and everything else. Something I'd really like to see him try.

pollypandemonium Mon 01-Apr-13 21:06:21

Transport costs are hugely underestimated. The Jobcentre expects you to work anywhere within 30 miles. It would cost about a day's NMW salary to get there.

BertieBotts Mon 01-Apr-13 21:10:51

Polly Toynbee did it and wrote a book - 10 years ago now but not much has changed, except prices are even higher now. She struggled.

I'd love to see him take up the challenge. Interesting that there was a programme about it - was that Tower Block of Commons? I remember that one. If it wasn't, can anyone remember the name?

Tortington Mon 01-Apr-13 21:22:04

I met with a Job centre manager ( for something i do at work) and she told me that they expect people to apply for jobs with at least 1 hours travel each way.

this is fine if you are a qualified something - or - other - but the transport costs that hit you if you are on minimum wage make it unworkable - really.

I mean, the JC will give you money for an interview, - then you get the job and you have to find travel money and lunch money for a month.

within that month, you are already behind on all your bills that you were just holding together whilst you were claiming benefits.

to state that its a clear cut £ x amount is futile. Many people have huge debts just trying to survive.

BertieBotts Mon 01-Apr-13 21:30:33

Also I definitely agree that living on a shoestring is easy when you know it's temporary.

When you can't see an end to it and you want to get a job but you can't find one, or you find a job but then end up with the same amount of money after childcare, and your child in the care of others for 10 hours a day, it's hard and demoralising and makes you wonder why you bother.

Or you have a low paid job and think, it's ok, it's temporary, and they fill you with all sorts of promises about promotion but then after a year working there you're seeing people who've been in the company for years getting all excited about being maybe promoted to supervisor in name but not getting the new pay check until they've completed some kind of probationary period... And seeing colleagues on the same zero-hours contract as you get demoted to 1 day a week or 0 hours just because they've been ill quite a lot in the past month... it's just endless, and that's what's hard about being poor. The feeling that it's never going to end.

Also I've found as well that in desperation costs end up mounting up. You prioritise the stuff that doesn't directly benefit you, like bank charges, and debts, because if you ignore them they just keep getting bigger and bigger. I've had times where I'm so frightened to look at my bank balance because I know it's low so I don't look at it, and then something pops up like a charge which takes about 50% of my income out of the question. I've done things like cancel the direct debit on my utilities to get me through a rough patch and then ended up with massive monthly bills to cover the debt accrued from this and then no chance of moving to a cheaper tariff because of the debt.

You feel exhausted because you're working hard, not taking days off when you're ill because you can't afford to lose the pay, eating shitty food because it's cheap, expending extra energy on shopping around extensively with the purpose of finding the item which is the best value rather than having the freedom to choose the one you like and stop looking when you have found something suitable, cooking more from scratch, doing everything yourself because you can't afford the labour saving options, not sleeping because you're worried about bills, and then because you're exhausted you make mistakes and sometimes need crap convenience food because it's better than nothing and sometimes you're too tired to shop around and you just buy the first thing you come across rather than the best/most economical option, and so you end up spending more money you don't have. It's a cycle, and not one which can be replicated in a short amount of time. It's easy for people to imagine how they would do things but the way that you react in real life with all the stresses that build up isn't something you can plan or guess.

Viviennemary Mon 01-Apr-13 21:35:51

It is a bit silly. Anybody can live for a day or two on nothing. But it's when the bills keep coming in, the car breaks down and so on. How on earth could he pay rent on £53 a week. Mad. I suppose he means £53 for food and bills. I bet it wouldn't even cover his drinks bill on a night out.

Booyhoo Mon 01-Apr-13 21:40:14

signed the petition.

pollypandemonium Mon 01-Apr-13 21:54:15

The £53 a week thing was what one single market trader was living off and had exceptional circumstances.

This article has more clarity about the sums actually required just to keep ticking over and the headline sum is Net, it would be £30K gross.
www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/household-bills/9680091/British-families-need-25000-just-to-survive.html

pollypandemonium Mon 01-Apr-13 21:58:11

Here's a link to the original IDS article - it's calculated after rent and bills (bills not defined) and is for a single person who has children staying over several nights of the week.

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9964767/Iain-Duncan-Smith-I-could-live-on-53-per-week.html

tribpot Mon 01-Apr-13 22:00:54

I dunno about drinks bills - aren't the bars and restaurants in the Houses of Parliament heavily subsidised? Perhaps he doesn't actually know how much real people have to pay for their tipple of choice.

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